al-Adsani considered the new sport dangerous, one more suited for
adults, not for children. Still, Lopez encouraged its development,
it gave them ‘something to do’ he said. Lopez seemed confident
of the children’s ability to avoid accidents, too confident as far
as Rashid was concerned.
On the upper
polar cap of Ganymede, ammonia and methane winds blew across the
icy plains. The children harnessed those winds with sails made of
a new lightweight alloy from metals mined from the asteroid belt
and raced sleds across the ice around strategically placed obstacles
and skid traps, through dangerous twists and turns and around the
edges of death. Oh yes, several near-accidents, but no real
collision with tragedy, not yet.
or not, they are still children, and Lopez is too eager to overlook
their abilities, too encouraging of their independence, Rashid
than the danger the new sport represented, he did not like the way
it seemed to affect Hamid, continually coming in second to Brannon.
his son seemed especially bitter, and a strained silence marked
the flight home. As usual, Jennifer was with the Lopez family
aboard their shuttle. Once he asked Hamid if his sister and
Brannon were dating, the two seemed inseparable.
disgusted for a moment, and then brusquely replied, “She is the
second, he is the first. That is all.”
tried to push the subject, but Hamid gave him an icy stare and told
him, “I should be the first.”
He had not
broached the subject with his son since.
of the adults in the colony seemed content to pretend that there
was nothing out of the ordinary with the children, especially since
the orbs had seemingly disappeared. But Rashid and his wife
knew better; they witnessed Hamid with the orbs continually, thinking
himself unobserved, skipping school even to spend time ‘exercising
his mind’ as the children originally called it- afterwards he would
be sullen and withdrawn, inattentive, even irritable. Always
growing more irritable and impatient. Twice he got physically
ill. Rashid and his wife did not like it, but they had little
luck in convincing anyone else that they were losing control of
had never been comfortable with the children and their advanced
capabilities. He loved his children of course, but he held definite
ideas about relationships between children and their parents, and
he definitely felt that parents should be in control. It wasn’t
that the children were ‘bad’; it’s just that he and a few others
felt that their children were beyond their sphere of influence.
The events surrounding his own sister’s death drove him and his
wife to the point of attempting to form a clandestine parent group
to somehow regain the control over their children that some felt
like they were losing.
course the children’s strange behavior surrounding his sister’s
pregnancy and subsequent death were never far from his mind. The
children seemingly looked forward to the birth of Sara’s child like
none other; it was all any of them could be heard talking about.
And then, when the child was stillborn, they seemed genuinely shocked.
It was not something they were expecting; of course the doctors
stated repeatedly that there were no problems indicated, but, still,
hadn’t the children, with all their capabilities, apparent and otherwise,
seen or predicted that? It remained the one incongruency in
all their actions; and of course Sara’s even more tragic suicide–the
children, none of them seemed able to even grasp the concept.
In retrospect, he decided that it was something that had never been
properly analyzed or discussed. He radioed the Lopez shuttle,
“Rumi to Milagro, come in please.”
Lopez answered, “This is Milagro. What’s on your mind,
Administrator, I think there is something we need to discuss.”
it when people called him ‘Mister Administrator’, especially Rashid.
It usually meant he wanted to sound the alarm again. But part
of being a good administrator meant listening to everyone, whether
you wanted to or not.
discuss it at our meeting tomorrow. Milagro out.”
switched to autopilot, then joined his son and Jennifer al-Adsani
in the rear cabin. Jennifer played her violin as Brannon handed
the ship’s computer another defeat in a game of chess.
need a new chess partner,” Brannon muttered.
you should design a new chess program?” his father suggested.
stopped her playing, “I suggested that he find something more stimulating,
did invent wind surfing,” he retorted.
discovered it in some history tapes you mean,” came her reply.
I have re-defined the sport, the rules that I designed...”
she uttered in an exaggerated fashion, “there is something bigger
than Jupiter, Mr. Lopez, your son’s ego...”
listened to the two of them spar like a couple married for fifty
years. Yes, there was caring, love even, but he was satisfied
that there was no romance.
or not, they were still just teenagers.
interjected, “Some of the parents are complaining about the wind
surfing. I think that that is what your father wants to talk
to me about, Jennifer.”
said, “The near accident today would’ve been Hamid’s own fault;
the rules that I designed promote safe competition, Hamid is always
the one taking stupid risks.”
stated flatly, “He is not pleased with his role.”
swung to face her, “Yes.”
a moment of silence Gregor said, “Sometimes you kids speak strangely.”
they both swung around to face him, and Brannon said, “I’m not sure
what you mean, father.”
of the parents feel you kids communicate on a level that we can’t
laughed, “Dad, did your parents understand you?”
Jennifer said, “Maybe in some ways the Earthborn will never fully
the word was like a slap in the face, and for a moment he panicked
with the thought flashing through his mind that perhaps he was losing
his son to something he could not understand. He calmed himself
with his belief that the ties that bind parent and child can stretch
halfway across the solar system. He would not lose his son.
do you say that, Jenn?”
answered for her, “She’s just saying that we have a different perspective,
not having been born on Earth.”
on Earth. Again, there it was, the great divide, the gulf
that separated he and the rest of the colonists from their children.
It was a gulf of millions of miles, worlds of difference.
he felt a connection to his children, even if other parents couldn’t
said, “I wish you would share your perspective with me sometime.
Parents like to feel included in their children’s lives.”
course you will be included, father,” Brannon said.
smiled and made a silent exit. Settling into the pilot’s chair
he watched as the shuttle skimmed over the domes of Ganymede city,
glowing like jewels in the icy blue surface of the moon. The
colony had grown so much, even in just the last year and a half,
new structures constantly being raised spreading all the way out
to the horizon. There were over one hundred and fifty domes
now, the three largest over one thousand meters across, all interconnected
by a web of transparent tubes, most of which were equipped with
tram cars, several of which he could see hurrying back and forth
between the domes. There were now two lakes, Galileo
and Josem, several smaller aquacultures (fish farms) and
acres of hydroponics farms, and even more crops engineered specifically
to grow in blue algae instead of soil. With ore production
up in the last year (as well as the discovery of some very new and
very useful metals from the belt) many new plans were being drawn
for the future growth of the colony. The colonists were ‘dreaming
big’ as Lopez liked to call it. They had grown to self-sufficiency
and were actually on the verge of becoming an actual metropolis
in the shadow of Jupiter, even beginning to develop a distinct culture.
A real society,
alive and growing.
of its growth was, genetically speaking, only a matter of time–but
still they plunged blindly ahead, faithful that somehow things would
work out. Nothing had stopped the colony from growing, not
the death of West, not the deaths of the Governor and Mack last
year on Mars, not anything.
his thoughts were filled with the images of the governor and Mackenzie.
Why did they go on to Mars, anyway? He asked himself that question
for the millionth time since taking over as Chief Administrator.
As the Milagro touched down in the bay of the civil service
section, he told himself that he would not let anything stop the
colony’s progress, either. But the thought that whatever
it was that the governor and Mack were doing on Mars was somehow
important to the colony and its survival would not lay quietly in
of the Martian conflict of course, and he knew that ships now on
the moon would very probably be soon on their way to Mars.
importantly, would they stop at Mars?
they knew of the thriving colony on Ganymede. What were they
going to do with that knowledge? There was a definite feeling
of imminent danger coursing through his veins; there were just too
many questions that he did not have answers to, and Gregor Lopez
hated that, almost as much as he hated being Chief Administrator.
called from the door, “Dr. Bowman, I’m going home. Dr. Bowman?”
yes Marsha... have a good evening.”
aide left her alone, absorbed by the monitor and what it implied.
For the past nine months she had been growing increasingly agitated
with Dr. Garcia; his reports seemed to be nothing but trivial gossip
about the people living in the belt. He sacrificed his
life for the chance to unlock the secrets of the universe, but his
correspondence spoke of no progress towards that end. She
was frustrated, and angry that after making the ultimate sacrifice
to pursue those ultimate answers, he seemed to be frittering his
time away on that asteroid doing very little research.
few days ago, acting on a hunch, she asked Garcia to settle a dispute
between her and a colleague, a trivia question concerning ancient
Babylon. It was the type of opportunity that Garcia lived
for, the chance to demonstrate his vast knowledge of societies almost
forgotten by others.
last two transmissions ignored the question completely, and when
pushed for a reply, he dismissed it in a manner that was completely
foreign to his character. Suddenly it seemed obvious: for
the last year, she hadn’t been corresponding with Dr. Garcia at
all, but rather someone in the belt posing as him. She wasn’t
sure what this meant, but she knew that it couldn’t be good for
She would inform Lopez at tomorrow afternoon’s meeting, but the
rest of the evening would be spent studying tissue samples from
the increasing number of victim of the degenerative disease that
struck almost two-dozen colonists (at least two dozen known diagnosed)
with fatal results so far. It seemed to her that death surrounded
her; there was no escaping it. After forty years of practicing
medicine, she found herself growing wearisome of death. Suddenly
she was nauseous and her head threatened to explode, and she decided
that the tissue analysis could wait. She decided she needed
stared him in the face; he was dying. That was a given the
moment he took off his helmet in Hanson’s ship (actually it’s always
been a given, everyone dies). But, as far as someone else
was concerned, Dr. Jerome Garcia wasn’t dying fast enough.
The test results before him were conclusive in proving that he had
been poisoned over the last few months. He wondered if any
of his communications were getting through to Dr. Bowman, and then
he cursed himself for ignoring the obvious. It was the truths
that he was uncovering here on this asteroid that the people in
the belt, or at least a disturbing number of them, wanted to bury;
they were behind his poisoning, his murder. Over the last
year he had tried to unlock the secrets of the universe, or at least
the solar system, and in retrospect he realized that he had been
growing less popular with each new discovery.
proof of extra-terrestrial existence had had an alarming effect
on some of the refugees, a religious fervor began sweeping over
them as they formed an almost cult, proclaiming themselves the ‘Guardians
of The Past’, the true chosen few; to the unconverted they were
a menacing group of thugs. Hanson was even cowed by their
tactics; Garcia had lived the last six months as a virtual hermit,
sneaking into the cave to work on the time capsule.
time capsule, for that is what he determined it was.
it contained he had dared not imagine, but he formed a theory as
to the origin of the capsule and to the origin of the asteroids.
Extrapolation on these theories introduced interesting possibilities
when applied to the development of life on Earth.
he must try to get this information to Bowman.
how? Staring out the window of his cramped living quarters,
he spied Jupiter and wondered how he could communicate with Dr.
Bowman without interference, so many millions of kilometers away?
he pondered his situation a sling launched another coffin into the
belt. Whenever one of the chosen (as they referred to themselves)
died, a ceremony was held and their coffin hurled into the belt,
almost as if in an offering. All of the concepts presented
by the Guardians were repulsive to Garcia, but still an idea spawned
somewhere deep in his mind.
in Rome... he thought. He must make a connection with
Bowman, communicate his findings to her, everything depended on
very future was at stake, as well as its past.
a long time ago on a planet far away, he had been an English teacher.
Now he was Chief Administrator of the last fifty thousand people
left in the solar system; it was beginning to take its toll.
Sitting across from him were the usual suspects: Dr. Bowman, Rashid,
and of course Lariby (the new military liaison).
spoke to Lariby first, “What’s the status of the ships that landed
at Luna City recently?”
shrugged her shoulders, “No activity detected as of yet, sir.”
kind of activity do you expect?”
was slow and careful in framing her answer, “As Mack believed, I
too suspect they’ll head to Mars. Our data on Mars shows that
one faction has seized control, but we’re not sure which one, or
what their defense capabilities would be should the ships from the
moon move aggressively.”
asked, “Would we be able to help them, if we wanted to?”
he used her first name.
respected Mr. Mackenzie tremendously, but it’s your opinion that
I need. If I didn’t respect your opinion, I wouldn’t ask for
it. You do not need to justify your opinions by invoking Mackenzie’s.
And you can call me Gregor- try not to be so formal. So, what
do you think?”
think, given the nature of the units we’re dealing with, they won’t
stop at Mars. I say stand with the Martians, on Mars.
Together, that’s our best chance of defeating them. And better
to defeat them on Mars than here; even if their ships make it to
the belt, they could hide in deep sleep coming out and whacking
our mining crews for decades- it’d be rock to rock combat and we
just don’t the type of people necessary to carry out something like
that. We beat ‘em on Mars, or not at all. Gregor.”
smiled, “Good enough. Quietly make plans to do so. Cynthia,
any progress on the degenerative disease?”
of this morning, I am now a patient.”
room was quiet for a while until Dr. Bowman spoke again, “Someone’s
been posing as Dr. Garcia and responding in his stead to our personal
said, “That would explain the lack of discovery on his part over
the last fourteen months.”
said, “I’m sure Jerome has made a great deal of progress, if he’s
still alive. Something’s going on in the belt...”
interjected, “It’s true, sir. A lot of the ore vessel crews
report strange behavior among the belt people. They say some
sort of religion, a cult, has swept through the refugee camps...
something about ‘guardians past’ or some such nonsense.”
and Lopez locked eyes for a few moments, and then Lopez slowly said,
“There is evidence of extraterrestrial life in the belt. And
at one point, on Mars as well. At this time I think we should
keep the knowledge of this evidence confined to those in this room.
Agreed?” He scanned the room, his eyes immediately finding
this could be at the heart of the problem with our children!” Rashid
protested. “There could be some sort of outside influence...”
slammed his fist down on his desk, “My son is under no outside influence!”
Dr. Bowman said, “we’re all on the same team, let’s shoot for the
spoke, “I’m sorry... my wife and I are worried. More than
that, we’re scared and we don’t even know why.”
tried to sound reassuring, “I’m sure you’re not alone in your feelings
and concerns, my old friend. The children seem to be connected...
I mean they can communicate on a level we don’t seem to be aware
of. My wife suspects they have telepathic abilities they just
haven’t seen fit to tell us about.”
said, “We ran tests for that, but all of the children tested poorly
in that regard.”
muttered, “They could perform poorly if they wanted to.”
one spoke for a while, and then Lariby finally decided to assert
her new found confidence, “This evidence of alien life, is it technological?”
shrugged, “I’ve only seen images the governor sent back before his
journey to Mars.” Lopez suddenly sat straight up, staring
at Lariby, “Did Mackenzie tell you anything about why they went
said, “Mack wouldn’t have went unless it was vital.”
do say that, doctor?” Lopez asked.
was slow to answer, “What I am about to say cannot leave this room.”
spoke for everyone, “Agreed.”
was pregnant with Mackenzie’s child.”
stunned everyone, especially Rashid.
would never tell me who the father was... that’s another thing...
the way the children looked forward to the birth of this particular
child, they way they couldn’t seem to accept the fact that it was
stillborn, or Sara’s suicide...” Rashid started to rant.
interrupted, “We still know less about what’s going on. For
now, we need to set priorities. The military force on the
moon, I consider them a threat, and an immediate one. We need
to contact the winning faction on Mars, whoever they are, and make
some diplomatic overtures...”
interrupted, “Do you think they’ll be receptive after we bombed
their cloning facility?”
replied, “Perhaps, with a space fleet on the way that can rain destruction
from above... who knows? We have to try, like you said better
to fight ‘em on Mars. Rashid, at some point we need to confront
our children and learn the depth of their capabilities, but I do
not consider them a threat. And with our children is where
our diplomatic skills must be at their best. But we must never
forget, they are our children. Dr. Bowman, you know I will
utilize all resources to help find a cure for this new disease.
Is there anything we can do immediately, anything I can do for you
smiled, “I know Gregor, I know. Everyone we have is working
on it, and I’ll be okay. My main concern at this point is
still Jerome. Whatever he has learned, whoever is posing as
him doesn’t want us to know it.”
that Bowman and Rashid made their exits, but Lariby lagged behind.
on your mind, Lariby?”
was a sniper, not really a commander. I’ve never seen my enemy
except through a scope, and I’m almost seventy. I was thirty
years retired before...”
need someone who can draw up a battle plan, lead an assault...”
laughed, “I didn’t pick you for your current position.”
Mack did, in a message he left for me. He said you were level
headed... and honest. Maybe not what I was looking for but
what I needed.”
did indeed. Now, I believe I gave you a mission, commander.
Go carry it out.”
snapped to attention for the first time in a long time, saluted,
and went out to carry out her mission.
hated being saluted, but he smiled anyway and returned her salute.
and three days,” Mac whispered, etching another mark in the cell
whispered, “I don’t think I can last much longer.”
Mac agreed. “Is there anything you want to tell me?” he asked
as he sat down.
governor glanced at his daughter, Colonel Moon Park, lying silently
on the floor, catching what sleep she could (they slept in shifts).
was near death, Mac was growing increasingly frustrated, and the
woman had not spoken in all that time (at least not while he’d been
awake). The governor knew it was time to let Mackenzie know
as much as he possibly could; he had not been exaggerating when
he said that he could not last much longer.
the last four hundred days the three of them had been tortured,
drugged, and questioned in a relentless cycle of brutality.
Still, none of them cracked. Of course only the governor
could actually tell them anything they wanted to know, but somehow
he had endured this endless hell for over a year.
never would have bet on that.
week ago the tortures and interrogations had stopped, and their
contact with their captors minimized, and for the last two days
they hadn’t even been fed and now they were running out of water.
At times they thought they could hear shelling, and they knew it
must be close in order to be heard in the thin Martian atmosphere.
Obviously there was a North American faction moving in, or at least
is indeed my daughter. I never even knew about her until years
after I’d been in the senate. A youthful indiscretion as they
called it on Capitol Hill. The CIA approached me to join the
national ticket, revealing her existence to me, and the fact that
her mother had actually been a Korean agent... her government knew
of my political activism, my standing at the university, my preparation
for a political career must’ve seemed obvious... who knows who else
on Capitol Hill had arranged encounters in their youth... to get
me to say yes, to accept the vice presidency. It wasn’t something
I wanted, I liked it in the senate...”
say yes?” Mack was stunned.
was already too late, but some of the leaders of some of the world’s
governments, including ours, realized that the multinational conglomerates
were making their final power play, deals were being made on levels
you can’t even imagine, behind doors that had been locked for centuries.
The future leader of the United Korean Republic, linked by blood
to the vice president of the United States. Call it a royal
arrangement; it was supposed to form a bond stronger than the economic
differences. We were trying to add Korea, Viet Nam, and Thailand
into the North American fold...”
Mack couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “We were making deals
with the Koreans? Nothing could erase that history... thirty-thousand
troops in less than an hour...”
spitting up a little blood, the governor continued, “Governments
are like anything else, Mack, almost-organic entities that just
want to survive. The governments, and those that governed,
were simply trying to survive, trying to maintain their power over
the economic monsters that they themselves had nurtured into existence.
The corporations bought our government one donation at a time and
then they usurped its authority by assuming its functions, after
that they pretty much disposed of the governments all together,
except for the window dressing on the World Council. It was
the same everywhere, just a different method... capitalism... socialism.
It didn’t matter, from behind the scenes the corporations always
controlled our destinies... the seeds were planted long ago in our
own industrial revolution... we were so desperate we were even making
deals with India in the end. That’s why the president didn’t
send back up at the Battle of Britain. The deal was already
cut. I had nothing to do with that decision. I wanted
you to know that, although in the final analysis it probably doesn’t
After a while Mack finally said, “Korea, India, as allies?
Now I’ve heard it all.”
governor laughed, coughing up a little more blood, “No Mack, you
haven’t, not quite. That ship, you must find it and destroy
it. That was my mission here, and now it is your mission.
You cannot allow anyone to gain control of it, it must to be destroyed.”
don’t we just take it for ourselves?”
we have to advance at our own rate. The ship represents our
destruction, on many levels...”
could destroy any enemy, meet any threat...”
have to find a way to unite with our enemies, it’s the only way
to increase the gene pool...”
scoffed, “All of them combined would only give us another generation,
besides, and the diseases and the differences are too great...”
Qur’an teaches that people will have differences until the end of
time, that our differences, our diversity, is a part of the divine
was suddenly uncomfortable, irritated even, “I never read much of
the Qur’an... I spent most of my life fighting people who do...”
governor spoke soothingly, “We’ve all spent too much time fighting,
one way or another, sadly too often because we’ve been touched by
a different face of God than our neighbor. Humans, some
of us anyway, can recognize and embrace diversity amongst ourselves,
but we cannot seem to see it on a divine level. But... in
spite of the differences Mr. Mackenzie, we are all inextricably
intertwined with one another, connected in ways perhaps no one will
ever be able to fully explain or understand. We cannot think
of only ourselves, especially now as we stand on the brink of extinction.
I cannot believe that any God would want His people to behave so
selfishly.” More coughing, causing more bleeding inside, interrupted
his soliloquy, and he weakly closed his eyes for a few minutes.
a long silence, Mack asked expectantly, “Will we ever stop fighting?”
not soon anyway. In many ways, the fight is just a beginning.”
couldn’t believe what he said next, but he said it, “I’m sick of
governor told him, “Your mission, Marine, is to destroy that ship,
at all costs. There is a plasticine tube containing forty
grams of C6 implanted just under my rib cage, here,” he pointed,
“you’re going to have to cut it out, get the hell out of here, find
that ship, and destroy it. At all costs, do you understand,
stared deep into the governor’s sunken face; it had been a long
time since someone had addressed him as Marine, or sergeant for
that matter. He knew he couldn’t let that ship fall into the
wrong hands, but he wasn’t convinced that he should destroy it.
But he had been given a mission, and he knew how vital it was to
the future of the colonists (and his family) and he was going to
they could hear weapons fire down the corridor, coming closer by
the second. Moon awoke, moving to protect her father.
Although she had only known him for a few years, the fact that he
was her father resonated deeply within her soul, and she idolized
him since their first meeting arranged by their respective governments.
She had been born out of an attempt by her own government to extort
a potential future United States politician, and although her instructors
and her superiors always singled her out for ridicule (there were
no secrets in their government) she overcame many obstacles to become
perched on the edge of leadership of her people, just as her father
did in his own political arena. There was an instant connection
between them when they met that transcended all past circumstances.
reason she had been imprisoned in the first place was out of loyalty
to him (she’d refused to reveal who she was contacting on Ganymede).
They were alike in more ways than they would have time to realize.
followed her lead, starting to put himself between the governor
and the cell bars when the governor reminded him, “You should be
using me to shield you...”
then a deathly silence fell in the corridor, the three prisoners
held captive in the absence of sound.
the martial sound of military boots slapping the pavement could
be heard, growing louder until they each thought the noise would
a face appeared on the other side of the bars, and suddenly Mackenzie
started laughing. It’s a small solar system, he thought, and
through the bars he found himself shaking hands with a former colleague
that he thought he had seen alive for the last time over a quarter
of a century ago; Daren Walker, formerly of the Royal Space Force,
now of... well, who really knew anymore?
fought many campaigns together as England and the United States
(with Mexico and Canada) made their last stands in the late twenty-first
century. Finally Mack backed away and Walker shot through
the lock, opening the cell. He immediately spotted Park (but
apparently he didn’t recognize her by name or position) and then
after another few seconds his eyes fell on the governor, whom he
did recognize, instantly, his eyes swelling with hatred and rage
as his mind replayed what was now ancient history.
down in the governor’s face, he whispered, “I know you. Mr.
Vice President. Mister doesn’t want to send the Brits their
backup. We heard you were the voice of reason in the administration
that got half our forces killed. You look like you need medical
help. Too bad.”
governor didn’t answer him, and then another soldier appeared at
the cell door, “Sir, the base is secure.”
snapped, “Bring her! Come on Mack, you’re with us now.
We’ll be leaving you behind sir. With no help on the way.
I want you to die knowing what that’s like you filthy bastard.”
said nothing as more soldiers appeared, handcuffing her, dragging
her from the cell without the chance to say anything to her father.
She wanted to cry, but she couldn’t, she couldn’t afford to let
them know their true relationship. Inside her heart was exploding;
outside she was cold as space.
left the governor to die alone when Mack heard his words echoing
in his head, “... at all costs, Marine...”
stopped, “Walker, I’ve got a score to settle with the governor.
I can’t leave him alive. Lend me your knife.”
smiled, “What the hell.” He handed Mackenzie his knife, “Make
it hurt, you can catch back up with us.”
disappeared back down the corridor as Walker lead his troops to
base headquarters to secure and announce their final victory over
the Pan-Asian alliance. The governor had made no attempt to
get out of the cell in spite of the fact that the door had been
fact, he hadn’t moved at all; it would have been pointless.
He was slipping away fast.
knew you’d be back,” he whispered.
stood silently in the doorway, the knife at his side.
governor told him, “I’m already dead, Mack. Just think of
it as part of your mission, just like any other... one more thing...”
in closer, his voice cracked as he asked, “Yes sir?”
be another ship on Earth... it’s so irradiated now it doesn’t matter...
that in mind, sir.”
it quick,” the governor told him, spitting up even more blood.
down, Mackenzie saluted his commander in chief. “Yes sir.”
governor closed his eyes for the last time, smiling slightly, prayers
and blood dripping from his mouth.
walked quickly from the cell, he carried enough weight in explosives
in his tunic to destroy a mountain, not really heavy in any real
sense, but the weight on his shoulders was heavier than any he had
ever known. Mackenzie never really liked the governor, but
in the last months and hours of the man’s life he had grown to respect
him. And then he killed him.
at all costs... Marine...”
always thought of the governor as a soft politician, but he decided
that somewhere under that velvet exterior had beat the heart of
a lion, a heart worthy of a Marine even.
would carry out his mission. At all costs.
met each other in a dream, on the icy polar plains of Ganymede,
Brannon standing defiant as Hamid’s sailcart cruised towards him
at breakneck speed.
immature bravado... we cannot harm one another in the Mindseye,
Brannon felt his pulse quicken. The Mindseye, an unexpected
expansion of the children’s telepathic abilities, was still a new
frontier to him, to all of them. Only Hamid seemed confident
within the hyperphysical construct of their combined mental energies.
that’s wrong, he thought, Jennifer is confident... she just
seems content to take her time... and of course Hamid is not confident,
cart slid to halt centimeters from Brannon, pelting him with the
ice pebbles stirred up from the cart’s blades. Hamid hopped
out of the cart and stood facing Brannon in a most adversarial stance,
and then he removed his helmet.
hesitated, reminding himself, Nothing can hurt us in the Mindseye.
laughed at Brannon’s hesitation, “You’re a fool. Not only
do you not realize your power, you’re afraid of it.”
snatched the helmet from his head, “You’re the fool! Power
carries great responsibility, you are reckless...”
snapped, “You are not my First.”
hung between them for what could have been an eternity, and in the
Mindseye, in might have been.
will not succeed,” was all Brannon had left to say.
it was Hamid who got the last word, “I already have. Simply
by defying you.” He put his helmet back on and strapped himself
back into his sailcart. A sudden gust of ammonia wind swept
him away at a high speed. Brannon could hear him laugh until
he passed over the horizon disappearing from view, and he could
still hear Hamid’s wicked laughter when he awoke in his room a few
moments later. Lying there staring up at the ceiling he realized
that history does indeed repeat itself; the past and the future
are irrevocably connected by the present.
realized now that his destiny was inescapable, having been charted
thousands of years before he was born.
a few months, they anointed him into their new priesthood, such
the convincing power of his conversion. He was no longer Dr.
was Father Garcia.
emerged from the cave one day and renounced his research, falling
to his knees, bowing in the direction of the time capsule.
He told the cultists that he had had a vision while in physical
contact with the capsule. They were religious fanatics, and
over the next few months he fed the self-anointed priests a steady
diet of the things that they wanted to hear about the large capsule
hidden in the cave of ‘their’ asteroid. His revelations and
the obvious truths they contained (Garcia fed them exactly what
they wanted to hear) eventually elevated the doctor in the eyes
of the cultists, and eventually, when it was obvious that he had
only a week or two to live, they made him a priest.
entire cult, now in the hundreds, came to the asteroid for his funeral;
he had been given a coffin (made from old cryogenic pods) of grand
design, and slung his holy carcass into the belt with deep reverence.
the tiny capsule that carried his body, there was enough air for
three hours, yet after two, he awoke.
had given himself a tranquilizer to simulate death, timing the drug
so that he would awaken after launch. A slight miscalculation,
and all would have been lost. But he was Dr. Jerome Garcia;
he didn’t know how to miscalculate. Once he was fully awake
he pulled several tiny tubes from the linings of his robes.
Once connected, they sent a repeating signal to the hospital computer
on Ganymede. Bowman would know he was trying to contact her.
hidden pockets inside the robe he pulled several data discs, laying
them at his side. These discs contained all of his research,
all of his theories on the time capsule.
had to find him; everything depended on it.
less than ten minutes of air left, he activated a music recording
(Miles Davis, what else?) and closed his eyes forever on this existence.
two of them stood on the precipice of the cliff that they climbed
so many times before, watching Hamid’s ship disappear into the void.
took two with him,” Jennifer said.
know,” Brannon replied, then, “Does your father know?”
Hamid left a message on his computer, timed for delivery in three
you going to tell him?”
but I’ll be there when he gets the message. I’m not sure he’ll
be able to take it. Mother is stronger, still, it’ll be hard.
Maybe too hard. There is no escaping destiny, Brannon.”
stared until they could no longer see the orange-white blast of
the ship’s engines.
asked playfully, “Want to run of the cliff again, for old times
risky. What if our packs didn’t fire?”
laughed, “What if? Let’s jump off... into the Mindseye...”
swallowed hard, “I’m afraid.”
took his hand, but still, he hesitated. Deep inside he felt
that if he took this step, something would be severed. He
looked at Jennifer, her smile radiating even through her helmet’s
visor, and made his decision.
of them ran and jumped off of the edge of the cliff and started
to tumble head over heels, still hand in hand for hundreds of meters,
and then they... disappeared.
spying, through his scope as he always did, Rashid blinked, readjusted
the scope, and then desperately searched for the children.
But he did it in vain, for they could not be sighted anywhere along
the long face of the cliff. After what seemed forever, he
decided that they must have jumped off the other side. He
must have been mistaken; the scope must have been off.
had to be it.
a sense of loss resonated within him.
shocked Miranda to hear the other children cry as they buried the
soldiers in the soft dirt of Earth’s moon. None of them cried
when they buried their parents, she doubted any of them cried when
they had murdered their parents, either.
had to be done, they were dying anyway, and the provisions were
low, she still struggled with rationalizing it all.
these tears they shed today are for their parents, she offered
in the silent conversation inside her head.
fourteen years of age, Miranda Carlisle experienced a vision.
Her vision led to the demise of all of the adult refugees in Luna
City, which served as preparation for her to lead the children in
a surprise assault on the soldiers that landed just a few days ago.
The men and women of the ships still resting on the lunar plain
were over confident to begin with, but when they found only children
their overconfidence gave in to cockiness, which gave way to tactical
errors. The looks on their faces as they met death showed
even more surprise than the faces of their betrayed parents.
With the most primitive of booby traps (the design of which were
revealed to Miranda in subsequent visions) the children virtually
annihilated one of the most elite fighting groups the planet Earth
had ever produced.
my death stop my visions? Miranda asked herself.
to tell herself that she missed the way things used to be, even
though the memories seemed so distant, on Earth before her family
came here to the moon. It was her mother’s position with the
Canadian government that granted them access to a private shuttle
that allowed her family to escape the holocaust that was taking
place. The former lunar colonists, now safe and prospering
amid the moons of Jupiter, left little in the way of supplies, the
supplies that their parents had mistakenly counted on to be here.
Life among the refugees grew brutal before her first vision.
way, the Jovians, as they now like to be called, are to blame for
our current predicament, she told herself. But she knew
that there was no way that she could blame her visions on the Jovians
or her actions against the adult refugees, not that she hadn’t tried.
their heads, Earth, a swirling mélange of deadly gray and
black clouds sweeping across the planet’s surface with the sad rhythms
of Armageddon rose into the perpetual night sky–as the children
finished their grisly task of burying the soldiers. Ever since
her parents first brought her here, she felt detached and isolated,
and the deathly dull glow of a ravaged planet hanging in the sky
above only reinforced her alienation. Now, after her recent
actions its presence in the dark heavens seemed only to send a chill
through her bones, reminding her every second of what she, and the
rest of the human race, had lost.
noticed that Joshua, her little brother (only seven years old) had
ripped a patch and some medals from the uniform of one of the soldiers
and now wore them as proud trophies, smiling as he kicked moon dust
over the graves of the soldiers.
child in the group, Mandy Melcher, cautiously approached Miranda.
someone going to come and save us?” Mandy asked.
name is... Hamid.”
knew nothing of Hamid, but his name had been revealed to her in
a vision. She did not necessarily think that the children
needed saving, as Mandy put it, but she knew that that was what
Hamid was coming for.
hated the visions.
she would hate Hamid.
the visions had first started and the orb first appeared to her,
she felt connected for the first time to something greater than
herself since coming to the moon with her family. But it seemed
that the visions had consumed her, setting her on an irreversible
path. With the rising body count, Miranda began to wonder
if that something that she had connected with would swallow her