November 2020 Archives

The technology can move ships millions of light-years in quantum time, keep people young and healthy indefinitely, or destroy planets almost without noticing. But people are still human - or a little bit more.

******

Of course, Mama heard me crying. She'd be summoned as if by cosmic reflex by any of her children crying. The back light came on, "M'IJA!" she exclaimed joyfully, hugging me in her bathrobe, her golden cocker Candy dancing around her heels. It was all I could do to not allow her to touch Aurora accidentally. "Don't do that to me! They told me you were dead! I kept trying your cell phone, but you didn't have it with you!" Papi's old black lab Riley started doing his wiggle dance for me. I reached over to pet him, briefly, before I got up.

There was never a doubt I would tell Mama and Papi the truth. "Mama, it's a long story, and it's going to be hard to believe. Right now, I need some rest. It's been two days since I really slept, and a lot has happened. When I wake up, I promise I'll tell you everything." Papi was following her out, the happiest man on the planet at this moment. "Of course, m'ija. You can have your old room. Let me take that." He started to take the sweatshirt wrapping Aurora. I hugged him with one arm, as carefully as I had Mama.

I dodged his grab, went into the house, through the family room, and started up the stairs to my old room. Riley followed me. "Uh, Papi, not a good idea. Let me hold onto it; I understand how to handle it safely. It is dangerous if you don't know how. Just make sure to keep visitors and young ones out of the room while I sleep." Never knew when family might drop by.

"M'ija, are you in some kind of trouble? Do you need a lawyer?" As I said, they'll never stop thinking of me as their baby.

"I don't think so Papi. I haven't done anything wrong. I will tell you the whole story when I wake up, but I am too tired and strung out now to deal with the questions you will have. If things are the way I think, it's mostly good things I'll be telling you." Realizing that ScOsh's allies might arrive any time, "If someone comes looking for me or a man named Osh or ScOsh, they need to talk to me. Let them in, please, and come get me. They will help me tell you what's happened." If there were any stons left on Earth, my parents couldn't protect me and trying would only get them hurt. But if ScOsh's allies arrived, I didn't want them leaving without the full story and I still wanted to go if I could.

"You were crying, m'ija. Are you hurt?" Mama and Papi had followed me up the stairs, plainly wanting to hear more. I opened the door to my old room - it was a guest bedroom now, and paused in the doorway.
I was still crying, but they weren't going to mention that. "Really Papi, I'm fine. A very good man died doing something important and I liked him a lot, but physically I'm fine. I will tell you the whole story when I wake up. I really need some time, okay?" I was pleading for special dispensation from the head of the family.

I didn't ask for favors much, so he decided to grant it. "Okay, m'ija. Just let us know if there's anything we can do."

"Just give me some time, for now. I probably need to cry some more, then I need some sleep, and maybe more crying later, but I'll tell you what happened, I promise." And with that, I closed the door. I dropped Aurora on the floor of the closet along with my other stuff, and closed the closet door. I pulled the nightstand over to block the door, just to keep my nieces and nephews from accidentally doing something fatal if they came around before I could wake up, curled up on the bed, and quietly cried myself to sleep.

*****

A Guardian From Earth is Book Two in the four book Rediscovery series. It is available in e-book and paperback from both Amazon and all the Books2Read retailers and library services.

The first warning they had was the general alarm.

Fulinia's datalink brought her out of deep sleep, WARNING, TEFRIN IS UNDER ASSAULT. DEMONIC FORCES AT LEAST THIRTY FIFTHS IN NUMBERS HAVE GATED ONTO THE PLANETARY SURFACE. MOST SEEM TO HAVE ARRIVED IN AREAS NEARBY BUT OUTSIDE MAJOR CITIES. SPACEBORNE UNITS ARE ENGAGED, PLANETARY SURFACE UNITS ARE RESPONDING TO INCURSIONS BUT ARE SIGNIFICANTLY OUTNUMBERED. EXPECT TO BE ON YOUR OWN FOR AT LEAST FOUR HOURS. ARM YOURSELVES AND SHARE INFORMATION. STAY ALIVE!

Checking the well, she saw reports that demonic forces had entered Red Splines Arcology, where she lived. "Vadha, get up!"

"What? Just another voluntary drill." Her speech was slow and confused. Vadha would sleep through anything if Fulinia let her.

"I don't think so! For one thing, the others all said they were voluntary drills. This one didn't. And I just checked the well and there are reports of manesi, terostes, and lemuure in the building!"

"Calm down! The building is five ithirds on a side and five high. We're right in the middle. Let's stay in; we'll be fine."

"Are you sure? The warning said there were at least thirty fifths! That's nearly as many as there are people on Tefrin!"

"I'm sure! Nothing is going to challenge the Empire, and it's not like we're in one of the newly settled galaxies. This is Fifth Galaxy; there were colonies here twenty prime before the Interregnum!"

The sound of muffled crumps reached them from somewhere.

"Vadha, I just checked again! There's fighting reported at the portal! If we get moving right now, maybe we can get to the next portal before it gets to us!"

"We don't have any weapons, Fulinia. They can't check all the units; there's too many of them! Just sit here and be quiet and nobody will bother us."

No sooner were the words out of Vadha's mouth, however, than the main door shuddered from an impact. Something big. Then again. The outside camera showed a manes and a couple of smaller demons, the manes' mottled dark bluish gray hide armored with metal of some sort.

"Quick, close the bedroom door! Maybe they won't look inside!"

"That might have worked if we hadn't both screamed!"

"Got any better ideas?"

"Hide?"

They both ran into the bedroom, hiding in the back of the closet. Unfortunately for them, the manes was not only capable of battering the door down, it could also - with difficulty - squeeze through. Once in the apartment, their smells were fresh, and the demon was hungry. Unlike the noble castes, manes did not torture their food, they simply consumed it efficiently. It found Vadha first, catching her by the arm. Her struggles and screams were no serious impediment to the manes' superior strength. It was a small mercy that it fed Vadha headfirst into its shark-like gullet, lined with cutting, triangular teeth. It bit Vadha squarely in two, crushing her head in the process.

Screaming Fulinia was not so fortunate.

The likahn scouts consumed what the manes left.

 



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The Man From Empire
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A Guardian From Earth
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Empire and Earth
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Working The Trenches
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Rediscovery 4 novel set
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Preparing The Ground
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The Price of Power
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