A story of different events and people from Shadowed Stars book 1
By STEVEN KOUTZ
Roy Shocks was what he referred to as an, “Unofficial Scientist.” He had shoulder length long straggly blond hair and an eye patch over his right eye. He had a muscular build and was a thirty-year-old genius that had read countless scientific papers and conducted his own private experiments on every scientific topic and concept. He was a genius but lacked the ambition and commitment to go through all the required education. He had built his own spaceship from salvaged materials and developed his regenerative fuel system for it. He also had some assistance from some Ubide alien tech power sources he had acquired off a crashed Ubide starfighter. It was his second prototype but his fourth draft and he dubbed it, Shocker Four.
The Ubide invasion of Earth had been in occurrence for about seven months. Roy was using a self-developed stealth masking technology to conceal the launch and flight of Shocker Four against the Ubide sensors. He had launched and entered high atmosphere without any problems. Attainment of an orbit entry was the issue but with his new-found Ubide technology he was confident that he had finally solved that dilemma. The pressure and turbulence had begun to reach full intensity as the Shocker Four shook and rattled in its attempt to break free from the ravaged planet Earth. In the cockpit, Roy was fastened into the pilot chair and struggled against the pull of orbit entry. Several systems blew out as steam and smoke started to occur inside and outside many areas of the salvaged vessel. Roy frantically adjusted systems, flaps, repulsors and propulsion increases all while simultaneously looking forward and upward at oncoming stars. All the turbulence slowed and a state of stillness occurred as the Shocker Four had broken free from planet gravity and entered a near orbit. The propulsion engines halted and the drift repulsors engaged automatically as programmed to maintain an orbit as the ship slowly drifted in space. Roy had expected this moment but the actual experience had humbled him. He seemed overcome with amazement as he for the first time was seeing Earth from an actual orbit view and not from camera and photo pictures of it. The most incredible feeling of the experience seemed to be without any real words to describe what he had expected. He was shaken from his state of astonishment by the sounds of sensor alarms. He then saw the Ubide saucers out the pilot window that had caused the alarm. He checked his own sensors and stealth masking. The Shocker Four was drifting between two large saucer shaped vessels. It had been undetected from the launch to this point. Roy took control of the helm and increased the impulse drive to the engine to increase the ship’s gliding speed. Any full increase of movement or activation of main engines would most likely break the stealth mode. The only way the now space faring vessel would be spotted was if a Ubide was looking out from a viewing port. Once Roy had steered Shocker Four clear of the Ubide vessels, he set a flight path away from the full Ubide fleet assembly.
Shocker Four was free from Earth and its Ubide alien-controlled orbit. The stars were literally the possibility now. Roy had never planned where to go from this point. Escaping the Ubides that had claimed Earth was the primary goal. Finding another livable planet was of course the next step but he had not taken into consideration of the amount of space that the Ubides had claimed. He had confidence in his knowledge but still prayed before he had brought his designed hyperspace jump engines online. He had just set a course and entered a hyperspace portal when an internal breach of a hatch alarm sounded. Roy had been having many issues with the access ports in this part of the ship. Shocker Four was a long tubular shaped vessel resembling an early day rocket ship appearance. Most access throughout the internal part of the ship was up or down by use of wall mounted ladders. Roy turned on the internal ship gravity system and unfastened himself from the pilot chair. He then climbed down a ladder and passed many mechanical and technical components. He reached a storage area with many aligned storage pods. He stepped off the ladder and walked across the top of the storage pods to the unit that had set off the hatch alarm. He pulled on the handle of the partially breached hatch. Roy Shocks was quite literally shocked to see a college cheerleader had stowed away on his ship. She was still in her purple and green cheerleader uniform for the Majestic University Crowns. She was a quite beautiful blond woman with an athletic build and only twenty-two years of age. She pleaded with Roy to not throw her off the ship. Roy regained his composure and seemed to evaluate the request. He responded that there was nowhere to throw her at the moment. He reached his hand down toward her to use as a lift.
Roy had aided the young woman out from the inner cargo hatch. They had both then climbed up the ladders of the tubular shaped spacecraft and entered the cockpit. She introduced herself as Andrea Revere. She claimed to have run from the aliens that invaded her college and had taken refuge on this vessel as a temporary seclusion. She continued to be amazed as she looked out toward the view of fast passing stars. She admitted to not being aware of her hiding location being a functioning spaceship and ready to launch. It had looked to her as nothing more than a salvaged wreck of junk.
Just then another alarm sounded on the pilot console. Roy took the controls as the ship started a slight shaking motion. Andrea asked what was happening. Roy had concentrated more intently on the control panel and the ship seemed to swing around in a circle and slowed its speed. The view of passing stars had become still as Shocker Four had lost all engine function. Roy had opened an exit portal and Shocker Four literally dropped out of hyperspace. They were now drifting and unsure of their location due to the abrupt and unplanned hyperspace exit. The regenerative fuel system was also showing skips of failure in its regeneration process. Roy needed to make modifications and repairs.
Andrea noticed a dark greenish planet and asked if they could land there. Roy initiated a scan of the planet that was mostly swamp and jungle and a detection of multiple animal life signs. It had a desired breathable atmosphere. Roy checked over the ship’s functions and was finding it unlikely that they would be able to obtain an orbit again once they landed. The Ubide technology he had acquired was still functioning perfectly but the ship construction was not holding up to that technology. He needed to do a major re-haul of material and the still functioning equipment. Andrea looked out to the stars that surrounded them. She stated that their options seemed to be limited. Roy did some calculations in his head. He figured that he could jumpstart partial engine function. Enough to get to a low near orbit. The shielding core that he had constructed from various Ubide equipment he felt might be good enough to slow their burnup as they dropped into atmosphere. He sighed before he instructed Andrea to strap herself in because the landing would no doubt be a rough one.
After two hours of repair, they were ready to attempt the plan. Shocker Four maneuvered into Roy’s calculations of a low near orbit position. The engines and repulsors shut down as the vessel entered atmosphere. The turbulence and reentry heat held briefly with the shielding but as expected the stress had caused it to fail and Shocker Four’s structure started to rip apart. Roy engaged all flaps and reutters and gained minimal repulsor lifts. He was able to magnetically seal some of the minor hull breaches as the ship descended. The ship had survived mostly intact through the atmosphere but suffered catastrophic failure and plummeted through the sky. In its descent even more of the ship fell apart. The cockpit remained intact as all around it peeled away. It crashed through an extra thick brush of tree cover that slowed its descent somewhat but broke through with a heavy thudding impact into a swamp water and mud terrain.
The cockpit hatch was ejected and tossed through the air. Roy crawled out first and helped Andrea onto the top of the crashed wreckage. Jungle trees, vines and swamp water surrounded the landscape. There was also a thick partial fog. The only lighting was from the blinking exterior lights of what was left of Shocker Four. Roy looked to Andrea and stated that this was their home now.
The night had passed and the fog had started to lift slightly. Rays of sunshine pierced through the gaps in the fog. Roy and Andrea had spent the night in the Shocker Four wreckage and had now emerged with what survival gear they could carry. They pushed through the thick mud around the wreckage and waded their way quickly through the swamp water, not knowing what may live there on this planet. Once they had reached a somewhat dry and solid land, they decided that they could come back here but finding some other shelter of better advantage over the planet should be their goal. Roy scanned the environment and realized quite quickly that they would have to get to a much higher elevation to provide them with better surveillance and survival options. They hiked onward and both now wore typical survival clothing to stay at a comfortable warmth. They both also carried heavy camping and hiking packs.
They had taken notice of the insects around them that resembled many from Earth except for their size being much larger. As they traversed to higher elevation, they encountered a large mountainous terrain. Roy scanned the area again. The region was massive and if they continued at their basic hiking speed, it would consume much of the estimated daylight. That calculation was based on a regular day cycle on Earth. It was entirely possible that this planet could have a much longer or even shorter daylight cycle. The other option they had would slow their speed with a climb up the rigid and rough faced mountainside. It would give them better observation and maybe even more chances at shelter in the obvious deep crevices. They took some time to rest and eat from their packed rations. Not knowing what might lay ahead, they decided being higher would be better. They accepted their first real challenge and donned their climbing gear. They then in unison tossed their ropes and grappling hooks upward. They were not long into the first ascent of the climb when they froze at the first loud sound, they had heard so far on this planet. Up to this point they had heard the buzzing of insects and the rustling of the terrain they had disturbed. This was one single loud roar that struck them hard with the fact they could very well be in danger. Andrea asked what the roaring sound was and Roy hesitated in his response. Andrea repeated her question and added a speculation that it could be a gorilla. One more loud but distant roar followed. Roy responded that it was no gorilla. He believed it to be some type of dinosaur roar. The two roars they had heard were spaced by time and the second sounded much more distant, so Roy figured they were safe from whatever creature they had heard. Still the best idea would be to continue their climb. As they had tied off and thrown their ropes and grappling hooks up again to their next climb point, Andrea had suggested that they name their new world. Roy suggested Shockworld. Andrea had shaken her head and asked what it was that he had with naming everything with his last name in it. He followed the question with only a smile and a laugh before they had started their ascension once more. During the climb, Roy had asked Andrea what name she would pick for their new homeworld. She thought about it as she climbed just above Roy and suggested Majestic. Roy then asked about the obsession with her college. She paused in her climbing as Roy matched her position. She looked at him and stated that she was studying to be a veterinarian but also reminded him that she was a cheerleader. They both laughed together. Roy followed the laughter with the statement, “Majestic it is then!”
They continued their climb throughout the day and had reached a deeply indented cliff on the mountain. There was still farther distance to climb and by a look upward it seemed like the ascent would get tougher. The sun for this planet had already begun its setting motion. If they pressed on, they may not reach a better location before nightfall. With its wide ledge and deep indentation into the mountainside, this was a good stopping point and campsite. They tied off their lines and pitched as much of the small tent they had to provide some shelter from the light gusts of wind.
They had talked much as the night had come and learned much about each other. They had bonded enough to laugh together. They had finally secured themselves to the surface and settled into sleep. They had simultaneously fallen into a slumber and were both jolted awake by a three loud shrieking sounds that Roy identified as another dinosaur. This roar he was able to identify as a raptor call. It was followed by silence. Roy told Andrea to go back to sleep and he would keep a watch as he dimmed the lantern again. Suddenly they both heard a beating sound. One tone over and over. Andrea asked if those were drums. They looked down from their mountainside perch and in the distance below them, spotted several campfires start up simultaneously. Roy answered Andrea’s upcoming question with the reply that they were not alone on Majestic.
After only an estimated two hours, some of the fires had started to dim and others extinguished completely. The drum beating had also ceased. Roy and Andrea had tried to sleep the rest of the night but the excitement and the fear of the unknown had kept them awake. As daylight eventually broke, they had quickly packed up the campsite and untied their climbing lines. They continued their ascension in silence and a much more hurried pace than the day before. Each of them wanted to discuss the campfires and sounds they had experienced but were too nervous to approach the subject out loud. They had each contemplated the situations in their own minds. The people that had started the fires could be savages or intelligent and hopefully reasonable. They could be friendly or hostile. Everything that they could contemplate was still unclear. Should they make first contact or wait for their unknown inhabitants of their newly discovered world make contact first? Were these campfire people perhaps stranded here as Roy and Andrea or were they native to this world. These and many similar questions raced through their thoughts as they continued their climb.
They had finally reached the top of the mountainside by an estimated midday. Roy had suggested putting even more distance between them and the unknown denizens of this planet. Once they had established a safe base, they could do recon and discover more about them and determine if they would be hostile or friendly. They continued onward until they came across a narrow creek. The creek ran through a region of rocky embankments and thick tree cover. They approached the area with caution. They knew that they had unknown denizens behind them but had no idea if there were any ahead of them, not to mention any other threats which included the dinosaur sounds they had heard. As they slowly traversed into the new terrain, they again heard occasional and distant dinosaur roars. The sounds all seemed to be some distance behind them and Roy wanted to keep it that way. Andrea suggested that a full exploration would be needed to identify all the threats of Majestic. Roy asked if they were still calling the planet that. Andrea replied, “Until some sentient and intelligent lifeform tells us differently.” Roy dodged the reply by looking around. He stated that Andrea was correct with the idea of exploration but their first priority had to be setting up a secure base camp.
Andrea froze in her pace and Roy followed her gaze to what appeared to resemble a fox of Earth, only with dark green fur to assist a blend with the tree terrain. It also had extremely long and forward pointed ears and no tail. It leapt up from one large boulder to another much higher one and stared back directly at them. The creature then jumped down and out of view and returned only a moment later and again looked directly at them as if waiting for them to follow. Roy told Andrea to remain alert while he checked it out. As he looked back toward her, Andrea had already climbed up to the first boulder. The creature again jumped down and out of view and Andrea stated that she was going to follow it. Roy climbed up to the first boulder and Andrea was already out of site. He heard Andrea call out to him and he rushed in that direction. The creature had scurried into a hole in the ground that was next to a cave. Roy held the lit lantern ahead of him as he entered the mouth of the cave with Andrea at his side. They quickly found staffs made from a carbon fiber-like alloy. They had a vibrating metal spearhead fastened to the top end once the power packs were activated. They each grabbed one of the four placed in a weapons rack just a bit after the cave entrance. They continued cautiously deeper into the cave and toward the sounds of trickling water that ran down the cave walls. The cave passage became narrow as it started to wind sharply as they traversed through it. Roy and Andrea suddenly held still as they heard movement ahead of them. It was followed by multiple growling sounds. Whatever or whoever it was, sounded to be around the next turn.
Roy and Andrea had held their position. They had readied their spears defensively against the oncoming sounds of growls and grunts. Through the dim torch light in the cave, the threat emerged. The growls and grunts became ferocious roars upon the sight of surprised and angered black and silver fur covered gorilla warriors. The first raced toward them and with one swipe of his wielded metal axe, He had broken the metal heads off from both spears. He stood before them with multiple sniffs, a growl and again another sudden roar. His breath overwhelmed Roy and Andrea and forced a break in the stare. The lead gorilla warrior switched his gaze between Roy and Andrea. He then raised his axe wielding arm over Roy and ready to strike. Roy and Andrea then both realized that the metal axe was not a held weapon but was in fact grafted to his arm as a replacement for his hand. Roy stood unflinching at the action. Another shock was the loud and firm demand from behind the gorilla warrior that called for him to halt. The command itself was not the shock but the fact that it came in the human English language and came from the other gorilla warriors behind him was the cause of the amazement. The first gorilla warrior lowered his axe hand and backed away as the other two gorilla warriors stepped forward. One of those gorilla warriors had cybernetic and metal legs and one matching cybernetic arm. The gorilla warrior that spoke had a cybernetic eye and metal cranium shell as well as his chest and one of his arms. Roy introduced himself and Andrea and claimed that they were from Earth and had become stranded here but were still here in peace and meant no harm. The gorilla warrior huffed one deep overpowering breath at Roy. He then declared that their future would be decided by the father. Andrea questioned the term, “Father?”
The speaking gorilla warrior turned away from them and ordered the other two gorilla warriors to bring them. Roy and Andrea were each forcibly grabbed by one of the gorilla warriors but offered no resistance. They were ushered yet deeper into the cave. The deeper part of the cave walls changed from rock to metal. The leading cybernetic gorilla warrior seemed as well to be sliding the walls aside to alter the path to a more desired route. After several secret passages were revealed, they had entered a large sophisticated laboratory lined with technology, computers, and experimental tanks. In the center of the laboratory stood a humanoid shaped man. He appeared human except for his green skin and roughly vertical ridged forehead. He wore a long white lab coat and an extended glass monocle device strapped over his right eye. He held a vial of foaming blue chemical in one hand and a vial of foaming red chemical in the other hand. He turned to face them and carefully secured the vials of chemicals into a chemical rack that rested at the back of one of the lab tables. He introduced himself as Fata or father as his children called him. Andrea spoke in question to the term, “Children?” Fata waved his arms to guide their attention around the laboratory and revealed even more silver and black furred gorilla warriors secured in body binding devices and each of them had some sort of cybernetic limb replacements or attachments. Fata claimed to have found the gorilla creatures on this planet and gave them intelligence and improvements with his cybernetic experiments. He referred to the species not as gorilla but as Apans. He added that each Apan had an intelligence chip implanted into their brains as the first step to evolution of cybernetic existence. Roy interrupted and inquired of Fata’s racial origin. Fata replied that he was of a race called Niqs. Roy started to reply with an identification of his own race and was interrupted as Fata finished his sentence with the term of human. He added that he and most of the universe knew about the humans. He continued that the humans think they are the superior race but that status was in current flux. Fata then called attention to the monitors along the walls where there were images of several cybernetic enhanced Apans taking down a variety of sizes and ferocity of different dinosaur breeds. He declared that this planet was a thriving world of Terasars and Apans. Fata added that he had given the Apans what they needed to take supremacy of their world.
He then ordered Roy and Andrea seized and two Apans tightly clutched a hold on each of them by securing both arms. Fata admitted that he was curious of how his chemical experiments would affect a human. He ordered them further secured for experimental therapy. Roy and Andrea were struggling and screaming to be freed as they were forcibly drug out from the lab.
Roy Shocks had awoken naked and with an energy pulse field binding him to a table. He looked down at his right arm to find it had been replaced with a cybernetic arm running up all the way to his shoulder. He also felt a strange feeling in his one good left eye. As he looked around the lab, he noticed that his vision was providing a life and distance scan. He now had lost both eyes. His right eye was lost in one of his own experiments and now Fata replaced his left eye with a cybernetic version. His concern for himself was halted when he noticed Andrea fully naked and submerged in a long tubular shaped containment tank filled with a light green liquid and small tubes that were pumping a red liquid chemical into her body at several different injection points. Fata had stepped into his view and was entering Andrea’s bio readings into an electronic handheld data pad.
Roy hollered out to Fata, “What are you doing to us?!” Fata turned toward Roy and smiled. He admitted to being glad to see that the cybernetics had implanted without bodily rejection. Roy demanded to know what was being done to them and why. Fata explained that he was fixing them much like he had the Apans. He admitted that his chemical treatments on Andrea were far more experimental than his proven cybernetics. If she survived, it would be a successful step into a new field of science. He stated that she was doing well. He then called forward one of the cybernetic Apans. The Apan moved forward with a heavy limp and seemed to have more cybernetic implants than any of the others that Roy and Andrea had seen. The Apan seemed to be more machine than Apan. Fata called the Apan by the name of Proto. He instructed Proto to prepare a list of Apans for initial injections. Proto grunted, “What Father?!” Fata stated that Andrea’s testing had proven promising and safe enough to begin the process on the Apans. Proto roared in a defiant anger and declared that Father was going too far. Fata smiled at Roy turning back toward Proto. Fata had pulled an extendable baton from his lab coat. He without hesitation, struck Proto with the baton that provided and electrical charge through his cybernetics and sent him trembling to the floor. As the electric charge subsided, Proto began to climb back to his feet. Fata screamed out loudly and with great anger, “You will obey me!” Proto stood up slowly to Fata in a brief defiance and quickly cowered away from him as he said, “Yes father.” Fata looked back at Roy and stated that it was all about making the Apans better. He explained that they were profoundly grateful toward him for it. He admitted that Proto has had the most experiments done to him. He added that Proto had the strong responsibility of pioneering the evolution of his species and sometimes the weight of that responsibility takes its toll on him and he forgets his place. Roy looked to Proto and back at Fata, who seemed to be awaiting a compliment of his achievements. Roy could only call him mad. Fata lightly laughed in response and retaliated by stating that madness was only a further step of genius. He left the lab with Roy screaming at him to release them.
It seemed as though hours had passed and Roy had tired from his struggle to break free from the energy pulse field that held him tightly to the exam table. Andrea had slowly regained consciousness and seemed to panic as she awoke submerged in the green liquid. Roy called out to her but she seemed to be unable to hear him. She slowly calmed herself when she realized that she was still able to breathe. She had no time to contemplate that fact as she began to panic again when she noticed the red liquid being injected into her body. She then caught a glimpse of Roy on the exam table and calmed with a puzzled look across her face as she made full eye contact with him. Suddenly she was shocked to see the Apan called Proto as he entered the lab and limped his way across to Roy. Proto took a device from his metal clawed hand and connected it on top of his other cybernetic hand. He used it to deactivate the energy pulse field that bound Roy. Roy slowly climbed off the table and stood before Proto, who ushered him over to the tank that held Andrea. Through the use of a console, he disengaged the injections of the red chemical liquid and initiated the drainage of the green liquid in the tank. The tank revolved to an opening and Andrea fell naked into Roy’s arms. Without words spoken between them, Proto answered their question. He stated that Fata had went to far with his people. He admitted that the cybernetics helped at first but they had become obsessive and an addiction to Father and the Apans. Proto feared that the chemical experiments would only steal more of their independence and soul. Proto destroyed the computer chips that stored the research and ignited the lab ablaze to destroy everything. He then revealed a secret exit that would lead them from the lab to the jungle outside. Roy and Andrea both pleaded for Proto to come with them. Proto appreciated the offer but refused. He stated that his place was with Father, where he would be best to save his people. Roy stated that Fata would kill him for his betrayal if he stayed. Proto shook his head in the negative motion and said that Fata needed him to much as a test slave. He admitted that he would suffer torture but would not be allowed to die. He believed even if he would die, that Father would revive him. The statement caused more intrigue for Roy but the sound of Apans on approach forced their retreat.
Once safely away from the compound, Roy and Andrea could take in the jungle world where they would have to now forge a home. Roy understood Fata would continue to send Apans out to hunt them. Andrea asked about his left eye. It appeared normal but its abilities reminded him that it was different. Andrea was happy that Fata at least kept it blue. Roy said he would have to test the abilities of his eye and his arm. He then asked Andrea what the chemicals had done to her body. Andrea only knew as of now that she could likely breathe underwater. As for what other effects it granted, she admitted that she would like him, have to figure that out over time.
The adventures of Roy and Andrea will continue in future short stories as part of another sector in the Shadowed Stars