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Star Fury: Book One – Genesis

By Gene Salvitti All Rights Reserved ©

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Prologue

December 1946: The Journey Begins

The Fort Lauderdale airport sat in the path of the storm. Rain and high winds battered the small airport. Clouds swirled high in the sky above, an omen of looming disaster. Army Colonel Xavier Peterson raced to a dockside PBM Mariner from a waiting 1941 olive drab Packard. The plane warmed up as he loaded his bags. His wife, Adelaide Spanno, dressed in a beige rain trench coat, waited in the Packard’s front passenger seat. Pulling out an umbrella, Xavier raced back to the car. Opening the door, he held the umbrella over Adelaide’s head. Adelaide turned her collar against the wind holding her twin newborns Jimm Peterson and Rachelle Spanno.

Xavier ran next to Adelaide holding his umbrella precariously, running into the Mariner’s waiting gangway. A Sergeant held out his hand, helping Adelaide into the Mariner. Xavier collapsed the umbrella, climbing the gangway steps. Entering, he saw the Sergeant close the Mariner’s large doors. Inside the Mariner, a large group of soldiers and a man dressed in black sat watching Jimm and Rachelle. This man in black was Zorn, Xavier’s twin brother. The two were close. However, the last few days found them at each other’s throats. Their hatred had everyone on edge with Adelaide especially nervous, knowing Zorn’s temper, and holding their children. The pilot walked from the cockpit clutching a communiqué in his hands.

“Sirs? Our orders are to advance to Bermuda. Here are your orders. Please strap yourselves in!”

Xavier and Zorn strapped themselves in as the Mariner’s engines hummed to life. Adelaide fussed with her harness, finally strapping herself into her seat. The Sergeant sat down, strapping himself as the pilot pirouetted on his toes, returning to the cockpit. Adelaide fussed with Jimm and Rachelle, keeping a wary eye on the cockpit. The officers and crew relaxed, sitting down in the seats around Adelaide. Xavier opened the communiqué and read it.

November 15, 1946.

Pentagon City, Washington D.C.

The Pentagon

From the Offices of the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Marshall.

To Xavier Peterson, Director of Project Visitor.

Dear Sir;

These are your orders to report to the island of Bermuda to conduct tests on new defense project, codenamed: Visitor. Contact the Base Commander once you have arrived.

Best of Luck.

Gen. George Marshall, Chief of Staff.

Xavier crumbled the communiqué, throwing it to the Mariner’s floor. Adelaide moved next to him, growing cozy on his right arm. Xavier smirked angrily, patting Adelaide on the hand. The men in the hold sat down preparing themselves.

“What’s wrong?” Adelaide asked.

Xavier sighed, holding his hands on his head. “The Pentagon wants us begin project Visitor.”

Zorn smiled, smacking his twin brother Xavier on the back. “Ha! Ha! We made it! It’s about time the Army recognized our research! Do they know of our plans to integrate the ‘visitors’ of Project Visitor?”

Xavier shook his head. “No! If they did, they would never let us get this far! We’ve got to keep on this! If word got out about our special project, we’d be a footnote, disappearing, and never seen again!”

Zorn sat up in his chair, watching the weather worsen. Xavier sat quietly, hearing peals of thunder roar across the sky. The sound unnerved him. Adelaide snuggled closer, clinging on his arm. Xavier sighed, growing apprehensive. He knew they were in danger, glancing at his children and then looking at his brother, Zorn.

“Zorn. We can wait for another plane! There’s no need for us to be reckless like this! We shouldn’t fly in this weather!”

Zorn nodded, pursing his lips. “This is the only plane to Bermuda for a week.

We have no choice!”

Xavier cuddled closer with Adelaide. A flash of lightning raced through the sky. A rumble of thunder broiled soon after. Xavier grew nervous. The co-pilot walked from the cockpit, his face ashen. The crew sitting in their seats watched the co-pilot walk to the hold’s doorway.

“Lady and gentlemen. Our flight will a little longer than expected.”

Xavier and Zorn stared at the co-pilot. Zorn spoke first. “Why’s that?”

The co-pilot looked around, nervously tensing as a lighting flash arced across the sky. Xavier saw his apprehension. The soldiers sitting in the hold stirred, mumbling, and talking amongst themselves. Xavier unharnessed himself from the seat and stood up.

“The storm is powerful. We’ll need extra time to port around it. The extra time is to get us and the PBM to Bermuda safely.” The pilot said.

Wild winds and angry surf battered the pier. The PBM taxied from the pier as a

massive wave crashed nearby. A bright light appeared from high above in the sky and plummeted to Earth. A massive flare and deafening roar rose as an enormous mushroom cloud climbed from the strike. Smoke cleared from the strike to reveal a large jagged crater. A dark, evil figure raised a clawed hand grabbed hold of a massive boulder and climbed out.

Romulus, an angry, distemperate Star Fury, stood to his feet. Large leathery bat wings unfolded from his back as a massive crash of angry, malicious lightning flared. Violent thunder crashed and resounded into infinity.

Romulus held his massive gnarled claws aloft and reached for the PBM. Weakness throbbed within his body, and sadly, Romulus lowered his arms, his power spent. Angered, Romulus hissed before he spun and disappeared into an acrid pillar of smoke.

The Mariner ambled away from the dock toward the sea. Thunder rolled across the sky. The outlines of two burning footprints appeared on the pier, and steamed with sulfur, jetting plumes of sulfuric smoke into the air.

On the plane, the pilot and co-pilot eased the plane toward open ocean.

Clearing the Ft. Lauderdale’s outer marker, the pilot grabbed the throttle. Glancing back at his passengers, he put on a pair of headphones.

“Strap yourselves in back there! We’ve taking off!” The pilot said, powering the Mariner for takeoff.

Inside the Mariner, Xavier, Adelaide, and Zorn held onto one another. The plane struggled mightily to lift off, splashing through the large water swells. Adelaide doubled over onto the floor. Xavier grabbed Jimm and Rachelle from her anxious grip.

“Are you okay?” Xavier asked.

Adelaide gingerly held her stomach. “This bobbing is making me ill!”

Xavier hugged Adelaide lovingly. “We’ll be airborne soon.”

The plane heaved in the heavy seas as the flight crew struggled with the cockpit controls. The heavy seas crashed dangerously against the PBM’s fuselage. The PBM shuddered mightily as she arced skyward. Inside the cockpit, the Pilot and Co-Pilot struggled with their controls.

“Come on! Come on!” The Pilot yelled as he pulled against the controls with all his might.

The co-pilot strained against the controls which shook in his hands. “We must abort!”

The pilot angrily glared at his comrade. “She’s coming! We’ve just got to use extra muscle!”

The two men fought with the controls, finally with a shudder, the Mariner nosed into the air. The lumbering beast clawed into the sky, and within moments, the Mariner arced skyward. Spray trickled from the Mariner’s belly as she gained altitude. Thunder roared across the sky. Lightning flashed eerily. In the pale light, the Mariner flew, silhouetted against a large cloud. A menacing cackle echoed, dying away.

The Mariner flew straight and level nearing a cloudbank. The pilot eased his controls, slowing the throttle. Eerie, bizarre clouds swirled counterclockwise, forming a circular vortex. The clouds surrounding the Mariner swirled in dazzling and complex patterns, mixing, revolving, and undulating around the Mariner’s hull. The Mariner’s shiny hull glistened in the coalescing glimmer, reflecting the bright, throbbing light.

A lengthening tunnel formed before the Mariner, spiraling into eternity. The

Mariner’s wingtips graced the clouds, glowing eerily in the spiraling cloud pattern. The pilot fought to gain control of the Mariner, fighting the powerful pull of gravity. The Mariner’s frame shook violently.

“We’ve got a problem!” The pilot shouted.

The flight crew fought a powerful gravity well. Frame sections moaned mournfully, stressing. Unlocking his harness, Xavier stood up. The evil sky grew darker, battering the Mariner mercilessly. The Mariner shuddered, falling toward the ocean below. Deploying throughout the Mariner, the soldiers prepared themselves.

“Station some men throughout the ship! We’re gonna need your help.”

The coalescing vortex engulfed the Mariner, tugging against it. Xavier walked toward the cockpit, struggling to keep his footing. Lurching forward, Xavier grabbed the cargo net. Nervously working toward the cockpit, Xavier saw the sky grow ominous. Sharp, powerful thunderclaps roared through the Mariner deafening everybody.

The incredible sound echoed for several seconds before dying away. Adelaide shuddered, falling to the floor. Zorn scooped her up, helping her to her seat. Another lurch sent a hushed gasp through the Mariner. Xavier struggled to the cockpit. The flight crew fought heroically righting the Mariner’s tumble. The soldiers stood to their knees, slowly straightening themselves.

“What’s our status?” Xavier asked.

The pilot shook with the weight of the controls in his hands. “Right now we’re in a death spiral. If we don’t do something, we’re going to die!”

A third more powerful shudder rocked the Mariner which threw everyone to the floor. Zorn fell, followed by Adelaide, without her children. The sergeant fell near the Mariner’s doorway and bumped his head.

“What the hell?” The Sergeant screamed.

The pilot fought the controls, and momentarily brought the nose up. Lightning flashes filled the sky. A blinding brilliant flash struck the Mariner’s port engine, flamed it, and knocked out its power. The engine caught fire and belched acrid smoke. The Co-Pilot glanced out his window, his face twisted with fear.

“We’ve got a flamer on number two! Shut it down!” The co-pilot yelled.

Xavier grabbed the bulkhead ahead of him. “You can’t do that! We can’t fly like this!”

The co-pilot flinched with a sneer. “Tell that to the Mariner!”

Tension built in the cockpit. Xavier leaned into the cockpit, his body and mind oblivious to the damaged Mariner.

“Isn’t there anything you can do?” Xavier asked.

Zorn and Adelaide entered the cargo compartment, and returned to their seats, where they secured the children. The sergeant hobbled to the cockpit bulkhead and stood next to Xavier where he stared over his shoulder at Jimm and Rachelle.

“What’s wrong with this bird?” The sergeant demanded.

The pilot grimaced as he fought to right the plane. “We’ve got to kill the port engine! The fire extinguishers will kill the fire. We can only fly so far with on one engine!”

Xavier scowled. “How far?”

The pilot frowned as he struggled with the controls. “We must shut the damaged engine off! If we don’t properly kill the fire, the engine will explode --.”

Xavier’s face drained. “And kill us!”

The sergeant pointed to a nervous corporal with horn-rimmed glasses.

“Cpl. Karrick! Get your tools! You’re good with tools. Repair the engine!”

Cpl. Karrick shook his head. “Not when we’re five thousand feet in the air! I need to get the cowling off. There’s no way that’s going to happen while we’re in midair!”

The Mariner lurched and forced everyone to the floor. Outside the window, a large glowing cloud twisted and contorted as it collapsed into a menacing, shimmering vortex. The Mariner’s wingtips burned brightly as it flew through the golden collapsing clouds. Massive gravity slammed everyone to the floor inside the Mariner. The soldiers gained a foothold and moved toward the gangway door.

“Brace yourselves!” The sergeant screamed.

The Mariner bucked and threw everyone to the floor again. Xavier grabbed the bulkhead as he fell to his knees. Adelaide clutched Jimm and Rachelle as she hung onto her seat. Zorn braced himself and pushed off as the cockpit bucked violently forward. Xavier crashed to the floor with an imposing sense of dread.

“Get us down! We have a better chance of surviving if we land in the ocean! This is a Mariner after all!” Xavier snapped.

The Mariner winged over and plummeted for several agonizing seconds. The soldiers tumbled and tossed in midair, before they fell to the floor as the Mariner righted itself. Thunderous peals roared as Adelaide clutched Jimm and Rachelle to her bosom.

A loud annoying cackle echoed through the Mariner. Xavier crawled to his seat as Zorn helped Adelaide to her seat and strapped her in.

Lights and sounds exploded in and around the Mariner. The cockpit glass wobbled and vibrated with the high pressure. The port engine burned as a raging inferno consumed the engine housing. The people inside the Mariner crashed into a heap. The sergeant fell to his knees, soon followed by several others who crumbled into a ball. The soldiers grumbled as they fought to their feet. Xavier were deep red as he grabbed the bulkhead as he groped for a sure handhold. The Mariner nose-dived toward the ocean surface which grew ominously closer in the window.

“How long have we got?” Xavier screamed.

The pilot struggled with his controls. “If the engine’s on fire, fewer than thirty seconds! If we don’t hit the surface going full force first!”

The Mariner tumbled Earthward, its port engine a blazing inferno and trailing black, oily smoke and sparks. Ominous black storm clouds surrounded the Mariner and squeezed it in between them. Inside the Mariner, eerie sunlight refracted inside the Mariner and cast the interior in a ghastly pall. Xavier rubbed his eyes as the Mariner’s hull distorted and enlarged before him. The Mariner’s interior twisted, spun and stretched unnaturally out before Xavier’s disbelieving eyes.

Light and sounds exploded all through the Mariner. Adelaide clutched the twins as Xavier ran for her. The interior spun in a strange kaleidoscope of light and sound. Three of the soldiers, Sgt. Drago, Nielson, and Raven fought to gain their feet.

Inside the cockpit, the controls froze as the PBM plummeted Earthward. The altimeter spun like a top. Disheartening sounds rose as the Mariner breached her stress limit. Support beams popped their rivets which ricocheted eerily through the fuselage.

The Mariner’s port engine roared out of control as the plane tumbled and plummeted through the clouds. Fierce sparks of fire jumbled, jostled, and jumped from the engine. The Mariner’s darkened silhouette grew dim as it passed through a darkened cloudbank. The Mariner spun in a slow surreal death spiral as a booming cackle echoed hauntingly through the skies. The Mariner’s stressed body extended and stretched unnaturally. Inside the Mariner, Xavier grabbed his wife by the hand and huddled with her.

“We’ll be fine! We’re almost home.”

Adelaide clung nervously to the children as the soldiers and crew spun in a macabre free fall in midair. Xavier reached for Zorn who feared the worst. A blinding flash burned brilliantly and temporarily blinded everyone. The light expanded, exploded, and then stopped before it flared back and collapsed in on itself.

Time stood still as everyone hung momentarily in midair before the

Mariner exploded into a fiery mass, and crashed Earthward. A more powerful secondary explosion destroyed the Mariner and ripped it apart.

The Mariner’s remains tumbled Earthward where it rolled and crashed into the ocean. Smoke contrails marked ocean where the Mariner’s spent its last moments. Strange darkened clouds condensed inwardly and quickly disappeared with a flash of light and peal of thunder.

Seventy years later, Zorn anxiously awoke, reared up in bed, gasped and grabbed his right shoulder. He rubbed his eyes and groggily reached for his left leg. His eyes grew as he didn’t feel anything in his legs. Zorn’s body ached and burned intensely with pain. Zorn opened an eye to see a medical robot as it tended his arms and legs. He didn’t feel his arms and sadly realized that he did not even feel phantom pain. Zorn shrugged his shoulder and craned his neck to look at his right arm socket where a large metallic collar sat on the end of it. Zorn looked down at his legs, closed his eyes and hoped it was a dream. He thumped his head against the bed, and growled in pain. A medical robot walked to Zorn’s beside and administered some medicine. Zorn’s head swooned and he felt the room spin eerily as the robot moved forward and administered a sedative into Zorn’s right shoulder stump.

“This sedative should help you sleep.” The robot said.

Completely out of sorts, Zorn felt mind numbing pain in his shoulders and hips. He bit his lip and hope it was a dream. The robot turned to a diagnostic computer as its instrumentation wavered. Blood pressure and pulse rates raced and down as Zorn opened his other eye. A crushing headache filled his head and he closed his left eye. The pain receded as he closed his left eye.

“Where am I?” Zorn asked.

The robot paused as Zorn shuddered painfully. “You’re on the life station ship Solace. We are two days out from Adellus. That’s where our scouts found you --”

Zorn closed his right eye, relaxing. “Good. We’re only two days away from

Bermuda? Good.”

The robot paused, unsure if Zorn heard him correctly. “I’m sorry, Zorn. You are in bad shape --.”

Zorn closed and then opened his right eye to a slit. “How bad? My head throbs like a machine-gun! What happened?”

The robot paused awkwardly. “A powerful explosion destroyed your plane seventy years ago. You’re the only survivor we found.”

Zorn weakly lifted his head. “Ugh! My head feels like you people used it for drum. Where’s the wreckage?”

The robot turned away as a dark shape slithered toward Zorn from the shadows.

“We found nothing. Your plane splintered into the time portal you were recovered from. Your brother and his wife are gone.”

Zorn paused as focused on the stranger’s voice. A chilling thought occurred to him at that moment. He knew that voice from somewhere before. The voice chilled him like being plunged into an icy river.

“Are they sending any other search planes later?” Zorn asked.

“There are no planes going out later. Your brother and his wife disappeared through the Bermuda Triangle’s time portal --.”

Zorn shivered as he held his head up and viewed his grievously wounded body dressed in a full torso bandage. Unable to hold his head up, Zorn lowered his head and noted the absence of his extremities. The tall, dark stranger stepped closer, observing Zorn’s worried eyes dart back and forth, in painful realization

“What do you mean? Where are my arms and legs?” Zorn pleaded.

The tall, dark stranger touched Zorn’s shoulder. A paralyzing, draining touch froze Zorn body and soul. The stranger slowly removed his finger. A welcoming warmth returned to Zorn, and filled his ravaged body. Zorn only felt the core of his torso and then tightly closed his eyes.

“Did you feel that?” The stranger asked.

Zorn nodded weakly. “Yes, I feel my torso, but I don’t feel my arms and legs!”

“You lost them in the Mariner’s explosion. The fire reached the fuel tanks before you jumped free --.” The tall, dark stranger explained matter-of-factedly.

The tall, dark stranger turned to the medical robot.

“Reprogram him! He’ll be easier to turn to our will now. I wait eagerly for his return to duty! He shall lead us into a grand era of enlightenment, all the time hating his brother and destroying him for us!” The stranger cackled.

The medical robot paused nervously. “What of his family?”

The tall, dark stranger smiled wolfishly. “They are of little importance to us!”

The medical robot turned away eagerly. “Even his son and daughter?”

The tall, dark stranger turned away coldly. “Jimm Peterson and Rachelle Spanno will join me, or die at their intended time of my choosing!”

The medical robot stopped and turned toward Zorn. “What of Zorn?”

The tall, dark stranger inspected Zorn’s severely damaged body. “He will join us. Reprogramming him will leave him little choice! He will believe the hate I instill in him! He will do our bidding! Wipe out his loyalties which he holds so dear!”

The medical robot walked to the EKG monitor. “We must stop the Patriarchs. If Xavier were to find them, and enlist the help of the Old Ones --.”

The tall, dark stranger grimaced and hissed angrily at the medical robot. “We lost the Old Ones to history! Not even God knows where they are now!”

The tall, dark stranger smiled smartly, baring his elongated canine teeth. The robot turned to the tall, dark stranger. “Aren’t the Atlantians somewhere on Thetis? Isn’t that where the time portal sent Zorn’s brother and sister-in-law? The ruins on the planet are over five thousand years old, the same age as Earth’s pyramids!”

The stranger hissed again, his evil countenance hidden half in shadow. “Yes. We can take many divergent paths, all as unlikely as the next. This is the best for time and distance from Earth. Right now, the Thetans believe they’re safe, hiding behind the false guise of power. They’ve developed strong weapons for Earth standards. In fact, they aren’t ready for what is to come! In the coming years, I shall send for my warriors to kill Xavier’s wife and only son. Or perhaps just his wife? I could use a strong-willed child like Jimm! He is the linchpin for success, theirs, and ours! To exploit this, I must take Jimm alive, for without him and his skill, we neither win nor survive!”

The medical robot moved toward Zorn’s bedside, administering medicine. Zorn

moaned, turning over in his bed. The stranger smirked, watching Zorn’s body twitch

nervously. The medical robot turned back toward the stranger.

“When shall we fit him with prosthetics?” The robot asked.

The tall, dark stranger considered the question. “Fit him with a Cyborg body; make it as malevolent as possible! Everyone who sees him will cower in terror!”

A special robot detail entered with a hovering Guernsey. A large robot Orderly lifted Zorn’s limp body from his bed and placed it on the Guernsey which hummed and came to life. The Orderly turned around and walked to the Guernsey’s control panel where he programmed in specific commands, and then moved toward the exit. The Orderly paused next to the tall, dark stranger and waited.

“Orders, sir?” The Orderly asked.

“Fit him with a Cybernetic body with some interchangeable weapons and toys --” The tall, dark stranger said as he crossed his arms.

The Orderly programmed the Guernsey further and guided it into the hallway where he turned, bowed, and exited after the Guernsey.

“At once!” The Orderly said.

The door shut behind the Orderly. The tall, dark stranger turned to the medical robot with a fierce, angry scowl. The stranger carefully monitored Zorn’s vital signs. Smoke coiled from the folds his cloak and wisped around

“We’ve got to destroy Xavier and his people! If they only knew the special fate

I’ve prepared for them! Since the plane crash, they’ve become more powerful. The time portal has scattered them to the four winds! We must send a killer force against Thetis! Xavier and Adelaide survived! We had them where we wanted them! The time portal pulled the Mariner through to the other side! We must find when they are, not where they are!”

War Room; 2015 – The city of Talis, capitol of Thetis withered under the heat of the planet’s main source of sunlight, Theta II. Massive jungles snaked across the planet surface and broke out into mountain ranges and sand dunes that crisscrossed the planet. The capital of Talis sat in the eastern hemisphere and bustled. High over the city’s defense pyramid, hundreds of ships and planes roared and filled the sky.

Inside the defense pyramid’s command level, Xavier moved with purpose and

direction. The war room spread out in front of him, housed inside the darkened heart of the pyramid. A large cathedral ceiling spread out from the ancient pyramid’s walls. Large statues and frescoes covered the interior walls. Large glowing cartouches carved into the stone and spread out in the hallways. Skylights clarified the wall’s carved reliefs. Shadows moved deep within the pyramid, and toward the war room. Personnel moved, committed to a single action.

Xavier walked toward the war room’s huge computer data banks. Large Jumbo Tron monitors hung from the ceiling where large carved blocks of stone framed the electronics. Wires snaked throughout the pyramid and trailed out into other larger rooms. The server room buzzed and hummed, nestled deep within the pyramid’s cool, dark underground. Xavier moved cautiously toward the war room entrance where two guards stood at rigid attention. They stood watching Xavier enter.

Xavier saluted them, and then entered the War Room where the War Room’s giant double doors opened wide like a chasm. The vines covering the doors rustled, and snapped the ivy in two. The door held open shortly, and then swung back on its giant rollers. The door’s enormous weight hung on small rollers. Xavier disappeared into the War Room’s darkened recess and circled the War Room’s large circumference where many busy duty stations buzzed and cackled fanatically. Xavier walked into a large circular command center where his personnel worked, their tensions on their faces. Xavier turned to Commander Peters, a trusted aide.

“Any sign of Zorn?” Xavier asked.

Cmdr. Peters shook his head. “No sir! Not a peep!”

Xavier bowed his head, and, cried, grief-stricken. “It’s been years! If there was any word? Keep monitoring! Even after all these years, we haven’t given up hope!”

Adelaide walked into the War Room, her heart on her sleeve. “You’ve got to

move on! It’s been too long!”

Xavier grabbed Adelaide’s sleeve and pulled her closer. “I will never give up! If it were me, he’d search for me! It’s a small price to pay. We must focus on raising our children. We must prepare them to find the Patriarchs. The legend can’t be wrong --”

Adelaide cuddled with Xavier. “The legend said they’d find the

Patriarchs. The pyramids can’t be wrong! Drago and his people are on Pharos, safe

for now, Drago and his people live on! They survived the wreck of the Mariner. What makes you think Zorn is still alive?”

Xavier felt his head swoon. “A feeling. It can’t be wrong! I’ve never been wrong before! I can’t explain it!”

A young boy and girl ran into the War Room. The boy, Jimm Peterson ran to

Xavier and grabbed his tunic. Xavier doted on his son and smiled down at him as

Rachelle Spanno, Xavier’s daughter, chased after Jimm.

“Can’t get me! Can’t get me! Ha! Ha!” Jimm nagged.

Rachelle chased after her brother and swiped at Jimm’s legs. Jimm ducked behind Adelaide and hide in her cloak. Rachelle spun around like a top. Xavier laughed as he watched his children play. Adelaide bent over and hugged Jimm lovingly.

Jimm hugged his mother back and began to shiver. Large pot marks appeared and marred Jimm’s face. Xavier and Adelaide grew anxious as they moved to grab him. Rachelle ran around Xavier as she chased Jimm.

Jimm’s eyes glazed as he froze in place, and then fell awkwardly, where he flopped down backwards. Adelaide bent down nervously and grabbed Jimm’s hand as he looked up blankly at Adelaide. Rachelle ran to her stricken brother and helped Jimm up to his feet.

“Are you okay?” Rachelle asked.

Jimm stared blankly at the floor. Rachelle knew the look as she steadied Jimm on his feet and then held a hand on Jimm’s burning forehead. Jimm swooned as he fought to keep himself up.

“I don’t feel good --.” Jimm said as he doubled over on his knees

Xavier and Adelaide raced to Jimm’s side and held him up by his arms. Jimm’s knees buckled which forced Adelaide and Xavier to hold him up by the arms. Jimm shuddered and fluttered his eyes. Rachelle hugged her brother lovingly as she kept him on his feet. Jimm passed out and collapsed into Rachelle’s arms. Adelaide and Xavier grabbed Jimm under the shoulders and moved him to a table where Xavier scooped up Jimm’s unconscious body and raced out of the room. Rachelle’s face froze in terror.

“I’m getting him to Dr. Milburn! He’s got to have something to combat these viruses he’s getting!” Xavier said as he carried Jimm out of the room.

Adelaide nervously ran after Xavier. “Be careful! He’s not fully recovered from

his last sickness!”

Rachelle clung to Adelaide’s dress and hid nervously behind her mother where she peeked and saw Xavier race out the door. Rachelle raced behind Adelaide as they chased after Xavier. Adelaide jogged toward the door, fretting over her only son.

Inside the hallway, Rachelle chased after Xavier and shadowed his every move. Xavier ducked into a secondary hallway that ended near the Sickbay entrance. Xavier entered with his unconscious son. The guards recognized Xavier, and allowed him inside. Rachelle followed Xavier inside. The guards smiled at Rachelle as she entered.

Inside the Sickbay, Rachelle chased after a shadow, and after rounding the corner, ran into her father. Xavier stood in front of the bed where Jimm lay gently struggling to breathe. Jimm shuddered with every breath. A doctor in a long white trench coat walked up to Xavier and examined Jimm.

“How long has he been here?” Dr. Milburn asked.

Xavier sadly bowed his head and sniffled. “Not even a minute. He just fell. The latest round of viruses hit him hard!”

Dr. Milburn raised his hand to his chin. “Last time we had to teach him how to crawl again! That took us over two months. He’s been through hell! How he’s done it is by a force of will that defies explanation! Jimm refuses to give in!”

Xavier stepped forward and felt Rachelle’s gentle caress against his side. He looked down to Rachelle and smiled lovingly as he stroked her hair. Rachelle clutched Xavier’s arm.

“Jimm has gone through more than any one person will go through in a lifetime! He may only be four, but he’s got more time in hospitals than a whole staff of doctors!” Xavier said.

Rachelle’s eyes welled up and her lips trembled. “Is Jimm going to be okay?”

Dr. Milburn smiled and knelt to Rachelle. “Your brother is suffering. He’s fighting for every breath he takes! I have a treatment that I’m going to use to stop these terrible viruses! This is Jimm’s only hope!”

A medical Orderly ran inside with a Guernsey. Dr. Milburn picked up Jimm’s unconscious body and placed him down on the Guernsey. The Orderly raced away into the Operating Room. Dr. Milburn chased after the Guernsey and swapped his white overcoat for a Surgeon’s tunic. Rachelle clung to Xavier’s side as the operating crew ran away with her brother.

“What’s wrong with Jimmy?” Rachelle whimpered.

Xavier patted Rachelle on the back. “Jimm is sick, it may be Jimm’s only hope!”

Rachelle sniffled and clung tighter onto Xavier’s arm. “Jimm’s going to die?”

Xavier gasped. “I hope not! He’s been through too much already!”

Rachelle and Xavier hugged each other nervously. Xavier wiped away Rachelle’s tears and felt his daughter tremble with fear. Rachelle grabbed and tugged Xavier by the arm.

“He’s not going to die! He’s going to live!” Rachelle cried.

Xavier pouted. “How do you know that?”

Rachelle considered her father’s face. “I had a dream. He can’t die yet! He just can’t!”

Xavier cried and bit his lip. “I hope so --.”

A dark storm rumbled over the strange planet Pharos. Inside a large sanctuary pyramid, Drago and his men plotted their tactics. The five-thousand-year old pyramid stood, a testament to Alien engineering. The solid quarried rock fit perfectly. Drago walked toward a large skylight carved into the solid rock. Rain and mist fell through the skylight as Drago stepped away from the skylight and returned to an inner chamber. Other members of the group moved toward the skylight as the strange weather developed before their startled eyes.

“What a strange cloud pattern --” One of the members witnessed aloud.

Drago walked toward the other members in the chamber. Several others attended, including Raven, a good friend of Drago.

“The weather is the least of our worries, gentlemen! What are we going to do?

We have no means of getting back to where we were. We need to find resources! We can’t stay on this bizarre planet where the lightning displays light up the entire hemisphere! The thunder sounds like the planet’s foundation is cracking! We’ve got to make plans to escape this infernal planet!” Raven said as he paced nervously among the others.

Nielson stepped forward and regarded Raven. “How long have we been here?”

Drago intervened and stepped between them. “Per our calendar, since 1946. We’ve made little progress save for what was already here!”

Nielson scowled angrily. “The pyramid’s communications are ready. The hieroglyphs hold clues, but we have little else to go on!”

Raven cut in. “That freak storm followed us to this planet, fowling up all our tries at escape!”

Drago nodded in agreement. “Yes. There isn’t much we can do. The best we can do is send signals out into the void of space, hoping Xavier hears it. We haven’t seen them in years; they’ve probably forgotten about us!”

Nielson strode forward as she stroked her long flowing blonde hair. “Or worse, they’re dead! There’s always that possibility!”

Raven shook his head. “No, I don’t think so! If they were, we’d have no radio messages. Our communications set is buzzing with every message, radio, ultraviolet and infrared.”

Drago crossed his arms and thought. “Perhaps we should send a message to Xavier. Zorn would send someone! He’d wouldn’t let us fend for ourselves! He’d send help!”

A lighting flash lit the sky followed shortly by thunder which roared across the heavens and echoed into nothingness. Drago sat down in his chair and contemplated as Nielson walked in front of him and held his gaze.

“We must find out what’s going on! I’m going up to the communications

array to send a signal. If they’re out there, they’ll answer!” Nielson said as she flicked her hair.

Nielson moved swiftly and exited to the roof. She climbed the large carved rock stairs and soon arrived at the roof. On one side was the communications array to which Nielson walked to, and began to calibrate it. Drago arrived and walked up behind her.

“Do you think they will come?” Drago asked.

“It’s better to try and fail then not to try at all!” Nielson said.

Drago sighed. “True. The pyramid’s sacred text may hold clues.”

Nielson regarded Drago as the other members arrived.

“Drago is right. We should investigate this pyramid’s walls. The pyramids at Giza provided clues about the Egyptians. Maybe we can find clues to this bizarre planet?” Raven asked.

Raven moved toward Nielson as Nielson finished her calibration and set the array’s volume control. Raven observed Neilson work the array gingerly.

“The array is set! Our first option is open. What shall we do in the meanwhile?” Nielson asked.

Drago held his chin as angry, broiling clouds swirled ominously in the sky above them. Drago climbed down into the pyramid as he feared another bizarre weather strike. Raven followed him, hot on his heels. A lightning flash forced them into the pyramid.

“I think it’s a good idea to learn what these hieroglyphs mean --.” Drago said.

Raven agreed. “Yes. It might provide us with a clue. We haven’t heard from Zorn or Xavier. It’s time to find out what the silence is all about!”

Nielson smiled. “I programmed the array to send a sourcing signal. It’s beeping a GPS signal --”

Raven looked puzzled. “GPS?”

Nielson gaffed. “Global positioning signal. It has alien characters representing

each galaxy, planet, and sun. It’s like a thumbprint, letting them know exactly where we are!”

Drago nodded happily. “Good. While that is beaming a message back home, it’s time for us to begin exploring this pyramid! Let’s get cracking!”

The group walked back down the stairway and reflected on their

predicament. Drago brainstormed for several seconds, before happily raising a finger. The others watched him gyrate and gesture.

“What shall we call ourselves to let them know who we are?” Drago asked.

Nielson thought for a moment. “It must be something that’s related to us! Something they can’t possibly overlook or miss!”

Raven nodded. “What if we called ourselves Wolverines? Would that be practical?”

Drago placed his chin on his hand and smiled. “Brilliant! Sheer genius! That’s what we’ll encode into the message! Xavier knows the code!”

Nielson joyfully looked at the others. “We send the code with the signal; he’ll know where we are, and who’s sending it!”

Drago smirked oddly. “So be it!”

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