Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Saber would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Altar

By Saber All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Scifi

Prologue

The night was quiet, which was normal around here, but it seemed a little too quiet. The sentry flipped the switch on his plasma cannon to ‘on’, and dialed the control knob to maximum strength. He looked at the caves that lay but forty meters in front of him, and which curved around to hem him in a semi-circular area. The lights at the gate where he stood didn’t throw light far enough into the cave for him to see anything but shadow. The gate behind him was locked, the electronic key hanging at his belt.

“It’s only my imagination,” he told himself. Yet he didn’t lessen his alertness. He couldn’t place it, but he felt that something was definitely wrong, and never before had his instincts proven wrong. It had been this feeling that had saved his life more than a dozen times before, and he wasn’t going to ignore it now. Maybe it was only the total lack of excitement that was the hallmark of this duty station that made him feel jumpy. But then again, maybe not. He had worked other lackluster posts in the past, but had never gotten so edgy.

After he had peered into the darkness for over fifteen minutes, he decided that it was just nerves. Nothing had moved in that time, nor had anything out of the usual happened. Everything was still motionless and...

Wait!! What was that?! ‘Oh, it’s nothing,’ he thought. But, he wasn’t so sure.

There it was, again! A subtle shift in the darkness of the mouth of the largest cave, almost imperceptible, but enough for his trained senses to detect. He aimed the weapon at the mouth of the cave.

“Who goes there?” the sentry called out. Silence was the only reply he received. “Come out and identify yourself! I know you’re in there!” Again, silence.

He grabbed his radio and keyed the transmitter. “Base, this is Alpha 1.”

“Alpha 1, this is Base.” The sentry felt somewhat better at hearing the reply.

“Base, this is Alpha 1. There’s someone in the mines. I hailed to them, but received no answer. Is there a chance that someone is still in there?”

After a long moment of silence, “That’s negative, Alpha 1. All authorized personnel are inside the domes and accounted for.”

“I’m going to check it out, then. I’ll report in a few minutes.”

“Roger, Alpha 1. Proceed with caution.”

“Wilco, Base. This is Alpha 1, out.” The sentry took three steps toward the cave, when he saw a shifting in the shadows. He stopped, and called out, “Hey! Come out now, or I’ll shoot! You’re not authorized to be here!” He dialed the knob down to minimal force, just enough to stun. When no answer came, he fired at the shifting shadows. He waited a second, then took a step toward the yawning mouth of the subterranean entrance. As he stepped, he heard a familiar “hum”.

‘Hey!’ he thought, ‘That’s the force field!’ The force field was not supposed to be activated except for a few minutes at 1800 hours to be sure it was operating correctly, or if they were ever attacked, of course!

“Base, this is Alpha 1. The force field kicked on. Is ev...” He stopped at the sudden movement in front of him. He quickly moved the dial to full strength, again, and backed a couple of steps. The sentry’s eyes opened wide at the nightmare that came from the cave. Instinctively, he pulled the trigger, and the plasma beam struck its target square in the center of its head. Blue veins of energy wormed their way under its “skin” for a moment before disappearing. The creature took another step toward him, apparently unaffected.

“That’s not possible!” he exclaimed aloud. He quickly aimed at the ground in front of the thing and fired. The force of the beam ripped a huge rift in the rocky soil. The plasma cannon worked. He fired again at the oncoming menace. It didn’t even slow it down! The sentry turned toward the gate, grabbing at the key that hung at his belt. The instant before he reached the gate, he was knocked back by an unseen force. “My God!′ he thought. ‘The force field!’

“Base! This is Alpha 1!! Drop the force field!!! I need IN!!!”

No response. He turned to look behind him in time to see ‘it’ easily jump the gash in the ground the plasma rifle had just made. He fired three more bursts in quick succession at it, but with no more success than the first two times. He panicked for the first time in his life. In desperation, he ran at it, then dove at the last instant, and slid past the menace. He swiftly got to his feet, and ran to one of the smaller caves off to the right of the main, central cave.

The instant before he reached the blackness in front of him, a searing pain exploded between his shoulder blades, and he was stopped dead in his tracks, stunned. A ripping sound tore into the near silence, and a grunt exploded from the mouth of the soldier. An instant later, blood spewed out from the front of his suit, coloring the rock a ghastly shade of crimson. The plasma rifle dropped from numb, lifeless fingers onto the basalt ground. Hunter and prey disappeared into the very cave the soldier was trying to find refuge in, leaving behind a trail of blood, and bits and pieces of the soldier’s uniform as the body scraped the walls inside the cave.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

ericaporamoralcine: La trama es muy interesante y original y eso ya dice muchísimo cuando todos tratan de triunfar con ideas ya trilladas.No puedo opinar en detalle sobre la gramática, porque a pesar de entender el inglés a la perfección, la falta de uso en cuanto a lectura y diálogo hacen que me maneje bastante mal...

Dina Husseini: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

Melissa Davis: Interesting book and an enjoyable read. Had something different to it, that made me glad I picked it up.

internathunal: I was held captive by your sense of style. I would love to see more from you. I enjoyed this immensely.

Alex Rushmer: I just read the first two chapters of this story and really enjoyed it. I have to admit......I have a real problem with insects, especially nasty ones like what are in this story. I don't think that I'll read any more, but I did like what I read. It was interesting seeing different instances in w...

John Smith: This is what Sci Fi is all about. Reads like early Heinlein. In the style of Space Cadets. No esoteric problems..but good ol blaster and space action with a host of relatable characters

heavyreader: great scifi novels but needs a better spell checker (check auto-substitution level) and grammar checker!!! otherwise, ready for mass market publishing!!

Dave Baxter: Generally, a good story. The plot was a bit predictable but not overly so. The first bit might have been better if it instead focused on how the main character becomes a host and not with how humans first interact with the aliens. This might allow more recognition of the various transitions sh...

Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...

More Recommendations

Ding Fernando: very nice read.so realistic you can hardly put it down,i really like the character so human despite posessing immortality and eternal youth.though i would prefer a better ending..i still love this novel and i am recommending it to all sci fi fans to give it a try .you will love it too!!

Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

borkarprasad: Nicely laid story. Needed a little more ghost and Raven conversations. Initially, Had everyone on suspect list but satisfied by the precision to capture the killer. Waiting for more Raven and Cade adventures.