The Spoofer Revolution

All Rights Reserved ©

Summary

Gifted psychic from planet Dactil seeks to overthrow the imperial Rhean overlords of his world.

Genre:
Scifi / Other
Author:
Joseph Barone
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
10
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter 1 - Rangor and Orong

Running. Running, always running. I ran everywhere even though I could easily get from one place to another with my hover-way. I genuinely liked to run and it felt good to let out my aggression in that manner. It was a method of subverting anger, mostly. But sometimes it was necessary. Sometimes, I had to escape one thing or another.

This particular instance, I was running from the final exams in my lyceum. Based in Rangor City and run by the Elder Dactilate, my school was no longer an institution I wished to attend. To me their version of “knowledge” was fruitless, and I had good reason to believe that much of it was wrong. Malinformed.

So I ran.

The problem was that I wasn’t fast enough to get past a lone guard at the apex of the sprawling municipal building with pristine quarry-marble flooring cut into rectangles. Truancy wasn’t a problem at all in the city and neither was any other form of insubordination, so the Rhean sentinel at the door seemed more than surprised.

“Excuse me! Hey! Dactilon! I order you to stop running! Identify yourself. Now.”

The man wore plated bronze-colored armor with a short red cape indicative of the Rhean soldiers that occupied the city. His helmet was on the security desk and his dory remained sheathed, but his hand hovered over it in case I needed to be tazed. Few of us ever needed to be, but it might have happened on occasion out of prejudicial boredom.

I didn’t want to get tazed, so I stopped in my tracks and stood upright.

“I’m sorry Soldier, I’m headed to a very important meeting and I’m late. Please let me through. My name is Dannus Manon, vice-headmaster of this school. I’m sure you have seen me plenty of times before. I certainly recognize you, Security Agent Marcus.”

The Rhean looked me over squinty-eyed. I knew that to them, we all looked exactly alike. We each had the same gray skin, black eyes, slit noses and clubbed feet.

He wasn’t fully convinced. He turned to a member of the janitorial staff and said, “You, custodian. Come here. Identify this creature.”

The janitor moved slowly up to me and put his head down. I did the same, but for a different reason. After a few seconds, maybe a minute, he said, “This is the headmaster. Dannus Manon.”

The Rhean scowled a bit and abruptly dismissed the janitor, who shuffled back onto the same limp from before. Dactilons have notoriously bad eyesight. We could hardly tell one another apart. Except that I lack this genetic shortcoming. My eyes were far better than anyone else I knew including the aliens, but I often pretended otherwise.

“You’re free to go, but you need to walk next time. A…thing of your office should know better. Don’t let me catch you running again.” I didn’t know if all Rheans were this overtly rude or if it was only the military ones, which were members of the so-called SPQR Legion.

Unfortunately the only aliens that were ever on planet Dactil were part of the Legion.

I nodded to the Occupier and half-jigged out the door. If that experience taught me one thing, it was to be smart about my movements - especially those that were supposed to fly under the radar. So once outside the large campus, I put my hand to my head and put out telepathic feelers.

In my mind’s eye, I picked up three red dots in the direction I was headed, but then no others my entire way home. So I respectfully walked past the dots, each of them helmeted with their dory spears at the ready, and once I got beyond their near-perfect sight...I ran.

I ran past the city limits and through the white desert sands until they became gray. The gray sands became black and rough and still I kept running. I ran until my legs burned, which was just the same time that our third moon set in the sky.

When I got to Orong City I walked, feeling the powdery dust under my bare feet. Orong was not properly a city per se - it was a long row of different kinds of shabby housing. There were very few fabricated apartments, some huts, shacks, but all were barely one floor in all.

I went to my ground-floor tenement and breathed a sigh of accomplishment. I managed to stick it to the Occupiers albeit in a very small, teensy-tiny way.

Now home, I struggled with what to do. Any form of entertainment was strictly controlled by the constant Them. So I did what I usually would when waiting for mom and dad to come home from the marble quarries.

I read from old, dusty books which would be considered contraband, and therefore punishable by laser cannon in Rangor Stadium as part of weekly sporting events.

The old books told stories of mythical creatures and epic tales about people who may or may not have ever lived. In my heart I liked to think they had been real at some point. That there was a time before this, when heroes and legends abounded and the world was ours.

My favorite stories had to do with the sea. Mirone the Red Kraken was a saga about hunters that sought to tame and captured mighty sea beasts, all at great cost to themselves.

There are no sea beasts any longer, if there truly ever were any because there are no seas. Dactil has become an outpost planet with a central city and many outlier towns situated in different points around the vast desert that covered the globe.

We’re taught in schools that it was always like this. But the ancient manuscripts that form my preferred reading material would say otherwise. Why would certain concepts, such as “oceans”, be taken for granted in these books unless the readers at the time knew exactly what they meant?

And so, I resolved that something had to change. I have tolerated the occupation for too long. But I was worried that I was the only one who felt that way. Certainly my parents did not share my views. There was not a bone of contention within, or between them. The door clicked open and my mother walked through it, alone.

“Oh! Grady! What are you doing home so soon? I thought you had your final examinations at lyceum today?”

I reached into our small cooler and took out my day’s ration of Nutriment shake. It smelled like feet and tasted like uncooked, poisonous fungi, but it was all that we were given to sustain ourselves.

I slowly began to drink and put my head in the book I had picked up, all while ignoring my mother’s question.

“Grady. Grady! Grady Manorong, you listen to me right now!”

I picked up my head. “It’s okay mom. I just left a little bit ahead of schedule, that’s all. It’ll be okay.”

Her eyes got wide, yellow pupils fully visible. “It’s not going to be okay, Grady. They’re going to come after you. You know what they think of us, they wouldn’t consider it twice to kill you. And for what? So you could come home and read?”

I got up and put my hand on her trembling shoulder. “It’ll be okay because...I spoofed my mental signature onto another student, so I was counted as ‘present’. I also believe I received a ‘B’, if I’m not mistaken...”

I put my hand to my head.

“Yes, a ‘B’. The student I picked was always a good achiever. I’ve now graduated with full honors, mom. But in this current moment, I just want to think about Mirone.”

I went to go sit down but she stopped me.

“You’ve never done anything like this before, son. Why now? I know you can do these things that nobody else can but why put yourself, and us, in unnecessary risk?”

In the apartment, there was enough room for three people, housing beds and a cooler for our fungus-based shakes. There was no bathroom like they had in the lyceum hallways. We all did our business in the communal outhouse.

The whole world has become an outhouse. But it had been this way since long before my grandparents were born. At this point, right now - no one seemed to know any better. Even my parents struggled to feel any kind of negative emotions surrounding our lot as a planet.

“Because now that my studies are over, the Legionnaires are going to dole out job assignments.” I managed to sit back down.

My mom sat in her own nook eight feet away from me. “Well, yes. Let’s hope they give you a place in the quarries like your father and I have.”

“I don’t want a place in the quarries! I don’t want to be a mindless shell like everybody else! I want something more.”

“Like what?” she asked me, her eyelids getting heavy. She had been working sixteen hours today, with an hour walking commute each way on top of that. We were slaves and yet, the word “slave” was no longer in the Dactilonian language. But it was in an old dictionary we own in the apartment, stuffed below my ragged bed.

“Like free, mom.” “Free” was also stripped from our way of speaking.

She yawned to reveal many missing teeth. We weren’t given the proper tools for hygiene and the fungal concoction was also very high in enamel-eroding sugar.

“We are free in a sense, Grady. We’re free from the worries of choice. And don’t yell, it might draw too much...attention...” she fell asleep immediately after her stern warning. Her large gray head nestled into the hard, pillow-less mattress touching the wall. Her legs hung off of one side since each bed was a good foot and a half too short.

The shake was especially acrid this afternoon but I savored each gulp. As I settled in to read yet again how Captain Siib pursued the great kraken in rough waters with a small crew in underequipped short boats, I was reminded about how thrilling this was to me the very first time I lay my eyes upon it.

To think that far smaller, less powerful creatures had the chance; the hope to collectively bring down a leviathan with nothing but strategy, determination and tenacity, gave me hope for Dactil. And hope for a future day to come. I didn’t know what would finally push me over the edge and cause me to decide that my rebellion had begun, but I knew it’d be soon. I wouldn’t have believed that it was so soon, however.

About two hours since mom fell asleep, there was a great commotion outside. There was never a commotion outside, apart from a stray sandstorm here and there.

“Rakel Dannersen! We are looking for Rakel Dannersen and her family! She was truant at today’s final exams in the lyceum! She is to be taken into custody now! Anyone harboring her or impeding our collection of the…thing, will also be arrested.”

Oh, crap. I spoofed my signature onto her but I forgot to have both of ours overlap so that she’d be counted in attendance too. It was a rookie mistake, and one that was going to put the poor girl into a work camp.

The Dannersen family stepped out of their hut. Mother, father, and Rakel. Rakel had been changing her clothes and was still undressed. When they came calling, you dropped whatever it was that you were doing to oblige. Even going to the bathroom. Even dressing.

Whether or not the Rhean soldiers that were pointing their spears at the triplet actually knew how much shame nudity brought Dactilons, they didn’t seem to care. Rakel was paraded in front of the town in all her glory, an act of disrespect that was hard for the rest of us to swallow. Especially me since ultimately, it was my fault.

Mr. Dannersen dared to directly address the Legionnaire roughly pushing his daughter. “There must be some mistake, Sir. I brought her to school myself today. She received a score of ‘B’ - I can even show you her report card. May I go get it?”

The Rhean stopped and glared. Everyone was watching, so any morsel of victory for a Dactilon had to be avoided. He paused an extra moment before turning his spear around so that the blunt side faced forward. Then he swung it in a backhanded arc, crashing it upon Dannersen’s face.

“Contraband! False documents, then!” the senior soldier declared without proof.

“Go, you disgusting piece of filth, and retrieve the forgery from your home.” Although Mr. Dannersen was barely conscious, he got his feet under him and began to sway towards his hut.

“The rest of you, turn out all of your things and take off all of your clothes. Trust me, none of us enjoys the sight of your hideous bodies except for the corpses. We will be inspecting each of your living spaces as well for contraband.”

I put my hand to my head and spoke directly into my mother’s mind.

<<The books! If they find the books, they’ll kill us! I have to do something!>>

She began to protest, but I was having none of it. There were things I was capable of, special things...far beyond any other Dactilon that I knew about, and way past the natural abilities of the Rheans themselves. And yet, my mother’s voice was firmly in my head.

<{Don’t, Grady. Don’t reveal your abilities, not yet and not like this. They will take you and dissect you, to see how you can do what you do. Not like this.}>

<<But the books...>>

<{If you distract them, I will start a fire. There won’t be any trace of any page.}>

Nor of our culture or history, I sighed. They were the only such manuscripts that I was aware of. No one else in the tent city of Orong possessed any books. The death of the books would be almost as bad as the death of the Dannersen family. And death was where this witch hunt was headed anyway. Unless I did something.

<<No, Mom. No fire. I know what to do. Trust me and also, forgive me.>> I turned to the four soldiers, who were busy forcefully removing articles of clothing from the backs of an elderly couple who were taking too long.

The revolution begins now, I thought quietly.

My skin was sectioned off into heptagonal scales that looked like a continuous fabric, like the rest of my kind. Yet I could manipulate each scale in ways that others could not. I could change color, texture, rigidity, and even shape to an extent, though that had its very strict limits.

I proceeded to harden my skin to become tougher than tungsten, an abundant element on Dactil. Then I shielded myself from being read and spoofed my signature to overlap with my mother’s mind, so that I could not be identified as the attacker.

“Leave those elders alone, you Rhean scum!” I barked. All four of them froze in place, not by fear, but I assumed by a complete lack of protocol for what to do. To my knowledge, they’d never been spoken to in such a way in all their time governing the planet.

They first looked at each other perhaps amused, and then turned to the source of the bark. Me. But by the time their necks had turned on their swivels, it was too late.

I was on them in a moment. I mauled, tore, ripped and slashed. It was just enough but not too much. My intent wasn’t to kill them, it was to make it look like they’d had a run in with an Ang Ang, one of the few native animals still living on-planet. It was large and dangerous, and often crept around these parts. They tended to remain in the unpopulated areas of the desert but sightings were common during severe droughts or storms.

We Dactilons could fend them off with some basic telepathy, but Legionnaires didn’t possess that skill.

I sat the four men, dazed but perhaps thankful they still had breath, in a row down before me. I took off their helmets since that was the only way they could shield themselves from mental penetration.

With their defenses down, communicators broken and helmets off, I reached into their minds and did a little tinkering. With some rudimentary effort, I made them forget about their mission to take Rakel, forget their orders to check for contraband, forget they were ever in Orong City.

Instead, I wrote a new set of collective memories for them. One in which they were attacked by a pair of Ang Angs on their way to a weather station in the Lupid Desert. With that, they were on their merry way wandering like nomads in the direction of Rangor to find a hospital. They would eventually reach another Rhean to tell their tale within a few hours.

As soon as the soldiers were no longer a threat, Orong’s residents immediately went inside their homes and shut their doors. To say that our kind is peaceful is an understatement. They are non-combative to the core. They couldn’t even see what was happening because of their poor eyesight, but all they knew was that a Legionnaire threat was neutralized. Moving on. Next!

It didn’t mean I got a “thank-you” or that there was any sense of appreciation. Just closed doors, the benefit of surviving for another day.

Then again, I was the one who had brought the calamity upon them in the first place...but they didn’t know that.

Except that Mom did.

I altered my scales back to normal and scampered home. There was an extra measure of tension in the air, adding humidity to the usual acridity.

My father must have arrived home in the middle of the melee. He and my mother stood at their beds (where else could they stand?) with their arms folded. He had a tinge of green in his torso as many older males did. It was often a sign of adulthood, but some adults didn’t have it. Like Mom, he wore simple clothing. Linen pants with a hooded wrap covering the top of his body.

I tended to wear the wrap since we were a desert people and sand particles irritated so many things, but I also had something the Rheans called denim pants. Mine were from a donation from some patron all the way on planet Rhea. Thanks for the pants, dude.

“There’s no denying what you can accomplish, Grady. We have tried to stifle this fever inside you in vain, but it calls to you.” The tender growl of his voice had an unusually broken aspect to it. For one of the few times in my life, he was getting emotional.

“We cannot stop you; even they cannot stop you. And we won’t...ever turn you in. But you pose a danger to all of Orong City because of your capacity to turn these errant thoughts to reality. Look at what happened today! Our neighbors couldn’t identify you by eye, but one of the soldiers that you beat up probably could. Your mind wipe was a rush job. Sooner or later, what you did will be discovered, and it could even be a member of the Elders that does it. Punishment would be brutal and there would likely be no trial.”

My father grasped at the air to find more words, but just like the rations we were given, there were very few left and all had gone stale.

My mother held his shoulder in obvious consolation. What was she consoling him about? She turned to me slowly but with grave purpose. Graver than I’d ever seen, and we all practically lived in a grave.

“What your father is trying to say is that you can’t stay here any longer. The feast of Ramstaad is next week and this place will be crawling with Legionnaires. You know how rough they can get with us on that day. If you can’t tolerate what you consider to be injustice, then you will probably do something we will all regret.”

My father took a satchel, our only containment vessel of any kind, and began to stuff it with Nutriment. Roughly four days’ worth. That left them with just two between them to last them for four days. He nodded.

“It’s okay,” he said. “I can probably get one or two more bottles from Skitchy at work.”

“But where will I go?” I asked weakly. And then more strongly, “How can I protect you if I’m not here?” I demanded.

His eyes puffed up and became heavy, and not only because he was returning from a twenty hour shift.

“If you’re set on making waves - fighting, resisting, then believe it or not there is a place for you out there on Dactil. Perhaps even more shocking, when we were young your mother and I attended a few meetings of the resistance movement. That was before the latest crackdown that began twenty years ago. The Rheans were ever so slightly more gentle back then.”

Mom put her hand on my shoulder. “They call themselves The Spoofers. They’re males and females that can go off the grid, and move their telepathic signals wherever they wish.”

“Like you,” my father added, nodding uncontrollably.

“But not quite. To this day I haven’t seen anyone with the breadth of ability that you have. You’re special, and not just because you’re my son.” His eyes got moist and my mother wiped them clear.

She pulled me close to them both. She was always the strong one, but I could still hear the quivering in her voice.

“They’re camouflaged in a wide patch of gray sand on the same parallel as Orong, but about thirty to forty miles north of us. They’ve carved out a network of tunnels underground and run their own power.”

“They source the bulk of their food from lichens farmed and harvested in wide caves,” my father continued. “A river runs through natural aquifers. Rheans don’t know they’re there, and the hideout is invisible to the average Dactilon. They’re as off-the-map as is possible.”

This was too much to take in at the moment. I had often dreamed of going off on an adventure to save the world, like Tannon the Fire-Heart. But I never considered that I should leave my family so far behind. Nor that they would choose to stay where they were.

But I could see it in their tired eyes. There was no fight there. For them, inexplicably there was comfort in the daily routine, even if it was harsh and crushing. So I didn’t protest. Like them I accepted my fate, acrid as it might have been.

“How will I find The Spoofers? And would they be hostile to newcomers such as myself?” As idealistic as I was - perhaps more than anyone else I knew - I still had a practical streak that started at my head and ran down my back. My father took the satchel and added four more things. Four books out of our collection. Mirone the Red Kraken, The Fire-Heart and the Dragon, Beware the Ice-Hearts, and the full epic of Tannon.

“Bring them these specific books. That’s how they’ll know that you’re a friend. And as for finding them, well they no longer want to be found. So you have to hone your special skills and concentrate, Grady.

“I’ve heard them say to one another that while Rheans were red dots on your Mind Map, and the general population of Dactil were gray, Spoofers and members of the Dactilate were yellow dots. Someone as powerful as you are should be able to see them…”

“Without being seen yourself,” my mother finished.

Nani and Tadoo Manorong gave me a big hug, and then walked me to the door. Minutes later, as I remained outside in the darkening desert, I felt them both fall asleep.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

treaks52: At first you kind if question the ethics of the character but the author does a fine job of gradually changing your mind. Unlike similar “other woman” stories you’ll never despise the other woman in this case. The author’s writing skills is natural and concise that the story flows so well. The ch...

Anna: Fun and not super dramatic read! I really enjoyed it

violet1549: It was definetly a different kind of story, sad probably does happen in real life which makes me sad. I'm glad there was a hero in the end but I thought Alex was a bit strange almost a little sick. Writing was good a few mistakes no big deal. All in all I liked the story quick read

Devashree Acharya: You amaze us with your stories as usual..❤️

Lilmissinnocent: The chemistry between these two was amazing I really enjoyed reading this and it was lovely to see the links from the other books written by you

Ali: Such a great book that was absolutely perfect! 😍💕

megalexsto: This is such an amazing book, it my first Tim using this app and I already found this amazing book ✨

Abi: I started this yesterday at 12am and I freaking loved every minute of reading this amazing book <3

Jenny Mbah Edetanlen: Beautiful. Love It. Well done Author 👏

More Recommendations

Luretha Fairley: Very interesting story. Praying she is crowned Queen so she can change all the corruption.

shanababy80: Loved this book !! Where are the other ones so I can read the rest!!

Jamie Roberts: Absolutely love everything about it!

Laura: Lpve it i need to read it more its very good i wish i could read more stories

Monika Thingbaijam: Great kkjghfvbjkkkbggggfsfjkkv

Tonia Dement Reppel: This book was amazing! Hours later I still felt the effects of this book which says alot about the author. I loved it!

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.