In the mid-twenty-fourth century, Earth was a respected member of the intergalactic community. It made allies, established several key trade agreements and cooperated with many alien species. But some people weren’t satisfied. They didn’t want to be a part of the community. They wanted to rule it. That was the reason SINDRI was created. SINDRI was an organization that would use any means necessary for humankind to achieve one goal, intergalactic domination. This goal wouldn’t be easy. There was a lot of competition: Drilli, Shavili, Ventures, and Nessians. Like Earth, these species had world governments, colonies and large military forces. Only the Drilli were hostile to humans, but to SINDRI, they were all a threat.
For years, Dr. Amulius Caius, the Chief Operating Officer of SINDRI, worked on a formula called AMPED. Its purpose was to create an army of enhanced super soldiers. All he needed was the right subject.
Amulius searched aimlessly looking for the perfect candidate, searching cities, colonies, and planets, but always came up with nothing but failures and disappointments. During one of his searches, he came across a prison camp on Prozz, a small planet in Drilli’s space. Even though it was a complete violation of interstellar law, Amulius felt he was above it. Besides, he was rescuing human prisoners. He ordered a platoon to raid the prison and rescue all the human inmates. During the raid, they found an individual that could help him to achieve his goal.
Amulius was in the briefing room on the Hannibal, the mobile command center of SINDRI. Captain Julian Jackson and Dr. Lydia Carson were with him. Captain Jackson was the Star Force liaison to SINDRI and Dr. Carson was Amulius right hand. They were sitting around a table and viewing the videos of the raid on a holographic monitor.
“She’s amazing,” Amulius said as he reviewed the videos.
“We’ll be sure to put that on the memorials of the sixteen soldiers she murdered.” Captain Jackson slammed his datapad on the table.
“One must admire her ability.” Lydia’s voice had an accent of old London, which was rare. After years of central world government, most human’s lost their accents, by choice, but a small minority still tried to hold true to their history and culture.
“That is the question?” Amulius asked. “Where did she learn such skills?” His eyes followed the female image as it killed soldier after soldier. “Her test results are interesting.” He placed the datapad on the table and slid it to Lydia.
“What did you find?” Captain Jackson asked.
“She’s human,” Amulius answered. “No enhancements. No drugs.”
“That’s bullshit!” Captain Jackson slammed his hand on the table. He pointed to the monitor. “Look at the vid? No one on pure air could move like that.”
“We viewed the bodycams of the soldiers several times.” Amulius stood up and walked to the front of the room. “Her speed. Her skills. Most impressive.”
“She’s in perfect health.” Lydia continued to scroll down the information on the pad. “Peak physical condition, which is strange.”
“Why is that?” Captain Jackson hand rested on his forehead as he continued to view the carnage.
“The other prisoners were raped, tortured and beaten,” Lydia explained. “She had no signs of abuse or trauma.”
Amulius stroked his goatee. “What makes her so special?”
“She might be the perfect candidate,” Lydia said.
“The others died,” Captain Jackson said. He looked at Amulius waiting for a response.
Amulius looked back at the captain. “She won’t.”
The prisoner hasn’t been on many ships, so it was a new experience, but an unpleasant experience for her. They strapped her down to a large black metal gurney in five-point restraints. They ran a series of medical test, trying to find out what made her tick, what made her so special. They stuck needles in her veins and strapped electros to her temples. Her blood and DNA analyzed, her brains waves monitored. She had been a prisoner for the past fifteen years, but this was the first time she didn’t feel free.
Her body bucked and strained as she pulled and tugged, but she couldn’t break the restraints. She was helpless, a feeling she hadn’t felt in a long time. No longer wearing the dirty drapes of animal skins of her prison attire, she donned the white medical gown her current captures gave her. The darkness of the room blinded her, at first, but her eyes adjusted to the void. The only source of light was the green blips on the monitor. She knew they were watching.
Amulius and Lydia waited outside of the door, thinking of the best way to approach their guest. They watched her killed sixteen highly trained and armed soldiers during the raid, brute force won’t impress or intimate the prisoner. They wanted to develop trust which might be a hard sell since they did kidnap her.
Lydia entered a code to the secured room. The door hissed as it slid open. Even though the prisoner was in restraints, they entered the room with cautious. They used the darkness of the room to their advantage, trying to hide their intentions. Lydia’s hand rested on the pistol, strapped to her hip just in case if the prisoner broke free.
“Light,” Amulius said. A dimmed light illumined the room. “My name is Dr. Amulius Caius,” he continued and pointed to the lady standing next to him. “This is Dr. Lydia Carson. We mean you no harm. Do you mind if we ask you some questions?” They were wearing black uniforms that look like something a soldier would wear, not a doctor. Lydia’s grip tightened on her sidearm but her weapon still holstered.
“I don’t care,” the prisoner answered. The anger tone morphed the softness of her real voice.
“Your speak Terran?” Lydia questioned. “The vids only showed you speaking Drilli, interesting. What is your name?”
“Faith!” the prisoner snapped back, still pulling at the restraints. “Why am I here?”
Amulius walked closer to the prisoner. His two-meter frame cast a shadow over Faith. He kept his head shaved, to hide the fact that he was going bald. Amulius was in his fifties, but he looked younger than his age. Only the grey hairs in his goatee and mustache betrayed him. His piercing light brown eyes seemed to see through the prisoner.
“As I promised,” Amulius said. “Once you were on the ship, I will answer your questions.”
Faith looked at her hands and feet. “Could you release me from these restraints?”
“Promise not to kill me?”
“Couldn’t before.” Faith was referring when she shot Amulius several times at the end of the raid. Unknowing to Faith, he was wearing a personal force screen. It was a prototype, but it was effective.
Amulius nodded his head. Lydia walked over the panel next to the door, entered the code and the restraints released.
“I am the chief operating officer of SINDRI,” Amulius said, “and Lydia is my second in command. Outside of this organization, only eight people know about our existence. You are on the Hannibal, SINDRI mobile command center. We are on a recruiting mission and we believe we found the perfect candidate.”
“I assumed it’s me,” Faith answered as she massaged her wrist.
“What options do you have?” Amulius asked. “What happened to your parents? Were they at the prison?”
“No,” Faith answered. “They were killed at New Hope.” She lowered her head like a wounded puppy or a child that disappointed her parents. Her long raven hair partly concealed her face.
“New Hope was destroyed by the Drilli fifteen years ago,” Lydia said. “How old were you when that occurred?”
“How did you survive the attack?” Lydia asked.
“Roat-At-Tat saved me.”
“Your Drillus’s master?” Amulius asked.
“He was my friend!” Faith yelled. “Not my master.”
“You mean you were his whore.”
Amulius thought he was a safe distance, from the prisoner, but he underestimated her. Faith lunged at him and punched him with a right cross that dropped him to the floor.
“He never touched me in that way!” Faith yelled. “He loved me like a daughter, you sick son of a bitch.”
“Faith!” Lydia said with her gun pointed at the prisoner’s head. “We need you the calm down.”
“You’re fast,” Amulius said as he wiped the blood from his nose and mouth, “and strong.” He got back on to his feet and adjusted his uniform.
“Tell us about Roat-At-Tat?” Lydia asked as she holstered her weapon. It was an attempt to build trust with Faith and to calm the prisoner down.
Faith sat down on to the gurney. Her shoulders dropped as she let out a deep breath. “Roat-At-Tat promised to keep me safe from the others. He kept his promise. No one was going to hurt me. He raised me, not as a slave, but like a daughter. He trained me how to fight.” Her back straightened as she continued to talk. “I wasn’t as strong as Drilli, ripping people arms out of their sockets wasn’t going to happen. So, he modified my training to account for my speed and size. He got me to focus on pressure points, weak spots, and joint locking. We sparred all the time, he knew he would not always be around to protect me. At first, I didn’t trust him. I thought at any moment, he would kill me. But over time, I trusted and respected him.”
“I’ve seen the vids,” Lydia said. “Your fighting skills are amazing.”
“I developed a unique fighting style,” Faith said with a hint of pride in her voice. “It consists of quick strikes, grappling, and acrobatics. My goal was to hit hard and fast, but most importantly not to get hit. Since, I trained with Roat-At-Tat, getting hit once by him could end the fight.”
“You trained with him for fifteen years?” Lydia asked. “That would explain your peak condition. You are faster, stronger and more agile than any human I ever saw. You took out a platoon of soldiers.”
Faith’s body reflected years of training. Despite the fact she was short and had a small built, her body was hard as concrete. Her arms and legs were muscular but lean. Her stomach was flat and tight. Despite her athletic physique, she still had a curvy and attractive figure.
“They killed Roat-At-Tat,” Faith said. “They had to pay.”
“You trust the Drilli?” Amulius asked. He wanted to know Faith’s loyalty. Amulius worried that Faith might be suffering from Stockholm syndrome, a psychological response when hostages identified closely with their captors. Fifteen years in a Drilli’s prison could place a mental strained on the young person.
“I trusted Roat-At-Tat,” Faith answered. “I hate the Drilli. They murdered my parents.”
Amulius smiled as he got the answer he wanted. “You are strong and fast,” he said. “But I can make you better.”
“What are you talking about?” Faith jumped off the gurney and walked towards Amulius. She stood about thirty centimeters away from him. He was a good half a meter taller than her, but he knew, he didn’t stand a chance.
“With AMPED,” Amulius answered. He stood his ground, he wasn’t going to back off. He needed to show strength against this little pixie.
“What is AMPED?” Faith took another step towards him. She was now fifteen centimeters away.
“An opportunity.” He knew that Faith was trying to intimidate him and it was working. His heart rate increased and some small beads of sweat form on the top of his bald shaved head. He could not let her know that he feared her. So, he moved closer to her. Now, he was looking down into her bright blue eyes.
“If I refuse this opportunity?” Faith smiled as she looked up at him. Her eyes were piercing into his soul. She knew he was scared, she could smell his fear. “You think your assistant can kill me before I snap your neck?”
Lydia’s hand was on the handle of her holstered sidearm.
“Stand down, Lydia,” he ordered. “There is no need for violence.”
Lydia took her hand off the gun.
“You won’t refuse this opportunity, little girl.” Amulius put emphasis on ‘little girl.’ Testing her temperament. “What would you do, if you have the power to save your parents from the Drilli? I can give you that power. I can give you that strength and speed that every human would envy. You would be a god.”
“If I still refuse this opportunity?” Faith didn’t fall for his trick, she didn’t lose her temper. Faith stayed calm and continued to stare at him.
“Then you will be free to go,” Amulius answered. “But where would you go? Your parents are dead. Earth is several light years away. You won’t survive by yourself. Your options are limited. But imagine the power to destroy anything in your way.”
“Including you,” Faith’s lips curled into a devious smirk.
Amulius returned a smile. “I hope your humor improves after the experiment.”
Faith lost her family, her home and her only friend. She was alone in the galaxy. She thought about the opportunity that Amulius was giving her, but she didn’t trust him. Faith knew he was going to use her, but she felt she had nothing to lose.
“I know it’s a big decision,” Lydia explained. “We understand if you want to turn us down. Think about the good you can do. With your skills and extra speed and strength, you will be unstoppable. No one will ever take anything or anyone from you ever again.”
Faith liked the idea, but there was still some hesitation. She had lost so much in her twenty years. Maybe, it was time to get something. “I’ll do it.” She felt that she had nothing else to lose. She back off from Amulius.
“Good.” Delighted by her answer and relieved that she backed down. His heart rate, breathing, and perspiration went back to normal. He won a game of chicken with the little girl, but he didn’t have it in him to go another round. He focused on the task at hand. “Your test results are ideal at this time. The lab is ready, may we proceed.”
“I guess there is no better time than the present,” Faith said.
“There is nothing to fear,” Amulius assured her. “After the experiment, you will feel like a new woman.”
“I don’t fear anything.” Faith chuckled, letting Amulius know that he wasn’t a threat.
“Follow me,” Lydia said to Faith. “I will get you ready.”
Lydia escorted Faith to the lab. This was the first time she was out of her holding cell. She got tired of breathing the same stale air for the last couple of days, but that freedom only lasted a minute. Once in the lab, Lydia strapped Faith down to the table, but this time she didn’t resist. She was on her back staring at the lights overhead.
Lydia connected Faith to the Medscan. It monitored Faith’s vitals and brain activities. She gave her guest a strong sedative and within a few seconds, Faith was out. Then Lydia connected tubes to Faith’s veins and then the drug, AMPED, entered the bloodstream.
“The drug will bond to her cells and become a part of her,” Amulius explained.
“If she survives the treatments,” Lydia said.
“Only time will tell, Lydia. It will take twenty-four hours for the process to be complete.”