The year is 2126 it has been 30 years since Iran nuked Washington DC. America has traded security for liberty following the attack with the suspension of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution is not even taught in school any more. In this environment, Dan “D2” Daniels, a retired Army NCO of the old breed sworn to protect the constitution finds a crashed space ship and learns at the same time Earth will soon be invaded. Using the technology from the space ship, Dan forms an army of fellow senior veterans with two missions. First, to revive the Republic they had sworn their allegiance to and their second mission to save that Republic, and the world with it. Their first foray includes converting the CVN 80, USS Enterprise, a rusting air craft carrier, from a rusted heap waiting to be scrapped, into the first ship of the new space fleet of the Gray Panthers.
Targeted Age Group:: 17 to having to be read to
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The many military retirees I know and the thought of what they could do if given a “do over.” The combination of their experience and patriotism as their driving factor. This is how I imagined it happening.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters are a mix of many folks I know combined into new characters. The best way to create characters is from real people. My alien characters are base on emotions instead of real life people, dedication, greed, anger. It seems to work for me.
Vulture Mountains, Arizona
1 April 2126
Waking up in a sweat, it took Dan a minute to realize where he was. The grumbling in his belly was an excellent reminder of what awaited him in the fridge. A small chunk of ram meat quickly became a small steak as he poured a tiny bit of oil into the frying pan and dropped the steak in with a handful of seasoning. Taking a camp chair and the fixings for his breakfast to the mouth of the shaft, he noticed numerous small animal tracks at the shaft entrance. Settling down in the chair the view down the mountain was as breathtaking as always. The steak was tough and undercooked as Dan wished he still had his old mining partner, Abdul. Flashing back on his partner, remembering the first time they had met when Abdul had been attached to his unit in the Iran war and his general distrust of the foreigner. Abdul always managed to show up whenever anyone was getting ready to be screwed in transactions with the locals and scolded the men when they were being too generous with the local merchants. His ability to see through the lies as locals were being interrogated added to the men’s respect for him. Abdul was fully accepted by the unit when he single handedly broke an ambush that the unit walked into in a “green zone.” His dispatch of enemy wounded, a single shot in the forehead, was cold and deliberate. His motivation was only learned when an intel officer let slip that Abdul was Christian and had watched as his entire family was raped and murdered in front of him and then left him for dead with a bullet in his head. When peace was declared, he was to be left behind, since amnesty was to be respected for all belligerents who took up arms against the Iranian government. Knowing he was a dead man walking, the unit was able to smuggle him to the states. With a pile of money collected from the unit he disappeared to California so he could start over in a safe city, that would not prosecute any illegal aliens in their midst. He did well for himself and in due course received a green card during an election year when amnesty for illegals was granted. He eventually moved to Arizona enjoying the desert and prospecting with Dan. He insisting on doing all the cooking, until the year before when a DHS agent put a bullet in his back, when Abdul ”made a suspicious move” during a rolling security sweep. The bullet left him paralyzed from the neck down, and a resident of Surprise Assisted living facility where they waited for him to die as he continued to fight for life to the present day.
Refreshed, he took one last look across the desert before turning back toward the shaft. Today he would go back down to get all the antiques and take another shot at the breaking through the wall to see what was on the other side. Then he’d pack up the unexpected booty and some of his meat and head back to the city of Surprise.
The rappelling down was easier than it had been the day before and he quickly found himself looking at the artifacts by the glow of the lantern, greedily envisioning the reward he would get for it. Grabbing his pick, he stopped his day dreaming to go attack the wall. The first swing of the pick destabilized part of the wall and Dan found himself looking through a gaping hole twice his size.
Stepping through the rubble the first thing noticed was the ground was as smooth as glass and where he reached along the wall it was equally smooth. The faint light from the lantern was doing a poor job letting him see what was in the cavern. He turned his helmet light on and was rewarded with a second of light before the light died. Reaching for his flashlight on his waist, he again turned on the light only to see it extinguished in under a second. Muttering to himself because he knew they were fresh fully charged batteries, he disgustedly put the light back on his belt and moved forward with only lantern light.
Forty steps into the cavern brought into sight a black glimmer in the darkness. The first fear of it being gas was quickly discerned when he realized the open flame from the lantern would have blown him to eternity. Walking towards the glimmer, he continued until he bumped into the object. Not being able to focus on it in the lantern light he continued his investigation using his left hand while holding the lantern with his other. The surface was crinkled as far as he could reach. After walking around it for two hours, he became uneasy realizing he could not see where he had entered the cavern in the dim light of the oil lamp and knowing the lanterns fuels would soon be gone. Taking a leap of faith he took out his compass figuring to use it to walk a straight line into the darkness, to the wall and then to his hole. Instead, the compass needle was spinning like a second hand on speed. Amazed he took the rope off his belt, tied his small pick to it, and threw it as far as he could into the darkness. Following the straight line, he repeated the task five more times before he found himself at the wall. Another twenty minutes found him at the hole he had created. Taking one last look into the darkness, he turned and hurried to the elevator shaft and additional lamp fuel. After filling a couple lanterns, he again checked his helmet light only to be nearly blinded by the bright beam in his face. The flashlight on his belt equally passed muster.
Machinery that had not been active for over a hundred years, effortlessly restarted as the ships AI was awakened by the sensors detection of an energy source nearby. The ships AI immediately analyzed the data, noticing there was no longer any source of energy nearby. With only the limited ability of the damaged sensors, the new entrance to the cavern was quickly discovered along with the new finding that there was residue in the caverns atmosphere of an unknown carbon based fuel that had been burnt. The immediate reaction was to raise shields once again, then quickly decided against it until there was a clear and present danger, and the fact that Grub did not know how much longer he would be in the cavern prison. Exploration of the hole was imperative along with repairing the ships external sensors to avoid any additional surprises. Power was elevated long enough to hover the ship while the landing gear was lowered down and set in place under it. The doors on the bottom of the ship opened as a dozen of the ship’s droids emerged to begin repairs of the sensors. Two droids proceeded toward the caverns opening, using the lights from atop their frames. Both units were similar to the units presently performing repairs on the ship. Shiny black barrel shaped frame that stood 6 foot high. Under it, a pair of legs with a single joint midway down. At the bottom there was a flat-hinged protrusion with numerous metal claws. Along the sides of the barreled body, three pairs of arms, similar to the legs, with a single joint midway through their length. Bulbous box like shapes were at the end of each arm, the interior of the boxes containing various tools to attach at the end of the arms. Atop the barrel shaped body, a circular sphere with a single eye projecting an intense bright white light beam constantly scanning in all directions. The first unit through the opening immediately turned to the right, crunching the broken rock under its weight noisily as the second unit turned left proceeding down the tunnel in the opposite direction.
The sound of movement down the tunnel along with the clanking sound of something mechanical immediately sent Dan into fight or flight mode. Whatever it was would definitely get to him before he could get up the rope. Grabbing a nearby pick handle, he headed toward the closest crates while killing the light from the lantern. The sound from the tunnel continued to grow louder as the tunnel itself became brighter. Before he knew it, the light blinded him as he could only sense the movement as he heard the object somewhere near him.
Grub immediately had the droid go closer to the containers on the shelf so it could identify the markings in the hope of learning where he was. The obviously primitive tools and other objects had already left him with the dejected feeling he was on a primitive planet. The markings were initially unfamiliar so he started to scan his data for known primitives with the yet unknown language. The language was soon identified as he started to scan all the lettering. The room suddenly went black as the droids sensors detected movement. Quickly all transmissions from the droid ended.
Dan looked at the massive droid, from his helmets light, as he lifted the old rat eaten blanket off its bulk, his arms still hurting from the force of his slamming the pick handle down on the droid. Where the head was on top, which had been a perfect ball shape was now more like a deflated ball. Looking down the tunnel to see if there were any others, he decided it was now a good time to make his escape.
Nearing the rope, he decided to climb up free hand as quickly as he could and pull the rope up after him. He almost had the rope in his hand when the helmets light died pitching him once again in total darkness. Movement was all around him as he detected three distinct droids near him. Forgetting the rope, he dropped to the ground as he grabbed his small pick ax from his belt.
The thermal image from the droid showed he was correct and that the creature before him was human. Data told that they could be extremely dangerous as demonstrated by the first droids demise. The human was on the ground making himself small as he strained to find another target to attack. Grub decided to try to calm the alien and hopefully avoid any additional damages.
Grub transmitted his message through the first droids speaker, “Greetings, please do not attack me,” thundered the droid near Dan as the loud message nearly busted his eardrums as the message reverberated through the cavern. “I do not want violence, only to communicate with you,” the droid continued. Grub noticed the human now on his knees holding his ears and his quick labored breathing and racing heart and concluded the alien was definitely in fear for its life and that his message to it had caused it damage. “I come in peace” was projected from the droid, this time softly. Grub noted the human had released his ears from his grip and was attempting at communicating, some of the language was not in the database.
“Ha ha ha, that was original!” Dan nearly shouted as he tried to control the hysteria from growing any more. “Unless you want to get romantic, could we turn the lights on?”\
Grub immediately complied with all three units lighting the room. “Whoa there tiger. Unless you’re trying to cook me, turn down the juice!” Dan muttered and he covered his eyes from the brightness that was going through his eyelids showing bright white. Grub immediately reduced the light to a single droid at minimal illumination. Fearing he would damage the subdued alien before him, he instantaneously accessed all data on human physiology and psychology.
“Are you all right?” Grub queried softly, “I mean you no harm.”
Getting to his feet Dan took in the situation, three of the huge metal monsters surrounded him from a safe distance. The aliens were not making any threatening gestures just standing there like statues, except for the one with the light, which was keeping the room softly illuminated. “Any chance you have a couple aspirins?” he replied as he started to feel his head thump almost has hard as his heart.
Scans showed the human was in physical distress, clearly from contact with the droids. Data showed that this human before him was geriatric and feeble. Fearing the human would have a failure of his heart or other vital system, Grub made the decision. Dan felt frozen all over before he collapsed to the ground after making contact with the small cloud coming from the droid.
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