Earth is peaceful, even during wars.
Even though war tore people apart, nature never
backed down. Flowers still bloomed as things blew up. Grass was
still green as blood would splash down upon it. Leaves fluttered
down from branches on trees as shots of hatred from guns flew
through the air. Battlefields, at the core, were still fields or
A war between humans is expected from time to
time. A war between humans and other-worlders, though,
only occurred in movies, as it seemed.
But, who could know if, right at the moment
you are happiest, in another world, a ferocious battle could be
taking place. Right even as you are reading this, perhaps. There
are no such things as silent wars, but if a train crashes in a
forest and you do not hear it, does it make a sound? Sounds of
war cannot be heard around the world, but feelings of war can be
shared and distributed, felt and inhaled.
At one point in time, a battle was
taking place, a battle not of humans, and not even of humans
versus other-worlders. It was a battle between other-worlders
only, and humans had gotten involved accidentally. But they used
our world as a battlefield. That was involvement enough.
This is the story of that other-worldly battle.
And the brave humans who chose to get involved.
* * *
In deep space, too distant from our own
planet Earth so we would not be able to hear, explosions echoed
out through the emptiness.
On a silver planet, farther away from
Neptune than Pluto by thirteen light-years, inhabitants scurried
around frantically. Their planet was being overrun. Their king
The buildings were crumbling from grenades.
Blue and green fire erupted from the insides. Debris fell from
the sky like rain. People were running in all directions,
screaming for help and begging that it wasn't true. Dark figures
were capturing everyone they could. Anyone who fought or
struggled would be obliterated.
One particular inhabitant, red and deep blue
with silver flames, a metal being, and his three companions, also
beings of metal, hurried to the boundaries of their planet and,
activating the rockets on their ankles, rose and stormed into
space seconds before a shield enclosed over the planet, trapping
everyone inside so that they couldn't escape. The four of them
were blasted off the remains of their once-peaceful home, and
they floated out into space, together, in hopes of discovering a
After a long time of wandering, seeing that the
colorful planets they passed conditions was not stable enough for
life-robotic or not-they stumbled across the famous blue and
green planet. They exchanged glances, and desperation was painted
on their expressions.
They met an agreement, soaring down to this new
planet that would have to be their new "home."
Their embankment, innocent and desperate at
heart, would put Earth in the most danger it's ever
Chapter 1: The Voices in the
Life in Ashland, Massachusetts was pretty normal.
Down a white sidewalk, in a normal neighborhood
near the border to the next town, ran a girl with light brown
hair in a high ponytail, bangs in her green eyes, laughing, and a
black messenger bag slung over her shoulder. She wore long jeans,
a dark pink shirt that resembled a short dress, a jean jacket,
and black converse.
This is Via. She is the hero of this
Olivia "Via" McKnight, an eleven year-old
living in a house near the end of the street, ran down the
sidewalk, yards away from a boy who was trying to catch
David Lincoln, an eleven year-old as well, with
sandy-brown hair and dark brown eyes, struggled to catch up with
his best friend Via. Via was one to challenge David to races
after school, knowing that she would win anyway. He wore a grey
shirt, jeans, red converse, and a watch on his left hand.
"Via!" David shouted, breathless. "Slow . . .
Via stopped, smiling at David. "C'mon,
slowpoke! Don't you want to see my grandpa's new
"Of course . . ." David stopped in front of
her, his hands on his knees, panting. He then stood erect and
said, "But I'm just asking you to calm down."
"Calm down?" Via looked as if he had just asked
her to shave off all her hair. "How can I? Grandpa made a new
Via's grandfather, Jack McKnight,
was an award-winning inventor, famous in Ashland for his
creations. Via was very proud of him and got over-excited when he
made something new.
"Remind me again why he chose to keep it a
secret for a whole week after he finished it?" David said.
Via shrugged. "He wanted it to be a
"Well, what is it?"
"I'm guessing another robot."
"Well, if you all ready know what it is, then
why are you so excited?" David challenged.
Via smiled. "I'm hoping I'm wrong so that it
is a surprise!"
She took off again, and David was close behind,
These two children were innocent; not involved
with anything or anyone who would put them in danger. Well, not
yet, anyway . . .
Via and David arrived at Via's house:
1276 Mahogany Street. It was the last house in a row or houses,
being painted crisp autumn orange with a caramel roof, its tiles
a rectangular shape. To the left and back behind the house was
the entrance to the forest.
Now, if Via could have anything for a
gift, it would be to at least enter that mysterious forest. Via
has been forbidden by her father, her grandfather, and just about
the entire town when news rang out. But they never told her
exactly why. They just said: "It's too dangerous." But
they never explained how it was dangerous. And that made Via,
Via used her copy of the house key to get
inside her house. The inside was warm on that cool Thursday in
March. Via and David put their bags on the couch and went to the
"So when do you think he'll let us see it?" Via
David sighed. "I'm guessing sometime
At that moment, Mr. McKnight entered the
Mr. Adam McKnight worked as a construction
worker for a building company. Via got her brown hair from him;
the curiosity, not so much. He wore a white folded shirt, black
pants, a black belt, and ink-black shoes, with glasses falling
down his nose.
"Via!" he said. "I didn't hear you come in. How
"Fine." Via's eyes widened. "Where's
"Let me guess: you want to see the new
invention," Mr. McKnight said.
"Yep," David confirmed.
Mr. McKnight sighed. "Well, it's a looker, I'll
Via bit her lip.
"Is that all you can say?"
The three turned to see Via's grandfather, Jack
McKnight himself, standing in the hallway, an excited grin on his
face. Jack McKnight had grey hair, with a bald spot on the top of
his head, but twinkling blue eyes full of youth. He wore a green
sweater vest, jeans, and black shoes like his son. Jack lived
with Adam and Via. The basement was his workshop.
"Grandpa!" Via cried.
"I can see you're anxious, Via," Jack noted,
"Uh, duh!" Via got up from her seat.
"Can-er, may we see the new invention, Grandpa?"
Grandpa chuckled. "All right, all right, come
on down to the workshop with me."
Via grinned and grabbed David's hand, dragging
him down into the basement, following her grandpa.
The basement was dimly lit, only a lamp hanging
from the ceiling. The staircase was on the left of the room, the
actual workshop on the right. In the middle of the room was a
wooden table, with a box on it and tools. Behind the table were
counters, with piles upon piles of scraps of metal, wires, and
bent metal body parts. A web of wires was huddled in the corner
on the counter, twitching with electricity.
Via looked out upon the room with awe-something
she did normally when she went down there.
Grandpa went to the table, holding a
switchblade to the box.
"Are you ready?" he asked, clearly
Via and David nodded.
Grandpa put the box on the floor and cut the
Immediately, a flash of dark silver jumped out
of the box. It landed on the ceiling, with blinking white eyes
that examined Via and David curiously. It appeared to have six
"A . . . robot spider?" David said.
Grandpa laughed. "Perhaps. But what do you
think this 'spider' can do to help?"
Via began to think. "Um . . . spying?"
"Bingo!" Grandpa said. "I'm thinking about
mailing it to Washington for the CIA. But for now, I'm
going to unveil it at the Invent-o-Center for the Invent-o-Lot
The Invent-o-Center was a building near the
town square that was a museum for scientific discoveries. Every
year, though, they had a convention and competition for inspiring
new inventors called the Invent-o-Lot convention. Of course Jack
McKnight, Ashland's most famous inventor, was invited to
participate and he'd been in the competition for twenty years
now, placing high every time.
"Wow, the CIA . . ." Via mused.
"Well, that thing sure should place high, Mr.
McKnight," David commented.
"Thank you, my boy!" Grandpa began to ruffle
David's hair. "I'm hoping I'll be able to take first again," he
added modestly. "Its name-the spider, I mean-is Sylvester. He has
a video camera and full-definition recorder implanted in his
head; his eyes are the hole so that the camera can see."
"Record and tape?" Via asked. "So . . . say if
you were to let it roam deep into a wide place, then-"
"Via," her grandfather interjected, "I know
what you're getting at. It won't work."
"What?" Via asked innocently.
"You want to let Sylvester roam the
Via bit her lip, found out.
"Via," her grandfather stressed, "you know your
father wouldn't let you that near the forest anyway. Now, I know
you're curious as of what's in that forest, but there's nothing
special in there. It's a normal, average forest."
"The why doesn't anyone go in it?" Via
demanded. "And why do you two, along with the rest of the
neighborhood, stress so much not to go in?"
"It's . . . a big forest," Grandpa said. "We
just don't want you to get hurt or lost."
"I won't get lost, Grandpa," Via
countered. "I don't get lost."
"That's true," her grandfather admitted. "I
remember the one time your father lost you in Wal-Mart. You were
able to find him easily from the toy section."
"See?" Via said. "I'll be fine. I just want
"Explore," David answered for her.
Grandpa sighed and put his hand on Via's
shoulder, looking her straight in the eye. "Via," he said.
"There's nothing out there."
Her shoulders slumped with disappointment, but
"Okay," she said.
But something in the back of Via's mind thought
that her grandfather wasn't telling the truth.
What is he keeping from me? Via
* * *
Later that evening, Via was out in the backyard, staring up at
"Okay," she said aloud. "What's for homework
She opened her Astronomy folder and read the
sheet of paper her Science teacher, Mr. Goodwin, had given her
earlier that day. It said: Look up at the stars tonight and
record what you see. Constellations, shapes, pictures, letters;
anything at all! And bring in what you find tomorrow.
Via gazed up at the black sky. At
that time her father came outside from the sliding door.
"Via?" he said. "We're leaving."
That night was the first night of the
Invent-o-Lot convention. Jack and Via's father were attending;
Via was staying home to do homework.
"Dad," Via said. "Can't I go?"
Mr. McKnight sighed. "By the time we get home,
it'll be too late. You have to stay and do your homework. I can
trust you, can't I? Or do I have to call a babysitter . . .
Via's eyes widened. "No! No
Mr. McKnight chuckled.
"Adam! Can you help me load Sylvester in the
car? He's squirming!" Grandpa yelled from inside.
"Ah! Dad, get a hold of him!" Via's father
cried, rushing into the house. "No, not my good vase!"
Via laughed. A few minutes later, her father
and grandfather left. She twiddled the crescent-moon necklace
that hung around her neck and sighed. Via had gotten the necklace
from her grandfather.
Sighing again, she looked up at the sky and
scribbled down some random things she saw:
Suddenly, she heard a roaring sound coming from the forest.
Via saw with shock a white line with a huge grey head zooming
A shooting star! she thought. Or . . . a meteor?
Via quickly got up, her folder falling onto the grass, and stared
in awe as the line's roaring became louder and finally
disappeared a distance away into the forest.
Via bit her lip, looking back at the house.
Feeling confident, she rushed, for the first time, into the
Trees and dark branches were everywhere Via looked. She whipped
out her cell phone to use as a light source and ventured into
this mystery that had been living behind her house for so long.
It only felt like a few minutes to Via, but she ventured at least
five yards into the forest. Finally, she thought she saw a glow
of light up ahead. Her heart was beating up a storm, fluttering
in her ribcage like a frantic bird.
She approached a large tree that, hidden behind it, was a slope.
She peeked through the triangular hole that was created from a
strange jumble of low branches from the large tree and the one
next to it. She could see two-no, three faint figures, shrouded
by the darkness. But a strange, metallic gleam was bouncing off
their bodies. They were discussing something.
"Roxas, are you sure?" a deep, strong voice asked.
"Positive. I saw them land a few minutes ago," answered another
voice, sounding grave.
"Our masquerade is over . . ." another voice said, sounding
"No," objected the strong, wise voice. "They don't know we're
here, on this specific planet. They could overlook our position
and miss us, then leave."
"And if they don't?" the one called Roxas challenged.
Someone sighed. "Then we fight for this world," the strong voice
"Valor . . ."
"We cannot let them hurt the humans. Especially not . . .
you know who."
"Yes, but . . ."
"This is our problem, Roxas. We cannot let the humans
interfere, even . . . even if they want to. And you know whose
going to want to. We made a promise to him to protect him and his
"Jack?" the feminine voice suggested hopefully. "Maybe he could
"Yeah, Jack could help," a fourth, younger voice added. "He could
build us weapons, and-"
"And what?" Valor demanded. "Fight here? On human
territory?" He sounded appalled.
The four were silent.
"But one thing we agree on," the feminine voice spoke up. "We
can't allow the Searchers to hurt or interfere the humans. And we
can't fight here . . ."
Roxas heaved a heavy sigh. "But we have no choice. And if we were
to be careful . . . maybe it could be possible."
"We have to," Valor said, sounding broken. "Either way, Earth . .
. is in catastrophic danger."
Via clasped her hand over her mouth, astounded. Then she took off
for home in a run.
* * *
The impact for the invaders was hard.
They had joined together, in a line, and crashed down to this new
and strange planet. There were four of them, and the leader
wasn't pleased with his new surroundings.
"What a weak planet!" he exclaimed, snapping a fallen log in
between his two fingers. Such an action was like blinking to this
"Pendulum, this planet . . ." his one companion murmured, typing
into the planet decoder programmed into his left wrist.
"Yes, what is it?" the one called Pendulum
"It's not made of the other components the
other planets were made of," he explained.
"Reinatrix, what's this planet's name
again? Dearth?" another companion asked.
"Earth," the one called Reinatrix
corrected. "And a peculiar planet, indeed."
"How so?" Pendulum asked.
"Its living conditions . . . they're
acceptable," Reinatrix replied.
"Acceptable?" the fourth comrade repeated,
surprised. "You mean-?"
"Yes," Reinatrix said. "They could be
smirked. "Finally," he said. "We've found them."