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Archibald Gardener - Chapter 4

Short story By: fearnotbooks
Science fiction



Christian Science Fiction


Submitted:Oct 14, 2011    Reads: 2    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


CHAPTER 4

"From wants, from shames, from loveless household fears" Leigh Hunt

The great room was filled with students-both from Angelcross and from Demonsword along with a few other schools that had events that were to be played at the Seminary. Pastor Lighthouse stood before the large gathering explaining the spirit of competition and the true test of a winner-the spirit of losing-because it wasn't about the winning that the games were played-but that the schools involved and the planets that they represented-wanted to encourage a type of bonding-but each planet had its own reasons for that bonding.

They were seated in seminar fashion and to Archibald Gardener's right were his life long friends Sheyouany-the pretty and smart Martian girl and Lewanda who was also very pretty and often thought of as a genius when it came to her engineering studies. Now-seated to his left-and for reasons that Archibald did not understand nor really wanted to give much thought to-were Fredead and next to him his beautiful sister Gothatina-along with some of the Demonsword kids that liked to hang around with Fredead.

As the opening festivities continued-Fredead leaned, "I hear that you are having trouble finding that dead or lost teacher of yours-Hipshot! What's wrong-haven't figured it out yet?"

Archibald leaned over looking at him for a moment-so did Sheyouany-but Lewanda was all caught up in the ceremonies going on below them on stage. Archibald said, "If you know something-and you keep suggesting that you do-then tell us-Hipshot is a beloved teacher here at Angelcross."

Fredead smiled, "I know-we all know-Hipshot is a Martian-what is he doing believeing in Jesus Christ? That is a human concept."

Sheyouany entered the conversation, "Believing in God Jesus is not just human-God fills the Heavens and the Earth. Martians have first hand knowledge and experiences with God-our history is also filled with wonderful things that Jesus Christ did-don't forget-other so called alien cultures tell of God in their religious writings too-not just Earth and Mars-God Jesus is our creator and our savior!"

Fredead glanced over at his friends-who were laughing and giggling at what Sheyouany had just told them-but he noticed that Gothatina was silent, "Those stupid twits-our god Technoligion is greater than their God." He thought that his sister would react in kind-but she glanced a loving eye over at Archibald and sat back-seemingly ignoring her brother. This got Fredead really ticked off, "So-Archibald-do you have it in you? Can you take on the power of the Demonsword soccer team and win?"

Archibald shrugged, "It's not about winning-haven't you been listening to the ceremonies below-it's about playing-sportsmanship!"

Fredead murmured, "Oh please-if that is the case-then why is so much money riding on these games-why all the media coverage-why not place a wager?"

Now this caught Lewanda's ears, "No way-we don't bet on events or things-it is un-Godly. Or-maybe it is just not right-I'm not sure-but betting is not allowed at Angelcross-not even by the college aged students." Who often bent the rules-because of their upper academic standing-having been at Angelcross the longest.

Fredead uttered while looking away, "I'll bet your teacher's life-that we win!"

All three of the Angelcross students uttered, "We'll take that bet!"

Amy and Andrew made their way around a corner in an old office building-Amy glanced out a window that led out to the huge dome that covered parts of the city-most of the cities on Mars were like that-there were sections that were positioned underground-and sections that led to the surface and were covered by domes. Those sections led into tunnels which rounded the area and came out into parks and communities of residence. The two of them had been followed for some time and they were trying their best to shake the tail. The door in front of them said: Veger Aircar Rentals. Aircars were specially suited for travel when it came to individual transportation-when it came to mass transit-the rocket train was the ticket-linking vast distances and cities located on opposites sides of Mars.

They opened the door and the smell of stale smoke and some kind of Martian food which had been thrown into an open trash can hit them-a woman looked up and smiled, "Hi-how can I help you?"

Amy said, "Er-we want..."

Andrew cut in, "We need an aircar for a local site seeing trip-we want to see the real

Mars-not the one that the travel agency is trying to sell us."

There were other people in the back-doing something-keeping busy-a few kind of looked up and got back on the phone and doing something else-the woman uttered, "Great-you have come to the right place-and you are right-most of the tours are pretty watered down-the real Mars is outside the city dome-that's where all of the old dwellings are located-the areas that the first settlers developed centuries ago."

Amy smiled, "Do you have maps?"

The woman shook her head, "You don't need them-the GPS in the aircar can fly you to just about anything of interest. Now-read over this disclaimer-scan your Business Electronic Analysis Security Transaction number-if it's on your hand-okay-if it is on your forehead-use this."

Amy started to pay for it with her B.E.A.S.T number when Andrew caught her-smiled at the woman-and scanned his own hand, "Anything else?"

The woman watched a screen until all cleared-when she saw that everything was in order-she smiled at them and said, "Just go out of this office-down the hall-there is a garage where the aircars are kept-pick the one you want from what is available-and off you go."

Amy frowned, "Don't you want to know where we are going?"

The woman had already started to go back to whatever she was doing before they came in-she looked up at her-gave one of those phony smiles and said, "Have a nice trip-bye bye."

As they walked down the hall Amy voiced, "Do you think we can loose them-the people following me-the ones trying to kill me?"

Andrew spoke, "We have to-I don't want anything to happen to you."

Amy asked, "How many people-throughout time has he killed-Wayclose?"

Andrew said, "They don't always kill people-some times-it is enough to just keep someone from doing something that they did-in the past-in fact-killing is rare-it causes too many paradoxes-and can be very unpredictable in the results. Don't forget-it is easier to just keep a person from accomplishing a task-than to off them. Killing them-you run the risk of all the other people that person came in contact in life-and you have to compensate for all of them as well."

Amy murmured, "If killing is too radical-then maybe Wayclose just wants to keep me from

doing something-like you said-that is why he didn't kill me when he had the chance."

Andrew opened the door and out into the parking lot-where there was a good selection.

Pastors Lighthouse, Lockrock and Azimuth sat about while Archibald, Sheyouany and Lewanda stood opposite to them-they were all concerned and viewed a small golden box covered with Martian silver symbols-it had to do with Hipshot-now becoming more obviously not dead but kidnaped.

Lighthouse cleared his throat, "Let me get this straight-you've gone and made a bet with some of the children at Demonsword-that Pastor Hipshot will be freed if you win the up coming soccer event?"

Archibald nodded, "We did say that-but it was Demonsword that brought up the whole thing."

Azimuth shook her head, "How many times must we teach you-betting is wrong-gambling is not Christian-Faithers adhere to the old ways-the ways of Jesus Christ. I can't believe that you children took on such a venture."

Lockrock voiced, "Still-the whole thing is very troubling-that the children of

Demonsword-even some of them would try and sway the results of the Quad Soccer Event by stooping so low. I've contacted the heads of Demonsword-they have assured us that there is nothing to what the children of Demonsword are saying."

Lighthouse agreed, "Hmm-apparently word has gotten out to all-that Hipshot might be alive-rumor abound-and there are some who would hope to capitalize on our poor fallen pastors misfortune. Now the authorities are starting to take the who thing more seriously-this golden box-it is suppose to hold a clue as to Hipshot's where-about?"

Lewanda said, "It came to Archibald in the mail-but we can't read it-even Sheyouany-who is a Martian-can't decipher the writing."

Lighthouse nodded as he slowly got up and took the little box in his old hands, "That is because this is ancient Martian-not modern Martian-this is written in a Martian dialect as old as ancient Mars-maybe even a dialect of Atlantis-where the ancient Martians originally came from."

Sheyouany said, "My people came from Atlantis-it was a planet some think be have been between Earth and Jupiter-now there is only Mars-but there once was another planet-Atlantis. Some legends have it-and there are many different versions-some say that a solar anomaly forced a planetary shift-causing Atlantis to switch orbits-with Mars and Atlantis-in the violent orbital switch-or planetary shift-Atlantis became unstable-and eventually exploded-but the people of Atlantis-had enough time to move to Mars-some did--some decided to leave this solar system all together-fearing another solar anomaly. Mars was fine for a few centuries-but then-because of the planetary shift-Mars began to loose its atmosphere-it's magnetic field had been damaged. So some of the now called Martians-came to Earth-found an isolated island and lived there until disaster struck them again."

Lewanda shook her head, "It seems like-whatever they did-bad luck was sure to follow them. But why would someone send Archibald this artifact-and who would have a box from Atlantis?"

Azimuth said, "This box could be thousands of eons old-for all we know. There are many unexplained mysteries here on Mars-and lots of things that seem to contradict former theories and writings. But-it was discoveries of scientific writings-that helped mankind-to really put his foot

out into the galaxy-by finding the blueprints to build the first translaser-that technology led to the first transdoor being built. Scientist on Earth prime reverse engineered other technology-but it was the theories of Dr. Evert T. Pystrum-his work and subsequently his famous daughters work in the field of physics-that finally gave way to the development of the finished transdoor."

Flying out over the Martian landscape-Namgoy just off in the distance-Andrew piloted the rented aircar across the Martian Wilderness. The area was spotted with older settlements-some still going-others long since abandoned for the better living environment of the nearby big city.

Amy said, "So-this is the Mars that the tour guides don't talk about."

Andrew glanced over at Amy-she seemed sad, "Mars has patches of settlements-it started out just trying to get people to invest in colonization-but this planet has a lot of strangeness about. After living here long enough-Mars does strange things to people's minds and perceptions of the universe."

Amy looked over at him, "How were you able to rent the aircar?"

Andrew asked, "What?"

Amy voiced, "You used your banking number back there-if you are who you say you

are-how is it that you have a banking number. I thought that those who profess the Lord Jesus couldn't have the number of the B.E.A.S.T.-because it would mean that you are damned-like all of the rest of the people that do."

Andrew finally understood what was bothering her, "It's not real."

Amy frowned, "What do you mean that it's not real-all banking numbers are centralized-there isn't a colonized planet in the Dynasty-that the banking number in your hand or forehead can't be tracked. How could you do that?"

Andrew said, "It's complicated-but let me put it to you this way-God Almighty still has a remnant of his people-even in the Dark Ages of Space Colonization."

Amy relaxed a bit, "That is what Faithers call these times-the Dark Ages-why?"

Andrew cleared his throat, "Well-mostly because all the saved have been taken. Remember in your history books-it talked about an alien invasion-which used a genetically advanced weapon of mass destruction to kill only certain people on Earth Prime-leaving others-some would be lying in bed-one was taken and the other left-or two would be walking-one would be taken."

Amy nodded, "Yes-it is part of ancient Earth history."

Andrew finished entering coordinates into the console, "Well-it was all a lie-God Jesus Christ came and took his people-the saved. First the dead in Christ rose-then those that were alive were taken. That left the planet in the Dark Ages-no one living that was left believed in God Jesus Christ. But the evil spirits had been planning for that moment for eons-they tricked mankind into building machines that could look way into the past-which is actually the future-telling mankind that they were building these machines to explore the universe-or to get ready for meteorites or giant heavenly bodies falling down onto Earth. The truth of the matter is-the evil spirits had tricked mankind into building a warning system-for the fallen-angels. People influenced by evil-do things believing one thing-when in fact-the truth is hidden from them."

Amy uttered, "Then we are all doomed-anyway-what you are saying is that the Rapture has already taken place."

Andrew voiced, "And the anti-Christ rules the civilized galaxy-the colonies of mankind."

Amy suddenly became depressed, "Then there is no hope."

Andrew said, "With God Jesus-all things are possible. Just like me going back in time-to try and stop the Children of Darkness. My job is to keep from happening what has not happened-and to try and save-what can not be saved."

Amy asked, "Are you an angel-or just a man sent by God's people-is there a difference?"

The group of children walked across the way-all dressed up in bright sports apparel they looked all the fashion for the Quad Soccer Event. There would be four teams-one from each general age and school class group-the teams were picked because of the play-offs. It had now come down to the final games. Two games would be played at Angelcross-the other two games

would be played at Demonsword. There was a lot of big money being bet on the school games-it was big business-non-professional sports. Professional sports had long since become jaded-with big salaried players-poor sportsmanship-then came the idea of investing in non-professional events. The players would win prizes-good ones-homes-aircars-scholarships to some of the finest schools and colleges in the Dynasty. All of that and more-and it was still cheaper than paying professional athletes. A sponsor could award an entire team fabulous prizes-what it would cost to pay just one professional athlete.

Prettyfield caught up with Archibald and the others as they headed on over to the stadium for the first of four Quad Soccer Events-she kind of pulled Archibald over to one side as they walked-this caused Sheyouany and Lewanda to cluster over also, "You know that all of the teachers-the staff are wishing you all good luck."

Archibald frowned, "Thanks-I think-you came all the way over here just to do that? There is going to be an official announcement-stating just that-when we get settled on the field-just before game."

Prettyfield gazed at the three for a moment, "I really hope that you do win-for the Seminary-for the planet-for Mars-for good. After all-soccer is an inter-planetary sport-it's like war-but without the bloodshed."

Sheyouany said, "Easy enough for you to say-you don't have to face Demonsword out on the field..."

Lewanda added, "They have all sorts of illegal tricks up their sleeves-they are all from the Dark Planets-where outlawed technology is legal. They are all probably genetically enhanced-robotically enhanced-and just plain old good at cheating!"

Prettyfield looked worried now-but when she saw the reaction on the children's faces-she tried to hide it, "Well-God is on your side!"

All three of them uttered, "Amen!"

Prettyfield seemed to feel better, "You know-even though all of this might just be part of the game-to undermine us-and try and determine the winner-it is our strong resolve to Jesus Christ that will ultimately overcome those little monsters!"

Lewanda uttered, "Pastor Prettyfield..."

Prettyfield realized what she had said, "Oh-sorry-I guess I'm getting all caught up in the spirit of things-can't help but cheer for the home team-you know. Pastor Hipshot is a good Martian man-God fearing-good teacher of the scriptures-filled with understanding and wisdom."

Sheyouany-who was Martian herself-cut in, "We all feel the pressure to win-we can't let them force us to lose-if they do-then we will regret it."

Archibald said, "The bet with Fredead-is that if they win-he dies-if we win-he lives-but

that flies in contrast to the ransom messages-which seem to indicate the opposite-we are suppose to let Demonsword win-if they do-Hipshot will be freed."

Lewanda stated, "But you can't know this! It might all be a trick to simply make us feel weaker-leach our spirit away-weaken our faith temporarily."

Prettyfield smiled, "I want all of you to play your hearts out! Win this thing if you can."

Archibald smiled, "We'll all do our best," and the children went on in the big doors.

The aircar streaked across the Martian landscape-beneath them-in the distance in front of them was an old settlement-looked like it had been there since the old days of colonization. In the old settlements-use of environmental suits was needed-they didn't have the advanced dome technology-which allowed people to be able to walk about out in the open-protected from the harsh Martian atmospheric-lackness. As they approached the small village-signs that some people stilled lived there became obvious-then suddenly-something hit the outside of the aircar-shaking it violently.

Amy yelled in fear, "What was that?"

Andrew fought to try and control the vehicle, "I'm not sure what it was-but it sure is big. It

must have hit our aircar doing top speed."

Amy pointed in horror, "Look-that thing-it is turning around-it's coming back at us!"

The dark and ugly figure was indeed turning around-as it zoomed through the Martian atmosphere-it didn't move like a vehicle-it had a more organic nature about it. Then-a voice came over their radio.

The voice on the radio said, "Hey-you out there-we just got a sighting-you in the aircar headed for us-you'd better take cover!"

Andrew had his hands full-trying to dodge the thing that was bitting the aircar-he motioned to Amy to get the radio-he said, "Amy, talk to whoever is on the other end-find out what the hell is going on."

Amy nodded-in fear-but none the less reacted, "Hello-hello-who are you? What is that thing that is attacking us?"

The radio voice said, "You are being attacked by a Martian Reaper."

Amy uttered, "A what-what it that?"

The voice paused for a moment, "You are not from around these parts-are you?"

Amy replied, "No-we are tourist-we thought that we'd rent an aircar and see the real Mars."

There was a slight laugh coming from the radio voice, "Well-welcome to the real Mars. What you have here is a nightmare come true-the creature that is attacking your aircar is a creation of some of the weird machines that were found deep in caves-beneath the Martian surface. This creature was one of them-there are others-just as ugly-just as dangerous. The Martian Wilderness isn't a place for tourist-why do you think that the tour guides don't take people out this way? Too dangerous-scare all the business away. Who'd want to come to Mars if they thought they were going to be eaten by a Martian Reaper or maybe a Red Fire Dragon-or some of the other things that live out here in the wilderness of Mars."

Andrew said, "Ask him if we can land at the settlement."

Amy asked, "Can we land where you are at-we are not that far from you?"

The voice on the radio said, "Hell no! We don't want that stinking piece of demonic trash hanging around our settlement. It takes too long to hunt it down and kill it-if it can be killed. Most

people who hunt them say they just go away after awhile-back into the Caves of Triquarius. Those caves link hundreds of other caves--linked throughout this area-some think that even bigger caves across one part of Mars to the other. Hmm-go figure..."

Andrew was having a hard time dodging the monster-he finally yelled at the radio, "Are you going to give us a safe place to land or not!"

Another voice came over the radio-a woman's voice, "Oh, George-you'd better let them land-hi-I'm Wilma and this is George-you'd better get on in here quick!"

Lord Jesus Christ I sing the glory of your divine will and your love for

You have shown me and my family such compassion when I am sure that the

Forces of evil wanted to destroy me and for that I am most grateful that

You have come to save us from our own disobedience and to help us

I once took a flight across a path of darkness and when I looked down I saw no

Way for blackness seemed to be all around but in my heart I prayed and you

Who know the hearts of men heard my prayer and you saved us from a deadly

Evil that could have befallen us all but you had mercy on our souls and saved

Lord Jesus there are none higher than you for you are the Son of God and the

Whole earth bows to your majesty for who can make war with God and win and

What fool when delivered from evil quickly runs back to their own vomit and

Hopes to recover from the ills of sin I can see only the truth in God's Holy Word

There are mountains on the other side of Otag'manu-gapoa where the people

Know the fear of God and the do worship God continually for ours is not the

Prostitution of the Holy Word but the calling to lift up the Glory of God and in

Doing so to give God the Glory and in time God will reward us his kindness

For the angels do sing the truths of the Lord God and they do worship at his

Feet for the mightiness of the Lord's glory and mankind must learn forever to

Lift up his voice in praise to the God of Ages and the Lord of all Creation for

There are no powers except they come from God and who is the fool of pride

Lord Jesus I am not worthy to even call on your name and I know my sin is what

Is keeping me down but I humble myself before you and ask that you give me a chance

To serve you in the capacity in which I was called for great are the talents of the

Children of God and great is the service that the Lord has chosen for us to do

Who are the fools of evolution that think they can subvert the Word of God with

Obvious pagan lies for they have been since the beginning creeping around the

Garden of Eden and hiding in wait for the right time to strike and who is ignorant

To the lies of pagan science which seek to dispel the word of God for evil's sake

For when I was young the lies were told how science was new and the only way to

Know the truth but the Lord Jesus had already planted the seeds of Truth in me and

While I was confused in the beginning the Lord saw to it that I believed on him and

For that I am most thankful to be called into the House of the Lord and accepted

I have sinned the sin of Atthudliph and I have sinned the sin of Jonotezuamivy and all

Of the false gods of the world have fallen in the Battle of the Stars which is to come

For long have the evil spirits been planning how they might turn the tide of war

And that is why Eve was tempted for the serpent is corruption encrypted in life

The soccer field was all lit up as the players from the two very different teams were scattered about-chasing after the ball. Fredead from Demonsword came in contact with the ball and kicked it high into the air. The ball arched in the air and then came down to the ground-the fans in the audience reacted as Sheyouany got the ball and kicked it straight on-leading to the Demonsword side. Gothatina found the ball and then began to try and defend her side-all this while Lewanda scrambled over and got hold of a piece of it and then kicked it on.

A team mate on Angelcross side got the ball and began to kick it over and about-then came Fredead and got the ball-kicking it hard. The ball arced and Sheyouany was able to jump kick the ball away from a player on Demonsword's side-now rolled the ball and a fight came on as two players of opposite side struggled for the ball. They ran it across the filed-with occasional attempts by others to help their team mates-but then it was kicked out of bounds by the Demonsword team.

The ball was then thrown back in action the someone on Angelcross side got the ball and gave it a great kick-sending it right on-the ball sailing in the air and then landing right in the heart of Demonsword side. The battle was on then-one player and then another were fighting for the ball-it was one kick and then another-the ball being beaten about-then flying greatly into the air. The fans braced as the ball came close to the Demonsword side-two players of opposite side kick battled the ball-running like the wind-they knocked the ball about-then in a sudden moment-one of the other players got the ball and gave it a rather straight on kick. The soccer ball went soaring towards the Demonsword goal-the fans began to cheer as the ball got closer.

Right there-on the ground-the ball landed and a battle between Sheyouany and Gothatina began-the two girls knocked the ball about-one hitting it and then another-the ball first going out of control and then being saved and going back into play. The fans were going nuts as the two girls-seen as long time rivals and stars of their respective teams battled on-the ball zig zagging about-the girls making remarkable moves-then suddenly-out of no where-Fredead came into the play-he kicked the ball and in a few head butts it was now in the Angelcross side. The tide had turned-the score was one to one-time was all but running out-this was a tight game. Last minute bets were bantering about off field and the sports news cameras were now on the fierce fight that was going on-the ball being beaten as it was kicked and head butted and rolled all over the Angelcross side.

Then things got really bad for Angelcross as Fredead and others got there-the ball landing near Fredead-while Fredead was one of his teams star scorers. The fans were now in a frenzy-yelling and screaming-you could almost feel the tension in the air-this was going to be it-if Demonsword won the game-it would set the pace-after that-it would be Angelcross who had to struggle to play catch up-and that was hard to do with a team like Demonsword. Now the ball was rolling-one player got it-kicked it back-though it didn't seem like the act was intentional-then came Gothatina and got the ball-kicking it hard and straight.

Now the pressure was on as Fredead got the ball and was in battle with Lewanda who was desperately trying to keep the ball away from the goal where Archibald was moving about-ready for any attempt at the other side gaining a point against them. The ball was in the air-Archibald watched for a split second and then ran in anticipation-the fans were on their feet-the ball blasting about-then it finds Fredead's head as he bounces it off and sends it towards the goal-Archibald leaps into the air-turning in what seems an incredible motion-as the ball rips through the air-headed for the goal-but Archibald's hands finds the ball-and in a split second-deflects the ball away from the goal. The fans cheer as the Angelcross and Demonsword goes into over time.

Outside in the cold distance-a robotic wildcat did growl-two riders were approaching--and the Martian Wilderness winds began to howl. The Martian Reaper was flying up high-circling the area of the old settlement. Amy and Andrew found there way to the entrance-they were wearing environmental suits-they had to-the harsh Martian environment was hostile-cold-and dangerous-outside of a modern city dome-where anyone could walk about with just their normal clothes on.

The old intercom cracked just a bit as the voice from the other end came on, "I see that you made it-found the aircar parking lot-I see. Better get on in-that Martian Reaper is still flying up above-hunting."

There was a buzzing sound and the airlock door came open-Amy and Andrew walked on in-the door closing behind them. Fresh air-or what passed for fresh as quickly filled the locked room and they were able to remove there environmental suits. The other door opened-and there stood an old couple with big grins on their faces-like they hadn't seen others in a while.

Wilma looked at George-then back at Amy and Andrew-she motioned at them, "Well-don't just stand out there-come on in-it's good to have you-that old Martian Reaper can be quite a pain in the posterior-if you know what I mean."

Andrew smiled as he and Amy accepted and went on in, "Hi-I'm Andrew and this is Amy-we are tourist-thought we'd see the real Mars-not the one that the tourism business wants us to see."

George said, "Well I don't know about that-you might have been better off sticking with the group-Mars can be a dangerous place-still."

Wilma nodded, "Believe us when we tell you-those fancy cities they've built serves two purposes-to house the rich and the wealthy-and to keep out the unwanted. And there is plenty of unwanted on Mars."

They all went to a table-Wilma got up quickly and began to work in the kitchen-George said, "The real settlers-those back in the day-lived like this-small isolated groups-connected by over land tunnels-that way-once you were inside-you could move about-without having to constantly put on and off those EV-suits."

Amy uttered, "Well-we thank you for the warning about the Martian Reaper-and thanks for allowing us to take shelter."

Wilma-who was busy programming an old food-synthesizer-making something for them to eat-uttered, "We are glad to have you-don't get much company these days-our kids are all grown-some live in the big city-others are off world-making a name for themselves."

Amy asked, "Isn't it kind of dangerous for you two to be living out here all alone-I mean-just look at that thing flying about?"

George laughed as he fired up a pipe of synthetic tobacco-non-cancerous, "Me and the misses have been out here for so long-we don't feel comfortable living in the big city. Too many people-strangers-aliens-the original Martians-have you ever met one?"

Andrew answered, "No-I can't say that I have."

George continued-puffing on his pipe-he was a jolly looking old man-and his wife was fat and jolly looking too-they were nice people-just outcasts of another time-a time when settlers like them were needed-basically loners-who would survive for long periods of time-without the need for other human company-and run the mines-and process the ore. But those days were gone-big companies replaced the mom and pop operations with multi-organizational influences-which over a period of time-left hundreds if not thousands of families-on the brinks.

The lights were on-the fans at the edge of their seats-five players from Angelcross were lined up against the goalie from Demonsword. It was a match of matches folks-a classic example of guts and courage-with both sides battling it out-the score told the whole story-one to one. The

floating robot cameras whizzed by-just over the heads of the players-jockeying for a better view in which to keep the billions of off world fans informed. The bets were coming in like rain on a hot Spring night. This was it-amateur sports at its best-with money changing hands-and no big time pro-players tantrums like in the old days. These kids were playing for the glory-not the money-though each team playing the finals was sure to get all sorts of prizes-scholarships-clothes-high-tech gadgets-vacations-trips-fame-you name it-these kids were already there.

But that was all from an adult point of view-this was about winning-good versus evil-Angelcross versus Demonsword. Bragging rights for a whole year-this was the time to prove whose school team was the best. All the lights were on the line up-one girl from Angelcross kicked the ball-the crowd reacted but then it flew over the net. Too high! Then another team mate-a boy kicked the ball-it looked good-but Demonsword's goalie was able to deflect it. What a let down but then came another kid-he kicked it hard! The ball sailed into the air-just touching the tip of the net-then went flying off into the night. Another boy got a shot at it-kicked the ball but it was way over the net off to the side-not a chance of scoring-the crowd was starting to react-and not in a good way-as Sheyouany's turn came up. Talk about pressure-she looked the goalie in the eyes-some strange looking alien kid-she got her balance just right-then she took her articulated tail-because all Martians have articulated tails-and she wrapped it around her right leg-using it as an extra spring like motion-she raised her leg back and then came forward-whacking the living daylights out of the ball-it rocketed towards the net-the other team's goalie just tipped it-but it wasn't enough. Score! Score! Score! The big screens flashed big time!

Now it was Angelcross' time to face the music! Poor Archibald was busy scrambling back and forth-doing his best to keep the rival team from matching up the game-as it stood-it was two to one-with Angelcross leading by only one point. The rival team had it's big kickers lined up-and each one was a serious challenge-Archibald managed to keep the other side from scoring-but it was Fredead's turn-the final attempt. Fredead was good-some thought the best player on his team-at Demonsword he was a hero-a superstar when it came to Quad Soccer. He studied Archibald's moves-he noticed a weakness off to the left-Archibald was weak there-if he could send a rocket right between the net and Archibald's hands-the game would be even-forcing another kick off. The crowd suddenly fell very quiet-on both sides-all bets were off-this was it-and Archibald heard God's voice speak to him in a still small voice-telling him to close it in-the other boy knew his weakness. Archibald did not argue with the Holy Spirit-it was there to help-but the ball was off-Fredead kicking the heck out of it! Suddenly-Archibald's life went into slow motion-the ball sailing towards the weakness-the crowd suddenly starting to react-the players standing off-starting to see what Fredead was aiming at-and then Archibald's body flying into the air-his heart pounding-like it was going to fly out of his chest. This was it ladies and gentlemen-this was it. Just then-at the right time and at the right moment-Archibald's face came in contact with the screaming ball-wham! The ball was deflected by Archibald's face-it went flying over the net-people on Angelcross' side were out of control-while the contrast was true for the fans of Demonsword. In all the commotion-Archibald went flopping to the ground-knocked out cold. Sheyouany and Lewanda were running towards there fallen friend.





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