Biosynthetic

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

In the depths of space humanity discovers an artificial life form with strange powers. It escapes containment.

Biosynthetic

A Comic Storyline

by

Michael Wilson

Story opens in the vastness of space, the last unexplored territory of mankind. A celestial body coined Bastor’s Comet, moving with a gentle determination as it had done for ages before its discovery, is making its century long return to Earth’s Solar System. A mining and survey expedition has been approved to examine Bastor’s mineral qualities. The vessel Walton is inbound when an unusual reading is detected coming from the comet.

Observer Post Officer

Sir, I am detecting a metallic object on the surface of the comet.

Expedition Leader

What? A metallic object, are you sure?

Observer Post Officer

Yes sir. Coordinates are being fed into the system now.

Expedition Leader

Well, we’ve come all this way. Might as well see what it is. Land us as close to the signal as we can get. We will send out a search party after our preliminary scan of the comet’s surface.

On the surface of the comet

After the Walton had landed, two men departed the craft carrying flashlight like devices that bare little resemblance to any existing technology. They are fully covered in exosuits with a distinctly reptilian design. A mirrored faceplate adorns their masks to protect them from the elements. The soundless crunch of their boots meshes the soft surface of the darkly lit comet. They approach an opening that resembles a cave. As they wander inside, the explorers’ flashlights illuminate the makeshift cave. Ice and ore light up with an understated yet appreciable radiance. They examine the cave for a short while before their lights fall upon a metal object. The two men approach cautiously.

Explorer

Sir, this is Rickard. We have found the object.

 

Expedition Leader

What does it look like? Can you describe its appearance?

Rickard

I don’t have to sir. It’s a Russian Alliance teleportation pod.

Expedition Leader

Russian Alliance? That’s impossible, David contact UASEPC. Tell them we found El Dorado!

Back On Earth

Sometime later, two aircraft called sting rays for their resemblance to four-winged sting rays are on patrol along the Eastern Coalition / United Atlantic border. They are performing a routine aerial sweep to detect potential hostiles and report the locations of indigenous people to maintain population control.

Aircraft Pilot One

Air Control, this is Alpha. Routine sweep has been completed; border is clear request permission to return to Landsite.

Air Control

Negative Alpha, Sector 42 has requested emergency aid. Unidentified hostile has attacked Siterep Sigma, repeat Siterep Sigma is under attack.

Aircraft Pilot One

Copy that Air Control. Alpha inbound ETA flying time.

The Stingrays eventually make their way to the base designated Siterep Sigma. What awaited them was a state-of-the-art facility reduced to rubble. Combat Synth vehicles scatter the ground as smoke wafts from a sizable crater where a roof used to be on a cone shaped military research lab.

Aircraft Pilot One

Air Control we have reached Siterep Sigma. No signs of hostile.

Air Control

Alpha, are there any survivors?

Aircraft Pilot One

Unable to determine Air Control, too much smoke and debris to see survivors.

Air Control

Understood Alpha. Return to Landsite. Rescue crews are on their way.

Aircraft Pilot One

Acknowledged Air Control. Returning to Landsite.

Aircraft Pilot Two

(Thinks to himself): My God, what happened here!?

The mobile Village of Tiena

It was a quiet morning in Tiena. This was Tiena’s third day at its present location. Aleia, A woman in her late twenties with dark hair, tan skin and vibrant red sash was collecting water from a stream. As she went about her task out of the corner of her eyes, she spots something lying on the bank. It was a boy unconscious, yet conspicuously clean considering his resting place. In that moment her instinct to help a fellow human being, which we all possess but ignore when convenient, took hold of her. She carried the boy who was oddly light for his size back to her house. She then fetched the village doctor.

Aleia

How is he, doctor?

Doctor

His vitals are normal, no sign of injury and his pulse is steady. I think he will be fine with some rest. Where did you find him?

Aleia

On the bank, I was collecting water for the move. He was lying there motionless.

Doctor

On the bank? Were his clothes wet before you carried him?

Aleia

No, he must have been there awhile, his clothes were dry.

Doctor

Well, it is a good thing you found him before something awful happened. You may have saved his life; we can ask him questions when he wakes up.

Aleia

Thank you doctor.

The doctor tipped his hat and walked out the door. Alone with the boy she found by the river, Aleia examined his features more closely. The boy looked no more than fourteen years old. He was dressed in blue clothes that covered most of his body. A black undershirt was visible where his suit revealed his midriff. He wore black boots that stopped below the knee and black gloves without the fingertips.

His hair was blonde and neatly organized into rows of small spikes that reminded Aleia of cresting waves or the quills of a hedgehog. His face was smooth and round, but perhaps the most striking part of the boy’s appearance was a long red scarf he wore snugly around his neck and down his back for it was made of a fabric she did not recognize.

Aleia was puzzled by his appearance. He did not look like one of her people. In fact, he did not resemble anyone within the Eastern Coalition. His style of dress indicated a winter climate, yet the temperature in this part of the world did not drop below a comfortable heat. Aleia stared at her unusual guest until he started to stir.

His eyes fluttered open and after an initial look of confusion, the boy’s face was replaced with a look of complete panic. He jolted up in the bed causing Aleia to rise to her feet in order to calm him down.

Boy

Aaah!

Aleia

Easy, take it easy! You’re safe here.

The boy regarded her for a moment before calming slightly.

Boy

Where am I? Where are the monsters?

Aleia

Monsters? There are no monsters here. You must have had a nightmare.

The boy paused briefly at that remark, the monster that had attacked his home still fresh in his mind. Had that been a Nightmare? If so, where is his mother? He grimaced at the thought.

Aleia

What is your name?

Boy

My name is Stark, Stark Victries

Aleia

Stark, I would like you to meet the village leader. Are you feeling well enough to move?

Stark

Yeah, I think so.

The U.A. Tactical Strike Facility: Codename Greenhouse

A hardened Colonel Brandt walked into the main corridor of the Greenhouse. He was dressed in the regal splendor of a seasoned fighting man complemented by an unyielding scowl. His Second was waiting to adjoin him to the War Room.

Brandt

Have the survivors from Siterep Sigma been debriefed yet?

Second Command Officer Jenner

No sir. Medical wanted to make sure there were no pathogens before allowing interviews to be conducted. It is a standard safety protocol.

Brandt

Very well, tell them to hurry up. I want to know what in the hell happened there.

Jenner

Our present theory is it was a breach by one of the research specimens.

Brandt

Breach!? Siterep Sigma is one of the most secured and fortified locations on the planet! We spent 40 billion dollars on the security grid, a quarter billion dollars on the Combat Synths, and another 30 billion dollars on specimen containment and K.E.N.F installations. There had better be a damn good explanation for this or there will be hell to pay!

The two walked at a brisk pace as they near the end of the corridor.

Brandt

I want an update on the Talishar situation. Have you found the group smuggling the anti-synth weapons?

Jenner

Yes sir. Intelligence reports indicate that the Talishar splinter group are smuggling the weapons into the borders of the Eastern Coalition. They are travelling with one of the autonomous mobile villages within the Selvika region.

Brandt

Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s blow that village to kingdom come!

Both stop at the entrance to the War Room. The door resembles a flower that opens in a vertical fashion like a reverse venus fly trap. For generations the Greenhouse has been the primary forward base for all military excursions by the United Atlantic since it rose from the collective ashes of the United States of America, Canada and the European Union. The three former powers became part of the global federation known as the Ethics Committee of the United Atlantic.

Forever dedicated to the cause of global security, every aspect of life within the U.A. is supervised by the three Branches of the U.A. Superstate. Everything from telecommunications, to healthcare, to public education, to environmentalism is managed by the watchful eyes of the U.A. Ethics Committee and its unflinchingly loyal military branches. It is the unparalleled efficiency of facilities like The Greenhouse that make it all possible. From this seat of military might Colonel Harvey Brandt is about to launch a campaign that will decide the fate of billions, unaware of the true horror he will set in motion.

Brandt

Are the All-Terrain Combat Synths loaded onto the aerocarriers?

The flower shaped door of the War Room opens, Brandt and Jenner walk in. The War Room is like all forms of U.A. technology designed to emulate nature. It has pristine wooden floors and control consoles that resemble tangled vines. The touch screens exhibit a prismatic translucent color, like water droplets shimmering in the sunlight, and the large screen in the middle resembles a collection of leaves with images on them. To the uninitiated, the War Room would resemble a thriving ecosystem, but its artificial aesthetic hides its grim function.

Jenner

Proceeding as ordered sir (gestures one of the console operators to bring up the loading bay screen, the leaves changing shape to reflect the image)

We will be ready with the hour. The target (gestures again to bring up a satellite image) is the mobile village of Tiena. The Talishar are believed to be disguised as natives.

Brandt

Did the Ethics Committee give us the go ahead for the operation?

Jenner

Yes, sir they did. However, the intelligence department would like us to wait until we have more information.

Brandt

More information!? Bah, its one village! How much information do we need to kill them all!? Open the launcher petals; get the aerocarriers into the air!

The order given, the flower shaped Greenhouse opened its massive petals to launch the eel shaped aerocarriers, its cargo made to build wastelands. Despite the obvious conclusions one would naturally reach, this conflict would not end the way Brandt predicted.

Tiena

Aleia and Stark had left the house and were on their way to the village council. Stark took in the sights as the two of them walked to their destination. People in clothes he had never seen before bustled before him. Some handled pottery; others tended to game and fish. The metal workers tirelessly forged trinkets of glass and iron.

Every face they passed was friendly and inviting. Stark had never known such kindness living in isolation with his mother, he wasn’t sure what to make of it. The world was far different a place than his sheltered education had ever taught him.

Stark wondered if his mother had found a place like this. Had she found any place at all to escape the monsters?

The pair approached the large building situated in the center of the village. Impassioned arguments could be heard through the flaps of the door; they enter the building.

First Man

I say we stay and fight, we have nothing to lose! Every day the U.A. further encroaches into our lands and slaughter out people! We have the weapons let’s stay and fight!

Second Man

It takes more than a few weapons to fight an enemy as powerful as the U.A. Torian! It was a mistake to even agree to help the Talishar, now we all have a target on our backs!

Torian

Osler, your passivity will lead to the extinction of our people. It’s us or them we can’t share our way of life with outsiders. All our enemies must be destroyed. To protect our culture and our children we must fight!

Osler

Don’t disguise your blood lust as concern for our people Torian! We have all lost someone to the U.A. siding with terrorists will not make their deaths mean something. A peaceful future is the only way to end the bloodshed!

Torian

I would rather be a terrorist than a slave. Mark my words old man, until the U.A. and all who live in it are destroyed there will be no future for anyone!

Murmurs and gossip ring out across the room. The sound of the door flaps moving catches the assembly’s attention.

 

Aleia

I’m sorry to interrupt, but I brought someone who was found lying near the bank. I think it best that you should speak with him.

Osler

Ah, this must be the boy that Dr. Pavi mentioned. Welcome my young friend.

Stark

Hello.

Stark looked visibly uneasy regarding the man. He was a heavyset fellow with balding hair and a large nose. His face was wrinkly but jovial.

Stark

Osler

Is something the matter my boy?

Stark

Why is your head shiny, did someone wax it?

Laughter broke out at Stark’s remark, even Torian repressed a smirk. Osler chuckled in amusement at Stark’s naivete.

Osler

No young fellow. When you reach my age, you find that hair is overrated. Enough about me, I would like to learn more about you.

Stark walked around the table in the center of the ornate room he made his way to the opposing podium from where Osler was standing. He glanced around nervously at the unfamiliar faces all observing him with keen interest. It was a spacious room, far more so than one would expect with village cultural icons hanging from the walls. The room smelled of lilacs. Stark found that fact somewhat comforting.

Osler

Now why don’t you start by telling us who you are and where you came from.

Stark

My name is Stark Victries; I don’t know where I came from. Mom said it is supposed to be a secret.

Osler

Your mother? Where is your mother?

Stark

I don’t know, we were separated when it attacked.

Osler

When what attacked?

Stark

I don’t know what it was, it was like a monster! It was big and fast and had claws, and there were more of them as we tried to escape. I blacked out and when I woke up, I was surrounded by strange creatures. I panicked and ran away. Last thing I remember was falling into some water.

Osler

These monsters, where are they now?

Stark

I don’t know, anything after the water I don’t know what happened.

There was a rush of murmurs carrying around the room. The people regarded Stark’s testimony with varying levels of confusion and skepticism. Stark was worried they wouldn’t believe him. His eyes met Aleia’s who gave him a reassuring smile.

Osler

Whatever chased you won’t find you here. You are welcome to travel with us. We leave tomorrow morning. Until then enjoy our people’s hospitality!

The people murmured in excited agreement, all except one. Torian, the most hawkish member of counsel, eyed Stark suspiciously. His instinct told him there was more to the story, but it would have to wait until after tomorrow.

Later that night in the airspace of the Selvika region

The three aerocarriers that launched from the Greenhouse were making good time as they neared the target. Their sleek undulating bodies whipped about gracefully as their prismatic colored fins adjusted shape to lower their altitude.The payload they were about to deliver were the latest in Synth technology.

Combat Synth are specialized vehicles made from artificially constructed organic matter; they are designed to resemble animals in both appearance and movement. These All-Terrain Combat Synths possess chitinous armor like a crab.

Their appearance is spider-like with three eight-meter legs adorning each side and an additional leg on the front for stability, The AT Synth is capable of leaping upwards of 14 meters and moves fast enough to outmaneuver electricity.

A synth’s neurocircuit control system gives it the response time of a fly, enabling its pilot to perform actions in rapid succession while he or she is plugged into the system. ATs have bell shaped bodies with an armored green visor surrounded by red circular lens shaped like eyes. These eyes are part of the ATs onboard K.E.N.F. system.

A Kinetic Energy Neutralization Field or K.E.N.F for short is a revolutionary ion-based armament designed to neutralize the force behind an object. Onboard sensors detect the force of an object and respond by putting out a plasma pulse with equal or greater force at a calculated point of contact to intercept the object. This prevents the K.E.N.F. protected object from taking physical damage.

The neutralization field is so effective at intercepting threats that it is essentially impossible to harm a Combat Synth without anti-synth weapons designed to bypass a K.E.N.F.

Complementing the AT Synths defensive capabilities are its weapon loadout; automatic mounted guns with incendiary rounds; short range ballistic missiles; mortal shells fired with magnetic propulsion for increased velocity; and K.E.N.F. scramblers for Synth-on-Synth engagements.

The All-Terrain Combat Synth is the ideal weapon for turning any landmass into a graveyard. A contingent of twenty ATs is included on each of the aerocarriers. The aerocarriers have reached the drop point.

Aerocarrier

Greenhouse, this is Charlie. Tiena is less than a mile out, permission to deliver package.

Brandt

Permission granted Charlie. Deliver the package, I want that village turned into a parking lot by tomorrow morning.

Aerocarrier

Acknowledged Greenhouse, delivering package.

Gill shaped slits open along the length of the Aerocarriers. The ATs are ejected from the openings in bubble shaped pods. The pods make it to the ground in record time before dissolving and releasing the ATs. The visor and lens on the ATs light up as they activate.

Alpha

This is Alpha. Package delivered, proceeding to combat zone.

Beta

This is Beta. Package delivered, proceeding to combat zone.

 

Aerocarrier

This is Charlie. Package delivery acknowledged. Returning to Greenhouse.

River near Tiena

Stark had spent almost an hour looking at the river. It was the first time he had ever seen one in person. Much of what Stark knew of the world came from books. Even then, he knew very little. He believed he was going to spend the rest of his life in his mother’s laboratory. She had often told him how dangerous and unkind life outside the lab was to those who didn’t belong there.

Stark pondered what she had meant by that. Tiena was nothing like his expectations. The people were friendly, if somewhat mistrusting. The river and grass were as lively as the lab gardens. The sun had been warm which only accentuated the crisp cool night air Stark was now experiencing.

Life was far from unkind here. In fact, it was quite enjoyable. Still his mother’s words had troubled Stark, for his mother had never lied to him. What was it about this place that was so dangerous? The more he thought about it the less comfort it gave him.

Stark thoughts turned to his mother. Was she safe? Would she find him? Should he go back to the lab and look for her? Stark was a fast runner so it wouldn’t take him long to reach it. And then there were her parting words to him, “Forgive me.”.

Forgive her? What was there to forgive her for? Why had she said it? Why was she crying when she said it? Nothing about this made sense to Stark and it troubled him greatly.

Aleia

Penny for your thoughts?

Stark turned around. Aleia must have approached while he was lost in his thoughts.

Stark

I was thinking about my home…and my mother.

Aleia

You must miss your mom a lot, huh?

Stark

This is the first time in my life she wasn’t around. I’m worried about her. I can’t stop thinking about the attack.

 

 

Aleia

I wish I could say something to help. Do you have any other family? Someone you can stay with just in case.

Stark

No. I have an older sister, but she hates me. She thinks I’m a mistake.

Aleia’s face dropped at what Stark had said. It appears Stark no longer has a home. He is alone and has yet to fully come to terms with it. Aleia thought wherever this boy came from must have been a terrible place.

Aleia internally debated with herself for a short while before reaching a decision.

Aleia

Why don’t you live with me? I don’t have much, but I always wanted a little brother.

Stark

Live with you? In the village?

Aleia

Yes. At least until we find your mother.

Stark

What if I never find my mother? What if she’s?

Stark couldn’t finish the sentence. He didn’t want to acknowledge the possibility that haunted his mind. Aleia’s face change once again to one of concern. It was as if she could read Stark’s mind.

She gently smiled and approached Stark as he turned to stare at the river again. Aleia put her hands on his shoulders. He looked up at her smiling face with concern.

Aleia

I promise you will have a home here Stark. The people of Tiena are good people. We will protect you. I won’t let anyone hurt you.

The two shared the warmth of the embrace for a short while before loud noises begun to fill the air.

Aleia

What is that?

There was a bright flash from a large explosion in a distance. As Aleia listened, the sound of screams became more audible.

Aleia

Oh no! The village is under attack!

Stark adopted a fierce glare in the direction of the screams. Feeling a need to help those people, Stark pulled himself from Aleia’s grasp and ran toward the village.

Aleia

Stark wait! Don’t go it’s dangerous!

In the village

Smoke and fire billowed everywhere. The ground was stained crimson from the blood of bodies shredded by machine gun fire. Mortar shells blew apart the hastily constructed buildings. The debris splintered everywhere as the air filled with ash.

The villagers ran every which direction in a panic. Some were trampled to death; others were shot by the weapons of the ATs. Their bones and organs ripped from their bodies in the process. The deafening cry of screams were drowned out by the roar of the ATs guns.

Alpha

Alpha here. Clean up proceeding as scheduled

Brandt

Copy Alpha. Be sure not to leave any orphans. The U.A. is a compassionate superstate.

Alpha

Copy that Greenhouse. Making our way to the center of target.

As the ATs make their way through the village, they make sure to diligently shoot down any stragglers they find. One of the ATs approach a father and young son with its guns trained on them. The father shields the boy with his body hoping to protect him. As the AT gets ready to fire, a black shadowy mirage attacks the AT, splitting it in half.

 Father and son embrace one another relieved to be alive.

Greenhouse

Brandt

What happened?

Console Operator

One of the ATs is down. It has been ripped in half.

 

Brandt

Alpha, one of the ATs is down. Stay alert, you have hostiles present!

Alpha

Copy that Greenhouse. Looking for- aaah!

Brandt

Alpha! Alpha! Shit! Someone tell me what the hell is going on down there!

Tiena

One by one the ATs are taken out by the same darkened translucent shape. In rapid succession, ATs are destroyed before they have time to react, each one sliced or smashed to pieces.

Greenhouse

Operator

Sir. We have lost over half of our forces; we will lose the other half if we don’t abort the operation.

Brandt

Damn! Activated the emergency teleportation beacon. Recall all units!

Operator

Acknowledged sir.

On the main screen of the War Room as the units were all teleported away from the village, Brandt caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure, a see-through silhouette acting as if it were flickering in and out of reality.

It was small and had a humanoid shape. It was there for merely a second and then vanished into thin air. A bead of sweat rolled down the side of Brandt’s face as questions race through his mind.

Kinetic Energy Neutralization Fields were designed to neutralize the force of nuclear weapons. To destroy a Synth equipped with one should be impossible without anti-synth weapons, yet none were fired. For the first time in his life Brandt was terrified.

What was that thing? What could be powerful enough to destroy some of the most powerful war machines on earth in the blink of an eye? Brandt was not a man of God. Yet, the only thing he could think to do in that moment was pray.

Ruins of Tiena

Aleia ran through the rubble of the village looking for Stark.

Aleia

Stark! Stark! Where are you!

Stark approaches Aleia from behind a veil of smoke.

Stark

I’m right here Aleia!

Aleia

What were you thinking!? You could have gotten yourself killed!

Stark

I wanted to make sure the people in the village were alright.

Aleia

I’m glad you are alright. Don’t run off like that again! You nearly gave me a heart attack.

Stark

I’m sorry.

Aleia and Stark hugged one another, then they began to help the survivors. Because the villagers didn’t know when the attack would resume, hastily made graves were dug for the dead. Bodies were carried in bags to prevent spilling and those injured by phosphate were rubbed down with water from the stream. The air was thick with the metallic smell of blood and the chalky stench of smoke.

Stark surveyed the people as he helped fill the graves, the look of sadness and anger on the faces of the people burdened his heart. The look of fear on the frozen faces of corpses would haunt his dreams for years to come as their organs were collected and reorganized to the best of the village doctor’s ability.

At least two dozen graves were filled when Torian decided to pull Osler aside.

Torian

Osler, may I speak with you privately?

Osler

Of course, let’s go somewhere quiet.

Osler

What is it you wanted to speak about?

Torian

The boy that Aleia brought to the village, I don’t trust him. let’s make him leave!

Osler

What!? Are you mad Torian? We are not exiling a child!

Torian

Don’t you think it’s strange that we were attacked by the U.A. shortly after Aleia found him? Or that the attack would suddenly be thwarted by some invisible force causing them to retreat? It’s all to convenient for me!

Osler

You think the boy is a spy?

Torian

It wouldn’t be the first time the U.A. Ethics Committee had used children as soldiers or spies. How else would they have found us?

Osler

Don’t be daft man! The reason we were attacked is because we were smuggling weapons for the Talishar. This is what happens when you aid political extremists! It was only a matter of time before we came under attack by the U.A.

Torian

I’m telling you there is something strange about that kid! He washes up from the river with dry clothes.? He walked through a warzone without so much of a spec of dirt on him.? He doesn’t even smell like a person who was carrying dead bodies!

Osler

I will hear no more of this Torian! We need to finish burying the bodies so we can move before the U.A. forces come back. That boy had nothing to do with this attack. Put it out of your mind and stop being paranoid.

The conversation over, they go back to finish burying their dead. Using their rose shaped matter storage devices, the remaining buildings disperse into particles resembling spores and collect themselves into the devices. Wood, plaster, and brick dissolve before the eyes of their owners as the mobile village prepares to move.

The possessions of the villagers stored away within their handy matter-carrying memory roses, the mobile Village of Tiena begins migrating to seek refuge within the Eastern Coalition.

Queen’s Garden the U.A. capitol building; debriefing room

Colonel Brandt per his duties has flown back to the Queen’s Garden to meet the head researcher of Siterep Sigma, Anton Collera. He has been a loyal member of the U.A. Ethics Committee as his family had been for six generations.

Anton finds himself at risk of facing prison for gross negligence when handling U.A. assets if he does not have a compelling reason for the destruction of Siterep Sigma while it was under his administration. It is not an exaggeration to say Anton’s life depends on his meeting with Colonel Brandt.

Anton

Two days ago, at 1400 hours, we received a notification from UASEPC that one of their deep space exploration vessels had discovered a Russian Alliance experimental teleportation pod. It was an unusual discovery considering the Russian Alliance was destroyed 300 years ago.

Brandt

Russian Alliance? Where did they find it?

Anton

It was inside of a comet that had been approved for a mining survey. They discovered it when their vessel’s scan detected a deposit of metal that was at odds with the composition of the comet.

Brandt

Why was Siterep Sigma contacted? Sigma handles biomatter and xeno organisms.

Anton

There were concerns that because of the pod’s age there might be a hostile contagion sealed within the pod. It was sent to Siterep Sigma to determine if the pod was a threat to international security.

Brandt

What happened after your staff came into the possession of the pod?

Anton

We put it through the standard quarantine protocols. Once the science team deemed it to be safe, we decided to open the pod to check for biological samples that may be within it. Something went wrong.

Brandt

That’s a considerable understatement considering your ass is on the line for a multibillion-dollar research installation. What happened?

Anton

There was an organism of some kind. We couldn’t make out what it was because the inside of the pod was covered in ice. It woke up and burst out of the pod moving too fast to see.

Brandt raises his eyebrows at what Anton had said but allows him to continue.

Anton

It smashed and sliced its way through every defense we had. It bypassed K.E.N.F. like they weren’t even there and the Synths surrounding the base were decimated at a speed faster than thought.

Brandt

When it became clear you wouldn’t be able to contain the organism, what did you do?

Anton

We activate the standard evacuation procedures. All specimens were secured and ready for transport; families of the researchers we had on the base were escorted out by our personnel.

Brandt

Was there anyone on staff who saw what the organism looked like?

Anton

No. But, there was an image of it captured by the outer camera labs. Well, sort of captured.

Brandt

What do you mean sort of captured?

Anton

The image was of a humanoid silhouette that was flickering and translucent. It moved like our understanding of physics didn’t apply to it. It was running on the air like the air was solid ground. It almost reminded me of a mirage.

Brandt

This silhouette was it pitch black like a void?

Anton

Yes, it was like no color could pass through it even though it was see-through. How did you know it was black?

Brandt

Doctor, your testimony may have just saved both of our asses. Representatives from the two American branches are coming here within the hour expecting a full report of what happened the past two days. I think its time we told them about our new friend.

Anton

There’s one more thing Colonel. After I was let out of quarantine, I supervised the examination of the wreckage. Tissue was recovered from it. It contained deioxine, territhyne, and memory-carbon. Biosynthetic tissue.

Brandt

The hostile was wearing biosynthetic armor?

Anton

No Colonel. The sample was skin tissue. It is a Biosynthetic organism.

Brandt’s eyes widened at that. The creature he had seen on the monitor was man made.

This discovery could change more than the U.A. It could change the world!

Tiena

The mobile village of Tiena had been moving at its current pace for a few days. The people had crossed mountains, grasslands, and rivers. The villagers were emotionally beaten down, tired and filled with trepidation as many of them were still shaken from the attack they had survived. They soldiered on to distract themselves from their grief and fear. They had reached a grassy hill near the edge of a forest when Osler decided the people needed to stay here for a few days to rest and recuperate.

Osler

We will stay here for a few days. Everyone set up your possessions. Those that finish may rest a bit before we assign responsibilities.

 The villagers did as they were instructed. Pulling out their memory roses, they activated the stems. Released from the rose petals, the spore like particles started to come together to materialize brick, plaster and wood. Furniture had begun to arrange itself in a set pattern. Plants, stalls and roads appeared from the light of the collected particles. The people who had finished early sat around and relaxed in their own ways. The children played while their parents gossiped the usual gossip. Aleia had just finished arranging her things when she noticed Stark sitting on a nearby hill.

Stark was sitting with his knees up to his chest, his left arm wrapped around his legs. In his right hand was a small object he was looking at intently. It was a gold pendent with a heart shaped gemstone embroidered upon it. The bright lavender heart-shaped stone glittered off his own bright violet irises. Stark had no memory rose of his own, so he was spending his time reminiscing about his family. His mind drifted to memories of moments he shared with his mother.

Flashback to the lab

Stark was walking through the corridors he had passed through at least a dozen times by now. He navigated them almost instinctively taking no notice of the passion fruit red colored wallpaper and wooden furniture. He kept gaze focused straight ahead distantly noting the echo of his footsteps against the white tiled floor. Stark was heading back to his room when he overheard two nearby voices arguing through a door.

First Voice

I can’t believe you did that! What were you thinking! Did you not consider the consequences?

 

Second Voice

 Of course, I considered the consequences. You don’t understand. I was hurt and lonely. I needed companionship!

Stark recognizing the two voices quietly opened the door and peeked inside. Two Russian women were arguing in a standard looking office with a wooden desk and some exotic potted plants. The walls had the same passion fruit red wallpaper and were lined with bookshelves. The first woman was his older sister Samantha, a slender woman in her mid-twenties with curly blond hair. She was wearing gold hooped earrings and had on some light makeup, blue eyeshadow and red lipstick. She was wearing a velvet blue blouse and light blue jeans with red sneakers. The other woman was Stark’s mother, Vivian. She was an older woman with graying blond hair styled into a modest bob cut. Her sagely face was punctuated with light wrinkles under her eyes and by her lips. Vivian was wearing a red turtleneck sweater and a professional black skirt that matched her black high heeled shoes. She wore a lab coat over her ensemble. Sam’s angry violet eyes glistened as she spoke.

Sam

Companionship? Is that what you call that? Are you going to shirk your responsibilities every time you feel depressed?

Vivian

I am taking responsibility for my actions. That’s why he is here. He is part of the family now. Like it or not, he is your new brother.

Sam

That thing will never be my brother! It shouldn’t be here!

Vivian

Don’t call him a thing! He’s a person like you and me. I’m sorry about what happened, but you need to move on.

Sam

(scoffs) Move on? That’s convenient, isn’t it? It’s easy for you to make another kid when you didn’t care about the first one.

Vivian’s eyes lit up with rage at that comment.

Vivian

I ought to slap you for that. I loved Clark. I loved him more than words can describe. Clark is gone now; he’s gone forever and he’s never coming back. You need to accept that!

 

Sam

Why should I accept all your bad decisions?

Vivian

I Know I’ve made my mistakes. I know I should have been there more for Clark. I shouldn’t have given into the temptation. I know Stark shouldn’t exist. I should have known better, that’s my fault.

His mother’s words shot through Stark like a bullet, his heart sunk as tears began to well up in his eyes. His own mother thought he shouldn’t exist. He was a burden to her. Stark felt like he was going to be sick.

Sam

If you know Stark is a mistake, then get rid of it!

Vivian

Samantha! I am done arguing with you! This is not up for discussion. He’s staying and that’s final!

The two of them didn’t notice the open door until later. The person behind it had already left to be alone. It was hours later when Vivian found Stark. He was sitting in the shade of the larger trees in the gardens.

Vivian

There you are. I’ve been looking all over for you. I was beginning to worry.

Stark

Why do you care where I am?

Vivian

Because I was worried something had happened to you.

Stark

Why do you care? You think I’m a mistake.

Vivian

What!? What are you talking about? I don’t think you’re a mistake.

Stark angrily turned around to face her and started shouting.

Stark

Don’t lie to me! I heard what you said to Samantha! How I shouldn’t exist! You hate me don’t you!

Vivian recoiled at what Stark had just said. She was genuinely hurt by his comments. She had said those words, but she didn’t mean it that way. It reaffirmed her belief that she was failing as a mother. She knew she had to fix this.

Vivian

Stark I-

Stark interrupted her.

Stark

Just go away and leave me alone!

Stark turned around in a huff and began sobbing again. Vivian’s face changed to a more loving expression. She slowly approached where Stark was and sat down next to him before speaking again.

Vivian

I’m sorry Stark. You have every right to be angry at me. But you must know it was never my intention to hurt you. Even if I left you alone, I could never stop caring about you.

Stark looked up at his mother. He had calmed down slightly

Vivian

I did say those words, but I didn’t mean it that way. I don’t want you to think you’re a mistake. You’re not and I was being stupid for saying anything that could suggest you were. You mean a great deal to me and a future without you would be unbearable to me.

Stark

You mean that?

Vivian smiled before answering. She hugged him gently and spoke.

Vivian

With all my heart. Can you forgive me?

Stark

Yes, I can

His mother wiped away his tears and the two of them embraced under the shade of the tree. They spent a good while simply enjoying their time together.

Back to the present

Because Stark was lost in deep thought Aleia was able to approach him without him noticing her.

Aleia

What are you looking at?

Stark was briefly startled until he realized that it was Aleia.

Stark

It’s my pendent. My mom gave it to me. Told me to look at it whenever I need to remember her.

Aleia bent down to get a closer look at the heart shaped pendent.

Aleia

It looks nice.

Stark

Thank you.

Aleia noticed Stark had a crestfallen face and decided to ask him about it.

Aleia

What’s wrong? You look like your sad about something.

Stark looked up from his pendent and at Aleia.

Stark

I was thinking about my mother. I always wondered if she really loved me.

Aleia

You don’t know if your mother loved you?

Stark

I like to think she did, but I’m not sure.

Aleia

Didn’t she tell you she loved you?

Stark

No, she never said that.

Aleia’s face fell at that. She didn’t know what to make of that statement. Seeing Stark’s saddened expression, she decided to say something to cheer him up.

Aleia

I’m sure she loved you a lot. You don’t give something that precious to someone you don’t love.

Hearing that lifted stark’s spirits. It made him feel better. Suddenly Osler’s voice rang out into the air.

Osler

Okay everyone breaks over! Everyone line up so we can decide who gets what duties.

Everyone heard Osler and began to form lines. Aleia looked back at Stark.

Aleia

What do you say we get in line and find out what our chores are together? Who knows maybe we’ll get something fun?

Stark shook his head in acknowledgement. Putting his pendent away, he grabbed Aleia’s hand as she helped him to his feet before they went to stand in line with everyone else.

Queen’s Garden, room of the Regency

After Brandt and Collera’s testimonies were corroborated by the video evidence of the incidents, the reports compiled by the two branch representatives were sent to the respective heads of the three branches. They called together a meeting with the highest level of the Ethics Committee, the Regency. They are the three people with the highest authority in the United Atlantic, each one representing the head of their state. Such a meeting is only called in times of dire circumstances. The situation was indeed dire for the U.A. had never encountered a threat like this in the entirety of its existence.

The room was equal parts massive and intimidating. The spacious walls resembled a planetarium and made the room brim with ambient light. Row after row of long desks were stacked atop one another in a manner reminiscent of a German expressionist painting, The desks were seated with the heads of thousands of departments ready to bring their expertise to bare. The three regents sat of on fashionable highly sophisticated chairs made of glass that were furnished with fine colorful silks. At the bottom of the room was an elevated platform with a wooden railing. The railing was connected to the floor by structures resembling tangled vines. Extra modest chairs were situated along the back wall.

Once the meeting was assembled Colonel Brandt took his place on the elevated platform and begun to speak.

Brandt

A few days ago, at 0700 hours, a hostile organism of unknown nature and origin was transported to containment at research site Siterep Sigma. An hour later, it escaped and demolished the installation. Later that day at 2000 hours, the same organism destroyed an entire platoon of All-Terrain Combat Synths carrying out an operation to neutralize political insurgents attempting to smuggle weapons across the border of another superstate. Video evidence of both incidents show the creature to be a shadow-like mirage that flickers like a candle. This evidence will be presented to the assembly now.

The walls of the room change from their planetarium pattern to show the video. Imaging leaves like the ones used on the main viewscreen of the Greenhouse War Room change to show the assembly 3D versions of the footage. The twin videos play for a while before they both stop and freeze on the image of the creature Brandt described.

Brandt

. To better explain the nature of what we’re dealing with, I now present Dr. Anton Collera, Administrative Director of Siterep Sigma, to explain the process of creating biosynthetic materials.

Anton rose from his seat and replaced Brandt on the platform. Anton pressed a rose shaped device on the sleeve of his shirt. The rose causes the image leaves to reshape themselves into a new 3D image. This time it was of a D.N.A strand.

Anton

This is a strand of Deoxyribonucleic Acid or D.N.A. for short. It is made up of four base amino acids, Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine. Together they form a repeating sequence of nucleotide base pairs that make up the strand. The backbone of D.N.A is made of sugar and phosphate molecules that bond with the base pairs to create the double helix strand.

Anton pressed the rose on his sleeve and the leaves again changed shape to show new images.

Anton

This is a malleable and modular microscopic substance named the Bleugis molecule. We can shape the molecule to mimic the properties of any amino acid we choose. Using the Bleugis molecule we can synthesize artificial strands of D.N.A. by combining it with sugar and phosphate molecules. Once created, this synthetic D.N.A. is chemically bonded to a microscopic shell made from synthetic materials. After the D.N.A is added into the shell it becomes organic tissue. This is how biosynthetic materials are made gentlemen.

Despite the miracle of creation happening before their eyes, the assembly showed the usual level of interest professional bureaucrats typically do when shown such things; basically none.

Anton

Due to the engineering difficulties of created fully living organism out of synthetic matter, our development of biosynthetic tissue has been limited to machines and construction material. All known attempts to create a living organism had failed…until now. After quarantine had been lifted, tissue samples had been collected from the wreckage at Siterep Sigma. Tests indicated that the organism is composed of biosynthetic tissue. It’s an artificially created lifeform. Gentlemen what we are looking at is the most impressive feat of bioengineering every accomplished. We have reasons to believe that it was made on Earth.

The head of the Bioengineering department, a Mr. David Beckler, spoke up.

Beckler

How do you know it was made on Earth? That seems like a reach in logic doctor.

Anton turned his head to address Beckler. He pressed the rose on his sleeve a third time to bring up various images and charts.

He turned his head to study them for a moment and make sure this was the right file.

After he was convinced it was the right one, he spoke.

 

Anton

The organism was recovered in a Russian Alliance teleportation pod that was use in space warping field experiments. The pod was not designed for use in space and yet it was recovered by a UASEPC deep space exploration vessel. Additionally, the lifeform appears to have adapted itself to our environment, so far it has shown no signs of being hindered by our biome. This would be difficult for any non-earth form of life to accomplish due to bio-chemical barriers. Lastly D.N.A. fragments from the tissue were tested and cross-referenced with genetic profiles we have on record. It matched a genetic signature with one animal in our database: Homo sapien.

Beckler

This thing is human!?

Anton

We don’t have a full strand of D.N.A. from the organism. We cannot confirm that it is human. All we can confirm is that it has human D.N.A. in it.

The once quiet assembly broke into a dull roar after Anton had finished speaking. The European Regent raised her hand and the committee quieted itself. She proceeded to speak.

European Regent

So, as I understand it, an artificially constructed human-like organism made on Earth was found in an experimental device from a deposed regime, escaped from and destroyed a multibillion-dollar military research installation, traveled hundreds of miles and destroyed a whole platoon of state-of-the-art Combat Synths in a single day? Even if the creature is a biosynthetic organism how could it have accomplished that?

Anton

Well, madame regent, we believe that has to do with its material composition. To elaborate further I have requested Dr. Amelia Petrie from the astrophysics weapon development division to attend this committee meeting. She will now explain it in better detail.

Dr. Petrie stood up from her seat and took to the raised platform. She was a broad mousey woman with a permanent scowl and a strict dress code reflecting her no-nonsense personality.

Petrie

Thank you Dr. Collera. As some of you may well know, my division has been looking into a theoretical form of matter that, until recently, had been dropped from scientific discussion. For those of you that don’t know, this form of matter is known as Null-Matter. Null-Matter are a collection of hypothetical materials with the ability to subvert the physical properties of normal matter. Null-Matter can be used to construct things such as houses that are as light as a feather, metal that neither melts nor freezes when exposed to extreme temperatures, electric coils that can absorb an indefinite amount of ionic energy and can even control gravity, space and time. It is the joint theory of the AWDD and the xenobiology research department that the organism has Null-Matter as the base components of its synthetic biology.

After disseminating the information, the congregation broke out into loud murmurs. Petrie waited for them to quiet down before continuing.

Petrie

We also believe that due to the unique and irregular composition of its cells that the organism in immune to all forms of physical force or contamination; Basically, we believe that it is biologically immortal and that it has limitless physical potential.

The head of the intelligence department, Jim Rasso, spoke up next.

Rasso

In the dossier that was given to us before the meeting reads that the organism resists all attempts at exposure. Can you clarify that statement?

Petrie

The organism gives off no detectable radiation so thermal and ultraviolet surveillance can’t be used on it. It ignores K.E.N.F security systems so bioelectrical scanning won’t work either. It moves too quickly to track via motion or sound-based tracking and given its nature visual surveillance is woefully inadequate.

Rasso

So, there is no way to track it?

Petrie

No, not saying that it can’t be tracked, merely that we have no known way of tracking it.

European Regent

So, in other words it cannot be tracked.

Petrie

No, it presently cannot be tracked.

The Three Regents were only mildly annoyed with Dr. Petrie’s obstinance. The regents conversed among themselves for a short while. After their deliberations were finished, the European Regent began to speak as she was the one with the highest status.

European Regent

We have decided that the issue of the biosynthetic organism should be shelved for the time being. Because we lack enough information about this unprecedented threat, no course of action can be realistically taken concerning it. The inability to even track it means countermeasures must be postponed until a later date. Before we conclude this committee meeting there is one last matter to be addressed. Colonel Brandt, step onto the platform.

Brant rose from his seat and took his place on the platform. He placed his hands on the railing in a submissive gesture of deference.

 

European Regent

Colonel Brandt, upon review we must say that we are disappointed in your handling of the Talishar incident. Your gross negligence has endangered everything the U.A. has sought to accomplish. However, considering the extenuating circumstances that were revealed here today, we have decided to grant you clemency. Therefore, you will not be brought up on disciplinary charges at this time.

Brandt adjusted himself when he heard that. Although he did not show it, he was greatly relieved.

European Regent

Those political insurgents are a threat to international security and must be neutralized. The anti-synth weapons they are carrying must not fall into the hands of the U.A.’s enemies. We give you this command in good faith that you will see it done.

Brandt

Thank you for your confidence madame regent. I will begin preparations to neutralize the insurgents. None of them will make it to the Eastern Coalition alive.

European Regent

We shall hope for a successful operation. You would do well to remember Colonel that the Queen’s Garden can only remain a visage of beauty when all its unruly branches are pruned.

The Implicit threat received; Brandt shook his head in acknowledgement.

European Regent

With all business concluded, we hereby declare this committee meeting adjourned.

Tiena, later that night

Night had fallen when the villagers had all completed their assigned tasks. They were sitting around a campfire in the center of the village eating and conversing with one another, each lost in their own respective world. Stark and Aleia were assigned to work in the village’s portable greenhouse. They picked the various fruits and veggies that were growing within its walls and tended to the water plants used in the crafting of arts. Stark enjoyed working in the greenhouse for it reminded him of the lab gardens his family had worked in.

After the work had been finished, the group Stark and Aleia had worked with sat around a campfire with the rest of the villagers. They were telling stories and fables. According to Aleia, telling stories was a time-honored tradition of her people. Stark was invited to join, but he declined for he had no stories to tell.

Across the way, Torian watched Stark intently as he ate his food. Even though Osler told him to drop the subject; he could not shake the feeling that there was something off about this strange foreigner.

His musings were interrupted when a village scout shouted that something was coming out of the sky. The night sky lit up in a reddish-orange glow before four-winged sting rays descended from the sky. Osler immediately started shouting orders,

Osler

It’s the U.A.! Quickly get the women and children to shelter! Any abled body men not injured in the attack grab the anti-synth weapons and take your positions! They will not take us by surprise again!

The women and children took shelter in the trenches of the nearby hills. The men grabbed cannons designed to fire green energy pulses designed to bypass a K.N.E.F.

None of the men were trained to fight; they didn’t even have any members of the Talishar who asked them to smuggle these weapons among their ranks. They were desperate and eager to defend their homes. Their inexperience began to show when the first wave of sting rays fired a volley of missiles at the village. The explosions shattered buildings causing wood and rock to splinter. Several men were thrown through the air as Osler tried to keep the men organized.

Greenhouse, The War Room

The War Room had been tracking Tiena’s movements via satellite for days. It took them only a day or so for the Aerocarriers to catch up with them. Brandt was determined not to squander the second chance he was given.

Brandt

Alpha, this is Greenhouse. Have you made contact yet?

Alpha

Alpha here, Greenhouse. We’ve engaged the insurgents. Cleanup is proceeding as scheduled sir.

Brandt

Excellent! Don’t let up until you’ve got them all!

Brandt had been looking forward to this moment a long time. Brandt relished the thought of wiping out the Talishar scum. In his opinion those pieces of terrorist trash weren’t even worthy of being called human. He thought back to the reports of all the coordinated attacks carried out by the Talishar. All the innocent people they slaughtered like animals. But this, this was not slaughter. This was poetic justice!

The organism may have thwarted his first attempt, but the organism was not here now. His retribution would be swift and merciless. As long as Brandt stayed at his post, he would ensure the survival and prosperity of the greatest nation on Earth for generations to come.

While Brandt breathed, he would destroy any who threated his nation and people with everything he has. He swore to it.

The Battlefield

Ash filled the air as fires burned and spread out of control. The Missile bombardment was relentless. Despite their best efforts, the men could not hit any of the fast-moving sting rays for they were not trained to use the anti-synth cannons. The tried valiantly to hit their adversaries without losing their heads in the process, but they were being overwhelmed. Covered in soot with ears bleeding from torn eardrums caused by the loud sounds of battle, the men of Tiena began to scatter.

Despite the losing cause, Osler tried to keep them organized.

Osler

Hold your ground! Don’t let them separate you or-

Osler’s shouting was interrupted by a ballistic object striking his immediate perimeter. It was not a direct hit, but it was close enough to hit the mark. Osler was thrown through the air the force tore through his body ripping skin and breaking bones. His ligaments tore open, and his intestines ruptured. Osler hit the grassy ground hard landing on his back.

Osler’s vision was blurry and his ears ringed with tinnitus drowning out the chaos around him. In a state of shock, Osler lifted his head with great effort. His charred ash-covered face looked down at his body. His legs were blown off and he had shrapnel sticking out of his gut. Unable to keep his held up any longer, he laid back down and looked up at the starry sky illuminated by the baleful orange glow of the fires around him. Strangely, Osler thought the sight was beautiful.

His mind drifted back to his family he had before he joined the village. Osler was the sole survivor of a bombing carried out by the U.A. that destroyed his city years before. He lost everyone, his parents, his wife, his son. The image of his burned and bandaged wife as she laid dying had never left his mind. Ever since he had been elected to the position by the village Osler had tried to be a compassionate and wise leader. Even when the village counsel overruled him when he said they would not smuggle weapons, he tried to protect them. Tried to prepare them for what he knew was coming. Tried to lead them to safety and to a new life. He had tried, tried and failed. Osler knew they would all die. He knew his time on Earth was over. The knowledge he would be reunited with his family comforted him. Taking his last few heavy breathes Osler closed his eyes to rest forever. History would not remember him. No one would know what became of him.

Osler was gone.

In the hills

The injured, women and children laid low as they watched the carnage unfold. They huddled together in fear awaiting either their salvation or doom. Mothers cooed their babies to keep them quiet. One little boy looked at his mother.

Little Boy

Mommy, are we going to be alright?

Boy’s Mother

I don’t know honey. I don’t know.

She then pulled him into her embrace to comfort him.

Stark watched the people around him afraid for their lives. He knew he couldn’t let this continue. Standing to his feet Sark closed his eyes and concentrated. His body accelerated without moving, time started to slow down around him when he opened his eyes.

Battlefield

Alpha

Greenhouse this is Alpha, cleanup almost complete. How about you save us a pack of cold ones for when we get back?

Brandt

Alpha, you finish this up and I’ll buy you the whole bar!

Alpha

Copy that Greenhouse, we’ll have this finis- what the hel-aaaah!

Brandt

Alpha! Alpha! What Happened!?

The black mirage had returned, like with the AT’s from before it started to quickly wipe out the sting rays, darting through the air it sliced one sting ray in half before doubling back and smashing through the tail of another. The villagers on the ground stopped firing the cannons to watch the unusual spectacle as the aircrafts were falling from the sky being taken out by some invisible force.

Brandt

Shit! Pull back, abort operation!

But it was too late. The synths were gone.

Greenhouse, The War Room

Once again Brandt had been thwarted. This was the work of the organism; he was sure of it. But unlike last time no footage of the creature had been capture. Once again he had failed, and he knew his superiors would not give him a third chance. His career was over.

The now quiet battlefield.

The humanoid mirage had descended to the ground. The villagers gathered around the strange entity in shock and awe. Aleia pushed through the crowd to approach the strange being she walked a few steps on her shaking legs before she fell to her knees overwhelmed by what she had just witnessed. The shade began to change its appearance as violet eyes materialized through its swirling mists. Other physical features followed.

Its fluid visage hardened and began to show color; short blond hair neatly arranged into rows of small spikes; a round youthful pinkish-white face; blue clothes with an exposed midriff in the center covered by a black undershirt; black fingerless gloves that exposed white fingertips; long black boots with red heels and then finally a long red scarf tied neat around the neck with its tongue hanging halfway down the back. Its form was fully revealed, and the strange creature was revealed to be Stark!

Stark

Is everyone all right? I think I got them all!

The villages stood there in silence gaping at what they had just witnessed until Torian spoke up.

Torian

You? That’s why they keep finding us. They are looking for you!

Torian turned to the assembled crowd of villagers before shouting.

Torian

This thing isn’t human, it’s a monster! The U.A. must have come here looking for it. It’s some bioweapon that escaped from a U.A. lab. We will never be safe as long as this thing is around!

The crowd murmured in horror at Torian’s proclamation. Aleia for her part was stunned beyond words. For the past few days, she had opened her home to this thing. She had treated it with kindness and understanding because Aleia thought it was a child. But it wasn’t a child. It wasn’t even human. It was the same kind of abomination that had attacked her home and killed her family. Aleia was horrified and enraged beyond words, so she did the only thing that made sense to her. Aleia picked up a rock and threw it at Stark’s face hitting him in the cheek. 

Aleia

Monster! Get out of here you freak! We don’t want you here!

Emboldened by Aleia’s actions the all the villagers began to pick up and throw whatever heavy object they could find at Stark. They threw rock and brick at his face, his chest, his shoulders and his legs. Yelling cruel things as they did so. But no matter what they threw or how hard they threw it; the villagers left no scratch, cut or bruise upon Stark’s person. Nothing had ever damaged Stark’s indestructible body. Yet, while the thrown objects did no damage to him he felt the pain of every blow. Stark moved his arms to shield his body as tears welled up in his eyes. He had just saved these people, why were they hurting him?

Unable to take the pain and hurled insults of the villagers, Stark did the only thing he could think to do and ran away into the safety of the forest. He ran until he could neither see no hear the villagers anymore. As Stark ran, his thoughts drifted back to his mother, the only person who ever cared about him.

Stark

(Mom, why did you leave me?)

Flashback to the lab gardens

The gardens of stark’s home were vast and populated with all manner of synthetically made lifeforms. Their creator was a scientist who was an heiress to a vast fortune. She had decided to use her inherited wealth to further her research in unlocking the secrets of life. To that end she built this environmentally controlled laboratory on a remote island located in the arctic sea so her work would not be disturbed. The gardens were filled with engineered life intended to test the limits of bioengineering. There were carnivorous trees; purple plants that grew sapphire fruit that tasted like cotton candy; ferns that change color when exposed to music; and animals with biology that defied all things science knew about the natural world, some would appear utterly alien to anyone who didn’t know their true nature.

Stark had spent countless hours exploring these gardens when outside of his private education time. He had spent days running around and testing his abilities in new ways all while helping his mother take care of the strange plants and animals his mother had created. Stark was oblivious to his true nature. He never thought much of his powers, as his mother was the only human being he had regular contact with. Any time Stark asked Vivian about why she didn’t share any of his abilities, she would simply say that Stark was a special boy.

It was one such trek through the gardens that Stark learned the most important lesson his mother had ever taught him. He was running through the gardens zipping, bounding and pivoting around trees, bushes and lakes. He came to a stop to admire some new grass his mother had recently put into the garden. Out of the corner of his eye Stark saw something laying on the ground. It was a small black bird with an orange beak, laying there completely motionless.

Vivian had often stressed to Stark that it was their responsibility to take care of the plants and animal living in the gardens. Believing the bird to be sick, Stark gently scooped the bird into his hands and leaped into the air. He proceeded to run on the air as if it were solid ground as he had done countless times before. He quickly sought out his mother who was tending to some roses that glow a bright red in the dark.

Stark

Mom, come quick! I found a bird lying on the ground; it may be sick!

Vivian turned around and walked towards Stark as he held out his hands to her. She bent over to study the bird for a few moments before standing up again.

Vivian

Stark the bird isn’t sick. It’s dead.

Stark

Dead? That’s bad right? We got to help it!

Vivian

We can’t help it Stark.

Stark

What do you mean?

Vivian

It’s hard to explain. When something is dead it doesn’t exist anymore, and the body becomes an empty shell. It’s not a living thing anymore so you can’t help it.

Stark

Why did it die?

Vivian

I don’t know; but we need to dispose of the body, so it doesn’t spread any diseases.

Stark looked up at his mom sadly before looking down at the bird. He held his hands close to him, even if he couldn’t help the bird, he felt bad for it.

Stark had remained largely silent for the rest of the day. Vivian took notice that something was wrong with Stark as they were walking back to the living quarters.

Vivian

What wrong Stark? You’re being awfully quiet today.

Stark

Mom, do all living things die?

Vivian and Stark stopped in their tracks. Vivian turned to face Stark. She wore a somber expression.

Vivian

Yes, they do.

Stark

Why?

Vivian

I don’t know why. That’s just how it’s always been. Things are born, they grow, and then they die.

Stark

Are you going to die?

Vivian

I will someday.

Stark

So, am I going to die too?

Vivian

I can’t answer that Stark, I mean you’re not-

Vivian paused, unable to finish that sentence. Stark looked down at the ground with a sad expression on his face. Seeing how concerned he was, Vivian’s expression changed to a loving smile. She got down on her knees to meet Stark at eye level. She put her thumb and index finger on his chin and pulled his face up to get him to meet her gaze.

Vivian

You’re a very special boy Stark. For all I know you may live forever.

Stark thought about that for a moment before asking his next question.

 

Stark

If everything dies, does that mean life is pointless?

Vivian

No, it doesn’t Stark. In fact, it makes life all the more precious. The reason my work is so important is because it may help many people to live as long and fulfilling a life as possible.

Stark

Why do you work so hard to put off something that will happen regardless of what we do?

Vivian placed her hands on Stark’s shoulders and started to rub them in a comforting manner. She smiled before she replied.

Vivian

Because I believe that a moment of life, however brief it may be, is worth protecting. I hope one day you’ll believe that too.

Stark mulled his mother’s words over in his head, not sure what to make of them.

Vivian

Let’s not think about death right now, you and I are still very much alive. So, let’s make as many good memories as possible together while we can ok?

Stark nodded and the two hugged for a good while before heading back to the living quarters. Stark did not know it at the time, but that memory would be one of the most important memories of his life.

Present day, local bar in the slums

The soon-to-be-former Colonel Brandt was a sad sight as he drank his problems away. That damned creature had taken everything from him. There was to be a review board in a few months’ time and when it convened he undoubtedly would be stripped of both his rank and command. Years of his life dedicated to the tireless cause of national security; years fighting for a brave new world where his nation could prosper as the uncontested political power of the entire planet, and years of unflinching loyalty to the one-party rule of the Ethics Committee, all of it for nothing.

Brandt downed another shot of whisky when the door to the bar opened up. The figure briskly walked to where Brandt was sitting before making herself known.

Jenner

Colonel, you know it is against army regulations to drink alcohol while in full uniform.

 

 

Brandt

I don’t care anymore; I’m going to be working in the mail room from now on anyway. Graduated from West Point with honors, six medals, seven commendations and over 200 successful field operations. All of it down the shitter because of some freak of nature those eggheads pulled out of a damn comet!

Jenner

Can’t you explain the situation to them?

Brandt

Wouldn’t do any good. No footage of the thing was caught this time. If I told them the same lifeform thwarted my command a second time they’ll think I’m lying to save my job.

Brandt knocked back another shot of whiskey before continuing.

Brandt

I don’t see why they’re even bothering with the board meeting. They should just give me some rope to hang myself with.

Brandt’s anger bleed through more and more with every word he spoke.

Brandt

What I wouldn’t give for some good ole All-Atlantic fashioned revenge. It would feel so good to destroy that thing for all the problems it caused me.

Jenner was pensive as if debating something with herself. The bar was silent for a few moments save for some depressing country music playing in the background. Jenner spoke again.

Jenner

Sir, what if I told you there might be a way to save your job and get revenge on the organism at the same time?

Brandt turned to Jenner eyeing his Second suspiciously before speaking.

Brandt

And how pray tell do you propose we do that?

Jenner

Are you familiar with Hanger 51 Colonel?

Brandt cocked an eyebrow.

Hanger 51

The Steel bulkhead doors to the hanger opened to reveal a long dark corridor that lit up automatically on its own. Brandt and Jenner swiftly walked through the corridor to reach a second set of bulkhead doors. Jenner spoke as she started to put in the security codes to open the doors.

Jenner

When the U.A. annihilated the Russian Alliance 300 years ago, most of the information regarding their military programs was regrettably lost. However, we were able to retrieve one item in particular that is being stored in this facility. We don’t know much about it as it has resisted all our attempts to reverse-engineer it.

Finishing typing in the codes Jenner opened the bulkhead doors. A large dark room opened up and they went inside the lights coming on as Brandt and Jenner entered. Brandt’s face froze in awe as he saw a massive structure before him.

Jenner

According to the records its name is Savior.

Before Brandt was a 40-meter-tall creature that resembled a dove. It was completely motionless for it was inactive. Nonetheless it was an impressive sight to behold. Its body was predominantly a silver white color, its long forearms that resembled wings were outreached in front of it like legs. Huge pale talons punctuated its hind legs. A long white whip like tail made up a sizable part of its body. Its face terminated in an orange beak like structure with two black spots approximating eyes above it. Along the full length if its body were repeating red words written in traditional Russian Cyrillic script. The words read “Kings fear the Savior, for he remakes worlds.” Prophetic words for any who understood the meeting.

Brandt gazed in awe at such an impossible massive creature

Brandt

Is this a combat synth?

Jenner

No, its an autonomous peacekeeping weapon that the Russians did not use for some reason. According to records it was created by a Dr. Victries out of biosynthetic materials. That’s not the most interesting part though.

Brandt turned to look at Jenner intrigued.

Jenner

Our tests show it has the same cell composition as the organism from Siterep Sigma.

Brandt’s eyes widened in disbelief.

Brandt

You mean whoever made this may have made the lifeform from the comet?

Jenner nodded her head in confirmation.

Jenner

It may be more than that sir, maybe the reason Savior was never used in the war is because it wasn’t designed to fight something human.

The wheels in Brandt’s head turned as he thought about Jenner’s inference. Yes, this would be the instrument of his vengeance. The organism will pay!

In the wilds

Stark awoke from his slumber; he had found a small alcove of trees to sleep in for the night. His body was still sore from the stones thrown by the villagers. He couldn’t believe that happened to him. They were so nice to him, but then they turned cruel. He simply didn’t understand why they had reacted that way.

Stark began to weigh his options as he tried to figure out what he should do next. Should he try to find the village again and explain what happened? He didn’t want to do that after they had been so mean to him. He didn’t want them to throw more rocks at him. Could he make his way back to the lab? What if the monsters that had attacked his home were still there?

Stark wanted to look for his mother, but he didn’t know where to look, he wasn’t even 100% sure where he was now that he thought about it. Feeling that nothing would get accomplished by sitting around Stark decided to pick a direction and start running. He made good time as he went north. The forest gave way to snowy mountains as he moved fast enough to clear great distances but slow enough to take in the sights. As Stark traveled, he came across a sad sight. A mountain deer was caught under the branch of a large tree that had fallen over. It screeched as it tried desperately to free itself. Though Stark felt bad for the deer; he had little interest in helping it. After all, the last living things he had tried to help responded by hurting him so why wouldn’t this deer do the same?

Stark turned to walk away from the deer and leave it to its fate. He stopped when he heard it screech loudly. He thought back to how his mother said it was important to care for the plants and animals in the gardens. She would undoubtedly be disappointed in Stark not helping the deer. Going against his own judgement he went over to the tree and grabbed it. The weight of the tree essentially disappeared as he held it. Stark lifted the tree until the deer was free of its branches.

The deer regarded Stark for a moment, snorting it ran off into the woods.

It was strange, by helping the deer he felt a little better about himself. That simple act of kindness felt good to him. Good enough to distract himself from recent events. Stark began travelling again this time with renewed vigor. He was making his way through a valley when he heard a noise. A boy had fallen into the river and was being washed away in the rapids. Along the shore his father cried out in panic,

Boy’s father

Don’t worry Ada, I’m coming to get you!

Boy

Daddy I’m scared!

The environment froze like a still picture. Time had essentially stopped as Stark calmly walked upon the surface of the now motionless rapids. He looked at the boy and then the boy’s father on the shore. He looked back down at the face of the boy. It was frozen with fear. Stark wanted to help but remembering the villagers decided to do so in a way that avoided revealing himself. He gently picked up the boy and carried him over to the boy’s father. Placing him down in front of the worried parent. Satisfied with this Stark made sure he was out of their line of sight when he returned to normal speed.

Father and son were shocked at their sudden materialization in front of one another. Relief etched onto the father’s face as he picked up his little boy to hold him in his arms. The boy for his part looked around confused unsure of how he ended up on the shore away from the rapids of the river. The two departed for home, as the boy turned around he caught a glimpse of a figure in a red scarf running in the clouds. He blinked before looking again and saw nothing. Deciding it was just his imagination, the boy hugged his father as they walked eager to see his family again. 

For a time, Stark continued traveling along the northern part of the continent while secretly helping people along the way. He pulled a truck that had driven off a bridge back onto the road. He helped an old couple harvest all their crops in a single night. He saved a pair of hikers from being crushed in a rockslide. Incident after incident, he went out of his way to help any he came across always taking care to use his powers to hide his presence.

Acting as a silent protector gave Stark a sense of fulfilment for it distracted him from his loneliness. Stark thought back to what his mother said, “a moment of life, however brief, is worth protecting.” Stark felt he was starting to understand what she meant. Helping other living things made Stark feel good about himself. Maybe could this be his purpose in life? Stark didn’t know it at the time, but it would be the last true moment of happiness he would feel in a long time.

 

Secret Command Post

The technicians were hard at work outfitting Savior with the tracking equipment. Soon Savior would be ready to launch.

Brandt was pleased at the progress since it would mean he would soon have his retribution. It had been a month since Jenner had shown Brandt the contents of Hanger 51. A month preparing for the most important battle of Brandt’s career. Brandt used to hate the needless red tape of bureaucracy; he was a man of action and the endless committee meetings always slowed everything down. In this case, he was grateful for the slow process.Until that review board was called, he held the rank enabling him to authorize operations like the one he was getting ready to launch.

Brandt

Are you sure that Savior’s bioacoustics tracking system will find the lifeform?

Technician

We’re confident sir. It should home in on him like a fly to honey.

Brandt

Excellent! Get those cameras installed as soon as possible! I want Savior to be able to take off within the hour!

Brandt was ready to enact his retribution. He would find the organism. He would find it and kill it. Once he had eliminated the threat, his failure at stopping the Talishar would be all forgiven. The aptly named Savior would be Brandt’s Salvation. Vengeance would be sweet indeed.

The forest

Stark found himself travelling through another forest in high spirits. He had just recently saved a nearby village from being destroyed by a fire. The occupants were baffled by how the fire seemed to have simply vanished, but that mattered little to Stark. For him the act of saving the village was reward enough and he was still feeling giddy about it. He took the time to admire the trees, flowers, and the streams.

While he still missed his mother, Stark was enjoying the chance to see the world and experience nature. If he ever saw her again, he would be sure to tell her about his experiences. His mother would no doubt be so proud of all he had done. As he continued his trek through the woods, a large shadow passing overhead caught his attention. A massive bird unlike any he had ever seen was approaching the forest. While it was a ways out, it halted keeping itself suspended in midair. And then without any warning, it fired a giant laser that incinerated a huge chunk of the forest setting it ablaze. Almost instantly after, it fired another laser to set another part of the forest ablaze. Stark recognized it as being like the monsters that had attacked the Lab and Tiena. Realizing that it would kill the entire forest at this rate, he decided to fight it. Turning into his mirage form, Stark took off to attack the creature. He started with a fast-moving slice…and it did nothing. Momentarily taken aback by this, Stark tried to slice it again…and nothing happened. Again and again, he tried to attack it. But his attacks all had no effect on the massive bird monster.

Seemingly tired of getting wailed on by Stark, the bird materialized large red tendrils out of its back and swiped one of them at Stark. The appendage hit stark so hard it knocked him out of his mirage form and sent him sailing towards the ground at Mach 3. Stark hit the floor of the burning forest with a loud thud. His body was racked with pain, he could hardly move as the massive monster descended towards him. Grabbing Stark with the tendril, the monster lifted Stark into the air to gaze at it with the video feed cameras that had been installed onto its massive head.

Secret Control Room

Brandt looked at the monitor to see the revealed form of his enemy. He was flabbergasted by what he saw. The terrifying organism that had haunted him over the preceding two months was in fact a blond kid wearing a red scarf. Brandt could hardly believe it. All his hardships were caused by this child!? Well, it no longer mattered. Having gotten his footage of the creature, he gave the order for Savior to finish it off. Savior opened its maw and without a second thought swallowed Stark whole. He disappeared into the darkness of Savior’s gullet.

Inside Savior

Stark awoke to find himself wrapped up in vines.He looked around and saw that he was in a cave full of vines and flowers. The plants that littered his new prison resembled the gardens back in the lab. As he gathered his bearings, Stark watched as a large Flower descended from the ceiling; it was a memory rose. The memory rose opened its petals and spore particles came forth swirling together as they materialized a shape. Stark couldn’t believe the image that popped up before his very eyes. It was a 3D projection of his sister Samantha!

Samantha regarded Stark with a malicious grin before speaking.

Sam

Well now isn’t this a pleasant surprise. How are you Stark?

Stark

Sam? What’s going on? What is this place?

 

Sam

Justice, that’s what is going on. I’ve been waiting a long time for you. You may have escaped the lab, but you won’t escape now.

Stark

The lab? How did you escape the monsters?

Sam let out a malicious laugh before responding.

Sam

Monsters? Those were not monsters you idiot! Those were Russian Alliance forces. I had told them that a woman was engineering bioweapons with the intent to overthrow the government. I had them attack the lab to kill you and mother.

Stark’s eyes widened in horror. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

Stark

How could you do that?

Sam

Because you’re an abomination! Your existence is a mistake that should be corrected.

Stark

I don’t understand. Why do you hate me so much?

Sam

You don’t have the right to ask me that freak! After the death of my brother, I was ready to move on, to make peace with the fact he was gone. But, then she made you, giving you his face.

Sam closed her eyes in anger. Tears visible in her eyes. Sam continued

Sam

All our lives, she was never there for Clark or me. Then after Clark died, she decided she wanted to be a mother again. It was sickening to watch her dote on you like you were really her child. It was a disgusting display that violated Clark’s memory.

Sam opened her eyes before hardening her face with a hardened glare. Sam regarded Stark with a look of unadulterated hatred.

Sam

I couldn’t stand her using Clark as an excuse for her self-pity. It was disgusting how she used her own son as an excuse to continue her research. To create an abomination like you was unforgiveable. She has to pay! They all have to pay!

 

Stark

Pay? What do you mean they have to pay?

Sam

After you had somehow escaped the lab, the Russian government contacted me with a proposition. They wanted me to continue my mother’s research to make them weapons they could use to destroy their enemies. They had seen what you were capable of at the lab, and they wanted to replicate it. They wanted to replicate you!

Sam again closed her eyes in anger and grief as if she were repressing her tears. She opened them again before continuing.

Sam

I realized that they were planning to besmirch Clark’s memory the way she did; to use his image to cause death and destruction! I agreed to help make their weapon;, they have not realized it would be their undoing!

A malicious grin returned to Sam’s features.

Sam

Mankind is corrupt and twisted; it must be wiped from the Earth for the sake of all things sacred; for the sake of my brother. This Savior of my brother’s memory shall be the instrument of my justice.

Stark

You can’t kill all those people! It’s wrong!

Sam

Wrong? Your entire existence is wrong. It’s proof of humanity’s evil nature! They will die because of you. I designed Savior to destroy you as it exterminated mankind. See those vines surrounding your body? They are energy siphons. They will slowly drain the energy from your body to power Savior, and in return you will experience all the death and destruction Savior causes. The Russian government wanted you as a weapon. They will have you as a weapon. You will experience the extinction of the human race as you die!

Sam gave one last mocking smirk before finishing with her parting words.

Sam

Goodbye Stark. May you burn in whatever hell awaits you.

The image dispersed back into light particles and the chamber started to light up. Stark screamed out in pain as he felt his senses sync with Savior. It was like something had hijacked his body as Savior began to move on its own.

 

 

Secret Control Room

After Savior had swallowed the organism it stopped moving. It was no longer following commands from Brandt’s computer. He tried desperately to get it to move again, to figure out what was wrong with the stupid thing. As Brandt fiddled with the control console he noticed that Savior was moving again. This time it moved without his commands. Brandt watched in horror as it headed for the city of Subika. Subika is a U.A. city with a population of 13 million people.

Brandt couldn’t stop it as it quickly landed to attack the city. Bypassing the city’s K.E.N.F., Savior began knocking over the once glittering skyscrapers. They fell as the screams of the people rang out. Fires began to spread as Savior slowly made its way through the city.

Brandt looked on in horror. This was to be his moment of triumph. He would destroy the organism and be heralded as a hero of the United Atlantic. Savior was supposed to be the tool of his retribution. Instead, it was now in the process of annihilating his country. When confronted with the reality of his actions, Brandt did the only thing he could think of.

Brandt

Hehe. Bahahaha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Brandt’s laughter rung out as he fell to his knees with his hands holding his head. His world was falling apart before his very eyes and all he could do was watch as the unstoppable Savior lay waste to his beloved superstate. Brandt descended into the comfort of madness, maniacal laughter ringing out across the room as Subika burned on the monitors.

A week later

Savior had slowly and deliberately trekked itself across the territory of the United Atlantic. It destroyed twelve cities in that time. Millions had perished in the fires of perdition as Savior continued its quest to annihilate the human race.

The U.A. Armed Forces had mobilized to neutralize the threat, but their weapons were useless against the implacable war machine. Its tendrils and lasers made short work of any opposition as it neared the next city. Savior smashed through the city of Kingstown’s defense grid. People were buried in the rubble and the dust from the debris filled the air. Explosions set entire city blocks a blaze as people inside the Kingstown skyscrapers fell to their demise. The death toll was staggering as Savior slowly terraformed a once thriving metropolis into a mass graveyard.

All that remained of the places Savior had visited were chunks of steel and brick. Smoke billowed into the sky.

Inside Savior

Stark was near catatonic as Savior continued to slowly drain the energy from his body. His once healthy pinkish skin had paled as the life continued to be drained from it. His once vibrant violet eyes had become dull and listless. He could feel everything. All the pain of the people Savior slaughtered; their faces imprinted on his mind as they perished. He could see the tens of millions of nameless faces as they the fires of judgement day consumed them. Stark could hear the screams of Savior’s victims swirling inside his mind as they called out for someone to save them. He could hear them, but he could not help them. Savior had weakened Stark in both body and mind. He could do nothing to stop the suffering he was helping to cause.

As Stark slouched over s gold heart shaped pendent fell from his clothes. It fell and fell as it clanged off the surfaces of the vine infested cave before coming to rest upon the ground. After the pendent hit the floor the lavender gem began to blink repeatedly before a beam of light shot from it. The light had caught Stark’s attention as he weakly lifted his head to look at it. What he saw shocked Stark, for what was standing before Stark was an image of his mother!

Vivian began to speak.

Vivian

Hello Stark, this is a recording. I made it in case the worst should happen. If you are watching this it means we will most likely never see each other again. I feel you deserve to know the truth.

Several years ago, my son Clark contracted a fatal illness, one that causes the heart to inflame and stop beating. By the time it was diagnosed it was too late to prevent it. I lost him before I had even known it. I tried to take my mind off Clark’s death by throwing myself into my work. But no matter how much I tried to ignore it, the ghost of Clark’s memory continued to haunt me. Every day it got harder and harder to contain my grief. I couldn’t take it.

Tears welled up in Vivian’s eyes as she spoke.

Vivian

I was desperate to see my son again, to see some part of him returned to me alive and well. So, at my wits end I did the unthinkable. I had created a biosynthetic human being using a modified version of Clark’s D.N.A. as the genetic template. Thus, you were born.

Stark’s eyes widened at this information. He was an artificial lifeform? It had shocked him beyond words. Vivian continued.

Vivian

At first, I was content to have a person in the image of my son around. It eased my grief to see his face again after so many years, I used the best theoretical materials I could find to construct your body to make sure you would survive for my sake. But then you began to exhibit strange powers as a result of your unique cellular composition, and although you shared the same appearance as him your personality was also very different from Clark’s as well. It was then I knew that I was living a lie. You were not Clark.

Vivian paused before collecting herself and began speaking slowly

Vivian

I was a fool. No tool, no matter how well made it is, could replace a son.

Stark was dejected upon hearing this. He lowered his head in to hide his hurt feelings from the recording. His mother wasn’t his mother at all. She saw him as a tool to be used and discarded. Everything he knew was a lie.

Vivian

Which is why I want to say that I am sorry Stark. I should have acknowledged you as my son sooner.

Stark lifted his head suddenly after hearing those words. A look of surprise adorned his features. Vivian was now crying as she spoke again.

Vivian

You are not a tool. You are a person and more importantly, you are my son. I’m sorry for ever thinking otherwise. You are a very special boy, and I am so proud of you. It hurts me to know that the world will never see you for the wonderful, kind and inquisitive person that you are. Because of the circumstances of your birth, the human race can never accept you. That is my greatest regret. If you can find it in your heart to forgive a foolish old woman, I want you to make me a promise.

Stark listened intently waiting for his mother to speak again.

Vivian

I want you to stay strong for me. Don’t give into the hurt and anger and fear that so often consumes people. Don’t abandon those in need because they can’t see the beauty in life the way we can. Don’t allow yourself to make the mistake of taking life for granted the way I did and squander your chance of finding a better future to live for. The future you have awaiting ahead of you will be a hard one. It will be dangerous, cruel and very lonely, So I want you to promise me that you will stay strong for me and never give up on life. I know you can do it. I believe in you. Even if you somehow lose your way, at least always remember this.

Vivian gave the most heartfelt smile she had ever given in her life.

Vivian

I love you Stark, and I always will. Goodbye my son.

And with that the light faded and Stark was alone in the cave again.

His mother loved him? That was the first time she had ever said she loved him. It would also be the last. His mother loved him, she believed in him! Stark knew he had to stay strong for her. He couldn’t let this monster he was in hurt any more people. But he was still feeling weak in the belly of the beast. With his energy drained he could hardly move. What could he do? He thought to back to what Sam had said? These things were energy siphons? Savior was using them to drain his strength? If he and Savior were made of the same materials, couldn’t he drain them back? With nothing to lose and unable to think of any better ideas, Stark began to concentrate.

Outside of Savior

Savior was presently flying to another densely populated area when it suddenly recoiled as if in pain. It let out a screech as Stark propelled his way out of Savior’s throat. Wasting no time after his escape Stark quickly zipped to the underside of Savior. He put his hands on its belly and drained more of Savior’s power into his hands. Having absorbed a large quantity of his power back Stark pushed Savior into the upper limits of Earth’s stratosphere.

Soon the pair were in the vestiges of space when they started to battle. They fought for hours but time did not pass for either of them as Stark and Savior warped space around them to propel themselves at incredible speed. Stark chopped, hit, and kicked Savior once again to no effect. Savior retaliated by swiping its tendrils at Stark who dodged them gracefully as he was prepared for them this time, running down one of the large tendrils to hit Savior in the face. Once again Stark’s strike did nothing to the indestructible Savior.

Their battle took them from the satellites they smashed through as they left Earth’s gravity to the surface of the moon where moon sand drifted as new craters exploded into the mounds. Then they fought passed the moon’s orbit into Mars where they smashed and collided through the rocks of the red planet. Debris splintered softly from the lower gravity as Savior fired a massive laser at Stark. Stark caught the laser in his hands before proceeding to shape it into a massive energy ball. Stark threw the sphere back at the giant creature who proceeded to bat it away with its massive tail, causing it to blow up a nearby mountain.

Grimacing at his failed tactic, Stark propelled himself from the surface of Mars and into the depths of space where Savior naturally pursued him. Stark darted around the asteroids. He was throwing giant rock after giant rock at his pursuer. Savior shattered every incoming meteor with its tendrils effortlessly. Savior fired another laser which Stark opted to dodge out of the way this time, using his incredible speed Stark briefly closed the gap between him and Savior to siphon off more of its energy. Savior made a soundless scream as it once again recoiled in pain before lashing out with another tendril.

Stark dodged the tendril nimbly and led Savior further into the depths of space. They had made it past Jupiter when Stark concluded that the battle was going nowhere. Neither combatant could even harm one another. Was there anything Stark could do?

Stark

(Think Stark Think? There’s got to be a way to immobilize it! But how?)

Stark thought for a moment before an idea came to him.

Stark

(Of course! Back at the lab mom put me in that thing. What did she call it? A teleportation pod? That’s it! This monster was made from the same stuff I am! I was teleported, that means teleportation will work on this thing too! I can use my power to teleport it somewhere far away!)

Stark distantly remembered the sensation of the pod before he lost consciousness. Remembered the phenomenon he felt as the pod warped space around him. Avoiding Savior’s onslaught, Stark began using his power to channel force and energy into his hands until he could feel that familiar sensation. Before long and with great effort Stark had generated a miniature wormhole in his hands.

He thrust the makeshift wormhole at Savior where it rapidly expanded to envelop the monster. Savior struggled in vain to escape the bubble as Stark put more force and energy into it. The bubble gradually diminished in size getting smaller and smaller until it and Savior were gone. He did it, He teleported the monster away!

Having won his battle against his implacable adversary, Stark rested for a moment. His body showed not a single blemish upon it, but he felt like he had been torn to pieces. The ordeal with Savior had taxed him both physically and emotionally.

Having a moment to himself in the depths of space, Stark looked out at the endless void. On Earth Stark had seen many things. Out here there was nothing, nothing but the stars. It was in this endless sea of emptiness that the reality he had been ignoring since his trials had started, a terrible, sobering truth,

(I am alone.)

On Earth he had used Tiena and his travels to distract him from realizing the enormity of his unique existence. But here there was nothing to distract him from his burgeoning existential crisis. He was alone. The only one of his kind in an unending and uncaring universe. Stark briefly pondered if there were any other planets like Earth somewhere beyond the stars. Somewhere he could go to run away from it all. Perhaps there were even people like him somewhere out amongst the expanses of space.

This line of thought brought Stark no comfort. In that moment there was one undeniable fact. He was alone.

Not seeing any other choice, Stark began using his powers to propel himself back to Earth. He moved at a relatively slow pace in no great hurry to reach his destination. The long trip would give Stark time to collect his thoughts.

Epilogue

In a bar in one of the cities Savior had not attacked, Dr. Anton Collera was having a drink.He seldom drank, but the recent turn of events was a little hard for him to handle sober. Anton watched the news broadcast in the background as he drank his rum and cola.

News Reporter

Homeland Security has not answered any questions about the coordinated terrorist attacks that took place three months ago. The official statement by Security Director Fieara is that no terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Service crews work day and night to find any people who have not been accounted for among the dead. Estimates of fatalities at this time remain unclear as the attacks abruptly stopped without warning. The massive unidentified combat synth vanished from the skies without a trace, leaving behind only questions as to what could have caused what is now being considered the worse terrorist attack in human history.

The report droned on as the door to the bar opened. An off-duty Jenner walked in wearing a strapless red dress. Her heels clacked as she approached Dr. Collera.

Jenner

Have I kept you waiting long, Anton?

Anton

Not at all Sarah, I just got here myself.

Sarah Jenner situated herself at the bar and ordered a rum and coke of her own.

Jenner

It’s official, I am now the new Colonel of the Greenhouse.

Anton

What is Brandt doing now?

Jenner

Brandt is no longer employed in the armed forces. He removed himself from active duty this morning.

Anton

He resigned his commission just like that?

Jenner

That’s one way of putting it. The MPs found Brandt face down in a pool of his own blood. He had a Glock in his hands.

Anton

I’m sorry for your loss.

Jenner

Life goes on. I am now in command, and I will protect the interest of the U.A.

Anton

And what became of the biosynthetic lifeform? Have they decided to do anything about that?

Jenner

The committee has reviewed the footage taken from the secret bunker they believed Brandt was controlling Savior from. They still don’t know how he learned about Hanger 51 given it was highly classified.

Anton

Mystery for the ages I’m sure.

Jenner

The publicist bureau has given the lifeform a name based off its appearance. They are calling it Redscarf, the Airwalker.

Anton

A pity Redscarf has to be destroyed.

Jenner

Why do you say that?

Anton

A find like this is one of a kind, I would have liked to learn more about it.

Jenner

Nothing is set in stone as of yet. The Regency is set to address the U.A. people next week regarding its existence. You may yet get your chance.

Jenner rose from her seat with her blue purse adjusted back onto her shoulder.

Jenner

Now if I can pull you away from your bacteria and fungus for the night, how about we get on with our date?

Anton smiled as he rose from his seat. His mind drifted to what had all happened. Was this over or was it the beginning of a new paradigm, history made manifest. Anton was certain that Redscarf and Savior were the heralds of new forms of life, ones with abilities far beyond human comprehension. With that thought lingering in his mind he could only muse “welcome one and all to the new age of miracles”.

In the northern wilds of the former Russian Alliance

It had taken Stark some time to reach his destination. He was now approaching the Arctic Island that was his birthplace. Stark hadn’t taken in the sights like he used to; the world seemed a darker place to him these days. Still, he soldiered on to the lab where he was born, hoping beyond hope his mother would be waiting for him. He did not know that his mother had left that place long, long ago. He did not know that he would never see her anywhere but his memory. He would never get the chance to tell her he loved her. He didn’t know it yet, but Stark would never see his mother again.

And yet in all his struggles, in all the battles to come, Stark would not give up looking for a new home. He would not stop saving life as its silent protector. He would never stop trying to find beauty in both life and the world. Stark had now come to believe what his mother had told him long ago.

“A moment of life, however brief it may be, is worth protecting.”

The End


Submitted: October 04, 2021

© Copyright 2021 MichelBios1. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Briana Asad

I think this is a very good read, but it's also very loooong. Which of course isn't a fault of the actual story, so don't worry too much on that. I found myself trying to imagine the comic pages as I read, which I found pretty easy to do with your world building. I assume this is one arc of a longer series? It seems to end on a note that suggests more to come. Either way, I enjoyed your characters and found the action very entertaining. I would be interested in reading this comic once it's actually illustrated.

Tue, October 5th, 2021 1:38am

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Reply

Thank you so much for your confidence. I badly needed some feedback. The actual comic I hope won't be as long but I'm teaching myself to make a professional looking comic book. In any case thank you, all I request is that if you enjoyed it please share it with others so I can get more feedback.

Wed, October 6th, 2021 10:06am

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