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