New Tricks

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Matthew Sanders is one of the oldest living men on Earth, and the only one that can save it.

Submitted: May 12, 2014

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Submitted: May 12, 2014

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Matthew Sanders woke up late. His photovoltaic windows did not reveal the sun to wake him up as they always did. It was 8:48 A.M. His simple, solar-powered watch was the only indication of the time. The 768-year-old man swung out of bed in a fluid motion. It’s just a glitch, he thought nonchalantly. With long strides, he made his way to the bathroom. Reaching for his blue, plastic toothbrush, he tapped the faucet to turn it on. It did not. His mirror was not displaying his morning messages and notifications as it usually did either.

 

Matthew wiped the puzzled expression off his face when he heard a knock at the door. No one ever knocks. He rubbed his face and started for the door. Looking out the glass wall of his living room, he could see that the ad-boards weren’t lit, displaying commercials. The spire on the Echlon Building was not giving its color-coded weather alerts. Something was wrong; he just knew. He opened the door to two men in sleek black suits holding silver shields in their white-gloved hands.

 

“Matthew Sanders,” the taller one said, “My name is Ouge and this is Rhent. We are with the Aeon Cosmos Department of Crises.”

 

“ACDC,” Matt said with a hint of sarcasm. “What’s this about?”

 

“Ganivans from Maelstrom Flux IV have hacked the Heliacal Energy Absorbing Transmitter. Power is out for the entire planet.”

 

“You guys don’t have a back-up for the H.E.A.T.?” Matthew replied stoically. The ACDC guys cleared their throats, but didn’t respond. “What do you want with me?”

 

“You are aware of how to fly this?” Rhent queried, showing Matt a paper photo of a G-IV.  

 

Matt sighed. “Come in.” The Troopers walked in and sat on one of the couches. Matt sat opposite them. “I was able to fly that, yes. I could fly almost any military aircraft. But I hope you know that the three Gulfstream G-IVs in the world are all over 800 years old. I won’t fly one now.

 

Rhent and Ouge looked at each other. “The G-IV cannot fly in space. We don’t expect you to fly with it to Maelstrom Flux IV, we just need”

 

“Stop,” Matt held up his hand, “Why are you expecting me to do anything? Don’t you have intelligence men working on getting the H.E.A.T. running again? What do you want me to fly an 800-year-old airplane for and where?”

 

“We want you to fly it to Las Hellenas in Europe. They have a spaceplane that is not powered by the H.E.A.T. or the grid. It is powered by fuel and supplemented by light from any source. They designed it with  most of the instruments of an F-22, which you know how to fly, of course making numerous improvements on it. You’ll be able to fly it if you can fly the F-22. We’ve preserved the G-IV at Varsley Museum in working condition. It works perfectly. They are preparing it for you now. It is the only plane that is not powered by the Grid. The other two G-IVs are thousands of miles away, and as you know, we can’t get to them.”

 

“And you want me to do…what?” Matt demanded. He wanted answers. Now.

 

“We want you to take the Iota Stellaris 1"that’s the spaceplane waiting for you in Las Hellenas" with a field trooper from ACDC to defeat the leader of Ganiva. We’ve deduced that the leader is overseeing the hack, and he controls the entire population of the planet. If you can defeat him, get the ET code from the main hacking computer, and bring it back to Earth, we can get the H.E.A.T. back up and running. We know that the Ganivans plan to leave us without power for quite a time. They know that we rely on the Grid but that we have finite back-up resources. The resources will only last us for a period of time. After our resources are depleted, they will attack and we will be powerless against them. It will take a long time to get to Ganiva. Please get ready and come with us.” Ouge had been as straightforward as he could.

 

Ouge and Rhent stood up. Matt felt like a cement block on his couch. “Why do you want me for this?”

 

“Because you have been alive for almost 800 years. You are one of the oldest people in the world, yet no one knows it. You have more experience than the entire ACDC put together. You went on that unprecedented space mission to Isahrae in Phi Mearis. You were one of the first people to have communication with extraterrestrial life forms. You work in learning the languages of the ETs. ACDC decided you were the best for the job. The entire planet is in the balance. Earth is counting on you. We have established alliances with only three other planets. You may stop at them and refuel. The ACDC troopers in Las Hellenas will give you more information. Ouge and I are just here to retrieve you.”

 

“No pressure,” Matt shot. “I’ll change.”

 

After he changed into a khaki jumpsuit, Matt followed Ouge and Rhent out of his apartment. They waited for the elevator in silence. There were too many questions whipping around in Matt’s head to actually snap one out and ask it. Though Rhent had given him an answer to the burning question Why him? he still couldn’t figure it out. He left the Intergalactic Space Administration after that mission to Isahrae, now one of the ally planets. Why couldn’t they get someone else? Matt got in the black SUV with the two men. He knew why he was doing it. Why he did not resist them or tell them no. He could tell them no after all. It wasn’t as if they could make him fly that plane to Las Hellenas, and then fly another one to Ganiva. Earth is lying in the balance. Rhent was obviously the persuader in that little duo. He had a duty. He had a duty 600 years ago, and Matthew Sanders had one now.

 

 Everything had happened the way ACDC said it would. Until now, Matt thought. Matt had gotten on the G-IV and flown to Las Hellenas. There, he got acquainted with the IS-1 and his partner, ACDC Trooper Isaac Hackney. Hackney was young: 24.

 

He had rested for ten hours, though it felt like ten minutes. The IS-1 flew smoother than any aircraft Matt had ever handled.

 

They had reached Andromeda fifteen hours into the mission. It was supposed to be their first fuel stop. They landed on Prack, where they were met by the native yellow species. They reminded Matt of cockroaches. Matt had been speaking with the Pracken Head Aviator, Yghjr. When the IS-1 was fully refueled, Hackney and Sanders started back to the ship. Yghjr grabbed Hackney by the arm. Matt asked Yghjr in Prackan why he was seizing his partner.

 

Payment. Did ACDC know that we had to pay them? Matt did not bring currency or items with which to barter or buy. Yghjr seized Matt by the arm as well. He dragged them to an oxygenized chamber in the building.

 

“We shouldn’t have gotten out of the ship,” Hackney murmured.

 

“Thank you, Sherlock,” Sanders barked.

 

“Who?” was Hackney’s reply. Matthew just rolled his eyes. He asked Yghjr in vain if they could reimburse them for the fuel at another time. Yghjr just threw them into the chamber.

 

Two Prackans came into the chamber and stripped Hackney and Sanders of their spacesuits, leaving them in their undergarments. They were searching for any valuables. One of the Prackans extracted Hackney’s external oxygen monitor.

 

“Tell them they can’t take that! I need it!” Hackney was panicking. Matt spoke in Prackan, but they did not listen and left the room with the spacesuits.

 

“Our undergarments are long-sleeved. I wonder why they didn’t take them too,” Matt thought aloud as he made his way to the small square window in the door of the vault they were in. He saw the two Prackans enter a door about twenty feet away.

 

“We have to get out of here,” Hackney said. Sanders glanced at him over his shoulder. Matt had taken his solar powered watch with him. It was 5:48 P.M. Earth time. The Prackans stopped for supper at 7:10 P.M. Earth time. It had always fascinated Matt that the Prackans behaved similarly to humans.

 

“We’ll have to wait until 7:10. There’s nothing we can do until then. They won’t think to have surveillance on this vault. Our communicators are in our suits, so we are completely on our own.  Do you have anything on you?”

 

“I have some Elia in a tube on my necklace.”

 

Matt nearly hugged him. Elia was the equivalent to water on Earth on the planet Elias"it was found everywhere. The element came up from the ground of the uninhabited planet. Elia melted any type of metal it contacted. Since Isaac only had a limited amount, they would have to use it precisely to melt the metal lock on the door.

 

The Prackans left their posts at 7:10, just as Matt had expected. Isaac took off his necklace and handed Matt the tube of Elia, their lifesaver. They didn’t know what the Prackans wanted to do with them, but they weren’t going to wait around to find out. Matt carefully poured the Elia onto the lock, directing it to go down through the bolts. The Elia melted the metal perfectly. The vault door could open. Matt checked to see if the hall was clear. They would need to make this swift because Prack did not have oxygen in its atmosphere. They took deep breaths of oxygen and ran for the door the two Prackans had gone through.

 

Their suits were on top of metal slabs. Hackney and Sanders quickly put them on. Hackney readied his laser gun. They bolted down the hall and out of the building. The IS-1 was right where they left it. Sanders and Hackney could not run fast enough. They made it to their aircraft. It was 7:15, Matt noted. They took off as a Prackan ran out of the building.'

 

 The second fuel stop went more successfully. The Hegnoo were a much friendlier species. Matt had contacted the base in Las Hellenas and told them about the Prackan dilemma. He instructed them to notify the other two planets that they would have to sacrifice some fuel for their allies.

 

The last fuel stop was on Isahrae, the site of Matt’s most important ISA mission. Isahrae was much like Earth. The species looked similar to humans, except they had six toes on each foot and four fingers on each hand. Isrish was the first ET language Matt learned to speak fluently. He learned it for a female. Her name was Tyba. Her brother, Tykin was the ruler of Isahrae. He planned to take over his galaxy, Phi Mearis. Tykin was a harsh ruler, and Tyba had always tried to convince him to lighten his reins on the planet. After spending six months (Earth time) on Isahrae and learning of Tykin’s plan, Matt returned to Earth and gave the information to ISA. The ISA put together a plan to stop Tykin. The entire ruling family was wiped out. There weren’t many Tykin loyalists on Isahrae. Matt wasn’t sure if there were any.

 

When they landed, Matthew opened the latch to the IS-1 and harsh hands snatched him and Hackney. Their eyes were masked and they could not see where they were being taken. Matt tried to fight the being that was holding him, but another Isar instantly tied his hands with something he could not break free from. They were thrown into a room and unmasked. Hackney just looked frightened. Sanders maintained his composure. He asked what was going on in Isrish.

 

The fatter Isar rebuked Matt in English, “You do not deserve to speak the great language of Isarhae, you traitor!”

 

“So there are Tykin loyalists,” he exclaimed to Isaac, “Who would have thought?” He turned back to the two Isars. “You will let us go now.”

 

“We will not! Tykin will be avenged!”

 

“By who? You two? You are so afraid of puny humans that you feel you must bind us to take control! Tykin would be ashamed,” asserted Matthew. Isaac looked incredulously at Matthew.

 

“Do not say his name! You are not worthy to utter the name of Tykin the Lord of Isarhae.”

 

“Neither are you,” Matt responded calmly, “You can’t even fight fairly. Your lord would be ashamed of you.”

 

The fatter Isar patted down both men, and then untied them, finding no weapons on them.

 

“Thank you,” Matt’s voice was dripping with sarcasm, “Was that so hard? Us puny little humans can’t hurt you with our bare hands.”

 

“Finally! Sense from the human.”

 

“And still no sense from you,” Matt said sympathetically to the Isars.

 

What are you doing,” Hackney hissed, “I want to live to be 30 at least!”

 

“What high expectations you have, Isaac.” Matthew replied.

 

“QUIET!” Both Isars yelled at the same time. “We will not have you mocking us in your secondary talk. I am disgusted by you and hope to get rid of you soon enough.”

 

“We must proceed with the torturing first.”

 

“The ISA did not torture…your…Lord,” Isaac mumbled.

 

“But we will torture you!”

 

“Wait! Let’s be reasonable now. I left the ISA before that coup took place. I didn’t even know that they were going to do that. I did not want them to kill the ruling family either. Remember Tyba? She was a…friend. I never wanted her to get hurt. My mission was just to come here and make allies, not enemies. And Isaac here, well Isaac didn’t even know that Isarhae was here until five minutes ago. You aren’t giving a good first impression, by the way.”

 

“Do you think we care about impressing humans?

 

“Nope, but I bet we could impress you.

 

“Nothing you do would impress me,” spat the thinner Isar.

 

“Let’s make a deal. The element of surprise is the most powerful one, don’t you think? What if I told you that Tykin himself entrusted me with something he would never trust you with? Would you let us go?”

 

“Our Lord would never trust a puny human with something of his! Let us proceed with the lashing.”

 

“Let’s not proceed just yet. I have, in this very suit, something from Tykin. He gave it to me. I could not steal from the powerful Tykin, now could I? Do you want to see it?”

 

“I do not trust this human,” whispered the fatter Isar.

 

“You checked him for weapons didn’t you?” the other accused. The fat Isar nodded. “Then he shall have nothing to hurt us with, unless you are incompetent. Let us ready our weapons in caution.”

 

Before he left for Earth from Isarhae on the six-month mission, Tyba had given Matt something to remember her. It was a special Isar weapon that was so tiny but yet so powerful. The best way Matt could ever describe it was a grenade that bounced back to you. A boomerang grenade. He carried it everywhere with him.

 

The “boomerang grenade” was in his pant pocket. As he reached for it, he saw the Isars ready their weapons. He would have to do it fast. Isaac, thankfully choosing to be intuitive at this moment, stood up. This would make their escape much easier. Isaac could run for the door as Matt retrieved the bouncing grenade.

 

Matt opened the miniscule canister and threw it at the ceiling above the Isars’ heads. The ceiling collapsed on them and Matt retrieved the “boomerang grenade.” Isaac was already out the door. They sprinted into a dark hallway. The only other light was at the far end of the hallway. They ran towards it. They burst through the door to find that they were a good run from the airfield, and the Isars were getting up. Matt and Isaac started sprinting toward the IS-1. The Isars were out the door when the men were halfway there. They reached the IS-1 and threw themselves through the hatch, quickly locking it. The IS-1 was fueled and ready to go. Matt pulled out of Isarhae as fast as he could.

 

The rest of the way to Ganiva was uneventful.

 

The Iota Stellaris 1 was equipped with the most advanced stealth technology. It had a cloak. This enabled it to fly into Ganiva without detection. Matthew landed the plane on top of a building. Just then, a voice came over the intercoms all over the city, and he could see the leader’s face on the various vision enablers. He was making an announcement: “Earth’s power source has been successfully crippled. The sieging of Earth begins!” There was cheering from the Ganivans below.

 

The leader was an ugly purple and black thing called Itrich. Matt decided it was the ugliest alien species he’d ever seen. It had enormous eyes that looked like human eyes, with pupils and irises. It looked slimy.

 

“The city has underground tunnels. We have to use them to get to Itrich’s headquarters. At least, that’s the safest way to get there,” Hackney explained.

“Safest? I doubt there is any safe way to do this.” Sanders replied. “Let’s do it!”

 

The two men put on the cloaking devices on their suits and could not be seen.

 

The underground tunnels were dark and damp, but there was so much traffic. Hackney and Sanders had to walk at an abnormal pace so that they would not bump into the Ganivans. They took a tunnel that Hackney pointed out. The tunnels wove in and out. They were rollercoasters without the speed and protection. They finally arrived at an opening. It was Itrich’s headquarters.

They went through the opening cautiously. The place was swarming. Ganivans moved around swiftly. The main computer was on the second level, in a large room where Itrich was sitting. Itrich was a large alien. He was about the size of an elephant.

 

The plan was to lure Itrich away from the hacking device. Hackney would retrieve the ET code while Sanders would guard and defend. ACDC had not given them specific instructions on how to distract the Ganivans, but Matt was sure that it had to be a big one to lure Itrich away. Matthew patted his spacesuit pocket to make sure he had Tyba’s gift with him. He did. He took the “boomerang grenade” quietly from his pocket. He and Hackney made their way up the stairs to the second level.

 

When they were in a clear area, without traffic, Matt launched the grenade at the opposite wall. It shattered the wall. Itrich looked up. Because he was an enormous alien, it took him awhile to get up. To speed up Itrich’s standing process, Matthew Sanders launched the grenade at the wall to the left of him. That got Itrich moving.

 

He came out of the glass door to his office with some kind of device in his hand. It was too small to be the hacking device. Hackney took out his laser gun and shot Itrich in what seemed to be a knee. Itrich roared and collapsed. Hackney and Sanders rushed into the office. Hackney started maneuvering the alien keypad.

 

“It might take a while,” he said.

 

Sanders was too focused on the rising Itrich. Sanders could not throw the “boomerang grenade” right in front of Itrich because the floor beneath him would shatter, and he and Hackney would not be able to get down the stairs. Itrich was relying on the chrome railing. Matt aimed for the middle rail. Itrich fell to the floor on the first level. He was unconscious.

 

Hackney managed to get the ET code just as Itrich was coming out of unconsciousness. The men hurried down the stairs after Hackney got the information. They bulldozed through the Ganivans running in the opposite direction. Finally, they came to the first tunnel they entered.

Hackney and Sanders made it back to the building where the IS-1 was stationed. They hurriedly opened the latch and threw themselves in once again. They took off from Ganiva and began the journey home.

The journey home was calm. The Prackans did not even give them a hard time.

 

When they made it back to Earth, they gave the information to the intelligence troopers at ACDC. Earth had been eleven days without power. In two days’ time, the H.E.A.T. was back on. In a week, ISA organized a mission to Ganiva. Sanders refused the mission. “I want to save, not conquer,” he said.

 


© Copyright 2020 GabriellaEC17. All rights reserved.

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