Castle Roland


by Al Norris

In Progress

Chapter 5

Published: 13 Aug 15


Copyright © 2015 by Al Norris and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Scireians LogoAs Sabrina walked out of and away from the large hangar doors of the UNIT's base, her scanner beeped at her. "Sabrina, this is Marko. Just walk down to the bottom of the canyon. One of our security people will meet you there and bring you to our transport."

The moon was in its last quarter but the clear mountain air still gave plenty of light for Sabrina to see where she was going, once her eyes readjusted from the bright lights of the base. The sky was clear and the air was crisp, but not overly cold on this early November evening, for which Sabrina was grateful. She didn't have her cold weather gear, since she had been stationed in Texas, which was more moderate than the high mountains of Utah.

As she neared the bottom of the canyon, Sabrina caught the flash of light that signaled the presence of her security escort. Once together, she followed the man back to the flyer, where Marko was waiting for her.

"Good to see you again, Sabi. I gather that you have had a very interesting day! This way, please."

"That would be a mild way of putting it. I take it that you have studied the appearance of these caverns? What does Jens make of it?" They entered the elevator of the craft and took it up to the crew area.

"The initial impressions are that a rift has occurred between universes. There is a lot of data to digest, but it appears to substantiate the String Theory construct of the multiverses. Aiding that theory are the deep scans you took of the people that came across the rift. There is virtually no way that these people could have existed on our world, without us knowing about them." The elevator opened and the security people went to their seats, while Marko ushered Sabrina to the other side to take theirs. "Pilot, if you are ready, please take us home."

"Good evening, Councilors." Sabrina greeted them all as she buckled her safety harness. "This must be rather important for so many of the council to be here. Especially you, Jens. I never thought to see the day you would leave our citadel." She chided.

"Um, yes. But there are some things that are worth leaving our preferred solitude. The discovery of this place and these people are one of those things." Jens was not comfortable with this line of questions, even though it was in jest that Sabrina had addressed him. Getting over his slight embarrassment, he asked, "Sabrina, can you give us your impressions, before you write this up for your reports?"

"Yes, I can do that." Sabrina thought for a moment before she began. "The people that should be our main focus are children, yet not children. They have been genetically engineered to be super soldiers." There was a collective gasp from the councilors at this. "The one leader, Logan Hayes, is a thirteen year old male who was, I believe, selectively bred over many generations. His genetic profile suggests that he is as perfect a human specimen as we have ever encountered. He has mental abilities that include cognitive functions that are off the charts. In short, he is nothing short of a genius. That isn't the end of his mental prowess. He is perhaps the strongest telepath we have ever seen…"

Jens interrupted her, "How can you be sure of this?"

Sabrina frowned at him. "Councilor, part of my conversation with the young man was through telepathy. You know very well that one cannot lie during such conversations. That is how I know. Now if you will allow me to finish, I will continue. Otherwise, you will simply have to wait for my written report." Looking at the rest of the Councilors, "Now, if I may continue?"

"Jens, you asked for this report. Please refrain from your questions until after Sabrina finishes." Katja said with just a hint of anger. "Please continue, Sabrina."

"Thank you, Katja. As I was saying, Logan is the strongest telepath I have ever encountered. He is able to 'pull' others into what he calls a 'mental-scape', a mental virtual reality where a conference can be made at the speed of thought. While subjective time can seem to be hours, in objective time, only seconds or minutes have actually passed. To further explain his capabilities, I was aware that he held a simultaneous link with several other individuals that were not involved in our conversation. That is, he is able to completely separate and compartmentalize his telepathic communications. It was as if he were a human multitasking processor.

"Then there is his paramore, Adam Casey. A fourteen year old male who is completely genetically altered with both human and animal genomes." This produced a collective gasp, as by this time, even the security guards were listening intently. "Still not through the 'normal' puberty stage, this person is possibly four to six times more physically powerful than most adult males. His reflexes and physical speed match his strength. He is highly skilled in the arts of offense and defense. I dare say that not one of us could take him in a physical contest. Much of this is due to the animal genomes.

"Adam is also an excellent telepath, though not nearly as strong as Logan. There is a fault with Adam's mental abilities though. He is much more guided by his emotions, possibly a side effect of his genetic structure on the animal side - very, very catlike. It is also possible that this was bred into him by design. In which case, it is not a fault at all.

"This brings me to the 'animal' I encountered. She is a panther, that was also genetically altered. There are enough human genes spliced into her predominant panther genes, and enough physical alterations that this 'cat' is not only sentient, but intelligent. She has emotionally attached herself to another being and for all practical purposes, considers that being as her cub. Make no mistake here. She stands about 152 centimeters at the shoulder and would be a formidable foe.

"The final being that I was able to get a deep scan of… is not human at all. We will have to study his genetic structure carefully. Tommy, is a seemingly eight-year-old human male. I must emphasize, there are no human genes in this being. He does have telepathic abilities, similar to the others, but his mental capacity is as if he was a human child of eight. He claims be of a race called Eryradain. A species well beyond this solar system… at least in the universe he comes from.

"The only adult, from this group, that I was able scan, was a human female in her mid-thirties. She is the mother figure of these people and is also a highly skilled medical doctor and researcher. I would place her on the order of our Elders, in that regard. Her surgical skills outstrip my own and anything I am aware of in our world. Genetically, she is the mother of Logan, and as one might suspect, a generation removed from his selective breeding. Her mental abilities do not appear to include telepathy. However, her knowledge of the human genome, and medicine in general, are, from what I can gather, way above even ours.

"I will have a more detailed report on the makeup of these new beings, after I have had a chance to thoroughly review my scans." Sabrina sat back and waited for the inevitable questions.

"Sabrina, did you have any chance to evaluate their social structure?" Peter asked her.

"Not nearly as much as what I would have liked. What I can tell you is that what I did observe tells me that they are highly regimented as a military force. About all I can give you are my impressions." Peter nodded to her to continue.

"When first encountered, during the rescue of Jackson Bryce, they appeared in fully armoured suits of an unknown type. They are extremely comfortable with weapons, of all types, it seems. As an anecdote, one young male was able to see an enemy aircraft fly over, descend into a canyon, calculate where it would reappear and fire a shoulder held anti-air rocket, which hit its target as it appeared above the canyon rim, destroying it. A feat that most of us may not be able to perform. I know I could not have made those calculations in the time it took this young boy." Looking over to the security team, "I doubt any of you could have done that in the two to three seconds this boy had to act. This alone gives credence to the idea that these are engineered super soldiers."

"The only other interaction that I saw of their society was as I left their base. There were several aircraft being readied for an unknown mission, that would include a force of Russian soldiers, that were being directed by others of these people."

Jens Winkler, having been chastised earlier, sheepishly raised his hand. Sabrina nodded for him to continue. "From the early reports we have, there are, um, inconsistencies. Could you tell anything about where they might be technologically?"

"Let me answer that in the order that I noticed things. First, the aircraft they flew definitely had a level of stealth flight that I have never seen before. I'm going to have to assume that because I neither heard nor saw them, until they were over our downed aircraft, that they were also 'invisible' to radar and infrared sensors. This assumption is backed by the fact that the Ashwood forces did not detect them until after they were visible to human sight. Remembering that these aircraft appear to be normal helicopters, they maneuvered at speeds this world could not duplicate.

"When have you ever known a Russian MI-24 gunship to be able to engage, let alone take out, F-18 fighters? Then there is the Chinook that I was transported on. More heavily armed than anything I know of, and able to achieve speeds that no known Chinook could ever fly. My initial scans seemed to indicate that it was powered by a nuclear device of some sort… I'll let others play with that data, as it is out of my expertise.

"Then there was the armour they all wore. It appeared to be skin-tight and completely form fitting. It did not appear to hamper their movements at all. Nothing I know of fits that description.

"Finally, there was the medical device their doctor used. It was a microcomputer that mimicked many of the functions of my medical scanner. Again, not a technology that this world has. That is all I could directly observe." Sabrina held a hand out as if to say that she was finished, yet she seemed to be chewing on her lip.

Marko noticing this, asked, "What else do you suspect, Sabi?"

"Um, it may be nothing. It is certainly nothing I observed… when I was in mental communication with Logan and Adam, I got the distinct impression that they thought this world's tech was, um, quaint." Marko nodded. To him, this was an understated fact. "Now, can any of you tell me why you were at this base? It could not have been that you were waiting for me. I simply don't believe the council would authorize my own rescue with a warship, that this transport obviously is."

Marko laughed, "So you recognize this ship?"

"I try to keep up with your current toys, Marko." Sabrina laughed.

While grinning, Katja answered Sabrina's question. "To be frank, we weren't here to pick you up. That was just an extra."

"Our real reason was to study what our A.I.'s have told us about this rift. There are some rather unique signatures about this base, that suggested interdimensional travel. The A.I.'s also conjectured that we had a limited time to study the phenomena before it decayed to a point where we wouldn't get reliable data."

Sabrina nodded and was suddenly very serious, "Has anyone thought to ask the A.I.'s if this is the only occurrence of an apparent dimensional rift? My impression from Logan and Adam was that it isn't." Jens' smile vanished as he unbuckled and hurriedly went over to the data center and began typing...

That following Friday afternoon, Katja walked into a chamber that was off to the side of the main Council Chamber. Jens had notified her that they had some preliminary data worked up on the UNIT Base and that several other discontinuities had occurred. She had asked that Marko Beck, and Peter Vogel be present as what he had to say may impact on their areas of oversight. She walked over to a vacant chair and sat down.

Jens stood up. "Thank you all for being here. There is no longer any doubt that an interdimensional rift has occurred. How or why, we still don't know. Overall, the quantum signatures were defined enough that we think we have a good grasp on the universe the people came from and the mountain base. This was aided by the A.I.'s letting us know that there was an almost simultaneous occurrence in Las Vegas, Nevada. I talked to Marko about that one, and we decided to send a team there to confirm the readings. While the readings were identical, we did not detect any sign of 'passengers'. For all intents and purposes, a rift opened but did not appear to carry anything with it… at first glance."

"As the team was doing their last sweep, they noticed a very small spike. Moving the transport over to the area, indicated by the instruments, they encountered an area where there were obvious signs of there having been a firefight. What they found were a few pieces of expended ammunition and some bullets embedded into the ground and some of the surrounding houses, including one house that was pretty much demolished. A certain amount of cleanup had been done, but from what our security team is saying, it was only enough to hide who the combatants were.

"What we then found was that much of the brass and bullets had tell-tale displacement signatures to them. The quantum signatures were a match to both the base in Utah and the rift in Las Vegas. So this rift also had 'passengers', but they are no longer in the Las Vegas environs. I think we need to ask these UNIT beings what they might know of this other rift." Jens then passed to the other three councilors a thick series of reports, presumably much more detailed than what he had just reported. He then picked up another, much smaller, folder.

"I would now draw your attention to the earthquake. We know that yesterday, at about 9:41am, our time, California suffered three distinct and massive earthquakes along the San Andreas fault…"

"Jens, I apologize for interrupting, but since you are bringing this up, should we assume this also has something to do with the anomalies?" Peter asked.

"Yes Peter. If it weren't for our geophysicists, we might never had made the connection. They brought it to my department's attention because the three major epicenters; San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco occurred within milliseconds of each other. Upon further study, they determined that there were in fact thirteen epicenters. It would have been suspicious enough for the three major epicenters to have occurred within such a short time frame, but to have thirteen of these occur within one second from first to last, was all but impossible.

"They asked their A.I. to inspect the echo signatures with other known seismographic data. The data was almost identical to data we have of the underground nuclear testing conducted by the US and Russia, in the late 50's and early 60's.

"So the geophysicists began talking to the nuclear physicists. That brought another set of A.I.'s into the conversation. A correlation was made. This necessitated bringing in the quantum physicists and their associated A.I.'s into the conversation. Almost masked behind these nuclear blasts was what we now know as the quantum signatures of three more rifts. All located in what is known as the Big Bear Lake area of San Bernardino County, CA.

"As interesting as this may sound, two of those three rifts were right on top of each other." Jens paused to drink some water.

"OK, Jens, how can you tell that there were two rifts occurring on top of each other?" Katja asked.

Setting his glass down, Jens grinned. "I am so glad you asked that question, Katja. Mostly because it was the same question I had."

"Two of the three signatures were identical to the ones we have already seen in Utah and Nevada. We are calling these, Event One and Event Two, respectively." Jens triggered a map to appear on the wall behind him, showing the area of discussion. Using a laser pointer Jens said, "Here, is Event Three." Moving the pointer, "And here are Events Four and Five. The interesting part is that Events One through Four originate from the same universe. Event Five is from yet another universe. We thought at first that we only had four Events. It wasn't until we sent the survey party that they discovered that this cabin, here, had two overlapping events, each from a different spatial dimension. The cabin itself, for lack of a better term, is from the new universe. It is under the cabin that another set of caverns were discovered that came from what we are calling Universe One: the universe of the original event from Utah."

"Our physicists are working on the, uh, mechanics shall we say? And what they have discovered is that Universe One can be said to be in our past. Those beings from that universe were not only pulled into Universe Prime, our universe, but that they went forward in time by approximately eight years.

Whatever came through from Universe Two actually came from our future… that is, they traveled back in time by about eight months."

Marko raised his hand to which Jens nodded to him. "Jens, while I find this all absolutely fascinating, allow me to go back to an earlier point."


"You said that the earthquake was essentially an artificial construct, if I understood you correctly?"

"Yes it is. There is no reason for the Bryce faction to have engineered this, as it took out a large force that he could have counted on, in his efforts to fight Ashwood. When I look at what else Ashwood has done, I am convinced that this was exactly his plan. I think, however, he thought to take out the entirety of the West Coast. He either didn't have enough time to plant the necessary charges, or his geophysicists don't understand plate tectonics as well as they thought. I'm leaning to the latter idea."

"Oh hell!" Muttered Marko. "I've not been keeping up since we got back from Utah, what else has the bastard done?"

Peter spoke up before anyone else could. "Really Marko? I thought you had your finger in just about everybody's business! Let's see, Wednesday, his minions massacred an entire town in Texas. All power east of the Mississippi was cut, including all communications. Thursday, most of Kansas City, MO was destroyed by a single conventional explosive. A dirty bomb was detonated above Oklahoma City. Boulder, Colorado was hit by some type of blister agent and some of his Navy ships launched cruise missiles loaded with Sarin gas and hit Austin, Texas.

"He's been a busy little boy!" Peter finished.

Marko nodded. "The only thing I knew about was the cruise missiles that were launched this morning. After looking at the trajectory of about forty of them, I dispatched two squadrons of our smaller defensive flyers to that refugee camp at Kettle Falls. I positioned them a hundred miles out and destroyed them all. We were in full stealth mode when we fired the disrupters, so no one saw a thing. They are doing a damned good thing down there and I was not going to let Ashwood kill them." Looking straight at Katja, "Even if it cost me my post on the council."

Katja glared at him. "Marko, couldn't you have given me a heads up? You know that I want to help these Americans as much as you do. Shit! Were you able to backtrack to the launch point?" Marko nodded. "Get with me after this."

Peter looked at Jens and nodded. "Katja, I think we should just call this an emergency quorum and give Marko a free hand when it comes to Kettle Falls. Call for the full council tomorrow and we can get an official vote. Sound about right, Jens?"

"Marko? Katja? For once I agree. This madman must be stopped. I know we don't have the capability to battle him ourselves. I don't think our people have the stomach for it, in any case. But we can at least protect these people to the best of our ability, and that is something we are geared up for."

Katja sighed. "OK. We'll play it that way. With Jens on our side, it may just sway the council. Anything else we should know, Jens?"

"Other than our physicists think that they can create a portal to Universe One? No. I'll let you know in a couple of days."

"Always save the best for the last, hmm Jens?"

"I've been taking lessons from you, Katja" He smirked, which caused everyone to laugh.

"Marko? I want you to get with the engineers and see how many of those large transports we can get ready. I don't know if we will need them… I'm hoping we will not, but we had better be prepared. Oh, and Jens? Would you take a look at how large that refugee settlement in Kettle Falls is going to be and figure out if we can shield them from anything Ashwood might send them? Once he figures out that his missiles didn't make it there, we just don't know what that meglomaniac might do, given the carnage he has already done. Do not rule out nuclear protection, Jens." Katja stood, gathered the folders that Jens had given out, and left the room.

Saturday, November 10th, 2012
Scireian Citadel, B.C.

Katja sat in her chair at the table awaiting for all the councilors to arrive and take their seats. The last to arrive was Jens. As always, with a large shoulder bag containing every conceivable paper or document he thought he might need. She grinned to herself. She could count the fingers on one hand, of how many times that he actually needed any documents that he brought. This might actually change today, she thought. Jens took his seat, and most of the councilors watched him as he took out various folders and placed them before him.

Finally, their guest, Sabrina Ziegler arrived and took a seat off to the side. This caught the attention of several councilors. Normally, interested citizens were very welcome to observe the council meetings, as they were always open. But Sabrina did not sit in the observer's gallery. She sat on the council floor.

"All right, my friends," Katja started as she stood up. "there are a couple of reasons I have called this meeting today. I'm sure you all are interested in hearing what we discovered about the anomaly in Utah. First, let me correct that, there were five anomalies that we discovered…" Jens loudly cleared his throat and raised his hand. "Yes Jens?"

"Six, Katja. We found another one yesterday, late afternoon."

"Universe Two?"

"Surprisingly enough, Universe One. It occurred about two months ago. I sent a team, but I don't expect very much data, because of the time interval."

"Excuse me, Katja." Karl Bernd stood. "I thought we only authorized the one science expedition." There were several murmurs of agreement.

"Yes. That was the original agreed to plan… everything changed this last Wednesday morning. Between Marko, Peter, Jens and myself, we held an emergency quorum. If you will allow Jens to brief you on the anomalies, you will begin to understand why we had to act. Then I would like Peter to describe what Ashwood has been doing since the election, that way you will understand what Marko did yesterday morning. If, after hearing all of this, you still think what I authorized to be in conflict with the council directives, I will entertain a vote of confidence. Will that satisfy you, Councilor Bernd?"

"Yes, Katja. I will refrain until the reports have been given."

"Thank you, Karl. Jens, you may begin." Katja then sat down. It was obvious to everyone she was not happy.

After an hour and a half, the briefing was all but complete. Katja stood back up. "There is one more piece of data that you all need to hear about. Yesterday, I ordered Marko to look into the feasibility of building more transports, such as the one we took to Utah, last Monday. I also asked him to place our flyers on alert, in case they were needed to defend the refugee area, again. And I asked Jens to look into supplying screens capable of withstanding a nuclear blast, to shield Kettle Falls from any further attacks by the Ashwood faction.

"Now that you are all aware of what I have done. I call for your vote of confidence. Those of you that feel I have overstepped my authority as the leader of this council, please stand."

"President Katja," Bernd started. "I don't think we need…"

"Yes Karl, we do. We must have a unified face here. From everything we have seen in the past week, it proves to my satisfaction that it is now time for our society to act. If the United States falls to Ashwood and the forces behind him, the Army of God; Canada will not be far behind. Tens of thousands have already died at their hands. Should he gain complete control, I suspect millions more will die under the combined thumb of this dictatorial religion as it rids itself of what they consider, undesirables. They will set up a regime that will inevitably control the entire world and then, I fear billions will die. I will not have that blood on my hands, even though we will remain safe."

As Katja remained standing, four other council members stood. When it was clear no other councilors were going to oppose her, Katja breathed a silent breath of relief. "The minority, as I see it, have two choices. One. If your convictions are that strong, resign by walking out of this chamber. Two. Sit back down and help us to work through what our society must now do. Your choice Gentlemen."

The four council members that remained standing looked at each other. All of them were in silent communications with each other. After a few moments, Councilor Bernd and Councilor Meyer sat down, while Councilors Wagner and Bergmann left the Council Chambers.

Looking at the two that stayed, Katja gave them a bow of her head. "Thank you, Karl and Jakob. I appreciate that despite our differences, you both feel you can continue working with us on these matters."

Jakob Meyer nodded, "Katja, we will always have differences of opinion. That doesn't mean we can't let go of those differences while working towards our common goals. Perhaps letting those differences temper our thoughts."

"Well said. Moving on then. We will need to schedule an election for the two vacated council positions, Public Relations and Biological Engineering. Hans, as Councilor for Public Services, will you handle this?"

"Yes, Katja."

"We now turn to why Sabrina Zeigler has been invited to this meeting."

"Pardon me, Katja." Karl interrupted, "Will this help us to understand how far the Army of God has expanded their research?"

"We know that the so-called Army of God is looking into a genetics program to enhance the enforcement arm of their organization. What we needed to know is how far they have progressed with their research. I fear Marko, that you have some news for us since the last formal meeting?"

"Unfortunately, I do." Marko said as he stood up. "I had said that I sent out five operatives to strategic points, within the US, to gather much needed information. On the plus side, our operatives from Chicago and New York City have returned, as well as Sabrina… it is my sad duty to inform the council that our operative in Washington D.C. was apprehended and has terminated himself. Our operative in Los Angeles was caught in the earthquake and killed. The molecular destabilizer reported cessation of life signs and destroyed itself. Of the reports we have received, Sabrina's was the most complete. With the data supplied by Sabrina Zeigler, we now know that their program has started but that they have an extremely long way to go. They have barely scratched the surface of what genetics can do. Sabrina?"

Sabrina arose and walked over to the council table and faced Karl Bernd. "All of you should have received my complete report. Councilman Bernd, since you are the person most familiar with the human genome, I suspect that once you have digested the contents, you will find a remarkable coincidence with what I believe the AoG is starting to do, and with what was done to the kids that I encountered in the rescue of Jack Bryce.

"No, they are not even close to what was done to these children, but I believe they have had enough successes that they are preparing to accelerate their experiments. Let me remind all of you, these are experiments made on live human subjects, not animals. From the little I have pieced together of their successes, these experiments are done with a callous disregard for the subjects' comfort or well being." At that moment, a security guard walked into the council chambers, handed Marko some papers and spoke into his ear briefly, before leaving.

"I'm sorry to interrupt. Something of importance has just been discovered and I simply must leave to investigate."

"What is it, Marko?" Katja asked.

"We've just discovered that shortly after the earthquake on Thursday morning, a majority of the satellites in orbit around the Earth have been destroyed. Since we don't use such things for our networks, it was only a few minutes ago that this was noticed. Jens, I am going to need your help on this."

"I suggest that we reconvene when you have some substantial news. This meeting is adjourned until then." Katja stood up and went with Marko and Jens.

"Can someone please explain all of this in simpler terms? Terms I can use in the council meeting!" Peter Vogel asked. "You brought me in here, but from what I get, this doesn't have a thing to do with the Outside."

Marko rolled his eyes, "Peter, we all know that you didn't excel in the sciences, which is why you went with the humanities… but don't stand there and pretend you didn't understand. That places you in the same category as the human couch potatoes of the world."

"Don't blow my cover, Marko. It's taken me years to perfect!"

"Oh? You've been practicing since you went through puberty at twelve?"

"Uh no. I started the year after!" Peter laughed. "Let me see if I understand this. The A.I.'s discovered that there was an almost instantaneous complete satellite blackout. They traced unknown energy signatures to the point of origin. They speculated as to the type of energy and what it did. They also noticed a different energy signature, again speculating what it was and did. Good so far?"


"All right. Then the A.I.'s have all this good data, but because no one thought to ask, they didn't tell… until one of our techs actually looked at the data feeds, because the data rate had greatly diminished, and finally asked the A.I.'s what was going on. So with a bunch more questions to the A.I.'s in the last few hours, we now know that honest-to-god aliens have invaded the Earth! They start by destroying over half the satellites in orbit then start snatching all the males they can find in the earthquake devastation zones, by means of some type of matter transmitter. Does that about sum it up?"

Marko and Jens just stared, open mouthed, at each other, while Katja shook her head.

"Well? Whoever and whatever 'they' are, isn't that what they just did?" Peter simply couldn't let it go. "Oh, and while we're at the explanations, would any of you care to speculate on why only males were taken? Of everything, that is perhaps the weirdest part."

"OK, Peter. I'll play. We all know that our myths and legends generally have some basis in reality. So these aliens are really Amazons and have run out of breeding stock. So they resupplied." Katja answered.

"Yes, that makes much more sense than guys taste better than gals!"

"Peter, you just didn't…" Katja started, as Peter busted up laughing for all he was worth. Which got Marko and Jens laughing. Katja just sat down with her head in her hands. "Let's call the council back together and tell them what we know. And Peter? Keep your mouth shut!"

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