Chapter 87

   

 

“Grandmother can be quite scary when she wants to be,” Richard stared at the screens in the situation room on Sol Station after watching his grandmother announce the invasion to the world.

 

“I honestly never knew she had it in her,” Edward said slowly.

 

“The real question is,” Kevin moved over to stand next to Master Lo as he pointed up at the monitor, “when do we step in and take those teens off their hands?”

 

“Indeed, Dragon Lord,” Master Lo replied as he stared at the live feed from the stealthed SE114 that they had following Victoria. “The conditions set down during the judgment only specified that those under eighteen were to be handed over to us, not when.”

 

Glancing at the Shaolin who he was sitting next to, Tim asked, “In any of the preparations that the coalition did before you called us over, did they mention when or where they planned to hand over those teens to us?”

 

Hands moving over the terminal the Shaolin skimmed through the recordings until he found the section asked about.

 

The screens flickered briefly as the live feed was replaced by an earlier recording.

 

Looking down at the map Morimoto asked, “General Saito, have you and your counterparts come up with an evacuation point for those under eighteen that our teams will capture?”

 

“Hai, Emperor Yamamoto,” General Saito bowed his head as he answered. “We have chosen several airports close to the target locations as extraction centers. While they are barely capable of handling the transport planes, we will be able to transfer the containment frames from the truck beds to the planes so the teens can be flown out of the country. We have contacted Territorial Governor Tides and he will close the San Diego airport for normal air traffic when we kick off the invasion. We plan to use that airport as the transfer point for the teens and any wounded from our troops.”

 

“Satisfactory,” Woo smiled as he nodded to himself. “This will allow us to do as ordered. We will hand over the teens to the Alteran's inside one of their Territories.”

 

Sitting back in the chair Tim thought about what he just witnessed. Tilting his head as he looked down from two rows up at Kevin and the others standing in front of the command console, “It’s surprising how much planning they have put into this.” Waving his arm at the screen which was once again showing a live feed from the Coalition Command Center he added, “Once they get those teens to San Diego I’ll have my teams escort them into the carriers for portation. The real question is, if we are going to have enough security on station,” thinking about it for a moment Tim looked over at screen showing the first of the trucks arriving at the local airport and the large transport jet rolling to a stop. “It might be better if we keep those teens knocked out. From a security stand point it will be safer on every one of we do.”

 

As the sheer numbers of those captured set in, Edward turned away from the screens to look at the command center, “How many stations are we going to have available to send these teens to? I know from reports that the Med Bay here on Sol Station is running at half capacity full time.”

 

Kevin realized he would be the one to activate the Omega Protocols since Aaron was out of commission. Tracing several commands to see which stations had empty Med Bay’s, he mumbled out, “Well, this is interesting.”

 

“What is?” Richard looked over Edwards shoulder at the terminal to see if he could catch what Kevin was talking about.

 

“We’ve built sixty five Step Off stations,” Kevin told them, “and out of those we have twenty stations staffed full time; the others have skeleton crews on them. But all twenty of those Med Bays are also in use. Interesting…!”

 

Looking at the numbers Richard did some quick math, “Not all of these patients are being altered, right? Because if they are that means we are rescuing, or recruiting, fifty thousand people a day.”

 

“No…”Kevin shook his head. “From what Aiden said the other day we are getting about six thousand people a week. Fred,” Kevin pathed to the only one besides Aaron who would probably know the answer. “How come the Step Off Station Med bays have so many of the bio-tubes in use?”

 

Pausing the screen, Fred looked up from the report he had been reading as he felt the question being directed his way from Kevin, “We decided to run all the refugees from the Philippines through the med bay to correct any and all problems so that when they restart their lives on Tau Ceti they have the best chance to succeed.” Blinking as the information settled into his mind that Kevin had sent on their conversation he nodded before pulling power from the gestalt point and porting to Sol Station in two jumps.

 

Walking into the command center Fred glanced at the monitor screens briefly, “Aaron built a new class of space station at the urging of the Shaolin.” Giving each of his lovers a kiss before settling down at the desk and logging into the terminal. “Several of the Shaolin healers have turned out to be pre-cogs; luckily for us, and their sanity, all of them have been low classifications. Mostly class four and a few class threes have popped up.” Shaking his head to get back on track he pulled up the picture of the new station Aaron built, “I give you the Omega Station.”

 

 

Staring at the screen Tim snorted, “I remember seeing Pete sketching something like this a long time ago. So what is special about this station?”

 

“Really?” Fred raised an eyebrow in curiosity, “So he was space happy all the way back then.” Bringing up the schematics of the station he pointed to the screen, “This station was designed for one thing only…to alter humans using the Omega protocol. As you can see,” he changed the image, “the Rhawbar’s stacking Bio-Tube configuration was used building the station. The other thing is that, except for a rather large triage area, the whole station is automated. The CORE controls every facet of the forced alteration.”

 

Staring at the station, Tim had to wonder, “Why was this built? I mean we have never had a problem with not having enough med bays the other two times Aaron activated the Omega protocol,” looking between Kevin and Fred he asked, “Right?”

 

Sighing, Fred sat back in the chair, “We found out by accident that when Aaron activated the Omega protocol last time the core tried to alter everyone already in a bio-tube for treatment. Luckily only a few youngsters began alteration before one of the Shaolin noticed what was happening and Aaron disengaged those being healed from the CORE interface, but not before a couple of dozen young teens had started the conversion process.”

 

Staring at the screen in thought, Kevin asked, “Where is the station?”

 

“I’m not sure,” Fred frowned as his fingers traced the query on the location of the station. Finding what Kevin was asking for he was slightly surprised at where the station was hiding, “It’s out of phase, close to the orbit of the moon, and…how in the name of the winds did this thing get built without everyone seeing it. It’s huge!”

 

“Between Pete and Xon,” Kevin snickered, “those two could build anything and keep it hidden.” Knowing his lovers they probably built the thing out of phase and left it there until needed.

 

Searching the terminal Fred asked, “The question is, how do we get it back in phase? I’ll need to get several teams of healers over there to get everything ready.”

 

Seeing several options on the terminal, Kevin entered his ID code and was not quite sure how to feel as a bright circle of light appeared on the floor as the CORE responded to his login as if he was Aaron. Stepping into the circle he looked up briefly as he hesitated because all those in the room looked at him in surprise. “Identify…”

 

“Kevin Miller Stranton…Identity Confirmed…”

 

Glancing down at the terminal with the command codes on it Kevin gave the order to activate the Omega station and phase it back into this dimensional plane, “Execute…File 789452S initiate…”

 

“Dear Lord,” Edward whispered in awe as the station they had been talking about slowly shimmered into existence in the empty space between Sol Station and the moon; and then the whole station lit up.

 

Richard stared out the window for several long moments, ignoring the CORE’s voice in the background as it announced that the station had been activated. Putting his hand on the window he tried to gauge the size of the station that had been built for the sole purpose of altering humans into Alterans, “I think…” finishing a quick set of calculations in his head Richard moved back from the window to rejoin his lovers. “The Omega station is four or five times larger than Sol Station by the looks of it. I think we have more than enough Bio-tube stations to alter everyone the coalition sends our way.”

 

Fred glanced at the Shaolin who were in the room before voicing the question that everyone probably had overlooked, “The real question we should be asking the Shaolin is, what have they foreseen that Pete needed to build something that large just to alter humans that can’t be done on the Step Off Stations?”

 

--

 

 

“Break…Break…Signal one thousand now in effect…”

 

Staring at the speaker where the words that they heard had just come out of, several of the coalition leaders looked at each other in confusion.

 

“Vhat is this signal one thousand?” Gorbivonovich’s heavy accent once more came to the fore as he looked through the briefing materials for the code phrases that had been agreed on.

 

Flipping through the papers in front of them to see if somehow one had been missed, Victoria replied slowly, “I have no idea, nothing here has that code listed on it.”

 

“Excuse me Ma’am, Sirs,” one of the runners spoke up as he moved away from the wall. “It’s one of those codes that the emergency medical service use to signal their base to inform them of a Mass Causality,” gulping as it sunk in he whispered the last, “Incident…one that is larger than the resources available to…”

 

Snapping her head around towards the screens, Victoria stared as Jens called out for the team to report in.

 

“Break…Rover fifteen go with emergent traffic…”

 

“Light the place up…” pulling the night vision goggles off his head, the team commander moved to one side so the head cam his second wore could clearly pick up what they were seeing. “I…” tears falling down the rough and tumble exterior of the SAS officer’s face he pulled himself together, or at least enough to report. “Confirm high four digits of children in all the buildings total in this condition.”

 

Victoria’s hands turned white as she gripped the table. Standing without realizing it she leaned forward, brain telling her of the horrors on the screen, but not able to comprehend the total inhumanity she was seeing.

 

There on the screens for the entire world to see was a vision out of most people’s nightmares. Instead of bunks where the children could rest, they saw rows and rows of cages not much bigger than coffins. And in each of the cages there was a child, most looking beaten and bloody.

 

But one thing stood out as they took in the cages stacked on top of each other, there was no way their ground teams could even begin to help those poor children.

 

“Dear God…” Victoria whispered in horror. She fell back into her chair when another voice called out in accented Russian over the radio.

 

“Break…Break…Comrade General, there is thousands of children at our target location. Too many are near death or wishing for death to come.”

 

The slamming of a hand in the still room sounded like a gunshot. Victoria once more stood up, eyes blazing in anger as she looked at the screens where the assault on the main camps of the Army of God was progressing, “No Mercy!” She hissed out as she turned to glare at the camera that was transmitting everything to the world. “Those responsible for this…this shall DIE.”

 

BAM

 

“VHAT…OVENS??…” Gorbivonovich was livid.

 

Looking between Victoria and Gorbivonovich, Woo was trying to figure out what the Russian had seen he had not, “Ovens?”

 

“Crematoriums,” Jens whispered out in horror.

 

Stiffening as it dawned on him what the significance of those large smoking towers meant, Woo felt all the blood leave his face.

 

“General Strathmore,” Victoria had gone past rage and her voice chilled every person who heard it to their core. “All those countries that are hosting those monsters…Seize them. Seize them now!” Turning slowly to look at the screen with her general on it she left no room for any question of her next order. “I want total control of each and every one of those countries immediately. If they resist…If they resist, kill them all.”

 

Snapping to attention each of the coalition commanders barked out, “At once, your Majesty.”

 

 

Edward snapped out of his musing when he heard his grandmother scream in rage. He stared up at the monitor in horror at the images being broad casted from the field that would put the painting Dante’s Inferno to shame, “Bloody Hell.”

 

“By the Winds,” Fred whispered in horror as he gazed at the images being broadcast from the SE114 hidden in the coalition command center. Moving to the desk and logging in he looked up at the pickup just under the center screen, “This is an Empire wide alert…All stations…All Med Bays go to disaster stations. Code Disaster One is now in effect. Triage teams are to report to all Med Bays that are in standby mode and bring them to trauma readiness.”

 

Kevin still in the interface circle brought the fleet to alert, as the command center plunged into the deep blue of battle stations at his logged in command set the red lights notifying everyone of a disaster situation started to flash. As the screens started to show the startled faces of the fleet captains he gave his orders, “Activate the SE114 to broadcast Empire wide and to Earth.”

 

As an image appeared in front of the coalition leaders, each of them felt worry, thinking what now, before relief set in as the image widened and they saw the flashing red lights instead of just the deep blue that they had seen only once when war was declared.

 

“A few minutes ago the Coalition forces secured their secondary objective of the Army of Gods youth indoctrination camps.” Hand touching the terminal Kevin sent the images they were receiving form the coalition teams to the fleet. “As you can see the Coalition has uncovered a disaster they are not prepared to handle. I more than most know Aaron would not stand by while those children are endangered because of the Gestalt of Mind agreed that the Coalition should handle the taking of the Army of God bases.” Standing up straight he glared off to one side before refocusing on the pick up, “Admiral Mandelin…Set the fleet status to disaster stations. All ships not involved in vital out of sector missions are to return to Earth orbit and start placing those children in the buffers before porting to one of the stations Fred is designating for you now.”

 

“Otto…Earth Watch Officer of the Day,” Kevin let some of the rage he was feeling out as he manifested as a see through plasma dragon. “Send in the screaming Eagles. I want a high altitude blanket of our fighters over each of the countries the Coalition forces are engaging. At the first sign of resistance…Destroy all police and military bases.”

 

Then the dragons image turned as if facing the coalition leaders, “Shaolin…Left hand of the Dragon, prepare to mind scan each person in those countries. Those found wanting…” Leaving off as he stared at the group of leaders that were cycling through multiple emotions over and over again including fear and relief he nodded when master Lo bowed to him.

 

“As the Dragon Lord commands,” Master Lo before pathing the rest of the Shaolin Elders what needed to happen.

 

Victoria stared at the image of a dragon with Kevin inside it and felt relief. She bowed her head when she heard him tell her that the only reason they were interfering was because too many children would be lost if they did not. Once again she felt shame for what her race had done.

 

--

 

Ignoring the fact that her nervousness was being seen by the crew and her son, Oboxa gave the order to stop, “Disengage engines.” Staring at Volosh 9 station in the front viewer she tried to keep the fear of failure she was feeling out of her voice, “Communications…open a dialog with the Alterans. Ask for the right to dock with their station.”

 

“As you command, Nest Mother.”

 

“Alteran Station Volosh 9, this is the ambassadorial vessel Talder requesting permission and instructions allowing us to dock with the station.”

 

Oboxa froze as the forward image viewer showed the Alteran command center in a deep blue darkness with flashing red lights around the room. The last time she had seen this one of the world’s the Alterans guided had suffered a disaster that had overwhelmed that worlds resources. She wondered in the back of her mind as she gave greeting if their race would ever be given this honor. “I am Oboxa, First Nest Mother of the Katha. We have journeyed to this station seeking a meeting between our healers and yours, though now…”

 

Frank stared at the Kathat vessel and swore under his breath, they could not have come at a worst time. “Vessel Talder stand by to be ported to dock sixteen. Be advised that we require you to stay within your vessel during the current medical crisis. Your request will be passed on to Rolph of Clan Stranton.”

 

“Acknowledged,” Oboxa nodded before adding, “We have two of our top healers on board. If they can be of service let us know.”

 

“Your message shall be passed on,” Frank told them before ordering the ship to be ported to the station. “Send word To Rolph that the Kathat are in system and request a moment of his time when he is free.”

 

--

 

Aaron woke up suddenly, blinking as long arcs of energy fired off from the Gestalt points around the med bay and filled his body with energy. Sitting up he flashed back to the times the CORE woke him up this way from his exhausted and injured state while he was training his gifts. Seeing the small flashing red light at the top of the medical monitor he looked up and let his mind stretch out to connect to each of his lovers before porting out of the Clan Med bay.

 

Appearing behind Kevin in the Earth Station Command Center he looked around slowly as he took in the information flowing back and forth between his people and the images on the screen. Energy still crackling around him as small arcs crawled across his body, Aaron stepped forward and kissed Kevin from behind with a smile before announcing his presence. Glancing up at the screen showing Fred overseeing the triage bays on each of the Step Off Stations that they had just activated he pulled Kevin close to him.

 

Feeling someone behind him, Kevin was surprised to feel Aaron standing there before being pulled into his embrace and given a kiss and a pathed feeling of love and pride, “ Wha…Aaron?”

 

“Core Override…” Aaron called out as he noticed the awed looks coming from most of his command staff, along with looks of relief from his lovers and one slight look of worry from Fred. “I’ll explain later, Fred, but for now, know I am fine.” Seeing the slow nod Fred gave him he sent a burst of memories on what the CORE did to wake him.

 

“CORE Override enabled…Identity confirmed…Aaron Stranton, Prime of Clan Stranton…King of the Alteran Empire…”

 

Pulling Kevin with him into the circle Aaron had been told this day was coming from the Elders of the Shaolin. Their pre-cogs had all scarily foretold of the day he would need to rescue the children of Earth, a day he had the Shaolin prepare for in secret. “I am Omega…I am Rebirth…” Looking down he sighed; he had hoped this day would never come.

 

Master Lo whirled around at hearing the Great Dragon speak. He was activating the plan the Shaolin Elders had deemed necessary to side track the possible future their seers had reported.

 

“I am Destruction…” Aaron looked up at the pickup to the frightened images from the Coalition leaders, “Recall and Enable Omega Fleet.”

 

Richard stared at Aaron for several moments before glancing outside and saw dozens, and then what looked like hundreds of the Omega Stations phased into reality and surround the Earth on all sides.

 

“What the Hell,” Fred yelled as he looked at the screen showing all the stations become visible. “Aaron? What’s going on? Where did all these stations come from?

 

Pathing in the open to all his people Aaron replied to Fred’s question, “That day that Kevin came up with a back story on why we invaded the U.S. has in a way come true. The Shaolin have had quite a few awaken the gift of pre-cognition and each in their own way saw a vision of the future where I would need to activate the Omega Protocols Earth wide. They saw that a disaster would see every ship and station overwhelmed with injured children, so many children that even when we had used every resource to the breaking point we would find more. More children in need than we could handle and choices would have to be made to allow some to die so others could live.

 

“This is not something I could live with myself if I had to make that choice. Even by clearing the Rhawbar’s buffers and sending him back to Earth we would still lose too many.” Aaron closed his eyes as he pathed to everyone. “I came up with a plan…and even with the plan the Shaolin and I came up with it still might not be enough. The morning I presided over Judgment on Earth I received information that the numbers of children homeless and abandoned we had been working from was wrong. Disastrously wrong. The true figure is close to one hundred million worldwide.”

 

Looking at the image of the Coalition Leaders, Aaron ignored the feeling that he should wash his hands of the whole planet, “We averted one future only to discover an ongoing horrific situation. With our intervention in our allies lands’, those of the Coalition Countries and those who chose to be territories of the Kingdom of Altare, we have only remedied the situation by at most ten million.” Seeing the confused looks on the Coalition leaders’ faces he explained, “The morning when we called each of the Coalition leaders to witness Judgment being rendered on the race of man, I received information on the true numbers of how many children are homeless or abandoned…That number reaches close to one hundred million worldwide.”

 

“Dear God,” Jens murmured in horror.

 

“Many countries are doing their best to help their own people out,” Aaron told them, “but the true numbers were never known to those countries’ leaders. I have seen the reactions of those leaders who had been told of the truth and I felt their outrage and pain when they were informed of what was taking place in their country. I felt their emotions as the truth settled into their minds and they struggled to find an answer to save those thrown away. I have also stood by as they asked for help and felt them push the shame they had started to feel to one side as their desire to do what was right took priority.”

 

“But those were the few,” Aaron was ghosting in his dragon form and it was glowing as he linked his mind to the CORE. “For every leader that was outraged and did what was right there are scores that wish to remain ignorant of their childrens’ plight,” Dropping the tone of his voice to a growl, “And that does not take into account those leaders who masterminded the abuses of their people.”

 

“It left me with a very difficult decision to make,” Aaron told them as the image being sent to Earth widened so they were seeing the Omega Stations behind him, all one hundred of them. As the image started to show thousands of arrays being released from the stations and heading into the atmosphere he picked up the explanation once more, “Those that others do not want I shall take in. I will heal them…I will feed them…I will give them the means to stand on their own two feet and dream once more.”

 

Eyes glowing with power as the dragon image ghosted around him, Aaron’s voice growled, “The choice to care for the children is no longer yours. We shall do what you should have done; we shall remove the unwanted children from Earth. When they are healed we shall welcome them into our homes and hearts as our own.”

 

“Entire countries over the next few days will be replaced with governments that will act as a true parent to those that look to them, because their people will demand it when the future of their countries have been rescued and removed.” Aaron took a step forward as the dragon disappeared as he took control of the energy swirling around him and forced it back. “This will be the last time I address the Earth as a whole. The next time I address the people of the Earth will be on the day I condemn all of you to hell and destroy this system.” Giving the people of Earth a moment to let that information sink in he gave them all one shred of hope, “or it might be the day that the leaders of Earth stand where I do now so that I can welcome those from Earth into the universe as well adjusted adults.”

 

 

Breaking his link to the CORE now that he had programmed in his commands, Aaron faced the screen with the Coalition Leaders on it, “Our conversation is not being broadcast Earth-side any longer…”

 

“Your Majesty,” Emperor Morimoto nervously interrupted. “You have to believe us…We did not know!”

 

“I don’t blame you,” Aaron sighed as he glanced at the monitors showing the rescue operation and the images from the Med Bays. “Even I had no idea of what was truly going on. If it was not for the fact of several young rock ban members gathering the information and bringing it to Aiden’s attention we would never have known what was going on.”

 

Seeing their looks of relief he shrugged, “I know all of you are doing your best to not only identify where the system is failing, but to rescue the homeless. But you are only responsible for your own countries, not the world. Over the next month I will rescue and relocate to several of my worlds half a billion Humans.” Seeing their shocked looks Aaron’s face became emotionless, “If possible families will be kept together, but make no mistake my focus will be on the children. They will not suffer any longer if I have anything to say about it.”

 

Turning his back on the pick-up Aaron moved over to where the Edward was standing, as far as he was concerned Earth was no longer his problem. “Edward England…”

 

Edward, seeing the serious expression on Aaron's face and how formal his words were, stiffened in fright. The slightest fear over losing what he had gained, the little part of his mind that screamed that it was all a dream, peeked out.

 

“Chosen by Clan Stranton and bonded to the Clan through marriage and love,” Aaron picking up on Edward’s fear pathed his love and reassurance to him. “Earth and all it people are now your responsibility. You shall be their contact and the Voice of the Clan…all dealings between Alterans and Humans are now under your control.”

 

Walking away from his shocked lover he pathed to him, “I have faith you can do the job, where I sadly no longer can think of any other solution than to destroy this system. So I am stepping back and letting another do what I no longer can, after all I am only Alteran.” Bowing his head Aaron stared out the window for several long moments as he considered his next move. The search for the Seeders’ home world, on top of that there was the Kathat, not to mention the Mizhine…”

 

Watching the tail end of the transporter probes enter Earth’s atmosphere Aaron made one decision he had been putting off even thinking about, The Mizhine children would have to be repatriated to a different dimension. There was just no way they had the resources to raise a race with three separate sexes. Once this current crisis had been handled he would have to send part of the fleet to escort the Rhawbar to offload the children. He just hoped that there would not be any new problems created from this.

 

--

 

Carl fumed silently as he quickly worked on the next child that appeared in the Bio-tube in front of him. He had lost track of the number of surgical cases he had to stabilize before he could even begin to program in a treatment plan.

 

“Sector Seven Med Center, this is the Hermes,” the Communication officer of the CS011’s voice came over the stations speakers. “Inbound with four hundred and fifty near Code Patients in the buffers…ETA Fifteen.”

 

“Damn them to the Stillness,” Carl swore as he bang his head on his left shoulder to activate his com. “Attention all staff. We need to change…”

 

“Danica to Sector Seven Med Center, be advised we are inbound with four hundred Trauma One patients in the buffers,” the thick accent of the Danica’s com officer interrupted Carl. “Please be advised Fleet central requests a turnaround of no more than twenty minutes due to the sheer number of mass causalities on Earth.”

 

“Aaron, you better blow up that damn planet if you know what’s good for you,” Carl cursed as he moved over to the desk and logged in. Entering his authorization he directed the CORE to initiate something he had read about in the logs when Aaron was the only one around. They would let the CORE control initial treatment until they could free up enough healers to actually work on each kid. This way at least they would be able to save most of them. “All personnel are to report to Bio-Tube wings. Intubate and emplace sensors only. We are going to Red Alpha!!”

 

Alarms started to sound system wide. Marines and ships’ personnel from the nearby ship yards started to port over to the Med Station, running down the corridors searching for empty treatment wings where they could start prepping patients.

 

Gordon’ hearing Carl initiate something called Red Alpha from the com link he had slaved into his lover’s headset’ decided that if it worked for Carl it would work for him. Moving over to the console he logged in and queried the system for Red Alpha. Finding it he entered his log in ID and initiated the protocol. “Attention all staff. We are now Initiating Red Alpha Protocols. Emplace sensors and Intubate patients as they appear in the Bio-Tubes. Once you activate the Bio-tube and it closes the CORE will initiate emergency stabilization. We can come back and treat our patients once the deluge stops.”

 

--

 

Platoon leader Grimes stared at the empty cage that a moment before had a small child whimpering in pain inside it, as he blinked the spots out of his eyes from the bright light. One moment he had been looking at the kid trying to figure out where the hell the locking mechanism was, then the next thing he saw was a shower of light and the kid was gone. Pulling his mic close to his mouth he pushed in the button, “Sir…Grimes reporting. The kids in this section seemed to disappear in some bright light.”

 

Hearing several of his teams call in about the disappearing kids, Team commander Romanov left the building and looked up in the sky. Seeing one of the Alteran space vessels move away as another took its place he smiled in relief. Opening a channel to the command center he reported in, “Break…Break, Rover fifteen to command.”

 

Victoria looked over to the screen that showed the team commander that first called in after finding so many children in a near death state. She could deal with the here and now and worry about asking her grandson what Aaron meant by giving him total control of Earth later. Motioning for the communications officer to answer she sat back with relief when the image changed to show several of the Alteran vessels over the camp.

 

“Command, be advised that the Alterans are transporting the children from this location,” Romanov called his team leaders over as he waited for confirmation. “As soon as the building your team are in is empty and confirmed cleared, get ready to move out. We have some retribution to hand out, and I, for one, don’t intend to let the regulars have all the fun.”

 

“Ve have averted a catastrophe by the seat of our pants,” Gorbivonovich murmured as he stretched his aching muscles.

 

“That we have, my friend,” Jens closed his eyes as he sent a prayer of thanks to the heavens.

 

Moving in front of the table, Victoria stared at the camera that was broadcasting their invasion to the world. “General Strathmore, report.”

 

“Ma’am,” the general’s voice came over the speakers. “The Alterans seem to be transporting out all the children our teams found in those camps. Our pilots have reported back that the teens they are transporting to the territory of California are also disappearing in flashes of light. With the non-combatants out of the way we have ordered the advance on the enclaves under the control of the Army of God Terrorists. So far we have captured, and are in the process of searching, all but the main compound. We are still hitting heavy resistance from their main base.”

 

“And what of the leadership of the countries that are playing host to those…people?” Victoria asked.

 

“Honored Queen,” Shinto answered for the rest of his colleagues. “The Coalition troops have captured, and are in control of, all the capital cities of the countries we are currently invading. We have issued your order of surrender to all troop bases and we have accepted surrender of all but two bases. Those two bases our combined naval forces…our forces removed those locations from the maps.”

 

“I see,” Victoria looked over her shoulder at the image of her grandson. “Edward, what did his Majesty mean when he placed you in charge of the Earth?” She did her best not to fidget as she looked at her grandson’s image staring upwards and to the left. He was having a telepathic conversation and she ignored the startled murmurs from the others in the room when they realized what they were seeing meant.

 

“His Majesty, Aaron Stranton, Prime of Clan Stranton,” Edward looked past his grandmother to the other Coalition leaders. “Well…”

 

“He has washed his hands of Humanity,” Kevin interjected as he walked up next to Edward. “There are more pressing matters that he needs to deal with from now on, and frankly…” seeing the numbers start to scroll under the monitors like some strange countdown clock, but unlike a clock counting down these numbers were increasing; and for each increase it meant another teen transported to an Omega Station and a new life. Those being transported to one of the Omega Stations would be taught while being healed, or if there was no viable family and they were male, they would be re-sequenced to the Alteran genome. Though he did wonder what would happen to the females. Shaking his head he looked back at the pick up, “Frankly this latest discovery has cemented in Aaron’s mind that he might have been wrong about all of you.”

 

“What this means, grandmother,” Edward caught their attention. “Is that from now on I will be the person you have all dealings with in the future. I will act as a relay when needed between our two peoples.”

 

“Make no mistake,” Kevin warned. “We are truly two separate species. Sometime in the past our races might have started out as the same species, but we evolved differently. And I think we have proved that we evolved earlier than Homo Sapiens. You might want to consider thinking of us as older cousins on the evolutionary scale if that would help.”

 

“What are these drones that have entered the atmosphere his Majesty spoke off and our tracking teams are reporting to us?” Chairman Woo asked as the others digested what they had been told so far.

 

“Those drones are seekers,” Master Lo told them. “They have been programmed to seek out certain emotions given off by those in distress. The drones will then focus on the person, or persons, that have triggered their programming and with their scanners will scan the individual for physical criteria that will activate their function. If certain conditions are met then the target that triggered their inquiry will be transported off planet to one of the numerous stations now ringing the Earth, to be healed and relocated upon their release.”

 

“One other point you might want to keep in consideration, grandmother,” Richard moved so he could be seen clearly by those on the other end of the connection. “By doing this, by placing Edward in charge, Aaron has backed away from the decision to give the order to destroy the Earth. He has been so close to ordering the evacuation of our territories and allies to several of the mostly empty worlds in his empire more times than I am comfortable with. And I think when he saw the disaster you all discovered mere minutes after waking up after recovering from the Gestalt used to judge Humanity, mere minutes from his stand point mind you, that he feels he no longer can be an impartial judge, so he has stepped aside.”

 

“But that means,” Edward looked horrified as it sank in.

 

“Yes, Edward,” Richard looked at his cousin with pity. “It will be up to you now to decide when to order the evacuation of Earth and this system’s sterilization.”

 

--

 

Xon sighed slowly as he made his way down the corridor towards docking ring sixteen. It had been a frantic twelve hours, and with the help of all Alterans with even the simplest skills of being able to emplace the sensors on the injured children, they had come through the disaster only to lose four children that were too brain damaged to saved. Even with their technology they could not save those that they had not gotten to in sufficient time. Approaching the dock he noticed the diplomatic party headed by Oboxa, which was interesting he thought as her son was the ambassador.

 

“Greeting to thee, Xon Stranton of Clan Stranton,” Oboxa held her hand up in the ritual salute of non-aggression her people used at the start of negotiations.

 

Raising one eyebrow Xon nodded and replied, “Greeting to you and your party Oboxa, Matriarch of the nest of Enethe. Mother to Sesek, the Kathat Ambassador to Altare.”

 

Looking at each of the others in Oboxa’s group Xon noticed they all seemed to be healers. Wondering what they wanted he motioned for them to follow him, “This way please. We can use Aaron’s office to have our discussion since he is not on station at the moment.”

 

Once all of the Kathat had found a seat, Xon went around the desk and sat down while brushing the surface of the terminal so this meeting would be sent out empire wide so those who chose to watch could do so.

 

“While our alliance is young, and our people and yours did not meet under ideal circumstances,” Oboxa started after the silence started to grow, “our people are in dire need of help. Without such help the Katha race is doomed to extinction within five cycles of ten.”

 

Scrunching his face up in thought, Xon tried to think of any disaster the Katha that raised him in that other dimension may have suffered that would have led to extinction. He could not think of any instance in any of the records he had read. “This information is disquieting. What is the problem you have need of help for?

 

Oboxa turned to her personal healer who had been at the forefront of finding the problem, “Opoku, please explain the findings of healers.”

 

Bowing her head slightly to Oboxa she focused on the one who seemed to understand her race at a frightening level. “We first noticed a problem six cycles ago, though due to the fact the healers at the nesting grounds had to deal with those lost in grief at the death of their unborn hatchling it was overlooked until recently. Th e current hatching cycle has devastated us as a race; there were only three live hatchlings out of five thousand and eighty children being placed in the hatching grounds to finish their gestation in their egg form.”

 

Xon bolted upright at hearing the numbers of children that did not survive until hatching. In the long history of the Katha race, in this dimension or the other, there had never been an illness that affected the unborn once they were placed on the hatching ground after the egg was birthed. Mind racing, he knew it would not take many cycles before the race did indeed die out. Especially after those that were young passed the breeding age at twenty five.

 

Staring at Oboxa for a moment he tried to remember how old Sesek was; if he died without issue then the oldest and first house of Katha would die with him. He was not comfortable with the unease that was settling into his mind at that thought.

 

“To our shame,” Oboxa was confused at the pleased feeling she had gotten when the Alteran representative was shocked, “we had a hand in the downfall of our people when we were tricked, by Tenef who wanted conquest and to bring back the old ways, into attacking a nearby race called the Tijin. During the war, the Tijin sent several missiles that bypassed our defenses and landed on our planet. We thought they were harmless as we did not find anything in the warheads, and we assumed they were to be used as a bargaining point on their end to end the war. We assumed wrong, and in our arrogance we paraded all of our children and parents into the war museum to view these missiles.”

 

Taking over the explanation when Oboxa became unsettled, Opoku told him, “It was when I was taking a tour at your medical academy and asked to have my samples tested that we found the culprit. A Prion type weapon was in those warheads, and it is responsible for our race’s doom.”

 

Alarmed, Xon sent a glare at Opoku as he tilted his head while extending his hand and pulling energy from one of the gestalt points in the wall. Long arcs of energy hit his hand and he used it to fuel his panicked call, “Aaron! The Katha brought a bio-weapon to the science academy on Proxima Seven during their tour.”

 

Looking up, Aaron blinked several times, he was sure he had heard wrong. There was no way the Katha would be so reckless as to…”Xon?” trailing off he blinked several times as the memories Xon had sent with the panicked cry settled. “The Prion will not harm us, our genetics will not allow it to have any effect,” he said slowly as he examined the image he pulled from the system along with the report. “While they did not inform us of their intention to bring the sample before the tour of the facilities on Proxima Seven, they did inform the medical staff at the research center before handing over the sample it seems. Why no one flagged the results of the test for my attention will have to be discussed with the staff. I will let Fred put the fear of the Winds into them.”

 

Relaxing from hearing that the Kathat did not almost cause a plague, Xon glared at the Kathat healer, “Next time you decide to take a sample of a bio-weapon off your planet and onto another planetary system you might want to warn us before you arrive instead of after. You are lucky that the Prion based weapon does not affect us; if it did you would be a shimmering particle of matter as the Katha sun was forced to go Nova.” Seeing the delegation pale and the healer look at the floor in shame he held his glare on the healer for several moments before turning to face Oboxa, “What do you ask of us?”

 

Feeling very uncomfortable with asking for a favor after not thinking through their transport of the contagion to one of the worlds dedicated to learning, Oboxa squared her shoulders. “We would ask of thee if you have the ability to rid us of this disease before the Katha race slips into the eternal sleep.”

 

Raising an eyebrow, Xon tilted his head to one side, “You wish us to engineer your race a…” trailing off he tilted his head as he called for Aaron once more. “Aaron…

 

Closing his eyes as his lover contacted him again, Aaron had to wonder what the Katha had done now. After all it had only been a short ten minutes from the last time Xon had contacted him, “I hope the Kathat have not done something else I might be upset over.”

 

That depends,” Xon sounded amused as he sent Aaron what had been covered so far. “Do you think we should help them?”

 

--

 

Deozhnera stared out of the window of the command ship into the deeps of space, lost in thought. The reports that had been coming in were frightening. The Darkness that had attacked the humans had succeeded in exterminating a space faring race that had fifty colony worlds. To her knowledge less than a handful of humans survived the genocide the Darkness had orchestrated, and those survivors were hidden here in the home system of the Mizhine race.

 

Staring at the fleet of warships as they blocked the light of the stars as they passed by on their patrol of the system she struggled with the decision to send the human ambassador and his staff away. The ambassador had come to her several hours ago and told her that they requested a small scout ship be given to them so they could escape the system before the Darkness turned its engine of death to look upon the Mizhine worlds in their quest to eradicate the human race from the universe. To her everlasting shame she had to agree, the last of the humans would have to be banished from their space so that they had time to prepare. “Aschen…”

 

“Yes, Deozhnera,” Aschen bowed as he stepped out of the shadows and approached his mentor.

 

“As much as my soul is tormented by the decision,” Deozhnera turned to face her young protege, “the needs of our people must be foremost in my decision.” Sighing, she closed her eyes before opening them and standing up straight. “Escort the Ambassador and his companions to the fastest scout we have available and get them out of our system as soon as possible; and may the ancients have mercy on my soul.”

 

“At once, Deozhnera,” Aschen bowed his head and quickly left.

 

Returning to stare out of the window into the depths of space, Deozhnera came to a decision, as she had been wrestling with the plan Kaukot had brought to her for approval that morning. “How sure are you that this new class of warship can not be traced back to us, Kaukot?”

 

“”Positively, Deozhnera,” Kaukot said as he stopped next to Deozhnera at the window. “Nothing in those ships leads back to us, including the weapons and propulsion systems.”

 

Turning her head to face the leader of the warrior sect, Deozhnera gave the order to go to war. “Do it. Take you new fleet through the Spectral Nebula and attack the fleet controlled by the Darkness as it moves through the human worlds. Use the new weapons to cause each of those systems’ suns to go Nova.” Letting some of the rage she had bottled up out she hissed out, “Destroy them for their audacity in attacking our children.”

 

 

Sitting in his office located in Proxima Seven, Aaron stared at the walls he had turned into monitors. The monitors were split into a hundred smaller views, each focused on one of the triage stations of their corresponding Omega Station. This time, this time he was not just going to go in and rescue a few thousand here and there. No, with the activations of the Omega fleet he would be removing seventy percent of the children in quite a few countries.

 

In the coming weeks the face of the world would be changed as the drones he had activated scoured the Earth for those that fit their programmed parameters, and those parameters were more fluid than the ones the Shaolin had asked for. Those in immediate danger would be the ones rescued in the first wave. Then, once the stations had been ported to one of the empty forty worlds in his empire waiting their turn for colonists, they would release those rescued so the stations could be returned to Earth so a new wave, a second wave of rescues could start. This time the would take those who needed a new start but were not in immediate danger of death. And from now until the end of the human race those stations would follow their programming to search out those unwanted, those needing a new home and remove them to safety. Unlike version 1.0 he had in fact found a way to destroy the human race without warfare, without bloodshed. It would take centuries, but in the fullness of time Earth humans would cease to exist as they were absorbed into his empire, and he still had no idea how he should feel about that fact.

 

“Aaron,” Colin called out softly as he entered the office along with the rest of the command staff.

 

“Have a seat,” Aaron told them without taking his eyes off the drama unfolding on the screens. “We have our work cut out for us. It is going to be a harrowing few weeks until we get the infrastructure in place to receive all those we are rescuing.” He turned away finally from the scene of those being rescued re-materializing in the bio-tubes before the system would activate and start the conversion process, “Damian, love, I will need you and your teams to quickly go to these worlds and build cities and farms; all the infrastructure a colony world needs.” Handing the chip over he smiled at Damian. “If you need to expand your RS fleet do so.”

 

Looking at Tim and Xon, who were sitting with the rest of the military command staff, he handed over another isolinear chip, “The twenty five worlds listed here need to have the same protections emplaced around them as our home system. Once that is done there will be a total of thirty exclusive Alteran only worlds for our people to choose to live on.” Sighing he closed his eyes, ‘I never wanted this. Even when I went and built the Omega Stations I never thought I would actually have to use them, even though Master Lo assured me that they would be needed one day soon.” Opening his eyes again he looked around the room, “I’m really beginning to wish the gift of Pre-Cognition never manifested.”

 

Looking back at Colin who broke the melancholy he had been wallowing in when he called out his name Aaron answered his unasked question, “The Omega Fleet would be the logical conclusion to the Omega Protocol. As each male is transported into the sequencing chamber they are not only genetically altered to the Alteran genome, but they also undergo massive education and training to bring them up to speed to where they should be for their chosen field. Seven days after entering the bio-tube they will be released fully educated and ready to start their new lives. The really infuriating part of this whole mess is that I can never turn off the Omega fleet now that it has been activated, and for that I can never forgive the humans.”

 

“Is that why you gave me control of the Earth?” Edward asked softly.

 

Nodding his head, Aaron answered, “Yes. They made me cross a line I told myself I would never cross. I don’t think it has sunk in yet, but what I did back there,” he pointed to the screens on the wall, “spells the end of the Human race on Earth.” Seeing the horrified expression on Edward and Andrews faces he tried to smile, “Oh it won’t happen for generations, but eventually the population of Earth will be so diminished that it will be less than what we consider as the start up number for a colony world.”

 

“I see,” Master Lo said softly as it registered that the Omega Fleets seekers would never be recalled. They would seek those needing rescued to the end of time.

 

Colin looked over at the Shaolin master and asked, “You see? What have you discovered that the rest of us are overlooking?”

 

Master Lo turned to face the head of the Mind Healers Guild and his words shocked Colin. “The seekers will police the humans from this day forth, and they will act when their programming is triggered and rescue the child or young adult before the damage to them becomes part of their soul.”

 

“How is this possible?” Colin wondered out loud.

 

“Because the Seekers are able to detect emotions,” Master Lo told him.

 

 

Victoria stared at her fellow leaders as the connection with her Grandsons ended. The feeling of loss that Aaron’s announcement caused quickly turned to anger. Anger at those who caused this mess in the first place, “Gentlemen, we still have one last base to destroy before we can say we have won this war.”

 

“You’re right, Victoria,” Jens nodded as he turned to give the order. “General, give the order to start the bombing runs.”

 

Speaker Burnett swore as the alarms made it difficult to think, “Shut those blasted alarms off.” Once the room was blessedly silent once more he barked out, ‘Report.”

 

“Sir,” one of the commanders spoke up. “We have detected that the unwashed forces of evil have invaded all around us. In fact we have lost all contact with all of our bases.” Gulping in fear as he read the report handed to him he turned back to the elder speakers trying not to show the fear he was feeling. “All of our training bases have been captured and it has been…”

 

“Been what?” Speaker Burnett growled out.

 

“Sir,” gulping the commander spit out, “It has been confirmed all of our other staging areas have been destroyed.”

 

“Blasphemy!”

 

As Speaker Burnett was about to give the orders to ready the last of their nuclear arsenal the room was rocked by an earthquake. No, not an earthquake his mind told him. They were under attack and he did not know what they were using, but by the strength of the tremors, their enemy had a good chance to breach what he thought unbreachable.

 

Victoria stared grimly at the monitor as wave after wave of bombers unleashed their payloads over a three square mile area. Each of the bombers had been loaded with what the yanks called bunker busters, bombs capable of reaching and then breaking down the exposed underground hardened concrete reinforced base. She watched as heavy bomber after bomber made its run and dropped the deadly loads like some bird dropping small twigs on its way to its nest. In between each wave of bombers squadrons of jets flew in and took advantage of the lack of resistance to fire off their payload of sidewinder missiles.

 

Fifteen, twenty, then thirty minutes passed by as the combined might of five nations unleashed a rain of death on the three square mile area.

 

And then the cruise missiles started landing. The combined navel fleet of the coalition nations had finally gotten in range, and missile after missile was fired from the decks of the warships and subs that had surfaced off the coast.

 

Then between one heartbeat and the next a bright light exploded in the center of the target area and the monitors went dark. Before anyone had a chance to ask what had happened the monitors came back to life showing the scene from farther out. Where before hell on Earth had been brought down as they waged total war on one small area, now a rapidly expanding fire cloud took shape like some diseased mushroom climbing its way to the heavens.