Authors: LM. Preston
Tags: #Explorer X Alpha
EXPLORER X â Alpha
Copywrite Â© 2009 Lanita Preston
all rights reserved
Published by: Phenomenal One Press
P.O. Box 8231, Elkridge MD 21075
First Edition: Feb 2010
Cover Artist: Stephen McDowell
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief embodied in critical articals or reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
For my children and my husband who helped me dream
the impossible and gave me to support to achieve it.
Shamira is considered an outcast by most, but little do they know that Shamira is on a mission. Kids on Mars are disappearing, but Shamira decides to use the criminal's most unlikely weapons against them, the very kids of which they have captured. In order to succeed, she is forced to trust another, something she is afraid to do. However, Valens her connection to the underworld of her enemy, proves to be a useful ally. Time is slipping, and so is her control on the power that resides within her. Yet, in order to save her brother's life she is willing to risk it all.
Thanks to God for giving me a tenacious spirit of positivity with an active imagination and the energy to do it all. My devoted Beta Readers, Marie
Williams and Jenny McDiarmid who helped me create a better story.
Dave Meadows, author of the SIXTH FLEET who encouraged me to
write one page a day, and Jack Campbell author of THE LOST FLEET who gave me encouragement freely. Stephen McDowell, my artist who
supported all of my wild ideas. My husband who challenged me to write an awesome story, and my kids who were my first Beta Readers, I thank you.
He ran his tongue against his teeth as the inside of his lip burned and tingled with the sensation of pain. Sweat dripped onto his nose, and his eyes squinted while the metallic taste of blood lingered on his tongue. He spit.
This is not over,
he thought. He squatted down to prepare to attack.
“Aadi! Give it up. You will lose on this day!” Damien said as his tall, muscular form heaved from the exertion of the battle. Then he charged, punched Aadi in the gut, and followed through with a kick to the head. As Aadi fell, his anger built.
The time for compassion has ended,
Let's finish this now!
He would fight and kill until it was done.
He stood up at his full height and smiled through the pain. The power of the adrenaline rush from a good fight ran through his huge frame.
have already lost,” he declared. He charged toward Damien and punched him with a power that Damien never anticipated - a blow so mighty that it caused the ground to shiver around them upon the impact. Damien returned the attack with a strike to Aadi's face. However, Aadi felt no more pain. He only felt powerful, pure, and invincible. He lifted Damien by the neck high into the air. With a tightened fist, he slammed Damien into the ground. With his handheld high, he roared, “It is over!”
Aadi awoke with a rush, still feeling the power, anger, and frustration of his dream. He knew it was time to get up, but he just wasn't ready to give in to his fate and pack. Getting down, he turned and kicked his bed with a fury still fueled by his dream. He glanced at the snowboarder on his wall, surrounded by snow and mountains, and whispered, “That's where I want to beâ¦” Aadi did not want to go to space. Why his parents wanted him to go to this camp sponsored by the company they work for, he didn't know.
He told them that he wanted to go to a sports camp.
Hey, I'd even take a technology camp where I could build robots or videogame programs over this,
he thought. Space was his parent's first love, not his. His dad even set up a replica space cruiser in his workshop and made Aadi help him put it together. Being able to spend time with his father was the only reason he helped out, because his dad was always working - always.
His parents were both astronauts and scientists and desperately wanted their only son to experience what they loved about work. He couldn't figure out why this was so important to them. Aadi scratched his chin while he read the brochure again and then looked at Coach, his brown German Sheppard. Coach wagged his tail so Aadi patted him and said, “I don't want to go to space camp, boy. I mean, why can't I go to football camp or lacrosse camp like my friends? This camp is for geeks, but I guess now it's no turning back. They have made up their minds.” Coach barked in agreement and then wagged his tail harder while Aadi vigorously scratched his ear.
“Well, I'd better start packing,” he said in frustration. He grabbed his duffle bag and quickly stuffed in the items that were thrown around the floor.
He thought about his desire to go to sports camp and pondered how his mom seemed to put him in every sport she could think of, as if she was trying to find something that he would fail at. They all came so easy to him, and he loved them all, which made him what his mother had called “an all-around jock.” If she felt that way, why wouldn't she let him go to where he wanted to for camp?
He turned to say goodbye to his room, and his eyes fell on Ebu. Coach started to growl at his latest invention - a miniature robot that had an intelligence chip that made it act and talk like it was an intelligent friend. As far as Aadi knew, there was no other robot like Ebu that allowed it to evolve as a human would, so he was proud of his unique creation. Ebu stood about one and a half feet tall, six inches wide, and was collapsible, just the perfect size for sneaking in and out of school in Aadi's backpack.
Aadi had experimented with all types of devices on Ebu to make him undetectable whenever he took him to school. His mom would often help him with his ideas for Ebu since she worked mostly on experimental devices used for the security department of her company. As Aadi's eyes fell on Ebu, he lifted a dark eyebrow in thought, “Hmm, Ebu, today is your lucky day! You are coming with me to camp!”
Ebu replied in his musical voice, “Why, Aadi, I thought I would have to sneak into your bags on my own.”
“Aadi, hurry up, it's almost time to leave, and you have just enough time for breakfast!” his mom yelled from the kitchen. Aadi ran to the bathroom, brushed his teeth quickly, and returned to his room to grab his bag.
Aadi stuffed Ebu into his duffle bag, ran down the winding stairs to the garage, and put his duffle bag into the trunk of his dad's black and gold Hover Mobile, one of the first of its kind. His dad helped invent it, as well as other flying vehicles marketed and sold by his company. It looked like a regular SUV, but it had the ability to fly about nine feet off the ground. His dad rarely put it in flying mode because in the year 2080, it freaked some of the other drivers out. It was starting to catch on, though, and Aadi decided he would ask him to put it in hover mode before he left for his eight weeks of space camp.
He ran into the kitchen with Coach in tow. “Mom! What's for breakfast?” Then, he sat at the kitchen island. He watched his mom as she smiled at him with her dimpled and light brown sun kissed face. She winked at him after she selected their meal on the modern-style MegaKitchenator.
“Hey, you!” his mom said as she came over and gave him a huge hug along with a wet kiss on the cheek. “Sit down, and I will get breakfast on the table for you and your dad,” she said and walked back over to the MegaKitchinator.
“Where is Dad?” he asked, as he dimpled up with a smile and leaned on the kitchen island.
“Where do you think?” his mom said with a wink. Aadi knew the answer. He smiled when he pictured his dad, because his dad was the biggest geek he knew. It was obvious to Aadi that his dad was in his workshop, a great lab that reminded Aadi of Batman's lair. His father would always get animated and loud when talking about a new idea, scientific fact, or some “monumental discovery,” but for all his ideas, his first love was always outer space. Therefore, most of the days his dad spent in his lab were to perfect space travel in some way or another.
He figured that he needed to come up with a plan and absently petted Coach on the head while he bit his lip in thought. The smooth counter surface was cool as he tapped his fingers on it in thought. He tried to think of the best way to convince his parents to change their minds.
Working on Mom will be the best approach,
She always has a soft spot for me.
“Hey, Mom, umâ¦ why do you guys want me to go to space camp? You know I really like sports more than space stuff,” Aadi said with a bit of a whine to his voice. He pressed his lips together to hold his anger in check while he took his yo-yo gasid out of his pocket. He sat and watched it wiggle, spin, and dance up the line, controlled by a computer chip inside the yoyo. The yo-yo moved in perfect motion as it lit up with blue, green, and purple lights, and Aadi watched it intently, not wanting to give away his mood by looking at his mom.
“Well, Aadi, you won't be alone there. You'll be with most of your friends from your school and the neighborhood. You ought to feel lucky since only children of employees that work at TEGRC are allowed to go on this maiden voyage.”
TEGRCâ¦ Technical Exploration and Genome Research Corporation,
Aadi thought to himself, wanting to roll his eyes.
Even the name sounds geeky.
His mother continued trying to sell him on the idea. “You all are the first group around to test the camp and critique it to make it more fun for other kids who want to learn about space travel in the years to come. It's about a hundred or so kids in total, and the company is so excited for you all. We are excited for you, too” his mom said with a salesman-like smile.
While she spoke, Aadi thought that he should have tried to fail the stupid test, though if he had, he knew without a doubt that his mom would have figured out what he had done and made him retake the darn test again.
“Mom, most of my friends are not going. They are going to sports camps. Only the stupid geeky kids in this neighborhood are going to that space camp, and they are the only ones so happy about it. Besides, I don't even like Dakota or Damien, and I barely even know the other few kids you told me about,” Aadi grumbled with a frown.
“Hey, the car is packed, and I am ready for my big breakfast from my hot babe of a wife!” his dad said, just before he bear hugged Aadi's mom.
“Man, that is getting old,” Aadi mumbled under his breath with a smile in his voice.
“Hey, Aadi, I heard that!” his dad said in his booming, laughing voice while he rubbed Aadi's black wavy hair.
“Well, your dear look-alike son is trying to plead his case to me so he can ditch Space Camp and go to sports camp,” explained his mom. She placed the plates in front of Aadi and his dad.
His dad grabbed his fork, said a brief and hurried prayer over his food, and shoved the first bite of the omelet in his mouth with a frown on his dark eyebrows. Aadi followed suit and quickly murmured his blessing over his food and stuffed it down in a huff.
“Son, you going to this camp really means a lot to me and your mom. We just knew you are smart enough, strong enough, and big enough to be selected. I know outer space is not your thing right now, but I just want you to give it the same chance you give your sports and your gadget making. Is that so hard to do?” said his dad with that authoritative voice he always used to convince Aadi he was wrong about something.
Why does my father always do this to me?
he asked himself. His dad had him, because he knew how much he wanted to please them, so Aadi figured he would just suck it up for now and go, but not without a fight.
“Dad, I don't like the kids I am going with. So that means I have nothing in common with them, and I am going to be with these kids for eight weeks! Eight weeks! That is freaking forever! I read the dumb brochure. All they are going to have us doing is simulation crap to prepare us for any hostile situations. Oh, don't let me forget the greatest partâ¦ visiting a couple of boring planets with no life on them. Then, we get to come home and say, âHurray! We did it!' We have to wait a full three and a half weeks before they even let us go into the space cruisers for a run to Mars and Jupiter. Whoopeeâ¦” Aadi said sarcastically while he raised his voice.