Authors: Mia McKimmy
Cy headed over to the ship that housed the troops. He
wanted to stop in and see Miles before he left for patrol. It had been two
weeks since he was brought to the facility and joined the army. Cy made it his mission
to take Miles’ mind off the pain of losing his life-mate. Mostly they talked
and played cards, or worked out in the gym. Some times they would go to the
shooting range and target practice with guns, knives, and bows. Late at night,
they practiced fencing for hours, until they both were ready to drop.
Miles was a good guy, but if something didn’t come along
to give him a purpose, he wouldn’t be around for long. He volunteered for every
dangerous mission that came along, as if he didn’t give two shits whether he
lived or died.
During the past two weeks, the war had only gotten
worse. Each day, they watched the army fighting the enemy. The more Haagons
they killed, twice as many were sent to take their place. The cities were
overrun by them, and Sivadians who’d survived this long had done so by hiding
in remote, outlying areas of the planet. If it could be called surviving. Most
of those areas were unfit to grow food, had little water, and experienced
Cy knocked on Miles’ door.
Miles opened it and then pulled a shirt over his head.
“Are you headed out?”
“Yeah, I volunteered to go on a mission to check out
some old slaughter houses up north.”
“Man,” Cy said. “I wish I could come along.”
“No, you really don’t. I’ve seen some really bad stuff
“I know. Watching the monitors is not the same as seeing
it in person.”
“The smell is the worst,” Miles said. “Rotting corpses
are bad enough, but they smell great compared to a Haagon. They have a
combination stench, somewhere between a dead animal, sulphur and ammonia.”
Miles pulled on his combat boots and grabbed a jacket. “Gotta go, Cy. I’ll see
you on the flip-side.”
“Okay, man. God-speed.”
Cy went to the monitor room so he could watch via Miles’
helmet-cam. It was the next best thing to being there.
Miles was one of about two dozen troops that
materialized in a wooded area at the base of a hill. Three long buildings sat
on top. No one appeared to be around, at least on the outside. They separated
into two groups of twelve. Miles’ group kept to the tree line and made their
way to the first long building. The troop leader busted the padlock on a set of
double doors, and then motioned Miles and a small group of men through. The
other group leader did the same on the opposite end.
As Miles went inside, he came to an abrupt stop. Cy’s
breath caught in his throat. What he saw through Miles’ head-cam was the making
of nightmares. Hundreds of headless Sivadians hung from large meat hooks
pierced through their feet. The blood draining from their bodies ran into long
troughs that met at the end of each long row and collected into large vats.
Every person on Sivadia would eventually meet the same cruel death in order to
feed the Haagons…and there were millions of them. Sivadia was rich in
resources, and they would stay until every last resource, and every living
thing was gone.
Cy glanced at his father. A muscle ticked in his jaw,
along with the tendons running down the sides of his neck.
“Let’s search for those survivors reported in the
out-lands. If they’re still alive, we’ll make room for them on the ships, even
if we have to leave some of the artifacts behind. Our people are more important
“I’ll send troops to investigate immediately.”
The king released a heavy sigh and then looked at Oz.
“The time is upon us to leave. I’m calling a meeting of the royal council this
afternoon. I’ll need you there to help me present the evidence for our
“Cy, will you go find Vind? I told him he needed to be
present for this war, so he will know what’s going on. He can’t do that playing
video games in his room.”
A loud explosion came from the monitors. Every one
stared as two consecutive explosions followed. All three slaughter houses were
in flames, with parts of them crumbling to the ground.
Oz spoke to the commander leading the raids on the
slaughter houses. “I’m sending you the locations of every slaughter house we
have. Gather enough men to destroy them all, just be sure there are no
survivors being held at these locations.”
Cy left and headed to his room. When he entered, Vind
shot him a dirty look, as though he were intruding where he didn’t belong.
Cy ignored it. “Father sent me to get you, and he’s
pissed that you’re not taking part and watching what’s happening to our
“Well, he should let me leave this facility and fight,
like a real general of an army.”
“Vind, you’re not a general yet. At fourteen years old,
you’re no-where near trained enough to take over. That would be like me trying
to rule our people now. I have enough sense to know that I’m not ready for such
“Pff! That’s more than obvious. But I’m not you, am I?”
Heat radiated from Cy’s face. “Defy Father if you like,
although I wouldn’t advise it. I’ve done my part and delivered his message.” Cy
turned on his heel and left their room. Why did his brother have to be so
Later that day, Cy sat next to his father at the
meeting. Vind sat on the other side of the king, next to Oz. All twelve members
of the royal council were present.
The king cleared his throat to get everyone’s attention.
“I called this meeting to give everyone an update on how this war is
progressing. Over the last two weeks, there have been a devastating number of
lives lost. The reports coming in reveal a complete and total takeover by the
Haagons. It’s apparent that we will lose this war. The time is upon us to move
forward with the plans to vacate our planet. Our troops are searching meat processing
plants and the outlying areas of the planet. That should take less than a week
The king projected a digital map of Sivadia on a screen
that covered one end of the room.
Cy had seen this same map last week, and it was half
green and half red. Now, almost every area was covered in red.
“The red areas represent places our troops have covered
and found zero survivors,” the king told the council. “The green areas are yet
to be determined, and orange represents areas that are rumored to have hidden
pockets of survivors. Our troops are working over time searching for survivors.
If we find any, they will be brought to the facility and will leave with us.”
The council members began talking at once. What voices
Cy could make out were against bringing anyone else on board the ships. The
king slammed his fist down on the table. “This is not a debate! I will throw
every piece of crap inside those cargo ships off the cliff, if that’s what it
takes to save more lives. If any of you object, you will follow the same route
as the artifacts.”
Wow, Father is mad.
His compassion for people was one of the things Cy
admired most. He’d never been more proud that his father wouldn’t cower to a
bunch of aristocrats.
Oz stood and placed his hand on his weapon…a silent
warning that he had no problem following his king’s orders. The room was
The king took a deep breath, as if he were making a
great attempt to calm himself. “Now, does anyone have a reasonable response to
The eldest councilman spoke up. “Why did you call this
meeting if you will not allow us to voice our concerns?”
“Councilman Napolii, I called this meeting out of
respect, as a courtesy to you all. I hoped you wouldn’t have your heads so far
up your asses and were capable of thinking about someone other than yourselves.
It seems that’s not the case.”
Councilman Napolii’s face turned the shade of fresh
blood, but he had enough self preservation not to comment further.
“I will send you an update as the time for departure
grows near. This meeting is over.”
The council members filed out of the room without
another word. After the last one had left, the king shook his head. “Selfish
bastards. What if it was them out there trying to survive among those beasts?”
“They wouldn’t have lasted a day,” Oz replied.
As soon as they returned to the command center, Cy
searched the monitors for Miles’ head-cam. Earlier, his team was headed to the
outlying areas to search for survivors. Cy entered Miles’ helmet code into a
monitor and the view of a cave entrance popped onto the screen.
The soldier in front of Miles turned around. “Do you
“It smells of smoke,” Miles said. “Someone inside there
was either trying to stay warm, or cook food.”
White clouds of condensation came from their mouths when
they spoke. It must be really cold where they were. Three foot of untouched
snow lay on the ground. If someone was inside that cave, they had been in there
since the snow had fallen. Long, jagged icicles hung around the caves entrance
like an enormous mouth full of serrated teeth ready to shred you to bits. Cy
shook his head.
Man, caves are taking my mind to some really dark
Miles’ team turned on their headlamps and went inside.
Miles stopped and his light swung around to encompass the area. A lumpy mass of
blankets lay in the corner. Cy held his breath as the commander eased the tip
of his gun toward the edge of the blankets, and then slowly lifted the edge.
The commander froze, glanced at his men, and then back toward a small foot he
The blanket flew back and a man lunged toward the
commander. He held a knife in one hand and the other pushed a young girl behind
him. She appeared to be around seven years old. A wide-eyed toddler clung
around her waist and neck.
The commander held up his hands. “We are not here to
hurt you. I’m commander Ishum of the king’s army, and we are searching for
Seconds ticked by as the man stared at their uniforms,
and then his posture relaxed.
“Are there other survivors with you?”
The man shook his head. “Just us. My wife died from
exposure a few days before we found this shelter.”
“Did you see anyone on your journey here?”
“No.” He glanced back at his children and took the
toddler from the young girl. The baby was constantly whimpering, probably from
hunger. Cy’s heart ached with each sound.
“We can take you and the children to safety,” Commander
The man finally lowered the weapon to his side. “I
didn’t know such a place existed.”
“It does, and your king has welcomed all survivors we
find. If you will gather your things, we will transport there and give you and
the children a hot meal.”
The man swallowed, as if he could already taste the
food. He turned and looked at his daughter. Her eyes were anxious, almost pleading
with her father to trust what they were being told. The man nodded.
“Thank you; we will accept your kindness.”
One week later
Cy stood beside his father outside the launch facility.
From the highest peak of the cascading Sewol Mountains, they gazed out at the
magnificent beauty Sivadia bestowed upon its inhabitants every night. Brilliant
ribbons of ever-changing color radiated from sky to soil, with light from the
three moons accentuating the landscape’s artistry. Cy seared the image into his
memory, never wanting it to fade.
“Cy, someday you will succeed me as king. I pray you
never have to make a decision this difficult.” His father released a long sigh.
“Knowing this is the last night we will spend on Sivadia is almost too much to
Tears blurred Cy’s vision at the sound of despair in his
father’s voice. He was a strong, confident king who had led their race with
dauntless bravery. He had never heard this tone of defeat come from him.
“Father, you’ve done every thing you could for our people. When I become king,
I promise on my life to do the same. I will do everything within my power to
stop anyone from preying upon the innocent the way the Haagons have on us.”
“I know, son. I’ve known since you were small. One day
you will become a great king.”
They turned at the sound of heavy footsteps crunching
gravel. It was Oz. From the look on his face, he wasn’t the bearer of good
news, and a terrible sense of foreboding consumed Cy.
Oz stopped beside them. “I received news from the sentry
patrolling the base of the mountains. They reported a large group of Haagons
moving north, about thirty miles from base. If they continue in this direction,
they will breach the launch site by morning. I’ve called all troops back to the
ships. In order for our plan to work, we must move up our departure time…the
sooner the better. Personally, I’m not interested in becoming puppy chow for
Oz pulled several weapons from the arsenal strapped to
his large frame and offered them to Cieran. “The guards and Lord Panzer are on
their way out. Are you ready to do this?”
“I will never be ready to do this,” Cieran replied. “If
it were not for Ximena and the boys, I would stay and die with my people. It
would be far less painful than what we are about to do.”
Cy’s breath caught in his throat and the sound of his
heart pounded in his ears. “No, Father! We need you! Our people need you!”
“I know, son. I will do what’s necessary to ensure the
continued existence of our race, even if it means destroying our beautiful
Cy edged closer to his father, but stopped as more
troops left the facility and moved toward them. He wanted to console him, but
as the chosen successor, he couldn’t show weakness in front of others.
“Everyone was in agreement with this decision, Cieran.
You’re trying to carry the weight of it alone,” Oz said.
“Your support means a lot, my friend. I am forever
A group of guards stopped beside them. Weapons hung from
“Where is Lord Panzer?” Oz asked. “I told him to be
ready to leave in five.”
“Cy, go inside and tell Lord Panzer we’re ready,” his
Sweat beaded on Cy’s lip, and he took a deep breath.
“Father, may I go with you?”
“Son, you’re too young for such a dangerous task,
especially with the Haagons so close.”
Cy straightened to his full height. “Sir, I have
completed my kingship training. You’ve instilled a tremendous sense of
responsibility for our people. I feel I need to be a part of this final act.”
A look passed between Oz and his father.
Oz smiled and shook his head. “Well, he is your son.
Noble and stubborn.”
King Cieran ran a hand through his dark hair, and
released a heavy sigh. “You can go. But you must stay between me and Oz.”
“I will, Father. Thank you.” Excitement coursed through
Cy as he turned to run inside. This would be his first official act since being
named successor. He wished it wasn’t the only one he would ever carry out on
Cy stopped as his father called his name. “Find your
brother and ask if he wants to come.”
Once inside the launch facility, Cy went to the quarters
he shared with his twin. Vind sat on his bunk, reading. “We are leaving
immediately to activate the thermonuclear device. Father asked if you wanted to
Vind looked up from his book and pinned Cy with a hard
glare. “You are his chosen son. Why would he even ask me to come?” An
acrimonious tone gripped every word.
“This is also a military procedure, Vind. Or have you
forgotten father chose you for the second highest honor in his court. Your
bitterness and jealousy over my position has gotten old. Suit yourself. Come.
Don’t come. I don’t care.” Cy turned and left the room, his boots echoing on
the metal floors of the ship. He refused to get into another fight with his
brother. He would fulfill his duty to his father and their people, regardless
whether Vind did or not.
As Cy met up with Lord Panzer, he heard fast approaching
footsteps pounding the floor behind them. He didn’t have to turn around to know
it was Vind. Once outside, Cy caught up to his father and Oz. Vind had stopped
and joined a group of military guards accompanying them.
“Everyone is ready,” Oz reported to King Cieran. “We
need to make quick work of this. I instructed the others to be in position to
leave the moment we return.”
They transported to the base of the mountains. Vind
remained outside with the guards, and Cy accompanied his father, Oz, and Lord
Panzer inside of the bunker. They entered an elevator that would take them down
to a cavernous room, which housed the thermonuclear device penetrating deep
inside the planets core. When ignited, it would create a chain reaction,
vaporizing Sivadia from the inside out. Since Lord Panzer was the eldest member
of the royal council, and Oz the top military advisor, it would take them along
with the king to activate the device. It was timed so their ships would be
safely outside the planets atmosphere when it detonated.
When the elevator stopped and the doors opened, everyone
froze and silently stared into the large, cold room. Control panels circled the
Lord Panzer finally spoke. “We must do this, my lords.
We cannot leave our people to suffer at the hands of those atrocious
“We know,” the king replied, his tone flat. “But it
doesn’t make this any easier.”
Tightness seized Cy’s chest. His heart felt as heavy as
the dirt and rock surrounding them.
The trio each laid one hand on a DNA scanner for
identification. Once finished, they moved to separate activation devices inside
the room, each in a location known only to the individual to whom this
responsibility was given. Counting down aloud, they simultaneously programmed
their part of the activation sequence. Moments later, a computerized voice
echoed off the walls of the cavernous room.
“Successful activation initiated. One hour until