Authors: Joseph Ray
Copyright © 2015 Joseph Ray
All rights reserved.
After attempts to colonize Venus and Mars proved fruitless, the scientists of the Earth, aided by the first generation of Cybers, sought to reach out to other planetary systems. The first was Taurus, terraformed to be ideal for agriculture, and slowly became the saving grace for the billions starving on Earth. Over time, the wars over fertile soil dissipated, giving the governments of the Earth time to breathe, time to plan the future of all mankind. While the government's planned, the richest families of Earth plotted, foreseeing an opportunity to create a lush, wondrous world for their future children. After years of debate with the governments of every nation, the rich families won their claim, seeking to reach out and create a world without the shortcomings of the Earth.
Eden was discovered. Often thought to be the sister planet to the Earth, Eden orbited her sun at a similar distance and rotation as the Earth, with an atmosphere already able to sustain life. The terraship was sent, taking dozens of years to form the terrain, and eventually creating a world with rolling hills, deep rivers, and fruitful soils. The rich families, considered by the current generation to be the Founders, spent billions of their own wealth to send construction workers to the new paradise, forming vast cities in strategic locations, and villages near the fruitful farmlands.
The Founders looked to the history of their home world, realizing that Eden could not withstand the same tortures that the Earth had endured over the history of mankind. A council was formed, debating such issues as what type of government should rule the new planet, what laws should be abided, and how the people would prevent destroying this new world. Sacrifices were made, arguments were endured, but the council formed by the Founders set forth a path that would guarantee Eden’s prosperity for generations to come.
The capital of Eden was chosen, a grand city near the ocean and mountains, perfectly located for fishing, water imports, and adjacent to rich farmlands. The Founders named it Pinnacle, the peak of perfection and designed the capital to reflect the ancient kingdoms of old, to match the new Monarchy that was put into place. The families fought furiously over whom the King of this new planet would be. As the Founders were unable to reach an agreement, the decision was made to let the Council oversee the governing, with an agreement that a king would be chosen when the third generation of the planet came to be. The years came and went peacefully, but the Council was still unable to agree upon the future king of their world.
As the Council struggled over leadership, new problems arose within the world. Taurus had already gained favor with the Earth, supplying the world with its agricultural needs. The rich and powerful people of Eden soon discovered that they had nothing to offer the Earth, nor Taurus, and would have to find a valuable resource for which to export. The answers to both problems arrived from an unlikely source.
Adam, the first Cyber son of Abraham, was welcomed to Eden by the Founders. He brought with him strategic ideas for how to make Eden prosper, and how to ensure that she remained powerful throughout the existence of mankind. Unknown to his fellow Cybers on Earth, Adam had solved the mystery of artificial gravity, and only needed the proper metals from which to construct the next evolutionary device. With the Earth prospering from the Gabriel Rings and terraships, Eden welcomed the possibility with open arms.
Teams scoured the lands, searching for the rich metals that Adam needed to see his invention to reality. During their search, an island previously overlooked was found to have just such a metal ore. It lustered like gold, though far denser, and proved an excellent conductor. The massive island was abundant with the ore, named Edonium. As the Cyber went to work on the new technology, word of the new metal reached the other planets, leading thousands of miners and scavengers to the planet in search of riches.
Adam finished perfecting the technology, taking the discovery two steps further than the Founders had anticipated. While artificial gravity would become a mainstay for space travel, it was also able to become a defensive and offensive instrument. Controlling gravity in small areas meant the ability to stop bullets short of their destination. The technology was further developed, given to a new army of Eden, who used the gravity shields to drive out the intruders, miners, and scavengers who attempted to strip their home of her valuable resource.
Earth and Taurus protested, claiming that Eden was creating a monopoly. The Founders were quick to point out that the gravity controls were not a necessity, also that the laws of Earth did not apply to the other planets. Realizing that they could not withstand an all-out war with the Earth, the Founders agreed to supply the technology at a reasonable price, though the monopoly still remained.
Thankful for the technology that saved their world, the Founders cast a vote, electing Adam, the first Cyber son of Abraham, to be the first King of Eden. Reluctant suitors were brought before the Cyber until a match was found. The couple wed, creating the first royal family of the new age. The odd couple eventually had a son, and Eden had her Prince. The royal family would go on to rule the planet throughout her existence, with the Devin family remaining on the throne.
Realizing that Eden would become the cornerstone of the galaxy, citizens from Earth, Taurus, and other newly terraformed planets, sought citizenship within the realm. The royal family weighed the possibility but decided they would not allow for Eden to become overcrowded and live in the same desolated state as the Earth. Citizenship was denied to all other planets and strict laws concerning reproduction were put into place. Here, in 3026, the planet of Eden remains with her monopoly, and strict laws in place.
1 CHAPTER ONE
The farmer closed his eyes and let the fresh air from the mountains fill his lungs. To the east, the sun had just broken free of the mountain chain, warming the mist that dwelled over the tall grasses. The previous days had been harsh as he and his hired hands had reaped the field, leaving him with a bountiful harvest of wheat to bring to the village this morning. The wheat lies in the back of three wagons in bushels, pulled by the wheeled transport vehicle in which he sat. The morning was warm, allowing for him to lower the top of the vehicle and enjoy the basking sun.
“How much further Papa?” his daughter asked from the seat next to him.
The father opened his eyes, welcoming the bright, curious stare of his nine-year-old daughter. Her short legs were yet to reach the floor of the transport, her bruised knees peeking out from under her yellow dress. The father smiled, knowing that today’s yield would see his family through the winter, keeping food on their table, power in their lights, and heat in the air through the frigid season.
“Just another hour, sweetie,” he replied casually. “I’ll drop this load off and we can buy sweet rolls for the return trip. How’s that sound to you?”
The little girl shrieked, clapping her hands and bouncing in her seat. The father had never understood what love was until his wife handed their daughter to him for the first time. There, in that tiny bundle, rested his entire future. Ne’er a day passed when she wasn’t by his side. He prayed that would never change.
“What’s that noise Papa?” she asked, her head turning in every direction.
The father hadn’t realized it, his older ears slower to notice the high-pitched sound that echoed off the nearby mountains. Seconds passed, and the sound grew louder. He thought for a moment, then turned in his seat to check the cobblestone road behind him.
The sun’s light was reflected three times, a bright, piercing beacon in the distance. The father squinted but was unable to determine what he was seeing for several seconds. The path lies flat, leaving miles behind them in clear view. The reflections were moving at a blinding speed, covering the distance in a matter of seconds.
The man turned the switch on the panel, unlocking the steering wheel of the transport vehicle. The truck merged left, reminding him to have the alignment checked when they reached the village. The man pulled the wheel right, taking the wheels of the vehicle, as well as the chain of wagons behind him, off the brown cobblestone road.
Two of the hovering vehicles passed by in a blur, a brisk wind trailing behind them. The third bike slowed down, pulling up next to the father and his daughter. The man recognized the attire immediately, bowing his head in admiration. The daughter’s eyes opened wide, seeing the Eden Overseer for the first time in her young life. A smile beamed across her face as she bowed to her knees, the blood rushing to her head.
“Good morning Citizen,” Overseer Bastiian Dayne bellowed.
The Overseer quickly noticed the young girl, her forehead touching her knees in an overzealous attempt to honor the protector of the people. A smile formed on his face as he stepped off the hovering bike and removed his helmet.
“There is no need to hurt yourself, little lady,” Overseer Dayne offered in a low, soothing voice. “No man should deserve such a gracious bow.”
The daughter raised her head, now bright red from blood flow. The smile remained as she soaked in the sight, trying to memorize each detail of the glorious man before her. The man was enormous, his head nearly touching the top of the windshield of the transport vehicle. His long, blonde hair flowed down the side of his head, dark streaks mixed within the yellow. His nose and chin were strong, with dark green eyes and faint stubble upon his face. He bore the armor of a Commander, first in charge of the Overseers. The armor reflected upon the capital, giving him the appearance of a modern day Knight. His suit was white, with gold lining the edges of the helmet, pauldrons, chest piece, and pants. A golden cape fluttered over one shoulder, his golden boots resting in a shallow puddle on the cobblestone road. The hovering bike sat idle, bearing the same colors as the man’s armor. It was shaped like a spearhead, with a windshield breaking from the center. Its seat was white, with black interior controls to the vehicle. A hum rang out as power flowed through the Edonium base of the vehicle, keeping it two feet from the ground.
“Good morning Commander,” the Father replied. “What brings you and yours to us in such a hurry this morning?”
The smile quickly faded from Bastiian’s face as he placed the white and gold helmet over his head. A long bundle of golden hair was mounted on the peak of the helmet, swaying with every movement the Overseer made. The shadow’s from the edge of the open-faced helmet formed to the man’s face, showing the tight muscles of his jaw and mouth. His green eyes were emeralds in the breaking sun, a spectacular sight in the little girl’s eyes.
“We received a report of trouble,” Bastiian replied. “Slavers have landed just outside of the village. I beg you to stay clear of the village until you see us return. You are ten miles from the outskirts. Please stop your wagon a mile short and wait for an Overseer to signal that it is safe to approach.”
“Thank you, Overseer,” the father stammered.
The man nodded as a gold, transparent shield filled the open-face of the helmet, a faint hint of red glistening off the morning sun. The man’s neck lit up, indicating that the visual display of the helmet had come to life, enhancing the view of the Commander. The man threw a leg over the hovering bike, pulled the vehicle twenty feet out ahead of the family, and then disappeared from their view in a cloud of dust.
The display inside of Bastiian’s helmet indicated the distance remaining until he reached the village, the number quickly dropping with each passing second. He laid off the accelerator in his hand as circles lit up on his display, indicating people before him. The helmet found threats in the form of guns on three of the circles, tracing each weapon in red as the Commander brought his hover bike to a halt. Three legs folded out from under the bike as it touched the road, the engines then powering down. Bastiian slowly pulled one leg over the seat and stood away from his vehicle, taking inventory of the scene before him. His boots crunched tiny bits of gravel as he stepped between his two fellow Overseers, their black rifles aimed at two of the men before them. The golden display screen disappeared into the helmet as Bastiian prepared to remedy the problem.
“Good morning,” he called out to the group. “You will need to place your weapons to the ground and slowly step away from our citizens.”
Two longhaired men looked to one another, each with a struggling woman in their grasps. They each held a handgun to their hostages held, their free hands clutching the long hair of the terrified women. The crying women were identical dresses, their hair the same shade of brown. Judging by their facial features, Bastiian thought them to be sisters, two poor women who were in the wrong place at the wrong time this morning.
“Fuck off!” the third man shouted, one hand clutching the shoulders of a young boy before him. “Get back on your little bikes and go back to your castle. Less you want me to spill these people’s heads on the ground.”
“Commander,” the Overseer to his left started. “There is a ship on the other side of those grain elevators as well.”
Bastiian looked over to his man and nodded. The Overseers on both sides of him wore similar armor to him, though the white coloring was light blue and the golden trim had been painted over in black to indicate their rank. Overseer recruits wore dull gray suits with darker gray trim, their hovering bikes painted to match their armor.
“See to the ship then,” Bastiian called out. “I will deal with these three.”
The two men nodded, then jogged to Bastiian’s right, disappearing behind the grain elevators. The man holding the frightened child hostage watched the two soldiers leave, then smiled as he turned his dirt-ridden face towards the Commander.
“Not a wise move there Goldie,” he shouted. “Three against one now.”
As the man spoke, Bastiian whispered a command to his helmet. To the three slavers, the gesture appeared to be nothing more than a man swearing under his breath. To the Commander and his helmet, it was an order for the gravity shield to release. Underneath his golden cape, a large piece of Edonium gave way from the armor. The cape flipped up as the shield presented itself, hovering in the air, and a black cable still connecting it to Bastiian’s armor. The Commander stepped back and to his right, moving his body around the hovering shield. His hand slid into the handles inside of the shield, a large one over his forearm and a small one clutched in his grasp. The inside of the shield lit up, a display screen showing him the scene before him. It highlighted the weapons as his fingers found the buttons on the outer layer of the handle.
“Just kill em already!” the man in the middle shouted.
Bastiian turned his body sideways and depressed the first button on the shield’s handle. The three slavers turned their guns towards him, firing rounds of bullets in his direction. A low hum vibrated his armor as power surged through the cable in his back, sending power to the shield in his left hand. The Edonium obeyed, placing a gravity barrier between the shield and the oncoming projectiles. The bullets slowed to a stop, hovering in the air, only inches away from the golden shield with black etching. The three slavers continued to fire until their weapons were empty, leaving a collection of bullets hovering in front of the Commander.
As their guns clicked empty, the Commander pressed the button once more, removing the gravity barrier and dropping the bullets to the ground. He stalked around the bullets, his right hand reaching the golden-holstered weapon on his right hip. The visor dropped on his helmet once more as the gun raised shoulder high and fired, breaking through the skull of the man on the right. The longhaired man fell, his grip breaking free of the blue dressed girl before him. The Commander aimed once more, firing another shot that dropped the man on the left. With the numbers forced to his favor, Bastiian slowly stalked to the man in the middle, his gun aimed at the man still clutching to the young boy.
The man dropped his gun, pulling a knife from his belt and held it to the child’s throat. Bastiian continued to march forward, his sights still focused on the man’s forehead as the distance between them grew shorter.
“Back off!” the man shouted. “Back off right now or I kill this kid.”
“Are you in charge?” Bastiian asked, his voice reinforced through tiny speakers in the lining of his helmet.
The man looked puzzled, his wrist drifting away from the boy’s neck. His gray eyes looked at the white and gold armor closing in on him, his knees trembling as he thought of his two friends, their brains seeping onto the morning dew.
“Alright!” the man shouted, lifting the knife away from the boy’s neck.
The boy sprinted forward, one of the blue dressed girls wrapping her arms around him and sweeping him off his feet before disappearing into one of the stone buildings. The visor lifted from Bastiian’s helmet as he closed in on the slaver, whose hands raised in the air in surrender. The Commander stopped within a foot of the man, flexed the muscles in his back and legs, then smashed the shield into the slaver’s face. Blood splattered as the man toppled, the knife falling from his grasp. He lay on his back, his hands clutching his face as the blood poured from his shattered nose. The Commander walked around the man’s leg, raised his boot in the air, and then brought it down with all his weight. The heel crushed the man’s forehead, rendering him unconscious as his hand fell away from his bloodied face.
The doors to every stone building opened as people, young and old, quickly swarmed out onto the road. Several young girls ran up to the Commander, pulling rags from pockets and aprons. They pushed and shoved one another with their shoulders, each wishing to be the first to wipe the blood of the Overseer’s shield. One of the young girls, formerly a hostage, dropped down to her knees and began to wipe the blood off his boots with the edges of her blue dress. “Thank you,” she cried. “Thank you so much.”
With his shield cleaned, the Command smiled and nodded to the people before venturing to the grain elevators. He strode around the tall structures, the wings of the black ship drawing his attention. Six men rested on their knees, their hands shackled behind their heads. Several villagers were walking down the ramp that came from the ship’s left side, each with metal shackles around their wrists. The Commander noted that all of them were young women, many with injured faces and torn clothes. One of the blue-cladded Overseers stood over the prisoners, his gun waving over each of their heads. The second soldier followed the last hostage from the ship, nodding to the Commander. Bastiian nodded to his men, his jaw remaining firm as he shoved his anger deep down within. He lifted his wrist, pressing a finger to the last of four buttons on his gantlet.