We are now planning the official release for Feb of 2018. Producing and publishing a book of this size and complexity required a lot more work than I imagined. It took us over 8 months to complete the editing process, but we are now satisfied that this 660 page book will totally blow your minds. But just for our fans, we decided to do a limited print for this Christmas, which is why it is available only through 3L Publishing.
To celebrate this milestone, I am posting the Prologue for your reading enjoyment. This important part of the story sets the stage for the remainder of this book. It gives you a glimpse of the beginning of the war, and the role Shihan played. It also introduces Manny Alvarez, one of several major characters that I added to this story. One important change you'll see in this book is that each chapter is broken up into scenes that are titled. I did this to help break up the long chapters and give the readers a natural stopping point within each chapter.
I hope you enjoy this, and please, order your copies now!
“Evacuate, evacuate!” the voice screamed over the PA system in the ship hanger. “Load all command ships and launch immediately! This is not a drill.”
People rushed to the ships as the giant globe of Ark II loomed in the sky above. The planet shuddered as the gravitational forces pulled at the tectonic plates of the mostly crystal world. The command crews of the last warships had already been loaded and were busy prepping for take-off as the remaining soldiers, scientists, maintenance workers and then family members boarded in that order. They quickly moved as they knew that failure to board was a certain death sentence.
“Ark II, please respond,” Major Blane pleaded. “You’re on a collision course and must change immediately!”
“There’s no response, Major,” Vice Admiral Hektor replied. The powerfully built man had a determined look on his darkly tanned face. “They’re approaching the point of no return. We must assume that the Balsarius killed the Command Crew of Ark II and put the ship on a crash course with us. Continue the evacuation from the Command Module aboard the Theia.”
“Admiral, we only have 12 hours before Ark II slams into us. Any ship not off-world in 10 hours won't escape the blast zone. We can't get the entire colony out of here in time,” Blane answered desperately.
“Admiral Ares is well aware of that. Keep pushing them and get those transport ships off the ground,” Hektor replied grimly.
As each ship reached its capacity, they departed for the safety of space. But as the ships left the remaining colonists became more and more frantic to board. Chaos soon took over until the heavy hand of the Warrior Guild took over. Gunfire erupted into the growing mob as a spray of bullets murdered the scared civilians. The remaining transports departed half filled as the angry mob of frightened civilians descended upon the loading docks. Unspeakable atrocities began as the realization of certain death settled on the stranded citizens. Ares watched the display from the comfort of his command ship the Argus, as the last transport departed 30 minutes early.
“Vice Admiral Hektor, did we meet our baseline objectives?” Ares asked over the Vidlink between the two ships.
“Aye Sir,” Hektor replied from the Theia with a stern look on his face. “We evacuated all the warriors and their gear, a five year supply of food and materials and enough engineers and maintenance workers to make needed repairs on the Warships. The last 10 transport ships were all civilians.”
“Do we have an estimate of civilian casualties?” Ares asked.
“We left behind nearly seven million men, women, and children.”
Ares swore, “The Balsarius will pay for this.”
“Should we attempt an assault on Martius or Typhon?”
“Negative. Martius will never survive the blast, and Typhon may still be too close. Send the fleet to Titan. Hopefully, it will be far enough away to escape the majority of the damage. I sent Captain Linus ahead to secure the abandoned colony there. I believe the Balsarius and Masu`ri both still have contingents of scientists. I’m sure we can change their loyalty to our cause,” Ares said with a sick smile. “Execute!”
“Aye-aye, Sir,” Hektor replied and nodded before the Vidlink ended.
Hours later a tremendous explosion rocked the small solar system as Nibiru, the fifth planet from the sun, was obliterated by the massive migration ship, the Ark II. The explosion was so intense that the fourth planet Martius was caught in the blast as debris rained down so violently that it all but blew the atmosphere into space, destroying the millions of people stranded there. Even the third planet, Typhon did not escape the damage, though it would survive.
The G`Alad-based Warrior Guild had lost the battle, and their remaining forces were now in full retreat from the colonists. Admiral Ares was the last remaining tie to the vision of glory given to him as his real mission on this voyage. He had not overestimated his opponents, but his commanders certainly had done so. At least he had been able to send off one last message before they were cut off from home. With the Space Portal destroyed and no way of being able to determine the solar system’s new harmonic frequencies, it was impossible to reopen them to bring reinforcements. Any reinforcements would have to travel here from the other side of the galaxy, and that would take thousands of years, but at least they were on their way. The remaining forces here were at a standoff from a weapons’ standpoint. The Warrior Guild could not attack Typhon and survive, but at least they had destroyed the Balsarius’ mobility without hope of being able to rebuild or repair. However, the cost had been tremendous. Now they had to rebuild what they could.
Ares sat at his desk and planned the campaign with his Political Advisor Commander Menelaos that his remaining forces would have to execute over the next several centuries as they waited for reinforcements. At least he had youth on his side, and with the use of the stasis pods and the Klah weapons, he could prolong his life span over the centuries. As Ares thought about his Klah weapons, he heard Klaxon’s song. The voices of Klaxon were always there in his head, but they sang a little louder whenever Ares thought about them. Now Klaxon seemed irritated at his reluctance to act sooner. He had never failed at a mission, and he only considered this a setback. It was a serious setback, but he could still turn this in his favor and claim victory in the end. Their lack of accurate intelligence on the advancements in the colonists’ weaponry had been the one thing they could not overcome. Well, that and the colonists’ resolve against being overrun. He had to admit their plan was an uncharacteristic move that caught them all off guard. Now, he would have to rely on subterfuge and espionage. He was much better at that than his opponents were, so it was only a matter of time and for now.
He was confident that the Balsarius had also been able to get a message off to their home world, too. That meant that they expected reinforcements as well. Now, his mission was to upset the balance of power before any forces arrived for either side. This would be a challenge, and he loved a challenge. His superiors in the G’Alad ruling council had made it clear in their last Pyraportal transmission, that failure would be his “undoing”. Being G’Alad had its rewards, but it certainly had its downside as well. Inability to meet an objective could mean either the end of his career or the end of his life – and that had a tendency to motivate people.
Klaxon sang loudly now as images formed in Ares’ mind. They needed a different approach. Images flowed freely into his thoughts as the plan developed. This was going to take a long time, but the promise of success was very compelling.
Safely tucked inside the home base, Commandant Richard Evans waited inside his chambers. He realized the Admiral had gotten the better of him, and General Marcus Kahn had been right from the start. The only thing that had saved them was that General Kahn’s superior intelligence network had uncovered the plans for the coup. The Fleet’s treachery was responsible for the millions of needlessly slaughtered colonists. His heart ached as he wept quietly over their loss. They had some time now to grieve for their lost loved ones, but he could not afford for others to see him like this. He had been resilient in front of them all, and he knew that had been a major contributing factor to their success. If I had only heeded the Kahn’s warning earlier, we might have been able to do more!
Now Evans’ biggest fear was realized. The treacherous Admiral had escaped their trap. Evans knew he could not match Ares’ wit and skill in strategic planning and that it was now a race for survival. At least Kahn was on his side and not with the Admiral. True, he had just resigned, but Evans knew Kahn would never stay retired for long, so he was not particularly worried about that. He felt more concerned about reinforcements. If only there was a way to bring them here quicker. Well, nothing could be done about that now. He only wished he could see the Admiral’s face when they realized the Balsarius had seized control of Ark II. Bet he didn’t see that one coming!
Evans now returned to the desk that sat in the room adjacent to his living quarters. There was no more time to grieve. Evans had critical work to do. Looking through the stacks of reports that had filled his inbox, he set his mind to the task of piecing things back together. Damage reports seemed to be the norm. Nothing worked right, and they would be hard-pressed to be able to repair any of the drive systems for Ark 1. The components were just not available, nor were the raw materials here to create them. He continued reading report after report trying very hard to find anything positive to which he could cling. They had all the best and brightest scientific minds, but the labs and most of the advanced equipment had been destroyed or confiscated by the enemy in the battles. At least the stasis pods and primary weapons systems are operational. For now, that would have to be enough. They could maintain the orbit around the planet and defend themselves, but that was about it. The Commandant knew that over time, much would be forgotten and that played out better for the G`Alad.
Evans thumbed through the documents and scanned for an update from the Religious Council. Surely, they had something more positive to say! He found the report, read it and found it uplifting and very promising. They had downloaded a new technology in the last data transfer that could change the balance of power back in their favor. That is, if they could recreate this Anti-Gravity Tech here.
* * *
After giving his final report and formally retiring from Military service, the former General Marcus Kahn silently walked to his quarters. Now his only real title was that of his martial arts training: Shihan. The last year had exhausted him as he tried desperately to lead the political leaders through the campaign. It was much harder than he had expected. These so-called leaders could not grasp the concept that their enemies wanted to exterminate them for no other reason than pure greed and hatred. If only I could have made my case earlier, we would be in a much better position now. However, there was nothing that could be done about that at the moment. At least presently, they would listen more carefully when he said it was time for action. Their hesitation cost them dearly, and only time would tell if they could or should rebuild the former guilds. He felt certain that he wanted no part of that mess in any case.
Shihan entered his sparsely decorated quarters and was glad to be alone at last. He bathed in the ionic shower and changed into his best night robes. The white fabric’s silky feel was comfortable and allowed him to get into the proper mindset for his evening meditation. Very few people knew the truth about his existence as a Holy Warrior. The fellow Warriors who had joined him on this quest had sacrificed their lives to ensure that their enemies would not succeed. Now, he was the only one left that could guarantee that their sacrifice was not in vain, as the dark vastness of space prevented any support from immediately arriving. It would be thousands of years before any help would come for either side, so now it was a matter of time to see who came first. For the near future, they were safe. The traitors didn't have the resources for another major assault, nor did they have the ability to create more. His comrades’ sacrifices had tipped the scales back in their favor, but just barely. He would have to wait to mourn their loss until later, but for now, he needed to plan a defense against the revenge the G’Alad was sure to seek.
“Marcus, you old fool! You’re retired now and can just move on,” Shihan said aloud to himself, unconvincingly.
He sighed then walked through his living quarters and into his private study. Against the front wall next to the door stood a small but simple altar. Resting on the small table in the center was a symbol made of wood on a small stand. The “Great Circle” symbol was a carved wooden circle with a golden pyramid in the heart of it. The ring was carved with dark flames spinning off the outside in a counter-clockwise motion, while the inside of the circle had very light colored flames turning clockwise toward the golden pyramid in the center, as if drawn to it. This represented the Circle of Life surrounding the Creator and served as a reminder that people lived in the circle of life and served the Creator at the center. Those who rejected the Creator were cast out, but all were welcome. It also reminded Shihan that he was one of a very few left, but he had faith. He knew that the Creator had a plan and that he would be instrumental. To each side of the Great Circle stood two unlit candles, and to each side of the small table stood the two pieces of his Qatassendor with its crystal blades gleaming in the soft light. This was the primary weapon of the Holy Warrior, which gave him strength, protection and prolonged his life to accomplish his mission.
Shihan humbled himself in front of the altar and knelt on the thick pad directly in front of it. The candles roared to life as he began his ritual prayers to cleanse himself. Shihan placed his hands upon the two pieces of the Qatassendor and quieted his mind until he had no thoughts of his own. The crystal blades now radiated light and enveloped the Holy Warrior in a warm light. The peace Shihan felt in the white void always helped him to find his center, which was his source of calm even in the heat of battle. He envisioned his surroundings falling away until he sat alone in the white void of peace. Then the visions came in a flood. There would be centuries of constant but small battles, unlike the primary offense they had just repelled. Both sides would continue to dance around each other to take control of the innocent settlers. That’s the key! The settlers would play a significant role in the final battles, but their success hinged on the Order of the Holy Warriors, which would be rebuilt. Shihan’s heart sank as he learned that the Council of Enlightened Ones that ruled the Holy Warriors had been betrayed and destroyed. Was he was now the last of the Order? He didn’t know.
The visions showed upcoming battles and subterfuge that placed evil in charge of the settlers to lead them astray from the Truth. In the balance hung freedom for the humans. It appeared that there would be other new Orders to help, and he would play a small part to establish them. This was going to be a long campaign, even longer than the Crystalline Wars had been. That campaign had been his rebirth into the Order over a thousand years before. The final battles though were not his to fight. He was to prepare the way for the new Orders before he would be taken away for his final battles. Though he could not understand many of the visions he saw, he knew that they were real. His final rest would indeed be a long time in coming, so now was the time to plan.
Arturo Gets a New Suit
December 21, 2008
Doctor Stan Freeling patiently brushed away the debris from the base of the ancient monument. It was his lifelong dream to be part of the excavation of Gobekli Tepe, so he felt excited when Senator Dominguez offered to fund the project and work out the diplomatic issues between Turkey and the United States. Now, his team had finally made progress on the largest stone henge at the center of the dig site. The perimeter stones they had already uncovered were polished solid red granite that sparkled in the hot sun. Beautiful dragons were carved into all of the upright stones. Carved gargoyles sat atop of the lintel stones, as though guarding the compound.
It was a beautiful day, with a clear blue sky and gentle breeze that kept Stan cool as he worked on the largest stones in the center on the ancient stone henge. Out of the corner of his eye something flashed and grabbed his attention. He used his brush to dust off what he thought was a rock and felt shocked to see a tiny, green light flashing. He became confused as he continued to uncover the OOPArt or Out-Of-Place-Artifact. He kept working on the black lid, and soon the top portion of a glass container became visible. Through the glass, Stan could see something that resembled black opal. Only he was sure it wasn’t stone. It looked like some type of fabric!
“Hey, Stan. Whatcha got there?” asked Ben Anderson, as he took off his sunglasses.
“I think we have a contaminated site. We have an OOPArt,” Stan answered.
Ben looked over at a middle-aged man with dark skin, dark brown eyes and a well-trimmed beard and a large mole high on his left cheek, and nodded. “Hey, Hafs. We may have found something.”
Hafs called out to the workers who were carrying off loads of debris, “Break time!”
Ben walked over to Stan and saw the top of the stasis pod and sighed. “Don’t touch it. I’ll get ole Abdool over here with a camera crew, and we can document the whole thing. In fact, we should bring the Senator in so he can watch us uncover this, as well, don’t you think?”
“But don’t you see?” asked Stan as he continued to complain. “The integrity of all our findings here will now be in question. We must address this apparently advanced piece of technology. This is tragic!”
“I wouldn’t exactly say that,” replied the hulking Senator Arturo Dominguez. His thick, dark brown hair fell loosely at his shoulders complemented by a well-trimmed beard. A scar ran up his left cheek and over a lifeless glossy blue eye that contrasted his startlingly green right eye. He wore a loose-fitting tan shirt and khaki pants as he walked from the tent.
“Ah, Senator Dominguez,” Stan replied as he turned his back on Ben to address Arturo. “Just in time. This is tra- …”
Ben’s eyes were blackened as he struck. Stan’s eyes opened wide as smoke poured from his chest from the growing hole caused by the Klah weapon, named Kreel, sucking the life force and memories from the brilliant archeologist. Within seconds, Stan became a smoldering corpse that slid off the wicked blade in Ben’s hand.
“Oh, what a relief!” Ben cried. “If I had to listen to one more lecture from this pompous asshole, I would have clawed my face off!”
Arturo ignored Ben and sighed with relief as he finally saw the blinking green light on the stasis pod he had buried over 200 years ago.
“Been a long time coming, huh buddy?” Ben said with a grin.
“Almost 50 years since the other suit went out,” Arturo said as he tapped the lid to reveal the holographic projection of the entry pad. Arturo placed his hand on the palm interface so that it could read his DNA, and seconds later the lid popped open. He reached inside, felt the warm fabric below and sighed. “I think it’s fine.”
“Yes!” Ben screamed jubilantly.
Arturo quickly stripped off his clothes and put on the Anti-Grav Suit over his six-foot-eight-inch tall frame. It only took seconds for Arturo to empty his mind and he completed the interface. His eyes filled with tears as the sounds of the universe around him came rushing back in. It was as though he was blind and could finally see again. The clarity and beauty of his surroundings made his heart pound.
Arturo softly chuckled. Then the chuckle became a full, hearty laugh.
“Now, it’s time to finish this,” Ben said as his blackened eyes gleamed. “Come on. Let’s feed on the rest of the digging crew first.”
Arturo pulled Laxle from the pile of clothes he had just removed and grinned wickedly as his eyes also became blackened.
“Ana, I’m coming for you,” said Arturo.
Ana and Manny
December 21, 2013
Over 10,000 years have passed since the battle lines had been drawn and fought to a standstill between the Colonists and the Warrior Guild Fleet. Most of the people had long forgotten the battles of the past and certainly were unaware of the coming storm. Then again, Ana was anything but common.
She absent-mindedly brushed her long, white hair as she projected nothingness into the people inside the hospital. Then she walked out of the delivery room and into the waiting room with the bundle in her arms. She saw a glimpse of her ageless face against the snow-white hair in a mirror. How long has it been? She did not even know for certain how old she was anymore. She had long since dropped her formal Mayan title of Queen and her surname for a more simplified and modern one. She was now known as Ana Acevedo de Garcia, or just Abuela by her family, though she hardly looked like a grandmother. After she had been bonded to all of the Guardians’ through the Crystal Skulls, her features changed dramatically. Ana’s almond-shaped green eyes now sparkled radiantly against her fair skin. Her hair turned to silvery-white and flowed down the length of her back. Large dimples and a cleft chin showed prominently on her beautiful face. Long, strong legs supported her six-foot tall warrior’s frame. She was perfectly proportioned and the embodiment of beauty in every sense of the word, but she could now feel age setting into her joints and bones. Damn! Time is running out! I must pass this burden off before it is too late. She looked fondly at the infant in her arms and prepared for the ancient “Ceremony of Connection” that she had performed with new family members soon after their births. She thought about how many had not been able to maintain the connection through to the “Rite of Passage” when the child turned six-years old. Nevertheless, she remained vigilant in her search. Even as each child failed to be the one that would eventually release her to her final rest, she continued. But she knew this child would certainly be different than all the rest. Both she and her long lost husband had sacrificed so much. It was too bad that few would ever know.
Most people had been easy to fall under her control of Compulsion, but she had noticed that it was becoming harder to keep large groups under control.
“Damn! I must be getting old and weak,” Ana exclaimed as she closed her eyes and searched to make sure she had control of everyone.
Now she could perform the Ceremony of Connection in peace and without interruption. She carefully removed the ancient relic that hung in the black bag at her side. It still mesmerized her as she saw the incandescent gleam through the Crystal Skull. She placed it on the black silk scarf in the middle of the table and gently placed the infant in front of it. Chanting the ancient Mayan language that was long forgotten she walked around the table three times then stopped at the child. She placed her left palm on the child’s head and reached toward the Crystal Skull with the other. As her outstretched palm inched closer and closer, she saw the familiar, faint glow emanate from the Crystal Skull. Ana suddenly convulsed when she touched the skull and became the conduit from Crystal Skull to the child. The infant’s eyes and mouth flew open wide, not quite into a silent scream, but more in amazement as the incoming images settled into his mind. One thought came to her mind: Manny.
How can this be? The child was only an infant but was already aware that his name was Manny. Ana knew that the circumstances of Manny's birth would certainly have an impact, but even she was unsure just how big it would be. She felt so tired and ready to reunite with her long lost Love. How much we have sacrificed for so long!
Ana put the relic away and took Manny to the next birthing room. There the mother and father were in anguish at the stillborn child that the doctors were frantically trying to save. She replaced the dead infant with Manny and replaced the memories of all the people in the room. Ana knew that the young couple would take good care of Manny. She carefully planted the memory of “Ignacio Manuel Alvarez” into the minds of her distant cousins. Ana kissed Manny on the forehead and left the room with tears in her eyes. She then returned to the first birthing room and placed the stillborn child in front of the nurses’ station. She looked sadly at the dead infant and the now empty birthing bed before she left the hospital and released them all from her control.
With the events of that day and everyone under her control for so long, Ana was exhausted and had nearly reached her limits. She was still very powerful, but this took a lot out of her. She thought back to the last child who reacted so positively and wondered what he was doing.
“Arturo, where have you been? I know who to ask,” she said out loud to nobody as she walked away from the hospital and found the nearest hotel.
Ana closed the door to her private room, lay down on the bed with the Crystal Skull on her chest, and closed her eyes. The Land of Dreams flashed before her and she stepped aside from sleep and entered.
“Alana, I knew you would be here,” Ana said as she looked at her sister. Alana wore the white silk dress that Ana remembered from their battles with Inshae almost 300 years ago. She didn’t appear like the transformed Alana after the death of the Guardians. She was the short, curvy-brown-haired sister Ana fondly remembered.
“Hello, you old white-haired bat! How old are you now, 900?” Alana smiled and asked.
“Very funny, Tart. You always did dress like a hussy!” Ana said, as she pointed to Alana’s ample cleavage. “I thought people in the after-life dressed more conservatively?”
“Ooh, well played. Embarrassingly enough, this is the only thing I can wear that will let you know for certain that it’s me. You see, you have certain limitations. Nothing to be ashamed of,” Alana answered as she sucked on her teeth and looked Ana up and down.
Tears welled up in Ana's eyes as she embraced Alana in a fierce hug.
Alana stroked Ana's hair. “I know dear sister. This is hard.”
Ana took a deep sigh, steadied herself and pulled back. “Well, you always knew how to get the better of me on insults. I sure missed you. Why have you all been away for so long?”
“Time has no meaning for us there,” Alana answered. “For us, this has only been a flash. How long has it been?”
Ana sighed, “Over 200 years have passed since you and the other Guardians left me here. Alone.”
“Damn, so that makes you only 600 or so, not even close to 900,” Alana said, then grinned. “Well, you don’t look a day over 400!”
“Well, thank you,” Ana said as she patted her white hair. “So are we going to continue trading insults, or do you have something important to tell me?”
“No, not really,” Alana replied with an amused look on her face. “The Light thought you needed some encouragement, so I volunteered. Anything to help a sister!”
“Ah. Encouragement is it?” Ana replied sarcastically.
“Oh, there may be something else,” Alana said offhandedly.
“Come on, out with it.”
“Well, there might be a stray bloodline ... from me,” Alana said as she did her best to look innocently at her.
“What?” Ana exclaimed. “Are you kidding me? Why didn't you tell me? How can this be?”
“Well,” Alana started. “Remember after we pushed the G`Alad off the planet, and several of us went out on our own for a little while?”
“I had forgotten about that, but vaguely,” Ana said.
“Well, there’s a reason I was the last to return. Oh,” Alana sighed and fanned herself. “I met a gorgeous man, but it was more than that. We were married and had a son. I wanted to say something, but I was told that as long as he remained a secret that the Light would protect him and his descendants.”
“Do you know how hard it’s been to keep track of the bloodlines of our 13 sisters, and you hid one? How am I supposed to find them now?” Ana asked.
Just then the archangel Gabriel stepped from the shadows. His dark, curly hair and dark tanned skin were set off by large, blue eyes that sparkled and a cleft chin. He was heavily muscled and dressed in magnificent gold and silver armor and matching wings. In his right hand, he carried a brilliant gold and silver sword that glowed. In his left hand, he held a small buckler.
“Guardian Ana, fear not. The boy child will be known to you when the time is needed to escape with your descendant. He takes too closely after this one,” Gabriel said as he nodded toward Alana. “... but his heart is well-placed.”
“Muy Bien. Is that all?” Ana asked.
“No. The demons you both fought in Ashandaria, the place you call the Land of Dreams, will once again roam this existence. Protect your dreams and the dreams of your offspring,” said Gabriel. “Now sleep.”
“I wish you were still here. I need you,” Ana said to Alana as everything faded and Ana fell into a deep sleep.