In 2120, the human species has been relegated to minority status. A century of rampant unchecked climate and technological change and subsequent catastrophic global pandemics, has laid claim to the very young, accelerating post-human development. With the help of biots, ironically the human race’s finest creation, post-humans’ fulfil their aspiration, colonisation of the galactic, led by the largest post-human corporation on Earth, Apollo Corporation.
Gaea, a preeminent human organisation is tasked with returning Earth’s climate to preindustrial conditions and developing new off-planet habitable zones. One such zone is run by Dr. Zi Walker, who’s extracting a rare, highly prized natural resource (Elithium), that fuels nuclear fusion reactors to drive the terraforming process. But, there’s one last piece of the puzzle to make terraforming of the whole planet a reality. The development of a multiverse quantum computer (Trojan), a Gaea funded project, overseen by her brother, Dane.
Dane is compelled to leave those he loves, to help Zi terraform Mars. He and his biot assistant, Hali, accompany the smuggled Trojan computer on a shipment of terraforming equipment bound for Mars, but enroute, the project is infiltrated by Apollo secret operatives assigned to stop them and take the Trojan computer. An epic battle ensues, that will prove to become a flash point in human, post-human relations and the evolutionary fate of mankind.
The reconnaissance soldier, Harvey, was the first to walk into the cave, his adversary not just Draven, but to his shock, four Dravens. The soldier attempted to fire his pulse gun, but it failed to activate, causing him to back away to com Jarvis, when it too failed.
Draven was unarmed except for a single dagger, which he removed from his sheath and pointed his assailant’s way, inviting him to battle. Harvey, like all military biots, was a robotised killer, programmed to fight in the fires of hades if there commander required it. He welcomed Draven’s challenge, exchanging a steel salute with his blade.
In that moment between standoff and battle, both combatants exchanged an inscrutable glance that signalled the opening gesture, acceptance that what they now started would only end with one standing. War-like adrenaline saturated the cave like the Martian dust as they began a dance they’d spent their lives honing. Both were masters of the blade.
The soldier relished rather than feared Draven’s advantage as he rotated 360 degrees to confront the four assailants that encircled him. It was a Russian roulette encounter, with only one holding the real weapon of death. But which? The soldier flicked his handle, extending his knife to a sword, showing he too brought tricks to the arena. Masterfully, he swept the sword in a Samurai-like movement of grace and skill glancing all four assailants, clicking real metal on only one, establishing his real target.
He attacked Draven, slicing, carving and driving his sword in every possible direction and angle but each time Draven evaded his assault untouched, toying with him. The soldier grew bolder with every exchange as if the challenge was all that mattered. Ever faster, he launched attacks that ultimately pushed Draven into the rock wall. Cornering Draven, he felt emboldened to make a devastating but risky assault, successfully finding the small opening in his defence allowing Harvey to plunge his sword deep into Draven’s core.
The sound of steel driving through Draven’s body echoed through the cathedral signalling victory, but to the soldier’s shock, Draven stood tall, before the flickering of his holograph gave way to the cold rock where he stood.
“You’re fast, soldier. But I’m as quick as light,” he said, pulling his knife from the soldiers back, spilling his blood to the Martian dust, decommissioning the young soldier with a single decisive incision.
Author and Links
Michael Leon has published three novels: Cubeball; Emissary and Phantoms and is launching his fourth, Sentient. His work ranges from speculative fiction to fantasy romance. Prior to that, Michael worked as a business analyst and published international agribusiness books.