Autor Thema: Dark World  (Gelesen 971 mal)

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Offline DAOGA

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Dark World
« am: 10. Dezember 2015, 17:40:53 Uhr »
Now, with "What If" the cat´s out of the bag - my ragtag band of heroes have become ´sliders´, travelers between dimensions like in the TV series, always hoping that their next slide will be the one that takes them home. (Wonder if that sentence is trademarked?  :) )
And this is one of many dimensions they traveled.
Ah well. Enjoy!


...And once again they came out of the long leap between dimensions, the Einstein-Rosen Bridge between twin versions of Earth closing behind them forever with a low sucking noise.
The first thing they noticed that it was dark. Not quite as dark as at night, but thick black clouds covered the sky from one horizon to the other. Now and then they saw something that glowed in a weak yellow trying to creep through the coverage but failing every time. It had to be the sun, not the moon, they realized. But the black clouds were no rain clouds, because there was no humidity in the air, the air felt very dry and almost warm instead, despite the draft from the flight. The ground beneath them as far as they could see was also dark, charred and blackened somehow and devoid of any life or anything else but black and dark-gray things that looked like bare rock, mixed with half-molten things some of which looked like last remains of buildings. Nothing moved, and not a single green plant was visible anywhere, the place looked deader than even the most desolate parts of the Death Valley.
“Uh-oh, that doesn´t look good,” Azure summarized the other´s thoughts. “Ben, get the Geiger counter! It looks like a nuclear war happened here!”
Lucky for them, Wylie had stashed all the little items they might need to have handy really fast in the glove box in the wide saddlehorn, so he didn´t have to search for it in their luggage which was fixed behind Fox´s place.
Carefully Wylie checked the readings of the small device while Azure tried to gain altitude, knowing that radiation from a nuclear explosion would soon precipitate to the ground, leaving the air mostly clean. As long as he kept his distance from the ground as much as from the clouds, they should be save enough for the moment.
After a few minutes Ben said: “I don´t get more than the natural amount of radiation right now, the air at least seems to be clean, but that might change if we try to land. We have to try and find an uncontaminated place.”
“I´m not tired yet,” Azure said and “blinked” without forewarning.  When they were out of the perfect black of the in-between dimensional place of “blinking”, they were above the mountains they had seen in the distance just one minute before.
The sky had not changed, and besides the fact that they saw a lot more unscourched but bare rock now the ground wasn´t much different either. 
“Paul, if you feel something please tell me immediately.”
“OK, Tom,” the Starman answered.
“Ben?”
“Still no readings. Might have happened long enough in the past that the radiation had time enough to dissipate, or they used ´clean´ bombs.”
´Blinking´ again. In the distance was something that looked like a huge lake in the now even ground behind the mountain ridge, its banks devoid of any kind of cultivation or vegetation. Azure set course for it, knowing that every surviving being  would look for a source of water. They all were straining their eyes, trying to find signs of survivors or traces of the civilization that had gotten wiped out here. Of course, Azure with his inbuilt infrared sensors had the best chance of discovering something long before the others with their plain human eyes would notice.
“There´s something moving. In the sky, to the right,” he said when he hovered over the lake which lay dead and motionless beneath them like a huge puddle of molten lead. “Looks like a swarm of something, small black things --“
He ´blinked´ towards it but not the whole distance since he didn´t know what it was. Now even the humans on his back could see it. At least the swarm but not the single things because there seemed to be amounts of them but the single beings very small, no bigger than small birds. 
“Damn, I don´t like this. I don´t think those are birds, or bats. They look like the flying piranha-creatures we encountered in the bubble, remember?” Wylie said.
“As if I could forget. And you´re quite right. We better avoid them - but they move as if they´ve found prey on the ground. Look at them!”
And while they got still nearer they could watch branches of the whole, circling swarm in the sky suddenly darting down like black lightning, hitting targets on the ground they still couldn´t see.
“Now I can hear something. Hold tight, shields up, and prepare for battle!” Azure ordered his passengers.
While Paul followed the second command, creating a protecting force shield which engulfed all three of them on the saddle, Azure blinked once more, and in the moment they materialized close to the place of attack he let out a thundering roar. The ground beneath them was rocky again, and it was a small, shallow valley the flying piranhas darted into, attacking a group of helicopters which were flying but close to the ground where a whole caravan, colorful mix of transports, from jeeps to cabs to old station wagons, had caught itself the attention of the flying predators. The helicopters all were equipped with weapons, and they kept on firing, trying to protect the last surviving people in the cars and themselves from the onslaught, but that was futile, like using a hand gun against a swarm of very angry bees, and the piranhas knew this because they just kept coming on, completely covering some of the cars and some smaller, still forms on the ground which had to be humans who had tried to flee from then on foot. The deep cut of the valley had prevented Azure and his passengers to hear the noise of the choppers and of the shooting from a distance, but now they were right above the fight the possibly outcome of which didn´t look too favorably for the human defenders. And that was something Azure was able to change.
Suddenly a huge flash lighted the sky above the choppers, and then a fireworks of burning and dying piranhas rained down. Azure had gone for the biggest target, the huge swarm in the sky, and burned a way right through it with his fire, setting half of it ablaze but going too fast through it to allow any of the tiny critters to attach to him.
He knew from the Bubble Incident that those tiny ones were well able to hurt and even kill a dragon if they came in numbers, and so he had no intention of making a closer acquaintance. At a safe distance he turned and went back again, this time targeting one of the branches of the swarm that targeted the choppers and cars on the ground, setting part of it ablaze again and making the rest of them scatter into all directions in wild panic.
Now all of the critters reacted, realizing a bigger shark was in the water, leaving their prey on the ground alone and darting upwards to create one big and solid mass in the sky which went for the newcomer. Azure accepted the invitation and went at them straight on, but just when he had released his fire and was about to hit into the burning and dissolving mass of tiny bodies before him which had served and died as fall guys for the rest of their swarm he ´blinked´and suddenly appeared directly above another part of the swarm, releasing a stakkato of fire bombs which finished off most of the tiny pests in magnificent explosions. Again a rain of sparks, consisting of burning tiny bodies, fell to the ground, clattering against rotors and windshields of the choppers and hitting the remains of shredded cars and human corpses. Whatever was still alive of the flying piranhas, now fled with loud screeching of protest and/or fear into all directions, probably to meet somewhere else to form a new but now much smaller swarm.
Now alone in the air save the helicopters, he dove down to have a first look-see at the survivors on the ground but almost grunted in dismay when he saw that the battle had already drawn scavengers wanting to join in the meal, creatures that looked to him almost like a crossover between the big Black Ones and the much smaller winged white wyrms, black, small, wingless worms which moved really quickly on the ground and closed in at the site from all sides. His infrared sight told him that there were almost no survivors from the caravan, the only still moving and alive was what looked like a woman with two teenaged children who were scrambling out of a badly damaged car right now, realizing that the worms were closing in for a feast and that their only salvation lay with the helicopters, out of reach of the ground-bound worms.
“Anything OK back there with you?” Azure asked his passengers.
“OK,” was the reply from all three. Forrester´s shield had protected them from critters and their burning remains, but Paul couldn´t take the strain of keeping up the shield forever, especially after the immediate danger was over, and so he doused it, and the strange blue glow that had covered Azure´s neck until now disappeared, exposing his living burden to the people who manned the choppers.
Wylie started waving at them while Azure dove once again towards the ground, and deeper this time. Because the black worms were closing in much too fast at the last three survivors for the chopper crews to get all of them in time.
Where said crews would have been forced to do a hair-raising and suicidally last-second rescue maneuver Azure had it easier, he simply went down low enough, grabbed the woman with one and the two kids with his other hand-like paw in mid-flight and one second later was high enough up in the air again, ´blinked´ away, before the fastest worms could get within reaching distance. But Azure and his passengers had seen what the worms did, eating anything organic, not only the human remains on the battlefield but also the charred remains of the dead and dying piranha - scavengers all right.
« Letzte Änderung: 10. Dezember 2015, 17:42:24 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dark World
« Antwort #1 am: 17. Dezember 2015, 17:38:34 Uhr »
Since the caravan and everything in it was lost and crawling with meat-hungry worms there was no use to dally on and waste fuel. The helicopters gained altitude and set course, flying in delta formation and ready to take on any flying enemy that tried to encounter them. Of course, Azure who was burdened now with six passengers couldn´t keep up with them, they were going at more than two hundred kilometers per hour and he wouldn´t have asked his passengers to bear the draft of flying so fast, but he could compensate by +blinking+.
For the first two blinks he confined himself to following them until he almost lost them, but with the third teleport he outran them, since they never deviated from their course, and went on in his own pace while waiting for them to passing him again. Then, seeing there still was no change in course, he ´blinked´ forwards as far as he dared in this unfamiliar surrounding, which meant no further than he could see from this altitude, and two jumps later he discovered something in the distance.
It looked almost like a medieval fortress but was pretty big, and built of modern materials like steel, concrete and what looked like salvaged remains of big containers. Just before when they had left the site of battle Azure had used his telepathy to listen in to the communication between the chopper crews. They had identified him as friendly force, not right when he´d fought the critters but only after when Forrester´s field had dissolved and they had discovered the saddle and the men sitting on it. His coloration which didn´t meet the strict color scheme of the Enemy creatures of black, gray and sometimes white probably also helped. And the chopper pilots had called their base to announce that they would arrive with a flying newcomer, a call which included his description. So he had no qualms now to approach said fortified base, but instead of going straight over the high and cannon-riddled walls he first flew around it, turning his back towards the guards on the wall to show them he was carrying passengers on his back, and not just some hapless victims, his lunch, in his claws. Only then he went for the small airfield inside the walls where a few other helicopters stood parked, no plane though probably because there was not enough place for a runway inside and the ground outside was too uneven to allow a plane to land or start. Landing was a bit difficult, he could set down only with his hindquarters not to inadvertedly squash the people he had carried all the way in his hand-like forepaws. They had stopped crying soon after he´d grabbed them, maybe from shock or maybe they´d even enjoyed the flight as a quite unique experience. At least the kids were in the right age to enjoy something like this.
Now he set them down carefully but didn´t still open his grip fully.
“Stay there, don´t move. Decontamination first!” his telepathic voice ordered in a no-nonsense tone.
The people here certainly would have some kind of tests for newcomers and decontamination procedures, living in a land that was crawling with potentially infectious Enemy nasties. Of course, the kids and the woman didn´t know where the voice came from they heard not with their ears but within their minds only, but they seemed to have seen enough movies to understand what it meant, they stayed calm, standing in the small confinement cells that were his hands and waiting for what was to follow.
And Tom meant what he said, because with his next transmission to his pals he ordered Forrester: “Paul, first thing you have to do is to scan them for infection. They have been close to critters and might have caught themselves something we rather don´t want to bring into the base. If you find something try to contain it, until we find the time to deal with it.”
He huddled down to give his three passengers the chance to dismount but still didn´t open his hands fully, not to let the three others get away.
“Fox and Wylie, please remember to ask for me. If I´m known here tell them about his twin, that´s good for every occasion, and I´ll use the John Corner alias again.”
They nodded, they had done the twin routine including false identity in a few other dimensions already.
“And, Ben, please take the bag with the starstones. I think we´ll need them here.”
The agent nodded again. Since he knew from Tom´s tales what said stones were good for, he immediately followed the order, took the bag from their luggage on Azure´s back and put it on the ground. 
The background to all sides filled now with people, all of them armed in some way, and all weapons aimed at the newcomers. While Forrester went to the three rescued people and started to scan them, the sphere in his hand emitting a soft blue glow that went over the kids and the woman like a classical scanner light, the agents waved at their audience and then started to slowly walk towards them, hands raised in the classical ´no weapons, no ill intentions, please let´s be friends´ - stance.
“Fox! Wylie!”
They didn´t believe it. There was a person they knew among the base crew, now heading straight for them -
“General Wade!”
He stopped shortly before them, eyeing them from head to toe. There were scars visible in his short-cropped gray hair that looked fresh, and he wore a military uniform with the insignia of his rank instead of a suit. His face looked gray and tired, but his eyes burned with what looked like a new ember of hope, seeing at least two of his men.
“I thought you had perished when Washington was destroyed, together with almost all of the staff,” he said, reaching out for a handshake which alone showed how desperate for personal contact he was right now.
The two agents didn´t look at each other. “We weren´t there when it happened. But we´re here now, sir,” Wylie said.
Wade had well noticed the blue light, he cocked his head in that direction. “And that´s Forrester, the alleged alien being you´ve been after all the time?”
“Yes, and yes, sir, because that´s what enables him now to scan those people for infection. He´s damn useful in such a situation, so we brought him with us. And, by the way, he and his kin aren´t behind this, I´ve learned as much by now. And we might have brought another and even more useful asset with us. Do you know about a certain Thomas A. Richards the Third?”
The General´s face petrified. “The bastard!” he spat then, almost losing his countenance. “I hope it´s something good, like he´s got himself eaten by his pets?”
The agents were thinking fast. “So you think he´s behind this all?”
“I don´t think but I know he´s behind it. He is like the evil wizard in some fantasy movie, sitting on a throne in the center of Nastytown as it´s called here, the bizarre living city that has grown all by itself at the ground zero of the invasion, and giving us a hard time with his attacks. Anytime he hits somewhere his armies of bugs aren´t far behind to finish the last defenders off. He´s asked us repeatedly to surrender, and sooner or later he´ll turn up here too, when he´s done with the more attractive targets. Didn´t you get one of his transmissions?”
“Afraid no, sir, we´ve been detached a little. But we found us something that could be of help to you.” Wylie pointed towards Azure.
“Yes, I already wondered,“ Wade said, looking up the the dragon´s head. “I heard its fire can kill the buggers. You haven´t found a whole nest of them by chance?”
“Sorry to disappoint you there, sir, but no. But there´s much more to it than you can see right now. Before we show you, may I ask if you´re the officer in charge here, sir?”
“Yes, I am the highest-ranking brass now. After the destruction of our major cities and military sites there are not many officers left. I don´t know if anybody from the White House has made it, or if they´re in hiding somewhere.”
“Then please order your men not to shoot me at sight,” Wade suddenly heard a strange male voice. Not with his ears but inside his mind, somehow.
Wylie and Fox both pointed upwards, at the dragon. “That was him, sir. He wants to show you something and speak to you, but you and your men have to hear him out.”
“I already see him, and I can hear him, so what´s the point?”
“You´ll know in a minute, sir,” Wylie said, smiling, and nodded towards their huge transport. The creature closed its eyes and lowered its head, seemingly relaxing in a sudden narcoleptic attack. But while doing so, it seemed to lose its material form, to dissolve like a big cloud of colored smoke... but where it had been, another, much smaller shape appeared and became real, that of a man in an expensive suit, long blond hair bound to a ponytail, in his belt some long weapon, a sword or a stick, stowed away, eyes closed but now opening when the feet of the hovering figure touched the ground...
“Tom Richards!” Wade hissed, and suddenly had his gun out, and not only this one was pointed at the man who now stood there instead of a scaly, blue dragon, there was suddenly a damn lot of hardware targeted at him.
“No, sir, this is not your Tom Richards,” Wylie urged, and Fox nodded just as urgently. “Please hear him out. Don´t shoot!” he shouted at the men around them.
« Letzte Änderung: 17. Dezember 2015, 17:41:06 Uhr von DAOGA »

Offline DAOGA

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Re: Dark World
« Antwort #2 am: 4. Januar 2016, 13:00:53 Uhr »
“They´re right, sir, I´m not your Tom Richards,” the stranger said, and his was the same voice as the dragon´s from before, Wade realized, but it was also the voice he knew from repeated transmissions...
“I´m actually Tom Richards´s crazy twin brother, the black sheep of the family... or the white one, depending on where you stand. I´m often using the alias of John Corner, and that´s what you can call me.”
“You have a cane with you, just as your... brother does. How can we tell you´re not actually the real Tom Richards and here to destroy us?”
“You can´t, we´re identical twins, just with different attitudes. I have the same weapon he does, that´s true, and I have about the same powers as he, with the small difference that I don´t consort with dark powers. Makes me wonder why he did it in the first place, when we were younger we both learned how dangerous and all-destroying those black things are, you know. And we took pleasure in wasting them wherever we found them. I can only imagine they got him in some way, infected him and turned him and made him their prince of pawns. Which will be no excuse for him when I´m dealing with him.“
“Why didn´t you before, Mr. John Corner? Why now?”
“I´ve been abroad, I didn´t know what was going on here. Turn your back on Earth just for a little time, and see what happens.” He shook his head in an almost mocking move. “It´s high time to put things right again.”
Wade still wasn´t convinced, and who could fault him there.
“Why aren´t your eyes black?” he asked.
“Black?”  That puzzled Tom alias John Corner. „The only time they´re getting black is when I´m drunk out of my mind, and then I´m always sick as a dog for a full week. Booze doesn´t agree with me.”
“The eyes of your twin are all black, not just the iris. But he never sounded drunk or sick.”
“It´s a sure sign he´s infected. He still fights it or he would have turned completely into some weird horror by now, but it got enough of his mind to control him and make him do all those things. But as I said, this will be no excuse for him. I won´t take pleasure in bringing him down, but I will do it, and I will do anything necessary, including killing him. Even as a white sheep I´m not a pacifist like Forrester over there.” 
“How will you get to him? And how will you do it?”
“I don´t need to get to him, I can make him coming anywhere I like. You see my cane, my weapon. The slightest spark from it will notify him of my presence wherever he is, and then he´ll come running. And then it´s one against one, preferrably in some forsaken place where I can let loose without being afraid of endangering bystanders.”
“Do you think you can beat him?”
“I will try. Right now, I´m your best bait, and I´m your best shot at dispatching him. If I should lose he´ll be weakened at least, and then you can go and try to finish him off by yourself.”
“What about the dragon?“
„Azure´s my pet. He´s Bonded to me, in body and soul. And we can´t exist at the same time, if one of us comes the other has to go, that´s the rule. So you´ll have to decide which one of us is more useful to you, because we can never be here both at the same time.”
“Does your brother also have one?”
“I don´t know. Dragons are damn hard to come by, you know. But if he hasn´t, I don´t know what kind of dark creatures might have attached to him. He might have gotten himself something that equals my Azure in power. In any case, this will be an interesting battle, and I´m looking forward to it.”
“Where did you meet with my agents?”
Tom smiled. “They were chasing after Mr. Forrester when we met for the first time. But since then they´ve learned who the real enemy is.”
Which was all true, because Fox and Wylie had been after Forrester indeed when they all had met for the first time. In another dimension, but not less true for it. 
Forrester came over to him. “John -- the kids are clean, but the woman is infected. It´s a fresh infection and still small enough so I could contain it, but we have to remove it somehow.” While he had scanned the three people, a few inhabitants of the place had come to him, realizing what he was doing, and talked to him.
“Difficult place?” Tom asked now.
“She got bit in the shoulder, and there it is.”
“No problem to remove, then.”
“They said they have equipment and two nurses here, but no trained doctor.”
“Then we´ll have to do it.”
“What are you talking about?” the General asked, puzzled.
“The woman is infected,” Forrester told him. “What would you do with an infected person?”
“Well, if we know it´s a fresh infection in a limb then the limb has to go. If it´s in the body or the head, then we dispose of them, give them a gun with a single bullet in it if they ask for it, or simply send them out to meet their soon-to-be brethrens. We can´t contain an infection, I don´t think there´s a medication against it, and as they told you, we don´t have a doctor to cut it out. We can only chop off infected parts and hope we caught it in time and they don´t catch gangrene or bleed to death.”
Tom sighed. “I see there´s work to be done. I´m a doctor of medicine, among a lot of other things, and Paul here had begun a study in medicine before this all happened, so he´ll assist me. Don´t worry, I can do a small operation like this without my tool. Paul can use his sphere without attracting my twin because it works on a different frequency. If the woman´s got no other health problems we can save her, and all of her limbs.”
Only now they heard a noise, a low droning that steadily grew stronger. The helicopters returned which Azure had overjumped on his way here. 
“Didn´t you have a son?” Wade asked Paul directly.
The Starman smiled. “I have, and he´s someplace safe.”
“We can´t go there, too, if it´s safe?”
“Afraid not.” Tom answered instead of Paul. “But that´s a long story, and I don´t like to leave a patient waiting. Even if Paul could contain the infection, she´ll be in pain.”
“He can contain it?” With new interest Wade looked at the alleged alien.
“Only if it hasn´t spread too far. A person already turned is a goner.”
His words almost drowned in the droning from the landing choppers. Men in protection suits and armed with custom-built flamethrowers went to them, to check first the outside of the machines for attached nasties and suspicious holes before the crew members were allowed to deboard. 
Paul pointed towards the waiting nurses, and Tom nodded and followed them to the building where they´d do the operation. First things first, the General understood, they would continue their talk later, until then he had the time to make plans, to include this god-sent asset into an operation of his own.

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Re: Dark World
« Antwort #3 am: 9. Februar 2016, 10:18:09 Uhr »
´John Corner´ and his assistants, Paul Forrester and the two nurses, worked really fast on their patient. It took no longer than half an hour until they were done, and the general´s adjutant led ´John´and Paul to Wade´s office.
The General made a comment, and Tom nodded. “As a doctor, I´ve worked on battlefields more often than you could imagine, and that´s where you learn to work really fast. I´m much older than I look, and I´ve seen my share of wars. Never looked for them but got involved more often than I liked.”
“Think you can act your part in a military operation?” the General asked, and Tom nodded. “Care to tell me what you´re up to?”
Wade had already made up his mind. He´d used the time to have a short interview with Fox and Wylie, and both had confirmed that they knew ´this´ Richards twin well by now, and that he was pretty crazy but not a genocidal monster.
“In the beginning of the invasion we tried to stop it with all means, including the use of smaller nukes. It didn´t work,  turned out some of the nasties are pretty much immune to fire and radiation, and the rest spread too quickly to get them all, a single one surviving in a hole meant that soon after there was a full army of them again. The fallout would´ve killed off the rest of mankind long before the Enemy bit the dust. So most of our nuclear arsenals still are there, mostly unguarded by now because the crews got killed but still untouched because neither Richards nor his critters ever took an interest in them.”
“I get it,” Tom said before the General could continue. “As a general you know the locations of the arsenals. You want to go there, rig a few nice bombs for self-destruct and then lure my evil twin there to blow him to pieces, isn´t it?”
Wade only nodded, waiting for Tom´s reaction.
“No objections here, and you don´t even need to give me more details. Azure can take your men there in a single teleport if you can give me accurate pictures and coordinates of the place. As soon as your experts did their thing and got off to safety, I will activate my tool. When he comes I will try to soften him up, and you blow the bombs on my command.  But no sooner please, because in un-weakened condition we both will probably survive the blast, and he won´t fall for the same trick twice. But if it looks like I´m falling to him, if he´s defeating me, you´ll blow them at once. Don´t worry about that part, that´s your job, and I know a thing or two about surviving too. Just take care not to blow them too soon, I will give my best to weaken him sufficiently.”
He smiled when he read the surprise in the General´s eyes.
“I know you´d sacrifice yourself without a second glance if this could save what´s still left of mankind,” he said. “And I already got a few times into similar situations, so I pondered that question before. You will do what you need to do, I´ll do the same, and no hard feelings. I´d prefer to catch my twin alive and bring him back to the bright side of the force, he has a damn lot of atonement to do and there are worse things in our line of business than a quick death, but if you´re getting my signal or if it´s taking too long you push the button. It has to end, one way or the other.”
Wade just nodded. “Will you take Forrester with you?” he asked.
Tom immediately shook his head. “He will accompany us to the site and use his sphere to protect us from nasties while your men do their job and I still can´t use my tool, but then you have to take him back here. He´s not a trained fighter and not strong enough to use his sphere for a longer time, and since he´s weaker than I and my twin he can´t help me in that fight, he´d impede me if anything. But I trained him in human medicine for some time. He´s not a full-fledged doctor yet, but with his eidetic memory he got enough of the matter to be a useful addition here. Fox and Wylie know how to take care of him, so I trust him into your hands.”
Again a nod.
“And now I have something else for you.”
Wade had already wondered what they kept in that bag which first Wylie and now Mister Corner clung to. It was something small but hard and heavy and it made a low clattering noise when moved, like a bag full of pebbles -  and now when the blond man opened the bag he could see that he was not far from the truth. They were small stones, but not pebbles, they looked more like petrified sea urchins, each of them flat and five-pointed and of gray color and of the size of a two-dollar-coin but wider, and all of them were of the same size, like created in the same mold.
He took the specimens Corner handed to him and marveled over the weight of the porously looking material because it was heavy, like made from solid lead instead of not stone. One side of the stones was covered with dots that created a symbol which looked like a cat´s eye.
“The material those star-stones consist of is called Dhyarite. It´s a metallic n-dimensional element not known on planet Earth, but please don´t ask me where I got it or we´ll still be sitting here next year. Dhyarite is harmless for human beings but poisonous or at least harmful for many sorts of Enemy nasties. You can think of it as some form of alien Kryptonite. My tool consists of the same stuff, by the way, but in its crystalline form which has different qualities. The form of the stones is not an accident too, because both the form and that cat´s eye symbol also have a certain deterrent effect on Enemy nasties. I propose to grind a few stones to dust and augment your ammunition with it, and outfit every fighter with a complete stone of his or her own. Some forms of nasties, especially the soft and squishy ones, will die at a single touch, others will be kept at bay by its look, but there´s no guarantee it´ll work against all of them. Against a Black One for instance, the huge tentacled things, they´re mostly useless if you don´t feed them to the critters by the bucket. So we´ll have to avoid the big and sturdy nasties and look for a place with small infestations only.”
“If this works as you say, Mr. Corner --“ Now the General understood, why Fox and Wylie had stuck to this man since they had met him, he was just priceless. If they just had brought him here sooner, or to Washington when there still was time  --
“Of course you´ll want to test it first, so get your armorer going. I know you still don´t trust me, and that´s OK, so I will use the time to look after your other wounded and then take a good rest. Call me when you´re ready to roll.”
That man didn´t beat about the bush nor did he waste time, qualities the General admired.
While Forrester led the Richards-twin to the nurses and his waiting patients, accompanied by some guards, Wade called together his staff, which were all the men and women in the fort who had some military experience. He told them what he´d learned, both from ´John Corner´ and his agents who had come with him, showed them the stones and then waited for them to speak their minds.
“That Forrester guy, is he really an alien?” was one of the first questions.
“Agent George Fox, that´s the senior agent, was convinced of it, and both his assistant Mr. Benjamin Wylie and John Corner confirmed it, so I won´t doubt them for the moment. As far as I know the alien came to Earth for the first time eighteen years ago, where he met a woman and produced a son with her before his mothership picked him up. About four years ago he returned to take care of his son, that was about two years before the invasion started. Mr. Fox was firmly convinced that the Forrester-alien was the spearhead of an alien invasion and we promptly got us one, but now I´m not too sure about Forrester´s involvement.
The facts Agent Fox collected over the years about his alien don´t match with the things we´ve seen from the enemy, and John Corner seems convinced that it was all his twin´s fault and not Forrester´s. Mr. Fox also has visibly changed his attitude towards Forrester, which speaks either of severe alien brainwashing or that he´s realized that he misjudged the alien all along.
I also talked to Mr. Wylie, who I confess is a relative of mine. So I could ask him about personal things nobody else knows about, and he also said that Forrester is a friendly being and not in league with the enemy.”
“So, the government knew about the existence of aliens?”
Wade shook his head. “Agents Fox and Wylie delivered a lot more hearsay and rumors than hard facts, definitely not sufficient to upset the upper charges by crying wolf. Nothing got ever out of my Agency but more of the usual rumors. And now they´re here where we have our eyes on them, we can still decide if they´re real or not.”
“You know, I don´t like that man or his goons accompanying us to the site. What if he´s the real Richards and just toying with us and waiting to finish us off, after he´s found out what we´re up to?” Sam Lannister fiddled around with one of Richards´s stones, as the fort´s armorer it was his duty to grind it later into dust and equip some ammunition with it, to try it out at the next nest of nasties nearby.
“He already knew what we´re planning, maybe because it´s too obvious. But he didn´t ask details and I won´t give him some. He actually invited me to try and blow them both to hell as soon as he´s successfully tackled his twin. Forrester is also to go with us, together with Fox and Wylie, so we´ll have them all in plain sight the whole time. The first wrong step of one of them, and you know what to do.”
Nodding all around, because some of them were chosen  to go with Wade, while the rest would hold the fort.