Author: Ross Richdale
Brittany Forbes does not know that she is human, nor that she is carrying a transmitter that emits a
signal to her ancestors and others that are racing to find her...
A cold mist hung over the ancient city, so thick that the streetlights appeared as a hazy circle every
twenty meters along the narrow street. By three hundred hours only the most foolish citizens would be
out of their homes even if they could bear the close to zero temperature.
This was the time the IMPACT forces were on patrol. The Internal Monitors of Peace and Citizen
Tranquility ruled the city-state of Sympia with an iron fist since the continental wars four decades earlier.
Their authority now superseded that of the original police force, who were now relegated to directing traffic
and keeping streets tidy. Everything within the hundred-kilometer perimeter wall was under their iron fist.
At first the IMPACT forces were welcomed to Sympia and the other five city-states within a six hundred
kilometer radius. They provided security war weary locals needed. It was only after the military
enforcement policy was given another five-year mandate that the all-powerful organization began to step
over the thin line between a protector and ruthless enforcer of IMPACT's ideology.
In an expected pronouncement a year earlier, the Grand Marshal of the United IMPACT Commonwealth
stated that the humanz, the z added to distinguish loyal citizens, of their land had been polluted by
invaders two hundred years before. These invaders had contaminated the genes of loyal citizens by
interbreeding. The only way to stop further pollution through future generations was to halt it now.
By default, all male citizens over a meter eighty in height and females over a meter seventy were declared
possible bearers of alien genes and ordered to have DNA samplings. Other defects were those with light
colored eyes, fair hair and skin pigment that burned in the summer sun.
During the following months, random arrests were extended to full scaled roundups. Few talls, as the
unfortunate citizens became known, passed the test. Those who did were from prosperous families who,
it was rumored, bought their right to freedom. Talls declared as having defective genes were sent to
internment camps that were set up on the coastal badlands. What happened there was unknown but
those who entered a camp never came out. The official news that they were sterilized but treated
humanly and deported to off shore islands to live out their lives in peace and tranquility was not believed
by even the most loyal citizens.
In the xenophobia that reined over the land, the other intelligent species that lived in and around Sympia
was ignored. There were few of them and they were known for their neutrality in all the intercontinental
wars. The so-called fuzzballs were spherical creatures the size of a large orange who had the power of
flight that was sustained without having wings. Four body openings expelled air under pressure to propel
the fuzzballs along. They had small arms and legs, eyes and a mouth but all other organs were hidden by
a fuzzy fur that covered their bodies. They were highly intelligent and could speak in a high pitched
almost squeaky voice. Humanz had difficulty telling whether individual fuzzballs were male or female for
there were no external differences in their appearance.
But the fuzzballs were not as docile or harmless as the IMPACT leaders believed.
After a career as a teacher and principal of mainly small rural schools, Ross Richdale lives in the small
university city of Palmerston North in the North Island of New Zealand where he writes contemporary
novels and sagas full time, while his wife, Kay, carries the burden of teaching children at a local primary
(elementary) school. He is married with three children. <br><br><br/> In his suburban home, Ross
pounds away on an ancient Macintosh to form the plots for his novels. After his wife and daughter go off
to work every morning, he shares his workspace with a black and white cat, who demands to be fed at
least six times a day, and a goldfish called Survivor. The name comes from the fish's ability to survive
after having been dropped in a glass aquarium that was totally shattered and outlived her compatriots
when poisoned water plants were inadvertently added to their bowl. <br/> <br/> When he is not writing,
Ross enjoys drawing, usually on the computer. Other interests include wandering in the countryside and,
in the summer, swimming in mountain streams or bounding through the rapids in a large inner tube tire.