Docstoc

Diary of an Alien

Document Sample
Diary of an Alien Powered By Docstoc
					           1




Diary of an Alien
  War of the Robots
          by

     Paul Gruzalski
2
                                3




                 Acknowledgements
    I would like to first thank Sue Jamieson for once again reading
and editing one of my manuscripts. In addition, I would like to
thank Gill, my wife, whom I had promised that my writing would
bring her riches and me fame. She’s still waiting!
4
                                   5


                              Chapter 1

                          Threat of Nuclear War

    The gravel road to the cottage forced me to drive slowly and
carefully so that the stones kicked up would do minimum damage to
my relatively new car. There were no street lamps so it was only by
my car lights I was able to see anything of the road. The farm I
drove by was well off the road and only emitted one small light and
a faint-blue emission no doubt from a television. There was a full
moon that night with scattered clouds. As I approached the cottage,
the clouds covered the moon, but just before they did, I thought I
had seen some shadowy figures dart behind the cottage. When the
moon emerged again, the front of the cottage looked deserted.
    I gave a brief thought to sneaking behind the house to see if
there was someone there, but, after some reflection, I realized that
whoever might be waiting for me would have heard and seen me
hundreds of metres away: gravel is a good surface to warn people of
approaching cars as well as detecting people on foot.
    I stayed in my car deciding to use my mobile to call Mireg. I
was surprised to discover that I could not get a signal. It was not
logical since I was on a relatively high part of the country that
should have had good access to radio waves, yet the phone could
not detect any! I retrieved my laser gun and set it to full charge. I
hoped that I could 'see' what was coming with my gift of foresight:
this is the ability to perceive events in the immediate future. Only a
few Trothians have this ability. This time, there was no warning.
    I saw light coming from a room upstairs, but no one was in
sight. I locked the car and walked up the gravel pathway advertising
my arrival with each crushing step. I knocked on the door, but there
was no answer. I hit the door a little harder and it opened of its own
accord squeaking painfully as it did. As the door opened, only
blackness greeted me. The house had a musty smell as if it no one
had lived in for some time. Could Nathan, my son, be correct in say
it was an abandoned house?
                                    6


     There was no sign of the girl. I decided to enter without
shouting ahead, just in case someone else, some agent of Zarkoff's
was there. Then the door upstairs opened and someone stood at the
top of the stairs showing only their silhouette.
     “Is that you, Maria?” I asked. The light from the top of the stairs
blinded me.
     “Yes, Professor. Did you come alone?” Both her question and
the tone of her voice alerted me – this girl was not frightened: she
wanted something.
     “You know Professor Kempton, your theories about the robots
and Zarkoff are absolutely correct.” She then coolly produced a
laser gun that she pointed at me.
     “Please drop your weapon Professor so I can safely complete
my demonstration.”
     “You’d shoot me?” I asked checking if she was telling the truth
by examining her aurora.
     “Yes, Professor, and I have the laser set on maximum. It could
kill you.” She meant what she had said so I dropped my weapon.
     “Why have you brought me here? Are you Zarkoff's agent?”
     She ignored the question. “By now you know that I am not
Tanya's sister. But I am a daughter of someone you have met. I'm
Nehw Leighton's daughter. Do you remember when you last saw
my father?”
     “Yes, he was preparing to destroy our research ship, The Sea
Lion. He tried to kill me so we fired at him. I killed him. I am sorry
that I had to kill him. He would have killed me.”
     She walked a quarter of the way down the stairs, her gun still in
her hand. Her eyes filled with hate. She spat out her words.
     “My mother and I had to leave our community – we were the
family of a traitor. We had to make our way alone. I vowed
someday I would have my revenge on the man who killed my father
and here you are.”
     “I had to kill him or he would’ve killed me. I didn’t want to do
it.”
     “I believe you Professor, and I don't think you really deserve to
die. You see the murder of my father has twisted my mind and all
                                  7


the suffering my mother went through. I promised her I’d revenge
my father's death. Moreover, before you say anything, yes, I know
it’s wrong and even damaging to me. But as I said, I have to do it,
and in my own way.” She continued her voice without emotion as if
she was detached from what she was doing.
     “Now I have a device in my hand that can change robots that are
friendly to humans and Trothians into robots that will kill both.”
      Her mind was beyond reasoning. My only hope in stopping her
was to disarm her but the situation became more deadly. She
activated the device in her hand and then I saw them. Two large
robots, one on either side of me suddenly came alive, their green
eyes increasing in intensity. I’d never seen robots so large. The
thick-black arms of the six-foot six-inch tall robots must have had a
reach of seven feet from fingertip to fingertip.
     “Now that they are awake, I shall give my first command. Strike
the Professor.”
                                   ***

     How I found myself in this situation is part of the story of how
the war of the Robots began and my part in it. Zarkoff, the renegade
alien, was behind this as he was behind so many evil things that
were happening now. Zarkoff was alive because of me, I could have
killed him and thereby I could have prevented the devastation that
had covered the Earth as the result of this Third World War, but I
had made a fatal mistake. To save others, I had let Zarkoff go
hoping that some one else would stop him. He had escaped and had
remained hidden for ten years. Many thought he was dead, but I did
not: perhaps because he had vowed to kill me on our next meeting. I
had no proof that he was alive except the feeling deep in my soul
that his evil presence was acting. In fact, I even knew, or guessed,
what he was doing but I had no proof.
     If you read this, my second diary, you will understand why
even when my people, the aliens, had been convinced of Zarkoff's
threat they could only await the day he would begin to take over
Earth. I hope you will forgive me, you the survivors, of this Third
                                  8


War World War, and I hope that you will understand what I had to
do.




                           Diary of an Alien

                           War of the Robots
                                  By

                            Mark Kempton

     This diary had started one year before the Third World War, the
War of the Robots, fifteen years after I had arrived on Earth. It had
been peaceful time with very few areas of conflict. Perhaps this is
why the terrible onslaught that had begun the Third World War had
been so unexpected. The year is 2015 and I have been married over
fifteen years to Peggy Magnus, an alien who I had thought was a
human. We have a fifteen-year old son Nathan who, we were to
discover, had some extraordinary powers. Some of our people are
the oldest people on Earth – many are over 900 years old! That is
not quite accurate since most of our existence we had been in what
is best described as hibernation as we journeyed from our planet
Trothal to Earth, a journey that had taken nine hundred years since
our planet was two light-years away. However, some of our people
had fought in World War II and therefore had lived on the Earth
over a hundred years.
     The planet we came from, Trothal, had been a peaceful planet
perhaps because it had been so sparsely populated. An asteroid had
forced us to find another planet, and that is why we are now on
Earth, our new home. The people of Earth do not know that we are
here as we live peacefully among them. Not all of us are peaceful.
One man, who has killed many Trothians and humans, is still at
                                   9


large. His name is Zarkoff and I had arrived with him as his prisoner
on a space shuttle that fortunately had crashed off the coast of
England allowing me to escape.
    No one knew if he even was alive since no trace of him was
detected every since he disappeared in Spain. It is widely believe by
some, including me, that he has had plastic surgery and now has a
new identity unknown to us. As long as he lives, I sleep uneasily
since he has vowed to kill me. It was I, along with others, who had
destroyed his last operation. During that time, I could have killed
him and wonder today if I had made the wrong decision to let him
go. One man, Frank Mundy, thinks I had made the wrong decision.
You see it was his life and two others that I had saved by allowing
Zarkoff to escape. Frank had sworn that he would kill Zarkoff and
he has directed his life to that goal.
    My dear friend Sam was quite happy that I had saved him. He
had been once a refugee and then the authorities nearly deported
him back to his African country, Sudan. After Zarkoff had captured
him he made his life hell, as he did to all he had captured, by
changing him into a monster using drugs and imbedding an
electronic chip in his head. He had then forced him to capture
innocent men and, in some cases, to watch these men suffer and die.
Now, having graduated from a university, he is an excellent chef
and enjoys life very much though he still has nightmares from the
time he was under Zarkoff’s power.
    There are many days I do not even think about my enemy,
Zarkoff, but enjoy my work at Brighton University as an associate
professor of Marine Biology under Professor Pennington who is the
head of the department and perhaps one of the oldest - in the real
sense- alien on Earth; he had fought in World War II! Peggy works
as a doctor in Brighton, at the Silverton Hospital, which is a private
hospital and one used by aliens since several of the doctors are
aliens.
    Others and I have been nervously investigating company that
make the largest number of domestic and military robots in the
world, Multiplixo. They have produced and sold hundred million
domestic robots worldwide. Their product is unsurpassed for
                                  10


efficiency, reliability and price – millions of ordinary homes have
them. The reason we were concerned about this multibillion-dollar
company is that it seemed to have sprung from nowhere with a
technology that, one might say, was alien to this planet. This
company's main offices and factories are located in Madrid at a
place where we are certain Zarkoff had his plastic surgery. Another
reason why we are watching Multiplixo is one of its most enigmatic
and remote directors, Señor Xenoros. He is known only by
reputation and has alleged criminal connections
     Shortly after Zarkoff's escaped, a prominent plastic surgeon had
been murdered. He had placed sketches of the men who faces he
had changed in a safety deposit box to be opened on his death. One
of the sketches discovered looked exactly like Zarkoff. Yet, after
years of effort we have no proof that Zarkoff has anything to do
with the company or indeed that the company has done anything
illegal. On the contrary, anywhere where it has set up operations it
has contributed to the local communities and in all cases seems to
be an excellent employer. Any attempt to malign the company
would result in a general outcry.
     Peggy wanted a domestic robot eight years ago and it was the
first time we had a serious disagreement about something. I still
remember that difficult day – it was two days before Christmas, a
celebration I have always enjoyed. She had asked for a Multiplixo
Domestic Robot for her present. I remember what I had said.
     “Peggy, you know why I don't want to buy a Multiplixo robot:
it’s that I’m sure Zarkoff is behind the company and we know he
wants to kill me and he certainly would want to harm our family.”
     “Mark, you are a scientist. Where’s your proof? Name one solid
bit of evidence that connects Zarkoff with the company.” I knew all
I was basing my decision on was intuition but that is all I had. I was
about to mention that strange disappearance of Zarkoff in Madrid
when she cut me short.
     “And please Mark, do not bring up the argument about the
plastic surgeon killed in Madrid. That doesn't mean that he is part of
the company just because he was in Madrid.”
                                   11


     I tried desperately to give one last argument. “Well Professor
Pennington thinks that Zarkoff is part of the company and he is
worried about the robots just as much as I am.”
     She turned to me and smiled triumphantly, “Did you know
Mark, that not only does his wife Margaret have a Multiplixo robot;
she has three: one for the garden, one as a chef and one as a general
house robot.” With that she walked away leaving my arguments to
fall to dust.
     Professor Pennington never told me his wife had three of the
robots so when I asked him he wilfully admitted it. “Mark, I have
the same fears about the robots as you but I also had no argument to
prove they were unsafe and to preserve domestic tranquillity I
decided to give in. In short, I was a bit of a coward.”
     “What do you think I should do?” He looked at me and smiled.
     “Mark, you are not going to get me to give you advice after
what I just admitted. I may be a coward but I'm not a hypocrite.”
     That Christmas I reluctantly had bought Peggy her first
Multiplixo robot. She was happy but I definitely was not. Someone
seems to have programmed the blue-eyed robot to give me
malevolent looks. I am sure it also knew that I wanted to get rid of
it.
     Last year Nathan had wanted his own Shadow robot that since,
according to him, all his friends had one. It is like a playmate or
perhaps a pet. It is totally a recreational piece of machinery. This
time I did not argue but it was then I resolved to prove to myself and
everyone that Zarkoff was involved in the running the Multiplixo
and therefore it was a dangerous company. I still had no idea how I
was to prove that he was involved since so many others had tried. I
did have one thing in my favour that no one else did: he wanted to
kill me and therefore if I came close he would try.
     I had felt better about giving Nathan his shadow robot; he
absolutely loved it. His robot was the athletic model as it could learn
to play a variety of games: football, tennis, golf and it could run
faster, jump higher than any human and it had controls so one could
set it to one’s own speed or slightly faster. Runners all over the
world used them as the perfect pacesetters. For Nathan sports were
                                   12


his life. He was not academic like Peggy or me, but he was the
faster, strongest and most power alien his age. In fact, at age nine,
his speed and strength were already comparable to me. We had
discovered his athletic prowess when at seven years old he had
entered his first alien competition.
    Obviously, it is difficult for aliens to participate with humans in
athletic since such competitions would revel that they were not
human. Whereas an adult could hold back to look slower or less
strong than he was, a young child would find it difficult. Therefore,
children only competed with children at special meets. When
Nathan was seven Peggy and I went down to Cornwall to an alien
camp as usual. Most of the hundred alien families from the UK were
down there. It was not only for athletics that the camp had been
started: it was a time for friends and families who lived away from
each other to get caught up on the news and enjoy each other’s
company. One of the members of the community had a large farm
and we used their field to set up our camp.
    The young adults played various games, like volleyball and
football. Some were content just to watch the activities. There are
always wardens patrolling the perimeters of the farm to make sure
no humans were near or looking in. This is especially true when we
are playing games- the volleyball net is twelve feet high and the
speed of some of our footballers is far in excess of the world's
fastest runners.
    That day our youngsters only ran a couple of races, the hundred
metres and two hundred metres race. We had been astounded when
Nathan shot ahead of all his companions to win by over ten metres
in the hundred metres race and twenty-five metres in the two
hundred metres race. He was in a category all by himself. After that
race, the whole community took notice of him. In addition, we had
discovered that he could throw a five kg shot over twenty-five
metres! Again, this was comparable to the best efforts of our
teenagers.
    This you might have thought would have given Nathan some
fame particularly among his peers except that we do not normally
compete at any level other than summer camp events. Therefore,
                                   13


Nathan's athletic gifts had no outlet. He knew if he were human, he
would be famous; in his alien community, therefore only a few new
he had these special talents.
     In a way his inability to use his strength and power was made all
the more unbearable because academically he was quite slow for an
alien - always at the bottom of his alien class though well over
average intelligence for a human. He appeared to take all this in
stride and practice his remarkable skills in isolation. This is why the
athletic robot was such a boon for him. He now had a worthy
competitor and while he improved, the robot could improve by
putting it at a higher level.
     It was the beginning of last year when the first people started to
go missing or, in some cases, mysteriously killed. Three of our
community in London went missing in February and once again we
were sure Zarkoff was involved in the disappearances. Each of the
individuals had a personal robot, but since most of the population
did: it was not much of a clue. The houses they had been taken from
showed no signs of trouble and in fact in normal circumstances
nobody would have missed them but they were due to speak at the
annual Communsecure conference and neither one showed up. We
aliens are the sole owners of this company that specializes in
developing security systems for medium and large companies. I
think that Zarkoff had kidnapped the men at this time purposely to
let us know that he knew about our company: that it was really a
meeting of the Federation of Aliens.
     One of the speakers was Dr. Rainford a specialist in robotology.
He was to present his findings on the possible transformation of the
Multiplixo robots by the downloading of software. He and his
papers went missing. He had three robots in the house as well as
several close circuit TVs. He lived alone as did the two others who
someone had kidnapped. Frank Mundy who headed the alien
investigation, found no evidence of a struggle. It was as if Dr.
Rainford had invited who ever kidnapped him into his house.
     Frank and his team scanned for any other DNA using an
electronic atomic scanner invented by one of our brilliant research
scientist, Daniel Rannovich three years ago. The work he did was in
                                   14


a lab owned by our front company, Communsecure where we
carried out most of our research. All the police forces now use his
scanner by around the world. Our technicians calibrated the scanner
particularly to detect alien DNA. They imputed all the known DNA
of the visiting guests into the scanner and that left only one
unknown sample found at the house. The team carried out the same
tests at the site of the other disappearances; the team detected the
same unknown DNA in both houses. If we could find a match to the
DNA then we could find out who did it.
     That last January we headed up to Northumberland to Peggy's
brother and sister-in-law, David and Helen and their-now-grown
sons Matthew and Joe who had come especially to see their aunt
Peggy. The trip up was on mostly empty roads as petroleum was
now on ration – five hundred litres per household per year. Of
course, there were dozens of exceptions and not surprisingly, the
rich carried on as usual by paying the fines – fines that the ordinary
workingman could rarely afford. The good news was that cars
efficiency had improved so that the Cloud Burst, the Chinese built
car we were driving could travel a hundred and twenty miles per
gallon. Each year though the UK government made the car industry
increase the efficiency for their new cars, the North Sea oil
production had dropped by sixth percent. Fuel shortages were an
everyday experience.
     The manufactures of the Chinese car we were driving had been
electronically tagged it. Transportation authority monitored each
trip we took. At this point, the driver of a car need not justify their
journeys but we all knew it would happen in a matter of time. Bio-
fuel was just taking hold and twenty percent of the cars used it.
     As I drove north with Peggy and Nathan, it reminded me of the
first trip up - it had been snowing then as it was snowing now. I still
could remember when she had met me at the hotel and had invited
me to her brother's home. I had known then that she wanted to be
my partner, my wife though we did not discuss it. Amazingly, I had
no idea she was an alien though she knew from the start that I was.
Her community had warned her not to disclose the fact since, they
had not known much about my community, and had been afraid that
                                  15


I might reveal their existence and location. The greatest fear of the
alien community is that the people on Earth would find we were
living along side them.
     It was snowing as we drove up north and I still found it magical
but not so much for Nathan and Peggy who had lived with it all
their lives. We did not have snow on Trothal and the first time I saw
it falling was when I went up to see Peggy for the first time. Having
said that though, because of the warming atmosphere, now we never
see it falling further south than the Lake District.
     As we went along, I was forced to listen to Dolly Parton's
twanging voice singing 'Letter to Heaven'. Peggy, I am embarrassed
to say, likes country and western music. She selects the music she
wants from the car’s multimedia that has millions of musical
selection, video films and plays downloaded from the Internet. I
now listen to classical music since I discovered that it reduces my
pulse rate and lowers my blood pressure. Music to me is still a
strange experience and there was no such thing on the planet Trothal
though I cannot say why. I asked Peggy why she likes country
western music, and she simple tells you there is no logic to what one
likes or dislikes when it comes to music. I do not ask anymore. I just
accept that Peggy likes country and western music.
     We have driven up to David and Helen's farm for the last ten
years and now I know that David is not only a farmer but is a known
communications expert by the alien communities as well as having
a professional standing on Earth. As far as the people on Earth are
concerned, he is a systems computer consultant specializing in
debugging new systems. He has worked for both for the UK
government as well as UK and US industries. The work he does for
the alien community is, like most of us, for nothing. The exception
of course is all those working for Communsecure who not only use
the company to make money but also who are, in some cases,
working fulltime in the community.
     Every time I drive up to the stone farmhouse, I feel the
happiness of knowing that I am now a part of an extended family.
The community there has accepted me as one of their own. It is a
small size community, besides Helen and David’s family, there are
                                  16


thirty families scattered about Hexham most appearing as simple
farmers. Even the young remain in the community knowing that it is
easier to find a partner there than anywhere else since it would be
dangerous to marry a human for many reasons.
     Nathan was excited about seeing Joe and Mathew his older
cousins. They always try to play some physical game with him since
they know he enjoys it so much. Nathan now is unbeatable when it
comes to running, throwing or lifting heavy objects but the boys
enjoy the challenge and they are proud of their cousin for what he
can do. Not all their influence is good though.
     Two years ago, when he was ten, they had convinced him that
he could be a super hero by using his extraordinary power and
strength. After all, they had argued, the hero superman came form
another planet just like his parents. They even bought him a
superman outfit. He had played on the common wearing the outfit
jumping from trees and running to save imaginary victims. Then
one day he heard a scream from a young girl. In no time, he came to
the rescue to find that a drug addict threatening her with a knife.
The addict had thought that Nathan would be easy to stop but before
he could even turn on him, Nathan had thrown him to the ground.
The police later told us that addict thought the drugs had started to
make him hallucinate and he had simply ran away from his victim.
The girl at this time had fainted so luckily no one saw Nathan doing
his superman feats. We asked him to give us the superman outfit
and he mostly has kept out of trouble since. However, with Matthew
and Joe he could move as fast as he wanted to.
     When we were about twenty minutes from the house our
multimedia news light with flashing red indicating that a major
news story had just broken. Seeing an excellent excuse for turning
off Dolly Parton, I pointed to the flashing red light.
     “Don't you think we should see what the news is?” I said
innocently.
     She gave me a knowing smile. “Since when did you develop the
need to listen to news flashes?”
     I shrugged my shoulders and she switched on the news. “It’s
probably nothing. I think the flashing should only indicate a national
                                  17


disaster. In this case, the news was quite shocking as it threatened
the peace of the whole world.
     China’s ambassador to the US, Lin Wang, was found murdered
and the Chinese government was accusing the CIA. We were
listening to a live interview.
     “Is it certain that the Chinese Ambassador was murdered?”
asked the BBC correspondent.
     “Apparently yes, at least this is the official word given out by
the Chinese Embassy. Embassy officials found his body after
forcing opening his fifth floor Washington office on Connecticut
Road early this afternoon. Even though his secretary was outside his
office and no one else was in it, the Embassy still claims he was
murdered. The CIA asked to check the crime scene but the Embassy
has denied them access leaving the US government at a loss as to
why the Chinese think they are to blame.”
     “Could this be connected to the recent attempt on the life of the
US ambassador to China.”
     “This is no doubt about the source of the Chinese suspicion but
we do not have enough information at this time. Even adding to this
mystery is that the windows to his office are bullet proof and intact
allowing only one way out of the office. Chinese security police
broke down the door after the ambassador did not respond to a
request to open it.”
     We rushed to David and Helen's farm fearful of what might
happen. When we got there, Helen greeted us. She was not her usual
smiling self though she did her best to greet us warmly. She hugged
and kissed each one of us with no sign of David anywhere. She
spoke with a controlled voice trying not to show her obvious panic.
“David says that you should drive the car around to his office which
also is a strong concrete building, and if the worst happens will be
safe there.”
     “Is this something to do with the murder of the Chinese
Ambassador? Surely there would not attack because of that.” I said
doubting every word.
     “You probably haven't heard the latest news. China has
activated their nuclear warheads and they are aiming them at the
                                   18


USA and the UK. In response, both countries went on a red alert
and they are aiming their nuclear warheads at China.
    I pulled the car next to the concrete building and we all quickly
unloaded. David briefly greeted us and then excused himself to
check on the information pouring in his several computers. I had
never thought that such a thing could ever happen. There had not
been a world war since the Second World War had ended in 1946
over seventy years ago. As we entered the room, David still did not
greet us; he was intently watching his computers and entering data.
    “What’s happening David? What news are you getting?”
    “I apologize for not greeting you properly but time may be
short.”
    He briefly got up and hugged each one of us. “I am checking all
our communities around the world and asking them to make sure
the people in their communities are heading for a safe place. The
situation, as you now know, is extremely dangerous. The amounts
of nuclear weapons that the three governments have activated are
enough to damage the whole ecosystem of the Earth if they released
them. It is total insanity.”
    He continued while still entering names into his computer:
     “What I am doing is entering the names of those in this
community who are not here sending them directions to the nearest
alien shelter. As you may know all our shelters have an powerful
alloy structural base that could withstand a nuclear blast if it was
more than a mile away.”
    I felt a complete idiot since I had no idea there were shelters for
aliens. “I had no idea about these shelters,” I said knowing that I
would regret it.
    “Mark, all of us have been given information on the
construction and deployment of these shelters. It comes with the
Communsecure news that, as you well know, you can properly
interpret by using the monthly codes they send over the Internet.
    I looked at Peggy and she only shook her head. “I did tell you
about this Mark but you were too much into your dolphin research
project at the time to take any notice.”
                                  19


    I was stunned into silence and resolved never to ignore
problems outside my research no matter how involved I am. It
reminded me of a famous eighteenth century French scientist I had
read about, Lavoisier, who was so intent on his research that he paid
no attention to the revolution that was devouring his country,
France: his disinterest caused him to lose his head; his enemies
guillotined him. Hoping to redeem myself, I offered to help.
    “Is there anyway that we can help?”
    “Not yet, perhaps later. You may have to help me locate
someone in our community. Her name is Elizabeth Reeves.”
    “Elizabeth! How long has she been missing?” Peggy's anxiety
was evident.
    David calmly replied, “She had five house calls to make today
according to her husband. He's now trying to track her down by
calling each one.”
    “Isn't Elizabeth the first friend of yours I met when I first came
to Hexham? She saved me from Zarkoff's henchmen. Is she a
doctor?” I asked David.
    “No, Mark, she is a midwife and most of the time she is making
house visits. Well Elizabeth is the last one who has not been
located. I'll wait here until I have received a call from John, her
husband to find out if she has been located.”
    Helen attempted to break the tension: “Ladies and gentlemen we
might as well share a glass of wine before we have the sandwiches I
made. I didn’t cook a full meal since I was not sure when you would
arrive.”
    Helen passed filled glasses of wine to everyone and then we
stood looking at each other not knowing what to say. I then
volunteered a toast.
    “To peace in our world.” We then solemnly drank our wine. No
one had much to say and when David's mobile rang, we nearly
dropped our glasses.
    It was John calling in the bad news. Elizabeth was last seen one
hour ago by one of her patients. She did not show up to her next
appointment. Nobody knew where she was. I then though of the
                                 20


recent disappearances and prayed that Peggy's friend was not one of
Zarkoff's latest victims.
                               21




                               Chapter 2

                             Rogue Robot

      “John I'm going to call a few numbers and then I'll be
coming over to your house. We’ll search every road nearby until
we find her.”
      He hung up the phone and turned to us. “I think you all have
heard that Elizabeth is missing. No one has seen her for one hour.
There's a lot of things that could have happened: car sliding off
the road, breaking down or she had an emergency call and went
somewhere else. She wasn't due back for a few hours anyway so
she may not even know that she's being missed.”
      Peggy asked the obvious question. “Why hasn't she been
called on her mobile?”
      “John says she often leaves it off and many times leaves the
batteries run down,” David said. “That's why he's not worried yet
but I feel something is wrong. We have a snowstorm coming that
the Met office predicts will deposit four inches of snow here. We
had better find her before that happens. I'm going to call
Bartholomew since he’s the head of the Northumberland
community and tell him the situation. I then suggest that Mark
comes with Nathan and Helen in his car and I'll go in my car.
Peggy, I'm going to ask you to stay here and relay any calls we
receive to our mobiles.”
    “How far away does John and Elizabeth live,” I asked. Helen
answered.
    “They live about five miles away on a farm near the village of
Juniper. The roads are narrow and naturally dark in the winter
evenings and people often slide off them.”
    No one had mentioned what I was thinking. I just prayed that
she would not be another disappearance. I no longer trusted my
judgement since I knew that I was paranoid about Zarkoff and for
                                 22


all we knew he might be dead. Somehow, I knew he was alive and
that it was only a matter of time before he would strike.
     David had finished his call to Bartholomew. “Bring all your
torches along, the larger the better. Also, Helen, I want you, Mark
and Nathan to take the back way to Elizabeth's house since she
might be stuck somewhere there. I'm taking the main road to their
house so I can help organize the search party from there.”
     We then went and left the safety of our concrete building and
headed into the cold dark, snowy night. I followed Helen's
instructions as we turned down one dark road after another.
Nathan looked out of the window, as did Helen when she was not
busy giving me direction but the snow was now falling so heavily
that we could have driven right by Elizabeth and her car.
     As we were driving, I suddenly thought I had seen two figures
walking not far from the road. I carefully brought the car to a halt.
     “Why did you stop, Mark? Did you see something?” asked
Helen.
     “Yes, I saw, or thought I saw, two men walking not far from
the road.”
     “I'll go back and look, Dad,” said Nathan.
     “No, I'll go with you” Helen looked at me wondering what the
problem was.
     “What do you think is out there Mark?” I did not want to tell
her what I was thinking; that Zarkoff had somehow sent some
men up here. If I said anything, she would think I was mad.
     “I don't know so just to be safe I'm going with Mark.” The
snow was thicker than ever and after walking one hundred metres
all I could see were two posts on either side of the entrance to a
farmer's field. These were what I probably saw.
     I turned to Nathan, “I guess I must have been mistaken.” He
nodded and we went back to the car.
     When I got back into the car, I apologized to Helen. “It was
nothing. I must have mistaken the two posts back there for men.”
     We then continued driving though the snow was falling so
thickly that I feared we would never be able to find Elizabeth. We
finally arrived at her house hoping for some good news. There
                                 23


were several cars in front of the house; that meant that we would
have plenty of help. Some men were gathered around a table
looking at a map that I assumed was of the local area. I recognized
Bartholomew among them. David seemed to be the one in charge
at that point. He was breaking up the surrounding areas to carry
out a systematic search.
    David looked up when he saw us walk in. “No sign of her,
Mark,” he asked knowing the answer. I saw her husband John
looked at us hopefully,
    “No, we couldn't see much because of the heavy snow.”
       David got up. “OK, everyone I've divided the roads
surrounding Elizabeth and John's house in a radius of five miles.
We will work our way outwards covering every local road. As
Mark pointed out, the snow may be falling so thickly that looking
from our cars may be impractical. Even our infrared vision may
not be able to penetrate the snow. We all have to decided how to
cover the roads I have assigned you. You all have my home
number. Peggy will be there to take any messages. Call her first
and relay any information to her. I'll call her every ten minutes. If
there are no more questions, then I wish us all success.”
    David assigned Nathan, Helen and I the road that we had just
driven down and any small roads branching from it. We decided
that Helen would drive since she knew the road better than Nathan
or I. The snow now was thick and blowing into drifts. Time was
running out. We tried to look from the car but after five minutes,
we realized that we would have to get out and walk. Nathan and I
would have to walk along either side of the road in front of the
car, a cold and slow process.
    It took us an hour to cover the distance of our road. We then
decided to drive back and check all the roads leading to the many
farms off the road. We discovered it was easier to walk with
torches along these narrow roads then try to drive my car down
them. It would be too easy to get stuck and impossible to turn
around. After and hour there was no sign of Elizabeth so we
decided to give Peggy a call hoping for some good news.
    “Peggy have they found Elizabeth yet?” I asked.
                                 24


    “No, Mark, no news yet, can you see anything out there? The
visibility is terrible here.”
    “It's terrible here too and the visibility is getting worse. Maybe
she has found some shelter somewhere. We can only hope. Call us
if you find out anything Peggy.”
    Just then, my mobile rang. It was David. “Mark, John just
received a phone call from a Mr. Donaldson. He was calling to
say that he and his wife could not make it home for Elizabeth's
appointment with his wife who is expecting. John thinks that's
where she was headed so ask Helen to show you the way there
and call us back when you arrive at the Donaldson's farm house.”
    “OK, David we're on our way.” Helen drove back towards the
house and then took a turn down a narrow road leading to a farm.
Nathan and I got out of the car each of us with a torch shining on
either side of the road. We did this for about ten minutes when
suddenly I thought I saw a torch shine back at me: it was a
reflection from the mirror. As a scanned the torch around it I
discovered it was a car. I signal to Helen to stop the car and come
with me.
    “Is that her car?” I asked. Even in the darkness of the night, I
could tell she was distressed.
    “Yes, it is. But where is she?” The car was empty but
something had smashed the right rear window. That puzzled me
since there was nothing nearby that could have broken it. Further,
there was blood on the driver's seat.
    “I'll call David and then we’ll head towards the farm. Maybe
she went there.”
    I called out David's name and the mobile dialled his number.
    “David, this is Mark. We found Elizabeth’s car near the
Donaldson's farm. There's no sign of her here. We are heading
towards the farmhouse now. I'm hoping that she found some
shelter there.”
    “OK David, I'll tell everyone and will be there as quickly as
possible.”
    “Helen we'll head for the house. Just let me get something
from the boot. I opened the boot, took out a laser gun and set it to
                                 25


maximum. I did not want anyone to see it so I put it in my coat
pocket.
    “OK Helen you carry on driving and I'll walk in front of the
car.” We walked carefully along looking on either side of the
road. Finally, we got to the farm – all the lights in the house were
out. There was one light up on a telephone pole that lit the
farmyard. No one was there. There was not even the sound of a
dog.
    I felt again for my laser. Suddenly I saw a robot crashing out
of the barn and headed our way, a beam of light radiating out from
his eyes. I pulled out my laser as the robot vanished in space.
Nathan stared at me.
    “Dad, what did you see?” Then I realized it was just a
premonition. The last time that happened was ten years ago when
I foresaw Zarkoff escaping.
    “Get back Nathan, there is a rogue robot in the barn.” He
quickly disappeared behind me and seconds, later the robot burst
from the barn and headed our way a deadly beam of light flashing
from its eyes. The beam, no doubt, was a laser beam but it was
impossible to tell its range or its power. I aimed by laser gun at its
eyes hoping to knock out the electronics for sight. It did not have
much an affect it just kept coming at me. Then there was a terrific
crash as something decapitated the robot's head causing it to roll
to where I was standing. When I looked up at the headless robot, I
was shocked but I then knew what had happened.
    Nathan was standing behind the robot with a large two by four
that now was broken in half.
    “Well done Nathan. How did you get behind the robot so
quickly?”
    “When you started shooting the laser beam at the robot it
couldn't see me moving behind it. Once I got be hind him I gave
him a good whack with the board. It was like playing cricket
except using his head instead of a cricket ball.
    After recovering from the shock of the attack, we both ran
towards the barn. There was no sound coming from it so I shouted
Elizabeth's name. Just in front of the barn, we stopped short.
                                 26


Lying covered in blood was their black Labrador. We looked at
each other.
     “Elizabeth, this is Mark, Peggy's husband. Are you in here.”
Still there was no sound. I gripped my laser gun tightly and
checked to see if it was still on high charge.
     I called again this time trying to think of something only she
and I would know.
     “ It really is Mark, remember you kissed me on the station
platform.” After I said that I realized that Nathan was there with
me and later I would have to explain what had happened.
     “Mark, I'm here. Is the robot gone?”
     “Yes, it is. My son disabled it.” She emerged from her hiding
place, ran to me and gave me a hug. Nathan looked at us oddly
and understandably so. I then called David.
     “We got her and she is fine. We're in the Donaldson's barn.”
     On the drive back, Elizabeth could hardly speak due to the
shock of the attack and the cold. We went back to Elizabeth's
house where she told us what had happened.
     “I was on my way to my last appointment for the evening to
see Mrs. Donaldson who's expecting in two month's time. As I
turned down the road, I saw the robot standing in the middle of it.
It caused me to swerve off the road. Then it smashed in by back
window trying, I think, to get in the car. It was coming around the
front of the car via the passenger side. Before it could do that, I
shot out of the car and started running towards the Donaldson's
house. I heard it coming my way. Luckily for me, it was not one
of the sport models so I still could easily outrun it.
     I was shocked to find that the house was empty and the lights
off. I could here the humming of the robot as it came closer. I had
to find a place to hide so I headed for the barn and ran up into the
loft. The robot at first did not come in, but later found its way into
the barn and shuffled around on the floor and attempted to climb
the ladder to the loft but couldn’t. I didn’t move and so it
remained there waiting for me. Unlike an animal, I knew it could
stay there forever and the temperature was dropping all the time.”
She shivered as she continued relating the story.
                                27


     “It then shouted out my name sounding exactly like my
husband so I knew it was our robot but had no idea why it was
acting so peculiarly. It trapped me in the barn for over an hour
before I heard you call Mark. I thought my robot was trying to
imitate you, though it was stupid to think so since I would have no
idea how it could ever have heard your voice before.” Poor
Elizabeth was exhausted after her ordeal and she excused herself
to go to bed.
     During all of the excitement, we had forgotten about the
nuclear threat from China. Bartholomew was the first to remind
us. “We had all better get back to our shelter.” He turned to
David.
      “Of course your lab is as safe a place as our shelter so you
can go back there with Mark, Mathew and Helen. We'll have to
discuss this robot incident later. In the meantime I think we should
all shut our robots off just in case there's another malfunction.”
     “Malfunction,” I spluttered. Then of course I thought better
than to bring up once again the Zarkoff conspiracy theory so I said
nothing more, much to the relief of those around me.
     When we got back, Peggy had the good news that the UK and
US had called off the red alert and China had retracted its
statement accusing the CIA of killing the Chinese ambassador.
They had given no reason other than saying that new evidence
pointed to another source. I really wished I knew what the new
evidence had been.
     By the end of the night, we were emotionally and physically
exhausted and I had neglected to clear up any misconceptions
about my relationship with Elizabeth. The Quaint way Nathan
looked at me just before Peggy and I went to bed reminded me.
We Trothians considered any hint of infidelity in a marriage a
serious matter so I thought, as a father, I had to say something but
not until tomorrow.
       The next morning, New Year's-eve day, we had time to
consider what had happened that night. David had brought the
robot back and intended to study ever detail of its mechanism,
hard ware, software and general mechanical features. He had three
                                28


cables running from the robot's CPU that was located in its chest
to three different computers. As he was checking some of its
electronic circuits, I ask him a question that was puzzling me.
    “David, why was their robot armed with a laser?”
    “This is one of the options on a domestic robot. One of their
functions is to protect the house they are in and though the laser's
powers is relatively low it still can be painful to be shot by one.
One of the first things I am going to do is to check what type of
laser Multiplixo installed in this robot.”
    He pulled out the laser and examined it. “It says on this laser
that it is 2000 Watts. That normally would not be powerful
enough to kill a human.”
    “Is the rating accurate?” I said as indifferently as possible.
     David smiled. “Well Mark if Zarkoff is trying to fool us he
probable would put the wrong rating on the laser. I have a power
source that can go up to 10,000 Watts. Let's see if the rating is
correct.”
    He increased the power across the laser until a clear sharp
beam was emitting from it.
    “Mark it looks like you're right. The power it is using now is
2020 Watts. There is a discrepancy of 20 Watts though it is hardly
worth noting so no mystery there.” I was undaunted by his jibe
so I asked another question.
“Why do you think the robot attacked Elizabeth? I mean, what’s
your theory?”
    “At this point of my analysis I don't think the robot attacked
Elizabeth. My first notion is that a problem had developed in the
robots CPU causing it to act erratically.”
    Slowly my frustration began to build. Why would no one
consider that the Zarkoff or one of his accomplices could control
the robots?
    “My first test will be to download all the robot’s software
programs and see what's there. Then one by one I'll load them
back. It should keep me busy for weeks.”
                                29


    “Why don't you think it might be a hardware problem?” I
really did not know the answer to my question. When it came to
computers and robots, I was very much an amateur.
    “The first reason is that there has been no recent change in its
physical circuits for over a year. Though there could have been a
circuit that had been overloaded, but any evidence of that was
probably destroyed with the two-by-four that knock his head off.”
    “I would’ve done exactly what Nathan did if I could. In fact I
was trying to stop it with my laser gun.” I was resisting any
disparagement of my son's action.
    David then stopped studying the robot and looked at me.
    “Mark, I may have done the same thing as you did last night.
How do you know the robot was purposely trying to attack you?
How do you know it just wasn't a malfunction?”
    “You’re right Dave, I have no proof. I believe though there is
a lot of circumstantial evidence. Have you ever wondered how the
largest company in the world, Multiplixo, started in Madrid with
no history whatsoever of any expertise in the area? It's as if they
were injected with advanced technology.” I continued.
    “The Zarkoff connection fits well with this theory. We know
that he has had plastic surgery and has, no doubt, a new identity.
We know also that he had and still has friends in authority in
Spain as demonstrated by his escape via a police helicopter.”
    “These are two good points, but ... I cut David off.
    “Let me finish and then you can ask your questions. There are
analogies with this argument and that given for GM food
production. Before 2010 there had been little evidence that genetic
material would have spread and create a super weed. Well the US
is now a believer since what we commonly call the wheat
exterminator weed has infected one-half of the wheat in the US in
2010. When the US government finally had recognized the danger
it was too late to stop the colossal damage.”

    David once again wanted to interrupt but was now more
reluctant to do so.
                                30


     “The argument against GM food was not saying that it was
dangerous; it was stating that the damage it could cause could be
unstoppable.” David stopped trying to interrupt and began
listening intently.
     “Let's look at the potential problem with the domestic robots.
There are an estimated 100 million of the robots around the world
a number greater than any army in existence. Multiplixo have the
capability of controlling them. If some way they could somehow
change the robots into lethal weapons then the whole world could
be in greater danger than the nuclear weapons could ever pose.
For if they could give a command that caused the 100 million
robots to explode or fire simultaneously then more would die in
that moment than in all the wars in the twentieth century. Not
only that, think of who these robots have access too, presidents,
dictators, army generals, police commanders – in other words they
could kill nearly everyone except the very poor who can't afford
them. Not only that, they are employed in prisons, nuclear power
stations and in oil refineries. The damage they could do would be
instant and unprecedented.” I know had David's full attention.
      “I am only worried David about the possibility of the robots
being weapons for Zarkoff. There are over a hundred million of
the robots on Earth. If what I say is true, then he has an army in
place that could take over the planet Earth.”
     As if cued to reinforce my argument, the robot suddenly lifted
its arm. David and I both gaped in amazement. He was the first
to recovery and his looked indicated the seriousness of the threat.
     “First, I had better explain the moving arm. As the
programmes for a robot's movements download, they often move.
It's as if by activating a programme a movement can be caused.”
David then stopped speaking and looked ahead as if I was not
there.
     “It can be done. Of course Mark, you have a good point.
Anyone could control the robots at a distance by downloading
new programmes into the CPUs. To my shame and as an expert in
communications and computers I should have thought of that
before. The Multiplixo have up dated software that one can
                                31


download on a regular basis. In fact, as I remember, they
recommend that this happen at least once a week.
     “This means, of course, that we open the CPUs of our robots
to Multiplixo on a weekly basis. This could give them a potential
to download any programme they wanted. Right now, there may
be programmes in our robots that tell them to harm or even kill
their owners. I'm going to write a paper on this Mark, and will
present it at the next Communsecure meeting which is in two
weeks time, but first I must examine every programme in detail.”
    The next day while we were getting ready to go back to
Brighton, David and I had another talk. We were alone in his
communication centre the robot in pieces behind him.
    “I did not sleep very well last night, Mark. A lot what you said
makes sense. Using your hypothesis that these robots can be
controlled, I thought about the murder of the Chinese Ambassador
to the States. It gives an idea of how a man could be killed when
he is by himself in a secure room - windows bullet proof and
sealed, guards outside and a secretary who swears he had no
visitors. It also could explain how something disabled the close -
circuit -TVs in the room. The robots could have accomplished it.”
    “Certainly the Chinese would have discovered something, a
change of position of robots, fibres from the broken TV cameras.
“I asked now questioning my own hypothesis.
    “That's if they were looking at the robots. They, like me,
would think that they were unlikely suspects.”
    “How would robots kill people?” Do we know what killed the
ambassador?”
    David thought a moment before replying. “For now, as far as I
know, the Chinese are quiet about what killed him. As for how
robots could kill a person, I imagine they could use as many
methods as a human, including poising. It would be good to have
the missing footage which would have showed the killing of the
Ambassador.”
    “I imagine the cameras where destroyed before the
Ambassador was killed. Again the last footage might have given
us a clue as to how it happened,” I offered.
                               32


    “More than likely the robots beat him to death. They couldn't
have brought weapons from the outside, their security people
found no weapon. I have no idea, Mark. We have to be careful
with our robots. I am going to suggest taking out their power
source at night so they cannot be activated.” The power source
was a lightweight-powerful-rechargeable battery.
                                 33


                             Chapter 3

                           The Accident

    It was a cold grey day when we left Northumberland with
further snow threatening in the north and light rain in the south, all
and all not a good day to drive any distance. We put our suitcases
in the boot and then said our good byes. Nathan had a good time
with his two cousins who competed with him in various athletic
events knowing that he would trounce them every time.
    “We are going to ask for big handicaps next time we compete
with you Nathan.” Joe grinned his eyes sparkling with mirth. It
was evident that he did not mind losing.
    Matthew added, “Yeah Nathan, and next time we throw the
shot we're going to use the seven kg shot and you're going to use a
ten kg shot.” Nathan just smiled. He knew they did not mind
losing and he appreciated getting the opportunity to show off his
remarkable prowess.
    “You better be off,” said David, and came over and hugged us
goodbye as did Helen.
    “Don't forget Mark to turn off your robots at night.” The
flurries were now turning into a proper snowstorm and I steeled
myself for the long ride home. A unique Chinese defrosting
element that was an integral part its windscreen glass solved the
usual problem with it frosting over. They embedded microscopic
wires in the windscreen that neither impeded the motion of the
windscreen wiper nor impaired the driver's vision. There was no
technology for stopping a car from sliding off the road and that
was a growing possibility the longer we stayed.
    In a short time, we found ourselves on the M1 motorway
heading south to our home in Brighton; the snow was letting up
and the roads, though wet, were clear. On the radio the presenter
was going over the top ten headlines of the year; some of which
we discussed on our way back. He first read them out and then he
asked listeners to call in if they had any thoughts on lasts year's
headlines. It was a New Year's Day special and the presenter
                                34


sounded as if he had a cold no doubt induced by the previous
night's celebrations.
    One of top headlines of the year concerned the mercurial rise
of Multiplixo Robots. The presenter was plodding through a
written article that stated that it had a worldwide income equal to
the fifth biggest economy in the world, Germany. It compared its
achievement to that of Ford in that they brought domestic robots
into the home of the ordinary man just as Ford enable ordinary
people to own cars. I wondered what the author of the article
meant by ordinary. Ordinary to the writer of the article must had
referred to middle class professionals since an unskilled manual
labourer earned the minimum wage of fifteen Euros and could not
possibly afford one since they cost Ten thousand Euros or a half a
year’s salary.
    The article called its ascent a tremendous achievement that
made it the richest company on Earth, but as some political
analyst had stated, it also was the most influential world wide
including China and America. They had a virtual monopoly on
manufacturing of robots. Further, they had developed the best
combat robots that rebels were now using to over through the
Angola government. All countries had the combat robots
accompanying their armies and navies. Their robots most
successful achievement was cutting down by ninety percent
suicide bombers since they could detect and stop them without
risk to human life. In addition, if they could successfully surround
a bomber, they could act as a shield to buffer the blast of their
bombs. Everybody had only praise for this marvellous company. I
had to say something and the only ones who could hear my
complaints were Peggy and Nathan. The robots value as a military
weapon made the company's security a prime importance to all
who used them. Therefore, even if David had absolute evidence
that the robots could be dangerous he would have to challenge the
world most powerful governments. We will once again have to
work in secret, but this time, if Zarkoff is behind the company, we
have an impossible task.”
                                 35


    Peggy held my hand as she replied, “I had a talk with David
and he told me he now thinks what you said makes sense and he is
very concerned about it too. So, what I'm trying to say is that I'm
sorry I did not take you more seriously.”
    Though that did not take away the problem, it made me fell a
lot better. Thanks Peggy, it's a help to know you understand my
frustrations.”
    The New York Times wrote the most worrying headline. It
read, ‘Spaceship detected by NASA Mar's probe’. We all were
sure that they had detected our mother ship. This prompted
Nathan to ask me to tell him once again my journey with, Tanya,
Frank Mundy and the Captain, Phil Grulaff, to our mother ship.
    It must have been the fifth time I told this story. I did not mind
though and neither did Peggy for neither of them had gone into
space before. I also enjoyed telling the story, as it was an exciting
and dangerous and my last trip into space.
    I emphasis the things that Matthew wanted to hear: how
Tanya killed a guard; how we had slipped up to the upper deck of
the mother ship only to be surprised from behind; how we had
escaped having been tied down, and how we had managed to
make our way back to Earth and hide the shuttle by diving down
over sixty-five metres into the icy depths of Windermere.
    Peggy lately started asking questions that I did not want to
answer. They all centred on my relationship with Tanya. She
never asked me directly how I felt about Tanya but what I did
when something happened to her such as how did I comfort her
when, having amnesia, she had discovered that she was no longer
on Trothal but a planet two hundred light years away.
    I had never told Peggy that I allowed Tanya to believe that we
were lovers and that is why we had been together when she awoke
and how she insisted that we would sleep together and many other
embarrassing questions. In my heart, I did everything to avoid
Tanya going into irreversible shock. I was not sure Peggy would
believe that, as a man, I did not have a least some ulterior motive.
    Peggy was asking today how I managed to wake her when her
brain was in Alpha mode since it was general knowledge that it
                                 36


was a very dangerous thing to do. The way I done it was with a
passionate kiss since I knew it had worked before when she kissed
me.
     At this point, I was tired since we had been driving for over
four hours. Also I was worried about the threat that the Multiplixo
robots presented to our community. I turned to her and told her
directly, “I liked Tanya very much I.... had missed her when she
had been killed and now I don't want to talk about it!”
     What I had done was very unlike a Trothian and Peggy was
shocked with my response. She responded simply by saying,” It’s
all right Mark. I'm sorry. I won't ask anymore questions.” I saw
Nathan's puzzled expression in the rear view mirror and I knew
there was no way I could explain my feeling to him or Peggy.
     We stopped talking and for the first time in almost ten years, I
was recalling that awful night Zarkoff's men had killed Tanya on
the university's research vessel, The Sea Lion. We had a quarrel
just before it happened and she had moved out of my cabin. We
had not had a sexual relationship though and I knew she would
not have minded since to her it was more of a casual act. My
father and mother would have been shocked if they knew I had
casual sex and even though both have long since died I felt that
part of them lived in me. I remembered being frustrated by this
and wanting somehow to tell Tanya I cared for her but not as a
potential mate. When she had left our cabin, she had believed that
I was flirting with another woman- I was not.
     In all my reverie, I was not paying attention to my driving. We
were on the M1 just south of Nottingham; the traffic was heavy
and not helped by the fine mist that persistently made visibility
difficult. I only saw the two motorcycles when they were already
cutting in front of me. I had just enough time to apply the breaks
and prayed that the driver behind me would not ram my car.
Luckily, all that occurred was a screech of brakes and some
furious flashing of lights from the driver behind me.
     Not being satisfied with cutting in front of me the maniac
motorcycle drivers headed for an exit that was only one hundred
metres up at speeds of 50 miles per hour. They cut reckless in
                                 37


from of a pale blue Vauxhall Astra driven by a young mother and
her six-year-old child. She instinctively slammed on the brakes
causing a lorry to collide into the rear of her car. The lorry pushed
the car off the road and the turned it over.
     We were pulling into the left lane and as we were stopping
about 500 metres further down the road and before the car came to
a complete stop Nathan had jumped out and was running towards
the now burning car. He ran with his full power forgetting that he
was running by cars that had also stopped to help. My speed was
no match for his and besides I dare not run as fast as he was even
if I could. By the time I had arrived, it was too late. Nathan had
pulled off the car door and was gently removing the mother and
the child; both were unconscious. I was proud of Nathan but
frighten that someone would realize that Nathan had near super
powers.
     Just after he pulled off the car door, I had thought I had seen a
flash of light. Turning I saw a man taking photos of Nathan in
action. The camera was that of a professional and that meant more
than likely he would either send it to a newspaper or, worse yet,
he might be a reporter who would want the full story on Nathan. I
had to prevent that.
     Peggy quickly joined us having brought her medical bag that
had the usual things such as bandages and ointments but also a
few Trothian remedies that I hoped no one would see. With Peggy
directing, we put both mother and child in the recovery position.
When she saw that both were breathing well she then looked for
the sign of shock- Trothians also can experience shock when they
are injured.
     Most humans are not aware of the dangers of shock. Shock
can cause failure to the cardiovascular system causing restriction
of blood to the vital organs, the heart, lungs and brain, which
could result in death. The child, who she examined first, seemed
to be breathing easily and her pulse rate appeared normal. Her
mother though was showing signs of serve shock, an extremely
fast pulse rate with rapid shallow breathing. Her skin was moist
and cold and her lips were blue.
                                 38


    After checking for any broken bones, Peggy put a pillow that
Nathan had found in the back seat underneath the woman's head.
Fortunately, I saw some coats in the back seat and I put the one
that belonged to the woman over her and the other over the girl.
    Peggy was distressed about the woman's condition. She called
me over. Mark this woman will not survive unless I inject her with
something to sedate her. No one though must know that I am
doing it. You must keep everyone away.”
      That was all I needed a super hero son who had
demonstrated his strength in front of a photographer and a wife
who was about to inject the injury woman with an illegal drug. I
wanted to tell Peggy not to do it, but like Peggy, I could not watch
the woman die. I saw the man with the camera coming closer and
trying to talk to Nathan.
    “Nathan, come here and don't talk to the man. He's a reporter.”
I spoke in Trothian using ultrasonic frequencies so that the man
only saw Nathan headed my way. The man tried to come closer
and as he did, he had his camera still in his hand.
    I then responded angrily, “This is not for your entertainment.
Back away with that camera.” I hoped while I was confronting the
man Peggy was making the necessary injection.
    “I have every right to take pictures. There's no law against it.”
    “The woman may die. I suppose you would like to take a shot
of her dying breath!”
    What I said had the desired affect. He stayed where he was. I
kept everyone clear of the injured until I was sure that Peggy had
finished giving her the injection.
    In a short while, the police came followed by an ambulance.
By this time, both the girl and mother were fully conscious and
talking. We hoped we could get away as quickly as possible
without any problems but the policeman approached me and I
knew there was no hope of extraction myself without giving our
names and address.
    The policeman asked me if I saw the accident. I, at first, was
going to say no, but then that would have allowed the two
motorcyclists to escape without punishment. I was sure they had
                                39


no idea the harm they had caused but their careless driving had
nearly killed two people so I told the police what had happened
and then told him the two cyclist were probably still in the service
centre.
    He immediately called for some back up and took the sketchy
description I had given him of the two motorcyclists and passed it
on to the backup who he had directed to the service area. I then
glanced up and saw the photographer busy taking pictures again.
He was taking pictures of my wife and son and the broken car
door.
    We all had to give statements as to what we saw and what
happened. We were careful not to mention that Nathan had ripped
off a car door. The officers taking the information never asked for
a clarification of how the door broke: he assumed that the door
had fallen off during the crash. I was certain the man taking the
photos had a different theory.
    It was three hours before we continued our journey and we did
not arrive in Brighton until three in the morning. Peggy and I were
exhausted as we both took turns driving through the night. Nathan
had slept most of the way home after the accident no doubt
exhausted from his super heroic effort.
    When we usually go away our robots are set to reactivate
when there is any loud noise or vibrations, as one would create
when entering a house. I had an exaggerated fear that they were
waiting for us, ready to attack. Nathan on the other hand was
looking forward to rejoining with his robot that was in every way
a friend as he-it- was the only one that could compete with him
and have a chance of winning. I decided to be extra safe and I
took my laser from the boot and activated putting it on its highest
power.
    As I opened the door, I could hear the robots rapidly heading
our way as we had programmed them to. When we opened the
door, they stood there their glowing green eyes greeting us with
expectation. Nathan shot passed his robot and it took chase as it
always did. Our domestic robot greeted Peggy especially and
invited her to see what she had done while we were away. Our
                                 40


robots did not look human and there could be no mistake when
looking at one that it was a robot. Ours both had metallic surfaces-
Nathan's was a shiny black and Peggy's was a silver grey colour.
Peggy's robot stood at about five feet tall with a slender somewhat
feminine shape with eyes that glowed with an iridescent green.
There were hundreds of choices of shape and size for domestic
robots. Multiplixo Robots could make a robot look like humans or
for that fact Trothians. The price for these special models was
high.
    Nathan's robot looks a bit like Hercules and had large
powerful looking muscles. There would be no doubt that his robot
could kill a man with one hit.
    They both went into the kitchen and my dedicated family left
me to take in the luggage. Robots did little to help me! In
England, I had read, that a man is the head of his house, his castle,
or was that in a previous century?
    Our house was a small but comfortable modern house built
less then fifty years ago. It had a very typical garden perhaps not
as neat and well tended as most of our neighbours but good
enough to pass us off as normal. Neither Peggy nor I had any
great interest in gardening. We had bought a house on a quiet
private road where the traffic was low and far from prying eyes. It
is a semidetached brick home with four small bedrooms. Peggy
and I have one of the largest bedrooms since there are two of us
and Nathan and his robot had the second largest. Downstairs there
was a newly redecorated modern kitchen. We had it built as an
extension to the house so it was large - thirty feet by ten feet wide,
again nothing out of the ordinary. We kept our MCD and
computers upstairs. We could only activate our files by the
computer scanning our index finger matching the print in its
memory and then using a personal password so human visitors
could not see information other than that normal on the Internet.
    Monday morning was back to work for Peggy and I, and
school for Nathan. The paper had arrived early and as I was
lethargically paging through it during breakfast, I felt my heart
stop; there on the fourth page was a picture of Nathan ripping off
                                41


a door of the car the title of the photo was, 'Super Hero Saves
Mother and Daughter'. What made it more shocking was that the
paper I was reading was not a tabloid. The photographer was one
of the best, Damian Matthews, who had his photos in the major
newspapers. What horrible luck, I thought. I called the family over
to show them the bad news.
    “Peggy, Nathan, I have something to show you both. Peggy
looked at the photo and was as appalled as I. “Oh no Mark, what
are we going to do? How are we going to convince everyone that
Nathan didn't actually rip off the car door?”
    Before I could reply, Nathan did.
     “Cool that!” He then looked at our horrified expressions.
“Sorry, but to be honest I always wanted to be a super hero.”
    “You realize how dangerous this is for we aliens. Not only
alien seekers but the government will be looking at this and
wanting to know if it is true,” said Peggy.
      “Yes, Mom. I'm really sorry but I couldn't let them die.” We
had no answer for that.
    Peggy continued speaking: “Nathan when you get to school
you must play this down and this may be very hard for you. If the
publicity does get too much, our community may ask you to live
somewhere else for awhile.”
    “What, live away form home! I won't.”
    I decided to add my voice to the argument. “Nathan, your
mother and I do not want you to live away from home but tell me
why you think we're concerned.” I felt he had to vocalize what
would happen if anyone proved that he was an alien.
    “Yes, I do realize that if people discovered that we were aliens
the government might lock us away. But I'll just say the door of
the car was loose anyway.”
     “We really are proud of you Nathan. Saving someone's life is
a wonderful thing. But please be careful at school today and don't
forget your CD's for physics and biology and French,” Peggy
assed supportively.
    “Yes, mother.” Nathan went to an excellent school that had
excellent facilities particularly in science and computing.
                                 42


Teachers were more managers of their subjects checking their
students’ progress through the different courses using computers
and once every two weeks each student had a subject review with
his teacher. Almost every classroom in his school had a full set of
computers. Nathan theoretically could learn at his own pace and
he nearly did, only occasionally slowing down as to deflect any
unnecessary attention.
    When Peggy dropped him off at the school's entrance the
press were waiting. Somehow, they tracked him down.
Fortunately, the school would not allow them to enter and he
slipped in before they could ask him any questions. Then, as
Peggy told me later, they rushed her car. She knew exactly what
to say.
    “How could he run so fast?” asked one reporter for the
Independent. The photographer, Damian Matthews, estimated he
was sprinting twice the speed of an Olympic sprinter!”
    “As I far as I know he is not a particular fast running. He tried
out for the sports team and didn't make it.” What Peggy said was
true and she had remembered how upset Nathan was when they
told him he should try out for several teams but perform poorly.
    “Where did he get the strength to tear a car door off?” asked a
small thin reporter with thick glasses who worked for the New
Planet.
    “The door's hinges must have had a hairline fracture. Nathan
said it simple fell off. I'm very proud of my son for saving the
mother and her daughter. He is my super hero. Now I must be off
for work.”
     Peggy worked as a doctor in a clinic in Brighton where she
specialized in geriatrics. One half of a percent of the population
was hundred or older and five percent were over eighty – both
aliens and humans used the clinic. I had to leave late for my
university that morning. The first class I had was at ten so I
decided to debrief Mireg who was now head of the London
community.
    When I spoke to him, he was not pleased. “Yes, I have read
the story in three different newspapers and have heard several
                                43


discussions about your Super Hero. I think this will die down as
far as ordinary people are concerned but as we know the
government will be watching him. They still have many
unanswered question since they discovered our ship in outer space
and your dramatic entry back from space ten years ago. Half of
them though believe it was a Russian vessel and the Russians have
hinted it was since it gives them a lot of prestige.”
    “Is there any news on Agent Blackburn?” Mark feared that he
would start stalking his family. He had already spent time in
prison for harassing a family he believed to be aliens, but that was
eight years ago. The family, it turned out, were not aliens.
    “We are trying to locate him now. Mark, I have to say if he
reads the paper he will be looking for Nathan and watching you
and Peggy. If you see him just report him to the police and they
will act I'm sure. He's a bitter and perhaps a dangerous man bent
on proving we exist.”
    “How about Zarkoff. There was a sigh at the other end of the
phone. Many of my friends said I had Zarkoff phobia and I do not
blame them since the last time we had seen him was over fifteen
years ago.
    Mireg answered me patiently: “No Mark, as you probably
know we don't know if he's alive. Your two problems now are the
press and Agent Blackburn. Let us know of any further
developments.”
    I arrived just in time to lecture my first-year students on the
reef ecosystem. Marine biology at Brighton was a well-sought-
after subject and the standards of entry very high. The students
were bright and keen to learn and teaching such students was a joy
to me. Many of them, like I, thought of the ocean as a vast
unexplored universe: immense in size and diversity and a source
of joy, a marvel.
      We mainly studied the ocean environments of the North Sea
and today I was introducing the chief assignment for the term,
writing a paper on one of the fauna of the Lophelia reefs that are
located in the North Sea north and west of the UK. My job was to
introduce them to the reef and environment and some references
                                 44


to help them with their studies. To motivate them I used colour
slides that the school had accumulated over years of exploration
of the reefs. There was one student, Maria Sanchez, in the class,
an attractive girl with long black hair and dark flashing eyes
whose ability to absorb information was incredible to such an
extent that I thought perhaps she was an alien herself. Her
complexion and features -pixie like- was much like Peggy's. I had
to see Professor Pennington today about my super hero son and I
made a mental note to ask him about her. As I was leaving class,
she approached me with the newspaper article in hand.
    “I'm curious professor, is this your son in the paper?”
    “Yes, it is.” I decided I would see what she wanted to know.
This was the first time she had ever asked me a question not
pertaining to marine biology.
    “He really didn't pull off a car door did he?” She looked at me
as if she knew it could be possible. If she were an alien then she
would know that it was just possible for the strongest of our
species. Before I could answer, a student came to me with an
urgent message from Professor Pennington.
    “Sorry Maria, I must go. I'll talk to you later.” Why I said that
I am not sure. I should have let the subject drop. There was
something familiar about her as if I knew her before. I headed
towards Professor Pennington office knowing that once again I
was causing concern for my people though this time it was not my
fault.
    I arrived at Pennington's office five minutes later feeling
slightly defensive though I knew there would be no recriminations
from the Professor. Sara, his secretary was as usual busy in front
of her computer. She was a quiet efficient woman with dark, short
hair no doubt dyed since she must have been in her fifties.
However, I have noticed that very few of the women on Earth
allowed their hair to turn a natural grey.
    “Hello Sara, I'm here to see Professor Pennington. He said he
wanted to see me urgently.”
    “He had forgotten you had an appointment with him anyway,
Mark. He'll be only five minutes. Please have a seat there are a
                                45


few newspapers about that you might want to read.” I sat down in
one of the four chairs outside of the professor's office.
    The secretary looked up and smiled. “You must be very proud
of your wife and son for saving the mother and her daughter in the
car accident. I read it in the papers and it said they would have
died if you had not come along.”
    “Yes, I really am proud of them.” Sara always looked at the
best side of things, though I still wished it never had happened, as
did most of the other aliens I am sure.
    A few minutes later Sara announced that he was ready to see
me. Just before I went in, I saw one of my less inspiring students
leaving the Professor's office. I hoped he would get him to start
working again. He had missed handing in his last three
assignments and this is why I had asked the Professor to talk to
him. I also knew that the Professor had a way of motivating
students, not by threats but by listening to them and patiently
encouraging them. I certainly did not have his patience since I
found it illogical why anyone would not want to learn a subject
that they decided to study.
    I came into his office and he stood up to greet me. Now that I
was a teacher in the university, he treated me as an equal, though I
knew I was not. His knowledge of Marine biology was
unchallenged in the world.
    “Sit down Mark, how are you, Peggy and Nathan.”
    “They're getting a lot of publicity, but otherwise fine.” His
easy smile made me feel less concerned.
     “I think this will die down quickly for most, but it has caused
a bit of concern for the community. I'm afraid the UK government
is now checking your records and those of Peggy and Nathan's.
We long since fixed yours so that the at least they are consistent
with known facts. As you are aware, you and your family must be
alert to anyone prying too closely into your lives. I suggest you
politely ignore any new salesmen who coming knocking at your
door or any special offers. If we're careful we should be able to
convince the UK government that your family is ordinary
enough.” His forehead then wrinkled in concern.
                              46


    “But there is an imminent problem that you must tend to
immediately and that is Agent Blackburn. He is now in Brighton
and no doubt will be watching you closely so please let your
family know immediately that he's in the vicinity. We feel he is
unstable and therefore dangerous.”
    As I left his office, I remembered I was going to ask him
about Maria Sanchez but I thought it was not important and could
wait. I was wrong on both accounts.
                                  47


                              Chapter 4

                            Aliens Robots

        The last thing that the Professor Pennington said shocked
me into action. That Agent Blackburn was in Brighton and
thought to be unstable and dangerous. He not only knew where we
lived but what we looked like. How was I to convince him to
leave us alone I had no idea. Developing a strategy had to wait. I
needed to warn both Nathan and Peggy that he was here, and I
suddenly realized that neither one knew what he looked like.
      I first tried to get in touch with Peggy at her geriatric surgery.
As a doctor, she dealt with people who were between eighty years
old or older. She had presently a human patient who was one
hundred and twenty years old! That age was comparable to one
hundred years old in the year 2000.
     When I first tried to contact her, her phone was not on so I had
to leave a message.
     “Peggy this is Mark. Please call me as soon as possible.
Agent Blackburn is in Brighton and they think he is unstable and
dangerous.”
     The last time I had seen him was in a cabin in the Lake
District near Lake Windermere where Tanya and I had to crash
land the shuttle as we were running out of oxygen. I then began
thinking of Tanya, the Trothian who was with me on a mission to
outer space, and how she had lost her memory and had though I
was her partner and then I remembered her untimely death after
we had been through so much.
     School rules forbade Nathan from using his mobile while in
class but I could call and contact him in between lesson or during
lunch hour – if he wanted to. I decided to send him an urgent text
message asking him to call me immediately. It was now easy to
text since most phones transcribed the users voice into text.
     I sat in my office and waited for Peggy or Nathan to call –
neither did until Peggy called just after 12 pm.
                                48


    “I've got your message Mark. Did you get a hold of Nathan
yet?”
    “I've sent him a text message but I have no reply yet. He's
probably still in class.”
    “He shouldn't be now. It's half day today and he told me he
was going to the high street to buy some pens and paper or
something like that.”
    “Then why hasn't he called me? I phoned him forty-five
minutes ago?” As I was speaking my office phone rang. “That
may be him now, Peggy. Hang on and I'll have a quick word with
him.”
    What I had received was a voice mail, the voice, high pitched
and quivering, was one I never wanted to hear again.
    “I've got your son. If you go to the police, he’ll be dead. Meet
on the beach in front of the pier at one o'clock. Come alone and
don't be late.” I was shocked at what I heard even though it was
completely consistent with Agent Blackburn's character.
    “Hello Peggy. I'm back and I've got some bad news. Agent
Blackburn has Mark and he wants me to meet him in front of the
pier on Brighton beach. He wants me to go alone.”
    “Oh, my God. I'm coming to see you now. We can't let him
hurt Nathan.”
    I calmed myself the best I could and started thinking of ways I
could save our son.
    Then I thought of the Professor. “I'm going to asks
Pennington advice immediately. In the mean time, use the
emergency frequency channel on the MCD to advise Mireg that
Agent Blackburn has kidnapped Nathan. He might be able to help.
    I ran to Pennington's office. Sara, his secretary, was shocked
to see me rush to his door.
    “Mark, he's in a very important meeting with the Governors.”
    “Sara, please tell him and no one else someone has kidnapped
my son and I need his help immediately.”
    “Yes, Mark. I'm sure nothing more important than your son's
safety.” Professor Pennington was surprised to see Sara enter the
room. It was his most important meeting of the year for the
                                 49


department – a review of the funding and the consideration for
future funding.
     Sara walked in and spoke with as much confidence as she
could. “Professor there someone to see you outside and I think
you will want to speak to him now; it really is an emergency.
Professor Pennington was irritated by Sara's interruption, but he
trusted Sara and new she was not one to be melodramatic.
     “Excuse gentlemen. I can't see what's more important than
what we are talking about now but I'll get back to you.”
     When he saw the expression on my face, he knew something
terrible had happened.
     “Agent Blackburn has kidnapped Nathan. He wants to see me
on Brighton beach at 1 pm in about twenty minutes.”
     “I'll stop the meeting now and get back to you in a few
minutes.”
     He went back into the room, “Gentlemen there's a serious
matter I have to deal with immediately. We don't want any
negative publicity for our school so I must act now before the
situation gets out of hand.”
     “Pennington, what is going on? As president of the school I
demand to know.”
     The Professor shot back,” And I demand that no one speaks of
this outside this room until it is dealt with by me!”
     “Of course Professor. We just need to know what is so urgent
that you have to deal with it now.”
     “One of my staff's son has been kidnapped. Now gentlemen if
we could adjourn this meeting until tomorrow at the same time I
am going to see what I can do to help.”
     “It's the job for the police,” insisted the president. Professor
was in no mood to argue the point.
     “Good day gentlemen, and once again I'm sorry for the
interruption.” The men left not convinced that the Professor
should deal with what was clearly the job for the police but the
Professor had a commanding way about him that stopped even the
president of the school from arguing the point any further. When
they had all left his office, he came out and got me.
                                 50


     “Mark, come in my office, please. Sara, tell anyone calling I
will get in touch with them tomorrow.”
    He went into his room and retrieved his MCD. “The London
community should know about this.”
    “Peggy should have called them my now. Mireg will probably
call here.”
    “Good thinking, we have little time, in fact you will lucky to
make it to the beach by one. Here take off your shirt and put this
under it.”
    “What is it?”
    “It's a bullet proof and knife resistant vest. I'm sure he wants
you for more than a chat.”
    “If he is meeting you in the open he must have Nathan hid
away somewhere.” The Professor's MCD began buzzing at a
frequency of 30 KHZ deafening for an alien but above the human
hearing range. It was Mireg.
     Professor Pennington told him the situation and that I was
going to meet Agent Blackburn on Brighton Beach. I listened
carefully to the conversation.
    “I think the only way we can help from here is to get a
satellite picture of Brighton Beach. We should be able to get that
in fifteen minutes. Have Mark take his MCD left on and
concealed. We will be able to hear his conversation with Agent
Blackburn.”
    “When shall we notify the police?” There was a short pause
on the line while Mireg weighed the possibilities.
    “The best way to do this is for you to call the police. Tell then
that someone has been kidnap perhaps by a terrorist. Tell them
you can't talk over the phone but are coming down yourself. Take
your MCD as Mark is and then we can communicate with each
other if we leave our channels open.”
    “Mark has to go now and I'll go to the police let's us know if
you spot him using your satellite imaging,” The Professor
answered.
    Peggy came into Pennington's office. She had tears in her eyes
and she was shaking.
                                51


    “Mark, what's happening?” He briefly took her into his arms.
    “We don't have much time. We'll tell you on the way.” As we
went racing down in Pennington's car, I updated Peggy on what
was happening. I also had to tell her that she could not go with me
but with Professor Pennington and that, she could hear everything
that was happening listening to the Professor's MCD.
    Professor Pennington dropped me off one street on the point
of the beach where Agent Blackburn planned to meet me. I
looked at my watch. I had five minutes to spare. I hoped by then
the Professor and Peggy would have reached the police station but
I had no idea what they could do.
    I had to out guess Blackburn and hopefully save my life as
well as Nathan's. If Blackburn was going to meet me then he must
have had hid Nathan in a place nearby so that he could either
produce him quickly or kill him. The only thing that would stop
me from killing Blackburn was that he had Nathan hid away
somewhere. The man was insidious and obviously as desperate as
ever to achieve his one goal, to prove we are aliens. I was also
convinced that he did not care if we killed him or not. So, what
was he planning to do? I contacted London and told them the
situation.
    “Mireg, I am on my way to meet Blackburn. I am sure he has
Mark hid somewhere nearby. I don't know what his plans are but I
believe that what ever they are they will have to succeed whether
he is dead or alive.”
    “Try to stall him Mark. We are now getting some satellite
coverage over Brighton Beach; in addition, we are looking at the
latest information for Blackburn on the computers. We can tell
you that he lives alone in a building near our last centre of
operations. He drives a dark green K registration Range Rover
that he probable used to get to Brighton. He carries a licences
target pistol. That is the only important information that we can
give you now until we can down load a high definition satellite
picture. Oh, there is one other thing, but I can't see how it could
help. He has a daughter, Melissa, who strangely lives in Brighton.
She's the same age as Nathan.”
                                 52


    “Thanks, Mireg, that will help me some. I had better go.
Professor Pennington, did you hear that? You might pass the
information about the Range Rover to the police. Say I saw him
drive by in it.”
    “I heard you, Mark. We are now entering the police station
and I will let them know what you told me.”
    I walked around slowly to the beach. Near the edge of the
beach was a man looking out to sea. I knew it was he. He had a
funny hat with a rim similar to what the men wore in the 1970’s, a
time when he was one of MI5's best agents. If he was out in the
open, he must be confident that he could get what he wanted
where he stood. Which meant, I reasoned, that he could kill
Nathan.”
    “He's on the beach, gentlemen. He is standing facing the sea. I
don't like this at all.” I walked toward the lone figure. It was a
damp windy day so few people where out on the beach, but I did
pray that someone would come along to some how stall Blackburn
and to give me time to find out where my son was.
    I stopped ten feet behind him. I sensed he knew that I was
there but he still did not move. I waited since I needed all the time
I could get. I spoke to London over the MCD to Mireg. “Any luck
with the satellite picture yet.”
    “Our operator estimates it will be in about two minutes.” Then
Blackburn spoke.
     “What are you saying to your friends, Mark? Or perhaps you
are wondering how to stop me from exposing you and them.” I
was surprised that he could even hear me since I was speaking in
an ultrasonic frequency range. He then turned around and faced
me. The left side of his wrinkled face was slack; he must have had
a stroke. He was leaning heavily on a cane and wearing a drench
coat that, no doubt, was concealing his target pistol, his mouth
even quivered more than before. His eyes had narrowed to two
hateful slits.
    “You don't look well Blackburn. Chasing aliens hasn't been
good for your health.”
                                53


    “You and I know the situation and this time you are going to
be exposed and there’s nothing you can do about it. He was then
about to pull out what I presumed his target pistol when a football
flew past us followed quickly by two young boys of about twelve
years of age. They were chasing the ball and ran between us as if
we were two statues. Blackburn stiffened and I worried what he
was going to do. When they had run further down the beach, he
continued his conversation with me.
    “As I said the world is going to find out about your people
today. You and your son will soon die and I'm making sure you'll
have a thorough autopsy. The Government knows I have
something but they're frightened that they might be made fools of.
But, if you're dead anyway then they'll have an excuse to look at
you dead body telling people that they needed to know the exact
cause of death.
    “Then I should kill you now and be done with it.” I said this to
find out if I could get a clue as to where Nathan was and how I
could save him.
    “You would love to kill me, but you can't. You see I'm the
only one who knows where your boy is and even if he is alive or
dead. And besides I have this.” He then showed me what he was
hiding under his drench coat. It was not a target pistol but a
magnum five pistol. I doubted that a bullet- proof vest could stop
a bullet from such a gun.
    “Now I know even you can't outrun a bullet so I am simply
going to kill you now. I should have kill in the cabin back in the
Lake District and then I could have left your dissected body for
the police to discover.”
    I then had an idea. If nothing else, it might give me a bit of
time.
    “So you will force my people into coming out in the open?”
    “That's the whole idea.”
    “What do you think we will do if the people of Earth attack
us? Are you assuming that we would do nothing?”
    “There not that many of you. We could wipe you out in an
hour.”
                                   54


       “Your a fool Blackburn. There are thousands of us hidden on
  this planet and some have been here for over a hundred years. If
  you force us to fight the people of Earth, we will be force to attack
  using our mother ships' fusion bombs. I’m sure you are aware of
  the ship in outer space that was recently discovered. All you will
  achieve is the extermination of the people on Earth.”
       He looked at me as if he was seriously considering what I had
  said. In some ways though it well could have happened. We had
  the technology to create fusion bombs and launch them from
  space and the people on Earth could do nothing about it. He
  started to shake. While he was thinking of a reply, Mireg sent me
  a message.
       “Mark, his Range Rover is up the beach to your right. Perhaps
  Nathan’s in it.” Did you get that Professor?” I asked.
       “Yes Mark I...” Blackburn interrupted the message.
       “You bastard, you're bluffing. Your just trying to stop me
  from killing you, but it's too late now anyway. As for all I care
  you can destroy this hell hole.”
       I then saw his car exploding and I knew what he was planning.
  I shouted to Pennington, “He's in the car. Get him out!”
     I then had to stall and yet another idea came to me. “Melissa
lives here, doesn't she?”
        He looked surprised but then he smiled. “Yes, she does,
  Mark? That's very good. I'm happy to see that your people are on
  the ball.”
       “You don't care if your daughter discovers that you're a
  killer.”
       “Mark, Pennington here. We are hundred metres from the car.
  The police are afraid that it’s wired to explode if they even jar it.”
       “Someone has to go in, now! I thing he is carrying the
  detonator. Listen in and then act on what you hear.”
       “Well what about your daughter, Blackburn. Do you care
  about her?”
       “Last time I saw her she was high on drugs and she talked to
  me like I was dirt. She said I had ruined her life. She was the
  daughter of an alien chaser. She’ll be happy when the truth comes
                                  55


out. Anyway she so screwed up that I don't think she knows what
time of day it is.”
    He shook his head as if he was trying to concentrate on the
task at hand. “You're stalling again. It won’t work; your people
will never get to me so you're wasting my time.”
    “What do you have in your other hand?”
    “I’m getting more impressed with you people all the time.
Guess, and I'll tell you it your right.” I then knew it.
    “Pennington get the police moving. I think I can stall him for
the next five minutes.”
    “Is it something that can make a loud noise, Blackburn?”
    “Mark, it's so obvious that you're trying to stall so I'll give you
ten seconds to guess what it is then I'm going to kill you.”
    “And set off the detonator in your right hand hidden in the
cane.”
    “Well done Mark. Now I feel marvellous. I’m now certain that
you’re an alien. Now I can kill you and your stupid son before you
people can move a finger.”
    “Mark, there going for the car. Hold him off.”
      “Well now Mark who’s it going to be, Nathan or you? It
makes no difference to me.”
    “You can try to shoot me first.”
    “Try?”
    Before he could respond, I threw the rocks I was carrying in
his face. He dropped the cane, reached for his face and shot his
gun wildly sending a bullet that missed my head by centimetres. I
rolled behind him before he could recover. He quickly turned and
shot. This time he did not miss. His bullet hit my chess and I fell
to the ground about ten metres from him. He ran to me and stood
over me.
    “I'm not going to make any mistakes this time Mark. He
aimed his gun directly towards my face. First, though say goodbye
to your son. I then heard an explosion. He had killed Mark. Then I
heard a muffled shot. It sounded far away and as I lay in the sand
darkness covered me.
                                56


    I think it was the shock of the thoughts of losing my son that
caused me to regress and knowing that Blackburn's next bullet
would scatter my brains. I went back in
    time:
    I found myself back in my home on Trothal. It was not a
happy time, it was the last time I would see my parents. We went
off together to a nearby island so we could say goodbye in private.
We were very sad but found it difficult to express ourselves in the
face of the total destruction the planet was to experience. We
watched ominous asteroid growing in the horizon for several
hours. It now looked nearly as large as our moon. They calculated
that it would hit - or nearly miss- Trothal in four days time. I was
to board the spaceship the next day. It was a horrible day perhaps
like the day I was experiencing on Earth, a time of great loss.
    Then also I could do nothing. I wanted desperately to stay
with my parents but they pleaded me to go. It was there only
chance to live on through me. We then climbed the high hill that
overlooked the whole island. It was a bright sunny day with a few
white billowy clouds in the sky. We could see our island from the
top of the summit. It was hard to believe that an asteroid would
soon destroy this beautiful planet.
    My father then turned to me and spoke. “You know I have
never talk to you about anything spiritual before. I've always
looked at the world through the eyes of a scientist. My father,
your grandfather, saw the world as a poet or a seer. He seemed to
see underneath and beyond the physical aspects of nature. He
seemed to have a glimpse of its creator.” He stopped and looked
out into the ocean.
    “He told me, 'How can one see all that is made and not be
aware of its Maker. I cannot understand it. Do all that I see come
forth by some random and mindless need for self -existence? '
    “He couldn’t believe that and he knew I could or that I was
doubtful of what I could not see even though I felt his arguments
made sense. He did something the day he died that made me
question my disbelief. He gave me this medallion.”
                                 57


     My father then took off the medallion he was wearing and
gave it to me. It was a large one, about five cm across. The
engraving on it was of a man and woman embracing in front of a
blazing sun. Around its circumference were three words in
Trothian - Light, Love and Life. As he handed it to me, he told me
what his father said.
     “‘Always wear this son. Never leave it off especially when you
are doing something dangerous.’
     “When he died, the exact moment, I was wearing the
medallion under my shirt and I felt a surge of heat from it so much
so that I open my shirt to remove it from my skin. As I did, I
thought I saw it glowing as if it had its own light source. I thought
it was just because I was emotional. I still don't understand what
had happened.
     My father continued speaking his eyes now seeing the past.
“Two years latter, I’d gone away on an expedition to the far
northern island of Camtron. I’d climbed the high hill that
overlooks it which was much higher than the hill we are now
standing on. The hill also was steep and covered with loose rocks.
I’d slipped and had fallen landing on a ledge. Below me had been
a straight drop to the ocean two hundred metres down. My leg had
been broken and I could hardly move. It was three days before
help had arrived. I’d seen the boat that they had sent to rescue me
in the distance but I had feared it would go to the other side of the
island where I’d anchored my boat in a small harbour. The
medallion became warm then and it gave me an idea.”
     “The sun was still high in the sky and I’d used the medallion
as a mirror to catch the attention of the approaching boat. At first,
it had appeared my would-be rescuers did not see me. Then it had
changed course and headed my way. The rescuers had found me
because of the light reflection off the medallion.” I took my
father's medallion with reverence.
     Three days latter, I had been in outer space when the asteroid
had hit our planet. The explosion had been tremendous and our
ship had felt the shock though it had been a million kilometres
away. Shortly after watching that horrible scene, the medallion
                               58


around my neck had begun to glow as it did for my father when
his grandfather had died.

    I did awake from that regression and I was very much alive.
Peggy was at my side smiling, no doubt happy that Agent
Blackburn had not killed me.
    I looked at her and smiled back but then my smile faded as I
remembered the explosion that blew up the car where Blackburn
held our son.
    “I'm sorry about Nathan,” I said to Peggy.
     “What did I do now Dad.” I turned towards Nathan shocked
to see him alive. I knew I heard the explosion so I could he be
here very much alive?
    “I thought you were killed. But obviously you're quite all
right.”
    “It was a close call,” he said with some seriousness. “I was
pulled out of the boot seconds before it exploded. Luckily neither
the police or I were killed.”
    I then turned to Peggy. “What happened to Blackburn?”
    “I'm afraid a policemen had to kill him before he killed you.
He was pointing the gun at your head when the police shot him.”
    I continued my inquisition. “Where there any other problems.
Like the press coming it and asking questions pertaining to the
validity of his accusations that we were aliens?” I asked this
question in Trothian so that no one could over hear us since I was
in a general ward of the hospital.
       “The police where surprised that the first shot from
Blackburn's gun did not kill you. After all it was a magnum five
revolver.”
    “I was wearing a bullet proof vest.” However, I knew she was
correct: the vest would not have stopped the bullet.
    “What saved you is your father's and grandfather's medallion.
The bullet hit it directly and I am afraid it had bent it rather
badly.” She smiled at me knowing how pleased that made me. My
grandfather had saved not only my father’s life but also my life.
59
                                  60


                              Chapter 5

                            Trothian Spy

       It was two days before the annual meeting of Communsecure
  in London, which was in reality a meeting of aliens. I was going
  with two thousand other aliens who were company employees or
  consultants. The company assigned me a research project of total
  fictitious nature – as a consultant for the construction a robot
  dolphin. They did this knowing that I was a marine biologist that
  had expertise in this area. Only about two hundred of the people
  coming worked directly for the company the others coming were
  either legitimate consultants or fictitious consultants. There were
  meetings that both humans and aliens partook in but many were
  only for aliens.
       I had just finished my last lecture on the Lophelia reefs that
  are located in the North Sea, and I announced that there would be
  a short quiz on the topic. As I was leaving I once again, found
  Maria Sanchez waiting for me. She looked familiar and I was now
  repenting the fact that I had not looked up her records.
       “Do you know who I am?” This she said in perfect Trothian
  with a familiar accent.
       I looked at her and saw someone else but I could not
  remember whom though the memory seemed to have an element
  of pain.
    “You're Maria Sanchez a marine biology student who now has
just revealed that she is a Trothian.”
       “Do I look like anyone you know, perhaps someone from
  South America?”
       I immediately remembered whom she reminded of, Tanya
  Rusuviska. “Are you related to Tanya?” I purposely did not give
  her last name.
    “Yes, I am Tanya Rusuviska sister, the woman whom loved
you.” The impact of what she had said shocked me. The pain of her
death came back from the past and I once again saw her laying on a
table, the once lively and fiery woman gone forever.
                                61


     “How do you know about Tanya and I? Did she communicate
to you?” I found what she had said very strange and I wondered if
she was telling me the truth. Moreover, I wondered what this girl
wanted.
     “She shared everything with me that was important even the
men she had in her life. She had many partners after Yoseph, but
you were the only one she loved?” I could not look up as the
impact of what she had said hit me. I had no idea that Tanya loved
me, though I did know she cared for me as a close friend.
     “How can you know this? She was here in London with me
and should not have communicated anything to you. It could have
been very dangerous.”
     “Oh, she did not use the MCD, Mark. She used a special
mobile phone not linked to any other aliens.”
     “When did she fall in love with me?” I knew that this
completely bizarre conversation would only lead to trouble, but I
wanted to know.
     “After you slept with her, she knew that she wanted to spend
the rest of her life with you even though she slept with several
other men before.” I did sleep with her but not in the sexual sense
so something the girl was saying was not right. Before I could
check the truth of what she said, she told me something only very
few knew and none believed.
     “When I say you slept with her she told me that you did not
have sex with her. You just wanted to protect her from the shock
and pain of remembering her past, the shock of the destruction of
Trothal and the lost of Yoseph. Because of the way you treated
her she was reminded of Yoseph and that's when she began loving
you.”
     The girl could not be lying; she really knew things that only
Tanya could have told her. I was about to ask her why she was
telling me this when the alarm on my watch rang reminding me of
my next meeting.
     “What you said is very disturbing...I’ve to go to a meeting.” I
just walked away like a bewildered young boy. I felt like saying I
will not talk about this again, but I knew I had to. I was deeply
                                 62


  touched to know that she had loved me and it explained her
  jealous behaviour when I was around other women. I was too
  stupid to see it at the time and less than twenty-four hours later
  she was dead.
      Professor Pennington called me to a meeting in preparation for
  the annual meeting of Communsecure. I still had not recovered
  from the shock of meeting Tanya's sister when I had another
  shock. David, Peggy's brother, was standing alongside of
  Professor Pennington when I walked into his office. Their faces
  told me what they were about to tell me would not be good news.
      “David, is there something the matter? Why are you here?”
      “Professor Pennington and I would like to discuss with you
  the upcoming Communsecure meeting. There's something he has
  recently told me that was a shock to me and he asked me here to
  help you understand why when I present my evidence at the
  meeting we hope the majority of those present will find the
  evidence insufficient to take action.”
      “What, why in the name of logic and sense would you do that?
  We can prove that the robots are dangerous and we have to act
  now before Zarkoff takes control of this planet.” What I said
  sounded so outlandish that I instantly regretted saying it.
    David then spoke. “Many already know that the robots are
dangerous and are doing all they can to prepare for the inevitable
attack that will come quite soon. When Professor Pennington told
me that, many in the community were already convinced that there
was a danger I was surprised. The questions I had were: one, why
were we not told of the danger and two, what were our people doing
about it.
    “The problem is we can do little but quietly prepare for the
attack and hope to have some means of a counter attack. It is
impossible and dangerous to inform everyone in the community that
we are aware of the problem,” said the Professor.
      “Why not! Everyone should know that there is this danger.
  How else can we prevent his unleashing his robots?”
      “We can't. It's too late!”
                                63


    “What, you mean we can't do anything?” I could not believe
that they were giving up.
    Professor Pennington then spoke. “Mark, as you are well
aware the power of Multiplixo is immense. The most powerful
countries in the world used their robots and hence these countries
will protect them. Politicians, ministers, and leaders all over the
world owe them their positions. They bring tax revues to all the
major powers except China and Japan. We cannot attack them
openly not withstanding that we would be discovered as aliens.”
    If only they would have listened to me five years ago, I
thought. “Surely our own people should know the dangers – all of
them.”
    The Professor patiently replied. “It would be too dangerous
Mark. There are many of our own people who would betray us.
We have discovered three in London alone. We have made no
move against them since that would alert Zarkoff.”
    I shook my head in dismay. “Does that mean we can do
nothing! Are we to just roll over and die?” I was furious and
frustrated. Why did they let it go so far? I knew saying that would
do no one any good.
    The Professor responded. “No, we are doing something and
we'll do all we can. What we are saying is that we cannot do
anything now but prepare for the onslaught. You see we need
other good humans on this planet to help us in the fight and to do
that we have to prove that Multiplixo Robots are not what they
appear to be, but a weapon in the hands of the potentially most
power dictator in the history of the planet. If you reflect on this,
there is no way that you can prove this until they show their
hand.”
    I felt ill. I did not realize that things were so bad. However,
their arguments were sound but left very little reassurances for
me.
    “You said we are doing something. What are we doing to
protect our people?”
    The professor shook his head. “Before I tell you this I must
ask you what I know is a stupid question. As you know, neither
                               64


Trothians nor Drethians can lie without a tell-tale infrared
response. We, the leaders of our community have pledged to ask
every Trothian we take into confidence a simple question.
Therefore, I must ask you this question, though I know the
answer. Mark, are you supporting Zarkoff or any of his plans in
any way or would you under any circumstances, even if your
family was in danger.”
     I though of Peggy and Nathan and I realized that the question
was not so stupid. Would I risk their lives to prevent Zarkoff
achieving his plans?
     “No, I would not support him under any circumstances. He
would kill my family or me without hesitation. I also can see the
point of you asking this question to every Trothian. I'm glad you
are doing it.”
     “Excellent, then we can tell you what we, as a worldwide
community, are doing. Firstly, we have now in production a robot
factory that is producing a thousands robots a week that are
superior to the robots produced by Multiplixo. Their design
having been completed three years ago when we first realized our
mistake in letting Multiplixo expand worldwide. The factory is in
Peru where, as you well know, aliens have a well-established
community with advanced technical skills. We are intending to
sell some of our robots openly to other governments but these
robots will be inferior to the ones we are producing for our own
use – a strike back force.
     He then looked serious, almost grave. “We are slowly and
carefully making links with humans whom we feel we can trust. It
is a dangerous process but necessary. Without humans helping us
we cannot possible survive. This is another reason why we cannot
let our enemies know what we are doing. At this point, we are too
weak. We have named the organization of humans and Trothians
Illuminando el Mundo, which in Spanish means lighting the
world. The symbol of this organization is the same as your
grandfather's medallion, a man and woman embracing with the
words love, light and life written on the circumference. You,
Mark, and you Dave, are now members and with membership
                                  65


  comes the awesome responsibility of carefully expanding the
  organization. If you know of a person you can trust, who can give
  us support in some way, then you must attempt to recruit that
  person.”
      “How can we tell if a human is trustworthy?” David asked and
  I wanted to know the answer also.
      “Remember we are first recruiting those in power: MPs,
  executives of large companies, government ministers, scientists,
  and military men of honour. Most of the people who we are
  approaching now are public people who have taken a stand one
  way or another on various issues. By their fruits you will know
  them and of course we can always consult with each other.”
      “How are we going to convince them the intent of Multiplixo?
  We need evidence and if we had that we would go public.”
      Professor Pennington gave me a knowing look. “Mark, we
  would never go public.” Obviously, our leaders had thought their
  strategies through and I decided to listen to what the Professor had
  to say.
    “That is the problem. We cannot come to any court of law or to
any government. To do that they would identify us as an
organization and a secret one at that, and that would start every
government in the world wanting to know who we were and why
we were trying to blacken the name of the best company in the
world.
      “All we can do is gather information and give it
  surreptitiously to someone who is in power. Nearer the time we
  will make our information public but, hopefully, without going
  public ourselves. There is a small chance that we can infiltrate
  some of the factories. For that matter we have already placed five
  technicians in the London based factory. Albeit they have
  low-level clearance, but the company gives them access to the
  main factory floor and that may be an advantage.”
    “Finally we are using our greatest asset, are expertise in
computers, technology and security systems. We are close to
hacking into their Surrey factory’s network. So, you see Mark, all is
                                  66


not lost. We just have to wait and present a strong counter attack
when they first strike.”
      “So we have nothing concrete to show those we want to join
 us.”
      “On the contrary Mark, we have enough evidence to convict
 several Multiplixo employees of murder. For the past two years,
 we have been monitoring satellite and terrestrial images of the
 area surrounding the Multiplixo factories around the world.
 During the day nothing much has been noted. It behaves as a
 legitimate business. During the cover of darkness, their true nature
 is uncovered. We have photographic evidence for at least twenty
 kidnappings and ten confirmed killings around their factories all
 perpetrated by staff of Multiplixo,” he continued.
      “As an example, last year a New York democratic senator had
 disappeared and was later discovered dead along a country road
 outside the city. He had two bullet holes in his head. We have a
 video of him being dragged into the New York Multiplixo
 compound by three men who we later identified as Multiplixo
 employees.”
      I knew they had an answer for my next question, but I had to
 ask it. “Why didn't you hand the evidence to the local police or
 even the FBI.”
      “We did, Mark. Incredible the authorities did nothing. We
 were shocked at the result that told us the immensity of
 Multiplixo's power. So I hope now you will understand what we
 are up against. We cannot convince the present governments the
 Multiplixo is dangerous. They also understand their power and
 therefore many have joined forces with them even though they
 have no idea what a fatal error they are making.”
      A cold dread came over me. I became fearful for the safety of
 my family and I could see no way to protect them. I bluntly stated
 my fears.
      “Professor, what can we do to protect our families? Do we
 destroy our robots?”
      “I don't think that’s necessary. What we hope to achieve is to
 replace all the Multiplixo robots that the aliens are using with
                                 67


alien robots constructed in Peru. In the meantime, we recommend
that each night you remove the robots' power supply. However,
during the day, we ask people to keep them on until further notice.
Unfortunately, if we suddenly destroyed them all, then Multiplixo
would no doubt attack with their full strength. We are not ready
for that yet.”
     I went home that evening and told Peggy everything I had
found out.
     “Mark, what are we going to do? How can we wait until they
attack?” I knew she would be upset as I was.
     “There's nothing we can do expect be as vigilant as possible.
The one practical thing the Professor recommended was removing
the power supply from our robots. At least we won't be attacked in
the night then.”
     “What should we tell Nathan?” Peggy asked.
     “It would be best not to say to much except that his robot's
power supply must be removed during the night and hope he
doesn't demand a full explanation.” We neglected to take into
account that his robot was his friend and he did not want to turn it
off even during the night.
     A day later, I found myself reluctantly heading towards
London and the Communsecure meeting. I was looking forward
to meeting some of the people I had known from other countries.
Most came with their wives but Peggy could not since at least one
Trothian Doctor had to remain back at her clinic. Dave, Dr.
Pennington, Mireg and many others had brought their wives for it
was to be the year's biggest social event. The first evening was a
Champaign reception and I was on the look out for friends I had
not seen in years.
     The first person I ran into was the lively and petite Telia from
Hawaii who immediately came to greet me. She was a marine
biologist an expert on Pacific reef environments. She had been
part of the Trothians with me that had won the first battle against
Zarkoff.
                                68


     “Mark, it's been ten years since we've seen each other at the
meeting in Hawaii. How are you and how is Peggy? Isn't she with
you?”
     Hawaiian Trothians have a habit when speaking of coming
very close to each other and often, when they were speaking with
those from other areas and countries, this would be misinterpreted
as a posture of intimacy. With Telia, it was hard to tell. When I
first saw her, she was keen on making my acquaintance as then
she was looking for a partner. Now she was uncomfortable close
to me and I was making an effort to appear at ease.
     “So did you come alone?” I said and regretted immediately.
     “Yes, I did. Mark. I have never found a partner. But now and
then I do enjoy a man's company.” Now I was getting nervous and
decided to change the topic.
     “How's your research going?” She frowned slightly indicating
that the change in subject was not her choice.
     “The research is going well and the results all say one thing.
Reefs are dying over the world and the governments don't give a
damn!”
     I was surprised at the ferocity of her response but understood
her frustrations. The developed countries had made promises after
promises about cutting down on green house emissions, but it was
always five years away. The US was particularly stubborn despite
hurricane after hurricane of magnitude seven hitting its coast.
They found it easier to make laws forbidding houses to be built on
the coast and then the houses that were built in the hurricane zone
had to be built in a way to be resistant to high winds. The problem
with the reefs was that the warming seas were killing them.
Ninety percent of the Pacific reefs were now official dead!
     “I know what you mean. The people of this planet are blind to
the disaster coming their way. This coming summer climatologists
are predicting several storms of category eight. Still the US and
their people refuse to stop consuming enormous amount of
energy.”
     I then saw another young lady I had no seen it several years. I
knew her first as a young girl who was on the spaceship that
                                69


brought me here to Earth: she was my first English teacher.
Excuse me Telia, I've just seen a friend I haven't seen in years
perhaps we can get together for dinner tomorrow night.” Once
again, my mouth was in motion and my brain in neutral. Yes, we
aliens have that problem too. My invitation pleased Telia very
much.
    “I'll look forward to that, Mark.” I rushed off cursing my
social ineptitude.
    “Celia, how are you?” Her back was to me as I approached
her. As she turned, I could see she was with child and one that
was soon to be born. She was with another lady who dismissed
herself as I came.
    “You have a partner. Once again, my social skills were
wanting.
    “Of course, Mark Vararrif. How else would I be in this state?”
She used my Trothian name to drive home the inappropriateness
of what I had said. Then she smiled.
    “And how is your human wife?” That of course was a joke.
When I had first met Peggy and even after a long while later, I had
thought she was human. I told this to Celia who though it was
very funny that I could not discern a female of my own species.
    “Fine, thank you for asking. Who though is the lucky Trothian
that is your partner?”
    “Mel Costrovic, he’s one of the top computer designer for
Communsecure. He's giving a seminar on computer design
tomorrow afternoon.”
    “I'm not an engineer so I probably would not understand a
word he was saying. What are you doing now, professionally that
is?”
    “I'm an English teacher at a London University specializing in
English literature. I find it extremely interesting and, you will be
pleased to know, I am learning a lot about humans.” We chatted
for five minutes exchanging news on old acquaintances.
    I saw Professor Pennington across the room talking with Dave
so I headed their way. As I crossed the room, I saw in front of me
an elderly couple that looked very familiar and before I reached
                                  70


  them, I remembered who they were, Mr and Mrs Rusuviska,
  Tanya's parents. I first met them two years after Tanya's death at a
  meeting like this. They were both struggling with the lost of
  their...only child. I swore that what they said. Then who was
  Maria Sanchez? I had to ask them. Nevertheless, I knew I had to
  be diplomatic.
        “Mr and Mrs Rusuviska, it is good to see you.”
        “Mark, how are you doing and how is your lovely wife Peggy
  and your son Nathan?”
        “Very well, thank you. I hear you both are using your
  technical skills to build robots.” They both looked at me as if I
  was revealing state secrets.
        Then they relaxed. “Yes, we are working for a company in
  Peru who produce very specialized robots.” I forgot that one could
  not even speak openly, even among our own people. Then I asked
  them my crucial question. “There is a girl, Maria Sanchez, who is
  in one of my classes at Brighton University. She says she knows
  you.”
        “That odd Mark,” Said Mrs. Rusuviska. We thought we knew
  everyone from our community. We don't know her.” I carefully
  described what she looked like and still they had no recognition of
  knowing such a girl.
        “Well maybe I made a mistake.” I tried to look unconcerned
  but now I was worried. Who was Maria Sanchez and how did she
  find out so much about me. And why was she lying about being
  Tanya sister. I would certainly find out as soon as I got back to
  Brighton. I went to bed early, but I did not sleep well that night.
     It was Saturday morning and David was giving his presentation
in the main hall in front of the general security committee as well as
all the delegates. We always held discussions about security in the
main hall that had a capacity for three thousand since our leaders
encouraged everyone to be present. The shape of the hall was like
an amphitheatre with seats rising on all sides and a main platform in
the middle where David would present his evidence.
        He stood at a podium with two Multiplixo robots in front of
  him. Sitting in chairs were two dummies similar to those used in
                                  71


  the simulation of car crashes. In addition, on either side of him he
  had a male and a female technician who were each armed with
  high-powered hand laser.
      David began to speak. “The purpose for this presentation and
  demonstration is to show that Multiplixo robots can be turned into
  lethal weapons. After my team and I had thoroughly tested ten
  robots, we discovered that it is possible to download software into
  the robot's CPU which counter-commands the safety controls of
  the robot. In plain language the robots change from one that
  cannot touch, throw and item at, fire a weapon at or harm a human
  in any way to one that is capable of killing a human or Trothian of
  course. Further, we were able to make the voice commands of the
  owners ineffective. This is a dangerous demonstration and the
  robots may have to be destroyed.”
      He then directed his attention to the technicians. “Please turn
  on robots one and two.”
      One robot was red and the other blue. He then explained to the
  delegates. We have programmed each robot to respond to only
  one person, as is the norm. Michael's voice is able to command
  the blue robot and Shelia's voice can command the red robot. My
  voice, at present, is incapable of commanding either.”
      Then he asked the technicians to run their robots through a
  series of tests. Shelia gracefully walked to the front of the red
  robot and gave it, it’s first command.
      “Stand up Tobi.” The robot obediently stood.
      “Take two steps forward, Tobi.” The robot obeyed.
    “Walk over to David, Tobi.” Again, it obeyed.
      “Strike David!” Stunned by the command several of the
  delegates gasped.
      The robot did not strike David.
      “Stand in front of Peter.” The red robot stood in front of the
  one of the dummies.
      Strike Peter.” The robot did not obey.
    David explained. We have programmed these robots so that
they believe the two dummies in front of them are humans rather
than use real human or Trothians subjects.
                                 72


     Michael then proceeded to command the blue robot to do
 exactly what the red did.
     “Now it is absolutely imperative that we have silence for the
 next and most dangerous demonstration. I will change the robots
 to obey only my commands and to cause them to damage the
 dummies. I need the silence so that once I change their status from
 a harmless to a possible harmful robot my voice commands will
 be able to stop them from harming anyone here. Also please note
 the strange behaviour of the robots as I down load the counter
 commanding software.”
     I will now transform Shelia's red robot to obey my commands
 only. David then sat down at a computer and activated it by voice
 command so all could hear what he said.
   “Counter command the red robot to respond only to my voice.
Deactivate its human protection software.”
     The red robot started clicking the lights of its eyes dimming
 and brightening. The clicking increased in frequency until the
 robot was humming. Then the clicking stopped and the eyes of the
 robot turned from a characteristic green to a brilliant red.
     Shelia will now attempt to command the robot. “Tobi, come
 here.” The robot stood motionless its red eyes starting ahead.
 Then he gave a command.
     “Tobi, come here.” The robot walked towards David. Shelia
 then called him back and he did not come.
     “I have now sole control of the robot. Now I will show you it
 is capable of attacking a Trothian or human. “Tobi, destroy Peter.
 The robot walked over to Peter and faced him. Then a flash of
 light shot from its eyes incinerating the dummies head.
     The delegates once again gasped. There was a murmur of
 concern over what they had just witnessed. “Tobi, allow Shelia to
 remove your power source.”
     In a flash of second, I saw the robot strike Shelia down and
 then realized it was one of my premonitions. I was certain that the
 robot would kill her if she tried to remove the power source.
                                73


                            Chapter 6

                         The Ritz Please

    I was sitting in the second row and started shouting to David.
    “Keep her away from the robot.” I ran forward. Shelia
stopped walking towards the robot and looked at David to see
what she should do.
    “David, the robot will attack her if she attempts to remove the
power supply.”
    David looked at me unbelievingly. “I have done this
demonstration several times. Why would it attack now?”
    However, he knew I saw it, and he knew I could foresee the
future. “Tobi, deactivate!”
    The robot did. He walked over to the robot and spoke to
Shelia. Destroy the robot if it attempts to stop me. David walked
behind the robot and took out its power supply. I could tell he was
not sure that it would have attacked Shelia. David paused and then
decided to abandon a repeat demonstration with the blue robot. He
wanted to test the blue in private but not before he ran some
checks.
    “As time is running out I will simple summarize my
observation. Firstly it is possible to re-programme Multiplixo
robots so that the previous owner's voice signature can be erased
and replaced with another so that the owner has no control of the
robot. Secondly, I have demonstrated that we can transform the
robots from ones that are harmless to humans to ones that will
harm humans and of course Trothians. Finally, anyone can
achieve this by anyone using the correct radio sequences
containing the overriding software. In short, Multiplixo, who
regularly update our robots software, could turn them against us.”
    Hans Schmidt, the richest alien on Earth, stood up and pointed
his fat finger at David.
    “You have not proven that they would ever do such a thing.
You have only proven that it was possible to change a few robots.
And, in their long and successful history, you have no proof that
                                74


any of their robots have attacked humans except in a few cases
were the hardware had failed.”
    David did have proof but our leaders did not allow him to
bring it forward. At any rate it was up to Professor Pennington to
do so if he thought it was necessary.
    “My task was just to prove that it could be theoretically done.
It’s not within my brief to prove that Multiplixo robots have
harmed any humans.”
    Professor Pennington, whose job it was to conduct the
meeting, stood up.
    “Thank you David for a thorough analysis of the robots. No
one can deny that they could be made dangerous. What of course
we lack is any intent by the company to do so. Now, is there is a
motion on the floor that action should be taken to protect us from
their robots by installing in each robot an independent
deactivation radio switch which could over ride any voice
command. This would allow anyone with the designated remote
control to be able to shut down the robot. I must add that this
would cost one-third the price of the robot.”
    Each person had an electronic switch that could register their
vote where they sat.
    Only one-third of the delegates in the Assembly voted to
install manual deactivation devices. Professor Pennington then
stood up to announce the results.
    “ Since two thirds of us have voted not to take any action,
none will be taken by the Assembly. This of course does not
prevent anyone one of you taking precautionary action on your
own. There is information provided on the table at the entrance of
the Main Hall as to how you can have deactivate your own robots
if you are concerned about your safety. If there are no further
questions on this topic, I will close the meeting.
    Hans Schmidt stood up and pointed his finger at Professor
Pennington in the same aggressive way he did David. “I object to
even giving out such information. Multiplixo Robots are a caring,
honest and reliable company. If we start tampering with their
robots, they are bound to find out. I think it is irresponsible for
                                 75


this Assembly to even disseminate such information. This whole
affair has come about because a few fanatics think that Zarkoff is
still alive. There is no proof that he is alive.”
     “Thank you for your comment, Hans. I cannot see how
Multiplixo would be concerned because a few fanatics decided to
take, in some peoples view, unnecessary precautions. If we were
to make this public, then that would be a different matter. As you
know, nothing we say here should be made public.” He looked at
Hans emphasising the point.
     Hans did not reply. He sat down and shook his head saying
not too quietly, “Idiots!”
     Several of us stayed in the hall until most of the others had
left. I was sitting alongside of Frank Mundy who had been very
agitated during the meeting. “That Hans Schmidt doesn’t care
about his people. He only cares about making money. I would not
be surprised if he was working with Multiplixo Robots now.”
     I too was suspicious of Hans Schmidt but did not want to
make any accusations I could not prove. “Well he does want the
company to do well since he allegedly owns over a billion euros
in stock. He also made a great effort to portray our concerns as
ridiculous. No matter what Frank, as you know, we cannot
directly confront the company: it's too powerful.”
     “You and I know that Zarkoff is alive, and we equally are sure
that he is behind Multiplixo Robots. Yet, we do nothing. We sit
and wait while Zarkoff takes over the World. You should have
killed him Mark. My life was not worth enough to let him go.”
Frank’s face showed the strain he was under.
     It was fifteen years ago that I saved Frank's life and others by
letting Zarkoff go. Perhaps knowing what I do now, I might have
killed him. It was a difficult choice.
     “Would you have let him kill me?” Before he could answer, I
continued.
     “You weren't the only one who I was trying to save. There
were several others. And I hoped that someone else would stop
him. Two men, who were on top of the cave, could have shot him.
It was a hard choice.”
                                 76


     “I'm sorry Mark. I didn’t mean to accuse you of anything. It
just that my life …well seems to have little meaning since he
tortured me. I've been filled with hate.”
     “Frank, I want to get him as bad as you do. We will, in time.
Come on, let's go for some lunch.”
     As we walked out, we passed David who was counting the
number of pamphlets.
     “Well David, how many were taken?”
     He smiled, “I estimate over half of the delegates took a
pamphlet. It looks as if many understood the problem and
hopefully will be prepared for the inevitable.” The last sentence he
said quietly. He continued. “Have you been told of the Iluminado
meeting tonight? We are holding it in the Blue Room in our Hotel.
You both are invited, of course.” We both indicated that we were
coming.
     We went to the cafeteria where most of the delegates were
sitting and chatting.
     Telia had come in the queue behind me with another woman.
     “Mark, hello. Are you finding the weekend useful?”
     I turned around and saw her with another attractive woman.
“Yes, I have found it very useful. And you?”
     “Well, the best part is meeting the people. I felt uncomfortable
at the David's meeting this morning. It's an awful thought that
your own robots could attack you. I took the pamphlet explaining
how to deactivate a robot. It doesn't hurt to be safe.”
     “Oh. Mark. I would like you to meet another marine biologist,
Anne Paulist. You may even have read some of her papers.”
     “Anne Paulist, of course I have. Your papers on seals, whales
and other sea mammals are discussed throughout the world.
Where do you live?”
     “Well I did live in Hawaii, Mark, but now I will be coming to
your university for a three months study invited by Professor
Pennington. I have been given a special grant by the UK
government to study the seals off the cost of the UK.”
     “He never mentioned this to me?” I was upset that he had not
but then it really was not my concern.
                                77


     She could see that I was surprised. “Don't be upset Mark. The
grant has only come through yesterday and I asked him not to say
anything until it was certain.”
     “Well it looks as if we may be seeing each other now and
then.”
     “Well that would happen if you are going on the next Sea
Lion expedition.” The Sea Lion was the marine-exploration ship
owned by the school that we used in launching an attack against
Zarkoff.
     “That has not yet been decided. It depends if I can get a grant
and if someone can cover my teaching. But there is a possibility
since I did apply for a research grant.” I then introduced both
women to Frank who only acknowledge them with a polite smile.
He was living alone and I thought he could do with some
company.
     As Telia left with Anne, she turned and smiled. “Don't forget
my dinner tonight. You can pick me up at 8:00 pm. My room
number is 205. Bye, bye.”
     I forced a smile as she left. How did she manage to rope me
into taking her to dinner? Frank and I sat down and began eating.
As usual, he said little. I noticed though that he was staring ahead
at a table across the large cafeteria. I could see why: Hans Schmitt
was sitting there with his court – those who followed him because
of his money and influence.
     “I'm certain we are looking at supporters of Zarkoff. I would
love to walk over to them and ask them if it was true they were
supporting him.” He shocked me by his idea. Though I was
uncertain about Hans' loyalties, I would never accuse him or
anyone of siding with Zarkoff unless I had absolute proof.
     Frank looked sourly at me. “We aren’t going do anything to
stop Zarkoff. The idea of sitting and waiting makes me impatient.
I need some action. Someone needs to find proof that Multiplixo
really intends to take over this planet.”
     Frank looked desperate and I feared he would do something
dangerous. I tried to appear calm. “Frank, I want to do something
as much as you do. But what can we do. They already are in
                                 78


power and have both the money and influence to do what they
like. Also with the links with the military in the most powerful
countries, it would be dangerous to attack or accuse them
directly.”
    “I’m afraid that is not good enough for me.” With that, he got
up and left. I knew I had to report this conversation to Professor
Pennington. Frank, I was sure now, would do something both
dangerous and stupid.
    I was musing over the situation when Daniel Rannovich, our
most eminent scientist, sat down with me. I had only said a few
words with him in the past and had little in common with him so I
was surprised at his approach.
    “Mark Vararrif, I am Daniel Rannovich, you may have heard
of me.” His humility amazed me. It would be like the Prime
Minster sitting down with you and he assuming you had not heard
of him.
    “Of course I’ve heard of you. We all are impressed with your
work in many areas of science.” He ignored my compliment and
began explaining why he was talking to me.
    “I’ve known for a long time of your concerns about Zarkoff. I,
like you, feel he is still alive. I, like you, believe that he is
working for Multiplixo, and further I believe, like you, that he
intends to use Multiplixo’s resources to take control of this planet.
    Unlike you though, I have proof of every fact I have just
stated. I just received some documents from Spain this morning. I
cannot find Professor Pennington to tell him that tonight I would
like to present this material to the members of Iluminado. So, if
you do see him, let him know what I intend to do. Time is running
out for us, Mark.” He left without saying anymore.
    I went back to my room to think over the day’s events and the
next session that dealt with the commercial research that we were
doing as a company. We were the best electronic security
company in the world and thereby were able to break into the
systems of any large company or military installation in the world.
Unfortunately, the one company whose security system we could
not break into its was Multiplixo Robots.
                                79


    We tried to get people on the inside, our own computer expert,
but they were never even short listed for a position – it was
obvious they knew they were Trothians.
    After the meeting, I decided to call Peggy. I wanted to talk to
her about all I had learnt though in some ways I was glad I could
not, Peggy would only worry. All I could do was speak in general
terms.
    I used the hotel’s landline. Our people checked all of these
just before the meeting.
    The phone rang several times before she answered.
    “Hello.” She said, it was good to hear her voice.
    “ Hello Peggy, How are things at the clinic?”
    “Busy as usual Mark. I have just seen my oldest patient, who
is very fit at one hundred and twenty years old. I believe he is the
third oldest Trothian on Earth. He has lived here for eighty. He
just comes in for a check up every four months. He asked me if I
thought it was OK to keep jogging everyday.” I wondered if any
of us would live that long after Zarkoff began his takeover.
    Peggy continued. “How is the meeting going? More
importantly, how did David’s demonstration go? He told me he
was nervous about it.” I could not tell her any details over the
phone, but I could tell her generally how it went.
    “He did brilliantly well. His demonstration did prove his point
and the results even disturbed me. On that note, I recommend we
take the precautions that we discussed previously. Do you
understand?”
    “Yes, I’ll do that tonight. I just hope Nathan agrees with it.
You know how he feels about it.” What we were talking about
was Peggy removing the power supplies from both robots before
they retired. Nathan loved his robot and treated it like a friend
rather than a machine. He would find it difficult to believe that
someone could turn his beloved robot against him.
    “I learnt some interesting things about the big challenges
facing the company. I can’t say much over the phone except that
things may come to a head quicker than we thought.”
                                80


     Peggy did not respond immediately. “Mark, that doesn’t
sound very good. Have you been asked to do anything?”
     “Not yet, but there is one more important meeting where the
problem will be discussed. I hope we can do something besides
just waiting. Again, more on that when I see you. Love you
much.” We both then said goodbye. I felt an uneasiness arising in
me. I felt more like Frank than I was willing to admit. I wished we
could do something besides wait.
     I then had to wash and dress to get ready for my dinner
engagement with Telia.
     She seemed very forward and I felt, though I never checked,
that she wanted more than just chat over the dinner table. Perhaps
she would invite her friend over. The thing I was certain of was
that she was no friend of Zarkoff’s. She was one of the fighters
who helped destroy his last centre of operation in southern Spain.
Though small and petite, she would be a formidable opponent to
any man. I went to her door that was on the second floor one floor
below mine. I knocked on the door with an uneasy feeling: I
always found Telia a frighteningly forward woman.
     When she opened the door, I was surprised at her
transformation from an attractive woman to a beautiful and
elegant woman who further projected a vivid sensuality.
     She achieved this with a black low-cut dress that was as
revealing as it could be. In short, I lost my ability to speak for a
few moments.
     “Come in Mark, I almost ready.” She waved me in with a
gracious smile.
     My answer was immediate and honest. “What more could you
do. You look beautiful.” My comment surprised me, but it was
what I felt.
     “Thank you Mark. You have already made my evening.” She
then gave me a thorough looking over. “You’ll do I suppose, but
we are going to a very expensive restaurant. The reason of course
is for security.”
     “Security? What do you mean?”
                                 81


    “I’ll tell you when we get there. No one knows the restaurant
that I have booked for us tonight since I booked it under an alias.
But it will cost you Mark so please be ready to pay for a very
expensive night out.”
    I wondered what Telia would have said if I said no. But for
reasons I could not explain myself I felt not only that it was the
right thing but something I might enjoy.
    I know what you are thinking – male hormones. As we walked
out of the door of the hotel, a taxi was waiting for us. I was
impressed. What she said next was frightening. “The Ritz
pleased.”
    I gasped and whispered to her, “Telia, it’s the most expensive
restaurant in London.”
    She smiled at me nonchalantly. “Yes, Mark, I know, and I
have always wanted to go there.”
    What went through my mind was how was I to explain to
Peggy that I was going to spend all that money taking out another
woman. I just hoped Telia had an explanation for all of this. I
began to whisper to her again but she stopped me before I could
say a word. “I’ll explain everything to you, well almost
everything.”
    As the taxi stopped in front of the Ritz, I reached for my
wallet. Telia stopped me. I’ll pay the taxi Mark; all you have to
pay for is a little something to eat tonight.”
    The horror of this is that Peggy loved eating out in fancy
restaurants. I think it would be easier for me to admit to having, as
you say, a one-night stand, then telling her I took another woman
to the Ritz.
    Telia paid the taxi driver and extended her arm so that we
could walk arm and arm into the Ritz. She headed directly for the
restaurant as if she had been to the hotel hundred of times. The
doorman dressed in top and formal suit opened the door. On
entering the hotel, I gaped at the vast lobby as Telia dragged me
across the thick-carpeted floors to the restaurant. As we stood at
the entrance of the restaurant a
maître d' materialized.
                                 82


    “Under what name is your reservation, please?”
    “Mr and Mrs Churchill,” Telia replied as if it was true. I tried
not look surprised but I do not think we fooled the maître d'
though he gave no indication of it.
    The whole of restaurant seemed to have a golden colour:
chairs, ceiling and walls. Before I had a chance to take in the
surroundings, one waiter brought a food menu and another
brought the wine menu. I looked at the listing of wine and then
put it down after gasping at the prices.
    “Before we begin, Telia, can you kindly tell me why we are
here and why I am going to pay a fortune for dinner tonight?” She
royally waived the waiters away.
    “We are here, Mark, because Dr. Pennington believes that
someone is trying to kill you and he told me to take you to a
restaurant where no one could possible have any listening devices
– the Ritz is renowned for its security – to tell you that I am to be
your bodyguard.”
    “What? Why you, and why do I need a bodyguard?”
    “Firstly, I am very good with weapons and as you know also
an excellent fighter. Secondly, any one trying to harm you would
not believe that I could stop them whereas they would quickly
target another bodyguard the same time as you. It is very logical.”
    “But won’t Peggy also need protection.”
    “When she is at work we have someone watching her and at
home it is Nathan job to protect both of you. After all, you are
living with your own superhero!”
    “Finally, why did you choose the Ritz, surely you could have
whispered to me what you have just said without fear of being
overheard.”
    “True, you know we cannot lie to one another. I always
wanted to go here. Moreover, remember, I am doing this for
nothing. If you are worried about Peggy she already knows and I
told her I would tell her everything about the restaurant tonight.”
    The wine waiter then came. “Would you like to order from
any of our wines, sir?”
                                  83


     “Mark, what do you say we have a bottle of Champaign?” I
opened my mouth but decided if Peggy knew, well why not order
it. After that, I decided to ignore the whole issue of prices and
decided to enjoy myself.
     “Of course, after all it is a once in a lifetime experience eating
at the Ritz,” I said.
     “Oh Mark, you had best thoroughly studied the menu since
Peggy told me you are coming here on your wedding
anniversary.”
     “Well I guess it will be a twice in a lifetime experience.”
How has this planet corrupted us, I thought!
     “How does Professor Pennington know that someone is trying
to kill me?”
     “Our communications centre intercepted a mobile phone call
from Multiplixo here in London. Your name was mentioned as
someone who …might have an accident.”
     “They actually used my name.”
     “Not exactly. They referred to someone who was at Brighton
University that they called ‘Long-ears.’” I never had the
operation like the most Trothians so my ears were unusually long.
My long hair covered them as well as I usually kept them clipped
back.
      “After that I just sat and enjoyed the meal and tried not to
think of the price of it.”
     We did not get back too late, 11:00 pm. I was conscious of the
fact that the first meeting of Iluminado was tonight in Professor
Pennington’s suite. Before I said goodnight to Telia, I had one
question. “How can you be my bodyguard living in Hawaii?”
     “I am also coming to work on a research project at Brighton
University. So you are going to see a lot of me.”
       After saying good night to Telia, I took the lift down to my
floor, but as I opened the door, I saw that Hans Schmidt and his
friends filled the lift. I said good evening and got into the lift not
really wanting to get into any conversation with the man or his
friends.
                               84


  Hans Schmidt held a cigar in his hand the smoke engulfing the
already Closter phobic lift. “Mark Vararrif I hear you are still
spreading rumours that Zarkoff is still alive. It is all nonsense
about Zarkoff and his association with Multiplixo Robots.”
  Then without thinking, I turned to him and asked him directly.
“Are you saying that you don’t believe he is alive?” He knew I
would check to see if he was telling the truth and I think he was
shocked that I would even dare to ask him.
   He did not answer the question but only responded coldly.
“Mark Vararrif you are playing a dangerous game.” He looked at
me threateningly and he and his friends left the lift.
   I did exactly what I told Frank not to do. Now, I had made
another powerful enemy. Oh, well, now at least there was no
doubt in my mind. I did need a bodyguard.
                                 85


                            Chapter 7

                             Robot Assassin
     It was too late to call Peggy, so I read the newspaper I had
bought earlier. I turned on the computer to tune into the day’s
news. The item that caught my attention was concerning
Multiplixo’s expansion in Africa. According to the paper, they
were building two factories one in South Africa and the other in
Zimbabwe. This was the last part of the world that was yet to have
the trillion pound company’s factories. They had at least one
factory in each European country, several in southeast Asia, the
USA, Canada, nine in South America, two in Russia and two in
Australia. Both Japan and China for various reasons refused their
request to build factories in their countries.
      The thought struck me that when the company completed
these factories in Africa, then they would be ready to take over the
planet having a factory in every continent. Or was I once again
becoming paranoid. The alarm on my watch indicated that it was
time to head towards the first meeting of Iluminado that would
begin in ten minutes on the tenth floor of the hotel, Professor
Pennington’s suite.
     Just as I was about to go there was a knock on the door. After
Telia’s warning, I decided to be careful. “Who is it?”
     “It’s Telia.” I had no idea what she wanted, but I knew I did
not want to be late for the meeting. I opened the door and she
stood their smiling wearing an ordinary suit nothing like the
revealing one she wore earlier in the evening.
     “Telia, I was about to go up and have a chat with Professor
Pennington.” She smiled and shook her head yes. She spoke her
reply softly:
     “I know you are, and that’s where I’m going. I’ve come to
escort you there seeing how quickly you can get into trouble.”
     “Trouble, what trouble?”
     “When you dropped me off at my room I turned on the
listening device that I placed in the lift. I wanted to make sure you
got back safely. So I heard the conversation you had with Hans
                                 86


Schmidt. It was extremely foolish on your part to ask if he
thought Zarkoff was alive. He could be a dangerous enemy.”
      “Are you always going to be watching me this closely?”
      “I’m afraid I was told by the Professor not to let you out of
my sight while we were here. That’s why I brought my suitcase.”
     “What, you can’t be serious. I mean….” I was going to have a
quite word with Professor Pennington about this situation. Before
I could say anything more she reminded me of the meeting.
     “We had better get going if we are going to be on time for the
meeting, Mark.”
     We took the lift to the twentieth floor where the Professor’s
suite was. I decided not to speak, knowing that someone could be
listening into our conversation. I certainly was not going to allow
Telia to sleep in my room – there was only a double bed.
     Before anyone was allowed into the meeting they had to
repeat a number or name: each person had a different number or
name given to them by word of mouth so there would be no
mistake that an invitation had been given. Professor Pennington
invited each person personally; he had contrived all the code
names and numbers. He gave the list of passwords to Jonathan
who was standing at the door checking each person. My password
was a number.
     “Good evening Mark and what is your pass word or number?”
     “Number 74586934526,” I responded. Jonathan checked his
list and then let me in. Telia had a word which I did not hear as I
had already entered the room.
     The room was set out especially for the meeting with twenty-
five chairs placed in a semi-circle facing three other chairs. David,
who was quietly talking to the Professor, looked extremely
distressed. I was wondering if he was upset about the response to
his demonstration. I took a seat at the back facing where the
Professor and David were sitting. It amazed me that such a large
suite often only had two occupiers surrounded in luxury. Of
course, the Penningtons had the suite to themselves when there
were no meetings there. Telia slid alongside me: I had forgotten
about her for the moment.
                                 87


    I decided to say nothing about her suggested arrangements
until after I talked to the Professor. When all the seats but one had
been filled the Professor began the meeting.
    “Welcome all to our first meeting of Iluminado. Every
meeting will start the same way to make sure no one here will
betray us; that is by giving an oath of allegiance.
    “We’ll all stand and look up so all can clearly see each other’s
auras.” It’s impossible for one Trothian to lie to another Trothian,
as their aura, which can only be detected by infrared vision, will
change colour.
    “Please make sure the person to your left and right is speaking
so that you can see what they are saying is the truth. Now, repeat
after me: I will do all in my power to help our alien community
particularly from the threat of Zarkoff and his associates who are
working for their company Multiplixo.”
     We then repeated what he had said I looked to my right where
David was standing and to my left where Telia was standing.
Neither one of their auras indicated that they were lying which
was no surprise to me.
    “My friends please sit down. The first news I have to give you
is indeed grave. David’s blue robot has been stolen and we fear
who ever did so is up to no good. Unfortunately, someone had
stolen the control to reconstruct the robots software. This would
allow the thief to use the robot any way he or she wished. In short,
we have a possible killer robot in the hotel. We have our security
staff checking all the rooms now and we should find out
something soon.”
    I was looking at the empty chair when I suddenly remembered
what Daniel Rannovich had told me. He had proof that Zarkoff
was connected with Multiplixo and he was going to tell the
Professor tonight.
    “Now on to other business. Tonight”… I suddenly shot up and
everyone looked in my direction. “What is it?” asked the
Professor.
                                 88


         “Professor Rannovich is not here. I think your security
people had better look for him immediately!” The Professor called
the security people and told him to search the Rannovichs room.
     “Mark, why are you so concerned?”
     “I’m afraid I should have told you when I came in the room.
He says he has absolute proof that Zarkoff is involved with
Multiplixo. He just received the information this morning. He was
looking for you but could not locate you.”
     A silence filled the room. Rannovich’s absence in the
knowledge of what information he had concerning Zarkoff filled
the others with the same apprehension as it did me. It was only a
minute before we received the bad news from our security people.
      “The robot is here Professor and we have disabled it but I am
afraid it was too late for Rannovich. The robot has beaten him to
death!”
      The Professor turned to David. “Where is your other robot?”
     “I locked the robot away in the basement of the hotel and
removed its power supply when I had discovered the other robot
was gone. I have the only key to the storage locker it’s in. Further,
I have disabled his CPU so there is no possibility of the robot
causing any one harm.”
     The Professor put his head down and rubbed his forehead as if
he had a terrible headache. He looked up more resolved than ever.
     “I’m afraid we must work far faster than I’ve thought. The
task for us is simply to inform and bring onboard as many good
and particularly influential people as possible. In the general
meeting, we have made light of the possibility of a robot attacking
a human or a Trothian. We can no longer do that and I fear that
our old enemy is so strong now he doesn’t care who knows that he
still lives.”
     “We still may have some surprises for him. We have, as I
speak now, a shipment of Peruvian Robots made using the latest
Trothian technology, coming to the UK and other countries. They
have been building these advanced robots for three years now and
would have produced more but they feared detection. I’ll now ask
them to put the factory on war-production level. For ladies and
                                  89


gentlemen we are at war. We will give every Trothian here and
their family replacement robots for the ones he had purchased
from Multiplixo. These will be used as weapons in this war.”
    “You have been chosen for not only your trustworthiness but
also for the leadership qualities you have shown. We have the
awesome responsibility of saving our people and the World from
Zarkoff’s domination. Your job is to convinced the non-Trothians
of this planet of the danger that they are facing. In order to do this,
we will give each a CD with the visual proof of Multiplixo’s
activity on it. You must be careful whom you show it to. If the
Multiplixo organization gets a hold of it our job will become very
difficult. Inevitably though, they will discover what we are doing.
Hopefully by then we will have gathered sufficient allies to
confront the might of Zarkoff and Multiplixo.”
    “We are going to first approach the two major powers who
have denied access to their markets: Japan and China. Our
intelligence experts have deemed them hostile to the Multiplixo
organization. You have to work independently as far as choosing
whom you are to contact. Once you‘ve chosen a target, you’re to
notify any member of my team or myself so that we can run a
computer check on your target’s background.
  He took a drink from a glass of water before he continued: “The
communication team will consist of Jonathan, Mireg and myself.
Of course we’ll have all the technical people helping us.”
   A young man I did not know raised his hand. The Professor
acknowledged him.
  “Yes, Holmes?”
   “If we gave someone our CD wouldn’t there be a great danger
that they could make copies of it and send it to others?”
  “A good question Holmes. There will only be twenty-five CD
existing at one time. They can't be copied: the encrypted software
on the CD will hopefully prevent that. Finally, any single CD will
have a life of only two weeks at the most before it degrades to an
unreadable state.”
  “You can only show your target person the CD and if he wants
to recruit others he will have to do it by word-of-mouth or have
                                90


his designated person come to you. You must never lose, misplace
or loan to anyone the CD you are to receive.
    “Besides finding your own targets, we will be asking you to
see some very influential people. Mainly those who have in the
recent past dared to question if not criticise Multiplixo. You will
be given a briefing on who the person is and what he does as well
as a few personal details and, most importantly, an excuse to see
that person.”
    “What if after showing the video the target decides not to join
us, and perhaps even inform on us?”
    “There is always this danger. That is why we must choose
carefully and never give the video away.”
    He took another sip of water and continued: “I fear there is
another problem that we must face and that is the problem of
corruption. Everyone has been on this planet long enough to
realize that some humans are easily corrupted. It seems to be a
human disease. I am afraid that it’s becoming a Trothian disease
also. Some have wondered why I didn’t insist on an oath of
allegiance in the general Hall. The reason is that, we fear, that as
many as ten percent of our people have been bribed or influenced
by Multiplixo. I don’t condemn them but I’m terribly disappointed
in this situation.”
    “Remember, think carefully before you choose a target person
and remember to let us know who it is before you approach him or
her. Now each of you will be given a CD and that will end our
meeting for tonight. Please feel free to see me if you have any
other questions.”
    I was getting up to leave when he called Telia and I over to
speak to him. “Mark we’re taking the threat on your life very
seriously. Particularly since someone has murdered Professor
Rannovich I want Telia near you at all times.” I could not say
anything to that. To be honest with myself, I am sure that Peggy
would agree with the arrangements. I decided not to tell her since
she would only worry, and besides, it would only be one night.
    As I was leaving, Frank approached the Professor. He was
nearly shouting and obviously upset. “We just can’t sit around and
                                 91


wait for them to kill us we have to do something. I stopped a short
distance away to listen to their conversation. The Professor spoke
quietly but I could just make out what he was saying.
     “Frank, I too am upset by the need to wait, but we have no
choice; they’re too strong.”

     “You can wait; I’m through with waiting.” And with that he
walked out of the room. I feared for his life. When Frank left I
realized that Telia was still right by my side.
     I gave up.
     “What side of the bed do you want?” I asked her.
     “I prefer the left if it’s all right with you.”
     “Of course. I’m always a sound sleeper.” I went back to my
room with Telia right by my side. I should have been grateful that
someone was concerned enough to be protecting me, but I rather
felt that I should be protecting her. But the threat was to kill me.
Suddenly I had to know more.”
     “Does Peggy know about this?” Telia answered
unemotionally.
     “Of course she does, Mark. She had to be warned since she
too needs protection. She’ll be escorted back and forth from her
office by a very handsome and powerfully strong Trothian.” She
emphasized ‘handsome’ to tease me no doubt.
     I smiled at her teasing. “And I have a beautiful escort so we’re
both lucky.”
     “I was wondering when you would notice that Mark
Kempton!” We made our way to what we know called our room.
Unfortunately as we were entering it together two people I knew
were walking by. They kept their heads down and pretended not
to notice. Only I could get into such situations.
     I called Peggy about fifteen minutes after we were in the room
to see if she was all right. She was asleep but happy to hear that I
was fine. Then she gave me a shock as we were hanging up. “Say
hello to Telia for me and thank her for watching out for my
favourite man.” Women seem always to be ahead of the men they
lead.
                                92


    Telia was getting ready for bed while I was reading some
reports on Multiplixo’s robot technology given to me by David. It
was interesting to note, and frightening, that their software could
be modified without the owner’s knowledge. Also amazing in a
strangely positive way was that they rarely broke down in terms of
computer malfunctions since every night they automatically run
maintenance programmes. All and all Multiplixo had complete
control of the robots and could change them at any time.
    As Telia walked out of the bathroom, she was wearing a
revealing nightly. I glance up at her from my reading pretending I
did not notice her overexposure. I thought about directly
confronting her of her intentions by asking her if she was trying to
seduce me but I decided that would definitely be a bad idea; if she
said yes then where would I be. I read for another ten minutes
before going to bed. I glanced at the bed as I was going to the
bathroom and saw her put a revolver with a silencer under her
pillow. At least her mind was on the job.
    I went into the bathroom and came out five minutes later. It
looked as if Telia was already asleep. I checked the door to see
that it was chained and the widows locked; Telia had already seen
to both. I then felt terribly tired. It had been a long day.
     It was about two in the morning that I had a clicking of the
lock on my door; someone was trying to get in! My laser gun was
at the foot of my bed. I turned to wake Telia and found it was not
necessary. She was already up and making her way to the door
revolver in hand.
     We both then heard a voice in the hall. “Bill, you idiot.
You’re trying to get in someone else’s room.”
    “Arrre you surerrrrrrrr,”Bill slurred. His friend came and
retrieved him and the hall once again became quiet.
    We both made our way back to bed but I for one could not
sleep. I started worrying about Peggy. Was she safe? I knew my
son was powerful and quick, but did he have the cunning to stop a
dedicated killer?
    Then I started to think about our mission to try and find a
reliable target as we were told to in the meeting. Most of the
                                93


people I knew worked at the University and many of them were
human. So, since I was awake anyway, I started going through my
contacts in my mind to find someone that I could trust and
perhaps could influence others.
    I thought of a bright assistant professor of experimental
physics, Paul Laurence, whose father was an MP in Surrey. The
father’s name was Tim Laurence and was know for his honestly
and frankness in dealing with people. I fell back to sleep.
    Sunday was uneventful as there was only one meeting in the
morning for all employees for Communsecure working on
research projects. I was not required to go to the meeting so I
decided to head home. Telia was near me all the morning and
insisted that she ride back with me. She had come by train from
Brighton. I happily agreed, it was nice to have company on the
long ride back. As we rode back I noticed that Telia would look
into the rear-view mirror every so often and that she carried the
gun in her bag. She was ready for action, but I hoped there would
be no need for her to use her gun.
    I delivered Telia to the flat she was renting near the seafront
and then said goodbye thanking her for protecting me. I was glad
to get home again for so many reasons. As I drove up Peggy,
unaccustomedly came up to the car to meet me particularly as it
was a cold January day. After a warn embrace we entered the
house. Surprisingly Nathan was there to greet me as I came to the
door. He usually was talking to some of his friends on his
communication centre in his room or out with his robot competing
in the back garden. I then realize why he was here to greet me and
was so attentive; he was my other bodyguard. Telia must have
called him when she went into her flat.
    “I see you are on the job Nathan. Has Telia briefed you?”
    “Yes, she has.” He said enjoying the responsibility. “It’s not
often that parents have to tell their son where they’re going.”
    “What do you mean, Nathan?”
    “Telia said that you both should tell me where you are going
other than to work. That way either Telia or I can go with you.
I’ve become a parent watcher!”
                                 94


    “Yes, well I’m sure we couldn’t have a better bodyguard than
yourself.” The though of Nathan following be everywhere I went
seemed rather stifling. I then gave him a serious look.
    “How are you going to protect us? Do you have a hidden
weapon?”
    To my shock he produced a gun that I had never seen before.
“Where did you get that and what type of gun is it?”
    “It’s a high power laser pistol. It can’t kill a human but it can
disable and even destroy a robot. That’s if you shoot towards their
eyes or optical sensors.”
    “You still haven’t told me who gave it to you.”
    “He was a tall Trothian called Jonathan. He said you knew
him. He showed me how it worked and we had a bit of target
practice in the back garden.”
    “Is it safe for your mother and me to have a little chat in the
kitchen, a kind of debriefing.” I asked permission half-jokingly
but Nathan took it seriously.
    “I think so. The windows are doubled glazed and face the back
garden so as long as the curtains are closed it should be safe.
Right then, I shall go back upstairs to my communication centre.”
    Peggy and I went into the kitchen and sat down for a chat with
a cup of coffee
    “He’s taken this quite seriously,” I said.
    “Well it sounds very serious to me. Now tell me what
happened at the meeting in London. I want to know everything–
not just an analysis of what had happened.”
    Peggy did not like me to tell what I thought of something, but
what I heard and saw so that she could make her own judgement.
Actually it was a good exercise since it forced me to look at the
facts and not my own analysis of the facts.
    I started with the details of David’s demonstration including
my interruption of it, and also Hans Schmidt’s fanatical defence of
Multiplixo. Further, I told her about Frank’s accusation that Hans
was working for Zarkoff and then I remembered my encounter
with him on the lift. I was about to tell Peggy but then stopped but
not before she knew I was holding something back.
                                 95


    “Alright Mark, what are you not telling me.” I had a feeling
she would use her infrared vision on me to see if I was telling the
truth. So I told her how badly I handled the encounter with Hans.
She was not pleased and she told me so.
    “Mark, why do you have to make another enemy, particularly
the most powerful Trothian on the planet.” I had no logical reply
except the lame excuse I just said what I felt. Even an
undisciplined Trothian rarely does that. We usually plan carefully
what we are going to say.
    I then told her the news of the murder of Professor Rannovich
that, thankfully, she already knew. She was upset for David since
his robot that killed the professor.
    “What are we going to do to defeat Multiplixo?” She asked.
To be on the positive side I told her about the replacement robots
being produced by the Trothian community and that we would
soon have replacements for our Multiplixo robots. I also told her
our job of recruiting allies in the fight against Multiplixo via the
members of the Iluminado. She was pleased with my choice of
Paul Laurence as my first target. She had meet Paul at a university
function and found him an intelligent and forthright person as I
did.
    “If you don’t mind I’ll just check my e-mails. After all I’ve
been away a whole weekend and there must be dozen of people
who would want the benefit of my advice.” I said making my
usual jokes.
    I went upstairs and turned on my computer. There was one-
mail I was interested in getting. I queued up the incoming e-mails
according to topic since I was waiting for a reply from a Spanish
professor of marine biology who I had exchanged ideas with on
experiments with Dolphins and human interaction. His attachment
on the subject was very long so I decided to save it and read it as a
hardcopy. After saving the attachment, I decided to shut down the
computer when I noticed an urgent e-mail flashing.
       The e-mail was from Maria Sanchez; one of my students
who I had only recently discovered was posing as Tanya
                                    96


  Rusuviska’s sister the space engineer who was killed in a battle
  with Zarkoff's men. The e-mail read as follows:
   Professor Kempton,
          By now you may know that I am not Tanya's sister.
   Other's forced me say that I was. Others who I believe are
   working for Zarkoff and Multiplixo. Please come to this address
   tonight. They are after me and I need your help.
           I am living in a cottage with two other students out past
   Clamber Farm. Take
       The Down’s Road to the farm and continue one kilometre
   beyond it. It is an old pebbledash cottage surrounded by apple
   trees. It will be the first building past the farm and is on the left
   a hundred metres off the road. I will be waiting for you there.
                 Maria Sanchez.

        Clamber Farm, I was unfamiliar with the area and had never
  heard of the farm before. So I decided to ask Nathan. I remember
  something in the papers around Halloween that the house was
  haunted. I just caught him before he went out.
         “Nathan you’re not going to leave mother and I
  undefended?” I kidded him.
         “It will be just for a half-an-hour. I’m going to Bill’s house to
  help him with his maths homework.”
        “Before you go could you tell me about an old pebbledash
  cottage surrounded by apple trees off The Down’s Road?
      “All the kids at school know it. They say it's haunted. Every
Halloween some new students go out there sent by the seniors who
wait in the house to scare them.”
       “You mean no one lives there?”
       “No, not for years and no one was there last Halloween.”
       “Why do you want to know about it?”
     “Oh it just that one of my students says she lives there.” I could
tell that by the way he was looking at his watch that he wanted to
go.
97
                                  98


                               Chapter 8

                                 In Jail

    I had an uneasy feeling as I headed out to the probably deserted
cottage. I was going at night by myself to see a student who had lied
to me. Also she had mentioned Zarkoff, my constant enemy on
Earth, as the one who was threatening her. If it was true, what could
I, one person, do to help her? Zarkoff was probably one of the most
powerful men on Earth and therefore had powerful allies, ones who
no doubt could kill. I decided to call Mireg when I got to the
cottage. Perhaps he could give me some advice.
    The road to the farm and cottage was covered in gravel forcing
me to drive slowly and carefully so that the stones that were kicked
up would do minimum damage to my relatively new car. There
were no street lamps, so it was only by car lights I was able to see
anything of the road. Well off the road I passed the farm that
emitted only one small light, a faint-blue emission no doubt from a
television.
    A full moon darted in and out of scattered clouds. As I
approached the cottage, the clouds covered the moon, but just
before they did I thought I had seen some shadowy figures dart
behind the house. When the moon emerged again, the front of the
cottage looked deserted. I gave a brief thought to sneaking behind
the house to see if there was someone there, but, after some
reflection, I realized that whoever might be waiting for me would
have heard and seen me a hundreds of metres away; gravel is a good
surface to warn people of approaching cars as well as detecting
people on foot.
    I stayed in my car deciding to use my mobile to call Mireg. I
was surprised to discover that I could not get a signal. It was not
logical since I was on a relatively high part of the country that
should have good access to radio waves. Yet the phone could not
detect any! I retrieved by laser gun and set it to full charge. I
hoped that I could 'see' what was coming with my gift of foresight –
                                  99


that is my gift to see the near future. This time though, I had been
given no warning.
    I saw light coming from a room upstairs, but no one was in
sight. I locked the car and walked up the gravel pathway advertising
my arrival with each crushing step. I knocked on the door, but there
was no answer. I hit the door a little harder and it opened of its own
accord squeaking painfully. As the door opened, only blackness
greeted me. The house had a musty smell as if it had not been lived
in for some time. Could Nathan be correct that the house was
deserted?
    There was no sign of the girl. I decided to enter without
shouting ahead, just in case someone else, some agent of Zarkoff's
was there. Then the door upstairs opened and someone stood at the
top of the stairs showing only their silhouette.
     “It that you, Maria?” I asked.
     “Yes, Professor. Did you come alone?” Both her question and
the tone of her voice alerted me – this girl was not frightened. She
wanted something else.
     “You know Professor Kempton, your theories about the robots
and Zarkoff are absolutely correct.” She then coolly produced a
laser gun that she pointed at me.
    “Please drop your weapon Professor so I can safely complete
my demonstration.”
    “You would shoot me?” I asked checking if she was telling the
truth by examining her aurora.
     “Yes, Professor. And I have the laser set on maximum. It could
kill you.” She meant what she had said so I dropped my weapon.
How could I have been so careless, falling into this stupid but
deadly trap ignoring all those who were trying to protect me?
     “Why have you brought me here? Are you an agent of
Zarkoff's?”
     She ignored the question.
    “By now you know that I am not Tanya's sister. But I am a
daughter of someone you have met. I'm Nehw Leighton's daughter.
Do you remember when you last saw my father?” Her voice carried
a strong tone of accusation.
                                  100


     “Yes, he was preparing to destroy our research ship, The Sea
Lion. He tried to kill me so we fired at him. He was killed. I’m sorry
that I had to kill him. He would have killed me.”
       She walked a quarter down the stairs, her gun still in her hand.
   Her eyes filled with hate. She spat out her words.
     “My mother and I had to leave our community: we were the
family of a traitor. We had to make our way alone. I vowed
someday I would have my revenge on the man who killed my father
and here you are.”
     “I had to kill him or he would have killed me. I didn’t want to
do it.”
     “I believe you Professor. I don't think you really deserve to die.
But you see my mind has been twisted by all the suffering my
mother went through. I promised her I would revenge my father's
death. And before you say anything, yes, I know it is wrong and
even damaging to myself. But as I said, I have to do it and in my
own way.”
     “Now I have a device in my hand that can change robots that are
friendly to human and Trothian into robots that will kill” She hissed
the last two words. Her mind was beyond reasoning. My only hope
in stopping her was to disarm her but the situation became more
deadly.
     “Where did you get that device?”
     “I suppose it doesn’t make a difference if you know or not. A
recent enemy of yours gave it to me, Hans Schmidt. Now I am sure
you want to help me with my demonstration.”
      “Then you are working for Zarkoff.”
     “Of course Professor, I am continuing my father’s work. He said
Zarkoff would win and now there is not doubt that he will. He’s too
powerful for you weak-kneed peace-loving Trothians. Only the
fittest will win this battle. The ones who are willing to use
maximum power ruthlessly.”
       She paused and smiled grimly at me. “Now it is time for the
   demonstration.”
     She activated the device in her hand and then I saw them. Two
large sports robots, one on either side of me suddenly came alive
                                  101


their green eyes increasing in intensity. I had never seen robots so
large. The thick black arms of the six-foot six-inch tall robots must
have had a reach of seven feet from fingertip to fingertip.
    “Now that they are awake, I shall give my first command. Strike
the Professor.”
    Neither robot moved. The human and Trothian protection
software had not yet been overridden.
       “Now I shall strip them of their inhibitions to destroy
  Trothians and humans, and we shall see what they can do then.”
       She pressed some buttons on the device she was holding and
  the robots started to click. Slowly at first but the clicking
  increased with frequency as time went on. At the same time, their
  eyes started to glow red as if they were steeling themselves to
  attack. The robots behaved exactly as they did in David’s
  demonstration. I had little time to move. I could not simple wait
  and be destroyed by this demented girl.
       “Now, strike the Professor but don't kill him, yet.” Both robots
  turned towards me simultaneously swinging one arm in my
  direction.
    I ducked down and rolled away from the two robots. Robots
though strong and quick still had difficulty in bending down since
they lack flexibility. Therefore, I was able to elude them at least for
the moment. With my laser in hand, I ran into the dark room hoping
not to hit something on the way.
      “Find him and kill him!” I heard her shout as she ran down
stairs.
    I scanned the room with my infrared vision looking for a back
door. I could see the robots red eyes locking in on me as the headed
my way. The clicking sound of the attacking robots now turned to a
humming sound increasing in frequency. I pushed on the back door
and it only gave slightly. The second time I hit it, it gave away but
by then the robots were in striking distance.
     The girl screamed again, “Kill him!” Her command actually
slowed them down slightly as I ran through the door. I knew though
I could not out run them: the best I could do was to destroy their
visually sensors, their eyes. When I turned to fire, I was shocked to
                                  102


see they were only a metre away from me. I fired at the nearest one
only knocking out one eye. It had to stop and recalibrate the
remaining visual sensor. The second robot was now near enough to
give me a deathblow. I fired between its eyes that seemed to stop it
momentarily. And then turned towards the first.
     Amazingly, someone knocked the first robot's head and it came
flying off. The second robot turned to its new opponent who seemed
to be leading it away from me and towards the house. My infrared
vision resolution was not good enough to see who it was. The figure
ran around the house as Maria came through the back door. That
was a mistake. The robot only saw a person to destroy and before
Maria could speak, the robot gave her a fatal blow. Then it stopped.
It had killed one person as required. It was waiting for its next
command, one that would never come.
      Nathan then came from in back of the house. We both went
over to see if there was any life in Marie. One look told me that her
neck had been broken. At least now the poor girl was no longer
tormented. Then Nathan looked at me and shook his head.
     “Father why did you come out here by yourself without me and
without telling anyone where you were going?” If any of you are
parents you could only guess how odd it felt to feel guilty while
your own son was telling you off.
     “Nathan, I am totally guilty of gross stupidity. Even if I did tell
you I should have never come. How did you find me anyway?”
     “Mom told me you were on the computer so I checked your e-
mail and discover the one from your student. Also you did ask about
the old cottage and so here I am once again to save my father’s
life.”
     “We’re going to leave the robot here but we’ll take the device
that she was using to strip away the robots software. Maybe we can
learn something about it.”
     “Shouldn’t we remove the robots power supply so that it won’t
harm anyone?”
     “I don’t think that is necessary but to make sure I’ll try a
command.”
     “Raise your right hand.” The robot did not move.
                                 103


    “It will only respond to Marie’s voice until it is reprogrammed.
The best thing we can do is call the police and leak to the newspaper
that a robot has killed another human. Then we’ll see what
Multiplixo does with that. Let’s go and see if we can raise the alarm
by going to Clamber Farm and getting the people living there call
the police.”
    I then changed my mind. I wanted to check for evidence before
the police came.
    “I think you should go and I’ll stay here. Put this control device
in your jacket and don’t let anyone see it until we can show it to
David.”
    “Wouldn’t the police wonder why you didn’t use your phone?”
    “Try to use yours.” Though we both had the same network
provider there might have been another reason why my phone did
not work.
    Nathan tried with no results.
     “That ‘s strange,” he said “I’m sure I used my phone here last
Halloween.”
    “Good that’s our excuse for you to go to the farmhouse. Come
back as soon as you can. The police will probably want to talk to
you to. Let’s tell them that we both came out here together because I
was worried about my student and the robots attacked us.”
    Nathan ran to his car that was about a quarter of a mile away. I
went to my car to get a torch; I wanted to have a good look around
before the police came. Maybe I could find some further proof that
Hans Schmidt was involved, but I then realized I might be playing
into their hands. The girl was not stable and therefore they must
have known that my killing could go wrong, therefore they may
have had a back up plan that they were now executing.
    The girl probably had a phone and when the robots killed me,
she would have let her comrades know. Finding the phone might be
difficult. The girl had a jacket on and I hoped that I might find a
phone in one of its pocket. I felt horrible looking through the girl’s
pockets. I was invading her privacy and she was helpless to stop me.
It was in her front pocket. I wrapped a handkerchief around my
                                 104


hand and lifted the phone out of her pocket. She suddenly moved
but it was nothing more than a delayed reaction.
    The phone was on and ready to call a number. I memorized the
number so I could call it when I got home. She must have had a
computer in the house to be able to e-mail me. I decided to go
upstairs and see if the computer was on and if there were any
messages on it that might lead to a clue as to whom she was in
contact with. The girl could have not obtained the robots on her
own. It would be asking too much to find an e-mail from Hans
Schmidt.
    Luckily the computer was still on, and there was a message on it
one, but what I saw shocked me beyond any thing I could have
imagined. It was a love letter written to me from her. It was filled
with description of lovemaking that she and I supposedly did. This
was the backup plan. If she failed to kill me, then here was evidence
and motive for why I would want to kill her. Again I was thankful
that Nathan came along. I could have deleted the message but
eventually it would be found somewhere on the hard drive. I though
of stealing the computer, but how could she have sent me an e-mail
asking me to come see her. A sinking feeling struck me: what if the
e-mail I had received came from another computer?
    I decided to leave everything as it was and just wait for the
police. I would tell them the truth, but not everything. Not what she
told me about Hans Schmidt and of course not about Zarkoff. I
wanted to keep that information to myself. I wondered if the police
would treat me as a suspect to murder.
     I would soon find out I could hear a police siren in the distance
rapidly approaching the cottage. It had come too quickly; Nathan
could not have gotten to the farm and made the call so fast. I put her
phone back in her front pocket not realizing I was leaving forensic
evidence behind.
    There were two police cars racing up the gravel road obviously
not worried about any damage from the bumpy-gravel road. I stood
near the dead girl and the robot waiting for them to come realizing
now what a stupid thing I did in coming out to see the girl. There
                                  105


were two policemen in each car. They slammed on their brakes in
front of the cottage shattering the surrounding deadly silence.
    Three of the men poured out of the car with their guns in their
hands. I forgot I had the laser gun in my hand and they surrounded
me all three pointing their guns at me.
    One shouted, “Drop your gun immediately.” I place the weapon
on the ground and then they shouted, “Put your hands in front of
you and hold them there.” I was not sure what exactly they meant so
I held my hands in front of me with the palms up clearly indicating I
had no other weapons.
    Finally the fourth man, who was very large and fat, came
lumbering back and forth like a bear out of the one of the cars. He
must have weighed twenty stones. He looked at me as if he knew
who I was. Well, whom do we have here? His jowls shook as he
spoke. I found the man repulsive and I felt the feeling was mutual
though I never had met the man before.
    “My name is Professor Kempton and I am a professor of marine
biology at Brighton University. And who are you.” I said the last as
a challenge.
    “We have a cocky one here boys.” He spat on the grass a few
inches from my shoes “Captain Morgan, my educated friend.” His
aura radiated aggressiveness as well as his body posture as he
walked up to me nearly pushing me over with his twenty stone
mass.
    “Where’s the girl?” His question shocked me. How did he know
any girl was there?
    “There’s a girl here, I said coldly. She was killed by her robot.”
His mouth curled to the side.
     “That’s your story.” He went over to look at the body of the
poor girl her head cruelly bent to the side by from the robots blow.
     “Why are you here?” As I was speaking I saw Nathan running
our way I just hoped the police officers would not deem him a threat
and shoot him.
    “The girl’s one of my student and she sent me an e-mail saying
that she was in danger. Someone called Zarkoff was after her.”
    “Why didn’t she call the police? Why did she call you?”
                                  106


    “I don’t know.” I lied. “I asked her to see me the next day but
she said she was afraid and wanted to see me immediately.”
    Nathan was now only fifty feet away from us, but the police
stopped him from coming any closer.
     “That’s my son. He was with me when the robot killed the girl.
I sent him to call the police.”
     “Do you have a mobile?”
    “Yes, but for some reason it wouldn’t work here.” His question
about the mobile told me he might know why it did not work. He
took out his mobile and turned it on. He then asked me my number
and my phone rang.
    “Well, professor it appears it’s working now. Why do you think
this robot attacked the girl? Robots are programmed not to do that
particularly since it was hers; that’s if what you say is true.”
    “I have read of incidences where robots have attacked people.
Perhaps it was a malfunction or perhaps someone manipulated it.”
    “Have you seen anyone else here or for that fact anyone else
besides your son?”
    “I thought I saw someone earlier just in front of the house.”
     One of the policemen who went into the house came out and
called to the Captain.
    “Captain could you come up stairs there something I want you
to see.” I knew now that I was in serious trouble and would no
doubt be arrested and put in jail. I had both motive, if they believed
what was on the computer, and opportunity. They would dismiss
Nathan as a witness because he was my son and would be seen as
just trying to protect me. It is frightening how circumstantial
evidence could ruined a man.
     “Well it looks like you’re in a bit of trouble professor. It
appears that you knew the victim very well – on might say
intimately. She’s a student and your married so it doesn’t look very
good no matter how you cut it. I like crimes of passion. The
perpetrators are so careless and they make the case for prosecution
look so easy.”
    He folded his hands across his enormous belly while smiling
grimly. I then noticed the ring he was wearing, a red jade stone
                                  107


mounted on a gold ring entwined by the figure of a black snake with
red slit eyes. I remember seeing something like that before but I
could not remember when. Then in came to me, such a snake like
figure was entwined around the dagger that Zarkoff use to kill
David Spegiel.
     “It obvious I didn’t kill her, the robot did and my son witnessed
it.”
     “Your son came in a second car, didn’t he? And after you were
here for… how long?”
     “I could have been here for as much as twenty minutes before he
came. It’s a good thing he did come or the robots would have killed
me. They were going wild. My son knocked one of them over the
head and I shot one of the optical sensors of the one who killed the
girl.”
     “You can tell all this down at the station. This is a murder
inquiry and if anyone asks you’re helping with those inquiries. Do
you understand what I am saying?” Again he grinned as if he was
enjoying ever minute of what he was doing. We both knew what he
was doing; he was working for Zarkoff and had no qualms of letting
me know he was. That’s why he continued to flaunt the ring with
Zarkoff’s snake in front of me. I was sure now I would be locked up
and possibly Nathan. And if we were, then we would be at the
mercy of our jailer who was an ally of my greatest enemy. I had to
get a message to Peggy who could call Professor Pennington. I felt
ashamed since once again I have put my people in danger.
     “All right boys take’em away.”
     The police put Nathan in one car and I the other. Both of our
cars were left at the cottage.
     “What about our car’s?” I asked. “Who’s going to take them
back?”
     “Our forensic people will want to check everything out. And I
just have a hunch that you won’t be needing a car for quite a while.”
      “I thought the courts determine that?”
     “That’s right Prof., but I have a good idea that with the evidence
we’ll dig up there won’t be any uncertainty who killed the girl.” He
                                   108


was telling me that he was going to plant evidence; where would he
plant it and when. I needed to talk to the Professor and quickly.
    The streets were nearly deserted when they brought Nathan and
I in. I just hoped Peggy would be as clever as Nathan and work
out…what. All she could possible figure out is that I went out to
the cottage. Then, where would she look for us? The night
policeman was an elderly gentleman who seemed surprised when
we they brought us into the station.
    They separated us in to different rooms so that they could take
down our statements. I just hope Nathan would not give anything
away. All we had to do is simply tell the truth leaving out the fact
the Zarkoff was an alien. I was privilege to have the police Captain
interviewing me. He kept on talking to me while smoking his
cigarettes and blowing the smoke in my face. The room was dark
and dingy with one dimly lit lamp, all, no doubt, for affect.
    “When did you have sex with this girl? And don’t say you
didn’t since she described clearly on her computer.”
    “I never had sex with her.”
    “Now, why were you really out there?” He kept on asking me
the same questions until I decided not to answer them any more. If
he repeated a question, I decided to say I already answered it.
    “I can keep on asking you questions all night and I just might do
that.”
    “That’s your privilege, but law requires I have a phone call and I
am asking for that now.” I said that so it would be on the tape.
    “I suppose you want to call your wife or your lawyer. I have no
objection to that, after we finish this interview.” I did not believe the
police captain knew that Nathan and I were aliens. That Nathan was
strong enough to overcome the two policemen in less than a minute
and I the police captain and the other officer in the room with me.
But we would do that only as a last resort.
    “The Captain got up. I’m going to let you think about what you
told me a little longer. I’m going to try to convince your boy to tell
the truth one way or another.”
    “Don’t worry Captain. He will tell the truth without any
prompting.”
                                 109


    “The Captain lumbered out leaving me with the one policeman
whose only job appeared to be turning the tape machine off and on.
I felt for my mobile phone and first turned on the mute and then
turned the volume down as low as it would go. I hoped my sensitive
hearing would pick up Peggy’s voice. I could hear the phone ringing
and hoped the policeman would not. I then heard Peggy answer the
phone I pulled out the phone and starting talking to Peggy.
    “I’m down in the police station Peggy. Tell Professor
Pennington.” I then turned the phone off.
    The poor policeman did not know what to do. “How did you
phone her without it making any sounds?” I told him it was already
on and I merely pushed the button to ring home. I could have done
that but I did not think to set my phone to ring home.
    “Please give me the phone.” I handed the phone to the
policeman and he looked much relieved.
    “Don’t tell the Captain you called your wife. He’ll kill me if he
knew I let you do that.”
    It was twenty minutes later that a frustrated police captain re-
entered the room.
    “I’m afraid I am not getting the answers I should be getting,
Professor. Which means I have to hold you and your son in the
station tonight. Tomorrow we will continue with the interviews after
I get a search warrant for your house and school office.”
    “Why haven’t I been allowed to call a lawyer?”
    “It’s too late. You wouldn’t want to bother anyone this time of
night. Please check the Professor in to his private accommodations,
Tony. Pleasant dreams Professor.” With that, the bear lumbered off.
     “I said nothing but was glad I had gotten through to Peggy.
While I was handing my personal possessions to the night clerk, the
phone rang. I could hear Peggy asking if Professor Kempton was
there.”
    “I’m not permitted to say who is here or who is not specifically
but we do have a son and a father and I can say no more.” Then he
hung up.
                                 110


    “I was told by the Captain to say that you weren’t here. Well I
didn’t say that you were did I.” He gave me a little smile and a
wink. I could tell he was a good man.
    “The cell was basic consisting of a little cubical for a bathroom
and a single bed. There was a small barred window in back. My cell
seemed to be isolated from any others there. The thought came to
me that anyone who wanted to harm me would have no witnesses. I
decided to meditate and not sleep, but once I relaxed my body
wanted to sleep.
    “I don’t know how long I had been sleeping when I woke with a
start. First, I was disorientated and did not know where I was. I
could hear voices whispering and what I heard did not make me feel
good.
    “We’re not to kill the clerk. Just leave him there and eventually
the drugs will wear off and he’ll wake to find one of his prisoners
dead. There’ll be no witnesses.”
                                  111


                              Chapter 9

                             Death Trap

     The voices went quiet and I could hear the two men quietly
coming towards my cell. I heard the shaking of keys and then I
could see their yellow eyes reflection the dim light from the
corridor. It brought back terrible memories of that night I was a
student jogging on the common near Brighton. Two creatures like
those coming for me now had chased me and would have killed me
if it were not for another alien, Jonathan, who saved my life. Now I
was alone and trapped in a cell with no one to help me. I knew
whatever they were going to do it would have to look like suicide.
     I would fight them the best I could but with their size and
strength in this confined space I would have little hope. I looked
around for some weapon; there was none. I even had a belt on
which would be very expedient for proving my suicide.
      “Good evening Professor Kempton. We were told you would be
here tonight. Someone you troubled a long time ago asked us to pay
you a visit.”
     “You mean Zarkoff. So he’s stupid enough to show his hand so
soon.”
     “We were told to kill you and as slowly as we could and then to
make it look like suicide. So you see we’d never will be found out.
Look, the night policeman kindly gave us the key.” I wondered if
they killed him.
     The larger of the two held up the keys and shook them. I swore
to myself I would kill one of them at least. I would not die easily. At
least their plan was to strangle me and if it was, then they have to
kill me without a weapon. As they slowly opened the cell I
frantically searched for a weapon and then I saw one. The head of
the bed was made of iron and I was determined that one of them
would feel its sting. I also was sure they had no idea that I was an
alien and I just might have enough surprise to kill one and then my
chances would be even. I backed behind the bed and threw out the
                                    112


bedclothes leaving only the frame that was made of wood slates
connect across a steel frame.
    “Watch out Pete, he going to throw the bed at us,” smirked the
larger of the two.
    “He’s a skinny one. I doubt if he could pick it up.” I decided to
pretend that the bed was almost too heavy to lift up so I made a
great deal of effort in lifting it waist high. I decided to throw it at the
bigger one and then deal with the other on I my own.
    “He can barely lift it up, poor little scrawny man. We use to be
that way didn’t we Tony.”
    There were now standing in the centre of the cell. If I waited any
longer I would be trapped. I centred myself as I had learnt in my
dekarta training. My plan was to propel the bed at the larger man,
hopefully knocking him down. Then I would use quick punches to
subdue the other. I fired the bed at the larger man who was shocked
at the speed of its propulsion. He lifted his powerful arms to deflect
the bed but the force of it knocked him over. The other man was on
me instantly his extra digit of his left hand stuck into my right arm
and his left hand grabbed for my throat. I knew I had to act quickly
before the drug that they injected in me knocked me out. You see I
had run in with these monsters before and I knew that they had
sown on their hands and extra digit that was filled with drugs.
    I lifted my knee and powered it into his groin causing him to
release me. I then tried to jump up and kick him with both feet but
by then the drug was taking effect and I found myself on the ground
losing conscientious knowing that I had lost.
    They stood over me smiling maliciously ready to hang me when
one then the other collapsed to the ground. I was just conscious
enough to see Telia holding a tranquilizing gun. After that, I went
out.
     I awoke the next morning feeling perfectly fine with no after
affects. Then the thought came, did it really happen or was it a
dream?
    I was in the cell and in the bed I had gone to sleep on. I looked
around and there was no evidence of any night visitors. I must have
been a dream. I heard footsteps coming towards my cell and keys
                                 113


jangling; it was the night policeman bringing me a small breakfast
snack. Surely, he would know something. He was carrying a tray
containing a plate with a Danish and a steaming hot cup of coffee.
     “Did you have a good sleep friend?” I carefully looked at him
to see if he had any signs of being struck or attacked. Like me, it
appeared that nothing had happened to him.
    I thought I would ask a question to see if he had remembered
anything yet avoiding arousing his suspicion.
    “It must be boring staying in this police station all night.”
    “Well as a matter of fact I rarely stay passed twelve unless of
course we have guests like we did last night.” Suddenly I panicked;
the men could have killed or taken Nathan.
    “How’s my son doing?”
    “Oh he’s doing fine. He’s playing with some computer game the
Captain let him keep. In fact both of you slept better than most
guests particularly since you’re being held because of a murder
investigation.”
    “You both have several visitors waiting for you. The first ones
are lawyers, one for you and another for your son. They’re the best
in Brighton and they’re hopping mad because you were detained
without being charged. I have an idea you’ll be out soon though. I
should warn you that the other visitors aren’t happy with you at all.
You might just want to stay locked up,” he smiled at his joke.
    His last statement made me stop worrying about whether last
night was a dream or not. I could think of several people that would
be furious with me for leaving the house by myself. Peggy would be
furious as well as Telia. Professor Pennington would also be
disappointed especially as it was he who assigned Telia as my
bodyguard.
    They led my lawyer to my cell. He was a short fat man with a
large warm smile. He shook my hand in a friendly fashion. My
name is Charlie Gates and I’m here to get you out of this tin can.
    Please to meet you, “My name is Mark Kempton who called …”
Before I could get my question out he started shouting at the
policeman who was locking my cell.
                                  114


     “What are you doing?” Startled, the policeman hesitatingly
answered.
     “He’s a prisoner and therefore the cell has to be locked?”
     “What’s he charged with?”
     “As far as I know he’s not charge with anything sir, he’s just
helping the Captain with enquiries.”
     “Then legally he shouldn’t be locked up. Where’s your
Captain?” The policeman looked a bit bothered.
     “He’s usually here 8:00 am sharp which makes him already an
hour late. I can’t understand it.”
     “I think I can guess where he is and what he’s doing, I said. He
either has, or is getting a court order to search my house and office
at least that’s what he said he would do.”
      “He did call about eight and asked how everything was but
seem strangely disappointed that there weren’t any problems. Then
he said that he had some business to do before he could come in,”
said the policeman.
     “You had better call him and tell him Charles Gates says he’s
already broken the law and if he doesn’t release the prisoners
immediately he’ll be in a hell of a lot of trouble.” The lawyer had a
deep gravel voice that one could not ignore.
     While the policeman went to call the Captain, I quickly
explained what had happened. I also explained about the
incriminating evidence left on the computer. It was best I thought
he knew everything.
     “So you’re saying that the young girl called you out saying
someone was trying to kill her. But then why would she have stuff
like that on her computer. It looks as if she was trying to set you up.
Why would she do that?”
     I could see that the lawyer was bright but I could I not explain
why the girl wanted not only set me up, but she wanted to kill me.
He saw my hesitation.
     “I can’t tell you everything now but I first have to talk to
Professor Pennington who will help me decide what I can say. It
may sound melodramatic but there’s more to this murder than just
                                   115


the girl. It’s a security issue for this country and if I get clearance I
will tell you all I can.”
    “Are you a government agent?”
    “I never said I was but I promise I’ll tell you all I can next time
we meet. The truth is I didn’t kill the girl; her own robot killed her
and that robot was meant to kill me. My son saw it happen. And I’m
sure the forensic evidence will bare that out.”
    “I don’t like working for someone who won’t tell me everything
since sooner or later damning evidence has a way of surfacing, but I
respect Professor Pennington and I’ll wait until you talk to him.
Right now we’re going.”
    “How about my son?”
    “Well there is not evidence at all that he was involved in any
murder so he is legally allowed to go free. I’ll wait awhile though
until Captain Morgan calls and agrees that you can go and if he
doesn’t then we’ll go anyway. I hope you’re not involved with the
MI5 or MI6; it’s impossible to work with them.”
    “No I’m not but I’m afraid there is little I can tell you except I
mistrust Multiplixo.” I mentioned Multiplixo to see how Charlie
responded, whether he was for or against or was he indifferent.
     “You don’t think good old Multiplixo is involved in this, do
you?” He said with a tinge of sarcasm.
    “They might be. Would you be surprised?”
    “If you’re saying that the company could do something like kill
a girl or attempt to kill you then I think, off the record, it’s possible.
But you know if you went against them that they’d eat you alive.
They have tremendous power. Why do you think they might be
involved?”
    “The girl mentioned a name, Zarkoff. I believe that he is one of
the chief executives of the company but is using a different name.”
    “You sure sound like an agent to me Mark. Well have to talk
again about this and if anything you say is true then you’re in for
real trouble. But don’t worry, I’ll do the best I can for you.”
    We sat awhile in silence until the policeman came back from
talking to the Captain.
                                 116


    “Captain says he’ll let you go now, but he wants you to stay in
the vicinity so that he can question you more thoroughly later.”
    I thanked Charlie and promised to see him again. I had a good
feeling from his response that he would be a good candidate for
Iluminado. As I walked out I saw Telia, Peggy and Professor
Pennington both looking very upset. Nathan stood beside them with
his head down. I felt like a child who had done something very bad
and was about to get told off.
    Telia spoke first: “Mark Kempton what did you think you were
doing going off alone. Not only that, seeing someone who was in
trouble and even mentioning that Zarkoff was involved.”
    I had no response. “I can only apologize to you all. What I did
was irresponsible though I think we’d better talk about it in a
different place.”
    Professor Pennington drove taking Peggy as a passenger. She
said nothing but only looked at me through tear stained eyes. That
was the worst indictment I could possibly receive though I had yet
to hear Professor Pennington response. When we got in the car I
explained all I could about what had happened. Including the
description of Captain Morgan’s ring: a ring with a mounted jade
stone entwined by a black serpent with red eyes.
    “They wanted you to see the ring Mark,” said Professor
Pennington and that is not a good sign. They know we can do
nothing to directly confront them and they’re letting us know that’s
the case. We must act as quickly as we can to recruit as many allies
as we can. All the indications are that they will try to take control
before the end of the year is out.”
    He continued in the same serious manner. “We have had more
attacks by robots in the Northumberland community. Why they
have been single out we have no idea.”
    Peggy became alarmed. “Was anyone taken or hurt?”
    “I am afraid a Mr. Martin was found battered to death yesterday.
Did you know him well Peggy,” he asked gently.
    “I know all the people in our community. It isn’t very big. His
wife taught me at the local school and after school taught a class of
aliens. I’m very sorry that she has lost her husband.”
                                 117


    “Another thing she implied that Hans Schmidt was involved in
setting me up.”
    “I ‘m not surprised, Mark. He is very rich man and much of his
fortune is tied down in Multiplixo. He would lose most of it if the
company fell. It still saddens me how our people have been
corrupted here on Earth. We will have to deal with a lot of our own
people if we ever win this battle.”
    I was sitting in the back seat of the car with Peggy. I held her
had and quietly said sorry. She gave me a weak smile and
whispered. “I forgive you.”
    I wanted to ask them if they knew anything about what
happened in the night. Where there really two men who had come to
kill me? I knew now was not the time to ask the question. If they
really did come and Peggy knew nothing about it then she would be
more upset then ever knowing I they nearly killed me.
    Professor Pennington then spoke: “Mark it was a good thing you
called Peggy or you might have found yourself arrested for murder
this morning.” My attention shot back to the present.
    “Why, what happened?”
    “As soon as we heard that you were in jail and accused of a
possible murder we put small hidden cameras in your office both at
home and at work. Captain Morgan had obtained a warrant to search
both offices. We discovered his men writing in your computer and
leaving a diary that belong to the murdered girl. When he pretended
to discover the evidence, we immediately confronted him and his
men with the videotapes showing that they were planting evidence.
We made a deal on the spot for him to release you with out charge
in exchange for the tapes. We gave him the tapes but we had already
made copies that I’m sure he realizes. You were very close Mark to
ending up in prison for murder and you would have been dead if
Nathan had not come along when he did.
    We all met back at our house where our robots greeted us.
Professor Pennington was surprised to see them up and running with
no one in the house.
    “I usually send them to their storage cupboards but today I was
so upset about the police holding Mark and Nathan in jail I had
                                  118


forgotten. I’ll make some coffee and get us a bite to eat,” said
Peggy.
    Telia still was simmering from what I had done. Now that Peggy
was out of the room I had to ask her.
    “Telia did you rescue me last night while I was in my cell?”
    Professor Pennington responded first. “Mark as soon as we
discovered that you were being held by Captain Morgan we feared
for your life. We had the police station watched all night by Telia
and three other men. It was they who saved your life. But that they
would even attempt to kill you indicates that they are confident
enough to begin the take over of this planet. Another indication is
that Senor Xenoros has been seen publicly in the centre of Madrid
even though he’s suppose to be wanted by not only the Spanish
police but by other countries’ law enforcement agencies, including
Britain. Yet there has been no attempt to extradite him or arrest him.
This indicates to me that many countries’ leaders have been bought
off.”
    But then he smiled, “There is good news my friends. Our
scientists have put together the face of the new Zarkoff. The police
in Madrid discovered more sketches of the man the plastic surgeon
worked on and we are certain one of the sketches was of Zarkoff’s
new face. We were lucky to have a Trothian in the police
department who immediately made a copy of it. The original has
since mysteriously disappeared from the police files. Finally, there
is a shipment of a thousand Peruvian robots coming to the UK.
They should arrive anytime.”
    I wanted to know what my enemy looked like.
    “Do you have a copy of this sketch?”
    “Yes, Mark, but not with me. I’ll show you it when you can visit
my office. I can tell you the plastic surgeon did a remarkable job.
The new Zarkoff looks nothing like the old. He has a round almost
jolly face and looks as kind and benign as one could imagine. The
hair is black and curly and the skin is light almost white as a normal
Caucasian.”
                                  119


     I looked at Telia and apologised: “Thanks Telia for saving my
life and I’m sorry for leaving the house on my own. I promise it
won’t happen again.”
     She looked at me steadily and said:
     “Peggy gives me permission to beat you silly if you do.” She did
not smile so I took it as a direct threat.
     Peggy came back in with coffee and some doughnuts she had
purchased recently at the bakery. We were exchanging ideas on the
affects of climate change on the marine ecosystem caused by the
warming of the oceans. Storms had been increasing in strength over
the past few years and the Eastern coast of the US had been bashed
by category- seven hurricanes twice last year. The lower parts of
New Orleans had been abandoned since they were considered
impossible to protect.
     The UK was also experiencing unusually powerful storms often
hitting it in late January and early February. These freak storms had
been caused by a redirection of the jet streams. The cause of this
baffled the meteorologists and climatologists. This year once again
satellites had observed erratic behaviour of the jet stream over the
UK and were predicting a possible magnitude seven storm. No one
really thought it would happen and therefore no preparations had
been made.
     Peggy then asked the questions that no one wanted the answer
to: “What do you think will happened when Multiplixo starts to take
over this planet?”
      The Professor looked at Peggy sympathetically. “Peggy, it will
be the most frightening times of our lives. The horrible thing is that
we will not be able to affect a counter attack until the world sees
that they, Multiplixo, are a true aggressor who will stop at nothing
to gain the planets dominance. We think they’ll activate all their ten
million robots and will direct them to form an invincible army. If
we’ve the necessary things in place, then we can start our counter
attack. But the lives lost may run into the millions. It will be in
every sense of the word a World War.”
     “What can we do? I and many like me can’t just sit and wait for
it to happen.”
                                 120


    “Hopefully, within the next two weeks, we will have the
thousand Peruvian robots landed and distributed in this country.
Worldwide there will be hundred thousand robots in action. It’s
nothing compared to the ten million robots that Multiplixo can
control but these robots will be more powerful then anything we
think they have except for the few giant robots they’ve made.”
    “Giant robots,” I asked, “Where are they?”
    “They, Mark, have apparently a legitimate purpose. They used
them in factories to carry around heavy loads of parts and robots.
They stand four meters high and are armed with powerful laser.”
    Your new robots will be your weapons and all of us will be
given targets to secure. But David, Peggy’s brother, is testing what
we hope to be the most effective weapon for us.”
    Peggy looked surprised. “He never said anything to me.”
    Professor Pennington smiled. “David has perfected a transceiver
that is capable of sending out a powerful signal and receiving a very
weak signal. These are now being massed produced in a disused car
factory in Cardiff. Every alien and thousands of allies will have
them. If they work, they will disrupt the signals sent by Multiplixo
disabling their robots. Without the robots, they can be defeated.
    “So in answer to your question Peggy. You will have two robots
and possible three transceivers in your home. The hard part will be
holding back when they first attack. Then it will be our job to make
sure the world knows who is attacking it. Then you, our fellow
aliens and recruited allies will strike back.” There was hope in the
Professor voice and we all felt we once again had a chance to defeat
the enemy.
    “We have little time now so we must spend all our time
preparing our defences. At the end of the week, I’m going to China
and Japan, two countries that have not allowed Multiplixo on their
soil. Our people there have arranged for me to see the president of
both countries. We hope to convince them of the dangers caused by
Multiplixo. But I fear even a successful mission will have its
dangers. China is a formidable military power. Allowing it to attack
targets on other countries, soil may prove explosive in their own
                                  121


right. As in any war the victors will want the spoils. In this war we
only want the destruction of Multiplixo.”
    The revelations of Professor Pennington were frightening. What
would the world be like after the attack and counter attack even if
we win? We had to win yes, but we might have another battle on
our hands.
    “Professor what targets are we going to have?” I asked.
    “I would not like to say Mark. But I will tell you in two weeks
time when I return from my trip. And, if for some reason I don’t
return in time someone else will tell you.”
    Every one left our home before six o’clock. It was time for the
evening news on television. Peggy and I watched it more intently
then ever looking for any signs of the beginning of Multiplixo’s
attack. They did make the news once again tonight saying that they
had the best year ever and their profits made them clearly the
biggest company in the world. They held celebrations over the
globe with the politicians clambering to praise the most powerful
company. I thought there was really no need to for them attack with
force. If they waited another ten years, every country would be
under their financial control.
    The news noted that the company’s only competition was a
Peruvian company who made basic robot technicians used in very
repetitive processes. ‘These primitive robots were no threat to
Multiplixo,’ stated one of the executives of the company. He was a
round face made with a congenial face and dark curly hair. Could I
be looking at Zarkoff?
    I noted his name, Daniel Web, the man in charge of public
relations. Then I decided it could not be him. Zarkoff’s personality
would find it impossible to do the job of public relations. But of
course it would be the perfect cover.
    Just before going to bed, Peggy was updating what she was
doing in the clinic:
    “Saturday, an hour before the clinic had shut, two technicians
from Multiplixo came to work on the robots. I told them that there
was some kind of mistakes since I knew they were functioning
perfectly well. They insisted that there’d been a fault in our type of
                                  122


robots and that Multiplixo could either take them back to the factory
or fix them then at the clinic. They said it would take only ten
minutes and the company would not charge us anything. I checked
their paper work and it seemed OK.”
     “That’s strange. Usually when there is a fault the company first
sends us a letter and then we either have to send the robots in or
have technicians come to us to fix them.”
     Before I could say anymore, Nathan knocked on the door.
     “Come in,” I said. “I forgot to tell you that I’m off to London’s
Science Museum tomorrow and I need you to sign the permission
slip and I won’t be back until an hour after school.” We signed the
slip and by then we were tired so I did not think about the robots
used in the clinic and that was a serious mistake.
     It was the following afternoon. I had just finished my day’s
teaching not fully focussed on the subject and I found my mind
wondering about the impending attack. Professor Pennington agreed
to see me every day until his departure to China and Japan. He was
telling me about the most recent attack.
     “In the attack in Northumberland we have found out something
as to how it happened. As you know, David proved that the robots
could be transformed by an external radio signal. In the case of the
attacks there, we now believe that there had been a hardware
change.”
     “What do you mean?” I asked.
     “Those attacked had a previous visit by Multiplixo technicians
insisting that something was wrong with their machines and …
     At this point, I interrupted the Professor. “And they had to be
taken in to the factory or they could fix them on the spot.” The
Professor was amazed at my knowledge. And then I got up and
looked at my watch; it was six o’clock.” Peggy would be closing the
clinic now and would be alone with the robots.
     “Technicians from Multiplixo came during the weekend to fix
the clinic’s robots. We have to get there before she’s attacked. I
grabbed my mobile and shouted Peggy into the phone. There was
too much panic in my voice for it to work on voice recognition so I
phoned her number and set the phone to call. It rang ten times and I
                                  123


let it keep ringing as I raced towards my car. The Professor had just
phoned Telia and told her to get to the clinic as soon as possible and
come armed.
     The clinic was only two miles away, just out of Brighton, but
the roads were at a standstill because of the rush-hour traffic. We
had three lights to pass and the first one was taking over five
minutes. I wanted to get out of the car and run but we would soon
be on an open road with no speed limit and no lights so I probably
would not get to the clinic any faster by running even at Trothian
speeds.
     Finally after ten more minutes we arrived at the clinic’s front
parking lot. I ran up to the door at full speed followed by the
Professor. Peggy’s car was the only one in the car park. I was now
panicking: she should have closed the clinic by now. I rang the
doorbell; there was no response. I then took a large stone that was in
the garden for an ornament and threw it through the plate-glass
window. It shattered sending off an alarm.
      We jumped through the broken window. The only weapon we
had was a low powered laser gun that the Professor brought along; I
left my laser gun in the boot of the car. Once we were in the clinic I
shouted, “Peggy!” There was no answer. The front reception room
was a wreck; furniture was thrown everywhere. A glass mirror was
broken and two large tables had been over turned. “Peggy, I yelled
above the alarm.”
     “Mark, get the stone you had,” shouted the Professor. These
robots are more powerful than I thought.”
     I ran to get the heavy stone just as one of the robots came
whining into the reception room its eyes flashing red. It headed
straight for me and I responded with the stone to its head. It moved
quickly to the side but the stone glanced against its head causing it
to tip over. I ran across the room and picked up the stone again. The
Professor was stalling it by using the laser on its visual receptors –
its eyes. It was just rising when I once again brought the stone to
bear down on its head. This time the impact was powerful enough to
stop it. The head was completely smashed and the rest of the body
of the robot quivered as if it I had mortally wounded it.
                                  124


    Suddenly the lights went out and all we could rely on was our
infrared vision: a useful tool, but one that could only distinguish
objects by the different temperatures and the rate they emitted heat.
The robots also had infrared vision and this was a big advantage for
them since, unlike us, they radiated little heat. It was as if we were
partially blinded and any robots, if there were any left, could see
perfectly well.
                                  125


                             Chapter 10
                     Attacks in Northumberland

    “Mark, how many robots are there in the clinic?” I had no idea
since but I knew there was a least two since Peggy said the robots
needed servicing.
    “At least two Professor.”
    Then we heard a shuffling sound as if a robot was coming into
the room. Even with infrared vision we could see nothing, and if it
was a robot, its eyes were not radiating any light. It or they knew
what they were doing. They turned off the electricity and now were
hunting us down. As the shuffling noise increased, I was sure there
were at least two robots in the room ready to attack us. They came
from the examination rooms into the reception and had separated
one went to the left and the other to the right. We would be easy to
see since aliens, like humans, are mammals and radiate a great deal
of heat. We were crouching down behind a desk waiting for them to
attack. Professor Pennington pointed to the left and spoke in
Trothian at a frequency the robots could not detect.
    “Our only chance is for both of us to attack one robot at a time
together and knock it down. Then I will destroy its visual sensors
with my laser gun at close range and hopeful we can finish one
before the other attacks.
    I vaguely saw the image of a robot to our right and so did the
Professor since he shouted, “Now Mark!” We hit the robot
simultaneously knocking it on its back. The Professor put his laser
gun inches from the robot’s sensors and applied a full charge
burning them out. The other robot came crashing our way carrying
what appeared to be a large metal pipe in its hand though I could not
be certain since my infrared was not that well defined. It smashed
the pipe down inches from my head. Then a blinding light filled the
room as a police car responding to the alarm pulled into the clinic’s
car park. The robot standing over me with the pipe was for the
moment blinded by the lights. Taking advantage of its distraction, I
knocked it over. As it fell, it dropped the pipe. I picked up the pipe
and swung down on it with all my strength smashing its head.
                                   126


     By this time the police came through the broken window with
guns in hand.
     “Don’t move or we’ll have to shoot.” It was two of the
policemen I encountered at the pebble-dashed cottage where a robot
killed Marie.
     The largest of the officers spoke first, “I can’t believe it. You’re
at it again. Who’s been killed this time?” My fear for Peggy’s life
brought my anger to full force.
     “My wife is somewhere in here and I want to find her as quickly
as possible.”
     Professor Pennington spoke.
     “Gentlemen you best direct your guns elsewhere. There may be
other killer robots on the loose.”
     “Killer robots?” the smaller officer said.
     “Well robots did kill the girl up at the cottage,” said the other.”
How many of them are there?”
     “We don’t know,” I replied. “We have no time to waste. Do you
have torches?”
     “Yes”
     “Let’s go back into the consulting rooms and see if we can find
my wife.”
     The officers seemed convinced that what we said was true so
they went out of the receptions rooms into the wing containing the
consulting rooms. There were three consulting rooms. I feared what
we would find. I already imagined Peggy’s battered body on the
floor in one of the rooms. If it happened, I vowed I would take any
action to seek my revenge even though I knew any action on my
part against Multiplixo would be like an attack by a butterfly
attacking a lion, useless fluttering.
     The robots damaged the first consulting room in the same way
as the reception: they knocked down file cabinets and they pushed
over examining tables. The only compensation for me was not
seeing any blood.
     “Damn, it looks like a tornado hit this room. The robots really
did go crazy. You guys know why?”
                                  127


      “First let’s find my wife.” I once again nearly shouted. Then
  we heard some knocking down the dark hallway in the furthest
  consulting room. The two policemen aimed their guns ahead as
  they headed towards the noise. They pushed open the door only to
  reveal another damaged room. On the far side of the room was a
  closed door. I knew the room: it was where she kept special
  medicine particularly for Trothian patients. Its door was half
  battered down obviously the robots were trying to gain access to
  the room. Peggy must be in there but in what state I feared to
  imagine.
    As we headed towards the medicine room, a large robot hidden
behind the main door to the room charged swinging a metal chair.
The policemen fired their guns but the bullets only hit the chair. The
robot knocked down one of them with a chair and was about to
attack the other when I struck the robot from behind knocking it
down. Professor Pennington once again disabled their optical
sensors.
    “Peggy,” I shouted.
    “Mark, I’m in here but the door’s jammed.” She was alive and I
was very thankful. It was apparent that no human could budge the
door but Pennington and I together could probably pry it open.
While the larger policeman was helping his injured colleague, we
quickly pulled the door open. Peggy jumped out into my arms. I
gave Peggy a hug, but she looked over my shoulder at the mess the
robots had caused and anger took over her fear.
    “Look at our clinic. We’ll have to close tomorrow.”
    “Are you a doctor,” said the larger policeman. My partner’s
been hit and I can’t get him to answer me.” The larger policeman
showed a genuine concern for his partner.
    “What’s his name,” Peggy asked.
    “Bill, Bill Carter.”
    Peggy then spoke to him, “Bill, can you hear me? If you can,
open your eyes.” Then she turned to me. “Mark, it’s too dark in here
for me to examine him properly. Can you go to the reception and
see if you can turn on the lights. The relay switches are behind the
desk. Somehow the robots have shut off the lights.”
                                 128


    In a few minutes, I had the lights working – only the relays had
been opened. By then, the larger policeman and Professor
Pennington had placed Bill on a bed. Peggy was still trying to
revive him. She checked his pulse and blood pressure both were
low. He remained unconscious and therefore could have sustained
some brain injury.
    “Call an ambulance and tell them the patient is unconscious with
very low blood pressure, he may have internal bleeding and
possibly has a brain concussion.”
     The other officer called for an ambulance and then said, “I’d
better let the Captain know what’s happened.”
    Professor Pennington then said something that startled me, “I
think he already knows what’s happened here.” The big policeman
looked at him astounded.
    “What are you saying?” Mark saw a ring on your Captain. It’s
one that people who did this use as a symbol. Do you remember
seeing it?”
    “Yes, but … why would he?” The Professor spoke calmly:
     “I’m guessing but I believe you know what kind of man he is
since you work for him. We know that he told you to plant evidence
so that Mark here would be convicted of the girl’s murder up at the
cottage.”
    It was obvious that the big policeman was shocked that we knew
what they had done.
    “I didn’t want to do it, but he said it was obvious that you were
the girl’s murder. But you’re right. It’s not the first time he’s cut
corners. But I have to tell him something sooner or later.”
    “Don’t tell him that you found anyone alive or dead. See what
he says.”
    The big policeman called the Captain and told him that there
was a break-in, that robots attacked them, that they had to destroy
them and that Bill was hurt. We could hear what the Captain was
saying.
    “Mike, search the place carefully make sure you haven’t over
looked anything.” He was careful not to be too specific, but Mike
pushed him for details.
                                  129


    “What exactly are we looking for, Captain?”
    “Well for a start you best see that no one else was hurt.
Someone may have been in there when the robots went mad.”
    Mike turned off his phone. “I think he was hoping for us to find
the lady dead. I’ll wait unit he calls me. Anyway, this place needs
the forensic people to give it a thoroughly going over. This is a seen
of a serious crime; an officer was attacked and he’s seriously
injured.”
    The ambulance came and Peggy told them what she thought was
her concern about the patient. Peggy then wanted to stay and start
cleaning up the mess but I told her she had to go home. Mike said
there would be officers watching the building all night so that the
scene of the crime would not be disturbed, and he reminded us that
we were not suppose to be there anyway. He was now our ally, the
one of the first of many that we would need to defeat Zarkoff and
Multiplixo.
    Next morning I had my first meeting with Paul Laurence son of
Tim Laurence MP for Arundel and Brighton. I prayed that I could
convinced Paul that Multiplixo was a dangerous company and also
so powerful that it was presently unstoppable as long as the
company continued to give the impression that they were good for
the countries they worked in.
    Our security experts approved both Paul and his father as
candidates for Iluminado in that they had both publicly challenged
the company at one time or another on environmental issues and
had no apparent ties with it. I kept an hour open for us and only told
him that our meeting was confidential and I was sorry I could not
say anymore. I really did not know Paul, only by reputation as an
impressive research physicist and an excellent teacher. His research
field was material research and particularly non-conduction metals –
a contradiction in terms. What he was working on was the
development of a material that acted like a metal in all but
conduction. The material’s requirements were that it had to be
malleable, strong, and able to be moulded into thin layers of various
shapes. This he was doing by cross-bedding non-conducting
material as a matrix for the ordinary metals. An interesting
                                 130


connection was that Multiplixo always had several of their scientists
present when Paul presented a paper on his research. It was exactly
what they were interested in. Paul, shrewdly, gave them only
enough to convince them that it was possible to construct the
material; he had not yet revealed the exact process since he just had
applied for a patent on it. He knew if the company had enough
information they could develop such a process in a week. After all,
they had the best research departments in the world. With their vast
resources, the company could pay their scientist double that of any
other company. They had already offered a job to Paul as a research
scientist for three times his assistant professor’s salary.
   I knew how important this meeting was: if I could convince him
  then hopefully he could convince his father. He came to my office
  exactly on time, 11:00 am.
    I stood to shake his hand. “Hello Paul thanks for coming to
discuss a topic I could not reveal to you. You will see why in a few
minutes.” My office was small –four metres by four metres but it
had an impressive view of the central gardens of the university that
have stately oak trees and paths winding around a central fountain
which was illuminated at night. Today my curtains were drawn.
    “It must be very hush, hush as you have your curtains drawn.”
     “Well it is but also I would first like to show you a DVD taken
in back of one of the Multiplixo buildings here in Surrey.” As his
father was a MP I knew it would have a powerful impact on him.
      “As you can see the video was taken at night.” Nothing
  happened for the first twenty seconds and then a black BMW – a
  favourite car of Multiplixo- pulled up to the back entrance. They
  pulled out of the car, his face barely visible. At his point in, the
  video I zoomed in on the man.
    “Do you recognise the man Paul?” He stood up transfixed by
what he saw.
    “It’s the MP from Brixton, Bill Grayling. He was a friend of my
father. His decomposed body was found in the Thames one month
after he’d disappeared. Why hasn’t this been shown to the police?”
                                  131


    “I asked the same thing when I was shown the video. They told
me they sent it to the police shortly after the MP disappeared. The
Police did nothing.”
    “Why not?” I then repeated the arguments about how it was
impossible to pursue Multiplixo because of their political and
economic strength. Then he became suspicious. Who is this
organization that told you this.
     “They would not tell me,” I lied. “I can’t even reveal who told
me. You can see the need for secrecy- both the government, the
police and the MI5 and MI6 are filled with Multiplixo men.”
    Paul sat down his hands in his head. “Damn you Mark, I was
really enjoying life. Everything was going so well, everything.” I
thought I would lose him at this point.
    “OK, what do you want me to do?”
    “Spread the word to anyone you think has not been sold out to
Multiplixo.” I was hoping that he would recommend his father and
he did.
    “My father would be very interested in viewing this DVD. Do
you think I could borrow it?”
    “I was told I could not lend it out. But, if you want your father
to see it, then arrange an appointment for me as quickly as possible.
We don’t know when they will make their move to take over the
planet.”
    “What, you’re kidding aren’t you.”
    The people that have given me this tape are certain it will
happen. Paul, they can directly control ten million robots.” I then
told him how this was technically possible . He was in a real state of
shock then.
    More and more the boldness of Multiplixo became apparent.
During the news that night two items demonstrated that they feared
no one. The first was the shocking news that fire destroyed the
warehouse in Birmingham housing our Peruvian robots. The
journalist was speaking with the burning warehouse in the
background.
    “The fire you can see behind me is one of the worst fires seen in
this city for years. There are fears that the warehouse’s fire will
                                  132


spread to other building in the area. Forty firemen and fifteen trucks
are fighting the flames. Witnesses said they heard an explosion
followed by the appearance of a fireball over the warehouse. The
Peruvian company, Robots Únicos, claims nothing on the site that
was explosive. The firemen have shut off the gas, which goes to the
boiler that heat the warehouse quickly after they arrived. At this
point police are not ruling out arson.”
      The journalist continued, “Robots also made the news in
another bizarre killing. A man, age about fifty years old, was
walking down a narrow London road when a construction robot
from a nearby site carrying a ten foot board accidentally struck the
man as he was passing. The robot evidently was offsite when it
happened and the owners of the Multiplixo robot had no idea why it
left the site. This is not the first death caused by a Multiplixo robot
our BAL TV has discovered fifty cases this year.” On the screen
were listed the areas where the kills took place. As I looked, I
noticed that they were places that we had communities. Multiplixo
was sending us a message.
     The announcer interviewed the London PR representative of
Multiplixo; it was the man I thought was Zarkoff.
     “Multiplixo is extremely sorry for this recent accident and send
out deepest apologies to the family of Frank Mundy.”
     Both Peggy and I gasped at the mention of his name. It was
obvious that he had gone too far and they had killed him.
     The journalist then challenged him. “Why have there been so
many incidences of robots harming and killing people in this
country?”
      The man showed a face of perfect compassion.
     “Every time a robot injuries or kills a human we fully
investigate the incident. It has happened, unfortunately, before when
someone has interfered with the robots software or hardware. Ten of
those killed were caused by interference by their owners. We like to
warn anyone who thinks he can save money by repairing or
updating his robot to please think again and don’t do it.”
     The journalist pushed further.
                                  133


     “Even if what you say is true, that still leaves forty deaths this
year.”
     “You have to put this in to perspective. There are ten million
robots in the UK and accidents with them are far less than that with
cars. Again we investigate every incident and if you who are
listening think there is anything wrong with your robots then call us
free on 008 5000300 and a technician will be at your home in one
hour.” He finished his statement once again flashing his reassuring
smile.
     Peggy and I were both upset at what we heard. She spoke first:
     “Mark, what are we going to do? The Peruvian robots were to
be are protection against Multiplixo’s. And they’ve killed Frank
Mundy, publicly and in daylight! Are they starting before we’re
ready.”
     I really did not know what to say to comfort her. She already
had her clinic destroyed by robots trying to kill her. It may be true.
The enemy at the very least was testing its power, trying to see how
far it could go.
     “I’ll talk to Professor Pennington tomorrow and see what he has
to say. Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems.” But no matter how I
looked at it, it was not good.
     It was then that the phone rang: it was, Dave, Peggy’s brother.
While she was talking on the phone, I went to the office in an effort
to prepare for a meeting with Paul’s father, Tim Laurence MP for
Arundel and Brighton who hopefully could convince people of
influence to join us when Multiplixo struck with full force. I
worried that they would hit us aliens as hard as they could first, and
I was soon to find out that they were.
     After awhile, I thought I heard Peggy sobbing downstairs and I
remembered that she was talking to David; something must have
happened. I ran downstairs to hear what she had to say. She was off
the phone and tears were running down her face. “Peggy, what’s
happened?”
     “Five people have been killed in Northumberland, two of them
women who I’ve grown up with. All five were killed by Multiplixo
robots.” I held her in my arms. They had begun their attack and we
                                  134


were their first targets. I tried to call Professor Pennington using his
normal line but all I could get was an answering-phone message.
The result was the same when I tried to call Mireg in London. I
knew what that meant and if they were targeting us, then we had
better be prepared. I would have to shut down our robots
immediately. I grabbed my laser gun and a metal pipe just against
they attacked me. The robot I approached was Peggy’s who seemed
to be working tidying up in the kitchen: it looked so innocent. As I
approached it, it answered in the usual way.
    “Good evening Master Mark. Is there anything I can get you?”
If the robot was a human it would be alarmed that I was
approaching it with a charged laser gun and a metal pipe, but
Peggy’s robot seemed oblivious to what I was carrying. Suddenly
Peggy appeared behind me.
    “Mark, what are you doing?” I felt guilty getting caught
attempting to disable her robot without her permission. I thought I
would turn Jenni that was the name of the robot, off so we would be
safe from any attacks.
    “I think she’s OK, Mark. Dave said technicians had altered the
robots that attacked our people; they weren’t changed by Multiplixo
downloading programmes into their systems.” I shyly put down my
weapons as the robot spoke to Peggy.
    “The kitchen is tidy. Peggy, is there any other job you would
like me to do?”
    “No, that will be all for tonight. Please go take a rest and
recharge your batteries.”
    “Yes, I’ll do that.” And the robot went to its storage cupboard
for the night. I was sure it gave me its usual hateful look, but that
was probably a misconception I my part.
    I went to look for Nathan to see if he had sent his robot to its
storage cupboard.
    I found him in his room working at his computer- homework he
claimed - but what I saw on the screen appeared to be a community
computer game. He did not bother to look up from the computer.
                                 135


    “Could I chat with you later. I need to get some homework
done tonight.” He was furiously writing instruction that obviously
had something to do with a game of some sort.
    “No, Nathan. This is very serious and as chief security person I
have some information for you.” He then looked up from his
computer and gave me my full attention. I then told him about the
attacks in Northumberland and my concern about his sports robot,
which, as an enemy, would be devastating. His response almost sent
me running for my pipe and laser gun.
    “Don’t worry Dad, I just had the robot repaired.” I was shocked.
    “When, by whom?”
    “I have a friend who’s done a lot of work on Multiplixo robots.
He can really fine-tune them. All that rubbish saying that only
company technicians can do it is nonsense.”
    I was relieved more than he could know that Multiplixo
technicians had not repaired his robot.
    I went up to the office and intermittingly attempted to get in
contact with Professor Pennington or Merig, their phones were
constantly engaged. In between calling them I contemplated how I
would convince Tim Laurence to join us, that’s if I every got a
meeting with him.
    Paul called twenty minutes later. He did not sound too confident
that I could convince his father. “Dad can see you tomorrow
morning at ten for a half an hour. He told me he couldn’t make any
commitments until he knew what organization you’re with. You
know the problems with terrorists and he’s worried that you might
be connected with a terrorist organization. Any way, best of luck
Mark. I believe you.”
    Well that seemed to be a good result but I was anxious to hear
from Professor Pennington or Merig to find out whether or not the
whole alien community was being attacked. I found out ten minutes
later when a strained Professor Pennington called
     me.
    “Mark, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you but I’m
afraid the news is not good. They have attacked all our
communities. People have been taken and some killed. Foolishly,
                                  136


we did not foresee that they would attack us first. We have now
started a counter attack. There’s no longer any need to pretend that
we don’t have enemies among us. We have made several arrests and
have imprisoned twenty of our own people in this country alone.”
    “What, how did you find out about them? Where are they?”
    “We’ve had to take measures that we have found very
unsatisfactory. I’m afraid we have been listening in and watching
our people for a long time. And, as you know, we don’t need a jury
to prove they’re guilty; we can just ask them. One alien cannot lie to
another.”
    “Where are these people kept?”
    “I’m not going to tell you that Mark. As far as we are concerned
as few of us as possible have been told. If too many of us knew,
then the secret might be compromised under torture. But you’ll be
pleased to know that one of those men is one who tried to kill you
and Peggy, Hans Schmidt.”
    “Did he admit to it?”
    “No, we just asked him. His response was that we would lose
the battle since they- Multiplixo and Zarkoff –had all the power.
‘You will all be killed he boasted!’
    My response was simple. ‘If they kill us, you will also die
hidden under the ground in isolation. No one will ever find you.’
And then I left him with provision for thirty days. That’s how long
we now believe it will be before Multiplixo unleashes all it’s
Power.”
    Worse things were to come with the morning news. It was so
depressing that I failed to eat my breakfast. What it proved was that
Multiplixo was not satisfied with just physical attacking us; it’s
intent was to totally vilify us. A grim commentator presented the
news.
    “Hans Schmidt, a multibillionaire, has been kidnapped by a
worldwide terrorist group calling themselves Iluminado. They are
asking for a ransom of fifty million pounds. According to the MI6
this organization has infiltrated ever government agency and aspect
of our community. It claims it has arrested two hundred members of
the group under the antiterrorist act and the government is putting
                                  137


the country under a red alert. We have activated all our security
forces to prevent further attacks. There will be a curfew for all
citizen started at 8:00 pm until six in the morning. People who need
to be working between those times will be given government
passes. Now I will take you to number 10 Downing Street where the
PM will gives us a statement.”

    “Your government has taken the draconic action of imposing a
curfew to protect you, the citizens of this country. We have struck
before the terrorist could take any action by arresting terrorists and
sympathisers; government agents have arrested two hundred of their
members and have uncovered caches of illegal weapons. We will
not give up in the face of these terrorists. Your government is taking
ever action possible to protect you and our vital industries.”
    Although he allowed no questions, one member of the press
asked one anyway.
    “What do these terrorist want?” The PM was furious that a
reporter dared ask the question.
    “I‘ve said I’ll not answer that or any other question now. We
cannot give out any information that would jeopardise our
government agents or anything that would affect the arrest and
conviction of these terrorists.”
    As the PM stomped back into number 10 a photographer took a
photo of the audacious reporter being lead away by police. It
appeared that they were suppressing even freedom of speech.
                                 138


                              Chapter 11
                       Recruiting for Iluminado

    Peggy and I were shocked at the latest news. Things looked
hopeless for us now. They, our enemies, had blocked every plan we
had in place: the robots from Peru had been destroyed; Iluminado,
our secret organization had already been exposed and accused of
being a terrorist group. Many of our people had been killed or
imprisoned – some, like Frank Mundy, publicly murdered though it
was made to look like an accident.
    Peggy turned toward me, a look of determination on her face.
    “Mark, we must not give up or ever quit fighting these monsters.
No matter what happens to me, to Nathan, to any of us. Don’t give
up. We cannot give up.”
    “I feel the same, Peggy. Even more so since I was the one who
had allowed Zarkoff to live.”
    We knew what might happen: one or all three of us could be
taken by the police, be accused as terrorist and locked away
indefinitely helpless watching Multiplixo taking over the world.
    “I’m off to see Tim Laurence and see if I can convince him that
the Multiplixo people are the real terrorists.”
    After this morning’s news I knew doing the work of Iluminado
was more dangerous than ever. I was meeting Tim in his
constituency office, a small office on Brighton’s high street. There
had been rumours in the papers that the Conservative Party, the
opposition party, would elect Tim as party leader for the next
election. Knowing that, it made me nervous since he would be
reluctant to do anything that would jeopardize his chances. The
party had not been in office for ten years now and their finances
were at an all time low. His office reflected this lack of financial
support since it had only the basic necessities for conducting
business: a desk, several folding chairs, a computer but nothing to
play my DVD on. I had brought a portable device that could play it.
He had a secretary who no doubt was a volunteer. Multiplixo
supported the Labour Party and only given small amounts to the
Conservative Party. The mistake was that the previous head of the
                                 139


party once made a slight criticism of the company – they instantly
withdrew twenty million pounds support!
    When I came in he was finishing a conversation with two
gentlemen who seemed happy with what he had to say. As they left,
they thanked him sincerely. He looked like a sincere and
trustworthy man. He towered above the two men at a height of six
feet four inches. Before he came to me, he spoke to his secretary.
    “Mary, would you kindly go up to the high street and buy me a
newspaper. I’m interested in what they are saying about this new
terrorist organization.” He gave her some money and she left.
    He then went to me and greeted me warmly his eyes on the
leaving secretary. When she left his tone was less warm and more
guarded.
     “Mr. Kempton, I’m only seeing you because my son believes
what you had told him and shown him. I have more experience in
these matters. So I’ll have to be convinced in my own way.”
    “That’s fair enough, Mr Laurence.” I used his surname since he
used mine.
    “I‘d first like to show you a DVD that has been recorded around
certain Multiplixo buildings and various time during the day and
night.”
     I only had a half an hour so I showed him the most convincing
video, the murder of Bill Grayling, Tim Laurence’s MP friend from
Brixton. After he watched his friend pulled into the building, his
face showed little emotion. I wondered if he really was his friend
and feared that Tim Laurence might belong to Multiplixo. Then he
spoke, anger and hatred rising in his voice.
    “The bastards, he was a good man. He knew too much though.”
He then turned towards me and spoke in an almost detached voice.
    “I’ve no doubt what you’ve showed me is as it appears:
Multiplixo agents killing my friend Bill Grayling. But what I’d like
to know is whom you represent, what organization.”
    I was ready for his question and my answer would tell me
immediately if he would join us or not.
                                   140


     “The organization I belong to, and want you to belong to, is
Iluminado the organization branded as a terrorist group by this
government.”
     He got up and walked around the room no doubt thinking what
he was going to say.
     “Your courageous, Mark, admitting that you belong to a group
that just has been labelled a terrorist organization. If I told the police
what you told me, they would lock you up and throw away the key.
That’s why I believe you and want to join you. You see I’ve worried
for years about Multiplixo. I’ve known several MPs who have
openly talked about gifts they received from the company in
absolute violation of our laws. they have corrupted us, Mark, more
then you know. As you have said, it is impossible to do anything
about it now. But when can we act?”
     I then told him what we expected: that Multiplixo would unleash
its robots on the citizen of countries all over the world and until that
happened nothing could be done.
     “What do you want me to do?”
     “Recruit all those MP who they have not corrupted. And then
wait until it is time to act.”
     “But how will we know?”
     “When ten million robots start attacking us. Then you can act.”
     “I have a friend in the Army. He’s a captain. He just might
prove very helpful.”
     Do you know how much time we have?”
     I really didn’t so I had to guess.” No one really knows. Probably
three months at the most.”
     When I went back to the university a student was waiting for
me. “Professor Kempton, Professor Pennington wants to see you as
soon as possible.”
     As I walked over to his office, I expected the worse. The news
had been bad all day and I now feared what the Professor would tell
me would make it worse. His secretary was not at her desk so I
knocked on his door that was usually was open this time of day.
     “Who is it?” the Professor asked.
     “Mark Kempton,” I replied.
                                  141


    “Come in Mark I’m just on the phone.” I opened the door and
went in. He motioned me to sit down. It was obvious the call was
important and he seemed impatient and agitated with whom ever he
was speaking to.
    “Please try the best you can to get me both visas. It is urgent that
I leave within the next few days.”
    I heard the voice of the man who was speaking.” You know it
usually takes a few weeks to arrange these visas, but I’ll try the best
I can. I know we’ve little time to prepare ourselves. I’ll call you
when the visas are arranged.”
    The Professor put down the phone, took off his glasses and
rubbed his head.
    “Well, Mark, as you know we’re pressed on all sides. Our
people are being either put in prison or intimidated in every country
we’re in. But our allies are growing and thanks to you we have a
valuable man in Tim Laurence who may influence many others.
    “Mark, I don’t know when I’ll be able to talk to you again. The
phone call you heard was from a friend who is trying to procure
visas for me to China and Japan. I’d planned to go a month from
now, but, as you know, our enemies have started their attack,
cleverly attacking us first. So now Mark, listen carefully, I’m telling
you everything I know before I leave you in a few days time.”.
    “The task you and those assigned to you is, as usual, dangerous.
Your enemy, Zarkoff is near. I believe you’ve seen him on
television. He’s Daniel Web one of Multiplixo’s PR executives. He
is now assigned to the Surrey Multiplixo Plant that was built on
Common ground between Epsom and Leatherhead. Only they
could’ve achieved that. We estimated that three million pounds in
bribes were handed out to local and national politicians to achieve a
result like that.”
    Zarkoff, my enemy, was going around publicly as a normal
business man. My first thought was to trap and capture him. Maybe
that was my first assignment. This prompted my question.
    “Does Zarkoff know that we are aware of his identity?”
    “I’m not sure, Mark. We’ve tried to tell as few people as
possible. It’s puzzling as he seems to go around relatively
                                  142


unprotected, but he does have a personal robot and David, who is
our robot expert, believes although it looks harmless, it is a
powerful killer. He has taken close up shots of its visual sensors, has
measured the diameter of the optical sensors, and discovered that
they’re twice as large as the normal robot and he guesses behind
those sensors is a powerful laser.”
    “Is Zarkoff my target?”
    “Yes, and no. Your target is to destroy the internal transmitter of
the Surrey plant?”
    “Oh, is that all,” I said jokingly. I knew, like everyone else that
entering a Multiplixo factory was as difficult as entering the best
guarded military installation: they were impossible to break into
with anything short of a nuclear weapon.
    “Whom will I be working with?” Professor Pennington’s reply
was not reassuring.
    “Anyone you can get to help you. Of course, you can have
Nathan and Telia but not Peggy. She’ll be needed to see to the
safety of her patients.”
    “And that’s it!” I said, dumbfounded by what he said.
    He shrugged his shoulders. “You’ll also have the full
cooperation of our security staff that is now, as we speak, are now
attempting to break into the factory’s computers including those
controlling CCT monitoring cameras. And of course any technical
help that you need.”
    “I don’t have the slightest idea how I can do what you ask. What
I believe you’re saying is that we are short of help.”
    “Precisely, Mark. There are factories all over the planet that we
must prevent them from transmitting instructions to their robots. If
we can achieve that, then we would have won. If we can’t then we
will have simply lost. Everyone who has a target must use his or her
contacts to achieve it. You might say it is an incentive to recruit in a
big way.” “You think they are going to attack soon then?”
    “I don’t know, Mark. It looks as if we had better be prepared as
quickly as possible. Our intelligence says that they are actually
planning to take over an African government. They are shipping
over robots now to Nigeria’s capital, Lagos. They’re supposed to be
                                  143


construction robots but we believe they are military robots equipped
with the latest laser weapons. We have two people in the capital
who are monitoring the situation.”
    “Do you think they’ll be able to stop them?”
    “I hope not. We need Multiplixo to show its hand as soon as
possible so the world will recognize what they are like.”
    “I feel as one of the leaders I badly misjudged what was
happening, but I still think we have a chance of defeating them. Our
people will suffer badly in this next war as will the people of the
Earth.”
    “We have no choice but to fight and do the best we can,” I
offered for myself as much as the Professor.
    “Well if you will excuse me now, Mark, I have a lot of work to
do and I’m sure you do too. Don’t fret though, tonight good news is
coming and I can assure you of a pleasant surprise.”
    “I hope so Professor. It will be a change to all the bad news we
have received.”
    The news of attacks on our community continued all day, but
surprisingly there was little of it on the ordinary news channels. I
had no further classes that day so I decided to go home. As always, I
had to let Telia know what I was doing. I had learnt my lesson as far
as venturing out on my own. We now always met Peggy if she had
to close the clinic, which was still not functioning. We made sure
the local community in Brighton knew about what had happened
and particularly naming Multiplixo responsible for the destruction
of the clinic and the robots attacking Peggy. It was a good
opportunity to give them bad publicity. They said they would send a
representative over to check the damage, but Peggy refused to wait
since she wanted to fix the clinic up as soon as possible for the good
of her elderly patients. Multiplixo did send out new robots and they
sent someone else that evening which Peggy told Telia and Me to
our astonishment.
    Telia, Peggy and I just arrived home when Peggy told her story.
She refused to tell us in the car since she was worried that there
were listening devices in the car. At home we have an electronic
device, EM sensor, which is able to detect radio signals transmitted
                                  144


from any listening device. When we got home, I suggested we have
a cup of coffee; she ran into the kitchen anxious to tell us what
happened.
     “ You know who I’ve just spoken to?” She knew we could not
possibly guess who it was, so she did not wait for an answer.
     “I spoke to Zarkoff!” I nearly dropped the kettle that I was
filling. Forgetting about the coffee ,I listened to her story.
     She told her story her eyes alight with excitement: “He didn’t
look anything like you describe him when you first met him. He
calls himself Daniel Webb, the one you saw on television.”
     “Yes, I said I thought he was Zarkoff, but how do you know he
was?” She smiled triumphantly. “I asked him”
     “What, you asked him if he was Zarkoff?” I thought I was direct
but this was unbelievable.
     “No, Mark. Give me credit for some subtlety. Let me tell you
what happened and how cleverly he has hidden his true personality.
He appeared so sensitive to my awful experience and so
compassionate I almost felt he was sincere or at least I wanted to
believe he was sincere. At first when he introduced himself, I had
forgotten that you had said Daniel Web was possibly Zarkoff’s new
identity. He spoke so kindly and sympathetically that I could not
possibly think he was this evil man.
     ‘We are shocked at what our robots have done here, Mrs
Kempton. There will be a thorough investigation I assure you and
even before that happens I’m you letting know that we have
accepted full responsibility for what has happened and we are
offering you clinic five hundred thousands pounds compensation
above any cost and damages incurred.’
     “I was deeply moved and impressed by the offer. I also was
already spending what he was offering on future purchases. Then
the thought hit me. Multiplixo may be offering the world but they
were planning to conquer it. But I thanked Mr. Web profusely and I
believe at that point he thought I was sincere since I told him what I
could buy with the money. Then I caught him off guard and that’s
when           I        asked          him          the        question.
 “Do you know my husband, Mark? You look like a friend of his.
                                 145


Perhaps you went to school with him.” Before he could reply, I
dropped my pen giving me the opportunity to check his aura with
my peripheral infrared vision. As he bent down, I knew he was
going to lie to me: his aura was a bright red.
     ‘No, perhaps I look like one of his friends. I can assure I’m not
one of his friends.’
     The way he responded made me certain. I quickly gave him the
opportunity to leave thinking that I thought he was a kind man who
had just given me a generous offer.
     ‘Thank you so much for your quick response and your generous
offer, I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you Mr. Web.’
     ‘You’ll have confirmation of my offer in the post tomorrow.’
With that he left smiling.”
     I could not respond at first knowing that the man who was
responsible for some many deaths was close to my beloved wife
pretending to be a compassionate human.
     “I think I preferred the Zarkoff of old who openly showed his
contempt to any good man or Trothian. The man you described is
like a chameleon or a shapeless serpent, evil masked as something
good.”
     “That’s not all he did, Mark. He gave me his business card and
offered to show me around the factory, as he said, ‘a privilege few
people are offered.’”
     Telia then spoke with unusual enthusiasm. “Mark, this could be
a chance to find out more about the factory and Zarkoff. Peggy
should accept his offer.”
     “What? Go in the factory where Zarkoff is. My wife.” For me, I
was horrified that he had been near Peggy, the idea that she would
actually tour a Multiplixo factory with him was, as far as I was
concerned, out of the question.
     “Mark, I agree with Telia. I might be able to find out something
about the security and the layout of the factory. What harm could it
do?”
     “He knows who you are, Peggy.” I said with emotion. “And he
knows me and he is my greatest enemy: someone who has tried to
kill you.”
                                  146


     “I’m sure Peggy knows that, Mark,” said Telia. “And he
possibly knows that we know his new identity. He’s confident that
he can get away with it so he probably won’t do anything rash.”
     Logically I knew they were right. I also knew that we all would
have to make sacrifices and I was willing to sacrifice my own life if
necessary, but not Peggy’s.
     “No, I won’t allow it.” The words came out before I knew what
I was saying. Once again, I was showing very atypical behaviour for
a Trothian.
     “Peggy, took the usual dismissive stance; hands on hips with
eyes glaring.”
     I quickly rephrased what I said. “I meant to say I don’t want you
to endanger your life; I love you too much.”
     She smiled. “Well you’re almost off the hook. But you know we
all have to do our best to beat him and his allies. We’ve no choice.”
     “Yes, I agree.” I replied lamely.
     Would I lose my wife in this last battle? I tried not to think
about it. I knew deep in my heart I would have another chance to
kill this evil man, Zarkoff, and this time I would not hesitate to do
so.
     It was just as we were about to go to bed that there was a knock
on the door. Nathan had gone to bed but Telia was up and both she
and I were armed and ready for action. So many of our people
disappeared in the night that we feared they had come for us. There
was a second knock more insistent and louder than the first.
     “Who is it?” I asked. The outside monitor was malfunctioning
and the late night visitors were just out of view. However, to my
dismay, I could make out at least four people and possible five.
     “Just a minute,” I said trying to gain some time. I motioned to
Peggy to wake Nathan and tell him the situation. She quickly went
upstairs while I went to the door again and asked in Trothian, “Who
is it?” This time the reply came reassuringly:
     “It’s Jonathan bringing something for you, Mark.”
     I opened the door and he and another Trothian came in along
with two robots. Jonathan saw the puzzled expression on my face
and began explaining.
                                  147


    “Didn’t Professor Pennington tell you we were coming?”
    “Well, yes and no. In his usual cryptic way he said I would have
a pleasant surprise tonight, but the last thing we want are more
Multiplixo robots.”
    “Well first of all these robots have been completely constructed
my aliens. They are far superior to anything Multiplixo have ever
made. And before I forget, this in Jerry, he’s a technician trained to
personalize them to you so that only you, Peggy or Nathan can
command them.”
    “Where did they come from?” I asked. “I thought all the
Peruvian robots were destroyed in the fire.”
    “That’s the good news, Mark. The robots in the warehouse in
Birmingham were just shells, junk. We just let it out that they were
our robots so that our friends at Multiplixo would think they have
the only ones.”
    “What we’re going to do is take your robots and replace them
with these. And we have little time to waste since we have ten more
deliveries tonight.”
    Nathan had just come down stairs armed and ready for action
his robot walking behind him.
    “I have a robot and I have had it four three years now. He’s
perfectly safe and knows me. He would never harm me or anyone
else.” Both Peggy and I were embarrassed at Nathan’s refusal to
change.
    Jerry looked at Jonathan and he looked at me imploringly. I then
turned to Nathan: “Nathan there is no choice in this. We have to
remove the Multiplixo robots. They can be altered to turn on us.”
    Nathan had never disobeyed me before so I was wondering if he
would do so now.
    “Let’s work on your domestic robot first. I need the voice
signatures of each one of you saying your own code word.” Nathan
was happy with this as long as his robot was not involved. While we
were working on the transfer Peggy’s robot came into the room
unannounced, I felt something was about to happen so I spoke to
her.
                                 148


    “Why are you here? Your mistress or I have not called you.”
She looked at the new robots and said, “Enemy!” Her eyes taking
on a red tint and she began humming ominously.
    Jonathan commanded the robot closest to him. “Disable robot
immediately!”
    By then Peggy’s robots was beaming a high intensity laser light
impacting on his sensors. The new robot closed down its sensors
and small reflectors dropped down in front of them. The laser beam
was reflected back to the source destroying its sensors. He happened
so quickly; Peggy’s robot remained motionless, a burnt out chunk of
metal. We all were shocked and immediately turned to Nathan’s
robot, worried that it would respond similarly. Nathan had seen
what happened to Peggy’s robot and deactivated his robot removing
the power supply. The look in his eye was as if he killed an old
friend.
    “Please, whatever you do, don’t destroy him. He has been a
companion to me for a long time.”
    “I promise you we won’t,” said Jonathan.
    When the necessary information had been programmed into the
robots it was time to test them.
    “Can we name them?” said Nathan.
    “Of course you can?”
    “You can name yours, Nathan, and Peggy can name hers.”
    “I’m going to name mine Rodriguez, after the fastest runner in
the world.”
    “And Peggy, what are you going to name your robot.” She
smile mischievously, “’mmm I’m going to name him Bill.” That
surprised me since I assumed that she would choose a girl’s name. I
asked her why she had chosen Bill. I could tell by the slight smile
on her face she was dying to tell me.
    “He’s named after a childhood sweetheart, before you, of
course.” Jonathan and Jerry smiled but it was Nathan that told me
the obvious truth.
    “Dad, William was Mum’s father’s name, my grandfather.”
    “Of course I knew that,” I said. Everyone checked my aura that
indicated I was lying.
                                 149


    Jonathan then took out four grey boxes with an array of buttons
that I had seen before.
    “I’m sure you’ll recognize these, Mark. They’re David’s
magical boxes that can disrupt signal sent by Multiplixo’s
transmitters. They can disrupt radio signals for fifty metres.”
    “Oh, I’m afraid there is some rather disturbing news. Our
communications people have picked up a signal from the edge of
our solar system. They’re convinced that a spaceship is coming
towards Earth but its origin is unknown. What is known is that this
ship is in contact with Multiplixo.”
    “What do you mean in contact with them?”
    “Our people say that they are sending and receiving signals from
the approaching space ship. We have not been able yet to decode
what they’re saying. But, as you can imagine, it can’t be good news
for us.”
                                150


                            Chapter 12
                           Trysting Place

When I went to work the next day Telia was at my side armed
with a silencer. My laser gun was in my jacket pocket. Nathan did
not carry a gun since he was going to a secondary school and with
the increase of gun crimes by young people on the rise. It seemed
to us that the very fabric of the planet’s society was been slowly
torn apart. It was bound to happen though: the gap between the
rich and the poor in almost every country had increased. People
now accepted it as an act of nature questioning less and less the
system of profit and expansion.
The areas where there was extreme poverty had become
increasingly violent. It had been know for a long time that there
was a limited amount of resources but many people felt, because
they had the money, it was their right to consume more and more
thereby taking more and more from the poor.
Terrorist groups sprung up yearly for various causes but mostly in
the very poor parts of countries. Many papers by sociologists had
proven time and time violence and poverty were sisters and where
one thrive the other did also. It was why Multiplixo, a large
powerful company, found it easy to gain allies. They brought
stability to the planet, provided jobs, built hospitals and donated to
several charities. How could any find fault with such a company.
So an outright attack on a so-called terrorist group was backed by
virtually everyone, politicians to academics who also benefited
from grants from the giant. It would not be long now until they
hunted us down and threw us in prison. It was with all these
thoughts that I was stunned to find the Professor had left for his
visit to China and Japan.
“When will he be back?” I asked Sara, his secretary. I knew any
answer given would be meaningless. I was sure the war would
start before his return.
“The only appointment he has is with the board next month. Is
there anything I can help with, Mark?”
                                151


Then she looked at me and spoke quietly. “I know where he’s
gone and why. I’ve joined with you, Mark, and to be honest I’m
not happy being part of a group that’s called a terrorist group. But
I do know what’s happening with Multiplixo. He told me if you
needed any help with anything I was to offer my assistance and
that I do gladly. He also has given me a mobile phone number that
I‘ll give you, but must only be used in an emergency.” She gave
me the number and after I carefully memorized it I torn up the
paper.
Telia looked at me and shrugged her shoulders:
“Well, Mark, it looks like you’re in charge. What do we do next?”
I knew what I needed to do and I told her:
“I’m going to recruit as many people as I can and also start
making plans to check out the Multiplixo factory in Surrey. You
could do either one of those things. But we must be careful.
Anyone turning us in will be considered a good citizen.”
I realized we have little time, perhaps days before we would be
tracked down. I decided I would use the time to recruit as many
people as I could to Iluminado. And the first person I would call
was my old friend Jimmy Toggle. His people helped me before
and they could again.
He was one of the few people outside of the University and
Trothian community I knew. I just hoped he was at his Fantasci
bookshop because I had little time to lose. I phoned only to hear
the answering phone message: “There is no one here to take your
message. Please leave your name and phone number.”
I hesitated, but then decided I had no choice:
“This is Mark, Jimmy; I need to talk to you urgently. Please call
me at 07653040202. I repeat, I need to talk to you urgently.”
The next person I wanted to call was Professor Fulton who I met
previously under unusual circumstances. He lived not far from the
University so I could see him quickly. He was a retired medical
researcher who I strongly felt would help us and since he was one
of the few people who knew that aliens were on Earth. We met in
unfortunate circumstances as he was then working with Agent
                                152


Blackburn who was recently killed by the Brighton police in an
attempt to kill my son and me.
There was another person who not only knew I was an alien but
had lived with me and that, of course, was my dear friend Sam
who I met shortly after I arrived on Earth. How each one would
help I was not sure, but if I was to take the Surrey Multiplixo plant
I would need all the help I could get.
It was also necessary to get all the technical help I could and I had
been given the number to our security people who’s main job was
to hack into other systems such as MI5, MI6 and the FBI and most
importantly Multiplixo whose security system was far harder to
penetrate than the others. The name of the security contact was
Terry Dodswell, a jolly easy- going man who never seemed
bothered even in a crisis.
Our security people had been busy in many ways. Besides
collecting enormous amounts of data from different organizations
they had prepared for us new identities in case any of us had to go
underground. We could use our new identities to purchase mobile
phones, start new bank accounts and move to a different area
without fear of being traced – that was in theory of course. I had
purchased two mobiles telling the shop assistant that one was for
business and the other for private use. I was about to call Terry
now using my new phone and new name, Bart Denver. The name
they had chosen for me sounded very American so I decided to
talk out of the side of my mouth every-so-slightly so that anyone
listening would think that I was from the other side of the
Atlantic, the USA or Canada.
I felt foolish pretending but after awhile it was like a game.
“Hi, Terry, Bart
Denver here, how’s our little deal going?” Our little deal was my
breaking into the Surrey Multiplixo building to destroy its
transmitter, the one that controlled the robots.
“Are you over here then?”
“Yes, I just crossed the ‘Big Pond’ about an hour ago.” There
was silence on the other end of the phone. I think Terry was
wondering if I was over doing it.
                                153


“Yes, good. Well the deal is coming along. We have a few men on
the inside of the project that might be helpful. There research has
taught us a lot about how there security system works, which you
might be able to adapt to our company in Chicago.
Where could I meet you so we could talk?”
“Tomorrow I’ll be at Arundel University visiting a friend. We
could meet at the pub just off Campus.”
“Do you mean the Seven Stars?” It was probably was a mistake
to mention Arundel though I felt my new identity would throw
anyone listening off.
“Yes, that’s the pub. How about meeting there for lunch about one
thirty.”
“OK see you then. I’ll need a lot of help to close this deal. I don’t
know if they’ll buy our presentation. In fact with what I have now
we’ll be lucky to get a look in.”
“Don’t worry, Bart, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.” I could
see Terry was getting into this as well. We said goodbye and I was
happy that I would be getting the best information on the Surrey
Plant as possible. And if I understood him correctly, we already
had some people working in the plant.
My new mobile rang and I knew it only could be Jimmy Toggle
since he was the only other call I made. I would have to make the
call short so that no one would connect Mark Kempton with the
new number.
“Hi, this is Jimmy, is that you Mark?”
“Listen carefully, Jimmy. Things are getting difficult here and I
cannot talk over the phone. Can you meet with me this evening in
the Pizza Express in Dorking? It will take me an hour to get there
from Arundel.”
There was a pause at the end of the phone. “Mark, it’s my night to
meet my mother. Is it that urgent?”
“It’s extremely urgent, Jimmy for you, for me and your mother.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Jimmy I have little time and I will need all the help I can get. I’ll
explain when I see you.” Again, there was a pause.
                                 154


“Of course, Mark. If you think it’s that serious I’ll tell my mother
a friend was injured and I have to see him in the hospital.”
“Thanks Jimmy. I’ll see you seven o’clock tonight.”
“Yes, OK.”       Jimmy’s enthusiasm seemed muted compared to
previous situations when he helped free some Trothians by a
demonstration outside Scotland Yard. I feared that perhaps
someone had got to him: perhaps Multiplixo’s men were holding
his mother. Then I realized I was exaggerating his lack of
enthusiasm. I could have simply caught him by surprise. After all,
he was looking forward to spending the evening with his mother.
No matter, I had to take all kinds of risks. I would not be able to
move freely for long, that I was sure. I had better call Telia and
Peggy to let them know what was happening.
I called
Telia and tried to explain who Jimmy Toggle was and why I
needed him, but she was not happy. In fact, she had arranged a
meeting with a potential recruit that night, and wasn’t pleased that
she could not go.
“Mark, are you sure this man can help you better than my contact?
He’s a corporate lawyer who always has hated Multiplixo and I’m
sure he would be a lot of use to us.”
“ I’ll go myself if it’s necessary.” I did not say it as a threat but I
was sure Jimmy would be invaluable to me when the time came
for us to move.
“Why don’t you see him tomorrow. The next person I have to see
is in Arundel and I could take Nathan with me for that.”
“OK, Mark, you’re in charge. When do you want me to come
over?”
“Can you come at five? We have to be in Dorking by seven
o’clock where we’ll meet Jimmy.”         Telia knew nothing about
Jimmy and how he had helped us in the past. In fact, if it were not
for him Zarkoff would probably have taken over a good portion of
the world already. I was in the middle of deciding when to call
Professor Fulton when my office phone rang. I was expecting
someone from the school but to my surprise, it was Mireg and he
had more bad news.
                                155


“Hello, Mark, this is Mireg. Our communications people just
intercepted a message from the large spaceship that has entered
our solar system. It’s definitely in contact with Zarkoff and he’s in
the process of offering them control of his planet.”
“Who are they and how did he know they were coming?”
“We don’t believe he knew they were coming. They were sending
signals to Earth carrying a message in Trothian giving their
intentions to take control of Earth. All Zarkoff has done is offer
him assistance in their takeover. We believe he will launch his
attack before this ship arrives. As to who they are, they have
made it plain to everyone. The ship is from Drethal and is
commanded by a man called Greliss the forth generation
descendent of Komden, the very man who had driven off our
ancestors from Drethal. We are working on how to destroy his
ship since if we don’t he will use the ship’s powerful nuclear
weapons to destroy us.”
“How much time do we have then?” After a short pause, he spoke
again.
“Mark, we have no more then three weeks, but it may even be less
than that. If I were Zarkoff, I would want the Earth conquered
before Greliss arrives preferable with ten million robots at my
command. I’ll let you know when we think Zarkoff will attack or
Terry will tell you. In other words Mark, we have little time left
but all we can do is the best we can.”
I gave him my mobile number and placed the phone down. At that
moment I felt we had no hope at all. I still had not a clue how to
break into the Surrey Multiplixo factory. And now I am told that
even if we defeat Zarkoff we have to face an even more powerful
enemy. In some ways I felt a bit of relief: with little hope of
success I could resigned myself to defeat but not without giving
my best effort to defeat these evil men.
I wondered why this spaceship had come to Earth. Had this evil
man managed to destroy Drethal, our ancestor’s first planet? We
had no one in our space ship that was now orbiting somewhere
between Jupiter and Mars and even if there were the ship was not
armed. Fortunately I chose to call Professor Fulton who I
                                156


understood was now working for MI5. It was a dangerous move
but I knew time was running out for me. He seemed to be an
intelligent and honest man even though he had once worked for
agent Blackburn.
“Hello, is this Professor Fulton?”
“Yes, who’s calling?”
“You won’t remember my name but we met when you were
working with Agent Blackburn in the Lake District.” There was
silence on the other end of the phone.
I continued hoping he would be helpful again.
“I’m the one that was tied down with the other woman in the
cabin where he was trying to prove that we were aliens. What I’m
calling for is that I need your help again.”
“In what way?” He did not sound too receptive but I pushed on.
“It’s something that I cannot discuss over the phone. Could we
meet tomorrow night about eight o’clock. I will be coming with
another woman.”
“Is it the same women you were with before?”
“No, unfortunately she was killed shortly after we left you. The
same people who killed her are trying to kill me but I need to see
you to explain the situation.”
“I don’t like the sound of this, but I do owe you something. So,
yes, but I want to chose the place we meet so no one will see us.
There’s farm outside Arundel that has been deserted for several
years. A girl was killed there. You may have read that in the
papers.” Why was he choosing this place? It had to be a horrible
coincidence or he knew something. It was where Maria Sanchez
tried to kill me. I had no desire to go there again, but if necessary.
“Ok, shall we meet there about eight o’clock.”
“Yes, that will be fine. I’ll see you there, Mark.” He then hung
up. How did he know my name? When I was held captive by
Agent Blackburn I never told him my name. And, if he knew my
name there was a good chance he knew I was there when Maria
Sanchez was killed. Was I playing the fool once again?
I made of few more phone calls on University business.
Somehow, my heart was not in any of it. What would life be like
                               157


if we lost to Zarkoff and his allies? Would the University of
Arundel even exist, and if it did, I would not be allowed to
continue working there?
It was nearly five o’clock when Telia came to my office. I was
pleased to see her and get on with the real business, but her
expression definitely had little enthusiasm. She still was not
pleased that I had cancelled her appointment with her chosen
target, the lawyer.
“ Hi Telia, it’s good to see you. I was getting tired of doing
University work. My heart’s not in it.” I then tossed the letters I
had written into the out tray.
She flashed me a smile.
“It’s still important, Mark. You’ll be teaching here once we sorted
out Zarkoff and his cronies.”
“Ah, you haven’t heard the latest news. I’ll get you up to date as
we make our way to Dorking. By the time we got to the car I had
explained about the spaceship from Drethal armed with nuclear
weapons.
“So even defeating Zarkoff would not allow us to go back to our
quiet academic lives,” I concluded.
Telia refused to have her spirits dampened.
“We’ll find some way of defeating them, Mark. Maybe you’ll get
to go into outer space again.” I had no desire to do so, but her
comment reminded me of Tanya Rusuviska who had loved to go
in space and was killed shortly after our return from outer space.
“No I don’t want to go to outer space again. I will remain on this
planet as long as I live. Besides, I have enough to do with trying
to gain access to the Surrey Multiplixo plant. Now let me explain
who Jimmy Toggle is and why I think he is important to our fight
against Multiplixo.”
I told her how I met him on a train on my way to London and his
interest in aliens. Also the remarkable story of how he met a
Trothian – who the man was I still do not know. Further I
mentioned how he was instrumental in the release of several of
our people who had been arrested by Agent Blackburn. I told her
this not telling her what he did: he was the owner of a bookshop
                                 158


called Fantasci that sold fantasy and science fiction books and
how strangely he dressed. I also told her the real reason why I
wanted him to help: he had access to hundreds of people who
would help us if we needed them. And to make my point that my
choice was the correct one, I told her how he had saved Tanya and
I when we crash-landed our spaceship in the Lake District.
“You mean you met a man on a train and then told him you were
an alien.”
“Yes, and it was a good thing that I did.”          She did not look
convinced.
“That’s very un-Trothian like.” That is something I could not
deny.
“Oh, by the way, Mark, someone has been following us for the
last fifteen minutes. The car is a light blue Ford Striker – this was
Ford’s latest sports car and it could travel fast. “It looks as if there
are two men inside.”
“ We’ll have to lose them somehow.” We were travelling on the
A 284 out of Arundel. I knew the route relatively well. The next
road we would be taking was A 29 going through Billings Hurst
and Ockley. There was a sharp turn in the road about two miles
from Ockley. If I could get them speeding fast enough they just
might overshoot the turn. I ran the idea past Telia who showed
little enthusiasm for the idea.
“Mark how are we going to make the turn at high speeds in this
car which has a much higher centre of mass and narrower wheel
base then the sports car.”
“ Ok, I was just suggesting an idea.”
“There is a place just before we enter the A 24 to Dorking. Peggy
and I use to go there for short walks out in the country when we
went to see one of Peggy’s aunts.”
“I was just thinking, Mark, they have no idea where we are going
or why. So it could be possible that you and I were having an
affair and we were going somewhere to become intimate.” The
twinkle in her eye told me that she was teasing me again. Having
an affair was the last thing on my mind though she did have a
point.
                                 159


“OK, we might be able to convince them of that, but how do we
lose them?”
“It will be dangerous, Mark. You’ll have to get very close to me.
Now all you have to do is lead me to our trysting place.”
“Trysting place? I never heard that word before.”
“It’s a place where people go to be intimate. Mostly very young
people admittedly, but also those who are having an extramarital
affair.”
“Where did you learn this?”
“All I can say Mark is that you must be from another planet.”
She even tells jokes, I thought to myself. Though Peggy has said
the same thing. I don’t read romantic novels and I never watch
romance on television. I’m sure my son Nathan would be well
aware about all this. He even has a girl friend from Earth. He says
he is not serious, but has he said that because he knows the
dangers an Earth woman would have if she would become
pregnant by a Trothian male. Such mating has caused the death of
several Earth mothers’ children as well as some of the mothers
themselves.
“Did you bring your gun with you?” I knew she did but I wanted
to be certain.
“Of course, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be doing my job.”
In some ways she reminded me of Tanya; Telia was unafraid of
using her gun. During our attack on Zarkoff’s stronghold in Spain
she had killed many men. Her gun, like Tanya’s, had a silencer.
“These people don’t give up Tania. We’re going to have to go
underground and soon. Do you have your new identity yet?”
“Qui, it is Maria Menjou. She’s a famous French actress and, I
won’t even ask if you’ve heard of her.”
“What’s Peggy’s new identity?” That was a sore subject between
Peggy and I: she refused to have one. She was not going to leave
her patients at the clinic so there was no need in having a new
identity. I told Telia this and she only shrugged her shoulders.
“If that’s her decision than you just have to accept that.”
“It’s not that easy, Telia. If they grab her and threaten to kill her to
find me what can I do?” I knew the answer before Telia said it.
                               160


“You’ll have to break off contact with her, Mark. Then she can
truly say that she’s not in contact with you, and you and I know
you’ll have to do that soon. In some ways, I feel lucky not being
attached to anyone. My decision only affects the community and
me. I don’t have to make a choice between the community and my
family – I have no family.”
There also was Nathan to worry about. I was going to take him
with us. His new name was Ron Thomas the world’s fastest
runner. I tried to dissuade him of taking the name but he was
adamant. He told me he looked it up on the Internet and there
were one thousand Ron Thomas’ in the UK alone.
“Dad, it’s a common name,” he told me. In light of the name Telia
chose, I would have looked silly objecting to his choice.
“Are they still following us?” I asked hoping for a negative
response.
“Yes, they are, Mark. How far is your turn off?"
“In about ten minutes, I replied. What is your plan?”
 “It’s very simple. Once they follow us in, we quickly turn the car
around and then shoot holes in their tyres.”
“What if they’re policemen!”
“Should we stop and ask them?” I could see we had little choice:
either we had to outrun them or, as Telia suggested stop them
from chasing us. It would be better if we did not directly attack
them. Maybe we could disable their car as I did over fifteen years
ago when Zarkoff had people following us. I simply plugged up
their muffler with a rag that eventually starved their engine of
oxygen causing it to stall.
“If we could find a way of shooting holes in their tyres without
them realizing it, then I would agree with your plan.”
It was dark when we arrived at the ‘trysting place’ though the
stars shown brilliant in the skies. We made our way towards the
car park and turned off the lights of the car.
Telia looked around to see if they were there.
“They’re parked about fifty metres away.”
I then had an idea to get them to follow us.” Let’s get out of the
car Telia and lead them on a little walk. I have a blanket, a radio
                                161


and a torch in the boot. They might get curious and follow us. I
know how to work my way around the trails and back to the car.”
We opened the car doors and the boot and closed them louder than
it was necessary. I carried the blanket and radio and Telia carried
the torch. She turned it on and flashed it my way for just enough
time for the men, if they were looking, to see what we were
carrying. They may have believed that we knew of a little cottage
tucked away the woods. In fact, there was such a cottage, a
remnant of times passed when a forester was given his dwelling
with his job.
“Telia, you walk up the path another twenty metres and wait for
me. I’ll go back and see if they’re coming.”
Using my infrared vision I went back. Luckily the men fell for our
subterfuge and both left their car no doubt their curiosity driving
them on. One of the men had a torch so there progress was easy to
follow. We have to be careful not to get to far ahead of them or
we would lose them. There was a myriad of paths twisting
through the trees.
I went back and found Telia and we walked forward keeping
ahead of our friends by about fifty metres. We finally came to the
place where the paths split in three directions. The one to our left
went back to the car park the other two went further into the
common. I turned off the light and we both raced back to the car
park using the path to our left.
Once we got to the car park, I sent Telia ahead to puncture the
tyres. I could barely hear the silenced gun from inside my car. I
then quickly started the car and reversed it. As soon as the men
heard my engine start, I knew that they would run back and try to
stop us. They also could be armed. Telia jumped in the car and we
raced away. I thought I saw a torch bobbing frantically behind us.
They would not be pleased when they discovered their tyres
where flat and if they were the police they might try to contact the
local police to stop us. Time was running out and I had a least
three more meetings before I went in hiding.
                                162



                             Chapter 13

                          Pizza Problems

 I felt exhilarated as we left the woods, but the feeling did not last
long. Who ever the men were it boded badly for us. Time was
running out. In the car was a radio receiver that we could tune to
the police transmission frequency. We listened as we made or way
to Dorking. For, if the police who had been following us, then we
would have to be careful and possibly get another car. I just hoped
it was not. I had to make contact with two more people back in
Brighton.
We made our way into Dorking and went down the one-way street
that headed to its southern end. When we saw the Pizza place I
drove past it; there was a police car in front of it.
“What are you going to do, Mark? We have to go in eventually.
“You’re right, Telia. We really don’t have any choice. I don’t
think the police are here because of us though. Still we have to be
careful. We’ll go in a sit down and order a pizza. Hopefully, we’ll
not have to do anything. Before we go in though, I think we had
better call Peggy. I’ll use my old phone. I’ve told Peggy where we
were going. So I can be cryptic. I just hope she can follow my
conversation. She should be at the clinic.”
I dialled the number wondering if I’d ever see her again. A
horrible uncertainty filled me. I was relieved to hear her voice.
“Peggy, how are you. I’m on my way to meet our friend. Can’t
talk long but I’m afraid there might be a possibility that I have to
see my American cousin tonight and won’t be able to come
home.” This was in a code that translated to: I might have to go
underground, and I may not be able to contact her again.
“Mark, I was really hoping I’d see you tonight. If you have to see
your cousin then it’s OK. I thought he wouldn’t be coming for a
while.” Peggy had difficulty hiding the tension in her voice.
“I’ll let you know later tonight. Love you.”
“I love you too.” My voice also filled with tension.
                                163


OK, Telia, let’s make our way in. She took off the safety latch of
her gun as we walked into the pizza place. We were determined
not to stare at the policeman who had to be in the restaurant but
there were none to be found. Also, Jimmy had not arrived yet
though he had fifteen more minutes.
The situation reminded me of the first time I had gone to a pizza
restaurant. I had only been on Earth for four weeks and knew little
about it. I went with Sam who had recently entered the UK as an
illegal immigrant – he still is one. When the waitress asked us for
our order then I simply told her I wanted a pizza making a special
effort to pronounce the word correctly. What I failed to realize
was that there were a dozen different pizzas on the menus with an
equal number of toppings. I was please to know that Telia had
never been in a pizza restaurant giving me a chance to display my
skills in understanding the local culture or so I thought. It had
been twenty years ago.
The pizza restaurant was a long narrow affair with booths on both
sides and the kitchen down at the far end. Rather than a person
showing us to our seats, there was a computer screen that talked!
“Good evening, how many in the party please?”
“Two,” I said with frustration. I have heard about computerized
restaurants and the very concept I found alien – yes I know I am
an alien.
“There are two seats in booth 22. You may proceed there now.”
“OK, gorgeous,” I said to see what kind of response a computer
would give to that.
“Thank you, I find you quite attractive too!”
“Mark, I had no idea that you fancied computers.”
“I don’t. I detest the whole concept of a computerized restaurant. I
was expecting something different and I’m annoyed.”
We walked to booth 22 as directed by the computer only to find in
the booth there was another computer against the wall.
“Good evening handsome, how can I serve you?”
“You talk to it, Telia. I’ve lost my appetite.”
                               164


“Well sweet heart, we would like to order a pizza.” I recalled
that’s exactly what I said almost fifteen years ago. I wondered
how the computer would respond to Telia’s questions.
“An excellent choice madam. And here is the list of the pizzas we
have on offer. Please choose from those now available.” There
was a list of twenty varieties listed by name and main types.
Maybe a computerized restaurant was not all that bad.
“You chose one, Telia, and I’ll chose one.”
“Let’s see. Ah look, Mark. They have a Hawaiian pizza. Its main
ingredient is hamburger and ham with coconut and pineapple
topping.”
“A brilliant choice madam. And you sir what do you want.”
I once again decided to give the computer a hard time:
 “ I would like a Russian pizza using bear meat and caviar for a
topping.” The computer seemed to freeze for a moment and then
came to life.
“I would not recommend such a choice, sir. For it will take about
three weeks to get the bear meat and caviar, as you probably
know, is an illegal food. Now, you have one more chance to order
from the list available.”
Damn, I a computer was putting me in my place. I decided to give
up.
“I’ll have the alien special.”
“Any particular topping or the standard bacon and mushroom.”
“Mark, are you sure you want that. It’s made from a variety of
fishes: bass, cod, and something called catfish.”
“Yes, I know my place. If I assume it will taste awful then I won’t
be disappointed.”
Unfortunately, the computer heard me.
“We never have dissatisfied customers, sir. If you want an awful
tasting pizza, then we will provide it.”
This was too much. I was close to smashing the blasted machine. I
spoke slowly and tried to make each work I said as menacingly as
possible.
                                165


“I do not want a awful tasting pizza. If I get one
I will hold you, the computer in front of me now,
responsible and I will personal destroy you.”
“He’s kidding, of course. Now is not the time to draw attention to
ones self Mark.”
I then realized how dangerous my response to my disappointment
could be and it was made even more so by the response of the
computer.
“Please remember that all conversation are stored and held for
three weeks in my memory.”
“I have just been trounced by a computer,” I said sighing and
holding my face in my hands.
It was fifteen past seven and there was still no sign of Jimmy. I
couldn’t understand it. Then it dawned on me that it was over
fifteen years ago since we had seen each other. I had changed and
he must have changed. Then there was the problem with the
booths. It was impossible to see everyone in the restaurant so I
decided to go to the washroom and try to scan the different booths
with my peripheral vision. I had only gone a few booths forward
when I saw the policeman intently talking to a young woman. He
took no notice of me as I went by and I hoped I did not look as
guilty as I felt. I was almost to the end of the booths when a head
popped out of the last one: it was a middle-aged man dressed
neatly in smart casual – ironed shirt, creased trousers and polished
shoes.
“Is that you, Mark? The man said.
“Jimmy, it is you, isn’t it?”           I could not believe this
conventionally dressed middle-aged man was Jimmy.
“Yes, it is Mark. It’s really good to see you. Are you well?”
“Yes, and yourself. You look so different.”
“Well, I have changed a lot. I’ve decided to look normal. And I’m
married now with two children.” I smiled at my friend. He looked
so content, so happy.
“Come and join us. I’ve brought a friend.” I took Jimmy over to
met Telia.
“Telia, this is Jimmy.”
                                166


“Pleased to meet you, Jimmy. You don’t look anything like Mark
described you.” I had told Telia on the way the unusual way he
used to dress. The man before me could have passed for a
respectable librarian or banker.
“Well, I did dress a bit oddly. But now that I have a wife and
children, I don’t want to appear strange.”
“I like the difference,” I said hoping that it would be taken as a
compliment.
In some ways this was the perfect place to have a private
discussion – the booths stopped anyone from hearing us. But then
there was the computer. It could ‘hear’ us or at least electronically
detect and record our voices. How could we be sure that it was
recording our conversations now?
I looked at the computer and shrugged my shoulders.
“Does it hear us?” I asked.
“No Mark, it’s obvious that you haven’t been to a computerized
restaurant. It’s illegal to record people’s private conversations and
unless you press menu, the computer doesn’t record our voices,”
said Jimmy.
“You mean that piece of junk can’t hear a word that we’re saying
now?” I said this to see if I could provoke it. There was not even a
flicker across its screen.
“It looks like you’re right, Jimmy. Now I had better tell you what
is so important.” I spoke in a low voice so the occupants of the
adjacent boots would no hear me.
We’re all in danger, every human on this planet who is not aligned
with Multiplixo Robots. And we are quickly running out of time,
and we need your help.” I explained to him what we knew about
Multiplixo even about the approaching spaceship.
“What do you want me to do?” Again, I noticed that lack of
enthusiasm but this time I was certain I knew why. I was sure it
was because he was married and had children. I understood that
and I would have to be careful of how I approached the subject of
his helping us.
“Jimmy, when I said we’re all in danger that would include your
wife and children. Zarkoff, using the company with another ally,
                                167


plans to unleash all the robots to force ever institution, every
government and citizen to obey his commands and he will have no
problem killing anyone who stops him.”
Jimmy looked down and then spoke again:
 “OK, Mark, I’ll have to trust you and I’ll try to help you, but I
haven’t been in contact with my group in a long time and I’m not
sure if I can get them to help you though I’m very close to the
leader of the group. But I would need something very convincing
before I could persuade them to follow you.”
    “I’ve thought of that. In a few days time you’ll hear about the
spaceship that has entered our solar system. This cannot be kept a
secret very long. If you tell your people that it’s coming before it
breaks into the news, then they might believe you. Remember, this
spaceship is one set on conquering this planet and those who
command it have little interest in the wellbeing of the inhabitants
of Earth”.
    “Jimmy, what I want you to do is tell your friends to be
prepared to move in front of the Multiplixo factory when I say so.
And they must bring their robots; that’s extremely important for
the plan to work.”
    “Mark, why would you want them to bring their robots with
them? Zarkoff could turn them against us,” said Telia, surprised at
my suggestion.
    “Firstly, they, Multiplixo, would feel safer if they did bring
their robots since they, as you said, would think that they could
use the robots on us. But we have David’s handy-dandy
transmitters that can disrupt and free our robots from Multiplixo’s
control. So we would end up with a small army of robots in front
of the building we want to get into.”
    “But how will we ever get into the building?” asked Jimmy.
They have the best security in the world.”
    “Our people are working on that as we speak. I’ve been told
we have people working in the building. Also we have weapons
we can use to force the main doors open.”
    “This sounds really dangerous, Mark. I don’t know if I can
convinced my people to do that.”
                                168


     “Tell them they don’t have to do anything until Multiplixo
starts its attack on Earth. When that happens they’ll be convinced
of the need to join us, and tell them about the spaceship first and
then, when they’re convinced, tell them to meet you and prepare
for Multiplixo’s attack. Hopefully, they’ll come after your
prediction of a spaceship entering the solar system comes true.
That’s the best we can do Jimmy.”
     For the next hour, we told Jimmy of the battle in Spain and
how we defeated Zarkoff over ten years ago. We then left, Jimmy
going towards London and Telia and I heading towards Brighten.
I felt better that we had made our first plans to break into the
Multiplixo factory. I hope that after I spoke to Terry Dodswell I
would feel more confident with breaking through Multiplixo’s
security controls
     Telia and I arrived back in Arundel at ten o’clock. Once Telia
was sure no one was following us, she let me drop her off at her
flat. I stayed until she was safe inside with her Peruvian robot as
protection. Unlike the Multiplixo robots, we programmed ours to
protect their owners from anything that attacked them, robots,
other Trothians or humans. I left after waiting five minutes when
she flashed her living room light on twice to let me know she had
thoroughly checked her flat. She would soon have to move in with
us so that, if we had to leave quickly, we would not have to
contact each other.
     I was looking forward to seeing Peggy since each moment
together may be our last. We all knew that millions might be
killed once the robots were unleashed so anyone of us could soon
be killed. I tried to put these negative thought out of my mind as I
opened the door to our house. Peggy usually spent the evenings
after work reading medical journals on her speciality, alien
geriatrics; there was no light on in the living room.
     I begin to panic so I called her name, “Peggy, where are you?”
At first I heard a muffled voice upstairs. I reached for my laser
gun that I always carried and started walking up the stairs.
Suddenly the bathroom door swung open and Peggy appeared
                                169


wearing a bath towel. She saw my gun and laughed: Was it one of
those days, Mark?”
    I laughed too. “I tell you after I dry you off.” I did plan to
make every moment count as I said.
    When I finished … drying her off we had a cup of coffee and
shared our experiences for the day. She was very upset when I
told her about the encounter we had with the two men at our old
‘trysting place’. She laughed when I told her I did not know what
the word meant until Telia told me. When I told her the way Telia
and I walked down the path with the blanket I could see the
humour in it. Then once again the weight of the problem hit me. I
feared for Peggy’ s life.
    “Peggy, I would feel better if you came with us when the
attack starts. I want to be with you until the end.”
    “Don’t worry about me, Mark. It’s you, Nathan and Telia who
will be in the thick of the battle. I just have to look after my
patients. And besides, I now have not two, but three Peruvian
robots to protect me. David says that one of our robots could
easily take on ten of Multiplixo’s.”
    “Well, when you put it that way, I guess I have little to worry
about.”
    “Anyway, our mutual enemy called me, Daniel Web, alias
Zarkoff and offered me the tour of the plant the day after
tomorrow.”
     “Do you really have to go into their factory? Once you’re in
side they could do anything they wanted to you.”
    “Well then, Mark. You’d have an excuse to rescue me,
wouldn’t you?”
    Before I could say anything she continued:
     “Look, Mark, what I’ll do is tell him I have a patient to see in
one hours time so I will only have forty-five minutes to take the
tour. I’m a doctor and I need to be connected to my office and
therefore I’ll ask if I can keep my mobile phone on. Do you really
think he would then try anything under those circumstances? I
believe he wants me to see things in the factory for some reason or
another and have me report back to you.”
                               170


    I was amazed at how well she had thought out the details of
this visit.
    “OK, Peggy I’ll accept that he’ll be highly unlikely that he
would try anything under those circumstances. I can see that you
can take care of your self.”
    We should have gone to bed with that thought but I needed to
catch the night news and it was not good. First there was a special
report by our top meteorologist of the possibility of a hurricane
force storm striking the UK this winter. The jet stream was
extremely erratic recently and the fact that it had lowered by two
thousand ft at times meant it could draw down some powerful
winds causing an extremely low pressure. It was only a possibility
though, but the Government had to be ready to act if it did.
    I also thought it would be a good time for Multiplixo to began
their war against us, but that would not give them an advantage
against the other countries who were not facing a serious storm.
    The next news was about Multiplixo itself. This of course was
not unusual since the company frequently was in the news every
week usually showing its kindly humanitarian face by donating
millions to one charity or another. Who could ever fault such a
wonderful company? But this time though it was showing its
nastier side: there had been weeks of protest by local people near
a Multiplixo factory in Zimbabwe who did not want the factory
near their village. The government attacked the protestors using
real bullets killing over one hundred people, including women and
children.
    In the UK, when an executive of the company was questioned
about this he replied: “Those killed were terrorists who were
attacking our company. Terrorists deserved to be shot.” Not
surprisingly, the reporter did not challenge the executive. Several
reporters had been dismissed after challenging the company in the
past. Most reporters knew this. The others were unemployed.
    The local news was both puzzling and alarming. There had
been a series of incidents indicating that a wild animal was loose
in the area of Arundel and Brighton as the newscaster said:
                                171


    “Several farmers have reported to the authorities that their
sheep have been attacked. One farmer north of Brighton claimed
that five of his sheep had been brutally killed; heads and limbs
were torn off. He showed reporters footprints of a large
carnivorous animal that, according to several expert zoologists
consulted, matched no living animal. A palaeontologist, seeing the
photo of the footprints in the paper, claimed they were similar to a
sabre-tooth tiger.
    “The police believed the whole think was a hoax until
yesterday when a man was found near death mauled by an
unknown animal. Now a full investigation is on the way. The
attack was near Clamber Farm. A woman driving by saved the
man: the car had apparently scared off the animal that she
described as an incredibly large lizard. Further, the woman
described the animal as moving mechanically, like a robot. The
man cannot be named until his family is notified. He is described
as black, short, stocky and is thought to be in his early forties.”
    “Peggy, does that sound like someone we know?”
    “The only person that sounds like that is your old friend, Sam.
But there are many people from Africa who look like him.”
    Something else was bothering me and then the name surfaced
in my mind. Clamber farm was near the pebbledash cottage where
Maria had been killed and had tried to kill me and where now
Professor Fulton asked to meet me. It sounded too much like a
coincidence to me. I was nearly killed there once. Would I be
foolish enough to go back there again?
    “Peggy, you’ll have to be particularly careful when you lock
up the clinic at night. This creature sounds dangerous.”
    “It wouldn’t come into the city, would it? It sounds like a wild
animal.” I did not want to give her my thoughts on the matter. I
would once again sound paranoid in that the mechanical
movement of the creature told me it was a robot. A robot implied
Multiplixo and Zarkoff.
    My MCD indicated that someone wanted to contact me: we
only used it now in emergencies. I quickly picked it up. It was
Jonathan and he spoke in rapid Trothian: “Mark the MI5 is
                                172


intending to arrest you within the next two days. You must come
to London. Our old house is still safe as I speak. Be careful.”
    Before I could say anything he stopped his transmission. My
time had run out.
     I told Peggy what Jonathan had said.
    “You better call Telia and tell her to come over here. You
need to be together if you have to go undercover. I tried to call her
mobile phone but it was off. I thought about using my MCD but I
knew it was best not to particularly since I had just received a
message on it.
    “I have to go over there an get her. For some reason she’s not
answering her mobile.”
    “Take Nathan and his robot with you. I’ll turn my mobile on
in case you need to contact me,” said Peggy. I pulled Nathan away
from his computer and he and his robot came with me in the car.
Large robots find it difficult to travel in a car and Nathan’s was no
exception. It was tilted over in the back seat almost half lying
down. Unlike a human of a similar size, it did not complain.
    When we arrived at her block-of-flats, I tried to phone her
again. Still there was no reply. I looked up to her widow of her
third storey flat; the curtains were closed and dim light could be
seen filtering through. I was certain something was wrong. After
extricating the robot from the back seat, we ran towards the front
of the flats. Telia gave me the numerical code for the front door. I
could get into her flat as she could get into our house. It was part
of our shared security arrangements.
    I punched in the numbers and Nathan and I raced to her flat.
The robot was still a little slow on the stairs so I left them both
behind and found myself in front of her door alone. I pulled out
my laser gun, took out the key for her flat and opened the door.
Why I did not knock, I had no idea. Telia greeted me with nothing
but her gun. It was obvious that she had just come out of the bath.
    “What are you doing here, Mark? She stood there with nothing
on, hands on her shapely hips demanding an explanation.”
    “Could you get dressed first, Nathan will be up here in a
second.” She grimaced and marched back into the bathroom. I
                                173


turned to see if Nathan had arrived and I could tell by the grin on
his face that he had been there enough to see what I had seen. I
did not ask.
     Telia came out fifteen minutes later fully dressed and
demanding an answer as to why we had invaded her flat.
     “I have to apologised for using the key rather than ringing
your doorbell. We were worried about you when you didn’t
answer your mobile. According to our security people, MI5 will
be arresting me in two-days time. We have to go undercover
before then.”
     The expression on her face changed from anger to concern.
“OK, Mark, I forgive you; so what do you want me to do?”
     “Jonathan wants us to go to the secure house in London
where, hopefully we can live with our new identities and work out
our plans for the taking of the Surrey Multiplixo factory when the
time is right: that is when Multiplixo openly attacks the
governments of the world. Since this is the case and I have less
than two days freedom as Mark Kempton, we would like you to
stay at our house starting tonight.”
     “Since you burst in, I knew I wouldn’t be going back to bed.
I’ll pack a suitcase with a week’s change of clothes. If necessary,
I’ll have to do some serious shopping in London with my new
credit card. A girl likes a challenge.”
     With that she disappeared for the next twenty minutes. Nathan
had not said a word the whole time we spoke and I realized I had
not thought about asking him, like I had his mother, whether he
really wanted to go with me.
     “Would you be ready to come with me to London, Nathan?”
     “When are we going?” He asked
     “I have two important appointments tomorrow and after that
we have to go.”
     “Yeah, I suppose I’ll be ready.” Something told me he
definitely was not ready, that is mentally.
     “Did you want to do something before went undercover?”
     “I’d like to say goodbye to a few friends. I wouldn’t tell them
where I was going or why.”
                              174


    “Don’t you mean friend, as in your girl friend, Carol
Williams.”
    “Yes, Dad. And before you say anything I know she’s a
human, but I really like her. And you liked Mum before you knew
she was an alien.”
    I could not deny what he said. I cannot even say if I would
have married Peggy if I knew she was not an alien. I never had to
make that decision.
    “I know how you feel, son. But I also know what trouble you
might be heading into. Please though, don’t tell her what’s
happening. She wouldn’t understand.”
    He knew what I said was correct but that did not make his
position any easier.
    We waited in silence for the next five minutes while Telia
packed. This was not going to be easy for any of us.
    “OK, gentlemen I’m ready.” I took her suitcase and we left
her flat.
    We were walking down stairs when a horrible scene flashed
through my mind. I stopped on the stairs and watched as a vicious
animal torn into my flesh, then Telia’s and then Nathan’s. It
happened so quickly that we had no time to defend ourselves. It
was another warning and I knew the attack would occur once we
opened the front doors of the flats. Nathan was walking ahead
towards the doors and did not notice that I had stopped. He was
opening the door as I came out of my trance.
                                 175


                               Chapter 14

                             Robot Monster
    “Nathan, don’t go out there. Close the door!” He closed them
immediately and as he did something flashed in front of them with
incredible speed and darted back into the night.
    “What is it, Mark?” asked Telia.
    “There something out there that’s terribly powerful and it’s
waiting for us. I’m not even sure our weapons will be powerful
enough to stop it.”
    “Perhaps it time to test my robot, Rodriguez?” said Nathan.
But I don’t know what command to give him.”
    “Tell him to set its laser on full power and destroy the robot
creature if it attacks me. I’ll walk out with it first. I’ll use my
laser to destroy the creatures optical sensors.”
    I said that but I wondered if I could. None of the others saw
how fast the creature could move. I knew, though, I would have
only one chance to destroy it.
    “Do you want us to go with you, Dad?”
    “No, if I’m the only target it will have to come at me. I won’t
have to worry about any of you.”
    There were lights in front of the flats that made it all the easier
for the creature to see us and us unable to see it. I knew my
infrared vision would give me little help in detecting the robot –
robots give off little heat.
    We walked slowly towards our car. I looked side to side as our
robot did. I just hoped his sound and sight sensors were better than
the creature hunting us. I was nearing the car and there still was
no sign of it. I was wondering now if I had imagined it but I was
also afraid that Nathan and Telia would follow me: they would be
easy targets and for all practical purpose unarmed.
    The attack was silence and swift. It went straight for my
throat. Rodriguez only had time to throw up its arm to defend me.
The blow from his arm only slight changed the attacker’s
trajectory but gave me the chance to shoot one of its optical
sensors. It knocked down Rodriguez and the creature had already
                                 176


turned and once again launched an attack on me. This time the
only thing that could stop it from killing me, was my low-power
laser. It leaped towards me once more with powerful-mechanical
jaws set to crush my bones. I shot again at its other optical sensor
and to my amazement the creature fell to the ground, its whole
face blown apart! I just stood there looking at the burnt out head
of the creature and stupidly looking at my gun. By the time I
regain my senses Nathan and Telia were at my side. Nathan was
the first to understand my confusion.
    “Dad, it wasn’t your laser that destroyed the creature. It was
Rodriguez. I’ve never seen such a powerful beam of energy
coming from any laser. These robots are mighty powerful.”
    I looked at the robot almost affectionately. “ Thank you
Rodriguez, you saved my life.”
    “ Only doing my job,” he replied. I swore he added a wink. I
felt for the first time we would have a chance of defeating our
enemy. We were armed with powerful robots, far more powerful
than I had known.
    I looked at the large robot-creature on the ground. It’s jaws
were two feet in length and lined with deadly metal teeth. This
creature, or something like it, most likely killed the farmer’s sheep
near Brighton and then attacked the man. I’m surprised any man
could have survived an attack from such a creature, I mean robot.
    “We have to take the thing away and make sure David has
time to examine it. It might give him some insight that would help
us in defeating Multiplixo.”
    The robot must have weighed one hundred and fifty kg and it
took both Nathan and I to carry it to the car. After putting it in the
back seat with Nathan’s robot, there was little room left for Telia.
She wisely decided to take her car. I was happy with her decision
as long as she kept within sight of us.
    Peggy came to the door as we came in. She was worried about
us since it had taken so long. We then told her about our
adventure making it sound less dramatic than it was: most wives,
including Peggy, did not want to know their husband nearly got
killed, again. I then called David and told him we would keep the
                                177


creature in the garage. He suggested, rightly so, to remove its
power source. Multiplixo might have tried to repair its circuits by
downloading software to switch some of the functions to parallel
undamaged circuits. Though from what I saw it looked as if the
robot was permanently damaged.
    Nathan’s robot, the hero of the day, looked a bit droopy.
    “May I go for a recharge,” he said.
    “Certainly Rodriguez, you deserve it,” I said. I was a bit
exhausted myself but Peggy insisted I carry Telia’s suitcase
upstairs and also help her make the bed. Now I felt I should have
told her how I was nearly killed and then she might have let me
rest a bit. When we finally went to bed I only had time to say
goodnight before I fell asleep. I had a big day tomorrow.
    I was working in my office supposedly preparing lessons. Of
course I knew I would not be teaching at all for a least a couple of
weeks or more. I kept on thinking, or I should say worrying, about
the future. Today’s possibilities for disasters was enough for any
man or alien to worry about: Peggy’s visit to the Multiplixo
factory; my meeting with our security chief, Terry Dodswell; and
finally the meeting with Professor Fulton who I had a feeling was
leading me into a trap. Other than that, the day was bright and
sunny and not very cold for a late January day.
    It was one o’clock and I needed to make my way across
Arundel University’s campus to the Seven Stars pub for my 1:30
meeting with the security chief but first I had to call Peggy for her
visit to the Multiplixo factory was from 1:30 to 2:30 the same
time as my meeting.
    I called the clinic and the clinic’s secretary answered. “Jan,
this is Mark. Is there a chance that I could talk to Peggy?”
    “She’s with our oldest patient now, Mark. The best I can do is
have her call you when she finished.”
    “OK, thanks. Oh, could you tell her to call me on my mobile
phone. The new number, she’ll know what I mean.”
    I then headed out towards the Seven Stars recalling the many
good times I had in the pub. Over the past fifteen years I
celebrated the ending of a hard term with students and staff. One
                                178


thing I would bring to Trothal, if I could go back in time, would
be the idea of a pub. They are wonderful institutions were men
and women can relax together and talk about anything: hopes,
fears and aspirations or just having fun. I wish that I were going
there for relaxation instead of a meeting with Terry Dodswell
about breaking into the most secure building in the world. I was
hoping that Terry would have some good ideas in the way of
achieving this impossible task.
     I realized, too late, that more than likely someone I knew
might be in the pub since it was what one would call a university
pub. I hoped I could stop Terry using my new identity since any
acquaintance hearing it would wonder why I was using it.
     My mind was still on Peggy. I feared for her safety and I could
see no reason why she should be going on the tour since both of
us had the same gut feeling that Zarkoff was aware that we knew
his new identity. When I was about a hundred metres from the
pub, at the edge of the campus, my mobile phone rang.
     “Mark, I’m just returning your call. Are you all right?” I
could tell that she too was worried about me and I with her.
     “Yes, I just wanted to wish you luck before you went into the
factory and to say of course to be very careful.”
     “Well If I’m captured everyone in the clinic will know about it
and I really think our mutual friend knows that.” Wisely, she did
not mention Zarkoff’s name.
     “I love you Peggy. Take care.”
     “And you too, Mark.” And then she hung up. It perhaps was
good I had a meeting now or otherwise I would be worrying about
Peggy the whole time she was in the factory.
     “I walked to the bar and ordered a drink in a normal way. Well
I like beer and I had ordered beer at the bar for over fifteen years
yet I felt I was being watched which was ridiculous. The only
other Trothian I had met at the University was Captain Phil
Grulaff who had a complete breakdown after being tortured by
Zarkoff.
     When he came, I had to introduce him as my uncle that was of
course convincing since we Trothians do look alike. So if anyone
                                179


saw me with Terry and came over that is what I decided to do, call
him uncle Terry.
     After I ordered the beer I went and sat in a corner table to wait
for him hoping that he was not delayed by traffic or something
worse. I looked around to see if anyone knew me, but at that point
I recognized no one.
     Terry Dodswell was ten minutes late and already I was
imagining him being arrested and put down some dark tunnel. I
had never met him before but he was a Trothian and therefore
would be fairly to recognize even without the pointed ears. He
finally came in – a short version of myself. He seemed to move
quickly and as he looked around, he seemed as if he was
memorizing everything he saw.
     “Uncle Terry, I’m over here.” He immediately looked my
way seemly indifferent of the fact I had called him uncle. The pub
was large and he continued his apparent scanning of everything in
it as he approached me.
     “Hello Mark, how are you. It’s been a long time.” I got up and
gave him a public hug.
     “How’s your project going?” I gave him an opening line to
play it the way he wanted to.
     “As an architect I find it fascinating. I’ve brought some
temporary plans that you might be interested in.”
     “Excellent, and how is your firm doing these days. Have they
had the usual successes in other countries?” I just wanted to know
if Communsecure was making progress with the other Multiplixo
factories.
     “It’s difficult to say, Mark. I’ve been very busy with this one
project – this one is challenging enough without worrying about
any others. Let me show you.”
     Before he could began a rather seedy human in a dark
overcoat came our way. “Hello, Mark, how’ve you been keeping
yourself?”
I’m usually very good at names and faces as most Trothians but
my memory was failing me in his case.
                                180


     “Ah you don’t recognize me; it’s probably the beard. I’m
professor Leighton your favourite physics teacher.”
     “Ah, yes professor. I do remember” – he was without doubt
the most boring human teacher I ever had. “ This is my Uncle
from London, Terry Dodswell.”
     “Please to meet you sir.”
     “What are you doing here, visiting? Are you enjoying
retirement?”
     “Yes, to both young man. I’m off in a moment to see your
head of department though I didn’t tell him I was coming. Well
nice chatting with you both.”
     I was surprised he remembered me and equally surprised that
he left so quickly. He always seemed to be looking for someone to
bore to death. I turned towards Terry and he held his finger to his
mouth and pointed to the bottom of the table were Professor
Leighton was sitting.
     “Let’s go over where there is more light to see, Mark. My
new project has a lot of detail.”
     We walked to a window seat the other side of the pub and he
quickly explained what he discovered: “ Your Professor Leighton
planted a small microphone at the bottom of the table. He was
very clumsy so much so that his eyes looked down every so
quickly. Mark, you are in a lot of danger here. You must get to
your underground house as quickly as possible.”
     “I will as soon as I meet with a Professor Fulton who I met
before. I’m asking him to join Iluminado.”
     “Mark, you do know he is working for MI5 and they are
planning to arrest you within less than two days time.” I did not
know about him working for MI5 but I felt he could be convinced.
He helped us once before and my instincts told me he would do it
again.
     “ I’ll be careful,” was all I could say.
     “I want to concentrate and use your memory to its fullest since
I’m not leaving any of the information with you.”
     “I’ll do the best I can.” Actually, neither he nor I was worried
that I could remember what he was going to tell me. Trothian had
                                181


what you might call photographic memories but in reality they
were reconstructive memories. We can quickly analysis a diagram
and then create an analogue or a mnemonic to store it in our
brains. Written work is stored similarly but the sound of the words
reinforce the memory as we translate the English into Trothian.
    “OK, Mark, here are some of the things that we’ve learnt
about the Surrey Multiplixo plant.” Here he took a diagram of the
building. Where he got it I had no idea since it would be classified
as top secret.
    “As you can see the building is made up of four layers. The
largest part of the building, and the least we know about, is
underground or basement level. Below that there is an
underground system of air vents that circulate hot and cold air
when it is needed; armed military robots, that are powerful and
dangerous, patrol these.
    “We have no proof but we believe that there are robots
standing four metres high in the basement that the company could
release at any time.” Ah, just the kind of news a man likes to
hear, I thought, when trying to break in the most secure place in
the world.
    “Any ideas how to stop these monsters?” He smiled.
    “Nope,” but I’m sure you’ll think of something. He was
obviously more confident then I.
    “Ground floor we know most about since it has a low security
access – no voiceprints or retina scans necessary. It just uses
normal identity cards with access numbers. We have two people
working in the factory who have access to this area. And in case
you’re wondering, they’re keeping an eye on Peggy.”
    “You know about her visit?” I was amazed.
    “Don’t be so surprised. She did the intelligent thing and told
us.” That was the best news I had heard in weeks. I was now
convinced what she had said was correct. She’ll be in less danger
than I. It was obvious that Peggy could take care of her self.
    Terry continued:
    “The first floor consists of offices where, so we believe, most
of the administration takes place. That is the place were they bring
                                182


people on legitimate business. We have also infiltrated that in the
sense that we have sent our people in there as buyers. We have no
idea if they knew or not since we had seen nothing that was
helpful as far as security was concerned. Getting in there though,
if your not a guest, takes both voice print and a retina scan.
    “The second level contains the executive offices; no doubt
Zarkoff has an office there. Only twenty people have access to
this level. Still they invited guest from large companies in the one
presentation room that also is the boardroom. The only way of
getting up there uninvited is if the whole computer system
becomes unstable and then, we believe, that only armed men
could get in. We are almost one hundred percent sure that if the
computers do go down then that level is automatically shut off
from the rest. The steel doors blocking the second floor access are
a metre thick.”
    Terry paused, “Any questions?” I just shook my head.
    “It sounds as if the place is impossible to get into to.”
    “It is, Terry said almost cheerfully. “That’s why it’s a
challenge. We’re working on it and we do have a few solutions.”
    He continued: “Now besides the executive offices it is on this
level where the robot-radio-transmission system is. This is your
target.”
    The obvious solution came to my head. “Can it be blown up
from above?”
    “I suppose a nuclear weapon might be able to smash the dome
top, but we doubt it.
    There are several problems with such an approach: if some
how you got a plane airborne with a missile to launch it, you
would have to get through not only the UK’s Air Force defence
but the missiles Multiplixo installed on top of the building. You
can bet they would be armed and ready to fire as soon as
Multiplixo launched its attack on us.”
    It was looking like it would be impossible to do anything to
stop the signal being generated from the second floor of the
building.
                                183


    “What are you ideas to help us get in since as far as I can see it
seems impossible.”
    “The good news is that we have hacked into their security
system several times without detection. We have analyzed the
data we took and are now looking for ways to disable the
transmitters software. If we can do that, then we can shut down
the computer.
    “On our part, Mark, the plan is that as you go into the factory
we will be able to download the voice print and retina scans of
you, Telia, Nathan and anyone else on your team who is entering
the factory. No matter what you do, Mark; the mission will be
extremely dangerous. No doubt, people will be killed. We are
raiding all Multiplixo factories simultaneously so everything must
be done with accurate timing.
    “Oh, there are one or two things I thought I would mention: The
perimeter is surrounded by a four metre electric fence charged
with a potential difference of ten thousands volts. Unfortunately, a
boy of ten tried to climb the fence two years ago; he died
instantly. Further, there are gun ports on all sides of the building
with those manning the guns having access to high-definition-
infrared detection. I think that just about covers all the security
arrangements. All and all it’s a challenging proposition. There’re a
lot of smart Trothians working on this problem and since
Multiplixo has identical plants all over the world a solution for
one plant would be a solution for all the plants.
    “Any questions, Mark?” I had no further questions I just
hoped I would get some answers soon.
    “OK, we will contact you when we have more information or
ideas. Until then if you get any ideas then let us know. There are
another twenty of their factories around the world with someone
like you working on the problem of getting into one.“
    “When do you calculate the governments of the Earth will
detect the alien spaceship?”
    “In three to four days time. We don’t have much time, Mark.”
I did not ask him how they thought they were to deal with the
spaceship. I did not want to hear Terry cheerfully say he did not
                                184


know. Terry left first and then I followed. I had one more
appointment before I went underground, the most dangerous of
all, with the man who worked for an organization that wanted me
behind bars. This was my biggest challenge of all: to convince
Professor Fulton to betray his people and trust me, an alien.
     As soon as I finished the meeting, I tried to call Peggy. There
was no answer. A slow panic started rising in me. I forced myself
to keep focused and avoid any panic. But the fact was I had no
idea how to help her if they intended to harm her while she was in
the factory. I then called her clinic and they to were anxious since
she was already fifteen minutes late for her next appointment.
     “Did you try to call her,” I asked.
     “We did, Mark. But her phone either was shut off or unable to
connect. All we could do was to phone the main reception desk of
the company and tell them that Dr. Kempton needed to be at her
surgery urgently. They said they would relay the message but that
she was in conference now.”
     After saying goodbye, I hung up the phone wondered what I
could do next. I kept telling myself that it would be all right, but
why was she late. Five minutes later the phone rang from the
surgery saying that Peggy had arrived and she had no time to talk
since she had to be in her surgery. After that I began to calm
down, well for about five minutes when I started thinking about
my meeting with Professor Fulton.
      I could not concentrate on any work at the university so I
decided to go home early. It would be my last night; that’s if I did
not have to leave in a hurry, and there was the possibility I would
never come back from my meeting with Professor Fulton.
     Luckily Peggy came home early that night and she, Telia,
Nathan and I ate together.
     We listened with interest about her visit to the Multiplixo
factory.
     “ Daniel Web greeted me almost warmly even though I was
ten minutes late – a patient came in for her appointment late just
as I was leaving. I saw her quickly and then went to the factory.
Mr Web, alias Zarkoff, had to come to the main entrance to meet
                                185


me since no one can get in with out a pass as well as a check by an
armed guard who keeps his automatic rifle on fire the whole
time.”
    Her mentioning of the man with the automatic rifle reminded
me of a newspaper story three years ago when a man was shot to
death by a Multiplixo guard as he reached for his ID. The
company apologized and paid his widow a large compensation.
Still no charges were brought against the company or the guard.
Today if the same thing happened no paper would dare write
about it.
    “He was also all too happy to tell us all about the security of
the factory about the necessity of the voiceprints and retina scans,
for getting into the second floor administration office. He even
offered to make one for me. I declined since there was no reason I
should have needed one. On the other hand, if I demonstrated an
interest then he might discover that we were interested in breaking
into his factory.
    He said the most interesting part of the factory were in the
vault or basement. There we have our monster robots. They were
frightening, Mark, they were powerful and deadly. I could see
them lifting crates of finished robots to container boxes that were
stacked on shelves four metres high ready to be shipped out of the
factory.”
    Here I interrupted her. “How do they get the robots out? I
thought they had a loading dock only on the ground floor.”
    “They do, they take the crates from the correct shelf and put
them in a very large lift and then they are loaded onto the loading
dock. It’s all done by computer.”
    “Did he seem keen to tell you this bit of information?”
    “Not really, I think he had given this tour so many times it was
automatic. But I see what you’re getting at: he did not think this
was a weak link in their security system.”
    “Yes, precisely. I never thought about getting in through the
loading dock.”
    “There was something that happened that I’m sure I wasn’t
suppose to see. A strange robot creature ran in front of us and
                                186


nipped down and aisle between the shelves. The minder of the
robot was chasing after it with his little control box apparently
impotent at that point in time. I then saw the thing dart out onto
the main floor towards an obviously terrified man. A large robot
turned towards the creature and aimed its laser at it. All that was
left of it was a lump of metal. The large robot then went back to
its job.”
     “I’m not sure if he didn’t want you to see that, Peggy. He
might be trying to frighten us off”
     I was pleased to have Peggy back safe at home but I feared we
had little time together.
     We were packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice –all
accept Peggy who I no longer tried to convince to come with me.
The meal was solemn devoid of the usual laughter and jokes.
Peggy automatically asked me what I did at work that day and like
the young boy coming home from school I said, ”Nothing.” But I
did tell her about the meeting with Terry trying to make it sound
as upbeat as possible. It definitely was going to be one of those
David and Goliath encounters but as of yet I had not found my
slingshot. Suddenly I had my first glimmer of an idea of how to
get into the factory but before I said anything, I thought I would
think about it first. It would not do any good to raise false hope or
to present half-baked ideas.
     Telia broke the silence by describing her meeting with a
corporate lawyer and how she convinced him that Multiplixo was
indeed a threat to the world.
     “ I was lucky,” she said, “ to get an up-to-date CD that
actually showed Multiplixo men abducting a leading politician
that had not been reported to the papers yet. I showed him the CD
and told him that we had sent it anonymously to the police
yesterday. The police publicly claimed that Iluminado had
kidnapped the man and had a tape recording to prove it. I then
gave him the CD I had and told him to send it to the police
himself and see what would happen. I had an inspiration that
perhaps would be able to convince Professor Fulton that
Multiplixo was the enemy – real physical evidence. “Nathan,
                                 187


could you help carry something to the car.” With this new
evidence, I now felt more confident that I could convince
Professor Fulton that Multiplixo was intent on taking over this
planet.
    When we got to the car Nathan asked, “Dad do you want me
to go with you tonight? I really don’t like you going to the place
where the girl was killed. It sounds like a trap to me”
    “Thanks son for you concern, and it may be a trap. But I need
someone working for MI5 on our side. With what we just put in
the car and the other evidence I’m sure he’ll join us.”
    It was not pleasant returning to the place where Maria
Sanchez’s robot killed her, rather than kill me, the intended
victim. Even aliens can be filled with hate and seek revenge. As
we drove down the narrow road, I had a sinking feeling that we
were walking into a trap. I just hoped I could convince the
Professor of Multiplixo’s intent before he sprung his trap; that is
assuming of course that he was fully in charge of what was
happening.
    It was a cloudy night and out in the country the blackness was
complete. The only light was the dim light that came from the
nearby Clamber Farm. As we approached the pebble-dashed
cottage, I saw one car in front of it. It was a Zash, the latest and
the most energy efficient car the standard for all UK government
agencies – paradoxically it was made in Russia!
    Telia release the catch on her revolver and I set my laser gun
to full power. Though if this were a trap we no doubt would be out
gunned. Much to Telia’s surprise turned off the road and drove the
car up the gravel footpath to the front of the house!
    “Why did you do that, Mark?”
    “Well perhaps there’s two reasons. A quick getaway and the
only way I could deliver something for the Professor to see. It’s in
the boot of the car.”
    “Are you ready, Telia?”
    “As ready as I’ll ever be. If ever there was trap, then this is it.”
    I took out the lab-top computer and walked with Telia by my
side towards the pebble-dashed cottage. Someone had half opened
                               188


the door to the cottage and I could see a light shining through it
slicing the total blackness. We decided to keep our guns hidden
until we needed them. As we walked in we saw Professor Fulton
sitting at plain wooden table with two empty chairs facing him.
The room was a dusty and as dirty as I remembered it. I wondered
who owned the property and why it remained abandoned.
     He extended his hand to the two chairs in front of him. The
lines on his face showed that he had aged though he must have
been in his fifties when I meet him over fifteen years ago. He was
wearing a rather bulky-black leather jacket that could easily
conceal a powerful weapon. .
     “Good evening, Mark and you too young lady. My name is
Professor Fulton.”
     “And mine is Telia, pleased to meet you.”
     We both sat down facing him and then reached in side his
jacket pocket. Both Telia and I reached for our guns but it turned
out it was not necessary. From his jacket pocket he pulled out a
piece of paper that said: “I have a concealed microphone on me.
Try not to say anything incriminating. He then handed us a pen
and paper indicating that we could say what we really wanted by
writing on it.
     Even if we could convince Professor Fulton to join us, could
any of us escape from here alive?
                                189




                              Chapter 15

                               The Trap

    “Well Mark you said you had some evidence to convince me
that Multiplixo was going to take over the world.” He laughed
when he said it hopefully acting for those listening in. I then had a
question for him.
    “Why did you ask us to come here? Was there any special
reason?”
    He quickly wrote down the answer: They insisted on it. They
want me to make you say that you planned to kill Maria Sanchez.
    “We both know why this is an interesting place for you.
Wasn’t it here that you met you lover, Maria Sanchez? What I’m
curious about is why you killed her. If I’m to trust you I have to
hear a good reason.” He shook his head indicating that I should
deny killing her.
    “I think you heard a nasty rumour. I was here when a robot
attacked one of my students and so was my son Nathan. I thought
the death was accidental. Incidentally it was a Multiplixo robot.”
He nodded his head indicating I answered the question well.
    “I do have something to show you though, something that you
might find interesting. It’s a cine picture of someone being
kidnapped.” I was careful not to mention any names. Telia and I
now gathered that if we incriminated ourselves in any way those
at the other end of the microphone would converging on us with
their guns blazing.
    He watched the cine without a comment. He then wrote down
what he was thinking.
    Yes, I know about this kidnapping and I know they are
blaming your organization, Iluminado. They know I’m here and
they want to arrest you. A cine can be made digitally and unless I
                                 190


can take it away and analyses it I still remain only partially
convinced.
    What he said aloud was this: “I see someone being taken into
the Surrey Multiplixo building which doesn’t prove much to me.
So do you want me to take this to my superiors?”
    “A crime has been committed or at least that’s what the
evidence points to. I would’ve thought that not only that you
should but that you would want to. After all if there is the slightest
possibility that Multiplixo kidnapped someone, no matter who, it
would be MI5 responsibility to do something.”
    He quickly wrote: Mark, careful, don’t threaten the
organization.
    “ I have other evidence though that is not digital but physical.”
I motioned the Professor to get up and follow me to the car. We
took our writing pens and pads with us so we could communicate
in silence. I went to the car, opened the boot and then wrote I my
pad: Multiplixo made this monster robot. I then took out a circuit
from the robot’s head that had the Multiplixo logo stamped on it.
They did this with all their circuits in case someone used them
without their permission.
    “This is one of theirs,” I said vaguely. “It matches the
description of the robot that attacked a man not far from here.
Then I quickly wrote: I can’t let you take it. We need it for
analysis.
    He then moved his head as if he heard a command. He wrote:
Hit me and leave: they’re coming!
     I hit him with just enough force to break his skin and we both
ran for the car. I knew I had succeeded in convincing Professor
Fulton that Multiplixo was up to no good, but now we had to
escape. I was uncertain what would happen to him. We dived into
the front seat of the car as bullets blasted us on all sides. It seemed
like hours rather than seconds for the car to start and accelerate
forward. Once going forward we found that most of bullets hit the
rear of the car. I just hoped the bullets did not penetrate either our
tyres or the diesel tank. Either way it could prove problematic.
                                191


    We turned left towards the farm and home when a man
stepped out in the middle of the road carrying an automatic
weapon. He shot in front of the car as a warning. We were
trapped!
    Telia response was swift and fatal. She shot one bullet that hit
the man squarely between the eyes. I had no time to object. I
drove at high speed around the body and called Nathan.
    “Nathan it’s time put all the cases near the front of the door
and tell your Mother what’s happened. They’re after us and if they
catch us I’m sure they shoot us dead!”
    I was sorry to have Nathan pass such an awful message to his
mother but I’m sure what we had said was true. The killing of the
MI5 agent made us the number one enemy of the country and I’m
sure that MI5 would use every agent available to hunt us down.
As we speed home breaking all the speed limits I had an awful
feeling that they would quickly catch up with us. I just hoped MI5
did not have the foresight to have someone watching our house.
    As I turned another corner at fifty miles hour Telia almost
whispered, “ Mark, slow down. All you do is attract attention.”
She was right. I was acting stupid. I slowed down and drove only
four miles over the speed limit.
    “Telia, we’ll take your car. I’m sure this one is they are going
to have stopped for sure. Hopefully, we can get another vehicle
along the way to London.”
    I stopped a street away from our house. I needed to know if
we could get home. I decided the best way to do that was to jump
our neighbour’s fence in back of our house and come in that way.
Hopefully, Nathan would not shoot us. Telling him over the phone
would be pressing our luck. Someone may have been listening in.
    We used our infrared vision to scan the back gardens both of
our neighbour’s and ours when we got to it. There was no sign of
anyone. I tried the back door but it was closed so I decided to
knock. Both Nathan and Peggy came to the door.
    “What happened, Mark?” I did not have time to go into
details.
                                192


    “Peggy, it was a trap. We barely go away. Telia had to kill one
of their men. They’ll be here any time now.
    It happened so quickly that none of us had any time to think.
We threw the small suitcases we were carrying into the boot and
Telia got into the drivers seat with me alongside. Nathan sat in the
back with, Rodriguez his robot. Telia drove away at close to
normal speeds as possible. We had only left our street when we
heard police sirens heading towards it. Luckily none drove by us.
We stayed on the back roads until we were ten miles from
Arundel. We went on the A29 towards Dorking and then turned
on the A24. Two miles out of Dorking there was a roadblock. It
was just over the hill so we had no time to turn around and if we
did now that would only prove our guilt. There were three police
cars, two on our side of the road and one on the other side. No
cars were allowed past them. When it came to us, they looked at
us suspiciously.
    “Where’re you going?” Before I could say anything Telia
responded.
    “We’re going to Leatherhead to see my older sister.” Another
officer came over.
    “Ay, what have we here. These could be related to our
breakaway murderer.”
    The first officer who was dark skinned took offence. “Hey
man, all blacks aren’t criminals.” The other man grunted.
    “All right, let’m go.” Telia drove off carefully without
comment. When we were sufficient distance away, we began to
talk.
    “ That was a close one,” I said. “So why wasn’t it your sister
in London we were going?” Of course, I knew the answer.
    “That’s so, Mark, when they realize that we went through the
police roadblock they’ll think we we’re stopping at Leatherhead
and not going to London. At least it might give us some time.”
    “I agree,” I said. “If I answered I would have said London.”
    “It’s a good thing I’m here then, Mark.”
    “ We had better start using our new identities so if we’re
stopped again we’ll be used to them and not use our other names.”
                                193


    “Could I call you Mum and Dad?” That way I wouldn’t have
to think.”
    “Yes, we could be a family and that might be convincing, I
said. “What do you think, darling?”
    “Why Bart, you’re so romantic.”
    “I think I just made a terrible mistake,” said Nathan. We all
laughed which helped break the tension.
    We turned on the radio hoping not to hear any news about
fugitives heading towards London said to be notorious ringleaders
of the terrorist group Iluminado. That, thankfully wasn’t on the
news but what was on the news was the approaching of a
powerful storm off the Atlantic coast. The storm was two hundred
miles wide with a record low of 935 mm pressure. We had a
similar storm two years ago that was said my some to be a once in
a hundred year storm. Others, the climate change advocates, said
that the heating of the atmosphere was the cause and that powerful
storms were going to hit us with regularity. The reality of the
existence of the storm was undeniable, but would the UK
government be ready for it? When the storm hit two years ago
with a loss of five hundred lives, the Government had no plans for
evacuating people from the coastal areas and, for that matter from
London. At that time the Thames Barrier was breached and
millions of tons of water engulfed half of London. Finding tall
buildings to hold up in saved many people; some were trapped for
weeks. The Ritz and the Dorchester had difficulties evicting some
of the people sleeping in their rooms – they did not want to give
up their newfound lifestyle!
    On the serious side though it was difficult to say if this storm
would hit the UK or die out at sea. An evacuation order had to be
given, and soon, or lives might be at risk. The new warning
system was on orange alert, one step before red alert that brought
the announcement of evacuations. The Government had warned
people not to head for the coast unless it was an emergency. As
we headed for London, we noticed that winds had increase to a
steady thirty miles an hour and this was with the storm hundreds
of miles away.
                                194


    There was no news item about us; there was something more
disturbing than any storm. The news announcer read it with little
interest:
    “Astronomers have sighted what looks like a small asteroid
entering our solar system and heading straight for Earth. They are
puzzled by its erratic behaviour in that it trajectory is not
following the calculated paths predicted by its speed and
direction. Some are saying the object had its own source of
propulsion as if it was a large spaceship”
    “I hope the tabloids do their usual reporting by announcing an
invasion from outer space only this time their melodramatic story
will be true,” I said. “And further Jimmy Toggle will then be able
to convince his people that what I’d said is true: Multiplixo plans
to take over the planet.”
    We were presently heading into Dorking when Nathan thought
he saw a car following us.
    “Are you sure, Nathan? If someone is following us then we
have to lose them so that we don’t lead them to the London
community.”
    Telia then had an idea.” Let’s pull into Dorking and then pull
out again and if the car is still there we’ll know it’s following us.”
So at the Leatherhead Dorking roundabout we headed into
Dorking.
    “It’s still following us,” said Nathan. Now the truth would
soon be known. Telia took the first side street out of Dorking that
headed for Leatherhead. This time of night, few would be
travelling this stretch of the road.
    “It’s still following us.” That was all the proof we needed. The
chances that a car would pull into Dorking and immediately out
again would be very unusual. We had to lose them some way or
another. Telia’s car was not fast so we had to find another way to
lose them. I decided that Leatherhead would be the ideal place to
do so. But we were not given the chance.
    The road we were driving on was straight and had no speed
limit so Telia decided to go seventy miles per hour. The car
following did like wise but then it increased its speed to pass us.
                               195


The road had four lanes divided by a wide ditch with tree cover in
many places so a car could easily pass without worrying about on-
coming traffic.
    “It’s going to pass us,” said Nathan. It slowly passed us first
hanging slightly back but then pulling up and matching our speed.
I knew something terrible would happen soon so I pulled out my
laser gun and charged it. Nathan was the first to see the drivers
and he sounded terrified.
    “Dad, they’re Zarkoff’s men. You can tell by the green tinge
on their skin and yellow eyes and they got a monstrous weapon: it
looks like a rocket launcher!”
    Then Nathan said, “Rodriquez destroy the car.” I turned
around in time to see Rodriquez’s laser beam focus on front of the
car directly at the man holding the rocket.
    “Hit the brakes Telia!” I shouted. The other car shot ahead and
exploded two seconds after we stopped. The blast was enough to
shatter the glass in our car. The other car spun out of control and
headed towards the ditch, a burning mass of fire. A second
explosion destroyed what ever was left of the car and it’s driver
and passengers.
    Our car was barely driveable. One tyre was blown and the
windows shattered. We had to find a place to hide the car and
make our way to Leatherhead on foot. We were able to drive the
car a mile from the spot of the explosion and we parked it as
neatly as we could then we placed a note on it saying that we
would soon be back. Hopefully this would stop the police from
connecting our car with the one that was destroyed.
    As we made our way to Leatherhead, we stayed hidden as
much as we could behind the trees. The wind was now blowing
with a tremendous force causing the branches to thrash widely
every-which-way. We could hear the sound of sirens heading
towards the blazing car.
    “This storm is going to be big enough to start the evacuation
process and stop people from entering London. We’ll have to get
there as soon as we can. It took us a half-an hour to get to the
Leatherhead station. Not surprisingly, the station was deserted.
                                 196


The next train to London was due at 10:45 pm, a fifteen-minute
wait. If they found our car then they might have realized that we
were heading towards Leatherhead. We decided to stay close to
the bottom of the stairs that crossed the platform so that no one
could see us from the opposite side. As the train approached, we
came out of hiding and rushed into the nearest car.
     The train, which was empty, was heading for Wimbledon
where we planned to leave it and take the tube to Clapham
junction. I was already missing Peggy and very worried about her.
If they were looking to arrest me as a terrorist, they could easily
detain Peggy as one who was harbouring one. How did we ever let
ourselves get in this position? Partly it was my fault. I honestly
believed that I would have killed Zarkoff knowing all I do now.
But he was not the only one: he had a powerfully human ally,
     Senor Xenoros a notorious criminal.
     Two men joined our carriage at Epsom each having a robot. It
was quite usual for people to travel with their robots who carried
their bags, suitcases and shopping for their owners. The
Government was constantly preaching about the increase lack of
physical fitness of its citizens. At first robots were let on the trains
free, but the Government decided that this was not a good idea so
they started charging half fares for a robot unless of course the
owner was a senior citizen: one who had reached the age of
seventy-five.
     The men, both reading newspapers ever so often suspiciously
looked our way. I wondered if our photos were in the newspapers.
Also another reason I was interested in the paper was for the news
of the alien spaceship entering our solar system. If this ship
contained advanced weapons, the Earth would have no chance
against it. Earth would have to surrender unconditionally on the
aliens’ terms. The invaders no doubt would eliminate we aliens
first as their biggest threat. The rain and wind blasted against the
side of the coach causing it to rock dangerously back and forth. I
found the wrath of the storm consoling as it acted as a force that
made man realize that their puny pursuits were nothing compared
to powerful natural forces. When nature struck out with blinding
                                197


fury, it was not to be condemn – it did not have rational
intelligence. When man destroyed not only his fellow men also
the planet he lived on, condemnation was necessary. One gust of
wind felt as if it was near to tipping our carriage off the tracks.
Rodriquez fell to the floor, as did the other robots in the carriage.
Unfortunately, this activated Rodriquez defence controls and he
started powering his laser.
    “Deactivate!” commanded Nathan. We might have had the
beginning of the war of the robots if he did not shout the
command. The coach continued to shake violently as we headed
into Wimbledon Station. We were all happy to disembark there.
    The platform there was also deserted and the wind’s only
objects to lash at were ourselves and the two other passengers
with their robots. We went down to the underground and
purchased our travel cards to London. Almost no one used cash as
we did and most who travelled had TIC, travel identity cards. This
made the ticket agent suspicious and if he could have found any
spare security guards, he would have probably called them. As it
was, he was one of the few people who was there; the rest no
doubt already had headed home for cover.
    We entered the platform that had a tube to Clapham Junction
and were surprised to see thirty or forty people also on the
platform. When we realized why they were there it was too late to
turn back. A close look at the people revealed that their clothes
were filthy as well as their face and hands. Their eyes though were
the most frightening of all – either soulless or filled with a
mixture of hatred and despair.
    They were a notorious drug community that often attacked
tube passengers and dragged them into their dens for fun and
torture. The weather that kept the security guards away allowed
them to surface and find a new freedom. They surrounded us!
    Their soullessly eyes appeared to light with evil intent as we
walked in. They began to smile maliciously surrounding us like
wolves that had the scent of blood. These humans were the worst
sorts and as a group no doubt would be vicious.
                                198


     Three of them approached us: one was a monster of a man
over six-foot five inches tall and easily twenty-five stones! On his
left was a tall, skinny, mean looking man who had lost half of his
teeth. He had a large knife tied to his belt. On the other side, to
our shock, was without a doubt a Trothian though I was sure his
companions did not know it.
     The tall mean man spoke first. “Thank you for coming this
evening. We were actually very bored and hoping for
entertainment. We thought perhaps that you could do some
dancing for us particularly the cute little girl.”
     I spoke first. I knew there would be a messy confrontation and
blood would be spilt. But just perhaps we could demonstrate that
we were not to be bothered. So I challenged the man.
     “I too am bored. The woman will gladly dance for you but
only after you fight my son who is somewhat stronger than most. I
think the fat man here might entertain him for a few minutes.”
     The big man growled. “Bring him on and I will crush his
skull.”
     “When you are able, throw him at the crowd,” I said to Nathan
using Trothian.
     The Trothian with them heard what I said and smiled. He
replied in Trothian.
     “He’s very strong my friends so be careful.”
     We all spread out for the battle. I wondered if my move was
that wise. We always had the robots as a standby. The people here
would never expect them to attack since, up till now, robots did
not harm people.
     The crowd started shouting: “Crush him Zack. Crush him
Zack …,” and started working themselves into a frenzy. Nathan
weighed 18 stones though this was because he had high-density
muscles. He looked as if he only weighed 15 stones. I worried
though about the man: he did not appear entirely human.
Something about him was bothering me. He reminded me of
Zarkoff’s henchmen – men from Earth strengthen by high doses
of steroids.” Be careful Nathan, and don’t let him close in on you.
     “You move first little shit. Why don’t you hit me?”
                                199


     “ If you insist.” Nathan jumped up and hit him in the face with
both feet breaking his nose. The man reeled backwards but only
slightly stumbled. He was more powerful than I had thought.
Nathan had hit the man with both feet in the face and that should
have knocked him down. The blow enraged the man and he
carelessly charged Nathan. Nathan neatly stepped aside and threw
the man completely off the platform landing him with his back on
the tracks. At the moment, a train was rushing in. The big man
was no match for the advancing mass of steel and it easily
knocked him aside causing no damage to the train
     His thin comrade screamed. “Don’t let them get away! Kill
them!”
     I commanded the robots in Trothian: “Activate defence
systems. Stop anyone who attacks us.” I had to give this order. It
was the only way we could escape.
     At first, they kept their distance but several blocked our way
to the train. I gave the command to go and we pushed our way
forward throwing the humans aside. Some fled but then they
started screaming, “Kill them. Kill them.”
     When they surged back towards us the robots responded with
force throwing anyone who came near back at the crowd. They
could not harm the robots so we managed to get on the train. In
frustration the crowds attacked the train throwing anything they
had at it. Several windows were broken. The driver, seeing their
madness, drove off as quickly as he could.
     As the train moved forward, another problem became
apparent. The lights in our car began to flash on and off: it
appeared the storm was affecting the electrical power supply. I
wondered if we would ever make it to our destination. One good
thing though, the police would have little time to look for us as
they would be needed to help people trapped by the storm and
latter to stop people from the inevitable looting that always
seemed to follow after these mega storms.
     Just after the driver announced the approach, of Clapham
Junction the train shuddered to a stop and we were immersed in
total darkness the storm having cut off the electric power. We had
                               200


several advantages over humans in this situation: the first was our
infrared vision that would allow us to make our way in the
complete blackness of the tunnel and the second was we could
break our way out of the train.
    “OK, Nathan. It’s time to play superhero and break down the
doors.” Telia, was amazed at my request. She was unaware of
Nathan’s superior strength even after watching him through the
large man off the platform. Though either one of us could have
done that since the man himself supplied the moment.
    “Mark, Nathan will only hurt himself if he does that. Why not
use the robots’ laser to burn through the doors?”
    “We may have to, Telia, but that would require a lot of energy
and we don’t know what will facing us once we emerge from the
tube tunnels. OK. Nathan, have a go but don’t hurt yourself.
Before he could do anything, the doors opened of their own
accord. Then a light appeared coming our way carried by the
driver.
    “Are you lot OK. We’ve lost all electrical power. The city of
London is in total darkness and the winds on the surface have
reached hundred and ten miles an hour. I’ll take you to the surface
but I don’t recommend you walking out in the storm; it’s too
dangerous. He had two torches he gave one to me and told me to
walk at the back while he took the front.
    “Shine the torches on the ground in front so your people can
walk safely and I’ll shine mine ahead,” the driver said. He was a
kind man and obviously concerned about us.
    If the Wimbledon Station appeared deserted, Clapham
Junction was even more so. There were no guards, drivers or
ticket collectors. There were a lot of people who normally slept
rough pouring in to be sheltered from the storm.
    As we surfaced to the ground level of the station, the fury of
the storm could be heard. We were shocked to look outside and
see almost total darkness something that one never sees in a city.
Every fifth street light was capable of generating a small amount
of emergency light that would be some help guiding us to our safe
home.
                               201


    Fierce winds flattened large plane trees that stood nearly a
hundred years. Those trees that were standing had many of their
branches broken off. The howling wind was constantly punctuated
by the sound of breaking glass that was scattered everywhere.
    A police car saw us come from the station. His car stopped in
front of us and one of them lowered his window. “Don’t go out in
the streets. There’re too many power lines down. Stay in the
station until the roads are cleared.”
    We took his advice, at least for the moment, and waited in the
station. I wondered it I should attempt to make contact with Terry
and tell him we arrived in London.
    I decided to use my new identity, Bart Denver that hopefully
was unknown to our enemies. Using my new mobile phone, I
contacted Terry. The phone rang several times before he
answered. Finally he answered by repeating his number and
saying hello.
    “Hi, Bart Denver here in your big city. Can’t make it to your
place yet we’re holed up in the station by this crazy storm.”
    “I’m afraid you best be a little more adventurous. We have a
situation that you need to address immediately.” From what he
said, I assumed that he meant it was not safe to stay where we
were. We had no choice but to venture out into the storm.
    “OK let’s go. It’s probably safest to stay away from any trees
or electrical poles. The power may be off but there could still be
enough out there to kill someone. We also best stay close together.
We headed out into the black night making our way around fallen
debris: turned over cars, buses, trees, broken sheds, pieces of
fence and mountains of wet paper. At times it was impossible to
see because of blowing leaves and paper as well as the total lack
of street lamps or lights from the houses.
    As we walked by an off-license we saw a gang of eight to ten
people trying to break in the boarded front. We passed by
unnoticed. We continued to walk towards our destination keeping
a wary eye for any flying objects. Quite often we had to make our
way around trees that completely blocked the streets. One gust of
wind was so strong that it knocked all of us off our feet except
                                202


Rodriquez whose heavier weight kept him standing. It was
difficult to find the names of the streets in the dark and even the
normal landmarks of pubs and large buildings were useless as
aides. We finally found a name of one street, Grandison, and from
there we counted the number of streets to where the street of our
safe house was. We did have a torch with us and we had to
constantly use it to shin it on the house’s addresses. It was passed
midnight when we finally knocked on the door of the house we
were looking for.
    As the door opened, another powerful gust of wind hit us and
as we struggled to keep our feet we heard a loud crash behind us
as another tree struck the ground. Even with the door closed the
sound of the storm was such that we had to raise our voices to be
heard.
    “Welcome friends,” said Terry. “You must be Nathan,” Terry
said giving him a solid embrace. He then embraced Telia and I.
    “I have to ask your forgiveness for making you risk your lives
to come here, but I’m afraid you’re the most wanted man in the
UK, Mark. As soon as this storm abates the police with the help of
the MI5 will be searching everywhere for you.”
    “ Have you heard from Peggy,” I asked.
    “ She’s fine. The policemen who helped rescue her when the
Multiplixo robots destroyed her clinic let us know. They’ve joined
Iluminado. She was taken in for questioning and she told them
that you had a meeting with someone that evening and you never
returned. Hopefully the storm destroyed your car so they still
might be looking for it. Now all that remains for us to do is to
change your looks a little.
    “What’s happening on the news besides us being number one
enemy?”
    “ They have made several raids on our people’s homes
claiming that they belong to Iluminado. That is now a treasonable
offence with the mandatory death penalty. They just put this in
law both here and in the US. It means of course that Zarkoff and
his cronies are about to make their move. We guess that it will be
                              203


in a few days time and they simple want as many of us out of the
way as possible.”
    “How many of our people have been taken.”
    “Very few most vanished like you and have gone underground
with new identities and are preparing for the fight to come.”
    “ They’ve been broadcasting to Earth now in Trothian with
regularity demanding all Earth’s people, including us, to
surrendering unconditionally. They have said that they will also
broadcast in English and twenty other Earth languages when they
feel that all the countries can pick up their messages, and
hopefully hearing that we will join them.”
    “That’s not good news. What are we going to do about them?”
    “We are doing nothing until we crush Zarkoff. And we have
only two days to do it. In other words, Mark, you have less than
two days to enter and destroy the Surrey Multiplixo plant.”
                               204




                             Chapter 16

                           Ruthless Killer

    The spaceship that was now approaching Earth had left the
planet Drethal three hundred years ago as the first, and no doubt,
the last nuclear war was beginning. Paradoxically they had armed
the spaceship with nuclear weapons. Drethal was the planet from
which our species evolved and the planet that my ancestors fled
from before arriving on Throthal. Our people left because of the
warring factions there and in particular, realizing they had
insufficient resources to stop the most powerful of dictators,
Komdan, absolute ruler of Barbolt. Now his son was heading
towards Earth to destroy and dominate as his father did.
    Before this great nuclear war there was a balance of power
between the three strongest dominions; Maronis, Barbolt and
Sanis that stopped the planet from engaging in a worldwide war
that would destroy it. Together these three dominions formed a
powerful alliance called Tridoms whose economic and military
power subjected the smaller and weaker dominions to what could
only be describe as absolute slavery. The smaller dominions
would rebel every so often Tridoms always crushed them with
barbaric brutality! Komdan was not content to be ruler of only
                               205


Barbolt, he wanted to be complete ruler of Drethal and to do that
he had to eliminate Maronis and its leader Lord Barlommen.
    He hatched the plan to implicate the leading rebel dominion,
Philgastorr, in an assassination attempt on the president of
Maronis, Lord Barlommen. They hired a professional killer,
Darbis, who was a native of Philgastorr. Komdan then circulated
rumours that there would be an attempt to kill Lord Barlommen.
The Lord himself was aware of the plot but what he did not know
was the assassination was to be successful and Komdan was to
replace him by his own hand picked man. Quickly after the
assassination of Lord Barlommen, Komdan sent his armies to
destroy the rebel dominion. The other rebel dominions, as weak
as they were, joined in this unequal war with their ally making the
whole planet a war zone. Komdan, after crushing the smaller
dominions, was undisputed leader of Drethal though the
government of Maronis appeared to be separate.
    Three months later the minister security of Maronis, Trak
Kilbon, uncovered evidence of the assassination of Lord
Barlommen and had Komdan’s man executed. This put both
dominions Barbolt and Maronis on full war footing. Between
them, they easily had enough fusion weapons to destroy the
planet. So for a while there was an uneasy peace
    That lasted less than two years when a dispute broke out over
the control of Philgastorr or more precisely its most valuable
resource Vanderdite – a metal ore more valuable then Earth’s
Titanium. Alloys made from this unusual compound were the
strongest and the lightest on the planet. They were used in making
rockets and planes and the country that had the best planes and
rockets controlled the planet.
    By a previous treaty, both countries were supposed to receive
the same amount of Vanderdite and the distribution of the ore was
closely monitored by the dominion of Sanis who received a small
amount of the ore for commercial purposes.
    Both countries bribe Sanis’ official monitors who were clever
enough to ensure that both sides still received the same amount.
However, Komdan discovered through his agents that Maronis
                                206


had been receiving twice the ore as Barbolt and further that this
inequality had been going on for over a year!
    Furious at the deception, he needed a reason to invade the
country. The best ploy would have been to have terrorist from
Philgastorr hit targets in Barbolt. Then Komdan could invade the
country using the excuse that he was chasing terrorist. An even
better case could be made if it could be proved that the weapons,
rockets and rocket launchers, were made in Philgastorr. That way
he could declare war on the poor country and overrun it in a few
days.
    He sent through agents in a third country to the rebels in
Philgastorr. They did not question their luck and soon were
making plans to strike the settlement of Brigag in Barbolt’s
eastern side near the border of Philgastorr. Komdan wanted to
make sure that the strike was devastating enough to anger his
people – he was willing to sacrifice a thousand of his people
hopefully mostly woman and children.
    But Trak Kilbon had an excellent network of spies in
Philgastorr and he discovered that they were about to attack
Barbolt. At first, he was pleased until he realized that
    Komdan response would be to invade Philgastorr. This Trak
could not allow so he began quietly amassing his army on the
western border of Philgastorr.
    The terrorists held a large part of the eastern border of
Philgastorr. The local people could see what they were doing,
amassing rockets and rocket launchers in their villages. The result
of this was evident: Komdan would destroy their villages to kill
the terrorists. No one dare say anything since it would do no good
and anyone who terrorists caught betraying them would be
tortured to death as well as his family.
    The government of Philgastorr was not strong enough to stop
the terrorist so the people had to wait for the disaster to come.
    The rockets hit the Barbolt city of Ojet. Hospitals, apartments,
nurseries and even schools were hit; hundreds of women and
children were killed as Komdan planned. The citizens of Barbolt
were enraged and demanded retaliation. The response was quick
                               207


and sure: the villages ‘hiding’ the terrorist were annihilated and
Barbolt’s army massed on the border ready to come in.
    The leaders of Philgastorr condemned the terrorist attack but
that was not good enough. Komdan had evidence that the rockets
were made in Philgastorr and he showed his evidence to the whole
planet – then he launched his attack.
    Komdan, not expecting any opposition, sent in only three
divisions of men. Each consisted of one thousand armed men, two
hundred rocket launchers, fifty robot warriors and one hundred
centipede tanks – they chose the name because they moved by
twelve mechanical legs, six on each side. The centipede tanks
could climb over obstacles four metres high and move at speeds of
sixty miles per hour. There was nothing in Philgastorr to stop
them.
    The high-commander of Barbolt’s army was not happy with
the arrangements. He was well aware of the build up of Maronis’
army on the western border. The high-commander, Greliss son of
Komdan, came to discuss the matter with his father.
    Greliss was a tall lean man with slits for eyes. He now
confronted his father with these eyes. “Are you aware of the six
divisions of Maronis on the western border of Philgastorr. I’ll
need more divisions if they attack.”
    Komdan was a large course man who growled rather than
talked. His arms and legs were equally thick and his bull neck
was as wide as his head.
    “That’s all you get and you had better move quickly for if you
lose Philgastorr I will reduce you to ground combat – in the front
lines of course. Now go boy and do as you’re told”
    “And if this leads to nuclear war, what will you do?”
    “ What do you mean, what will I do. I’ll shoot every fusion
bomb down their throats!”
    Greliss left without further comment. September 28 His
question really was are you preparing the spaceship yet. Komdan
had built the largest spaceship ever constructed and one that he
had armed with an arsenal of nuclear weapons. If things went
terrible wrong in this war then Greliss knew his father would
                                 208


attempt to escape in the spaceship with his chosen few – the ship
could take five hundred passengers. In fact, it was such a large
ship that some wondered if it could break way from the surface of
Drethal. Greliss planned to be on that ship whether or not his
father would permit him.
    Greliss sent his three divisions into Philgastorr and quickly
crushed any terrorist opposition. On a pretext of chasing fleeing
terrorist, he moved into the centre of the country destroying
anything in his way. As far as he and his father were concerned
there need be no civilians left. They had enough men to mine the
Vanderdite without needing any men from Philgastorr.
    Maronis satellite images detected the movement of Komdan
troupes into Philgastorr.
    Trak response was immediate: he sent in all of his seven
divisions heading straight for the Vanderdite mines. Here he had
the advantage over Greliss’ army; he was closer by hundred
kilometres. In addition, the Maronis airfield was only ten
kilometres from Philgastor’s western border whereas Barbolt’s
airfields were two hundred km away.
    Greliss could see the disaster that was coming. He attempted
to call his father but his aides told that they could not contact him.
    “Could not be contacted!” he screamed down the phone. It
was time he acted. He was certain of what his father was doing.
His father knew, like Greliss, that the logistics were
overwhelmingly in favour of Maronis’ troupes. They would
destroy their three divisions and he, Greliss, would be held
responsible. He had planned though for this situation. Over the
years, he had bought himself a private guard consisting of five
hundred men, enough to fill the spaceship. These men were
handpicked and all ruthless fighters with years of experience.
    Picking up his private communicator, he called the head of his
guard. “Ming, the time is now. I will join you in one hour’s time.”
When he put down his communicator, he received another call.
This was from his field commander:
    “We need air cover quickly. We are being overrun. We cannot
last much longer.”
                                209


     Greliss mechanically called the Air Command demanding
cover immediately.
     Their response was less than helpful: “ I’m sorry commander.
Until we get orders from Komdan we cannot act. I appreciate your
difficult…
     “Go to hell!” screamed Greliss. He left the command centre
telling no one where he was going accept that he was on an errand
to get some air cover. What he was really doing was joining his
guard for the assault on the spaceship.
     Greliss was right his father was now on his way with his men
to the prepared spaceship. Having initiated the total destruction of
Drethal, he was planning to leave his people – including his son
and wife – to their fates. The space ship was one hundred and fifty
kilometres from the capital of Drethal and his father was racing
there with his men now. There were flying in by two transport-jet
carriers.
     Greliss could not possibly catch up with his father now but he
had contingency plans in place. He had prepared a missile site
underground guarded by ten heavily armed men only two
kilometres from the spaceship. He now called that site.
     “This is Greliss, activate your missiles at once.”
     “Greliss, this is Malcod, one of your father’s personal guard.
All your men our dead I’m joining your father shortly. Sorry if we
caused any inconvenience.”
     “No, Malcod, none that I cannot rectify. Oh would you hang
on a second. I want to hear the explosion that I’m setting off with
this communicator.” He then quickly dialled in a code and to his
satisfaction, he heard the explosion that destroyed Malcod and his
men.
     Shortly after, his father called.
     “Well done son, I’ve underestimated you. You killed twenty
of my best men. We will land at the site in five minutes so I best
say goodbye to you and, oh, send my love to your dear mother.”
     “Dear father how touching to say goodbye so tenderly. Did
you really think I would have only one method to destroy you?
                                210


Each plane has a least six bombs that I will shortly activate. Now,
what do you think of your son.”
    “You’re bluffing. My security is unassailable.”
    “ In your haste to leave, dear father, haven’t you noticed that
your security chief is no longer with you?” Komdan remained
silent but quietly gave the command for a bomb search. Greliss
was enjoying his revenge. He hated his father for the constant
bullying he had to endure.
    Finally Komdan spoke. “You are correct my son. He is not
here. I suppose you know where he is?”
    “Oh, yes, but it would be hard to find him. He is in the storage
compartment and is quite dead. He was a good man, father. The
torture he endured before he broke was astounding.”
    “When did you do this my very clever son?” His men were
now frantically searching the plane for bombs.
    “Last night. My men went out to the airstrip and found him
there checking your airplane like a good security chief. By the
way, I’ve always had men working at the airstrip so even with out
his help I could have placed bombs on the planes. Sorry father you
getting to close to the spaceship and I don’t want to damage it.
Good bye father, and say hello to the devil for me.” He once
again punched a series of numbers in his communicator and with
satisfaction heard the bombs explode.
    He spoke to him self: “Goodbye father, it really was a bad
experience you and I.”
    He was now in charge of the whole defences of Barbolt
though hardly anyone knew it. His first command was to send a
fusion bomb to the centre of Trak’s seven divisions. In less than
twenty minutes his men would be on the spaceship heading
towards a new planet; one he intended to rule as his father tried to
rule Drethal.
    He and his men left the planet that night. If the enemy knew
what they were doing, he was sure they would shoot down the
spaceship. But most were now running for fusion shelters built ten
years ago but always well stocked. It was said that some of the
bunkers had enough supplies to last for ten years!
                                211


    Greliss watched with interest as the two countries blasted each
other with fusion weapons. Red plumes cover the dark surface of
the planet until it looked as if the whole surface was a boiling
volcano.
    He went up to the control room and gave the command to
head towards a solar system on the other side of the Milky Way
galaxy that had a small yellow star. The information about this
solar system was revealed to him, like most of his information,
through torture!
    They had to be ‘frozen’ for the trip, as we had, by using the
cryogenic units. Greliss knew many of the technicians on the ship
had been loyal to his father and would no doubt love to have
killed him. So he decided, wisely so, to be the last one to begin
cryohibernation. He had already decided to eliminate one man that
he feared would want him dead. This was the chief technician of
the spaceship, Charkoff, who, for one reason or another, actually
liked his father. He was a large gross man similar to Komdan but
not nearly as brutal his father but for some reason he always hated
Greliss. He was the last man to go. As he buckled himself in, he
grimly smiled at Greliss:
    “Why don’t you kill me now? Why wait.”
    Greliss smiled warmly a sure sign that whatever he was about
to say was a lie.
    “Dear Charkoff, why would I want to kill you?”
    “If you decide to, please wait until I am in cryohibernation.”
    “ You have nothing to fear my friend. I have a few things to
do before I see you off.” Greliss made sure Charkoff vital signs
showed that he had entered cryohibernation before he left him. He
wanted to first check the spaceships heading before enter his own
cryogenic unit. Once he was sure of the directions he went to his
guarded cryogenic unit.
    “Has any one touched this unit?” asked Greliss.
    “No sir. Sir, when and where do I enter a unit?”
    “I’m sorry, all of them our actually filled.” With that, Greliss
took out his handgun.
    “Please sir, don’t kill me. I’ve always been loyal to you.”
                                212


     “And so you have. The fact remains that we’re short of one
unit. Would you mind taking someone else’s?”
     The man thought for a moment. “Just tell me who you want to
kill and I’ll do it.”
     “Come with me.” He led him to Charkoff’s unit.
     “This man doesn’t really need to come with us.” The man
hesitated.
     “If we shoot him in the unit we might damage it. But if we
take him out quickly he wouldn’t need to be shot: as I understand
the shock of removal would kill him.”
     Greliss laughed: “You are a man after my own heart. Let’s
remove him and test this theory.”
      They removed Charkoff from the unit. Nothing happened for
a while until he started to gain consciousness. Then he violently
shook and gasped for air. He was dead within two minutes.
Greliss and the guard carried the dead body of Charkoff to a
evacuate tube where he was ejected without ceremony into outer
space. This was how Greliss began his journey to Earth.
     With great satisfaction, Greliss went into cryohibernation
knowing that he achieved his objectives and would soon be master
of a new planet. One he knew would have people from Drethal on
it by the time he arrived for there were several spaceships that had
already left for unknown planets. One fifty years before he was
born!
     After travelling hundreds of Earth years in time and over two
hundred light years in distance, they were entering the new solar
system that would be home. Greliss had awoken one month ahead
of everyone else – he trusted no one to awaken him. He was the
first to monitor the radio waves that the new planet transmitted to
outer space.
     All the monitors indicated that the planet had the necessary
ingredients for mammal and plant life. So he was not surprised to
discover, from the radio which he monitored from space, that the
planet was inhabited. He listened to the messages streaming from
the surface of the planet but the information he was receiving
puzzled him. The different languages confused him for a start and
                                213


with difficulty began to learn several, albeit in a rudimentary way.
Amazingly, he heard no language that was similar to that spoken
on Drethal. Yet it he knew this was the planet that the first
spaceships headed for. Perhaps they never arrived.
     He, like we, were puzzled by the prattle on radio and TV that
was basically for entertainment. Mixed with news and
commercials there seemed to be no logic to what he was hearing.
He wanted to know what the defences of the planet were – its
strengths and its weakness. He needed help and the first person he
awoke was his second in command second in command, Ludifer,
who was like Greliss a cold- blooded murders but one with at
passion for dialects and languages.
     Ludifer achieved in one week what Greliss had achieved in
three weeks. By the end of two weeks, he was beginning to
understand even the nuances of some of the languages. He was
quick to realize that the language of the powerful was English and
secondly Chinese though that language was spoken only in the
one immense country.
     Music was a puzzle to him as it was to us and he wondered at
first if it was not some sort of code for communicating
information, but it was a code he could not crack.
     One thing they discovered was that that someone had saturated
the planet with nuclear warheads, enough to blow up every large
city four times. They discovered that the distribution was between
many different countries; one could divide and conquer, thought
Greliss.
     “We must be careful before we approach the planet and study
it in detail. I recommend sending out signals in our language and
see if there are any replies,” said Ludifer.
     “If people from Drethal are here they would be no friends of
ours. They ran from the planet because of the policies of our
dominion and the dominion of Maronis. Yet, if we said we were
coming here in peace after seeing our poor planet destroyed by
fusion bombs. They may welcome us with open arms and then we
could quickly crush them if they defy us.” Greliss laughed at his
own cleverness.
                               214


    More and more of the crew woke up. One naive technician
asked what happened to the chief technician in the presence of
Greliss.
    Greliss smiled: “I’m afraid he was sent on a mission in outer
space and unfortunately never returned. You may have his job, but
if you fail me you too will follow him.” The shocked technician
had no idea Greliss killed him until that point in time.
    “ I do as you command, Greliss.” The technician stammered.
    Greliss called a war counsel after a month of observations at
the edge of the solar system. By this time, they knew that the
planet had many nuclear missiles and these would have to destroy
if Greliss and his men were to land. Even then, how would one
handle the billions of people on the planet without annihilating
them?
    He posed this question to his war counsel that consisted of ten
ruthless but loyal men.
    “There are over six billion humans of various forms and
shapes on this planet.
    We would like them to be our devoted slaves though this they
will not do willingly. What are we going to do to make them so?”
Greliss dropped this challenge to his commanders.
     “Destroy all their armies and we will have complete control
of them. We have more than enough fusion bombs to do that.”
    “I think you’ll find we don’t and it we did when do you plan
to have us land on the radioactive surface, a thousand years from
now?”
    A second commander spoke up:
     “There are two major nuclear powers, the United States and
China. If we offer our services to one and convince them that they
must attack the other with our help, then we will have a foothold
on the planet backed by another powerful country. From there we
need only to take over that country.”
    “Now, gentlemen I am hearing at least some intelligent
answers. Which would you choose, the US or China?” Greliss
asked.
                                215


     “ Now I would chose the US: they are still slightly more
powerful than China.”
     “And how would you get their people to surrender to us?” He
pushed for a more detailed response.
     “ We can arrest all the leaders and demand that all the citizens
ah… I don’t know Greliss.”
     “ Good, at least you admitted it. The US has nearly 300
million people a millions of them have arms. It’s some idiotic law
of theirs that allows the citizen to carry arms. So it we did detain
all their leaders we still would have millions of armed citizens to
contend with.”
     For a while, no one said anything. Then a small man with a
very large head and a powerful voice spoke. “ We could never
control over six billion humans. If we had some type of system in
place in each country, it might be possible but that would take a
hundred years. I think the only solution is to destroy all the
humans by using a virulent bacteria.”
     “Do you know which one doctor?”
     “No, I do not. We first must capture a human and then subject
his body to complete analysis. Once we understand the genetic
make up of his immune system we will then be able to choose a
suitable bacteria.”
     Greliss did not speak for a moment. “ Gentlemen that is a
good idea and worth considering.”
      “What is your plan then?” asked that last speaker.
     “The answer to our problems has been given to us by a
descendent of our own race whose ancestors left Drethal hundreds
of years ago. We have been sending message out in our language
and suddenly we received a response. The man says he’s from a
planet called Trothal. The people from this planet came from our
planet Drethal. They lived on this planet for hundreds of years
before an asteroid destroyed it. Before the asteroid struck, they
had sent ten spaceships from the surface of the planet. This man
claims to have come from there on a spaceship. If what he tells us
is true, the solution for the control of planet Earth is already in
place: there are tens of millions of robots on the surface of the
                                216


planet. They are in homes, factories, armies, and government
offices. They are everywhere.”
    “How does that help us?” asked one of the commanders.
    Greliss smiled. “ He claims that all the robots on the planet
can be controlled and, in fact, they were created by he and his
colleagues for just that purpose. For they too want to take over the
planet.”
    “ How can one man control tens of millions of robots?”
    “A company called Multiplixo has made almost all the robots.
They constantly update software to the robots’ central processing
systems. They do this by radio signals sent out from their factories
around the planet. How an advanced race could have been so
stupid I don’t understand.
    “ This man, who name is Zarkoff, says that he can deliver the
planet Earth to me in what they call on week’s time or one
hundredth of the time it takes our planet to revolve around our
Sun. I will soon be master of the planet and that includes
Zarkoff.”
                                217




                              Chapter 17

                         Multiplixo’s Assassin

     While Greliss raced towards Earth, Professor Pennington was
flying into Beijing to hopefully warn the their government of
Multiplixo’s intent to dominate the World. There were no
communities of Trothians in China but it was through his fame as
an excellent marine biologist that he was entering the country. The
head of the department of marine biology at Beijing University
was Dr. Luwin who greatly respected the Professor.
     Professor Pennington knew he was running out of time and he
still had to warn the Japanese before it was too late. These two
countries had not allowed Multiplixo to build factories in their
countries. China’s reason was that it knew that it was so powerful
it could manipulate other countries and was doing so. There were
many ex-board members of the company on the cabinets of prime
ministers and presidents. China, always the isolationist, was wary
of them. In addition, they had first hand experience of their ability
to bribe government officials: they had sent two high ranking
                                218


trade ministers to prison after being caught accepting bribes from
Multiplixo.
    Pennington had not told his friend about the true nature of his
visit but he had hoped that he would have some way of passing on
the threat of Multiplixo to higher officials.
    On his first day at the University the Professor promised to
give a lecture on his topic of expertise: the effect of anthropogenic
disturbances on coral reefs. He had arrived one hour before his
lecture; therefore, he would have a little time to discuss his real
concerns with Dr. Luwin.
    After a thorough examination of his passport and visa, the
authorities allowed Professor Pennington to take one of the state’s
green coloured taxies to Beijing University. Though the Professor
knew many languages he knew little Chinese and decided wisely
not to use what he had learnt since the wrong intonation could
result in offending someone.
    As the Professor left the station, he noticed a man watching
him and pointing to his taxi as he got into the next taxi in line.
Was this man following him? The professor had little time to see
his pursuer but he did recognise that he was not Chinese but
probably English and therefore could have followed him from the
UK.
    He arrived half-an-hour before the time of his lecture and
decided that was not enough time to discuss his true mission with
Luwin. After paying the Taxi, he noticed another passenger
leaving a taxi about a hundred metres behind him.
    He had no idea where the Marine Biology department was.
Beijing University was an immense place and the Professor was
hoping to either find someone who spoke English or to find
directions written in English. To his amazement, a young man
with a bright fixed smile came up to him and introduced himself
in perfect English.
    “My name is Kin Sung, and I believe you are the esteemed
Professor Pennington.”
    “Yes, I’m Professor Pennington. How did you know that?”
                               219


    “I have your photo from the Internet. Doctor Luwin has asked
me to come and get you and bring you to the Marine Biology
Department. The University is big and he was afraid that you
might get lost. One year we lost a speaker for two days!”
    “Thank you kindly, Kin, I was just wondering myself how I
would get there.”
    The University was a vast tangle of functional buildings all
apart from the Administration Building that was a three storey
Marble affair with a large garden in front. After ten minutes of
twisting and turning through the buildings, they arrived at a small
non-descript one.
    “Here we are,” Kin said proudly. “This is where we learn the
wonders of the Oceans of the world.”
    “And what is your speciality, Kin?”
    “I’m am only a first year undergraduate, Professor, so I have
not yet specialized. All I know is that the oceans are vast and I
want to learn more about them.”
    “With Curiosity and hard work you will achieve much.” Kin
beamed with contentment.
    There was no grand entrance to the Marine Biology
Department just a dusty sign over a grey-narrow corridor marking
a dozen rooms. Very different from Dr. Pennington’s own
reception that was equal to any university or company reception.
Fifteen minutes before he was to give his lecture, Dr. Pennington
walked into the room where fifty people, professors and students,
were expectantly awaiting him.
    A short fat man with a bright beaming smile greeted him
warmly. “ Welcome Professor,” said Dr. Luwin. “It is good to see
you.”
    “I’m happy to be here,” said the Professor. “I hope I will be
of some interest to all your guest.”
    Professor Pennington knew that those attending had little
contact with people outside of China. Many had hoped that once
China started trading with the West in the early 2000 they would
open their borders, but amazingly, and perhaps depressingly, it
                                220


never happened. The dictatorial government held its people in an
iron grip: democracy never came.
     The professor set up his power-point presentation that was the
only facility available to him. The orthogonal laser projection
capabilities that were in every classroom in the Professor’s
department did not exist here.
     The presentation lasted for only thirty minutes – the questions
went on for another hour and a half. They would have continued if
the Professor had not told his over enthusiastic audience that he
was tired and of course he thanked them for the show of interested
they demonstrated.
     After the others left, Professor Pennington was hoping for a
little time to present the real reason why he had come to China. To
his horror, he had discovered that they were already late to a grand
reception that they were holding in his honour in the only decent
place in the university to have a reception, the Administration
Building.
     He looked at Dr. Luwin and he could not help showing his
frustration.
     “ Dear Dr. Luwin, I must speak to you alone about a very
important matter that has nothing to do with marine biology. I
need to talk to you in a private place where we will not be
interrupted or overheard.”
     Dr. Luwin looked crestfallen. “I wondered why you, such a
great marine biologist, came to visit our small department. You no
doubt bring another western intrigue.”
     “On the contrary, dear Dr. Luwin, I come to bring a warning
to your government, one that is urgent and concerns the very
existence of the Chinese government.”
     “Our government in one form or another has been going for
over a hundred years. What could harm it?”
     Dr. Pennington saw that he had no choice but to start his
explanation in the lecture room where he was standing. The last
student had left for the promised feast in the Administration
Building.
     “What do you know of Multiplixo Robots?”
                                221


     “Everyone knows about them. They tried to come into this
country by bribing top officials. The Government rightly threw
them out. Why do western governments believe that their way is
always best? We, they judge, are misguided and archaic.”
     “Please listen to me, Dr. Luwin. I’ve come to warn your
government because we made need their help. Multiplixo will
attempt, we believe in the next week, to take over ever
government where they have robots. You probably know that they
have tens of millions of robots in homes, factories and in
government offices in all the western countries and some others
too. What you probably don’t know, and most people don’t know,
is that they can take control of the robots and make them do their
own bidding over and beyond the express wishes of their present
owners.”
     “Do you have proof of this? And if you do why don’t you
show it to your government.”
     “Because, my friend, they have already corrupted our
government and the other western governments as they tried to
corrupt yours. They have so much power that if anyone dares to
confront them publicly, they will be thrown in prison or killed.”
      “I want to show you something, please listen.” Dr.
Pennington showed him videos of people be grabbed and taken
into Multiplixo’s buildings. Then the Professor showed Dr. Luwin
newspaper articles showing the photos of the men and women
murdered by Multiplixo though not one newspaper dare accuse
them. The newspapers presented these as unsolved mysteries not
even hinting that Multiplixo was involved.
     “Has your government seen this evidence?”
     “Yes, the have. They claim it is all a prefabrication by
Iluminado who they label as a terrorist group.”
     “Still, I cannot see how this will affect China. We do not trust
any other government and we have a powerful nuclear deterrent.
Even the US dare not attack us.”
     “Of course not, because they fear that you will destroy one of
their cities. However, imagine an organization that doesn’t care if
a few cities are lost as long as they end up in control, and further
                                222


imagine every nuclear power using their weapons against China.
What would happen then?”
      “Assume that I fully believe what you have said. What can I
do? I have no power. I do not have the ear of the government.”
     “But your brother-in-law does.” Dr. Pennington knew that his
brother-in-law was second in command in China’s air force.
     “For a scientist, Professor, you are very knowledgeable which
tells me you are part of a well informed organization.”
     “I do not deny that. I am a member of Iluminado and if I
admitted this publicly in my country they would label me a
terrorist and throw me in prison. All I want you to do is give your
brother-in-law the information I have given you and warn him.
What harm could that do? He needs only to be ready to act, and
that means warning the Chinese government of Multiplixo’s
intent. Now I ‘m ready to join the lovely reception you have set
out for my visit. Further my dear Doctor, I would have come just
for the seminar. The enthusiasm of your students and teachers is
inspiring and further if I survive these next few weeks, then I will
be happy to come again.”
     “You have given me much to think about, Professor. I hope I
will do the correct thing.”
     The plush reception in the Administration Building was like
being transported to another country and another time. A dazzling
chandelier lit the room shooting rays of light off the white ceiling
with gold-leaf borders. They covered all four walls in a vast mural
depicting the glorious history of China. Young girls dressed in
crisp white blouses wearing short skirts passed drinks and tasty
nibbles around to the guest who were obviously not accustomed to
such royal treatment. In a corner of the room another girl with
remarkable long black hair was playing the harp.
     The professor knew that this was special and someone was
paying for it. He just hoped it was not his host.
     “This is a truly grand reception, Dr. Luwin. I am very
impressed. It was nice of the university to put this on.”
     He smiled inscrutably. “Thank you Professor. It is nice to do
something like this for the teachers and students who work so
                               223


hard.” Still he did not let on who paid for the event so the
Professor said nothing more about it.

     ***
     The next morning the Professor was leaving his hotel the
receptionist handed him an envelope. “A letter for you, Professor
Pennington.” He opened the envelope and he was surprised to see
in it the ring that Dr. Luwin was wearing the night before. Also in
the envelope was a small note folded in four. He unfolded the note
and read it slowly and at first, he did not understand the meaning.

   The ring is no longer any use to Dr. Luwin.

    Then he realized what it meant –someone had murdered him.
A sickness filled the Professor as well as a rage. It could only
mean that Multiplixo had killed him. At that point in time, he
wished he could put his hands on the murderers of the gentle
professor. His trip had been a compete failure. It only had brought
the death of a good man. Yet, somehow, the \professor wanted his
death to have meaning to aid in the fight against Multiplixo: then
the Professor had the solution. He would send all the information
to Dr. Luwin’s brother-in-law with the note saying that
Multiplixo’s men had killed him. It would be a stronger message
then ever making it more likely for the brother-in-law to act. He
would post a package to the brother-in-law at the airport.
    Forty minutes later, he passed through passport control: he
was then stopped and he and his luggage was searched. Those
searching had a computer and they checked all his CD’s for
anything that would connect the Professor with the death of Dr.
Luwin. The Professor not only posted a CD and newspaper
clipping to Dr. Luwin’s brother-in-law, he also posted some to
Japan to the Tokyo Marriott where he would be staying the night.
    When he was finally on board, he could not lose himself in the
research papers he had brought. His mind was too preoccupied
with the battle that was soon to begin. He would soon enter a
country he knew nothing about and hoped his contact could be of
                                224


help. His contact there was a beautiful lady called Marie
Takahashi. Though that was not her name when the Professor first
new her. He had met her at a worldwide marine biology meeting
in London. He was just out of university and unmarried. The
Professor was immediately attracted to her intelligence, wit and
sense of humour as well as her beauty. They had seen each other
several times after the meeting and, if he were to be honest, they
had fallen in love with one another.
    Only his parents knew about the relationship and they had
gently tried to dissuade him to break it off – she was not an alien.
In their planning their future together, she often brought up the
topic of children. In the end, he realized that if he attempted to
have children with her she might die and he loved her too much
for that. With a great deal of pain, he broke off the relationship.
    Weariness overtook the Professor and he fell asleep.


    He looked up from his unread papers and caught a man
walking towards him. It was the man he saw in Beijing. He might
be Dr. Luwin killer.
    He noticed that the man was clutching something tightly in his
hand. The Professor was sure it was a weapon and that weapon
meant for him. Pretending to read his research papers, the
Professor prepared to grab the man’s hand before he had a chance
to strike. In a flash hardly possible for a man the Professor age, he
grabbed the man’s hand and still holding it, stood up.
    “Let go of me,” the man shouted.
    The Professor raised the man’s hand so every one could see
the pointed object he had in it – it looked like a needle with a
handle on it.
    “Terrorist, what were you going to do with this?” The man
tried to strike out at the Professor but the professor neatly grabbed
the other hand. Luckily the man was human and not particularly
too strong so he not able to dislodge the Professor iron grip.
    All the Japanese planes carried an armed security guard and
one now was quickly coming to the Professors rescue. He
                                225


immediately put a handcuff on the raised hand of the man and,
after removing the weapon, brought it down with a jerk. He then
grabbed the other hand of the man and handcuffed both hands
together.
    The Professor sank in his chair and pretended to be in a state
of shock: at that point, it took little acting. He reached into his
pocket and took out a bottle of pills that he told the frighten lady
alongside of him were his heart pills. In reality, they were sugar
pills for when he had his tea or coffee.
    The security guard took the man to the back of the plane and
belted him down in a chair with his hands still handcuffed.
Meanwhile his fellow passengers were congratulating the
Professor on his stopping the terrorist.
    “How did you know he was a terrorist?” One spotlessly
dressed Japanese man asked.
    “I wasn’t sure. I saw he had a weapon in his hand and he was
heading for the pilot’s cabin. I knew he had to be stopped.”
    The plane was to land in Tokyo in a half an hour and the
Professor knew that the police would meet it and that they would
be interrogated him only delaying the purpose of his visit. As soon
as the plane touched down, captain of the aeroplane announced
that no one was to move and that the police would shortly be
boarding the plane. Of course, they would, thought the Professor,
they would have to check to see if there were any more hidden
weapons anywhere and they would have to investigate how the
man came on board with a ready made weapon. The professor
knew that the attack by Multiplixo could occur in the next forty-
eight hours and before that he would have to have handed on his
information, hopefully, to a high-ranking government official.
    When the plane arrived police and airport security guards
surrounded it – several had automatic weapons. There were at
least fifty of them. They took off the man who attacked the
Professor and then five policemen and five policewomen came on
board with the chief of airport security, Ching Wang.
    He spoke to the passengers using the plane’s intercom:
                                226


    “I’m sorry that you have experienced such an serious incident
on your plane. The man who has been taken off was armed with a
deadly weapon. We have taken away the weapon for tests. We
believe that the weapon consisted of a mounted syringe needle
that was loaded with a deadly poison. We have concerns that there
may be another terrorist among you so all of you will have a full
body search and you will be required to remove all your clothes to
your underwear. Men will search men, and women will search
women. I’m terrible sorry for this inconvenience but we cannot
chance letting a terrorist slip through our hands. Also, we will ask
each one of you why you have come to this country and where
you are staying and if we are meeting someone we would like to
know who it is and what’s your business. There will be no
exception in this exercise. We will first interview those in first
class.”
    Yes, and they will be allowed to leave first, thought the
Professor who was aware of time running out. The Professor knew
that they would not find any other so called terrorist on the plane,
but he could not let them know that. He was glad that he had sent
ahead the CD concerning Multiplixo and the photographs of the
men they killed.
    It was two hours later that the inspector began interviewing
the second-class passengers. There were over a hundred of them
and the Professor was already three hours late for his appointment
with Marie Chin. Right now he could be talking to her and
catching up on her latest news. They had always kept in touch
though the Professor never told her why he broke for their
relationship.
    Before the interviews took place each passenger in second
class had their carry-on luggage checked and the seats where they
sat. Then they escorted them back to a team of officers who
conducted a body search. All this they did in a weary silence, the
passengers hoping the more co-operative they were the faster they
could get off the plane.
                                227


    After thoroughly searching the passengers, they were then
interviewed some by ordinary police officers and some by the
Chief Security Officer Ching Wang.
    The Professor’s interview was one of the first. Interviews took
place in the first class lounge that was now empty of passengers.
Ching Wang was no fool: he knew that to annoy the first class
passengers would only lead to complaints by influential people
who he would have to justify his methods to.
    “I’m sorry to delay you professor. I understand that you are
seeing one of our distinguished scientists Doctor Marie Chin. You
of course are very famous. I know nothing about marine biology
but one of my officers recognized your name as his son is
studying the subject. Enough of my prattle, please tell me in detail
what happened and why you knew that the man was a terrorist.
Try to leave nothing out.
    “I was reading my notes and just glanced up when I saw the
man heading towards the pilot’s cabin. I then was shocked to see
he had this weapon in his hand. I took notice of it because I saw
the tip of the needle catching the light from outside. I grabbed the
man without thinking.”
    “What you did was a brave but dangerous and possible rash
thing. Firstly you were lucky to hold him long enough for the
plane’s onboard-security officer could come to assist you. How
did you know that you could hold him?” The real reason why the
Professor knew he would have no difficulties is because he knew
the man was not an alien and therefore would not have anywhere
near his strength.
    “I’ve always kept my self very fit and continue to do so. I
practice martial arts everyday. I exercise my wrist using a grip so I
knew I could hold him.”
    “For a man of your age you are embarrassingly fit, fitter than
I. According to your passport you’re eighty five years old!” The
true age of the Professor was that he was over a hundred and
twenty years old.
                                228


     “Yes, I’m very lucky.” Ching looked at him suspiciously. He
could see that the Professor would make an excellent secret agent.
Perhaps he worked for MI6.
    “Another questions which is the obvious one. How did you
know this man was a terrorist and not, let’s say, a man who had
diabetes.”
    “It was the way he was walking and holding the weapon. A
diabetic wouldn’t even walk with his needle exposed like that.
Also it was the determined way he was looking at the pilot’s
cabin. He looked like trouble.”
    “Well, we really appreciate what you have done. The whole
thing could have turned out very nasty.”
    “ I’m glad to help out but it has taken a lot out of me. I really
need to lie down.” The Professor wanted to appear weaker than he
was; after all he was eighty-five years old.
    “ Yes, of course. I believe you have someone waiting for you
in the lobby. They also must be very tired. You are staying at the
Tokyo Marriott I understand.” Ching was good and so he might
know other things about me that I haven’t told him, thought the
Professor.
    When the Professor emerged from customs, he scanned the
Arrivals Hall for Professor Marie Chin. What he saw was a mass
of reporters stopping the arriving passengers and asking them
about what had happened. He hoped that they had not yet
discovered it was he who had stopped the alleged terrorist, but
thankfully, only one reporter approached him. He was an
America.
    “What happened on your flight? What did the terrorist do?”
The Professor cleverly responded in German and the reporter gave
up in the end. Finally, he saw her asleep in the quiet corner of the
hall. Having waited over four hours, she must have been
exhausted.
    Sadly, the Professor could see how she had aged. She looked
like an old stately woman. One always seemed to appear older
when one is sleeping. He tried to remember how she had looked
when she was a stunning young woman. He could only do that by
                               229


closing his eyes. He dearly loved his wife but he wondered what it
would be like if he had married Marie.
    Her face retained a regal look but without her laughing eyes
and smile, she lacked the vivaciousness that he remembered. She
was still thin and much of her body appeared young – at least
what he could ascertain since she was wearing a navy suit. It
appeared to look like a uniform. Many of the Japanese companies
insisted that their employees wear uniforms. He approached
quietly and reverently hoping that on her awaking she would
transform to her youthful self.
    “Marie”, he barely whispered.
    Her eyes flickered and suddenly widened with recognition.
"Charles at last you’re here!”
    She shot up as a young woman would and gave him a warm
embrace one that they held for longer than discretion would
dictate. As he held her, he closed his eyes and went back in time
remembering the first time they had embraced.
    It was in the autumn of 1968 that the two had met during the
annual meeting of Marine Biologist of Europe. The Professor has
just come out of the seminar on Orcinus orca, the Killer Whales.
While shifting his brief case, he bumped into Maria Mendoza. At
the first glance, she captivated him: her well-formed smile,
flashing eyes and long black hair held him at once. “Excuse me, it
was clumsy of me to bump into you.”
    “Well I agree but I promise to forgive you if you buy me a cup
of coffee,” she laughed. So the Professor found himself in the
company of a charming and intelligent woman. He introduced
himself. “My name is Charles Pennington.”
    “The Professor Pennington, world expert on cold water reefs?”
She was impressed and the Professor liked that.
    “Yes, I’m the guilty one. I did find the seminar quite
stimulating though. Studying such animals must be exciting. That
is to say though I find almost all topics of marine biology
interesting.”
    “And yourself, what is your speciality?”
                                230


     “Actually the topic of my research thesis is the Orcinus orca,
the Killer Whale. Your right it’s very exciting. I’ve been lucky
enough to travel all over the world studying them. I fell in love
with them when I was a little girl visiting Disney World in
Florida. My father arranged for me to actually feed one since he
knew the man who was their caretaker. He was Spanish like my
father. The man, whose name I cannot remember, gave me a book
on them. I must have read it a dozen times and it was then I
decided I wanted to know all about them and study them.
     I discovered from the book that Killer Whales are the most
widely distributed mammals in the world. Only humans are more
widely distributed. I always thought of them as beautiful and
friendly; now I know they’re expert killers and will eat nearly
anything, even each other! Most of my research has been on the
western coast of the US: along the shores of Washington, Oregon,
California, Baja California. I also fell in love with California.”
     “Your specialty sounds much more exciting than mine.”
     “Yes, but I really can’t get a job studying them since no one
would be willing to fund me so I’ve to decided to do postgraduate
research study in deep marine environments which I believe will
be the frontier of marine biology.”
     They sat and chatted amiably all that week and fell in love. It
was when he visited her parents in Florida that she begin to
mention having children and it’s then he decided hat he had to
break off the relationship for both their sakes.
     The Professor came out of his reverie more slowly then he
intended.
     “Are you all right, Charles? What happened on the plane?”
     “I’m much better now that I’m in your company. Let’s leave
this airport. There are too many reporters trying to get me to tell
then what happened.”
     As he left the airport, he saw a newspaper headline. “Gigantic
Spaceship enters the solar system.”
     “Do you think the story is real, Charles.”
     “I know it is, Marie. And I need your help to prevent a disaster
hitting this planet.”
231
                                232




                              Chapter 18

                            An Old Friend

    Marie drove the Professor to the Tokyo Marriott where he was
staying. She drove a very expensive Japanese sports car, the Silver
Star. “This is a beautiful car, Marie, it must have cost a fortune.”
    “Well we both have excellent jobs and, unfortunately, no
children Therefore, I compensate with material possessions,
though I believe I could take them or leave them. It’s not what is
really important in life.” She looked at the professor long enough
to realize he was one of those things that at least had been
important in her life.
                                233


     “I never really explained to you why I… no longer wanted to
continue our relationship. Strangely enough, it was because of
your desire to have children and my inability to produce healthy
ones. I should have told you but I didn’t know how. And that’s
particularly awful knowing that you never had any children.”
     “You should have told me. Charles. I was devastated when
you left me, almost suicidal. I really loved you and thought that
you loved me too. If you ‘d told me, I probably would have
married you anyway. Why can’t you have children?”
     Professor Pennington looked at her and then decided to tell the
truth:
     “Soon the people on Earth will all believe that aliens exits.
The spaceship that is entering our solar system will convince them
of that. I already know about them because my people are related
to them.”
     “Charles, are you trying to tell me you’re an alien?”
     “Yes, and from the same planet of those that are coming.
Except there is one important distinction between them and
myself: they come to take over the Earth and I’m trying to prevent
them from doing it. And if fact, my dear Marie, we have an even
more deadly enemy here on the planet already. And sometime
before the spaceship arrives, that is in a couple of days, he and his
allies with attempt to take over the planet.”
     “You’re not kidding, are you Charles.”
     “No, Marie, and I could not have told you I was an alien when
I first met you. Then most people thought aliens were the figment
of someone’s imagination. The spaceship will prove the fanatics
right.”
     “I believe what you say, Charles, because of who you are. But
it’s so hard to take in. What are your people doing about it?”
     “We are trying to inform all those who might help us and
those who will not betray us. For the largest corporation that has
ever existed, Multiplixo Robots, is controlled by an alien that will
soon make a move to take over the planet. And the weapons that
he will use is in every home, office, school, hospital, military
installation in the world, the Multiplixo robots.”
                                234


    “You’re not really here to give a paper on marine biology.”
    “No, I’m not. That was just a cover. I’ve been to China and
the person I had contacted is now dead. I’m afraid you too are in
danger, Marie. I have to take a lot of risks. The stakes are as high
as they can be.”
    “Charles, I feel too old for this. It’s not a time to find out my
old boyfriend is an alien.” She laughed. “I have a feeling that the
so called hijack attempt on the plane had something to do with
you.”
    “Yes, the whole thing really was because of me. There was a
man who tried to kill me with a poison needle. He would have
done it if I hadn’t stopped him. He probably was the man who
killed Dr Luwin in China. I just made it look like that he was a
hijacker.”
    “How can I help Charles?”
    “I believe you know some people who are relatively high in
government places, someone that you can trust. Put me in contact
with him or them.”
    “Paradoxically you have already met one of them. He is Ching
Wang who is not only the chief of airport security but is the
commander of the country’s antiterrorist agency.”
    “Marie, please don’t tell anyone what I’ve said about being an
alien not even your husband. I obviously would lose my
credibility. I would like to meet your husband, though. Is he still
on the board of Humanoid robot factory in Yokohama? ”
     “Yes, Daiki would be happy to hear anything bad about
Multiplixo. He feels they have bribed there way into too many
governments. We are only able to sell our robots in China and
Japan and a few African countries.”
    “Perhaps the sooner I see him the better. Maybe I could see
both of them at once. I could then save precious time.”
    “From what you say then, we are still safe in Japan.”
    “Yes, that’s true. But how safe would you be if, for example,
America, the UK, Russia, France and Germany were all pointing
their nuclear weapons directly at Japan?”
                                235


     “I shall try to make arrangements for you to see them both at
the same time. But it could be difficult.”
     “Not as difficult as you think. All you have to do is tell Ching
Wang that I think I know the organization that the terrorist works
for. He would come immediately. But first make sure that this is
all right with your husband.”
     Marie dropped the Professor off at the Tokyo Marriott and
drove home to make arrangements for the meeting the next day.
He had two pieces of luggage that a young man relieved him of as
he entered the hotel. There was nothing in the suitcases that was in
anyway incriminating but what he hopefully had delivered to the
hotel was, the CD’s and photos of the men murdered by
Multiplixo. He presented his passport, visa and room reservation
information to the young petite receptionist.
     “Professor Pennington, welcome to Tokyo and our hotel. You
have a private suite on the first floor with Internet and multimedia
communications. May we keep your visa and passport in our safe
for your protection.” She smiled as if she was offering a special
service when in reality it was required by the Japanese
government for hotels to keep the passports and visas. Further, it
was rumoured that the security department copied the documents
and sent to the main security centre in Tokyo. That would mean,
of course, that Ching Wang would be checking his documents
shortly.
     The Professor looked hopefully at the girl hoping that she
would say something about his package delivery from China. It
would be better if he looked relatively indifferent about it.
     “Is there anything else I can help you?”
     “I forwarded some documents. Did they arrive?”
     “Oh, please forgive me Professor. I have them here.” She
handed him the neatly wrapped-brown package he sent form
China. He would carefully check it in his room to see if anyone
had been tampered with it.
     The Professor went into his room carefully looking to see if he
anyone was following him. He opened his room quickly standing
back for fear of an attack: none materialized. He knew that
                               236


Zarkoff now would act with impunity. A man who planned to take
over the world in a few days would not worry about killing a few
of his enemies. The professor quickly called the London
headquarters of Communsecure hoping to speak to Terry using his
mobile phone.
    “What’s happening Terry?” he spoke in Trothian in case
someone was listening in on their conversation.
    “ You are now wanted for questioning by MI6. They have
accused you of being a member of Iluminado that is now labelled
as a terrorist organization thereby any member is liable to
indefinite imprisonment.
    “They have taken several of our people before they could go
underground. We have Mark, Nathan and Telia here and several
others now undergoing identity changes. I am sure if I walked by
them in the streets I would not recognize any of them.” The
Professor thought of his wife and decided to call her that evening.
She refused to go underground like Peggy. Terry continued his
report:
    “From the information we gathered by intercepting
Multiplixo’s communications we are sure the attack will come in
less then forty-eight hours. Most of our people have their own
robots as well as David’s radio-blocking device that will block
Multiplixo’s radio signal. We are in the final stages of planning
the take over of our local target.” He didn’t say the Multiplixo
factory in case someone was listening.
    “How is your trip going?”
    The Professor briefed Terry on what happened to date and his
concern that Zarkoff knew where he was and what he was doing.
    “Yes, you must be careful Professor. Our enemy is on the
move. Do you have a weapon?”
    “Only my guile and my hands. It would have been impossible
to come armed to Japan and it would be foolish to look for a
weapon here.”
    “Yes, of course you’re right.” Terry then went on to another
topic.
    “ If you get the Japanese on board perhaps they could help in
                                237


destroying the Multiplixo plants around the world. But not
London, we want to handle it ourselves. It’s from here that we
know Zarkoff is sending messages to the spaceship. Must go, I’m
rather busy with a world war about to break out.”
    The Professor felt helpless having nothing to do. He almost
wished the enemy would try to attack him. At least there would be
one less of them. Again the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ haunted
him. It looked as if brute force would determine the outcome of
this battle and the first line of defence of the enemy was tens of
million of robots.
    Nervously he called his wife. She was fine but she told him to
turn on the television since the spaceship was about to broadcast
to the world its intent.
    He turned on the large flat TV screen in his hotel room in time
to hear the broadcast from the spaceship. It was an English station.
All the networks were happy to let them use their stations since it
was the biggest story going. They did this, not even thinking or
caring that it would paralyze the people of the Earth with fear. The
uncaring face of capitalism responded to its natural tendency
towards greed. Greliss knew already how to manipulate the people
of Earth.
    “I am Greliss, commander of the spaceship that is now in your
solar system. I have come to take over your planet. We have no
other place to go. If you resist, which I am sure you will, we will
destroy one city after another with our fusion weapons. You will
be asked to disarm all your nuclear weapons. Our allies on your
planet will shortly advise you what to do. I repeat any resistance
will be met with weapons more powerful than Earth has never
seen.”
    After the announcement, the commentator turned to a leading
nuclear scientist to assess the truth of what Greliss said.
    “Of course it is impossible to know exactly what weapons
they have. What we do know is their spaceship, which is a mile in
length, is larger than any plane or spaceship Earth has created.
Therefore, anyone could easily assume that these people have a
technology far greater than we can imagine. However, this is all
                                238


speculation. Unfortunately our leaders will only find the truth if
they announce their resistance. We all know what our own nuclear
weapons can do. We have weapons a hundred times more
powerful than that used on this country shortly after World War
Two. If their spaceship has weapons even equal in power, we face
a terrible prospect.”
    The news carried on for another hour as they interviewed
more and more people. No leaders of any country made any
comments as to their country’s intent. If a country dared to declare
war on the invaders then, no doubt, the spaceship would chose
that country as its first target. There was a brief weather report and
then photographs of the devastation inflicted by the massive storm
that was hitting London.
    The Professor spent most of the night in mediation preparing
for the next day and the battle that would soon engulf the world.
The meeting between the Professor, Ching Wang and Daiki
Takahashi took place in Marie and Daiki’s flat twenty storeys
above the streets of Tokyo. It was a modern flat with the latest
electronic devices. Lights would automatically come on when any
one entered the room, remote controls turned on not only the
usually things, television and stereos, but open and closed blinds,
moved furniture, open and closed sliding doors, and could
summon the house robots. They had two robots, a manservant and
a maid both first class androids unlike the crude looking
Multiplixo models.
    The impatience on the Security Chief’s face was evident. The
Professor could see he wanted to immediately question him about
what he knew, but the Japanese, who are nearly ritualistic in
etiquette, forbade him to do so.
    “The manservant and the maid brought in the tea and biscuits.
Both exhibited the best in what was considered beautiful for the
Japanese man and women. The motion of the arms and legs
showed amazing dexterity: they were almost human like.”
    “I’m very impressed with your robots, Daiki. They are
pleasant to watch, but one is almost embarrassed since they appear
so human like.”
                                239


    “Thank you Professor. We are very proud of our Japanese
robots and of course particularly these that came from our own
factories. I would offer you some but Multiplixo somehow
convinced your country to put a ban on them.”
    “And how is, Ching Wang, Daiki asked with sincerity. It has
been too long since Marie and I have seen you.”
    “We have been fine, thank you Daiki, but I’m afraid I must
insist we begin the business of this meeting. When someone says
our country’s security is at stake I have only ears for the
information telling from whom and how this danger exist.”
    The Professor then began, “First I would like to show you
what is on this DVD and then some paper clippings to clarify the
identities of those shown in it.” He handed it to the manservant
who Daiki told to put it into the DVD player. Using his remote
control Daiki dimmed the lights, closed the bamboo blinds and
started the DVD that showed the abduction of prominent citizens
of the UK.”
    After the showing’ the Security Chief was the first to speak:
    “This may demonstrate, Professor, that Multiplixo has
captured and killed some of your prominent citizens but it does
not prove they are a threat to us.”
    “You’re correct Mr. Wang, but I’m not asking you to do
anything except to be prepared when they begin their attack. I
have brought the locations of all the thirty Multiplixo factories in
the World. You will know when the robots are on the streets that
it has begun and if you are ready you could began an attack before
you are attacked. If you can destroy the factories nearest you, then
you will be of help. So I’m just bringing a warning. I’m not asking
you do so anything but be prepared.”
    Ching Wang was not convinced. “ The man you arrested said
he was working as an agent for MI6. He claims you are a known
terrorist suspect working for Iluminado.”
    “He’s correct in his analysis that I’m working for Iluminado,
but did you ask him why he was trying to kill me rather than arrest
me?”
    “Your MI6 has made many extrajudicial killings in the past.
                               240


We will keep him as a terrorist suspect and if you don’t mind I
would like you to surrender your passport.
      “When do you believe this attack will occur, Professor?”
     “We believe that it will start tomorrow or the next day. This
conclusion comes from the presents of the spaceship. When
Greliss, who is the alleged commander of the spaceship, speaks of
allies he is referring to a man called Zarkoff who is one of the
leaders of Multiplixo though he is using an alias of Daniel Webb
who is supposed to be head of PR for the London Multiplixo
factory.”
     “I must go immediately to speak to the Prime Minister. There
is much to be done if what you say is true. So please excuse me
gentlemen. It is not easy to convince a government to mobilize all
its forces.”
     “Would you please keep in contact, Professor? My superiors
might want to question you also.”
     “I would be happy to speak to anyone you want me to. But a
word of caution, the long tentacles of Multiplixo will have already
reached many in your government.”
     The eyes of the security chief flickered in doubt as if
wondering what he could do about this information. He stood up
and bowed to his host and nodding to the Professor.
     “Good day gentlemen. I hope what you are saying is
completely wrong, Professor. But I fear it is not.”
     “Well all we can do is wait, Professor. I have decided reserve
three places at one of the best restaurants in Tokyo. There is an
old English proverb, ‘Eat drink and be happy for tomorrow you
man die.’ We shall enjoy today and then we will be ready to fight
tomorrow.”
     ***
     Back in London, I was getting ready to do just that – fight. I
went over our plans again to enter and take over the building. My
task was straightforward: to destroy the radio facilities of the
London Multiplixo factory.
                                241


    I had just come from a skin treatment – enhanced
hypopigmentation – to lighten the colour of my skin. This was
part of giving me a new identity.
    “Well, Mark, I see your skin has really changed. Another
twenty-four hours and you could write a book, ‘White Like me.’
Terry could see that I did not have a clue what he was talking
about so he explained:
    “In the sixties there was a white men who wanted to really
know what it was like to be treated as a black man. So he had his
skin darkened using a far more primitive method then our doctors
used on you. He went to the southern states in the United States of
America and travelled to as many states as he could. The book he
wrote of his experience was called, ‘Black Like Me.’ ”
    Again, I looked confused. “Why did he go there?”
    “It was there that most of the black people were slaves and
once they gained their freedom, no one there would let them
forget that they were once slaves.”
    One of Terry’s hobbies was studying histories of the English
people on Earth. His knowledge was truly amazing.
    “Now to come to the task at hand: let’s go over the security
system that Multiplixo has in place starting from your target area,
the second floor. There are only twenty people who have passes to
this floor: five executives, ten armed guards and five technicians.
This tells us that everyone knows everyone else. They would
immediately detect a stranger on the floor. The radio transmitter
is in a room on top of the third floor and it is easy to get there
from the second floor.
    “So, Mark, your main task is to get to the second floor. There
is a big problem getting there: you must take the lift. In order to
get on the lift you must stand in front of their CCT camera, insert
a pass card with voice code and pass a voice recognition tests as
well as a retina scan.” Terry was smiling I was not. All I could see
was that it was impossible to achieve. Before I could say anything,
he continued:
    “There is one flaw in their security programme: they allow
robots to go back and forth carrying reports, food, parts and tools.
                                242


Their robots all appear very similar. And, before you ask, yes we
are working on putting some of our robots in the factory.”
    He was right. If we could have a sufficient number of robots in
the factory, they perhaps could control the second floor. Of
course, how I would do that I had no idea.
     “Now the first floor is much easier to get to as you know,
Mark, since Peggy has already been there. Our dear old friend,
Zarkoff, now known as Daniel Web, invited her there. In other
words if you can get an invite, then your in. In your case Mark I
don’t think that will happen. There are ten armed robots and two
robot controllers – they would give the instruction to the robots to
open fire on any invader. Law of course strictly forbids this: a law
that the company flaunts since it has the political power to do so.
But from our viewpoint, another weakness in their security.”
    “If we can get enough robots into the building to neutralize
their robots,” I added wondering how we were going to do it.
    “There are only two ways up to the first floor: two staircases
each guarded by an armed human and CCT cameras. Remember,
Mark, once there you must get to the second floor you must get to
the third in minutes before they disable the lift.”
    “Disable the lift!” I repeated.
    “Yes, that’s part of their plan. They have a programme that
will shut down the lift for forty-five minutes. Once it’s activated
no one can come up the lift. Not even Zarkoff himself.”
    I thought about him once again, and I resolved to kill him on
sight no matter what!
    “The ground floor is the easiest to access. They ship thousands
of robots from there every week. Hundreds of trucks come in to
collect the robots. Vans come in with food and drink, cleaners,
rubbish trucks, plumbers, electricians and a variety of people that
any company would need to function come through the loading
docks. Though everyone who gets inside must have a pass it’s the
easiest place to get into.”
    “Aren’t there guards on the ground floor?” I asked.
    “Yes, perhaps as many as ten, but still not many when you
consider the traffic. They know that there must be a relatively free
                                243


flow of goods and people on the factory floor in order for the
factory to function. This is also the most visited part of the factory
so a low profile security force is necessary for good PR.”
     “But still ten guards are ten guards,” I added gloomily.
     “Any questions, Mark?”
     “I can see several ways we can possibly get in to the ground
floor. I only wish we had more time.”
     “I’m only telling you what they have, Mark. We have made
many preparations that you may find helpful.”
     “ Now, there are two more areas of the complex to consider:
there are heating and air-conditioning vents through the building
going below the surface to above the building larger enough for a
man or robot to pass through and there is the basement or dungeon
were we believe some of our people are imprisoned!”
     “You mean you want us to free them?”
     “Yes, as soon as you enter in the building. If you could.”
     “Oh I forgot to mention the rocket launchers and the gun ports
covering the surrounding grounds. And another thing, Zarkoff has
a space shuttle hidden away on the grounds under some trees.” I
remembered the time he escaped from me in a helicopter in Spain.
I did not want him to escape again. What I had heard frustrated
me. It would take months to work out how to break into such a
high security complex; they gave me only a few days.
     “Now tell me the good news.”
     “Yes, there is good news, Mark. We have purchased fifty
Multiplixo robots using a makeshift company as a front. We wrote
to Multiplixo and told them we are going to return them since we
need upgraded models, military robots, for what we want. You see
we created on paper a company that allegedly deals in arms. So on
the day you want to gain entry into the factory, we are going to
return their robots.”
     I added, “Only they wont be their robots will they. They’ll be
ours.”
     “Precisely,” Terry said. “So your assistance will consist of
fifty robots.”
                                244


    “What else have you organized?” I was beginning to feel more
hopeful.
     “The robots will be delivered by two of our men who will be
armed, but more importantly will be directing the robots to
neutralize any security guards or robots that are impeding us. In
addition, we have arranged for a van that usually carries food
supplies for their canteen to be driven by two more of our people.
They will be carrying David’s jamming devices that will cause
their robots to malfunction.
    The remaining two men will be driving a rubbish truck. All
these men must act in co-ordination if we are to achieve access to
the third floor.”
    “It’s now looking possible to achieve our goal but only just.”
    “I have more good news, Mark. We are now capable for
hacking into their computers, at least in theory.”
    “In theory? Why don’t you do it?”
    “Because if we do then they’ll be alerted and shut us out in ten
to fifteen minutes. But if we try to hack in just as you’re breaking
into the building when and if you get to the third floor we may be
able to open the lift for you.”
    “Of course if you can’t then we’ll be stopped dead in our
tracks.”
    “Yes, but we hope that won’t happened.” Terry was even
optimistic for an alien.
    “Now in order to communicate with one another I’m giving
you a device that will send radio signals on a very low frequency
not used by most communication system, and since it is digital
there should be no problem with interference. The signal is
duplicated four times for accuracy.”
    “You haven’t said how we are going to get into the building.”
    “You three have an appointment there at four o’clock. You are
communications experts representing Communsecure trying to
sell our latest security system.”
    “But they know that we control the company and they’ll
expect we will try something if nothing more than get information
from them. We’re sure to get caught!”
                                245


    “Yes, I hope so. That’s part of the plan.”
    “What!!”
    “You see, you three getting caught and put in the dungeon will
distract the security people giving them enough time to do what
they have to.”
    “Your part in all this, besides being caught, will be to free the
people in the dungeon, four of our people.”
    I was shocked at his proposal yet somewhat relieved. If my
part in this was merely to get caught, then I felt certain I could
easily do that.
    Terry continued as if he was explaining a holiday timetable:
     “Now besides getting caught, one of the most important jobs
you have to do is organizing the protest in front of the factory.
That should start the first thing tomorrow morning, in time for it
to gain some publicity.”
    I hoped Jimmy Toggle would be ready with help, but a phone
call put even the urgent plans to infiltrate the factory out of my
mind. It was reported that Peggy’s clinic had been destroyed by
fire: two bodies were found so badly burnt that there was little
hope of making an easy identity.




                              Chapter 19

                           The Final Assault
                                 246


     I was told afterwards of the many things happened in the next
forty-eight hours. I will try to explain the series of events that lead
to one of the worse times in my life: a time when all my hope
would be sucked away.
     The night the clinic was destroyed Peggy was working late
and she was alone having gone there well after working hours.
She was worried about what the storm would do to it. The winds
were now a steady hundred miles per, hour with gust up to one
hundred and forty miles an hour and then she wished she had, had
the foresight to have had boarded up the windows. Now she felt
they might break at any moment. There was no one out in the
streets that night and if something did happen, there would be
little chance of anyone coming to help her. Peggy, though, was
never concerned with her own safety. To her the clinic was a
refuge to many of her elderly patients and without it they might
suffer or even die. She had it supplied with Trothian medicine
though only she and her Trothian staff knew that. She could not
board up the windows from the outside but she enlisted her robots
to place the heavy bookcases and file cabinets against them so if
the windows did break they would partially impeded the wind and
rain
     Taking advantage of the storm, Zarkoff decided he would
begin to exact his revenge on me, me, his mortal enemy, by killing
my wife. He knew that I and my son Nathan had to leave the area
and that Peggy would be alone except for one bodyguard who was
suppose to guard her day and night. This bodyguard, with an earth
name Paul, was now upstairs in Peggy’s house reading the History
of Drethal that was a worldwide best seller as a science fiction
novel. Peggy had left the house without telling Paul she was going
out and Paul thought that, with a stormy night like this, he could
relax his guard: he was wrong.
     Peggy had just finished reinforcing the windows when she
thought she had seen someone outside. She had three Trothian
robots under her command so she assumed she was not in any
danger. Then she saw something that she had seen before, but to
see it here in front of her clinic was indeed unnerving: it was a
                                247


robot ten metres high and the last time she saw a robot giant like
this was in the basement of the Multiplixo factory in London. She
re-assessed her situation and she was no longer certain that her
robots could match the giant outside. She knew what would
shortly happen. The giant robot would smash down her door and
the men, or man outside would come to kill her. People would just
find the clinic levelled and assume that the storm had destroyed it.
     Two men took the robot from a large armoured truck. Even
this large vehicle swayed back and forth in storm. It was obvious
that the men were anxious to do the job quickly and get out. Being
out in the storm was suicidal. If one could have seen the faces and
the features of these men one would be forgiven for thinking that
they were not humans, though they were humans.
     The green tinted pigment of their skin and the extra digit for
killing on their hands, showed that they were Zarkoff’s creations:
men transformed by steroids and controlled by fear.
     Peggy had a small laser handgun that could only stun the men
but was ineffective against the large robot. The giant robot began
pounding on the front door of the clinic. It was a sturdy door with
two inch thick glass and a sturdy aluminium frame; a frame that
was now visibly moving inward away from the front wall.
     The robots inside looked uncertain as to what to do. They
sensed danger and turned towards the door with their lasers
activated. Peggy had never commanded the robots to damage
anything, human or otherwise and was unsure as to how to do it.
She knew though that she had little time to act. The robot had
pushed the door in halfway through the wall and the wind from
the storm started whistling through. The robot gave one last
mighty push and the door crashed to the ground, the thick glass
unbroken.
     Peggy moved forward and instinctively fired at the eyes of the
robot with her small gun, and as she had expected, nothing
happened. She shouted to her robots to follow suit but they stood
there still uncertain of what to do. The large robot activated its
laser and its eyes were reddening. Peggy once again shouted to
her robots but they took no notice. She wondered if those
                                248


attacking were jamming her robots. It was not that though. They
were making there own estimate of the danger and they fired their
lasers in unison directly at the sensors of the large robot. The
result was instant. The power from all three lasers blew the head
off the robot causing it to fall to the ground. The men on either
side of it decided that it was best for them to retreat rather than
face these three-armed robots.
     The two men did not go home though. They waited until
Peggy left the building after her robots put back the door that the
giant robot knocked down. She wondered though if the door
would withstand the storm.
     The men stayed knowing that if they returned admitting that
they failed and also that the large robot had been destroyed, they
would have no doubt been tortured to death.
     On the contrary, if Zarkoff had discovered that Trothian robots
were armed with powerful lasers, he would have thanked the men
for discovering his enemy’s secret weapons and then he would
have eliminated the aliens robots before he attempted to take over
the planet. These would be an unpleasant surprise to him and his
allies.
     The men were concerned only for their own lives and they
decided that the best thing to do was to destroy the clinic without
Peggy in it. They had a small hand bomb that they activated and
threw it through the widow of the clinic. It was an incendiary
bomb and when it exploded the building started burning fiercely.
Now they could honestly say that they had destroyed the clinic,
that Peggy was working late, and that no one got out alive. This
might just appease Zarkoff though they never made it back; as
they got into their van a large building collapsed crushing the van
killing them both instantly.

    Peggy came back late that night and this time Paul heard her
come in the door. She had a cut across her face that was bleeding
profusely. Before Paul could open his mouth Peggy spoke: Get me
a towel, Paul, and the dressing from the medical cabinet.
                                 249


    He rushed into the bathroom and came out with the requested
items. Peggy then told him where she had been and what had
happened. He was shocked and angered that she had left without
his knowledge.
    “Why didn’t you tell me you were going? Zarkoff’s people
could have killed you.”
    “ I apologise, Paul. But you would have never let me go. We
must let Mark know that I’m all right.”
    “ I don’t think that would be a good idea right now. They may
have a monitor on our MCD and phones. If they were so close for
so long they must have tapped into our communications system.
In fact, if we send the opposite message – in code of course- they
would believe that they have achieved there mission and it would
give you some time to think again about your commitment to the
clinic. After all, Peggy, it looks like the attack will come in a
week. Mark may need your help if you are free of the clinic.
    Peggy quietly completed the dressing of her wound.
    “Do you think we have a chance of defeating Zarkoff and his
associates, Paul?”
    “I don’t know Peggy. They have all the robots under their
command though, thanks to your brother David’s blocking device,
they hopefully will lose control of them. Though, as you know,
his radio transmitter has not been tested in actual battle
conditions.”
    “If I we are defeated I would like to die fighting at his side. I’ll
have a quick check of the clinic tomorrow morning to see how
bad the damage is. Then I’ll have a better idea as to what to do. In
the meantime, I will began to use my new identity and prepare to
go underground. Could you send a coded message to the London
office confirming what I have said?”
    “Certainly Peggy, I’ll send that and then I’ll send an open
message saying that you have been killed. It will stop them from
coming here. Did you bring your robots back with you?”
    “ I’ve brought two. I left one to guard the clinic, though if they
send another giant robot it wouldn’t have a chance.”
                                 250


     In south London Jimmy Toggle was have problems
convincing his people to stage a demonstration in front of the
Surrey Multiplixo building. He was using e-mail as a means of
communications and hoping no one was monitoring his message.
They had already coded the name for Multiplixo as alien-crusher.
This was done mostly by word of mouth with calls from Jimmy to
ten different counties. There was at least one cell of UFO
watchers, as they called themselves, in each county.
     Nobody was coming forth and it was not because they did not
believe Jimmy; it was because that they feared Multiplixo. The
ordinary man on the street realized the power of the giant
company and many had friends who had crossed the company and
had paid a heavy price. Most only lost their jobs and some lost all
professional credibility. A few lost their lives. In some way there
was no need of Zarkoff and his allies to send millions of robots on
the streets: everyone feared the company while pretending to sing
its praises.
     In frustration, Jimmy threw down the phone when the
executive head of UFO Watchers, Allan Fullers, said it was too
risky. Jimmy screamed into the phone, “When you and your
family have been taken by the robots and become slaves then you
will always remember you had a chance to fight back.”
     Allan Fullers, who was sixty- five, was a hard-nosed
businessman even though he believed in aliens even before the
arrival of the spaceship. He knew better than anyone the power
the company wielded, but Jimmy’s last statement stuck in his
crawl: he loved his family and would do anything to protect it. He
also was aware of the murky side of the giant company knowing
personal two people who disappeared having challenged it.
     After smoking a fine Cuban cigar and relaxing with some
whiskey and water, he called back Jimmy.
     “Hello, Jimmy, this is Allan Fullers. I’m in and I’ll get the rest
of the chapters behind you as well as a few of my union friends
who hate the company’s guts. Now you let me know when and
where you want us and at one time.”
     “Thanks, Allan, we might not win this…
                               251


    “ We are son and I have a lot of guys who owe me a lot of
favours. I’m pulling them all for this shot. So you tell me when,
where and what you want us to do.”
    “Thanks Allan, I’ll get back to you after I talk with my
contact. Now he had to wait for me to contact him and he hoped it
would be soon. His phone was busy the rest of the day and well
into the night: with Allan’s encouragement, hundreds of people
were phoning in to say they would join his demonstration.


     My skin as well as Telia’s had change from a dark pigment to
light and with our hair coloured blonde and with tinted contact
lens we all looked almost like someone from Norway or Sweden.
Looking at Nathan and Telia made me realize what a good job the
doctors in London did: we could walk into the Multiplixo factory
and Zarkoff would not be able to recognize us. This might buy the
time we need to get to the transmitter. Terry was waiting for some
men to come in before he gave us the final security briefing.
     “ I think I had better call Jimmy if we’re going to make a
move to take the factory tomorrow night,” I told Terry.
     “Fine Mark we have a secure landline you may use.” I knew
if this call was traced then our cause would be lost. I hoped that
Jimmy would recognize my voice. It took a long time to get
through since his line was busy. I spoke without using my name.”
     “Listen carefully Jimmy and don’t use my name. You can call
me Bob though. Have you got the support you need for the demo
in front of the Alien Crusher’s factory?”
     Jimmy puzzle a few seconds before realizing that it was I,
Mark Kempton, who was calling him.”
     “Yes, Bob. We’re more than ready. We’ll soon be able to have
over two hundred people in front of the factory. When do you
want them?”
     “ I’m sorry to shock you, Jimmy, but we need them by
tomorrow. Remember bring as many robots as you can. I, or
someone else will bring as many of my friend’s radio disrupting
device as possible.”
                                252


    There was a shock silence on the other end of the line. Then
Jimmy responded clearly and emphatically: “OK, Bob. I’ll have
the men in front tomorrow morning.” The fist stage of the assault
on the Multiplixo factory had begun.
    We went into what we referred to as our War Room. On a
large screen in the front of the room were images of the
Multiplixo Factory. Our own satellite that we had launched two
years ago as a Communsecure company project, had taken these
images from months of satellite photos. It was a geostationary
satellite based over the UK. We had three other such satellites:
one over Washing DC, one over Moscow and another over
Germany. Further, we had the means of linking in to most of the
geostationary satellites around the globe. After all, we are the
experts in communications.
    In the room were four other men we had not met before. Terry
introduced us. They were Peter and Brian who would bring in the
robots. Peter was a tall balding man who was quick to smile – he
appeared unease with what was happening. Brian was smaller
man who appeared slightly older than Peter. His face betrayed no
emotion.
    The other two were Mike and Paul who would drive a rubbish
truck loaded with armed Trothians. They appeared nervous as I
and in some way that helped me. They both were big men and
slightly overweight, unusual for Trothians but not so much for the
average truck driver in the UK: they looked the part.
    Terry began the briefing: “ My friends, tomorrow at exactly
5:45 pm we will launch our surprise attack on the Multiplixo
factory in London. The timing of the attack is critical; it will be at
the end of the day shift and workers and security people will be
more interested in going home than anything else. At that time
they will be completing their reports and making ready to hand
over to the next shift. At 5:35 pm the fifty robots that we are
asking to upgrade to military standard will be coming through the
gates and heading for the ground floor loading dock where they
will be unloaded.
                               253


    “Brian and Peter will be bringing in the truck with two other
men. The rubbish van that Paul and Mike will drive will enter at
5: 40. This is the usual time for the arrival of the rubbish van
though in this case it will not be there to pick up rubbish but
deliver five armed men. Telia, Mark and Nathan, will arrive at
precisely 5.00 pm and hopefully placed in the dungeon by roughly
5:30. And of course break out by 5:45.”
    “How are we supposed to break out?” I asked,
    Their command computer can open and close the doors. We
hope to have broken into the system at 5:45 and then, if things go
to plan, open the dungeon doors. Your job is to simply overpower
the guards when they come in to check on you. Nathan of course
would be best for that. We estimate that you are the most powerful
man on Earth. But the guards would have no knowledge of this.”
I could almost fell Nathan swell with pride at Terry’s statement.
    The only guns that we will be carrying are laser guns, as we
will program our robots to attack anyone with automatic weapons.
We have programmed the shape, colour and size of the security
guards weapons into each robots CPU.
    After our trucks enter, Jimmy and company will stop people
going in and out. This may bring out the heavies from the factory,
but he, and his men, must back away until 5:45. At that time, I
hope to break into the system and disable the lift so that you can
storm the second floor and destroy their radio transmitter.
    After securing the factory, you will await further orders. We
will implant radio transponders in your ears so that you can
receive my orders. Some of these orders you may not like, but
remember we will have reasons for giving them.”
    I wanted to ask what orders he would give that I would not
want to do, but I decided they would never tell us in advance and
the orders might depend on what happened during the takeover of
the factory.
    “We also will have three men outside to coordinate attacks
outside the factory to help your friend Jimmy. None of your new
identities are known so we advise for you to be close to the
                                254


factory during the early morning and prepare yourselves for your
intended visit at 5:00 to sell our security system to the enemy.”
    “ You’ll all get a wakeup calls at five am. Then you can make
your way to a place where you can get to the factory on the
timetable I have given you.”
    ***

     The next morning saw the end of the worst storm that had
ever hit the UK. It had been destroyed thousands of homes and
uprooted millions of trees. The authorities had not completed the
death toll, but it would be in the thousands if not tens of
thousands.
    With global warming meteorologist had predicted such a
storm for several years though it the authorities ignored these
predictions and decided it was an exaggeration by over excitable
environmentalist who would predict anything to achieve their
goals. Now the reality of such a storm faced the nation and
already the spin began by calling the storm a freak – once in a
century storm. The control over the newspapers by the
Government was well known and calling it a freak storm was just
a way to relieve them of the responsibility of not being prepared.
    The chaos of the cleanup suited us perfectly. Jimmy Toggle
gathered two hundred protestors in front of the Multiplixo factory
without any press attention. Normally, of course, this would be a
bad thing since the whole idea of a protest was to get attention to a
cause. The alleged cause in this case was a list complied by us of a
number of people who had been killed by robots, robots that were
programmed not to kill humans. The list had been handed to the
guards at the gate who looked bewildered as they took it to the
management inside. In the brown envelope they had passed to the
guards there were photos of video stills of prominent people that
were found murdered, the mystery of their deaths unsolved.
    The fact that no one attempted to remove the protestors
convinced us more than ever that Multiplixo was going to act and
act soon. In fact, they had begun their war on the world by the
predawn attack they were making on the USA.
                                255


     It was a coordinate attack led by a spaceship that now was in a
stationary orbit over Washing DC in the USA. The US had been
on high alert every since Greliss spaceship parked over
Washington DC. We had badly misjudged our enemies. The US,
the country with the greatest number of nuclear weapons, was the
obvious first target since once it fell the other countries would be
easy to take over. Greliss and his command had thoroughly
studied the military strengths of the countries of Earth, and
therefore had chosen the US as their first target.
     The US government was well aware of the enemy above but
they were – at the presidential level – ignorant of the danger from
within the country, the Multiplixo robots. This is despite that fact
of the CIA’s reports of the millions of robots controlled
Multiplixo and the danger that posed. In fact it was our people
within the CIA that pushed the report, two of them losing their
jobs because of it. Big business still bought and purchased the
presidency and there was none bigger than Multiplixo. Therefore,
when the robots started attacking people and military installations
the government looked above for the cause. They believed that by
some super power the invading spaceship was controlling the
robots. Therefore, their only goal was to destroy the ship. This of
course was exactly what Greliss wanted. It made him look all the
more powerful and also gave him a chance to show what power he
could deliver.
     ***
      The president then was Dan Houston, a Republican and a
right wing military commander that nearly caused a nuclear war in
the middle- east. Syria had tested a nuclear bomb one month ago.
The UN demanded that it relinquish its nuclear weapons. The
Syrians at first denied having any and then told anyone who was
listening they were keeping them.
     The president decided that Syria’s nuclear installations had to
be destroyed whether or not the UN agreed. The House of
Representatives got wind of what he was doing and immediately
put it to the vote in the House. Firstly, it agreed that Syria was not
a threat to the US and secondly the House voted that no action
                               256


could be taken by the US unless it had the backing of the majority
of the House and the Senate. This stopped the president in his
tracks; he had to place his guns back in his holsters. So when the
spaceship threaten the US he was anxious to show how powerful
the US was.
    When Greliss demanded the surrender of the US, the president
belligerently replied, “Over my dead body.”
    Greliss taunted that’s exactly what I wanted to hear. He then
waited for the president to shoot his misses at that spaceship. As
was expected, the president gave the order to shoot five
intercontinental missiles at Greliss’ spaceship.
    One of his advisors who fled the area after he gave the
command told us that the last thing he heard president say was,
“Now were going to kick ass.”
    The missiles headed towards the spaceship at eight times the
speed of sounds coming from five different directions. There
seemed no way the ship could escape.
    The president gleefully watched from the Oval Office refusing
to leave for the safety of the presidential bunker though his
executive team asked him to. After ten minutes pass the time the
spaceship was supposed to be destroyed, Greliss sent a message.
“Oh Mighty President, your missiles missed me. I cheated and
moved the ship out of the way.”
    The US military thought that no ship could move that fast: it
was a fatal miscalculation.
    “Unfortunately you can’t move out of the way of the beam
that I have just sent to you.”
    Greliss sent a beam of neutrons aimed at the White House and
hit before the president and his men could leave the Oval office.
They and everyone in the White House died instantly.
    We heard the news just before we left our communications
centre in London. We also heard about the robots attacking the
citizens of the US as well as military installations. Not one
newscaster said anything about Multiplixo. With dread, I
wondered if they also controlled the television and radio stations
around the world. Yet it was logical that no one would expect
                                257


them. After all a spaceship just survived five nuclear missiles and
then killed the President of the United States. If they could do
that, then it was perfectly logical that they could control the
robots.
    The vice president decided that they had no choice but to
surrender. The robots were rounding up millions of citizens and
bring them to large central holding areas: baseball fields, football
fields and airports. Military robots took over the Amy, Navy and
the Air Force. No one expected their own weapons, the robots, to
turn on them!
    The problem with surrendering was who to surrender to and
with what terms.
    The vice-president cut a pathetic figure when he publicly
surrendered the country to the unknown enemy. “We surrender,”
is all he could say and he said it on national television as
requested by Greliss. It was an unconditional and for all he knew
the people who the aliens would roundup would execute them. We
had to act soon so I was amazed when no advanced order came.
    I wondered why we were even bothering to take over the
Multiplixo factory in Surrey with the capitulation of the US what
chance would even a united UK have against such power.
    But our scientist knew more than the American scientist: we
knew that the energy of the spaceship after travelling almost two
hundred light years was low. Our main objective was still
Multiplixo but until they broke cover we could do nothing but
wait.
    It was one o’clock pm and we were sitting in a restaurant
having lunch one mile from the factory. We watched the news in
horror like everyone else. The most powerful nation in the world
had surrendered to the aliens. We were next. Greliss had
threatened to position his spaceship over London. It looked to us
like we had to change our timetable but we received no news from
our communication centre.
    Many questions were shooting through our minds as we
watched television with news of one defeat after another.
                               258


    “Dad, why didn’t we stop the robots using uncle David’s
jamming device?”
    I had no answer. The robots in the US were definitely in
control and doing Multiplixo’s bidding.
    “I don’t know, Nathan. Perhaps it’s because no one believes
Multiplixo is causing the robots to attack people and if we attack
their factories no one would join us.”
    I wanted to believe what he had said. The alternative would be
too ghastly to believe: David’s device did not work. Even so, I
would have expected an attack on the factories by now. Greliss
had promised to have his spaceship over London by 5:00 pm and
he demanded the people of the UK to surrender by then. If he kept
to his timetable, Multiplixo would have to transform the robots so
that they would attack the people in the UK near five pm.
    “We should have received new orders by now, I said to Telia.
“We have to make our move before the robots are unleashed.”
    Telia looked at me with her usual quiet confidence. “We have
to trust our people in London. They are receiving all the
information. We have to wait.”
    As we were speaking, I received a message from Terry. He
was brief and he spoke in Trothian.
    “ Mark, Peggy has been taken into the Multiplixo factory. We
think they will put her in the dungeon. Possible they might have
some idea that we’re going to attack and they are holding her
hostage.”
    “ Are we starting now then?”
    “ It’s impossible, Mark. We can’t get our truck in before the
timetable that we have. If they came early, the guards would
become suspicious. We have to wait. I told you this since it’s only
fair that you know.”
    Wait, why they held my wife! I was not sure I could do that.
   259




 Chapter 20
Earth Threaten
                                260


    How could I wait fours hours to rescue Peggy, the woman I
loved more than anyone else on the planet? Yet I knew that I had
to since an uncoordinated attempt without the men and robots in
place would end in failure. I wished he had not told me that she
had been captured. But if he did not and I saw her then I might
have blown my cover.
    The next four hours would be the longest in my life.
    Parliament was debating behind closed doors UK’s response
to the spaceship. Our experts, no doubt, were trying to pass on the
information that the ship probably had little energy left to make
any type of prolonged attack. Of course we could not say for
certain how much energy they had and then there was the problem
of believing the source of the information. Only we aliens had any
idea about the problems and technology of long-distance space
travel. In other words it would be difficult to convince even the
best scientist that we were giving them the correct information.
    News of robot atrocities was constantly being aired on the
television. Fear had gripped the globe and it was this that was
paralyzing governments stopping then from disabling their robots.
A few leaders in some countries recommended taking the power
supply out of the robots but people refused to believe that their
fateful servants for years would turn on them. They were acting as
if the robots were long faithful friends not machines that were
constantly downloading new updates almost daily.
    That behaviour did not surprise the aliens, after all humans
talked to their pet dogs and cats as if they really could understand
what they were saying.
     People, as could be predicted, were fleeing from London.
They did not want to be annihilated like half of Washing DC had
been. The streets were jammed and many of those fleeing were
MPs. If your leaders run what could you expect of the people. The
Multiplixo factory was outside the city and therefore we were
thought to be in a safe area. Even so, half the staff of the
restaurant decided to leave for home to fight the enemy with their
families beside them. No one thought of giving up, but we, in the
UK, yet had to personally face a robot uprising.
                                261


    Heathrow airport was the first to close. They lacked essential
personnel to keep it open and even asked for help from the Army.
The Army refused having no idea what was going to hit them
deciding to keep their essential personnel to run their own
airfields.
    “Surely the Army will deactivate their robots after watching
what’s happening in the US”, said a hopeful Nathan.
    “Yes, I can see how that’s logical, but over the years armies
around the world have built their defences around robots. It was a
logically thing to do. With more robots in the army less men
would be killed. But of course, as usual with modern wars, the
number of non-combatants killed had increased. No, Nathan, no
army will deactivate their robots until they have absolute proof
that they are dangerous and when that happens it will be too late.”
    Everyone had not surrendered in the US, the mayor of
Chicago was the first to declare war on the aliens. Other cities
followed some even given the logical order to deactivate their
robots. These cities became a battlefield were thousands of
civilians died and thousands of robots were destroyed; still the
people outnumbered the robots and were winning in some areas.
    Greliss knew that robots had to win since he did not have the
firepower to destroy the Earth as he pretended he had. He then
called a five-hour truce with the US. And then he would offer a
treaty only asking for a small section of Earth for the few people
that he had so that they could settle in peace.
    “ We have travelled from 200 light-years away from a planet
which was destroyed by a meteor. We thought this planet was
uninhabited. When we met with hostel fire we had to retaliate. I
give the task to your UN to chose a place for us to live where we
can live in peace.”
    “Of course he was lying and almost everyone knew it deep in
their hearts. But it would give the armies time to figure out how to
strike back. For the UN to chose, or sacrifice a small part of the
world in five hours would be impossible. Yet leaders around the
world went to New York just to do that. The big powerful
countries knew that they would give land from a third world
                                262


country: after all they had plenty of extra land to give away. As
one US senator commented, “It’s just a matter of choosing which
African country would give us the least trouble.”
     Greliss’ ploy did the trick. People started to go back to
London and hoped that a peaceful settlement could be made with
these powerful invaders. It was four o’clock when Greliss put his
ship in a geostationary orbit over London. The UK Government
had made it clear to the invaders that they would not give in to
any demands from the invaders except allowing them to come
down, unarmed, and surrender. The Prime Minster was Chris
Graylag, our first statesmen in years, who had the guts to put an
end to the corruption that had entangled the UK politicians for the
last five years.
     ***
     A four thirty, one half hour before we were to arrive at the
factory the first disaster struck, a sniper, no doubt from the
factory, had shot Jimmy Toggle who was the leader of the protest.
The news media was nowhere in sight. A protest in front of a
factory was little news. An ambulance was called to the scene but
it took fifteen minutes to get there, the chaos of the storm and the
lack of personnel caused the delay. Jimmy was rushed to the
hospital after losing a great deal of blood; when he arrived he was
pronounced in serious condition and sent to the intensive care
unit.
     After he left, some of the protesters started to leave: the first
stage of the attack was unravelling. Then Allan Fullers stepped
forward. He was a large man both in stature and in character.
People listened to him when he spoke and they usual did what he
asked as he was now.
     “ We can’t give up now. Jimmy’s been shot. Don’t let those
bastards beat us. We’ll stay out of range for now but when I say
the word will make them pay!” Out of over two hundred men
only three refused to go back.
     At five o’clock we headed for the factory gates passed the
menacing protesters. Two confronted us.
                                 263


     “What the hell you going in for.” I responded immediately
but quietly.
     “Jimmy is our friend. We’re here to help.” The surprised men
let us pass.
     The gates were shut with five nervous armed guards watching
the protesters outside.
     “I have an appointment with the technical staff. We’re from
Communsecure.”
     Four guards pointed their guns at us while the fifth called into
the office. I listened carefully to the answer. “Yes, by all means let
them in. They’re expected.”
     We all knew they were aware that our company,
Communsecure, was an alien enterprise and that we would be the
first to be eliminated in an all out attack. That’s why we changed
identities.
     I made a whistling sound just above the human hearing range
to test to see if the guards would respond: they did not. Then I
spoke to Telia and Nathan in Trothian: “Don’t respond to anyone
speaking Trothian. I’m sure Zarkoff is well aware who we
represent. What we don’t want him to know is that we are aliens,
at least no yet.”
     We walked in to the main reception area and I was shocked to
see those behind the desk shielded by what appear to bulletproof
glass.
     We were all searched for weapons by two men similar to that
occurs in airports throughout the world. We had put any our
change, watches, mobile phones and any thing metal in a tray and
then we were asked to walk through a metal-detector. As I passed
through the metal detector went off. The men looked at me
suspiciously. I feared the machine was detecting the small
transmitter-receiver embedded in my outer ear.
     “Take off your shoes and belt.” I now saw that the belt had a
buckle and that was probably what was causing the problem.
     They then took us to a stark waiting room and shut the door
leaving an armed guard watching us. This was not good. It could
not have been the normal procedures: customers would be scared
                                264


away. But then this was Multiplixo, the company that influenced
most of the world.
     “Is this the usual way visitors are treated?” I asked. The guard
looked perplexed; it was obvious he was not use to questions.
     “The security is always tight here, though …” He stopped
from saying what we already knew: we were special guest.
     It was 5:15 and we were only on the ground floor. Still,
according to him, our objective was to make our way to the
dungeon or be brought there. And then the man himself came in,
Daniel Web, alias Zarkoff. I made an effort to calm myself so I
would not show the hatred that had built inside me.
     “Sorry to keep you waiting it seems to be a troubled time we
are having with invasion from outer space and hurricanes and now
we have a protest going on in front of our building. I hope the
protester didn’t bother you.” He looked such a kind man, polite
and warm. Of course he did not fool us and I think he knew it. We
headed down the corridor and I noticed it was painted in black and
white. In fact every corridor we turned down looked the same no
doubt part of the defences of the building – a built-in- maze.
Along the corridors were security cameras almost every fifty feet.
Someone was keeping a close eye on us: the cameras actually
pointed in our direction as we moved along.
     “You can see that we keep an eye on things here. No matter
where anyone goes we can watch them. I can’t see how your
company can possible improve the system but
     Communsecure does have an excellent reputation. It’s
amazing how they took the industry by surprise producing the best
systems only one year after the company started.”
     He knew and he was telling us. Our job was to get arrested so
I thought I would taunt him also. “Multiplixo even was more
surprising than we. The analyst were stunned when suddenly and
unknown company was leading the industry with products
predicted to be produce ten years after Multiplixo produced their
first robots.”
     “Yes, and probably we both did so well for the same reason.
But not to worry Communsecure won’t exist in one week’s time.”
                               265


    “Guards, take them to our special meeting room down in the
basement. And shoot to kill anyone who tries to resists.” Three
guards suddenly appeared in front of us.
    “Idiots, didn’t you think I could recognize that you’re
Trothians. It’s your body posture and the way you move that gives
it away.” Zarkoff spoke in Trothian. We all remained silence as if
he had said nothing. A look of uncertainty crossed his face.
    Take then away!” This time he spoke in English.

     Well Terry would be pleased with the results since he wanted
us captured. Now all we had to do is free all the prisoners
including us by exactly by 5:45 pm, how we were going to do this
was a complete mystery to me.
     For a while we walked through the open factory floor where
three giant robots were moving containers that held up to twenty
ordinary robots. Later I discovered it was a robot like these that
destroyed Peggy’s clinic. We ended up in the corner of the factory
floor facing a large metal door. One of the security guards spoke
into a microphone and the large thick doors opened with a groan.
There were two guards on the inside one was activating the
control to open the large door while the second had his automatic
rifle trained on us. It looked as if the door could be opened from
the inside, which to my mind was strange. This of course would
prevent the dungeon from being stormed from the outside. Terry
must have known this, and that is why he wanted us on the inside.
     I was stunned as I entered the dungeon: it was as if I was
viewing a scene of horror from the past. This place was a replica
of Zarkoff’s laboratory in Spain where he implanted devices of
torture into humans so they would obey him. The operating table
was in the middle and cells surrounded it. He was doing this in
this country just outside of London. The guards saw us staring at
the table and they laughed. “In a few days time you will be seeing
life in a new way,” remarked one of them.
     “You three may leave,” said one of the two guards in the
room. The second guard was five metres away from us and he had
his gun trained on us. As fast as we were there was no way we
                               266


could get him before he could kill us. We needed something to
throw at him, but there was nothing near. If he locked us in the
cell then there would be no way we could ever escape.
    I then saw Peggy in a cell on the other side of the room.
Perhaps she could cause a distraction. It might get us enough time
to get to the far guard.
    “Peggy, we have to make a move, now, before we are trapped
in these cells,” I said in Trothian.
    An idea came to me in a flash. We did have something to
throw at the guard- the other guard. The guard nearest us did not
have his gun so the only thing we could do is toss him towards the
far guard. And there was only one person who could do that,
Nathan.
    “Nathan, do you think you could throw the guard across the
room towards the other guard.”
    “I’ll do the best I can father.”
    “Telia when he throws the guard in the air I’ll run to the left
and you run to the right. “Peggy start screaming now!” Peggy
realized who I was and started screaming. Both guards looked her
way in amazement. Nathan grabbed the one guard a tossed him in
the air ten feet above the ground on a trajectory that would have
him land a metre in front of the guard. When the guard turned in
our direction all he saw was the other guard flying his way. He
was forced to look up in shock. By the time the guard hit the
ground I was only one metre from the left side of the guard and
Telia was one metre from his right side. He turned towards me
and lifted his gun to shoot. At the same time Telia hit him hard on
the side. I felt a sharp pain in my leg where the bullet hit me.
    Telia and Nathan took the keys from the dazed guards and
locked them in a cell. Then the other seven prisoners were
released. I spoke to them in Trothian I discovered that they were
from the community in Chile. I then I limped over to Peggy’s cell
to see how she was.
    “Are you all right, Peggy?” I tried to embrace her through the
bars when Nathan came along and unlocked her cell. It’s easier if
the door’s open,” he laughed.
                               267


    “Of course I’m all right. I knew you were coming to rescue
me. You scared me though, Mark. When he fired the gun in your
direction I thought he killed you.”
    That reminded me of my leg wound and that was now
bleeding and that needed to be fixed. It was already 5: 30. Outside
the dungeon things were not going well.
    Brian and Peter were at the gate with the fifty robots but the
guards were not letting them in.
    “We don’t have any record of you or your robots on our
invoice sheets.”
    “We are bringing in fifty robots to be upgraded to military
level. We’re talking about a million pound contract here. I think
you’d better let us in or make a call to the office now.”
    The men at the gates had explicit orders not to let anyone in
unless they were on the invoice sheets. Yet a million pound
contract was a lot of money and neither wanted to face flack for
not letting them in. And in addition their paperwork seemed OK.
    “I’ll have to call this one in,” said the guard that was in
charge.
    Brian and Peter watched their watches. Time was running out
and if there was any further delay the attack might fail.
    It was five minutes later, 5:35 pm that the men we’re allowed
to drive to the factory’s loading dock.
    The rubbish truck pulled in directly behind them. They were
waved on without checking since the guards knew Mike and Paul,
as they had been doing this job for a month. As Brian and Peter
got out of their truck, two armed guards and someone from the
office were there to meet them.
    “We don’t have record of this shipment coming in this
evening,” said the man dressed in a suit.” This wasn’t supposed to
happen. We did actually buy the fifty Multiplixo robots under a
registered company named Expedite. If they carefully had
checked up on us they would have discovered that the company
only existed for a month and was unknown to anyone else.
    “I was told to deliver these robots here tonight by Expedite. I
don’t really care what you do with them.”
                                268


    “Oh we’ll take them all right. They’ll suit us quite well. But
I’m afraid well have to detain you two for some questioning.”
    “Mike and Paul were driving past the robot truck when they
saw the guards taking Brian and Peter away. They had to act
instantly or all would be lost. He sent a short message to Terry.
    “Sorry, can’t wait we have to start now.” This was a problem,
a big one for Terry. He needed to get into the computer system so
that his people could get access to the second floor and he needed
time to do that.
    “I need more time!” the usual calm Terry shouted back.
    “Can’t wait. Have to go. They’re taking Peter and Brian away
as we speak.”
    Terry gave the command. “All parties commence your attack,
now.”
    I got the message in the dungeon while Telia was working on
my leg.
    “Just wrap up Telia. We have to go now.” She quickly tied it
and I was on my feet.
    We went to open the door armed with the automatic rifles we
had taken from the two guards: it would not open. We thought
foolishly that we could just push the button to activate the door.
We were wrong. There was a mike near the door. Clearly a verbal
command of some sort was necessary. We then heard gunshots
outside. We had to move but only the guards knew what to do. We
had to convince them in some way that it was for their benefit that
they should open the doors.
    It would have been easier if we were a people of violence. We
would simple apply some type of extremely painful torture to
achieve our ends. But the best we could do is to appear as if we
would torture the men until one of them gave in.
    I quickly spoke to Telia in Trothian to explain our plan. In the
centre of the room was a large pan near a sink. The sink and bowl
could not be seen from the guards’ position in their cell. The first
task was to determine who of the two would break most easily.
                                269


     I then spoke directly to the guards. “You’re willing to die
rather than tell us how to open the door, and die slowly,” I said for
emphasis.
     The two guards were both large and strong. One though had
what I would call a face full of hate. He spoke for both of them.
     “You won’t kill anyone. I know your type. Respect of human
life is what your all about.”
     “No you fool, alien life. How do you think Nathan threw you
that distance?” He looked uncertain. “We’ll see if he is as tough as
he thinks he is.” To prove our point, I had Nathan walked in the
cell and pulled him out as if he were a child despite his best
efforts to resists.
     We then forced him down on his knees as I held up a large
bowl; large enough when filled with water that it could cover a
man’s head and stop him form breathing. This was all for the
purpose of frightening the guard remaining in the jail.
     I was going to have Nathan hold him in the water for only a
minute. But as we began to push his head down, he fainted. The
guard in the cell could see none of this. I waited two minutes and
prayed that would be enough to convince the remaining guard to
tell us what to do to open the doors.
      “Nathan you killed him!” I shouted so the remaining guard
could hear me.
     “Quick, will have to get the other guard.” We ran to the cell
to grab the now petrified guard.
     “Are you going to tell us the password?”
     “Yes, yes, promise not to kill me.”
     “If you tell us we will not kill you.” He paused for a moment –
time was running on.
      “Before you open the door you have to say Zarkoff.”
     I was stunned once again by Zarkoff’s predictability. We
locked the guard back in the cell and went to the microphone near
the controls and I gave the password.
     “Zarkoff.” A green light started to blink, I pressed the
controls to open up the door. Telia had one automatic rifle and one
of the Trothians from Chile the other; they were ready to fire.
                                270


    We heard a shout from outside the doors. “Why are you
opening the dungeon?”
    As the doors opened we could here gun fire echoing through
the building and then guns turned on us. We hit the floor as a
spray of bullets shot passed us into the dungeon. Behind some
large crates were three men with automatic weapons and they had
us pinned down. I then heard Terry’s warning. “They’re activating
their robots.”
    We had to move but I could see how.
    Outside Allan Fullers was now in charge of the protesters.
Jimmy had filled him in on the plan to take over the factory. He
told him about the devices for jamming the download command
from the factory and the need to attempt to break in the front of
the building as more than anything else a means of distracting the
enemy while we headed towards our objective, the transmitter.
    The activation of the robots meant that all the robots in
southern and central England would now be attacking their
owners and helping Zarkoff paralyze the whole country.
    When Allan heard the automatic gunfire he decided to attack
the building. He gave the command to activate the David’s
jamming device and thereby transferred the control of the robots
to their owners on the protest. In addition, we had supplied them
with five of our high-powered robots and they were now needed
to eliminate the snipers shooting at them from gun holes in front
of the building. The snipers had already killed five of the
protesters and wounded three others, one seriously.
    As the five robots approached the front the building the
snipers were confused since they were lead to believe that all
robots were on their side. The foolishly decided to ignore them
and continue to fire at the human protester in front of the building.
    The robots then unshielded their optical sensors and fired a
laser beam at the first gun hole. There followed a loud explosion
as the cement around the gun hole exploded making a gap in the
front wall a metre in diameter. The second sniper decided to
    report what was happening to the head of security who was
slightly busy with the gun battles going on in the basement.
                                271


     When Mike, who was the leader of the rubbish truck brigade,
saw that Brian and Peter were being taken hostage he gave the
order to stop the guards taking them. We needed them to activate
the 50 robots. The five men in the truck and Mike and Paul were
all armed with how powered laser. They rushed the guards and all
five fired killing one guard and stunning the other. The stunned
guard could move enough to sound an alarm activated by a
handheld radio transmitter. In minutes ten men came pouring onto
the dock. Mike knew five lasers were no match for ten men armed
with rifles. The robots had to be activated. They kept firing at the
guards who were spreading out and would soon have surrounded
them.
     Brian, who was carrying the main command control for the
robots, ran back to the truck alongside of Paul. Brian abruptly fell
to the ground blood pouring from his shoulder. “Paul, I can’t go
any further. Quick, take the command control and activate the
robots.
     Paul grabbed the control and was shot three metres from the
truck. He was fast loosing consciousness but he had time to set the
controls to awaken the robots.
     ****
     The robots had been pre-programmed to attack any armed man
with an automatic rifle. And there were ten of them now shooting
openly at the five aliens. The shot from the truck with such speed
that the guards stopped shooting and stared in disbelief: like the
guards shooting at the protestors they believed Multiplixo was in
command of the robots. At first they thought they were going to
kill the five intruders, but when they shot past them they became
alarmed. One or two guards shot at the advancing army but the
advancing robots quickly knocked them down. The others fled to
the first floor with the robots right on there heels. But our robots
were not unopposed. A small army of Multiplixo robots entered
the fight led by three giant robots each more powerful than forty
robots. The fighting mostly took place among the rows of
machines that produced the robots. The clashing of the robots was
deafening as robot fought robot with laser blazing and arms
                               272


lashing out. Their giant robots toss ours like toys across the
factory floor. Once again we were stalled for no man or alien
could cross that battle ground without being killed.

     The guards reported back to their security chief who reported
to Zarkoff. Both were shocked and surprised by the attack of the
alien robots. Particularly Zarkoff who was certain all our robots
were destroyed in warehouse they had set on fire. For the first
time Zarkoff feared his plans of dominating the Earth were in
jeopardy and of course his first priority was saving his neck and
with the factory surrounded by hostile elements there was only
one possible way of escape, and that was by using a space shuttle
he had hidden on the grounds of the factory. His next move had
been thought out years ago: he would take the guards to the
second floor and deactivated the lift preventing anyone from
following him up for forty-five minutes. By then he would have
left the area leaving the guards to defend the transmitter.

    Telia, Nathan and myself were pinned down in front of the
dungeons when the battle of the robots began. The ragging battle
was deafening and the snipers kept on looking behind them were
the battle was taking place. They quickly realized that the trouble
was not just we: the whole factory was under a major attack and
they feared that the outcome would not be in their favour. They
fired one last round and raced away. That of course was a fatal
mistake. All three were carrying guns that our robots were
programmed to destroy. Two of our robots saw them running on
the sidelines of factory floor. They came after the men without
warning firing at them until all three dropped. We were free to
escape but had no place to go. In between the first floor and us
were two battling armies of robots and the problem that we had
was that we were on the side of the Multiplixo robots. We headed
out of the dungeon and, unfortunately our movements were
spotted by two of their robots. With their laser activated they
headed our way.
                                273


      We would never get to Zarkoff in time for as the robots were
coming for us he was walking over to the controls shut down the
lift.
      The two robots activated their laser and we were their targets.
We fired at their optical sensors knocking one out but the other
was still coming. Telia fired a round and missed and the Trothian
from Chile stepped in front of her to protect her. The robots laser
beam hit him directly killing him instantly. The same robot then
turned in my direction. I rolled on the floor and grabbed the fallen
gun while Telia attempted to fire another round – her ammunition
was gone. I fired before he could beam his deadly laser at her. I
shot his head off his body but then came more of their robots
including one of the large robots more powerful than forty others.
I had the only gun and I knew our only chance was to retreat back
into the dungeon, but I knew that was not an option so I fired at
the large robot who, no doubt, would shortly kill Telia and: we
had no chance against him and the other two robots now
advancing our way. Then I too ran out of ammunition and in an
act of futility threw my weapon at the advancing robots. We
awaited our deaths, as the robots were now all around us. But
suddenly they stopped as if a magician produced a wand and
commanded them to freeze: the wand was in the hands of Brain in
the form of David’s jamming device. It was interfering with the
signal from the transmitter. The war of the robots was ended. Now
we had to get to the first floor, but was it too late?
      Zarkoff was heading towards the lift controls when, to his
utter shock, a robot stepped in front of him.
      “Our of my way you piece of metal.” To his amazement the
robot did not move. Then he realized what had happened. This
was not a Multiplixo robot; it was one of the enemies. There were
two guards in the room. “Destroy this robot,” Zarkoff
commanded. But as the two men took aim the alien robot fired
two pulses of laser energy in rapid session killing the two men
who fell to the floor. Zarkoff panic.
      The human employees, five technicians, were hiding under
their desks and the other three guards in the room ran out as fast
                                274


as they could. Even so our alien robot fired and knocked one of
them down. Zarkoff now feared for his life. He knew we were
coming for him and he knew this time we would kill him.
      We quickly headed towards the second floor and met up with
Brian and Peter. All the guards had been wounded or killed so we
were up on the second floor in minutes. But we still had to use the
lift and that could only happen if we could activate the lift from
the control room overriding the security checks for passengers.
The easiest was and the obvious way was to have one of the
employees there come with us.
     “ Everyone up off the floor,” I commanded. “We need to get
into the lift, now. Who can help us?” “I will,” said a tall thin pale
man who was eyes showed terror.
     “Don’t hurt us, please.” He may have had no idea who Zarkoff
was and more than likely either did the other employees.
     “Quick,” I said. “We have to get to the second floor.” The man
walked with us to the lift.
     “It’s best if only I show up in the sensors. If anyone else
shows up I may not be able to gain entry.”
     “That’s fine with us,” I said. “But in case you are trying to
fool us there will be three laser trained on you.” The man shook
with fear as he stumbled to the door. I felt sorry for him but now
that I was close to our objectives, Zarkoff and the radio
transmitter, I thought of nothing else. Hatred was building in my
heart and my only thought now was to kill Zarkoff. No matter
what anyone said I would do it. I would never again let him go. I
wanted revenge.
     The man opened the lift and Nathan, Telia and I with the robot
joined him. There still were armed guards, two of them, waiting
for us on the second floor. We ordered the robot to stand in front
of the doors so that he could take on any fire as the doors open.
     What we found was surprising as it was disturbing: The armed
guards had been killed and there was no sign of Zarkoff. He had
gotten away. A sick feeling shot through me and I momentarily
had forgotten about the radio transmitter.
     “Destroy the transmitter, I’m going to find Zarkoff.”
                               275



                             Chapter 21

                           Peace at a Price

    Brian and Peter destroyed the transmitters with small
explosives they brought with them. The explosion shook the
building. The robots in Southern England that had been attacking
installations and citizen as Greliss was threatening to destroy
London stopped. UK’s army and navy regained control of their
own military robots. The army of attacking robots came to a
complete halt – southern England and of course London had been
saved.
    Greliss now knew that something was going badly wrong with
the ground war as Zarkoff sent him a message asking permission
to join him on his spaceship. Greliss did not mine one way or
another; he had always planned to eliminate Zarkoff when the
time came – when he was no longer useful to him and it looked
like that time had come.
    “Of course, Zarkoff. You may join us.”
    I had now idea where Zarkoff was going but I found a door
that looked like it would lead to the roof of the factory. It
reminded me of the time I pursued him in the cave of bones in
southern Spain and he had escaped from the top of the mountain
by helicopter. I swore I would not let him escape again. For some
reason I thought of Terry and realized that he had said nothing
about taking Zarkoff. I thought that odd.
    The door was unlocked and I was correct: it led to the roof of
the factory. As I ran up the stairs I received a transmission from
Terry.
    “Mark, Peter says that you’re after Zarkoff. Let him escape, I
repeat, do not stop him.”
    I could not reply since the device implanted in me was really
only a radio receiver. I could not believe what I was being told. I
refused to let Zarkoff go. How could Terry even give such a
command! This was the man who had killed hundreds of Trothian
                                276


through the world. And if I had killed him when I had a chance,
this war of the robots would have never occurred. In addition he
had killed the women that I once loved, Tanya Rusuviuska, and I
would probably have married her if he had not killed her. For her
alone, I would kill him.
    I was carrying an automatic rifle that I took from one of the
guards Zarkoff had killed. I raced up the stairs looking forward to
shooting this hideous man.
    “Once again Terry pleaded with me.”
    “Mark do not stop Zarkoff.” Why? Why was Terry telling me
this? My rational mind told me he had information I did not. But
why didn’t he tell me.
    Once again Terry almost pleaded with me. “Mark do not
pursue Zarkoff. This is an order!” I almost screamed out loud.
“Tell me why and I’ll stop!”
    He did have the best reason in the world, but he could not
transmit the information over the air. All I could see now is the
dead body of Tanya stretched out on a table, the beautiful women
I had once loved, murdered. I would not stop unless I was given a
reason. Below me I heard Brian shouting at me as he ran up the
stairs. I knew he would just repeat what Terry had said and I was
certain he would not be able to tell me why I should stop.
    When I reached the top Zarkoff was on the other side of the
roof. He was headed for a large rectangular structure – like a large
box. The top of the box was opening and the sides fell away
revealing a space shuttle. That is how the monster was going to
escape, but first he had to get in it. I gripped the rifle and knelt
down. He was out in the open and in less then a minute he would
be dead.
    I had him in the gun’s sight and ready to shoot him when I
was distracted by a noise from behind and then hit so hard my
shoulders and back screamed with pain. The force of the blow
knocked the rifle from my hands. It was Brain and he was holding
me down. I became irrational and refused to let my quarry go. I
struck Brian in the face knocking him out. I grabbed the rifle and
                                277


before I could shoot Zarkoff had disappeared from view: he had
made it into the space shuttle.
     Another voice spoke, my son. “Dad, what have you done?” I
looked back to see his stunned expression as he looked at the
fallen Brian blood running down his face.
     I held my weapon not certain what to do. I mumbled
incoherently, “They wanted me to let Zarkoff escape. I don’t
know why.” At that point I broke down.
     Then the roar of the shuttle engines drew our attention as it
shot into the sky. My enemy had escaped again. I dropped the rifle
and shook my head. I did not understand what was going on.
Were my own people working for Zarkoff all along? Was there no
one to be trusted?
     Brian groaned. “Mark, I tried to tell you. We wanted Zarkoff
to take the shuttle to the space ship.”
     “Why, I asked in disbelief? Why would you let a monster like
that go?”
     “We knew he had the shuttle hidden on the roof of the plant a
week ago. We are launching a rocket that will follow the space
shuttle. Since it will be behind the shuttle the spaceship won’t see
it. It’s a small rocket but it has a very powerful nuclear warhead
that we will detonate when the shuttle is near the space ship. By
then the shuttle deck doors should be opened and the spaceship
will be destroyed. We couldn’t tell you this using the radio
transmitter since we might have been heard by the spaceship.”
     “I’m sorry Brian, I should have trusted you. My hatred had
blocked by reasoning.”
     The shuttle now was on its way to the space ship that was
36,000 km above London in a stationary orbit; following it was
the rocket with a nuclear warhead.
     Greliss unwisely decided to wait for Zarkoff before he blasted
London with the last bit of spare energy he had available. We
waited on the ground for the shuttle and the rocked to make
contact with the spaceship. It would be several hours before that
happened. There was another problem developing in the United
States. The robots had started to press forward again and it looked
                               278


like nothing could stop them. All the time we thought Zarkoff was
the main power behind the company. An old forgotten name was
going public in the US and he looked like he was soon to control
the whole country, Senor Xenoros, the Spanish mafia chief who
helped Zarkoff into power.
    The short truce in the US ended and the robots were now
attacking all targets with impunity and once again pulling citizen
out of their homes and bringing them to large detention centres. It
was estimated that over one hundred thousands people had been
killed. It was an uneven war; the real enemy of the people was
invisible. All that the American people saw were robots attacking
them and they assumed it was all controlled from the spaceship
that had flown over their country. But eventually the word was
received from the UK who the real culprit was, Multiplixo.
    There were six Multiplixo plants in the US: two out east, one
in Boston the other New York, two in the Midwest, one in
Chicago the other in Philadelphia and finally two in California,
one in San Francisco the other in San Diego. Rockets, antiaircraft
guns and tanks back by an army of hostel robots now protected all
these plants.
    Nothing could penetrate Xenoros’s plants and therefore
nothing could stop him from controlling the robots short of direct
hits by intercontinental ballistic missile.
    Xenoros was smiling triumphantly on the second floor of the
New York plant when a Chinese missile vaporized it. The second
Chinese missile destroyed the Boston plant and a third the
Philadelphia plant. Next the Chicago, San Francisco and the San
Diego plants were destroyed not by Chinese missiles but by
Japanese missiles. Evidently Professor Pennington’s trip to those
countries paid off.
    It was one hour and fifty minutes after the launch of our
nuclear warhead hidden behind Zarkoff’s space shuttle that the US
plants were destroyed. In ten minutes we had the possibility
destroying Greliss’ spaceship, but then Terry and his people who
were monitoring the spaceship noticed that it had locked missiles
on Zarkoff’s shuttle.
                               279


    We had to stop him from doing that and Terry broke into their
radio frequency and spoke in Trothian. “ Greliss, do not destroy
Zarkoff. He can still control the robots he just needs your help?”
    Greliss had to answer if not out of curiosity. “Who are you and
how why do you think I’m going to destroy his shuttle?”
    “You have your missiles radio locked on his shuttle. But I’m
warning it would be a mistake to kill him. He is your only chance
of taking over the planet.”
    Greliss did not like what Terry was saying nor was he pleased
that his ship was so closely monitored particularly by another
Trothian.
    “I could simply vaporize you and London and them after
destroying a few American cities I would once again take control
of this planet.”
    “Our scientists estimate that your energy levels are now too
drained to do that.”
    Terry knew what he was saying was a guess, but he had to
stall the man.
    “You have no idea of the energy capacity of my ship. Would
you like a small demonstration?”
    “I’m sure you could destroy London and us with it, but why
don’t you listen to my proposition. Zarkoff has the programmes
and codes to control the robots. If you could beam them down
from where you are then the robots would once again fight for
us.” It was only four more minutes to go before impact.
    “ Why didn’t Zarkoff tell me about this? Why should I believe
you?”
    “In a short time you’ll have Zarkoff aboard. Then he could
prove it to you himself.”
    Three minutes to impact…
    There then was an interruption from one of Greliss’ crew.
“Captain, the image signature on the incoming shuttle indicates
that there are two objects approaching us. There appears to be
something behind the space shuttle.”
    Two minutes to impact. The shuttle –deck doors were now
opening.
                                280


    “Do you know anything about this who every you are?”
    “Yes,” Terry said.
    Thirty seconds.
    “Well idiot, tell me.” I waited for twenty seconds and then
spoke.
    “By the time I finish telling you a nuclear warhead will have
impacted on your ship!”
    There was no reply. In the winter sky above London there
appeared a brilliant light, brighter than the moon. And then there
was only blackness. Zarkoff and Greliss were no more.
    ***
    We decided to leave the Multiplixo factory making sure that
no more arm guards were present. We told the employees that we
were government agents and the owners of the factory had
attempted to take over the country. We then told everyone to go
home so we could seal the factory until it could be legally opened
again. They were frighten and dishearten knowing that their jobs
would be lost and even wondering whether they would be arrested
and tried for some of the crimes that the company perpetrated.
    The problems of Multiplixo were not ours: we had other
problems to sort out.
    I wondered if we, we aliens, could ever go back to the quiet
secret life that we had live on this planet – some communities for
over hundred years. After all, the human race now knew that we
were on their planet and we also knew that many would think of
us as a threat. Then there was the more personal problem of
Peggy’s clinic. That would now have to be rebuilt. The big threat
was gone but still we live on a violent planet were men constantly
go to war for one reason or another.

                                 ****

    Three years on:
    In the last three years, we aliens have lived peaceful with most
of the world. Ever so often there is an incident of discrimination
                               281


or aliens are blamed for one thing or another but mostly we feel
secure in our new home Earth.
    I’m back teaching at the university of Brighton and enjoying it
very much. Peggy’s clinic has been rebuilt with government
funding showing its gratitude for what the aliens did to save the
Earth. Nathan has his old robot back and he is enjoying it more
than ever since now he trains with it for the Worldwide Aliens
Games held in different countries each year. Nathan is the best
alien shot-putter and discus thrower on Earth as well as the holder
of the 200-metre dash.

    Many people applauded us for saving the world others argued
that there would be no problem if the aliens hadn’t come. Now
that were known governments and business seek us out for the
knowledge that we have. We still refuse to give any government
or organization any technology that could be used in war. But we
have shared our medical technology and our understanding of the
universe with anyone who was interested.

    Earth is still filled with wars and power grabbing people but
one wonderful thing has happened: we are the acknowledge
peacemakers on Earth since we have no real allegiance to any
country and yet we have people in most countries. Now we have a
seat in the UN with equal weight to the most powerful countries in
the world.

   Robots still are plentiful on the Earth but it is now illegal to
down load software without the explicit consent of the robots’
owners. And of course we have the most successful robot
company on Earth.

    All the people of the Earth now have a different understanding
of the Universe as when they look up at night and see the stars
they know they are not the only ones in the Universe and who
knows how many more like us there are.
282


The End
283

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:20
posted:9/16/2011
language:English
pages:283