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ISBN-10: 1-55404-402-2
Genre: Science Fiction/Fiction/Adventure
eBook Length: 380 Pages
Published: November 2006

From inside the flap

By 3015, the world has changed a great deal; it is now divided into two main blocks comprised of The East and The West. Many of the old prejudices appear to have disappeared. A ‘gene’ for homosexuality has been discovered and has subsequently wiped out all justification for discrimination based on sexual orientation.

However, some long for a return to the old values. A clandestine group called ‘The Moralists’ is still out there and are a constant threat to those with the ‘gene.’

When an alien race who have lost the ability to procreate due to a polluted water supply invade Western Earth; fertile persons with the gene are put in a ‘re-education’ camp to become future breeders for the conquering aliens.

3015 (Excerpt)

Chapter One
Center City, 3085

In a corner unit on the east side of Center City, Sasha Carter stood looking at the little box which had belonged to his father.

It was Sasha’s seventy-second birthday today, but he didn’t feel like celebrating. He wondered if his daughter would call him. Then again, why should she?

He ran a wrinkled finger over the initials on the box, M.C. Meehan Carter.

Sasha put the box down. As a boy he had fantasized about what was in that box, imagining it would reveal something to him about his father…thinking that if he knew, it would bring them closer. But he never dared open it.

His father handed him the box on his deathbed. "This is yours now," he’d told Sasha. "You must never allow it to fall into the wrong hands."

Sasha had clutched the box close to his chest, blinking at his father curiously. "What do you mean…the wrong hands?"

"It contains priceless information," his father breathed, hardly hearing him anymore.

"What do I do with it?" Sasha had asked urgently.

"Keep it. Keep it sealed until the right moment." He was struggling to speak. "Don’t open it until you are sure."

"But when do I know...?" Sasha had pleaded desperately, feeling his father slipping away from him.

"You will know," his father whispered, his voice barely a ghost.

Sasha moved closer. "How will I know when the right moment is, Father, if I don’t even know what’s in the box? What is in the box, Father?" He wanted to cry.

"You will know one day. Everyone will know," his father managed. "Now, leave me, boy. Leave me to die alone," his father told him gruffly, the words coming out in spurts.

Those were the last words his father said to him…leave me to die alone.

Meehan Carter had lived his life alone and he died that way.

Tears fell now onto the little blue box.

His father had said Sasha would know when the moment came. He’d been right. When Olina Emerson put out the call for information on the broadcast network concerning the Compound and the 3015 Rebellion, he knew the time had come. But then, she never made it to Sasha that night. When he heard that she’d been murdered, his blood ran cold. He was afraid-for himself and for Andrea. He had taken the box then and almost thrown it into the river. Something prevented him. For some reason, that little box had become precious.

At home, he’d sat staring at it for hours. Then that night on the news, he saw Olina Emerson’s husband, a man in his thirties with thick auburn hair and sad eyes. He was reading a memorial to his wife, surrounded by her friends at the Educational Center where they both worked. There was something about his sincerity. There was something in his eyes that made Sasha think that maybe, just maybe, this fellow was the one.

Sasha was dying himself now. Doctors told him he had only a few months to live. The box couldn’t be allowed to die with him. Or worse yet, fall into the wrong hands. Stone was his last chance.

Still, he had to be sure.

So for days he’d sat in the nourishment Court at the Educational Center, watching Stone Biltis. The first thing Sasha noticed about Stone was the sadness. It hung over him like a heavy coat one would wear to keep out the cold. Although he greeted the same people day after day, he often ate lunch alone at an isolated table.

He was a handsome man, though not aging well. Deep lines were already setting into a face that was far too young to be host to them. He had a nice smile.

Sasha felt the revival of feelings he thought had long ago died. It took him by surprise. Of course, he was far too old now to act upon them. After his relationship with Andrea’s mother ended, he’d simply let the time slip by. He’d defied his heritage, rejected his destiny. He spent his life alone. For years he blamed his father and the Compound for that. But he supposed he himself was the one ultimately responsible.

He felt in his pocket for the small box suddenly, moving his fingers over his father’s initials. It was no larger then a box one might use to keep a small pendent or a broach. He closed his eyes. Taking a breath, he stood up and moved toward Stone.

Stone Blitis actually glanced up at him and smiled.

Fear gripped Sasha. He turned abruptly and headed outside. He was carrying around a box whose content was unknown to him, and about to entrust the secrets of this special box to a perfect stranger. But he knew he didn’t have any choice. He was an old man who had already lived longer than he was supposed to. The Tantonian blood in his veins was killing him.

He was shaking as he took a seat outside the complex, blinking in the noonday sun. What if Stone wasn’t interested in the box? He hadn’t considered that inevitability. He just assumed Stone would be interested because Sasha was the man Stone’s wife had been coming to see the night she’d been murdered. But Stone knew nothing about Sasha, nothing at all.

A few minutes later, Stone Biltis walked out of the Educational Center. Sasha watched him head for the parking lot. His waist-length tan jacket flapped open in the wind. He stopped in front of a tangerine, two-door mini and pointed his remote door opener at it.

Sasha stood with some difficulty, then forced one foot in front of the other. It was now or never. He brushed absently at the white hair blowing across his forehead and headed toward the vehicle.

By the time he reached Stone Biltis, the man was already inside his car. Sasha stood hesitantly near the window.

Stone saw the elderly man staring at him with his round gray eyes. He was very old and stooped, with white hair. He looked afraid. Stone pressed the switch to turn off the car. "May I help you?" He stuck his head out of the car window.

Stone watched the fellow hobble around the car. When he opened the passenger door and slid into the seat, Stone’s expression registered astonishment.

The old man glanced at him. "Please don’t say anything," he said, closing the door. "I have to sit down. I’m not well. Just drive. Take me to your home, where we can talk." He placed his hands in his lap and stared straight ahead of him.

"But you just can’t..." Stone began.

"My boy," the old man said, looking at him now, "it’s concerning your wife. Please trust me."

"My wife? What do you know about my wife?" Stone demanded, his heart beginning to thud in his chest.

"Not yet," the elderly stranger said between clenched teeth. "Please take me to your home."

Stone’s hand shook as he pressed the switch and set the route for home on automatic. He thought keeping his hands free might be a good idea. Then he noticed that the old man was trembling. They were both trembling.

"Are you all right?" Stone managed.

"Yes. I’m fine," the old stranger muttered, looking uneasy. "But let’s not talk here," he whispered. "Not on the road like this."

Stone nodded. "Can you at least tell me if you know anything about my wife’s death?"

"Olina," the old man mouthed.

Stone felt as if someone had struck him. "You knew her?"

"Soon," he said softly. "Soon, we will talk."

Stone fell silent. As he watched the road, he thought about the bizarre circumstances surrounding his wife’s death. The investigation into her murder had turned up nothing. There was no apparent motive. No witnesses. The police put it down to a random act of senseless violence.

After he’d recovered from the initial shock of losing his partner, he got angry. He tried to suggest to the police that Olina’s murder might have something to do with her research. The police didn’t seem convinced.

"Why would someone care about a research topic?" Detective Smithon from the sixth division of the North American Allied Forces had asked him.

"Look, Smithon, Olina claimed that there was something strange about the lack of information concerning the rebellion of 3015. I wished I’d paid more attention when she would go on tirades about it. I do know the Government wouldn’t turn over any documentation in their archives. In fact, she wasn’t even given access to the files from that period, despite her status as a certified researcher."

"So, you’re saying there was a cover up of some kind, and her murder’s related to it?" Smithon replied, looking doubtful. "Are you trying to tell me there was some Government conspiracy? Come on, Stone..."

"Listen! Just listen," Stone ran a hand through his auburn hair. "She had a meeting that night with some strange person who told her to come alone and not to say anything about where she was going. Whoever it was claimed to have some valuable information concerning-"

"But who was it, Stone? We have no names, no details."

Stone looked over now at the silent old man sitting beside him. He knew something…something about what had happened to Olina. Stone sighed.

Twenty minutes or so later, the car pulled into the driveway. It was the longest twenty minute ride of Stone’s life.

"Home," the car computer announced. "Turn off battery. Recharge in six hours."

Stone turned off the car and got out.

The old man was standing in the driveway before Stone had the opportunity to help him out of the car. He marched up to the front door.

Stone punched in a code and the front door opened. "Lights on," he said as he walked in, letting the old man precede him. Stone then led the fellow into the living room, where there was a sofa, two chairs and a coffee table.

Sasha sat down with a sigh. His bones were aching today and he felt a little off balance. He raised his eyes to Stone and asked, "Are we alone?"

"Yes," Stone told him. "Now, who are you and what do you know about Olina?"

"My name is Sasha Carter and I’m the person your wife was on her way to meet the night..." he trailed off.

Stone went down on his knees. "Why?" he asked, meeting the old man’s eyes. "Who killed her? Do you know? And why didn’t you come forward, tell the police that…"

Carter shook his head. "I couldn’t do that. And no, dear boy, I’m sorry, but I don’t know who did that terrible thing." He touched his head. "I’m sorry," he said again as he saw the tears run down Stone’s cheeks. "I’m so sorry for your loss. Although I don’t know who would want to hurt your wife, maybe we can figure it out together. I came here to show you what I wanted to show her."

"Then you were for real?" Stone said, wiping the tears off his face. "You really had information about the research Olina was doing?"

He nodded. "I saw her call for information on the National Broadcast one morning. There was something about her face. She was a sincere and caring person. I felt good about contacting her...putting this into her hands."

"What is it?" Stone insisted, coming to sit beside him now.

"This," he said, withdrawing the small indigo box from his pocket. He handed it to Stone with some hesitation.

Stone took it in his hands. It appeared to be a quite ordinary little cardboard box, similar to the kind used to house items or jewelry. It was worn around the edges; the once deep indigo had faded to an almost pastel blue. He turned it around in his hand, peering at it. He read the initials out loud. "M.C. Who is M.C.?"

"Was," he corrected. "My father. He’s dead. He grew up in the Compound."

"I’m sorry. Olina was intending to find survivors and interview them, you know."

"I see," Sasha said softly. "She probably wouldn’t have had much luck. There are very few survivors, and I doubt they’d be willing to talk about it even if she could have found some. My father told me very little, except for what I’m about to tell you. Of course," he added with a forced laugh, "my father hated me."

"Hated you?" Stone blinked. "I can’t believe a father would hate his own son."

"Oh, but he did. I was a constant reminder of the Compound, of what he was forced to endure and give up. You’ve probably noticed my eyes. My father’s sperm was used to fertilize a Tantonian female. When the camp was liberated, I was just an infant. My father took me with him. But every time he looked at me...." He shivered. "Anyway, that’s the past."

Stone placed a hand on Sasha’s shoulder. "I’m sorry."

The old man smiled at him. "It’s nothing to do with you, dear boy."

Stone stood up now, turning the box over in his hands again. "What’s in it?"

"Honestly, I don’t know."

The younger man laughed a little. "What ever it is, it must be pretty small."

Sasha nodded. "I think it must have to do with Jude and the Rebellion."

"Who is Jude?"

"My father’s cousin. He was at the Compound, too. He was an important figure in the Rebellion, along with Dante Cruise."

"Dante Cruise?"

"Yes," Sasha smiled. "Jude fell in love with him and they were both instrumental in the Rebellion."

Stone was stunned. "You know this for a fact? Do you have documentation, proof?"

Sasha stood up and pointed his finger at the box in Stone’s hand. "I think I do."

"A diary? Computer disk?" Stone suggested.

"I think it’s a..." he hesitated, scarcely daring to breath for a second.

"A what?" Stone insisted.

"…a hologram."