Author: Raphyel M. Jordan
Synopsis: "A teenage alien girl might endanger her comrades in-arms due to an unknown secret she keeps while fighting in a galactic war. Herself."
Where were you, when you had to grow up?
For a seventeen-year-old Goolian named Aly, it was on another planet called Argutas, a world where she had to "adjust" in order to fit her new surroundings. Daydreaming got replaced with nightmares. Sparring got replaced with killing. Singing to adoring crowds in her father's store turned into shouting for cover. This is what fighting in the war has given Aly, ever since her tribe was drafted. This is the sacrifice she makes while defending galactic order against the Cyogen.
However, there's a danger lurking right among the allies and friends Aly has sworn to protect. It's worse than any Cyogen weaponry, or any being known in the galaxy. It's wrath has the potential of crumbling enemy forces, and bringing allied troops to their knees.
That danger is Aly, herself, and the best part is this: she doesn't even know it. The people she trusts the most are secretly monitoring her condition on the battlefield, and there's no telling what they might be willing to do if Aly accidentally unleashes the power that might jeopardize the safety of everyone around her. Then again, these are the same family and friends who are oblivious to the role they play in an even larger conspiracy blinding the entire known world.
Top Ten Favorite Quotes
“On a serious note, perhaps His Honor simply follows one of the Basic Rules of Combat in Section Forty-And-Five of our class scrolls.”
“Truly? And which one would that be?”
“Why, ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer,’ of course.”
“I said, they all can’t be evil if all of us, people in the Allied Forces, can’t be good,” Gruago repeated himself. “No creature is born with the trait, Aly. It’s taught to them the same way things are taught to us. Who knows, they probably got told we were the bad guys too, ya know?”
". . . But then I guess some things are better left unknown.”
“It makes killing things a damned lot easier.”
“I‘m here because I want to be,” Gruago stated proudly. “Cause I don’t want to just sit around and rely on everyone else to protect them. Pappai is out there fighting the Cyoge as far as I know, and he always told me to look after them, to protect them with my life, and I’m making sure I’m doing that. But can you not ever remember being more scared in your life?” the boy shamefully asked.
“I’m not scared. Not at all,” the Goolian boldly replied. “I’m terrified.”
“Don’t have your worries travel too far, little Goolian,” the Argutain continued. “In the end, if you take heed to your own personal tasks, you’d be doing every being in this system a great duty of servitude.”
“Well, of course Master,” Aly proclaimed professionally. “I do realize the fact that maintaining this planet is key to our later successes.”
“No, little Mastra,” replied the Requin. I believe he meant a somewhat more primitive analogy. Try to stay alive.”
“No one wants to play the game of war,” Phojero said with a frown. “And no one wants to be marked in history for bringing forth the genocide to a collective group of peoples, but what would we do? Become of Pacifists as that silly Prossia regime of eons ago, hoping the enemy will let up when we wave our flowers and chants for peace while they wave their weapons? Diplomacy went out the window some time ago, remember?”
“. . . But you can still learn a lot from younger people if you just give them some time, and teach them how to express their points.”
“Hah! For the most part, I doubt they have revolved around their suns long enough to have any dire points worth expressing.”
“Funny, that sounds like something an Allied grownup would say.”
“The only need we have for you is to keep the lil’ ticking time bomb composed, and nothing else. That’s your only concern. And don’t get the idea you can deny this. You are a warrior. We are your commanders, and if we tell you-if we tell her-to run into a spray of fired rounds, you better damn well make sure she’s taking as many beams in the chest as possible for us.”
“The feeling got stronger every time it happened until it reached its peak the other day. Please tell me you feel it too so I don’t feel too crazy. You know, that sensation you get when you’re charging in. Your opponent is confident, ready. You know they’ve spent months, maybe years for this one chance to take you down. And as far as they’re concerned, that’s the only purpose they’ve ever had, your total and utter annihilation.
“But then it happens. You see the look in their eyes. In a split second, you do something so outrageous, so unexpected that they know they couldn’t even train a lifetime to plan for it. And they were wrong. That’s what it says, their look. They were wrong, and it turns out you’re actually stronger than them, and it’s not because of any amount of training on your part. No, it’s simply because natural selection said so.
“And that last split second of life left in their eyes indicates the realization that you’re going to keep on living because you’re about to kill them, and even though they were trained not to fear death, you make their last moment of existence the most horrifying moment they couldn’t even imagine. You talk about being alive? I don’t think I ever felt more alive until I gave someone that moment for the first time in my life.”
“Dear Little One,” Shanvi said, “so you are to keep secrets from even me now, yes? Fair enough. If this be the case, then this is all I can confess: the world is not beyond your reach as you think it to be. Truly, you are greater than this, yes? You are strong, honorable, and noble. Truth’s Grace finds favor in you, and it will guide you into the right path. You shall do whatever needs to be done. And even if the entire known world rises against you, still, you must fight for what you believe in.”
“That does not sound like Goolian thoughts,” Aly insisted.
“They are not,” Shanvi confessed. “They are mine.”