Oh, and by the way, I just realized it was the Fourth of July!! Wow. Hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence...one of the most famous writings in history. Sadly, I doubt any of my writings will get that famous...but hey, one can dream, right?? ;)
If you missed a part, or need to catch up, go to the "Stories in Progress" page and you'll find links to the parts up to now.
But otherwise, without further ado:
Neil Ferric stared at the screen in front of him with an unholy glint in his eyes. After all these years, his revenge would finally be satisfied. His computer monitor shut itself off but he didn’t bother to reawaken it.
“Bush!” he shouted suddenly.
His secretary scurried into the room. Amy Bush, a petite blonde woman with baby-blue eyes, was dressed in a smart business suit and knee length pencil skirt. She stood at attention, fiddling with the bottom of the jacket nervously. “Sir?” she queried carefully.
“The space ship from Earth malfunctioned,” he stated, eyeing the woman coldly and getting right to the point. Neil Ferric was not one to mince words.
“I see,” she replied in the same careful voice.
“They are still sending an automated launch pod towards us with five of the original thirteen Chosen. Captain Athin Long gave us the estimated arrival of three weeks. I’d like you to switch the tracking monitor from the first ship to the launch pod so we know exactly when they arrive.”
“Yes sir,” Amy answered. The smart woman had been one of the first ten people to be sent to Tridiom from Earth, and she had been living as Neil’s secretary since then. She knew Neil almost better then he knew himself and immediately saw that this launch pod was no ordinary launch pod. Something deep in her boss’s eyes caused the young woman to give an involuntary shudder that she quickly repressed.
Neil Ferric dismissed the woman with a wave of his thin hand. He had things to do.
The minute his secretary disappeared from the room, he went back to his computer and opened a new folder labeled “NalpLive” and hid it in his classified computer drive. He sat back before beginning to type and let the simmering anger grow in calculated jumps. A twisted sort of joy came from being able to finally get revenge.
It had started right before World War III. Neil had been an ambassador between all the major powers of the time, but he had stayed loyal to the only person he truly loved: himself. The nations at the time had been trying to work together to gain world peace, but Neil saw his job as a chance to gain more power than anyone in the world had ever had.
He caused WWIII almost single handedly by spreading false information from one nation to another. The war started and he watched in silent glee as nation after nation fell, country after country become devastated, and population after population dwindle into almost nothing.
Neil’s jaw worked in frustration as he relived the moment when he had thought that the power would become his. Rightfully his. He had started the war, and he had thought he would end it after he was sure that there would be no objection to his leadership.
Then, a young lawyer had singlehandedly won over the hearts of the people and took the title, his title, “President of the United Nations”. Arron Lake had it all: a lovely wife, two adorable sons, billions of dollars, charm, good looks, and the media loved him. He had promised peace and the ability to remake their planet into what it had been before the war had torn the lands apart and made it almost impossible to grow food for the slowly growing population. Him and his precious space exploration plans.
It should have been Neil Ferric. He was going to become the hero in the eyes of the survivors of WWIII, but instead it was Arron Lake. He was going to keep the population under his control and force everyone to follow his rules, but instead Arron with his dashing grin had told people they didn’t have to worry about overpopulation, he had had a plan to spread the younger people into farther planets that his space exploration program he owned had found over the course of several years. A decade of planning, several years of war…it had all been for naught.
The civilization authority rubbed his carefully groomed beard in frustration before continuing to type. The nerve of the new president had been a constant pain in Neil’s life.
Arron Lake and Neil Ferric had been opposing runners for the highest position in the world. Neil had given Arron grudging respect for being willing to take him on, but that had developed into a deep-seated hatred when he realized Arron was going to win the hearts of the people. It had all been “friendly competition” for Arron, but for Neil it was a continuation of years of planning. And he had failed.
After Arron had successfully taken the title and role of President of the United Nations, Neil had shut himself up and started a new plan: one of revenge and gaining back what he had worked so hard towards.
It was years later when Arron approached him as an old friend in a coffee shop and asked about his life. Neil had filled him in with lies of a job and family he didn’t have and then asked him about his life. Arron was free in telling his “old friend” all about what his family and career was like now, including several details about his two sons and what he hoped for their future. Then, the real reason Arron wanted to talk to him surfaced. The President of the United Nations had finally found, with the help of his space exploration program, ISEC, enough planets to begin putting his hope for the rapidly growing population on earth to expand.
“I need your help Neil,” he had said with a serious face.
“Oh?” Neil had responded carefully, arching an eyebrow and smiling. “And how would little old me do that for the great and mighty President of the United Nations?” He had forced the sarcasm from his voice and replaced it with a teasing air.
The president had laughed. “I need some leaders to be in charge of the planets we’ve found. Good men who will rule over the people I send there with a fair hand, but strict when needed. I’ve always admired your ability to lead, and I thought of you first when the problem for proper leadership on each planet came up at one of our meetings.”
“I’m honored Arron,” Neil had said. “What will you need me to do?”
Arron charged enthusiastically into his plans. “We’ve found eighty seven livable planets outside our galaxy that we’ll start sending teens to soon. First though, we’re sending ten what I dubbed “Civilization Authorities” there first to cement into the place the civilization system.
“The layout of authorities is this: Alpha Civilization Authority, which will be you if you’re willing, it’s the highest office; you’ll be in charge of everyone else.
“There will be a Civilization Secretary, which you’ll choose who you want out of the nine others we bring. The secretary’s job is to monitor the traffic of teens and eventually other citizens as they come to the planet and leave into various positions and make sure paperwork and tasks are being done properly. The Secretary will be the go between you and the other, lesser Civilization Authorities.
“The remaining eight people will be in charge of various teens in various positions. Two will be in charge of Warriors: namely the soldiers, police officers, fire fighters, etc. Two will be in charge of the Builders: namely architects, artists, interior designers, carpenters, etc. Two will be in charge of Medics: namely doctors, nurses, paramedics, therapists, etc. Lastly, the remaining two will be in charge of making sure supplies are safely delivered and exported possibly to and from Tridiom. My scientists as of yet don’t know the build of Tridiom except that it is able to support life, but we are hoping that some of the builders will be able to excavate some things of possible value. Does that make sense?”
Neil went over the information in his head. The idea was a tempting one, and one with many possibilities. With a curt nod, he accepted the position.
Now, a few more years had passed, and Neil had been regretting the action. He felt somewhat like the general Napoleon Bonaparte from ancient history when he had been banished to Elba. Tridiom and its civilization system were too small for the likes of Neil Ferric. He wanted power. And power was all too easy right now.
He shut his computer down, and leaned back in his chair. Well, now he would force the President of the United Nations to listen to him. With his sons as the prize he held for ransom, he would be able to twist Arron around his little finger. The president’s love for his boys was known galaxy-wide, the one weakness he had was his family. He would do anything to keep them safe and give them a good life.
A wicked spark appeared in Neil’s eyes and a slow smile spread across his face. His talent was finding people’s weaknesses and using them for his own good. He reveled in others’ pain and discomfort…if it meant that he could gain something in the end.
When Amy Bush came back to report that she had done what he asked and hand him the report and progress of the launch pod, he was in a fine mood.
“Thank you Amy,” he said with a smile. “You may take the rest of the day off, I have a few things left to do in my office, but I think we could all use some time off. What do you say?”
His secretary gave her boss a look of disbelief. Earlier he had nearly bit her head off when she had come in to hear about the launch pod, and now he was giving her a day off!
She thanked him and left, suddenly wary and a little worried at his confusing mood swings. He made her nervous. And she wasn’t exactly sure why.
When the door shut for the second time behind his secretary, Neil rolled over to the bookshelf that decorated one of the four walls in his private study. He trusted Amy to let the eight other civilization members know that their boss had given them a rare day off, and he knew that their reaction would be to immediately go to their civilization residences located only a few blocks from the civilization offices before he might change his strange offer. Nothing was farther from Neil’s mind however. He would be completely alone in the building within a few minutes, and then he would begin really working.
Pulling out one of the books, he flipped through it until he found the page he was looking for. He quickly scanned it and added it to his “NalpLive” file on his computer. Then, after checking down the strangely empty hallway outside his study in case there were any stragglers, he sat back down on his desk chair and opened his computer.
As Amy had said, the tracking device was now on the launch pod, not the main ship. He watched for a moment the small white dot move slowly towards the larger green dot that was Tridiom. So far, everything was as expected. The launch pod was on autopilot, and hopefully the kids on board had been told not to touch anything, and told what to do if anything out of the ordinary happened.
Neil hated when things were out of his control, and he feverishly wished that nothing went wrong, just so he could get his hands on the small bait sooner and therefore on far bigger bait later. A satisfied smile grew across his face. Revenge had taken a while, but it seemed as if fate had finally given him what he wanted. The pawns were walking right into a trap that would end in a fork for his opponent. Life was good.