by Stjepan Varesevac-Cobets
Genre: SciFi Adventure
Major Henry Broncon miraculously survives a battle with Ansker soldiers on the planet Morad. He is found under a pile of corpses, the only survivor; his best friend and the whole of his brigade remain in the field of death. Broncon is fully acquitted, receives a medal for bravery and is promoted to the rank of Brigadier, but he cannot forgive himself and he feels responsible for falling into the Ansker trap.
Shortly after, the Anskers are beaten and the war ends. The winning terrestrial colonies receive ownership of a system called Naude, comprised of various planets including Godeena. On the surface of Godeena, there is a huge, completely preserved but uninhabited city that scientists have named the Absolute. Analysis of the city reveals no signs of life. A team of scientists is sent to investigate what has happened to the people and animals of Absolute. A few days later the team is attacked and contact with the scientists is lost. The General Staff sends two teams of Special Forces to find out what has happened to the expedition but they also disappear, leaving no trace.
The Commander of the General Staff, General Hensell, is personally involved with the mystery. He requests Brigadier Henry Broncon to gather a unit, composed of the worst inmates from the inescapable prison, Hades, to investigate what is happening on Godeena. Henry accepts this task and collects 17 prisoners, each with unique skills. Among them is Maria, who possesses enormous psychic powers and has a wicked second personality called Kir.
The unusual team of criminals, led by Broncon, travels to Godeena to discover what terrors await them there.
The control room was semi-circular. A large panel board dominated the room, near sat another guard who carefully watched the holo-screens and didn’t turn towards them. The warden approached the toughened glass which protected the entire front wall of the control room. Five yards below, Henry saw approximately twenty narrow cells containing prisoners. All of them were dressed in orange overalls with huge identification numbers on their chests. Most of them were lying on beds, waiting, since they didn’t know why they were brought there.
The warden observed the prisoners, and asked the guard who was sitting on a panel board, “John, did you have any problem?”
“Yes, only with prisoner 743387.”
“Van de Mort! We should have expected something like that from him. Did you give him a penalty?”
“Yes, but it didn’t really work. Right now, he’s trying to pull out the bars to get to prisoner 800234, who is a couple of cells away.”
The warden wasn’t surprised and concluded, “Vandor Bult. They don’t like each other very much. Is he causing any problems?”
“No, sir. He’s just sitting there with a cunning grin but, every now and then, he would pass comments at Van de Mort.”
“I don’t doubt that. Is Van de Mort still on the grids?”
“Shake him a little!”
“With what strength should I do it?”
The warden changed his mind; he wanted to do it himself so that he could get a good dose of the sadistic pleasure it could produce. “Wait. I’ll take care of him.” He approached the control panel, adjusted a dial to its maximum, and then pressed the red button underneath. Van de Mort froze and stopped shouting. His fingers turned white where he was holding onto the grids before his whole body started to shake. The warden watched his face turn blue and seemed happy to see the entire occurrence. When the warden finally unplugged the power supply, Van de Mort fell to the floor. The warden leaned over the microphone and asked in an icy voice, “How was it, prisoner? Do you want more?”
Van de Mort was still shaking on the floor but he slowly raised a hand, exposing to the warden his middle finger.
“I can see he hasn’t lost his sense of humor,” Henry quietly confirmed.
The warden looked at him coldly. “Van de Mort is a wild animal whom you won’t like, Mr. Broncon. He’s got a perfect sense of humor, even while he’s blowing you up with his amateur bombs.”
Henry carefully read his file before he came to Had. He knew very well what he did before he got a one-way ticket to jail. “I know about his fascinating hobby, and that’s why he’s perfect for this group.”
“His blown-up opponents wouldn’t agree,” the warden declared irritably.
“I know that. I want to speak with him now.”
The warden shrugged with resignation and disdain. “As you wish. I don’t care who you talk to first!”
Henry responded, “That’s great. Oh, and one more thing: I’d like to talk to him with his hands and legs unchained.”
The warden looked as if Henry had asked for a pound of his heart. It was usually impossible to talk to the lunatic prisoners without them being chained, more so this one. The warden tried to dissuade Henry from his senseless idea. “Mr. Broncon, you’ll be dead before you are able to sit at the desk, and I don’t want any problems with the authorities when they find out about your death. Just imagine what would happen to me if one of the president’s men were killed here.”
Henry expected the reaction and spoke with a calm candor. “I understand you completely. Where should I sign to show that I take full responsibility?”
The warden thought about it for a second, then gave an order to a guard at the desk. “You’ll record the statement and hand it over to me.”
Five minutes later, Henry had signed the bottom of a thin panel with his statement and handed it over to the warden with the comment, “I don’t think you’ll need this.”
He was relieved when he received a signed copy. While putting it in his pocket, the warden said, “I don’t want to risk anything. That’s the way I am. Anyway, do you still want to do this?”
“Well then, I must tell you that I don’t want my men to risk their lives either.”
“I’m not asking for it. Simply open his cell when I sit down.”
Henry went down the narrow stairs, moved into the interrogation room, and made himself comfortable at a small desk in the middle of the room. Two iron chairs were securely bolted to the floor. He sat down without paying any attention to the prisoners who were threatening and whistling the whole time. He slowly opened his briefcase and turned on the laptop.
The warden spoke to him through a microphone. “Should I isolate them? They won’t stop yelling, Mr. Broncon.”
“That won’t be necessary,” he responded. “Now, can you open the cell?”
When the bars of Van de Mort’s cell started retracting into the ceiling and floor, all the prisoners went silent, but only for a moment. Soon they realized the guard didn’t chain him. They started cheering, “Van de Mort! Van de Mort! Van de Mort!”
He was still lying on the floor, acting like he was hurt. Then with a sudden jump, he got to his feet, stretched out his arms, and gave Henry a fuming look. The prisoners yelled Endy’s name louder and louder. Van de Mort took off his tight shirt, showing his muscular white body and, nonchalantly, from the bed grabbed a wide hair dryer for his long, blonde hair tied in a ponytail. For a second, he looked at Henry and grinned. Beneath his left eye was a driving deep scar, increasing the pallor of his already pale complexion.
Henry, trying to overpower the noise created by the prisoners, shouted, “Mr. Van de Mort!”
Endy Van de Mort hissed something unintelligible and then moved to Vandor Bultʼs cell. He grabbed the bars and said, “Once I get rid of this piece of crap, you’re next.”
Bult was still lying peacefully on his bed because he knew the best reaction was to have no reaction at all. It would piss off Endy. Although he would love to get a chance to break Endy’s ugly face, he just looked up and replied, “I don’t think you’re going to survive that guy over there. And I’m way out of your league. Hopes and dreams. I’ve destroyed many white shits like you, so you’ll simply be a new shithead on the heap.” He looked at Van de Mort turning red with rage and enjoyed every moment. “You’re really not bored of electric shocks, are you?”
Van de Mort instantaneously let go of the bars and growled, “You’re done when we get out!”
Vandor raised his middle finger and Henry used the moment of silence to call Endy. “Mr. Van de Mort!”
Henry had surprised him. Endy looked at him over his shoulder and grinned, knowing that he could snap Henry in no time. The jerk was starting to annoy Endy. Finally, he would be able to beat somebody up. He rubbed his hands and moved towards Henry. “Yes, that’s me. And who are you, stiff?”
“Brigadier Henry Broncon,” he said and continued working on his laptop. Henry knew that would make him angry.
Endy watched him and was visibly stunned at the reaction. He didn’t like Henry taking him lightly. “Ah, well, Broncosaur, you’ve made a mistake. You didn’t shackle me and that’s very bad for you.”
Henry was waiting for just that and casually asked, “Why?”
Van de Mort balked, not believing he was asked such a stupid question. He looked towards the other prisoners and stretched out his hands. “He doesn’t know! Will you explain it to him?”
All prisoners started yelling, “Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!”
He silenced them with his hands and shrugged his shoulders. “That’s why. Now I must kill you.” He caressed his chin, pretending to consider, and said, “I first thought of breaking you up a bit but, unfortunately, now I’ll have to go the distance; can’t disappoint the gang.”
Henry looked at him and said with a smirk, “I understand. However, I have different plans, so maybe it’s not going to be easy for you.”
Van de Mort wasn’t expecting such a response. With every passing minute, he was feeling humiliated. He expected Henry to run away but here he was, reading from his laptop with scant consideration for Van de Mort’s aggression. “Well, we didn’t invite you to Hades and your plans aren’t going to save you. To die is what you’ll do now.”
He ran up to Henry and threw himself over the desk to grab him. While he was in the air, Henry moved aside with his briefcase and rapped the back of Endy’s head. Henry knew nobody else would be able to spot his swift moves except for Major Vallery, who, until that moment, had been lying on the bed in her cell. She didn’t show much interest till then. When she noticed his quick movements, she sat up and grinned. She knew Van de Mort had no chance against a modulated cybernetic soldier or Cyber, as they were fondly named by other soldiers.
Van de Mort flew over the chair and fell on the hard floor. He rolled over to the wall on the opposite side of the room and crashed into it. When he recovered, he shook his head and swore, “What the shit?”
While he was getting up, Henry put away the briefcase so he could maneuver more easily if attacked again. Soon he was on his feet and the prisoners started to chant again, “Van de Mort! Van de Mort! Van de Mort!”
Endy was furious that he couldn’t get his punch in and was confused as to how Henry was able to escape his attack. He gestured with his forefinger. “The first time you surprised me, but you won’t anymore!”
“Maybe,” Henry replied.
Endy suddenly rushed forward and swung at Henryʼs head with his clenched fist. Henry, once again, moved with lightning speed, caught his wrist, and made the inertia of his body act like a lever. The bone cracked like a dry branch and Endy screamed as he fell. “Son of a bitch, you broke my hand!”
“Unfortunately, that’s the only way for me to make you consider this discussion.”
Endy spat at him. “Damn you! Fuck you!”
“I can see you’ll need more training.”
He didn’t even see Henry’s boot move until it hit his chin. He momentarily lost consciousness and was lying on the floor. Henry looked up at the warden who was watching him with unbidden admiration.
Stjepan Varesevac-Cobets was born on 12 September 1965 in Split, Croatia. He lives and works in Kastel Sucurac, where he finished his elementary and secondary schooling.
At a very young age, he started reading and loved it because, through books, he traveled to places he could never visit in person. As a child, he loved fairy tales and adventure but later discovered other genres. When he found a Jules Verne book in the library, he became fascinated by science fiction. He has been writing poetry for fifteen years and has started writing science fiction. Lately, he has also written children’s fairy tales and fables.
He has published, in Croatia, “An Opened Heart” in 2002, “The Sleepy Way” in 2005, and “Love” in 2006. On Amazon he has published the poetry collections “The Child of Happiness” in 2015, science fiction novel “Godeena” in 2015, the science fiction short story “Butterfly” in 2016, the poetry collection “When the moon takes over the dream: Love Poetry” in 2016, and in 2017 the poetry collection “The Flaming Horses: Collection of poetry”. He also translated his new Sci-Fi novel “The Dream of the Forest”.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I’m making stories, I guess it’s a kind of uniqueness.
Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!
I became father in forty and it makes me happy.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I have a cat, Leo, dog Čupko and goldfish who does not fulfill the wishes.
Where were you born/grew up at?
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
With my family and friends.
Who is your hero and why?
Ordinary people who survive every day.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Honest and fair. Definitely everyone would get awards on merit, but all those who would do evil would certainly be punished. In the end we all have to respond to our actions whether they are good or evil.
What are you passionate about these days?
This is now the holiday season and everything is in that spirit.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Read the book or if I’m very tired to play the game on my computer.
How to find time to write as a parent?
I do not even know how to do that.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Dreamer, Adventurer, Questioner, Husband and Father
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still do not consider myself a complete writer. This is my hobby.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I’m a movie lover and there are too many movies to list.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I would love if they were both my novels made into a movie, but that’s just my dreams.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
At the fairs book in my neighborhood, I love books.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
$25 Amazon, 3x ebooks of Godeena
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