by Robert Sells
Genre: Science Fiction
Aster Worthington spearheads the First Contact Team to unravel a message from an alien race. “The Lambdons” promise free energy if humanity builds a few special robots and downloads their message into a super computer to direct construction of the fusion reactor. An excited world agrees and builds a massive structure called the Dome to house the alien enterprise.
Seven years later, there’s no “free energy” and strange things happen in and around the Dome. Aster and her colleagues mount an expedition under the protection of Army Rangers to investigate the interior. Instead of friendly aliens, they discover hordes of deadly intelligent humanoids with insect-like characteristics.
When the military team is brutally murdered by the Lambdons, the scientists scatter. It’s soon apparent that the Lambdons intend to take over the planet using biological warfare. The only hope for humanity lies with a two-thousand year old scroll hidden by the church. The question is, can Aster and her team unravel the scroll’s mystery in time to save the planet?
Arecibo, Puerto Rico
The gray-haired man brushed past the three graduate students who greeted him with “amazing”, “awesome”, “unbelievable” and a glass of champagne. Dr. Wellman sat down on a chair and scooted close to the wall-sized console. Ignoring the students, his eyes studied the computer screen. Nimble fingers danced over the keyboard, and the screen came alive with numbers and symbols. His eyes widened and his face paled. Grim-faced, he rose and stepped toward the three graduate students who backed up, now frightened of the man who had been more like a grandfather than a boss.
The one female had been biting her nails, but now, with her former astronomy teacher so stern and inches from her face, she held her hands up to protect herself. Instead of striking her, he patted the pockets of her pants.
“Shut up,” he snapped and pushed past her to pat down the male beside her. “Your cell phones. Where are they?”
“A—At the condo. At least for me,” replied the shorter of the two as Dr. Wellman probed all his pockets.
The third student, hands raised, came next. “No cell phones, sir. Per protocol.”
After patting down the third student, Wellman took two steps to the corner of the room and checked the computer log of outgoing calls from the landline. The last call was to him. The only other call, an hour earlier, was to a pizza place.
He turned and studied the eyes of the three students. The young woman was terrified. Good, he thought. The taller of the male students glared at him. Good. No shame. Nothing to hide. The other young man was simply bewildered, his eyes wide. Finally, Wellman gave a pent-up sigh of relief and wearily collapsed on the chair.
Screeching sounds from outside broke the short silence. The students looked out the windows and saw cars filling the driveway. They looked back at Dr. Wellman, his wrinkled face contorted into a pained expression. “I’m sorry for what is about to happen. Please know I’m sorry.”
Police officers poured into the small room, filling it with blue and black uniforms. They handcuffed all three students and pushed them back out the door. The last thing Dr. Wellman heard was the young woman repeating the only two words she’d spoken since he arrived: “Dr. Wellman!” This time it was a call for help.
He made no move to help her. Instead, he swiveled the chair around, found the daily log, and signed it. Then he stood and walked past the half dozen officers picking up books, papers, even waste paper baskets. From the cool control room of the Arecibo radio telescope, he emerged into the light of the hot, humid Puerto Rican afternoon. The police cars carrying his graduate students sped toward the airport. Two men in suits ignored him, went into the control room, and closed the door behind them. Dr. Wellman grunted. He was superfluous now.
Police, carrying black bags filled with papers and books, marched past him and zoomed off in their respective cars. The last police car, lights blinking, had its back door wide open. A single police officer waited for him.
“You ready, sir?”
“Yup. Let’s go.”
I attended college at Ohio Wesleyan where I struggled with physics. Having made so many mistakes in college with physics, there weren’t too many left to make and I did quite well at graduate school at Purdue.
I worked for nearly twenty years at Choate Rosemary Hall, an exclusive boarding school in the heart of Connecticut. More often than not, students arrived in limousines. There was a wooded area by the upper athletic fields where I would take my children for a walk. There, under a large oak tree, stories about the elves would be weaved into the surrounding forest.
Returning to my home town to help with a father struggling with Alzheimer’s, the only job open was at a prison. There I taught an entirely different clientele whose only interaction with limousines was stealing them. A year later Alfred State College hired me to teach physics. I happily taught there for over ten years. A rural, low income high school needed a physics teacher and the superintendent, a friend, begged me to help out. So, I am finishing my teaching career in a most fulfilling way… helping kids who would otherwise not have access to a qualified physics (and math) teacher.
My wife pestered me about putting to “pen” some of the stories which I had created for the children and other relatives. I started thinking about a young boy and a white deer, connected, yet apart. Ideas were shuffled together, characters created and the result was the Return of the White Deer. This book was published by the Martin Sisters.
Years ago I gave a lecture on evolution. What, I wondered, would be the next step? Right away I realized that silicon ‘life’ had considerable advantages over mortal man. Later this idea emerged as the exciting and disturbing story called Reap the Whirlwind, my most recent novel.
I have many other stories inside my mind, fermenting, patiently waiting for the pen to give them breath. Perhaps someday I will even write about those elves which still inhabit the woods in the heart of Connecticut.
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