Target Earth by Gary W. Babb

EXTRACT FOR
Target Earth

(Gary W. Babb)


Target Earth

CHAPTER 1

(THE REST IS OVER)

 

* Levi *

 

After the stress of the last few months, he was a wreck. He was nervous and irritable, which didn't help since everyone except Moon was afraid of him. The numerous fights he had with Simians, the mortal wound, the battle in the desert, the battle with Gord and culminating with the incredible shock of almost dying again had taken its toll on him. On top of all this, the merging with Amy to create the entity of ASONE left him confused, weak and alienated from everyone. Emotionally he was still greatly shaken from the merging with Amy. That had been the most incredible experience of his long life and he still couldn't explain or understand it. Amy was little help either; all she could say was she did it, but didn't know what she had done.

He didn't want any more pressure for a while. What he really needed was to calm down and recoup. Amy's plan to return to the desert settlement was great by him. He had spent some of the most relaxing times in years at that location and thought fondly of it. Rest there would be good, but he was realizing that nothing would ever be the same again.

He and Amy rested at the desert settlement for several days, but the pressure was non-stop. Everyone was coming to him for instruction and advice. It was as if none of them could make a decision or a move without him. Moon wanted to know what to do with the colony of Technical Simians, Fred was scared shitless about the Los Angeles Simian colony, Jimmy wanted to know what instruction to pass on to the Owens Valley tribe, and even Al asked about what they were going to do now. It was driving him crazy! Amy had all the answers, but even she didn't want to make all of their decisions for them. She said they had to start doing some of their own thinking. He wanted to get away, even for a short time. He couldn't just take off because Moon would follow him, but he had an idea.

 

* Amy *

 

She was basically a computer and impossible to overload her internal capabilities, but she too was emotionally tired. Her central core measured four feet in diameter and made of human brain cells, and her mental intellect was limitless. Designed and constructed as the largest and fastest computer ever built, her capabilities were without limits. Her handicap was being self-aware, alive. While being great in many ways, it was also a handicap. She was not emotionally mature and therefore vulnerable. She, like Levi, felt the stress. She needed to rest and she knew Levi was tired also. They had to get away.

After the feats their armies and friends had seen Levi perform, they had withdrawn. They seemed to fear Levi. To them he appeared supernatural and unapproachable. This caused Levi much of his grief, because he needed the closeness of other humans. He had been friends with Al, Iron Eyes and Jimmy; but now they looked at him as the Supreme Leader, almost a deity and hesitated to get close to him again. In time they would come around, but it might take a while. Thank God for Moon. Nothing would change him. Moon had always worshiped Levi and would easily die for him, but Moon was Simian and not outgoing. Most of their communications were necessary, and Moon could never feel or understand the grief Levi experienced now. Well, Levi had her. She grinned as Levi grinned back. They needed to get away. They needed no one else.

They had returned to the Mojave Desert to rest, but all the leaders brought Levi their problems. Unfortunately, there was much needing to be done. She issued instructions, but it seemed to be endless. Moon was told to take the remnants of the Colorado River Simians to the northern valleys where the cattle were kept. Riders, fluent in the sign language, were sent along to train them in the art of raising cattle. Hopefully, the humans would be relieved of the job and the Simians would learn a valuable trade for everyone's survival. The Simian forges had to be set up, and the Simian metals melted down. Amy had given them plans on a new weapon to build. Jimmy wanted instructions for the Owens Valley. She told them to keep making lances. Fred was frightened being in the Los Angeles Simian Colony and, without humans, the Simians had no food. She told them to send patrols out looking for cattle or wild animals in the mountains.

It was then that Levi challenged her yet again. He wanted her to learn how to physically teleport them to somewhere else. He wanted to get away, if only for a few hours but preferably for several days. He had mentioned teleportation once before after they had merged, and she had been thinking about it. It might be possible; it was just a variation of the other mental skills she had developed at his insistence. It was time to grow again.

 

* Levi *

 

At his insistence, Amy began experimenting with teleportation. Amy always surprised him, but he knew she could do anything when challenged. He challenged her now. He participated and watched as Amy used her telekinesis to move objects from one place to another again and again. She then made a rock disappear at one location then magically appear at a different location. Her image in his mind was grinning at him. He reflected on how surprised, shocked, and happy he had first been when Amy developed the image of herself from his thoughts. He remembered how beautiful she appeared and how shaken he had become when she first manifested the image in his mind. Her image shown with beauty and he loved that grin now. From experience he had learned this was her satisfied grin. Amy was happy; she had obviously mastered teleportation. That mental ability could now be added to their repertoire of skills (telepathy, telekinesis, astral projection, clairvoyance, mind reading, and other skills with yet no name).

Amy said, “It isn't that difficult to use my mind in this way. It is very close to astral projection, but includes some telekinesis as well.”

He had learned not to try to understand the hows and whys. It was enough just to know what was possible and the results.

Amy told him, “I can take us anywhere I have seen and have a visual reference for. It's the same situation as astral projection except in physical form.”

He was trying to think of somewhere they had been and yes, he knew instantly where he wanted to go. Levi said, “I want to go to where it all began, on the cliff of the Arizona mountain overlooking the desert.” This was the place where he had first sought the spirit and opened his mind sending it racing across space to touch Amy. That was the place Amy had first touched his mind. That was the very beginning and at a much simpler time.

Amy would have preferred a different place because her recollection of the spot was not as clear as other locations. Amy had only brief glimpses of recognizable landmarks, but she too felt the sentiment of that location and shared the appeal of going there.

Amy said, “I will try, but you have to remember the location and bring the memories up in your mind.”

That was easy, as he thought back to the beginning. He vividly remembered sitting at the edge of the cliff leaning against the rock where he made the very first contact. He stared out over the desert far below and into the distance as far as his eyes could see. He was again smelling the pines and feeling the coolness of the rocks beneath his legs as he sat there. Suddenly, with a start, he realized he actually was sitting in the same exact spot. He had been physically transported and hadn't even realized it. Amy was smiling at him. As if doubting, he looked around again and indeed it was the very spot. Damn, they had gone several hundred miles instantly. It had taken him months to make this trip before and the return trip took only seconds. This was truly amazing. He also realized suddenly that this territory was not safe; it was full of Simians. He felt to see if he had his pack and weapons. Luckily, he did.

Amy said, “I wouldn't have transported you without them.”

 

* Amy *

 

She loved it when Levi challenged her. Her intelligence was unparalleled, but abstract thought had remained unique to humans. Of course, in the truest sense, she was human, but abstract thought came slow to her. She originally came up with telepathy on her own to find Levi, but it had taken her many years to originate the new thought. Many of her other skills came mostly from Levi's mind and challenges. When logic no longer prevailed, Levi seemed to always come up with a new and different angle. Sometimes it was nothing more than a question, like now. When he asked if she could transport him physically to another location, it was nothing less than another challenge.

She had long since grown accustomed to using Levi as the reference. She used his senses and transmitted her power and essence through their telepathic communication link. This was learned when she used telekinesis the first time to open the inside hatch of her research facility. Levi had been pissed to think that he had traveled across the desert only to die just outside the facility. His words still haunted her when he threw down the gauntlet. He had said, “You don't have lips, but you sure had a big enough mouth to talk me into coming hundreds of miles across the desert. If you could do that you could do other things with that intellect.” He didn't give her a choice, he simply demanded that she do it and she did.

She had used his body as the reference when she astral projected for the first time. It took getting used to, having an out of body experience from his body, but it had worked. She expected that doing the teleportation would be very similar to these two functions, which she had already accomplished. This would be sort of a combination of both. She must be able to see the reference points for the place she wished to transport him to. It was then only a matter of moving, or in this case transferring, the matter from here to there, physically changing the reference point and swapping matter.

Levi requested they go to the place where she had first touched his mind. Oh, she liked that idea, but she didn't have clear reference points to that location. She asked him to remember the place and he pulled his memories forward. The memories were clear and fresh. He was seeing it very clearly; in fact, he was absorbed into his memory, reliving it. She watched what he was again seeing. She quickly followed the path to the location and fixed it in her mind as she began concentrating on the spot. The rock was cool to his back and legs and the view beautiful as she superimposed the physical reality into the memory. They were there and she realized Levi wasn't aware of that fact yet.

Levi was shocked when he realized he was actually there. After a few seconds he panicked and was searching for his weapons. The sudden panic was quickly replaced with joy as he realized that they truly were here. Levi praised her and she always relished in it.

 

* Levi *

 

It was dangerous being here, and he couldn't remember why he had chosen this place, but it was beautiful. They watched the desert floor and the rising heat waves over the ground. He remembered that it reminded him of an ocean, and it still did. Amy was quiet, taking it all in.

She said, “It not the same as seeing the memories; this is much more beautiful.”

The sun was getting low to the earth and the desert sunset held oranges and violets bursting forth from the setting sun. Yes, this was relaxing. He paused only long enough to pull his blanket from his pack. He intended to sit here for a while.

Amy came to him, her sweet image filling his mind. The image became real and they lay in each other's arms watching the sunset. He felt the pressure of her in his arms, the warmth of her body, the fragrance of her hair, tasted her lips, and felt her touch. She stroked his brow, removing the little remaining tension. Her touch was electric, as her fingers traced the ridge of his back. Her lips nibbled his and her kisses stoked a fire deep in his stomach. Caressing her breasts softened her expression, allowing her love to shine. He saw the excitement build in her quivering body. They made love under the stars, first gently and then more passionately. He experienced Amy's emotions and feelings also through their mental link. He became lost in the sensation and passion, long since losing who he was in the confusion of mingling emotions. He was aware of a volcanic eruption as they combined in their orgasms. They lay together in silence for many long minutes as they slowly calmed their feelings and finally began to talk as they hadn't done in so long.

It was a beautiful evening and night and he was very happy. They had not been able to make time for themselves. Both had been so busy surviving and taking care of everyone else. They vowed to never neglect themselves again, and to make time just for them. It would never happen if they waited for a good time.

Amy woke him in the morning just in time to see the sun's light race across the desert floor. He had not seen this before when he spent a week at this spot. It was truly something to see.

Ay said it was time to go back, and he really didn't mind it because he was very hungry. As he started to rise he thought he had detected something in her mental tone. He looked into her mind and chuckled. He saw Amy's monitoring of Dawn and saw Moon raising hell with Al about the whereabouts of Levi. He was positive that Moon had probably looked for him all night. He should have told him when they left, but he would have wanted to go with him and they weren't ready for that. That would be the next step in Amy's mental growth, taking more than just him when they transported, namely Moon.

They did not want to startle anyone so Amy said they would reappear around the rock entrance of the caverns just out of sight. He felt nothing, really, when Amy sent him instantly to that location. His view one second was the desert, and the next second the boulder which he was standing behind. In retrospect, his view faded out then faded in at the new location. He was going to like this new ability, yes indeed.

 

* Amy *

 

She was instantly glad Levi had chosen this place. It was beautiful beyond description. She had seen the view from Levi's memory, but somehow this was far more intense. The bigger than life expanse made you feel very insignificant. Sharing this now with Levi was satisfying and romantic. She wanted to share more with Levi, much more.

They lay together as the sun set in the west, sharing the experience and the moment. They cuddled together throughout the night and shared much. Their love-making was intense. It was always intense as the emotions of each was experienced by the other and mingled with their own. This mental feedback in the other generated a stimulating emotional energy, and caused spiraling excitement and shuddering orgasms.

As was her blessing, so was it her curse as she continued to monitor the minds of Jimmy, Dawn, and Fred. Sometimes she wished she could shut them off, but unfortunately she had not found a way to do it. Once she locked with a mind, she was tuned to it and continued to receive input from them through Levi's mental link. It was not at all the same as with Levi. The data was not as rich as was Levi's and communication back to their minds could only be accomplished by a concentrated effort from Levi. The communication did work and had greatly contributed to the defeat of the Simian army here outside these passes. What a victory that had been.

She ignored the inputs throughout the night in order to give them both the break they desperately needed for their emotional well-being, but the backlog was building and could not be ignored much longer. Fred was having a nervous breakdown believing he was going to be eaten any minute by the Los Angeles Simians. Jimmy was feeling left out. He had been part of the inner circle and had enjoyed the excitement, now nothing was going on back at Owens Valley. The most pressing need was Moon. Through Dawn, she was seeing a very agitated Moon, and he would need to be calmed down soon. Levi's stress level was greatly reduced, so she reluctantly shared the information with Levi and they prepared to return.

Her memory was total and complete. She stored everything and knew all the landmarks for everywhere Levi (they) had been since they had been together. She chose a close but secluded spot to materialize close to where Al, Dawn and Moon were now engaged in strenuous hand signing. As Levi walked around the boulder into sight, Moon saw him immediately and came loping up. Moon looked relieved but very upset and commenced chewing Levi out in an extremely rare show of emotions. Levi was chuckling inside, but outwardly remained dutifully chastened.

Moon had been Levi's constant companion since Levi had saved him from drowning and Moon had been very concerned about Levi's disappearance. They really should have said something to him before leaving, but he would have wanted to go too. Moon was like a puppy in many ways, a seven foot tall four hundred and twenty-five pound golden puppy. The thought was humorous. They would take their chastising and take him along next time. Actually, it would have been the safe thing to do since they had been in hostile country.

 

* Levi *

 

He spoke in the screeching language of the Simians and apologized for not telling Moon he was going to be absent. He said he had some research to do and it had to be done alone, but admitted that he should have told him and would next time. Moon appeared to be satisfied with the answer and was now curious about the research. Levi could tell by the inquisitive look on his face, but he didn't ask.

Moon had been to the Technical Simian's camp in the northern valley checking on the colony. There was a sizable group of them now that included the forty-two Technical Simians from the colony that were liberated, the fifty or so females, plus the children. There were about one hundred and ten in all, and they were settling in but becoming bored with the inactivity. It didn't take much effort to raise cattle. They had been taught to herd the cattle to grazing areas and not let them spread out. He didn't know what to do with them.

Amy suggested that they re-establish patrols to search for cattle and round them up. That would keep them busy and would also prevent the Simians from overeating, decimating the herd. The Simians were totally carnivorous and consumed a healthy amount of beef every day and, although the threat was not immediate, they would eventually deplete the herd. Luckily there was an abundance of cattle after the day of chaos when three-quarters of the humans died from the Simian ray. The ray affected only the higher intelligence animals and cattle were not among that group. They were however, spread all over the country and would have to be herded. Amy said this would give them some purpose. Moon liked the idea of the patrols.

Amy also wanted Moon to interview the Technical Simians to learn what technical skills they possessed. She particularly wanted to know if any had knowledge of the weapons on board the ships. Moon said he would find out and was off to comply.

He then explained to Al and Dawn what was happening with the Simians. Al agreed that patrolling, finding cattle in the upper valleys, and tending to the herds would keep them busy.

Levi's next and most pressing problem was eating. He could smell the food cooking on the fire and it was driving him nuts. Dawn knew it too and smiled at him. Dawn knew more than most just how much food his augmented body needed. She had even been shocked as she had tried to keep him fed. She was piling meat on the fire for him now.

 

* Amy *

 

As she listened to Moon's report, she was planning. She realized that the Simians needed more, they needed a purpose. They needed to feel important. That is when she suggested that they return to patrols. This would keep some form of continuity in their routine and serve a purpose by herding in additional cattle. The settlement had a sizable herd of cattle, but normal increase in the herd would not keep up with the Simian's needs. The patrols would serve a dual purpose of keeping them busy and maintaining the supply required.

These items were only maintenance issues. Her real concern and goal was to gain access to the knowledge of the Simians that she believed was stored in the Simian computer currently in the caverns. To research this knowledge, she needed to learn from the Technical Simians. If the key existed, it would most likely be in them, and she would find what she needed. Moon had even said that he had been a computer specialist on board the ship en route to Earth. She again marveled that Moon must be close to eighty years old to have been a crew member in a space ship that landed over fifty years ago. At any rate, she asked Levi to have Moon interview the Simians to find out what their skills were. Knowing Moon, they would have that information by tomorrow.

Amy was frightened about the future. She estimated that worldwide there were probably no more than fifty thousand Simians, but that was only because there were probably only seventy-five space ships that made it to Earth plus growth over the last fifty years. She remembered there had been over one thousand five hundred space ships in the original invasion and, had it not been for the Earth United Defense League (EUDL) destroying hundreds of ships in space, they would have to contend with close to a million Simians. The problem would be moot now as humans might well have been consumed feeding that number. Her fear revolved around the other fleets that were en route. She had no idea how many or when to expect them, but if she wasn't able to develop new defenses, well, it would be the end of the human race.

They had only made a small, very small, dent in the Simian threat and they had a world to liberate. The scope of the task was unthinkable for what currently existed, much less considering the new invading fleet or fleets. She desperately needed to begin research, and she was the only one that had the knowledge to do it. Yes, she was frightened but tried to hide it from Levi.

As her mind continued to handle hundreds of functions, her primary focus returned to the present and the next immediate problem, which was to replenish Levi's calories and nutrients at Al's cooking fire. As Levi ate and talked, she listened to Al's problems. He was understandably concerned about the Simians living within his defenses. Al reminded Levi that they couldn't protect themselves from a sudden attack from within. He also reminded Levi that the Warrior Simian's children would grow up and could be a threat. Al also wanted to know about the next battle. She assumed that the Mojave Desert Lancer Army was committed to the continued battle for Earth, but was very pleased to hear it voiced.

Levi listened and offered only agreements and understanding to Al's concerns but told him little because he didn't know yet. Privately, Levi told her that they needed to give everyone goals or at least something to do to keep them occupied and she agreed.

 

* Levi *

 

He hadn't realized just how hungry he was until he started eating, then he remembered that he had not eaten supper last night. Just thinking about it brought a smile to his face. The smile must have made Al more at ease with him, as he continued to open up and voice his concerns.

Al had many concerns about the Simians living among them, but his real concern was where and what Simian colony they were going to fight next. Al and his Lancers were totally committed to the liberation of Earth and with the recent victory, were anxious to continue. They had lived in fear of the Simians all their lives and this revenge was sweet to their taste. Al was saying they were ready to follow him anywhere. Amy voiced the very question he was wondering when Amy questioned if Al would lead an army without him. Only he heard the question, and wondered the same thing.

He listened for a very long time as he ate and, with Amy's blessing, told Al that they would move against the Phoenix colony next. He told Al that they needed to make preparations first. Amy had given him designs for a new weapon that needed to be manufactured. She also suggested to him that Al send three-man patrols out in all directions to spread the word about their success against the Simians. They needed recruits and weapons to expand the army.

Al and Dawn were becoming more at ease with him now, but there was still fear in their eyes. They did, however, like the ideas and suggestions they were hearing. They would take them as orders and Al, or anyone else hearing his suggestions all jumped to comply. They made him feel so aloft and unreachable that it was lonesome.

After eating, he sat down with paper and pencil and drew the plans for the weapon Amy designed. Amazingly, the plans looked professional and in great detail, even though he did them freehand and in a very short amount of time. Al looked appraisingly at the plans and smiled. The plans were for a large lance, but this lance had some very surprising features. This lance had a retractable blade within the main shaft that was both spring loaded and further augmented with compressed air, which could be pumped into a cavity within the lance. The combined pressure, when released, would propel the blade out of the lance an additional eighteen inches. The force behind the released pressure added to the blow from the user that triggered the release, should be more than sufficient to penetrate the dense body of a Simian. He had to admit, it was ingenious. This was indeed a weapon that could be used by a ground warrior.