A Tale of 'Daylight' featuring The Alliance, by Brother Grimace
ZERO HOUR – 3:00:00
From what his mother had told him, resisting a psionic attack was the very first thing that David Allen Farrington had ever done with his powers – and that when he was barely two weeks old, a crying child instinctively feeling as if he were being attacked in force by the four skilled psionics who were only seeking to bind his powers.
It was an instinctive reaction.
That was twenty years ago.
Now, Cadet First Class Farrington – now, also Deputy Commander-of-Corps Farrington, as the insignia on his USAES uniform proclaimed - was well-versed in the use of his powers, but that feeling, that memory of dread, followed by living fire inside his mind, had never gone away...
Neither had the instinctive reaction to strike back – as hard, as viciously as possible.
The young man, lying asleep in bed, suddenly blinked awake as that feeling of dread pulled him from sleep – and then, began to burn inside his mind as a violent mental attack, easily as powerful as the most brutal he'd ever experienced, made him scream before his psi-screen deployed.
David Allen's pupils burned with a brilliant blue light as his head turned to face the armored figure that stood next to his bed, drawing back from where it had touched his forehead with a single finger – a finger now engulfed in cosmic flame that burned like acid, dissolving in an instant. "No. I sleep when I want. My room – my rules."
Like a creature out of a Gothic horror film, David Allen telekinetically rose from the bed and slowly turned to face the armored figure, which backed away as it began to project a wildly vibrating wave of translucent energies at his head.
Twin beams of absolute white suddenly pierced through the door of David Allen's room and scored deep marks across the breast plate of the armor the figure wore, ceasing the figure's attack as the death-light of David Allen's Prime Bolts began to fill the room but then, suddenly shut down.
The door erupted into a cloud of splinters as Kelly Springer and Maryann Lyter dove through and tackled the figure in a headlong rush, hitting milliseconds after the lightning bolts Fabian Nogura and Carolyn Field fired from the other side of the doorway struck the armored faceplate and momentarily blinded the creature within!
The tall, lanky blonde and the athletic girl with short, wheat-colored hair went flying through the entire length of Gilmore Hall's third floor as the armored figure grasped them both by the backs of their necks and simply flicked her wrists, sending them hurtling off into the distance!
A sound that could only be a scream exploded through the air as Zoey Robinson came through the window at super-speed and rammed a shimmering resonance javelin down through a point between the left shoulder and neck of the armored creature, forcing the razor-sharp tip out through the right leg just above the knee!
"Get clear, Zoey!"
The sound of another familiar voice forced David Allen to focus past the sensation of crumpling into a heap on his bed and throwing up (which happened at the first touch of the armored figure's energy wave) to see Martin Peters come through the door, wearing an Air Force uniform with single silver bars on the lapels and followed by a waiflike girl of obvious Sikh descent.
A thick, fleshy gash began to chew its way through the walls of reality, flooding the entire room in blood-red illumination as it widened into a huge opening that seemed a cross between a giant gaping wound and a portal to another reality – one that seemed to act as a magnet upon the armored figure. "It's fighting the pull of 'The Bleed!'" Martin called out. "Do it, Chandni!"
An impossibly intricate pattern of arcane energy formed around the Sikh girl's wrist as she pointed at the creature. "I banish you," she whispered, and the pattern swept forth to carry the armored figure through the opening and into the void. "Begone from this place."
The grotesque open resealed itself as Jeffrey Brace and Carolyn Field lifted David Allen from his bed, each wincing at the smell. "Well, at least you didn't drop a load in your shorts!" the short, muscular cadet said, his trademark smile huge across his face. "Let's stick him in the shower – quick!"
Roman Vargas stepped into the room behind Martin and Chandni Kaur, relief evident on the young Latino cadet's face. "You were right – you got here just in time."
Martin sagged against a wall, pulling a flash drive from his uniform and handing it to Roman as he slid down upon a chair. "We did it – me and Kaur. Thank God we have an actual cleric in the Corps of Cadets; I couldn't have gotten rid of it myself."
Chandni, a Cadet Second Class with the beauty and demeanor of a china doll, sent her impossibly long eyelashes fluttering at the compliment. "I could sense that it was an extra-planar being. Banishing it was simple."
Roman looked down at the flash drive Martin kept poking him with. "What's this?"
"Get this to the Commandant – now, Cadet," Martin said, part of him hating to pull rank and yet knowing that Roman understood. "Priority One. Consider this installation at DEFCON One. This is not a drill. The Commandant will confirm it."
"Jeffrey!" The cadet appeared at the tone in Roman's voice. "Get this to the Commandant. Run all the red lights."
The flash drive - and Jeffrey - was gone before the end of his sentence. "What's going on?"
"In the last timeline, I didn't bring Kaur, and David Allen blew half the campus apart fighting that armored creature. The fight cost us far more lives than were lost in the explosion; Zero Area was cut off for five hours, and that meant we lost hundreds of cadets and thousands of other people." Martin's voice and posture spoke worlds about the physical stress it took to physically traverse the interdimensional void known as 'The Bleed' and hit a specific point in space, let alone time. "I was two minutes off. I nearly didn't make it through."
Roman didn't waste time with disbelief; Martin pulled a second flash drive from his uniform. "Bring up the folder marked 'DAYLIGHT'."
ZERO HOUR: 2:53:00
The members of The Alliance (David Allen was in a sweat suit, and the others had returned) and Martin had gathered around the laptop computer on David Allen's desk as Kelly opened the 'DAYLIGHT' folder.
"'DAYLIGHT – Story background and timeline by 'The Angst Guy'? What the hell is this?" Carolyn snapped, a bit ruffled by the saved web page on the screen. "Is this some kind of joke?"
Without saying a word, Zoey grasped Carolyn's shoulders as she turned her towards the gaping holes in the walls of Gilmore Hall that led to the outside, and then turned her back to the computer. "All right, then," she corrected herself, ignoring Zoey's cross glare. "His power lets him see things from other realities. What do we do?"
"One thing's for certain – we keep an eye out for 'Chrona' from now on," Maryann growled, flexing her hand around the hilt of the K-Bar blade in the sheath on her right leg. "That resonance javelin was a good call, Zoey, if she's some sort of time traveler like this suggests – oh, stop smiling."
"She's just happy that she got to cut loose on someone," Carolyn said, shaking her head as she watched the indecently pleased look resting on Zoey's face. "Thank God for this 'Roentgen' person, whoever he or she is – now, we've got a heads-up on what's coming."
"Not to mention 'John Dynell'," David Allen said with eerie calm. So that's the bastard who tried to bag Sloane. The Elite's Security – no, the new Deputy Director for North America, now that Furmaan Singh's in the South Africa crisper with the rest of the Elite veggies they keep around. Sorry about your luck – and I hope Young Master Thomas has the chance to zero you off very slowly. If I run across you, I'll do it for him.
No. Better. I'll just let my mother know about him. That should be fun to hear about – someday.
"First things first – read this," Kelly said, scrolling down, unaware that David Allen was sending a telepathic message several thousand miles away, warning his family about everything. "On Earth, the Industrial Age and its offspring (the Atomic Age, the Space Age, and the Computer/Internet Age) end in a matter of minutes as monstrous geomagnetic currents produced by solar storms completely destroy all wiring, transformers, and microchips on Earth.' We are all so screwed."
The room went quiet as they all traded looks. "Code Acheron?" Carolyn asked.
"Within the next five minutes," Martin agreed. "You guys need to get moving if you're going to get your families – I was lucky that I made it through The Bleed to give you even this much of a head start. You've got just under three hours before Hell's gates blow open. I wish I could help more."
"What do you mean?" Kelly asked, as Martin stepped to the middle of the room and was encircled in a column of blood-red energy. "Where are you going?"
"To rescue my family and as many persons as I can – just like everyone else. I've done my duty. Now, you have to do yours."
The column of energy disappeared, Martin along with it, and Roman turned to the others. "Carolyn – contact Lindy. She's out in California with that friend of hers. Tell her everything, and have her collect all of our families from Denver to the Pacific Northwest – her shields can carry and protect all of them-"
Everyone turned to face Jeffrey. "What's on that web page – if it's anywhere near correct – means we're going to run the Homestead protocol." The others nodded; it was barely a month before that The Alliance, all now Cadets First Class, had been briefed on the high-level protocols that the Academy had in place for a myriad number of vile and unthinkable circumstances. "I'm the only one fast enough to get everyone's families – even if they're spread out – and run a SMART-field generator to secure their things."
"No games, Jeffrey," Roman said. "No heat, all scat. You've got ten minutes – by then, they'll send you to grab as many families as you can find."
"Sherrie's got a couple of generators in her room," Jeffrey said. "I'll get them. Time to do some of that speed-of-light stuff..."
As Jeffrey disappeared, Roman turned to the rest. "Kelly – call Lindy and have her get back here now. Anybody that she can grab and bring back in the next hour or so, then do that, but get back here within the hour. Ian – stop being a statue with a dumb look. Get down to the commo section and have them issue a recall order on all Cadets Third Class immediately. Do it on my authority, and by the time they ask for confirmation, Admiral Harriman will have everything rolling. Maryann, Zoey - go find Castillo and the other precogs. Make sure they're all right, then get them to Zero Area and secure those hourglass things. Carolyn – get over to Cocking Hall. Put the Phantom Eagles on ready alert – the Commandant will probably have them supporting the Academy Marine detail for security duty. Move."
As the other members of The Alliance darted from the room, the Cadet Commander of Corps turned to his second-in-command. "David Allen – are you all in there?"
"I'm green lights across the board, Roman-"
"Don't play me, David Allen – we can't have you ripping off a Carrie today. That thing used a 'psi-scream' on you. Are you here for us?"
"I'm good to go, Boss," the African-American cadet snapped back – the response the other wanted to see.
"Outstanding, Cadet Farrington. We've got work to do – and I need my second with a clear head."
"When did I give you anything less?"
The female voice from behind made the two male cadets turn as Julia Carlyle flew through the gaping hole, her wings fluttering as she settled to the floor. "I can't believe you gave it to him, Roman – I'd have been worlds better as the number two."
"What the hell are you doing here?" The words popped from David Allen's mouth before he could think. "I mean-"
"My family got word five minutes ago about what's coming," she said, going to Roman. "They have – means – of knowing things. They'll be here within an hour – they're bringing people and a lot of other things, including the local zoo. They sent this for the Commandant."
The tall, red-haired cadet handed him a micro disk. "Oh, and you probably want to have someone teleport Blum-Deckler back to Legion Tower – fast. She'll probably want to get back to her friends and family before they lock the place down to ride it out."
Surprised by her presence, David Allen let his mouth slip again. "Why didn't you go back there? You're a Legionnaire now."
Julia turned her large jade eyes upon her teammate. "This is where I'm needed. I'm Alliance."
"Sir – if you're sending people to Legion Tower, I'll take Cadet Carlyle's place there."
The three older cadets only then realized that they weren't alone in the room; standing inside the doorway was an attractive Cadet Fifth Class with olive skin, long, dark hair and large brown eyes.
Cadet Danielle Todds stepped forward and nodded at David Allen; both having healing abilities, they knew one another from classes and field exercises. "I came with Lieutenant Peters and Cadet Kaur – in case someone was hurt. Commander Vargas – I've studies the Legion. Without Cadet Carlyle there, they have no healer, and even if they have doctors, there's no way that they'll have all the medical supplies they'll need for-"
The young woman hesitated. "For however long this will last. They'll need me more there, sir."
Her eyes flicked over to David Allen, who knew in an instant why she wanted to go. "I say let her go, if Admiral Harriman signs off," he said, sharing a look with Julia. "She has a point. She's already gone through all of her primary EMT certifications and Level Two healer boards – any medical problems they'll have, she can fix or learn how, very quickly – besides, God knows they'll need a soldier there to show them how to do things right."
"Get moving, Todds," Roman said, as Julia rolled her eyes at David Allen. "Get on the horn to the hospital, and have them load up the things you'll need to take. While they're doing that, get your things from your room. You won't be coming back."
"Yes, sir," Danielle said, saluting Roman. "Thank you, sir."
As Danielle turned to leave, Julia stopped her. "Todds, right?"
"Here." Julia took off the wrist-communicator she wore, and tossed it to the other young woman. "When you see Quinn Morgendorffer, that's for her. Tell her to keep her ears open – I'm still a Legionnaire, too, and I might come calling, sooner or later."
Danielle smiled a perfect smile as she looked at the communicator – a smile that disappeared as David Allen cut in. "You also need to tell them about that fast food place where their mother- just tell Daria to do a wide-band psi-sweep for her mother. The power is called 'telelocation - it's the same power that I have. According to this other writer – Brother Grimace – she's got it already, but hasn't used it yet. Tell her to hurry... if she doesn't use her power to find her mom-"
Her eyes going wider than Julia thought possible, Danielle darted away as Roman turned to his teammates. "We're going active any minute now, you two, and it's going to be worse than we can imagine."
Julia and David Allen both began to speak, but were rendered mute by a single wave of Roman's hand. "Shut 'em," he snapped, with a touch of understanding in his voice. "You two need to have words before we all get busy – and you should have done it long ago. This is the last chance you'll have for small talk for a long time. Don't waste it."
Roman had barely cleared the door before Julia moved forward to kiss David Allen; she melted into his arms as they embraced, and they parted after a long, slow kiss that left them both winded. "Don't ever say that you came back just for the chance to kiss me," he said, as they held each other close. "I know you."
"I didn't," she replied. "Oh, I came back for me. If anything happens to you, not only do I have to find someone who's worth the bother of always being pawed on, but I'll have to work extra hard to make sure that he's someone who'll annoy my parents."
"Besides – I think that, seeing you as the number two, someone with common sense needs to be here to give Roman good advice. Now, stop talking."
They kissed once more when the sound of the alert klaxon coming to life made them part. "Attention, all faculty and cadets. Attention. Code Acheron is now in effect. This is not a drill. Repeat - Code Acheron is now in effect."
"Well, sailor," Julia said, smiling at David Allen, "time for you to find your ship."
He smiled back at her. "All I have to say is that I can't believe I let a cop kiss me."
They darted out of the room into a hallway filled with rushing cadets. "All First Academy cadets, report to your dorms for further instructions. All Elite Academy Cadets, report to your floor wardens for duty assignments. All Phantom Eagles, report to Starr Hall for duty assignments. All approved Cadet Special Operations Units, report to the Office of the Commandant. Attention, all faculty and cadets. Attention. Code Acheron is now in effect. This is not a drill..."
ZERO HOUR: 2:47:00