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Chapter One

 

The patchy light from the sun provided shafts of yellow in contrast against the blue-grayness of the skies. Fiona liked days that turned out like this because the streaks of lights gave her a sense of comfort. As she pondered her view of the sky, it dawned on her that it has been 10 years since that fateful day when she and her family had to flee their home world. In the five years it took to get to earth, all their studies and knowledge that they gained from videos supplied by their parents on their ship could not prepare them for the life on earth that they now have. All the children had gained new and unusual powers and talents.

 

Fiona, with her ability to create and manipulate fire, showed a knack for commerce and was instrumental in forming the family business in the technology research field. She had grown into a beautiful woman but her childhood and long feelings of being an outsider still made her shy away exploiting her beauty. She was tall and curvaceous and with her long flowing, flaming orange hair, she silenced all conversations when she entered a room. Her unwavering ideology about right and wrong made her into a formidable force in the boardroom though. She guided the company with conviction and even named it Night Dragon Research and Trade Limited.

 

Not so for her sister, Chloe who along with developing the power to create and manipulate ice as well as some minor healing abilities, became the ultimate supermodel and front woman for the company. With a lithe frame and long curled raven blue hair, she was the perfect picture of seduction. Chloe relished the glamorous life and loved the bustle of constant photo shoots. It was her idea to cover her skin in makeup to look human that sparked her career along with the devices created by her brothers Brian and Greg. To this day it is still not known that Chloe is actually a blue-skinned alien from another planet.

 

For Brian, it was all seriousness and study. He became the technician of the family and had a brain for science. He still loved his military history, but when he found the earth game chess, all his leisure time was spent playing the game and other games like it. He also absorbed everything there was to know about earth’s history including earth military strategy. His scientific abilities helped the family when he kept coming up with new gadgetry to assist them and their living on Earth. In the last 5 years he had gained himself over 1300 patents. Chloe’s raven hair is actually light blue in color, but thanks to Brian and his miniature hair color generators, she can change her hair color with the push of a button. Despite his seclusion in labs or the library, Brian still has well muscled body because of his power to create heat and convert it into strength and shield himself from harm. His yellow-orange hair that he frequently pulls into a ponytail gives away the fact that he’s Fiona’s twin.

 

Then there’s Greg who gained what seemed to be the oddest set of powers. Greg had always been somewhat of a clown but when his near-invulnerability activated along with his ability to manipulate metal into any shape or size, he was insufferable. There was a month on the ship that he was acting like a pinball and bouncing off the walls. Everyone else attributes the acts of clowning around as to being a way of covering up for the loss of his parents. No amount of humor can hide his gifted artistic ability. It was Greg who came up with advertising campaigns, logos and even made Brian’s gadgetry more stylish. Greg was also the one who first took up the idea of becoming a crime fighter and ran with it. After fashioning a costume for himself, and arguing with the others, he created additional costumes for them after they figured out that they could not talk him out of being a crime fighter. He even gave everyone names with his own humorous bent to them. Fiona became Flareback, Brian was Blazeback, Chloe was Chillback, and he named himself Gashback because he liked to bend the metal he carried into a spiked mace.

 

So for the last two years they have been fighting crime and using their powers to bridge the divide between humanity and the extraterrestrials that have sought refuge on Earth. On Earth, extraterrestrials have been around for thirty years but have only gained minor acceptance in the last decade. The aliens on the planet have strived to show that they only seek amnesty and that they just want to find a place to live in peace. Fiona and her family had on occasion found themselves on both sides of the fence either fighting human criminals who would prey on unwitting aliens, or fighting alien species that would try and dominate the planet. This is why Fiona is standing on a rooftop looking at the sky and monitoring a human gathering down below. The men are gathered in a small protest against a local office known to have registered and relocated extraterrestrials for the government. They all have different reasons for gathering, but the idea that aliens threaten their way of life is what binds them together. Unfortunately, the hour was getting late and the men were showing that they have had one too many beers. A bottle shatters against the door to the offices which shakes Fiona out of her reminiscing of the past and into the present.

 

“Oh great, here we go,” she states sighing to herself as her eyes rolled. She turns to the side of the building and effortlessly floats down to the alleyway between the buildings. Then she made her way to the gathering making sure she stayed calm while she interrupted them with a loud clearing of her voice.

 

“Ok boys, I think that you’ve had enough fun for one day. Why don’t everyone just go home and sleep it off?” she started.

 

“Well, if it isn’t a blue-skinned alien freak!” came a shout from the crowd.

 

Another member of the group yelled, “This isn’t your party, Exxie, go home before we kick your sorry whatever you call it back there!”

 

“Go home freak!” was the last anonymous shout before the bottle flew from the crowd and straight at Fiona’s head. Before anyone could blink, she had put her hand in front of her face and caught the bottle. As she lowered her hand the bottle began to melt at her grasp while the irises of her eyes lit up with the fire of her anger she growled out to the men, “I may be blue, but I seriously doubt any of you are so blind as to mistake me for a recycle canister!”

“She’s got powers! Let’s get out of here before she burns us!” was the frightened response to her momentary loss of control. Then everyone in the group clamored to run away from Fiona with the exception of one dark figure. Face to face, Fiona and the stranger stared at each other for several moments, neither backing down from the other. The stranger’s steely blue eyes showed that his will would not bend. Then Fiona broke the silence first.

 

“So, are we just going to stand out here all night?” she said coldly.

 

“I will not live in fear of you,” the man said with resolve.

 

“You don’t have to.” She replied.

 

“I will fight to protect my family.” he argued.

 

“That is exactly what I’m doing!” she stated.

 

“Your kind has taken jobs from people like me,” he said with a waver in his voice.

 

“And you’re using me as an excuse! I own my business and I have made more jobs than I have taken away,” She started. “Look, I’ve read about how dark skins like yourself have had to fight to protect your family from those who hated you for being different. We are doing the same! Is it so different for someone with dark skin as it is for someone with blue skin, or scales or whatever?” she lectured. “Think what you will, but deep down there is no difference between us. Now I’m going because I have better things to do than to wall my beaten head!” and with that said she turn on her heels and without caring what the stranger thought, shot up in the sky and flew away.

 

The man stood there for several minutes and said to himself, “My great grandfather fought again people who hated.” and then a tear of realization trickled down his cheek as he began to walk home with his head bowed.

 

As Fiona flew to shake the anger she felt from the confrontation she continued to mumble to herself, “It is stubborn, overly emotional, unthinking people like him who really get to me!”

 

“Sounds familiar to me.” said a voice from her headset.

 

“Don’t start with me, Brian; I’m not in the mood” she spat back.

 

“They say people don’t like it when they see a part of themselves in others.” he said defensively.

 

“I’m not listening Brian!” she said with her teeth gritted.

 

“Okay, okay, I know when to be quiet.” he said with a sound of defeat in his voice.

Fiona continued to fly around the city making her rounds as her brother Greg liked to call it. She made her way to the warehouse district and found things to be quite. She found the same in the financial district and in the large shopping areas. Fiona was feeling very relieved that it was going to be a quiet night. Just as she was passing through the technology sector, Brian broke the silence through her headset.

 

“Uh, Fiona, we have a situation developing. The asteroid belt sensors were detecting a ship passing through,” he started.

 

“And why are you telling me this, Brian?” she asked.

 

“It is because the ship was struck by one of the asteroids and is now on a collision course with Earth. I have cut the feeds to the government as well.” he continued.

 

“Why did you do that? If they think for a minute that we would take control whenever we felt like it, they would be highly upset! We could see all of our contracts cancelled!” she admonished.

 

“Fiona . . . It is a Draygu ship. It is similar to ours but smaller. The government doesn’t know I changed the feed because it is in a cycled loop. The ship’s boosters were hit and they’re firing off all the fuel. We have about two hours before the ship hits the Earth’s atmosphere at terminal velocity. The rest of us are on our way to the crash zone. You are the fastest and can get to the ship while it is in space. You need to hit the ship with controlled explosions to slow it down as best as you can. Then Greg and I will take over and hopefully get the ship stopped with little damage. Chloe will be there if any medical aid is needed,” he said.

 

Fiona confirmed with Brian that she understood what she was suppose to do and while turning southward, She ignited flames from her hands and she began to rocket faster to the destination point given to her. The closer she got to that point, the higher she rose in the sky until she was skimming the atmosphere between it and space. She was drawing the air up with her because of her flames and it wasn’t but a moment that had passed when she saw the ship coming at her. She furrowed her face in concentration as she began to form a large ball of plasma in her hands. Once the ball was of significant size she raised it above her head and hurled it as hard as she could at the speeding ship coming straight at her. As soon as the flaming ball was flying towards its target, Fiona was once again making another just like it. Before she could complete the second ball, the first one exploded just a moment before hitting the ship causing the ship’s nose to veer up a little. Fiona launched the second ball and created another. Each time she did this she was slowly lowering herself back into the atmosphere. Several times she did this until the ship was on top of her. She shot one last blast and only had a split second to dodge sideways as the ship zoomed past her even though it was not as fast as it was before. Fiona knew that she was making progress so she rocketed herself down with the ship matching its speed and lobbing blast after blast in front of its nose. Fiona and the ship were getting closer and closer and she was starting to get worried about how the others were going to help her stop the ship. She was starting to think desperate thoughts when suddenly she heard the phrase “Get out of the way!” coming straight at her. Then a form hit the ship’s hull with a loud clang. Fiona move forward to the front of the ship and saw Greg there clinching the vessel.

 

“What in the world are you doing?” Fiona exclaimed.

 

“Yeah, stupid I know, but stop gaping at me and keep firing! I need the concussive forces to act as an anchor so I can push back against the ship with my power. Brian seemed to think I had a chance to pull this stunt off!” Greg quickly explained.

 

Then Fiona did as she was asked and continued to set off explosions in front of Greg and he kept making sounds as if he was being hit in the back over and over again. They kept getting closer and closer but Fiona could tell that they were doing it and the flight of the ship was leveling off and it was actually in a landing position. They managed to get the ship to gliding speed and Fiona heard Greg yell out “Catch me if you can brother!”

 

Then with the idea dawning on her, she uttered an exclamation realizing that her twin, Brian, was actually going to try to catch Greg and the ship on the beach. Before she could say anything else, Greg had flipped onto the top of the ship’s nose and straddled it giving a “Yippee” yell. Then Brian flared up in a massive distortion of heat as the ship impacted him. Fiona gasped as the ship, Brian and Greg all skidded down the beach. The tail of the ship started to flip up in the air, but before it could, it stopped and the tail fell with a crunch back onto the beach. Fiona flew to the front of the ship where the nose was partially buried in the raised dune of sand before it with a wedge of glass between the sand and the ship. Greg was several yards away from the stopping point of the ship and got up laughing.

 

“That was fun! Can we do that again?” he said with a chuckle while walking back toward the ship.

 

“You are crazy Greg, you know that? You are crazy!” Fiona replied. “Are you okay, Brian?” she continued.

 

The ship shuttered and it slid with a grinding noise as Brian pushed it away from himself and said, “I’m fine, just going to be a little bit sore tomorrow. Can you give me a hand out of here? It’s a little deep and slippery.”

 

“That must have been the stupidest stunt I have EVER seen! You think of doing that, Greg?” Chloe asked while running up to Brian to check him out as Fiona was lowering him to the ground.

 

“Hey! It wasn’t my idea, talk to the man over there. He was the one came up with it,” Greg said defensively while pointing at Brian

 

“I don’t need the help brother,” Brian said with a scowl on his face.

 

“Brian! That was the most brilliant solution I ever saw! DON’T do it again!” Chloe exclaimed.

 

“Hey! Why are HIS ideas always the smart ones?” Greg whined.

 

“Because he is not so dense as to run at subsonic speed just to smack into the side of a building to see how far he can bounce off,” Fiona said while slapping Greg in the back of the head.

 

“Hey, I had a bet riding on that. No one thought I could bounce a hundred and fifty feet. But I got two hundred feet, and four hundred dollars,” Greg retorted.

 

Fiona rolled her eyes and rummaged in the large bag that Chloe brought. Fiona pulled out several masks and tossed them to everyone. Then she put her mask on, grabbed a small disc shaped metal object out of the bag, shouldered the bag, and then started to walk to the side of the ship with an access panel. Everyone else followed her and donned their masks while she placed the disc in the middle of the access door. The disc snapped to the door magnetically and an energy bubble formed around the door sealing it off from the air. Fiona motioned to Brian and he stepped up, penetrated the membrane of energy and wrested the door open.

 

“Oh, honey, welcome to your new home!” Greg said aloud.

 

“Shut it Greg!” Fiona snapped back at him.

 

“Hey, you work your way, and I’ll work my way. I like to work with as little tension as possible,” Greg responded.

 

“Then you take Chloe and check the stasis area while we go to the cockpit,” she commanded.

 

Then they split up and Fiona made her way to the cockpit with Brian following close behind her. As they entered the cockpit, they noticed that it was empty except for the litter that was thrown about obviously caused by the jostling rescue. The two then started to head towards the back of the ship when suddenly they heard a shriek and a loud crack. They raced to where Greg and Chloe were and saw a blonde haired teen with blue skin, yellow spikes coming out of her shoulders, a traditional Draygu dress on and hands glowing and crackling with the buzz of electricity arcing about them. They also saw Greg with a shocked look on his face as he stood there with his mace in front of him and his hair standing on end.

 

(Translation) “Do not come any closer or I will fry you all!” the teen yelled out.

 

“She means it,” Greg said, finally speaking.

 

“What do you mean, fry us . . . excuse me,” Fiona started, (Translation) “We are not here to hurt you, we come to help. I am Fiona . . .” she continued.

 

Before she could finished the teen repeated Fiona’s name questioningly and then suddenly ran to Fiona, wrapped her arms around Fiona and began to cry hysterically and babble incoherently. Fiona had her arms up in the air as the teen sobbed and mumbled but Fiona tried to console the teen as best as she could. They finally heard the name Aimee come from the girl and then it dawned on them that the teen they are helping is actually their cousin that they thought was dead. After calming the girl down, they were finally given the story of what had happened the five years following their departure from Dragonus, their home planet.

 

(Translation) “Oh, Fiona, it was horrible!” Aimee started, “After you left, I was given an artificial foot made out of some living alloy and some unknown madman then destroyed the hospital I was in, the Military Command was left in ruin, the council was killed off one by one and the royal family was assassinated. When it was revealed that your family was next in line to rule as the royal family, chaos erupted! New groups formed and being an Abhorrent was no longer accepted. They created death squads and openly hunted people like us down. Then they went after anyone who was different. My parents got me and this shuttle onto an alien transport and I was told to try and find you. It seemed that your parents were looking out for us as well but didn’t have enough time to make a second ship. But when I got out of the Draygus system, I launched the shuttle, put it on auto pilot and went into stasis. The computer woke me when the shuttle was hit and I was so scared! I didn’t know how to fly this thing and I was sure I was going to die!” she continued and started sobbing again.

 

(Translation) “You’re safe now Aimee, We will take you to our home and we will get you settled in.” Fiona said reassuringly.

 

Then Brian began to mess with a control center and pulled out a data device. The group heard several thumping noises outside the ship and shrugged it off as small pieces of debris falling from the sky. They remarked to each other how fortunate it was that they were on a isolated part of the coast and that the humans designated it as a wildlife preserve. Fiona assisted Aimee with putting on a mask and told the girl about the atmosphere and how she’ll need to wear the mask for awhile until she became accustomed to the air on Earth. They exited the ship and made their way to the transport that Chloe drove to the site. They felt good that they diverted a disaster and they gained a new family member.

 

“Brian, do you think you can shove the ship into the ocean? We don’t need the humans poking around it or finding out there was an unauthorized extraterrestrial landing,” Fiona stated.

 

“Do you have any doubt?” he replied with confidence.

 

She chuckled and responded, “No, it was a stupid question, I know.”

Just before he could turn around and walk back to the ship, it exploded violently, knocking them against the transport and sending tiny shards flying in all directions. They quickly got to their feet and spread out in a defensive posture while Fiona told Aimee to stay in the transport. As they cautiously stepped away from the transport, they saw the shape of a humanoid walking towards them through the burning wreckage of the ship. As he passed through they saw that he was reptilian in nature with iguana like spikes protruding from the back of his head and neck, long jagged teeth inside an extended mouth, pointed ears, and a long obviously strong thick tail. The creature looked more like a humanoid alligator than anything else and the group was ready for him. The creature gave a low growl and red arcs of electricity began to radiate away from him. At that moment, a monstrously sized yellow beast with orange fur, bear like face with large flared ears, a lion-like tail, giant claws and huge horn-like spikes growing out of its shoulders, landed in front of them sending all but Greg reeling from the force. Before they could react, the monstrous bear creature was lunging after Fiona and the alligator-man was attacking Brian. Fiona jumped out of the way of the charging monster bear and Brian hit the alligator-man sending him reeling when Greg jerked violently and a cat-like woman appeared in front of him with her foot extended, penetrating his chest.

 

“That’s not supposed to happen,” Greg said weakly and fell backwards collapsing on the ground.

 

“Greg!” Fiona exclaimed with horror.

 

Their shock was interrupted when Brian urgently started to yell out commands, “Flare! You get that cat-thing; I’m on monster-bear, and Chill, you take out gator boy here!”

 

With that said, they went into action. Chloe encased herself in a layer of frost and began to race toward the gator creature pummeling it with shards of ice. Fiona jumped up in the air and threw a volley of fire at the monster bear to disorient it while Brian attacked it. Fiona headed towards the trees scanning for the feline creature. Fiona then squinted and then opened them wide when she noticed some movement and threw several blasts in that direction. The feline revealed herself from her camouflage and began to acrobatically dodge every blast Fiona was throwing at her. This went on for several minutes before Fiona finally sent a blast that stopped the creature momentarily and the creature hissed at Fiona just before going invisible. Fiona landed on the ground and caused a ring of flames to encircle her to provide some form of protection. Fiona was looking around intently and then suddenly a bolt of lightning hurled at her and struck the feline creature squarely, knocking it to the ground just before it could deliver a killing strike to Fiona.

 

(Translation) “I told you to stay in the transport!” Fiona yelled out at Aimee.

 

(Translation) “Yeah, like I was going to let THAT thing kill you,” Aimee replied.

 

Their conversation was disturbed by the loud howling of the bear-like creature as it exchanged blows with Brian. They had been going at it hitting each other, matching blow for blow and both combatants were showing signs of weakening. Fiona had just told Chloe, who was able to quickly overcome the alligator creature by freezing it, to get Greg in the transport, when dark metallic spikes began landing all around. Fiona flew over to Brian and the beast and pummeled the beast unconscious with a fiery blast. The spikes began to open up and robotic creatures came to life inside of them. Fiona and Brian jointly yelled out, “Run! Reinforcements!” as Chloe jump to the front of the transport and engaged the drive as Fiona and Brian hurled themselves inside it while laser fire darted about in all directions. The robots gave chase for a short period but stopped when it was obvious that they could not keep up with the transport. They returned to their landing zone and pulled the spikes together forming a larger device. Then they loaded the defeated creatures into the vessel and the vessel shot up in the air after the robots melded into the new craft.

 

Inside the transport, Chloe and Brian traded places so that Chloe could tend to Greg. Fiona was repeating over and over for Greg to hang in there while Chloe put him on life support. Chloe kept commenting on how it didn’t look so good. They raced back to their base as quickly as they could because they knew Greg didn’t have much time. All the time, Aimee was in the corner looking scared. As they entered the base, they all piled out of the transport and while Brian and Chloe rushed Greg to the infirmary, Fiona took Aimee to the recreation room at Chloe’s request. Once there, Aimee began sobbing again.

 

(Translation) “It is entirely my fault, I lead them here,” she began.

 

(Translation) “You don’t know . . . Oh, here, put this small wired piece in your ear and this round piece in front of your mask. It’ll translate human and Draygu languages so I won’t have to go back a forth until you learn human,” Fiona said while sounding put out with having to translate.

 

“I DO know that! That giant beast was an Effritine monster! Something unleashed about a dozen of those things on our home planet and they did a lot of damage before they were destroyed!” Aimee said desperately.

 

“That was what kind of monster? That can’t be those things are myths meant to scare little children into behaving,” Fiona replied unconvinced

 

“Well . . . twelve of those ‘MYTHS’ took out 75 sectors back home and all we had to fight them with were small laser rifles,” Aimee started, “and those were only eight feet tall. What we fought today was easily ten feet and apparently a lot tougher than those on Dragonus!” she continued.

 

“Yes, a little too tough. What I hit it with was enough to shred a vault with a foot of lead encasing it.” Fiona stated with astonishment. “It’s okay though. You didn’t know you were being followed, we will get through this together and we will find out who attacked us and we will make sure they rue the day they messed with the Beck family. She continued.

 

Fiona sat with Aimee, easing her mind about the day’s events for hours telling her about life on Earth when Chloe finally entered the room. They both looked at her with looks of hope and she told them that it was close but that Greg will make it. She continued to inform them that he was in a coma and that she didn’t know how long he would be in that state or if he would come out of it. She also informed them that even though the near-lethal blow missed his heart, it did do some damage to his lungs and that he would have to be on some sort of life support for the rest of his life. Then she told them about how Brian decided to go to the labs and fashion a portable system so that if Greg came out of his coma, he wouldn’t be stuck in a bed forever hooked up to a breathing device. Then Chloe looked over Fiona and noticed that there was a set of big gashes across Fiona’s stomach. Chloe tried to admonish Fiona for not saying anything about her injuries but in the end, Chloe just dressed Fiona’s wounds and collapsed from exhaustion along with the rest of the family.

 

High above the planet in a giant spacecraft sits a lone figure in a dark room on a throne facing several video displays. The center screen is showing footage of Fiona looking straight in front of her with a scowl on her face before turning away from the screen. The scene is repeatedly reverse and replayed showing her scowling over and over while another creature walks into the room. The creature stops short and waits a few moments for the seated figure to acknowledge him.

 

“They are more powerful than I could have imagined, Adirael. It bodes well that Viceralia killed one of them. How is our new passenger doing?” Dursagon inquires.

 

“He is adapting to the Vocalizing Mandible that you created for him. He professes to having been a doctor so I let him assist in the revival of Viceralia, Malidar and Ssagaross. He is a very resilient creature and he calls himself Frostblaine, Master,” Adirael replied.

 

“Good, Then in finding him on that frozen moon circling the ringed planet in this system was beneficial. Does he know how long he was on that moon?” Dursagon asked.

 

No, Master, but the evidence around the area suggests he was there for no less than a five hundred years. The casement suggests that he was exiled to this primitive system but he does not recall why he was on a moon. Given time, I believe that at least some of his memories should return,” Adirael answered.

 

“Very well, Adirael, take care of things while I contemplate on what to do next. We have found the prize I was so desperately looking for and I need to focus on forming a plan of attack as well as reconfigure this spacecraft. We could be here for sometime and I will need all my minions to hone their unique skills so that they are not so easily defeated the next time they visit the planet. I was wrong about the beast Malidar. Since it bonded with Viceralia, they have become a most deadly pair. I shall put more trust into your foresight, Adirael,” Dursagon said.






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