What follows is the prologue to “Kinetic”, a sci-fi novel that can be explored in the links above under “Extraction One: Original Works”. I need to expand on that menu quite a bit, in order for readers to get a better sense of the little universe I’ve created here, but I think this prologue will help exemplify the world in which these characters will live. It is a bit chaotic, and the people involved never appear again in the story (at least in person), but this is intentional. But enough about that. I’ll elaborate on the “Kinetics” in the links above more. But know just a few things about them; on Sha’di 6 they are feared and banished from civilized society. They are powerful, they are easily uncontrollable, but at their hearts are human beings with leaders who further the cause of integration and attempt, often at the cost of their own lives, to reintroduce themselves into society on a world where that very concept is often strange and foreign.
Central Solar Date 3034.5
The Acropolis, Arcon Solar System; Class ST Planet Sha’di 6
At the very least, he knew where he was. The pink-purple sky of Sha’di was so recognizable now, that although the ringing in his ears drowned out all sound, although his body would not seem to respond to his constant barrage of commands to sit up, he at least knew that he was home. He was still on Sha’di. How he had ended up outside though, that was another quandary.
Slowly the ringing began to dissipate, and the silence that wound around him was unnerving. It curled up over his slowly reviving limbs and stole any warmth from that invigorating process. He lifted an arm; there, that seemed to work. Then came the next arm so he could push himself up on his elbows and roll to one side. Though cloudy, the scene around him began to come into focus. The waves of blurry landscape flattened and he could see… Oh, gods he could see–!
The rush of memory came back in a burst so overwhelming that he cried out. His ears began to pound with the grinding sound of his voice as it echoed across the debris laden field in front of him. Gods, the lab! The lab, the facility, the compound—everything! Everything was gone. The breeze around him was comfortable, serene, but somehow full of an overwhelming and profound energy. As chunks of flex-glass and fiber hurtled by him, he remembered.
“The explosion,” he croaked as tiny shards of metal nicked his palms.
He blinked. The deep orange sand of Sector 4 was everywhere, covering the wreckage of the lab, the structures that were somehow still standing, and the bodies… Oh, gods, the bodies! But where was the specimen? Where was he?
A distant keening, like that of a lost dog, echoed from across the debris field and over the bodies. He lifted his chin toward the sound. It was certainly human, that much was clear. But was it one of the many victims surrounding him, or was it the specimen? Surely, the young man would have been more resilient than the others inside the lab.
“Where are you!” he called to the voice. The keening continued, rising steadily in volume until it became a steady wail. How old was that male specimen now, he wondered? Thirteen Earth years? Fourteen?
He pushed himself painfully to his knees. The shards of metal and fiber dug against his skin, through the torn ribbons of his trousers and into his legs. He winced and planted one foot firmly on the ground so as to give himself proper leverage. Albeit wobbly, he stood.
The wailing had stopped, but the silence that washed over the devastation around him was now punctuated by wrenching sobs. The specimen was close—somewhere close. He turned on his right foot and bobbed a bit as pain shot up through his leg. He hissed and gripped a handful of the ruined fabric against his thigh. Gods, there was a gash seven inches long there.
“Where are you, Number Twelve!” he called again, to assure the specimen that he would aid him however possible; to make sure the subject knew who he was. There was no answer, and the sobbing had ceased. Silence crept back over the devastated landscape, and none of the other bodies moved, jerked or even moaned. It might have been reassuring, he thought, to at least hear someone else… Someone else!
“Gods,” he said, and his face crumpled into agony. “Gods, where are you–?!”
The voice came at him from his blind left side, where he realized with a stunning tempo that blood had obscured part of his vision. Number Twelve was there, lab clothes torn and hanging from his adolescent body in a macabre dance with the wind. Remarkably, not a scratch appeared on his pale skin.
He sighed once with relief and felt a rattling in his chest. That would be a punctured lung, surely. Any doctor like him would know that. The specimen’s hand shot out for the doctor’s neck, but their skin did not touch. The doctor gave pause, and realized that although the specimen did not touch him, he was indeed choking him.
“The—Audmium!! I can help you!” The doctor croaked. The disembodied grip on his neck tightened, and the specimen’s eyes filled with tears. He snarled: a haunting and distressful sound.
“Make it stop,” Number Twelve said. No other action would do.
The doctor flailed wildly against the ghostly hands that blocked his airways, and realized that his feet were now dangling in the air. He gazed down at Number Twelve and marveled at the incandescent rings of purple light that haloed the specimen’s hands. He had only seen those once before. Before—the—?
“I can stop it!” the doctor hissed, grasping out at the hands that held him, yet did not. The purple light grew deeper and brighter all at once. “I can stop the Audmium! But you must let me–!”
“No.” This time, the voice was different, he thought. Number Twelve’s grip intensified, and his mind reached out for the doctor. “No,” he said again. The voice was not that of an adolescent boy, but something far more menacing. Something more powerful.
“You can’t stop us anymore. But I can stop you.”
The doctor stopped struggling then, and his eyes widened to saucers until all he could see was purple light. Number Twelve’s voice erupted into a cry that drowned out even the vortex of air and energy around him. On and on it went until the tattered remains of their clothes disintegrated, dragged outward and upward against the kinetic energy of Number Twelve’s aura. The blood continued down the side of the doctor’s face and yet he could see–? He could see that Number Twelve’s body was still unharmed; it was pure like the Audmium gem lodged near the base of his neck.
“Please…” The doctor managed. But all was lost, he could see that now. Number Twelve glared back at him with eyes as blue as the oceans near the Cloud City of Sing-ha, and his outcry stopped. The purple light around his hands pulsed, traveled up his arms and into the Audmium against his neck.
A sonic boom.