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They Call Me Superman 7Title: They Call Me Superman
Author: Michael Goffinet
Publisher: Barringer Publishing
Pages: 334
Language: English
Genre: Action/Thriller
Format: Paperback & eBook

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Marcus Evans is a new kind of super hero.  Born with superhuman strength, he is compelled to join the Army Rangers, where his abilities create an unique assassin against the war on terror.  After his stent with the Rangers, he joins forces with reclusive billionaire, Robert Sinclair, who has been his mentor and father-figure since the age of sixteen.  A whirlwind of action-packed adventures lead Marcus to the discovery of an alien spaceship that unlock secrets about his life, which will shock him to his very core, secrets that Robert has been hiding his entire life.

First Chapter:

500 BC

Captain Patteleo’s face was a cloud of concern. A cold sweat broke out just below his hairline and panic pounded in his temples. They were going to die. “Commander, we’ve lost power. The fire fatally damaged the control panel.”

        The commander pressed his lips hard together, trying to remain calm. Damn! “Why didn’t the backup power come on?”

        “I don’t know, but the ship is descending at a rapid pace. If I don’t get the power back on, we’ll hit the ocean in minutes.”

        “Turn on the tracking device.” The tracking device was located on top of the ship and had its own power source that could last centuries. At least our people can locate our ship and recover our research, he thought.

        Their ship struck the water at eight hundred miles an hour. The impact was so powerful that a spray of white water soared a hundred feet into the air, sending the team hurtling through the ship, violently crashing into walls and equipment. When Commander Tallaios regained consciousness, he lay in a fog. What happened? He looked around, but the room was spinning and his head was throbbing. He squinted his eyes in confusion. Nothing made sense. The control panel was hanging from the roof upside down. Then his memories came flooding back—the fight, the blast, the fire, and then the crash. He realized the ship had landed upside down. The ramifications hit him like a bolt of lightning. The tracking device won’t be able to emit a signal.

        He clenched his teeth and slammed his fist down hard in frustration. Now the mission’s a complete failure. He closed his eyes in disappointment. He thought about the other team members. He needed to search for survivors. He struggled to get up, but his legs wouldn’t budge. He lay back down in despair. Probably a broken back. “Can anyone hear me?” he yelled. No answer. Maybe no one else survived.

        He sighed heavily in acceptance. He was going to spend the remainder of his short life entombed two miles down at the bottom of the ocean. He had nothing to do but think—think about how horribly wrong everything went.


The citizens on Commander Tallaios’ planet, Gloratory, had almost destroyed themselves on four separate occasions during their billion-plus years of existence. The leaders of Gloratory decided to populate otherplanets with their species in order to protect their race from extinction.

        The leaders developed an embryo that replicated their original species. They wanted each planet to start from the beginning. The scientists on his planet were enthralled with the idea. They were curious how each planet would develop on its own, without any outside assistance. The commander and his team traveled two hundred thousand light years to monitor the progress of their species on this new planet. The third planet from the star Sorlurim—the planet the natives called Earth. They landed in a country called Greece.

        His team consisted of four other members. Lieutenant Scarliea was the science officer and at almost seven hundred fifty years old, the eldest member of the team. Captain Patteleo was five hundred thirty-two years old and the chief physician on the ship. Sergeant Hipotipus was the ship’s engineer. She was three hundred two years old and the only female member of the team. This was her first project away from Gloratory. For one hundred years, she ran Encol Enterprises, their planet’s main manufacturer of ships. She gave it all up to partake in this unprecedented assignment. The commander’s assistant was Hermes Hindoura. At one

hundred forty-two years old, he was the youngest member of the crew. Hermes would remain on the ship while the other four transported down to the planet.

        All four men looked very similar. They were between six feet three and six feet five inches tall, olive-skinned, well muscled, with short, thick, black hair. The genetic engineers who produced people on his planet realized thousands of years ago that people needed only a minimal

amount of fat to survive in a world with an unlimited food supply. Since muscle is much more efficient, the men and women were built very muscular with almost no body fat. Sergeant Hipotipus was five feet eight inches tall and slender. She had long, black, curly hair that ran down her neck. All five members looked between thirty and forty years old.

        After landing safely on the planet, Commander Tallaios and his team studied the language and culture of the natives for five months before Hermes transported everyone down to the planet. The team integrated into society as scholars from Egypt. The commander quickly fell in love with a woman named Andrea. She was smart and beautiful, but it was her great heart the commander loved most. He married Andria. Then they had a child.

The team quickly learned not to drink the fluid the natives called alcohol. One time, during an outside feast, Captain Patteleo quickly gulped down a glass of liquid that he thought was water but was proven wrong by the bitter taste. Alcohol flooded his system, transforming this usually placid man into a rude, obnoxious person. He stumbled into a strongman contest where the contestants try to knock out a donkey. Most of the contestants hurt themselves more than the donkey. The captain sauntered over and pushed contestants away then hit the donkey in the

head. The donkey collapsed on its side, causing the surrounding crowd to gasp. The commander ran over and pulled him away, thankful the crowd was small. Captain Patteleo later said he didn’t remember a thing.

        Commander Tallaios was amazed at how far the primitive natives had come. Sure, there were a small percentage of people who were violent and cruel, but the majority were kind and giving. He became the village blacksmith after the old one passed away. Captain Patteleo and

Lieutenant Scarliea bought a farm just outside of town and Sergeant Hipotipus worked at the local school.

        Years went by and everything went perfectly—until the natives changed. The Athens government dramatically raised taxes to build a fleet of ships to protect them from King Darius’ Persian army. The economy fell into a depression. Many of the people, who seemed loving

and caring a year before, were now hostile and selfish. He remembered studying Gloratory’s history and knew that his ancestors reacted the same way when resources became limited. People show their true nature during difficult times.

        The villagers maimed and killed each other over food and money. Crime shot up dramatically. Athens sent soldiers to the village in an attempt to bring an end to the civil unrest. The soldiers came through, killing or arresting villagers for the slightest infractions. Some were

labeled “demons” then were stoned to death by their own people. The soldiers would sit around laughing and betting on how long the demon would last.

        One day, Commander Tallaios witnessed a young lady, no older than eighteen, being stoned. He desperately wanted to stop it, but he knew his mission was more important than one person. His heart broke as he watched the people he called friends, the people he ate and laughed with, the people he made swords, plows, and axes for, turn into frenzied animals. They were actually cheering as the young lady was pelted with rocks. Later, he learned the young lady was raped by one of the soldiers and when she complained to the soldier’s captain, the soldier claimed he didn’t want to lie with her, but the young lady bewitched him, taking away his control. The captain believed this was possible as he too felt the strong pull of lust from her. The captain labeled her a demon and

her penalty was death.

        The team met at Commander Tallaios’ house. His eyes were sad with distress. “I can’t believe how easily these people turned into heathens.”

        “I had such high hopes. Based on the twelve years we’ve been here, it seemed as if they were progressing at a far superior rate than our ancestors,” Sergeant Hipotipus remarked.

        “I say we recommend killing every last one of them and start over,” Captain Patteleo suggested, his eyes turning cold.

        “I think that’s a little extreme, Captain. Besides, it’s our nature. Do you actually believe the next batch would be any better? We should have done what I suggested, which was to populate the planet with current people from our planet,” the sergeant replied.

        “What did they say to your suggestion?” the commander inquired.

        “They were kind of cryptic. They said that a child must be a child before it can be an adult. They didn’t explain what they meant, but I suspect they meant that the people of this world needed to go through their own experiences and arrive at their own conclusions. Basically, they are now children, but someday, like us, will grow up and become adults.”

        They were startled by a scream from outside. They ran to the window. Outside, a soldier was on top of a frantic woman. She was screaming for help, her hands flailing in panic.     Lieutenant Scarliea opened the door to leave. The commander placed a firm hand on his shoulder. “Don’t. There is nothing we can do.”

        The lieutenant swiped away the hand. His jaw tightened, his nostrils flared, and when he spoke, his voice growled. “I’m not going to sit here while a woman gets raped.” He walked out the door as the others anxiously watched. He pulled the soldier off the woman. “Stop, you


        The soldier went wide-eyed with surprise; then anger covered his face. “You dare to touch a soldier of Athens?”

        Lieutenant Scarliea put his hands up with his palms out, attempting to calm the soldier. “Look, I don’t want any trouble. Just leave the lady alone.”

        The soldier picked up his spear. “I’ll arrest you for your treachery.”

        The lieutenant kept his hands up. “Just remain calm. I’m going to take the young lady and we’ll all go our separate ways.” As he bent sideways to help the woman, the soldier plunged his spear into the lieutenant’s side. Lieutenant Scarliea felt a searing pain and crumpled to the ground.

        Commander Tallaios watched in stunned silence as the soldier thrust his spear into the side of the lieutenant. “Nooooo!” he screamed as he ran at the soldier.

        Color drained from the soldier’s face when he saw a big man running at him. He immediately tried to pull the spear from the lieutenant for protection but wasn’t quick enough. The commander grabbed the soldier by the neck. The soldier struggled, but to no avail. The commander lifted him in the air with one hand and threw him like a rag doll hard against a brick wall.

        The soldier hit the wall with a sickening thud and fell to the ground dead, leaving behind a crimson stain on the wall. The other members of the team dashed to their fallen team member. Captain Patteleo bent down and put his ear on the lieutenant’s chest. He looked back up at the team, his face twisted in anguish. “He’s got a pulse, but his lungs are filling up with blood. The spear must have punctured a lung. We have to get him to the ship immediately or he will die.”

        The commander scanned the area. There were at least a dozen people watching the mayhem. He wasn’t happy about what he had to do, but what choice did he have? He put his finger in his ear. “Hermes, come in. Hermes, are you there?”

        “I’m here, Commander.”

        “I need immediate transport.”

        “Yes, Commander.”

        “And Hermes, please prepare sick bay for an arrival.” He removed his

finger from his ear. The commander and his team disappeared into thin


        They arrived in the transport room and carried the lieutenant to sick bay. The captain removed the lieutenant’s tunic, preparing him for observation. The commander leaned against the wall, his eyes somber, his lips pressed tight with concern. “How does it look?”

        “I don’t know,” the captain responded. “I’m getting ready to look.” Captain Patteleo grabbed a small portable device and held it over Lieutenant Scarliea’s chest. He pushed a button on the side of the device and a beam flashed out. He hovered the device over the lieutenant. He pushed the button again and the beam disappeared. “Just what I thought. The spear punctured all the way through the lung. I can stop the bleeding and keep him alive, but I can’t repair the lung with the equipment we have on board.”

        The commander sighed deeply, worried for his friend’s life. “Should we

give him a Shot of Life?” His mind darted to the information he’d long

known about The Shot of Life, the 200 cc’s of Interfiller. Each team member had three shots of the drug on board. Interfiller was designed using each team member’s DNA. It literally rebuilt their body. There was nothing it couldn’t repair as long as it was injected before the heart stopped. They called it the Shot of Life. The only down side was it required two weeks of induced coma to recover completely.

        “I don’t think we have a choice, Commander.”

        “Fine, then do it.”

        Commander Tallaios paced the sick bay, wondering how to save the mission. Then a thought occurred to him. What if they come looking for him? Would they hurt his family? He realized he needed to get to his house. He pushed a button on the wall. “Hermes, meet me in the transport room.”

        “Yes, Commander.”

        He found Hermes waiting for him in the transport room. “Hermes, I need you to transport me down to my house.”

        “Commander, shouldn’t you take someone with you? No one ever goes alone.”

        “I’ll be fine. I’m sure our cover has been blown anyway, and I need to make sure my family is safe.”

        The commander transported down to his house. Andrea lay on the bed sobbing, her chest heaving. “Andrea, what’s wrong?”

        She looked up and ran to him, burying her face in his chest. “They took him. Those pigs took our son.”

        He held her tight, his eyes filled with confusion. “Who took him?”

        “The soldiers. They said he was a demon.” Her lips quivered as she tried to get her words out. “You know what they do to demons. You have to stop them!”

        His face contorted in fury. “You can bet I will.” It’s time to teach these heathens a lesson.

        When he entered the village, he could hear people yelling. “Die, demon!” When he turned the corner, his eyes grew big and he stopped in his tracks. He couldn’t believe what he saw. His sweet, perfect son was tied to a stake and a dozen or more people were throwing stones at him. Six soldiers stood by laughing at the event. People can’t be this evil. A heat of rage seared through him.

        “Stop it!” He screamed so loud that silence filled the air. Everyone turned. The soldiers tightened, preparing for battle.

        The lead soldier spoke. “This is a demon and he must be killed.”

        The commander’s voice grew loud and authoritative. “He is not a demon. He is my son and you will stop throwing stones at him!”

        The lead soldier took a step towards him. “Ah, your son; so you’re the one who killed my soldier.”

        “Your pathetic soldier was raping a woman.”

        “Liar!” the leader shouted. “Your son is a demon and you’re probably one as well.”

        The commander’s fists knotted into balls; he glared at the leader with steely eyes. “I warn you, I will destroy this place if you all don’t leave now!”

        The leader chuckled and waved his arm confidently. “Your son, the demon, was overwhelmed by six soldiers. Do you actually believe you can handle my soldiers and all of these people?”

        Everyone stared at the commander with cautious eyes.

        The commander narrowed his gaze and tightened his jaw. “If you take one more step, you will find out.”

        The crowd’s eyes turned toward the leader.

        The leader chuckled again and took another step.

        Commander Tallaios pointed his hand at the leader, sending a pulse of white light leaping out and ripping through him. The air filled with screams of horror as the leader collapsed to the ground and the crowd fled in a wild frenzy, trampling each other in the process. Enraged, the

commander let loose wild bolts of light from his hand, killing those who weren’t fast enough to flee. The sky ignited as the lightning storm continued. When it finally ended, silence descended; smoke clouded the village and remnants of demolished buildings lay scattered on the ground.

        Commander Tallaios untied his son. He was barely conscious, his body battered. It didn’t seem as if he was going to make it. Tears welled up in the commander’s eyes as he cradled his son in his arms. He raised his hand and put a finger in his ear. “Hermes, I need transport,” he said, his voice cracking from emotion.

        When the commander arrived in the transport room with his son in his arms, Hermes’ face froze in surprise. “Commander, what are you doing? You can’t bring him here! How did he even survive the transport?”

        “Remember, he’s my son. He has my DNA running through him.”

        “I guess you’re right,” she muttered softly.

        “I’m bringing him to sick bay. Can you ask Captain Patteleo to meet me there?”

        She nodded in submission.

        The commander carried his son to sick bay and laid him on the bed next to Lieutenant Scarliea.

        The captain was waiting for him. “My God, what happened to him?”

        Anger remained on the commander’s face. “Those savages stoned him.”

        The captain’s eyes grew wide, clearly surprised by the comment. “Stoned him! For what possible reason?”

        “They were looking for me. They were hurting Andrea and he protected her. So they arrested him and were stoning him when I arrived.”

        “Let me look at him.” He grabbed the same small device he used on the lieutenant and scanned the boy’s body. “Wow, they did some serious damage.”

        “Is he going to survive, Captain?”

        The captain shrugged and let out a sigh. “I don’t know. He has six fractured ribs and one of them did some damage to his heart. If the splintered rib had plunged into his heart another eighth of an inch, he would have died. He also has a concussion with some water build-up in

his brain.”

        Commander Tallaios rubbed his eyes.

        The captain clasped his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Commander. I wish I had better news.”

        The commander sat down and hung his head. My son can’t die. He thought long and hard, frantic for a solution. A sparkle of hope danced in his eyes. He glanced up, “Why can’t we give him one of my Shots of Life?”

        The captain turned to him with raised eyebrows. “Look, I know how desperately you want him to survive, but you know we can’t do that.”

        “Why not? He has my DNA. I remember reading somewhere that in theory Interfiller is interchangeable as long as you share DNA.”

        The captain massaged his temples. “I don’t know. It may work, but you know we can’t do it.”

        “Are you worried about the ramifications?”

        “Hell yes! Aren’t you?”

        “Come on, you know he’s a great kid.”

        “Commander, you knew it was a risk bringing a child into this world who would be so vastly superior. We turned a blind eye because of his limited life span. But if he gets this shot he would become immortal. His dying cells will be replaced with the exact same number of living cells

every time, without fail, just like ours. Once he reaches the age of thirty, like us, he will never age. We can’t risk having someone with his abilities roaming this planet forever. He could rule this world,” the captain responded, his teeth clenched, his voice indignant.

        Commander Tallaios stood with renewed vigor, desperate to plead his case. “I understand, but you know he’s not like that. He’s extremely moral and kind-hearted. He inherited our superior thought process and his mother’s generous heart.”

        The captain shook his head. “I’m not saying he would, but can we risk it?”

        “Let’s call a team meeting and take a vote. Can you round everyone up and tell them what has happened?”

        The captain nodded.

        They met in the conference room. “Commander, we’re all so sorry for what has happened,” Sergeant Hipotipus said.

        “Thank you all so much. Now, before we vote, I want to propose an option to you. What if we give my son the Shot of Life, and then once he has recovered, we can give him all the physical and psychological tests you want to ensure he’s not a danger to the future of this planet.”

        “And what if he doesn’t pass? We can’t just kill him,” Sergeant Hipotipus said, mortified at the suggestion.

        “We’ll bring him with us,” the commander countered.

        “He’d never survive the travels,” the captain responded.

        “He may. There is probably a fifty-fifty chance he would survive,” the commander replied.

        The captain nodded. “I agree.”

        “Well, I would rather take that risk, then a one hundred percent chance of him dying.”

        The room fell silent for a moment.

        Sergeant Hipotipus folded her arms across her chest. “Fine. I’ll agree to those terms.”

        “Me too,” the captain and Hermes said at the same time.

        “Plus,” the commander added, “Lieutenant Scarliea will be better by then and we can hear his thoughts on the matter as well.”

        The commander and the captain entered sick bay. The commander went over to his son, stroked his hair, bent over and kissed his forehead.

        The captain grabbed one of the commander’s Shot of Life vials and injected the potent serum into his son. His son’s unconscious body shuddered slightly and then went still.

        Two weeks later, the lieutenant and the commander’s son woke up reborn, each strain of DNA rebuilt to perfection. “Commander, your son’s awake,” the captain said into the intercom.

        The commander walked to his son. His son looked up at him with confused eyes. “Father, did I die?”

        The commander’s eyes teared as he stroked his son’s hair. “No, certainly not.”

        His son looked around. “Then where am I? This place looks strange.”

        The commander chuckled, wiping the tears from his eyes. “I guess it would.” He helped his son from the bed. “You’ll feel a little weak for a while. Let’s get something to eat. Then I will show you around.”

        They began on the deck. His son’s eyes grew big as he scanned the room. “Wow! Father, this is unbelievable! What is it?”

        “This is called a spacecraft.”

        “A spacecraft? What’s a spacecraft?”

        The commander pursed his lips, worried about his son’s reaction. “Well, son, I was going to tell you someday, but it appears today’s the day…. I’m not from this planet.”

        His son’s eyebrows lifted. “What? What other planet is there besides Earth?”

        He grabbed his son’s hand. “I know this is confusing. There are billions and billions of other planets.”

        His son’s eyebrows rose even higher. “Billions and billions?”

        “That’s right.”

        “Does everyone know that you are from another planet?”

        They probably do now, he thought. Over the next several days, he told his son about the history of Gloratory, and how the shot saved his life, and how he would no longer age after his thirtieth birthday. His son had many questions, but the commander was pleasantly surprised at how well his son handled the situation. He informed his son what a risk it was for someone who is immortal with such superior strength and intelligence to roam the planet and that even people with the highest character can succumb to the lust for power.

        His son looked up at him, his eyes filled with sincerity. “Father, I promise that I will be generous and loving like you and Mother, andnever use my power for bad purposes.”

        The commander’s face glowed with pride. “Look, son, Hermes is going to come in and give you a few tests and then each member of my team is going to talk to you—just be honest.”

        His son nodded.

        Soon, as promised, Hermes entered. “Good afternoon, young man.”

        “Hi, Hermes. My father said you’re going to give me some tests.”

        “That’s right. Are you ready?”

        “I think so.”

        After the team members had interviewed his son, they all gathered in the conference room. Hermes distributed the results of the tests and each member studied them.

        Commander Tallaios cleared his throat. “Look, everyone, I know this is a difficult decision. I realize that no matter how you vote, you’re doing what you believe is best. I will hold no ill will

against anyone based on their vote today. You have my word on that.” He paused then took a deep breath. “So let’s vote. I vote yes to letting my son stay on this planet.” He looked to his right where Sergeant Hipotipus sat with her fingers nervously drumming the table.

        Tears formed beneath her eyelids. “I’m so sorry, Commander. Your son is a remarkable young man, but I vote no.”

        The commander reached over and touched her hand. “It’s okay. Sergeant. Hermes, what is your vote?”

        “I vote yes, Commander.”


        The captain’s lips pressed into a thin line. “I am sorry as well, Commander, but I vote no.”

        “Very well, Captain. That’s two yeses and two nos. It looks as if you’re the deciding vote, Lieutenant.”

        Everyone turned towards the lieutenant. “Commander, I must say you have an incredible son. I talked to him in-depth for over an hour. I can’t remember that far back, but I seriously doubt I had such a great thought process at the age of twelve. There is no doubt in my mind that he would do more good than harm—so my vote is yes.”

        The commander closed his eyes, letting out a long breath, relief spreading through him. “Thank you, everyone. I know it was a hard decision and hopefully there are no hard feelings. We still need to decide on how to proceed going forward. There is no doubt our cover has been

blown. Now we have to figure out the best way to present ourselves. I believe our choices are these: tell them the truth, or convince them we are either demons or gods.”

        “I think pretending we are gods, which should be fairly easy, could work to our advantage,” Captain Patteleo interjected.

        “How so?” the commander questioned.

        “People would fear disappointing gods, so we demand they must be good and loving, otherwise they will disappoint us.”

        The commander remained silent, considering the idea. “I like that plan. Hermes, I want you to give the village a light show they’ll never forget.”

        Hermes sent brilliant lights from the ship into the sky. The top of the mountain illuminated as if a volcano had exploded. Thousands of people followed the lights to the base of the mountain. The team transported down in front of the large crowd. There was a collective gasp and villagers staggered backwards, astonished. They kneeled, kissed the ground, prayed for the gods’ forgiveness.

        In a loud baritone voice, Commander Tallaios said, “Rise.” The people rose. “We are gods and have been living as humans among you for twelve years. This was a test to see your true nature. The last few years you have failed that test.”

        There were moans and pleas of mercy. Rampant apologies permeated the air. The commander continued in a stern, steady voice. “You must do better. We expect you to be caring and loving to each other.” He raised his arm to the sky, as if commanding a bolt of lightning to illuminate the field. When it did, the “gods” disappeared.

        Everything was great for the first year; people were caring and loving to each other. After that, the people began blaming the gods for every failure. If someone died, it was the gods’ fault. If someone lost money, it was the gods’ fault. The commander and his team tried to appease them by assisting where they could. They created good weather when large storms hit. They healed people when they became ill, but it would never be enough.

        Then all hell broke loose. A plague hit the village, killing thousands of people. The commander and his team had no cure. The villagers blamed the gods for the plague. They revolted against them for not ending it. They reverted back to their old ways. The team came down with their lightning bolts, but it did little good. The people didn’t care anymore.

        They threw stones and spears at the gods. The team didn’t get hurt and they could have probably prevented the rioting and the stoning by killing a few villagers, but they didn’t have the heart for it. It would be only a temporary solution.

        The commander realized the only thing that would change these people was time—time to evolve. It had required his ancestors tens of millions of years and some genetic engineering to evolve into the men and women they were today. He knew it was time for them to leave. They could go to another part of the planet and start over, but the results would be the same. They got what they came here for. Another team would come back in a thousand years to monitor any progress. He couldn’t bear the notion of leaving his son and wife, but he didn’t have a choice.

Commander Tallaios sat hunched on the side of his bed. He was sick with grief over the realization that he’d never see his wife and son again. Saying goodbye was full of pain and tears. His son understood why his father had to leave. He said that he would take care of his mother and be responsible with the gift of immortality he had received.

        The intercom came on. “Commander, everyone is in the command


        “Thanks, Hermes.”

        As he rose from his bed he noticed a picture on his dresser. He studied the portrait and smiled weakly. It was a photo of the day he graduated from the academy. It was almost two hundred years old. He didn’t look any older, but he sure felt it. He often looked at the picture as a reminder of how far he had come. This time, however, he studied it with disappointment. The most important mission of his life had not produced the success he’d expected. He frowned and placed the picture back on the dresser.

        He stepped out of his room then walked down the narrow corridor. At the end of the corridor, he waved his hand over the handprint on the wall. A door opened and he entered the deck of the ship. Everyone greeted him and he sat down in the commander’s chair. “Sergeant, what’s our status?”

        “We’ll be ready for takeoff in thirty minutes, Commander.”

        He nodded.


        Commander Tallaios’ thoughts drifted back to his deep-sea tomb. His nausea was overwhelming and his head felt as if it was being squeezed in a vise—classic symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. It had been a few days since the crash and he was sure the carbon monoxide in the air had reached toxic levels. His eyelids became heavy; he began losing

consciousness. His last thoughts were for his son. He hoped his son would survive in a world full of these weak-minded heathens.

        Good luck, Hercules.

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