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Chapter One

Alpha- Centari hung hot in the sky over the surface of Camelio, the fourth planet from the star. The planet's orbit was such that it allowed the planet to sustain life, yet when the planet was at it's closest point to the star the planet easily reached 50 degrees Celsius. As somebody had once stated "It was enough to make a grenoth want to stay out of the heat, and these reptilians loved heat! Despite the insufferable heat however Danoth could not slow his trek across from the mountainous terrain of the Anaktad Islands. He had to be at the
meeting at Grenoodid within two cycles. Time was running short. He had considered the possibility of using the transport and beaming himself there. However, due to local interference from an unknown source of radiation., transport in and out of his location was at best dangerous and in most cases impossible. He had hiked into the area a week earlier to investigate the situation and now had to get the information back to Command. He had made it clear to Sub-Commander Le' Quon that if he did not report back within 15 cycles he was to be presumed dead. While he had no doubt about the Sub,Commander's loyalties or friendship, he knew Le'Quon would depart as scheduled, leaving him marooned on a deserted island. Due to the fact that two previous expeditions had failed to report, there would not be another. Danoth had insisted on investigating the anomaly however, and had used his rank as Commander to see that an investigation took place. It was his job to protect the Val'ukarian Republic and if that meant risking his life then so be it. However he was not going to risk the needless death of anymore of his crew to investigate the cause of the anomaly.

Upon departing the safety of the ship he had made his way over the mountainous terrain to the site of the anomaly. What he had found there chilled him to the bone. Some creature he had never seen before had the last two members of the previous expeditions in a room with no apparent doors. Deciding not to approach until he had analyzed the situation, he quickly surmised that the creature was not from us Camelio. He also quickly discovered that the source of the anomaly was the extraterrestrial's ship. According to the instruments Danoth carried in his pack, there was a strange magnetic field
coming from the craft. Danoth assumed it to be the craft's propulsion system. While interstellar travel was not yet possible ships approached Camelio, from other planets constantly.Designs were on the table for a craft capable of interstellar travel. The energy he detected was remarkably similar to the energy scientists had predicted their own propulsion system would make. In fact, it was the detection of the energy patterns by satellited that had led to his ship being sent to investigate. Danoth assumed the creature within was hostile. Otherwise why would it capture the crews sent here and hold them captive. Also, where were the remaining crew members? Twelve total had been dispatched.

Danoth soon had his answers. The creature, which looked like a walking jellyfish, came into view. It approached the two remaining crew members, stretched out its tentacles toward them and started to glow. The two crew members both screamed as they began to seemingly shrink in on themselves! Danoth assumed they were being eaten from the inside out. He had never seen anything like it and hoped never to see it again. He knew he had to escape and tell his commanders what he had seen. From the looks of the alien's technology Danoth wondered if anything on Camelio would defend against them. What if the
jellyfish like creature was the first part of an invasion force? Danoth did not want to permit himself to ponder that thought. He had witnessed what just one of the creatures could do. An invasion force would be devastating. He had to get word to his commanders. They would have a hard time believing him but he had used his vid graph to film the incident. Vid graphs were standard issue with every Val'ukarian combat uniform. They activated automatically when the soldier slid the uniform over his antennas and would remain active for as long as the soldier wore the uniform. Anything the soldier saw would be seen by the camera because it downloaded everything that passed the soldier's optic nerve using a sophisticated technology recently developed. Each camera would video for as long as the soldier wore that particular uniform, whether one day or one lifetime.

Danoth knew he had to get this information back to Command. He also knew it would have to go through channels. It was this last part
that worried him. Going through channels on Camelio basically meant going to the upper echelons of a particular kingdom and then encountering the unrelenting paranoia and bickering that went on there. Danoth knew the kingdoms would have to fight as one if they were to survive a battle with the Melothnoth'ks as he was now calling them. It was a name he had derived from the Ungantanak word "melothnk" meaning "sucker". Ungantanak was a dialect once verbally spoken by his race centuries before, before the holocaust that mutated the whole planet and resulted in planet wide psychic abilities. The inhabitants of Camelio soon broke down into warring factions, .each with a different psychic power. Danoth;s group, Val'ukaria had the ability to control fire. It was obvious however, that as formidable a weapon as pyrokinesis was, it didn't work the Melothnoh'ks or the creature would not have so easily captured his crew! He had considered the possibility that the Melothnoth'k was a creation of the powerful Nahhhnanksti's faction, who had the ability to manipulate material with their minds. However he knew that even they did not have the technology the creature possessed. Besides this was no time for the factions to be accusing each other. They needed to unite to defeat what would soon become a common foe. Danoth knew that there was only one person on Camelio who would be able to unite the clans. That was the elusive Mer' cah. There were only two problems with that theory. First, nobody knew for sure who Mer'chah was or if such a person even existed. Second: It was known by legend that Mer'cah would devote himself to the development of his psychic powers. Therefore it was unlikely he would be easily persuaded to be a mediator between bickering factions. This was an emergency however. Whatever the great leaders personal wishes were they would simply have to wait!

Danoth left camp early
on the morning of the rendezvous. For nearly a week he had traversed dangerous terrain and the last three days seen him cross the worst of the lot. Many times he had free climbed thousands of feet up on the j jagged peaks of the large island. One mistake or one miscalculation would have meant certain death. At one point he nearly did die the previous day but found himself saved by a most unlikely ally. He had been about fifty tenoks from the top of a cliff when his hold broke and he found himself plummeting toward his death. Suddenly he stopped in mid-air, as if a giant hand had caught him. Then he felt himself being lifted by the invisible hand, to the top of the mountain, where he found himself face to face with a warrior from the T''lockahhah clan, his clan's most bitter rivals. They were known for their telekinetic powers. Danoth prepared to propel a fire bolt at the rival warrior but decided against it. After all the warrior could have simply let him fall. He had saved Danoth for a reason. Danoth. was curious as to why!

"I have been shadowing you since you left the monster's ship" the T'lockkahah warrior stated. '!My name is Zerahth. It appears obvious to me that you came here for the same reason I did and your crew met the same fate as my crew met. Whatever that thing is, it's obviously a threat to both our clans and to all the clans of Camelio. I saved you because I think we should work together to defeat a common enemy. Perhaps we can make peace among the clans in the process?"
Danoth knew already that, even though their clans were bitter enemies, he was going to like Zerahth. The warrior had shown good sense in not approaching him before that moment. If he had, Danoth would have killed him outright. No T'lokahhah warrior ever confronted a Val'ukarian in face to face combat. Telekinesis, while formidable, was never a match to somebody who could set you aflame with a gaze. Yet Danoth knew the warrior was correct. It was time to set prejudice aside and work together.
"I agree" IDamoth replied. "Let's just hope our ships don't spot each other and destroy each other before we get back!"
"They won't" Zerahth said with confidence. "I rigged up one of my vid graphs to work as a communicator and increased the output to cut through the emissions from the alien craft, which I have determined to be some sort of magnetic disturbance similar to the magnetic signature of a singularity but not a singularity. I'm a scientist and the energy signature of the anomaly is similar to my field of study. Thus I was a signed to a team sent to investigate it. Then my crew were captured. I escaped only because I was a kilion away when they were captured. I saw them consumed
just as your crew was. Then I saw your crew approach. I wanted to warn them but knew they would kill me on sight. You have my condolences on the loss of your team."

"And you have my condolences on the loss of yours" Danoth said sincerely. "Now you were saying you were able to develop a communication device?"
"Yes!" Zerath replied. "In fact I was hoping you would use it to contact your ship and ask them not to engage my ship which is currently sitting cloaked just off the port bow of your own. The cloaking device works by focusing our telekinetic powers to alter the molecular structure of our ship, creating invisibility. However it uses a massive amount of energy to do so and the strain on the minds of the crew is immense. We need to be able to stand down soon or my crew may die and both ships would be destroyed by the feedback."
Zerahth showed Danoth how to work the device and backed off a respectable distance to allow him to enter the ultra secret frequency.
Sub-Commander Le'Quon was both re!ieved and surprised when he received the word that Commander Danoth was calling him on coded frequency. He took the communication in the ready room. "It's great to hear from you Commander" Le'Quon began., "but how are you able to communicate through the interference?"
"There's no time to explain" Danoth answered. "Let' s just say I made a new friend who pulled a zocasnon out of a
hat and made it possible. Now Le'Quon listen close. There is an Imperial T'lockahhah warship sitting under cloak off of your port bow. It is going to uncloak and you will in no way do them harm! Is that clear?"
"Yes sir!" Le'Quon answered. "I don't know what you're doing but I will comply!"
"Things are going to change on our world starting today" Danoth told his second-in-command. As of now our clans have a common enemy and we must work together to battle it. An obviously alien creature with technology far surpassing our own has killed and eaten both a full compliment of T'lockhahhahn warriors and our own team! I will show you my vid graph recording of the alien eating the last of our crew members when I return. My life was spared a few erkrons ago by my new friend Zerahth. He is the lone survivor of the alien's attack. His life was spared because he is a scientist and was some distance from the alien when it attacked his crew. He has trailed me for three days awaiting an opportunity to approach me. He got it when I fell free climbing a rock face. He used his powers
to save my life. His crew is using tremendous energy to maintain their ship's cloak which works by using a service to focus their telekinetic powers to alter the molecular structure of their ship to render it invisible. I understand they have never had to focus this long before and they may have medical issues as a result. When they lower their cloak you are to render assistance in any way possible!"
Le'Quon acknowledged his compliance and Danoth handed the device back to Zerahth. Zerahth therm contacted his own ship, which lowered the cloaking device. Commander Bi-rasck'h was pleased to hear that he could safely lower the cloaking device of his ship. His men had maintained their focus far beyond what
was safe and he had been prepared to order the science officer to surrender to Danoth and simply hope he survived the encounter long enough to explain himself. Instead fortune had smiled on them and the scientist was not only able to make contact, but to befriend the enemy officer as well. What was even more fortunate was that this officer was also the enemy commander! Under the circumstances it was obvious that they would have to work together to unite their clans because both warriors could see that they had a mutual enemy. Both warriors had the foresight to see that it would take the combined efforts of all their clans to combat the creatures if the one who had killed their crews was indeed the first part of some out world invasion force.

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