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MARSHALL BOOK 2SUPERSTAR THE HARBINGER
By HARVEY MINNICK
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2011 Harvey Minnick
All right reserved.
Chapter OneALIEN AFTERMATH
It is a bright and sunny day in Washington DC. There is a large crowd of reporters camped out on the Capital steps. Connie Banger, a reporter of Asian descent, is fidgeting before her cameraman, who admonishes her saying, "Connie! Stop squirming around, you look fine. You'd think you had never done this before."
Defensively, she snaps back, "I want this to go better then yesterday, I let Dauntless get away."
"You got her to say hi," Tim replied.
"Some piece of reporting that was," Connie replied sounding downhearted.
"Why don't we shoot the promo now and get that out of the way?"
She cheers up, "Good idea."
"Why don't you lead in with something like, the alien attempt to take over the Earth has been foiled?"
"No one says foiled anymore."
"How about, the Earth is safe for now?"
"We don't know that. You've been reading too many tabloids. Let me do the reporting." She clears her throat and he raises his camera signaling her to begin. "This is Connie Banger reporting from our nation's Capital. Congress is in its second day of hearings to determine what happened in Chicago."
A short distance away, Heather Carter, a drop dead beautiful twenty something blond with wavy hair, sees the crowd of reporters and makes her way around to the side of the Capital building, and makes her way in through the entrance near the Congressional cafeteria.
In the cafeteria, three high school age boys in white shirts and ties are mesmerized by the sight of sunlight flashing off her shapely legs as she walks down the dark hall. Her entire body seems to magically sway back and forth just a bit as she tosses back her hair with a flick of her hand. "OH YEAH!" The youngest of the boys gushes.
"That's her!" Another boy announces as they all jump to their feet and rush to meet her. As they confront her in the hall they realize, "You're not Dauntless!"
Heather stops and stares at the boys blocking her way. "Never said I was. But can you tell me were they are holding the hearings? I'm kind of lost."
One of the pages starts to answer and then it comes to him, "Hey! Wait a minute, you, you're in the picture with Dauntless! He pulls a rolled up newspaper out from his back pocket and shows it to her.
Amused by all of the attention, she takes the paper and looks at it. "Yep! That's me, BUSTED!"
"You know her! What's Dauntless like? Is she coming back today?" The younger boy asked.
This put her off just a bit not being the center of attention, but she quickly perked up saying. "No, she's back in Chicago, you know, ... doing hero stuff." She hands the paper back to the taller boy adding, "You'd like her, she's nice."
"What are you, some kind of secret agent?" The youngest asked.
She smiled and stooped over a little to be face to face with him. "My, aren't you the smart one. If I told you I'd have to kill you and we don't want that do we?" She gave his cheek a tweak and continued past them down the hall.
"WOOO! I think I'm in love."
"She even smelled good," he gushed. "Just like vanilla."
Later, Heather is sworn in before a Congressional fact finding committee. Mr. Morvan, the committee's chairman, is seated at the center of the bench before her with several other members of Congress. After making the necessary greeting he asks, "Agent Carter, I know you were assigned to investigate what happened in Chicago. What are your findings?"
She adjusts the mic in front of her and answers, "That's a big question. I cannot tell you anything about how the UFO came to crash in Chicago, I wasn't involved with it at that time."
Mr. Morvan leaned forward and spoke into his mic. "We know the UFO was actually an alien space ship carrying alien prisoners to a prison planet when the Russians shot it down. We have also already heard from Dauntless and know how she became so strong. We are more interested in what happened on the day of the anti-matter explosion that nearly destroyed Chicago."
Content to be the center of attention again she explained, "I don't have the alien technology that General Solo used yesterday, so, you'll have to bear with me. From my interviews with MaCos Ex, one of the surviving escaped aliens, I have learned that they had three anti-matter bombs. They were going to set one off destroying the city of Chicago as a show of force. They were hoping the anti-matter blast would signal other aliens to come and help them take over the planet."
"MaCos Ex, the alien engineer, and Mogo were captured by Dauntless as they tried to escape. Adack, the pirate leader, was captured by Marshal and Major Otis at Ground Zero. Marshal couldn't disarm the bomb that was about to go off, so he fashioned a spear throwing stick out of a tank gun barrel, and used it to toss the bomb as far away as he could."
"He did all of that while being poisoned by the radiation?" Morvan asked.
"That's right, the radiation literally burned his body up as he threw the bomb. You must understand that I wasn't actually there for most of my report, no one was. It took place over too big of an area for any one person to have experienced," she replied.
"Yes, of course we understand that you have interviewed many of the people involved during the course of your investigation. That's why you're here, please continue," the chairman directed with a wave of his hand.
She paused to ponder the events of that day, and the images came rushing back to her. She could see them in her mind as if it was just happening.
There was a partly cloudy sky over Chicago as a small spark raced up from the cities' Southwest side. As the spark arched over the city it flickered and grew in intensity until it was brighter than the sun. The second sun just cleared the line of tall buildings bordering the cities' lakefront. About two miles out over the lake the new sun started to fall. As it was about to plunge into the cold waters of lake Michigan, the new star starts to go super-critical giving off a blinding flash. A giant orange ball forms beneath the surface of the lake and the water starts to churn and boil off.
Two miles to the west, a blinding flash removes all of the color from the snarled traffic on Lake Shore Drive. Office workers shielded their eyes before they burst into flames. Every painted surface bubbles up and blisters or bursts into flames. Trees burst into flames. Seconds later, the trees are whipped about and the cars on Lake Shore Drive are tossed aside landing on one another. Every East-facing window is shattered and blown in, over 100,00 of them.
On the city streets the people were first alarmed by the shadows cast by the flickering flame as it passed overhead. There was a bright flash off to the East and a gust of hot air came rushing down the east west streets. The tall building on the cities' lakefront shielded the city from any further damage inland.
Miles to the north, Lufthansa flight 109, a Boeing 747, is on approach to O'Hare. The flight crew sees the spark come flying up and descend into the lake. They marvel at the flash and brace themselves as the shock wave races at them. The 747 was ripped to shreds by the shock wave. Another 747, a mile and a half further back in line sees the flash, as the German wide body is vaporized before them. The pilot turns to his first officer asking, "Did you see that?"
"They exploded!" He replied as he reached to activate the radio. He added, "I'll call the tower." As the first officer starts to make the call, an unseen force slammed the 747. The stricken jet remains intact, but all of its systems failed and it starts to descend towards the lake.
A mile and a half back yet another jet is on approach. "What's going on? They're going down too fast," the pilot wondered out loud.
"Was that a nuclear blast?" The co-pilot asked, as their ship was buffeted by the shock wave. The third jet was sent into a gentle dive toward the lake.
"We've lost everything! We're going in. Tell them to get ready to make a water landing!" The pilot commanded as he struggled with the controls. The co-pilot tries to raise the flight attendants on the phone but there is no response.
He turns to go back. "It's not working!" He runs into Jennifer who is the chief flight attendant coming through the door to the cockpit. "We're going down, get them ready for a water landing." Her pretty face went blank as the meaning of his words sank in, and she turned to go.
A bright flash and a gust of hot wind pass over two high school kids kissing while sitting on the sand at Foster Avenue Beach with their backs against the breakwater. Gradually they become aware that something is not right. The sound of FFFFF filled the air. They could not hear the panicked screams of 200 people coming towards them.
Forty seconds later, the 747 glided down into the surf. The airliner skipped along the lake's surface until its engines caught the waves sending water spraying everywhere. The 100-ton glider slides up onto the sand of Foster Avenue Beach, just missing the breakwater. The forward hatch of the airliner cracks and swings open. Seconds later, an escape slide is inflated and one of the crew is standing in the doorway looking out at the kids on the beach. Jeffery, the high school boy, stands up pushing his long oily hair back out of his eyes. He summed it up in one word. "Woo!"
On the cities' Southwest side, not far from Midway airport on Cicero Avinue. is a crater, covering nine city blocks, which is surrounded by devastated buildings. This was the scene of the UFO crash and more recently, the scene of a pitch battle between the Army and aliens trying to take over the Earth. At the center of the crater are the wrecks of two army helicopters and a burning tank. Major Henry Otis, U.S. Army, stands in his battle dress uniform with his old .45 ready in hand. After surveying the area he turns and asks Dauntless, "are you alright?"
Dauntless, a 21-year-old buxom blond in a tight, high collar white coat with blue pants and black boots, is holding a badly burned body. Visibly shaken, she answers the Major, "he's dead, burned to a crisp."
"Yes, I can see that, there's nothing we can do for him. But we have to think about the living," he said as he came over to her.
"But he saved all of us," she said fighting off tears.
"He was a hero, he died a heroe's death, and now it's your turn to step up and make him proud," he said trying to sound reassuring. It wasn't working. She broke into tears and started sobbing uncontrollably. He was unaccustomed to this and at first didn't know what to do. Soldiers aren't supposed to cry. Finally, he embraced her and tried to commfort her. "There, there, get hold of yourself Lieutenant Holmes. We have work to do."
She regained her commposure and after wiping her eyes asked, "but what can I do?"
He took her by her arms, and trying to sound more fatherly than like her commanding officer said, "You're in the super hero business now. Go, you'll figure it out when you get there. Take the Blackhawk and go save some lives."
Brandy Holmes not only looked like one of those comic book goddesses, now she was one. Not truly a godess of course, but divine in form and nature. She was all woman. Also known as Dauntless, she is a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, and Earth's only superhero. She recently acquired the strength of ten men and great speed. She has been equipped by the government with special tools that she carries in her utility belt, and has a uniform made of alien materials recovered from Marshal's crashed UFO. It will heal most injuries almost instantly.
She goes over to the only remaining helicopter with its engine running and turns to ask, "what about the prisoners?"
"Dump em out. I'll guard them until some help shows up," he replied waving his side arm in the air. She promptly turned and pulled two nonhuman semi-conscious aliens out of the chopper and dumped them on the glassy ground. As the chopper took off carrying Dauntless to the cities' lakefront, the middle-aged officer walked over to the aliens and commanded them, "don't try anything. One false move and I'll shoot all of you right here. Now get over there with Adack so I can watch you."
As the chopper lifts off, Dauntless discovers she's not alone. "Dr. Cooly! What are you doing here?"
Dr. Beverly Cooly, a very well built 30 something red head in a white lab coat, glasses and oversized belt buckle, came out from the back of the chopper. "I never left. I was here when you jumped out, remember?"
"But what are you doing here?" Beverly didn't normally go on missions; she was usually left behind in the lab or medical facility.
"I'm a doctor, I'll be needed where you are going."
Brandy steeled down in the webbed seat and tapped the badge on her uniform to open a comm link. "Ok, Buster, let's get going."
"Where to Mama?" The voice of the chopper pilot crackled in her headset.
"Mama? Buster you make it sound like I'm some old lady. Do I look like an old lady? You had better get your eyes checked, are you sure you can see ok?" Dauntless joked.
"Ok Lieutenant, is that better?"
"Yes, but Dauntless would be better." She looked over to Dr. Cooly and sighed. "I don't know why they can't get my name right."
Beverly offered her explanation. "They made you an officer and a Gentleman, remember?"
"Where to?" The pilot asked again.
"Head for the smoke," Brandy replied, pointing off in the general direction.
Back on the ground in the crater, Adack, the goatheaded alien in a fancy pirate coat, is coughing up blood as he manages to slide a manhole cover off of his body. "ARGG! What you say tharr? How about getting me some medical attention?"
Major Otis hastily comes over and trains his sidearm on Adack's head. The muscles in his hand are flexing, trigger finger itching to pull the trigger. "You're the one responsible for all of this. Why shouldn't I just shoot you and let Dr. Cooly dissect you in the lab?"
"Let's make a deal." Adack was getting desperate, he could sense the anger in the human.
"A deal? Why should I? You have nothing to bargain with." Henry was becoming agitated with his prisoners. He knew he should hold them but he was dearly tempted to shoot them.
"I have advanced alien technology," Adack offered.
"Correction, we have your advanced alien technology."
"AY! But most of it is scattered all over this here crater. You don't know how to make em work do yah?"
"We can figure them out," the Major replied.
"Ay maybe, but my boyO MaCos tharr can fix anything. I wager he can even bring that tharr Marshal back to life for yah," Adack countered seeing a faint glint of hope.
"Is that true?" The major asked as he backed away and lowered his gun.
MaCos Ex, the multijointed pigfaced alien engineer looked to his leader for direction. "Go ahead and tell em. Call it a show of good will," Adack said encouraging him to talk.
"It is possible. The Marshal uniform may be able to regenerate his body," MaCos hesitantly said.
"But it was destroyed with him," Major Otis said, both intrigued and suspicious.
"Yes, but you have a working copy or was that just a cheap primitive copy Dauntless was wearing?" MaCos asked.
"Then I guess we really don't need you do we?" The Major said once again turning his attention to Adack.
"But my boy MaCos tharr won't help you without his dear old Captain, will he?"
Major Otis, seeing a chance to employ an old military adage to divide and conquer replied, "MaCos, we can make a deal but not with Adack. He's going back into the freezer.
Looking back and forth MaCos answered, "I think we can come up with some sort of arrangement."
After thinking about the events of that day for a few seconds, Heather poured herself a drink of water from the pitcher that was on the table near her, and went on to explain about what had happened on that most eventful day. She did not make any speculations about Major Otis and the deal he made with the aliens or make any accusations. She just recounted the facts as best she knew them. After finishing, she turned to see General Solo in the audience. He gave her a nod of approval as the chairman spoke. "So, Major Otis took it on to himself to make deals with enemy aliens?
Excerpted from MARSHALL BOOK 2 by HARVEY MINNICK Copyright © 2011 by Harvey Minnick. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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