Child of Democracy

by Steven Brindley

The following story contains some mild language and should not be viewed by ANYONE under the age of 15.

Biology is defined by experts as a study of natural life. Perhaps, had I the experience I do now, my goals and dreams would have been placed further from a fascination of what we perceive as important. My life was forever changed in my time as a slave of circumstance, fighting for the exact opposite of what I was to share: freedom. The year is 2063. My name is Dr. Michael Travis, a U.N.A.P astro-biologist. And I am now a prisoner

-Final writings of Dr. Michael Travis-

2041-2063

The Child of Democracy

By Steven Brindley

Prologue

The agonized cries that echoed in the cold, dark air on that last midsummer night will forever echo in my memory as well. The pure terror confined within those tortured screams would haunt me for the rest of my life; not that that would be much longer

The smell of ever-decaying blood saturated the air in camp Glasnost on the first day of my 3rd week of my imprisonment. I don't know if the smell was just more prominent that morning, or if, somehow, I knew this was the end.

Glasnost is the Russian word for "A new openness." In the late 1980's, a political leader named Gorbachev unknowingly brought an end to the socialist ways of the 1st Soviet Union. Glasnost was a plan revolving around betterment of the nation. Several such plans were established, and the country seemed on their way to communism. He took power and immediately brought freedoms to the people none had dared to do until that point. Evidently, there was a reason for the harsh restrictions of the communist ways. His charity, or weakness, led to a strong revolution that brought an end to socialism as people at that time knew it. That was the single most important day in World history, considering the rise of the U.N., which completely revived the Soviet Powers in the late '20's. Nevertheless, Glasnost was a particularly ironic name for a Siberian concentration camp.

In the past year, all I had ever known was changed; as if the laws of physics were suddenly altered. I was perpetually on the verge of decease ever since my arrival here. If suicide was available in a less excruciating manner than bashing my head into a solid concrete wall of my 8x8 domain, I would be dead already.

In hindsight, I began to rethink the way I lived. My beliefs were almost a guarantee pass into hell, if such a thing existed. Why is it, that in the midst of our demise, we turn to a greater being? Of all the opportunities I had to- Never mind. I suppose its human nature to develop a psychological need for protection in the valley of the shadow of death. All my life, I had spent my career toward verifying the specifics that disproved the existence of any supreme deity, yet here I was, supposedly willing to die for one. If there wasn't a god, why was I so adamant to deny the one government that would soon be in world power?

I believe my persistence had very little to do with beliefs, but more so with my dislike for the Soviet mannerisms of control. I hated being told what to do. My father instilled that in me.

Another splinter of my subconscious was one not so easily resolved. All the prayers in the world couldn't bring back to me the woman who saved my life daily simply by being in existence... I cared about her I could have loved her. The possibility jabbed at me with a vengeance. If I loved her, I deserved to die. I treated her like a one, long, one night stand. I never confessed my love for her I never gave her the faith and love that she gave me. I knew now that my life was too fragile to regret not saying something, but it was too late. Sometimes though, my thoughts betrayed me and allowed themselves to wander into a corner of hope. A section of my mind I had deemed strictly forbidden, given the circumstances. Perhaps, just perhaps, I would be able to see her again. If the new confederation could somehow overcome the U.N., I would be saved. Of course, that was just wishful thinking.

I was slightly disillusioned about where I was by the time the cell opened with a classic, metal on metal sound. I guess being starved, tortured, contained in a dark room, and segregated from human contact can put someone out of it for a while. I was somewhere between consciousness and dream. Things that were there weren't, and I couldn't differentiate the voices in my head from my own And although I knew it, I really didn't care. As far as I was concerned, this was hell, and there could only be a better place.

I listened, not daring to move a muscle, as two pairs of polished shoes made their way down the hall and into the room. A somewhat familiar voice told me in Russian to stand, snapping me violently into solid consciousness. I lay there face down on the freezing, stone floor, somewhat confused about whether or not I should move, whether or not I could move. The voice belonged to Vladimir Klavichev. His early life of abuse and incomplete education led him to pursue the career of a power obsessed simpleton, bent on bringing absolute domination to anyone who questioned his authority. Too bad for him he was quite possibly the lowest rank in the entire Union. So naturally, he got his kicks from my subordination. I learned quite a bit of Russian in my time here. Sort of a necessity, actually. Being beaten remorselessly for not following orders leads a man to seek an alternative to the socially unacceptable behavior of pointing to ones ears, squinting, and mouthing silently that, "I don't understand" That most common alternative is learning to understand. It wasn't a bad language actually; it kind of rolled off of your tongue, like italicized Latin. The kind of accent you like to hear from a headline reporter on CNN.

If I moved, I could give them the psychological signs of fear. I didn't want them to know they had any control over me or my emotions Plus, I ached all over. I was done taking orders. F#&% 'em, I decided to play dead. Hell, I could have been dead.

In response to my negligence, my greeting to the somewhat outside world was the sound of a hammer on a Smith & Wesson revolver being cocked into position.

He's going to shoot me again, the bastard.

He had already confirmed his willingness to follow through with his silent threat about a week before. Through Nero-stimulants the bullet-hole had healed rapidly, but nothing can ease the pain of being shot.

I tensed and waited for the moment. As I did, my heart beat quickly, much more quickly than before. This entirely unwilling function led me to wonder, Could I actually be frightened of death after my stay in camp Glasnost? My thoughts wandered aimlessly through the past 6 months. What other paths could I have taken? Plenty, But that's why I was here right? I was standing for a moral decision. Right? I was pretty sure I had screwed up somewhere along the way, but did I really deserve this? Did any of the innocent women and children that were tortured in camps like these? Most people had no reason to live. I still had one. The possibility of one woman still living was the only thing that kept my soul intact. My body was not so lucky.

Despite my wishes for an end to it all, I was half-relieved to hear a familiar voice override death its self. The overconfident voice was familiar, though, only from television. Boris Vatzen, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations This was rich; the man whom all the traces of my conspiracy led to was now here. Had my meddling really cause a turbulence that could require the attention of the unofficial ruler of the world? Hah! For it to end up like this, with me at his mercy; How ironic!

He was a 373 pound "servant of diplomacy" who brought in the smell of a rank, woman's perfume with him when he came in. He entered the room wearing the standard Soviet Union officer's uniform; a half-button up, black tuxedo jacket with jewel encrusted cufflinks. His shirt, barely visible through the "v" shaped slit from the collar in his jacket, seemed to be slightly stained with something red. His pants were slacks with an open fly, the kind of thing you would laugh at in a man of power on a normal situation. Evidently, he had not planned to be here. 6 tiny medals dangled from the right breast pocket of his jacket. I guessed he thought they made him look powerful, or intimidating; fat chance. He looked like a roly-poly curled up in its shell, afraid to open, but he was here to kill me, which made him a little more scary than first appearances. Overall, he was an odd first choice for an inquisitor.

His long slender moustache was finely curled at the ends, and his smooth, baby-face features were accentuated by the toupee that appeared to be professionally done. I had seen him many times in many political debates on TV. I was almost glad to finally meet him in person. He always spoke English with a strong Russian accent, as did most supporters of the U.N. today, making him hard to understand He stood on the favored side of the most controversial issue in history, but after my research, I generally associated his name with death.

His introduction was somewhat blunt, and poorly pronounced.

"Good morning. It is 9:00 A.M. on October, 11. 2063 if you want to know." This was my clue to the fact I had lived, no; survived here for a full 21 days. I rolled over and mumbled something intentionally incoherent, now aware that I was still alive.

I peered up at him through slit eyelids. I had to keep the deception going. No one could expect anything from me if I didn't talk. Why torture someone in comatose?

He had his hands behind him, in quite a professional manner. "Ahh, Dr. Michael Travis of the U.N.A.P. Biology association I'm so pleased to finally meet the man behind the mayhem"

I rolled my eyes behind their lids. Damn Dr. No wannabeThis is one of those guys who watched a lot of American movies but was too damn stupid to catch on to clichs. This guy rules the world

Two first impressions came over me regarding his demeanor. The first one was that he honestly had some actual purpose for being here aside from relentless torture. I was sure he had more important matters to attend to, like the whore he had obviously just parted with.

The second observation was that he had been paying as much attention me and my work as I had been paying to him and his own. The closest thing to a smile came to my lips as a knot formed up in my esophagus. I was doomed, but finally recognized

"Why don't you sit?" he asked, sounding almost sincere, considering the fact there was no chair, or toilet for that matter, in my prison.

"I see no reason to be rude Vlad Give Mr. Travis and myself a chair." He left Boris's side, walked away for a moment, and returned with 2 polished wooden chairs, both finely crafted into the shape of the Soviet emblem.

The cell door was open, I could jump up right now and use what strength I had left and run. Aside from the single hanging lamp in the hallway, there was no light source. I would stumble through the dark, and land in the lap of one of the many guards posted out there, inevitably. I definitely wouldn't get very far. I heard Boris sit down in one of the chairs because it made a rickety squeaking noise as he placed his huge ass into it. The other chair made a fingernail-on-chalkboard sound as it slid across the ground to me. Then I was lifted and propped up into the seat.

The thought of giving up my act crossed my mind. I wanted information, but it was too risky. They wanted information too, this was my only guarantee I had that they wouldn't kill me here and now. I rolled my head, eyes closed, from one shoulder to the other, just to assure them I was too unconscious to understand a word of what they were saying.

As if to make polite conversation, Mr. Vatzen said, "So. Mr. Travis do you mind if I call you Michael?" It was a rhetorical question, he would call me what he damned well pleased, "Michael, have you thought about what you have done in the past months?"

In all honesty, actually I had. I chuckled internally at the idea. Yes, I had. And yes, I had regrets about trying to appropriate the single-most powerful country ever, which was exactly what he wanted. I realized I had to stop thinking that way. God, I was already giving him what he wanted and I hadn't opened my mouth yet!

He didn't expect an answer, so kept talking, "I know what you were doing. And it was perfectly understandable. You thought you were bringing justice, fixing wrongs. You were the hero of this space-age epic. I understand that I do. But you must understand," he said so in a forgiving manner, "to make some things right, you must do some things wrong."

He's patronizing me! He's talking to me like a child.

"I had to remove those few people from office to better the Union, and all the world. If you had continued pursuing these allegations, you could have brought and end to the United Nations. Why would you want to do that just because of a few misunderstandings?" He gave me an understanding smile, "Now, I need to know who you told OK?"

Silence filled the air as he waited.

"Mr. Travis,"

I thought you were gonna call me Michael.

"Did you know, that communism has never existed? It was only an idea, the idea of a government so grand, that it is no longer necessary to have one. Everyone is happy; it's the perfect world."

I finally let my pride get the best of me.

"Stop treating me li-", I stopped, realizing my slip-up. I quickly closed my eyes.

"Excuse me?" Boris said. He bent closer to me, "Give it up Mr. Travis, You're awake"

Silently cursing my carelessness, I opened my eyes.

"As I was saying, communism was a grand idea. Socialism was the path to it. No-one ever executed it properly, until now. You see, with the Russian involvement in the U.N., we are directly on the path to perfection, that is, until some fucker like you tries to publicly display shameful, but necessary, acts of our government."

Boris tried his best to sound mature and parental, yet demeaning and pissed, as if to explain some unknown truth to a nave child resisting a lethal stab, "Mr. Travis, I'm sure you think you know what is going on. This is not the end. This is the beginning. It is a new dawn of man. A stronger, more intelligent society has emerged. We just ask that you accept that, nothing more." I silently confirmed to myself he was feeding me Russian propaganda.

"Mr. Travis, I know you are an intelligent man. Smarter than me, I presume." Overjoyed at his sudden understanding, I wanted to blurt out, Yes, I am smarter than you! Now let me go!

"Then why do you persist like a priest of some outdated religion," Boris said, "What basis do you have that we are wrong? We just are giving birth to a new civilization, and you are the kind of person that resists because you are afraid of change." I was afraid. Of what, I couldn't be sure, but I was terrified. What if he was right? Why was I persisting like a child who wasn't getting his way? I was so tempted to say the two words he was waiting to hear.

"Just tell us Mr. Travis. Tell us you are in."

The thought never actually crossed my mind that I would leave this place until now. If I told them what they wanted- No What they wanted was the names of people who they should kill because of certain information they withheld. There was no one that knew other than and Katherine and myself, but they didn't know that. The truth was, if they wanted to kill those with my knowledge, they would kill me no matter what I told them.

I moistened my swollen lips with my tongue. I could tell Boris eagerly stared with anticipation. I opened my mouth, but not to say what he had hoped.

"Get this over with and shoot me"

Boris stood up and took about 2 paces away from his chair in the opposite direction of me. His hands were firmly clasped behind his back. I half expected him to kill me then and there, put me out of my misery, but that was too kind.

He whispered to Vlad and made a pointing motion with his head. They both nodded and he walked out of the room.

"Do you remember where we found you Mr. Travis? Do you remember, Katherine, was it?" The mentioning of her name alone was enough to make the blood coursing through my veins to boil. Though I only glared, a sudden, violent urge to murder came into my soul.

"Do you know what we did to her?" I couldn't see it, but I knew he was grinning a smug little grin on his fat-ass roly-poly face.

"Stop" I was able to muster through the lump in my throat. Although I knew I wanted to know, I couldn't bear to hear the inevitable.

He paused for a moment, and then continued, "We let her go. As simple as that." He turned around and walked up to me. "What? You expected me to tell you we did something terribly awful to her. No, after the Interview, we drugged her and tossed her into her hotel. A natural citizen of the United Nations." A spark of hope ignited in my heart, but I quickly quenched it with a dose of reality. She knew what I knew; they would have killed her no matter what, unless-

"Yes, we were quite merciful. Do you wander why we took so much mercy on her Michael? Because we lacked a single piece of information that she provided us with."

After a long pause, he turned around, and his mouth stretched as far to the sides of his face as it possibly could in a smile, "That information was you"

What? What did that- No, He was lying again. This was a bastard's trick to get me to talk. As he paced I got dizzy. Vladimir entered the room with a few photos of Kate, being ravaged by some nameless zealot of the Soviet Union. I looked directly at her face. All I could think about was the torture she must have gone through; the beatings, the rape How could I have focused on my minute pains in the midst of hers? She bought her freedom with a guarantee of trust. She handed me over as a promise that she would never tell. Even now she was under constant surveillance. I couldn't hate her for that I did love her

Everything seemed so much brighter than before. I squinted to block the light from the lone lamp outside the cell. As my head spun, everything and everyone around me blurred. I struggled to comprehend his words, but his answers only spawned more questions. My mind was a blur. Death would have been more merciful

He reiterated, "She was in a camp similar to this down by Lake Baikal. Let me sum it up for you. We wanted to know where you were and what you knew, so she told us."

Allowing himself time enough to clear his throat, he paused, then taunted, "-after several visits to her favorite surgery room I might add She needed several transfusions But in the end, she made the right choice."

A dozen questions and twice as many answers poured into my thought process at once. When could she have turned me over? How? Why? And did they really let her go?

I found the courage to ask, "But, if, no. Why didn't you still-"

Suddenly turning clairvoyant, he interrupted me mid-sentence, "Why didn't we still kill her? She gave us all her allegiance, just as you are refusing to do You see, Mr. Travis, you give us what we want, and you walk from here, fully compensated"

They would kill me no matter what. It didn't matter what guarantee she gave them, they wouldn't get any from me

None of his rambling made sense to me. All I knew is that did what she had to; Please God! If you exist at all, don't let it be true!!! I hate you!

I lifted my head and stared into his eyes, black and cold as the night it's self. I sat that way for a second then screamed at the top of my lungs, "No! You lying Bastard! She's dead! I swear to god Ill fu#%ing murder you!" It was no lie; I had every intention on fulfilling my threat.

Vladimir rushed to restrain me and Boris calmly paraded around the room.

I screamed on until my lungs burned, until finally, in a very loud and arrogant voice, my interrogator exclaimed to his cohort, "Our guest seems very awake now! Cuff him."

Vlad reached to his belt, pushed aside the leather jacket with his forefinger, and removed a pair of stainless steel handcuffs. He walked around the chair to get behind me, holding me back all the way. He grabbed my hands one at a time and pulled them behind the soviet emblem.

Boris swept his jacket with his hand, making his medals rattle. "Mr. Travis, we have executed many men, women, and even children for holding us back, but you are different. We need you. We need you for the knowledge you contain, all you must do is tell us, as did Katherine"

"Click", one cuff snapped onto my right wrist, this was my only chance. I fought tooth and nail to keep my other hand away; leaving poor Vlad flustered trying to control me.

He waited for my response. There was none. "But as much mercy as we didn't take on her, you must realize, she is still alive Do you know why Mr. Travis?"

I struggled my left hand away but it was soon retrieved.

He bent over, into my face. I could feel his hot, fresh breath caress the tears on my cheeks. In a slow whisper, he spoke, "Because we gave her the same chance we are giving you"

With all the strength I could manage, I screamed and lunged at my tormenter, pulling away my hands from Vlad.

"No!!!" He toppled like a three legged sleeping cow. I clamped the chain of the handcuffs around his neck to the point where God himself couldn't have pulled them off. Every time he tried to escape I hit him with all my rage, leaving several cuts and bruises on his lips and cheeks. The reflection of his dying face, bloody and scarred, burned painstakingly on my soul was the only relief I had in this life. Maybe hell would be merciful.

He choked as Vlad stumbled around for his gun, shouting into the hall to an unseen ally. As I slammed his head mercilessly onto the ground, Boris' face turned red, purple, and finally blue, almost the shade to match the floor, but my vengeance was short lived. My murder was interrupted by a shell not projected by Vlad's gun, being lodged into my side. The foreign object exploded and ruptured my pelvis. I instinctively rolled over and clutched the wound, still bawling. From this perspective, I could see several American soldiers in the room, each with a fully automatic machinegun pointed directly at me. Boris was helped to his feet and he leaned against the wall to resituate himself. I stared at him alone, but my peripheral vision could see the blood drenching that little portion of the floor.

I was lifted, once again, into my chair. My hands were cuffed to the emblem on the back by the several men that had rushed into the room. I was right; I wouldn't have gotten very far. Roly-Poly relentlessly waddled up to me, face multicolored with bruises, and without any notice, planted his fist in the upper right portion of my jaw. He was strong despite his looks. All at once, I didn't care about the pain in my face, or my thigh, or my heart I didn't care that I couldn't move my right leg. None of it mattered anymore. All that mattered was that this ended. Here and now.

"You have made a terrible choice yet again Mr. Travis. You, like Katherine, resist the one thing that can protect you" He pronounced my name with a bit of disgust this time. Blood dripped from his apparently broken nose. He spoke to Vlad in Russian and he was handed the Smith and Wesson revolver. Not a moment sooner was Vlad's forehead replaced with a bloody hole. His body fell to the ground and Boris pointed the lethal weapon at my forehead, and his finger tensed on the trigger.

As I stared down the barrel of my demise in the 4.37 seconds I had left to live, I muttered a single phrase, I never imagined I'd find myself say, "My God"

Boris didn't loosen on the trigger, but he did stop, just for a second, to reply, "You just wont get it will you? There is no god that can save you now."

His finger completely pulled on the trigger, and my life flashed before my eyes.

1

The Mir Space Station was about to celebrate its 33rd birthday under the United Nations flag, which just so happened to coincide with the 77th year since the core was launched into the cold depths of space. In fact, it was in June that the crew of Mir would throw the biggest party ever seen off the face of the Earth. Although the world would recognize this as a beginning of astro-science, the small group of people on board who started the Greenhouse project, would see it as an end. Two long years For David Garon, Jason Fin, Tanya Heplest, and Eric Dolman, this shiny piece of metal had become the place to call home, and all of it would be taken away from them in six months time.

Their stay was the third longest in the history of space science Had they another year, it would be first.

"Just one more second," Tanya shouted to the crew who was impatiently waiting for her to exit the Soyuz so they could close the docking hatch. She rummaged through the compartments to find a paper; the paper. Possibly the answer to their problem What an idiot. David had discarded it carelessly. He never took the time to think about what he was throwing away. This was his fault; he should be in here.

"Gawd," Eric yelled, not disguising his Russian accent, "What the hell are you looking for? Get in here!" She rolled her eyes, silently mocked him, and responded into the adjacent room, "I'll be right there! This is important!"

But David wasn't in here; she was, like always: picking up after his mistakes. Although he wasn't aware of it, he had lost more and more respect each day since he arrived.

The crew sat waiting, trying not to let Tanya's procrastination get to them. David, although outwardly expressing great annoyance for the lone female officer's carelessness, inside was smiling. He loved her, he knew it. Every day for the past two years, he had looked into her intriguing brown eyes and saw something special He was starting to get the signals too: The disdainful sighs, the embarrassing arguments. It was just a matter of time until the words came out.

This was typical for Tanya. Everyone on the crew had waited countless times outside the hatch for her last minute checks. She could never gather excess supplies during the 8 hours that it was attached to Mir. No, she would rather wait for hell to freeze over. Eric and David glanced at each other, and Jason shouted one final warning, "Alright, were closing this door and detaching in about 10 seconds whether you're in here or-"

"Got it!" She screamed in delight. She pulled a crumpled folder from one of the file cabinets then turned around. She stepped lightly over the shrapnel strewn across the floor and transcended onto the space station Mir. She held it up with glee and declared, "Got it, got it, got it."

The crew, half-irritated, half-engrossed, leaned in to hear what she had to say

"That's what you were looking for?" David raised an eyebrow and confirmed, "I threw that away."

David was the youngest, and according to Tanya behind his back, the least intelligent of the group. He made it to Mir at twenty years old, which was a feat in it's self, but no one seemed to appreciate that. Like a child, he fought for the approval of his companions by trying to be one of them. He was always quick to smile though, and that was his best feature.

With disgust, she replied, "No shit Sherlock! Look at this!" She opened up the folder, labeled "Artificial Oxygen: Biological Reactions in a CO2 Rich Environment", and removed a near seventy page report, filed by Eric about a week ago.

She thumbed through the numbered pages and found the one she was looking for.

"See? This is the answer to our greenhouse! The air is rich in nitrogen A.!"

David retorted, "Yeah, just like our atmosphere. There is nothing wrong with our replica of nitrogen; we've gone over it a million times."

Tanya was repelled by his ignorance. She looked him in the face and analyzed his features. David had a thin face, brown hair, and the strangest grey eyes. He was nearly 5'10'', and a seemingly average weight for his height. When they first met, the possibility of engaging in a relationship with him might have crossed her mind, but then he began to speak.

Tanya faced the others and explained, "Listen, don't you see? Our plants have adapted. Like, evolved I guess. The problem isn't in our air, it's in the plants. There's something that we aren't focusing on in the plants."

"What does this have to do with the nitrogen?"

"The only thing they could possibly repel is the nitrogen. Photosynthesis has mutated and no longer requires it. That's why we found the air so saturated with it. The way they've adapted somehow alters the way they take in air. Instead of excreting certain chemicals, they just never bother to take them in in the first place! What we are overlooking is what made them evolve. What variable did we leave unattended to?"

Astounded, Tanya's companions watched her with the attention she deserved. She couldn't help but stop and bashfully smile.

"That doesn't matter right now," Jason said with sincere respect, "What matters is, if this is true, we can put the U.A.P. back on the map with scientific advances!"

"No! If you'll notice, the plants aren't dying. They are just failing to produce oxygen for our CO2. What we need to do, is find out what is causing the plants to reject our nitrogen in the air, and now that we have a chemical compound we can alter, add to it the chemical equation that our atmosphere is missing in the first place" She pointed a finger at an equation in the center of the same page."

Jason, David and Eric all smiled at Tanya. "Genius", David whispered. Then raising his voice, "You're a genius!" He clobbered her with a bear hug and nearly knocked her down. She laughed as he bumped her into the wall and smothered her in praise and congratulations. "Leave it to Tanya to fix one of my few mistakes!"

Smiling at the discovery, Jason took the time to peek his head into the supply shuttle and the war zone that Tanya had created. "Houston's gonna be pissed."

Eric took the report from her hand and marveled for a moment at the simple mistake they missed. Embarrassed, and slightly jealous, he walked over and thumbed the console to close the hatch door. The white, fiberglass doors on both sides closed, and with another code from Eric, the shuttle detached, leaving a white smog of oxygen to cloud the window. This was a breakthrough. This was an average day on Mir. This would end the lives of the brilliant science team.

After they all calmed down, and David finally let go of Tanya, the crew retired to their own personal quarters. David entered his 'room'. He flopped down hard, due to the strength of the artificial gravity, onto the bean bag lodged into the corner of the small living space. He glanced around and smiled at the place he had called home for the past two and a half years.

Two years Where did it go?

He sat that way for a good ten minutes, fending of blast after blast of bitter nostalgia. Why did they have to go so soon? In these past years, Mir had gone from large to larger, and where would they be when this place was finished? Gone. Out of the picture.

The walls, which were a cold steel, defined security for him. Along the intersection of the floor and the door, posters of popular idols stared him in the eye. He tried to imagine sleeping anywhere larger, and remembered when he first got here and felt uncomfortable about sleeping in such a small, contained area.

You get over claustrophobia fast in space

In reality though, it was sort of like a big coffin. It was 12x9 feet, completely enclosing once the large metal door was shut. He had added carpet here, just to get a homier feel. Granted, it was in small patches on the wall and floor, but at least he felt as if it was more than a cell.

He knew he had work to do, but he didn't want to do it. His work ethic implied that he shouldn't do anything until it was required. It could wait That being said, he was extremely bored. He scanned the room for something to pass the time.

He saw his laptop scrunched in the corner, a journal and pen for his science fiction stories, and a torn apart issue of 'Popular Mechanics'. Aside from that, the room was empty. What to do?

While he searched in vain, the greenhouse problem refused to rest in his mind. What if he just No.

He reached over to his laptop and powered it on. He plugged in the AC adapter to the outlet in the wall. The sound of the hard drive could be heard faintly clicking, and a moment later, text appeared on the screen.

Before he could start anything, he was troubled by the perpetually haunting thought.

Why did the plants reject nitrogen now? If what Tanya said was true, and our copy isn't the problem, the nitrogen is the same element it's always been Why reject it now?

He closed his laptop, and set it on the bean bag. Covertly, he opened the door a crack and walked out.

2

Knock, Knock, Knock.

"Come in!" Michael shouted across the room to the door. Slowly, the door opened, and Bosn poked his head through.

"Come on in," Travis said, taking his eyes from the laptop screen and rubbing them vigorously, "What's up?"

He waltzed into the room casually, clearly making an effort to contain himself.

"We got word from the crew; well, from David really."

Michael put his hands in his lap and looked up from his lab stool at the tall, grey-haired man. "Oh, yeah? What did he have to say?"

A slow smile spread across Bosn's face and he confirmed with utter joy, "They did it!"

Michael's eyes grew wide, and he was half standing, as he strained to make sure he understood correctly, "You mean-"

"Yeah!"

He leapt from his chair into a full stride towards the door.

"Hey!", his supervisor shouted, throwing him into an immediate halt as he touched the silver doorknob, "You were supposed to be the first to check this out.", he said, Frisbee-tossing a DVD-ROM towards him. Mike intercepted it gently and in almost the same motion, planted it into the inside pocket of his unzipped leather coat.

As he ran down the halls, Michael chanted to himself quietly, "Good, good, good, good, good, good, good" Why hadn't this happened sooner? He couldn't wait to check the disk to find out their discovery, but first he had to check with control.

"Geoff!" Travis, shouted with glee as he ran into the control tower, "What exactly did the crew say?"

It wasn't a tower, really, they just called it that because this was where they directed Mir from. Well, this was half of Mir's command, the other half was somewhere in Russia. Michael often wondered why word origins carried meaning even after outdated. In any case, the place was underground, like the rest of the Geis-Lab. A large screen at least 20x25 meters long made up one wall of the massive room. On the screen were radars and maps, mostly of America, but some of Asia. The floor was not visible from the ceiling due to the crowding of computer stations and the multitude of people in this place. The walls and ceiling were white, but you could really no longer tell because of all the posters and printouts sloppily taped to them.

Geoff looked up at Mike from his chair, saw the anticipation in his face, and felt glad to have his generally optimistic company. He smiled and said, "Well, David was the one who made the call, but he said the others were behind him all the way. Anyway, he mentioned mostly what was on that disk Bosn should have given you,"

Michael pulled it out and held it up, "He did."

"Good," Geoff continued, "Don't lose it. It's the only hard copy we've got. Bosn insisted that you be the first to analyze it. He said that you deserved a good assignment for all the hard work you've been putting in."

Travis smiled.

"Quote, unquote, of course" He said with a grin.

Michael grinned back and told him he had better check that disk. He turned around, and walked confidently out of the room.

"Oh! I almost forgot," Geoff heaved as he jogged down the hall after him, "He told me that Tanya said hi."

Michael suddenly turned giddy. "To me? Specifically?"

"That's what he said"

Geoff jogged back down the hall, and turned the corner, out of sight.

She said hi to me

Just thinking about her put a glow on his face that made a radioactive angel look dull. He smiled all the way back to the mini-lab. When he arrived, he popped the DVD into the small slot on the side of his laptop. After a painstaking five minutes of anxious waiting, his window popped up. On the disk was a video and a source file.

He opened the source code and scanned through the various formulae presented on screen. He added notes, edited strings, and studied intently the possible discovery of the century. When he finished, several hours later, he felt like a new man

Michael pondered on who would want this disk next, and what he would do with it when he got it. Fearing for the loss of such data, he quickly burned the ROM and placed the extra in the drawer with his other assorted goodies. He double clicked the video icon as he did so.

3

Eric was reading when the door opened and David poked his head through. "Hey, I was just wondering, can you keep a secret from Jason?" Eric looked up from his book and raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

Seeing his skepticism, he paraphrased, "Just for a little while, of course."

Eric smiled deviously and said, "What'd ya got?"

"Follow me"

They made their way down the hall and entered the lab. Eric sat, not amused as Mike pulled a plastic baggie from his shirt pocket. In it appeared to be leaves.

"You went into the greenhouse." He recognized.

David, in his own defense, protested, "Not for long, besides, that's the secret I need you to keep."

The lab was small, but sizable enough to fit two people, a lab table, and a desk with two drawers. An electron microscope sat on the lab table.

He removed two of the small leaves from the bag and placed them softly onto the table. He took a syringe from the drawer under him and extracted a small amount of blood from each leaf and placed both samples on separate sides.

"What did you find?" Eric asked, past his initial debate on whether to tattle or not.

"Look," he said as he placed the sample under the microscope.

David peered into the tiny lens and positioned the slide just right. Then he turned the focus knob just a little bit.

Eric looked into the microscope and David explained, "You see, all plants of that genus have a common trait involving the stipule of the plant There should be a semi-circle scar around the bottom. Well there wasn't, meaning the plant has been growing differently than it would normally What we need to know is if the same thing is happening on Earth"

As Eric intently tried to find what he was supposed to see, he asked, "How do you know that this is abnormal?"

"I called up Houston, had 'em verify it for me."

Suddenly, Eric's satisfied expression was erased, "You went to Command without telling any one of us?"

David's eyes struggled to keep contact with Eric's, "Well, don't look at me like I stabbed you in the back"

Eric looked at David as if he stabbed him in the back.

"C'mon. I didn't go and brag that I found something. I told them we were working on schedule; and we found it in the process of routine."

"So you lied to them too."

"No Yes Well- I don't know! I didn't think it would be that big of a deal."

Eric stared blankly at him for a moment, and then turned and stormed out the door.

"So much for secret."

He turned back to his microscope and studied the plant cells.

An uneasy silence rested over the dinner table that night. Tanya often traded covert glances with Eric and Jason without moving her head. David withheld one, steady, glare directed straight at Eric.

Snitch.

Not one word was spoken aloud until the subject in question dared make an attempt on apology.

"Ok. What did I do wrong? I just called Houston to get a source check"

Tanya, able to contain it no longer, blurted out, "You bastard! You went over our heads and took credit for my- OUR discovery. You made an unscheduled trip to the greenhouse, and you lied to us about it"

Not that he was willing to show it, but that remark cut to the bone. He respected these people, looked up to them. They were just getting to know him, and he already screwed up; the story of his life. He looked around at the people he wanted to call friends, and then choked up.

Mistaking his silence for stubborn cockiness, Jason shouted at him, "Don't get all self righteous on us you little uckweed. You know damn right that you meant to get credit for this. You just couldn't stand the fact that Tanya here found out what you were here to So you went ahead of schedule to verify what we would have found eventually," he spit, then looked around, "Well at least we know his true character now."

David nearly cried at the remark, but that would only shame him more. Fighting back the tears, he said, "No I just thought" He cleared his throat and tried again, "I just thought I found something new"

Dave was the youngest of the group, and he realized they tried normally not to play on that; disregarded it even, but now he had broken that too

"New You are ju-"

"This is Houston to Mir. Do you copy? Respond immediately."

The radio from the command center blared into the dinner cabin.

"Here's your courtesy call Dave", Jason patronized as he stood angrily from the table. He marched into the next room and keyed in the com, "This is Mir 2 to Houston, what seems to be the problem boys?"

The entire room listened to the conversation from their seats.

"Umm, Mir, You have an air leak on the outer hull. You need to, uh"

Impatiently, Jason demanded, "To what? What do we need to do? We don't have any suits up here"

As he waited for their answer, he threw the com onto the panel and swore. The crew rushed from the table and ran to the next room.

"What's going on?" Eric asked his friend, who just happened to be commander of the expedition

"I don't know." Jason replied.

"We need you to evacuate." The gruff voice said over the speakers in the room.

A simultaneous "What?" came from everyone in the room.

Jason frantically picked up the com again and in his sincerest 'calm' voice asked, "Huston, repeat last transmission. How could we have an air leak? No one was here except the construction crews"

"Copy that, but, the order still stands. You have one hour to evacuate the station with your most recently built pod No shuttles are available right now for launch. You are on your own. I repeat: One hour"

"Fu&%!", Jason shouted, "Wait! We can work this through We can ride this out until a shuttle IS available."

The com didn't answer. That was final

Tanya retorted, "You heard that! Houston just gave a direct order to evacuate"

"To hell with Houston! Think about all the past two years we've put into stabilizing that greenhouse. We can't leave that behind. Besides, wouldn't we have seen that leak long before them? It doesn't show up anywhere on our H.U.D. Look." He pointed at a screen above their heads that indicated the 'All-Clear'.

David, seeing necessity, spoke, "Tanya is right We need to go."

"Who asked you kid?"

"I speak on my own accord."

"Fine, go home, hope you suffocate."

"Me too."

Tanya interrupted, "You guys, we need to sit down and rationally think this through"

After much uncomfortable conversation on the topic, the decisions were narrowed down.

1. Stay

2. Go

3. Repair the phantom leak

The final choice left a bitter taste in the mouths of the crew. It was just that, a phantom leak. Control refused to give a location on this invisible hole, so it was almost out of the question.

"All right," Jason said solemnly, "now that I've had more time to think it through, I agree that we leave the station. We leave our home."

A silent confirmation followed, and they sought to soak up as much of this place as they could in the next thirty minutes. Eric was the only one opposed to the captain's decision. He would like nothing more than to stay.

The thirty minutes passed quickly, and as everyone boarded the pod, they bid farewell to their home; everyone except Eric.

"Guys I am staying here." He said, strongly emphasizing his Russian dialect, "I wish the best of luck to you all. I will wait for a shuttle or die. I would rather die than see my efforts here go in vain."

Jason, quick to make a decision, denied him the honor of making a peaceful stand, "The hell you are. It's my duty to keep you guys alive. I'm not going home without you."

"Fine, then stay." He said like an angry child.

"No. You are coming with us."

Eric unexpectedly threw a punch at his commander, which was easily evaded, and parried by a blow into the stomach. Eric fell to his knees, and pleaded with Jason to go without him.

"We don't have time for this Eric! We have to go."

"You have to go!"

Finally seeing the desperation in his companion and friend's eyes, he agreed, "Fine. You can wait for the shuttle. But when you get back, I'm not taking the wrap for this."

"Thank you"

Jason boarded the pod, and while the other two waved goodbye, he punched the launch code into the door panel beside him. The doors sealed, and through the fiberglass window, Eric watched the ball shaped craft thrust toward Earth with short bursts of gas exertion.

As Tanya thought about the discovery, the unnoticed hole in the fuel tank grew larger and larger, until finally, the whole tank wall collapsed.

Eric watched as the pod ignited into a ball of fire that was quickly squelched by the vacuum of space. Speechless, thoughtless, and traumatized, he fell to the ground and lost consciousness.

7

Katherine sat in the trench; cold and wet. An occasional bullet sped over her head, leaving a distinct chime on the ever-weakening barrier behind her each time. She was alone. Her mind would be perhaps a little more at ease were it not for the fact that she was utterly isolated from the rest of the world. It had been an hour and a half since Jessica's visit, who had come to see her about her leg and supply her with some kind words. Jesse was brave to cross the field in the middle of a raging hell, but she did so for her. Of course, Jesse had been trained for situations like these, Kate had not. She was on the verge of crying, quite out of character for her, but she was a military programmer under live fire on the losing side of a battle.

She didn't dare move from her spot in the muddy trenches. She pulled her knees up close to her chest and shivered. Her cashmere sweater was soaked, even with the vinyl raincoat protecting her from the beating rain. She looked down the trench, trying to find a way out of her awkward position. Being secluded from reality was an uncomfortable feeling. It reminded Kate of what it felt like to be powerless. She hated that. She was an officer among the naval academy of the United Nations, so it was in her nature to long for control over the situation.

She massaged the bloody, wet bandage on her exposed foreleg. She was in great pain, but her fear for the moment, dulled the throbbing. Although she knew it wasn't too serious a wound, she was frightened. She had never been shot before. Naturally, she wanted to get to a hospital.

Right now her life hung in the balance of the current battle. If the U.S.S.R. regiment could defeat the uprising, not looking likely, she would be rescued and all would be well; but if the rebels over threw them, and won this initial battle, then she would most likely be captured and executed.

Kate was determined to change that. There had to be some way to chose her own fate and she decided to take action Somehow.

Against all better judgment, she decided to risk raising her head from the trench to get a look around.

11

Michael awoke in his small, unheated hotel room with sweat slowly dripping from his forehead. Was that real? It took him at least a minute to realize his phone was ringing. He sat up on the side of his bed and picked it up.

"Hello?"

The voice that responded was a man's, probably an older man's, and he sounded concerned.

"Hi, I know who you are, and so do the people that need you So if I were you, which I'm not, I would stop scratching my ass and get out of that room."

"Who are you?"

"It would be best for me to tell you that in person. Where should we meet?"

Whoever it was on the other side of the line sounded impatient, so Travis responded without delay, "That shitty little caf right beside the Atrium Palace Hotel," Michael looked around and out his windows, "Where are you?"

"Are you ignorant? What do you think I'm trying to do by setting up a meeting point?"

There was a click, and then a buzz. Mike slowly put the phone back down on its post. He slipped a shirt on, zipped up his jeans, quickly grabbed his keys, and headed out the door, making sure to lock it as he left.

He hurried down the hall on the sixth floor of the cheaply furnished hotel. Questions raced through his head. He quickly thrust his hand into the closing elevator door.

The old woman in the wheelchair humbly asked Michael to press the '4' button, but he didn't even hear her. He instead pushed 'Lobby' and rushed out the door the moment it opened, never acknowledging her existence.

He pushed out of the revolving doors and was greeted by the freezing, dirty streets of Moscow. Looking left and right, he strained to recall which direction the caf was. The night air started to wear on him, as well as the notion that any moment now, a slew of angry Soviets might try to apprehend him. In desperation, he took a wild guess.

A stroke of luck presented its self, and Michael approached the Caf Royal, as translated into English. Apprehensively, he entered the restaurant.

The place looked more like a bar than a caf, actually. Several stools lined the serving counter and a few tables lie scattered around. For a moment, Travis wondered how to recognize his host, but his inquiry was answered by a wave and a friendly call, "Over here."

Besides the two patrons at the 'bar' and the one man in the back who had called him, the place was empty. Judging from the number of available seats though, it didn't seem like the owners expected much more business.

The old, yet seemingly able man just stared at Mr. Travis as he drew nearer. Strangely, in light of the situation, this boy radiated confidence. Maybe, just maybe, he misjudged him.

"Hello." Michael said with his eyes half-squinted, consciously debating whether or not to trust this stalker.

"Grab yourself a drink, if you want." He said.

Seeing no need to rush now that he was here, Mike beckoned the waitress, who, in fact, was just leaving. She said something in Russian, and left.

"Ill just sit", he said, doing just so. He looked the grey man squarely in the eyes and asked, "Who are you?"

"This was a good idea" He said. He stopped a moment to sip the draft that was here when Michael arrived, "Did you actually think about where to meet or did you just say it?" Not expecting an answer, he explained, "They can't get you if you're in public. Especially a tourist spot"

Fed up with dancing around the subject, Michael demanded, "Who can't get me; and for what?"

"You think I'm stupid," he said with disgust, then, turning to some unknown apparition beside him, "He thinks I'm stupid" Still looking away he replied, "You have a damn good idea of why they are after you."

Michael was noting that this man was making a point not to answer his questions. "Ok," he said, "what did you call me down here for?"

Nonchalantly, he threw out, "You'd be dead right now if I hadn't."

The words sent a chill down the biologist's spine. Michael looked down at his watch, and noted he had only been gone six minutes. If what he said was true, he had just come very close to meeting god

"Like I said, they can't get you in a public place" He took another swig. "I'm not going to discourage you from dabbling in government conspiracies. First of all, it would be wrong to do so, and besides, you wouldn't listen anyway. In fact, I'm going to give you some names of some politicians, whose careers, and lives, were cut abruptly short. I'm also going to give you a few locations unmarked on the maps, should you choose to visit. I wouldn't"

He slid a stapled packet of paper across the table to Mike, and as was expected, he snatched it up and slipped it under his leg.

"Why?" He asked.

"Because you're doing what I want to be doing"

He stood up and placed a check under his empty mug. Michael, not near done interrogating, stood to follow him, but was stopped in his tracks by a warning, "Don't follow me. You're being watched right now, and there's a good chance I'm putting myself in danger by meeting you here. My advice is, leave your hotel behind and find a populated area to spend the night. Then check out what you want"

With that, he strolled out the door and into the cold.

Michael sat there for a while, in shock, and wondered what to do. His life could very well end. He hadn't realized till now the urgency of the situation. What was he getting into?

He left the restaurant and stumbled down a nameless street. He looked around. There were people. That was good. Suddenly, he was terrified of solitude He wasn't going back to the room. He had his wallet, his keys, his passport. Nothing from hell or beyond could drag him back to that god-forbidden, dark, cold, secluded room; not love, hate, or even- The Disk! That was all he had to justify what he had found and what he was looking for. If that was lost, he would not only die, but die without cause.

Without thinking twice, he turned and sprinted back to his hotel.

When he arrived, he took the stairs to sixth floor. He ran to room D204 and turned the doorknob. Immediately, needles of fear jabbed his racing heart. His door was unlocked.

15

A rigid figure almost indiscernible beneath the heaps of clothing staggered into the hangar through a small hole on the far wall to the bay doors. He wandered in a little ways, and began to unbundle the multiple scarves wrapped mercilessly around his head.

22

Even through the thick, musty Siberian air in the underground halls of the Glasnost reformation camp, you could clearly hear a scream of utter rage resound through the night.

17 American U.N. guards navigated effortlessly through the twisting maze of corridors to investigate and evaluate the disturbance in cell 1231. When they arrived at the scene, the squadron found a bloody thin man in handcuffs sitting on and strangling an even bloodier fat man on the ground. There was no mistaking the fat man, therefore, no question who to shoot. Without second thought, the Squad leader fired a 32 caliber shell from his rifle which erupted in the hip of the assailant. On impulse, he stopped his rampage and clutched the bleeding wound with his murderous hands and was quickly hoisted into the standing chair in the corner by the team of trained soldiers.

The commander offered out his hand to the Russian ambassador, barely recognizable through the blood, which he gratefully accepted. After situating himself and wiping the blood from his face, he shot his guard a withering glare. All the while, the man in the corner sat motionless from blood loss. Boris asked for his companion's revolver, and when he received it, used it to expose the empty hole in his head where a brain should be. He then turned to Michael Travis, now needlessly cuffed to the chair, weathered jeans soaking up ever-spilling blood.

Boris hit his prisoner.

Travis looked into Vatzen's spider black eyes, and in a near whisper, muttered something about God.

In response, Boris assumed an executioner style stance and replied, "You just wont get it will you? There is no god that can save you now"

Without remorse, the chubby finger pulled down the trigger, causing a chain reaction, which seemed to move very slowly in Michael's eyes. The hammer swung down in slow motion as the cylinder spun to expose the next available chamber in the gun. The hammer struck home, and a minor spark ignited inside where a bullet should have been. This entire event triggered a signature click that echoed first in the cell, then through the maze outside.

"Click, Click, Click." Boris tried several more times but to no avail. The gun would not fire. Angry that his witty closing line went to waste on an empty chamber, he turned to the nearest armed man in the room.

"Do you have a handgun?" He asked the commander.

His request was indulged, and he was handed a 9mm pistol.

Meanwhile, a reconnaissance jet flew by overhead, taking pictures of dark buildings, unmarked on the maps.

Travis could end this; end it now. He would.

The roar of a jet traveling at mach speeds shook the light outside the cell. Boris, weapon in hand, looked up as the room moved back and forth, causing several men to stumble.

"How the fu*% could someone have gotten this location?" he asked himself out loud, and the only possible answer dawned on him; Katherine Jade.

The infuriated Russian gave a distinct order to all men in the room, except for one soldier, to shoot down anything in the sky. 16 men ran out of the room as quickly as they had come in.

Quietly, he scorned his decision to let her go. "Honesty meant nothing to that bitch No worry, she will be dead within the hour"

"But first" He turned around just in time to see Travis running launching at his chest. The chair he was attached to only added momentum.

Travis fell into Boris, and in turn, he fell into the remaining soldier. As they fell, the helpless guard's finger gently brushed the hair trigger. This gun didn't misfire, and a stockade of ammunition exploded directly into the ambassador. The bullets passed through him, and each one stopped somewhere in the body of Michael Travis. The soldier, crushed dead at the bottom of the nearly 500 pound mess, continued to hold tight to the trigger until the weapon was empty, leaving everyone in the room mutilated...

Michael, though, as he bled through multiple orifices to his death, had time to think. He lay there, arms twisted and cuffed to the heavy chair, wondering if this was fate, or if he had done this by himself. Those thoughts lulled him to sleep, and as the pool of blood around him grew larger, his vision grew thinner. Michael Abram Travis was dead.

Epilogue

The Russian ambassador's untimely death was accounted by the media as "a casualty of a terrible explosion in Eastern Siberia". As for the U.N. ruling on the newly discovered 'concentration camps' just north of Lake Baikal, they ruled it was necessary to take force in persuading subjects into submission to ensure the perfect formation of the world-wide communist government that the Chinese and Russian delegates so avidly pushed for.

Eventually, the government was approved, and the U.A.P. was cleared from the face of the Earth, politically speaking. The only remaining power that opposed this movement was the South American "Children of Democracy", which, of course, declared war and was obliterated by the United Nations.

Boris Vatzen's successor, Damien Schell, who was shamed by many to be the Antichrist himself, rose to the unofficial title of 'The most powerful man in the world', as of becoming the Russian ambassador. He inherited all the influence his predecessor had left behind

Six years after the unsung saga of Michael Travis, the world came to a complete peaceful halt, and then all hell broke loose.

Glossary:

United American Provinces (U.A.P.) - In 2011, The United States of America, shortly after forming the United Nations signed a pact with socialist countries of the era, promising to no longer invade in the private matters of other countries so long as they remained loyal to their joint political branch, the U.N. These amendments to the American constitution were compiled and added to the creation of an international constitution. A new government was called for to uphold this new constitution. The United American Provinces was formed to do just this, holding similar values and similar laws.

Soviet Union- After the signing of the international constitution, which gave the United Nations much more control over international affairs, the Russia and the Eurasian Republics formed together once again to create the Soviet Union. Still bearing much of its previous infamy, the Soviet Union got off to a rough start. The turning point for the country's political depression was in 2028, when the second elected leader of 'New Socialism', who claimed to be a descendant of Carl Marx himself, presented an idea to the U.N. This idea was to change the way the U.N. ran world affairs. Instead of each country involved in the U.N. having a single group of delegates, each equal to each other, a House of Representatives type election would be held for each one, in which the higher populated countries would receive more politicians. Then one ambassador for each would listen to these delegates and decide on a verdict for his people. This was a well thought out plan, seeing as the former Eurasian Republics, and China made up two thirds of the world population at that time. This would eventually lead to the world communism that Lenin and Marx once dreamed of.

United Nations- The United Nations began small, existing really only symbolically in the minds of presidents and dictators, but after the international constitution was signed, the U.N. had power in the matters that the former U.S.A. had resigned from. Many believed it a mistake to let one organization to have so much control over world economy and law, but that didn't stop Gerard Marx from proposing his delegate plan. After the plan passed, the Soviet Union and China unofficially owned the world, by sheer population. Many plans were proposed to put this power in check, but all failed due to the tremendous power of the communists in office. Eventually, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam all annexed to form the Supplementary Union, a direct branch of the Soviet Union. By 2052, democracy had almost no place in the world.

Liberty States(Children of Democracy)- After Marx's Delegate plan was passed, a small group of countries consisting of Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Mexico peacefully annexed and seceded from the U.N., weary of a foreboding future. These countries, founded on the concepts of Democracy, called themselves 'The Liberty States' and refused to associate with the U.N. They later adapted the nickname, 'Children of Democracy'.

Upcoming Books:

The Quest I (Novel) In Production 2004

The Quest II:The unknown Lives (Novel) in production 2004

The Quest III: The Talismans of Power (Novel) in production 2005

The Quest IIII: The Unspoken Prince (Novel) Announced 2006

The Quest V: The Wishsong (Novel) Announced 2006

The Quest VI: The Reunited Swords (Novel) Announced 2007

The Quest VII: Homecoming (Novel) Announced 2008

The Imposters (Short Story) in production 2005

To Die For (Short Story) Announced 2006

Forever and Always (Short Story) in production 2005

Unfinished Business (Novel) in production 2005

Spectres Lair (Novel) in production 2006

Alezon: Tales (Short Stories) Announced 2006

Alezon: The East and West (Short Stories) Announced 2006

Jack Wolf (Novel) Announced 2006

Jack Wolf: Fury (Novel) Announced 2006

Jack Wolf: Inferno (Novel) Announced 2007

Jack Wolf: Directors Cut (Novel) Announced 2009

Black Fire (Novel) Announced 2006

Shadow Dogs (Short Story) Announced 2007

Pawns (Short Story) Announced 2008

The Shard (Novel) Announced 2007

Smuggler (First Person Short Story) Announced 2008

Child of Democracy (Short Story) Completed 2004

Hopes and Fears (Short Story) Announced 2006

Azure Horizon (Novel) Announced 2006

The Cell (Short Story) Announced 2005 PUBLISHED!!!

Physical Nightmares (Short Story) Announced 2005

D-Day (Recreation Piece) In Production 2006

The Shakespear Effect (To Be Notified) In Production 2007

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