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Category: Serial

Augmented, Super Slow-Motion Battle

Time of Faith (Book One) part 002: An epic science fiction/fantasy adventure

The tendons of Kerr’s fingers tightened. Hands tightened into fists. They felt heavy—ready to bludgeon.

His weight shifted forward. He was ready to launch forward. His legs were springs screaming for release.

The suit performed a rapid emergency system check, flashing words too quick to read on Kerr’s LENS. One by one, his muscles tensed and relaxed. Calves. Quads. Biceps. Back. Shoulders. Stomach. Chest. Each burned with potential energy.

Kerr’s nostrils constricted and his lips pressed together. Thousands of microscopic oxites tumbled into his bloodstream. Kerr no longer felt the need to breathe.

Drugs began to trickle into his brain. Endorphins began to fire. Switches began to flip. He felt good. He felt unstoppable.

Kerr’s universe exploded.

Time stopped as a flurry of activity hijacked his mind.

Everything was brighter. Crisper. Louder.

Kerr could almost taste every passing moment. It was time to move, Move, MOVE!

Braun held a frozen smile, teeth parted. He was saying something, but Kerr couldn’t wait.

His peripheral vision absorbed the position of everything around him. They surrounded him. Braun ahead. Blanc right. Neither with gun drawn.

His real problem was Murphy and Johansson. Both had their guns trained on him. Johansson almost had a look of glee on his face. He seemed eager to get off a few shots.

These were trained soldiers. His movements would bring an instant response. Even with time “stopped” he could attack one, but not both.

He could do a lot of damage wearing the suit, but he wasn’t a soldier. The suit was bulletproof, but bullets would still knock him around. How long until somebody got a headshot?

Enough thought, it was time to act.

Kerr launched toward Braun in a blur of motion. He grabbed Braun by the shoulders and spun him around to be a shield. His trained soldiers held their fire. They ran toward him in slow-motion.

Kerr’s kicked up with his knee, burying deep in Braun’s stomach.

Another message from the suit flashed on his LENS.

INCOMING...

Kerr’s eyes widened. A dark shape was coming from the right. It was Hendrikson. He rocketed toward Kerr with a combat knife in his hands. He was fast! Everyone appeared to be moving through water, but not Hendrikson.

Kerr realized with horror that he was up against an enhanced soldier.

Kerr fell sideways, repositioning Braun before Hendrikson slammed into him. The knife swung wide, trying to strike behind the colonel. Kerr continued to roll, pulling both Braun and now Hendrikson with him. As he landed, he planted both feet on Braun and kicked.

Thank you, judo lessons!

His legs fired like pistons, launching Braun and Hendrikson into the air.

Kerr planted his palms and pushed off. Twisting like a cat, he landed ready for his next maneuver.

The suit augmented his movements. That wasn’t one of his judo lessons.

Johansson rolled onto the ground, getting into a better firing position. Murphy was lifting his gun to get a lock. Major Blanc pivoting her gun.

Kerr smiled. He wouldn’t be in the same place by the time they could fire.

Braun and Hendrikson tumbled through the air. Hendrikson wasn’t wasting the motion. Using Braun, he swung around to face Kerr. His mouth curled in a dark smile. The knife was gone. A gun was in its’ place. Kerr locked eyes with him. Hendrikson winked and squeezed the trigger. The gun erupted flames.

He watched as a bullet drilled through the air.

Without realizing what was happening, he had done a small forward roll. Three bullets hit the ground where he had been moments before. He twisted, getting his legs under him.

Using the ground as a springboard, he launched himself forward in a run. He spotted his silver briefcase out of the corner of his eye. He scooped it up as he ran.

Another short burst of bullets belched behind him. Kerr risked a look back as he ran. Colonel Braun crumpled against a concrete pillar.

Hendrikson hit the pillar with both feet, bent his legs, and pushed away like a coiled snake. He hit the ground running. His gun continued to erupt fire.

Johansson and Blanc began firing their weapons but they were firing at the spot where Kerr had been. Now he was a running machine. An inferno of energy coursed through his legs.

Clouds of dust surrounded him as bullets chewed up the floor. He kept his head low. He could feel bullets impacting back and legs, but he ignored the pressure.

He dodged right, rounding a concrete pillar, and kept running. For a split second, the bullets no longer found him.

He had gained and lost the element of surprise. A team of trained soldiers were pursuing him. It was laughable to think he could escape. What was his end game?

Kerr dashed left and right. Bullets shadowed his every step.

He ducked behind another pillar but the bullets kept coming. Hendrikson was now running parallel to Kerr.

He dove into another forward roll. As he moved, he twisted his body to face the opposite direction. His feet braced, stopping his forward momentum. His hands launched him off the ground and he pulled himself forward like a monkey—feet over hands. Springing up, he was running again.

Hendrikson cursed as he stopped his sprint and changed direction, tripping and skidding.

Tears streamed from Kerr’s squinting eyes as he flew forward. His path was taking him toward the other soldiers. He ducked into a skid and shifted directions again. Ahead of him, Kerr could see a light—the light of the Portal.

He ran toward the light.

The ground around him came to life again. A flurry of pebbles and dust shadowed his every move. A shot struck the back of Kerr’s leg with enough force to make him miss a step. He stumbled forward, almost falling. The suit righted his steps before the final tumble, letting him race ahead once more.

The Portal was now in full sight.

There was nothing but white light through the Portal. Kerr skidded to a halt. It was no longer connected to the Time Dock. Who knew where it would lead?

The bullets behind him ceased. Hendrikson had him trapped.

“Game’s over, hero,” he chuckled. His gun smoked. It was no longer pointed at Kerr. There was no point, “There was nowhere to go, anyway. The only way you’re getting a cure for that virus is going back home. It’s either ‘join us’ or die.” He shrugged. “Your choice”

Only three steps.

That was the distance between Kerr and the Portal. Inside the opening was nothingness—swirling white lights and squirming fog. No one knew what it was like. No one had ever returned.

Kerr began running.

One foot down. One foot up.

“Stop!” yelled Henderikson.

Kerr ignored him. One foot down. One foot up. He grimaced. Last foot down. Last foot up.

Kerr plunged into the Portal and the whiteness swallowed him whole.

Yaasmin and the Borg

Test of Faith 004: An epic science fiction/fantasy trilogy adventure

Yaasmin tried to speak, but her words came out as gasps. Her round cheeks were flushed. She put her one hand on her hip. The other tucked a leather-bound book under an arm. She squinted up at the sky, face red. Isis stepped forward to take the precious scriptures from her and put an arm around her shoulder. A hunter stepped forward to give Yaasmin a water skin. She took it with a smile and tipped it up, ignoring the mess of water as it splashed on her face.

She stopped drinking to gasp and wheeze. All eyes looked at her, expectant.

In a few moments, she regained her composure. Her breathing slowed. She straightened back up and smiled, looking from eye to eye.

“The marauders control the city.” Her face was dark. “They let all of the mothers and children live. The Warren is largely untouched. That’s where I was hiding. The mothers also hid some other warriors—a few from each sect. They mounted an escape for me.” She frowned. “A lot of good women died getting the scriptures out of the city.”

Isis looked down at the book in her hands. She opened the cover with reverence. She placed a gentle hand on the pages.

“We will remember their sacrifice,” she said.

Isis looked down to where her index finger was pointing in the scriptures. She cleared her throat.

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my LORD; protect me from those who rise up against me.”

“Amen,” said those around her in unison.

Isis looked back at Yaasmin.

“Can you walk? We should keep moving away from the UN outpost.”

For the first time, Yaasmin took in the newest arrivals to the group. Her eyes widened. She nodded without uttering a word.

Samia turned and started to walk out of the illusion jungle. Behind her, the others followed. Some of the women congratulated Yaasmin for finding them. She returned their grateful smiles and took a deep breath before following.

Nicko bounded ahead in excitement. He had woken up moments before. He didn’t seem to care about the extra people in his group.

Liam shook his head and followed the group. One of the hunter women, Ai, slowed her pace to walk alongside him. She looked up at him for a moment before asking, “What’s it like?”

“What is what like?”

“I’m sorry,” she looked away, blushing. “It might be too personal.”

Liam was quick to respond, “No, no! It’s not personal at all. I just didn’t know what you meant. Being a ‘borg?”

“Yes,” she brightened. “That’s what I meant. I have never met a person-robot like you. I am very curious.”

Liam looked into the distance. There was nothing but sand for miles. “I imagine we have a long way to walk. Ask me any question that comes to mind. I have no secrets.”

Ai was almost eager, “How much of you is human?”

“Very few original parts remain. The only thing left is my eyes, brain, and spinal column. It’s easier to build a computer to interface with a human spine than to build an artificial spine. It can be done, but not on the cheap.”

Ai frowned at the words she could not understand. Then she asked another question, “How did it happen?”

Liam sighed. “It was slow at first. I was a good soldier. We had a very tight unit. We were special forces. The other members of my unit were my family. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to protect my brothers and sisters.”

He continued, “Then there was the bomb. It took one of my legs. I thought that was the end of my career. My buddies were cheering me on. ‘You can still fight! Get an upgrade!’”

He walked in silence for a second. “That is where it started. I had a brand-new robotic leg. It was stronger. My friends in the unit said it made me a better soldier. If only both legs were robotic. Then I could run faster and jump higher. Yeah!” He raised a triumphant fist.

“The second amputation was voluntary. I chose to be a better soldier to better protect my brothers and sisters.”

He didn’t look over at Ai, who was gazing at him with an admiring smile. “We know about sacrifice for the good of our sisters.”

“Yes, but it didn’t stop there. I could, indeed, run faster and jump higher. I took more risks. I charged into battle. I was kick-ass, as the unit said.” He paused. “I probably shouldn’t have run gung ho into every firefight. That’s how I ended up taking several bullets to the chest.”

He pounded his chest with a metal fist. One! Two! Three! The metal twanged.

“No worries! They said. We could just put a metal plate in your new robotic chest!” Liam smiled. His mouth gears pulled back to expose two horse-shoe plates that simulated teeth.

“After that, I was bullet-proof. I could really charge into combat. Then, I needed stronger arms to carry bigger guns…” He trailed off. The continued to walk in silence.

“I was an unstoppable force in the field,” He paused. “That was until the next generation of ‘borgs were developed. They could have upgraded me, but at that point, it was about money. It was cheaper to release newer, better models. I was re-assigned to the cargo bay. I move heavy boxes all day.”

He sighed again. “The other members of the unit never even visited. I guess we weren’t as close as I thought. I hope they are being protected by a newer, better ‘borg. I still think about them from time to time.”

They continued on in silence. Ai was finally the one who broke the quiet, “So you are still a man on the inside?”

“I still have awareness and a soul (I hope). There’s nothing left on the outside. I didn’t need anything else to be a better soldier.”

Ai reached out her mind to him. All the women could do it. She brushed the edges of his consciousness. The borg could feel the touch in his mind. He stopped walking and looked at her.

“What are you doing?”

Ai seemed satisfied and pulled her mind back. “Yes. You have a soul. On the inside, you are still a man.”

She nodded and started to walk again.

Liam looked after her and then followed.


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This is the next instalment of my second book, Test of Faith. If you want to read my first book for FREE, you can sign up for my mailing list . I am posting this book serial-style. Each Wednesday I will post the next section. Give me feedback, it encourages me to write!

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