Mark Goodman was a normal man. He was an early college graduate, who had made his way into the US airforce and been decorated with honours. He enjoyed a normal life living in a a suburban house in Winter Valley with his teenage sister Lulu. And he had a stable relationship with his girlfriend Mary, even if she was up on Space Station Garuda. But what Mark Goodman didn’t realise, was that this normalcy would not last.
It all started on an ordinary Saturday morning, with Mark sitting at the breakfast table with Lulu. He had finished up with his cereal and was now putting the jacket of his Air Force uniform. “Alright, I’d better get to work, or they might dock my pay.” He could see the look on Lulu’s face. She was about to ask the same question she always asked whenever he went out to work. And the answer was always the same. He didn’t even wait for her lips to move. “No, Lulu. You can’t come with me to the Nest.”
Lulu subsequently assumed a pouty face. “Oh come on, bro. I’ve always wanted to see what it’s like at a USAF base. What if I want to become a pilot once I’m out of mandatory education, like you did?”
“While there’s every possibility of that happening, you’re still just an unauthorised civilian at this point.”, Mark told her. “If I took you in without prior notice, they could have me either reassigned or decommissioned.” With the point made, Mark turned away and carried on, not noticing Lulu making a face that indicated she had an idea.
A few minutes later, Mark set off in his car, after correcting a slightly out of place trunk. En route to the Nest, his car was grazed by a bullet, which caused him to stop and get out to check. He saw that the shooter was a plump black man and a skinny blond accomplice. “Don’t move, man.”, the black one said. “We’re armed. We just want your money.”
Now that he could see them clearly, Mark recognised them. “I know you two. Matthew Lewis and Edgar Howell, known to your friends as Matt and Eddy. You got kicked out of the project I’m assigned to when it turned out you were trying to sabotage it. Do you really think robbing me will compensate you for that?”
“Nah man, we’re trying to make people like you compensate us for the rough lifestyle we’ve had to live.”, Eddy replied. “We’re victims of today’s society taking our homes and parents from us, but the two of us are gonna tear it all down.”
Mark cracked his knuckles. “Well if that’s how you want to play it, then let’s dance.” He then proceeded to beat the ever-loving tar out of his would-be muggers, who promptly fled after the first 6 or 9 injuries.
“Nice work, big bro. You showed those punks who’s boss.” Mark turned around to the source of the voice. It was Lulu, who was sitting up from out of the car’s trunk. She promptly stopped clapping when she noticed that he had noticed. “I’m sorry, Mark. It’s just that the opportunity to see a real military establishment is just something too big for me to suppress my urges.”
Mark was about to argue back, when the radio communicator on his wrist began to beep. He pressed the answer button to be met with the voice of his superior officer, one Wing Commander June Roberts. “Goodman, I need you to be here within the next 20 minutes. Major James is set to bring Garuda within contact range at that time. I know she’ll want to talk with you and I’m sure the feeling is mutual.”
Mark scowled at this. He had no time to take Lulu back and make it in time to talk to Mary. “Wilco, Commander. But I’m giving you an advance notice. I’ll be bringing my sister with me. She’s interested in joining our work at some point after her graduation.”
After a few seconds of thinking, Roberts responded. “Normally civilians aren’t allowed into military bases. However, since your sister is as eager as you say she is, I’ll make an exception. But just this once.” With that, she hung up.
Mark looked up to Lulu. “What if I let you have a look at a real military base for a day trip?”, he said. As expected, her face was filled with glee.
Deep in hyperspace, an unknown object was making its way to Earth. But first, it had another target. Space Station Garuda.
Back to Earth, Mark and Lulu had pulled up to the Nest. It was a large pyramid-like structure, with a launch bay halfway up one of the faces. Mark could just see the sheer joy on Lulu’s face. After seeing this place, she definitely wasn’t going to be bugging him to bring her here after today. “If you think this is cool, just wait until you see the inside, little sis.”
Sure enough, the inside of the structure put the outside to shame. After parking the car, Mark immediately took Lulu to the hangar bay. “This is where we’re preparing a new set of experimental vehicles for deployment. They use state of the art tracking and navigation technology to eliminate potential threats to the safe future of Earth. One of these vehicles is already assembled up on Garuda, with four more being developed by our space division, under Major Mary James.”
Lulu remembered something Mark had discussed with her once. “Mary James? Isn’t that your -.” But before she could continue, a young man in a white coat entered the room, before stopping when he saw Lulu.
“What the heck, Goodman?”, the young man yelled. “You know we’re not allowed to bring civilians into the Nest.”
“It’s okay, Wayne.”, Mark replied. “I got permission from the Commander to bring her in. Besides, she’s determined to get inside this place through hard work, so who am I to deny her?”
The man named Wayne seemed mildly annoyed. “Goodman, I’ll thank you to remember my title is Dr. Burley. I am the science officer for this base, after all.”
It was then that Lulu spoke again. “Wow, you’re the science officer? That’s so cool. I’d love to see what you’re working on.”
Hearing this, Wayne immediately changed his tack and decided to start humouring his rival’s sister. “Really? Well in that case Goodman, how about you go and see the Commander? I’ll handle the rest of this young lady’s tour.”
Mark didn’t quite understand what Wayne was trying to do, but he decided to go along with it. It would save him some time. “Okay, you’ve got a deal. Lulu, I’ll see you when you’re done with seeing the base.” With that, he left his sister in the hands of his embittered co-worker, heading to the communication room.
High above the Earth, Mary James was taking a look at the planet below. She may have had the same view for the last 6 months, but it still left Mary breath-taken with the view. When Commander Gordon had assigned her to the research station, she hadn’t expected it to be for very long. But looking down at the Earth, even after it had become commonplace for her, left her anticipating the day she went home. Then she’d see her mother, her boyfriend and her pet cat again.
This train of thought was broken by a technic coming into the room. “Major, we’re about to be within communication ranger. Commander Gordon and Private Goodman will be on the line.”
“Thank you.”, Mary responded. “I’ll take the call.” And with that, the two left the room, failing to notice the unidentified craft emerging from nowhere.
“Hello, Space Station Garuda, this is the Nest. Can you hear us?”
It took only a few tries for Mary to reply. “Hello Nest, I am reading you loud and clear. And were they telling the truth when they said that Goodman was on your end?”
“No they were not, Major James.”, Mark said taking over. “What’s the view like from up there?”
“It’s as breathtaking as always, Goodman.”, came the reply. “Why don’t you come up here and see for yourself?” This was said in a more playful tone.
“I’m afraid that the pigeons might miss me.”, he joked back.
But before the conversation could continue, the space station was attacked by the alien ship, sending Mary tumbling. Gordon was about to ask what was happening, but the answer soon presented itself. The screen was filled with an image of a blue armoured creature. When he spoke, it was in a deep, foreboding voice.
“Citizens of Earth, rejoice! I am Marquis Algrin, envoy of the Dominion of Queen Uuhcura. Your planet has been selected to enjoy our generous protection.” As he was talking, his image projected itself onto the sky, mirrors, windows, televisions and even somebody’s coffee cup. The drinker of said coffee cup wasted no time spitting it out. “In exchange, all we demand is your eternal enslavement and total control of all Earth’s mineral deposits. If any think of doubting our power, we shall soon destroy one of your defence satellites.” With that said, the image flicked out of existence, as the attack on Garuda continued.
“Mayday! Mayday!”, Mary called into the transmitter. “We are under attack by this unknown enemy. We need to make an emergency evacuation.”
Mark was terrified, but Gordon remained calm. “Major James, make your way to the Hawk Jet in the hangar. In the event of an emergency, it’s set to take off after a 2-minute countdown. When you get back, we can regroup and engage in a counterattack.”
Mary made one last response, “Roger.”, before heading to the hangar bay. She didn’t make it very far, as the station camera showed her being accosted by a group of black-coloured beings. Their leader, a gunmetal robot with a comma shaped head then shot out the camera. The Hawk Jet took off, just as the collapsing station exploded, leaving no evidence it was ever there.
The projection of Algrin reappeared in the sky of Earth. “Your protectors have fallen. Now my pet shall have his way with this planet.” A spectral hand appeared and conjured up a spider-like creature, a Carrionoid. The creature leapt down to Earth, beginning its attack on the civilians.
Back in the Nest’s science lab, Lulu looked on at Wayne, her previous jubilant expressions now gone. “What do we do now?”
“I think I have an idea.”, Wayne replied, taking out two sets of wristwatch like devices from a much larger case. “We’ve been working on an elite fighting force of trans humans, but we never found users for these two. Until now…”
In the city, the Carrionoid began its attack, absorbing energy from people, causing its tail to enlarge.
Elsewhere, on a farm, a nurse tending to an injured soldier received a call. “Brown, the disaster we’ve been anticipating has happened sooner than we anticipated.”
“Gee, you think?”, the nurse replied. Carrie Brown wasn’t normally the snarky type, but that communiqué was just asking for it. But at least she was happy that the opportunity to see if her efforts were for something was with them. “I think that Corporal Hartford was at 93% recovery at last check. He can fight, but he might have slight difficulty.”
“Understood, Brown.”, was Gordon’s frustrated reply. “I just hope that you and he both remember your Special Forces training. As of now, both of you are authorised to morph. I’ll be sending our third authorised operative to you soon.” With that, the transmission was terminated, unaware they had been observed by Algrin.
“Well, well. We can’t have that now, can we?”, he asked himself, holding out his hand as before. “Bio-Roids! Go forth and destroy.” A group of mostly black figures, of the same kind as those who had attacked the station, were spawned from his hand and descended on the farmhouse.
Back at the Nest, Mark, having allowed himself to register that his girlfriend was probably gone or under enemy captivity, had entered the Hawk Jet and was preparing to take off. Then he noticed a signal at a farmhouse near a quarry. “It’s definitely the same as the one that attacked the station. I’ll check it out.” He launched the Jet and flew it to the quarry, where he saw two people under attack from a spider-like creature and an army of mostly black men, like the ones from the station feed. “Lasers, fire!” The Jet shot at the enemy forces sending, some of them flying. He then jumped out of the Jet, reaching out to touch the secondary bracelet he had been given in addition to his communicator. “Let’s Fly!”, he called out. The command recognised, the bracelet deployed a suit onto his body, a red suit resembling the Hawk Jet. Spreading the wings the suit had given him, Mark glided down to the ground, taking out a few grunts both before and after actually landing. But it didn’t last for long when the Carrionoid attacked him with its tentacles, flooring him.
“We have to help him.”, the man insisted.
“And we can.”, said the woman. We just need to leap into the air and do what he did.” To demonstrate, she pressed a bracelet similar to his and leapt into the air, saying “Let’s Fly!” The man followed suit. Within seconds, they had coloured suits of their own; a white swan and a yellow owl. Upon landing, he almost crashed, while she landed gracefully.
Mark looked to the side to see he had helped and ran up to the fallen man. “Nice to see I have help. Now let’s take these guys down.”
And thus a fight ensued, with the 3 managing to repel the mooks very narrowly (Yellow still had difficulty flying and White was too terrified to fight). When Red engaged the Carrionoid in battle, it was too evenly matched for a clear victor to emerge. Eventually, Algrin cut open a hole in the dimensions with his sword, allowing the creature to escape, just as Red collapsed.
“Are you ok?”, the White one asked. “And for that matter, who are you?”
Red straightened himself, before demorphing and addressing her. “My name is Mark Goodman. I’m in charge of a covert fighting team, which you two are also members of. And believe me, that was only the beginning of our problems.