Chapter 1

Ben got up with a whine, climbing from his bed, smashing the alarm clock with his fist to no effect. It took three more punches to the poor clock to stop the thing from buzzing its alarm. Ben was your average eighteen year old, with short bowl shaped black hair, blue eyes, and a slightly overbuilt frame, although he wasn't fat... but he was plenty lethargic. He walked groggily downstairs from his attic bedroom, wanting to kill the person that had invented the horrible institution that people liked to call school. His mom waved him over to her, standing in front of the television, and looking borderline excited and frightened. She had the news on, and was staring intensely at it.

"Today, the Interstellar Defense League has met with President Kimberly Thomas, requesting that she join the United States into the IDL. The IDL also met with several other world leaders, who all had pretty much the same reaction as President Thomas; they had to give it some consideration, but doubted it. President Thomas said that she would put it before Congress for a vote though, and doubts that they will agree to join. When asked why, President Thomas said only this: 'We only found out about the existence of other sentient life forms other than ourselves two months ago, and now we are expected to join in some defensive league? We need much more time to consider this.' The President declined to comment further on the situation." Ben's mom flipped off the channel.

"Honestly," she declared as though exasperated with the situation, "why would we need to join some kind of defense league? I mean, its not like we are being attacked or anything. Does anyone know what the league is even about?"

Ben rolled his eyes at how narrow minded his mom had proved to be once again. "Mom, have you even been listening to all the other news besides just what the President has said on the matter? The Interstellar Defense League is a league of governments from about forty different systems, founded by the Ghalerans, which is waging war against the forces of the Liodammians, or some weird name like that; that's the shortened version of the name, as it's supposedly unpronounceable by humans. Anyway, these Liodammians have a combined force of genetically engineered warriors and awesome machines, and is attempting to gain control of the galaxy. They breed so fast that they can expand without limits, and their natural instincts drive them to do so."

"You know," Ben's mom responded, "I think I might have been wrong to sign you up for that Interstellar Politics course... after all, the subject has only been around for a few weeks, and it's already filling you with images of heroic wars between good guys and bad guys."

Ben rolled his eyes once again, and set about making breakfast, as he normally did. He had remembered how the world had seemed to change just two months ago, when the discovery had been made of other intelligent life out there. It seemed everything had become smaller since then... everyone realized just how tiny they were in the galactic scheme of things. Now, alien leagues were already petitioning for them to join up with them in a massive war.

He had been one of the few people that was disappointed that someone had found life out there though. He had always hoped that in a couple of years, he would have been the one there, an officer aboard one of the great cruisers in the International Exploration Forces, that he would have made the discovery. But he could still hope that he was involved in alien relations or something when he joined up with the fleet tomorrow; today was his last day at high school, and he wanted to go directly into the Exploration Forces from there.

Ben quickly ate his breakfast, got dressed, and ran out the door. Today was one day he didn't want to be late for, as he was going to be practicing for graduation, and he had to make one of the speeches. He might not have been the top student, but he knew more in engineering and piloting than any of his friends in the same subjects, so he had been selected to give a speech on the virtues of joining the Exploration Forces. While he almost couldn't wait, he could also at the same time feel butterflies rising up in his stomach. He had never been the greatest at public speaking.

He was nearly to school when it happened. The skies around the small suburban area Ben lived in went completely dark. Everyone looked up to see the most terrifying, the most impressive, and the largest ship they had ever seen. It was black all over its hull, and tiny protrusions stuck out from all over the side of it. It had to be more than two kilometers long, covering the entire town as it did. Then they were all jolted from their dazed amazement- the craft slammed into the ground, causing the earth to break part for kilometers, homes to collapse, and shaking that threw anyone not caught in debris to the ground. The massive engines on the back of the craft, which had come into view when it landed, died out, but not before clearing a path longer then ten football fields behind the ship, in which everything was blackened.

The devastation was nothing like anybody had seen before; the entire two kilometer stretch underneath the massive craft was smashed, and the surrounding fifteen kilometers devastated by the earthquake that had happened as a result of the crash. Ben slowly got to his feet, pushing aside a slab of concrete that had fallen on him. Everywhere he could see, people were crying in fear, or were dead. Ben turned and ran towards his home, muttering all the way, "No... no... they can't have been hurt... there's no way..."

But he was wrong... in the area where his home once was, the spaceship rested, the area nearby looking like an entire half-mile section of ground had tilted upwards... and he saw no sign of his sister, dad, or mom... anywhere...

He fell to the ground, crying and crying for hours. He didn't even notice when Red Cross personnel placed him in an ambulance, and sent him away. He couldn't get the image of his entire family just being smashed underneath that craft... couldn't get over the fact that they had just died for no reason, just because some spacecraft had decided to fall on them. Finally, after eight hours of feeling nothing but grief, the feelings slowly transformed itself into rage. He would kill the bastards that did this to his family. They would suffer for what they had done to his life.

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Story tagged with:
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