Prologue(Revised)The Planet ZaronIf we are to accept that the extensive legends of the region as true, those thathave existed for centuries, then a true mystery has arisen over the past few hundredyears. People who spoke English mysteriously arrived in a region between Pikes Head,which is due south of Parvis Beach, and Garion Point at the southernmost point of Isleof Berge on the continent of Marrion. This region was much the same as Antarctica onEarth. Since then, English spread like wildfire around Zaron to become the dominatelanguage spoken by every man, woman, and child.Like Earth, Zaron was an unstable world where continents continually drifted,moving across the face of sea and land, forever roving around the planet in search ofnew places to reside. However, even Zaron, a united planet where people were allencouraged to live their dreams , could not hear radio transmissions from Earth;therefore, the distance between the two worlds must have been over one hundred lightyears.If the legends we are told are true, Zaron remained anchored in its orbit. Somethink this was the work of ancient, eternal, and unstoppable gods because the task wasso enormous. However, speculation now points to ancient aliens, even though no oneever perceived their presence.***The sky was dark and gloomy in the early morning hours, hours everyone stilldefined as the middle of the night. The only thing awake seemed to be the sky itself, as
thunder cracked and lightning shot at dawn.The Karmani Group, an application developer whose main source of income wasfrom computer and video games, heard rumors about an experimental device, but theywere not acquainted with the purpose of the device, and could not identify thetechnology inside the device. Their goal was to disrupt Albie Meranis Hamarchi Phoenixteam because the Mag-Ve competition was near its end and the final game of theseason between them and the Garni Dragons, a team from Garnachi, Zaron’s capital,was a must win game.Frank, second in charge of the Karmani Group, was full of foreboding after hisboss had a recent argument with his wife his right foot fidgeted as he pondered withmodest hesitation if he should call his boss. Owen was one moody man at the earlyhour of 4:15 am on this starlit Saturday morning in the great city of Hamarchi. As hestood in front of a door marked “planning room.” It was sited in a sub-basementunderneath the warehouse, a sensor detected his presence as he crossed thethreshold, the lights flickered to life, bathing the room in light, highlighting the pale whitewalls and a nearby hutch on which a black telephone restedFrank understood that no one wanted to be awakened in these early hours, andOwen had a terrible enough temper as it was. But Frank had no choice. He placed thehandset to his right rear, dialed the number, and waited a modest amount of time for hisboss to answer his phone.“Hello?” said Owen with a sensation of being half-asleep.“You need to come in, the guys are back.”Owen’s eyes narrowed on his bedside clock. Without saying another word, he
understood what Frank meant and was well aware the situation was urgent.“Ok, but it’ll take me twenty to thirty minutes.”Anyone listening to their conversation may have assumed they referred to analleged financial discrepancy, but they did not.“That’ll be perfect. Right, see you,” Frank responded, re-depositing the handsetbefore walking back outside. Since he had to wait for Owen to arrive, he returned to hisprevious duty.***A dark haired guard in his normal security uniform of a white shirt, dark pants,and dark shoes stood near the twin doors to the large open plan room. He glanced atthe display screen mounted on the nearby wall. He depressed the button and said,“Frank, Owen is here.”“Great. I’m coming,” Frank declared. He hopped out of his chair, hurried outsidein a rush, and made it on time to see the blond security guard depress another buttonand the twin doors glide open.Frank said. “Fantastic Owen, you’re here!” He hurried to his side. Owen was aman in his mid-forties.They wandered toward the large open plan room, then toward an office marked“Owen Keeling CEO.”I hate getting out of bed at this time of the morning, Owen thought.“Yes, Frank. What’s...?” His shaggy lines were spoken without his first mug ofcoffee. He seemed limp and dirty, as if someone had dragged him through a marsh.Wow, he seems a bit grumpy. Frank thought.
“Owen, our guys are back.”“Frank, have they got anything to report?” he asked .“Yes, and they are in your office.”“Oh, good morning Boss. You’re up early today,” Jade, a red haired woman, saidfrom the workstation located near his office. She was in her mid-twenties, of averageheight, clad in dark attire, and worked away at the computer in front of her. She winked.She knew why he was there that morning.“Good morning Jade. Yes, indeed.”Frank nodded to Sharlie seated at her desk, who, on this fine early morning, wasfinishing the previous night’s work. She smiled while they proceeded into his office.***Two men seated on the divan stood and drew close to their boss’s desk. Heturned and, still half asleep, crashed into his chair.“Boss, we have fantastic news to report!”“You guys, sit in those chairs.” Owen indicated to the chairs in front of his desk.The men nodded. As they all sat, one man was about to speak.Owen gestured with his right hand and said. “Before we talk, I need coffee.” Hepressed a button on his intercom and said, “Sharlie.”She knew what he was after and responded. “I’ve made a fresh brew of coffeeBoss.” Owen listened to her calming voice as she added, “I’ll bring one into you soon.”“Great. Thank you, Sharlie.”Moments later, there was a gentle knock. The young, vigilant woman arrived athis desk with the odor of coffee wafting through the air. “ Here you go boss,” she smiled,
placing the mug of coffee on his desk.She had not noticed the other men were looking at her.Owen took a deep breath. As the odor floated into his nostrils, he said, “Hmm.”He took a swig and added, “Exactly what I needed. Thank you Sharlie.”“You need me for anything else?”“No, you can go.”Sharlie turned around and walked outside while Frank and the men watched hergo—all except Owen of course who took another swig from his mug.“Hey, you fellows,” bellowed an upset looking Owen Keeling.Steve and the men turned their attention in his direction as his irritated gaze wascast on them for eyeballing Sharlie. She had not noticed their gaze as she returned toher previous task.“Boss. We’ve found a way to gain access to the facility you asked us about.”“So, how do you plan on getting in there?”“Well Boss, we found an old disused drain that runs under Getty Street. First weneed to retrieve some plans from the Hall of Records, which means I’ll need Brad’shelp.”“Sorry Steve. He’s on another job at the moment.”“Oh yeah, sorry I forgot. Okay, is Jade available?”Owen looked at Steve and responded. “Yes, she’s currently got nothing to do.”Then he looked at Frank and said, “Frank, can you get everything organized?”“Will do.”Lifting up his right arm, he pointed to the door of his office and said, “Right, you
guys get to it.”Frank, Steve , and the other man bounded out of their chairs and joined Stevewho was already in the open plan room. Frank was the last to exit. He set off while hisfellow crew members closed in on Jade’s workstation to inform her she was to comewith them. They all went into “planning room.”