On a small spacecraft orbiting Earth, Caligastia faced the breathtaking view of space. "My third in command will lack experience," this new prince of Earth reported to his superior, Lucifer. "He will be easy to manipulate."
At The Academy of the Universe, Mendal nervously waited for the details of his unexpected assignment as a Life Carrier to help establish life on Earth. Mendal couldn't understand why they had asked for him. He hadn't even finished his schooling, which was normally required, especially for assignment on such a hostile sphere where no intelligent life yet existed.
Mendal, now third in command on Earth, circa 200,000 BC, can't let what he saw on a probability computer influence his command duties; this process of uplifting primitive beings to a higher level has been used on literally millions of planets in the Nebadon universe alone. But in no other time in history has a planet been so firmly gripped by rebellion: the rebellion of Lucifer!
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Lisa and Don walked into the brightly-lit surgical room at the Planetary
Center of Art and Science where one hundred Andonite tribespeople, the
best strains of that unique race, lay unconscious in wall-to-wall hospital-like
beds, transfusion devices attached to their arms and chests. Circular,
transparent spheres levitated above their heads and crackled with electrical
Lisa and Don were checking the status of the Andonites, when a high-
pitched noise signaled the arrival of visitors to Earth. “The commission
from Gallon,” Lisa said with a sigh of relief. “Finally we can begin the
transfusion and implantation process. I’m anxious to get this over with.”
Don and Lisa quickly walked toward a metallic door at the far end of
the room. “I’m curious about how this technique works,” said Don. “We’ve
read about it in class, but having the chance to view an actual life circuit
implantation, along with a life plasm extraction, is a rare opportunity.”
Don and Lisa waited at the transportation module to greet their
guests. A deep zooming sound, followed by a soft thud, gently shook the
building, indicating the arrival of the shuttle. “Well, you would think that,
Don,” said Lisa with a forced smile. She pressed the button to open the
shuttle door. “I’m a little squeamish about the whole thing. The thought
of messing with human brains does not excite me.”
Eight beings stepped out of the module and, without hesitation,
proceeded in pairs toward the beds to inspect their patients. They were
short and without exterior clothing to cover their sexless bodies. As they
worked, the beings seemed to be receiving mental messages and moved
smoothly from bed to bed without apparent need for help; they took no notice
of Don or Lisa. Lisa dared not interfere, though she was a bit taken
back by these surgeons from space.
When one of the Gallon doctors began the implantation procedure,
the electrical charge generating from the levitating spheres into the minds
of the unconscious Andonites greatly increased. Another doctor extracted
human plasm, with the help of transfusion machines, and placed the fluid
in sealed containers. The process took just a few minutes and seemed to
have no noticeable effect on the comatose tribespeople.
Lisa and Don watched, captivated by the elegance and grace with
which the surgeons operated. Don pulled out a pad and pencil from his
backpack and began taking notes. Remembering the latest news, he turned
to Lisa. “I just received notification of Caligastia’s staff assignments. Guess
who’s on it.”
“I can’t imagine we’d know anybody on that list,” she said, hoping
Don was referring to himself. “It’s a very prestigious honor just to be
considered for a position on his staff.”
Don put his arm around Lisa’s shoulder and whispered in her ear.
“Our friend Mendal.”
Lisa pulled away and looked at Don. “What!” She looked around
making sure her outburst hadn’t disturbed the surgeons. “He wasn’t even
ready for his assignment with us.”
Don, barely able to control the humor he found in his secret, continued
with sadistic delight. “Not only that, he’s third in command,
directly below Hammone!”
Lisa frowned. “This is very serious,” she muttered, almost to herself.
“Something is wrong…very wrong. Mendal can’t handle an assignment
like that, Don, he’s too inexperienced. Even I would make a better third
Don motioned Lisa to quiet down so he could concentrate on the
delicate procedures being performed by the Gallon surgeons.
"I’m going to look into this further," Lisa whispered.
Caligastia entered the recovery room of the Planetary Health and
Life Center. Fifty male and fifty female flawless, perfectly proportioned,
constructed superhumans occupied the very large hospital-like beds. As a
nurse read the individual patient charts of these members of the Prince’s
staff, Caligastia walked up and spoke to him. “How did the surgical
“Perfectly,” answered the nurse, handing him a briefcase. “This contains
all records of the operations and a full report from the surgeons of
Gallon. The staff, including your third in command, are now rematerialized
in their constructed bodies, attuned to the life circuits of the system
and have the life plasm of the tribespeople flowing through their veins.
They will soon awaken and have full use of their superbodies.”
“And the one hundred Andonite tribespeole, where are they?” asked
“They have fully recovered from last week’s operation,” the nurse
replied. “To awaken and have access to the life circuits was a shock, but
they have been handled with great care and compassion. They are touring
Dalamatia as we speak.”
Caligastia nodded his approval and the nurse went back to reading
his charts. Caligastia scanned the room, as if looking for someone. He
shrugged and decided to inspect the female superbeings on the west side
of the room. As he probed their naked, unconscious bodies, they twitched
and quivered. “Has Hammone, my second in command, arrived from
Jerusem?” Caligastia called out to the nurse. “He’s late. I want him here to
personally inspect the staff before they become conscious.”
“Yes, sir, he just arrived,” the nurse replied as he walked out of the
Caligastia closely examined an exceptionally attractive female body.
Suddenly, her eyes popped open. Startled, he jumped and beat a rapid
retreat from the room.
Gazing out his office window overlooking Dalamatia, Hammone
twitched when the door opened. Caligastia and three subordinates
entered. Hammone spoke nervously, his frail build and shorter stature
a stark contrast to physique of the four men standing in front of him. “I
have been wanting to talk with you, Caligastia.” He looked at the others
and hesitated. “In private.”
“Anything you need to say to me, you can say in front of my aides,”
Caligastia replied, with a hint of anger.
“I have been going over the staff assignments and I have a problem
with one,” Hammone said, fidgeting. He removed his hat and revealed a
shaven head. “A big problem.”
“And what, may I ask, could that ‘big problem’ be?” Caligastia asked.
His aides took a step back at his harsh tone.
“I have an objection with the appointment of Mendal as third in
command behind me,” Hammone said. “He has no experience, training
“You, Hammone, worry about your assignments and responsibilities!”
Caligastia yelled. “You arrived late and then didn’t immediately report to
your supervisor! That is me, Hammone, in case you’ve forgotten! I run
this operation and I will not be told what to do by anyone but Lucifer! Is
“Yes…yes, sir. I…I just haven’t met with Mendal yet and I was concerned
that he wouldn’t be ready for his duties,” Hammone stammered.
“When I meet him, I’ll check him out and report to you, sir.”
“I’ve already checked him out,” Caligastia said, regaining control
of his anger. “He arrived early.” Caligastia glanced toward Mendal and
motioned him forward. “Mendal, step up and meet your supervisor.”
Mendal did as instructed. Hammone, with a startled and embarrassed
look, reached out his hand in apology, but Mendal refused to shake it. He
looked Hammone square in the eyes, but his face betrayed no emotion.
“Well, Mendal, let’s just see how long it takes for you to replace him,”
Caligastia said, vigorously slapping him on the back. The four chuckled
and left the room. Hammone lowered his head, sighed, and went back to
looking out the window.
Lisa rubbed the sleep from her eyes and sluggishly climbed out of bed.
“What’s wrong with me? I can’t sleep,” she mumbled, looking at the clock
on her nightstand. “Four A.M.” Lisa shook her head in frustration and
walked to the bathroom for a morning shower. A sharp rap on the front
door startled her. She turned and again looked at the clock. “Who is it?”
“Your chauffeur, ma’am,” the voice replied boldly. “I was told you
would be expecting me.”
“At four in the morning?” Lisa said, annoyed.
“Yes, ma’am,” the anonymous voice replied. “I am to fly you to
Lucifer’s planet in his private transport to discuss the correspondence you
“You sent a communication to Lucifer at 18:02 hours yesterday,
ma’am,” said the voice. “He wants to discuss it with you.”
How could he have gotten it so quickly? she thought, suddenly anxious.
She stood for a moment, unsure of what to do.
“Now, ma’am,” said the voice.
Her anxiety was replaced with pure fear. She left the bathroom and
spoke through the front door. “You’ll have to wait outside for a few minutes
while I get ready,” she said, flustered. “This is a complete surprise.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the voice replied.
Ten minutes later, fully dressed in attire suitable for meeting the
System Sovereign, Lisa picked up the life circuit communicator on her
desk and called Don. "Don, pick up," Lisa projected, using her psychic
“Lisa, what is it?” Don asked, finally answering.
“I’m sorry to call so early, Don,” Lisa said in a whisper, her hand
cupped over the communicator.
“I’ve just got a minute,” she said frantically. “I sent a personal
communication to Lucifer about my concerns with Mendal’s promotion.
I told him someone is making a big mistake. Mendal isn’t ready for that
kind of responsibility.”
“I’m glad you got it done so quickly, Lisa. You should be hearing from
his staff in a week or so.”
“Don, I just sent the message ten hours ago.” Her voice cracked with
fear. “Now his chauffeur’s at my door,” she whispered. “Lucifer wants to
meet with me personally. That doesn’t happen, Don.”
“No, it doesn’t.” Don was silent for a moment. “What else did you say
in the letter, Lisa?”
“I knew I shouldn’t have,” she whispered.
“What did you say?”
“I was angry,” she moaned. “I’m more qualified than Mendal.”
“Lisa, what did you tell him?”
“I told him I was sending a copy of the correspondence to Michael of
Nebadon,” Lisa blurted out. “But I didn’t, Don. I was just trying to show
him I was serious.”
“Ma’am, if you do not come out now, I am coming in,” the voice
outside said venomously.
“Yes, yes, just one more minute,” she shouted at the door. “Don,” she
whispered, “I’m afraid…Don? Don, are you there?” His line disconnected.
Lisa’s hands shook. She walked to the door and opened it.
“We have got to go, ma’am. Lucifer is waiting,” the voice said
Lisa gasped at the sight of the figure standing outside her door. He
was a seven-foot-tall, human-like creature completely encased in a black
metallic shell. “Who, or what, are you?” Lisa asked, her eyes wide.
“I do as Lucifer instructs,” said the machine. “We must leave immediately.”
They disappeared in a beam of energy.
Lisa fidgeted with a button on her blouse, then quickly straightened at
a sound coming from…nowhere, she decided. She sighed, took a mirror
and hairbrush out of her handbag and combed her bangs. For the third
time. In the past half hour. How long have I been here? Three hours? Four?
She had no idea.
The small room was empty, void of all furniture except the black
leather couch on which she sat. Nothing hung on the dull grayish-brown
walls; nothing hung from the ceiling. The room was well lit but she was
unsure where light came from. It seemed to emanate through the walls
She stood up. “I’m leaving,” she said. Maybe he had cancelled their
meeting. And no one told her. And she was just wasting her time. She
took three steps, then abruptly stopped and looked around in astonishment.
The door through which she had entered the room was gone! The
only one remaining had “System Sovereign” carved in its mahogany
wood. No one enters that room uninvited, she thought, her eyes taking on
a hunted look.
Lisa felt watched, then strangely disembodied, almost dreamlike.
When she turned to walk back to the couch, her head began spinning
wildly. Suddenly, she could see and feel herself being shot through a tunnel.
A feeling of falling overlook her, falling down through what seemed like
the atmosphere of a planet. She hit ground and felt herself being forced
down through hard clay and rock.
She felt intense heat and pressure. Further and further she was forced
down until she fell from the top of an underground cavern to the red rock
below. The pain was excruciating. "What’s happening to me?" she cried out,
recoiling in horror.
“So, Lisa, I’m making a big mistake promoting Mendal,” Lucifer
projected into her consciousness.
“No! That’s none of my business.”
“You seem to think it is.”
Grotesque visions of anguished, tortured souls flashed before her eyes.
They were everywhere.
“And you sent a correspondence to Michael of Nebadon?”
“No, I didn’t!”
“And I’ll make sure you never do.”
She tried to scream, but no sound came out.