Earth: the Arena, Book # 1, THE PLAYERS by RD Wilson
Sudden panic chained Professor Horace Thompson in place.
The black bag of incomprehension descended forcibly over his brilliant mind, constricting his thoughts.
Bucketful after icy bucketful of fear inundated his drowning reason.
And shock locked his limbs in a tortured spasm of denial.
Loss of control forcibly wrest from his person the fleeting glimmer of ultimate dignity which hope had granted only heartbeats before!
Overpowered, captured, bound, and tortured for an excruciatingly long moment by sudden inconceivable circumstances thrust upon him, the man of science struggled, a drunken Atlas fighting to righten his tottering world.
Finally breaking free and shaking his white mane like an offended lion, he roared into his headset, "DAVID! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHAT IS THAT? DAVID, STOP IT! DAVID!!!"
Still he struggled: what had gone wrong?
Fifteen minutes ago his greatest dream, electronically enhanced thought transfer, became a fact. The histories of mankind would forever remember that moment when two test subjects, fifty six miles apart, had been able to mentally and accurately communicate to each other a message given to them from an outside source.
History had been made, but then came the unexpected and overshadowing consequences.
A long-standing barrier between universes had also been breached: a doorway had been opened, just the smallest of cracks. As a result two separate and distinct realities found, for brief moments of time, a point of commonality.
As a single alien presence passed into the mortal world of man, at that exact instant the faintest hint of the essence of the earth escaped into theirs. In the same way that the minutest drop of blood, spilled into the vastness of the ocean, alerts any distant shark on the prowl, so that phantom whisper alerted and attracted the inhabitants of that other realm.
The rumor of that tiny earthly seed found root in their shared anticipation and instantly sprang to life. For millennia in unfulfilled abeyance they had waited and desperately pined for a day like this day. Like a small stone tossed into a glassy pond, the minute ripples imperceptibly touched each of the myriad of watchers, bringing a single question to mind, “How long?”
Across that other universe, two alien forces: darkness and light; dominating authority vs liberating revolution; rigid absolutes vs personal freedom, were ancient and bitter enemies even before the emergence and ascendancy of man. Both found their divergent dreams and hopes suddenly flamed into a burning expectancy, as by a sudden passing breeze.
The ghost of that passing sigh at last found its way to a special and protected sanctuary hidden deep within that alternate reality.
Sadness mellowed by anticipation filled that space immeasurable holding the hearts and the souls of many dead men living still.
LIGHT approached and, reflecting His glory from countless upturned expectant faces, heard again the heartbeat of the pulse that flowed in one united thought between those joined yet individual souls, toward HIM, "How long, Master? How long?"
Unfathomable depths cascading through unfathomable depths paused in their immensity to focus… and the joyous thoughts that welled within the mind of LIGHT showered in living benediction to the waiters below, touching and changing and rejoicing each heart in turn.
LIGHT spoke and His ancient voice echoed its promise though the vastness of the hidden realms, “SOON!” Such was the power behind that word that it too passed across the barrier into the world of men.
Then within both realities sun and star, earth and moon, rock, tree, mountain and sea, every creature or every son and daughter of man who were attuned to listen echoed back that word as a questioning sigh, “SOON?”
But others also heard that responding word and took note.
The exiled Council of Free Lords were urgently summoned from across the galaxies to gather together at the Arena, near the Gateway of Worlds—the site of the ancient portal, long closed by their enemy.
A crack in the imprisoning dimensional barrier had been discovered and probed!
Nine immortals, immense in their power beyond human reckoning, responded to the summons; channeling the infinite energy coursing though their hidden dimension, they flew at the speed of thought to their common goal.
Questions needed to be asked, again.
Ancient debates had to be reexamined and reargued: what would their enemy do? Would the barrier finally come down?
Plans begun millennia in the past required finishing touches.
He had said, “Soon!” so the time must be near!
They and the myriads who followed them would assemble at that historic place where their universe most closely touched the one they were denied. The ancient defeat finally would be rectified. Their banishment, their time of exile, would finally end.
For eons this great restriction had required that they learn and meticulously practice the fine art of extending their power—of reaching though the bars of their prison—to influence, to mold, to assist those who lived beyond. And, despite many setbacks, over long ages of time their strategy had eventually not just bourn some small fruit in the dessert, but had resulted in the teraforming of an entire barren planet! Now, most of those of the younger race had of their own volition thrown off the shackles placed on them by the Great Restrictor. Seeds of freedom, carefully planted and nurtured beyond, had blossomed into a culture ready for the liberation they could provide, ready to become an army of allies—when the wall came down.
So they gathered against that great barrier between the universes, massing in eagerness nearest to the chosen planet of testing—that ancient battlefield where they and their eternal Enemy most often faced each other in conflict; for this place marked the spot where their prophesies promised that the wall would one day crumble.
There, just beyond their reach, stood Earth, the Arena: but the time for throwing off chains had arrived.
["THE PLAYERS" should be available by mid 2010.]