(August 20th, 1947)
(Eagle Rock Military Base)
Sodan stumbled into the moonlight, quickly looking around for pursuers, and not seeing any, he sprinted for the line of trees a few yards away. When he reached the cover offered by the foliage, he allowed himself to look back at the building that had been his prison for the last few weeks.
While they had been performing their experiments, the scientists had kept him drugged, trying different combinations, attempting to keep his powers in check. But in the last few days he had pretended to be more affected by the drugs than he had been and they had lowered the dose, allowing him to build his power enough to escape.
Sodan did not think they would miss him until the morning but he continued moving as quickly as he could. He did not know what had happened to the others, if they had been captured or not, but he headed straight to the pod chamber to make sure the Royal Four were safe and hopefully find the others.
As he made his way, he constantly checked around him to make sure he was not leading the humans to the Royal Four. When the humans discovered him missing, he suspected they would go to the main crash site to look for him. It was a couple of miles from the pod chamber, and even though he was on foot, he hoped their misdirection would give him some extra time to reach his destination. He had been injured during his incarceration but he ignored the pain and traveled quickly all night, using extra bursts of speed Antarians are capable of, as often as possible. And as the sun started to rise, he finally reached the pod chamber.
Sodan carefully let himself inside and sealed the door behind him, igniting a light above his head with an upraised hand. The chamber appeared as it had the last time he had been there and he released a tension-filled breath. He brushed a hand over the softly glowing pod closest to him and examined the embryo inside. The Royal Four and Antar's hope for the future were still safe.
He looked around the chamber carefully, noting that the healing stones and book were exactly where they had left them. Strange, he thought to himself, it appeared as if no one had been in the chamber since the day he was captured. What if the other shape shifters had been captured too? He briefly thought of the others being subjected to the same treatment he had received at the hands of the humans. If they had been captured, Sodan did not want to consider what was happening to them but there was nothing he could do to help. They would have to take care of themselves.
Now that he was free, he couldn't risk leaving the Royal Four without protection.
(August 21st, 1947)
(Eagle Rock Military Base)
Agent Lewis turned to the scientist in charge. "Dr Cantor how was the alien able to escape?"
"The technicians were afraid they were giving it too much sedation,” Cantor explained, “and lowered the dose. Apparently it was only pretending to be incoherent and when the dose was lowered, it built its strength up enough to escape."
"So it burned a hole in the cell and killed Riley," Lewis said. "But the guard on duty at the door reported that Riley left last night so it must have taken his form."
Dr Cantor nodded his agreement. "The one that escaped was particularly uncooperative and would not even speak to us, but the other has been more helpful. It’s name is Letras. It has an excellent command of the English language and it has been telling us about its shape shifting abilities. It can take the face of any human."
"We had suspected as much,” Lewis said. “That is why they escaped so easily the first time, they just used the faces of the doctors they had killed to get out of the base undetected." Lewis paused and looked at the papers in front of him. "Has the remaining alien, Letras, told you what it is doing on Earth?"
"No," said Cantor, shaking his head. "It won't say specifically why it is here but it insists they mean no harm to humans."
"No harm!" spat Lewis. "They have killed a least half a dozen humans already!"
"It claims the humans were killed in self defense," the Cantor continued.
"But why are they here and what did they do with those sacs?" Lewis demanded.
Cantor shook his head, "Letras says it doesn't know where the sacs are and it will not tell us why they are here."
Agent Lewis rose from his seat. "Because they have come to colonize the Earth."
Sodan looked around the pod chamber for any sign of the others but the undisturbed dust on the floor told him that he was the first to enter the room in the last month. He knew he couldn’t stay in the area long because the military would be searching for him. He took one last look around the room and decided he would have to continue with his mission without the others. He morphed into the guise of a drifter, gathered the healing stones and turned to open the door.
As the door slid back and sunlight filtered into the pod chamber, a glint of metal caught Sodan's eye and he noticed his pendant lying by the door, where he had left it. He slipped it over his head and fingered the symbol of Antar engraved into it. The fate of the entire planet rested on his shoulders until the King, his master, was ready to resume his role as leader, and Sodan would not let him down.
As Sodan left the pod chamber and walked into the desert, he did not notice the dark-skinned man who observed him from a near-by rock formation.
The man waited until Sodan was out of sight and then he popped a peppermint candy into his mouth. Since he had been revived, Kaldar had suffered from a constant pain in his head and whenever he changed form or used his powers, the pain became unbearable. But on one of his trips into town for supplies, he had been given a peppermint candy. He had discovered that candies helped to ease the pain in his head, and now he carried a constant supply.
Kaldar had been surprised to see Sodan after all of this time. He had suspected that the humans had killed Sodan and Letras when they recaptured them, and he had taken up the mission of protecting the Royal Four, staying near the pod chamber. But Kaldar was often confused about the events that happened around the time of the crash. He knew he had been assigned to protect the decoy clones and he should not be with the real Royal Four but he had a strong feeling that his place was here with his real master. And being somewhat empathic, Kaldar had learned to never question his feelings.
Kaldar watched silently as Sodan disappeared into the desert. He was afraid if he revealed himself to Sodan, the other shape shifter would not approve of his presence so he had remained out of sight. No matter what anyone said, he would protect the Royal Four.
(August 28th, 1947)
Kaldar had watched from one of his lookout blinds as the human military cordoned off the area around the crash site with a perimeter fence. They had been camped in the area for a week and it appeared as if they were waiting for something to happen. Kaldar suspected they were looking for him and Sodan.
The humans were camped near the main crash site, about two miles away from the pod chamber but Kaldar stayed vigilant on the off chance they discovered it. Since his revival he had avoided using his powers to keep the pain in his head at bay, but he would do anything required in order to protect the Royal Four.
(September 30th 1947)
(Eagle Rock Military Base)
Letras had tried to cooperate with the humans, hoping they would realize he was not a threat to them but there were things he could not reveal. Lewis and Cantor continued to ask him the purpose of his presence on Earth but he had remained silent. At first they had asked and cajoled but then they had started to threaten and finally they had turned to torture.
Letras had endured hours of pain over the last few weeks but he had still refused to tell the humans anything about the mission. At one point they had brought in one of the communicators and demanded he tell them how it worked. All he could think of was the Royal Four, hopefully still safe in their incubation pods and how the people on Antar were depending on them. If he showed the humans how to work the communicator he might endanger the pods by revealing their position. But after hours of continual pain he yearned for relief and concocted a lie to stop the torture.
He told Lewis and Cantor that the device was a communicator but it would not work alone, there needed to be two of them and the others had been lost in the crash.
(May 22nd, 1948)
Over the last few months Sodan had changed faces many times. Since the supposed crash, strangers were treated with suspicion and Sodan decided it was best to stay out of populated areas. He also wanted to stay relatively near the pod chamber, and after a few days search, he had discovered a cave near the Mesaliko reservation and made it his home. He gathered sustenance from the wilderness around him and tried to keep to himself.
On several occasions Sodan had sent a signal for his comrades from the woods near his dwelling, knowing they could track it to its source. Each time he had waited anxiously for days, but he had not seen any sign of Letras or Kaldar.
Sodan had been living in the cave for almost four months before he saw anyone. He had gathered his day's sustenance and was heading back to the cave when he encountered a group of children from the reservation. He came upon them suddenly, too late to avoid them, so he tried to act casual and nodded a greeting. The boys seemed curious but cautious and went on their way.
Over the next few days, he saw the boys several more times. He would nod and smile, and the boys grew bolder with each meeting, laughing and attempting to follow him. Every day for the next week, they were waiting in the same place at the same time, eager to greet him.
On the eighth day, the boys were back, but this time they were not alone, two elders from the reservation were with them.
The older man stepped toward him and Sodan waited apprehensively to see what the man would do. "The boys tell us you are living in the cave near here."
The conversation took Sodan by surprise and he answered amusedly, "The cave is not on your land."
The elder nodded. "You're right, it's not part of the reservation." The elder studied him for a moment. "We wonder though why you would want to live away from other people, others of your kind."
Sodan shrugged. "I have my reasons."
The second elder spoke up, "We are only concerned for the safety of our people."
"I do not threaten your safety," Sodan said with a smile.
The elder nodded again and at his signal they all turned back toward the reservation, one by one being swallowed by the blackness of the forest. The youngest boy stopped at the edge of the trees for one last look and then he too disappeared into the night.
When they returned to the reservation, Wind Walker met with the rest of the council to discuss their new neighbor and he related what they had learned. "As River Dog and Lou have told us, the stranger lives in a cave just beyond the bounds of the reservation. He gathers food at night and said he does not wish to be among his own kind."
A murmur of disapproval echoed around the room and Wind Walker held up his hand for silence. "The stranger also claims that he is not a threat to us."
The oldest member of the council, Grey Owl, spoke. "Why does this man avoid his people? Has he committed a crime for which he is hunted?"
"He would not tell us why, only that he has his reasons."
Grey Owl was instantly suspicious. "I believe the stranger is not a man at all but an evil spirit sent to destroy us."
Several members of the council nodded their agreement and Grey Owl continued. "We must invite the stranger to be tested in the sweat and his true nature will be revealed."
(May 23rd, 1948)
The next evening Sodan encountered only one boy as he was searching for food. The youngest boy had returned alone and he stepped forward and offered his name and a gift.
"My name is River Dog," he said holding out a handkerchief toward the man. "This is frybread and honey."
"Frybread?" Sodan asked.
"Yes." He unwrapped the handkerchief to allow the man to see the contents. "My mother made it. It's good."
Sodan cautiously reached for the bread as he eyed the boy before. "Your name is River Dog."
The boy nodded.
"Why do you come here?" Sodan asked.
River Dog shrugged, "I want to be your friend."
Sodan tasted the bread and found it a little bland, but then River Dog drizzled some of the golden honey on it and Sodan was pleased at the difference.
They moved to sit on a nearby rock as they ate. After a few moments of silence, River Dog turned to his companion. "Who are you? Why do you live in the cave?"
Sodan considered his answer for a moment and finally said, "I am simply a visitor."
(June 20th, 1948)
River Dog came to the woods every evening to see the man who called himself a visitor, and each night he would bring the man part of his dinner. River Dog enjoyed the man's company and started calling him Nasedo, the word in his language for visitor. The man had laughed and said he liked the name and River Dog was pleased. Nasedo treated him like an adult instead of a child.
On the night before the full moon River Dog made his way through the woods for his nightly visit. As he approached the cave he heard the murmur of voices ahead. Curious about who was visiting Nasedo, River Dog crept to the edge of the trees and peered through the leaves. He was surprised to see Wind Walker and two other elders talking to Nasedo. River Dog was too far away to hear the conversation and he waited until they were gone before he revealed himself.
"Nasedo, what did the elders want?" he asked as he emerged from his hiding place.
Nasedo answered him, seemingly unsurprised by his presence. "They invited me to a ceremony being held tomorrow. A sweat."
River Dog nodded, impressed. "It is an honor for an outsider to be included. Will you go?"
When the elders had invited him, Sodan's first impulse had been to decline but he had quickly reconsidered. He was likely to be living in the area for a number of years and it wouldn't hurt to be on friendly terms with the locals. He smiled at the boy, who was waiting anxiously for his answer and nodded. "I will attend."
(June 21st, 1948)
Sodan approached the village cautiously, wishing he didn't have to come so close to so many humans. It was not that he feared them but the memories of what had happened to him in the hands of the military were still fresh in his mind and he was apprehensive about what would happen if someone discovered his true nature.
Wind Walker met him at the edge of the village and led him to a small structure where the ceremony was held. They went inside to join the others who were already gathered and Sodan took a seat near the door where Wind Walker indicated.
Grey Owl waited until everyone was seated and began the chant as he poured the first ladle of water onto the hot stones.
As the herb-laced steam swirled into the air and floated around the room, Sodan started to feel strange, and after just a few seconds, he knew something was seriously wrong. He lurched to his feet and ran to the opening to get to the clear air outside but the odd sensations did not dissipate in the open and he turned to make his way back to the cave.
The members of the council looked at each other, convinced they had been right. River Dog and a couple of others rose to their feet, concerned for the visitor's health but Grey Owl intervened. "The visitor was invited here to be tested and he has failed. Do not follow him. Leave him to his fate."
River Dog settled back into his seat but he was worried for his friend and at the first opportunity, he slipped out. River Dog suspected Nasedo would head to the cave where he lived and he hurried in that direction.
He approached the mouth of the cave cautiously and called out for it's inhabitant but he received no answer. The interior of the cave was dark and he proceeded slowly inside. After several twist and turns of the passageway, River Dog realized it was becoming lighter and when he rounded the next corner, a soft yellow glow illuminated a larger room. Nasedo was sitting on the floor of the chamber with his back pressed against the wall. His face was hidden in shadow, but River Dog could see that he held two small stones in his hands.
River Dog stopped just inside the room and called out again. "Nasedo?"
"River Dog," croaked a voice that was barely recognizable. "I am ill. I need your help."
The boy crossed to him and knelt beside his friend. "How can I help you?"
Sodan raised the glowing stones so the boy could see his face.
River Dog recoiled when Nasedo's face was revealed. His eyes were white and his face was coated with a substance that resembled cobwebs. "I have never seen a sickness like that. What is wrong with you?" asked the boy.
Sodan smiled sadly wondering if his revelation would cause the boy to desert him. "I am not like you. I come from another world."
River Dog considered Nasedo for a moment and then nodded in acceptance. "I believe you. It was you who caused the lights in the sky, wasn’t it?"
Sodan nodded and waited for the boy to leave him, but when River Dog made no signs of moving, he continued in a gruff voice, "I need your help. I am too weak to heal myself."
"I will help you. Just tell me what to do."
(June 29th, 1948)
Sodan waited until dark and made his way carefully to the pod chamber. He looked around the chamber as the door slid open and stepped into the undisturbed room. He had hoped he would find evidence of Letras and Kaldar having visited the chamber but again he was disappointed. Sodan strode to the wall opposite the pods and with a brush of his hand left a message explaining where they could find him.
It had been almost a year since he had seen Kaldar or Letras and even though he had made a few acquaintances among the residents of the reservation, he missed his own kind. He yearned to hear his own language spoken and to discuss his world and his mission with the others. Sodan had never considered that he might have to spend forty years on the planet alone and it was a daunting possibility.
He turned to look at the pod containing his King. Sometimes he envied Zan for being able to sleep through this time but he did not envy Zan's future when he awoke. His King would have no memory of the past but he would have to prepare to save not only themselves but also their people back on Antar.
And not for the first time, Sodan wondered about Khivar's men who had followed them to Earth and shot their transport, causing the crash. He had seen no sign of them since the crash. To move among humans they would have to adopt some kind of disguise, because even though Antarians were humanoid, they were not human. At first he had dismissed the possibility of Khivar's troops coming to the surface of the planet because of the toxic atmosphere, but Sodan knew Khivar would have to ensure Zan's death and retrieve the Granolith to solidify his position. Yes, he thought to himself, Khivar would have ensured his troops would survive on Earth.
It was obvious Khivar’s troops hadn't been able to track the exact position of the crash or they would have arrived before the human military to finish off any survivors. It was possible they might have learned of the crash in the media and they would have searched the area, but the pod chamber was luckily a distance away from the main crash site.
Sodan's gaze wandered over the pods, the equipment, the pieces of Antar brought to Earth. This was the only place on Earth where he felt close to his home. But he would have to stay away from the pod chamber in the future. His mission had taken a few unexpected turns but the basic goals were the same and he was resolved to see it through no matter what the personal cost.
As he turned to leave, his eyes fell on the book that had been sent with them. He picked it up and flipped through the pages. The symbols on the pages were written in the Antarian language but they made no sense because they were in the royal code. Only the Royal Four were capable of deciphering the words contained in the book, but as his hands traced the symbols on the pages he felt a little closer to his home. He put the book in his pocket before he could change his mind and without a backward glance, left the pod chamber.
(June 2nd 1950)
(Eagle Rock Military Base)
"Doctor Cantor," Agent Lewis started, "we have had the creature here for almost three years and we are no closer to finding the others than we were when we first brought it here."
"No," Cantor agreed, "Letras is unusually resistant to all types of torture and persuasion. It refuses to tell us anything about its purpose on Earth and its companions."
"Its escape attempts are becoming tiresome," said Agent Lewis. "It has killed four agents in the last month. I think it has outlived its usefulness."
Cantor nodded, "I will prepare for the autopsy."
(April 12th, 1954)
Sodan stepped back to study his handiwork. Over the last few years he had meticulously studied the area and everything he had learned was included in the map he had drawn on the wall of the cave.
He had used Antarian symbols and letters to make the markings, and a legend of how to use the map. It had to be aligned with the stars in the constellation the humans called Ares, as it approached the summer solstice. Sodan had chosen the same constellation in the same position that would activate the sexual drives of the Royal Four. He thought it would be easily recognizable to the other shape shifters if they ever saw the map.
He often wondered what had happened to Letras and Kaldar. Maybe they had been captured by the humans and killed or maybe they were hiding like he was. Perhaps they would all meet at the pod chamber on the day when the pods hatched.
(September 8th, 1957)
Atherton could hear the sniggering as he left the room and knew without a doubt he was the cause of it. He had been so proud of the book when it had been published a couple of years ago but it had not been as warmly accepted as he had hoped. In fact, his fellow UFO buffs had ridiculed almost every aspect of his theories.
He paused at the outer door and took one last look back. He would have to get the evidence to prove his theories before they would believe him and he knew just were to start looking. The place where the whole thing began.
(December 1st, 1958)
Atherton had made several trips to New Mexico over the last year, searching for anyone with information about the crash or its survivors, with little luck. Those who he believed knew anything, were too scared to talk, and those who would talk just parroted the same anecdotes and B-movie plot lines.
Soon Atherton’s failing resources would force him to return to Texas permanently. If he just had a lead, he would justify any expense, but he feared he was doomed to fail.
Atherton's gaze swung around the room, taking in the faces of the usuals. He had come to be known as the crazy UFO guy and most of the patrons avoided him until they became too drunk to remember why.
His eyes turned to the door as it opened to admit a group of young men he had never seen before and he noted their arrival with interest. They were obviously from the reservation and it was unusual for them to come into the bar.
He waited patiently until they had been there over an hour and had several beers apiece before he approached them. "Can I buy you boys a round?"
They nodded eagerly and invited him to sit with them.
Atherton started the conversation casually, "So you from around here?"
"We are from the reservation."
He nodded, "My name is Atherton."
One of the boys spoke up, motioning to the others on his right, "this is Joseph and Cody and I'm Lou."
Atherton noted Lou's slurred speech and flushed face and hoped he was intoxicated enough to want to talk. "Do any of you remember when the UFO crashed about ten years ago?"
All three of the boys nodded.
"I was eleven or twelve," said Lou.
Atherton threw out his next question hoping to catch them off guard, "Did any of you see the aliens?"
The boys all laughed. Cody slapped his knee. "Yeah, there are hundreds of 'em running around in the woods. See 'em all the time."
They laughed so hard that Joseph almost fell off his chair before Lou caught him. "Do you guys remember? That's when Nasedo showed up. The elders thought he was an evil spirit and tested him in the sweat."
The three broke into convulsive laughter.
"Imagine anyone thinking that Nasedo was an evil spirit," Lou said.
Atherton waited until they had caught their breath to continue, "Who is Nasedo?"
"He is a guy who lives in a cave near the reservation," Lou explained.
"Why did the elders think he was an evil spirit?"
"He lived there alone and kept to himself and supposedly strange things had been going on in the woods, you know, unexplained lights and stuff, and they thought he was causing it. They invited him to a sweat to exorcise him."
"I guess it proved he wasn't an evil spirit," Atherton said.
Lou nodded, "No he's just a harmless guy. A little crazy maybe but not an evil spirit."
"Does he still live in the area or did the elders scare him away?" Atherton joked.
The boys laughed again and Cody answered. "Yeah, he lives in that same cave."
Atherton considered them for a moment. This 'Nasedo' was the best lead he had gotten in ages. "You know," he said, thinking quickly, "I came to this area to write a book about the history of the area and I wanted to include a chapter on your tribe. Would you introduce me to some of the elders who could tell me the legends and history?"
"Sure," said Lou. "They love to tell tales about the old ways."
(December 15th, 1958)
Over the last few years Sodan had made many friends among the residents of the reservations. He had even learned to trust a few of the humans, even though River Dog was the only human who knew his true identity. Eventually Sodan had adopted the name River Dog had given him, Nasedo. It meant visitor in their language and Sodan found it amusingly appropriate.
It had been more than ten years since the crash and Sodan had only been to the pod chamber once since he had taken up residence in the cave. Cuerena had said it was not necessary to continually oversee the pods, but in the last month Sodan had felt a growing urgency to check the condition of the pods. Then two weeks ago a new human had come to the reservation and Sodan deemed it best to keep his distance from the chamber.
The man's name was Atherton and he claimed to be writing a book about the history of the area. Sodan had been immediately suspicious and had tried to keep his contact with Atherton to a minimum but the man had sought him out on more than one occasion. Sodan tried to remain casual about Atherton's attention, to avoid arousing suspicion, but Atherton had an inquisitive mind and asked all manner of questions. He had inquired about Nasedo's reasons for living in the cave, wondering what had happened to drive him from his friends and family.
Sodan had long ago devised a story about his past that he told to humans, and he had related the same story to Atherton. He had told everyone that after the death of his wife he had become disenchanted with his life and wanted to make some fundamental changes. But he hadn't known where to start until he read "Walden" by Thoreau and had decided to live in a similar manner. So he had sold all of his possessions and moved to the cave. In essence he put his former life behind him, including his name, to start anew.
Atherton was apparently fascinated by his chosen lifestyle and used it as an excuse to spend many hours with him and a sort of friendship grew between them. At the end of the first month, Atherton confided in Sodan that he was actually in the area in search of extraterrestrial survivors from the 1947 crash.
Sodan listened to his tales of aliens amusedly. "Why do you want to find an extraterrestrial?"
"Wouldn't it be fascinating to meet a being from another planet?" Atherton asked excitedly.
Sodan just shrugged. "What if they are monsters?"
Atherton laughed, "Could monsters possess the technology to travel across space? I don't think so."
Sodan continued soberly, "Perhaps they came here to conquer Earth and enslave its people."
"Well it's possible," Atherton admitted, "but if that is what they intended, they certainly are taking their time about it. The crash was ten years ago." He shook his head, "No, I think the aliens who came here were peaceful explorers and I know plenty of people who would love to meet them."
(December 28th, 1958)
Atherton had been convinced within the first few minutes of meeting Nasedo that he was one of the aliens he had been searching for. Nasedo's speech seemed off, like English was a second language and his reactions to things seemed odd, like he was experiencing them for the first time. The more Atherton interacted with Nasedo, the more he was convinced.
He laughed at the irony of discussing aliens with an extraterrestrial, both of them pretending ignorance of their subject. Atherton had to get this alien to trust him, to open up to him. He knew it would take time and careful maneuvering on his part but it would be worth it. He would expose Nasedo as and alien and then he would have the proof he needed to clear his name and reputation.
(February 18th, 1959)
Sodan waved his hand over the leaves he had gathered, transforming them into his favorite Antarian delicacy and inhaled the aroma greedily. He placed the meal on the makeshift table and performed the same alteration to the water in his cup, changing it to Tageion ale. But before he could sit to eat it, a sound from the direction of the entrance alerted him to another's presence.
Sodan swung around surprised at the intrusion, his hand coming up automatically in defense. As he turned, the chain on which he wore Udac's pendant snagged on an outcropping of the rock wall and snapped, spilling it onto the rough, stony floor. "Who's there?" he challenged.
River Dog stepped into the light. "It's just me, Nasedo. I'm sorry I startled you."
Sodan shook his head, "It is my fault. I have grown complacent here. I will have to be more careful, especially with a stranger in the area."
Rived Dog came forward and retrieved the pendant. "Oh," he exclaimed when he saw it was broken. "I’m sorry. Maybe we can find the piece and repair it," he said as he dropped to his knees to search for the fragment.
Sodan gently lifted the young man to his feet and took the pendant from him. "No," he said simply, fingering the jagged edge. "I will wear it like it is. The break will remind me of the fragility of life and my duty."
(November 8th, 1959)
Atherton had been with the tribe for almost a year and gradually Sodan had grown to trust him. They had often talked of life on other planets and shared theories about space travel. Sodan had come to enjoy the time he spent with Atherton and considered him a friend. As the summer approached and Atherton talked of leaving, Sodan felt a sense of loss. Atherton had left for short periods before but Sodan knew he would be gone for an extended time on this occasion and perhaps he would not return.
Sodan would miss Atherton's fanciful ideas about the nature of extraterrestrial life. After the experience he and his comrades had endured with the military, Sodan had thought all humans would be fearful toward otherworldly visitors. But Atherton had shown him that not all humans were alike. Some humans looked eagerly for aliens, would welcome them, and Sodan was relieved that they had a potential ally in Atherton.
Sodan approached Atherton's car to say his farewells and wished he had a gift to give him. Unlike any other, even River Dog, Atherton had given Sodan hope in humankind. Then he remembered the pendent Udac had given him, a piece of his world brought to Earth. It was the perfect symbol of friendship between the two worlds, even if Atherton never knew the significance of it.
(November 9th, 1959)
Atherton used the key to open the secret entrance to his basement and then dropped it back into his pocket. He hadn't been home for over three months and the dust had gathered thickly on the papers he had left on the table. He quickly unpacked all of the notes he had written concerning Nasedo, loaded all of them into a box and sealed the lid. Then he withdrew the pendant Nasedo had given him. He studied it closely, tracing the design with his thumb. He suspected that this was an artifact from another world and smiled as he hung it carefully on a sculpture.
The pendant swung from side to side slowly and Atherton considered his plan of attack. In the year he had known him, Nasedo had been careful not to say or do anything that Atherton would consider otherworldly. Atherton hoped that by leaving and giving Nasedo some space he would be able to observe him and get proof positive of alien existence.
Atherton climbed the stairs and re-locked the basement door. He went into his bedroom, stuffing the few things he would need into his pack, as he reached for the phone. He was returning to the reservation but this time he would not be there as a guest but as a spy.
He dialed the number quickly and waited impatiently as it was answered. "Johnston, this is Atherton. You, more than anyone else, have scoffed at my theories but I want you to know that I have been in direct contact with an alien and soon I will have proof."
BOOK 3 - THE PRICE OF FEALTY|
Main - Part 2
Book 3 Timeline
BOOK 4 - FATE'S INTERVENTION
Alpha & Omega|
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