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Allies and Enemies
Apertures Book Two
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-856-7
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 237 Pages
Published: July 2011
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

A new Apertures novel by best-selling ebook author Darrell Bain.

Betrayed by a new aperture former he is mentoring, unconscious from a head wound, Jan and his team are stranded in a hostile alternity, with enemy forces surrounding them and closing in for the kill… The exciting sequel to Apertures and the second book set in the Apertures universe.

Allies and Enemies (Excerpt)


CHAPTER ONE

I left the debriefing room at Home Base, "The Hole" to those of us who lived there, deep under the mountains of western Virginia. I was tired, dirty, and hungry from the latest mission against Panka. I’d created an aperture into the Pankan alternity to an area where we thought they were concentrating Apes-aperture formers to alternate Earths-in their own alternity. We thought they were getting ready to try infiltrating the U.K., and either taking hostages of their leaders’ families or setting off demonstration explosions, to show how easily it could be done from another alternity. We had killed three of their Apes for the loss of only two dead and several wounded ASF commandos. The Panks had also lost a good number of their troops to our surprise assault, but they didn’t count. It was their Apes who did the damage to us and our allies.

When Dad predicted there would be repercussions from us kicking the Pankans in their own alternity, their own world, off the east coast of America, he was completely on target. Their response simply took a while, that’s all. It was like he said. We wouldn’t have stood for it on our own world so why should some of our less than bright politicians have thought the Panks would on theirs? Not President Comstock, though. He knew we were in a war with the Pankan alternity as soon as he took the oath of office, right after they assassinated President Chamford. He knew it even though Congress was still refusing his request to declare war on Panka and make it official. Some of the opposition wanted to negotiate and some still didn’t believe in other alternities, despite all the evidence to the contrary, which shows just how far some people, especially politicians, can go in denying reality. Alternate worlds exist. It’s a fact and has been known to the public for the better part of a year. I think the deniers knew alternate versions of our Earth existed. They were just pretending they didn’t, or that the Pankans weren’t a threat to us while they jostled for political advantage. The opposition wasn’t all from the other party, either. A significant portion of the naysayers and weak sisters came from the same side of the aisle Comstock had run for Vice President with.

My personal belief is that he lost the declaration of war against Panka the moment those video recordings of long lines of refugees evacuating the three Pankan towns on the east coast of America in their alternity became public. Those settlements were close to where Washington, D.C. was in our world. The locations had given their Apes easy access to our capital, and they were well on their way toward launching an attack on Washington through an aperture, before being discovered. President Comstock gave the order to force the Pankans to give up the towns and territory, then left it to the military to choose how it was done. Since Jani Jenkins, my twin sister and I, Jan Jenkins, were two of the only three Apes we had at the time, we were called upon for assistance. Assistance, hell. We played a dominant role in the short, vicious little conflict and territorial cleansing by entering their alternity riding stealthed drones and hunting down their Apes with Hellfire missiles. We had an advantage because we were Naturals, able to detect other Apes from much greater distances than normal ones could, and therefore the enemy Apes had no idea we were there and couldn’t possibly detect the missiles in time to form an aperture to another world and escape. Of course there was some collateral damage, as the army called it. That meant we killed a good number of civilians along with the enemy Apes. It sickened Jani and me both, but there really wasn’t much choice.

After we disposed of the Pankan Apes, the drones began dropping leaflets demanding immediate evacuation of the inhabitants of the three towns, to another alternity. The demand also carried a warning that failure to comply would bring total destruction of the towns and the people in them.

That was six months ago. Unable to legally carry all-out war to the Pankan alternity, the ASF-Alternate Special Forces-concentrated on discovering and training as many of our own Apes as we possibly could, and pushing them into service protecting our crucial military establishments and cities. They couldn’t do much other than notify reaction teams when they sensed enemy Apes approaching or apertures from the Pankan alternity being opened. As quickly as they were detected, drones that were constantly overhead were ordered to shoot Hellfire missiles at them. That upset the liberal crowd, naturally, despite the way that the Pankan agents the Apes brought with them were infiltrating the country and learning about our culture, not to mention what they were up to in other parts of the world, none of it good.

The pacifist element in Congress kept insisting the Pankans meant no more harm than the illegal immigrants from Mexico who were just looking for work. They kept up a constant drumbeat of horror at the number of innocent Pankans who were killed by the missiles targeting their Apes, and clamored for the State Department to send diplomats to the Pankan Empire so the "misunderstanding" could be straightened out and a peaceful relationship with the Panks could begin. At the insistence of the leaders of the opposition in Congress, Colleen, my new wife, actually did crate an aperture into the Pankan Empire, and their chosen delegates passed through it to negotiate. At the pre-appointed time she created the aperture again for them to come back. They never showed up, and were never heard from again.

I don’t understand that kind of mentality at all. Apparently they weren’t even worried about what the Pankans might be up to in enemy nations here on our Earth either, and God knows what kind of trouble that would ultimately cause. We were already seeing changes in attitudes toward us by some countries, indicating the Panks were either threatening to slip in from their alternity and kill their leaders, or loan them Apes to help them carry out attacks on us and our allies. Perhaps they were helping those countries influence their other enemies besides us, but if so, I wasn’t aware of it. At ASF headquarters we were provided a weekly top secret geopolitical and military briefing, but beyond that we got our news like ordinary citizens, from the internet and what few newspapers were still struggling along in the old print format. I felt lucky to know as much as I did. Most citizens weren’t nearly as well informed.

Dad said it would take a calamity to wake up the opposition in Congress. After I listened to a few of them on the news, I believed him. It made me glad we were safely buried in the military’s most secure redoubt, deep under the mountains of Western Virginia-when we weren’t out on missions, that is. With only three of us to begin with, Jani, me, and Colleen, we were kept busy countering the Pankan maliciousness while learning as much as we could about their world in our off time. The more I saw of them the more I hated them, and not just because they had killed our Mom, either. Their culture was just plain evil, and was kept that way through propaganda, lies, and exhortations from their government that the other alternate worlds were a constant threat and must be either subdued or destroyed before they could gather enough trained Apes to invade the Pankan Empire. It was a pattern that Dad told me had been common on our own world for ages.

The Panks were right about one thing, the scarcity of Apes, and didn’t need to lie about it. We were searching frantically for potential Apes, and running them through the gamut of tests and evaluations. At first we believed only one of several hundred thousand potentials would produce an Ape under the right circumstances, being present when an Aperture was created. A regular Ape, that is. Since then our chief apertures scientist, Cantor Endicott, had managed to bring the figure down to one in ten thousand or so. However, neither our country nor those of any other alternity we knew of had discovered anyone like Jani and me. We were what was called "Natural Twapes," twin Apes of opposite sex who far outclassed regular Apes, including the single Naturals with years of training. Our capability also exceeded that of identical twin Apes, those who had to be trained in order to utilize their full talent. Natural Apes of any type were very rare and valued, but Jani and I were so rare as to be two of a kind. We were treated like royalty at times, but we had our handler and bosses like anyone else.