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Attack of the Rockoids

There are moments in history when destiny and chance intertwine to alter the face of the universe forever. These are times when an action, a word, a movement, is the very catalyst for an entire series of events difficult to stop once set into motion.

No one can ever tell when such moments are about to occur. They simply happen, where the right circumstances are in place at the right time. Only then does the unstoppable avalanche begin. Whether the fall of the Roman Empire or the outbreak of the Second World War on Earth, a rush of events converged as one significant incident transformed all that subsequently came to pass.

In the recent past, the unfathomable hand of fate struck yet again, this time altering history on a galactic level in a way no one would ever realize for years to come and completely changing the lives of every intelligent being, including two completely unrelated individuals, separated by a wide gulf of space and time, who quickly found themselves at the very center of the crisis.

And that was only the beginning of the story…

Volume One, The Memoirs of Emperor Velzanar

In the blackness of space, thousands of light years from Earth, the eternal calm was rudely disturbed as two opposing fleets of spaceships approached each other thousands of kilometers above a planet of huge cities and gorgeous landscapes.

Beneath the armadas, millions of beings went through their daily routines, oblivious to the threat from space that would change their lives forever. Royal guests were present on that scenic world, on a well-deserved vacation, engrossed in planning a royal pageant—so much work, so little time.

On one of the ships, the situation was especially tense.

“We can’t do this, sir!” protested one of the senior officers. “By firing on the alien ships, we violate one of our most sacred edicts. It could be considered grounds for a court martial!”

The expansive flagship’s bridge exhibited an ocean of modern technology and industrialized architecture, rectangular shaped, with a vaulted ceiling, and a huge flat-paneled video display in front. Brightly lit control panels lined each side. The huge craft’s navigators were seated in a single row at the center.

The onlookers were stunned at the severity of the argument.

The commander’s steel blue eyes narrowed. Though their leader’s face remained couched in shadow, the crew could sense its dark, ominous look. The voice was husky, battle-worn. “If we do not fire, they will destroy us. Would you risk genocide? How dare you even suggest…”

“Sir, you’re not listening…”

“That’s enough! If you continue with this insubordination, I will remove you from the bridge and throw you into the brig. Is that clear?”

Sweat poured down the officer’s face. His eyes widened, and his face twitched nervously. After tense seconds ticked by, he responded with almost no expression at all, “Yes, sir.”

“Excellent, I’m glad you see it my way,” the commander said with the hint of a sneer.

The immense vessel moved slowly, deliberately, to the head of the fleet, and closed in on what appeared to be the enemy flagship. Without a sideways glance, the command was given in a loud, imperious voice, “Weapons officer, target the primary enemy ship and fire!”

The officer, nervous for a second, nodded and complied with the order, tears streaming down her face. She could barely contain her fears about the consequences of her actions.

In seconds, lasers of bright green and yellow shot forth, hitting their targets relentlessly. Explosions began to dot the space between the great warships, illuminating evidence of mounting casualties.

Fighter craft tried desperately to destroy the weapons batteries on massive, oval shaped vessels, but their impotent, ineffective firepower only made their enemies pause momentarily. The blasts simply rebounded off the large craft’s powerful shields and struck the fighters instead.

In this battle, it was difficult to separate the enemy from the defenders. One moment images would be vivid and intense, becoming vague, shimmering, as if viewed from a pool of water.

Suddenly the oval craft resumed fire with even greater intensity. The individual beams from the laser guns of the ship coalesced into a single, immense blast aimed straight at an enemy cruiser. The crew of the warship struggled desperately to prepare their escape pods for evacuation, but it was too late. Within seconds, a huge explosion engulfed the cruiser, and thousands of metal fragments spun wildly off into space.

The crew of a nearby cruiser, witnessing the destruction of their comrades, felt angered and frustrated at the same time. The tide of this battle had to be turned quickly. Fighters were immediately deployed to stage another attack on the impregnable laser guns, in the vain hope they would inflict some damage before any more of their ships were destroyed.

As the enemy fighters approached the deadly oval fortress, hundreds of fighters emerged from several openings within the craft. Enemy ships were outnumbered and within minutes, most of them erupted in dazzling fireworks of fire and smoke, the death cries silent in the infinite depths of space.

On the surface of the planet below, huge balls of smoke and fire filled the night sky as the battle continued, bearing mute testimony to the -conflict.

Millions of frightened inhabitants fled to protective shelters; panic-stricken females, witnessing the destruction that rained down upon them from space, sought to protect their whimpering offspring—to no avail. The planet’s death toll mounted as a result of the destructive power wrought by the horrible rain of death, the terrible bombs and intense, burning lasers. Debris from the battle above poured down without passion or prejudice. Hundreds…thousands…millions of beings perished in the wake of the onslaught. For endless moments, their death cries seemed frozen in time, as if the universe itself was about to explode.

Rather than accept the succor offered by the planetary governor’s palace guards, the Emperor and Empress chose to stand beside their fellow beings so they could all confront their fates as one; silently, bravely.

As the piercing wail of their death cries sounded across the small planet where the great battle raged overhead, on a world thousands of light-years away, a female with haunting violet eyes, delicate face—one seemingly crafted by the galaxy’s greatest sculptor—and an exquisite athletic figure, slept soundly in her bedroom.

Her bedclothes consisted of a dark blue, shimmering tunic bearing an insignia on the shoulder: a bird-like creature with wings outstretched, surrounded by a large circle.

At first, her slumber was not the least bit disturbed by the unfolding tragedy in that far-off star system. Yet, as wave after wave of sadness and pain swept over her, images of fire, destruction, and death entered her mind. She sensed the agony of all those who died at the hands of the ruthless alien murderers. She could barely contain herself; the agony was so intense her whole body shook. Tears streamed uncontrollably down her face.

Just as she thought the awesome, terrible pain was about to subside, the agony grew even worse as she sensed the death of those closest to her, the final cries uttered by the royal family of her people…her parents. Her heart felt as if it was bursting and melting away into nothingness. Her entire body seemed to be on the verge of collapse.

Suddenly, she opened her eyes, awakening from the terrible nightmare, screaming words of longing and pain in a language no human had ever uttered. Yet one human did hear the screams of agony, a man separated from the woman by a vast gulf of time and space.

Though the words were incomprehensible to him, the man could clearly decipher their meaning and could sense her agony. For a moment, time and space ceased to exist. She called out to him, pleading with him to save her from the terrible ordeal. Her anguish and longing enveloped him until he, too, cried out loud, screaming at the top of his lungs, “No, no, no!”

* * *

The alarm went off and the tall young man awakened in a cold sweat. Ray Perkins threw off the bed covers and slowly, painfully, rose to a seated position. He remained thus for a moment, and put his hands to his head and slowly brushed away the hair from his eyes. His throat felt dry, his voice hoarse, as if he had been screaming aloud for a long time. Though he was desperately drawn to the beautiful, violet-eyed woman, Ray Perkins was weary of the toll these dreams always took. While he’d managed to turn these dreams into moneymaking computer games, he didn’t know how much more he could tolerate.

After a few minutes he tried to stand, but fell, nearly knocking over his end table and clock in the process. He got up and assessed his condition, grumbling quietly to himself over his carelessness. Seeing he was uninjured, he staggered into the bathroom.

The bedroom was large, comfortably furnished with thick gray shag carpeting, two polished wooden end tables, and a long dresser. Atop the dresser stood a single small lamp, as well as several picture frames, displaying events from the past now only distant memories in Ray’s mind.

Once in the bathroom, he took a deep breath, coughed again a few times, and walked over to the mirror, staring at his unshaven face. His piercing blue eyes were bloodshot. His slightly long, curly brown hair was unkempt. The brown stubble under his chin had slowly become almost beard-like, evidence of not having shaved in a week or so. There was just the suggestion of gray about the sideburns, though otherwise Ray’s face remained clean, smooth, barely marked by lines and creases of age; quite handsome in conveying an inner sense of character, though Ray never really considered himself to be particularly attractive. His physique was thin but muscular, the product of a regular and strenuous workout regimen.

Oh, great, now I’m starting to look like my father.

He tapped some cold water onto his face, but wasn’t satisfied. In frustration, he just splashed it on in torrents. He still wore the old, faded jeans and baggy T-shirt he put on the day before.

Ray slowly walked out of the bathroom and made his way to the front door. He undid a couple of security locks and opened it with a slight squeak. He bent down, picked up the newspaper, and closed the door.

He remained extremely groggy, and he shook his head a few times to clear the cobwebs.

Ray finally began to feel awake, but figured it would take a strong cup of coffee to make him fully alert. He entered the small kitchenette area located adjacent to the living room and sat down on a dark enameled metal chair. He reached across to a long shelf and turned on the coffee maker. As the morning beverage brewed, he opened the newspaper and glanced at the headlines.

Ray passed up the spicy details of the latest lurid political scandals and haphazardly turned pages until a single small headline atop page six caught his eye. He stared at it for a moment. Long-dormant memories poured into his mind.

“This is damned unbelievable,” Ray murmured to himself, half in disbelief, half in near shock, as he began to read the article.

* * *

Government Denies Existence of Alien Bodies at Area 51:

The U.S. government has again denied a growing number of claims that it is harboring aliens from a spaceship that crashed on Earth more than sixty years ago.

On this subject, U.S. Air Force spokesman James W. Moseley argued, “Those tabloid papers and cult magazines have been raving about this stuff for years, and it’s just not true!”

Mr. Moseley emphasized the point by pounding his fist on a nearby table. “There is absolutely not the slightest chance that the Air Force is hiding alien bodies. The very idea is absurd. There are no gray aliens!”

Mr. Moseley, a public information officer for the Air Force intelligence group in Washington, was responding to the growing clamor for Congressional hearings into the activities of the military research establishment that has become known as Area 51.

Ignoring most reporters’ questions, Mr. Moseley concluded, “There is just no reason to hold hearings on this stuff. There’s nothing to it and enough government money has already been wasted on fantasies.”

Some so-called UFO scholars have long contended that the government captured beings from another planet many years ago and has kept them at the Area 51 facility for scientific research.

Kenneth J. Alpert of Atlanta, author of several well-known books on UFOs, claims to have evidence that extraterrestrials exist. He alleges that their bodies have been kept in a state of suspended animation at a top-secret laboratory inside Area 51, deep below the surface, in a chamber known as “Level S4.”

Responding to Mr. Moseley’s statement, Mr. Alpert said, “Of course they’ll deny it. They’ve been doing that for sixty years. It’s time Congress began to investigate to find out what they’ve been hiding from the people!”

Alpert added, “But I agree with them. There are no gray aliens. From what I can determine, these stories about gray-skinned, insect-like creatures are all just a smokescreen. The real aliens look almost like us, except for some minor genetic and physical differences.”

* * *

The article had been illustrated with an editorial cartoonist’s rendering of an unearthly being in a dark uniform, with a distinctive emblem affixed to its left shoulder. The alien was the classic hairless gray-skinned, bug-eyed entity that one read about in all those UFO stories. The creature wore a striking uniform bearing an insignia that consisted of a bird-like creature with wings outstretched, surrounded by a large triangle. Underneath was a caption: “UFO researcher believes reports of aliens are based on government misinformation.”

Ray put down the newspaper and tried to dismiss rising thoughts. He shook his head—the idea was outrageous, but those nasty dreams and the images they portended came back over and over again.

Ray looked at the rendition of the supposed alien creatures a couple of times and thought, absentmindedly, Gee, they didn’t really get that face right at all. This alien looks nothing like the way she was in my dream.

The images began to form again in his mind: the beautiful alien woman, her penetrating violet eyes conveying the most incredible sensation of understanding, compassion, and agony he ever felt. For a moment, Ray looked upward with a start, feeling she was staring down at him at that very moment. The vision was so vivid, he gasped. Plain as day, he saw the gleaming insignia that adorned her uniform.

He looked at the picture again and stared and stared…

The emblem—it’s a circle, not a triangle!

The vision ended, jolting him back into the real world. The vividness of the images and their sudden appearance stunned him to his very core. Ray lost his grip on his porcelain coffee cup, which fell out of his hand. The cup shattered, and the remnants of his morning beverage spilled across the floor. He stared at the carpet, unable to shake the dream’s image from his mind.

After being drummed out of military intelligence as a “burnout,” following a “routine” mission in the Middle East, he’d dreamed about the alien woman and that devastating battle in space nearly every night. The visions thrust him right in the middle of the action, almost as if he was there with a camera. He felt the death cries of millions, and saw the haunting image of the most glorious woman ever, so human, yet alien. Ray just couldn’t get her out of his mind. At times, even when he was awake, he could almost feel her looking at him and he’d abruptly turn around, but she was never there. The dream had become an obsession.

On a whim, he decided he might as well put those dreams to some use. After his military career came to a screeching halt, Ray took advantage of the knowledge of advanced computer technologies he acquired at MIT before he joined the military to please his father, and accepted odd jobs as a computer programmer. He created a computer game, “Attack of the Rockoids.” Of course, nobody but his analyst and a few close friends knew it was based on those recurring nightmares. The details were so clear, so compelling, all he had to do was write them down each morning, and weave them into his game.

The game ended up being so successful, he was contracted to create another, which he dubbed “Return of the Rockoids.”

There was one aspect he changed, though; the description of the aliens. Ray made them look insect-like, in keeping with modern folklore.

The psychiatrists thought writing that program was good therapy—eventually he’d stop having those terrible dreams. Every analyst he visited offered basically the same conclusion, except, of course, for the ones who thought he should be locked away in an institution. Once he found a way to use the dreams as inspiration for productive work, they said he was cured.

Of course, the dreams never stopped.

Maybe he should just get out more and seek some real female company for a change. He hadn’t called his girlfriend, Patricia, in weeks. Well, his publisher needed another game, and there was that deadline….

The more Ray thought about it, the more he realized it was just a silly excuse. The dreams weren’t going to disappear, no matter how many computer games he wrote.

 “I have to get to Area 51!” Ray exclaimed aloud in a deep voice that bore just a suggestion of his Georgia background. Of course, the very idea of breaking into a top-secret government agency, assuming the place really existed, was absurd. The chance of success was slim at best. If he dared, he’d probably find himself arrested and left to rot inside a government prison.

The obvious dangers of this reckless venture should have been enough to dissuade him, but he couldn’t let the thought go. The look in his eyes turned grim. Oh, what the hell…If I don’t try, I’ll never know what’s really going on.

With renewed determination dominating his thoughts now, he absentmindedly swept the broken cup away and poured himself more coffee—this time in a paper cup—and quickly gulped it down.

Ray hurried over to the phone and punched out a number on the automatic dialing keypad. He heard a few rings and a man with a gruff voice bearing a slight trace of a Latin accent answered the phone.

“Hey, Colonel Gonzales, it’s Ray Perkins.”

“Hey, Ray, nice to hear from you again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess. Sorry, I meant to stay in touch. Guess I got sidetracked after Dad died,” said Ray, as he briefly, sadly recalled his father’s death two years earlier in a plane accident. His mother took the tragedy especially hard; she died the following summer after a short, painful illness.

Ray sighed. He wasn’t one for casual gossip, but knowing Gonzales wanted to be brought up to date, he steeled himself for the questions, which came just as expected.

“You know, Ray, it’s really bad, you living out in the country all alone. You really need to find someone, settle down….”

“Manny, I was married. It didn’t work out. It happens.”

“Yeah, it didn’t work out because you left on that two-year tour of duty in the Middle East and never wrote or called her.”

“Oh, that…”

“Yeah, and didn’t Sharon run off and start screaming on mountaintops after she left you?”

“It’s called primal scream therapy, Manny, and it’s supposed to cleanse your psyche.”

“I bet it did. What ever happened to her?”

“After she got all that screaming out of her system, she went off to Alaska and did some go-go dancing. Last I heard, she got involved with some guy who runs an oil drilling company. Lives in the lap of luxury, with her two-point-two kids or whatever.”

“Are you seeing anyone now?”

“Oh, yeah, Patricia. Tall, beautiful, great body. She’s lots of fun, when I get around to seeing her.”

Although Ray couldn’t observe Gonzales’ reactions, he learned later what the old soldier thought about the situation.

Stop the chitchat and get to the point, Ray. You and I know you didn’t call just to pass the time of day, Gonzales wondered as he nervously began to pace his living room floor.

“Ray, women need attention. You can’t keep up relationships like that…” He hesitated a moment. “I know you didn’t call just to bring me up on local gossip. What’s up?”

Gonzales sat down again. His wife, Anna, always got bent out of shape when he drummed his fingers on the table; this time, he couldn’t help it. His well-honed instincts, earned during a long stint as an intelligence officer, made him suspect Ray was about to say something he shouldn’t be saying.

“I just read this story in the newspaper about aliens in Area 51….”

“Oh, that stuff,” Gonzales laughed. “Hell, they’ve been making claims about that shit for years!”

Ray’s voice became a little louder now, revealing a trace of anger and frustration. “Please, let me explain. I don’t know if it’s true or not. Something about it sounds real. That’s what the dreams are telling me.”

Gonzales just sighed a couple of times. He had heard about those recurring nightmares in excruciating detail, over and over again. He tried to be understanding, but sometimes Ray became too annoying and he’d impatiently end a call, pretending there was something that needed his immediate attention elsewhere. When Ray started writing his first computer game, basing it on his dreams, Gonzales thought Ray should promptly check back in with the mental hospital…until Rockoids became the hottest-selling computer game in the country less than a year later.

* * *

Ray remained uneasy, not knowing what Gonzales was up to. At first he was seated during the conversation, but now he got up and paced the floor.

“I don’t know what the hell I’m gonna find, but I’ve gotta get in that place. I feel there’s something…something important out there…something I gotta find. If you don’t help me, I’ll find someone who will.”

Gonzales kept silent for a moment, and sighed audibly. “Ray, this is nuts. There’s nothing weird over there. They just test new weapons, that’s all. There are no gray aliens.”

“Manny….”

“You just want to get it on with this alien chick.” Gonzales laughed aloud, but had a strong feeling he was going to regret hearing what Ray was about to say.

“Damn it, Manny, just listen to me already! She’s calling out to me. She’s somehow involved with that war in space I keep dreaming about. Her anguish, her pain, I feel it. Sometimes I even feel she’s here when I’m awake. I have to find her…I have to.

“Besides, these aliens aren’t gray. They look like us.”

* * *

Gonzales gasped. His mind raced a mile a minute.

Damn you, Frank, his thoughts turned to Ray’s late father, as if thoughts could be read in the afterlife. I can’t believe you told him that! After all we went through when we first saw that place. How could you?

Gonzales thought better of it. There was no way Ray’s father, himself a skilled intelligence professional, would spill the beans. Somehow Ray just knew…

“Please, Manny! I’ve seen her so many times; I can remember every single detail about her. Her face, body, uniform, even this one little emblem on her shoulder…”

Gonzales paused for a long time, rendered speechless. His fist nearly crashed into the coffee table, but he held off just as he was about to strike the glass with all his strength.

“Manny, are you still there?” Ray’s voice sounded urgent.

The old soldier managed to contain himself enough to stammer, “Emblem? What kind of emblem?”

“It was a large circle and inside the circle was some creature that looked like a bird with its wings stretched out.”

Again that long pause, as Gonzales lifted himself out of his lounge chair and paced back and forth. His eyes narrowed, ears perked. He listened intently, just wondering if they were listening too.

“Ray, be honest with me. Have you ever been to Area 51?”

“Manny, I’ve been to Vegas for a publishers’ convention, that’s all!”

“You’ve never been to the Groom Lake complex…” Sweat trickled down Gonzales’ face as he waited for the response.

“I swear on dad’s grave, Manny, I’ve never been there!”

Another pause, but not so long this time, followed by an audible sigh.

“Ray, very few people I know have ever seen that emblem.”

“Manny, tell me what the hell is going on here!”

“I can’t talk about it on the phone…”

“I need to know the truth. Can you get me in there?”

“We were only there a couple times…Frank and I…”

“You and dad? You knew all along, didn’t you?”

“We can’t talk about this now.”

“Damn it, Manny! I’m on my knees here! You got to get me in that place!”

Again the silence was almost deafening as Gonzales thought hard and fast. He was in the thick of it now and there was no getting out. Damn it all! Maybe Ray is the one to help me find out the truth, before it’s too late….

He demurred. This was absurd; he couldn’t risk his pension, a possible prison sentence.

How the hell would Anna ever understand this? He thought bitterly to himself.

Then the memories came, flooding over him like a tidal wave….

* * *

The streets of Saigon were in chaos. The Viet Cong forces rapidly moved into the city. The sounds of air raid alarms rang out for miles around, and people ran through the streets grabbing whatever possessions they could. Nearby buildings were in flames and smoke rapidly filled the area, only adding to the pandemonium.

Gonzales stood in the middle of the tempest, looking for his beloved. He knew he had little time left before the enemy forces entered the city and he would be trapped.

Damn it, Frank, where the hell are you?

Suddenly, there she was…his beautiful Anna with her gorgeous brown eyes, long, flowing black hair, and her petite, lithe form. Next to her stood tall, brown-haired Colonel Frank Perkins, his most loyal friend. He and Anna rushed up to Gonzales, pushing through the crowd and out into the open.

Gonzales felt overjoyed, his eyes filled with tears. As Anna came up to him, they embraced. He looked at his old friend tearfully, his gruff voice barely above a whisper, “You saved her, Frank. You saved Anna!”

Colonel Perkins answered Gonzales in a hurried tone, “Yeah, yeah, you can thank me later. Now we have to get the hell out of here!”

The trio rushed toward the end of the city as part of a nearby two-story apartment building fell from above and smashed into the ground behind them…

* * *

The memories were compelling, consuming. How could he not help Ray, regardless of the consequences?

Anna will understand, he thought, misty eyed.

He owed Frank Perkins everything for returning his beloved Anna to him. By helping Ray, Gonzales would honor his old friend’s memory, return the selfless favor he could never repay. That alone was a noble enough reason.

Gonzales managed to feign a smile and a faint chuckle. “Okay, okay, Ray, I’ll help you. But next time you fantasize about a woman, make sure she’s human.”

He took a deep breath and then said, almost tentatively, “I really shouldn’t do this…but I do know a way to get you in there. Damn it all, I owe your father a thousand times over for saving my life, for saving Anna….”

“Thanks, Manny. I don’t think you realize how much this means to me.”

* * *

Again silence filled the room. As the seconds slowly passed, Ray thought for just a moment he could hear faint crackles on the phone line and sometimes an abrupt popping sound, but he quickly dismissed the possibility the phone was being tapped. Why would the NSA be looking into his affairs after all these years? Did they suspect he might, out of the blue, want to break into a top-secret military installation?

Sweat began to pour from Ray’s brow as he considered the possibilities. All those times he thought he was being followed on dark, dusty roads when he’d go out for a long drive. Those dark-suited men at the mall that time, long ago, shortly after his first computer game was released. He deliberately altered the insignia on the aliens’ uniforms, but there was a hint of the reality.

Before his paranoia could get out of hand, Ray, with a strong force of will, managed to collect himself.

When he began to speak again, Gonzales’ voice seemed to become a whisper. “Ray, they’ve got very tight security around that place. You can’t imagine…never mind. I’ll try to do the best I can to get them off your back. But there will be guards lurking around inside the complex, and if you get caught, it’s your ass. Understand?”

“I understand perfectly,” replied Ray calmly, nodding his head as if anyone could see him.

“Good. Now you have a day’s drive ahead of you. Meet me there tomorrow night. I’ll get you in there. Trust me,” said Gonzales. He tried to sound clinical, but his voice betrayed him. “Make sure you get yourself a good night’s sleep. Take a pill or something.”

“Yeah, I’ll remember that. Must have something here to help me relax.”

Ray wasn’t one for tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or intoxicants of any sort. While his military comrades got stoned every weekend during his tour of duty, he’d stay behind in the barracks studying his computer programming books and honing the obscure martial arts skills his Asian mentor taught him.

He hung up the phone and sat in his lounge chair, lost in thought.

Maybe there was something to this secret alien laboratory business. Whatever the truth was, if he got caught, he’d probably end up behind bars or at least spend time in a mental hospital. It was foolish, all right. Still, it was something he had to do. He had a strong feeling time was of the essence. He believed those awful dreams contained a message, a message he must heed—that is, if he could figure out what it was. Who was this alien woman? Why was she calling out to him?

She was so beautiful; her face, the vision of it seemed to fill his mind, overwhelm him whenever he stopped to think about it. Was she real? Or just some cruel trick of fate taking him on an endless journey into total insanity?


Attack of the Rockoids Copyright © 1999-2016 Making The Impossible, Inc.
Attack of the Rockoids theme composed and conducted by Bruce A. Sales
Copyright © 2005 Bruce A. Sales and Gene and Grayson Steinberg