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ELISHA LIGHTNING #1: Chasers of the Light Part 6

The Moon Hunter adjusted the controls on his starship. Outside his cockpit window, Earth’s single moon glowed from the solar light of the sun illuminating the white, crusty surface. It was blanketed with craters and mountains. The Moon Hunter saw the remnants of the lunar mission undertaken decades before by the people of the United States. A flag, the remains of a moon buggy and lunar lander sat peacefully on the barren, silent landscape. The Moon Hunter veered his spacecraft closer and rocketed over the mountaintops. He was impressed with how similar the moon of earth was to the moons of his own planet. A light began repeatedly flashing on one of his control panels.

“Where is your location, Moon Hunter? We are unable to track you.”

“I am passing the lunar moon of earth,” the Moon Hunter replied.

“There has been no authorization for such a destination. The Milky Way galaxy is not within our jurisdiction. If your presence was detected, there could be dire consequences.”

“The rulers of Baal have sent me,” the Moon Hunter answered. “I am acting on their behalf as an independent agent.”

“Our race does not answer to the empire of Baal.”

“One of the beings of the Sun, an agent of the light, has escaped to Earth. I have been charged with capturing him and returning him to Baal for harvesting.”

“Who is this being? How has he escaped?”

“His name is Solstice. During the conquest of Malwar, he jettisoned himself into space.”

“The destruction of the Sun people must always be our primary objective, not their capture. The empire of Baal is prophesied to be destroyed by the powers of the One. Harvesting the light cannot save them from their wicked ways. When you complete your mission, you will rejoin the fleet. You will bring Solstice to us and bypass any return to the empire of Baal.”

“As you wish, Stargastinon Commander,” the Moon Hunter acknowledged. He brushed his long cape to one side and switched off the communication device.

The starship soared past the moon as the blue and green orb of Earth came into view. Moon Hunter pushed several colored buttons. A computer screen blossomed to life. On the monitor, Solstice’s fiery path from Malwar to Earth was calculated and plotted.

“North American continent. Arizona,” Moon Hunter repeated from the screen. Town of Tohono. Largest structure, Canyon High School. I have found you, Solstice, follower of

the Sun.”

Professor Billings entered the house and made his way to the basement door. He opened it and walked down the stairs. Inside the basement laboratory, Solstice sat on one of the examination tables. The alien visitor was casually smiling. Professor Billings continued past him toward a large, standing cabinet.

“Did you construct this building yourself?” Solstice asked.

The storage cabinet was stocked with medical supplies. Professor Billings removed a blood pressure gauge.

“I don’t want you to be nervous,” he said. “I just want to conduct a basic medical examination on you.”

“I have no reason to be nervous, Professor Billings. Elisha Lightning helped me. She brought me to you. I have no reason not to trust you. I ask you again, did you construct this building yourself?”

Professor Billings sat down on a stool next to Solstice. He wrapped the black strap around the alien’s arm and attached the velcro together. He gazed around the laboratory. The walls were solid concrete. The floor space stretched across an acre of open underground space. There were several stations in the lab. The medical station, where Solstice now sat, was near the chemical station which was full of rows of parallel tables, test tubes and microscopes. There was a dedicated research library, a sitting area with desks, a kitchen with tables and chairs and a computer room. There was also a makeshift running track and various pieces of exercise equipment. Temporary cubicle walls separated each area. Storage cabinets lined the walls. Large overhead lights hung from the ceiling.

“No,” he replied. “I didn’t actually build it.”

“How did it come to be here?”

“I found it really,” Professor Billings replied. “It’s an old military bunker dug out and cemented in by the federal government. It was used for bomb and missile testing decades ago. They tell me it dates back to the 1940s. Take a deep breath.”

Solstice inhaled. Professor Billings pumped the small, rubber ball. Solstice didn’t flinch as the strap tightened on his arm.

“My brother had his own construction company years ago,” he continued. “He liked to speculate on land. He was sure this area would really boom someday and the prices were cheap. He built the house. He gave it to me. I liked the isolated nature of the place. It was a perfect place for a man just out of university to start a family. Back then I was young and thought I was going to cure some disease like cancer or something. Exhale.”

Solstice exhaled. Professor Billings studied the blood pressure gauge.

“I didn’t get a reading,” he remarked. “Let’s try it again.”

“Did you do that?” Solstice asked.

“Do what?”

“Cure a disease called cancer?”

“No,” Professor Billings shrugged. “No, I didn’t. Inhale.”

Solstice took a deep breath. Professor Billings pumped the rubber ball.

“Life happened,” he continued. “I got a position up north with the Sage Corporation and we moved to Boston. Got fired from there and took a temporary teaching position at a school in Baltimore. I tried my hand at independent research for several years, relying on grants and private funding. I always held on to this place, taking whatever money I could put together and purchasing equipment. Exhale.”

Professor Billings studied the blood pressure gauge with amazement.

“That is so strange,” he said. “Inhale. So anyway, my experiments and research never amounted to much, just cost a fortune and my marriage. We eventually lost everything so my daughter and I ended up back here in Tohono.”

“You leave out the most important things about your life,” Solstice calmly said.

“Exhale,” Professor Billings instructed. He studied the blood pressure gauge again. “How is that possible?”

“How is what possible?”

“You have no blood pressure.”

“That is a simple answer,” Solstice replied. “I have no blood.”

“How can you have no blood pressure?” Professor Billings asked in disbelief.

“That is a simple answer as well,” Solstice repeated. “Because, I have no blood to pressurize.”

“May I take a sample?” Professor Billings questioned.

“Of what may I give you a sample of?”

“Your blood.” Professor Billings stood up from the stool and walked over to the medical cabinet. He removed a plastic package containing a small needle. He tore open the package.

“As I stated before, Professor Billings, I have no blood to provide. My body is sustained by the power of the Light.”

“Are you able to roll up your sleeve?” Professor Billings asked. “This is a special instrument. It won’t hurt you.”

“Absolutely,” Solstice replied. He stretched out his arm. “But, this attempt to draw blood will be a meaningless exercise other than to expand your knowledge of my people.”

Solstice reached down and began to roll up the sleeve on his uniform.

Immediately, a bright ray of white light gushed out, blinding Professor Billings and knocking him to the floor. He tripped over the stool and dropped the needle.

“Aaargh!” he shouted out, as he tried to cover his eyes. “What is that?”

Solstice rolled the sleeve back down on his uniform.

“You have no bones. You have no skin. You have no circulatory structure,” Professor Billings shockingly remarked. “How is that possible?”

“I am in need of none of those things. I am powered by the Light,” Solstice said. He pointed toward Professor Billings’ cross necklace. “You must believe in the Light. You wear its symbol.”

“What do you mean by the Light?”

“The source of all that is good,” Solstice replied. “The Light is the creator of all things existing in your universe and mine. It is the reason for all being and the very state of being itself.”

“Do you mean like God?”

“Yes. There are also realms that refer to him as the King.”

“Of course, I do,” Professor Billings said as he struggled back to his feet. “I’ve given most of my life in service to God.”

“Then your life is not the failure that you have portrayed,” Solstice commented. “How do you know of the Moon Hunters?”

“It may sound strange to you, Solstice, but I was once part of an organization that had to do battle with them.”

“Did you defeat the Moon Hunters?”

“Barely,” Professor Billings remarked. “Why would they be interested in your people? The Moon Hunters are an elite group of soldiers employed by the Stargast Empire. Their galaxy is thousands of light years from earth.”

“They have aligned themselves with Baal,” Solstice replied. “Baal exists in a realm outside of your own.”

“Baal? I can’t say that I am familiar with them. We will have to continue this discussion in the morning,” Professor Billings said. He walked over to another cabinet and removed some blankets. He placed them on the examination table. “I don’t know if you’ll need these things or not. It can get cold down here.”

“I have travelled through the coldness of space,” Solstice said. “The temperatures on your planet do not trouble me.”

“I’ll leave them there. Just in case, you change your mind.”

“And Elisha Lightning, does she protect you?” Solstice questioned. “She is a gifted being.”

“I don’t know that I would count on her,” Professor Billings shrugged. “She can be somewhat unpredictable.”

Professor Billings started up the stairs.

“May I ask of you one more thing?” Solstice remarked.

“Of course.”

“You spoke of your brother, the one who built this place. Whatever became of him?”

“I failed him,” Professor Billings sadly said. His face tightened as he reached under his glasses and wiped a tear from his eye. “My brother passed away a decade or so ago. He passed away from that disease known as cancer. Lung cancer, actually. I wonder if he ever saw that light, that light you spoke of. Good night, Solstice. Try to get some sleep.”


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