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Oberheim (Voices) by Christopher Leadem

Copyright 2002 by Christopher Leadem

OBERHEIM (Voices) a chronicle of War

Science Fiction, Approx. 90,000 Words

Copyright 2002 by Christopher Leadem, All Rights Reserved.

to Hemingway

ACT ONE

Andersen Sector Months X through XII International Year: 2410

OBERHEIM

The dawn came cool and pale. Looking down from the balcony he watched the white sun rise slowly, lighting the valleys and stalk forests below, the dark mountains behind. The only sound was that of transplanted birds in the distance, seeming unnatural in this altogether alien landscape. He heard his name called from within, but did not answer. Elonna came and stood in the glass doorway behind him, wrapped in a blanket.

"What's the matter, Eric?" He did not answer but only shook his head without turning. She stepped out onto the balcony beside him, opened the blanket with her arms and wrapped it about his shoulders. Her skin felt warm against him, but could not displace the emptiness and anxiety he felt.

"What's wrong?" she asked again, curling up against his chest.

"I don't know. It's too quiet." The girl turned her face to look out into the wind, her long hair flowing behind. She looked out at the sun, warm and sleepy-eyed, then drew back from him with a start.

"Eric, look!" Three black specks had just cleared the horizon, and were moving swiftly toward them. They flew in tight V formation, but their shapes could not yet be distinguished.

"Oh, damn. Elonna, get inside, down into the shelter. I'm going to try to contact the city."

She hurried inside. He looked back then moved to follow, but too late. A shaft of yellow light shot down from one of the ships, now nearly overhead, and he slumped to the balcony floor. Then they were gone.

She cried out and rushed and knelt beside him, lifting his shoulders. "Eric, no! Don't leave me here." She wept and put his head to her neck and rocked him back and forth, but he only lay there unmoving.

From behind the mountains came a blinding flash, followed after several hushed breaths by a deep rumbling in the distance. Then all was quiet and the city, too, was gone. She knelt holding him still, trying to remember what he said to do if this happened, but for a time could only cry. She heard the sound of smaller ships approaching but it did not register. Suddenly she knew she was in danger and must act.

She ran inside, quickly zipped into a coverall, grabbed a flask of water as she passed out of the room. She ran down the stairs, was out the door and flying toward the forest while a part of her was still on the balcony.


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