Intervention of Angels Chapter Read
BOOK 1: Of Cat-like Aliens and Ape-like Aliens
Helen stared at the dead view screens as she tried to
clear her mind and plan for the trials ahead.
But her thoughts were bundled up like clothes in a
drier; twisted and confused and difficult to separate.
It was only three days since they’d left the worm-hole
and already the mission was over, ending in absolute disaster. They were all
dead. Every single one of the passengers was dead.
Twenty thousand of them; or was in eighteen thousand?
She couldn’t even get that clear in her head. They’d started out with twenty
thousand; she was sure of that. Two thousand to each suspended animation globe;
that was the plan. But what happened in the tenth globe? Two thousand
passengers entered it before they left Earth orbit, but what had the
Succ-y-Rist done to them? It had to be them; there was no other
When the life support system failed, the back-up
system should have kicked in. When the generator died, its auxiliary should
have taken over. The least that would have been expected was for the alarm
klaxon to scream its distress.
But none of this had happened.
When Helen had woken up to the absolute darkness, just
twenty-four hours earlier, even her still sleepy brain had registered the most
terrifying sound in space; that of silence. No reassuring background hum of the
hidden machinery that made life possible in this most hostile of environments,
no radio squawks to tell her that her crew members were at their stations.
The panic had clutched at her guts and she’d wanted to
roll into a ball and hide in the darkness. But she was the captain of this
ship, and the lives of her small crew and twenty thousand sleeping passengers
depended upon her being calm, professional and assured.
When she saw the sudden bright light that tossed
shadows around her cramped quarters, she’d fought back the urge to cry out and
swung her legs from her bed. Then she caught his smell, already heavy in the tiny
‘Jones,’ she’d asked. ’What’s happened?’ In her most
‘Nothing works, Sir. Life support, air, heating,
power, screens; all are down.’
‘B-but that’s not… How could it happen?’
‘No idea how. They all went at the same time; ten minutes
‘We have to sort this out quickly. How long have we
got before our air supply is compromised?’
‘Air quality will drop significantly after four or
five hours. Another couple of hours after that it won’t be breathable at all.
But before then, the temperature will have dropped low enough, so we won’t need
to worry about the air.’
Helen’s mind had been filled with fear for the twenty
thousand people, in suspended animation in the globes that made up the bulk of
the ship. Without power, how long could they last? Were they already dead?
She’d found that she couldn’t even start to think of a
solution. All those years of training hadn’t prepared her for this; the
prospect of the total loss of ship, passengers and crew.
‘We have to sort out our life support systems straight
away. Then we’ll have to see what we can do for the passengers.’
She’d paused, running the thoughts through her mind,
in a loop that threatened to have no end. Then she shook her head and looked
directly at him.
‘What can we do?’ She’d almost whispered; her voice
Jones had held up a rusty old tool box.
‘Let me see what I can do, Sir.’
The rain lashed at him as he ran, making the narrow
surface slippery and dangerous; but he thought nothing of the risk of falling
to his death to the rough, lifeless land far below. He was filled with
excitement and couldn’t wait to tell his story to his superiors at the temple,
so he sprinted along the wet surface of The Wall, his paws slapping and
splashing water onto his belly fur, his tail rigid behind him.
Despite his excitement, a small part of his feline
mind was coolly trying to work out the significance of the apparition that had
burst through the dark bulging clouds. To Perdus, there was meaning in
everything; the cloud breaks, the clean rain, and now this. It had to mean that
the days of sunshine and clarity were approaching; no other explanation was
As he ran along the gently descending slope of The
Wall, the temple came into view, a squat pyramid sitting outside the tall,
curved walls of the city. The Wall was much lower here, and would soon end
altogether, just a couple of legs above the yellow stone of the temple grounds.
‘What do you think you are doing?’ demanded the Lord
High Preacher, when he burst into the reception hall of the venerable temple.
‘You should be walking The Wall; preparing yourself for the honour that awaits
you.’ The big ginger cat flicked his tail angrily, from side to side.
Perdus ducked his head and dropped his shoulders,
showing due obeisance.
‘My Lord, forgive me, but my test was interrupted by a
His superior raised himself up onto his hind-legs, and
allowed his fangs to show.
‘Nothing should interfere with our work here, Perdus.
We serve the Twin Gods, may they bless the sky and the land, and that is all
that should concern us. You have disappointed me, kitten.’
Perdus fought against the anger at the insult, but he
couldn’t help the fur rising across his shoulders.
‘My Lord.’ He said slowly, as calmly as he could. ‘I
believe that the sight gifted to me was a direct communication from the Twin
Gods, may they bless the sky and the land.’
The Lord High Preacher stepped close enough for Perdus
to feel his hot breath.
‘Explain yourself.’ He hissed; his sharp teeth glistened
as he spoke.
‘I was fulfilling my duty and walking The Wall when
the sun broke through. I sat to enjoy the unexpected occurrence; do you know it
has been seventeen days since the last recorded cloud break?’
‘Focus, cat. Focus on the ‘apparition.’’
‘As I said; I was sitting, soaking up the warmth of
the sun instead of the damp of the rain, when I heard a roaring sound and
looked up, just in time to see it rip through the clouds and fly low over The
Wall, just twenty or thirty legs from my position.’
‘Describe it to me.’
‘It was a light grey cylinder, with triangular shapes
on each side, and it flew across the sky, at great speed, towards the sea. A
short while later, it reappeared, dipping in and out of the cloud as it flew
across the land. Then it disappeared over the Wall.’
‘And that is
the sum total of this shocking experience?’
‘Yes. Perhaps I have not explained it clearly?’
‘Clearly enough.’ Grunted the big ginger.
He dropped to his haunches and studied him for a
moment before continuing.
‘It is said that you may well be the next Interpreter
of Dreams; you are aware of that?’
Perdus tilted his head to one side in the affirmative
‘If that is truly the case, the timing of your
maturity is fortunate. There are changes coming; you have spoken of this
before, and now we have this supposed gift from the Gods.
The big cat started to groom his chest fur. Only when
he was satisfied with the results did he look up again.
‘Go home to your den, and rest. Return tomorrow at
dawn; we have much to plan before you can begin your mission.’
‘What mission is that, my Lord?’
‘Of course you will have to seek out and find this
object, wherever it has landed. You must find it and ascertain its purpose.’
‘If you have any further questions, tomorrow will be
the time to ask them.’ The Lord High Preacher turned then and leapt on to his
desk, where he dropped his head between his forepaws.
Thus dismissed, Perdus backed out of his offices, his
mind in turmoil.
The wide river flowed slowly, carrying the grey scum
down to the sea. Beneath its murky waters, a darkness hid, biding its time
until the urge for action became overwhelming.
On the far side of the river, the Apes were already
camped; their Thousand marching up and down the river bank in a martial display
of readiness; causing an edge of uncertainty in the watching cats.
‘It’s too soon,’ whispered Aysus, to the grey female
who’d invited him into her elevated lookout.
‘That’s why I called you up here. Someone needs to
know about this. If they are starting this early, what do they know that we
Blaysus looked down at him; her beautiful green eyes
made him feel weak. He was quite relieved to find that she hadn’t brought him
up here for other private, more physically demanding reasons. She was a
striking cat, but there might have been performance issues; and his heart
belonged to another.
‘I’ll tell the sarge; he’ll know what to do.’
‘Don’t mention me; I don’t want him coming up here;
Aysus knew immediately that he’d said the wrong thing.
‘I’m going now,’ he said as he turned to drop from the
lookout, leaving Blaysus behind, with her arched back and snarling teeth.
As he reached the ground, he paused. An ape had
approached the far river bank and seemed to be waving his double-head axe
directly at him. Aysus stared at it, trying to work out if the other apes
standing close to it were children, or was the ape really that big? Somehow,
although he couldn’t see its face clearly, he knew that it was grinning.
An hour later, he was racing along the straight wide
road to Hellion, hoping to get there before the light failed. He held his head
high with pride as he ran. The sarge had chosen him to deliver this important
message to the General, and that was a sign of how much he was trusted.
Hellion was almost seven leagues from the river; a
league was the distance a fit cat could cover in an hour, at a fast lope. And
Aysus was certainly a fit cat. He’d trained hard since he was little more than
a kitten to be a soldier, and he was sure that he would have made a fine one,
if his small stature had not been held against him. So, for now, he was just a
lowly messenger. But one day, he was convinced, there would come a need for a
fast, agile, clever soldier who was slightly smaller than your average
When the rain came, he was hardly surprised. In his
experience, every day is a rainy day.
He continued along the smooth, hard, road, increasing
his pace slightly to help him keep warm. His green eyes flicked from side to
side, watching out for danger from either boundary. He knew that he was safe at
this time of the day, but still, there was no harm in keeping your eyes
When the rain stopped, he paused for a moment to give
himself a good shaking, to throw off as much water as he could from his sodden
fur, then he spotted the clouds break and the sky lighten up gloriously as the
sun shone through. The sunshine didn’t reach anywhere near the road, so he
missed out on any benefit from the unexpected heat.
Then the dark grey cylinder burst from the clouds and
Aysus felt his damp hackles rise.
He couldn’t understand what he’d seen, or what it
meant; but he was wise enough to recognize a bad omen when he saw one.