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Captian Ghost and the Warriors of Evolution - CH1(Corrected)

by  Swike

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Word Count: 4075
Summary: Still fine tuning.........

Captain Ghost and the Warriors of Evolution

Chapter One

The Expected

Alex Chambers, daughter of the great and famous inventor, Sir Patrick Chambers, stood impatiently in her fathers’ study, awaiting the arrival of the new butler. She was still curious as to what had happened to Alfred. Alfred was the butler who was currently in he fathers’ employ. The inventor trusted Alfred’s calm measured opinion, whenever there was a crisis that could not easily be solved. Alex was dumbfounded as to what had become of him lately, though.
He had apparently been called away on urgent family business some weeks ago; but Alex recalled steadfastly that Alfred had once told her that he had no living relatives. It was also strange, she mused, that he had left his post at all. Father was himself away on urgent business, and had left Alfred strict instructions to “take care of things,” in his absence.
Winter had gripped the land harshly, squeezing the life from the frozen earth. A dense web of sharp, deep snow had fallen heavily in the past week or so. Even the usual warmth of Hedgerow hall was diminutive and somehow stale. Outside, talons of sharp frosty air hung like daggers on the cruel wind, making each breath uncomfortable. Over vivid thoughts would say that fingers could snap but never bleed.
The hall was an old building; full of oak panelled drawing rooms, lazy sumptuous lounges and opulent banqueting accommodation. It was just the sort of place the inventor needed to entertain dignitaries and heads of state so that they could continue to fund his work. It was just remote enough for him not to be bothered by the continual attention of the national press, (especially the tabloids!) And it was also a magnificent and well deserved status-symbol from where he could bare his proverbial buttocks to all those who had failed to believe in him! (Patrick had used this expression, to Alex, many times, reminding her that they had once endured very humble beginnings......)
Alex, on the other hand saw things slightly differently. She saw her fathers work and was inspired to learn. She wanted to fly and run unmolested through the passion she had for science. She breathed life into the world with her youth, her zeal. Alex wanted to change the world; she wanted to help people. But above all she wanted to learn. Hedgerow hall and the privileged position of being the only daughter of a world famous inventor, gave her that

She was a loner, a genius; Alex was nobody’s fool. Alex had never gone to school, but had instead been educated at home, mostly by her father and the powerful computer system that helped to run the family affairs. She had never had the disadvantage of being influenced by people her own age. This individual quality was what made Alex stand apart from the rest of her peers.
She had very few friends outside the family home. When she had been introduced to someone her own age, it was, more often than not the son or daughter of another great inventor or scientist.
The inventor’s daughter could have become sad or lonely or discontent. She could quite easily have become bored in a place like this; the nearest village was over five miles away and there were no people her own age there anyway. She could also have become bitter towards her father for all the time he spent away. But, she didn’t. Alex understood. Alex weathered it with unflinching maturity, because she knew how important the inventors work was. It wasn’t every fifteen-year-olds dad who had invented anti-gravity!
The ‘Cambers Patent Gravity Reversal Unit’ was still in prototype form, at the moment. But, it worked.
Father had, only the other day, asked that Alex and Alfred gather the staff together, in the garden room, for a little demonstration. Everyone was there: Bill the gardener was standing on a piece of newspaper, just inside the door of the conservatory. He smelt of musty compost, his fingers rough and greenish grey with muck and toil.
The aforementioned piece of newspaper had been placed there, primly, by Nanny. Strict instructions were issued from her pert lips, that there would be vast altercations if Bill were to step off the broadsheet. Bill had responded by simply tipping his sweat drenched cap in Nannies general direction, and standing sentinel still.
Tessa, the kind hearted cook was also there. She was a benevolent, round faced woman. Her plump arms were folded across her plump chest, as she awaited the arrival of her employer.
Of course Alfred was also there. Alex recalled the look of him that day with a blur of emotions. There was something about him on that day that just wasn’t Alfred. He looked tired. Old. Spent.......Alex just couldn’t put her finger on it. The family butler was always a static block of calm, taciturn character. That day he looked like a man ready to give up; ready to leave. And, leave he did, just six days later, with no explanation.........
Alex half expected her father to attach his invention to one of the guard dogs. However, Fred and Barney where not the most patient of Alsatians, and would most likely have taken exception to floating around, even if it was in the name of science. Alex doubted that her father could even get close enough to them; they even growled at him more than anybody, and he was the one who put meat in their bellies! No, Fred and Barney were Alex’s dogs. She had always had a special union with animals.
Alex and the staff were nothing, if not amused, when a large tray of piping

hot tea and cream cakes floated into the room. There were a lot of little gasps, and whispers of he’s done it, circulated around the room.
The tray was closely followed by father. He was a round barrel of a man, with wild eyes that barely hid beneath bushy brows, and thin silvery spectacles. He strode into the garden room, grinning but concentrating hard with both thumbs wrestling at the levers of a radio-control unit. He managed to set the tray and its’ contents down upon the intended target; an ornate coffee table with golden lions feet. His audience gasped anew as he spilled slops of hot liquid onto the antique Chinese carpet. The entire staff team clapped and cheered with the exception of Nanny, who merely clapped, seemingly out of politeness. She made it very publicly known that she did not approve of such behaviour; “Flying trays full of hot liquid about the place........”
Tessa, on her way back to the kitchen, was a little more complimentary of her employers efforts. “Get a proper version of that thing built quick, Mr C., and I reckons I can retire!” As the staff made their way back to whatever it was they were doing before the demonstration, they exchanged courteous glances and smiles.
Alex and Alfred, however exchanged a more knowing tête-à-tête. They knew what this breakthrough meant to Patrick. They had a fair idea, also of what it would mean to the rest of the human race.
There was still a lot of work to do, though, and that is why Patrick Chambers had taken his leave on yet another business trip. Alex had but one regret in all of this. She wished sometimes, just sometimes, that she could have a normal Dad like everybody else.
Alex’s thoughts returned to Alfred once more, and why he had so uncharacteristically taken off the way he had done. Why, also, had father sent word to Alex yesterday, that a new butler was on his way to the home? Alex had instructions to met him and make him comfortable and welcome. did this mean that Alfred was no longer with them? Was Alex ever going to see him again? DID THEY NEED A NEW BUTLER?
What was it that she wasn’t being told? Alex was frustrated.
It was typical: Father never made himself contactable whilst he was away on business. He just sent letters. There were letters of instruction to the staff. There were also letters of love and encouragement to Alex; telling of far off lands and cultures she could only dream of. When he returned this time, Alex had made up her mind to ask the inventor whether she could accompany him, when he next made one of these trips. She would be mindful of the fact that her father was no fool, so her powers of persuasion would have to be strong and her reasons genuine.
Then she remembered the other sorts of letters. These flooded in with great regularity and had a great deal of mystery surrounding them. These letters were always pounced upon by the person they were addressed to, and spirited away before prying eyes could snatch a glance. These letters were addressed to Alfred, the family butler. Alex sometimes got the feeling that

Alfred was more than just her father’s servant.......
The silence in the oak panelled study was broken by the chime of the antique grandfather clock that stood in the corner of the room. Its’ dull clunk, clunk bong began, indicating that it was now eleven o’clock. Alex spun on her heel and left the room, the new butler was now exactly on hour late.
Her exit took her on to the dusty landing. She glanced out of this window also, to no avail. There was still no sign of the new butler. “Instructions or no instructions,” she moaned with a hint of mirth in her voice. “One hour late means he will just have to forgo his official welcome, and take us as he finds us.” Alex looked herself up and down in a nearby mirror. It wasn’t very often that she checked for scruffiness, but today they were expecting company, even if the company was late.
She was rather a jumbled article. Her hair was worn in ethnic braids, pushed back with a pair of silver reading spectacles. At present, her hair appeared to be ginger, but, as was the way with fifteen-year-olds, it had been dyed so many times it was impossible to tell if this was the original hue. Her tatty green cardigan was left open, revealing a vivid purple “Acid the Hedgehog” tour t-shirt. This item of clothing was very dear to Alex, as it reminded her of one of her rare outings into the real world......
The upper half of her garments hung loosely off her slight frame. They failed to match the clothing on her bottom half, (a brown floral ’hippy’ skirt and a pair of Dutch army para-boots with rainbow laces) with any degree of style.
She had rather a small nose, sited on her round friendly, freckled face. Stunning green eyes shone with acumen from beneath painted lashes.
She stood and surveyed the hallway bellow from where she craned over the banisters, searching for signs of life. The house seemed deserted. As she made her way down the stairs, though, she could hear cook swearing to herself in the kitchen as she prepared lunch. At the bottom of the stairs was a huge wicker basket containing Fred, the oldest and largest of the two guard dogs. His breath rumbled like a freight train as he snoozed. Alex smiled as she passed him and glanced over to her bedroom door, where Barney occupied his usual vigilant spot. He, unlike Fred, was fully awake. His tail thumped out a loud dusty greeting on the ancient carpet as his young mistress approached.
Alex had every intention of doing some study, but Barney had other ideas. He leapt to his feet and bounced around scratching at Alex’s pockets. “No, Barney, I’ll take you out later. I’ve got some work to do. C.A.T.U will be wondering where I’ve got to.” C.A.T.U was another one of Patrick Chambers great inventions, “The Chambers Automatic Teaching Unit.” C.A.T.U was a computer. A computer with a difference. Patrick had cloned some of his own brain tissue, (Alex wasn’t quite sure how he had done this, and frankly didn’t really want to know) and used it to integrate the circuits. The result of this had made the computer extremely powerful, and able to learn human traits. Alex had been taught by the machine since before she could remember.

C.A.T.U was a brilliant teacher. Alex used it every day to further her knowledge of science ad the world around her. But Alex had little idea just how important her teacher would become in the weeks and months ahead. Because, all the time she was learning; becoming the genius that destiny would test to limits seldom endured by humans. For destiny had dealt Alex Chambers a very testing hand indeed. Only time would tell. Time, and a series of events that would change things forever. Like the hands of a giant clock, destiny ebbed away, sucking the unsuspecting young scientist into its’ inescapable trap.
All the time she was honing her skills that would mean life or death for millions of people.
And, all the time..............she was being watched.

* * * * *

At the same moment in time, somewhere on the other side of the known universe, the escaped convict, Swike Doonahay was under heavy attack. Blinding blue laser fire exploded on the solid metallic floor of HANGER 17. His aggressors were all around him but, for the time being, he stood in relative safety, re-loading his weapons, in the shadow of a burnt out police vehicle. (Swike was, of course, the one responsible for the vehicle being in this state; but as they say on his home planet, “You can’t fry a Vootcan without breaking its legs!” - Vootcans were aggressive dog-like creatures with eight spiky legs. They made excellent eating, but their dangerous limbs were known to continue to attack, even after the animal itself was dead.)
Swike was annoyed for several reasons: “Out of the clink two minutes, and they accuse me of trying to seduce the commissioners daughter.” He was yelling to be heard against the sounds of battle all around him, down a small communications device. The crackling reply was inaudible, which made him yell louder still. “No, Gelt! Have you got cloth ears? I said HANGER 17, not district 17! They’re going to arrest me again at this rate..........” Another huge explosion shook the ground next to where he was hidden.
Again a faint reply issued forth from the communicator.....
“Will you just get here and pick me up, and stop asking such stupid questions.”
All of a sudden he heard the sound of many booted feet, heading his way. The Police. They were mounting an attack.
He needed to get himself out of this situation, and fast. Using his superior
reflexes, Swike ducked out from behind the stricken vehicle, a gun in each of his three hands, and let off a salvo of well aimed shots. Instantly, four of the police officers fell stunned, to the hard floor.
As he rose from cover the officers caught a proper glimpse of him for the first time. He was unusually tall, even for a Phlengtarksi. His pale blue skin was heavily scarred; one particular blemish running from the back of his left ear, to the tip of his pointed chin. This made him look, for all intents and

purposes, like a very menacing individual indeed. Looks, in this case, were deceiving, but useful due to the lifestyle that he pursued.
Swikes two large, insect-like eyes flashed in the constant bombardment. His eyes gave him the advantage of knowing what was going on all around him, for they allowed him to see as a fly would. At this moment in time, this would prove more than useful, as his attackers closed in with added vigour. Not to be put off, though, Swike retaliated, sending the police officers scattering for cover.
Perhaps the most striking feature of Swike, and others of his kind, was the long prehensile tail that trailed behind him like an extra limb. On the end of this was a single hand, complete with opposable thumb. (The two limbs he had in addition to this one were in the same position as every other humanoid in the universe, but these ended in only three digits on each hand. These were huge and strong, and defunct in inch long blunted claws.)
Suddenly he bobbed out from behind the burnt out wreck, and made a run for it. He sprinted across the hanger floor, followed by sparks and shrapnel. Next, he dove into a pile of packing cases, just as one of the shots grazed his ankle. This made him swear loudly. Returning fire, angrily, Swike screamed once more into the communicator. “Just how long are you gonna’ be Gelt? I’m gettin’ fried out here!”
The reply was instant. “ ETA, Seven-point-two.”
“What!!!!??? What are you playing at?” There was laughter in his voice, but it was without humour, resembling instead something that sounded like blind panic. Another shot whizzed past Swikes’ bald head, exploding on the wall behind him.
“Sorry boss. I’m having a bit of police trouble, they’re right on my tail you know.............”,said Gelt.
Swike was now beside himself with rage. It was obvious he was going to have to make good an escape himself. He could wait for his partner in crime to rescue him no longer. “Damned oaf! That’s the last time! The last time, I tell ya. That’s the last time I trust...........anybody!” He didn’t have time, however, to wallow in self pity any longer. The distant sound of several troop-carrier engines signalled the arrival of reinforcements.
Swiftly, he fired another random salvo of shots, and bolted for the nearest exit.
The only doorway out of the hanger was a small pressure-door. Swike flung his full weight at it in the hope that it would burst open. It didn’t. Swike bounced of the metal surface and ended in a heap on the floor. (Using his bottom as a break was the last thing a criminal of his reputation should be seen to be doing.) Swike was rather embarrassed. The door was locked and vacuum sealed.
“Oh well,” he grinned, “there’s always option two.” With that he set his weapons to their maximum potency, and fired. The result was dramatic. Metal exploded everywhere in a shower of flame and molten ash. And then, still under heavy fire, Swike sprinted through the hole into the thick purple

haze beyond.
He found himself outside in a seemingly deserted area of the city, on a wide pedestrian gantry that overlooked the sprawling metropolis. Massive structures pierced the mauve sky as the nearest of the three suns set beyond the distant horizon. Although seemingly deserted, and he could see no signs of life, the sounds and smells of the city penetrated his senses. Behind him the sounds of pursuit continued.
And so, he ran on.
Swike reached the far end of the gantry, and was presented with two options. Another pressure door was immediately in front of him. He guessed that this was also locked. Just then, though, he spotted his other opportunity. A narrow fire escape ladder jutted from the gantry. Swike sprinted over to glance over the edge, just as he heard a faint cry of “He went this way. Over here.”
The choice was made. The Phlengtarksi smuggler swung out above the city, that glinted in the approaching dusk, and began the long decent to the streets bellow.
It wasn’t long before he reached the floor. He alighted from the ladder in a mutedly light alleyway. Litter was strewn everywhere and he could hear skelts scurrying amongst the filth.
Without delay, Swike began to walk briskly towards the light at the end of the alleyway. He had not gone very far when a tall hooded figure stepped out in front of him. He was dressed from head to foot in black. The only part of his body exposed were his two skeletal hands. These were wrapped in tight grey skin that let all the veins and tendons show through. It was impossible for Swike to see the face beneath the cowl. Instinct screamed a silent warning to the smuggler that this character was dangerous, and to be avoided. However, he was blocking Swikes’ way.
The stranger spoke. “I’ve been looking for you, Mr Doonahay. It would seem that you are in a little difficulty.” He raised a scrawny hand in gesture. “Why don’t you come with me? I can conceal you from the authorities.”
Swike regarded the stranger with instant mistrust. “Come with you? I don’t even know who you are or what you want. I think I’ll hide myself from the fuzz if it’s all the same to you.” With that, Swike started forward, attempting to skirt around the stranger.
Again the stranger raised his hand, only this time it was neither in gesture or inviting. Swike tried to move forward, but found that his feet had somehow become stuck fast to the floor.
“Hey,” he rasped in an incensed tone of voice. “What in frags name are you..........?”
The stranger said nothing. He continued to hold the Phlengtarksi, who was now trying with all his might to extract one of the weapons from the holster on his side. This attempt had also failed due to his arms being just as imobile as his legs. “Let me go! I’ll limb...”
“Now, now. Temper temper, Mr Doonahay.” The stranger was mocking

him in a smooth, dangerous sort of voice. “Anyway, I insist.” Then, all of a sudden, two more figures stepped out of the gloom, and positioned themselves to stand at Swikes’ shoulders. These individuals were much larger than the original stranger. Swike began to feel all hope fade as they marched him away.
It suddenly struck him, however, that he could no longer hear the police pursuing him. “Out of the wormhole and into a super nova, eh lads?”, said Swike, trying to sound confident.
All in all, this was turning out to be a really bad day.

* * * * *

Alex had been sitting at her work station for over an hour. The semi-circular room was light and airy. Impressive views of rolling rural tranquillity were on display through huge windows, in front of where Alex was sitting. The console she sat at had buttons and flashing lights, levers and joysticks. Alex took full advantage of the wheeled chair she was sitting upon, to whizz this way and that with the flick of her heel.
At that moment, Alex was vehemently studying “Atoms, and their applied applications in medicine”, as her computerised teacher looked on. C.A.T.U was a hologram, generated in mid-air by a whirring projection unit. The depiction was of a pale, human-like face that was neither male or female, and had no distinguishable features. C.A.T.U shimmered grey and green in the early afternoon sun. Hollow, empty eyes gave a slightly ghoulish appearance.
“Would you like to take a break, Alex? Your mind seems to be elsewhere today.”
Alex blushed. She looked down at her work-screen, realising that calculations that would usually have been made with ease had been fluffed and bungled. “Sorry, I...”, she began. C.A.T.U cut her short. The tone of voice was firm but sympathetic.
“There is really no need to apologise, Alex,” the computer began. “I know that you have been worried about our new arrival.”
“Yes,” she replied. “Yes, I have been rather concerned. Something may have happened to him. But more to the point, his failure to even turn up hasn’t instilled much confidence in me.”
“That is understandable,” said the smooth electronic voice.
“It’s annoying!” snapped Alex.
C.A.T.U didn’t have much of an opportunity to reply to this. The conversation was interrupted by a strange, distant noise from outside. Alex wasn’t quite sure what it was to start with, but it was loud enough and constant enough to make her stand and stalk furtively to the window.

Barney awoke and raced over to stand by Alex, growling protectively. Alex, who was usually pretty quick on the uptake, gave a flicker of recognition across her youthful face. The sound they were all hearing was that of an approaching motor-cycle.
Alex smiled, the expected butler was about to arrive.