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SCUDDAR
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SCUDDAR Chapters 001 & 002
SCUDDAR chapters 003 & 004
SCUDDAR Chapters 005 & 006
SCUDDAR Chapters 007 & 008. WARNING contains sexual explict scenes!
SCUDDAR. Chapters 009 & 010. WARNING! Chapter 009 contains sexually explicit material.
SCUDDAR Chapters 011 & 012
SCUDDAR Chapters 013 & 014
SCUDDAR Chapters 015 & 016
SCUDDAR Chapters 017 & 018
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SCUDDAR Chapters 021 & 022
SCUDDAR Chapters 023 & 024
SCUDDAR Chapters 025 & 026
SCUDDAR Chapters 027 & 028

SCUDDAR. A sci-fi story.

Chapter Three

 

 

After the tour of the cities, it took Trevor several minutes to adjust his thoughts. It had been quite an experience. One he never dreamed possible. The clarity of the visions, unlike dreams, was amazing. He could remember every detail as well as every word spoken. The tour must have taken several hours, as the sun was setting once more. There were still questions he wanted answered, but most could wait for another time when he was rested.

 

"When are the Scuddar going to attack Earth?" he asked.

 

We don’t know. It may be soon or many of your months. They will attack when they have the need to feed again. It took a long time to absorb our people. They…‘died’… slowly over a period similar to ten of your years. We believe the Scuddar will not need to feed for some time yet.

 

The answer Trevor received only created more questions.

 

"The way you said ‘they died slowly’ implied they are not actually dead," he said. "Are they dead or alive?"

 

They are living, but apart from a few thousand, they are no longer the same. They have become Scuddar. The ones that have not yet become Scuddar have stronger resistance but they are getting fewer.

 

Trevor wondered how he would feel if only a few humans were left on his world. In spite of the ancient world wars, the human bond was very strong. Earth was overcrowded and population controls were enforced but racial differences were a thing of the past. Few humans had proper education to do any real work. That was why the clones were created. Robots, cybernetics and artificial intelligence had failed miserably by lacking human elements.

 

"What do the Scuddar look like? What kind of bodies do they have? How big are they?"

 

They are invisible to us but we understand that they are like strands of gossamer. They float and drift toward their victims. The largest is no longer than your hand.  They adhere to a victim’s head, usually at the nape of the neck. Once attached, nothing can remove them. Most individuals didn’t even know the Scuddar had attached itself until it was too late. They couldn’t feel them settle.

 

Trevor imagined a cobweb probing through the back of his neck and into his brain. He shuddered at the thought. The voice and its people expected him to destroy these creatures.

 

"How do they move?"

 

By willing themselves to be wherever they want. You could call it teleportation but it is more like the way we travel through space, only without the use of spires.

 

Trevor had delayed asking his next question as long as he could, however, the desire to know was too strong. "What can I do to destroy them? As far as I can see, the task of destroying the Scuddar is impossible.”

 

You need to enter the home of the Scuddar and destroy the nucleus. First, you must sleep and we will release the powers you possess so that you can control them. We began the moment you arrived here. Your journey from the desert to this spot was necessary for us to evaluate your endurance and abilities. Each time you were exhausted and slept, we enhanced the powers you have.

 

"Is that why the birds are always above my head?" Trevor needed to know what part the birds played. Again, he sensed the feeling in the voice. This time it was amusement.

 

The birds are creatures of this planet. We discovered that their eyes are able to see the Scuddar clearly. Through the birds eyes we can see them too. The birds are not intelligent creatures and therefore are of no use to the Scuddar. We can control the birds.

 

And the flies, thought Trevor. They had not bothered him since that first evening.

 

No. You were keeping those at bay. You have already begun to use your powers.

 

“I don’t understand. You can do all this and yet you can’t destroy the Scuddar. Why?”

 

Several reasons. We have no destructive powers. We cannot see or communicate with the Scuddar. They are invisible to us and for some unknown reason; our minds cannot reach the Scuddar’s mind. Your people had no qualms about destroying ‘dangerous’ enemies in the past and we believe you are capable of seeing the Scuddar as the birds of this planet can. We also believe that you will be able to communicate with the Scuddar.

 

The sun had set during Trevor’s conversation with the voice. The vision journey had tired him more than he realized.

 

Yes. You need sleep. You have visited fifty-two worlds and seen the ancient cities that once existed. You have done well. Rest now.

 

Trevor lay down on the grass and closed his eyes. Although mentally tired, it was the first time he had laid down to sleep without being physically exhausted. As before, sleep came swiftly.

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

The first light of dawn was spreading across the sky when Trevor awoke with an inexplicable sense of danger. He sat up, allowing his eyes adjust to the dim light, and looking around to see what danger he might be in. He hadn’t heard anything, only an unusual feeling of impending peril, like a sixth sense. Seeing nothing that appeared to be dangerous, he stood up, peering as far as the available light allowed.

 

The hairs on the back of his head stood up as he recalled the voice saying the Scuddar were invisible. His hand reached for the back of his neck, almost expecting to feel a web-like substance there. As far as he could tell, nothing had attached to him and he breathed a sigh of relief, but the sense of danger remained.

 

He walked slowly to the edge of the swamp to look in the direction of the Scuddar’s spacecraft. A dull red glow illuminated the dome, slightly brighter at the center and becoming fainter at the extreme edges.

 

A movement on the surface of the swamp caught his eye. He whirled around, crouching low in readiness for an attack. About ten feet away the vegetation on the swamp rippled then erupted. A creature about five feet tall reared up, dripping slime, mud and vegetation -- so much that he could not define its shape. He couldn’t discern any eyes but he knew it was staring at him. Its jaws opened revealing awesome fangs, long, yellow canines with sharp pointed teeth between them. The creature had an upturned snout.

 

Without warning, it rushed at him at a surprising speed. He leaped backward instinctively. A low shrub caught his foot sending him sprawling on his back and knocking his breathe out of him.

 

A clawed, webbed foot stamped on his chest as the creature’s momentum carried it over Trevor. The mud and slime from its body showering him as it passed over him. He sprang to his feet and spun around to face the beast again, crouching with arms and fingers poised like a wrestler in readiness for another attack.

 

The confused monster turned slowly, dropped on all fours and snarled. Now, Trevor saw its eyes. Yellow and wicked, they stared viciously at him as it gathered its rear legs beneath its belly.

 

Again, it attacked, springing forward, mouth wide and forward claws stretched open. Trevor waited until the last moment, and then dived to one side. Trevor winced and groaned as a claw caught his shoulder, penetrated his tunic and tore his flesh.

 

By the time he got to his feet again, the beast was charging him again. Fear and anger flooded into Trevor’s mind. He was certain he could not survive the fight without some weapon to defend himself. Once more, he waited until the monster was almost upon him before diving to one side. As before, its momentum carried the creature forward, its claws missing him by an inch or two.

 

Not knowing how long he could keep avoiding the sharp claws and teeth, Trevor looked around for something to use as a weapon. A fist sized rock lay nearby; he reached for it and rose to his feet, hurling the rock with all his strength at the beasts head as it sprang at him again. He imagined it striking and the head disintegrating.

 

A brilliant white flash almost blinded him for a split second as the rock hit. The beasts head exploded. Mud, slime and remains of the creature’s head spattered Trevor. He jumped aside as the headless beast continued its rush and passed him before falling heavily to the ground.

 

Trevor stood still, his heart racing at his narrow escape. He said a silent prayer of thanks that the voice and its people were watching over him.

 

We didn’t save you. You saved yourself. Well done. You used your powers instinctively.

 

Trevor, hardly believing his ears, looked up to the sky.

 

"Did you set this up?" he demanded.

 

Of course not. We were as surprised as you were when it attacked. However, your powers saved you.

 

"But I didn’t do anything. I was scared it was going to kill me."

 

Auto-reaction. Self-preservation. Whatever you like to call it, it is a defence mechanism that is going to help you when the time comes.

 

"So what do I do? Put myself in danger and throw rocks at every Scuddar that tries to attack me?"

 

It wasn’t the rock that killed the creature. It was something else that you did. You have other powers beside that one. You will know how and when to use them.

 

Trevor walked over to the creature he had killed. The head was gone but the rest of its body remained intact. He prodded it with his foot to make sure it was dead. For all he knew, its brain might be in its stomach or anywhere else in its body. It didn’t move and looked quite dead.

 

With his boot, Trevor scraped the slime and mud off the carcass. It had broad, muscular shoulders and strong arms that ended in webbed hands with three clawed fingers and a small thumb. Its torso, comparatively slender and almost tubular, blended into a tail about four feet long behind two short but powerful legs. Its feet were also webbed with thick claws. A mottled, greenish-gray skin covered the carcass offering a perfect camouflage in the swamp.

 

Trevor stared at it with distaste and wondered what creatures it fed on. What other monsters lived in the swamp? His thoughts turned to the owner of the voice and his people. The voice had said they were humanoid. Why did they never show themselves?

 

"Do you have bodies now or are you like the Scuddar?" He remembered the voice said his people had a collective mind like the Scuddar.

 

Yes. We have bodies. We are assembled deep in an extinct volcano on this planet. Our physical appearance is not too dissimilar to that of your people. Would you like to see us?

 

"Not if it means being paralyzed again," Trevor said, shaking his head. He didn’t mind the tour of the worlds but didn’t relish the thought of going through the numbing of his body and brain again too soon.

 

Wait.

 

Trevor waited several minutes, his curiosity increasing as each second passed.

 

Look behind you.

 

Trevor spun around. Standing a few feet away were two people, a male and a female. Comparing them to his own height of six-two, Trevor judged the male was about six feet tall. He was skinny by human standards. Wavy fair hair, almost honey blonde, fell to his shoulders. His head, a little longer than the average human’s, sported a high brow. His eyes were a deep, deep blue and apparently without pupils. A long thin nose that turned up at the end revealed he had three nostrils. He wore a thin, very loose, pale blue blouse with wide sleeves drawn in just above his elbows and around his neck. The blouse hung over white, closely fitted pants, which also covered his feet like shoes.

 

The female was shorter, about five feet eight inches tall. Her hair, also fair and wavy, reached to her waist. She, too, was thin by human standards but not as skinny as the male. The last two inches or so of her hair looked dyed green to match her blouse. Her eyes, although still deep in color, were a lighter blue and much rounder than the male’s. She was similarly dressed but her pale green blouse had strange patterns in various colors. Small, boyish breasts protruded when the breeze caused her blouse to press against her.

 

“I am Neegon. This is Losin." The man smiled, revealing small white teeth. He seemed to have some difficulty in pronouncing his words.

 

"Hello. I am Trevor Donegan." Trevor wondered whether he should bow or shake the man’s hand. He decided to do neither.

 

Neegon approached him and Losin followed.

 

"We know who you are, Trevor Donegan. I have been talking to you from the first. Losin has studied you and your mind since we found you. She was the one who discovered the talents you have that gave us hope of destroying the Scuddar. You must forgive my speech. I am not used to speaking your language. Thought transference is so much better."

 

Trevor noticed Losin seemed a little uneasy. Her eyes darted from his face to where the Scuddar were and back at regular intervals as if fearing an attack. Then she looked at Neegon and he returned her gaze.

 

"Losin believes your powers are enhanced sufficiently. She also says our people that have become absorbed by the Scuddar are succumbing more quickly now. She has just had contact with them."

 

Losin looked into Trevor’s eyes and smiled.

 

"We are very grateful for your assistance," she said. Her voice was softer than Neegon’s. "We want you to know we appreciate your help." She reached out and touched Trevor’s chin lightly with two fingers. Neegon did the same.

 

"That is our way of showing our appreciation," he explained. "Now we must return to the others. You are our friend and we want to be yours."

 

"You are our friend and we want to be yours," repeated Losin.

 

They walked away for a few feet, and then turned to face Trevor. There was a sound like a cork being pulled out of a bottle and they vanished.

 

Aware of stickiness beneath his tunic, Trevor remembered the wound he had received from the beast’s claw. Gingerly, he lifted the tunic to see how deep the wound was. It had stopped bleeding and the pain had gone.

 

Chapter Four

 

Trevor stood deep in thought for several minutes after Neegon and Lison had vanished. So much had happened in the last twenty-four hours that he needed time to organise his thoughts and emotions. He had not volunteered to be on this world or to do the things he had done since his arrival. Whenever he had tried to resist, he was somehow compelled to follow their orders. These people had taken him from his world, taken him from Gina, and now they wanted him to fight their enemy and his own.

 

He turned and looked at the headless carcass. The mud and slime was already drying on its body and beginning to cake. Lison and Neegon had said he killed the monster with his power. From the time of his abduction to the time he became paralysed prior to the tour of the worlds, he had doubts and reservations about their motives. They had taken him from his home and brought him here without his consent and without any explanation.

 

Could they have manufactured the visions? Were they fooling him to gain his confidence? If they could abduct him, then they could have easily kidnapped another.  They could have chosen some other human who was far more important, and far more powerful than he was, such as a scientist or a weapons expert.

 

Trevor looked for a suitable place to sit down and chose a patch of grass away from the dead beast and by a rock that he could rest his back against. He expected to hear the voice tell him to press on at any moment. This was the first opportunity he had had to think of his situation.

 

He went over the details of the attack again and again to make sure he was not missing anything. The fifth time he relived the incident, he recalled a white flash in his mind a split second before the monster’s head blew apart. He focussed on the flash, desperately trying to understand what had caused it. What had triggered the flash?

 

Trevor stared at the dead creature. Concentrating, he tried to will it to explode. He was still trying five minutes later when the voice spoke.

 

Believe in yourself. Believe you can do it.

 

Trevor tried again and again without success.

 

"How? How can I believe? Show me how it’s done!" shouted Trevor in frustration staring at the sky with his arms open and his fingers bent into claws.

 

Know you can do it. We can’t show you how. Just know and believe.

 

In anger, Trevor jumped to his feet. His eyes snapped toward the carcass. He saw a white flash in his mind and a split second later, the dead beast exploded before his eyes. Lumps of flesh flew in all directions. One large piece struck him in the chest and he staggered back.

 

Trevor stared at the piece of carcass that had hit him, then in amazement, his gaze shifted to the spot where the creature had been. Pieces of its body lay strewn in a wide circle.

 

You did it. Well done. Emotions such as annoyance, fear and anger appear to play a part. That is interesting.

 

The softer and gentler voice of Losin entered his mind. Neegon had said she had studied his mind, not something Trevor really appreciated but he could do nothing about it. Trevor realised she must be a psychologist or the alien equivalent. His emotions would interest her.

 

"What do you mean?" asked Trevor.

 

The biting insects annoyed you so you used your power to stop them from getting near you. You were afraid when the creature attacked so you killed it. You were angry when you failed to make it explode and then succeeded.

 

"Are you saying I have to be annoyed, frightened or angry to use this power?"

 

No. I said emotions seem to play a part. Desire is also an emotion. You can have a desire to do anything. Even a desire to destroy the Scuddar.

 

Trevor thought, I have desire. A desire to get back to Gina, to be with her. A desire to get away from this place.

 

Neegon spoke next.

 

You need to train your mind. You need to explore these powers.

 

"How many of these powers do I have?" asked Trevor. He was curious as to what he could do. Losin answered.

 

It is best you found out this for yourself. Once you have used the powers, you will understand what they do. They will come when needed. We believe it will be a spontaneous reaction to a situation you might find yourself in, Losin answered.

 

Trevor rolled his eyes skyward. That’s a great help, he thought. What if the power didn’t work when he needed it?

 

Believe in yourself. KNOW it will work, said Neegon.

 

Trevor thought that was easier said than done. He looked around him, wondering how he could train when he didn’t know what to do. The place he was at was not pleasant to be in. Pieces of the creature were scattered everywhere. Orange-coloured blood was spattered over grass and rocks. The sight disgusted him and he was beginning to think blasting the thing to pieces was a mistake.

 

As he gazed at the mess he heard a faint sound from the swamp and whirled around to see what it was. He immediately assumed a defensive position, on guard for another attack.

 

Several small creatures emerged from the edge of the swamp. They looked like huge, yellow beetles about the size of a mouse. As they crawled out of the swamp, the mud slid off their bodies as though it could not cling to them. Their mandibles repeatedly opened and closed as they came toward him. More followed as Trevor backed away. Then he saw they were not interested in him. They surrounded a piece of the flesh and began devouring it. In minutes, there were hundreds of them scurrying from one piece to another. As they became sated they returned to the swamp to be replaced by more of the hungry beetles.

 

Trevor watched fascinated. The cockroaches of this forsaken world, he thought.

 

Not exactly. These creatures rarely leave the swamp and never in such numbers. We share your fascination.

 

"They’ve never had a beast blown to smithereens before," replied Trevor. Again, Losin spoke in his head.

 

You wanted the remains to be removed and they are being removed. It is another of your powers. A lesser one but… well done.

 

In an hour, the remains of the beast had been consumed and the beetles returned to the swamp. Trevor pondered over what Losin had said. It just didn’t seem possible. He thought of how useful such a power would be back on Earth. Could he just will his apartment to clean itself? He smiled at the thought. Then he wondered about the way he had blasted the swamp creature. That could be dangerous on Earth. He was a mild tempered man but there had been times when he got angry. In all of his five years of existence, he never had cause to be afraid or experience fear on Earth, but there might be a time in the future. What if he killed someone unintentionally? He began to doubt that he wanted these powers.

 

He strolled over to the edge of the swamp to see the Scuddar’s dome about a mile away. The dull red glow he had observed earlier was invisible in daylight. Only the slight shimmering of the sky and hills beyond defined the outline of the dome. Doubts filled him and questions flooded his mind. How could he fight something he couldn’t see? How could he even get into the dome to destroy its nucleus? How would he recognise it?

 

The Neumites seemed to think he would succeed, but he had no practical experience of battle or any knowledge how he was to accomplish the task. Were they allowing their one hope to cloud their judgement? He turned away knowing there were no answers yet.

 

Trevor spent an hour or two trying to blast various rocks and shrubs but without success. He tried to use his power to clean his now very dirty tunic and pants but, again, without success. Finally, becoming bored, he gave up and lay down on the ground.

 

"Gina, will I ever see you again?" he whispered. "Will I die here and become one of the Scuddar? You would never know what happened to me, my love." He longed to hold her in his arms once more. To feel her soft, warm body pressed against his as they embraced and kissed. He wanted to see her smiling face and to caress her.

 

He considered appealing to Neegon and his people to return him to Earth without completing the mission, then recalled that the Scuddar had plans to attack Earth. He was filled with horror at the thought of Gina becoming a victim of the Scuddar. He would do anything rather than let that happen or die trying.

 

Trevor Donegan.

 

The voice was of someone Trevor had not heard before.

 

We cannot force you to do anything. We compelled you to come here but only to show you the facts and show you how you can save the people of your world. Without your help, they will surely succumb to the Scuddar as our people have.

 

The voice sounded mellow and kind with some sadness in it; the same sadness and pain that Neegon had when speaking of his people.

 

The time has come for you to decide. If you wish to return to your world, you will be taken back. You have my assurance on this. I am Meehun, the chosen leader of those that remain of us. Our hope is not only for our people and yours but also for all intelligent life wherever it may be. Think carefully about what you wish to do. Tomorrow you will begin the mission in earnest, or you will be returned to your planet.