The Shadow Masters are a ruthless terrorist organization...
Ruins of the Great Library
July 28, 4127
Eirelav prepared her day the way she always does. Her breakfast consisting of hot maza, a coarse grain, seasoned and cooked with water and a power drink full of nutrients. Reviewing her calendar, she was reminded that she had an appointment at the clinic for the purpose of harvesting her eggs. Part of the fallout from the use of thermal nuclear devices was that of those that survived, many were rendered sterile. The early scientists struggled to keep the human race from becoming extinct by using cloning technology found in the vault. Since Eirelav was born naturally, donating to the collective gene pool was her way of contributing to the effort in repopulating the planet. The procedure was not mandated by the New Order but was highly encouraged as a measure to increase the success rate at the cloning farms.
Chuckling, Eirelav tried to imagine little clones of herself running around the neighborhood. She knew of course that the Genetic Engineers would alter the appearance of the children to closely match others in the community, but the thought still struck her as funny.
The New Order assigned the task of raising these cloned children to citizens meeting the Civil Union requirement. This union is a permanent relationship between two citizens for the purpose of living together for life. Relationships between two members of the same sex were irrelevant for raising cloned children. However, The New Order encouraged relationships between those of the opposite sex. Eirelav wondered if she would find her life mate among the citizens in her community.
The Genetic Engineers also cloned extinct animal species, using DNA remnants from fossilized bones and technology discovered in the ancient Vault. Their goal was to reintroduce the species to the wilderness in an attempt to repopulate the ecosystem
Legends of Legion
The 17th Son
The Shadow Masters
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G.W. Shrub had just been elected the new leader in the freethinking nation of Acirema and looked forward to his new position with excited enthusiasm. G.W. had always wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, to lead the most powerful nation in the modern world. He had been visiting a third-grade class with his wife at an elementary school promoting his, “No child left behind policy,” when he got the news about the attacks from one of his security personnel.
“Mr. President!” shouted General Powell.
G.W. was snapped back into reality by the General.
“Mr. President, we need to leave right now!”
“Yes, yes of course.” G.W. replied.
G.W. followed the general, along with a full compliment of combat military units, to a black VUS transportation vehicle waiting for them outside. As he got into the vehicle, the general slid in beside him. The VUS immediately sped off toward East Park.
“What’s going on general?”
“It appears that we are under attack by Shadow Masters sir.”
The Shadow Masters are a ruthless terrorist organization that operates from halfway across the world. They are well-known in the Bara countries for committing unspeakable evil deeds. They are best described as radical fundamentalists. If you did not believe as they did about living your life according to the wishes of their higher power, then you were targeted for death. The Shadow Masters do not belong to any particular country; however, they operate out of safe States, those countries that think as they do. That way they would not be held responsible for the despicable acts they committed. Some Shadow Masters prefer committing suicide by strapping explosives to their bodies, or driving transport vehicles filled with explosives, when spreading their death and destruction. Others are thieves in the night, killing indiscriminately before disappearing in plain sight. Hence, the origin of the name, Shadow Masters. They show no mercy, preferring to kill civilians, in large numbers, for shock effect. Acirema, generally speaking, did not have to worry about them because the Shadow Masters had to cross the oceans to reach it. It would seem that this was no longer an impediment for them now.
The leader of the Shadow Masters is Nib Nedal. Nib Nedal was born into a wealthy family. He is the 17th son to a successful contractor in the country of Aibara. His father does not share his radical views and Aibara banned him from the country long ago. Nedal vowed to punish Aibara for not enforcing the laws governing his religious beliefs. He fled east, to the country of Nahgfa where the Nabilat tribesmen share his radical views. Nib Nedal operates with relative impunity in that country, spreading his hatred wherever he can.
“Shadow Masters! How did they get past our security?” G.W. was now furious.
“We don’t know sir, but they're not done yet.”
“Not done yet!” G.W was almost shouting now. “What do you mean not done yet?”
“Mr. President, I’ve just received word that the Octagon in the Capital city has also been hit by a civilian air transport.”
“Has anything else been hit?”
“Not that I’m aware of, however, there are more than two thousand air transports still in the air and we don’t know how many are controlled by the Shadow Masters.”
When will this nightmare end? G.W. wondered.
“All right, here’s what I want you to do. Ground all air transports that haven’t taken off and order all air transports currently in the air to land immediately.”
“Yes sir Mr. President.”
The VUS arrived at East Park where a Military Black Hawk was waiting. G.W. and the General boarded the war bird and headed for a military base. This military base had the ability to track all air traffic and could order a strike, if necessary, anywhere in the land of Legion.
The war bird hovered for a moment over the landing pad before softly touching down. G.W. was immediately rushed to the situation room inside the mountain. G.W. is awestruck by the operation center. In front of him sat a large iridescent screen of the nation filled with blue and red dots slowly moving around. General Powell explained to G.W. that the blue dots represented civilian air transport planes and the red dots were military war birds. The Director of Operations quickly briefed General Powell with new information about the ongoing attacks.
General Powell approached G.W. and informed him that one air transport plane, flight 39 with thirty-seven civilian passengers and crew members, had failed to comply with the order to land and that war birds were on their way to intercept it. “I’m going to open a channel to the pilots so you can hear what’s happening Mr. President.”
“Gold Eagle One to Red Fox, Bogey is failing to comply, repeat, Bogey fails to comply, over.”
“Roger Gold Eagle One. Try to get a visual on the flight crew, Red Fox, over."
“Roger, Red Fox.”
Gen. Powel turned to the President and informed him that there were reports from an air phone operator that a citizen aboard that flight had reported a hijack.
“Mr. President it is my belief that this plane is going to be used as missile on a target, like the others. We may have to take this plane out before it causes more damage.”
Horrified, G.W. looked the general in the eyes and said. “With all due respect general, that is one of our own planes, with civilians on board.”
“Not anymore.” Replied Gen. Powel.
The President was stunned by the general’s comment. He was right of course, but he dreaded the decision. How would the citizens of Acirema react if they found out their own government shot down a civilian transport plane?
“Mr. President, I need that order now!”
“Very well, you have my authorization to shoot it down.”
General Powell issued the order to the pilots himself.
“Gold Eagle One, this is General Powell from 'A' Command.”
“Roger Command, we read you loud and clear, over.”
“Gold Eagle One, I have a presidential order to take out the target, do you copy? Over.”
There was a five-second pause before the pilot responded.
“Gold Eagle One to Command, request confirmation of order to take out the target, over.”
“Gold Eagle One, this is General Powell from 'A' Command, authorization is niner, six, three, Alpha Omega Delta, over. You are to take out the target using cannon fire only, repeat take out the target using cannon fire only. Do you copy? Over.”
There was another five-second delay before the pilot responded.
“Affirmative, 'A' command, acquiring target for cannon fire.”
Unknown to the President or General, the passengers of flight 39, were planning a revolt to take the plane back from the hijackers themselves.
It was a cool September day as an ordinary man named Dot Beamer boarded flight 39 at Krawen’s municipal airport. He was headed back home on the west coast after completing a weeklong business trip. Dot was looking forward to going home. He missed his family terribly. He was relieved to see that the large transport plane was fairly empty of passengers. Perhaps, he thought, he could get some much-needed rest from all the meetings he had to attend while in Krawen. Dot went to his assigned seat at the mid-section of the plane and buckled up for the takeoff. Once airborne, Dot looked out his window and is greeted with a crystal clear blue sky.
“Nice day today,” commented the passenger to his left.
“Yes, it’s really beautiful.” .
After reaching a cruising altitude, the flight attendant said everyone could now unbuckle and enjoy the trip. Dot unbuckled his seat belt and reclined his seat for that much-needed nap. As he closed his eyes, he thought about his wife, and how glad he is going to be when he got home.
Dot was startled awake by the sudden drop in altitude of the transport plane.
A foreign voice, speaking in broken English, came over the onboard intercom.
'Ladies and gentlemen: Here the captain, please sit down keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board. So, sit.'
A look of fear came over all the passengers as they started whispering amongst themselves. Dot grabbed his cell phone and tried to call his wife. He noticed other passengers doing the same.
“In flight operator, how may I direct your call?”
“Yes, my name is Dot Beamer, and I need to place an urgent call to my wife. Our plane has been hijacked.”
“Did you say your plane has been hijacked?”
“Yes, that’s what I said. The plane has been hijacked! Now I need to talk with my wife, can you patch me through?”
“I’ll try Mr. Beamer, please hold for the connection.”
Dot could hear the many rings of the telephone at his residence. Come on, pick
up the phone, he was beginning to panic.
“There appears to be no answer at this number, Mr. Beamer, the operator cut in. But please hold for my supervisor, do not hang up.”
Dot looked over the shoulder of the passenger in front of him. He could see a man holding what appeared to be a razor, or box cutter to one of the flight attendant’s throat. The woman was screaming and struggling with the hijacker. The hijacker had a red bandanna on his head and a wild look in his eyes. To the passenger’s horror, the man then slit her throat and she crumpled to the floor.
The hijacker then addressed the passengers, again with broken English.
“This plane hijacked, we have bomb, stay in seat, nobody get hurt.”
The air phone operator came back on the line as Dot ducked back behind the passenger in front of him.
“Mr. Beamer, I have an IBF officer here that wants to talk with you.”
“Put him on,” Dot whispered.
“Mr. Beamer, this is field agent Morris. Do you know how many hijackers there are?”
“I don’t know,” Dot replied, “but they damn sure mean business, one of them just killed a flight attendant.”
“What kind of weapons do they have?”
“This guy used a knife, or razor to kill the flight attendant. I don’t know about the others.”
“Mr. Beamer, I don’t know how to tell you this, but we believe you’re on a doomed flight.”
“Exactly what I said Mr. Beamer, you're on a doomed flight. We’ve had two planes crash into buildings at the City of Towers and one at the Octagon in the Capital. We believe that your fight is going to target the Presidential Palace.”
Dot could not believe what he was being told by the IBF agent. He had heard some whispering from the other passengers about other planes that were hijacked, but he didn’t know that he was on a suicide mission. He immediately thought about his wife and wondered how she would cope without him. Dot was angry with the hijackers who were callously wasting passengers’ lives to promote their own hatred. He didn’t care if they killed themselves, but he damn sure didn’t like the idea of them killing him. He decided he wasn’t going down without a fight.
“I can’t believe this," replied Dot; "you mean that they are intentionally crashing the planes into buildings?”
“That’s correct Mr. Beamer, now listen carefully, do you think that you and the other passengers can regain control of the plane?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll pass the word around.”
“Good," the agent continued, "here’s what I recommend, get as many passengers as you can to rush the cockpit, it may be your only chance.”
“All right, there are about six other people around me that are willing to try.”
“Good luck, Mr. Beamer.”
“One more thing Agent Morris, tell the air phone operator to keep trying to reach my wife. Tell her......Tell her I love her.”
“I’ll do that Mr. Beamer.”
Before the line went dead the agent could hear Dot saying, “Let’s Roll”
The air transport plane rolled left and then nosedived into the ground at 580 miles per hour killing all 37 passengers and members of the crew. The citizens of Somerset hardly knew what had happened. Some heard loud booms, shortly before the crash, as emergency response teams rushed to the crash site.
Eirelav felt sorry for President Shrub. Making a decision to shoot down a plane full of citizens must have been a hard choice. She felt even worse for Dot, who failed to retake the plane from the Shadow Masters. He was indeed a hero. Most of all, Eirelav sympathized with the country of Acirema for the vicious attack by the Shadow Masters.