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Continue To The Next Chapter - Chapter 2

ARIES 1

By ... Steve Lucky

PROLOGUE

TIME : December 31, 1210
PLACE : Altair 3

While Earth was still in the Middle Ages, the third planet in the Altair system (its original name was forgotten a long time ago) had made contact with other planets in the galaxy and the people were looking forward to a new age of interstellar peace. Their only major problem was that they didn't know what to do with their hardened criminals. They didn't believe in the death penalty but they couldn't afford to keep them in jail and they certainly couldn't afford to let them loose. It seemed like a no win situation.

Then somewhere, somebody had an idea to send them into exile on some barren planet. The politicians and scientists immediately checked to see if this was feasible. The first, second, forth, and fifth planets had already been colonized and the sixth planet was incapable of supporting life even with their technology which left only the cold, rocky seventh planet. The planet was barren but, given enough supplies, they would be able to survive and prosper without posing a threat to any of the other planets in the Altair system.

As quickly as it could possibly be done, the people of Altair 3 and the surrounding colonies began gathering their captured criminals together and sent them on a one way trip to Altair 7. The plan was working even better than they had originally expected until the final ship prepared to take of f. It was then that they discovered that the most dangerous criminal of all, responsible 237 deaths officially plus well over a thousand deaths that they couldn't prove. The citizens in the area began to panic knowing that no one was safe as long as he remained free.

The government of Altair 3 realized that he had to be recaptured as quickly as possible and started the biggest man hunt in the history of the Altair system. After a long tedious effort, they recaptured him and threw him back into the ship. However, before they did, he began cursing at them and shouting threats of revenge.

"We'll get you back for this!" he yelled and predicted a day when Altair 7 would rise up and conquer Altair 3. A prediction that would haunt the people of Altair 3 in the days to come.

The exiled criminals were given only food, shelter, and the tools necessary for them to build a city. Survival was the main concern for them at the time, revenge would have to come later even though their eyes burned with hatred for the people of Altair 3 for leaving them in such dismal conditions.

At first the going was rough, over half of them died in the first few years and out of those who remained many of them were sick, but they managed to keep going. A second generation began to flourish with an easier life than the previous generation had. The third generation had even more luxuries and the fourth generation still more, eventually they had established great cities interconnected by a vast network of roads. The population grew rapidly and pretty soon it was hard to distinguish Altair 7 from some of the other colonies Altair 3 had expect for one important difference, there was no interplanetary travel. The people of Altair 7 were truly isolated from their former home.

It took them several hundred years to redevelop interplanetary travel, but when they did, they began trading on a regular basis with the other planets in the galaxy. People began to forget it was a prison planet, but they didn't. It was only a matter of time.

TIME : October 22, 1970
PLACE : Altair 7

A direct descendent of the mass murderer came into power determined to carry out the threats of his ancestor. He told his followers that it was their destiny to overthrow the government of Altair 3 and take over the entire system. He reminded them how harshly they had been treated by their own kind. They had been abandoned on a cold, rocky world with no way of reestablishing contact with their own people.

"We have always been looked upon as inferiors," he reminded them. "While they have been making contact with other planets in the galaxy, we, members of the same race, were infested with disease. Did they once bother to come and check on us to see how we were doing? Are we still being charged with the crimes committed by our ancestors?"

The people of Altair 7, although a little biased in their opinions, found his logic to be entirely accurate. They had been treated as less than human by their fellow beings, therefore, they would treat them as less than human. They had been treated as the scum of the Altair system for far too long when all of them knew that the real scum was on Altair 3. For the first time since they were exiled to Altair 7 in the first place, they had the ability to declare war on Altair 3 and be taken seriously.

The people of Altair 3 were afraid of them and they knew it. Their chosen leader was a clever man and ordered them to begin building up and arsenal immediately. He also told them to build a massive army of robots designed solely for combat. They began to receive the latest technology from the other planets, even Altair 3 trying too late to apologize for their indifference. In a few years they would attack unexpectedly causing a wave of mass destruction on Altair 3 so great that they would never recover.

TIME : October 23
PLACE : Capitol City, Triax

The surprise attack might have worked if everyone on Altair 7 desired revenge, however, a few of them disagree with the newly founded government which didn't solve any of their problems only offered a scapegoat. Most of them fled to other planets taking advantage of their new technology in interstellar travel.

Others stayed where they were and spoke out against the new government. They were hunted down and labeled "enemies of the cause", but they continued to speak out never the less. Soon word of what was happening on Altair 7 spread throughout the galaxy.

When the news reached Triax, the largest and most powerful planet in the galaxy, King Shelius V requested the other advanced planets in the galaxy to send some representatives to Capitol City, Triax for an emergency conference.

All the planets he asked sent at least one representative to the conference. They knew how real the threat on Altair 7 was and how easy it would be for a similar situation to occur anywhere in the galaxy, so they created the Milky Way Galaxy Defense (or M.W.G.D. for short) a galactic organization designed to protect the galaxy from anyone or anything that threatened galactic peace.

An M.W.G.D. base was placed on all the planets represented in the conference with its headquarters on Altair 3 so they could keep an eye on their hostile neighbors, a move which turned out later to be a mistake.

TIME : May 1, 1995
PLACE : Altair 7

The war with Altair 3 hadn't gone as well as they had expected. The other planets in the galaxy teamed up with Altair 3 and beat them in less than a year. It was a blow so devastating that the people of Altair 7 were ready to give up their dreams of conquest. Their leader was not prepared to give up so easily. He was going to defeat Altair 3 even if he had to beat the entire galaxy to do it.

Even though he had enough will power to continue, he couldn't do it alone. His most loyal followers had given up hope, the people began to stop building robots and weapons, and he was rapidly losing his status. People were starting to turn to other authority figures. Just when he thought that he was abandoned and forgotten, he was greeted by a mysterious and powerful stranger.

He was dressed completely in black with a purple visor covering his face so identity would remain unknown. Something about his very presence gave a clue to how powerful the stranger truly was, but the other one was desperate and ignored the warning signs even though his sixth sense told him he was signing his death warrant.

"I can help you conquer the rest of the Altair system," the stranger informed him bluntly. "I can help you rule the galaxy."

"What do you want from me?" the leader of Altair 7 demanded knowing the stranger wanted something from him far more than he wanted to rule the galaxy. All he wanted was to get revenge on Altair 3 for sending his ancestors into exile and the stranger seemed to know it as if revenge was what he thrived upon.

The stranger spoke slowly laying out his demands as simply as possible.

"There are things I want from you," he began. "First, I want you to make me your new second in command and then, I want you to attack the other colonies in the Altair system. This is the only time I will make this offer. You have ten seconds to respond."

"I accept," agreed his new boss with only a moments hesitation then he quickly added. "but your plan better succeed."

"It will," the stranger stated coldly with more than a hint of menace in his voice.

That night, the stranger killed his boss, who never was his boss, and took over as the ruler of Altair 7. The stranger went on to name himself the Ruler and announced to the people of Altair 7 his intentions of ruling the entire galaxy and maybe other galaxies. In spite of the death of their leader, the people of Altair 7 were willing to accept the Ruler's plans and carried out the attack on schedule.

TIME : May 3
PLACE : M.W.G.D. Headquarters

Unaware of what was happening on Altair 7, another mysterious stranger was about to present his report to the top officials at M.W.G.D. He too was dressed entirely in black except for a big, white X across his chest which is how he got his name. From their most reliable source, X himself, he was 56 years and 61 days old Alpha Memory time (59 in Earth years), yet he sounded like he was still in his thirties. Many people suspected that X came from a race with a life expectancy twice as great as most other races, but he never confirmed or denied this.

X had been protecting the innocent for most of his life, but he usually worked alone which is why it was such a surprise when he chose to join M.W.G.D. It was like the answer to a prayer, or a warning that even X would be struggling in the days to come.

Unlike the Ruler, X wore a hooded mask to cover his face so that only the eyes remained visible. His eyes seemed to reflect his current thoughts and emotions which made his seem more like a human being than a mythological figure. At the moment, his eyes reflected a feeling of helplessness as if a tragic event were about to occur that he would be powerless to stop and a feeling of hope for the future. Whatever his feeling of hope was it was far overshadowed by his feeling of doom and gloom.

"I have been observing the third planet of the star the natives call 'Sun'," X began slowly letting his eagerness show through his doubt. "Since the last report on them, well over forty years ago, they have shown remarkable progress. They have developed computer and communication skills that took other planets centuries to achieve, they are now capable of interplanetary travel and have sent probes far beyond the boundaries of their solar system, and they have started to come together as a whole. Their separate countries have started to come together in causes of international concern."

"It sounds like you think Earth has earned the right to be called a semi-advanced planet," the leader of M.W.G.D. interrupted trying to make a long story short.

"Yes," X replied nodding his head. He knew that Earth would have an important role in whatever lay ahead and making sure Earth was well protected from foreign threats had become a top priority for him. The future of the entire galaxy might depend upon it.

The leader of M.W.G.D. pondered the situation for several minutes before speaking out. He wanted to make sure his decision was the right one.

"I want you to continue to observe Earth," he said at last. "You will be placed in command on an M.W.G.D. base in the forth planet in that system so you can observe them peacefully without letting them know that we exist."

He paused briefly and then continued. "The base will contain 387 people including yourself. All of them specially trained in observing planets such as Earth. After a few years, if you still think Earth is a semi-advanced planet, I will send your recommendation to whoever I can so Earth can get what it rightfully deserves."

"I will start preparations immediately," X told him and left to do so.

TIME : May 9
PLACE : The Altair system

The Ruler's attack began. The other colonies didn't stand a chance. The Ruler was quick and cunning and knew that the longer the battle lasted, the less chance they had of victory. He had already formed an alliance with some of the other renegade planets in the galaxy and all of them attacked at once.

The colonies surrendered one by one until Altair 3 was the only thing left in the system not under the Ruler's control. The Ruler was ready to turn his attention to other systems in the galaxy, but, before he did, he had one last thing he wanted to take care of, the destruction of M.W.G.D. Headquarters.

M.W.G.D. was caught off guard just like everyone else. The Ruler and his new second in command, Yot Montesula, personally led an attack on M.W.G.D. Headquarters. In less than a minute, the place was completely demolished killing the leader and second in command of M.W.G.D. along with thousands of others.

The only bright spot was that the Ruler never managed to take over Altair 3 as he continued to expand his empire. By the turn of the century, the Ruler was in complete control of over twenty-five percent of the galaxy with no end in sight. Even X couldn't stop him, only delay him.

However, the Ruler had reached the limits of his power. Things were about to change!

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