53 min readJul 11, 2021


Little People. 14k Aliens come to Earth 75,000 years ago, bringing a monster with them.

A spaceship carrying a dreaded humanoid monster crashes near New Zealand. Even confined, the immortal creature threatens mankind.

All lizard names start with an “L”. Humanoid males with “M” and females with “F”.
— — — — — — — — —

A giant lizard resembling a Komodo dragon lay motionless. Hidden in the shallows of a small river formed by moisture seeping from a volcanic mountain, the monster waited. It hadn’t eaten for a week, having slept for that length of time after its last meal. Now it was hungry again. Becoming sluggish as evening came close, cooling the atmosphere. The year, 73,000 BCA. Submerged except for eyes and nose, it waited for food to come to it.

The lizard’s eyes swung to a movement in the brush as a pig’s snout emerged, angry red eyes peering anxiously around for enemies. Seeing none, the lean boar ventured warily from concealment. Pausing for flight, it waited and watched until feeling safe before dashing to the water’s edge and dipping its head to drink.

Gliding slowly through the water, a silent and deadly arrow, the lizard approached its prey. Sensing danger, the pig turned to flee. Too late, as massive jaws emerged and closed over its hindquarters. Squealing, the panicked porcine victim struggled to get loose. The lizard lifted its head, picking the animal up. Stunning its prey by slamming it to the ground, the monster proceeded to swallow it whole.

Intent on its meal, the lizard ignored sounds around it as a half-dozen three-foot-tall humanoid creatures ran up to confront the hungry monster.

As the first steel-tipped spear pierced its hide, the huge lizard did notice. While four of the small humans shoved crude weapons into the monster and held it down with their weight, two others hit the reptile on the head with iron hammers.

Strangely, the hunter died before its prey. After the dragon ceased moving, one of the humans bashed the still-suffering pig’s skull in, as if as an afterthought.

“Well, we have enough food for the next few days,” Muiskal gasped, breathing hard. I’m getting too old for this crap, he thought.

“Muiskal, you keep an eye out for more of them, old man. The rest of you, you too Fakilo, gather branches and make a sledge. Mikaal should have enough wire to put it together. We’ll have to drag this thing back before dark,” a female humanoid, named Feeky gave orders to the rest. “We’ve got to get moving before those damned giants find out we have fresh meat.”

“And what are you going to be doing,” Fakilo, the other female, asked sarcastically, “while we’re working our asses off?”

“And a nice ass it is,” observed Mikkik, engaged in cutting branches for a sledge. Mikkik was a handsome male, the tallest one there at three-feet-three-inches.

“Shut up and get moving.” Feeky glared at Fakilo. “I’ll be gathering mud and leaves to stop the bleeding. We don’t want a blood trail the giants will find and have no time to bleed it out. They’d know we have food and try to take it.”

“Shit. I’ll just stomp on the bastards,” Mikkik quipped, laughing, “or Feeky here can swing her ass at them while we run.”

Feeky ignored his jibe, going over to the drinking hole to collect handfuls of mud and sticks to be plastered on and stuffed into the spear-holes then bind them with leaves and vines in an attempt to stop the flow.

The diminutive cave-dwellers were soon on their way home, grunting and groaning as they pulled a heavy load lying on a latticework sled formed from green branches . Old Muiskal walked ahead, keeping a watch for the giant invaders, later to be known as Cro-Magnons.

They — the small people — weren’t native to the island off the coast of New Zealand but descendants of the survivors of a crashed spaceship. It had crashed in the waters offshore at least sixty-thousand years before. The ship had floated for over forty-thousand years after that, anchored a hundred-yards from shore.

Consisting of an advanced, by later human standards, closed-ecology and designed for the hazards of deep-space exploration, the vessel had survived for all that time while floating quietly in the bay. Once a leak had started, the ship’s watertight integrity had deteriorated rapidly, sinking it in only a few years. By that time, coming to Earth was only a dim legend to the boar hunters.

Many useful tools and other supplies had aided the original little people, though few of those implements survived to that present time of 5,000 BC.

There were legends of salvaged items being stored elsewhere on the island, the locations long forgotten. Controversy existed about whether they would be usable even if found; learned oldsters arguing for each side. The artifacts could be stored in unknown or forgotten ways, or they could be rusted junk. And, of course, they could be nothing but myth. The history of their race on Earth had started during a fateful flight….


“It doesn’t do any good, Captain LsssRus,” the navigator spoke, making a final attempt to program coordinates into a flight-computer. “I can’t get these settings to take. I’ll put the figures in, only to have them change, seemingly at random.”

A readout on the control panel told them, “no errors detected,” but the numbers were wrong. Not trusting the coordinates, they were flying an erratic course with no computer control.

“Drop to normal space,” Captain LsssRus reluctantly ordered his pilot, “and switch to manual controls.”

It was all the captain could do. Flying at hyper-speed without working computers would be suicidal. They could easily leave the entire Milky Way Galaxy. At least, in normal space they had a tiny chance of finding one of the Confederation planets. Not only the main-computer but also two backups had malfunctioned. He wondered if it had anything to do with a certain item in their cargo? The captain shuddered at the thought.

A large container sat in a cargo bay. It consisted of a large reflective and armored cylinder. A transparent window in front showed what appeared to be a normal humanoid female sitting in a stuffed-chair. She looked like an average teenager with long blond hair, the only distinguishing feature being larger than normal staring dead-black eyes. Eyes that seemed to drill into your soul if you were stupid enough to look into them.

The cylinder held her in a form of stasis. The object had been designed to keep her in a non-aging condition. Punishment was also in mind and to keep her fully conscious in order to suffer as long as possible. The girl remained able to move but only slowly, with great effort and little force. Her metabolism had been slowed by drugs and electronics. Innocent in appearance, she was one of the most dangerous creatures in the known galaxy.

She was named Feeery and was being transported to Altempo III, the prison planet. Her sentence was to be guarded forever and a day.


Long before intelligent life evolved on Earth, the Confederation of Planets had been formed. Some, not all, its population had gone through an evolutionary phase where one or more races fought wars among themselves. As time passed, they had eventually come to the point where intelligence bypassed those violent urges and needs.

Currently, within the Confederation, there was only one planet with any violent tendencies. Its population used as a sort of Intergalactic Police Force. Both Feeery and her police escorts were of that race. They were a species that once found, some said too quickly, was taken out of the bronze-age into a sub-electronic future. That had been thousands of years before. They were a humanoid race that wasn’t overly intelligent, their brains still relatively small. Not yet technically minded, the small humanoids retained violent traits. That inherent violence was the very quality needed for police work.

There were occasional individual aberrations throughout the Confederation, throwbacks to earlier times. With that in mind, an Intergalactic Police Agency was needed and such a violent race to man it. One livable but unoccupied planet had been transformed into a prison for the relatively few throwbacks — Altempo III.

If anyone had been stupid enough to keep watch over the prisoner, they would have seen a smile forming slowly over dozens of sleep cycles and, just as slowly, see it leave her innocent countenance.


The ship emerged into normal space. Manual controls, never before used by the pilot or anyone else on the ship, steered an erratic course. Designed for emergencies, like a bird with a crippled wing, they could barely keep the ship under any semblance of control.

“Use only fully-functioning instruments, ignore the others. Don’t completely trust any of them. We have to find a place to land.” Captain LsssRus didn’t have to tell his crew but did, “Try to contact anyone … anyone at all.” Although the police, most of the passengers, and Feeery were humanoid, Captain LsssRus and his crew sprang from a delicate lizard-like race.

Emergency signals were being sent out. The problem was that space was so vast. In normal space, it might take thousands of years for such a signal to reach civilization. They were hoping to be lucky by contacting another ship.

Communications hadn’t kept pace with transportation. The captain had flares that would give their location if broken down in hyperspace but they couldn’t stay there without sub-atomic-level computers — sort of a catch 22. And they couldn’t beam a location for aid, since they had no way of knowing exactly where they were. Without computers functioning, there wasn’t any way of determining a precise location in either normal or hyperspace.

Using simple electronics, the crew managed to find only one livable planet in the vicinity; that being a month away at present speed. Even that possible haven would take an enormous amount of effort to reach. The ship tended to go off course if the controls weren’t manned and corrected constantly by sight and primitive instruments.


“I can barely control our descent, captain.” The pilot struggled with his controls. “The ship doesn’t respond. It’s as though it simply gave up. It’s all I can do to steer toward that island. But there’s no way we can try to land on dry land. Our speed fluctuates wildly. ”

He was trying but the instruments were fighting his efforts. Even the manual ones had a few simple electronic components and some of them didn’t work correctly. It was back to the days of physical effort. The current pilot was the strongest person on the crew and needed that strength.

“Then aim for the deepest water,” Captain LsssRus ordered, strapping himself in tightly. “The ship’s watertight. I hope it can take the pressure.”

The captain hit alarm buttons, causing klaxons to go off throughout the vessel.

The ship hit fairly hard, enough to throw passengers and loose items about at random. It dove deep into the ocean, taking long minutes to bob to the surface. The vessel contained many compartments, with just as many airtight doors. Not all were airlocks, most only sealed hatches for storing and emptying cargo in port. A few of them sprung leaks at the impact.

Those leaks caused other alarms to join the “whooo, whoooo, whoooo” of the emergency klaxons. Both crew and passengers suffered from an insufferable din until the captain hit cut-off switches. Then the silence itself was deafening. They could feel abrupt motions slowly becoming still as the ship regained its equilibrium, finally only swaying with the action of the waves.

“All hands, check your areas for leaks. Passengers report to the lounge,” the captain ordered on the intercom. The leaks were soon patched and alarms reset. When finished, the crew joined the passengers. Makeshift anchors had been attached to the ship, front and rear, by simply throwing out pieces of heavy machinery attached to cables.

The vessel had come to rest a hundred-yards from a small island. Captain LsssRus didn’t want to take a chance of washing out to sea. Eventually, they would need something from dry land. At the very least, a nearby land mass would stabilize the vessel in inclement weather. The captain still held some hopes of repairing computers and continuing the trip.


As Captain LsssRus entered, there were only twenty-five persons in the lounge. That number consisted of his crew of eleven, thirteen passengers and himself. No one had been injured beyond bruises where seat-belts and forcefield restraints had abraded them. About half were lizard and the others humanoid with the exception of one insectoid couple.

Being a large freighter, the space-ship carried a few passengers for extra money, accommodations simple and humanoid oriented. With no stewards or special privileges, passengers ate with the crew and slept in four-person rooms. The current complement included nine females. Half the passengers were police officers accompanying the special cargo. Feeery — in the cargo hold — had virtually decimated a large city before being captured.

The innocent-appearing female was a telepath; one of the worst kind, a sociopath with no regard for others. She was also a psychopath who enjoyed death and torture. It was felt prudent to keep her in a state where she couldn’t function mentally. Her metabolism slowed almost to a stop, she was kept in a state of constant confusion, the world swirling around her in a blur, her time-frame altered by an individual prison. Other minds were thinking so much faster than hers that she couldn’t get a grip on them, making her powers useless.

Like the ship itself, her container was designed as a closed ecology. It generated its own air and removed its own waste products, recycling both. She was aware and would remain so for who knew how many centuries, many thousands of years. It was still not seen, by many, as a sufficient punishment. She had been caught after killing over 200,000 people — on a whim and for amusement only.


Feeery knew she was different. She had realized it at the age of four, when the tyke had found she could order her parents around vie thoughts alone. By age six she was either punishing them with her mind or making them punish themselves and each other….

“Harder, harder.” Eight-year-old Feeery laughed, watching her mother beat her father with a belt. She caused her father to contort into different positions, making the blows more painful. Not wanting to bring police, she allowed him to sob rather than scream.

When both parents fell — one from pain, the other from exhaustion — she let them rest. Feeery enjoyed the look on their faces as they lay, waiting. They knew what would come next, as the little girl smiled and ate her lunch, waiting for them to recover enough to continue.

Pouring a fresh glass of milk, she slowly sat back in a comfy chair, took a sip while they watched and waved a chubby little hand.

The two stood, fear on their faces and positions reversed. The father began beating the mother. The reason was simple. They had refused to make love in front of her. She was taking a sex-education course in school and wanted to see the mechanics of it firsthand.

Later they would obediently show her. The two were usually better trained and knew how to avoid making Feeery angry. But sometimes they slipped.

Feeery was afraid of only one thing, the police. She realized that, even with all her power, she couldn’t take on the entire Intergalactic Police Force.

Although the girl enjoyed watching suicides and instigated more than a few herself, she didn’t like the idea of her own. For that reason she was normally quiet and well-behaved in public, especially at school. A shy quiet-type, she reserved her antics for special occasions. Feeery sometimes ordered one of her parents to take her out of town to kill and maim others. One must control one’s own family, Feeery thought, watching them beat on each other.

“That’s enough.” She yawned, it getting toward bedtime. With rare compassion, she entered their minds again and alleviated most of their pain, leaving just enough to remind them of their error.

By the time she was eighteen, she had killed over a thousand people. Some alone, such as standing on the edge of a tall building and making them face her so she could see their eyes as she forced them to jump backwards. Or staging fights between groups of people in the street. She would stand in the shadows, forcing them to kill each other with their bare hands.

Having fun during one of the latter occasions, she extended her range over the entire population of the city of Antharaxes, forcing the residents to fight each other to the death using any handy implement. Almost 200,000 people were killed during several hours of rioting, shocking even Feeery at the extent of her power.

An investigation ensued, one that eventually lead to her downfall. Street cameras had seen the entire thing, eventually singling her out and identifying her. Technology wasn’t young Feeery’s strong point.

The police waited until the girl was alone, sitting at ease while watching a holovision show. They surrounded her house. She was nineteen-years-old at the time. Right after a commercial, the door burst in and her living room filled with police. Knowing her powers, they were unarmed and included several robots. The robots were controlled from a distant location.

Not taking a chance, they didn’t wait, immediately jumping her. She had no time to notice that the policemen wore large, soft, mittens over their hands as well as cages over their heads. As they tumbled her to the ground, a surprised Feeery fought back physically, not even thinking of using her mind.

By the time she organized her thoughts, she was in heavy hand and leg irons, a bag latched over her head. The lead-lined material both cut down on her telepathic abilities and blinded her.

She did try to make the police kill each other and they fought but couldn’t easily cause injury and, of course, she couldn’t see what was going on. Since she had no idea of where the operators were located, the robots weren’t affected. The human mission a disaster, the robots moved in and further restrained her. A quick injection and she was asleep, only to wake in her individual prison.

Now her trip to the prison-planet was aborted. Although many suspected, no one would ever know for certain whether she was in any way responsible for the shipboard computer problems.


“Everyone be quiet,” Captain LsssRus shouted, waving his hands. “We’re on an unknown planet with little chance of rescue,” he informed the quietening room. “Settle down now and I’ll explain.” He told both crew and passengers what had happened, ending with, “There’s an island outside. It may or may not be habitable and the atmosphere breathable. Ship’s instruments DID okay the atmosphere, but they aren’t reliable. You can choose to try your luck there or stay on the ship. If you leave, we’ll do all we can to help you with the ship’s stores.

“The ship itself is watertight and comfortable, so you are welcome to stay. As to the crew … you are all officially fired.” He laughed at the lame joke. “Seriously, we’re no longer employees, no more pay or status. Right now, we’re only twenty-five individuals with a certain amount of materials and skills to help us survive. I’m no longer the person to be in charge. I trust you will elect a leader among you — us.” He looked over the room. “I would suggest Lieutenant Mkkkie, myself.

“I am not in the running, since I have no applicable skills in this situation and am not a politically-minded person. My skills are technical and on call when and if needed. If, by any dim chance, we can fix the computers,” he said, pausing to shrug, “we should be able to resume our passage. I’ll need all my time to work on that problem. It’s your meeting, ladies and gentlemen.” The former captain sat down to listen.

Of the twenty-five castaways, eighteen, the youngest and most fit, elected to investigate the island. Lieutenant Mkkkie, a police officer, would be in charge of the first probe.

Despite his disclaimer, LsssRus was talked into staying in command of the ones choosing to stay on the ship. A small seven-person water vessel was rapidly built and launched for a trip to the island while a larger boat was in the process of being built to carry cargo there. The ship only had three hand-weapons aboard. Those went along for an initial exploration of the island.

* **

“Looks like something out of the history books,” Fakua, sixteen, noted. To her it was all an adventure. She jumped at the chance to rough it and had insisted on holding one of the projectile weapons. Fakua hoped she would find a monster to kill, like in prehistoric holomovies. The youngster felt all-powerful with a weapon in her hands.

“Just be careful where you point that thing, little girl,” Muklle, reminded her. He was slightly jealous because she held the gun and not him.

“You shut up. And stop calling me a little girl. I’m the same age as you,” Fakua snapped back at him.

“You both shut up and keep an eye out for danger,” Lieutenant Mkkkie instructed them, looking over his shoulder. “And you people spread out a little more. A vicious animal could jump us at any moment. Don’t bunch up. Those with weapons stay on the outside.” He was armed of course, being one of only a few of the entire ship’s complement trained in using firearms.

They spent the afternoon exploring the island, seeing only a small part of it. Sleeping-bags had been found on the ship, along with self-charging lights and heaters. A portable police-alarm system would serve to warn them of danger in the night. They camped at the entrance of a large cave. The lieutenant thought it would be easier to defend than sleeping in a forest.

After setting up for the night, three of them carried portable lights to explore the interior. The rest settled down for the night. The lieutenant let them take two weapons with them.


So far, they had seen a four-foot tall elephant, standing a foot higher than the tallest castaway. A huge lizard had been seen in the distance but it ran away when it saw them. A few pigs and other animals were also observed running through the brush. The fertile soil held a variety of plant and insect life.

Since the air was roughly compatible, the lieutenant felt they could survive there. One thing missing was any sign of intelligent life, with the possible exception of the lizard. There were many intelligent lizard species around the galaxy, almost as many as humanoid.

Fuccu, an older woman, lead the cave exploration party. She was unarmed and afraid of the weapons. Fuccu handled a spotlight, swinging the unfamiliar handgun around every time a shadow shifted from her lighting wand.

The cave was large, not in height but in distance. It contained several side corridors, all smaller than the main passage which they followed. They would have to inspect the other branches on their way back. If possible, the lieutenant wanted the entire cave searched. It would make everyone feel safer during that first night.

“All right, let’s go on back and look at the other corridors.” Fucca flashed her light around the end of the main stem, where it closed to a six-inch-wide slash. “It’s getting late. I don’t know about you but I’m tired.”

Fakua and Muklle followed her back to the first side-passage. By that time all three were relaxed, not having found anything threatening — only a few old bones and dried feces. Fucca had been watching for signs of intelligent life, such as campfires or artifacts, not finding any.

They finally arrived at the last section of the last side-cave. Fakua was busily studying her unfamiliar weapon by reflected light and not noticing her surroundings.

The sudden charge of a wild boar almost floored both Fuccu and Muklle. Fakua finally had a chance to use her gun. There was a sudden “crack” as a flash of light illuminated the cavern. Her hand jerked upward, almost spraining both elbow and wrist. She fell backwards onto the floor of the cave, dropping her weapon.

Frightened by the light and noise, the pig ran even faster, a small piece of projectile-metal clipping her tail as she ran. The poor animal didn’t even slow down as she threaded her way past the rest of the group and fled into the jungle.

“What the hell was that?” Lieutenant Mkkkie jerked against the wall, seeing a gray blur headed into the foliage. Back in the side-cave, the three picked themselves up, two of them glaring at an embarrassed Fakua.

“Well, it didn’t do that in the holomovies,” she exclaimed, picking up her weapon with new respect. The three hurried back to the others.

Knowing the cave was safe, the explorers enjoyed a good nights sleep, leaving one guard at the entrance. The next morning, they rose, heated a quick breakfast and prepared for the day’s exploration.

“Anything happen last night?” Lieutenant Mkkkie asked Muklle through a mouthful of packaged bread.

“A lot of eyes reflected in our firelight. Small animals, I guess.”

“How do you know they were tiny? Some large animals have small eyes?”

“But not so close to the ground and moving so fast, they don’t,” Muklle told him. “And that tikkput-like animal, I think it was the same one that almost ran over me last night, kept coming close enough to see clearly. It must not like being chased out of its home.”

“Looks like we’ll have tikkput for dinner.” The lieutenant laughed, looking over at shadows against the wall. He jumped up in astonishment, seeing two small red eyes looking back st him. At his motion, the hidden porker ran for the back of the cave, leaving everyone stunned. They hadn’t seen it sneak in with the sunrise.

“I’ll get it,” Fakua volunteered, still stung by her pratfall the night before. She could be the first to shoot an animal.

“Not alone, you won’t,” Lieutenant Mkkkie told her. “Fusssi, you go with her. No gun for you, one’s enough. You’d only shoot each other. You stay behind quickshot here.” The two went after the pig. Fakua figured it would head down the same passageway as before. That it must have a nest there.

They hurried after the porcine fugitive. When the two were near the end of the sub-cave, they could hear grunting and squealing. What they found were a half-dozen piglets suckling their mother. The mother pig peered at them with sad eyes as they approached, knowing the jig was up.

Fakua didn’t have the nerve or heart to shoot them. Fearless Fusssi even went so far as to pick up one of the piglets as it had its fill and wandered toward her. Never having seen humans before, the mother wasn’t overly concerned. Although it glared at them with red eyes, it didn’t attack. It was busy feeding the babies.

“Isn’t it cute?” Fusssi asked Fakua, who had to agree, keeping her weapon on the mother.

While they were there, they wandered around, finding a small pit dug by pigs or other animals. It had been deepened to make it easier to get to an underground stream which flowed freely under it. They had quite a lot to report to the lieutenant.

The party searched for three more days, covering most if not all of the island. No other intelligent species were found. Since it was volcanic, there was a small mountain near the center.

Three of the explorers, the younger and stronger, climbed to the top. They were Fasua, the teenage daughter of Fucca; Fonori, her hired teacher; and Muikkui, a quiet and shy male health addict.

“See anything, Fasua?” Muikkui asked.

They were standing on a windswept plain about a city-block across. It was at the very top of the mountain. A smoking depression in one corner of the mountain, indicated valcanic origin, though apparently not active.

They saw nothing except ocean in the distance, with a graying at one point that might be another island. A toy spaceship seemed to float offshore. They circumnavigated the mountaintop and saw that one slope was steep and bare rock for most of the way down. The others not as abrupt and covered with brush and trees. The three planned on going down on the easiest slope.

A few goats were encountered during the climb, cautious not to let the humans get too close but not all that afraid of them. They had encountered small animals until about halfway up the slope.

“Nothing much, only a lot of veggies,” she answered, studying the scenery below.

“Vegetables. I hate vegetables,” Fonori quipped. “You mean vegetation, don’t you?”

“You know what I meant. You’re not a teacher anymore,” Fasua wrongly figured she didn’t have to learn anymore from her companion. Her mother would soon dissuade her of that notion.

“Let’s rest and go down again.” Muikkui laughed at the squabbling women. “I don’t know about you but I’d rather not spend the night up here with you. You might throw each other, or me, off a cliff.”


While they had been climbing, Lieutenant Mkkkie rowed back to the ship to report to Captain LsssRus, where they found conditions the same as when they’d left. The others gathered in the ship’s lounge to hear about the island.

While they were gone, most of the lizards had agreed to stay on the ship. Their race wasn’t as physically hardy as the humanoids. They had tried breathing Earth air which, although sufficient for the humanoids, was lower in oxygen content than on the lizards’ native planet. The ship, built to survive the rigors of outer-space, looked to be comfortable for many years yet — even many thousands of years. Their civilization had left such building materials as metal and plastic far in the past. Much of the vessel was formed by sub-atomically altered molecules.

The five remaining humanoids had mixed feelings. Three older humans had decided to live on the ship while the others would go back with the lieutenant. Two lizards, the youngest and fittest, wanted to at least try the island.

“We might not ever become acclimated,” LSsuse, a young female, argued, “but we’ll never know if we don’t try.”

“You know I go where you go, honey,” Lssstory, her boyfriend, gave her a hug. “It might be fun to get out of this stuffy place. If we get sick we can always come back.”

“We’ll go over your provision list, Captain and see what we need and have available,” Lieutenant Mkkkie told him. “And I guess we should take our prisoner with us. We can stash her in that large cave we found.”

“No argument from me, lieutenant,” Captain LsssRus admitted. “I’ll feel safer without her on board. I still wonder if she had anything to do with the ship’s failing?”

“Not too likely but you never know with a creature of her ability. Her cage is designed to be invulnerable and impenetrable by telepathy — but experts can be wrong. It was tested by the best telepaths we could find but she herself is the very best.” He grinned at the captain. “We’ll stash her as far back in the mountain as we can and then seal her in to rust or rot, whichever comes first.”

“Maybe we should throw her in the ocean and forget about it?” Captain LsssRus was serious. “She can only cause trouble.”

“I can’t do that … morally. Maybe I should but I can’t. She’s a prisoner and I can’t kill a prisoner unless threatened. We don’t know that she’s a threat, or even a burden.”

The small boat was left at the ship, a much larger one having been completed. The bigger vessel was loaded and the first of several trips made that day, while the other three were still climbing back down the mountain.

It took two weeks, even with machinery, to haul supplies from deep in the holds of the ship, load them on the boat, then unload on the island. The bulk of the labor was done by the humanoids. The lizards, although larger, tired easily in Earth air.

Since wood was in good supply, it was used in building. Feeery was taken to the back of one of the side corridors of the cave. She was sealed in by heavy rocks and was doomed to sit, alone in the dark, for thousands of years. Heavy ore-bearing rocks in the walls helped to dampen her influence, if any.

LSsuse and Lssstory, along with several armed humans, examined the native lizards. To their chagrin, the reptiles were found to be simple unintelligent creatures.


It was found that the two lizards could survive on land but never did get used to the air. After a few years of gasping spells and LSsuse developing a lung problem, they returned to the ship, fearing for their health.

Still, for a long time, a few lizards and their descendants would vacation on the island as a change from the constriction of the vessel. A lizard-comfortable building was built, complete with air-compressor. Eventually the compressor wore out. By then, the building was little-used and knowledge of its repair forgotten. It never was fixed and became another storehouse for food and supplies.

Although there were books and databases on the ship, they also wore out in time. Each succeeding generation seemed to have less intelligence, or maybe just less of a will to learn. Machinery became old, metal fatigued.

Fewer and fewer lizards spent time on repairs or even learned how to make them, preferring a life of leisure aboard. It got to the point where alcohol, brewed on the island, made alcoholics out of the sensitive brains of the ship’s occupants.

Eventually, over forty or fifty thousand years, the two groups separated, the ship letting fresh food and alcohol in and the remaining meager supplies out in trade for them.

On the island, conditions also changed. The humanoids lived an increasingly simpler life. Complex metal machinery wore out and gave way to devices made of native materials. Comfortable living with a minimum of hardship meant little desire to pass on vital technological skills. They were slowly regressing into the stone age.

At first, worn-out machinery was stored in a large dump, later being thrown into a deep sinkhole leading to a sunken stream. There, water pressure scattered all but the most massive objects along an underground water route and into the ocean.

Somehow, over the years, several things happened. First of all, it became a standard procedure to throw all worn or useless ship’s artifacts into the sinkhole. Although some, such as learning machines, contained no moving parts and were used more and more sparingly, the people reverted to a cave mentality.

Life was easy on the island with plenty of food, good weather, and no real enemies. The native lizards were few, edible, and not much of a threat. Native diseases were nonexistent and none were brought with them. Learning became a mostly unused tool, no longer a necessity.

Lastly, Feeery had been found again. She had been lost for over fifty-thousand years, sealed in completely by a minor earthquake. When her section of cave was finally cleared, she was considered a goddess by now-simple people. They would sit in her shadow and watch for hours to see her eyes move. Over time, her fingers and head could be seen to change position, so she was known to be alive. A few had heard old legends of the woman, wild tales of unimaginable power. How she had created the Earth and universe and been sealed in her shell by a jealous elder god.

Somewhere between 20,000 and 10,000 BC the ship sank.

By then it had been many years since the last communication between island and vessel. It wasn’t sudden. At first, a hatch-cover failed from an outer seal deteriorating, then more of them — each time letting more water in and causing more compartments to be sealed from the rest of the vessel. Eventually, the weight of interior water sank it to the bottom. The lizards had no idea what to do when the last pump failed. No one knew how to repair it and the ship went down. On shore, the vessel was hardly missed. Vital stores and services inside being eventually flooded, remaining residents didn’t last but another few years.

Returning from the hunt, Muiskal, the old man, was the first to see the town through thick trees. In a way, town would be a misnomer. It was actually a cluster of sod-covered buildings huddling around the mouth of a cave.

By then humps in the earth were almost the only signs of past technology. Nothing much survived except for a large slightly-sunken spot where a sinkhole had collapsed and been filled in by hand a long time before. Also there were a few artifacts in the Cave of the Goddess, along with a few items such as metal wire being still in use. It had been torn out of failed machinery before the remains had been consigned to the pit. Kept greased with animal fat, the remaining wire and cables were still stronger than handmade ropes.

The hunters slowly manhandled their load of combined pig and lizard past a few lounging guards holding spears. The entourage made its way into town, stopping at a large fire-pit used for cooking. They could then relax from their labors.

The little people had a rude awakening fifty years before, when a large canoe of true humans landed on their shores. The much-larger invaders had become a problem, living and breeding on the other side of the mountain. Only superior numbers had so far allowed the smaller and weaker alien humanoids to survive, that and constant sacrifices to the Cave Goddess.

When happy she could and did project a field of pleasant feelings around her section of cave. When angry, she projected fear and pain. They tried to keep her happy.

Happiness for the Goddess included monthly torture — slow torture. Since she lived at such a vastly slower metabolic rate, the pain and horror had to extend over days and be done leisurely so she could see it happening. Usually, captured human prisoners were used. If no prisoners were available, a member of the community would have to be picked by a priestess.

After each session, flayed bones were thrown into the waiting ocean. Some were carefully mortared into the walls and floor of Feeery’s cave, usually by the next prisoners before they had their own turn. Like a narcotic, a few days of torture produced a week of pleasant feelings for the tribe as they took turns crowding in front of her invulnerable prison to feel the effects.


While Feeky waited, the other hunters went home to their families. Three cooks fell on the lizard and pig combination. They soon had them butchered, much of it on spits over the fire pit to cook. The tribe would have a good meal that night and the hunters many accolades.

Feeky had to wait for the meal to be prepared. She lay against a tree and fell asleep. Later, one of the cooks woke her. They, all women, held a large clay tray of cooked pig. As chief hunter, it was Feeky’s job to escort the cooks to the priests and priestesses, along with the pick of the meat. Although an honor as the provider, that delivery was the hardest part of Feeky’s task. She would rather fight a lizard or elephant anytime than enter that cave.

From the entrance, she could hear screaming and pleading inside. The sounds became louder and more insistent as Feeky progressed down a main corridor, then entered a branch cave. She passed two guards while turning into a sub-corridor. That part of the cave was painted with human blood. Feeky could smell as well as see it in the light of lit torches spaced along the walls. The floor consisted of fitted stones and bones, in an intricate arrangement worn smooth over the centuries.

The pleas, screams and sobbing of prisoners were only gibberish mixed with moans as she neared the end of the corridor. The passage ended with a view of the Goddess, enclosed in a windowed cage with a smile on her pretty face.

Feeky could see a female Cro-Magnon, sex identifiable only by her size and one remaining breast. The creature was lying, chained by both arms and ankles, on the floor. Pleading eyes followed Feeky as the priestess and two priests stopped work briefly to eat.

Before Feeky could leave, she watched one of the priests shove a piece of meat into the victim’s mouth, grinning as he did so. He slapped the creature, which was all it now was, until it regained consciousness enough to chew. The thing was too far gone to know it was eating part of it’s own raw breast. They all laughed at the sight. Feeky managed a sick grin as she backed out with a bow. Feeery was still alive and, despite her confinement, retained more than a little influence.


Many years later, the intruding humans were eradicated and future sacrifices had to be chosen from among the little people themselves. The change lead to a rebellion, during which the priests and the priestess were killed. After that altercation, all remaining artifacts from the ship were considered evil and thrown into the cave with the former Goddess, that section also sealed permanently. The new leaders wanted no trace of Feeery to remain, even filling in the old refuse pit. The sub-corridor was packed with stone mixed with a crude mortar into a gigantic plug.

In time, Feeery again became a dim legend. The spaceship itself was lost to racial memory. The time was around four-thousand years Before the Christian Era.

Their relief from oppression was short-lived, however. It wasn’t long before native Polynesians began arriving on the island. Although the first interlopers were quickly killed, new arrivals slowly outnumbered and eliminated the remaining alien humanoids — those that weren’t absorbed into their tribe by marriage.

Much larger and brandishing better weapons, such as bows and arrows, the new humans found little opposition from three-foot-tall humanoids. In a hundred years, all traces of the little people disappeared.


It wasn’t until the year 2003 that archaeologists discovered the bones of a number of small human-like creatures. Soon other artifacts, those of a species of Cro-Magnon, were also found on the island. The finds caused quite a stir in the anthropological and historical communities.

Not only that, but those studies culminated in extensive resources and technology building up on that small island near New Zealand. Carbon dating traced the small humanoids back from seventy-five-thousand until twelve-thousand BCE.

There were signs that they’d used both fire and stone tools and had some sort of social, or at least tribal, organization. Even bows and arrows, the earliest in recorded history.

A few years later, ground-ranging sonar was used to find evidence of a large amount of metallic rust below the surface. Digging produced a huge pile of iron-oxide, with what were plainly man-made metal objects embedded in the rust. Lead pipes for instance, were still recognizable as such.

At first, scientists couldn’t believe the data. Carbon dating put them as manufactured at least sixty thousand years before, plus or minus five-hundred years. Astonished scientists of all persuasions flocked to the island.

The New Zealand government initially took over, removing all current native residents to temporary off-island shelters. Other countries complained to the United Nations. Under political pressure, New Zealand backed down and the island was taken over by the UN.

The old refuse pit was being excavated, slowly, millimeter by millimeter. It was inconceivable that such an advanced civilization could have existed during that time-period. Sonar also found similarly-dated bones and artifacts up to a hundred yards offshore. It included both humanoid bones and those of an unknown species of lizard-like creatures. The spaceship had, in most part, rusted, become buried, or drifted away in the warm Pacific waters but small sections were still partially intact, including the original anchors.

Exploration of a large cave brought more mysteries. Digging at a plainly-artificial section of wall began, also slowly in order to save anything of archaeological importance. Speculation was rife about what might be found inside the man-made obstacle.

Theories abounded, everything from alien beings to evidence of the fabled islands of Atlantis or Mu.


“Damn it. How deep is this blasted thing?” Professor Jonathon Edwards complained. His people had been digging for months. They had, so far, gone through over ten feet of stone and mortar, each piece being chipped out by hand, studied and classified. The work seemed to go on endlessly.

Archaeologists were trained in patience but the professor thought it was becoming ridiculous. How much farther could that plug-like object extend?

Using a key, he turned on a portable ground-sonar for a moment, getting a reading of six more feet of stone to get through. Even more frustrating was the echo of something huge and dense on the other side. The sonar was slightly dangerous to the workers, hence the key to operate it, but a quick burst wouldn’t hurt anything, he figured.

His impatience was whetted even more by the floor being paved with humanoid bones, themselves slightly different than true humans. Their surfaces had been worn down by the passage of feet over centuries. And, there were the hieroglyphics scribbled over stone walls near the plug, showing him that something of value must be hidden in there. He knew there had to be a major find at the end.

The professor took time to note a Nice, literally, posterior; its owner earnestly chipping away at mortar between rocks on the plug.

As Janice Nice worked, she inspected every small and large stone as it was extracted. The larger ones were rolled against the wall and tagged for later pickup and classification. Smaller pebbles went into a basket, were tagged, or put into plastic bags. It was careful, time consuming, work.

Janice’s looks and demeanor did nothing to belie her name. She was a graduate student, a volunteer, and a nice person to be around. The word “violence” was buried far below the surface of her vocabulary.

“How far do we have to go yet, Prof?” she asked as he helped her roll a rock against a bare spot at the wall. A panel of strange symbols were carved into the side of the corridor above the salvaged debris.

“The radar shows another six feet, then a clear space,” he told her. “We can’t get lax or speed up. Everything by the book, all the way.” He grinned evilly. “After that, who knows? Maybe another forty feet of this stuff after that.”

“Somehow, I don’t think so, Prof,” she replied, a dreamy look on a pretty face. “I have a feeling. Sorta a vision of relief.”

Professor Edwards sighed, then returned to his office in an air-conditioned trailer outside the cave. It sat directly on the ground; no wheels or undercarriage. They had been taken off after an axle broke due to the weight of all the rocks inside. The interior looked more like a cave than an office, with large containers of stones, others stacked or lying around inside. A heavy desk sat against one wall covered with, of course, rocks.

The desk also held a couple of dozen photographs of what had first appeared to be some sort of art but now was known to be writing. It came mostly from the newly exposed cave walls. One section of the cave was covered floor to ceiling with the strange characters, resembling no other type of writing ever discovered. It was not even in straight lines, no two figures, letters, or whatever seemed to have any relationship to others. After being tentatively identified as a means of communication, it had been fed into UN supercomputers. So far the symbols were driving computers and linguists crazy.


Five weeks later, Professor Edwards was dozing at his desk, feet up on a rock, when the door slammed open.

“Professor! Professor, we broke through the wall.” It was Sam Kazinski, one of the students. “You won’t believe it. It’s impossible….” The boy was so excited his eyes bugged out of his head.

“What’s impossible?” Prof. Edwards asked, interrupting the boy’s screaming. The professor dropped his feet to the floor and stood up.

“Someone’s alive in there, really. Alive! Alive and looking back at us,” another student, that time a female, screamed from the doorway, European-accented voice strident with excitement.

Edwards had heard of that sort of thing. It was an old joke among archaeologists. See, this guy was digging into a pyramid, it would go. His pick broke through a sealed wall and into a hidden chamber. Looking inside, the guy saw a moving eyeball peering back at him, causing him to soil his pants. It turned out it was a mirror or something reflective on the other side, that and the small amount of reflected light in a sealed room. Professor Edwards wasn’t overly concerned at the supposed miracle.

With a smile on his face, he followed them back to the cave.


More to impress the students than for any other reason, the professor slowly ambled into the cave and down to the remaining rock-face where he saw the students gathered.

He stopped to take a drink from an ice-water container before strolling down the corridor to the excavation itself. Meanwhile, anxiously excited students were running back and forth, trying to hurry him.

“Hurry up. It’s fabulous, unbelievable.” A girl almost grabbed his arm, catching herself at the last second.

“It looked at me,” another chirped in disbelief. “It even blinked.”

And I’ll bet you blinked at the same time, Edwards thought.

As he had figured, there was a small hole in the wall at the end of the corridor. Apparently someone had removed a longer than usual stone, exposing an open space on the other side. As he approached, he saw that nice Nice girl looking into a small space. She didn’t move aside as he approached. He had to physically shove her away to see inside. Even then she resisted before standing quietly to the side, staring into space. The professor saw what he had expected, a reflecting surface.

Looking closer, he did see eyes. They were not only looking at him but seemed to be piercing right through him — into his mind itself. He couldn’t pull himself away, felt himself to be drowning, sinking out of sight into a dark pool. Instinctively, he fought the impulse, trying to pull back from the hole.

The professor was so absorbed that he didn’t feel the sharp edge of a rock-pick slamming into his back. He did feel a jerk as it twisted its way out, then the flat side as it banged across the back of his head. Blackness and silence overcoming him, he couldn’t see a slow smile forming below those dark mysterious eyes inside the hole.

Janice Nice lowered the pick, wiping blood off it and onto his clothing. Turning, she saw her friends and co-students. They weren’t afraid, having a rapt look on their own faces. Following her example, they picked up tools and attacked the barrier. Not bothering to work slowly or carefully, they rapidly exposed Feeery and her cylinder.

Feeery appeared more active. Maybe the mechanism or gases inside were wearing out? If the students stood and watched for a few minutes, they could see her moving slowly inside her prison. She appeared excited at her first human contact in thousands of Earth years. In her mind, she was jumping around in glee. To the others Feeery moved slowly indeed. She knew she had to speed up to influence them, at the same time using her mind to slow theirs down closer to her level.

The group of student archaeologists stood still for hours as Feeery read their minds. She was better at controlling women than men. For that reason, she had picked Janice Nice to represent her as a new priestess.

Learning the current status of the island and that she was dealing with an entirely new species, Feeery kept two males with her. She would spend time stripping their minds of useful information.

As for the others, she slowly filled Janice’s mind with instructions. These were a more intelligent species, she found; harder to control than her last captors. Maybe, in time, she could even be released? she thought. Her cage had an elaborate locking mechanism embedded in its surface; one not capable of being breached by her former stone-age subjects.

At the time there were a little over thirty individuals on the island. Janice, using her own initiative, along with those of four other students, hastened to do Feeery’s will.

“Mary. Pat. You two search Professor Edward’s trailer. I know he has a pistol in there somewhere. We have two policemen at the dock. Take them out.”

“Kill them now, or can we keep them for later?” Mary was thinking of fun games.

“Better just kill them. They’re armed. We can’t take a chance. And, don’t forget their weapons,” Janice told the two girls. “Try not to shoot, though, if you can avoid it.”

“Tom and Terry. You two stay back and let the girls take the guards. Women won’t be as suspicious as you men. Then take the place of the guards, in their uniforms. The girls will then hit the radio shack. We have to take control of the island. That requires live hostages.” Janice smiled, planning ahead. She was now under Feeery’s indirect control — still able to think and plan but only according to the monster’s dictates.


“Hi there, ladies.” Binky Thomas grinned as the two girls approached his guard shack. It was considered an easy posting. Anyone trying to invade the island would have entire navies on their asses in minutes.

An Australian warship rode on station, making wide circles a half-mile offshore. Under UN auspices, a similar Russian vessel also circled, one of them constantly on each side of the island. If he or the radio shack called, help would be there almost instantly by on-board helicopters.

His mate, Corporal Johanson, a Swede, was sleeping on a cot in another room. One of them had to be on watch at the dock at all times. Such duty normally meant sitting or standing around, watching for trouble. Since none was ever expected, unless a scientist went crazy, few took the duty seriously.

Two girls were only a pleasant distraction. Although against the rules, the bored guard didn’t halt their approach.

“We’ve had a breakthrough at the cave. Just thought you might want to celebrate with us.” Pat held up a bottle of wine. Binky stepped back to the shack and looked inside. The corporal was sound asleep and no doubt would be for some time, having come off a fifteen-hour spell of duty.

Binky quietly shut the door to the air-conditioned sleeping room.

“Sure. I have some glasses,” he told them, glad for a bit of pleasant company. Binky saw two boys standing a little ways off, seemingly uninterested as they talked while looking at the ocean. He hoped they wouldn’t come over and spoil the moment. His rifle was leaning against the shack, forgotten — at least by Binky.

While Pat poured wine into glasses and Binky stood watching, Mary strolled to the side of the shack. Unnoticed by the guard, she hefted the heavy weapon. Not a good balance, she thought. Raising it behind Binky as he reached for a glass, she swung at his head.

“Now the other one. I’ll get him,” Pat almost jumped in joy while she examined the fallen guard.

“He’s dead. You do good work, Mary,” she congratulated her companion, grinning. “Now it’s my turn. I’ll get the other one.”

“Come on, Patty. I’m on a roll and I got the rifle.”

“I have a knife. I’ll use that. Janice said not to shoot.” They argued for a minute. Finally, Pat crept into the guard shack. She came out a couple of minutes later with a bloody knife, licking it like a lollipop. “Want some?” she asked Mary, who licked the other side.

They motioned to the boys. Those two ran over and searched the shack for weapons, likely the only ones on the island; not counting the professor’s pistol. They decided to use the same ploy at the radio hut. While the boys stripped dead guards to use their uniforms, Mary recapped her wine and wiped out the glasses.


Sally Evens was on radio duty. British, she had a Serbian male counterpart. He was off duty, somewhere on the island.

It was a boring task, babysitting the radio. Actually. she controlled a half-dozen of them, one set for each of the two guard ships, the others belonging to different nations represented by scientists. Except for hourly radio checks to the circling gunboats, she had little to do.

Communications were done by the scientific staff themselves in voice mode. The days of Morse code were long gone. Sally sat, reading an Australian romance magazine, feet up on her own little desk. An FM radio played soft music in the background. Sally was bored. She was always bored but the job paid well.

She didn’t even notice the door opening until a blast of warm air hit the back of her head. Looking over, she saw Pat Simmons standing inside the door, holding a bottle of wine. Sally knew Pat slightly from the lounge and cafeteria they shared. Another girl, one she knew only as Mary, stood beside Pat, carrying empty glasses.

“You want some wine, Sally?” Pat asked her.

“Sure. Nothing else going on. Let me make my hourly radio check first, though.” Sally went through the simple procedure. “If I forget, we’ll have hundreds of handsome sailors running around here.” She laughed at the thought.

Once every hour, she enjoyed a short conversation with the two radio operators on board the vessels. Mostly it was to make certain the mechanisms still worked from the last time.

The two other girls looked at each other. They hadn’t known about that routine. There was no way they could kill Sally without suspicion. While Sally was still making small talk to the Russian operator, Pat pulled the professor’s revolver out of the back of her belt.

“Okay, now how about that drink?” Sally turned her chair around — to face the weapon. “What’s that for? What’s going on, Pat?” she asked, fear starting to build.

Pat, hefting the weapon, slammed it against Sally’s face. Not too hard but enough to open a gash in her forehead, showing her who was in charge — and it was fun for Pat. It was so much fun that Pat grinned and did it again.


By that time, Feeery had read enough of the two captive boys’ minds to know the situation. Since she needed them for other tasks, she couldn’t kill them. She sent them out to help the other four.

Six armed teenagers soon had the island’s other occupants gathered together and penned up in one of the side corridors of the cave. All except for poor Sally, of course. They had control and no one “off island” realized it.

The temptation was too much for Feeery. After being penned up for so long, she needed to let her feelings out, despite the danger. One man, a biologist named Jefferson and a woman, June Cleave, were chosen at random from among the prisoners. They were brought to Feeery.

It didn’t take long for screams to be heard throughout the cave as Feeery had her relief. Under her influence, students vied for the pleasure of helping to torture the two hostages. Janice Nice, being Feeery’s direct representative, held the position of priestess. No longer so nice, she enjoyed gouging eyes and lacerating genitals.

In a happy frenzy, the six repainted the cave with fresh blood, the smell of body fluids, screams, and pleas for mercy rapidly permeated the former silence of the cave — along with insane laughter from the torturers.

It took the rest of the day and far into the night before they were done, the hostages finally dead. As an object lesson, Feeery had the bodies, or what remained of them, thrown back with the other scientists. After that lesson, there was no fear of rebellion.


He knew he must be in hell. The pain was excruciating. It was hard to breathe, breath coming in short gasps as the professor struggled to draw painful but vital air into his lungs. Moving his left arm caused so much pain that he blacked out again.

When he woke a second time, Professor Edward’s thoughts were slightly more coherent. The pain in his head had gone down from unbearable to barely endurable. Feeling cold and a rock surface under him, he opened his eyes to see through a red haze. Screams sounded in the distance, reverberating off the walls.

Moving, he felt more pain in his back, near his left shoulder. He lay still, gasping while trying to organize his thoughts. Professor Edwards had been constantly schooled in the scientific method. First things first. He struggled to think coherently. One — get his mind working. Two — find out where he was and why. Three — help for himself.

He remembered looking in at the lovely little woman, the one with the hypnotic eyes. Could she be alive? She couldn’t be, just couldn’t — but was. No artist could fake that gaze and the eyes did move, didn’t they? But it was impossible, against everything he knew or thought he knew. Nothing on this world could … but was she of this world? The screaming continued.

Who hit him? Who could he trust? He just didn’t know. The only people around him at the time were his students. He knew that he would have noticed any strangers. He couldn’t trust them, the students. One of them must have hit him, tried to kill him. What about others? Why didn’t they stop it?

Was it politics, international politics? Maybe one country trying to take control of the island? He simply didn’t know anything, except that he couldn’t trust anyone right then. And that it was so damned hard to think straight.

He could see he was in a dark part of the cave system but not recognize where — at least from his position on the ground. Since he didn’t hear or sense anyone else around and he had to do it later in any case, he tensed and rolled over onto his back. Increased pain hit him like a bolt of lightning. Panting loudly, the Professor could only shiver in pain, had to wait until it subsided. Yes, he was alone and he saw a rock formation that identified his location.

One direction led to the main corridor, about thirty-feet away. The other ended at a storage area. He could hide there and find something to help his wound, or wounds. Flipping over to his stomach again, the professor crawled painfully toward the storage room.

It seemed to take forever, pushing with one leg and then the other, pulling himself weakly along with his right arm.

The storage area was an open space, no doors to open — thank God. Finding the right cabinet of medical supplies, Professor Edwards faced the daunting task of rising. He made it to one knee, then the other. No way he could stand. Loss of blood occurred to him as he fought dizziness. He must not have lost too much or he wouldn’t be there, alive.

Not bothering to strip off shirt or t-shirt, only his leather suspenders which he could unhook and pull off from the front, he managed to put on a back brace. It was available and easier to handle with one arm than a proper bandage. He put it on backwards so he could tighten the straps from in front. With any luck it would stop any bleeding from his back. Disinfecting back there was impossible. Forget about it.

After a short rest, he did feel better. It was a little easier to move with the tight brace holding his back muscles taut. That painful head wound was another matter. The professor splashed on a bottle of saline solution before doctoring it with salve and a large roll of gauze. He had to do that part with one arm, flipping the unrolled gauze over his shoulder and groping for the end.

Painkillers? That was what he needed. He found morphine syrettes in a first-aid kit. They were the kind you jabbed in and squeezed. Forcing two injections of the drug into his bad arm, he lay back and let it work. He put a handful of them in his pocket for later.

Looking closer at the thick leather suspenders, he saw the thicker pad, where they crossed in back, had a wide square and bloody puncture wound. Those multiple layers of tough leather must have been what saved him. That and the students not being familiar with dead bodies. They must have thought, with all the blood from his head wound, that he was dead. And they might be right. He could be — he had to smile at the thought — a crawling corpse.

Now for a weapon. He would have to try for his trailer, where he kept a revolver. For immediate use, he found a flare gun among packed survivor gear. Who knew why it, that gear, was even on the island? In fact that was what this particular storage cave was used for — unnecessary items like that gear and a pallet of aspirins. Why would thirty people need an entire pallet of aspirins? he wondered, still unable to control his thinking.

Still, the professor felt better with the flare-pistol and a pocketful of flares. While resting and trying to make plans, he noticed the horrible screaming had stopped. With that thought, he passed out again.

Returning pain woke him. Injecting more morphine, he lay and considered his options. First, the revolver in his trailer.

Forcing himself to knees and then feet, the professor stood, dizzily, holding onto rough cave-walls. No! Back to his knees, he decided. Leave the feet for emergencies. Dropping back down, Professor Edwards began crawling.

Passing a side cave, he heard mumbling and other sounds of people moving around. Crawling over, Edwards saw a man with a gun standing, facing away from him, attention farther back in the cave.

It was one of his students and, even worse, the man was holding the professor’s own revolver. An automatic rifle stood against one earthen wall.

“We need water, Jeff, please,” he heard a voice he recognized as a geneticist named Mabel something or other.

Jeff only laughed.

“Please, Jeff, have a heart,” Mabel pleaded. “We haven’t had anything to eat or drink since you put us here.”

“Drink each other’s piss,” Jeff answered, laughing louder.

When she continued to plea, Jeff fired a shot into the cave. It was quiet after that. Edwards remembered Jeff as a quiet unassuming person, shy to the point of embarrassment.

So much for his weapon, the Professor thought. Wait, a minute. If he got past this Jeff, he might well have help. It depended on who else was in there and their condition.

As though he had reminded himself, Jeff turned to face one wall, unzipping his pants. He put the pistol in his belt to use both hands to relieve himself, aimed at the captives.

On the first spurt, Professor Edwards forced himself to ignore his pain. He crawled in as fast as he could, getting behind the man. Rolling against the back of Jeff’s knees caused the guard to fold backwards. Luckily, Jeff hit his head when landing on the stone floor, slowing the boy down. The professor didn’t know how he’d have subdued him otherwise, only knowing he had to try.

Pee still spraying, the prof grabbed the revolver off the floor and hit Jeff in the face with it, as hard as he was able. The boy still struggled weakly. The prof hit him again, over and over, until the student stopped moving. A few more weakening swings and the man was dead. No time for niceties like minimum sufficient force, Edwards thought — this was life or death.

Muscles quivering with exhaustion, the professor had to drop to the cold floor to rest. He couldn’t force himself to make another move. Barely able to remain conscious, he waited.

Regaining a little strength, Prof. Edwards crawled deeper into the cave. That section had been used for more important storage and had been fitted with a steel-barred door. It had a padlock on it. Luckily the kids hadn’t even bothered to lock it. The lock was simply hanging through its loop. It still couldn’t be reached from inside.

The Professor managed to get to his knees, reaching up to remove the padlock. The first thing he saw inside happened to be the two tortured bodies. They were hardly recognizable as human. Raising his eyes, he saw most of the island’s personnel huddled in another corner, fearing whoever had opened the door, he thought.

Knowing his own vulnerability, Professor Edwards watched the others flow past him, letting them have the revolver and rifle. He could hardly do much fighting in his condition. One of the women did take him to his trailer and dress his wounds properly. After that, he slept, not even attempting to undress.

With weapons, the former captives spread out to raise the alarm. A simple signal and the island swarmed with military people to retake the island. One of the scientists, Professor Irene Jamison, took charge. She was an ex-Israeli military officer.

When Irene and two men slammed open the door to the radio shack, they found Pat and Mary in the building — along with Sally.

Found busily amusing themselves by torturing Sally, the students were easily captured. Toes weren’t needed to work the radio, so they had been having fun between radio checks by breaking Sally’s with a hammer and pulling her nails with pliers — one by one.

The two armed teenagers in the guard shack didn’t stand a chance and were killed by the first boatload of Russian marines.

That left only Janice Nice, in the cave. She had the last rifle and, of course, Feeery. By that time, the navy and newly released scientists knew enough — by interviewing students — not to storm the monster. People who tried would only make it partway in before going crazy, shooting and fighting each other.

The military wanted to destroy that section of cave but the scientists intervened. The importance of the find was considered enormous.

“Imagine? If we can capture that woman, the one in the cage? What could she tell and teach us?” one of the scientists argued. It didn’t take long for them to revert back to type.

The mutineers, off the island and outside of Feeery’s influence, soon returned to normal. Deeply shaken at the the memory and apologetic, they were under both confinement and the care of experts.

At first, the authorities tried to reason with Feeery through Janice Nice. They were allowed to take food and water in halfway, where Janice would come out to retrieve it. They would also hear the girl screaming in the night.

In the morning, they could see why. When Janice came out for food and water, guards could see how Feeery made her torture herself. Feeery was careful not to go too far, knowing Janice’s value as an intermediary. Janice received medical supplies to use on herself, as well as painkillers. She was seen, by that time, as another victim and not a collaborator.

On the outside, matters stayed the same for months, with Janice becoming steadily weaker. Inside the cave, conditions were changing. Feeery was learning from Janice; language, customs and everything else Janice was able to teach her. Of course, that worked both ways.


“It’s still my baby, my project,” John Edwards insisted. “When I get out’a here, I’m going back.”

“You’ve done your part, John, more than your part,” his boss, Simon Guanaco from the UN, told him at a convalescent home. “You almost lost your life doing it. We have other people, expert negotiators, to take over.”

“The hell you do. I’m still the best person for the job — and I also insist. You don’t send me back and I’ll … I’ll go to the world press. Tell them everything — about that fiend too.”

In the end the Professor won out. After weeks in various hospitals, he finally made it back to the island.


By that that time, John Edwards had become all business. He had studied and interviewed the students who had been under Feeery’s control. Among other things, they told him why Feeery had tried to kill rather than capture him. It was his speed of thought. The slower the thoughts, the better her control. Professor Edwards with his faster thinking from a lifetime of solving complex problems was beyond her easy control. Slower thinking teenagers were another matter, Janice Nice being easier than the rest.

Also, the writing on the wall had been recognized to be the same as on the sides of Feeery’s cage. The supercomputers had broken the code while he was recuperating. It was a sort of “B” tree language, at least the written version. Instead of reading it linearly, in a straight line, each symbol depended on the preceding portion as to direction and meaning.

One major trouble in the programming had been their tendency to assume, since it was an ancient language, that it was also a simple one such as pictographs. In this case the rules of usage were complex. They would still need some sort of key to fully understand it.

For that reason, among humanitarian ones, he wanted to rescue Janice Nice alive.

Feeery had become lax, letting Janice come farther and farther out of the cave for supplies. She still needed Janice alive but seemed to have otherwise lost interest in the girl. The monster must have realized that more torture would be counterproductive.

Professor Edwards gave his orders and the next time Janice came out she stepped on a simple rope loop, was snared, grabbed and brought all the way out. Although the girl fought back, Feeery was taken by surprise and was again left alone.

It took days before Janice, her wounds being treated properly in a New Zealand hospital, was able to talk coherently. She had become so used to being under Feeery’s direct control that she had trouble thinking for herself.

“How are you doing, Janice?” the Professor asked her. Despite the doctor’s request, he had returned her to the island.

Still bedridden, she was kept under guard in the tiny medical facility. The girl had healed well physically and seemed to have recovered her thinking processes. Although still doped up and handcuffed to a water pipe, she had been judged well enough to talk to him.

“Sorry, Professor. I’m sorry for everything,” she said, then became silent, tears flowing at the memories.

“Janice, listen to me. It wasn’t your fault, none of it.”

“I know, that’s what everyone tells me but I can’t help thinking it was. If I hadn’t been so weak…. ”

“If it hadn’t been you, it would have been someone else. I think she picked you because of your beauty and intelligence. Maybe she simply identifies with blondes like herself? Who knows? It could have been any of you.”

“Maybe so but I still feel guilty. They won’t put me in jail, will they?”

She seemed alarmed at the prospect, which only made him laugh.

“Of course not. That’s silly. But I have to know all about the woman. Does she have a name and where does she come from? That’s space-age stuff in there, or at least looks like it.”

Janice spent hours talking to Professor Edwards, until she needed more medication and sleep. He learned Feeery’s name and something about her history. On one hand, being a scientist, Edwards was tempted to question Feeery himself, to learn about her society. On the other hand he knew it would be dangerous to keep her alive or even go near her.

Time was on his side, though. The woman couldn’t leave the cave and had no more captives. Guards at the entrance to Feeery’s corridor were doubled and told to keep an eye out for any aberrations in each other. She might try to control one or more of them. They were unarmed and had to pass another set of guards when going on or off duty. Professor Edwards was taking no chances.


He arranged to have a robot take in a battery-powered radio. That way he could talk to Feeery in safety. So far, although knowing some English from Janice, she refused to say anything.

The next day, he let a linguistic expert question Janice. While under Feeery’s control, the girl had absorbed some of the other’s language, necessary to teaching Feeery English. Now that knowledge would be applied to the computer simulations.

With Janice’s help, it took only days to break the written coding. It was, as thought, a copy of what was written on the sides of the cage. The carvings detailed Feeery’s crimes and her sentence. It also explained the cage, instructions for her captors as to how it was built and to be maintained.

One thing that interested Professor Edwards was the cylinder itself. Also that, although the enclosure was invulnerable and built to last virtually forever, it could be opened. The door lock was complex and mathematical, possibly beyond their means to even attempt. But there was a provision to open several smaller emergency panels.

They were for various uses, such as inserting more metabolism-slowing gases and medicinal reasons in case Feeery would need attention. In an emergency, air or water could be restored, or excess waste taken out. No one had known for certain, at the time the cage was built, if the ecology would be completely self-restoring. That was Feeery’s weakness.

He could kill her, if she allowed him and if he wanted. Feeery could, possibly, be a huge asset. Her brain contained a vast working knowledge of another, inter-spatial, society. She was also the most dangerous single creature to their own.

The professor figured that it should be up to the rest of the world — not his decision. He reported his finds to UN authorities.


Professor Edwards walked slowly down a corridor to Feeery’s caging cylinder. He had talked to her earlier, through the radio, after receiving his own instructions. She looked so innocent and peaceful, watching him as he approached — like a simple teen-aged female human being — though kind of small for that image.

“I don’t like it, Feeery, but I’ve been told they need you. If it were up to me you’d be dead by now.” He stopped in front of her, careful not to make eye contact. He could feel strange forces gently shoving and probing against both his skin and mind. Keeping his brain working fast by humming intricate classical tunes, he took an object out of his pocket. “This is to release you from your confinement. Don’t try to escape. I have a half-dozen large robots waiting outside.”

The Professor smiled in reassurance as he twisted open a plate to expose Feeery’s emergency air-supply inlet. He felt a sudden urge to leave, almost overpowering. So much so that he was forced to grab onto a cage projection to keep from turning around.

She’s read a portion of my mind, or at least suspects something, he thought.

Quickly, before she could stop him, he jammed the muzzle of a flare-pistol into the opening and pulled the trigger.

Even though the cylinder was invulnerable, he flew back from the force of the flare igniting a heavy concentration of oxygen inside. His pistol flew across the cave from the force created — smashing to plastic and metal splinters against the stone wall.

As he lay on a cold stone floor, hand burning in sudden agony, the professor saw the inside of the cylinder erupt into flames.

Feeery jerked in sudden pain as the fire melted flesh, which flowed off her body in the extreme heat. It was over in minutes, all the oxygen inside being exhausted except for a small amount still noisily sucking in through the small inspection port.

Forcing himself to his feet, the professor staggered over and felt the cylindrical cage. It was still cool to his touch.

Professor Edwards left and radioed his boss at the UN.

“Sorry, sir. I couldn’t do it. I know this is the end of my career but I just couldn’t let her live.” Professor Edwards hit the “off” switch on his radio, leaned against a wall, lowered his tired head, and sobbed quietly.

The End.