I have a new short story this month to share with you. Before anyone asks, no it is not a Valentine's story! There's no romance whatsoever. It's just a quick sci-fi thriller that I'm sure you'll enjoy.
The story itself is set in the same sci-fi universe that will contain my upcoming series. I'm excited to give you a peek and I plan to roll out more short fiction in this setting before the longer works are published. For now, please enjoy Intruder and leave your comments below.
This would be the last time. Dietrich wouldn’t allow another intrusion inside the sanctum while the Prime Minister of Oyang-La was visiting. As head of security of the Un Vox Temple on the planet Idyll, Dietrich had kept the sacred site safe from threats for more than twenty years. Prior to his death, Dietrich’s father had held the post. He knew the old man wouldn’t be happy that his son’s pristine reputation was now under scrutiny.
One of his subordinates had spotted an intruder in the sanctum two nights prior. The guard shook visibly as he recounted the tale inside Dietrich’s circular office.
“It wasn’t a man or woman. What I saw was the devil himself, sir,” the man said.
Dietrich rolled his eyes. “For the benefit of those of us who don’t believe in the devil, what exactly did you see?”
“It was tall and lean. I couldn’t make out much on account of the eye.”
“A large red glowing eye in the center of its head. Before I could pull the trigger, that eye it…it mesmerized me. I couldn’t move nor think, sir,” the man explained. “Then it fled the sanctum.”
Now the temple’s claxons blared—an intruder on the premises again.
Dietrich had tightened Prime Minister Lewon’s security detail and assigned more guards to the sanctum weeks ago. It was standard protocol whenever a dignitary presided over a ceremony in the sanctum. He felt the increased security presence would be sufficient to deter any further intrusions. But this new threat was brazen.
“Escort Lewon to the temple chambers immediately!” Dietrich hollered into his wristcom.
A round of “yes sirs” replied on the other end. He drew his firearm and glanced at the digital portrait of his father on the wall. Those disapproving eyes bore into him as he entered the hallway outside of his office. In a few minutes he was outside the sanctum. Shrieks punctuated by laser bolts echoed inside the room. His instinct compelled him to enter and fire at whoever dared cause such havoc here. But a comm from another guard flashed on his wrist.
The message was sent from the temple chambers. Dietrich raced down another hallway until he faced a gilded door. He quickly slapped his palm on the reader. The security AI scanned it and the door slid open with a hiss.
Darkness and a blaring claxon greeted him. He ordered the AI to switch the lights on, but nothing happened. Dietrich felt disoriented by the screeching and impenetrable dark. He stepped toward the nearest wall panel and tripped on something. Regaining his footing, he punched a button on the panel and light flooded the room. At his feet, three guards lay dead.
Before he could process what might’ve happened, his eyes darted to the far side of the room. In the corner, the Prime Minister sat with his back against the wall. His eyes stared blankly into space, his body motionless. A laser burn marred Lewon’s exquisite jacket. Then Dietrich heard it. A metallic grinding that set his teeth on edge. He turned and saw the intruder.
A gangly mechanoid with a single red optic fixed on its head. Servomotors clicked and whirred as the robot pointed its long rifle at Dietrich. The head of security fired six laser bolts at his quarry. None deterred the mechanoid from firing a single laser beam at him. Dietrich fell on top of his fallen men. The mechanoid approached him as his life ebbed away.
“You should always have a healthy fear of devils, Dietrich Evanston,” the mechanoid said.
Blackness enveloped Dietrich’s vision except for the haunting gaze of that red eye. But it paled in comparison to his father’s disappointment.