Owl Dance Excerpt 5: A Glimpse of the Future

In excerpt 3, we met the alien Legion. In this scene, Legion encounters the Russian attaché to the United States and shows him a vision of the future.

Alexander Gorloff thought he heard voices. His eyes fluttered open and he felt the rumbling of the train. He looked around, searching the darkness, but didn’t see anyone. Finally, his eyes drifted shut. A short time later, the general had the most remarkable dream.

He found himself in a vast white space, surrounded by a swarm of some strange species of insect. They neither landed on him nor bit him, but he heard soft whispering voices as though they were speaking to one another. He plucked one out of the air and looked at it. It was soft and malleable, but he could not squish it like an insect. It flew away from him and joined its comrades.

“We are called Legion,” came a velvety voice speaking Russian.

“Where are you?”

“All around you.”

“You’re the insects?” Gorloff raised his eyebrows.

“We are a swarm, but we are not insects. We have come to learn about your world.”

“My … world? Where are you from?”

“We are from a distant island of stars.” The scene around him changed. At first, Gorloff thought the room had become black and the swarm was now white, but then he realized he was looking at the night sky. However, when he looked at his feet, he realized he was not standing on a surface. Instead, he was floating, carried by the swarm, which swathed him like a blanket. The swarm carried him through the sea of night to a great whirlpool of stars. “This is where we came from.”

Legion then carried the general back through the sea of stars. Finally, Gorloff saw a blue-green ball that floated in the void. In the distance he saw the sun, but it looked strange floating in a sea of black, instead of hanging in a blue sky. The blue-green ball unfolded and Gorloff realized he was standing in the white room again, looking at a remarkably detailed map of the world. Light whispers continued in the background—so many voices, but so soft, it was almost a white noise. The general was aware of questions being asked and suggestions being made very gently, as though Legion didn’t want to break something delicate.

Gorloff found himself studying the Russian Empire and the United States. As he did so, Legion helped him to understand things about their relationship that he had never known before. The memory of Alaska’s sale to the United States came to the forefront of his mind. He remembered the land as a potential target should Great Britain renew its hostility toward Russia. As a strategist, the Russian general had agreed that the sale of the land to the United States was necessary. However, Legion showed him there was great wealth in Alaska that he had not known about. Not only were there great gold deposits, but there was oil, which was vitally important to machinery. Alaska’s sale to the United States had been accomplished less than a decade before, but after Legion’s revelations Gorloff began to wonder if it was a mistake.

The military attaché shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. “This is a crazy dream.” His tone was harsh. “America is our friend.”

The swarm appeared at Gorloff’s side. Its whispers were more audible to him now. “Analyzing political and economic structures of countries called the United States of America and the Russian Empire. Recent war in the United States will have lasting effects on the population, including increased economic stress in certain sectors. There is a 90% likelihood that such stress will result in an uprising by the labor class to improve their well-being. This movement will likely spread around the world…”

The voices continued. Although Gorloff did not understand all the words, he found that if he did not listen closely, he followed the meaning surprisingly well. He began to have a vision within his dream. He saw workers rising up in Russia and toppling his beloved Czar. In spite of that, Russia grew even more powerful. America also increased its might. Eventually, a time came when the two countries were directly in conflict. He saw a future where Russia and the United States of America developed horrible weapons—weapons that could murder every man, woman, and child in the world. Finally, Gorloff had a vision of a charred and blackened Earth, floating dead in space.

“This is terrible.” Gorloff put his hands to his head. “I cannot let this happen.”

Legion’s soft murmurings changed and the general saw a new vision. This time the Civil War ended differently and America was permanently cleaved in two. In the world that resulted, neither the Union nor the Confederacy would ever become a dominant world power. The labor class of the United States would not rise up in the same way and there was a chance the Czar could keep his power, especially if he made conditions better for Russia’s laborers.

General Alexander Gorloff saw a future where Russia was the strongest country in the world.

“The only problem,” said Legion, who sensed the general’s thoughts, “is that machines will become increasingly important. Although Russia has resources, they may not be sufficient to power the machines necessary to obtain dominance.”

Gorloff’s attention went back to Alaska. He thought about the American Civil War and how it almost divided the country. Looking at the map in front of him, a plan began to form.

“Can you help me?”

Will Legion help Gorloff? Find out in Owl Dance. More information about the book along with an interview of me at: http://flyingpenpress.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=49.

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