Title: Hunter: The Fallen One
A Lian Hunter Adventure
Author: C. L. Hagely
Genre: YA/Sci Fi
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2
Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble
A hostile takeover of earth is unfolding secretly right before our very eyes. Is this a political move, or is something much more ancient and sinister at hand?
Lian Hunter is a freshman at one of these schools for the exclusively wealthy; the Tri- Asterisk Academy in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. When students start suddenly disappearing, Lian starts to feel something evil and corrupt underlying the veneer of the academy. Can he uncover the truth about his school before it is too late or is he just another soldier in training?
"Has anyone ever heard of the Sumerians?" began Professor Snodgrass.
Gabriel raised his hand.
"Gabriel? You've heard of them?"
"Yes, Professor. I think they were here around the same time as the Babylonians."
"Right you are, my lad." Professor Snodgrass rolled down one of the Old World maps mounted on the wall. "Sumerians were one of the earliest civilizations on record. Many of the developments and technological advancements attributed to the Egyptians and other civilizations were actually derived directly from the Sumerians."
The professor shuffled some papers around on his desk for a few seconds. "Now where did I put…" He paused for a moment. "Oh, well." He turned back toward the map using a wooden ruler as a pointer.
"At the time, Sumer was known as Mesopotamia, now known as Iraq. Yes, uh...right about here on this particular map."
Snodgrass put the ruler back on his desk. "Does everyone have their bearings now? Do you understand where we are on the globe?" He looked around the class for any questions. "Alright then, let's go to our Virtual Electronic Reality Simulating Energizer, or V.E.R.S.E., as we call it."
The professor moved to his computer, a few screens floated right in front of him. He moved the images around with his hand, found the tab on one of the screens, and clicked on it in mid-air to engage the program. The class was now in a virtual realistic area of Sumer.
Lian turned to his right, where the bottom block of a pyramid was now within an arm's reach of his desk.
"We are in the outskirts of the city, and as you can see, by one of the Sumerian pyramids. And yes, I know what some of you are thinking…they had pyramids like the Egyptians, and in fact, were the first civilization to have them. They were arguably their most visual and impressive development."
"Professor, how did they construct these pyramids this early in history?" Gabriel asked.
"We will get to that in just a moment. I will tell you they were built mostly for religious purposes. Their high priest, called the "Ensi," was thought of as a demi-god. He would live in the pyramids, and climb to the top during ceremonies using ramps and stairs called "ziggurats." I think you will find this impressive. Some of these pyramids would house as many as fifty thousand rooms."
Lian, Gabriel, and the other students were now out of their seats exploring the details of the nearest pyramid. Lian could feel the heat bearing down upon him as he watched some students taking pictures with their panoptic watches. He ran his hand over some grooved etchings of triangles and lines. The professor was now standing right next to him.
"Class, take a good look at the drawings on the side of this structure. These are called "cuneiform," a writing system developed by the Sumerians, using symbols and pictures. Let me remind you again this was long before the Egyptian hieroglyphics."
The professor walked around discussing other Sumerian advancements, such as the development of agriculture and bronze, and inventions including the twenty-four-hour clock and the wheel.
"Think about it." The professor put his index finger to the side of his head. "All of these inventions, all of these developments, all of these futuristic things came from the Sumerians. And all of these happened in a very, very short time. There are many scholars who think they couldn't have done it without help from some outside source, a source far more advanced than our own."
Snodgrass walked up a few steps and turned. "I want you to ponder these ideas as you explore more of these pyramids. Feel free to climb the steps, but just be careful."
Lian and Gabriel passed the professor, and continued to make their way toward the top of the pyramid.
"I'm pretty sure these were built by auditive levitation, just like the Egyptians. What do you think?" Gabriel turned to Lian and climbed backwards for a few steps.
Lian nodded, a bit out of breath. "I agree. I mean, how else could they have done it?"
They kept climbing, finally reaching the highest of the pyramid's plateaus. They walked over to the edge and sat down, taking in the view from below as they caught their breath. The view itself was breathtaking, and they looked out at the structures of a city in the distance engulfed by the desert. Then Lian suddenly froze as he felt something crawling on his shoulder. He was afraid to look, but knew he had to, and knew he should move slowly to do so. Whatever it was, he just hoped it was not poisonous. Lian cautiously turned his head towards his shoulder, imagining the worst. A large black scarab was now moving down his upper arm. Lian immediately jumped up with a loud gasp, startling Gabriel, and quickly brushed the scarab off his jacket.
"What the heck?" Gabriel looked at the bug. "It's just a virtual beetle, Lian. What are you afraid of?" Gabriel chuckled and went right back to taking in the scenery.
As Lian watched the bug crawl away, his eyes glanced up and caught a familiar image on one of the center blocks. He got up and moved toward the structure behind him for a closer look. A depression in the stone revealed a figure with an eagle's head and the body of a human, like one of the academy's statues.
Facing forward and looking down the long steps at other students, Gabriel pointed behind him with his thumb. "Right back there is where the Ensi would have..." Turning to his left, he realized Lian was no longer beside him, but now standing at the exact spot he was describing.
"Do these impressions remind you of anything, Gabe?"
Gabriel stood up and walked up the few steps to join him. "Hmmmmm…"
"They're the same figures as the statues in the front courtyard. You know the ones…the ones in the circle."
"Oh yeah, you're right."
Lian ran his hand over the eagle-headed figure engraved in the wall. The head and fully extended wings were carved in such detail it made the depression seem almost life-like. He kept his hand on the wall as he walked up the last steps of the structure.
"Here's the second figure." He looked down at Gabriel, who was still studying the first one. Gabriel walked up the stairs and was now standing next to him. "This is the human one, Gabe." Lian stared at the long beard and the outstretched hand.
"They had some amazing sculptors back then. It seems like you could pull a hair right out of this guy's beard."
"I know." Lian took a few more steps around the structure, his hand never leaving the surface as he searched for more markings. "But where is the third?" Lian continued to follow the wall around a corner when he suddenly stopped.
"You're not going in there, are you?" Gabriel peered around Lian's shoulder and saw an opening.
"Why not?" Lian stepped through the entrance and turned back to Gabriel, "It's only virtual, remember?"
"Yeah...well, alright." Gabriel followed his friend into the mysterious structure.