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“The ultimate danger of [biological] technology comes from its power to change the nature of human beings by the application of genetic engineering to human embryos.” Freeman Dyson, Physicist for Princeton Institute, Cosmiverse, 09-10-01

Donald Pritchert counted to five and threw the main breaker back on. A second longer and the research facility’s emergency backup generator would have started, resulting in a dispatch of security and maintenance crews. His hope was that both departments would perceive the event as a temporary utility failure. Phobos would know better. The blinking lights were a predetermined signal. He had just enough time to safely depart any level of Montero and to exit the Nephilim Training Access Tunnel to the forest outside.

Donald released the breaker arm and returned to the maintenance corridor, then to the site of the nuclear warhead. It was hidden behind a row of furnaces, next to the body of a dead scientist laying facedown on the floor. The SAMM’s digital clock read 43:41 minutes to detonation.


Desperation more than courage pulled Joe like potent gravity into the darkness. Even as the lights came on and his eyes adjusted to the details, the trace glow of the vanishing phantoms—like psychic shadows searching for ways to rush through spectral dimensions—lingered before him. The pungent smell of decaying flesh gripped the air as he turned the M-249 along the walls, fingering the trigger, fearful that the jittering in his belly might give way to unrestrained machine gun spray. Finally, satisfied that the things were gone, he lowered the weapon and moved toward Sheri.

An astringent taste filled his mouth as he found her isolated stare.

“Sheri,” he said softly, downplaying his own fear, knowing restraint and not alarm was what she needed most. “It’s okay…don’t cry now…I’m here to take you home.”

He carefully pulled the gag from her mouth. Her distant and unfamiliar expression conveyed what he already knew—they were up against something far more sinister than he had prepared for. Even now, malevolent beings could be watching them through shadows, angles in the walls, the very thought of which caused gooseflesh to crawl on his skin. He felt a superstitious terror he’d known only as a child, a nervous dread crouching deep inside him like a cornered, frightened boy, waiting for a single opportunity to throw off its pretensive guard and run. Yet circumstances mandated he remain calm, be a marine, protect Sheri for as long as was necessary, then he could abandon his wits; heck, maybe even go crazy and kill somebody, like Apol Leon, for instance.

He pulled the Ka-Bar fighting knife from its holster and looked at the floor so as not to embarrass Sheri, then began cutting the thick leather bands padlocking her to the table. Katherine was already there, covering her with a hospital gown she’d found on the end of the bed. Smiling sympathetically, she brushed Sheri’s hair from her face and whispered calmly, “We’re here now, everything’s going to be okay.”

Apparently in shock, Sheri began whimpering, “W-what…were…those…things…”

“It was them,” Phobos said from across the room. “And by now they’re alerting the others.”

Joe glanced at him. “Them? What do you mean?”

“Powerful, alien devils. They come from another dimension—from what some in the consortium call ‘the darkness’—to deceive and enslave mankind.”


As Sheri gazed silently upward, Phobos shifted his attention back to the corner of the room. The grays had dematerialized there like ectoplasm through a fantastic-spinning void. He wasn’t sure what he would have done even if he had caught the fiends, but the simple act of their fleeing had invigorated his nerve. He clutched the crucifix in his pocket and reminded himself to be careful; overconfidence against such beings could be fatal, even if he did understand spiritual warfare as taught by Father Malina.

Continuing a silent prayer for the name of Jesus to cover them, he glanced around the lab. Sheri was his primary concern now. Her awkward position in the stirrups and the contents of the room told him everything he needed to know. The Grays had intended to impregnate her with Apol’s experiment.

He made a mental inventory of the various high-tech gear. Near an oversized microscope, a mechanical arm held a rubber hose connected to a pump, a system he believed was used for injecting DNA into eggs. In the middle of the table a monitor for observation sat next to a tray of operating utensils. The polished tools looked undisturbed, but the object next to them didn’t. Eight inches tall and approximately twenty inches in diameter, the portable embryo container’s lid was open. Fatalism rushed his imagination at the sight of it. If the beast had been transferred here and implanted in the girl, she would have to undergo emergency abortion, hysterectomy, or even be destroyed.

His hands were shaking for the first time today as he held his breath and looked into the receptacle. Midway down, in a straw with proper identification, was the embryo.

Thank you, God, thank you.

There was no doubting whose body the zygote was meant to be. The specimen’s key, written in Apol’s own handwriting, was actually coded 666, the number of the Beast. He replaced the lid and breathed a conspicuous sigh of relief, then turned to the others.

“Okay people, the blinking lights were a signal to me. We’ve got to get out of here…now.”




As Apol stepped from the elevator into the ETV hangar, not much was left of the men General Layton had sent to dislodge the Nibiruan Key. A lone survivor inside the alien craft was screaming. Blood-curdling, imploring screams. It sounded like he was being ripped apart, chewed up, devoured piece by piece.

Apol rushed to the craft to catch a glimpse of the entertainment, but was too late. By the time he left the scaffolding and entered the vessel, froth was dripping like sludge from the monster’s wiry beard, but there was no sign of the man. The giant was on his haunches beneath the blue-red glow of the Enigma, his blood-soaked appearance looking particularly depraved in the poor visibility. Fragments of several other corpses lay beneath his feet, and bits of hair and flesh were scattered nearby.

And something else…

For the first time in over eight hours, the Enigma, next to him, was silent. Other than Rahu’s heavy breathing, the ambience inside the Extra Terrestrial Vehicle had taken on the characteristics of a motionless tableau, like the single frame of a gory B-rated movie.

Apol knew the only reason the thumping ovoid would be absent from the Enigma in this way was if the Ahriman Gate had opened. The Army of Darkness was at the portal. Satan’s invasion was imminent.

“Follow me to the Dungeon,” he slurred gaily as he combed Rahu’s bloody mane with his desiccated fingertips. “It’s time for that little treat I promisssed you. I’ll bet Katherine’s juicy with fear by now.”


“That’s exactly right,” Katherine said, turning from Sheri and agreeing with Phobos. “They’re coming from the shadows to enslave and rule over us; I’ve seen it in my dreams. They have a king over them. He’s the Dragon that rises up from the sea.”

Joe, still cutting the thick leather bands from Sheri’s legs, found Katherine’s comments particularly disturbing, as though from somewhere deep inside, he knew the beautiful young woman was onto something.

“Phobos,” he asked, “where did you learn to use the name of Jesus against those gray creatures?”

“Father Malachi Malina taught us,” Phobo said, studying how far Joe was on the straps. “And by the way, there’s no point in continuing the secrecy. My name is John Stark.”

Joe paused, then, “That would be ‘Admiral Stark’ according to the uniform,” he said.

“You’re right.”

“So…Admiral Stark, who’s us?”


“You said Father Malina taught us to use the name of Jesus against the beings. Who’s us?”

“The consortium. The members of Operation Gadfly.”

“Does it work every time, the name of Jesus, I mean?”

“As far as I know, it’s a matter of faith in Christ. True believers don’t have to put up with aliens. They’re actually demons, you know.”



Stark allowed Joe to consider what he had said, then, knowing where they would be later, added, “But the Nephilim downstairs are a different problem. We created them. We’re not certain how they’ll react.”

Sheri blinked rapidly, then whimpered, “Y-you …mean …I didn’t have…to put up…with those things…in…my head…?”

Stark approached her. The beings might have explored her psyche for intel. Quietly he asked, “Did the Grays penetrate your thoughts?”

She looked confused and uncertain. Then, without improving her deliberation, replied, “It…it was more like…they injected their own.”

“You mean it seemed as if you were looking through somebody else’s eyes?”

“Y-yes…yes…I could see the room around me…as though…as though…I were one of them.”

“It’s called remote viewing. They couldn’t penetrate your thoughts, so they showed you theirs. It’s a mind game they play. They get you to consider their meditations first, in hope you’ll open up later and invite them back in. So, in answer to your question, no, you didn’t have to put up with that.”

Her eyes became distant again as she started to drift away. “I…I…wish I had…known…I wish…”

Stark knew from Father Malina that the best thing for postabduction therapy is to keep a person grounded in God, faith, and family. Placing his large hand on hers, he reassured her, “Don’t worry, they’ll never bother you again, I’ll see to that. In the meantime, if the memories trouble you….”

He pulled the crucifix from his pocket and placed it in her hand, folding her fingers gently over it as her eyes returned to his, seeking hope.


“Rebuke them in Jesus’ name, and they’ll have no choice but to flee.”

“But…but…why did….” Her voice broke again.

“Why did God allow you to be brought here in the first place?”

She nodded, her cheeks flushing red, her eyes lowering demurely, flooding with tears of shame.

Katherine grabbed her by the arm. “He brought you here so I could be rescued!”

“Not only that,” Stark said, holding up the embryo container. “If you hadn’t come to this lab, neither would I have, and I wouldn’t have found this.”

“W-what is it?” she stammered.

“Only the consortium’s number one target. This thing could have represented the end of everything good in this world, but now we have it, to hold as hostage if necessary. Because you were here, Sheri, mankind might get a second chance.”

She searched his face, as if looking for sincerity.

“I guess God just likes using virgins to destroy the Devil’s plans,” Stark added with a wink. He could hardly believe the embryo had been delievered to them this way.


Stark’s comment struck Joe as odd. He knew it was a veiled reference to the mother of Jesus and not only to Sheri’s situation, but this was a side of the admiral he’d never seen before, albeit a welcome side, however Catholic. The rugged military persona was softer now, even fatherly. It was helping Sheri, which made his next question particularly difficult.

“What did you mean when you said the Nephilim downstairs could be a bigger problem, Stark? Won’t spiritual warfare work against them too?”

Just then the last strap Joe was cutting broke through. Stark patted Sheri’s hand, then motioned for Joe to step away from the girls. The two huddled a few feet away. He whispered, “I don’t know. They’re not entirely demonic like the Grays are. They’re transgenic—a mixture of human, animal and alien. We may have to fight them on the physical level, like ancient Israel did.”

Joe thought about that. “How many of them are there?”

“Approximately one hundred thousand worldwide. Ten thousand at each facility.”

This was the first time Joe had heard how large the giant army was. It startled him. “The consortium can engage a number that big?”

“Not if they get outside the facilities we can’t. The Nephilim have to be destroyed where they are. That’s my primary mission today, and the reason we need to get moving.”

“So you plan to destroy this facility? You have the power to do that?”

“It’s already started. From the flickering of the lights, I’d say we have forty minutes to leave. After that, we’re in big trouble.”

“I understand,” Joe said grimly, and turned toward the girls.

Katherine was helping Sheri off the bed into the gown. She tied the cords on the back of the garment, being sure to overlap the flaps as far as they would go, then stepped around to face her.

When Stark saw what Katherine was doing, he pulled his coat off and gave it to her, which she placed around Sheri before wrapping the single bedsheet around herself.

Glancing at his weapons vest, Joe realized he had nothing to offer the girls. There didn’t appear to be any sources of covering elsewhere in the room, either, typical of what he’d learned of Apol thus far. His subjects were animals without the least need of human comforts.


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