Vicar—Vic—Farbstein, seventeen, resident of Eugene, Oregon, an average high school student in every way, happens upon an alien who has come to Earth in search of warriors to defend her world. With a long, unpronounceable name, he calls her Iris, with her blessing.
Iris has abilities—flight and strength—and soon, the NSA discovers what she can do. Led by Agent Randolph Haynes, he urges her to keep a low profile and blend in.
Blending in, though, isn’t something Iris can so readily do, as the destroyer of her world, Kherter, a fearsome giant of a man, sends his forces to Earth to destroy her as well as enslave mankind. Iris manages—barely—to beat them back the first time, and in doing so, reveals herself to the world.
Vic accepts her as a friend, and so do many others at first. The press dubs her Iris Incredible, and she’s hailed as a savior, a mantle she is unwilling to assume. Her only goal is to find someone who can help her in her own cause.
When Kherter and his forces return to ravage downtown Eugene and subsequently threaten the world, human nature takes over. Trust turns to mistrust and fear, and Iris becomes a pariah, as does Vic. Soon, social order breaks down as the worst of human nature comes to the fore.
In spite of the public’s antipathy, Vic and Iris take on Kherter’s forces in one, final, all-out assault. Iris knows what she has to do, as does Vic, and they engage in a battle that will determine the future of mankind.
Eugene, Oregon, downtown. Midnight. April first. I-Day.
I’d heard an old saying once in one of those popular apocalyptic movies—when the end of the world comes, either you confront it head-on, or else you stick your head in the ground and hope to hell it passes you by.
It was a common saying, almost trite. Man up, nut up or shut up, blah, blah, and more blah. Talk about overuse! Anyway, those screenwriters wouldn’t have known. Fantasy was all they knew.
Point of fact—this was reality, the apocalypse had descended and it wouldn’t pass anyone by, so those who confronted it fell into three basic categories. Group A took up arms to defend themselves. Group B blamed certain elements of society, and Group C partied like it was the turn of the century.
After all, if the world was going to end, then why not go out with a bang, get hammered, do all the drugs you could, and have the mother of all blow-outs?
That was the attitude some people had, and in the two weeks prior to today, about thirty percent of Eugene’s citizens decided to do the party-and-steal-‘til-you-drop thing.
The police were hamstrung, looting was rampant, racism was worse, and not a single person could do anything about it. Even if the police had been able to control the rioters, realistically speaking, did they want to?
Personally speaking, if today meant the end of humanity, then I was going to face it head-on. No booze, no drugs, and I’d keep a level head. Screw what happened. To the outsider who didn’t know the sitch, it might have sounded like suicide, but that was the furthest thing from the truth.
For me, my life had been effectively over for three weeks. As for everyone else, well—not everyone, but many—they’d already given up. They were resigned to their fate, and they didn’t care.
It took a measure of courage to face extinction, and while I didn’t think I was overly brave, still, I didn’t want to go out without a fight. Hide out or man up. Facts were facts. The world, our world, would end, just the same.
In this case—this case meaning tonight—while half the populace decided to go out and party, the other half chose to confront the passing of our planet by taking the fight to the destroyer. Points to them for showing up. Deduct points for not bringing anything to defend themselves with when the ol’ you-know-what was about to go down.
The crowd, two thousand strong, shifted this way and that, everyone jostling one another in order to get a better view of a portal that would appear right about this time. They carried bats, knives, chains, and a few had guns, but they weren’t going to turn on each other. No, they were restless and waiting.
Soldiers ringed the perimeter of the plaza. “Keep back,” they announced through bullhorns. “For your own safety, keep back!”
Armed and ready, they had their weapons trained on the sky. That was where the enemy would come from. Many in the crowd were young, not much older than I was—seventeen.
It was cold, around forty-five degrees, but in spite of that, a nervous sweat trickled down my back. On any other day, it would have been ideal to stay home, watch television, kick back, and enjoy life, or get into bed and keep warm.
But tonight, many religious leaders were calling it the Armageddon. They pointed to all the signs, chiefly that this piece’s main villain was a reddish-brown SOB who had all the appearances of Old Scratch himself—minus the horns and tail.
Who cared what religion it was? They had the knowledge. They had the facts. Never mind it was from a source that couldn’t be verified outside of having, ahem, faith. They believed.
“Look at where that creature came from!”
Explanation number two came out with an exclamation point attached to it. They pointed to the ring of fire the creature had entered from.
However, said ring of fire didn’t come from underground. There was no fiery pit. No, this ring of fire came from the sky, so, wrong there, too.
“Salvation is at hand. The end of days is nigh! You can still be saved!”
Repent—that was the way to salvation. Sorry, reverends and ministers and imams and rabbis and other true believers, I couldn’t listen to that kind of religious BS and not laugh. They were in the minority, but their numbers had grown exponentially since the crisis began.
Attacks on anything different, like minority religions, had gone up tenfold since the announcement that an off-world presence was due to invade our planet. In short, things were going to hell at an incredibly fast rate.
“The government of the United States does not believe this event is religiously inspired. We believe it has been perpetrated by outside forces, forces outside of our planet.”
Yes, that came from the White House. In other words, aliens, that six-letter word meaning visitors from elsewhere. After all, they’d previously entered our world through portals, so nothing new there.
They’d used otherworldly tech to destroy buildings and kill a lot of innocents. As for their method of conveyance, they rode sky cycles. They were large, noisy, clunky-looking things that resembled flying snowmobiles. So, once again, alien status confirmed.
Our government sent out the National Guard to watch over Eugene. When they couldn’t handle it, the government dispatched the armed forces, one thousand soldiers, to defend us.
The lead bad guy, whose name was Kherter, hadn’t attacked anywhere else. Not yet. He’d confined his attacks to this city, but he’d promised to do worse elsewhere when the time came—and the time was now.
Every single time he’d come before, his forces had slaughtered people and he’d demanded that the person we sheltered—Iris Incredible, as the newshounds had come to call her—show herself and fight it out.