Two immortals, Noah & Hannah, secure a spaceship to take their mortal family and friends off a devastated Earth. Their friends on board fight them for control. Every alien culture refuses them, just like the rich states back home. But one planet offers something bizarre. The migrants must adapt or perish.
Chapter 1. Noah.
The evening of my hundredth birthday, after my last sex on Earth, I fall asleep in my wife’s arms. Or maybe I don’t. Maybe I just close my eyes and imagine things. Whatever it is, I see myself exiting a refugee spaceship on a faraway planet, my family behind me, and getting in line at the border guard gate. The guards look like Soviet soldiers circa the 1980s. Same uniforms, the same AK-47s, and the same leashed dogs. All they are missing is the faces. Instead, they have cartoonish white ovals with drawn mouths, googly eyes, and Brezhnev-like eyebrows.
The beings in line in front of me are not human. They are snakes standing on their tales, wearing long raincoats, and their heads look like loudspeakers. One of them turns toward me and screams.
I wake up unless I haven’t slept. My ears are assaulted by an inhuman wail. Totally confused, I disengage from Hannah and sit up in bed. Is the Earth falling apart already?
“It’s the drone alarm!” Hannah shouts. “The Berserkers are coming!”
I glance at the clock. Ten minutes after midnight. It’s not my birthday anymore, and it’s time to work.
And so we do.
I grab my infrared binoculars and my Uzi from under the bed and run to the window. Four trucks move silently at the end of the street. They are coming. The Berserkers, the Roamers, the Bone Eaters. Our potential future. Unless we leave.
The Berserkers are stealthy. No way we could have heard or seen them.
“Thank you, Jake, for the drone!” I shout.
Hannah doesn’t reply.
We are lucky. Not every neighborhood can afford a drone. The Berserkers probably didn’t count on us having it. But who knows what they think? In a word, they constantly go berserk.
The trucks carry about thirty fighters. Through my binoculars, the Berserkers look inhuman in the dark. Unlike movie zombies, they move fast. They wear Hazmat suits and body armor and carry automatic rifles, machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. I can’t tell if they wear hoods or if their heads are misshapen. I can’t see that, but I assume they are foaming at the mouth. That’s what they all do according to the surviving witnesses.
The Berserkers can’t help themselves. Their condition is caused by TBV, Traumatic Brain Virus. It’s both lethal and contagious.
I suddenly want to pee. The bladder has to wait. Its role is minor now.
I check my Uzi. Hannah is getting her newly acquired Anaconda sniper rifle ready. This is the most powerful rifle known today, a gift from a former marine whose life she saved in a home-based surgery.