Blurb- John Lay is recruiting a new member for Phoenix crew. In order to educate her, he recounts the story regarding his first mission with The Bureau. It was then that he met with an exceptional group of people, and it was then that he first learned of aliens, and closed door political ties to piracy.
In joining The Bureau, Lay and crew infiltrate the Illuminati’s base of operations, witness the destructive properties of alien tech, and uncover the truth about Montrose’s involvement in alien pacts.
The mission takes a turn for the worse when the undercover crew is discovered, and worse, pirates start overtaking Apollo.
Genre- Scifi, short stories
My Rating- 4 meows!
My Review- I liked this little scifi short story. Well, not exactly a short story. It’s long for a short story. This appears to be in line with the Lokians scifi novels, but I can’t really tell where it fits in, and I think it may be after the 3rd novel, which is still in “re-release prep mode” I guess.
Any-meow, Ambassador Lay, who used to be Admiral Lay, is speaking to a new recruit for Phoenix Crew, which was led by Captain O’Hara in the novels, and he relates to this new gal, Chang, the story of his Bureau dealings back when he was a Lieutenant.
It was really a blast. I got to learn a little more about a super mysterious figure, John Lay, and why he is the man he is, and even a little bit about how The Bureau operates. They’re the secret organization who deal with extraterrestrials in case you haven’t read any of the books.
Unfortunately, there was something missing in this story. I think maybe it should have been worked out more thoroughly. It just felt a little blah, a little blank, in some areas, and I wasn’t quite as sucked in as I had hoped. To date, the first novel, Beyond the End of the World, is still my favorite in the series, but Apollo was really neat.
There were no aliens though. I mean they were mentioned, but no one interacted with them. I did like seeing some of the characters as their younger selves, and I loved how the colony was portrayed, but all-in-all, the whole story just needed more, of, well, itself. It needed to be longer and have more descriptions and interactions.
The action was sweet. The dialogue was cool. The characters were amazing, and maybe that’s why I wanted more…. I’m also used to all the planet-hopping from the other two novels. You know, as I write this review, I start to feel like Apollo was DLC for the Lokians series. That’s really what it boils down to for me, and it was great DLC, but I’m pumped about the next “game” in the series, which will hopefully be released soon.
No doubt, this is a great addition the Lokians scifi series, and I’m still trembling, waiting, to see what happens in the 3rd novel.
Excerpt from Apollo, a Lokians Short Story-
At 08:30 hours, market region was thriving with people getting breakfast or going to work. Thomson made for a seat at a café’s patio area. There, he ordered a beverage and set up his palm-top computer.
“Recon, Eyes. How copy,” he asked.
The others moved into an alley on their way to Hal’s. “Eyes, Recon actual. Lima, Charlie,” Lay answered.
He led the team past a furniture store then cut a right going down a sidewalk. Hal’s was in sight. With the bay door raised, impact wrenches resonated from workers making adjustments to the craft engines inside. Lay and crew stepped up the walk to the main door, pulled it open, and made for the counter. An insidious man looked at them.
“What I can do for you,” he asked with a Costa Rican accent.
“We’re the engineers you’re expecting,” Lay said.
“I not expecting any engineers,” the man grunted.
“Well, I think your supervisor is, so why don’t you go get him,” Reno snipped.
The man smacked his lips before exiting the side door. Then he walked out of sight. Lay motioned with his head and Reagan deftly hopped over the counter, discreetly placed a camera underneath it then hopped back.
“Eyes, Recon. Visual?” Lay whispered.
“Affirmative,” Thomson answered.
The Costa Rican reentered with a hulking, dark skinned man. His enormous bottom jaw did not imply he was an intellectual.
“You in charge, mate,” McClure asked.
“No. Boss is not here,” the large man answered.
“Look, we made a deal to take a look at a particular weapon,” Lay started. “Our contact, Mister Navarro, said to be here at 8:30. We’re here. Where is he?”
“You got it all wrong, ese’,” the Costa Rican said with a wave of his hand. “Navarro is the name used for a deal in progress. There is no Navarro.”
The two employees turned to look at each other. They laughed heartily for a minute. Lay’s crew grew agitated.
“Is all right, man,” the Costa Rican said. “You know Navarro, you good with us. I’m Jaramillo. This is Rodrigo. C’mon back, I show you the thing.”
The men led Lay’s crew into the back. Along the way, Reagan managed to place two, more cameras. Each time, Thomson acknowledged the activity. For the most part, the front of the shop was laden with craft engines, smaller ones, likely belonging to the vessels of businessmen. Military crafts were only ever handled by servicemen. The scent of machine oil permeated the air.
“Right this way,” Jaramillo said with a motion of the hand.
Beyond a door, they all stepped inside a large warehouse. All manner of cases lay open, covering several tables. Armed men carrying shiny rifles guarded the entrance, and the only other exit at the rear of the room.
“This is it, man. This is the thing,” Jaramillo gloated.
Lay looked at the incomprehensible piece of machinery. It looked like a conical turret only the tip didn’t end with any kind of aperture. He looked at the others. Reagan palmed a camera over to Reno on his way to the table where the machine sat.
“Navarro, or whoever our contact is, didn’t say what it does,” Lay muttered. “It doesn’t look like any weapon I’ve ever seen.”
Rodrigo frowned and looked at Jaramillo, who chuckled. “No, no, man,” he laughed. “Is not a weapon. Is a shield.” By pressing a button, a wavering energy flashed throughout the room. Quick as it came, it vanished. Rodrigo, who was on the same side of the shield as Jaramillo, pounded against it. “Nothing can penetrate this thing.”
Reno pulled out her sidearm and fired a red beam at it.
“Holy shit. Esta loca?” Jaramillo screamed.
“Relax,” she groaned.
“Seriously, Reno,” McClure griped. “Give your mate a fair warning.”
“We just, we just needed to make certain is all,” Lay stuttered.
Jaramillo, in overly dramatic fashion, made an exorbitant effort to adjust his clothes and hair. “Yeah, yeah. Of course.”
“I won’t lie to you, boys,” Lay said. “I’m not overly impressed. It’s just a field generator.”
Rodrigo and Jaramillo laughed. “Oh yeah,” Rodrigo asked.
“Is got different settings, man,” Jaramillo chuckled. “See here? You can set it to where you can shoot through it, but they can’t…you know, whoever it is you shooting at.”
“But don’t fire,” Rodrigo said, staring holes into Reno.
She smiled. “Yeah,” Jaramillo added. “Also, this setting makes it to where anything that comes in contact gets vaporized.”
Lay took a long inhalation. Reagan nodded approvingly. Jaramillo and Rodrigo shrugged indifferently.
“So what do you think?” Jaramillo gave a jaunty shake of the shoulders. “This something your boss wants replicated?”
“Where did you get it,” Reagan asked.
“Heeey, c’mon, now, chico. I can’t tell you that.”
“Shut it off. We’re done here,” Reagan barked then made to leave.
Jaramillo grimaced while Rodrigo shut it down. They all looked at one another. Reagan was already halfway across the room. Jaramillo gave chase. When he did so, Reno twitched her nose to Lay, who arched his brow in reply.
“Jaramillo,” Lay called out. “C’mon back. We’re interested. He’s uhh…just manstruating.”
They all shared a laugh and gathered back at the table. Reno then went to pretend to console her partner.
“There’s only more thing I need to see,” Lay demanded.
Jaramillo pursed his lips when Lay’s eyes grew fierce. “Sure, man, what is it?”
“I need to see how much heat this thing can take. I mean, if it only holds up to laser guns, what good is it?”
“Heh, what do you want us to do, fire turrets?” Rodrigo joked.
Lay whipped his head around then looked to McClure, who was uneasy, and rubbed his head. “Let’s all shoot at it for a few seconds,” Lay grinned.
Jaramillo wrung his hands before answering, “Hey, man, I want to help you out, you know, and everything, but that’s not safe. I mean–”
“We’ll walk, and your boss won’t be pleased. Let’s move it over there, to the back, and shoot the shit out of it,” Lay persuaded.
“Uh, yeah, yeah, okay,” Jaramillo conceded. “Horale’, let’s shoot this thing for the engineers, comprende’?
“Reagan, you done whining,” Lay asked.
He shrugged and returned along with the two guards by the door. Reno capitalized and placed the last camera in the room before joining them in the light show. After shooting the shield for close to thirty seconds, they all shared a laugh.
“So,” Jaramillo started. “You buying this thing or what, man?”
“We didn’t come here to buy, mates,” McClure answered.
“What the Hell do you mean?” Jaramillo yelled.
“Relax,” Reno interjected. “We’re not authorized to make the purchase. Our boss will contact you guys, and he’ll make the purchase…pending our approval, which you have.”
“Yeah, uh, okay, but you can’t go round talking about this thing to no one, comprende’?” Jaramillo asserted.
“We’re all adults here,” Lay agreed with a nod.
They all chuckled for a minute. Lay observed the purveyors’ body language. Guess this was easier than I anticipated, he thought.