Like many “baby boomers” born in the mid-fifties, WWII and the atomic bomb played in indelible part in shaping my life and interests. This was the golden age of Science Fiction with books like Starship Troopers and I Robot, movies like Forbidden Planet and War of the Worlds the rage. It was also a time when former soldiers told electrifying stories of dreadful war machines they encountered on the battlefields of Europe sparking the imaginations of children like myself. Those events set in motion a lifetime of fascination with military history and technology. Now, on to the overview of TT.61…
A small valley on earth has become inhabitable, just in time for one of four manmade worlds carrying the last vestiges of mankind. There is more at stake than simple survival, what’s at stake is which evolutionary species of man will reclaim earth: a race of humans from the one planetoid, or misshapen creatures that turned to inbreeding and cannibalism over the millennia to survive.
TT.61 (TITUS TREBONIUS), one-hundred thirty years of age, looks no older than someone in their mid-30s. Titus is the sixty-first generation of men to carry the name and DNA of the original earthman, he has been genetically engineered to live a life in space: hairless, streamlined, sinewy, a vegetarian, he requires less oxygen, less food, heals rapidly. Titus remains one of the guardians of this world, asleep in hibernation for five-year periods to place less demands on a fragile ecosystem, only awakened early in times of emergency.
Part One: Earth – June 2, 4521
Two enemy armies have landed on the continent and are racing to defeat the last democracy on earth, Australia. Female legionnaire, OCTAVIA TREBONIUS, is the first to encounter the waves of tracked tanks and her position is overrun soon after nukes are unleashed upon the frontier city. Octavia’s armored suit enables her to acquit herself with many kills before she’s overcome by shear numbers.
June 5, 4521
The enemy is at the walls of the capitol, the last reserves have been defeated attempting to stop the hordes. In a final moment of desperation, Australia’s premier military leader, Prefect AUGUSTUS TREBONIUS, dies alongside his Praetorians attempting to protect the Presidential Palace, there is no thought of surrender. His son, Centurion TITUS TREBONIUS, fighting alongside his father, is severely wounded, but is spared and posted to the auxiliary once healed and serves as common soldier in the shit-holes of the empire.
A fateful day arrives when Titus, and fellow Australian SCIPIO GAIUS, save the life of a prince traveling through the region, each is rewarded with a promotion to the ranks of armored legionnaire. Both Titus’ and Scipio’s combat expertise in armored suits set them apart and, once again, become noticed by the Prince during combat games. After a period of reconditioning to remove any memories of their former democracy, both men are transferred to the Prince’s Royal Body Guard and travel with him throughout the empire. The Prince, CHANG WONG, is low in the political hierarchy, but his skill as an administrator makes him much in demand.
Titus and Scipio follow the Prince to an unusual location, a remote island where a secret launch pad has been constructed and is now shooting materials into space for purposes unknown. Titus now commands his own contingent of the Prince’s Guard and has taken a personal hand in selecting his men and women. He watches, listens and discovers a space station is being built, an apocalypse is fast approaching, it will wipeout all life on earth. The royals plan to save themselves, leaving humanity to its own fate. Titus decides to take matters into his own hands, the space station will be taken by force. He has a fortnight to act, all former Australians on the island will be taken. All others, except for the Prince and vital personnel, will be terminated.
Part Two: Elliptical Solar Orbit, Year 9021
Over four-thousand years have passed. The year is now 9021 and TT.61 (Titus Trebonius) is two years into his five-year hibernation cycle when he is suddenly awakened to find his world has been attacked. The fuel cells have been ruptured, there is only enough remaining for a oneway trip to the one place it might be replaced, earth. The Terrans have survived countless battles with the ‘Royals’ by avoiding a head on confrontation against three-to-one odds. Now, without the ability to maneuver, the Terrans will be at the Royals’ mercy especially since the enemy are in close, semi-elliptical orbits about earth.
Drastic actions must be taken, at least two things work in the Terran’s favor: they have a Spartan-like class of warrior with the finest equipment. They have also discovered a small amount of a new metal, it is called Vulcan. Three precious Mark IV combat suits have already been cannibalized to create one super suit made of Vulcan and New Terra’s premier warrior, TT.61, will pilot the beast against the Royals with one objective: evening up the scales before his world arrives.
Titus is launched by an experimental EMP canon bored through the center of an asteroid. Propelled at near the speed of electricity, his suit automatically makes course corrections as obstacles and unseen gravity fields are encountered while he sleeps in suspended animation. Three earth months later, Titus arrives being awakened a day before entering enemy space. He is carrying just enough weapons, fuel, oxygen and food to make a single assault on each Royalist world. Titus sees this mission as a oneway trip, he will make one last run Kamikaze-style for his grand finale.
Titus succeeds in crippling the first world’s offensive capability after catching them by surprise. He succeeds in avoiding the ensuing chase by armored warriors thanks to the imperviousness of his armor. Alerted to his presence, the second world he encounters proves far more difficult and he only succeeds in damaging part of its propulsion system. By now he is running low on ammunition and fuel, it is time for that suicide run. Titus is making the final calculations for his attack when his suit suddenly picks up a signal from earth – a Terran probe and it has detected life! Titus decides to forgo the suicide mission in the interest of uncovering what the probe has discovered. He comes down in a mountain ringed valley where green algae can be seen growing, where what could be water is running in brooks which cut across the landscape. Now, his onboard systems pick up passing traces of oxygen, those traces grow the closer he comes to the largest of mountain ranges. Off in the distance, a glint of sunlight, as if off metal, suddenly catches his eye and it is moving. Taking cover, Titus watches the approaching armored beast and notices something inhuman about the qualities of the Royalist design.
Options race through Titus’ mind as he studies the machine which is striding toward the entrance of a cave. The decision to attack the machine is put aside in the interest of discovering what the Royalist was up to. The day has become night when the metal beast leaves the cave, it can be seen carrying several lifeless carcasses, of what is unknown, in the direction it originally came. Minutes later, a spacecraft lifts off and ascends quickly into the overcast skies.
Titus maneuvers his machine to the cave entrance, his readings show the air quality to markedly improved. He moves into the cave to discover air quality improving the further he moves along. Titus must save enough within his machine for later, he fights to stand in the gravity outside the Mark V after hiding it among some boulders. The air becomes more and more breathable the further he descends eventually coming to a pair of large, metal doors. They are big enough to accommodate his Mark V. He is studying their manufacture when the doors suddenly part with Titus quickly taking cover. Titus watches from the shadows watching the thing that emerges, a creature that is walking on two legs, has two arms, torso and head, only grossly misshapen. The humanoid is wearing a breathing device, is clothed and is holding a leash to something. Titus now hears the sound of other creatures, without breathing apparatus, bleating incomprehensible noises, naked, collared and tied to their masters leash, they follow in single file.
The doors remained open, a quick look inside showed a lighted hallway, the doors are automated. As quickly as his legs would carry him, Titus passes through the doorway an into a horrible hell he never, nor any on the New Terra, could have ever imagined.