joshua N’Gon is a Fourteen year old foster child from Africa. He has grown up in a loving home in north London and for all intents and purposes he was an ordinary teenager. The reality though could not be further from the truth. Joshua is a mystery wrapped up in an enigma and he is beginning to understand he has a destiny that is far beyond what he could ever have imagined.
On his tenth birthday he receives a mysterious package from his birth parents. He is given articles of technology that even his young mind realized were so far beyond what he knew and understood that they were almost magical. Joshua straps on a tribal hierloom of obvious alien origin – a miraculous multi-tool he calls his RCT– Real Cool Tool that bonds with his arm and is irremovable. And so begin his physical changes too, the headaches, the flashes of genius, the visions and the amnesia.
With his friends Brick and Mina they slowly help him to unravel the mystery of who he is. In the meantime dark corporate forces are gathering in the horizon as Joshua’s talents and his interest in finding his family has piqued the curiosity of powerful people. Soon as his life and the life of those he loves are threatened he must come to grips with his gifts and the miraculous alien technology that founded his people.
Outside of Abbey Wood Primary School, North London
If you try to escape or scream little worm, I will snap your neck like a twig!” The voice from the giant of a man behind him growled the words like a bear and rested his massive hands on his skinny shoulders. Young Joshua N’Gon had every reason to believe he would carry out his threat without hesitation and stood stock still trembling.
After all, this was his fault.
Joshua had known something was wrong as soon as he ran out of Ms. Pinkney’s English class and skipped through the school gates. The bracelet that he could never take off, the one sent to him on his tenth birthday two weeks ago, an extraordinary heirloom on his left arm had told him so. Not in a word but in vibrations and colors in his head and the way it made him feel and think.
It had told him to stop, turn back and call his Mom from the principal’s office. Instead, he ignored it, wanting to get home to his PlayStation.
He should have listened.
Joshua tried to move, but the giant behind him was overpoweringly stronger. Joshua’s eyes were darting everywhere nervously; his heart was pounding in his chest, he felt sick and wanted suddenly to pee.
“Let me go, man!” Joshua thrashed desperately but the man behind him squeezed his neck and a sharp pain stabbed into his chest. If the giant continued adding pressure, he could squash him like a grape.
“I said to shut your mouth.” The voice of the giant boomed from behind him. “Do not test my resolve, little rat. I will pop you like a pimple.”
“Nunkar! Nunkar! Is that any way to talk to our young prince? Where is your respect?” Another voice said.
A growl vibrated through the massive frame behind him.
Suddenly a tall woman was up in Joshua’s face. Dark skin, her afro hair tight to her skull with parts braided to her shoulders, perfect grin, long gnarly leather coat. It made Joshua think of crocodile skin. She was a crocodile in human form.
“My, my, my. How you’ve grown my prince.” Her brown eyes twinkled coldly and although she was smiling a scowl remained on the fringes of her lips like an impending blizzard. “Take no notice of him. He’s a bully.” She said lazily. “There’s always an easier way to get the same result without any ugliness. Don’t you think?”
Before Joshua could protest, the woman slipped a horseshoe shaped ring around his neck. The metal sucked to his throat and was warm to the touch and vibrating. Thin streams of blue light crisscrossed on its surface. It pulsed with his breathing.
Joshua reached up to pry it from his neck but jerked his hand away as it shocked him.
“Much better.” The woman said.
Joshua licked his burnt fingers and glared at her.
“What do you want?” His mouth moving but no sound coming out.
It was the ring around his neck.
“Now you can scream as much as you like.” The woman said jovially. “But it will do you no good.”
Joshua tensed, thrashed again but it was useless. His captors laughed at his pathetic attempts at escape. In no time the young man came to the same conclusion.
It was no use.
He sniveled, his lower lip trembling and his eyes pooling with tears.
His fellow students were streaming out of the school, going about their business. Some were riding home; some were walking, and others were being picked up by parents. Play fights ensued, and boisterous arguments about football and television mingled with car horns and bicycle bells. Nobody noticed his dilemma, and if anybody did, they’d be laughing at him or encouraging them to take him away. Michael Turner and his crew would offer money if the terms were right. He liked most of his teachers, but none of them would be leaving school now. Mr. Jones, his Science teacher, would be useful, but he would be tinkering in the lab free from the incessant questions of his students.
His panic-stricken eyes fell on the misery guts lollipop lady, Mrs. Samuels. The same woman not five minutes ago, who had seen him across the zebra crossing with a scowl and a roll of her beady eyes.
Joshua’s hopes plummeted
He was on his own. A state Joshua understood at school very well. He stared at the crocodile woman with as much defiance as he could muster.
Her grin widened.
“We have been searching for you ever since you were spirited away to the Outerlands when you were a baby. It was even thought you had died. And to think we may have never discovered you if not for the fact that you bonded with the Masata.” She pointed to the intricately designed tribal cuff on Joshua’s arm. “I wish we had time to reminisce about Afrika but…”
Joshua’s eyes widened, and his mouth parted as he spoke soundlessly.
“Am I going to die?”
The woman read his lips and nodded reassuringly.
“Yes, My Prince.” She said calmly as if asking him what his favorite flavor of ice cream was. “So, will your family. Here and the celestial mother permitting, back home.”
She parted her long coat and showed him an oddly shaped blade in a leather scabbard strapped to her midriff. It was glowing a deep red and inscribed with a cuneiform that shouldn’t have looked familiar to him but did.
“You have your Uncle to thank for our success. Our cell was established here on his orders many years ago. Well before he was banished to the Outerlands.” She made a weird pattern in the air over her forehead. “Celestial Mother guide him.” She muttered.
“What we need to do, requires some privacy, so we will retire to our conveyance.” The woman motioned to a white van, squat, shiny like an albino rhinoceros beetle in the distance.
Joshua screamed silently. His thrashing was ineffectual as the man restraining him simply tightened his grip; his strength was overpowering.
“Say goodbye to life, to your school to your family.” The women almost sang her threats a look of satisfaction gleaming madly in her eyes. “It’s a shame for all your potential, the throne you could have inhabited.” She sighed heavily. “But it’s the way it has to be. Your existence and the existence of your family will be erased.”
The woman glared at him hungrily, like he was a piece of succulent Jerk chicken ready to eat. But she couldn’t! Joshua’s mind protested. He’d be tough, bony and indigestible.
The giant snapped him out of his thoughts of cannibalism by dragging him towards the van, the woman strode ahead, and Joshua could only think about what would happen to his family. The only people who loved him unreservedly even if his stepbrother thought he was weird. His only home and this mad woman wanted to destroy it.
Anger replaced fear.
For an elastic moment, he had forgotten how scared he was and suddenly became aware of feeling like he was a guest in his own head. That same sensation he had felt when the Masata was placed on his wrist two weeks ago by mom. This time he wasn’t scared, and he let go, allowing his mind and whatever it was doing to charge into overdrive. Joshua’s eyes were blinking unconsciously as a multitude of symbols were flashing across the screen of his mind. The avalanche of mumbo-jumbo came faster and faster until it was a blur.
They approached the van with its tinted glass, and something strange started to happen.
The Masata was melting.
Or it looked that way as long streams of warm metal, defying gravity was running along his hand. He looked down stumbling then being dragged back to his feet only to see his bracelet change form, covering his hand completely and looking like a silvery blue gauntlet.
Joshua jumped when the words instantaneously popped into his head. ‘Boom Juice Active – Highly Volatile Handle with care.'
What happened next could only be called buried instinct. Joshua touched the Silence Collar with the tip of his finger, transferring a drop of Boom Juice to it. The collar, popped, fried and fell off.
Nunkar saw it, and his jaw almost hit the floor.
He was even more surprised when Joshua shouted.
“Lego man.” Kicking and wriggling wildly, his hand touching the Giants back by accident.
The words pop into Joshua’s head.
By this, the woman was walking back towards them her face twisted with annoyance at the commotion.
She didn’t reach them.
The detonation shredded his clothes and knocked him off his feet, sending Joshua rolling away. Stunned, the screen of his mind screaming the word:
Joshua got up slightly off balance and ran towards the woman who was quickly back on her feet. She reached into her scuffed jacket as Joshua barreled towards her and pulled her glowing dagger out. She swung at him, but Joshua shimmied away like he was playing Red Rover in the school yard and sprinted towards the van.
She turned and ran after him.
When Joshua reached the van, he slapped his hand on the bonnet, leaving an irradiant image of his five fingers.
Joshua was counting down.
He was getting the hang of this.
The woman was catching up.
The van exploded as she got by it.
Joshua kept on running.
Five minutes after the explosion four men in dark combat fatigues shimmer into visibility in the middle of a scene of wreckage and chaos.
A tall, muscular man, bald, older than the rest with a vicious scar across his right eye considered the situation. The Security Team looked to him.
“Detain those two.” He surveys the confusion ignoring the bystanders gawking at the commotion from a safe distance and points to the man and woman on the ground in pain.
“What is the status on Prince N’Gon?” He asked.
One of the men took out a tablet that he had folded in the pocket of his tactical trouser. The tablet was so transparent it looked like he was inputting information into thin air. An image appeared surrounded with a raft of information and diagnostics.
“Prince N’Gon is unhurt but mildly traumatized.”
“Better trauma than dead.” The older man growled.
“Now we have the last two insurgents in custody; he will have no need for us.”
One of the younger men cleared his throat for attention.
“Do you think the Queen will be displeased at how we used, the heir to the throne as bait.”
“Maybe.” The older man smirked. “We got the job done, didn’t we?”
The younger man nodded.
“I don’t think we need to worry too much about our young prince; he is more than capable.” The older man grinned for the first time, but it was fleeting.
He gave orders.
“Sanitize the location and let’s consider this a successful operation. I want to go home. The air in the Outerlands stinks.