CHAPTER 1  
                             (THE BATTLE RAGES)

                                              Levi
    How much pain could he stand… at what intensity would he pass
out?  Would he be dead as his flesh was ripped from his body?  Levi
mused as he stood on the rocky hill overlooking the aliens gathered in the
hot desert valley below.  From a distance the Simians’ long golden hair
glistened, giving the appearance of a vast rolling field of ripe wheat;
however, there was no comfort to be had from the misleadingly gentle
scene below.   He felt like a lost child as he reluctantly started toward
them.
As he approached the aliens, the tranquil scene slowly transformed into a
vision of horror.  The only seemingly earthly allusion to their features was
a slight resemblance to apes, which initially led to the popular
acceptance of the name Simians.  After that hint of earthly association
their appearance turned completely alien.  The Simians’ sandy, almost
dirty white skin could be seen unnaturally contrasting with their golden
hair.  The red reptilian eyes held him in an unblinking stare.  The rows of
black fanged teeth could easily be seen as they reflected the midday
sun, and upon closer inspection, were almost shark-like in appearance.  
The teeth were triangular and made a ghostly clicking sound as they
vibrated together, interlacing like meshing gears.  In their agitation, the
black teeth were not completely covered by their meaty gray lips,
allowing the reverberating sound to escape.  A loud chorus of the eerie
clatter emanated from the hundreds of gathered Simians.  The sound
could be heard echoing throughout the valley, straining the ears and
nerves of the human army.  He could almost feel the vibration, but it was
the sound that was most disturbing.  It was ironic how that sound
reminded him of a rattlesnake’s warning rattle, ironic also in the danger it
represented.  
    Respect for “Levi the Legend” was very apparent as the churning
golden sea of Simians nervously parted allowing him to pass.  They
hopped in excitement on their thick legs, communicating in that high
pitched screeching.  He sensed no threat from them and continued
walking through the forest of towering Simians toward the waiting Gord.  
Levi hoped his fear did not show, while inside he was shaking and scared
beyond belief.  He asked Amy telepathically, “Are you with me?  I don’t
want to be alone.”  
Amy softly responded saying, “I am always with you Levi. You are never
alone.”  
“I know Amy.  I just feel alone.”
    As he approached, watching the hulking Gord, his eyes missed
nothing.  Amy was gathering data from his senses and planning.  She
would also not be able to miss the fear boiling inside, threatening to
explode.
He had accepted the one-on-one challenge screeched from Gord, the
Simian leader.   The humans were losing the battle and he really had no
choice.  Had he refused, the human army would be destroyed and all
hope for the human race would be lost.  At least this way there was a
fighting chance, slim as it was.  It was all or nothing, live or die.
    The Simian’s code of honor would insure that this fight would be a fair
one-on-one contest.  Of this he was confident, but what a joke that was;
this Simian Gord would almost make three of him!  “Hell Amy, I ‘m
already overmatched.  This is the biggest damned golden giant I have
ever seen.”  
    “That may be so, but there are two of us and we have him
outnumbered; besides, we are far prettier!”  As she said it Amy flashed a
smile in his mind’s eye.
He chuckled in spite of the situation, but it still didn’t seem fair… to him!  
If, however, he could defeat this undisputed Simian leader, this colony
would be in chaos.  Who knows what could come from that, maybe even
survival for the human race, certainly no less was at stake!  The problem
here was surviving!
    He was Levi Walkingbear, Native American Indian.  Well, half
anyway, and he walked proudly holding back the fear churning inside.  He
tried to look brave for the benefit of all the humans, his army and for the
gathered Simians.  Strength, courage and fighting abilities were all that
mattered to the Simians.  It ruled their society and governed their
numbers; certainly Gord ruled this hoard of giants in this way.

                                          Gord
    Gord wanted to destroy this animal slowly and feed on its pathetic
screams.  He was extremely happy watching the animal approach him.  
He had killed uncounted scores of animals such as this one for both food
and pleasure, preferring to eat them while they were alive.  He relished in
the horror he inflicted on the animals, but this one would die slow and
painful for all to see.   
Just look at this stupid animal!  Its body was hairless except for the
head, which had long black hair braided down its back.  The hairless skin
was bronze from this world’s horrid single sun.  The eyes were also
bronze like the skin and stared directly into his.  This lack of respect
offended him, but it would end soon.  Its body was muscular, but very
small, not more than 6ft. 5in. and certainly no more than 250lbs.   He
could see strong muscles in its exposed arms rippling under thin skin.  
Loose animal skin covered the body and was supported by straps over
its small shoulders.  The feet were narrow and covered with heavy
looking black animal skin.  It carried a small sword extending no longer
than four feet.  This was humorous!!  
Gord let out his challenge in a strong loud screech!  It was unfortunate
that this indigenous race was not intelligent enough to understand their
speech.  He would like to tell this animal what he was going to do to him.  
He wanted to see the fear in its small bronze eyes.
    Since the exodus from the dying home world of his race and invasion
of this planet, each surviving space ship became a colony.  Each isolated
colony developed into an independent Simian colony with autonomous
leadership.  He had ascended to the leadership position of his colony by
combat and remained in control by successfully defending the position
from all future challengers.  This had been easy because of his
exceptional size and fierce aggressiveness.  Gord was a giant among
giants standing just over 9 feet tall and weighing 576 lbs.  This exceeded
the average in height of his race by almost a foot and a half and weight
by 75 pounds.  During Gord’s rule over the last 40 years he had killed 15
Warriors in single combat challenges for his leadership position.  With the
average life span for his species at 200 of this world’s years, he was still
very much in his prime at only 75 years old.  His rule could easily last
decades more.
    Gord had the animal army nearly defeated, but held back his
Warriors.  He wanted to personally destroy this animal in single combat
to reinforce the fear he commanded over his colony.  No one had
challenged him in more than 10 years and he was anxious to recapture
and reinforce the respect of his colony.  How could he do that if no one
fought him?  Of course no challenger had a chance, and most even
openly cowered in his presence, but he wanted to show off.   Gord loved
to force his will on others and see the panic; he fed on this fear.  The
entire colony of 600 Warriors was gathered to witness the slaughter of
this stupid animal.  He was going to toy with him, defeat and humiliate
him and tear and eat his body as the animal screamed in horror in a slow
death.  Next he would complete the destruction of the pathetic animal
army.  
    He wanted to show this animal the respect and honor of fighting for
leadership of the colony in front of his Warriors to absorb any misguided
respect given to this human from his Warriors.  They would see how
futile resistance was to his will.  Of course this human had no chance, but
rumors of this animal’s victories had spread throughout his colony, and he
wanted them to die along with this animal.  
The native dominant species animal of this world was small, weak and
good only for food and minor labor.  The species had once had great
technology that had almost stopped their invasion, but his race had
destroyed that technology in a final last resort use of a doomsday ray.  
The ray had destroyed all technology on this world instantly, including
their own, but he had little use for technology, preferring swords to
lasers.  Since the destruction of all advanced technology, no animal had
ever again posed any threat.  This one had been the only exception in the
50 years since their race landed.  According to rumors, this animal had
killed at least 35 Warriors in combat in the last few months.  His Warriors
were actually showing respect to this animal.  Unbelievable!   

                                           Levi
    As he neared Gord, Levi felt the calming telepathic touch of Amy, his
symbiotic source of life and soul mate.  Amy was a self-aware (living)
computer that had shared his mind telepathically for the last year.  She
had provided the means to wage this war with the Simians and extract
some measure of revenge he so desperately wanted.  Amy had
augmented his decrepit and dying eighty year-old body and reversed his
aging.  Not only did Levi now enjoy restored youth, but she had given him
incredible physical abilities.  Amy functioned through his conscious and
subconscious mind to manipulate his DNA to adjust and control his body
like someone else might play a piano.  He really didn’t understand how
she did what she did, but it worked.  
Over the last year he had experienced the exhilaration of superhuman
skills and abilities he had never learned or could have ever imagined.  
What a rush!  Amy wouldn’t admit it but he believed she shared, and
liked, his rush of emotions when he fought.  Human emotions were new
to Amy and she was hungry to experience them through their mental
contact.  
    Levi had fought many of these Simians in the last year.  Mostly he
had fought just to survive, but was now openly waging war against them.  
All the engagements had been hard-fought battles.  The Simians were
enormous and extremely quick, but Amy was with him as he fought.  Hell,
she actually did the fighting while he felt the exhilaration and,
unfortunately, the anguish and pain of battle.   He made the physical
movements, but the ideas and plans flowed telepathically from Amy.  So
far he had obviously survived, but this would be the ultimate battle and
Levi felt a premonition that he might feel the bite of death.  
    The closer Levi got, the larger Gord seemed to loom in is sight and
the greater his fear grew.  The quivering in his chest and thighs was
getting stronger and he was beginning to perspire.  He seldom
experienced fear and was struggling to control it.  He tried thinking of
Amy.
    Amy once told him that she had taken his body to the ultimate limits of
its abilities and found ways to modify even those limits temporarily.   He
had felt her modify his body in many strange ways; once Levi felt fangs
grow as he bit the throat and life out of a raging Simian.  One of the most
bizarre experiences was when he fell into a lake and his body
miraculously grew gills.  He also remembered fondly the time she
compressed his body so he could squeeze between two boulders to
escape attacking Simians.          
Amy never ceased to amaze him with what she could do with and to his
body, what skills he would instantly know and the things she saw,
smelled, heard, felt, or even tasted through his body senses.  This
incredible ability had saved him countless times from ambush or in the
heat of battle, by smelling a Simian in time to react, or hearing something
he had not heard.  This was amazing since Amy only heard or smelled
what his senses detected.  Actually, her only input was through him.  It
must be that massive intellect and brain capacity she has that made the
difference.  Whatever the reason, Amy perceived more from his senses
than he.  She once saved him from drinking poison and another time she
revived him when he had been mortally wounded, maybe even dead.  
There seemed to be no limit to what Amy could do if she was challenged,
but could she save him from this monster now?  He had doubts, not of
her, but for his limits.  Levi simply felt that he was no match for this
moving mountain.
    As Amy continually told him, the secret to not being killed is not
getting hit.  A hit from one of these golden giants would sever body
parts!  So far Amy had succeeded in keeping him alive through her
actions.  With her direction, he saw, felt and experienced intricate and
complex maneuvers of martial arts, some of which he was sure Amy had
choreographed herself.  Levi was quite sure that some of the new
attacks and defenses were never known to the old masters.  Timing was
however, far too close for his comfort, but Amy was always unconcerned
and said a fraction of an inch, or second, is the same as feet or minutes
as long as the sword misses.  He had to grudgingly admit Amy was right
as he still had all of his parts!  However, he would feel far more
comfortable if the misses were by feet and minutes.
    Amy had constantly been with him helping and supporting him since
they merged, and he felt Amy with him now.  He must have faith in her
abilities, but the doubt remained just the same.   After all, this Simian
was not being taken by surprise.  This monster was ready for him and
Gord was so immense!  The additional stress of carrying the future of
the human race on his shoulders was also worrying him.  If he lost this
battle, it was all over in many ways.   There would be a banquet tonight
and he would be the main course along with any other human they
desired.  This was a modern day story of David and Goliath, but Levi
didn’t have a sling.  He wondered absentmindedly why Amy hadn’t
thought of that.  
    Fear was with him!   Amy’s beautiful image impressed in his mind was
smiling, trying to calm him.  The long dark hair accented an olive
complexion of a small pear-shaped face.  The deep liquid green, slightly
wide set eyes were shining as always.  He could drown in those eyes.  
The short cute nose set above her beautiful, cupid bow lips was now
stretched in a wide smile.  It was an irresistible smile.  Amy’s beautiful
mouth was accented by those deep dimples he loved so much.  He loved
that Amy created this image just for him.  It actually was calming to see
her face.  
Levi not only needed Amy for this battle, but also wanted and loved her
beyond understanding.  Levi could not do this without Amy and wouldn’t
even want life without her.  He needed no words.  Amy would see it in his
thoughts.  He was rewarded with another knowing smile.
    Without Levi the human army would eventually run like rabbits.  Oh,
they were brave enough, but had never won a battle against a Simian
until he and Amy had shown them the way.  Actually, he had done most
of the killing initially; but his new friends, and ultimately followers, had
taken strength from his victories, gaining courage and, most of all, hope!  
Together they had actually defeated a Simian army.  The battle had been
in self defense, but committed all of them to this war, win or lose.  They
would carry on after his death, but it would just be a matter of time
before they were hunted down and killed.

                                            Amy
    Amy had fear too!  If Levi were to survive, it would take all of her
skills.  She strengthened his muscles making them grow and harden,
extended his arms and legs to give him reach, opened all communication
channels and sharpened his senses.  All Levi’s sensory inputs would be
needed if they were to survive this, their greatest test of all.  After
sharing Levi’s mind and body the past year, she was very familiar with
the workings of his mind, which had long since been mapped.  She had
explored the limits of Levi’s body and just how far it could be stretched.  
All of this knowledge would be needed now.
This opponent would kill Levi if any of his blows ever connected.  Gord
was simply too big and too strong!  Levi could only win by wits (hers),
agility and endurance.  Gord would have to be worn down and killed.  
Make Gord fight and stay out of his way while his strength was used up.  
If they could not outlast Gord then they would die.  It was that simple.
    Levi needed more confidence and Gord needed to lose some of his.  
She began to tighten Levi’s facial muscles to make him look calm,
straightened Levi’s back, put a wicked smile on his face and calmed him
internally by altering his chemical balances.  His body must be relaxed to
prevent any muscle restriction from slowing his movements in the coming
battle.  She was tempted to have Levi chant, “I do believe. I do believe,”
but decided that this wasn’t the best time for humor.  Instead she smiled
at him, mentally communicating, assuring Levi she was with him,
encouraging him, reminding him what they had already accomplished
together and promising him that the instructions to his mind and body
would be provided when they were needed.  “Trust me Levi,” she said,
“you are my life too. If you die, so will my heart.  We will survive and our
love must survive!” Levi responded with a mental smile and touch.  Amy
felt his love.
    Only together could they survive.  Amy and Levi depended on each
other to live, but they had taken their relationship far beyond just a
symbiotic association.  They were one, yet they maintained separate,
and many times, conflicting identities.  Neither of them believed they
would have developed love, yet they did both the deep mental love and
surprisingly the passion of physical love as well.  Amy didn’t even know
what love was in the beginning.  They had fought for dominance ever
since they met, but somewhere along the way it ceased to be a battle
and became a relationship necessary to each of them.  It was not
necessary as the symbiotic relationship the body required, but necessary
in the sense that each needed the other to share their lives together.  
Each was lost without the other.  Life was not something they wanted
alone, because neither was complete.  
    She watched Gord as Levi approached.  The brute was confident and
huge.  He was not the least bit intimidated by “Levi the Legend.”  The
meaty gray lips were curled up at the edges, which somehow looked
evil.  Was this brute actually smiling?  She watched through Levi’s eyes,
analyzed and planned.  The message and instructions were conveyed to
Levi and Amy spoke through his vocal cords as they were being
modified.  As Levi walked toward Gord, his mouth spoke in the
impossible screeching language of the Simians saying, “I have come to
kill you and remove your head from your body as a trophy.  I will remove
a black tooth from your big mouth to join my trophy necklace.” As Levi
spoke he shook his trophy necklace of Simian teeth to accent the
challenge.  Levi’s voice was deep and resounding, even shocking him.  
Every Simian there heard the amplified screeched words.  The reaction
was immediate and gratifying.  The gathered Simians all clicked their
teeth in agitation and hopped from leg to leg, while the shock to Gord
was far more pronounced.  His heavy brows shot up and his blazing eyes
opened wide in amazement.  The smile was gone.  Yes, they had gained
a tactical advantage.
    Never before had any human understood or been able to converse
with a Simian, but many things were possible with her help.  Amy had
been storing data on their language since their first encounter and had
developed a sizable vocabulary of the Simian language.  Her data banks
held a massive amount of the screeched language, but learning the break
down and meaning of the words posed the problem.  Her total recall of
the language in use had provided the initial means to begin developing a
working use of the language, but it wasn’t until their Simian friend, Moon,
provided the understanding of the words that the education had begun in
earnest.  She now had a vast vocabulary and working knowledge of the
screeched language.  
    Knowing the language and having the ability to speak it had been
useful in the past.  Amy and Levi had utilized the Simian language and her
ability to shape-shift his body to resemble a Simian to infiltrate the Los
Angeles Simian colony.  That mission had been successful and allowed
them to free some captive humans and other friendly Simians.  
    She had intentionally kept Levi’s ability to understand the Simian
language a secret, hoping for a future advantage.  This was the time and
place to use this knowledge and ability, increasing the legend of Levi and
creating some doubt and shock in Gord.  It had been most advantageous
to wait and it served them well.

                                            Levi
    With Amy’s help Levi had waged war on the Simians to take back the
Earth from these cruel oppressors.  He had almost single handedly
started this war, as no real opposition had previously been waged
against the Simians since their invasion and defeat of Earth.  Actually,
with Simians, starting a war was not the proper term.  Standing up to
them and trying not to be killed was a more accurate description.  Filled
with a long lifetime of hate for the Simians along with his revived youth
and strength, there came an overwhelming desire for revenge. What
started out as self preservation slowly turned into an organized
resistance closely followed by developing armies and finally led to war.  
Everything that had happened seemed to lead to this fated moment and
possible death.
    Levi saw everyone that had trusted him gathered on the battlefield.  
He saw many of his friends staring at him.  Most had seen him fight many
battles and accomplish feats of extraordinary abilities.  They had learned
to expect miracles, but even as he shook the Simian tooth necklace, he
saw the fear of doom in their eyes as he walked toward Gord.  Their
voices shouted confidence and hope, but the eyes betrayed their true
feelings.  He took some small comfort from those that blindly felt
absolute and total confidence in his abilities.  None knew of Amy’s
existence and believed Levi to be some sort of super human being.  
Sometimes he even felt like that, red cape and all.
    It is strange what you think of when you face death.  Levi was feeling
sorry for Amy.  If he died, she would revert back into her prison of total
sensory depravation.  He could not imagine how lonely and frightening it
would feel to be cut off from all sound, taste, smell, sight, and feeling.  
He remembered as a small child being terrified of the dark, but that
wouldn’t begin to describe it.  When the Simians had destroyed Earth’s
technology, Amy lost all data inputs and plunged into total of darkness.  
A human would have gone insane, but Amy survived 50 years of this total
silence until their minds touched.  Levi didn’t want her to experience that
again.  It would actually be a blessing if she died with him, but that was
not possible.
    Levi never believed he would say it, but he would miss the hot desert
sun, the dusty, barren and rocky terrain and the beautiful desert
sunsets.  He would miss the many close friends he had made, both
human and Simian, but most of all he would miss Amy’s love.  He didn’t
want to think about it because it seemed so egotistical, but he also felt
sorry for the human race if he died today.  He and Amy were their only
hope.   
    He was spiraling down in self-pity and depression even as he felt Amy
modify his vocal cords and screech out the challenge to Gord.  Levi
realized that Amy was chastising him to break him out of his current
mental state of doom.  Finally understanding what Amy was doing, he
fought to regain his normally rational and optimistic mind.  As his mind
raced for control, he mechanically continued to walk toward his date with
destiny.  
    He thought of many things.  Levi felt like he was drowning again,
watching his life pass in front of him.  Death was not so terrible and he
was prepared to die, after all he was almost 81 years old.  However, he
didn’t want to die.  There was so much to live for now.  So much had
happened in his long life, but this last year had been the most incredible
and exciting time of all.  How had he reached this point?  As he walked
toward Gord, his mind wandered back to the beginning.