Task Force: Gaea: Memory’s Curse by David Berger

David Berger
By David Berger February 17, 2014 22:39

Task Force: Gaea: Memory’s Curse by David Berger


For Aegis, Zodiak, Aether, and Talon, operatives in the United Nations Task Force: Gaea, life should have returned to normal after they restored the cosmic balance that a reckless elder goddess shattered, but because of the intervention of the Fates, they would never remember what life was like before. With history now unfolding the way it was supposed to, paranoia plagues this new time line, and tight-fisted governments mandate control through a pervasive military presence, DNA scans, and surveillance cameras. Inexplicable occurrences all over the world give way to a new mission for Task Force: Gaea when an ancient cloudlike evil referred to in prophecy only as The Nebulous One emerges from Tartaros, with the intention of devouring the Olympeian gods. But, before she can find them, all of the gods but Apollo have disappeared. Leaving chaos and human corpses in her wake, she oozes her way across the globe to satisfy her hunger. Apollo will not face this threat alone, and it then becomes a race: will he and Task Force: Gaea find and vanquish this primordial goddess without falling prey to her power before she finds the gods? Aegis and his teammates, perhaps as a side effect of their encounters with The Nebulous One, have to battle personal demons in the form of potent memories that could jeopardize their mission’s success, seemingly insurmountable obstacles that could indeed mean the end of their team. Starting in antiquity and moving to the modern day, this epic battle between good and evil leaves both immortal and mortal alike wondering whether memory can be a blessing… or a curse.

The author has rated this book PG (not necessarily suitable for children).


“What the hell is that?” Aether looked down into the quarry. “I think we’re in trouble, guys.” Her voiced quivered a bit.

Zodiak caught a glimpse of it over her shoulder. “Damn. I think that’s the largest thing we’ve gone up against. Aegis?”

“I see it,” he said, assessing it from the other side of the copter. “You’re right, Zodiak. Let’s get on the ground. And that’s Ladon, so yeah, I’d say we’re in trouble.”

Ladon—son of Ekhidna, mother of all monsters, and Typhon, another monstrous dragon but with one hundred heads—guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides, sacred to Hera. What could have brought this beast from its post was a mystery, but nonetheless he towered up over the granite canyon’s walls. Aether glided to the ground on the air currents, while Aegis and Zodiak just jumped to the ground when the copter was close enough. Talon returned from her aerial reconnaissance without much to tell.

“So, no people. I don’t think there were any to begin with. It’s just us, and that.”

“What’s the plan?” Zodiak realized it was more rhetorical. He knew the answer: either transport it somewhere, or kill it. “A head-grower, right, Aegis?”

A head-grower was a dragon that grew two heads when one was cut off, like a hydra. Only one head of the eight would be impervious to weapons; that head would be a challenge.

Aegis nodded. “This doesn’t make sense. Why would Ladon be here of all places? No human prey, either.”

“Let’s speculate later. You ready, guys?” Zodiak needed no answer.

They moved closer, hearing the roaring heads below, not noticing the dark cloud looming above them, like a thunderhead before a storm. Ladon’s sneer vibrated the air around him. Taking a running jump, Aegis landed on the back of one of the heads, grabbed onto a green scale, and positioned Thyroros. Another head opened its mouth, spewing fire, but Aegis threw his manacle up, and the impact shield kept him from being incinerated. Unfortunately, he let go, bounced off Ladon’s back, and landed on the floor of the quarry. He didn’t have time to get his bearings when the dragon’s tail swept him into the granite wall, cracking the stone, chips flying everywhere. Aegis sheathed his sword, ran toward a massive leg, leaped up and did a somersault, landing on Ladon’s back. Smooth scales made it almost impossible to get a strong foothold, but Aegis balanced his way to the base of the eight necks, clenched his hands together, swinging them down hard. Most of the heads turned, some spewing acid while others spat fire. Drops of acid landed close enough to eat away some of the leather on Aegis’ black boots. He looked up and saw Talon flying in an attack formation, her javelin at the ready. Even if he could get his sword out, he could only get one, maybe two, necks severed before Ladon’s other heads would attack. He would have to time his sword strikes just right and signal Talon. Withdrawing Thyroros once more, spinning it over his hand, he slashed into the six-foot wide scaly neck. Earthsteel went smoothly through dragon flesh and bone, and as soon as the head and neck fell to the ground, he signaled above and a meandering bolt of lightning came down and cauterized the wound before it could grow two more heads. One down, seven to go. Roaring loud enough to shake free some of the granite blocks from the side of the quarry, Ladon turned three of his heads toward Aegis, ready to shower him with both acid and fire. The son of Apollo knew he couldn’t make another strike without giving the dragon a tactical advantage, so he leaped to the ground to find a better position. The cloud that had hovered above them descended slowly, but went unnoticed.

Copyright© David Berger. All rights reserved.

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David Berger
By David Berger February 17, 2014 22:39
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