THE JUDAS FACTOR

By John Lavernoich

Based upon and inspired by the television series The Invaders created by Larry Cohen and The Terminator film series created by James Cameron

In the world of the late-1960's, there was already much to be concerned about - in the United States alone, the country had to deal with not only political and racism-driven assassinations, but also the violent and controversial Vietnam War, as well as the growing and violent displeasure of a generation that was already questioning what had been their country's core values, which had been tainted by the greed, corruption, and hatred that was only starting to increase with unimaginable speed since the United States won the Revolutionary War in 1783. It was those same undesirable traits that had long affected the rest of the world before the North American continent was starting to become a reality.

And yet, there were other threats that needed the world's attention - if anything else, to prevent them from destroying civilization as a whole. The world was already a dangerous place to be in, even in the late-1960's - even more so, considering not only the many dangers that its population was already aware of, but also those that they were unaware of, and the kind that could strike when mankind least expects it.

And that included, unfortunately, the dangers which hid in mankind's dark corners.

For over a year, an architect named David Vincent fought the dangers represented by aliens from a dying planet out in outer space - the same aliens who came to Earth to possess the bodies of its population in order to take over that same planet. Vincent's struggle was a hard and difficult one - especially since he faced a faceless enemy who was impossible to detect, the kind of threat that had existed throughout civilization since Biblical times.

What Vincent didn't and couldn't know during his year-plus ordeal was the simple fact that the aliens that he attempted to expose to the world never existed in the first place. In point of fact, as of the late-1960's, there was still no tangible proof of intergalactic life existing out in outer space, even as plans were already set in motion to land American astronauts on the moon. Nor could Vincent know that he was nothing more than an unwitting pawn in a secret and evil plan that was more complex than even his talents as an architect could comprehend - he wasn't even aware that his every move was even recorded. But then, Vincent was too decent a person to become a tool of conquest - or worse yet, a tool of destruction. And if he did, it would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Elsewhere: Inside a secret laboratory which had technology that was decades ahead of what existed during the 1960's, a mysterious figure known only as Dr. W sat down in front of a dozen hi-tech television monitors that were technologically linked to three dozen closed-circuit hi-tech television cameras that were built into two dozen black-colored unmarked vans that traveled across North America (with sliding panels on the vans' exterior sides that opened via remote control while allowed the TV cameras' lenses to emerge from said panels and shoot the video footage), which didn't rely on human drivers, since they had computer technology built into the vehicles, including the technologically-advanced cloaking devices that were built into the vans that rendered them invisible when necessary, partly to prevent all from learning the truth about the vans themselves, including David Vincent himself. Dr. W used one of his several hi-tech computers to program the driverless vans' coordinates so that they could travel anywhere through the continent; the one-way mirrored and bullet-proof glass that was already installed on the vans' doors (both front and back) and front windshield hid the vans' secret from the general public, including the various lawmen who never once suspected that no human beings were actually at the wheel of said vehicles. The closed-circuit TV cameras inside the driverless vans were connected to a hi-tech communications satellite that hovered above the Earth, and which transmitted the video footage taken by the cameras to another of Dr. W's hi-tech computers inside his laboratory, which were connected to the video monitors so that he could view the footage itself. The computerized driverless vans with the built-in TV cameras existed for one purpose, and only one: to record David Vincent's every move. As Dr. W viewed the video footage of Vincent's somewhat frustrating struggle to convince the world that alien beings from outer space were out to conquer the world, the mysterious scientist recorded what he viewed on a hi-tech audio recorder - in short, narrating Vincent's valiant but somewhat hopeless attempts to convince the Earth that it was in danger. And yet, Dr. W knew that the supposed alien invasion was in reality a hoax - partly because he was responsible for helping to create it. But there was more to that plan than met the eye - something more sinister than even the hoax itself.

However, in the past few months, Dr. W's plan had hit several snags - including the fact that David Vincent had vanished. Whether or not Vincent had dropped out of the public eye either of his own free will or someone else's actions was and would remain a mystery - and that created complications, and not just for Dr. W, who turned off his video monitors and got up from his seat, as he walked over to another corner of his secret laboratory. Standing in that same corner was a seven foot-tall robot built by Dr. W that was decades ahead of its time in terms of technology - its steel frame resembling a monstrous skeleton that might have been conceived in one's nightmares. In other words, the robot was a nightmare waiting to happen.

"Hello, Doctor," said a mysterious voice that was completely cold and uncaring, and which caused Dr. W to turn around and learn that he wasn't alone. Only a few feet from where Dr. W and his robot creation were standing, a mysterious figure hid completely in the shadows, and with good reason - which wasn't much of a surprise. After all, Dr. W's mysterious guest was also his benefactor - in more ways than one.

"It's you," said Dr. W grimly.

"You're right," said the mysterious figure, "It's me. If our scheme didn't run into a few complications - including David Vincent dropping out of the public eye - I wouldn't pay you a visit. By the way, I approve of your mechanical toy."

"If you mean the robot that I created to your specifications …!"

"Yes - the one that I plan on duplicating in accordance with my plans, which are one step closer to becoming a reality."

"Your plans? What about my role in said plans?"

"Your skills as a scientist and inventor - which you abused so greatly, and which forced the scientific community to both condemn and abandon you - have proved to be a great boon to both my existence and grandiose plans, which will make me the most powerful being in the world. And after that, the universe."

"The fools - they never completely understood me and what I was aiming to accomplish with both my talents and inventions, including the sacrifices I had to make in order to pursue my life's work."

"Including renouncing your moral ethics in the pursuit of both power and glory - a decision you made long before you first met me. As I remember, you said that your moral ethics were - as the saying goes - holding you back from your true potential, which you did reach. Of course, the scientific community had a different - and volatile - reaction to your scientific experiments, which cost the lives of over a dozen would-be 'guinea pigs' and only served to reinforce your belief that the end always justifies the means."

"It still does - a fact that some of my more 'goody two-shoes' colleagues have never truly understood, and probably never will."

"Luckily, you went into hiding to continue your scientific experiments, even as some of your more moralistic colleagues were starting to press criminal charges against you for causing the deaths of your would-be 'volunteers' - which was almost at the same time that we first encountered each other, eventually forming a partnership of sorts in which your scientific knowledge has helped me immensely. Including creating the technology needed to create the illusion of an alien invasion - not to mention creating the energy forces that took the forms of the 'aliens' that 'possessed' and eventually killed certain human targets, which would greatly trouble a more moralistic scientist."

"But I'm not like them."

"Of course - the moral consequences of such an action have never bothered you, making you a modern-day Judas. You do know who Judas who, don't you?"

"I believe that the end justifies the means. Being condemned by mankind is, at best, a minor irritation."

"And you've done an impressive job with that robot that you created for me - hopefully, with more on the way."

"There's more to your visit, I presume."

"I must warn you that several complications have come up - as far as our alien hoax is concerned - with the most important being the sudden disappearance of our principal target - the major reason why the alien hoax was created in the first place."

"David Vincent?"

"I also have the ability to see into the future - a future that threatens my very existence, and one that must be prevented at all costs. Which is partly why you built that prototype robot for me - part of a multi-layered plan that will ensure both my future and my rightful place in the cosmos for centuries to come."

"You must see yourself as a modern-day Napoleon."

"With one difference - I shall achieve ultimate power, and hold on to it forever. However, there are those who'll always stand in my way, including David Vincent. We created the alien hoax mainly to break Vincent, and not just from a psychological standpoint - and once we did, we would kidnap him and force him to reveal all that we needed to know, including the whereabouts of his goddaughter, another obstacle in my path to absolute power, especially since her descendants might cause serious problems for me in the future."

"As if you already didn't have enough problems."

"But now, Vincent has disappeared from plain sight, which means one of two things: either the fool has committed suicide as a result of us driving him mad - or he's finally figured out that he's a pawn in our scheme and went into hiding, possibly to start planning his revenge against us."

"Vincent is probably unaware that we're responsible for his ordeal."

"Let him be - sooner or later, we'll find him. And when we do …!"

"In a minute, there won't be a we." At that point, Dr. W removed a Derringer pistol from the front right pocket of his lab jacket, and pointed it directly at his mysterious visitor/benefactor, as if he was planning to murder him in cold blood.

"I never really trusted you," said Dr. W, his voice being one of icy remorseless, "Partly because sooner or later, you'd probably stab me in the back, just like my fellow scientists who never completely understood me and my ambitions."

"So you really are a Judas, given the fact that you've got me at a disadvantage," said the mysterious figure, who remained cool and calm in the face of what seemed to be his own impending doom, Or so you think."

"But I do have you at a disadvantage. And should you make any wrong moves …!" But Dr. W was unaware that the robot that he built for the mysterious figure who he was about to liquidate slowly raised its metallic right arm, as if the metallic being had suddenly taken on a life of its own. Within seconds, the robot aimed its metallic right hand directly at the unsuspecting renegade scientist's back.

"In a few seconds," said Dr. W coldly, "You'll be meeting the Devil - and when you do …!" But then, the robot's metallic right middle finger fired four gunshots - all of them point-blank - directly into Dr. W's back, killing him within seconds, as he fell, face-down, on the laboratory's solid stone floor.

"Or more appropriately," said the mysterious figure, "The Devil has just become your executioner - burn in Hell, Dr. W. I trust that we'll see more of each other for the rest of eternity - though, in your soul's case, the feeling'll be less than mutual." As the robot lowered its metallic right arm, the mysterious figure walked by Dr. W's bloodied corpse and approached the robot, his facial features still carefully hidden.

"Soon," said the mysterious figure, as he stared up at the robot's skull-like metallic face, "There will be more like you, thus forming an army that will, over time, be unstoppable - thanks in part to my other resources scattered throughout this mudball. And someday, mankind will be a fleeting memory - while my empire will endure forever. But there's still a lot to do - including finding David Vincent, who will definitely lead us to his soon-to-be departed goddaughter. And after she's dead? Then, my grand plan and the details are a part of it will start to run without a hitch - and you know what they say about the Devil being in the details." The mysterious figure then laughed evilly, as if he believed that he was destined for absolute power - while ignorant of the fact that he was far from perfect. But then, evil was never perfect to begin with - a fact that many who served it would never truly learn, if only because their massive egos overruled their intelligence.

David Vincent's final fate would remain a mystery - whether or not it was his own decision was one secret that he'd keep for the rest of his life. As for his goddaughter, she managed to avoid the mysterious figure's infernal wrath for another sixteen years, until the mid-1980's, when he decided to have the now-adult woman eliminated to ensure that his future became a reality, a plan that somewhat faltered for reasons that not even he could have foreseen. The woman's name was Sarah Connor - and someday, her son John would play a pivotal role in the world's ultimate victory over the robotic army created by the mysterious figure who wanted nothing more than mankind to become extinct, like the Stone Age's prehistoric creatures. Which proved an important lesson that was as old as history itself that's still worth remembering: as long as evil continues to exist, so will the best of mankind continue to give its all to combat its various devils and demons - both real and otherwise - and ensure that both the Earth and the universe never suffers the kind of final and dark defeat in which total recovery and resurrection is completely impossible.

The Invaders is a trademark and property of CBS Studios ©2012.

The Terminator is a trademark and property of Warner Bros. Entertainment ©2012.