Eric Olafson, Fleet Cadet
Chapter number 8
Current Chapter 8 :MASTER ALAMEA
Next CHAPTER 9: R and R

Interlude: The Herald arrivesEdit

Carl Kerry leaned on his staff and let his gaze wander over the peaks of the mountains and the alpine meadows before him then he looked over his flock of goats grazing on the herbs and grasses. The orange sun in the sky would eventually be fixed by Wurgus Engineers, but there was no hurry. It would last a few million years before it would start to expand and become a red M Class star and swallow the Planet Annapurna he was standing on.

Annapurna was a lovely world very earth like with slightly more land than water and lots of high mountains. The fact that the planet had two large moons that pulled on the magma and lava and caused much tectonic activity especially in the planets early existence was the reason for the many mountain ranges.

There were eleven planets in the Buonanno System, Annapurna was the second closest planet to the sun. None of the other planets were settled or even much surveyed. The planet was about as far from Pluribus as you could be and still be in Union Milky Way territory. This was the Fornax Dwarf a so called satelittle galaxy to the large Milky way Galaxy and the Buonanno System belonged to the Fornax Dwarf. Almost 460,000 light years to Blue Moon. Sixty five star systems were utilized and colonized in the entire Fornax Dwarf and so far no other sentient life form had been found native to this cluster. Even though Fornax was considered a dwarf galaxy and a statellite to M-0, it was still a galaxy and had six globular clusters. There was no real reason for the Union to be out here, but ever since the Attikan Commonwealth joined the Union there was an increased interest in these satellites.

When Fornax Four was surveyed by a Union explorer, they found a great number of star systems with beautiful Gardenworlds, just like Annapurna. Moderate climates, water, rich local fauna and flora but nothing sentient claiming it as their own. Sixteen light years from Annapurna was Hubble System and Fornax Hub. A Fleet outpost and one day would be the traffic hub of this region.

When Carl's group, the Simples looked for a world they could colonize and live away from the rat race of the Galaxy the Colonist Bureau suggested Annapurna. The planet was surveyed and no one had claimed it, so it was free for the taking. That it was not served by space bus was just what they wanted. A curier ship with mail would come once a week from Hubble and they were able to keep contact with the rest of the Universe via GalNet. Now the colony was in their second generation and existed for 48 years and all went well so far. The local fauna and flora was of consumable and nothing really terribly dangerous existed. Yes there were a few predatory animals but nothing more dangerous than a Terran Lion or Tiger.

The main settlement was twenty five kilometers from Carls hut, a small town of about 20,000 the rest of the 90,000 settlers were spread all across the globe. Carl used to teach prehistoric agriculture and husbandry at the University of Cambridge and was considered an expert in his field. He heard of the Simples movement and joined the society and never regretted his decision.

He made goat cheese and every two weeks he would take his rumbler and drive it down the mountain to sell his cheese at the local Exchange. During the first 20 years there was no space bus, but now it would come once a month. Annapura was a Union Planet and as such had a Union school, a Post office, an Exchange and space bus connection.

The Simples had no real rules, technology was not prohibited. The whole philosophy of being a Simple was to have the right to live a simple life style and do what they pleased away from social norm and pressure and free of violence. Weapons were considered the seed of evil and scorned. Carl was a fervent believer in pacifism. He believed that nothing ever justified war. When one of his students signed up for the Union Marine Corps, despite all his preaching and month of anti war preaching he felt he had failed that student protecting the young man from making a decision to become a state sanctioned killer and murderer. Carl hated everything military. It was useless! Anything could be solved with communication!

Not much of Carl's cheese made it off planet, it was bought right here and the rest was purchased by a restaurant owner on Fornax Hub. He would also sell goat furs, collected herbs and rocks he found. For the money he bought medicine for his goats, spices, coffee, beans and his beloved pipe tobacco.

As he looked over his herd he noticed Elsa missing. The salt and pepper fur stubborn girl wandered off again! She was to nosy for her own good!

Carl walked briskly towards the cropping of boulders he suspected Elsa to be somewhere behind. Here up in the Mountains was only one predator he had to worry about, Stone Scratchers. But he had not seen them attack anything during daylight, they were very shy and usually all had to do was yell loud wave his stick and ran towards them to scare them off, so he was neither concerned nor afraid of anything as he surrounded the boulders from where he could see into the valley.

A small space ship had landed right there , no more than 250 meters from where he was standing. It did not look like any ships Carl knew, but that meant little as he barley was able to tell the difference between a space bus and freighter. A four armed creature not unlike a Pertharian had emerged from the ship and held Elsa in one of its claws. From the way Elsa hung and the dripping blood he knew she was dead. His outrage over the senseless killing of one of his goats made him completely unaware of the situation and he approached the alien." You better have a good reason for killing poor Elsa! I have a good mind and calling the Ranger!"

The being threw the carcass away and said with a growling voice." I am the Herald! Your language is consistent with the language pattern of those defeating the hordes before!"

Carl now began to realized the situation, This was not something he could solve with a sit in, or a stern discussion with a disapproving note in his voice! He actually was sure the creature was talking about the Y'All!

"Now Mister Herald, there might have been a misunderstanding that made the Y'All hordes so angry at us? Maybe if you communicate to us what you want, war is not necessary!"

"You are of that group called the Union and you do remember the Hordes! War is not neccesarry no, but your complete extermination is necessary. We shall abstain from war if you commit suicide. All of you and without delay!"

"What is your reason for your anger about us? Is there nothing we can talk about? If you want us dead you must have some reason for your anger."

"We are not angry. You simply are not perfect and do not deserve to live. You carry the seed of the master and you must not be allowed to exist. Now you will answer me every question and then I will kill you."

"I am a man of peace and I will gladly answer all your questions"

"You would sell out your own kind on your free will? "

"For the sake of peace, of course!"

"How did you defeat the hordes?"

"I was not alive back then, but from what I understood. This war monger Admiral Stahl returned from some sort of Exile and brought along weapons and shields that could defeat the Y'All."

"Tell me the exact function of these weapons!"

"I am a man of peace! I don't know how Translocator Cannons work. I never touched a weapon in my life! But we have a GalNet terminal in the Village and you are welcome to use it. I am sure you can find such information there! You see no need for violence."

The Herald ripped Carls stomach open, with one swipe of diamond hard claws." If you do not know about weapons you usefulness has ended. Everyone on this planet will die."

Carl collapsed feeling horrible pain. Just before he died he wished he could stop the Y'All herald somehow or at least warn the others. There at the moment of his death he questioned his own philosophy and wondered if there was a justification for war after all.



Everyone thought it would get easier after we got used to the stress and workload, but it did not, our instructors pushed us even harder.

I was sent for 24 hours into the no light lock up for having a bad shave after returning from a 75 kilometer force march through the Jungle in just my underwear and a combat knife. The instructor argued that the knife was perfectly useable to perform a shave before reporting back.

Narth did not fare much better and was send washing dishes for the whole camp, having a mud stain on his robe.

Our martial arts instructor was an old Saresii and the general consent was that he knew every fighting technique and martial arts known to the Galaxy. I had trained our brand of martial arts but he was beyond everything they taught on Nilfeheim.

For some unknown reason he loved to demonstrate his skills on me. Narth told me that he was well shielded and it was even for him impossible to anticipate the next move.

I lost count as to how many times I left his class room on the stretcher of a Med-bot with a broken bone or a serious concussion. Master Alema never expressed apologies for what he did; when I was laying on the mat with a broken limb and almost passing out with pain. He merely pointed out the flaws in my attack or defense to the class and showed them the slow motion recording of my errors.

After we graduated we could get Skill Implants that would give us instantly the skills of a wide choice of martial arts, but the Navy insisted that we learned the Navy standard Style hand to hand combat the old fashioned way. It was so we were told the amalgam of the fighting techniques of thousands of cultures and civilizations honed and mixed into a technique and style very unique to the Navy.

Of course Master Alamea did it to other cadets as well (at least to those Cadets that could break bones), he even sent Limbur more than once with injuries to Sick bay and Limbur was three times his mass and much stronger. I just had the impression he picked on me more than the others.

One Sunday afternoon we had a few hours to ourselves and I thought I would use that rare free time to go swimming. Camp Idyllic had several swimming pools and bathing in the nearby lake was fairly safe but way to warm to my taste. The survival and diving pool was the largest and deepest and they usually kept the water much cooler than the others and that's why I liked it best. The water was still too warm for me, but it was clear fresh water and it was 20 meters deep.

Usually this pool was deserted outside of training exercises those other cadets that used their free time to swim preferred the warmer water pools or the lake.

So I was surprised to see Master Alema there. He was sitting at the highest diving board in the lotus position with closed eyes.

I cursed under my breath. I didn't want to go to another, especially since I didn't have too much time, but I really didn't want to run into that Saresii Transvestite.

All Saresii appeared to be female and stunningly beautiful, but some of them where men, made up do look like women. In Exobiology class we learned that the Saresii were among the oldest species with a continuous civilization. They had been traveling space for much more than million years. Some event millennia ago wiped out all their colonies except their home world and they blamed male aggression for the catastrophes and wars in general. So the Saresii banned everything appearing male. At first they had a matriarchate society, like the Saran's but it changed and developed differently. Why all Saresii men decided to dress and appear like women and make this aspect the core of their civilization I did not know. Saresii joined the Unites Stars relatively late. Their technology was considered to be far advanced and at Tech level nine.

Saresii were most famous for their Psionic powers and that every Saresii was a telepath of considerable strength, some had telekinetic powers and others were able to teleport. A well known legend told that the Saresii rearranged the eight planets of their system into perfect orbits using their Psionic powers. There had to be truth to the legend since the 8 planets where arranged in such a way.

Narth was not impressed by the Saresii Psionic abilities and he told me that Narth considered the Saresii to be like children who just managed to walk.

Master Alema appeared to be a woman in every visual aspect. She could have been any age between 25 and 200. The face was very female with much larger purple colored eyes than humans, long lashes and beautiful shaped lips. Saresii ears where pointed and usually hidden under their long hair, but I could see the tips of his ears between the strands of the long silvery white hair.

The Saresii readily adopted Terran and Saran make up fashions and used this ancient female art to enhance their faces and appearance. Almea's hair was straight and fell below the shoulder blades. It had the color of shiny silver. The only way we knew he was not a biological female was because Commander Letsgo always referred to Alema as him and we had to call him Master.

I turned and wanted leave but his voice caught me at the door.

"Come up here Cadet."

Alema had noticed me despite the fact; he was sitting on the ten meter tower with his back to me. I was sure he noticed me with his Psionic abilities.

I sighed and kissed my afternoon goodbye but I climbed up, stepped on the board and saluted." Cadet Olafson reporting, Sir."

"You think I pick at you more is that not so?"

"It appears to me that way, yes."

"I do demonstrate on you more often than the others, because you have great talent and you never give up. I like that."

I did not know what to say so I remained silent.

So Alamea continied and asked: "You are from a water world?"

"Yes Sir."

"I believe they call you Neo Vikings. A culture modeled after an old Terran tribe of warriors."

"Yes Vikings, Nordic peoples—Danes, Swedes, Germans and Norwegians—who raided and settled in large areas of eastern and western Europe during a period of Scandinavian expansion from about 800 to 1100 Terran."

"Do you fight others while you in the water?"

"Yes we fight in every environment, and in the water, against each other and pretty much everything that lives in the ocean of Nilfleheim."

"Fight me in the water!"

Alema jumped and I dutifully followed right away. I was planning not giving this experienced master of all martial arts much time to adjust. This was my element and I was a good water fighter, even for Nilfleheim standards.

I was right after him .I did this many times during fight class as they did it to me if they could. I landed directly on him, buried my heels with force in his back and pushed him further down. My eyes where much better adapted to see under water than those of standard humans and I hoped Saresii eyes where human in that regard. Also I had another advantage, no matter how good he was, I had a virtually unlimited oxygen supply and did not need to pay attention to my oxygen supply.

He had to hold his breath and had air for maybe 2-5 minutes at best. Part of his concentration had to be diverted to that. My gills opened and the cool water rushed in me. It was always a wonderful experience especially after being on land and dry for a long time, being in my most favorite environment stimulated me always.

Water fighting with the intent to kill was completely different from fighting on dry land. Water put tremendous drag on everything you did, swinging chops or even straight punches where almost impossible and lost any damage inflicting energy. Hitting something fast was almost impossible. Instead it was better to use the entire mass of the body just like a missile and in close combat short kicks and straight stabs to soft body areas where much more effective.

Alema was good, he wasn't fighting under water for the first time, but I had trained with Gustav Aikson the unrivaled Champion of my world as soon as I could swim. It was no real contest and after burying both heels into his stomach. I saw bubbles rush out of his mouth and the expression of pain on his face.

I suddenly realized I was about to kill him. If he tried to inhale, he would drown! His instinctive impulse would be just that! I rushed after him and pulled him to the surface and had to perform CPR. A gush of water came out of his lungs and he started coughing. I was rushing to the next COM unit to call for help.

Alema coughed and spat water. "Don't call for help. I will be fine!" He coughed once more and took a deep breath and sat up. "Why did you not press your advantage? You clearly had me and your style of fighting shows you do not fight for sport but to kill."

Neo Vikings don't do much for sport, expect perhaps bashing skulls, killing others and drinking. But I am not on Nilfleheim. I could not let you drown, Sir! That be murder."

"I caused you much pain and humiliation in my classes. You could have killed me out of revenge!"

"You did nothing to me that would deserve killing, Sir. I dislike your classes yes because I never get used to the pain that goes along with breaking bones and I do feel you are selecting me more than others but I would not seek revenge for that. I accept this as part of my training and rite of passage."

He pushed himself up and walked to a bench. Seeing him walk like that I couldn't believe he was a man. The black skintight bathing suit clung to a very female body and I became quite jealous.

Sitting on the bench, he held his stomach and coughed again. Then he said: You are honorable. But are you willing to kill?"

"Sir, if I am asked to kill an enemy in the course of battle, during war or conflict. I am prepared to kill. I will resort to lethal force if I have no other option or defending my friends, but I won't kill for sport and most certainly do not derive pleasure from it."

"You killed before!" Alema said this in a matter of fact, not as a question.

"Yes I have. It is against federal law, but such laws mean little on Nilfleheim and we are all raised in a very old fashioned way where honor and defending it means more than a life "

"Why did you leave your world?"

"To join the United Stars Navy and apply at the Academy."

"But you are the first born. Would you not inherit all and become patriarch of your tribe?"

"I would inherit the family's wealth, name and all holdings, yes but the position of chief can be challenged and one has to fight and most likely kill for it."

The man woman looked at me and she said." Tell me the truth! There is another reason, the real reason you had to leave!"

I blushed and looked away. "I can't!"

"This is nothing to be ashamed of.

It won't affect your career.

What you think is your deepest secret is well known to all of us who can access your personal file and was of course detected at your psychological examination on your first day. It is a private affair and because it is not considered harmful or counter affective to your career or duty no one ever mentioned it to you.

I am just curious. I sensed something a little earlier when I was in the water. Something we Saresii are used to because we are, but are very uncommon now among Terrans and Colonial humans these days."

I looked around to make sure we were alone. "I am not sure what is wrong with me, but sometimes I wish I would be a girl. Not a man at all.

"There is nothing really wrong with you. I am simply surprised to see this form of Gender disorder in a human. Nowadays it is as rare as homosexuality. The genetic predisposition has been eliminated in many families and if it does surface is usually adjusted via prenatal DNA surgery long before birth."

I sighed." No genetic manipulation is done on Nilfleheim. There are no pre conception exams and kids come the natural way, no Arti-Wombs or anything like that."

The Saresii put a hand on my shoulder." Don't think of it as disease or handicap. You see in the old days before Earth became a galactic civilization it was perfectly alright to be that way. It changed in 2200 during the Fist and Iron period, when everything out of the norm was considered weak and undesirable. Then around 3000 Gender change became very popular and there were individuals changing their gender a dozen times. It caused severe psychological problems. In some cases and that practice became regulated but to this day it is nothing unusual."

"I know I researched this myself. I wanted to know what was wrong with me and what my options are."

"What are your options?"

"I heard about Psycho Surgery. They can take the desire out of me for good. They say it is perfectly safe and can be done in a few minutes, but somehow I am afraid of that option."

"Could it be that deep down you think this is not what you want, to get rid of it I mean."

I shrugged." I am not sure about myself when it comes to this. It feels right at one hand and I know it is wrong at the other hand. I am against psycho surgery in general. I don't like to have my very own personality changed to what some Psycho Surgeon thinks I should be."

"So you joined the Navy to proof you are a man?"

"No not at all. I proved that when I killed my first Tyranno. I joined the Navy to get away from my father, the further the better! And I joined because I really want to be a Starship Captain. Of course I know now that my chances are slim at best and that there are decades of service ahead of me, but the chance exist!"

"Neither your career nor your citizenship would be affected if you decide to try to live as a woman."

"It would not?"

"Don't be afraid of being what you want to be, but one day you must make a decision. Otherwise you will never find inner peace."

I sighed." Perhaps I try it after basic training is over."

"If you ever need to talk about this come to me, we Saresii have built a civilization around this subject."

"Thank you. I think I will!"

Next Chapter: R&REdit

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