|Eric Olafson, Fleet Cadet|
|Previous||CHAPTER 10: Huhgavh|
|Current||Whipped at the post|
|Next||CHAPTER 12: Nilfeheim|
Chapter 11: Whipped at the postEdit
The guards would not tell me what the status on my friends. Would not tell me why I was put in the lock up.
No one spoke to me and I was the only one in the cell. It was a featureless milky white cubic room, with a metal rectangle as a bed. No pillow or blanket .The walls where made of a tough but somewhat flexible translucent material. There was no visible door. The wall across the bed could be moved to give access to the cell. The plumbing was as stark and primitive as the bed.
What had happened? Why was I arrested? I fully expected a hearing and perhaps an investigation, but to be arrested without explanation was something completely different. Nothing happened even after hours. I banged at the slide wall to get the attention of the guards, but the wall material was so tough and soft and it barley made any noise no matter how hard I hit it. I doubted anyone would hear anything. The light came from no distinctive source. The walls, the ceiling and the floor glowed evenly and didn't allow for any shadows.
My stomach told me it was quite a while since I ate last. I didn't eat since we left on the crawler but no one came. There was no Serv slot.
At some time I fell asleep. I could not tell how long I had been asleep, telling time was impossible and nothing happened. I examined the cell closer, counted the steps and kept myself busy calculating square meters and cubic meters. But that didn't occupy me very long and still no one came to bring food or talk to me. The toilet was a Nanite recycling unit without water and thirst was worst than being hungry.
If I had to guess I would estimate I was in that cell for at least a day now. My tongue felt like a foreign object in my mouth. I heard a voice in my head. It had to be my mental and physical state, I heard Narths voice! Nothing really understandable but it was Narth's voice and it was not acoustic, but straight in my head! Narth did transfer something into me. Was he still alive? Did whatever he did work after all?
The voice fell silent. Narth was dead and I merely imagined things. I had failed him and I had failed the others!
The plastic coverall was quite uncomfortable, but despite my efforts to open the seams the tough material resisted and I guessed it was memory material and could only be manipulated and opened with the correct code.
I felt quite miserable. The physical conditions where bad but not unbearable, what really got to me was the uncertainty. Even if I had murdered a person I had some basic rights and should receive formal charges and legal counsel.
When the wall finally moved aside, a man in a black uniform without any markings came in. I wanted to get up only to find out that my suit had bonded with the bed I was sitting on and I couldn't move. The man in the Uniform was the old farmer who had treated us so strangely. He had an evil smirk on his lips and his eyes glittered with satisfaction he got from my situation." How do you like that, scum!"
"I demand to see a JAG officer."
"You are in no position to demand anything, Scum boy! No one that might care knows you here or will testify about the treatment you received here. You are only alive because I want to know everything you know about the Narth!"
He pulled a black plastic hose from a pocket and started beating me with it. It was filled with sand or something like that." How do you like that?" He laughed.
The pain was quite real, but the situation seemed so surreal. What motivation did he have to do this? I had been beaten by my father much worse and never gave him the satisfaction to beg for mercy or cry. I pressed my lips together and tried to find refuge by imagining I was swimming in the cold Nilfleheim Oceans. This image always helped me when my father beat me. I closed my eyes and distanced myself from reality as much as I could, tried to imagine how wonderful cold water would feel, how free I felt when diving deep listening to the haunting cries of Tyranno Fins that echoed between the canyons and rock formations.
Seeing schools of silvery dart fish dash like glittering clouds through the cold water.
I tasted blood and my left eye started to swell close, the old man was furious much like my father unable to get the reaction he hoped for.
Another uniformed man came in and I heard him say:" I can't cover this if you kill him, Admiral. Commander Letsgo is asking for Olafson and I don't think I can hold him off much longer."
"Commander Letsgo will do what he is told. Don't concern yourself with what I do!"
But the beating stopped and both men left.
INTERLUDE: CHURCH OF THE DARK ONE – PerrytonEdit
"Splendid! Were you able to retrieve the Narth?"
"The Narth was killed during the attack on the crawler. Only his corpse was retrieved. It will be difficult to secure it, but it is truly dead."
"You meddling idiot! The Narth was not supposed to be killed! We need him!"
The First Son's projection almost looked as if he wanted to strangle Mitzitrone but he said with a strained voice." Did you say the body was retrieved? How did it look? Where is the robe?"
"I don't know where the robe is. Only his naked dried out corpse was found and it looked like it was dead for ages!"
"Impossible! Without another Narth present he could not have transferred his Huhgavh! Find the robe and the hood! If he died his body and robe would have remained. He must have transferred his Huhgavh. Are there any other Narth?" "Not to my knowledge. I know Narth was contacted by the Fleet and Narth ordered the Body to be brought to them."
"If the Narth released his Huhgavh without another Narth present he will be the first Narth to have truly died."
"The Human Neo Viking was with him when he died and they were friends!"
"Nonsense! Narth do not have friends! That concept is as alien to them as any human emotion! I have spent 10 years among the Narth before they asked me to leave. I am the only one who has ever been among the Narth. I know!" "Then my report must be in error. I hold a copy of Olafson's service record and his instructors all noted on his relation to the Narth."
"What is his Heidelberg Psi number?" "According to his records less than 45, way below the threshold of the slightest talent to manifest."
"Cover our tracks and make sure that Olafson dies."
"That is certain. Our Agent has a personal interest in his demise, which is why he was chosen to be the scapegoat."
Interlude: Stahl's OfficeEdit
Richard Stahl did not like to be at headquarters and spend time at his office there. Paperwork and administrative tasks were for bureaucrats and pencil pushers, not for him. Of course he knew it was part of his job and an organization as large as the fleet could not operate without administrative work. His old friend Mc Elligott, now he loved doing this kind of work, but not him. He would rather go with a team of marines through a maggot infested steamy jungle on some hell hole planet than doing this. Personnel transfer requests and Command officer promotions under his command at a certain level still required to have his signature. Then there were research requests, and asset allocation. The weekly security briefing of all Division commands and the Intel reports.
He came across a note he had written to himself and pressed the Com Button to summon one of his aides. The young Lieutenant responding saluted crisp and Stahl said to him."Do you remember the investigation I asked you to conduct regarding Admiral Swybar and his son Swybin? I promised a friend of mine to look into this."
The Lieutenant, a human blinked and said." No Sir, I was told by Admiral Evensdorf that he was handling the affair and that there was no further need to investigate. He said the affair has been handled internally."
Stahl slowly counted to ten to calm himself." Lieutenant if I ask you to do something I expect you to do that, never mind what someone else tells you. Now I want you to pull me the records on Admiral Swybin, his son and while you at it get me a connection to Evensdorf."
The Lieutenant was glad to leave Stahl's office and almost ran into a tall silver haired woman. General Lichfangh stepped out of his way and said." No worries I announce myself."
She waited for the door to close and then surrounded Stahl's desk and simply kissed him on the cheek. "There you go; I meant to do that for weeks."
He smiled at her and said." Maybe we could go out tonight, after I am done with this."
"I hold you to it. There is a great performance of Wagner's Lohengrin at the Opera and I know you like Wagner."
He leaned back." I haven't been to a real opera in ages. I think that could be nice for a chance."
She sat next to him on the desk and said." I came to tell you about something else, however. You know what happened in the Fornax Cluster?"
"No I have not heard anything, but I just came back with the Devi helping the Dai settle in their new system and make sure they integrate well. Those are very proud people and I am glad we have some of them on our side."
"Yes that was an amazing development, but I think you need to hear what happened at Annapurna, a colony planet in Fornax Cluster four. I am sure Mc Elligott will call you on this soon anyway but I thought I share my Intel with you first." She gestured and Stahl's hidden bar unit swung open and two bottles of beer floated across the room." I think the storm clouds we have foreseen begin to gather."
He stopped his move to grab one of the bottles and his face became serious." Why don't you tell me?"
"I am sure you know about that Texan Peter Baker."
"Yes I know of him. He is an immortal but I am convinced he is not one of the two hundred. He is a bit of a mystery, but he is a genuine hero."
"I can't read him either. He has the best psi shield this side of Narth Prime, but he does duty as a regular Union ranger and recently he was investigating an overdue space bus. The space bus had been destroyed and the entire colony on Annapurna, 30,000 plus have been killed by a being calling itself the Messenger and he looks exactly like a Y'All."
"A Y'All?" Stahl actually got up from his chair and called up a projection of the Fornax Cluster. "How do we know it was a Y'All?"
"Because the ranger arrested the being and was brought to Fornax Hub. The being is similar to the Y'All but smarter and less brutish then the Hordes. The being claims to be the Messenger and vows to destroy us all."
The Captain of the Devastator appeared, sitting in a bathtub! "Could it wait till I am decent?"
"Yes, get cleaned up and then prepare the Devi for lift off, as soon as possible. I am aboard within the hour!"
Harris knew his friend long enough to sense the urgency and said."At once Sir."
At the same moment an Avatar Holo appeared in the Admirals Office, only one person could establish a Holo like this without announcement. Admiral Mc Elligott. The old General repeated more or less whatAlyica had told him and then said. "This is not all I have just got message that the Narth High representative threatening to leave the Union over something happening on Green Eden right now!"
"I am on my way and swing by Green Eden as well! Send the first Fleet to Fornax. Go to Fleet Alert Two and inform the Attikan fleet assets to be prepared for an attack."
Mc Elligott who was technically Stahl's superior did not argue or waste a second of breath. When it came to war, there was no one more suited to the task then Stahl.
Alyica sighed."So much for the Opera, but perhaps the Devi has some nice entertainment."
He grinned at her." She does and I am delighted if you come along."
"I always wanted to see you in your element. Want me to get us there right away?"
Stahl took a sip of the beer. "A waste to let cool beer got to waste. Yes Alyica get us there!"
Stahl and the witch of Coven disappeared. Moments later the Lieutenant entered with the requested reports and stared at an empty office.
Chapter11 Continued : Court MartialEdit
I must have passed out, because I woke up as two men dragged me out of the cell and put me on the diagnostic bed of a Med-Bot Unit. The machine cleaned me and tended to my injuries. The robot talked to someone I couldn't see from my position. "Patient is in serious condition and severely dehydrated. The injuries sustained correspond to physical abuse. I must consult a doctor."
A person answering out of my field of view." You consult no one. Do your job; fix him up so he looks presentable."
A bright flash hit the robot and the machine fell over in a tangled mass of molten Vari-plast, circuits and metal, I barley felt the added pain of the burns.
"He won't do any reporting and you will die!" Said the voice.
Someone else in the room had panic in his voice:" Admiral Swybin. We need to get him out of here. Chances are the robot already filed everything before you shot. It is certain however that the destruction of the med bot and discharge of a blaster raised alarms and someone is on its way!"
Someone pressed an object against my neck and I heard a sharp hissing sound. My vision blurred and went dark.
When I regained consciousness, I wore my uniform and was sitting in a small room with just a bench and a door. Only my hands where restrained in handcuffs. My head still spun and I was thirstier than ever before.
It wasn't long when a marine came in and ordered me to my feet." They are waiting for you!"
I struggled to my feet, fighting wobbly knees and went through the now open door into a court room! There was a panel of three Officers sitting behind a raised desk. I saw Olia, the Lieutenant and all the others sitting behind a barrier. A sense of relief came over me seeing them being alive and well.
I also noticed Commander Letsgo and the other instructors
A bell rang and everybody rose. Someone said:" This United States Navy proceeding against Midshipman 3rd Class Olafson is now in session. Commodore Stone proceeding!"
Everyone sat down and the marine behind me pushed me forcefully into a seat.
A blue skinned Lieutenant to the left stood and picked up a handheld E board." Midshipman Olafson is charged with causing bodily harm to a superior officer, destroying private property, theft and disobeying direct orders. He is further charged with treason by committing acts of espionage and collecting sensitive information for a foreign power."
He then looked straight at me." Midshipman Olafson waived his right to legal counsel and refused to speak a SAG officer, but then the evidence is clear and this Kermac spy knows when he has lost. I present as Exhibit A his handwritten confession he did under his own free will and with me as witness present."
I wanted to protest but my mouth would not obey me. I couldn't talk!
The prosecuting officer looked at me:" How do you plead, Midshipman Olafson?"
I was jerked to my feet by the Marine: I tried my best to say anything but no sound escaped my mouth.
"The prosecutor sneered." The Midshipman refuses to answer."
Olia got up." I object! Midshipman Olafson was not consulted by a SAG officer, he is physically unable to speak don't you see that? He needs medical attention!"
The Commander banged his gavel." I order you to remain silent, Midshipman. You will only speak if you are ordered into the witness stand. If you continue to interrupt the proceedings I will have you held in contempt of court."
Olia did not sit down." I shall report this to SAG and file a complaint. This is not right!"
"You have been warned Midshipman. You are to vacate this court room. This court will not be black mailed by a mere Midshipman. Marines take that person out of my court room and make sure she is restricted to quarters until further notice."
Two marines approached Olia and escorted her out.
Limbur was about to get up and say something, but Commander Letsgo glared at him." Be silent Cadet. This is how we deal with spies and traitors. I have seen the evidence!"
My last hope vanished. Even Letsgo was involved.
Stone became agitated and hissed from the bench and pounded his gavel." I have the court room cleared if there are any more interruptions."
Stone turned to the prosecuting officer:" Please continue! I want this to be over before dinner! Lieutenant Granger, please continue."
The prosecutor nodded and said: "Midshipman Olafson broke into the main control room, obtained sensitive material and wanted to use the field expedition to meet with his Kermac handlers, what exactly happened is still under investigation but the Crawler Cat was damaged by a Kermac Duo Mine. That mine was illegally purchased by Ericson during his R&R at Perryton. We have the sworn statement of the weapons dealer filed as Exhibit B. During the aftermath, Olafson pretended to save lives and he caused the death of one of his comrades, disobeyed orders and attacked senior officers. We had no time to investigate the extent of his spy activities for the Kermac Conglomerate, but until we can conclude our investigation we recommend Olafson to be punished with 25 lashes of the whip and a permanent entry into his records be made. We also recommend he will be transferred to Maximum Security Colony Brisbane for the duration of 20 month so we can continue our investigation."
Stone smiled." The court accepts this recommendation. We will not seek a full court martial for it offends our sense of honor to have such an exceptional deceiving person be trialed as an officer. Midshipman Olafson will receive 35 lashes at 0500 tomorrow. Midshipman Olafson you are herby ordered into custody of the United Stars Marine Corps Detention Facility Idyllic 2 and remain there until said time to receive your punishment and your transport leaves for Brisbane."
I was angry at the system, angry at the unfair treatment. I was so furious I wanted to scream, but no sound escaped my lips. I was put in a regular cell, with working water. The cold water tasted like a gift from the gods.
I hadn't been long in my new cell, when Commander Stone came and stood before the force field that separated him from me.
"Admiral Swybin is an old friend of mine and if you ever open your mouth and tell what happened, I will make sure you disappear forever!"
He pointed a small silvery device at me and I felt as if a lock had been opened in my mind.
"Do I make myself clear?"
"Your threats hold little value to me. I will expose you and that power abusing criminal you call Admiral. Go ahead and kill me now, do whatever you want. I will not keep quiet!"
He laughed:" Oh but you will. You see you have a little Saresii Psionic device in your head. You will never be able to talk about it and in a few weeks you die, committing suicide. The device will drive you to it and there is nothing you can do about. No one will ever investigate, Brisbane is a very harsh place and suicide is not uncommon there. You won't be able to tell anyone, but you know you die. Isn't that something?" He giggled. "Oh I love these Saresii devices. Getting into a pissing contest with an Admiral wasn't a good idea!"
He laughed as he left and closed the door.
That night I had terrible nightmares. I knew he was right. I could not talk about it. Not a word came across my lips when I tried. Suddenly I had ideas about killing myself. While I tried to block it out the idea seemed better by the minute and was the solution to all my problems.
The next morning, two marines woke me, led me to an Auto Dresser. The machine cleaned me, nanites remanufactured my uniform and in less than a minute. I was clean shaven, wore dress uniform.
The sun was barley up when I was led out on the parade ground with a marine on each side. All Midshipmen seemed to be here, assembled and standing in attention. Ten marines had old fashioned drums and played a steady solemn beat. We learned about these archaic traditions in military history class. Corporal punishment had been reintroduced in 3500 for severe crimes committed by military personnel. Thirty five lashes was the maximum punishment that could be administered without going before a Court martial tribunal.
Everything seemed so unreal to me. Swybar kept his promise and I did get what he said I would get. His father did make this all happen.
Commander Letsgo stepped before me and his metallic face was unreadable. He ripped the rank insignia from my sleeves." I had great hopes for you. It turned out you have been a murderer and a spy! You deserve worse than this!"
The Marines tied me to a metal frame. Arms and legs spread, forming an X.
A man all dressed in black wearing a tight fitting black mask stepped into my field of view: "Do you want a rubber block to bite on? It will help with the pain!"
"No! Do your thing and get it over with." I couldn't protest or say anything against the Admiral or the Commander, but I said:" Your mask won't help. I will get justice and you will pay!"
He snorted a laugh and walked out of my sight.
Someone read the charges and the punishment. The Drum beat stopped.
Something alien seemed to creep inside me and I could hear Narth's voice!" My friend I know. Don't despair. I am in you and I am awake now. That primitive Saresii device has no power over you no more."
This sudden contact by my friend, took away all fear. I wasn't alone! Narth knew about the device and he would do something about it!
My shirt was ripped away and I could hear Commander Stones voice:" Let him have it Sergeant and let him have it good! Execute the punishment!"
The first stroke bit into my back. I promised myself not to give them anything and not scream or beg.
I think I did scream, but I was certain I didn't beg. After the tenth stroke I lost count and around the twentieth I passed out. Someone splashed me with cold water, but it didn't do much for me and I think I passed out again. What happened after the last stroke, I didn't know.
INTERLUDE: Commander Letsgo's OfficeEdit
The Commander still stared at the torn off rank insignia of the former Midshipman as his DeskCom flashed with Top Urgent lights.
"Sir, the Ex Midshipman is just transferred to the brig. That subject has been dealt with swift and harsh! I doubt he is conscious. Thirty five lashes and off to Brisbane tomorrow!"
Elligott gazed at him with open contempt." So you are involved as well! I never thought it possible!" Letsgo was confused." Sir I am involved with what?" Just then the door slammed open and Admiral Stahl entered he too seemed quite angry and Letsgo felt suddenly very small. Especially since he did not know what was going on. Behind Stahl, the General of the Psi Corps Lichfangh and yet another Admiral stormed in, he was the Judge Advocate General of the Navy and with him two Spec ops Marines with fully charged arm cannons at the ready.
Stahl was the first speaking and he repeated the question:"Where is Midshipman Olafson?" "Sir I just told Admiral Elligott that he is in the brig. We contained this disgusting individual and have dealt with him!"
Stahl nodded to the Marines."Find him See that the Narth see to him at once."
The marines responded by running out of the room.
"The Narth is dead! Olafson has killed him!" Letsgo said.
Elligott's holo stepped forward." He has done no such thing!"
Stahl raised his hand." I always considered you one of the finest officers and I felt some friendship between us. For the sake of that friendship I want you to tell me exactly what occurred. I expect from you nothing but the truth."
Letsgo felt insulted by that."Sir I live by our honor code. I never lie."
"Then tell me!"
"Olafson was a Kermac Spy. We know that the Narth became aware of his subversive activity. So Olafson lured him and the other Midshipmen of his dorm into joining him on a fake survey mission. Lt. Waltham believed it as he saw the falsified orders Olafson presented, because only with an officer could he get all of them off base. He thought he was safe on the other side of the planet. There he used a Kermac Duo Mine he smuggled in from his last R&R trip to disable the Crawler Cat, and killed the Narth with a terrible weapon of yet unknown nature, all that was left was a dried out corpse! Little did he know that retired Commander Wilson owns a little hobby farm there. Commander Wilson conducts botanical research there and heard the explosions.
He went straight to investigate, but Olafson trapped him, almost killed the old Soldier but Wilson managed to fight and restrain Olafson and call for help."
"How do you know all this?" "Commander Stone, a special CID investigator played the audio records of the Crawler and presented me with Olafson's signed confession. Lt. Granger of my own staff witnessed it and confirmed the confession! Also we have the witness report of Commander Wilson."
"Did it at no time occur to you to hear the witnesses present at those events, namely the Midshipmen? Did you as their commanding officer bother to check on Olafson and ask him yourself about these accusations?" "No Commander Stone placed a gag order on the other Cadets. Because of the ongoing investigation into the spying charges and I was unable to interview Olafson because he was under CID lock. I did request to see him once, but I did not want to deal with a Kermac spy!"
"I am not sure if I should court martial you or simply throw you out of office for incompetence."
"Even if all would have been true and Olafson did all this. You should have been involved, turning over every stone to see how this could have happened under your watch. If this tall tale would have been true it would be one of the most spectacular espionage cases in the entire history of our Fleet!
"Imagine an 18 year old Neo Viking that never left his home planet prior to joining the Navy being an accomplished Kermac Spy able to fool all tests and checks onArsenal to attend basic training, somehow able to smuggle a 2 ton Kermac Device unseen by all other Cadets aboard a small Leyland Space bus. Setting the device up all across the planet and falsifying academy orders to lure a Lieutenant into the Jungles. Every single detail of this incident should have raised red flags with you!"
Letsgo wished he could sit down. His legs suddenly felt weak. "Sir, the written confession, the Audio recording!"
"Come on, you can manufacture such a recording in five minutes on any Computronic along with the written confessions. Why was Olafson not seen by a JAG officer? Why did you not contact JAG" "Because Commander Stone came from Perryton was from JAG CID and he took the case."
"This base is your command not his. Commander Stone telling you he investigates the case could therefore not head the proceedings."
"No I see you are not directly involved but to be so gullible and so naïve and blind makes you just as guilty."
Chapter 11 Continued : Narth aliveEdit
I woke in our dorm room, all by myself. The room looked deserted and not because no one but me was here. A room that was occupied by seven beings showed signs of being lived in, even a place as neat and tidy as a military dorm room showed such signs. The bedding on all bunks was gone. The locker doors stood wide open and appeared exactly as we found them when we came here. The name tag fields empty. It hit me instantly my friends where gone!
I got up. My back was bandaged. There was no pain at the moment, but a tight sensation as if my skin was stretched to the limits underneath the bandage.
My own sea bag was standing next to my locker, already packed. A new uniform was laid out on the bed.
I held my head and whispered:"Narth?"
There was no answer and somehow I knew I was alone.
But I was in the dorm and my uniform was laid out. I was not on a transport to Brisbane.
What had changed?
I all felt like in a bad dream but I intended to end it once and for all and quit! I got dressed and made my way to the Commander's office. I remembered the alien device I had in my head and the prospect that I was going to commit suicide was frightening. Narth was never with me I just imagined his voice and presence, but suicide was not on my agenda right now. I was angry and wanted to vent my emotions at someone and then I would quit the Navy. My dream turned out to be anything but what I expected.
Just as I left the Dorm section and turned to the IST (Inter Station transport) to ride to the top,Lieutenant Aurellius came running in my direction." Midshipman Olafson. I was just looking for you. We need you in the Command center."
"Sir, do you know what happened? I am not a Midshipman anymore."
"Commander Letsgo will fill you in, but now we must go to the Commanders Office."
"So he can spill some more of his poison. I am going to tell him what I think of this place!
So I followed him, in my mind I already quit and did not treat him with the respect a superior officer expected. The Navy and its officers lost all credibility and respect in my eyes.
"Commander Letsgo got up from his chair and walked over."Welcome in the land of the living Cadet Olafson! I am glad you are here."
"I am not! I am here to tell you I am quitting. I was treated like a criminal and no one explained to me what I really have done to deserve all this. I was held captive, have been tortured, violated and whipped in public. I had it!"
His face became serious." I know. I know what has been done to you. I must take responsibility for it as I failed to take action or open my eyes.
"The device that had been placed in your mind has been removed. Your friend Narth is safe, alive and back on Narth world"
"That does not change anything. All those speeches about honor and dignity, how officers have to behave is all a lie!"
I stopped, my eyes widened:" Narth is okay?"
Letsgo nodded with a smile. "Yes he is."
Only now I noticed the GalNet holo- projection of an old man in Admirals Uniform standing next to Letsgo. I recognized the old man, everyone would have. It was the Admiral of the Fleet, Admiral Mc Elligott.
He looked at me and even though it was only a Holo-projection, I suddenly felt my hair standing up, his eyes seemed normal and human enough but there was an unexplainable quality to them, it was as if he looked right through me, right down into my soul and nothing would remain hidden from his old eyes.
He spoke:" Midshipman Olafson I am here to debrief you and explain to you what happened as I understand you have not been explained anything."
"Sir, I am humbled and honored by your presence, but no one has one had the courtesy to tell me anything. It matters not anyway this wonderful self important specimen of a Commander here demoted me and I was dishonorably discharged. I throw the towel anyway. I tried my best, I really did and if that wasn't enough all you had to do was to kick me out like the others."
"Just shut up for a moment, Cadet Olafson. You want to be an officer of the Navy and you might even have what it takes, so don't give up when difficulties arise."
"Difficulties arise? Did you just say difficulties? Sir, with all due respect, being tortured, seeing my best friend die, getting whipped in public are not difficulties, did any other Cadet ever get treated this way?"
His projection sat down." You are correct. Maybe my choice of words was not the best but we received a communiqué from Narth Planet. The Narth considering leaving the United Stars Union and revoking their membership. It is very serious if any Union member considers leaving and it never happened before in the history of our Union, having the Narth leave would be especially bad. Only recently they abandoned their long policy of total isolation so I would like you to talk to them"
"Why don't you ask your hero Admiral Swybin? I am sure he can convince them to change their mind! Or perhaps Commodore Stone, now there is an especially talented man with impeccable sense of honor and justice. I fail to see what a convicted gangster like me could do!"
"Admiral Swybin has been arrested and awaits his court martial as we speak, Mr. Olafson and it looks like he is going to be hanged for treason and a list of other offenses. Commodore Stone has been arrested as well and will get his due as is Lt. Granger!"
"That is what you say Sir. I greatly respect your position and all, but he is an Admiral and they are Commodores. I was lied to before and I was told what it means to get into a pissing contest with an Admiral. You can say whatever you want to make me help you. Oh perhaps you have talked to them and they promised to be better next time and kill right away!"
"I personally guarantee they will receive their due punishment and you will be there!
"Now let me explain something to you .You need to understand that the Navy is a very big organization, we have one Trillion beings serving the Fleet in active positions and there are many more retired beings. It can't be any smaller because we do have strong enemies and almost half a galaxy to protect, not to speak of our areas across the bridge. We diligently enforce our rules, laws and traditions as good as possible. Don't judge the entire Navy by a few bad apples. Admiral Swybin had a son. A Son he loved and a son who wanted to become an officer just like his father. This son failed the Academy Entrance Psych Tests, but Admiral Swybin bent a few rules and used his position to get his son admitted.
As you know firsthand it did not work out. His son's failure brought to daylight how he got into the academy in the first place and Admiral Swybin was indicted for falsifying records and miss use of rank privileges. Swybin had an old friend on Idyllic a retired Commodore who owed him a few favors and a plan of revenge was hatched. The Expedition everything was a set up and a trap and meant to kill you all and blame the accident on Commander Letsgo. They underestimated your resourcefulness and Wilson wanted to finish the job.
You do not become an admiral without making contacts and friends and your rank does give you far reaching power. They placed an illegal Saresii Device in your head, not knowing you provided Narth with some sort of vessel. We still don't know much about the Narth but he somehow contacted Narth Prime and I was informed about the incident.
Wilson used his farm to make and distribute the most illegal drug in the Union, Califerm. Wilson used Navy assets to ship this highly illegal substance of planet.
Commander Letsgo was told that you where a Kermac spy and provided with evidence to that effect. He was unaware of the truth until only recently. He too will not get out of this unscarred as he failed his duties.
A Narth delegation was on Idyllic till yesterday and removed Narth from your unconscious body and they also removed the Saresii device.
NAVINT would like to keep the whole affair as quiet as possible because Wilson dealt with others off planet and we want to get them all.
"I cannot undo what happened to you. I cannot express how ashamed I am, because ultimately it was my fault and responsibility, but I promise you justice. Those involved will be punished to the fullest extent of our laws."
He looked me straight in the eyes and again I felt goose bumps on my back. I wanted to object and tell him that I didn't trust him, but when I looked into his eyes I trusted him. I knew everything he said was true and if everything failed he would remain a constant. He paced a few steps back and forth. "You managed to become friends with Cadet Narth. You gained insights and information into their culture no outsider ever had. This Narth informed me about the incident how you saved his life and he is advising the Narth Supreme."
"I know very little about the Narth, Sir but Yes I consider Narth my best friend."
"Cadet, I understand your anger and believe me I understand your reasons why you want to quit. I cannot say I would act any different if I were in your place. Son, we really need the Narth. Their membership is vital in more ways than I can explain to you at the moment.
Your friend Narth is standing right here in my office and he told me that their membership hinges on your decision."
He sighed." I know I am asking for a lot, but I ask you to reconsider. Don't resign."
"Would anyone have cared what happened to me if I wasn't friends with Narth? Would the Admiral of the Fleet himself talk to me if the same thing happened and I had no important friends?"
"Yes the same thing would have happened. You have more friends than you realize. Cadet Olia filed a report with JAG headquarters. Your friend Cadet Olia never told you but she too is the child of an Admiral and she had her father raise heaven and hell to get to the truth. A Cadet named Limbur force marched across half the planet broke in Wilson's farm, single handedly incapacitated seven men and provided JAG with evidence of the Califerm operation.
Midshipman Galmy Ohh send me 500,000 Gal Messages and purchased the largest Advertisement float board you have ever seen and made it float right before Fleet HQ. On it she threatened to tell your story if I did not personally investigate your case!
Each single act has been noted by me and I would have talked to you with or without the Narth."
His words filled me with sudden warmth and pride. My friends hadn't forgotten me at all!
Elligott nodded." You can indeed be proud of such friends.
"I accept and trust your word Sir. Does that mean I have to start over again since I was demoted and dismissed?"
"Your discharge was not processed yet and it was illegal anyway and therefore null and void. Your rank was not reinstated because you have been promoted to Midshipman Captain."
Narth walked into the pickup sensor and appeared next to the Admiral." Because you accept his word, so will I. The Narth will remain in the Union."
Then Narth's projection walked closer and put his projected hand on my shoulder." I apologize for failing you when they caused you physical harm! You saved me from death and carried my Huhgavh. You are no longer just human but you are also Narth and Narth is your home now and forever! No human ever carried the Huhgavh and lived. You know little of Narth and our ways but all Narth knows of you and you are one with us."
"Where are you now? Where are the others?"
"I am at Arsenal III in the office of the Admiral here. I am going to continue my study and education of the Non Narth world as soon as I can for now I must return and complete my reincarnation into corporal form again. This will take time but we will meet again, no distance can separate Huhgavh sharers. I know little what happened to the others. But they all completed the first year successfully and have returned to their respective homes for a vacation and after that they will resume being Cadets in year two of the journey."
Admiral Elligott stepped closer as well and shook my hand. It was of course not his real hand but a form energy simulation." Thank you cadet. Perhaps we meet again sometime. Now enjoy your vacation and I expect you back on Arsenal II in 3 Month so you too continue your education."
Next Chapter: Nilfeheim