|Eric Olafson, Fleet Cadet|
|Current||Chapter 1 : Leaving Arsenal II|
|Next||Chapter 2: Green Eden|
Chapter 1 : Leaving Arsenal IIEdit
It was a solemn affair. The memorial service for Rodney Barack and Deadan took place almost immediately after our return to the Academy. Potsema, being a methane breather could hold her breath for days, and Ninio was able to willingly slow down his metabolism, this is why they survived the ordeal being packed into plastic. Rodney, being a normal human being could not survive sealed into a tough plastic skin, without being able to breathe and Deadan had been killed by Kermac agents using Psionic means. Not that I knew much about any of my new friends, I had virtually no contact to Rodney and only exchanged a few words with Deadan, yet their death felt like a great loss to me. All Cadets currently at the Academy were assembled before the Academy Tower as well as all instructors and personnel. Two metal coffins were set on a raised dais and each was covered with the Union flag. We, the seven surviving members of that group stood separated from the rest of the cadets on the side of the coffin stand. Everyone was wearing dress uniform. Admiral Stokes and two high ranking officers waited in silence until everyone had found their spot and stood in attention. He then read a eulogy talking about the lives and the families of both cadets and gave a brief account of our mission and the events that lead to the death of the two cadets. After that he motioned to me and said." Cadet Lieutenant Olafson was chosen by the group to speak a few words.
Before the proceedings Admiral Stokes had asked us if we wanted to say a few words and they had elected me. It was a great honor but also a quite difficult and emotional task." Admiral, Officers and Instructors and fellow cadets, it is not easy for me to find the right words. I never was asked to do something like that before. I am, like most of you just over a week in this Academy and it is not enough time to really get to know someone. We had the great honor to participate in a real diplomatic mission. I am sure Deadan was one of the instrumental factors, with his great knowledge of political matters that the Yokuta decided to begin the membership application process. Rodney was quiet and didn't say much and if he said something it was usually to ask for some extra food. He was perhaps the only human in our group who really enjoyed Yokuta food and music. Both cadets were well liked and we going to miss their presence for sure. May Odin or whatever deities they worshiped welcome them in a better place."
I lowered my head and then stepped down.
Deadan's body so I learned was to be shipped home and Barack's coffin would be shot into space as his family requested.
The instructors postponed all training for that day and allowed everyone to reflect and talk to others.
That evening I learned that Potsema and Ninio wanted to quit the Academy. Ninio told me that he felt responsible for the death of the two and Potsema felt she was not cut out to see friends die. Even when I argued that Ninio discovered the Kermac plot and doing so saved a lot of lives, he had made up his mind. He gave me a hug." Eric I owe you my life and I will never forget you. You have become a very good friend in this short time, but this is not for me. I decided to pay my respect to the parents of Deadan and then become a musician. I realize now, this military life is not for me. Plemo is different; he wants revenge now and has signed up for the Marines. Potsema is going with me; I think we might become the first Elly Garbini couple in union history. Don't ask me how this is going to work, we don't know that either, yet."
Potsema also gave me one of her trademark squiggles and the two went, to finalize their decision officially. I wondered if I would ever see or hear of them again. Plemo also said his good bye and suddenly our group that had been ten beings thrown together by chance was reduced to four.
The next day we were separated by the Black Nogoll Instructor." I am sorry to do that to you, but training groups are always ten strong."
We had a few moments to say good bye to each other and promised to keep in contact, knowing deep down that we would probably not see or hear from each other again.
I was assigned to a new group, one of them had quit the other day. By now they too had formed some initial friend ships and I was the newcomer. The next days were filled with class room and drilling exercises. We learned how to march, stand in attention and salute correctly. Class room and drill was only interrupted by physical exercise and formal dinners.
It was now five days ago since we had returned from Archilerb. We had breakfast in the big hall and I started to get used to the drill and class room routine, when instructors came in on their floating platforms, carrying PDD's in clip board mode and started called names, mine was called right away and I was sent into a nondescript unfurnished waiting room with about 200 other cadets. I did not see anyone I knew.
A gray skinned Shaill, a semi rigid intelligent mollusk being from a Star system far in the Coreward sector wearing its version of a black Navy Uniform floated on a Varigrav disc and said:" Listen up, Cadets. This group is complete now. You are going to board transport 342 to be shipped out to Camp Idyllic."
The mollusk floated towards an exit and said." Everyone gather your gear, clear your bunk and meet me at 09:15 hours at Rim Exit 12." Then he passed out little plastic cards with the number 342 on it." Don't lose them and be on time."
"Camp Idyllic?" A greenish skinned humanoid next to me asked.
I shrugged:"I have no clue. But it does sound nice"
A humanoid completely shrouded in a green monk like garment spoke with a deep voice:" Camp Idyllic is one of the basic training camps the Navy operates. It is located in the Nardir System, one hundred and twelve light years from here on a garden world called Green Eden."
"Oh boy!" A massive looking human two heads taller than me grunted with a deep voice." I heard of Camp Idyllic. My brother went to Camp Allure last year. He said it was pure hell and he heard that Camp Idyllic is supposed to be the worst."
As I packed my gear from my locker into the tube shaped sack with carry straps, I noticed crews of civilian employees and robots cleaning the dorm, stripping beds and removing name tags from lockers. I was certain we would not return to these dorms. Rim Exit twelve was exactly opposite to the main entrance and while I waited before the entrance I saw orange dressed academy aspirants stream from the main entrance and fill the applicant roads. The green skinned human said."I guess we passed the first hurdle."
I agreed."It looks like that. I wonder if they do the inmate routine to them as well."
He shook his head." No I think I heard the Nogoll instructor say something about the Mutiny routine. Whatever that is."
The Shaill officer appeared checked his PDD and collected the number cards, and then he herded us onto a slide belt that carried us to a waiting transport and twenty minutes later the military version of a small space bus left Arsenal II.
The shrouded man now sat next to me in the starboard seat row. His garment had an attached hood and he wore it pulled over his head obscuring him completely, except for two eyeholes. The massive humanoid sat in the seat on my other side.
The deck plates vibrated slightly as the Leyland's ISAH drive kicked the ship past the trans-luminal threshold. We now traveled in quasi-space a thin layer between the Planck Universe and the Hawkins Omniverse.
The muscular strong guy glanced at the hooded being." Why are you hiding your face under that hood?"
"Because I am Narth."
"I never heard of Narths. Are you ashamed of your face or something?"
The green skinned one spoke from across the Isle:" Limbur let him be! He is a Narth. You don't want to mess with a Narth!"
Limbur pointed at his massive arms." Do you think someone with guns like these is afraid of a goon in a hood?"
The green one seemed to know Limbur raised his hands." Physical strength doesn't mean much when you're dealing with a Narth. Trust me on that! Now relax and come with me. I found out this ship has a refreshment bar in the lower deck! I'm buying!"
Limbur readily agreed and the two left towards the back.
I was quite tired but I turned to the hooded being:" What is a Narth?"
He didn't move his shrouded head as he spoke with that deep voice." It is very complicated to answer your question in terms you would understand. I am Narth. We are a very old species and to many beings our true nature can be unsettling or even harmful. This is why we choose to cover ourselves."
I wasn't sure if I said anything to him after that, since I fell asleep even without the sleep inducer. Next chapter Green Eden