This is the very first typed version of Eric Olafson's Story (from 1995) . I put it here out of reguest of my oldest and first fan and reader, who wanted to re-read the first Version that made him start reading "Galactic Chronicles".
I think it is also shows the progress of the story and is a neat way for me to keep the old stuff as a searchable reference.
Four weeks had passed after our weekend on Perryton. We had pretty much forgotten about the strange meeting with the old man. Owar had quit a week ago, claiming he couldn’t make it. We where all a little depressed for a while to see our sleepy friend leave, but the rigors of training and learning soon faded his memory. We were back at the orbital station and a new instructor we hadn’t seen before greeted us:” I am Lt Carolyn Stard, you all know In 4 month you will leave Camp Idyllic and those of you still around will have completed basic training and move on to year two. That doesn’t leave me much time for what I have to teach you. “ She was a mean and lean looking woman. She was flat chested, had big teeth and didn’t look much like a woman at all.” You all completed enough hours I simulators, now it is time for the real thing. In the next two weeks you will learn how to pilot a variety of small and mid size space craft. We will go over navigation and engineering basics as well. So pay attention!” Of all classes and exercises this was my favorite. It didn’t matter that the first space ship I ever piloted was a measly D12 planetary shuttle. It was a true star ship. It’s FTL engines could push it to super luminal speeds and despite the fact it was only 20 meters long, had almost no shields and a very basic beam weapon but it was my ship, at least for a short while. Lt. Stard took me to the side after the first week.” Cadet Olafson, have you decided yet which direction you will go? You see the second year is to specialize. Communications, Security, intelligence, Navigation, Logistics, Science, and Helm, tactical and engineering are the common ones. Ever thought about taking helm?” “No Ma’am. I haven’t really thought about that. Aren’t helms men picked by their Neuro-H abilities?” “Only for the big ships. There is always room for a good helms man and you seem to have a natural talent for it.” “I think about it, Ma’am.” When we had to return to the planet, I knew for sure I made the right decision to join the Navy. This was what I wanted to do.
In 14 days we would leave Camp Idyllic and what seemed impossible at first did happen, we got used to the long days, heavy work load, never ending study sessions and physical training. Lt Waltham our Exobiology teacher ended his class and said:” You will get this weekend of for R and R. But I could use a group of volunteers to accompany me for a little expedition. No one seemed to enthusiastic but Galmy got up.” Sir I would like to volunteer.” Since she was our friend we got up as well. The other cadets left the class room, some looking at us with smug smiles. Lt Waltham smiled too, but his smile was genuine pleased and said to Galmy.” I knew I could count on you Cadet Galmy and I am glad your friends come along.” He sat back down on the desk and said.” We going to take a Crawler Cat out into the Jungle all the way to the other side of the planet. We still haven’t catalogued many of the native species, especially on the southern continent. Wilson, a farmer that has homesteaded there. He believes there is a lizard life form that shows signs of intelligence. The Science Corps has ordered me to investigate that.”
Six hours later while the other cadets enjoyed their time off, we unloaded a track crawler from the hold of a D30 transport. It was a Deere Planetary Survey Crawler with wide dura-plast tracks. It had a fusion cell for energy and could accommodate 12 beings for an extended period of time in almost any environment. The Lieutenant was sitting in the passenger seat, while Galmy was driving it. The rest of us questioning the necessity of us being here sat in the back, while the machine pushed through the underbrush of a jungle. Waltham swiveled the chair around. “I really appreciate you volunteering. I know most of you rather had the weekend off, but this is an opportunity for you to be on a real mission. One day you all be officers and a exobiological survey like this one will be very likely. You see the Fleet is not just fighting wars, keeping the borders safe and patrol traffic lanes for pirate activity our main duties is to collect knowledge, expand our horizon, support the science corps and explore the unknown. Some of you might not be stationed on a battle ship , but on an Explorer ship or on a research station on a distant planet.” Limbur crossed his arms.” I sure hope not.” “What do you expect, Cadet?” The Lieutenant asked. The bald headed cadet shrugged:” I am not sure, but to be in a remote research station with a bunch of Sci-Geeks sure isn’t it.” “Once you graduate you could be posted anywhere. Personnel allocation office likes to put fresh officers without experience at a quiet post where they can gain some experience.” “I still would like to know why you need us, Sir. I mean we aren’t doing anything.” “Glad you asked Cadet. Why don’t you man the bio impulse scanner and check for neural patterns that might indicate sentient life.” “Sir I am not that good with that. Galmy is much better!” The Lieutenant smiled.” Now you know why you are here. Get some practice with the science equipment and you Cadet Narth will assist him. I am sure you can find them much easier with your Psionic powers, but I want you to use the scanner equipment instead.” Limbur mumbled something incoherent but he and Narth swiveled their seats, changed the configuration of the multi task consoles to the required task. The Lieutenant seemed satisfied but then he said to me:” Cadet Olafson, this is an expedition in unknown, potentially hazardous territory. You man the gun turret and keep your eyes and thread sensors open.” “Aye Sir!” “And you Mr. Serpin (he meant Wintsun) will take the assistant driver position.” The gun turret was a single forced energy projector on top of the Crawler and I controlled it from my console. The threat sensors weren’t much good in this situation, the sensors could pick up energy sources, life forms, heat sources, movement, metallic and artificial materials but there where to many life forms out there, to much movement and heat sources. I didn’t expect any threats. There was no life form out there that could harm a full size crawler like that. The planet was deep in union territory and no unknown alien forces with hostile intentions would be lingering out there. Even with the visual enhancement sensors and virtual sight head gear I was quite boring to scan the jungle. I lost my sense of time but I guessed we now drove for at least six or seven hours through the jungle. The scenery outside didn’t change much. Trees, Vines, bushes. I was totally unprepared for the sudden jolt that virtually lifted me out of the seat and banged my head against something, I tasted blood in my mouth and then it went dark. –“”-- I must have been hit harder than I thought and must have lost consciousness. When I came to the first thing I saw was dirt, leaves and slug like animals at extreme close range. It was not very bright and the world seemed upside down. At first I thought I had been thrown out of the cat, but then I realized I still was connected to the Virtual sight gear. I severed the connection and tried to assess the situation. Something had turned the Crawler on it’s roof. Narth and Olia where next to me and neither showed any signs of life. Galmy and Wintsun had been wearing their seat restraints and both struggled to get free. Limbur seemed unhurt and stared at me and pointed at the Lieutenant lying on his back in a puddle of dark liquid. The interior lights where off and only two red light sources provided illumination. “What happened?” I asked touching my head probing for the wound that trickled sticky blood down my face. Limbur shook his head.” I don’t know. One moment Narth and I watch the sensor read out and then the entire cat starts rolling and bumping, a equipment case came loose and hit the Lieutenant.” Galmy lowered herself:” I was driving up a steep hill as the Lieutenant ordered when the entire hill came loose and there was an explosion!” Wintsun also managed to get clear from the seat.” It was totally unexpected. The ground seemed stable and suddenly all that mud and debris.” “We can figure out later how it happened exactly.” I said.” Wintsun check on the Lieutenant. Galmy get on the Comm. and call for help. “ I crawled to Narth and checked for life signs and found none at least any a humanoid being would have. Just then Olia came about with a groan and sat up. Wintsun said with an urgent tone:” Limbur get the Med Pack. The Lieutenant is in bad shape!” Galmy’s voice was shrill:” Eric, the Comm. Unit is not working, neither the diagnose cycle nor the self repair mode respond.” “Don’t panic, Galmy. Go down the list of actions just as we trained. Check the power connections. If you can’t get power. See if you can tie in a hand held to access the Nanite repair module.” Narth stirred and his gloved hand found my arm.” Eric, I am not used to this corporal existence. This body is damaged and if it can’t be repaired in time or I am able to transfer my self, I will cease to exist. I do not know how much time I have. I want to let you know that you made me understand the concept of true friendship and for that alone I am thankful and made all this worth while!” “Narth don’t talk like this! What needs to be done to repair your body or can you be transferred somewhere?” “Repair can only be made by Narth. Transfer can only be made if there is a another Huhgavh!” I held his arm tight.” What is a Huhgavh. I don’t know anything about Narth. But I will do everything to save you!” “Narth are not corporal as you. We occupy..” He struggled and his voice faded for a moment.” We occupy physical bodies to interact with this reality. The Huhgavh is my vessel of being.” “Transfer it into me! Will that work?” “It was never done! You might be violated and there is physical pain involved! It could kill you or erase your personality!” “Narth you are my friend. I gladly lay down my life for you. If this will safe your life, then do it!” “Remove my hood. Make sure no one else can see my face. It would be harmful to them!”! The others where to busy to look. So I pulled his hood and stared into the face of a god. At first it appeared human, but no human was so perfect. It was neither female nor male. No words I knew could describe it. Warm golden light made the skin glow and the light became more intense and engulfed me. The light was everywhere, drowned everything else . then there was a sharp pain, as if a sharp object was slowly pushing and turning a the spot between my eyes. The pain increased and it was nothing like I ever felt before and it kept intensifying. I threw up, but barley noticed. I bit my tongue, and I heard a sharp crack as a tooth splintered, but all this was in the back ground. The pain was everywhere and then it was gone! Narth’s body before me, now looked like a wilted mummified body of a thousand years old corpse. I felt weak and noticed I had soiled myself!. No I felt the pain of my swollen tongue and the broken tooth. Winsun approached me.” Eric are you alright?” “I don’t know to be honest, but I am alive. We can sort things out later. How are the others?” “Everyone has minor cuts and bruises, but the Lieutenant is in bad shape.” “Can we do anything to stabilize him, till help arrives?” Wintsun said:” This crawler is equipped with emergency space and environment suits. They have stasis capability.” “Let’s get the Lieutenant into those!” It wasn’t easy to dress a limb body in this confined compartment, but we made it. –“”-- Two hours had passed since the accident. We had Lt. Serpin in stasis. Winsun had us all patched up as good as he could. The communications equipment was inoperable. The equipment seemed to get power and the repair nanites did not activate because there was nothing to repair, at lest according to the diagnostics. Galmy pounded the console “Rotten Liver of Dildur, cursed demon of all that’s rotten! I am not getting anything!” This was the first time I ever heard her curse that way.” It is as if we where hit by an EMP.” “That would have taken out everything.” Said Limbur.” But maybe there is something outside that is jamming us.” “What are we going to do now?” Asked Olia. “Do you have a map available? Isn’t there a homestead, a farm around here somewhere?” She nodded. “Before we rolled over we where about 25 klicks away.” Olia showed me the place on a hand held. “Alright, this is what we are going to do. Galmy, Limbur and I will go to that farm. Olia you take that Comm. unit apart and see if you can fix it. Wintsun you stay with her and help her , but mostly keep an eye on the wounded. If we aren’t back with help within 10 hours. You will have to go as well.” We equipped ourselves as good as possible: Water, Vibro Machetes, and Blaster Guns and Food rations for a march through rough jungle terrain and with out further delay went outside. It was still dark but we saw the steep hill and the land slide that caused the accident. Half the hill side had come down. Under normal conditions and level ground one could make 5 klicks an hour. But the jungle terrain was not level and we had to use the vibro machetes quite often to cut a passage into the dense foliage. It was incredibly humid and I was trenched in sweat after only ten minutes. We also had to be careful not to run into Miliped-burrowers, the life form Narth and I encountered on our first night on this world. We made steady progress, Limbur seemed as fresh as when we started. Galmy’s long hair stuck like glued to her face, and she too suffered in the moist heat, but kept up fine. We had to fire twice at large animals but otherwise the march was strenuous but uneventful. Limbur saw it first and stopped.” We made it!” We reached a large clearing in the jungle surrounded by a tall shock field fence. The area behind the fence was cleared from jungle vegetation and we saw a group of buildings in the distance and an agro bot slowly rolling over a field nearby. The Shock fence was 14 meters tall and there was no way to climb it without getting shocked. Without asking Limbur walked to the next fence post and used his vibro machete to slice through the metal. The monofilament blade vibrated at a rate of 50,000-60,000 cycles per second, anything short of molecule compacted Duranium could be cut like butter. The post fell over and created a gap in the shock field. We barley made it through the gap when the Agra bot swung around and approached us at high speed. “Intruders! You are trespassing and caused property damage. Cease all activity, authorities have been alerted!” “Robot. I am Cadet Eric Olafson of the United Stars Navy. I am a lawful citizen of the union. Human lives are in danger. “ Every non military robot was required to be base programmed with Asimov’s three laws and I invoked his prime program by identifying myself that way. The robot stopped approaching and snarled:” State the nature of the emergency. How can I assist?” A hover jeep screamed from the distant buildings and reached us fast. Two men where sitting behind the controls. The hover jeep had a transparent wind deflector but was otherwise open. Both men where armed and they both pointed their energy blasters at us. They where both human, one older with gray hair and the other much younger with brown hair. The older one jelled:” What is the meaning of this?” “Sir I am Cadet Eric Olafson . I am from Cam Idyllic and we had an accident twenty klicks from here. There are wounded and we are here to get help!” “Not here you don’t! I don’t know how you made it out alive, but now turn around and leave at once! I have no desire to help you!” “Sir, we have two comrades that are seriously wounded. Please use your comm. unit to contact the base for help and we will be on our way!” “I wanted the Jungle to kill you, but I think I have to do it myself!” The man fired! The bright energy beam slammed only a few centimeters away from my foot into the dirt. Clumps of hot dirt. Smoke and steam showered me. He yelled:” Turn around and leave my land! I won’t repeat myself and shoot to kill!” I was prepared for anything but that. Didn’t he understand our situation? Why was he shooting at us? His weapon was real enough and the crater before my feet was still smoking. Why did he want us dead? Who was he? “Sir, I must insist on your assistance. I have not many options!” He fired! Somehow I knew he was about to shoot, a heart beat before he pressed the trigger. I jumped by pure instinct to the side, still not fast enough to completely escape the sun hot blast. The beam came so close it scorched my shoulder. I heard Galmy scream and turned to see with horror Galmy falling to the ground. I had enough of this! I was getting really annoyed. The gun he held suddenly pointed to the sky, I had no idea why he did that but I used the chance, pressed the gun to my shoulder and aimed.” Sir drop your weapon now or I will vaporize you! No further warning will be given!” He cursed and called me names some of them I had never heard before, but he dropped his gun. I yelled:” Limbur get him!” Limbur jumped and his powerful leg muscles used to three gee propelled him in a high arch onto the jeep’s hood. He reached for the two men and yanked them with little effort simultaneously out of their seats and threw them to the ground. I pointed the muzzle of my gun directly at the old man’s nose.” Pray to your god’s old man! Pray that Galmy is alive.” then I took his gun and removed the E cell. He shivered and ground his teeth. Limbur jumped down, rushed to Galmy and said.” She is alive, Eric!. The blast didn’t hit her directly, but she got burned pretty bad. She needs attention soon!” The robot rolled closer.” Emergency channels are open. “You going to pay for this cadet! I have you court-martialed. I have you hung for this! Do you know who you are dealing with?” “With a lunatic obviously, Sir! I have no time to discuss the situation with you any further, but I have a good mind to search your place. Your violent reaction leaves only one conclusion, you have something to hide here!” “I remember your face. You will be hung!” he screamed. When he screamed at me I got a strange vision. It was as if I could see right into his brain and there was hatred towards me. I saw Cadet Swybin’s face. I also saw rows of white Plasti containers hidden in a room under the homestead. The Plasti containers held clear cylinders with a white powder and I knew it was something illegal. The vision faded as sudden as it came. I used the robots comm. Equipment and reached Camp Idyllic. After I explained my situation and gave them directions I was assured help is on the way.