The First Version 1995 - Chapter 17
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.
Two days ago we took in an eight by 12 by four meter standard fleet container and took course to Tabernacle 12 a planet almost 1000 light years from Barrow, deep in Union space. According to the Encyclopedia Galactica Tabernacle 12 was an ice rock planet on the outskirts of the Tabernacle system and home to a religious sects Theological Research institute. It would take us 3 more days to get there. It was also very close to the limit of our small crafts fuel supply and we would arrive with a few grams of molecular compacted hydrogen left. Despite the fact that we where in Union space and there where plenty of places we could refuel, but our orders where no contact under any circumstance. Zezz and I rotated in the pilot seat, Zezz especially stressed scanner observation to see if we where followed, intercepted or trailed. He just came from the back and said.” Report!” “Sensors show eighteen contacts in sensor range but none of them changed course or seem to intercept us. Sixteen are identified as civilian craft and two are Fleet Units.” “Very well. Go get some sleep and eat.” “Aye Sir.” I got up and he sat down.” Say Ensign, how is it the Fleet Admiral knows you personally. I serve this fleet for 35 years and only meet him twice. Most officers never see him at all.” “There was an incident at the Academy and he talked to me about it.” “And I thought Larson and I caused some trouble. To get Elligott involved that must have been one hell of an incident!” ”An incident that got me arrested, tortured and whipped at the post.” Even though he had an alien lizard like face I could see the surprise in his eyes.” Whipped? I know it’s on the books but I never heard it actually done!” I told him what happened and he listened without interrupting and when I was done he inhaled air with a sharp sound.” I sure comment you for staying. Everybody knows about the Worm but I had no idea it went that far up the ladder.” “The Worm?” He lowered his voice. It is an open secret Ensign. No one officially will confirm its existence of course and some believe it is just a legend or rumor. The United Stars Navy is so big and spread over an unimaginable area, secret societies developed within the Navy. Some are just fraternal orders founded by some Officer with no other intend as hang out together and have a reason to party and drink. Others are less harmless and seek Terran , Saran, pan Saran or Ult dominance over the entire Union space, to overthrow the Union and make it an Empire with one dictator or Emperor on top. One of these organizations is called the Worm and is a criminal organization dealing with illegal Mil Tech, Drugs and most vile of all sentient beings, you know Slaves!” “And the Navy isn’t doing anything about that?” I asked astounded by that information. “Oh it does. Your incident is a prime example. I bet Elligott is personally chasing down leads and weeding out what he can. He is an immortal but he is only one man and he can do only so much. Of course there is Internal Affairs and the PSI-Corps and they try to weed out those organizations which are by the way highly illegal. If you want a fraternal organization, become member with an official one. If you get caught in a secret one no matter what agenda it has you are sentenced to death, no second chance. I doubt that there are many involved ,and 99 percent of all fleet officers is as honest and honorable s you and me, but at one 5 Trillion beings serving this Fleet even less than one percent is a very large number! “ I was thinking about what Zezz said. The logistics and administrative problems and challenges of such an organization where beyond my ability to comprehend. It was a mammoth task even with AI computronics. The volume of daily reports generated must been astronomical. How easy could a report of some wrong doing slip past the attention even of the most diligent administration? Zezz leaned back in the chair and said.” I see you are thinking, trying to comprehend it. I tried myself, Ensign. The average mind, Shiss or Human simply can’t really understand the scope of it all. Yet Fleet Command does it and remarkably well, even with those flaws.” I nodded.” It is mind blowing to think about it. A simple item as uniforms makes you wonder how many are made each day, how much research has to go along to make them fit for all member species, humanoid or not. That is only one item on a list of items that must be longer than a light year, not counting reports, transfer requests, R&D development.” “Or think about the credits that are transferred each standard month at payday.” “Well if you look at it from that perspective, the Navy is even more fascinating than the Vid Shows that focus just on fighting and such.” He glanced at the scanner and returned his attention back to me.” Well all a person can do is keep his nose clean and be the best officer he or she can be.” “Did you ever run in one of these fraternities or the worm, Sir?” “Yes I dealt with a Fraternity on my own ship a few years ago, but I never noticed any real criminal activity like the Worm is supposed to do.” “what did you do with that Fraternity on your ship?” He gazed outside the window.” I executed the entire group, six officers and nine enlisted.” His voice had become quieter and I learned at that moment that Shiss had a consciousness too. He sighed with almost human sound.” I hope you never have to face such a decision in your career. Ordering an execution is totally different than fighting and killing in battle. It is hard to put in words, and a commanding officer must be ready to make that decision if the situation requires it, but it isn’t an easy one. At least it wasn’t for me.”
--‘’— We reached Tabernacle 12 with virtually empty tanks. We where expected and landing control took over. Tabernacle 12 looked very much like a dirty snow ball. Its own sun was nothing more than a bright star and its next planetary neighbor was almost 12 light minutes removed. The landing beam guided us towards a crater and at its center was a set of large iris doors that opened for us. As soon as we had landed, Ultra Marines in heavy Destroyer Suits surrounded our ship. At least 20 Cerberus Battle Robots joined their ranks and a cold voice came over intercom:” Open your cargo hold at once!” “Hold it there, Mister!” Zezz said.” I am wired to the Autodestruct sequencer dialed down to one microsecond delay. I will open the hatch for no one but Dr. Sam Neuberger and only after he identified himself according to Blue-Blue-Red protocol. Not even the Ultras can prevent me from doing that!” There was a moment of silence and I put my hand on the weapon control panel. “This is Dr. Sam Neuberger and I am transmitting Blue-Blue-Red protocol ID procedure.” After another moment the Computronic chirped.” Identity verified. Blue-Blue-Red protocol Phase One completed.” Zezz kept his claw on the self destruct activator.” Dr. Neuberger and no one else has permission to come aboard. Bring your Code key and day code!” A bony looking human emerged and approached our shuttle. “Anyone else approaching and my associate will fire and I will destruct!” Neuberger came in completed the complicated and ritualized security protocol and only then did Zezz raise his hand of the panel.” Our package is all your professor!” “Thank you Captain Zezzazzzzz. Why don’t you both take a few hours rest in our base. You are both Blue-Blue-Red cleared and I give you permission.” “Thank you Professor. We couldn’t go anywhere anyway. We’re out of fuel.”
The Professor walked with us across the hangar to a set of Ultronit airlock doors, while robots and Marines unloaded the container from the Scorpion. To our and most to Captain Zezzh’s surprise there was another Shiss waiting at the Airlock, wearing the dark blue of the Science Corps. The Science Shiss raised all four arms.” Zezzzzazhh! Brother!” The lizaroid Shiss hugged each other and Professor Neumann said.” This was the main reason I wanted you to stay for a while!”
---‘’’— We sat on a table in the base officer’s lounge. Zezzh’s brother and the Professor across from us. Captain Zezz and the other Shiss had spoken in their native tongue until now, Captain Zezz pointed at me and said:” That is Ensign Olafson he is a promising young officer.” Then he pointed at the other Shiss.” And that is Zhuzzzz my older brother and Nest sharer. He is the base commander and managed to get a Rear Admiral star on his collar too!” I stood and saluted.” Admiral Sir, it is an honor!” Zezzh hissed laughing.” He does that all the time but then he is still in the Academy.” “Sit down. Cadet!” Said Zhuzzzz.” No need for those kind o formalities here.” Professor Neumann said.” Well we can’t tell you what it is you brought us, but since you have security clearance I can show you around the base, while those catch up!” “thank you Sir that would be great!” Neumann led me to an IST and said. “This is an ultra secret lab facility and we don’t even exist officially and only a handful folks know that Tabernacle 12 isn’t a religious University. Well there is one above us, but that’s just for show.” Inside the IST capsule, Neumann put his hand on a panel and said. Containment Vault Level K” After a short trip we entered a corridor that had been carved out of the rocky core of the planet and reinforced with Ultronit beams.” Here on Tabernacle 12 we contain the most dangerous life forms in the known Universe and we study them. Down here we have stasis chambers holding the last life specimen of the Xunx race, kept here in stasis for the almost 3000 years.” I remembered the story of the Xunx from class. They where one of the causes why Earth ascended and became a Galactic Civilization before it had reached that level naturally. Behind a meter thick trans-plastic wall hung a 5 meter tall insect that looked much like a Terran Hornet crossed with a praying mantis. I said.” What are those metallic strips all over its body, professor?” He smiled.”You have a keen eye, Son. This is a titanium exoskeleton, Xunx are true insectoid and come from a low gravity world. No insect could reach such size in a standard grav world. It’s the chitin shell, their exoskeleton, It would have to be 10 times as thick to support this size and would be to heavy to be mobile.” “What is the purpose of keeping it, Sir? Would it not be sufficient to keep a Gene map and a DNA sample on file for research?” “Partially you are correct for strict biological research that would be enough, but there are other factors such as sociological and individual developments that can’t be researched on a clone. Besides we might still learn something about them that could be important. Who knows we might run into another species one day that is similar to the Xunx.” That made sense and we went on with this fascinating little tour. Behind another window was a Nul-Nul in suspended animation and yet another chamber held a Kermac. He led me into a laboratory and I wondered what he would show me there. Zezz also came in followed by his brother and he asked.” Professor, you summoned us and said it was urgent!” The lab was big and perhaps 20 meters in diameter with a high ceiling. On one side where two large cryostasis containers on a steel table and there where instruments and equipment of which I could identify only the Optical Macro scanner. The massive door slammed shut and the professor pulled a small blaster gun out of his coat pocket.” I need your code keys. That is why I summoned you here!” Two Kermac stepped from behind a row of large tanks. Both holding Kermac blasters leveled at us! One of them said.” We control the professor just fine, he will do whatever we say, but we can’t psi-control you Shiss for some reason and why this human is immune I do not know, but it does not matter. You will use your code keys or we will shoot you and do it ourselves!”
Zezzh and his brother where as stunned and surprised as I was. Zuzzh shook his scaled head.” I don’t know how you managed to get here or to pass the psi barriers, but the keys alone won’t do you any good. You need the day code and I am not giving you that! There are 200 Ultra Marines on this base and they will storm this lab if they detect weapon fire!” “Shiss we planed this for 20 years. Twenty years! Don’t you think we know that? We disabled the sensors for this lab and besides these are 5 meter force field reinforced Ultronit doors and walls. The very best Terran Engineering. It would take them days to blast through and by then we have what we need and you will be dead. Cooperate and you walk away alive!” No one seemed to pay any attention to me. Even as I slowly moved towards one of the multi task consoles behind me. I reached it without being noticed. Multi task consoles could be configured to almost any situation. This one was probably set for some science configuration. I found the reset control without looking. Then I whispered without moving my lips to much.” Computronic audio command input, no audio command verification!” I hoped I was speaking loud enough for the machine to hear me. Then I said.” Tie into Base security and transmit all audio in here and raise security alert!” Something in my mind warned me. It was as if someone said. Jump! I dove to the side at the same time a sun bright blaster beam slammed into the Console, but at the same time red lights rotated and a siren began blaring!” One of the Kermac laughed.” Very good Human! You managed to raise the alarm. It will do little good; the doors can not be opened from the outside. You are expendable and you will die!” Zezz and Zuzzh simultaneously catapulted themselves forward into the Kermac! A Kermac looked almost humanoid. They had two arms two legs a head with two eyes and a mouth. They lacked visible noses, ears and had gray almost bluish skin. A Kermac had no hair, except for a ceremonial fake beard glued to their chins which I had learned in Xeno class held sophisticated Psi tech amplifiers that magnified or augmented their natural Psionic abilities. Kermacs where second only to the Saresii in that regard and managed to enslave entire planet populations with their Hypno suggestive psi powers, but physically they where only 100-110 cm tall and no match for a Shiss who could almost go toe to toe with a Nul-Nul. I had rolled behind a row if metal tanks, and expected the struggle to be over in a moment. I was wrong. Only Zezz reached his target, Zuzzh was stopped in mid air, hung suspended and then violently pushed back by invisible telekinesis forces. Zezz wiped his razor sharp claws across the face of his opponent and took half of his face off in a shower of skin, blood and bone fragments. There was no doubt this Kermac was mortally wounded, but Zezz could not press his advantage as he two rose into the air and like his brother slammed hard into a wall. The Kermac screamed in anger as he saw his comrade twitching on the floor. He pulled a device of some sort out of a belt pouch and he screamed. “you will pay! If we can’t have them we set them free and let them kill you all!” The two cryogenic capsules on the steel table exploded and out of the metal fragments and wisps of super cool air two forms arose! Four meter, two armed giants with dark brown scaled skin. Massive legs. Their heads where set right between their shoulders without a neck. Each of them had four yellow glowing eyes and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth that would make a Rock shark look tame. I recognized the beings that came to life from old docu-vids. Those where Y’All warriors! The singe most dangerous and vicious life from ever encountered by anyone in the known universe! Breed or engineered by an unknown advanced culture for a single purpose. To destroy!” The Kermac held the alien device up before the advancing Y’All and both giants stopped! The Kermac screamed: “Kill and destroy everything in sight!” One of the Y’All grabbed Zezz who just tried to get on his feet, by a leg and lifted him up as if he was weightless. Zezz would die! I had to do something!” I took one of the metal tanks, it was so heavy I could barley lift it and ran with it as fast as I could aiming for the Y’All who held Zezz. Like a battering ram I collided with the giant and the kinetic energy of my attack did make him stagger and stumble! Zuzzh had recovered as well and screamed at the top of his voice, using his wings not to fly but to glide half across the lab lashing out with all his claws against the face of the second Y’All. The Y’All I had attacked lashed out and his claws ripped the tank I had just dropped showering the alien with liquid helium!” The air was immediately filled with ice cold steam and for a moment obscured everything before me. I had to open those doors! Only the Ultra Marines on the other side would have the fire power to stop them! the next thing I saw was the Professor he stood holding the little blaster, like a statue staring at the floor. He didn’t even react as I pushed him out of the way and took the blaster from his hand. It was a tiny Walther Pulse laser, but better than nothing. Again sheer luck saved my life or perhaps the Kermac was a lousy shot! He had fired at me again and missed me only by a fraction. The superheated air still burned my shoulder, but I was so high on adrenalin or fear. I didn’t really notice. In all that chaos and screaming I knelt down, took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. The fine laser beam nailed the Kermac square between the eyes! I heard a terrible sound and saw how one of the Y’All ripped one of Zuzzh Arms right out of the socket! The other one simply threw Zezz away and attacked me and I had no better idea than to use Aikido and it worked! I used the mass and momentum of the Y’All and threw him right over me. That gave me enough time to take three jumps and reach the Blaster the Kermac had dropped. The other Y’All was about to rip Zuzzh head off and I doubted the Shiss was still alive he hung limp in the fist of the Y’All. The one I threw came to his feet, ripped the steel table out of the floor and threw it into my direction. I rolled away and fired at the head of the second Y’All, the beam of the weapon was some sort of disintegrator designed to collapse the molecular cohesion in matter. The beam had no effect at the Y’All. The second one came towards me and he came fast. I aimed the weapon above him and severed a pipe. It dropped, hit the Y’All and would have broken the skull of most beings, but it just staggered a second and then grabbed the pipe like a giant club. I disintegrated it, at the last moment as he swiped it at me, instead of the pipe I was hit by a shower of molecular dust, in a desperate move I went forward fired the laser into one his open maw, only annoying it more but it gave me enough time to get out of its reach and dissolve the floor beneath it’s feet. That made it loose its footing and he did fall. But the second was almost over me now and I had no chance of evading it. I didn’t see Zezzh, the Y’all must have killed him and tossed aside and again Aikido proved surprisingly effective by grabbing the outstretched lower arm and falling back with all my weight, adding to his approaching momentum. While the Y’All where obviously tremendously strong they too where helpless against the laws of physics. He crashed into his companion and for a mere moment it looked as if they would go against each other. I saw Zezz badly wounded but alive struggling to his feet the Y’All turned their attention now both at me and I knew this was it. I had no chance defeating them in any way. Just in the proverbial last moment I saw the most beautiful sight, two Ultra Marines in Destroyer suits jumped right beside me. the right one slammed his oversized armor fist augmented by Mylar syntho muscles and artificial mass square into the chest of the Y’All and sending it tumbling back. The left marine used his augmented leg to do the same. More Marines and Cerberus robots flooded the room. I saluted yelled “Semper Fi!” and passed out.