The First Version 1995 - Chapter 21

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.

The Author

The quarters where immaculate, tastefully furnished and big. It took me a while to even find the bath room door. After I got undressed and turned on the shower I almost collapsed, my knees where soft as butter and I was shaking. This had stressed me more than fighting the Y’All I realized.

There was an auto-dresser and I stepped in. I felt the nanites and Robo arms assemble a fresh uniform. The Auto dresser was a deluxe model and automatically corrected my hair cut and shave. Feeling much better I left the Quarters and wondered what else the day would bring. The Marines where back at their post before the Doors to Command and Control and one of them blinked at me and grinned.” Your friend Worther almost made it, but not quite!” I gasped.” You threw him out?” “Sure did, and he pissed all over himself on the way down, just before we caught him.” The other Marine saluted me.” Fine display of courage, Sir. You would have made a good Marine!” I saluted back and said.” While it would have been an honor. I doubt that, Sir. I am terrified of Orbital Jumps !” He laughed and pointed at the door.” Go right on in. Just pass Command and Control the Bridge is accessed by a lift-platform or stairs at the end of the room.” Command and Control was an oval shaped room with dozens of manned control panels. At the end was a short flight of stairs and the mentioned platform. Platform and Lift where again guarded by Marines and they simply raised their weapons and said.” Bridge Access granted.” I held my breath as I stepped on the bridge of the most powerful star ship there was. The Devastator was of alien origin and no one but Stahl and perhaps a handful others knew where it really came from. Stahl appeared with it during the Y’All war and turned the tide. The Bridge was almost dark, shaped in a semi circle with the standard duty stations arranged before a gigantic view screen. Behind the duty stations on a raised balcony were the Command Chair and the seat of the XO . Harris stood with his hands on the railing that surrounded the Command balcony .” Up here Midshipman.” I walked up the ramp and saluted.” Midshipman Olafson reporting as ordered.” “Don’t salute on a bridge. That distracts. Just report to the person that summoned you.” “Aye Sir.” Stahl came up the ramp behind me.” Feeling better, Midshipman?” “Yes Sir, thank you Sir.” “Would you like to know why I did that test?” ”Yes Sir, I would. Why me?” “I am watching you and your progress for a while now. Let me ask you a question. Have you decided what you wan to specialize in?” “No Sir not exactly.” ”That is not entirely true. You told Commander Webb what you want to do, while you where standing in line at the Academy and you didn’t know who he was. I believe your exact words where ‘ever since I can think I wanted to be a Star ship captain !” I blushed.” Well yes Sir I said that, but I am aware that this is a long and hard way. If I graduate I hope I will be chosen for that one day.” He nodded.” Yes it is a long and hard way because there is not a single more difficult and demanding position in the entire Universe. the Navy wants flawless officers. You experienced on your own back that the reality is not flawless. But when it comes to choosing Starship captains we don’t accept anything less than perfection. In over 3000 years the Navy has refined a process that distills out of all those applicants and Officers a miniscule percentage of beings that are capable of taking command and ultimately become a Star ship captain. “A Starship captain is everything an officer is supposed to be, immaculate, persistent, and knowledgeable, correct courageous and so forth but he has to be so much more. But what separates a commanding officer from any other officer are abilities that can not be taught, can not be trained. They must be there from the beginning. I believe you have some of these qualities. You went through almost all classes they offer in the second year and I made sure you went to all that matter, because the sum of classes you took leads to another specialization called Command. It is not openly offered, but those who qualify are put through the motions. I am sure you heard of the OPS position on every star ship bridge?” “Yes Sir, I served 6 month at that position.” He gave me a surprised look. ”You have? Where?” “Aboard the USS Hyperion , Sir.” “Oh yes Captain Zezzh . I knew you went with him and you manned OPS?” ”Yes Sir.” “Did you ever wonder why there are no OPS specializing class at the Academy, while there are classes for al the other positions?” Now I made a surprised face.” No Sir, I never thought of it, until now.” “Ops is training position taken by established senior officers who are selected for command. It is not taught at the Academy.” Harris leaned forward.” Let me see your Log chip . I want see what Zezzh had to say about your service.” I dutifully opened my Wrist-com and handed him my Service record. He put it in a reader at his chair. Stahl leaned over.” Zezzh is one of the best Captains we have. He once served as Midshipman aboard this ship like you. I value his opinion very much.” Harris pushed the read out so Stahl could see better and said.” According to this, Zezzh wanted Olafson as his OPS officer permanently and if I ever read a better duty evaluation, I sure don’t remember when.” Stahl straightened and looked back at me.” Well if Zezzh thinks that highly of you I want to do another test.” He glanced at Harris and the Captain nodded.” I am game.” Stahl stood and said.” Midshipman Olafson attention!” I straightened into the proper stance. Stahl put his hand on the arm rest of his chair.” CENTRON recognize Stahl.” “Admiral Stahl recognized.” “Tie in Log and Ship wide Intercom.” “You are tied in Sir.” “As of 1400hrs today I am placing Midshipman Eric Olafson in Command of the USS Devastator. He will be acting Captain until I reverse this temporary commission.” I almost fell over. I was certain I misunderstood. The Computronic responded.” Command transfer acknowledged and complete. Acting Captain Olafson recognized.” Harris stepped down from the Command chair and smiled.” He does that once in a blue moon. I am your XO for the time being.” I was speechless and could not think of anything to say. My mind raced and my mouth was paper dry. Stahl also rose.” Olafson, this is the real thing. You are the Captain. Every action you take, every command you give is a real command that will possibly affect lives. You are totally unprepared for this I know. Tough luck, deal with it. Fleet Command or I will give you only general task orders, you are in charge of this ship and it is your duty and responsibility to carry them out, do you understand what I am asking of you?” “To be frank Sir, I am unable to comprehend the scope of what you ask of me.” “You want to be a Star Ship Captain, and as such you will be required to do things you can’t comprehend and we still expect you to do the right thing whatever that might be. Here is your chance to proof to me and to yourself if you are indeed made for this position one day.” He stepped down and walked towards the ramp.” The moment you give up or ask me what to do, the test ends, but your chances to command a Starship one day will be nil as long as I have something to say in this navy.” I swallowed.” I understand Sir. I try my best.” ”Not good enough, Olafson. Don’t try your best, do your best!” He kept walking and left the bridge without any further words.” Harris said.” A Captain or Commanding officer never asks for advice, but you can ask every one of your officers, me and even the Admiral for their opinion in a given situation but it is you who makes the decision. That’s why there is a Senior staff and an XO. The senior staff is there to provide you with answers and options. The XO’S role is to be the devils advocate and warning voice, but it will always come down to you. Being the Captain of a ship is also the loneliest job in the world. You will have to make life and death decisions and be God. While you have almost as much power on a ship than God, no Captain has his wisdom and omnipresence, good luck Captain!” I sighed and took a deep breath.” Thank you Sir!” “One more thing, don’t call anyone Sir. You are it. Everyone is calling you Sir. As long as you are aboard the ship even the Admiral will address you as Sir. You on the other hand may call others either by rank or name. For example you may call me XO or Mr. Harris. Technically I am still Captain by rank but there can always be only one Captain aboard a ship and in this case it’s you.” “I understand.” “What are your orders Captain?” “Prepare a report of ship status and our standing orders. SO I know what we are supposed to do.” “The ship is being restocked and receives Level 5 maintenance. We have Crew changes and take new Senior Cadets aboard. In two days we are to return to patrol duty along the Kashmar line, unless fleet command has other ideas.” “We are here for two days then?” ”That is the current schedule.” “Has shore-leave been granted to those crew members that have no task while we are dirt side?” ”No not yet. Personnel transfer tunnels have not been cleared yet.” I cleared my throat.” Grant shore leave to all off duty personnel until 22:00 hrs tomorrow and begin Crew rotation procedures.” “Aye Captain!”

I had spend most of the two days in the captain’s office and poured over specs and past log entries. The whole situation seemed so surreal to me and I wondered if I had been shot by the Marines after all and this was some sort of after death dream. I had no clear idea where to begin, what to read to prepare myself for the task at hand. There was so much. The Door chime announced a visitor and I told the Computronic to open the door. Harris came in and said.” Captain, you are up for almost 40 hours. You must find some rest. I vacated my quarters, they are yours.” ”No Harris, this is a temporary thing and I don’t want to inconvenience you more than you already are. I will use the couch here in the Captain’s office. It can be converted to a bed.” “Very well Sir, but find some sleep.” “There is so much I have to read and digest and I haven't even scratched the surface, not that I know even where to start.” “Don’t loose yourself in details for now. That comes much later and that’s what command school is for. Stay on top of the big picture and leave the details to others. You are the captain and you can delegate.” “Thank you Mr. Harris. I will lie down in a minute. Please have me woke up no later than 0800 hrs.” “That won’t be enough sleep Sir.” “It has to do!” ”Very well then, good night!”

I felt a bit groggy as the computronic alarm woke me.” Sir it is 0800 and you wished to be woken.” “Thank you!” It wasn’t a dream I was really here and even a cold shower didn’t change reality. When I came out of the Auto Dresser I noticed I had Captains gold on my sleeves. I glanced at myself in a mirror and deep down past all the confusion and fear of failure I felt pride. I stepped on the Bridge and a Marine barked.” Captain on the Bridge.” Harris was no where to be seen, but every duty station was occupied by high ranking officers and Senior Enlisted. A Lt Commander, humanoid and female rose from the Command seat and said.” Good Morning Captain. Re-supply and crew transfers are on schedule. Maintenance operations will be completed at 11:00 hrs.” “Thank you. I take the Conn now.” A dark skinned Human sitting at the Communications station turned from his station. “Don’t worry kid. We run the show. The best thing to do is give one of us the Conn and go back into your office and everything will be fine!” “Lieutenant, are you addressing me?” I asked. “of course! You’re the kid around here. The old man did that once or twice before. It never works out, one Ensign ran crying of the bridge and the other had to be removed by force because he became insane. It’s just a friendly advice. This is way over your head.” “I could have tried to overlook your first remarks, Lieutenant. But I can not let you get away with this sort of talk on my bridge. “ “Your bridge, kid. You’re a snot nosed little want to be officer who happened to run in the big man who likes to play games. Get a hold…” I interrupted him.” Computronic file verbal interchange time index I had with Lt. Carrows stamp it evidence and alert security on the bridge.” To the Lt I said.” You are to vacate this station and you are confined to quarters until further notice and charges are finalized. I did not ask for this but by Odin I will not tolerate any insubordination. You are free to file a complaint with Fleet command. Now get of my bridge or I have you dragged to the bridge, your choice!” Two Marines appeared at my side. Carrows got up. “You won’t be Captain forever and I get you for this!” “It seems you won’t be Lt forever if you keep piling charges. Threatening a superior officer is the most serious of them all.” “Superior Officer?” ”Marines remove him from the bridge and place him under arrest.” The Marines escorted the man out. I said to the rest.” Anyone else shares the opinion or views of Lt Carrows?” There was silence. So I said.” Yes I am new to this and yes it is a temporary assignment, but an assignment it is and I will complete it until recalled, removed or re assigned. Each of you has earned the privilege to be on the senior staff of the flag ship of the fleet. You worked hard and accumulated lots of experience. I am not experienced but I was put in charge, so I want to rely on your experience, skills and knowledge to make this work. I need to be able to trust each of you to do your task in a manner that is becoming of the uniform we all wear. If anyone holds similar opinions as the man that just left the bridge please be honest enough and leave the bridge now. It will not be recorded in any form and not held against you, but leave now. If you, any of you display any sort of disrespect or wants to discuss my orders before executing them after this moment, I will take any necessary action to restore order. Please do not mistake my youth and previous position for lack of resolve.” I paused a mere moment.” Now is the time to speak up and leave or stay and serve.” It was totally quiet, no one moved but then the female Lt Commander stepped forward.” I am behind you Sir, 100 percent!” Now every officer stood up and one started clapping and they all joined. I raised my hand.” Thank you for this vote of confidence and I am proud to serve with you, now get back to your stations and let’s get some Vacuum under the keel!” I went to the Command seat and sat down. I was not sure why but as soon as I leaned back into the pseudo leather I felt right as rain.” OPS give me an exact status on Cargo and crew transfer. Chancel all shore leaves and recall all Shop personnel.” ”Aye Sir.” ”COMM. Call Port control and request a take of window any time after 1300 hrs.” “Aye.” “Engineering status!” ”Engineering here. We are currently on External power. All power-plants in sleep mode.” ”Go to standby for all reactors. Fuel status?” ”Going to standby now, Sir. Fuel supply is at 100 percent!” “Someone get me some Coffee and a sandwich.” ”I got you Coffee right here. What kind of sandwich do you want, Sir?” I turned and Harris held a cup of coffee under my nose. “Any kind of fish sandwich will be fine. Tuna be great.” Harris waved at someone and said.” Get a breakfast platter with Tuna sandwiches up here on the double.” To me he said.” Fine Speech Captain! Fine Speech indeed!” “Well I had to do something.” “What do you want to do with Carrows?” ”What would be your suggestion?” ”I would hit him with the book. Full Court martial. We can’t have anyone threaten Officers.” “Who is his immediate supervisor I want to talk to him or her. I also want his service record on my desk by tonight.” Harris raised an eyebrow.” Yes Sir! Anything else?” “Yes Mr. Harris. Contact Fleet Command and see if they have any particular wishes regarding our course after take off.” “I am on it, Sir.”

I ate the sandwiches like a starved Tyranno and realized I had nothing to eat for a long time. “captain, we have a take off window for 1312.”

All Crew was on board and accounted for, Cargo transfer operations where completed and all hatches where closed. The Devastator was ready and so was I. “Helm go to zero grav. Keep station. Retract landing gear and report when ready.” “Tactical activate shields , stand by on Tractors to repulse any objects in our flight path.” “Standing by on tractors, Shields are up.” “Sound General quarters!” “Captain. Landing gear is in. We are at zero grav Keeping station.” ”Aft grav to minus 1 stern grav to minus 3. Ops switch Main viewer to Port Cams.” The view screen switched to a visual senor mounted to the Port control tower. The Devastator disc was slowly standing up at one end. When the disc was at 90 degrees I said.” Stern grav to zero. Aft Grav to minus 4.” “Stern Grav Zero Aft at minus 4. “ the devastator was slowly rising into the sky and due to its size already half in the cloud cover. The Port Cam followed the moving ship and after 20 minutes of snail pace ascent the ships aft disappeared in the clouds. “Main Viewer to standard. Stern grav to 8” A ship like the Deastator had to move very slowly or it would cause hurricanes in the planet atmosphere. After all a mountain of 22 kilometers length displaced a lot of air when moving even very slow. Finally we passed the last traces of atmosphere and I said.” Stand down from General Quarters. Tactical shields down secure tractors.” “Helm take us out heading zero-zero-zero. Ahead slow.” Harris handed me an E board.” These are our cruise orders Sir. We are to deploy to the Glavan Sector and suppress pirate activity.” “Thank you Mr. Harris. Helm lay in a course to the Glavan Sector ahead full. Go to Translight and standard cruise.” “Sir we are receiving an assistance request from Space Fort 77N at the GC border.” I looked to Harris but he just shrugged and whispered.” It is your show.” ”Comm. out it on.” “This is Deep Space Border control station Fort Seventy Seven N. Requesting assistance from any Navy ship within range.” “Helm lay in a course to the Fort.” I then thumbed the Comm.” This is acting Captain Olafson of the USS Devastator. Fort 77N State the nature of your emergency.” “This is Commander Bonneholm. This is no emergency, at least not yet. We are observing a Kermac ship approaching our station at high speed. A fleet of more Kermac ship is short behind it and we registered weapon fire. We are not equipped to deal with an entire Kermac fleet and it looks we are going to be involved.” “We are on our way, Commander. Please relay your sensor readings to us and stand by.” The main screen changed to a tactical 3D view of the sector and the Union and GC borders where displayed in red. Here in the corridor between Arsenal and Union space was no buffer space. A red dot was moving at high speed directly towards the station and 12 red dots where right behind it. On screen scanner data confirmed sporadic weapon fire from the pursuing fleet towards the feeling vessel and it would reach the Deep space station within the next ten minutes. “Either a spy of ours or a renegade of theirs tries to make it across the border and hopes the others won’t follow.” Harris said. I rubbed my chin.” Or it is an elaborate Kermac set up.” I set back.” Battle stations!” Harris said.” We can’t do anything while they are on their side!” “I know that Mr. Harris.” I snapped at him.”It doesn’t hurt to be prepared!” I immediately regretted my tone of voice but I remembered Zezzh’s advice not to apologize. So I added:” I am very grateful for your advice Mr. Harris.” He just nodded but I could have sworn a smile was creeping in his face. “Comm. Open all known Kermac channels and put as much power in the transmission as you can. I want them to hear me for sure!” ”Aye captain. Opening channels maximum transmit energy.” “This is the USS Devastator and I am Captain Olafson calling the Kermac vessels currently on course towards our base. While I don’t care what you do on your side, be advised I will consider any trespass into our space without proper authorization request a hostile act. I warn you further that I will consider any accidental stray shot that hits our station or any Union targets an aggressive act and will retaliate without further warning. Just in case you accidentally launch some sort of weapon that without any intent of yours comes our way, Olafson out!” ”Sir we are being hailed by the fleeing ship! The pursuing fleet is jamming but I get some of it!” “Put it on!” “Devastator this is …vack . We request political assylu… . Our ..ip damaged. We ha..e vital information for your government!” “Fleeing Vessel. I understand your request for political asylum. You are allowed to cross the border. You will shut down any and all energy producing equipment immediately after crossing and shut down your drive. Any signs of shields, weapon activity or energy signatures and we will open fire!” “ Travac… understood. No wea..ns , no shields.” “Comm. contact Fleet Command and NAV INT. Relay all data and transmissions so far. Search all NAVINT data bases for Travack or similar names and prepare an Intel report on recent Kermac activity in this area.” ”Aye Sir.” The fleeing vessel was now less than 5 minutes from the border but the pursuing ships gained slowly. A salvo of Faster than light energy beams scorched the fleeing ships shields and they collapsed. “Well they seem to heed your warning. They are not using their torpedoes.” Said Harris.” They are in range for them now.” The very moment the vessel crossed the border another salvo hit it and shredded its aft section. The pursuing vessels came dangerously close to the border but turned and left as fast as they had come. The fleeing ship drifted over the border with a cloud of debris. “Helm maintain distance to the ship and the debris, don’t let them come closer. Tactical maintain full shields. Science I want a complete analysis of the ship, the debris.” “Science here sir. The Kermac ship is a standard Kermac Battle cruiser, they have not shut down all shields and I still read energy to the weapons and communication equipment is active.” I cursed.”I knew it! Tactical Target energy sources and fire micro loads When all shields are down hit it with Tech stop and Paralysators!” “You knew what Sir?” Harris wanted to know. “It’s a scam. A trap. Those pursuing ships could have destroyed it at any time before it came over. They gained on it only the very last moment and they did not shut down all energy. Our shields protect us from any Psionic attacks?” “Yes Sir. The Devastator is equipped with the finest Saresii PSI shields and sensors.” ”Science here, Sir. I am detecting an unusual large concentration of space dust or very small particles drifting at an accelerated rate towards us.” Helm back up, stay away from it. Science launch a Lab probe. Get me a full analysis of the dust.” “Aye Sir.” “Captain I have disabled the other vessel. Tech Stop and Paralysator where effective.” Tech Stop was a concentrated directed EMP pulse of incredible intensity that stopped any electron flow in a un shielded target. I waited. Everyone seemed to wait for a command of mine, but I waited for the Science results. “Helm are you keeping your distance?” ”Yes Sir, I am reversing course at the same speed as the dust particles.” “Fine scan the wreck. I still don’t trust they are completely disabled. See if you can identify energy shielded areas that only seem inert. Tactical remain alert . If anything at all over there moves. Destroy it you have fire permission.” “Aye Sir.” I glanced over to the Science officer. He was working with his staff over read outs and whispered back and forth. Then he turned.” Sir we went over the results of the probe twice and I sent a data sample package to ARCHIMEDES and Sares Prime. Saresii Scientists believe the dust is similar to Piostla spores.” “Update me on that. I am not too familiar with the Piostla.” “Sir the Piostla where a sentient species of herbal origin. They where intelligent plants if you will, most closely resembling fungi. Their only but very effective weapon where Psionic spores that made psi slaves out of anyone in range. Union ships fought Union ships thinking they fight the enemy.” “Collect a sample of the spores with the robot drone and move it to a save distance away from the ship and station for later collection” “Yes Sir.” “Sir I am registering faint life signs and a rapidly building energy source at the wrecked ship.” Reported Science. “Flight deck control. Launch a Bison and two wolfcrafts. Circle around the dust and stand by at the wreck. I expect an escape pod, catch it with tractors and tech stop you can destroy it if you can’t!” “Aye Sir!” There was a surprised sound coming from the bridge officers when just a moment later a small craft emerged from the wreck and headed with high speed towards the border. “Sir the pursuing fleet has turned as well and is once more on a course towards us.” The Wolfcraft fighter fired and disabled the escapee pods drive in a masterful shot. The pilot then used his ship to nudge the escape pod of course so it would not drift over the border. the Bison, an engineering multi task shuttle extended its claws and secured the pod. “Bison and Wolfcraft go to a safe distance and stand by. Science how can we destroy that dust?” “I suggest a Gravo Mine in the center. It will attract it all and then we fire an antimatter load!” “Do it!” “Sir we are being hailed by the Kermac fleet.” “Terran Vessel. We observed you confined an Escape pod with Kermac nationals. We demand there immediate release. This was a military exercise and the ship on your side lost control. We are prepared to take action!” “This is the USS DEVASTATOR. I have no idea what you are talking about. We are engaged in just the same exercises as you and practice space rescue. You must be mistaken. If you can lie about your true intentions so can we. You are prepared to take actions; you won’t be surprised then to hear that I am prepared to retaliate. If you want to continue this I suggest you go home to Kermac and get a whole lot more ships. Those 12 toy boats you brought along won’t do the trick.” “We will contact your government and demand the release of our nationals.” “And while you do the contacting, explain to our government what you wanted to do with those Psi spores. It could be considered an act of war!” “A mere accident, Human Captain. Nothing has happened!” The Kermac ships turned once more and retreated at high speeds. The Science officer stepped up the ramp.” Sir I figured it out. The Spores are designed to cling to any surface and remain dormant and almost undetectable, but once a ship lands they spread in the planets atmosphere and cause Psionic havoc by suggesting mass suicide and the spreading of the spores to other planets. A colleague of mine on Saresii just contacted me and confirmed my theory!” Harris gasped.” By god we would have infested Arsenal IV the next time we landed.” I nodded “That was the whole reason for the charade. I bet the Kermac aboard the escape pod expected us to open hangars launch marine boarding and that would have given the spores a chance to come inside and we would be suspect to their Psionic commands.” “But how did you know, Sir?” ” A gut feeling and previous experience.” Several officers turned to look and I saw true respect in their faces. “Captain we are being hailed by the USS AGUGURUS. NAV INT special unit.” “This is the USS ARGURUS. Devastator we are taking over here and do the clean up. Please hand over all collected specimen and prisoners. Your involvement has ended leave the area now.” ”This is Captain Olafson, Argurus I am ordering the transfer of the Lab drone controls to you and have the Bison release the Pod to you and this is the flag ship, NAV INT or not you could address us with a little more respect and I leave when I am good and ready.” I nodded to Harris.” Give them what they want and resume course to our original destination but wait 30 minutes before you engage and then engage slowly. No one chases the Flag ship away from the kill like a rowdy dog!” “Aye Sir! “ Harris smiled broadly.” Where will you be?” “On my couch catching a few z’s “


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