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.
It was almost a week since Stahlhad made me captain and I had not seen him since. I was sitting in my office and read the personal file of Lt Carrows. Harris came in and said.” We are approaching our patrol area and you wanted to be informed.” “Thank you Mr. Harris. I am out in a minute.” “Aye, Captain, can I be of any assistance with the problem on your desk?” ”It’s Carrow’s personal file. I need to make a decision what I am going to do about him. His service record is very average. He does have a few reports against him and all borderline on insubordination, especially against officers who are younger at age but have a higher rank. I also noticed he entered the academy later than most and it took him longer to get promoted than most. His Psych Evaluation sheet explains most of the reasons, but since he got transferred to the Devastatorand picked for Bridge duty his evaluation gets much better and his Supervisor tells me he is trying hard.” Harris simply sat down across the desk and said.” Go on Sir I am listening.” “His offenses where serious and they are on record. A court martial will destroy his career. If I let him go or slap him on the hand it could be seen as weakness and others might question my resolve.” Harris nodded.” So what have you decided?” “You know I came to a decision?” “Yes Sir.” “I decided when in doubt go by the book and the book says court martial and that is what will happen.” “I have JAG personnel prepare and handle it.” “Thank you Mr. Harris.” I went back on the bridge and while I was walking up the ramp I said:” Tactical put a tactical situation map on the screen. Display all pirate and insurgence activity for the last 5 years. “Aye Sir, I anticipated your order and prepared an Intel report as well.” “Very good Mr. Deberaux, I sure appreciate that!” I leaned back in my seat and studied the map when Comm. reported.” Sir two new reports came just in. A Dai fleet was sighted near coordinates 456.455.122.” A new red dot appeared on the map. There where two possible targets in equal distance. The Nepomuck system and the Pleasure Pasture Colony in the Aldoor System. Both systems where at the fringes of Union space and only 25 light years from free space. In the last five years I saw there where dozens of reports of Dai Activity around Nepomuck, there was not a single one near Aldoor. I pulled up the Galactic Encyclopedia and read about both systems. “Helm lay in a course for the Aldoor System. Flight deck, launch four Long range scouts to the Nepomuck system and four to Aldoor ahead of us.” “Aye Sir.” “Comm. Contact Nepomuck III and advice them of a possible Dai attack and see if you can verify the report and talk to the person who reported the sighting.” Harris clasped his hands on his back.” Why the Aldoor System? It does not seem to be of interest to the Dai.” The Nepomuck system is well developed and three planets are owned by Schwartz Industries. They can afford the best long range sensors and that in my opinion explains all these reports. Pleasure Pasture is a relative new colony started by an artist and agricultural group. I doubt they have the money or the foresight to purchase any long range scanner assets. So it doesn’t mean the Dai have visited the area less it just means no one noticed them. I just read that Pleasure Pasture requested technical assistance to mine a newly discovered and supposedly rich find of tourmaline and that is a source for Boron.” Boron was among the most valuable of all elements and no ship reactor was without boron shields, boron fibers where used in space suits and armor and an endless array of other products vital for any space faring civilization. Harris smiled.” Something the Dai would love to have.” I don’t put it past them since I don’t know much about them but I doubt they want to make Schwartz Industries to upset. After all Corporate Security fleets can go into free space just fine and go Dai Hunting.” “Sound reasoning, exactly what I thought.” “Sir the report came from a Ranger patrol and I have him on.” I learned only recently about the Space Ranger service and everything I heard about them impressed me. The Ranger service was a paramilitary organization under the control of the Federal Justice Department. The Ranger service patrolled the fringe worlds, the outer reaches of Union space. Provided mail service, first aid and medical help, dispensed law and justice when necessary and did pretty much everything in between. A Ranger was usually all by himself, rarely in teams of two with a small very specialized space ship, hopping from planet to planet and asteroid mines. A ranger so I had heard was on patrol for a year before he returned to base. Everyone I heard talking about the Rangers talked with deep respect. “Put him on Lt.” “This is Peter Baker, Union Ranger Service Bade number 0011.” “This is Acting Captain Olafson, USS Devastator. We are on our way in your area of space to check on your Dai Sighting. Do you need anything?” ”Is Richard still aboard that ship? I mean Admiral Stahl?” ”Yes Sir.” “Ill catch up with you then I haven’t seen that ol buckaroo in ages. Them Dai moved a gaggle of ships including a Mother into Union space probably an hour ago. I didn’t want to tango with them. My Betsy is a good ship but no match for an entire Dai Fleet.” ”Do you know their heading?” “Nope, I don’t have as far reaching sensors as you guys have. I saw them on the very horizon of my sensors and hauled ass the other way. But I bet my boots they’re heading to Crazy George’s place, that ol’ goofball found more Boron than you could haul away in that big ship of yours and bought himself a Boron refinery. Now he’s broadcasting it all over the place.” “Do I assume correctly Crazy George is one of the residents on Pleasant Pasture?” “Pleasant Pasture? Oh right that’s what it is still called in the catalogs. They call it locally simply the Pitts. The pasture thing didn’t work out to well when the imported cows where eaten by a local flesh worm. If you go there wear boots I tell ya!” The Ranger was a big man or so he appeared on the screen and he seemed to enjoy talking in a very peculiar way. “Thank you Ranger Baker. We are headed that way and I make sure I have boots issued to eventual landing parties!”
We arrived in the nick of time. The Dai Fleet was immense and already in the system approaching the 3rd planet. Some units already engaged two civilian freighters! It was an entire clan, complete with a 15 kilometer long Dai Mother, a huge ugly ship. It as if someone stuck soap bubbles of various sizes together in a random fashion. Smaller bubbles to the bow and bigger ones towards the aft. The bubbles bristled with weapon turrets and the mother was surrounded by a swarm of battle ships, destroyers, frigates and fighters. “Battle Stations, Red Alert! Full Shields! Tactical arm all weapons, you are authorized for Exo loads!” My entire body prickled with a strange sensation. This would be a real battle and as big as the Devastator was, this was an entire fleet! “Hail the Dai!” “Maximum output sir? So they hear you for sure?” “You got that right, Lieutenant! Dial it up to max!” ”This is Captain Eric Olafson of the Union Star Ship Devastator. Dai-Thaan you are to cease any and all hostile activities at once and stand down. This will be your one and only warning!” A red skinned humanoid that looked very much like the classical Terran image of Satan. With space black hair framing distinct facial features and a mouth with pronounced canine fangs. All that was missing where horns. He laughed.” Even if that mighty ship of yours would be commanded by that demon Stahl himself we would not stand down! We are Dai and we will fight!” I made the motion to cut him off.” Flight Deck launch all fighter wings circle around the system and attack the Dai from the other side. Launch all Thor Gun boats and Destroyers! Deploy for Half moon formation. Tactical target that mother, bring all Transloactors to bear! Exo load salvo tact! FIRE!” The Devastator shook! “OPS damage report, deploy damage control teams. XO, Casualties! Tactical you are authorized to fire Loki torpedoes at any available target!” “Ops here! No damage. Shields are at 98% No Casualties!” The Dai Mother was suddenly patterned with bright white lines all over and it was as if the metal bubbles expanded and then in a blinding fireball a new Sun appeared where the Dai mother was! I glanced over to the tactical officer and he was leaning back in his seat. “Tactical do we have a technical problem why aren’t we firing?” “Sir, there are no targets.” “No targets?” I whispered and looked at the tactical read out. There was not a single red dot left! The two civilian freighters showed blue and sensor read out showed they where heavily damaged. I sank back in my seat beginning to realize the true power of the Devastator. My commands had eradicated an entire Dai Clan, probably hundred thousands of them. I cleared my throat and said.” Stand down from red Alert, maintain battle stations. Auxiliary Craft and fighters sweep system and scan for survivors. Comm., hail the freighters and see if they need assistance!” Harris got up and looked at me.” You sure showed them whose boss, Sir!” He shook his head slowly.” Exo loads in salvo tact? Don’t you think that is just a little too much, Sir?” I noticed Stahl who came up the ramp.” Well Harris he got the job done that’s for sure and perhaps holds the record for shortest space battle.” Harris shrugged. “Well our bomb magazines are halfway depleted but we have no casualties or damage on our side.” The Admiral grinned.” Remind me not to make you angry, Captain Olafson, you sure clean house!” He said.” This concludes your excursion into Captain’s realm. You are to stand down and return command to Mr. Harris. “ “Aye Sir!” I transferred Command codes and Stahl verified it with his code and command. He then said.” Come with me, Olafson!” I followed him with a feeling I was in trouble.” Outside Command and Control he said.” You did not do anything wrong. You warned the Dai and did it by the book. Harris thinks you used to much force. He might have fired a single Exo Load into the path of the Dai mother and that might have taken the fight out of them, but you where in command made the decisions and reached the objective. Protecting Union lives and assets.” I felt numb and the scope of what I had done was just becoming clearer by the moment. To be removed from command like that felt like a cold shower. He did not seem to want an answer.” You are going through a roller coaster ride of emotions. I know! I put you into shoes way to big for you and made you walk. Just as you learned your first steps I am pulling the floor away. Do you think I am unjust or unfair to you? Perhaps even hate me?” ”Sir you are an Admiral, a living legend. Immortal and more god than man, especially for a midshipman. What do you want me to tell you? Who am I to even open my mouth in your presence?” He grinned.” Sarcasm works just fine, but you are correct I am probably a bit out of touch with what it means to be human, I feel human and I don’t feel special but I am a realist and I know what I am and how I might be viewed by others.” He reached a door and he motioned me to follow him inside. It was the Admirals private quarters. The light was subdued and it did not come from the usual indirect light sources but from old fashioned shaded brass lamps. There was a wooden desk and a leather chair that didn’t seem to have any tech incorporated. The desk was littered with books and the walls had shelves filled with mementos and souvenirs of a 3000 year spanning career. I could not identify any of them. The wall behind his desk was decorated with weapons and a red flag was standing in once corner, folded in it self so I could not see what it displayed. “What is your poison, Son?” ”Sir I am from Nifleheim, and I am pretty much Human standard except for gills and improved eyesight. We are not poisonous.” He laughed.” No I mean what do you drink? Do you smoke? Rec Drugs?” ”No Recreational Drugs Sir, Neo Vikings frown on them and so do I. I know smoking is a Terra pre-astro fashion fad that is very popular and I know a few that do it, I never tried. Well I do drink beer, ale or meet once in a while and I like vodka occasionally.” “Good to hear. Before the Galactic Ascent my people where famous fore making beer and that’s what I like. Over there in that cabinet are cold bottles. Grab two of them and sit down for a moment.” I took two beer bottles, they where old fashioned glass bottles just like the beer that came from Holstein. The writing on it looked like Holstein writing too, and I had no idea what it said but I was certain it was beer. I handed him one and sat down at the edge of the visitors chair unable to relax in the presence of the Admiral. The recent events where also heavy on my mind. He opened the bottle with a flick of his thumb and raised it “Prost!” I struggled with the cap but finally twisted it off and drank a sip after him. He put the bottle down looked straight at me and then he said:” You can be frank now. This is off the record for this conversation I am not an Admiral, just two men. Let me have it, don’t be shy. I won’t hold it against you.” “Sir it gets tiresome to be the plaything of forces I can’t control. First that errand with the empty case, then I am made captain. A lowly Midshipman gets command over the Devastator no less and now I am back being ...what? A mass murderer? I killed probably half a million Dai and I could have ended it without killing them all.” “Do you have doubts? If I make you captain again and we face a Dai fleet tomorrow would you act differently?” “Sir I did not realize the true power of this ship until it was over.” I paused and thought for a moment.” No Sir I would do the same thing only this time I probably would not launch the torpedoes. I lack the experience to truly evaluate the Dai and while it bugs me and probably follows me for the rest of my life I rather am guilty of killing them than being responsible for even one death on my ship.” I straightened out.” Yes Sir I would do it again.” Stahl put his bottle down.” I hoped for, no I expected this answer from you. Tonight you are back being a Midshipman and it will be tough, others might ridicule you and there will be officers and instructors who resent you because they are jealous. But this year will be over before you know it and your true career will begin. If you had a choice where would you want to be posted?” As long as it is a ship sir and not a station or base I be fine.” “Well we will see what your future holds.” He got up and took down one of the strange looking weapons and handed it to me. “Here I want you to have this as a personal gift from me. Do you know what it is?” ”Thank you Sir.” I examined the steel object. It looked like a gun but had no fusion chamber and no familiar controls except for the trigger. “It appears to be a weapon of sorts.” “It’s an antique. A Colt 45.It was given to me a very long time ago before I knew there was such a thing as a starship. It fires chemically propelled projectiles and it is quite a dangerous weapon unless you’re behind a force field or wear armor. In a few moments I will be that immortal semi god again you said I am. But before that happens I want you to know that I am very proud of you and there is a special bond between anyone who ever commanded this ship. My door is always open for you. As your superior officer I will have to give you orders you might not like or agree with, but I would like you to see me as friend too and if push comes to shove I will show you that below all this I am still human and capable of friendship.” Of all things that happened to me until now, these words of Stahl where the most memorable and stirring, I tried to find adequate words but could think of nothing else, but:” thank you Sir.” He opened a drawer and handed me a green box and something that looked like a holster.” Before you leave, that’s a box of ammo for the gun and a shoulder holster. Engineering can replicate more ammo for you. The gun works in case you want to try it.” “thank you Sir, I will!” “After I dismiss you go to Deck 56 and report to Lieutenant Andreas Merkus he is your instructor and supervisor.” “Deck 56, aye Sir!” “Before you begin your regular duty find your quarters and relax. I order you to find your bunk and sleep for at least 8 hours, you earned it. Now finish your beer and tell me about those Y’All.”