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.
Sickbay had us fir for duty in an hour and we went to Chief Harboro as ordered. We tried the best to ignore each other while we went. A star ship of any size had environmental systems. It was here where atmosphere was provided, air recycled and waste processed. Water was part of this cycle and among the most important commodities aboard a star ship. Every drop of it was returned to the system. Nanites and engineered bacteria processed the waste-materials that where taken out of the water in huge tanks. Broken down into raw material groups to be recycled into food, clothing and other things. The Devastator was no exception and because of its size the Engineering department was just as humongous. Harboro was a stocky built Ult and he had taken to the Terran habit of smoking. He smoked big brown objects and he was chewing on one as he examined us.” Ah Midshipmen. I just love to see you down here. Tank 345 needs cleaning and I think my cleaning bots are otherwise occupied.” We followed him up a ladder and to a round access door. Harboro took the brown smoke thing out of his fish mouth and pointed at the open door.” The task is simple. Take a scraper and scrape off all the algae and slime of the walls and throw it on the conveyor at the bottom of the tank. Now I am Ult and don’t have any sense of smell but I was told that humans find the smell revolting. So if you throw up, use the conveyor. Have fun you two!” He was not kidding, the smell was the worst stench I ever smelled and the first whiff of it made me gag so bad I thought I suffocate. Dai’s seemed to be just as sensitive to odors as humans, he didn’t fare much better. the inside of the tank was immense and at least 50 meters in diameter and almost as high. With Grav boots we walked up the walls and started scraping. The stuff was dark green almost black, sticky as warm tar. I lost track of time scraping and gagging, and at one point I only dry heaved there was nothing left to throw up. The smell was so thick I could taste it almost feel it on my tongue and the very thought of having that oozing slime in my mouth made me gag even more. “I wonder why they don’t issue breathing gear for this task.” I cursed. “Because it would not be as revolting, there is no need for anyone to do this. Nanites and robots can do it. It’s meant as a punishment.” Har-Hi answered. I looked up the walls and what we had done so far and sighed.” We are going to be here for a long time!” “A long time indeed, I fear this is not the only tank! There are at least 344 more!” “Do they have tanks like this on Dai-Ships?” ”Yes, ours are hexagonal shaped but do the same thing.” “ever cleaned one?” “Considering what we Dai eat, I am thankful I never have!” We hadn’t cleaned more than ten percent when the Ult stuck his head in. “Hey you two. Captain Harris wants you both on the double! That means right away and no side tours! He is waiting for you at Flight control, Hangar deck 12.” We dropped the scrapers and went as fast to the next IST as we could. A woman officer exited the IST as we entered and she gagged ands put her hand over her mouth as she passed us. “I bet we stink up that IST car too! “ I grinned. “Perhaps the next users will throw up getting a nose of this!” Har Hi grinned back. “I wish we had time to clean up before we face the Captain. It’s not a good thing to make the Captain gag.” “We can’t, no side tours!” “We are going to be in trouble for that, no matter what!” “Well there are 344 more tanks!” Moments later we reached the flight deck and a Lt Commander gagged stepped back.” Are you two insane?” Harris turned, looked at us and also stepped back.” I ordered them to come ASAP. I did not know they where cleaning tanks!” He put his hand over his mouth.” Both of you get cleaned up and come back as fast as you can!” The Lt Commander who was with the captain said. “There are hygiene facilities and an auto dresser over there. Dial the Dresser for Quasimodos!”
We found the showers and the Auto-Dressers. Quasimodo was the slang term for the heavy destroyer suits. Usually used by Marines during boarding or planet assaults, the Destroyer suits where the pinnacle of Terran Mil Tech. It augmented a wearers strength and other abilities by a factor of 200, wearing a Destroyer suit a normal human being could lift almost 80 tons at one grav, jump, fly. Destroyer suits where called Quasimodos due to the humpback shape appearance. Both of us returned to the Flight control room and reported to the captain. He nodded.” That’s better. I don’t even want to know why you two had been sent to the tanks.” The Captain clasped his hands behind his back.” We found a Dai Escape Pod or something similar drifting undamaged and sensors indicate 34 life signs. The pod we believe came from the Dai Mother but its propulsion system appears to be damaged. I want you two to take a Rhino out there and make contact. See if you can convince them to surrender. If we board it with marines they fight to the death or they commit suicide. I was hoping you Mr. Hi can provide the cultural knowledge and perhaps get into contact with them. Mr. Olafson I thought you would be glad to see that there at least some survivors and I wanted you to have the chance to help in their retrieval.” Har-Hi said.” Sir I will of course try my best to comply with your command, but I am a Dorahsi Dai, a traitor to them. My chances to convince them are less than any one else’s.” “they don’t know that, and you have the cultural knowledge. You can tell them they are not being harmed and we will provide transportation to a neutral planet or some place of exchange.” ”Aye Sir!”
A Rhino was read for us and we climbed aboard the 60 meter craft. Rhinos where basically deep space work drones for a host of repair and recovery tasks, not very fast, lightly armed and shielded. The Cockpit was designed with crew in space or battle suits and so we did not have to get out of the suits to operate the craft. Getting out of a Destroyer suit was not all that difficult, but getting in it fast was another thing. A trained marine who is drilled for years can do it in 10 minutes; anyone else would probably take hours. Har-Hi was before me and he sat down behind system operations so I took the other station which was flight control. He turned his head.” Ready?” “Give me a sec; I need to get the systems on standby.” After a few moments I had complete the preflight check and said.” Ready.” He punched the Com unit active.” This is DEV-Rhino 14 request launch clearance.” “Dev Rhino you are cleared for launch. Good luck out there.” According to the data downloaded from the Devastator, the Dai Sphere was already beyond the last planets orbit and drifted in the direction of the far distant galactic core. Our path sensor showed the wreckage left over from the battle and as we passed a large piece of red metal, Har Hi sighed.” That was a part of the Dai Mother.” “I am sorry. I know you hate me for killing them, but I…” he interrupted me.” No I don’t hate you for that. If Stahl would have chosen me, I would have ordered every weapon to fire just as you have. I am a Union officer and I will fight against any opposition and enemy including Dai Thaan.” “Why are you a Union Officer?” Once there where 25,000 clans of Dai Thaan and we where a proud and fierce people, nothing could stop us! Then the Terrans came and the United Stars constantly expanding their sphere of influence. Today there are perhaps 500 clans left. Some left to the Downward sector; others went and left the galaxy, taking the long trip to another one. Most however remained, to proud to see the reality and to stubborn to listen. We are a space born civilization. We don’t have planets and without planets you don’t have resources, we take them where ever we can, but that is seen as piracy by others and we where hunted. Our technology is good, our fighters are the best, but how could we stand against the juggernaut of the Union fleet? My father a clan patriarch said pretty much what I am telling you know to the Council of Patriarchs and he proposed that we join the Union, give up our pirate way and thus survive. He was called a traitor and coward by the others, but five clans left with him and we joined the Union. It happened only recently and my father wished that I his eldest son make an example and join this fleet, so other Dai can follow and do what we a re born to do, no longer wearing Dai Red but Union black, but still in ships and still in space.” “So you are the first Dai in the Navy?” “Yes I am.” ”I imagine it was not easy.” “Being constantly attacked mistrusted and treated like the enemy, might be fun but I sure didn’t feel it that way.” “I am truly sorry that I attacked you. I assure you it was not personal.” “You are a warrior born. You have honor and you do not give up. You almost killed me, without weapons and that I respect. No human in the academy could do that.” He held up his hand as I wanted to respond and he pointed to his scanner and sensor read out.” I have the sphere clear on the sensors but I am reading a second contact moving towards it and it has no fleet transponder!” “Run the sensor data through the computronic. “I said as he already did it and I pushed the Comm.” Devastator this is DEV-RHINO 14. We detected a non navy unit approaching the Sphere. I leaned over to see the read out.” According to our sensors it is a Poodle III with a Civilian Union registry.” “Devastator here. This is a scavenger. They are here to hunt ands search for salvage. They always appear after a battle. If he reaches the Sphere he can claim rights to it and deny you access!” “The Sphere is occupied and thus not debris, Sir! I doubt we can make it there in time. This Rhino is not to fast!” ”Deal with it till I can send a Wolfcraft fighter!” “Aye Sir.” I had the engines past red line and the rhino was going at maximum, still the Poodle would make it first, by at least 5 minutes. “What right do they have to do this? “ I cursed. “It’s the law of space. Anything is up for grabs. Dai Ships are made of highly valuable composite alloys and such scrap brings good money. Dai artifacts sell for good prices on GalNet.” Har-Hi said between clenched teeth. One guy was selling genuine Dai Warrior heads cast in resin.” “That is illegal!” I protested. “Not when there is no one complaining!” “The sphere is occupied and he can not take possession of it!” “If he notices life signs he will double his efforts. Do you know what a live Dai Warrior brings on the Slave markets of Sin 4?” I shook my head.” Any trade in sentient beings is illegal and it is the Unions highest law! Anyone caught dealing with slaves or sentient beings can be shot on sight, no trial needed.” “You are naïve my friend. Slave trade is still happening and only 25 light years from here is free space, no Union laws, no laws at all and the Battle arenas on Sin4 pay a hefty sum for suitable combatants, especially Dai!” Har-Hi looked at me. “They even broadcast the fights on GalNet and those are highly rated shows in the Union. You never heard of it?” ”No I haven’t and I find it appalling, but we must do something about that Scavenger over there!” “He is better armed than we are, he is faster and once he takes possession it would take a court order to search it. No Union judge will issue one to the navy. They say its police business and till they arrive he’s gone!” I felt frustration and considered blasting the Poodle anyway, even though we only had a cutting laser. Then I had an idea. I activated the comm. Unit and broadcasted on all channels.” Poodle III ship approaching the sphere. You are herby ordered to reverse course and remove yourself from this area!” “No way Navy Boy! I saw it first.” A grumpy voice answered. “this sphere contains extremely dangerous xeno-biological life forms and unless you are licensed by the Federal Xeno Department to handle such, you are to stay clear. I invoke federal law and as representative of the Union government I can and will inspect your ship for the proper containment equipment and you for the proper licenses. Failure to comply will result in federal charges!” “Alright I believe you Navy Boy. With all your laws and regulations, but you can’t stop me. I just blow you out of the sky and salvage you too!” “I can’t but you must be very stupid. The Devastator is close by and 2 Wolfcraft- fighters are dispatched. you just threatened a Navy vessel with violence! Oh please, please shoot!” “You son of a bitch! I have my lawyer on your asses! If there aren’t any dangerous xeno life forms I sue you!” The poodle however changed course and he left. Har-Hi laughed.” Well you sure tricked him. Let’s hope he doe not do this lawyer thing!” “I doubt there is such a thing that a civilian lawyer can sue the Navy or subpoena reports and logs, but he even if he does. I would say a Dai is a pretty dangerous Xeno life form, don’t you agree?” “I guess you could say that!” We approached the sphere and we now had visual contact. Har-Hi leaned forward. “That is an evacuation sphere from the Dai Mother. It’s about 70 meters in diameter and heavily armored and shielded, neither Paralysators nor tech stop won’t do much good on it.” “If they are alive, don’t they have some sort of emergency beacon or comm.-device?” “They do have both but they witnessed the destruction of their fleet and will not answer to anyone without the proper clan codes.” “Your codes won’t work I assume?” ”My codes would make them fight to the last man for sure. I am a Renegade Dai in their eyes.” “So what do you think we should do?” “Go over there, open the airlock and go in. Use Paralysators and tech stop inside and kill every warrior not affected.” “Well your plan is as good as any.” He fired the grappling hook and established a physical link between the Rhino and the Sphere. I realized we had to go outside and my stomach cramped together. I hated being outside in deep space. Har Hi obviously had no such resentments and closed his helmet.” Ready?” I pressed my teeth together and growled.” Yes.” The Dai cycled the air from the cockpit and opened the canopy, a thin whiff of ice crystals drifted away, from what the vacuum pumps couldn’t get. Har Hi pushed himself out and fired his suit thrusters for a second to gain further speed. He acted as if this was his natural element and perhaps it was. I followed, grabbing the grappling hook line and accelerated as well. I almost impacted head first into the Dai sphere because I realized I had my eyes closed and only Har-Hi’s warning over the radio saved me from an embarrassing collision. “Are you alright?” “Not really, but I manage.” My grav boots attached itself to the greater mass of the sphere and gave me an illusion of up and down, and that helped a lot. Har-Hi knew where he was going and he found a round hatch right away. He pointed at it.” We can’t open it with the controls. It is most likely code locked so we need to cut it open.” “I get a pack of Vac foam ready to seal the hole behind us.” I said. From his suits right wrist a 100 centimeter long blade appeared. It was a molecule compacted, super dense blade of Ultronit with an edge only one atom thick. The blade vibrated at 100,000 cycles a second and there was no material short of molecule compacted Ultronit that could not be cut with it. Marines used the blade as close quarter’s weapon and it was the armor suits equivalent of a combat knife. The armor of the sphere was tough but could not withstand the blade. “Devastator here, Captain Harris speaking. Progress report!” I told him what happened and what we where about to do. He then said.” I was ordering you to make contact not boarding the thing by yourself. I am sending marines and robots.” Har-Hi responded.” We would not have needed Destroyer suits for calling them on the radio. I am attempting to make contact as we speak, Sir. “ There was a sigh and Harris said.” Alright proceed but with caution.” Har-Hi made the last cut and the piece he had cut was pushed out by whatever atmosphere was behind it and I was shocked to see three dead Dai float out as well, the three where kids and didn’t wear protective suits of any kind. “I cut into an air lock. The rest of the sphere is intact and has atmosphere. Those kids where dead before!” Har-Hi explained, his voice sounded dry. “I took the TKU Blaster and held it into the hole. The guns optics relayed into my helmet, the room was empty. We both went in and I opened the pack of Vac Foam sprayed it around the corners of the hole and the yellow Nanite foam sealed the hole. Har-Hi knelt next to a control panel and studied it, while I checked with the suit sensors for life form readings and got 23 of them!” “Har-Hi there are twenty three Dai behind that door!” “I assume they are mostly kids. This is the escape pod of the Phaal side pre-school, but there could be teachers and they will be armed and they know we are here. At least the air lock systems work we have air now.” “Can you talk to them through that panel?” “Yes but that is as futile as talking to them via ship radio. I am a Renegade remember?” “Don’t tell them that. Tell them what you are, a Union officer offering them assistance!” “I do that!” Har-Hi pressed a few controls and linked his suit with the panel. I could hear him talk in a different language, but the translator kicked in and I could understand a moment later.”..of the USS Devastator. We are not here to kill or arrest you. We are not taking you prisoners or sell you. We are here to offer assistance and free passage to an exchange spot we can arrange with another Dai Clan.” My sensors picked movement and two of the bio signatures moved towards the door.” Har-Hi!” I knelt down and shouldered the TKU switched it to Paralysator and Har-Hi took a combi- grenade from his belt. The door opened and two bright energy beams lashed past the opening door halves. “We will not surrender and die like Warriors!” Har-Hi looped his grenade and I fired. Another energy beams hit my suits shields and dissipated.” “Shields at 89 percent.” My Suit comp announced. The Grenade went off in a sun bright flash of many million candles, emitting deafening sounds over the entire sound spectrum and emitted a powerful EMP pulse. Our suits where immune to these effect. But I was hit again so it seemed the Dai’s suit was unaffected as well. Paralysators had no effect on a suited and shielded person, so I switched to thermo kinetic and fired into the halfway open door. I suspected the gunner sitting or standing right behind it. Superheated plasma accelerated to near light speed hit the door punctured it and who ever was behind had to be hit as well. Har Hi looped another grenade and used the suits superhuman strength to push the door all the way open and he went in. I was right behind him, sweeping the room with the gun ready to fire at any threat. There was none. Behind the door lay a youngster perhaps 15 years old in a Dai battle suit, his blaster next to his open hand and a still burning hole in his stomach. I threw up. The suits automatic cleaned up the mess while I tried hard to keep focus on the situation. I counted 22 kids laying on the floor unconscious form the effects of the grenade and my Paralysator shots. Har-Hi held another 15 year old by the throat his feet dangling in the air. Har-Hi’s other hand held the Kids weapon. “Eric, help me. This wild cat is struggling. Rip the power pack of his suit of and then paralyze him!” I did.