The First Version 1995 - Chapter 29

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


they had done a great job. The common room was clean and tidy. Where they got the second table I didn’t know but it was now long enough to seat us all. It had a table cloth from bed blankets. We all wore Dress uniformand I took my mug filled with water and raised it.” To the best friends anyone could have. I don’t know what the future holds for us or if we survive this mission, but I know we will face it together and that makes it a good future!” We all ate and the mood improved. There where jokes about the wigs and Krabbel uncovered a tray and said.” Guess what? I found ice cream ! Not the best kind, just Navy Standard but its still ice cream!” Har-Hi leaned back and pulled a box from a leg pocket and handed me a Cigar. Much to the surprise of the others we lit them and puffed happily. We had to explain to the others what we where doing and then Wetmouthgave us a small lecture on the history of smoking and the health risks that once had been associated with it. Har-Hi had enough Cigars for everyone. Mao stubbed his out after only one puff and coughed.” That is the nastiest thing I ever tasted!” Wetmouth followed his example and said.” I tend to agree with this assessment.” Elfi however seemed to enjoy hers. Muhammad did not smoke his but produced something he called a cigaretteand that this was an ancient Terran custom , just like the cigars just more civilized. Krabbel tried it and gave up.” I simply don’t have the lips to get a seal and therefore suction. It seems Spiders are not meant to smoke. So I stick with more ice cream.” Cirruit said.” I could rig you a mouth piece I guess.” Before Krabbel could respond, Elfi started shaking. The thing is back! It feels there are…” She didn’t finish her sentence but reached for her dinner knife and was trying to stab Wetmouth. She shook violently and from pressed lips she groaned.” Stop me! Please!” Krabbel was fastest, he took Elfi and in blinding speed some silvery liquid or thread came out of his abdomen and he spun it around her arms and legs. Wetmouth was over her a heartbeat later, using her ever present scanner and said.” Mao, quick. Get me the Med Kit. I need to sedate her. Her EEGis off the scale.” While Mao hurried to get the kit. Har-Hi looked at me and said.” Do you feel anything?” “No, not at the moment. I am going to check on the robots. Stay with me and if I act weird, sedate me too!” To Cirruit I said.” What is the status on the GalNet terminal?” “ It is a mess, and I don’t have all the parts I need to make it work, but Muhammad and I manufacture the parts we don’t have. I estimate about 48 hours till we can send and perhaps another day before we can receive.” “Alright do what you can. Hans take that Paralysator cannon and take it to the roof and assemble it. “Wetmouth you stay with Elfi and make sure she is alright. “Krabbel take your post on the roof and keep watch. Mao you go to bed and in 4 hours relief Krabbel.” ”I am not tired.” Mao said. “We need someone fresh, Krabbel will rest after you relieve him and so will I and Har-Hi.” “Aye!”

Har-Hi followed me outside. It was very dark except for the day bright circle of the construction sight. Clouds of local insects swirled around the lights. I took the command board and cut the light. The robots didn’t need it and I wanted to see what happened around us. Har-Hi handed me something. “What is that?” “Dark vision goggles. No Dai leaves his bunk with out them.” I held them before my eyes and the surroundings where as bright as day, except for color. Everything appeared in gray tones.” “They’re great. But I think I didn’t turn them on right. I can’t see color.” “ Because they are made for Dai Eyes. We don’t perceive color as you do.” “Ah!” The robots had made enormous progress and cleared the ground from any vegetation almost completely around. The robots sunk almost to their knees in mud even what seemed to be the shore of the bog lake. I kept slowly turning and then I saw it! Just outside the 500 meter circle where trees where still standing . it looked like an upright snake, a thing without legs but it had arms and a wicked evil looking horned head. I instinctively knew this was one of our adversaries! Just as I saw it the stinging headache returned and for a second or so, I wondered why I was not killing the Dai Pirate next to me. But it was clearly a foreign thought and I had no urge to act on it. the headache was a different matter. It was intense! Har-Hi said.” Are you still you?” “Yes! Over there I see it!” I bend over in pain but pointed in the direction. Har-Hi’s TKU roared and the pain was instantly gone. I took a deep breath.” Did you get it?” “It moved just as I aimed. I am not sure. The TKU blast is powerful and might have injured it.” I looked back and said into my Com.” Hans come in.” “Hans here.” “Is that Paralysator cannon ready?” “Just about! This is a big one even for me.” “How long?” “One moment!” I saw him putting a long projector on a tripod and he said.” Ready!” “Put it on maximum intensity and strafe the jungle 360 degrees.” Paralysator rays where invisible even in daylight. The rays where designed to interrupt neurological impulses and it worked on almost every carbon based life form ever encountered.” All the Jungle noises that had been a constant background were gone. We could hear the robots stomping movements. “Give it another pass just to make sure.” I told Hans. Har-Hi said.” Anything smaller than a Nufgwaug will be dead for at least a click! That’s a F4 Paralysator.” “Let’s find out!” I pulled my Blaster and jumped over the railing into the now only chest deep water. My boots where sinking in mud but I slowly waded towards where I had seen the snake with arms. Har-Hi’s TKU blast had disintegrated the tree and left a smoldering smoking hole in the foliage of 5 meters diameter. Har-Hi was following me and cursed.” I hate clean water, but this is worse!” “You hate water?” “I am a terrible swimmer and every time we had to swim in basic training I was horrified.” “Happens to me in deep space. The time we went to that sphere I almost lost it.” “Well you went anyway!” “And so are you right now!” We reached the shore. The ground was gooey and wet and the dirt stuck to the boots, but it got better the further we got away from the bog pond. Everywhere we went where dead or paralyzed animals and insects. The Paralysator ray at this intensity stopped all neural activity and in smaller life forms it fried the neuro path ways for good and killed. We found a piece of scaled tail at the edge of the blast area.” I think you got it. That is all that’s left of it.” I was almost read to turn around when I saw something a little deeper in the jungle. It was another one of these snakes like beings. It was about Man sized and looked very alien. Har-Hi pulled his scanner out of a belt container.” I still read life signs. It is not dead.” In my Com unit I said.” Wetmouth, how is Elfi?” “She is fine and can not detect any hostile or other wise influence.” “Do we have something we can contain an alien and very likely hostile and dangerous life form? ”Yes all you want. The lab is stocked with xeno bio specimen containers of almost every size. They are equipped with stasis fields.” “Please come out here where we are and have a robot bring one of those containers large enough for a being about 2 meters long and perhaps half a meter thick at the widest.”

--“”— The rest of the local night passed without any incident. Wetmouth was in the Lab with the snake being and ran tests on it. Elfi claimed she could not detect any influence all night. After a few hours rest and breakfast, I went outside and checked on the robots progress who had resumed their building task. The water was now only ankle deep and a circular wall of 2 meters height was built out of interlocking duro-crete blocks. The robots where carrying big blocks of stone to the recycler when I realized what they where carrying and made them stop. The excavated mud and the now low water level revealed the ruins of a temple or building. It was nothing natural but had to be made by an intelligent species. I called Wetmouth out. She looked at it and got excited.” This planet must have had or have an intelligent species!” “Those snake beings?” She shook her head.” No. I am not sure what they are, they have the higher brain functions of a sentient being but their DNA does not match native life forms at all. Their DNA seems constructed not developed naturally.” “Well whoever built that temple might have made those snakes.” I suggested. She climbed over the railing and went to examine the exposed ruins and I followed. She sighed.” The robots have already carried away most of it. There is not much left, but luckily it seems most of the ruins are outside the circle still under water. I pointed at an exposed stone block.” Is that some sort of writing?” She knelt into the muck and wiped the surface clean.” Yes it is. It is a simple hieroglyphic alphabet. I should be able to make sense out of it. She stared at it for perhaps 5 minutes then nodded.” Yes I am able to read most of it. they built this temple to appease the star gods who came and fought each other in their sky and on the ground. The star gods disappeared but left the coiling monsters behind! It says here also brother fought brother and sister fought sister to the death!” She looked up.” I think those snake beings caused this whole civilization to die.”

--“”— At our second day Cirruit came.” We are able to send and receive, but I am getting no signal. We are in Union space and should be able to pick up GalNet, but nothing, not even the base line!” “Are you sure it is working?” “I am certain. The GalNet terminal is like new. I had the nanites from the Robot factory make me all the parts. That is why I am done earlier. With the nanites it was easy to make a second terminal and I can receive the signal from the first, but nothing from the outside!” “What could cause this?” “Only two things. the Nul-Nul over ran this part of space and destroyed every relay station in reach, or we are being jammed.” ”How can we determine if we are being jammed?” “The best way is to launch a Transdim beacon and remove it a few million klicks from the planet. If we are being jammed it is local and no technology I know can jam an entire star system.” “Well we got the robots and the Nanite factory.”

--‘’’— We had launched the emergency beacon with a pre recorded message two days ago. I had the robots resume building the base on anew location away from the ruins. To make sure my friends would not loose hope I kept them busy, collecting specimen. We had the robots built us a basic skimmer and even surveyed a greater area around the base. With the Paralysator cannon along. Krabbel spotted it first and we found the overgrown wreck of a saran planet launder, but vegetation and jungle had destroyed it beyond repair. On the morning of the third day I said.” It seems no one heard our beacon. So we complete the base so we have the facilities to strip that Saran Planet Lander and make it a working ship.” But just then the GalNet terminal beeped and came on.” USS DEVASTATOR calling Olafsons Gang. Are you able to answer?” I believe I made the distance from my chair to the terminal in one jump and said.” Midshipman Olafson here. We are on Planet Quagmire bog and we have completed our mission. We are ready to return.” There was a moment of silence and I feared we lost them again. But it was Stahl’s image that appeared.” A Shuttle is on its way. Midshipman. Do you need medical assistance?” “No Sir. No casualties here.”

--“”” I delivered my report before the other midshipmen groups, Lt. Clusen was there and so was Lt. Merkus. Captain Harris and Admiral Stahl stood in the background. I concluded:” For our scientific report, the collected specimen, unearthed ruins, captured alien Psionic being I am giving the podium to Midshipman Wetmouth.” Harris raised his hands.” One moment Mr. Olafson. Would you repeat how you ended up on a planet that was strictly off limits and deemed to dangerous for anyone except a special selected team with Marine support?” “Sir we where ordered there by Lt. Clusen, Sir. We had no idea where we where until I found the E Board in the packing crate.” Stahl said.” Lt Clusen, can you explain that to me ?” Clusen rose.” I had no information about this planet being dangerous. I received the orders to send the Olafson team for their evaluation test there from Academy HQ.” Harris said.” That is strange. The HQ orders where for Lt Strasenburgh and team, including the equipment on the shuttle. How come there was a Navy issue Transdim jammer in orbit around the planet? My Engineers said it came from this ship and was requested by you!” Someone handed Harris a note and he read it. “ Lt. Strasenburgh and team is right here on board. His orders to go to Quagmire where canceled.” Clusen was pale but he shrugged.” You must ask HQ on that. I have no authority over such things. I ordered a Jammer for class room instructions. I don’t know why there was one in orbit.” “Even if this is all true. Why did you not check on your students when you where unable to communicate with them? Would that to have been reason to raise alarm?” “The orders came form Academy HQ, I didn’t feel they where my responsibility. Sir may I request this to take elsewhere and not in front of the Midshipmen? “Oh it will happen right here. They earned the right to hear why the Navy sent a bunch of Midshipmen ill equipped to one of the most dangerous planets without any support.” Stahl got up.” I give you one chance and one chance only Mr. Clusen. If you tell me the truth now I will give you a fair trial and court martial. If you lie to me I will not consider you an officer and deal with you accordingly.” “Check the orders, Sir.” Stahl waved at someone and a marine escorted a furry gray being in Lt Uniform. Stahl said to it.” Lt. Nort. You are the Communications Officer that was on duty while these orders came from HQ. Can you confirm that?” The being was nervous and Clusen was staring at the being with such intensity as if he wanted to kill it with his gaze. The furry Lt tried to escape the stare and said in a quiet tone.” No Sir I can not confirm that. No communications have been received from the Academy during that time or any time while I was on duty since we left Arsenal 4.” “How come the orders where decoded by you?” “Sir I let Lt. Clusen change the orders that came fro Lt. Strasenburgh from the Science Council and I used a comm. Loop with an old Academy code to create these orders for Lt. Clusen.” ”Why would you let him do that?” “Because my family serves his family and he promised me to give them their freedom and the chance to leave that world. He did not keep his promise but threatened to have my family killed if I ever come forward!” Clusen hissed.” And die they will!” The furry Lt straightened.” At least they are no longer slaves and I am free to face charges as an officer and not as a coward.” Stahl said:” Mr. Nort I will deal with you later and I will investigate if Clusen family practices slavery then they will suffer the consequences.” He turned to Clusen.” Why?” “My family is forced to live below our status. Shunned by royalty. Midshipman Subbor's family is influential and will restore us, in return for my service to Subbor.” I am ashamed to have men like you on my ship. I am ashamed that this navy allows trash like you to wear this uniform. Marines take him and that Midshipman and get him out of my sight.” Stahl looked away as the marines dragged them out. Then he faced us.” You all and especially you Mr. Olafson must by now have the lowest opinion of this Navy and I can not find any excuses. All I can is offer my appolgies!” “Sir, no apologies necessary. I am proud to serve this great organization. It is true I experienced what might be called injustice. It is true I meet a few that might not live up to the high standards of this Navy, but meet many that hold up that standard, I met those who exceed it every day and I am very proud of this Navy, as a citizen and a member. I feel deeply honored and beyond what I deserve to be given a chance to serve alongside distinquished officers, hardworking enlisted and Senior staff. Most of all I feel deep gratitude to this Navy because it was the vehicle that allowed me to make friendships that are deeper than any family ties vould be.” I snapped in attention and saluted the Admiral. There was a moment of silence. Stahl simply nodded and said. “Why don’t you carry on with your report? I am eager to hear what your findings where.”

--“””— Wetmouth concluded:” After cross-referencing with GalNet and the Encyclopedia Galactica. I am certain the snake beings are the legendary PSI weapon the Afonee used in the Glamaan war about 9000 years ago. The Afonee culture has ceased to exist but excavations on their home world found remains and depictions of beings very similar to the one we managed to capture.” “So all we had to do to solve the Quagmire mystery was to send the Olafson gang.” Harris smirked.” I should have thought of that!” Stahl grinned.” Yes that seems to be the case. Do you have any requests ort wishes?” Har-Hi nodded.” Yes Sir. I like to keep those old TKUs.” “Permission granted, anything else?” Krabbel danced nervous back and forth.” Well some ice cream would be nice, Sir!” That caused open laughter and Stahl nodded.” I see what I can do. You are on R&R for 48 hrs.”


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