The First Version 1995 - Chapter 31
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.
We had packed our bags and where ready for departure. Lt. Merkuswished us luck and surpsingly the other Midshipmen cheered and one yelled:” Kick their butts!” Harrismet us at the shuttle deck we where supposed to report. “Oh no, you are not going like this! Follow me!” Captain Harris led us on a slide way and said.” This is personal. I know the Newport Cadetsare good, very good, but so are you! This is the Navy Flagship the pride of the Union. This is my ship and you are representing the Flag ship and me! I can’t let you go like this.” Harris didn’t say much more but led us into a quiet almost deserted area of the 25th deckwhich was the largest deck area wise and housed most of the Devastators auxillery ships, such as destroyers, gun boats and shuttles. He had to use his Captains code to open a thick door and a sign read” Restricted area. He pointed at anAutodresser.” Get in and then go through that Airlock and meet me there.” The Autodresser changed our standard uniforms into sleek black belted combinations complete with side arm and black leather jacket sporting the Devastator flag ship logo on one arm . Har-Hi and my jacket also had the Wolfcraft squadron patches and the ribbon display showed that we all had an added Bronze Star. The boots where polished pseudo leather all terrains normally only allowed to be worn by officers of Full lutenant or higher. I checked for the 45 and made sure it was where it belonged. Har Hi did the same with his knifes and sword. Wetmouth tugged on her wig and mask as she left the dresser and we all went through the air lock. There in a dim lit hangar stood Harris next to a brand new Barracuda Destroyer. He checked us with an approving nod.” I want them to know that you came from the flag ship and you won’t arrive in a lame D12 shuttle, rank has its privileges and I want you to take that Baracuda. It’s the newest and fastest of its kind. It shows them that I trust my Seniors with a ship all on their own.” He gestured to the boarding ramp.” Mr. Olafson at least temporary this is your first command. Bring her back in one piece if you can.” I felt elated, the prospect of my own ship even for a brief time was like a rush to me. “Bring her back in one piece, Aye Sir!” “She is fully coded to you all. The stores are packed with munitions and the tanks are full. You have a Navigator find your way to Newport and be there in 10 days.”
the Baracuda was an elongated flattened cylinder with four powerful ISAH pods at one end and tapered to a flat chisel bow. It was 87 meters long and 25 meters thick. Had crew accommodations for 10 and was heavily armed and shielded. A prime example of Terran Mil-tech. the small bridge had all the usual duty stations but much closer together. “Muhamad would you mind to take her out?” “I thought you never ask.” “Krabbel plot us a course to Newport!” “Plotted and on the board.” “Mr Ciruit. Engine status?” “My engines are primed on full standby and ready!” “Elfi request launch permission.” “We are cleared for launch. Hangar evacuated and hangar doors are opening!” Muhammad flew a tight loop around the Devastators pole axis and accelerated almost redlining the thrusters and we slipped into quasi space and went superluminal.” Muhammad lifted the large Virtu helmet and he smiled elated.” This fish is fast!”
--“””--- I got up and said.” Har Hi you got the Conn.” He slipped into the Command chair while I went to the door. “Where are you going?” asked Wetmouth. I couldn’t help it but grinned from ear to ear.” I am going tocheck out the Captain’s Cabin and make my first official log book entry!” She too smiled behind her mask.” Aye Captain!” The Barracuda was tinny compared to the Devastator but it was still a full sized Destroyer, normally with a Crew compliment of 40 and 5 Marines. It had a Galley, Crew and Officers Mess, Sick bay, Even a small lab and science department, and an array of weapons. A Destroyers role in modern space warfare was to engage enemy carriers and gun boats, attack space fortifications and support capital ships with protection against fighters, bombers and enemy Destroyers. Captain’s quarters where small and everything was sterile and factory new. On a small book shelf behind the captain’s desk the five books standard in any captain’s room: The Bible (or other religious book) , Trafalgar, Captain Uhru’s Memories, Moby Dick and The Adventures of Herron (one of the greatest Captains ever ) On the desk was a large leather bound paper book and a holder with a writing pen. It was tradition on all Terran ships to keep a handwritten log. The computronic would record every word spoken on the bridge and all sensor data. Every Department head was keeping a technical log, but the handwritten log was tradition and the log books of every ship that ever went to the stars was kept in a special archive on Earth and a testimony to man’s conquest of space. Above the table was a small visual sensor that would record my writing and add it to the main log. In case of a catastrophic event the log book record would be launched in a small capsule and travel to Earth. I opened the book and turned to the first page and wrote my first log entry it was a very solemn and special moment for me. Just as I finished my first entry, the Alarm sounded and Har Hi’s voice came over the intercom. Captain to the bridge and all hands battle stations” The Captain’s quarters where on the same deck as the Bridge and it took me only a few moments to reach it. Har Hi got up from the seat.” Captain, we are receiving a distress beacon signal from the USS Paracelcus. We are the closest Union ship.” I sat down.” What is the nature of the distress call?” Elfi turned.” Automated beacon, no response to hails.” “How far? “3.5 light years, Captain. Mao responded. “Wetmouth coordinate with Mao and give me a sensor report. Elfi contact Fleet Command.” Wetmouth sat next to Mao and dedicated her side of the Console to science. She then reported.” Captain we got a mass reading close to the Paracelcus. Sensor data is inconclusive but it appears to be a Wanderer.” “Define a Wanderer for me please.” “A celestial object not bound to a star system but wandering in intergalactic space, there are many known dark planets, asteroids, dust clouds, moons, large ice chunks that have been catapulted out of their original system by a collision or similar event. The object we believe is near the Paracelcus is some sort of rock formation, a large asteroid or moon most likely.” Elfi said.” I got Fleet Command on, Sir.” She opened the connection and I said.” This is Midshipman Olafson currently in command of the Devastator Auxiliary Ship 45-12, Baracuda Class Destroyer. We where en route to the Dover System when we received an automated distress call from the USS Paracelcus 3.5 Light years from our current position. Our sensors picking up a Wanderer in the vicinity, I am requesting permission to investigate.” On the screen a white haired man appeared , Commodore rank. “ This is Commodore King. Fleet Command Center 4, we received your transmission and the accompanied data of the distress call. You are the closest ship, proceed with your investigation. The Uss Paracelcus is a non armed Hospital ship under command of Captain Perma. The Paracelcus was on its way to Colony Planet Gregory to assist in an epidemic disease disaster. Proceed with caution and record all actions. Keep us informed. We send additional units to assist.” I acknowledged and said: “Mao full shields. Krabbel set a course. Muhammad get us there but approach slowly and drop out of Quasi at least 30 light minutes away. Mao and Wetmouth you keep your eyes on those sensors. Hans stand by for Damage control.”
The Paracelcus hung dead in space. It was a new Uni design ship, wedge shaped all in white. The Wanderer turned out to be a rock chunk of 2000 kilometers diameter. “Energy or life form readings?” ”I am reading 85 faint life form readings aboard the Paracelcus, emergency battery power only. The antimatter cores are gone. They ejected their containment coil and all the AM.” “Any battle damage?” I asked. “We’re still to far out for the visual sensor to pick out details. But I am not showing any debris.” I didn’t like the situation one bit. There was something that stopped a state of the art starship, twenty times bigger than the Baracuda Destroyer. True the Hospital ship had no offensive weaponry, but its shields where equal to an Ultra battle ship. As far as I knew there was nothing so deep in Union space that could attack and overwhelm such a ship. Hospital ships where designed with strong shields and engines so they could survive an attack and flee. I was looking with one eye over the technical readout on that ship. “Hold our position, Muhammad. Wetmouth launch a probe and scan that rock and ship closer. Mao activate all weapons and load the sniper cannon with 5k loads.” “Probe launched.” Wetmouth said. “Weapons active, Sniper cannon loaded.” I was on the edge of my seat watching the telemetry of the probe. A sudden flash from the Asteroid surface and the probe telemetry went blank. Wetmouth reported with calm voice:” There is a Energy source on the surface of the Wanderer. Energy signature is clearly alien and strong. “Mao target that source and fire!” The Barracuda had two Translocator sniper cannons. Small load Translocator cannons designed for long range precision shots. Our long range visuals where at maximum and we saw the bright energy bubble expanding where the 5 kilo Antimatter bomb exploded. “Captain I am now detecting a small vessel detaching from the surface. Mass and size calculation makes it no bigger than a Wolfcraft, but the energy signature is 100 times that of a Wolfcraft. Energy signatures are transdim in character and alien. Object is shielded and shields are similar to our Transdim shields. Translocator bombs can not penetrate those shields!” Whatever it is, it is on an intercept course.” The Barracuda shuddered and I was almost lifted out of my seat, but the emergency restraints activated and pulled me back. Har Hi’s said:” Direct hit of unknown Energy weapon. Primary shields at 50% One more hit and we are down to secondary shields.” “Alright, whoever this is want’s to play rough. Let’s show them what a Barracuda can do!” “Muhammad go into Virtu Helm, evasive action. Elfi report our findings to Fleet Command. Mao switch to Graviton bombs and place dual loads to each side, as soon as you sense shield weakening fire Translocator bombs at their drive section! Simultaneous launch Loki torpedoes Exo load warheads, proximity fuse.” The Barracuda shuddered again. Lights flickered, but kept going. Cirruit’s voice came on.” Primary shield projectors damaged. Secondary Shields holding.” Har Hi reported:” Alien ship intercepted Loki Torpedoes with counter measures of sort, they vanished!” We where hit again, this time the lights didn’t come back on, but the consoles still worked. “Secondary shields at 35%” “Muhammad, micro jump behind that alien ship, overwrite micro jump safety. Mao stand by on FTL projectors and Loki Torpedoes as soon as we come out of Quasi I want you to fire point blank. Cirrcuit, put all energy you got in our forward shields as soon as Mao fires!” The Barracuda was designed to take a pounding and all systems where at least triple redundant, my damage board showed me that this was the reason we where still alive. Muhammad proved he was one hell of a helmsman. He executed a micro jump with computronic precision, Mao fired as we saw our attacker for the first time close up. It was a small ship, disc shaped, almost looking like a miniature version of the Devastator. The similarities where so great that one could think they came from the same designer. Our FTL projectors fired, at the same time Mao laid two Grav bombs on each side of the vessel and two Loki torpedos with Exo loads launched and connected! Muhammad executed the second part of the micro jump but still our shields collapsed from the energy overload of two Exoloads. We re entered Planck space and witnessed the alien ship emerging from the energy cloud, but it’s shields flickering. “Mao now! Microloads into their drive section FIRE!!” Mao fired manually as the fire control automatics where down. The aft section of the alien ship was ripped apart and it drifted in space!” ”Captain, sensors indicate the alien ship is without shields and maneuver power and one life form! I also detect repair activity!” What did it take to defeat that thing? It was clearly more advanced than anything the Union had, and it was only Wolfcraft sized! What if there was something much bigger? “Muhammad get us close enough for Main Translocator. Mao Place a full load in that drive section!” Mao’s shot exploded a micro second before the shields of the alien came back on. This time the aft section was completely vaporized. But the bow section was still intact.” Micro loads into secondary energy sources!” Four more explosions crippled the alien ship and reduced it to a burning wreck. “Captain I am still reading the life form!” “Mao,Tech stop and Paralysator full intensity.” Wetmouth didn’t take the eyes of her scanners.” Captain this is incredible. The ship over there is destroyed and disabled to over 80 percent and I can detect molecular manipulation and energy to matter replication. The ship is repairing itself! Whatever this is Captain it is at least Techlevel 11.” “Can you localize the energy sources?” ”Yes Captain! There are 200 of them.” “ Mao fire all weapons till that thing is destroyed completely and utterly destroyed!” The Cockpit section of the Alien ship detached itself as Mao kept firing., but Mao was on the ball and he send a gravi bomb into the path of the cockpit. It was shielded as we could see now but unable to evade and the Gravitation bomb pulled it into its Grav center and depleated the shields. I felt as if I was fighting a mythical dragon that kept regrowing heads , a smaller object emerged from the cockpit. It was a humanoid shape in a space suit.and it approached our ship! I didn’t want to fire on a being in a space suit, but from what I saw whatever it was could perhaps regrow an entire ship.” Mao target that being and fire!” The Alien ship was gone, Mao’s gravitation and anti matter bombs had reduced it to atomic dust and dissipating energy. We where hit by a powerful weapon beam from the suit being before Mao could place a Translocator bomb close enough. The suit beings weapon had penetrated our shields and hit the portside, dong considerable damage to the molecular compacted Ultronit armor. Muhammad’s evasive flying prevented it from penetrating and causing more damage. “Alien Suit is damaged, shields down. I can read humanoid life signs.” Wetmouth reported. “Hit it with Paralysator and Techstop! Maybe we can capture that alien and see what they are and find out if there are any more of them!” “Hans and Har Hi.I hate to ask you but get into Quasimodos. Cut it out of its’ suit and place it in Stasis.” “Aye Captain!” ”Wetmouth launch another probe and see if there are any more surprises around that Asteroid.” “I am on it!” “Cirrcuit, Damage report please.”