The First Version 1995 - Chapter 4
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.
CAMP IDYLLIC Green Eden appeared to be a beautiful green, white and blue sphere. From space it looked as inviting as any garden world. The space bus descended through moderate clouds and approached a heavy forested land mass. We landed on a simple dirt field that had been cleared in the jungle. At the edge of the dirt field I saw a collection of primitive looking buildings made of wood! There where no machines, no robots, no ships or vehicles. Someone from the flight deck addressed us via the com system:” Welcome to Camp Idyllic. Take your bags and debark through the rear air lock that is opening now. Hurry up, I have a Schedule to keep and two more transports to make. Wait here! Someone will be with you shortly.” Everyone debarked and just as the last cadet stepped of the ramp, the Airlock closed and the transport ship climbed back into space. It was very humid and hot. The air was pungent with the stench of rotten plants. Strange sounds came from the surrounding jungle. Small insects buzzed all around us. The exposed dirt on the landing field was reddish in color, it was very moist and stuck to the soles of my boots. I counted 150 cadets and everyone was standing there waiting for something to happen, but even after an hour no one showed up to tell us what to do. The crowd of cadets became a little restless. Limbur scratched his polished scalp.” Now what? Are we supposed to do something? Isn’t anyone coming?” His green skinned friend, his name I had learned was Wintsun seemed to like the environment judging by the smile on his face, but the smile vanished as he replied to his friend.” I don’t sense or hear any sentient being in the vicinity. I begin to wonder myself!” The Narth who was next to me agreed:” I can not sense any sentient or coherent thoughts either, but there are life forms out there considering us for food right now.” The group became quite worried after he said that and the word spread. Three more hours passed and still no one came for us. I picked up the navy issue garment bag that held my spare uniforms and started walking towards the buildings at the other end of the landing field. The Narth did the same and followed me. “Where do you think you’re going?” Asked Limbur. “I decided to inspect those buildings over there and then wait there. It seems to be a better place to wait than here in the open. I expect the sun to set sometime soon.” Narth didn’t turn:” The Neo Viking’s plan of action is logical. I shall follow his lead.” Wintsun took his bag and said:” Can I come along?” I shrugged.” Sure you can. I am not in charge here.” “Someone has to be and you’re it!. At least you are doing something!” Limbur followed us too, since his friend went. One cadet with blue skin and copper red hair objected: “You can’t leave! We where ordered to remain here and wait!” “why don’t you wait and let me do my thing? “ I said and kept on walking
–“”-- There where three buildings. Two looked like storage sheds and the middle building was a two story deal made of manufactured wood. There was a roofed platform and a door. Everything looked solid , weathered but in good condition. The door wasn’t locked so I went in. The place was empty. No furniture, no machinery just a flight of stairs leading up and six doors. To Narth I said:” Do you sense anything now?” He shook his shrouded head.” No conscious thoughts here, but back on the landing field things are going bad. There is confusion and some of it will soon lead to violence. The situation is quite unstable.” “What do you want us to do? Asked Wintsun. “Let’s check out the rest of this building and then look at the others.” The entire building was empty. But it had a working plumbing with fresh water and the lights worked as well, meaning there had to be a power supply somewhere. We opened the last door and Narth said:” What matter of place is this?” “It’s a kitchen. A kitchen with a wood stove, sink and freezer unit.” “How do you know this?” “Many families on Nifleheim prefer this old fashioned traditional way of preparing meals over Serv-Matics.” “How exceptionally primitive and disgusting!” Narth said, slowly shaking his head. The freezer unit was empty but the pantry held Vac-packs of vegetables, meat, fish and rice. Other packs held food items I could not identify right away. In a drawer I found kitchen utensils . I armed myself with a large mono filament knife and put it in my belt. “Why the knife?” Asked Wintsun. “I feel better with some sort of weapon especially after Narth told us that there might be life forms that consider us prey. Besides a knife is a tool and could come in handy.” They followed my example and armed themselves with knifes. Both storage buildings where locked but the monofilament knife cut through the wood frame like butter. “Do you think it is wise to break in?” Asked Wintsun looking over my shoulder while I cut around the lock plate. “Well nobody said we can’t. This is a Navy installation and in lieu of any higher authority I am representing the Navy and should be authorized.” This storage building held pallets stacked with self erecting tents, emergency food rations , construction tools and several power cubes. The other building was stacked with food rations, spare uniforms and water containers. A bright yellow and red painted dura steel locker with ID lock caught my eye.
locked dura steel locker painted bright red in one corner caught my eye. A sign in bold letters read “ Armory Authorized Personnel Only”. Narth approached me:” A fight broke out at the landing field. Someone got hurt.” “Let them fight! We got all the food we need!” Said Limbur.” It’s not our problem.” “Does it not strike you odd, that no one showed up to instruct us? Maybe the camp personnel was attacked and killed by something in the Jungle!” Speculated Wintsun. I shook my head.” This seems unlikely to me. We would have found some evidence of occupancy in the main building. All this stuff is stored and locked away. No one left here in a hurry or unexpected.” Wintsun rubbed his chin.” Makes sense to me but where are they? “ I shrugged:” I don’t know what they expect us to do, or why no one has shown up to give us any instructions. Maybe the ship with the instructors was delayed somehow, or we got dropped of at the wrong planet.” Limbur rolled his eyes.” That be our luck, some clerk filed the wrong flight papers and the shuttle pilot has long forgotten about us. It may take weeks till they know we’re missing.” I examined the lock at the Armory . It was a state of the art ID lock. Then I looked over my shoulder and said:” Maybe this is simply another test to see how we react and until we know for sure we can not completely eliminate your first speculation either. All I know is we must make the best out of the situation until we can find out. I think we should go back and tell them what we found and then see if we can find anything in here that can be used to send a Trans Dim message.” So we went back to the landing field. As we reached the others we found a cadet lying on the ground and another one was sitting on the ground, pressing his hand over a bleeding head wound. The blue skinned Cadet stood before them holding a wooden stick like a club. His other fist prodded against his hip and then and barked at me:” Cadet you have left this area unauthorized. I am placing you under arrest until superior officers arrive!” I gasped and said:” What? “ “I am Swybin, Son of Admiral Swybbar. I assumed command. My father is not just anyone and I know everything about the Navy and its regulations” The Narth shook his head.” Relationship to a ranking officer does not give you command authority. Rank is not inherited but earned. You have no authority to place anyone under arrest or assume command. “ Wintsun stood straight with a serious face and said with loud voice:” United Stars Navy General Orders Section One Page 5 In the absence of higher command authority the best qualified or positioned has to take charge of post and all government property in control reach. I herby put on record on this day and this hour, that no one of rank is within communications reach and I take command. Since I am not the most qualified person I am herby putting Cadet Eric Olafson in charge of all navy personnel, enlisted or commissioned of equal rank or lower. Until such time I am relieved of command by proper identified command authority.” It became quiet. Narth nodded.” He is correct and he now is our superior officer.” Swybin didn’t like that and it was clear that he wished he had thought of that.” I am the son of Admiral Swybbar and I am the logical choice here. When the Officers come they will listen to me alone because a singe word of mine can cost their career! And I will report you all as deserters if you do not listen to me!” This was going over my head.” I don’t know any regulations or Navy orders. I am in the Navy only since the day before yesterday, but I suggest we bring the injured cadets into the buildings and see if we can help them. There are self erecting emergency tents and there is food and water. It makes no sense to wait here on the landing field. If our instructors come they will be smart enough to look for us at the buildings over there! So Mr. Wintsun what are your orders?” Wintsun once again stood in attention and barked:” I herby order you Eric Olafson to take charge.” Swybin fumed:” Anyone disregarding my orders will be court-martialed and I assure you my dad will listen to me!” I had enough of that.” This is getting us nowhere.” I am going back to those buildings and take those wounded cadets along. I am taking full responsibility for my actions and you are welcome to report what I did to anyone you like. Anyone that want to come along is welcome!” Wintsun said :”Cadets follow us!” Of the 120 cadets only about 20 remained with Swybin. I knelt down to the bleeding cadet and said:” Can you walk?” The wound was over his left eye. “I think so!” “Alright then. Go lean against me I get you to the building.” To Limbur I said:” Can you help me with the other one?” Limbur grinned: I don’t need help with that!” He lifted the unconscious man like a weightless toy from the ground and carried him away. –“”-- By night fall we had enough tents erected for everyone. I had them placed before the main building as close together as possible. In the building we arranged one room as mess hall and another as an infirmary. One of the Cadets, a girl with skin so black it had a bluish shimmer was a certified EMT, before she joined the navy. Her name was N’Buga and she found first aid supplies in one of the ware houses. The one with the head wound seemed alright after Limbur, the EMT treated him, but the other one was still unconscious. Limbur told me that Swybin hit him hard with the wooden club. N’Buga feared the cadet had a serious head trauma beyond her ability to diagnose or treat, with the tools at hand. She bunched the towel she was holding and grinded her teeth.” He most likely has a traumatic head injury and I don’t have the scanners or tools to check for bleeding or fractures. We must assume the worse and there isn’t much I can do. He needs medical attention as soon as possible!” I smiled at her.” I know you do you best. We’re trying to find some way to call for help.” “If I could put him in a stasis field, which would be the best solution for now.” “I check the supplies maybe they have space suits.” Said Wintsun who was standing next to us. “What would a Space suit do? “ I asked. “All Navy space suits have an auto doc unit and are cryostasis capable in case someone get lost in space and needs to conserve energy and life support.” “Well let’s tear those storage sheds apart and see what we can find!” Almost an hour later opening countless shipping containers one cadet held up a sealed package and said.” Not a space suit but a cryostasis replacement module for one, complete with Auto Doc.” Two cadets with engineering skills rigged a make shift space suit out of repair tape and tent skin , we placed the injured cadet inside and N’Buga activated the Cryostasis unit. Her face relaxed as the indicator lights went green.” Well that should stabilize him better than anything else we can do until help arrives.”
I was standing at the door to our improvised infirmary when Narth approached me and I realized he didn’t make any sound when he moved.” The tents are all up. Lemur passed out ration food bars and water. I posted the guards as you asked. Two on the roof and two on each side of the camp. Now what do you want the rest to do?” “Are you sure no one resents me giving orders and all that?” Narth put his hand on my shoulder.” No Eric, the mood on our side has drastically improved.” “We should inventory the items in the storage buildings. Ration the food, water seems to be no problem, but until we know how long we have to be here or know what native resources are consumable. I think we should ration it. Post double guards at both storage places. No one is to help themselves to food outside of meal times.” “A wise precaution indeed, I shall convey your orders! I also suggest we open the armory case and supply the guards with better weapons than clubs and knifes. Only a few are trained in any sort of combat and I foresee we might need real weapons before the night is over!” “Alright! I am opening it myself, in case we get in trouble for it, it’s only me they can punish!” “This is quite noble, but I will share this responsibility with you!” –“”-- The lock was state of the art, I pushed my thumb on it and a voice said.” Biometric data not on file. Access denied.” “I am Cadet Eric Olafson. I am in Command an no higher authority can be contacted. Access to the weapons is vital.” “ID chip information recorded. Access granted.” The box held ten brand new military issue Directed Energy Blasters. With Narth’s help I picked eight cadets and armed them with DEB’s , located them strategically so they could rest and eat yet rush to the site of any alarm in short time. The two cadets with engineering skills rigged an air conditioning system for the infirmary from parts they found in the store room and they where quite proud as they showed off their handy work. Both where humanoid the taller one had black hair that lay so tight to his skull it looked painted. He had big eyes and a small mouth, his name was Albert . the exposed skin of the other was covered with colorful tattoos in bright blues and blacks. His hair was red almost orange and his eyes where the greenest I ever saw, he listened to the name of Shawn. It was Shawn who proudly demonstrated the workings of the Air Conditioning system.” Al rigged it with four tent units and I tied it into the building energy supply box. We can keep the place warm or cold. “ “That’s a good job you did.” Was all that cam to my mind. It surprised me that it caused proud smiles with both. Albert didn’t say much , but he had fashioned himself a tool belt and stuffed it with all sorts of tools he ha found in the ware house. Shawn had rolled up his sleeves and displayed his tattoos and muscles. “What do you want us to do next?” I shrugged.” Well if you could rig something like a Trans Dim Radio anything that might be used to send a message that be good.” Shawn shook his head.” Can’t do, Sir. None of the spare parts have transdim spools and without them nothing goes past the LI thresh hold.” Albert said something to Shawn in a language I never heard and Shawn nodded.” Aye we could try that.” “What did he say?” Shawn punched the other.” Don’t speak that old German he doesn’t understand any of the Engineering Languages!” Albert grinned sheepishly.” Sorry Captain. I just so happy that I found another that speaks Old Irish and Old German that I forgot.” I had no idea what he was talking about but nodded anyway.” That’s fine. Can you make a Trans Dim Radio?” “Not exactly, but if we can take one of the DE rifles apart and use the lock computer we can make a Morse code transmitter. No voice no images and we couldn’t receive but anyone with a Trans Dim Set in range could hear us.” “I sure they know more than I do. Why do I get the feeling you all know more about this than I do? Have you done this before?” Albert shrugged.” I haven’t. I thought you can only try once. I was raised on a ship and haven’t been much dirt side, but I think I know pretty much all non classified tech inside and out.” “Morse code is truly ancient and comes from Earth pre Astro time. But it’s simplicity and usefulness made it an almost universal thing. Every Com Officer aboard any ship military or civilian knows Morse code. Besides any computronic will recognize it as artificial transmission and can translate it.” Shawn explained. Then he added.” It’s my first time in the Academy for sure, but I was born on Kikenny and being an Engineer is more than a tradition to us , it’s almost a religion.”
The night after a long sunset. Narth was confident he could calculate the duration of a local day after tomorrow. We then found out nights on Idyllic where very dark, there was no moon to reflect any sunlight. The stars however where spectacular! And soon we learned that night fall caused a sharp drop in temperatures and it was getting colder by the minute. The tents had heating elements and we found plenty of blankets and padded uniform jackets and I was confident we would be just fine. Narth told me the situation on the landing field was getting worse by the minute. The handful of cadets that remained with Swybin where cold, hungry and confused aggression and fear tensed to a breaking point. He and Wintsun also sensed aggressive hunger emotions from beings in the jungle and that there was more activity now than during the day. So I had the guards equipped with hand held search lights and we worked out a guard schedule. I was just inspecting the tents and talked to a Cadet from Earth when Winsun came down the steps of the main building and said” Everything looks fine, everyone is contempt. Sure everyone is wondering what happened to the Instructors, but there isn’t any fear.” He pounded my shoulder.” I hand it to you , Viking you know your stuff!” “Winsun, I know nothing and the more I talk to other the more I realize that.” He said nothing just smiled at me and wiped on his feet and I was about to return to talk to the girl from Terra when he said.” What do we do now?” “We wait, keep our guard up and see what happens.” “There are plenty of idle cadets with nothing to do. They want to help and do something! They are eager to do whatever you tell them, but tell them something.” “Alright, let’s run this place navy like! I don’t know much about it yet, and all I was instructed about was food and appearance. So I want the hallway made into a mess hall. Find chairs and tables make them out of shipping crates or something and get a group on heating ready meals. Everyone not on guard post will attend, perfectly groomed and dressed. Guard posts are to be relieved half way through dinner and also need to groom and bathe before they attend.” I smiled.” That will keep them busy!” Winsun smiled from one ear to the other and almost yelled. “Yes Sir that it will!” I too put on a clean uniform , trimmed my beard and combed my long blonde hair, braided it as it was tradition . The empty hallway had transformed rather nicely into a make shift mess hall with two rows of tables with bed sheets as table cloth. Field mess kits had been arranged in place settings and someone found a Union flag and hung it from the far end wall. And almost every seat was taken . Winsun pointed at the crate at the short end and I felt awkward taking this obviously prominent spot. It felt even more strange as every eye was on me. Winsun leaned over.” Since we don’t have servers, the food is already placed but we waited on you.” I cleared my throat, took the water bottle and raised it.” Unknown is what lies ahead, let us face it like Navy officers. We and especially myself no nothing about the Navy yet, but we sure will do our best. To the Navy, to tomorrow .” I drank and sat down and began to eat looking sheepishly around. Not one face of those I could read showed amusement, but I could almost sense the collective pride. A spiny looking Cadet who almost looked like a skeleton bowed his bony head and blinked his sunken eyes.” This was a good toast, Sir.”
During the sixth hour of darkness, after a few hours of sleep, I climbed on the roof to take my post and relieve the watch. The temperature had dropped below freezing now. I just made it half way when a bright light finger suddenly stabbed into the darkness from the left guard position below and then came the shouts of alarm!” It was to far for me to climb down in time. So I crawled the last meters to the actual post. Someone had taped a tent tarp down and used the heating unit as blower making it not a bad spot at all . I didn’t know the names of the ones sitting there, but they where humanoid and one asked me in a hushed voice .” Mr. Olafson, what is going on?” “I don’t know, Cadet. But we going to find out!” I took his spot light and pointed it into the same direction as the first one. Something large with green scaled skin and six legs was caught in the strong bright light beams. It was so big I could see it’s teeth them from up here. The beast was confused by the sudden light and had stopped its advance. It was, I estimated at least 20 meters long and perhaps 5 tall. I shouted.” Two gun men to the guard post. Others remain where they are!” The beast overcame its hesitation and started to advance towards the camp. I heard the cadets with the rifles run and a second after that two sun bright bolts of energy lashed out, caught the beast and the sharp crack of super heated air vibrated the area. The beast was hit by pure energy plasma, millions of degrees hot and half the animal was instantly incinerated. We repelled and killed two more within the same hour and then it became quiet. Narth who was my watch partner had literally floated up to our position without moving a limb, a few moments after I had arrived:” The beasts of the jungle fear this place of lightning and thunder and won’t bother us anymore for a while.” “What about those on the landing field?” “If I would be human I wager there won’t be many left tomorrow.” “We can’t let this happen! We have to convince them to come here or at least protect them!” “Why? The son of the Admiral thinks very bad thoughts about you and it was their free choice!” “We have to go! “ I said while climbing down. Narth floating alongside. “You got some grav device under that cloak of yours?” I asked. “No I levitate myself using telekinesis. It is quite simple and I am not all that heavy! I can levitate you too, if you care” “I think I should learn more about the Narth.” “I shall teach you more of my culture and people.” “At another time though! We need to hurry! I have a bad feeling about this!” –“”--
Two of our armed cadets, Narth and I reached the landing field and the other cadets some moments later. We had to fire right away as four of the scaled beasts where about to attack. The blinding light and the loud hissing crack of the blasters while hitting the first animal was enough to scare the rest away. Cold wind blew unrestricted and the wind chill made it feel even colder than it actually was. They where huddled close and looked hungry and exhausted. Two seemed delirious and another one was badly wounded and it looked as if one of the beasts had bitten of part of his arm. Swybin sat in the middle, wearing several uniforms at once and he saw us coming and hissed:” It is to late to ask to come back, Viking. Tomorrow the Instructors will come and you will face a court-martial and I will personally watch your execution!” Another cadet pointed into the dark.” Olafson! Some huge beast came and dragged Morthil away!” I said:” Save your poison Swybin. You may court martial me or have me dragged before your father, I don’t care. But right now the lives of your friends is in serious jeopardy. Take them to the camp. There is food and warmth. You can blame me for everything and say I forced you, but for Odin’s sake go. To the two cadets that had came with me I said:” Get that wounded guy as fast as you can inside and wake N’Buga so she can take care of him.” I turned to Narth.” Escort them back and see that they all get food and a place to sleep. “ “Where are you going?” Asked Swybin a little less hostile., before Narth could answer me. “I am trying to find that beast and see if we can do anything for the Cadet dragged away. If not he deserves a decent burial so he can enter Valhalla!” Narth said.” I shall accompany you. I can sense him. He is still alive.” “Alright! Holstin give Narth your blaster and take the others back.” Narth refused.” I don’t need weapons.” “Point the way then. I am sure the guy hasn’t all to much time left!” I ran alongside Narth who’s feed hovered just a few inches above the ground towards the jungles edge. I glanced at him.” You are sure a spooky sight! Floating and dressed like that, you look like a real ghost.” “I wasn’t aware there are unreal ghosts!” His answer gave me the chills. I suddenly thought that if Narth believed in ghosts that there might be indeed such entities. I promised myself to ask him about ghosts sometimes later, but we reached the Jungles edge and at first the foliage looked like a solid black wall and I wondered how we could advance, when Narth pointed to a smashed path, made by the large beast. As we followed the path. I found I didn’t have to use the flash light, despite the fact that no starlight penetrated the forest roof. Eerie glowing tree trunks illuminated the surroundings with a faint bluish light. My eyes where adapted to the dark depths of Nifleheim oceans so I could see just fine. Narth asked:” Many of the others experience an emotion called fright. Aren’t you afraid?” “I guess I am, but it doesn’t affect me much as long as there is something I can do about it. I was raised hunting huge carnivorous fish in a very dangerous environment. This is scare I tell you, but real fear I learned from my father, so I am used to fear I guess.” We penetrated the jungle deeper, I was trying to catch my breath and still keep up with the effortless floating Narth and I estimated we already went more than a klick, when Narth grabbed my shoulder and jerked me back with force. Just then something broke through the jungle floor in an explosion of leaves and wet dirt. A large maw filled with sharp fangs missed my head by less than a centimeter. I heard my own blaster roaring before I even knew it was me firing. Smoke and steam and the stench of burned flesh belched around me in a gagging cloud. My shot had cut the thing in half. A large snake like being , it’s head intact, six small eyes fixed on me. I took a deep breath:” that was close! Thank you Narth!” “No mention is necessary. The being caught me by surprise as well. It had no thoughts until we where almost over it.” I wiped sweat and leaves of my face and gasped. “Well let’s keep going. He might be still alive but not if the beast decides to slow down and eat.” After only a few hundred meters Narth stopped.” The Cadet is out of danger! We no longer need to pursue him!” “How can this be? Is he dead?” Bright lights suddenly flooded the scene. I dropped to the ground, and pointed my blaster towards the light and yelled “ Narth, take cover!” A new voice out of the lights said.” No need Cadet Olafson. I am Commander Letsgo. Cadet Morthil is safe and so are the others. You may lower your gun!” I got to my feet and I saw a Navy Officer and six Marines in Heavy Battle armor.