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This is the old Version of Chapter 1 of Eric Olafson, NeoVikingEdit

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This is the old

NILFEHEIM 2nd Planet ,Solken System . 452 LY from Terra. Year: 5012 (OTT - Old Terran Time)

Mr. Flensburger was a little late as usual. He came into the classroom dressed like a Harpooner in the middle of Long night. He wore a heavy hooded Fangsnapper fur coat, over a padded Iso-Tex Jacket and beneath the hood a heated wind mask, but that was far from all , underneath all that a Fleet Issue extreme suit with active heating. He was dressed like that despite the fact it was almost spring and he had to walk less than 1500 meters in the open. It was only ten below zero and light wind. Bare chest weather my Uncle Hogun would say. It would take him long moments to get undressed and I was certain the pile of clothing next to his desk grew just a little bigger every day. “It is exceptionally cold this morning, class," he greeted us and twenty two Neo-Vikings would say:”Good morning Mr. Flensburger.” I couldn’t help myself and said, "You have been on Nilfeheim now for over thirty years, Mr. Flensburger. Haven’t you gotten used to our weather by now?”. He took off his cold mask, revealing his slate ice gray eyes and his long pointed nose and looked at me, then shook his head. "Mr. Olafson, it took me all this time to get used to the barbaric customs of you Neo Vikings. I had no time to get used to the weather yet.” That caused the class to laugh. He walked to the windows and looked over the churning waves of the ocean. "It is a beautiful planet. It has lots of cold water, teaming with an abundance of life, blue oceans and very, very long winters. I come from New Algiers, no open water. Deserts as far as you can see. You have winds bringing ice crystals, snow and rain. Our storms bring dust, lots of it, but the temperature never drops below 30 and is usually at 48." I tried to imagine how it would be, to live in bread oven conditions like that. I glanced at my I-Board and checked on New Algiers. Our teacher turned to face the class. "It is your final year and some of you might actually leave this world and it will also be my last school year. Thirty years teaching you Neo Vikings about the rest of the Universe was a challenge to say the least.” His eyes became dreamy and he smiled.” First I am going to Para-Para and simply sit on the beach for maybe a year or so. I believe it will take at least that long for my bones to thaw.” Leif Swenkjard sitting across the aisle from me waved his hand.”I’ve been to Para-Para actually. When my Father had to go there for an ocean produce tradeshow he took me along. They don’t even have a little snow anywhere and their largest fish is about the size of a Surface Finner. On Para-Para there are no weapons allowed, if you use your fist to make an argument stick you get in trouble and arrested. No one wears much clothing and all they do is smile all the time.” Ygral Anders next to him drew the outlines of a woman into the air.”How about the girls, do they wear little?” “You could bunch up what they wear in your fist and nothing showing.” Ygral now grinned from one ear to the other.”I think I go there for a visit too!” “You wouldn’t like it. Because the guys don’t wear much either and you barely see any blonde tall girls with braids anywhere. Those girls can’t cook a decent meal, won’t clean up after you and want to be equal to men and sit at the same table!” Flensburger shook his head putting his right hand before his eyes.”You are hopeless.” Then he sat down on the edge of his desk and he stared at me.”You look different today, Eric. What are you wearing on your head?” “It is the Helmet of the Hunt; I received it this morning from the Eldest.” “I am somewhat familiar with it. I was under the impression only someone completing the Hunt was allowed to wear one.” Leif turned and gave me a hateful envious look.” Eric killed two Tyranno Fins this morning completing the ancient challenge. I can't understand why someone like him is such a good hunter.“ Flensburger got up and came closer.”Just consider me an ignorant Off-worlder for now, but would you explain that to me again? I thought The Ancient Challenge was considered too dangerous even by your standards and no longer required.” Leif still being addressed answered.”In order for a Viking to be accepted as a man he must complete three tasks. Only by completing these three tasks, closely observed by the Circle of the Eldest, one may sit on the table with the warriors, drink mead and wear a helmet. The three challenges are: to walk the Tunnel of Skill where your fighting skills are tested, recite the entire Poem of Odin without faltering, and to slay a Tyranno Fin. To slay a Tyranno Fin even in a modern Sub is no easy task, but to do it the old way by diving and using a Hand harpoon is almost suicide and because so many sons died that way the Ancient Challenge is no longer required. However anyone can still do it the old way and that is the highest honor and test of skill.” “And you killed two of them this morning?” Flensburger asked visibly astounded. “Yes Sir. I had not planned on killing two. I was stalking a young Twi Halfer and when I speared it into the Mark its brother or father showed up and it was a Six Double I think, I had to kill it or it would have done so with me.” “I heard the Eldest say it was an Eight Tri,” Ygral interrupted.” And no Eight Tri has been slain by hand in over 200 years. It is all over the radios this morning too.” Flensburger shook his head once again.”You are one crazy species of humans. Going against the biggest and fastest Predator fish in the Galaxy armed with a toothpick and hope to kill it by hitting a fist size target behind their eyes.” I made a circle with my hands. ”The Mark was about that big on the Eight Tri, not fist size.” He rolled his eyes and sighed. ”Right, that makes it so much easier. Now I wonder does it not make you a man even in the eyes of your family and most certainly among your class mates. Would this not fix things between you and your father?” I lowered my head. ”No it won’t and I'd rather not talk about it!” “Very well then.”He turned to the class and said, "Have you ever wondered why we have school? Why we have classes? Why we don’t simply use neural uploading for everything, like we do for language and general knowledge?” There was silence. He pointed at Sven. ”You questioned the need for schooling many times before. Would you not rather have all what you need uploaded in your brain and be done with it?” Sven shook his long red hair. ”No I don’t see the need for all this off world garbage in my head in the first place. I am going to be a harpooner like my Father and my brothers and my son will be a harpooner too. I will be a very good harpooner and one day, if Odin wills it, I start my own boat and have a clan of my own. What do I need to know about the rest of the Galaxy?” “I know you think that way. Many Neo Viking’s coming to school think that way. But you are members of the Union and you do business with the Union. What good is a harpooner without a Harpoon? Or what good is a Hunt boat that can’t sell its catch?” Sven was still not convinced and crossed his big forearms across his barrel chest.”We make our own Harpoons and we can eat our own catch.” Mr. Flensburger sighed. ”Your skull is as dense as the ice out there. What is your harpoon made off? What do you use to propel your boats and hunting subs?” Sven was not so sure about himself anymore and his voice changed as he answered: ”Harpoons are made of Ultronit, and we use Zero point cubes to power the boats.” I could see Sven was suddenly thinking. We all knew Sven wasn’t the sharpest harpoon on the boat. "And where does the Ultronit and the power cubes come from?" He responded to the question, saying, “My father orders metals, knives and boat parts on GalNet.“ “How does he pay for it?” Mr. Flensburger asked. “With Union Creds of course.” “How does he get Union Creds?” “We’re selling Tyranno meat, Flasher fish and lots of Fanger Fur to the Exchange in town.” Even Sven realized what he was saying and nodded. ”Alright we do need the Off-worlders. You made your point, Mr. Flensburger, but why do we have to learn it this way?” The skinny teacher sat down on the edge of his desk. His favorite position when he was about to explain something to us. “Our Union is a little over 3000 years old and we have over 4,500 member civilizations. There are millions of settled planets and locations. There are non humanoids, methane breathers, insectoids, and even a non corporal species. There are a very few things that are common to all. One of those things most societies have in common is the need to educate the young, to prepare them for the world. There are only a few species we know of who do not need to educate their offspring. The Klack for example, those Insectoid friends of ours have a collective mind they share all experiences, a Klack hatches with all knowledge he needs. But even the Klack send their young to Union schools mostly to prepare us to interact with them. ”Mr. Flensburger folded his hands. ”For most civilizations however schooling is necessary and after many millennia of experience and experimenting with all those various other education techniques it turned out that the old way of class interaction resulted in the best education.“ Again he looked across the class and pointed at Peter. ”Why do you think these old methods might be superior?” Peter, the son of a Fish merchant and one of the few who had plans to leave Nilfleheim after graduation for college answered after a short moment of thought. ”I believe even the smartest computronic can’t answer a real question by analyzing the reason for the question in relationship to the environment and background of the student. Only a real teacher can do that.” “Not bad at all, Peter. I would give you a straight A for that answer. Except that this is the textbook answer you just read. But finding the right answer so fast and skillfully hiding your E-Pad under your sleeve I still give you a B.” He nodded more to himself than to anyone in particular. ”It is the environment in which we learn that makes the difference. Uploaded knowledge and implanted memories can supply you with all the data you need. While you won’t find a Data head here on Nilfleheim, having your mind direct linked to GalNet is not uncommon elsewhere. So knowledge isn’t the reason for schools and teachers but the environment in which you take it in to give you the tools to use the information your mind processes.” He stabbed his finger at me.”Mr. Olafson, what happens when you graduate?” “We become citizens, Sir!” “Very good, now regardless of your grades that determine your further career and education options, everyone becomes a Citizen after graduating Basic school. This is why you are here; this is why your parents want you here to become full citizens. Only as a citizen can you freely travel, open a bank account, transfer UnionCreds, use GalNet, vote, get free health care and most of all, get the full protection of the law! “ Sven still wasn’t convinced, “I still don’t see why an Off-worlder like you has to come and teach us all that. My father told me that before we were forced to join the Union we would learn all that we needed from our Clan Elder.” “So you think you were forced to join?” “What else do you call a fleet of Battleships with Planet-Buster bombs ready to vaporize our planet in orbit?” “Before we go into that and since it seems you are quite the history expert, do you know the reason why the United Stars send Battleships in the first place?” “Yes of course! Our glorious forefathers caused mayhem and terror by raiding other colonies and spaceships for everything we needed. ”He laughed loudly." Neo Vikings were feared in this sector!" “Indeed. Your glorious forefathers realized they would not survive another decade without things the outside world could supply. So they hijacked a freighter and a few Gunboats and resorted to piracy.” Sven shrugged. ”We just were stronger and better warriors and so we had the right to take it.” “Well since the Union Fleet was stronger than your pirate boats and arguing entirely by your logic, they had the right to bomb you. But your forefathers where given a choice, no one forced them to join. The choice was cease all pirate activity and remain isolated on this planet of yours with no contact with others at all, or to join the United Stars and accept Federal Law. Your forefathers didn’t even debate one hour and filed for membership.” As he turned to the window Sven leaned over to Peter. ”One of these days I'll stuff his face with my fist. That arrogant Off-worlder, such a wimp has no right to teach us anything!” Flensburger turned. ”So you want to stuff my face and you think I am a wimp. I accept your challenge.” Sven looked around as if he wanted to make sure everyone heard the same. ”You can’t be serious. A tap of me would kill you.” I said, ”I would not do it, Sven. He’s from New Algiers.” Sven snorted in my direction. ”When I am done with him,you're going to be next. Your father kicked you out of his clan; you are not worthy to even breathe the same air as I do.” Leif sitting next to Sven Yelled, "He might have a strange disease I don't understand, but by our laws and traditions Eric was pronounced a warrior born and a man by the Eldest today! I will not sit idle while you insult a Viking Warrior. Even if I don't like him, I will kill you!” Sven got up, showing everybody his muscles and then stepped forward towards the teacher. "I am going to rip your head off, Mr Flensburger. Then I will take care of a few others around here!” “Then do it Sven and don’t talk too much!" our teacher said. " You challenged me and all you do is boast and talk." Sven literally flew forward and swung his huge fist. Mr. Flensburger caught Sven's wrist and stopped the punch right before his nose, then twisted it fast and in such a fashion that Sven had to go to his knees. The smaller teacher held the massive arm of Sven with no effort and said to the class, “You see Sven, on New Algiers we have a gravitation of 3.6 that means my muscles are 3.6 times denser than yours and before I became a teacher, I served the Navy and received intensive combat training. It does not have to be an Off-worlder that teaches you, but every teacher in Basic School has to be a Citizen with a service record. No Neo Viking ever served in the fleet. Now I could break every bone in your body without losing a drop of sweat.” He twisted Sven’s arm even more and Sven groaned. ”I am going to kill you!” “It is unwise to make threats to someone holding your arm in such a fashion.” Mr. Flensburger twisted a little more and this time Sven yelped in pain. The teacher let him go. Sven immediately lunged forward but the teacher stepped aside in a swift, elegant move and grabbed Sven by the shoulders, added to the momentum and made him crash into the wall. Sven shook his head dazed, got up on shaky legs and turned raging with anger, pulling his Harpooner Knife. I jumped up and so did almost everybody. Peter yelled. ”This is not honorable. He beat you fair and square, put your knife away!” Sven’s face was deep red and he pointed the wicked knife at Peter. ”I will slice you like Tyranno-bait, after I am done with that Off-worlder!” I jumped forward holding my chair like a shield. ”Mr. Flensburger get back!” Sven laughed. ”Splendid! Your Father will reward me if I kill you. He’ll give me a boat for sure!” Flensburger was completely calm. ”I appreciate your assistance Eric, but let me finish this. I ask you all to sit back down. I also give you Sven a chance to sit down and we will continue with our discussion. Do that or I am forced to take that knife from you and expel you from school.” “No one takes my knife and I could care less if I fail your stupid class.” “I didn’t say fail class. I said you will be expelled.” Sven attacked and again Flensburger moved fast. He got hold of Sven’s wrist again, just like before and with his other hand he grabbed Sven by the throat. Sven gargled, the knife fell and Mr. Flensburger lifted Sven off his feet holding the heavy teenager by the throat without any effort. ”You had your choice and you made it. Now I have no other choice. You are expelled! Do you know that this means you will not become a Citizen? Now I give you a second choice: Yield and surrender or die!” Sven now turned purple struggled and gargled. ”I give in. I surrender!” The teacher let him go and said. ”You are to leave school immediately. You got your wish; there won’t be any school for you anymore.” Sven grabbed his knife and stumbled to the exit. ”Who needs to be a stupid citizen anyway? I am a Neo Viking!” With those words he left. Mr. Flensburger sat back down on his desk as if nothing happened and said, ”Dial your E-Pads to Blank page and write me a one page report about what Citizenship means to you.” It was in the second hour, as Mr. Flensburger was reading the first reports when the class room door opened and Sven’s father Elik Swenson stepped in. Elik was known for his foul temper and it was said he had smashed more than a few skulls, but he appeared with his harpooner’s helmet in hands. “Mr. Flensburger, I apologize for the interruption, but it is true that you expelled my son?” “Indeed. He had made his choice. I gladly show you the visuals of the incident. So you can see how it came to this.” To us he said, "While I discuss these matters with Mr. Swenson you can take a break.” The school was built on a rock that stuck out the ocean about 25 clicks from the Main Island. The courtyard was half exposed to the open and ended at one side into a piled up tumble of huge rocks and below those rocks was the ocean. Sven was right; my father would have given him a boat or money if Sven killed me. Since I didn’t have friends among my classmates and it usually ended with a fight if I stayed in the courtyard I climbed to my accustomed spot up the rocks and stared out into the seemingly endless ocean. Thinking about my situation. I was born to Isegrim Olafson, a rich patriarch and clan chief of the Trondheim Clan. My mother died when I was just five. He had then chosen another wife and had two more sons with her, my half brothers. As the first born it would have been my duty to follow the lead of my father and become a Tyranno Fin hunter, pilot the family sub and fight with other Nilfeheim men for the honor to be in the circle of clan chiefs. It didn’t work out and my father almost killed me twice for what he felt were transgressions against honor and tradition. Everything was always a transgression against honor and tradition with him anyway. He disowned me when I was 15, after he had almost killed me that fateful night when he became aware of my condition and declared me unfit to be his son. Making my second brother his heir. I had spent the last 2 years with my uncle in Harstad Fjord, where Uncle Hogun, brother to my father owned a Tavern. In less than two weeks I would graduate and then nothing would hold me on this planet. I had already seen the Navy recruiter many times and during my last visit I had signed up. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted as I saw Mr. Flensburger and Mr. Swenson come out of the classroom, both smiling and shaking hands and Sven appearing between the rocks holding a Harpoon Gun aiming it at Mr. Flensburger. He was less than 5 meters below me and ready to squeeze the trigger. I yelled a warning and jumped. The harpoon gun fired, I didn’t see where the explosive tipped steel dart went, because I had picked a fight with the strongest kid in school, almost twice my size. Fighting was second nature to us Neo Vikings and I could not have counted the times I had to fight with other class mates or with my own brothers. Instead of hitting me, he pulled the reload lever on the harpoon and that gave me the chance to hammer my fist as hard as I could against his chin, while simultaneously slamming my knee in his groin. He sank to his knees; I could not let him recover. He was much stronger than me, so I kicked him hard against the temple and kept pounding him with both fists. “Stop it for Christ’s sake!” Flensburger yelled, angrier than I ever heard him before. You are going to kill him!” I turned still kneeling on top of Sven. Mr. Flensburger and his father had crossed the yard. Elik said. ”Go ahead kill him! He brought shame on the clan. ”I noticed Elik bleeding from a shoulder wound. ”Kill him! I said. Crush this failure! He is no longer my son!” “If you kill him now, Olafson you will be guilty of murder!” The teacher interjected with a warning voice. I looked at my bloody fist and at the bloody mess I made of Sven’s face, ashamed of my own savage act and got up. Mr. Flensburger pointed at me.”You will report to the principal’s office now. I'll deal with the rest here.” I had been sent to the principal’s office before but not lately and didn’t look forward to what he had to say. I truly hoped it would not cause me to fail graduation. I needed to leave Nilfleheim! He already expected me holding open his door and motioned me to take a seat across his desk. His name was Lothar Valthim and while he was not from Nilfleheim, he certainly looked like a Neo Viking, he even braided his dark hair the same way we did. ”Take a seat, Mr. Olafson. I just finished watching the events of this day so far and I was impressed by your heroic acts. I know of your particular story and why your father disowned you. Down here on Nilfleheim it is a very bad affliction indeed, out there it is nothing at all and would not raise as much as an eyebrow.” “I would appreciate it if you do not mention my problem, Sir. It is something I have to work out myself somehow. I certainly don’t want to talk about it!” “I understand. However you did save a life today. That harpoon would not have missed and would have killed without a doubt. So I decided to graduate you today. You are as of today a full citizen of the United Stars with all the privileges and rights that come with that status.” I was completely perplexed as he pointed to a very official looking machine at the corner of his office. It had the Federal Seal on it and several bright red labels, warning anyone from unauthorized use. He got up and walked to the machine. ”Here will you get you CITI, your Citizen Implant. This is actually quite a solemn affair and there are millions of beings who would kill for a chance to get one. Normally this is done in a great ceremony with your friends and family present.” He sighed. “I know in your case no one would be there, so here and now it will happen.” He motioned me to put my arm upon the machine. A light came on bathing my arm and the Hymn of the United Stars played. A voice from the machine said, ” On this day the 5th May, 5007 Eric Olafson of Nilfleheim becomes a full registered citizen with all rights and privileges of said status. DNA, Brainwave pattern and biometric data have been stored at the central Citizen registry.” He shook my hand.”Welcome Citizen.” I looked at my arm, nothing looked different, but I knew a CITI had been implanted (Citizen Tag Identifier).”Thank you.” “So what are your plans exactly? Your grades are above average and you have a few choices.” “I spoke with the Navy Recruiting Office. I hope they accept me at the Academy.” “There will be a long way ahead of you then, but I can’t think of a more rewarding career. I did 12 years myself.” “I don’t care how long it takes, as long as it takes me away from Nilfeheim.” He sighed and nodded.”Alright Mr. Olafson you are dismissed. I transmit your graduation papers this afternoon.”

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