Gender: Male Age: 60 Location: S. Leyte - Philippines
|Introduction: When life throughs you lemons -- well you know the rest|
Solara: My Winged Angel:
This is the revised and complete story with parts of part 1 and all of part 3 having already been posted. I hope you enjoy reading the story and all comments are appreciated. Thank You.
Part 1: Jason’s Story
My name is Jason Lee and I am the Commander and sole survivor of the crash landing of the space craft Pathfinder. We had been in orbit around the fourth plant of the star Epsilon Eridani for almost a month when we were struck by another space craft that suddenly appeared from behind the second moon and we were unable to avoid the impact. My craft spiraled out of orbit and crashed on the largest of the three continents killing the other eleven crew members.
But I am getting ahead of myself; let’s start at the beginning.
My first view of Pathfinder is as a newly striped Commander and as her first Captain. She is long and bulky and definitely not designed for racing but she is still the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I should think that most Captains say that about their first command. Her forward section is a modified lifting body and will allow us to land on Epsilon Eridani 4. This sits above and astraddle the containment and habitat module which will hold the labs, the Hyber-sleep chambers and common rooms for when orbit is achieved at EE4. Behind these is the drive section where the fusion reactors and the fuel cells for the Ion-pulse engines. 500 meters long and at over 450,000 M-tons she is capable of .88L; this will give us the speed necessary to rich EE4 in just over 11 years.
The L6 yards have done a first rate job of getting her finished a month ahead of schedule and now it is up to me to get her ready for her maiden voyage. In two years we leave and I still have to pick the rest of my crew and get the ship fitted out.
First order of business is get my crew picked and I know just the man as my Executive Officer; Lieutenant Commander Paul Winston, we served together on Columbia before my promotion and transfer.
As Engineering Officer; Lieutenant Commander Tammara Jenkins, second engineer on the Potemkin. Her recent paper on fusion reactor control modifications was brilliant.
As Science Officer; Lieutenant Rebecca Carlona, from Centauri, second science officer on The Sullivan Brothers. Her discovery that the Trelani of Beta Centauri were parts of a ‘hive-mind’ was a staggering leap forward in the science of telling what was and was not sentient.
As to the rest of the 8 crewman I will let these officers chose who they feel would be the best.
Crew as of Commissioning: (Plank owners)
Commanding Officer: Commander Jason Patrick Lee
Executive Officer: Lt. Commander Paul Gordan Winston
Engineering Officer: Lt. Commander Tammara Ellen Jenkins
Science Officer: Lieutenant Rebecca Delores Carlona
Science Officer 2nd: Lieutenant jg. Daniela Merle Fredrickson
Chosen by Lt. Carlona, because of her work in atmospheric gasses.
Navigation Officer: Lieutenant Thomas Allen Hayes
Chosen by Exec. was told he could navigate a gas nebula blind-folded.
Engineering Chief: Engine Specialist CPO Manuel Ian Serdan
Chosen by Lt. Cmdr. Jenkins, was told he could fix an ion engine with spit and bailing wire.
Communications/Radar: Electronics Specialist 1st Class Gary Edward Flint
Chosen by Exec. his jury-rigged comm saved the crew of the Forestall after one of her fusion cores imploded and cast the ship adrift.
Weapons Specialist/Helm: Sergeant Major Lucas William Jones
Chosen by Exec. it is said he could fly a paper kite through a hurricane and not get it wet; also excellent shot with all fire arms, was overheard saying he could shoot one specific rain drop in a monsoon.
Xeno-Biologist: Dr. Amanda Lucille Stanton
Xeno-Geologist: Dr. Raymond James Livingston
Language Specialist: Dr. Kieko Raven Nakamura
These three chosen by Command as the best in their respective fields.
22 months to go the crew is complete and we are getting things together. Preliminary tests on the sensors are complete as are tests on the navigation and engineering computers, next up static testing the engines.
With Lt. Cmdr. Jenkins’ and Chief Serdan’s help it has taken only 6 months to get a successful engine run-up and we are finally set for maneuvering trials next week. All static testing is complete and it is time to release the docking clamps and be towed to the Mars testing range. We will be at the Mars range for at least a year while we test the engines in all modes up to full speed .88FTL. We will also be testing the cryo-sleep chambers at Mars station prior to their installation and our occupancy.
“Stable orbit achieved, Capt.”
“Thanks, Paul”, via 1MC, “All hands this is the Capt. Stable orbit achieved. Let the ‘yard birds’ have her. Be ready to get under way at 0800hrs on Monday. Capt. Out.”
“Paul, have the daily reports on my desk by 1600hrs, along with all the proposed testing schedules.”
Oh how I hate paperwork; it’s as if the whole world runs on paperwork. Forms for this and forms for that, it’s a never ending stream of forms. Copies of sensor test readings, of engine stress analysis readings, fuel reports, structural analysis testing, commodities reports, crew evaluations, and the craziest of them all is my personal thoughts on ‘How the ship “feels.” ’ Worst of all is that all of this is in the computers and the higher-ups still want it all in writing in quadruplicate. Oh well, such is the life of a ‘sailor’.
“Sir, I have a personnel message here from Cmdr. Larson of Mars Station. She is requesting your presence at dinner this evening.”
“Radio, inform the Cmdr. that I will join her for dinner at 1900hrs. Capt. Out.”
“Yes Sir, Radio out.”
Commander Helen Larson; I hadn’t thought about her in years. We were in the same class at the academy and we dated and even had sex together a number of times. I remember she had the biggest nipples; they were about 3/8s of an inch in diameter and stuck out close to an inch from her tight C-cup tits. She liked being on top so that her lover could suck on them; that; and she liked being in control.
Mars Station; parked at Mars’ L5 point it is pointed ‘North’ end toward the sun. As I stare out of the shuttle’s view port I see the massive wheeled behemoth; five 1 kilometer wide by ½ kilometer diameter wheels separated by ½ km docking junctures for low G transfer with Zero G transfer handled at the ports at each end; the whole thing being almost 8km long. Also the juncture between segments 1 & 2 has a special capture cradle for shuttles that require full G transfers. The station spins on its axis so as to provide .75 G on the interior surface of the segments graduating to Zero G at the central core. Segment walls are 10 meters thick and the outer rim is 30 meters thick. Each segment is also capable of being sealed off so as to prevent a major loss of atmosphere. The station has anti-asteroid missile and laser batteries as well as sweeper tugs to keep the area clear and reduce the chances of an asteroid strike. It is a beautiful piece of engineering and my ‘friend’ is in charge.
My shuttle docks at one of the four Zero G ports on the ‘North’ end and as I disembark a young Ensign asks me, “Are you Cmdr. Lee?”
“Yes I am.”
“Sir; I am Ensign Holcomb. I am Cmdr. Larson’s aide and am here to escort you to her quarters for your dinner engagement.”
“Thank you, Ensign, you may lead on.”
As we walked through the station I was a bit taken back by all the people just standing around with apparently nothing to do. Some were in uniform but most were not, and some had little or no clothing at all. I mention this to the Ensign.
“Sir, full nudity is allowed only in Ring 1 Level 10 Sections 8 & 16 in the Solariums set aside for sun bathing. The rest of the station is a bikini or whatever you wish unless you are on duty and then you must be in full uniform.”
“Thank you Ensign, I’ll keep that in mind.”
We arrived at Cmdr. Larson’s quarters and after being let in Ensign Holcomb asked,” Will there be anything further Mame?”
“No, Ensign, I can handle it from here. You have a good evening and weekend; I’ll see you at 0700hrs. on Monday.”
“Thank you Mame, good evening to you Sirs.”
The Ensign left and Helen turned to me and said, “Well Jason it has been a long time. What is it now; 8 years since the academy?”
“7 years 8 months, but who’s counting. I see that having a NAC Senator as a father hasn’t slowed down your career much. What is it; Ohio that Tom Larson is the senior Senator and possible next President of the North American Coalition.”
“Well dear old dad did have a little something to say about me getting Cmdr.’s stripes and this command last year but, I have had to work my ass off to keep the wolves at bay. Everybody and his brother has an agenda and they all think that theirs is the most important and fuck everyone else. Why not 3hrs ago Dr. Hadaratha the head of the solar studies group was in my office demanding that the fit-out for Pathfinder be put off for more than a month until after they got done with their next round of testing; as the Ion-pulse engines will interfere with their instruments. I had to come up with a very diplomatic solution because as you know India was not consulted or allowed to participate in the construction of Pathfinder, it was strictly NAC.”
“I’m glad I don’t have to play that political game, but I’m glad you are running things here as I know that we’ll get what we need when we need it. Now what’s for dinner?”
She paged the steward and dinner was served; REAL roast beef, REAL mashed potatoes with gravy, corn on the cob, and REAL COFFEE and strawberry cheesecake for desert. Once the stewards cleared the settings and were released for the evening we retired to her private quarters.
We retired to her bedroom and after getting undressed she lets me start the festivities. I touch her in all the right spots as if we had never been apart. Soon I enter her and as she works her way up to orgasm I feel my cum boiling in my balls; and as she clamps down on my cock and comes I blast my seed deep within her clasping cunt. After a few minutes to resurrect myself it is her turn on top. She takes it at a leisurely pace and soon we are both going over the edge together. We spent the rest of the night locked in each other’s embrace and forgot about the rest of the world until the wake-up page at 0630hrs. We spent the day together and she showed me around the station and after dinner that evening we again spent the night in each other’s arms.
Monday; 0800hrs; we are maneuvered to the engine testing range and get everything together for our first live-fire engine run up.
“Ms. Jenkins are you ready?”
“Yes sir, all instruments are on line, all test gear is tied in and recording.”
“Very well. Helm take us to 1% power and prepare for maneuvering.”
“Helm Aye, 1% power and set for maneuvering. Request course Capt.”
“Make course 191 mark 22 take us out of the elliptic Helm.”
“Coming to course 191 mark 22 at 1% power, Aye Capt.”
“Capt. We are showing 1% power and speed is increasing: passing 500kps; passing 1,000kps; passing 2,000kps; 2,500kps; 3,000kps; Sir we are showing a relative speed of 3,000kps and am steering out of than plain of the elliptic. Present course is 191 mark 22.”
“Ms. Jenkins, how are things looking down there?”
“Indications are within .01% of profile and no fluctuations are evident, Capt.”
“Very well, what is the next power setting for this test Paul?”
“The brains are asking us to go to 10% for one hour than go to 25% for an additional hour for this first series before returning to Mars Station.”
“Thank you, Paul. Ms. Jenkins did you get that?”
“Yes sir, go to 10% power for 1 hour then 25% for one hour.”
“Paul are our escorts keeping station with us?”
“Yes sir, Orion and Pegasus are 1000km off both port and starboard beams.”
“Thanks Paul. Helm bring us to 10% power. Ms. Jenkins we are coming to 10% power and you have the control.”
“Aye Capt. 10% power and I have the control.”
“Capt. we are passing 3500kps; passing 4500kps; passing 5500kps; passing 7000kps; passing 10,000kps; passing 15,000kps; passing 20,000kps; passing 25,000kps; holding at 30,000kps.”
“Thank you Helm.”
“Ms. Jenkins, how are we looking down there?”
“Just fine Capt. we are holding steady at 10% power, 30,000kps and the board is green.”
“Very well Ms. Jenkins.”
“Paul, inform me of the next time mark for shift to 25% power.”
“Next mark when ready, Aye Capt.”
For the next hour I feel as though I am un-needed as everything is going so smoothly. I think my days as a young boy listening to my grand-father tell of the history of manned space flight and the battle between the then United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Of how in 2021 the USA put the first colony on Luna and in 2060 the first colony on Mars. Then Paul breaks in; “Time Capt.”
“Helm bring us to 25% power.”
“25% power, Helm Aye.”
“Engineering we are coming to 25% power, you have control.”
“Coming to 25% power, I have control. Aye Capt.”
“Capt. We are passing 35,000kps; 40,000kps; 45,000kps; 50,000kps; 60,000kps;”
“EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN. ALL ENGINES STOP”
“What is it Ms. Jenkins?”
“Capt. We have had a power spike of 6.1% outside the maximum allotted error band and there is no indication of it backing down at levels above 20%.”
“Paul signal Orion and Pegasus of the delay and ask them to stand by. Ms. Jenkins can we maneuver at less than 20% power to get us back to Mars?”
“Yes Sir, I am running diags now to check to problem, but I believe that if we stay below 18% we should be ok.”
“Helm bring us about and steer a course back to Mars. Paul inform our escorts of the problem and that we are returning to Mars at best possible speed.”
“Aye Capt. Coming about.”
“Yes sir informing Orion and Pegasus of our return to Mars.”
“Paul you have the conn I’ll be in engineering.”
“Yes sir, The Exec has the conn.”
In Engineering; “Speak to me Tammy what happened?”
“I’m not exactly sure Skipper but just as we were passing 21% engine #3 surged to 27% and acted as if it was a ‘runaway’ so I hit the Emergency Shutdown and signaled you.”
“Good job, Tammy, we’ll run at 18% back to Mars and then let the brainiacs have at it. Let me know if you find anything.”
“Yes sir I will.”
“Paul I’m going to my cabin, keep us at course and speed back to Mars. Inform me when we arrive. Capt., out.”
Three months have gone by and we are no better off than we were at the first test. Five more test runs and at the exact same point engine #3 jumps from 21.2% to 27.3% and will not synchronize with the other five engines. The brains at Mars Station have torn the engine apart three times and everything is as it should be. We are now 67 days behind schedule and I don’t see us getting it back.
I have been spending a lot of time with Helen and we both know that it is going nowhere; we are just having mutually enjoyable stress relieving sex. Sunday afternoon; I’m with Helen in the section 4 solarium when I get a com page from Paul.
“Yes Paul, What is it?”
“Capt. I think you need to come back to the ship, Ms. Jenkins and Chief Serdan may have found something.”
“Can it wait till morning Paul?”
“OK then Paul I’ll see you at 0700hrs in my cabin. Capt. Out.”
“0700hrs your cabin, Yes sir.”
I spend the rest of the day and night with Helen and then returned to Pathfinder for my morning conference.
Knock, Knock. “Enter.” In steps Paul, Tammy and Chief Serdan and they have a stack of print out about a 100mm thick.
“OK guys, what’s up?”
“Well to start with Sir, the brains that have been working on this have told us that it must be in the engine or in the controls because it can’t be software as it has been checked over-and-over dozens of times, ad-nauseium. That and the fact that engines #1, #2, #4, #5 and #6 work as they are supposed to. Chief Serdan came to Ms. Jenkins with the idea that it must be in the balance and sync controls. The problem it seems is that access to the software routines is under a Level 8 security lock. Which means that not even you Sir; the Capt. has access.”
“So like any good chief engineer he forged a Level 8 clearance and got the entire code structure and all its sub-routines printed out and for the last 2 weeks they have been going over it line-by-line until yesterday morning when they found this.”
Paul unfolds about half of the stack of print-out and shows me 6 circled items on six different pages. These routines just happen to be the fuel-injector timing sub-routines and all the lines match up to one point where those on the third group which are for engine #3 are different. They go on to show me that the control routine for engine #3 is out by six steps from that point all the way up to the over-run speed trip which #3 would do before any of the other 5. It appears to me as if six control steps were just left out of the routine.
“Paul, you and Tammy and Chief get back to what you are supposed to be doing and I’ll handle this.” I get three “Yes sirs.” and they go back to their duties as I get on the horn to Adm. Sprague at Luna Base.
Due to orbital positioning the round trip delay to Luna Base is over twenty minutes but I finally get through to Adm. Sprague and he informs me he will see to it personally that the code writers will be on the next shuttle to Mars to correct their ‘screw-up’ (my words not his).
Five days later the shuttle Antares is calling for docking instructions and I am getting a call from Helen telling me that there is one very pissed off VIP on that shuttle demanding that he be able to speak to the Officer in charge so that he can get back to his office on Earth. I tell Helen to send him on over and I’ll handle this VIP.
I am in my cabin awaiting the arrival of the VIP from Earth. I hear the faint but distinct thump of the ferry’s docking clamps as it contacts the hull and prepares to cycle the airlocks. I guess at 5 minutes to get aboard and to my cabin; and almost exactly on the mark there is a knock on my door.
“Enter” I say; and as Paul opens the door he is rudely pushed aside by a somewhat large man in a jump-suit carrying a briefcase. As this ‘gentleman’ enters my cabin he starts in on me with; “Are you the idiot responsible for my being hijacked half-way across the galaxy to fix a computer your people destroyed?” Paul leaves and closes the door quickly.
“If you are asking if I am the commander of this vessel; then yes I am. If on the other hand you are asking if I am an idiot then the then answer is an emphatic NO!” Now Sir; SIT DOWN, before I have you cycled out of an airlock. This is MY ship and you are here at the admiral’s request to fix an error in the programming for the engines that MY people found when yours have tried for over 2 months and found NOTHING!”
“Bridge, Capt.; Paul, get Tammy and the Chief up here and bring those documents they dug up.”
“Now sir, I didn’t get your name, but you are about to see what happens when the best of Space Command is put up against some ivory-towered lab rat who knows nothing about the real world and how things work. Now I said SIT DOWN!”
As he sits, “My name is Doctor Franz Marcos Von Hellfinglander and there is nothing your people can show me about the computer routines that control the engines of this vessel. I personally went over the program and it is perfect. It was tested on the simulators on Earth and nothing was found to be wrong with it.”
“Did you test all 6 routines or just one as they are supposed to be exact copies of each other?”
“We tested the Master copy and then worked it up for each engine.”
“Well sir; if you had tested each one you would have found what my people did after they hacked into your system;” Knock, Knock. “Enter; Paul, Tammy, Chief; this is Dr. Hellfinglander. He is the squint in charge of the programming for the engines. Why don’t you show him what you found in his PERFECT program.”
“Dr. Hellfinglander I am Lt. Cmdr. Tammara Jenkins and I know of your reputation but if you would look at these print-outs of the engine control software you will see that here on page 845 is the sub-routine for the fuel-injector timing on engine #1.”
“Yes, young lady I am aware of what this sub-routine is for.” He said haughtily.
“Of course good Dr. but if you would look at this routine on page 849 you will see the same for engine #2; and again on pages 857, 861 and 865 you will find the routines for engines 4, 5 and 6 respectively. But if you would look here on page 853 at the sub-routine for engine #3 you will se…”
“This is not possible; this cannot be.” The look on the good Dr.’s face is priceless; complete and udder disbelief. “We made a master copy and duplicated it for each and every engine. How could this be? Are you sure you printed it out correctly?”
“Yes sir, I am. We hacked the security to get a print-out but could not get into the routines to change anything. I’ll gladly take you to Engineering so that you can check this for yourself and correct it as necessary. This way, if you please Dr.”
“I will see you before you leave Dr.; Paul stay.”
“Yes Capt. I will see you before I leave. It should take me no more than 1 hour to correct this.”
“You wanted to see me Capt.”
“Yes Paul; I had to get a bit zealous with the Dr. as he was trying to bully me around on my own ship and I may have gotten a bit dramatic. I threatened to cycle him out an air-lock.”
“Oh yes I did. I think I am going to have some serious explaining to do to the Admiral.”
“You think?” Paul said sarcastically as he left.
I get on the horn to Luna Base and tell the admiral about what happened and all I got from him was a laugh, his comment was that it was about time someone took that big bastard down a notch and put him in his place. I was also warned to not make a habit of such things.
About 2hrs after I hung-up with the admiral there was a knock on my door and when I said “Enter”, Dr. Hellfinglander stepped in looking a bit sheepish.
“I am sorry Capt. I had no idea your engineer was so knowledgeable and proficient with engine control systems. She is quite remarkable and if I may say so quite good looking also.”
“Thank you Dr. I will pass your compliments on to Lt. Cmdr. Jenkins. As to the other thing; I told you when you came aboard and tried to push your weight around that the best there is are on-board this ship and if they say it is something other than what the so called ‘experts’ say it is I’m going to believe MY people. Now sir; I trust that we will not have any more problems with the engine systems software?”
“I should think not Capt. But in case your people find they need some assistance Ms. Jenkins has not only my direct line but my personal access codes to do the necessary corrections. Now Capt. if I could get a shuttle to the station I think I will get a meal and some rest before returning to Earth.”
“As you wish Dr.”
“Engineering; aye sir.”
“Chief; have the Lt. Cmdr. Report to my cabin as soon as possible.”
“Aye; Aye; Capt.”
The Dr. and I chat about the ship and our upcoming trip and after about 10min there is a knock on my door; “Enter.”
“You wished to see me Capt.?”
“Yes Tammy I would like you to escort Dr. Hellfinglander to the station and see to it that he gets the best meal possible compliments of Pathfinder. Can you do that?”
“Yes sir; it would be my honor to do so Capt. Dr. if you would come this way I will change to something more suited to dinner and then we will dis-embark.”
“Thank you Capt.”
“Not at all Dr. Enjoy your meal and your evening. Good night to you both.”
I called Helen and clued her in on what happened; she got a good laugh about the ‘air-lock comment’ and I asked her to insure that the good Dr. got an exceptional meal and that Pathfinder got the tab. Then I took a quick tour of my ship, checked the messages and returned to my cabin for a good night’s sleep. Finally.
I gave Tammy a couple of days to see what the simulators had to say about the changes to the software for engine #3 before doing anymore live tests. After getting the OK from my engineering crew I scheduled live tests for Monday at 0800hrs.
Monday 0800hrs; “Prepare to get underway; Helm maneuvering thrusters; bring us to course 081 mark 29; Engineering bring us to 20% power.”
“Course 081 mark 29, aye; 20% power, aye. On course 081 mark 29; passing 500kps; 1,000kps; 2,500kps; 5,000kps; 7,500kps; 10,000kps; 15,000kps; 20,000kps; 25,000kps; 30,000kps; 35,000kps; 40,000kps; 45,000kps; 50,000kps; 55,000kps; 60,000kps; Holding at 20% power; relative speed 60,000kps.”
“Thank you Helm; Engineering; Bridge how are we doing back there Tammy?”
“So far so good Capt. I am going to start increasing speed slowly so as to keep a tight watch on #3.”
“Very good; Helm, Engineering is going to handle speed you will maintain a clear course, Paul keep an eye out for anything that shows up on sensors.”
“Helm aye; maintaining course.”
As we speed through the dark Tammy slowly crept our speed up approximately .1% per step. We were all a bit white knuckled as the power indicator got closer-and-closer to 21.2% power. Finally the readouts displayed 22% and 66,000kps.
“Engineering; Bridge, Tammy bring us to 25% and hold it for 1 hour and then we will see what is going on.”
“Bring to 25% power, hold for 1 hour; Aye Capt.”
For the next hour we speed across space at 75,000kps checking and double-checking and triple-checking every readout and sensor looking for the slightest discrepancy.
“Thank you Paul; All stop. All stations report. Engineering; how’s it look back there Tammy?”
“Everything is in the green Capt. we are within .01% of tested nominal and the engines are synced to .001%. I would have to say we finally have it right.”
“How does the rest of the ship look Paul?”
”All are reporting no trouble found at this time.”
“Very good Paul; plot us a speed run back to the station at 50% power and keep a close eye on very thing. Helm; bring us about, set course 261 mark 119. Tammy did you hear 50% power speed run. Kick her in the ass kids less find out what she’s all about.”
“Course 261 mark 119; 50% power Aye, Aye, Sir.”
“Giving you 50% power for speed run back to Mars. Here goes, engines coming on line now.”
“Passing 5,000kps; 10,000kps; 15,000kps; 25,000kps; 30,000kps; 40,000kps; 50,000kps; 65,000kps; 80,000kps; 100,000kps; 120,000kps; 150,000kps; Capt. holding steady at 50% power and indicating 150,000kps relative speed.”
“How are we looking Paul?”
“Everything appears in order. Sir; Orion and Pegasus are asking if we are in trouble.”
“Send to Orion and Pegasus: Last one home buys the beer.”
“From Orion: We concede, we max out at 125,000kps.”
“From Pegasus: What brand do you like?”
As we slide into our berthing assignment near the stations South Pole the inertial-less drive units give us the ability to come to a complete stop using maximum reverse thrust (100G) and we only experience 1G. The last two weeks have been a breeze and now it is time to turn the ship over to the station for the installation and calibration of the Hyber-sleep chambers. During this last 1.0% power cruise through traffic all the ships recorded data was dumped to Luna Base and the engine data specifically was sent directly to Dr. Hellfinglander. The good Dr. said that based on what he saw in the data from our speed run he is willing to sign off on the engines and he will personally come to the station to do so. I think he has ulterior motives, as in Lt. Cmdr. Tammara Jenkins.
I got a snide note from Admiral Sprague about the speed run asking me what I thought I was doing. I told him I was just trying to get things back on track; Yeah Right!
Now I get to spend the next eleven months watching from the side lines as my ship is swarmed by yard-birds doing what only they know how to do.
It has taken the station crew 12mos. to install and calibrate the Hyber-sleep chambers. It took them two weeks to get them cal’ed to each occupant. We will spend major portions of the next 25yrs. (SET) in them as we go to EE4 and return.
We have 30 days to launch. We will spend that time stocking the ship with fuel and food as we need fuel for the round-trip and food for the watches and for the year we spend there in orbit or on the ground. One of us will be up for one week every 6th month to check and maintain propulsion, guidance and sleep status of the other crew. The Hyber-sleep chambers have already been programmed with the sequence of crew wake and sleep cycles. Our on-board computer is a limited AI as it will need to make some decisions on its own before awakening one of us in an emergency situation.
Two days to go and everyone is saying their last Good-byes; by the time we return nearly all of the people we know will be gone. Helen and I spend one last night together and then it’s ‘sayonara’ to all as we shuttle over and close the hatch.
“OK people it’s that time. Helm, maneuvering thrusters, clear us from the station; Engineering, make preparations for full power; Paul signal Mars station ‘Thanks for the hospitality.’”
“Capt. from Mars station; ‘Gods speed Pathfinder, Gods speed!’”
“Maneuvering thrusters, course and speed sir?”
“Make your course 350 mark 015; bring us to 90% power.”
“350 mark 015, Aye; 90% power, Aye.”
“Paul; get everyone except yourself, Tammy, Nav, and Helm to their sleep chamber and set all the controls to ‘Full Computer’. As soon as we get things set here then you and Tammy. Nav, Helm and I will be last in.”
“Aye Capt. THE FOLLOWING PERSONAL REPORT TO SLEEP CHAMBERS; STANTON, LIVINGSTON, NAKAMURA, FLINT, SERDAN, FREDRICKSON, CARLONA.”
Two hours later; “Capt. All the others are in their chambers and secured.”
“Thanks Paul; Tammy how are we doing back there?”
“Everything is green and set to ‘Full Computer’ control; I’m headed to my chamber now.”
“Very good, Paul it’s your turn; I’ll see you at Eridanus.”
“Very well sir, see you there.”
“OK people let’s get things locked down and get to our chambers.”
“Aye sir, setting computer locks.”
For the next two hours as we hurdle through space at 264,000kps the last three waking crew set our little piece of Earth to full automatic control and got into our sleep chambers to awaken at a new world. As I slipped into Hyber-sleep I said a little prayer in the hope that all would be well when we reached Eridanus.
Month 36: My first up cycle. Nothing to report. Speed 264,000kps, .88L, course 350 mark 015.
Month 90: Second up cycle. Nothing to report. Speed 264,000kps, .88L, course 344 mark 012. Noted that Paul set course correction on his last up cycle.
Lt. Cmdr. Jenkins started getting everyone up as we past 200AU and transitioned to near space of the star. Deceleration was in progress and relative speed was already down to 200,000kps as we needed to keep a close watch on the systems Oort cloud and any wayward asteroids. At this distance we were able to confirm the findings of the late twentieth century in the possible existence of one or more planets inside the inner asteroid belt; we found two.
Epsilon Eridani: a K2V star, U-B color index +0.58, B-V color index +0.881, Mass 0.82 Sol, dia. 0.735 Sol, luminosity 0.34 Sol; appearance yellow-orange, magnetic activity +1.6 Sol, solar winds +2.0 Sol estimated age 700 to 800 million years a relatively young star.
As we slowly entered the system from above the elliptical we could easily make out the two massive asteroid belts; the outer belt from 19.8 to 21.1 AU and the inner from 2.6 to 3.0 AU. We also got good data on EE1 a planet at 3.41 AU with a mass of 1.67 Mj (Mass Jupiter) and an orbit of 2,570 days. EE2 is a 0.3 Mj planet at 40.4 AU with an orbit of 102,273 days. These are not what we were looking for; the planet(s) we were after are inside the inner asteroid belt.
Discovered in 2102 by John Randolph at the Luna Base Observatory he believed that because of EE’s smaller size and lower luminosity that its habitable planet(s) would be much closer to the primary than was Earth. He found that the visible light from the primary fluctuated in a regular rhythm and postulated that at least one if not two planets lay within the inner asteroid belt. In 2145 Dr. Randolph finally found what he was looking for; with the installation of the 12 meter telescope at Luna Base the winking of the primary was clearly visible and Dr. Randolph was credited with the discovery.
As we approach Epsilon Eridani the two inner planets can be plainly seen and our instruments are gathering data around the clock. EE3 is a small planetoid much closer to its primary than is Mercury to Sol. At 36,953,700km and a mass of .043 Earth it is not much more than a large rock; most likely a captured asteroid per Dr. Livingston. So we set our sights on EE4 and get ready to settle into orbit around the planet.
Dr. Livingston suggests that we hold orbit further out than standard because of the asteroid problem; EE4 has three large ones that are planet huggers much the same as Deimos and Phobes around Mars. The largest ‘moon’ will be outside our orbit and the smaller two inside; the larger ‘moon’ is 100km long and over 50km at its widest point; the two smaller are 31km by 16km wide and 23km long by 12km wide respectively.
EE4: Mass 0.61 Earth and gravity at 77% of Earth; Dia. 10,450km rotation 22hr 30min (93% Earth.) primary orbit 124.225 million km (.83AU). The planet has three large continents, 8 smaller continents/large islands and well in excess of 100,000 smaller islands. The largest continent is about the size of North America less the old nation of Mexico; the second is about the size of what used to be Australia and the third about the size of Honshu in the Japanese Republic. The rest range in size from about the size Madagascar down to less than 10sq km. Atmosphere 70% Nitrogen, 26% Oxygen, 2% Carbon Dioxide, 2% other elements. The planet has a very strong magnetic field, 30% stronger than that of Earth; there would be auroras at all latitudes. Axial tilt 18* 30’; Temp range 15.5* to 32.5*C; and most of all, lots-and-lots of WATER.
“Stable orbit achieved Capt.”
“Thank you Paul; alright everyone let’s turn in for the night and get a fresh start in the morning. Ms. Carlona you have the first watch.”
“I have the watch; Aye Capt.”
Day 1: 0800hrs: “All right people let’s get at it. I want to know if there is anything in the atmosphere or water that could harm us. I want a good landing site and I want to know what if anything is living down there. Mr. Flint I want an alarm on the radar 24/7, I don’t want anything sneaking up on us from any angle and I don’t feel like playing bumper cars.”
“Yes sir; I’ll get on it right away.”
Over the next six hours Paul and Lt. Hayes worked out a rotating orbit sequence that over the next 30 days would allow us to survey all the land masses of the planet and search out any possible landing sites. My only problem with it was that the last five days were inside the orbit of and in close proximity to EE4-B; the moon/asteroid in orbit No. 2. I informed Paul that I wanted the radar set to maximum range and focused on the area around that moon while it blind-sided us.
Day 5: First orbital sweep completed, Dr. Stanton comes to me with a preliminary report. “Capt. we have identified flora in abundance; 104 new species of trees, 203 new species of grasses 10 of which are grains, 183 new shrubs, 55 new fruits, 527 different alleges, 189 new fungi. We simply must get down there and start work cataloging samples.”
“Dr. we must first find a suitable landing site and then insure the safety of the crew on the ground. Has there been any sign of fauna?”
“No Capt. no fauna have yet been detected, we have found some bacteria but no multi-cell organisms except flora as yet.”
“Thank you Dr.”
Day 10: Dr. Livingston brings me his preliminary; “Capt. we have completed two orbital sweeps and have found an abundance of iron, some lead, zinc, aluminum, copper, none of the ‘noble’ metals as yet but have found traces of gallium and silicon. Most of the rock found to this point is sedimentary in nature but the largest continent shows some igneous outcrops. Most of the smaller islands are volcanic in nature and may hide deeply buried deposits of as yet unknown minerals in these areas.”
“Thank you Dr. keep me informed of your progress.”
Day 15: I notice Petty Officer Flint and Dr. Nakamura huddled together discussing something and it appears to be something other than radar blips.
Day 16: Dr. Livingston appears to be monopolizing a lot of Lt. Cmdr. Carlona’s time of late, and it seems Paul is spending considerable time with Dr. Stanton.
Day 18; it appears that we have finally found a possible landing sight. It is on the largest continent about 100km from the ocean and about 10km from a large river. So far it seems as though this is the only place other than water or beach.
Day 19: today I walked in on Tammy and Chief Serdan hugging it up in the engine room, they were as embarrassed as I was.
Day 20: analysis of the moons and some of the asteroids shows them to be iron cored and very solid. Not good news for ships and just as bad for radar.
Day 21: three more open areas have been found; two small ones on the second continent and one small one on the third continent. It still looks like a beach landing or a long walk.
Day 22: nothing new to report no new discoveries.
Day 23: probes have returned telemetry that is a very good sign; the big river on the main continent is fresh water with no discernable pathogens or toxins. The ocean is salt water with a high mineral content but again no discernable pathogens or toxins.
Day 24: changing orbit to get closer, time to dance with moon B
Day 25: numerous small clearings have been found on all the continents, a number of large lakes and other rivers have also been found.
Day 26: day in and day out the Dr’s and crew searched every last square kilometer and only one landing site that didn’t involve water has found.
We were on day two of the close aboard with B and I had just assumed the watch with PO1 Flint at the radar and the rest of the crew was in the habitat when the radars proximity alarm went off. The visual came up and there is a ship coming up astern on a collision course. I threw the stick over to roll the ship in the vain hope that the impact would be partially deflected on the bottom of Pathfinder. It might have worked had the other skipper not tried to do an open roll around us. The alien ship slammed into us almost nose first just at the junction of the habitat and engine room. Pathfinder was literally sheared in half and the Lander was ripped away from its mounting on the habitat section; the only problem was it was not a clean shear and the habitat stayed fouled to the Landers hull.
As I wrestled to gain control I prayed that not all was lost and hoped that I could get us down in as few pieces as possible. I managed to get some control but it was going to be a nasty landing and we were going to hit very hard. I can’t use the landing engines as the habitat is to the rear and over the engine pods so it is going to be a dead stick ‘crash’ and it’s going to be into the trees as I can’t turn us into a beach landing
This thing flies almost as bad as a brick; I am managing to keep it right-side up but it is tuff as the habitat keeps flopping around. We are literally shaking apart as the atmosphere thickens and pieces start being ripped off. The main windscreen blows out and now I am flying blind; I have no idea what’s going on around me but I keep trying to fly by what feels like up.
We are slowing down as I can feel the air pressure lessening in the cabin. I can see again but I wish that I couldn’t as all I see in any direction are those massive trees; estimates from orbit are that some may be over 200 meters tall. I can see a small clearing ahead, about 20km, and I am going to try to bring it in on its belly. The clearing is coming up fast and just as I clear the trees I pull up hard in the hope of stalling out and allowing the ship to fall into the open space. It works, partially, speed drops from about 1500kmh to around 500kmh but that’s all I’m going to get as Pathfinder slams into the ground and slides across the clearing and chorines into the trees; the last thing I see is one huge tree we are going to hit dead center.
I awaken still strapped into the command chair hanging upside-down in a tangle of wires and brush. I let myself just breathe and thank the maker that I am still alive; my head slowly clears and I can make-out the wreckage but I don’t see anyone else moving around. After what seems an eternity I hang on to the chair with one hand and release the seat belts with the other, I nearly fall on my head but end up on my ass in the brush. As I crawl clear I can plainly see that the ship is not going anywhere under any circumstances and I’m just plain lucky to be alive. It appears that when the nose of the ship impacted the tree it was not square on and it tore the ship open from the windscreen opening down to the decking and that in doing so my command chair was ripped from its mounting and thrown through the hole.
I decide to wait till morning to search the ship as darkness is falling and I’m not too keen on prowling around in the ship in the dark.
I awake at first light and although battered and bruised am feeling reasonably ok. As I enter the ship through the opening I was thrown out of I see PO1 Flint at the radar station; a piece of the overhead console had fallen and crushed him in his seat. There is no way to get into the habitat from inside as the connecting hatch is completely jammed so I go out and around to see if I can get in from outside. The habitat module is seared and scared and twisted like a pretzel; but the self-seal hatch to engineering is shut. I have no idea where the engine section crashed. I manage to pry open the side of the module where it had split and crawl inside; everything is strewn about and bent and broken. I find Lt. Cmdr. Jenkins near the hatch; I find Paul… Lt. Cmdr. Winston and Lt. Hayes near where the hatch to the Lander would have been; I find Sgt. Mj. Jones and CPO Serdan in the bunk area; I find Lt. Carlona, Lt. jg. Fredrickson as well as Drs. Stanton, Livingston and Nakamura near the science and sensor stations; ALL accounted for… I AM ALONE!
Part 2: Solara’s Story Note: (All information is translated to English and to Earth standards.)
“No, Father, I will not stay here and marry Morni; he is not loved by me and does not love me. He is only after the status of being married to an assembly leader and cares nothing for my wellbeing. I am going on the ship with my brother Torkut and when I return I will find someone to take to husband; someone I love and who loves me and that is my final word on the subject.
And thus began my journey.
I am Solara Lee late of Orlana and formerly Solara: 13th daughter of Torlan; as it would be listed on Earth. This is my story up to the point that I meet and bond with my now husband Jason Lee of the planet Earth.
“Solara, you are my only unmarried daughter and I would see you wed to a decent man. Morni is a decent man and would make a fine husband to you.”
“Father, Morni is a doddering old fool that would like nothing more than to have a young bride; especially Torlan’s daughter and all that that name would give him in increasing his position in the Government.”
“You are right to a certain point but, who else would have you. You are head strong, demanding, opinionated, and I must put this on myself; more than a little spoiled.”
“Yes, Father, and I love you too, but I want someone who will love me for ME. So I will go with Torkut and pray I meet ‘a decent man’ when I return.”
As I left my father’s house I began to wonder what would become of me. I had always been a bit of a rogue; always too independent for my own good. My mother died giving birth to me in a rare ‘single egg’ birth. On our world births are always multiples; two or four; and females 10 to 1 over males. So my father was right; I was a bit spoiled and headstrong and opinionated, but I knew that what I wanted was not here and I wanted to try to find it before I settled down to second best. Besides I am only 21 years old and too young to marry Morni who is 107 years old. As I step out the door and glide toward the ground I decide to work off the frustration and anger from the ‘talk’ with my father. I love my father but sometimes he can be so aggggggggggg… I know he misses my mother and tries to hide from me the pain he feels but he can’t protect me forever. I need to be what I was meant to be. So I go soaring and as I feel the wind I my face the tension slowly fades from my body and soon I am one with the air. Soon enough I was feeling good again and headed to the city and my date with a starship.
As I neared the base at Nirtone I saw my brother Torkut and approached him to let him know that I had completed my training and would be on this mission with him. Torkut’s twin Dorkut was killed in an accident more than 10 years ago; leaving Father with only one son but unable to get him to change his mind about serving on a space cruiser as his right-of-passage to man-hood.
My brother greets me and asks; “How did Father take it?’
“Not well.” I reply.
“He will get over it in time.”
“I hope he will not be upset for long. After all I am his youngest and do remind him of Mother.”
I have taken a position as Assistant Atmospheric Engineer on the 8751 and will be gone almost six years before returning to Orlana.
We get down to the tasks at hand and get the ship ready to depart on schedule in two months.
I spend the next few days familiarizing myself with the ship and its various systems. I get my gear stowed in my locker and meet my superior officer Lt. Tudor and get assigned to the duty roster for watch rotation.
Morni comes to the ship to try and persuade me one last time to stay and marry him. I tell Lt. Tudor what is going on and he and another shipmate run him off telling him not to come back under penalty of pain.
The time flies by and soon it is the day of departure and friends and family of the crew come out to the port to see us off. As I look over the crowd hoping to see Father; I see my brother talking to a young woman and being very friendly about it. Suddenly behind him I see our Father approach and place a hand on his shoulder. As they talk the woman turns slightly and I see that it is indeed Tiqerna a woman he has seen often and will most likely take to wife when we return.
I walk over and speak to Tiqerna and my brother and lastly to Father, “As I said Father; when I return I will find a good man to love and take to husband. Please allow me this time as I feel in my heart that this is very important to my future and I get the strangest feeling to our people as a well.”
“I will hold you to your promise upon your return. Have a safe and productive journey, both of you.” We say our good-byes and enter the ship. The last I see before the ports close is my father waving as he steps away from the engine blast area.
No sleep cells on this part of the trip; we have a 12 week transit to our sister world Arilon almost 2 trillion kilometers away. Although our two stars are not binary our solar systems are considered to be so. They do revolve around a common point in space but have no comingling of astral bodies and even have separate Oort clouds. We are to pick-up a second astro-gator and a planetary specialist that will provide us with the coordinates for a world around a star on the other side of the nebula that blocks our view of the Galaxy anti-spin-ward from us.
We have suspected for hundreds of years that there might be planets around some of the stars we got glimpses of through the nebula; but until now had no evidence of their existence. A few ships have gone in search of routes through the nebula but none have ever returned. A Dr. Torbalt has retrieved data from probes he sent out showing that there are thousands if not millions of stars beyond the nebula; and that many have what appear to be planetary bodies orbiting them. These probes have also mapped a route through the nebula that a ship can use.
When we landed Dr. Torbalt and two of his staff were waiting to board and get underway. But being as it was late in the day Capt. Botor decided that the ground crew would restock the stores and clean the ship prior to departure the next day. Dr. Torbalt agreed and we were entertained by his staff at the central university where the good Dr. headed up the Planetary Sciences Dept.
The next day dawned ominous as it was raining heavily and we had to take a covered ground car to the ship. The Capt. proposed a one day delay but Dr. Torbalt ordered the ascent accusing the Capt. of being overly superstitious. Little did we know the portent of the Capt.’s feeling of dread.
It started almost immediately: as we lifted off one of the landing struts failed to retract, it was traced to an unset switch in the maintenance bay; just as we cleared atmosphere one of the lift engines went run-away and had to be shut-down manually as both the main and back-up controllers failed. As we started the main boost engines and started to get underway the entire forward sensor array went dead; we had to go motion dead as we tried to fix it. It turned out to be a circuit-breaker that broke in its clamp. It showed good but no current flowed through it. It took over 3 hours to find the trouble and replace the breaker.
As we hung in orbit awaiting repair of the sensor array we started getting everyone not needed into their sleep cells. When we started group #6 cells 21-24; the control panel for the group wouldn’t even power up. Fortunately all ships carry back-up cells; 1 for each 4 main cells. We finally got everyone in a cell but it took almost 5 hours longer than it should have. Eight hours delay and we have only just now broken orbit.
I find my brother and tell him that I will see him when we arrive as our up-cycles do not co-inside. I then go to my sleep-cell to await my watch rotation and our arrival in just less than 3 years.
There was nothing out of the ordinary to report on my first two up-cycles; but about half-way through my third and last I noticed during my rounds that one of the engine monitors was showing a higher than normal temp on the fuel mix. I reported it to the control room and when Lt. Timoor checked it it showed normal on his panel. After convincing him to go to Engineering and check it there he came running back to the control room and set the emergency wake-up for the Capt. and Chief Engineer.
3 hours later when they all came back to the control room they continued to check everything else; that is when they found that we were almost one-half parsec off course. I found out later that the mix compensator for engine #4 had failed; thus the overheat but the control room indicator failed also, thus the incorrect reading. The navigation error was traced to the fact that the switch in auxiliary control that sets the nav-comps to off, over-ride or pole was in over-ride for computer #1 and it had developed an error. When it was turned off and reset then returned to pole mode the ship returned to the correct course. The Capt. placed a note in the ships log that ‘because of my attention to detail and astuteness in catching the engine error a major trouble was averted’; I could very well get a promotion when we get return home. I completed my up-cycle and went back to sleep knowing that the next time I awoke we would be nearing our destination.
I awoke to the knowledge that we were just entering the planetary system of the star that Dr. Torbalt had discovered. A yellow-orange star with 4 planets and tens of thousands of asteroids. As I ate my meal and caught up on my duty logs I read the entry from the watch following mine and saw where the tech in the cycle before me had been testing the computer systems and had left the pole switch in the wrong position. I also read of his reprimand.
I finished my meal and was headed for control when: AAAAAUUUUGGGAH; AAAAAUUUUGGGAH; alarms were going off everywhere. I tucked in and ran to control and just as I got there CRAAAAASSSHHH!!!!! We hit something and I was thrown off my feet.
When I came to I was on the deck and could tell we were in real trouble. There were alarms and warning lights on every console in the control room. My superior Lt. Tudor ordered me to auxiliary control and to start closing safety hatches and bulkheads everywhere. When I got to Aux-Con it was in chaos but I managed to get to my station and started closing atmosphere seals on all decks and in all compartments. As we fought for control I could see on the view screen that we had hit another ship and that it was falling out of orbit as we watched. I watched as the other ship though bent, twisted and broken nearly in-half gained some control and rather than burn up on re-entry actually attempt a controlled atmospheric re-entry. I took time to admire the skill of the pilot as he fought to maneuver his ship to a soft landing. Then we were out of viewer range and had our own hands full. In less than 5 minutes he had gone from being happy to arrive to scared to death we would all die.
Over the next four days we did everything we could think of to try and salvage our ship but to no avail. About mid of the fourth day the Capt. spoke on the intercom and explained the situation: “Crew of the 8751 this is the Capt. Botor. We are not going to be able to save the ship. The controls for the space engines are destroyed; completely burned out; the atmosphere engines are gone, destroyed in the impact. We are leaking atmosphere to space and can no longer maintain orbit on thrusters. Within the next hour we will begin to feel the effects of atmosphere on the ship and approx. two hours after that we will impact the planet. Much of the hull plating will burn away on re-entry and some parts of the ship may survive to impact but we cannot be certain. It has been a privilege to serve as your Capt. and I bid you all farewell. May you make your peace with the Creator in the time we have left. Thank you and good-bye.”
I sought out my brother and we sat in silence as the sounds around us rose to a shriek as the ship slowly at first and then faster and faster sank into the atmosphere that would surly destroy us all. Suddenly I saw a glint in my brother’s eye; he pulled me to my feet and he said, “Come with me. By all that I hold dear you must survive.” We went toward Aux-Con and noticed as we passed others were holding each other or sitting in silent repose.
When we got to Aux-Con he pulled a pulse weapon from his tunic and at gun point ordered me into the supply closet just out-side Aux-Con. “Why, brother?”
“Because this is the most likely part to survive and it will give you the best chance.”
“What about you?”
“Not enough room. I love you, and when you see Father again tell him I did my best. Tell Tiqerna I’m sorry.” With that he slammed the door shut and I heard the discharge as he shot-out the controls and sealed me in. for the next hour or so I could hear the screams of the ship coming apart; feel all the shaking and tumbling. Then I hit my head on the bulkhead and slipped into blessed silence.
I awoke in excruciating pain all down my left side and as I opened my eyes looked at the UGLIST thing I had ever seen in my life. I jumped; startled by my vision and almost passed out from the pain. It stepped away from me and through the haze of pain I saw I’m not sure what: it had fur on its head (?), eyes to close together, some kind of protrusion from its face (?), some kind of flaps on the sides of its head (?), and it was covered in, other than parts of some kind of uniform, some pink-brown gelatin looking substance that appeared to serve as skin (?).
It held forth a container of what appeared to be water, I could smell it; it was. But when I tried to reach for it my left side would not move and I found I was bound around my body and left leg. As I felt of myself using my right hand I found that I had some broken bones, very carefully set, and many bruises cuts and a very large knot on the side of my head. It helped me drink then I slept.
When I awoke again I looked around and saw that ‘fur head’ had been busy. There were things of all sorts from my ship piled in a reasonable order: food her, medical there, electronics gear over there and that’s when I saw them. Mounds of dirt; I prayed as I counted 1,2,3,… 10,11,12,… 29,30,31.They are all gone and I am alone here with this ??? on a world that no one on my home planet knows about. I cannot cry as I don’t have tear ducts but the lictating membrane (second eyelid) blinks my eyes several times as the sadness of the loss of my brother, friends and shipmates over-whelms me.
Over the next 3 months, as I healed, and with the aid of a video encyclopedia from his (I assumed it was male) ship, my vocabulary grew as did his as he tried to mimic my sing-song language. I could now walk around but not as yet fly and together we stripped my ship for everything that could be of use to us. We managed to understand enough of each other’s language and I finally told him that indeed I was a SHE and my name was Solara.
As the area where my ship was, he informed me, better stocked with available food and water he made the 10 day round trip to his ship 4 more times to strip it of everything usable. As we settled in to a routine of trying to learn each other’s language and working at trying to assure our survival I noticed that we were spending a lot of time in close proximity. I also noticed that I was having thoughts about what kind of a future we might have as we were so different.
I have learned much in the year I have been here. My companion is the Commander of the other ship and the one who tried to pilot it to a landing. He is alone as well as all his shipmates also perished in the crash. His name is ‘Jason Lee’ and I am learning his language as it is impossible for him to even annunciate the simplest phrase in mine; he’s not built for it.
Part 3: My Winged Angel
When I came to on the surface I managed to pull myself from the wreckage, and although battered and bruised I was in pretty good shape. After a couple of days to gather some strength I managed to dig graves and bury my comrades. My tracking records showed that the other ship actually stayed in orbit for almost 4 days before crashing about 100 km from my location. The next day I put together a travel pack and set out for the other ship, I was curious and wanted to check out the ship for technology and crew.
After 4 days walking through a forest of trees bigger than the Redwoods of Earth I came upon the other ship. I was very cautious and looked it over from a distance for the rest of the day before deciding that there were no survivors. The next morning I approached the ship and discovered that the crew where a race of avians and started taking the bodies from the wreak. I took a break after about 3 hours and discovered that I had found 25 bodies and had only gone through about half the ship. I spent the rest of the day burying the bodies I had already found. The following morning as I was searching the ship I heard a noise from what appeared to be some kind of storeroom. After I got the hatch open I discovered that there was one of the avians trapped and obviously hurt by falling debris. I managed to dig the ‘person’ out from under all the mess and laid it on the sleeping pad I had set up for me.
As I looked over its body I noticed what appeared, to me, to be some human characteristics. It had arms and legs similar to me was approximately my size but weighed almost nothing and it had feathers and WINGS. Checking it over I found that it had the wing, arm and leg as well as some ribs on the left side broken. I carefully examined the rest of its body and found that the facial structure was similar to mine except that the eyes were more to the side about where my temples were. The feathers were a beautiful silver-grey color, darker on the back, lighter on the front and with flecks of black, blue and gold, especially around the eyes. The mouth was more like a covered beak as it had lips but what amounted to a single tooth that went from one side of its mouth to the other. Nostrils were flat to the face with no nose. Hands had extended length in palms and fingers, 2 extra joints, and the feet were similar in that the toes were longer and had vestigial claws. This one also appeared to be female as it had what I believed to be breasts, 4 nipples with mounds (?); just below it’s over sized ribcage. But, with no external genitalia, or even knowing what it would look like, I had no way of knowing for sure.
I carefully tried, and it seemed successfully, to set the broken bones and hoped that it would survive so that I could find out more about it. I finished burying its shipmates, 31 of them, and settled in to try and nurse it back to health. I searched out and found water that my instruments said was safe for me to drink and I hoped would be safe for my patient. I also found what appeared to be fruit and nuts that tested safe. Over the next 10 days the avian tossed and turned but never became conscious. I kept its lips moist and tried to get it to eat some of the fruit, but with only limited success. The morning of the 12th day as I was checking it over I noticed that its eyelids were fluttering open and after about 20 minutes they opened and looked at me. It came wide awake and tried to jump away but with its bad arm, leg and wing it just screamed out in apparent pain and collapsed back on the pad.
I raised my empty hands to show it I had no weapons and meant it no harm; I offered it water it gratefully took it and drank down all that was in the canteen. It went to sleep. When it woke up and I tried to communicate to it that I had set its broken bones after pulling it from the wreak. It appeared to calm down somewhat and when I helped it sit up and then went around and pointed out where I had buried its friends and when it realized what the mounds meant I noticed what I took to be tears in its eyes. It tried to ‘speak’ but all I heard was a sing-song melody that sounded nice but I had no way of understanding.
I spoke to it and then pointed to myself and said “Jason” it looked at me puzzled and I did it again, it then mimicked me and it came “Ason”.
Over the next 3 months, as it healed, and with the aid of a video encyclopedia from my ship, its vocabulary grew as did mine as I tried to mimic its sing-song language. It could now walk around but not as yet fly and together we stripped its ship for everything that could be of use to us. We managed to understand enough of each other’s language and I found out that indeed it was a SHE and its name was Solara.
As the area where Solara’s ship was, was better stocked with available food and water I made the 10 day round trip to my ship 4 more times to strip it of everything usable. As we settled in to a routine of trying to learn each other’s language and working at trying to assure our survival I noticed that we were spending a lot of time in close proximity. I also noticed that I was having thoughts about what kind of a future we might have as we were so different.
We had been stranded for about a year (Earth time) when one day I saw her bathing and got a really good look at what was under some of those feathers. She had breasts all right, 4 of them, about 34C and as she cleaned the rest of her body I noticed she had something between her legs that, as I got a raging hard-on, I prayed was a pussy or its equivalent. Later that evening she caught me jack-in’ off and asked me what I was doing. I just stammered with no real answer and got up and walked away.
The next morning she came to me and asked; “Is that your sex organ?” I blushed and said “Yes.” and then we started talking about each other’s sex practices. She said, “I too am having trouble as I’m young and have yet to mate for the first time. I am ready every 32 days but without a mate I will never have the chance to bear young.”
I explained to her about how we did it on Earth, “We have 2 sexes and the female of my species has an opening, called a vagina, between her legs. The male, me, inserts his penis into the female and deposits the sperm necessary for fertilization.” I asked her how it worked on her home planet.
She told me, “On Orlana (translation) it is similar except that the male has his sex organ hidden away in a body cavity like mine and when it is time to mate it extends from his body and would enter me to deposit his contribution to conception. Then 11 months (Orlanan time) after that I would give birth. “She also told me that when they mated it was for life,” (much the same as larger birds on Earth). I asked her about her anatomy and she said, “I have this opening between my legs that serves the purpose of urethra, anus and vagina.” She leaned back and spread her feathers to show me, I got a hard-on just looking at it. A cloaca, again, like some birds and mammals on Earth.
I asked, “Do you have sex only for procreation, or do you have it for pleasure and shared intimacy as well?”
She explained, “Although I am fertile only once a month, every 32 days (1 Orlanan month) 15 times a year (Orlanan year) I and my mate would share our bodies to strengthen our pair-bond and bring us closer emotionally on a regular basis.”
The more we talked the hornier I got and if my senses weren’t lying to me I could see that she too was getting the itch. As she stood up I got up and put my arms around her and pulled her body close. I could smell her and somehow I knew that she was just as horny as I was and as I kissed her she moaned softly and pressed her body to mine. “Solara, I don’t know if we can mate but if you are willing to try then maybe we can at least share our bodies and relieve each other of some of our sexual tension.”
She answered, “We can try as I am at the time to conceive and feel a great desire to mate. And I’m in such need that I feel I will lose my mind.” I pull her close and kiss her, the feeling not to unlike an Earth woman. Then I picked her up and carried her to her sleeping mat. I laid her down and very gently and started caressing her breasts and ‘vagina’. Soon she was moaning and babbling in her native language and then she moved her hand down and placed it at my groin.
I moaned loudly at this contact with my cock and I said, “I want you, I want to love you and be your mate.”
As I touched her again, she lifted up to me and forced my fingers in to her opening. She was wet and asked me, “Please come to me and mate with me.” She turned over and raised her “ass” and spread her legs and feathers to display herself. I then knelt between her legs and placed the head of my cock into her. As I entered her I felt muscles within her move to direct my cock into a very tight channel within her body. I suddenly felt something give way and I was fully seated in her. She moaned loudly and as I moved in and out she moved to meet me and soon she was crying out, calling for something that I didn’t understand, suddenly she went still and my cock felt her heat. I came so hard that I thought that I would flood her all the way to her throat. We collapsed in a heap with me slipping from within her and lay together holding each other and, at least in my case, thanking all that is holy that that had worked. And hoping we would do it again.
We started having sex on a regular basis after that afternoon and the more time I spent with her the more I realized that I was falling in love with her. About 3 months later, after dinner, one evening she says to me, “Jason I believe that our genetics are closer than we may have at first thought. I’m sure that we have mated as I feel the life growing inside me.”
I looked at her in stunned disbelief and asked, “Are you sure?”
She takes my hand and puts it against her belly and says, “I am positive as I feel my ‘pouch’ swelling inside me.”
I took her in my arms and held her tight and said, ”Solara, I love you so much, and now we will not be as lonely as we will have our children to share our life here with.”
I asked and she said, “I will give birth in about 10 months (local adjusted time) and there will either 2 or 4 as my species always has even numbered multiples. And unlike the birds on your planet I will give birth to live young.”
Over the next few months we continued to have sex and her belly slowly got bigger and bigger. One day she came to me and says, “It is time.” and as I held her and helped her she gave birth to 2 small babies that fortunately were more like their mother than me. They had their mother’s feathers and facial structure. They had her wings as well as her single opening. She informed me that both were female and that they would be approximately her size in 3 years. Her breasts were swollen and the infants nursed from them as well as I did when we had sex. When the children were just a year old she informed me that she was again with child and things got really fun after that.
About every 2 years for the next 10 years she gave birth to 2 babies and one time there were 4. We have continued to live very simple lives and raise our children.
We are celebrating our 12th anniversary and I am telling Solara that “I am so blessed, I have someone to love that loves me, we have 12 children, with 2 more on the way. My life is almost perfect; my only wish would be that I could fly!”
KRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK, “What the hell was that?” I ask.
“Darling that sounds like the Electrostatic Discharge from one of my planets ships. It happens when the Gravito-Metric Drive enters atmosphere. Darling I think some of my people may have found us”.
We return to our main camp and after explaining to our children what is happening; we await the arrival of the Orlanan ship.
Our children are excited to see other people and are running around trying to find out where the others will land.
“Darling, Do you hear that?” she asks. “That is the noise from the atmospheric engines on one of our shuttles. It sounds like they are going to land in that large clearing toward sundown from us.”
We gather up our brood and walk toward the clearing that is about 2kms from our camp in the direction of sundown. As we approach we can hear the whine of the engines lessening and then it is suddenly silent. We clear the tree line and there in the clearing is a sight-for-sore-eyes; an extra-atmospheric shuttle of a design I’ve never seen but, Solara informs me; “Jason it is a type 5 cargo shuttle. There are usually four of them on a cruiser or up to 8 on a Galactic Explorer class ship.”
The side of the ship opens and 5 Orlanans step out and gently glide to the ground on their wings. I clasp my hands over my head and step forward saying, “Welcome to you travelers from Orlana, welcome to our small planet. My name is Commander Jason Lee and this is my wife/mate Solara a native of your planet; and these are our children.”
They look at me total disbelief as Solara steps forward and greets them with; “Welcome my brothers to our planet and home, ‘May fair winds aid your glide to Heaven and above.” Solara told me, once before, that this is a favored greeting among her peoples.
With Solara translating we get that they have been searching for her ship but because of some records errors weren’t sure which of three courses they took getting to this system.
The leader is Captain Doniloro Natining. “Capt. I am glad to see you, but I am wondering why so many resources would be spent trying to track down a single ship with 32 crew.”
“That is easy to explain, Cmdr. Solara, here, and her brother, are members of a very influential family and they put forth a reward for the crew and vessel that found them or information about their demise.”
“Please join us at our humble home and please bring your crew-mates.” Solara speaks up.
“Thank you, we would be honored. Shut it down and all out.” He tells the crew. He asks, “Is there anything that we can provide you, anything that you miss?”
Solara asks, “Do you have any Talear? It has been so long since I had any, and I would like to share with my mate this delicacy. Darling, Talear is a drink that is extracted from the fruit of the Dolo tree on my home world. It is hard work and very expensive to purchase, but it tastes So Good!”
“Yes we have some,” He turns to another crewmen and tells ‘him’ “Bring a bottle of Talear and join us at their home.”
“Come children, this way if you please Capt., Solara could you get things ready for our guests, I’ll get some more fruit for dinner.”
Following dinner we sent the children to their beds and prepared to tell Capt. Natining the story of our survival here. I listened in as Solara told him of their journey here from Orlana. At the point of her waking up to see me, following the collision in orbit; we bid him and crew “Good night” to pick up the story the next day.
The next morning, with an assist from two of the crew and a small rope, I took the Capt. to the sight of my ships impact. He surveyed the ship and the area around it and then we returned to our home.
“Capt. My name is Jason Lee and the ship you saw is the Pathfinder and I am her Commander and sole survivor. We had spent 11 years in Hyber-sleep on the trip out here; we call this system Epsilon Eridani. We were in the process of mapping a landing site when our radar alarm went off and before we got it sorted out the Orlanan ship had impacted ours and we fell out of orbit. I thought that we might burn-up on entry but I managed to gain partial control and the impact threw me out through the ruptured hull. I awoke lying in some wreckage in a large bush, that impact absorption saved my life. After I awoke, I took care of my crew-mates and then searched out this ship in which I found Solara, its only survivor. The rest of the story you know.”
The Capt. asked me, “Where is your home system?”
I explained to him that it was an eight planet system with multiple satellites and a class G-2 star. “If you have star charts I could show you by using this system as central.” After about 3 hours straining over charts in the shuttle I finally got the references right and found ‘Sol’. The Capt. informed me that they had not as yet sent vessels into those systems, but that there was an expedition slated to go that way in about 5 years (Orlanan time).
Capt. Natining then filled us in on the search for Solara and her brother Torkut. “When the 8751 failed to return on schedule Orlana space authorities started a search but could not find any information on how Dr. Torbalt planned to get through the nebula and to what system he planned visiting. There were no notes in his affects at the university or home that would lend any clue. Then about 4 years ago one of his students returned from an extended survey trip and she had notes written down of one of the Dr. lectures on how this trip would progress and what he hoped to discover. So with these notes in hand Solara’s father put forth a reward for any information leading to the where-abouts of his son and daughter. My crew and I were on a mission to the nebula so we decided to take the chance and here we are.”
“What are your plans for Solara, myself our children?”
“I know that Solara’s family wants her home if alive. We never expected to find her alive; or you with her. You and your family will depend on Solara and her family on Orlana.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Solara, do you have any idea what is going to happen to you and me when we go to Orlana? What is your family going to say? What is your planet going to say? Compared to Orlanans I am most definitely not the best looking guy on the block.” She cackles (her laugh).
“I have no idea Darling, my people have only met one other race in space and they are similar to us in makeup and appearance. My family will accept you as my mate because that is my choice, my planet on the other hand? I don’t know.”
“My Dear, your area of space has only your two races, but the area in which I come from has over 20 races’ in over 30 star systems. I am thinking that you and I would be good ambassadors and maybe we could live out our lives here on EE. We could make this planet a weigh-station between our two worlds. Know this, I love you, with all my heart and what you and I have is special and I will fight if I have to to keep what we have.”
“That I know, my dearest mate, and I don’t intend to have that taken away from me or the girls.”
“What is your and Solara’s decision on leaving?”
“We have decided that we will go with you to Orlana. We can leave in about two months after Solara gives birth to the young she carries within her.”
“That would be fine Sir; could I bring down other crewmates to enjoy this lovely place?”
“Absolutely Capt. bring them all down, let them enjoy this beautiful open space.”
The next weeks pass quickly and it is soon time to load up and leave. “I’m going to miss this place,” Solara quips.
“I too am going to miss this too, but we will be back, I know we will.”
“It is time; we need to go.”
Aboard the cruiser things were in ‘high gear’ as the crew prepped for the voyage home. As I lay down and prepared for sleep I looked at my mate next to me and said, “I love you and I’ll see you in about four years.” Solara just smiled and mouthed “I love you too,” as she closed her eyes. And as my eyes slowly closed I looked upon ‘My Angel.’
We awoke from Hyber-sleep about 10 days out from Orlana and as we got closer I marveled at the home world of my love. The atmosphere was greener in tint than Earth and Solara explained that this was due to higher oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. We explained to our children that this was the world that their mother was born on and that there would be more ‘people’ like the ship’s crew for them to see.
Orlana: star spectral G3IV; Mean orbit 1.20AU; Mean Dia. 16400 Km; gravity .93; Year-15 mos.; Month-34 days; atmosphere-25% Oxygen - .1% Carbon Dioxide – 70% Nitrogen – trace elements include elevated methane but not lethal to Humans. Average life span: 250 yrs. All measurements based Earth normal.
We landed at the capital city, Nirtone, and were lead to the port offices and quarantine. After a quick check we were taken to a hospital for complete physicals and a complete work up of ‘ME’. I was a complete mystery to the Orlanans and they had no clue as to who or even what I was.
With Solara’s translation work I managed to tell my story to the local authorities and the doctors. For the next 14 days they examined me with everything they had, some of which looked slightly familiar and some that were so strange that they could have come from a sci-fi movie. They DNA tested Solara, me and the children and when they came back with the results we were more than shocked.
It seems that the doctors found that both races shared more than 98% of DNA. The only major differences were those that gave the Orlanans their wings, feathers and eye location; Dominant genetics. My differences were as listed plus external genitalia versus cloaca. All the children tested healthy and with mothers dominant DNA they would have her characteristics. They also found that most of our offspring would be female and only with special intervention would we be able to have males; or so we all thought. Over the next few days we managed to be able to spend some private time together just us and the ‘girls’.
One day about a month after landing we were allowed to go outside and I finally got to see the planet of my darling’s birth. It was magnificent, much like Earth in the tropics. Not jungle but green everywhere. That is when we ran into trouble, I can’t fly, and there were no ground level entrances to any buildings anywhere. Except the port and hospital. All of the homes were built in trees and it took over a month, with help, to construct a flyer to assist me in getting around. Thank you Capt. Natining.
The day after getting my flyer Solara took me to her parent’s home and I can honestly say I have never received a welcome like this one. Her father, Torlan, took me by the hand and showed me around their house and introduced me as his ‘SON’. It wasn’t until later that evening that I understood what that meant. After dinner that night all the ‘men’ got together and with Solara translating I got the whole story.
Solara’s brother that was killed in the crash was the only male, his brother having been killed in an accident when 13 years old, in my Father-in-law’s family that was of breeding age and with him gone there was “NO MALE HEIR.” We talked for hours and it finally came down to two options and in both it would be up to Solara to decide. Solara and I could have a medical intervention to insure male offspring or I could be mated to one of her older sisters so as to possibly produce male heirs. As I was thinking I remembered some of what I was taught as a child in Sunday school about oldest son’s wives with no male heir and the duties of the younger brother/brother-in-law. No thank you!
Solara and I talked for days before I came up with a possible solution. In a way we would do both except that I would not have relations with her sister. Father got in touch with the Doctors and I explained to them my idea and they looked at me dumb-founded.
One of the doctors says “Why didn’t we think of this it’s brilliant and very easily done.”
I tell them, “It is done quite often on my planet for couples that are incapable of conception in the normal manner.” So 14 days later when both Solara and Trelor were at their fertility peak the Doctors did an in-vitro on Trelor and did a gender screen on Solara. The next month they are both checked and found to be ‘pregnant’, and when Father heard the news you should have heard him. He screamed at the top of his lungs “YES!” and then orders everyone to get everything together for a party.
WOW! What a party. I meet Orlanans from every family all the way up to the District Lord. Their political setup is a bit odd but the District Lord is roughly the equivalent of a state Governor.
The following day I was called to the port to meet with the Space Authority Vice-Chairman to discuss the upcoming trip to my part of the galaxy. Solara and I spoke with the Vice-Chairman at length about the trip and what it might mean to both civilizations. We decided that the trip would start when the young that Solara was carrying were approx. 2 months old and that we would also take with us our 2 youngest daughters. Solara and I agreed that the rest of our family would stay here with her parents and other relatives.
The next months went by so fast, soon it was time for our latest to be born and as they came into the world Father was almost as ecstatic as I was to see that indeed they were males and even more so when 2 days later Trelor delivered 2 males of her own. It was following Trelor’s delivery that father confirmed what Solara had told me that females were birthed more than 10 to 1 over males in normal circumstances. Now I had just provided them with a way to have more male children. He told me that under Orlanan law as the idea was mine that every time the technique was used I would be paid a royalty, a very large royalty. I was going to be very rich; very rich indeed.
Finally the big day came. We said good-bye to our older children and family, then boarded Sylawn and Tylawn the girls, and Dytor and Lytor the boys, and prepared for Hyber-sleep and the 8 year trip to Earth. As we laid down in prep for sleep and I looked at Solara and said, “I love you.”
She whispers back, “I love you, too.” And as sleep claims me and my eyes slowly close I looked upon ‘My Angel’.
We were awakened just beyond the orbit of Pluto on a challenge from the Solar Patrol, ‘Sol’ system police; the com system alerted the Capt. and Com Officer. They got me and Solara up so that I might speak to the patrol ship’s Capt. In the Com room I hear English, for the first time in over 30 years I hear good old Earth English.
“To unidentified space craft this is Earth patrol vessel ‘Adam Jones’ please respond. To unidentified space craft this is Earth patrol vessel ‘Adam Jones’ please respond.”
“Adam Jones, Adam Jones, this is Orlanan cruiser 9024 and at present we are throttling back to normal system cruise speed and await your coming alongside.”
“This is ‘Adam Jones’ Capt. Paul Smith to whom am I speaking?”
“Capt. Smith this is Cmdr. Jason Lee of the ‘Pathfinder’.”
“You heard me Capt. I am Cmdr. Jason Lee of the Earth exploration vessel ‘Pathfinder’. I am its sole survivor after a crash on the planet Epsilon Eridani 4. This vessel is the Orlanan space cruiser 9024, 8 years out from home planet bound for Earth with myself and family aboard.”
“Did you say ‘family’ aboard Cmdr.?”
“It’s a long story Capt. and I’d be glad to tell it to you, but would you notify Space Command via secure channel of our arrival and intentions.”
“Yes Sir: Cmdr. message is being coded as we speak and will be sent soonest.”
“Thank you, Capt. we await your arrival in approx. 34 minutes. I look forward to meeting you in person.”
“9024, 9024; this is ‘Adam Jones’ calling?”
“’Adam Jones’ this is ‘9024’, Go ahead.”
“This is ‘Adam Jones’, that thing is huge, just how big is that thing?”
“9024, just over 10 kilometers in length and about ½ KM in dia. We have you visual now ‘Adam Jones’ come parallel to open and lighted bay for docking.”
“Roger that 9024, we are maneuvering now.”
I stood on the observation deck and watched as ‘Adam Jones’ moved into the shuttle bay and moored. The outer doors closed and within 2 hours the bay was safe to enter. I stepped from the Ob-deck and approached the ‘Adam Jones’ personnel hatch. As the hatch opened I saw a man in a Lt. Cmdr.’s uniform step down from the hatch and as he raised his hand to shake mine said, “Cmdr. Lee I am Capt. Smith it is good to see you again Sir.”
“Yes Sir, at the academy the week before the Pathfinder left on its mission. I was there to apply for admittance to the high school. ”
“Well then Capt. I present to you the Capt. of this vessel, Capt. Sordane; and these Capt. are my wife Solara and the 4 youngest of our children.” The look on his face when he saw the Orlanans was one of shock, fear and awe all rolled into one, it was priceless.
“I am at your disposal Sir; Madam. I am requested to escort you and this ship to lunar orbit.”
“Well then, it’s best we get moving, Capt. Sordane if you would Sir, The third planet has a large natural satellite and there is a base on it.”
“Very well Cmdr.; Bridge this is the Capt. Make space normal speed to the satellite of the third planet.”
“Satellite of the third planet, Aye Sir, Bridge out.” With Capt. Smith in tow I lead the way to a lounge were Solara and I tell Capt. Jones as well as Capt. Sordane the story of how we came to be stranded on EE4 and how we became the family we are now.
Capt. Smith spoke up, “That Sir is one of the best tales of survival I have ever heard and I applaud you and your wife for making the best of your lives and providing such a love story for others to marvel at.”
Capt. Sordane piped in with, “I agree Sir, I had heard bits and pieces but now to have heard the whole story, I just feel that it was meant for you two to be together.”
“Thank you Sirs, Capt. Sordane how long till we get to our destination?”
“About 10 hours at our present speed.”
“Thank you Capt., now if you will excuse us it has been a long day and we must attend to our children and our selves. In about 10 hours then.”
“Good night then Cmdr., Ms. Lee in about 10 hours then.” Both Capt.’s speak up.
As I look out the view port at Lunar Base 1 to starboard and Earth to port I get that old feeling of a sailor coming home. When you finally see the buildings and homes of your home port you get that feeling your travels are over and it is time to settle down and stay put. Solara is with me and stares at Earth just mumbling to herself about how beautiful it is; the children are getting excited and you can see their wings flutter as the anticipation builds.
Capt. Sordane approaches and informs me, “We’ll be shuttling down on the outer pad of the base and will be provided transport to the base itself.”
“Thank you Capt. we will meet you at the lift bay.” As Solara, the children and I exited the lift in the pad transfer bay all the base personnel turned and stared at her and the kids. As we moved to the underground shuttle more Orlanans stepped off the lift and all work came to a grinding halt as all the Earthers stopped and stared. I chuckled under my breath to look at my fellow humans, knowing just how they felt coming face-to-face with ‘Angels.’ We get aboard the shuttle and transit to base operations. Upon arrival the base Cmdr. greets me and does a DNA scan just to be sure I am who I say I am. “Cmdr. Lee I am Cmdr. Fooglesburg commanding officer of Lunar 1. Welcome home and welcome to Earth to your family.”
“Thank you Cmdr. Let me introduce my wife, Solara; my 4 youngest children Sylawn and Tylawn, my daughters and Dytor and Lytor, my sons. And let me introduce Capt. Sordane of the Orlanan cruiser 9024.”
“Welcome Capt. Welcome all. If you would follow me I will show you to your quarters. And if you would Cmdr., Capt. please join me in Central Command when you have settled in.” We were shown to the VIP suites and guards were placed to keep out the curious. I got Solara and the kids settled in showed them how to operate the view screen and then told Solara.
“I’ll be back in a little while, there is going to be some de-briefing from earth-side and they are going to want to talk to the Capt. It’s a good thing he learned English, via hypno-induction, on the trip out.”
De-briefing was a pain-in-the-ass, as usual. Question after question after question; it was a good thing I had thought to bring the logs from the Pathfinder. As I viewed the logs with Space Command I realized just how close I came to buying the big one. The tattle-tales on the logs show just how much damage the Pathfinder sustained in the impact with the Orlanan cruiser. Even if we had been able to stay in orbit we would not have survived as the engine core was ruptured and ejected by the computer; no power no life. After about 5 hours we took a break and when I came out to the main office there was Solara sitting there talking to the base Cmdr.
“Darling,” she said, “The Cmdr. here has been telling me about stories from Earth’s history and I think that we have discovered a connection between a missing Orlanan ship and a story from about 3000 years ago on Earth.”
“An early survey ship went missing without a trace with a crew of 20 onboard. They were mapping FTL tunnels (Faster Than Light) and it was assumed to have encountered an event horizon and was pulled in. But, it appears that they may have landed on Earth in the area of Central America as some of the native pictograms are similar to early Orlanan space suits.”
“You have got to be kidding!”
“Cmdr. some of your wife’s history is absolutely amazing and I would like very much if she could provide me with some printed copies of Orlana’s history, I am sure I would find it interesting reading and I believe that other races we have encountered have similar stories.”
Solar answered; “Cmdr. I would be happy to have the 9024’s Capt. download copies from the ship’s memory.”
“Cmdr. Sir, is there anything more you need me for?”
“No, Cmdr. you may go. I am sure that you will be contacted if there are any more questions. Thank you Ms. Lee for an interesting afternoon. Good day to you both.”
The days go by with answering questions and learning about all the new things that happened while I was gone. There is also the discussion about what to do about EE4 and the proposal put forth by the Orlanan’s, and myself, to make it the way-point between the two systems. One day, about 3 months after landing, just before dinner Solara comes to me with a bit of a predicament.
“Darling, Julna came to me today with the question of; what is she to do now that she finds herself caring about an Earth man named Tony Divencenzo”
“Who is Tony Divencenzo?”
“He works in the medical labs here and they have been spending a lot of time together. They are coming by after dinner to talk to us about what they are to do now.” About an hour after dinner the doorbell pinged and when I answered there stood before me a good looking young human and an Orlanan female that looked a lot like Capt. Sordane in coloration. “Come in, Come in, Have a seat. Is there anything I can get you?”
“No thank you Cmdr. we’re fine. We just finished our dinner.”
“Solara, our guests are here.”
“Hello Julna, Tony; Welcome.” As Tony and Julna tell us about how they feel about each other and the things they have in common, I look at Solara and take her hand in mine as I can see in her expression she is remembering all the things from when we found out how much we cared for each other.
“Cmdr. I am going to ask you bluntly; what would you do?”
“Well, Tony, I would ask Julna to marry me.” Tony looks at me puzzled and then I see comprehension on his face.
He turns to Julna and asks, “Julna, my love, will you marry me, will you be my mate?”
“Yes my darling I will.”
“I suggest that you two go see Cmdr. Fooglesburg in the morning and tell him how you feel and what your intentions are. And I suggest you speak to Capt. Sordane as well as Julna is a member of his crew. If you need our help please call on us.”
It has been almost a month since that evening with Tony and Julna; and today we are Best Man and Matron of Honor at their wedding. Cmdr. Fooglesburg presided and Capt. Sordane gave away the bride. Solara looked as if she was going to cry even though Orlanan’s don’t and that night she was so passionate with me I know that that was the night we made the boys.
A couple of weeks after the wedding Solara comes to me and announces that she is pregnant again but that something is wrong; it doesn’t feel right and she is afraid of what the Doctor might find. “Darling, Please go with me to the Doctor? I don’t want to be there alone when he tells me the bad news.”
“Let’s go dear; it can’t be anything we can’t handle together.” We go to the medical deck and tell the receptionist that we need to see the Doctor as my wife thinks she is pregnant but thinks something is wrong as it doesn’t ‘feel’ right. We wait for nearly an hour before the Doc comes out and calls us into an exam room, and then they draw blood and urine for tests and set up for an ultrasound to look in her ‘pouch’. When the labs come back the tech and the Doc run the ultrasound and they are discussing the results in low tones so I can’t hear what they are saying. After a few minutes they come over and start explaining the trouble. “Cmdr., Ms. Lee; we have discovered the reason why you say that your pregnancy doesn’t ‘feel’ right. You are carrying 4 eggs, but that is not unusual, the fact that these eggs are all male sized is. As you know male eggs are larger and therefore the fact that there are 4 in your ‘pouch’ gives you that “not-right feeling.”
“That is not possible Doctor; males are never born in 4s only in 2s.”
“That is what all the double-checking was about. The records from the 9024 gave me that info and I ran the test 3 times to be sure. The records on the 9024 show that this has happened a number of times before, but has not happened in over 600 years.”
“Doc, let me get this straight; you’re telling me that Solara is pregnant with 4 but that they are male and this is some very rare phenomenon?”
“That is it in a nut shell.”
“I must tell you that this is not the first time I’ve seen this. This morning that young Orlanan Julna was in here and she too is pregnant with 4 males and was just as surprised as you.” “The ships medical officer and I are studying this and hopefully we can find out why this has happened at this time and he is hoping that it can be duplicated.”
As the weeks go by Solara is in the med center every two weeks and then every week for the next month as she is huge. She was big when she gave birth to Dyla, Jyla, Myla and Tyla; but this is nuts. She can hardly walk and the Doc has recommended she spend the next 5 weeks in the med center on bed rest. She is not alone though as Julna is in the same room and they are becoming close friends.
I spend each evening with my angel as daily I deal with Space Command on the EE4 proposal from Orlana. The Orlanans have proposed that EE4 be not only a way-station but that it remain neutral and with the exception of space craft have no planet based defensive systems. Space Command has proposed that orbital defenses be placed and they are down to what those systems will entail. We have been going at it for weeks and the last hurdle is how the orbital stations will be crewed when one of the Orlanan junior officers speaks up with what just might be the best answer yet. His idea is to have 8 stations, 4 commanded by Space Command and 4 commanded by Orlana and all the crews be mixed from both worlds.
The Space Command board (via vid-link) is looking dumb-founded and saying to each other “Why didn’t we think of that,” when I get a call from med center that Solara has gone into labor. I excuse myself telling all what is happening and that my vote is for this latest proposal.
When I get to the med center I find that Solara is in hard labor and that one of the babies is almost out. I barely get my gown on when I hold my son in my arms. As we are on Earth base Solara, who would normally name the children, has allowed me to choose the names of this special set of boys. The first is Thomas, after my father; the second is James, after my grandfather; the third is Peter, after my uncle; and the forth is Paul after my Exec. Officer on Pathfinder. As I look at my sons lying in their basinets I hold the 4 children brought with us and think back to when the only love I had in my life was the ship I commanded. Oh how things have changed since I first found ‘My Angel.’ I am now the proud father of 20 children; 14 girls and 6 boys. As I’m reminiscing Tony comes walking up and points out his 4 boys in the other basinets. We celebrate this memorable occasion and as I go to Solara’s bedside I tell her of the idea put forth by the Orlanan officer. She is instantly in accordance and tells me to go back to the conference and tell Capt. Sordane that she is sure her father will support this in the national assembly. I kiss her and then my children and return to the conference room to find them still at it. They acknowledge my return and discussions are placed on hold while I tell of the birth of mine and Tony’s sons. Before they start talking again I take Capt. Sordane aside and tell him what Solara said. He says “Thank you,” and returns to the table. As things get going again Capt. Sordane steps up and starts talking about Solara and her father.
“Sirs, please might I have the floor? I have some information that might be of interest to all here. All of you know that Cmdr. Lee is married to an Orlanan named Solara. This ‘woman’ is the daughter of one of our most beloved assemblymen. Torlan took on the National Assembly to get them to adopt a proposal to go against tradition in the assignment of work roles in our society. In our society work roles were assigned as per a person’s status and lineage, much the same as you’re India once had. About 200 of your years ago Torlan had a young male working for him that had an idea to make a machine work more efficiently but because of his ‘place’ he was ignored. Torlan liked the young male and after listening to the idea proposed it himself, in which case it was accepted and credit was given to Torlan. When he challenged those in charge to give credit to Sardit he was ordered to remember his place. So being the generous and kind person he was he took the matter to the National Assembly and after almost three years of in-fighting the assembly adopted a law stating that the higher-archy or status traditions were now outlawed. That no matter a person’s ‘place’ all were equal and were to be treated as such. It took a long time but we are getting there. So, please, when I say that this shared command proposal would be accepted on Orlana if Torlan supported it, I could almost guarantee it. Thank you.”
I had no idea my father-in-law was so famous, but when I think back to meeting him I now know why I was accepted so readily. The meeting broke-up for the day and we agreed to meet in 2 days to further discuss Lt. Bortin’s proposal.
I spent the 2 days with my family; my 2 girls and now 6 boys. I marvel at my angel as we have 20 children and I love her so much that I find it hard to believe that I had any kind of life before we met. I see my children and think of the ones on Orlana and know that there must be a guiding force in the universe because I feel so blessed by these miracles. Just before dinner on the second day I get a call from Cmdr. Fooglesburg asking me to bring Solara to the meeting in the morning, she agreed and I got an idea of what might happen at that meeting.
As we walk into the conference room I see that all the parties are present and the Space Command board was on the vid. “Good morning Cmdr., Ms. Lee; can we get started? Cmdr. have you discussed any of these proceedings with Ms. Lee?”
“Sir’s the only part of this that I have discussed with my wife is a general overview of Lt. Bortin’s motion.”
“Ms. Lee, Capt. Sordane gave us a quick history of how much your Father is revered by the people of your world. What I would ask you is; do you believe your Father would support this treaty in your National Assembly?”
“Sir’s I only know what my husband has told me about this proposal, but if I understand you correctly; ‘The planet you know as EE4 would be neutral and self-governed, that the planet would have no planet based weapons only defensive armament on 8 orbital stations manned by mixed crews and commanded by both Earth and Orlanan Commanders,’ do I have it right?”
“Yes Ms. Lee you have it exactly right.”
“Then Sir’s I can tell you without contradiction that my Father would support this with all His might but would possibly to ‘bend a few wings’ to get it passed.”
“Excuse us Ms. Lee, but ‘bend a few wings’?”
“Sir’s if I might that is an Orlanan saying very similar to our ‘twist a few arms’ in its intent.”
“Thank you Cmdr. Lee I thought it sounded something like that.”
“Ms. Lee, do we have your assurances that you will support this to your Father and assist in its passage?”
“Sir’s that is exactly what I am saying and I believe that you will find I stand with my husband in this. But there is also this, my husband and I have discussed the possibility of our family returning to EE4 to live out the rest of our lives and I would feel comfortable living under such a system.”
“Cmdr. is this true?”
“Yes sir’s it is true we have discussed it and I was hoping that we would discuss it further, but it looks as though my wife has made up our minds for us.” Everyone chuckles and then it is handed to us.
“Cmdr. Fooglesburg, how soon can 2 ships be readied to make the trip to Orlana?”
“I can have Constellation and Enterprise ready in 13 months Sir.”
“Capt. Sordane, can you have the 9024 ready in that time?”
“Then let’s go people, let’s get it done.” Cmdr.’s I expect regular progress reports. Command out.”
“Ok people you heard the man. Let’s get moving.” Capt., Cmdr., Ms. Lee if you would stay for a moment. I would like to put you 2 in charge and Ms. Lee I would like you to see to it that the families of the crews are apprised of these developments and that any who wish to go have that opportunity. Thank you, Good day.”
Things got crazy on Lunar base as things geared up for three major launches. The Orlanan cruiser 9024 and the Earth cruisers Constellation and Enterprise would launch in 13 months on a major diplomatic mission. Some rework on the 9024’s engines will allow the ship to increase its maximum overall speed from .87 L to .96 L. It would allow the 9024 to make the journey home in 6yrs. 6 mos. cutting 18 mos. off the trip. The Connie and the ‘E’ make the 9024 look like a toy as they are about 3 times its size. We have discovered that there are more than just Tony and Julna in the population of Lunar Base, there are 11 couples that are the same as us and there are 2 couples that are Orlanan males and Earth females. All have put in requests to be on this mission and all have placed requests to marry with their respective commands.
Things are getting hectic here. We had a 13 couple wedding 2 mos. ago and all couples were warned NO PREGNANCIES as this mission cannot be delayed.
Two months to go and things are still looking good for the set launch date. There was a small problem with the re-fit on the 9024s engines but with the brain storm of their Chief Engineer it was resolved and the 9024 is back on schedule.
Two weeks to go and all the work is complete, on all three ships. We are checking and re-checking all the work and data so that everything will be set and correct.
Launch day. Solara and I get the children aboard and placed in cryo for the trip. Then we go to the Observation deck to watch as the ships lift-off and set coarse for Orlana. Solara and I are on the Constellation with our children and after saying our welcomes to the Capt. and crew we check on the children and then go to our cryo chamber to sleep till our arrival at Orlana. And as I closed my eyes I looked upon my Angel.
Ten days out from Orlana; Solara and I are awakened so that we can contact the 9024 and Orlanan space control. Solara got on the radio to Capt. Sordane on the 9024 then talked to her father. We were going to have to get ship-to-ground transport as the Connie and the ‘E’ were too big to ground; they will have to remain in orbit and I hopped that I might get my father-in-law up here to see them.
When we got planet side my in-laws and children were there to greet us; it was strange to see our 6 oldest daughters with their husbands, 4 with children and 2 expecting. The rest all healthy and glad to see their parents and siblings. Solara was a bit out-of -sorts at finding out she was a Grandmother but Father was thrilled at being a Great-Grandfather; He was also shocked speechless when we told him of the boys’ quadruple birth. He went on-and-on about how this hasn’t happened in 686 years; that’s when we told him about Tony and Julna and their quadruple male birth. He immediately got on the ‘phone’ and was informed by the med center that it was true there had been two sets of quad boys born on Luna Base; those of his daughter and those of Mr. and Mrs. Divencenzo.
Two days after landing Father, myself, Solara, Capt. Sordane, Lt. Bortin, Adm. Sandecker (from Space Command) and the Elder Lords sat down to discuss the status of EE4. Everyone introduced themselves and then Father stood and presented Lt. Bortin’s idea to the Lords. After about an hour Lord Chultan stood and asked Lt. Bortin to explain his idea.
The Lt. stood and said, “My Lords and guests I was privileged to sit with my Captain at the discussions concerning the planet 8751-A (discovering ship and order found) known to Earth as Epsilon Eridani 4. After listening to the discussions for more than two weeks I was suddenly struck by the thought that if we mixed the crews and commands that that would be the best way to insure the planets neutrality in the area of space between our two spheres of influence. That this set-up would allow for a secure place for each of our citizens and traders to contact the others and carry out business and visitation. I trust that my Lords will make a decision equitable to all concerned. Thank you.”
“Thank you Lt. If you will allow us some time to talk amongst ourselves we will call you when we have questions or a consensus.”
Father invited Adm. Sandecker to his home for dinner and to partake of his hospitality. Adm. Sandecker, his aid, Solara, myself and our children all converged on Fathers house and had a great evening. Solara and I got caught-up with our kids and Adm. Sandecker got the chance to talk with Father, later telling me he was very impressed by his knowledge and comportment. Everyone just kind of sat around for 5 days before Father got a call from the Lords to bring us all together for a meeting. As we entered the assembly hall the Lords Council, all of them, were in their seats and I felt just a bit overwhelmed. We entered and took the offered seats and after all of us arrived Lord Chultan stood up. The hall was immediately quiet and He spoke.
(Interpreted) “Lords and Visitors, we have before us a future altering decision that may provide a new avenue of prosperity and goodwill for all our peoples. You all know of the rescue of one of our prominent daughters from the wreckage of the cruiser 8751 by the Earth man who became her mate and the father of her children. Lord Torlan, her father has brought from his son-in-laws people a proposal for the mutual sharing of the planet known to us as 8751-A. We, the council have thought long on the proposal and ask Lt. Bortin to step forward.”
“Lt. we have found that the Earthers name there planets rather than number then as we do. In the decision we have come to we have to agree with them, Lt. the planet known as 8751-A will be known from this day forward as BORTINAN.”
“To the Earth men present we agree to the proposal and Adm. Sandecker if you would step forward we have for you our signed copies of the treaty. Capt. Sordane step forward.”
“For your part in this great endeavor you are hereby promoted to the rank of Fleet Commander.”
“Thank you my Lords.”
“Torlan, we know that you would refuse any reward put to you by this council, so we have decided to reward your daughter instead. Solara Lee, step forward.”
“We would put to you that you, and your husband be the first governors of the planet given that Earth concurs.”
“I adamantly concur.” Adm. Sandecker leapt in with.
“Do you accept Cmdr. Lee?” I look at Solara and the light in her eyes and the smile on her lips tells me that this is something she wishes. That and the fact that I have always wanted to go back to retire there.
I say; “Lords and Adm. Sandecker I graciously accept the honor bestowed on me by this council and with my wife I will do my best to govern wisely.”
I look at Solara and mouth, “We get to go home.” The council calls for other business as we exit the hall and I grab Solara and squeeze her tight whispering to her “I love you.” She wraps her wings around me and tells me that she loves me too, it is so wonderful that feeling of closeness within the confines of her wings.
Over the next few months we get everything together for our move to EE4 (Bortinan) and the start of our colony there. Both the Constellation and the Enterprise will aid in the transport of supplies and personal to Bortinan from Orlana, then the Connie will proceed to Earth to return Adm. Sandecker to Space Command and then return to Bortinan with the colony contingent from Earth. All of our children and their families have agreed to go as has Father and the family. All the mixed couples have also agreed to colonize although both Orlanan male/Earth female couples will have to wait until the women deliver.
Today we launch for Bortinan, Solara, myself and our entire family are aboard the Enterprise. The 9024 will be accompanying us and it too will stay there to work with Enterprise as our space defense system. Cmdr. Sordane has his family aboard and will be our military liaison as will Cmdr. John P. Jones from Constellation with his Orlanan wife. As I lay down to sleep I look at my love, my wife, my Angel.
It is so good to see EE4 again; the place where my whole life changed.
The 9024 settles into orbit and the comms come to life with all the data and talk between the three ships. 9024 will provide orbit to landing transfer for major supplies and equipment and shuttles will handle personnel. The main settlement will be at the clearing where 9024 first touched down and found us. We have on board 1000 per-fab shelters and warehouses.
We start clearing woodlands and setting up buildings; drilling wells for water and setting up our waste disposal plant. As we get homes and facilities up more and more people come down from Enterprise and Constellation. Our little village is growing into a small city and it is surprising how well everyone is getting along. Solara has found 9 of her friends from school with their spouses and children and there are 22 couples from Constellation’s crew that have requested to stay. The first major contingent from Earth won’t be here for about 20 years and hopefully we will have things well in-hand when they arrive.
We have exhumed the bodies of the Pathfinder crew and the 8751 crew. They were re-buried with all honors in an area that we agreed to set aside as a cemetery. Solara told the children about her brother as they laid his body to rest and I could almost swear she cried.
Our town is growing and nearly complete in its first stage but it has been a hard year. One of the “E”’s shuttle pilots made a mistake in setting some materials down in a small clearing and an Orlanan and an Earther were both killed. Their wives were adamant about justice and wanted the pilot ‘imprisoned’; but after an examination of the lift wire it was found to be faulty and he was reduced in grade, fined for carelessness and held aboard the “E” for 90 days doing port-and-starboard watches. It has also been hard on Solara and I as we have not had a lot of time for each other. Tonight is the party to celebrate our first year here so I think I’ll do something special for her.
I knew from previous tries Solara can’t lay on her back to have sex as it puts too much strain on her wing root joints. But I remember that feeling all those times when she wrapped her wings around me so tightly and how I thought how it would feel if we were making love when it happened. I devised a special pillow that would support her off her wing roots and allow us to make love in the missionary position. I wanted just once to look in her eyes as I made love to her.
We had a great time at the party and everyone was really happy with the way the colony was coming along. As we left the party I said to Solara; “I have a surprise for you and I hope you like what it is going to allow us to do.”
When we got home we said good night to our children and then went to our room to settle in for the night. When Solara saw the pad on the bed she looked puzzled and asked me what it was for and I told her; “It’s easier if I show you. Here lie down on your back right here.” As she lay down her wing root joints fit perfectly in the hollows that I designed into it. “You see my darling when you lay down on this pad we can make love while looking at each other, and see the expression on each other’s face.”
“This is wonderful darling; do you think we could try it out right now?” And with that we got busy.
I started petting her on all the spots she liked. I stroked her entry with my fingers and she moaned and lifted up into my touch. I licked and sucked her nipples, and felt them harden to thumb sized nubs. Oh; I did love her nipples. As I stroked her nub she was soon in the throes of an orgasm and lube was running down my fingers. I got between her legs and she lifted her ass up to meet me; I pushed my cock into her and felt her steering muscles guide me into her tunnel and this time I bottomed out before I was all in. She put her legs around me and held me tight as I stroked my cock in and out of her. She was moaning and groaning and saying; “Darling; this feels incredible, I am so full and I feel you deeper than you have ever been. I am going to cum again and it is so good.”
“I’m getting close too, Darling.” I could feel my cum boiling up in my balls and knew it wouldn’t be long. I could feel her tunnel tightening up as she cried out; “I’m cumming!” She held me tight with her legs and pulled me into her and I felt myself slip deeper into her as my cock went through her “cervix”. I started cumming and as I shot into her she screamed she was cumming again. She wrapped her legs, arms and wings around me and shuddered thru her orgasm. I felt so loved as I lay in her embrace and slowly slipped from within her. As I slid into sleep I gazed upon; My Darling, My Mate, My Love, My Angel.
Part 4: WAR
It has been twelve years and six more children since we returned to Bortinan (EE4). We now have a thriving colony here and were looking forward to our earth brothers’ arrival in about ten more years when we got the shock of all time. The Constellation and 5 huge cargo ships entered orbit. A safe orbital path I might add as we cleared out all the rocks and debris to build our defense platforms thus also giving them large free-fire zones.
When Capt. Rosewood landed in his shuttle he filled us in on all that has happened around Earth. There were riots on Beta Centauri as the government tried to institute a selective breeding program. The Government tried to put down the rebellion but in the end was overthrown and a new Peoples Republic was put in its place. The old bunch was tried for crimes against the people and was sentenced to the asteroid mines for life.
Mars got a full voting seat on the Council of Governors and promptly halted all forced immigration. The old Mars station, that I knew, was moved closer to the asteroid belt and two new stations were built at L5 and L6.
Moon base 10 was completed as were the tram tunnels between all Moon bases. Moon base 10 was built on the ‘Dark’ side of the Moon so that Earth-light would not interfere with astronomical observations.
The biggest thing of all was the development of an FTL engine system. It seems that some of the people that worked on the 9024 when she was there discovered a way to focus the Orlanan Gravity Drive into a beam that would open a wormhole. The original trouble was that the Orlanans had tried it but it was unstable. The guys at Space Command found that by heterodyning three drives of different frequencies focused on the same spot the wormhole could be made stable. This allowed for speeds up to about 2.5L. What really got things going was when a young engineer named Thomas Dillon discovered that by focusing the ‘drive waves’ on the ships own shields it allowed the ship to just slide through space/time at amounted to almost instantaneous movement. The gest is that it used gravity to warp space so that two places were in affect joined as one and all you had to do was cross the threshold between the two. Like squirting a seed from between your fingers was one crew-man’s comment; it stuck, and ‘Squirt Drive’ is what it’s called.
The Connie’s crew said it took them ten days to reach the transit point and ten days to reach EE4; twenty days to cross 10.5 light years when it took me 11 years. Two of the ships with Constellation were filled with colonists and the other three with supplies.
One of the cargo ships is to be used as a tug to get Enterprise home for her refit and then return with more colonists and supplies. Capt. Rosewood informed Cmdr. Sordane and us that 9024 would also be towed to Earth for an engine refit. One of the other cargo ships would go on to Orlana to apprise then of the development of the new drive system and then would return here with colonists and supplies. Our little world was not going to be little much longer.
Another year gone; and with the ‘squirt drive’ FTL ships there is a lot of tourist traffic to both here and Orlana as everyone is curious about the place of first contact and the world of the ‘Angels’. Solara and I went to Orlana to visit family and friends and to check on the family’s investments. I find it hard to believe how much I have; let alone the family. Father’s legal staff invested my royalties and took great care in doing so. I am worth over 3 billion ‘Mann’ equal to about 200 million NAC dollars.
So much has changed and some not for the good; there are reports that some Orlanan exploration vessels have been attacked in the two core-ward sectors. Lord Chula is concerned that rumors of a warrior race in that region are not just rumors.
Another year gone and the 9024 and Enterprise have returned from refit. Cmdr. Sordane says it is so strange to no longer need the sleep cells and to be able to go from world to world in just a blink. The 9024 will continue on to Orlana to show off here new drive system while the ‘E’ will remain here with the ‘Connie’ to maintain security and explore core-ward on our side of the nebula.
The ‘Connie’ has just returned and she is damaged; fired upon by scout ships three systems core-ward from us. Capt. Rosewood reports that he had just entered real space when they were attacked by more than 300 scout-sized ships. After their first volley the ‘Connie’ returned fire and most of the first wave of attackers was destroyed. By the time ‘Connie’ had fired her fourth volley all but about a dozen escaping ships were destroyed. Those ships escaping fled core-ward and appeared to have a drive system similar to ours. The ‘Connie’ searched the debris field and two ships not heavily damaged were tractored to shuttle bays for examination. One of the ships had no survivors on board but the other had two on board; injured but alive. They were Cats! Not the house cats of old but the size of an old Earth tiger and walked upright.
So how do you talk to a 2 meter tall, 140Kg hissing, spitting, ill-tempered fur-ball? Well first you drug it; then you put it in a cell. The next step is figure out its language; what I wouldn’t give for Dr. Nakamura, give her 24hrs and she could talk to an ant.
We sent out ‘squirt probes’ to Earth, Tau Ceti, Beta Centauri, Orlana, Arilon, Vega, Omicron 3 and others requesting information about a race of Cats. Bommer’s World was the first back saying that they had had a run-in with a race of cats calling themselves the ‘Kreel’ or something like that; it had been about 500 years ago so their memory was vague. Their world being all water the ‘Kreel’ had left them alone and not returned.
Next in was Talaria; they even sent video and audio recordings. The ‘Skree’ as they call themselves are a feline based warrior race from an area about 100 light-years core-ward. As the Talarians can produce a very painful electric shock from their bodies and their world is an ice giant the ‘Skree’ left them alone. They had not heard anything about them in over 600,000 cycles (about 550 years).
When the Xeno-linguists got these videos and listened to our two ‘friends’ talk it took them about a month with the aid of the computer and we had some limited understanding of their language. They are indeed the ‘Skree’ as our guests were so bold as to boast. They are the dominant life form in the galaxy and all others are to be their slaves or chattel. They are now returning to this quadrant as they have cleared out the vermin from core-ward, spin-ward and anti-spin-ward of their home world. They consider themselves the master of all they survey and if we didn’t agree then we would be exterminated or; he licked his chops as he looked at Cmdr. Sordane, eaten: “We like bird flesh.” I thought Cmdr. Sordane would shoot him on the spot but he maintained his composure and we left the cell block.
Our tear-down and examination of their ships revealed that they used a drive system similar to the ‘squirt drive’ but powered by fission reactors; very small, very efficient but fission just the same. One good pulse cannon shoot and boom “No more ship.” The problem was we found out that the ‘Skree’ built these ships by the thousands and were more than willing to sacrifice ship and crew to stop an enemy. The one possible key to their defeat lie in the fact that their military was very stratified; the orders came from the top down and nobody questioned them: the commanders gave the orders and the soldiers followed them, Period! The lower ranks did not think for themselves at all. We checked and found out that the one we had that liked to brag was a ship Commander and the only reason he had not rammed the ‘Connie’ was a pulse cannon shot on another ship had taken out his drive.
It was about a month later that something happened to make me rethink the whole relationship I had with Solara; and my idea of their peaceful society. I had picked up one of the translators to go with me to the ‘Connie’ to see the ‘Skree’ Cmdr. When Solara found out where I was going she decided to come along to meet face-to-face our coming trouble.
When the three of us came to the Cmdr.’s cell he looks at Solara and says; “How nice, you brought me a snack.” Now Solara give him a look that would freeze Jupiter to the core, when suddenly the Cmdr. leaps forward his arms through the bars and tries to grab my darling. Before anyone could react to it Solara had lept up and grabbed the overhead and swung her feet up and sank her claws; NO, TALONS into the Cmdr.’s arms. My, oh so sweet, so calm, so loving, gentle as could be lover had 160 to 175mm razor sharp TALONS completely through the Cmdr.’s arms. He cuts loose with the most blood-curdling scream and is trying to get free from her grasp. She is holding on to some piping in the overhead and he is pulling for all he’s worth and all that is happening is the flesh on his arms is being peeled right off the bones. Finally Solara relaxes her muscles and the talons retract releasing the Cmdr. letting him drop to the floor of his cell. He is still screaming in what must be mind numbing pain as Solara turns to exit saying as she does; “I need a bath now!”
The medical staff rushes in and drugs him so that they can tend to him but it is to no avail as they cannot repair the severed arties in his arms; he is dead. I take a close look and his arms look like they have been feed to a saw. There are four through-and –through cuts where her talons caught him near the elbow and ripped open the flesh all the way to the wrist; a good ½ meter. I went to find Solara and an explanation.
When I found her she was headed to the shuttle bay to return to the surface. When I asked her, “What was that?”
I got, “What was what?”
“Don’t give me that; I just saw you rip that Skree’s arms apart like they were confetti.”
“Oh that; he attacked me and I defended myself as I am entitled to do.”
“Well, ya but what about those...”
“You know… those… those claws?”
“You mean these?” and she balances herself and raised her left foot and I saw muscles in her calf flex and there they were; they still had blood on them; razor sharp talons. Three top front and one to the rear and not only did I know they were lethal but just out in the open the way they were now they looked the part. She relaxed and the talons retracted and we resumed our walk in silence. When I got to the surface I went hunting Father sure that I could get some answers from him.
Now Torlan was single for over 40 years before I came on the scene and up-set the ‘applecart’ so to speak. But he decided to follow this crazy Earther son-in-law to a new world and start over. Now 36 of his other 38 daughters decided to go were dad went and as their husband/mates worked for or with Father it made it easy for them to just pack-up and go.
Now there was an Orlanan female named Shutor that had been widowed young; she only had four daughters. She decided that the pickings would be better on a new planet where most of the males would be un-attached; she was right. Her two oldest soon found husband/mates among the Enterprise crew. The other two found a couple of un-attached Orlanans; one from the 9024 and the other a colonist’s son. But then Father saw her and about midway through our fifth year here they married; which surprised Solara. What surprised her even more was that about two years after they married Shutor gave birth to two more girls.
So I found Father at his favorite past-time; dotting on his newest family members. When I asked him about what happened on the ship he didn’t seem surprised by it at all. He tells me: “Approximately 10,000 years ago our ancestors were not much bigger than the eagles of your planet. The main difference was that rather than live as single families we lived in clans supporting one-another and protecting each other. The story is told that one clan leader named ‘Altor’ saw that the ‘people’ were getting nowhere and that the clans had to put aside their differences and work together for the good of all. As the clans slowly dissolved and the ‘people’ took better care of themselves and there was less and less conflict the ‘people’ began to grow in stature: but we remained what we were and that is ‘birds of prey’ as you Earthers put it.”
“When the Skree made to attack Solara her instincts took over and she reacted in defense of herself and most probably you too as you were there. Now as to her talons those were primarily used for capturing large prey, the ones you need watch out for are these;” and he held up his hand and flexed muscles in his forearm and claws appeared just like the talons but there were four of them about 25 to 30mm long coming from each finger an another about 20 to 25mm long from his thumb.
I felt a shiver run down my spine when I thought of how lethal my darling could be. My first thought was I was glad I had never made her mad enough to use those things on me. But then I got an even colder thought ‘how about the throws of passion’ what would I look like if she made a mistake and… So I went home with a new respect for the control over emotions that Solara must exercise on a daily bases. I also thought that if that is what happens when she is surprised what about if it was on purpose? I shudder to think.
It has been nearly a year since the incident on the ship and so far we are doing pretty good. Our 8 orbital stations are complete and online, the ‘E’ is on patrol, the ‘Connie’ is in orbit and the 9024 has returned and brought five more ships like her; all new ‘squirt’ ships. The trouble is I thought too soon and jinxed it.
The day dawned dark and overcast and as I was on my way to the office suddenly alarms sirens are going off everywhere; we are under attack. Humans are running everywhere and Orlanans are swooping down to stations. As I enter the Ground Control Center the readouts tell me all I need to know. There are more than one thousand ships up there against our 8 stations and 7 ships. As the battle wages I can see that some 200 Skree ships have broken off from the others and are heading for landing sites all around our small city. I detail three of my Space Marine companies to concentrate their defense in the area of the port as it appears the majority of the Skree will land there. The other company of Marines and the Orlanan Rangers will see to the perimeter landings. There seems to be a single minded tactic on the part of the Skree; flood the defenses with as many ships and troops as it takes to just over-whelm them; damn the casualties.
And we are causing them a great deal of casualties. Their body armor is of little or no use against a pulse rifle. And the Rangers are a sight to behold. Imagine if you can a 1.5 to 1.6m tall, 6m wingspan, 70 to 75Kg Peregrine Falcon or Golden Eagle. They come down from above and swooped through the trees; twisting and turning and suddenly you see a Skree in the clutches of those talons. Then before his friends can react he is released and slammed into a tree at 50Kmh or so; SPLAT! If the talons don’t kill the impact surely does.
The tide is turning; for over 6hrs now the Skree have poured hundreds of soldiers in to the battle only to have them slaughtered at the hands of the Marines or Rangers. We have been hurt though; Nearly 50 dead and dozens more wounded among the Marines and over a hundred dead Rangers, more than 200 wounded. But the cost to the Skree; they could not even get their ships back off the ground, Orlanan Rangers with pulse rifles made a game of who could get off the most unlikely shot. No grounded ships survived.
In space it was worse: after the first shots were fired the Skree started just ramming ships trying to get their soldiers aboard our ships to take them over. The problem for the Skree was that our ships are compartmented and whole segments can be sealed off and even vented to space. They died by the thousands. The Enterprises first volley took out almost 100 ships as there reactors just blew up. The Constellation started a new tactic as she moved through the Skree ships; a rotational fire pattern from all of her main guns cycling them in loops and figure 8’s as the ship rolled on its axis. The Skree didn’t stand a chance; the fire coming off of Constellation was so intense that ships flying into it literally just melted in place. Soon the ‘E’ and the Orlanans took up the pattern and they herded the Skree into the fire zones of the stations and that was all it took. Later analysis of data showed that of 5260 Skree ships that started the attack only 3 managed to get away.
The 9024 had one gun battery and crew destroyed and damage from four other ramming’s. The ‘E’ had two pulse cannon and five lesser gun batteries destroyed, eight other ramming’s. The ’Connie’ had two pulse cannon and six lesser gun batteries destroyed, ten other ramming’s. Three of the orbital stations were heavily damaged by ramming’s and the 9187 that had come from Orlana with the 9024 was lost with all hand when she was rammed through a shuttle bay and damaged the containment field of her fusion core and she exploded. Total losses on our side 3314 dead; estimated Skree losses 500,000, but we stopped them.
In the days that followed the Space Command staffs of both Earth and Orlana decided to take the initiative and take the war directly to the Skree home world. As ships were repaired and crews replaced the planning went on. It was though that because their ships were so poorly built and with the new tactic from Capt. Rosewood that if we could get in to their home system without being detected then we might be able to destroy the entire structure from the top down.
Orlana sent word to all ships to come home, ‘squirt’ ships were sent to bring in those that had not yet been converted and work got started to do just that. Earth on the other hand had an armada; there was the: Yamato, Kirov, Liberty, Washington, Constellation, Lenin, Hermes, Thor, Victorious and of course Enterprise. All capitol ships and when combined with escorts and support vessels over one thousand ships. Tau Ceti and Beta Centauri sent ships as well as did any who felt it in their best interest that the Skree be destroyed. By the time we found the Skree home world we had more than 100,000 vessels prepared for war.
It took almost a year to track down and find the Skree home but by using bits and pieces of data combed from wrecked Skree ships and from hints from other civilizations their navigation vectors began to make sense. They never went straight to or from their home system when going to or coming from raided systems. Everything seemed to be routed through various outlying systems and then to home world. They are 21 systems core-ward and 4 systems spin-ward from us here at Eridani so we were the obvious staging point for the final assault.
All is in readiness as I join the crew of Enterprise and Solara joins 9024. We move beyond the Oort cloud and all ships as one energize their ‘squirt’ drive. We drop into real space in a system devoid of all planets or asteroids or anything save a lone planet around a class ‘G’ star. The admiral proposes that they stripped the system to build their war machine and rely solely on what is brought in from conquered systems to support the populous. There is one other thing in this system and that is thousands upon thousands of Skree scout size ships. Both sides open fire immediately. We are getting hit from every turn but each time those pulse cannons on the big ships fire there is a huge gap in their lines as ships just disintegrate.
Suddenly it’s as if we can’t hit anything it’s as if the Skree suddenly have a shield that or guns can’t get through. I get a call from Cmdr. Sordane, he has it figured out. They are using their smaller size and their own ‘squirt’ drives to suddenly move as we fire thus making us miss. I plug this data into the fire-control computers and he is right on the money, they are moving just 100Km ahead of where we fire. I pass this on to the Admiral and he in turn to the fleet, us your guns in pairs; the first one fire and the second aim 100Km ahead of that ship and fire with a 1sec delay. It works; suddenly the hit rate is back up and huge holes are opening in their groups.
Finally the Admiral calls for Kirov, Liberty, Washington and Enterprise to move to within 1000Km of each other, interlace all escorts and prepare to advance. Once in place the four ships set up a rotating fire pattern from their forward guns that creates an almost solid wall of energy in front of them. On the order all ships go to full power and plow head long into the Skree fleet. The Skree ships don’t stand a chance their ships are not capable of penetrating that wall of energy. Finally we break through and if anything the fire intensifies, then before me I see their reasoning. They are going to use this fire ring on the planet itself. Hundreds of Skree ships try to block the assault but it is like throwing sand at a tornado; their own fissionable materials just add to the fire. Finally the fire wall contacts the planet’s atmosphere and within a few seconds you can see the air start to burn. Now the other capitol ships are joining in their great cannons adding to the conflagration as the planet is incinerated and so is all life upon it.
It is done; the planet is a smoking ruin. Its atmosphere burned away, its surface turned to molten slag. We know that all the orders came from here; from their Emperor and Empress without them they are nothing. There will be pockets as local Cmdrs.’ try to carry out their last orders but they will be hunted down and brought to justice. The galaxy is safe until the next time.
As Enterprise drops into real space at Eridani, I’m looking for the 9024 and can’t find her. Suddenly there she is and badly damaged with at least six ramming’s fused to her hull. I race to get to a shuttle and get to Solara. Saying little prayers to the powers that be; “Please let her be safe! Please let her be alright!” As I board her ship I see her sitting on the Ob-deck, she is bloody from head to toe. Her hands and feet caked in blood. I can see a couple of places where she is plasma-bolt burned and her feathers are singed and ruffled. I take her in my arms and hug her tight saying, “when I saw the ship I thought I might have lost you.”
“You can’t get rid of me just because of a little war,” she says; and then goes on, “Oh, by the way I’m pregnant again.”
Oh what a wonderful life I have…
Part 5: Epilog
It has been 25 years since the Skree were erased from the galaxy and things have been very quiet. We have met and befriended over 100 new civilizations and each has something to donate to the greater good of our small section of the universe. There are eight reptilian, four new avian, two aquatic, 3 insectoid (1-bee like; 1-ant like and the other is metamorphic like butterflies’) races added to our conglomeration.
Father died 14 years ago after fathering eight more children with Shutor. We all miss him so much. Solara and I have 56 children all total with 12 boys and the rest girls and my next birthday I will be 123 years old, chronologically, but have spent almost 30 of those years in Hyber-sleep and therefore don’t age as fast as normal. I also know that I don’t have a lot of time left as the Doctor has told me that my heart is failing and can no longer be regenerated.
I set out a young man to conquer the planets. Little did I know the extent of my travels and conquering. I would not dream of pushing any being into the life I have led but I would not trade the life I have had for anything.
When my time comes I’ll be laid to rest with my crew to my left. The space on my right is for Solara and to her right is her brother and her crewmates
I have been blessed and as I close my eyes for perhaps the last time I look upon the face of my dearest love; my Darling, my Life, my WINGED ANGEL.
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