May 2009 Archives

A mash up of two of my favorite things -- soft woolen mittens and whiskers on kittens. Wait! no! That was something else.

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Horse Incident - Part I

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"Where did you get this horse?" asked a young man as Gaius rode into the next way station on his road to Campania.

"She was given to me by a former associate," lied Gaius.

"I think you stole it!" exclaimed the man.

What could Gaius do? He obtained the horse from a man who was going to rob him. There was no reason to believe that that man obtained the horse legally. Thus, he could very easily be riding a stolen horse. However, he could never admit that.

"I assure you that I did not steal this horse," Gaius explained.

"Perhaps your associate stole it then!"

"That is none of my concern, nor is it yours. However, you can rest assured that if he did steal her, he will never do anything of the like again."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"If I say the man that gave me this horse will never steal again, you can count on that being the truth."

"You killed the man for his horse?"

"Not at all. He attacked me, and I defended..."

"So, he is dead!"

"He was a brigand, and he got what the fates wished."

"And you obtained a horse for free. That is very convenient."

"I would happily abandon this mare and continue on my way if you wish it."

"Oh, you will hand over the horse all right, but you will not simply walk away -- barbarian."

"Stranger, I have no beef with you. If this is indeed your horse, you may have her," Gaius said as he dismounted. "However, tread lightly or you may regret wagging your tongue in such a manner."

"You speak as if you are not a dead man already."

The man drew his short sword and swung it at Gaius. Gaius rushed at the man and the sword completely missed its mark. The man's arm hit Gaius instead. With a quick twist of his body, Gaius grabbed the man's hand and freed the sword. It fell harmlessly to the ground. With a quick push of his elbow, the man was forced backwards. Gaius bent over and picked up the sword.

"Citizen," began Gaius before the man could rush forward "I have no quarrel with you. As I said, if the horse is yours, you may have her. If it is not, leave us be. However, you have forfeited this sword."

The man thought about charging at Gaius to retrieve his sword. He thought it over quickly and decided not to take that course of action. "You have not heard the last of me!" the man said as he ran away.

"I had better have!" exclaimed Gaius after him.

The man did not even take the horse. It became clear to Gaius that the horse was going to be trouble. He could not prove where he got the horse, and he could not prove that it was not stolen. The horse could prove to be more trouble down the road.

Nevertheless, it had been a long journey, and the death of the slave woman saddened him greatly. However, he had given her happy last moments. He was pleased with that. Thus, when he was at the end of the days journey, he was looking forward to a quiet night.

He entered the inn for a meal and a room for the night. The available food smelled glorious when he entered the inn. A hearty meal would hit the spot. He exchanged the pleasantries with the innkeeper, and made the necessary arrangements for the night.

He hoped that the man that confronted him earlier would not find him again. He hoped the warning took hold. He did eat his meal in relative quiet. There were minor skirmishes during the meal, but that was normal for a place such as this. Apart from those incidents that did not involve Gaius, the meal was uneventful.

Unfortunately, after he finished eating, he was accosted by the man from his arrival. With four comrades, the man walked up to Gaius and ordered him to step outside.

"I informed you earlier that our interactions were over," assured Gaius.

"Not until I get my sword back."

"The only way you will get it back is through your heart."

"I do not think so," the man replied waving at his four friends.

"Listen," replied Gaius in an irritated tone. "You do not know me, or what I am capable of. Your pitiful group of friends does not change that. Thus, if you would like to see tomorrow, you will leave me alone."

"If you were so formidable, then you would not be stealing horses."

"You must be hard of hearing, so let me make this clear to you. There was a band of seven highway men pestering travelers on the Appian Way north of here. They will pester no one now. Their leader, an army deserter named Horatius, was upon the horse I acquired. Since him and his six allies would not need the animal in question, I took it."

"Do you expect me to believe that you single handedly killed seven men?"

"You may believe whatever you wish. I assure you that seven is not even close to the most men I have killed in one fight. You have had a taste of what I am capable and survived. Consider yourself lucky, and go home."

"My honor will not allow me..."

"Your so-called honor will result in your death and that of your friends. What good will it be to you then?"

"You will step outside, and prove yourself."

"I have nothing to prove. It is you who wishes to prove something. I wish to have nothing to do with it."

"You are a coward!"

"You should not tempt the fates lest you wish to meet them."

"You speak tough words, but can you back them up barbarian?"

"I fail to see why you wish to have an end of your life at such a young age. Is life here that unbearable?"

"You act as if you will survive this fight."

"No. I act as if I have experience in fighting. Your group garners no interest from me."

"You will fight us horse-thief."

It looked as if Gaius would not be able to avoid fighting the man and his friends.

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The God Wars

Chapter Three:

Castaway

By Dwayne MacInnes

"Do you actually believe this?" Captain Arnold asked Crist once the general returned to the Pima.

"It is a hard pill to swallow, but it does make sense," Crist said smoking a cigarette.

"What do you think we should do? You are the ranking officer."

"Captain," Crist said to the excited captain. "The fleet is under your command. You get me to land and I'll take over any landing operations. However, if you want my advice I say we keep going east. There must be some land out there somewhere."

"Maybe and maybe not. In any event, I only have a finite amount of fuel for the ships and aircraft. Hopefully, we'll catch something on the radar," Arnold responded.

"What about the two Kingfisher floatplanes on this ship? Their range is further than the Avengers," Crist offered.

"It takes a long time to retrieve a floatplane and secure it back onto its catapult. No the range of the TBFs will suffice," Captain Arnold countered.

The two men sat in silence as the bridge crew continued their work. The sun was out in full force and there was not a cloud in the bright blue sky. In another time and place, this would be a wonderful day. Today it was just another mystery as to what was going on.

Finally, Arnold went over to the radioman. "Sparky, have all senior officers of the fleet assemble in the wardroom in two hours." Arnold then turned towards Crist, "General I would like all your senior officers in attendance as well."

"You figure a briefing?" Crist asked the captain.

"Yes, preferably a joint one explaining the possibility that we are lost -- very lost," Arnold concluded.

The radio operator suddenly spun around to address Captain Arnold. "Sir, the John Reynolds has spotted some debris off her port side."

Arnold and Crist both rushed over to the radio. Sparky continued to listen on his end and finally relayed more information. "It appears sir to be from a wooden ship..."

"Maybe we are not so lost after all," Arnold proclaimed.

"Sir, they also say there is a survivor, and he is being sent over to the Respite."

"General, I know that you out rank me. But if you can spare someone to interview the survivor and report back to me I'd be very thankful," Arnold said to the waiting General.

"Not a problem. I can spare myself. I've got a few interpreters over on the Olympus I will take one of them along in case our survivor doesn't speak English."

Grumman TBF Avenger

It was the second time in a matter of hours that General Crist found himself on the Respite. This time he was ushered to the room with the survivor of the wooden boat. With the general was an interpreter Lieutenant Roger Greer. It was because of his extensive range of languages and expertise in linguistics that Crist chose Greer to accompany him.

The doctor showed the two military men the room with the survivor. Nurses were busy setting up an I.V. and taking vital signs. At first neither men could see the survivor because of the mass of medical personnel assemble around the bedside.

After a few minutes the nurses and the presiding doctor walked away to confer with each other. The survivor sat in the bed. A pillow obstructed the face so Crist could not see what the survivor looked like. Finally, the doctor walked over to the two officers.

"Gentlemen, it looks like she'll be all right," the doctor said. "She's conscious but is suffering a bit of shock. Please, do not over task her with too many questions."

"Her?" Crist exclaimed. "You mean it was woman on that boat."

"Obviously, the answer is yes," the doctor replied. "Here are her effects and this might help you out."

The doctor handed over the woman's tunic. It was white with golden scroll pattern on the hem that reminded Crist of Greece. The other object was a tattered fabric with some writing on it. It was writing Crist had never seen before.

"Lieutenant, what do you make of this?" the General asked the interpreter.

"Sir, I am fluent in five languages. But this does not look like any European script in design," Greer replied looking over the fabric. "I did once take some classical languages. If I am correct this looks a lot like Linear A."

"Son, you are speaking Greek to me," the General stated.

"In a sense that is correct, sir. Linear A is from the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. It has not yet been deciphered."

"Well, maybe we can get something from the girl," Crist said.

"Yes sir, I'll try," Greer responded.

"Lieutenant, I want to stress that this is very important. I need you to do more than try," Crist sternly ordered.

"Yes sir!" Greer said with a crisp salute.

"Good, I need to return to the Pima. I want you to alert us to any breakthroughs," Crist said. "Oh son, one more thing, time is not a luxury we can afford."

* * * * *

General Crist returned in time to join Captain Arnold in the wardroom. All the captains from the various ships in the fleet were in attendance as well as every colonel that accompanied the troops aboard the Olympus. The officers were all either smoking, drinking coffee or both.

"Gentlemen," Captain Arnold addressed the assembled men. Their conversations died down once the captain began to speak. "You may have guessed that we have experienced some rather unusual events today."

Several men nodded their heads. "The general," Arnold pointed to Crist who stood off to one side, "and I have done some investigation. It appears that some new device that was supposed to turn our fleet invisible malfunctioned."

"What do you mean by malfunctioned?" asked one of the captains with British accent. Arnold noted that he had to be Captain Bolger from the Olympus.

"Well, according to Dr. Reno we have been transported to another location," Arnold replied.

"Where exactly is that?" the British captain queried further.

"We do not precisely know where. It could be any where on Earth or, as Dr. Reno suggests, another planet," Arnold answered in a stoic voice.

The assembled officers broke out in questions, disbelief, and just general chaos. Captain Arnold tried several times to quiet down the group but to no avail.

"Attention!" screamed General Crist at the top of his lungs. His harsh commanding voice automatically brought the soldiers to their feet. The fleet captains quickly followed suit.

"Look here," Crist said sternly. "We need you to take this information and present it to your men. We need you to do it in a calm and controlled manner. Plus, we want you to be prepared to keep control of the situation."

"That is correct," Arnold added. "We also want you to assure the men that we are working on finding land and fixing the machine. We will either find out we are still on Earth or we will find a way to return."

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A salute to the bold Star Trek security men (and women.) - in honor of the new movie in theaters today!

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Horse Incident - Part II

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Gaius did not wish to fight the five men. The leader of these men had been wronged, but he was attempting to right this with the wrong person. He and Gaius were allies in a sense, but the man would not listen to reason. The man wanted to fight someone, and unfortunately he had chosen Gaius.

"Oh cruel fates," cried Gaius. "Why do you test me so? Have I not proven myself worthy?"

Reluctantly, Gaius joined the five men outside. He was still going to attempt to convince them to not fight. However, he had the feeling that his words had little effect on the men.

"It is not too late!" Gaius began. "The fates can still change their minds on your destinies."

"Barbarian!" replied the leader. "Prepare to die."

The leader, who lost his sword to Gaius, waved his hands to indicate the men put their plan into action. The four men drew their short swords. Gaius left his weapons in his pack in the inn. He was going to see what he could do to convince these men that they had no quarrel with him.

Two men rushed Gaius immediately with another rushing in a delay as to not have them all arrive at the same time. The leader and another remained where they were as a reserve. The first two men arrived on opposite sides of Gaius nearly simultaneously.

Gaius side stepped their thrusts just in time. He rushed one man and grabbed his arm. He stepped in front of that man and parried the thrust of the other with that man's sword. With a quick flick, he hit the other man's hand with the flat of the blade.

"Look out!" Gaius yelled as he kicked that man.

The third man arrived and thrust at Gaius. With a block and that kick, the thrust went to where the second man stood. With a twist and an elbow, Gaius relieved the man he was controlling of his sword.

With a wave and a flourish, he relieved the third man of his sword. The second man had his sword tucked under his arm, and was rubbing his hand. He just stood there looking at Gaius. It looked as if he was puzzling on why Gaius just saved his life. The now swordless men moved back towards the group's leader.

The man in reserve pointed his sword at Gaius and cautiously advanced. Gaius glanced between the stationary man and the one advancing. The one rubbing his hand just stood there. Thus, the sword Gaius had grabbed from the one man he threw on the ground by the other sword.

The advancing man cocked his head at this move but continued to advance slowly.

"Get him!" shouted the leader.

The advancing man looked back and gave the leader a stern look. Afterwards he continued his slow advance with his sword out front.

Gaius continued to glance between the two armed men. The one remained standing there puzzling over Gaius's actions. While Gaius was looking away, the advancing man charged. However, instead of thrusting his short sword, he raised his sword above his head and attempted to hack at Gaius from above.

Gaius caught the man's arm on its way down and the force caused him to drop his sword. With a quick turn and a push, the man fell backwards. Gaius picked up the sword and put it with the rest. The man with the sword remained motionless for a moment. He then sheathed his sword, and turned and walked away.

"Where are you going?" asked the leader.

The man simply looked at him and continued to walk away.

"He realized that this was not his fight," replied Gaius. "If you think three unarmed allies are better than four armed ones, we can continue this. However, I do not recommend it."

"Honor says we have to finish this," replied the leader.

"It is finished," replied Gaius. "Honor does not dictate that you all must die -- a victor was chosen."

"I do not feel that my honor was upheld," shouted the man knowing that he was defeated.

Gaius left the swords on the ground and walked over to the men. "I am not your enemy. I vanquished your enemy. If you cannot see that, I will kill you right here. However, I do not wish to."

"Who are you?" asked the man.

"I have been known by many names. The name I go by now is Gaius Conelius Ferrarius."

"We were defeated by a barbarian blacksmith?"

"You cannot judge a person by what they look like or from where they hail. Experience is what shapes a person. While I can handle myself in a fight, I would not wish my life experience upon anyone."

"Okay Ferrarius -- the fight is over. However, you can keep the horse if I could get my sword back."

"Very well," replied Gaius.

Gaius entered the inn where his pack was sitting. He opened it up and retrieved the man's short sword. He walked out with it, as the man's companions gathered their swords and left. He walked over the the man and handed the short bladed weapon to him.

"Did you really kill seven bandits to get that horse?"

"I have no reason to lie about these things," Gaius said before turning around to go back into the inn.

As Gaius was walking back to the inn, he heard the sound of a sword being slowly unsheathed. He gave a heavy sigh, and readied himself.

Despite the man's best efforts, he could not sneak up on Gaius. He clumsily attempted to thrust the sword into Gaius's back, but the experienced soldier easily dodged the attack. With the sword and arm of his foe beside him, Gaius grabbed the sword, twisted it around and plunged it into the heart of the man.

"I was hoping that you would have stained my honor by making a liar out of me," muttered Gaius to the dieing man. "Alas, you got your sword back when I thrust it into your heart. It is truly sad."

The man fell to the ground in pain. The local people did not do anything to apprehend Gaius or aid the man. Gaius knelt down and held the man as he was dieing.

"How would your honor have enjoyed defeating someone in an unfair fight?" asked Gaius as the man breathed his last breath.

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The God Wars

Chapter Four:

Revelations

By Dwayne MacInnes

Lt. Greer spent the entire day with the woman found in the ocean. He was quickly able to learn that her name was Mina. For someone who survived a shipwreck she was doing remarkably well. When Greer started to talk with her, she became alert and any signs of weariness instantly disappeared.

Greer was able to learn a few words, and he taught her a few words in turn. He could tell that she was very anxious to communicate with him. She would point to the tattered rag that contained the old Minoan script. She even tried writing a message to Greer, but it was still Linear A. Sadly, Greer did not know how to read that.

After hours of learning some basic words, Lt. Greer decided that Mina might want some fresh air. He checked with the doctor. He received the okay as long as she used a wheelchair. The strange device fascinated Mina. Nonetheless, she allowed Greer to push her along the corridors and out onto the deck of the Respite.

The sun had set and the stars were out. Greer was not an astronomer, but he could tell the Big and Little Dipper from the rest of the constellations. He could not find either. The moon also looked slightly different; a little larger in fact. The moon was full in the clear night sky, and it cast its silvery luminescence upon the deck of the hospital ship.

Mina also studied the sky. After a few minutes, she jumped out of the wheelchair and pointed towards the east. The same directions the fleet had been traveling all day.

"Ghie!" she cried as she grabbed Greer's arm and excitedly continued to point east. "Ghie!"

Greer watched bewildered for a couple of minutes. He did not know what 'ghie' meant. It was obviously something very important. Mina frowned at Greer when he shook his head that he did not understand.

Mina began to stamp her feet. With no reaction from Greer, She knelt down and pantomimed picking something up and letting it run through her fingers. She then stood up and pretended to be breaking the ground with some tool.

Greer smiled and asked, "Gaia?"

Mina clapped her hands and nodded. She then pointed east again saying, "Ghie."

Greer became excited. If he had guessed correctly that meant there was land to the east. He had to contact the Pima quickly.

* * * * *

General Crist had finally decided to head back to his quarters and catch some shut-eye. He had not slept since the incident with the machine. Therefore, it was no surprise that as soon as his head hit the pillow he was fast asleep.

"General Crist?" a voice asked in Crist's dream. The voice sounded familiar yet he could not place it. "General Crist?" it asked again a little louder. Crist's mind was slowly starting to coalesce around consciousness. "General Crist?" the voice said again and Crist sat up in bed.

In the doorway of his quarters stood the seaman he met on deck the night before. Crist cleared his throat and swung his legs over the bed planting his feet on the floor.

"Yes," the general finally choked out.

"General, Captain Arnold wants to see you immediately," the sailor stated.

The general climbed out of bed wondering if the captain ever slept himself. General Crist and the escort hurried down the hallway and up stairs until they were in the bridge. Arnold was looking out the window up at the heavens.

"Sorry to wake you general," Arnold said never taking his eyes off the night sky. "Well, it looks like Reno was correct. We are on another world. Those are not our stars," the captain said turning to look at Crist.

"I'm assuming you called me up here for something else," Crist replied. Without his coffee after waking up, he could tend to be a bit short.

"Sorry general, you are correct," Arnold said he looked at the escort. "Ensign, please two coffees." The sailor saluted and left the bridge.

"Your man, Lt. Greer just called," Arnold began. "According to what he has learned from our castaway, land should be somewhere to the east. We still haven't seen anything on radar, but I will make sure some scout planes are sent out in the morning."

Crist nodded his head. This was important and it looked like Greer was eager to learn ancient Minoan. "Did the lieutenant say anything else?"

"Not much. He said he is working on the rag -- whatever that may be. He hopes to have it solved by morning," Arnold said.

"Captain," Crist said. "It looks like morning will reveal many things to us. So if you don't mind I will take a rain check on that coffee."

* * * * *

Crist joined Arnold on the bridge as soon as the sun broke over the eastern horizon. There was hot coffee all ready waiting there with some cinnamon rolls. The general wasted no time and helped himself to both

"Morning, general," Arnold greeted.

"Good morning, do you ever sleep," Crist asked.

"I've been catching some catnaps here and there. My XO has been insisting that I hit my bunk, but I can't do that."

Crist would have sided with the executive officer. However, if he were in charge of the fleet on an unknown world, he too would be close to the bridge.

Before Crist could say anything, a man in an army uniform walked onto the bridge. His eyes were red with lack of sleep and his uniform wrinkled.

"Lieutenant Greer," General Crist said to Captain Arnold, "is our interpreter. I believe you both spoke to each other last night.

Greer saluted both men as Crist held out a steaming cup of Joe for his young officer to drink. Greer nodded his thanks and drained the coffee oblivious to the hot liquid burning down his throat.

"Thanks," Greer said. "You won't believe what I have learned."

"Well, son maybe you should let us in on it," Crist urged.

"I have broken Linear A. Well, at least as much as is on this fabric," Greer said holding up the tattered cloth. "This is a prophecy of some sort. It reads, From Olympus over the sea, men in iron boats shall set us free."

Arnold and Crist continued to stare at Greer. The young lieutenant began to squirm uncomfortably under the gaze of the senior officers.

"Well...well, sirs," Greer stammered. "I believe that is why Mina, that is the castaway's name, sailed out to find us. We must be the men in the iron boats; in addition one of those boats is called the Olympus."

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Hobbit I’m Not

Part One

By Michael-John J. Davis

In 2003 the discovery of Homo Floresiensis created a stir in the international academic community. Widely contested, the species was allegedly a sort of dwarf man with a small skeletal structure and brain. It was this small size that led to the species being nicknamed Hobbits. Many supporters believed that they must have had a moderate intelligence because at no time in the probable history of the species was the island connected to any other land mass. This led to the conclusion that they might have built rafts to travel between islands, which meant they must have had technology and more than likely had language.

The most interesting part of the discovery was to me the time frame in which they were believed to have existed: up to 12,000 years ago. If this was correct, it would make them the most recent relative of Homo Sapiens to survive. Thus, surpassing even the Neanderthals by up to 12,000 years.

While all this interested me, the part of the story that truly drew me in was the legend of the Ebu Gogo. Members of the Nage, a tribe local to the island of Flores, claimed that there were a race of little cave dwelling men sharing the island with them up until around 300 years ago. At this time their tribe disposed of the Ebu Gogo by presenting them with palm fibers to make clothes. However, the Nage ignited the fibers. According to the legend, once the Ebu Gogo had taken these palm fibers back to their cave, all of them perished in fire that day. Some say that perhaps one pair, which retreated into the deepest forest, managed to survive.

I was twenty-one years old and a student of Anthropology at Florida State University when the discovery was announced in 2004. I followed the controversy closely. I was enraptured by the thought of finding the cave where the Ebu Gogo had been burnt and proving that H. Floresiensis had existed side by side with modern man. I wanted to prove the H. Sapiens might not be the only man around. In 2012 I graduated from FSU, and with the ink still wet on my PhD, I had no question where I was headed. You can call me a hopeless romantic, but there was no place but Flores for me.

I secured funding and authorization from the Indonesian government to study not H. Floresiensis but the Nage tribe. I was going to study their customs before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century . Not much was know about the Nage. THey had not been studied except sparsely in the 1940’s by a Portuguese colonial officer. After that by a professor from the University of Alberta in the late twentieth century.

In my time on the island, I labored at my research on the Nage people. However, my personal time was spent hiking in the forests on the island, ducking into every cave I could find, and hoping I would get lucky. I did all this to no avail.

Five years after I had arrived on the island, I began to despair of ever finding anything even related to H. Floresiensis. Oh, I had seen stone tools and even on one occasion the actual skeletal remains of LB1, the first specimen discovered. Alas, I saw them in the museum in Jakarta. I longed to find anything in the field that might be related to H. Floresiensis. I drove deeper and deeper into the forest. It was nothing but sheer desperation that led me to the greatest discovery ever.

On one of my trips into the forest I came upon a large rock and decided to take a break from all the hiking. As usual, I began to day dream about what it would be like to be the one who discovered a living hominid outside of our own species. I realized in my day-dreaming that if H. Floresiensis hadn’t been found yet then they probably didn’t want to be found. How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found? I realized that if they were still around that the Ebu Gogo would be hunter/gathers and most likely scavengers. On a whim I dug into my backpack and pulled out my extra canteen. I placed it on the rock and left it with the intent to come back and see if it was missing. Now that I had made my shot in the dark, I headed back to civilization.

Two weeks passed before I could make it back to the rock. When I did make it back ,much to my surprise, the canteen was gone. I ran through the possibilities. Someone from the village might have come by and picked it up. However, the villagers tended to stay away from the deep forest. Legend held that the spirits of the slaughtered Ebu Gogo haunted the forest and expressed ill will and bad luck towards any who ventured too deep. An animal might have carried it off but that too was unlikely as Flores is one of the few islands in the south pacific without monkeys. Lastly, the most unlikely scenario and the one that I dared not let get my hopes up -- a member of H. Floresiensis had acquired it.

Really I had only one option: to carry on with the experiment. Thus, out of my pack I pulled the hatchet I had brought with me. I placed it on the rock with the determination that I would return in exactly the same amount of time that it had taken me to return the first time. As I hiked out of the forest, I couldn’t shake the feeling I was being watched. To be honest, it excited me.

When I returned to the village I ordered a motion sensing camera from Jakarta and set about documenting what I had done so far. I was after all, a scientist. Now that the excitement had bled out, I hit the second phase commonly associated with discovery, doubt. I began to wonder why I had just spent much of the meager salary I received on the camera. Even more so, I began to ask myself what if? What if my wildest dreams were true and I had begun to make contact? I had broken a cardinal rule of first contact. I had introduced them to tools and workmanship far beyond their capacity to make. I wondered if I should call it off, but the schoolboy in me refused to do so. I knew I would take flak for the mistake if I had truly made contact. Nonetheless, the damage was done and there was nothing I could do about it.

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Horse Incident - Part III (The Conclusion)

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Another death on his hands, and Gaius was still a long ways from his goal of Campania. Furthermore, the latest death was causing some difficulties. In front of the standing court, the man's uncle brought an indictment against Gaius charging him with murder. Thus, Gaius would have to defend himself against the charges.

The Roman Appian Way

Gaius was placed in custody until his turn in court. He would be taken in front of the local Aedile who would act as judge. The killed man's uncle recruited several people to act as scriptores and they signed the complaint. The inscripto stated that Gaius killed the man without provocation after an argument.

"Magistrate, my name is Titus Sextus Genucius. I am here on behalf of my nephew Titus Decimus Genicius who was brutally murdered by one Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius. It all began with an argument over a horse. My dear nephew had lost a horse to thieves and he accused the mighty blacksmith of taking it," began the testimony of the accuser.

"My poor nephew's first attempt to retrieve the animal in question resulted in him losing his sword to Ferrarius. Later, when he attempted to retrieve the weapon, he got his sword back when the defendant thrust it into his heart. My nephew had no chance to defeat such an accomplished fighter, and lost his life in the attempt to retrieve his stolen horse and his stolen sword."

The three jurors sat quietly as the plaintiff described what happened to his nephew. He also outlined how he would show that the defendant, Gaius, was looking for a fight the entire time he was in town. After he finished his statement, Gaius got a chance to tell his story.

"I am a stranger in this place. I am travelling to Campania in search of help for my smithing guild. The road has been fraught with dangers and hazards. However, the fates in their fickle ways brought me to this place safely. Further, they gave me the mare in question. I do not question their motivations," began Gaius's response to the charges.

"When the deceased threatened me with harm in an effort to acquire the gentle animal, I offered to give him the mare. However, he treated me as if I were a bandit and attempted to take the animal by force. I disarmed him and sent him on his way. On the road, I had dealings with some highwaymen. Thus, I am somewhat experienced in the martial ways and dealing with armed assailants.

"Later, the man and four of his friends accosted me at my lodgings after I finished eating my evening meal. They challenged me to a fight. A fight in which I resisted participating. However, the accused spoke of his honor being besmirched. He would take no other result. The altercation was short, and I left his four companions mostly unharmed. However, in a show of good faith, I offered both the sword and the mare to the man. However, when I returned the sword in question to the Citizen Genucius, he attempted to use it upon me. In my defense, I reluctantly killed the man. In no way did I initiate the fight, nor did I wish to kill the plaintiff's nephew. The fates forced the issue upon me."

With the opening statements given. T. Sextus Genucius brought his witnesses. They were acquaintances of the dead man, and they had various descriptions of the fight in question. It was clear that several of the scriptores, who signed the indictment, did not see the fight in question. Upon cross examination, Gaius easily impeached these witnesses.

The three jurors listened intently to the prosecution's witnesses. Some of them gave a fairly accurate description of the events. However, they would miss key features and gave the benefit to their comrade over the stranger. The dead man had several acquaintances, but it did not seem he had too many close friends. The four that accompanied him on the day of his death did not appear for the prosecution. Gaius found this odd and began searching for the men.

During the prosecutorial testimony, a theme began to emerge. The Genicius family did not know much about horses. It was beginning to become apparent that the horse Gaius acquired from Horatius was not stolen from the individual in question. While Gaius still felt bad about having to kill the man, a different picture of the man was beginning to emerge from the witnesses. An image the uncle did not intend to paint.

When it was Gaius's turn to submit evidence, he did not know many people in the area. Further, there were not too many that would testify against the Genucius family. The family did not have any close friends, but the locals were loyal to the man they knew rather than the stranger in town.

The four men that came to the fight with T. Decimus Genucius were not to be found. It appeared that they were no longer in town. During the prosecution, Gaius looked all over for the men. It was beginning to look like they would not appear at the trial.

After a meager attempt at calling witnesses, Gaius was about to give up when one of the four appeared. It was the man that he saved from being accidentally impaled. Gaius called him to the stand.

"My name is Gnaeus Genucia Agricolus, I am a freedman once in employ of the Genucius family. I can testify that Decimus Genucius never had a horse stolen. In fact, he would regularly accost travelers and accuse them of stealing. Often, he would end up obtaining their horse or obtain a cash payment. This changed when he met the defendant."

Gn. Cenucia Agricolus went on to describe how Gaius was the first person to fight back. Thus, the deceased recruited him and three others to threaten Gaius. However, the plan did not work because Gaius would not frighten. Further, when the actual fight broke out, Gaius easily defended himself. It was Decimus's first defeat, and he was quite upset about it. However, he could not let it rest.

It turned out that the Genucius family had paid him a large sum to leave town and not testify. The former slave felt the Gaius had saved his life. Thus, he returned the money and decided to testify on behalf of the defense.

After the witness was cross-examined, the testimony stood. It did not take the jurors long to decide. Gaius was easily acquitted. He was free to leave.

Gaius had once felt bad for killing an innocent man. However, from the trial he learned that the man was anything but innocent. Gaius's faith in the fates and his trip was restored. He was considering turning back, but instead he pressed on towards Campania.

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The God Wars

Chapter Five:

Scouting Mission

By Dwayne MacInnes

Grumman TBF Avenger

Captain Willy Hodgson was flying his TBF Avenger torpedo bomber on another scouting mission. His instructions were to fly as far east as fuel would allow and then head home. If he sighted any land or saw any vessel in the water, he was to alert the convoy as soon as possible.

For the most part the flight had been routine. There was just the blue sky above and the blue ocean below to keep him and his crew company. His crew (the radio operator and rear turret gunner) would occasionally crack a joke. But, for the most part, there was little to report.

Hodgson glanced down at his fuel gauge again. He still had three quarters of a tank of fuel left. There was still plenty of time to fly looking for anything of note to report. The morning sun still crept upward to its zenith. Hodgson did not know what to make of the report Captain Gracen of the Kiska gave. He wondered if it were true that they were on another planet. This did not look like any planet he ever read about in science fiction magazines. The sky was blue, the air breathable, and the ocean looked a lot like the Earth's.

"Captain," the bombardier said over the intercom. "Look down below us."

Hodgson looked at the sea below the plane. At first he did not see what Ericson, his radioman saw. But when he did, he had to do a double-take. There below him swam what looked like a giant sea serpent. Just like one he used to see on the borders of old maps.

"That can't be right," Hodgson said over the intercom.

"I see it too captain," Ericson replied. "That has to be one huge snake."

"You gotta be kidding me!" exclaimed Bobby James the turret gunner as he craned his neck to see the large monster moving in undulating motions through the ocean.

"Ericson, radio this in," Hodgson ordered. "I'm going in for a closer look."

Hodgson winged the Avenger over into a dive. The wind whistled past the canopy and over the wings as the plane dropped on the sea monster. If Hodgson had a bomb or torpedo he would have been tempted to drop it on the sea creature. However, to gain the maximum range from the torpedo bombers the scouts only flew with the .30 and .50 ammunition in their machineguns.

"My Lord, I hope that thing can't breathe fire," Ericson said casually.

Hodgson did not think about it twice. He pulled back the stick to level out the flight. If there were sea monsters, it was also possible that they could breathe fire. He just hoped that he was out of its range.

The sea serpent continued on its way without noticing the combat plane following it. It would dive its head under the sea only to bring it back to the surface several yards further on. The beast's body followed its head in the rhythmic movement.

"Cap, I've sent the message. They don't believe us, but they have it," Ericson broke in over the intercom.

Before Hodgson could reply, he noticed a shape growing larger on the horizon. As the sea serpent and the Avenger approached, the shape grew into an ancient wooden ship.

Unireme

"Look at that thing. It looks like something from the Iliad," Hodgson said over the intercom.

The wooden ship had a bank of rowers and a large sail on a single mast. On the white sail, there was a design of a double axe head. However, little of this mattered to Hodgson. The sea serpent headed straight for the wooden ship as the crew of the boat tried to change its course.

The unireme would not be fast enough to escape the charge of the monster bearing down on it. Hodgson lowered the Avenger and sighted up the .30 machinegun in the nose on the beast. As he depressed the trigger, the armor piercing bullets ripped into the flesh of the serpent.

The great sea snake halted its charge and lashed out towards the descending aircraft. Hodgson pulled back on the stick and managed to avoid the great jaws of the wounded monster. Ericson and James opened up with their machineguns as the Avenger climbed back into the sky. Ericson's gun was a .30 like Hodgson's, however, James had the .50 and the effects of his armor piercing rounds on the sea serpent were devastating.

The sea serpent writhed in agony as it painted the ocean red with its lifeblood pouring from great ragged holes up and down its long body. Captain Hodgson turned the Avenger back around for a second strafing run. This time he made sure to stay high enough to be out of range of the tortured beast's giant maw.

The second run was even more destructive than the first. The giant sea serpent's head nearly exploded as Hodgson filled it with the steel rounds from the nose machinegun. When he pulled up, it was useless for Ericson and James to add their lethal fire for the great monster all ready lay floating lifelessly upon the ocean's surface. After a few minutes, the dead body slid below the waves.

Hodgson flew the plane low over the boat that was now heading eastward. The crew worked frantically at the oars. A few men looked over their shoulders in wide-eyed fear as the Avenger roared overhead. Nonetheless, Hodgson banked the aircraft and waved at the frightened crew. Just before he flew off towards the east again, he thought he saw one of the men below return his wave.

The old unireme disappeared in the distance behind the Avenger as it flew off. Hodgson was still mentally trying to get a grasp on exactly what all had occurred. He did not dwell long on it as he noticed land stretching out on the horizon before him. What grabbed his attention more than that was the smoke billowing up into the sky from the land.

Hodgson aimed the Avenger towards the smoke on the horizon. In only of a few minutes, he found himself flying over an ancient looking city. There was a natural harbor teaming with uniremes, trading vessels and fishing boats on the western edge. People were crowding the piers to get on one of the boats. A few of the boats were all ready heading out to sea.

On the northeastern side, the city was burning in a blazing infernal. A large breach had been forced into the stone wall and enemy forces were pouring through it torching and killing everything in their way. Outside the thick stone walls in trampled and burning fields raged a violent battle. Hodgson could not make out the combatants too well at his current altitude so he flew the Avenger back over the dust and smoke-choked battlefield at a much lower level.

Cyclops

On one side, the crew on the torpedo bomber could see men in bronze armor and heavy spears with bright points combating what appeared to be giant half-human creatures. The crew had only encountered these figures in mythology textbooks. There were thousands of minotaurs and cyclopes. The humans were having the worse of it. The huge axes and clubs of the gigantic opponents easily brushed aside or snapped the spears of the human defenders. Nonetheless, the humans continued to fight and occasionally would score on one of the mythical foes.

Without a second thought, Hodgson drove his plane into the combat and opened up on the inhuman forces with his nose-mounted machinegun. As he pulled up the guns in the rear of the plane added their weight to the carnage below. The Avenger flew back and forth over the battlefield several times repeating the strafing run leaving hundreds of dead and dying creatures on the field. However, Hodgson had to reluctantly turn the plane back out to sea when the aircraft ran out of ammo. Captain Hodgson and his crew only hoped that they had been able to even the odds that favored the inhuman army.

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Hobbit I’m Not

Part Two (Conclusion)

By Michael-John J. Davis

The next two weeks passed with excruciating slowness, but finally it was time for me to return to the forest. My camera had arrived only the day before. This had caused me no shortage of worry that it wouldn't arrive in time for this trip. Further, I would have wait another two weeks to find out what happened to the item that I left on the rock; if anything had. When I reached the rock my heart skipped a beat; the hatchet was gone! Turning to the first order of business, I installed the camera on a nearby tree with a good vantage of the rock. I then placed the mirror I had brought with me onto the rock. I was trying to stick to items that I knew would keep who or whatever coming back. As I left the forest this time, I again had the gut feeling that I was being watched. It was no wonder the villagers thought the forest was haunted.

I didn't think it was possible but the next two weeks went by even slower than the previous two. As I approached the rock, I noticed that -- as I now expected -- the mirror was gone. I took the straight edged knife I had brought with me and placed it on the rock and turned to retrieve the camera. As I looked at the tree where I had placed it, my heart jumped into my throat. The camera that would have given me an answer. The camera that would have dashed or exceed what I hoped for, was no longer attached to the tree, but instead lay on the ground in pieces. I walked over to the remains of my expensive camera and shook my head. I bent down to examined the remains and promptly began thanking god for the small miracle he had sent me. The film canister was intact! I had pictures!

I rushed back to the dark lab which I had built in my house to develop the pictures. I was too excited to notice whether or not I had the feeling of being watched. Back at home the couple of hours it took to develop the film felt longer than the entire previous month had. When I saw the first picture I started crying. Before me -- the pictures told the story quite clear. An approximately three and a half foot tall naked hairy man with a stance somewhere between us and a chimpanzee picked up the mirror and played with it! He then noticed the camera and started pulling on it. After about ten frames he apparently got frustrated and smashed it with a large stick.

Now I had to decide what my next step would be. The first thought that came to mind was publishing what I had in a journal like Nature. However, I then realized if I did that the first contact would be taken out of my hands and given to others more experienced than I. I decided that I would keep my discovery to myself and make contact on my own. I loaded up on more hatchets, knives and other things I thought might appeal to a primitive culture and prepared to head once again to the rock. My plan was to sit on the rock and surround myself with the "gifts" I brought.

After five painful hours of sitting on the rock, I had to get up and relieve myself. I walked over to the very tree that I had placed the camera on to do so. I finished and turned to return to my place on the rock and found myself face to face with three small but very intimidating stone spearheads.

My reaction was probably not the best.

I threw my hands up and shouted in English "I come in peace!"

There appeared to be some indecision from behind the spears as to what to do now that they had confronted me. The three spear holders chattered between themselves in a clickish language for a few minutes until one of the spears came down and the man holding it began to collect the items I had laid around the rock. I felt my chance to make contact sliding away from me, I decided to put all the chips on the table.

Bringing one of my arms down I pointed to myself and said, "Me Thomas."

This caused another bout of chattering before I again pointed to myself and repeated, "Me Thomas."

It must have sunk in that time because one of the men holding a spear on me then tapped himself and said, "Me Ullu."

He then tapped the other man holding a spear on me and said, "Me Nuah."

I laughed and tapping myself on the chest said, "Me Thomas." I then pointed at Ullu and said, "You Ullu." Finally, I pointed at Nuah and said, "Him Nuah."

Ullu thought for a second and then pointing at each as he said "Me Ullu, you Thomas, him Nuah!"

I smiled, nodded my head and said "Yes!"

The third member of their group came over then and Ullu pointed and said, "Him Ohgo."

He then gestured that we would begin walking. After a good hours hike we stopped at a large rock formation, Ullu and Nuah put their shoulders into it. After a bit of effort they shoved it to the side. Behind the rock lay a huge, naturally lit cave. Insider were about three hundred members of the Ebu Gogo inside working at various tasks. I was led inside, and the rock was once again rolled into place of the mouth of the cave. Once inside Ullu and I set to the task of learning to communicate with each other.

So began the two years I spent in the forest with the Ebu Gogo, learning their language, teaching them English and about the outside world.

It was almost exactly two years later that Ullu and I set out for Jakarta so that the Ebu Gogo could announce their existence to the world. The months following the press conference held by myself and Ullu are a blur in my memory. The United Nations dispatched the premier members of the scientific and medical community to confirm my claim that the Ebu Gogo were in fact H. Floresiensis. After the claim was substantiated the government of Indonesia was, after much financial persuasion by the governments of America and Europe, convinced to relocate the H. Sapiens off of the island of Flores. Thus giving the island to the Ebu Gogo as their homeland. With typical Ebu humor, Ullu and Ohgo convinced every member of the tribe to rename the island. Flores would forever be referred to as The Shire. The population of Ebu Gogo began to increase greatly. Further, Ullu served as their ambassador to the outside world. As a continuation of his joke, he took the last name Baggins.

The discovery of the Ebu Gogo brought new horizons and questions to many members of our own species. The Pope welcomed them as brothers in Christ. They also caused fear and hatred in others. The various Neo-Nazi groups labeled them as even more inferior than Jews. Above all, they caused wonder and excitement as they opened a new chapter in human history.

As for me, I drew the criticism I expected for doing what I did. Nonetheless, with the exception of the few death threats from the crazies, I was widely celebrated for my role in the discovery. The only question that remained was what I was going to do with the rest of my life. After searching for a while, all I could find was one answer. A few islands over in Sumatra there was widely believed to be an undiscovered great ape -- The Orang Pendak.

* * * * *

Author's Note: The discovery of H. Floresiensis, The Nage Tribe and the legends of the Ebu Gogo and Orang Pendak are all factual.

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Ambush Incident - Part I

By Douglas E. Gogerty

With all of the incidents occurring along his journey, Gaius was greatly behind schedule. It seemed that every way point, there was another delay. The latest stop which led to some time in court was putting him further and further behind. He had planned to make the 280 miles round trip to Campania and back in a month of traveling. There was no way he could make up that time on foot. Thus, he was going to continue riding the horse. It was the only way to make up the time.

Further, the mare was going to have to be pushed a little faster. While Gaius did not wish to mistreat the animal, doubling the distance he would travel on foot was not going to make up the time. This was particularly true if incidences, like the ones he became involved in, continue to occur. Thus, he would have to pass two way points on his daily journey. Hopefully, the mare could manage the distances.

Fortunately, the journey started off well. Gaius made it to the first way station well before midday. He would allow his mount to rest for a bit before continuing. Gaius entered the inn to rest and hear the latest news from other travelers.

After the rest, Gaius continued his journey; however, he was not going to make up ground today. Between the two way points he was stopped by a large number of armed men.

"Dismount Blacksmith!" shouted one of the men.

"I recognize you," replied Gaius staying on his horse. "You were a companion to Titus Decimus Genicius."

"You are correct. We are here to avenge his murder."

"Murder? The court found it to be self defense and not murder."

"We could care less what your court decided Barbarian."

"Ha! I guess you disagree with what Gnaeus Genucia Agricolus did."

"We were told to make ourselves scarce, and he did not."

"You were paid to make yourselves scarce...."

"As you say, but it just goes to show that you cannot trust a freedman."

"I did save his life from your friend's blade. Is he here as well?"

"As a matter of fact he is. Now quit stalling and dismount."

"I believe it is not in my best interest to comply," replied Gaius frankly.

"We can make you comply. We have you twenty to one."

"Actually, it is twenty to two," replied Gaius. "While she may not look like much, I am sure this mare could whip you in a fight."

"Barbarian, you are pretty funny for a dead man."

"I am far from dead."

The leader waved his arm to approach the mounted Gaius. Gaius pulled on the reigns to turn the mare. She turned so Gaius's right hand was facing the approaching group. While doing this, he drew his scimitar.

The men approached slowly, as Gaius continued to spin his horse. Gaius had his weapon on the outward side in which the horse spun. One of the men got close enough that Gaius landed a blow across the man's face. The man recoiled in horror as the blood steamed down his face.

At this, each of the men stopped their advance. They drew their weapons, and then continued to advance. Suddenly a man rushed in, but was out of Gaius's reach. However, as the man attempted to land a blow, the hind end of the horse pushed the man to the ground. Shortly, Gaius's mount stepped on the man with her front hooves. The man shouted out in pain. The hind legs followed as the mare continued to turn.

The two men who had fought against Gaius suddenly froze with fright. Several of the others continued to get closer to Gaius on his whirling animal. When a man got close, he either felt the sting of Gaius's razor sharp scimitar, or was pushed aside by the animal. If they were lucky, they avoided being trampled. However, many of those were then cut trying to stand as Gaius swung around.

After several minutes of this, seven of the men were either dead or gravely injured. The remaining men encircled the horse and rider, but were out of range of Gaius's weapons. Thus, Gaius stopped the spin.

"Do you give up?" shouted Gaius.

"What?" asked the leader in stunned surprise.

"Oh I know," replied Gaius with a smile. "You have not yet begun to fight. I agree, and it shows."

"Get him..." replied the leader as he was just about to rush Gaius.

The remaining men took his lead and took a step forward and then a step back. At this action, Gaius gave out a hearty laugh.

For several moments the men looked at each other wondering who would make the next move. They had their weapons drawn, but their leader seemed somewhat frozen with fright. Thus, they just looked around waiting for something to happen.

As the men stood there wondering what to do, Gaius whirled his horse around again. He stopped when he had selected a direction that was most free of injured men. Horse and rider rushed the man who stood in this spot. As the stunned man just stood there, Gaius swung his sword and caught the man across his chest. The skin pealed away and blood began to pour out. The man shouted in agony.

Gaius and his Horse turned and struck the stunned man standing next to him. By this time, the inaction had worn a bit off the combatants. Thus, they started to move. They scrambled around looking for a good place to be. As a few of them got close, Gaius started the twirl of his horse again. Hence, the men kept their distance. There were now eleven uninjured men attempting to encircle Gaius.

"Do you still think you can force me to dismount?" asked Gaius.

"You are still outnumbered," replied the leader who was still a bit shaky.

"Well you got me there," replied Gaius.

"It is not too late to give up!"

"The same could be said of you."

"Our honor will not allow us..."

"To admit defeat," Gaius said finishing the man's sentence. "Very well, since you did accept the payment of the Genicia family, we shall finish this."

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The God Wars

Chapter Six:

Sea Battle

By Dwayne MacInnes

Captain Arnold at first could not believe his ears on hearing the TBF Avenger's reports. In the back of his mind, he still had hoped that they were on earth. If the reports were true and sea monsters, minotaurs, and one-eyed giants existed, then there was no doubt that they were indeed on another world.

Captain Arnold also fumed about the fact that the pilot of the scout plane took it upon himself to initiate combat. Granted, Arnold would have authorized the use of weaponry when he heard about the various monsters assaulting the humans. Nonetheless, there were still rules of engagement and Hodgson did not follow the chain of command in this instance. When the plane returned and when time allowed, the pilot would get a good chewing out by the captain.

However, the scout plane's reports did urge Arnold to action. If an inhuman army was assaulting the humans, he had to do something to help them. Fortunately General Crist was always near at hand. The two men quickly formed a plan.

The remaining 11 torpedo bombers would be loaded with either bombs or torpedoes and head for the city. Six of the F6F Hellcat fighter planes would escort them. The remaining 10 Hellcats would stay with the fleet on Combat Air Patrol or CAP. The Pima would launch its two OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes to scout out the land for an ideal place for a beachhead.

The convoy would steam as fast as possible towards the city. The LST, Landing Ship Tanks, had 15 M4 Sherman medium tanks onboard that could land on shore. It also had 4 LCVPs, Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel. General Crist could use these to start offloading the combat troops on the Olympus.

First, however, they would need a report from one of the Kingfishers on the best place to land. It was a desperate and deadly mission and they were going into it blind. Unfortunately, if the Avenger's reports were true, the humans did not have much time. In fact, there was a good possibility that they may be too late.

F6F Hellcat

Lieutenant Dick Allen was the squadron leader for the Avengers. Half the planes in the flight group carried gravity bombs and the rest like his carried a torpedo. A flight of F6F Hellcats was above them acting as a protective screen against any possible threat from the air.

The aircrafts flew in the sky at cruising speed. They were on a constant look out for anything suspicious in the air or on water. Therefore, they could not fly too high or they might miss something important.

The flight could see the smoke on the horizon. They knew they were approaching land. So far, the flight had been uneventful, but everyone realized that that could change in a heartbeat.

Allen could see the dots of various boats on the horizon. As they grew larger as the distance between the flight of aircraft and the sea vessels rapidly dwindled, they could see that they were the uniremes, trading vessels and fishing boats reported by Hodgson's flight.

"Loot!" Bernie Davidson the radio operator and bombardier cried over the intercom. "Look to the starboard!"

Allen looked to his right to only become momentarily speechless. There in the ocean stood a man, or rather a giant. The giant stood bare-chested about twenty feet tall above the surface of the sea; his lower body submerged in the ocean. He wore a crown of polished pink coral on his gray head and held a huge trident in his right hand. The giant's long gray beard flowed in the air as he jerked his head towards the flight of aircraft.

"If that isn't King Neptune, I don't know who he could be," Bernie offered.

"Those ships look more Greek in design than Roman," Jack Harvey the tail gunner said. "I would bet that is Poseidon."

"I don't care if it is Abe Lincoln," Allen replied. "We'll keep a watch on him. Bernie radio the torpedo laden planes to stay with me. Have Ross take the rest of the flight to the mainland."

Poseidon

The giant did not give much notice to the flight of aircraft. He did not think it worth his time. His objective was to do something about the fleeing vessels arrayed before him. The giant raised his arm with the trident and gave a call that tore through the air in a deep bass.

The ocean began to bubble and boil around him when suddenly serpentine heads rose into the air. Sea serpents like that witnessed by Hodgson and his crew swam around the giant in writhing unholy dance.

The giant then pointed the trident at the disarrayed fleet of wooden boats ahead of him. The sea serpents charged like a cavalry of snakes towards the fleeing boats. The first wave of sea monsters quickly wrapped themselves around the helpless boats like a boa constrictor on its prey. The boats would then explode in a cloud of splinters. Any sailor that survived the crushing of their vessel the sea serpents quickly devoured in a ravenous feeding frenzy.

Allen and the rest of the flight crew watched in horror. "Pick your target and attack!" Allen cried as he put his Avenger into a dive towards the sea serpents. The rest of the flight did not need any further encouragement to follow suit.

Soon the sea was awash in blood as the Avengers opened up with their machineguns. Like with Hodgson's experience the sea monsters were vulnerable to the steel of the armor-piercing rounds that slammed into their bodies. Great cries ripped through the air as the serpents screamed in agony, their assault on the wooden fleet momentarily forgotten.

The giant now paid close attention to these steel birds wreaking havoc amongst his pets. The giant cried out a foreign command into the air as he again raised his trident this time aiming it at the flight of Avengers attacking the sea serpents.

A waterspout sprang into being and headed towards the aircraft. To avoid being caught up in the ocean born tornado the Avengers scattered. Allen ordered his flight crew to continue their assault on the sea serpents.

Allen aimed his torpedo bomber at the giant. When he was within range, he ordered Bernie to drop the Mark 16 torpedo. The lieutenant was glad that the fleet carried the new Mark 16 torpedo instead of the less reliable Mark 14, which was infamous for being a dud because of the detonator pin's tendency for bending when it came in contact with its target.

The giant watched curiously as the torpedo swam towards him. Confident that he was impervious to anything manmade the giant only smiled as he began to call another and larger waterspout into being.

The torpedo smashed into the giant's left leg; a huge splash erupted into the air as the torpedo exploded. To the giant's surprise, there was a lot of blood mixed in the spray. It took just a few seconds for the giant realized that the torpedo had utterly blown his left leg away.

The huge man fell backwards into the ocean. He floundered and struggled to stay above the water. His agonizing bellows filled the air. He had never experienced such pain before. The giant always believed that he was invulnerable to any manmade weapons, however the magnitude of the power belonging to a Mark 16 torpedo was much greater than a mere spear thrust or sword slash.

The remaining torpedo bombers dove onto the giant and released their torpedoes as well. Three of the four remaining Mark 16s found their mark. The giant who had never been wounded before, died as the three torpedoes detonated and tore off huge parts of his body.

As if by magic, the sea serpents halted their attack on the fleet and swam over to their king and master now lying face down in the ocean. There was not much left of the forty-foot long giant. He had lost both legs and an arm, his ribs lay exposed to the sun. The serpents swam in circles around their master mourning his death until his body finally sank below the waves leaving the ocean dyed red with his blood.

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Ambush Incident - Part II

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The eleven uninjured men moved cautiously around Gaius. The remaining nine -- who had various injuries and some had already expired -- were further up the Appian way. They would no longer pose a danger to Gaius. However, the uninjured eleven were a different story. They were wary and on the lookout for what Gaius would do next. Being surrounded by eleven men, Gaius was not even sure what he would do next.

As the eleven moved around Gaius, he countinued to look for an opening. As the men moved around, Gaius slowly turned his horse in a circle. Occasionally, he would switch directions that the horse turned. However, for quite some time, no one made an aggressive move.

The leader of the group would occasionally make some sort of hand gesture. He directed where the men should go as they continued to surround Gaius. Suddenly, as if on cue, all eleven men rushed towards Gaius at once. Instead of his previous tactic of circling on his horse, Gaius just urged his horse to go the direction she was facing. Thus, singling out a sole attacker. That attacker held his ground and was pushed aside by the horse and trampled. He cried out in pain as his leg was crushed by the weighty horse. He was now out of action.

Once again, the remaining scrambled. They believed their advantage would be served if they kept Gaius surrounded, but their efforts kept failing. Now with Gaius free of their circle, they would have to attempt to flank him. Further, they had just lost another man and everything would be more difficult with the fewer number of men. Also, they were no closer to getting Gaius off his horse.

As the men regrouped and moved, they continued to attempt a surround him. However Gaius had no interest in being out-flanked. Thus in an effort to stop his adversaries' tactics, Gaius would charge at a man or group of men. If the men stood their ground, they either met Gaius's scimitar or his horse. Also, they would have to gather up and begin their flanking movement again.

After a few charges by Gaius, most of the attackers got out of the way. Nonetheless, three men fell in these encounters. The leader and his friend, who had seen what Gaius could do, were careful not to be in Gaius's way. Nevertheless, the group was slowly dwindling down. The once mighty group of twenty was now seven.

These remaining men were becoming very wary of Gaius's prowess. Having just watched him dispatch thirteen of their comrades, the remaining were greatly on edge. Their leader was having a difficult time keeping them from abandoning their task. He had doubts on the mission himself.

"If you were not such a coward," shouted the leader, "you would dismount your horse."

"Ha ha! If you were not such a coward," replied Gaius, "you would not have come after me with twenty men."

"At every turn you dishonor us."

"You are fighting for the honor of dishonorable men. I cannot add to this."

The men gathered around the leader, and they had a brief discussion. They had watched many of their friends fall to the martial abilities of Gaius. In Gaius's eyes, it was clear what they were discussion.

"Okay stranger," shouted the leader after the meeting. "we have decided that we will let you go."

"Alack and alas!" cried Gaius. "I am afraid the fates disagree with you."

"What?" they all exclaimed in unison.

"You have watched your friends and perhaps family fall at my hands. Many of you will not rest until you see me dead. Thus, at some point in the future, you will garner more forces to face me. I cannot allow that to happen. No my friends, you must all die today."

At those words, all the men ran. Gaius on horseback could easily track them down. He charged at one man and swung his scimitar across his back. He then turned to the next man running and killed him in a similar manner. One after another, Gaius chased down the men running down the road attempting to avoid Gaius's sword.

In order to avoid horse and rider, a few did not stay on the road. In this way, they finally got Gaius to dismount his horse. The leader of the group was one of the men that abandoned the road. He believed he could travel easier than a man on horseback. Further, he believed he could out distance Gaius once he ran in pursuit. In this way, he prolonged his life. However, no one could escape Gaius's blade completely.

Gaius ran after one man through the hilly terrain just off the road. Around the trees, and up and down the hills the men ran. Without slowing his pace, Gaius cut the man across the back. Down he fell. Gaius turned and went after the leader of the group. After a short chase, Gaius caught up to the man.

"Please! Please!" cried the leader of the group as Gaius approached him. "I will not tell anyone. I promise!"

"Why do people threaten other people's lives with such ease, but grovel for their own when the situation is reversed?"

"Please! I was just following orders."

"Ah! The excuse of the ages! You act as if you had no choices. You act as if you were fighting for the honor of honorable men. You act as if you did not know that the Genicia family were criminals praying on unsuspecting travelers."

"Please! I did not..."

Gaius was going to slice the man open with his scimitar; however, he drew his dagger instead. With a quick swipe, the leader's throat was opened and blood spilled out in great quantities.

"The fates are satisfied," Gaius stated quietly.

Gaius made sure all twenty men were dead. Some of the injured who had not yet succumb to their injuries, he ended their suffering quickly. He made sure that he accounted for all twenty of the men. Even one left alive would gather forces against him, so he had to make sure they were all dead.

When it was all done, he was tired and his horse was tired. Nonetheless, he had to push forward. He could not stay where he was. He needed to make it to the next way station. He would not make up the ground he wanted to on this leg of the journey. He hoped that once he reached the coast, he could make up ground then. However, he was sure the fates had more in store for him.

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  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Christian! I too had a DOS computer. read more
  • Christian: A great story, i remember my first computer with DOS read more
  • Kerry Glasscock: Good story. I love that Dwayne. nice work! read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Susanne. You are correct, the OS of computers has read more
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