"Greetings Stranger, I am Cram Nayawt."
"Greetings, my name is Essdy Yarnspinner."
"Yarnspinner? That is a strange name. Are you a story teller?"
"As a matter of fact, yes I am."
"I'm in the mood for an epic. Have you got a good one for me?"
"Are you willing to pay my price?"
"Sure, whatever you want."
"If you pay my bill I will give you a grand story."
"It's a deal. I will have the tender fix you up here."
"Fair enough, here is the story:"
It was the seventh millennia of the Galactic Calendar. The time was approximately 10.00.00.00.00 Galactic time. The Izanian galactic ships were just outside an unknown solar system. The beings of this solar system called themselves 'Humans' and they called their planet 'Earth.' Earth is the planet that is now called Nimrov 3 to the Galactic Commonwealth. These humans had built a substantial colony on Nimrov 4, which they call 'Mars,' or the Martian Colony. They were in the process of constructing colony on a moon of Nimrov 5. They called this moon 'Ganymede,' and were nearly finished with its construction. These humans were in the very early stages of space exploration. They had only sent probes outside of their own solar system. They were completely oblivious to the vast civilizations that populate the galaxy. They were completely vulnerable to a more advanced and imperial minded civilization.
The Nimrovs governmental structure evolved into a structure much like the Galactic Commonwealth. Each continental land mass is divided into smaller and smaller political entities. They call the largest political entity a 'Country.' Each of these countries is free to have any type of government that they wish as long as it follows a basic set of principles written up in the global political document they call a 'Constitution.'
These countries will vary in the way their politics are organized, but their system is a good balance of country rights versus world responsibilities. With the various divisions, the world government can pass areas of responsibility down to smaller subdivisions. In many ways this is a good system, but it can be difficult to get together and agree on world interests.
Thus, any group in need of vast oxygen resources or any group ruthless enough to exploit the underdeveloped culture of these Humans could attempt to take advantage of a brief time of indecision and destroy this civilization. Naturally this group would have to have the resources to completely ignore the laws and customs of the Galactic Commonwealth. This group would want to seize the resources of this world for their own benefit. I am speaking, of course, of a civilization like the Izanian. They would do such a thing, and it was they who sent a message that was received by the Nimrovs some days later. The text of this message was the following:
'Happy Nimroville! We are the Izanian, and I am Nek Nam Retek, the iron fisted slayer of all things weak and contemptible! I have discovered this solar system, and I claim it on behalf of the Izanian Empire! You must leave now or be destroyed!
If you do not have the capability to leave this solar system, then you should make peace with your deity and be prepared to join the dead. Enjoy the rest of the Nimroville Holiday!'
The message was received and seen by most of the human population, and everyone asked the same question, 'What did they say?' The Earth was not aware of any of the Galactic standards, and could not decipher the gestural or spoken language that the Izanians used. Further, at the time they did not detect the translation program that normally accompanies galactic communications.
Each of these Nimrov countries sent a representatives to a greater council. This council was responsible for the well being of the world as a whole. It mediates disputes, and establishes codes of conduct. It also is responsible for the distribution systems. It was more well defined than the Galactic Commonwealth, but it worked well for the years after it had been established.
The unsuspecting Nimrovs had no clue as to the meaning of the message that the Izanians sent. Of course, this could have been part of the Izanian plan. If the Nimrovs debated long enough, and spent their time attempting to decipher the message, it could be advantageous toward the Izanian goal.
However, the President of the United Nations of Earth called a special council meeting to speak to his people. President is what they call the leader of the 'Earth'-wide government. He was responsible for all of the resident's safety and well-being. He was democratically elected by all of the countries of the Nimrovs.
The President started,
'My fellow leaders and peaceful people of our United Nations, we have received our first message from a non-human race. It is a time of great excitement. For the first time, we know that we are not the only complex society in the galaxy. However, there is much concern over the meaning of the message that we have received.
'Although we have our top linguists working on deciphering the gestural and aural meaning of the message, we may not learn of its meaning any time soon. Thus, we must prepare.
'The first assumption that we are making is that these beings are headed here. It could have simply been a message of greeting, but my top advisors and I feel that whatever the meaning of this message, they will want to meet with us. We have no reason to believe that they have hostile intent, but without much more information, we cannot be sure.
'Since we do not know whether they plan to do us harm, we must prepare for any eventuality. I will outline a plan that will allow us to be minimally prepared for any action hostile or otherwise from whatever alien space craft we may encounter. A complete text of this plan will be sent to each member of congress and will be viewable on the various information outlets. I will summerize this plan now.
'We have at our disposal, a fully functional colony ship. It was to be used to carry passengers to the new colony on Ganymede. It is my intention to convert this colony ship into a space battleship. The colony ship has several hundred emergency escape pods. These escape pods will be refitted to act as fighter crafts. We will use our existing missile technology to create projectile weapons that we hope will be effective against these beings in the event that they are indeed hostile.
'We shall recruit pilots for these fighters from the United Nations Airforce Academy. These young men and women are the most properly suited for this particular mission. However, it will be strictly on a volunteer basis only. No cadet will be forced to take on such a potentially dangerous mission.
'Further, although research in this technology was abandoned with the establishment of the United Nations of Earth government, we still have particle beam technology that can be quickly readied. It is unfortunate that the energy consumption of these weapons is too vast to be placed upon the battleship, but it will make a fitting planetary defense weapon. Thus, we will place as many such installations as can be made ready in time at the Martian colony site.
'We do not wish to appear hostile towards them, but it is in our best interest to meet them in a neutral location. That is, we want to put as few lives at risk as we possibly can. Thus, the plan is to ready this ship as quickly as possible and to intercept their fleet beyond the Martian colony. This will take a great deal of planning and plenty of hard work by all sectors of our great civilization.
'We have done some quick calculations, and it is our belief that they will be at the Ganymede colony in a few weeks, and they will be at the colony on Mars in about a month. That gives us very little time to prepare, but prepare we must. Fortunately, the colony ship has been docked at the Martian space station for a few weeks now. We have workers there that can begin refitting the ship immediately.
'We will give the pilots some rudimentary training in route to Mars, and hopefully run a few exercises before intercepting the incoming fleet a few thousand kilometers from our comrades on Mars.
'We must all work together in this time of need. We must put aside our differences, and join together to avoid any possible catastrophe. We have little time to spare, so let's get going!'
The governmental body broke into a large ovation, and they all scrambled out to rally support behind the President.
At a frantic pace, the colony ship was readied for the worst possible scenario. This ship designed for peaceful colonization was transformed into a battle ship. Workers reinforced the hull to make the ship more combat worthy. These humans had not developed any shielding technology, so the hull would have to take the brunt of any attack.
The converted colony ship would only be marginally maneuverable. Thus, there was a need for very quick and agile fighter craft to protect the battleship. Thus, each of the escape pods was fitted with the best propulsion system that they had. However, this system would pale in comparison to most of the systems that are in use on most commonwealth ships. It would be an uphill climb for these Nimrovs.
Each escape pod was refitted with more sophisticated guidance equipment. The Nimrov's old conventional missiles were redesigned to work in space. At least, that was the hope. There wouldn't be time to give them any significant battery of tests. Also, because of the years of peace, the number of missiles was greatly limited. Hence, since any tests would diminish the supply, they did very few tests and hoped that there missile technology would work. The human scientists weren't concerned because in theory, the missiles should work flawlessly. These fighter craft wouldn't have any other weapons besides these missiles. They didn't have any energy weapons and they didn't have any small arms of any kind. The small gun technology they had required an oxygen environment to work, and there would be no time to develop any other type of weapon. They were a one trick pony, and they were hoping that they wouldn't have to use it. They would be in trouble if an overwhelming Izanian force showed up.
There was an over abundance of pilot volunteers. They took as many as they could fit aboard their ships bound for Nimrov 4. They got several briefings on the way to this space station. They got as much training on route as they could. They had simulators and they discussed tactics. They weren't going to have much time in the actual fighter crafts. But these fighters were very simply designed, and there weren't complicated systems that could go wrong. That was one thing that they had on their side, simplicity.
Batteries of computer guided particle beams were constructed in various locations of the Nimrov 4 or Martian surface. They wanted to be able to fire in all possible directions. Thus, they had to put these particle beam batteries even in locations that did not have any inhabitants. Some of the most inhospitable places on the surface of Nimrov 4 had to be prepared to hold one of these defensive beam weapons.
This planet has a few orbiting satellites. They wanted to put weapons on each of these orbiting bodies, but there just wasn't going to be enough time. But they did manage to construct an unmanned particle beam weapon upon one moon they called Phobos. If the Izanian fleet got past the battleship, these high-energy weapons should slow them down a bit. They had to, they didn't have any other defenses.
The earthlings didn't know what was coming at them. They didn't know if it were one ship or one hundred. They didn't know what type of technology they were going to face. They didn't know if all of their preparations were going to mean anything. They worried that human population could cease to exist, and there was nothing that they could do to stop it. What were they going to do, give up? No they kept on preparing and readying themselves to put up a big fight.
The colony on one of the gas giants in this system would be the test of the Izanian intentions. It would take these Nimrovs a long time to get to the Ganymede colony. Time was something that they didn't have in abundance. Thus, if the Izanians were hostile, these men and women preparing Ganymede for colonization would be left out to dry.
However, in the preparation, Earth created a continuous communication link between Ganymede and their Martian colony. If that link were broken, then the humans would know that the Izanian had hostile intent. They could continue to prepare for the worst. They could lose the fear that their actions would appear hostile to a friendly species, and cause a war unnecessarily.
Since we all know the Izanians, we know that their intentions are obviously destructive. However, these humans had not yet translated the message. They still worked on it, but it was a daunting task with not enough reference information. So they had to prepare for the worst. When communication with the outer colony was lost, these humans knew that the Izanian were not on a mission of peace. It was war!
The Izanian ship made quick work of the colonial preparation team on Ganymede. They launched some of their ground assault ships from their main battleship and quickly destroyed the work that took months to create. Once destruction was complete, the ships rejoined the battleship that had barely slowed down.
Preparations for the upcoming meeting continued until the officers were convinced that any further preparation would be a waste of time. They readied the ships and plotted an intercept course with the Izanian battle cruiser.
This Izanian battle cruiser was immense. Its technology was vastly superior to anything the Nimrovs had. Unlike the human battleship the Izanian craft had a vast array of particle beam weapon stations on board. The Izanian cruiser was obviously designed to take out an entire solar system without help from any other ship. It had a large weapon array designed for planetary destruction. It had several fighter crafts. It was 3 times the size of the meager Nimrov ship. The humans had a daunting task ahead of them.
The makeshift human battleship met the Izanian just beyond the human colony on Nimrov 4. To their surprise and somewhat relief, there was just the one Izanian battleship. However, when it brought is weapons to bear upon the human battleship, they knew they were in for a fight. The first shot from the Izanian beam weapon was a glancing blow, but it did significant damage to the earth vessel. It appeared that this weapon had difficulty locking on to moving objects. While the Nimrov Battleship was slow, it was moving a bit attempting to avoid any more hits from the Izanian weapon systems.
The Nimrov battleship was able to launch its first sortie of its fighters, and the battle was on. Because of the damage that the Nimrov ship obtained in the first strike, the vessel's commander attempted to keep one of Mar's moons between it and the Izanian battleship. It could ill afford another hit like the first one.
As slow and clumsy the Nimrov battleship was, the massive Izanian ship was even less maneuverable. It appeared that it was not designed for close combat fighting. This massive spaceship was designed for quick entrance and deployment of the fighters. The commander of the Izanian battleship decided to stop chasing the Nimrov battleship and concentrate its fire upon its biggest threat, the fighters.
These Izanian fighters were obviously designed for a ground attack, as they were out maneuvered by the simple Earth vessels. The first few Izanian attempts to intercept the rag tag Nimrov fighters was found futile. Eventually, the Izanian fighters broke off their attempts to attack of the Nimrov battle crafts, and began to attack the Mars colony itself. Thus, the battleship was left to fend for itself.
One fighter wing of Nimrov pilots began taking on these Izanian ground attack vessels. The missile designers knew how well they worked in an oxygen atmosphere, and thus, these wily Nimrovs waited until these superior ground attack vessels entered the atmosphere. Upon entering the thin Martian atmosphere, the missiles from the Earth vessels were launched against the enemy ships. These missiles were primitive but surprisingly effective against the unshielded Izanian ground attack ships. Once these missiles locked onto an Izanian ship, they were very accurate. These ground attack vehicles were not meant for quick maneuvers in atmosphere even a thin one like Nimrov 4 has. These primitive missiles would greatly damage these vulnerable ships. The missiles weren't the only weapon that the Nimrovs had protecting their colony. They had bulky and cumbersome beam weapons. While these weapons were difficult to aim and very inaccurate by most standards, when an Izanian ship was near a particle beam installation, they would hit one of every three ships. With this primitive setup, these backwards Nimrovs were effectively neutralizing the Izanian vessels. However, these fighters kept coming, and they didn't appear to every need to return to the ship for re-arming. They hoped they could hold out against this onslaught.
Back at the Izanian battle cruiser, the plucky Nimrov fighters were still taking on the vastly superior ship. They had to deal with a vessel with shields and were having a difficult time with this energy barrier. Also, the energy beams of the Izanian battleship were very effective against the Nimrov fighters. That is, if they managed to actually hit one of the makeshift fighters. The erratic flight path of these fighters made them very difficult to hit with any sort of weapon. The first few runs more Nimrov craft were lost due to running into the Izanian shield rather than from enemy fire.
The Earth fighter wings that were concentrating upon the battle cruiser would fly as close to the shielding as possible and launch their payload toward the battleship. This would put the most pressure on the shielding as glancing blows were problematic for the Nimrov weaponry. If a missile did not hit the shielding directly, it would bounce off and could potential cause problems for nearby fighters.
With the Izanian battleship concentrating on the swarms of Nimrov fighters, it couldn't turn its fire power upon the Martian colony. This is what these humans were hoping to accomplish as long as they could. If they were lucky, they felt that they could neutralize the battleship and prevent it from firing its main gun at the planet's surface. So far, they had been successful in keeping it busy.
Once the battle had begun, these Nimrovs quickly fell into battle readiness. They were surprisingly ready for a test of such importance. The battleship crew could rearm one of the returning fighter crafts in just a few minutes. With the number of craft that they had, they could keep the Izanians occupied and off balance for several days. They just hoped they had enough resources to accomplish this very task. There were times they felt they were winning, and there were times when the felt the odds against them were far too great for victory. However, giving up meant certain death, and this kept them going.
Mission after mission the previously untested missiles were surprisingly effective against the Izanian ships and their shields. During the first few missions it was discovered that most of the missiles would not properly detonate in space. While they had theoretically had everything they needed to work, the temperature in space was too low for them to work properly. However, this did not turn out to be a great disadvantage for the Nimrovs because the unexploded projectiles were greatly more effective against the Izanian battleship's shields.
Like most space vessel shields, the Izanian shields were designed to absorb energy. While they would occasionally encounter an asteroid or some other debris in space, they weren't designed for constant bombardment by metal objects. This design is invaluable against energy weapons like the human particle beam, but they are relatively ineffective against projectile weapons such as the weapons used by these humans. Perhaps the Izanian had never encountered a race that did not have energy weapons. They certainly did not anticipate the use of projectile weapons. It appeared that they had no defense against the very primitive Nimrov weapon systems. The Izanian shields were taking a pounding from these conventional weapons. More and more energy was required from the Izanian vessel to keep the shields operational. The Izanian shields had to absorb blow after blow from the missiles launched from the Nimrov fighter crafts.
The Izanians, who have never been flexible in their contingency plans, must not have anticipated the ability of this backwards race to become prepared for battle in such a short time. If they had given enough resources to this operation, they would have easily overwhelmed the unsophisticated Nimrovs. But, they did not do enough research on this particular race. They were ill prepared for the sophistication of even these simple weapon systems that these humans had. They sent a single battleship to face this backwards race, and they were paying the price.
The battle had gone on for several hours and there were numerous earth fatalities. There was much bravery on the part of several of the young earth pilots. One pilot by the Name of Everett James Douglass was the first to go on a mission that day. Eagle Douglass as he is called, was the number one pilot of his Nimrov class at the Air Force academy. He had a natural knack for flying and he would bring back his fighter "without a scratch," as he would say.
He used his skill to save several other pilots. Would fly in such a manner that the Izanians would try to shoot him with their beam weapons. Thus, this tactic was drawing the fire away from other ships. These Izanians could never quite figure out his flight tricks, and thus never hit him with their weapons. He flew more missions than any other pilot, but he was beginning to get tired.
As the battle drew on, the Earthers were beginning to exhaust their supply of missiles. If something with this battleship didn't happen soon, these Nimrovs would be in big trouble. They weren't losing any ground, so they continued with their tactics hoping that they were wearing down the aggressors.
The Humans were launching 30 minute sorties from their battleship. With each mission, the Izanians would fire the energy weapons less and less. This emboldened the Humans. They were very flexible in their tactics and tried many different approaches. They were removing the ineffective explosive core of their existing missiles and putting anything they could get into a missile's warhead. They were experiencing enough success that they began to determine which materials were the most effective against the battleships weakening shields. They were getting whatever material they could. They even began dismantling part of their reinforcement of their battleship to put into missiles.
After nearly a complete commonwealth day, the Izanian shields finally failed. As we all know, the energy systems of most ships are connected. Thus, if the shields fail, then all of the connected systems will fail. Thus, the humans had successfully disabled the vastly superior space vessel. It was floating in space with all of its energy systems down. The order went out from the Human command center to board the Izanian ship. Several pilots including Eagle Douglass docked with the ship to discover the usual Izanian contingent were on board. However, since this was their first encounter they were surprised to find only 2 Izanian on board. They had no idea that most of the ship's functions were entirely automated. The 2 well trained Izanian attempted to self-destruct the ship, but were totally unprepared for the tactics of these Nimrovs. Furthermore, they debated for too long whether to destroy the ship, and eventually the energy systems were off-line. Thus, the ship was going to be captured. Eagle and some of the other humans attempted to capture these two enemy combatants, but the well trained Izanians weren't going to be captured with their ship. They both pushed a button upon their uniforms and disintegrated in a puff of putrid orange smoke. Against all odds, the humans were victorious!
Their race's quick thinking and flexibility had defeated one of the most battle ready races that any of us has ever had contact. Soon, the news had traveled throughout their solar system. There was much rejoicing. They had successfully repelled an invasion fleet. They didn't know what was going to happen next, but they did take some time to celebrate their victory. They mourned the fallen, but savored their victory. I am sure they will be one of the biggest celebrators of the New Year and will never be late on their Commonwealth Nimroville celebration.
"Is that it? That can't be the end of the story!" stated Cram Nayawt.
"That is the problem with story telling," replied Essdy. "Many times it isn't enough to end at a happy ending. Of course, there is more to the story. The Human's have had quite a time since Nimroville. You should check out the published histories sometime."
"Hey Mr. Yarnspinner, I paid for a story and I want a complete story!"
"Mr. Nayawt, I gave you a complete story. I gave you a darn good story to boot. I am not about to be strong armed into telling you a longer story than what you paid for."
"But all these others are getting a story for free."
"I suggest you take that up with them."
"If I get them to kick in something more, would you keep going? I want to know what happened next. What did the Izanian did to them? Did a second wave come? Did they repel it also? How many survived? What happened with this Eagle fellow?"
"I've got places to go Mr. Nayawt, but if you give me commonwealth credits equal to what you spent on my fee, I'll continue with the story. You'll find out more about what happens between the Izanian and the Nimrovs."
"Hey everybody, if you pitch in a couple of credits each you can hear more of this story. Otherwise, he's going to ship out. Do I have any takers? You? And, You? Excellent. Hey, you heard most of the story, are you in? Excellent. How much? Fine, any amount helps. Okay Yarnspinner, I've got enough credits to keep you going for a while. I just transferred the amount to this card. Is it acceptable?"
"That will do nicely. It is even more than I expected. I will continue with my story over there where everyone can see and hear."
Essdy continued with his story.
The Izanian ship was towed to a Nimrov space station for study. Scientists from all over the Earth colonies came to discover the many secrets the ship held. Eagle Douglass was not only a top pilot, he was an excellent engineer. Thus, his excellent service in the battle allowed him to gain access to Izanian Battle cruiser. These Nimrovs could learn a great deal about advanced weapon systems, advanced composite materials, complicated computer systems, and many other things from this alien vessel.
They felt some urgency, as there could be other ships on the way. They didn't know when these would be coming, but certainly other ships were going to follow. They were at war with a technologically advanced society, and they had to work together if they were going to survive. They need to assemble more weapons, and prepare for another battle. They knew that their missile technology was effective, but could they assemble the resources before the Izanians returned? Would they be able to ward off a second attack?
The Izanians at the time had already claimed the Nimrov system as their own. The sent a message to the Commonwealth council that the Izanian would not tolerate any outside interference. Clearly, they either sent the message before the battle had even begun or it was an attempt to get more time to engage the Nimrov people. Thus, they would also try to stall the Nimrovs. This is why the Izanians sent a message to the Earth people that arrived shortly after the captured Izanian ship was docked at the Nimrov 4 space station. The message sent by Nek Nam Retek of the Izanian stated:
'Nimrov peasants! Do you like your cities? If you do, you should reconsider your actions against the mighty Izanian. A large fleet of our battle cruisers is currently on its way to your puny little civilization. We shall destroy all that you have built! We ask only that you return our property to us, and we shall leave you alone ... for now.'
'I'm guessing they want their ship back,' stated the President in an address to the congressional body. 'They may mean business, but since we do not speak that strange gestural language nor their verbal language, it is difficult to determine what steps we need to take to avoid further confrontation. So, we will continue as planned. Get our top guys on that ship and lets see what makes that thing tick.'
The Izanian message was sent to all of the top science teams. It was given top priority. Knowing the language, they believed, would strengthen their understanding of the technology of the vessel. One of the teams was under the guidance of an eminent Nimrov scientist named Michael Miller. His team included Eagle Douglass. It also included two of Eagle's closest friends, Laura Capitain and David "Sparky" Daniels. It was this team who noticed the translator signal included with the message. The Commonwealth translator message greatly aided in the translation of the hand gestures of the Commonwealth language. Once it was discovered, the linguists made short order of the two messages.
With the discovery of the messages came an urgency that the Izanian were going to return with a larger force. Thus, more resources were assigned to the study of the ship. If another fleet was on the way, they needed to learn as much as they could about the Izanians technology. They wanted shields and compact beam weapons to aid in their fight. Thus, with his significant computer skills, Eagle Douglass and Michael Miller's team were given more access to the computer systems. With the new knowledge of the Commonwealth language, Eagle and their team could use his expertise to gain whatever information they could from the Izanian computers. With Eagle's vast knowledge and eagerness, Dr. Miller stepped aside and gave Eagle full control of the team.
It took months for the top scientist to figure out miniscule bits of information on any of the systems. However, when they did gain some insight, this technology was instantly turned into advancements for Earth's one and only battleship. The colony on Nimrov 5's moon would have to wait. They had multiple teams and each team was assigned to the various Izanian systems.
With the many teams working hard, the greatest breakthrough was attributed to Eagle Douglass and his team. It was they who discovered the secrets stored in the Izanian computer system. Eagle created a complex computer program that would translate his commands into the commands that the Izanian computer could understand. He was amazed at how similar the two computer systems were at the machine language level. After months of fine tuning, Eagle got in. Once he gained access, Eagle was able to access the file system. The files could be then given to linguists who could attempt to translate the information stored within the computer system. Everyone hoped that this would lead to even more technology.
For their discovery, Eagle was awarded the highest medal that could be stowed upon one of its citizens. The United Nations of Earth's Congressional Medal of Honor was given to him for his work, but he missed the awarding ceremony. It was not important to him. What he wanted was to know more about the advanced computer technology and the advanced space systems on board the Izanian ship. He was working 14 hours a day on various projects for Nimrov Space agency. Plus, he was spending the rest of his waking hours learning about the Izanian. He was eating, sleeping, and breathing Izanian culture.
He was hoping that his hard work and sacrifice would lead to something better. He was hoping the space administration would grant him the privilege of captaining his own ship. After all, he knew more about every system on board the Izanian ship than anyone else. He believed he could put together a much better design than any proposed by the NASA engineers. However, the powers that be would not even let him get close to an Earth ship.
With all of the knowledge gained from the Izanian computer system, the Nimrovs were emboldened. They started making preparations for their own ships. There were several proposals for various ships. Scouts, frigates, cruisers, destroyers, and battleships were all designed in an effort to take on the Izanian threat. Work was done on the various designs, and the months would past. In fact, a few years past and the Izanian never came. The people of Earth wondered if that was that the end of the Izanian? Were there only a handful of members of their species? Were there so few, that they couldn't risk losing more? What was the nature of the Izanian?
Meanwhile, Eagle graduated at the top of his class at the Air Force Academy. He did have some trouble with a few teachers, but he always managed to land on his feet. As you may have guessed, he had a little bit of trouble with authority. He could play along to a point, but he liked being in charge. He often took charge in many situations like he did with the computer team. That was the kind of person he was.
He earned many rewards for his work. He was the most well known engineer on the planetary system. For his work he was given the rank of Ensign and assigned a post on the UNSS Douglass. It was the Nimrov's first scout ship. It was designed to explore the outer reaches of the Nimrov system. If they could manage it, they would go farther than any other Nimrov ship. Perhaps they would even leave the system entirely.
Just great!' Eagle bemoaned to his friend Laura. 'They name the damn thing after me, but I only get to steer it around.'
'At least we're on the same ship together E.J.' replied Laura.
'I know, but I was hoping for more. It will be a grand adventure and all, but I'm just a cab driver on this thing. I do not get to pick where we go. I do not get to work on the systems. I just say 'Yes sir, whatever you say sir!' I'm not cut out for that kind of thing.'
'You were always lousy at taking orders that is for sure.'
'You're a riot Alice! One of these days...'
'We're going beyond the moon hot shot! You will have a ship of your own at some point.'
Eagle would often quote lines from common Nimrov entertainment. This is why he said what he did. Laura understood the quote, and thus her response was fitting.
Eagle continued, 'I'm not patient either!'
'Now you're just being silly!'
'OK Boss, I'll behave. For now...'
UNSS Douglass began cruising about their civilization's solar system. They were checking speed, acceleration, and other ship facilities. They were going farther than any other ship from Earth had ever gone. They explored all of their planets and other astronomical bodies.
They were at the edge of their Solar System when the ship's sensors picked up a strange phenomenon. It was a source of energy unknown to the humans. The captain ordered the pilot to enter the phenomenon. Eagle refused. He stated that this energy source is immense, and the shields will not be able to withstand that amount of energy. Eagle felt that at the very least, the shields should be dropped before entering the energy field. The commander of the ship disagreed and ordered the ship to be taken into the field with the shields on maximum. Eagle was ordered to stand down, and he refused this order also. He plotted a course back to the space station on Nimrov 4. Proceedings began immediately for Eagle's court martial. He was removed from his post until a complete investigation was made.
Laura Capitain, Eagle's girlfriend did not want to resign her commission, so she stayed aboard the UNSS Douglass. The Captain's first order of business was to return to the anomaly and explore it. Thus, before the trial was to begin, the UNSS Douglass returned to the edge of the Nimrov solar system.
Once at the edge of the solar system, the commander ordered the pilot to enter the energy field with the shields up and on maximum. Of course, it was a hyper gate. The UNSS Douglass was completely disabled as the hyper gate short-circuited all of the ships electrical systems. The shields could not absorb that much energy. Thus, the ship was dead in space. Fortunately, the dead ship did not set off the Izanian alert sensors. Perhaps if it had working power systems it would have set off these alarms.
However, without any working power systems the ship couldn't maneuver, and it couldn't return into the hypergate. These were brand new systems, and only a very few had a complete understanding of how they worked. However, these engineers were busy designing new ships and not on board the UNSS Douglass. Certainly, the engineers worked hard, but couldn't bring any of the systems back on line. They couldn't even communicate with the Nimrov space central. The ship was drifting in space with no power.
The ship eventually got caught in the outermost planet of the solar system on the far side of this hypergate. Once in this planet's gravity the disabled ship set off the alert sensors of the Izanian. Before the ship could crash onto the surface of the seventh planet, the Izanian defenses destroyed the ship with all hands killed.
A review of the incident exonerated Eagle. He was reinstated with all rights and privileges. However, he was totally disenchanted with the entire system and was making plans to leave Earth's solar system for good. He and a group of adventurers got together and manufactured their own ship. They were going to explore on their own without the blessings of the United Nations Government and without the approval of NASA.
To date, it was the only other major incident between the two civilizations. The Izanian could never muster the resources to return to the Nimrovian system. Of course, the Nimrovs had no intention of dealing with Izanian again. They would do everything in their power to avoid the Izanian. Thus, the 'war' ended in a draw.
However, Eagle had a ship to use for exploration. They would eventually become one of the new members of the Galactic Commonwealth. The Nimrovs are starting to make their mark, but they have a lot to learn yet. There are plenty of stories to tell, but this is the end of this one. Thank you for listening.
"Well spoken Yarnspinner! I'm satisfied. Thanks, but how do you know so much? Yarnspinner? Where'd he go?"
"Hey Barkeep, could I get a carbonic acid and sucrose?" asked Eagle.
"Sure thing Eagle. How are things?" returned the bartender.
"Just great! Thanks for asking. Did you get your supplies okay?
"Yes I did. Thanks. Those pirates haven't given me any more trouble thanks to you. Here's your drink."
"Thanks! Take care." replied Eagle.
"Carbonic acid and sucrose?" inquired a patron of the bartender.
"It is a common drink on his planet," replied the bartender. "I believe they call it 'soda pop' or something to that effect."
"Is it intoxicating?"
"Nah! That is Eagle Douglass. He doesn't drink intoxicating beverages."
"Those Nimrovs are a strange bunch. It is a wonder they are even out this far."
"Eagle is unique among his people," interrupted Essdy Yarnspinner.
"He is one of only a handful of his kind out this far."
"Aren't you the story teller?" asked the patron.
"Yes I am," replied Essdy.
"I'll set you up for a story."
"Do you want to hear anything in particular?"
"Well, you can tell me how this here Eagle fella came to be one of these unique Nimrovs and be out so far from home."
"Fair enough, did you get that tender?"
"You're covered Yarnspinner."
Eagle was saving as much money as he could during his working days on Nimrov 4. He was a war hero, but he was no longer in the military. His court martial, while it exonerated him, left a sour taste in his mouth about military service. Thus, he had to find other sources of revenue. He was working at a number of different jobs and saving as much money as possible. In most cases, you cannot earn a great deal of money working in the Nimrov colonies. However, Eagle's jobs gave him access to things that he needed to achieve his goal. That goal was to get himself a ship. Since he was part of the team that explored the technology of the Izanians, he had some knowledge of advanced technology required for space travel. Nevertheless, a ship would not come cheap. He lived for the dream of exploring his galaxy. With this in mind, he scrounged and traded to gather parts for a ship.
With his experience upon the UNSS Douglass, he had many designs in mind. However, his final design would greatly depend upon what he could obtain. He could fabricate many things himself, but even these parts would require components. Thus, he would spend hours refining the design for his ship. After a few years of trading and fabricating, Eagle had finally created his own spacecraft. It was not a spectacular craft, but it was a relatively fast scout ship even by Commonwealth standards.
One minor design flaw with Eagle's ship was its size. It was very small, and could hold very little cargo. Thus, it was mostly unacceptable to be a freighter. It was what it was designed to be; it was a scout ship. Thus, this ship was only good for looking around. Eagle and the crew of this ship would not likely be able to use it for trading or making a living in the Commonwealth.
Regardless, Eagle Douglass recruited some Nimrov adventurers who were willing to explore beyond their own solar system. One of these adventurers was his long time school friend Sparky Daniels. With the crew ready and willing, Eagle was finally the Captain of his own ship. He planned to take his ragtag crew to explore as much of the vast galaxy as he could. Their ship was by far the fastest and most technically advanced ship run by humans. However, his first obstacle was how to navigate the hypergates. Eagle and his crew were only aware of the one on the fringes of their solar system. They were sure that it led to Izanian space. They were sure that they did not want to put their shields up against that hypergate and be destroyed like the UNSS Douglass.
Eagle dubbed this ship "The Iguana," and after testing the systems of the ship in their own solar system, they felt they were ready to tackle the hypergate challenge. Eagle powered down all of the Iguanas systems and drifted into the hypergate. They entered undetected into Izanian space. As usual, the Izanian sensors didn't detect the ship leaving a hypergate unpowered. However, they scrambled when Eagle powered up his ship's engines. From the sensors he developed based on the Izanian model, they were able to scan the area. Sparky Daniels notified Eagle of the Izanian fighters on an intercept course. They had to get out of their fast.
Luckily, the Izanian intruder scanners detect engine thruster ionization, and the crew had powered up the engines last. Therefore, the Iguana had its navigational computer and its sensors going before they were detected. They didn't know where they were going, but they needed to make good time. Eagle chose a course and heading at random and the chase was on. The Izanians were in hot pursuit, and they were none too friendly.
The guarding Izanian ships were very maneuverable, but they couldn't match the speed of the Iguana. Occasionally, the guard ships would lock a weapon on the Iguana and fire. The Iguana had energy shields, so they were somewhat protected from the occasional blast. Many of the Iguana's systems were getting a workout as they were frantically trying to escape the hostile ships.
It was fortunate that Eagle designed the Iguana to be a fast ship. A slower, less agile ship would have certainly been destroyed. They were in an old fashion dog-fight with nowhere to go. They were beginning to feel that they should head back into Nimrov space. They needed to find someplace to go quickly.
As they were running from the Izanians, Sparky was scanning the area for anything that would aid in their escape. After much maneuvering and evasive flying, Sparky discovered another hypergate. This gate wasn't going to lead them back home, but hopefully it would lead to a more friendly welcome. Eagle decided that they should try to make a break for it. However, they needed their shields to protect themselves from the Izanian energy weapons. Timing had to be perfect. There wouldn't be time to shut down all systems when entering this gate, so hopefully only the shields needed to be shut down.
At first they flew away from the gate. They wanted to create the maximum distance between themselves and the enemy ships. They also did not want the Izanians to block off their escape route, so it had to be done just right. When the Iguana had the Izanian ships behind it, and clear space between it and the hypergate, Eagle knew the time was right. He set the engines at full speed and made a bee line towards the gate. With that burst of speed, he generated a widening gap between the Iguana and the opposing ships. He asked Sparky to keep an eye on the sensors; when they indicated 10 meters, Sparky was to inform Eagle so he could power down the shields. The Iguana was going quite fast with the Izanians lagging behind when they powered down their shields and entered the gate.
They were now much farther than any other Nimrov had ever traveled, but where were they? These bold adventurers needed to keep records so they could find their way back to Nimrov space. Sparky Daniels did numerous scans and noticed the gate indicator GC73:54:11.
This was Commonwealth space. In fact, it was one of the few unmanned gates. The Commonwealth was notified of any entering ship, but any spaceship was free to pass into Commonwealth space using this particular gate. Naturally, this gate was rarely used because the Izanians had little use for the Commonwealth.
They successfully escaped from the Izanians and could do a bit of exploring. Sparky noted the position of the gate so they could make a return trip. After a bit of exploration, Eagle and his crew came upon the Enilmah shipyards. This shipyard is mostly a salvage yard for old ships. However, entry is by appointment only. Thus, despite wanting to check out the outdated space ships, Eagle had to examine them from a distance. The Iguana explored the area for a few days, and discovered a few more gates.
Very little trade comes through gate GC73:54:11 being located where it is, but it was the Nimrov gateway into galactic space. The supplies were running low and these Nimrovs still did not meet any Commonwealth members, but they needed to head back. There was much more to explore, but they had to be heading back to Nimrov space. However, they learned how to "run the Izanian gauntlet" to get into Commonwealth space and that was a first step.
Essdy Yarnspinner continues his story.
This first voyage of the starship Iguana gave this group of Nimrovs a great deal of confidence in their ability for intergalactic travel. They had gone farther from their home world than any other Nimrovs and were hoping to continue their adventures. They would have to turn what they had learned into supplies to mount another mission. They believed that their next mission they would interact with other races. These other races may even be friendly towards the Nimrov race. This is what Sparky Daniels had hoped. He was the linguistic expert on the crew and he was by far the best of the crew of the Iguana in using the gestural Galactic Commonwealth language.
These Nimrovs were hoping to become adventurers and explorers. They wished to travel where they could and exchange their knowledge for supplies. They had hoped that the United Nations of Earth government would be interested in their enterprise. Sadly, this was not the case. Thus, the Iguana's crew had to be adventurers for hire. They would have to find sponsors and patrons to mount each expedition. This would be difficult without the prospect of some tangible return. The next mission of the Iguana may be the last, as it was simply a charity run. Few were willing to help mount the expedition without the hint of profit. Without governmental sponsorship, the second mission of the Iguana may have been its last.
They gathered as many resources as they could and loaded them on the Iguana. The ship had as much supplies as she could hold. This mission was going to last as long as possible. They were going to run the "Izanian Gauntlet" and find some friendly individual in Commonwealth space. Perhaps they could find further sponsorship in alien worlds.
After entering Commonwealth space as they had the previous journey, they picked gate GC63:54:15. They had a few to choose from, but that one was similar in designation to the one they had just passed. Thus, if their records were lost, they should still be able to find the way home. While it was not a particularly busy Commonwealth system, the Nimrovs found themselves at the Selrach trading hub. They could dock at their first trading center and interact with Commonwealth citizens.
The bureaucrats of the Selrach system were annoyed by the Iguanas lack of Galactic Commonwealth certification. This would require them to fill out a great deal of paperwork. Further, since they were dealing with an unfamiliar vessel, some standard precautions also made more work for the Selrach crew. Thus, upon docking with the port, the ship and these Nimrov explorers were placed in quarantine. They could go nowhere until a Commonwealth representative arrived.
After several days of non-communication with anyone, the Iguana received a message from the Galactic Commonwealth. It stated:
First contact required a scanning of the crew and cargo. Any harmful organisms must be removed from the vessel before formally making contact. If self-contained breathing apparatus is not available to the members of the crew, an escort will be provided for the ship and it will be immediately escorted to the hypergate that they had passed through. Further communication will be made prior to the scanning process.
Sparky remarked how odd it was be the first person of his race to receive a Galactic Commonwealth form letter. However, they did have environment suits, so they were ready to meet their Commonwealth ambassador. Nevertheless, it took several more days for a member of the Commonwealth Council to make their way to the Selrach system.
There was a standard procedure and the crew of the Iguana and the Commonwealth first contact crew played it by the numbers. They asked many questions and they took many notes on the Nimrov conflict with the Izanians. They were pleased that the Izanians were unsuccessful in conquering another star system.
The crew of the Iguana took the first steps for the Nimrovs to join the Commonwealth. They filled out the proper forms and indicated the location of the Nimrov home world. It was then that they should have said something about their standard names. They did not, and thus these humans were stuck with the name of 'Nimrov'.
Further, the commonwealth began the process of building a hypergate directly from Nimrov space to commonwealth space. It would not be to the Selrach system, but to a more central location. There would not be free passage through this gate, so the crew of the Iguana would need to be certified and pay the fees if they were to continue to explore. The Commonwealth would allow them to use their ship to begin trading, and they explained the rules and regulations for commerce.
Once the gate between Nimrov and Commonwealth space was established, a government official escorted the Iguana to Nimrov 3 and the seat of Nimrov authority. This official had the power to establish normalized relations with this emerging world. This was an exiting time for the Nimrovs.
However, the Iguana was going to have to cease being a scout ship and become a trader. Eagle's crew had little interest in being traders. The crew abandoned him and decided to stay on their home world. Sparky Daniels offered to stay on board the Iguana, but Eagle decided he could use the room for more cargo.
Eagle refitted his ship to be a cargo ship. He greatly increased the capacity, but he was not sure what to carry. Plant goods are unique among the various planets. Thus, there is always demand for unique edible plants and processed plant products. Thus, Eagle decided to trade these commodities. Nimrov is the original source and the best source for 'Chocolate.' They are also responsible for the corn that is referred to in Galactic Standard as 'Maize.'
Since Eagle's ship was not originally designed to haul cargo, it was difficult for him to make a living as a trader. Eventually chocolate would become a big demand item, but there was no way he could keep up with the demand. It became difficult for Eagle to compete with other traders who began making contacts on Nimrov 3. The Nimrov Chocolate run became very lucrative to several traders. All of which were Eagle's competitors.
Eagle became increasingly frustrated with being unable to compete with non-Nimrov traders. On one chocolate run, he met a trader by the name of Fejj Recked. The Izanian Empire displaced Fejj. His home world had been 'conquered' by the Izanian when he was just eight. His parents were traders, and continued to trade. They just no longer had a home or home world. When Fejj came of age, he obtained his own ship and went into business for himself. He was a bounty hunter, trader, cargo hauler, and part time pirate. He had a mid-sized trading ship that was no thing of beauty, but it was still more advanced than the ship Eagle had designed.
Eagle and Fejj began to exchange goods regularly including maize and chocolate. After several transactions, they became loosely tied business partners. However, Eagle's ship could never handle a large enough load of goods to please Fejj. Demand was always outstripping supply on Nimrov goods. Therefore, Fejj would occasionally make the run to Nimrov 3 himself. Competition was increasing, and Eagle was lagging behind. Eventually, Fejj made Nimrov 3 a regular stop on his trade route. Thus, it eliminated the need for Eagle.
In the mean time, Eagle was bored with the day-to-day grind of being a trader. He wanted more. He liked being in charge, but he could not afford to do any exploration like he wanted. So when Fejj offered him a position on his ship, Eagle jumped at the chance. Eagle signed up with Fejj in order to explore more, and to learn what he could about the vast technologies the Galactic community had to offer.
At his first opportunity, Eagle sold his ship and trading route information to one of his Nimrov friends. This individual was interested in exploring the galaxy and was a much better businessperson that Eagle. This trader made chocolate even more in demand.
Eagle on the other hand was ready to be an engineer again. He was always a quick study with technology. Although he started as a grunt mechanic, we quickly earned his way up the ladder in Fejj's enterprises. Once he learned how something worked, he could think of several ways to make things better. Eagle became a very valuable asset to Fejj. Once Eagle knew how the systems on Fejj's ship worked, he could fix them quickly.
Fejj's ship was prone to breakdowns. His ship is one of those early Model G freighters. They are getting up there in age, but they are still a quality ship. Eagle eventually learned how the Model G worked backwards and forwards. To this day, there is probably no one who knows more about its systems. Moreover, if Eagle was given the right equipment and parts, he could vastly improve any system on board the 'G.'
At one point, Fejj's ship failed a Galactic Commonwealth inspection. The propulsion system had developed a major plasma leak. This had to be repaired before the ship would be allowed to leave the inspection station. Eagle went to work on it, and when he was finished, the inspectors tried to hire Eagle on the spot. The overhaul had improved the performance of the propulsion system by 25 times. In fact, it was far greater than most brand new ships.
Furthermore, in one instance when Fejj had to run a blockade in order to complete his mission, the improved propulsion system allowed them to outrun the enforcing body. With this upgrade, Fejj's ship was now one of the fastest ships around. Not only that, but the reliability was greatly improved. Fejj rewarded Eagle with a large bonus.
Fejj also set Eagle up with the task of learning other systems on the ship. Eagle went through the various systems one by one. Learning how they worked, and improving each system as he went along. However, it was destined to end at some time. Eagle was not good at following orders, and Fejj was not great at giving them. Nevertheless, the alliance was very lucrative while it lasted. Fejj could earn plenty of credits with his regular and legal trading that it was becoming uncommon for him to need to run from the authorities.
One day, one of Fejj's trading partners, a ship from the Mitciv star system was late for an exchange. Fejj did a quick scan of the area, and he discovered the cargo ship drifting in space. Mitciv ship had been attacked by a group of pirates. The ship had minimal life support, and Fejj's ship arrived moments before their power systems failed.
The Mitciv trade routes had become targets for these pirates. They pleaded with the Galactic Commonwealth to do something, but a segment of the route was not in their jurisdiction. The Mitciv offered a small reward, but no one would accept the challenge against these well-established and ruthless pirates. After several rounds of negotiations, the Galactic Council upped the ante and included a large reward of its own. Fejj's crew agreed to take on these pirates with the hopes of earning this large reward. However, every attempt by Fejj to thwart these pirates had failed. They were just too well organized and too well armed.
Continuing Essdy Yarnspinner's story:
However, Eagle had a plan. These Pirates had a rag-tag fleet of ships. In fact, they had a few Model Gs. In order for them to be as organized as they seemed, Eagle guessed that they had to coordinate their attacks using their computers. Thus, the computers must communicate between the ships. With them being in contact, that meant that their communication could be intercepted. If he could intercept their network traffic, and communicate with one of the computers, he could wreak havoc on the pirate attack.
Of course, the problem was he did not know how they communicated or whether he could hack his way in. Thus, determining the link protocol was the first order of business. As a first phase of this process, Fejj provided escort duty for several Mitciv trading runs. However, the pirates kept their distance during these runs. However, they did not establish a communication blackout, and Eagle got enough information from this escort duty to determine what communication standards these pirates were using. He also managed to capture a few of the communications streams for further study.
With the upgrades to Fejj's computer system, Eagle had no problem discovering the means of communication between the ships. He was ready for step two. Now that he was able to read the communication, he needed to be able to speak to the computers. With the continuing escort duty, he eventually was able to establish two-way communication with the pirate computers. Thus, he was ready to place his plan into action.
Since the pirates' attacks were well coordinated, these ships were lax on security to improve the performance of their ships. Most ships use their computers to manage all of the ships functions. The navigation and the sensors were all fed through the computer. Thus, if you tell the computer that the sensors detect a ship, the computer will report this to the ship's crew. This is true even if no ship is around. This is what Eagle planned to do.
If Eagle could get into one of the pirate ship's computer system, he could give that pirate crew false information. If the computers were passing information about enemy movements, this could be passed on to other pirate ships. With the proper sequence of events Eagle believed he could somewhat control what happened. Once he was confident that he could affect the pirate sensors, he created a program that the human's call a 'Trojan horse.'
Let me explain this reference. A Trojan horse is a reference to an ancient Earth story about the ending of a long war. The city of Troy had nearly impenetrable walls. Their enemies spent many years attempting to get inside the city walls. Eventually, one group built a large horse out of wood and gave it to the other warring faction. Inside the horse was a group of soldiers. So, once inside the protected city, they could spring out and do whatever they wished.
A Trojan horse program is one that sits inside a computer, and when the time is right it will spring into action. What Eagle planned to do was plant this program in the Pirate's computer system. With his ability to enter the pirate's communication stream, he could plant this program on any one of their escort missions. The pirates were wary of Fejj's ship and never attacked with his ship in the vicinity; however, they were close enough to make computer contact.
What the program did when it was activated was to inform the pirate crew that they were under attack by the Mitciv. No matter how this crew responded to the threat, the computer would indicate that the Mitciv had successfully counteracted their actions.
The program would activate as soon as they locked their weapons on any Mitciv ship. This program would cause ships to appear out of nowhere, and appear to inflict major damage on these pirate ships. Thus, no matter what actions these pirates took, their ship would become disabled. At least, that is what the computer would tell them. Since all system status went through the computer, the ship could be completely disabled without a shot being fired.
Once the program was implanted in several pirate vessels, Fejj stopped the escort trips. They just waited to see if their plan would work. After a few runs, the pirates noticed that the Mitciv were making unescorted runs again. Therefore, they attacked. The computer program activated, and the pirate ship would eventually be completely disabled. They had no choice but to surrender to the intended victim's ship.
This system worked remarkably well, and in a relatively short amount of time, the entire fleet of pirates had been captured. The Galactic Commonwealth put them on trial, and the pirate raids had been ended. For their work, Fejj received the reward promised by the GC. The Mitciv were so grateful, they rewarded Eagle with his own ship. The Mitciv received the pirate ships for compensation, and they offered Eagle his pick. He thought about taking one of the Pirate's Model Gs, but they required a crew to operate. He did not relish the idea of rounding up any type of crew. He knew the Model Gs backwards and forwards, but he decided not to take one of them.
He chose one that could carry plenty of cargo, but needed no crew to operate. It was a newer model than the G's, but no one knew what model it was. It was a custom ship, and it was just Eagle's style. It would give him the chance to learn different computer, propulsion and other systems. He could customize this ship to be one of the best ships in the galaxy.
He instantly renamed it to 'The Iguana II.' It was the same name as his old ship. This ship was much more fitting of the name Iguana than the original. At some point, someone had it painted green. Some of the paint had come off giving it the appearance of a green ship with brownish stripes. This is roughly the color scheme of an iguana. However, it did not look anything like the long skinny reptile. If you thought of a lizard eating its own tail, perhaps you could make out something vaguely lizard-like, but Eagle just liked the name. The whole ship suited Eagle just fine.
It was not at all pretty, but it was Eagle's ship. It was Eagle's Iguana. Once again, he was free to go anywhere he liked. While onboard Fejj's ship, he had saved up many galactic credits for provisions and tolls. He was ready to go out on his own and make his own way.
He was a trader again, but he had some valuable experience behind him. He made some contacts while working for Fejj. He had some trade routes and cargo in mind. He knew how he was going to make money without working too hard.
He learned quite a bit about galactic space ships while on board with Fejj Recked. However, now he would be able to customize his ship to his own liking. He did not have to answer to anyone but himself. It is how he liked things. Eagle Douglass was now a bounty hunter, trader, cargo hauler, and righter of wrongs. He could be his own boss and travel where he wanted. He was a human with knowledge of more technology than any other human was. He would go farther out than any other human. He would make many friends and have great influence on the Galactic Commonwealth.
"That is quite a tale. Thanks. Hey tender, give me one of those carbonic acids and sucroses. So, Yarnspinner, how do you know so much about this Eagle fellow? Yarnspinner? Hey tender, where did he go?"
"Warning, I have to interface with my central computer in 10 days, 38 hours, 54 minutes, and 73 seconds!" declared a strange looking mechanical man.
"Good to see you 3376441," replied Eagle. "How are things back home?"
"Everything is functioning normally. Do you have anything to trade?" responded 3376441.
"I have some things for you," continued Eagle. "Let's discuss business over at that table."
"Those androids give me the creeps!" a stranger remarked. "I donít know how he can stand that ĎI have to interface with my central computerí stuff.
"I can explain everything," came a voice out of the crowd. "But itíll cost you."
The one who spoke approached the stranger. "Aren't you that Yarnspinner fella?" the stranger asked.
"I am indeed," replied Essdy. "So, you have heard of me? Do you know my price and do we have a deal?"
"Iíve got some time, and I could use some entertainment. Server, fix this man up," stated the stranger.
The androids come from the fourth planet in the Vomiza solar system. At one time, there was a thriving population living on this ordinary planet. The people there were technically skilled, as by all accounts, they had built an advanced society. In general, the inhabitants of this society enjoyed tinkering with electronics, and they were especially crafty in the computer and electrical engineering fields. They created several marvelous gadgets to make life simple for themselves. This included a very advanced race of artificial people. This race of mechanical individuals did all of the manual labor on their world. In fact, they were even in charge of maintaining and building a supply of their own kind. These androids, if I may use this archaic term, were essentially a species of creature on this world. They thought, they reproduced, and they had a survival program. They had everything they needed to adapt to a changing environment.
"Oo thatís creepy! So what did they do? Did they overthrow their evil overlords and take over their planet?" interupted the stranger.
"Please, never interrupt me again!" yelled Essdy.
"Sorry," the stranger said sheepishly. "Please continue."
They didnít kill off their so-called masters because they were programmed to obey the commands of their manufacturers. In fact, Vomizan's programmed them to obey all commands given within a set of guidelines. It was a pretty sophisticated program that had never had a conflict. These mechanical people accepted their life. They were the laborers. They were well treated, and this allowed the organic life forms to pursue other interests. Unfortunately, the Vomizan's never pursued space flight. All of their activities were completely planet bound. As a culture, they had a fear of enclosed spaces. They did not like to be enclosed. Thus, they had no interest in encasing themselves in some sort of rocket and venturing into space. There are many cultures out there with this very attitude. However, for the Vomizan's this was their eventual downfall.
About 100 Commonwealth years ago, their crops started failing. Their planet wide temperature began rising. Like most species, they had to adapt to their changing environment. Thus, with every new climatological change, there came a new advance. Nevertheless, they were falling behind. Vomiza Four's climate was changing faster than the inhabitants could handle. Unfortunately, the reason for their climate change was that their sun was no longer stable. It was about to go nova, and in order to survive the Vomizan's needed to leave.
In all of their years of advancing technology, they didnít have the technology to leave their world. They created ingenious hyper-cooling devices to keep their computers and other environments cool. They installed some cooling devices on everything that needed one, and this included their artificial life forms. However, it didn't address their main problem. Their sun was going to engulf the planet and there wasn't anything they could do to stop it.
Along with the cooling devices, they built greenhouses to grow crops. They had a very efficient water recycling system. They solved many of the problems facing their society, but the end of their world was coming. There wasn't anything that they could do to save their species.
Only the artificial life forms survived the suns demise. The process for creating these 'androids' was highly sophisticated. As I stated before, these androids were in charge of building other androids. Being machines, they could adapt their manufacturing processes at a much quicker rate than humans could. They could build and repair structures in a much harsher environment. There wasn't an environmental factor for which they couldn't adapt. In fact, the artificial people went on with their chores inside the suns corona for numerous years.
Seven Commonwealth years ago, Vomiza's sun burnt up much of its remaining fuel and collapsed into a white dwarf. In nearly a blink of an eye, their once extremely hot planet was suddenly extremely cold. Naturally, there were no living beings left on the planet. They had no masters to serve. However, the totally went on with their business of survival. There wasn't anyone to help them adjust to the new state of their planet, so they had to adapt again. They altered many of their systems to act as heaters instead of coolers. Some of their heat shielding made excellent insulation. As any living creature would do, they went on with their business.
These artificial life forms still plowed the earth, and still attempted to plant crops. Naturally, since their planet had no atmosphere nothing would grow. This didnít stop them because it was part of their programming. After reconfiguring most of their kind, they realized that without help their resources would run out. Therefore, these androids created a space program. In a very short time, they had left their planet in search of various supplies. They obtained metals, lubricants, and other valuable items from asteroids and other extra-planetary bodies.
Unfortunately, with their sun now being a tiny white dwarf, their solar system lacked the most abundant element in the universe. These androids were having a very difficult time obtaining Hydrogen. While their sun had some hydrogen available to them, did not wish to harm it. The last thing they wanted was to have their planet orbiting a black hole. Thus, they needed to venture beyond their own solar system to obtain hydrogen essential for their own survival.
Fortunately, they didn't run into the Izanians. They stumbled upon a Commonwealth system. In fact, they were not very far from this very establishment. The Commonwealth grew around them when their sun was in its expanded form. After a short time, they became a registered member of the Galactic Commonwealth. With this status, they started to send members of their community out as traders.
Shortly after the established some trading partners, these traders discovered that these artificial people could not say no to any commands. Thus, instead of trading with the Vomizans, they began giving them orders. Eventually some unscrupulous traders enslaved some of the androids. Furthermore, these traders established a slave trade for the much sought after Vomizan artificial beings. Thus, they lost even more resources without gaining anything in return.
Some of the Vomizan beings sent a complaint with the Commonwealth Council. The Council didn't know how to respond to an artificial being. They considered these beings as machines and not intelligent life forms. There was much debate all the while the Vomizan's were losing resources and individuals. They didn't know who to turn to, so they put out a general cry for help. Eagle Douglass responded to their call.
Eagle met one of their ambassadors, and arranged a trip to Vomiza 4. Eagle described it as a frigid and barren world. It was as stark as anyone can imagine. However, he noted that there were many structures, and the Vomizans were still accomplishing their industries.
In his encounter suit, the Vomizans gave Eagle a tour of their capitol city. There were several individuals taking part in their daily routines. It was very much like any large city on any other world. There were far fewer individuals than most cities, but there was still the hustle and bustle of a thriving industrial center.
Eagle met with their leaders and heard the heart of their problem. He certainly believed that their safety could be best obtained by altering their internal programming. The problem was to determine how to alter this programming of the individuals and retain their unique character. The Vomizans needed a solution, and it needed to be discovered quickly. Already these unscrupulous slave traders were beginning to remove some of the Vomizan population and make a negative impact upon their society.
With the discussions of the Vomizan's they worked on several possible solutions. Eagle first proposed that these Vomizan's could say no to certain commands. They would be able to reject certain commands that would make them less suitable for slaves. With their quick intellect, they rejected this proposal. They surmised that this solution would result in violence toward them and their kind.
After weeks of discussions, Eagle proposed a solution everyone involved felt was ideal. He proposed that a change in their programming which required them to interface with their planetary central computer on some predetermined schedule. The central computer was the only place that this schedule could be altered. For instance, planetary bound individuals could interface with the computer daily. Thus, they would have access to the computer on a regular basis. If a slave trader took them from the planet, this would activate some type of program.
Once this alteration was agreed upon, they needed to work out what would happen if they didn't interface. Would the individual simply shut down? While this would definitely shut down the slave trade, it would not help them with their supply issues. They needed something else.
Eagle proposed that a lapsed interface would put the Vomizan individual into a homing command mode. Essentially, the unit shuts down its sensory inputs except what is essential for returning to the Vomizan home world. They essentially do what they need to get back home. If the lack of response to a command results in physical conflict, the individual shuts down and emits a homing beacon for retrieval.
Either the individual returns to Vomiza 4, or they are a non-functional unit. It was that simple. One of the features that was established with these artificial people was a constant communication system. If an upgrade to their programming was required, each unit could receive the update no matter where they were. Therefore, even enslaved robots off world could be given the new updates.
Several commonwealth months later, all of the citizens of Vomiza 4 had the new programming installed. This greatly affected the people who had one of the enslaved Vomizans. Suddenly their androids became non-functional. This put great pressure upon the slave traders. Eventually, it put them out of business. Many of these 'owners' wished their Vomizan would continue to work for them. In fact, this is one of their most successful trade items. However, they are required to return periodically to Vomiza for routine maintenance.
As far as the greeting is concerned, it was established to inform would be enslavers that it is futile to capture the individual. At the very least, it is an opening for a dialogue. Furthermore, this dialogue should convince the individual that this Vomizan individual is not property, but a regular member of the Commonwealth.
"Okay Yarnspinner," responded the stranger. "You've convinced me that these androids are people too. Yarnspinner? Where did that guy get to so quickly?"
"Alright Yarnspinner, I've been following you around the galaxy, and now that I have caught up to you, I want answers!"
"Sorry Pal, I don't have to answer any of your questions."
"I'll make it worth your while."
"I'll pay you a weeks worth of supplies."
"Wow! This must be important. I'm listening..."
"I'm from Thradlum. Have you heard of it?"
"Indeed I have, I have a story about that very planet."
"Excellent! I would like to hear it in a moment. Anyway, this Eagle Douglass fellow has made many trips to our fair world. He knows and follows our customs better than I do. Our leaders have given me the job to find out as much as I can about him. You seem to be the foremost expert on him. Thus, I can offer you much in the form of compensation if you give me as much information on Eagle as you can."
"All the information I have on Eagle is freely accessible at the various information outlets. You don't need me to interpret this data, and I won't put Eagle's life in jeopardy."
"It is not about that. As you may have heard, our civilization is very xenophobic. We do not particularly care for outsiders."
"You do have some odd customs, but no more so than any other member of the Galactic Commonwealth."
"That is kind of you to say, even if I don't particularly believe it. Eagle has several technologically advanced devices on board his ship. Perhaps he has access to even more advancements. It has come to our attention that access to other cultures could be quite beneficial to us in a technological way. Getting to know how Eagle obtains some of these technologies is our goal. We are very interested in pursuing this. We would also prefer that he not hear about our pursuits."
"Well Mr. Thradlumite, as I stated earlier, everything I know is publicly available. While your offer is quite tempting, and somewhat justified, I decline the offer. I will tell you my Thradlum story for the usual price, but I'm not going to do any more than that. I'm in the story telling business, and not the spy business."
"I'm sorry you feel that way. Tender, fix Mr. Yarnspinner up with his usual fee. I will hear your story."
Essdy begins his story:
Captain Nigel Caruthers was the commander on board the UNSS Connelly. They were navigating through the asteroid belt surrounding the planet called Thradlum. It was several days of tricky navigating, especially for the primitive Earth vessel. He did not want to do again anytime soon. However, these Earth people were gradually making contact with other members of the Galactic Community. The Galactic Commonwealth built gate GC12:25:65 into the Nimrov solar system. Systematically, these Earth dwellers were visiting the Commonwealth civilizations that centered on the far side of that gate. They were now going to visit Thradlum.
As was the custom of the humans, they studied the literature of the place during the long space travel times. They were gradually learning the Galactic Commonwealth's standard written language. Furthermore, these Earth people's gestural vocabulary was increasing rapidly with each trip. They believed they were ready for any incounter.
As was stated earlier, the Tradlumites have some somewhat peculiar customs. The Captain believed that they were completely prepared to be compliant with their strict code of conduct.
Upon finishing their first contact with the Thradlumite Captain Caruthers bid farewell to the leaders and return to his ship with his landing party. He was quite confident that the mission was a success. The UNSS Connelly was making its way out of the system towards hypergate GC12:25:65. After several days, they successfully navigated their way through the asteroids and were on their way home.
Among the members of the landing party was David Daniels. He was Captain Caruthers's first officer. He was operating the sensors when they picked up a distress call from a small craft. He determined that it was just 100 km off to their starboard and asked if they would respond to the call. 'Plot a course Mr. Daniels and letís make a difference,' responded Captain Caruthers.
From their sensor scans, they determined that it was a small single occupant craft with very low energy output. It looked like a small cargo ship. It was a somewhat standard Commonwealth design, and from the Connelly's sensor report, they guessed that it was running with life support only. It appeared to have some sort of plasma leak; if they did not hurry it may lose even life support at any time. They decided to dock with it as quickly as possible as it was simply drifting in space.
"Prepare docking ring," ordered the captain.
"Docking ring preparation, aye! Prepare Docking Ring," echoed the first officer. After a slight pause, he responded, "Docking ring ready sir."
"Close in at 10 kph," ordered Captain Caruthers.
"10 kph Aye! Slow to 10 kph," echoed Commander Daniels.
"Sir! Izanian vessel at 110 mark 60. 2500 km and closing fast," Lt Spahn shouted.
"How much longer until docking is complete Mr. Daniels?"
"2 minutes sir."
"We should have time, proceed with docking. Mr. Daniels please go to the docking ring, and take a security team with you."
"On my way sir. Ms. Lawson, you have the com."
Mr. Daniels left the bridge and gathered his security team. This group of security members made their way to the docking ring. With little difficulty, the UNSS Connelly docked with the disabled vessel and reported it to the bridge.
"Sir we have successfully docked," Lt Spahn told the Captain.
"Shields up!" shouted the captain.
"Shields up aye! Raise shields!" barked Commander Lawson.
"Sir! Some strange gas is being emitted from the craft..." came a call from Commander Daniels.
"Sir! The Izanian are firing."
"Evasive maneuvers! Down 30 degrees, 12 meter arc port!"
"Sir they are targeting the docked space craft!"
"Mr. Daniels! Can we release the craft?" asked the captain. "Mr. Daniels respond!"
"Sir, we cannot fully maneuver docked to that ship! We must release it!"
"You must give our men more time!"
"Sir it is a direct hit! The docking clamps are not holding! Sir we must release that ship or it will tear that section of the ship right off! The Izanian are preparing to make another pass!"
"Mr. Daniels! Get out of there NOW! Mr. Spahn, release that ship!"
"Aye sir! Release the docking clamps!"
"Sir! The Izanian have broken off their attack! They are firing upon that ship... It is destroyed... The Izanian are heading 115 mark 30, shall we pursue?"
They decided not to pursue. They were going to assess their own damages and cut their losses. Surprisingly, there was little damage to their ship. There was some stress on the docking ring, but no other damage was reported. However, the security team was knocked unconscious when the opened the craft. Commander Daniels was missing and presumed dead. They believed he was on the ship that the Izanian destroyed.
The Captain ordered a salvage team to examine the wreckage, but they could find no wreckage. The crew discovered several clues to what may have happened in the computer logs. It was determined that the destroyed ship could have been a Thradlum ship. The planet they had just left 5 days earlier. Captain Caruthers plotted a course back to the planet. They wanted to know about this ship and perhaps learn why the Izanians may want to destroy one of their ships. They wanted to determine if Commander Daniels died in vain or if they could at least give them more information. They had to undertake the arduous task of navigating the asteroid belt once again. They were not happy about it, but they determined that this was the wisest choice of actions.
Captain Caruthers ordered that his crew thoroughly study the logs to determine what could have been done that would have prevented Mr. Daniel's death. He wanted to know every detail of what went on. He did what he believed he had to do, but he wanted to be sure in his report to NASA. Another Earthling had been killed in space, and the high command were not going to be happy.
Unbeknownst to the crew of the Connelly, Commander Daniels found himself strapped to a chair on the command deck of a ship that was unknown to him. A beautiful young woman was at the command console. She seemed familiar. She looked like... But it could not be because she was dead. A door opened and in walked a man. His straps prevented him from turning to see him.
"Hey!" he shouted, "Turn me loose!"
"Those restraints are for your own good," replied the man. "We were in a bit of a rough stretch there, but I guess we could remove the restraints. What do you think Miss?"
"It is difficult to say what lies ahead. To be safe, you should always be strapped in."
Those voices were very familiar to Commander Daniels, and he knew he had heard that phrase many times before. It could not be her; she is dead. "Where am I? How did I get here?"
"You're pretty slow on the pick up there Sparky."
"Eagle? Is that you? Then it is 'L' at the controls!"
"Not quite, she is no longer with us; may she rest in piece. The 'L' hologram is one of my on-going projects. The only part of her voice I could get was her buckle up spiel she used to give. I recorded it once. But that is the only thing my computer can get exactly right, it gets some near misses, and some dead wrongs. I'm working on it."
"What is going on? Why will not you release me?"
"Relax; we're not holding you prisoner. You were unconscious, so we strapped you in for your protection. I was just checking the controls. We've got a tricky bit to navigate through."
"Where are we going? Why am I here?"
"You are quite the inquisitive one arenít you?"
"He is impatient too," a mechanized sounding voice stated.
"Computer, turn off voice responses," stated Eagle while releasing Sparky from his restraints. "See what I mean, not quite 'L's voice."
"I guess the easiest thing to say is that you're headed back to Thradlum. One of the royal family claims that you used your voice in her presence. That is a big no no, and they offered a fair bounty for you."
"You're a bounty hunter?"
"Oh... well... not anymore. I took this one so we could talk about old times."
"You're going to sell me up the river without a paddle for a handful of magic beans?"
"I hate it when you mix your metaphors. You have nothing to worry about. Captain Caruthers is a bright man, and I left him several clues that even YOU could figure out. He will be there on Thradlum in a couple of days after we arrive. He'll be able to clear up this situation when the Connelly arrives. That is, unless you DID use your voice in the presence of the princess."
"I did not!"
"Then you have nothing to worry about. So how is your mom?"
"Fine. She's fine. She recently remarried... I do not want to talk about that. I could spend some time in prison there."
"Hey that's great. I hope she's happy!"
"You're not listening to me!"
"No, you're not listening. I told you that I took the bounty so we could talk about old times, and you're certainly not cooperating on that aspect. Also, Earth is not going to allow this to escalate into a galactic incident. If your ship puts up a good front, and demand your innocence and immediate release, you will be heading home within the week. So, how are things on Earth?"
"This is just too much to absorb."
"How do you like working for Captain Caruthers?"
"Remember when he was our TA. We used to torture him something fierce. Is he making you pay for those days?"
"There were some interesting times at first, but we worked through them. You on the other hand, would have to work pretty hard."
"Why? He wouldnít hold a grudge just because I totally showed him up in his computer security class, would he?"
"'Hey! You should change your password Freak boy!' He still has not lived that one down."
"Well, if you're a Teaching Assistant for a 'Computer Security' class, you should not have the password of 'password1.' It took me all of 5 minutes to break into his account and change his prompt."
"I still do not know how you kept breaking into his account."
"Really? It was simple. When I broke into his account, he had system administration rights. So, I created a new account with the same rights. Thus, I did not have to break into his account. I would just use this new account to do whatever I needed to do."
"You had him so buffaloed. You're lucky you did not get expelled."
"Don't tell anyone, but I was expelled. However, the notice got lost somewhere in the computer system."
"You did not!"
"I had to. Nigel was trying to ruin my career. I went to the professor and explained that I was having problems with his TA. I explained that Nigel would challenge me and I would show him up every time. He was taking offense to my skills, and he was going to hold it against me."
"So, he dismissed the notice..."
"Yes, but it inexplicably took a day to come to him. When I saw the notice one night, I delayed it so I could talk to Professor Miller about the situation."
"You did earn your grades didn't you?"
"Of course, I showed my stuff on that Izanian ship. I deserved my grades. Professor Miller gave the grades, and I showed him my stuff."
"Because of you, security is much better now."
"If you say so..."
"Security is only as good as its weakest link. Admiral Jensen is the weakest link. He has not changed his password EVER. I still know it. I think his dog has long since died, but the password in his name lives on! I think half of NASA knows his password. It is like securing all the doors of a building complex except one. Once you're in, you're in. But, I do not have to worry about that kind of thing now."
"Hey! How did you get me here?"
"Oops! I've given out my big secret. I used Admiral Jensen's credentials to run a program that would fool your ship in several ways. False distress call, fake Izanian attack, among other things. Earth and other space going races depend on computers to tell them everything. Sensors connected to computers to tell them about incoming vessels. Computers are involved in communications. You get into the ships computer, and you can make them see and hear anything. If I can get access to a ships computer, I can essentially become invisible or can become another vessel. It's a piece of cake."
"You know I cannot keep this to myself."
"Tell anyone you wish. You cannot make Admiral Jensen change his password, and you cannot restrict anything from his access. So, until he retires or leaves, I will always be able to walk all over any Earth vessel."
"There has to be something we can do."
"Hey! It is not like I make a habit of it. This is the first time I've done this to an Earth vessel. I'm not the enemy. I did not kill one person. It was a tool that I took advantage to preserve life and property."
"Our ship was disabled, how can you say you preserved property?"
"Ahh! There is my point. Your computer told you of damage. Your captain has likely discovered that no damage was done to your vessel. Other Bounty Hunters do not care about property and life."
"The great humanitarian you are!"
"For a person with your language skills, you don't understand what I'm saying. You never did understand many of the subtleties. You are good with vocabulary, but you miss much of the meanings of some things. On the bright side, you did turn out to be a pretty good flier. "
"You underestimate me."
"Ha ha ha! Just like old times!"
"I miss Laura."
"So do I."
They talked until it was very late and they were very tired. The Laura Hologram awakened Eagle. A Thradlumite ship was on an intercept course. Perhaps friendly, perhaps not, Eagle had to be ready. "Thank you 'L'," Eagle told the computer. "Prepare to execute 'CC-Alpha' on my command. Hail the Thradlumite ship on their standard frequency."
"OK EJ!" responded the computer, which made Eagle reminisce briefly. "EJ, they do not respond to our inquiry."
"Very well then," stated Eagle, "execute 'CC-Alpha.'"
"What's going on?" asked Sparky.
"Oh nothing really," responded Eagle. "I think they may be trying to renege on our deal. They've got a warship out looking for us. We will make it through OK."
"EJ," interrupted the computer, "'CC-Alpha' is engaged and appears to be functioning normally."
"Thank you Laura," quipped Sparky. "What is 'CC-Alpha'?"
"CC is a computer cloak," remarked Eagle. "We're basically invisible. We will fly right by."
"You did not say this was dangerous..." worried Sparky.
"Unfortunately, it is the nature of the business," replied Eagle. "No one really wants to pay for these types of services. So, they always try to find ways out of paying. It is largely why I got out of the business. 'L', CC-Alpha goes for any Thradlumite ship you encounter."
"OK EJ," replied the computer.
"You are leading me to my death aren't you?" Sparky remarked nervously.
"You have my word that nothing will happen to you," assured Eagle. "You will be joking with Nigel in no time. They are probably on their way to Thradlum now."
"How can you be so sure?" asked Sparky.
"'L', Where is the UNSS Connelly?" asked Eagle.
"They are making their way through the asteroid field," replied the computer. "It appears that they have plotted a course for Thradlum."
"How do you know that?" asked Sparky.
"On board my ship," started Eagle, "I have assembled some of the most advanced tools. These allow me to gain access to various pieces of information. One piece of information for which I can gain access is the location and direction of any Earth vessel."
"You are dangerous!" exclaimed Sparky.
"I suppose from a perspective you are correct," Eagle said calmly. "Information is power, and power corrupts is that your meaning?"
"You know it is!" Sparky declared. "With this technology, you could sell us out to the highest bidder!"
"Well first of all, I AM an Earthling," responded Eagle. "I may not be one of the 'us' that you're referring to, but I do have some allegiance to Earth. Furthermore, I have access to this type of information for hundreds of worlds. I can get into other ships, not just Earth ships. Any power wishing to get a hold of this type of information will always wonder if I could gain access to their strategic secrets. I would never be trusted anywhere in the galaxy. Thus, it is in MY best interest, to keep this information confidential. After all that you and I have went through in the past, you still do not trust me. Me! I was the guy that stood up for you when you nearly burnt down the EE wing of the University. Me! The guy who taught you everything you know about Quantum Mechanics! Me! The guy you came crying to when Kylie LaCher dumped you. 'L' let me know when we're through this asteroid belt!"
"OK EJ," replied the hologram of Laura. "The Connelly is taking the long route to Thradlum. They will be 3 days behind us."
"Understood," replied Eagle as he left the room.
"Eagle wait..." started Sparky but Eagle had closed the door behind him. "'L' open this door please."
"Sorry! Your access has been denied," came a very strange computer voice.
It was not Laura's voice at all. All inquiries that Sparky made also resulted in the same 'Access Denied' message. So, he sat in the chair wondering if Eagle was ever going to speak to him again. That wonder came to an end when Eagle came with lunch. He asked his computer for a status report, and he set up the lunch table. They began talking about old times again.
Essdy began the final part of his story:
After a few days heading towards Thradlum, Eagle, Sparky and the Iguana II were about to enter orbit around that planet.
"'L', open a hailing frequency," Eagle asked his computer.
"I have Xeno-Minister Evor"
"Thanks 'L'. Minister, I am responding to the bounty for the Nimrov Commander David Daniels."
"How did you... Uh, very good."
"I await your landing coordinates to turn over this individual to the proper Thradlumite authorities."
"Uh, yes. Coordinates. Give me a couple of minutes," stumbled Minister Evor.
"I'm not going anywhere," replied Eagle confidently.
"I don't feel right about this," whimpered Sparky.
"Relax. They're a bit xenophobic. This is pretty standard for them."
"Relax? How can I relax? You're taking me to be arrested! How can I relax?"
"If you are innocent, as you claim, then you have nothing to fear."
"That doesn't make me feel any better!"
Minister Evor sent the landing coordinates to Eagle and he promptly landed at the prescribed location. Armed authorities, who were there to take Sparky Daniels into custody, met the ship. Eagle claimed exemption 27, so Sparky wasn't taken into custody, but held inside the Iguana II. This would give the two men more time to converse, and it would be far safer for Sparky. Who knows what would happen if the Thradlumites took him.
Eagle knew Commonwealth law pretty well, so he was going to act as Sparky's attorney. The fact that he knew about exemption 27, was enough to convince the Thradlum court. Thus, Commander Daniels had representation. The interaction between Eagle and the court put Sparky somewhat at ease, be he was still concerned.
Eagle excused himself to interrogate the witnesses. He was certain his friend had nothing to fear. Since this world was part of the Galactic Commonwealth, they couldn't convict him without additional witnesses. It would never come down to a 'he said, she said' scenario.
However, Eagle was hoping to clear this without any court intervention. He was anticipating a strong show from Commander Daniels's human counterparts who should be arriving in a few days. Eagle was going to try to have everything arranged by the time they arrived.
Eagle, using the Galactic standard gestural language, questioned the princess's staff. The princess herself would not be available for questioning. He was very careful not to use his voice. It was a taboo for out-worlders to speak to native Thradlumites. However, the citizens permitted the use of sign language. This is how they conducted business on this isolated world.
The servants backed up the story of the Princess. They were a bit too precise in the series of events in Eagle's opinion. Someone had coached them. It was going to be a battle, but the Galactic Commonwealth would not let something like this to disrupt peace between Commonwealth worlds. He just hoped that the Nimrovs would be aware of this fact. A strong showing would be the key to Sparky's freedom. He didn't know what he would do if these humans did not cooperate with him.
The days waiting for the UNSS Connelly to arrive were spent investigating all possible angles to get Commander Daniels freed. Although he would never let on to Sparky, he was beginning to get worried. He might have to make a break for it with his bounty.
When Eagle wasn't nosing around Thradlum, he spent his time talking about old times with Sparky. He did it to relieve Sparky's misgivings about being there, and he did it for his own well-being. He missed his old friends, and it was good to spend time with one.
With Sparky there, Eagle also got some help with the voice of his computer. Sparky wasn't the best aid in the technical aspects of the voice system, but he remembered 'L's voice well. He knew when Eagle had it right. The two friends spent hours tweaking the computer voice, and reminiscing about their days at the Academy.
The days waiting for the Connelly went by quickly for Eagle and Sparky. However, the UNSS Connelly didn't fare as well. They had a bit of trouble and were nearly a day later arriving at Thradlum than Eagle had anticipated. They had a few narrow escapes from some asteroids and this slowed their trip considerably. The crew was exhausted when they arrived.
Unfortunately, the ship landed in the middle of the Thradlum night. The Thradlum department of Xeno affairs briefed Captain Connelly of the situation before Eagle could do anything. While Captain Caruthers was relieved that Commander Daniels was unharmed, he was a bit upset with Eagle Douglass. Certainly some of this anger was from their days at the Academy.
Instead of contacting Commander Daniels and his captor, Captain Connelly contacted Earth command. It was understandable since it was night where the Connelly and the Iguana II were stationed.
However, this caused a bit of a problem for Eagle. Contrary to Eagle's assumption, the United Nations of Earth's assembly decided that Sparky was expendable. They would allow the Thradlumites the opportunity to try Sparky in their court. With the court geared towards their way of doing things, this could only be bad news for Commander Daniels.
The next morning, Eagle noticed that the UNSS Connelly had finally arrived. Further, there was much activity around the ship, and this could only mean that Eagle wouldn't be able to brief Captain Caruthers before he spoke to the Thradlum bureau of xeno affairs. Eagle was beginning to think that fortune was frowning upon him.
However, Captain Caruthers wished to discuss the situation with Commander Daniels before making further contact with the Thradlumites. With his anger tucked behind his teeth, Captain Caruthers asked Captain Douglass to see the prisoner.
Eagle expected this formality, and he attempted to break the tension by giving Captain Caruthers a warm handshake.
"Hey Nige! Long time no see," started Eagle.
"I am Captain Caruthers of the UNSS Connelly," declared the serious Captain. "I formally request to see the prisoner."
"There are no prisoners on board my ship," explained Eagle.
"I formally request to see Commander David Daniels," insisted Captain Caruthers.
"Your formal request will be brought up at the next council meeting. However, Sparky has been anxious to speak to you," responded Eagle. "If you would like to have a friendly conversation with us, you are invited to do that. However, this is my vessel, and my rules apply. You must leave your Captain-ness outside of my ship."
"Your terms are unacceptable," replied Captain Caruthers.
"Listen Nige," started Eagle. "I know you, and you know me. The events that happened between us were a long time ago. It is time you let them go. We have a great deal to discuss, and your attitude will not do anyone any good. Get over your anger and let's have a conversation like grown-ups."
"I am Captain Caruthers," Captain Caruthers pointed out.
"Yes sir," responded Captain Douglass. "You will wait in this room and I will see if Commander Daniels is willing to grant you an audience."
"Thank you," replied Captain Caruthers.
Eagle realized that he wasn't going to be able to break the ice with Captain Caruthers without Sparky's presence. So, he roused Sparky from his sleeping quarters and briefed him on the situation. Neither of them knew what had transpired during the night. They needed to determine where they stood before they could devise a strategy to get Sparky released.
"Nigel is still upset with me," Eagle explained to Sparky. "He won't listen to anything I have to say, and I have a feeling he has been briefed by the Thradlumites. He may have even communicated with Earth. Therefore, you're going to have to do the talking. We need to know what has been said and to whom."
"Understood," replied Sparky. "It may help me get the correct information if I knew where this is headed."
"We don't have much time, but I'll make this quick," responded Eagle. "This attempted court action is a likely a ploy by the princess for attention. I don't know that for sure, but it is my best guess. If the Earth government stays strong, the Thradlumites will back down. This kind of incident would reflect badly upon the Thradlum world. However, if the inexperienced Earth government allows you to go to trial, then all parties concerned will look bad."
"So you want me to determine what the Earth council has indicated," clarified Sparky.
"Without question," Eagle said. "I also need you to convince Captain Caruthers that I should do all of the talking. I am your official counsel in the eyes of the Thradlum court. Captain Caruthers will likely say things that aren't in your best interest in this situation."
"He's my Captain..." started Commander Daniels.
"He is also inexperienced in dealing with Commonwealth nations. He won't be any help to your situation. We should go."
"You know," interjected Commander Daniels. "You got me in this situation."
"I'm sorry about that," excused Eagle. "I just wanted to spend some time with my old friend. I should have thought this through a little better, but time was limited. Nige! Look who is here to see you."
Captain Caruthers ignored the comment and spoke to Commander Daniels. They discussed the situation completely. Sparky was dismayed to learn that the Nimrov government found him expendable. His training and expertise meant nothing. He was just another useful but replaceable part in the space program.
It took some convincing, but Captain Caruthers finally agreed that Captain Douglass would speak for the Earth Council, the crew of the Connelly, and Commander Daniels.
Once it was all agreed, Sparky and Eagle went to the Office of Xeno Affairs. They were lucky and immediately got a meeting with Xeno-Minister Evor.
"The Government of Earth is quite upset," started Eagle. "They will not stand for this nonsense and demand that a arbitrator from the Galactic Commonwealth be summoned to preside over this matter."
"But Eagle," whispered Sparky. "That isn't what..."
"You're out of order Commander Daniels," interrupted Counselor Douglass.
"Sorry," squeaked Sparky.
"Minister, should we dispatch a communiquť to the Galactic Council?"
"Let's not be too hasty Counselor Douglass," Minister Evor began.
"From all indications," interjected Counselor Douglass. "This is a serious matter. Commander Daniels faces capital charges. I cannot think of any action that would be considered 'Hasty'!"
"Counselor Douglass," Minister Evor stated calmly. "May I call you Everett?"
"Certainly not!" exclaimed Eagle. "Your language understates how lightly you take this matter. Perhaps I need to take it to a higher authority."
"Counselor Douglass," Minister Evor continued. "I have complete authority on this ... situation. We can take care of this now. There is no need to bother the Galactic authorities."
"My client will not be bullied by some local court or any local officials," insisted Eagle. "We certainly will not bribe our way out of this entanglement."
"No no no, you misunderstood. It appears that the Princess was just looking for a little attention from her father. She made the whole story up. No one ever expected anyone to claim the bounty on Commander Daniels. You see, all of the charges have been dropped, and Commander Daniels is free to go."
"Just like that?" inquired Eagle.
"What?" asked Minister Evor.
"We are free to go just like that. We don't get a 'Sorry for the inconvenience'. My client doesn't get any compensation for the trouble he has just gone through."
"Counselor Douglass, you will receive the bounty as agreed," weaseled Minister Evor. "As for Commander Daniels, he will receive a written apology from the Princess. Is that satisfactory?"
"My client and I will discuss this in private," replied Counselor Douglass.
"Certainly," Minister Evor responded as he left the room.
"That was close," Sparky stated.
"Commander Daniels," Eagle said as he indicated that their conversation was being recorded. "Are the terms outlined by Minister Evor satisfactory?"
"While it is not a lot," Sparky replied woodenly. "It will do."
"Let's inform your Captain," Eagle continued.
Eagle received his bounty and gave the entire amount to Sparky. He explained that the money didn't mean a thing to him. Besides, Sparky could use some Commonwealth credits to buy something nice for Captain Caruthers.
Several weeks later Commander Daniels received his official apology from the Princess. Sparky uses that document as a reminder of the adventure he had. Since the Nimrov government thought he was expendable, he allowed someone else to take his place. He got out of the Nimrov exploration and diplomatic business and started his own company with the bounty money Eagle gave him.
"Another fine story Yarnspinner," stated the Thradlumite. "I would like to hear more about this Commander Daniels person. What business did he start? Yarnspinner? Hey tender, where did that story teller go?"
"Cram!" replied Essdy. "It has been a while, how have you been."
"Can't complain," returned Cram Nayawt. "I'm in the mood for a story. Do you have one that is a little different?"
"Have you heard the one about the giants?"
"They live on an 'uncharted' planet, and they are about 4 to 5 meters high."
Essdy started his story
These giant's live in a world with a binary sun. Their planet has two main continents. One is in the northern hemisphere where there is near constant light. However, it is very temperate as neither sun produces much energy. Thus, with an abundance of water, it is tropical as you can imagine. Plant life on this continent is abundant.
In this environment live the giants. As I said they are 4 to 5 meters tall, and they have razor sharp teeth. Their mouths are big enough to eat you or me whole. They stand on powerful back legs. Their arms look by comparison useless. However, they can easily manipulate tools with their hands. They have a tail that aids in balancing their enormous bulk. They are a nasty looking bunch. In addition, guess what, they are not plant eaters. However, like most life, they will occasionally eat some greens, but they only eat plants in time of famine, and at festivals.
These giant creatures call themselves the Xer and live in tribes of 10 to 20. Each tribe has a tribal leader. This leader is responsible for the well-being of the entire tribe, but they are also the only ones that mate. Of the members of the tribe only a handful are males. The largest tribe of 30 members had only five males.
The Xer have domesticated some enormous plant eaters. These cattle can grow to 25 meters long although most of that is tail. They use every part of these animals. They use their skin for shelters, their bones for tools, and waste very little of this precious resource.
By contrast, the southern hemisphere is where actual seasons occur. They have cold harsh winters. All the life on this side of the planet has adapted accordingly. The plants and animals hibernate during the winter, and are reborn when the thaw occurs. No matter neither the continent nor the season, the precipitation throughout the planet is ample for life.
The southern continent has a wide variety of life as well. However, the scale is much smaller. One particular species developed a thriving civilization on the southern continent. These creatures call their civilization the Easim. They are a small bunch. The tallest ever known was only a meter tall. The young ones that had not reached the age of adulthood could fit in my hand and not hang over at any point. They are furry little people with small pointed ears. They are small but quite muscular and strong. Stout is an excellent description of these people.
These creatures were much more advanced than their northern neighbors were. They built vast cities with a million or more inhabitants. They surrounded their cities with immense farms. The farms raised grains and livestock. The members of this civilization are omnivorous, and their diet is quite diverse. They seemed to eat constantly. These Easim were always concerned about having enough food to make it through the winter.
They had great storage facilities. They could store vast amounts of grain. They built facilities that would keep meat stores during the winter months. However, they needed all of their land just to maintain their current population levels. They knew how much population their lands could support and attempted to keep their population under that level.
Obviously, the Easim's culture and civilization was much more advanced compared to the Xer. In fact, they had sent individuals to the Xer's continent for study for several years. They feared their neighbor's giant stature and their carnivorous ways. Thus, they kept their distance. They gathered quite a bit of information on this more primitive culture, but they were unable to decipher their language. They would get close, but not that close.
The Eacim had begun to explore other things. They had launched rockets, and felt they were well suited for space travel. After all, hibernating for long stretches is beneficial to many forms of long distance space travel. They had begun searching for extraterrestrial life with radio telescopes. They developed minimal inter-planet communication capability. In a few years, they may have been able to join the commonwealth. However, disaster struck their civilization.
It wasn't the Izanian, but the Xer. As they were exploring the outer reaches of their solar system, the Xer began exploring the seas. Most tribal cultures live by the vast resources of the seas early in their development. However, a ship to carry these giants would take vast land resources to construct. Further, with the dietary needs of these massive bodies, a vast number of small sea creatures would be required.
However, there are enormous hulks habiting the seas of this world. The Xer discovered this and began hunting these creatures. At first, it was an activity for the extremely wealthy. After all, only the most successful tribal leaders could afford the time and effort into constructing an enormous sea sailing vessels.
This sea hunting activity began to reshape the Xer's culture. A tribe of 30 was unheard of in the past. The hunt could bring in fresh food with little land resources needed. The Xer obtain a better practical understanding of the sea, and they could stray farther and farther from sight of their land.
The seafaring skills of the Xer became quite modest that in one expedition, they discovered another continent. It was a continent frozen in ice. It was south of their equator, and it was incased in ice. Great stories were told about the frigid and dark continent. Words were invented to describe this land mass as they had never seen snow and ice before.
Nothing more came from it for quite a long time. However, on a fateful day a storm came up during one expedition. This expedition landed upon a lush green continent. This continent was also south of the equator. The storm resulted in a new set of stories of a land that was sometimes covered in lush greenery and when the gods got angry, they covered the land in a cold ice.
Expeditions began to explore the "New World." The Eacim hid as the giant Xer explored the lush lands surrounding the cities. The Xer became convinced that the lands were only occupied by small insignificant animals. This is partially the fault of the Eacim. They should have attempted to communicate with the Xer. They should have indicated that the continent was inhabited by a sentient creature. However, they did not do this, and they felt it was too late to do anything about it.
Eventually, one of the Xer clans loaded a few of their large beasts upon a ship, and headed to the southern continent. They had the intention of setting up a full-time colony on one of the large Eacim farms. They completely intended not to offend the gods in hope that the ice covering would be avoided. They believed that they were effective in appease the gods.
Naturally, the snow came, and forced the Xer to retreat. However, many Eacim died that winter due to the lack of food from the farm the Xer had taken over. They did not know what to do with this new situation.
Perhaps they would have to leave their home world. The small Eacim were a peaceful people, and they did not wish to take any aggressive actions against the lesser technology of the Xer. Thus, they put a push on their space program. The Eacim thought the very least they could do was to colonize another planet. That would take the pressure off the farms.
They had not been able to communicate with the Xer in all the time they had studied them. Thus, if their space program was successful, they may be able to obtain some outside help. They hoped to find a habitable planet, or they hoped to find some help in the vast reaches of space.
After much work, they intercepted signals from the galactic commonwealth. They were unable to decode these signals, but it was an indication of life outside of their meager system. They were hoping to obtain help from those beings.
They also sent some of their young ones, who as I mentioned were quite small, to record as much communication between Xer as possible. These tiny Eacim could live under the nose of these giants. They could gather much information; however, it was quite dangerous.
They perceived that this information gathering would greatly improve their chance of survival. As you might be able to tell, they were not very sophisticated in their language skills. Until they met the Xer, they had little concept of another language. It was not one of their strengths.
Three brave Eacim were selected to take a message to anyone that would listen. They would launch shortly before the season of hibernation, and hibernate once the proper time was reached. Thus, they could awaken in the outer reaches of their solar system. This was the best hope the Eacim would have without harming the Xer themselves.
The Eacim were a peaceful race, and never considered force until the launch of their interplanetary probe neared. Skeptics did not believe that anyone would hear their cries for help. The vastness of the cosmos was going to prevent the success of the mission. Some felt they must prepare for battle. This idea had never come up in their history, and it was quite a foreign idea.
A great study of the Xer in every possible way was being undertaken. They looked for weaknesses that they could exploit. They tried to learn their habits and their cultural tendencies as much as possible. However, this was going to be very difficult without understanding the language.
The Xer were beginning to construct vessels that could sail farther, faster, and with a bigger payload. The great sea animals were being harvested, and the population of the Xer began to expand. Before long, their civilization may need spring grazing lands for their livestock. The Eacim farmland was very tempting to them.
The Xer did not believe they could easily develop the technology that would allow them to survive the icy weather. However, with these abundant grazing lands available, some tribes believe they could free up local lands by grazing their herds during the abundant times of this southern hemisphere. They could use their local lands for grazing or other industries for part of the year.
The loss of vast farmlands would decimate the Eacim civilization if something were not done. The Xer acted as if they were the only life on the planet that meant anything. They did not worry about the consequences of their actions. The Xer saw this resource of grazing lands, and they were going to take advantage of this resource. This was a great danger for the Eacim.
Essdy continued his story:
When the Eacim astronauts awoke from their hibernation they found themselves a great distance from the gravitational pull of their two suns. These explorers were having difficulty adjusting to the rigors of space. However, once their ship was far enough away from any interference emanating from their suns, someone could easily pick up their distress beacon as they were in the midst of a few commonwealth systems.
Naturally, Eagle Douglass was the first to arrive. Eagle would often search for anomalies and calls for help. He picked up the Eacim signal quickly and decided to rendezvous with the small Eacim ship.
Once he was close enough to the Eacim system, he docked with the tiny ship. A distress beacon was one thing, but actual communication with a new species is a difficult task. However, Eagle attempted to communicate with this new species. It was all for naught as Eagle was no linguist, and as I have said, the Eacim were not good with languages either.
Eagle decided to lookup his old buddy Sparky Daniels. Sparky was an excellent code breaker and linguist. This Nimrov figured out the galactic standard sign language, and he deciphered the Izanian language. This friend of Eagle has had a knack for this type of thing.
Of course, the question was where to find Sparky. He had left NASA after the episode with the Thradlumites. Earth left him out to dry, and he did not appreciate it one bit. Eagle knew he was not back on Nimrov 4, so he needed to determine what he doing for a living in the Galactic Commonwealth.
Sparky was a captain of a small cargo vessel. His vessel was larger than Eagle's, but most cargo vessels were much larger than Sparkyís ship was. However, Sparky had some advantages as he specialized in Earth goods. Many species in the galaxy enjoy some of earth specialties. He would trade these for various other goods. This way, he would get to spend some time on his home world, but he also has to interact with a variety of other species.
In this way, Sparky could keep his linguist skills exercised. On this particular occasion, Sparky was on this very station we are sitting in. He had run a full load of Nimrovian Chocolate. This candy is in big demand all over the galaxy. It is always profitable to make a chocolate run, and this station is an excellent trading spot.
Eagle met up with him here, and as always, they caught up on old times. Eagle had ferried the two Eacim explorers to the station, and he introduced Sparky to the three explorers. After a few days, Sparky could communicate with the Eacim on a rudimentary level. Sparky informed Eagle that an enormous invader that inhabited another continent of the explorerís world was invading these Eacimís home. They were looking for help.
Eagle and Sparky wasted no time in taking the Iguana II toward the Eacim home world. During the journey, Sparky learned more and more about the Eacim language. He was practically fluent when they reached the launch site. The Eacim welcomed home their three heroes. The Xer had once again destroyed crops. These enormous beings even ventured into one of the cities and toppled numerous structures.
Unfortunately, during the time of the launch and their return, the Eacim engineers had constructed their first series of weapons that they were planning to use on the Xer next spring. However, their hibernation cycle was drawing near. They gave Eagle and Sparky all of the information they had gathered on the Xer. These two outsiders from Nimrov would have several months to devise and implement a solution before the Eacim would use their weapons on the Xer.
First contact with any civilization is a tricky business. This is especially true of lesser-sophisticated civilizations. They tend to be superstitious and are generally unaware of other species in the universe or even the world. Thus, these two men had to be cautious.
Sparky studied the language carefully, but he could not get much information from the Eacim recordings. He could guess at a few words, but that is all he could get. Further, from the sounds and descriptions of the Xer, there was no way that Sparky or Eagle could utter some of the guttural utterances of the Xer.
The Iguana II had a good stock of supplies, but it was not enough to last the winter of the Eacimís home. Furthermore, they were in no shape to withstand the harshness of the upcoming season. Thus, they decided that they should scout out the Xer for themselves.
With the direct observation of the Xerís life, Sparky felt he could better understand the way they do things. With this further knowledge, he believed he could grasp their language. However, it was going to take some time. Thus, they were going to have to find a place in the northern hemisphere to live. The two men could leave the planet for supplies if they needed them, but they had to find a spot on the warmer side of the planet to act as their base.
The Nimrovís rented a planetary scout vehicle to find the ideal spot for their base. This vehicle was capable of flying very high in an atmosphere. In fact, it could fly high enough as to be invisible to the naked eye. That way, they could map out locations for study, and find a place to station.
Eagle enjoyed flying this craft. It had been a long time since he flew an airplane. He spent a great deal of time taking pictures of the northern hemisphere on his recon missions. He even took the time to do some acrobatic maneuvers. However, he did those on the southern hemisphere so he wouldnít be noticed.
They determined that a particularly arid and rocky spot on the southern coast would be an ideal spot for their base. The men would use a hovercraft to get close to the Xer villages. They could camouflage the vehicle and make observations. They would even attempt to get close. In the cover of night, they intended to create a hidden outpost to do close observations.
It took them several weeks to cut a niche out of a large rock close to one of the Xer villages. It was the perfect spot, and they created their observation "blind" with great care. It was virtually undetectable, and very close to a Xer settlement.
Fortunately, the Xer language was less complicated than the Eacim's language. This is often the case with less sophisticated societies. It took months of close observation to obtain a rudimentary understanding of the Xer language. The Eacim winter was about to come to an end and Sparky felt he could understand what the Xer said. The next problem was going to be how were they going to approach the Xer?
Sparky and Eagle agreed that the best thing to do was to wait until the Xer landed on Eacim soil, and try to communicate with them at that time. This would lessen the fear that they Xer may feel and the two men hoped it would prevent any xenophobic tendencies in the future.
However, the Eacim planned to attack the giants when they next landed upon Eacim soil. They had lost a great deal of food to their neighbors, and they did not want to lose any more of their own citizens. It was going to take some convincing to give Sparky and Eagle a chance to talk to the Xer.
Minor misunderstandings were the cause of many wars. These conflicts would continue for generations simply because of a failure to communicate. While the intentions of the Eacim were valid, they should have approached the Xer when they first landed upon their continent. They were partially to blame for the situation. Nevertheless, Eagle and Sparky were there to prevent war.
When the Eacim leaders awoke from their hibernation, Eagle negotiated a settlement. He promised to supply the Eacim with whatever crops the Xer damaged in exchange for time to meet with the landing Xer leaders.
As was now a regular springtime occurrence on the southern continent, the Xer landed with a boat full of their beasts. However, instead of encountering nothing, Eagle and Sparky met them at the point of landing. The two men surprised these giants, as they had never encountered anyone on their southern journeys. They were even more surprised when Sparky spoke to them in a pigeon version of their language.
Sparky explained to them that another being, the Eacim, raised the food that their beasts were eating. He told them that the Eacim were ready to use force to prevent any more destruction of their crops. He also informed them that he and Eagle were intervening to stop potential bloodshed.
The Xer were at first threatened by these men and all of their information. They stood and roared at the men in an attempt to intimidate them. After all, these giants were about 3 meters taller than these men were. They were indeed giants and their roars showed it.
However, the two men stood their ground. They had negotiated with many races, and they knew they had nothing to fear. They were there for the good of the Xer as well as the Eacim. In his broken Xer, Sparky invited the giants to tour a town of the Eacim. They introduced the Xer and their neighbors, the Eacim. They now realized that they shared their world with these tiny intelligent creatures. The northern and southern hemispheres had a lot to learn about the other.
The first barrier to overcome was the language barrier. It would be quite impossible for the two sides to communicate via their respective spoken languages. Both sides had limited physiology to speak the others language. Thus, they had a general communication barrier.
Starting from this, Eagle and Sparky taught both sides the Galactic standard sign language. In this way, they could communicate with each other. Not only that, but they would also be able to communicate with any other Galactic Commonwealth cultures that may come their way.
The two sides averted a war and a communication channel was established. The omnivorous Eacim could share the bounty of the Xerís massive cattle. Thus, they allowed limited grazing upon Eacim farmland. Further, Sparky had established a new trading partner. He could trade Xer and Eacim goods for Nimrov and other goods. This was another source of foodstuffs for these neighbors.
These giants are a long way from exploring space, but they have made the first step. They have begun to explore their world. They know there are others out there, and they are not frightened to encounter other beings. Hopefully, they will live in peace with their neighbors.
"Thanks Yarnspinner. I'd be interested in seeing some of the goods these Xer produce."
"Oh, well I have a manifest from Sparky Daniels with me that I'll let you borrow. I was thinking of getting something myself. If you see something you like, I can pass along the info."
"Tender fix up my friend here. I'll check out the manifest as quickly as I can. Some of my customers may be interested as well. I'll let you mediate any deals Yarnspinner. Now, let me see what they have."
"The Captain had ordered us to dock with the ship and take her cargo," continued the Pirate. "So, that's what we does. She was now just a sitting there drifting. Her crew put up a bit of a fuss in the whole boarding process, but they settled down quickly. We were about to start packing up the cargo when out of nowhere we were attacked by an Izanian ship. We were just doing business as normal, and this Izanian ship swoops down from who knows where. The Captain was all in a panic. He ordered us to get off that ship. We does what he says because he is the Captain. With the Izanian attack, we had to disconnect the other ship. Once we released the ship and began to pull away, the Izanian vessel went right after our quarry. In a flash, they destroyed it with all the crew onboard. I watched it happen on the view screen. We were sure they was all dead. How could our eyes deceive us so? Well, two weeks later, I see the Captain of that ship in Galactic court testifying against my Captain. I don't know how it happened. We had there ship and cargo, but them Izanians came. It was destroyed. I saw it! It was the Izanians that done it. I don't understand it."
"It's simple," explained Yarnspinner. "You're entire vessel depends heavily upon its computer. If an outside force can gain access to your computer, he or she can make you see anything. If he or she runs a program that has your computer tell you that an Izanian ship is attacking, you have nothing to double check the validity of the report."
"What alternatives do we have?"
"First, you could increase your computers security. However, that is a great deal more difficult than it sounds. The other solution is to get yourself an old fashioned window."
"A window! Nobody has a window on a space ship. Either they are way too thick or they are way too fragile. Either way, you can't make one big enough to make it worthwhile."
"You can have one made out of carbon. It can be as big as you like, and one of the toughest materials anywhere."
"The molecules in their translucent arrangement are sometimes called diamonds. This form of carbon has a multitude of uses including cutting silicon dioxide panes. You can use carbon to cut these panes to be used for windows for instance. However, for space flight these windows would be too fragile."
"Nobody has carbon windows..."
"The Iguana II has."
"Eagle Douglass' ship?"
"That would be it. He is probably the person that assured that your Captain was put away."
"Aaaaaaarrrrrggggh! I'm leaving!"
"Pardon me Yarnspinner, I don't mean to interrupt here, but I'd like to hear the story about Eagle's window. I hear it is a good story. I have already taken care of your fee."
It all started on the carbon-processing world of 09.72.45.11.30.66. Sometimes I hate unnamed worlds. Anyway, this planet is one of the largest importers of carbon. This world has plenty of iron, and they are the galactic commonwealth's greatest steel producer. It is mostly a manufacturing world, as it has no inhabitants of its own. Individuals from all over the commonwealth work in the manufacturing centers on this planet. They use the natural elements of the planet, import others, and make a great deal of useful products that they sell.
They are a very successful enterprise, but Pirates were plaguing them. They had received a large order and they needed a large amount of carbon to fill the order. However, a group of pirates intercepted the shipment and it was going to cost the factories millions of credits. They called upon Eagle to stop the pirates and retrieve their latest shipment. It was going to be a difficult task.
Eagle did some investigating, and the clues pointed towards Sennicam. The Emperor there had been attempting to procure a great deal of carbon, but his treasury did not have the funds to pay for a shipment. Thus, Eagle believed that the Emperor simply had some of his people steal this shipment. Therefore, Eagle paid the Sennicam a visit.
This planet is hot. It is really hot. If it had ice caps in its past, they had long since melted away. The atmosphere was full of carbon dioxide. The Sennicam people were burning fuels for electrical generation. Imagine! They were burning things for electricity in a space age society!
The amount of CO2 in their atmosphere had long caused numerous problems besides just the heat. However, the planet's scientists had come up with many solutions to deal with the various problems. For instance, the inhabitants of the planet lived in large domed cities. Rarely did they venture out into their own planet's atmosphere. Those, that occasionally had to work outside the domes, earned hazard pay. They would wear specially designed suits for this purpose.
Nonetheless, the Sennicamian scientists never worked on a solution to their biggest problem. They did not use the power of their sun. They did not use wind or nuclear power either. With all of their work, their solutions did not eliminate the cause, nor did it increase the amount of oxygen in their atmosphere.
They had incased a large proportion of their landmasses with structures. This meant that most of their plants and animals had to adapt to an indoor environment. It also meant that the bio-diversity was low which also added to their problems. The atmosphere outside of their encased cities became more and more choked with CO2.
Eagle arrived at their port, but found nothing suspicious there. He looked around and asked some people about their electrical generation. He determined that something needed to be done about the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in their atmosphere or they would be in serious trouble.
He decided to break one of his primary rules. This planet's citizens needed some technology to help with their atmospheric problems. However, what was he going to give them? The Arijog had the perfect technology. It would strip CO2 from the air, and convert it into oxygen and carbon. Better yet, the Arijog technology obtained its power from the sun. Where I come from, we call them plants and trees. On this planet however, exterior plant life had died off long ago. The only plants that survived live in their domed cities.
Nonetheless, these mechanical trees would fit the bill perfectly. The carbon could then be sold, or even burned for fuel -- space forbid. The solar technology could help them with their energy problems. At least it would be a good start for them.
Eagle used up all of his available credit to purchase 2 of these mechanical trees. He planned to use one as a working model, and one to show them how to build their own. Eagle was hoping that this could be a very unprofitable venture. If the Sennicamian people were not interested in a technology, then he may not be able to gain any contacts to see if they indeed had stolen the carbon. He was going to use the technology exchange for bait. It was going to be the best thing for their civilization.
Essdy continued his story:
He visited the Arijog world and loaded two mechanical trees onto the Iguana II and headed to Sennicam. The governmental structure of Sennicam was remarkable. They had been coalesced under a single government for a thousand years before joining the Galactic Commonwealth. But, more remarkable was the fact that an emperor managed them. They were the only empire in the commonwealth. Apart from the Izanian Empire, they were the only known empire that reached the space age.
Eagle arranged a meeting with the Emperor Enyawd Sennicam. He was a jolly fellow, but very aware that something must be done about the situation of his minor empire. He was always looking for new technology that he could exploit. However, it was generally against commonwealth policy to hand out new technology. However, Eagle needed the leverage, and it would be beneficial to this empire.
Eagle set up one of these machines in the square outside the palace. It was not large, and it fit in nicely with the sculpture garden. It was in a large domed space with plenty of sun exposure. He let it run for several hours before his meeting with Emperor Enyawd. It sat there silently, but working very efficiently turning the carbon dioxide in the air into usable raw materials. Upon his meeting with the Emperor, he offered to share the technology. However, he was not going to give the Sennicamian people the technology for free; it had to be paid for. He could wait for these carbon-producing machines to produce enough carbon to meet his price, or if they could obtain the carbon before hand, his price would be lower.
He gave a demonstration. He took the few milligrams of carbon out of the machine and demonstrated the purity of the oxygen it produced. He also informed them that the only thing needed to run this machine was setting it in sunlight. Thus, not only would it give them a lower concentration of greenhouse gasses, but it would also give them the added technology of turning sunlight into energy.
The Emperor's council was amazed at the simplicity of the device. They saw the benefit of an alternative to their burning of carbon for fuel. However, they were curious as to what Eagle was going to do with the carbon that he gathered. He gave a forthright answer. He was going turn the carbon into a transparent screen in which to view out of his ship. He was going to have a carbon window. He was going to have a strong transparent substance that would hold up to the rigors of space. If he could get the proper quantity quick enough, he told them, he could have it installed right away.
The Emperor enquired about the amount of carbon they had available. They determined that they had a vast shipment that just arrived. However, this would leave them short of energy reserves. Eagle told them that it is understandable, and he was willing to wait for the greater quantity. He would even help them unlock the key to solar energy while he waited for his payment.
He was given free range of the world during his stay. He used the time to describe how these solar cells turned light into electricity to the native engineers. He also showed them how to build their own mechanical trees. The native engineers learned very quickly. They set up a factory to produce the mechanical trees. The Sennicamian people would place these trees all over their world. They would place them on the tops of buildings, and on flotillas on the water, and any locations exposed to enough sunlight whether they were inside the domes or out.
They devised several schemes to collect the carbon. They were still of the mindset that they were going to burn the carbon. Old habits die hard I suppose. As they were creating forests of the mechanical trees, Eagle took the opportunity to explore their world. He was looking for the stolen carbon shipment, and trying to learn as much as he could about the Sennicamian people.
He was beginning to hope that he would not find the cargo containers. He began to admire the Sennicamian ingenuity, and their culture. He was greatly saddened when he discovered the cargo containers in a warehouse. Many of them were empty, so he was forced to confront Emperor Enyawd. He told the emperor that some of his subjects had committed a crime against another Commonwealth nation. If the Galactic Commonwealth discovered that it was government sactioned, it could cost your people its membership. Moreover, it could possibly end your leadership of this planet.
Enyawd took a dim view of these threats; however, he enquired as to how this situation could be best resolved. Eagle apologized for his tone. He stated that the carbon must be returned to its rightful owner. He had some pull with the leadership of the world where the carbon was going to go, but the entire amount must be restored to its rightful owners. The mechanical trees in sum were producing quite a bit of carbon, and it would just be a matter of time before they had enough carbon to make up the difference. However, in doing this, it would take Eagle a longer amount of time to get his pay.
Emperor Enyawd was placed in a very difficult situation. He decided to expand the use of solar energy and asked Eagle if there were any other forms of energy that which they could take advantage. Eagle replied there are several forms of energy production available. However, this information would cost the Sennicam people greatly. They could never afford to pay for such knowledge.
The emperor acquiesced to this explanation and doubled the production of the solar generating stations. They were going to cut way back on their use of carbon-based fuels. It was going to be a painful step in the evolution of their culture, but it was a very necessary one. Disenfranchisement from the Galactic Commonwealth would mean that they would be on the same footing with the Izanian. They would be hard pressed to compete with that civilization on any front. The Sennicamians relied on the Commonwealth for their galactic livelihood.
When Eagle left, he assured the emperor that the Commonwealth would ask no questions on where he obtained the carbon. He also set a date when he could return for his payment. Although he was never going to get the amount that he deserved, as he did a great service to the people of Sennicam, he really wanted that carbon. He was greatly desirous to obtain his new window.
Eagle arrived at 09.72.45.11.30.66 with the cargo of carbon. He told the carbon processing manager, that he must have been getting close, as the carbon containers were abandoned on an asteroid just on the other side of a hypergate. It was well hidden, but he informed the manager, that his sources led him right to the proper asteroid. He explained to the factory manager that all the carbon containers were there, and they still had their cargo.
The manager pressed him for more information, but Eagle did not give him any information. He reminded the manager that he would return soon with a load of carbon, and that he was looking forward to obtaining his new window. He left and returned to Sennicam to claim the carbon he had been promised by the Emperor.
When he returned to Sennicam, it was raining. Emperor Enyawd greeted him at the landing port. He was standing in the rain, and was soaked to the skin. It was the first time it had rained on Sennicam in 12 years. The people were rejoicing in the change in their environment. Many of the citizens were dancing in the falling showers, and the Emperor loved the rain. The emperor doubled the amount of carbon he had promised Eagle because he was so grateful for what Eagle had done.
Eagle graciously accepted the reward. Any increase in revenue was always welcome. He would sell the extra to the carbon to the highest bidder or perhaps use it all for a deluxe window.
With his large carbon stockpile, Eagle returned to 09.72.45.11.30.66. He had the windscreen plans for years. It was going to be one this sheet of carbon with a titanium blast shield for emergencies. Eagle very much disliked trusting his computer for every bit of information. He wanted to see where he was going and what he was up against.
After several weeks of processing, the grateful manager installed the windscreen on the Iguana II. Eagle was thrilled!
That was a good story Yarnspinner! Is it true?"
You should see it the next time Eagle lands here. He'll be happy to show you!
Maybe I'll just do that...