I. A SURPRISE VISITOR
The Alien Starship
Alchibah day 982
The gravity in the Rogan ship was about 2/3 of Earth normal. Richard Redmond was able to move freely, but he still had to run to keep up with Shintok; maylock-A. They emerged from the side passageway into a large tunnel that seemed to run the length of the ship.
The big Rogan was waiting for something and in a few seconds Redmond saw what is was. An oval shaped plate approached and stopped in front of them, about four meters long and two wide it stood about 8 inches high and was indistinguishable from the floor itself. There was no visible gap between it and the floor not even a crack
As soon as they stepped on the oval it began moving and they were soon speeding down the big main corridor. There was no discernable feeling of motion or wind resistance. They had traveled well over a kilometer, when the platform came to a halt. maylock stepped off with all four legs and motioned for Redmond to follow. They approached a large rounded door of the kind Rogons seemed to prefer and as it opened before them, maylock gave one simple order “inside”
As soon as he entered, the door slid closed behind him and Redmond was shocked, first that the Rogon had not entered as well, but more so for the fact that the room was filled with people.
The compartment was obviously very large, both wide and with a high ceiling, but it appeared as though someone had partitioned most of the floor space into a maze of rooms, using standard lumber and wooden paneling. The area immediately in front of the doorway was open, but off to the sides were what appeared to be lounge areas equipped with sofas, chairs and small tables, it was here that the humans were gathered.
Although most were male, there were a few females among them, and all were young and fit. The most common mode of dress was matching blue shorts and T-shirts, but some wore what were commonly called sweats and a few wore mismatched article of military uniforms.
It spoke volumes about Richard Redmond, UN first secretary for military affairs that he was totally unfamiliar with how soldiers dress in their leisure time.
He was immediately noticed and one of the young soldiers called out “Captain! We’ve got a visitor” a moment later a man in the work coveralls of a UN Peaceforce Officer approached from within the maze.
“Hello” he said “I’m Captain Lew DeWalt of the UN 21st peace brigade… and whom might you be?” his eyes gave just a hint of amusement at the man before him, oddly dressed in red silk pajamas and slippers.
“I am Richard Redmond, in charge of the United Nations expedition to Alchibah and Governor General of the colony there” Redmond replied in his haughtiest tone of voice.
DeWalt was not flustered; at least he didn’t show it “I see sir… Yes that was in my briefing, but you left on the Orion years ago. May I ask what you are doing here and obviously in some distress?”
“The Orion has been destroyed… Destroyed by traitors and criminals, and I was lucky to escape with my life” somehow he felt that was not enough “I was able to take a Rogons shuttle and escape while the pirates murdered her crew, but I will have justice! I swear!”
Such an outburst was a little overwhelming so DeWalt beat a hasty retreat “That’s terrible sir, but lets find you some quarters and suitable clothing, after you’re settled in we can get you some chow and let you see the Doc. First Sergeant to the parade deck!”
And so Richard Redmond was made a guest of the slave soldiers aboard the Rogon starship Deathfang.
II. SOMEONES COMING
Hunter had eaten one too many hot dogs but the oncoming tummy ache was not going to spoil this moment, because this was the seventh game of the World Series and his hometown Tucson Tigers were taking it down to the last out.
“Come on sport, this could be it” said George St James as he lifted Hunter up on his shoulders so the boy could see over the crowd. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Tigers had a chance to take the lead and bring the championship to Tucson for the first time since they had come to town, after the Dearborn nuke drove them out of Detroit in 2011.
On the mound the Yankees star reliever Andy Stuart began his wind up…
“Captain, wake up”
The patented Stuart curveball reached the plate and the batter swung…
“Captain, wake up please we got trouble”
“Oh what is it? What’s happening?” Hunter opened tired eyes and tried to focus “Sorry sir, Blake called from the bridge, he needs you ASAP”
Hunter put on his helmet and made his way through the lifeboats airlock, there was still pressure in the ship, but it was not safe to breathe. On the bridge, Blake had been keeping watch on the instruments that still worked, almost without rest since the battle.
“Captain, something’s on the screen, its coming right at us and I don’t know what it is maybe an asteroid.” Blake said. Hunter examined the plot “No, unfortunately that’s no asteroid. That’s a Rogon Medusa, and she’s coming to our rescue”
They were called Medusa’s because each one carried 12 to 20 dragon head ships on the bow. A multiheaded monster over 2000 meters long. Four years ago 50 such ships had entered the Solar system braking at an incredible rate, all the while broadcasting demands that humanity surrender. As they rounded the sun they passed close to the planet Venus, and it was there they demonstrated their awesome firepower.
Each ship fired salvo after salvo at the planet, each shot causing a plasma eruption in the planets atmosphere miles across. As millions of cubic kilometers of the Venusian atmosphere were super heated past escape velocity the planet developed a tail and coma like a comet. By the time the Rogon armada was finally past, the surface of Venus was visible from Earth for the first time in eons, a surface pock marked with hundreds of vast lava pools, the result of the final Rogon bombardment.
When the fleet of Medusa’s reached Earth, no further demonstration was needed.
III. MORE WELCOME GUESTS
The Alien Starship part II
Whenever the door to the Earth soldier’s compartment would open, curious eyes would appraise any new entrant, but all were surprised when they saw who their latest visitors were. “Attention on Deck!” was shouted out by several soldiers and all present snapped to attention.
“Stand easy” said Hunter St James for although he was visibly tired and weary and suffering the internal agony of the loss of his ship; the traditions of 30 years of naval service ran deep and he still wore the uniform.
Lew DeWalt burst out of his office upon hearing the commotion and was amazed to see a UNWG Navy Captain, with the star patch of a flag officer no less. His salute was crisp and sharp. “Captain DeWalt, senior officer of the 21st Peaceforce brigade, at your service sir!”
“Relax captain, senior officer you say?” Asked Hunter. “Yes sir actually I’m XO of the brigade and CO of Bravo Company, But Major Watson is on a mission”
Hunter took all that in “We can discuss all that later. Do your troops have space armor?” he asked.
“Good” said St. James “because we have 245 people in cold sleep capsules on the Orion, that we need to transfer over while the Rogans give us time”
Now it was DeWalt’s turn to express surprise “I should a known” he said “MR. Redmond said Orion was attacked by pirates, it sounded fishy at the time”
“Redmond is here” said Hunter reflexively reaching for his pistol. He bowed his head and closed his eyes, struggling for control. For a man such as St James duty always comes first “Captain we need to get moving on that work party… but I will deal with Redmond later”
IV. TROUBLE AMONG GUESTS
Richard Redmond was sitting in a comfortable upholster chair, and enjoying a cup of hot tea. His new quarters were. Primitive to say the least, they were also private and Redmond was the sort of man who seeks status and privilege to set himself above those around him.
The door to the small room was flung open and none other than Captain St. James of the ill fated Orion practically leaped into the room.
“Redmond… You bastard!” he began “I’ve got some questions for you, and you damn well better have some answers!” St. James was almost shaking was he faced the other man.
Rising from his chair Redmond appeared calm with only a slight quivering of the tea cup to give away his inner feelings “Don’t take that tone with me Captain!” he said “If anyone has questions to answer it is the one who lost his ship to common pirates!”
That was probably the worst thing he could say, and hunter began to lunge at the career bureaucrat, and would have certainly hurt him, had not Lew DeWalt rushed through the door and interposed himself between the two antagonists.
“Please Sir! I can’t allow violence, If there is justification I can convene a board of inquiry” DeWalt knew he was on shaky ground, but he could not stand by and allow his superior officer to commit a criminal offense.
“Nonsense” said Redmond “The man is obviously delusional and should be confined he has no reason to attack me”
“Reason! I’ll give you reason, I searched your cabin Redmond… I found the report on the first expedition… The warning to humanity…. The warning You covered up! The warning humanity ignored and brought on the Rogon invasion. Redmond you will pay!”
“Captain please, this is not the time” DeWalt said as he began to guide St James out of the room “Lets do this right” and with such words of wisdom he was able to coax St. James into the hallway, and from there to his own office.
V. HOW IT ALL STARTED
Once there, Hunter related the story, hidden for so many years:
It started routinely enough 28 years before… The Stingray and her sister ship Remora had been sent to investigate some suspicious activities in deep space.
Far beyond the orbit of Pluto they had witnessed a small vessel vanish into what would become known as a wormhole. With a light speed delay of 8 hours it had taken days of messages back and forth to Earth before they received the order to follow that ship into the unknown. Another 3 years to track down the elusive vessel and the Earthlike planet it had found, that’s when the nightmare began.
Captain Rostov of the UNSS Stingray, along with 4 other crew had gone down to the planet leaving the second officer Lt. Leonard Jacoby in command, Rostov reported back that they had apprehended one “Brandon Carter’ a prospector for Hamilton industries on the planet, but there was more; Llama like aliens that used tools and weapons, and spoke fluent English, and then contact was lost. After that, things just got worse, Jacoby reported a large egg shaped vessel that came from nowhere and destroyed the Remora. The explosion of the Remora at close range caused extensive damage to the Stingray. With the Stingray tumbling in orbit around the planet, her crew frantically trying to extinguish fires and patch holes; the alien mysteriously appeared on her bridge, warning them to “leave and never return”.
Jacoby and the two remaining crew members put the broken Stingray on a course back to the wormhole, when twenty days later engine tech 1st class Hans Gephardt, for some unknown reason murdered ENS. Rutledge.
Jacoby had no options, no brig for the prisoner, no courts marshal, no way to operate the ship by himself, for 3 years going back he lived and worked with a man who might kill him just as suddenly as he’d killed Rutledge. The UN doctors theorized that just before their return through the wormhole, Jacoby put Gephardt out the airlock with no suit; Jacoby said it was a suicide.
There is madness in deep space, Hunter St James had faced madness and death in the infinite gulf between the stars, but even a madman can leave a legacy.
Jacoby had been the first man to return from another world, he was the man who brought back the news, that WE were not alone in the universe.
And Richard Redmond had squashed the story to save the UN embarrassment!