Thursday, November 5, 2015

A conversation between Hardin the freebooter and Commander Remkin of the Windforce.

As the necromancer cleared the rim of the moon he had an inkling of something and he looked to his droid, which was transfixed by the screen. ‘Sir,’ it said as an enormous ship filled the sky. Hardin jumped to the firing platform as his droid grew silent. Firing solutions were aligned as the cup of tea dropped to the floor and Hardens life swept before him, ‘my ship won’t last long against this’ – ‘Stay your hand Hardin Williams, your droid has been frozen as well your guns,  you will now come aboard the Windforce’.

 ‘But, but the cruiser’ –‘that is now with its Gods, now you will come’.

As Hardin stood transfixed by the sight of the Windforce his body was surrounded by a shimmer, as the air around him became transparent, his droid was released to monitor the ship. In seconds he became aware of a platform and armed guards surrounded by plas-glass and he was ushered down a corridor he thought somewhere within this ‘ship’, he thought it was but it was enormous, spherical, lean and definitely a fighting ship from his short recollection.

Soon with several troops surrounding him he was being addressed by a person who introduced himself as ‘Remkin, I am the Commander of the planet force dreadnought Windforce.’

‘Now that your mouth is closed come, we will sit in my office’. As they sat the walls disappeared and he could see the stars black as night. As he craned his head to take in the ship he could only marvel at its lines and the bulbous see through shapes somehow part of the ship. ‘They are my firing pods Hardin. Now we will talk and I know you like tea’, as he spoke the commander said, ‘ah steward you always know, yes I will have the same, two teas and those illixian clefts, they are somewhat like earth cakes, and delicious’.

‘Now Hardin you’re wondering why you and I are here -yes?’

‘Yes sir, I take it I call you that, I don’t really spend my time around –around, what do I call you, in fact what are you are who are you?’

 ‘Your erudite questions form part of our conversation, but it is more what you can do, but to explain. My ship, its crew and a complement of destroyers form a wedge of a much larger fleet of a planetary defence net, or should I say a galaxy net. You of course have heard vague rumours of a battle in space, ha, every child imagines battle ships saving the empire, a queen or some such, is that correct?’

‘There has been talk among my confederates, trade has been hard and some say because of it, but so far I have heard but not seen any evidence’.

‘No - but your birth place was the planet earth, yes?’

‘I left it some 20 years ago on a settlement ship bound for Alpha Centauri, or that region – but I was younger then’.

‘You never made it, some talk of pirates, left on a planet and somehow you managed to get off it, go into business and somehow acquired the Necromancer, which is quite outstanding, given the specifications we have of it’.

‘You have –?’

‘Yes, the ship is a converted cruiser, very converted; an enormous amount of credits has turned into one of the most formidable ships in this quadrant’.

Hardin listened as the commander spoke and observed the movements of crew up and down the corridors, something was going on. The space outside had changed, he accepted that the craft had moved but he couldn’t’ discern actual movement just the stars changing alignment. The seat he sat in changed formation as he grew comfortable and sitting back he lifted his leg to cross them with the seat moved and his legs were supported by an extension of the chair.

 He jumped slightly but relaxed as he realised and the commander smiled as he continued to talk, the air was clear and antiseptic and the colours of the walls transmuted as the light coming in grew darker, the walls seemed to glow. He had finished his tea and it was whipped away by the steward. The voice of the commander slipped into his mind as stopped thinking and concentrated, ‘yes -you are on the way to see the Illurian Tar’kel, as your contact didn’t make it?’

‘How did you know’ he threw across the space between them, how much does he know?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Have you ever thought of where luck comes from; a big bucket, a particular ray of light, or that strange cloud that seems to be hovering and moves as we move . Some days can be triumphs or disasters. The people who look inside our heads tell us it is the power of suggestion. Sometimes you wonder as you tempt lady luck.

Every day someone scratches a winning ticket, but I have never met one. Do you suppose they are taken away after they have screamed their heads off, and put into some kind of restraint? Or are they just trotted out each day so that ordinary mortals may feel the urge to try.

I have stood in awe and watched sane men and women scratch their way through the ticket, the surface of the table and eventually the table. As if the glittering prize had slipped under several layers of plywood. The poor unfortunates gnash their teeth, frown at the clear sky, mumble something unintelligible as they shamble away knowing that the grocery money has been seriously depleted.

One particularly disastrous day as I led the way from the newsagent, I mentally bemoaned my fate and fell over a wheelchair. I resolved to complete the day without further incident. I should have checked with the fates, because I had not seen the end of that day. Arriving home I collected my dogs, bait, and fishing rod and set out for our fishing spot.

Everything was normal until I had a bite. The reel seized up, the fish disappeared and wonderful lumps of nylon appeared. Ten minutes later we tried again. Another bite; the reel seized up and my lips moved erratically. I took the rig off and put it on the chair. Metres of line were lost in a maddened frenzy as dusk descended and blackness enveloped me.

Not a problem, we have a torch. It was as useful as a burnt match. The fishing line suddenly had a life of its own and another ten minutes disappeared into the past. Finally we were about to rig up when I discovered one of the sinkers had sunk, into the soft sand. One sinker would have to do in the mouth of a force-nine gale. Reaching for the hook and swivel on the chair, I discovered that it also had a life of its own and had fled.

Perseverance is the name of the game that was not going to stop me. At this stage I determined to catch a fish. Bending to pick up the bait, I looked around to discover that my bait, an inert bag of bait, had been resurrected and eloped with the hook and swivel. Not a problem, I picked up the chair to fling it into the bush. Somehow it had wrapped itself around my leg and I was flat on the ground.

Looking around to see if I was on a movie set, I sheepishly slunk to the car. The tackle box that would not previously give up its treasure of sinkers promptly emptied its entire contents down the gap in the back seat. I put the rod through the gap in the window and turned to go to the drivers' side. 

Alas the cloud had not finished. I was now attached to the rod, and certainly not in passion. As the hook drew blood my resolve not to scream was shattered.

I didn’t go back to that fishing spot again, in case somebody waited with a restraint and whisked me off to the place where all those winning ticket holders are confined.

One way to wake up!

On a cold winters morning I was – of course off world, where I spend most of my waking hours –much to the chagrin of anybody trying to get any sense out of me. I wandered through the remains of an ancient civilisation looking for clues to the current conflagration now raging in this quadrant of the galaxy. 

My boots were scuffing the crap lying about until a glimmer of something interesting caught my eye and as I bent down a ruddy great mouth fastened onto  my wrist and commenced trying to remove it in one bite. My mouth went into a rictus as my other hand came up to rip the offending beast from my hand when I suddenly came upright in bed with tiger wrapped around my hand and giving me the best view of a wild cat.

As I sat on the side of the bed I managed to remove him by pushing him off (never in my presence harm an animal –for any reason) and as he turned around he meowed just as the kitten he is although he is a rather large cat for his age. Trying to stem the rush of blood while Tiger is imploring me for his breakfast it was 4 am for god’s sake, I rummaged through the medical kit for something to stop the rivers of blood cascading from my hand. One handed trying to hold a rag to my hand and finally found a pad to soak it up. Off to the kitchen to feed the beast followed -of course by our dog we embarked on what Tiger thought was the most important task, feeding the beast. So, animals settled and blood flow finally stopped, I went over recent events.

Forget about the ancient civilisation, I must have had an arm hanging down from the bed –Tiger waltzed in after his forays around the neighbourhood, hungry as usual, found my arm and thought –‘you beauty Ill ring the food bell and get this one to feed me’. So my day started well, here it is 4.15am in my chair nursing a severely emaciated hand, looking at Tiger lying in front of the heater, peaceful as a lion, puddles looking worried and me thinking that life is full of surprises, and did I find anything on that abandoned planet –oops here I go again.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Time Reserved - The arrival of the Em-Ship Menneker

On Amarcan fires raged without control. The great city of Tirinae had swelled its population beyond normal due to the influx of people escaping the ravages occurring in the hinterland. The cities defenders were hard pressed. In space a war had been raging for days as ship after ship had been destroyed.
Aboard the Windforce directions were given to deploy all ships to a perimeter. The dreadnought had moved into this space to protect the flanks of the Amarcan fleet.

‘Deploy the cruisers in this quadrant, and move the Tauran battle phalanx to this area, nominating the quadrant on the battle map. The commander continued. ‘We move on their station in three sectors.’ The command was given. There were four figures grouped around the battle hologram, the space before them was filled with an array of craft from Xxen craft to Phalanx Battle Cruisers. A battle of attrition was raging until a Dirkoron Warp ship appeared.

The Warp ship approached Amarcan with smaller craft clustered in its shadow. The refracted light emanating from its bulk were tell-tales of the anti-matter force which drove this great symbol of awesome power. The space beyond the Warp ship was still rippling as if a motionless sea had been disturbed. Waves of energy spread outwards like a wayward giant flexing its muscles. But these indications were not energy but synergy. The Warp ship had crossed the barrier and behind it the entrance to the Dirkoron Empire.

That this symbol of power was here now stirred the Commander of the Windforce to frenetic action.

‘Captain, move the Windforce to the apex of Amarcan and its moon, the fleet is to land. Contact Ollicipie and report that a Warp ship has appeared . . . do it now.’ The Commander leant over the console. Moving his hands feverishly he sent to all ships in the group, the signal ‘The Windforce will engage the Emship; all fighters are to ground on Amarcan.’

He stared at the console his eyes not seeing, arms rigid. ‘How and why, I have only heard of these giants, but never seen one. Who could mistake it, it is as large as creation.’ Sitting, his anxiety lining the wrinkles beneath his eyes. ‘Why now, why is that here? My planet force, these plasma weapons against a Warp ship.’ His head shaking, a sigh escaped his lips. ‘Well, off to oblivion we go, but some of them will come with us.’ Standing, he gave the order to engage.

At that point the ships communication system sprang to life and a voice was heard, commanding and insistent-



‘The Warp ship has appeared, at last where Dargurion?’

‘Sire by the planet Amarcan.’

‘Pressing the stud, Maruk trailed a talon across the translucent star map. ‘Here,’ he stabbed. ‘On the rim. Dargurion, what is the number .of complements of the Menneker‘

‘It has 100 with it Lord.’

‘Excellent,’ said Maruk, I want point of sighting with them quickly Dargurion.’

Dargurion exited through the empanelled wall and ascended to the communication chamber atop Spectres way.

Entering the room he quickly attained an assessment of the communications net.’ Give me a time for crossing to the Masters.’

‘Sir, one sector, they are sending now, we will have the inner circle shortly.’

Dargurion stepped down from the entrance and hurried across to the seating platform. The enclave sang with hidden power. A circlet of Zinian metal embedded in the floor gave off a glowing ethereal pulse. Above this circlet stretched in a full circle an interconnected series of pulse machines with entrance ways from the consoles spread concentrically around the communication platform. This was the Zinian time trap used by the power to communicate with Maruk. The triloputers were attempting the difficult task of fixing image transfer with the Menneker.

As the pulses generated grew in intensity the centre of the comm-circle became iridescent and then opaque. The warm misty light danced and coalesced as if endowed with form. Engineers so identified by their uniforms moved into the centre and consulted with a portoputer. Whilst two others, ethereal now in the opaqueness glided to a coordinated pattern within the circlet to triangulate the floor area. At each point of what was now becoming distinct was placed a pulsing light. At a command they moved from the area and once again consulted the triloputer, satisfied they reported to a figure standing to one side.

Dargurion consulted with the transfer commander and walked onto the platform. Waving an electronic beam from side to side he covered the floor space while looking at the response of the hand-held machine.

‘Commander,’ spoke Dargurion, ‘commence transfer with the Menneker, the path is secure.’

The room darkened as the intrusion of light exploded to the bounds of the platform, coalesced, bulged, gathered form, scattered like shards of plastiglass, reformed and became rigid. Like a gigantic bubble it held, pulsed again, and then assumed form.

‘Connection imminent, holding, holding, synapse complete, connection, synapse complete.’ The triloputers voice came from the air, the voice was all round. ‘Reporting transfer connection with the Menneker.’

Dargurion dismissing the engineers turned to the console and consulted the triloputer.

‘What is the period of transfer?’

‘Image transfer can be held for 2 sectors. The Menneker will then change station to commence bridging.’ Pressing his digitiser he reported to Maruk.

In his eyrie Maruk’s brooding presence alarmed the Tameleon. Maruk paced constantly seeking reports on the status of the Halpen. His gruff reply to Dargurion was left as a companion as he stepped aboard the grav-unit and swept into the corridor; ascending to the comm-room he gave instructions. Once in the chamber he glided over to the main triloputer, looked at Dargurion and then back to the time-trap. ‘Everything is ready,’ prompted Maruk.

‘Yes Sire,’ replied Dargurion.

‘Good, have the engineers removed and assemble my Imperials here immediately. Signal Menneker that I will confer with the masters alone, except for my security troops who will seal this area.’

‘Yes Sire.’

At Dargurions command the waiting cohort of Imperials burst into the enclave and removed the engineers. Spacing themselves Maruk’s bodyguard encircled the time transfer. Weapons held firmly and primed for burst fire. At Maruk’s order Dargurion commanded the ‘puter to lock on to Menneker and begin transfer.

‘The Lord Bortok is moving from the seat of where all life began, to the star sector threatened by the arrival of the Emship Menneker. He is aboard Genesis.’

‘Good, now we will have a chance, at least of a fair fight.’

‘Where will he emerge,’ the commander of the Ollicipie requested.

‘My Lord, he will confront the Menneker.’

‘What – signal the commander of the Windforce – tell him – no do not code, tell Remkin that the Wanderer will appear before him – instantly.’

On board Windforce Commander Remkin was studying the message

‘The Lord Bortok will confront the Menneker. Your valour in attempting to shield your force from an Emship will be honoured – but only if you are alive. Stay your command Remkin - message ends- Ollicipie.’

On the bridge the view was awe-inspiring. The Menneker crowded known space, explosions told of asteroids disintegrating as they violated the Em ship’s space. Remkin studied the message - looked to the ceiling - then spoke reverently. ‘To all my commanders, to all my fighters, the Wanderer is here- he is here now.’

The wavering path between Windforce and the Emship bespoke of turmoil. Of dimensions gathering force – far from the centre of life - but still with the V-drive, the Genesis emerged - first as a gamma wave - the light refracted from the nose of the Windforce. A wavering pulsing light then the Genesis materialised. At the same time a voice penetrated all conscious thought. ‘Your message to the Windforce is welcome Menneker. You will leave this sector of space within the instant.’

The behemoth pulsed several times as streaks of latent power erupted towards the Genesis. The Genesis grew in size and radiated a throbbing rainbow of circles of light. The lethal thrust from the giant Emship surged into the ring of power and was consumed.

From within the Genesis a ray of concentrated light spread across the path between the two ships and grew solid. It reached into the space within the boundary of the Emship, where no asteroid could live and penetrated the hull of the Menneker. As the Genesis sat pulsing, the side of the awesome Emship split open like a ripe melon – folded up and engulfed itself. ‘As if space had eaten,’ was how Remkin reported the incident.

‘One moment we were threatened with death, then the Lord Bortok emerged – the Emship disappeared.’

‘He has been successful in his search for the equation that unlocks the secret.’

‘What – permutation’

‘Apparently, how else do you make an Emship return to its dimension?’

 ‘Yes, but what has started this -?’

 ‘From where all life came from as we know it – planet Earth.’

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Another Life - Another Time

Off to starboard, the blinks of small cats eyes were stars an unfathomable number of light years away. As the distance closed, they grew in size or intensity. It wasn’t black out there not as black is meant to be. It’s a beautiful empty expanse with baubles called planets sometimes surrounded by smaller bodies, significantly called moons. I have seen deserts with more panorama than the space outside the viewport. However, deserts end at civilisation, space never ends, and for a human out in this limitless vacuum, it is hard to describe. Space is clear of smog, heat and perspiration; because it is numbingly cold and will boil your eyes in a heartbeat. The habitable planets owe their atmosphere and ability to hold life to the plasma/hydrogen/quron star in this quadrant. Now the Nemon has it off the port side behind the gas giant we are currently orbiting.

The Illurian adjusted his eye protectors as the plas-glass portal opaqued to see-through status. The Consortium of three who currently dominated Illuria appointed Leylink to assist specified trading partners in obtaining certain minerals. The Nemon was a gesture of Illuria’s need for other – more specific requirements, and Leylink was to cement that partnership. At 2 meters, the Illurian would touch the scales at 100k, as their bone structure wasn’t as dense as on a high gravity planet. The white mane of hair fell from a prominent, narrow skull more elongated than Earthers and the facial structure – eyes/nose and mouth were closer to leonine in perception. The narrow neck joined at the shoulders which being extremely wide, reinforced the skeletal build. The arms were longer with tapering fingers. Overall, the effect was human-like. An Illurian in National dress was not unlike the regal and majestic Maasai people of Earth.

The infinity of space still held him in thrall, even now, as he wondered how deep and how far the racing gas clouds had come. Ahead, a single planet blocked the flickering light from the distant stars and brought him back to the current task. He was standing on the bridge of the cruiser – The Nemon. It escorted the bulky Starmine as the manoeuvring jets bumped it out of low orbit around the latest find; a moon sized asteroid rich in metals - a rare find in this fragment of space. Starmine entered the asteroids ionosphere and without breaking trajectory downslided into the orbs gravity ring.

Squalls of icy winds ripped at the gas clouds as they fled across the tundra. The high wind chill froze any unprotected skin or machinery not wrapped in plas-steel. The vacuum of space provided an eerie silhouette to the ship falling in from orbit. The spherical silver craft moved into the foreground against the star field as it sliced through the pulsing wall of energy. The configuration of the bulbous vehicle and the broken terrain merged for an instant.The sleek plas-steel craft wavered, condensation wafted about its body. The tundra was consistent, it was a blasted wasteland marked by meteor strikes.

From the middle nacelle of the engine housing a rod extended with owl-eye sockets; as the rod extended, the owl-eyes opened, and a light too bright for unshielded eyes, bored into the tundra below. Molten cinders and steam exploded as the white hot lance speared into the ground. Starmine settled further following the beam as the lance bored deeper then shut down. Worker-robot craft separated from the mother ship and white-hot lights swept back and forth, as they joined in the assault; the grinding of mesh gears and searing heat swept the area. The mother-ship sank to the surface as if exhausted after the long flight.

Plas-mesh supports sprang from the sides of the vehicle on thickened rods stabilising the craft as it settled onto the undulating surface. Then the reason for the large bulge in front of the Starminer became apparent. The bulge opened splitting at the middle and large wheeled vehicles roared down ramps onto the tundra. Massed troops with weapons formed ranks and marched to the vehicles, while even stranger craft hovered overhead. As the last of the mining machines ran onto the escarpment, the landing ramp closed, allowing the behemoth to return to an elliptical orbit.

The ancillary thrusters decreased speed and the asteroid hunter turned as if bearing into a lee wind, impossible in airless space. It continued its gyration until it was forward of the primary goal; a signal was then sent to the Nemon.

With its forward momentum arrested Starmine sailed into position alongside a structure forming in airless space. An opening appeared in the side of Starmine opposite the elongated skeleton and several more respirator clad figures appeared. Moving out from the ship, other metal objects appeared and smaller tug ships towed the components into parking stasis. The activity moved across the abyss as a telescoped section of metal appeared through the doors. Unending, the movement continued. Figures swarmed over it until a pattern emerged.

Smaller carrier craft came into view and thrusters burned, turning the area into a sea of stars. Curtains of bright lights erupted from the belly of the behemoth as more objects appeared and wrestled into position by the tugs, which then swarmed over the ballooning structure.

A huge knitting needle of plas-steel passed through the centre emerging from the other side. Carrier craft swarmed about to a plan. The tugs moved about this silver globe attaching hawser lines. In concert, they moved and the globe moved. Quickly thrusters engaged and in a concentrated manoeuvre, the globe entered the atmosphere of the mass that only hours ago had been a rogue asteroid.

‘As soon as the Reclamator reaches the surface have those supports plugged and we could start drilling within one day.’ The figure spoke from the bridge of the Nemon, as he surveyed the orbiting steel balloon that was slowly moving to the surface of the asteroid. The tall stick-like Illurian watched as the ships thrusters jockeyed the craft around the orb as the Earther joined him at the command observation portal. ‘Where did you find this one?’ said the rich throaty voice.

‘Out by the nebula on the edge of the cleared zone; there may be another in the area shortly.