Category Archives: novel

Aeroquest… Canto 6

Canto 6 – Frieda

 20171211_211040

It soon became evident that Trav Dalgoda had downloaded an artificial intelligence into the computer systems of an abandoned Galtorrian starport.  He named it Frieda after his boyhood invisible companion.  Ged laughed at him uncontrollably for several minutes.  But the whole mess worried him too.

Frieda apparently removed herself from the Crown of Stars into the mainframe, because the middle crystal in the crown now ceased to glow.  She was a very capable artificial being, and she immediately began to repair the base using all the robotic arms, cleaners, switches, routers, and computers as if they were her new body.

“Frieda, old girl, I am impressed,” said Goofy to the control systems.  “You have made this place into a home just like that!”

“I appreciate a kind and patient master,” said the female voice that was now Frieda.  “You are much nicer than my last master.”

“Who was your last master?” asked Ham, slightly concerned.

“His name has no analog in your tongue.  He was the Dark One, son of Grandfather.  He made us do terrible things.”

“How long ago was this?” asked Ged, concerned more than Ham seemed to be.

“Sixty-four million of what your computers refer to as a year.”

“Is he still around?” asked Ham.

“Grandfather slew all his children at the end of the final war.  Only unliving things remain from that time.  Unliving things like the three of us, The Crown of All Stars.”

     Ged was relieved to hear that these powerful ancient menaces were long gone.  He hoped that using this artifact hadn’t released an ancient evil on the universe in the way you always read about in story books.

“I did good, didn’t I?” said Trav to Ham.

“I have to hand it to you, Goofy.  That was an excellent bit of fortune you pulled off.”

“No luck to it, old jester,” Trav replied.  “My skills are unique.”

“That’s for sure,” agreed Ged.

The sentient station methodically set about taking care of all aboard.  She made accommodations for the Princess and her son.  She fixed up state rooms for Ged and Ham.  She prepared the finest of luxury quarters for Trav.

Frieda used her robotic cargo arms on the docking port to repair battle damage to the outside of the Leaping Shadowcat.  She soon discovered that she had enough spare parts in storage that she could build another space ship, one with two deadly rail guns aboard because Trav liked to blow things up.  Trav named the new cobbled-together ship Megadeath.  Its engines ran with efficiency unheard of in the Imperium.

“Have I done well, master?” Frieda asked Trav.

“I couldn’t ask for more, hon,” he answered.  “You give me everything I want.”

“She makes me nervous,” said Ged.  “She comes from a culture that destroyed themselves.  Maybe the power she gives is too much for us.”

“Ah, you’re just jealous.  You need an ancient artifact of your own.”

“May I suggest Grandfather’s building device?” offered Frieda.  “It is on the planet below us.  It is known as the Hammer of God.”

“Oh, no!” cried Ged.  “Not another one!  Think what could happen if the wrong people get ahold of such a device!”

“Well,” said Trav.  “I guess you just have to find it then.”

“What?”

“Ged, you are the most trustworthy man I know, and in the Imperium I know a lot of men.”  Trav clapped a hand on Ged’s shoulder.

“I guess you are right.”  Ged shook his head at the wonder of it all.  Would this adventure turn to gold by sheer dumb luck?  Ged didn’t believe in magic or luck.  He believed in making his own destiny.  If that meant making sure a moral man was in charge of these events and these ancient devices, then so much the better.  “We’ve got work to do on the Grange station first, though.”

“Oh, yes.  Rescuing the puppy!” said Trav.

“And securing a renewable source of food,” finished Ged.Aeroquest banner a

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

Aeroquest… Canto 5

Canto 5 – The Crown of Stars

1269779_101_o

The docking of the Leaping Shadowcat with the station was routine, even though the station was unpowered and unresponsive.  The mission, though, would be an entirely different matter.  With only two vacuum suits on board, only Ged and Goofy would be able to perform the explore and restore.  Ged, not entirely trusting his partner, led the way, while Trav carried his precious blue box.

The airlocks were blown.  As Ged turned up the power in his mag-boots he reassured himself that he wouldn’t drift out into empty space through any hole or opening.  He proceeded cautiously with Goofy ten paces behind.

boarding12950

Once inside the customs terminal, he began to find bodies.  Two frozen and partly exploded Galtorrian bodies were still staring outward with icy snake’s eyes in the same posture they had been in when catastrophic depressurization killed them.  A little further on, a snake-eyed Galtorrian entertainer in her scanty orange veils, floated dead in the middle of a café.

“Somebody murdered this outpost,” said Trav.

“More than a hundred years ago,” added Ged.  “Their style of clothing and interior decoration are like some of the oldest worlds in the Imperium.  I wonder how long they’ve been entombed here.”

“We’ll give them a decent send-off.”

Three hours work had all twenty-three of the bodies on the station rounded up and floated away for a deep space burial.  Ged located and cleared out the station’s control center, but the electronics were completely fried and not repairable.

20160129_112950

“Never fear, old bean” said Trav.  “I have the answer to our problems right here!”  He sat the blue metal box on a control console.  He gingerly opened the box, and carefully lifted out the alien crown.  It had three glowing crystals mounted on the front of the band, and they pulsated with glowing light.

“How do you activate that thing?” asked Ged.

Trav had no time to answer.  Greenish fingers of energy radiated out from the crown instantly.  Control panels began to melt.  Circuits fused in a pattern that was obviously not random.  Tendrils of energy and realigning circuits exploded outward through the facility.  Ged was instantly afraid for their lives.  Would the station explode?  Would they be consumed by this rampant energy?

In a matter of a few minutes, the ruined space port turned back on.  Doors closed.  Airlocks sealed.  Atmosphere hissed into empty corridors and rooms.  Lights came on.  The station bloomed into fully functional life.

“How did you do that?” gasped Ged.

“I told you we couldn’t just give this thing back to that old jester Tron.  It’s poppa’s little miracle worker.”

“We are now on line,” said a booming female computer voice.  “We are at your service, Grandfather.”

Trav took off his helmet and breathed in the fresh air.  “So, you are at my service, are you?  Who are you, then?  And how did I get to be your grandfather?”

“We are the matrix of Terris Mansill.  Also known as Grandfather of All Stars.  We are the artificial minds of the Crown of All Stars at your service, Grandfather.  Call on us, and we shall do your bidding.”

“Cool,” said Goofy smiling broadly at Ged, “just like a genii in a lamp!”

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

Aeroquest… Canto 4

Canto 4- Don’t Go Here, the Outposts

 Aeroquest banner a

As the Leaping Shadowcat slowed and dropped out of jump space, Ged and Ham got their very first look at a world beyond the borders of charted and well-known stars.  Don’t Go Here was a planet orbiting a spectral class K orange star.  It was a bright green-and-brown world with relatively small patches of blue sea.  The surface was cloaked in a thick atmosphere, and many cloud swirls played across its bright face.  There were two small moons and a pair of apparently lifeless space stations.  One looked like an abandoned space port with nothing docked there.  The second was obviously a Grange station, filled with greenery under glass and a few artificial lights showing on the night side.

Trav came up from the quarterdeck where he’d been tending to the Nebulon Princess and her son.  He looked out through the portal and examined the electronic overlay.

“Life signs on that old greenhouse?”
“Yes, Trav,” said Ged, “One life sign.  It appears to be canine.”

“Somebody left their doggie aboard that old wreck?”
“It appears that the Grange Station for this planet is still working,” said Ham.  He smiled, which tended to make him strikingly handsome.  “It’s probably automated, so if there’s food growing there, it could be priceless to us.”

“We will have to board it,” said Ged, “and take possession.  But we still need to talk about your treasures, Goofy.”

“Hmm, uh… well, yes.  What do you want to know?”

“First of all, the Princess and her son.  You intend to set them free.”  Ged was not asking a question.

“Yes, um… well, You know she could be a very valuable asset to us.”

“In what way?”

“There’s a very good chance we will run into Nebulons out here.  She could negotiate for us.”

“Trav,” said Ham, “she doesn’t speak our language.”

“Oh, right…  But I can teach her.”

“All right, Goof,” said Ged, nodding solemnly, “but your first task is to make her understand she is not our slave.”

“Oh.  Sure.”

“Now,” said Ham, “what about the blue box?”

“Blue… um, uh… box?” stuttered Trav, obviously faking it.  “I don’t know what you mean.”

“What’s in the box that Tron and the pirates wanted so badly?”

“You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.”

“Try me.”

Trav looked into Ham’s laughing eyes.  Ged could see how much of a strain telling the truth was on the little one-eyed liar.

“It’s an Ancient Artifact from the Devil’s Rift.  It’s called the Crown of Stars.

“Oh, you’re kidding me!” shouted Ham with a laugh.  “The fabled device that gives a man the power of God?”

“That would be it, yes.”  Trav cast his eye downward.

“You’ve heard of this thing, Ham?” Ged asked.

“It’s a liar’s tale from the Imperial Rim.  An archeologist apparently uncovered a high-tech site from the time of the so-called Ancients.  He supposedly found this device with three bright crystals on it.  When he put it on his head, it melted his brain and gave him Godlike powers.  He had to be killed by the Imperial Navy to prevent him taking over and ruling the galaxy.”

“So it isn’t real?” asked Ged.

“Of course it’s real!” said Trav hotly.  “It’s in the blue box in the bag I brought aboard, and I’ve seen it work without being on anyone’s head.”

“What does it do?” said Ham skeptically.

“Well, I don’t know exactly.  But it can light up a generator and create power even on a wrecked ship.  It started up and repaired the scuttled spaceship we stole it from at the Mingo Downport.”

“Well, I think if it can provide power, it will help us reclaim this old spaceport,” said Ham, still sneering at the idea of the ancient artifact.

Outside the main viewport, they were coming into docking range with the orbiting outstation.  It was a spoked wheel with four main docking ports.  The nearly obscured markings on the outside indicated the Galtorrian Colonial Service.  Everything was written in the squiggly letters of the Galtorrian script.

9_101_o

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, novel, NOVEL WRITING, science fiction

Aeroquest… Adagio 2 – Nebulons

Aeroquest banner a

Adagio 2 – Nebulons

 

     I am one of the few Scientist/Historians ever to make a thorough examination of Nebulon physiology and culture. It helped that I lived with some of them for a while, even helping to raise a couple of very young ones. And unlike the cross-bred lizard-Russian-Galtorrian-Human idiots who were the superior authority and dominant race of the Galtorr Imperium, I didn’t try to belittle them as mere “Space Smurfs” and take their existence as a joke.  As a participant in the destruction of the Galtorr Imperium and the rise of the New Star League, I, Googol Marou, can speak with some authority on the subject of Nebulons.

Suffice it to say, the present shape of the Milky Way Civilization in the Orion Spur owes much to the nature of Space Smurfs.  They were critical to the Imperial defeat and the unification of the New Stars.  You will see more of that in this history, well, unless I inadvertently forget to tell you that part.  I have been known to get a bit absent-minded when my mind is on superior matters of science, or the baking of pies.  But I have to admit to my great shame, that I, like most Imperials, was prejudiced against the Nebulons at the start.  We thought them in many ways inferior because of their living technologies and small stature.  What we didn’t realize is that their neotyny, their child-like physical make-up, was evidence that they were indeed more advanced than we in an evolutionary sense.  They were also environmentally friendly, living in symbiotic peace with their living technology. Instead of exploiting worlds, as the humans and Galtorrians had done, they created new living environments.

20171104_183802

Now, my genetic inquiries proved that Nebulons were practically identical to Earthers.  They were capable of interbreeding with us without genetic manipulations.  That makes them more like us than a Galtorrian, even a crossbred Galtorrian/Human fusion.  They also possessed a few advantages we didn’t have.  The copper-sulfate-based pigments in their skins were originally caused by diet and exposure to nebula radiation.  It gave them immunity to radiation that was deadly to any other humanoid.  The bright yellow hair was apparently also due to exotic radiation exposure over centuries.  I formed a theory that Nebulons may have originated on Earth and evolved as they explored deep space, beyond the known stars of the Thousand Worlds.

Now, as to their culture, they center it around living organisms that function symbiotically.  Their spaceships are the Great Nebula Space Whales, those strange fish-shaped balloon-beings that apparently bred in the depths of mighty gas giant planets and migrated to the gaseous clouds of nebula space.  They are much the same size as an Imperial Dreadnaught, and can easily support 500,000 Nebulons in their oxygenated inner chambers.  They even have spaces in their heads where the Nebulon pilots can live and function, tickling nerve endings to get the space behemoths to fold space and jump light years in an instant.  Manipulating jump space is the same whether you do it with a massive photon drive, or the natural glands of a space whale.  It is a matter of using gravity to fold space at a weak point in the fabric of space, making a worm-hole to another part of space, usually no more than six parsecs distant (for those who are math-challenged, that means about nineteen and a half light years), and coming out of jump space at the end of a spider web-like trail that litters space with the cobwebs of interstellar travel.

Nebulons also make clothing of living tissue that keeps the body it surrounds at the proper temperature, and absorbs and digests all dirt, sweat, and dead skin cells.  Nebulon clothing is self-cleaning!  It also grows with the young to avoid the need for ever changing it.  I can’t wear Nebulon cloth without cringing, because I know what it really is, but I am told that if you get used to it, it is like a perfect second skin.

nebbby

Nebulons exhibit a child-like love for life, treasuring each others’ presence and having fun almost all the time.  I have come to find them truly endearing.  They rarely go to war with each other, and have to be seriously goaded into fighting by any potential enemy.  It turns out that it is a sad thing that we can’t all be more like Nebulons.  And to think we wasted all those centuries despising them for their differences!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Aeroquest… Canto 3

Aeroquest banner a

Canto 3 – A Game of “Bridge”

 

When Ged and Trav reached the bridge of the Leaping Shadowcat, Tron’s angry face already filled the view screen.  Next to him stood the flame-haired beauty known as Maggie the Knife with one hand protectively shielding their small son, Artran.

“So!  Ged and Ham both?  How could you both be so stupid as to take up with that worthless clown?” growled Tron in a gravelly voice.  His somewhat handsome face was marred not only by anger, but by a hideous laser scar that ran from the top of the left side of his forehead, through the eye socket of his artificial left eye, down to the left side of his lantern jaw.

“Tron,” said Ged as diplomatically as he could manage, “You know me.  You know I would never take up with a swindler and a pirate like Trav willingly.  You must also know that I have troubles of my own about now.  If you leave us in peace, I can promise Trav’s presence aboard this ship will result in banishment for him.  You will never see his face in Imperial Space again.”

“Ged, I respect you more than any other space man I know.  Your word is good, and you never lie.  I wish your worthless brother and I both had your integrity.  We’d be kings among men.  But Goofy stole a priceless treasure from us and both Slimeball Harris and Blue Death Jones just died trying to get it back.  Both of their corsairs were destroyed by that rotten space barge Goofy was flying.”

anx5

“You’re moaning about Slimeball and Old Blue?” asked Trav in an incredulous voice.

“Well, those corsair ships were very valuable!” growled Tron.

“Oh,” replied Trav.  “Sorry.”

“What if we give you the treasure, Tron?” asked Ham.

“No!” cried Trav.  “You have to let me explain that to you in private, first!”

“Yes,” growled Tron.  “Give me the blue metal box and the Nebulon slave girl. You can keep the rest. And you can keep Goofy forever, for all I care.”

“Now, wait!” interrupted Ged.  “Slavery is just plain wrong.”

anx51

“Yes,” said Tron, “but this one is a princess among the Space Smurfs.  She is the first daughter to the Sinjarac Warlord, whatever that means.  We’re not just talking slave here, but a potentially valuable hostage for the Imperial Space Navy.  They would pay well to get their hands on her.”

“Why a hostage?” asked Ham.

“You didn’t see the Imperial Scout Data we intercepted,” said Maggie softly in a musical voice.  “A coreward border war has erupted between a huge convoy of Nebulons in their Space-Whale Cruisers and the Galtorr Imperium.  Nobody in the Imperium seems to know why, but there is a massive migration of Space Smurfs going on just beyond the Imperial Border.”

“You can’t have the girl,” said Ged.  “I’d be happy to give you the box, though.”

“No!” protested Trav.  “You don’t know what’s in it!”

“What is in it?” Ged asked Trav.  His eyes narrowed.

Trav blushed furiously.

“You have to give us what we want.”  Tron seemed too confident.  “We have corsairs blocking every jump route back into known space.  Soon we’ll have a hundred of them here ready to board your crappy little safari ship.”

“Yes,” said Maggie prettily.  “We will take the treasure anyway and you’ll all be skinned alive with a dull knife.”

“Oh, great,” said Ged.

“Are you ready with our little surprise?” Trav asked Ham.

“It’s plotted in the nav computer,” Ham answered.

“It’s time to hit it, then.”

Ham leaped into the pilot’s seat and slammed down on the jump button.  The jump into lightspeed-plus was jarring.  Space began to fold around the ship.  The surprised faces of Tron and Maggie the Knife faded away into white static, soon replaced by a red-and-blue-shifting starfield in jump space.

“What have you done?” Ged asked Ham with shock on his face.

“You didn’t think I would start this leap of faith without at least one jump already planned and programmed?”

“Trav?” asked Ged.

“Oh, yes.  I plotted a course to a planet almost nobody has ever heard of.  It’s a place with the silly name of Don’t Go Here.”

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, pen and ink paffoonies, science fiction

Aeroquest – Canto 2

Aeroquest banner a

Canto 2 – A Bit of Blue

 

The two spaceships finally locked together belly to belly in the middle of a barrel roll.  Dalgoda’s fireball was tearing itself apart from inside.  Flaming projectiles tore free on every side of it, sparking out in airless space.  Meanwhile, Tron’s Pinwheel Corsairs were bathing the two spiraling space dancers with hot laser fire.  Two of the six corsairs had a pretty decent lock on Trav’s ship and were peeling more chunks off the drive core.

“Ged!” hollered Ham, “can you get the Goofer out of his ship before it blows?”

“I can try,” said Ged, more to himself than to Ham.  His brother was busy trying to fly the ship in a carnival-ride maneuver.

Ged scrambled down the hatchway ladder to the ventral docking port.  The metal around the port doorway was already glowing red from heat.  With a moment of panicky concentration, his hands grew fire-lizard scales all over them, like gloves that appeared out of nowhere.  How did he do this thing?  Well, he had to admit to himself that as a safari leader, he’d skinned more than a few of the fire-resistant xeno-beasts in the past twenty years.  He knew the feel and look of the skin quite well.  His protected hands could spin the locking wheel of the heated door and throw it open without singeing his fingers off.

“Goofy?  You there?”

“Atta-boy, Ged-boy!  You’re a hero.”

Ged expected to see the thin, eye-patched face next, but instead he found himself looking into the beautiful blue face of a Nebulon woman.

“Who are you?” Ged asked with open mouth.

The blue-skinned young lady with the yellow hair just shrugged and eyed Ged like she didn’t understand.

“She’s part of my treasure, Ged!” called a goofy voice from somewhere behind her.  “Pull her into your ship.  Not all Nebulon slave girls speak Galactic English, you know!”

Ged pulled her into the Leaping Shadowcat.

“Here’s more,” called Trav.

An elfin blue-skinned boy with bright yellow hair was held up next to be rescued.

“Another slave?”

“He’s the son of the Nebulon Princess.”

“Your son?”

“No way!  I’m greedy, not perverted!”

Ged couldn’t argue that.  He pulled the boy in too.

“Where’d you get the cool lizard gloves, Ged?” asked Trav as he clambered through the doorway and eyed the scales with his one uncovered eye.

“I kinda made them,” Ged answered sheepishly.

“Is our boy, Ham, ready to jump out of this mess?”

“I hope so.”

“Good.”  Trav hauled a huge gravitic cargo-bag into the ship after him and slammed the portal door.  “Eeyow!” he cried as he burned holes through the fingers of his own gloves.  It was fortunate the Goof always wore those stupid white gloves.  They saved him from burning flesh off his fingers.

“Ham, you can let ‘er go!” hollered Ged into his commo dot.  The communicator was glued comfortably to his throat.

They heard a rumble as the Leaping Shadowcat released her grip on Trav Dalgoda’s nameless ball of flame and melting hull.  The rumble was followed shortly by a huge boom and jarring shockwave.

“Ged!  Get the Goofer up here.  We’ve got big problems with his corsair friends.”

Ged’s eyes widened.  “What happened that made that shock wave?”

“Goofy’s ship exploded and took out two of the trailing corsairs.”

“Jeez!” moaned Goofy, “I hope Maggie and Tron are all right.  They’re good friends of mine.”

“Do I read the situation right?” asked Ged.  “If they live, they are going to kill us?”

“Well, yes, but I still love Tron like a brother.”

Ged nodded unhappily.  He wished he lived in the same alternate universe as Trav Dalgoda.

Junior Aero

4 Comments

Filed under humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

Today’s Little Accomplishment

20171103_101314

Today I completed a goal for this week.  I went to Amazon Kindle free publishing and self-published Stardusters and Space Lizards.  The cover plan shown above is for the print version priced at $4.85 on Amazon.  There will also be a $.99 Kindle version.  I am a bit wiped out from formatting, but I used this book as the learning tool.  More will be forth-coming in my rush to publish before the end of life on Earth.  Ironically, saving a planet is one of the major themes of this book.  So it is a comedy about alien invasions, cannibalism, and the end of all life on the planet.  Where do I find all these hilarious themes, do you suppose?  Ah, well.

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, humor, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, publishing