Category Archives: science fiction

AeroQuest 3… Canto 75

Canto 75 – The Music and the Gunfighter

     Arkin Cloudstalker and his friend Lazerstone walked into the starport center in the planet known as Ibiguy.  This stop on their journey had been a necessity brought on by lack of supplies and fuel aboard the little scout ship they now flew.  It was only one small needle-like wedge of mechanical parts to use in the quest to puncture holes in the fabric of space and re-unite Cloudstalker with his Lady Knights.

     Swirls of orange dust flew about the grand concourse in this starport.  It was a parched and cracked desert world, this Ibiguy.  It was one small discordant note in the symphony of space and time.  It was also a hardship to travelers.  There was no water and little hydrogen in this system to use as fuel for starships.  It had to be purchased at the starport in order to move along to the next stanza in their travels through the star lanes.

     Many alien eyes pondered the odd pair as they walked through the starport.  Birdlike aliens, wedge-headed aliens, oceanic aliens wearing suits filled with salty water, and star-fish shaped aliens known as Sparkies.  This world, rarely used by Galtorr Imperials, had become a haven to those who were persecuted, especially those known as Un-Humans because their make-up was not humanoid.  Freaks, too, who had slipped away from their forced servitude, found sanctuary in this place.  For obvious reasons, the starport had only planet-bound elements, a downport.  There was no space station or space port in the system.

     “I don’t understand,” said Arkin, inclining his cowboy-hatted head towards Lazerstone, “why are they watching us?”

     “I sense anticipation.  Their pulse and surge rates are all slightly elevated, indicating anxiety of some sort.”

     “Yes, I feel it.  Can you tell what might be causing it?”

     “Is there an angry cyborg in your past?”

     “What?”  Arkin’s eyes grew round and fearful.

     “There is a being re-animated with artificial energy flows behind us.  He is seventy-two per cent metallic and eight per cent polymer.  He has been trailing us since we passed through the first security gate.”

     “It’s Ace Campfield.”  Arkin tried to pretend that the music of the universe was not pounding out an eerie tuba score that made the heart rate climb dramatically.

     “We know he’s there,” cautioned Lazerstone.  “I can see him even when he’s hiding because I don’t rely on eyes to see.  It gives us a tactical advantage.”

     “Tactical advantage?”

     “I can’t read minds, but I know he’s got a small plasma weapon that he is firing up for use.  We can attack first.”

     Arkin began to sweat profusely.  He only narrowly escaped the bounty-hunting Mechanoid the last time.  This would have to be a fatal confrontation, one way or another.

     “He’s hideous in a way,” commented Lazerstone.  “He is a creature who’s not fully alive and certainly not dead.  His cold heart seems to be without feeling.”

     “You’re going to say it again, aren’t you?”

     “What?  Fascinating?”

     “Yes, that.  You got it from ancient holovids, didn’t you Mr. Vulcan?”

     “Yes.  It’s a good word.  But I am not Spock.”

     “Fascinating.”

     Arkin pulled his gauss pistol and dove to the right.  Lazerstone dove to the left.  They both rolled and came up pointing their weapons at a surprised Ace Campfield.

     “What?  You will shoot me with those things?  A speedy slug thrower and a finger?”

     “Yes,” said Arkin, pulling the trigger.  The gauss pistol launched its accelerated slug at mach 4 and Lazerstone simultaneously launched crystal shards from the end of his finger.  The slug tore through Ace’s cranium, breaking circuitry and slagging connections.  The crystal shards flew past the rotted head and plunged into the ground in five places.

     The face of Ace Campfield wrinkled upwards into a skeletal grin of pure mockery.  “Didn’t feel a thing!”  He raised his plasma handgun to point it at Arkin’s white face.

     Out of the ground surrounding Campfield, five crystal arms rose out of the dirt like a scene from a George Romero movie.  Each grabbed the bounty-hunter, pulling at him from a different direction.

     “What the…?”

     Ace’s arms and legs splintered as the five new Lazerstones stood up, rending him limb from limb.

     “Curse you, you alien scum!” cried the limbless torso that was previously Ace Campfield.

     “Sorry there were only five of us to answer the call,” said Lazerstone, “but there’s a limited amount of harmonic quartz on this planet.”

     Arkin smiled and nodded at his friend.  “Fascinating!”

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AeroQuest 3… Canto 73

Canto 73 – Star Nomads – (The Silver Thread)

Tron and Maggie needed the Megadeath and her crew to bolster the defense forces of Outpost.  So, it was simply a matter of finding a ship they could spare to send Artran to safety with Ged on whatever planet the hunter now inhabited.

“I can’t afford to send a single Pinwheel or White Sword out of system.  We lost too many to defend our planet already.  And we have to assume this base is no longer a secret to Grand Admiral Tang.”  Tron glared at his difficult wife.

“This is our only son we are talking about,” argued Maggie.  “He is a cargo worth protecting.  That’s why we are bothering to send him to Ged Aero in the first place.”

“Perhaps I can be of assistance, sir,” offered Bill the Postman (secretly Scarpigo Snarcs).  “Your wife is going to win this argument, or I don’t know anything about wives.”

“Have you been married before?” asked Tron, fixing the clown with a laser-eyed look from both his artificial eye and his natural one.

“Of course not!  I told you I knew all about wives didn’t I?”

“So, what’s your worthless advice, then?”

“I am disguised as a competent member of the Imperial Scout Service.  So, I can take him to his destination without being fired upon in any X-boat that is delivering mail.”

“How is that secure enough for my precious boy?” asked Maggie.

“Well, I will be delivering the Imperial mail.  You know the Imperial Space Navy does not shoot down its own mail service, even on the frontier.”

“He has a good point, Maggie,” said an exasperated Tron.

“What about Star Dogs?  They do attack Scout ships of all kinds.”

“That’s true, dogs does chase postmen,” offered Quintillius Blorghoffer (secretly Cinco Snarcs disguised as a Scout Service Postman), “But me brudder an’ I is two of de bestest secret-type agent-men going, an’ our X-boat is secretly armed with a meson cannon, don’t ya know.  Ain’t that right, Pontoffel Poggs?”

Zero Snarcs (disguised as the above-mentioned Poggs the Postman) vigorously shook his head.

“He says you don’t?” asked Maggie angrily.

“Oh, he don’t know no better.  He shakes his head like that when he means ta say yes.  He’s just too stupid to talk.”

“Okay, I have my doubts now, too,” said Tron.

“Please, sir,” said Tiki Astro, “I am fully programmed to problem-solve and defend Artran.  Who better to send along with him as he travels in secret than I?”

Tron looked at the artificial child.  With his new skin covering his metalloid body, he was completely indistinguishable from a real child.  He would indeed be the perfect travelling companion to keep Artran safe.

“Yes.  That settles it.  Artran goes in the X-boat with the three idiots to be with Ged Aero in relative safety.”

Maggie sighed and nodded agreement.

Happy Jack sighed and then hugged his artificial son goodbye.

The three idiot postmen and the two children boarded the balloon-shaped X-boat and immediately took off from Outpost.

Once they reached the orbital jump point, Bill the Postman turned to Pontoffel Poggs (which was actually Scarpigo Snarcs turning to Zero Snarcs) and said, “Okay, boy, spin the directional dial and then spin the distance dial.”

Poggs (who was actually Snarcs) spun both dials like he was playing Intergalactic Wheel of Fortune.

“It says we are jumping a hundred and twelve parsecs into the middle of unknown space,” warned Blorghoffer (who was also secretly Snarcs).

“That’s perfect!” said Bill (secretly… well, you know).  He then smashed the jump button and folded space to a distance that would normally destroy an X-boat.

After an undeterminable amount of time they exited jump space into a black void.  But at it’s center glittered a multitude of artificial lights from a construct seemingly sewn together with steel beams and made from junk spaceship fuselages, broken satellites, abandoned space stations, and unidentifiable metal things from unknown space.

“Ah, I didn’t actually think that would work,” said Bill.

“Where are we?” asked Artran and Tiki at almost the same moment.

“This, my boys, is Nomad.  This is the home of the Star Nomads.”

“An’ I always thinked that Star Nomads be Myths,” said Blorghoffer.

“Just because something is a myth doesn’t mean it’s not true,” said Bill.

Poggs vigorously nodded his stupid head.

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AeroQuest 3… Canto 72

Canto 72: When the Ocean Rises Up (the Blood-Red Thread)

As the Leaping Shadowcat pulled into orbit around the third planet of the Red Giant called FarStar 181 and its white dwarf companion Littlebit 181, we were playing a fierce game of Antarean Canasta while watching local television to get a clue or two about what was happening in the star system.  The planet Farwind was a center of trade, culture, and travel along the Galtorrian Imperial Rim.

“I have a run of five showing,” I said to Sinbadh, Ham, and Duke Ferrari.  “It will cost you each a thousand credits to find out if I can complete it.”  I was winning the hand again and glorying in it.  I regularly made killings in card games because I could keep track of all the cards and the odds in my head.

“Something just isn’t right here,” moaned Ham Aero.  “I’ve never seen a nerdy guy like you win so often at a game of chance.”

“Oi seconds the observation, Doctor Marou,” said Sinbadh.  “Ye play a cutthroat game ye do.”

“Why thank you, Mr. Sinbadh.  I may not be a capable pirate like you, but I earn my respect in more than one way.”

“Aye, ‘tis true,” sighed Sinbadh.  “I can’t afford to call yer jolly bluff, Doc.  I folds.”

“Me too,” said Duke Ferrari stroking his handlebar moustache with a nervous finger as he tossed his hand down.  “I don’t know how you are cheating, Dr. Marou, but I must say, you are good at it!”

“Well,” said Ham with grim determination, “I may lose all my savings, but I have to know if it’s a bluff or not.”

Ham threw the last of his credit chips onto the game board.

“I was hoping somebody would,” I said.  I laid down the six and seven of clovers to make a run of seven.  “I guess I win.”

“Nobody is that good at cards,” Ham said, shaking his blond head sadly.

The holo-news was describing a recent political rally in the government center of Farwind.  People there were upset about the despotic rule of the Galtorr Imperium.  The taxes paid to old Emperor Slythinus were bad enough, but the local sector head, Emperor Mong of the planet Mingo, was placing burden after burden on the people, and on top of that, demanded that they yield up their buried dead to Centralis Controllis, the Master Computer of Mingo Sector.

“I guess I’m going to have to go down there and make an official appearance,” said Duke Ferrari.  His face was long and worried.  “The political situation here is still degenerating.”

“Word has come,” said the talking head from the holo-news, “That Sector Duke Han Ferrari has returned to us and is in orbit even as we speak.”

Ferrari was aghast.  “How did they know that?”

The warning sirens from the auto-sensors came on at that same moment.  A system defense boat was fast approaching from the upper atmosphere of the planet.

“Oh, God help us,” said Ham, overturning the game board and scattering my earnings everywhere.  “We have got such trouble!”

We all followed Ham from the lounge area to the bridge.  The screens were showing a large system defense ship bristling like a porcupine with defensive weaponry.

“It’s definitely a government ship!” said Duke Ferrari.  “If we let them arrest me without resistance, it’s possible they will let the rest of you go free.”

“That clunky thing cannot out-fly me,” swore Ham, “If you want me to run…”

“No,” said the Duke.  “Let’s hail them.”

The captain of the defense boat was quickly called up and on screen.

“You are here for me, I take it,” the Duke said to the on-screen captain.

“Yessir!”  The captain of the other ship saluted crisply.  “By the command of the people of Farwind, we humbly request that you let us escort you to Farwind Downport.”

“Escort us?”

“Yes, your highness.  The people of Farwind have just completed a coup of the government.  We want a democracy like you tried to institute on Coventry, and we want you to lead us!”

The Duke’s surprise was enormous.  “The people decided this?”

“Yessir!  There’s only one little problem for you to deal with first.  The governors of the Imperium have fortified themselves inside the undersea dome at Farwind Center.  It’s a well-guarded and very secure facility.  The people want you to lead the assault.”

“Good god, man,” moaned Ferrari, a hand dragging across the left side of his face where he’d just slapped himself.  “I’m no military leader.  Is this mission even possible?”

“We hope so, sir.  It’s the will of the people.”

Ferrari looked at all of us aboard the Shadowcat.  “I can’t ask any of you to sacrifice yourselves on this fool’s mission.  We will be killed and it will all be for nothing.”

Ham grinned.  He was handsome when he smiled.  “If Goofy were here right now, he’d say what are we waiting for?”

“You… you mean, you want to come with me?”

“We live for adventure!  Don’t we, guys?”

“Well, er… woof, that is,” said Sinbadh.

“No, I surely don’t,” I said.

“See,” said Ham, “it’s settled!  When do we attack?  And why do you call yourself Shirley Doant, professor?”

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AeroQuest 3… Canto 71

Canto 71 – In the Belly of the Dragon (the White Thread)

Inside the massive ancient device shaped like a dragon, the students of Ged Aero discovered a long corridor and a number of rooms that looked like the inside of a spaceship, yet not like any spaceship any of them had ever entered.

“It’s something like a Nebulon Space Whale,” said Gyro. “The walls and floors and ceilings are all made of pliable materials that bend and warp as the artificial creature moves, yet I can sense that it is entirely unliving in the same way as something made of stone or rigid metal.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty weird in here,” said little Mai Ling.

“Junior?  Are you still in telepathic contact with its artificial mind?” Ged asked.

“Yes, Sensei.  But it is complex.  It thinks in algorithms faster than I can learn from it.”

“We have to master this wonderful thing,” said Phoenix.  “It is the most elegant and brilliant travel machine I have ever seen.”

“Where is the control center… the bridge for the ship?” asked Shu Kwai.

“Directly above us,” answered Junior, straining to keep up with the flood of input from his unique form of telepathy.

“Can you find the way in?” asked Sara.

“I think I can open it.”

Red, blue, and yellow lights flashed in pulsating patterns along the red-brown walls.  Then a hidden hatchway opened above their heads.  A ladder that was made of some sort of high-tech bone or stone dropped to the floor.

“Permission to lead the way?” asked Billy.  “I can use my clairvoyance to see what’s ahead.”

“Yes, Billy-san, lead the way,” said Ged with a satisfied smile.

Billy Iowa climbed like squirrel monkey, zipping up through the hole in the ceiling in almost no time.  Then he signaled the others to follow.  One by one they all scaled the ladder and entered the large control room of the dragon ship.

It was a room shaped like the top of the dragon’s head in the carved statue of the dragon gate that existed outside and all around the ancient device.

“This will be such a shame to shatter the walls and city gate in order to use this spaceship,” Ged muttered, intending to talk to himself mainly.

“As far as I can tell, we don’t have to destroy the gate or walls to free the dragon from them.  It is showing me a schematic that suggests the whole thing teleports from here out into space.  The structure of the city walls and gate were built to remain standing when the dragon leaves.  It can also return and hide in the same place.”  Junior had answered in an almost mechanical way.

“Junior?  Do you need to rest your telepathy a bit?” suggested Sara.

“Um, well… let me do two more things first.”

The panels where the dragon’s eyes were located on the outside of the gate suddenly irised open, though nothing could be seen through them.  The six holes in the ceiling that then opened up each lowered a helmet attached to a long, glowing filament that tethered it to the computerized brain above.

“What are these for?” asked Hassan.

Junior fell to his knees, practically exhausted to the point of unconsciousness.

“Junior!”  Sara took hold of him and cradled him on her lap on the control-room floor.

“We… we are going to have to experiment.  So much of this is too complicated for me to understand without a great deal of study.”  Junior closed his eyes, and was immediately asleep.

“So, when do we move our stuff from the Palace into this thing?” asked Alec.

“There is no hurry.  We need to give Junior time to learn this thing’s complicated operations.  And we need to explore the whole of the ship.  We cannot simply jump into a thing like this and take off.  We don’t even know yet where we must go.  Somebody is going to have to study those damned books of prophecy too.” Ged surveyed the faces of his students.  Freddy, Rocket, Phoenix, and Billy had started grinning at each other when Ged had mentioned the word, “explore”.  Gyro was lost in thought examining a helmet. Hassan was looking about with a bored expression. Jackie, Mai Ling, Taffy, and Sara were all gathered around Junior and tending to him or lending concern.  Only Alec was glaring back at Ged.

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AeroQuest 3… Canto 70

Canto 70 – Frying Pans and Fires (the Green Thread)

Hooey, King Killer, and another Pinwheel Corsair known as Willie Culver knelt in rags and chains on the cold metal deck of the Bregohelma.  Wormheart Toadsucker rubbed rubbery white hands together with glee over them.

“Pirates are you?  Fearsome are you?  Killed many men, have you?” crooned Toadsucker. “It will not help you now.  The master has you in his power.  You are doomed.  DOOMED!”  The ugly sycophant cackled in a particularly ugly way.

“Charming company we’re keeping,” King remarked to Hooey.

“We have to put up with him in order to get where we are going,” said Hooey matter-of-factly. 

“Jeez,” said Willie Culver, “we’re gonna die and you guys are making jokes!”  Willie’s young face was contorted with fear.

“Well,” said King, “I guess it’s because I wanta die, and the Doctor here believes we can’t no matter what we do.  You know, Willie, he’s a Time Knight and supposedly knows the future.”

“I know seven of them, as a matter of fact,” said the good doctor.  “It’s just a matter of making sure we arrive at the correct one.”

“And what did Sheherry mean right before she died?” added King.

“About what, exactly?” asked Hooey.

“She said to take care of our children.  She’s dead.  We don’t have any children, nor ever will have!”

“Oh, well…  You have to find out some time…  You actually have three children, all boys.  All three of them are growing up in the distant past, safe places where they can be retrieved at the proper time.”

“What?”  King was stunned.

“Sheherazade knew she was going to sacrifice herself to save you.  I showed her the video of the possible outcome of the battle.  She decided to have three children by you in the short time she had available to her.  That’s why I had to take her in my time ship to give birth three different times within the space of a week here in this timeline.”

“I have three boys?”

“The eldest she named Prince.  The younger two are Terran and Sejii.  She told me where and when I am supposed to pick up each of them and hand them over to you.”

“Let’s find them right now!”  King’s face was red and hot.  The chords in his neck bulged with emotion.

“Well…  We sorta hafta get back to my time ship first.  That’s going to take a while.”

“Yeah, especially if we die,” said Willie.

“Oh, we aren’t gonna die,” said Hooey.  “I have an ace in the hole yet.”

At that moment, Brona Tang entered the Brig.

“So, Bad Guy in red armor, what will you do to us now?” said King with a perilous grin.

“Oh,” said the electronically enhanced voice, “I thought about putting you all to death, but I know from my uncle, Sir Saurol, that you can’t kill a Time Knight without it being the thing he wants you to do.  They have some kind of uncanny power over the future.  I won’t fall into that trap again.  It cost me too much when I killed Shan Sasaki.”

“Ah, so you are the one!” said Hooey, surprised.  “I should have known you were the one.”

“I have a much better plan for you three.  There is no way you could’ve anticipated being marooned on the prison planet I have in mind.  It will mean a long, slow degradation and death.”

“A desert planet, then?” asked Hooey.

“No,” snapped Tang.  “I told you that you couldn’t guess.  I will take you to the planet Stanley.  You can play with the scalies, dinosaurs, and damnthings there.  They will be happy to meet and eat you.”

“Oh, gawd!” cried Willie Culver.  “No one has ever escaped from there.”

“I welcome it,” said King.  “You are giving me just what I want!”

Tang laughed and waves of fear rolled over the three prisoners.  “You will languish and live out your days there in terror and pain.  Maybe your friend Tron Blastarr will be joining you there.  We’ve found his little pirate base at the place he calls Outpost.”

King glared at the armored Admiral.  “So, you think you’re gonna beat Tron?”

“Oh, I intend to take my time about it,” said Tang.  “I know that Arkin Cloudstalker is making his way there with his allies.  I might even trap Conn and the Blackhawks there, destroying all my enemies in one barrel.”

            “Dream on,” said King hotly.  “Tron and Maggie are the best you’ve ever faced.  You give them time to put together the space forces, and you’ll never live to regret it.”

“Ooh!  I’m so scared!” said Admiral Tang.

“We’re scared!” mimicked Toadsucker.  “We are worried about one-eyed star sailors and their skinny, red-headed wives too!  Ricky and Lucy fight the evil Admiral.”

            “Shut up, Worm!”  Tang backhanded the lowly mutant across his ugly faced and made him sink, weeping, to the deck of the Brig.

“You make me mad,” said King Killer.  “In fact, you make me wanta live long enough to escape your stupid prison and pay you back what you’re worth.”

“Rot on Stanley, you ugly monkey.  The jungles there will take all three of you in a week.”  Tang turned on his armored heel and walked away, his red cape swirling and billowing out behind him.

“We’re gonna die a horrible death,” moaned Willie Culver, tears streaming down his young cheeks.

“Willie, I intend to bring us all three back alive,” growled King.  “Just to spite that red bughead.  He made me mad!”

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AeroQuest 3…

Canto 69 – Coffee Time on the Shadowcat (the Blood-Red Thread)

My first meeting with Ham Aero and the crew of the Leaping Shadowcat was in the Trophy Lounge on the lower deck of the Shadowcat herself.  The charming white-furred Lupin boy, Sahleck Kim, led me there when I arrived from the White Duke’s shuttle. 

“So, you’re the cabin boy?”

“Oh, yes, Dr. Marou.  It’s hard to believe, I know.  I’ve gone in a matter of a few weeks from Count Nefaria’s dungeons where I was destined to die, to working aboard the space ship of the great Safari Master and adventurer, Ham Aero.  My future is suddenly bright.”

The child’s eyes glistened like an excited puppy’s as he told me his tale of rescue.  He led me to a seat in the Trophy Lounge where I could sit and eat one of Sinbadh’s sumptuous meals.  There was a stuffed head of a dragon-mouthed pakoollie beast from the planet Samothrace looking directly down on my plate, trying his hardest to ruin my appetite with his ugliness.

            “My boy, do you have any coffee?” I asked.

Sahleck grinned in a wide-mouthed way that only Lupins can manage.  “It’s one of Commander Sinbadh’s specialties!” He said.

“Bring me some.  Please.”

The boy hurried to the mess.  At that same moment, Ham and Duke Ferrari entered.

            “I guess, with Cloudstalker’s departure, you are the Captain of the ship again,” said Ferrari of the curly moustaches. 

“Oh, I think you still out-rank me,” answered Aero modestly.  “Hello…  You must be Professor Googol Marou.”

Ham offered his hand to me and I gladly shook it.  “Yes, I’m honored to meet a man who has traveled almost as much as any explorer.”

            “The reputation has not entirely been earned,” said Ham.

            “This is YOUR ship, Ham,” said Ferrari, frowning slightly.  “I think you should be the captain.”

Ham smiled.  “I won’t argue that now, Han.  Have you met Dr. Marou?”

“No, no…  Nice to make your acquaintance, Doctor.”

“I too, am honored,” I said.  “I am not used to meeting such powerful inter-planetary politicians.”

Ferrari looked at me as if he were slightly annoyed.  “You know the White Duke.  He’s a bigger light in this galaxy than I am.”

“Well, if you say so.”  I know I must’ve been grinning ear to ear to hear my own friend being praised in this way.  I wonder how Ferrari actually took that.

Ham looked at me quizzically.  “Professor, what’s in all the boxes you had installed in the skinning and mounting lab?”

“Oh!  My invention!  I have to tell you about it.”  Gleefully I related everything they needed to know about the Marou Ancient Light Holo-Assembler Telescope and maybe a tad bit more as well.  I explained how my sheer genius had allowed events to be viewed from light years away, and thusly, years in the past.

“Umm, that’s very good, professor,” Ham said.  “I guess that will come in handy…”

He didn’t speak with enthusiasm, but I knew he was actually quite impressed with me.

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AeroQuest 3… Adagio 13

Adagio 13 – The Pathfinders

It was difficult enough to piece the whole story together before Artran left his parents, but it’s about to become even more difficult to follow.  Let me try to straighten you out about the plot of this history.  Well, maybe straighten out isn’t such a good term.   It’s more like having a giant Gordian Knot of colored pipe cleaners without being able to cut it apart with a sword.  Instead, you have to follow the ins and outs of the different colored strands and try like hell to make out how it all fits together.  That is by way of analogy, mind you.  Don’t go thinking that this entire history is made of literal pipe cleaners. 

The thing is, it started out as a straight-forward tale with two brothers leaving Imperial space because of persecution.  They were determined to make a new and better home somewhere out in unknown space. 

It’s surprising, though, how quickly the unknown becomes a part of the known, and how the known can become a heavy anchor that pulls you back to weighty things. 

When Ged sent Ham in the wrong direction, back into the Galtorr Imperium, we have the first fork in the plot.  Then came the Corsairs’ determination to work together, all except for the evil Monopoly Brigade, and then, following that, Tron and Arkin and Razor and the rest all get split up again.  More forks in the path.  In fact, everything gets pretty much all forked up.

I see the story going plot-wise in two directions at once, then with a couple of curly-cues, a loop-the-loop, and a full back flip.  It gets even more complicated as Dr. Hooey and the Time Knights get involved.  I mean, they started meddling with events themselves, backwards and forwards in time.  It gets pretty hairy in an ugly, back-hair sort of way.

So, even though I started this chapter in my history as a way to clarify how and where things are going, I am more confused than ever myself.  You’ll have to forgive me.

Anyway, little Artran leaving his parents for the first time is important because of the result.  He would fly off from the impending Battle of Outpost and into history as one of the most important explorers since Martin Faulkner himself.  You’ll see what I mean as the story goes along, that is, if I don’t get so balled up in it that I meet myself going the opposite way and forget to tell you that part.

This is not just a record of the doings of the famous safari masters, Ged and Ham Aero.   It is not just a record of the rebellion by pirates and politicians.  It is a story of how a small boy gets separated from his parents and discovers worlds undreamed of in our philosophy.  Oh, and don’t forget about the “Teachers in Space” parts of the story.  That’s important too.

But this Adagio is entitled “Pathfinders” for a reason.  Admittedly, not a very good reason, as the path is very hard to follow.  But hang in there.  The story gets better later.  I promise.  For one thing, I myself, Professor Googol Marou, am about to enter this story.

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