This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
As I am sitting here in the sun drenched room of my tower to continue writing down my story as I have been asked by my best friends, my mind wanders back to the beginning. It had all started right here on Nilfeheim, Back then I was Eric Olafson, born on this cold beautiful world with no idea what my life would bring.
Now as I look over the sparkling wave crests of the Northern Sea during this beautiful clear Shortsummer day I can almost hear my father's voice, his heavy footsteps coming up the spiral stair case leading up to my room. I could remember the fear I had, expecting another trashing with his steel cable whip. Whenever I looked back I also remembered the night when he killed my mother. These ghosts of the past no longer affected me the same way as they did back then, father had died 255 years ago and I had seen things and witnessed events much scarier than him or anything on Nilfeheim for that matter.
Now that my human existence draws to an end even the horrible memory of seeing my mother die did not feel as intense as it once did. I no longer hated my father I was able to make my peace with him as he was dying and I hoped he would find a place among the fallen warriors in Valhalla and drink mead and celebrate with the Aseir.
The Burg had changed, not much but it wasn't the same place I had left so long ago when I boarded a Space bus to make my way to Arsenal II and to the Union Fleet academy. Elena my sister had not only been the first female Clan Chief in Nilfeheim history, she had remodeled and improved the burg during her time. Gone were the gray Duro-crete and rough rock walls. The burg was now white and had nice dark roofs and it looked actually quite impressive and regal now. Elena had made the Olafson Clan the richest and most prominent Clan and she was deeply respected by her still all male peer. All Clan chiefs of Nilfeheim had gathered at her funeral and even the Circle of Elders paid her highest respects by giving her a full warrior's funeral.
The day I would leave this world for the last time was not far away, but before I make my journey to Narth Prime I will complete my story as I had promised.
Sometimes you will notice I am telling this story out of a perspective of someone else, these Interludes I find are necessary to give you the reader a more complete picture of the events that I am telling you about. I am using what my friends have told me and a little artistic freedom whenever I am switching the point of view.
So if you like follow me again as I tell you the next part of my story and the events that followed after I apparently died during the final Challenge to win the Reagan trophy.
A Narth (Formerly known as E. Olafson, Admiral Ret. USotG Navy) March, 12th 5379
CHAPTER 1: Alone
The last thing I remembered was the stinging prick into my neck and then a nauseating spinning sensation that dragged me into nothingness.
I was supposed to perform an Orbital assault jump as part of the final challenge and to win the Reagan trophy for the Devastator.
My friends and I equipped with heavy battle suits had boarded a Drop ship. Strapped into the drop rack, my suit malfunctioned and nothing worked.
At first I believed I was dead, but I felt still nauseas and I opened my eyes. I was not dead, but lying on a metal floor. My hands were tied to my back and I was bare feet, someone had stripped me of most of my uniform, but to my surprise I still wore the leather shoulder holster and in it was the antique colt 45, Admiral Stahl had given me. If I could only free my hands somehow, I wiggled and strained my arms into an awkward painful position, and glanced at my wrists. It looked like Memory material tape. Plastic fibers that stuck only to each other, but with an incredible tensile strength, no matter how much I strained it didn't budge. All it did was cut deep into my skin.
Still sick to the stomach I sat up and looked around. I was in a holding cell and I cursed."Not again!"
My memory of my last time stuck in a holding cell was still fresh even though it happened almost three years ago.
This prison cell had the shape of an inverted half pipe that was set like an alcove into a metal wall. I estimated it to be about four meters tall three meters deep and perhaps also three wide. There was no bed, no bunk, no hygiene unit, nothing. The front of the cell appeared unobstructed, no bars or barriers of any kind. Only at its edges I could see a shimmering distortion and it became clear to me there was a force field in place.
I tried to spit into the hallway beyond but my spittle hit the invisible force field with a sharp hissing sound and it was turned into a puff of molecular smoke. No Union holding cell would utilize an aggressive force field.
The room beyond the cell had two similar alcoves but they were empty and so was the hallway between them.
The loud vibrating hum of engines told me that I was aboard a space ship it ran with its engines near red line. The hum did not sound like a fine tuned Union engine.
What had happened? How did I end up here from being aboard a Union Drop Ship and inside a Quasimodo?
Was I alone or were my friends captured and in similar cells? That something worse happened to them I didn't even want to think. However if my past experiences were any indication, it was most likely just me and I was almost certain Dent had something to do with it. Just how did he do it right under the nose of the Immortal Admiral of the Fleet?
I did not think of Mc Elligott the same way as I felt about Admiral Stahl, but I trusted him and didn't want to believe that he might be involved in this.
While I was still contemplating my situation, there wasn't much else to do after all a humanoid man came into view. He appeared almost human except for the fine scaled skin. I recognized him immediately as the half human, half Shiss Lieutenant that shared a dinner with us right after we had arrived on Newport.
"Ah my guest is already up. Splendid! I was already concerned I used too much energy on the Paralysator."
I said nothing.
"What no questions? I expected you to ask me all sorts of questions!"
"I doubt you would tell me anything I really want to know."
"Oh but I would. You see you are dead as far as the world is concerned. I think they are holding a ceremonial service for you right now. No one is looking for you!"
However they did it, I believed him. Somehow they managed to fake my death and this is how they managed to fool my friends and the Immortal Admiral. I did not want to give him any satisfaction so I keep silent.
It appeared he didn't mind and he confirmed what I just was thinking." We did it right under the nose of the Old Admiral too!"
I laughed at him. "If you think you and that goon Dent are smart enough to fool an Immortal who has seen every trick in the book, you are certainly on the wrong ship. He is going to figure it out."
"They do not look for you. I told you. They think you are dead. You see your suit malfunctioned and most of you burned up in the atmosphere, the rest that slammed into the planet surface had a few traces of burned DNA left, your DNA."
He was very proud of himself and I could not figure out why they went through all this trouble just to get me.
"It was quite a challenge to get you of the Marine ship, but we did it. Oh I wish we could have taken the Quasimodo along, but something had to burn up and what they pay me for you is enough to buy me a new ship."
"I was not told why they want you!" He started thinking. "I bet I could get even more money for you if I knew what it is."
He suddenly left.
I was in dire need to go relief myself. No telling how long I had been unconscious, but by the soreness of my body it could have been several days. I was hungry and very thirsty. I was already contemplating to face the indignity and the discomfort and relieve myself when he came back holding a Kermac Line Blaster. He said."We have arrived sleepy head. I am going to be very rich and you going to be dead or something."
He deactivated the force field aiming his blaster at me. "Get up and let's go! If I have to deliver you with a leg or an arm less then so be it! They said alive, but I assure you there are many nuances between alive and dead and I don't mind delivering a half cooked cripple."
I struggled to my feet, which wasn't easy. "Can I use a toilet? I really need to go!"
He actually spat at me and said. "I don't care what you need! As soon as we are outside you may simply let it go! Just don't soil my ship. He kicked me hard into the groin and laughed." This is just a taste what I am going to do to you. If you don't shut up and walk!"
Through the excruciating waves of nauseating pain I grunted. "I get you. I promise I will get you for this!"
His answer was an elbow blow into my kidneys."Move!"
There was no sense fighting him now, he had the upper hand while I was tied and he was armed, so I obeyed. We stepped on a platform and it lowered itself to the ground.
From what I could see now I was certain it was a Kartanian Jihhif type Courier ship, slightly larger than the Sturgeon class of the Union, it was at last 200 years old.
He kicked and drove onto the Duro-crete surface of a space port.
The air reeked of rotting garbage and the stinging putrid stench of smoldering burning plastic.
The sky had a sickly greenish shade coming from a green sun that barley penetrated the thick smog that lay like a blanket over everything.
It was very warm; I estimated the temperatures to hover in the upper thirties.
The landing field was made out of Duro-crete or a similar, but it was heavily cracked and big sections had already crumbled to big chunks, weeds grew almost everywhere.
Piles of trash everywhere I looked. Not far from us was the burnt out wreck of what was looked like was once a Togar mini freighter.
In the distance the skyline of an immense city with tall sky scrapers and structures, none looked alike. There was no distinctive or predominant architectural style. Even from here I could see black smoke rising from many sources beyond that skyline.
At first we were alone and I wondered if whoever was to meet him had missed the appointment, but then a sleek looking skimmer of an unknown type approached. It was armed with two energy cannons mounted on articulated arms sticking out from its roof.
My captor laughed. "My payday and your final fate is approaching!"
But before the skimmer had reached us, a bright energy bolt suddenly hit the speeder and a second one hammered into the Courier ships drive section. The skimmer lost its Arti-Grav cushion and screeched over the duro-crete engulfed in a cloud of dust and fire and crashed into a large pile of debris.
The second blast had done considerable damage to the Kartanian equivalent of an ISAH pod and I was certain it wasn't space worthy anymore.
My tormenting captor had forgotten about me and ducked behind a piece of scrap metal and cursed on the top of his lungs in a language I did not understand.
That was my chance and I bolted as fast as I could, ignoring the very likely possibility of another energy bolt across the uneven ground, leaped with all the strength I could muster over a busted shipping crate and rolled over my shoulder to lessen the still painful impact. Just as I did a blaster shot cracked directly over my head. It came from the Half-Shiss that brought me here. Obviously he had remembered me after all.
The crate had been ripped open and there were jagged metal edges. As fast as I could I turned and started to work on the plastic tape that tied my hands.
I worked franticly. I could hear him yell and scream obscenity laden predictions my way telling me what he would do to me as soon as he got me again. He came closer, I could hear his steps. Blood trickled into my palms as I had missed the tape several times but I didn't care. The scaled face of my tormentor appeared over the edge of the crate. The tape finally ripped released my hands. I rolled on my back, the good old colt 45 in my fists a fraction of a heartbeat later. He had spotted me and was about to aim his weapon. The antique gun made a satisfying deep roaring bang and the heavy slug punched an ugly hole right between his eyes, blood and brain spraying from the back of his head as it was violently thrown back.
"That's for not letting me piss, asshole!" I vented my anger cursing at the now dead man but I knew I was far from safe.
I robbed as close to the ground as possible forward and risked a peek around the crate.
Three men emerged from the damaged and smoking speeder. They all wore battle suits that did not look like any I knew and certainly not Union Fleet Issue. I was certain the suits were shielded and the reason they came out alive from their damaged and smoking vehicle.
All three were armed with blaster rifles, one of them was limping and it appeared that his suit had been damaged.
They did not look into my direction so I extended my arm and reached for the Line blaster next my captor had dropped as I ended his miserable existence.
Out from under the burned out wreck emerged a powerful looking Assault tank, crushing debris and waste under its wide tracks. From the organic lines of its design I assumed it was Nul hardware. The tank was armed with two cannons one of them swiveled around aiming at the men. I wasn't sure if I wanted to stand in the firing line of a Nul cannon that close even in a Quasimodo.
All I could determine that they were humanoid, but as I saw them from the back I could not tell anything else.
A loudspeaker squealed from the tank." You don't do business on our space port without us getting a share! I suggest you drop your guns now and deactivate your force fields. Then we will talk fees and decide if you are allowed to continue your business."
I had no idea where I was, but I knew sticking around was not a good idea. While they were busy with each other I crawled to the next pile of dirt further away and kept on creeping from cover to cover putting as much distance between me and them as I could.
I was now a good distance away and chanced a peak to see what was going on. Two men and a Quadiped floated right above the tank, apparently against their will. The three men used Telekinetics and had disabled the tank by snatching its crew with that cursed power.
One of the armor wearing strangers yelled. You mindless scum! Do you have any idea who you are dealing with?"
The Line Blaster I had taken was a decent weapon and fired long bolts of energy. It was this fact that they were named Line Blasters. However it was next to useless against men in shielded armor suits and with Telekinetic abilities.
Besides even without Armor and Psionics the numbers were against me and the only sensible thing for me to do was get as far away as possible. However I hoped to hear some clue as to where I actually was and perhaps get some idea who it was that wanted me so bad that they abducted me.
Who were they and what did they want of me?
The next possible cover was a pile of Duro-crete pieces but it was at least one hundred meters from my current position, I glanced back once more. No one looked in my direction so I risked it and dashed as fast as I could, then dove behind the pile, skinning my knees in the process.
The still floating tank crew floating started to scream in agony. One of them was ripped apart in mid air by invisible forces in a gruesome display of what could be done with Telekinetics.
At the same time the tank fired again, and the powerful energy beam vaporized one of the armored men and tumbled the other two through the air. Only one of them got up right away, it seemed the one that had limped would not get up again.
Another speeder arrived at high speed firing at the tank, melting much of its front section. More armored men scrambled from that speeder and I could hear one yell. "Where is the Narth friend?"
The Narth friend, all this had to do with my friendship to Narth?
However reinforcements had arrived and there was no reason for me to wait any longer and give them time to search for me. Maybe they had scanners or some Psionic way to search.
The tank was burning now and if its energy source was anti matter or a reactor and containment failed, that possibility was another good reason for me to split. I ran again, towards the end of that trash littered landing field and toward the alien city in the distance.
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