Chapter 2 - Awakening
Dr. Jamins GooYee could tell from the mild pins and needles feeling in his arms and legs that he was coming out from under the influence of the stasis field. Based upon his research about the new colonization planet HG-281, his stasis had lasted around 31 years.
“Yes,” he thought as his body awakened from the effects of long-term sleep. “The one-way trip of 30 light years to travel from Chrysalis to HG-281 and a generous 1 year for the thuggish military to kill or capture the animalistic Humans reported to infest the planet.”
The hinged top of his stasis pod lifted away revealing a male Chrysallaman wearing a dark-green, high collared coat and a broad brimmed colorful hat hanging off his shoulders by a draw cord tied under his chin. The most startling sight as GooYee’s eyes focused on the figure levering up the pod cover was a jeweled Chrysallaman skull tie clasp holding a thin black tie around the male’s neck.
“The coat and hat must be some kind of new defensive armor,” he thought as he levered himself out of his pod and peered around the awakening chamber.
Two other Chrysallaman soldiers were helping other colonists from stasis pods and guiding them toward the adjoining cafeteria. Feeling a little dizzy and in need of something to raise his glucose level, GooYee allowed the strange lizard to take hold of his arm and lead him toward the cafeteria.
“Dr. GooYee, let’s get some food and liquid in your stomach so you’ll begin to feel normal. There will be a debrief shortly.”
A half hour later, the green-coated hat-wearer walked to the presentation dais in the forward area of the cafeteria and gazed at his audience. The fellow had donned a broad leather bandoleer over his shoulder which held a cutter ray pistol holstered in its center with extra loops for three spare power modules. The two other soldiers took seats in a far corner of the room.
GooYee noticed none of the soldiers were wearing the standard issue combat vests he had invented. Combat vests radiated an electrical field which deflected enemy projectiles such as sub-sonic metal slugs and arrows and boosted the normal muscular strength of soldiers by approximately five times. Even more curious were jeweled pendants hanging around the necks of the two soldiers lounging in the far corner.
GooYee had never seen such ornamentation before. Necklaces weren’t standard issue for military grunts. Each pendant appeared to be a silvery porcelain rectangle surrounding a broad, blue stone shot through with dark speckles and white flecks. The odd jewelry hung around their necks on a medium weight chain made from the same silvery porcelain substance. Jamins felt his eyes were playing tricks on him because the black speckles and white flecks in the blue stone seemed to be in constant swirling motion. The visual effect was hypnotic.
“Must still be suffering from lingering effects of stasis.”
The weapons holstered in the soldiers’ utility belts were also not standard issue cutter ray pistols. Instead of the red pistol with a raised cream colored star pattern logo and two dark green discs surrounding the barrel end, the soldiers’ pistols were dark black; smaller and thinner than standard pistols. No discs surrounded the barrels. What appeared to be a short, silvery antenna jutted from the top of the barrel near the rear sight. There was a selector knob on the top of the pistol just above the trigger housing. All-in-all the black pistols looked small and delicate.
“Curious,” GooYee thought with smug confidence. “I need to examine one of those new pistols and see how it functions. No doubt I can improve on the design.”
GooYee seated himself on purpose in the center of the long cafeteria table in front of the presentation area. The nourishment he consumed had wiped away most of the aftereffects from stasis. He felt mentally and physically sharp. As the smartest person in the room (just ask him), he was impatient to set foot on the new planet and review the primitive technological garbage the Human animals had managed to develop prior to their rescue from meaningless obscurity by the benevolent conquering horde of Chrysallamans.
Peering about the room, he counted 24 fellows in various stages of boredom or eagerness depending upon each person’s past experience with a new colonization planet. Experienced people were bored. They only wanted to know the salient facts needed to perform their duties. Otherwise, they simply wished to be transported to the planet and left alone. People on their first mission looked like eager pupplens, wide eyed, bushy tailed and generally excited to begin any kind of work on a brand new planet.
GooYee was a member of the experienced group. He’d been on three previous colonization planets and knew the drill. The Empire had never and would never encounter a race of beings capable of challenging their technology, let alone their physical and mental superiority. At the moment, the biggest question in his mind was when the next transport was scheduled to leave for HG-281 with his specialized laboratory equipment. He was completely unprepared mentally, emotionally and psychologically for the facts announced about the colonization efforts on HG-281.
Rapping a metal telescoping pointer against the view screen mounted on the bulkhead for attention, the green-coated Chrysallaman said, “May I please have your attention.”
“I am obliged to inform you the colonization of Planet HG-281 has utterly failed. The only mother ship to survive the counterattack by the inhabitants of the planet is the command vessel, VrrSilliac Xur.”
A moment of shocked silence was followed by wild shouts of disbelief thundering from the assembled group. Several balled fists slammed down on the metal tables with resounding bangs, and some of the scientists rose from their seats. The more timid ones looked about for an exit door.
Shouts included, “What?” “Impossible!” “Lies!” and one, “There’s no damn way!”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please calm yourselves. I will explain,” the hat wearing Chrysallaman announced.
“My name is Whatsit. I was aboard the scout ship, UurBereck, one of the original planetary survey ships dispatched to planet HG-281 over 67 years ago. The UurBereck was shot from the sky by the HG-281 natives, its crew killed and I was captured.”
Studying the array of facial expressions and the random thoughts flashing through the minds of the assembled crowd, there was little doubt the ingrained perception of Chrysallaman superiority over all lower lifeforms was going to be difficult to crack. The pompous response from Dr. GooYee said it all.
“Your story is patently impossible and therefore false,” he declared to the nods of his fellow scientists. “Without even mentioning the overwhelming telepathic control all Chrysallamans have upon all lower species, the technological prowess of Chrysallaman scientific achievements like the cutter and heat rays as well as the complete protection of the gravity-drive shield and lightspeed capability of our warcraft are demonstrable evidence of your lies.”
Peering around the room and seeing agreement etched across the faces of his colleagues emboldened him to growl, “I demand to see your superior officer. Your story is traitorous on its face!”
Shrugging and cocking his head to the side, Whatsit looked at GooYee and nodded, “Of course, Doctor.”
With his eyes still locked on GooYee, Whatsit requested, “Colonel, would you mind helping me out?”
The larger of the two Chrysallaman soldiers stood and walked over, motioning Whatsit to step back. Turning to the remaining soldier, he ordered, “Major, please fetch the Human female and bring her before this august group.”
Nodding, the soldier left the room. A moment later, a bipedal animal everyone in the room recognized as one of the semi-intelligent Humans infesting planet HG-281 opened the door and walked over to stand beside the Chrysallaman Colonel. The animal showed no fear as she stood next to the towering Chrysallaman. GooYee’s eyes narrowed when he noticed one of the blue stone necklaces hanging around the Human’s neck and the very obvious black pistol holstered at her waist.
The Colonel said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Major Rebecca Mae Chang, one of the leaders of the military defenders of Earth, the real name of planet HG-281.”
Watching the small female Human cross her arms in an insolent manner inappropriate for a subservient lifeform, a concerted gasp escaped all the Chrysallaman scientists as a strong, crisp telepathic message entered their minds like a hot stiletto blade, “I’ve never seen so many live Chriks in one place in my life. You’re lucky you were in stasis in a mega-liner and not on board the mother ships we blew out of the sky.”
The sheer power of the telepathic statement flowed across GooYee’s brain like a sharp, hot breeze, and he instinctively took a step back in a fear response. Even The Glorious Emperor, His Majesty Terr Horcunt, who Jamins had consulted several times in his life, had never displayed such raw, mental power.
Gathering his dignity about him as best he could, GooYee blustered, “What is the meaning of this? You dare to sully the importance of this meeting with an insolent animal? This thing should be kneeling before us, begging for the mercy of a swift death!”
Instead of cowering in fear, the Human called Major Rebecca Mae Chang turned to Whatsit and asked, “Is a superiority complex just a natural part of the Chrysallaman psyche, or is there a required elementary school indoctrination involved?”
Smiling, Whatsit replied, “Until the last couple of weeks, the Chrysallaman race had never suffered a defeat. I’m afraid the superiority complex is quite ingrained.”
Their exchange was interrupted by the incredulous Jamins GooYee, “I demand you cease conversing with this animal as if it was your equal! Your conduct is embarrassing. And further more. . .”
His mental tirade was cut off as if he had been face-slapped by his angry former wife who’d divorced him many years earlier for the wanton indignities she suffered as his spouse.
“Oh, stick a sock in it, Gooey!” Chang admonished as she turned to face him.
Still upset at the odd proceedings and jolted again by the power of the Earth being’s thoughts, Jamins stammered, “The name is GooYee, Dr. Jamins GooYee, not Gooey. Furthermore, I will not subject myself to some kind of ignorant, animalistic ritual involving a stick and a sock!”
“Yeah yeah, whatever,” Chang replied with narrowed eyes.
“I think a demonstration is in order,” announced the Colonel, who’d been watching the exchange between GooYee and Chang.
Pointing to a slab of metal in the corner of the room held upright by a heavy stand, he continued, “Would a couple of you who are metallurgists please examine the metal and advise everyone what it is.”
Two scientists came forward and took several moments to examine the object. Overall, the material was dark gray in color. The slab was 2 feet wide, 4 feet high and six inches thick. The edges of it appeared to be black glassine, as if the metal had been heated to some tremendous temperature causing it to melt and change its fundamental molecular properties. Using a set of calipers and what appeared to be a portable device for spectrographic analysis, it was only a matter of moments before the Chrysallamans nodded to each other.
One of them said, “My name is Dr. Davidd Mkkell and prior to being assigned to this colonization mission, I was the Department Head of Metallurgical Sciences at the University of Trissalic. My colleague here is Dr. Thann HannBrr, professor of the Department of Hybrid Plasticized Elements.”
Noting the approving murmurs from the others in the room, Dr. Mkkell continued, “Our analysis confirms this metal is a part of the armor plate from the outer hull of a mother ship. The substance is known as Armorium. It is a dense amalgam of polyatomic alloys with a tensile strength of 10,000 megapascals. In other words, this substance is extremely durable and capable of deflecting all known forms of radiation and energy weaponry. In fact, this hybrid metal is manufactured by combining 3 different alloys together while all are in molten form. Once the 3 alloys are mixed, there is no known method for machining the substance since it is so physically hard. As a result, the hulls of mother ships are poured into standard plate-forms and held in place by a framework constructed of Armorium.”
Turning toward the Colonel and Whatsit, Mkkell said in a curiously awed tone, “This plate of Armorium appears to have been removed from a larger section. I can tell from the glassine appearance of the edges that some kind of high energy plasma was used to cut it. I know of nothing powerful enough to penetrate the outer surface of Armorium much less cut out a slab such as stands before us.”
Shaking his head with a wide-eyed expression, Dr. Mkkell asked, “What in the world cut through this material?”
Instead of answering the question, Whatsit pulled his cutter ray pistol and handed it to Dr. HannBrr.
“Sir, will you please confirm the Armorium is proof against a military cutter ray pistol by firing the pistol at the slab?” Whatsit asked.
Looking for approval from Dr. Mkkell and getting a nod, HannBrr directed the cutter ray at the slab, holding it steady on one spot near the center of the plate. A cutter ray pistol could melt through 4 inch armor steel plate like a hot knife through butter. After directing the beam at the same spot on the Armorium for 30 seconds, HannBrr turned it off. Other than a barely glowing yellow spot on the surface of the Armorium which faded back to the original dark gray color, there was no change to the metallic surface.
To emphasize there was no effect on the Armorium from the destructive beam of the cutter ray, Dr. Mkkell rubbed his bare fingers over the spot to confirm the Armorium had cooled to room temperature virtually instantaneously.
Handing the pistol back to Whatsit, HannBrr spread his palms in an ‘I told you so’ pose, and asked, “Now what?”
“Now it’s my turn,” the female Human announced and pulled the small, black pistol from its holster at her waist.
Becky explained, “This device is known as a McPherson Atomizer or MA pistol. It’s designed to project a cutter ray, a heat ray or a MA ray. I have it set to emit a MA ray. We have larger weapons equipped with MA rays, but they are not safe to fire within the confines of any vessel.”
Motioning for Dr. Mkkell and Dr. HannBrr to move away from the slab of Armorium, Becky pointed her MA pistol at the slab.
GooYee smirked, “Really? You actually expect me to believe your toy gun can. . .” The rest of his comment was drowned out by the growling hum of the MA ray.
A one inch wide beam of white light filled with sparkles that winked on and off and flowed in dazzling swirls leaped from the black crystal at the end of the pistol barrel. Becky swept the beam across the middle of the slab, neatly and instantly cutting it in two. The bell-like clang as the top half of the 6 inch thick Armorium slab landed on the deck was deafening.
Silence filled the room. As if to convince himself that what he had witnessed was real, Dr. Mkkell bent down to the piece of Armorium and tried to pick it up; perhaps in the belief his analysis had been wrong and the slab was just a piece of lightweight plastic. Lifting with all his might, his eyes bulging from the effort, the Chrysallaman professor couldn’t even rock the 400 pound block of metal.
Hearing a scruff on the deck behind him, Mkkell heard the female Human say, “Here, let me help you with that.”
Rising to his full height from where he had bent over the slab trying to lift it, Mkkell towered over Becky by at least 2 feet and outweighed her by 150 lbs. With no hesitation, the Human picked up the 400 lb Armorium block, carried it over to the table in front of GooYee and dropped it on top of his dinner plate, smashing what food he had left and the plate into a thousand pieces and putting a 2 inch dent in the top of the table.
Smiling and turning with a whip of her ponytail, Becky walked back to the dais and stood beside the Chrysallaman Colonel and Whatsit. No sound came from the assembled group.
Trying to break the awed, ponderous silence, Whatsit mentally cleared his throat and said, “Perhaps you now understand that my previous statement was in fact the truth. The attempt at colonization of Planet HG-281 utterly failed. The only mother ship to survive the counterattack by the inhabitants is the command vessel VrrSilliac Xur.”
Dr. GooYee was rendered speechless. He fell back into his seat completely cowed for the first time in his entire life. Peering over the top of the Armorium block, the only comment he could muster was “Would it be possible for me to meet the person who invented this MA power source?”
At least one Chrysallaman in the room didn’t like the defeatist attitude the rest of his fellows were exhibiting. All around the room, eyes were becoming downcast and body language indicated pessimism. The aura had changed from one of confidence and bravado to that of a deflated, withered balloon. Knowing psychological defeat can overcome physical prowess and lead to needless failure, MerrCrr Z. JnnWall decided he needed to intervene before the situation became worse.
“Hold on a moment.”
Heads turned toward the source of the comment. At first glance, the lizard appeared to be a member of the military arm of the Empire rather than a scientist. His stature was erect, and his manner direct and to the point. The creature’s musculature was well developed as if he worked out with iron weights on a regular basis. His thought patterns were sharp and projected with more than normal mental strength.
“My name is MerrCrr Z. JnnWall, and I’m an expert in telepathic communications and mental control over lower life forms. My expertise is teaching and strengthening the ability of Chrysallaman soldiers to mentally control others. I’ve spent my entire adult life honing my telepathic abilities. It’s my considered opinion the capability of Chrysallamans to mentally control all lower life forms is the most important factor in the success of our planetary colonizations.”
Seeing approving nods from others in the room, JnnWall continued, “It makes little difference to me if the natives of Planet HG-281 have great physical strength or some form of energy weapon capable of penetrating Armorium. The stronger Chrysallaman mind can force the animals to turn their weapons upon themselves, leaving our troops unharmed. This well known fact is indisputable.”
Whatsit could tell from the growing level of discontent that the words of JnnWall had struck a chord. Mentally sighing and shaking his head, he looked at the Colonel and Becky Chang.
“Time for the next demonstration,” he said with muted enthusiasm.
The Colonel motioned for JnnWall to come forward and face the Human. The room became silent, expectant. Several scientists curved their lips into evil grins. JnnWall was a legend in academic circles. He was the only person known to be able to bend the will of a Chrysallaman with his mental powers. Skeptical students had been known to be mentally controlled to the point they jumped around the classroom like rabbit-sized quellers, asking for handouts of the raw, orange colored tubers favored by the furry mammals.
MerrCrr had heard and measured the strong telepathic thoughts projected by the Human. He knew there was quite a bit of mental strength housed in the diminutive lifeform. Best to overcome the animal and demonstrate the unerring superiority of the Chrysallaman race before the other scientists in the room became disheartened.
JnnWall decided to use his deception technique to take control of the animal. Extending his hand in a friendly gesture he knew would focus the Human’s attention on the greeting; he insinuated a mental probe into her mind, searching for the seat of her consciousness. He had used the deception technique time and again, and it never failed to allow him to gain control over the mind of the target.
Becky had been expecting a fair match of mental prowess where each contestant was prepared for battle. She had imagined a ‘Ready, Set, Go’ signal to begin the competition. Being a fair-minded person, she was shocked to feel the surreptitious probe attempt to enter her mind. Her reaction was a combination of anger, contempt, violation and retaliation. Instead of pushing the offending probe away and lashing back at its owner, she grabbed the probe with all her telepathic might and shook it like a dog shakes a rag doll. She felt JnnWall try to pull his probe from her grasp, but she only tightened her mental grip as her eyes narrowed in concentration.
MerrCrr JnnWall was completely astounded. Not only was his sneaky mental probe discovered, he couldn’t withdraw from the Human’s mind. His brain felt like a rubber band bitten by a savage beast and stretched to its breaking point. A keening wail escaped MerrCrr’s throat as he struggled to break contact. Drool flowed from the corner of his mouth and dripped on the deck. Dropping to his knees before the human female, unable to break her inexorable hold on his mind, JnnWall’s eyes widened as he raised his palms in an attempt to plea for mercy.
Chang realized the Chrik was begging for release. She wanted to watch the lizard drop unconscious to the deck as a lesson for attempting the sneak attack, but she didn’t want to give the other Chrysallamans the impression Earth Humans were an uncaring, murderous bunch of heathens. Releasing her mental grip on JnnWall’s mind, she watched him react to the freedom she had granted him.
Chrysallamans were compelled by hard-wired traits they couldn’t control to pledge allegiance to anyone who defeated them in battle and defend their Masters to the death. Whatsit had always considered General James Blunt as his Master after Blunt had wrestled a cutter ray pistol from his grip and sliced off Whatsit’s feet at the Roswell, New Mexico, crash site.
Rising from his kneeling position, JnnWall bowed his head and said, “Rebecca Chang, you have bested me in mental combat and allowed me to live. There is no doubt you could have killed me with your mental powers. I am forever in your debt and recognize you as my Master from this moment onward.”
A concerted gasp escaped the throats of the assembled Chrysallamans as they heard the pledge. They realized the powerful meaning of those words. There was now no doubt in anyone’s mind there was something unique about these Humans. What happened next only added to the awe and mystery.
“Could I please have everyone’s attention for a moment,” the Chrysallaman Colonel said.
Twenty-five pairs of dark black eyes focused on the dais. The air around the Colonel shimmered and dissolved. In the place of the Chrysallaman Colonel, another Human appeared. He was 6 feet 2 inches tall with large, expressive blue eyes. His dark black hair showed only a few strands of gray around his temples.
“Hello everyone. My name is Colonel Douglas Jenson. I’m the Commander of this mission, and it’s my pleasure to welcome you into the service of FORCE, The Federal Organization for Response to Celestial Enemies.”
Three Chrysallaman scientists fainted.
“High strung aren’t they?” Whatsit opined.
“Just wait ’til they meet Dr. Heinbaum,” Doug said with a wry smile.
“No, Jerome McPherson. I bet we get at least another five faints when they meet him,” Becky predicted.
From the back of the room, an intimidating threat jolted everyone.
“There will be no traitorous cooperation between Chrysallamans and a lower race of heinous pretenders!”
An angry lizard pointed a cutter ray pistol at Jenson, Chang, MerrCrr and Whatsit. A jagged, reddish-yellow scar crossed his face diagonally from just above his eye down across the bridge of his nose and ending at the line of his jaw bone. The deadly look in the creature’s eyes was unmistakable. He was going to kill.
The other scientists backed out of the line of fire, astonishment on their faces. Several chairs toppled as they retreated. Stunned by the sudden and unexpected threat from the disfigured scientist, Jenson, Chang and Whatsit froze. Then, quite mysteriously, they all folded their arms and waited for the painful death the cutter ray would administer. MerrCrr JnnWall didn’t know what to do. Realizing it was impossible for him to move out of the path of the cutter ray, he bowed his head expecting the inevitable.
Dr. GooYee stammered, “See here, you ignorant lout. There is no need for violence. Put down that ray pistol at once.”
Ignoring GooYee’s plea, Scarface’s lips curled into a death’s head grin. He activated the ray pistol, sweeping the silver beam across the middle of the Human bodies to slice them into bloody halves.
The cutter ray never touched the Humans, JnnWall or Whatsit. Bathed in the destructive beam, they all appeared to be encircled by a clear bubble of protection, unharmed by the tremendous energy directed at them. Dr. GooYee observed the blue stone pendants hanging around the necks of the Humans emit a light-blue glow and noted the swirling black and white specks in the stones increased to vigorous whirlpools.
Stunned by the ineffectiveness of his ray, Scarface cut the beam off, looked with surprise at the pistol in his hand, and then again pointed it at the Humans and pushed the activator button. Once more the clear bubble of protection seemed to absorb the ray, leaving the Humans, MerrCrr and Whatsit unharmed.
A frown suffused Jenson’s face. The sheer degree of treachery exhibited by the scar-faced lizard was beyond any level of forgiveness or understanding. Jenson pressed a small button on the edge of his pendant to cut off his Heinbaum/McPherson Defensive Shield. Drawing his MA pistol, he directed its beam in a Z-shape, slicing the scar-faced Chrik’s body into four pieces that slithered to the floor in a gruesome pile of gore.
Stunned silence permeated the room as the remaining Chrysallaman scientists assimilated the new revelations about the advanced technological level of the Humans’ defensive and offensive capabilities.
The silence was broken by GooYee. Stepping toward the dais, he looked in wonder at Chang and Jenson and said, “Everything I thought I knew about high energy physics, plasma amplification and fusion reactors has been proven childish and irrelevant. Please take me to the learned individuals responsible for the discovery and development of these wondrous inventions that I might re-educate myself.”
Jumping from the dais with a smile, Becky wrapped her arm around the Doctor’s waist and replied, “You’re beginning to grow on me, Gooey. Let’s get your equipment packed up and go meet the eggheads.”
GooYee was so startled by the friendly hug he decided for the moment not to correct her continued mispronunciation of his name.
He thought, “After I demonstrate my superior intellect to their thickheaded scientists and deliver them to new heights of progress, I will issue an edict requiring corporal punishment for any Human animal who sullies my famous name.”
Staring down at the Human female, GooYee mused, “Strange, these Humans. Very strange. I am curious to see how animals with egg-shaped heads are able to function on a daily basis.”