Passing the Constitution

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.

The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind.  Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment

The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties and Visiting the City.  Today we get Episode 38.

Passing the Constitution

The vote to pass the constitution was held with minimal issues. Two of the most remote colonies were still in disorder, resulting in the election being marred by violence at those locations. It was actually less problems than the military had hoped for and it stood as a marker to the progress that had been made.

At this point the government set about more normal tasks of leadership. They established limits on what local laws could do, established a collection of laws to flesh out how the 10 law foundation of their society would be made functional. They also established committees to help areas that were recovering less quickly.

Jamison tried to be happy with the progress but inside he felt increasingly depressed. He was accomplishing everything the king had asked him to do in terms of bringing law to the colonies. But what good would that do for Jenny, his sister that had unwisely aligned with the Dibolocos and was now trapped in the perpetual abuse of the sexual entertainment industry. He thought it was great for those who chose to accept the will of the Kilkian king, but what of those who were already trapped under the control of the Dibolocos?

He knew from his military background and training that a measure of emotional letdown was common even after a successful campaign. But this knowledge did not stop him from feeling the grief and failure associated with his sister’s enslavement. He thought he could shake the feeling by throwing himself into his work, but instead he began to feel increasingly that his work in the congress was finished. Because of this feeling, he divided the work of his committee up to a handful of other leaders and stepped back.

When the congress took a recess a couple of weeks later he decided to take a short break instead of returning home to campaign and govern on Platinum 9. He acquired an expensive personal craft, partially through his military back pay, partially through the privileges of being in the congress, but also largely through the generosity of his friends, Compagno and Galvez.

He took this vehicle out to the lake house. A long trip alone for a poorly armed vehicle, but it was fast and very stealthy. He spent the time fishing, thinking, praying to the king, and pouting. He even visited the site where Lobokidos had been unseated. He could vaguely sense the presence of the Dibolocos even though he was largely shattered into small pieces which had settled all over the planet’s surface. They were slowly beginning to reform into the blobs of grape jelly that would eventually take shape as the full sized alien pirate.

Jamison began to develop a plan for this pirate that had caused his sister so much pain. Despite his intentions to keep these ideas to himself and away from Colopher, she quickly recognized what he was up to and warned him against seeking vengeance on his own.

Jamison chose to ignore these warnings, and as he did Colopher spoke to him less and less often. He didn’t notice her distance though as he was busy working out a plan.  He spent every day gathering bits and pieces of the jelly that should have composed Lobokidos. When he had about a jar full he would load it up and take it to a nearby moon, planet or asteroid and leave it there.

When the time came to head back to the capital for the next session of the government he had spread Lobokidos parts so far and wide that it was likely he would not be able to return to form for a century or longer.

But as he headed back he went alone. He didn’t notice that Colopher was no longer traveling with him, and his anger had so overtaken him that he didn’t easily recognize the presence of aliens, situations of danger or the leadership of the king in his life. Even after he returned he failed to seek out the fellowship of others who were aligned with the Kilkians. He no longer felt the value of spending time with these individuals who had previously been his friends.

Advertisement

Failed Tyranny

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.

The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind.  Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment

The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians and Legislation, Delegation, and Deliberation  Today we get Episode 35.

For the next few mornings they began to deal with the issues brought forward by the different committees. A couple of the delegates were not interested in the process. They skipped meetings, and generally only attended whatever meetings were mandatory. These same delegates were the ones who took the most advantage of the privileges afforded them. They demanded the best of everything and lots of it.

In the afternoons, Jamison led his group to specify their recommendations. Regarding the family, they established parents as responsible for their children until they reach the age of twenty. Children were required to be under their parents authority until this age. The taking of another’s life was made illegal except when commanded to do so in a military action or in the course of defending yourself or another person, For sexual ethics there were some who wanted all sexual activity outside of marriage to be punishable by law. Others felt this was too invasive. Ultimately rape was made illegal, but other sexual activity, although they agreed it was wrong they did not make illegal. Theft of course was made illegal. Lying for reasons of deceiving people in the areas of financial gain, political manipulation and similar cases were made punishable by law, but most forms of lying were not. In the area of social justice they seemed to have an impasse as to whether individuals should be entitled to the same standard of living they saw in their neighbors. But in the long run no way to codify the idea into law was discovered.

Eventually their recommendations for the moral code then was ready, but then they had to decide what to do about the loyalty code. It was determined that a person would be free to choose to align. However it was also determined that once aligned a person could not change their mind, nor would any future alignments other than with these two be allowed. No one could force another person to align with either the Kilkians or the Dibolocos. Opportunities for people of similar alignment to gather were discussed at length. Eventually the fourth loyalty code was determined to prohibit any regulation of such gatherings.

Jamison felt a great deal of hesitation about the loyalty code. It seemed to fit with everything he had learned about alignment from Colopher, but it also didn’t quite set right. It was as if something in the back of his mind was nagging him. But since his committee as a whole felt settled, he had to take the next step which was presenting the report to the congress. They organized their idea into a list of ten, putting the four loyalty laws first, and then the six moral laws following. Then presented them to the group for the greater discussion.

As he expected the report was met with a large amount of resistance from those who had gained their power through immoral dealings and businesses. Jamison took note that these individuals were also the ones who were taking the welfare of the nation lightly and as secondary to their own privileges.

He was however surprised that even those who agreed with the code in the general sense often did not agree as to where best to draw the line between what was legally allowable and what was not. During the course of the first days discussion almost nothing was agreed upon and it seemed to him the congress was getting divided into three different groups. First were those aligned with the Kilkians who favored the proposal. Then there were the unaligned who favored the morality but were confused as to why a loyalty code was included. Then there were those aligned with the Dibolocos, who favored the loyalty code but argued with the moral code.

They argued the first day without making any headway. Then they argued the points for an entire second day. Jamison became aware that the last group had began calling everyone else terrorists. They accused them of wanting to use force to coerce everyone else into accepting their viewpoint. This title got turned back on them though when shortly into the third day of deliberation a group of them drew their weapons in what appeared to be an orchestrated plan to murder certain opposing delegates. When the leader of the group called out what appeared to be a command they spread out and drew their weapons. The leader pointed his weapon at Commodore and Vice-Chancellor Galvez and pulled the trigger.  In his haste, he had forgotten to turn off the safety. Cursing he fumbled for the button and the instant the weapon was activated a bolt of laser light shot out of the large chandelier on the ceiling and instantly killed him.  It had been so strong a shot that it practically cremated him in the one shot.

His co-conspirators, saw him fall but most were confused aiming their weapons at different delegates, including all of Jamison’s committee. But like their leader as soon as the weapon was armed the laser struck them dead. The room rang out with shrieks of terror. The room had gotten many degrees hotter through the short battle, and the smell of burning flesh was overwhelming the room. A few of the aggressors realized what was happening and quickly surrendered to soldiers who were rushing in.

Chancellor Johnston was pounding his gavel on the podium, but appeared shell shocked. Commodore Galvez, who didn’t seem shocked at all, eventually reached over stilled his hand and began addressing the group.

“Gentlemen, those of you who are still alive, please be still. These men who have attempted to take control of the government through violence are largely dead. The ones who are alive are being arrested and will be executed as soon as the judiciary completes processing them.

“The events you weapon that killed them was put into place in order to protect you delegates from any outside attack. Many of you wondered why we never required you to check your weapons before entering, the reason is the sensors and weaponry over your head will kill anyone holding an armed weapon making the restriction unnecessary. This weapon, and these defenses were not intended to protect you from each other. We designed this arena as a place of law and order, never did we think the delegates of these colonies would try to solve their differences by violence wrought against one another.”

He went on for over an hour. It was the kind of lecture only a military man knew how to bring and when he was done most everyone in the room felt they had been dragged into actions which were below their dignity. At first Jamison thought the whole situation had pretty much ruined their intentions and progress. But as the lecture dragged on, he realized the Vice-Chancellor was priming the remaining delegates to think of their positions as one for honorable people, who behaved with decorum and who respect the law, each other and their colonies.

 

Political Parties

They were eventually dismissed, and since Jamison’s committee had no immediate work to do he took a leisurely lunch and spent his time in the library and other common areas. While it might appear to the outside that this would have been relaxing, Jamison found it to be anything but comfortable. The unaligned opponents to his committee’s recommendations approached him in a steady stream. They would ask for clarification, discuss disagreements and either begin to change their minds or agree to disagree. Then another would show up to take his place and it would start all over again.

Jamison was often tempted to dismiss the politicians or worse to upbraid them for their failure to understand. But he didn’t. In fact, as the process continued he began to see value in it. He suspected that by the time the next morning session began he might have a majority in favor of the 10 laws his committee had proposed. He continued this schmoozing with the other delegates up to dinner, and then through dinner he continued to be approached by others. During this time he saw Commodore Galvez watching him from across the dining hall.

His motions were very similar to those he had seen all day long. It was the action taken by a man waiting for the previous man to finish so that he could be next to start a spontaneous conversation. But Galvez didn’t hang around and wait. He disappeared and Jamison assumed he had been mistaken.

Three different delegates bought him a different dessert, not realizing perhaps how full he had become, before he headed back to his quarters. He let himself into the apartment and immediately knew he was not alone. He didn’t feel threatened so he walked into the main room without taking any guard for his safety. Galvez was seated there.

“I was beginning to think you were planning on staying out all night.”

“Nah, just had a lot of people who wanted to talk to me today.”

“I suppose they wanted to discuss the army having weapons of mass destruction hidden in the walls around them.”

Jamison thought about it, and said, “Actually not a single person brought that up. Although now that you mention it, I want to thank you for having them there. If you didn’t I would likely be dead.”

“As would I.”

A moment of silence settled on them and Jamison settled into the other chair in his sitting room.

“Your comments after the event were well spoken. It was exactly the kind of words we all needed to hear.”

“Thank you. Speeches are the prerogative of rank in this man’s fighting force.”

Again the silence settled around them. Not the silence of two friends totally comfortable and well acquainted with each other’s company. This was the pregnant silence of a man who knows he needs to say something, but dreads beginning the conversation.

“Would you like something to drink, I have sweet plankton tea?”

“No. But thank you. I actually wanted to talk with you about your alignment. Why do you want to include this silly loyalty code? Other than that you will have almost a unanimous approval for the moral code.”

Jamison knew he would have to answer carefully. He knew he wanted the loyalty code because it complemented the will of the Kilkian king. At least, it did to the best of his understanding. The king wanted people to be free to choose to align with him, rather than being coerced by the circumstances of culture and law.

“In short I am trying to work with the new realities we have now that we are interacting with Kilkians and Dibolocos on a regular basis. We need a way to form one society despite the fact that our citizens have chosen to very different paths of who to serve.”

“Are the two really all that different?” The question was ludicrous knowing everything Jamison knew, but for people like Galvez it was the key question. They saw all forms of alignment as an unnecessary subservience of the citizens. They saw remaining unaligned as the way to preserve their freedom.

“The two are very different, but even more importantly, the one who stays unaligned is actually serving the Dibolocos, whether they admit it or not. Can I tell you about my story? Would you mind hearing what has happened to me in the last year?”

Galvez ascented and the two talked all night long. They drank all the sweet plankton tea and then switched to strong coffee. Finally as the sun peaked over the hills. Galvez was making the choice to align with the Kilkians. They celebrated over breakfast and as they entered the chambers together laughing and talking as if they were the oldest of friends, everyone else in the room took note of the new alliance.

Jamison was given the floor again in order to further discussion of the laws he had proposed. This time he saw only two groups come out of the discussion. These two groups would form the first two political parties for the colonies. Those who were whole heartedly in agreement came to be called Advocates because they advocated working with the aliens. The other group which was actually a little larger and stronger were called Isolationists because they wanted to live without any connection to the aliens.

It took another two days, but the ten law standard eventually passed. The isolationists allowing its passage not because they agree with the loyalty code but because they began to realize it also protected them from being forced to align against their wills.

Convoys and Propaganda

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.

The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind.  Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment

The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink and Saved by Rodent Weed.  Today we get Episode 29

 

Convoys and Propaganda

Chambers took her battle group out for training prior to beginning combat duty. During the course of this training she first set up her own command to her liking. Then she assisted the captains in setting up their commands. She met them individually, giving them a detailed view of how she arranged her own structure. Then she allowed them to return to their ship and set up their own commands.  Finally she inspected each ship to verify that whatever command structure the captain chose to use would be functional.

When it was time for her to train Captain Avery she found him to be well versed both as a military commander and as a servant of the Kilkian King. He was already aware of her alignment but did not have the advantages that had been extended to her and Jamison.

Captains Corel and Dremmer both were competent officers and she believed they would both cooperate and follow orders as needed in a battle group. Unfortunately, Captain Bittlesworth seemed to have no intention whatsoever of following orders. On the final day of training she gathered all of them to discuss strategy and experience with pirates. Bittlesworth started off the meeting with a sullen attitude, but quickly progressed to accusing her of being inexperienced and incapable of leading. She reigned him in by assuring him she knew how to fill out a court martial. He quickly submitted, but the exchange made it clear to Chambers that she would continue to have trouble with him.

From there the group went to the moon, Adjupt. It served as a space port in the past, but now it was more like a parking lot. It was filled with ships that were afraid to do any trading. She made the normal announcements for a convoy. Even as recently as six months ago these ships would have jumped at the chance to trade under protection, but now they were afraid to go out even with a full battle group guarding them.

About this time though the news broke, carefully crafted and spun by the military command, regarding Chambers victories against the pirates. When word got around that the battle group was commanded by the same Captain Chambers, a few ships agreed to go out under her direction and protection. Normally a convoy might be as many as twenty merchant ships, Chambers would be heading out with only five freighters. It was a very small start.

As they departed to begin trade with outlying colonies, the merchant captains loaded up with different goods to sell and trade along the way. They would also bring back goods from these different colonies to sell at the home planet.

Prior to departure Chambers hosted a formal dinner with each of the captains both CDF and merchant. At this meal each was interviewed on film so the CDF could publish it later if the run was successful. As she watched this process, she became aware of a sense of danger or anxiety from one of the merchant captains. To make matters worse this captain was also actively aligned with the Dibolocos and seemed to have already formed a partnership with Captain Bittlesworth.

When they headed out the first stop was a relatively close star system with two different colonies on different planets. Chambers planned to go to the larger colony first and to the smaller one after. The whole point of a convoy was sticking together for safety. Captain Bittlesworth sent a communication indicating he was taking the one ship with him to the smaller colony and would rejoin the convoy later. Chambers ordered him to stay with the group, but he simply took off with his new friend. All of these events were faithfully recorded for later publication.

When the trading was done on the larger colony for the majority of the convoy, they started toward the other planet in order to join up with Bittlesworth and his friend. But as they approached the planet Chambers became convinced they were flying into a trap of some kind.  She ordered the colony therefore to stop before getting within firing range of the planetary defenses. Bittlesworth sent numerous communications asking, ordering and even begging for her to come toward the planet. She refused and continued to order him to come out to rejoin her.

Finally he did come out, with guns blazing. On one side of him was the friend, his ship now transformed into a gun boat, and on the other side was a more traditional pirate ship. She quickly configured the group to get the military ships between the honest merchants and the pirates. They counted a total of 11 missiles launched toward them.

She also deployed a volley of torpedoes. Instead of placing the torpedoes in front of the oncoming enemies, she put a missile above two and below the third.  The first connected with Captain Bittlesworth’s ship and disabled it. It should have missed him completely, but he dodged downward right into its path. At the same second the two other ships dodged up. The pirate ship was hit and was completely destroyed. The last ship, the converted merchant, saw what happened and survived the first volley, by a sudden turn away. But Captain Avery had fired a single round into that spot of space and it was also disabled and on fire. After a few minutes it exploded. Most likely internal fires found their way to the ship’s ammo stores.

These successes might have allowed for a moment of celebration, but they needed to identify and deal with the incoming missiles.  A few different defenses were utilized, Captain Dremmer deployed a series of drones which each dispersed a storm of holographic decoys. The majority of the missiles detonated beside one of these. Two missiles remained. The first was aimed at Captain Dremmer’s vessel, but Avery’s defenses managed to destroy it with a close range laser as it passed by him.

The other was aimed right at the bridge of the flag ship. Chambers saw it coming on the read out, and as all other options failed she enabled a tactical display of her own and shot a single plasma burst at it. The normal procedure would have been to fill the section of space with multiple shots, but she fired once and downed the bird. All of these remarkable shots had been guided by Colofen’s advice.

They boarded Bittlesworth’s vessel and arrested him and his remaining crew.  A large number was missing. Chambers could guess they had been sold into slavery or executed.

The ships remaining celebrated the victory and Chambers hosted them again for a formal dinner. More interviews were filmed for use in reassuring the public that order was being restored. But as these activities were winding down the Captains asked Chambers to explain the wildly accurate nature of her shots and offensive. To her surprise, Colofen suggested she tell them the whole story.

After a long explanation of the nature of the warfare, she also described the special training she had from the Kilkians. She did not tell them Colofen had been onboard helping her, but she did give anyone who wanted an invitation to align with the Kilkians. By the end of the meeting every one of the Captains chose to align.  The majority of her bridge crew did the same and the same changes occurred on the other vessels, as well.

All of this was recorded by the communication equipment the CDF had provided.

Unseating Lobokidos

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.

The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind.  Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment

The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to SeeMaintaining Common Sense and Meeting Compagno.  Today we get the Episode 24 or the fourth episode of the second battlefield.

Unseating Lobokidos

They spent the rest of the day together and then the entire next day.  Then it was time for Jamison and Chambers to head back to the lake house. Compagno was going to pack up too, and head back to the colonies. He had once been a business leader and now he was certain he could help restore law and order to his homeland.

The journey back to the lake house was uneventful. When they got there they were told their training was complete. They should pack up and prepare for the CDF ship that was going to discover them. From there they would return to the colonies. Where each of them would take on separate assignments.

They dreaded the idea of parting, but also held excitement at the prospect of a new assignment. They both agreed, whatever the king had planned would be a okay with them. They double checked the emergency beacon on the lake house and confirmed it was working well. Then they sat down to dinner together.

It was during the meal that Colofer and Colofen began to reveal what their assignments would be. First for Chambers, her skills and her background were going to be especially useful as a warrior in service, not just to the CDF, but also to the king. When she returned she would be quickly commissioned to captain her own warship. In this position she will do much to stop the piracy and smuggling which prevents safety and a sound economy for the colony.

As she proves her capability she will become one of the key officers directing the defence of the colony and quickly be promoted to the security of all the colonies in their section. She would then be in a position allowing her to use her relationship with the king and special skills to greatly curtail the activity of the Dibolocos. When the enemy is no longer able to operate freely among the colonists they will have a greater opportunity to see the truth about the Kilkians and their king.

Chambers had quite a few specific questions about how all of this would come about. But instead of being givin the details she was simply encouraged to move forward, trusting the king. She accepted that answer. After all, the king could tell her in advance it was going to happen, so she had confidence in his abiltiy to work it out. But at the same time she felt some apprehension about the possiblity she would mess up the plan by some mistake she made along the way.  Colofen reassured her, but not in the way she had hoped. He told her that she absolutely would make a series of mistakes along the way. The reassuring part was the king already knew and planned how to make it all work out alright.

Jamison was getting antsy to hear what his assignment would be. He was glad to hear that Chambers would be so successful and instrumental in bringing about the peace the colonies, which they needed so desperately. In addition to this, he was glad to hear about the way the king was compensating for human weaknesses in advance. He was quite sure he would make mistakes along the way as well.

Colofer, in response to his thoughts, announced it was time for Jamison to learn his assignment as well. Jamison was going to be the king’s lawbringer. He would organize the people into a local government. This government would be challenged at every turn but once it was established it would pass laws to protect the citizens of the colony. Selecting the right set of laws in order to maintain a safe and morally ordered society would be difficult, but after it comes about people will be able to choose their alignment for themselves without as much of the manipulation and control of the Dibolocos.

They cleaned up after dinner, and not hearing anything from rescuers, they went to sleep as normal. In pre-daylight hours the next morning the sensors on the lake house went off, waking up everyone in the household. Jamison arrived first, and to his surprise the ship was not hailing them, instead it was sending out a distress signal.

Chambers arrived next and as she came in she kept glancing up. She said Dibolocos pirates were up there somewhere. They both recognized the impression and knew it was Lobokidos. Then the distress call was repeated indicating a CDF light cruiser under attack by pirates, it was mostly disabled. Chambers pushed Jamison out of the way and indicated she was available to help. The communications officer responded there didn’t seem to be anything they could do.

Chambers asked to be taken aboard. She explained she was a military officer with experience fighting pirates. At first they refused stating the move would only get her killed. But she insisted and they were getting increasingly desperate. The ship didn’t see any means of getting Chambers on board anyway, they didn’t have the technology to beam people back and forth. That was Kilkian and Dibolocos technology, but not human.

Chambers took that as permission so she prepared herself for the trip. A moment later, she was beamed aboard into a chaotic situation by Colofen.

At first she was almost struck down by the overwhelming sense of immediate danger. Complicating the matter, this was the first time she had experienced a group of people, and the inherent feelings of some being actively or passively aligned with Dibolocos. But she had to push this all aside in order to join the battle. She had been beamed directly onto the bridge. The communications officer was the only person on the bridge who was not injured in some way.

“What is the status of the ship?” she commanded.

“Shield is at 15%, Power is still full, all weapons are disabled with the exception of a surface mine layer.”

“And what damage has been done to the pirate ship?”

The captain, first mate and navigator all glanced at each other in a way that made Chambers sweat. “As far as we can tell, they have not sustained any damage.”

“So as far as you can tell, they are about to destroy us without our having any chance to defend ourselves?”

“Yes.” The captain was under dibolocos influence. Chambers wondered if this was why he didn’t seem more upset at his impending death.

“How far back are they?”

“They are ten-thousand meters back and closing. We assume they want to be close enough to make killing us a more personal experience.”

Chambers believed this was true because of her past experience in fighting Lobokidos and speaking with Jamison.  Suddenly an idea came to her and she commanded they enter the atmosphere of the planet. Next she gave the navigator orders to fly down to about 3000 feet above the surface and to head toward the previous settlement. When they began to approach the camp Chambers dropped even lower to just above the treetops.  Then right before crossing over the camp, they took off again, changing their trajectory to straight up.

The pirate ship, which was now just a couple of hundered meters behind, was not as nimble as the CDF ship.  So when it turned upwards to follow its prey, it swung wide over the settlement. When it did it vibrated every building in camp, including the one storing the instable explosives. They responded as Chambers had anticipated and the massive explosion ripped upward into the pirate ship, destoying it completely.

Lobokidos was not hurt in this explosion, but his body was blown apart into hundreds of pieces which settled down on the planet with the rest of the debris. It wouldn’t take long for the parts to all come back together and form again. But everyone else on board the pirate ship was dead.

Dancing with Egopods

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash Down, and The Lake House. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in order.

Jamison froze for a minute, not sure what he could do. The egopod looked like a bear, but not furry, instead it was hard skinned. It was too close, and getting closer fast. He slipped around behind the tree he had been leaning on. The big critter tried to reach him around the left and he dodged to the right. As soon as he did this the critter tried to reach him around the right so he dodged back left. While this short dance was taking place he had reached into his holster for his weapon. He wasn’t sure what strength it was set on, and suddenly he wasn’t even sure the batteries were still fresh enough to work. But he wasn’t going to take his eyes off the egopod long enough to find out.

Instead he waited for the egopod to cut back left, and this time he didn’t dodge away. The shot hit the creature in the middle of the chest. A portion of the energy from the shot penetrated the hide, but about half of the energy bounced off, its path bounced backward, striking the tree just above Jamison. The animal stepped back roaring louder than he thought any animal could.

He glanced down at the settings of the gun, it was set to kill. Only two settings above that, small explosion and large explosion. Both took a lot of energy. Jamison bumped the gun all the way up and hoped the batteries would hold out a little while longer. He dropped back behind the next tree, a thicker one, and waited for the moment the egopod would come fully into view.  He again aimed for the middle of the chest.

This time an even smaller burst of energy came out of the gun. Again half the energy bounced off the skin and traveled over Jamison’s head into the trees. The problem was not just the egopods skin, but the batteries were also too old to power the gun. Jamison turned to run. He knew the egopod could keep up, but if he found a tree he could get into quickly then he might be able to climb out of reach.

Like a bear the egopod had longer legs on back than on front, this made them clumsy and somewhat slower running downhill. Gravity worked against them, but gravity worked on Jamison’s side. He was quickly going full speed and although he could hear the egopod chasing, it didn’t seem to be catching up.

He saw a spot where the hill dropped sharply down for about ten feet coming up.  Just beyond it was a tree that looked strong enough to hold him. He launched himself off the rock face and into the tree grabbing on with all his might and turning his head to see what would happen to the egopod.

The big animal was trying to stop because of the drop off. It failed and tumbled over the edge head first.  Landing on the ground it roared again, and Jamison took that as his signal to climb higher. The animal was about eight feet tall on its hind legs, so he was probably not out of reach yet.

As he climbed up what seemed to be a safe height he looked back to check the distance between him and the egopod.  His heart sank when he saw it climbing in after him.  It was very slow, but it was progressing.

The next few minutes was an awkward ballet where Jamison moved as high as he dared and then beyond in order to avoid the egopod. The egopod sounded angrier and angrier as it climbed to try and reach Jamison. Eventually it was obvious Jamison could go no higher. The egopod was still making steady progress behind him. It reached for his foot and he kicked it away, but this stale mate would be short lived.

Jamison was looking helplessly down at the enraged animal, when he saw a blueish cloud form beside it. A Kilkian materialized floating in the air right there beside the tree. The egopod noticed the Kilkian and swiped at with a massive arm, and razor claws. Apparently it didn’t know physical damage couldn’t hurt Kilkians, so when its blow passed harmlessly through instead of impacting flesh and bone, it through the animal off balance.

It landed on its head for a second time. And just like the first time it roared and started climbing back up the tree. The Kilkian floated down beside the animal and drew out its sword. Jamison twisted around to get a better view and saw Chambers running towards them with her weapon drawn. It was likely she did not have a view of the Kilkian yet behind the tree. As she approached the Kilkian drew its sword right down through the middle of the egopod. For Chambers this looked a little bit like the animal fell in half, but as she got closer she could see the cause.

Since the crisis was now over she attempted to slow her run down the slope, but gravity had her in its grasp. She was backpedaling for all her might in the loose detritus. Not being able to stop she mimicked the fall over the rock face the egopod had taken earlier. Jamison watching this and instinctively reaching out to help. This caused him to fall from the tree.

The Kilkian reached a hand out towards Chambers and then seeing Jamison falling reached his other hand toward him. Suddenly Chambers felt gravity loose its grip on him and instead of crashing through the branches and down against the hard rocky ground he was moved outside of the branches and set gently down on the ground. Chamber’s had the same experience being set down beside him.

The two of them looked at each other, hugged each other and then turned to the Kilkian.  Jamison spoke, “Welcome, and thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” The answer came into his head and he glanced at Chambers wanting to be sure she also heard him. The look on her face was perplexed, and Jamison guessed this meant she had heard it but was not accustomed to it. This was her first time meeting a Kilkian face to face and he remembered well how disorienting that could be.