Hello again all. Well, it’s been some time since my last post, I know. Life’s been keeping me pretty busy lately, it’ll do that. But I have something special to share with all of you, so here, we, go.
Initiate WayBack Machine. The date is sometime in late 1987. The place, a young man’s bedroom. The young man sits at a small wooden desk. This desk faces the bedroom window, through which the young man is now looking. He’s dreaming of being on the other side of that glass, running around with his friends and doing all the other things that seventeen year old boys do. But he can’t, he’s virtually chained to his desk, trapped by a boring writing assignment given to him by his mean ‘ol English teacher. Fuss and bother anyway he thinks(not what he REALLY thinks), just get it over with and get out there. The young man is about to just write down an y old thing to get a passing grade when he’s suddenly hit by a surge of inspiration. It’s not a great story, he thinks, but it just might get him an A, and that would be nice. It would please his mother, at least. And so the young man engages his pen and paper full force to get this story written as fast and as accurately as possible. This is, after all, English class, punctuation and spelling will count. What follows is that story, transcribed word for word, with only a few minor changes made only for clarity’s sake. Enjoy 🙂
An Old Mercenary
There was a soft hum as the hyperdrive came to full power. He saw the stars, which had remained stationary, turn into long streaks of light, and then disappear altogether, replaced by the many flashing colors of hyperspace. It was a scene he had seen many times. Too many it seemed. He really needed to retire. Heck, he had enough credits to live for a hundred thousand years, but he just couldn’t quit. Being a soldier of fortune was not any kind of work for a forty-two year old man, not with the kind of money he made. Fifty thousand here, seventy-five there. Ever since he had known what a hyperdrive was, he had known where his place was in life. Space. The Final Frontier.
This last job wasn’t any different from most of his other jobs. He was hired to take his ship in to some enemy planet, find the base on the planet and destroy everything in, on and around it. He never really hung around afterward, that was bad policy. You might start to feel sorry for them, and from then on, jobs would be very hard. So he usually just went in, did his job, and left to collect his money.
The only real difference this time was that he seemed to have someone following him. He turned his scanners on it and found out exactly what it was, a Volutian ship. Volutia, his last job. Probably out for quick revenge. But his sensors detected no armament, inside or out, and only one person. It was very strange. It was a small, two-man ship, apparently slightly damaged, probably from the attack run. What was strange was that it looked like a fighter, but had no armament. He was sure it’s armament wasn’t shielded from him, he had the best sensors money could buy. He also knew that the small man piloting the craft must have known he could get blasted out of the sky. His ship was seven times bigger than the little alien’s, at least. He was going to try and talk to this one, it was brave to come out after him at all, let alone in a ship with no weapons. He opened a channel the to the little craft.
“This is Captain Dreker of the spaceship ‘Century Hawk”, hailing small Volutian vessel on a course following mine, come in please.”
He waited for a minute but got no answer. He tried again. The little craft’s communications system was probably going bad, because he barely got any of the alien’s transmission.
“Come in…”(garbled) “am reques…”(garbled) “permission to”(garbled) “aboard. Engine failing”. The rest was static.
Well, he decided, what harm could come of a little four foot Volutian. Not much, he was sure. He brought his ship out of hyperspace, and brought it to a halt in normal space. Soon, the little spaceman’s ship appeared. He locked a tractor beam on it and brought it around to his docking port. He then ran to the docking bay, and waited for the little Volutian, blaster in hand. Soon the doors opened, and a small Volutian he was. Only four feet tall, he had a slight greenish tint, and two tiny stubs where his ears should have been, and he was bald. Other than that, he was humanoid.
“I’m Captain Dreker, commander of the starship ‘Century Hawk.’ Welcome Aboard.” Dreker said.
The little man looked up at him with sad, bloodshot eyes, and said, “Why?”
“Money.” Dreker said when they were back in his comfort lounge. “I don’t care why you’re fighting the Krakons, and I don’t care how you feel about it, all I’m interested in is the money.”
The little alien just sat there. Dreker had heard that Volutians were a people of few words. Then he spoke.
“We Volutians are a peaceful race, but we love our freedom more. You are only making things harder on us. And for some sort of object you deem higher of value than life. Ahh, the human race is something even our scientists do not comprehend. But, back to the subject. Let me ask you something Captain Dreker. Do you know what kind of destruction you have caused on my planet?”
“No, not really. It’s bad policy to look at everything you kill.” Dreker replied.
“Well, then would you please accompany me to the hold of my ship? I have something to show you.”
“No way!” Dreker yelled. “All you’re gonna do is show me a bunch of messed up bodies, so I’ll feel sorry for you! No way shorty.”
“I assure you that you are quite wrong.” the Volutian continued, apparently unbalked by the old spaceman’s loud words. “You yourself must have detected that I was the only organic substance aboard my ship.”
The little guy was right there. Well, what did he have to lose, and he was curious.
“All right, I ‘ll go” Dreker said.
“Good”. The Volutian smiled slightly.
They walked down the corridor until they reached the airlock. Dreker pushed some buttons and pressurized the docking chamber. Then the doors slid open and they proceeded to the Volutians’s ship.
Dreker had to crawl, the ceiling was just big enough for the little Volutian, but not for a six-foot human. It was, fortunately, a small ship, therefore it only took a little bit to get to the ship’s hold, which was not much bigger than the corridor. It was obviously too small for Dreker, and he said so to the little Volutian.
“It is of no consequence, you may watch from the corridor”.
Then the little man proceeded to the far wall of the hold, which was exactly opposite the door to the chamber. The Volutian pushed a button and the wall slid away, revealing a large viewing screen. It seemed large anyway, because it was as tall as the little Volutian, and as wide as the wall. Then Dreker got the picture, or thought he did.
“That’s sneaky. Instead of bringing mangled bodies, to see in person, you bring me a whole bunch on tape, so I can see all the broken buildings and smoking ruins too. No thanks, shorty”. Dreker started to leave.
“Please stay, Captain.” the Volutian said, calm as always. Never in recorded history was there a Volutian who lost his temper. “I wish to show you one person, in one house”.
Well, Dreker thought, Volutians never lied, ever. And it was o-so curious.
“Alright, I’ll stay.” Dreker said, giving in.
“Good.” the Volutian replied.
The little alien pushed a button and the screen lit up. It showed a small Volutian, chopping up some kind of vegetable. It was obviously female, since she had long red hair, and only female Volutians grew hair. But soon, the entire house shook violently. The female stopped, and put the knife she had been chopping with down. Gently, she patted her enlarged abdomen.
“She, in your terms, is expecting”, the Volutian explained.
Well, that explains that, Dreker thought.
The picture went on. It showed the house trembling violently, and the soon-to-be-mother Volutian was running around, apparently scared to death. Pieces of the ceiling started to fall. At first, it was only dust, but the pieces got larger as the house shook even more violently. Then suddenly, a huge slab of ceiling fell, and struck the mother-to-be, dead center. She fell with a muffled cry. The slab covered her entire body. Then the shaking almost came to a complete stop, save for the distant rumblings. And then, slowly, a hand came out from behind the slab. It was not a large hand. Not that of the mother, surely, Dreker thought. It was a small hand, so small, Dreker thought, it looked like, oh no, a baby! Then the screen went blank. Dreker was almost knocked over with remorse. Tears welled in his eyes. Then the little Volutian walked over solemnly to Dreker.
“The woman you saw was my wife. The small hand belonged to my son.” Then the Volutian stopped, as huge tears filled his eyes as well. Then he wiped his eyes and continued.
“As a result of their deaths, I carry out the only act I see fit to do”.
And in one swift motion, he brought out a small curved blade from his robe, and pierced his chest with it, ending his life. He fell into Captain Dreker’s lap. Dreker looked down, and decided.
On that day, Captain Charles S. Dreker, famed mercenary with more than a hundred thousand kills under his belt, decorated by the Allegiance of Planets four times, ended his career.
And that, my friends, was the first short story ever written by J.S. Eaton. I hope you enjoyed it. Hard to believe I was only seventeen when I wrote that. It made an impression though, on my parents, the teacher who read it(gave me that A as I recall) and myself. Only wish it had stuck harder. O well. I may revise it sometime, expound on some minor detail, make it longer, who knows. But this original will always be a treasure.
Also, be it known that I am trying diligently to finish work on Book Three of The Legend of Tscon Lightbringer. It will be the last book dedicated solely to everyone’s favorite monk. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish it soon. Until next time, take care and God Bless. Tune in next time for Waiter, There’s a Soup on my Fly, or, If the Big Red Shoe fits, Wear It!