Sam: Book 5: Prologue
Sam: Book 5 of the Zaftan Troubles starts a new adventure in the conflict between the zaftans and the gundies.
A new chapter will be posted here twice a week until the entire Sam: Book 5 is complete.
To begin, here is the prologue to Sam: Book 5
“Three hundred years ago, a zaftan mining expedition landed in the Skensfirth area in southern Gundarland. Ask anyone today and they will tell you that hundreds of citizens were killed by the aliens and that property damage was in the millions. Both beliefs are wrong. According to eyewitness accounts, no one was killed and the property damage was minor. Despite eyewitness accounts confirming the absence of deaths and property damage it is impossible to change the strongly held beliefs of folks.”
Dr. Cyrus Highpowder, Professor of History, University of Dun Hythe; from his book, Alien Incursion.
“Three hundred years ago, a mining expedition returned to our home world after discovering a new inhabited world called by the natives, Gundarland. It returned to Zaftan 31B without a profit and is the only unprofitable expedition in our history. The report from Yunta, the captain of the expedition, described the many treacherous actions perpetrated by the hostile and duplicitous natives. Is it any wonder that our citizens cry out for punishment of this despicable race who refused to acknowledge the superiority of our magnificent civilization? Rest assured that sometime during your career as a Naval officer, some of you will be in the fleet that avenges these insults.”
Admiral Goyami, Chief-of-staff, Naval High Command: from his commencement speech to the graduates of the Naval College.
# # #
The battle cruiser and fleet flagship, Red Death, hung motionless in space just under a third of a parsec from Ceti Taub. The rest of the zaftan attack force deployed in battle formation around it. All the silver-colored ships had a cylindrical shape with a blunt nose. Weapons and engine pods broke the otherwise smooth outer surface. Seen from a distance, the fleet formation resembled a sheet of black velvet with bright specks of diamonds arranged in a box pattern.
In the Red Death’s flight deck, Commodore Gongeblazn lounged on his couch and looked for something or someone to annoy him. Happy only when he had something to carp about, he was annoyed that nothing annoyed him. Like all noble-born zaftans, Gongeblazn stood over seven feet tall and weighted more than four hundred pounds; his bulk over- crowded the small flight deck. Atop his small round head with its cruel beak-like mouth, a pair of two-inch-long eye- stalks supported his eyes, black with red irises. His gray- black skin oozed green slime. One of his eight tentacles held a gold-emblazoned lash with leather thongs tipped with yellow metal. The lash symbolized his high rank as did the gold, diamond-encrusted medallion hanging from a gold chain around his neck.
Two other zaftans, the navigation shaman and the engineer, operated consoles in the front of the flight deck while a third, Captain Fleigel, sat to Gongeblazn’s right.
Gongeblazn lifted a tentacle and fondled the medallion. It signified that he was a fleet commander. He led the strongest fleet ever to venture this close to gundarlandian-controlled space. He rotated an eyestalk to peer at the engineer. “Memzer, wake up Gevelt.”
“He is still in his navigational coma, Commodore,” Memzer replied
“Nonsense. Give him a shove.”
Gevelt almost fell off his couch from the shove. He recovered and his eyestalks swept the area seeking danger. They alighted on Gongeblazn. “Greetings, Commodore.”
“How dare you return from your scouting mission and not report to me.”
“My journey was far and difficult. After I returned, I paused to compose my report to you and fatigue overcome me.”
“You lie. Someday, I will catch you in a lie and then your miserable life will be forfeited. What did you find out?”
“I found no evidence of the gundy fleet. All I saw was the frigates wreaking havoc on their shipping.”
“This is true, Commodore.” Captain Fleigel dipped her eyestalks. “We just received a new report from the frigate squadron. They have boarded and looted almost every trading vessel within a half-parsec. Now they attack the colony base defenses.”
“Why has this not brought out the gundy navy, hmm? I do not like this.” Gongeblazn’s eyes swept the flight deck. “Where is my aide?”
“I am here, Commodore.” A six-foot-tall zaftan ranker slithered across the deck and stood near Gongeblazn. “How may I serve you?”
“By standing still.” Gongeblazn lashed the aide’s torso with a vicious stroke of his whip.
The aide’s skin quivered under the blow. Slime splattered the immediate area. “Thank you, Commodore. May I have another?”
“Fleigel!” Gongeblazn roared. “Get this carrion out of my presence. Take a note. Never allow him to be my aide again. Throw him in the brig. Or overboard. Then get me a new aide.”
“Please instruct me.” Fleigel cowered on her couch. “What has he done?”
“He likes getting whipped. How can I enjoy his suffering when he likes it more than I do?”
“I will get you an aide who will howl in pain at the sight of your lash.”
“Make it so. Now where is the enemy fleet so I can destroy it? Engineer! Send a message to the frigate squadron. I order them to move deeper into gundie space. They must be more aggressive. They are to attack more colonies and shipping routes.”
The frigates, claiming to be pirates, were tasked to cause havoc in gundarlandian space. Their purpose was to force a response from the gundies so Gongeblazn could observe and test their strengths, weaknesses and tactics.