Incident At Treber
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I was dropped inside a hollow disrupter bomb about three miles from the military base on Treber while it was raided by Earth Union fighter craft. Treber itself had been ravaged by Goska three months earlier. In their inimitable fashion, they had razed the entire planet. Then, in an uncharacteristic move, had established a base there. E.U. wanted to know why and guess who was going to find out and save the universe? Yeah me, yours truly, Stephen Spider Webb. I was moderately pissed off about this but another visit to the stockade was not on my agenda – it’s full of dishonest types. Some of them believing I owed them money.
So here I was, all kitted up in my combat gear, with plenty to do and much to see. I quickly scrambled away from my ‘vehicle’. It held nothing of importance other than several kilos of C10 explosive. Perfectly safe, I was assured, as long as it wasn’t armed. Fine and well, but bloody nerve wracking when you hit the ground with the stuff packed around you. Anyway, now it was armed and would detonate if any Goska troops came too close.
It was still dark but i.r. scanners would pick up my heat signature unless I got undercover with dispatch. This I proceeded to do, my landing co-ordinates had been chosen with care. An underground complex of caves had an entrance close by. I kept a low-profile while finding the opening as fast as possible. I squeezed through a narrow entrance and fell into total darkness – something rather Freudian about this, I mused. I couldn’t see a damn thing and didn’t dare risk a light yet.
My breathing was muffled so I guessed this part of the complex was relatively small. I sat for a moment and reviewed my briefing notes in my head – CHip ASsisted Memory (Chasm) was really useful at times.
Weird shit had been going down around the quadrant and the first incident coincided with the Goska arrival on Treber. The EU cruiser ‘Shakespeare’ disappeared with all hands in sector Tau Jani, it then reappeared two weeks earlier (don’t ask me, the Union must keep incredibly detailed records). It proceeded to vanish again and hasn’t been seen since. This didn’t please Union Military Staff one bit and reports of similar occurrences began to filter in. UMS concluded that something strange was happening and the Goska were to blame. Probably testing a new weapon of some kind and were doing the tests on Treber. Typical military two-step, one dimensional thinking but hey-ho, that’s the army for ya.
The Goska were as much a mystery as their alleged new fangled weaponry. The word ‘Goska’ is a collective term for a motley horde of sentient beings drawn from every planet in the Union. About fifty years ago, a military prison-planet in the Far-Reach system was attacked by a small craft using an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) weapon. The pulse knocked out everything electrical including the planet’s security system. The prisoners quickly over-ran the guards killing every one who didn’t swear allegiance to them. They then boarded the craft and escaped the system. A year later, raids on other planets used as gaols began and the Goska came into being.
Something touched my leg, I grabbed it and there was a gasp,
“Who the hull are you?”
I decided let there be light, because the dark was getting a bit too irksome. Snapping on a torch, I rested it against the wall. Light flooded a low-ceilinged tunnel and illuminated a blue skinned individual. She was crouched about an arm’s length from me – it was definitely a she, by the way, certain characteristics are common to all humanoids. Even when they were blue.
“My name’s Karrikanyafardentremagog. “ she told me, “but you can call me Kari if you like.”
“Stephen Spider Webb – call me Steve or Spider.”
“Spider, I like that name. Is it a nickername?”
“Nickname you mean. No it isn’t, my parents are Tech-Nomads. We always give our children one name from nature.”
"Oh a tradition thing. We have traditions too, always have nine syllable names, our second name is only known to ourselves and our yakmaar. Then there's the nest name, Baog in my case."
Kari Baog was a Trenchan and had been sent as a military intelligence bod from the Trenchan Colonial Federation. Apparently their border colonies had been reporting similar weird events and again Treber appeared to be the source. I scratched my crew-cut head,
"It's a three pipe problem alright, my dear chap."
"I'm not a male." Kari was outraged and I hastily apologised and did my best to explain the Holmesian quote. Unfortunately the planet Trench had no concept of the novel and it took a while for Kari to click on,
"I think I see. Perhaps we could discuss it sometime over a glass of fakkin."
I smiled, she smiled back, even her silver teeth didn't detract from her attractiveness.
"Okay you lovebirds, on your feet and don't move."
The blunderbuss being pointed at our heads was a good reason not to question the contradictary nature of its owner's command. A Goska patrol had well and truly caught us out. What was in store for two spies was anybody's guess but I suspected it wouldn't be pleasant.
In five hundred years time, most of us will be forgotten dust. But Hitler will still be remembered, God loves irony.