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					Sazarn Jaqolea brought his scout ship out of jump drive,
his view screen was filled with vivid colors. The sphere
of the planet before him showed mostly blue and white,
but there were splashes of greens and brown as well. It
was a beautiful sight and for a brief second he thought,
this is one of the best things about being a scout pilot.
Seeing new worlds was something he thought he would
never tire of. It was even better when he got to land and
explore. That was not likely to happen this time. The
planet was primitive and restricted. The intelligent life
here was not spacefaring yet, and was known to be
aggressive and warlike. Not a good place to visit at this
point. Automated drones observed from a distance but
contact was prohibited.

That was the reason he was here. There had been some
readings suggesting that someone was involved in
prohibited activities on the surface. Most likely the
pestilent species known as the Dawlg. Known space had
a number of space faring planets that tended to operate
outside of the charter of the Unified Trade Compact.
Most were poor, backward planets that felt they had a
sovereign right to do as they please with uninhabited
zones. The Dawgs were something different. They
would invade habitable worlds as long as they believed
they could get away with it. They were the reason the
UTC deployed observation drones around primitive
inhabited planets and their systems. The story was
always the same, they would claim that it was a
rebellious group working outside the control of the
government. They would deny any knowledge of any
illegal activities that any of their species was involved
in. It was almost impossible to prove otherwise.

Even though this was a very easy assignment, the young
pilot was eager to prove himself. This was his first solo
mission. He felt grateful that his commander had
entrusted him with the technologically advanced fighter.
He had trained for two years in a simulator on his home
world of Ola before even getting to see a real ship. Then
he had gone on dozens of missions with another pilot.
He continued with his training in old non stealth fighters
in the space around the moon of his planet. Even with
all that, and the high marks he always scored, his
superiors told him it would be a few more years before
he was combat ready. This mission was simply to
observe and report back. He was commanded that under
no circumstances was he to engage in battle.

Sazarn immediately went into stealth mode and
established an orbit high above the atmosphere of the
planet below him. First order of business was to link to
the observation drone network and download the
pertinent information. After going over the information,
he set a course to take him directly over the geographic
location where the activity had been recorded.

Below in the atmosphere a powerful electric storm was
concentrated at the co-ordinates given by the drones.
This was typical Dawlg tactics. They tried to cover their
illicit actions with atmospheric conditions such as this.
The size and pattern of the storm was suspect. It was
almost perfectly round and limited to a small area. It
was not a natural weather pattern.

Sazarn knew that somewhere in that desturbance was at
least one Dawlg ship. Definitely a mining ship, and
probably a carrier class ship as well. No illegal mining
operation ever went unescorted by some kind of military
presence. The typical Dawlg carrier held a complement
of 15 small fighters. Sazarn was confident that he could
take out that many, but he had his orders. He was here
only to observe and confirm that there was illegal
activities going on. He would try to ascertain for certain
what kind of ships were involved.

He took his ship into a lower orbit. This was risky
because at least one Dawlg on every ship was a telepath
called a Minder. These Minder Dawlgs were usually in
control of two other Dawlgs. The Minders could sense
the presence of an intruder, even though the Olan ships
had stealth technology that made it impossible to be
detected by their sensors. If he were to get too close he
could be noticed. If there was indeed fifteen fighters
down in that storm, working together, the Minders
might get lucky and shoot him down.

The Olan pilot got as close as he dared and tried every
means possible to scan through the violent storm. His
ship was far more advanced and faster than the Dawlg
ships, but their ships were way more robust. The
conditions that existed in that atmosphere would do
damage to his systems if he were to fly through them.
Unfortunately, his scanning systems could not pick up
anything within the storm either. There was just too
much electromagnetic interference.

There was only one thing to do and that was to wait
patiently in a high orbit and hope the ships below
stopped their activities and came out of the atmosphere.
He considered sending a probe into the storm but there
was a risk that it would be detected. He also thought
wishfully that he could just dump a load of plasma
mines. They would be magnetically drawn to any
metallic object below. If he hit the carrier and no
fighters were able to escape he could get away with it.

As he thought these things, suddenly an alarm sounded.
All around on all sides he had targets moving in on his
position. Coming out of the clouds below, a whole
complement of Dawlg fighters. They had sensed him,
they knew he was there and they were working in
concert to pinpoint his postion. They had already begun
to fire their weapons. He took evasive maneuvers.

At this point, there would have been no problem getting
away. His ship was faster, they couldn't get a lock on
him, he could have easily escaped. Something about
running away without a fight just didn't sit well with
him. Since they already knew he was there, and he knew
he could get away from them without damage, he
pressed a button, releasing three dozen small plasma
mines in a scatter pattern as he flew away from the
planet. This was a strictly defensive move on his part,
just to assure his escape. He hoped to take out at least
two or three fighters on his way out. His mission was
accomplished, he now knew it was the Dawlgs that were
violating the restricted zone here.

His rear scanners picked up the larger carrier ship
coming out of the clouds below. It struck him that once
again the Dawlgs would be getting away with their
crimes. It would take him three days to reach his carrier,
and then three more days for a combat squadron to
make it back. By then, the Dawlgs would be long gone.
That didn't set well with him. As an Olan warrior there
had been a deep sense of justice and right instilled in
him and something within him made him want to turn
around and make these creatures pay. Even as these
thoughts went thru his mind, scans picked up explosions
behind him.

Knowing that the fighters could not really pinpoint his
exact location just by their telepathic abilities, Sazarn
brought his ship back around in a large loop toward the
planet again. His computer told him that three of the
fighters had been destroyed by the mines. That left only
twelve. Perhaps he could take out a few more before he
left the system. What would be even better is if he could
damage or destroy the carrier itself.

There were more explosions as he headed back towards
the ascending carrier. The fighters were firing randomly
into space, not even getting close to his position. The
explosions appeared to be on the carrier. His heart beat a
little quicker and he felt a rush of exhilaration at the fact
that he had made a hit on the enemy ship. He sped
around the perimeter of the formation of Dawlg fighters
still headed outward from the planet in a rough circle.
As he did, he was happy to see secondary explosions on
the carrier.

As he made a wide circle around the fighters, they
changed their course and followed him. He began firing
at those he hadn't passed yet and took out two more then
veered off. There was now only ten fighters left. He had
a definite advantage due to the stealth technology built
into his ship. The Dawlgs desperately wanted to capture
an Olan ship to get that technology, but so far had not
been able to. Within each Olan ship was built an
automatic self destruct mechanism. Not only would it
destroy the Olan ship, but any other ship within the blast
radius. Even knowing this, the Dawlgs still tried.

One more advantage his ship had was its freeze field
armor. The sensors on board would detect any weapon's
fire that was about to hit the ship and would engage the
shielding. This shielding was a field that stopped all
motion on a quantum level. Once the field is engaged,
nothing can penetrate it. It is absolutely reflective. This
renders any enemy fire ineffective. The only draw back
is the stealth mode can not be engage at the same time
as the shielding. In fact all systems are shut down, and
the drive is off for that brief few seconds. For the short
moment the shield is up, the ship is visible, and moving
only on momentum. Even with that, the advantages
remained with the Olan fighter over every other type of
fighter.

Feeling very confident now, Sazarn turned back and
went in a loop back the opposite of what he had been
flying. As he did the Dawlg fighters nearest him flew in
circles. Their maneuverings ability was just not up to
following him. Two more Dawlg ships were hit with
blast of hot plasma bolts, which not only vaporized a
hole in their hull, but ignited the atmosphere inside the
ships. In one case there was a secondary explosion as a
fuel cell was superheated within. The other ship was just
carried on by its momentum while inside the occupants
were burned alive in their suits.

Now the count was eight to one. At this point, knowing
the history and battle tactics of the Dawlgs, he expected
them to break off their offensive and run away. He was
disappointed to see that they were still aggressively
pursuing him. Perhaps, he thought, I need to take out a
few more. Even as he thought this confidently, an alarm
sounded again as fifteen more Dawlg fighters appeared
out of the atmospheric disturbance. With shock he
realized there was another carrier hidden in the storm.

Even as that fact made itself known in his mind, one of
the fighters got a lucky hit. No damage was done, the
ship's shielding protected it, but now twenty three
Dawlg fighters knew exactly where he was for exactly
three seconds. Even Dawlg targeting computers are
advanced enough to determine his flight path in those
few seconds. Now, came multiple hits as every one of
those ships began firing at his position. With each hit
the shielding was up for another three seconds. With the
steady barrage of hits the shielding stayed on. The ship
was not damaged but it was being knocked around, now
off course with no maneuvering. Within the cockpit,
Sazarn was frozen, the intervals that the shield was
down were too short for him to react. The ship was now
being forced down toward the planet.

The entire group of enemy fighters were swarming
towards their prey. They were all firing repeatedly at the
shiny reflective surface as it plummeted down into the
atmosphere. As it dropped into the black clouds, the
electric storm interfered with their targeting systems.
Sazarn desperately tried to get control back as the ship
tumbled uncontrollably toward the planet's surface.
The ship was buffeted by the high winds and bolts of
electricity. Fearing the freeze field would engage
because of it, knowing he must gain control of the ship's
descent he turned off the shielding manually. This left
him vulnerable, but he thought at this point it was the
only way he would get control.

Even though the Olan fighter was far more advanced
than that of the Dawlgs, the Dawlgs ships were built to
be far more rugged, especially in an atmosphere. They
could take the punishment of the electric storm that they
had created to cover their actions on the surface. An
Olan fighter was sturdy enough to hold together
structurally, but unfortunately the shielding and
stealthing systems were vulnerable to such conditions as
they were being exposed to now. Within just a few
minutes, both systems had been disable by electric
strikes.

That was the bad news. The good news was that the
Olan warrior had brought his fighter out of its
uncontrolled descent and was pulling it back up away
from the pull of the planet's gravity. Within just a few
moments, the ship broke out of the dangerous storm and
back into the vacuum of space.
Unfortunately, there awaited him there a swarm of
angry bugs. Bugs is what the Olan, and almost everyone
else in the galaxy, called the Dawlgs. That's what they
looked like. Out of one kind of storm and into another,
the Bugs seemed to have been clever enough not to go
into the storm to pursue him. Once he broke from the
clouds, they were on him. His ship was fast, but his path
of escape was now blocked by nearly two dozen enemy
fighters. Now they could lock in on him. He made a
hard loop to go back down into the storm. Maybe he
could use it to cover his escape another way. Just before
he reached the dark clouds again, his fighter was hit
from behind.

Every Olan flight suit had an automatic shielding built
into it. When a ship was disabled, it automatically did
two things simultaneously. One, it engaged the pilot's
suit freeze field shielding, and two, it engaged its own
self destruct if the ship was still intact enough for there
to be a chance its technology could be captured. The
canopy of Sazarn's ship exploded and his body was
expelled even as the self destruct went off. The blast
instantly vaporized the ship, and sent the pilot, cloaked
now in the mirror surfaced freeze field, speeding toward
the surface of the planet.
Several Dawlg fighters also vaporized, many more were
blown of course as the power of the blast spread
outward quickly. The unseen second carrier did not
vaporize, but the damage to its hull was devastating.
The smaller mining ship on the surface sustained no
damage, but now that their protection was basically
gone, they quickly stopped operations and headed for
space, careful to avoid the ruined warship that was now
struggling to make it out of the planet's orbit. With all
the confusion and destruction, none of the Dawlg ships
were able to track the Olan pilot down to the surface.


Sheriff John Hayson woke up with a start, as did almost
everyone else in the small western town of Crystal
Springs. The dawn had just begun to leak light into
homes and stores of town, revealing in many places the
presence of sparkling pieces of broken glass on the
floors in front of the windows. Many objects had fallen
to the floor as well. The sheriff's first instinct was to
grab his gun belt that hung on the post of his headboard
as he jumped out of his bed.
Not taking the time to put his regular clothes on, he
buckled the belt around his waist over the long johns he
always wore to bed. He hastily shoved his feet into his
cowboy boots. Avoiding the glass at the window, he
headed for the door, ran down the stairs that went down
the outside of the jail. He was the first one out on the
street that ran down the middle of his town. Looking
around he saw nothing that gave him a clue to what had
happened that had blown out his windows and rattled
the whole building He did see that the other buildings in
town had suffered the same fate. Looking down the
street towards the west was the mountain range in view.
The sky there was dark with storm clouds and he saw
flashes of lightning Could it have been lightning that
had caused such damage? The storm was too far away
to have been the cause.
People began to stumble out of their homes down the
street, looking around as he had done, looking for the
cause of the destruction. Not finding any answers, most
of them went back to their homes to survey the damage,
while others gathered into groups to discuss the
mystery. Some of them had seen him and were headed
his way. He recognized the young school teacher
Annabelle Stanton walking toward him, tailed closely
by her little brother, Rodney. The sheriff was suddenly
conscious of his undressed condition. He considered
turning and running quickly upstairs to at least put some
trousers on, but it was too late, they were already upon
him. Just as Annabelle called out his name, he saw the
wall of dust moving at an unbelievable speed towards
them. He ran the remaining distance to them and
grabbed her and her brother by the arm and pulled them
to the side of the building, around the corner from the
main street. Suddenly a hot gust of wind was rushing
through the town, full of dirt and small bits of gravel.
He yelled at the two of them to cover their face with
something, while he pulled up the collar of his
undershirt to cover his nose and mouth. She covered her
face with a handkerchief while her brother buried his
face in her dress.

It seemed like forever, but it lasted perhaps two minutes.
When it was over there was a silent stillness that lay
over the whole town. Rodney was the first to break the
silence by saying, “what was that?”

The sheriff walked back out onto the main street and
looked up and down. There were some folks that were
laying on the ground. He called out to them, asking if
they were alright. He was glad to hear each of them
answer back that they were unharmed.

Annabelle and her brother had followed him out to the
middle of the road. “What just happened, Sheriff?” she
asked. He shook his head, “I don't know Anna, at first I
thought we had an earthquake, but that wind gust wasn't
from no earthquake. Could be that storm goin on over
the other side of the mountains. I'll have to go ask that
crazy geologist over at the hotel later on. Whatever it is,
it seems to be over with for now. I'd say best go back
home and help your ma clean up what mess has been
made.”

“Actually, I was headed over to the school to clean up
any broken glass that might be over there.” Annabelle
answered. The sheriff still cringed a little inside at the
mention of the school. His late wife had been the
teacher there until she had gotten too sick to do the job.
That had been three years ago. Annabelle had taken
over at fifteen years old. Two years later his wife had
died. That was when the sheriff had the apartment above
the jail built. The house he had shared with his wife,
where they had seen their children grow up, was too big,
too empty, and too full of the painful memories of her
suffering. It still stood empty, his plan was to sell it
someday, if ever there was someone interested in buying
it. The sheriff nodded to Annabelle and said, “I reckon
that's a good idea little lady, you don't want any of those
precious children to get cut on any broken glass.”

He tipped his hat to her as she and her little brother
turned and walked toward the school. Rodney turned
back, looking at the sheriff once more, then, turning to
his sister said, “Sheriff Long John, get it?” Annabelle
looked back and then turned to her brother and said,
“Rodney, that's disrespectfully.”

The sheriff turned and headed to the stairs that would
take him back to his apartment, thinking he would like
to put a boot to that kids rear. He wouldn't do it, but he
figured that the kid needed it. If that little snot didn't
change his ways, he was going to end up spending time
in Sheriff Long Johh's jail.


Rainy Sky bolted with a start and rushed out of the cave
his people had been forced to stay in for the last three
nights. The loud noise woke up the whole tribe, all the
men were grabbing their weapons and following him
out of the cave. The sun was just starting to light the
sky, but there were clouds above from the storm. The
view of the sky was limited where he was so he began
to make his way out of the small cleft the cave was in.
just beyond that the cliffs ran into a small ridge. He
climbed it quickly, followed by the other men. When
they reached the top they observed a billowing black
cloud high in the sky, expanding rapidly. The storm
clouds seemed to be running away from the other cloud,
and it was full of fire.

Rainy Sky wondered if it was the monsters who came
from the sky. A few days ago, the tribe had begun to see
strange things in the sky. There were metal carriages
that appeared, some of the elders said it was gods. After
that the monsters had come at night and stole a man.
The squaw and child of the man had tried to help but
had been paralyzed and could only watch in horror as
the monsters had taken him away. After that the tribe
had lost two more braves and one woman. Finally,
Rainy Sky had led them to this cave in hopes that the
monsters could not find them. So far they had been safe
since then. Now Rainy Sky wondered if the monsters
were angry and had decided to destroy the world.

Even as these thoughts went through his mind a blast of
hot air hit him, nearly sending him off the rocks and
tumbling down the ridge. He held his ground, but then
turned his back and covered his eyes as the dust clouds
blew against him. As he struggled to stay in place he
wondered if this is how the world ends. His bare back
was pelted with small debris. It continued for so long
that he had decided to go back down the ridge and had
started moving that way when it susided and all was
calm again.
When the dust had settled, he searched the sky once
more. The black cloud was now spread out above him.
The storm had began to dissipate. The sun had broken
over the eastern horizon in the direction of the white
man's town. As he looked towards the nearest mountain
peak he caught a glimpse of something shiny moving
quickly through the sky against the dark clouds. He saw
it hit the mountain and bounce off in an explosive cloud
of rocks and dust. It was glistening wildly, headed down
the mountain now, hitting several more times before
disappearing from his view.

One of his braves, Jumping Fox, asked him what it was.
He answered he did not know. What he did know was
that he wanted to find out. Something had happened this
morning that was very strange, and he thought,
dangerous. He wanted to know what it was and he
thought finding out what had fallen from the sky was
maybe the key to doing so.

He scrambled down the ridge and ran to his horse. His
braves, not questioning their leader, followed him. They
ran their horses quickly around the ridge and over the
dusty ground in the direction of the foot of the
mountain.
It took them almost thirty minutes of hard riding to
reach the area where they had seen the strange object
fall. Rainy Sky surveyed the mountain and saw the
places where the object had hit the mountain, leaving
gouges in the rocks as it had fallen. Tracing the path his
eyes rested on a large rock at the foot of the mountain.
He dismounted and lead his horse around the rock.
There nearly buried in dust and rubble was the shiny
object.

He and his braves approached the object cautiously. He
and one other man, Runs Through Water, began to brush
off the dirt. The object was large, bigger than a man.
Once they had uncovered most of it Rainy Sky began to
get a strange feeling about it. With much struggle, he
and Runs Through Water pulled the thing out of the dirt
and dragged it from behind the boulder. Setting it
upright, they discovered it was the image of a man.
Even though the man was in a sitting position, they
could tell he was a giant. This made Rainy Sky pause,
wondering if they should not be near it. It had fallen
from the sky and perhaps this was a god as the elders
had supposed the sky carriages were. There was
something about the thing that made Rainy Sky
nervous. One thing was it had no face. The head was
overly large, even for the large body. It was round and
featureless. There were no eye, or nose or mouth. The
surface, just as the rest of the image, was reflective and
on the head, where the face should be, he saw his own
image, distorted by the curvature of the head. One of the
braves had a spear, Rainy Sky asked for it and he
handed it to him. He took the point of the spear and
poked at the image. It didn't break. Of course, he knew
it had slammed into the mountain many times and not
been harmed. The men who had followed him here had
begun to murmur and say they should leave this place.
Even though Rainy Sky was made nervous as they were,
his curiosity kept him from walking away. He even
began to consider moving it back to the cave. Perhaps it
would scare away the monsters from the sky. This was
the thought in his mind when the object change into a
figure in shiny black. It stood quickly and towered over
him, standing taller than any man he had ever seen.


Even though Sazarn had been trained extensively on
going though the experience of being locked in a freeze
field, it was still a shock to him to come out of it sitting
on a desert floor instead of being in his cockpit. To him,
no time had passed. He had not even been aware of
being locked into the freeze field. One second he had
been in his ship trying to escape a group of Dawlg
fighters and the next minute he was in a strange place,
on the ground, surrounded by strange men in strange
clothing.

He instinctively jumped to his feet, and backed away
from the group of men he was confronted with. Seeing
immediately that some of them were armed with
primative weapons, he pulled one of his two sword
handles from his suit and activated the freeze blade. The
blade was the same kind of freeze field that had
protected him in his fall to this planet. It was
indestructible and sharp enough to cut though the
strongest metal.

The alien closest to him held a spear. Sazarn perceived
this one as the leader. The others were looking to him to
see how he would react to Sazarn. The man hesitated for
a moment, then slowly bent down and placed his spear
on the ground. Having done so, he dropped to his knees
and put down his head. The others followed suit. Sazarn
lowered the sword and deactivated the blade and put the
handle back on his suit. Taking note of the fact that the
atmosphere was breathable, he pulled off his helmet and
let them see his face. The leader looked up and saw his
face for the first time. He looked amazed. He began
speaking. After a brief moment Sazarn's translator spoke
the words in his own language. Apparently this
language was one of thousands the drones had recorded
and translated. It had been downloaded into his
translator automatically when he had jumped into the
system. The words were, “Sky God.”

He was about to explain to the man that he was not a
god when he heard the distinct sound of thrusters. He
looked around but couldn't see any vessel yet. He had
no doubt what kind of vessel it was. Dawlg. He spoke
one word to his new friends, “Danger”


Rainy Sky hear the giant before him speak a strange
word, but then he heard another voice coming from the
giant's direction say the word Danger. That's when he
lifted his head and listened. At first he could not hear
anything, then, after a moment, far away he heard a
roaring noise. This was the sound the monsters made in
their sky carriages. He leapt to his feet and spoke to his
braves. The monsters were coming. He hesitated, not
knowing whether to run or hide or stand and fight. As he
watched, the sky god put the round thing back on his
head and covered his face once more. Then, instead of
running away from the sound, he took two swords from
his front and ran toward the mountain, using his swords
to climb the face very quickly. Rainy Sky wondered if
he should try to follow, or if he should hid behind the
rock. He knew the monsters had the power to hold a
man without touching him. He didn't know how a man
could fight such a monster. He stood and watched and
hoped the sky god was on his side. Perhaps the sky god
could stop the monsters.

As he watched, the sky god stopped climbing and stood
still on a rock high on the mountain side. Within
moments, a sky carriage appeared. Rainy Sky's heart
began to pound. He wanted to run away but he couldn't
pull himself away from the scene that was unfolding.

The monster's machine now came around the mountain,
even with where the sky god stood. As Rainy Sky and
his braves watched, the sky god jumped the distance
from the rock to the machine and landed on top. The sky
carriage leaned this way and that, trying to make the sky
god fall, but he didn't. The sky god made fire come from
his arm into the top of the carriage. Once, twice, three
and four times, then he jumped back off the machine as
it flew off, flipping this way and that.

Just then, another sky carriage appeared. Fire shot out of
the sky god's arm once more, then several more times.
Now the new monster machine exploded and began to
fall from the sky. The first one was now flying straight
toward the mountain. The sky god jumped and it was as
if he was flying himself. He landed on a lower rock and
jumped again. The sky carriage flew into the mountain
and began to fall, rolling down the mountain side until it
ended up on the desert floor not far from where Rainy
Sky and his people stood watching. The sky god landed
right in front of him.

Rainy Sky knelt again before the sky god, bowing his
head low. He looked up to see him take the round thing
back off his head. Now Rainy Sky feared this god above
the monsters from the sky.

Now the god spoke again in a strange tongue. The other
voice came from him, although his lips had stopped
moving, and spoke in the people's tongue. It said, “I am
not a god but a man.”

Rainy Sky did not believe these words. “I saw as did
these others, that you fell from the sky. Now we have
watched as you defeated the sky monsters, shooting fire
out of your arms. How is it then that you tell us you are
not a god but a man? What manner of man does these
things we have seen you do?”


Sazarn wondered how he could explain to these
primitive people the concept of advantanced technology.
“I come from a world beyond the stars. On our world
we have gained knowledge of many things that are not
known here on this world. We fly between the stars. I've
come to see whether the sky monsters are here and what
they are doing. It's against our laws for them to be here.

Sazarn watched the man digest this information. He
knew it was probably easier for the poor man to believe
he was a god than to understand that there might be a
world beyond the stars. Nonetheless, the man seemed to
except the answer he had been given.

The man spoke again, “Many of our people have been
taken by these sky monsters. Can you bring our people
back?”

Sazarn grimaced and hung his head. He knew the fate of
these innocent victims of the Dawlgs. “I'm sorry for
these people. I wish I could say there is hope, but I
know from experience that these people are dead. The
monsters have eaten them.”
It was a horrible truth, but he felt that these people
deserved to know. He saw the look of horror that came
over the man's face as the translator spoke his words in
their language. Another man howled like an animal and
kicked at the dust in rage. Others spoke angrily, he
heard words through the translator like fight the
monsters, and take revenge. He held up a hand and they
all fell silent, their anger still apparent on their faces.

I know you are brave, and your anger is justified, but
these monsters are too powerful for you. Your weapons
can not hurt them while they are in their ships and at
least one in every ship has the power to control your
minds. You don't stand a chance going against them. I
can't put you in that danger, you must go from here
quickly, it's not safe for you to be close to me. The
monsters won't stop until they have captured or killed
me. They can track me easily because of the weapons I
have.

The leader was shaking his head. “We will fight with
you. If we die, then we die. We will not let the blood of
our people go without being avenged.” The rest of the
men muttered in agreement, shaking their spears and
other weapons. Sazarn could only shake his head.
:”It is my duty,” he said, “ as a warrior of my people, to
protect people such as you from these monsters. The
only way I can do this is to get as far away as I can from
you.” With that, he turned and began to climb the
mountain once again.


Rainy Sky watched the man fly up the mountain side
with speed and grace he couldn't have imagined. This
man from the sky was so huge, but he was faster than
any man he had ever seen, faster than a horse. Again he
doubted that this was a man and not a god. How could
even a man from beyond the stars with wonderous
knowledge that was like powerful magic climb that fast.
Before he knew it the man was out of sight over the top
of the mountain.

Rainy Sky was still angry. He turned to his men and
saw the blood lust in their eyes as well. He knew he
need not say a word. He strode to his horse and
mounted. His people mounted as well. It was a long ride
around the mountain, he could only hope they could
find the sky man and help him in his fight.
Sazarn was face with a dilemma. It had hovered at the
back of his mind since the moment he had found
himself grounded without a ship to escape the planet. It
was obvious this planet didn't have the advanced
weapons he would need to stand against a large number
of Dawlg fighters. He could leave his suit on stealth and
try to hide out until reinforcements came to run off the
Dawlgs or destroy them, but that left him with another
problem. This problem troubled him more than the idea
of death at the claws of the enemy. That problem was
that he had disobeyed a direct order. He would
undoubtedly be questioned with a truth ring. The truth
would be known. He would be dishonored, his
commission would be revoked and he would live in
shame for the rest of his life. He would in fact probably
be exiled from the City of the Wall, cast out to live a life
of shame with criminals in a primitive environment, cut
off from technology for the rest of his life. To an Olan
warrior, this was a fate worse than death.

He had one other choice and that was to stay here on
this primitive world, hope to make a place for himself.
He was obviously larger than the people here, but other
than that they looked very similar to Olans. The only
problem was the Dawlgs.
The Bugs would hunt him as long as they could. They
would no doubt run away when other Olans showed up
looking for him. That would take days, even weeks. The
message he had sent when he had discovered the
unusual atmospheric disturbance would take at least
three days to reach the nearest Olan carrier ship. Then it
would be at least three days before anyone got here.
Then it would take an undetermined amount of time to
hunt down and destroy the remaining Bugs. Until then,
the Dawlgs would be hot to capture him, just for his
suit. There was also the danger of a Dawlg telepath
probing his mind if he were caught.

Sazarn stopped and rested on a rock on the opposite side
of the mount as the aliens. He hoped that they had gone
back to wherever they came from, but he had a feelingo
they had not. His options were grim. He knew in his
heart what he had to do but he was hesitant to go
through with it. He was going to have to get rid of his
suit, destroy it, and then, even worse, he was going to
have to wipe his own memory to insure that if he was
captured by the Bugs, they would get no information
from his mind.

Olans were trained to be able to withstand the probing
of a Dawlg Minder for a short period of time. This kept
the Dawlgs from being able to know what an Olan
would do in a fight, or from being able to take control of
their mind. Unfortunately, if captured, even the Olan
mind conditioning would have its limits. At some point
the Bug's would be able to dig into his memories. They
would gain some information that would be harmful to
the security of the fleet. Sazarn could not let this
happen.

It was an unhappy fate, but he knew that he had brought
it on himself. He had been too eager to prove himself
and now he had brought shame on himself instead. He
had lost a highly advanced piece of machinery when his
ship had been destroyed. That was an expensive ship.
Now he was putting the security of others at risk. Even
these primitive people were in danger by his presence.
He had little chance against the Bugs without his suit,
and with his memories gone, but as it stood, he saw he
had no other choice. It was the right thing to do. He
would lose all knowledge of his life before. He would
retain his engrained training, he would instinctively
know how to fight, this gave him a small fighting
chance.

To his left was a sheer cliff. He figured it was high
enough that he could throw his suit off after engaging
the self destruct. His suit's power would not cause near
the destruction that his ship had, but it was powerful
enough to kill him if he was anywhere near it when it
blew. He scanned the sky for any Bug ships first,
making sure he wasn't vulnerable. He then began to take
off his outer suit.

The suit was really a weapons system in itself. On the
arms it had plasma weapons and that was its main
weapon, but it also enhanced his own strength and
speed. He could jump farther and run faster, and lift
many times the weight he would normally be able to
lift. Besides that it was equipped with the stealth
technology, and the freeze field armor. Without these
things it was doubtful he would survive. He took the
translator box off and set it on the ground, as well as
the two sword handles. The power supplies for these
were small enough they wouldn't be easily detected.

Once he got all of his suit off, he reconnected his boot,
gloves, and helmet onto it. Now on the back, he opened
the casing of the power unit. He set the timer on the self
destruct for three minutes. That would give it enough
time to fall to the base of the cliff and give him enough
time to get behind some cover. After setting the timer he
activated the self destruct and threw it over the cliff.
The explosion was powerful enough to shake the
ground. Within seconds a plume of smoke and dust flew
over his head. That explosion might draw the Bugs he
knew. It was time for him to try to find a place to hide
where he could safely wipe his own memories.

He had his sites on what looked to be a cave on the face
of a cliff on the next mountain. It would have been a
short easy trip in his suit. Now without it, it might take
him hours. He began his grueling trek, every watchful
for enemies from the sky.


Jack Jackson was a geologist to everyone who knew
him, but he was much more. He did hold doctorate
degree in geology, that was just one of many areas of
study he had mastered.

He was finishing hitching up his horse to his small
wagon. He was setting out to go investigate what had
happened out in the desert. As he worked on the last few
straps, Sheriff John Hayson walked up and stopped on
the other side of the horse. “Going somewhere Doc?” he
asked.
“Yes sir, sheriff.” he answered. “Going to investigate the
cause of the unusual phenomon we experienced here
this morning.”

The sheriff nodded, “That's good. I was gonna ask you
what you thought it could have been.”

“Not sure yet sheriff. It may have been some sort of
volcanic venting.” he lied. Of course the good doctor's
whole existance here among these humans was a lie.
The body he wore was a lie. In the fulfillment of his true
purpose he had to lie all the time to cover up what he
truly was. It was nothing sinister, he was merely an
observer.

The sheriff nodded again. “If you want to wait a bit I
can get a couple men together and I'll go out there with
you.”

“Oh, no, that's won't be necessary. There's really nothing
they could do. Besides, it might be dangerous for those
who don't have the knowledge of such matters. If it is a
volcanic vent, it could blow again any time. I know how
to approach and observe without as much risk. I would
hate to see someone hurt or killed because of their lack
of understanding.”
“Well alright then. You be careful out there, and I would
appreciate it if you would report back to me when you
find out anything. I got a whole town wondering what's
going on.”

“I will definitely let you know my findings when I get
back.” The doctor climbed up into the seat and grabbed
the reigns. He tipped his hat to the sheriff and set the
horse off with the snap of his whip.

The road out of town toward the desert went over a
small hill. When he had reached the other side and was
out of sight of the town he dismounted the wagon and
stepped in front of the horse. Holding his hand to his
mouth, he spit up a small red ball. He held it out in front
of the horse with his palm flat. The horse sniffed it and
then licked up the tiny red sphere and swallowed it. The
doctor praised the horse patting its neck and rubbing its
nose. He waited for a few seconds and then, speaking in
its ear he said, “follow me.” With that he turned and
began to run.

The horse had no chance to keep up with him. Even
without the small wagon to pull, the horse was not fast
enough. It was fine, because the horse and wagon were
just for show. It wouldn't do for the people of the town
to see what he was capable of. An observer must be
looked upon as just another person. They must blend in
to their surroundings.

Only recently the doctor had become blood brothers
with a local Indian chief called Rainy Sky. When their
hands had been clasp together and the blood had
mingled, a small amount of tiny crystals had been
transferred from his blood to the chief's. Even though it
was a miniscule amount it was enough for the doctor to
sense things that were happening to the chief. All
morning he had picked up that there was something
important happening with his blood brother. Not only
did it spur the natural curiosity of his kind, but as an
observer he felt obligated to investigate what was going
on. There was something very unique happening that
needed to be witnessed. Whatever it was, the chief was
involved with it. He was now using his connection to
the man to lead him. It looked like he was heading to
the mountain.


Sazarn's trip across the rocky terrain was becoming
exhausting. The heat of the sun was something he was
not use to. He had been in space for a long time and had
become accustomed to the regulated environment of his
suit. He had also been in a gravity that was much lower
than that of a planet, while aboard the carrier he was
stationed on. He was already feeling the effects, which
is why when he came to a deep crevasse, he stopped to
rest.

He scanned the sky as he had dozens of times on his
trek. Satisfied that it was all clear, he sat down. The gap
in front of him was too wide for him to jump. He looked
up at the cave and considered that even though it might
be deep enough for him to hide in, it was high up on the
sheer cliff. Not only did that make it hard for him to get
to it, it also made it highly visible. If one of the bug
ships came along while he was climbing, he was done
for. This crevasse on the other hand, would make an
excellent hiding place. It was deep and it was too
narrow for any ship to go into. The bugs would have to
get out of their ship and crawl into it. That gave him a
better chance in the narrow passage.

The way the wall on the other side of the crevasse
slanted slightly towards the wall on his side he couldn't
see the bottom. He could smell fresh cold water though
and it reminded him of how thirsty he was. The
undersuit he was wearing recycled his sweat and
deposited the filtered water into a small pouch on his
chest. He took the tube and drank of it. It bore a small
trace of salt. That was necessary, but it wasn't the best
tasting. All the more reason to go down instead of
across.

He took his sword handles out of the pockets he had
carried them in and reached over the edge with one,
held it against the rock face and activated it. With the
blade sunk deep in the rock he had a secure hand hold.
He let himself over the edge and with one hand grabbed
the sword handle. Holding on with that hand he reached
down with the other sword handle and activated it. He
continued this process, lowering himself down, slowly.

As he got lower his arms began to burn with the stress
of taking most of his weight. There weren't many
footholds. On top of that his hands were now sweating,
making his grip slippery. The other side was getting
closer, and he considered now whether he should risk
trying to switch to the other side. It was slanted slightly
and he thought it might be easier to traverse. He decided
to try.

Holding on with one slippery hand, he turned his body
and reached his other hand out towards the other cliff
face. Pointing the sword handle at the rock, he activated
it and the blade pierced deep into the rock. Now the
difficult part. Deactivating the other blade, he now hung
by one hand between the two walls. He held out the free
sword handle and reached as far as he could toward the
far wall and once again the blade dug deep into the rock.
He was now closer. He repeated the process and soon he
was up against the rugged surface of the other face.
Here he could get a foothold. It was a relief. He held his
body against the cliff, resting his arms as much as he
could. He was not sure how much further he had to go.
His arms were shaky and his palms were beginning to
feel a little raw.

After a few moments he felt better. He continued his
climb down. Now the wall on this side was beginning to
flatten out. Soon, he found himself struggling more as
the wall rounded over and slanted the opposite way.
Now the walls were spreading apart.

Although the space below him was dark, he could see
that there was a pool of water below him. It seemed
deep, he hoped it was deep enough. His arms were
giving out. He got a little further down and knew he had
reached his limit. Looking down he made sure he was
above the water. With all his strength gone, he
deactivated both blades and fell into the water.


Rainy Sky and his men had reached a small creek that
flowed out of a narrow passage between two cliffs.
They stopped and watered their horses, dismounting and
getting some water for themselves as well. The chief felt
a sense of frustration washing over him. As he looked
up at the mountain they had just come around, he saw
no sign of the sky man. How could they help the sky
man battle the monsters if they couldn't find him?

The terrain to ascend the mountain was getting even
steeper. The next mountain over on the side he was
facing was a sheer cliff. He wondered if he should just
give up and go back to the cave. Something told him
that it was not the path he should take, but he was at a
loss to know what was the right path. It was then he
remembered his grandfather.

When he was a child and his grandfather still lived, the
old man had taught him many things that had helped
him when he had become chief. One of those things
came to his mind now. He had told him when he could
not find the path, he should stop, quiet his heart, and
listen. He should listen not with his ears, but with his
heart. At times like this, the Great Spirit would
sometimes show you the way, if you only know how to
listen.

Rainy Sky called now on that Great Spirit. He chose not
to chant out loud for fear he would not hear the quiet
voice speak to his heart. He shut his eyes, and shut out
the sounds of the wind, the water, the drinking horses
and concentrated on his own heart. After a moment he
opened his eyes. He looked down at the water of the
stream and followed its course down a gentle slope into
a fertile green valley. There in that valley were trees.
The chief stared at the trees for a moment. What he felt
was that he should go there into the woods and wait.

He hesitated, questioning the logic of it. The sky man
was far above on the mountain, how then did it help him
to go into the trees? He stopped himself from this line of
thinking. As his grandfather had told him long ago,
when the Great Spirit speaks, you must have the
courage to listen, even though it doesn't make sense to
you.

The horses and men had finished drinking and the men
all stood watching him, waiting patiently for his
leadership. Without a word, Rainy Sky mounted his
horse and headed for the stand of trees.


As geologist Jack Jackson neared the mountain he was
drawn to, he heard a noise. At first he thought it was
thunder. The storm had dispersed already and the sun
was in full force without a cloud in the sky. That meant
it couldn't be thunder. It was a constant noise that was
getting louder. He stopped and began to search the sky.
In the distance he saw what looked like a metal box
flying in the air. Incredible,he thought, this must be a
craft of the monsters that were plaguing the tribe of
Rainy Sky. The doctor was not afraid of these creatures
himself, but they were definitely a danger to his human
friends. He didn't want the monsters to spot him and
follow him where he was going.

The doctor needed camouflage. His skin began to
secrete a red substance that soaked through his clothes.
His hands, face and body were totally covered with it.
As it poured out of his pores, it congealed into a gel.
The gel then turned from red to clear. After a moment
the substance turned the color of the desert floor, in fact
projecting on one side the very image of the desert one
the other side, effectively making the doctor invisible.
With that done, the doctor continued on his way.


The Minder was already angry. With the destruction of
the carriers, it was trapped here on this planet. The small
ship it piloted now was not equipped with jump drive. It
would take a life time to get back to its home if it even
could carry that much fuel. Its only hope to escape was
if it captured the Olan. If it was successful then it could
send a message and a jump ship would come for the
Olan. Few other Dawlgs had captured a live Olan, it was
a prize greater than gold. Yes, they would come for the
Olan, and then the Minder would have a ride home.

The Minder had been seaching for the Olan's mind
without luck. It would not give up, even after the ship
ran out of fuel, it would continue on foot. There was
plenty of edible prey on this world, it had tasted many
species and it knew they were good. It could survive
here for as long as it took.

Now below on the surface, a lone creature ran at
incredible speed. The Dawlg could not believe this
could be anything but an Olan. They had technology
that helped them run faster than was normally possible.
The Dawlg scanned for an energy signature but found
none. Perhaps they had found a way to mask the energy
signature. The Dawlg probed with its mind but what it
sensed was stange, like grasping at wisps of smoke,
there was nothing substantial. All the Dawlg had was a
visual. It changed course and began to follow the
creature, getting closer as it engaged the thrusters to
catch up with whatever it was.

The creature stopped and stood still. The Dawlg was
glad for its good luck. The good luck turned to bad as
the Dawlg watched the creature disappear. This must be
the Olan, it had engaged its stealthing technology.
Somehow the Olans had developed a way to mask both
their suit's energy signature and their own thought
patterns. This would make it nearly impossible to track
him.

The Dawlg was not discouraged in its hunt. The Olan
was there, he was within the Minder's grasp. All the
Minder had to do was figure out some way to detect
where he was. The Dawlg set its course for the spot it
last saw the man.


The Olan pilot dropped thirty feet into the cold spring
water below. The pool was deep, three times as deep as
he was tall. Even so his feet touched the bottom before
he stopped. Using the bottom he pushed upwards, then
kicking he swam to the surface. He had to put his sword
handles back in their pockets so he could use his arms to
tread water. The water only reached the skin of his face
and head and hands. His inner suit was water proof, and
whatever water that made its way to his body thru the
hole of the neck was quickly absorbed by the same
mechanism that soaked up his sweat.

Even so, the water cooled down the suit and therefore
his body temperature. The water on his raw hands and
burning face felt good, as did the cold on the back of his
neck. After enjoying just for a moment the pleasure of
the cold water, he swam to the side of the pool and
pulled himself onto a large smooth rock.

Now was the time for the hard thing. The hardest thing
he had ever had to do in his life. He looked around at
the cavity he was in. it was almost a perfect circle. The
water here was crystal clear. He took a chance and
dipped his hand in and put some to his mouth. He had
no equipment to check its purity, to make sure there was
no toxins or anything that could harm him. The water
tasted good, especially compared to that which was
filtered through his suit. He figured if he couldn't drink
the water of this world, he was a dead man any way.

The calmness of the pool was contrary to what raged
inside him. The pool itself reminded him of the
contemplation pool back in the City of the Wall. There,
as a part of his training, he had spend many hours in
contemplation and prayer. He had recited over and over
again many mantras that would help him condition his
mind, both against the abilities of the telepathic
Minders, but also to harden him in times of difficulties.
Even now those mantras echoed in his mind as he faced
this life changing procedure.

I am the Wall. I stand tall and strong. I am protection
from all harm. Though the sun warms me I am not
burned, though the cold chills me I am not hurt. Though
the wind blows against me I am not moved. No weapon
can pierce me, I am impervious. I am the Wall, why
should I be afraid?

The word helped calm him, gave him strength. He
continued staring at the depth of the water, almost in a
trance. Even as he looked deep in the pool, he situated
himself into a position where he was sure not to slip into
the water once he was unconscious. Not moving his
gaze now, still letting the words repeat over and over in
his mind, he pulled a small box from his suit. He
pressed a button and six metal arms extended in a curve
from the bottom of the box. A blinking red light
appeared but he ignored it. Pressing another button
opened a small compartment on top of the box. Turning
it over he dropped a small pill into his hand. He put in
his nose and sniffed in deeply. He then put the box on
his head, the metal extensions fitting the curve of his
skull. He waited, counting the seconds that it would take
the tiny nanite machines to reach the righ areas of his
brain. Once he had counted the proper amount of time,
he reached up and pressed a third button. The machine
on the top of his head would wipe out his memory in
just minutes, but first it knocked him unconscious.

				
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