1 The Chronicles of the Samuel Hain 5th Series Haunted

The spotlight exploded into the darkness, illuminating Uranium – one half of the famous Blues Bots. He struck a pose and tilted his fedora forward.

“Gotta get out of this crazy can, Last night came up with a master plan, Gonna need lots of nuts and bolts, Some luck and lots of crazy folks. Hey Titanium – I saw a space station back there!

Titanium slid onto the stage as smooth as oiled silk.

“Yeah – I see it! It’s over there – and there – and there! Gotta get out of this crazy can, Last night came up with a master plan, Gonna need lots of cable and wire, Some hope and guns for hire.”

2

Lofiene whispered a name in my ear: “Denshyk”. I was surprised; Denshyk was known for trading with the Neredites. Why would he betray Hefu? Yvis-Yvas, Nordip and now Denshyk cost me my soul mate. They would pay for their decision in blood. I kissed Lofiene gently and then went back to scanning the crowd. I’m sure there were others out there. “Shevu!” Manfred called over the revelry. “C’mon! It’s here!” As I made my way through the Hain’s shadowy corridors, I nervously looked about. I grabbed Manfred’s hand and then let go, forgetting he was a robot. “Don’t worry, if anything happens help is only a call away. Where’s your communicator?” He looked at me curiously. “I forgot it.” “Was there ever a time that you remembered to use it?” “Neredites don’t like communicators – or phones – for that matter.” I was being defensive – too defensive. For a moment, my commitment to justice started to waiver. “How do you talk to someone who isn’t there?” “We actually go out and find them. We are a very physical, tactile people.” I slowly ran my fingers down Manfred’s back, wondering if he actually felt the warmth of my touch. “That’s why we have no news broadcasts, radio, newspapers, or holo-vision displays. If we want to experience the world, we go out and touch it.” We finally reached the fighter bay. There, beside the beaten down, rusting X-4, was a pile of tubes, wires, and dark matter transistors. In the center of it was a red cube the size of a basketball. As I looked, the cube underwent a transformation and a multitude of colors spread out over its surface. The cube took on the shape of a pyramid. After a moment it was simply a red cube again. “So, you can install it?” Manfred picked up the cube. “Maybe.” I touched the surface. It made my fingers tingle. “You said you knew how.” “You heard what you wanted to hear, Manfred. I said that we had technology that was similar to this.” “How similar?” “Now that I see it – not very. Don’t worry….you’ll have your shields.”

3

I spent the next several hours in engine room, carefully maneuvering the cube / triangle into place. At times I thought I would have to re-wire the whole ship. But the little device almost seemed to know what I was doing; it adapted perfectly to its surroundings. It happily hovered over the silver fission platform, going from a cube to a triangle and back again. Something wispy and electrical brushed past my skin – just for a second. I left the engine room and looked back. I made sure I was on the well lit bridge as soon as possible. “Shields?” Dip-Dip turned to me as I entered. “They’re up and running.” I curtly replied. Hopefully no one realized how spooked I was. “Increase shield power.” Our “Captain” ordered. From the corner of my eye, I noticed a brief orange flash. My skin felt wet, but when I looked at my hands, they were perfectly dry. Everyone else was similarly perplexed. “Mistake?” Dip-Dip walked up to me. “No. I did everything perfectly. I ran diagnostics – if that’s what you can call them – three times. The shields are working. The ship is fine.” If I wasn’t so determined to avenge my lover, I would have gutted “Captain Dip-Dip” right then and there. “Did you hear that?” Daphne quickly turned her head. “Sorry love.” Allan replied. “It was like someone was walking around in wet sneakers – squish, squish, squish.” “I’ve turned down my audio receptors down a notch, so I don’t get spooked by the sounds the old Hain makes.” I wasn’t sure if Allan was trying to be humorous or consoling. “Then how will you know when Goar’Phax-Thoth comes for you?” Thamphor was sitting in a corner with a disturbing, fatalistic smile on his face.

That night, I held Lofiene tight, not sure if tomorrow all sanity would simply ebb like the tidal pools on Sheer’Tal. How I missed my home! Everything made sense there; things could be seen with one’s own eyes, felt with one’s own skin, and enjoyed with one’s own senses. There was certainty there – there was love there. I was intently listening for the “squish, squish, squish” but everything was quiet. The darkness felt cool and soft on my skin. The shadows had resigned themselves to the never ending loneliness that enveloped the Hain. The “ping” of tiny meteoroids stirred up memories of being in Hefu’s arms during a rainstorm.

4
Everything was alright except my stomach. I was so preoccupied during the installation that I had skipped lunch and dinner. I gently slipped out of Lofiene’s heart-sick grasp and got out of bed. I looked at her and reminded myself that I never made any promises to her…or anyone else on board the ship. I put my collar on and softly padded down the halls, looking for something to consume. I heard them before I saw anything. A series of popping noises overlaying a constant sizzle. It was coming from the corridor to my right. What surprised me was that I was actually curious to investigate. When I found the source of the noise, I saw a series of orange flashes travelling down the corridor. After each flash, an image of a man appeared on the walls, like an old 19th Century earth photograph. These “photographs” revealed a man in a white and gray uniform, adorned in military insignia, striding along. Whatever this entity was, it was definitely looking for something….or someone. Suddenly, the flashes stopped and everything was back to normal. “Lofiene! Get up! Get up!” We’ve got to get out of here!” I was babbling and trembling. “What’s the matter?” Her words were sleepy and belabored. “There’s someone out there! I can’t explain it…it’s like an image of someone who’s not supposed to be there..but it’s there. C’mon!” I pulled her out of bed. “You’re not making any sense.” She protested. “Show me.” “We’ve got to go – please!” I begged. Right now, nothing else mattered – not even Hefu. “I refuse to be frightened until you show me what happened.” Lofiene’s empirical mind would not budge. When I showed her the spot where “it” happened, she was quiet. Her body seemed to freeze and I thought she had gone into some kind of coma. I kept on whispering her name and frantically walked around her. I wanted to touch her so bad, but since I didn’t know Japhirdan physiology that well, I dared not. “Something was disturbed here, but I’m not sure what.” She suddenly said, as if the past ten minutes were nothing. “Lofiene!” I was so startled that I almost jumped. “I’m sorry. I went into a spiritual catatonic state to see if our reality was still in balance. Something was out of balance – just a few moments ago – but everything is ok now.” “Then let’s go, before it comes back.” “Maybe it should come back. Then we can try to talk to it.” “No..no..no..no…no! That’s insane!”

5
“Shevu, it’s ok. What you are describing is spiritual in nature. My grandmother was a Pu-dakahalakai, a priestess. She dealt with this kind of thing all the time; it’s quite natural.”

I knew that I was falling in love with Lofiene when she convinced me to stay. Over the next several days, I would see an orange flash or maybe hear a sizzle, but no “photo”. Lofiene, Namitz, Izix, and even Graxiella all sensed the “someone”, but he was moving too fast for them to “see”. “Have you told anyone else?” Izix asked. He and his Japhirdan friends encircled me. Each one held a teardrop crystal in their hands. Inside the crystal, a candle flickered. Weird shadows danced on the walls of my quarters. “No! Neredites don’t talk of such things.” “We need to know more about the image before we can help.” Lofiene’s words were unusually deep throated. “Repair crews to deck 5 section 7!” Dip-Dip ordered. Thank the tides I was on the repair crew. I raced to the area and immediately recognized it. This was where Hefu found the organic converter. But that was all that seemed familiar. The whole area was bent, as if reality itself was being distended. As we watched, the air before us took on an orange tint. The “photograph man” appeared on the floor behind us. “Go get Lofiene!” I yelled. “Hurry!” Allan ran off and was gone for what seemed an eternity. Or was it really an eternity? My skin felt numb and I was sure that the blood had stopped flowing in my veins. Even though I knew I was standing on solid ground, I was somehow floating in a vast cosmos of orange fluid. Lofiene and Izix grabbed me and yanked me back to the familiar. “This area is breached!” Izix yelled over the deafening sizzle. “What?” For some reason, I was determined to see this out. “The barrier between our universe and Yil-Weth-Yma’s is eroding!” He stepped in front of me. “The shield generator! That has to be it!” Lofiene shouted. She was about to head to the engine room when I stopped her. “No! It’s too dangerous! If you simply remove it, the whole ship will explode!” I raced off to deactivate our newly acquired doomsday device. The generator was throbbing, glowing white hot. Waves of sound and light rolled off its volatile surface. The heat was so intense that I couldn’t even get near it. I had to somehow cut the power – or did I? I ran to the control panel at the opposite side of the room. I directed as much of the ship’s energy

6
and computational resources to the engine room as I could. I just hoped that everyone would survive when the decks started shutting down. The floor was getting warmer by the second. I input the final sequence and ran for the door. Molten metal dripped from the ceiling above, narrowly missing me. I was only two feet away from the door. The last step I took in the engine room burned the sole of my foot. I looked back as the engine room simply collapsed in a tangle of melting steel.

Back in Izix’s quarters, we were all grateful to be alive. We were also grateful to be riding a worm. Renata was searching through Empire military archives to identify our mysterious ghost; she was eerily quiet. Abruptly, she turned to us. “The person in question is Captain Angus Smythe. He was born July 7 , 2809; he died October 23, 2917. He served aboard the UEE Samuel Hain from January 4, 2850 till August 11, 2902.”
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“So, why Captain Smythe? What would he be doing here?” Daphne wondered. “I do not know.” Renata answered. “But perhaps his last transmission might provide more information.” “…..the Samuel Hain under alien control...Goothalk, Japhirdan, Khemthemthem, and a few others I can’t recognize. They’re conducting medical experiments of some kind….also exploring the area between parallel universes…attempting to capture something from that place….” Captain Smythe’s voice was finally lost to static. “What was the origin of the transmission?” Sithim asked. “Unknown.” Was the drone’s blunt reply. “That’s because you don’t know what to look for.” Namitz took over the controls. “The transmission came from Europa.” “When?” Daphne asked. Namitz fiddled with the holo-dials and then stopped. She double checked her calculations. “1972.”

Bfk

© 2013 Benjamin F. Kaye

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