| Roxolan Stories |
Set in the Future
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Occupation:||Spaceship pilot, explorer|
|Affiliations:||Loki Salvage Service|
Erasmus Chang was a scout pilot in the Loki Salvage Service. He commanded the one-man scout ship Praise of Folly. Chang was a lean, trim man slightly below middle height with a thin, fringed, black beard.
Chang was called back from leave after a successful mission on Cienfuego by the Service's boss B'kila. She informed him of the loss of four service scouts on the other side of the Orion Nebula and well beyond what the Terran Confederacy had held. After being briefed on what little was known and the suspicion that the scouts had run into another technologically advanced species, Chang was ordered to go out and investigate what had happened.
Chang set out and approached the far side of the nebula obliquely so his route could not be backtracked. When he was well passed the glowing gases, he came out of hyperdrive and studied the newly visible stars. He explored a nearby star system but found no habitable planets. He tried twice more without success when he observed an unknown squadron of spaceships on its way to yet another star. He maintained formation at a distance to test their sensors and soon saw three ships split off and approach him. One ship allowed its hyperdrive field to touch his precipitating both out into normal space. The other two alien ships followed.
The ships quickly found the Folly with radar and tried to contact Chang via radio. This shocked him since these were the first aliens humans had encountered who knew of electromagnetism. He sent a reply via radio not expecting them to understand his words but to send a message through the fact he could detect and use radio too. On receiving his signal, the radio chatter from the aliens increased. They fired a missile powered by contragrav well ahead of his path which detonated with a 30 kiloton blast. A second surprise, they had atomics too! He ordered his ship's A.I. to fire a missile back, throttling down its performance to below those shown by the aliens. It too had a nuclear warhead and exploded a safe distance from the aliens.
The smallest of the three ships immediately left the formation heading back to the alien fleet. One of the remaining two deployed a boat which approached to 4000 km. It stopped, dropped off a metal container and returned to its mothership. Chang sent out a probe to investigate. Using its robotic arm he opened the container and found two sheets of paper. One was a spectrograph of the star the alien fleet had been approaching. The other was a series of cartoons directing Chang to join the two ships, flying in formation between them to the star. It also warned him not to stop, instead to allow the ships to touch hyperdrive fields to stop. Not having gathered enough information, he elected to obey.
The Folly entered hyperdrive and maintained position between the two alien ships. The ability of the alien ships to keep up indicated their hyperdrive technology was first rate and on par with Loki's. Eventually the ships touched fields and Chang saw they had returned to normal space within that particular star system. Another container was deployed and Chang found directions to proceed to a specified planet via contragrav while englobed by a dozen approaching alien ships. Again, Chang had no option but to obey. He took the precaution of injecting himself with several cc's of memory-RNA which would give him perfect recall for the next ten days to two weeks.
The ships proceeded to the planet and landed on what was clearly a spaceport. It was heavily fortified with gun emplacements and atmospheric flyers screaming by overhead. Almost as soon as they touched down, armed armored vehicles began approaching along with foot soldiers. They surrounded the Folly but did not approach closely. Eventually one alien who was clearly an officer approached with several bodyguards. Chang disembarked to meet him. He indicated through hand gestures that the aliens were not to approach the ship closer than ten meters. When one soldiers arrogantly attempted to do so, the ship's A.I. set off a siren and fired a warning burst of machine gun fire. The officer signaled the soldiers to respect the perimeter Chang had demanded. He then indicated to Chang that he wished him to accompany them to a port building. Chang agreed, the display by the A.I. leaving the impression that the Folly was still manned and capable of rescuing him.