Castle Roland

Terra Nova

by Arthur


Chapter 1

Posted: 19 Oct 15


Copyright © by Arthur

This story is sort of a take off from one of my earlier stories on nifty called "THE COMMANDER" hopefully it is a little better than that first effort at sf/fan.

As with most stories, I have to start somewhere so, who am I? My name's Murray. Not very exciting or sexy is it? I mean it's not even interesting really. Now why am I writing in this old fashioned diary in the first place? Well it's just for something to do while I sit and wait for the next turn of the planet below me. The planet is named Terra Nova IV, that's Earth to you. Where did I come from? Well Earth of course, how else would I know how to write in English?

Now I can see your minds working and the first question that pops into your head is: what the hell is he talking about? Well dear Terra Nova IV's, I'm talking about the fact that here I sit in front of the control panel for a Galactic class shuttle, waiting for my Cruiser to arrive from the Command and Control Ship, looking down on what we have left behind for you to continue with. Now what the hell is he talking about, you ask yourself.

Ok, let me ease your limited brain capacity, you see I am now 136 years old. Well in your years I am, in Galactic years I'm only 21 years old and look about the same. How was this accomplished? Well it was no god given miracle, it was just genetic replacement and advanced medical procedures. Ok, you are now completely confused so let me start right at the beginning.

When I was my old self, I was going on 68 years old, well past retirement and living on a limited government pension. A big change from the flow of money I was once used to. Everything I did, or wanted to do, had to be thought out carefully within my present miniscule budget. It took a number of years to get used to these limitations but after a small bout of depression and a final wake up call when I buried my last friend, I settled down into the old folks game of waiting for the reaper.

My days consisted of sleeping late, in the hope most of another day had passed, watching old movies on my second or third hand old TV or, going on line ($10 per month dialup) on my well used and abused self assembled computer. Now I know what you're thinking, how could a man possibly keep up with all that excitement? Well it was easy in the final analysis. I had no option. This was what a life time of hard work and almost total honesty had brought for me.

As the twilight years approached faster and faster and the friends got less and less, and the family were sent to tend the flowers from under the ground, it wasn't long before I was the only one left standing. Now I know that I was no angel, but why was I the last one of all the friends and family I had once known? Well all I can put it down to is, it's the luck of the draw. Well that's what I used to think.

I was to find out that sometimes there can be other influences that decide if you go or stay but that time was not yet, and so, I sat and watched the world go by from my old deck chair out on my rough balcony attached to the rented caravan (trailer, to some of you). I wondered why I was still waiting for each day to pass (exciting! Yes?).

Now on a night, some 66 years ago (earth years), I was sitting out on the balcony, (such as it was). The air was slightly humid from the last throws of summer. The night around me was silent except for the distant hum of night insects and the soft stirring of an evening breeze in the trees. All around me was silent, the campers had left for their city homes and the park was nearly empty apart, from the other two or three permanent residents.

No noise came from the village of 200 odd people that lived out here by the coast on a full time basis. It was just another barmy late summer evening. I was sitting back in the deck chair looking up at the far away stars and letting my mind wander while I sipped the last of my two daily allowed drinks and pulling on one of my ten allowable cigarettes, when my eye caught a faint movement in the far off heavens.

It appeared at first sight to be what we all call a 'shooting star' but this one had a fire trail of bright blue. This caught my attention. Where I now live, and for that matter most of my life, I had seen plenty of shooting stars, or to put it more correctly, meteorites, but I had never seen one so blue or so bright. This sent my over active imagination into overdrive. I thought of all the possibilities out there in the far off galaxies, another favourite pass time of mine.

Well, as I sat there and let my mind follow it's own course, I became aware of a funny tingling sensation in the air around me. It was just like the static charge you can sometimes feel just before a lightening storm. My skin tickled and the hairs on my arms sat up as that faint butterfly feeling began deep in my stomach. It was an old feeling of something not being quite right, I'm sure you have all felt it at one time or another.

As the strange feeling got stronger, I saw again the bright blue effect in the sky but, this time it appeared to be closer. Now to set the scene for you, the park where I now live out my days, fronts onto a stretch of public beach about 50 meters away. There's a thin line of trees that separates the park from the actual public area and during the high summer holliday period this place is full of families. Children laughing as they swam or played on the white sand beach, their varied parents totally unconcerned in what they were doing, leaving the care of their kids up to the beach patrol.

Ok so I admit I'm a boy lover. Well not really boys but mid teen lover but, as you can guess, there's no teens around that I know of who are into 68 year old men. So all I have is the daily summer time window shopping, look but don't buy. I'm sure you get the idea. The physical act had become, like a mobile phone, hand held, or it had become non existent. The latter being closer to the truth. So I spent most of my time looking and dreaming of times past, as we all do.

So back to the present evening. Here I was day dreaming (or night dreaming with my eyes open) and this strange static and eerie feeling came over me. I looked again up into the dark sky and then saw what appeared to be a shimmering outline just above the water, some 100 meters out on the ocean and about 200 meters up, now this really piqued my senses and my over active imagination went into overdrive once more.

Pictures of little green men coming to take me away or, big ugly creatures with row upon row of long sharp teeth waiting to tear one apart. Slimy creatures that were the mother of all slugs, oozing dangerous chemical trails on the ground or insect like creatures that would spit burning jets of acid at you. Okay you get the idea. Sometimes my mind runs away with me. Any how, here I was, old and grey, weary of all the bullshit I saw around me day after day and, here was a phenomena appearing right in front of my eyes. Now what should any right minded pensioner do when confronted by such rare opportunities, ring the cops? Yeah right, it would take them three weeks just to answer the emergency phone. Call the government? Oh yeah? They only work 9-5 and about three months of the year. So what do you do? Hide under the bed in case the green men get you? Run screaming naked through the village yelling 'THE END IS NIGH'! Well that would work if Boris Karloff was still alive. Who is Boris Karloff? Don't worry, someone older will explain it one day.

No, the only thing to do was take immediate action! That is to say, sit back and watch the show, pour another drink and tomorrow you can blame the excess of alcohol for your state of mind. So, being of a temperate nature, I poured myself a double and sat back to wait for the little green men.

Much to my surprise and a somewhat diluted excitement, over the nearby sand appeared from the shimmer, a craft that was definitely not an experiment of the yanks. It was some 150 meters long, quite box like at the rear where the blue light was coming from and sloped downward into a flat nose at what I assumed was the front. There were no windows apparent anywhere on it and the craft sat just centimetres above the sand without legs to hold it up. For some short time it just sat there until I realised I was not breathing and took in a big gasp of much needed air.

Its hull was made of a shiny metal, much like highly polished stainless steel that reflected everything around it in a mirror like image; the whole hull was smooth and showed no signs of ports or doors.

There was no sound coming from it apart from a soft humming that could hardly be discerned above the soft sound of the small waves on the beach. No one had appeared from the village and no one else at the park had come to investigate. This apparition was all mine, joy of joys. I waited for the green men inside to take me away.

Well multitudes of Terra Nova IV, let me tell you there is no such thing as little green men. I'm really sorry to reveal this to you expectant ones but there is no such thing. They are blue. Yep, that's right. Aliens are blue, not real bright or strong blue, but a sort of very soft pale blue, almost to the stage of being off white. Most stand about 5' 6" or there about. Slim lithe bodies that show nice tender definition, and their hair is that type of whitish blonde and runs in a narrow strip like an old fashioned Mohawk down the middle of their skull and ends in a pony tail that hangs to the centre of their shoulder blades. The two that now stood in front of me smiling gleefully, looked to be about the same age as our fifteen or sixteen year olds here on Earth. It would be a while before I found out their true age but that's for the future.

Now all this being revealed in such a manner should by rights, have given me a huge heart attack. However, being a person who has seen or experienced so much, I looked at them with an overriding interest, the least of which was blatantly sexual. A shudder went through my body which only seemed to make these two young guys smile wider.

Fortunately I was still seated and the two boys were now standing directly in front of me. They were close, and I didn't even see them move, or I was too dazed to see them move. I looked more closely at them. Their faces were like an elfin child would look, small nose, slightly pouty lips on a small mouth, their teeth were perfect pearls and they had a narrow chin and high cheek bones that held slightly slanted Asian type eyes. The whites were almost startling in their clarity and the pupils were a bright blue, like looking into the deepest sapphire you have ever seen. To say they were enticing is to call a sex god interesting.

The two boys/men were dressed the same, that is to say they were dressed as follows: on their upper body they wore a small jacket similar to a bolero style, it was what looked like some type of thin black leather with a multitude of silver threads running through it in a very ornate and fancy pattern. This jacket ended just above their small tight abs. Slung low on their hips was a wide white belt arrangement, again with silver ornamentation, and from this belt hung a long length of black silk like cloth front and rear, much like an old fashioned long breechclout. Their young looking flanks were totally bare and on their feet they wore soft looking black leather type boots that came half way up their young calves. On their right forearm they had a kind of long cuff in the same black leather, again with silver scroll work and in their left hand they held a short thin baton of silver metal with a red stone in the top. The two of them were a very sexy package all told.

It took me about five seconds to forget they were, a: alien, b: blue, c: had a space craft, d: were smiling and seemed to be waiting for my basest thoughts to over power them. I shook myself and said the most brilliant thing that I could come up with.

"Uhm..... hello."

Now I am sure you are all overwhelmed at my abilities with language and my scintillating ability to entertain visitors with jovial and entertaining musings and anecdotes. But the truth be told, I was speechless. I mean what do you really say to two delightful blue aliens who you would like to immediately throw on your bed and ravage until you had a heart attack?

Okay so I am not only a teen lover but I also am into the exotics. In my younger days (and that was quite a while ago), if you could think of it, I had tried most of it (except animals). And now here were two very exotic teens standing right in front of me with the most beautiful smiles (to say nothing of their bodies) and they seemed to be interested in me. Or was it just dumb luck that they arrived just here where I happened to be now living. Their first words soon dispelled that idea.

"Hello Commander Murray, Aaron said it was time to collect you, and so here we are."

What the hell am I in command of?
Who is Aaron?
Here they are indeed.

His voice was somewhere between sexy and inviting. He had a soft lilting inflection that screamed sex but at the same time had authority behind it. I hurriedly searched for something to say that would not make me look like the total idiot I happened to be feeling like... where to start?

"Uhm.... who's Aaron and what am I meant to be in command of?"

"Aaron is the positronic brain that runs the command ship and has re-animated us from stasis to come and collect you so you can take over your rightful place as Commander of the Galactic Seeker 004."

"Uhm.... okaaay, but why me? I mean I'm a bit old for gallivanting around the galaxy in a space ship aren't I?"

"Oh no Commander. We, that is to say, Aaron, has been sitting behind your moon since you were a young boy, waiting for you to come of age when you would know how to take command. He has listened to all your thoughts and dreams over the years and is convinced you are the right person for the position."

"So, there were others that might have been good enough?"

"Yes, some others. You see, when a research ship is sent to a galaxy it is positioned close to the best planet capable of sustaining life forms that are closest to our own. The positronic brain then keeps watch until it finds a being of suitable abilities to command the ship. Over the years it narrows the number down until only one is left. That one is then deemed to be worthy of command and so some of us are activated and sent to collect our new Commander, as you can now see."

"Well I'm sorry but I don't see how I could possibly qualify. I have no special engineering skills. I know next to nothing about outer space and certainly nothing about running a space ship. All I have is an ability to day dream of the impossible and muddle through from one day to the next."

"Ah, Commander Murray, you have much more than you think. Your whole life thus far has been one of training for this one event. Even though you were not aware of it. Now, are you ready to leave and come with us to take over your Command?"

"WHAT! Just like that, pack up and walk away? What about all my things, the car (ten years old), my boat (fifteen years old) and all the bits and pieces of my life that I have collected and carry my memories?"

"Oh those can all be collected tomorrow night if you want them. As for your 'bits and pieces' we will have them packed for you and brought up to the ship tomorrow night by some of your crew that are just now being reawakened from stasis and getting ready to greet you."

"So you mean I just get up and walk inside your ship and leave, is that it?"

"Yes Commander, just like that. Are you ready?"

Now I know that any right minded person would have given an event, such as this, a lot of deep and meaningful thought. After all, who in their right mind would just pack up and leave everything at the drop of a hat, or landing of a space ship in this case. Now I have made many mistakes in my life, but my mother did not raise a fool for a son, nor was I in the habit of making rash decisions. So I sat and contemplated my present future for all of ten seconds then, rose to my feet and with a quick look around said "What the hell."

I began walking towards their craft and I hoped a better future than the one I was looking at, at the moment. Okay Murray, you gave that plenty of thought, now what?

With a teen on either side of me, I approached the slivery craft. As I got within five feet of it, a wide door opened magically in its side. All I had to do was lift my foot a little higher and step right on in. The two teens followed quickly and then silently the door closed. The boy that had not spoken, led me to the front of the craft and indicated a rather large plush leather chair in the middle of a very large room. He then went forward to another smaller chair and sat down in front of a long bank of dials and switches. The other boy stood close beside me still smiling as though all his birthdays had come at once.

"Uhm, excuse me, but do you two have names?"

I looked up at the boys face as he turned to look over at me. A look of sheer terror filled his beautiful Asian like eyes. Immediately he sank to one knee and a silvery tear fell from his right eye as he began to try and silence a sniffle. I noticed the other boy looking on in horror as he too left his chair and sank to the floor on one knee with the same reaction as the first boy.

"I...I'm sorry, did I say something wrong?"

The first boy looked up at me with tear filled eyes. "No, no, Commander. It is us that have wronged you. If you wish to replace us for our ignorance then please say so. We are both distraught that we should bring such dishonour to you. Please, replace us for our bad manners."

"What? What do you mean? You haven't dishonoured me in any way. I was just wondering what your names were, it's no big deal."

"But it is Commander. We were told explicitly by Aaron to introduce ourselves in the correct manner and we have failed. We are both sorry for the dishonour of not following our orders."

"Look, there has been no dishonour, you did everything just right. All I want is your names. I can't go calling you, 'hey you number 1 or number 2' now can I?"

"But my Commander, we have been lax in following our orders. We must be penalised for our lack of obedience."

Now this little exchange of ideas was getting a bit far fetched. So, being as I'm a nice guy (cough), I decided to make light of it and just joke it off. So I told them that they could pay a penalty as follows. "Ok, guys, you both have to have sex with me at the same time and then we will be all square." I laughed at the thought of the shock that would over take them both at such an outlandish request (should have kept my mouth shut, then again maybe not as the first boy looked at me with an open mouthed smile).

"Of course we will Commander, but it hardly seems any type of penalty when we can do something we are trained for in the first place. We both were hoping for such an honour but never thought it would be so soon or under these conditions. Are you sure it would be a penalty?"

It was my turn to look shocked. Sometimes my big mouth gets me into all sorts of difficult but pleasurable situations and this was one that I will not mind being in, for once in my life.

"I still don't have your names though?"

"Again my apologies Commander. I am Teac, Troop Commander of your personal Guards. That is Layn, Flight Commander of the Defence Fleet."

"Well Teac and Layn, lets go see the mother ship, how far away is it?"

"Mother ship? Commander, oh I'm sorry, you mean the Command vessel. It's on the other side of your moon still. It will take us about two of your hours to get to her. We will first go to your Cruiser just out of your atmosphere, then onto the Command ship. It will take about ten minutes earth time to get there."

"Two hours to the moon, it takes our rockets days to get to the moon."

"Yes so we have seen; they really are primitive down here aren't they?"

All I could do was cough quietly into my hand as Layn sat back down in his chair and began to push buttons and watch the myriad of lights flash on and off. Next thing the front of the ship, sorry, shuttle, all 150 meters of it, disappeared into a clear glass window. The sense of vertigo immediately hit me. It was as though I was sitting in mid air with nothing around me. 'jeez' I thought, 'what the shit had I got myself into this time, and at 68 years of age, mummy did raise a fool after all.'

There was no vibration or any other indication that we were moving. Just a deeper hum in the body of the shuttle and next thing we were miles above the receding ocean and heading towards the darkness of space. Was I frightened? You bet your sweat tooty I was. In fact scared shitless would not have described it, still it was a good way to go if nothing else.

Scant minutes later I saw the Cruiser for the first time. Teac had been explaining to me that both craft were still fully cloaked but as we were both operating on the same frequency we could easily see each other but no others could, hence the earth satellites and other devices inability to detect any of the ships so close to them.

The Cruiser was another real piece of work. It was made of the same type of metal but had a different shape. It was more like an overgrown cigar, a very large overgrown cigar. What I assumed was the front, was rounded and then widened as it went back towards the rear where there were four large round protuberances, much like four more large cigars, were attached. These I assumed correctly, were the engines. The whole hull was smooth apart from a very small array of what I also assumed were aerials about half way along.

Now if I thought the shuttle was big, this Cruiser was enormous. From what I could make out, it appeared to be about 1.5 kilometres long and about half a kilometre across. If this was a go between cruiser, how fucking big was the main ship? As it turned out, the main ship, Galaxy Seeker 004, was a bloody sight bigger than even I could imagine, and that's pretty big.

"Tell me Teac, how many cruisers do we have?"

"Would you like a run down of your minor ships as well Commander? Although Aaron will give you all the information when you have your med change,"

'Med change? Better leave that one for later.'

"Uhm, well ok, just tell me what there is for now and then we can let, uhm, Aaron do his job later."

"As you command, Commander. You have available to you a total of 100 Defence Cruisers at this point. If you need more then they will be constructed. You also have 100 Heavy Attack Cruisers, 500 Needle Fighters and 500 Plas. Bombers. Then there are 1000 troop shuttles and 50 personnel shuttles and of course your own private shuttles. There's 10 of those for your exclusive use."

Now in any ones mind, that's a shit load of hardware. This Command ship was getting bigger in my mind by the minute, just to house all that hardware would take a city the size of Beijing to hold and what about the personnel? I asked Teac about the troops and people who ran the ships.

"Normally, when you are under a full compliment, there would be about 50,000 people under your command. But at present there is only a skeleton crew as Aaron is capable of doing all his own maintenance while he is on standby mode as he is now."

"Damn, so where do all the extra people come from then?"

"You get them from where ever you want; your planet has a lot of discarded people that they seem to not want. Why not look for some of them that would like to travel to the stars? As to the existing personnel, you have 100 of your Elite Command Guard waiting for you and there are 50 senior officers of the other various departments being awoken now ready to train any new recruits you find."

"So you're telling me that there are only 150 personnel ready to go right now?"

"153 Commander, including Aaron and us, yes, that is correct."

"Uhm, Teac, just how long have you all been sleeping in, ah... stasis, for?"

"In Earth years, let me see now."

There was a short pause while Teac thought through his answer he then brightened up as the right answer came to him.

"216 Earth years Commander. We were put aboard after our training at the depot at age fourteen in Earth years, when the Command Vessel was completed. We then spent one Earth year to get familiar with the vessel and then we went into stasis until last night your time, to be woken up by Aaron."

Oh my giddy aunt, here I am with two of the most attractive teen something boys and they were both over 200 years old! Well my friends, there's going to be fun in the old barn tonight. Can you imagine what it would be like holding back on your sex drive for 200 something years, and still in your early teens.

Hmm, Gomorrah was never like this and as far a Sodom goes it can take the next place in line behind me. Slowly we entered the cavernous mouth that was the shuttle bay of the Cruiser. Now did I happen to mention the size of this thing? Well you sit in a "shuttle" the size of a 747 and then feel as though you are a very small ant in a very big desert and you might have just a little idea of what their Light Defence Cruiser looked like from the inside.

The landing bay also held other ships, most of them were very sleek and dangerous looking. At a rough guess I would say they would be some of the smaller fighters and bombers, when I say small, that's a relative term for these guys. The fighter/bombers were about 50 metres long and maybe about 10 metres across. There were no discernable windows or protuberances from their sleek hulls and at the rear were the now familiar two small round pods of the engines. The front or nose was a sharp point and they all sat neatly in racks mounted on the side walls. There were no doors or hatches as far as I could see but there had to be some way to get inside. I would just have to be patient, not my strong suit I can assure you.

As I stepped from the shuttle, Teac called out loudly "Hutt" or something similar and I was presented with a most wonderful sight in front of me. For there in two straight rows, stood twenty beautiful light blue boys. Their white Mohawk hair tipped with red. By their side they held a long silvery metal pole about three feet long, that they slapped loudly into their left side while they raised their right arms with the red leather cuff and placed it across their slim chests. It must have been their form of salute, was I impressed, hell yes.

Their bolero style jackets were also red and trimmed with a thin black piping as was their breech cloth. Teac continued "Command Guard of the Galactic Seeker 004, your Commander, Commander Murray."

I was stuck for words once again as I looked at my personal guards, only twenty were here. What the hell would they look like when all of them were together? I could see many wet dreams coming from this encounter. For the first time I noticed that they all had a small gold disc implanted in their right temple. Quickly looking at Teac, I noticed he had the same disc. I had been so overwhelmed before that it was one thing I had initially missed on first inspection of him and Layn.

Teac led me to inspect the guard, not that I knew what I was looking for but it seemed the right thing to do. Ok, I had done my time in the military more years ago than I like to remember so I had a good idea of what it was all about but the sheer beauty and youth of all those boys soon took my mind off anything else in my head. Blue or not, they were the finest looking boys I had ever been lucky enough to eye over.

When the inspection was too quickly over, the boys formed up around us as Teac led me through the cavernous dock and up into the main control room where Layn now sat at his console. How he had beaten us up there was another mystery for later on. Once they had me settled into the command chair once again, Teac asked if I was hungry or thirsty at which I replied I was too overwhelmed to be either. The outward journey to the Command ship Galaxy Seeker 004 began, at least I had all this eye candy to keep me occupied until we got there.

The next two hours went by in somewhat of a flash. I was to taken up with the open vista before me, yes the whole damn front of the cruiser disappeared again, leaving me hanging in mid space with nothing but the chair and my fat ass for company. Well I had twenty two pieces of eye candy as well but that's neither here nor there when you're hanging in mid space like a side of bacon in a smoker.

We had rounded the moon (it's not made of cheese) and were setting out towards the far blackness of space when I thought I saw something dark and dense a long way in front of us. Did I say these guys made things big? There appearing out of the blackness was a veritable city in the sky. Well city is a bit small, maybe a small country would better suit the size of what I was now seeing.

By my estimate we were still some 1500 kilometres away from the ship. Even now it was huge beyond belief. Now you have to remember that I was in a cruiser that made a 747 look like a tonka toy. The ship in front made this cruiser look like a wayward sparrow in a desert. I looked for Teac and signalled him over by my side.

"Hey Teac, that's our ship, right?"

"Yes Commander, that's the Galaxy Seeker 004, she's very pretty, don't you think?"

"Uhm...yes very, ahh...pretty, just how big is she Teac?"

"In Earth measurements, Commander?"

"Yes please Teac, it's the only way I know."

"The Galaxy Seeker 004 was the second of the new class of research vessels for deep space. She weighs 170,000 mega tonnes; has an over all length of 21 kilometres; a width of seven kilometres and a height of 2.5 kilometres; when fully manned she carries a compliment of 52,000 men. She has twelve of the new light flight grade 3 turbines. She is also armed with ten neutron cannon as her main armament; her secondary armaments are the normal pulse cannons; disrupter cannon and laser anti attack guns. For defence she has a hull thickness of 50 metres of triton steel backed up with a 10 metre layer of byridium plate. Next is the anti breech gel and then an inner core of 1 metre thick plasteel. On the outer defence there is also the energy shield which has a defence strength of 10/20, the same as your personal shuttles."

Following this revelation I did what any red blooded man would do, I gulped and waited for my spinning head to settle. What I understood of Teac's explanation was the fact that I was now expected to take command of one very big shit load of guns and steel with enough men to fill a small city, and they wanted me as a Commander? They have got to be kidding me, right?

As we neared the ship the heavens disappeared more and more the closer we got. This thing overshadowed everything in sight and we were still about 100 kilometres away. It hung in space like a great slug with four segments joined together with thick wide box sections. At the front was a nose much like the shuttle in that it stretched the width of the front of the ship in a similar sloping way, back behind that was the next section. It towered over the front section by a considerable amount and seemed to stretch way back further than I could see. From our position earlier, when we were further away, I knew that the next section was a very long flat square. Then at the rear, were the engine units but they were both to far away for me to see (hey the size of this thing means that 100 kilometres is very damn close).

"Teac, if this is a research vessel, how come it's got so many weapons?"

"They are only used mainly for defensive purposes, not all planets are friendly, nor all ships that we may come across. Although, most ships would not dare attack us, they just don't have the weapons capability to get through our shields where as we have the capability to vaporise them."

This was going to be a very thoughtful sort of job. I could feel that right away. With this much fire power I was going to have to be very careful about asking for a demonstration. We were now about 5 kilometres away and were completely under the shadow of the ship. At the front end of the second section, two rows of red and amber lights were flashing. As I watched, a large section of the smooth hull opened and divulged a maw like cavern that was lit up like a Xmas tree. It felt like you were about to enter the mother of all tunnels.

As we entered the dock, the small row of people waiting for us looked like little sugar ants in a very big bowl. They were all lined up in three smart lines waiting for the old fool that they called, Commander. Silly boys! Oh did they have a shock coming to their very sexy little bodies, blue or not.

The cruiser landed in the dock and looked like a moped in the middle of the Mojave desert. Only this one was made of steel. Like the cruiser, the far off walls were lined with rack upon rack of stored cruisers. The giant floor area was clear of everything except for the greeting committee nearby what I assumed was the front wall. The cruiser settled gently to the floor and with a little excitement and a lot of trepidation, I stepped out with my two blue boys and the twenty guards, all very stiff and proper.

The first surprise after I tried to take in the sheer size of everything around me, was the two different types of boys. The rest of the guard detail looked identical to my boys. The rest of the boys there were just a slight bit darker blue and wore their hair differently, that is to say they had their hair pulled to their right side and held together by three very green rings evenly spaced out along the pony tail and holding it firmly beside their heads. As quietly as I could, I asked Teac about the differences.

"Those are the tech personnel, they come from the other continent on our home world. You see, there are only two continents on home world. We, the guards and a number of training personnel come from the northern continent. The engineers and tech personnel come from the equatorial continent. When you go to the med bay, Aaron will have everything set up to teach you while you go through your med change."

I just nodded my head in complete ignorance of what the hell was going on and followed Teac and Layn along to meet the rest of my small command. By this time I was really feeling washed out, the lateness of the hour, the excitement of the trip up here and all the new revelations along the way was beginning to overwhelm my senses. Dear god or whoever is out there, I would really like to lay down and get some sleep.

The general inspection was over much quicker than I thought and I was soon whisked up and away in an elevator that also scared the crap out of me as it had no sides, top, or floor. But I soon found myself in front of a quickly opening door somewhere up in the second section of the ship with Teac and Layn on each side of me.

"This is the Med Lab, Commander." Said Teac. "Aaron feels it is best to get you started and let you rest here until everything has been implanted."

Now I was getting a little antsy. Meds and Labs did not equate to a lot of fun in my mind. Still, I was just too damn tired and weary to care anymore, 'let the devil take the hindmost and be done with it' was my thought right then. Teac led me into the Lab and gestured to a large overstuffed leather chair, thankfully I sank into it with a long and deep sigh. At last I could rest a bit... oh yeah? Next thing I knew a screen had popped up from god knows where and was suspended by nothing. It just floated in mid air all by itself. Suddenly a face appeared on the screen, it seemed to go through a number of facial combinations before settling on a young teen face that looked a lot like a Thai rent boy, lucky me.

"Welcome Commander Murray, this is my avatar, I hope you like him. If not I can change him to someone more to your liking?"

"Hello, I'm guessing you're Aaron?"

"That's right Commander, are you happy with this avatar?"

"Yes, thank you Aaron, what happens now?"

"I have just completed your scan, I'll put your scan on this screen and you can then decide what improvements you want done while in the Med Tank. While they are taking place I will download all the information you will need to command this ship and all it's personnel. I can assure you that you will feel nothing and when you wake it will seem as though you have always lived on this ship but you will loose none of your old memories. After all, those are the most important parts of you that will make you give the right decisions for commanding Galaxy Seeker 004 and its people."

"So, let me get this clear in my head Aaron, I'm going to be changed and taught while I sleep, right?"

"That's correct Commander, everything will be done for your comfort and only the best implants will be given to you via the nanites. When you awaken you will look no older than a 20 something human, every medical problem you may have or might have been expected to contract will be taken care of. Your life expectancy will now be about 400 Earth years, that's if you do not want to have a regeneration at a later date."

Now this, at last had totally confused and scared me. Oh sure, I would, like everyone on Earth, love to be young again, but puting myself in the hands of a computer? Even if he did have the sexy looks of a Thai rent boy, was not something I could really wrap my head around. I paused and then stuttered for a few seconds before asking Aaron what came next. The screen floating in front of me changed and I saw a picture of my sadly aging body, front, back and both sides as the image spun slowly around.

"Now; Commander."

"Please Aaron; call me Murray for god's sake." I interrupted him/it.

"Very good Murray. Now as I was going to say, anything you want changed before regeneration and we can do it for you, just tell me what you want and I will instruct the nanites to follow those protocols."


"Of course Murray. You're the Commander. You can have anything you want, the ship and all inside it are yours to command."

I carefully looked at the image on the screen. Ok so I'm a little vain. Given this opportunity who wouldn't want some changes? I threw caution to the wind and began to describe what I would really like to look like, all I received from Aaron was the comment.

"Yes, a good decision. Yes that would be excellent. Oh yes you will look stunning like that."

Was this an ego boost? You bet your sweet booty it was. When I finally was happy with my decisions I sat back and breathed a deep sigh of relief. If even half of it turned out right, I was going to be happy.

"What now, Aaron?"

"If you would just follow Teac he will take you down to the Med Tank and get you settled. Everything from then on is automated. You will be asleep for about two Earth weeks and when you awaken you will like the changes I can assure you."

With shaking knees and a lot of trepidation, I followed Teac to the far end of a long bank of clear plastic tubes. Inside there was nothing but a thin plastic looking pad with a small pillow at one end. Gesturing with his small blue hand, Teac then helped me to remove all my clothes, looking down at my aging body I had a strange feeling that it would not be missed when the new one came out of the tank. Teac opened one of the tanks and helped me to climb in. Once I was resting comfortably on the pad, Teac smiled and lowered the top half of the tank. Next thing I knew, I was asleep. Everything after that was a blank.

What seemed to me to be only the next morning, I woke up with the soft hiss of the tank top lifting. My body felt rested and alive. I looked down and saw I had a very thin film of blue gunk on my skin. Looking to the side I saw Teac, Layn and what I knew was a holograph, the Thai boy who was Aaron's avatar, standing by the side waiting for me. At the sight of the boys I felt a very deep and familiar throbbing from my groin, looking down I gasped at what I saw. Well at least one thing went right in the tank.

With an energy I didn't know I possessed, I jumped from the tank and looked around, everything looked the same until I looked closer at the shiny reflection on the wall. It was more than one thing that went right. Even if I was a narcissist I would have jumped the bones of the young man standing in front of me. Before the tank immersion, I was about 5'7". Now I was my ideal height of 5'10" and no more bow legs, thank whomever for that small gift.

I was now slimmer and well defined all over. My gear had been made a little larger and my body was nicely toned without being overly muscular. All the hair on my body was gone save for the short cut on my head and a small neat bush in my groin. The rest of me was perfectly smooth in all the right places. No more sweaty pits or itchy chest or leg hair. No more shaving every day. My old dentures had been replace with perfectly even and real white teeth and my myopic eyes were now clear and sparkling. My skin was smooth and blemish free as well as all the old scars and most of my ugly tattoo's were gone. I had saved only two traditional tattoo's that meant a lot to me, they were placed high on each shoulder so they were not readily seen. Not that I was embarrassed by them, they were just very personal and that's the way I wanted it to stay.

Overall I was pretty happy with the results. After all, any improvement on what I used to look like had to be better, right? I stood and smiled at Teac and Layn as well as the avatar of Aaron, for the first time in a long time I felt good about myself. I now had a chance to start over and that could not be sneezed at.

Teac pulled a long hose thingy from a bench close by and ran it over my body to take away the gunge from the tank, it felt very good and I could not stop the resulting reaction from my groin, Teac smiled and said "We are both ready to pay our penalty when you next go to your sleep cycle. These last two weeks have been quite difficult waiting for you."

That's right, two weeks I had been in the tank. It seemed like no more than a normal nights rest, but, oh the results of that rest. Teac handed me a robe of what looked like silk, although it was like no silk I had ever seen or felt. It immediately formed around my body and sealed itself down the front. Teac then led me from the Med Lab and along a passageway to another of their bottomless elevators. We were all whisked upwards, except for the avatar, he just disappeared into the air, and shortly we arrived at another shorter passage, at the end of which was a large sealed door.

"This is your private cabin." Informed Teac.

Immediately something clicked in my head and I saw the whole layout of the ship, even down to where all the personnel were stationed at that moment in time. Now with a lot more confidence I walked to the door and laid my hand on a small screen. The door hissed open and even though I could now see what I was going into, the sheer size of the 'cabin' still took my breath away.

The layout of the cabin came into my mind in an instance. This was the reception hall, about 20 metres wide and 20 metres long. The door on the right led into the 'war room' where I would hold meetings of all the officers when it was called for. The door on the left was my own personal restaurant for entertaining guests. It could seat 200 guests. The door directly in front of me led into my personal quarters. A huge lounge, off that was my personal kitchen, my office, a games room, the bathroom and finally my bedroom. That alone covered more space than even my biggest flat had done when I was still on Earth.

The bedroom was huge like everything about this ship. It was circular and had a diameter of about 50 metres. In the centre was a round bed that you could have held football games on. The walls were bright and shiny and my implants told me that I could have any scene I wished projected onto its surface or even have reproductions of old masters paintings hung there. The furniture was very luxurious looking and just begged to be sat in or on. The various tables and stands sat waiting for items to be put on them. Overall the room was magnificent. I knew that the far wall held my closets, yes plural, one was for clothing, one was for footwear and the last was for my personal arms, and that alone was a long list. Everything was noted in my mind, it seemed that the implant system had done it's job more than satisfactually.

I couldn't resist any longer. I spun around and grabbed both boys in my arms and hugged them with all my strength. I should have known better, my strength had been multiplied by a quite a factor and the two boys nearly passed out before I came to my senses. They quickly smiled as they took in great gulps of air. I, of course began to apologise profusely at their distress but, like little champions, they shook it off as though it was a daily occurrence.

A little embarrassed by my over enthusiasm, I went to the clothes closet and began to look for something proper to wear. Now I ask you guys, how do you choose what to wear when a closet the size of an average dining room, is filled with all types and colours of clothing? My head spun at the sight of all those clothes. I turned and looked at Teac and Layn with helplessness.

Teac smiled at me in his cute little way and came to my side. He quickly pointed out a neat uniform for me to wear and suggested that it would be the best thing for this first occasion on the control bridge as the rest of the officers would be expecting me to announce formally that I was taking command of the Galaxy Seeker 004. My mind was suddenly filled with the words of the speech I was expected to make to everyone. This new stuff was certainly better than the old way of doing things, so, lead on McDuff and may I be in hell before the devil knows I'm dead.

The quick trip up to the control deck took only seconds, it seemed that my quarters were directly below it. We appeared in the control room from the open elevator and all the officers and guards were there waiting. Yes, the control room was easily big enough to accommodate them all and then some. It was about the size of four football fields joined together and was covered in light panels, switch panels and huge screens that would have made a theatre screen look like a bedside TV. At the center was my control chair, which could swivel 360 degrees and was raised above the normal floor level on its own dais. All around were the crew desks and control panels and below my chair was a huge horizontal screen that showed the surrounding space of the galaxy for 20,000 kilometres with a small red blip in the center that was the ship. I knew from my implants that the full search radius of the scanners could cover close to 1,000,000 kilometres, a nice tidy distance for a research vessel.

With Teac and Layn by my side, we made our way to the center dais and I took my place in front of the chair. I already knew what I had to say and so just got on with it, implants were becoming my favourite thing.

"Crew of the Galaxy Seeker 004, I am Commander Murray and I hereby take command of said ship, Galaxy Seeker 004, as it's lawful Commander under the laws and guidance of the council of Kerrivan (that was their home planet and the builders of the ship) and the selection by the Positronic Aaron of Galaxy Seeker 004. If any have just cause to challenge such ruling, he may step forward and make his claim."

Of course that was only a formality, there was no way on god's Earth or the universe that a Kerrivan citizen would go against the home council or a Positronic brain. When there was only silence, I turned and sat in the chair. Immediately there was an uproar of clapping and yells as the room partial full of young blue teens erupted in celebration. At last they had a Commander, now their real work could begin in earnest.

I sat back and looked over my command officers. The newly implanted disc hidden in my temple by the nanites, immediately gave me their names and positions. As each one came to my mind they stepped forward and stood in front of my chair, waiting for orders. This new communication disc was going to save a lot of talking when in a hurry.

I now knew that the disc took my thoughts and turned them into instructions when needed and sent it to the person I wanted. It was all done with the aid of the nanites that ran through my body on a permanent basis. At least now I didn't need to go to the toilet as often. Everything I consumed, wether solid or liquid, was converted into energy in one form or another. It meant I only had to go for a piss twice a day and as far as the solids went, it would only be about once a week. A lot of time saved there to start with.

The four officers stood waiting for their orders. Keryl, the Flight Attack Commander, Barek, the Science and Technology Commander, Mysef, the Supply Commander and Prearn the Medical Commander, all looked expectantly at me. I went through the list in my head to make sure all was in order and then gave the orders for the ship to be made ready for when the new crew were selected and arrived from Earth. Now that part was going to be really interesting in itself.

With only the smallest of perceptible sound, the ship became fully active. All over the ship I was aware of the Servo's, a small mobile robot, going about their assigned tasks of readying Crew Quarters, Med Labs, Galleys and Food Banks, and Training Rooms. In the far bowels of the ship there was a hive of activity, my four officers were steadfastly watching the performance of the various Servo's on their control cuffs. It was only then as I watched, that I realised that not only did I understand the home language of the Kerrivan but I had a tonne of other languages at my disposal whenever I needed them.

The one most fantastic part of the ship that I felt was a really good step in the right direction, was the fact that with Aaron as the central brain for the ship, there was no need for endless written reports to be made each day. Everything that happened on or in the ship was automatically recorded by Aaron and sent to storage in his multi level memory banks. How much memory do you tech heads ask? Well my friendly tech heads, Aaron had four memory banks, three of them were not in use yet as he could easily keep everything of the last 200 some years in a single one that you would probably call his operating system.

Aaron did not have a chip system, or have to use hard drives and CMOS or RAM, he was for all intents and purposes, a living breathing brain surrounded by an energy field that supplied all his power needs for a lot longer than the Earth is liable to keep turning. His memory capacity was like puting the head of everyone on Earth together and using it for a storage locker. In your tech terms, Aaron had the equivalent capacity of about 100 trillion terabytes, and that was in each memory bank. For you gamers out there, what he can do with holographs in the gaming room would send your little butts into a spin they would never recover from.

Now back to the communication disc, it was melded into my brain stem by the nanites, and, if I did not want to talk or yell, all I had to do was focus on the person concerned and form the instructions in my head. It would immediately be sent to the person concerned and no one else, much like nanite assisted telepathy, great way to make a date for the night.

As the excitement of the first hour of my new life wore off, I relaxed back into the command chair and began to go over all the new improvements in my head. I now had the use of 42% of my brain, unlike you guys that only use about 16%, this extra activity also meant that I had to eat more and bigger amounts to sustain the energy levels. The rumbling of my stomach at that point reminded me that I was hungry. I looked over at the Supply Commander and sent a message, 30 seconds later a Servo arrived with the biggest strawberry soufflé I had ever seen, oh yum.

I must explain the Servo's. They are, like I said before, a type of robot. They're constructed of what is called, Active Byridium. Yes, the same as the inner hull except the hull plates were made with Inactive Byridium. The difference is that the Active Byridium was fluid metal and the hull plates were solid. The Servo's were Active Byridium and so could take any shape they required to do a specific job. For example, if a space was too small they would change to a liquid form and literally ooze their way inside, then solidify and become whatever was needed to do the job. Better than cockroaches any day.

The Servo that delivered my soufflé at the moment looked like a shiny two legged and two armed android, as soon as it had delivered my meal if flowed back into its normal shape of a small shiny round ball and rolled quietly and quickly from the room. There were a lot of politicians down on Earth that I wished could do the same disappearing act just as quietly.

At last, as I was finishing my humungous soufflé, the orders had all been given and I had very little else to do. So, with my usual casualness, sent a quiet message to Teac and Layn to join me in my quarters for their long awaited penalty. The broad smiles of my two boys lit up the control room and the three of us made a hasty retreat to more secluded places.

When we arrived in my quarters I was surprised to learn we had been on the bridge for more than three hours. There had been so much to do and learn that the time had flowed past without me realising it. I was not tired in any way or form but just had a deep need to expend some pent up energy in my groin and my two boys seemed to be projecting the same needs. With the Kerrivan youth, their hormones were always on overdrive. They were also hermaphroditic, that made for some wild dreams and wants on my part.

The Kerrivan were not born in human form, they were in fact born from a small egg, if you could call it that. It was more an oblong parcel of hard fleshy substance, much like a soft turtle egg, once it was conceived it was sent to an incubator for "hatching". Depending on the temperature setting of the incubator, the "Egg" could be kept from hatching for years if need be. The resulting offspring would grow up to have the same traits as its two parents. If one was an attack pilot and the other a defence pilot, then the offspring would also be a pilot, but his ability as either an Attacker or Defender was decided by the dominant father, eg; the boy on top that did the nasty.

Often the hatchlings were raised in the homes of both their parents, even if both boys were not living together in the same house. The child would spend time with both of them equally, although often the two boys had decided to live together until their offspring was of an age to go into training for his future profession. That was usually at the age of 5 or 6. At the age of fourteen he was old enough for assignment to whichever corps he was educated for.

Now it may seem hard to Earthbound sensibilities for a child of 5 or 6 years old to leave home and go out on his great adventure and that the two who had conceived him were shallow and careless of his future but that would be so far from the truth. Kerrivan parents followed the schooling and welfare of their offspring closer than any Earthling I could think of. The off spring would be pampered with hugs and affection at every chance and wanted for nothing in their young lives. It was also a part of their genetic make up that those boys wishing to be parents could not conceive until they were about 40 years old. That left a lot of time for them to just have fun as well as giving them the sense of responsibility required to look after a "hatchling".

One last thing to take into account with the Kerrivan boys, one year on Kerrivan is equivalent to four years on Earth and their growing conditions were also different. For example, from birth to the age of 5 they grew very quickly. From 5-9 nothing happened except for brain development. At age 9 they became sexually active and had another growth spurt that lasted until they were 14. The growth then stopped until they reached the age of 30 when they had their final growth spurt and developed the internal equipment for conceiving. Their external equipment was always there for use from the age of 9 upwards.

There was no segregation of abilities when it came to two boys getting together for a bit of hanky-panky. They saw all boys at all times as equals regardless of what their chosen field was. Their attitude was the same universally, a boy is a boy is a boy and the mixing of boys from both their continents was often seen. After all, they were all Kerrivan.

By the time we made it into the bedroom, both boys were naked and I would swear on a stack of Times newspapers that they were glowing with anticipation. Their boyhood was hard and erect, their glans were a little bigger than normal and looked like a very nice plum to lay my tongue around. They were already leaking a silvery, yes, silvery liquid.

Like myself they were both circumcised. Although I was to learn that they were born that way and I had opted to stay the same when in the Med Tank. I know that many would go back to having a foreskin but I had always been circumcised and decided to stay that way.

I was very soon to find out that their silvery precum tasted sweet. No, not salty sweet, but sweet, like sugar water. As both boys took a mighty dive towards the center of the bed, I frantically tore off my uniform, an easy task when all you had to do was run your hands down its length and it fell to the floor. I was soon holding two very active and wriggling boys in my arms as they settled into a position where I could get to all their interesting bits.

Now I'm sure I don't need to go into all the gory details apart from saying that for the next 2 or 3 hours I was very busy finding every nook and cranny of the two boys as they squeaked and squealed, groaned and moaned, huffed and puffed and spent a lot of very silvery sugar all over the bed as well as on and in myself, just as I did to them. I felt marvellous now that I had the extra 1.5 inches to work with and the ability to keep going long after the fifth orgasm of the afternoon which both boys were also equally able to keep up with. Thank you nanites.

As we three lay in each others arms, legs entwined and weapons at rest, the two boys still seemed to be glowing from the exercise. They felt comfortable and peaceful, one under each arm and snuggled close into my side. My new life was turning out to be a lot better than I could have ever dreamed of. The only thing that could make this little exercise better was a large double helping of chocolate fudge cake with fresh whipped cream. Thirty seconds later and my bedroom door dinged and in strolled a Servo with a large tray, I'll leave you to guess what was on it, damn Servo's.

The boys joined me in demolishing the oversized fudge cake and then, with two identical smiles, grew to attention in their respective groins and began round two. I won't tell you here what its like to be double fucked, oops, bad word. Still you get the idea and as far as these two boys went, they had ideas I had never thought of. It's a lot of fun having two boys that could do things that a trained acrobat would find difficult to achieve and when one of them, Layn, I think, got the idea to have the grav controls turned off in the room, well there was an old expression about a flying **** that comes to mind.

Finally I decided that the boys had been properly chastised for their indiscretions and we made our way to the bathroom for a long sonic shower. What's a sonic shower? Well my friends and readers, it's like having ten thousand tiny fingers running all over your body at the same time. It was one of the few times in my life I would have liked to just stand there and let it have its wicked way with me. The two boys hummed and grinned as the sound waves ran over us.

The biggest advantage of a sonic shower is, there was no need to waste time drying off. We just stood at the end of the shower and selected what we wanted to smell like and were immediately blasted with a soft warm shot of air scented with the selected fragrance. For myself I chose pine. The boys had something resembling strawberries mixed with lemon. Damn it to hell, I was not going to start round three, we had work to do.

Once we were again clothed in fresh uniforms, I managed to delay any further enticements from the two boys and sent out a call for the officers to meet with me in the war room to make plans for the next step of operations. The selection of a crew for the ship from dear old Mother Earth. With luck we would find enough boys there that would like to change their lives. After all, there were plenty of boys without home or family trying to stay alive down there.

With the help of the officers in the war room, I came up with a plan that I hoped would work out right for us. We would start in Africa, followed by South America, North America, on to England and then the European Continent, followed lastly by a search of Asia. We decided that at least a week would have to be spent in each country and that the shuttles to carry any new boys would be kept just outside the atmosphere until called for.

I would set up a collection point in each location at the end of the week and have those boys that wanted to come with us, ready for boarding. As they arrived at the Command Ship, they would be sent straight to the Med labs for medical and educational sleep. There were four thousand tubes available for this.

Next problem was how to pay for the expense of the one week stay in each city. Another click in my head showed me my currency vaults and the total present value of what was held there. The attached mint could reproduce any coin given to it as a sample. Most coins were reproduced from computer records but it was going to be a pain having to lug around a ton of gold or silver coins. This small problem was soon solved by Teac suggesting we just leave a box of usable coins in any room I used while in the city of choice. After all, the boxes we used could not be broken open without my DNA signature and the earth had nothing capable of breaking into it. God help anyone foolish enough to try.

I knew all my things from my earthly life had been put into storage in a second bedroom in my quarters. I was going to lay them all out in a sort of museum site once I had everything under control. Using some of my old clothes as a guide, Aaron had a new wardrobe ready for me to wear back on the surface. It wouldn't look good to appear down there in the sort of uniforms I had to wear on the ship.

With everything ready for a landing the next night at Cape Town, I set the mint to produce gold Rand coins. After the small box was full, the security was set and the grav plate activated. A grav plate was a small disc set under something and when activated, could lift a load of two tonnes off the ground to the height that you set. The grav plate was about the size of your hand. No more heavy lifting. The larger version of the grav plate could lift weights of up to 1000 tonnes at a time, they were about the size of a back pack. Handy little things.

The belt I buckled around my waist not only held up the rather fetching tight jeans but also held my personal security shield controls. This had to be worn as I could not go around with twenty young blue boys down on earth, now could I? My personal weapons were hidden about my person, eg, the short laser rod, that was the small baton with the red stone that had an effective range of 3 kilometres, was fitted inside a slot in the leg of my jeans, the sonic cap, a small device that sent out a blast of sonic vibration and usually made anyone within it's 10 metre range, collapse in a lot of internal pain. These little surprises were attached to the outside of my belt and looked like silver decorations, I didn't think I would need fifteen of them though.

The buckle of the belt was detachable and, when pulled out was a flexible knife that hardened with the press of a thumb, it was made of active byridium, a handy little tool if you ask me, especially as it was about 36 centimetres long when in a hardened state and could cut through armour plate steel at a swipe.

The com-disc would keep me in permanent contact with Aaron and, if things got really tight, he would have my guards on the ground in less than ten minutes regardless of who saw them and they would be in full battle armour. Even though their personal shields would protect them from anything the earth had to throw at them, the battle armour was not only added protection but was also very intimidating when seen for the first time.

I decided to take a little rest before going back earth side. As I lay there I ran through the implants I had been given. Apart from the com-disc I had now had a re-breather of sorts, if I took a deep breath, I could hold it for up to 30 minutes, the nanites would filter the oxygen and recycle it through my body for me. Very handy if I went diving without any gear. I was now faster than any normal human as well as my bone structure had been strengthened with a small infusion of inactive byridium. I also knew I could focus the nanites to my hands and they would become covered with a thin layer, just under the skin, with the same byridium making a very handy knuckle duster if needed.

My eyes could now see in both the infrared and ultra violet when needed and yet I was not, as some of you may think, a robot or android, all these implants were only an addition to my normal humanity. The only small draw back was the need to consume some very large quantities of food and sugary drinks to maintain the energy levels needed for the nanites operation.

When the time came for me to head down to earth, OK Terra Nova IV, I went to my personal shuttle and saw both Teac and Layn sitting ready for me to lead the first small fleet down to Earths atmosphere. The fleet consisted of one Attack Cruiser for protection (not really needed but the officers wouldn't hear of me going down there without it), three Defence Cruisers carrying the fleet of 30 Shuttles for the uplift. These would carry the new boys back to the Cruisers and then the Cruisers would run their own shuttle service to the Command Ship in rotation. Any new boys found would be met by some of the crew in the Command ship and helped through to the Med Labs where Aaron would give them an explanation of everything that would happen. They would then be taken to the pods and given a two week sleep.

My com-disc was already running through what I needed to know about the Afrikaans language used in South Africa as well as a few of the local dialects like, Swahili. Did I tell you how handy that disc was?

Everything went smoothly and I was landed quietly in a secluded spot just outside the city. There I walked a short way and found a taxi sitting by an almost empty dock where some of the smaller cargo boats were loading and unloading their goods. The cash box only needed one hand on the handle to guide it and looked like a medium sized metal suitcase so was not anything to take real notice of as far as the locals were concerned.

The driver looked up with a bit of a start as I opened the door and slid into the back seat asking him in perfect Afrikaans to take me to the Hotel Western in the center of the city. It was pretty up market, but what the hell, a bit of luxury never hurt anyone, did it?

The booking had been made by Aaron and his special gifts of hacking so I was expected early in the morning under the guise of a late flight arrival. At the hotel I was quickly shown to one of the upper suites and immediately set about planning the next few days. After breakfast, which raised a few eyes by the waiters at the quantity of food I put away, I then made enquiries to find a young guide and a car rental with driver. This took very little time as there were plenty of unemployed waiting for the chance to make a little money any way they could.

I settled on a young African teen of about eighteen as a guide. The reason I picked him was that, although his clothes had seen better days, he had made them as clean and as tidy as he could and he had a pleasant open nature. He turned out to be the best guide I could have hoped for. The driver was an older man of about forty, I was told he knew every road, street and back lane in the city. It turned out to be very true. When I left on the last night, I made sure they got a little extra for their work. They were well worth it and even though I made some very unusual requests of them, they never once argued or questioned what I wanted to do. This became the modus operandi for all the places I went to, you can never underestimate local knowledge.

That first morning I asked the driver and guide to take me to the poorer parts of the city. While they gave me unsure looks as to my decision, the driver just put the car into gear and began to do as I asked. The young guide, Peit, began to tell me about the area I had asked to go to. The area was known for its roughness and abundance of street kids that could be very dangerous if provoked. Peit explained that it had been his own home when he was younger and before he had been able to work his way up to a paid guide.

Peit's knowledge over the next five days became invaluable to me. He helped to make contact with a lot of boys that I would normally not have been able to get to meet. Not once did he ask for my motives for the many meetings he arranged. He seemed to just accept that it was something he didn't need to know, I really like his attitude.

A usual meeting would go something like this: Peit would look for some boys about 13- 15 years of age. He would then talk to them and get them to meet me in a place that they felt was safe for them. Once that was done I would explain to the boys about my need for young staff to fill positions in a job that was outside of Africa. It would mean they would have to leave their present homes and country and begin new lives a long way away. I felt it was not a good idea just yet to tell them where they would be going. After all what I was doing was strange enough let alone telling then it was in the outer galaxy. I would tell them that when we met at the loading place I had selected well out of the city.

Mostly 90% of the boys wanted to take the chance of a new life and so, I gave those that wanted to come with me, a small metallic card that would be accepted by the shuttle pilot and recognised by Aaron, as well as one of the gold Rand for their transport costs to the far off site. They were asked to be there at midnight on the fifth night. As far as the gold went it was a matter of faith. They could take it and run away or use it and never have any problems ever again. It was up to them. Besides, the Command ship was holding gold and other precious metals and gem stones that could have bought every country on the face of the planet and still had change left over.

Most of the wealth of the Seeker was a by product of its operation and so was never a problem. I had meeting after meeting for the whole five days, on the last evening I settled the bill at the Hotel and paid off the driver and Peit. As I said, with a good sized bonus for them both and then had the driver drop me of close to the departing place we had selected.

Much to my surprise there were over three thousand boys waiting patiently in the open space of the veldt. They all sat quietly, some eating from a small bundle of food, others sitting around just dozing lightly. When they saw me arrive, most of them got their feet and stood in a large circle around me. Hardly a mutter was heard in the still night air as they waited for me to speak to them. It was time to either begin with my new crew or scare them all away.

We still had close to an hour before the first shuttle would arrive as previously arranged. This was to give me time to let the boys make the final decision that would change their lives for ever. I began to tell them what the new job was.

When I came to the end of my description of what was expected of them, the large throng of boys broke up into smaller groups and began to talk things over amongst them selves. It was now that my attempts to get a crew would either succeed or fail. Twenty minutes of chatter and laughing later, and much to my surprise, not one boy left. As a small group of boys that had more or less taken command of the others, came up to me, they asked if I was really going to let them go into space and be real space men and it was not all a trick or bad joke. I assured them that it was real and those who wanted to go would very soon see the first shuttle arrive. Still not a boy left the empty Veldt.

At the first sign of the shimmering air, the boys rose to their feet and watched as the first shuttle appeared just above the ground and to the side of the large crowd. Without hesitation there was a loud cheer from the multitude of boys as the side of the shuttle opened and four Command guards stepped out. When the boys saw the guards there was a loud, ″OOH″, and then boys started to head towards the shuttle to make sure it was real. As instructed, each boy held out his silver card as he came up to the shuttle and he was helped inside and shown where to sit.

The rest of the shuttles began to land quickly and within an hour the Veldt was clear of boys. I went up on the last one and made ready for my drop off in South America, the same system was to be used there. Now at least we had the beginnings of our new crew.

When the boys in my shuttle saw the size of the Defence Cruiser, they were finally and totally assured that this chance was real. They were really going to have a new life in space. The only thing they were unaware of at this stage was that there would never be any females on board, the Med Labs would alter their DNA to accept that they were gay and would never have the need or desire for the female of the species. They would be well compensated for that in many other ways such as a longer life, the chance to stay young for a very long time and they would never be sick or have to go hungry ever again.

For the next three months we stayed hidden in the night time darkness as the shuttles landed and took off with our new crew. By the end of the three months we had only the Asian boys still in the regen tubes. When they emerged we would be ready for the plans we had been forming over the same time.

All the new crew had undergone DNA changes and, while they were being changed they were tested for their natural abilities and assigned their places on the crew which, as the last boy was released into his new world, gave us the required 12,000 tech crew, 3,000 pilots and support crews and 36,000 landing troops. We were still a little short of the full capacity for the ship but there would always be others that would eventually join us. After all, we had a lot of years ahead of us yet.

The boys who were selected as troops, those who showed capabilities were given ranks. Others were suited more as good fit soldiers but, all were valuable and treated with respect by everyone on board. The troops had the same hair cut as my personal guards but in the case of the troops, the tops of their Mohawk haircuts and the tips of their pony tails were given a different colour depending on which century they belonged too.

The Tech crews were the same except that is for the colour of the three rings holding their hair that denoted their expertise. I now knew why their hair was swept to the side and held by the rings. It was to keep their hair out of the way when the were working in confined places. The three rings held a static charge that kept their hair close to the side of the head with the tail resting on their shoulder so it would not fall into a dangerous place and get the Techs hurt.

With the type of equipment our troops had, it was very unlikely that we would lose any in a fight, but accidents did happen and just maybe some enemy could get lucky in the heat of battle. Although Terra Nova IV had no weapons capable of hurting any of my boys when they were in full armour and the fact they had their personal shields made them very hard to hurt, but accidents can happen.

Once the ship was fully crewed I set the next part of the plan in action. It was now time to bring Earth out of the stagnation of their present path. I had the idea of returning as much of the Earth back to a state of normality as we could. Their dependence on fossil fuels was going to be the first thing to get rid of and then their habit of destroying natural habitat for their power supplies. After these were accomplished we were going to move onto those that held power by greed and corruption. Hopefully, in time we would bring all the separate countries into one single governing body. It was not going to be easy nor would it be painless for them. But if they wished to go to the stars for real, then they had to have one common goal and stop the infighting that pervaded every part of Earth society.

Our first plan was to shake up their dependence on the UN. For a new beginning this body was totally ineffectual. It was time to put it to bed. Next would be the multi national conglomerates. Too much power was in too few hands. Finally there would be the breaking down of man made borders. In their present state their was no way they could be let loose in the galaxy while they themselves were so divided.

With these objectives in mind we set our plans in action. Fifty Attack Cruisers would be positioned around the world outside the atmosphere.

Fifty Defence cruisers carrying Troop Shuttles along with 5,000 new troops fully armed and armoured ready for dropping when they were needed. Another fifty Defence Cruisers would carry both Needle Fighters and Bombers as well as their crews to wait for any instance that they would be used. I took with me one of my Command Shuttles along with fifty Command guards in the lead Cruiser.

The first part of the plan was to land outside the UN in New York and inform them of what was to happen. It would then be up to them, if they agreed to our terms then they would not be made an example of. Next would come the individual countries, starting with most of the worst dictatorships and working back from there. At this stage of Earths history there was war and genocide all over the planet. The rich countries were making their fortunes on the dead bodies of the less wealthy, this was going to stop.


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