Coalition: The Beginning

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: April 15, 2019

Reads: 69

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Submitted: April 15, 2019

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Chapter One - Introductions

 

  Zohn first saw him when he entered the barracks room. He was very young, by the standards of the Basti, looking barely thirty years, if Zohn's judge of human aging was at all accurate. He recalled being barely a cub at that age, yet this tall, slender human with light hair and dark eyes, no facial hair of any sort and what seemed like a perpetual smile on his face was not only an adult, but held the rank of Major in the forces.  Zohn's first thought was "How could such a young officer ever be taken seriously?  When I was thirty, I was barely out of training.”  A moment later it dawned on him and he revised his original thought, “Then again, they do have much shorter lifespans than we do."


  The human noticed Zohn easily enough, being one of only a few Basti in the training cycle, beyond being the only other person in the room and walked over, hand extended in what Zohn assumed is a typical human greeting. "Hey there. You must be the token furball.  Name's Andrew Thompson, but you can call me Andy."

 
  After a quick glance at the extended hand, Zohn took it as Andy pumped his arm up and down a bit and replied "I do not care to be called that."

 
  "What?  Furball?  Sure.  No problem.  Just trying a little humor on you.  So what's your name?  Never met one of your people before so I’m a little clumsy with customs for your world."

 

  "My name.  It is Zohn Kai.  I am recently transferred to your forces to learn... and to teach."

 

  He looked at the Basti curiously, that grin never wavering.  "Teach?  Teach us what?  Not that I think that we know everything, but our instructors here are pretty much on top of things."

 

  "What do you know of your own history, Andrew Thompson?"

 

  "It's Andy, please.  How far back are you talking?  I mean, I know a lot about everything from about the fall of Rome to today.  That covers about twenty-five hundred years or so.  Earth years, that is."

 

  That smile of his wavered a little with what Zohn believed was a look of curiosity, as he was still working on understanding human facial expressions.

  "Our connection to your people and Ta goes back a bit further than that.  It was rather short lived, but according to our historians, our short-lived attempt to colonize what was, at the time, a sparsely populated world only lasted about one or two of your generations."

 

  The smile returned.  "Okay, now I know you're pulling my leg.  Where would the evidence be?  There would be something to prove that you had been here.  So, where is it?"

 

  "Have you ever been to a place, what do you call it?.. Ah, Egypt, I believe is what you call it.  Our ambassadors pointed out the evidence to your people when we sent representatives here after the first Etrini war."

  A curious look swept over Andy’s face as he started to put things together in his mind.  Then he took a step back and started to laugh.  "Good one, Zohn.  You really had me going, there."

 

  "I am serious.  My great-great grandfather of my great-great grandfather was one of the original colonists.  They found that your very primitive ancestors worshiped our colonists as gods, which my people were not comfortable with.  We were not here for conquest."

 

  “Wait a minute.  You mean that only eight of your generations back, your people were here?  Eight generations of ours doesn't even go back to the beginning of the twenty first century."

 

  Zohn walked around, looking at the empty bunk and began to stow his gear.  "Well, your people are rather short-lived compared to mine."

 

  "Okay.... so how old are you?"

 

  Zohn paused and did the math in his head. "I believe that, assuming my math is right, I am one hundred and thirty Ta years old."

 

  "Whoah!  Wait a minute.  So your people tried to colonize ancient Egypt.  That means that you are the origins of... Holy shit!!  But I thought that Bast was only a single goddess, not an entire people."

 

  "We have no control over what legends your people told their descendants after we left.  We did try to not interfere with, what became clear to us, as an emerging culture.  We also tried to establish our colony as far away from your people as possible, but even that was not good enough.  So we left."

 

  "Okay, so Bast was really the Basti?"

 

"Not exactly.  Our people are the Basti.  Bastia is our home world and Basta was the name of the leader of that colony.  Our first ambassadors provided holos of the colonists to your Egyptologists.  Look them up if you do not believe me.  They have been part of your scholastic archives for about ten years."

 

  "Well, this is gonna be a very interesting few months.  Look.  My bunk is right here,” Andy said as he indicated a bunk on the other side of the room, “so if you have any questions, feel free to bug me about it.  They should be calling us to orientation briefing in about an hour, so get settled in.  Oh, by the way, what’s your rank?  I have no idea what your different insignia mean."

 

  "My rank amongst my people is General."

 

  Andy suddenly snapped to attention, looking straight ahead, feeling embarrassed, "Oh.  My apologies... Sir.  I thought that all we would have here is mid grade officers.  I didn't mean to be so informal."

 

  "Andy, I am a warrior first and an officer second.  I specifically asked to be placed among the other officers rather than among the staff grade officers.  I am more comfortable here than there."

 

  Relaxing, Andy looked at Zohn and said "Okay, then... General.  This should be fun."

 

  "Andy", Zohn tumbled the name around in his head, the name felt uncomfortable speaking it... so informal for just meeting someone, "Among your forces, I accepted the rank of major while I am assigned to them.  That is the other reason that I am in these barracks with you and the other field officers."

 

  Zohn finished putting his gear in the locker, taking the extra time to begin securing the personal weapons of his culture in the thumbprint locked storage unit.

  Andy walked over at that time, along with a couple of other officers that had come by and were curious about the new resident.  One of them, a stocky, well-built young man with dark hair and a pleasant enough look in his eyes, the other, a slender, but fit young officer, peered over Zohn's shoulder, "What's that thing?" he asked.

 

  Zohn stopped, holding a bladed weapon designed specifically for and exclusively used by the Basti.  He turned around, holding it out for everyone present to see.

 

  "It is a ch'ton.  We use them in slashing attacks in close quarters, it also can double as a hook for scaling walls, when attached to a line and properly thrown.  On the battlefield, it is often used in conjunction with these..." he reached into the locker and pulled out one of his ch'tre and placed the short, claw like weapon on his hand while holding the second, very unusual looking long semi-dagger-like weapon.  "Together, they become the Ch'tok.  With a set of these in both hands, there is no close-quarters fight that we can lose... as long as we are properly trained to fight with them."

 

  The young officer that had first asked about them said "How long does it take to learn to fight with those?"

 

  "I have been training with them for thirty of your years."

 

  "So thirty years to learn to master a single weapon?"

 

He laughed.  "Master?  I am still learning to use them properly.  They are only one small part of a much larger fighting style."

 

  Andy looked at the new arrivals and said, "Guys, this is Zohn Kai, of the Basti.  Zohn, meet two of your other deck mates, Dareth and his very inquisitive husband, Bob."

 

  Dareth looked at Zohn for a moment, quite focused, then said, "Zohn Kai?  As in Prince of the Basti throne, Zohn Kai?"

 

  "I do not make much use of my title.  I ask that you do not, either.  Here, in this service, I am simply Zohn.  Or, Major Kai.  I was never really interested in any of the trappings of royalty.  I am simply a warrior, just as any of you are.  I serve my people and the coalition."

 

  "Like hell you are." Dareth said.  "I read about you.  You're a real honest to the Great Maker hero of the first Etrini war!  You're not 'just' a warrior.  You're a legend!  My father used to tell me all of the stories about how you and your people came to Sylthesh and broke the Etrini Siege.  It was you and a battalion of your people that fought alongside my father at the battle of Trieth Province!"

 

  Zohn tried to defuse his enthusiasm, "Dareth, I was only a single commander of a single company at that time.  I was not even the commanding general of the mission."

 

  Zohn’s efforts failed.

 

  "It doesn't matter.  You were there and my father remembers seeing you and your troops fight alongside our own when you hit the surface.  It's what inspired me to join up."  Dareth’s excitement was almost contagious, but not wanting to draw it out any more, Zohn relented.

 

  "I am honored that the actions of my people inspired you to become a warrior, but here and now, I am just like you.  And you should be proud to be from such a world that has people who demonstrate such bravery and heroism.  Was your father a warrior as well?"

 

  "No, just a cook, but he still saw a lot of fighting in the war.  Everyone had to know how to fire a blaster because even the cooks had to fight from time to time.  He remembers you, though.  You told him that you appreciated the feast that his kitchen created for the troops."

  "Well, it was a fine feast, even though he did not fully understand the customs of our people.  He made the honest effort to try, which means more to us than dishonest perfection.  Our people made many friends among yours during that campaign.”

 

  Dareth smiled at that.  “Dad will never believe it when I tell him that I met you.”

 

  “But, Dareth, if your father served as a soldier, even as a cook, he was a warrior.  Even those who keep others fighting do their part.  Does the coalition not teach that to their leaders?"

 

  Bob spoke up, then.  "A lot of that depends on the instructors.  A few think like you do, but some of them are nothing but primidone with rank."

 

  “That is unfortunate.  An army can lose many good people that way.”  Zohn said as he finished putting his gear away.

 

  They continued their discussions; learning a bit about each other and their cultural attitudes, then Andy changed the subject.  "Zohn, earlier, you said that you are here to learn and to teach.  You never really answered my question.  What are you going to teach?"

 

  "Command asked that I teach interstellar battlefield histories, introduction to unarmed combat techniques of the Basti and serve as a cultural liaison between the Ta and the Basti."  Standing up, he said, "But for now, I believe that it is nearing time for our orientation briefing."

 

  "You're right.  Let's get a move on." said Andy.

 

  Zohn looked at the visitors.  "Dareth?  Bob?  Are you coming to orientation?"

 

  Dareth stood up, "Nope.  We arrived last week.  Different training cycle.  Have fun, though.  We should get back to our quarters, anyway."

 

  As they made their way to the orientation briefing, Andy was full of questions.  What life was like in a palace, what sort of people Zohn's parents were, what the family structure for the Basti people was; all very good, intelligent questions, which Zohn answered with as much detail as possible and then Andy asked about Basti females.  When Zohn said that he should ask one, Andy said that he didn't think that there were any on the base and that he had never actually seen one outside of the odd holo in his exobiology classes as a child, and those did not go into much detail.  Zohn explained that Basti females are not that different from human females as far as most things go.  Though he did point out that, culturally, they are very different from humans, just as Basti males are culturally different.

 

  Finally arriving at their destination and taking their seats, Zohn was rather surprised at the mix of species that were there; Kinshasa, Zin, Drunai, a couple of newly contacted species that he had not yet seen and humans, of course.  But he seemed to be the only Basti there.

 

  Andy nudged Zohn and indicated a pair of humanoids walking in that looked neither male nor female and said "You ever seen any of those before?"

 

  "They are Dakori.  A species from the outer sector that is both male and female."

 

  "How do you tell the men from the women?"

 

  "You do not.  They are a species born with both genders.  You would call them... intersexed, if I remember the term correctly.  They had a scout ship crash here around the same time that our colony was established.  Our people rescued the survivors and returned them home.  Their ship went down in your Mediterranean ocean and they were found on a peninsula on the northern coast called.... Greece, I believe."

 

  One of the instructors walked in at that point.  "Room.  Attention!!" and everyone stood to attention while the commandant walked in, took his place on the raised dais and began to speak.

 

  "You may all be seated" he said.  As everyone took their seats, the commandant began speaking.  "You are all here to learn the histories, tactics, policies and procedures of the coalition that you will eventually lead or liaise with coalition forces.  This school has some very simple rules.  Do not embarrass this school or the coalition, follow the lawful orders given to you by the instructors and learn.  You will find that the instructors here are fair-minded and if you wash out, it will be your fault.  You are all adults and officers already, so I do not think that any of this should be a problem.  Any questions?"  The room remained silent.  "Good.  Lieutenant Commander, they are yours." And with that he turned and began to exit the stage.

 

  The head instructor stood and said "Yes, Sir.  Room!  Attention!!" and he walked back up to the dais as the commandant exited the room.  "Be seated.  Now, if you will all open your orientation books to page one, we can begin....."


© Copyright 2019 C. M. FOWLER. All rights reserved.

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