Saldora
Early Empire

Published:
Genre: Sci-Fi
Available Formats: eBook and Paperback
Author: Raymond Pairan

Synopsis

Emerging from an unfathomable distance of space the Destiny a sleek intergalactic exploration cruiser started descending into the orange atmosphere of Naxious. The crew of the Destiny had been gradually moving further from the known galaxies utilizing the “Plaxitive Time Stream” to reach this uncharted region in just two Earth years. They alone, the primate species that inhabited a nondescript solar system on an equally colorful blue world had finally reached, discovered this myth that had been the stuff of legends for so many races. Being a young species in a galaxy comprised of ancient civilizations humanity hadn’t been aware of this mysterious world until they’d ventured out beyond their safe confines many centuries earlier. It was a twist of fate that the youngest race, having leaped technologically ahead of all the rest, now using what other races deemed technological marvels, was now going to set foot upon this fabled world. John’s orders were explicit conveyed by none other than the Director of Space Exploration: “Get to this galaxy, this planet if it existed, and do it fast, under maximum power.” John pressed the Director for why the urgency in getting to a world that few expected to exist but only got the usual “Sorry, John this is highly classified.”

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Emerging from an unfathomable distance of space the Destiny a sleek intergalactic exploration cruiser started descending into the orange atmosphere of Naxious.

The crew of the Destiny had been gradually moving further from the known galaxies utilizing the “Plaxitive Time Stream” to reach this uncharted region in just two Earth years. Defying the once revered theories of Einstein that attempted to describe the connection between distances, speed, and time the PTS warped these variables using a new variant of String Mathematics.

What this breathtaking discovery allowed was the transversal of any distance at any speed (even speeds greater than light) without sacrificing the extinguishment of that precious variable called time. This was the proof positive first time human beings were finally playing with the variables that had once been reserved to their supreme being – not so absolutely powerful now that humanity could also fine tune the firmaments of creation – of reality.

Where do the newly anointed gods go, aspire towards, and create after unlocking the secrets of creation? If this had been the only crown jewel in the chest of the gods that humanity had grasped then the sparks of ingenuity: the passionate flame of exploration would burn brightly for a few more centuries.

Problem was humanity dumped the crown jewels of the Supreme Being all over the floor. Playing with this really pretty red one, hitting this blue twinkling spherical one against the pink triangular one and generally trashing an elegance only comprehended by a wisdom infinitely beyond the grasp of this band of primates from the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. For the moment the Supreme Being just watched his children play.

Gregor Salanjer the Navigator took the helm from the Synthetic Autonomous Intellect (SAI) feeling a tingling in his spine, that expectation of accomplishing something momentous. He was now flying this finely crafted, expertly engineered beautiful blue spacecraft through the orange tinged atmosphere of the most mysterious planet in the entire universe.

The excitement was electric on the bridge. Captain John Fletcher was busy modulating the SAI subsidiary systems to the new data stream coming from the sensors of the Destiny.

Dillon Stansky the imminent biologist renowned for his research into silicate adaptive organisms was intently analyzing the information flowing across the multidimensional layers of a Holographic Information Presentation Unit (HIPU).

Sitting stone still Rachel Chang was transfixed on the Forward Viewing Holowindow practically comatose to her surroundings. It was like she had a direct connection to each new image coming into view as they descended deeper into the cloudbank. She’d made many disbelieving utterances when this planet calculated at two hundred times the diameter of Jupiter came into sight. Now this Astrophysicist’s eyes and mouth just opened wider as the Destiny dropped closer to the surface of this unusual world....

Chapter 2

Blistering heat, desolate, arid, high unemployment, rule by criminal gangs, and extinguished hope – this was the Mexicona planetary system. Populated by a humanoid race not much different than most in the universe the Spandio species was always on the lookout for ways to leave their hellhole.

Leaving wasn’t a problem. This is because where a market exists for a product or service there’s always those willing to meet the demand, even if it is illegal. Of course, in a corruption riddled galaxy the line between illegal and legal was readily erased or ignored depending upon how many palms were greased in the government apparatus.

The greasing of palms in the Mexicona system was a fine art that involved all officialdom from the highest planetary Senate member to the lowliest local deputy sheriff. Illegality was Mexicona’s specialty and why not, given that there entire criminally oriented society was geared toward meeting the most basic need of all species in the most perverted way. So integrating the illegal smuggling of paying Spandio’s across the Naxious border became just another subsidiary illegal business venture of the hoodlums who ran the system’s lucrative contraband operations.

With just about every Spandio dreaming of a better life in the Naxious system there was always adequate demand if the price was kept within reach. Most would risk everything to reach the Naxious system’s jewel of a home world. For the Naxious system was still the most prosperous in the Edoran galaxy. Its luster tarnished from years of exposure to an Edoran economy that favored lowest-cost labor, it still offered a sliver of hope in a galaxy that was sinking swiftly into the quicksand of labor slavery.

Classified as a ‘developing’ planetary economy, the Mexicona system was at the bottom, in the lowest tier of galactic lowest-cost labor serfdom. Those unlucky enough to have been born in the corruption-riddled Mexicona planetary system were cast into either the criminal, political, or labor serf socio-economic strata.

At the top of the dung heap was the criminal cartel that controlled the mines, shipment, and sale of Saldora. Recognized throughout the galaxy as the only extreme psychosexual stimulant, Saldora quickly became the drug of choice for 90% of those seeking escape from the drudgery of labor servitude. The steady rise in popularity of this dangerous drug funneled trillions of galactic Edoran dollars to the kingpins of this illicit trade.

The drug cartel operating this illicit trade was a highly organized business that paid the typical low wages to workers that other multi-planetary corporations paid, had the same non-existent labor rights, and controlled the local & planetary system governments via hordes of lobbyists. The upper echelon of the cartel, also like the executive clan of the multi-planetary businesses leached most of the income generated from the organization into their private bank accounts on the planet Swisolo.

Those more passionate about fighting crime & vice would say that there was a distinct difference between the Mexicona drug cartel and the multi-planetary corporations. They would loudly proclaim: “The Saldora cartel kills sentients if they interfere with their operation.”

That’s true, but the multi-planetary corporations could legally destroy a worker through a slower no less effective process? They could impinge the worker’s reputation, disrupt his livelihood, or ostracize him from the galactic community. These actions of multi-planetary corporations acting within a societal construct that they manipulated were also very effective at keeping a tight lid on dissidents?

Just below the criminal gangs was the political socio-economic stratum that worked through all the intricately delicate details; they intimately controlled all the inputs & outputs of the crooked societal web. It was a time-honored organism of orchestrated kickback & bribery schemes that had been proven effective throughout the galaxy. With a firmly planted thumb pinning down the political stratum comprised of a legislative & legal machine, the corporate interests, the masters (whether they were a drug cartel or a group of ‘legitimate’ business crooks) exerted great power over government at all levels. Their messengers or middlemen were the lobbyists’ whose job it was to pass the edicts from the galactic business community to the puppets of the political stratum....

Chapter 3

Hugging the edge of the cliff with their backs pressed to the rock wall the terrified delegation gingerly moved each of their separate feet forward. Slightly bent they slowly hiked up the narrow inclined trail. No wider than two meters, pebbles went careening down the straight drop with each of their steps.

Looking over the side wasn’t recommended not even for the fearless that weren’t normally afraid of heights. That’s because this was no normal cliff trail, this five-hundred year old path carved before the advent of galactic space travel wrapped up and around the largest mountain in the Edoran galaxy.

Few bothered, or even wanted to be caught walking on the Porasio Trail. With so much easier ways to move about in a galaxy full of space ships traveling faster than the speed of light, transports that could get you to the top of even this beast of a mountain in seconds you had to have a good reason to risk your life on this crumbling mountain scar.

But there just wasn’t any other way to reach the palace of the Kalib Prophet. You had to risk your neck (that is if you had one) on a cliff ledge high enough to see only puffy green clouds rolling on the wind far below the sheer drop.

The Kalib and all the prior Kalibs held true to the Eoron that clearly stated in the Book of Visions that Mt. Musiif was sacred ground. Even the air surrounding Mt. Musiif was holy, and especially the residence of the Kalib at the summit of this magnificent barren rocky white peak that could be seen from space on your decent towards Maliki the capital city of Arabi.

Arabi was a dark place, not totally but kind of like the darkness in the final half hour of dusk on a planet with a typical yellow class M star. The sky was always a dark grayish blue, even when the weak lighted ternary star system of Bosob, Eonic, and Wasio were at their zenith in the sky. These huge red giants emitted adequate heat to keep the temperature comfortable for a warm-blooded sentient but they gave off the light of an artificial wall illuminator.

A galactic planetary survey some hundred and fifty years ago, after traversing the known galaxy cataloging every planet, plant, sentient, synthetic, associated cultures, governments, and societies in a voluminous holotome concluded that Arabi was the home to the oldest species and society in the Edoran galaxy. No other species even came close to the age of the Navahol they were the undisputed all time oldest race – a whopping three trillion years old.

What was even more astounding was they recorded eighty percent of those years in their library vaults deep inside Mt. Musiif, physically, only accessible from the Kalib Prophet’s palace at the summit.

The information that filled the hollowed out mountain that some estimates placed at one-thousand times the size of any other was so voluminous the synthetic system charged with cataloging the holdings was a super-vast-dimensional Sorlon unit – built by the long-dead Calculos race – their last and final work of art.

No living sentient anywhere in the galaxy had even ventured into every vault. A mathematician from the race that now lived on the planet Caluli where the Calculos had once thrived theorized that it would take five million years to travel through each corridor of the Royal Interplanetary Library of Arabi. But that would be a futile waste of time even if any sentient could be found that could live long enough to accomplish this lunatic’s task....

Chapter 4

Sitting in a chair on his front porch Frank Grainger looked out over his sprawling ranch. Beyond its gently resting edge the mountain peaks blissfully reached for the sky. Their white crests glistened in the virgin skylight signaling the dawn of a perfect morning. These sentinels spoke to the sky. In response the sky spirited floating shadows that rode over their clean faces. Directing the shadows were the puffy billowing clouds gliding on the blue. A tender tremor could be heard rumbling off in the distance.

A yellow orb slowly appeared off in the eastern vastness.

The wooden house positioned at the rim of sand rock oblivion felt the vigor of these towering protectors. Merging with the verdant sanctuary sheltered under these mighty peaks was a blue-green pasture.

Brought on his space freighter ten years ago Frank’s breed of bovine flourished on their carpet of sweet alien soft grass. Resting near a shiny steel barn was his Kenworin UT-Super Wide space freighter. With a small pile of sandy dirt covering its front landing legs it was evident that this freighter had been resting a long time.

Frank tended to his ranch. His gaze never drifted beyond its rough wide beauty. This was his hermit’s hideaway, exposed, and unprotected. When the giants voice echoed down into the valley he just smiled, felt alive in this untamed expanse.

Firing up that Dual Fusion Duplasmatron Power-Plant (DFDP) on his super wide space hauler years ago was such a rush. That baby is able to transport three hundred and sixty-two metric tons. Sitting in the pilots chair on the command deck plotting the coordinates for a load that would take him clear to the other side of the galaxy – now that was freedom. Seeing the space side, just about every major planet in this big galaxy, and making deliveries to all the major spaceports, this had been Frank’s passion for forty years.

Then the crash came. It obliterated Frank’s business. Imperceptibly, with a cancellation of a shipment, a loss of a business account, then another, it all ground down gradually, you just didn’t notice the slide, it just snuck up on you.

Stopping at freight stops that he’d frequented on routes he knew like the back of his hand Frank remembered hearing other freighters talking about some economic calamity that was wiping out their book of business; established clients forced to close their operations for lack of demand – no customers. Sitting at the counter eating his dinner with the rest of the haulers after coming into a planet’s territory, usually his first long break on a ten or more hour stretch taking him hundreds of light-years Frank remembered hearing the gossip.

Theories abounded, some plausible others downright idiotic. There were the traditionalists that held tight to the infallibility of all known societal systems. Everything’s going to be all right crowd that hauled, lived, loved, and died in a bubble of idyllic illusion. These two camps didn’t scare him because they’re theories were grounded in the known. Frank termed them the “We’ve been here before crowd.”

The hauler’s that made it a point to read on their days off; “The Thinkers” they really worried Frank with their theories of what they began calling the “Grinding Down”, the “Demand Depression”, even the less used “Income Crisis”. They’d obviously read his mother’s work still making waves, still opening eyes....

Chapter 5

Touching down in a secluded valley Rutger hit the airlock button and confidently stepped out of his Razors Edge spaceracer. Mitch followed Rutger through the airlock tentatively looking in all directions.

The ground they’d landed on was cratered; it was an amazing feat of technical prowess for their onboard synthetic to have found any patch of flat dirt for their spacecraft. In all directions pot marks scared the flesh toned multicolored dirt of the valley that was nestled in a canyon of vast sandstone buttes and plateaus.

Overhead a deep crimson red star turned the sky of Estomo this light orange color. It was an old star in a broken up ancient planetary system.

Turning to look at Mitch with his deep blue eyes Rutger pointing to the farthest razed sandstone mountain said; “You sure the trail is on the other side?”

Mitch responds with certainty; “Yes, I have no doubt. This landscape never changes except for the occasional meter hole every hundred thousand years. The topography is practically prehistoric because there is no wind or rain; the trail remains pristine.”

Looking relieved Rutger said, “I’m not much on ‘should-bes’ but this place is awful damn lifeless.”

Walking towards the underside of the arrow sleek silver craft Rutger with Mitch in tow stopped in the approximate location of the cargo compartment.

In a loud voice Rutger issued a command to the onboard synthetic, “Open cargo airlock and activate prisoner carrier.”

The seamless cargo airlock expanded into a perfectly symmetrical circle. Humming making this weak buzzing sound, moving through the opening was this floating cage with metal bars on all sides. Inside the cage was a Feldoran, light brown in color, with short bristly hair on her head, a medium sized nose, average green eyes, and a stern down twisted mouth. She would have been attractive to many males of a variety of species because her body was lean, strong, and well-proportioned without any unusual characteristics.

Getting their backpacks for the long hike over the rough terrain from a crevice in the cargo area next to where the cage was stowed Rutger and Mitch quickly put them on. Both started heading towards the sandstone mountain way off in the distance; the self-propelled cage with the prisoner inside obediently hovering in their tracks....

Chapter 6

Throngs of the curious were converging on the auditorium. In an empirically ingrained passionless culture all exploits had to be vetted. No third eye gut feelings were tolerated; the penalty for having a genuinely distinctive insight was a good mental cleansing.

Authority had long since been transferred to agents of petrified clarity, those deemed pure, void of any transient loose notions. Bouncy, prancing dreamers, the light bulb goes off free spirits, the nonconformists, those with a predilection to act spontaneously, all those passionate breakers of predicable silence were identified.

The planet Boriond was therefore a predicable refuge of comfortable reasoning. An individual was deemed insignificant unless validated, having passed inspection, had a life course authorized by the holders of power, the Cranium Cartel. More important was that the individual be of the approved class, a breed that was separate from the majority, those who belonged, were enthroned, a special class of self-congratulatory, petty closed baby-minds.

Those who held power, the anointed clerics of the baby-mind faction were secure; it was impossible for the brilliance of a single individual to outshine any of their members. The cloistered club, union, was barricaded against genius. The only recognized intellectuals were the immaculately conceived empirically enslaved tight-circled conclusion holders.

Located near the deep core of the Edoran galaxy Boriond was a decrepit, ingrained, pale, predicable place. Cerebral sparing outside the chosen in the Cranium Cartel had been outlawed eons ago.

It was a quick sand of self-aggrandizement where cheerful fraternity replaced competition. The council, group, club, union, any of a number of backslapping ‘happily-glued’ organizations maintained order; at the very pinnacle were the untouchables, a Pharisees Trust, a Cranium Cartel that ‘creamed over’ in endless rounds of self-congratulatory sessions.

Being purveyors of accepted thought the Cranium Cartel took their role as key holders of the sacred well written ‘factually’, and theoretically valid paper very seriously. Their sanctified duty was to insure that no outside influence from the majority of heathens corrupted their elegantly honed unchallenged conceptions.

Indoctrination was therefore a very important tool used with gusto by this lordly authority.

At the top of the list of those requiring indoctrination were the Scants.

A Scant was dangerous because they were unpredictable. They exhibited clearly deviant behaviors channeled from their inbred desire to engage in free unconstrained reasoning. For this reason their mind purification sessions were terribly rigorous, very involved, that is why mass mental cleansing was the only cost effective means of stopping this majority from conceiving unapproved viewpoints....

Chapter 7

Straining to look over the ledge Matt Victorovna glimpsed the barely visible outline of a Naxious war cruiser hovering about midway down the slender silver shaft. At this height he could see orange-red bursts erupting on the horizon beyond the energy shield of the city.

But how did this war cruiser breach the city defense parameter? Matt didn’t have a good explanation for that; he had checked the shielding personally before opting to blast the hell out of here.

This civil war that Matt was leading was supposed to be a slam-dunk but it had turned into a long drawn out affair that had killed, maimed, and decimated far too many Edoran sentients.

At the outset more than ten years ago Matt had thought that by garnering support from more than eighty percent of the population that a blood bath could be avoided. There were Edoran Galactic senators, even generals from various planetary systems; this was not a rag tag rabble but an organized intelligently lead abandonment of a corrupt regime. Plans had been laid, systems had been vetted, and societal balance across planetary governments was orchestrated, just about every contingency calculated.

The draining of income, all the promises of incompetent leaders, the vanquishing of dreams, in a nutshell the destitution of trillions had left this gaping hole that was gushing discontent into every sector of the galaxy. Nobody believed what the politicians or business magnets had to say, they began to realize that they were on their own, no assistance, legislation, cooperation, or compassion would ever ameliorate their dire condition. They understood that they had to take matters into their own hands, not just in individual planetary confines but also throughout the galaxy – a united front of opposition thrust straight into the heart of galactic power.

Matt was now acutely aware that “easy” didn’t bring about dramatic top down change, “hard”, “cataclysmic”, now these were words that conveyed along with “pain” the trauma associated with ousting an embedded tangled amalgamation of regimes that wouldn’t release their suckers from the giant galactic vein. These feedings had harvested so much loot from the taxes of ordinary citizens being raised regularly to increase the flow; no simple yank of the gigantic leach’s body could dislodge its gorged sucker.

Pulling hard on the crimson red sucker that fed lobbyists, politicians, and the whole top-level establishment of a grotesquely corrupt society took guts; this was something most soft and cushy, well planted establishment types had lost decades ago. Most of the ‘united’ front of influential ‘leaders’ walked in the first two years; they wouldn’t expose their soft bellies to the hard surface of a cruel reality. The rebel power base just dissolved, disintegrated, leaving the hardcore leaders like Matt who had fought for freedom even before it was classified as a popular uprising.

Looking at General Victorovna’s deep stare Colonel Sorov immediately spoke up in an attempt to break his leader’s resolute thought; “General they’ve breached the shielding we have less than five minutes to get you safely to the fleet.”

“Right, let’s leave for now, until we return to take her back.”

General Victorovna, Colonel Sorov his attaché, and assorted lesser generals constituting the command structure of the rebels got onboard the Rusocorov war cruiser. The yellow oval oscillated from dark to light until in a blinding flash it blast up into the center of four war cruisers....

Chapter 8

Flames were erupting from a pinpoint on the pitch-black eastern horizon. Frank Grainger’s attention typically meandering from star to mountain silhouette at this late hour was shocked by this omen of the approaching war. Distant booms, imperceptible at first were now getting closer. They now scarred the tranquility of his evenings. The gentle cool wind blowing through his windows, the nightly soft refrain of bellowing cattle, and the crackling wood of his fireplace were now competing with these far off explosions.

He knew when he landed on this remote planet now more than five years ago that his peaceful bliss, the quiet he’d found in this remote corner of the galactic trash heap was temporary. Soon the circle of looters, the plutocracy of favor seekers would be forced to fight the rebel’s even way out here. Any planetary system that supplied food to three quarters of the galaxy would eventually be noticed. After years of fighting in the densely populated regions of the galaxy the civil war was now pounding on Frank’s front door....

Chapter 9

Business was good; Saldora was flying across the border separating the Mexicona and Naxious systems. Production of this psychosexual stimulant couldn’t keep up with the new demand coming from the war shocked citizens of a crumbling empire.

Loyalists across the United Edoran Galactic Planetary System (UEGPS) horrified that their sticky glob of shared corruption was facing certain sterilization from Freedom Alliance rebels were opting to “blissout”. They were withdrawing into a chemically induced world of illusion, warping decency beyond recognition these elite masters, all members of a fraternity of powerbrokers rushed to liquefy their brains in explosive emotional bursts....

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