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Writer of Fantasy and Science Fiction Short Stories
Any likeness between the characters in the following stories and
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(All text © 1996-1997 by Anthony D. Adams)
The Spy with a Trunk
Written by: Anthony D. Adams
(The Spy with a Trunk © 1997 by Anthony D. Adams)
My name is Adam Plank and I am a member of the Earth Alliance’s Planetary Intelligence Network. Many people call us PIN heads for short or perhaps just to exasperate us, I don’t know which. I hate the name PIN head. I’m not quite sure why, but so be it. On occasion, I have shown some beings my displeasure with the name, by making it a tad uncomfortable for them, but generally I let it pass with little more than an irritated expression. Well anyway, I’m assigned to the planet Scoll, an uncomfortable little rock. It is one of the eighteen major spaceports in this section of space. My job is to collect intelligence about the races that come through the port. You might wonder how I got into this line of work, since I apparently don’t care for it. Well, after college I joined the Earth Alliance Space Armed Service “To see exciting new worlds and have adventures” or at least that’s what I was told. After joining and becoming the slave of higher level officers, the service, in its infinite wisdom, decided that I would make a good intelligence officer. I was then assigned to a god-forsaken base on a dead moon. You can imagine that when my hitch was up, I was out of there. I couldn’t find a job. Bad economic times they said, so I ended up joining PIN. I had just finished an assignment and was sitting in my office wrapping up my report when my boss came in and gave me my next job.
“Adam, I got a request through one of my contacts. Apparently someone would like to talk to a PIN head.”
I cringed when I heard him say PIN head. He didn’t mind the name, but I did.
“My contact didn’t know, but I want you to find out.”
“Well, ok, how do I make contact?” I asked in a rather depressed tone.
I didn’t like blind meetings in dark and dingy places. Of all the things I hated about this job, and there were many, I think I despised this kind of meeting the most.
“I was told that someone should be at the corner of Slie and Pron streets in the Slat sector today at 2900,” my boss said.
A normal day on Scoll was thirty-eight earth hours long, which put the meeting at a reasonable time.
“I’ll keep the appointment.”
“Good, take extra precautions.”
That meant I should have some surveillance electronics on me and have them tuned in to our office in case any little problems came up. In other words if I yelled, hopefully a S.W.A.T. team would show up and save my butt. That didn’t bother me a bit.
The Slat sector was where all the various species gather between voyages. It was a rough and dangerous area of town and usually avoided by normal people. It was the typical slum that usually was next to all major spaceports. Unfortunately, it is where the information I needed was usually found. I had not been in that part of the Slat sector before, but I assumed it was as bad as the rest. The buildings would be run down and the streets dark and gloomy. This was a perfect place for the negotiation of, let us say, questionable deals among aliens. No one noticed anything in the Slat sector, if they liked living. I got into my skimmer and left about 2830. I arrived about 20 minutes later and dropped the skimmer to street level. I got out and sent it to the parking height of 10,000 meters. I was two blocks from the meeting place so I started to walk. I like to move in on the ground in case someone was watching for a skimmer. I approached from Slie street and saw no one. So I walked around the corner. As soon as I turned the corner, I ran into a large gray wrinkled pole, or that’s what I thought it was. When I backed up to see what I hit, I was staring at an unbelievable sight. Before me stood an enormous elephant wearing a huge black fedora hat, a gray turtle neck sweater, a dark blue sports coat and light gray slacks. He looked like a character from one of those old black and white detective movies. I was virtually speechless. I blinked my eyes several times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. There are strange things in the Slat sector, but I’ve never seen anything like this.
The elephant started to talk, which amazed me even more.
“Are you the PIN head?”
“Yes, who are you?”
“Let’s not talk here. There’s a bar down the street. We can have some privacy there.” It seemed to be a reasonable suggestion, so I followed the elephant to the bar. The bar had huge doors that swung like the ones in the old western movies on the vid. The doors were even big enough for my companion. As we walked into the dark bar, no one took notice of us. That was the way in this area of town. A waitress or what I took to be one came over to us and asked if she could help. She was a large insect’ looking creature, very similar to a praying mantis. I recognized her as a Shoton. The Shoton’s were not normally violent and they were very discreet creatures. They were used often as bartenders or servers. The elephant said we wanted some privacy and the waitress pointed to a corner with a curtained off alcove. It had a small table and two chairs in it. She said it would be ten credits to use it. The elephant reached into his jacket and deftly pulled out a thirty-credit coin and flipped it to her.
“Keep the change.” He said in a pleasant deep voice.
We walked over to the alcove. I moved the table to the side and sat down. The elephant walked in and stood next to me. The waitress asked what we wanted to drink. I said a Talon beer and the elephant said the same except he wanted his in a fifteen-liter bucket. The waitress made an odd noise. I don’t think she was happy about carrying fifteen liters of beer. She left pulling the curtain closed on the way out.
“Now” I said. “Who are you?”
“I am Horace, a representative of the Eleph people.”
“And who are the Eleph people?”
“This is kind of a long story.”
“That’s what I’m here for, so go ahead, I’m listening.”
Horace proceeded to tell me that five hundred or so years ago, the Tiget race made one quick visit to the planet Earth, lasting less than a single day.
I knew very little about the Tigets. They stayed to themselves and whenever humans attempted contact, it was rebuffed with force. No one has ever seen them or heard their language. Since they don’t bother anyone else, they have been left alone. The Earth Alliance has attempted to probe their space with small, unmanned data seeking ships, but none have ever returned.
Horace continued by telling me that when the Tigets discovered mankind was rapidly moving into the galaxy, they decided to capture some humans to examine their abilities. They somehow learned Earth was just about to activate a powerful planetary defense system and apparently decided they had to visit Earth before this occurred. When they arrived, they eluded the sentry systems with some sort of electronic shield. They landed and found a herd of elephants. They captured the entire herd and also manage to capture three African natives and a number of other animals. Horace said the Africans died on the ship from the food they were feed. The elephants survived because they were vegetarians and would only eat plant material. The Tigets determined the elephants had quite large brains and with a little genetic manipulation they could talk and be intelligent enough to hopefully tell them about Earth. So the Tigets did the genetic tampering and the Eleph people were created. They of course could not tell them much about humans; they only knew about eating food and finding water and general survival skills. The Tigets were disappointed, but they found they had strong and rugged intelligent beasts to help them. They treated the Elephs as slaves.
As the Tigets slowly began feeling that their control over the Elephs was complete and total, they gave them more freedom and better jobs to do. The Elephs were finally given the job of trading for merchandise wanted by the Tigets. They were given large cargo ships to use to trade with the races that touched the Tigets territory. The Tigets could remotely control the ships, if the Elephs tried to escape. For generations this had been the way of it. The Elephs had slowly grown more intelligent over the generations, but they never let the Tigets know this. They figured out the Tiget technologies and had finally reached a point at which they felt they could escape from their slavery. Horace had a deal for me to present to the Earth Planetary Alliance. The Elephs had discovered a rather treacherous ambush that was being planned by the Tigets.
The Alliance had managed to get two planets that had been at war for two hundred and thirty-eight years to agree to a peace. The peace was to be cemented by a ceremony at a neutral site on a planet by the name of Rint. Rint was approximately halfway between the two planets. It was the plan of the Tigets to ambush one of the planetary delegations and kill them. The Tigets thought this would cause the other side to be blamed for the ambush and an all out war would be started. Apparently through the Tigets sensor and code breaking technology, the Elephs found out that the Alliance had only assigned a single escort ship to each delegation. Horace thought it would take the Alliance forces an Earth week to get into place to intercept the attack. The Elephs were in place and ready now. He said the attack would occur in three days. So the deal was that the Elephs would stop the attack and they would be given a planet of their own to live on in peace.
I asked Horace why the Tigets would do such a thing. Horace said that they wanted to keep the Alliance busy in that sector of space while they took over another sector that had just started to be probed by Earth ships. I told Horace that the Alliance would gladly have discussed the sector with the Tigets and come up with a peaceful solution. Horace said the Tigets were a race that evolved from reptiles and they trusted no warm-blooded animal. Their society was run on hate and fear, not peace, and they were deathly afraid of humans. They studied us from transmission of video signals they received on their sensors. They knew we were highly intelligent, at least measured in their terms. Humans had conquered space travel 60 years after their first mechanical flight; the Tigets took 980 years to do the same thing. They saw our military capacity and feared it. They preferred to deal with us on the level of an enemy rather than a friend.
I told Horace that I had to discuss his deal with my superiors. He then told me that there were 68 ships and 143,000 Elephs. He wanted me to understand that they would need a place for these ships to go as soon as the battle started. We agreed to meet at the bar at 3100 hours the next day. By the end of our conversation the drinks had arrived. While I drank mine, I watched Horace suck the beer up his trunk and then blow it into his mouth. He was finished before I was. He paid for the drinks and as we left I shook his trunk. I used a special ring that took a DNA sample so I could determine if he was an earth-based animal.
I told my boss what had happened. He could hardly believe it, but I had a vid of the whole thing, which I had taken with a hidden camera and so he had no choice.
“We’d better contact Earth Central and find out what they want to do” my boss said.
“I have to meet him again tomorrow and tell him our decision.”
“Did you get a DNA sample?”
“Yes, I dropped it off at scientific as soon as I returned. They should have some results by now.”
As my boss waited in my office, I called down and Val answered, she is a cute dark-haired woman that I had more than a casual interest in. She was the one thing I liked about being on this planet. We had been dating for several months and I was considering asking her to marry me.
“Val, did you get that sample analyzed?”
“Yes, it is very strange. It is similar to an earth elephant’s DNA but it has been slightly changed.”
“Can you tell what the changes would do?”
“I’m only guessing, I need several weeks to do a complete analysis, but I think the changes would add to their intelligence and modify the throat area.”
“Thanks, I’ll call you later.”
“I’ll be waiting for your call.” she said in a sexy tone.
My boss kind of cleared his voice, a little embarrassed.
I spoke up and said, “Well, it looks like Horace may have been telling the truth.”
“Ya, maybe. Let’s talk to Earth Central and let them figure out what to do.”
We walked to his office and he brought up the Alliance security vid phone. The phone was a small silver plate, six inches square that sat on his desk. To activate it, my boss placed a finger on the plate and it checked his DNA pattern. Once it knew who he was the phone came alive and a three-dimensional image formed above the plate.
It was a woman’s head and she said “This is an Alliance security line. Which level of security do you wish?”
My boss said level one. The image crackled and twisted and the woman’s head again came into focus.
“Whom do you wish to speak to, sir?”, the woman asked.
“High Commissioner Sappic, please”.
This surprised me since Sappic was one of the three controlling commissioners of the entire Alliance. “Sappic here” as his powerful voice and image appeared above the vid plate. My boss proceeded to tell him the entire story and sent him the vids and DNA data.
Sappic finally said “I’ll get back to you in six hours. I want both of you present when I call back.”
I decided to spend the time sleeping in my office, since I had not been to bed in 21 earth hours, another benefit of this job. I set my computer to wake me in five hours and fell asleep. My computer woke me and I rolled off the couch and slowly got my senses working again. I went to the bathroom and got cleaned up and put some fresh clothes on. This was not the first time I fell asleep in my office, so I kept extra clothes just for these occasions. I stopped at the coffee machine and then went to my boss’s office. The vid phone activated right on time. After a few greetings, Sappic told us to agree to the terms and he sent the spacial location were the Elephs should rendezvous with the Alliance. They would then be escorted to a planet. We were told that the Alliance was aware of unusual activities occurring in the Tiget sector and they had been tracking a large ship moving toward our location. They had also heard rumors of large gray beings with long noses trading on the rim of the Tiget Empire. The Alliance could not afford to take a chance that Horace was wrong. Sappic wanted me to add one thing to the deal. I had to go along on the attack ship and record what happened. I suggested that a military type go but, there was simply not enough time to get one with the appropriate skills. It was also brought to my attention by Sappic, that I came out of the military. I didn’t like it, but he was correct. I hated the idea of going on a dangerous assignment with aliens I didn’t know.
The next day I met Horace at the appointed time. We were back at the same seedy bar. I told Horace that the deal was agreeable to the Alliance, but I had to go along. Horace said they had anticipated this and had quarters ready for me on their ship. I told Horace I needed an hour to get some clothes. We agreed to meet at the Sido Shopping Complex at entrance 341. We parted company and I went to my apartment to pack. I called Val and told her I had an assignment and would be gone for several weeks. She understood and asked me to call her as soon as I got back.
I got to entrance 341 a little early. As I was waiting, I decided to be as diplomatic as possible with the Eleph, since my life would be in their hands. Shortly, a large transport skimmer pulled up in front of me. The side panel folded down into a platform and in the opening stood Horace. He gestured me in and I walked up the ramp with my bag.
I greeted Horace as the panel closed behind me. I felt the transport start moving and I said “I wondered how you got around. This is quite clever.”
“I’m glad you like it” Horace said.
We came to a stop and the panel opened. I could see an odd-shaped ship, about the size of the transport. The ship was a rectangular box shape, about one hundred meters long and fifty meters high with rounded edges. There were three fins approximately fifty meters in length and the same in width. The fins protruded from both sides and the top of the rectangular box shape, approximately centered along the length of the ship. The front of the box had opaque screens and the rear had three, two-meter long pipes protruding from the hull, arranged in a triangular pattern.
“This is my shuttle. What do you think?” asked Horace.
I replied that I had never seen a ship quite like it and I wasn’t lying.
“Wait till you see my home ship.” Horace said with a great deal of pride in his voice.
As we approached the ship, a panel slid open and an entrance ramp slowly extended to the ground. It was wide enough for both of us to walk up. Inside the ship were a couch already in place for me, and an odd-looking metal harness system with soft velvet looking edges. I assumed this was for Horace. Horace asked me to sit down and strap in. I did. He backed into a U-shaped metal structure and after he positioned himself, a second U-shaped piece rose up from the floor. When these pieces came together they formed a metal brace all around Horace. Finally from the ceiling, a third piece slowly lowered and when in place the entire structure encased Horace completely. The harness was quite ingenious and held the huge elephant in place with what appeared to be great comfort. Two more harnesses were set up next to where Horace was locked in. Obviously this ship was designed for a three elephant crew. I also was quite comfortable. The couch was made of the same velvet-like material that the harnesses were constructed of. It was soft and pliable and seemed to conform to my body.
The opaque panels on the outside of the shuttle were crystal clear from inside and I could see the various other ships coming and going. This area of the port was not controlled by a space traffic command. Small ships used this area, which had a single spacial arc that could be followed to leave the port. An electronic system called Contro-A, controlled the timing of arrivals and departures. Horace asked if I was ready and I said yes. I could hear the engines kick on. Horace then contacted Contro-A and when it gave the signal, the ship slowly rose off the ground and with an unusually smooth acceleration moved into high orbit and then into open space. Horace was controlling the shuttle with a large metal rod protruding from the floor. He had wrapped his trunk around the rod and seemed to be able to control direction, speed and lift with the delicate movements of the stick.
Once we were in open space and the artificial gravity came on, Horace’s harness system disengaged and I unbuckled myself from the couch.
Horace flipped a large red lever and said “The autopilot is now set. We should be at the home ship in two earth hours.”
We would finally have a chance to talk informally.
“Horace, you speak English very well. How did you manage to learn it?”
“We learned it from the sensor records the Tiget had. Our ancestors decided that English would be our native tongue. So it was and is taught to all of our young. We don’t use it in front of the Tigets who think we speak their language exclusively. They think we are not much more than intelligent animals who can’t make high level decisions or plans.”
“That’s interesting, I have another question. How did you get the name Horace? It seems kind of odd” I said.
“Oh, Horace isn’t my real name. I am called Sulto.”
“Why did you use the name Horace?”
“We found that name in an old earth movie in the Tiget sensory data base and thought you would be more comfortable with using an earth name.”
“It also protected you from possible reprisal if the Tigets got wind of your contact with us.”
“Well, yes that too.”
Our conversation got into what Earth was like and how the native elephants species acted. I told Sulto that they could not talk but were able to communicate with each other through various noises. I also said that they lived their lives in peace, in the jungle reservations in the continent of Africa and a few in Asia. I told him that since the earth’s population had been decreased by half since the expansion into space, that many of the natural habitats of earth animals had been restored. Before that man had reduced them to dangerously small areas.
As we approached the home ship, Sulto started to explain the leadership I would encounter. The most important was the ship’s captain, a female elephant by the name of Torga. Apparently, Torga was an imposing figure in the Eleph’s society. She was one of the main creators of the plan that had brought me to this point and the strongest of all the military leaders.
As we came in sight of the home ship, I was amazed at its size. The ship was approximately three kilometers long and one kilometer on each of its other four sides. It was a very large version of the shuttle, except it had a fourth wing coming out of the bottom. It didn’t seem to have any visible view ports like the shuttle, and it had an arrangement of ten large pipes out the back. The pipes were laid out in a circle of nine with one in the center. As we approached, I saw a small portal open on one side, just above a wing. Sulto smoothly guided the shuttle into the opening and set it down in a cradle so lightly that I hardly felt any sensation. He then disengaged himself from his harness system and I unbuckled my straps. We walked to the door and Sulto activated it.
The sight that I saw was quite impressive. Thirty elephants standing at attention, on either side of a red carpet, dressed in silver suits. At the end of the carpet, stood three more elephants. The one in the front was dressed in a gold suit and the two behind in blue suits. Sulto whispered to me that the one in the gold suit was Captain Torga. I walked down the isle of elephants dwarfed by them and I stopped in front of Torga.
She then said, “Welcome to my ship, Mr. Plank.”
I replied, “Thank you, I am quite surprised at my greeting. I am not a man who expects such honor.”
I was trying to be diplomatic and it was true, I never had such treatment.
Torga seemed surprised at what I said and responded, “You’re from a great race and deserve such a greeting.”
I was a little embarrassed and said, “You’re also a great race, but I am a simple man with no illusions of greatness.”
Torga seemed to smile at that and put her great trunk around my shoulders. She lead me through a great door to a large hallway. In the hallway were large platforms, elevated from the floor by some force. They seemed to be waiting. Torga asked me if I would like to freshen up while she arranged for the ship to get underway. I told her I would like that. She then introduced me to Shelo, one of the blue-suited elephants and said that Shelo would escort me to my quarters. Shelo proceeded to step on one of the platforms and I followed her. The Captain, with Sulto and the other elephants stepped on a different platform. The platform I was on started to move down the hall at a good speed. I had to grab hold of one of Shelo’s legs to keep from falling off. She immediately slowed the device down and apologized for almost throwing me off. I said it was all right and not to worry about it.
After several minutes we came to a large green door and the platform stopped. Shelo opened the door by pressing on a large panel by the side of the door. We both stepped off the platform into the room beyond. Shelo told me that this would be my suite and she hoped I would like it. It seemed to be enormous. I saw a large table with a single chair next to it. In the corner there was another table with a three dimensional viewer on it and another chair. There was another large door, which appeared to open into a bedroom. When I walked in I saw a normal size bed with a nightstand. There was an opening in the bedroom to a bathroom. Again, everything was an appropriate human size except for the shower. It was huge and would easily fit an elephant inside it. I told Shelo that I appreciated all the work they did to make me comfortable and that I would like to take a quick shower if possible. She said that was fine and that if I wished my clothing to be renewed, I could hang them in the closet and a sonic device would clean them. Shelo then showed me a button and told me to press it when I was ready and she would come and get me. She then left me alone in my cavernous suite. I knew they were probably watching me. I would if I were them.
I showered and retrieved my clothes from the closet. They were quite clean from the ultrasonic treatment. After I was dressed, I pressed the button and sat down to wait for Shelo. When the door opened, to my surprise, it was the captain.
I said “Captain, it’s an honor to have you come and escort me.”
“It’s no problem. I will take you to our control room.”
This time we walked down several corridors until we reached a long wide hallway with a number of elephants busily moving in and out of doors and down this central hall. This was obviously a main access to many areas of the ship, based on the traffic I saw. We walked for what seemed to be a half a kilometer. All the time, I was getting the strangest looks from the inhabitants of this great ship. Finally, we reached a doorway and we walked into what seemed to be a small cargo hold. The captain reached her trunk up and touched a panel in the ceiling. The cargo actually moved to one side and a hidden panel slid open to reveal a second room. We walked in and the panel closed behind us. A second panel opened in the wall before me and we walked into what I thought was a dark room. As soon as I stepped into the room I felt instant vertigo and became totally disoriented. It was as if we walked right out of the ship into open space. I could see in all directions. I must have started to waiver on my feet because I felt a strong muscular trunk wrap around my waist supporting me. As I started to get my senses under control, I reached down and gently rubbed my hand across the trunk. It was the captain holding me and she was quite concerned and asked if I was alright. I told her I was OK now and I could feel a gentle muscular ripple pass through her trunk and then she slowly released me, making sure I was balanced. At that moment it seemed we became true friends. I realized I was standing in a great spherical room 200 meters in diameter. The entire interior surface was a seamless image of the surrounding space. I could see the stars and the local solar system. We were standing on a see-through, crystal clear floor. It was as if I were in space with no ship around me. Talk about virtual reality, this was reality. The panel behind us closed and a spacial image of that area formed over it.
The captain said with concern, “I apologize, none of us has ever reacted like that.”
“I think it might be because I only have two legs and must constantly adjust my balance to walk and stand. When we came in here I had no spacial relationships to help me balance.”
“I never thought about your standing and the incredible balance you need to do it. We have four legs and it’s easy for us.”
I looked around and saw nine elephants facing the spherical screen, watching the surrounding space. In the center of the room, four more elephants stood facing opposing directions each with a semi-transparent screen in front of him. The screens had oscillating bars and graphs on them and the elephants seemed to be controlling these images with large round bars projecting from the transparent floor. One final elephant was standing in the center of the four and also had a transparent screen, but no control stick. This elephant asked the captain if she wished to take control. She said no, but she wanted to know if the hyper light speed calculations were completed for the jump to the rendezvous point. The elephant in the center said yes and the captain ordered the ship to jump. Within a few moments the stars became long lines of light across the spherical room.
“It will take us twelve hours to get to our destination. Would you like something to eat?” The captain asked.
“I am very hungry, I would like that very much, Captain.”
“Oh please call me Tor, it’s what close friends call me.”
“Of coarse Tor. The Tigets have a very advanced control room setup.”
“Oh, we designed and built this room in all our ships. The Tigets know nothing about them. They only see the original control room, which is quite primitive. We keep it operational by passing fake information to it while the Tigets are on the ship. We have over the years made a number of improvements that the Tigets know nothing about.”
Tor took me to her suite. It was larger than mine and quite lavish. The floors were carpeted with an unusually plush material. The furniture was large to accommodate its occupant. She had a large table in the center of the main room, with one small chair for me. The table had a huge amount of fresh fruit and vegetables piled on it. Tor excused herself to change. She returned in a few minutes having removed her gold suit and replaced it with a large red rob. She told me to have whatever I wished from the table and she was sorry that they had no meat; they were vegetarians. I told her that I too was a vegetarian and this food was fine.
She seemed to be surprised at my food preference and asked, “Are all humans vegetarians?”
“No, only about half.”
She was very pleased that I was. Tor simply put whole fruits in her mouth and ate them. I used my pocket cuter to slice the fruit up and ate it in small pieces.
After dinner, I was quite tired from the twenty hour day I just put in and asked Tor if I could go back to my quarters. She took me there and wished me a good nights sleep.
I was awakened the next morning by Shelo; who stood over me like some lumbering giant. I thought this is what babies must feel like when their mothers stood over their cribs. Shelo said that we were three hours from the ambush point and I should get ready to go to the control room. Shelo waited in the main room while I showered and got dressed. She then escorted me to the control room. There she put her trunk around my waist as I walked in to make sure I didn’t fall. She said the captain ordered her to. She seemed to like holding me up just as the captain did. This time I didn’t become so dizzy and was able to keep my balance. The captain was standing in the middle of the central four elephants and next to her was a platform with stairs leading to a chair. Shelo told me that was where I was to sit so I could see the battle clearly. When the captain saw me, she invited me to sit. The view was amazing. The ship had come out of hyper light speed and was surrounded by four other similar crafts. Our ship was in the center, with the other four at equal distant points. We were like a hub of a wheel and the other ships the rim. Sitting in a room that had an unobstructed view of outer space was indescribable. We were sitting behind a large gaseous planet made up of all the colors of a rainbow. It was quite spectacular. Tor told me we would wait here until the Tigets appeared. She said they were scheduled to be coming out of hyper light speed on the opposite side of this planet in one earth hour. I was told that the Eleph’s ships would circle the planet and come up on them from behind. Then they would warn them off in hopes of avoiding a battle. If the Tiget ships started turning to fight, they would be destroyed.
As the hour passed, I could see the elephants in the control room looking around constantly scanning the space surrounding them, and they seemed to be moving from side to side and shuffling their feet quite allot. It was obvious that they were nervous about the upcoming battle. Finally, one of the four elephants standing around us said the Tigets were coming out of hyper light speed in the location they had anticipated. It was time for us to move. The contingent of Eleph ships moved in unison around the planet. Within five minutes, four Tiget ships came into view. They were shaped like giant pterodactyls, with three small square projections protruding from the rear. I took these to be the drive engines. As soon as the Tiget sensors picked up our ships, a ten by ten meter video screen began to form twenty meters in front of us. Tor told me not to be concerned; we were not transmitting images back to the Tigets. A rather handsome looking creature appeared in the translucent screen. It had smooth skin of three different earth tones. The head was a brown color, the neck, chest and back were a dark green color. The creatures two arms and two legs were a greenish brown. It was two meters tall and looked humanoid, except the face had a protruding mouth area and the hands and feet had four fingers with small talons. The creature spoke and I could hear, next to my ear, a low volume translation. I looked but there was no physical device there. The Tiget demanded to know what we were doing there and threatened to destroy us if they did not respond immediately. I then heard the captain tell the Tiget that they must leave or be destroyed. The video screen went black and then I could see the Tiget ships start to glow a dull purple from the energy screen they had activated. They began to turn, but before their screens were at full, the Elephs ships started to fire laser pulse cannons. The first Tiget ship was hit in the engine area, which crippled it and then a second blast hit its left wing blowing it away. Then the ship exploded. One of the other Tiget ships got off a blast at us. I could see a bright white spot come toward the ship. It appeared as if it was going to hit me personally, but then it turned into a large bright flash below me and it dispersed. I then saw that all three of the remaining Tiget ships were in various states of destruction. Within thirty more seconds, they had all exploded. Our ship was damaged slightly on the lower port side, but it was easily repaired. The other Eleph ships were not hit. We stayed in the area for twenty-four more hours until the peace convoy passed. We did not contact them. I was ordered not to. We then entered hyper light speed and headed to the rendezvous given to the Elephs by the Earth Alliance. It would take ten days to get there.
During this time, the elephants wanted to know everything about Earth and myself. They seemed genuinely interested in me. Tor had me eat every meal with her and we became quite close over the next ten days. When it was finally time to come out of hyper light speed, I was again seated next to Tor on my platform. As we slowed and things in normal space came into view, I could see the other Eleph ships. I was amazed at the sight. There were sixty monstrous ships, with a small Earth cruiser in the center. Then suddenly without warning, I saw twenty Tiget ships come out of hyper light speed. As soon as they slowed enough, I could see smaller attack ships disgorging from the twenty larger ships. It looked like hornets coming out of nests, ready to attack everything and anything. I then heard the captain order the energy shield up and then the ship shuttered. The view of the space around us shifted thirty degrees, but the room stayed steady. I heard one of the other elephant’s say they had been hit on the port side and the stabilizers were damaged. I then saw something out the side of my eyes and heard another elephant say there was a large ship moving out from behind a small planet. I looked and it was an Earth carrier. I yelled to the captain what it was and she ordered their fire be directed at the Tiget ships. The Earth carrier was a saucer shaped ship that could fire in all directions at once. Along it’s edge, hyper light fighters could be launched in any direction, through an open area that appeared to be a black band around its entire circumference. This type of carrier could launch a 1000 fighters in 4.7 minutes and I could see them being launched in waves of 100. When I looked back at the Tigets, I could see our fighters already attacking theirs. The Tigets were no match for these new fighters; they could attack at hyper light speed. You could see the Tiget fighters exploding all over the area. Then I saw one of the main Tiget ships explode. I saw to my right twenty more Tiget ships come into sight as they dropped out of hyper light speed. They were being hit, as soon as they came into view by the Earth fighters. The new Tiget ships were exploding as fast as they appeared. The initial twenty had all been destroyed, as far as I could tell. Ten seconds later, all the Tiget ships large and small were gone. Debris was everywhere. Our ship was righting itself and came back to its normal stable position.
The captain was told that three elephants were trapped in Bay 4. They could not be reached, but they could be seen with cameras. All three were badly injured. The captain told Shelo to go see what could be done and she started toward the door. I told the captain I wanted to go with her. I was just in the way here and I had significant medical training as a PIN agent. She said it was ok, but I was to be careful. I followed Shelo to the door and we both got onto one of the platforms. As it traveled along the hallways, I could see that significant damage had been done and a number of elephants were being taken to the medical center. The platform let us off at the damage site. Seven elephants were standing there trying to determine what to do. One or two were medical personnel with emergency medical bags. I could see that there was a small pathway under the debris that I could crawl through and reach the injured Elephs. I told Shelo I was going to crawl through the pathway to help the trapped Elephs. She didn’t want me to go because I might be killed, but I grabbed a medical kit and started through before she could contact the captain. About half way I got caught by a sharp piece of metal. It caused a four or five inch long cut on my arm. I didn’t have enough room to do anything about it so I kept on crawling until I got to the open area were the three elephants were trapped. I opened the medical bag and found an electronic flesh knitter. I tried it on the cut at low power and it stopped the bleeding, but it still throbbed. I was able to stand and I moved to the first elephant. I couldn’t believe it; it was Sulto! He had a large gash down his left front leg and he was leaning against the wall in considerable pain. I took the knitter and turned it to full. It was able to stop the bleeding, but not heal the gash. I found some colored patches in the kit and I asked Sulto which one was for pain. He said the blue one and it should be put near the wound. I quickly put one on him. He almost immediately relaxed and seemed more coherent. I then went to help the other two.
One was crushed under a large beam and was dead. The other was lying near some wreckage with several large crumpled pieces of metal over her chest. I could not move the wreckage; it was too heavy. I went back to the crawl space I used and yelled back to the other elephants to turn down the gravity. They did and I was able to lift the debris off. She had a series of large bloody gashes in her side. I first put a pain patch on her and then started to pass the knitter over her wounds. After ten to fifteen minutes, I was able to stop the bleeding. In about two hours the elephants had removed enough of the debris to reach us. Shelo pushed through first and came over to me. I was still using the knitter to keep the wounds of the elephant on the floor from reopening. Shelo ordered several other elephants to take over the medical care. She then placed her trunk around my shoulder and led me to a waiting platform.
“The captain wants to see you in the control room” she said as we stepped onto the platform.
When we entered the control room, I could see Tor talking to an image of an older oriental woman with partially gray hair, dressed in an Earth Alliance admiral’s uniform. The admiral was saying that one of the Alliance repair ships had found a tracking device embedded in the hull of one of the Elephs ships during the repairs. She thought that was how the Tigets located them.
I mounted the small platform and the admiral said, “Ah, Mr. Plank, I see you’ve returned. My name is Admiral Coda. I hope you were not injured.”
“I’m fine, Admiral.”
“That’s good. We have repaired the most serious damage. While we were doing the repairs we discovered tracking devices hidden in the hulls of the Eleph ships.”
“I think we should remove them as soon as possible.” I said.
“I agree. What do you think Captain Torga?”
“We should remove them now, but our shuttles will take several days to do it.”
“Our repair vessels could handle it in two hours if you would give us permission to proceed.” said the admiral.
“Yes, please proceed. I will inform the other ship captains what will be happening.”
The admiral then signed off and Tor looked at me. I was holding my arm. It had started throbbing and the pain was getting pretty bad. Then I must have blacked out, because the next thing I remember is lying naked in my bed, with the captain standing by the door talking to Shelo. I started to sit up but I was pretty weak. As soon as they saw I was awake the captain came over.
“You should have told us you were hurt. One of your doctors just left and he said you lost alot of blood, and that’s why you collapsed. He said you should be fine if you stay in bed for a day.”
She said this in very stern, but caring voice.
I must have been drugged because I fell asleep within a few minutes.
When I awoke, the room was dark and I could see Shelo outside the doorway doing something. I pulled myself up and sat on the edge of the bed. I felt tired but my arm was feeling much better and most of my strength had returned. I was naked but fully bathed. Shelo must have seen me because the lights came on and she came in. She immediately pulled the blanket around me and told me to keep warm. I asked how long I had been sleeping. She said fifteen hours. Shelo then brought me new clothes.
“Were did these come from?” I asked.
“We made them for you.”
“What’s been happening?”
“Well, your repair ships removed all the tracking devices and they dropped them off by some dead solar system. We are on our way to the planet promised to us by your Alliance and you have been assigned as our diplomatic representative from the Earth Alliance.”
I was surprised at this because I was a trained intelligent agent, not a diplomat.
Shelo helped me dress and took me to the outer room where two other elephants were waiting. They were dressed in blue and red uniforms and stood at attention. I asked who they were and Shelo said they were here to help me with anything I needed. I asked them to relax. They made me nervous standing there so stiff, and they stood down. On the table was a large bowl of vegetable soup. Shelo would not let me move from the table until I had finished it all. She then said that the captain wanted to see me and she escorted me to a platform with a chair fixed on it. I was glad to have the chair. Even with the platform, it was quite a distance. We finally came to a large gold door and stepped off the platform.
Shelo pushed a large button on the wall and the two great doors slowly swung opened. There before me stood two hundred elephants dressed in gold, one hundred standing on each side of a gold carpet. At the end of the carpet, I could see nine elephants also dressed in gold with Tor in the center. Shelo told me to walk to the captain. As I started down the carpet, the two hundred elephants all raised their trunks and trumpeted a loud welcome. When I reach Tor, she stepped forward and said “Mr. Adam Plank, you risked your life to save three of our fellows. Few species and even fewer beings in those species would do such a thing. You offered our people the gift of your life, a gift that can never be repaid. As a token of our esteem we have two gifts for you. The first is the ‘Medal of the Elephs’. This is a special medal made small for you and it gives you the friendship, love and honor of all our people. Secondly, we would like to make you a full Eleph with your permission.”
I was surprised to say the least and I said uneasily, “Umm, well, thank you for the great honor, but anyone would have done the same thing. I appreciate and accept both honors. Thank you again.”
With that the elephants all started to trumpet and a great party ensued where I was introduced to all the leaders of the Elephs. I became tired quickly and when Tor saw this she escorted me back to my room and made me go to bed.
Over the next few days, all the elephants I encountered treated me with great respect. It felt quite strange. I found out that the Elephs had requested me as their diplomatic link to the Alliance and that is why I was given the post. On the fourth day, we arrived at the Eleph’s new world. An Alliance construction ship and one battle cruiser were already in orbit awaiting our arrival. They were there to help get the Elephs established on the planet and to make sure the Tigets didn’t pop in unannounced. A small landing field had been constructed on the single main continent. This world was named Econ and had been surveyed ten years earlier. It was determined that it could support human life, but the land mass was too small to be worth the development costs. The one continent was covered by heavy jungle, with no intelligent life, just small animals. It was perfect for the Elephs and they were delighted. I told Tor I had to go back to Scoll to pick up my things and there was a woman I had decided to ask to marry me. She was delighted that I had a lady and wanted me to go back as soon as possible so I could return and help them.
I returned to Scoll and explained to Val what had happened and asked her to marry me. She said yes and we had a quick civil ceremony. She quit her job and we packed to move. I had arranged to meet a diplomatic shuttle at the spaceport, but to my surprise there was Sulto in that same odd suit I first saw him in. He had his ship waiting for us. He was back in full health and was so excited to see me that he grabbed me around the waist and lifted me off the floor. He put me down and introduced himself to Val. We both got onto the shuttle and he took us to Torga’s ship, which was orbiting Scoll. There we were treated to a great banquet and our suite was beautiful. We were on our way to our new home. It’s funny; from a simple meeting I had a new wife, new friends and a new life all because of the spy with a trunk!
All text © 1996-1997 by Anthony D. Adams.