The Legendary Tales of Notch Johnston

(All Dan-no’s are called Dan-no)

Officer Dan-no was the port attority for this slimey mudball stuck in this ass crack end of the galaxy like some dirty dingle berry . His days were filled with boring things, stupid beings and asnine reports because this was the most worthless excuse for a fucked up frontier planet in this whole backwards ass galaxy . The smell made him gag and choke all the time, the light hurt his eyes and the mud made his skin itch. He hated this place far more than he cared to admit and did his job well in hopes of getting out of this hellhole of mud and stink as fast as possible.

He was mostly alone and his only real back up and closest thing to a friend at the spaceport was Officer Paatay, a weird little officer, from the ‘Office of Foreign Affairs and Alien Encounters’. He could by repution I.d. over five hundred different species from this galaxy on sight and was a fast hand with a needler to boot. Well so he had heard.

But busting poachers was something Dan-no enjoyed. So there he was shaking down some stubby little vapor-sucker from who-cares-where. He was almost ready to let a few things slide, things like the small vessel of an unknown type that he had never seen before. A vessel for which no permit could be found, nor any paper work, on what must be a fortune worth of refined metal. The vessel was not intended for use in space, he decided it must float in a liquid medium. Most likely water.

He was listening to this mister stubby invent a tale about sick drugged out deranged pilots, busted drive-link shear-pins, wormholes, strange heavy metal star systems with water-rich planets. Then the retard topped it off by claiming they had been attacked by natives with sub-orbital aircraft powered by airscrews. All this did not explain the small fortune in metal in the shape of what appeared to be a vessel designed for a liquid medium in which he was now standing. How exactly it came to be in the hold of this bottom feeder’s recycled garbage scow was vague in the current version of the story, but that will change.

“Slam” a hatch suddenly popped open and hit the wall, a rush of air that didn’t stink, it almost tasted sweet.

Stubby’s twichy ears, fat lips, skinny feelers, shifty eye stalks, wavy gills, proud crop and ruffled mating frills, it all stopped flapping and moving with comic suddeness. His shifty eyeballs slowly shifted to the right and then his damp skin dryed so fast Dan-no saw cracks of fear form right in front of his eyes.

‘Wow just like in the book of species’.danno though he stared at something he had only read about, then he remembered what it was supposed to require the “stark abject terror for its life” to achieve this result.

Dan-no’s smooth black eyes followed the stubby captain’s shifty bloodshot eyestalks to look at the crewman that had came up from below deck. That made him pause. A large bi ped dressed in a brite rain-coat of unknown design stood there. He didn’t look like one of stubbys crew. Or any crewman he had ever see for that matter. But… some thing tickled the back of Dan-no’s brain. Maybe his friend from foriegn affairs will get some work in for a change.

It launched at stubby with a blur of speed that struck cold fear though Dan-no’s guts. He turned to flee for his life. Stubby screamed in terror. Dan-no screamed back in fear and ran.

In disbelief Dan-no spotted his only back-up for one hundred and sixty-two light-years disappearing threw a hatch so far away that he could only conclude that the coldblooded heartless basterd had knew what he had saw on sight and had ran first. The worthless piece of a Targ-terd didn’t even call-out a warning.

Dan-no was running for his life across the deck of a strange watership inside of a weird piece of junk spaceship on a messed up mudball of a rogue moon in a lost nebula. And if he didn’t make it to the airlock quick that thing might eat him.

His foot hit the air of an open hatch cover and down he went hard. All kinds if unkind metal objects tried to kill him. All was lost as he rolled in pain and agony.

The screams of stubby got louder over the pain. The alien approached as it dragged stubby wailing in stark terror with one hand across the same deck that dan-no had just fled acrossed.

It stopped at the hole dan-no had tripped on and stuffed stubby head first down the dark hole. There followed a dull thump and no one made a sound for a bit. Dan-no and the alien stared at each other from across the open hatch. Dan-no realized his needler was in the aliens complex looking hand and with no back-up his chances of getting tore-up wild animal style were looking very very good.

And then.

The needler hit Dan-no’s thin chest next to his shiny star shaped badge of office then fell into his lap and when dan-no looked up the alien was disappearing back inside one of the many hatchs with a loud clang of steel on steel.

Sara

It’s grip loosened and it slipped loose falling into the water. The officer felt sure that was that. The thing was way to dense to float and that ocean was over ten miles deep, it covered the whole moon. The thing suddenly popped back up to the surface and “crawled” vigorously threw the water to the base of the support piling.

He was unsure what to do. The creature was innocent of any crime. And the misunderstood event was in fact now under investigation by several central government agencies.

Some slave runners had fried there power core nearby and had got towed in. While under tow something had happened and the creature broke loose. When the ship had been landed under tow at the port the crew had failed to respond. Law enforcement had been forced to cut into the ship. They found the crew had been slaughtered. There captive slaves were loose and running around in a panic.

The police officers almost got trampled by the desperate captives as they fled the ship. The officers had called him because the story they had discovered within.

The story was farely simple in details the slavers had chose the wrong victim. There sonic guns had stunned it. So they tossed it in a cage and thought that was that. It had slept soundly until the drive blew. Then it had woke up scared by all accounts. Terrified in some versions. It had cowarded in fear in a corner of its cage like the rest of the freshly captured slaves.

They had dropped out of sub-space and the police fast cruiser Per-gish happened to be parked right there to monitor traffic. The crew had panicked at the thoughts a trip to hades prime, so they had planned to dump the evidence in space before making port call.

The captives panicked when they realized the crews plan. No doubt the panic

had spread across the language barriers to infect them all. That was when the unknown creature had suddenly ripped the bars off it’s cage. It had then proceeded to slay the entire crew of forty-three using a bar from it’s cage wielding like a sword, with such force that the blunt object sliced threw the slavers bodys as if it were razor sharp.

The onboard video recordings revealed the thing had sniffed out everyone of the slavers. It had searched the ship bow to stern systematically over the course of two days. It had ripped open every hatch in it’s search stopping only at the outer airlock doors. And then about three hours before touch down, it had broke all the locks on the slave pens, one by one, releasing all the prisoners. Luckily, no one had opened the outer airlock doors. This was probably because the outside door had a small window.

The port authority officer moved around to get a clear look at what it was doing. The thing was hellishly fast to the point it would almost disappear when it moved sometimes. It suddenly dove gracefully back into the water and then crawled along the surface of the water toward a service platform. He called ahead and had the section cleared and sealed.

It had been loose in the city for almost forty minutes before they had realized that it had jumped ship. Fleeing with the crowd of refugees that had rushed to freedom right threw the ten armed guards.

That thing was dangerous, that was not in doubt. Weather or not it was an enemy, that was still in doubt. Once it had got free it had fled in fear, from what Dan-no had no idea. That thing was scary. The real problem for him was that he had to hunt that thing down and pay it the bounty on those forty-three pirate/slavers.

He had the distinct feeling this was going to be a long night.

The reports he was listening to sounded scary as hell. All the former captives insisted that the unknown creature had saved them.

This whole mess was a P.R. minefield. And he had no choice but to go find it.

The rest of the law enforcement community on this outpost were corrupt and no doubt laying big money on what was going to happen when he found it.

He hitched a ride to the access point that led to the platform in question. The last two workers were stuck nursing a frying plasma conduit if they left they would die in the blast before they could escape.

Dan-no went past there foreman and said “close the door please”as he stepped through.

Two weeks later a new deputy was sworn in. Sara and Dan-no the port authority officer became partners. They cleaned the riffraff out in just one day.

The corrupt beings sent an assassin team to deal with the problem.

They ran into a laundrylist of issues. The port authority officers new partner was an unknown that they were not prepared for. T

When two officers from central planets showed up. They got there butts tossed in the “pen” by Dan-no until they agreed that there was nothing of interest on that moon. Nothing at all.

The wheelhouse was empty the radio was putting out a light static hiss on all channels. There was a bunch of alarm lights at the captains wheel. Notch flipped some switchs to shut down a bunch of ships systems that showed red.

He looked out the windows of the wheelhouse and saw a solid wall in all directions.

‘I’m in a werehouse or something.’ he thought.

The stubby alien made his escape from the hold. It was no great feat since there was a ladder but it hit the deck running like a windmill spinning with its head turned up at a crazy angle allowing its shifty eye things to look straight back.That was too bad cause it hit the rail on the stern and flipped end over end out of sight.

Stubby was tougher then he looked because he popped into view again moving in that weird almost slo-mo like style.

Where is that stubby basterd going? he asked himself. He watched ‘stubby’ scramble up a ladder to some kind of door grab the handle and… nothing it was locked appearently.

Stubby squealed in distress and leaped for the floor and ran to the next door it too was locked, they all were. Cause stubby tryed each one twice before he tryed to scramble up a wall to reach a small hatch beyond his reach. Three trys later stubby gave up and flopped with its back to a wall as far from the ship as he could get.

Notch was sitting in the captains chair in the wheelhouse by this time with a camel from the captains pack in his fingers. He took a deep drag and inhaled as he reached up and grabbed a string that controlled the horn they used in port for safety, it was powered by a massive air tank and controlled by a manual valve.

He exhaled as he pulled on the string.

“Honk”

The enclosed space and cold air made the port horn way louder than notch remembered. And It had a profound affect on stubby. Stubby leaped up and ran three ways at once, got nowhere, then turned and leaped for the hatch he could not reach before as if the hounds of hades themselves snapped at his heels. And with no regard at all for blue gunk “blood?” coming out of its “hands?” The strange being flailed its limbs against the wall begging for traction. He finally caught ahold of the lip somehow. No matter notch was feeling mean so as soon stubby got a good hold on the handle…

“HONK”

Down he went again but this time stubby had managed to rip the small doorway from the wall, jam and all. He laid below the hole, hatch on the ground next to him.

“Must be made in china.” thought notch.

Notch got up and seached the “lady in chains” stem to stern at this point.

This is what he found.

The cod in the hold was still in good shape.

The crab were all dead. The hold was full of toothpicks and hockey pucks.

The temp outside read ten below.

But when he pushed the memory button it showed numbers that defied belief.

All the pilot lights were out.

The fuel in the main tanks was almost gooey and appeared to be a bit colder than minus ten.

The fuel in the four hundred gallon daytank was still warm as it had heaters.

The ten foot cargo box that held the hunting equipment was securely chained to the deck and locked tight as it should be while at sea.

The paint on all exterior surfaces showed weird hairline cracks in close formation the few loose items that should have been around were gone or found in some of the damnedest places.

The lady was lying twenty degrees to port and a few degrees down on the nose in what smelled like and looked like a layer of ancient semi-frozen debris and trash and gray mud.

There was over a hundred grand in radios scanners g.p.s. ect. onboard.

They only picked up each other.

All safety equipment was onboard and properly stowed.

The epirb’s were all there.

Bob was still a goner.

Notch moved Bob’s frozen body to the stern lazaret where they stored the salt.

Stubby was showing signs of life again and was trying to get up on its floppy looking feet.

It was some what apparently stubby wasn’t doing too well.

Notch noticed that the big door, the only one big enough for the “lady” was almost directly off the starboard beam.

Hmmm…he went below and got a few things out of stores.

Big can of krazy Gorilla glue.

Some spare slightly bent metal tie down tabs for restraining crab pots.

And a couple shots of line.

Notch tied a cargo net to the gunnel to use as a ladder and climbed down and put feet on the frozen gunk below. Stubby froze like a deer in the head lights and when notch walked toward the door stubby stayed frozen.

He glued the tabs on the big door frame around the huge hatch. Then strung some line to the eyes on the tabs then tied the lines together then tied it to a shot of groundline and dropped the end into the crab block.

He went below and turned on the preheaters that warmed the number two backup generator crankcase and block. The engine started to heat as he checked the fuel and oil.

The caterpillar engine was well maintained so it started up on its own when it reached the preset temp. When notch heard the diesel start he was ready with a cup’o noodles at the microwave. He tossed it in the door and twisted the knob and then strolled out the galley hatch with the sound of coffee perking in his ears.

He turned on the hydro-pumps with a practiced stab of a thumb then walked to the roller man position, paused for a second, and then turned the little arm that was the control for the crab block, a device designed to lift thousand pound crab pots off the bottom of the bering sea full of crab and suck them through the water while the ship cruises along at ten knots. The big hatch appeared to be set in a hole a sealed with semi-soft putty.

The line drew tight and came under load. With a creak an pop the tension built. Notch ducked down below the rail so a snapped line wouldn’t chop him in half.

“THOWK” thump

Notch looked on many things he had no names for. Most of them in the form of beings most of which were moving away from notch’s new window. Many different beings of many types all moving in a strange slo-mo style. Some moved faster than others but none of them moved fast. But he could tell, that they were trying like there lives were on the line.

Notch stared mouth open eyes wide. The aliens came in many shapes and sizes and colors three were very large and had no place to hide so they milled around by a large building. The building had six floors with a makeshift awning to shelter the large behemoths with four legs and two arms that lumbered over to the shelter to hide from the sudden rain. They moved so slowly it took almost half an hour for all this to happen.

Notch stood and stared open mouthed threw it all not moving a bit just staring in dumb wonder.

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