"Oh Shit, Oh Shit, Not Again. No, No, No, Damnit." Here I go again; another shit repair job by that bastard Johan in the stations electronics shop. My Nav-comp is down again and I'm already underway to Jane's World in Echo Sector. I have no way of knowing when to drop out of jump. I know that the jump is 37.61 hours so I'll just have to take the chance and drop out based on time and pray for the best.
Watching the clock I hit the cancel button and drop out of jump. As the star patterns stabilize I pray I got it right as I know that this area of space is largely unmapped and systems are few and far between. I see on my screens that there are two systems but neither one matches Jane's World. I start sensor scans and the closer of the two systems has no planets in it; just a massive asteroid field and a G5 star. The other system has a planet at 0.96AU that has a usable atmosphere and surface water. I carefully get underway toward the further system and rough calculations show it will take about two months to get there.
I'm finally settling into orbit around the planet and sensors confirm there is life on the surface but they are unable to classify as to genus or species. There is some communications being broadcast but it appears to be all audio with no accompanying video. I let my Comm-comp chew on the language for a couple of hours before attempting to communicate with the indigenous lifeform.
It took my Comm-comp almost three days to come up with enough syntax to work out a translation of the language. With a reasonable translation in hand I decided to set down near a city that appeared to be where the central government had its capital. As I entered the atmosphere I got sensor warnings about radar and other RF energies aimed at me so I took it very slowly as I settled the ship on its landing struts near where I saw flying machines of a strange type. After shutting down the engines I saw a number of vehicles approach and a couple of them looked to be armored and armed. All this time I have been broadcasting what the Comm-comp said was a peaceful message of greeting and good will.
I moved to the hatch and cracked the outer seal; the computer having already told me that it was safe and that there were no harmful pathogens. The external viewer showed me that all the weapons were pointed at the hatch yet a lift was brought in so that access to the ground could be made. As the outer hatch opened a hailer was brought in and somebody was talking, "Hello the ship this is Cmdr. Hepsin of Her Majesty's Imperial Guard. Step forward and present yourself." "Hello the ship this is Cmdr. Hepsin of Her Majesty's Imperial Guard. Step forward and present yourself."
I step out onto the lift and the Cmdr. hails me. "You there; state your name and purpose for being here."
"I am Lt. Cmdr. Arthur James Atwood of the Consortium Space Forces and I am here because my navigation computer failed and this is where I came out of jump space. Might I come down and speak face to face with you?"
"Step down Cmdr. and present yourself."
I lower the lift and step onto the surface of the planet. The landing area is packed hard and is not concrete as there are no expansion joints. It is one solid piece and almost looks like plastic. I look up and I'm stunned; approaching me is a ... a ... there is no other way to say it. Approaching me is a 'DEVIL'. He is about 150cm tall, dark red skin, slightly enlarged head with horns, a tail with triangular tuft on its end and hooves for feet.
"Cmdr. Atwood I am Cmdr. Hepsin of Her Majesty's Imperial Guard. You're a human from Earth aren't you?" He spoke in English!! ENGLISH!!!!
"Wh ... Wh ... Wha ... Wha ... What da ... How da ... Who da..." I can't talk; I stop and take a deep breath slowly letting it out. Whew! Let's try that again. "How do you know Earth English? And better yet who or what are you?"
"I can better explain later; but for now know that our civilization is very old and we have visited many planets over the centuries. As such we have learned many languages and many cultures know us or know of us. Right now I am to escort you to the palace where our Queen is waiting to question you as to the truthfulness of your reason for being here."
We move to a small vehicle and as I take a seat in the back Hepsin gets in and another soldier drives us away from the landing field. As we drove or rather floated; as I found out it was a hover car, I got the chance to see something of the city. It was laid out in a spoked wheel within a wheel pattern; four main thoroughfares bisected the city and every seventh wheel was a major circle-way going completely around the city. After the second circle-way four more thoroughfares were added at the mid-points to cut the city into 8 parts. The architecture was all pretty much the same; the major difference being the colors used on some of the buildings. We passed through the city and started to climb up toward the top of a good sized hill.
As we topped the hill I saw the palace and the first thing that came to mind was '1001 Arabian Nights'. This thing was magnificent and absolutely huge. It must cover 15 hectares or more and the tallest spire must be 500 meters. The hover car settled to a stop and we climbed out; the major-domo having opened the door. We climbed the steps to the main door and were escorted in to a wondrous building; I had to duck a couple of times due to low doorways but the palace was stunning in its décor and architecture. We were shown to a large hall which I took to be the throne room due to the two great chairs sitting on a dais at the far end. We were placed on a small carpet before the thrones and were told to wait. I looked around the room at all the beautiful statuary and paintings and when I felt a nudge in my ribs turned to face the thrones; WOW!!!
There sat one of the most beautiful women I had ever laid eyes on. She was about 165cm tall, 45kg, 86C-60-86 with nipples almost black. Her head slightly enlarged like all I have seen with her horns turned inward toward each rather than forward like the others. Eye pupils black as space and the most beautiful crimson colored skin; with her tail ending in a conical tuft like the others. I bowed to one knee and I saw her smile as I looked up. She was ... Oh hell; I was instantly hard as a neutron rod and my jump-suit didn't hide much as I stood up. I turned red as I saw her look down toward my crotch and turn slightly away in embarrassment. When she made eye connect again the look I got was sensuous and lust filled.
Cmdr. Hepsin spoke, "Your Majesty may I present to you Lt. Cmdr. Arthur James Atwood; a space farer from Earth."
The Queen looked at me then spoke, "Cmdr. Atwood you must have many questions the most puzzling of which is; we speak Earth English. Would that not be so?"
"That would indeed be the first of many questions I would ask; the second of which would be; who, or what, are you?" I asked.
"That question is much easier answered Cmdr. We are the 'Daemonese'. I am Queen Rowenna de la Fargia the sovereign of this planet and the arbitrator of our law. This planet is Daemonese Prime."
The Queen got down from her throne and started walking toward another room. "Hepsin accompany us. Cmdr Atwood we are an ancient race and through racial memory we can trace our history back more than 250,000 years. We were young when the Ancient's themselves were old and dying as a race. They allowed us to travel with them in their ships spanning star systems as far as the galaxy you know as Andromeda and beyond."
We stepped into a library that would put all the libraries on Earth combined to shame. There were millions if not tens of millions of volumes. I could see from references that some went back more than 100,000 years.
"Unfortunate circumstances befell us about 26,000 years ago when a wandering black hole past through our small section of the galaxy and tore eight solar systems from their paths. The other system that accompanies ours is the only other system that survived; the other six being consumed by the black hole. We have been on a trajectory away from our parent galaxy and have not been able to return to any of the worlds we once knew. Once the technology of the Ancient's failed we no longer had travel even to our sister system."
"There is nothing but rubble there, your Highness. If there were any planets they have long since been destroyed as when I was coming here my ships sensors detected only the star and a massive asteroid field." I chimed in.
The Queen went on; "Then it is truly as I feared we few are the last remnants of a once great race that spanned the stars and led others to rise from savagery and seek knowledge. Such is how we were once known to the peoples of your Earth. Your Druids and Atlantian's knew us well and we strived to bring understanding to them as well as many others."
I broke in; "Your Highness, Atlantis was destroyed without a trace and many believe it to have been nothing more than a myth. The Druids were put down and finally died out about 10,000 years ago. At which time most all of their skills and knowledge were lost to mankind and it took us nearly 7,000 years to get back to a point where we weren't killing each other over stupid things like 'Who's God is the True God' or which form of government should be forced on the people." The Queen looked as if was going to cry.
"All of our hard work lost to trivial pursuits, and now we will pass into nothing as well," she said sadly.
.... There is more of this story ...