The Story of RAGS Chapter 5 - Komodo
Abernathy was in the forward end of the ship [Level 1, Forward 1] looking at the star maps on-screen, and following the ship as it traveled from 'MANU' to the planet 'Komodo' in the constellation 'Draco.' He loved the 'Observatory' as he looked at the star maps and compared them to the view out the great observation windows to the stars beyond. He could see Thuban, a Blue-White Giant out the windows. Komodo was in this star system. For the past few days, he had watched as it loomed closer.
He was fascinated with the other star systems in the Draco Constellation, Eltanin - an Orange Giant, Rastaban - a Yellow Giant, and he was also amazed as there were several double star systems and a triple star system. His knowledge of the universe increased as he studied the solar systems with his friend Lee. They would meet in the observatory after duty on most days and follow the ship's progress, while quizzing each other on Komodo and the surrounding star systems.
Lee, a large German Sheppard, was probably the one that started calling Abernathy, 'RAGS.' He said it was because he looked like a pile of rags when he laid down someplace for a nap. However it started, the name seemed to stick and before too long, everyone just called him 'RAGS.' Abernathy said that he was never particularly fond of the name Abernathy as it didn't seem to fit him and had way too many syllables.
Later that day, near the end of his shift, Jack came running in, "Rags, it will be planet fall soon, we need to check the cargo."
"I knew it would be soon, as I have been watching in the Observatory with Lee." He said proudly.
"Look, we just got used to calling you, 'Rags' maybe we should have named you the 'Professor,' instead," Jack laughed.
"Rags will be fine, I kind of like it," Abernathy said. He smiled to himself as he began checking the tie downs on the cargo, always keeping an eye out for any danger to the cargo. He was a "Cargo Protection Crewman First Class," after all.
Shortly before the end of his shift, a yellow light flashed several times and a horn was heard throughout the ship. Over the intercom came the voice of Pete, the Senior Master Chief of the ship, "ATTENTION! ATTENTION! ATTENTION! MAKE READY FOR LANDING ON KOMODO"
The landing of the ship was as perfect as the first one on MANU and Rags was beginning to become more comfortable with the voyages and landings. He was getting into the routines of the ship and the loading and unloading of the cargo.
After his duties were completed and the ship's cargo safely unloaded from Cargo Hold #7, Miss 'D' let everyone off on a day's ship leave.
Rag, Lee, Germano, Lorena, and Rigo decided to check out what Komodo had to offer. They were pretty excited to meet the inhabitant of the 'Dragon Planet' and see what new sights awaited them. They were also quite excited to find out what was in the cargo that they carried from Manu.
It was simple to figure out what they took to Manu, as they knew it was a humanitarian mission and that the birds of Manu desperately needed food and supplies to sustain them till their crops came in. But what could the birds of Manu possibly manufacture that would be of use to dragons? It was s source of scuttlebutt throughout the entire crew. There were even some folks on board that had started betting pools as to what they were hauling, as none of the crates had anything, except 'Product of Manu,' written on them.
As Rags and his small band of crew exited the ship, they saw the planet in all its glory. The beautiful landscape that awaited them outside the ship was extraordinary, with its rugged snowcapped mountains, and the lush green valley in which the landing pad was situated. Thuban, the Blue-White sun, of Komodo, shone over the mountains adding brightness to the early morning of an already busy day.
Dragons of all shapes, sizes, design, and coloration filled the streets, and the skies of the bustling town. Large red dragons, small green dragons, long, thin blue dragons, short stumpy orange dragons. Dragons of one color, two colors, three colors, and more dotted the scenery for as far as the eye could see, in the streets, on the buildings, in the skies, on the mountains. Everyone seemed to be part of a well-orchestrated dance, coming and going without much in the way of traffic control, yet seemingly without incident.
The crew of 'The Princess Millie,' was amazed at the industry of the dragons as no one seemed to sit about idly while others did the work. There were no supervisors barking orders, while others did their bidding. Everyone seemed to be part of the giant mechanism, working seamlessly into the greater fabric of the machine.
There were no trucks for the land side anti-gravitational belts to deposit their loads onto. They just fell silently on the ground, where a large dragon would land, toss a cargo net over the package, roll it over and then take the corners of the net and with a few quick beats of its huge wings, be off with the load.
"We need a few of those guys to help with unloading all our cargo at every planet we stop." remarked Rags, "That would make short work of the process."
"Wow! It sure would," Said Lorena.
The small band of crew with Rags, slowly moved down the gangplank with the other 200 members of, 'The Princess Millie.' As big as the ship was, it was mostly filled with cargo holds, which required only a minimal crew to tend. Even the engines required only a small contingent, mostly of computer technicians, since they were very dependable as they had no moving parts. The invention of the 'Scalar Drive Engine,' a few years ago, made inter stellar travel and trade, very safe and efficient.
As they exited the ramp, the crew was met by a particularly large green dragon, who announced that his name was, Kukulkan. Now Kukulkan was a gentle beast which told the crew about the planet Komodo and its long rich history.
"We were a warlike society for many eons and nearly ended our society through the endless wars." Kukulkan went on, "Then one day, a leader came forth and preached harmony with the universe and many followed him. His name was Kukulkan, like me. His teachings were of love and peace and everyone on the planet began to acknowledge that his was the right way."
He continued his story, "Over the years, we developed in many ways, but most
noticeable was our ability to communicate through thought. If you notice there is no one who controls the coming and goings of everything, there is no government here at all except our king.
'Sallal,' our king rules all the lands of Komodo, yet he does so with a gentle hand. He has no guards, no government, and no laws, except the one judgment that everyone shall love and respect everything and everyone. He is a great and wise king and is truly loved and respected by every person on Komodo."
After answering a few questions about Komodo, Kukulkan led the whole crew toward the little town nearby.
As the group approached, a loud thundering from the town center erupted and a huge plume of fire jumped skyward from the center of the town. Everyone froze on the spot. Kukulkan laughed, "It is alright, my dear friends. It is Sallal, our king. You see each day around this time; he sits at the town square and tells stories to the young ones, using some great sound effects and Always, with a shot or two of fire."
Rounding the corner, the group could see the square and just as Kukulkan described, the square was surrounded by hundreds of children. In the center, stood a mighty dragon, he was very large and the colorings on his skin and wings were bright and shiny. He held on to the water fountain in the middle and stood on the edge of the fountain as he walked proudly around it while addressing the crowd of children that gathered close.
His great body was mostly red, but has yellows and orange lines through it and he was the grandest looking of all the dragons. His eyes twinkled the deep green of the sea and his voice boomed throughout the square as he finished his story.
Upon seeing the crew of 'The Princess Millie,' he raised both of his huge wings and flapped them a few times, lifting his large frame gently above the fountain. "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls of the planet 'Komodo,' please join me in welcoming our guests."
With that said he raised his head and uttered a loud shriek, followed by a giant plume of fire that soared a hundred feet into the air. The crowd broke out into laughter and clapping as he rose a little higher and slowly flew toward the approaching group landing right in front of them.
None of the crew had ever seen a dragon before today, and none had ever seen one smile. To say the least, it was a little disconcerting to see the rows upon rows of shiny teeth so proudly displayed in such a large creature and not wonder if you were about to become the next meal.
The nervousness was short lived as he quietly told them how much he appreciated their delivery of much anticipated goods from the planet Manu.
As he spoke, the children and their parents came through the group with trays of food, drink and pillows and sat down with their guests to have a good meal while they all listened to the king.
"Our friends on Manu, being the feather bearing creatures they are, regularly send us a shipment of their biggest commodity, Feathers. To which, we make things, such as the velvet pillows that you are sitting on. We have a wonderful seamstress, Cassandra, who directs the weaving of the fabric of these fabulous pillows. We also have a school teacher who writes plays, Selestia. Today's play is one that she wrote just for you. It is the story of Icarus. With the feathers, she and her backstage crew, Wade and Farrah, have created two sets of wings, made with these feathers for the play."
After the food and the play, was a surprise appearance of a magician, from the northern realms named Fleedle Flump, a medium sized dark blue and gold dragon, who performed many magical tricks, while telling tales to the amazement and delight of the crowd.
The next morning, after a wonderful night's sleep on the velvet pillows, the crew rose early to the sounds of dragons moving great crates of items to the ship.
"Good morning my dear guests," Sallal greeted the crew. "We are lading your ship with goods made here on Komodo. Mostly woven fabrics, for which we are known throughout the universe. These fabrics are made from our famous 'Silkoneus' plant which creates an almost indestructible fiber that is softer than silk. Along with these fabrics, we are also loading timber from the northern forests. Your good captain has agreed to take them to our friends in the Solar system of Sadalbari in the Constellation of Pegasus."
With a great stretching of his huge wings, "Thank you for your delivery and good journey, my friends." A few gentle flaps of his wings and he soared into the mountains.
Rags and the rest of the crew boarded the ship and made ready for the next journey.
continued nest week...