Rescue transporters from the military Warships came close, and the Ihta aliens were annoyingly apologetic. It had been an unfortunate accident: the armed missile went out of control due to the storm. Everybody was stupefied by our perplexing dodging tactic, and by the fact that a small, primitive, hand-built Glider had managed to elude the most advanced military technology: an armed neutron-shower hunter missile!
     On the other hand, the speed, the maneuverability, and the incredibly sturdy construction of our litle Hesa inspired awe, respect, and a lot of admiration to the Ihta people.

     One enormous Warship escorted us all the way up to Ihta, with full military honors, and they even supervised our landing in Mah’Bhwoo City-harbor. Thousands of aliens came to welcome us, and there were lots of live-media crews around: we were heroes!
     Giga appeared to be very angry. He was demanding an enormous sum of Ihta currency for “damages”, for losing his precious cargo. On my side, I was admiring as dumbstruck the new, strange, alien environment—it was my first trip to the Ena System.
     Of course, Giga’s anger was only for display, and I knew it very well. In fact, he was very proud he managed to save Hesa, plus he had had the chance to “show the aliens” what kind of a tough Karr Boundary-Crossing Captain he was. Besides, that was an unexpected and greatly welcome commercial opportunity to recover the entire construction costs of Hesa, and even way more!
     To me, reality became a dream since I saw that infernal, dark space-window. Nobody has to tell me that it had been a hallucination or . . . whatever, because I know it wasn’t. I remember perfectly clear those minuscule, bright Stars and that dark, empty space . . . It was obvious the dark space-window was connected to a Universe totally different from the Nebula one!
     The space-window appeared right into the metal of the fore-left deflector due to its particular electrical charge, to the incredible speed of our Glider, to my secret invention, and to some special characteristics of the storm. Those were a bit too many variables to consider but . . .
     I was wondering if the space-window could be used to travel into the other Universe . . . But, how was I going to come back if there was no Nebula matter in the other side . . . Could it be that the space-window worked both ways?
     One year later I had been invited to live and work permanently on Ihta, and I accepted that gladly because their technological level was fairly higher than Karr’s. I continued investigating the space-window incident in private, and it led me to a few radical new theories, and to a new set of needed experimentations.
     Captain Giga remained on Karr, and we saw little of each other since. Yesterday, I was told he died. He had been blessed with the best death possible for a Captain: he died standing and fighting on his Command Deck, and he was defeated by his Destiny only . . .
     We never managed to spend little nice time together, and I am going to regret that for the rest of my life. Now, it is impossible to correct that situation . . .
     My Dear Father, I promise I shall never forget your wonderful advice: HEAD FORWARD!

                                                                                            In Memoriam of
                                                                                            Seven Seas Merchant Marine Captain
                                                                                            GHEORGHE N. POPA

[Author’s Word

Giga was the most . . . impossible to describe “sea-wolf”, way tougher than anybody I have ever met, I heard about, I’ve seen in movies, or I read in books about. The nickname he liked was “Giga”—well, sort of—and he had lived his life to the fullest, in his own peculiar way.

He died fighting and standing in 2002, in Constanţa-România, just like the end of a living legend. Poor devil, he was not bad: he was indeed very bad! Regardless, I still owe him a lot . . .

May you rest in peace, Sir.



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