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Raff and the Starship of Knowledge

Chapter 1 - The Sphere and the Outcast

© Copyrighted by Furryhart 11/07/2014 ©

Warning: This story contains some content of a mature nature!

I had lived happily like this all my life, as far as I knew it and had settled into a comfortable existence. Then one night, all that changed while I was rummaging through a dumpster. I was hungrily munching down on something green and moldy when suddenly, I heard the sound of someone being chased and loud voices coming closer. Something then hit the dumpster, that I was in, hard and I heard someone then being brutally worked over. Through the shouts and cries of pain, I deduced he had something they wanted real bad. They were trying to force information out of him about it, but he resisted giving it to them. I hid in the muck and pressed my ear against the slimy wall of the dumpster and heard the leader say, “One last chance, punk… where is the device your crew found on that moon?” The response was something about what they could do to themselves, but the leader didn’t seem to like that suggestion and quickly shot him. I can still hear the ringing in my ears, even to this day, from that gunshot reverberating loudly around the dumpster.

I kept low and very quiet, as the local police began to arrive and soon there was lots of gun, laser and blaster fire that followed. I laid there in the cold muck shivering in fear, and hoping I would not be discovered or shot, as some of the gun fire penetrated the dumpster that I was in. Then as quickly as it had begun, it came to an abrupt end, as the local cops were very good at their job and they still were well equipped. I listened, trembling profusely, as the corpses of the person being coerced about the device and his tormenters were taken away in several ambulances. The local boys then swept the area, once even opening up the dumpster I was in. By now, however, I was covered in so much muck from hiding that they did not see me amongst the rest of the garbage, and they closed it up again.

Apparently they found nothing else and soon there was silence once again. I waited a while, listening intently at the dumpster wall and then crept out of the dumpster, dripping gods knows what, off my slime covered body onto the cracked pavement. Still shaken, I saw the blood on the ground all around me and closed my eyes, covering them with my slime covered paw hands in terror. I then heard a weak high pitched sound that seemed to be calling to me, coming from under the end of the dumpster. I dropped my paw hands down to my side, walking cautiously toward it and then, getting down on all fours, I looked under it. To my amazement, I found a tiny silver sphere the size of a golf ball, made of a shiny metal that I had not seen before and I picked it up gently. There were small very dim blue lights moving intermittently on its shiny metal surface, as if it were broken or lacked enough power to work properly. I quickly hid the device in my micro-toolkit and went back to my home.

I dried myself off by rolling around on the dirty, dusty floor and then cleaned myself off as best as I could. I then tried to go to sleep, but the gears of my mind were already spinning, concentrating on the sphere. It was as if… I had seen one before and was somehow trying to remember how to repair it, but that had to be impossible, as I had never seen it‘s like before. I found myself getting up anyway and began tinkering with it for a while, looking at it closely under my magna-viewer. At first I could not find any openings, or even a seam in its shiny silver surface. Then I noticed a little micro socket on the very bottom of it, and it struck me to use a tool in my micro-toolkit that I had never had a use for before. I pulled it out and fitted it into the socket, and to my surprise, the device shutdown and opened up for me. Inside of it was a bright blue crystal connected to a micro sized computer chip of unknown origin, that seemed to be inlaid into the inside wall of the metal sphere. Even though I was unfamiliar with crystal technology, this sphere felt so familiar to me; like a lost memory, trying to tell me something. I suddenly realized that who I really was, and where I might have truly come from, might be connected to its origin.

The crystal itself suddenly began to sing out to me, and I found out that I could somehow understand it, as a gentle feminine voice entered into my mind and talked to me. I found out that it was only a small part of a vast crystal memory core. This memory core belonged to an ancient starship that had been badly damaged in a battle, long forgotten. It told me the crew of the Valiant Star had recently found the sphere and would know where to look for the starship, once I managed to fix it. The last known location of the starship lies deep inside its multi-layered memories, if I can just gain access to it. I made what repairs I could, guided by crystal’s soft feminine voice. I then cleaned it thoroughly inside and closed it up to keep the crystal and the inside of the sphere free from dust or damage. Some other repairs were still needed, but they were beyond the capability of my tools and equipment, but not my knowledge. I knew that I needed to somehow contact the crew of the Valiant Star if I were to find out more about the sphere and thus… myself.

However, I also knew that there were other interested parties; some very ruthless, that were also looking for it. I could just get rid of it, but these kind of people would still tear me apart; still alive, trying to find it on me and I would be just as dead. I could sell it, but I had somehow bonded with the blue crystal and now felt compelled to repair the sphere and keep it safe. I also needed to find out what it was that it wanted to show me, as it seemed very familiar with me. So I started gathered my things in my backpack and I made ready to leave, the only home that I had ever known. I tucked the sphere inside my micro-toolkit and grabbed my lightning stick. It was a device that I used often to give myself a little jolt, but would also make someone who attacked me think twice, once they got a taste of it. Unknown to me, at the same time, my paw prints had already been discovered by the dumpster that I had crawled out of. These interested parties would soon be coming here to find me, and make my simple life very complicated.

It all started sometime after midnight, when I heard the footsteps of someone making a really bad attempt at being quiet. In the vast silence of my warehouse, I could hear a pin drop anywhere in it, and no one but me ever ventured inside. So I quickly slung my backpack over my shoulders and made for an opening that I often used to get out. However, I found it already covered by some very nasty looking thugs. I then quickly climbed a pole to the next level through a hole in the ceiling and headed for another way out, while keeping out of their sight. I had lived here a long time, and knew my way around this warehouse even in pitch dark. The humans never came close to finding me, but they had also brought other furred humanoids and animals to help sniff me out. However, once they found my foul scent, they didn’t seem all that anxious to find me anymore. A vicious dog like creature did manage to find me and attacked me, but it got a taste of my lightning stick and ran off with its tail between its legs, yelping loudly. I soon made my way to the roof and climbed down a fire escape ladder to another building. From there I made my way down to the street and then made myself… very scarce.

I hid in the sewers for a while to cover my scent, and kept out of sight until I figured out what to do next. I had a small communicator in amongst my things and used it to look up the Valiant Star. I soon found out that it was their Captain that had been killed last night at the dumpster. I found their contact information and sent an anonymous message to them, telling them where to meet me. Again, unknown to me, my communicator was being traced, and soon there were many vehicles with dangerous thugs of all kinds searching around the whole area for me. I kept myself hidden, keeping to the shadows as best I could, moving ever closer to the meeting point. However, when I got there, I found no one there to meet me but more thugs! Ether they didn’t get my message or chose to ignore it, as a hoax. Either way, I was screwed, and watched in fear as they began to close in all around my location.

All hope failed me, when they had finally found me and quickly came running for me. Suddenly, I was grabbed from behind by a big thug and I let him have a taste of my lightning stick. He dropped me quickly, grabbing his chest and I then ran, as fast as my chubby little legs would carry me, but they were almost upon me. Then suddenly a shiny white car appeared right in front of me and skidded to a stop, hitting some of the thugs, throwing them out of my way. The back passenger door swung up, tossing a few more out of my way and I pretty much fell into the car, unable to stop myself. I laid there sprawled out on the floorboards quivering, not knowing who or what was behind the wheel. I began hearing gun blasts as the door swung down shut behind me, and then heard blaster bolts and bullets bouncing off car’s body. A feminine voice said, a bit sickly, “Hold on… little one… I…” and then I heard her cough and a window quickly shut close between us and the car lifted off into the air! I dared not get up off the floor, but laid in a quivering ball on the floorboards until it finally landed and came to a stop.

I very slowly rose up off the floor and peeked over the frame of the passenger door, looking out of the window. I found that the car was now inside some kind of starship’s cargo hold. There was a humanoid tiger, a humanoid dog, and a small otter morph, along with two humans waiting inside. They were all heavily armed. I ducked down feeling my heart thumping hard in fear, and heard the driver side door open. I then peeked out the window to find a beautiful female humanoid unicorn joining the group, and she talked to one of the humans. She pointed towards me with a look of disgust on her face, and they all stepped back not wanting to approach me. Then the small otter morph was pushed forward, and she reluctantly stepped up to the car and opened the back door.

She then held her nose and motioned for me to quickly follow her. As all the others gave me a wide berth, I looked at them all, feeling very nervous, as she led me out of the cargo bay into a small decontamination station. She then motioned for me to enter a small room, and as I did, I turned to find her still outside as the door closed swiftly in front of me. Then to my horror, warm soapy water came out of the walls, ceiling, and floor; nearly drowning me and my things, as I was completely washed from head to toe for the first time in my life. I banged on the door, begging for her to let me out, but she just stood there smiling and waving at me.

I finally resigned myself to my fate and let the water do its worst, fuming all the while, with my arms crossed in front of me and tapping my wet paw on the floor looking at her. Eventually I had to admit though, it did begin to feel quite good after a while as all the fleas, mites, and other parasites on me got sucked down the drain along with several layers of dirt on my skin and fur. When it was finally over, I was let out by the others and the humanoid dog came over and sniffed at me. Apparently not satisfied, he and the humanoid tiger stripped me of all my stuff and carried me, kicking and screaming, into a room with a tub. I fought with them both tooth and nail as they tried to scrub my little body thoroughly clean, getting both of them very wet, scratched up, and very angry at me.

As the humanoid tiger raised his clawed hand to strike at me, I heard the feminine voice of the humanoid unicorn say, “That’s quite enough Jamar, he is clean enough for me to talk to and we don‘t want to harm our guest, now do we?” He grumbled something under his breath looking at me, and pounded his fist into his hand. I sat there in the tub full of soapy water ignoring him, and gazed upon the beautiful female unicorn in awe. I somehow realized she was the new Captain of the Valiant Star just by her distinguished presence. The humanoid dog and Jamar stepped back and gave her some room, but they eyed me with great displeasure, nursing their wounds. She sat gracefully down before me, and looked at me kindly with her bright blue eyes that somehow reminded me of someone, but I could not remember who.

She looked down at me calmly and said, “Your message said something about you finding the object that our previous Captain had died for. “, and there was a deep sadness in her voice. I looked over at my wet things on the table and said “In my micro-toolkit is what you seek, if you will allow me.” She nodded to Jamar and he lifted it up and brought it to me saying, “Just give me a reason to shred you to pieces, vermin.” I took it carefully, not bothering to look up at him and opened it up. I reached inside and held out the sphere to her as it hovered in my paw hand softly humming, the blue lights now dancing brightly on its smooth silvery surface. Her eyes opened wide in surprise and the others stepped back, brandishing their weapons. She then held out her hand and it hovered over to her, and she then held up her other hand. The others looked at her and then lowered their weapons, but they still looked at me very unkindly.

She then looked at me in wonder and said, “How did you ever manage to fix it?” I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I could not fix it completely, for I don’t have what I needed to finish the repairs. What I was able to fix, however, she had told me herself how to do.” The humanoid unicorn looked at me quizzically, and said, “She?!” I looked at the sphere and said, “Yes, the blue crystal inside it… sang to me and told me what to do.” The humanoid dog scoffed at my words, and said, “He’s mad, Captain, as well as being smelly.” The Captain looked at the sphere and said softly, as if in a dream, “I don’t think so, for I can hear her song as well.” She then looked at me and said, “Who are you?” I looked down at myself and looked back up at her, saying, “Raff, or at least that is what others call me.” She smiled and said, “Raff is it… then welcome aboard the Valiant Star, Raff, I am Captain Sun-Tarry. Oh Mophit… come here and find our new guest a cabin, he will be staying with us quite a while, I think.” and Mophit, the small otter morph, then came in sniffing the air and breathed a sigh of relief.

I got out of the tub dripping water all over the floor, and gathered my other wet things and then started to pick up my lightening stick, when Jamar snarled menacingly at me and said, “All weapons are stowed in the weapons locker.” I looked at it quizzically and said, “This is not a weapon… it’s my entertainment.” They all looked at me strangely, but Jamar seemed unconvinced, and I reluctantly let him have it… by the handle. I then followed Mophit through the door, still dripping water onto the floor and said, as I left, “Don’t be surprised if there is an energy serge in my room later.” I followed her down a long corridor, admiring her small slender sleek furred body, as I had not seen another animal morph before, let alone a female one. She led me to a door and it opened into a big room with a large low bed and some small furniture.

She looked at me for a long moment, beginning to blush and then said, a bit nervously “Th… This cabin should be good enough for you, as mine… across the corridor… is much like this one and we‘re about the same size. If you need… anything else… just call me.” Her com unit suddenly blared out “Mophit!” and she rolled her eyes and said, a bit exasperated “Everyone else does.” She then turn and walked out the door, in a huff and left me alone in my new cabin, still feeling a bit warm inside. I looked around the room and made myself at home, flopping wet furred onto the large bed. The room also had a small bathroom, with a shower, I discovered and decided that, for now, it was best that I use it, for its intended purpose, or be visited, by those two brutes again.

Then I saw the many power sockets, in my room and licked my lips and said to myself, a bit mischievously “I wonder what shipboard power tastes like.” and then I indulged myself. The lights dimmed, in my room, as the pure clean power coursed through my little body and made me feel very giddy. I then heard alarms go off and pulled out the long dura-steel knitting needles that I had in my backpack for this purpose, from the power socket, falling onto the floor in a drunken stupor. The humanoid dog rushed into my cabin, followed by one of the humans with a med-kit and they checked me over. The humanoid dog then picked me up and carried me to the infirmary, placing me on a bed and I laid there giddily giggling and talking to myself. Sun-Tarry came in a bit annoyed and said “Alright Marshal, what happened?” I then sat up a bit unsteady and stared at her, smiling broadly saying “I wasss just ssssampling your sssshipsss power… a very nicccce kick to it, I might add… Hick!… crissssip and clean.” and then fell forward, onto my face.

They all looked at each other and then rolled me over on my back and held me down, strapping me to the bed, as I yelled “Holdsss on… whatsss are you… Hick!… all doing!” and then the human shot me full of something and I looked at him and said “That’ssss not going…Hick!… to work on me.” and stuck my tongue out at him and gave him the raspberry. They all looked at me in surprise, as I still struggled fiercely against my bonds and said “Letsss me go… right thissss inssstant!” The human looked at the injector and then at the Captain and said “I just pumped him up with enough tranquilizer to put a large dog to sleep, Captain.” I shook my head and said “It doessssn’t matter… Hick!… how much you… pumpsss me up with… itsss not going to… Hick!… work on me. Nowsss letsss me go!” Then suddenly, I heard the gentle song of the sphere coming from the Captain’s pocket and I just stopped and closed my eyes, feeling the giddiness suddenly leave me and I just laid there, beginning to weep, saying apologetically “I’m sorry Captain… everyone… I will behave… I promise. Please forgive me… and let me go.” and I struggled no more, but laid there weeping.

The Captain gently removed the straps from me, sitting down beside me and said softly “What can you tell me about your past, Raff, where did you come from?” I looked up at her, wiping the tears from my eyes and said “As far back, as I can remember, I have always lived among those abandoned warehouses, around the spaceport. Where I was born or how I came about being there, I can’t seem to remember.” The humanoid dog scoffed at me again and said “It obvious to me, Captain, that he is nothing more than a slimy smelly mutant vermin.” She stood up and confronted him, making him stand tall, saying angrily “That’s enough Marshal, haven‘t you learned anything from Mophit yet?!… One, a common mutant could not possibly make repairs to this type of technology, no matter what intelligence he might have obtained. Two, his micro-toolkit is of Hy-Starian make, a most unusual thing to find just laying around on a sleazy border colony world, would you not agree. Then there is, Three, the fact that not only can he hear the crystal singing, but he can actually understand it’s song… even I can‘t do that. Only a highly skilled Crystal Mechanic, from the old Hy-Starian home world, could.”

Then she turned around and said “But I can’t remember a raccoon being one of m… of the Hy-Starian races. You are a puzzle to me, Raff.” I smiled and said “I’m sometime a puzzle to myself Captain.” She laughed and said “I can believe that. Right now we need to know what makes you tick. So sense your already here… please let Doctor Sanders scan you thoroughly, ok.” I looked over at him and said “Ok, but I don’t know what you will find, Doc.” and I laid back on the bed and let him examine me, as the Captain and Marshal turned and left the infirmary. Doctor Sanders then took many readings, of my body, for quite a while and the look on his face slowly changed into that of total confusion, as he continued. I looked at him and after a while longer and I said “What’s wrong, Doc, am I dying.” he looked at me and said “Hardly… your one of the most healthy creatures, I have ever had the privilege of examining. But your readings are totally different from what you appeared to be.”

I sat up and looked at myself and said “Then what am I, doc?” He looked right into my eyes and said “That’s just it Raff, I don’t know. The readings make no sense and do not cross-reference to any race, mutant or pure strain, known to our galaxy.” I then thought to myself “That sphere is the key to what I am, I just know it. I have seen one before, beyond my memories, but like the crystal within it, I can’t gain access to it.” He downloaded all his data into a portable recorder unit and said “Look, I have to meet with the Captain and give her my findings, you are free to go back to your cabin if you want.” I jumped off the bed and left the infirmary, heading for my cabin, unsure of who I was, or what I was anymore. On my way back to my cabin, I came upon the crew’s lounge and found most of the crew was there talking and laughing, about me. I cleared my throat and walked slowly into the room, saying “I know… that I got off on the wrong paw with most of you and I am very sorry.”

All of them then silently got up and left the lounge, except for Mophit, who nodded and smiled at me, saying “Apology excepted.” and I jumped up into a seat and looked across the table at her, sadly. She laughed and said “Don’t worry, I got off on the wrong paw also, when I first joined the crew.” I stared at an empty plate on the table, in front of me and said “I’m not exactly use to any of you ether, you know. I lived all alone, most of my life, shunned by others for what I am, sometimes afraid to even get close to anyone else. Do you know how that feels?” She lowered her head and said sadly, “Yes I do, Raff. “ I looked at her and could feel her loneliness too. I lowered my head and said “Sorry, I didn’t realize? “ She looked up at me and smiled, saying “That’s alright, I found my place and some very good friends, aboard the Valiant Star and so will you, if you just give us a chance, Raff.” Then I meekly lifted the empty plate, looking at her imploringly, saying, ”Could you then please show me how to get something to eat?” She then got up and said cheerfully “That is something I can help you and myself, to get, at the same time.” and she went to a food processing unit and made us a large plate of fishcakes. She then sat down beside me and both of us quickly devoured them happily together. Suddenly, we both grabbed the last fishcake and we looked at each other, a long moment, blushing. I let go of the fishcake, staring deep into her eyes and began to feel warm inside again.

That‘s when the rest of the crew, that was in the crew’s lounge earlier, came back and Mophit looked at them a bit annoyed. Jamar offered me his big orange furred hand and said “We all talked it over and the Captain seems to trust you, to help us. So let me be the first one to say I‘m sorry for the rough treatment, but you gave us no choice.” I laughed, taking his big furred hand and shook it happily, saying “To tell you the truth, I was hiding in a sewer for a long time, avoiding those thugs, just before your Captain found me. I doubt, however, you would have like me even before that. The dumpsters and trashcans I had to eat out of and the way I had to live, gave me an odor only a Zubing slime rat could love. Also fresh water was very scarce, where I lived and a bath was very low on my list of necessities to survive. Most people, around where I lived, avoided me like the plague or chased me off, so your reaction to me was of no great surprise.”

Then the Captain walked in and sat down in front of me and asked me “Speaking of the dumpsters, Raff… how did he die?” I looked at her, noticing tears flowing down her cheek and swallowed hard and said “I… I never saw it happen… mind you… I… I was in the dumpster belly deep in the muck and frightened to death… I’m sorry, but I’m no hero… I was deathly afraid for my life. They beat him badly and asked him all sorts of questions about the sphere, but he gave them nothing and even mocked them, until their leader… shot him, I’m afraid.” I lowered my head in shame and said “I had never heard such bravery and could only expect he was trying to keep their attention away from the end of the dumpster, where the sphere had fallen and where I had found it later.” She looked at me, tears streaming down her face and shook her head, saying “We had search a long time together for Hy-Starian artifacts for my people, when we finally found the sphere on a desolate Hy-Starian moon base. We had grown fond of each other during this time and we became lovers. We were going to make it official, when we found that starship for my people, but now I am all alone once more. However, the mission for my people, still needs to be accomplished and you have the means to help me. Please Raff, help me find this starship and I will help you find yourself, I promise.”

I nodded, looking deep into her sad eyes, for a moment and said “I would be honored to help you in any way I can. It’s the least I could do for your loss and deep sadness.” then I jumped down, giving Mophit a long sad look and silently went back to my cabin, feeling a bit ashamed of myself. When I got back to my cabin I discovered my lightning stick sitting on my bed and smiled, picking it up. Now I felt a bit more at home, except for the smell and feel of clean fluffy fur, which I decided I could get used to. I then laid, spread out, on the clean soft big bed, deciding I could also get use to this, as well. I then fell into a deep contented sleep, for a while, until I had very bad dreams of strange luminous beings working on me. I could not move, nor could I stop them, as they seemed to be working on my entire body, like it was some kind of a stuffed toy, taking things out and putting things in, like so much stuffing. I awoke screaming, to the ship’s alarms and Mophit rushed into my room and said “The Captain needs you on the bridge, Raff, right away!” and I quickly followed her onto the bridge and walked in, just as a large griffin turn to look at me strangely, for a moment, from the center of the bridge. I nearly wet the bridge floor, but the great creature turned back to her controls and I was rushed to the Captains side, by Mophit.

The Captain looked at me and said “Someone wants this thing real bad… there is a black battle cruiser of unknown elegance, blocking our way out of the star system.” She pointed at the view screen and I saw a huge black battle cruiser in our flight path. She looked at me desperately and said “I need the coordinates now, Raff!” and she held out the sphere and said “It’s trying to tell me something, Raff, but I can’t make it out.” I took it in my hand and, as I did, it seemed to pull my hands to the side of my micro-toolkit. It then made a high pitched sound and a panel that I had never seen before, popped opened and revealed a small device inside. I seemed to instantly know what to do with it and yelled out “Where is your navigation station?!”

Marshal motioned to me and said “Over here, Raff!” and I took out the device and said “Does it have a communication interface?” and he lifted me up into his chair and adjusted it for me, opening a panel and showing it to me. The ship began to shake violently and roll, as auto cannon fire began to hit the ships shields and the griffin began to take evasive maneuvers. I found an adapter, in my micro-toolkit and plugged the device into the navigation interface, getting a green light on its little front panel. I then placed the sphere above it and it settled in, all by itself, into the indent at the top of the device and plugged in. Before Marshal could stop me, I ran my hands over the navigation console keys, as if I knew what I was doing and soon head the sphere singing, the lights danced rapidly across its silvery surface, as it communicated with the ships navigation computer.

Suddenly the ships hyperspace engines activated and before we knew it, we had jumped into hyperspace and all explosions outside ceased. A sudden eerie silence enveloped the bridge and everybody looked around and then at me. I looked around, at them and then looked at the Captain and said “What’s wrong?” The Captain said “Raff this ship has never entered hyperspace so smoothly, how did you do that?” I looked at my hands in utter confusion and said “I don’t know. “ Marshal looked at his control panel, in surprise and said “We are in hyperspace and the engines are functioning normally, but the coordinates are outside known space. We’re heading deep into unknown space, Captain. The heading was accepted, by our navigation computer, as valid and accurate coordinates.” The Captain sat back in her seat, with a sigh of relief and said “Well at least they will not find us out there. How long till reentry Marshal?” Marshal checked his instruments and said “Thirty two hours, Captain, our longest jump ever.”

She then stood up and looked at me, saying “Is it safe to remove the device, Raff?” As if in response the sphere rose from the device and the device switched off. I then removed it, looking up at the Captain and said “I guess that means yes.” and then I held the sphere out to her. She close my paw hand over it and said “It yours now, Raff, it seems to respond to you more then to me anyway and seems to be a linked to your past. Go get some rest, we have a long day ahead of us, in thirty two hours.” I then went back to my cabin and laid down, falling immediately into a deep sleep, with the sphere hovering near my head. Strange images entered my dreams, faces of others, I seemed to know as friends, but their names were lost to me. They all seemed to be urgently trying to tell me something, but what it was I did not know.

Chapter 2 Button