Welcome to the SkyPath Crusade; a history of space travel circa 1100 AD

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Welcome weary runner of the world’s race. These are the chronicles of the SkyPath Crusade. You are encouraged to stay and read the tale, but consider yourself warned. The story, once told, will haunt you forever.

This epic poem is 20,023 words, 39 chapters, 86 pages, 3,424 lines, and approx. 1700 rhyming pairs long.

The entire account is now posted in chronological order for your convenience. It begins with the following post.

Prologue

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved

Prologue

Oh, those were the days when boys were men
One thousand years ago
When the grass was green and the cows were clean
And the mountains filled with snow
When able knights rode back and forth
Across Earth’s dusty face
And the very best who passed a test
Went straight to outer space
 *
Their ships were built from bygone days
With masts and sails so white
They knew no fear, they left our sphere
For passage through the night
On ether streams they sallied forth
Across the heavens’ breadth
On cratered moons and Martian dunes
To die a distant death
*
They fought with kings and cyber lords
When ancient worlds ran dry
With watchful sights on meteorites
They sparred across the sky
They learned to hide in comet dust
While fleeing from the fray
The only law within the jaw
Of half the Milky Way
*
But his’try now has passed them by
For very few returned
And tales told grew very old
While manuscripts were burned
But if our modern probes can spy
Their castles still on Mars
We’ll then be sure we never were
The first ones to the stars

Chapter One: Scottish Homecoming

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

The moonlight in the silver sky
Shone down the Scottish glen
When Alfred on his loyal steed
Came trotting home again
A giant hunk whose gnarled trunk
Had drunk the dregs of life,
Had now come back to face the flack
For parting with his wife
*
Her face was tough as iron bars
Her hair was free but gray
The strands came down behind her frown
And scared his smile away
Her dewy brow was ever now
Like ivy near her eye
The gleam of hope had left the slope
That ran her tear-drops dry
*
“My gentle dove I’m dreaming of,
I’ve missed you all these years”
She answered him in a voice more grim
“I’ve kept the time with tears
Each night you lack to come right back
I’ve slept with hollow dreams
Our ghostly bed has often bred
The sleep of midnight screams”
*
“I know,” he said: “I know although
My soul just had to leave
My heart as well has tasted hell
Without your arms to cleave
But now I’m here, through wind and fear,
Such slaughter I’ve survived
The last of twenty Island men,
The only one alive”
*
“Of course,” she said, “I knew you’d be,”
When others’ luck ran out
You always were the kind of cur
To turn the odds about
I did not think that you would fall
And yet I can’t deny
I’d hoped you’d come home sooner though
It meant you had to die”
*
“But now you’re here so drink your beer
And soak your wounds in mud
In half a week your sword will squeak
From rust and want of blood
You’ll soon be gone when trumpet sounds
Re-echo through the glen
You’ll take that battleaxe of yours
And hit the road again.”
*
And thus she said and so he did
And this became a fact
He bargained with an Englishman
And entered in a pact
For brightest gold his arm was sold
He left one afternoon
That’s how she found her husband bound
For passage to the moon

Chapter Two: The Klaron Invasion

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved

Chapter Two

Across the void of open space
The dreaded Klarons came
The Persian moons of Jupiter
Were easy worlds to tame
The golden ring of Persia’s king
Was mounted on a clip
Above the console on the bridge
Of Jarga’s mothership
*
The aliens had skins of green
Their eyes were scarlet red
The only noses on their face
Were holes in their head
The king himself was something else
A beast beyond compare
Whose love for war compelled him more
To spread it ev’ry where
*
The Klaron Lord was not adored
But what else could be done?
The point was moot; he took their loot
And then he had his fun
This nomad race from outerspace
Was wicked at the seam
And yet for such they could not touch
The ancient ether stream
*
These paths that ran from planet Earth
Were built by men of skill
Whose ancient ways had seen their days
Whose works persisted still
The magic web would never ebb
While justice had its hold
No pulsing gun could catch the son
Who surfed the magic road
*
But since the moons of Jupiter
Had quickly all been sacked
The other worlds of humankind
Were soon to be attacked
The Klaron cruisers grew their fleet
With captured Persian ships
Whose human crewman now enslaved
Would serve on other trips
*
And so the fight would soon ignite
Each orbit of the sun
The worlds at rest would face a test
For keeping what they won
Their stupid wars and petty sores
Would never make them strong
The only way to save the day
Was learn to get along

Chapter Three: Pirate Jim

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved

    Chapter Three

Beyond the moon called Ganymede
A human vessel lurked
Her decks were filled with pirate scum
Ill-fed and overworked
For ever since the Klarons came
Their catchings had been slim
Their captain was an ol’ sky dog
Whose name was One-Eyed Jim
*
Now Jim was not the kind of thief
Who set his victims free
For ev’ry five he kept alive
He slaughtered ninety-three
He had a sport of making port
While Jupiter was nigh
He’d force each rank to walk the plank
Above the planet’s eye
 *
But now he could not catch his fill
Since Persian ships were rare
And Klaron cruisers fully gunned
Were flying ev’ry where
The quickest way to capture prey
Was jump from stream to stream
But if somehow he tried it now
They’d catch him in-between
 *
For seven months he stayed upstream
‘Till most his food ran out
And half his fold was in the hold
With sickness, chills, and gout
He yelled and swore the Klaron war
Was wicked at the brim:
How dare they face a peaceful race
Whose loot belonged to him?
*
He sat and stewed, He spat and chewed,
He snarled at his mate
He ground his knuckles in the wood
And cursed his sorry fate
Until one day his temper turned
And put him back on track
He then began to make a plan
To get the Klarons back
 *
He made his servants clock the ship
To see how fast she flew
He mounted scopes above the ropes
To give him better view
He had them test the catapults
And hone the gears with care
He told his mate to calibrate
Their windings to a hair
And while these changes all took place
His brains convulsed inside
He sent his scouts on all the routes
And half their number died
He did not care, he knew that there
We’re cruisers there for sure
The time was nigh when he would try
What none had tried before

The Curse of the Sword-wielding Briton

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved

Chapter Four


A hundred million leagues away
Upon the moon of Earth
The council of united worlds
Had met for all its worth
They all agreed they must impede
The alien attacks
With candor bold their blades were pulled
From all the others’ backs
*
The Roman king of rosy Mars
Presumed to be in charge
But China’s chief from Saturn’s reef
Was also still at large
The two of them had not been friends
And now with Persia gone
They had to know who had control
Before they’d get along
*
Their lesser peers from other spheres
We’re equally enraged
For they’d be first to face the worst
When battle was engaged
They had no heart to play the part
Of nonessential pawns
Whose weak abode would soon implode
Between the giants’ yawns
*
Upon this sticky stage of doom
The course of fate seemed clear
The council in its present state
Was choked by hate and fear
Then from the shadows of the room
A hefty hulk arose
The very air began to tear
And half the nobles froze
*
The giant was an Englishman
Whose name was Travers Grey
With such a voice they had no choice
But hear what he would say
He gave a yell that cracked a bell
And shattered half the cups
The jousting joes assumed the pose
Of lactose-drinking pups
*
“A curse on you, you motley crew,
I’ve witnessed many things
I’ve seen such rub in many ‘a pub
But not a court of kings
Your proudest guys have drunken eyes
Your leader is a sot
I came through space to witness grace
And this is what I got”
*
“They told me I would see great things
Within these halls of mirth
The remnant of each golden dream
That vanished from the Earth
I find instead, the world I fled,
Is never far behind
The human race from Earth to space
Is sick, demented, blind!”

Princess Shelah’s Debut

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved

Chapter Five

“My name is Travers William Grey
I come from down below
I bear a message from the king
Whose name I’m sure you know
His kingdom is from ancient days
On Earth, the only one:
I’m speaking of the Sov’reign Lord
Of old Byzantium”
*
“My men and I have flown the sky
On orders from the same
We come from Britain’s wooded coast
The land of Arthur’s fame
As soldiers from the mother-world
We urge you to avoid
This present trend that will not end
‘Till Earth has been destroyed”
*
“The tidings that my party brings
I fear are very sad
The wars below against the foe
Are faring rather bad
The ancient strength has now at length
Been weakened at its core
The time draws near when none will hear
From Earthlings any more”
*
“But now my master seeks to prove
His last eternal will
That human heart though worlds apart
Should be united still
And thus he sends his greatest gem
The daughter he once knew
To grace the skies above his eyes
And marry one of you”
*
When this was said he bowed his head
And fell upon a knee
The hall went still; a gentle thrill
Ran through the company
The door that stood of sturdy wood
Beneath a frame of birch
Began to shake as though ‘twould break
And gave a sudden lurch
*
A sweet surprise met all their eyes
Like sugar on the tongue
As summer’s storms her eyes were warm
Her skin was fresh and young
A Scottish knight was on her right
Still grunting at her side
His mighty punch had caused the crunch
That threw the chamber wide
*
The whole crowd at once was cowed;
The kings began to melt
Each blushing prince could not evince
The passion that he felt
The gleaming sweat that swiftly set
Upon each royal nose
Endangered all to quickly fall
And stain their silken hose

The Roman Flirt

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved

Chapter Six

The moments fled, the room was dead
When princess Shelah came
The men who saw her grace those steps
Would never be the same
Her evening gown threw lace around
The sandals that she wore
Her dress embraced a gentle waist
Like none they’d seen before
*
The Roman king in scarlet robes
Sprang lightly to his feet
He gently fixed his signet ring
To let his knuckles meet
He slowly took his helmet off
And gave the girl his arm
His friendly smiles filled the room
With diplomatic charm
*
He walked across the ancient hall
His hand attached to hers
His Latin chin was bold as sin
His hair was soft as furs
For fifty seconds no one spoke,
But stares began to flow
‘Til Marcus with his eyes still raised
Was forced to let her go
*
The Chinese Chen with fourteen men
Advanced across the floor
Each wore a blade with metal made
From Titan’s distant core
His Asian skin was gold yet thin
In lamplight from the walls
He bore a scepter in his hand
Adorned with seven balls
*
The Princess curtsied with respect
And let herself be led
The fourteen warriors formed a line
With Chen still at their head
With tassels starched they slowly marched
Upon the marble stair
They placed a throne of precious stone
And left the princess there
*
Then all the courtiers stood as one
While Shelah took her seat
The Scottish Alfred stood behind
With Travers at her feet
They shifted clockwise on the steps
And took her left and right
Then all the men sat down again
And some began to write
*
The court was open for debate
The ancient torch was lit
Some eighty scribes from different tribes
Engulfed a marble pit
The chronicles they wrote that day
Are valued more than gold
And some still say they hold more sway
Than any story told

What the Space Pirate did

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved


Chapter Seven

From far beyond the lunar walls
Where Princess Shelah sat
A Klaron Cruiser took some scans
To find where Jim was at
The Pirate ship had given slip
At half past one O’clock
The crafty team had left the stream
Behind magnetic rock
*
The Cruiser sent a coded pulse
And talked to head command
The closest port would send support
With ev’ry ship at hand
Some twenty space ships filled the skies
With ten more on their way
While time was killed the void was filled
With ev’ry kind of ray
*
But Klaron rays could never phaze
The rare metallic ore
That floated past their quarry on
The sea that has no shore
Their pirate foe proceeded slow
At twenty thousand knots
Which left them undetected by
The Klaron astrobots
*
The Brigand ship was just a blip
On Klaron radar screens
The spot displayed could else be made
By floating lima beans
They made no wake for safety’s sake
They dodged each grain of dust
Their chains were stowed within the hold
To keep from shedding rust
*
At ten to nine they made a line
Straight to the nearest base
The bays were bare, the cruisers there
Were still out giving chase
The Klaron crews which could not lose
Were eager for the fray
They did not know their deadly foe
Was also tracking prey
*
At ten o’ two a note came through
To all the Klaron craft
They thought (it said) the Pirates fled
Along the ether draft
It told them wait ‘till ten O eight
If news would be the same
But when the time was on the dime
No message ever came
*
Tomorrow for that Klaron base
Would not forever come
They could not dodge a brief barrage
Of rich Uranium
The pirates knew what it could do
If launched by catapult
Their little stock encased in rock
Had given quite the jolt

The Lunar Treaty Pact

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The SkyPath Crusade

A Science Fiction Epic Poem

Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Schilling

All Rights Reserved


Chapter Eight

The shards that blew apart that day
Were more than chunks of flesh
The wound that stung the Klaron pride
Was deep, and wet, and fresh
It vaporized their mascot of
Impregnability
And left their weakness naked for
The universe to see
*
The news of their catastrophe
Was spread beyond the rim
At Kuiper’s Belt the shock was felt
Where days are long and dim
On planetoids beyond the voids
Where Pluto’s orbit ticked
Each girl and boy was filled with joy
To see the Klarons licked
*
But now the gloom of pending doom
Was starting to descend
For Klaron pride, though shattered wide
Was quickly on the mend
The Klaron fleet was on its feet
Before a week had passed
They cut in half the ether draft
So no one could get past
*
They filled their captured Persian ships
With captured Persian crews
But Klaron Captains took the bridge
And fed them Klaron views
They barricaded all the streams
So there could be no breach
And Klaron Cruisers lurked nearby
Just barely out of reach
*
So now the bars on rugged Mars
Were filled with refugees
And in the shades of barren glades
They slept beneath the trees
On Titan too, it was a zoo,
The moon of Chinese Chen
With watchful eyes they combed to skies
To see him home again
*
But Chinese Chen was far away
Upon the Lunar crust
Where ancient castles stood above
The crumbling Lunar dust
The council stayed in session as
The time was getting late
‘Til the need for speedy action put
An end to their debate
*
Some questions stayed unanswered as
The players took the stage
Would new resolve at once dissolve
Before the Klaron rage?
They had a plan to make a stand
Before the time ran out
But when the rubber hit the road
Would it become a rout?

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