The Law of Murelov

Actually there are no ages. An “era” is always something someone has come up with. The universe didn’t really care what any individuals thought of the passage of time, especially when those individuals lived on a small, blue-green planet in third orbit around a yellow sun. Moreover, what these individuals called the “era” was no more than the blink of an eye to the universe. It also made no difference whether there were revolutions on this planet, people were killed or oppressed, or whether these people destroyed their own living space in an insane manner. The universe didn’t care. In fact, the universe didn’t give a shit. A scienctist named Murelov once said it and since then this quote was known as “the law of Murelov”.

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

But the people who inhabited the small, blue-green planet cared about it. At least most of them. Admiral McCloud stood in front of the image of the earth in his office. He liked it. It was a picture taken by NASA to show the beauty of the planet. In the dark hours he stood in front of the picture and looked at it. Because in the dark hours he felt how he didn’t care. The whole lousy filthy planet. And all of damn humanity. Do you want dictatorships? Then erect it and leave me alone! Do you want to destroy the environment out of greed? You don’t care about the climate crisis because climate protection stands in the way of your profit? Then please, go to hell with your fucking planet! Yes, McCloud just wanted to give up in those dark hours. Doesn’t make sense anymore. Doesn’t do anything.

Then he looked at the picture of the small, blue-green planet and thought of all the people who stood up for others. Who oppose the criminals, the gullies, the corrupt and the depraved. Just at the moment when McCloud was standing in front of this picture, children and young people around the world were protesting for better environmental protection. There were people who stood up against dictatorships, even if it meant being arrested, beaten or even killed. If others did that and had little chance of anything changing in the near future, why should he give up?

Yes, that day an era came to an end. The end had been particularly dark again, for the earth and for other planets. But with the death of the night, the day came. And maybe the new sunrise would light the way to a better future. The chances weren’t bad, at least better than in recent years. And McCloud remembered that Seneca saying: Per aspera ad astra. Through trouble to the stars. Didn’t Yefimov say the phrase in a conversation today? Yes, and he got it from his new colleague, Kaluwa Effiong. What a fitting sentence.

I’ve seen fire. The new era may now come.

United in Diversity

Now they were all together at last. At least virtually. Ostap Yefimov was in the headquarters of ASTROCOHORS CLUB, the others all spread across the Earth. But right now, because of the pandemic, it wasn’t a good idea to have too many people in one room anyway. They could all be seen on the big screen in Yefimov’s room. And Yefimov had the satisfaction of addressing them all by name.
“Fulmen Grancolline, Zomm Arrghl, Dozon Rasun, Soraya Mahdar, Nat Anders, Victor Araujo Sousa and last but not least Kaluwa Effiong.”
Yes, they were all there.
“You all have already been informed,” Yefimov continued. “The Admiralty has decided to use the moment to redesign ASTROCOHORS CLUB. I particularly like the ideas that are to be implemented. ASTROCOHORS CLUB will be responsible for the whole Earth and we are the group that the Earthlings to teach the diversity of life. “
“It is a shame,” said Mahdar, “that the Earthlings apparently cannot do this by themselves.”
“That is not entirely correct,” contradicted Zomm Arrghl, “there are very many who can very well. But in recent years a certain hostility towards science has gained the upper hand. We have to fight back now. Just think about this terrible thing with the BREXIT. How can you lie to people about the consequences of something that is so grave? “
“Something like that is alien to your species, Zomm,” interjected Fulmen. “That’s exactly why we should work on it.”
“BREXIT is a good keyword,” said Yefimov. “We are going to introduce another department, and it may not have been the last department. But strictly speaking, it is not a department. It is more a collection. We are bringing European employees together under one banner. However, they mainly stay in their respective departments Departments. I think we will introduce such a concept for other regions as well. “
“Do you think we should put some experts in a regional collection as well as in the departments?” Asked Kaluwa.
“Exactly that,” Yefimov replied. “I have something similar in mind for your African department, but that is going too far. We have enough work to do to bring everything together so far. We are literally at the end of an age and a new one begins. Let’s hope we get out of the darkness come to light.”
“Per Aspera Ad Astre,” said Kaluwa.
“Yes,” said Yefimov. “That’s a good motto for what we want to start. And then we’ll start right away. Because time is short. As for the European collection, I took the liberty of inviting another expert to join us. At the moment we are talking, Stance Necoora is on his way to Strasbourg to secure our contacts with European politics. And then we have to see what happens next on earth, also with regard to the USA.”

ASTROCOHORS CLUB Kemet

Admiral McCloud wondered if he had ever seen Professor Ostap Yefimov so excited. He thought it was a shame that he couldn’t face the professor right now. But McCloud was in the ASTROCOHORS base ATLANTIS and Yefimov was in the ASTROCOHORS CLUB headquarters.
“If I understand you correctly, Admiral,” said Yefimov, “then I should, as it were, lead ASTROCOHORS CLUB into a new era.”
“Yes,” replied McCloud. “No more and no less. We are at a crossroads. There is a lot more to do, we can only achieve that together. A lot has been destroyed by despots like Scurra or Pupepa and the eternal taunts of the HIGH HAND. The task of In the future, ASTROCOHORS CLUB will consist of bringing the size and diversity of the universe closer to these primitive Terrans and thus preventing them from killing each other or destroying the planet.
All departments of the world can be found under one roof. I’ll assign Sousa and Mahdar to you. We also have to introduce two new departments. “
“Which two departments will that be?”
“First of all, Africa. And then we need a European department to sort things out more easily. Actually, it’s less of a department for Europe, more of a sorting, but maybe it will turn into more.”
“Do you have any idea who could take over the Africa department?”
“Oh yeah,” McCloud confirmed. “And I’ll get in touch with her in a moment. In the meantime, I would like to ask you to look through the documents. Everything is there again in great detail, also with regard to Africa and Europe.”
“I will do that,” Yefimov promised.
“And I will now contact the expert for Africa.”

“Um, sir, one more question!”
“Yes?”
“What should the new department for Africa be called?”
“We thought about using one of the older names for the continent, KEMET. According to our linguists, this was once the name for the soil in Africa and was adopted as the country name. ‘Home soil’, so to speak.”

Photo by Damian Patkowski on Unsplash

Mission to Kemet

The deliberations had been very brief. It was an extraordinary situation. On many planets. On Uranus. On Earth. ASTROCOHORS ‘senior officers agreed with Admiral McCloud that something needed to be done about Earth. Somebody reiterated that the state the earth was in was possibly a result of the so-called “ERTL lamp” that stood on Mars and bombarded the earth with rays that restricted the brain’s capabilities . And if you looked at the earth like that, you would have been inclined to believe that. In that case, all of this would not have been a homemade Earth problem, but an attack. But there was no evidence of such an attack.
McCloud convened a committee that was to direct the fortunes of ASTROCOHORS CLUB from now on. Ostap Yefimov was appointed, Dozon Rasun, Zomm Arrghl, Fulmen Grancolline and Nat Anders. You had made a special contribution to the crisis surrounding the PURPLE DEATH. In addition, more should be added. Soraya Mahdar, an expert on the Asian part of the planet. Victor Araujo Sousa for Brazil. The CLUB should from now on help planet Earth. A big job. But after the darkness that one had experienced in the last few days and weeks, also a ray of light. But there were still some things missing. Two new departments would have to be set up. Yes, McCloud thought, it really is a fresh start! Let’s do this… mission to Kemet.

Encounter with Evil

The ATLANTIS base conference room was hectic. Messages were passed on as they came in.
“The BOURGOGNE reports, second squadron of enemy spaceships destroyed, a third is on the way to Uranus!”
“The HEART OF GLASS destroyed another squadron.”
“The radar has lost contact with the alien space station.”
At the last report, Admiral McCloud pricked up his ears. He crossed the room to one of the tables. It was Commander Gibeur herself who was in charge here.
“What was that?” Asked McCloud. “Enlighten me.”

Gibeur called up an image on a small pad that showed a section of the solar system. In the middle of the picture was the planet Uranus and two markings: “BOURGOGNE” and “FREEDOM BALLOON”.
“We have received a message from BOURGOGNE”, explained Gibeur. “During the fighting, a huge space station suddenly appeared, here.”
Another point appeared in the picture. The point moved out of the shadow of the planet.
“How can such a huge thing come to this planet unnoticed?” Asked McCloud.
“We don’t know, sir,” admitted Gibeur. “We did not receive any radar echo before either. Perhaps the surface of this station consists of something that camouflages it. In any case, the FREEDOM BALLOON shot at the alien space station, whereupon it withdrew. See, here!”
The screen showed how the point of the alien space station was moving faster and faster from Uranus. The course was away from the planet’s orbit towards the edge of the solar system when suddenly the point disappeared.
“What has happened there?”
“We don’t know, sir! The station may have made itself invisible to the radar again. We also have no further sightings of the station. It seems to be something like a command ship. It seems to be identical to a station, that Grand Admiral Prawn was looking for. “
“Prawn,” McCloud growled. “Could it be that he was on the space station?”
“Possibly. We don’t exactly know. But it would look like him and his HIGH HAND.”
The HIGH HAND! Yes, in fact, fueling a conflict is exactly what the HIGH HAND would do. An internal war in the solar system. At the end of the conflict, someone will be the leader. Scurra thought it was him. He would be the space emperor. But the mysterious leader of the HIGH HAND, Prawn’s Commander, wanted this title for himself. And he wouldn’t share, not even with Scurra.

“Sir!” Someone called at that moment. “Message from Jupiter: the alien forces are withdrawing!”
“The same from Mercury!”
More and more identical messages came in. It was always about the attackers withdrawing. But the radar revealed that they were not gone. They withdrew to the edge of the system. The blockade would then remain.
Commander Gibeur activated the large main screen again and looked at the map of the solar system. “For now it looks like we’ve won,” she said. “But something is wrong.”
“Yes,” confirmed McCloud. “Because we didn’t win. We just held out long enough for the enemy to lose interest. Now this enemy is gathering at the edge of the solar system and is waiting to strike again.”
Gibeur looked at her pad. “What I see here, we are lucky enough that Lokubami is under control and we will see a new praetor today.”
McCloud nodded weakly. “Still that. But we saw how sensitive it all is. We stood on the precipice of fascism. One step further and the solar system would have plunged into chaos. We have to do something.”
“What do you have in mind, Admiral?”
“I’m going to make a very lonely decision now. Maybe it’s wrong. But like I just said, we have to do something. Our weakest point is undoubtedly the Earth. The Terrans are unable to cope with the diversity they offer Galaxis offers to deal with. We have to do something first! Make Terra wise again. Something like that. “
“And how is that supposed to work?”
“I will consult with my fellow admirals. But I think we will transfer this task to the ASTROCOHORS CLUB. We had this team, this Ostap Yefimov and his people. They seemed to be quite capable. They should take over the task To redesign ASTROCOHORS CLUB. Hell, we have to redesign ASTROCOHORS as a whole.“
The admiral turned to the door. “I’ll have a talk with the officers in a moment,” he said. “If the enemy shows up again, let me know!”

Iteriú Rangatira’s Finest Hour

Captain Haddock was standing in front of his seat. He was watching what was happening on the main monitor of the bridge very closely. The outboard cameras had already captured them: spaceships, a total of 24. They had broken out of the ring of siege that had encircled the solar system for some time and were heading for Uranus.
“The ship is on alert!” Reported Commander Pellton. “We can strike at your command.”
“Very nice,” said Haddock. “Unfortunately I don’t have an exact strategy. A squadron of combat ships heading for Lokubami. Who is the squadron leader of our ships?”
“The boss himself, de la Valliere.”
Haddock nodded approvingly. “I should have guessed. He’d rather fly such a mission himself. Open a channel to Valliere for me.”
An officer in the background of the bridge activated the communication. “Valliere is on the line!” He finally said.
“Here is the bridge,” said Haddock. “Valliere, can you hear me?”
“Clearly and clearly,” was Valliere’s voice over the radio. “We’re ready to go. Any important last words?”
“No. You have full freedom of action for this mission,” replied Haddock. “The goal is clear: The squadron must not reach Lokubami! Should individual fighters get through, the BOURGOGNE is ready as a second line. It would be nice, but that is not a must if you would just damage one of the fighters so we can bring it in and take a look at it. “
“We do what we can, sir. I can’t guarantee anything.”
“All right. Then you have approval. If the going gets tough, the HOOD would still be nearby and would support us.”
“Understood, sir. We’re starting now.”

The BOURGOGNE space fighters met their opponents at a safe distance from the planet and a wild battle ensued. Haddock and Pellton watched the whole thing on the monitor from the bridge.
“Do you notice how strangely these alien space fighters move?” Asked Pellton.
“Indeed,” said Haddock. “The movements are extremely jagged and very difficult to follow, especially with a cannon. But sometimes the response time is very long. What can that mean?”
“I don’t know if it’s important for now, but I think these space fighters are unmanned.”
Haddock turned his head and looked at Pellton. “Remote controlled or flown by computers?”
“I think more of the latter,” Pellton mused. “The fast movements speak for it. And then, when too many impressions come at once, the computer no longer responds and reacts too late. There is a reason why we even use people to remotely control the unmanned space fighters and not computers. “
“The human brain under stress is superior to any computer,” said Haddock. Then he turned to the communications officer. “Open a channel to Valliere for me.”
A few seconds later the radio connection was established. “Valliere here! It’s difficult, but we should be able to do it!” Reported Valliere.
“I believe you, but we noticed something that might make your work a little easier,” said Haddock. “It looks like the space fighters are unmanned and controlled by computers. If we create enough distraction, the computers will be overwhelmed and the space fighters will slow down.”
“Sounds logical. What do you suggest, Captain?”
“We’re going to fire a few shots from the ship’s cannon,” said Haddock. “Light energy that just sizzles a bit. But the space fighters have to react to it first.”
“All right! We are prepared!”
The captain gave the order: “Con, fire the on-board cannon with minimal energy in a ring around the alien space fighters. Try not to hit our space ships!”

The strategy seemed to be working. The shots of the BOURGOGNE caused a distraction and more and more of the foreign space fighters fell victim to the fire of Valliere’s squadron. Victory seemed near. And whenever victory seems to be near, a law of nature wants it, something happens again.
One of the bridge’s navigators answered. “Sir, I’ve got an echo on my radar! It’s huge …”
Pellton checked the radar. “There’s something coming from the back of the planet,” he said. “Is that … Can that be a moon?”
“No sir,” said the officer. “It’s not a moon. It seems like a space station!”
“Too big for a space … station …”
At that moment it was also visible on the screen. A huge sphere with a brown surface emerging from the shadow of Uranus.
“Is that supposed to be a space station?” Asked the communications officer. “Looks like a goddamn coconut!”
“And on which palm tree is it supposed to have grown?” Asked Haddock sarcastically. “Con, realign cannon, full power. I don’t know what that is, but it doesn’t look friendly!”
A message was heard over the radio: “BOURGOGNE Warning! We are now taking action. Keep distracting the space fighters!”
Pellton looked at Haddock in confusion. “Who was that?”
One could see a laser beam that shot past the BOURGOGNE towards the foreign space station. The beam struck the surface of the sphere and caused a couple of explosions.
“Sir! You won’t believe it,” the navigational officer exclaimed enthusiastically. “This is the FREEDOM BALLOON! It shot at the station!”
In fact, the FREEDOM BALLOON went unnoticed alongside the BOURGOGNE. Now she fired a second time. The second shot also hit. The alien space station changed course, away from the planet, and increased speed.
The face of a Lokubam woman appeared on the main screen of the BOURGOGNE. Haddock and Pellton looked amazed.
“But …” Haddock stuttered. “How can that be? You are still on board the FREEDOM BALLOON?”
The woman was Iteriú Rangatira, the representative of Adjungit Inkibus. That Inkibus who, after winning the confrontation, was to take over the office of Praetor of Lokubami.
“Yes,” answered Rangatira. “Tell me, Captain, how can I just wait on the planet while I know there is danger? The uprising a few days ago was just a foretaste. What happened today should be the main thing. And we know still not whether a few militias will strike on the planet after all. “
“But … the ceremony is supposed to take place today!” Said Pellton. “And you’re still on the spaceship.”
“I still have eight hours,” said Rangatira. “That’s enough to take me on a shuttle, fly to the planet and be there in time for the ceremony.”
“Sir,” interrupted the communications officer, “a message from Valliere. The enemy space fighters were destroyed. But the radar reports a second squadron approaching.”
“With all due respect, madam,” said Haddock, “but you should get to the planet as soon as possible. We’re going to do a bit of cleaning up here. See that you fix this with the militias so that they can Ceremony can be done, okay? “
“I’m afraid you are right,” admitted Rangatira. “I will leave the FREEDOM BALLOON in the hands of its capable captain.”
“I can provide escort to your shuttle,” said Haddock. “So that you arrive safely on the planet’s surface.”
“I gladly accept that.”
Haddock turned to Pellton. “Let our second squadron take off as escort for the FREEDOM BALLOON shuttle. In the meantime, we’ll stir up the space fighters a bit.”
“Yes, sir!”

To Save Earth

“Why is it always with an alarm?” Yelled Admiral McCloud into the room. “It’s amazing, some people need some sleep and we have an emergency! What is it?”

The crew gathered in the conference room looked towards the door. McCloud had stopped in the doorway. The alarm was still ringing through the corridors of ATLANTIS base.
“Can anyone turn off the noise?” Asked McCloud. “I think they are all gathered.”
“All but you, sir,” confirmed Commander Gibeur, who was standing at a table. She had switched on the projection screen. An overview map of the solar system could be seen on the screen. And points that moved between planets. Something had happened.
“Well, I’m here now,” said McCloud. “So what’s up?”
Gibeur brushed her hair back from her face. She was quite tense. “It happens what we had long feared. The Armada, which has been shielding the solar system from the outside world for almost a month, has started moving. A squadron is moving towards Uranus.”
“Uranus!” McCloud’s eyes widened. “So they really want to disrupt the ceremony?”
“I don’t think they just want to disrupt the ceremony,” said Gibeur. “They want to prevent them. Intelligence reports say that Scurra, the now deposed Praetor of Lokubami, has moved to an unknown location. Armed militias are moving towards the capital of Lokubami. We must suspect that they want to implement Scurra’s plan, in which he is proclaimed emperor. “
McCloud shook his head. “Why always emperor? Praetor is also a nice office and when you’re done, you just leave.”
“You know, sir,” Gibeur pointed out, “that those who have power are always afraid of losing it again. The only question is: what do we do now?”
All the officers in the room stared at McCloud in awe. The decision he had to make now was not an easy one.
“Which ship is nearby?” Asked the admiral.
“The BOURGOGNE,” replied Gibeur. “She is in the same position and is watching the situation exactly as we are.”

“Basically we have no choice,” McCloud stated. “Our job is to protect freedom, peace and democracy. Even if democracy is as strangely shaped as in Lokubami. But we cannot risk losing that. Get in touch with BOURGOGNE. They have to stop the squadron.” . If the BOURGOGNE should ask for support … do we have other ships nearby? “
“The HEART OF GLASS would still be available.”
“The HEART OF GLASS, of all things,” McCloud grumbled. “Okay, if the worst comes to the worst, let’s use them. But to be on the safe side, put the fleet on alert. Who knows what the alien armada is up to. We may have to help out in many places in the solar system. And we have… To save Earth!”
“Yes, sir! I will inform the BOURGOGNE immediately.”
“And to everyone else: I need tactics and suggestions! Look at the maps, the strength of the Armada, all the information you need. This could be difficult today and I want us to be prepared!”
The officers immediately got to work. In the meantime, Commander Gibeur spoke to the BOURGOGNE, who immediately set out to intercept the foreign squadron.

Survival Game

Lieutenant Connie Allaire had drawn her gun. The little switch on the side of the barrel was set to “strong stun”. But she feared that she would have to correct that again. The door in front of her was locked and barricaded with a half-raised cupboard. From outside you could hear someone banging on the door. In the beginning the beating was soft. Presumably the attackers had used their bare fists. But the beats got louder. The attackers had probably got their hands on some kind of object that they were now trying to use as a battering ram.

The room she tried to defend against the intruders was the great plenary hall of the Lokubami seat of government. Her captain had told her to get to safety, but the building was safe only for the praetor. He was able to withdraw into a protective bunker. The members of the government, the Senate and the Chamber of the People’s Representatives should actually be guarded by the protection forces, which should prevent intruders from entering the building. Allaire grimaced. There were clearly too many “shoulds” for her taste. How did this marauding band of demi-monkeys get so far into the building? Where was the security, the hell?

She looked around the room. The barricaded door was the main entrance. There were other doors, but they were also locked. You had to assume that the intruders were everywhere in the building. And if they would use the emergency exit, they would land in front of the building, in the middle of the mob. A woman, a Lokubami, came running.
“We have to get the documents to a safe place!” She said.
“What?” Asked Allaire, horrified. “Now is not the time to worry about any paper!”
“It’s not about any paper!” Protested the woman. “The documents are signed and if we want to depose Scurra according to the rules, they have to remain intact. Otherwise we have to get everything new. That takes a long time! And that is how long Scurra would stay in office!”
Allaire stared at her. That was exactly what the intruders wanted! The process of getting Scurra out of office shouldn’t just be disrupted, it should be stopped!
“But,” she asked, “where can we take these documents?”
“Via the second door we come into a corridor, and from there into the cellar. There is a safe there. We could take them there.”
“What if the insurgents try to break into the vault?”
“You will need days. But I hope that we will get support until then.”
Allaire sighed. She wasn’t sure about that. The words her captain had given her didn’t sound very positive. The coup was considered an “internal matter” unless someone from the Lokubami community made a request for help to ASTROCOHORS. And Praetor Scurra certainly wouldn’t.

“I have no idea how much longer we’ll have to hold out here,” Allaire admitted. “Can you arrange for the documents to go into the safe?”
“A colleague and I will do it,” said the woman. Allaire noticed that she hadn’t asked the woman for her name. There wasn’t time for politeness.
There was a crunch. The door! It started to splinter.
“Okay, do that!” Said Allaire. “We’re doing our best here.”
The woman went to another woman. Both of them gathered up the papers from a central lectern and put them in a metal case. Then the two of them took the metal case and disappeared through one of the side entrances.
At that moment a security man came running.
“It’s about time!” Allaird scolded. “Where have you been all this time!”
“I got the senators to safety. They’re in a separate room back there.”
“Without an exit, of course.”
“Of course. Such a situation hadn’t existed for a long time.”
“I think that’s an understatement. I’ll bet there has never been an armed uprising that the praetor personally instigated.”
Another crunch could be heard. The door moved but still held.
“So what do we do now?” Asked Allaire.
“If the door gives way, we’ll shoot anything that moves into the room and pull back to the senators. Then we’ll lock this room and … hope.”
“Hope? Do you still believe in Santa Claus?”
“Santa Claus?” The security guard looked confused. “I’m sorry, but I’m not that familiar with Terran culture.”
“It doesn’t matter that much,” Allaire growled. “I just wanted to say that we don’t have much to hope for. Your stupid praetor caused all of this. And he’s the only one who can help us. So what hope do we have?”
“His deputy could turn against him and ask for help. Or the house spokeswoman in an extreme emergency.”
“The deputy is a spineless worm who only cares about his own career. If he turns against Scurra, his career is over. And the house spokeswoman won’t get a chance, because sooner than she can call for help, Scurra will revoke the order . So again, what hope do we have? “
The door creaked again.
“Look here!” Said the security man. “I was a great fan of Scurra.”
“What? Sorry, but don’t you have a brain?”
“But it’s not me anymore! I … had to realize that he’s not the great man I thought he was.”
Allaire looked at the barricaded door. “A little late to have a conscience now, isn’t it? Where were your scruples when Scurra fueled this mob out there and made the situation we are in possible?”
“I … I don’t know … I’m not a bad person.”
“You still have to prove that to me! And I’ll tell you one thing: If we’re in there with the senators and this room is stormed too, I’ll throw you to this mob to eat!”
“It’s only fair,” muttered the security guard.
Both brought their weapons to the ready. At that moment the door broke open. The two shot. People fell. Allaire and the security guard slowly withdrew. The mob seemed unsure what to do next. That gave both of them a small advantage and they were able to retreat to the room where the senators had taken refuge.

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

Once in the room they pushed a larger cupboard in front of the door. Allaire shook her head. What a situation. The room was big enough to hold all the people who were there. They were understandably scared.
“I think,” said the security guard, “I got four of them. And you?”
Connie wiped the sweat from her forehead. She was about to answer when her eyes fell on the security guard’s gun.
“Your gun is set to ‘kill’!” She shouted.
“Of course!” Replied the security guard. “It’s nice to stun people, but we won’t get any further. We need some deterrence.”
“Some deterrence?”
“Madame,” he said, “listen up. My colleagues out there failed. I saw it on the monitor. A couple of them just let this gang in. They pulled back. And now the mob thinks … can you hear that? “
She heard it. The people who had broken into the chamber were shouting slogans. “Emperor Scurra! The Eternal Emperor! Scurra, Redeemer!”
“Fanatics. Now what? They’ll come here. And you’ve given them four more reasons to be really angry! Great! Besides, we have no idea whether your colleagues have failed, or if someone in the leadership has failed. The situation has definitely not gotten any easier! “
A low beep could be heard. That was Allaire’s communicator. She pulled the device from her belt and turned it on.
“Allaire here, BOURGOGNE, is that you? Please tell me something nice!”
“Here’s the captain,” came the radio. “I can even say something very nice: We’re coming! Hold on a little longer. Lieutenant Commander Villers and his team are on their way.”
“That is good news indeed,” replied Allaire. “I am in a separate room with the senators and a trigger-happy security guard behind the plenary chamber. The intruders have entered the chamber. There are at least four injured among the intruders, as far as we can estimate. And if you don’t hurry, we will there are a few more. “
“Villers will pacify the area. He will contact you as soon as he is in the building. BOURGOGNE over and out!”

Crawling from the ashes
 The Fenix rise again!
 Fighting for life, for good
 For all that we believe in
- "True Survivor" by Jorgen Kjell Elofsson / Johan Bengtsson

The Memory Bank of Scurra

It should be over at last. Votes, meetings, elections. Everything was done, the senators had discussed things and always came to a conclusion. And the result was that the days of Dumno Dvala Scurra as Praetor of the Lokubami people were numbered. The last time the mood had turned against him was when the armada of unknown warships had emerged that had sealed off the Sol system from the outside world. For a long time it had been assumed that these ships had been sent at the behest of the prepositus of the Usovai’i and that the prepositus and Scurra made common cause to bring both areas under control. There were still people protecting Scurra and saying it had nothing to do with it, but that seemed too incredible. Indeed, most of Scurra’s supporters were adamant that these warships would bring salvation. Heracle S. Nevikobros, a failed actor, had taken the lead in a quasi-religious movement and fueled such conspiracy myths. He spat poison and bile at everyone who disagreed with him, adding to the negative mood on Lokubami.

But now a delegation of MPs was on their way to Scurra’s office. They should tell him the result. But they had a fear, for Iteriú Rangitara had returned from her mission and had confirmed that the foreign warships were in contact with militias loyal to Scurra. Still, none of the senators wanted to believe that Scurra would really attempt a coup. If they brought him the news of his disempowerment, they believed, he would be furious and say nasty things, but that’s about it. They thought he was a whisk. He would make a lot of fuss and then pull away like he always did. They had no idea how wrong they were.

They entered the office. Dumno Dvala Scurra sat at his desk, surrounded by computer screens. He looked up.
“Master Speaker of the House,” said Scurra, almost delighted. “Then I assume that we will finally have a result.”
“Prepositus Scurra,” said Sylvanya, the appointed Speaker of the House of Senators, “I must inform you that, according to the will of the House and the people, you no longer hold this office. It is the will that Adjungit Inkibus will replace you . “
“I see,” said Scurra. “So it’s treason.”
“The procedure followed the rules,” said Sylvanya. “Contrary to your constant allegations of manipulation and corruption, not a single piece of evidence has been found. The government will …”
“I AM THE GOVERNMENT!” Scurra yelled.
Then something happened, the extent of which none of those present could initially grasp. Scurra picked up a data stick, a memory bank that was used every day. He slipped it into a slot on his desk. A question mark appeared on one of the screens. Scurra’s gaze darkened.
“Execute Order 88.”

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash
Dominos falling
 Riot in the streets
 Baby this time
 There's no retreat
 There's no surrender
 A devil is rising
 A shadow from the past
 Feeding the flames with fire
 On the edge of fury
- "True Survivor" by Jorgen Kjell Elofsson / Johan Bengtsson

The USS BOURGOGNE was in orbit around Uranus. Captain Haddock was sitting in his chair on the bridge, looking through various messages on a data pad. It finally seemed to be over. The reports that came from Lokubami were cautiously positive. The process of forming a government and how the area’s head of state was appointed were also too complicated. On the other hand, of course, he knew it was on purpose. It was about the fact that in Lokubami a power-hungry elite had secured their benefices for decades and centuries. This worked best with a system that was as complicated as possible. In fact, democratic factions had always managed to outmaneuver the system and create a moment of truthfulness. Just like at this moment, or so it seemed. So now the MPs would go to Scurra and …
Commander Pellton came running to the bridge.
“Captain!” He exclaimed excitedly. “Scurra – he speaks to the people!”
“About time,” said Haddock. “Time to end this unworthy spectacle and finally turn to the right problems …”
“No, Captain, he’s calling for an uprising!”
“WHAT?”
Pellton turned to the communications officer. “Put on the channel of the Lokubami government! Quick!”

The communications officer turned to his desk and hit a few buttons. The large main umbrella of the bridge came on and the portrait of Dumno Dvala Scurra appeared.
“I’ll say it again,” they heard him speak, “Go to the seat of government! Don’t let yourself be stopped! I’m always with you, I’m your supporter! Now you have to support me so that this country can be transformed … to FIRST SOLAR EMPIRE! My new empire will be the greatest empire we have ever seen here and it will be a great empire. The worlds will look up again to the Lokubami, as it should be. Because we are the regents of the solar system! “
“That … he didn’t say,” Haddock stuttered.
“Yes, sir, he did,” Pellton contradicted.
“HIS new empire? Who does he think he is? The space emperor?”
“Sir!”, The communications officer interrupted, “I get reports that a mob is making its way to the seat of government in Lokubami. The barriers and protection forces are being overrun.”
The officer pressed a few buttons again. The picture on the screen changed. You saw an outside view of the government building and people approaching it. People started breaking windows and kicking doors.
“Sir, I’m hearing a speech from Kalgon of Arcadis on another channel,” said the communications officer. “He calls for a revolution and demands unconditional submission to Scurra’s new empire.”
“Sir, Lieutenant Allaire is down there!” Said Commder Pellton.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Captain, as you remember, after what had happened over the past few days, there should be observers down there. Neutral observers. Lieutenant Connie Allaire was chosen by us.”
“Wait a minute – and where is she exactly?”
“She is with the delegation that was tasked with informing Scurra of the outcome of the discussions.”
Haddock jumped up from his seat. “You’re telling me that Lieutenant Allaire is down there at the center of the riot?”
“That’s what it looks like.”
“What can we do?”
“Not much, sir. We can only intervene if there is an official request. From the Lokubami government. And that government, whether we like it or not, is still headed by Scurra at the moment.”
“He’s never going to call on anyone!” Said Haddock. “He wanted exactly what was happening!”
The captain turned to the communications officer. “See if you can contact Lieutenant Allaire!”
The officer turned to his desk. He made a few adjustments, then spoke into a microphone: “Lieutenant Allaire, this is BOURGOGNE. Do you hear me?”
It took a few seconds, then the officer’s face brightened. “I have her!”
“On the speakers!” Ordered Captain Haddock. Then he said into the room: “Here is the captain! How are you, Lieutenant?”
“I’m fine. What’s wrong?” Allaire said over the radio.
“Haven’t you noticed anything yet?”
“Praetor Scurra activated a memory bank and played a recorded speech. Then he retired to the private chambers and has since refused any contact. Why? What is happening now?”
“Planned!” Scolded Haddock. “That hellhound planned it all!”
“Of course he did,” Pellton agreed. “Since the moment he realized that he would no longer hold his office.”

“Captain,” said Allaire suddenly, “strange noises can be heard here. What is happening?”
“Now listen carefully to me!” Said Haddock urgently. “You have to get yourself and the others to safety! The speech that Scurra played there had its full effect. Right now an armed mob is invading the seat of government. We cannot say what else will happen.”
“I see,” said Allaire. “Is there anything you can do to help us?”
“I would love to. But according to the regulations, it is still an ‘internal matter’ at the moment. We must not intervene if we are not requested.”
“Scurra will never make a requirement,” Allaire said. “I’ll ask the spokeswoman for the house if she can achieve anything. One more question, Captain, you say the mob is invading here? What about the security service?”
“It was overrun or, as far as I’ve seen it, hardly offered any resistance.”
“I see. I will now go to safety. If there is something like safety here in the building.”
“Take care of yourself, Lieutenant!”
“Yes sir! Allair out!”

Natluv – King!

Fleet Admiral Leonard McCloud was seated at a long table. A big round table. The table was in the so-called “Glass Salon” of the ATLANTIS base. ATLANTIS had different departments, everyone actually knew that. There were modern sections, but there were also those housed in historic buildings. But this one was rather modern. The room was named “Glass Salon” from the big windows.
McCloud sat at the table. As mentioned, he was alone, but there was still cover for several people. A naval officer stood on one side of the table and waited. The officer considered this to be Admiral McCloud’s quirk, but he didn’t want to spoil the old man’s game. ASTROCOHORS also suffered from the pandemic and from the invasion that severed the solar system from the rest of the galaxy. What McCloud was going to do here was actually a celebration. Because after the cowardly attack on ASTROCOHORS, the officers succeeded in an unbelievable show of strength in re-establishing all communication channels. That should be celebrated! But because of the risk of infection, too many people were not allowed to meet at once. So the admiral had other plans. It was some sort of game that was called “Natluv – King!”. There is a legend about a king on the moons of Jupiter. His name was Natluv. He had a difficult battle to fight, and his best men were scattered across the worlds. Finally, he wanted to celebrate the victory, but since his officers were not there, a servant had to fill in for everyone. The King raised his glass to each of his officers. And the servant raised his glass, each time shouting: “Natluv – king!” Hence the game got its name.
“So,” said McCloud, “how does it look?”
“All departments are operational again!” Reported the officer.
“And everyone has gathered?”
“Yes sir, they are all here!”
“Then let’s raise our glasses together!”

The officer came to the table. He now had to stand in for the various departments. So that he would not get completely drunk in the course of the procedure, there was only water in the glasses that stood at the seats of the departments. Admiral McCloud, on the other hand, insisted on pouring himself a red wine from Chateau Picard. He raised his glass.
“And now: report from all departments!”
The officer stood behind the chair on the Admiral’s left. On a small sign on the table was written: “ASTROCOHORS CLUB”. The officer took the glass from the table, raised it and said, “ASTROCOHORS CLUB and the newly planned ARCHIVE department are ready for action again! We are ready to plan and coordinate new missions, sir!”
They drunk.

The officer now moved to the next chair. There was also a sign on the table here. This was labeled “CANALIS TREMENDUM COLLABORATION”. The officer grabs the glass.
“The CANALIS TREMENDUM COLLABORATION, or CTC for short, is waiting to investigate strange phenomena and get into the details, sir!”
They drunk.

Again the officer moved one chair. In front of this was “CHEZ FRASHOKERETI”. The officer took the glass from the table and said: “I am extremely pleased to announce the complete production of the CHEZ FRASHOKERETI department! We are already investigating the extremely strange behavior of the Terrans with the help of new people. Super easy, barely an inconvenience, Sir! “
They drunk.

One chair further. The sign read “CLEF, PEN AND BRUSH”.
“We at CLEF, PEN AND BRUSH have already begun to devote ourselves to the fine arts and are glad to be running at full capacity again, sir!”
They drunk.

One chair further. “AQUAMARINON”.
“On behalf of the regent of the water planet AQUAMARINON, I can announce that the cowardly attacks of the enemy have been repulsed. Count on us, Admiral!”
They drunk.

One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS ACADEMY”.
“It’s been a terrible year, even for us at the ACADEMY, sir,” said the officer. “But we have strengthened our staff. We will continue to fight against ignorance and stupidity! We will take the next opportunity to make people smarter. And the next. And the next, until we win, or until we run out of opportunities. But we won’t give up! Science will continue! “
They drunk.

One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS EMBASSY”.
“I can hear the complainers, sir!” Said the officer. “Politics, who cares? But the last few years have shown that everyone has to be interested in politics, otherwise they will go under, and otherwise democracy will go under. We at the diplomatic corps of ASTROCOHORS EMBASSY are doing our best to ensure freedom and Equality persist.”
They drunk.

One chair further. “CHRONICLES OF SIDUS BELLA”.
“Our task is to analyze and file events. We have to learn from the events of the past. Unfortunately, however, we have had to discover that there are people who look for nothing more than a purity in these events that doesn’t exist. We. We confront these people and look at the history of the galaxies in a big context. That is our job at the CHRONICLES OF SIDUS BELLA. “
They drunk.

One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS BATTLEFRONTS”.
“We were face to face with the enemy, sir,” said the officer. “And we’re still facing the enemy. I don’t know what the future will bring, sir, but we’re ready on the BATTLEFRONT!”
They drunk.

One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS NExUS.”
“Our institute is still busy measuring and mapping all the star systems and cultures, the galaxies and universes. Our task will never be finished, but we at ASTROCOHORS NExUS are doing our best!”
They drunk.

One chair further. “BUREAU 07”.
“It was all a troubled time for the secret service too, sir! But we were able to obtain valuable information and thus prove that the days of secret agents are far from over. BUREAU 07 at your disposal, Admiral!”
They drunk.

One chair further. “THEATER OF THINGS.”
“Humor is important in these times too. It’s our job, sir, and we do it with as much duty as the other departments! We bring people back up when they are down! Rely on the THEATER OF THINGS! “
They drunk.

One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS CENTRAL”.
“We at headquarters always fly a little under the radar. But important information is also gathered here and we are fully operational again, sir! We are ASTROCOHORS, Admiral!”
They drunk.

One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS Brasil”.
“We in the South American section also had problems, especially because of the situation in the country. The attack also hit us hard, but ASTROCOHORS Brasil is ready for action again, sir!”
They drunk.

One chair further. “LES GUERRIERS DE BOYARD”.
“Our department has an unusual name and we are also a regional section. We are a little smaller, so we had difficulties getting back online, but from now on you can also hear from LES GUERRIERS DE BOYARD in French again!”
They drunk.

One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS YAZHOU”.
“We are also a regional section, responsible for the Asian area. Perhaps this will be a little different in the future, but at the moment it is so and we are doing what we can. ASTROCOHORS YAZHOU is ready for action ! “
They drunk.

One chair further. In the meantime the officer had circled the table completely and had arrived at the place on the Admiral’s right. It was the last one, and “ASTROCOHORS Japan” was on the sign.
“We can only get through times like these together. We at ASTROCOHORS Japan are ready to make our contribution and we would like to announce that we are ready for action again!”
They drank one last time. The officer noticed that there was a lot of water in his stomach. Admiral McCloud had taken only a small sip at a time. He didn’t want to get drunk either. Chateau Picard was way too good for that.
At that moment the sound of a clock could be heard. In a distant corner stood an old clock on a dresser that rang a bell every hour. The officer and Admiral McCloud counted.

One – two – three – four – five – six – seven – eight – nine – ten – eleven – twelve!
Midnight. The admiral rose.

“We’re just in time,” he said aloud into the room. “I wish all departments a Happy New Year! I’m not going to announce the usual year now, because I have learned that due to special circumstances the time calculation is to be changed. So we’re not talking about the year 2021 according to the time calculation of Terra … better Said, a calendar of Terra, because there are several. We will probably also abolish the Galactic calendar. In the future, the years according to the calendar of human history will be determined. The year “zero” of this calendar is ten thousand years before the year “zero “of the Terran calendar. It was the time when man built a city on earth for the first time. I will inform you all exactly, but if it stays that way, then at this moment we will welcome the year 12021! For you, your Departments and their people all the best in this new year! “
The admiral and officer raised their glasses one last time and drank from them. Then the officer took a small remote control out of his pocket and pressed a button.
“The transmission to the departments is terminated, sir!” He said.
“Very nice,” replied McCloud. “It’s a shame that the internet connection on this damned planet is so bad! Otherwise we could have brought the others in too, but I think it went well that way. What do you think?”
“It was definitely very uplifting, sir!”
McCloud nodded. “So, and now I will retire. I am tired, the new year has already started and I am not missing a thing.”
“Exactly, sir. Good night then!”
“Thank you! Good night to you too and a Happy New Year!”
“Happy New Year!”