Revolt of the Power Men

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

So many people. Fulmen Grancolline had to fight through the crowd. Babble of voices. But Fulmen had only one thought: could it be true? The news had been in since the early hours of the morning. But now they came more and more often. The content of the news: The ift lost its power! What did that mean?
Fulmen ran down a flight of stairs. The building was big, one of the bigger ones in Cybernia on Oberon. It was here that the provisional headquarters of a resistance against the armies of Cofehav Pupepa’s armies had been set up. Doctor Yefimov had set up a laboratory on the lower floor. Fulmen had finally arrived there.
“Doctor!” He called as he entered the room. “Did you see it?”
Yefimov startled. “What are you talking about, Fulmen?”
“The Ift! There are strange values. It looks like the Ift is losing its power!”
“Nonsense!” Yefimov insisted. “The ift is a substance, how can it … oh! Of course! Follow me!”
Yefimov ran to the other side of the room, where a large terminal was set up. The doctor sat down on a chair and activated the main laboratory computer.
“Let’s see, then,” he muttered.
Fulmen had followed him and was now standing next to him. “Doctor, what’s going on?” He wanted to know.
“Ha!” Yefimov called. “I thought so!”
“The ift is a substance, but the substance needs a force field to charge it. At least if you want to use the ift for more than 24 hours. And the force field loses energy.”
“How? How can that be?”
“The force field is fed by certain ships from Pupepa’s army. They are called power ships. The so-called power men work on them.”
“Power men?”
“Slaves, more or less. Pupepa is not particularly fraught with scruples. And it looks like the power men are making a revolt!”
“That can benefit us, right?”
“Of course! As long as the ift is weak, our transmissions will get through. We just have to be careful, I’m afraid Pupepa will forcefully suppress the revolt. Then we could run into problems again.”
“Can we take precautions?”
“I don’t know what. We have to have Pupepa take the next step.”

The Desert Hawk

The "Desert Hawk"

“Desert Hawk! Desert Hawk, do you hear me?”
The voice came out loud over the radio.
“I can hear you,” replied the radio officer in charge. “This is Desert Hawk. Send your callsign!”
“This is DL02. Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! A large fleet has appeared out of nowhere and is heading for Oberon!”
“Do that again! Did I understand you correctly, that a large fleet has appeared out of nowhere and is now heading for Oberon?”
“Confirm! Use the long-range scanner! You will see them, the fleet consists of at least … oh, holy flying spaghetti monster! We’re counting over two hundred echoes! Do you see that too?”
In the meantime, the radio officer had obtained information from a colleague. He had activated the long-range scanner as announced. Now he saw them too.
“Yes,” the officer called into the radio. “We see them too. What is it? Can you give us details?”

The "Desert Hawk"
Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

“Desert Hawk” was a radio surveillance station for the Oberon Defense Facility. It was hidden in the desert, in a large rock. That should serve as a cover. The defense weapons were stationed in the desert around the station.
“Usovai’i!” Said it over the radio. “It’s definitely Usovai’i! Small attack cruisers. Wait … some have opened their cargo hold doors. Something’s coming out! Combat troops! This is an invasion!”
Somebody had called in the commander of the “Desert Hawk”. He was just stepping into the room when he heard the word “invasion”.
“Invasion?” He asked. “What’s going on here? On the screen!”
The radio officer activated the big screen. This took up one wall in the small room. It showed a signal transmitted by a satellite. Countless spaceships approaching the Uranus moon. The commandant took a deep breath.
“Call the USS BOURGOGNE! They have been watching something for a few days. Let Captain Haddock know that it has started.”
“Sir!” Said the radio officer. “I notice that the transmission to the other planets is getting worse and worse.”
“I see here …” came a message over the radio. But what followed was hard to understand: “… object … radiation … disturbance …”
“Repeat!” Ordered the radio officer. “We can not understand you!”
“Obj … rad … ea …”
The radio officer turned to the commander of the “Deser Hawk” station. “Sir, the signal is getting weaker and weaker. Could it be that the enemy launched Ift?”
“Ift?” The commandant sounded horrified. “Ift is banned under the Venege Convention, it would be a catastrophe for our communications.”
“If these are the Usovai’i, then they are acting on the orders of Prostat Pupepa. The Venege Convention shouldn’t really matter.”
“You are right. Try to contact Cybernia. They should try to reestablish radio communications. What about the BOURGOGNE?”
“I got a message through. I don’t know if it was heard, though.”
“How far are the objects?”
“Coming to orbit.”
“And the communication between the departments of ASTROCOHORS CLUB?”
“Is disturbed.”
“Okay … Get everyone ready to attack. Get everything ready to activate the defense.”

-> What happened next can be found here: And so it begins …

Castaways in Tropica

White Beagle Grafiti
White Beagle Grafiti
Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

“Well! Here comes good ol’ Charlie Brown!” Claude Feret pointed to a Terran with a round head and a strange hairstyle who had just walked into the bar.
“Good ol’ Charlie Brown … yes sir!” He continued.
“Good ol’ Charlie Brown,” he added.
“How I hate him!” He said then. “You don’t?”
Agathe Grzesiak, who sat across from him, shrugged her shoulders. “Little girls are made of sugar and spice,” she said. “And everything nice. That’s what little girls are made of.”
After saying those cryptic words, Brown approached her table.
“Rain, rain, rain,” he said. “Like watering a dog’s flower.”
Claude frowned. “That is a strange sentence. Is that what you say in …”
“Minneapolis!” Remarked Brown. “I’m from Minneapolis. And yes, my father always said that. I never understood what he meant by that.” Then he looked around. “Let’s go,” he said finally. “I don’t think any will come.”
“I’m afraid I have to agree with you,” replied Feret. “I feel like I’ve been stuck here for seventy years. Apparently the promised contact person is a phantom.”
“Probably”, Agathe confirmed. “The name alone sounded suspicious … Peppermint Patty, who is called that?”
“What do we do now?” Asked Brown. “The mission has obviously failed. But we still have 48 hours before BOURGOGNE will contact us again.”
“We could try to make our way to Dowalka,” suggested Claude. “If we can get cheap transportation, we could be there in six hours and meet with Pellton.”
“Alternatively, we can sit here and wait,” said Agathe.
“Will you still love me when you’re grown up and rich and famous and I’m just a poor little girl?” Said a woman. The woman had come to the table unnoticed while the three officers of the BOURGOGNE discussed their failure.
“Uh …” Brown stammered. “Sure I will,” he answered the code the woman had just used. “And will you still love me when you get rich and famous and I have nothing?”
“That will be different,” said the woman. She sat down at the table. “So you are the guys from BOURGOGNE,” she stated.
“Then you … Peppermint Patty?” Asked Claude.
“Yes. I hope you haven’t waited too long for me.”
Awkward silence. Yes, they had waited a long time. The team, consisting of the three officers of BOURGOGNE, was abandoned here in Tropica shortly after Fulmen Grancolline won a few valuable computer chips by participating in the tournament of death. It turned out that there were hostile activities on Oberon that threatened the safety of the solar system. So Claude Feret, Agathe Grzesiak and Charlie Brown were sent on an undercover mission. They were practically abandoned. They were the castaways in Tropica. While they were investigating what the Usovai’i army was doing here, they made contact with underground fighters who wanted to provide them with information. And there she was, Patty the contact person.
“Anyway,” said Patty, “I have highly confidential information here.” She slid a memory stick across the table of the little bar where the four of them were. “Troop movements, troop numbers, everything. I think the Usovai’i guy has big plans.”
“Why are you helping us?” Asked Agathe.
“If Pupepa gets away with his plans, I don’t know what will become of the known galaxy,” she stated. “That’s enough motivation for me. You will find a few more documents on the memory stick that fell into our hands in a bunker. Obviously Pupepa doesn’t want this to be known. He’s probably afraid that his reputation could be damaged. Although I don’t know if his reputation can be damaged. “
“Why?” Asked Claude. “What is it about?”
“Did you know,” said Patty conspiratorially, “that the Great Leader of the Usovai’i is really descended from a Gunnafiri family? And not from any, but from the Hýnkel family.”
“What? That means …?”, Feret began.
“He’s related to the Great Dictator, yes,” Patty confirmed. “The G.D. is his uncle. Shocking, isn’t it?”
“Well,” objected Agathe, “relationship doesn’t mean that you are of the same kind.”
“But there are often attitudes circulating within a family,” said Brown. “It would explain a lot about Pupepa. How did that go about?”

“Pupepa’s father,” Patty explained, “was the youngest brother of the family. When the Stellar War broke out, the older brothers – including the GD – fought on the side of the empire. Pupepa’s father preferred to emigrate to Usovai’i Then made a fortune by providing for the Usovai’i troops, who set out from Kor Ywen in the battles of the Stellar War, in his pub, thus laying the foundation for the family’s fortune. “
“It was wise to change his name,” said Brown.
“Yes,” answered Patty. “Now if you’ll excuse me. You have what you wanted and I’ve been here too long.”
“Just a moment!” Demanded Claude. “What’s the name of your underground organization. Just in case we need to come to your aid.”
“Very kind of you,” said Patty. She pointed out the window. You could see the opposite wall, which was sprayed with grafiti. In the colorful pattern was a picture of a white beagle. “It is,” she explained. “White Beagle, that’s what we call ourselves.”
Then she said goodbye. The three officers of the BOURGOGNE waited a moment, then they left too. In their possession they now had a memory stick with a lot of sensitive information.

Now it had to be seen what one could do with the information. What a time to be alive
“We need to contact Schulz somehow,” Brown said. “It will be a great story, it will be told in seventy years!”
“And then in the end we weren’t here that long”, added Agathe. “It Was A Short Summer, Charlie Brown.”

The Return of the Tournament of Death

Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

“Captain’s log, supplement. Our destination is Planet Uranus. My orders are to examine the reaches of Azerim, a region on one of Uranus’s moons. Meanwhile I’m becoming better acquainted with my new command – this carrier vessel BOURGOGNE. I’m still somewhat in awe of its size and complexity. As for my crew, we are short in several key positions, but I’m informed that some highly experienced women and men will be waiting to join the ship after our visit at Uranus.”

“Why did I even agree to this?”
Captain Haddock grumbled. He paced up and down the room. That wasn’t the mission! King Fulmen! Great idea!
All they were supposed to do was bring Fulmen to the moons of Uranus. Apparently he had made so much impression there that he had been appointed “replacement king for life”. No, that wasn’t right. It wasn’t about several moons of Uranus, but only one: OBERON!
“It was the only way, sir!” Said Pellton.
Haddock sighed. “As always, you are right, Pellton,” he said. “That’s why you’re such a damn good first officer. Do me a favor and please never take a command of your own. I don’t see what I would do without you.”
“Probably dying a gruesome death,” said Pellton, grinning.
“And yet: How could I agree to this charade? We can see how it ends now.”
“Oh, it’s not over yet.”
The captain looked out the window. You had a wonderful view of the landscape. Kagnaszax Castle was on a hill overlooking a wide valley. The little town of Honeywood was down there somewhere. Primitive humanoids lived there in an eternal Middle Ages, it seemed. Although they had contact with the other worlds of the solar system, somehow the inhabitants did not develop any further. They went about their simple life, that was it. Sometimes an evil ruler would come and suppress them, then they would call for a hero who would defeat the ruler. And the status quo was restored. Episodic, almost like one of the old TV series.

This is how Fulmen Grancolline came up with the title of “replacement king”. He had defeated an evil wizard and earned the thanks of the people. King Fullmen! It was only logical that he should use his royal power to enlist the help of the Honeywood people.
“And all because of a few computer chips!” Muttered Haddock.
The unusual activities in the Oort cloud, which the BOURGOGNE had noticed a few days earlier, had also been observed by a drone. Or at least that was what Haddock and the ASTROCOHORS staff suspected. Because that drone had been shot down over Oberon and come down in the Honeywood area. But the recordings that the drone had made were saved on chips that were in an explosion-proof container. And the fleet urgently needed the information on these chips!
It turned out that a few residents of the Azerim region had already recovered the wreckage of the drone. So King Fulmen should appear and at least demand the computer chips from the people. There and back again. Super easy, barely an inconvenience.
Unfortunately, since the last visit, a new man had moved into Kagnaszax Castle. And he had taken the glittering chips. Of course, he didn’t want to give them out that easily. He wanted to have fun.
“Sir, Fulmen is a good fighter,” Pellton confirmed. “He’ll be fine.”
“I wish I had your confidence in the future! Why do you think it is called the ‘Tournament of Death’? Because the fighters are throwing cotton balls at each other?”
“I’m surprised that there are still death tournaments in the solar system. The declaration banning …”
“Pellton, thunder and grenades! Haven’t you got it?” Haddock scolded. “Declarations and laws that have been issued by the Supreme Council of the Solar System are beautiful declarations. In order for them to have an effect, they must be filled with life by the members of the planetary community! And here on Oberon of all places one does not feel bound by such resolutions! Death tournaments have a long, sad and gruesome tradition in the solar system. And it looks like we’re seeing their return these days! “
“That’s the bad influence of Prostat Pupepa the Usovai’i,” Pellton noted. “There is no longer any cohesion among the peoples of the planets, everyone only fights for himself.”
“Maybe,” replied Haddock. “Recognizing that doesn’t solve our problem. Fulmen is supposed to take part in the tournament of death and defeat one of the best fighters in Azerim. Then we’ll get the chips.”
“And with it the information!”
“That worries me too.”
“What are you worried about, Captain?”
Haddock gave Pellton a piercing look. “What if Fulmen wins, we get the chips and find out it’s nothing.”
“Nothing?” Asked Pellton. “You mean that …”
“Right. We don’t know for sure that there is anything on the chips that will help us. So far we’re just speculating.”
“In the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!” Pellton exclaimed. “Then we can only hope.”
At that moment there was a knock on the door.
“Who’s there?” Haddock called.
“Groppler Norz!” Someone called through the closed door. “I am to inform you that the Exalted Ruler of Kagnaszax has decided that the Tournament of Death should take place in 20 minutes. Your presence is urgently required.”
“We’re coming!” Replied Haddock.

Kagnaszax was a spacious castle complex with a large inner courtyard. This is where the tournament ground was set up. The square consisted of a large square bordered by wooden barriers. The so-called “Sublime Ruler” and his court had gathered around the square. Then there were the few crew members of the BOURGOGNE who had accompanied Haddock and Pellton. Just as the captain and his first officer arrived at the battlefield, Fulmen Grancolline climbed over the barrier and into the ring. Two assistants had been assigned to him. One of them handed him a sword.
“Your opponent,” said the assistant, “wears the black mask of the best fighter in Rumaroma. It will not be easy to defeat him.”
“Oh,” said the second assistant, “just say it as it is. It will be impossible for the stranger to defeat a person wearing the Black Mask.”
“You give me courage,” said Fulmen with irony.
At that moment, Fulmen’s opponent climbed into the ring. It was a massive man who was dressed entirely in black. And he wore a black mask over his head.
“Captain,” Pellton whispered. “Could it be that this opponent is a black coat?”
“A servant of the High Hand?” Haddock asked back just as quietly. “Quite possible. No idea where they all have their fingers in the game. Not intended punch line.”
“I thought to myself, Captain. The situation is too serious to be antics now.”
“Listen! Listen!”, A herald appointed for the tournament called out loudly. “The tournament of death is now about to begin. If the strange giant wins, the exalted ruler will hand over the glowing sticks to the strangers that we got from the crashed sky car!”
“Let’s hope so,” said Pellton to Haddock.
The stranger with the black mask had meanwhile also got a sword. “Let the battle begin!” Shouted the Exalted Ruler. The two opponents took position.
“The battle will go on for a long time,” said the Exalted Ruler to his Herald. “My fighter is the best, and the giant doesn’t seem to be bad either. The light will go out in two hours, we should make sure that there is enough light so that the tournament can continue undisturbed.”
“You expect the fight to continue into the night?” Asked the Herald.
“But yes!” Confirmed the Exalted Ruler. “This is going to be a fight that will be read in the annals of Azerim! It might even be midnight by …”

There was a clapping sound. And the next thing you heard was the impact of the stranger’s body with the mask. This had fallen unconscious to the ground. It had happened so quickly that hardly anyone had noticed. Fulmen reacted very quickly. As soon as the fighters had got into position, he dashed forward, blocked his opponent’s sword with his sword, while he reached out with the other hand and struck. Fulmen hit his opponent in the face with his fist. And he fell like a sack of potatoes after the harvest.
“The … uh … fight is … uh … over …” the Herald stammered. “The winner is the strange giant. I think so.”

The Exalted Ruler of Kagnaszax was speechless. So that was the “tournament of death”? The tournaments weren’t what they used to be! Not to mention the black coats!
The captain was already standing next to the ruler. “The chips, please,” he said, “we’re in a bit of a hurry.”
The ruler handed over the chips. And he decided to terrorize the people of Honeywood a little to compensate for the missed tournament. He would have done that anyway. But now he had every reason to!