had been at war with each other, each striving to gain ultimate control over the other
systems. But there was much infighting between the opposing political Factions within each
system, making it utterly impossible for any one Sector to gain a significant advantage.
There was but one region of the galaxy in which an extended peace could be found. And that
was in the small kingdom of Endelphi which was located deep within the Galactic
Borderlands, an insignificant Sector of the galaxy whose territorial borders lay at the
very edge of the Outer Ring. The only distinguishing feature of this particular Sector of
humans was not their extreme remoteness and isolation, but the fact that, since their
removal to the Borderlands, they had shared a peaceful border with the Cortum; an alien
race that, since the discovery of their existence countless centuries ago, had expressed,
in no uncertain terms, their intense desire to utterly remove themselves from involvement
in the ongoing process of humanitys unfolding history. Long after this, more
or less, unspoken agreement was made between the two races, the inhabitants of the
Endelphian Sector had, for all intents and purposes, officially withdrawn from the
supposed Galactic Alliances and struck out into the uncharted Outer Ring in an attempt to
fashion their own independent governing system, which was to be based solely on the ideals
of peace. For one hundred and fifty years they had been isolated from the wars that had
been raging throughout the rest of the galaxy, emulating the idealistic, yet amazingly
functional, governing systems and political ideologies that they had learned through their
limited contact with the more sociable members of the neighboring Cortum populations.
during times such as those, no sector, no matter how far removed from the rest of
humanity, had the power to remain forever isolated from the hatred that was steadily
infecting the galaxy.
Eventually the wars spread and the
kingdom of Endelphi began to feel their effects at the edges of her borders. Battles
eventually began to spill over into their territories and many innocent people were lost
in the horrific battles that ensued. Having known nothing but peace for a century and a
half, the Endelphians found themselves entirely unprepared to defend their borders against
hostile forces. Fully equipped War Ships and Battle Cruisers began to move in, tearing
through their meager defenses. Before long the kingdom of Endelphi began to crumble under
the sheer brutality of the invading army. It wasnt until the Battle of Delphi, an
elaborately planned attack on the Endelphians capital planet, that the Cortum became
When the wars of the humans threatened to spill over into their own territories the
Cortum acted quickly and without mercy. Although they too based their government on peace,
they had an aged wisdom and maturity that the relatively young Endelphian kingdom could
not know, and, therefore, the Cortum had always maintained a deep respect for the
|necessity of having an
established defense. Their greatly advanced ships decimated the war ships that had been
sent to conquer the Endelphians and then continued on into the war torn galaxy,
systematically bringing each system to its knees. The Cortum Invasion was less a war than
a massacre, as the aliens ravaged each Sector, determined to eradicate the incessant
galactic plague that humanity had become.
It wasnt until the Endelphians
Ambassador of Peace and Diplomatic Relations begged the Cortum leaders to show mercy to
the would-be conquerors that the aliens halted their invasion. After great deliberations
the aliens eventually chose to heed the pleas of this great man and their ships began to
return to their own galaxy. Before entirely abandoning the humans to inevitably fall back
into a state of war, as had so often been the case throughout their history, the Cortum
made only one stipulation to their continued ceasefire. They established a peaceful
government, mirrored after their own, that was to rule and have absolute control over all
Sectors in the galaxy. And to head this government, seeing him as one of the few
respectable humans in the galaxy, they appointed the Endelphian Ambassador to be Emperor.
And so, Ern Vestes became the first
Emperor of the Royal Galactic Empire and ushered in a new era of peace throughout the
galaxy. The people of the Empire took to the new form of government rather well and, with
the continued help of the Cortum, the Empire began to thrive. After some years of
establishing his authority Emperor Vestes was firmly in control of the majority of the
galaxy and the remaining Cortum again returned to their homeland in the Sagittarius dwarf
galaxy, beyond the tip of the Sagittarius arm of the Milkyway. Upon being left to stand on
her own, the Empire experienced several small insurrections, the most serious of which was
the Sentinel Faction. This large Faction of humans struggled with Emperor Vestes for
control of the Empire that had been constructed for nearly a decade before being overcome
and dismantled. It was the first true victory that Emperor Vestes could claim as his own
and has since been considered the point at which the Royal Galactic Empire became the
unquestionable authority within the galaxy, with all systems united under her rule.
The Endelphian kingdom had experienced
significant damage due to the ravages of war and was, therefore, deemed uninhabitable. The
Endelphian people were dispersed throughout the galaxy and legislation was passed
forbidding any Sector or Faction from withdrawing from the Royal Galactic Empire. The
territories that had belonged to Endelphi became the Borderlands of the Empire, a sort of
neutral territory between the humans and the Cortum. The aliens accepted this as an added
boundary between them and the Empire they had created for no other reason than to keep the
human race from growing to infect their own systems. Once again the galaxy returned to a
peaceful state of affairs, from which the Cortum all but excused themselves from
the dismantling of the Sentinel Faction and its several followers, Emperor Ern Vestes was
left to rule his Empire in peace for seven more decades. On his seventy sixth year as
Emperor, however, he passed on from natural causes and it was unanimously agreed that his
first born son should rule after him, a tradition that the Cortum had practiced for
thousands of years under the belief that nobility and honor ran in ones bloodline. And so
the precedent was set for the Emperorship to remain in the Vestes ancestral line for
all of time.
|| And so it did
for many long years, but in the seven hundred and sixtieth year of the Empire it began to
become apparent that perhaps the nobility of the Vestes line was beginning to wear thin.
War again began to creep into the galaxy and infighting between Sectors erupted anew. One
Faction, known only as the Hobbicrons, sought to rectify the continued decline of the
empirical bloodline. Since the construction of the Empire and the naming of the first
Emperor Vestes, the Hobbicrons had been known as the right hand men of the
royal house, and were therefore in a rather good position to offer suggestions. With the
approval of the Emperor, they collected a group of respected scientists
|from within their own
Faction and began genetic experimentations on human subjects in an attempt to elongate the
lifespan of a human. Once successful, this method was intended to be used on the current
Emperor Vestes (the Vestes name having survived over the centuries), but the
experimentation continued to fail, ending in the untimely deaths of each of their
subjects. Eventually they met with limited success, however. One group of six subjects
proved to be capable of accepting the genetic codes that they had been developing, but it
appeared that their ability to accept the code was based on a previously existing genetic
defect that neutralized the harmful components which had killed so many subjects earlier
in the experimentation. After thirty years of unsuccessfully attempting to artificially
reproduce this genetic defect, the entire experiment was called off and the six surviving
subjects disappeared and faded into the unspeakable past.
Just over a hundred years
later, five of these subjects resurfaced, unbeknownst to the Empire, which had been in
much disarray due to the continued hostilities throughout the galaxy and the anointing of
the incredibly young Emperor Vestes XXIX. Having suffered from an untimely death, Emperor
Vestes XXVIII had left his son to inherit the throne at the tender age of nine. Having a
minor on the throne meant that an Advisory Council would have to be assigned to rule for
the young Emperor until he reached adulthood. With their historically faithful dedication
to the royal house, the Hobbicrons were the obvious choice for such a role. There was much
disagreement concerning the appointment of the Council, but the Hobbicrons used their many
connections with the royal house to sway the vote and, with a single uprising against the
opposing Factions, they were able to take charge and assign their Elders to the Advisory
Council for the young Emperor.
The Hobbicrons used their
position to immediately stop the infighting that had been occurring in many of the
Empires Sectors. Basing their legislation primarily on the Concept of Conformity, a
theory of organization that had been developed by the great sociological thinker,
Cartwright Markson, the galaxy slowly began to regain the order and peace that it had
enjoyed in the past. But the Hobbicronium desire for conformity quickly began to become
extreme as legislation was continuously passed that further limited certain creative or
groundbreaking endeavors. Finally, in the year and a half prior to the time in which the
story of Kits adventure is set, the Hobbicronium endeavors had become far more
extreme, as they actually made it entirely illegal, and even treasonous, for any of their
subjects to aspire to be creative or show signs of creativity at all.
Upon this final infringement upon the
universal rights of the people of the galaxy, many of the Elders of the Advisory Council,
most of whom were uncomfortable with the fact that Emperor Vestes XXIX (who was now one
hundred and ten years old) had never truly been allowed to reclaim authority over his own
Empire, withdrew from what was now deemed the Hobbicronium Industrial Empire. Setting out
on their own, the Elders of the Empire expected to find themselves outcasts, aimlessly
wandering the galaxy, but they instead found a man, Commodore James Kits, who had, for the
past one hundred years, planned for just such an opportunity. After escaping from the
clutches of the Hobbicrons, Kits had secretly planned and organized an intricate web of
informants and resources from which to construct a substantial Rebellion. All he had
needed was the support of a group of authority figures, such as the separatist Elders. He
had even gone so far as to personally fund the construction of the twin stations and work
out a diplomatic agreement between the more remote station and the Cortum who, although
they were hesitant to interact with humans, would do so if the arrangement was
profitable enough to their industrious enterprises.
And so the Rebellion
officially began at the exact moment that the Empire had received its most devastating
losses (a convenient circumstance that Kits could not have planned on). With the
dissolving of their Advisory Council, the Hobbicrons had lost the central command through
which they had been able to monitor and control the rest of the galaxy, leaving the rebels
to plan and organize themselves during the first year of their existence.
Now, with the Empire again
reestablishing its prior strength and organization, the Rebellion was facing a long and
arduous struggle in the coming future. Commodore Kits had gotten word that the Hobbicrons
had learned of the existence of both Flistation and McCarthydom and were planning a seek
and destroy mission against both of the pivotal stations. The Tour de Deuce had been
contacted, but, understanding the necessity of having a contingency plan, Kits had made
arrangements for him and his friend Carl Tulanko to travel to Earth to meet with one of
the galaxys most renowned informants. It is on this trip to Earth, aboard the clever
cover of a Grissom luxury liner, that we now find the heroic last hope of the galaxy.
Kits had just ended a long and wearisome transmission that he had been having with the two
Captains of the Tour de Deuce project, Jason Toft and Eugenio Cebollero. For the past six
hours the three of them, accompanied by Dr. Tulankos sporadic spouting of random
statistical figures that he alone found relevant, had been carrying on a heated debate
concerning both the impossibility of, and the paradoxical necessity of, their succeeding
in the mission they had been briefed on two weeks ago. Kits sat back in his chair
ruminating over the details of the argument he had, thankfully, just ended with Toft and
Cebollero. It was bewildering for the Commodore, the prime figurehead of the Rebellion, to
be spoken to in the tone that those two had taken. It had been all he could do to control
the frustration that continued to simmer under his cool facade as he simultaneously
attempted to explain, in the calmest and most rational manner possible, the reasoning
behind his decision to place such an extraordinary, nearly overwhelming, responsibility on
the Tour de Deuce.
It was not that he didnt
sympathize with the two young Captains and the predicament he had put them in. What he was
asking of them was, without question, well beyond the typical call of duty that could be
expected from an ordinary officer; but these two... they were two of his more
accomplished Captains. They should understand the importance of accepting his orders
without question; without hesitation; without that vulgar insubordination he had perceived
in their voices. As the Commodores mind unceasingly raced over such troubling
thoughts as these, which were raging through his skull, his hands had unconsciously begun
to clench the arms of the chair he had been sitting in for these six long hours. His
knuckles gradually began to grow white as, with an unapologetic sense of morbid
satisfaction, the Commodore became acutely aware of the plush fabric of the chair giving
way under his iron grip. He turned all of his attention to the force he was exerting on
the chair, allowing his anger to manifest itself in his private display of physical
superiority over the chair. At the same instant that the simmering emotions within him
were coming to a boil and threatening to erupt from his body, he caught a slight movement
to his left, just barely within his line of vision.
Turning in a stunned silence
that bordered on, but didnt quite reflect, embarrassment, Commodore Kits found
himself, once again, facing Dr. Tulanko.
I thought I told you to return to your quarters until receiving further
orders, the Commodore snapped in an unsuccessful attempt to divert his friends
attention from his abnormal behavior.
Nooooo... drawled out Carl, You told me to return to my quarters
until I had something more constructive to add to the conversation than random
statistics and useless quips.
And? the Commodore asked with more than a little impatience at his
friends continued mockery of his irritation.
Well, I just got off the Com with Flistation and they have decided that the
Tour de Deuce is not capable of meeting your demands. The Council has made an official
decree stating that the Tour is expected to do everything in its power to drastically
increase their recruiting rates. Specifically, they are now under direct orders to
concentrate their efforts on systems that are known to be heavily populated or intensely
liberal in their political leanings. As we speak their Deuces are en route to a system
near their coordinates that is known to have expressed sympathies for the
With a jarring blow, Kits slammed his fist down upon the table at which he sat.
Carl couldnt keep from instinctively starting at the sudden and uncharacteristic
rage that exploded from the typically composed man. The Commodore pushed his chair back
from the table with such force that he nearly toppled himself in the process. Standing to
his full, impressive height, Commodore Kits glared down at Carl.
With all respect, Commodore, what you are asking those men to do is
absolutely ludicrous. Carl flinched at the angry flash that arose deep in the bowels
of Kits eyes, but he went on, unwavering in his desire to make his friend realize
his mistake, You asked them to recruit at least a quarter million troops in
the next three months. I mean, for Gods sake, theyve already been at it
for six months and they havent even come close to recruiting a tenth of what
youre asking. Its ridiculous to assume that they would unconditionally agree
to a mission that they have no hope of accomplishing. Especially when the survival of the
movement would rest solely upon its outcome; because, frankly, that is what
its come down to. In all honesty, I think that their refusal to obey your commands
was rather courageous. If they accepted and failed, then the Empire would surely be
victorious. At least theyre doing everything they can. And the troops they do
bring in will be invaluable to us. But their refusal has done exactly what we needed it to
do; theyve forced us to reevaluate our options.
Kits softened his stare and noticeably relaxed before his friends astute
observations, Yes, I suppose youre right. I had hoped that we could solve all
of our problems in a single operation, but it appears that it will not be that easy. We
have to find another way to go about manning those ships.
Well, that is why were on our way to Earth, is it not?
In a manner of speaking, yes. But I would not expect too much from my
informant. He is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult men to deal with in the
galaxy. I have only dealt with him once before, and never face to face, but I can assure
you that he will not provide us with them men we need. He will, however, most
certainly have some helpful advice as to where we could acquire such men. Regardless of
all his quirks and eccentricities, he is an amazingly shrewd man and probably the single,
most well informed creature in the entire known universe. He has connections and
informants in every Sector, every system, and every Faction known to man, including a few
that arent generally known. And that doesnt even include his multiple agents
in the Cortum territories. He is the ultimate mercenary of our time and it pains me deeply
that we are forced to rely on him.
Well, Carl chirped in, I cant wait to meet the old chap.
Sounds kinda fun.
Indeed, Kits couldnt suppress a grin at his companions
What do you say to some bowling? You know, relax the nerves and what not. I
know those two Captains got you a tad rattled there for a while, Carl subtly moved
the conversation to a lighter subject.
No, I think Ill stick around here for a while. I need to contemplate
our next move. Its going to be difficult to get the information we need, so
Ill have to consider the best way to go about it once we reach Earth.
Well, at least come and get a bite to eat with me. You cant think
on an empty stomach, as my mother always used to say. Besides, we could discuss the
Rebellions situation while we eat. You havent exactly kept me fully informed
during this rather lengthy trip. Weve been on this luxury liner for nearly a week
and you havent even mentioned the news from Flistation, which, by the way, I know
youve gotten. If Im gonna accompany you on this journey I need to know
whats going on and what the stakes are.
Alright, alright, the Commodore said, finally giving in to his
companions request. The harsh feelings he had felt towards Toft and Cebollero had
passed, being only a temporary loss of control, and the Commodore was feeling quite
ravenous after his six hour tug of war with the two of them.
The two stepped out of Kits conference room and started down the hall,
commenting on the beauty of the luxury liner they were traveling in. As a rule the
Commodore, along with any other more conspicuous members of the Rebellion, traveled
exclusively on Grissom class luxury liners when making any excursions into imperial space.
A charter cruise to Earth was a fairly routine trip and travelers were rarely searched or
questioned about their identity, so long as their port of origin was within imperial
space. Commodore Kits and Carl, therefore, had only to sneak onto a registered planet and
charter a flight from there. It was a guaranteed form of safe transportation. And besides
that, the Grissom class of ships were the most renowned luxury liners in the galaxy. It
had everything from the most exquisite cuisine to state of the art entertainment; as Carl
continuously reminded the Commodore, who refused to find the time to partake in any of the
luxuries of the luxury liner.
As the men neared the dining area a loud-speaker came on overhead, reiterating the
benefits of choosing the Grissom for ones travel needs, The USS Grissom is
the pride of the United Solar Planetary Federation fleet of Luxury Liners. Intended for
deep space and inter-stellar voyages, it provides accommodations for over five hundred
passengers and fifty seven crew, to all parts of the explored galaxy. Recreational
activities include zero-G sports such as football, soccer, and glide aerobics; Low-G
sports such as swimming and bowling; not to mention fine dining, live theatre, meditation
chambers and arcades!
At this unwanted interruption of his reveries, Commodore Kits snapped a
disapproving stare at the speaker in the ceiling, asking Carl, Why do they have that
announcement on in the halls all day long? I mean, weve already chartered the
flight. Were already on the ship for gods sake. Why do they continuously have
to hawk their wares? It goes beyond irritating!
Carl flashed a knowing grin at Kits, I think its intended for people
like you, if you dont mind my saying. You should try one of these so called
luxuries for a change. Loosen up a bit man. It couldnt hurt.
Kits pushed the door to the dining hall open with a bang, wordlessly urging Carl to
drop it. And drop it he did, as the two men were assaulted by a wave of invigorating
aromas that floated through the air from the kitchen. They were quickly shown to a table
and proceeded to order a wide array of appetizers and delicacies that were not to be found
on the random military stations they usually frequented.
After they had worked through a good portion of their meals they once again turned
their attention to the business at hand. Kits started from the beginning, explaining
everything that had been occurring in the past couple of months in relation to the
Rebellion and the Empire.
It seemed that the Empire had been tipped off as to the existence of both
Flistation and McCarthydom, but it was quickly becoming obvious that they had yet to
pinpoint their exact locations in the galaxy. There had been several devastating attacks
on some of the rebel defensive stations, but the subsequent losses did not overtly hinder
the movement. The Elders were saddened by the deaths that had occurred, but, for all
intents and purposes, it seemed that both of the twin stations were safe for the time
being. And that was the most important thing. As long as the Empire remained ignorant of
the locations of either station, the rebels could continue producing their ships and, with
any luck, find the means with which to man them before any significant threat could pose
Even though the stations were relatively safe for now, however, the Empire was
showing signs of increased offensive protocol as they tightened their borders against
rebel spies. There had already been a Galactic Proclamation, identifying all of the
primary agents of the Rebellion along with detailed descriptions of each and a rather high
reward for their capture. So, regardless of the general limitations of the Empires
information, they continued to pose a serious threat to any of the more recognizable
figures within the resistance by unofficially hiring nearly every ambitious bounty hunter
in the galaxy.
Other than those individual threats the Rebellion had remained relatively
unaffected. Only three unimportant stations had been completely destroyed, with the loss
of only thirty lives. Those stations had been minimally manned and served only for either
scientific research projects or basic defensive information. So there was no serious loss
there, but there was one station that had been damaged slightly in an attack and it was
suspected that the five scientists that had been assigned to man it had been taken captive
by the Imperial Enforcers. Although those scientists had only a limited understanding of
the inner workings of the Rebellion, even that information, if successfully
acquired, could prove a severe security risk to the stations.
Kits assured Carl that he was fairly confident in the current safety of the
Rebellion, but he was sure that they were soon to face a much more devastating threat from
the Empire. Now that they knew of the existence of Flistation and McCarthydom, they would
not stop until the two stations were found and destroyed. The goal of the rebels now was
to ascertain where they could recruit new men and man the Flisfleet before that threat
arose. Only after those ships were ready for battle could the Rebellion face the
Empires continued persecution with any true sense of confidence.
As the conversation wound down, the two men decided to share a couple of after
dinner drinks before returning to their own private activities; Carl going off to find
some new luxury he had yet to experience, and Kits retiring to his private
quarters to contemplate the hectic schedule that he had set for himself over the next few
|Two days after their dinner
conversation, the Grissom docked at the transport station in orbit around Earth and the
two men took a Rhino shuttle down to the planets surface. Upon reaching Earth, Kits
found himself having to physically restrain Carl. The scientist, having never before been
to the Origin Planet, was unable to control his excitement. He leapt about inside their
high-speed Transport on their way to the designated rendezvous coordinates, gasping at
every miniscule detail of Earths long gone past, most of which he had only read in
history books during his schoolboy days.
Kits took it upon himself to explain some of the more general facts about
Earths history and current state of affairs, although he found such pointless facts
|It was now universally
accepted that the Earth was indeed the planet from which humans originated. It was
uncertain as to how many millennium had passed since humanity had been confined to the
surface of this planet, but most people were still coming to terms with the idea that the
human race had, at one point, been scarce enough in numbers to be contained on a single
For the past twenty five hundred years Earth had been controlled explicitly by a
Faction of humans, known only as the Histoligions, who dedicated their lives to
reconstructing an accurate understanding of humanitys past existence on Earth. The
strange Faction was known throughout the galaxy for its simultaneous adherence to the
practices of history, archeological anthropology, and a strict religious orthodoxy. Proof
of this unique grouping could be seen in the fact that the planet Earth had, in a sense,
been transformed into a combination of the galaxys largest and most widely respected
museum and an equally mysterious Church, whose monk-like doctrine had been kept entirely
secret from all but the sworn members of the Histoligious Faction. This unique combination
of seemingly incompatible institutions had, for one reason or another, thrived for many
centuries and the Histoligions had successfully worked to uncover many of the secrets of
humanitys origins that had been thought permanently locked away in Earths long
By the time that Commodore Kits and Carl Tulanko visited Earth, the Histoligious
Faction had become quite influential, claming over eighty billion followers throughout the
galaxy. Furthermore, their Faction was held in high esteem in the Hobbicronium Industrial
Empire. Basing their research only on empirical evidence (the Histoligions were incredibly
reluctant to accept any conclusion unless it was thoroughly supported by hard evidence),
the Hobbicrons envied and respected the work that the Histoligions had done during their
inhabitance of Earth. And for this reason Commodore Kits waited almost nervously at the
rendezvous point that he had agreed upon.
The Commodore tilted his head back, inspecting the details of the ceiling of the
large domed room in which they stood. Leaning heavily against the railing of the exhibit
behind him, Kits stood in that pose for some moments as Carl bounced around, hardly able
to contain himself. He pointed out all of the little artifacts that lay around them in the
sterilized showroom of the museum. After some time Carl come to the slow realization that
the Commodore was hardly interested in the amazing sights around him, seeming quite
content to examine the plain dome above. Turning to his friend and leader, Carls
gaze focused on Kits only briefly before being drawn behind him and upwards, as he let out
a slow whistle of admiration.
Suddenly noticing Carls distracted appearance, Kits turned to see what had so
grasped the Doctors attention. Behind the railing he had been leaning against, which
was meant to block overly curious viewers, stood a relatively small ship that had been
dated to sometime in Earths incredibly distant past.
They say that ship was built sometime in the first three hundred years that
humans were able to travel in space, came a deep voice from behind the two. Turning
to find the origin of the foreign voice, they found a small, unusual man standing before
them. He was short, standing just under five feet, but his muscular form was apparent from
beneath his stained, sleeveless tunic and equally soiled vest. His pants were torn about
the knees, revealing the rippling calve muscles of an active climber and shoes that could
hardly be considered comfortable. Upon his head sat a long, narrow hat out of which stood
an enormous purple feather, which neither man could place with a specific species of bird.
But, other than the similarly colored patch that the man wore over his eye, the strangest
aspect about his appearance was the small creature that he kept on a leash at his side.
Apparently his pet, this creature stood obediently at his side on its hind
legs, with a noticeably intelligent sparkle in its eye.
Kits recognized the creature immediately, gasping, My god, is that a
Marcupicore? I didnt know that their species even existed any longer. Last I heard
they had all been wiped out five or six centuries ago.
They called her the Saturn 1B, or so I hear, the stranger went on,
disregarding the astounded stares of the two men before him, Apparently we humans
used her in some of our original excursions into space. And now look at us. Weve
become the incurable cancer that plagues the galaxy. You said yourself that you thought
the Marcupicores had been wiped out. You know why that is?
Kits and Tulanko stood in silence, not sure how to handle the strangers
sudden acknowledgement of their existence. After a slight pause to his rhetorical
question, the man continued, They were wiped out, for all intents and
purposes, because of humanitys unquenchable need to expand. Since developing the
ability to travel to other systems humans have done nothing but consume. That is our
nature; to consume everything that is in our path and then continue on to find something
more to consume.
|Think about it. Our
written history alone notes at least eighteen different species that weve come in
contact with during our travels in the chartered galaxy. And how many of them have
survived humanitys continued expansion? The Cortum are the only aliens that have
retained any semblance of a society after contact with humans, and that can be credited to
their wise preference to remain clear of us at all costs.
Commodore Kits finally gathered his wits and addressed the extravagant stranger,
Am I to take it that youre Ganycledes?
Yes, I suppose it would be acceptable for you to assume that I am Ganycledes.
And Ill assume that youre Commodore Kits, the infamous Commander and architect
of the Rebellion that has been working against the Empire. And is this giddy chap your
dear friend, Doctor Carl Tulanko?
Um, yeah. I mean, yes I am... and he is, Kits stumbled over his words,
not sure what to make of this mans intimate knowledge of him and his involvements in
As you can see, I have made myself quite well informed with the specifics
surrounding your situation. I am willing to go out on a limb and guess that you have asked
for this meeting in order to purchase some information from me concerning where you might
acquire a rather extravagant number of good men in a relatively short amount of time.
Well, I find myself wondering what the purpose of these men will be once you have
recruited them to your cause. And I cant help but come to the conclusion that you
intend to use them to man the newest thorn in the Empires side; the Flisfleet, which
I have to admit, is quite an amazing accomplishment for your friend, the Doctor,
Once again Kits was struck speechless. There was no way this man could know the
things that he knew. How could he have heard about the Flisfleet? Even Toft and Cebollero
were given only vague details concerning the purpose behind their mission. It was
Considering the overall harm that humanity has caused in the galaxy since it
escaped from the clutches of this planets surface, I would have to consider this
Saturn 1B a curse upon the galaxy, as opposed to one of the heroic catalysts in the human
saga, Ganycledes continued, changing the subject from his recent display of
Wait a second, how do you know all those things? About the Flisfleet, I mean?
There are only a handful of people in the galaxy that have had full briefings concerning
the Flisfleet. Where did you learn about it? Who leaked that information to you?
Kits demanded, becoming increasingly frustrated at Ganycledes unconventional and
roundabout approach to this very serious meeting.
Yes, the Saturn 1B is evidence of one of mans first steps into the
realm of space. But our subsequent influence in the galaxy has meant nothing but pain and
suffering to those other races with whom we should instead learn from and cherish.
Kits looked up at the pitiful Saturn 1B. To him it was nothing more than an
antiquated relic from an age long forgotten. There was nothing that could be learned from
studying such nonsense. The technology that was being developed during his time
didnt even resemble the mechanically imperfect theories used to construct and fly
this ship. This was Kits primary problem with the study of history. To his thinking
it was absolutely useless. Only the future mattered, all that was in the past was in the
past, so to speak.
Almost as if he could read his thoughts, Ganycledes addressed the Commodore
directly, You dont feel that us Histoligions are a useful part of the
galaxys social structure. You feel that our religious scholastics provide nothing to
those who choose to follow them.
Kits stared at the man who seemed to know everything about him, No, I do not
believe that anything useful can come from such fanciful spirituality or even from the
study of things that have proven, by example of their fading into history, that they are
not important to the evolution of humanity.
Oh ho! My dear man, you are quite wrong in you assumptions. Everything that
occurs, no matter how significant or Earth rattling, so to speak, is destined
to fade into history. The Hobbicronium Industrial Empire will eventually fade out of human
remembrance. Even the Vestes name will someday be forgotten. And if, at some point, your
Rebellion is successful and the Empire is thrown down and you are placed in a
position in which you are able to enforce upon the galaxy those ideals that you feel are
important; even then, your name and the cause for which you have fought all these long
years will fade away into near nothingness. And only those dedicated to recreating the
forgotten past, such as the Histoligions, will be able to wipe the dust that will have
shaded your memory in humanitys history.
I do not do what I do in order to be remembered and recorded in the logs of
human history, Kits argued, attempting to cling to his own assumptions about the
Histoligions pointless endeavor.
I will not argue the point with you. We simply have a difference of opinion,
thats all, Ganycledes settled the discussion, Besides; I am not one to
defend the logistics of the Histoligious Faction. Between you and me, Im not exactly
their most popular follower; if you could even consider me a follower of their Faction to
begin with. I was excommunicated many years ago for having radical ideas
concerning the practices of history and suggesting that we branch out in our quest for
knowledge to include the rest of the galaxy. I feel that by limiting themselves to Earth,
the Histoligions are ignoring another large gap in humanitys forgotten history
between their first steps into space and the first entries into the Historical Annals that
are now diligently kept.
Kits collected himself from the initial shock that he had been battling with since
the onset of the conversation. He looked the man up and down again, attempting to uncover
some truth about his character in either his posture or his drab manner of dress. But
there was nothing to learn from Ganycledes outward appearances. He stood, calmly
admiring the Saturn 1B, which he had just moments ago condemned as one of the originating
causes of the galaxys suffering. It seemed to the Commodore that the bizarre man had
no idea that there was a profoundly awkward silence that now stood like a wall between all
three of them.
I am not interested in your involvement with the Histoligions, Kits
said, breaking the silence that had begun to uncomfortably weigh down upon him, I
only care about acquiring the information that I seek. Which, it appears, you already have
a detailed understanding of.
I do. And I have the answers to all of the questions that have been bouncing
around in your mind since I introduced myself. But, if youll follow me, I would much
prefer to conduct the remainder of this conversation in a more private setting,
Ganycledes explained, quietly motioning with his hands to several dozen men who had just
entered the museum. The group of men wore the thick, coarse white robes that were common
with the Histoligious police force. With their heavy hoods drawn over their heads, the
officials spread throughout the room quickly, purposefully searching for something or
Ganycledes quickly pulled the two men behind the Saturn 1B exhibit and through a
passageway that slid open at his command. Kits found himself temporarily blinded once the
door had been shut behind him, locking out all of the exterior light, but the Marcupicore,
which had never left Ganycledes side, suddenly began to glow radiantly, providing
the group with enough light to make their way down the steep stairwell that stood before
them. Kits was amazed to learn that Marcupicores had such an ability, but his attention
remained on the sudden appearance of the men that had just disrupted the bewildering
discussion he had been having with Ganycledes.
Who were those people? Were they looking for us? Answer me dammit! Kits
grabbed Ganycledes shoulder and spun him around. But the strange, eccentric man
merely held his index finger to his mouth in all seriousness and continued on his way
through the dark passage.
Finally the three of them, and the Marcupicore, found their progress down the
narrow hall headed off by a large stone doorway that signaled the end of the hall they
were in. Removing the purple feather from its place upon his hat, Ganycledes gently
brushed it across the stones surface in a circular motion. After the feather had
been returned to its proper place and several excruciating seconds had passed, the stone
barrier suddenly crumbled and fell to the floor with a resounding crash, leaving the path
clear for the unbelieving visitors to step through into a rather unremarkable and plainly
decorated room. Both Kits and Tulanko entered the room with a claustrophobic sense of
foreboding, as the room had no obvious exits and had only the hall from which they had
come as an escape route, which would undoubtedly lead them directly into the clutches of
the strangers who they had seen swarming the museum.
Against the far wall of the room stood a large, ornate desk, behind which
Ganycledes found a seat and his Marcupicore found a comfortable place to rest beside its
master. The mercenary waved his arms out wide in a welcoming gesture, at which time two
massive stone chairs, as if by magic, slid noisily across the floor and positioned
themselves conveniently behind both Kits and Tulanko. The two men took their seats warily,
unsure what to make of the tomblike atmosphere of this stone chamber, and privately, but
unconvincingly, explaining away the seemingly magical talents of their host as
nothing more than cheap parlor tricks and slight of hand.
Well, lets get down to business, shall we? Ganycledes suggested,
leaving no time for his two guests to contemplate the abnormalities they had witnessed in
their interactions with him up to that point.
I asked you who those men were up there. Are they the Histoligious police?
Are we in any danger here? Kits again demanded.
No, my friend. You are in no danger while upon Earths surface so long
as I permit you to travel by my side, Ganycledes smiled knowingly, You see, it
is I, and I alone, who is able to keep you from harms way. As for those men up there, they
are far, far worse than Histoligious police. They are Archbishops of the Foundational
Diocese, a vicious group of religious fanatics sent with direct orders to detain you and
your friend here. The Empire has regained much of the power it once enjoyed; much more
than you suspect my regrettably uninformed friend. Their influence is again strong in
nearly every Sector of the galaxy and it is only a matter of time before they succeed in
capturing you. But, he continued, A very wise man once said, in ages past,
that the pen is mightier than the sword, if you follow my meaning. In other
words, information is the bedrock from which true power is realized. And, it may please
you to know that, as of now, you have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the
individual who controls the single most extensive supply of noteworthy information in the
galaxy. The only vice (at least as far as I define the term) that I allow myself is an
unadulterated pride in my ability to know anything or, if I dont know it right off,
my ability to find it out, one way or another.
Im sorry, but youre not making all that much sense, Carl
interrupted, finally becoming fed up with the increasing ambiguity of Ganycledes
riddles, Are you trying to say that your access to the limitless, and equally
pointless, factoids of the galaxy makes you an imposing figure; a powerful figure? I mean,
sure you can pull a few tricks out of your sleeve, perform a few stunts with magnets, but
what does that knowledge accomplish? You cant possibly expect us to believe that you
and your ridiculous feather can be of any help to us in our battle against the
Ganycledes bent forward over his desk to stare down at Carl with an uncompromising
smile, revealing a row of sparkling white teeth, each of which had been filed down to fine
points. Carl shuddered at the demonic enjoyment that he took in the uneasiness that his
mannerisms had inspired in the Doctor. He shrank back in his own hard chair and proceeded
to fully remove himself from the remainder of the conversation. Commodore Kits, in turn,
leaned forward eagerly, just beginning to grasp the meanings behind the unconventional
mans speech and the truths he had been getting at with his talk of power and
What do you want in exchange for the information that I want? Kits
finally asked, tearing the curtain of ambiguity that had shielded the conversation since
this man had introduced himself.
I want nothing more and nothing less than to accompany you on your journey to
acquire what you so desperately seek. I am, after all, a lover of knowledge and history.
And I am confident that the information you will receive from me will become a deciding
factor in the outcome of humanitys history over the next several thousand years. But
you will not get your information until we are all safely aboard a secure space craft and
far from Earths untrusting orbit.
Both Kits and Ganycledes stood to shake hands, Kits glancing hesitantly over at the
Marcupicore, unsure whether or not the creature was to accompany the party. His question
was immediately answered when Ganycledes, once the deal was made official, commenced in
gathering the creature in his arms and announcing that he was ready to leave that instant,
as he had already made the necessary arrangements, procuring a sturdy ship for their
travel and the supplies they would need to make it to McCarthydom.
McCarthydom? came the simultaneous responses from both Kits and
Yes, McCarthydom. I have long wanted to see that reportedly magnificent
station with my own eyes, and, besides, our business lies in that Sector of the galaxy, so
the trip will not be without a more meaningful purpose, and with that Ganycledes
started off down the dark passage again, again using the Marcupicore as a makeshift
lantern. As if suddenly struck with a new thought, the mercenary spun on his heel and
said, Take into account that my presence on this mission does not, in any way,
denote my support of your cause. I rarely agree to burn any of my bridges by declaring
definite alliances of any kind. I am here merely as an observer and recorder of the
historical facts and significances that I am confident will occur. At the first hint of
trouble, however, you will be given no warning that I have abandoned your company. I will
simply disappear and, most likely, you will never see or hear from me again.
And with that, Ganycledes again resumed his march down the hall, leaving the two
companions to wonder at the unbelievable little man they were taking as a traveling
Tune in next month, and the months after that, for the epic
continuations of this tale of heroic strength and the fight for creative freedoms in the
Go back to part 1: Conscience
of a Commodore
Return to Preface