Forerunners of Bosk
Hawk watched as several of
the prisoners were escorted to different areas, following their
probationary time, and new prisoners were brought in.
One, a hulking, muscle-bound humanoid growled continually at his
captors, his golden-flecked eyes pools of righteous indignation.
His bare head was marked with stripes, and that and the way he
moved indicated a felinoid background.
“Fight and you die,
beast,” one of the two guards escorting him said.
The human had a larger stun stick than the guards normally carried.
“Why they accept these uncontrollable animals, I’ll never
know,” he muttered.
His companion laughed
mirthlessly. “Comply and it will go easier for you,” he said to
the prisoner. The
felinoid prisoner growled again and was stunned on the leg.
The prisoner flinched but made no other sound. They passed directly in front of Hawk’s cell and that was
when he realized that the new prisoner had shackles on. As the felinoid passed by his cell, the two prisoners locked
eyes briefly. Hawk tried to
convey something to give encouragement to the new prisoner but he didn’t
know if he succeeded. He
felt so little of it himself. The
felinoid was led past him and to a cell further down the corridor, where a
clanking of metal told Hawk that the new prisoner had been introduced to
A fierce rattling, a cry and
then a loud roar told Hawk that the new prisoner didn’t care for his
home. Hawk smiled fleetingly.
The two humans finally walked past him, muttering foul epitaphs
that he felt would have made even Buck blush, and his friend had told him
that he had heard them all.
Hawk felt anew the sting of
resentment. Despite being
told that the probationary time was approximately two weeks, Hawk had
counted the days and knew he had been in the prison for over two months.
Even though he was a fairly solitary person, especially as far as
humans were concerned, the weeks of non-interaction with anyone except for
commands from guards was taxing even to him.
Hawk felt the need for some kind of expression and the need for
companionship. Even touches
of Koori were absent in this cold and dark mine, as though her spirit
could not come into this evil place. Not that he could blame her.
The thought of even her spirit here in these caves seemed repugnant
to him. Hawk sighed and lay
back down, hoping to catch a glimpse of his beloved in his dreams as he
had done a few nights before. The
cold slab made him shiver and he drew the blanket around him tightly, his
thoughts going again to the unfairness of his imprisonment.
Most of the prisoners he had
seen appeared to be human or near enough human to pass as fully human.
But even in his antipathy toward most of the human race, Hawk felt
an overwhelming sadness at what was being done to his fellow prisoners,
human and non-human alike. To
be punished for a crime was one thing, but to be so cruelly dealt with,
treated like the lowest of organisms, was a travesty.
He wondered just how many of his fellow prisoners were like him,
objects of someone’s vindictiveness.
Anger burned in his heart but it was quickly extinguished in the
thoughts that no matter what he felt about the situation, there was
nothing he could do about it at the present time.
If it were not for the fact that Buck was also here, possibly still
sick, Hawk would eventually force his jailers to kill him.
He would never endure months and years of this dark and evil
Hawk remembered his last
meeting with Sky Mother, her soothing touch that was almost like a
blessing and he remembered her words, which now made at least partial
sense. ‘Star Warrior Hawk,
your path to the reunification of our people will lead through the darkest
bowels of hell and the coldest heights.
But I see it happening. Stay
close to what you have but open your heart to what you see.’
‘Darkest bowels of
hell?’ Yes, that made sense, he thought, looking around.
The rest of her words, he had no idea about, but Hawk certainly
hoped that it wasn’t as hard a way as this part of her promise was.
Then he took a bit of consolation that this was what she saw before
the other part of her ‘seeing.’ It
was a small consolation, though. Trying
to shut out everything but the need for sleep, Hawk pulled the blanket
even closer to him. He flexed
his fingers, missing the feel of his own gauntlets, his own clothing, that
which was utilitarian as well as a marking of his rank.
His thoughts as they had been before, continued to ask why, if Sky
Mother had some idea about this, why hadn’t she more specifically warned
him. Then he reminded himself that her insights were not specific.
They were more colors, emotions, quick sights rather than drawn out
and explicit visions of events. No
one could be faulted here just as no one individual could be flamed for
the series of events that led to him being the lone survivor of his clan.
Again his thoughts turned to
Koori and he suddenly felt a warmth that had been absent since he had come
to this dank and cold place. It
was not just an inner warmth, it was physical.
He felt a presence with him on the hard slab; he felt the touch of
softness on his chest, a hand—Koori.
A thrill ran through him and
Hawk almost jerked up in surprise.
‘No, my love,’ he heard
Koori soft musical voice say in his mind and heart.
‘Lay still. You will
not see me if you open your eyes, or feel me if you try to take me in your
arms,’ her spirit whispered. ‘Feel
me in spirit, my love. Let me warm your heart and your soul and that in
turn will warm your physical self.’
And he did, reveling in her
presence and her love. Oh,
Koori, he moaned in his mind. Stay with me.
Please stay with me.
‘For a while, Hawk. It is hard to come to this evil place, but I come to give you strength. I come because I love you. I will come whenever you need strength the most.’
In this place I always
need strength, Koori. Stay
with me always!
Her laughter electrified his
soul, filled his heart. ‘I
will be with you during your most difficult times.’
There will be times more
difficult than this? he asked,
somewhat inanely he thought, even as the thought crossed his mind.
There will. You will
need strength to leave your friend.’
We will leave, he thought,
not totally catching all she had said.
‘Strength, my love.’ She said no more, but Hawk felt her warmth, her love and her strength and he fell asleep feeling her touch and the memory of her embrace.
Tigerman grasped the bars of
his cell, growling softly under his breath, but when one of the humans
turned to him, stun gun ready, he backed away.
The manacles clinked softly as he sat down on the stone slab, but
the guard was content and continued on down the corridor.
thought, his anger bubbling like the lava pits of his home, Rrilling.
He could have used these chains and quickly killed those two puny
men before they could begin to subdue him.
But as before, there would have been more and more and when there
were enough, he would have been beaten into submission.
Just like before.
That was what the Draconian guards and androids had done when he
had first been taken. Tigerman
snorted in pleasure when he remembered how he had destroyed three androids
and broken two guards’ arms and another’s head before they had used
the net and stun guns on him. And
Kane! How he hated Kane! Tigerman knew that was the reason he was here.
His princess didn’t order his imprisonment, like she had before,
that time when he had let Buck Rogers go.
No, this was Kane. Again, Tigerman growled softly and held up his hands,
examining the chains and manacles.
He felt he could easily break these chains.
He felt a weakness in the metal.
However, he wouldn’t do that now.
Somehow he had to get out of this dark den of Ssess and if he broke
his chains now, they would only put on stronger ones.
It was hard, but he would wait.
His people knew how to wait.
It was enough right now that they knew that he was a Tigerman and
not some child’s velirian fluff pet.
He remembered the watcher in
the other cell. He appeared
to have something of the bird people in him. Maybe he was not full-blooded
as were the Watchers in the heights that he once saw when he was a child,
but of the same parentage.
Tigerman considered his
mistress and his choosing to be her protector.
He remembered the honor when, after the trials on his home world,
he was sent to Draconia to train to be the Princess Ardala’s personal
bodyguard, to give his life for her if need be.
He knew he had disappointed her a few times, he had sensed her
intense displeasure, even her anger.
He also knew he was less than the dust under the toes of Draconian
royalty, but of late he had felt something different from his mistress.
She had brought him back from the gaming pits where he had been
sent after he had failed to stop Buck Rogers from destroying the orbital
war machine. She didn’t have to bring him back. For laying hands on a royal daughter, he had deserved death.
For failing in his duties he had also deserved death.
Kane had said so. Kane!
Tigerman growled softly again.
He wished he had Kane here, then they would see how powerful he
Tigerman considered Captain
Rogers’ offer, seemingly so long ago.
He could have gone with the Earthman, been free.
Why had he refused? He
knew the penalties for what he had done.
So why had he stayed? Despite
what he had suffered at Captain Rogers’ hands, Tigerman knew he would be
fairly treated. Other than
that, though, he didn’t know what else to expect, and in that he was
afraid. Tigerman would be cut
off from all he knew, from the people and from the only life he knew.
And the thought of abandoning his Princess into the hands of others
was the biggest reason for his fear.
Whether she had put him to death as was her right or not, he could
not leave her. Especially in the hands of Kane. So he had stayed.
And his Princess had not put him to death.
She had eventually brought him back into her service.
Both times. It had been in time to save her from several assassins.
Tigerman thought again of
Buck Rogers. He had been part
of the cause of his downfall. While
the terran had beaten him several times in combat, sometimes by not so
honorable means, Tigerman did not scent evil in him.
But deep inside, the former royal bodyguard wanted a chance to
fight and beat the terran, fairly and without tricks.
Tigerman lay down on the
stone slab, annoyed that his feet stuck out over the edge.
The blanket was threadbare and too small as well, but his body heat
would be enough. Soon he was
sound asleep, but his senses were alert as was the habit of all of his
“What’s an OEI?”
Brisella asked, gazing up in open admiration at Dr. Goodfellow.
Wilma noticed and had to bite her lip to keep from smiling. She hoped the doctor would be up to dealing with the
outspoken and independent Neckarese woman.
Brisella Brock was filled with more surprises than one of Buck’s
birthday parties. She
sobered. Remembering that
first party brought Wilma back to what was most important.
Finding Buck and Hawk.
Dr. Goodfellow blushed
slightly, considerably flustered by her open admiration.
“Well, dear lady, I could bore you with the specifics, but,
uh…. Oh, dear!” The
old scientist coughed and cleared his throat.
Brisella continued to gaze at him and he coughed again, trying to
keep his mind on what he needed to do. “Basically, madam, it helps to
focus memories and displays them for us to see.”
“Oh, any memories?” she
asked dubiously, all the while still gazing at the old doctor.
“Any that we ask for,”
mischievously and this time Wilma smiled along with her.
“You wouldn’t want to see some of my memories,” Brisella
replied tartly, folding her arms over her chest.
“There are some things a lady doesn’t reveal.”
Wilma decided it was time to
jump in and save the scientist. Twiki
and Dr. Theopolis were standing nearby awaiting the results of the OEI. “Mrs. Brock, the OEI pretty much only focuses on the
specific memory asked about,” she said.
“So if you don’t ask me
about my Edward, I won’t show you anything about my dearly departed
“Correct, Mrs. Brock,”
Dr. Goodfellow said hastily.
“Oh, please call me
Brisella,” she said with a smile, looking directly into Dr.
“Uh, of course, Mrs., er,
“Then I suppose that it
would be all right,” Brisella said.
“Thank you,” Wilma said.
“We are hoping that some visual detail of what you have told us
might be the clue that we need to find Buck and Hawk.”
“I didn’t see much, but
I do want to help you. That
beau of your was nice and so was his friend.”
Dr. Goodfellow carefully and
gently fitted the OEI on the older woman’s head.
“It won’t hurt a bit, but let me know if it’s too tight.”
“I will,” Brisella assured him.
|Forerunners of Bosk Prologue|
|Buck Rogers Contents|