Time of the Hawk:
not the only one who has wondered what went on during that three weeks
on the Searcher before Hawk's final sentencing by the Galactic
Council. There have been other stories, well done and
thoughtful. I add mine to the mix and hope you all like it.
The characters of Buck Rogers and Hawk belong to Universal, et al and were borrowed gratefully and returned without any residual effects.
Hawk gazed at the dark
ceiling above him, trying to figure out another way to escape.
He couldn’t think of a thing.
Only a few days ago, he had been caught just a short distance
from the hanger bay. Now
there were two guards outside his door instead of one.
They were fools, these
humans, and had been easily tricked into complacency.
He had acted calmly, had talked to the various humans—the old
scientist, Dr. Goodfellow, Admiral Asimov, Colonel Deering, the doctors,
the lawyers, and everyone else they had sent to study, question or
coerce him to their way of thinking.
He had even let Rogers teach him 10 and 11, although he thought
the game generally a waste of time and energy.
His only amusement came when he beat the human in a hand.
Rogers had been shocked out of his self-satisfied smugness when
that had happened.
However, it had also been
Rogers who had seemingly not been fooled by his demeanor and behavior.
It was Buck Rogers who had caught him trying to escape. Hawk continued to stare at the ceiling of his cabin.
But he couldn’t force himself to hate this human for thwarting
him. Rogers was the
instrument, along with himself, of his beloved Koori’s death.
Why could he not bring the same anger into his heart over that as
he had over the deaths of his people?
Why did he feel respect, even some semblance of friendship toward
this human? Rogers had
tracked him down, had captured Koori, had fought him on his own terms
and almost won, and yet . . . yet Hawk found himself begrudgingly
admiring this human.
Make-make, why do you
torment me with enemies who act like friends? he
cried in his heart. Why
was I delivered into the hands of such creatures?
I could have stood it better if they had beat me, cursed me, put
me into a dark and dank cell. But no, these humans treat me with respect, even those who
are afraid of me!
He had been here for two weeks and had only a few days before his
trial began. Trial!
Hawk snorted derisively. As
though this mockery to come was a real trial.
The closest thing to a trial he had had among these people was
the combat he had engaged in with Rogers.
He wondered who would have won had not the old mystic interfered.
Everyone, including Rogers, had wondered who had been responsible
for that, but Hawk didn’t. The old man had stopped the fight, causing his capture.
Perhaps it was the road to a quick reunion with Koori.
The old healer knew of his longing for his beloved.
That had to be it, he thought.
And soon it would be a reality because he would never submit to
human justice. Never!
“Koori,” he murmured
and felt an answering pain in his heart.
There was a soft buzz at
his door. When he didn’t say anything, the door opened.
Rogers stood in the doorway, wreathed in the light from the
“You awake, Hawk?” he
Not a terribly intelligent
question, Hawk thought, but he answered anyway.
“If I had been asleep, I would be awake now.”
Rogers took a step and
then stopped. “I believe
you just took a stab at a joke,” he said and then came all the way
into the room. The door slid shut and the cabin was once again bathed in
soft twilight dimness.
“I was only stating a
fact, but you may take it as you will,” Hawk replied, reaching behind
him and raising the level of the lighting enough to allow the human to
see him clearly.
“Okay, let me try again.
Can you stand a bit of human company?”
“Although I prefer to be
alone, I do not mind your company,” Hawk answered.
“If you are here to talk
to me about the trial, please do not waste your time.
I will not argue with humans in a human court, nor will I
acknowledge human ‘justice.’”
Rogers sighed, sat down in
a chair and leaned back. Finally
he drew a deep breath and said, “Back on Throm you said that humans
didn’t have feelings.”
Hawk paused and remembered
the time to which Rogers referred.
It was during their agonizing journey to get help for Koori.
He found himself remembering the rest of that journey. And he remembered the anguish on the face of the human
when he heard of Koori’s death. He
remembered and thought of his words from that time.
And he thought of his treatment on this ship and of the human
across from him. “I will
admit that I was wrong in that regard.”
Softly, Rogers said,
“Maybe you are wrong about the rest, too.
Maybe most humans are caring, fair-minded creatures.
Maybe they can be trusted to do the right thing most of the time. Maybe, if you state your case the same way you told me what
happened, you may be surprised at how fair we humans can be.”
Hawk paused only a moment,
wondering if there was even a shred of veracity in Buck Rogers’
statements. But he
could not back down now. Never
would he submit. “No!
I will not acknowledge a human court.”
“Then you would die?
Without a fight?” Rogers’ voice grew louder with the passion
of his words. “Do you
think Koori would want you to just give up?
Lie down and die? Don’t
you think that demeans your struggle against those who killed your
Hawk jumped up and in an
instant was standing over the human.
His eyes blazed with fiery indignation and his hands were balled
Rogers didn’t even
flinch although his eyes continued to lock onto Hawk’s.
When he spoke again, his voice was softer, although the feeling
was still there. “Hawk, I
wasn’t trying to diminish your memories . . . your relationship with
Koori, but I simply can’t believe that she would want you to throw
your life away, not when there is so much before you.”
Hawk backed off and
finally sat down, forcing his anger into something he could control.
How dare this human presume to know my beloved Koori.
After several minutes of
silence, Rogers murmured, “Hawk, I do know how you feel.”
Again, Hawk’s eyes
blazed and his heart felt resentment and righteous anger.
“You do not know how I feel.
You know nothing about how I feel!
You do not know anything about having your family, your people,
your life stripped away.” Hawk
gazed into Rogers’ eyes and saw something that surprised him.
He saw a deep sadness in them, not pity, but sadness, as though,
he, too, had lost someone dear to him.
In a calm voice, Rogers
said, “You are wrong again, Hawk.
I can’t remember what I have said since we met, but apparently
not enough for you to fully know my background.”
Hawk wondered at a few things he had heard, and a few strange things that Rogers had said, things that made no sense to him. But he said nothing, knowing that no one could even begin to understand the pain he was feeling.
“I was born in the Earth
year 1957,” Rogers began.
“You speak in riddles
and impossibilities,” Hawk retorted.
“It’s not an impossibility. I was born and lived during the years before the great holocaust. At the time of the holocaust I was sitting like one dead, cryogenically frozen in a space ship, not to be awakened for over five hundred years.” Buck leaned forward and gazed deeply into Hawk’s dark eyes. “By the time I was awakened, my family was dead, my people were gone, my life as I knew it was totally changed. I was alone. Sometimes I still feel alone, even though I have been in this century for almost a year now.” He rubbed his hand across his face and then continued. “I saw the grave of my parents and brother and sister, the grave of people that I had seemingly seen only a couple of days before. My home was ruins, my fiancé dead, my old life gone, buried beneath the ashes of radioactive rubble.” He paused and took a breath. “I had to reach out, try to make a new life, adapt, find something to make living worthwhile. At times it was tough, but I think I have. If you will let us, we can help you do the same thing.”
Hawk saw the intensity of
the man’s passion, his feelings and his concern for him, and he
paused, not giving the ready retort that was on his lips.
Finally, he said, “I feel your emotions; your caring for my
welfare. I will not contest
that, since I have great respect for that and for you.” Hawk studied
Buck Rogers even more intently and saw something, something that made
him wish he had met these people here on the Searcher before he
had met the bigoted and callous humans on Throm. He sighed. “You
still have your own kind, Captain.
You are still among humans.”
“Buck,” Rogers said,
repeating the same thing he had said every time they had been together.
Buck looked at him in quick surprise, and Hawk felt a quirking of amusement. That was the first sign of familiarity Hawk had shown the human since they had met.
Quickly returning to the matter at hand, Buck said, “That is true, Hawk. And I won’t refute the fact that you are the last of your people. But even for me there are differences; even humankind is different from what it was over five hundred years ago. I still feel alone and often lonely.” Buck got up. “Hawk, all I ask is that you think on what I have said. It’s possible to make a life here and now and among those you once considered your enemies. It’s possible and I want to help you do that.”
“I will think on your
words, but regardless, I cannot acknowledge the human court.”
Hawk got up as well. “Do
not ask me to beg for leniency from humans.
Do not ask me to plead for justice from those who murdered my
people. I cannot do that.”
Buck shook his head and
sighed. “Hawk, don’t ask me to give up trying to save your skin,
either. I kind of like
“I think in the short
time I have known you, I could not ask that of you.
But be aware that you are requesting an impossible thing of
me,” Hawk said softly. This
man he would miss when he was executed.
Surprisingly, he found he would miss the others on board this
ship, too. Life was strange, but that, too, would cease to bother
him in about a week’s time. Then
suddenly he felt something new, something that slightly disturbed him.
Where before he had felt a longing to join Koori, now Hawk felt
that longing intermingled with a sense of sadness.
The door slid open and Buck left, his head slightly bowed at what
the human must consider another lost battle.
The door slid shut.
“I kind of like you, too, Buck Rogers,” Hawk murmured to the closed door.