Forerunners of Bosk
Buck sat in the
administrator’s conference room at a table that comfortably held about a
dozen people. There were half
again that many. Besides
Barney, Ril, Dr. Burrows and himself, there were the prisoners and guards
who had been the most helpful in keeping the peace.
They had formed the liaison between the Arator employees and the
prisoners. Of all the people
who had been in the mines, there were only a couple dozen who still had to
be incarcerated. Buck
attributed it to the work of the people before him.
“I came across some things
with Captain Mentua’s help that might be of great benefit to those who
call this hemisphere home.” Everyone
seemed to perk up his ears. Buck
continued. “It would seem that the eastern hemisphere is becoming more
interested in expansion than in the paltry amount of graft money that the
Arator Company has been paying them over the years.” He paused. “The
Bosk Free Government has rescinded Arator’s exclusivity clause to this
continent and is giving settlement rights to those who will improve the
land on this hemisphere.” Buck
paused again for a moment to let that bit of information sink in.
“It appears from Dr. Beros’ notes and communiqués, the company
was planning on building top side resort and horticulture facilities and
then laying claim to the continent as a free and self governing country.
I daresay that would allow them to follow the letter of the vague
eastern continent ruling and still allow virtually no access to this
continent by outsiders.”
One of the former guards
“What’s on your mind,
Kurtz?” Buck asked.
“How does that affect
Smiling, Buck replied
smugly. “We beat Arator at their own game.”
Barney’s eyes lit up in
comprehension. Dr. Burrows
sat quietly but Buck knew he had figured it out.
“We claim this as our own
country,” Barney said.
“Men are already on the
surface farming and hunting and building cabins,” Barney added.
“And if we allow the
eastern continent expansion rights to parts of this continent they should
be happy to acknowledge our sovereignty,” Buck said.
“What do we call this new
country then?” Burrows asked.
“I leave that to you,
gentlemen,” Buck replied. “But
we had better come up with some kind of name, charter or by-laws and
leader framework soon. I think the company is suspicious.”
“Perhaps we should vote on
a name,” Barney suggested. “And
at least a temporary leader, then we do the other things.”
“Go for it,” Buck said.
“As soon as my ship comes I am leaving.”
“Perhaps a choice of
several names that we can vote on?” Ril suggested, suddenly excited.
“Same with the leader.”
“Don’t make it too
complicated,” Buck warned. “You
can vote on an interim leadership quickly and come up with some kind of
working constitution and anything that needs to be amended or added can be
And that was how, slightly less than one day later, Buck found
himself the president, at least temporarily, of the continent/country of
New United States. Barney was
his vice president and the instigator of the name.
Buck had protested at first, arguing that it wasn’t a group of
states, but Barney had argued that point saying that they were from all
over the galaxy and there was an underground state, and an above ground
state. Buck had then shut up, and while still
embarrassed, he was pleased that in some small way, his home country lived
on. Still, Buck had won on
the point of putting ‘new’ in front of the name.
Nothing could ever be ‘his’ United States, nor would he want it
to be. But now these people
had a new chance to make something better.
Now he had to push this
through the Bosk Free Republic on the eastern continent and then through
the Galactic Council on Cronis.
All the while keeping the Arator Company off their backs.
A technician set up the
communications with the Bosk Free Government and Buck sat down in front of
the communicator. Until
the other party agreed to vid communications, this was audio only.
“President Korellian, this is….”
He was cut off by a terse,
clipped voice. “I am not
sure what tactic Dr. Beros is using now, but our constitutional revision
has been ratified and is irrevocable.”
Buck took a deep breath,
willing the man on the other end to listen to him.
“President, if you will allow me.
I am Captain William Buck Rogers, president of the New United
States. I would like to
discuss terms of recognition and emigration between our two continents.”
There was only the sound of
electronic background noise for a couple of moments.
The technician and Barney grinned at each other and Buck had to
work hard to keep from doing the same thing.
Evidently Beros had made life miserable for the eastern continent
politicos while this was going on. If
the former administrator was as ‘in-your-face’ with Korrelian as he
was with the prisoners then it was no wonder the president was so testy.
Finally Buck spoke again, “President Korrelian, are you still
“Yes, I am.
May I ask if you represent the Arator Company?”
In fact, we are planning on vacating Arator interests as soon as it
is feasibly possible. Some of
our citizens have already build dwellings on the surface and are
harvesting local fruits and vegetables.
More are planning to go to the surface even today.
Anything that belongs to the Arator Company will be left for them
to pick up, if they so choose.” Buck
paused to take another deep breath. “In
fact, the governing body of New United States is willing to work out a
contract with the Arator Company, provided, of course, that they are
willing to accept the sovereignty of this continent’s government.”
“New United States?”
Korrelian asked, his voice holding a puzzled note.
By the provisions stated in the revised planetary charter, this
group of individuals has met the conditions of legally forming an
independent and self-governing body and claiming the land of this
continent.” Buck paused
again. “We want to
work very closely with your government, Mr. President.
We are eager for those on your continent who wish to, to settle
this new and verdant land.”
The vid screen came to life
and Buck found himself looking into the dark brown eyes of his eastern
continent counterpart. The
man studied him for a moment even as Buck did the same.
“While what you are saying sounds very promising, Captain Rogers,
may I assume that you are a prisoner?”
The expression showed a slight amount of reserved doubt.
“And that your rank, like your government, could simply be
shallow graspings for a way out of imprisonment?”
The man in the screen gazed
hard at him as though trying to discern his thoughts.
The eyes seemed hard, but Buck could see a glint of something else
Korrelian’s face was totally impassive. Buck could hear the murmuring of
voices behind him, but without taking his eyes off of the man in the
screen, he cut the protests off with an off-screen gesture.
It seemed at present the eastern continent leader was neither
believing nor disbelieving him.
“President Korrelian, I
don’t blame you for your reticence.
This has been a great change for us as well.”
Understatement, Buck thought before continuing.
“One of our techs is sending out the framework of our
constitution and the conditions of recognition.”
He leaned forward. “I
am exactly who I say I am. My
commission is real, granted by the first United States government and
honored by Earth Directorate. I
am, or at least was, at my kidnapping, a senior exo on board the Earth
exploration ship Searcher. You
can contact Cronis to verify. In
fact, I plan on contacting Cronis after I am finished speaking with
you.” He smiled.
“I believe you put some qualifier in your new planetary charter
by-laws about galactic recognition of any continental claims?”
Korrelian nodded, a half
smile on his lips. “Yes,
there is.” He looked at someone off screen, then turned back to Buck.
“Captain Rogers, or should I say President?”
Buck winced mentally.
“I am more comfortable with plain Buck, however this is a fairly
formal setting so whichever title you prefer.”
Still smiling, Korrelian
leaned back. “Captain, your
claim as to your identity has been verified by voice print as well as vid
I.D. Your initial claim to rights of sovereignty has to be decided
by our governing council.” He
paused. “Your rights of
recognition by galactic entities will be tested very soon.
One ship just entered our solar system and another is on its way.
Both have asked for contact with Arator Company representatives.”
“Can you give us identity,
Mr. President?” Buck asked. “Our
sensors aren’t very good at that range.”
He didn’t doubt that one was the Draconian vessel that the Arator
Company had sent a communiqué about requesting the release of Tigerman.
Korrelian’s smile was more
open now, almost conspiratorial. “They
will be contacting you, Captain.” Seeing
Buck’s chagrined look, he continued.
“You have succeeded in overthrowing one of the most powerful
companies in the galaxy and in setting up a fledgling government, surely
you can talk ships from two galactic entities into recognizing your claim.
I will let you know a good time for a meeting.”
And he closed the connection.
“Not very helpful, was
he?” Ril asked.
“Helpful enough,” Buck
said. “Actually I think he gave more than I could have expected.
He’s covered himself if we should fall on our faces.”
“I wonder what two planets they are from?”
“One’s undoubtedly from
Draconia, since that was who the Arator communiqué said was coming for
their man,” Buck replied, glancing at Tigerman.
The felinoid only grunted non-commitally.
“I can’t even venture a guess on the second one, but I have to
go and get a cup of coffee or whatever that stuff is that substitutes for
it, or I’ll fall asleep talking to them.
You and Barney know the drill, you deal with them until I get
“Sure thing, Mr.
President,” Ril said with a grin.
Buck grimaced as he left the
room. “And don’t forget to put in the call to Cronis, too,”
he called over his shoulder. Ril’s
good-natured laugh followed him out of the room.
Buck wondered about the
second ship as he walked into the mess room.
Who could they represent? Could
Hawk have finally succeeded? It
had been so long that he had worried that something had happened to his
friend, but could the second ship be the Searcher or some
representative vessel of Cronis? The
thought made him forget to add anything to his drink to temper its bitter
taste. He turned back toward
the communications center, suddenly awake and totally hopeful.
Ardala looked smugly at the
purplish, blue-green planet swinging below her.
She would soon accomplish her mission, small as it might be to
others, independent of Kane or anyone else.
“Call the Arator Company,” she ordered.
Within a minute the
communications tech looked up in puzzlement.
“Your Highness, they claim the Arator Company is no longer in
charge. They say we are
dealing with the New United States, a free and sovereign nation.”
“New United States?”
Ardala asked, equally puzzled. Where
had she heard that one? Buck
Rogers! That was the empire he had come from. Where in the galaxy had a faraway planet like Bosk come up
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Tell them I demand to
speak with their leader,” she said tersely, moving in front of the vid
Another minute and the
communication tech looked up again. “Your
Highness, they are locating their leader.
The second in command is available in the meantime.”
“Very well. I will
give my greetings.”
The tech nodded and turned
back to his console. Soon
Ardala was gazing at a very large black man.
She wondered how he could have survived in the mines, figuring him
to be taller than her former slave, Pantherman.
“Your Highness, it is an
honor,” he said with a slight bow.
“To whom am I speaking?”
she asked, haughtily.
“Barney Brock, Highness.
I am the vice president of New United States.”
“It was my understanding
that the Arator Company owns the mines,” Ardala pointed out.
She thought it rather ironic that the head of the company had no
idea that one of his mines was no longer a part of his organization.
Curiosity tugged at her and demanded that she continue talking to
this former slave in order to find out more information. Besides, Tigerman was down there and he was the reason she
had traipsed halfway across the galaxy.
“The Arator Company does
own the mining equipment and some mineral rights, but the uh, workers have
formed their own government.”
He paused. “The
eastern continental government allowed for it.”
Ardala smiled coldly.
“In other words, the slaves revolted.”
“There are many company
employees who are part of our new government.”
Someone out of view caught
the vice president’s eye. Brock
nodded and then turned to Ardala again.
“My apologies, Princess. Our
president is here to speak with you.”
“About time,” Ardala muttered. Suddenly, in front of her was Buck Rogers. She gasped in surprise before she could totally compose herself.
|Forerunners of Bosk Prologue|
|Buck Rogers Contents|