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Forerunners of Bosk

 

 

 

 

 

Revenge and survival are the key elements in this story of a kidnapping that will test our heroes' deepest resolve.

 

 

Buck Rogers, Wilma Deering, Hawk, Twiki and all the rest of the Buck Rogers universe belong to Universal and the Dille estate, and although I have a tendency to treat them all somewhat badly, I will return them in one piece....  I promise.   Beros, Ril, LeeGrand and the other heroes and sleezebags are my creations.  If you like them, and want to borrow them, please ask me first.  BTW, I took great liberties with the name and character of Barney.  The only similarity to the Barney in the comic creation is the name, basically.  In the original writers bible for the TV series, he was a black man.  I don't remember if he was in the original comic series.  My apologies if my use offends anyone.

 

 

 

“When you’re weary, feeling small

When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all…all...

I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough

And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

 

When you’re down and out

When you’re on the street

When evening falls so hard

I will comfort you

I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes

And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down.”

 

(Bridge over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel)

   

 

Prologue

 

Captain William Buck Rogers shivered under his blanket and then came fully awake when something crawled across his legs.  He jerked up and with gloved hands, grabbed at the creature that was now skittering up the rock wall.  His gloves protected him not only from the cold, but from the pain of the arthropod’s stinger.

With a speed he wouldn’t have believed possible only a scant week or two earlier, Buck grabbed the rock lobster by the tail, swung it in an arc and smashed it head first against the wall.  It twitched as Buck released it, the dangerous stinger just beginning to penetrate his glove.  His hand was still sore from his near disastrous attempt several nights before when he had not been quick enough and the stinger had not only penetrated the material of his glove, but his flesh as well.  He had lost the meal, been slapped silly for breaking curfew and endured the even more painful ministrations from the medical officer in this hell hole. 

Buck reached down and grabbed the still slightly quivering creature and quickly finished the job of dispatching it.  He felt his stomach softly rumbling in anticipation of the midnight snack.  At first he had been squeamish about eating the uncooked flesh, for all that he had indulged in oysters on the half-shell and sushi in his distant past, but the last weeks of near starvation diet along with the hard labor in the mines had taken care of any fastidiousness that might have remained.  This was protein, pure and simple.  It was life.  And it’s certainly much better than that swill Simson hands out twice a day! 

In the semi-darkness that was almost a constant in these caves, Buck pulled apart the back shell, exposing the fatty flesh of the tail.  His stomach growled more loudly now and he looked around to see if a guard had heard him.  Punishment for breaking curfew was swift and harsh, as he had already found out several times in the past.  But there was no sound other than that of other men sleeping.  With meticulous care, he drew out the meat and then in four bites had it eaten.  Like Cajun crawdads, he mused, pleased with his catch, but wishing there had been about four more of the creatures.  The shell was tossed out of his cell, thrown as far as he could down the rock wall corridor.  Everyone would look innocent in the morning when the head honchos wanted to know who had littered the cave, Buck thought, smiling at the scene. 

With a sigh, he pulled the blanket over his body and tried to get back to sleep.  That, too, was at a premium.  No sunrise to sunset hours here.  You worked from the time you got your breakfast to the time you shuffled to the mess for dinner, which immediately preceded a return to this five by eight that was his home right now.   Lately, Buck had crashed as soon as the cell door closed behind him.  He laughed softly to himself.  They economized, this bunch did.  No force field doors in this prison, these were solid, cold steel bars. 

But as much as he needed and wanted to sleep, it simply wouldn’t come.  Buck wondered where Hawk was, how he was doing.  The last time he had seen the Tane-rapanui was that brief moment after that time he had been so sick.   

Suddenly he saw Wilma in his mind and he wished she were next to him in reality.   So warm and comforting.  What he wouldn’t give for some warmth right now.  Then Buck jerked up in shock, feeling the shame and black despair envelop him.  No! Damn you, no you don’t!  I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy much less the woman I care so much for!  As the despair and guilt threatened to totally engulf him, Buck put his head in his hands-- gloved hands that were scarred and calloused in even the short time that he’d been here.  

How long? he thought.  Weeks, months, eternity?  Too long.  He gazed at the markings on the wall, they had stopped some time ago and there were thirty marks on the wall, maybe more.  He had given up counting; it was too energy consuming, and no one cared anyway.  This was the farthest Hellhole from the farthest star from the farthest galaxy that could be imagined.  This was what he had awakened to after five hundred years, eternity in a hell worse than anything Dante could imagine. 

The ‘Human Rights’ movement picked the best place imaginable to slam-dunk their enemies.  For that matter it was the repository for all those who had made powerful enemies.   And Buck Rogers had given up; calmly, quietly given up and let his enemies win.   Erik Kormand had won, Flagg had won, the whole nasty universe had won. 

Then anger flared, white hot and Buck let it, feeling the adrenalin give him strength and power.   Power was something woefully lacking in his life recently.  Power, resolve, direction, freedom, love, caring.   How dare they use me like this!  How dare they!  Give up?  “Like bloody damn hell I will!” he shouted, not caring that he was breaking curfew.   He could see Kormand in his warm, comfortable cell on Cronis laughing at his predicament.  He could see it and it made the flames of his anger surge even hotter, tempering a new resolve.   Like a fire it purged the despair, and the anger and resolve became a nova that overwhelmed and eliminated the guilt, hopelessness and lethargy.     

Then as the noise of an irritated guard came to his ears, Buck scrunched down under his covers and tried to act like the beaten, broken man that he had almost become.  One who now only cared about eating, sleeping and staying warm.    Like hell I’m giving up, he repeated in his mind, as the guards began their examination of the prisoners. 

 

 

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