by Dan Swanson
The new weapon invented by Power Boy, the bond-breaker beam projector, which had been dubbed the Tri-B Cannon and was powered by Ted Knight’s infra-energy collectors provided by Vic Valor, had already led to significant changes in Juneon society. Though the new weapon wasn’t going to be enough to clear the entire world, the cleared area outside the city wall was growing as the jungle was slowly forced back. Smaller teams were now required to man the weapons on the walls, giving every citizen more leisure time, though most of them had no idea what to do with free time.
A group of people were already talking about trying to retake Telhas, the last major city which had fallen to the jungle. Many of the older citizens of Ralzen’s Forge had been born in Telhas and had evacuated when the city finally fell almost seventy years ago, and they finally believed that someday they might return to their homes. A smaller number, including Zarl Vorne, advocated recolonizing Midville, a much smaller town not far from Ralzen’s Forge. Zarl’s own family had died when a fiftieth-year jungle wave had crashed over Midville, and only a heroic effort by his own parents had gotten him to safety, but even Zarl agreed that freeing a larger city was probably a more effective use of resources, given the small total size of the current population.
The refit of the Tiak Avenger was going well. Three workers with super-powers equipped with the knowledge of a Lord of Order, along with the leading technologist on the planet, Amarla Zorne, led a crew of highly trained Juneon engineers and technicians in ripping out the trashed Galactic Patrol systems and installing replacements built with Juneon technology.
One of the areas where Terran technology was superior to Juneon was computers. The supercomputer and dozens of human KVM-style (keyboard, video, mouse) workstations Valor had purchased were being installed throughout the Tiak Avenger and interfaced with the Galactic Patrol systems. Power Boy became fascinated with computers, and he spent long hours exploring both the capabilities of the Tiak Avenger’s Terran/Galactic Patrol hybrid computer systems and the terabytes of Galactic Patrol-era data stored in the ship’s memory banks.
“Jim, you know how we were wondering about the ‘coincidence’ of the destruction of the Galactic Patrol, the sinking of Lemuria, and Juneo’s star turning green, all about one-hundred-thousand years ago? I’ve found some evidence that they might have been connected.”
Jim Chisholm had been using the power of the glove to remove burned and melted components from one of the power rooms, and he welcomed the excuse to stop and talk. “Tell me more.”
“Well, it turns out there used to be a Galactic Patrol base on Juneo back then. The Patrol never contacted Juneon civilization, as we had just barely achieved powered atmospheric flight. The base was hidden in a remote region on the southern continent, which was also the first continent overrun by the jungle.”
“Wow! Vic and I had better check it out once we get back with the white K. Probably nothing left after being buried in the jungle for that long. But the Patrol did have some pretty tough building materials.”
“There’s more, Jim. While the Patrol didn’t have a base on Earth, either, they were aware of Lemurian civilization, because a Lord of Chaos named Zanadu lived in Lemuria!”
“Marnu will be interested in that last bit. There must be a connection between Zanadu and Burr, somehow. We’ll get more details from Wotan; we’re not going back to Earth at this point! But I guarantee we’ll look up that G.P. base when we get back with the white kryptonite.”
“It’s been buried in the jungle for a hundred-thousand years,” Power Boy protested. “How could there possibly be anything left?”
“Well… your rocket was buried for that long, and it survived. Valor says the material your mom used is almost identical to Galactic Patrol hull ceramic. So anything inside a ship might have a chance. Guess we’ll know when we get back.”
After the refit was completed about three Earth months later, Amarla Varne and a young female captain in the Jungle Defense Force named Jessiat Gazil came on board the Tiak Avenger with a surprise request. “As you know, Juneo is already planning the launch of our own space program, and Captain Gazil has been selected to be the commander of our first spaceship. As a representative of the Juneon government, we would like to formally request that she be allowed to accompany you on the flight to Krypton and back. We feel that it is only fitting that we send someone to help in the mission to save our world, and the experience will be invaluable to her new career. Captain Gazil has been extensively trained and exhaustively tested, and she is a superior representative of the Juneon people. I’m sure she will be an asset to you.”
Neither Jim nor Vic objected to having another crew mate on what they expected to be a boring flight. A few days later, in a completely refitted Tiak Avenger, they left behind their second world in a month and headed for the system of the red star Rao, searching for the remains of the exploded world of Krypton.
To Be Continued in The Brave and the Bold: Vic Valor and Strobe: Crisis on Xenon