Buck Rogers in the 26th Century
Written by: Erin Weinstock
Novelization by: Anthony B.
I don't hold any of the copyrights in this story, and this story was made without profit.


Picasso's Pancake was the station used for Duer's fifth moon Mars colony project for the work of the Martian Special Construction Unit. Now, while everybody working on the colony's construction didn't live here, they did use it for holding needed equipment which did Conversion forming (changing gas elements of certain types into solid of liquid elements of other types and arranging them into, for example, different types of minerals, rocks, dirt, sand, water, and ice, as well as converting gas elements that cannot be breathed into ones that can be). Numerous ship-docking ports were on this port. The Picasso's Pancake looked just like a Rubik's cube, distorted in the sense of its blocks all being connected, but jumping out in every direction. This mass looked like it could have been the size of four football fields. This hovered in the mist of Duer's fifth moon; it's a Jovian world with oddly colored gases that moved about. Once in a while, lightning would jump up and down randomly through the area, but never hitting the station.

"What the hell is this?" a worker asked.

In a cramped office that had no door leading into it off the side of a corridor, a worker of the Martian Special Construction Unit sat at a desk top computer, as she read measurements of atmosphere and minerals. She was wearing day-to-day clothing, although her name badge clearly stated she worked at the station, by showing her employee ID number.

"This mineral type doesn't belong in the base, and not at all in such a high amount," the worker continued as she pointed a finger to the computer screen. She then quickly got out of her chair, and left the office, moving quickly down the hallway.


The female worker, and her Operations Commander, were both watching the computer monitor that was viewing the planet outside the station. The camera that was sending the computer its visual information zoomed in through the gasses, deeper into the planet, until a small, dark object with no real shape is seen. After a moment of viewing this, the camera zoomed in on the object. Lines flashed around the screen, pointing randomly all over the object. The lines then disappeared, and in a box, the name "Aisla 56" appeared.

"See!" the worker, said.

Looking away from the monitor, the worker looked at her surroundings of the room she was in. The Monitoring Observation room was shaped like a bubble that had no lights, just computers that coated the walls. This room worked by voice command: a worker would call out something like "Sector Number Ten," and the correct monitoring computer pushed out from the wall towards a set or three chairs. The platform on its center could move up into the room and up and out if needed. The pushed forward computer then had a keyboard slide out towards the nearest of the three chairs to it. This center-moving platform could swivel around to face any of the monitors by use of a joystick that was linked into the center chair.

"I see what? What's wrong here?" the operation's commander asked.

"Aisla 56 has no use in the Terra platform," the worker explained. "Aisla 56's only use is for making blaster cores of... well, many weapons, but none friendly with us with those that use them. I think someone has tampered with those that use them."

"How long have you been on shift here, Employee 18?" the operation's commander asked in a calm and over-friendly tone.

"Nearly seventy-two hours," the worker answered.

"You need to rest," he said, before addressing the room. "Withdraw console twenty-three." At this, the computer before them had its keyboard slide back under it, and moved back into the wall. "You're hallucinating, you need to return to your quarters on Duer."

"But sir?" the worker asked, confused.

"I'll investigate your hallucination for you. You need to rest," the operation's commander said.

"Sir!" the worker said, getting angry.

"Do you want to be replaced?" he asked. "I'm told people back home are lining up in droves to enter the position you're in."

"I'll return to Duer," the worker said, defeated.

The operation's commander then clicked a button by his chair, and they moved up through a hole leading out of the room. "Good girl."


A small shuttle that looked it could hold a maximum of two people was moving away from Picasso's Pancake.

Inside, the worker was pacing around in the ship with little room to do anything, looking very uneasy. She looked to have come to a decision, and quickly, she moved in to look at the ship's controls. She then looked at a tiny computer monitor that was built into it. The monitor read "Auto Command: Duer at X23 Y90 Z54." The worker now looked satisfied, at least mildly, and began to walk away.

However, beknowest to her, the computer monitor that said "Auto Command Duer set at X23 Y90 Z54 changed to another figured that read: Auto Command Duer set at X24 Y90 Z54."

At this, the shuttle moves even further away from Picasso's Pancake. After another moment, lightning struck up through the shuttle in a snap.


Chapter 1

In a bolt of action, in a flying leap, pincers open and flaring with life, a dragonfly robot lunged towards Buck. A bolt of blaster fire hit the robot, and it exploded into a million pieces. Standing besides Buck, while he put his blaster back into his holster, was a Martian Female Police Officer, Wilma, and Fox.

"Good reflexes," the female cop said.

"Thanks," Buck replied.


Inside the Base Alpha-Maris One, two men were walking very quickly down a hall.

"They're alive!" Jaco exclaimed.

"You didn't want any of us connected, and the escaped inmates seemed like the perfect setup," Rob replied.

"Paula!" Jaco said suddenly. "Paula could have done the job! That was a city police station; muggers, drunks and streetwalkers. They're not the deadly type, not to these Earth guys!"

"Then Paula?" Rob asked.

"Paula and I will take care of them," Jaco promised.


While Wilma stood, unhappy and impatient, Buck and Fox were sitting on the ground, leaning against a wall that was close to the entranceway into the Police Station. Both men were playing an observation game, pointing out ships as they moved by in the background.

"Martian Benz," Buck said.

"Alarr Transport and Saurian Speeder," Fox noted.

"Rachris Solar-20 and a Miahgo Air Rider," Buck observed.

"Do you two really need to be doing that?" Wilma asked harshly.

Buck pointed to his shot Z-87. "You killed Rocky; we're just passing the time best we can for our new ships to come."

"I didn't kill Rocky," Wilma replied. "Those gremlins did."

"You picked them off with your blaster," Fox said.

Wilma really wanted to reply to Fox's comment. However, she instead just looked away from the men. "Continue with your game."

Buck stood up while he said the next vehicle. "Martian Red Wing!"

Fox got up now, and the ship set down for a landing where they were. It crushes the Z-87; this bird is too big to be landing here. Copper-toned with lines that streaked it, it looked like it had emerged from some strange storm of wind. The windows were not visible in a normal sense. They were in places that would be expected to be on a ship, but the only means of seeing where they were are indents formed out like windows. This strange design in the windows is meant to act like darkened windows, or mirrored ones.

"Wilma, I think we should all have a moment of silence for Rocky, Arthur, and... Wilma, what was yours named?" Fox asked.

"It didn't need a name past its model and number," Wilma replied stiffly.

"It's bad luck not to name a ship," Fox said.

"Maybe that's how our gremlins came to be," Buck said to Fox.

"You're... you're kidding, right? I mean, it couldn't have been..." Fox stuttered.

"Then it's a better reality someone is out to kill us," Buck said.

In the rear of the ship, unseen to the trio, a Phasoft-door disappears and Jaco and Paula step out and walk around into their view.

"Sorry about your ships, but I assure you your replacement Martian ones will be much better," Jaco said warmly.

"I'm sure they're a wonderful gift, but we won't be needing them for long, only while we're working here on Mars. Which, by the way, where are they?" Wilma asked.

Paula began to walk around them, looking them up, and down with no real expression on her face.

"She is a very pleasant lady," Jaco said to Buck.

"Are you aware you just said that out loud?" Wilma asked him.

"You might not want to push her with that," Buck cautioned Jaco.

Jaco turned to Wilma. "We've come here to take you back to AM; they're waiting for you there."

"Um, why are you doing that?" Fox asked Paula, who was continuing to analyze them.

"Does it concern you?" Paula asked in a very flat tone.

"I don't find it normal," Fox replied.

"That doesn't concern me," Paula replied in her monotone.

Jaco, however, had enough enthusiasm in his voice for everyone. "Time we got moving!" He then motioned towards the ship. "Into the ship!"


The ship was now high over Mars. Inside, though, its interior looked like a gutted mini-van with passenger seats facing each other, with little padding on them. However, Buck's attention was not on the interior, but at something else. Fox noticed what Buck was doing, and he began to stare as well. Wilma noticed the two men, and turned to look at what they were.

Paula then came into the compartment, looking as cold as ever. In a swift action, she pulled out a small blaster and aimed it in front of her. Buck and Fox were sitting by each other, and Wilma was sitting besides Paula, where Paula was pointing her blaster at Fox's head.

"Oh god," Fox muttered.

"So you're the one out to do us in?" Buck said more than asked.

"I am one among many who doesn't want you here," was Paula reply.

Fox was now very worried about the blaster pointed at his head. "Guys?" He said pitifully.

"Why not on the rooftop?" Buck asked.

"It was a police station. Do I look insane?" she asked.

"Well, that's an interesting question."

At this, Wilma sharply hit Paula in the side, and Buck ducked down, lunging to pull up Paula's wrist to the hand that was gripping the blaster. Paula, in reaction to Buck and Wilma, fired without thinking. Then Paula gave Buck a swift kick in the gut, causing him to let her go. Both Wilma and Fox moved in to do a rather oddly formed tackle on Paula to pin her in a manner. All three fell to the floor. While and Wilma and Fox tried to subdue Paula, Buck reached into the mess and grabbed the blaster away from her.

"You have a killer back here!" Buck shouted to where Jaco was.

"Oh, darn it," came his reply.

"You don't sound surprised?" Buck said.

"I'm surprised you're not dead," Jaco said.

The force of Wilma and Fox pushed Paula against the nearest wall to her. Buck headed for the cockpit where Jaco was working the controls of the ship.

"Why do you want us out of the way?" Buck asked him. "I'm sure this all has something to do with those workers' murders! Spill it!"

Jaco was sitting at the cockpit with a very calm expression on his face, holding the ship's control grips with one hand. "For the greater good of it all, I'm not going to, and you're never going to find out."

Just then, Jaco put a device on the control panel before him. The device looked like a bottle cap with a hole coming out of the side, with a puffed, sticky-looking platform underneath it. On its top was a ring of lights that light up the moment the device hit the ship's controls. The device then shot out a tentacle from the hole, that looked like it could have came from the Computer Council Room. Only on this tentacle, it appeared to have a sensor at its end that pulsed with a hot blue light. The tendril hovered over the control panel, acting as if it was in search for something. Then, in a snap, the tendril shot through the metal and into the control panel. The ship, in reaction, lurched sideways and forwards.

Jaco was still sitting calmly while Buck gripped the entrance to stand up. "What have you done!" Buck asked.

Jaco turned to face Buck. "Ensuring everything still goes as planned."

The Red Wing was falling in a near nose dive towards the ground, Buck observed as he looked out the window. Behind him.

In the cabin, Wilma and Fox were getting their bearings from the jolt the ship just made. Paula, however, noticed she was now at the ship's stern by the access panel that could let her out.


Chapter 2

Buck, in a hard-hitting blow, knocked out Jaco by hitting him in the head. Buck then moves Jaco's unconscious body out of the way so he can sit in the pilot's seat.

"What happening, Buck?" Wilma yelled.

Buck grabbed the steering grips to try to change the ship's direction upwards, but this proved to no avail, and the ship continued its descent.

"Our pilot was with her. He wanted us..." Buck said, was interrupted, as he attention focused on Paula diving down past the ship, before returning his attention to the downward descent. "Dead!"

Buck then tried to grab the device off the control panel, and it in return pulled its tendril out of the control panel. Still trying to take the device off the control panel, Buck got slapped over and over on the hand by the tendril. "Wilma, I need help up here!" Buck said.

"She's gone!" Wilma yelled.

"I know, that great!" Buck said sarcastically. "Now get up here or we might die too!" Wilma came into the cockpit and with Buck, both of them tried to take off the device, which worked with the newly combined efforts. "We're still falling!"

"Take the controls, I'll work on fixing it!" Wilma ordered. Buck grabbed the steering grips and Wilma ripped out a panel at their feet. Behind it was the guts of the controls. Wilma quickly set herself to work, peering into the guts. "It ripped apart the connections!"

"Can it be fixed!?" Buck asked.

In response, Wilma made the ship jolt, which righted itself in mid-air.


Over the Martian Desert, Paula fell from the sky from a great distance. She hit the ground hard, smacking it with her side. She took a few moments to recover from the crash, and then picked herself up, noticing that she made a small crater in the process. She then looked up at the sky, and watched the Red Wing go off into the distance.

She waggled her lower jaw. Opening her mouth, she pulled out a lower half denture set of teeth and waggled around a different set of teeth coming from her lower mouth. These teeth didn't look Human, but rather chilling, like they belonged to a deep-sea fish. She then put back in the denture set of teeth to her lower jaw.


"You wouldn't hit me," Jaco said smugly.

In response, Bart's fist shot straight at his face, slamming Jaco square in the nose.

Jaco, reeling in pain, took a moment to notice his surroundings. He was back in the Alpha-Maris One, in a storage room that was holding stacks of folding chairs and tables, along with some rolled-up banners of immense size. And Jaco's head was pressed up against the flat side of one of those folded tables. The side of his head, where Buck had hit him, turned into a massive bruise mark. Buck, Wilma, and Fox were also in the room, but they were at a distance from Jaco and Bart.

"I repeat, how many are involved with these murders?!" Bart asked, very angrily.

Jaco slid on his back to the ground, holding his bleeding nose. "I don't know, the number was growing by the day."

Bart shortly paced back and forth. "Who's behind this?! I want to know that too, I need this to end now!"

Jaco sniffed, and uncupped his nose, looking up at Bart. "You are."

"That's all I needed to hear," Wilma said with a devil's grin on her face.

Bart turns to Wilma. "Now you wait!" He then turned to Jaco, and moved to stand up again against the table. "Murder has nothing to do with the conversion forming, the whole project taking place on Duer's fifth moon. I wouldn't have you pin those deaths on me when I had nothing to do with it."

"We've known each other since way before you settled down here, to a hum-drum life," Jaco said. "You know I ONLY have your best interest in mind, Barney."

"In the best interest right now, Jaco, I suggest you stop goose stepping around what's going on, and tell me the truth behind those deaths! Ones that I have no connection with!"

"For the greater good, I can't tell you that," Jaco said defiantly.

"Bart, considering that this matter is also of concern to Earth's Defense Directorate, may I step in?" Buck asked.

"Anything you want to do right now to help, I'll welcome," Bart agreed.

Walking over to Bart and Jaco, Buck drew out his blaster, pointing it to Jaco. "You're my kind of man, Buck Rogers," Bart complimented.

"Tell us how he's connected to those deaths," Buck asked Jaco.

Jaco looked at Buck as though he wasn't serious about the question. "I was ready to die earlier to not tell you, and I still am. Do you really think aiming that thing at me will make a difference on what comes out of my mouth?"

Buck pointed the blaster downwards, towards Jaco's knee, and fired. At this, Jaco eye's shot wide open, and his jaw dropped. "Did that make a difference?" Buck asked.

Jaco couldn't answer, as he was ready to cry from the pain Buck just inflicted. Bart leaned towards Jaco. "Did THAT make a difference?" he asked. "Because more can be done to you if you don't talk."

"Your first deal fell through, and to make sure we still got what you wanted, I turned to get help elsewhere," Jaco whimpered.

"WHO provided our equipment, JACO?" Bart asked.

"I can't tell you," Jaco said in great pain.

Buck moved his blaster a little lower, and fired. Jaco reacted stronger to the pain he was being put in by letting out a drawn-out low scream.

"You've done this before, haven't you?" Bart asked Buck.

"Once," Buck answered.

"To another two-faced snake like my friend," Bart motioned towards Jaco.

"To a slime at Compart," Buck answered.

"You're definitely my kind of man, Buck Rogers," Bart grinned.

"The Clinert Curand," Jaco finally let out.

At hearing this, Buck, Wilma, and Fox reacted to the news with a look of unwanted shock. Buck's reaction, however, was confusion. "What is The Clinert Curand?"


The trio was near Earth by a thousand or miles away. In orbit with numerous ships surrounding it in every place, it's mouth is a Star-Port being construction. It's center station looked to be finished, but its two side ones look like they could have used some more work. A ship was approaching the new Star-Port. This ship was Bart's pride, his old pirate ship after an external refit done to make it look friendly to the public. It looked like four massive made-of-metal butterfly top wings, one going over the other, two on both sides of the ship, beating so fast a hummingbird is the only thing that could beat its pace. On the wing, jet-rockets of brilliant light could be seen on many places along their back edges. Between the wings, the base of the ship was a rod, unshaken by the beating wings. The ship looked like at the max, it could hold sixty people from its outside.

"It's the Houten's secret military," Bart said.

"A secret military?" They have a military, and that's no secret. The Defense Directorate has had dogfights with them from time to time," Buck said.

"We haven't dealt with these guys before, Buck," Fox said. "They really do have two forms of government military."

"Explain," Buck said, intrigued.

"In a moment," Bart said, before lowering his voice. "Can't believe the man doesn't already know this." He then returned to his normal voice. "Star-Port One, this is A.M. Mars One requesting leave for Duer."

"How much excess weight are you bearing, A.M. Mars One?"

"Five Humans," Bart said.


Inside the A.M. Mars One, Bart was in the open door cockpit of the ship, handing the pilot a drink (a concoction in a Marietta glass). "Send her into auto, you deserve a break."

The pilot took the drink and looked at Bart. "Thanks, Mr. President."

"A.M. Mars One, you have go for Duer," the Star-Port worker said over an intercom.

The pilot pushed some controls on the ship's dash, then followed Bart into the passenger part of the ship.

The passenger area looked more lavish than the Red Wing's one. It not only looked like a place to rejoice in, but also one things could easily be used for hoarding. In the center sat a small table with more alcoholic looking drinks on it. Seats were built into the ship, and the lined the walls in some places. It's here that Buck, Wilma, and Fox were scowling.

Bart and the Pilot entered the area. Bart grabbed a drink, and sat down, the pilot taking the seat beside him. "They.. they do covert stuff the normal Houten military won't admit needs doing for them."

Fox noticed the Pilot was in the cabin. "Who's flying the ship?"

The pilot took a sip of his drink. "It's on auto till we're out of Star-Port Seven."

"ANYHOW, they got weapons, confiscate ships, and assassinate ones behind public view," Bart explained. "They make the needed attack for their government, interstellar laws should never be made aware of, and the known military takes the spotlight for them."

Midway through Bart's explanation, the image of everything was beginning to stretch and flatten, signaling that the ship was going through the Star-Port.

"I bet Paula was one of them," Buck said.

"She was Human," Fox said.

"What... what do they look like?" asked Buck with discomfort in his voice. "I've only heard rumors."

"From hell, monsters," Fox answered.


Chapter 3

"That's the strongest one, Buck. Nobody knows for sure, but evil is always the descriptor for them," Bart said, before looking at Wilma. "Oh, can't you lighten up?"

"I don't think that's ever going to happen," Buck said to Bart.

Bart began to concentrate on thinking about this matter. "Do you know 'America Pie', 'Momma Told Me Not to Come', 'Jive Talkin'', 'Hotel California'?" Bart asked Wilma.

"I know that was a complete load of nonsense coming out of your mouth," Wilma replied.

"A little singing can go a long way for a smile," Bart said.

"I hate you," Wilma responded.

With that, Bart's cheery mood dropped. "I think we should settle this now, before we reach Patty."

Wilma stood up. "Let's finish this elsewhere."

Bart was now getting up, but was a little wobbly from his drink. Buck quickly lifts Wilma's blaster off of her.

"What did you do that for," Wilma asked.

"I don't want to hear about you using it to settle things," Buck said flat-toned.

Wilma let a grunt of annoyance. Bart took out a concealed heavy-duty looking blaster, and handed it to the pilot. Wilma and Fox watched this with a small look of disbelief on their faces.

"You can never be too prepared. We'll do this in the next cabin," Bart said.

Bart and Wilma both headed towards the rear of the cabin, not leading towards the cockpit. Once they left, Fox turned to Buck.

"Do you think it's wise for those two to be left alone together?"

"Wilma would never risk her career over him," Buck shook his head. "Besides, I have her blaster."


This was not like the Buffer Room in the Police Station, where weapons were searched for then taken away if found. This Buffer Room was used as a place to reserve arms before leaving the ship. It looked like a large closet with wall to wall blasters of every shape and size covering it. Wilma was too upset to notice this at first, but after she did noticing her surroundings in awe, Bart was a foot before her.

"You mettlesome old pirate!" Wilma exclaimed.

"They are decoration now," Bart explained.

Wilma turned to Bart. "You're a killer, and a liar, and a thief, and a crook, and a..."

"Those days are behind me, I assure you," Bart said.

"The fact you don't do them anymore doesn't change the fact you did them!"

Bart grabbed Wilma by the shoulders. "Can't you just leave the past in the past?"

"Words from you!" Wilma said, motioning to the walls. "You can't seem to leave it behind."

"How can I prove I'm not the evil person you believe me to be?" Bart asked.

"You can bring back the brave Defense Directorate fighter pilots you killed in cold blood," Wilma said.

"I can't undo what I've done, but I can try to make the present and future a better one for the both of us. Forgive me?"

"I'll never forgive you," Wilma said.

"Then let's leave it at that, and leave the frowning inside for no one to bothered by, agreed?" Bart asked, as reality settled on the ship, now out of the Star-Port transportation motion.



Back in the passenger area, everyone was where they were in Bart and Wilma entered from the Buffer Area. The pilot was putting his empty drink on the center of a center table with one had, and taking out a sticker-looking pad from a pocket with his other hand. Buck looked as he turned to Bart.

"Who's Patty?" Buck asked.

"No one," Bart answered.

"But you said..."

"The Base," Bart explained.

"Did you two resolve things?" Buck asked.

"She's still a firecracker, but settled," he replied.


"It's dropped, Buck," she replied. "Just leave things alone."

The pilot slapped the sticker patch on a bare spot of one of his arms. Fox making observation of the act. "Medicine?"

"A sucker," the pilot answered Fox.

"You're going to still fly the ship!" Fox exclaimed as the pilot got up and headed to the cockpit.

"The sucker will drain the alcohol from my blood before I hit the dash to fly us. I'll be pure soon, don't worry," he assured Fox.


The A.M. Mars One was heading off towards Duer's fifth moon, which was still a good distance from the ship.

"He's done this before, right?" Fox asked.

"I've trusted him by my side many times. Intoxicated or not, he's still a great pilot. You have nothing to worry about."

"What the hell is that?" Buck asked, noticing the station, Picasso's Pancake, with no signs of any approaching ships.

Buck was leaning into the cockpit, staring out the view port at the approaching mass before the ship that was Picasso's Pancake. Not only is the pilot here, but Bart also.

"That's Patty," Bart said.

"Patty?" Buck said, confused.

"Patty is what some of its construction crew called it to us while we oversaw the work being done to it. The name it's most known by today is "Picasso's Pancake."

"Even stranger, why name a base or station that?" Buck asked.

"Does that mass look anything close to normal for you, Buck?" Bart asked.

"There are many things on a daily basis I find abnormal, Bart. But that mass does look in odd in shape, like it's deformed or something. Like of one of Picasso's paintings," Buck said.

"The workers on it added 'pancake' to that because it's the only thing they can rest upon. No land here, at least not yet. That's why it's here, to make land for the colony to move on," Bart explained.

"The wonders of the age," Buck said softly to himself.

"You amuse me, you know that?" Bart said, turning to Buck.

The A.M Mars One was now settling on to a docking port, shutting down it's wings in rapid pulses of flickering on and off to find its place.

"So you've told me," Buck replied.


Inside the Operations Monitoring Room, Buck, Bart, and the operations commander

"A year's worth of work, and that's all you guys have to show for it?" Bart yelled, looking ticked.

"The planet's gasses where you're looking aren't as dense as needed for mass conversion," the operations commander explained. "Your project could well take into the 28th century to finish."

Bart crossed his arms. "The Houten, what are they getting out of this?"

"Excuse me?" the operations commander, asked.

"You heard me," Bart repeated. "What are the Houten getting in turn out of this little ordeal. I know they're off taking something out of this. They've killed off most of the workers I've put on this project.

The operations commander was surprised, but was not showing much. "We have a full staff here, no one is missing. Is that why you hired the Defense Directorate fighters? To pressure me into something foul?

"I'm not here to pressure you," Bart said. "I'm only here to find out what's going on with the missing workers."

"Nothing is amiss here," the operations commander said sternly to Buck.

The computer screen near the three now highlights every picture of Aisla 56, which were a lot, then in bold type shows the name of the material.

"What Aisla 56?" Buck asked the operations commander.

"Have I ever told you your lack of knowledge of some things worries me?" Bart asked.

"No," Buck answered.

"Aisla 56's only use in the making of blaster core," he said, before turning to the operations commander. "You're making it for the Houten!"

The operation commander's eyes narrow, knowing that there was nothing left for him to try and hide. "And already, we're putting it to good use."

"You're Houten!" Buck said.

The operations commander, in response, widens his eyes so that his pupils black out his eyes, as he scowled at Buck.


Chapter 4

Inside another office, Wilma and Fox have just finished making use of its computer.

"Wilma, did you write "hacker" on your registration form when joining the Defense Directorate?" Fox asked.

"It's not hacking," Wilma justified. "It's just being very skilled in the use of computers."

They both began to emerge from the nook of the office. "Do you think it will start a war, what the Houten are doing? What the Defense Directorate needs to do to stop them?" Fox asked.

The emerged fully into the hallway, though neither one of them noticed Paula standing a good way down at one end of the hall, and Rob opposite of her, covering the other end of the hall. Both had blasters drawn, and readied.

"If the three of us can act quietly, it can end quietly," Wilma said.

Rob fired a blast at Wilma, which struck her in the shoulder; another blast of fire followed the first, hitting her a little lower. She then fell.

Fox got his blaster, and exchanged blaster fire with Rob. "You cold-blooded viper!" Fox said.

"You should have stayed out of this," Rob said. "Earth was never meant to be involved!"

Fox turned towards Paula. "You're dead!" he uttered as Paula was about to shoot Wilma again, a shot that would have ended her life in a heart beat had Fox not have shot Paula straight in the chest first.

"Houten are much more evolved than Humans," Paula said, showing her fish teeth. "We can take a hard beating." Paula's pupils grew to taking over her whole eyes.

"You won't win!" Fox cried. "Earth's Defense Directorate has won against you before!"

Wilma shut her eyes, before what came next, and all she heard was a blaster being fired.


Bart and Buck were now in the Statistics Room. The room was oddly shaped, and moved, engulfing the Operations Monitoring Room. Spread-out monitors with no keyboard slots displayed states of activity involving the entire station: energy inputs and outputs, the level of ventilation being used, how high or low gravity might be set in some places and so on. It's made up of two levels, both visible to each other thanks to patches of open floor space. Bart and Buck were closer to panic as they emerged from the Operations Monitoring Room, at the bottom level of this place. Buck held a blaster, ready to fire towards where they just came from.

"If what he... it said, is true, he... it might not be the only one here," Buck noted.

"If you're right, if there are no Humans here besides us and the others brought here with us, you have permission to tell the Defense Directorate to blow this place to cinders," Bart said.

The operations commander came through the Phasoft-door of the operations monitoring room. Beneath his skin were bony edges that puffed around his cheeks and forehead, like a pinecone expanding itself, only more ridged looking, and his eyes still appeared as though made of black marble.

"Even if you manage to make it out of here alive and burn this place to ash, you will have not stopped us," he warned. He then advanced on them slowly, while Bart and Buck backed up, with Buck having his blaster trained on him. "You, were just an easy target. The pride of Mars, willing to do anything to get the job done, even beyond your own laws. You made it easy for us to rid this station of all Human life, so we have another base."

Bart was now pissed. "I had nothing to do with what you've done here1 I've stayed well within the confines of Martian law for well over a decade!"

"You and the others with you here will be our lunch before you leave," the operations commander gloated.

"Now, now can I shoot him, it?" Buck asked quickly and softly.

"Be my guest," Bart invited.

Buck fired his blaster at the operations commander, hitting him just below the neck, charring him. "Blast!" Buck complained. "Why is it so much easier in space?" Buck fired again at the operations commander, only this time he caught him at the lower neck. The commander fell backwards with the blow, and Bart and Buck wavered in their balance. Something has struck the station, as they could hear by a faint echo.

"That wasn't you, was it?" Bart asked Buck.

The operations commander got up, and in a non-Human action slipped out his dentures. "Eww," Buck complained.

The operations commander then, with an open-mouth, broke into a bounding run towards them, making an unearthly high-pitched scream. Buck broke off the coming attack with another high blast to the operations commander. This does him in, and he falls to the floor. The station than began to echo from the outside.

"Something is hitting us from outside," Bart said.

Buck began to run, followed by Bart, to the operations monitoring room. "Let's find out what!" Buck said.


Fox was dragging Wilma down the hall, with his back to a Houten, who was fully revealed (meaning that he did not look like a human). Wilma bled heavily through the makeshift bandage that Fox had made for her out of one of his sleeves. He didn't notice the Houten, until it growled at him. Fox shifted his gaze to look at Houten, who was one of the replacement workers. It moved towards Fox, looking as aggressively as it could. Fox placed a firm hand on the top base of Wilma's back to hold her up, before he drew a blaster on the Houten.

"We will both be dead soon," the Houten said. "Death by my hand be a less painful fate."

"What do you mean by that?" Fox asked.

"Your allies are attacking the station," the Houten explained.

"My friends would never kill me," Fox shouted.

Breaking and ripping, expositions and the cracking of thunderous sounds of large blaster fires were heard by Fox. Both him and the Houten looked up to find its source. In a snap, a large ray of blaster fire bursts into the hallway from the ceiling, ripping through the Houten, giving the alien almost no time to let out a scream. All the air, everything of little weight, begins an ascent towards the blast hole.

Fox blinked, looking at the blast hole. "They wouldn't," he said as he lowered his blaster.

Just then, Buck and Bart ran towards Fox and Wilma. "We need to get out of here, now!" Buck ordered, before noticing Wilma. "Wilma?"

"She'll be fine, let's move!" Bart said, cutting off what Fox was going to say.

Looking pained, Buck took up Wilma at her feet.

"We need to get to the ship, hurry! Hurry!" Bart ordered.

At that, another sound of ripping, thunderous blaster fire could be heard outside the hallway, as the group tried to make its way as fast as it could outside the corridor.

"Who's trying to kill us NOW?" Fox asked.

"The T.D.A." Buck replied.


Outside Picasso's Pancake, a troop of five Thorcomen Defense Administration fighter ships were blasting away at the station. They looked like an over-puffed donut that was dark gray in color. Their red mass in the center was taking up very little space, but was nonetheless very powerful. With each attack on the station, it moves outwards, forming out its droplet bulb, still connected; when its shape was almost finished, the red mass snapped into looking like it was made of fire. At its tip, a ray of heavy blaster fire emerges.

The A.M. Mars One began to start coming to life. The little ships circled its location, looking like they wanted to attack it as well as the station they were working on. The A.M Mars One flares into full life, and broke away from the station, as the T.D.A. fighters gave it a wide birth. One fighter gave the ship a weak shot.


Much later after the attack, Wilma was covered by blankets inside a health regeneration chamber. She began to blink as she woke up. She was surrounded by no color and bright light. She listened to what was going on outside of her.

"I'm sorry I fired upon you," she heard a T.D.A. fighter say.

"Understandable, everyone else in the area being Houten," Bart replied.

"What's this mean?" Buck asked.

"Take a look, it means she's wide-awake, she's healed," Bart explained.

"Then get her out of there," Buck ordered.


Bart, Buck, Fox, Wilma and a T.D.A. Fighter were now inside the Health Regeneration Chambers Bay. The room looked like a compact version of the regeneration bay at the Defense Directorate. Buck, Fox, Bart, and the fighter greeted Wilma by her table slab that has just emerged into this place.

"Never been a big fan of that pitch black bit," Bart said. "A lot better than the one back home, eh?"

"What happened?" Wilma asked, her voice drawn out.

"A lot of things," Buck said.

"Like what?" Wilma asked, still dazed.

"Black Barney just saved your life, Colonel Deering," Fox explained.

Wilma jerked her attention onto Bart with a look of shock. "No need to say thank you," Bart smiled.

"What else happened?" Wilma asked, in slow and broken words.

"We're at war," Buck said gravely. "The events that took place here today didn't go unnoticed to those not directly involved. A fly-by Scientific Research Directorate probe caught the attack in action, and it had to be explained."

"We're at war...," Wilma said softly to herself, trying to take in the recent chain of events.

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