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REVOLT IN THE STARS
L. Ron Hubbard
The winch on the truck wound inward,
growling and snapping and groaning. Seaweed
whipped and wound and unwound on
the taut, protesting cables as they dragged
an object toward the beach from under the
The intensity of the watching group
had no eye for the beauty of the scene; the
soft purling of the small waves, the soothing
whisper of the tropical wind, the distant
clatter of a palm, the rich gold of sand and
crystal aquamarine of water might as well
have been a tourist poster in a waste basket.
The rigid cordon of Marines, facing
outward, automatic weapons in hand, had
fierce eyes against any threatened intrusion
into the site. VIPs that must not be approached,
an object that was top secret and
a sergeant with a hangover increased their
Several supercilious scientists gazed
benignly at the water, tolerantly and learnedly
waiting for the object to appear, hoping
no one had penetrated the fact that they
hadn’t a clue.
Jedgar, the jut-jawed czar of all US police
and security forces scowled with ferocity
at the water.
God damn president, he ought to have
his ass kicked, getting him out here for
what. God damn hobby-happy bastard. So
it’s an historical find. So it may be from
outer space. Sand fleas when he had an appointment
at the race track with Bennie the
Dip. $30,000 payoff via the window.
Damned junkie, he’d probably blow it or
forget it. What the hell was he doing out
here playing nursemaid to his nibs’ crap
hobby? Nursemaid, that’s what he was.
God damn president. Bennie better pay up.
Jedgar glared at the water as though about
to arrest it on suspicion.
On the other side of the groaning cables
sat a disconsolate young man in a scuba
suit. He twisted his helmet and mask in his
hands around and around. While he might
have the nerve to face the monsters of the
deep, what were those compared to US officials.
Damned government. He ought to
have kept his mouth shut. No breaks. He
always lucked out. Here he’d made the find,
personally and privately and even paid for
his own bike gas and air. Well, an orphan is
an orphan. Still, there was law about ownership.
You couldn’t give up just like that.
One more try. If it didn’t work…
The young man braced himself, got to
his feet and wiped some of the sand off his
pants. How would John Wayne handle this
on the late-late show? One more try.
The young man ducked under the
growling cables and walked up to Jedgar
who gave him not a glance.
Now or never. ”It’s mine! I insist it’s
mine! I found it. If it weren’t for me you
wouldn’t even know of its existence!”
Jedgar did not even take his eyes off
the water. He put out an arm and brushed
the young man sideways.
The leading scientist of the group found
his own view obstructed. He never wore“
glasses despite needing them as they
spoiled his image of the tawnymaned man
of science. He peered at the young man. In
his benign voice, reserved for assistants he
intended to fire, he said, ”You don’t understand.
Such finds as this belong to the world
of science, to the museums, to the universities.”
Having registered now that there was a
dispute, Jedgar tore his eyes from the water
and stabbed them at the young man.
Reaching out with a sudden and practiced
cop hand, he seized the front of the young
man’s scuba suit.
”You give me any more crap,” Jedgar
yanked the young man close to him, ”and
you’ll be charged with conspiracy to steal
archeological treasures. Section 896. Three
REVOLT IN THE STARS 3
years in jail. Not one more word out of you.
Not to the public! Not to your friends! Not
to the press!” He hurled the young man
from him violently so that he staggered and
”This,” pronounced Jedgar, ”is a state
The young man looked up from the
ground, defeated. He looked out to where a
government scuba diver was guiding in the
cables. There was no sympathy there. He
looked at the tense Marine backs. He
looked at the scientists. He looked at Jedgar.
He was totally, completely and utterly
ignored. He had never felt more lonely.
He got up and unsteadily wandered
across the sand. Head down, shuffling, he
went out through the cordon and wandered
away through the distant crowd.
The winch cables groaned on, coiling
and twisting. The government scuba diver
watched the cables. The group on the sand
A greenish sea-coated metal object began
It had no bolt studs, no apparent
seams. It was many planed, symmetrical.
First one, then two, then a the eight foot
diameter of it came into full view.
”All right!” yelled Jedgar. ”Let’s get the
thing loaded on a plane.” Maybe he could
still get to the race track.
Washington the fair, Washington the
beautiful, home of the incorruptible politician
and the shining knights of social justice,
basked in the summer sun, owned, operated
and controlled as usual by the bankers and
The Institute sat on a low hill, securely
backed by the printing plant that poured
the newly printed money into the hands of
the deserving few. As much summer sun as
could get through the smog entered the windows
of a large hall and fell upon the object.
All eight feet of it had been placed
against one wall. It had been polished up a
bit – at least the sand had been removed. It
had two small panels, oblong sealed rectangles,
much like slitted eyes and these
seemed to stare blindly into the hall facing
Several feet in front of it, Jedgar and the
leading scientist stood. The President, who
had just arrived with his usual escort, joined
Excitement agitated the President’s
eyes. Ever since he had been a little boy he
had been interested in such things. It might
be something from outer space, it might be
some archeological wonder. He had strictly
forbidden them to tinker with it. These scientists
monkeyed so. Who knows but what
it might be some discovery he could claim
the patronage for and help his votes and
show he was an intellectual. Maybe somebody
would work out its secrets and make
some great new weapon he could use as a
big stick. Maybe it held secrets that would
blow everything up. His background training
for his hobby consisted of a chemistry
set somebody had given him at the age of
ten and which he had used mainly to make
The President took his eyes off the
object and looked around. ”And what have
we guessed so far?”
The leading scientist swept back his
tawny hair, which he hoped would come to
look like Einstein’s. It didn’t much matter
what he told the President so long as it
added up to new grants for the Institute and
new honors for himself. ”Well, Mr. President,
we’re not at all sure what it is. It must
have been imbedded in a cliff side and when
that fell into the sea, it exposed itself. I’m
having it analyzed now.” And he pointed to
the right of the object.
Beyond the object a table of instruments
had been set up – those used in carbon
half-life estimations of age, radiation
REVOLT IN THE STARS 4
detection, electrical detonators – all strewn
about in disorderly jury-rigs. White-coated
and serious, the instrument man was
searching through the scattered papers and
getting them in some kind of order.
”All right,” said the instrument technician,
”I think I’ve got it.” He frowned heavily
at a note. ”It’s some kind of alloy we
have never achieved.”
The leading scientist nodded and said,
”Yes,” hoping it sounded as though he knew
The instrument technician pulled a wad
of tape out of the notes and, with some difficulty,
stretched it out. ”This is stretching
our equipment, but I’d say that, according
to the carbon age test, this thing is tens of
millions of years old close to seventy-five
million years old at an estimate.”
The leading scientist’s eyes flashed
wider. Damn the technician. You never told
laymen things that were likely to scare them
off. You damped it down a bit.
But the heedless technician bored on.
”It’s also been subject to heavy radiation I
think, but the count is too faint to tell. No
longer dangerous. It doesn’t appear to be
explosive but there is some sort of energy
charge in there.”
The President nodded intellectually.
”Well, why not get on with finding what it
does, or something.”
Jedgar scowled at the scientists,
scowled at the machine and jutted his jaw at
the President. Jedgar was in no pleasant
mood. He had missed Bennie the Dip and
30 Gs. This bastard was just a kid playing
”Mr. President,” said Jedgar in a respectful-
sounding voice, ”I know of your
interest in such things and how this is a scientific
age and so forth, but we ain’t got any
guarantee that that damned thing won’t
blow up. The Secret Service would insist”
The President waved him off with an
indolent hand and turned to the leading scientist.
”Go ahead, Doctor. I am truly intrigued.”
The two approached the object, leaving
Jedgar standing alone in the center of the
The two front plates of the machine
continued to stare blindly. The leading scientist
poked a finger at the left hand one.
”Jenkins says this one is apparently moveable.
But there’s no getting into it with
drills. It just breaks the bits.”
The President looked curiously at the
plate. It had a number of raised dots and
marks and he fingered them. First there
were ten dots in a line, low and to the left.
Then a circle about an inch and a half in diameter
with a radius mark. Then a straight
line at the level of the bottom of the circle
and about as long as the circle was round.
Then two dots at the end of the line but at a
height level with the top of the circle. After
that came a wide gap. And to the right of
the gap were a group of dots arranged so
that as dots they made up small individual
groups of one to nine. Part of this last
group was a square that was empty.
”Those,” said the leading scientist,
”appear to be meaningful, some sort of an
equation perhaps.” He coughed depreciatingly.
”My assistant Jenkins says whoever
possibly made this didn’t want barbarians
to open it and put a code on it that only an
advanced civilization could resolve.” Always
feed the laymen the interesting bits
even when one personally might discount
them. And let assistants take the rap if they
were challenged. ”Isn’t that what you said,
Jenkins had come out of a hole somewhere
and crept up on the group. He was
short, poorly formed as a man, looking as if
he had borrowed his white coat from an
elephant. His glasses were three quarters of
an inch thick which made his pupils look
REVOLT IN THE STARS 5
like enlarged specimens. He was very, very
nervous. Jenkins seldom got very brave, and
today, finding himself in company with the
President and the top cop of the country,
he was having a hard time with his nerve.
Nevertheless he braved up to it.
He spoke all in a rush. ”When we
couldn’t make a dent in it with a sledge
hammer, I guessed it might be some culture
superior to ours. So… ” He bogged down.
The leading scientist looked at him in
contemptuous tolerance. ”Well, well, come
Jenkins took a deep breath. ”I think…
begging your pardon Mr. President and
all… I think that’s ”pi”, the radius of a circle.”
He yanked a book, a table of logarithms
out of his enormous jacket pocket
and tremblingly opened it to where he had
made a marker. God help him if he was
looking smarter than his boss. That old bastard
would put an assistant that looked like
competition back on an instructor’s post as
quick as look at him.
The leading scientist said tolerantly,
”Well, come on. No matter how silly it may
be, we’re quite receptive.”
Appalled at his own bravery, Jenkins
dived all the way in. ”That first row of dots
on the left must mean common base ten
logarithms, the circle and line must mean
pi – the circle is the same length as the
line – I measured them – the two dots there
must mean squared, the gap must mean
equals and that group of dots on the right
must mean one through nine and zero so
you can punch in the answer if you figure it
He shakingly found a place in the book
and held it close to his glasses. ”The log of
3.14 is 0.4969 and the answer to that
squared is 0.9938.” He looked up, scared
but brave. ”The combination to that thing is
0.9938 he swallowed. ”If you let me push
the dots… ”
The smile of the leading scientist had a
certain amount of hydrochloric acid in it.
Never a word in all that about how his boss
had suggested… even if not true. An instructor’s
post in some desegregated school
would certainly be in order.
”I think,” said the leading scientist,
”that I’m at least capable of pushing the
Without any great expectations of anything
happening, he probed an index finger
over the dot groups one by one. A common
base log squared was not very advanced
math in his opinion, although it is true that
pi was a pretty good idea – communication
was possible without arbitrary symbols.
Now had they put a formula on it in quantum
A flaring green light glared in the other
The leading scientist and the President
The green turned into a racing, flashing
red that played over their startled faces.
A low whine began to ascend. It ended
sharply with a loud snap. Jedgar went for
his gun. The left hand plate ceased to flash
and turned into a criss cross of white lines
like a speaker grid.
In a saw-toothed, metallic voice, the
object spoke. ”Mark 92 Vocotranslator. All
sound and information is now coming to
you by thought concept and visual feedback
so that you hear as though spoken in your
The group looked at it wide-eyed. The
voice continued. ”You have activated the
power charge. It will last for two years continuous
running and many times that used
intermittently. It will shut off automatically
at the end of this use. Please step back at
least two paces.”
There was an earsplitting whine and a
creak and a crash. The whole front face of
the object below the panels flashed wide
REVOLT IN THE STARS 6
open. It was very hard on their nerves and
confirmed Jedgar’s solid opinion, which
was usually wrong, that it was a bomb after
all. The gun in his hand shook but he
couldn’t see anything to shoot at except a
deep wide cavity which had been disclosed
by the opening doors.
”Please be seated,” said the object politely.
The President was suddenly mindful of
his traditional White House responsibilities.
He rose to the crisis. ”Clear the room! This
may contain confidential information. It can
This more routine attitude served to
clear Jedgar’s scrambled wits. It was an order
he could understand. He scowled around
him. As he was still holding onto his gun,
the leading scientist and all others in the
room made haste to comply. By various
doors they left.
Jedgar scurried around the hall and
turned keys in locks, looked behind and under
things with a very practiced eye, used
his gun muzzle to see if a bug was anywhere
in the potted palms and, satisfied,
found two chairs and brought them back to
the area in front of the object.
He seated the President and then, reversing
his own chair and still holding his
gun, sat down. It occurred to him that the
damned thing seemed to know they weren’t
ready until they were and he glared at it.
The President continued to stare into
the black cavity. It was quite wide and quite
dark. He nervously hoped no monster
would spring out of it or that it didn’t turn
on a sudden vacuum, suck them in and send
them spinning off into space.
Jedgar looked around the roam one final
time to see if they were alone. The screen at
the back of the cavity flickered, faltered and
then turned on in full color.
The music was faintly oriental and the
drums were sad.
A tattered and ripped up operations
room showed the signs of battle.
The man at the desk was handsome,
young, but his face was disfigured with a
bandage around his forehead. The plain
khaki blouse he wore was singed over the
left shoulder. He looked vital, competent,
He was holding a sheaf of papers in his
hand, reports, notes, records.
”We assume,” he said, ”that as you
have solved this capsule, your civilization
has advanced to a high standard of technology
– possibly nuclear fission, computers,
even space flight – or at least you are capable
of these things in your immediate future.
”You have a right to know the violent
history of your planet. Some day when
grass has grown again and the few pitiful
survivors have multiplied into a culture,
you will know what to do with this and
”My name is Mish, a Loyal Officer of
the People of the Galactic Confederation.”
He stretched his hand behind him to the
wall. There a star map glittered and sparkled.
”You may never have heard of the
Galactic Confederation. It consisted of 21
stars and their 76 inhabited planets. You
were one of those planets.
”Earth was a beautiful jewel then. It
had vast cities, lovely forests and mountains
and billions of inhabitants.
”But all was not calm. Things had happened,
not just on Earth but all over the
He propped up a screen up on his
desk. A mob appeared on it, an angry mob
carrying placards, surging and seething outside
Mish continued, ”Throughout the Galaxy
symptoms of unrest, hitherto unknown
REVOLT IN THE STARS 7
in the Confederation were occurring as you
can see by these news clips.”
An old woman was being mugged on
the street. She fell. One of the muggers
snatched her purse, the other kicked her in
”Crime was becoming commonplace.”
A littered street lined with broken shop
”When there was a power failure in a
major city, thousands of people began a
fury of looting and burning.”
A school yard appeared. A young girl
was being attacked by a mob of thugs.
”All these conditions had begun in the
past eight years.”
A horde of secret police in grey-green
uniforms and riot dress were shown charging
”The popularity of the government had
dropped to an all time low.”
A tank was shown attacked by a mob.
They turned it over on its side.
A government building was shown. The
huge sign ”Tax Office” was suddenly obscured
by a blast of flame.
”The words ’idealism’ and ’patriotism’
had become meaningless throughout the 76
A large array of assorted arms and explosives
were being displayed by police, a
cache discovered in a basement, enough material
to fight a regiment.
”Gun running had become a highly
Trucks loaded with bales of drugs were
being unloaded by police and tumbled into a
”Organized crime was profiting as
never before. To combat it hundreds of
thousands of secret police were being recruited
by the government.”
Long ranks of men in grey-green uniforms
were shown drawn up.
A colored agitator, speaking from a
platform was shown haranguing a mob. A
secret policeman lined the speaker up in the
sights of a blast rifle and fired. The agitator
was smashed backwards.
”But the government in its turn was
using more and more force in an attempt to
control the violence.”
A civilian sniper appeared on a parapet
of a building. Beyond him a city spread out.
The sniper fired down into the street.
”And reprisals were earning reprisals in
Mish folded the screen. He looked at
his notes and then up again.
”The Galactic Confederation was very
old. It had endured for thousands and thousands
of years. It had been happy, prosperous
”The planets were politically democratic.
The people elected their own governors
and civil officials and the entire Galaxy
was governed by the Congress of Loyal Officers
of the People. These were trained
men, skilled in political and martial arts.
When they were graduated from their academy
they stood for election to the Congress
and those chosen loyally served the people.
”There was also an executive branch
headed by the Supreme Ruler, a man also
elected by the people and responsible for
the day to day running of the Confederation
but under the laws and appropriations of
Mish laid down his notes.
”The Congress of the Loyal Officers of
the People met every ten years. Matters of
state, finances and other concerns had been
smooth and routine in the 2053rd Congress.
Indeed there had been no upsets at all
throughout the Galaxy.
”The Grey Invasion had occurred just
before that. An invader had attempted a
destruction of the Confederation, had sailed
in in savage attack and had been effectively
and efficiently destroyed. He had come
REVOLT IN THE STARS 8
from another Galaxy. But he had found the
Confederation prepared and alert and -that
was the end of him.
”The Grey Invasion was shot out of
space even before full mobilization could
occur on Earth and our planets and the
whole affair had become ancient history.
”The 2053rd Congress had done what
was necessary to handle all that and it was
finished. Thus it was with considerable
concern that the Loyal Officers came to the
”Revolt was growing in the Stars.
”And it was in this atmosphere that the
2054th Congress met to decide what course
to take. On Home Planet, many light years
away from Earth, the Loyal Officers of the
People were arriving from every part of the
The Announcer on his platform gazed
across the vast spaceport of Home Planet.
Behind him a military band in resplendent
white and blue uniforms blared joyous music.
Before him spread a tumultuous vista of
arriving ships, surging crowds and whipping
Two thousand planetary troops with
their guidons, plumes and drummers lined
both sides of the concourse facing inward,
an honor guard.
Police cordons blocked tens of thousands
of people safely away from the
landing ships and the concourse.
The harried staff of the Announcer hectically
tried to catch everything in their radio
cameras, tried to spot everyone and
write down the names of arrivals and data
about them and pass the result to the Announcer.
Well aware that his voice was carrying
across this whole vast assemblage through
huge public address horns, not only across
and in almost every room of the limitless
city beyond the field, but also across the
stars to seventy-five other planets, the Announcer
spoke in a rapid, impressive
monologue, kept going by the slips passed
to him by his staff.
He was apprehensive. Just two days
ago these mobs had been surging through
streets and burning. He had thirty-three
staff here including his cameramen and this
was a very visible platform, easily rushed.
He had half a million credits in equipment
strewn around here and one firebomb would
take it all. He felt responsible as well. What
he said was going to this crowd and huge
viewscreens around the field as well as everyone
else in the Galaxy. The regular announcer
for such things had declined today
and he had had to take over even though he
was actually the producer. Soothe them,
soothe them. Nervous business.
”Hope is a wonderful thing! Looking
across the field of Home Planet today you
would not think that half the inhabited
worlds of the Galaxy were close to outright
revolt. Such is the confidence of the people
in the Congress. There isn’t even a demonstration
placard out there today.” He
reached urgently to his staff for another slip
Ship after ship was landing from a sky
full of ships. As each one swooped down, a
Loyal Officer would step out, promptly
surrounded by guards, and stride toward the
”Ah, what a great day, a great day,”
said the Announcer, reaching beseechingly
for more slips from his staff. ”The most
famous names of the entire Galactic Confederation
are arriving on this field this afternoon.
The two thousand and fifty –
fourth Congress of the Loyal Officers is
The high pitched whine of circling
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ships, the roar of the crowd and the upsurge
of the band as they began a new piece blotted
his voice for a moment. He stepped
closer to his dozen cube shaped mikes and
his sound engineer frantically re-adjusted
”The Loyal Officers, the Loyal Officers
of the People, heading 76 planets for the 21
star systems of the Confederation, one by
one are coming up this concourse… ” One
of his staff got a piece of paper into his
hand and he looked at it urgently and then
”Hah! Here is Rawl!”
The group which had entered the field
end of the Concourse was larger than others,
being joined by military officers in
white and blue and some civilians. They
were jostling one another, some of them
trying to reach through and shake hands
with the man at the center.
Rawl was smiling good-naturedly. He
was a tall, athletic man, handsome in a blunt
sort of way. He wore the plain khaki trousers,
blouse and cap of a Loyal Officer.
The Announcer stood on tiptoe to see
better over his mikes. ”Rawl, the Loyal Officer
in charge of Earth. Rawl, Speaker of
the Congress! You have heard his name
connected with every great deed and decency!”
A surge in the outer crowds became a
cheer roaring up to blanket the whine of
circling ships. Rawl was looking up around
at the familiar faces, smiling, trying to shake
each hand extended to him. His progress up
the concourse was being slowed by the increasing
pressure. He drew a long breath
and then caught sight of a drummer boy in
the ranks of the Ninth Army honor guard
and winked at him. The drummer boy
grinned happily and suddenly added to the
din with a bursting roll upon his drum.
Just behind Rawl’s group was another.
Mish, the center of it, pushed forward,
trying to reach Rawl. The Announcer didn’t
need another slip. ”And there is Mish!
Mish, Loyal Officer in charge of the Outer
Limits, Rawl’s best friend! You know the
story well of how these two stood off the
entire fleet of the Grey Invader until our
own battle fleet could arrive. And you
know their daring rescue of the freighter
Mish finally struggled through the mass
and tapped Rawl’s shoulder. They gripped
each other’s hand and beamed, their greeting
lost in the excited babble of the groups, the
swelling roar of the crowd and the band
suddenly tearing into ”Grey Invader Victory”.
The Announcer was staring down at a
new sheet of paper jammed into his hand
urgently. He looked at it, his pleasure
evaporating, and followed the stabbing finger
of an assistant. Several radio cameras
whirled in that direction.
Standing like a naked sword, the black
tower of the spaceport administration
building stabbed at the sky and circling
A balcony near its top was draped in
somber green. A black wreath with twentyone
stars hung from the railing.
”Just now,” said the Announcer in a
much changed tone, ”on the receiving balcony
of the Administration tower there has
appeared the party of the Supreme Ruler.”
The Announcer made sure the radio
cameras were centered on the balcony.
”There he is, Xenu, the Supreme Ruler of
the Galactic Confederation.”
Xenu, bitter faced, sardonic, leaning
heavily on a cane that was more like a club,
limped forward to the front edge of the
draped railing. He glared down at the stalled
group on the concourse below and did not
like what he saw. The dark somberness of
his civilian suit, the darkness of his hair and
face seemed to spread outward. The cheerREVOLT
IN THE STARS 10
ing below dimmed off to silence. The band
faltered and died down.
The Announcer’s voice was overly
loud suddenly for only the whine of ships
lay over the field. ”He is accompanied today
by Chi, the illustrious Minister of Police
of the Galactic Confederation.”
Chi, jut-jawed, bulldog faced, squat and
as crudely built as his civilian suit was
rumpled, was oblivious by any announcement.
He stepped up to Xenu’s side and
looked belligerently down at the stalled
groups on the concourse.
The Announcer was glad to get off the
subject. He frantically waved to his cameramen
to target the right side of the balcony.
”And here is something of interest.
He has brought with him today his new
mistress, the Lady Min!”
Lady Min caught the cue from the PA
and stepped forward to the balcony railing.
She was a warm and smashingly lovely
woman, splendidly gowned in gold. The
band abruptly struck up a lively theater
”As no one needs to be told, Lady Min
is the foremost stage star of the Galaxy!”
With perfect poise, Lady Min curtsied.
There was a spattering of applause, a few
cheers. She spread her hands to receive the
applause and it increased. She blew a kiss
and the applause increased again.
The Announcer, although he knew she
was unlikely to see him and didn’t even
know him, blew a kiss back at her in thanks
for getting him out of that one. That crowd
silence had scared him and he had no skill in
Putting new forced vitality into his
voice to swing the crowd’s attention off
dangerous ground, the Announcer shouted,
”There seems to be a lam of the concourse.
No, that’s Rawl!”
The radio cameras swiftly whipped to
the concourse. Two cameramen pushed
through the ranks of the Honor Guard and
added to the press and turmoil, trying to get
their cameras high enough to shoot down
over the milling heads.
Rawl and Mish were jammed in tight.
A new group had come down from the administration
building adding to the civilians,
military officers, press and staff that surrounded
them already. The group was
pushing a big wreath of flowers over people’s
heads and struggling to get closer.
”Ah,” said the Announcer, ”Look at
that. The city is trying to give Rawl a
wreath of welcome and they can’t even get
The wreath, a bit frayed, finally made it
by knocking Rawl’s hat askew and bashing
down on his shoulders. Rawl and everyone
around him was laughing but their laughter
was drowned by the rolling roar of cheers
from the vast crowds when they saw on the
screen boards the wreath had finally made
it. City fathers, their own hats askew in the
press, tried to shout, unheard, their speech
Up on the balcony, Xenu and Chi beheld
”Well, ” said Xenu bitterly, ”he seems
to have lost none of his popularity.”
Chi said, ”Huh!” And it was eloquent.
They glared at the sky and concourse
as the Announcer’s voice continued to roll
over the PA system, to the city, to the
planet, to seventy-five other inhabited
worlds on carrier wave hyperspeed sound
”And still they come, the Loyal Officers
of the People! Tomorrow they will
meet in the long awaited two thousand and
fifty-fourth Congress in the Galactic Capitol.
From every quarter”
Rawl let the entrance door swing shut
REVOLT IN THE STARS 11
behind him and gazed across the enormous
Seventy-six great flags jutted out on
poles high above, each one with the plaque
of its planet in solid gold below it. The great
arched windows spread a pattern of sun.
Hundreds of Loyal Officers were at their
seats already, talking tensely to one another.
Many caught a glimpse of Rawl and
shouted their greetings.
At the near end of the room a choir
stood in ranks upon a raised balcony and
before them the Archbishop of Home
Planet stood, his tall, mitred cap flashing
Rawl’s eyes went to the rostrum at the
distant end of the hall. On the first tier were
the Ministers of the Executive Branch. At
the wide desk above it, in a sombre black
robe, backed by the glittering seal of the
Confederation, sat Xenu, Supreme Ruler.
For a brief instant over that expanse,
their eyes clashed. Then Rawl began to
walk down the aisle. The click-click of the
magnet-heeled space boots he habitually
wore was sharp and punctuating in the
room despite the babble of sound.
Chi, on Xenu’s left, was following
Rawl’s progress down the long aisle with
ferret eyes and a palm that itched for contact
with his hidden blaster.
The calm strength of Rawl seemed to
spread outward. He was giving little heed to
the greetings beyond a preoccupied nod. He
had spent the night with committees and, as
speaker of the Congress, he knew what he
had to do.
His seat was in the front rank of chairs
with empty space between it and the rostrum.
Mish was there already, smiling eagerly.
Rawl stopped and swept his eyes
across the hall and back at the rostrum.
That Chi was a nasty breed. And Xenu
looked sardonic, contemptuously amused.
Rawl sat down.
An officer in the row behind him put a
friendly hand on his shoulder. ”Are we going
to take up this police state thing right
Rawl said, ”Might as well.”
Mish nodded rapidly. ”Head on collision.”
The officer behind them said, ”Good
boy, ” and sat back expectantly.
A huge round gong rested in a frame beside
Xenu. He picked up a brass hammer
and gave the gong a hard blow. Its long,
doleful sound rolled in waves across the
hall, carrying audience silence with it.
Xenu spoke. ”Now that we seem to
have gotten together somehow – if late – I,
Xenu, duly elected Supreme Ruler by the
Loyal Officers of the Galactic Confederation,
do declare the two thousand and fiftyfourth
Congress to be in session.”
The choir lifted their voices into a
The hundreds of Loyal Officers rose to
their feet, caps off and stood facing the
front of the room.
The Archbishop stood, tall and solemn,
bathed in the sound of the choir behind him.
As the hymn finished, the Archbishop
raised his palms upward. His droning, sonorous
voice spread through the hall:
”All blessings to Almighty God and the
Galactic Confederation, upon its 21 stars,
upon its 76 green planets, upon its trillions
of population and upon the Loyal Officers,
loyal to the people, to the Confederation
and to God and upon this Congress. May
peace and prosperity continue as it has for
The Loyal Officers resumed their seats.
A crier stepped forward from the end
of the rostrum. ”The Congress is now open
for its first deliberations!”
Rawl stood. He looked around him
calmly, at the Loyal Officers, the rostrum.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 12
”This Congress, ” said Rawl, ”meets in
the shadow of possible planetary revolt.”
The last particle of noise vanished from the
hall. Every eye gave him full, strained attention.
”Head on collision, ” Mish had said.
Well here it was.
”In the ten years since the last Congress,
certain orders have been issued by the
Executive Branch which were not ratified
by the 2053rd Congress.”
Xenu went rigid. He had not thought
they would dare. ”While we do not wish to
be critical, ” said Rawl, ”and imagine there
are reasons for these orders – no matter
how much mistaken – it has been decided
by the Congressional Committees that our
first order of business should be to survey
these changes, put them to a vote, and ratify
them or not so that their legality or illegality
is clearly established.”
A rapid, electric buzz of approval
spread through the hall.
Xenu braced himself, corrected his expression
to one of political suavity.
”What changes?” said Xenu.
Mish instantly produced an ornate
folder and passed it to Rawl who took it
without glancing at it.
”Over the past two hundred years or
so, ” said Rawl, ”certain political ideas and
innovations have been put forward from
time to time. And each time they have been
defeated. But now, beginning eight years
ago, we find they have become executive
Xenu continued to keep a grip on himself.
He was very sure of his own ground.
Rawl glanced at the folder he held.
”These ideas are: personal income tax, credit
records, fingerprinting all citizens, identity
An angry mutter swept through the
Rawl dropped the folder. He lifted his
head. ”For thousands of years we have done
without these things and done well. Yet today,
by executive order, we find them instituted
and enforced on every planet of the
Chi bent and whispered urgently into
Suavely Xenu smiled. ”These are lawless
times. It is the executive responsibility
to keep the realm peaceful, prosperous and
calm.” He tented his fingers and assumed an
attitude of stating a fact that everybody
knew and only an idiot would disagree with.
”By making it possible to identify every
citizen swiftly we can catch criminals at
In the back of the hall a grey-haired officer
leaped to his feet. ”If this identity system
is so successful, then why is it that
during the last eight years, crime throughout
this Galaxy has multiplied five times?”
Rawl raised his hand in a signal.
The doors at the rear of the hall crashed
open and six page-boys, each one pushing a
wheeled table, raced in and rushed to the
front of the room.
The tables, each one piled high with
documents and reports were rapidly positioned
Rawl swept his hand indicating the tables.
”The Congressional Committees have
not been idle, ” said Rawl. ”Here, Your Excellency,
are the crime records of all seventy-
six planets for the past ten years. Here
also are the complaints and petitions of
those planets. Here, as well, are the financial
records and appalling rate of inflation of
He let the hall calm down a bit. He
looked mild and persuasive. ”Personal income
tax and credit records carry with them
a total invasion of privacy. Identity cards
and passports put every citizen at the
mercy of personal enemies as well as the
REVOLT IN THE STARS 13
He picked up some of the petitions,
long rolls with tens of thousands of names
and, after glancing at them, sought to pass
them via a page to Xenu. Xenu flattened his
hands against them. He wanted no petitions.
Rawl continued, even more mild and
more persuasive. ”Such measures are the
mechanisms that make slaves of a people,
that sap their initiative and fill them with
His gaze at Xenu leveled. His voice became
very firm. ”These are the mechanisms
of tyranny and oppression and no rightminded
citizen would ever permit them.
They are the tools of the sly slave-master
and every one of these measures is a stench
in the nostrils of free men.”
An abrupt rolling shout of approval
burst from the hall.
He stood very straight. ”The executive
branch is regarding populations as domestic
cattle, to be milked for taxes and the payment
of loans. You are ear-marking and
branding them with enforced identity cards.
You are even teaching them in schools that
they are animals. You do NOT own them.
They are NOT your herd, They are free
human beings, not economic slaves or government
property. And any government
that violates this fact cannot end in anything
but destruction of both itself and the
people. This is NOT opinion! This is history!”
Cheers and applause rolled through the
Savagely Xenu cut into it. ”These
measures were vital! He struck the gong
hard for order. ”Here, I will call a witness!”
He gestured behind him, and to the crier.
The crier stood. ”Master Lord Lieutenant
Zel, chief of the secret police of Earth,
appearing as witness for the Ministry of
The curtains parted and Zel came forth.
He was dressed in a grey-green uniform,
glittering with braid. He came to Xenu’s
right and stood there, black eyes shifting,
his weasel face suspicious.
”The only way to handle crime, ” said
Zel, ’’is to be able to lay your hands on any
citizen at any time. Men are all basically
criminal. Without identity cards, without
the most detailed dossiers… ”
”For police blackmail, ” came a shout
from the hall.
”… the most detailed dossiers, ” continued
”without passports to cut down criminal
travel, police work would be utterly impossible.”
”You’re causing the revolt!” someone
Zel struggled on. ”You cannot handle a
crime wave unless you consider every citizen
a potential criminal. And you have to
have fingerprints of everyone to identify
missing persons and bodies… ” Laughter
from the hall drowned out what he was
He had not been prepared for this much
He looked sideways at Xenu, looked at
the Congress and then, backward step by
backward step, he got to the curtains and
Xenu was hard eyed. He clamorously
struck the gong. He gestured urgently toward
the curtains and the crier.
The crier caught his cue. ”Master Lord
Chu, Executive President of the Galactic
Interplanetary Bank, presenting testimony
for the Treasury.”
The curtains slipped apart and a fat,
pudgy man, very much like a pig, slid forward.
His civilian clothes were quite plain
but he wore four diamonds in his tie and a
huge diamond on each hand.
He was very nervous and was twisting
REVOLT IN THE STARS 14
the rings on his fingers. ”I am very honored
for the privilege to address the Congress of
Loyal Officers. Doubtless, ” he repressed a
giggle, ”this slight misunderstanding can be
cleared up. You see, ” and he didn’t succeed
in repressing the giggle this time, ”You see,
the Confederation is not solvent. It has, ” he
paused and looked very pleased, ”very bad
debts. Er… ”
A Loyal Officer leaped to his feet in
the hall. ”It was completely solvent at the
time of the last Congress!”
Chu nodded energetically. ”Well, yes,
perhaps it was solvent then. But only on
the surface. The bills for the Grey Invasion
were not all counted up. And the Treasury
was very empty. And so I… I mean the
Treasury proposed a personal income tax.
Oh, yes, it very much eased things.”
Rawl looked at him, calm, assured.
”These petitions show that personal income
tax has caused wild inflation on every
planet and has brought about economic
stress. The government takes the money of
individuals and companies before it can be
invested or enter commerce. Wages and
prices have had to be doubled, tripled,
quadrupled to compensate for this loss of
income. Inflation and increased public debt
With a flurry of ring twists and a wriggle,
Chu said, ”All the very best economists
recommended it, I am sure. But this is a
state matter. I am more concerned with any
effort to abolish personal credit files and
ratings. You see, a bank.”
Back in the hall, a Loyal Officer was on
his feet. ”As Chairman of the Loyal Officer’s
Economic Committee, I wish to remind
you that banks were perfectly capable
of handling their loans and affairs and prospered
well before this enforced individual
credit file system was instituted. Your
business is with your customers and depends
on your judgment, not upon some
spider web espionage system that pries into
the lives of every citizen’s finances.”
”Well, ” said Chu, ”well, yes, I dare say
you have a point… I… er… hasten to assure
you that banks are not an official part
of the government and… er… possibly
have no right invading privacy.” But he had
his own point to make and he firmed up and
shot it at them. ”But when the government
needs money, it always has to come to the
bank!” And with this petty triumph he
dived back through the curtains.
Xenu furiously banged on the gong to
still the laughter.
”I suggest, ” said Xenu, ”this Congress
get about its proper business. The executive
orders have been passed, they are in effect.
They were undertaken under the authority
of the emergency powers granted to the Executive
in its last session. More police, better
means of identification and more tax
money are vital to suppress this growing
revolt, these crime waves. This unruly,
population must be gotten under
CONTROL!” He smashed his clenched fist
down on the desk. He recovered himself a
bit. He was sure of his ground. He knew he
was right, for one of his virtues was that he
always knew he was right no matter what
”They are legal orders. Personal income
tax was necessary to replenish the Treasury.
Identity cards and passports were vital
to check crime. They exist as orders, they
are legal and in force. Under the emergency
Rawl smiled tolerantly. ”Not so hurried,
Your Excellency. The law of the Galaxy
is formed by this Congress. The situation
is very plain. This evidence spread before
me says very eloquently that inflation
and crime have followed those orders.”
He turned his back on the rostrum and
addressed the hall. ”The flaw in all those
enormous personal files being gathered is
REVOLT IN THE STARS 15
that they are obtained by newly active secret
police. The credit and identity files of
individuals are stuffed with false reports,
lies that are never questioned. When the file
of an individual has been so corrupted, he
can no longer obtain work. He is ruined. A
person with a false file has no choice but to
turn outlaw and criminal. As you well
know, the criminal ranks, hideouts and lairs
are swelling out of control and directly as a
result of these measures. The criminal does
not have to show an identity card to the
person he robs or kills. Only decent citizens
are being regulated.
And as to inflation, other wiser methods
and economies can be found to handle
A mutter of agreement and applause
came from the hall.
”The way to handle a possible revolt, ”
he continued, ”is NOT more oppression,
more police. Revolts start with oppression
and because of repression. The government
frantically adds more repression and gets
more revolt. And so it goes on until either
the state or the people die. History has
shown that the way to handle threatened
revolt is to remove utterly, fully and completely
all possible reasons for revolt at
once. Laws of government that do not stem
from the desires and wishes of the people
cannot be enforced and must not exist.”
Rawl took a long breath. It was now or
never. ”I therefore move that the emergency
powers of the executive be cancelled and all
executive orders be declared null and void.”
The shock wave of ayes and cheers hit
Xenu like a blow. And as the bedlam continued
he sank from bitterness into suppressed
The crowd had been standing for hours
on the outside steps of the Congress hall,
Suddenly the big PA horns blared. ”The
motion has passed!”
For an instant the crowd was still.
Then they exploded into a deafening roar of
cheers. Some leaped in the air, others
danced. An old lady just continued to stare
at the PA horns and then sank down against
the wall and began to cry tears of relief for
it meant her two grandsons, imprisoned for
not paying accurate tax, would be freed.
The waves of cheering and dancing feet
churned about her.
The factory cafeteria, where workers
had been eating their evening meal, was
suddenly struck to silence by the PA.
The lunchroom exploded into a frenzy
of cheering. Plates, food and all, sailed into
They jumped on tables and began to
dance and shout.
A foreman raced up the curving stairs
to the time keeper room and jabbed frantically
at ”whistle”, ”siren” and ”fire alarm”
buttons and out of the top of the factory,
joined promptly by other towers in the industrial
zone, came a shattering blast of
A priest as wide as he was tall raced
into the bell loft of the great cathedral and
began to yank on every bell rope he could
The street had been impassably
jammed with cars and people, waiting,
waiting, all eyes riveted upon the huge view
screens and PA horns.
The blared ”Motion has been passed”
was like hitting a button for total commotion.
The people screamed with delight.
Every driver hit his car horn.
Whatever else the PA might have said
was totally inaudible in the din.
Three young men immediately reached
into the back seat of their bus and ripped a
blanket off a concealed, mounted automatic
blast weapon and stripped the charge bolts
out of it. Grinning at one another they
REVOLT IN THE STARS 16
dumped the weapon into a street garbage
can, abandoning it. They stood and added
their voices to the din.
The newscaster in the Home Planet Interplanetary
Broadcast Corporation tower
held the first slip in his excitedly shaking
hands and screamed at the operator, ”Connect
it up! Connect it up!”
The technician was urgently unsnarling
cables that re-snarled in his haste and jamming
plugs into the connector for each
planet. He got the board green lighted and
snapped a mike cable into the master after
The newscaster gripped the cubicle
mike, started to talk, realized his signal was
not green, hit the mike, got it green and
yelled, ”Alert, alert! All planetary newsrooms.
Official, official! Galaxy wide. The
2054th Congress of Loyal Officers just cancelled
the executive orders of personal income
tax, identity cards and passports. Details
to you as fast as they come in here!”
A door opened behind him. The distant
shouts, horns, sirens of the city were heard
for an instant.
The newscaster whirled. One of his reporters
had just come in.
A huge fan of celebration fireworks exploded
over the city and flashed through the
control tower windows.
The newscaster stripped the paper
from the reporter’s hand. ”Quick! Get Mol
at the palace… we want details… color…
background… interviews… ” The reporter
dived at a communication panel. ”The palace
the palace Mol. Get me Mol.”
Lady Min was close to being smashed
up flat in the palace hallway.
Half a hundred newsmen and cameramen
clamored before her, pounding her with
Beside her, Ap, her press agent, a
flashily dressed young man, tried without
much success to keep her from being
knocked off her feet.
”Lady Min, ” shouted a reporter, ”as
the Supreme Ruler’s mistress, would you
say Xenu was pleased?”
Ap tried to field the question. ”Lady
Min is the greatest actress in the Galaxy.
She does not meddle in politics. Gentlemen,
would you please… ”
Another newsman shouted, ”Is it true
Rawl accused Xenu of trying to stir the
planets to revolt?”
And another, ”Lady Min, would you
say the women will be pleased… ”
And yet another, ”Did Xenu say he
was planning a vacation on the summer satellite?”
Lady Min had edged backward and
backward, trying to keep herself all in one
piece. Her red evening gown was pulled
askew on one shoulder. Her red, sparklestudded
shoes had been stepped on. The
jeweled flower in her hair had been pulled
back of one ear.
The din was hard on her ears. ”Ap, ”
she shouted, ”stars and spotlights, handle
Ap groaned. ”In ten years I never had
to handle a wild animal act.” Suddenly he
saw that she had her back to an executive
office door and her hand was already turning
the latch to open it behind her. ”Where
are you going?”
Lady Min slid through the door and before
any pressure could be put on it, banged
it shut. Ap promptly stepped in front of it
and held up one hand while he fished in his
big-checked jacket for a sheaf of releases. A
fanfare of hands began to grab at them.
Lady Min sagged back against the door.
From the other side still came the mutter of
the commotion in the hall. She was limp.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 17
What had she gotten herself into? The
commands of the Supreme Ruler in the past
few years had become absolute. Three
weeks ago he had simply sent an order to
the theater that she was appointed his mistress.
And why? He hated women, apparently
couldn’t stand to touch one. Had she
said ”No” there was no telling what would
happen to her. The government lately had a
way of ruining anyone who said ”No.” So,
even though Ap beat his brains trying to
find a way around it, here she was.
She looked about her. This was one of
Xenu’s executive offices. It was splendidly
ornate in red velvet and gold. It had a bar, a
black table in the room center with some
sort of a computer panel in its top and a
couch that faced the windows, its back to
the room. It was the couch that caught her
weary eye and she moved toward it.
One of her glittering red leather shoes
came off, its strap broken in the ”interviews”
but she let it lie and limped on
across the room. Exhausted she dropped
down on the couch. The back blocked her
view of the room, the wide windows gazed
out on the evening
city. She started to light a cigarette and
then let it fall back in the tray. She put a
finger under the gold band at her throat and
loosened it. Her eyes lingered on a bracelet
that bore the enameled picture of the Supreme
Ruler and then tore it off her wrist
and dropped it on the floor. She stared at
the ceiling and let out a long sigh.
What had she gotten herself into? In her
many years on the stage, beginning when
she was five, she had been in some commotions,
some remarkable ones, but seldom
anything even approaching this. The play
had closed, mainly because she had had to
leave the cast but partly because of public
disturbance. The broadcast series she was
going to do had been suspended due to her
being ordered to the palace. And Xenu had,
in the underworld if not amongst the population,
a very unsavory reputation, vague,
whispered about, never specified. What
crazy bent had caused him to suddenly order
someone to become his mistress? Ah,
well, tomorrow would tell. Evening was
gradually turning into night. She turned on
her side and stared out at the stars, dimmed
by the celebrations and lights of the city, far
from guessing that there lay her immediate
The latch of the door to Xenu’s quarters
rattled and the door swung open. Much
in the way one would shoo a chicken, Xenu
pushed Chu before him.
Xenu shoved the door shut with his
cane and snapped on the lights by jabbing it
at the switch. He looked at the bar, the table,
the hall door. The back of the couch
was toward him. Satisfied, he limped to the
table and lowered himself into the chair before
Chu was in an uproar. He was twisting
so hard at his rings that he appeared to be
taking his fingers off.
”It’s ruin!” said Chu. ”It’s ruin, I tell
you. Ruin. Without personal credit files or
identity papers, we will never be able to
locate debtors and persuade them into
Xenu showed no slightest sympathy.
”Crush them into paying, blackmail them
into paying, you mean.”
Chu agitatedly gestured at a chair for
permission to sit and then wriggled into it.
”You promised… ”
”I promise nothing, ” said Xenu
sharply. Then he relaxed. ”I brought you
here, my piggy, little friend, to give orders,
not to make promises.”
With a sly lift of his eyebrows, Chu
said, ”Remember it was my ideas and suggestions
that got all the money into the
”Yes, and now it will have to be paid
REVOLT IN THE STARS 18
back. And exactly how we make up the little
commissions that were spread around
amongst us is a problem. And don’t forget
that it was your idea because it was a bad
Chu began to sweat a bit in alarm. One
could never tell about Xenu.
But Xenu was not there to engage in
idle conversation. ”We have business to do.
The Congress has put over me and the
whole executive branch a guard committee
on finance. Without their authorization the
government cannot spend a single credit.
This was their method of paralyzing any
secret action I might take. They could not
remove me as every action I took was completely
legal under the emergency powers.
But there is an election next year.”
”Precisely. We will all be retired to the
scrapheap. And don’t think that because
you are a banker you will be overlooked. It
is not beyond possibility that under a new
Supreme Ruler, they will look into some of
your loans and connections. They might
even discover how you use billions of public
funds to improve the surroundings of
your private holdings. They might even find
how much public money you had us spend
to completely rehabilitate asteroids so that,
you could put resort hotels on them and
”No, no, ” said Chu nervously. ”You
don’t have to push me into despair with it.
My doctor… ”
”Good, ” said Xenu. ”Then we understand
He promptly began to punch buttons
on the table computer and view screen. It
flared green and the green light, shining upward,
glowed on their faces.
Xenu muttered as he pushed buttons.
”About two billion for renegades… another
four billion to secretly rehire the secret police.”
Apprehension began to mount in Chu
as he watched the dancing figures.
”The minimum amount, ” said Xenu,
looking at Chu, ”is one trillion Galactic
Shock made Chu twist a ring so deeply
it cut him.
”In private funds, ” said Xenu. ”Untraceable.”
Chu did not speak. He was incapable of
it for the moment.
With a long, expert finger, Xenu began
to punch buttons again and the figures again
started to race across the computer, increasing
”No, ” said Chu. ”No, no, no. ” He
gathered his wits and gradually took on a
sly, calculating attitude. ”And my credit
”You’ll get them back, ” said Xenu.
”And the use of public treasury to improve
my private holdings?”
”Of course, ” said Xenu.
With well being slowly seeping through
him, Chu said, ”A trillion Galactic credits.
Untraceable funds and accounts.” He got up
and minced to the door. He looked back at
Xenu and, humming to himself, opened the
Chi came through it. A very gloomy,
listless Chi. He closed the door after Chu
and wandered over to the middle of the
Xenu pried himself erect with his cane
and limped to the bar. He was smiling, more
cheerful than he had been for days. He took
down a bottle and began to prepare drinks.
Chi gloomily followed him to the bar.
He let out a deep sigh, ”We are crashed.”
Xenu uttered a short vicious laugh and
continued to pour drinks. ”Not so, my
friend. The game has not ended. It has only
The handkerchief Chi was using to mop
his face halted at the side of his jutting jaw.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 19
He was not quite bright enough to take this
in. He looked stunned.
”But it’s only a matter of time until
they depose you. Certainly within the year!
And my files. They’ve ordered me to destroy
my files and erase my computers!”
Xenu pushed a drink toward him and
spoke casually. ”There are other files you
can destroy and plenty of useless computers
you can erase. Chi, did it ever occur to
you that you now have a file on every
criminal, renegade and psychopath in this
entire galaxy?” He sipped his drink lovingly.
”And have you ever thought at one
time or another what a splendid secret force
they would make?”
Uncertainly Chi took hold of the drink.
The concept finally got through to him, he
raised his eyebrows and started to lift the
glass in a toast but a horrible thought occurred
”But this will take money. And all finances
are cut off. Have you ever asked a
renegade how much he… ”
”Indeed I have, ” said Xenu. ”But no
target. We will have more than adequate
funds, private, secret.”
The illustrious Minister of Police
stirred it around in his mind and then began
to get the idea.
Xenu put down his glass, all business.
”And so we reoccupy the bases destroyed
and abandoned after the Grey Invasion. We
recruit every renegade we can lay our hands
on, we train and equip and on one certain
day a few months hence we will… ”
Chi hastily got out a pad and pencil and
eagerly started to write these orders down.
Xenu knocked the pad up. He began to
move back to the black table leaving his
drink behind him.
”No, no notes. This is totally secret.
You will even have to develop your own
codes and transmissions. You can trust only
those on whom you have definite blackmail.”
He sat down in his chair. ”This will
take very careful planning. A simultaneous
strike coordinated on all planets… ”
Under Xenu’s finger the green computer
face lighted up. ”There will be no
Loyal Officers left to object. And especially
no Galactic Commander Rawl, especially no
Rawl.’’ This pleased him and he stabbed
the buttons viciously. ”They wanted a revolt!
We’ll give them a revolt. Did you
know, Chi, that all revolts start from the
top. It’s an historical fact… ”
Chi grabbed his arm. Xenu looked up in
some annoyance and then followed the line
of Chi’s glare.
On the floor midway between the
couch and the sofa lay a glittering red shoe.
Chi’s hand darted to the hidden blaster
under his coat.
Xenu restrained him and silently began
to rise from his chair. He walked catfootedly
over to the back of the couch.
He looked down on Lady Min. Her
eyes were closed as though asleep, but her
breast was heaving a bit rapidly.
He reached down and suddenly grabbed
her hair. With a savage wrench he yanked
her to her feet.
She backed up toward the window.
”I’ve been asleep!”
He curled his lip. ”And by that you
confess you heard every word!”
She got her hair loose and tried to run.
She stumbled and crumpled into a heap.
Xenu leaped after her. He yanked her to her
”And I suppose your first thought is to
contact Rawl! You corrupted bitch! You
He shook her violently. ”This is what I
get for taking you in.” His voice rose to a
scream. ”You were supposed to bring me
Terror was giving away to anger in
Lady Min. She gave him a level look,
REVOLT IN THE STARS 20
”Popularity is earned, not bought!”
The cane came up and struck her.
She went sprawling into the corner
back of the hallway door, knocked out.
The blaster was in Chi’s hand, he made
a gesture to Xenu to get him out of his line
of fire. ”Please move a bit your excellency
so I can get a clear shot.”
Xenu took his eyes off the crumpled
figure. Slowly, he was gathering his wits,
taking a competent estimate of the situation.
”No. Mo, we don’t want another
scandal. The pigs of this galaxy have been
He hobbled over to the table motioning
to Chi to put away his gun. ”Call Doctor
”Robotize her,” said Chi.
Xenu nodded several times. ”Depersonalize
her with neurosurgery.” The
thought pleased him. ”Drag her to her room,
put her under guard.” He laughed. ”She
might even be some fun.”
Lady Min’s bedroom was a very ornate
affair. It looked out across the sprawling
night-lit city. Mirrors that could be adjusted
to different angles reached from ceiling to
floor all about the walls. One mirrored door
led into the hallway, another into a large
bathroom. A huge boudoir table, ornate
with gold frames stood beside the bed. A
full communications panel and screen glittered
in the wall.
Lady Min lay sprawled upon the bed
where they had thrown her.
She started to rise and winced. She felt
gingerly at her head where the cane had
struck her. Panic was rising in her but she
steadied it down. This was no time to go to
pieces. She had no illusions whatsoever
about the trouble she was in or her possible
fate. The rumors in the underworld about
Xenu could not be without foundation.
Unsteadily she removed her ruined
gown and walked over to the wash basin at
the boudoir table. She took a wet towel and
began to sponge the bruised area above her
The sharp knock at the door was followed
at once by a key grinding harshly in
Doctor Stug opened the door.
In the hall behind him a nurse, a wheeltable
and a guard were waiting.
Stug closed the door and advanced into
the room. He was a tall man dressed in
black civilian clothes. His pointed beard and
ribboned eye glasses gave him a veneer of
professionalism. As Xenu’s private psychiatrist
he had had a great deal of practice
in deception. His left hand was held behind
”I just came to see if you were all right,
” said Doctor Stug.
Lady Min laid down the towel and
looked alertly at him.
The tilted mirror beside the door clearly
showed his back.
It disclosed as well the narcotic pistol
he was hiding, a pistol good for a hundred
shots anything-up to ten feet which guaranteed
a day or more of unconsciousness.
”These petty lover’s quarrels!’’ said
Doctor Stug. ”Tch. Tch. I have known
Xenu for a long, long time and he may get
angry but he quickly forgives, quickly forgives.
I wouldn’t doubt that it will be all
made up by bed time.”
He began to move forward slowly, easily.
”Why, you seem to have a bruise on
your cheek. Well, well, we can do something
about that at least.”
Lady Min looked at him and then
pointed to her cheek. She winced and began
to walk toward him unsteadily. ”It is a bit
REVOLT IN THE STARS 21
swollen, but really I feel very faint.”
She came close to him presenting her
cheek. ”Can you see if anything is broken?”
She stumbled and her left hand flew up
as to balance herself.
Instinctively Stug reached for her with
his free hand.
Lady Min’s right lashed around to his
She jerked the hidden gun outward so
that it pointed at his side.
Her thumb depressed his finger on the
A tiny white puff hammered through
the cloth of his coat.
Stug’s eyes flew wide, dazed. His
mouth opened and he slowly slumped forward.
His head hit the rug.
Lady Min knelt over him and disengaged
the narcotic pistol. She fumbled with
the slide and then got it cocked again.
Softly she said, ”You’re not so different
from any stagedoor jackass, Doctor
She checked the slide, pulled his coat
collar open and pressed the muzzle against
his bare neck.
”Have a good day’s sleep, brain surgeon.”
The muzzle jumped and a puff of
white smoke eddied up from it.
She tossed an apprehensive look at the
door. She knew there were guards there, not
only the one who would come with Doctor
Stug, but also door guards. Xenu would not
She sped to her closet and yanked out a
large flowing night robe. She threw it over
Stug and quickly adjusted it to cover all of
him and his shoes.
Moving fast, she went to the communications
console. She knelt before it and
hastily pushed buttons. It’s screen blurred
and flashed. Urgency and some panic was
catching up with her.
A long way away in the city Ap was
flopped over a bar in a honky-tonk, gripping
a drink, listening languidly to a girl
who sang soothingly in front of the band. A
ragged buzz came from his pocket and with
a bored sigh he took out a flat small communications
unit with a tiny view screen.
His calm vanished when he saw a disheveled
Lady Min appear on it.
Her voice was sharp and tinny through
the tiny receiver. ”Ap! Where is Rawl?”
Ap blinked and got his mind into focus.
”What a spectacular question. He left for
planet Earth about sunset. The congress is
over, you… ”
”You’ve got to contact him!”
Ap’s hand on the receiver began to
shake. ”We got banner headline trouble, I
can tell! He’ll take days in flight. That’s
out. Look… ”
”Ap. Get out to the spaceport fast and
get my spaceyacht ready for instant takeoff.
The honky-tonk music increased in
volume. ”But Lady Min, they just changed
your pilot… ”
There was a sharp click as the communications
receiver went off.
Ap steadied himself against the bar.
”Hot smoke, she rang off. Well here goes
tomorrow’s headlines maybe.” He let out a
shivering sigh, ”Future Zero!” He jammed
his communicator into his pocket. It seemed
to him that the music was actually a shriek.
He collected himself, threw a one credit
note on the bar and tottered out toward the
In the bedroom Lady Min rose from
the console. She stared at Stug on the floor
and quieted her rapid breathing.
She rushed to the bathroom and turned
on its light. She opened a faucet until the
She left the bathroom door a crack open
and made sure lights could be seen from the
REVOLT IN THE STARS 22
Narcotic pistol in hand, she sped over
beside the main entrance door, positioning
herself so that when it opened she would be
She was breathing rapidly and carefully
steadied herself down. She pulled back the
slide on the narcotic gun and hefted it. She
took a deep breath. Slowly she unlatched
the door and let it drift open a couple of
She raised her chin and in a not too
good imitation of Stug’s voice called,
With a clatter and a bang the door was
shoved open from the outside by the
wheeled stretcher, pushed by the nurse and
flanked by the guard. They saw the covered
body on the floor and pushed the stretcher
on into the room.
The guard, dressed in the grey-green of
the secret police, gripped his blast rifle at
ready and looked about.
The nurse’s head was covered with a
white scarf, her shirt was blue-striped and
white-cuffed and she wore a voluminous
white skirt. She looked at the body on the
floor and then at the partly opened bathroom
door, noted the running water and
smirked. ”Have some fun for yourself first,
Doc?” she said.
With her palm Lady Min swung the
hall door shut.
At the sound of the latch the nurse
started to turn.
With one step forward Lady Min
pressed the muzzle of the narcotic gun
against her neck and fired.
The secret police guard whirled and
started to raise his blast rifle to firing position.
He opened his mouth to shout.
Lady Min worked the slide of the pistol
and jammed the narcotic gun in the direction
of his open mouth.
She pulled the trigger and a white puff
of smoke eddied around his suddenly slack
jaws as he crumpled.
She grabbed the blast rifle to keep it
from clattering on the floor and eased it to
She silently slid home the bolt on the
bedroom door. She sagged against the wall,
gasping with relief. ”Stars and spot lights!”
She realized she wasn’t out of there
yet, and it would only be a matter of minutes
before the guards outside the door
would begin to wonder what was going on.
She went to the peephole port in the
door, uncovered it and looked at its lens.
There were two guards in the hall. One
was standing indolently beside the door.
The other was sitting in a chair across the
hall, his blast rifle held between his knees
while he fished in his pockets for a lighter,
an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. The
rest of the hall was empty.
Lady Min closed the view port. She
took the guard by the shoulders and with
considerable effort dragged him into the
bathroom. She went back and knelt besides
the nurse. Laying the narcotic gun on the
floor she urgently began to strip the nurse
of her clothes, first the scarf then the skirt,
then the shoes and finally the blouse. Dear
God it was lucky the nurse was a trifle bigger
than she was.
Working fast and frantically she shortly
had the now naked nurse dumped in the
bath tub, Stug – with exertion that was almost
too much for her – laid out on the
stretcher and the blast rifle under him. Dear
God it was also lucky that he wasn’t too
big a man. She pulled the cover sheet over
his form obscuring him utterly. She climbed
into the nurse’s clothes and then with two
darting trips to look at the nurse’s face she
converted her own nose, mouth and hair line
to a similarity.
She adjusted the nurse’s scarf and
looked at herself in the mirror. She inREVOLT
IN THE STARS 23
spected herself carefully and then nodded.
She opened a drawer in the boudoir and
grabbed a handful of rings and her wallet
and stuffed them inside her shirt bosom.
She picked up the narcotic pistol and
went into the bathroom. Working the slide
rapidly she pumped an additional shot into
the guard and another into the nurse.
She came back to the stretcher, picked a
nightgown off the floor and threw it carelessly
across the stretcher’s foot.
She looked around the room, closed the
bathroom door, locked it and sailed the key
under the bed. Silently she unbolted the
main entrance door.
She took one final look around the
room, drew a long breath to steady herself
and then with one hand on the bottom rail
of the wheelstretcher she swung the door
With a hard yank she sent the stretcher
sailing out into the hall, stepped after it and
slammed the door. The guards stiffened.
The one nearest it, looked at the closed
door and then at Lady Min. ”Where’s the
Lady Min looked at him sneeringly.
She had heard the nurse speak and hoped
her voice now sounded like it. ”The fun
they had made a little mess. They’re cleaning
it up so old Xenu won’t notice. Phagh,
The guards leered and looked at the
Lady Min jabbed her finger authoritatively
at one of the guards. ”Call an ambulance
to the south door.” She glared authoritatively
at the other one. ”Give me a hand
with this stretcher.”
Standing beside the spaceyacht, his ears
assailed with the whine of ships and rattling
clatter of the hangar, Ap was gradually losing
seven years of his growth. The sweat
ran damply down one side of his forehead
and he dabbed it off with a gaudy handkerchief.
The spaceyacht designing was black
with a white diagonal stripe and while it
might have very nice appointments, it left a
lot to be desired for long voyages. And just
now it was only about an eighth full of fuel.
Ap stared out across the expanse of
space port toward the administration tower.
He didn’t know what he was watching or
waiting for and he expected the area to
erupt with guards any instant.
The pilot was lounging under the stub
wing of the craft, one foot indolently resting
on the sloped landing ramp which extended
from the side of the fuselage. He was a new
pilot. He had Just been assigned. Some of
his time in the last twenty-four hours had
been spent in wondering what happened to
the man he replaced, what he had done to
throw him out of favor.
”You say she’s only going to the Summer
Palace satellite, ” said the pilot. ”That’s
no great flight.
Why do you want to top up all the fuel
tanks and air?”
Ap carefully put on his most persuasive
manner. ”Well it’s safest to have full
fuel tanks. Go ahead. Fill her.”
”They may want to take a grand tour,
sightseeing amongst the satellites. Look,
you’re just new here. When you serve at
this stellar level of command chain, take it
from Ap, be prepared for anything.”
Doubtfully the pilot moved over to the
head of the ship and waved a lazy hand at a
passing fuel and air truck.
Ap went on staring toward the administration
Chi prowled along the palace hall. One
had to keep one’s eye on everything these
days. You couldn’t trust anybody to do
REVOLT IN THE STARS 24
anything. Also they didn’t keep him informed
the way they should. Only a few
minutes ago he had heard that Lady Min
had been taken away by ambulance, which
was peculiar as there was a complete operating
room right here in the palace specially
installed by Xenu for exactly such emergencies.
He looked at the guard outside Lady
Min’s door. ”Why are you still on guard
here? Haven’t they gone?”
The guard started and straightened up
stiffly. It made one nervous just to see Chi
much less to be talked to by him. ”Yuh
Yuh. They took her out. But the brainbanger
and one of my guys are still in
there – straightening up.”
Chi didn’t like it. He stood for a moment
and then suspiciously slid the door
There was nobody in there. He instantly
drew his gun and stepped sidewise
through the door.
Cat-footed he approached the bathroom
door, flipped the knob, found it
locked. He stepped back and crashed the
flat of his foot against the door just beside
It flew open.
The guard lay sprawled on the floor.
The nurse lay naked in the tub.
The guard stood jaw open looking in
and then something like terror came into his
eyes as he shifted them to Chi. He had a
very good idea what would happen to him
Chi thrust the guard violently aside and
rushed out into the hall shouting.
Ap heard the siren before he saw the
ambulance and for a sweating instant was
certain that it must be a police car.
The white vehicle shot across the field,
dived into the hangar and, siren dying, spun
about and pointed its nose toward the hangar
door. With a squeal it backed to the
On the run the driver and attendant
raced back to the rear ambulance doors and
flung them open.
Ap was hastily trying to put the pieces
of this together. He saw a nurse step out
and if she hadn’t moved her hand toward
him briefly, only in a way Lady Min would
do, he wouldn’t have known who it was.
The driver and attendant rolled the
stretcher toward the bottom of the ramp
and would have rolled it straight on up into
the ship had it not been for the pilot barring
The pilot frowned. ”What the rockets
is this?” He came on down the ramp to the
bottom and reached for the cover at the top
of the stretcher.
Lady Min chopped at his hand. ”Why
don’t you call Xenu and find out?”
He frowned and again reached for the
corner of the sheet.
This time Lady Min used the side edge
of her hand on his wrist.
”I know all about little boys who can’t
keep their hands off unconscious girls. You
Ap had it now. He rushed forward.
”Come on, come on. There’s little time to
And he gave the stretcher a perilous
push up the ramp. If he hadn’t jumped
aside the pilot would have been knocked
down. The driver and attendant pushed
with a will and with a roar of wheels the
stretcher flew on up the ramp and into the
fuselage of the spaceyacht. Sullenly the pilot
Ap came to the spaceyacht door as the
driver and attendant trotted back down the
ramp. ”Thank you fellows, ” Ap called after
them. ”Greatest drive in history pretty
near. Xenu won’t forget this!”
The ambulance men waved back to him,
climbed into their vehicle and shot off.
The pilot pulled the ramp closed and
REVOLT IN THE STARS 25
walked doubtfully to the pilot seat.
His eyes wide with unanswered questions,
Ap looked at Lady Min. She shook
her head at him and pushed the stretcher
down the aisle of the ship toward a cabin at
Languidly the pilot was obtaining his
clearance from the tower. He checked over
the instrument panel and began to start the
”Take off!” yelled Ap. ”Get this thing
spaceborne!” The ship lurched and began to
roll forward slowly.
Lady Min got the stretcher fully inside
the rear cabin and began to lash it to cleats
in the wall. Ap banged the cabin door shut
and lifted the sheet at the head of the
”Stug!” He stared at Lady Min. ”Why
him? This is Stug, Xenu’s chief brainbanger.”
”Can this rust can get to Earth?”
”Earth! That’s days away. No.”
They were pushed back heavily as the
ship leaped into take-off.
Chi flung himself out of the car and
raced up the steps of the control tower,
glancing sideways at the sky as he went.
The open air defense platform at the
top of the tower was manned by blue and
white uniformed soldiers, idling about.
They were planetary troops and not in total
agreement with keeping a constant alert
since nothing had happened for a decade
since the Grey Invasion. It seemed a waste
of time, Their officer sat, bored, on the
parapet. The snouts of four heavy caliber
anti-spacecraft guns pointed motionless at
Chi burst upon the platform, looked
around for the officer and rushed at him,
pointing at the sky.
”I am Chi, Minister of Police. That
ship, that one there. A bank has just been
robbed and they are escaping on that ship.
By police orders fire on it!” The officer
looked through his viewer and then back at
Chi. ”But that’s Lady Min’s spaceyacht!”
”I know, I know, ” screamed Chi.
”She’ll be furious. Start shooting. Start
shooting before they get out of range!”
”Bank robbers?” The officer made up
his mind and gestured at his sergeant, ”Stop
The four muzzles of the battery swept
down into firing position, long streaks of
red flame sped from them in a staccato roar.
Inside the ship Ap struggled forward
up the aisle against the heavy acceleration.
He tapped the pilot on the shoulder.
”If you’ll just set a course… ” He
gaped as ribbons of flame shot by in front
of the wind screen.
The pilot whipped his head around to
the side window and looked back at the
rapidly receding field. The red boom of gun
fire flashed in his eyes. His face went grey.
Without a second thought, the pilot
turned back to the control panel. His glance
centered on ”Pilot Eject”. His hand stabbed
hysterically at it.
The pilot seat and the panel beside it
tilted violently over.
The white smoke of the ejection explosion
puffed around the pilot.
In a long graceful arch the pilot sailed
out into the atmosphere and began to tumble.
Ap screamed, ”Come back here!”
The hurricane wind of the ship’s passage
was whipping into the cabin from the
open ejection port. He reached and hurriedly
snapped the panel shut.
Down below he could see the pilot’s
Flame shots raced by between the
parachute and the ship.
Ap stared at the maze of controls, the
keyboards of buttons on the flashing spinREVOLT
IN THE STARS 26
ning navigation console. He threw up his
hands in despair.
More shots flashed by the windscreen.
Lady Min was trying to inch forward
from the tail. Her handkerchief and glasses
were off and her hair was flying wildly.
Five flame shots zipped through the
side of the ship directly in front of Lady
Min. She flinched.
”I can’t fly this thing!” wailed Ap.
”Neither can I!” shouted Lady Min.
He ripped open a drawer under the pilot’s
seat and scrambled in it. He brought
out a manual ”Mark 38 Navigation Console!”
He shakingly yanked at its pages one
A flame projectile went through the
windscreen another hit the tail and the ship
began to shake.
Trying to get the diagram to match up
with the buttons, Ap hit ”Accelerate’’ He
huntingly hovered over other buttons.
He clenched his fist in indecision and
Abruptly he jabbed five buttons chosen
at random all at once.
The ship abruptly changed course and
vaulted skyward in a spinning spiral.
A final barrage of shots sped by under
the ship converging on where it would have
Lady Min held on desperately in the
aisle. Loose objects thudded and banged
about the ship.
The passing hurricane velocity air made
the small holes in the fuselage whistle and
scream like maniacs.
Lady Min looked at the holes. She realized
that when they hit space they would
lose all their air.
She braced herself and pried open a
locker. She brought out a roll of tape and
dragged herself to the side of the ship.
Stripping off chunks of the adhesive with
her teeth she began to patch the holes.
The ship, steadied out, continued its
vertical headlong course for who knows
The ship rocked gently as its auto-pilot
corrected against gravitic pulls. The aisle
between the two couches was littered with
empty food cans which clinked together as
the ship moved. Crumpled wads of note
paper littered the floor between the two
Ap took one last look at the navigation
manual and resumed staring at the ceiling,
dropping the manual into the litter of the
”Guy that wrote that navigation manual
ought to get top billing as an idiot… ”
Lady Min stirred on the opposite
couch. She still wore the nurse’s uniform
but now it was rumpled and dirty. She took
her eyes off the overhead and looked listlessly
”No idea where we are?”
”Not being pulled into a flaming sun
anyway – maybe.”
”These weeks of this have been… ” She
was interrupted by a sudden tilt of the ship.
Ap sat up, startled. He stared through
Covering a large portion of the sky beside
the ship was a huge-black asteroid, its
outline visible only because of the Milky
Way beyond it; A patrol ship flashed by,
The spaceyacht console speaker
flashed red and from it came a loud official
”Patrol A from Interceptor Base 62.
Shut off your motors. You will be landed
by remote control tractor beams. Anyone
found armed on landing will be guilty of a
felony. Do not jettison any cargo.”
REVOLT IN THE STARS 27
Lady Min sat up, ecstatic. ”Interceptor
Bases are commanded by Loyal Officers!
We’re saved! We can reach Rawl!”
The spaceyacht was slowly and inexorably
pulled toward the satellite where large
hangar doors were sliding open.
Two pilots in the hangar watched its
approach. One of them took a closer look at
it and then slid his blast pistol into its holster
and buckled the flap, dismissing the
situation. ”Ah it’s just some fool
spaceyacht that lost its way.”
The other dropped his chin on his
speaker button inside his space helmet.
”Dull, dull, dull. No excitement at all since
the Congress. Crime doesn’t pay anymore.”
They turned and sauntered through the
airlock door and shut it behind them.
The spaceyacht came to rest on the
hangar floor. The big red lights which said
”No air” began to flash. The hangar doors
ground down and sealed themselves with a
grating clank. The hangar warning light went
green and flashed, ”Safe atmosphere”; The
landing ramp from the yacht fell into position
with a crash.
A cleaning man and cleaning woman,
old and not much surprised at anything,
gathered their mops and buckets together
and shuffled toward the ramp.
An officer in blue and white-fatigue
uniform lounged up against the craft.
Lady Min and Ap, highly excited and
urgent scrambled out of the ship and ran
down the ramp. The Officer smiled tolerantly,
thumbs hooked in his belt, cap on the
back of his head. He negligently waved his
hand to indicate the direction they should
take and, leading off, escorted Ap and Lady
Min into the now open airlock which led
deeper into Asteroid Interceptor Base 62.
The cleaning couple watched them go
and then shuffled up the ramp with their
mops and bucket.
They paused at the port and gazed at
the littered wreck.
”Well, well, looks like they had quite a
party, ” said the old woman She chuckled to
The cleaning man walked through the
litter, kicking at it and approached the cabin
doors at the rear of the ship. He tried to
open a door and found it locked.
He sighed, reached to the key ring in his
belt, laboriously sorted out a master key
and finally got it unlocked.
Just as he was about to touch the knob
it was twisted from within.
The door was yanked inward.
Doctor Stug, disheveled, savage, his
professional calm left far behind him,
loomed in the doorway. He glared around.
When he saw the cleaning man and woman
were the only occupants he quickly readjusted
his expression. ”Ah, thank you my
Stug’s eyes lighted on the communications
console in the pilot compartment and
he hastened up the aisle.
”Where are we?” he said to the cleaning
woman as he passed. ”Is this an Interceptor
The old woman chuckled. These people
who used yachts certainly were something
to laugh about. ”Interceptor Station 62,
close as you’ll ever get to it.” Laughing to
herself she got busy with her broom
sweeping the litter together.
Doctor Stug tensely and expertly
punched a series of buttons on the communication
console and then slid into the chair
before it. He adjusted the hypersound dial
for distance and then triggered the two buttons
which turned on a scrambler.
The screen lighted up, was jagged for a
moment, its lines snapping and smashing
into each other. It cleared and a picture of
Chi came on.
Chi glared at his own screen before him
and then recognized who it was. He snarled
REVOLT IN THE STARS 28
impatiently, ”Stug! Where the crap have
you been for a month?”
Stug pulled the mike toward him,
looking deadly. ”No time for tales. The lost
ones are at Interceptor Space Station 62.
Shock spread over the face of Chi,
”That’s commanded by a Loyal Officer.”
He paused, his eyes darting about. Then he
looked back at his own viewscreen and a
cunning look which he thought was persuasive
came over his face. ”Stug, we have always
counted on you.”
”You’re counting on me now to the
tune of a hundred thousand credits. Right?”
”I suggest you send a hyperspace interceptor
here at once, ” said Stug. ”Manned
with a couple of reliable men, of course. I
don’t like asteroids.”
”All right, ” said Chi. He added ferociously,
”They must not talk!”
Stug smiled. ”They won’t talk, ” he
said smoothly and consolingly.
The white doves, imported to decorate
the chambered gardens of the otherwise
bleak asteroid and also to fall dead if air
pollution rose dangerously, flitted about
from perch to perch, the whir of their wings
mingling with the artificial waterfall. It was
a beautiful garden but in the opinion of
Lady Min and Ap was no place to spend
two days of idle waiting.
They sat on a seat beside a heavily
grilled door, very strong in the black rock.
True, they had been able to clean themselves
up even though no changes of clothes
had been offered them.
But two days of waiting, despite the
urgent notes they had sent the Base Commander,
was creating a mystery that depressed
The door opened and a white-coated
servant entered carrying a tray. He walked
over to them and set his burden down.
Lady Min caught at his sleeve as he
turned to leave. ”Wait!”
”Listen, ” said Ap, ”we’ve been waiting
two days to see the Base Commander. He
can’t be that busy!”
The servant shrugged and went out
closing and barring the door behind him.
”I guess you get that way on an asteroid
base!” said Ap.
Lady Min stared at the barred door.
”Ap, something must be wrong! I feel it.
Why should a Loyal Officer keep us waiting?”
”I sent him messages that you were the
greatest actress in the universe and had vital
data.” He looked defensive. ”Maybe I’m
flopping as a press agent! Probably.”
They sank back hopelessly ignoring the
Some hours later the bolts grated and
the door opened. An officer uniformed in
blue and white entered, followed closely by
a uniformed guard who held his blast rifle at
Coolly the officer said, ”The Base
Commander will see you now.”
Ap looked at the guard, the blast rifle
held at ready, its safety lock off. ”Future
Zero!” he whispered to himself.
The officer escorted them through the
long tunnels and ramps which led up
through the light gravity of the asteroid.
The Base Commander’s office was
spacious even for an asteroid base. Behind
the desk was a large illuminated chart of the
home planet system with small patrol craft
on pins. The kidney-shaped desk was long
but very narrow. The Base Commander was
young, guileless, with the optimism of
youth and a bit bored. He was uniformed in
Loyal Officer khaki but his collar was open.
A holstered blast pistol was belted about
his waist, but his hands folded behind his
head as he leaned back in his chair showed
that he considered the whole thing rather
REVOLT IN THE STARS 29
dull, not even really amusing.
On his right sat Doctor Stug, smiling,
smooth. Beside Doctor Stug and standing
against the wall were two toughs in the
green-grey and kepis of the secret police.
The corridor door burst in and Lady
Min, Ap and their escort entered.
The scene was so different from anything
she had been anticipating that Lady
Min stopped in shock. Ap tried to back
hurriedly out of the doorway but was
shoved forward by the guard’s rifle.
Doctor Stug smiled professionally and
affably, ”Ah, come in, come in my dear.
Don’t be frightened. These people won’t
hurt you.” He turned to the Commander,
”It’s certainly a relief to know they can be
taken back for the treatment they need,
The Base Commander nodded absently.
Lady Min advanced to the edge of the
desk, ”Don’t listen to him.” She jerked her
head towards Stug. ”I am the Lady Min. I
must talk to you and quickly. Alone!”
The Base Commander gazed at her languidly.
”As I said, poor girl, ” said Stug. ”She’s
always had these paranoid hallucinations.
Somebody after her. Messages of vast importance.
I thought she had been cured and,
well, there you are.” He began to rise.
”So we’ll put them back in the institution.
Very sorry to have… ”
”Don’t listen to him! I am the Lady
With a bored smile the Base Commander
reached down to a waste basket and
pulled out a newspaper. Spreading it on his
desk he revealed a front page picture of
Lady Min. The caption said, ”Lady Min
gives charity ball. Yesterday Lady Min was
hostess to three thousand notables at a ball
for Charity to Stray Children.”
The photograph was a very touched up
press photo showing Lady Min with a huge
head of hair and coronet.
The Base Commander’s finger traced
along the newspaper’s date. ”Then how is it
Lady Min was on the Capital Planet three
days ago and you are here?” He tossed the
newspaper aside and reclined back in his
chair. ”She doesn’t even look like you.”
Lady Min was getting furious with
”That’s a wig, you idiot. And that’s a
Stug again started to rise. ”Well, we’d
better be going. She does bear some slight
resemblance. Trades on it too.”
Both Stug and the Base Commander
were on their feet. The Base Commander
leaned forward with his knuckles on the
desk. ”Well I suppose these things happen.
Glad to be of assistance… ”
Lady Min put out her hand to stop
him. ”Wait, I’ll prove to you that I’m a
stage actress. Look! What is that doing under
Dear God, let this thing work. With her
left hand she made a pass over his belt
buckle and then, gracefully, with her right
hand appeared to pull a dove out from behind
the belt buckle on the Commander’s
The dove began to fly away in a mad
flutter of wings.
Her darting left hand flipped his holster
open and then in a fraction of a second had
transferred his blast pistol to her left thigh,
snapping her garter down on it and flipping
her voluminous skirt over it.
All eyes were on the dove which
pounded the air, veered off from Stug and
finally came to rest on a desk light.
Stug rapidly interrupted anything the
Base Commander was about to say, ”Yes,
she always amused other patients with that
trick.” He gestured at the secret policeman
who promptly took hold of Lady Min and
Ap and pushed them toward the door.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 30
”I’m certainly pleased with your cooperation,
Commander.” said Stug. ”With your
permission, we’ll be taking off now for
Home Planet.” He shook the Base Commander’s
”Say, by the way, ” said the Base
Commander, ”I thought the Secret Central
Police had been disbanded.”
”Oh, those, ” said Stug. ”I think they’re
finding them other jobs as fast as they can.
Poor devils. Soon they’ll be out of work,
the economy being as it is. Well, good-bye
and thank you.”
”The Base Commander glanced at the
dove and then back at Stug. ”You sure have
some interesting patients. Well, have a safe
A few minutes later, in the hangar, the
green sign ”Safe Atmosphere” began to go
on and off as the huge side ports exhausted
and salvaged the hangar air. The red sign
”No Air” flashed on. The hangar door began
to grind open.
The Police spaceship interior was greygreen,
like any prison. One secret policeman
was at the controls while the other finished
fastening the ramp lugs from inside.
Stug shoved Ap and Lady Min back
down the aisle and slammed them into the
two hard seats at the back of the ship. Partial
bulkheads were on either side of the seat
and it was ordinarily enclosed with a strong
Shoulder-height thick straps were fixed
to the seat back. Stug, with no gentle hands,
snapped the strap shut across Ap’s chest
and then turned to Lady Min. She was
shorter than the usual prisoner and the wide
belt barely enclosed her shoulders. Stug
tightened it with abrupt ferocity.
”That will do until we get you troublemakers
on an operating table, ” said Stug.
The ship surged forward with an ascending
whine and zoomed out of the hangar
Stug steadied himself and then reached
for the cage door, stepping outside the enclosure.
Lady Min looked up to her right into
an area hidden from view from the forward
part of the ship. An expression of shocked
horror and terror spread over her face.
”My God, ” shrieked Lady Min. ”A
The pilot sprang up from his controls
and whirled to come back down the aisle.
The other guard froze in paranoid horror.
They very well knew their own service and
they had no slightest doubt that it was often
in the State interest that prisoners not
”A time bomb!” screamed Lady Min.
”They never intended us to reach there
alive! Let me out!”
Both guards were now rushing towards
the back of the ship.
Stug had ceased to close the cage door,
He threw it open, fumbling with the lock,
and then thrust his head into the compartment
looking up toward the hidden spot.
Lady Min hitched the strap up to the
level of her throat. Her hand darted to her
skirt and yanked it up, All in one motion
she threw the safety catch of the blast pistol
and drew it from under her garter.
Green violent flame hammered at Stug’s
stomach pounding him back from the door
with a massive blow.
He went down.
The nearest secret policeman skidded
to a halt. He clawed at his holster.
Lady Min fired. The shot took him on
the left shoulder and spun him toplike, his
blast pistol flying up the aisle.
The second secret policeman reached
frantically for the bulkhead gunrack and
yanked down a blast rifle.
He brought it to his shoulder, aiming.
Lady Min fired.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 31
Her shot slammed into the muzzle of
the blast rifle. Fragments of the weapon
disintegrated the guard’s head and shoulders
in a great gout of green flame.
Smoke drifted and eddied along the
floor and through the cabin of the police
The three bodies lay inert, pounded and
charred out of recognition.
Lady Min stood up shakily.
Tendrils of smoke spiraled up toward
the air circulators and purifiers.
Lady Min gradually wound down.
Ap, with a considerable struggle, got
out of his strap and stood up, steadying
himself against the partial partition. He
coughed in the green fumes.
The ship’s motors continued in an accelerating
whine. Its nose bored relentlessly
outward into the vast emptiness of outer
Ap sighed, ”So now what do we do for
Rawl stood alone on the parade ground
of Galactic Base Earth.
The brisk wind from the deep blue sea
snapped and rustled in the flags. The parade
ground was paved with white marble and
surrounded by a gilded and ornate balustrade.
In the far distance stood a volcano,
the wind pushing its plume of smoke into a
horizontal banner. Ner, the black mountain
which contained the barracks, vast hangars
and work shops, reared above the parade
ground, its face honeycombed with hangar
doors from which could spring a multitude
of defense and attack ships as well as
On the parade ground a band, brightly
uniformed in blue and white, played a military
The wind rippled Rawl’s khaki. He
looked toward the two groups approaching
him, a faint smile on his lips and a trifle of
unfriendliness in his eyes.
The first group was composed of the
high ranking officers who had headed the
Earth Secret Police Organization. They
were uniformed in grey-green with much
Zell, head of the Earth Secret Police,
advanced with outstretched hand.
”Well, it’s farewell Earth for us, ” said
Zell as he shook hands.
Rawl’s eyes were watchful. ”So you’re
leaving us to return to the Home Planet.
”Within the hour.” He looked around
and sighed. ”All in all we of the Secret Police
have not been too unhappy here on
Earth, ” he sighed. ”And on arrival home
we’ll be disbanded.”
”Fortunes of war, ” said Rawl.
The Secret Police Chief could not quite
keep the viciousness out of his voice. ”Yes,
well, that Congress of yours finished us.
But it’s all for the best, of course. Our eight
regiments will be getting spaceborne right
now. So, fortunes of war, eh?”
One by one the Secret Police executives
shook Rawl’s hand. All in all, Rawl
thought, they were a seedy lot for all their
gold braid. They bore the mark of their profession,
a bit craven, shifty-eyed, and debauched.
Rawl looked toward the second group.
These were civilians, the heads of the Personal
Tax Collector Units.
Their chief shook his hand. ”The tax
clerks and staff all bid you farewell Commander
Rawl. No more personal tax, hah,
Rawl took his limp sweaty hand and
shook it.” Are all your clerks and investigators
leaving as well?”
”Yes, we’ve pulled every one of them
out of the two thousand cities of Earth. ”
REVOLT IN THE STARS 32
He gestured toward the looming base. ”It’s
back to Home Planet and unemployment
for all of us. ”
The five civilian chiefs after him one by
one shook Rawl’s hand and followed the
Secret Police executives toward the entrances
and ramps of the base.
But the tax chief could not resist a final
jibe. He turned when some distance off.
”Watch your privacy doesn’t get invaded.”
Rawl stood for some time watching
them go, his eyes narrow, speculative. The
band ceased playing, its drummer boys began
to beat a march and it moved off.
Rawl walked over and leaned against
the gilded balustrade, his eyes still on the
The transports began to eject from the
hangars one by one then two by two then
four by four.
At length Rawl gestured toward a
communicator ”Bring me a communications
The cart rolled forward, equipped with
compact panels and a view screen. The
communicator was pushing buttons on it,
bringing it to life as he wheeled it forward.
Rawl picked up a cubicle mike.
”Get me Solar System Interceptor
Combined Headquarters on Uranus. Commander
The communicator reached across the
cart, pulled a lever and hit a red button.
While he waited Rawl gazed at the
panorama of departing ships. Their sound
was punctuated with small explosions as
they ejected from the hangars, pulled up
steeply and cracked the sound barrier. The
more distant ones flashed pinpoints of light
as they cracked the light barrier after leaving
atmosphere. Rawl gave his attention to the
cart. ”Hello, Mish.”
The view screen was a trifle sun-glared
and the communicator adjusted its hood.
Mish’s face went clear. He was smiling. His
collar was unbuttoned, his cap was off and
he was drinking from a steaming cup. He
was very glad to hear from Rawl.
”Hello, Rawl. How’s the good planet
”The Secret Police and income tax people,
” Rawl said into the mike. ”They’re
leaving the planet. About one hundred and
fifty thousand of them.”
”Well, hip hurrah for them, ” said Mish
”I’ll show you.” He turned the mike
toward the cliff face.
Mish stared intently at his own view
screen, ”That’s sure a lot of transport.”
”That’s the point. They’re taking every
transport we’ve got. But why didn’t some
of them stay here? They’re being disbanded.
Earth’s a good planet.”
Rawl looked at the cliff’s face again and
the long extended parade of ships. ”They
took it too tame, too cheerful in fact. Mish,
I wish to smoke I had some reliable intelligence
from Home Planet. It’s too quiet. I’m
getting nothing from there and haven’t for a
couple of months.”
”You want me to run a patrol?”
”No, that would tell us nothing. What I
want you to do is order every Solar System
Station you have stock up on ammunition,
fuel, food and spare parts. Got it?”
”Good. The day you can trust Xenu
will never dawn.” Rawl hung the mike on
the communications cart.
The wind whipped at the flags. The
long parade of departing ships made a line
across the sky that was black and ominous.
Rawl didn’t like it. Not one bit. He settled
his cap against the tugging wind and
continued to look at the sky.
Through the windscreen of the Police
REVOLT IN THE STARS 33
interceptor ship Ap stared hopelessly at
the onrushing planet.
A thunder and lightning storm was
raging in the lower atmosphere. They were
approaching it awfully fast.
”I can’t figure out what planet it is.
We’re a long way from the solar system.
Whatever star this planet belongs to, it’s
got atmosphere, maybe even oxygen.
The atmospheric flaps of the police
ship were down, bent and buckling. The
tips of the flaps were glowing incandescent.
The tips began to burn and the flickering
light of the flame sputtered through the
cockpit punctuated by the flashing of lightning
in the storm they were now entering.
Lady Min was crouched down in her
seat, her head turned away from Ap. She
was crying quietly to herself.
They were out of food, out of water
and their air tanks indicator was flashing
”Nothing about the Secret Police was
right including their mucked up ships.
There’s no eject”’ He stabbed again at the
red ”Emergency Decelerate” button.
He rocked the manual controls again.
They were limp. The auto pilot had evidently
jammed in, engaged.
”Buckle yourself in tighter. On the bottom
side of this lightning storm is a crash!”
He looked sideways and saw that Lady
Min was crumpled up in despair. He
reached over and tightened her straps.
The piercing shriek of the air rushing
by made his nerves feel as though they were
Belatedly deceleration cut in. The
storm was all about them, the lightning cutting
jagged blades of blue and yellow. A
flame from their burning wing tips danced in
reflection across the windscreen.
The air appeared to be solid water as
they struck into the torrents under the
Ahead of them Ap could see an expanse
of watersaturated jungle.
A huge tree was rushing up at them.
It struck in an explosion of leaves and
The striking ship made an enormous
geyser of mud.
He had no recollection of how he got
out of the ship. A short time later he came
to himself crouching beside a jungle path
that was running torrents of water. Lady
Min was on the ground where he had placed
her. The drenching iciness of the rain
brought him out of it. He had no idea whatsoever
how he had gotten her out of the
He bent over her, felt for her pulse and
looked in growing panic at her bloodless
lips and white face.
A searing flash of red flame was followed
with a hammer blow of concussion as
the police ship exploded some distance
He looked dazedly about him. Jungle,
jungle, jungle. Jungle and rain.
He stared at the torrent of water going
by them and realized at length that it was a
cart track, turned into a creek by the storm.
Thunder rumbled. The distance he could see
grew slightly greater as the torrent lessened.
But still there was nothing but jungle, jungle,
He gently picked up Lady Min and
started down the cart track, expecting at
any instant to be pounced upon by wild
beasts or snakes.
He walked along a river bank, his shoes
collecting great globs of mud. He found another
track, a broader one and trudged down
The thunder muttered in the far distance.
Soaked, exhausted and stumbling, he
did not see the wall until he collided with it
REVOLT IN THE STARS 34
directly. He backed up and stared at it. Yes,
it was a wall, green-grown and slimy but
made out of rocks. It was very high, so high
he could not see the top of it. It reached
from his left and from his right beyond any
Then he saw that the cart track had
ended at a small square door, itself almost
obscured with vines.
He staggered toward it and fumbled for
”Future Zero, ” he sighed and pushed
the door inward.
It was a room of rough stone, littered
with odds and ends of metal. There was a
huge block of stone which served as a work
bench or desk and sitting at it was a hulking
man in a filthy undershirt. The man did not
look up. Ap swept some pieces of metal
out of his way and placed Lady Min gently
in the corner. He shut the outside door.
The man still had not looked up but
continued to work on the bent barrel of a
blast rifle which lay in pieces on the table
”Are you the guys that crashed out
there a while ago?” He pushed the gun back
in disgust, stretched and yawned.
Ap crossed over to the table. Might as
well try. ”What place is this?, what
The man finished his yawn and rubbed
his arms before looking up. ”This planet?
This is the crummiest, louseforgotten,
steam-beamed, ball of mud… ” He swept a
lazy arm. ”Welcome to Altec, pearl of the
Southern Galaxy. Welcome to Stip, gunrunning
capital of the Confederation, haven
of the… ”
Suddenly, he got angry. Half-rising
from his seat,.he shook a grimy, greasesmeared
finger at Ap. ”You know what
happened? When that Congress ripped up
them oppress orders, this place got to be a
condemned, rip-blasted graveyard, that’s
To Ap’s relief, the other man’s anger
faded. The man sat back in his chair with a
deep sigh, despair written on his face. ”No
crime means no guns. No explosives. We’re
broke, finished. Some of the best outlaws in
the Galaxy quit us and went back to honest
work.” He shook his head sorrowfully.
Rallying, he banged a fist on the table,
sending gun parts scattering and Ap’s alarm
level up to a high pitch. ”Bird dung!” he
The man flung an angry glare at Ap and
went back to fiddling with his gun. ”Well,
what the blast do you care?”
Ap shuffled his feet uncomfortably. If
only he were back home, safe. Man looked
nasty. ”Who’s in charge here?”
”I am, ” he muttered, still working on
his gun, ”but in charge of what? Fourteen
thousand broken-down crooks and ten
He stabbed viciously at the gun, then
swung his arm in a wide arc. ”You see before
you the great outlaw leader, Sna, Lord
of Stip. But don’t, ” he added, red eyes
suspicious and tool jabbed toward Ap for
emphasis, ”ask for a job. We’re so dead we
Losing interest, Sna returned to his gun.
”Get out of here. Go on into town.” He
waved the tool over his shoulder to indicate
a back door. Boring, boring, boring. Nothing
ever happened anymore, and who gives a
Giving up, Ap turned back to Lady
Min. better check the town out. If there
even is a town, maybe.
Kneeling down, Ap anxiously checked
Lady Min’s pulse. Its unsteady beat
alarmed him, as did the dead white of her
face. He looked back over his shoulder at
Sna and almost asked where a doctor could
be found, but decided against it. The man
was ignoring him so pointedly, he probably
REVOLT IN THE STARS 35
wouldn’t have answered anyway.
He eased Lady Min into his arms and
stood up carefully. Picking his way across
the smoky room, he reached the door and
went through it, shutting it sharply behind
Outside, the rain had stopped but the
main street of Stip before him was a narrow,
curving river of mud. Ap grimaced in
dismay, he’d had enough of mud. He looked
around to get his bearings. The buildings
were decayed, obviously having passed
their prime a long, long time ago. Crooked
signs poked out from dilapidated shops. A
couple of drunks were lying, lost in stuporous
slumber, on a flat stone slab that
fronted a sleazy bar. Wolf-like and heavily
fanged, a dog was walking up the street toward
Ap. It stopped to sniff a drunk, then
Ap shuddered. Friendly place, but
where to now?.He studied the various signs
and was thankful to see one that announced
a ”Dr. Ax” and next to it, a ”Drug Emporium”
Gently tightening his arms around Lady
Min, he made for the Doctor’s house.
The door was partially open, nearly
falling off its hinges. Ap knocked and settled
himself against the casing to wait. Inside,
some bedsprings creaked. Shuffling
footsteps approached, bringing a gaunt,
grizzled man with them.
”Go ’way, ” grumbled Dr. Ax as he unsuccessfully
tried to close the door. Pausing,
he peered at his callers. ”You got
Ap nodded and fished in his pocket.
The doctor peered more closely at Lady
Min. Fine gal, could do with more flesh on
her bones. Looks pale, though… Catching
sight of a bill in Ap’s hands, Dr. Ax abandoned
his trail of thought and seized the
money. Ten Galactic credits! He jumped up
and down, hardly able to contain his excitement.
”Dregomine, ” he proclaimed breathlessly,
”is vitally necessary.” He shoved the
bill somewhere in his jacket and pushed
past Ap, heading for the Drug Emporium.
”Take her to the Grand Hotel, ” he
called back over his shoulder. ”I’ll be right
Ap glanced down the street to where it
turned. Some hotel. Its sign had fallen off to
lie in the debris beside some filthy steps.
Wearily, Ap trudged toward it, at least it
would be warmer inside. Hopefully.
The lobby had once been a fancy place.
Now, it sagged sadly in advanced disarray.
A man lounged on a divan, busying himself
with a bottle, not looking over as Ap entered.
”You got a room?”
The man just stared at the ceiling. ”Do I
have a room?” He laughed derisively.
”When those income tax laws were in effect,
you couldn’t get a room. Two hundred millionaires
in this town to escape tax. Wine,
women, money everywhere. Then they
cancel the law. The millionaires all go back
home. They don’t need a tax haven anymore.”
He shook his head and took a gulp
from the bottle.
Annoyed, Ap repeated his question.
”Do you have a room?”
Eyes still on the ceiling, the man,
waved the bottle. ”Take any you can find.
Want to buy a hotel?”
Ap grunted and gazed around the
lobby. Place sure was run-down, he observed,
even the elevators were out of order.
Casting a final glare at the hotel proprietor,
he proceeded up the stairs.
Picking a random door, Ap entered a
room. Despite the smothering dust, it still
clung to an air of cheaply imitated luxury.
Twisted drapes flanked a window that
looked out over cloudy skies, rooftops and
stone battlements. An unmade bed leaned
REVOLT IN THE STARS 36
against a peeling wall.
Ap straightened out the covers, laid the
still unconscious Lady Min down on the
bed and began to loosen her soaked, ice-cold
Dr. Ax, having tracked Ap’s muddy
footprints, waltzed into the room and threw
his tattered bag down on the bedside table.
Humming to himself, the doctor produced
a package from somewhere on his
person and ripped it open to reveal a syringe
filled with a clear fluid. He rolled up
his sleeve and plunged the needle into his
Ap raised an eyebrow as the doctor
pushed down the plunger and drew the needle
out with a convulsive shudder.
Smiling brightly, the doctor tossed the
syringe aside. ”Now that the preliminaries
are attended to, let’s have a look at the little
After a long examination of Lady Min,
accompanied by much bandaging and tuneless
whistling, Dr. Ax signaled for Ap to
follow him out of the room.
In the hallway, Ap closed the door behind
them, patiently watching the doctor
set his bag to rights.
”She’s got concussion, three broken
ribs and a torn ligament in her arm and that
will be another ten credits, ” the doctor announced,
all in the same tone of voice.
Ap glanced back at the door and fished
a bill out, jerking it back teasingly as the
doctor tried to snatch it. ”And how long
will she be laid up?”
”Two or three months, ” Dr. Ap replied,
attempting to grab the bill.
”And if you give her your very best
medical attention… ?”
”… And if you had a regular supply of
Leaping high, the doctor grabbed the
note. ”Six weeks!” holding it lovingly, he
fairly drooled over the bill. ”Six weeks, ” he
”If these hold out, ” he added, a shadow
of doubt crossing his wizened face.
Ap pulled out another ten credit bill.
”Five weeks, ” he said, holding on tightly as
the doctor tugged frantically at the bill.
”Five weeks!” echoed Ax with a vigorous
The note released, Dr. Ax scuttled off.
Re-entering the room, Ap crossed over
to the window and leaned on the sill.
Weeks! Five of ’em! And in the middle of
nowhere. That man, Sna, was right. This is
a steam-beamed ball of… oh damn!
The music was awful. Broken for a long
time, the juke box skipped and fumbled its
way through the musical phrases. No one
Early yet, the hotel’s barroom-cumnightclub
had few occupants. Some bungedup,
one-eyed, -armed or -legged outlaws
lounged around. The bartender leaned on his
counter, chin propped in hand. A blackoutfitted
pilot sat alone in an alcove, listlessly
fingering a handful of darts. Staring
blankly at the wall before him, the pilot
spun the occasional dart at it, bringing down
flakes of plaster and insects.
Near the mezzanine stairs, a group sat
playing dice. The bulk of the square chips
spilled over beside Ap.
The other players were having less
luck, their own meager piles of chips
proved it. Greedily eyeing the pot, they
tensely waited for Ap to throw.
Disinterestedly rattling three of the
eight-sided dice, Ap had his mind elsewhere.
A worried frown marked his brow as
he turned to the doctor. ”Doc, you said five
Dr. Ax shrugged. ”You got a day left. ”
REVOLT IN THE STARS 37
His frown more pronounced, Ap threw
the dice, reached out. and pulled in the pot.
”I think I had better go up and see if she’s
The hotel proprietor half-rose in protest
as Ap began to push his chair back.
”Hey, no! You can’t quit a winner like
Sna laughed. ”He’s going to wind up
the richest man in Stip!” He turned his
leering face to Ap. ”Want to buy a gunrunning
Suddenly reaching out and grabbing
Ap’s sleeve, Dr. Ax’s face was split in a
wide grin as he pointed to the mezzanine
Following the doctor’s direction, Ap
saw Lady Min there. Thin, face pale against
her gauzy red dress, she steadied herself
against the bannister as she carefully negotiated
the steps downwards. A little triumphant
over her accomplishment, she smiled
shyly at Ap and the others.
Ap let out a long breath of relief.
Starting to rise again, he stopped to look at
his chips. To the doctor’s shocked surprise,.
Ap shoved them at him, then he
upped and raced for the stairs.
Ecstatic, Ap reached Lady Min’s side.
He couldn’t talk, was afraid to touch her.
Not knowing what else to do, he whooped
in delight and hugged the bannister.
The late afternoon crowds had drifted
in. Brokendown outlaws smoked, drank and
argued among themselves. The bartender
was kept busy sloshing gut-rotting liquor
into ever-emptying glasses. The dog Ap had
seen weeks ago was there too, lying beside
Just off the dance floor, Ap was hammering
out a tune that had been popular in
pro-Congress days on a beat-up electric
Looking fully recovered and stunning in
a golden gown, Lady Min was seated on the
piano, mike in hand.
The song was one of longing to go
places far away. Singing it with feeling,
Lady Min directed frequent, meaningful
glances across the room to where the pilot
sat in his alcove.
But Pilot Tring ignored the song.
Keeping his rapt attention on the roachcovered
wall before him, he flipped a dart.
Skewered right through the middle, a cockroach
scrambled its feet helplessly, then
expired as silently as it had lived. Smiling to
himself, Tring settled back leisurely and
raised a glass to his lips.
A burst of applause followed the
song’s conclusion. Lady Min gracefully slid
off the piano and bowed to her audience.
Keeping her demeanor professionally
charming, she vented some of her pique in
an aside to Ap. ”I don’t believe he’s human!”
Ap, poker-faced, hardly moved his lips
as he replied. ”Human or not he’s the only
pilot here that has a spaceship that can get
us to Earth. If it’s still there.”
Blowing a last kiss to the cheering men,
Lady Min set down the mike and weaved
her way through the overturned chairs to
the end alcove.
Paying no attention whatsoever to the
approaching vision, the pilot just flipped a
dart as Lady Min perched provocatively on
his table. She leaned over and spoke softly
to him. ”Changed your mind about the charter?”
Tring still didn’t look up. ”Politics I
hate” he stated, flipping a dart.
”Galactic Confederation I hate.” Flip.
He paused to consider a moving target
on the wall. ”Women I hate, ” he added,
flinging the dart.
Nonchalantly, Lady Min pulled a
joined string of glittering jewels from her
bosom to dangle them in the pilot’s face.
”Jewels, ” she said soothingly, ”are curREVOLT
IN THE STARS 38
rency in any galaxy.”
No response. She sighed in discouragement
and put the jewels away. Getting to
her feet, she began to move back to the piano,
when the door across the room was
burst violently open.
Sna entered, knocking the yelping dog
flying. A strip of paper waving in his trembling
hand. ”Hey, hey listen!” he shouted.
”We’ve been saved!”
The room went very still. Only the
dog, barking in outrage, made any movement.
Overcome with jubilation, Sna barrelled
forward to stand imposingly in the center of
the dance floor. ”I got a special secret message
from the Minister of Police. We been
recruited. Every able-bodied man on this
base has been made a special agent. And
every ship we got has been put into Confederation
The hush in the room ceased abruptly.
Outlaws leapt to their feet and surged forward,
calling to friends and foe alike, exchanging
heated opinions and speculations.
A few people, however, were not
pleased, one being Tring who stood up,
wide-eyed, tense. Clenching his fists in anger
and trepidation, he hissed furiously.
”That’s just one ship- mine.”
Meanwhile, Lady Min threw an agonized
glance at Ap. Racking her brains, she
signalled her hastily construed plans to him.
He rolled his eyes. ”Future zero!” Turning,
he moved to unobtrusively follow Sna as
the man ploughed through the surging
throng toward the pilot’s alcove.
”There you are, Pilot Tring, ” Sna
boomed, all bonhomie. ”Just the man I
wanted to see.”
Tring stared at Sna, hands fiddling
nervously with his holster flap. Rip-blasted
phony; who’d he think he was. Not going
to fork over my ship. No way! ”You
”Here’s the message. Just came in.” Sna
brandished the paper under the pilot’s
nose.” ’The whole blasted base, every outlaw
recruited in the service of the Ministry
of Police. High ranks, high pay! And every
ship taken into service… ”
The pilot convulsively clutched the table.
”There’s just one ship here – mine!”
Unnoticed by either man, Ap slipped
behind the pilot as Tring’s voice rose to a
”I wouldn’t work for the condemned
blasted Confederation for anything!”
Unperturbed, for he had an overwhelming
faith in his ability to get what he
wanted, Sna laid a pacifying hand on
Tring’s arm. ”Ah, now, now, now. Not for
a thousand credits a week?”
Easing a pistol from under his jacket,
Ap pressed it lightly into the pilot’s back.
Tring kept his eyes riveted on Sna who,
unaware, continued his persuasions.
”This is your chance. This is all our
chances. Why, man, they’ll make you a
general or something… ”
By now, Ar, had picked up the pilot’s
jacket and was draping it over his arm and
Sna shook the paper vigorously. ”All
charges forgotten, look. Look at the message!”
Still, Tring had made no move. Ap,
having completed the masking of the gun,
glanced up at the mezzanine where Lady
Min stood. She nodded at him, a wad of
coats over her arm and two grip cases in her
Ap turned back to face Sna and spoke
convincingly in the pilot’s ear. ”Pilot Tring,
it sounds pretty unreasonable, I know, but
look, Tring. This is your chance!”
The pilot made no reply. Just slitted
his eyes as the gun jabbed him slightly in
”Tring, ” continued Ap, ”as an old
REVOLT IN THE STARS 39
friend, please tell Sna you’ll do him this
Swallowing spasmodically, the pilot
managed to choke out an ”All right.”
”In fact, ” Ap jabbed the gun again, ”I’ll
help Pilot Tring get his ship ready. You’ll
need it for transport. Let’s go!”
Beaming, overjoyed, Sna stepped back
to let them pass.
Steering the pilot over to the exit, Ap
began trembling with relief. Stage one of the
escape plan done… maybe.
Fortunately, the spaceport was deserted.
Lady Min was standing anxiously in
the boarding door of Tring’s craft. The
coats and cases lay in a heap beside her. She
chewed a fingernail, dear God let them
Hearing running footsteps, she looked
down to see the pilot and Ap running
across the landing field. She beckoned urgently
to them as they raced up the stairs to
the flight platform, and stepped back as the
two men crowded through the door.
Tring hurried up the aisle and scrambled
into the pilot’s seat, hands reaching for
the controls. Ap came to stand behind him,
gun now held openly.
Through the windshield, the blue of the
late afternoon sky was pierced by the occasional
spire. The tangible silence was broken
only by the whine of the ship’s starting
With a lurch, they took off, the acceleration
pressing the ship’s passengers down
and back, forcing Ap to grab the co-pilot’s
seat in order to keep his gun trained on the
Suddenly, the pilot began to laugh.
Loud, extravagant, the sound mingled with
the rising shriek of engines.
Banking the ship again, Tring tried to
still his laughter. Without looking back, he
finally managed to speak. ”You can put that
gun away. You didn’t even need it. You did
me a huge favor getting me out of there.
They would have killed me for my ship.”
Startled, Lady Min and Ap stared at
the pilot, roundeyed in amazement. Then
they too burst into laughter.
Ap looked at his gun and put it away.
Reaching over, he clapped the pilot on the
back. Guy must be all right, take us to
Surrounded by huge trees, Xenu’s secret
base on Home Planet was dominated
by a single domed building.
Low and ominous, military drums beat
a deadly rhythm. Rank upon rank of greygreen
uniformed secret police, fully armed,
lined the parade ground in military formations.
Over by the operations dome, an illdressed
mob of renegades stood watching.
An inspections party walked through
the ranks, headed by Xenu and Chi. With
them were tough looking renegade guards,
several high ranking officers of the secret
police, Zel the ex-Chief of Secret Police
Earth and Sty the chief psychiatrist.
Xenu curiously inspected the troops as
he passed them by. He turned to the
sweating Chi to bark a query. ”Are you sure
this base is still secret and secure?”
Chi mopped his brow with a soaked
handkerchief. Fool idea, this inspection.
Too hot for it. Damned question anyway,
Xenu already knew his orders on security
had been carried out to the letter. ”We’ve
shot anyone who comes close to it.”
Xenu nodded. ”Then we’re almost
”Indeed we are, ” Chi agreed, noting
thankfully that Xenu was starting to head
for the operations building.
Stopping before the band of renegades,
REVOLT IN THE STARS 40
Xenu banged his cane to catch the regard of
one of the two slouching Chiefs of the
Renegades. ”And those men?”
The Renegade Chief smiled evilly, displaying
a broken row of yellow teeth.
”Those are my finest renegades, sir. The
finest and best criminals in the Galaxy, fit
for deviltry. And thousands more ready on
Again, Xenu nodded and moved on.
Halting abruptly, Xenu turned back to
the Renegade Chief. ”Get them in white
coveralls. They look like something from a
Obeying Xenu’s next signal to follow
him, the Chief sauntered along behind the
rest of the party. He scowled at Xenu’s
retreating back, scowled at his deputy chief
Steam-beamed maniac. Must have a
loose screw in his finicky head – lily-white
Ignoring the outbreak of ragged cheering
among the renegade mob, Xenu led the way
up the stairs and through the arched doors
of the operations building.
The actual operations office was located
in the dome of the building. The
sloped walls, painted with stars and planets,
served as an operations map and were
studded with abundant miniature spaceships
and flags. Crouching below, a huge
table was flanked on one side with three
large rollers. On the other side, by a rack
stacked high with papers.
Xenu entered the room, banging the
door wide as he came, and limped across to
the table. The two secret police clerks,
standing rigidly to attention, were waved
Putting his cane down, Xenu picked up
a hooked stick and turned to face his officers.
Slap-slapping the hook in his palm, he
regarded his officers for a moment.
Blackguards, the lot of them, but they
had their uses, oh yes they had their uses.
The men returned Xenu’s regard, alert
and expectant, though the animosity was
Finally, Xenu began his address. ”This
is your last and final briefing. Listen carefully.”
He reached out with his stick and
hooked it into the ring of the lowermost
roller. ”This is a Phase One of the galacticwide
action.” With a savage yank, he pulled
out a chart from the roller that spread itself
out, flat, on the table.
He rapped the stick on the first pile of
papers on the rack. ”And those are the detailed
orders ready to issue.
”The objective of Phase One, ” Xenu
continued, his voice losing all trace of its
surface urbanity, ”is the slaughter of every
Loyal Officer in the Galaxy.”
Grim and silent, his men nodded.
Reaching forward, Xenu engaged the
second roller with his hooked stick. ”Phase
two: The destruction of the main galactic
defense base on every planet.”
Brutally, he yanked out the second
chart so that it covered the first. He rapped
the second stack of papers. ”And the detailed
With a nasty, irritating screech, the
third chart was unfurled.Xenu struck the
last stack of papers. ”Phase Three: The removal
of all minority and unwanted populations
in the Galaxy to the planet Earth and
A slow smile crossed his face. ”I think
you will find this solves all problems of
overpopulation, crime and finance in the
Galaxy as well as preventing our being deposed.
Before Minister Chi issues the detailed
orders, are there any comments?”
The momentary silence was broken by
a sardonic Renegade Chief. ”You’re the
paymaster, ” he sneered, running a hand
through his hair.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 41
Xenu glared the other down. And you –
you’re a prime bastard. Indicating for Chi to
take over, Xenu retrieved his cane and
stalked from the room, favoring his bad leg.
On the parade ground, the miscellaneous
groups were breaking up.
Regiments of secret police and bands of
renegades marched purposefully towards
assigned destinations. Drums quickening in
pace, the military ensemble also took their
Soon, only the litter remained to bear
the wind and the scattered guards company.
Chi was standing on the roof, silhouetted
against the stars.
His left hand held a radio transmitter.
In his right, the dial of a stopwatch was illuminated
by an electric lantern.
In his mind, he reviewed the injunctions
that Xenu had given him concerning Phase
One. Missed anything? Didn’t seem that
way, but still… he glanced down at the
stopwatch. With maddening slowness, the
secondhand approached the appointed
hour. Too late anyhow!
He clicked the stem of the timepiece
and spoke into the radio. ”Phase One!”
Paring his nails with a deeply notched
knife, one of the Renegade Chiefs sat in his
dark, unkempt office.
A speaker near his head crackled to life.
The Chief lifted his chin to a nearby
The aide disentangled himself from his
chair and began to shuffle out the room.
Vexed at the man’s dawdling, the Chief
threw his knife between the other’s feet.
”Get going, ” he snapped.
The second Renegade Chief stood in
the Intergalactic Control Center, outlined
against the lighted curve of a communications
panel. Beside him bristled a battery of
microphones. Surrounding him was a tangle
The panel itself was a maze of jackplugs
and the brightly lit names of the Galactic
Confederation member stars: Sirius,
Canopus, Alpha Centauri, Vega, Capella,
Arcturus, Rigel, Procyon, Achernar, Beta
Centauri, Altair, Betelgeuse, Acrux, Aldebaran,
Pollux, Spica, Antares, Fomalhaut,
Deneb, Regulus and Sol.
Whistling tonelessly, the renegade
checked to ensure all stars were connected
up to the mikes. They were. He flicked a
switch and spoke. ”All systems, all planets.
Car headlamps swung across the front
of a suburban house, coming to rest aimed
at the garage as the vehicle entered the
A Loyal Officer in his khaki coat and
cap cut the engines and stepped out of the
car. Startled, he looked up as a spotlight
suddenly stabbed at him from the dark.
Two blast guns fired.
Hit, the Officer slammed back against
the car and crumpled to the ground.
Two men in white coveralls ran over to
him. One stretched out a booted foot and
lifted the Officer’s shoulder to see if he was
A Loyal Officer trotted up the broad
white stairs leading up to a governmental
Rifles blasted, taking his arm off at the
Leaving a trail of red, he rolled slowly,
inexorably, back down the steps.
Frowning over some despatch, a Loyal
Officer never noticed as two whitecoverall’ed
men entered his office.
Raising their blast guns, they aimed and
fired, pounding the Officer to the wall behind
him, then down to the floor. His body
charred, blackened, lifeless.
The two men turned and fled from the
REVOLT IN THE STARS 42
A small scout craft landed. A Loyal Officer
jumped down onto the spaceport
pavement, removed his helmet. He looked
up, alert, as a grenade-like object hurtled by
to strike the ship’s side.
A flash of fire erupted and leapt for the
Shortly, the conflagration died down
enough to reveal the dismembered craft, and
beside it, a shriveled form.
In his darkened office, the first Renegade
Chief was biting the end of a pencil. A
stack of papers lay on the desk before him,
the top list entitled: Loyal Officers Capella
The radio spoke. ”Planet Chellis. Lieutenant
The Chief hunted for and found the
name. Crossing it out, he looked back up at
With a grandiose sweep of his hand, the
Chief drew a long mark through the name,
ripping the paper slightly. Fixed him! Son
of a space-hound had the gall to arrest me
The speaker crackled again…
Three Loyal Officers tore down a
smoke-filled corridor, weapons held at the
A heavy caliber blast gun blazed,
swirling forth a ball of green flame to lace
around the officers.
They fell forward, guns clattered to and
skittering across the polished floor.
All was quiet in the barracks – until the
whole damned place blew up in unmitigated
A couple of secret police left the scene
in a hurry, sprinting out the gate and under
a placard that read: Loyal Officer Quarters,
Holding a rifle, a white-clad arm inched
through a crack in the cautiously opening
Asleep in his bed, jacket and cap hanging
on the post, a Loyal Officer muttered in
The renegade froze, listening. Reassured,
he sighted and jerked the trigger once,
Green smoke and flame engulfed the
Hunched over the Phase One chart, face
eerily lit from below, Chi gripped a large
marking pen in his slippery fist.
A legion of speaker-units babbled in the
background. Names of stars and Loyal Officers
occasionally flashed up on console
A uniformed orderly stood by Chi’s
chair, holding a sheaf of papers. ”Planets of
Altair, ” he reported, ”Phase One, All
Chi nodded and drew a circle on the already
much circled chart. Laying down his
marking pen, he wiped his hands on his
pant legs. Business could go on all night. He
glanced at a clock. Business was going on all
He sighed in resignation and ordered
A person, half-visible in the shadows,
approached the table and handed a slip of
paper to the orderly. The orderly checked it
over and read it aloud to Chi. ”Marcab System.
Phase One. All Clear.”
Chi mopped at his hands again, picked
the pen up and added another circle to the
Five Loyal Officers strained against the
rope- that bound them to a white picket
fence. Reflected in their perspiration were
the spotlights that illuminated the scene.
A renegade finished securing the last
Officer and scuttled off into the clear.
Automatic blasters let loose, tearing
asunder the Officers, fence and all.
Burning brightly, scores of votive candles
lit the cathedral altar. There, head
REVOLT IN THE STARS 43
bowed in prayer, knelt a Loyal Officer. His
eyes flew open in shock as a rifle burst
hammered him down.
Dislodged in the furor, a candle rolled
to the floor. A vagrant current of air snuffed
the momentarily flaring wick, to send a thin
spiral of smoke curling upwards to the
”Major Tonlin, ” buzzed the speaker.
The Chief popped a benny and gulped
it down before crossing the name from his
It had been a long night. The Chief was
tired, irritated. He added another butt to the
overflowing ashtray. At last that wrapped
up the list for the Polaris System.
Daylight, filtering through from somewhere,
encroached upon Chi’s red-rimmed
The room was quiet now that the garrulous
speaker-units were silenced.
The exhausted orderly, wearily gripping
his enormously grown sheaf of papers,
made a report: ”Polaris System, Phase One,
In a final, flourishing manner, Chi drew
a large circle. Scratching his neck, he regarded
his handiwork of circles on the chart.
He grunted and turned to push a button on
Xenu, sitting tense and rigid at his desk,
staring off into nowhere, appeared on the
Chi cleared his throat a couple of times
and pressed the buzzer to draw Xenu’s attention.
Finally, Xenu shook himself out of his
reverie and fixed a steely eye on his screen.
”All going according to your plans, ”
said Chi with an inky thumbs-up sign.
”How many left?”
Chi waved his hand loftily. ”Only a
few on outlying Interceptor Bases. And
only those in the planetary Galactic Bases
Xenu relaxed somewhat. ”We’ll get the
Galactic Bases in Phase Two so that ’ s no
worry. Keep a news blackout going and put
busy signals on all Loyal Officer networks.
And keep working on those Interceptor
He switched off the circuit and rubbed
his jaw, chuckling to himself.
Soon, soon. Victory was in sight. He
chuckled again, and resumed his reverie.
In outer space hung the black asteroid
that was the interceptor Control Center
Mish stood on a glassed-in balcony
appended to the asteroid’s side. He completed
a sweep of the star-studded voids
and lowered the long-range viewing instrument.
He felt vaguely uneasy, disturbed –
by what, he didn’t know.
Unexpectedly, the door-way behind
him filled with intermittent green flashes.
Mish whirled around and dropped the
viewer to grab his gun.
Moving inside, he was brought up
short by the tableau posed within. A junior
Loyal Officer stood frozen in aftershock,
his blast rifle still smoking in his hands.
Over by the main entrance, two renegades
were sprawled over the doorsill, a mist of
green wisps rising from their bodies. A pistol
lay where it had fallen, just beyond the
renegade’s out stretched arms.
The junior Officer unsteadily downed
his rifle and pivoted around to face Mish,
his voice breaking as he spoke. ”These two
were in that small ship that said it was in
Mish continued to stare in dismay at
the bodies, hardly hearing as the junior Officer
went on speaking: ”They came in here
with drawn guns.”
Rousing himself, as if from a nightmare,
REVOLT IN THE STARS 44
Mish strode over to the communications
panel, elbowing the communicator there out
of the way.
Rapidly jabbing buttons, Mish cursed.
Blast! Nothing but hell-fired busy signals.
He banged his fist down in frustration, gritting
his teeth as he said: ”Home Planet network
The junior Officer joined him at the
console. ”I’ve been trying all day. Only a
couple of our Interceptor Bases are answering
Exasperated, Mish punched another
button. ”I’ll try Earth.”
Rawl appeared on the screen. ”Galactic
Base Earth… ” He began in a clipped voice,
then seeing who was calling, he continued in
a friendlier tone. ”Oh, hello, Mish.”
Mish made an effort to calm himself.
Thank God at least this circuit was operational.
He leaned closer to the video scanner.
”There’s something going on, ” he said.
”I can’t get in touch with Home Planet on
the Loyal Office circuit.”
Rawl shrugged ”It’s happened before.”
Mish slammed his hand on the console
and swore. ”Not at the same time as an attempt
on my life!”
Taken aback, Rawl blinked. ”I’ll try it
on the Galactic circuit.”
Cutting the line, Rawl gestured to his
communicator who proceeded to make the
connection. Busy signal.
Seeing the communicator was only getting
jammed lines, Rawl ordered another line
be tried. ”Get Xenu on Home Planet. The
Supreme Ruler emergency lines ought to be
Xenu’s face flashed onto the screen,
smiling suavely. ”Ah, Rawl. Glad to hear
from you. What can I do for you?”
Rawl gazed at Xenu’s image briefly, a
wave of acute dislike for the man passing
through him. ”There are a lot of communication
channels that don’t seem to be working.
Busy. Thought you might know.”
Xenu raised his eyebrows in innocent
surprise. ”Is that so?”
Impatiently indicating an affirmative,
Rawl raised his voice in vexation at the
other’s playacting. ”I wanted to be sure this
wasn’t another Grey Invasion.”
”I’ve heard nothing like that, ’’ soothed
Xenu, with an air of offended worthiness. ”I
did hear there was some trouble with some
new equipment that had just been installed.
We’re having to economize, you know… ”
unable to resist a dig, his voice hardened,
”since the personal income tax was abolished.”
Thinking fast, Xenu saw a possible advantage.
Schooling himself back into pleasant
urbanity, he resumed speaking. ”But if
you’re worried, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll
schedule space fleet maneuvers in your area
over the next few days just to make sure.”
Sharply breaking the connection, Xenu
swiveled his chair around to snarl at Zel and
Chi seated by his massive desk. ”Rawl and
possibly other Planet Base Commanders are
Acutely uncomfortable, as always in
Xenu’s presence, Chi stared down at his
hands and muttered something inaudible.
Ignoring his Minister of Police, Xenu
forgot his displeasure. Gloating for an interval,
he then exalted in his next words.
”Launch Phase Two.”
Intensely, Tring studied a radar screen.
He didn’t like what he saw there. Not one
Ap, bored and unaware of the conflicts
raging in the pilot’s mind, sat flopped back
on a settee. Next to him, Lady Min was
doing her nails as best she could, dabbing hit
and miss with the polish as the craft rocked
REVOLT IN THE STARS 45
”The screen here, ” said Tring hoarsely,
”seems to indicate a lot of heavy spaceships
over Earth, Galactic ships. Thicker than
He leaned back and turned to present a
white face to his passengers. ”I’m not going
Lady Min and Ap stared, appalled, at
the pilot. He couldn’t fail them – not now!
Tring waxed persuasive. ”This Galaxy
is getting too hot. Gone to buzzard bait.
Listen, I’ve got a cache of fuel, food and air
out on an asteroid. I’m going out there and
fuel up and make the long jump to another
galaxy.” He raised a hand in mute appeal.
”You’re a couple of nice guys. There’s all
blazes about to break loose. I can feel it.
Those jewels you got will serve as currency.
How about it?”
Lady Min had gone rigid. ”’We’ve got
to get to Rawl.” she insisted. ”How do we
Shrugging, Tring squared himself
around and got back to flying. He’d done
his best. ”All right if you want to get
burned, ” he called back over his shoulder.
”There’s oxygen masks and parachutes under
that seat. Put them on and get into the
airlock. I’ll spill you into the stratosphere
over the base, and even that’s risky.”
Shaking his head, he snorted sadly. ”Patriotism!”
Well, he’d tried. Pity. Banking
the ship, he took it downwards.
Rawl was standing in his office, gazing
up at the overhead. A heavy rumble of
ship’s motors filling his ears. Something
was going on, he was sure of it. But what?
Faces echoing Rawl’s apprehension,
two orderlies and a communicator were
standing nearby. Rawl swung round and
spoke to the communicator. ”Maneuvers!
Have you got any answer yet to why Earth
ships were not invited to take part?”
The man shook his head, perplexed.
Hadn’t been able to raise the damned ships,
let alone get an answer!
Rawl pointed at one of the orderlies.
”Pass the order to get my ship ready for
immediate blast-off. I’m going to do a flyby
and look this over.”
The orderly up and raced off. Rawl
glanced back up at the ceiling. Can’t figure
He frowned, pounding an agitated fist
into his palm. Moonshine! He wasn’t
achieving anything by moping around his
office. He strode over to a wall hook and
took down his flight coat. Going out the
door, he paused to call a command back to
the remaining orderly. ”Sound a base alert
just in case.”
Base alert was sounded. Klaxon horns
rent the air with an insistent note. Several
troops, uniformed in blue and white, ran
across the parade ground towards their
various stations. Hatches in the looming
cliff face, cranked open to reveal dozens of
snub-nosed anti- spacecraft guns. Officers
yelled directions to their crews.
Unobserved in the flurry, two parachutes,
one hanging higher than the other in
the blue sky, swung down from upwind
towards the parade ground.
Lady Min landed first, rolling awkwardly
to absorb her fall’s impact. Scrambled
to her feet, she ripped off her oxygen
mask and, grabbing the chest release buckle,
yanked hard. Her parachute and harness
went sailing away.
She ran a hand through her disheveled
hair and stared round-eyed at all the commotion.
Jumping forward, she gripped the
arm of a passing soldier. He skidded to a
halt in obvious impatience.
”Where is Commander Rawl?” she
He pointed to the cliffed hill and
dashed off before she could speak again.
Now landed and rid of his parachute,
Ap came to stand by Lady Min. He raised
REVOLT IN THE STARS 46
an inquiring eyebrow.
She tugged at his sleeve. ”Rawl’s up at
the hangars. Come on!” She turned and
raced off, Ap close behind, muttering to
himself between his ragged breaths.
Some orderlies looked up in surprise as
Lady Min and Ap barged into Rawl’s cliffside
”Where ’ s Commander Rawl?”
An orderly indicated one of the other
doors. ”He’s about to blast off.”
Lady Min looked at him beseechingly,
wringing her hands in desperation. Oh no!
They couldn’t be so close yet too late.
”This is urgent, ” she wailed. ”Urgent!”
The orderly was puzzled. He didn’t
know who or what this lady was, but some
of her agitation had been communicated to
him. Decisively, he waved an arm for them
to follow and raced out the room.
Rawl slid into his Interceptor’s Pilot
seat and strapped himself in. The ship’s
motors roared as he touched the starter.
Eyes and hands roaming across the control
panel, Rawl readied the ship for takeoff
while speaking into his radio-mike.
”Control. Interceptor One immediate
Suddenly, the boarding door was flung
open. Rawl turned and was amazed to see
Lady Min and Ap sprawl into the aisle of
his craft. ”Lady Min!”
The mass of Galactic bombers
swooped low over the base. A bay opened
in the belly of one of them, and a single
bomb was released.
It hung there, motionless, for an instant,
then plummeted downward, an angel
Rawl shot a glance through the windscreen.
Good, the hangar door was beginning
to open. His radio crackled as Control
gave launching clearance. Assured he could
blast off at any moment, he swung back to
face the aisle.
Lady Min had picked herself up, and
was scrambling towards him. ”I’ve got data
for you, ” she gasped. ”Urgent data… ”
Rawl motioned her in brusquely. ”You
can tell me as soon as we blast off.”
The hangar door was now opened all
the way. Rawl pulled back on a lever and
the Interceptor lurched forward to soar
gracefully up into the cerulean heavens.
The bomb hit the base with an incandescent
Hurtling debris and smoke swept tumultuously
across what had previously
been a parade ground. The whole cliff
buckled, collapsed. Turning into a roaring
avalanche it slid down to disappear into the
In other words, the entire base blew up.
Savagely working the controls, Rawl
fought to steady his spinning ship.
Lady Min and Ap, trying desperately
to hold on, were knocked about violently as
the craft bucked and shook.
Gaining the upper hand, Rawl rocketed
the ship upwards. Soaring a glance at the
holocaust below, he grimaced. So that was
what Xenu was up to. A sharp lurch
brought his attention back to the controls.
They weren’t out of it yet.Not by a long
Night was spreading her dark wings
over the secret base on Home Planet.
Shady figures milled around the gloomily
lit interior of the operations room –
guards, the two Renegade Chiefs and several
bearded psychiatrists among them.
At the table was Chi, holding a felt pen.
He was sweating profusely because Xenu
was also there.
Xenu, intent on the spreading Phase
Two chart, listened with half an ear to Chi
as his Minister called out stars and planets
REVOLT IN THE STARS 47
in a quavering, singsong voice.
”All Galactic bases Vega System, ”
chanted Chi, putting a cross-mark on the
He continued his litany.
”All bases Spica.” Made a cross.
”All Galactic bases Altair.” Made another
Then the speaker box piped up. ”Galactic
base Earth totally destroyed.”
Cheered by this news, Chi exchanged a
look of satisfaction with Xenu and drew an
exaggeratedly large cross on the chart. A
travesty of a smile curving his mouth, he
glanced back up at his boss. ”End Phase
Two. ”Now all opposition is removed,
what are your next orders?”
Thoroughly enjoying himself, Xenu
stretched, stood up and stretched some
more. So this was what it felt like to be Supreme
Ruler in full sweet fact.
He searched for his cane, couldn’t find
it, and hobbled over to the center of the
room anyway. Assuming a splendiferously
majestic pose, conscious that all eyes were
on him, he spoke, savoring each word to the
fullest. ”Issue an all-Galactic proclamation.
’Due to crime wave, martial law is established
on all planets.”’
He raised a pompous hand. ”Gentlemen,
we begin Phase Three. We are regaining
political control of all planets. Even at
this moment our planted agents will be
seizing all governmental centers. But this is
not enough!” He made a chopping gesture.
”As you well know, minorities and people
who might object, which is to say independent
thinkers, protest a perfectly functioning
police state, the ideal form of government.
Furthermore, our planets are
overpopulated. Phase Three consists of
rounding up such people on every planet,
transporting them to Earth and exterminating
A murmur of agreement spread through
the listening group.
One of the Renegade Chiefs, seeking an
advantageous opening in these affairs, regarded
Xenu through slitted eyes. ”If my
men are to do this, they have to be within
Chi was as happy as he could ever get,
especially when he was in such close
proximity with Xenu. He butted in with a
rush of words. ”All worked out. We are creating
the Confederate Bureau of Investigation
under the newly formed Justice Department.
Every one of your renegades are as of
this moment appointed government agents
G-men – with full official powers.” So
saying, he grinned like a wolf, albeit with a
trace of bulldog.
The Renegade Chief replied with a
wolfish grin of his own. He knew opportunity
when he saw it.
Xenu stamped his good foot for attention.
Getting it, he continued speaking.
”The selection of these minorities is already
determined. However, certain scientific
judgement is required concerning others. For
this reason, we have appointed you, the top
leaders of the psychiatric profession… ”
The bearded men, the psychiatrists, in
the group leaned forward expectantly,
hanging on Xenu’s every word.
”… to handle the ultimate fate of minorities
and to decide who should be exterminated.”
Xenu paused theatrically, then
added a magnanimity. ”I know you will do
so in a fully scientific and dedicated manner.”
Gravely, seriously, the psychiatrists
nodded in unison. Sty, top dog amongst this
elite cream the noble profession of psychiatry,
nodded with particular emphasis,
pleased with this arrangement. His longsought
lucky break at last.
Xenu’s surface urbanity slipped.
”They must, ” he screamed, ”never trouble
REVOLT IN THE STARS 48
Checking himself, he got his mask back
in place, continued in a more subdued pitch.
”The gathering from every planet shall begin.
The extermination site is Earth.”
He drew himself up to his full, if inconsiderable
height. ’’Gentlemen, I officially
announce the beginning of Phase Three.”
As if by prearranged signal, several orderlies
entered, bearing trays laden with
bottle and glass. Someone had switched on a
stereo, and soothing music filled the room.
Drinks were passed around.
Xenu raised his glass. ”And now, a
A family was seated at their midday
meal. They started in shock as a gun butt
banged loudly, three times, against their
door, followed by a booted foot kicking it
open. Two uniformed men entered on the
Obeying the signalling blast rifle, the
family rose shakily. With rising terror, they
were impelled out of the room.
The youngest, a little girl, screamed and
clutched her mother’s skirts. A vicious
blow on the head silenced her.
Sobbing aloud, the mother picked up
her child, and was thrust onwards.
A street, lined with three-storied
houses, was a pandemonium of panicking
Secret policemen herded struggling men,
women, and children out through exits and
down into the street.
A little to the side, a psychiatrist
stood, looking on, a loud hailer in his hand.
Protesting and bewildered blacks were
being gathered from the shops and homes of
their neighborhood by a group of bellowing
A second group of grey-green uniformed
men who were in the center of the
street, received the people passed to them.
They held order with violent bashings and
sweeps of their rifles.
In a white, middle-class suburb, a column
of despairing yet striving individuals
were being force-marched down an avenue.
The laugh of a young secret police officer
could be heard above the din. The object
of his amusement being an old woman, eyes
shut tight and grasping a cross, being
dragged along, legs trailing and bloody on
A white-coated psychiatrist sat in front
of the flashing boards of the Intergalactic
Network Communications control tower.
Professionally unemotional, he was
speaking into a mike. ”These are the determinations
for the Procyon planet populations…
He consulted the list in his hand. ”All
motion picture producers, all editors, writers
and newscasters, all blacks, members of
the government employees union… ”
The sign, ”Daily Post, ” hung limply,
half-blasted apart, from the front of the
Resisting employees of the newspaper
were being driven down the steps and piled
into a line of parked vans.
A thousand and more marched wearily
down a long, dusty road. In between their
shuffling legs, a child was being yanked
along. She herself was pulling her doll along.
Tears ran down her face. Her sobs were
muffled by the sounds of bootbeats and
One of the Renegade Chiefs joined the
psychiatrist at the panel in the Intergalactic
Network Communications control tower.
Bored, the Chief fiddled with his rifle,
absentmindedly listening to the psychiatrist’s
droning voice broadcast a set of determinations.
”Vega System exterminations list: Religious
leaders, athletes, musicians, teachers,
salesmen. All the Ninth Terrestrial Army.
All actors. All unemployed. All members of
REVOLT IN THE STARS 49
Trapped in a gully, the mob screamed
frenziedly as white-jacketed men moved
These men, the white-jackets, were but
recently trained in the use of their hypodermic
needles, having been pressed hastily
into the service of the psychiatrists. They
brandished their hypos ferociously. The
syringes contained a smoky, gaseous drug
that induced instant unconsciousness for
long, indeterminate periods of time.
Secret policemen knocked down or held
individuals for the white-jackets to inject –
in arms, legs, whatever.
Moaning, a woman struggled to rise and
collapsed as a smoking needle was injected
into her back.
White-jackets moved through a
crowded garbage dump. In their wake, they
left inert, motionless bodies to lie in heaps.
A constant stream of captives flooded
through the gates at the far end of the stadium.
Moving fast to keep apace with the
flow, white-jackets competently wielded
A public address system squawked.
”Trucks will be here in three hours.”
A white-jacket glanced over at one of
his fellows. Would this river of bat-brained
crackpots ever end?
A multitude of weaponless soldiers attired
in the Loyal Corp’s blue and white,
were being wrestled into submission by
grim, sweat-faced secret police.
The first of them was knocked down
and then put out by a white-jacket’s smoky
And thus the Ninth Terrestrial Army
Muttering secret police loaded the unconscious
into a convoy of trucks.
The bodies were landing haphazardly,
just tossed in as if they were so much
It was night again. The Renegade Chief
had moved to stand by one of the tower’s
windows. He flicked an ash on the floor,
too tired to fetch an ashtray. Loosening his
collar further, he leaned back against the sill
to watch the psychiatrist.
Disinterested, but asked all the same,
he spoke to the psych. ”How many millions
is it so far?”
Himself exhausted and unusually untidy
for a member of his exalted vocation,
the psychiatrist shrugged. ”The Betelgeuse
System has not reported yet.”
The Chief looked back out the window
and took a drag of his cigarette. Slippery
fish, these nut-crackers. Never can get
straight answers out of them. Probably as
buggy as their so-called patients, anyway.
He spat on the wall.
In innumerable spaceports across that
Galaxy, a similar scene was occurring. Long
lines of transport vans drove up beside
space-freighters. Rumpled secret police
transferred inanimate forms from the trucks
into the receiving arms of renegades whose
job it was to stack the bodies in the ships.
The little girl, now drugged into insensibility
but still hugging her doll close, was
dragged out of a truck and dumped into a
The renegade who had stacked her
turned to his assistant and cracked a joke
about child-girls. The assistant sniggered
and swung his boot at the piteous figure.
Operation round-up was nearing its
conclusion. The last few ”undesirables”
were hunted down, knocked flat, and
The space-freighters, loaded over and
above maximum capacity, were ready for
Chi peered up at his boss. Seeing Xenu
sitting there peacefully, delicately sipping a
drink, Chi dared to begin humming a little
tune to himself as he made cross-marks on
REVOLT IN THE STARS 50
the Phase Three chart.
Pondering over the recent events, Chi
was suffused with a sense of well-being.
Hadn’t expected things to work out so well.
He hummed a little louder.
The transportation stage of Phase
Three was gotten underway.
On every planet, the freighters blazed
upward, destination: Earth.
On one ship, the renegade co-pilot’s
ceaseless, senseless chatter fell on the bothered
ears of the pilot. ”Last time I was on
Earth, ” babbled the co-pilot, ”I bought this
young girl – oh, a peach she was. When I
got her clothes off I found... ”
In a spaceport control tower, a secret
policeman was acting as Controller. He gave
launching clearance to yet another ship.
”Control to ship Nine Three Four A. Proceed
to Earth by filed plan.”
A light-year away, another Controller
was having a bit more difficulty. ”Bast it!”
he yelled into a mike. ”If you don’ t know
the route to Earth, then fly in company
with Seven Six Five Eight N!”
In an Altair System spaceport, the
freighters were still grounded, for there had
been some delays. A renegade and a psychiatrist
stood on the control tower’ s observation
platform, looking out over the
The psychiatrist checked over a list.
”That completes this planet, ” he announced.
”As soon as your ships are ready,
I suppose you can tell your pilots to proceed
The renegade sneered. ”You sure you
got ’em all?”
The psychiatrist gave him a frosty regard.
”My dear fellow, medical science
never makes mistakes.”
Bleary-eyed and rumpled, the Renegade
Chief struggled to stay awake. Had to rivet
his attention to what the speaker was saying
– ”Planet Three Alpha Centauri to
Home Planet Control. Planet Three Alpha…
With a flash of irritation, the Renegade
Chief cut in. ”Yeah, yeah. Gimme the hot
The speaker spluttered. ”All cargoes
spaceborne here and proceeding to Earth.”
The Chief turned down the volume
knob and rubbed his eyes. These late nights,
he just wasn’t up to them anymore. He
popped a benny and ordered a cup of coffee.
Xenu had taken time out to shower and
dress with care.
Just as he arrived back at his desk, a
call was put through from his Minister of
”All seventy-five planets clear, ” reported
Chi, ”spaceborne and heading for
Earth. Right on time.”
Xenu’s eyes narrowed with cruel
pleasure. ”Good, good. Proceed as ordered.”
Shutting off the video-phone, he turned
to stare out his window. Just as planned,
He snickered softly to himself.
A wind roamed mournfully across the
shattered pavement of what had been, of
late, the proud parade ground of Galactic
Base Earth. Blackened balustrades and broken
flagpoles silhouetted themselves against
the empty sky.
But not empty for long.
The whine of their engines growing into
a steady roar, a multitude of ships began to
mass across the heavens till the skies were
literally filled with freighters of every size,
shape and description.
Over a wide, barren plain, a cliff face
watched as the cargoes arrived.
Using no runways – there were no
runways to use – the ships simply landed
in place, covering the entire field from end
A harried Controller darted a frantic
REVOLT IN THE STARS 51
gaze through each of the many windows of
his hastily rigged control tower. Some fusebrained
idiot sure fouled up royally! Fudged
it totally. Too many ships, not enough
He barked some orders into his tightly
gripped mike. ’’Earth Control Post Number
One to Squadron Leader Eight Seven Nine.
Divert to Earth Northern Sector Twelve…
”Earth Control Post Number One to
Squadron Leader Two Six Five. Divert cargo
to Earth Continent Three Control Post Sixteen…
Down on a field, a truck drew up
alongside a grounded freighter. The ship’s
boarding door banged down to form a ramp,
disclosing two renegades in creased and
Carrying sheafs of paper, three secret
policemen hastily approached, gesturing as
they came for unloading to commence.
Stepping back, the renegades started to
lug out the drugged bodies to take them
down the ramp for placement in the truck.
Across the landing space, a stream of
vans were moving toward the ships.
At a nearby ship, the disembarkation
was also beginning. One of the captives, a
black man, was recovering consciousness.
Raising himself up, he opened his eyes to
stare, horror-stricken, at the booted foot of
a secret policeman as it swung at him, to
catch him square on the jaw.
And he collapsed.
Several other landing fields on Earth
were similarly occupied.
One, near Mount Shasta, was unloading
in haste, as their cargoes were groggily
The little girl still clutched her doll.
Dazed, she struggled awake and sat up.
A secret policeman jerked her to her
feet and gave her a shove. So directed, she
began to follow her companion victims up
the sharply increasing slope of the volcano.
Mt. Etna, Mt. Fuji. The new arrivals
were tumbled out of the freighters and
forced to clamber up the volcanoes’ sides.
An old man, baffled and dismayed,
plucked the sleeve of a guard. His questions
were cut short as he was cuffed viciously
The survivors of the Ninth Army were
unloaded at the base of Mount Washington.
Hands behind their backs, uniforms in
shreds, they held their heads as proudly as
they could as they marched up the slope.
A drummer boy, once a friend of
Rawl’s, stopped and turned to look back
down the incline.
His drum straps hung from his shoulder,
the broken top of a drum still clinging
A soldier behind him was pushed forward.
They collided, forcing the boy to
move on upward.
Set on a rocky island and centered in a
rolling ocean of blue, a volcano’s side
crawled with a struggling line of humanity.
By the top edge of its cone, a renegade
crew fought to hold down their helicopter
as the fierce wind threatened to blow it
An engineer had just finished connecting
a radio wire to a curious cylindrical object.
Words painted imposingly in red on its
sides proclaimed it to be an atom bomb.
Shouting above the rushing gale, the engineer
summoned over an assistant technician.
Together they tied a rope securely
around the bomb and commenced lowering
it into the crater mouth.
Another engineer peered over the edge,
watching the bomb descend slowly towards
the pools of bright lava, moving and red,
A third engineer was paying out wire
from a large coil in his hand. It snaked out
and down the cone – to serve as the link
REVOLT IN THE STARS 52
between the signal and the detonation.
The waiting Controller stood anxiously
to one side. A worried frown creasing his
brow as he looked through the window at
the landing field. The ships under his
authority were all sitting out there,
grounded and idle. Sons of dogs! When were
they going to let us get the hell out of here?
By the panel, the Renegade Chief was
snarling into a mike. ”This is Earth Control
Post Number One to Volcano Crew Seventeen.
Advise when atomic charges have been
Tossing the mike away from him, the
Chief spun around to face the controller.
”Damned bastards. They’re the last ones to
report atomic charges in place in the volcanoes.
But the nervous Controller couldn’t
care less about that. He waved his hand at
the field. ”It’s going to take several hours to
get all these ships spaceborne and out of
The Chief gave a snort of laughter.
”Don’t get your pants wet. Our people will
all be of Earth before we push the button.”
The Controller hesitated, not too sure.
He looked down at his hands fidgeting with
some crumpled up papers.
Relenting, the Chief shrugged a shoulder.
”Ah, you can tell them to refuel and get
back to their planets as soon as the secret
police are aboard and my men recovered.”
Relieved, the Controller let out his pent
up breath. Maybe this whoreson wasn’t
such a whoreson after all.
Leaning into the wind, the first engineer
reached up a black gloved hand to rub his
grimy face. Raising his other hand, he
placed his receiver-mike to his mouth and
pressed the transmit button. ”Earth Control
One, come in.’’
He depressed the receive button and
put the instrument to his ear, only to remove
it a ways as the Renegade Chief’s
voice blazed through. ”What the blasters
kept you bastards?”
The engineer gave the radio a withering
look and swore silently to himself. But he
knew better than to reply in kind, so he
collected his ragged temper and spoke
calmly. ”Volcano Seventeen fully charged
and complete. In fact it’s got two atomic
bombs in it. Rope broke.”
”Good. Scramble out of there, get back
to the field and take off. I’m spaceborne
Thankfully, the engineer put the radio
away and signalled a let’s-go to his men.
An exhausted group eddied to a halt
and turned to watch, bewildered, as their
persecutors began to race downhill, leaving
Reaching the trucks in the valley, the
renegades and secret police piled in and
Soon, every operational ship had left
Earth, having taken on the renegades and
secret police and blasted for home.
Zel, former Chief of Secret Police
Earth, was piloting the communications
plane as it hovered above Earth. Too close
for his liking, but orders were orders. He
chewed his lip in trepidation.
In the co-pilot’s seat, the Chief was on
the air to Chi. ”No trouble. The secret police
have been evacuated. My renegades
also. Been some mobs and riots amongst the
planetary population, but what the hell.”
Chi’s visage on the screen was replaced
by another’s as Xenu shoved him aside.
”Are you ready?” asked Xenu.
The Chief gave him a lazy salute. ”Oh,
An anticipatory gleam leapt into
Xenu’s eyes. ”Turn one of your cameras on
Nodding, the Chief yelled back to a
technician. ”Get two or three cameras on it,
REVOLT IN THE STARS 53
The Chief turned back to the video and
Xenu passed his tongue over dry,
cracked lips. ”You can proceed when
ready.” With that, he shut down the circuit.
Moving into a more comfortable position,
the Chief grunted. ”What some people
will do for power!”
Zel gave him a sideways glance. ”Including
The Chief flinched a little then grinned
wickedly, presenting Zel with the full benefit
of his yellowed teeth. ”You’re talking!”
Meanwhile, on the face of Earth, hundreds
of thousands of hungry, hopeless
people sat bemused on the slopes where
they had been left.
The dispirited and ravaged Ninth Army
soldiers were too dejected to move. Only
one of them was attempting to free his
hands of their binding.
And the little girl was down on her
knees, rocking her doll. Bruised and dirty,
tears coursed silently down her face.
She looked upward at the sky, saw
Hugging her doll closer, she began to
whimper, not understanding where she was,
The Chief lightly held the electronic
box. Its red lights glowed softly, hypnotically.
Face expressionless, he moved his right
hand toward the box. Finger poised, he hesitated
only a moment, then smoothly, gracefully
even, he depressed the center button.
Simultaneously, the planted charges
Atomic blasts ballooned from the craters
of Loa, Vesuvius, Shasta, Washington,
Fujiyama, Etna, and many, many others.
Arching higher and higher, up and outwards,
towering clouds mushroomed, shot
through with flashes of flame, waste and
Great winds raced tumultuously across
the face of Earth, spreading tales of destruction.
Debris-studded, and sickly yellow, the
atomic clouds followed close on the heels of
the winds. Their bowshaped fronts encroached
inexorably upon forest, city and
mankind, they delivered their gifts of death
A skyscraper, tall and arrow-straight,
bent over to form a question mark to the
very idea of humanity before crumbling into
the screaming city below.
People standing, racked by the hurricanes,
on a street looked up horrified at a
descending atomic cloud. Making a futile
attempt at escape, they were dropped in
their tracks, exterminated like so many pestilent
Molten lava poured, chaotic, down volcanic
slopes, obliterating all trace of the
people that had been huddled there.
A mountainous tidal wave engulfed a
once thriving seaport, leaving only a few of
the taller building tops showing over the
swirling waters. A second wave formed,
preparing to finish what the first had left
Areas of rioting vegetation and forest
became barren plains, inhabited only now
by the screaming winds.
The fair jewel, Earth, had been brutally
Casually, the Chief still held the electronic
box. His craft rocked a little, as if
echoing the passing violence below.
Through the windshield, he looked
down at Earth, its cloud formations now a
reddish, uneven swirl.
Also observing this view, by way of a
dozen screens propped up around his office,
He tapped his fingers in time with the
soft, gentle symphony his office stereo was
playing and took a delighted sip of his long,
REVOLT IN THE STARS 54
It was over.
The charred remains of the little girl’s
doll bobbed on a choppy sea, lamented only
by a low, moaning breeze.
An orchestra was playing loud, foolishly
gay music. The hall was all decorated
for a party.
Chattering and laughing throngs milled
around the room. A few degraded, halfnaked
women were hanging on the arms of
the top leaders of state, also there.
Off in a secluded corner, Chi has his
head together with the banker Chu.
”So you are sure I will get all my
money back?” the banker asked, nervously
twisting the diamond rings on his sausage
”With interest, with interest, ” replied
Chi. ”In addition to the Confederate Bureau
of Investigation I am forming an income tax
police in Treasury.” He made a wringing
motion with his hands, as if wringing out
towel. ”And they’ll extract every last possible
penny from the populace.”
Chu cheered up for a moment, then
turned doubtful again. ”This cost is a terrible
lot of money.”
Chi rolled his eyes in some exasperation.
How could a banker be so stupid?
”Master Chu, the people are a bottomless
pit for taxes. It can go on forever. A bottomless
Sniffing superiorly, he favored the
banker with an arch look. ”Providing of
course you back it up with a heavily
manned police force – with a secret police
and Treasury police, and of course psychiatrists
to take care of any people who object.”
Chuckling, he gave Chu a reassuring pat
on his chubby back. ”Police states never go
broke. The populace maybe, but not us, not
Slightly mollified, but not convinced,
the banker giggled in reply.
Across the hall, an orderly placed a silver
tray on a table occupied by Xenu and
some of his top men.
Zel reached out and took the bottle
from the tray. He popped the cork and began
pouring the amber liquid into glasses.
”I’d say, ” said he, pompously, ”it was successful
beyond any possible hopes I had.
Our men in charge of the government on
every planet, planetary armies still obedient
to us, no large bases left to bother us… ” –
his hand slipped, spilling a quantity of liqueur,
”… and no Congress to bother us.”
They raised their crystal goblets, aqua
vitae twinkling, in a toast.
At that moment a tiny, shrill sound became
audible above the music and social
buzzing. Like a diving plane, the noise
swelled a trifle.
Curious, but not too concerned, Chi
and his piggy friend ceased their talk and
looked upward, listening.
Renegade men in the hall also looked
up, listening. As alert professionals, vigilant
at all times, they grew perturbed at the rising
Zel lowered his goblet uncertainly and
stared at the ceiling. Xenu started too, his
glass dribbling as it tilted, unnoticed, in his
Rising to an almost unbearable pitch,
the sound’ reverberated across the room.
Then, with a thunderous crash, a spear-like
object burst through the ceiling to bury its
arrowhead into the wooden floor.
The note of the bomber’s engines
changed abruptly as it revved and pulled
out of its dive. The canister, poised erect
there on the dance floor, began to vibrate.
But few, if any, of the crowd noticed this.
Galvanized into action the instant the cylREVOLT
IN THE STARS 55
inder had hit the floor, they were already
surging – men yelling, women screaming –
from the confines of the room, each intent
on being the first out.
A more courageous renegade raced
across to the object. Grasping it, he yanked
it loose. ’’It’s not a bomb, ”he shouted, examining
it. ”The force field above the palace
would have detonated it if it was. It’s a
He removed the screw-cap top and
brought out a scroll and a piece of paper.
Taking the scroll first, he read it out to the
small group who had gathered around, curious.
” ‘Proclamation. The Congress of the
Loyal Officers of the People hereby deposes
Xenu as Supreme Ruler… ’ What the
bloody blastick is this?” The renegade
glanced briefly up at Xenu who’s face was
going ominously black, then continued to
read the scroll. ” ’… and orders him to surrender
for MASS MURDER.’ What the…
? It’s signed by Mish and Rawl!”
Fingers fumbling, he grasped the second
sheet of paper. Voice growing hoarse, he
read that, too, aloud. ” ’Xenu, copies of this
proclamation are being dropped on streets
of every planet. I advise you to surrender
peacefully… ’ Hey, what’s this nut Rawl
think he’s doing?”
Horrified, the renegade gaped around
wildly, as if expecting Rawl to leap out
from somewhere and shoot him down.
”He’s dead. Every Loyal Officer is dead!”
The assembly began to mutter. Xenu
stalked over to Chi in a cold fury. Grabbing
the latter’s coat lapels, he yanked them hard
and spat into his face. ”How many Interceptor
Bases did you leave untouched?” He
Chi, nearly choking, his body turned
into a lump of quivering jelly, could only
stammer. ”O-only… only Mish. Th… there
was a sh… ship seen leaving the Earth b…
base as it bl… blew up.” He made a frantic
attempt to lose Xenu’s hands. ”O-only
Releasing his Minister, Xenu burst into
laughter. Still laughing, he turned to face the
startled crowd and held his hands up in a
calming reassuring gesture.
”Purest bluff, ” he announced. ”Two
men against millions of secret police, against
seventy-five totally secured planets, against
all our planes and armies!”
Taking the papers from the limp grip of
the renegade, he laughed again, then began to
rip the papers to shreds. ”Well, good luck
to them.” he finished sarcastically, dropping
the strips to the floor with exaggerated contempt.
His audience let out a sigh of relief,
then they also broke into laughter.
Very alone, very small against the vast
reaches of the Galaxy, a single Interceptor
hung suspended. In its fuselage, four people
were in various stages of getting into space
garments. Oxygen masks and parachutes
were to hand, ready to be donned.
Rawl paused and looked up. ”you
don’t have to do this, Lady Min. You’ve
already done enough – we’d never have
known what this was all about without
She kept right on getting dressed, her
soft mouth set into a line of determination
as she pulled a safe-seal suit over her khaki
Ap, already dressed for space and
scared stiff of the action ahead, stared at
Lady Min. If only she wasn’t going, then he
wouldn’t have to go either. Oh lord!
Continuing to buckle his parachute
straps, Rawl smiled approvingly. He
glanced out through a port. ”Well, here it is.
We’re over Alpha Centauri Planet Two,
REVOLT IN THE STARS 56
Cronjin. It’s the least populated and a long
way from Home Planet.” He laughed derisively.
”The idiots took out all the Galactic
bases including this one so there’s no
chance of being bombed – they’ve got no
bombers we can’t handle. We’re going to
parachute in on the night side while our pilot
Finishing the last buckle, he reached out
and took a rifle from a wall peg. ”Keep together,
” he instructed, checking the blaster’s
load, ”guide in on me closely.”
Up to the aisle, the pilot called back to
Mish. ”About thirty-five seconds to target.”
Mish gave the pilot a thumbs-up sign.
”When we’re gone, keep alert to cover us. If
we make it, we’ll radio you where to land.”
He stepped forward into the airlock, waving
an arm for the rest to follow.
Rawl sealed the door behind them and
glanced at the safety board. The red light
had turned green. He opened the outer door
and spun off into space.
Ap was the last to jump. Hanging back
at the threshold, he stared down in awestruck
horror. With much misgiving, he
squeezed his eyes shut, pulled himself together,
and stepped out.
The four landed in rapid succession on
the spaceport pavement. In the distance, a
mass of lights denoted a city. To their immediate
left, a building bristled with antennae
and red beacons – the Communications
Center for the planet.
Rawl ripped open his harness buckle
and, unslinging his rifle as he went, made a
dash towards the building. Reaching the
stairs, he took them two at a time. He was
halfway up them before Mish started up
Inside, a secret policeman was flopped
down in a chair reading a girlie magazine.
Hearing footsteps coming up the stairs,
he jumped to his feet and spun around. His
hand dived for his gun, but too late. Before
he could even draw it, a green ribbon of
flame cut into him. He staggered, eyes wide,
and crumpled to the floor.
Rawl propped his rifle up against the
wall and, eyes rapidly studying the console,
began removing his space suit.
Behind him, Mish had stopped in the
doorway, rifle held ready, standing sentinel
over the staircase. Breathless from the run,
Lady Min and Ap brushed past Mish and
entered the room.
Typically female, Lady Min produced
a compact mirror and fluffed out her hair.
Critically appraising her reflection, she got
out her lipstick.
Having seen the dead secret policeman,
Ap was in no mood for seeing to his own
appearance. He eyed the body queasily, and
decided to put it out of sight and mind.
Holding his heaving stomach in check,
he picked up the dead man’s feet and
dragged him off into a corner.
Meanwhile, Rawl had completed the
removal of his space garments. Pulling his
cap from his pocket, he put it on and
moved over to the panel board. Naming
them as he went, he threw a number of levers.
”Planetary News Media, home television
interrupt, Planetary Army Headquarters,
radio emergency interrupt, all Planet
Alert System, theater screens… ”
The circuits clicked and whirred as they
went open. A regiment of TV monitor
screens leapt to life with Rawl’s image.
Making a conscious effort to calm himself,
he drew a deep breath. He was on the
air. Putting a cubical mike into position, he
commenced speaking. ”People of Cronjin, I
am Rawl, Speaker of the Congress of Loyal
Officers of the People, the ruling body of
the Galactic Confederation… ”
Lounging in a downtown bar, the Cronjin
Secret Police General visibly jumped
when Rawl appeared on the TV behind the
REVOLT IN THE STARS 57
counter. Slamming down his drink, heedless
of the slopping alcohol, he snatched a portable
radio from his coat pocket.
”… Xenu has been deposed, ” continued
Rawl’s voice from the TV, ’’the secret
police disbanded. Xenu is being sought for
trial for the destruction of the Planet Earth,
murder of populations… ”
The Secret Police General barked into
his radio. ”All police! Go to Cronjin Planetary
Communications Center, airfield. At
once!” Casting a last venomous glare at the
TV, he swung about and stalked from the
A couple of teenagers were watching
what they called the boob-tube. The programs
had been so boring lately, nothing but
lectures and ”dramas” of militaristic nature.
Half-dozing, they jerked awake when Rawl
came on. One of them beckoned urgently
for the rest of his friends and family to
come over to the screen. Clustered around
the set, they listened avidly to their longterm
”Many of your own people were recently
rounded up. They were transported
to Earth and murdered there by atomic fire.
You have been told that recent measures
were taken to combat a crime wave. That
crime wave was Xenu!… ”
Flanked by his staff officers, hastily
summoned and still buttoning on their blue
and white jackets, the Commanding General
of the Cronjin Planetary Army stood
tensely watching his office TV set. Rawl’s
words were filling the room.
”In addition to the entire population of
Planet Earth, Xenu also rounded up and had
murdered the entire Ninth Army because it
sought to carry out the lawful orders of
Congress and resisted the formation of a
police state… ”
The Commanding General’s face hardened
as he nodded grimly. He knew it. ”So
that’s why they don’t answer up, ” he muttered
to himself. He turned and shouted
An orderly came running up. The staff
Officers began pulling transceivers from
their belts and leapt into action as their
Commanding General issued a stream of
On a sidewalk, a crowd had gathered.
Staring up at a public address system
speaker, they were intent on what Rawl
”Your own bomber base did not blow
up because of terrorists as you were
told..Xenu blew it up and every other Galactic
base in an effort to destroy the power
of the Loyal Officers and Congress. You are
safe, therefore, from any retaliation from
Home Planet. The sky above you is guarded
by us… ”
The crowd in the street shifted, angry.
”… by the authority of the Congress l
therefore call on you to rise, smash the secret
police and restore lawful government to
At Rawl’s last words, the crowd surged
forward, snarling. One of them, ordinarily a
peaceful citizen but now a ferocious mob
leader inflamed by what he had heard,
leaped up onto a balustrade and began
Listening to the wailing sirens, Mish
braced himself against the door. A fleet of
secret police cars were coming, hurtling
across the airfield.
Rawl glanced out the window. Curtly
signalling Ap over to him, he spoke again
into the mike. ”You can and must win!”
Shoving the mike into Ap’s resistive
hands, Rawl grabbed his rifle, dashed
through the door and along the outside platform.
He dropped down to use the parapet
for cover and raised his gun over the edge.
Shivering uncontrollably, Ap tried to
gather his scattered wits. All he wanted to
be was a thousand miles away. Steeling
REVOLT IN THE STARS 58
himself bravely, he stepped into the path of
the television scanner and raised the mike.
”Ladies and gentlemen, people of Cronjin,
you have just heard an emergency announcement
by Commander Rawl… ”
Outside, the first of the armored cars
had skidded to a halt, and secret policemen
were leaping out. Rawl aimed and fired…,
Ap jumped as the blast echoed through the
Desperately telling himself that he was
perfectly safe, and that he was, after all, a
publicity agent and so should be able to do
something as simple as talk on the radio, he
forced himself to continue. ”… Loyal Officer,
Speaker of Congress. And if you’re
going do do anything, ” he swallowed a
gulp, ”you better do it now and fast. The
secret police are piling into this airfield like
an avalanche… ”
The burst of flame from Rawl’s rifle hit
the car. Chock-full of ammunition, the vehicle
was a deadly weapon.
This same attribute was also its only
Achilles’ heel. It detonated in a scintillating
flash of white and scarlet. Caught flatfooted,
its crew went up with the car.
Jerking his head down, Ap wailed.
”People of Cronjin, where are you? We
The second of the cars pulled up short.
Jumping out, the Secret Police General surveyed
the scene. Hell! One unit lost already.
He about-faced and started directing
the arriving forces into combat positions.
Ap stole a glance out the window and
turned sickly pale. He could count two,
five – no, ten trucks! And all unloading secret
police. ”Future zero!”
A flatbed truck with a mounted artillery
piece, joined the crowd. Its gun crew
started training the gun on the dome of the
The Secret Police General elbowed his
way through his rushing men and jumped
up onto the flatbed. ”No, no!” He was
shouting, motioning for the men to desist.
”Don’t destroy the Communications Center.
We’ll need it in a few minutes to tell the
population they are dead and we are in control!”
He sprang off the truck and ran to direct
a small arms attack. At his command,
lines of secret policemen threw themselves
down and commenced discharging arcs of
flame towards the Center.
Lying prone over the doorsill, enemy
fire chewing the frame above him, Mish returned
his own staccato shots of fire.
Ducked down, Lady Min crawled over
to where Ap valiantly continued his address
to the populace. ”This field, ” he was saying,
”is swarming with secret police.” He
closed his eyes and muttered a short prayer.
”Right now we’re going to find out if the
people of Cronjin are friends of murderers
As he spoke, two vanloads of renegade
forces arrived. By far more deadly than the
secret police. Scrambling out, the renegades
hit the ground at dead runs and made for the
staircase leading to the control room.
Noticing Lady Min’s frantic gestures,
he gave in to her plea. ”And so I give you
Lady Min, eyewitness to the planning of
Xenu and destruction of Earth.” And he
thankfully handed her the mike.
The first of the renegades were pounding
up the stairs. Mish, ready for it, let
them come to within a few feet of him before
cutting loose with his blast gun. The
leading renegades fell back, smashing into
the ones behind, creating a confused tangle
of falling and thrashing men.
Lady Min glanced back at the door.
Spotlights! Composing herself, she turned
back to the mike. ”People of Cronjin, this
may be your last chance to attain freedom,
’’ she began, close to tears. Dear God –
where were the people of Cronjin?
REVOLT IN THE STARS 59
Rawl cursed as his gun clicked emptily.
He thrust the last charge he had into the
breech and resumed firing. If the cavalry
don’t come soon, they wouldn’t stand a
chance. Not a damned chance. He should
never have let Lady Min come either. Gritting
his teeth he smashed down another
renegade with a sharp burst of flare.
By the flatbed, the determined Secret
Police General looked on through slitted
eyes. Hearing a throbbing from behind, he
whirled around. Seeing nothing, he hit a
switch on the truck’s side and a spotlight
stabbed out into the dark.
The General froze in shock as the light
revealed four blue and white army tanks
rumbling towards him, gun snouts depressing
into firing positions as they came.
Fanned out behind the tanks, a flock of
carrier trucks were pulling up, soldiers
pouring over their sides.
A ragged battle cry reached the General’s
ears. ”Remember the Ninth Army!
Remember the Ninth Army!”
Stationed in a tank turret, the Commanding
General of the Cronjin Planetary
Army glared at the secret police maneuvers
ahead. His face set into harsh lines, his
voice severe, he snapped an order into a
radio unit. ”Fire low so as not to hit the
Communications Center. Attack at once!”
Together, the tanks fired huge sprays
of blue-white flame.
A secret police car, hit, leaped into the
air. A group of trucks vanished as such, becoming
blazing pyres instead. The flatbed
truck burst asunder.
As yet unaware of the ravages behind
them, the front lines of secret policemen
still exchanged shot with the Center. Then,
a few seemed to sense that all was not well.
As they rose to turn back, a wave of soldiers
hit them, screaming ”Remember the
Hearing the stepped up turmoil outside,
Lady Min risked a peek over the windowsill.
Seeing the change of circumstances,
she jumped to her feet, face radiant. Thank
the stars! ”Victory!” she cried. ”People of
Cronjin, you are free, free, free!”
Rawl and Mish grinned at each other.
Dangling their rifles, they went to stand by
the shredded door to greet the approaching
Army General and his officers.
Catching sight of Rawl, the Army General
rushed forward and firmly shook his
hand. ”So I finally get to meet the famous
Mish gestured, ”Shall we go inside?”
They did so, Ap clearing some battered
chairs out of their way.
Lady Min had stopped speaking and
held the mike toward the conferring group,
A sudden commotion at the door made
them turn. A group of officers with a
shackled civilian in their midst crowded in.
One of the officers gently pushed the
civilian forward. ”Look what we have here!”
The man was middle-aged, he held his
head up proudly as another officer tried out
various keys on his shackled wrists. The
officer who had spoken explained further,
noting Rawl’ s raised eyebrow. ”We got him
out of the police barracks’ dungeon. The
Civil Governor of Cronjin!”
One of his hands successfully unshackled,
the Governor extended it to Rawl.
Shaking his hand, Rawl studied the
man, liking what he saw. ”Can I count on
you and the General here to get this planet
mopped up and in order?”
The Governor and Army General
beamed with enthusiasm. ”Indeed so!” they
Mish and Ap had gone over to the console
behind Lady Min. Looking as if he
were about to faint, Ap collapsed against
the panel and wiped his face on his sleeve.
”That was tombstone close!”
REVOLT IN THE STARS 60
Mish shrugged. ”One down and seventy-
four planets to go.”
Ap was horrified. ”Seventy-four more
Through the Interceptor’s windscreen,
the stars seemed like a chain of diamonds
against a backdrop of black velvet.
In the pilot seat, mike in hand, Rawl
broadcasted a rallying message.
”People of the Galactic Confederation,
fight on! We have wrested thirty planets
from the unlawful control of Xenu. Everywhere
populations are in revolt. The measures
of personal income tax, enforced identification,
illegal entries and violations of privacy
by the secret police have inflamed
”Xenu in his stronghold on Home
Planet receives little news to cheer him… ”
And revolt they did.
Anchar: The Personal Income Tax Bureau
headquarters was particularly hated. A
band of civilian saboteurs slipped in by
night and planted charges in key locations.
And it was blown ski-high.
Betelgeuse: A secret policeman was
standing at the identity computers, feeding
in the unverified data. He didn’t care what it
said, just so long as there was stuff there.
He had heard rumors about an impending
revolt – no problem. The secret police could
Then, three civilians, armed with automatic
blast guns burst in, their leader
shouting ”To hell with your false reports!”
And the policeman, computers and all,
vanished in a flash of fire.
Pollux: An angry pack of rebels were
dragging a secret policeman along by his
foot. They had a kangaroo court ready and
waiting for him and the renegade they had
captured and whom they had stumbling
along behind, rope round his neck in preparation
for his predetermined execution.
Spica: The mob had a bearded psychiatrist
down on the floor. One of them jabbed
him repeatedly with a hypo, yelling: ”Let ’
s see how you like it!”
Beta Centauri: A dead secret policeman
was sprawled across the console in the
communications center of Planet Two, a
butcher knife in his back. Beside him, a
wounded renegade screamed into a mike.
”Home Planet, Home Planet. The people of
Beta Centauri Two have risen in revolt. We
are pinned down, outnumbered… ” His
scream rose even higher as the room exploded
with a deafening, sonorous crash of
Insurrection against the oppressors
spread like wildfire across the Galaxy.
Bit by bit, the secret police, renegade
forces and officials loyal to Xenu were
beaten down and crushed, their headquarters
And the mutineers revelled in each victory,
spurred on to greater acts of rebellion
by each success.
A chart was spread across an aisle table
in Rawl’s Interceptor. Consulting it was
Rawl himself, Mish, Lady Min and Ap.
Rawl slapped down his pencil and
stretched his cramped limbs. ”Sooner or
later they will get their wits working and
start to use the Home Planet bombers to
Intent on oiling his pistol, Mish nodded
absently. He’d discussed this with Rawl
Ap darted his gaze from Rawl to Mish,
then back to Rawl again. Bombers! What
this meant he didn’t know, but it must be
REVOLT IN THE STARS 61
”I propose to attack that base, ” Rawl
tapped an area of Home Planet on the chart,
”and then move right on in on the Home
Planet without waiting for other planets.
They’re doing all right.”
Mish nodded again. ”Looks safest.”
Ap gasped. Had he heard that right?
Rawl smiled. ”This is an outer space
atomic Interceptor, ” he explained patiently,
”made to combat enemy space battleships.
Using it in an atmosphere makes it dead
easy against planetary ships. I doubt if
there are any renegades that can even fly
Ap was unconvinced. ”Like a tiger
fighting a puppy, huh?”
Rawl laughed. ”You can man the tail
Clutching at the table, Ap moaned, ”Do
you have any heart medicine aboard?”
A young girl was being shoved around
like a rag doll. The renegades, seated in a
circle, laughed at her terror, pushing her
from one to the next of them with her
clothes tearing further at each jolt.
In the background, the Home Planet
bomber base’s fleet of ships sat idle and
poorly cared for. For sure, the renegades
who manned the base had better things to
do, like what they were doing now.
One of the renegades loosened up his
collar. ”I didn’t think it would be so much
fun to be an agent of the Confederate Bureau
Another man gave a leer and turned to
the girl. ”Come on, sweetheart, let’s investigate
The girl was tossed at him. He caught
her and ripped a garment further. She fell to
his feet, inert, eyes wide open.
He shook her a little. No movement.
”Hell! She’s dead!”
A renegade to his left reached out.
”Good, hand her over, that’s the way I like
One of the group had grown bored. He
got to his feet and yawned. ”I better get a
squadron airborne to relieve the Home
Planet patrol.” He began to slouch off.
The renegade holding the girl pitched
her into the arms of the renegade to his left,
and called out after the departing man,
”Yeah, you do that.”
And he returned his attention to the
Up in patrol, the renegade co-pilot
punched a transmit button. ”When are you
dog lovers coming up to relieve us?”
The radio uttered an uncouthness in reply.
Starting to put the mike back on its
hook, a blip on the radar caught the copilot’s
He cast a searching glance out through
the windscreen and yelped in fright.
He frantically shook the dozing pilot’s
arm and pointed outside, bringing the mike
back to his mouth with his other hand. His
voice cracked as he practically squeaked: ”A
Loyal Officer Interceptor!”
Rawl threw his Interceptor into a dive.
Between his craft and the base below, six
renegade patrol ships were flying in sloppy
Back in the tail, Ap sat in the gunner
seat wrestling the gun with clumsy hands.
Looking out through his viewport, he
flinched. ”Six Interceptors!”
Alarm sirens sounded at ground level.
Aroused from their various and nefarious
activities, renegades scrambled toward their
Holding the dive, Rawl signalled Mish
to hold fire as the latter readied a firing control.
Mish shot a grin back, and nodded.
Ap checked the port again. ”Six more
taking off!” He began muttering a prayer,
hoping that somewhere some kind god
would listen and transport him instantly to
REVOLT IN THE STARS 62
some other place. Anywhere but here!
Firing tracer shot, the patrol rose to
meet Rawl’s ship.
Flashing downwards to pass right
through the enemy formation, Mish closed
the firing control just as his own ship
passed the first of the renegade Interceptors,
leaving behind a pattern of black balls
strewn between the patrol ships.
Then, the black balls exploded, knocking
four of the renegade craft from the skies.
Ap at his tail gun was intent on mopping
up the remaining two. Firing wildly, he
managed to score a direct hit on one of
them. Belching greasy black smoke, it fell.
Letting loose a whoop of delight, Ap
turned his blazing gun, prayers forgotten,
on the last ship as it pivoted around and
began to fire at him.
A curtain of swirling red engulfed Ap’s
turret. In the cockpit, Rawl swore and
jerked at the controls to steady his Interceptor.
But the hit was only glancing, not,
much damage done. Ap, a trifle singed,
yelled triumphantly as his next shot caught
his opponent right on the nose.
Rawl held the dive. Mish pointed down
at six more ships shooting vertically up towards
them. ”Second squadron!
Being twice the speed as well as twice
the size of the renegade craft, Rawl ’s ship
had flashed by them before they could even
change course to fire on him.
Nearly grazing the ground, Rawl pulled
out of the dive and took the Interceptor,
engines shrieking, up and under the patrol.
Shooting right through the squadron,
Mish again closed the firing switch, and the
six ships were blasted to fragments.
Rawl yanked at the controls and dove
downwards again, for the base itself. In the
tail Ap was raring to go, ready to roll.
Hunting for something to fire at, he found
nothing, and slumped back in disappointment.
An anti-spacecraft gunner crew concentrated
ribbons of shot at the plummeting
Interceptor. No use – the ship just kept
diving toward them. They ceased fire and
ducked futilely for cover.
Mish once more had his hand on the
firing control, waiting for the word…
”Now!” yelled Rawl, and Mish
snapped his thumb down.
Rawl banked his ship and sped for
safety as the base went up in a cloud of
Flying left-handed, Rawl cruised his Interceptor
above Home Planet. He held a
mike in his other hand, and frowned slightly
as he spoke. ”Calling Commanding General
Arn, Commanding Planetary Army Home
Planet. Calling Commanding General Arn,
Commanding Planetary Army Home
A voice spluttered in over the receiver.
”I’ll get him, I’ll get him.”
Having answered the call, a communications
clerk signalled urgently to the Commanding
General across the room. He
ducked down to avoid a red slash of fire
that laced above him. Many others in the
room did the same, for the Planetary army
was engaged in a pitched battle.
Soldiers, in the blue and white uniforms,
were at the windows, firing intermittently
at the enemy outside. A line of
wounded lay against the far wall, growing
longer by the minute.
General Arn, a dignified, grey-headed
man, answered the clerk’ s summons. Cap
off and collar open he ran, keeping his head
down, over to the radio.
The clerk handed Arn the mike, shaking
his head incredulously. ”It sounds like
The clerk hit a video button and the
General stared, jaw agape, at the screen.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 63
He drew a breath of relief, then spoke
very seriously. ”Don’t try to come in here.
We’re pinned down! They seized our tanks.
Secret police and renegades are out there in
thousands all around our base.”
”Are you at Central Base Three?”
The General looked a little suspicious.
The guy would have to be crazy to come in
here! With reservation, he answered ”Yes.”
Rawl gave a short laugh. ”Keep the
heads of your men down when you hear a
”Rawl… ” the General began, to be silenced
by the audible click as Rawl cut the
Looking around him in some amazement,
he spoke to no one in particular.
”He’s coming in here!” Then, hastily buttoning
his collar and jamming his cap on his
turned and shouted to his men. ”Increase
High above Central Base Three, Rawl
and Mish surveyed the scene below. The
base was a fortress-like building surrounded
on three sides by open parade ground and
backed on the fourth by a winding river.
Some twenty tanks were ranged around the
building, spouting gushes of flame. Masses
of secret police in battle formations were
keeping up continuous fire at the building
where army soldiers at the windows only
shot back sporadically.
Rawl pulled a lever and his ship
swooped downward. ”Use fire, ” he told
Mish. ”Don’t hit the building.”
Mish grinned back at Rawl and gave
him an OK sign.
Zel, a bit removed from his men, was
seated in a camp chair, observing the battle
in satisfaction. Just a few more hours, and
he’d probably get a medal or something.
Deserved it too – no one would ever know
that this really wasn’t his plan, but what
the hell. He was the senior officer here
The note of an alien engine intruded
upon his ruminations. He looked up, consternated
and dumbfounded to see a diving
Interceptor. Jumping up, he ran for the
cover of some nearby trees.
As the ship’s shadow raced over the
tanks and men on the parade grounds, Mish
jerked on the firing control, letting loose a
blanket of raging flame.
Army soldiers crowded, wounded and
all, to the windows, cheering as the tanks
blew up one by one.
Those still alive in the ranks of secret
police nearest the army building had aboutfaced
to stare, awe-struck, at the burning
wreckage. They didn’t see as the soldiers
leapt over their window embrasures to
charge headlong at them.
Then, hearing the battle cry ”Remember
the Ninth Army!” the secret police whirled
around to be knocked flat by the wave of
blue and white uniformed men.
”Remember the Ninth Army!”
In the Interceptor, Lady Min and Ap
had come to stand behind the pilot seats in
the Cockpit, looking eagerly through the
Ap clutched Mish’s arm and howled in
delight. ”We’ve won!”
Laughing, Mish disengaged Ap’s hands
and reached across to lightly punch Rawl’s
shoulder. ”Hey, pardner. We’ve done it
Seeking an avenue of release for his high
spirits, Ap grabbed Lady Min and waltzed
her down the fuselage, to her own and the
But below, Zel was making good his
escape. He clambered into an armored car
and kicked it into gear. Hatless and
scorched, he careened off madly, intent only
on getting away.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 64
The heads of state were holed up in the
palace. Renegade troops, scattered strategically
around the walls, kept up a barrage of
small arms fire.
Out in the street, a crowd of affronted
civilians were held back by barricades and
panes of anti-shot glass.
In the square, facing the palace, were
several armored vehicles and a blue and
white tank. Next to the tank, General Arn,
Mish and Rawl were conferring.
”They’re in there all right, ” observed
Arn. ”The lot of them, like rats in a hole.”
Mish slammed a fist against the tank’s
side. Blast! He spoke gruffly in his frustration.
”You can’t bomb the place. It’s force
screen detonates anything you drop on
Rawl leaned back on the tank and
shook his head. ”No, no. We’ve got to take
them alive.” He beckoned to a civilian police
captain who held a loud-hailer.
Stooping low to avoid ricocheting shot,
the captain ran over to the tank, trailing the
hailer’s cord behind him.
Rawl jabbed a thumb over his shoulder.
”Isn’t there any way we can get them out of
The captain shrugged. ”We could storm
the place. Cost an awful lot of men.”
”Call them again, ” sighed Rawl. ”We
want to take them alive.”
A man in the forefront of the watching
crowds turned to his neighbor, marveling at
what he had just heard. ”Rawl just said they
want to take them alive!”
Pleased with the idea, his eyes lit up
fanatically. Cupping his hands to his
mouth, he shouted to Rawl: ”Take them
Those around the man stared at him,
astonished. Then they too took up the cry.
”Take them alive!” the din grew as
more and more joined in.
The captain glanced back at the people
behind the barricades, a small smile crossing
his face. Turning again to confront the palace,
he switched on the hailer. ”You are
called upon to surrender peacefully. All
renegades in the palace will be granted amnesty
and transported out of the Galaxy.
All officials will be arraigned for trial. Come
out without weapons and your hands above
In a window, a renegade was turning
the captain’s words over in his mind. He
listened for a moment to the mob’s chanting
– ”Take them alive!”
Sighing, he worked the slide of his rifle
and pulled the trigger. It gave an empty
click. He regarded the street again, then
withdrew from the window in defeat.
One of the palace doors opened a crack.
Several blast rifles slithered out to clatter
down the broad front steps. The door
opened wider, and a ragged bunch of powder-
burned renegades straggled out, hands
An officer signalled to his blue and
white uniformed men. ”Hold your fire!”
The men who had capitulated were
frisked and loaded into an open-sided truck.
Suddenly, a burst of fire from the palace
knocked three of the renegades down.
A civilian police officer dropped to his
knees and raised his rifle to shoot back.
Holding his smoking rifle, the secret
police executive tarried a second too long at
the window before drawing back. The demoniac
snarl on his face changed to one of
agony as the shot from below caught him in
the abdomen. Loosing an involuntary burst
from his gun, he pitched forward and fell to
the pavement below.
Viewing this exchange, Rawl’s frown
deepened. He looked over at Arn; ”Still a lot
of fanatics in there.”
Arn, scowling at the palace, nodded absently.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 65
Rawl drew his pistol and checked its
load. Jerking his head towards Mish, he
moved off in the direction of the palace.
”Come on, Mish.”
Aroused from his meditations, Arn
made a grab at Rawl in alarm; ”No!”
But they were off, crouching low.
Creeping alongside of them was a driverless
armored car, pushed by a couple of civilian
police, to protect them from fire. A splatter
of red glanced off the top of the car without
Deciding the least he could do was keep
the enemy busy, Arn shouted to his men:
’’All troops, rapid fire at palace windows!”
Pulled up in front of the building’s
arched portals, Rawl and Mish knelt in back
of the car’s fenders. Keeping his eyes on
Mish’s face, Rawl drew a coin from his
pocket and flipped it.
”Heads, ” chose Mish.
Rawl didn’t even look at the coin or
show it to Mish. ”I lost, ” he stated, cutting
short Mish’s protests by sprinting off towards
the palace steps. Red streaks of
flame ripped at the cement around him, but
still he ran on.
Mish swore. Seeing someone about to
shoot at Rawl from a window, he rapidly
aimed and fired. The man’s gun, hit, exploded
in his hands.
Mish turned anxiously back to watch
Rawl dart through the palace doors. Hell!
He wasn’t going to let Rawl go in there
alone! He upped and dashed off to catch up
Inside, Rawl paused to spray the hall
with shot. Spotting a shadowy figure on a
balcony, he brought his gun to bear and
He started as someone raced past him
and made for the stairs. Seeing it was Mish,
he smiled – not surprised. Staying below to
cover him, Rawl waited until Mish had
reached the head of the staircase before
dashing up them himself.
Their backs to the hallway on the left
of the bannister, neither saw an office door
surreptitiously open. Nor did they see a
grey-green uniformed man sneak out and
The shot caught Mish on the side of his
head. A look of amazement on his face, he
jerked once and, weapon flying into the air,
he fell backwards rolling over and over as he
toppled down the stairs.
Rawl’s face went white as stunned, he
watched Mish fall. Then, whirling around,
he saw a door down the corridor bang shut.
Running furiously towards it, he cut
loose a blast of fire and the door buckled
inward. Kicking the smoking door aside, he
entered the room, gun held ready. He swept
his eyes across the room. Cowering by the
desk were two secret policemen. A third
was getting to his feet, having been knocked
down by the door, and was bringing his rifle
Though Rawl was still in shock from
the loss of Mish, his reflexes were lightning
quick. Instinctively almost, he blasted the
man with the rifle down and turned his
blazing gun on the other two men. And he
kept on firing long after the secret policemen
He checked himself, the fury clearing
from his mind. Stepping out into the hallway,
he looked down over the bannister at
the crumpled form lying at the bottom of
For a moment only he allowed grief to
tear through him. Mish had been his best
friend. Damn, damn, damn! Then, grimly
determined, he moved down the corridor.
In the street, Lady Min had joined
General Arn by the tank. Her face white
with strain, she stared at the palace, clasping
and unclasping her hands in nervous
tension. Oh lord! Let him come out alive…
Bootbeats echoing, Rawl strode down
REVOLT IN THE STARS 66
the hall. He passed door after door until he
arrived at the last one, slightly more ornamental
than the rest, its plaque announced it
to be Xenu’s office.
He reached out his hand, tentatively
touched the doorknob. he turned it. Then,
he savagely kicked the door open and
At first glance, the room seemed bare.
Red velvet drapes hung askew, red carpet
littered with paper and discarded weapons,
the massive black desk was smothered in
scatters of files.
Rawl took this all in in a flash, then
brought his gaze to rest on the floor under
the window. There slumped down, were
five men. Rawl walked slowly, cautiously
even, towards them.
Stopping before them, Rawl regarded
the five men with contempt. Zel was whitefaced
with fear; Chi was panting – his hand
raised to ward off imagined horrors; Sty lay
stiffly as if he were one of his own patients,
or victims rather; Chu the banker would not
meet Rawl’s eyes, concentrating as he was
on not vomiting from total shattering terror;
and lastly, Xenu – he was slightly more
composed than the rest.
Rawl’s lip curled. Well here they were.
The kingpins. Not so brave now, but
weren’t all criminals basically cowards at
Praying Rawl wouldn’t notice, Xenu
obliquely eyed the floor by his right hand.
A blast pistol lay there invitingly. He crept
his hand toward it, keeping a close watch on
Rawl as he frisked down the other four.
Closer and closer crept Xenu’s hand.
Still Rawl hadn’t noticed…
With a sudden movement, Xenu
grabbed the pistol. Out of the corner of his
eye, Rawl saw this and spun around,
swinging his foot at the same time.
Jamming the gun against his right temple,
Xenu squeezed the trigger…
Just as Rawl’s boot connected with his
hand, sending the pistol spinning up into
the air, it discharged harmlessly.
Scooping it up from where it bounced
back onto the floor, Rawl tossed the pistol
to the far end of the room.
His attempted suicide foiled, and all
weapons removed from his vicinity, Xenu
flopped down in despair. ’Whoresons! He
was lost, lost, lost.
Casting a withering glance at Xenu,
Rawl moved over to the window and shattered
the glass with his pistol butt.
Reversing his gun so as to keep his
prisoners covered, Rawl leaned out the
window and waved his cap to the people
below. ”They’re alive!”
The crowd roared in approval. Lady
Min, tears of relief streaming down her otherwise
glowingly beautiful face, waved back
frantically, trying to catch Rawl’s eye.
Car horns and church bells joined in the
uproar. Rejoicing spread through the city at
the news of victory. As one, the crowds
burst through the barricades and surged,
yelling in jubilation, towards the palace.
The joy of the moment was infectious.
Rawl smiled to himself as he Looked down
at the tumult below. Seeing Lady Min there,
his grin widened and he blew her a kiss.
General Arn was talking with Rawl in
his office. Nearby, flashy in his loud new
clothes, Ap was fidgeting. Lady Min, beautifully
groomed and poised, gazed adoringly
up at Rawl through long lashes.
Rawl put a hand on the General’s arm.
”There’s a lot to be done. Can you nominate
some of your people as Loyal Officers?”
”Yes, ” the General affirmed. ”And if I
were you I would take the two top classes
of the Loyal Officer Academy, commission
REVOLT IN THE STARS 67
them at once and put them up for election
by the people.”
Rawl nodded, then a frown marked his
face. ”It won’t, ” he added gloomily, ”be the
same operating without Mish.”
As he spoke, the door flew open and
Mish, heavily bandaged and grinning madly,
entered on crutches. ”That, ” he laughed, ”is
one problem you won’t have to feed into
Rawl looked as if he was seeing an apparition.
Mish? Alive? Recovering from the
initial shock, he whooped in delight and
rushed over to clap him on his good arm.
”You’ll never know, pardner, ” he said,
”how pleased I am to see you!”
Lady Min and Ap also swooped down
on Mish trying to hug him and be careful of
his wounds at the same time.
”Hey, watch it!” exclaimed Mish in
The Congressional Hall echoed as the
black-robed judge, seated in the place once
occupied by Xenu, rapped his gave!
Two other judges flanked him. Many
more were seated below him in a long tier.
The vast rows of chairs were empty,
save those occupied by a stern-faced Rawl,
a black-veiled Lady Min and a bandaged
Heavily guarded, Xenu, Chi, Zel, Sty
and Chu faced their tribune, awaiting sentence.
Broadcasting the trial, a newsman and
an audio assistant rolled the TV camera
around on its crane support.
The chief judge looked down gravely on
the criminals before him. ”Having been duly
and carefully tried under the authority of
Congress, the following persons are found
guilty of attempting to form a police state,
extorting personal taxes, of instigating revolt,
high treason against the state, willful
and malicious mass murder of populations
and the destruction of the people and all
things on planet Earth:
”Zel – former Chief of Secret Police
Earth, Sty head of the Psychiatric Associations,
Chi – former head of the Department
of Justice, Chu – former head of the Galactic
Bank, and Xenu – deposed Supreme
The judge paused for breath, then continued,
his voice taking on an even more
somber tone. ”… are hereby sentenced to be
exhibited on every planet to the populations
of each planet and then imprisoned in
a mountain sustained for eons by lifesupports.
”Such is the judgement of this court, of
the Congress, of the offended peoples of
the great Confederation and the moral natures
of all decent men.
”Is there anything the felons would care
His question was met by silence. The
banker’s nervous giggle didn’t count.
The Judge, with some asperity, rapped
his gavel to silence the banker. He frowned
severely. ”Such is the fate of those who
would form a police state and such it has
He rapped his gavel three more times to
signal the conclusion of the proceedings.
The sentence was carried out meticulously.
The criminals were displayed in glass
encased locomotives that travelled the face
of every planet in the Confederation.
At each station, the trains would halt,
met by angry, indignant crowds. Among the
bands of citizens were some more bold than
the rest. These displayed their hatred and
utter contempt for the felons with tangible
expressions in the form of eggs, tomatoes
and other such objects, pelted pell-mell at
The prisoners reacted in various ways.
Chi merely stared out the windows, eyes
wide and vacant as he slowly went insane.
REVOLT IN THE STARS 68
Sty took to muttering Freudian style
phrases to himself in an attempt to occupy
himself with things other than his horror of
the fate in store for him. Chu lost a great
deal of weight, becoming less piggy, but still
maintaining his habit of twist-twisting his
rings. Zel became a manic-depressive, and
indulged in paroxysms of deep melancholia
followed by fits of glee.
And Xenu – Xenu just sat and sagged,
head in his hands.
Their grand tour over at last, they were
taken to a solitary mountain that brooded
over a barren plain.
A cluster of blue and white trucks were
parked around a tunnel entrance that led
into the heart of the mountain. Nearby, a
milling crowd of civilians and soldiers were
scattered about. A military band played
funeralistic music, slow in beat and low in
Accompanied by his TV and radio
broadcasting equipment, a newsman was
keeping up a steady commentary. ”We are
standing here on the desolate slopes of
Mount Xenu on Planet Tawn. This is the
mountain named for him in the days of unholy
power when he planned his criminal
course of destruction. It was designated,
possibly with bitterness, as the final place
of imprisonment. Officers of the Court are
Inside the mountain was a grotto carved
out of the living stone. A blue-overalled
electrician was connecting up sheets of
copper plating that lined the room. Alert
guards stood about. Cables and wires lay in
heaps on the copper sheathed floor. Several
white-coated doctors and their attendants
worked busily around a semicircle of hospital-
style tables on which the prisoners,
strapped down, were lying.
Xenu was staring dully upwards as one
doctor fastened tubes to his wrists and another
fastened them to his ankles. The first
doctor, having finished the wrists, began to
put two prongs around Xenu’s throat.
Wetting his dry, cracked lips, Xenu
looked up at the doctor, some terror showing
in his glazed eyes. ”These devices keep
one alive forever?”
”Don’t talk, ” snapped the doctor.
A guard stepped forward. ”Don’t talk
to the prisoner!”
Despairing, Xenu rolled his eyes. ”How
long is forever?”
No one answered, no one knew.
Completing their tasks, the doctors began
to pull out. Guards moved away from
the tables. They filed out one by one, leaving
only the electrician and one guard in
company with the prisoners.
Rapidly, the remaining two gave the tables
and wirings a final check. The prisoners
lay inert but awake. The banker and psychiatrist
stared wretchedly at the exit, small
and more desirable than life, at the end of
the long tunnel. Zel started to laugh hysterically.
Chi looked around, vacant-eyed. And
Xenu gazed blankly, torment-torn, at the
Satisfied all was in order, the electrician
and guard also began to depart. Swinging the
copper-grated door shut behind them, they
walked the length of the tunnel.
Reaching the final exit, the electrician
switched the lights off, and the guards
banged the heavy steel door shut.
Inside, the prisoners were bathed in
darkness. And the screaming began…
The newscaster buttonholed the electrician.
”How long, ” he asked, thrusting the
mike forward, ”will the power last to continue
Turning in some impatience, the electrician
shrugged. ”About seventy-four million
years, I think, possibly more. Long
Piqued at this laconic reply, the newscaster
looked around for another prospecREVOLT
IN THE STARS 69
Bulldozers moved up and began shoveling
dirt to cover up the tunnel entrance.
An engineering officer spoke to one of the
drivers. ”Make sure there’s no trace of that
The driver grinned and gave him a salute.
Finally, the people had drifted away,
the band was gone.
Mount Xenu once more stood alone.
No sign left of the tunnel. No sign of anything.
A sullen breeze moaned monotonously
over the plain, tumbling a few dried weeds
A faint scream sounded. Perhaps a
sudden gust of air, perhaps…
Just the lonely wind.
Earth. A murky yellow mist swirled
about some shattered tree stumps that
spotted a promontory.
A white helicopter was hovering there
as it lowered an angular, cylindrical object.
It was a large capsule, shiny green in color.
Its surface was smooth but for the panels
set in its nose.
A few people were standing on the
promontory. All wore anti-radiation suits
over their normal clothing; Mish, watching
the lowering capsule, guided it down with
Ap, not doing anything much as usual
but there anyway, looked around at the
desolated landscape. He found it a little bit
spooky. ”This sure is, ” he commented to
the air as no one was listening to him, ”the
end of Planet Earth! Future zero!”
Off to one side, Lady Min and Rawl
had their heads together, talking quietly.
Lady Min looked up at Rawl a trifle
uncertainly. ”I never was his mistress, that
was just his idea of a way to become
popular. He hated women.”
Rawl smiled, a little surprised but
pleased all the same.
”I used to keep news clips of you, ”
she went on as she lowered her gaze, embarrassed.
”Kept them under my pillow when I
was a teenager. Silly, huh?”
Rawl’s eyes flew wide open. ”You
kept clips of me?” It was his turn to look
embarrassed. ”I used to keep photos of you
in my wallet.”
They looked at each other in sudden
understanding. Their hands reached out and
Meanwhile, the capsule grounded, the
helicopter had landed. Mish disengaged the
cable and together with Ap, wrestled the
cylinder into position.
Unhooking one of the panels, Mish
switched on a camera unit and recorder. He
turned to signal Rawl. ”You’re on, ” he
Gently, Rawl took his hand from Lady
Min’s and softly touched a finger to her
mouth. Her eyes were brilliant as she smiled
Stepping into line with the capsule’s
camera lens, Rawl braced himself to speak.
”A few of us labored together to make this
capsule so that those who may follow will
know how your planet was murdered and
He swept his arm to indicate the devastated
”This desolation was the result of
forming a police state. When populations
are restless, unwise governments seek to
oppress. And the more they oppress the
closer they bring a revolution. Foolish governments
seek to prevent revolution with
more oppression. And they die.
”But part of the fault for this must be
shared by the Congress. Congress let an
executive branch grow bigger and bigger and
REVOLT IN THE STARS 70
let it act to antagonize and alienate the people.
To that degree Congress betrayed the
people who elected and trusted them.”
He looked down and raised a hand to
tick off a finger as he made each point. ”Before
the other planets are also destroyed,
Congress has got to reform the school system
so -they stop teaching kids they are
animals. Then it has to get the police to realize
they are responsible for public safety,
not just nabbing people they don’t like.
Congress will have to pass a bill abolishing
the whole evil fraud of psychiatry. Congress
has to eradicate the executive branch
as it is and organize one with far less
Rawl gazed intensely into the camera
lens, as if willing a result of duplication and
action to occur if, when, Earth ever was reborn,
”Do not attempt to form another police
state for then your planet will die again.
”The mistakes of the past were ours.
The future is yours.”
With that, Rawl essayed an easy salute.
A stray wind blew a wisp of yellow
fog between Rawl and the capsule and the
screen went blank.
Stunned, the president and his head cop
could only stare at the blank screen as the
capsule’s panel doors slowly swung shut.
Through the window, the sun was setting
on Washington the fair, Washington the
And still they just sat. The head of National
Police vacant-eyed; the president
pensive, trying to gather his scattered wits.
The president considered the consequences
of this capsule’s contents became
public knowledge. He shuddered at the idea.
All his plans, all his power… he shook his
head to disband such awful notions.
After a time, he stood up. Seeing his
boss rise, Jedgar also got to his feet, thankful
to get going. He knew this business was
terribly important, and that much was at
stake – but all he could think of was his
dinner and the race tonight. And he had a
mighty big bone to pick with that Benny
Thoughtfully, the president walked
towards the locked doors that led from the
room, Jedgar trailing behind, anxious to be
On the steps outside the science building,
a cluster of newsmen and photographers
had gathered. They had been waiting
an awfully long time.
As the huge portals opened, their desultory
talk ceased abruptly. They looked
up expectantly as the president and his
sidekick, czar of all US police, appeared to
be instantly hit by a barrage of clamorous
questions and popping flashbulbs.
”What was it?” yelled a reporter.
”Mr. President… ” began another.
And another reporter ”Was it some ancient
Loud and clear above the others, one
reporter could be heard. ”Was it a time capsule?”
The president looked down at the reporters.
They were obviously awaiting
some kind of answer. Well, he’d give ’em
one. He smiled slowly, eyes veiling.
Waving his hands for silence, he spoke
in a jocular tone of voice. ”Sorry to disappoint.
It was just a piece of old World War
II junk. Just scrap metal, gentlemen. Just
Turning his head a little, the president
exchanged a sly, conspiratorial glance with
his Chief of National Police.
Jedgar, catching on and approving
whole-heartedly, smiled back – a bit evilly,
No one would ever know…
REVOLT IN THE STARS 71
Just scrap metal.