The early light is breaking
The morning sun is waiting in the sky
And I think I'm gonna break away
And follow where the birds of freedom fly
I need to give, I need to live
For the world is slowly turning
And the lights of love are burning in my eyes
Caravans, oh my soul is on the run
Overland, I am flying
Caravans moving out into the sun
Oh I don't know where I'm going
But I'm going
- Mike Batt: "Caravan Song"
Actually there are no ages. An “era” is always something someone has come up with. The universe didn’t really care what any individuals thought of the passage of time, especially when those individuals lived on a small, blue-green planet in third orbit around a yellow sun. Moreover, what these individuals called the “era” was no more than the blink of an eye to the universe. It also made no difference whether there were revolutions on this planet, people were killed or oppressed, or whether these people destroyed their own living space in an insane manner. The universe didn’t care. In fact, the universe didn’t give a shit.
But the people who inhabited the small, blue-green planet cared about it. At least most of them. Admiral McCloud stood in front of the image of the earth in his office. He liked it. It was a picture taken by NASA to show the beauty of the planet. In the dark hours he stood in front of the picture and looked at it. Because in the dark hours he felt how he didn’t care. The whole lousy filthy planet. And all of damn humanity. Do you want dictatorships? Then erect it and leave me alone! Do you want to destroy the environment out of greed? You don’t care about the climate crisis because climate protection stands in the way of your profit? Then please, go to hell with your fucking planet! Yes, McCloud just wanted to give up in those dark hours. Doesn’t make sense anymore. Doesn’t do anything.
Then he looked at the picture of the small, blue-green planet and thought of all the people who stood up for others. Who oppose the criminals, the gullies, the corrupt and the depraved. Just at the moment when McCloud was standing in front of this picture, children and young people around the world were protesting for better environmental protection. There were people who stood up against dictatorships, even if it meant being arrested, beaten or even killed. If others did that and had little chance of anything changing in the near future, why should he give up?
Yes, that day an era came to an end. The end had been particularly dark again, for the earth and for other planets. But with the death of the night, the day came. And maybe the new sunrise would light the way to a better future. The chances weren’t bad, at least better than in recent years. And McCloud remembered that Seneca saying: Per aspera ad astra. Through trouble to the stars. Didn’t Yefimov say the phrase in a conversation today? Yes, and he got it from his new colleague, Kaluwa Effiong. What a fitting sentence.
The ATLANTIS base conference room was hectic. Messages were passed on as they came in. “The BOURGOGNE reports, second squadron of enemy spaceships destroyed, a third is on the way to Uranus!” “The HOOD destroyed another squadron.” “The radar has lost contact with the alien space station.” At the last report, Admiral McCloud pricked up his ears. He crossed the room to one of the tables. It was Commander Gibeur herself who was in charge here. “What was that just now?” Asked McCloud. “Enlighten me.”
Gibeur called up an image on a small pad that showed a section of the solar system. In the middle of the picture was the planet Uranus and two markings: “BOURGOGNE” and “FREEDOM BALLOON”. “We have received a message from BOURGOGNE”, explained Gibeur. “During the fighting, a huge space station suddenly appeared, here.” Another point appeared in the picture. The point moved out of the shadow of the planet. “How can such a huge thing come to this planet unnoticed?” Asked McCloud. “We don’t know, sir,” admitted Gibeur. “We did not receive any radar echo before either. Perhaps the surface of this station consists of something that camouflages it. In any case, the FREEDOM BALLOON shot at the alien space station, whereupon it withdrew. See, here!” The screen showed how the point of the alien space station was moving faster and faster from Uranus. The course was away from the planet’s orbit towards the edge of the solar system when suddenly the point disappeared. “What has happened there?” “We don’t know, sir! The station may have made itself invisible to the radar again. We also have no further sightings of the station. It seems to be something like a command ship. It seems to be identical to a station, that Grand Admiral Prawn was looking for. “ “Prawn,” McCloud growled. “Could it be that he was on the space station?” “Possibly. We don’t exactly know. But it would look like him and his HIGH HAND.” The HIGH HAND! Yes, in fact, fueling a conflict is exactly what makes the HIGH HAND. An internal war in the solar system. At the end of the conflict, someone will want to stand up. Scurra thought it was him. He would be the space emperor. But the mysterious leader of the HIGH HAND, Prawn’s Commander, wanted this title for himself. And he wouldn’t share, not even with Scurra.
“Sir!” Someone called at that moment. “Feedback from Jupiter: the alien forces are withdrawing!” “The same from Mercury!” More and more identical messages came in. It was always about the attackers withdrawing. But the radar revealed that they were not gone. They withdrew to the edge of the system. The blockade would then remain. Commander Gibeur activated the large main screen again and looked at the map of the solar system. “For now it looks like we’ve won,” she said. “But something is wrong.” “Yes,” confirmed McCloud. “Because we didn’t win. We just held out long enough for the enemy to lose interest. Now this enemy is gathering at the edge of the solar system and is waiting to strike again.” Gibeur looked at her pad. “What I see here, we are lucky enough that Lokubami is under control and we will see a new praetor today.” McCloud nodded weakly. “Still that. But we saw how sensitive it all is. We stood on the precipice of fascism. One step further and the solar system would have plunged into chaos. We have to do something.” “What do you have in mind, Admiral?” “I’m going to make a very lonely decision now. Maybe it’s wrong. But like I just said, we have to do something. Our weakest point is undoubtedly the Earth. The Terrans are unable to cope with the diversity they offer Galaxis offers to deal with. We have to do something first! Make Terra wise again. Something like that. “ “And how is that supposed to work?” “I will consult with the management of ASTROCOHORS. But I think we will transfer this task to the ASTROCOHORS CLUB. We had this team, this Ostap Yefimov and his people. They seemed to be quite capable. They should take over the task To redesign ASTROCOHORS CLUB. “ The admiral turned to the door. “I’ll have a talk with the officers in a moment,” he said. “If the enemy shows up again, let me know!”
“Why can you set the clock after the alarm?” Yelled Admiral McCloud into the room. “It’s amazing, 9:00 am standard time sharp and we have an emergency! What is it?”
The crew gathered in the conference room looked towards the door. McCloud had stopped in the doorway. The alarm was still ringing through the corridors of ATLANTIS base. “Can anyone turn off the noise?” Asked McCloud. “I think they are all gathered.” “All but you, sir,” confirmed Commander Gibeur, who was standing at a table. She had switched on the projection screen. An overview map of the solar system could be seen on the screen. And points that moved between planets. Something had happened. “Well, I’m here now,” said McCloud. “So what’s up?” Gibeur brushed her hair back from her face. She was quite tense. “It happens what we had long feared. The Armada, which has been shielding the solar system from the outside world for almost a month, has started moving. A squadron is moving towards Uranus.” “Uranus!” McCloud’s eyes widened. “So they really want to disrupt the ceremony?” “I don’t think they just want to disrupt the ceremony,” said Gibeur. “They want to prevent them. Intelligence reports say that Scurra, the now deposed Praetor of Lokubami, has moved to an unknown location. Armed militias are moving towards the capital of Lokubami. We must suspect that they want to implement Scurra’s plan, in which he is proclaimed emperor. “ McCloud shook his head. “Why always emperor? Praetor is also a nice office and when you’re done, you just leave.” “You know, sir,” Gibeur pointed out, “that those who have power are always afraid of losing it again. The only question is: what do we do now?” All the officers in the room stared at McCloud in awe. The decision he had to make now was not an easy one. “Which ship is nearby?” Asked the admiral. “The BOURGOGNE,” replied Gibeur. “She is in the same position and is watching the situation exactly as we are.”
“Basically we have no choice,” McCloud stated. “Our job is to protect freedom, peace and democracy. Even if democracy is as strangely shaped as in Lokubami. But we cannot risk losing that. Get in touch with BOURGOGNE. They have to stop the squadron.” . If the BOURGOGNE should ask for support … do we have other ships nearby? “ “The HOOD would still be available.” “The HOOD, of all things,” McCloud grumbled. “Okay, if the worst comes to the worst, let’s use them. But to be on the safe side, put the fleet on alert. Who knows what the alien armada is up to. We may have to help out in many places in the solar system.” “Yes, sir! I will inform the BOURGOGNE immediately.” “And to everyone else: I need tactics and suggestions! Look at the maps, the strength of the Armada, all the information you need. This could be difficult today and I want us to be prepared!” The officers immediately got to work. In the meantime, Commander Gibeur spoke to the BOURGOGNE, who immediately set out to intercept the foreign squadron.
Fleet Admiral Leonard McCloud was seated at a long table. A dinner table. The table was in the so-called “Red Salon” of the ATLANTIS base. ATLANTIS had different departments, everyone actually knew that. There were modern sections, but there were also those housed in historic buildings. Like this one. The building had once belonged to the well-known merchant Retho vom See, who had it lavishly furnished. Massive wooden furniture dominated the room. The room was named “Red Salon” from the red fabric wallpaper that could be seen between wooden panels. And the curtains were red. A massive mirror surrounded by a wooden frame stood against one wall. And a plush carpet lay on the wooden floor. McCloud sat at the head of the table. As I said, he was alone, but there was still cover for several people. A naval officer stood to one side and waited. The officer considered this to be Admiral McCloud’s quirk, but he didn’t want to spoil the old man’s game. ASTROCOHORS also suffered from the pandemic. What McCloud was going to do here was actually a celebration. Because after the cowardly attack on ASTROCOHORS, the officers succeeded in an unbelievable show of strength in re-establishing all communication channels. That should be celebrated! But because of the risk of infection, too many people were not allowed to meet at once. So the admiral had other plans. “So,” said McCloud, “how does it look?” “All departments are operational again!” Reported the officer. “And everyone has gathered?” “Yes sir, they are all here!” “Then let’s raise our glasses together!”
The officer came to the table. He now had to stand in for the various departments. So that he would not get completely drunk in the course of the procedure, there was only water in the glasses that stood at the seats of the departments. Admiral McCloud, on the other hand, insisted on pouring himself a red wine from Chateau Picard. He raised his glass. “And now: report from all departments!” The officer stood behind the chair on the Admiral’s left. On a small sign on the table was written: “ASTROCOHORS CLUB”. The officer took the glass from the table, raised it and said, “ASTROCOHORS CLUB and the newly planned EXPEDITION department are ready for action again! We are ready to plan and coordinate new missions, sir!” They drunk.
The officer now moved to the next chair. There was also a sign on the table here. This was labeled “CANALIS TREMENDUM COLLABORATION”. The officer grabs the glass. “The CANALIS TREMENDUM COLLABORATION, or CTC for short, is waiting to investigate strange phenomena and get into the details, sir!” They drunk.
Again the officer moved one chair. In front of this was “CHEZ FRASHOKERETI”. The officer took the glass from the table and said: “I am extremely pleased to announce the complete production of the CHEZ FRASHOKERETI department! We are already investigating the extremely strange behavior of the Terrans with the help of new people. Super easy, barely an inconvenience, Sir! “ They drunk.
One chair further. The sign read “CLEF, PEN AND BRUSH”. “We at CLEF, PEN AND BRUSH have already begun to devote ourselves to the fine arts and are glad to be running at full capacity again, sir!” They drunk.
One chair further. “AQUAMARINON”. “On behalf of the regent of the water planet AQUAMARINON, I can announce that the cowardly attacks of the enemy have been repulsed. Count on us, Admiral!” They drunk.
One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS ACADEMY”. “It’s been a terrible year, even for us at the ACADEMY, sir,” said the officer. “But we have strengthened our staff. We will continue to fight against ignorance and stupidity! We will take the next opportunity to make people smarter. And the next. And the next, until we win, or until we run out of opportunities. But we won’t give up! Science will continue! “ They drunk.
One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS EMBASSY”. “I can hear the complainers, sir!” Said the officer. “Politics, who cares? But the last few years have shown that everyone has to be interested in politics, otherwise they will go under, and otherwise democracy will go under. We at the diplomatic corps of ASTROCOHORS EMBASSY are doing our best to ensure freedom and Equality persist.” They drunk.
One chair further. “CHRONICLES OF SIDUS BELLA”. “Our task is to analyze and file events. We have to learn from the events of the past. Unfortunately, however, we have had to discover that there are people who look for nothing more than a purity in these events that doesn’t exist. We. We confront these people and look at the history of the galaxies in a big context. That is our job at the CHRONICLES OF SIDUS BELLA. “ They drunk.
One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS BATTLEFRONTS”. “We were face to face with the enemy, sir,” said the officer. “And we’re still facing the enemy. I don’t know what the future will bring, sir, but we’re ready on the BATTLEFRONT!” They drunk.
One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS NExUS.” “Our institute is still busy measuring and mapping all the star systems and cultures, the galaxies and universes. Our task will never be finished, but we at ASTROCOHORS NExUS are doing our best!” They drunk.
One chair further. “BUREAU 07”. “It was all a troubled time for the secret service too, sir! But we were able to obtain valuable information and thus prove that the days of secret agents are far from over. BUREAU 07 at your disposal, Admiral!” They drunk.
One chair further. “THEATER OF THINGS.” “Humor is important in these times too. It’s our job, sir, and we do it with as much duty as the other departments! We bring people back up when they are down! Rely on the THEATER OF THINGS! “ They drunk.
One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS CENTRAL”. “We at headquarters always fly a little under the radar. But important information is also gathered here and we are fully operational again, sir! We are ASTROCOHORS, Admiral!” They drunk.
One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS Brasil”. “We in the South American section also had problems, especially because of the situation in the country. The attack also hit us hard, but ASTROCOHORS Brasil is ready for action again, sir!” They drunk.
One chair further. “LES GUERRIERS DE BOYARD”. “Our department has an unusual name and we are also a regional section. We are a little smaller, so we had difficulties getting back online, but from now on you can also hear from LES GUERRIERS DE BOYARD in French again!” They drunk.
One chair further. “ASTROCOHORS ONLINE”. “We are also a regional section, responsible for the Asian area. Perhaps this will be a little different in the future, but at the moment it is so and we are doing what we can. ASTROCOHORS ONLINE and the main department ASTROCOHORS ONLINE i are ready for action ! “ They drunk.
One chair further. In the meantime the officer had circled the table completely and had arrived at the place on the Admiral’s right. It was the last one, and “ASTROCOHORS Japan” was on the sign. “We can only get through times like these together. We at ASTROCOHORS Japan are ready to make our contribution and we would like to announce that we are ready for action again!” They drank one last time. The officer noticed that there was a lot of water in his stomach. Admiral McCloud had taken only a small sip at a time. He didn’t want to get drunk either. Chateau Picard was way too good for that. At that moment the sound of a clock could be heard. In a distant corner stood an old clock on a dresser that rang a bell every hour. The officer and Admiral McCloud counted.
One – two – three – four – five – six – seven – eight – nine – ten – eleven – twelve! Midnight. The admiral rose.
“We’re just in time,” he said aloud into the room. “I wish all departments a Happy New Year! I’m not going to announce the usual year now, because I have learned that due to special circumstances the time calculation is to be changed. So we’re not talking about the year 2021 according to the time calculation of Terra … better Said, a calendar of Terra, because there are several. We will probably also abolish the Galactic calendar. In the future, the years according to the calendar of human history will be determined. The year “zero” of this calendar is ten thousand years before the year “zero “of the Terran calendar. It was the time when man built a city on earth for the first time. I will inform you all exactly, but if it stays that way, then at this moment we will welcome the year 12021! For you, your Departments and their people all the best in this new year! “ The admiral and officer raised their glasses one last time and drank from them. Then the officer took a small remote control out of his pocket and pressed a button. “The transmission to the departments is terminated, sir!” He said. “Very nice,” replied McCloud. “It’s a shame that the internet connection on this damned planet is so bad! Otherwise we could have brought the others in too, but I think it went well that way. What do you think?” “It was definitely very uplifting, sir!” McCloud nodded. “So, and now I will retire. I am tired, the new year has already started and I am not missing a thing.” “Exactly, sir. Good night then!” “Thank you! Good night to you too and a Happy New Year!” “Happy New Year!”
The winds of change are blowing hard in our direction, we can’t go back and we can’t stand still… This is from a song from Earth. And it has been and will always be true that there is only one constant thing in the universe: change! The Space Fleet itself couldn’t escape it. There was a long discussion, but they decided to change the name from STAR COMMAND – which was from the Terran language English – to an expression from the Galactic Standard Language (short: Galstan): ASTROCOHORS. It meant Starfleet and seemed to be apropriate. With this change of year the change of name was complete in all departments…
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