The Adventures of the UGSS Beryl #311 “The Dread Splorkoid Sonic Vacuum Disruptor” The story to date . . . as you remember, our intrepid adventurers are members of the crew of the UGSS Beryl with an unending mission to explore the frontiers of space, discovering strange new life forms and civilizations and destroy them! The UGSS Beryl was on a routine expedition of the Plensars sector when it detected strange emissions from the Tarmalon system. The group contacted UGSHQ at Frandor immediately. The UGSHQ directed the UGSS Beryl to investigate but to proceed with extreme caution as the Tarmalon system was a suspected Splorkoid stronghold. The UGSS Beryl and crew made way for the Tarmalon system with all haste. The current episode begins when Tharn, the science officer, begins scanning the star system. Persona Dramatis Captain of the UGSS Beryl, Thomas Jefferson Cha: Tom is the leader of the expedition. He is known as a demanding but fair leader. Tom is noted for his extreme punctuality; nothing irritates Tom more than someone or something being late. He is extremely generous and quite heroic --- melodramatic would be a mild description. Tom comes from a long line of explorers. In fact, he was born in the gravity well of a black hole. Captain Cha was raised on Arivus. Thomas is quite well educated; he is both a successful adventure novelist and a doctor of divinity for the Church of Light and Universal Tolerance of Sentients (CLUTS). Tom won a scholarship to the UGS Space Academy based on his writing skills. Tom joined the UGS Space Service (UGSSS) for adventure and material for his writing. Science Officer of the UGSS Beryl, Tharn [True name unpronounceable]: Tharn is a radically symmetric plant like creature with limited ambulatory capabilities, but he has the capability to communicate with sentient creatures using a form of semi-telepathy and can move objects weighing up to five pounds with a form of telekinesis (the TK is of limited range though). Tharn is from the planet Thagan. Thagan is in a quintinary system (five stars); so, Tharn along with his entire race is both very resistant to radiation of all types and able to see across a huge band of the E-M spectrum . Tharn has a specially constructed wagon which he uses for excursions outside the ship; the wagon must be pulled by another crew member. Tharn has an exotic allergy to broccolium gas. Tharn joined UGSSS for the thrill of learning about new planets and species. Chief Historian, Massalla Wa’cla`cla: Sal is from Earth originally. Sal’s family was part of an ill fated expedition to the gamma-beta-aleph sector. The group crash landed on an artificial world where the whole expedition was captured and subjected to horrid experiments by the native life forms. Sal awoke on Earth, apparently aged thirteen years with a bionic left leg and a strange, aquamarine birthmark on his left arm. He also found he had a photographic memory. Sal was curious if others had had experiences similar to his own. Sal proved to be an excellent historian and eventually ended up an influential advisor to the Leather Queen, Chief Matriarch, of Earth. An unfortunate incident involving a maid required Sal to depart with all haste from the royal quarters; his hobby of building and flying helicopters came in extremely handy at this point! Sal’s friends describe him as slightly aloof and patient. Others would point out that Sal is always late. Sal joined UGSSS to escape execution. Space Weapons Officer, Qwerty [True name unpronounceable]: Qwerty is an insectoid creature from the planet Mozariq; the Mozarians are quadropedal and use the front two claws for manipulative actions. The Mozarians have a hive culture, and all members of the hive serve the will of the Queen. Qwerty was always a little of a non-conformist and frequently displeased Her Eminence in his local hive. One day though Qwerty went too far, and the Queen decided to “retaliate” by sending Qwerty on a very dangerous mission. Qwerty was grievously injured, but “luckily” the medics at the hive were able to save his life. The Queen informed Qwerty that he was very fortunate, because a large portion of his brain was damaged in the attack. The local medical cresh had developed an artificial brain to take over certain of Qwerty’s higher functions. It is a large dome spaced piece of metal which constantly hums and clicks, and it has numerous lights which flash on and off in random patterns. Qwerty found he had “lost” most of his emotional capabilities, but his ability to solve logical problems increased tenfold. The only joy for Qwerty after the “operation” was serving the will of the Queen. Unfortunately, the last thing the Queen did was to go on a hunting trip with Qwerty. The Queen was killed, but the last instructions Qwerty’s “brain” received was to enjoy the use of weapons. Qwerty was exonerated for the Queen’s death, but he found himself unable to function in normal society. Qwerty truly “enjoys” his work with the ship’s weapons systems and frequently (far too often for any sane person) volunteers for combat missions. Qwerty joined the UGSSS for the chance to work as a unit with heavy weapons. Qwerty longs for the day when he can merge his consciousness with a weapon of mass destruction. Engineering Officer, Slurp [True name unpronounceable]: Slurp is a bipedal reptilian creature from the planet Ignitz. Ignitz is hot and dry with a slightly higher gravity than Earth; so, Slurp is very strong for his size [able to pick up Styrofoam rocks nearly as large as he is]. Slurp was born in the Temple of Ignitzian Supremacy. Slurp is committed to the ideal that all non-Ignitzians are inferior, and he is more than willing to arm wrestle anyone to prove he is right! Slurp had a bad experience as a child. His first love was with the agricultural director of the local tribe, but later he made two horrific discoveries. First, she was an android, and second, even at that she had been unfaithful! After that Slurp became the bitterest lizard on two legs! Slurp is described by his friends as argumentative and tactless, and those who aren’t friendly toward Slurp have rarely lived long enough to say anything! Slurp takes great joy in carving his sigil in any new place he visits or enemy he fells. Slurp joined the UGSSS for the joy of destroying life in all its variegated forms. Items of Note The UGS and the Splorkoids have been in a state of perpetual war since their first mutual encounter some 150 years ago. The Splorkoids are a feline, bipedal race with two heads (oddly, one head is always slightly off center on the torso and seems incapable of action!) The Splorkoids fly in large “saucers” which appear to be two paper plates covered in tin foil. The Splorkoids have very woolly bodies, frequently not matching the fur on their heads, and human hands; although some very evil Splorkoid leaders wear black leather gloves. The Splorkoids are noted for opposing goodness and UGS plans at every turn and no adventure of the UGSS Beryl would be complete without a Splorkoid fight scene. The UGSS Beryl contains a fully sentient creature named Pops. Pops was installed on Thagan and thus contains many directives on peace, co-existence, ad nauseam. Pops has no love of combat (might damage the ship!) and will always attempt to talk the crew out of any plan involving weapons firing or even more urgently any plan involving enemies firing at Pops. None the less, the UGSS Beryl is fully equipped for its mission! It has lasers, missiles and shields. The UGSS Beryl’s most devastating device is the experimental “nuclear beam.” Everyone knows that anything nuclear is both dangerous and incredibly powerful, much more so than either fission or fusion! The crew generally only uses the nuclear beam only once per episode (for cost reasons), and the beam almost always completely destroys whatever menace is threatening the crew (unless the menace is slated to appear in a later episode).