Beach Party

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A week after the dramatic rescue of the living crystal from planet Hypnos, a lot has transpired! News of the newly discovered alien species has Zozian society awestruck. The people on the planet have prepared their immune systems, and it’s now safe for the Zernabians to come out of quarantine, but the new debate is where to house this new alien… or is it even alive? As the debate rages as to whether a crystal can be alive, a decision is made to grant the crystal a local moon to call home. There is a moon of one of the local gas giants called Aletha which offers a very similar environment to what Hypnos was like before the cataclysm that made the crystal homeless, and the decision is made to allow it to call Aletha home.

Mizhakwan has been interacting with the crystal intensely during the week, and has helped it to pick out a name for itself. Mikigaazo, which means “he is found (by them)”, is the name it chooses, although everyone immediately shortens it to Miki.  Todd has the bright idea that Miki should have a humanoid robot to control, so that it can more easily interact with humans, and he and Dakaasin whip up the Mikibot 1.0 platform for it to try out.

With all this out of the way, it’s finally time to introduce the Zernabians and Miki to the planet Zoz! Zik quickly organizes a big party at his father’s house on Talia Island, inviting Francisco’s band Anaconda to play. During the concert, Vera and Tanaka hang out by the fire with Dr. Taylor, as they’re still recovering from their medical ordeals. Tanaka, sporting a new cybernetic arm, strikes up a conversation with Windrunner, a champion Coup player. Another Coup player, Heavy Club, invites Vera to come to the potlatch he is holding soon to celebrate the wedding of his daughter.

Meanwhile, Zik is helping Miki calibrate the Mikibot by teaching him to dance, the awkwardness of which sends Amelia and Trent into gales of laughter. Seeing them laughing and enjoying themselves is a welcome relief for Dr. Taylor, who’s been worried about them.  He remarks to Vera that the two Zernabians seem to have a good chemistry together, which reminds Vera to ask him a question…

Crank the volume!! The song being performed by Anaconda is Panama by an old Earth band called Van Halen:

That’s a wrap for Episode 4: The Hypnos Hiatus, my dear Defenders! I will be taking a small break as I prepare for Episode 5: Endarkenment! See you soon, and Happy New Year!!

Aunt Anchor

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Our intrepid space hero Defender Zik has apologized for getting his old friend James Anchor into a bit of a mess with a prison-rescue side-quest that turned into a huge space battle. But James isn’t too mad about his capital ship the Kodiak getting bloodied in the fighting. After all, getting into space battles and blowing up bad guys is the whole reason Captain Anchor and his crew are in the security industry!

But Zik has larger ideas: the Jairians, who attacked with a much larger fleet than the Zozians usually face, as well as Queen Elcyra and her hostile Zernabian Clonoids, both present a new and larger threat to peace on Zoz! To counter this new set of threats, Zik proposes that Captain Anchor expands his operation – instead of merely repairing the Kodiak, he should expand his capabilities to offer planetary-scale security!  To James Anchor, the opportunity to use bigger ships with bigger guns and take on bigger missions sounds like a dream come true.  In the face of such adversity, they have to think bigger to meet the challenge!

But then Zik’s colony computer, Zoot, interrupts with an important message.  He has decoded a message in the cryptic statement made by the Jairian fleet coordinator, Rachelle! The message, delivered in anagram form with some knuckle-tapping to indicate the order of the words, reveals that not only is James’ long-lost uncle still alive, but that Rachelle herself has taken the same last name, implying marriage! This is a shocking revelation to James, who is left speechless!

Who is the uncle of James Anchor? How did he meet this strange destiny? Find out in a future episode of Defender Zik!

Next: a brief epilogue!

Cease Fire

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Not long afterwards, Rachelle the Jairian Fleet Coordinator calls for a stand-down of the remaining Jairian troopers and snub-fighters.  They have surrendered! Defender Zik and the crew of the Kodiak have won a hard-fought battle against a huge Jairian fleet and boarding party!

During the prisoner transfer negotiations, Captain James Anchor thanks Rachelle for calling for a cease-fire. He gives her an update on the status of the survivors and assures her that they will be returned safely.

Rachelle is a little concerned when she learns that some of her troopers hare returning in pieces, not all of which are accounted for with certainty! James explains that several troopers wandered into a Chadee barracks, and they didn’t last long against the legendary battle-fury of the Chadee!   Muttering a barely-intelligible curse in reply, Rachelle seems beyond furious, and soon signs off.

As they follow the remaining troops to oversee the transfer, James grumbles about how much of a mess the Jairians have made of the Kodiak. He tells Zik that he’s pretty sure the insurance will consider the mighty vessel a write-off!  Considering the Jairians blew up one of the two huge howitzers, and the giant hole Trent blew into the hull in the galley, he’s probably correct!

Zik, ever the gallant hero, offers to make it up to his longtime friend…

The Gun Of Damocles

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While Defender Zik battles Morren in the mess hall, down one level and all the way aft, James Anchor is waiting patiently in the engine room.  He knows that this is the obvious target for the Jairian raiders to capture, since they can’t get to the bridge.

Sure enough, the scallywags charge in, brandishing their weapons, ready to kill anyone in their way. But Captain Anchor has a little surprise for them – he draws his gun and points it right at them, finger on the trigger!

The Jairians are stunned. No one shoots guns on a spaceship, especially not in an engine room! Doing so is a really good way to blow yourself up! They call James’ bluff.

Except that James Anchor never bluffs! He explains that his gun isn’t loaded with bullets at all. Rather, the gun has small hunter-killer drones in it, and he’s now set them to target the unique bio-signatures of the three Jairians! James describes in detail how the drones, once launched, are a death sentence for anyone unlucky enough to be their target. Even if the Jairians somehow make it out of the Kodiak alive and try to disappear, the drones will hunt for them forever. And the worst part is that once the drones locate their target, they drill in a straight line to the heart. Depending on where they start, that could be quite an uncomfortable way to die!

The Jairians hesitate, and Emma emerges from hiding with a roll of space duct tape.  James Anchor instructs them to drop their weapons and let Emma bind them, and really, what choice do they have? It was checkmate the moment they walked into the room.

Christmas Tree

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Captain James Anchor gives the order to repel the Jairian boarders! He asks Riichi, Emma and Jason to arm themselves with tonfas and to follow him into the maintenance shafts. They will split up and defend their ship from the invaders.

Trent is astonished that they’re arming themselves with mere sticks. He offers to loan them his guns, but James Anchor informs him that on spaceships, no one fights with guns.  There are too many important things all around you that can be damaged in a firefight! If you miss, or if the bullet passes through its target, you can easily damage something in a way that can kill you.

Before leaving the bridge, Captain Anchor makes one last preparation and announces it to the crew: The Christmas Tree is lit! The Jairians are understandably confused at that. But no matter, they’re right under the bridge tower! An eager Jairian grabs the ladder to begin the bridge assault – only to electrocute himself!

It turns out that the “Christmas Tree” is actually the ladder to the bridge, and it has been electrified! The Jairians quickly adapt to their new circumstances. If you can’t take over the command center of a ship, take over engineering! From there, you can override any propulsion commands, as well as disable the life support for the bridge crew! The lead Jairian instructs his team: some will head aft to engineering, some will head forward to disable the second howitzer. One of them, a “screwup,” is told to stay behind and guard the intersection, something he’s not happy about!

Desperate Charge

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Following Rachelle’s battle plan, the Jairian fighters crowd the space between the breacher and the Kodiak.  They take heavy losses, but they’re able to shield the breacher from the big guns! A frustrated Trent is seeing his cannons go inexplicably offline one by one.

Despite that, Trent manages to damage the incoming breacher! One of the drives gets blown to bits. But it’s not enough; it still has three drives! James Anchor informs the crew: prepare for impact!

Damage Assessment

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James Anchor gets a damage report from his crew! The damage is as bad as it looks, but at least they didn’t lose anyone to death or space! Between reports from Chief Engineer Seamus and Tactical Officer Emma, the captain gets up to speed.

Then Jason announces that the bow howitzer is ready. He hasn’t wasted any time cycling up the weapon and locking it on to its Jairian target! Captain Anchor orders him to fire! The second breacher bites the dust!


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Zik is on his way to the bridge of the Kodiak, but he hears the rumble of the guns! The ever resourceful Zoot informs him that the ship is under attack, so Zik decides to don his helmet and search for his Zernabian friends.  They’ve never been in a space combat situation and he wants to make sure they’re safe!

Outside, the battle continues, as the Jairian fighters get to the ship and are engaged aggressively by the Chadee.

On the bridge, Captain James Anchor orders Weapons Officer Jason to target the next Jairian boarding vessel. He’s locked on and ready to go!

But at that moment, a Jairian fighter is shot down. It makes a surprise turn right at the howitzer! The Jairian collides with the howitzer right as it fires, and there’s a huge explosion!

Zik is in the hallway right outside the stern howitzer maintenance access chamber, and sees the flames through the window!

Tanaka’s Fury

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Tanaka opens fire on the Jairian fighters, killing two in the opening seconds of the battle!  When his full battle rage is unleashed, bad guys beware!

Meanwhile, on the Kodiak, Weapons Officer Jason is training Trent on how to use the Kodiak’s guns by assigning him one to get the hang of how the system works.

When that’s done, Jason announces to the Captain that the howitzers are ready to fire.  James Anchor gives the order, and the howitzer incinerates one of the Jairian breacher ships in a single shot!

Chadee Charge

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Tanaka and his fellow Chadee pilots exit the Kodiak and head to the Jairian fleet. They’ve been told to hold their fire in case the Jairians decide not to tempt fate and retreat.

Rachelle isn’t backing down, however! For whatever reason, she doesn’t want to return empty handed. She decides that their best odds of success lie in attacking and boarding the Kodiak directly. She orders most of her fleet to do just that, but the Vigilant Gaddi has some teeth that need to be pulled! Along with a handful of fighters, she hangs back to neutralize Ramesh’s ship, promising to join the main fleet in the assault on the Kodiak once she’s done. Her ship opens up on the Gaddi!

That’s the sign James Anchor was waiting for! It’s time to dive in and drive off the attackers! He gives the order to Tanaka, who leads the charge into the main group of Jairian ships! The battle is on!