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THE BARCHON DICTATORSHIP

By ... Steve Lucky

CHAPTER IV

TIME : 3:06 P.M. (15:06) PLACE : The heart of the base

The enemy was having plenty of trouble with what they thought would be a simple task. Shawn had given them the slip leaving them wondering around in circles. Whenever they thought they had picked up his trail, it turned out to be one of their own.

Their leader was getting angry with the other two for making so many mistakes and decided that it was time for him to do something about it himself. He called the others together figuring that he had more brains than both of the combined one hundred fold. It was up to him to come up with anything intelligent.

"The leader of M.W.G.D. would not come here on his own," he told them. "There must be others out there helping him. One of them has captured our lookout and at least one other has destroyed the central computer. If we go after them one at a time, they can attack us from many different directions at once leaving us vulnerable. However, if we can get them all into one area, we can send all our robots after them at the same time making it virtually impossible for them to win."

"But how do we get them all together?" asked the one who had been wounded.

"We don't," he explained. "We wait for them to get together. If they're going to try to capture us, they're going to have to get together sometime. Shawn has found out that he can't do it by himself. I will send one of our robots after the first trespasser it sees. It will follow him at a distance and wait for him to join the others that we know are out there. Then, we set up our surprise attack taking them completely by surprise. The robots may no longer be able to work as a unit, but their numbers alone should be able to take care of them."

"What if it doesn't?" the other one demanded.

"Then we've lost," he snapped coldly. "but that won't happen. I'll make sure of that."

The three of them gave up their search and returned to what had become their headquarters to set up the attack. Maybe they couldn't find Shawn, but one of the others was bound to make a mistake.

TIME : 3:10 P.M. (15:10)
PLACE : Just outside the base

Peter, Hank, and Shawn had established a place of temporary security just outside the base where they could decide what to do next. All of them were aware that there was a slight chance that they would be discovered since they were so close to the base, but they felt that it was worth the risk. They needed to be close to the base in case the dictators tried anything else. It was their job to keep an eye on them and make sure the citizens of Barchon were spared their wrath.

"Have either of you noticed what the robots have been doing?" wondered Peter who suddenly realized that something was wrong.

"I haven't seen any robots since we left the base," Hank replied.

"That's exactly what I mean," insisted Peter. "The robots have left for some reason. They might be trying to ambush us at this very moment."

"If they were going to ambush us, they would have done so a long time ago," explained Shawn. "but I agree with you that they are up to something. I just have no idea what it is."

At that very moment, Linda and Lisa were coming up the mountain. They spotted Peter, Hank, and Shawn crouched down about 30 meters away from the base and wondered what they were up to. They would have called out to them if they weren't so obviously trying to hide from someone or something.

They were only a short distance away, so they decided to get on their hands and knees and crawl over to where the others were. Fortunately, the ground was fairly smooth making it easier for them to proceed without having to worry about cutting their hand on a rock or anything else that just happened to be in their path.

Shawn thought he heard something and looked over in the direction the noise was coming from. To his relief, it turned out to be Linda and Lisa. They were all together again. Then, he noticed something that was much less to his liking. A glimpse of silver behind one of the trees caught his eye. He remembered Peter's suspicions and quickly realized that they were walking right into a trap.

"Stay right where you are!" he warned them. "Do not move another step!"

Shawn stood up facing in their direction just in case there were any doubts as to who he was talking to. Lisa looked behind her and saw one of the robots silently staring back at her. The robot was waiting for her to make the first move, an opportunity she didn't want to give them. She knew that if she shot the robot, a hundred more would come out of hiding and shoot them all down before she could fire another shot. There had to be another way to deal with the situation.

Peter and Hank were quick to catch on to what was happening. The robot behind Linda and Lisa had been trailing them for quite some time waiting for them to join the others so they could destroy all of them at once. However, because robots couldn't think for themselves, as long as they stayed a reasonable distance away from each other, the robots would not attack. They were safe for the moment, but it was only a matter of time before the robots received new orders from their masters.

"Circle around and enter the base from the opposite direction," ordered Shawn. "There are only three of them left and at least one of them is wounded. While they have given the robots such lousy orders, we can enter the base from both sides and beat the dictators at their own game."

"Understood," acknowledged Linda as the two of them got back on their feet and slowly started off in the opposite direction. "We'll take care of our side."

"I know you will," Shawn called back confidently as they disappeared from sight.

With Linda and Lisa once again out of danger for the moment, Shawn turn his attention to Peter and Hank. Their problems didn't seem to have changed any. They still had only one weapon between them and their was no telling when the weapon would die on them.

"We'd better go one at a time," Shawn advised them. "It won't matter who has the weapon because there is no way we could defeat them if they choose to attack us. Peter, you will go first."

Peter knew it was risky to depend on the robots being improperly programmed, but he didn't see any other choice. He walked briskly not wanting to linger out in the open for too long, but not wanting to draw attention to himself by running either. There were no robots in sight, but Peter knew that they were there. It was only a matter of time before he made a mistake and then the robots would pounce. They very thought of it was enough to unnerve him.

At last he reached the door. He wasted no time in opening it and quietly stepping inside. His first thoughts were to rest now that he had made it back to the base, but he knew that no place was safe. He couldn't let his guard down even for a second. A second was all that the robots would need.

He opened the door slightly and peeked out to see how Hank and Shawn were doing. The robots were ready for them this time so it would be harder for them than it was for him, but he was fairly confident that they would soon rejoin him.

Hank was next to leave once again holding the weapon he had taken from the other member of the dictatorship. It was still the same day, but he felt like he had had the weapon for years. It had already lasted through what would normally be several months worth of use, unfortunately, it looked like he would need to use it again before the day was over.

He walked at about the same speed that Peter did seeing that he had made it safety. The robots still refused to show themselves, but Hank didn't let that bother him. All he was concerned about was making sure all three of them entered the base safely. If all went well, Linda and Lisa would be waiting for them at the heart of the base. As far as Hank was concerned the sooner that happened, the better.

Shawn brought up the rear making sure both Peter and Hank were safely inside before starting out himself. He gave Hank the weapon because he was in the middle. It was most important for Peter and Hank to have a weapon between them than for Shawn to have the weapon leaving them unarmed. Shawn was well aware the going last put him in the greatest danger and took every precaution necessary to keep the risk to a minimum.

Peter and Hank waited patiently as Shawn slowly made his way in their direction. The two of them would take turns watching Shawn's progress while the other one would keep an eye out for trouble. Soon the three of them were reunited and ready to continue their journey.

"I'll lead the way," commanded Shawn. "I've placed a few traps in this area and I don't want either of you running into any of them."

Peter and Hank didn't need to be told a second time. They stuck to Shawn like glue assuming that everyplace else contained a trap. In case of an emergency, they would have to stick together.

"What about Linda and Lisa?" inquired Peter.

"I'm sure they're making good progress," answered Shawn. recognize my booby traps and avoid them."

The three of them continued silently to the heart of the base.

TIME : 3:20 P.M. (15:20)
PLACE : The other side of the base

While Peter, Hank, and Shawn made their way past the robots to the door on one side of the base, Linda and Lisa were walking around the base at a distance so they could enter from the other side. It took them slightly longer to enter the base, but they too reached the base without incident.

"Where do we go from here?" asked Linda.

Lisa pointed straight ahead without the slightest hesitation.

"I hope you're right," she sighed as they set off toward the heart of the base moving fasted than usual to try to catch up with Peter, Hank, and Shawn who were already a good distance ahead of them.

TIME : 3:25 P.M.
PLACE : The heart of the base

The remaining members of the once mighty dictatorship sat around the table and waited for the robots to bring back news of Shawn's death. With each passing moment, they realized that such news would never come. Shawn had somehow discovered their plan. Their leader knew that the time had come to try something drastic. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a gold communicator. It looked like an ordinary object, but the gold communicator was the secret of his power, the device that enabled him to control all the robots on Barchon.

"Forget your previous instructions," he cried out with a sense of desperation. "Attack all trespassers on sight."

"I wouldn't try that if I were you," scorned a loud voice directly behind him.

It was Shawn and this he was with two more officers from M.W.G.D. One of them held one of their own weapons and was prepared to use it against them.

"You may be able to shoot us down, but you'll never get out of here alive," their leader predicted mockingly. Even if they couldn't win, the battle would end in a draw with only the robots remaining in the end.

"May I remind you that the same thing applies to you," Shawn snapped back well aware that he was clearly the one in control for the moment.

Their lack of weapons would be a problem, but as long as the dictatorship didn't find out they could bluff them into surrendering. All three of them took out a weapon and chose their respective targets. It was only a matter of time before they found out that they were being tricked. Then they wouldn't stand a chance.

Just when things looked hopeless, Peter looked out of the corner of his eye and saw Linda and Lisa approaching from the other side. If he could distract them for a few seconds, they could end the stalemate. It was only a matter of what to say.

"Your reign of terror is over," Peter stated grimly. "The citizens of Bachon are behind us and even now are preparing to launch an assult on this base."

The leader of the dictatorship thought about what Peter had said for a few seconds, but quickly realized that the citizens of Barchon were still too afraid of them to attack them.

"Nice try," he sneered victoriously. "but your bluff was futile. I know the people of Barchon would never-"

At that moment, Linda and Lisa attacked them from behind. The wounded enemy and the other one fell to the ground instantly, but their leader stayed on his feet. With amazing strength he pulled out his gold communicator and ordered the robots to come to that spot and attack the others.

The stun blast had clearly weakened him and he dropped the communicator as soon as he was finished. Shawn got to the communicator before he could pick it up and cancelled the order. Only a few robots arrived before Shawn could cancel the order and Linda, Lisa, and Hank took care of them immediately.

Once he was beaten to the communicator, the former leader of the Barchon dictatorship realized that his best bet was to get out of there as soon as possible. Peter saw him leave and immediately took off after him. Without having the robots to worry about, he could run at top speed. He was slightly faster, but the person he was chasing was more maneuverable. He had lived in the base for several months and knew the area inside and out. Whenever Peter was about to catch up with him, he would take an unexpected turn forcing Peter to slow down. Eventually the chase continued outside the base. Out in the open, Peter figured he could catch up since there were no walls to get in his way.

He had his opponent cornered at the edge of a cliff. Peter slowly moved in knowing help was on its way. All he had to do was keep him there long enough for the others to overpower him. However, the escapee did something that Peter wasn't expecting. He jumped!

Just when the others were arriving. He jumped off the edge of the cliff. Peter thought he was committing suicide, but looked over the edge to make sure he wasn't trying to trick him. Far below him, Peter could see a patch of white getting ever smaller as it floated gently to the ground.

"A parachute!" Peter cried out.

He had come so close to catching him, but now it looked like he was going to get away.

TIME : 9:30 P.M. (21:30)
PLACE : Barchon City (The capitol of Barchon.)

It had been a long day. All of them were tired. They were disappointed that the leader of the group had gotten away, but other than that their mission had been a splended success. The dictatorship was dissolved leaving the people of Barchon free to form their own government, hopefully an elected one.

That led to the next problem Shawn had to face as the leader of M.W.G.D..

"I have to stay and help them organize their new form of government," Shawn explained. "I'll need one of you to stay behind and help me. The rest of you are free to return to M.W.G.D. Headquarters."

"I'll stay," volunteered Peter.

"Somehow I had a feeling it would be you," Shawn remarked dryly. "Now the rest of you had better go."

Peter said good bye to Hank, Linda, and Lisa and watched them leave. Then, Shawn showed him where had secretly parked his ship. Ironically, it was in the middle of Barchon's capital.

"As Sherlock Holmes once said, 'The best place to hide a needle is not in a haystack, but with a bunch of other needles.' My ship doesn't seem to stand out as much here as it would in a clearing in the woods."

Peter agreed with Shawn's logic as they walked up to the capitol to attend Barchon's first council meeting. Both of them knew it would be awhile before the new government could get started.

"It might get boring here, but at least it's better than risking our necks on some planet on some strange-named planet we've never even heard of," whispered Peter.

Shawn nodded. Being fellow Earthlings in an environment in which Earthlings were rare had established a bond between them, a bond that was near impossible to break.

TIME : June 27, 2013
PLACE : Barchon's capital

After twenty days of meetings, things had finally advanced far enough for them to leave. The people of Barchon could take it from there. They were just about to leave when someone stopped them. Peter recognized him as the man who had told him where the central computer could be found.

"If I give you some information, could you do me a favor?" he asked.

"If it's reasonable," replied Shawn.

"Oh, it is. It is!" he continued. "I heard rumors about the one that got away."

Peter and Shawn both knew who he was talking about. The former leader of the Barchon dictatorship might try something like that again. If at all possible, they would find him and make sure he never hurt anyone else again.

"He fled to the planet Altair 7," he informed them. "in search of someone named the Ruler. He thinks the Ruler's still alive and wants to help him out with his second empire."

"That's what I was afraid of," said Shawn. "Thank for your help. Now what was the favor you want us to do for you."

"I would like to join M.W.G.D.," he stated bluntly. "As the leader of M.W.G.D., I'm sure your good word could get me in."

"Well that's not up to me alone, but after the information you've given us I'm sure you'll have no problem being excepted," Shawn declared. "The two of us will do everything within our power to make sure you are accepted and we'll even give you a ride to M.W.G.D. Headquarters."

"Thanks, and by the way, my name is Doug Yosetsuchan," announced Doug.

Peter, Shawn, and Doug Yosetsuchan left together heading for M.W.G.D. Headquarters. Two of them were looking forward to being reunited with their friends and the other one was looking forward to a new career with M.W.G.D. They knew that their paths would cross again in the near future and they would have to be ready when the time came.

Copyright MCMXC, MCMXCIX

FACTS ON BARCHON (BY EARTH STANDARDS)

NAME OF PLANET : Barchon

PLANET CODE : 21,520

LOCATION : 3rd of 8 planets in the Bazuke system

DIAMETER : 12,102 km

DISTANCE FROM SUN : 148,952,791 km

AVERAGE TEMPERATURE : 18 C

CAPITAL CITY : Barchon City

POPULATION : 3,892,557,946

ATMOSPHERE : 77% Nitrogen
21% Oxygen
1% Argon
1% Trace Elements
93% of Earth's

GRAVITY TYPE OF G0VERMENT : A representative democracy started on July 14, 2013

Copyright MCMXC, MCMXCIX