Book VIII: Revenge of Emperor Tekys is the uncompleted eighth installment in the Space Voyages series, intended to complete the story started in Book VII, which ended rather melancholically with Frank having been transformed into the new cattin successor to the BEFO throne via Cornelius's "human-to-cattin mutator." In general, Book VIII would have detailed Jack and Courtney's attempts to find Frank, now known by his anagrammed name Narfo Tekys, and revert him to human form.
Epilogue to Book VIIEdit
The original ending to Book VII included an extra chapter which shows Frank's coronation ceremony in Zarchibefis, the capital of the planet Zarcholon. Afterwards, he gives a speech explaining how he is completely "undefeatable" (a rather ambiguous term in itself) except by "the proverbial extremely powerful force."
- "But you see, subjects, I have heard that this force, so powerful as it is, has not been harnessed in its entirety, but is used so often that it is readily abused. What it is I cannot tell you because not even I know what it is. Will it ever be harnessed? Or will it only be passed around lightly and used too often? No one knows – only time will tell."
The entire chapter was later taken out to give the book a better resolution without giving away too many plot details for the following installment. The "extremely powerful force" was intended to be revealed in Book VIII as love, particularly Courtney's for Frank, which ultimately causes him to turn back to human form.
September 2005 versionEdit
There are two known versions of Book VIII: the first, dated September 2005 (only a few months after the authoring of Book VII) only contains two chapters. The second, from October 2005 and continued as late as August 2007, is apparently a redo of the first version and is relatively more complete, with nine chapters of the planned twenty completed.
Both versions begin similarly – the September 2005 version includes the above-mentioned epilogue as its prologue but omits Frank's monologue on the "extremely powerful force." In this version, Narfo Tekys has mysteriously disappeared and is assumed to have fled to the planet Mirti, described quite eloquently in the opening pages:
- Some said that he had fled to Mirti, a planet encompassed by cold, bluish gray rocks that formed sharp mountain peaks and deep valleys carved by eerie, black rivers of menacing liquids. Mirti's sky was almost always dark, its transparent atmopshere spawning ominous nighttime lightning storms that illuminated the shadowy world with light for only a few moments.
Meanwhile, it is October 2021, and both Earth and the BEFOs have detected a civilization of renegade robotic pirates orbiting around the black hole Vulpecula X-13 and automatically assume that they are hostile. The ever-present Bob Sandals is called in by the president and Secretary of Defense Towell to discuss what actions should be taken against them. Sandals immediately suggests hiring the SILPS Trio (now technically the SILPS Duo) for a recon mission, even though a news report later mentions that several spacecraft doing the same thing in the past have mysteriously disappeared.
Jack and Courtney and not pleased to hear they have been hired for a suicide mission and meet soon afterwards at the Astronaut Café. When Courtney forgets to tip her bus driver, she goes looking for it, only to find that the bus has narrowly avoided an alien missile strike!
October 2005/August 2007 versionEdit
The later version's opening chapter picks up essentially where the other left off (although set a year later, in 2022), and the idea of space pirates has been discarded altogether. In its stead is the idea of rescuing Frank, which is immediately a more central theme in the second version. Darby, who escaped with Jack and Courtney from the Jada space station at the end of the previous book, has returned hastily to Galaxian Prime for unknown reasons.
Jack and Courtney are sitting in the Astronaut Café trying to think of ways to circumvent Bob Sandals' authority when Jack sees a bright streak of green light pass overhead followed by a short earthquake. Once again, an alien missile has struck, but this time Bob Sandals is driving a NASA-owned electromagnetic crane to go retrieve it. The missile is quickly returned to NASA, where Bob Sandals gives an impromptu presentation on its possible origins. A "loud man" completely concealed under a heavy trenchcoat and large hat repeatedly asks prying questions, eventually pressing Bob Sandals into concluding that the missile has been sent as some sort of threat from the 51 Pegasi system. Suspiciously, he is also the one to immediately suggest sending the SILPS Trio on a negotiation mission, to which everyone else in the room quickly agrees. As they are leaving, a man in the audience approaches the mysterious "loud man," who promptly becomes hostile and tells him to mind his own business.
- "Man! Talk about sharp fingernails!" the near victim said. "Those things were like claws under those gloves o' his!" [hint hint]
Jack and Courtney learn through a newscast soon after that they have been selected, and Jack is furious. He is about to call Bob Sandals to tell him off when Courtney realizes that this will be the perfect opportunity to "easily sneak off" and rescue Frank. Jack reminds her that even if they do find him, he will still be an evil cattin dictator, but even at this early stage it is Courtney who believes she can change him. Jack relents and the two meet Bob Sandals at his office soon afterwards.
What follows is an unusually well-written and comical scene in which Bob Sandals informs the two teenagers that they are to have an "onboard supervisor" for their mission, since according to Sandals they "can't carry out a mission properly." By sheer coincidence, however, the chaperone they have picked for them is none other than Thaddeus Cat.
[to be continued...]