Battlestar Galactica Annual 1978 (Grandreams)
A madman from the fleet is chased to a small
One of the fleet's ships, the Ganymede, reports to the Galactica
that seven people on board have suffered food poisoning and it
seems to have been plotted deliberately by a madman named Simmon,
who has just killed and injured some troopers in order to steal
a shuttle and escape from the fleet to a nearby uninhabited
Apollo, Starbuck, and three other Warriors are sent to bring Simmon back and retrieve the stolen shuttle. They detect the
shuttle on an island and they set down on the opposite end of
the isle in order to sneak up on him. When they arrive they find
the shuttle empty. Looking around, one of the group members,
Riker, starts to climb up on one member of a group of large boulders in
the area, but his hand immediately starts burning upon touching
it. Then the rock suddenly begins to move and before anything
can be done, the creature's long, hideous tongue lashes out,
grabbing Riker and pulling him into its maw. The man is devoured
almost instantly. Apollo fires his gun at the beast, but the
bolts just bounce off the thick hide.
Suddenly Simmon emerges from behind a tree and cackles insanely
about how the "toad-fish", as he calls them, feed off horror,
fear, and pain. Apollo and Starbuck think he's just crazy as he
tells them he has no fear, no feelings of revulsion or pain.
Apollo reminds him he may develop fear of starving once they
leave him here without the shuttle and its food supply. Simmon
then does begin to fear such a future and begins to run back
towards them, but another one of the toad-fish grabs him and
swallows him up.
Apollo thinks some sort of justice has been done and they all
leave the swamp world, returning home to the fleet.
This story appeared in the British
Battlestar Galactica Annual 1978, a book of short stories, articles and
games all about BSG,
geared towards kids.
The opening art piece of the story on page 1, of a Viper
swooping low over the swamp world, shows a large boulder in the
foreground, half in water. Notice that the shape of the rock
foreshadows the fact that several of these rocks are actually living
creatures, waiting for prey in the water, as revealed on page 4.
Page 2 of the story reveals that one of the ships of the fleet
is named Ganymede. On Earth,
Ganymede is known as a prince from Greek mythology and the name
of the seventh (and largest) moon of Jupiter.
The planetoid is depicted as swamp-like, which would seem to
make it a Delta-class planetoid according to the definition of
"Delta-class" given in "The Young Lords".
Throughout the story, the Colonial Warriors' handguns are
referred to as blasters, the term probably borrowed from the
Star Wars series (though it was used in some earlier
science-fiction as well).
Simmon's belief that the giant, rock-like "toad-fish" as he
calls them, are telepathic sponges that feed off the horror,
fear, and pain of other creatures does not seem to hold up with
the events in the story. Simmon is apparently insane himself and
does not seem to have been on the planet long enough (a little
over an hour) to have figured this out on his own. It is
possible he is somehow able to detect some kind of empathic
ability from them and senses they enjoy those emotions in
others, but not specifically to feed on, but rather to "spice
up" the taste of the food! When the creatures devour first Riker
and then Simmon, in both cases the human victim was feeling one
of those emotions, Riker pain, and Simmon fear.
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