Indonesia is dividing Melanesia over West Papua
Beneath the coconuts

The interplanetary adventures of the Starship Niugini

Starship NiuginiPETER KRANZ

SPACE: the final frontier. This is the chronicle of the voyages of the Starship Niugini.

Its five-year mission was declared: to explore strange new worlds, to seek new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no man na meri had gone before. To wear bilas on unknown planets and perform singsings for alien races!

But the ship was in trouble. It was being drawn towards an unknown planet by an invisible tractor beam which even the canny mind of chief engineer Scotty Parkop could not defeat.

Niugini was veering dangerously off course.

"The engines canna take any more Captain!" cried Parkop.

Captain O'Neill was at the helm.

"Salome, give me a course and heading to the nearest class B planet."

"Aye Aye sir."

"And Speck, damage control report?"

"Nothing serious captain. But we do have a hull breach at Level 7."

"What is it?"

"Alien life form of unknown origin. I suggest full Manus contamination procedures."

Whoop whoop, whoop whoop!

The sirens sounded throughout Niugini, which was now in lockdown. The aliens from the Sunni constellation were contained for the time being.

"O'Hula, what have you got?” said Speck.

"I've got a kundu drum, a grass skirt and some kina shells.”

"Not now O'Hula. We need action!"

"Salome! Report!"

"We are on a collision course with an unknown planet! Suggest immediate evasive action."

"Sulu - take us out of here!"

"Aye Aye Captain!"

Starship Niugini was in peril! It was about to crash on an unknown planet and its mission was in jeopardy.

"We must protect!" cried Captain O'Neill. "We cannot lose the precious!"

"There is only one thing left," said Mr Speck.

"You don't mean …. the Zurenouc Protocol?"

"I'm afraid so, Captain."

And so the ship and its precious cargo prepared to undergo a drastic measure. The Zurenouc chainsaw!

"We have to jettison the cargo!" cried Salome.

"But no! That is the foundation of the empire. If we lose that we are all doomed."

"Do it!" screamed O'Neill.

And so the laser chainsaw of doom crashed and screamed its way across the hull and the magic carvings from the Sepik empire were lost in a welter of splinters, fire and venom, disappearing into the darkest reaches of outer space for all eternity.

"But we are still heading for that planet!" cried O'Hula.

"My sensors have picked up a trace message which may provide a way out of this," said Speck calmly.

"What is it Speck?"

"It’s an esoteric code. It translates as KJV.”

"KJV? Where’s it coming from?"

"That planet. A barely discernible life form there is sending us a message."

"KJV - what can that mean?"

Salome reported the engines had retro-fired and the ship could manage a controlled landing.

"We’re down! Everyone safe?”

"Yes, Captain."

"Transporters, quick. We must find this KJV!"

O'Hula asked if she could put on her skirt.

"Not now - can't you see our lives are in danger?"

They transported to the origin of the mysterious signal – KJV - and were surprised to be greeted by a collection of what appeared to be magicians and conjurors.

"Welcome to our planet AOG! Come, sup with us and we will give you the magic power of the KJV,” said the head wizard.

O'Neill, Speck, O'Hula and Salome gazed with amazement at the wonders surrounding them. "This is truly the temple of the holy one!"

"Quite so, but before you can enter, you must pay a price" said the head wizard.

"And what might that be," queried Captain O'Neill.

"We need your souls." A dread chill spread through their bones.

How could they escape this tomb of soul-death? Who could rescue them?

Little did they know that Salome had a plan and had disappeared behind a rock.

She knew these creatures.

They were Gilk!

Salome knew the Gilk. She had fought with them before with her Mana in the upper reaches of the Wara Simbu.

She knew that only one thing could defeat them - the sword of truth. But this was no ordinary sword. It could only be wielded by someone pure of spirit and with a clear conscience.

For the sword was not a physical entity, it resided inside her. She was the sword!

"O'Neill, come to me. I will place my thumb and forefinger on your head and you will give me your soul!" said the chief wizard, and he approached the captain and held out his hand.

It was the mind-meld.

The Captain was powerless to resist and felt himself drawn forward towards the fingers of doom.

But Salome jumped between them. "You cannot touch him! I am the blade of eternal truth and you have no dominion over these people.

“They are my tambu and we have sworn a sacred oath that none shall be hurt."

"Little one, you have spirit, but you are no match for the almighty."

"We will see." And Salome jumped to the defence of her tambu, crying "Ungra ungera, suer sugera!".

The battle cry of a thousand Simbu spirit warriors was heard across the land.

The warriors materialised and stood guard around Salome and her friends - for she was the Warrior Princess of the Goglme Simbu.

"Wizard, you shall let us go, and there will be no more talk of your KJV!"

The wizard and his magicians faded into the night, for they were mere projections of an evil mind.

"Captain, you are safe now. Oh Captain, my Captain, what have you done to the poor ship Niugini? She has crashed on an alien shore and we are stranded."

"Oh there you all are," said Scotty Parkop as he emerged from the jungle. "I've just managed to jump-start the old bugger, so get on board before she leaves without us."

Niugini took off gracefully into the double-sunset to resume her voyage to unknown destinations. That evening O'Hula put on her grass skirt and gave a special performance, Speck and Salome danced, and Captain O'Neill smiled. All was well with the universe.

But he had forgotten the Sunni aliens on Level 7….


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Peter Kranz

UPNG used to have an observatory up on the hill behind the VC's house. One of my regrets is that in my time there I did not manage to get this rebuilt.

I firmly believe that UPNG could use a decent observatory and teach students about the stars.

Peter Kranz

Great one Phil. Reminds me of this Perry Como classic,

Who remembers him?

Phil Fitzpatrick

I was up in the Star Mountains on a first-contact patrol to the remote Murray Valley Peter.

When I told the newly contacted locals that some people from earth had just landed on the moon they shrugged as said, "We travel up there all the time."

Peter Kranz

Alan Stern is the chief scientific advisor to President Obama.

And where were you when man first stepped on the moon?

I can guess Rose's age from this, as her Mana remembers the moon landing and puts this a few years before Rose's birth. So I reckon that makes her around 45. This has proved invaluable.

Peter Kranz

I don't know how I managed to get on the White House mailing list (just send off too many emails I suppose) but I do rejoice in the adventures of New Horizons and do like to read updates from Alan Stern.

"The epic, first exploration of Pluto and its moons by NASA's New Horizons mission was completed last week, on Tuesday, July 14. And it captured the attention and imaginations of people across America and the entire world."

Yeah I know it's a bit of US propaganda, but this it truly an historic achievement and starwatchers from PNG to Uzbekistan can be amazed.

Peter Kranz

I got my three 'nopes' in before Abbott.

And I think the next adventure of the Niugini is to confront then evil warlords of Marikh, tiga syaitan.

Peter Kranz

Corney - perish the thought. Only thing I ever sniff is the occasional brus.

Corney Korokan Alone

Peter, did you just sniff on a roll from one of those Redfern street salesman?

Peter Kranz

Daniel - no offence intended. And it passed the ultimate test - Rose thought it was funny. The warrior princess herself. Now I've got to make dinner or I'll see the backside of a sospin.

Peter Kranz

God, I must be getting old. Just went to the shop to get some greens and coconut milk for the beloved wife.

There was an old song being played on the speakers. Gerry and the Pacemakers - remember them?

Nope, said the 18 year old at the counter.

Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, remember them? Nope.

Johnny Farnham. Cold Chisel? Nope.

There is no hope for the younger generation.

Daniel Ipan Kumbon

Peter, great stuff. PNG has become a great platform for comedians to put on stage plays - everyone trying to outperform each other.

Peter Kranz

Thank you Michael. I think we have a new genre here. And Keith willing, we may have have more to come. Any ideas?

Michael Dom

This is hilarious! I love it! MDLL!

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