THE LAST ROUNDUP
In Algeria, Captain Hector Servadac and his adjutant Laurent Ben Zoof are thrown to the ground by the impact of an object crashing to the ground. Suddenly, Servadac and Ben Zoof are stationed instead in Tombstone, Arizona, and the same object collides with the earth. Aboard the Cosmos, Doctor Omega tells his companions Denis Borel and Fred that something is seriously wrong. The Doctor wishes to return to 1905, where his friend the Sâr Dubnotal will consult with Serge Myrandhal on his Mars-bound vessel, which uses a psychic-powered propulsion drive. Meanwhile, Lucky Luke gallops into Tombstone aboard his horse Jolly Jumper. He is greeted by U.S. Marshal Hickok and his deputy, Jingles P. Jones. At the Silverado Saloon, General Custer is introduced by Major Blueberry. Luke tells Custer that they are fighting against Mexican units supported by Franco-Imperial forces under General Vicomte de Blissac. Accompanying Custer are federal agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon. Custer came to Arizona with the Seventh Cavalry and the Fighting Blue Devils of the 101st Cavalry from Fort Apache. Custer wants the masked man and his Potawatomi friend to destroy the balloon unit among the enemy troops, and tells Gordon to have his engineer friend, Frank Reade, meet with him to discuss building war machines for the forthcoming battle. Tucson Smith, Stony Brooke, and Lullaby Joslin, collectively known as the Three Mesquiteers, offer to reconnoiter for Custer. Doctor Omega discovers that Denis altered history by fathering a child in 1865 by Empress Carlotta of Mexico. West rides out with Frederick Altamont Cornwallis “English Freddie” Twistleton, younger son of the fourth Earl of Ickenham. West warns Freddie about a con man at the saloon named Slick. West and Freddie discover that their opponents have Steam House technology, much like Engineer Barnes designed for Munro in India. West realizes the engine of destruction was created by his old foe, Doctor Miguelito Loveless, who is accompanied by his gigantic mute servant. West and Freddie are captured and questioned by Colonel Henri Marquis de Prerolles and Don Pedro O’Sullivan, who are accompanied by an Indian named Perro-Rojo. After they leave, West tells Freddie that he believes “O’Sullivan” was actually the Ranger, and Perro-Rojo his Potawatomi companion, noting that “O’Sullivan” called the latter “tonto.” Alcide Jolivet tries to interview Servadac. Servadac was recommended for this assignment by his old science professor, Palmyrin Rosette. Jolivet asks Servadac about stories that ethnologists have discovered a mountain valley filled with extinct reptiles called valle del guangi. Frank Reade is building a Steam Man to turn the tide of the battle.
Short story by Stuart Shiffman in Doctor Omega and the Shadowmen, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2011; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de L’Ombre (Tome 10), Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2012. Hector Servadac, Laurent Ben Zoof, and Palmyrin Rosette are from Jules Verne’s novel Hector Servadac (aka Off in a Comet.) The Steam House, Engineer Banks, and Munro are from Verne’s The Steam House. Alcide Jolivet is from Verne’s Michel Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar. The Cosmos, Doctor Omega, Denis Borel, and Fred are from Arnould Galopin’s novel Doctor Omega, which has been adapted and translated by the Lofficiers. The Sâr Dubnotal is an occult investigator in a series of French pulp novels by an anonymous author, possibly Norbert Sévestre. Serge Myrandhal is from Les Aventures Merveilleuses de Serge Myrandhal sur la Planète Mars by Henri Gayar. Lucky Luke and Jolly Jumper are from the Belgian comic book series created by “Morris” (Maurice de Bevere.) Wild Bill Hickok is an historical figure; however, his deputy Jingles P. Jones is from the radio and television series Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok. Major Michael Steven “Blueberry” Donovan appeared in a Franco-Belgian comic series by Jean-Michel Charlier and Jean “Moebius” Giraud. The Vicomte de Blissac appears in P.G. Wodehouse’s novel Hot Water. Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton is better known as Uncle Fred, who appears in several books and stories by Wodehouse. Jim West, Artemus Gordon, and Doctor Loveless are from the television series The Wild Wild West; Loveless’ giant mute assistant is Voltaire from the same series. Matthew Dennion’s story “The Treasure of Everlasting Life” (Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 9: La Vie En Noir, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press) also had Loveless using Steam House technology. The Fighting Blue Devils of the 101st Cavalry and Fort Apache are from the television series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. The masked man (aka the Ranger) and his Potawatomi friend are the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Frank Reade is one of the most famous boy inventors in American dime novels. The Three Mesquiteers appeared in a series of western novels by William Colt MacDonald, which were adapted into a series of “B”-films. Calvin “Slick” Stanhope is from the movie Silverado. Henri Marquis de Prerolles is from Philippe de Massa’s novel Zibeline. Don Pedro O’Sullivan is the villain of “The Return of Don Pedro O’Sullivan,” an episode of The Lone Ranger television series. The valle del guangi is a reference to the film The Valley of Gwangi.
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