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Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe

Tai-Pan Issue #21
Tai-Pan Issue #21
Covers: Front cover by Terrie Smith. Back cover by Edd Vick.
Stories: "The Flesh is Weak" written by Chas P.A. Melville with illustrations by Dan Canaan, "Regrets" written by Kristin Fontaine with illustrations by Kathy Coleman, and "Out of Place chapter 3: Partial Observer" written by Gene Breshears with illustrations by David Zawitaj.
Information: Descriptions of four new characters.
First printing: June, 1999
Chuck Melville's review: "The Flesh Is Weak" - By coincidence, I began this story about the same time Gene began writing his Faust stories, and I think we were even using similar titles for awhile. I was in the mood for something down and dirty, and Faust's almost morbid fascination with watching himself heal from a gunshot wound fascinated me. I also wanted to take a look at Faust's days during the fall of the Azerbaijan government, and how he obtained some of his cybernetics, and why. You can accept this as a stand-alone tale or as an unofficial part of Gene's Faust cycle of stories.

"Regrets" - A look into the future of the Tai-Pan. Since we all jump around the timeline when writing stories, there's no real 'present' time, so everything is totally subjective. But the events of this tale take place several years after the general run of stories that we tend to think of as the 'present'. And it's a charming, bittersweet story about two of the crew getting married (not to each other), and a third ruminating over lost chances and of the meaning of family.

"Out Of Place, pt 3: Partial Observer" - This would be the second Tai-Pan novel being serialized through the zine. I believe it started before "Anniversary Bash", but the Bash was begun long before I even joined the Project, so technically "Out Of Place" is the second. Unlike most of the TP stories, there's a harder science edge to OOP, which is fitting since the Ramanujan is a science/university/exploration ship. The entire Tai-Pan series is Science-Fiction, but this story more than most is classic SF, and Gene shines best in this element.

Best stand-alone filler illo: It's always hard for me to not say it's a piece by Terrie, and especially when it's a character that's not Chester. It's not that I don't like Chester, but Terrie -always- draws Chester. So whenever she draws a different crewmember, it's a treat. This issue we have Chester and Satin posing together for a nice comparison piece. But a very close tie is the character illustration of Jolee by David Zawataj; nice commanding pose, and bold, black fur that really stands out on the page.
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #22
Tai-Pan Issue #22
Covers: Front cover by David Zawitaj. Back cover by Jeffrey Young.
Stories: "Anniversary Bash, Chapter 5: As Little Hunted Hares" written by a bunch of people with illustrations by Barb Cummings, "Go Boom" written by Chas PA Melville with illustrations by Kathy Coleman, "Wings of an Angel" written by Chas PA Melville with illustrations by Gary Fletcher, and "A Bargain at Twice the Price" written by Gene Breshears with illustration by Troy D. Johnson.
Information: Story chronology listed on inside back cover.
First printing: September, 1999
Chuck Melville's review: "Wings Of An Angel" - I had created Angel a few years earlier, back during the Whitney days, but had never come up with a story for him. Now that there was an opening for navigator on the Tai-Pan, I got motivated. Before writing the story, I let it play for several weeks in my head, realizing that it had to be told by Angel, because the only way to -understand- Angel is to see the universe through his eyes. (And even -I- am wondering just what exactly Sergeant Andala wrote in Angel's resume...)

"A Bargain At Twice The Price" - Gene tries his hand at doing a short-short story, as the Tai-Pan crew share some tall tales together; Rasputin recalls how a star system -really- got it's unusual name.

"Go Boom" - I was thinking about the unresolved situation between Bn and Delta, and what to do about it. I didn't want to get ahead of the events in Anniversary Bash, so I wasn't in a rush, but I sat down and read through the info about Delta in the Source Book, and as I read through the details of her history, the expression "Go Boom" went through my mind. Before too long, I had a story I had to write down while it was still fresh.

"Anniversary Bash" pt 5 - Money, money, who's got the money? Influential and wealthy Mr Flowers wants his check returned following the destruction of the Tynne, but Chakhan isn't having any. Besides,
someone's stolen it, -and- the birthday present, and -everybody- is running for deep cover. I wrote the scenes with Bn running for his hairy little life and then hiding out in the bar. I also wrote the scene with Delta running about in panic. Plump, panicky possums are fun to write.

Best stand-alone filler illo: Chester as a small child, by Terrie! Gotta love that innocent, childlike expression.
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #23
Tai-Pan Issue #23
Covers: Front cover by David Zawitaj. Back cover by Gary Fletcher.
Stories: "Whiskey Season" by Mark Allen Davis with Illustrations by Susan Woolard, "Anniversary Bash, Chapter 6: Until the Last Gasp" written by a bunch of people with illustrations by Gary Fletcher, "Protecting the Angel" written by Chas PA Melville with illustrations by Brian Carpenter, and "The Long Jump" written by Chas PA Melville with illustrations by Jackie Duram-Nilsson.
Information: Story chronology listed on inside back cover.
First printing: January, 2000
Chuck Melville's review: "Whiskey Season" - Mark takes a turn writing a Christmas ghost story involving Ian St Ritz from the Iktome.

"Protecting The Angel" - Here was a story with two goals in mind. The first has to do with the fact that Aubrey, the young skunk who was security officer on the ship, wasn't used much. And I had read an early draft by a former contributor who had since left about how Aubrey had come aboard. It had related a great deal about the character and his motivations, and I regretted that it had never been finished and submitted. When Aubrey was put up for adoption, I took temporary possession and sat down to rewrite the story, but without going into the detail given by the previous writer (it was hands off, since the story had been withdrawn, so I had to carefully work around it). I was also able to tie it into Kristin's story, "A Pretty Good Year", as well as into Gene's story, "Dancing On My Grave".

The second goal was to take a different approach to the writing. I wanted a more unique POV, and tried to convey a sense of 'freefall' in Aubrey's life by experimenting with transitions from scene to scene. I'm not sure how successful those actually were, but they were fun to play around with.

"The Long Jump" - I was concerned that Aki was becoming a one-note character: a cranky workaholic. I wanted to show -why- she was the way she was, and I wanted to show her in a different light, and display her compassionate side. And, just for fun, I reintroduced her to an old school chum, the very bane of her existence.

"Anniversary Bash" - This is the Survivor episode. Who will get voted off of the moon? Only one scene was written by me, and oddly enough it isn't about Bn, but about Frith flying blindly into space in a lifepod.

Best stand-alone filler illo: Hard to pick... there's a nice spot illo of Aubrey by Sky Rigdon on the title page, a couple of really nice Chester illos by Terrie, and a nicely articulated picture of Captain Roberts by David Zawataj. All this among the rest of cool filler art by other contributors.
$ 5.00
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Ta-Pan Issue #24
Ta-Pan Issue #24
Covers: Front cover by Terrie Smith. Back cover by Gary Fletcher.
Stories: "Dancing on My Grave, part 1" by Gene Breshears with illustrations by Dan Canaan, "Anniversary Bash, Chapter 7: Like Fire Burning in the Night" written by a bunch of people with illustrations by Kathy Coleman, "Shake It Up!" written by Keith Alan Johnson with illustrations by Chas PA Melville.
Information: Story chronology listed on inside back cover.
First printing: July, 2000
Scirocco's review: "Dancing on My Grave, part 1" - I wouldn't say I'm a fanboy of Gene's stories, but it's a good thing I was too busy to dive right into this one when I received it because the follow-up didn't appear for two more issues. It's bad enough that I have to wait for more chapters from "Out of Place" (first appearing in issue #17). In this installment, Barbie is revealed to the rest of Tai-Pan's crew as the evil bitch she really is, and we find out what she's been planning all along. Icarus makes an "appearance" or two in ways that both mystify and assist a variety of people and the engineers get a chance to put their school skills to use in repelling pirates. Faust goes commando ("The katana was too big to carry around onboard without getting himself in trouble. He picked out several smaller knives instead.") with a space suit and the reluctant assistance of Citron. Armored pirate thugs are everywhere, though... and as resourceful and tenacious as Tai-Pan's crew might be, are they up to the challenge of defending their ship from sabotage by one of their own?

"Anniversary Bash, Chapter 7: Like Fire Burning in the Night" - Iktome crew are scattered all over the city, dodging and hiding from the personal army of Mr. Flowers. Chakahn, though wounded by Art's treachery, is very much in charge of his ragged band of pirates and still has more than enough venom to sign Eli's death warrant. Vashti tries in vain to get a message to Captain Roberts about the trouble waiting for him when Iktome arrives at Kansas. Most of the Tai-Pan crew is absent from this chapter except for Eli (beaten to within an inch of his life), Kiakiru (drying out rapidly and unable to move, thanks to his broken waldo), Rufus (a broken leg), and Neko (a concussion)... things do NOT look good. The value of the cashiers' check seems to fluctuate wildly throughout the whole story arc, but I figure that's something we can fix if we ever decide to publish "Anniversary Bash" as a true novel.

"Shake it Up!" - A Keith story is a treat that doesn't come often enough for my tastes. Centered around the two hosts of Naked Pirate Radio on the planet Hazel, it's full of witty dialog, great put-down humor and lots of wrecked vehicles. Keith really succeeded in getting the voices of his characters DOWN. It's great watching two people who are clearly friends having fight after fight; not because they really irritate each other, but because they know the one is always looking out for the other. Kttk's abuse of the English language is such that it causes even my warped brain to daze, but what else can you expect from a cobb? Trishka is a hare, and as such, prone to ending every sentence with a questioning sound. Bonehead is... is just Bonehead; in a class all by himself. Also, the mysterious J. J. Jonah makes her first appearance.

Best stand-alone filler illustration: Kelson and Cory arguing about who made the coffee on page 15, by Susan Woolard. Not a lot of filler art in this issue, since we had a lot of story material, and hard not to pick the cover since it involves Chester wearing ACTUAL clothes. :)
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #25, Silver Edition
Tai-Pan Issue #25, Silver Edition
Covers: Front cover by David Zawitaj. Back cover by Jackie Duram Nilsson.
Stories: "Mercy" written by Chuck Melville and illustrated by Kathy Coleman, "Do You Hear?" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Gary Fletcher, "The Rift" written by Chuck Melville and illustrated by Edd Vick, "Anniversary Bash, Chapter 8: Where the Strom Drives Me" written by a lot of people and illustrated by Susan Woolard and Annette Pschirrer, "Out of Place, Chapter 4: Variant Analysis" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Brian Carpenter, "The Water of Life" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Terrie Smith.
Information: Story chronology listed on page 80; Thank you/acknowledgements given to the original founders, past editorial board members, and others who have contributed above and beyond the call to the project.
First printing: November, 2000
Scirocco's review: Our giant, special silver anniversary director's cut edition issue... number 25! At double our usual page-count, it's one of the biggest we've ever published and contains four stand-alone stories and one chapter each from our two (so far) serials.

"Mercy" - A ship that will, one day, become the beloved Tai-Pan is commissioned by the Sankiang Imperial Navy as part of an immense fleet of medical aid ships. It's mission is to serve the casualties on both sides of a war, but when underhanded strategies and misguided loyalties afoot, how can anyone be safe? And what about the spoils of war? Is it all just booty or does victory come with responsibility?

"Do You Hear?" - A hip young fox working at a music store, where the perception of time is even more subjective than elsewhere in the galaxy, receives a visit (and a gift) from a mysterious customer. Gene's annual offering of a Christmas ghost story brings us the reappearance of some (in)famous musicians. It's hard to tell, though, when all you've got to go on are a few nagging comments and some liner note photos whether the person you're talking to is real, a ghost, a time traveler, or just someone back from a really long vacation in a Cobb stasis resort. Friends are important, though, especially during the holidays. So make sure you're not too down on yourself, too wrapped up in your problems and your shortcomings to realize how many good things you already have all around you. And what do you get for the plutonium rocker who's had everything?

"The Rift" - After the collapse of the Sankiang Empire, the Mercy is absorbed into the Moskova Confederacy's fleet and recommissioned as The Rift. Home to a group of mercenaries, the ship is the best and most stable home they've ever known. But when the order comes from on-high to decommission The Rift and discontinue their employment, where will they turn? Another port, another job, another fly-by-night operation... or something none of them ever dreamed of doing? To make the decision ever harder, their commanding officer announces his retirement! What's a soldier of fortune to do?

"Anniversary Bash, Chapter 8: Where the Storm Drives Me" - Another installment of our anniversary story involved almost exclusively with the continuing plight of Iktome's crew. Only a brief scene reminds us that Tai-Pan was, in fact, not obliterated by the destruction of the Kansas starport. Vashti has more than a few encounters with Flowers' thugs, dragging Rik Traverse along for the ride. Art the Ham gets a one-up on the competition by eavesdropping on Flowers' communications, but it's unclear whether this is enough to make up for his inept handling of the entire situation. Delta spends many hours wandering the blasted streets of the city in search of her one true love while, unbeknownst to her, Bn cooks up the dish best-served cold. Watch out for CHOCO-SOY ("The All-Natural Yummy Nutro-Beverage!") product placement. We have to pay for these episodes somehow.

"Out of Place, Chapter 4: Variant Analysis" - After escaping the vile clutches of the Beta Staran battle fleet near the ruins of the star Basna, the intrepid Ramanujan finds itself in the middle of Cobb territory and engaged in difficult negotiations with the spider-like aliens. Kamela discovers that she has "jump sickness"--maybe THAT can explain the strange things she's been hearing and seeing when the ship moves through hyperspace. Information begins to creep in about a strange and ancient race called the T'Keddin who seem to have held a sizeable portion of the galaxy under their sway at some time in the past. Of course the crew and scientists all want to make it home safely to the Gold Road, but the lure of so much new knowledge is a tempting grail not to be denied. What can they do but press on?

"The Water of Life" - What happens when an era comes to an end? You all know by now that we don't publish stories in chronological order. If we did, you'd have to wait years between issues as we all figure out what the heck is going on. We love the Tai-Pan as much as her crew loves her, but someday they'll all be gone and who knows what the future will bring when that sad day finally arrives? McQuarrie is one of Tai-Pan's longest-standing crew and her chief engineer. Will the old girl continue to sail, safe and serene, without him to baby the engines? Will Mac's friends be able to sail, too? The story concerns just this and also reveals some hints and ideas about other members of the crew who've also moved on.

Favorite stand-alone filler illustration: A tie between Neko and Ayla shopping on page 18, by Jackie Duram Nilsson, and Dr. Bot attached by his cybernetic arm to a magnetic cargo crane (presumably due to Frith's negligence) on page 49, by Gary Fletcher.
$ 7.50
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Tai-Pan Issue #26
Tai-Pan Issue #26
Covers: Front cover by Tom Milliorn. Back cover by Kathy R. Coleman.
Stories: "Speak of the Devil" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Tom Milliorn, "They Might Be Giants" written by Chuck Melville, Edd Vick, Mark Allen Davis, Sky Rigdon, and Amy Norman and illustrated by Andrew Laverdiere, "Anniversary Bash, Chapter 9: The Dark Depths" written by a lot of people and illustrated by David Zawitaj, "Dancing on My Grave, conclusion" written by Gene Breshears.
Information: The return of the "From the Readers" column.
First printing: March, 2001
Scirocco's review: "Speak of the Devil" - Now, I will admit to being a fanboy of Faust stories. He's totally cool. Pretty much everyone on Tai-Pan blames him for Satin's unhealthy level of aggression, especially Kelson, and it seems like they'd all rather space Faust than have him sit one more shift on the bridge. Faust's "agreement" with Captain Rasputin hinges on ANY mistake Faust makes... has he made one so soon after joining the crew or is the captain just giving in to popular crew opinion? Life's not fair, but it certainly is interesting.

"Anniversary Bash, Chapter 9: The Dark Depths" - Once again, we see nothing of any Tai-Pan crew except a brief and feverish mention of Cory and a scene reminding us of Eli's awful plight. But that's OK, since it's the Iktome crew who have the more interesting (in the Chinese sense) time of it on Kansas. This is one of the more bloody chapters of our story. Romi might have been a total dork, but that's part of the fun: watching him try to be so tough. Vashti and Rik try to hook up with the Data King, a famous hacker, in order to "fix" some of the details regarding the sale of Malevolent Tynne, and instead hook up with a little otter girl named Cecily.

"They Might Be Giants" - A humorous round-robin story that involves street fighting, blasters, cooking spices and giant robots, not to mention a window frame. I don't want to spoil any of it for you!

"Dancing on My Grave, Part 2" - Finally, the conclusion! Aubrey gets to show off his marksmanship skills in zero gravity. And for once, it turns out that Frith's attempts to create plasma weapons and giant robot warriors out of every conceivable piece of the ship's equipment will actually come in handy. It doesn't take long for Rasputin and Gaitz to realize they've been sabotaged, and even though we, the readers, know who they're up against, it doesn't diminish the suspense at all. I promise... not everyone makes it out of this one with their life.

Favorite stand-alone illustration: Jasmine Petra on page 13, by Chuck Melville.
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #27
Tai-Pan Issue #27
Covers: Front cover by Gary Fletcher. Back cover by Kathy R. Coleman.
Stories: "The Ghost of Her Smile" written by Chuck Melville and illustrated by Jeff Young, "Anniversary Bash, Chapter 10: The Dying Lives" written by a lot of people and illustrated by Kathy Coleman.
Information: An updated Chronology of stories printed in all the previous issues.
First printing: July, 2001
Scirocco's review: We got in a little "trouble" with our readers on this issue since we "wasted space" with a chronological index of stories and published only two pieces of fiction... but when I went back to look for the last time we published such a list, it was in issue #20 (more than two years before). Personally, I find such things enormously useful, but I understand the complaint. I think it had something to do with our queue of stories being a little low. But I'm sure you'd all rather we published good stories instead of junk! :)

"Anniversary Bash, Chapter 10: The Dying Lives" - As the story unfolds, the number of authors dwindles. This makes it easier from an editing standpoint, of course, but less of a project. Still, drama and action are rife, and this time we even inject some mystery. Sussurus is rescued by an equine archaeologist and discovers more than he ever hoped to learn about his people. Faust, Satin, Jonesy and Spike do their best to get Tai-Pan operational again; without thrusters, they'll intercept Elsie and burn to cinders in the atmosphere. The assembled Tai-Pan crew still on Kansas go out looking for those still missing and come into possession of the plastic envelope which contains Chakahn's check. Eli begins to wish for a rescue from anyone, even Faust. Rik meets the wrong end of Art's hand cannon and Romi meets a very sad situation indeed....

"The Ghost of Her Smile" - What do you do when you find a corpse in the back room at work? Who'd want to hurt your boss's reputation like that? Sure, the guy was a jerk, but there are more civilized ways of taking care of that situation. How far would you go to keep your boss's name out of the fire and what makes the job so worthwhile anyway?

Favorite stand-alone illustration: Little Miss Chester on page 32, by Terrie Smith. It's just too cute/horrible not to win.
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #28
Tai-Pan Issue #28
Covers: Front cover by Chuck Melville. Back cover by Chuck Melville.
Stories: "...And the Devil Appears" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Jackie Duram-Nilsson, "Aniversary Bash, Chapter 11: No One Expects the Safety Weasel!" written by Mark Allen Davis and Gene Breshears and illustrated by Brian Carpenter, and "Memos from the Front" written by Kristin Fontaine.
Information: A character gallery.
First printing: November, 2001
Scirocco's review: This was my first issue as copy editor, so it's probably riddled with stuff I missed. Have mercy! "Haresay" was supposed to appear in this issue, but there were some last-minute problems to be worked out, so I had to do an emergency copy edit on Kristin's story so we could publish it instead. "Haresay" got moved to issue #29.

"...And the Devil Appears" - Faust's demon says all the things about Tai-Pan crew that I can't ever seem to say myself. This story takes place shortly after the destruction of Zaphyra (see "Out of Place" in issue #9) and centers around the departure of Ajan and the crew's reaction to that. Once more the hatred of certain crew members is in evidence, but perhaps the animosity isn't as universal as it might seem, and friends sometimes appear from the most interesting places.

"Anniversary Bash, Chapter 11: No One Expects the Safety Weasel" - Kia, Neko, and Rufus are rescued by a variety of people from both Iktome and Tai-Pan. Errol, presumed dead by several of his crewmates, hooks up with a rescue team and makes some serious life decisions. Vashti is finally able to get a coded message to Iktome and is subsequently rescued from mortal danger by "the Safety Weasel." Who is this mysterious savior? :) Frith is still in a decaying orbit around Elsie. During repairs on the Tai-Pan, Spike is devious, Faust is impassive, Satin is agitated, and Jonesy pretends he's a parrot.

"Memos From the Front" - E-mail transmissions to and from a variety of bureaucratic entities in New Oslo regarding the invasion of their system by Kageran Battle Fleet which hopes to generate revenue by taking over the Bifrost space station. It's full of arbitrary capitalization, precisely named sub-committees, and diplomatic language (as well as amusing lapses of same). To make the station viable, the Kagerans make a host of repairs and upgrades, but can they withstand a war of attrition from the people of New Oslo and a military action from the Sapient League after it returns from "wiping the floor" with the Zylithians?

Favorite stand-alone illustration: No fair! There are too many from which to choose! There's what I call the "Mirror Universe" picture of the Tai-Pan engineering crew on page 27, by Chuck Melville. There's the winged Chester on page 37, by Terrie Smith. There's the sappy-looking Angel with his navigation display on page 50, also by Chuck. It's not fair, not fair, I tell you! So much good art.
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #29
Tai-Pan Issue #29
Covers: Front cover by Terrie Smith. Back cover by Gary Fletcher.
Stories: "The Monsters" written by Chuck Melville and illustrated by Edd Vick, "Aniversary Bash, Chapter 12: Outride the Devil" (the conclusion!) written by Mark Allen Davis and Gene Breshears and illustrated by Chuck Melville, and "Haresay, part 1" written by Edd Vick and illustrated by Gary Fletcher.
Information: None.
First printing: March, 2002
Scirocco's review: This is one of my favorite issues. It wraps up "Anniversary Bash" (which some of us had started to feel would never end) in a MOST amusing way, and it contains "The Monsters", which is one of my favorite Chuck Melville stories.

"The Monsters" - Jemmy is just a little human girl, but she's got a big imagination and even greater curiosity. The ship on which she's traveling with her family meets disaster and is forced to request help from the monsters. Big, furry, and dangerous, they are familiar to us, but mysterious and profoundly inspiring to Jemmy who can't seem to get enough of them.

"Anniversary Bash, Chapter 12: Outride the Devil" - Errol finds himself in a position to help the person from whom we've been getting disjointed and delirious first-person updates throughout most of the story. Satin plays catch with high-velocity orbiting objects using one of the cargo loaders. Frith thinks he's being captured by pirates... and JUST when he'd figured out how to build a reactionless drive from pieces of his gun and the escape pod's computer. Figures! Mr. Flowers receives word that Iktome (still masquerading as Grandcampe) is coming into port and dispatches a group of his thugs to board the ship under the guise of spaceport workers, to their ultimate dismay. The building in which Eli is being held is destroyed by several squads of highly trained people in battle armor. Captain Roberts displays the flair for which he is so well-known and things mostly end on an upward note for the Tai-Pan crew. Several of Roberts' crew are not so lucky....

"Haresay, part 1" - A story in two parts, well, four parts. "Haresay" takes place in both the past and in the present. It reveals some of the more unsavory applications to which Karaya has put her special skills and details her efforts to make up for those uses by joining Tai-Pan.
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #30
Tai-Pan Issue #30
Covers: Front cover by Gary Fletcher. Back cover by Gary Fletcher.
Stories: "Out of Place Chapter 5: Empirical Evidence" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Chuck Melville, "Aftershocks" an epilogue to Anniversary Bash written by Edd Vick & Gene Breshears and illustrated by Jackie Duram-Nilsson, "Haresay, conclusion" written by Edd Vick and illustrated by Gary Fletcher, "Aground" written by Chuck Melville and illustrated by Kathy Coleman.
Information: None.
First printing: July, 2002
C.D.'s review: Issue #30 opens with the fifth installment of “Out of Place” the planet killer series featuring the Ramanujan crew by Gene. This piece of the slowly unfolding puzzle involves various beasties on a planet of the long extinct T’Keddin race. What information will they find? Why are the Beta Starans so intent on prevent the crew of the Ramajan from finding the answers? Why are the Cobb so interested? Well… that’s why they call them cliffhangers. I can’t wait until the next chapter. And while Chuck’s artwork is always exceptional, this time out he uses a more textural style for these pages.

In “Aftershocks” Edd and Gene tie up a few loose ends from “Anniversary Bash” with great results, including one satisfying bit of just desserts served cold. I like how Jackie Duram-Nilsson’s pencil work captures the characters and shows detail on simple things such as a child’s dolls

I don’t want to give any details regarding the conclusion of “Haresay” by Edd Vick other than to say it takes a very unexpected turn from the direction I thought the story was going from the first half, a well crafted twist. The story, told in two time lines at once, tells Karaya’s attempts to join the crew of the Tai Pan and her previous activities involving the events of “New Queensland Station.” An interesting and touching revelation about one of the crew lost at New Queensland occurs here as well. Gary Fletcher’s detailed artwork, as well as the front and rear cover of this issue, is featured in this story.

“Aground” is another of Chuck’s series of stories covering the Tai Pan before the current crew. Chuck always seems to conjure hilarious characters and Capt. Flibbert is wonderfully clueless and inept. Kathy R. Coleman’s pic adds to that impression.

Best stand-alone filler illo: Terrie’s Ringtail is always a fave, but I’ll have to go with Jennifer Anderson’s rock star pose of Vashti.
$ 5.00
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Reviews courtesy of Mark "Miko" Allen Davis, Chuck Melville, C.D. Woodbury, and Jared "Scirocco" Robertson.