Everybody who has watched at least one episode of Buck Rogers' second
season will remember Hawk, Buck's silent sidekick. But what do we
really know about Hawk? How did he join Searcher and become friends
with Buck? Why
was he (almost) never cheerful? And where did he get that fancy ship?
of these questions were answered in the season's first episode, Time of
the Hawk. A short recapitulation.
In Time of the Hawk, we see how
Hawk and his wife Koori come home from a trip, longing to be reunited
with their family and friends -- only to
find them all murdered by the hands of humans. In reaction, Hawk vows
kill all humans who cross his path. He starts attacking human ships and
outposts all around Throm, their home planet.
When the Searcher comes across a space freighter destroyed by Hawk,
Buck Rogers is sent out to stop him. In an attempt to lure Hawk out of
hiding, Buck abducts Koori from their home at the Valley of Eagles.
This leads to a mighty dogfight between Hawk and Buck, in which Koori
is accidentally injured. Hawk and Buck join forces to get her to help,
but Koori dies nevertheless. Hawk is now the last of his race -- he has
lost everyone he loved, and
the pain of this will never leave him.
killer to crew member
Hawk is finally brought aboard
Searcher, to be judged by a Galactic
Court. It is never mentioned how many people he has actually killed (at
least three from the space freighter), but since he had been attacking
for a few weeks before his capture, he must have made quite a few
At any rate, it is clear that the Court will sentence him to death.
When Hawk refuses to speak before the Galactic Court, Buck jumps to his
defense. In a moving plea, he manages to convince the Court that Hawk
should be allowed to join the Searcher crew, instead of being
mission can be the same as theirs: to search for others of his race.
some encouragement by his new friends, and helped by the thought of
Hawk finally agrees to start a new life aboard Searcher.
Despite his violent past, Hawk quickly gains the trust of the Searcher
crew. In the first episode after Time of the Hawk, he is already sent
along on a mission which is crucial for galactic peace (Journey to
Oasis). And after
that he is frequently seen on the bridge, handling the ship's controls,
performing other responsible duties.
Since the events of Time of the Hawk, a special friendship has
developed between Hawk and Buck -- both alone, "out of time, out of
place". They strongly rely on each other, and Hawk is often seen
helping Buck out of a tight spot
(Mark of the Saurian, The Golden Man). When Buck is accused of being
for the 20th Century's nuclear holocaust (Testimony of a Traitor), Hawk
another trial to help him prove his innocence.
Although Hawk is very much at ease with Buck, he tends to keep a polite
distance from the rest of the crew. Nevertheless, in all his actions he
shows a deep care not only for Buck, but also for Wilma and Dr.
of the bird people
Hawk's ancestors originally came
from Earth, where they used to live
on what is now Easter Island. (Easter Island does indeed have a
cult, and numerous rock carvings of bird people have been found there.)
In terms of evolution, the bird people were thousands of years ahead of
the human race. However, when humans finally started to spread across
earth, Hawk's ancestors were quickly wiped out, apart from a few who
to the stars. These survivors were so afraid of "being different" that
never flew again and as a consequence lost their wings.
It is never explained how the bird people managed to reach the stars.
Presumably they did not fly there on their own wings, which means that
must have been able to build spaceships when the human race was still
its infancy. However, given their advanced technology, it seems quite
that they were unable to defend themselves against a bunch of primitive
Let's just say that this remains one of the many unsolved mysteries of
Hawk does not have
wings, but he did inherit the flying instincts from his ancestors.
These make him an extremely good pilot -- better even than Buck Rogers.
Many people will remember Hawk's "cool" ship, shaped like a bird
of prey with foldable wings and retractable talons. (Click here
for Alan Sinclair's great drawings.) In Time of the Hawk, Hawk uses his
ship's claws to grab and destroy human spaceships, and he accidentally
injures Koori with them in his fight against Buck. We also see the
talons in action in Testimony
of a Traitor, where Hawk uses them to stop a marine from pursuing Buck.
It seems that Hawk's ship must have been custom-built for him, and this
raises the question where he got the money to pay for it. One possible
explanation is that he has earned it flying as a pilot; however, it
seems unlikely that a pilot's wages would have been sufficient for a
ship such as this. Another unanswered question...
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