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Cosmic Era: Karate Kommando Dossier

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Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos was a six episode mini-series from 1986 that I remember with mixed emotions.

Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos

I remember this series debuted vaguely in the summer of 86, and as a child I was enamored with anything involving Chuck Norris, ninjas, and cartoons. The show was... terrible. The character design was completely forgettable, and the entire venture was built on the name value of Chuck Norris as an action movie hero. This was ahead of its time because the series was completely genre deaf, and this predated the internet full of Chuck Norris jokes. The toy line was launched and fizzled, and the series has slide into the great gray waste of forgettable television. The only reason I remember this dud of a show is that at the time when it was showing, my father wanted me to come to work with him, but I only had interest in that regrettable cartoon, and it is one of those life regrets that I would change if I had the option. With that out of the way, onto the CE dossier from a truly vapid and one dimensional media offering.

Who are the Karate Kommandos?

The Karate Kommandos are a high profile low competency reflex team that challenge rebellions, handle exotic technologies, and otherwise make themselves inconvenient to those who would threaten the peace and safety of the fictional nation of Chun Kuk. Chun Kuk is a parody of elements of the Atlantic Federation and the Pacific Rim Coalition. The franchise is produced in the Rocky Mountain Republic, and despite siding with Chun Kuk and the Karate Kommandos being the protagonists of the franchise their actions are frequently anything but heroic, and Chun Kuk itself is a satirical lampooning of the general 1st World nations.

Members:

Karate Kommander - Seemingly a masked superhero well versed in hand to hand combat, inspiration, and general mayhem. This is a ruse because Karate Kommander is no other than the President of Chun Kuk, who likes to solve his nation's problems with commando actions and fisticuffs. He leaves many matters of ceremony and state to body doubles and stand in robots. This is handled to comical effect as the body doubles and droids don't horribly resemble the president, but no one really seems to mind or care.

Karate Kommander is a spoof of the AtFed politician, being nothing more than a face for the cognocracy that actually runs that government, and for the general acceptance and disposable stance the AtFed has towards robots and human life. The continued acceptance of the President's role as the Karate Kommander is likewise reflective of the fact that the predominant political stance in the AtFed is apathetic. Compared to the Petroleum Era, there is almost no voter participation in elections or other elements of government.

Pepper - the Engineer and second in command over the Karate Kommandos, Pepper has zero combat experience, doesn't know any karate or hand to hand skills, and is otherwise situationally incompetent, unless the situation involves dealing with hypertechnology. In meta terms, Pepper is the MacGuffin handler, the person who delivers tech briefings, and condenses the plans down into viewer bite size pieces. On a secondary level, Pepper functions as the communications officer, the pilot, and the general operator of any piece of large technology.

Pepper is a representation of the skillsoft slotting specialist, someone who has a decent level of competency but uses cybernetics to add whatever they need for a situation, but ultimately is not much more than a doll, having no real life or personality outside of whatever chip they have slotted.

Reed - Pepper's brother and the Kommander's former apprentice. Reed is on a path to become the next Kommander of the Karate Kommandos and possibly even the next President of Chun Kuk. This would be more impressive were Reed competent. Instead, he is a blowhard, a fool, and embodies much of the worst of human politicians, warhawks, and a war criminal in waiting.

The western nations of the AtFed and PacRim have an uncomfortable relationship with war and violence, while publicly denouncing these acts, their militaries are powerful, robust, highly adaptable, and seething for a chance at war and glory. Reed is the personification of both this military eagerness and the general societal incompetence of those who build the world breaking weapons and unspeakable crimes against nature and physics.

Kimo - a Sino-Nipponese martial artist, Kimo is a generic Kung-Fu warrior typically armed with other the top Chinese influenced bladed weapons. Kimo and the Karate Kommander are long term friends, possibly former rivals, but otherwise work well together.

Kimo is a deliberable blend of generic blandness and racial stereotypes. While a competent warrior, Kimo is also prone to spouting bad koans, incorrect eastern mysticism, and otherwise playing in the general tropes. This is done, as mentioned, deliberately. It is a general consensus that the PacRim is not doing great, having lost territory on the Eurasian Continent to the ACPS, and generally being fragmented leadership wise. This weakness, offset by their technological prowess and cultural arrogance, leaves the PRC playing second to the Atlantic Federation.

Yokozuna Tabe - another Sino-Nipponese man, Tabe is a Sumo wrestler who holds the highest rank of Yokozuna. While a functional fighter, Tabe is much better at setting blocks, and moving heavy things with his enormous strength. This power is frequently offset by his appetites, which is often a cause for amusement among the Karate Kommandos.

Tabe is a walking critique of the Nipponese zaibatsu and salaryman culture. He is fat, he is slow, and he has massive demands for resources and even space. Likewise, his justification for this is being occasionally useful for large tasks.

VULTURE

VULTURE is the terrorist organization that the Karate Kommandos are constantly fighting. Through the franchise, VULTURE's goals are never stated, and even the meaning of their name is never explained or expanded upon. The organization has two named characters, and rank after rank of generic ninja warriors.

KLAW - the leader of VULTURE is a villainous cyborg who goes by the moniker KLAW. He has a cybernetic claw for his right hand, and a hydraulic right leg. KLAW combines elements of the stereotypical German Hanseatic technocrat, Amerikka Command terrorist, and the the previous President of the AtFed. As such, KLAW has superscience, hyper regressive ideology, and political incompetence.

Super Soldier - KLAW's 'right hand' man is the blandly named Super Soldier. Where the Karate Kommandos are suave, multicultural, and have a variety of skills, Super Soldier is a monosyllabic chisel jawed brute with a penchant for heavy weaponry.

VULTURE Mercenary - the VULTURE mercs are generic, frequently masked, typically white soldiers. They wear a variety of uniforms, and have no official gear or load-out.

Episode 1:

Item: The Oxygen Generator, an underwater device that extracts O2 from ocean water

Location: generic seacology, lab of Dr Sanford

Event: Super Soldier and one off villainess Angelfish (aquatic biomod, pheromone mod, exotic) use a mini-sub to attack the seacology in an attempt to abduct Dr Sanford and steal the Oxygen Generator

Episode 2:

Item: The Tacitus, a plug and play device that allows for the take-over of defense networks

Location: The Capital of Chun Kuk, Office of the President

Event: KLAW puts a bounty on the President of Chun Kuk and the Karate Kommander, the face dancer Imposter infiltrates the Ministry of War and steals the Tacitus. Karate Kommander must rescue the President, defeat an army of assassins, and recover the Tacitus

Episode 3:

Item: The Hyper-Laser, a normal anti-armor laser cannon with some extra lights, cooling fins, and an actor talking through a microphone

Item: The Hyper-Train, an ultra-fast magnetic train

Event: Super Soldier and an entourage of elite hit men board the train to steal the Hyper-Laser, SS plants bombs to tie up the Kommandos.

Episode 4:

Item: The Fusion Cannon (large bore plasma cannon)

Item: The CKS Menahem Golan (Delta Class STO ship)

Item: the CKS Eagle Claw (McCoy Class STO ship, retired from service)

Event: KLAW hijacks the Menahem Golan and the Fusion Cannon and plans to use it to hold the world hostage, lest he start popping cities. The Karate Kommandos must use the obsolete Eagle Claw to reach the Menahem Golan and KLAW's orbital base, defeat Super Soldier, and recover the stolen goods.



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