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Literature / Last Legionary

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"This is a recording Keill. I am dying too. Will be dead when you hear this. Go Overlight and get away. Do not approach planet. Nothing to be seen or done. Save yourself if you still can. Warn other legionaries if there are any alive. And if you live try to find who did this evil. Avenge us Keill. Avenge the murder of Moros."
— The final transmission from Oni Wolda to the protagonist Keill Randor.

A series of Young Adult books by the author Douglas Hill, the Last Legionary consisted of four main books as well as a prequel novel called, appropriately enough, Young Legionary.

The series had the main character Keill Randor returning to his homeworld, only to find that due to enemy action, he has become the only survivor with his homeworld destroyed. Saved from a lingering death by a secret organisation and accompanied by a telepathic alien, Keill sets out to track down and destroy an evil organisation hell-bent on conquering the galaxy.

Galactic Warlord covers Keill returning to Moros and narrowly avoiding being killed along with everyone else, due to damage sustained in a brief spacefight. He vows to avenge his people and sets out to find out who committed the atrocity and whether there are any other survivors, which brings him into contact with the Overseers and Glr and also, a group of thugs masquerading as Legion survivors.

Deathwing Over Veynaa sees him set out on his first mission on behalf of Talis and the Overseers; to a civil war between asteroid miners and the Veynaan government. Agents of the Warlord, the Deathwing, are seeking to escalate the conflict and gain control over the valuable substance mined in the Veynaan asteroid belt.

Day of the Starwind has Randor investigate reports of mercenaries whose skills seem equal to the Legion's, taking him to the desolate world of Rilyn; where a rogue planetoid regularly brings massive storms known as the Starwind to its surface. There he finds the Deathwing at work once again; working to try and produce their own Legion; with clones of some of Moros' greatest warriors.

Planet of the Warlord was the final book in the quartet, and finally revealed the nature and homeworld of the sinister Warlord. Keill competes in the Battle Rites of Banthei in order to draw attention to himself and his enemies out of the shadows. It works all too well and Keill is captured. Can Glr rescue him from the clutches of the Deathwing before he reveals the location of the hidden Overseer base?

Young Legionary was a prequel to the other Legionary books, though written later. It looks at Keill's training on his homeworld of Moros, and expands on the relationship with Oni Wolda that's hinted at in Galactic Warlord.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Although there are a wide variety of humanoid forms; they're all genetically human, just mutated by the effects of their respective environments; high-gravity worlds get shorter, heavier humans and so on. The only genuine intelligent alien is Glr, and her species isn't from the same galaxy.
  • Alliterative Title
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Lord Thr'un of Irruq-hoa, Deathwing agent and one of the worst people in the setting.
  • Armour Is Useless: Averted. Both Lord Thr'un's natural armour, and The One's exoskeleton prove to be incredibly difficult for Keill to get through.
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: Keill kills Thr'un by targeting his temples, as his head is one of the few parts of his body that his organic armour does not protect. When confronting The One, he always aims for the face as it is the only piece of Altern that his exoskeleton doesn't protect.
  • Ax-Crazy: Several of the bad guys are in it because they love to kill.
  • Badass Army: The Legions of Moros. Nuked by the Big Bad because they are so scary.
  • Bald of Evil: Both Thr'un and The One are naturally bald.
  • Big Bad: The Warlord, alias the Twenty-Four, alias Arachnis. Its schemes are responsible for every death we see in the series.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Of a Hive Mind variety.
  • The Berserker: Randor goes into the battle fury of the legionaries during his final assault on the Warlord.
    "The awesome, irresistible battle fury of a legionary. It was never the blind, foaming fury of a berserker. It was cold, defined, controlled....It was as if Keill had released a ravening beast within himself. Yet the beast that was his battle rage was kept on a tight rein, disciplined and directed, a formidable extra source of power during his plunge into the last battle."
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Arachnis briefly does this to Keill.
  • The Brute: Lord Thr'un, a hulking giant who The One and the Warlord use when they need a genocide committed and surviving legionaries hunted down.
  • Combat Tentacles: Arachnis uses these both to restrain its victims and to mind-control them
  • Creepy Twins: Two of the Deathwing operatives a brainwashed Keill has to train are reptilian twins.
  • Death World: Moros. It's how the Legionaries got so good at fighting, everything on their planet was out to kill them.
  • Depraved Dwarf: The One is not only crippled but dwarfed as well, being only a fraction of the size of the average Golvician (most of whom are rather tall). One of the Deathwing agents that Keill trains while brainwashed is a dwarf from one of the altered worlds who favours a "heat wand" as a weapon.
  • Determinator: Keill Randor; his planet has been saturated with life-destroying radiation, everyone he ever knew or loved is dead and he himself is dying slowly from the dosage he received in high orbit. Still, mustn't let that get in the way of finding out who did this and showing him just why it was a bad idea, right?
  • Distress Call: When Moros is attacked, all of the Legionaries who're away on missions or whatever are summoned back by Central Command. Once Command realised what was happening, they set up a warning beacon to try and keep those who arrived later from trying to land.
  • Doomed Hometown: The Big Bad turns the Legionaries' home planet into a radioactive wasteland in order to stop them from deducing his existance and coming after him. One got away...
  • The Dragon: The One is this to the Warlord, who is totally immobile.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Keill was already a badass before he got his original bones replaced with almost unbreakable organic alloy replacements.
  • Evil Cripple: The One can barely walk without his exoskeleton, and has to drag himself along on tentacle-like legs.
  • Evil Genius: The Warlord seems to have a few working for them. Quern is the one responsible for developing the bizarre new radiation weapon that was used to kill off the population of Moros and the whole industry of Golvic appears to be devoted to engineering ingenious armour for Altern. Golvician scientists also created Arachnis.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Thr'un has an almost musical bass voice. The One's voice is even lower, but hollow and flat.
  • Exposition of Immortality: In Galactic Warlord, Talis patiently explains to Keill that the alien Glr is not an "it" but a she, and that the Ehrlil are very long-lived, the scientist who first encountered her was his father. Glr herself chips in that she's four hundred, and still considered a wayward youth by her people.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Overlight — a hyperdrive that allows a ship to travel the vast distances of space at huge speeds; cutting cross-galactic travel to a matter of days and weeks and interstellar to hours and days. Intergalactic travel still takes a long time thoughnote .
  • Foil: Keill and Altern are physical foils to one another. Where Keill is an incredibly fit man with unbreakable metal bones, The One is an Evil Cripple who keeps his fragile body inside a gigantic metal exoskeleton.
  • Genocide Backfire: The Big Bad deciding the Legions of Moros were the major obstacle to him conquering the galaxy and that eliminating them was the best course of action? Doesn't work out so well. The Legions probably weren't even aware of the Warlord's existence prior to the attack that left Keill the only survivor of his race.
  • Gladiator Games: Keill participates in one to draw out the enemies by attracting their attention.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Altern, aka The One, is The Dragon to The Warlord. He comes decked out in a massive golden exoskeleton, which allows the otherwise crippled Altern to not only walk, but defeat nearly any adversary in combat.
  • Hired Guns: The Legions of Moros were mercenaries, after all. Mercenaries with standards, but still mercenaries.
  • Hive Mind: the Warlord is comprised of twenty four mindlinked humans connected to a biotech supercomputer
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A Mad Doctor attempts to take on Randor with a laser scalpel, only to slit his own throat when Randor breaks his wrist with a blow and he loses control of the tool.
  • Human Subspecies: Humanity has diversified since moving into space, and people from the altered worlds often bear little resemblance to baseline humanity.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Previous human efforts to use Overlight to travel to other galaxies have lead to failure, the expeditions disappearing or coming back driven insane from the prolonged exposure to the endless nothing.
  • Implacable Man: Keill Randor. Vengeance does this to a man.
  • Instant Armour: Lord Thr'un can cover his torso with organic growths that resemble muddy coloured slabs of leather.
  • Instant Sedation: Specialised dart guns that carry a powerful soporific chemical. Also a gas bomb sneaked onto Keill's ship in one book knocks him out in a few seconds.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Toyed with. Initially Keill is gunning for the Warlord, and has little interest in any of the villain's henchmen. However, it doesn't take long for he and Altern to develop a pretty personal rivalry, and after the reveal about the nature of the Warlord, Keill shifts much of his hatred to The Dragon.
  • The Juggernaut: The One when he's in his armoured suit.
  • Kung-Shui: "Demolition!" — In Young Legionary this is both a means of practicing hand-to-hand combat techniques and letting off steam for the Morosians; rooms set up with various hard objects to smash. It's often used as a means of racing between two legionaries.
  • Last of His Kind: Keill Randor. His strike group happened to be the furthest away when the recall order was given
  • Lightning Bruiser: Keill after gaining his unbreakable bones and Lord Thr'un who while huge and muscular, still moves very quickly.
  • Little Green Man in a Can: Altern is a mutated human with a small body and limbs which are tiny and almost non-functional. He relies on his golden exosuit for mobility.
  • Mad Scientist: Quern, who engineered the radiation weapon that wiped out Moros.
  • Made of Indestructium: Keill's skeleton, after the Overseers have replaced his irradiated bones. The One's armour as well.
  • Made of Iron: Keill's ability to take a beating is only partly explained by his indestructible skeleton; his flesh seems pretty resilient too. He's frequently beat to hell yet continues to function despite a myriad of wounds.
  • Mighty Glacier: The One in his armour. May upgrade to Lightning Bruiser after the improvements in the final book.
  • Mini-Mecha: The One's exoskeleton is more than eight feet tall, while The One himself is only a few feet tall.
  • Mutant: The people from the altered worlds, who have mutated to survive conditions that bear little resemblance to those of Earth. Most of the Deathwing operatives are drawn from these worlds, due to their natural talents.
  • One-Man Army: Keill Randor again.
  • The Only One: The last survivor of a planet of highly-skilled and galaxy-reknowned mercenaries versus a shadowy Warlord and his powerful organisation. Fortunately, Keill Randor is a One-Man Army with unbreakable bones.
  • Powered Armour: The One's exoskeleton is somewhere between this and a Mini-Mecha.
  • Prequel: ’'Young Legionary''. Describes how Keill, and every other Legion member, became such a badass.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Keill Randor. What did you expect?
  • Psychic Block Defense: Glr uses telepathic mental shields so alien that human telepaths cannot detect them, or the minds behind the shields.
  • Psychic Radar: Glr uses this in Galactic Warlord to detect the presence of an unspecified number of human minds in Thr'un's base on Creffa and again in Deathwing over Veynaa. The human telepath encountered in Deathwing can also use this, though his range is much smaller than Glr's.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Keill smashes multiple enemy groups in his quest, but he most invokes the Roaring part during the final battle in Planet Of The Warlord.
  • Starfish Aliens: Glr, who's essentially a telepathic space bat. And a child by the standards of her people at only 400 years old.
  • Starter Villain: Lord Thr’un of Irruq-hoa, who leads the Warlord's attack on the Legions and consequently massacred Keill's homeworld.
  • Super-Strength: The One when he is wearing his golden armor as above
  • The Last Title
  • Tranquil Fury: Part of why the Legions were so badass.
  • Unbreakable Bones: Keill's bones were replaced with a near unbreakable organic alloy.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Oni Wolda who dies of radiation poisoning but manages to warn Keill in time for him to escape alive.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: The One has no real combat training, but is strong enough to tear a man apart with his bare hands. Downplayed in the case of Lord Thr'un who while an orthodox and unimaginative fighter, is still well trained in addition to being enormously muscular.
  • Void Between the Worlds: It's where Overlight takes ships; described as a non-place, a seperate void of nothingness where things and the laws of physics cease to exist.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Lord Thr'un always goes stripped to the waist. Justified — clothes would only get in the way of his organic armor's deployment.
  • We Help the Helpless: The Legions of Moros were often this. Mercenaries they may have been, but the Legion code precluded fighting for oppressors and those who already overwhelmed their targets militarily.
  • Wicked Cultured: Lord Thr'un has pretensions in this direction, comporting himself as he believes a Lord of Irruq-hoa should.