HUGO DRAX (Michael Lonsdale), in Moonraker
, developed the Moonraker Space Transport System program. But in so doing, he perpetrated a deadly scam. He did not seek to further the conquest of space as a philanthropic endeavor. He sought to create a safe haven for himself and a handful of chosen "perfect" human specimens, while he murdered all of humanity to make way for the said specimens and their progeny. But of course his project failed (else this encyclopedia entry, if it existed at all, would have an entirely different tone). It failed, and Hugo Drax met his end, because he made one fatal mistake in his programme. And that mistake caused his programme to come under investigation--by none other than Commander James Bond
of the Royal Naval Voluntary Supplemental Reserve, alias
Agent 007 of Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Of the background of Hugo Drax, history says little. He seems to give humanity one more example to show that the larger the private company a man heads, or the greater professional skill he has, the more likely is he to display psychopathic tendencies. Drax seems to have suffered from galloping paranoia.
By one account he suffered from severe malocclusion ("ogre's teeth"). And either the clinical effect of that malocclusion, or the unsightliness of the orthodontic corrective measures his parents employed, caused his schoolmates to tease him without mercy. He thus became a fanatic about physical perfection. And when he noticed that his tormentors quite often had physical imperfections of their own, the obvious hypocrisy they showed infuriated him the more. So he conceived of a plan to replace all of humanity with nothing but perfect-looking people--who would look up to him as their inspiration, and their emperor--almost their god.
Perhaps anyone, especially any little boy, who goes in for orthodontic treatment, conceives of such a plan after a long day of dealing with such taunts as "Bugs Bunny" or "Metalmouth." But Hugo Drax distinguished himself by a fanatical drive to realize that plan. He began--again, by that same account--with robbery. With 15,000 pounds of stolen money he escaped to Tangier, "where one could buy anything, sell anything, fix anything." He worked hard and took terrible business risks. And eventually he was worth a million, then two, then five, then ten, then twenty.
He came to America at about the time Project Apollo was winding down. He proposed to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop a craft that could take off like a rocket, then glide to a soft landing on a conventional runway. NASA assigned him several technicians to assist him with that development.
But he was also developing other things he said nothing to NASA about. Like a deadly poison from a South American orchid, which he distilled and redesigned so it will kill human beings but not animals. And like a totally effective radar jammer that would effectively hide a satellite of any size in low earth orbit--hide it so that no one would see or even suspect it.
In addition to a fleet of Moonrakers he built for NASA--including at least one for the United States Air Force--he built six Moonrakers of his own that he kept carefully hidden. He also built his own launching facility and hid it in an ancient Inca city in South America. And with at least the first four of those Moonrakers, he sent construction gangs that built several massive satellites, riveted them together, and equipped with attitude and rotation jets--and his new radar jammer. An entire city in space--and none on earth could see it.
The problem began when his first Moonraker Six developed a critical problem. Building another Moonraker would set back his schedule too far for his liking. So then he made that fatal mistake: he hijacked a Moonraker directly off its 747 carrier. The problem: that 747 had an RAF crew. The loss of that aircraft mortified Her Majesty's government--and the loss of a Moonraker destined for NASA created an embarrassment that Whitehall wanted someone to investigate. They turned, naturally, to MI-6. And M
(Admiral Sir Miles Messervy KCMG, RN) summoned his best operative: Commander James Bond.
Drax knew Bond would be trouble from the get-go. But several attempts he made on his life all came to nothing. Worse than nothing: it put Bond's wind up. And when James Bond gets the wind up, no criminal, or terrorist, is safe.
Drax thought he'd made sure of Bond--and also of Dr. Holly Goodhead, the last NASA liaison with whom he would ever have to deal--by confining them in a place where the blasts from the engines of Moonraker Five would incinerate them. But not only did Bond and Dr. Goodhead escape, but they also, as he later found out, assaulted the flight crew of Moonraker Six and actually took their places. Drax would find that out when they got onto his space station along with him--and disabled the radar jammer.
By then, Drax had recruited the strongest quick executioner on the planet--Jaws, who once had worked for Karl Stromberg's Atlantis project. But that proved another mistake. For when Drax ordered Jaws to throw Bond and Dr. Goodhead out an airlock, Bond pointed out to Jaws that he, being a less than perfect physical specimen himself (in fact Jaws took his name from a permanent set of metal dentures he wore!), would not last long in Drax's empire. Jaws took the hint, so now Drax had three prisoners to deal with, not two.
That's when Drax's space-traffic control crew first noticed an American shuttle taking off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. That definitely could only mean trouble. He ordered his crew to aim a gigantic laser at it--but then Bond jumped for the control panel and hit the Emergency Stop button. This action threw everyone to the deck and rendered everyone weightless. Desperately Drax ordered a sortie of a laser-armed party in EVA suits--but the United States Marines that met them in battle proved too much for them. Before anyone could start the station rotating again (for the artificial gravity), the Marines were already aboard, having forced an airlock and also connected with a shuttle dock.
The last act Drax tried was to aim a pistol at Bond. But Bond was armed with a wrist-mounted dart gun that Bond had loaded with a fast-acting cardiotoxin. Drax, paralyzed, could only goggle helplessly while Bond threw him
into an airlock and, quipping, "Take a giant step for mankind," opened it into space.
Thus died Hugo Drax. And his project died with him.