Chapter IV: Attack of the General

The Galaxian fleet began the Turbospace Departure Cycle, engines were powered down and thrusters were put off-line. General Ynot ordered the men to brace for arrival, the ship shook violently as it reached its destination. Saturn materialised in front of them and so did something else, something they weren’t expecting.

            “Enemy fleet dead ahead!” called the pilot. Thousands of bug fighters swarmed past the Galaxian fleet and explosions covered the area like ants on a hill. “Launch fighters! Deploy the fleet!” Hundreds of flat Galaxian fighters swarmed from the hanger bays on the capital ship and the frigates. Bombers were launched by both sides and before long, electro-magnetic bombs were dropping everywhere.

            “This is Galaxian frigate 324! We’re taking heavy damage!” bombers swarmed around the frigate and fire sprung up all over it. “Hull breach!” An explosion tore through the frigate’s hull and the giant ship snapped in two. The battle raged, thousands of battalions of troops boarded carriers and journeyed towards the planet. As the sheer numbers of bug fighters overwhelmed the Galaxian fighters, the capital ships tested their firepower against each other’s shields. Plasma tore between the two giants, turrets exploded in balls of flame. Galaxiano struck a critical hit on the enemy capital ship that destroyed their turret defence systems.

            “Re-charge batteries! Open fire!” huge turrets turned on the surface of the enemy capital ship. Beams of lightning struck Galaxiano’s hull and air locks smashed open. One bolt struck the bridge and the entire command crew were sent flying against the cold steel walls. Sensors beeped and blurted and alarm bells rang as some sort of signal interfered with the ship controls. The captain of the fleet quickly grasped the screen and turned in fear to his commanders.

            “Their charging up their Turbospace generators!” he called “Intercept their engines, cut out all emergency power and re-route to forward shields!” he grasped his communicator “General Ynot, do you copy?” Out in the battle, Ynot’s fighter twirled through the enemy fleet as he activated his Com Signal.

            “I copy Captain, what is the situation?”

            “The enemy is charging their Turbospace generators General. If they are allowed to beam out they’ll rip right through us!” the captain panted as sweat trickled from his weary brow. “These are the orders, concentrate all firepower on their engines! Wait, hold on” There was a violent shake, An enormous capital ship materialised out of Turbospace and tore the back end of Galaxiano off. “We’re going supernova!” Wreathed in flames, the enormous Galaxiano warship slowly dipped out of the sky and hurtled to the planet’s surface and it’s doom.

            As beams of light tore another of his frigate in half, General Ynot threw his head in his hands with a cry of breathless rage. Then he looked at the huge warship that had materialised and read the name imprinted on its hull; Dominator.

            “Anton Zyphell!” cursed Ynot. The mighty warship was the largest in the galaxy, its master’s pride and joy. It was concave in shape, with a great command center extending from the rear end. Dominator reared around and turned planet-ward firing at the remainders of Ynot’s fleet as it went. Ynot too turned toward the planet, his mind raging with questions. What does Anton Zyphell want with Saturn? Or is he here to defend the King of Beasts? He thought to himself, as thousands of drop ships and troopships were launched from Dominator’s hanger and approached the planet’s surface.

           

Back on Pluto, Masters Tiange and Fang walked through the enormous hangers and prepared to leave. Plutoon met them near the enormous capital ship Freedom 1; a huge battle ship used for rescue and backwater campaigns. But now its biggest test awaited it, to take on Zyphell’s armada of dark warships. Tiange turned to the other two as thousands of troops boarded their ships.

            “We have just received word of the gravest of circumstances” he began slowly “Approximately twenty minutes ago, Galaxiano went down over Saturn and the fleet has been obliterated” Fang sighed and bowed his head, Plutoon slowly began to weep.

            “I have fought alongside some of those men for almost thirty years” he said solemnly “I knew them all, their hopes, dreams and fears. I will not let them die in vain!” He turned abruptly and boarded the warship, Fang looked at Tiange and the two bowed to one another.

            “Goodbye my friend” Tiange said

            “I will return, and we can resolve our investigations” Fang assured him.

            “In that case, until we meet again, this must be kept secret, even from Plutoon” They bowed once more, the docking ramp lifted and the Freedom 1 fleet lifted off en route to Saturn.

 

            Saturn had no surface, but years of evolution and development after the human race began to inhabit the entire galaxy had led to the construction of floating walkways and cities. These platforms were so huge that it was a rarity to find the edge of one, they were like monstrous continents of metal. On the metal, strange wildlife had begun to grow through the artificial construction. Dust covered the landscape and strange metallic plants were scattered around as a result of chemicals reacting to the material. The central city of Saturnus was defended by over fifteen plasma energy and deflector shields, each with different pass codes to access them. The people of Saturn were an untrusting lot, they segregated themselves from the rest of the galaxy for reasons that they alone know.

On the main platform an enormous war raged. Fires all over the mining facilities under the Brown flag consumed years of work in a matter of minutes. Bombers swept over the battlefield and delivered fatal blows to the enemy as the Galaxian’s army pushed the ‘Beasts back. As a huge water tower gave way and collapsed over a field of ‘Beast warriors, Ynot’s morale soared. A large brown horse ground to a halt inside the capital base of the Galaxian army, and General Ynot reared his steed high up as it neighed a call of victory.

            “Captain!” Ynot called to his friend “Tell your men to push forward and take them from behind as well as the forward assault! Any sign of the King?”

            “Nothing yet sir” the captain reported

            “Keep looking” with that, Ynot rode into the heart of the storm and swung his sword round his head. He looked to the north and pulled out his communicator. “Captain, Dominator landing craft in the north, hundreds of them!” The captain’s voice fuzzed back over the link.

            “We have to withdraw sir, we can’t stand against that military power!” Ynot shook his head

            “We do not yet know of his intentions captain, and we must complete our mission! Besides, we have nothing to retreat to! All we have is on the playing board now!”

            “Right you are sir!” as the captain said this, a huge flaming projectile crashed into the heart of the command station. Fire erupted up around the building and what was the Galaxian base, now lay in ruins. Ynot followed the boulder’s path back to Zyphell’s army. Huge catapults and ballistae were positioned on top of a large hill and thousands of troops marched slowly down it.

            “This is General Ynot calling all open Galaxian channels, are there any officers within range of my position?” Ynot waited for a reply, none came. “This cannot be, we were winning just two minutes ago, how can an army as large as ours just disappear?” The communicator fuzzed and Fang’s voice echoed over it.

            “General, this is Master Zang Fang” he said calmly “I’m onboard the Freedom 1 warship and are just entering Saturn’s atmosphere. I bring heavy reinforcements”

            “Oh, Heaven bless you Master Fang!” Ynot praised. The huge drop ships touched down and fighters swarmed into the atmosphere “We need to take out those projectile launchers, if we don’t they’ll pummel what’s left of my forces” On the bridge of Freedom 1 Fang overlooked the war.

            “This is General Zyphell’s army is it not?” he asked, Plutoon nodded in disgust. “Then this force is too small to be the main group, there must be larger drop ships in the surrounding area”

            “Are you kidding Master? There must be thousands of men down there!” Plutoon cried in disbelief.

            “No, Zyphell is up to something but I can’t put my finger on what” Fang said slowly. The communicator bleeped and Ynot’s voice could be heard. “What is it General?”

            “Our forces are on the brink of defeat, but…hold on” there was a pause then Ynot laughed triumphantly “The King of Beasts has surrendered, he is live on holoconnection now!” The King fuzzed into view, his hands shackled and his head bowed.

            “Master Zang Fang” he began “As King of the warriors under the banner of the Beasts, it is my duty to report to you that my forces are withdrawing and we are bowing to your banner. However,” his face crinkled with rage “You have not seen the last of me!” without warning, the King broke into a fearful cackle, which then merged into a hideous laugh.

            “Ynot! Execute him immediately!” cried Plutoon. The King roared and his steel chains snapped. He leapt through the air and pounced on top of an approaching guard. Stabbing the soldier through the chest, he back flipped from the corpse and crushed a second unit. Swiftly, he ripped out a knife and flung it into the neck of a third approaching soldier. “Kill him now!” The Beast King grinned and soared high into the sky, through the clouds and into the darkness of the night. “Damn!”

            Plutoon thumped the control pad. Then stormed from the bridge, Fang chased after him.

            “Where are you going?” Fang inquired after him

            “I’m going to end this!” Plutoon said sternly, he made to leave, Fang called after him again.

            “How?” Fang looked at his pupil’s back. “You think you can do it all, Plutoon, but you can’t! There are some things that cannot be stopped or prevented! Like the rise and fall of the sun, this is one of those situations! There are some things you cannot influence!” Plutoon simply turned his head back at his master.

            “But there are some things I can change” with that, he drew his sword and left. Fang stood, bewildered and dumbstruck. Slowly, concern slipped onto his face and he turned back to the bridge. As he walked in, an unexpected sight met him. Indeed, as he had predicted, hundreds of enormous drop ships, bearing the trappings of Anton Zyphell, were rumbling through Saturn’s air space. On the surface of the largest one, a huge capital turret turned about and directed fire towards Freedom 1.

            “You men! Evacuate the bridge!” Fang ordered. He leapt through the bridge doors. A bolt of plasma struck the bridge as its large metal doors slammed shut. Outside, the lump of metal, that was the command bridge, slowly floated away into space. At the same time, plasma disabled the engine systems and cut the ship’s power. The lights flickered off and screens fuzzed before blackening utterly. Inside, Fang and a large battalion of men crept through the shadowed hull of Freedom 1 and armed their guns. Fang turned to the others as a clanking noise rocked the ship. “They’re coming aboard”

 

            On the planetary platforms, Plutoon’s reinforcement craft were slowly landing and lowering their departure ramps. Thousands of Galaxian warriors debarked and sprinted into battle across the dusty plains of Saturn’s artificial landscape. Plutoon leapt from his personal ship and mounted a horse, which he then rode to the front of his forces.

            “All units mark my position!” he commanded

            “We’re on your stick sir” came the reply. The Galaxian Cavalry gathered behind Plutoon “Awaiting your orders sir”

            “Fire at will, sergeant!” Ignited arrows of fire flung through the sky, arching in the Heavens and falling to the ground. Fire consumed Zyphell’s forward unit and his men began to falter. A second wave of arrows struck his projectile launchers on the ridges of the battlefield. However, thousands more units were still leaving Zyphell’s battle cruiser. In a blare of rage, Plutoon fired a bolt of energy from his palm at the drop ship and struck a critical hit on its hull. The enormous ship snapped down the side and crumbled, in a ball of flame, upon Zyphell’s units. “Yes!”

            “Nice shot sir! That will cripple their reinforcements for sure!” cried the sergeant in joy. An explosion threw a small group of soldiers through the air as a large subterranean machine emerged from beneath the planets surface. Tunnels had been built beneath the platforms to ensure the stability and maintenance of the supports. Plutoon watched in terror as it pulverised his units and turned to attack him. He leapt from his horse as flames consumed it. While he flipped and twirled through the air, he drew his sword from his belt and landed in his offensive stance. The great ballistae on the sides of the vessel began to power down, a hatch opened on the top. Quick as a whip, three shadows leapt from the machine and landed in front of him. Three tall soldiers, dressed all in black robes with red lightning bolts across the body, now stood before him. One of them raised a long spindly finger that pointed at him.

            “Who are you?” spoke the warrior “Speak!”

            “I am Zanton Plutoon, King of Pluto and honorary defender of the Galaxians” spoke Plutoon proudly “What fiend of the deep are you?” A sneer was heard from beneath the dark robes of the three warriors.

            “We are the ancient defenders of Ionta Zytron, the greatest dark wizard to ever live” came the rasped voice “We are his entourage, his most trusted agents, and his defenders unto the end of time, space and existence” With that, the first warrior extended a long spear with jagged scraps of metal protruding from its nib. He spun it over his head then grasped it with both hands. The second spun twin daggers, jagged at the end, around his bony fingers in a florescent display of grace and power finishing in a defensive stance, ready to strike. The third, the leader of the three drew a long blade from within his cloak and placed the blade upon his shoulder. “Come forth, but be warned. Our power is beyond anything you could ever imagine!”

            “That would depend on what I can imagine!” Plutoon leapt into action, swinging his father’s blade into contact with the spear warrior’s weapon and back to defend a retaliatory strike. The twin knives twirled around and cut Plutoon’s shoulder. He grasped his wound then performed a rising strike towards the swordsman, breaking his stance. The spearman flipped over Plutoon’s head and spun his blade for the kill. Sensing this, Zanton spun and gashed his foe’s face. The warrior fell back, screaming in rage and pain. This action enraged the others, who attacked with terrifying speed and ferocity. Whipping sounds as the blades cut through the thin Saturn air pierced Plutoon’s ears to the very heart, but on he fought. A cartwheel kick from the spearman sent Plutoon tumbling to the ground once more. But still he got back up and swung back, only to be met by the butt of the spear and to fall back again. He got to his knees, the dark warriors all sneered as one.

            “Why get up?” the leader kicked Plutoon’s face and sent him sprawling to the floor. “You are beaten, why get back up? You cannot defeat us, it is over!” Rage filled Plutoon’s face as he cried out with a roar that shook the clouds and rattled the stars. He ferociously attacked the twin-swordsman and sent him tumbling to the ground. With a swipe of his blade the twin blades were flung from his foe’s hands as the two wrestled on the ground, one upon the other. Plutoon pushed down hard to finish off his enemy, who punched him hard in the face as the struggle continued. The other two walked closer, but the third called back to them.

            “Stay back! I shall finish him!” they rolled across the dunes, the warrior took a shot to Plutoon’s head and threw him off. He leapt in for the final blow, but Zanton rolled to the side and flung his blade into his enemy and it drove him through. With a groan of pain, the Dark Warrior evaporated in a cloud of shadow and Plutoon’s sword fell to the ground. The others looked at the spot where their partner had perished, then up at Plutoon. They leapt towards him, spinning their weapons in rage. Anger and frustration drove them forwards as they frantically dodged, swung, struck and spun their weapons at Plutoon. The three weapons connected in a glare of light, then Plutoon forced the lock to the ground and spun around gracefully. There was a pause, then the head of the spearman rolled from his shoulders and across the sand. The body collapsed and evaporated as the other had.

            “You fool! How dare you strike my brethren down!” cursed the swordsman.

            “You fight my friend, eventually you are defeated! That day is today!” Plutoon leapt forwards and the two blades crossed again and again. The warriors fought on as they travelled across the war-torn landscape, between corpses and around ruins. Eventually, they approached the ruins of the old Galaxian command base, laying in flame and turmoil. The two locked weapons and struggled against each other’s strength.

            “There is no point in resisting!” cursed the warrior “You will become more evil than any Dark Lord has ever been, with your own group of assassins, as it has been written for centuries! Your fate is pre-decided, you are doomed!” Anger flared in Plutoon’s eyes.

            “No!” He broke the lock and swung his blade furiously, pounding his enemy’s. With one tremendous swing, his enemy’s blade was broken and dropped to the floor. Plutoon grabbed a thick power cord and drove it into his foe’s chest. Power surged through the dark warrior as he screamed in pain. Through his screams of agony, he spoke his final words.

            “My Lord! I have failed you!” One final blare of agony followed, and the warrior exploded into dark smoke. His armour dropped the ground and left Plutoon standing alone.

The End

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