Plutoon and Isabelle took the first ship off Mercury and back to Plutoon’s home planet. With the assassination of the Galaxians and the imminent threat to public life, huge quantities of civilians were ordered from Mercury for their own safety. The Prime Minister was settling in to his safe house, from where he was still able to conduct political consultations and hearings. But with the representatives of the galaxy in a charred, smoking heap, the closest thing to the Galaxians was the Venus Elders, an organisation of the wisest people on Venus. Hearing of this, Troton Zyphell ordered them to come to Mercury to stand-in for the Galaxians, as a method of reassuring the public that he had not lost control.
The Freedom 1 fleet launched and began the journey for a showdown on Earth’s moon. It was quickly decided that Zang Fang was to command the ground forces as Supreme Commander, while Master Tiange should accompany him as Chief Strategist. The entire Galaxian army was wedged into the fleet for the ultimate showdown outside of Mercury, the army held it’s breath. As the final preparations began, the commotion focused on the Capital Bridge. People ran about madly, flicking switches and pressing buttons. Fang, Tiange and General Ynot walked coolly onto the busy bridge and all sat down. Ynot summoned the command team to form around himself, Fang and Tiange and began the meeting.
“Troops, our main concern is, of course, Commander Anton Zyphell himself” he began “Now Commander Fang will lead you into battle against the enemy’s generals, your objective is simple. Stall the enemy forces and wait for Master Tiange’s signal” General Zaan, an ex-military strategist, stood and raised his hand.
“And how, do you propose, we do that?” he inquired, “From my strategic knowledge and my ten years of experience, this ploy is a shamble! Your men will be trapped and slain with everything that Zyphell can muster! I know this, I was a strategist if you’ll remember!” Ynot leant forward in his chair
“Of course I know, I fired you and had you demoted to general class,” he said. Ynot flipped a switch on his chair and a round desk slid from beneath the ground, on this desk a map of the moon appeared “Now, Anton Zyphell has deployed troops at the summit of Mt. Zahaan on the Eastern side. I will command a force of a thousand troops to meet his force there and rout them. We have also received word from our satellite, which I must add was attacked and destroyed yesterday, that Commander Zyphell has also set up a fortified control centre on Crater Plains. He has been operating from this base for years in secret, undetected even by us. This is our next objective. Commander Fang and Master Tiange will lead the remaining nine thousand men on a frontal assault. Master Tiange will now explain his plan” Tiange stood
“Now, I have sensed a large enemy presence within the walls of the base. They are heavily armed, but extremely dim-witted” he gave a calm smile “They are to be avoided however. The people we are to target are the security forces, the guards. Commander Zyphell is in the central control room behind the fourth wall, this must be assaulted and Zyphell captured” Again General Zaan stood, Ynot moved to argue his motion
“I do not wish to mock your strategy Tiange but I have two questions” he said, “First I must ask why Zanton Plutoon will not be joining us?” Tiange sighed heavily “Surely the greatest young warrior of Mercury should aid us in this, the final battle with Anton Zyphell” Fang stood
“I’ll take that question Zaan” he said “Plutoon will not be joining us for one reason, but this reason would affect and could endanger the mission. He will not be joining us because he is seeing Zyphell’s sister. The two are in a relationship with one another and this could cloud his judgement” Zaan looked at his feet and sniggered “Pass judgement for yourself, failure, he is a success and deserves the spoils of victory”
“Very well, I accept your answer Zang Fang” Zaan said in a cocky sneer “And my final question is directed at you Master Tiange. Is it true, that your brother is one of Zyphell’s generals?” he smiled grimly, Tiange also looked down
“It is true” he spoke under his breath “He betrayed the Galaxians and began investigating military options. I hunted him down, I duelled him, and I won. I then banished him from Mercury forever, effective immediately and on pain of death. It killed me to do it but I had to. He then joined Anton Zyphell’s private army and was a key contributor in turning it into the largest military force in the galaxy” the room was silent, Fang bowed his head and Zaan sneered again.
“Well then” he said, “Do you not consider the fact that he is family to cause you to lose focus?” Fang finally snapped
“Right!” he blared; Zaan looked at him with fear in his eyes “I have just about had enough of your whinging and complaining! We attack now, the forces of Anton Zyphell will be both lost and helpless with the capture of their master” he dismissed them. Zaan gave a long backward glance at him before returning to his work post.
The Plutonian peasants heartily welcomed their King home and treated his partner with the utmost respect, giving her treasures as welcome gifts to their planet. They showered their lord in gifts and thanks and prepared a mighty feast to celebrate his return to them. When the evening finally arrived, the guests gathered in the Hall of the Great Dragon and tucked into a banquet of rare meats, mouth-watering vegetation and luscious wines. While he waited for Isabelle’s arrival, King Plutoon stood at the head of the large table to give a speech of thanks.
“My glorious public and greatest friends” he began “we are at a turning point in our history! Master Fang and Master Tiange are, as we speak, launching a final assault on the dreaded Anton Zyphell! And Master Tiange has discovered that security around the commander is at an all time lax!” the room cheered, they raised their goblets and cheered Plutoon’s name “Tonight, I promise you that Anton Zyphell will never touch us again!” the room was an uproar of applause. Plutoon’s name was chanted repeatedly and he held his hands high in pride, then lowered them and his jaw slowly dropped. He stared across the room to the entrance and smiled. Isabelle stood, wearing a beautiful regal blue dress with a red chest and ribbon on the back. She looked over at him and walked towards him.
“My lord” she said politely and curtseyed, holding up the side of her dress. Her long black hair was in plats at the back, held in place with a Venusian blue rose and an Earth red rose. Her lips were thick red and her long eyelashes fluttered as they had the day Plutoon was captured by her beauty. Plutoon bowed and kissed her hand; raising his head he spotted something behind her. On the circular windowpane, in perfect detail, he saw the smiling face of his father. Plutoon smiled up at his father and he smiled back, but in a billow of black smoke the face was gone. Replaced by the sneering, mad-eyed face of Anton Zyphell. Sensing her partner’s distress, Isabelle stroked the top of Plutoon’s head “Hey, are you alright?” he looked down at her.
“Fine, just fine” he said “You look beautiful, you remind me of my mother the night of her wedding. Come, let us go meet the guests” they walked away, Plutoon gave a long glance back at the window, Zyphell’s face was gone.
The Freedom 1 fleet began dropping troops on the surface of Earth’s moon; they moved out and set up a temporary command centre. Fang’s shuttle landed and he debarked, surrounded by an entourage of armed bodyguards. He approached the command centre and flicked a few random switches to authorise Tiange’s landing. Fang watched as the shuttle shot across the plains to its destination, and he couldn’t help a feeling deep in his gut that his friend was flying to his doom. Moving his thoughts away from this, he noticed something incredibly strange.
“Zyphell is here all right, I can sense him but…” he looked up to space “where is Dominator?” the space above their heads was empty, only Freedom 1 lingered there. Alone in the cold abyss of space, this worried Fang “Anton Zyphell would not set up camp on the moon without Dominator as his protection. I have a feeling that Master Tiange is being deceived” he shook his head “No, Master Tiange is too powerful to be merely deceived by Zyphell’s cheap sorcery. What is the status on Mt. Zahaan?”
“General Aark has deployed his troops at the summit and have begun marching down the slopes,” reported Ynot. Aark was a mutated Plutonian sorcerer who was savaged by a monstrous spider creature in his early life. With damaged eyesight and a crooked nose, Aark was known across the galaxy as a creature described as a ‘goblin’. This form, a result of the spider’s venom, consisted of highly stimulated muscles, faded green skin and a never ending desire to kill. Fang patted his friend’s shoulder and smiled.
“Move the main force towards the mountain, we shall engage at once” he looked up towards the sunset “We shall strike before they are ready for us and take advantage of the confusion” a soldier approached and bowed
“Aark’s troops have halted halfway down the mountain and have set up a camp” he reported
“Send the troops in immediately” Ynot ordered, the troop bowed and the moon shook as the large cavalry force rumbled up the mountain. Hundreds of units followed behind as the massive force approached the final destination.
Nightfall shrouded the forces in a cloak of blackness, and the strike unit drew his arrow back and let it fly. It pierced the neck of the guard by the gate and he flopped to the floor. The body was hidden, and the strike unit pulled out another arrow. Peeping through a hole in the fence, he spotted the main force, sitting by their tents with small fires cooking food. The unit looked back at Ynot
“Right, let’s get things started here” He was cut off by a yelp of pain, he looked back to see one of his fall from his horse as and arrow struck his back. “What? The enemy? We’re under attack!” from inside the camp, a soldier shouted out loudly to raise the alarm. Aark’s voice rang through the air.
“An enemy assault? Engage at once!” The gates smashed open and the large ambush force leapt in, swinging their weapons into their foes. Men fell in all directions, bodies littered the floor as arrows rained from the walls above. Aark rode out from the camp upon a black wolf, his green flesh rotting in the open air, and his teeth as yellow as the morning sun. “Come forth! I challenge you!” Ynot mounted a horse from one his fallen comrades.
“If I must!” he charged towards his foe and the blades clashed. Around them, bodies lay scattered on the slope and the rest continued to fight. Ynot and Aark swung their blades at each other once more and backed up their horses. Ynot’s steed rose to full height upon its hind legs and neighed a distress call, which rang through the night like a Plutonian War Alarm. At the main camp, Fang turned back toward the mountain and saw the blazing fires.
“Oh no, no, no!” he ranted madly. “You men, charge all units!” he mounted his horse and raised his staff “Take them head on! Charge!” His reinforcements charged at full pelt towards the mountain, cheering the name of Mercury. Aark’s forces yelped in fear and retreated behind the camp wall, sealing the gate and locking their leader out. Aark roared in fury at his insolent troops.
“You fools! Get out here and fight!” he roared. He raised his blade and brought it down hard on Ynot’s. The shock sent both falling from their steed and rolling across the dirt. Ynot found his feet and brought his blade up into his foe, Aark screamed with rage and the two fought fiercely at each other. Dust rose around their feet as they locked weapons and pushed hard. As Ynot broke the lock, he gave a cry of rage as he swung his sword and sent his foe’s blade shattering from his hand. The handle struck the ground and Aark yelped as he clutched his stinging hand and rolling in the dirt. Ynot approached and pointed his long sword at his foes neck, Aark rose both hands “I surrender! Please, I am asking you for mercy!” Ynot sneered
“Mercy? Surrender?” he let out a blare of laughter “You just don’t get it, do you? People have died today because of you! Hundreds of men, all of which had families, and children waiting at the door for them to return. Because of you, all of those children, all of those families, will face disappointment and trauma this evening!” Aark moved to argue, but the blade of his opponent cut the side of his neck “Do you really think that surrender is still an option?” Aark’s eyes widened as Ynot grabbed his throat and lifted him. He stood Aark upright and swung his blade back over his shoulder “Farewell!” He brought his blade around and through his foe’s neck, his green head rolled from his shoulders and the body slumped into the dirt. Ynot looked down at the corpse that lay before him, the light slowly faded from the eye of the head and a flash of pity swept through Ynot’s “This goes against the laws of combat, but…” he looked away from the corpse and to the chaos that continued to rage “…the perpetuators of war do not deserve to be treated as civil individuals.
The golden ballroom of Pluto was filled with dancing as the night progressed. Plutoon and Isabelle glided elegantly across the floor; he twirled her and caught her in his arms. The music slowly faded and the audience and dancers applauded the orchestra, they bowed and left their positions for a break. Plutoon summoned the entire room to the main table and stood proudly at its head, raising both hands out to the sky.
“Fantastic, incredible!” he cried “Please join me in thanking these talented individuals for their fantastic performance this evening!” the room burst into applause “Isabelle, would you join me?” her face a light shade of pink, Isabelle walked over to her lord and he held out his hand to her. She took it and Plutoon placed his hand on top, kneeling before her. “Since you came into my life, I have seen the true beauty of the galaxy. You possess beauty I thought existed only in dreams, your eyes are like stars and your spirit is that of a majestic unicorn. I have a proposition for you, great goddess of beauty. Would you do me the honour of walking alongside me as Queen of Pluto and Lady of the Southern Sector?” Isabelle placed her hand on her chest and sighed heavily. She looked into Plutoon’s eyes, seeing for the first time how captivated he was by her. She smiled.“King Plutoon of Pluto, I accept your proposition” she said calmly “Together, we shall bring about an age that will allow this planet to flourish in this time of chaos” Plutoon’s eyes lit up, he shot up and the two embraced one another. The audience applauded their approval, and in the night sky a second star joined Plutoon’s in the abyss of space.