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*** CooCooKaJoo was in his lab. He was looking around for anything he might have missed. All his tools were on the table by the door; he had a fresh pot of coffee brewing, and the middle of room had been cleared to make space for the one thing that was missing. He looked up above the door and saw it was just gone 12 o’clock. ‘They’re running late,’ he murmured to himself. ‘What could be keeping them?’ He walked over to a window in the wall on the right of the lab, and looked out to see if there was any sign of them. He looked down at the relatively empty street, then his eyesight moved up, looking out at the city. It was a magnificent sight. The vast skyscrapers going miles up into the clear blue sky, the multitude of cars and transports flying through the air, along with the odd security vehicle. To the North, he could make out rolling fields, and beyond that, the great snow capped mountains, stretching along the horizon, as far as the eye could see. He looked around the surrounding area of his laboratory, for any sign of them arriving. There was none, but of course he didn’t expect to be able to see them. If people saw them, they might start asking questions. Sighing, he turned around, and headed to the kettle, and watched as it poured itself. Once it had, he turned to the bookcase, and found the book he had started reading a few weeks ago. He opened he book to where the bookmarked showed he had left off and began to read Chapter 6: Enter the Lauxessnart. The book was about a two humanoids, evicted from their home world by an invading alien conglomerate, who were now stuck on a spaceship full of mutants. He had no idea who had written it, or even where it came from. All he knew was that it was left behind the last time the Video Lords had visited a few years ago. He had only gotten a few lines in, when a loud beep echoed around the room, followed by a familiar, high-pitched voice. ‘We’ve got it! Can you let us in?’ ‘Now what kind of bird would I be to refuse entry to my brother?’ CooCooKaJoo chuckled as he leant over to the bookcase and tugged on a large red book. Almost as soon as he did this, the whole wall opposite began to slide open, revealing 3 roosters standing around what appeared to be a large, orange spaceship. ‘A brother, I might add, who is nearly an hour late!’ ‘Sorry, but we had to keep taking detours. Didn’t want to be seen with his thing did we?’ Xander replied as CooCooKaJoo put his coffee and book to one side, and get up to meet the newcomers. ‘McKimson! How have you been?’ CooCooKaJoo asked. McKimson was abnormally large for a rooster. His feathers were completely white except for his head and tail, which were brown. ‘Oh not too bad!’ McKimson replied in his strange accent which, those who knew what it was would describe it as South American*1 CooCooKaJoo then turned his attention to the other rooster. He was small, and was brown all over, except for his almost black tail. The most notable feature about him was his metal right wing and leg. ‘Gary, I’m so sorry about…’ CooCooKaJoo began, gesturing at the wing. ‘Oh it’s no problem!’ Gary replied in his flat, almost robotic tone. ‘The doctors nowadays are magnificent! Wouldn’t be half the bird I am now if it wasn’t for them! Of course, I
Of course, McKimson wasn’t from South America, he couldn’t have been. That particular continent hadn’t actually formed yet. Plus, it was on a completely different planet entirely.
wish they could have given me a better voice. This thing makes me sound like the robot I’ve become!’ CooCooKaJoo smiled but didn’t joke about it any further, so as not to cause offence. ‘Where’s Fuzz?’ he asked, changing the subject. ‘Oh she got summoned by the council. She couldn’t say what about, though,’ McKimson said. ‘She’s been very busy lately, what with her being made a General and all.’ ‘Oh well, we could have done with her help but, when duty calls!’ CooCooKaJoo sighed. ‘Anyway, come on let’s get this thing inside and see what makes it tick!’ *** ‘How’s he doing?’ Will-ko enquired from the doorway to the Medical Centre. ‘Ah, William,’ Professor Lotvilo said brightly as he bustled around to Fred’s bedside. ‘He’s still unconscious but he’s perfectly fine. There’s an unusual amount of brain activity occurring for some reason, but he’ll outlive us all I’d wager. There’s a lot of fight in him, I can tell.’ ‘Good,’ Will-ko said, breathing a sigh of relief. ‘Every time I see him, he’s in hospital. When I left The Mercury Rooms, he was being treated for a bullet wound, from when we escaped the facility. I never even really got to know him that well.’ ‘Well, not to dampen your spirits,’ Professor Lotvilo sighed. ‘But the way this battle with Mezmaron has been going, I’d wager that you’ll have plenty of time to get to know him.’ ‘Ever the optimist aren’t you, Proff?’ Will-ko smiled as he passed by the Professor and ascended the spiral staircase in the back of the building that led up to the conference room. ‘I do what I can’ Professor Lotvilo said, scratching his greying beard as Will-ko vanished up the staircase. The Professor checked on Fred’s stats while he was at the young man’s bedside. He was going out of order; he hadn’t meant to come by this way for at least another hour. There were so many more patients for him to take care of, so many victims of both the Ghosts and of their own recklessness and stupidity. Then there were people like Fred. Cast head-first into The Forbidden Zone without so much as a by-your-leave. It was tragic, people sucked in, never able to find an escape. Just like The Professor himself, just like a whole lot of people. Hundreds of them. The Professor sighed and massaged his temples with his latex glove-clad hand. He picked up the little clipboard beside Fred’s bed and noted the stats he had just recorded. A moment later, Fred screamed. The scream was short lived, serving only to bring Fred into an upright sitting position, his bulging eyes staring around the room as he heaved in breaths in quick succession. ‘Easy, easy,’ Lotvilo said, laying a reassuring hand on Fred as he guided him back down to the bed. ‘Take a deep breath, you’re alright. You’re safe.’ ‘Where am I?’ Fred demanded, casing his eyes everywhere. ‘This isn’t The Mercury Rooms.’ ‘No,’ Professor Lotvilo said, shaking his head. ‘No, my unfortunate friend, this is The Forbidden Zone … I’m so very sorry to have to tell you that.’ ‘The Forbidden Zone?’ Fred frowned. ‘I … I don’t know of that place … who are you?’ ‘I’m Professor Lotvilo,’ The Professor said brightly. ‘You, I believe … are Fred.’ Fred’s eyes widened. ‘There are others here?’ He asked, baring his teeth. ‘Which ones followed me?’ ‘Calm, calm,’ The Professor said, holding up his hands. ‘It seems you are fortunate. Our dimension has been playing host to a colleague of yours for some time. Goes by the name of Will-ko.’ ‘Will-ko,’ Fred nodded, narrowing his eyes. ‘Will-ko never got to know … me.’ ‘He said much the same about you,’ The Professor smiled. ‘Is he near?’ Fred asked urgently. ‘Yes,’ Professor Lotvilo nodded. ‘But there’ll be plenty of time to talk later. Right now, you need your rest.’
‘I don’t need rest,’ Fred spat. ‘I need to get back to The Mercury Rooms!’ ‘Steady,’ Professor Lotvilo said, laying a hand on Fred’s shoulder to stop him from rising again. ‘Nobody can go anywhere right now, so put it out of your mind for the time being. Lay your worries aside and rest. Allow you mind to clear.’ ‘Allow my mind to clear?’ Fred said, pondering over the words with a sly smile. He looked up into Professor Lotvilo’s kindly face and grinned, his eyes widening, a crackle of blue appearing in his Isis. ‘You know … Professor … I think you should take your own advice.’ *** ‘It just doesn’t make sense!’ CooCooKaJoo exclaimed. ‘What doesn’t?’ Xander asked from underneath the glider. ‘Well, we’ve been taking this thing apart for the better part of two hours, and all of the technology used in it, is way too advanced for the Foxtrots!’ CooCooKaJoo stressed. ‘Well, like what?’ Gary asked, confused. ‘Like this!’ CooCooKaJoo hissed, making a small, elongated cylinder with small spikes sticking out of it. ‘What the hell is that?’ McKimson asked. ‘I’m not sure what it’s called, but it’s essentially a speed booster. Like we use on our fighters, but just much more powerful. I think that’s how they move so fast,’ CooCooKaJoo mused. ‘And that’s just the start of it, the tracking devices have a much higher range than before, and the pressure they can withstand is more than we thought possible for them!’ ‘Well where did all this new technology come from?’ Gary asked worriedly. ‘How on Gallus should I know?’ CooCooKaJoo asked exasperatedly. ‘Well you’re the one who designed most of the ships in our armed forces! Out of anyone in our solar system, you should know the most on the matter!’ Gary replied flatly. CooCooKaJoo groaned and replied, ‘Well, I’ve only ever seen technology like this once, and if it’s who I think I is, if they are providing the foxtrots with technology, then we’re all in big trouble.’ They were all silent. No one said anything for a long time until Xander finally asked the question the all wanted to ask. ‘Well? Who do you think it is? Who’s giving them the technology?’ ‘The Darlin’s.’ CooCooKaJoo said bluntly. Once again none of them said a thing. None of them moved, taking in the information that was just thrown at them. Then after what seemed like an age Xander broke the silence again. ‘We have to tell the council. If the Darlin’s are in cahoots with the Foxtrots, then we have to tell them, so they can contact the Video Lords.’ ‘Well that’s all fine and dandy,’ McKimson said. ‘But no-one gets to see the council unless summoned!’ ‘Well they’ll make an exception for-’ Gary began. ‘When have the council ever made an exce-’ Xander interrupted quickly but he stopped abruptly and looked up as if thinking. No one questioned his strange behaviour. Firstly, it was common for someone to do this when receiving a telepathic message and secondly, they were all doing it. After about 4 seconds, they all returned to their normal state. ‘Did you all get the message too?’ CooCooKaJoo queried. They all nodded. ‘Talk about good timing! Come on, help me get this thing next door so no-one finds it, and lets go!’ *** ‘It appears that Mezmaron’s forces have begun to gether more directly around the southern wastelands,’ Wish said, indicating the area on a map behind him. ‘There is no question that he is directing them there now, because he is preparing to open is portal.’ ‘It could always be a diversion,’ Blacky commented, narrowing his eyes and adjusting his spectacles. ‘Sending his troops to mass at one side of the board while he roams around
at the other. Simple but effective. He could have another portal site that actually works stashed away somewhere.’ ‘Possibly,’ Wish nodded. ‘But it’s much more likely that Mezmaron is increasing his guard because he finally has the means to open up a portal. A way out of here.’ ‘We’ve known about Mezmaron’s portal for years now,’ a small white cat named Jodocroco cut in. ‘But he’s never been able to open it, what has changed? There’s no way for it to be opened!’ ‘Maybe he knows something that you don’t,’ Skelifish pondered. ‘Holy crap,’ CAD breathed. ‘So, he could finally be getting out of here.’ ‘And destroying The Forbidden Zone on his way out,’ Montana rasped. ‘Which is why it is crucial that we know exactly what he is up to,’ Wish nodded. ‘We need to start preparing to leave the labyrinth. I’ll lead a scouting party ahead to assess the situation, but everybody needs to be ready to leave this place as soon as I give the word. Otherwise, it may be the case that people will still be here if and when Mezmaron manages to destroy this world.’ ‘And that would be a problem,’ Skelifish said, nodding. ‘Quite a large one,’ Guy Garner said, rising to his feet. ‘I’ll begin evacuation procedures immediately.’ ‘Good,’ Wish said abruptly. ‘You’ll be needing volunteers for that scouting party,’ Will-ko said, putting his hand in the air and dragging Skelifish’s with it. ‘As many good men as I can get,’ Wish said thankfully. ‘He’s in for disappointment with you then,’ Skelifish said to Will-ko grumpily. ‘Yes, he certainly is.’ Will-ko turned his head to discover Fred standing behind him. ‘I hear all the magic’s gone right out of him,’ Fred grinned. ‘FRED!’ Will-ko said, clapping his fellow escapee on the arm. ‘Fuck me sideways! How the hell are you?’ ‘All the better for being alive,’ Fred smiled. ‘All the better for seeing a familiar face.’ ‘I know what you mean,’ Will-ko beamed. ‘Hey, we’re going on a scouting mission to check out the bad guy’s evil headquarters that’s surrounded by Ghost monsters. You wanna come?’ ‘He’s making it sound more exciting than it actually is,’ Skelifish said, rolling his eyes. ‘I’m afraid I can’t,’ Fred said, bringing a hand to his ribs. ‘Professor’s orders. I have to stay put and rest a while. I’ll be in trouble for coming up here, no doubt.’ ‘It’s damn good to see you anyway, Fred,’ Will-ko said, heading for the door with Wish and Skelifish. ‘I want to hear all about what’s been going on back home when we get back!’ Fred smiled after them until they had disappeared out into the hallway and down the spiral staircase. ‘I’ll fill you in soon enough,’ Fred smiled. *** CooCooKaJoo, Xander, McKimson and Gary were approaching an extremely large building. A 50 foot high black dome, with no visible windows or entrance. Although it was small, it was extremely imposing, probably because there were no buildings for a mile in all directions and even those closest were no taller than the dome. A great hole in the city, with nothing in it, except for the dome. The Roosters called it The Eye. They walked up to the edge and announced their names. ‘Billy Peebles!’ ‘Alexander Peebles!’ ‘Robert McKimson!’ ‘Garrett Cribbs!’ A small hole appeared, and began to grow, larger and larger, until it was a completely circular hole around two feet high, in the side of the complexly smooth exterior of The Eye, with a strange dark glow coming from inside. ‘You’re name’s Garrett Cribbs?!’ McKimson laughed.
‘Yes, Gary replied stiffly. ‘No wonder you chose Gary! Come on then, don’t want to keep the council waiting!’ He said it he stepped through the whole, and into The Eye. Greg sighed, hung his head and followed. CooCooKaJoo and Xander looked each other. ‘After you, Xander smiled. ‘Why thank you!’ CooCooKaJoo remarked and stepped into the glow. Xander turned around and took in the view, before stepping in after his brother. Inside was as bright as day. It was one gigantic room, the same dome shape as the outside, only it wasn’t black, It was like a giant window. You could see everything that went on outside. There was no-one at all in the dome except in the centre, where there was a semi-circular stone podium, with three roosters sitting behind and someone standing in front of them, talking to them. The group made their way over to the podium, as the hole closed behind them. The someone standing in front of them, however, was not a rooster, but a chicken. She was white from head to tail with black speckles all over. ‘Hello Fuzz,’ Xander said quietly, but the magnificence of the dome amplified his voice, to make it sound a lot louder that it was. Fuzz turned around and smiled. ‘Hi guys. You got my message then?’ ‘Yes we did, and can I say it was excellent timing. We needed to see the council anyway,’ CooCooKaJoo said quietly, so his voice wasn’t so loud. ‘Well,’ said Fuzz, ‘They’re all yours!’ CooCooKaJoo smiled to show thanks and then turned to face the Council. All three roosters were quite old, they had lost a few feathers, and the colour was fading from the ones that remained. They were all, or had once been, black from head to tail and were perched on the podium, waiting politely to be addressed. ‘Sires,’ CooCooKaJoo began. ‘Earlier today scans picked up a fallen Foxtrot glider, two miles outside the city. I sent my team to retrieve it for analysis and when we had got it back to my laboratory and dismantled it, what we found was, shocking, to say the least.’ The Elders sat forward intently, but did not interrupt. ‘What we found was technology in the glider, which surpasses what we thought possible of the Foxtrots. When we looked at it closer, well, it became apparent it was not Foxtrot technology.’ CooCooKaJoo paused at this point, whilst the Elders looked at him closely. Then the Elder in the centre spoke. ‘Well if it wasn’t Foxtrot technology, then who’s could it be?’ He said in a strained voice. ‘Our information tells us they have no allies who would provide them with technology!’ ‘Well your information is wrong,’ CooCooKaJoo retorted. ‘The technology in that glider, I’ve only seen once before, when the Video Lords visited last. It’s Darlin technology Sires.’ Fuzz stumbled back three paces when she heard this, and the Elders ruffled their wings in agitation. ‘If this is true then it even more reason to do what we summoned you here for,’ said the one on the left, with a frail voice. ‘Can I ask what that is Sire?’ asked McKimson. ‘Of course you may,’ he replied. No one said anything, and McKimson looked at the elderly rooster expectantly. After about ten seconds, McKimson frowned and then asked in a very annoyed tone, ‘What is the reason you summoned us here, Sire?’ ‘Ah, excellent question!’ The Elder clucked. ‘We are losing this war. Although our technology, well until now, our technology surpassed the Foxtrots, but the sheer number of them is overwhelming us. We have already lost two planets to them, and are in the process of losing more. We cannot win this war, especially now that they are in league with the Darlin’s. We haven’t a chance. Except, maybe one.’ *** ‘It hasn’t been the same,’ Fred said, leaning back, his voice quiet, almost a whisper. ‘Something happened … something … perverse.’ Professor Lotvilo merely nodded, thoughtfully stroking his beard. The Medical Centre was deserted spare for the two of them. They sat alone amidst the patients that
couldn’t be moved. The ones that were completely devoid of life. The ones that may as well have been dead. Fred had commented that it was ironic. Something that made sense to him and him alone. ‘Before,’ Fred continued. ‘There was the two of us. Fred Kelly and The Buster-Bot. With the one completely dominating the other. Then … then there was … him … The Dr.’ ‘The Video Lord,’ Professor Lotvilo growled. ‘He did something,’ Fred hissed, pounding the bed with his fist. ‘I’m not the same as before … my decisions they were … clear … they were precise … I knew what had to be done. Destruction … death … retaliation against those that stole from my creators.’ ‘Strict programming,’ Professor Lotvilo nodded. ‘But … when I returned from The Dr.’s mind-fuck … we were no longer two … there wasn’t a struggle … just one new … perfect whole. Fred and Buster, together as one. It appears he’s made me … human. We struggled like before at first, but whatever The Dr. did to us, it melded two brains into one. At first I thought I was The Buster-Bot again, back in my rightful place … but now that I consider the matter … that is no longer the case. I have been defiled by humanity. My purity has been compromised. I’m having … feelings …’ ‘And now your judgement is impaired?’ Professor Lotvilo asked. ‘My judgement was always impaired,’ Fred snapped. ‘Fed with Vix Vulpi’s whining to destroy the people taking away his capital. To put his profit margins back on track. Now, my mind is clear of all that. Now, I have a purpose of my own. I have my very own will to live …’ ‘Which is?’ Professor Lotvilo raised an eyebrow. Fred looked at him with fierce eyes. ‘Revenge.’ *** The whole laboratory shook with the force of an explosion overhead, followed suddenly by a loud droning, which disappeared as quickly as it arrived. The lone occupant of the laboratory ignored these noises, as he ran around the room, moving as much as he could into a suitcase, which was hovering several centimetres off the floor, following the rooster around the room as he went. As the minutes wore on, he began to get tired, and kept looking at the clock that was hanging lopsided on the wall to his left, above the door. Ten past four, they were late. He ruffled his tail feathers in anxiousness. His pace slowed down, whereas the explosions and drones became more frequent and closer. After a few more anxious minutes, there was another explosion, much closer this time, which caused books to fall off their shelves, beakers and vials to fall off their stands and smash, and dust to fall from the ceiling, covering almost everything in the room, as well as the rooster. He shook the dust off his orange and gold feathers, and ran over to the books which had fallen, the suitcase following. He shifted some of the books around with his feet, and picked out the ones he thought would be useful, hovering them a foot off the floor and sending them floating into the suitcase, all with only the slightest twitch from his dark green tail feathers. Suddenly, there was a massive roar above him, as the roof fell in, bringing mortar and bricks down on top of him. Luckily, he was able to create a shield around himself, and watched as the rocks and rubble bounced of an invisible wall. When the falling rocks ceased, he pulled himself up on top of the rubble, which had covered most of the room. His orange feathers, and brown suitcase, which he had also managed to protect, looked out of place in the room, which was now completely grey from the dust, which had come with the rubble. Looking overhead, into the great blue chasm of the sky, he could see large orange ships overhead, miles in the sky, many smaller orange dots, zooming to and from it. An orange blur passed overhead, followed 5 seconds later by the low droning noise it made. The door on the left, suddenly burst open, and a brown feathered, green tailed rooster, with a yellow beak was standing in the frame. ‘Billy! What are you still doing
here? Everyone is looking for you; the transport has to leave now, we can’t wait any longer!’ He shouted over the explosions, which were almost constant now. ‘No, I can’t leave yet!’ CooCooKaJoo retorted back. ‘My family said they would meet me in my lab, Xander, so until they arrive, I’m packing whatever I’m going to need on this ‘quest’.’ Xander looked around at the destroyed laboratory, and then looked at CooCooKaJoo and raised an eyebrow. More explosions boomed outside. ‘They’re not going to meet you here, Billy,’ he said as softly as he could over the explosions. ‘You don’t know that! Their transport here is probably just held up, I’m sure they’ll make it through,’ he said, gazing up at the open ceiling. ‘No, I do know that. I went to meet them at station 23, to make sure they got here safely. I watched as the transport was coming in to dock, but one of the Foxtrot gliders arrived,’ Xander said darkly, his head hung low. ‘They blockaded the station, stopping anyone from getting into dock. They-’ He broke off. CooCooKaJoo was staring at him, tears glistening in his eyes. ‘They blew up all the transports. I watched them, they destroyed all of them, your family’s included.’ He paused, as if he hadn’t properly taken it in yet. ‘We tied to stop them, we tried everything! But you know how fast those things are nowadays! There was nothing we could do. CooCooKaJoo stared at him for a long time ignoring the multiple explosions outside. Xander just stared at the ground, not daring to say a thing. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, CooCooKaJoo spoke. ‘No,’ he said softly. ‘No, it’s not true.’ ‘No, Billy, it is,’ Xander replied as calmly as he could. ‘NO! It can’t be true! It just can’t!’ CooCooKaJoo shouted in response. ‘Billy! It’s true! They’re dead!’ he exclaimed. ‘You have to accept that they’re gone! You have to get to the transport. We’ve got a job to do!’ CooCooKaJoo stared at Xander, almost dumbstruck, but then he started shaking his head, and began to walk towards the door. ‘Where are you going?’ Xander asked worriedly. ‘Where do you think, Alexander?’ he replied mockingly. ‘To find my family!’ ‘What?! You can’t go out there alone! You’ll be killed!’ Xander shouted pleadingly. ‘I don’t care!’ CooCooKaJoo shouted back. ‘Then I’m sorry, brother,’ Xander whispered. He looked at a large rock, which had fallen in when the ceiling collapsed, and lifted it with his mind. His eyes moved swiftly towards the doorframe, where CooCooKaJoo was walking out of the room, and the rock followed, knocking him out instantly. *** ‘What exactly am I supposed to be looking at?’ Will-ko asked, peering through a pair of binoculars as a mass of the Ghosts wafted across the baron plains of the Southern Wastelands. ‘There,’ Wish said, pointing with his orange-gloved yellow hand at the very centre, where a large structure had been constructed out of the blue wall materials. It was a stunted tower, a raised platform protruding from the centre, where a large ring had been thrown together. A small crackle of white pulsed through the centre of the circle, and then vanished from view once more. ‘That’s what we’re looking for?’ Wish said, licking his lips. ‘Mezmaron’s portal has become active again. It must be the way she left.’ ‘There’s a she now?’ Skelifish clucked. ‘She was the guardian of our world. Or she was supposed to be. She never did her job the way that she was meant to. Always leaving this world to go about her own business. Never allowing anybody to go with her. She never considered Mezmaron a threat. She said she liked to watch what he was doing. She said she liked it that he didn’t know she could crush him at any time. And now, it looks like she’s gone for good and left us with the problem completely.’ ‘Elysium,’ Will-ko growled.
‘That’s right,’ Wish said, biting his lip. ‘She was bound to this world. She had to substitute her absence by forcing people to take her place here. That’s why there are so very many of us trapped in The Forbidden Zone. The only way she could ever leave completely was if she bound herself to a person outside this dimension.’ ‘You mean, like, handcuffed herself to them?’ Will-ko frowned. ‘He’s talking about marriage, jackass,’ Skelifish rolled his eyes. ‘Oh,’ Will-ko said, smiling. ‘I don’t envy the poor bastard she suckered into it,’ Wish said grumpily, putting away the binoculars. ‘But right now, we don’t have time. It looks like Mezmaron’s found one of Elysium’s puncture wounds in the fabric of The Forbidden Zone as she passed through into another world. If he can manage to open it … well … you know the rest.’ ‘Then what the hell are we waiting for then?’ Will-ko asked, jumping to his feet and scrambling down the hill they had been lying on. ‘Let’s rally the troops! C’mon! C’mon! Let’s go!’ ‘He’s an annoying little git,’ Skelifish commented as he gathered up his robes. ‘But you can’t fault his enthusiasm, I’ll give him that.’ ‘He’d best conserve his energy,’ Wish clucked. ‘He’s going to need it.’ *** Cerellia sat uncomfortably. The news was troubling. The gravest of circumstances were arising and there was nothing that she could do. Word had reached her too late. ‘We encountered the vessel as it drifted into the sector,’ Primorio, the Captain of The Guard said, recounting events that had transpired earlier in the morning. ‘It seems that the pilot placed his passenger into cryostasis for the duration of the journey. An examination of the ship’s log indicates that the passenger, the pilot’s brother, was in a great amount of distress and had to be subdued. The craft was attacked on its journey and the pilot was killed. It’s a miracle the ship drifted towards Betamax, otherwise, we would never have known.’ ‘And have you revived the passenger?’ Cerellia inquired. ‘No,’ Lanyar, the Governor of Scientific Development said plainly. ‘Not yet. Do you wish it, Lord Chancellor?’ He asked, laying the small cryogenic stasis pod on the table before him. ‘No,’ Cerellia shook her head. ‘No … gentlemen, things are spiralling out of control. This war is going to devastate the galaxy and much beyond it. If our reports are accurate, then the individual contained within that pod is the very last of his kind. The last of the Roostars.’ ‘It seems that The Darlin’s aided The Roostar’s enemies, the Foxtrots,’ Primorio continued. ‘They equipped them with weapons, upgraded their technology and gave them strategic advice.’ ‘To what end?’ Cerellia demanded. ‘Are he Foxtrots now part of The Darlin’ forces?’ ‘No,’ Primorio said sternly. ‘The Darlin’s destroyed them after the decimation of The Roostar home world. It seems that the planet was in a perfect strategic position for the Darlin’s to occupy it. And, rather than possibly waste Darlin forces in the take-over. They equipped the Roostar’s mortal enemies with new equipment that was set to self-destruct once the deed was done.’ ‘Monsters,’ Lanyar spat. ‘The Roostar’s sent several of their people to contact us,’ Primorio continued. ‘They knew that transports would be intercepted, so five trusted members of their race were sent off in different directions. Apparently not everything went to plan. Two of them ended up together in one ship and the other three must have been destroyed by Foxtrot forces.’ ‘So, what do we do with him?’ Lanyar raised an eyebrow at the golden egg-shaped pod on the table before them. Cerellia straightened her back. ‘This, gentlemen, is now a unique specimen. The last of his kind. An anomaly. This war is going to absolutely ravage planet after planet. I cannot condone releasing him into the danger in which we live. We must put him somewhere safe.’
‘The Vault?’ Lanyar suggested. ‘No,’ Cerellia shook her head. ‘It is more than likely that, when The Darlin’s make their move. Betamax and its moons will be the first place they strike.’ ‘Excuse me, Lord Chancellor,’ Cerellia’s aid said, leaning around the door to the meeting hall. ‘He’s waiting for you in your Ready Room.’ ‘Thank you, Valveen,’ Cerellia nodded. ‘I shall be through presently,’ Cerellia’s eye fell on the pod. ‘And I think I have just solved this problem.’ ‘You can’t be serious,’ Primorio exclaimed. ‘Who exactly are you meeting with Lord Chancellor? Erikessel?’ ‘You think I would charge The Manager with the safety of the last surviving member of an ancient race?’ Cerellia scowled. ‘Well, no, but … if not Erikessel then … who else have you enlisted?’ Primorio frowned hard to himself before his eyes opened wide and he stared at The Lord Chancellor in disbelief. ‘Cerellia, please, tell me that you did not call … him.’ Cerellia smiled as she rose from the table, cradling the pod. ‘Primorio, I can think of no safer place for this … Than with The Dr.’
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