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Spaceship Zero episode 10

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 10 months ago

The two rocketships carved a graceful arc in space. In the distance before them their crews could see the flickering of atomizer beams. Radio signals had already told them that two pirate vessels were attacking a small freighter. Aboard the Chrysanthemum and the recently rechristened Nurse Jones preparations were made for combat.

 

Enroute to the battle, the frigates were joined by a third ship. Spaceship Zero darted from its secret base within the asteroid field and swung into line alongside the larger ships. Its captain, the daring Kurt Cosmik, simply popped a space pill as he registered the existence of the Nurse Jones alongside his beloved Chrysanthemum.

 

The pirates, detecting the approaching ships, fled before a single shot could be fired. Aboard Spaceship Zero Space Captain Cosmik eased back on his controls and made radio contact with the freighter. The Captain of the freighter, a grizzled old Scot named Kenneth McKay, said that he was looking for a man named Kurt Cosmik, the leader of the Earthman resistance. Within a few short minutes Captain Cosmik was aboard the smaller ship examining the plans of a powerful new hydronaut secret weapon. Captain Cosmik quickly realised that these plans were for a BTL drive and that the name in the bottom right-hand corner was that of Professor Horatio Knebula. Captain McKay explained that many spies had died trying to get these plans to the resistance and that a hydronaut attack fleet carrying the weapon was on his tail. Captain McKay said the fleet included the Planet Smasher, the most powerful ship in the solar system, and that its crew planned on carving a path through the asteroid field to reach the hidden resistance base. Plans were hurriedly discussed and Captain McKay and his small ship, Stomper, were quickly inducted into the resistance force. A quick thinking Captain Cosmik chucked a couple of zip pills into Spaceship Zero’s fuel supply and caught up with the space pirates. Using his most intimidating voice the Captain berated the pirates and then told them of the impending hydronaut threat. Intimating that he had a plan to capture the hydronaut fleet and that much booty was on offer, Space Captain Cosmik managed to persuade the rogues to join the fight.

 

With Space Captain Cosmik and the pirates rejoining the fleet, it now consisted of six ships. Two frigates captured from the hydronauts, Spaceship Zero, Stomper and the two pirate ships – Cutlass and Rapier. The freighter was quickly armed with an atomizer turret from the secret base on Asteroid X and seven powerful rocket torpedoes were distributed. No extra weaponry was placed aboard the Nurse Jones, but she was packed with all the resistance fighters that could be spared. Preparations were barely complete when the hydronaut fleet was sighted. While the other ships hid in the edge of the asteroid field Spaceship Zero and the Nurse Jones allowed themselves to drift into the sight of the approaching hydronauts.

 

To the resistance fleet it appeared that the bulks of the approaching hydronaut slaveship, huge dreadnought and the inconceivably massive Planet Smasher were blotting out the stars. The Nurse Jones began to broadcast distress calls and entered into a mock duel with Spaceship Zero. Signals were exchanged between the hydronauts and the crew aboard the Nurse Jones and that ship was bid to board the slaveship. It had been planned that the Nurse Jones would seek refuge aboard the Planet Smasher and amongst the resistance fighters fingernails were bitten anxiously. Captain Cosmik decided to stick with the bones of his original plan and Spaceship Zero darted towards the slaveship with the aim of knocking out its communications tower before the Nurse Jones and her assault force were aboard. A blast of phenomenal power from the Planet Smasher deterred the crew from this aim and they were stunned to hear a radio signal from the Nurse Jones as she was swallowed by the closing docking bay door on the slaveship, “It’s a trap…!”

 

Spaceship Zero dived to enter close combat with the city-sized Planet Smasher. The rest of the fleet sped out of the asteroid field and they too began to close on the capital ship in the hope that this would take her long-distance mega-weapons out of the equation. While this plan worked, the Planet Smasher still had a massive array of atomizer turrets and death rays she could bring to bear against the resistance fleet. The dreadnought and the slaveship too had powerful arsenals and the first minutes of space combat were entirely one-sided with all the resistance ships taking heavy blows. The only success on the resistance side was a shot from the Chrysanthemum which took out one of the Planet Smasher’s five engines. Space Captain Cosmik ordered all the ships to fire their rocket torpedoes at the Planet Smasher and to concentrate their fire upon that ship. Several of the torpedoes impacted hard and two more of the Planet Smasher’s engines were shut down. Such was the scale of the ship though, that this seemed to have little effect and the Cutlass was blasted into space dust by a death ray. The atomizer turrets aboard the Stomper and the Rapier were also hit, rendering those ships weaponless. Spaceship Zero too was taking a hammering and Space Captain Cosmik seriously considered ordering the fleet to flee. At that moment however the slaveship veered off course slightly and her weapons ceased fire. A signal intercepted from that ship indicated that the slaves were revolting and that the ambush of the assault crew aboard the Nurse Jones had been foiled. A garbled signal from the Nurse Jones quickly followed and revealed that the assault crew was involved in heavy hand-to-hand fighting aboard the slaveship.

 

Space Captain Cosmik decided to renew his attack. Spaceship Zero was on her last legs, but he could not abandon his companions aboard the slaveship. Popping a space pill he dived back into the dog-fight and the tide finally began to turn. Some skilful piloting aboard the Chrysanthemum and Spaceship Zero saw hammer blows applied to the Planet Smasher and the dreadnought. A powerful beam from the Chrysanthemum saw the hull of the Planet Smasher ruptured and a blast from Spaceship Zero set off a chain reaction aboard the dreadnought and rendered that ship a flaming hulk. Firepower was then concentrated upon the Planet Smasher and two lucky blows put her engines out of commission. Sheltering behind the body of the vast vessel, the two smaller ships could then pound the Planet Smasher without exposing themselves to her weapons. As one of the engines aboard that great ship began to spark back into life, an atomizer ray from Spaceship Zero smashed through the engineering deck bulkhead and the vacuum of space rushed into the engine bays. The small figures of hydronaut firefighters and engineers spiralled into space as flames licked the whole underside of the ship.

 

A call from help aboard the slaveship sent Stomper, Rapier and the Chrysanthemum darting towards that ship’s docking bay as the assault appeared to lose momentum. The flight exposed these ships to a broadside from the disabled Planet Smasher and Rapier received heavy damage. Spaceship Zero remained in the lee of the ship’s hull and pounded her until her electrical systems shut down completely. Only then did her crew risk the dash to the slaveship.

 

The docking bay on the slaveship was a chaotic mess of fire, smoke and combat. When Spaceship Zero landed, she came under fire from an atomizer manned by hydronauts. Human slaves, armed only with weapons and tools they had scavenged, attempted to assault the atomizer, but were repelled by heavy fire. Exy and Lander fired their atomic blasters from the airlock door while Kurt Cosmik used the atomizer turret to rain fire upon the nest of fishmen. The atomizer was quickly taken out of action and Captain Cosmik tried to rally the slaves and find out where the assault crew had gone. While he spoke, a familiar black leather clad figure appeared at the door to the docking bay along with two hydronaut guards. “Servilan!” gasped Space Captain Cosmik as a grenade landed at his feet. A massive explosion sent him and Exy flying and follow-up fire from the hydronauts saw Lander badly wounded. The guards were eventually overcome, but so badly wounded were the crew that they were forced to drain almost all of the Professor’s supply of insta-cure health tonic before they could continue.

 

The crewmates eventually came across Mr Chuckles who was leading an assault against hydronauts holed up near the infirmary. He advised the crew that Servilan was in there and they quickly joined the assault. Overcoming the last of the resistance they saw Servilan dive into the infirmary and slam the door after her. Standing on either side of this doorway, the crew threw grenades into the room before charging in with blasters firing. They found the room empty. There didn’t appear to be any exits but Lander spotted that a healing tube had been retracted into the floor. He stood over this to operate the manual controls, but the hatch gave way and sent him tumbling into a small dark tube. Inside, a warm body pressed up against his and he struggled as an electronic head piece was roughly shoved into place. Servilan’s voice filled his head as she tried to take control of his brain via the head piece. Lander’s mind fought back and for a moment two great minds pushed against each other. After a battle which only lasted milliseconds, but felt like years, Lander’s mind overpowered Servilan’s. “No! It cannot be!”, she shrieked. “No man has a brain powerful enough to overpower mine!” With that the evil traitor to humanity gave a final scream and died of shock and frustration.

 

Lander was dragged from the hole and the Zeronauts oversaw the final mopping up operations aboard the slaveship. Cheering former slaves slapped the crew’s backs as the last of the hydronauts were dispatched without mercy. Once the battle was over there was only a brief chance to take stock. The crew knew they still had to overpower the survivors aboard the Planet Smasher, but were confident of success. With the hydronaut’s most powerful ship in their possession and with the slaveship and the rest of the fleet also in tow, plans for further assaults on the hydronauts could then be made. Dutch managed to find plans for the hydronaut bases in the star system on the slaveship and stated that he believed the goal of freeing the Earth was now within their grasp. Rapid repairs were made to Spaceship Zero and the crew prepared to take her on a scouting mission around the impotent Planet Smasher. As they mounted the ladder to the airlock door cheering masses gathered. Space Captain Cosmik tried to speak, but his voice couldn’t be heard above the din. Oola stepped forward and silenced the crowd. “Before us stands the men who will lead us to Earth! Before us are the new leaders of the human race! All hail the new Space Presidents!” Cheers erupted and overpowered Space Captain’s bashful calls for fair and democratic processes. Lander quietly led him inside as Exy closed the door behind them.

 

In this moment of joy and victory, the crew failed to ask themselves “where is Dr Anchovy?”. They were soon to find out.

 

Spaceship Zero arced carefully, but still gracefully away from the slaveship docking bay. The crew watched out the porthole as their ship spun away. Something about the view was not quite right. Lights on the surface of the slaveship began to disappear. Then the stars surrounding the ship began to fade. Something large, rapidly expanding and black had just flung itself from the surface of the slaveship and now wrapped itself around Spaceship Zero. The shocked crew looked through the porthole at the smooth, oily black THING which surrounded them. Suddenly a patch of the object opened to reveal an angry, red eye. Then another eye opened. And another. And another until the port-hole was filled with them. A voice filled their heads. “It is you who bought me here, 13 billion years from home. So it is just that it shall be you and your vessel which will take me home.” With that the crew heard a clank as Dr Anchovy attached the BTL drive to the hull of the ship. Lights aboard Spaceship Zero dimmed as power was somehow diverted to the drive. There was the sound of tearing silk. Exy and Lander began shutting down systems and, within moments, power to the BTL drive was cut off. Starlight suddenly filled the cabin as Dr Anchovy released the ship and floated away. The crew rushed to the window to see where he had gone, but were quickly distracted. The stars were not the stars they knew. This place was not home.

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