Chapter 6 - Sandor's Mission
A large Underground Transport Vehicle (UTV)
slowly approached an
entrance to the Xylotian base. The vehicle, which had four tank treads
underside, could reach speeds of up to eighty kilometers per hour. It
could hold as
many as ten passengers in its back compartment and two drivers in its
front compartment. It had two
laser cannons attached to the vehicle. One laser was on the left and
the other was on
the right side of the UTV.
The vehicle, used mostly for troop transports, had four men, one robot and one Palmatian shackled inside. The tall Xylotian driver slowed the transport to a halt. He existed the vehicle and walked over to the guard who was standing by the entrance to the base.
"Halt," ordered the guard. "What is going on here?"
"I am scout one-one-three-eight," answered Zeeman who then handed over his identification card. "I have captured these spies and have brought them in for questioning."
The guard took the identification card and walked over to his guard station. He checked the card into the main computer by sliding it into a small receptacle. The guard's eyes opened wide as the computer returned some very important information. He then pressed the silent alarm on his computer and then took the card back to Zeeman. The guard held out his hand and reluctantly gave the identification card back to Zeeman.
"Get those spies out of the vehicle at once," ordered the guard.
Zeeman noticed that the guard was acting much differently than he had just a few moments earlier. He knew something was wrong. To avoid bringing any more suspicion to the already tense situation, Zeeman decided to follow the guard's orders. He walked back into the transport and began to unshackle his prisoners.
"Is everything okay Major Zeeman?" asked Sandor.
"Just follow my lead Soldier Sandor and pay close attention to our surroundings. I have an uneasy feeling about this," answered Zeeman as he finished unshackling the rest of the team.
Moments later Sandor, Beau, Vance, Yamazaki, IQ-9 and Captain Reen exited the UTV with their arms raised over their heads. Zeeman brought up the rear and had a gun pointed at the backs of his prisoners. They slowly walked toward the entrance of the base and the suspicious acting guard.
"Move it you Palmatian lovers," screamed Zeeman at his prisoners. Zeeman then pushed Vance in the back with his rifle.
The guard watched uneasily as the prisoners marched toward the entrance of the base.
"Very good one-one-three-eight," said the guard. "I will take over from here."
"You're a piece of garbage," yelled Sandor as he lunged at Zeeman.
Zeeman slammed his rifle into Sandor's gut stunning the Star Force officer. Sandor immediately dropped to his knees and desperately tried to gasp for air. He looked up in disbelief.
"That will be enough out of you, Palmatian lover," snarled Zeeman.
The guard signalled for two other Xylotians to assist in the transport of the prisoners. The guards started to make their way over to the prisoners when Sandor pulled out a pistol he had hidden in his uniform. He began to fire and the three Xylotian guards were taken completely by surprise. Before the guards could react, Zeeman joined in the attack and all of the Xylotian guards were quickly eliminated. Zeeman reached down and helped Sandor to his feet.
"Are you okay Soldier Sandor?" asked Zeeman.
"I'll live," said Sandor. "But next time, you get to be the guinea pig."
A puzzled look appeared on Zeeman. "What is a guinea pig Soldier Sandor?"
Sandor laughed. "I'll tell you later."
"We better move fast," answered Zeeman. "That guard was up to something."
Before the party could continue their mission, two smaller UTV's arrived. These smaller versions of a UTV called S-UTV's, were about half the size of their larger counterparts and could reach speeds of up to sixty kilometers per hour. Their occupants jumped out of the vehicles and fired their laser guns.
The party moved quickly inside the base as they tried to fight off the attackers. They skillfully dodged laser bolts as the relentless Xylotians continued their attack. Thinking that time was of the essence, Zeeman pulled out a grenade and tossed it back at the approaching soldiers. The device exploded sending body parts scattering throughout the area.
The landing party raced through the base. Zeeman had memorized its layout and guided the team through an intricate maze of corridors. He was surprised by the lack of personnel in the hallways. After a couple of turns, the group reached the control room for the hangers and transporting mechanisms. But trouble was waiting for the invasion force. A whole squad of soldiers with their guns pointed at the landing party guarded the entrance to the control room. The soldiers began to fire at Sandor's party.
"Take cover," yelled Sandor.
The team dropped to the floor but soon realized that there was little to no cover in the open hallway. They decided to pull back to plan their next move. Sandor poked his head around the corner and noticed that the troops were advancing. He dropped to one knee and fired his gun killing a Xylotian soldier. The advancing Xylotian squad stopped and then began to search for cover of their own.
"Major Zeeman, is there another way inside that room?" asked Sandor.
"Not unless we can walk through walls Soldier Sandor," answered Zeeman.
Before anyone could say another word, IQ-9 rolled toward the near wall. With help of the laser cutter in his fingers, he drew a three meter high by one meter wide oval in the steel wall. The oval piece of metal fell to the floor with a resounding thud and Yamazaki and Zeeman rushed through the opening into the abandoned control room.
As Yamazaki and Zeeman began planting the explosives inside the main control room, Sandor took aim at the lock on the outside of the control room door. He fired and the door lock was totally blown away sealing the door shut but more importantly, keeping the Xylotians out of Yamazaki and Zeeman's way.
The Xylotians continued to fire at Sandor and the rest of the group. As the team guarded the makeshift entrance to the control room, Beau leaned out into the hallway to fire but was hit in the arm by a laser blast. He fell into the open hallway but was not seriously hurt. IQ-9 rolled over to Beau. As the laser bolts bounced off of IQ's armor plating, Beau crawled to safety and out of the open hallway.
Yamazaki appeared from the hole in the wall.
"The explosives are set," reported Yamazaki. "We're just waiting for Major Zeeman to finish."
A high pitched signal began to blare throughout the base as Zeeman appeared from the hole.
"Someone got to an alarm," said Sandor. "Let's get out of here!"
The team rushed to leave the base and were followed closely by the remnants of the Xylotian soldiers. The team were about to reach the exit when a hiding Xylotian appeared from another hallway. He fired and nearly hit Zeeman. In one movement, Zeeman spun around and fired his weapon. The blast took the Xylotian's head clean off its body.
As the team exited the facility, Zeeman pulled out a small remote control device and pressed the button. There was a large rumble and a loud explosion as the control room was destroyed. But dozens of Xylotian soldiers ran from the base with their guns firing.
"Let's get in the S-UTV's and get into the tunnels," suggested Zeeman.
"Captain Reen, I will take Soldier Sandor and IQ-9. You take Soldiers Beau, Vance and Yamazaki."
The group raced to the S-UTV's. Zeeman stopped short of the vehicles and turned toward his pursuers. He blasted a Xylotian in the face and another right through the chest. All Sandor could do was watch in amazement as Zeeman single-handedly eliminated a half dozen enemy soldiers.
Laser bolts exploded everywhere as Sandor and IQ-9 jumped into one of the vehicles. Zeeman followed shortly thereafter.
"Major Zeeman, you know these tunnels better than I do," said Sandor. "I think you should drive!"
The S-UTV's engine ignited and the vehicle began to move. The other group's S-UTV piloted by Reen had already begun moving into the tunnels. Zeeman pulled behind Reen. The pursuing soldiers got aboard the larger UTV and were hot on the trail.
"IQ, send the Yamato a message," ordered Sandor. "Update them on our progress."
"I hope you have not forgotten our agreement Soldier Sandor," said Zeeman. "We still need to get Noian."
"I have not forgotten," answered Sandor.
A laser blast struck the S-UTV sending the vehicle careening to one side. Zeeman struggled to gain control as the machine scraped against the rocky tunnel. Sandor looked back and noticed the following UTV.
"Zeeman, we've got company!"
"Try and hold them off Soldier Sandor," suggested Zeeman. "We're almost out of the populated areas! We'll make our move in the deserted zone!"
Two laser bolts struck Sandor's S-UTV. The driver's compartment roof was totally blown away exposing Sandor, IQ-9 and Zeeman to the onslaught of the larger and more quicker UTV. The pursuing UTV began to close in.
"Put this thing in overdrive," yelled Sandor. "They're gaining!"
"I'm doing my best Soldier Sandor," said Zeeman as he struggled at the controls. "Are all humans this pushy?"
<I THINK I WOULD HAVE LIKED STAYING AT THE BASE BETTER,> added IQ-9.
"Be careful IQ," yelled Sandor as he pushed the robot out of the way from a laser blast.
Sandor took aim and fired his laser pistol. The blast shattered the UTV's windshield. Sandor fired again but the blast slammed into the side of the tunnel sending rock and debris flying through the air. Sandor aimed again but was hit in the arm by a blast from a Xylotian guard riding beside the driver of the UTV. Not knowing that Sandor had bionic arms and legs, the guard began to laugh. Sandor noticed this and fired back. The blast knocked the soldier right out of his seat.
The driver of the UTV activated his two main guns on the sides of his vehicle. The laser bolts began to pelt Sandor's S-UTV but it still rolled on as the chase continued. The vehicles exited the tunnel into a large clearing. Zeeman scanned the clearing and noticed a smaller tunnel up ahead. The smaller tunnel gave Zeeman an idea. He signalled his plans to Reen who then changed his S-UTV's course.
"This is where we make our stand Soldier Sandor," said Zeeman. "Hang on tight. The ride could get a little rough!"
The pursuing driver of the UTV, obsessed with destroying Sandor's party, was too busy firing to pay attention to where he was driving. He failed to notice the clearance sign above the tunnel. As Reen's and Zeeman's S-UTV's entered the tunnel, the larger UTV followed. To the driver's despair, the entrance was way too small for his vehicle. The UTV's guns were torn off its sides as it squeezed into the small tunnel. Damaged but not out of the game, the UTV rolled on.
"We're in the deserted zone now Soldier Sandor," said Zeeman. "I am going to slow down and give Reen a chance to get away."
Zeeman cut the energy to the engines by one third and the S-UTV began to decelerate. Sandor looked back and noticed two Xylotian soldiers making their way from the back of the pursuing UTV to the driver's area. They began to fire their guns at Sandor's vehicle as the UTV began to close in on Sandor's team.
"At the next straight-away go to full power," suggested Sandor. "I have an idea but we need to put a little distance between us and them!"
Just then, a laser bolt found its mark.
"Soldier Sandor, that last blast severed the fuel line," reported Zeeman.
"Just keep it going for a few minutes," said Sandor. "We'll make it!"
"Soldier Sandor, there is straight tunnel up ahead," reported Zeeman.
"Accelerate to full power," ordered Sandor.
As the S-UTV accelerated Sandor aimed his gun at the ceiling. But before he could fire, a Xylotian guard fired and the blast struck Sandor's S-UTV. The vehicle tilted to one side and rubbed against the tunnel wall. Sandor's gun fell out of his hand and out of the vehicle. IQ-9 decided to take over. He aimed his hand laser and fired directly overhead. Pieces of the rock ceiling came crashing down on top of the trailing UTV. The UTV spun wildly out of control and crashed into the tunnel wall. The machine then exploded into a million pieces.
"Thanks IQ," smiled Sandor. "You sure come in handy!"
<FORTUNATELY FOR US I KNEW WHAT YOU WERE THINKING,> replied IQ-9.
Zeeman checked his fuel status and then signalled up ahead for Reen to stop. Moments later the two S-UTV's stopped in a small clearing. Both groups left their vehicles to plan their next move. But suddenly, two rock walls opened on both sides of the clearing. Dozens of Xylotian soldiers appeared and immediately surrounded the ground team.
Sandor's team looked at each other in disbelief. Knowing there was no escape, Sandor and his team raised their arms in surrender. A few seconds later Captain Reen lowered his arms, smiled and walked over to Zeeman. He grabbed the laser pistol from Zeeman's hand and then punched the Xylotian in the stomach.
"I am sorry Major," said Reen. "Noian offered me freedom in exchange for you. Besides, whether it is you or Noian, I would still be working for a Xylotian. I just wanted to be on the winning side." Reen turned to the Xylotian soldiers. "Take these prisoners to Commander Noian at once!"
Deep below the surface of the moon of Xylotia, Commander Noian had taken refuge in his emergency bunker in command room four. Though safe from attack, his base was in shambles and he was losing the war. His Lieutenant, knowing quite well that his days serving his Commander were numbered, slowly walked over to report on the latest events.
"Commander, the main control room for the hangers and instant warp mechanism has been destroyed. The explosion has also taken out half of the hangers. The fire crews are trying to control the fire but they feel that it will reach the fuel depots. When that happens, all of our hangers will be lost."
Noian could not believe the news. He got out of his chair, pulled out his gun and pointed it at the trembling Lieutenant.
"How did this happen?! I thought you had this taken care of this Lieutenant," screamed Noian. "If you want to live you better give me some good news in the next five seconds!"
"Commander Noian please," begged the young Lieutenant. "We have just received news that our undercover operative has captured four humans, a robot and Major Zeeman."
Noian lowered his pistol, holstered it and then sat back down.
"Fortunately for you Lieutenant, that is very good news," said Noian. "Order our operative to bring the prisoners here. And after you do that, put on a new uniform. That one smells a bit soiled. Ha ha ha!"
Later, the ground party was led into control room four by Captain Reen. They were closely followed by a dozen Xylotian soldiers. As they entered, Zeeman noticed Noian from across the room. He rushed and knocked a Xylotian soldier down and the soldier's laser rifle fell from the alien's hands. Zeeman grabbed the gun and fired it at Noian. The laser bolt bounced off an invisible shield and was deflected harmlessly away. Zeeman was then tackled to the floor by two of the other guards.
"Well Zeeman, it's been a long time," taunted Noian. "The leader of the Underground, I thought we killed you and the rest of your foolish friends a while ago."
Noian glanced at the rest of the group and then at Captain Reen. He smiled at Reen and then looked back at Zeeman.
"Still a Palmatian lover I see," said Noian to Zeeman. "It was your downfall then and it will be now."
Noian deactivated the force field and then walked over to Major Zeeman. Zeeman glared at Noian with utter contempt.
"You will die Noian. I will see to it," promised Zeeman.
"I tend to doubt that my old friend," answered Noian. "You had everything Zeeman. You were next in line for my job but you threw it all away. Oh well." Noian walked away. "Lieutenant, get this scum and his friends out my sight. Prepare them all for public execution tomorrow!" Noian laughed. "Oh, and I want everyone to witness these executions including the crew of the Space Cruiser Yamato."
As Sandor's party was taken out of the room Captain Reen stayed behind.
"Lieutenant," yelled Noian.
The Lieutenant looked back at Noian. "Yes Commander?"
"You forgot a prisoner," informed Noian.
"But Commander Noian we had a deal," said Captain Reen.
"That deal was null and void when you decided to alter the plan," answered Noian.
"But Commander Noian, there would have been a much greater loss of life had we taken them in the populated areas," replied Captain Reen.
"A Palmatian is not supposed to think," replied Noian. "And as a result of your thinking we lost all of our hangars and warp mechanisms. You're lucky I don't kill you right here and now. Be thankful you got an extra day to live and consider that your payment for our deal. Get this Palmatian puppet out of my face!"
Two soldiers grabbed Captain Reen by the arms. He struggled to get free but he was no match for the two men. He was dragged away screaming while Commander Noian watched it all with a hideously evil grin.