Chapter 9 - Execution!
On the moon of Xylotia, the hangars and warping mechanisms
had been leveled by the Yamato and the destruction of General Torkan's fleet had left
Noian with very little options. His repair crews were working feverishly to get as
many missile silos as operational as possible but if the Yamato and the Omega were
able to repair their ships, Noian's forces would be vulnerable to attack.
Commander Noian assembled a group of soldiers in his command room deep below the surface of the moon. He knew his next move could be his last chance at survival. The Yamato and the Omega were powerful enemies and he knew he must play his last hand very carefully.
"Lieutenant, is the communications link set up with the Yamato?" Noian asked.
"Yes Commander Noian..." answered the Lieutenant "...we have contact with both Earth ships."
"Good," said Noian. "It is the only thing you have done correctly all day. Get me the Captain of the Yamato on the video panel."
Within seconds of his command, Wildstar's face appeared on Noian's video screen.
"Captain Wildstar I must commend you on your fine performance against General Torkan," said Noian. "But I know your ships are badly damaged and as we speak I have hundreds of missiles pointed in your direction ready to destroy you. I am giving you the opportunity to surrender now or face total destruction. But before you give me your answer, I want you to witness something. Lieutenant, bring in the prisoner!"
In the rear of the command room, a door opened and Vance was forced through the opening by two guards. He was lead to the middle of the room and was placed in front of the room's video screen. The young man's face was badly bruised and his right eye had swollen shut.
"Now Captain..." Noian continued "...to make things much more interesting, your answer to my question will also determine if this man lives or dies."
Wildstar looked at the young man. Vance could barely stand. Wildstar knew he could not surrender to Noian. He had dealt with madmen before but had never given in to their demands.
"Commander Noian, you better not do what I think you have planned," warned Wildstar.
"Ha ha ha, that was not the answer I was looking for Captain," snarled Noian. "Watch carefully."
Noian nodded his head and one of the soldiers fired his rifle at Vance. The Star Force member fell backwards and a burning, gaping hole smoldered on his lifeless chest. Commander Noian walked over to the dead officer and kicked him in the head adding insult to injury.
"There are more of your men left, Captain Wildstar. I want your surrender and I want it now!"
"We will never surrender!" Wildstar screamed defiantly. "We will fight you to the last man!"
"Very well Captain. Bring in the next prisoner!"
Beau was the next soldier marched into the room. His hands were also shackled behind his back and he was positioned in the center of the room in front of the video screen. Tears were streaming down the young man's face as fear had taken control of his soul.
"Look at him Captain Wildstar," taunted Noian. "This man's life is also in your hands. I would be a little more careful with your decision this time. If you defy me again, I will personally carve this boy into pieces."
Wildstar looked on helplessly. He knew that if he surrendered to Noian that the Xylotians would be able travel through the storm and attack Earth. He had no choice but to refuse. He shook his head in defiance.
"Pity," said Noian as he motioned to the guards. The two soldiers fired and the young man was split in two as his torso was completely blown away. Noian took a rifle from one of the guards. He walked over to Vance's upper body and fired the rifle at the dead man's head. Blood splattered everywhere as Vance's head disintegrated.
"Captain Wildstar, I have more of your crew including two of your senior officers. They will be next and I can assure you I will be more methodical with their deaths. But I am a compassionate creature. I will give you a few moments to decide their fate."
Noian terminated the transmission and looked back at the Lieutenant. The young Xylotian was staring down at the two dead humans, clearly horrified at what he had seen. The blood and gore was everywhere and the smell of burnt flesh filled the room.
"Lieutenant, get our next victims ready for their performance and clean up this mess."
On the Yamato, the bridge crew debated what to do next. They had just viewed the horrific slaughter of two of their crewmen. Nova had broken into tears and Wildstar and Venture were in a heated discussion.
"Wildstar, we can't let Noian kill any more of our people," Venture argued.
"Do you have any better ideas?" Wildstar asked.
"No, but we just can't leave them there," answered Venture. "Sandor is one of your closest friends!"
"Don't you think I know that?" Wildstar asked. "You above all people should know what sacrifice is all about. It's something we hope we never have to do but when the time comes to give up our lives for the survival of others, I would hope I would freely make that choice with no hesitation." Wildstar placed his hand on Venture's shoulder. "Since Alex, Sasha and Starsha died, Sandor's been like an older brother to me. But if we give in to Noian's demands, he could attack Earth and I am not going to let that happen. Besides, if I know Sandor he has a plan. In the meantime, let's work on repairing the ship and getting us home."
Venture nodded in agreement and both officers returned to their stations wondering what would become of their friends.
In a large holding cell in a private area of the underground facility, Zeeman, Reen, Yamazaki and Sandor were sitting with their hands shackled behind their back. IQ-9 was deactivated and was placed in the far corner of the cell. The cell was unguarded and as far as Sandor could tell, it was not being monitored. They had seen their comrades taken from the cell and heard the gunshots.
"Soldier Sandor, I am sorry for dragging you into our fight," said Zeeman.
"Listen Major it was my choice to stay," replied Sandor. "And remember, we had a deal!"
"Yes and I will always be grateful for that," said Zeeman.
"What do we do now?" Yamazaki asked. "Our time's running out. If we don't think of something soon, we'll be the next ones taken from this cell."
"We need to get Noian and I'm afraid I am the only one who can do that," answered Sandor.
"What do you have in mind?" Zeeman asked.
"When I was younger I lost my arms and legs in an accident," answered Sandor. "They have been replaced by these bionic prosthetics. But they also have another interesting function. If configured correctly, they can be used as bombs. All I need to do is press a few buttons in a certain sequence on my shoulder and with a quick jerk of my head, I can detonate them. I just need to get close enough to Noian."
"No! I will not let you do that," screamed Yamazaki. "There must be another way! Maybe if we can get IQ-9 activated."
"The Xylotian guards have put an electronic locking device on your robot friend," said Zeeman. "They are the only ones with the code that will deactivate the lock. Soldier Sandor, we will find another way to defeat Noian."
"There is no other way," answered Sandor.
"The key is to get us all in the same room," added Reen. "Even if you do succeed in getting Noian, a lot of good it will do if we are all still in this cell."
"I think we have heard enough lies out of you Reen," said Zeeman. "I cannot believe you would turn us in after all of the good we have accomplished!"
"Reen is right," said Sandor. "We all need to be there. It's the only way it will work. When the time comes, I will look at you and tap my foot on the ground slowly three times. After the third tap, take cover! I will jerk my heard to the right and will detonate the bombs. Once the smoke clears, take control of the situation."
"No Zeeman," said Sandor. "This is the only way. The next time the guards come, I'll demand that we be be taken together. Once we are in the room, follow my lead and listen for my signal!"
The others looked at Sandor and somberly agreed to his plan.
"We will never forget your act of bravery Soldier Sandor," said Zeeman.
"We're not out of this yet," said Sandor. "Don't thank me until it's over."
Sandor began the triggering sequence for the bombs.
As the janitorial crew removed the dead bodies and cleaned the command room, the young Lieutenant stood in a daze. Since the brutal killings, he had not been able to focus on his job. He barely moved as the crew shuffled past him and out of the room.
"Lieutenant, do you want to be next?" Noian asked impatiently. "Get me the Yamato on the screen and bring in the next victim."
As the Lieutenant completed the communication link with the Yamato an alarm went off in the command room. The Lieutenant pressed a button on a computer console and received a message from the holding area.
"What is going on?" Noian asked.
"Commander Noian, the remaining prisoners refuse to leave their cell," reported the Lieutenant. "They said they won't leave unless they go as a group."
"Bring them all to me," answered Noian. "If they want to die together, so be it."
Sandor, Captain Reen, Yamazaki and Major Zeeman entered the room and were surrounded by a dozen well armed guards. They were moved to the center of the command room as Wildstar's face appeared on the large video screen.
"Your time is up Captain Wildstar," said Noian. "I want your surrender and I want it now! Failure to do so will result in the death of your officers."
But before Wildstar could again refuse Noian's demands, Sandor interrupted him. "Derek, don't let them kill me! Mom and Dad won't understand! Please! Give them what they want!"
The statement confused Wildstar. He was not related to Sandor in any way and his parents had died in the war with Gamilon. Sandor had a plan but Wildstar had no way of knowing what it was. Wildstar didn't say a word. He just watched as the drama continued to unfold.
"Oh! This changes everything," said Noian. "This man is your brother! Now we make it personal!"
Noian took a guard's rifle. He then motioned for the guards to separate the prisoners. Three guards moved Zeeman, Reen and Yamazaki out of the way as Sandor stood alone in the middle of the room. Noian walked over to Sandor. Sandor just smiled. His trick had worked. He had Noian all to himself.
Sandor tapped his foot.
But something unexpected happened. Captain Reen bolted at Noian. He got about three steps before the blast from behind cut the Palmatian down. Reen fell to the floor. Zeeman rushed over and knelt beside the fallen warrior; the man who had once betrayed him and his new friends.
"I am sorry Zeeman," whispered Reen.
"I forgive you Soldier," answered Zeeman as his friend died in his arms.
A guard walked over to Zeeman and yanked the Xylotian to his feet.
"Dirty Palmatian," said Noian as he turned his attention back to Sandor. "Now let us get back to business."
Noian pointed his rifle directly at Sandor's chest. He then looked back at the video screen.
"I am going to kill him Wildstar," said Noian. "I am going to watch your world come crumbling down. Even if you do make it back to your useless planet, your family will never be the same. You will be a disgrace! What is it going to be Captain Wildstar? Are you going to watch your brother die in front of your eyes? Are you going to just sit there and watch me shoot him at point blank range?"
Sandor tapped his foot for the second time.
"I want your answer now!" Noian screamed at the video monitor.
Wildstar watched helplessly. There was nothing he could do. He thought Sandor had a plan but as the situation continued to spiral further out of control, Wildstar realized he may have made a mistake.
"I'm sorry Sandor." Wildstar said to his friend.
"It's okay Wildstar," said Sandor. "Give the Earth a big Magnatron Wave for me!"
The statement hit Wildstar like a ton of bricks. Sandor did have a plan; a very deadly one.
In the year 2199, a Gamilon space fortress was sent to destroy the Yamato. This space station's primary function was to disperse Magnatron Waves. These waves would slowly tear off large chunks of metal from any ship in its vicinity eventually destroying it. All attempts to destroy or get away from the fortress failed and Sandor and Wildstar were sent on a mission to invade and destroy it. After entering the fortress Sandor was captured by the ship's computer. Wildstar freed Sandor by removing his bionic arms and legs. Sandor remotely detonated his severed limbs which destroyed the computer allowing the Yamato to continue on its journey to Iscandar.
As he stood watching the video panel Sandor noticed the change in Wildstar. The look of grim determination on his friend's face had been replaced with one of sorrow. Tears began to stream down Wildstar's face.
"Sandor, NO!" Wildstar pleaded to his friend.
But before Sandor could tap his foot for the third time, someone yelled from across the room.
"Wait!" The Lieutenant yelled as he pointed his gun at Commander Noian. "Commander Noian this must end!"
"Lieutenant, put the gun down," ordered Noian. "That is an order!"
"Commander Noian, because of you my mother, father and brother were killed." said the Lieutenant. "They were killed because my brother was a Palmatian and my parents wouldn't give him to your slave camps. You have murdered my family! You have murdered Major Zeeman's family! But you will NOT ruin another family ever again!"
Noian lifted his rifle but before he could fire, the Lieutenant fired his gun. The shot hit Noian, but Noian was only dazed. He spun around and fired back and hit the Lieutenant in the shoulder knocking him to the floor. Noian walked over to the Lieutenant and was about to fire again when the Lieutenant surprised Noian. He quickly lifted up his blaster and shot it at the same time Noian shot his own gun. Both blasts found their marks. The young Lieutenant was shot in the chest while Noian was blasted backwards and landed hard on the floor.
Zeeman had seen enough. He charged a guard and hit him in the stomach with his shoulder. The guard's gun fell to the floor. Zeeman reached for it but his hands were still shackled behind his back. He took the gun in his hands but there was no way he could aim it properly to fire at Noian. The other guards in the room looked on, not knowing how to react.
Commander Noian was not finished. He was seriously injured but was determined to fight to the end. He struggled to his feet and saw Zeeman on the ground trying to aim his weapon. He leaned down and picked up his own gun and looked back at the Lieutenant on the floor. He saw that the young man was not moving. Noian looked back at Zeeman and slowly walked toward him. He raised his rifle and pointed it at Zeeman's head.
"I should have done this a long time ago," said Noian. "You Palmatian lovers are all weak and foolish. Once you are dead I will make it my life's goal to eradicate the entire Palmatian population!"
Noian was about to pull the trigger when a laser blast struck him from behind. Noian turned around long enough to see his Lieutenant fire again. The blast hit Noian in the temple, splattering his brains all over the room. Noian's corpse crashed to the floor.
"Guards, release us!" Zeeman ordered.
The guards did not hesitate to unshackle Zeeman, Yamazaki and Sandor. Once the restraints had been removed, Sandor quickly disarmed the explosives and Zeeman started to secure the room.
"Sandor, are you all right?" Wildstar asked.
"We are now," answered Sandor. "What is the situation on board the Yamato?"
"Our Takion Absorber is damaged and Orion could sure use your help getting it fixed," replied Wildstar.
"Okay," answered Sandor. "We'll return to the Yamato as soon as we can."
Sandor ended the video communication and then walked over to Zeeman who was busy helping the fallen Lieutenant.
"How is he?" Sandor asked as he motioned to the fallen Lieutenant.
"He will live," answered Zeeman. "He will live to be a great leader."
"Will you be safe?" Sandor asked.
"Noian was a paranoid dictator," answered Zeeman. "He had very few people in his government who had any real power. Now that he is dead, I should be safe. I will return to the Populated Areas tomorrow and will begin my open demonstrations. If everything works according to plan, I will run for the throne and our peoples will live together again in peace."
"Major Zeeman I think my work here is done," said Sandor. "We need to get back to our ship."
Zeeman handed a small item to Sandor.
"I got this from the Lieutenant. It is a data disk with all of the information you will need to get back to your home. I have ordered these two guards to take you and your friends safely to your ship. Thank you Soldier Sandor. Your heroism will never be forgotten."
Sandor shook Zeeman's hand.
"And thank you Soldier Zeeman. Peace be to you and your people."
On the moon of Xylotia, Soldier was a word you used when you wanted to show the highest form of respect to another individual. Zeeman saluted his new friend and a moment later the door to the command room opened and IQ-9 rolled in.
<HAVE I MISSED ANYTHING?>
Sandor smiled. He motioned to Yamazaki and the two officers left the room with the two Xylotian guards. IQ-9 followed them.
<WAS IT SOMETHING I SAID?>