The Galman transport entered Galman City and approached the center of the metropolis. It was late evening but the city was bustling with activity. Plimkin had declared martial law and the military was out in force rounding up any citizen caught on the streets after sundown. Being in a military transport vehicle, Desslok and Talan were able to travel virtually unnoticed throughout the city.
Desslok saw a group of four soldiers putting a young woman and her child in restraints. The woman struggled and threw a fit but she was no match for the Galman soldiers. The child started to run away but it was caught and dragged by its arm. It screamed in protest as it was hurried into a personnel carrier to join its mother. Three young onlookers noticed this exchange and proceeded to throw rocks at the Galman soldiers. The soldiers fired back at the kids killing them in a hail of gunfire.
Desslok was disgusted. His beloved planet was slowly spinning out of control.
Further down the road, Talan and Desslok saw another soldier striking a civilian in the head with the butt of his rifle. The elderly man fell to the ground and was bleeding heavily. Talan recognized the lone soldier immediately. It was Rifle Man - the soldier who struck Talan with his rifle when he and Desslok were pulled from the rubble of Galman Headquarters. Talan slowly brought the transport to a stop.
Talan got out of the driver seat and took a laser pistol out of the transport's storage compartment. He opened the transport's rear hatch and climbed down from the vehicle. Walking ever so deliberately, Talan swiftly approached Rifle Man. Rifle Man finally turned around and saw Talan. But before he could raise his rifle, Talan fired his pistol. The shot hit Rifle Man in the shoulder.
Rifle Man fell to the ground and looked up as Talan hovered ominously over him. Before Rifle Man could say a word, Talan stared the man straight in the eye and said, "Remember me?"
Rifle Man was shocked. His eyes opened wide as Talan pulled the trigger. Rifle Man's head was blown into a million pieces.
Talan brought the transport to a stop about a block away from the main Galman communications building. With his pistol in his hand he exited the transport to continue his mission to contact the Galman fleet while Desslok continued on his way towards the Emperor's palace to confront Plimkin.
After ducking around a corner Talan mistakenly walked right into a group of Galman soldiers. The four soldiers standing outside a Galman armored vehicle saw Talan but did not recognize him. Talan raised his hands to surrender but the driver of the Galman transport noticed that Talan was carrying a gun.
"Drop the gun slowly, turn around and get on your knees!" The driver ordered.
The Galman driver was not taking any chances. Talan did not follow the instructions so the driver repeated the order. Talan reluctantly placed his gun on the ground and slowly turned around. The Galman driver swiftly walked over to Talan and picked up his laser pistol.
As the soldier pulled out some restraints he got a good look at the man he was about to cart away. The driver recognized Talan immediately but he could not believe it. The driver had to look at Talan again to be sure. Seconds later the driver's face looked like a man who had just won the lottery.
"General Talan I thought you and Emperor Desslok were killed!" The driver said excitedly. "I am Lieutenant Kelmer. I studied under you in my first year of training."
Talan explained his ordeal and his mission and convinced Lieutenant Kelmer and the other soldiers to join him in the fight. They all boarded the Galman transport and approached the communications building in an attempt to destroy the Circle and return Desslok to power.
Desslok's transport stopped in front of the gate to the Galman emperor's palace. The senior palace security guard walked over to the left side of the vehicle as Desslok opened his window. Desslok was sitting in a shadow so the guard never saw his face.
"I am sorry but the palace has been closed for renovations." The guard politely said as he pointed his rifle at the transport. "You will need to turn your vehicle around."
Desslok leaned out the window and stared at the guard. After a double take the guard finally recognized Desslok. The guard took two steps back and stood gaping at his former boss.
All Desslok needed to say was, "Let me pass."
The guard ran inside the small security station and pressed a control to disarm and raise the electrified gate that kept any unwanted visitors away from the palace. Desslok released the brake and the transport drove onto the palace grounds. After driving down a curved road, the Emperor's Palace came into view.
It was a very tall building with many floors; over two hundred rooms with all of the luxuries. There were five indoor swimming pools, many banquet halls and every amenity known to a Galman. But the palace was shrouded in darkness. Somewhere inside the huge building was a madman whose time was at an end.
Desslok stopped the transport and got out of the vehicle. Armed with only a laser pistol, he knew that Plimkin could have thousands of soldiers waiting in ambush. But somehow Desslok knew that Plimkin had something else planned. Plimkin would be alone but would not fight fair.
Desslok smiled; he wrote the book on unfair fighting.
As Talan and his small group of soldiers approached the main communications building, their first order of business was to get past the main security station. The only problem was that the head security guard was the Circle's highest ranking security officer. He was not going to let Talan's men pass without a fight.
Kelmer drove the armored transport up to the security station and was stopped at the gate by the head guard. The guard asked to see Kelmer's credentials so he pulled out his identification papers and handed them to the guard. The guard eyed Kelmer curiously and then closely studied the soldier's papers. Finally, the guard found something he did not like.
"What brings you here Lieutenant?" The guard asked. "There is nothing listed on your papers giving you the authority to be here this evening."
Kelmer played dumb. "You mean you were not informed? I cannot believe you were not informed!"
"Informed about what Lieutenant?" The guard asked impatiently.
From the back of the vehicle Talan leaned over Kelmer's shoulder and fired his pistol killing the guard. But the laser blast set off the alarm at the station and a group of six soldiers began to run towards the armored transport with their guns firing.
"Put it in high gear Lieutenant!" Talan ordered. "We need to get in there and get cover!"
Kelmer floored the accelerator. The transport broke through the security barrier sending pieces of the fence flying in various directions. The six soldiers pursued the vehicle on foot to the front of the building some fifty meters away. Kelmer spun the vehicle around and used it as a shield as Talan and his followers exited the transport. Laser blasts began to pelt and ricochet off of the armor plating of the transport. Talan and his forces started to shoot back and the area quickly became a war zone.
Since the Communications building's personnel had gone home for the evening, the place was mostly deserted except for a few security guards. But because of the alarm at the security station, the guards had been alerted to the emergency and had taken precautions to seal the building. Talan raced for the door but it was locked. He aimed his gun and blasted the door and it was completely blown away.
Talan poked his head inside the building. Other than the smoke from the laser blast, the area was empty. He motioned back to Kelmer that it was safe to proceed but Kelmer was in the middle of a shoot out. He fired his gun taking out one of the pursuing soldiers.
As Kelmer and his soldiers saw the opened doorway they began to retreat to the safety of the building. One of Kelmer's soldiers was hit in the back as he tried to make it inside and another was hit in the leg and was unable to continue. The injured man stayed behind hoping to give his comrades some cover and buy them some time. He fired his gun injuring one of the pursuing soldiers as Kelmer and three of his men entered the facility.
Talan guided his men towards an elevator at the far end of a long hallway. They had to get to the fifth floor to the long range communications station. But before they could make it, they heard laser blasts from behind. They turned around to find a group of Galman security guards heading towards them. Talan's group quickly turned to fight back but time was running out. As laser blasts filled the hallway, Talan decided to go the rest of the way on his own. He raced to the elevator.
Desslok wandered alone inside the Emperor's palace. The sound of his footsteps echoed throughout each room he entered. He walked slowly and with a purpose as he held his laser pistol tightly in his right hand. Room by room was deserted and Plimkin was nowhere to be found. Finally, as Desslok stepped into the main dining room, the door slammed behind him locking him inside.
The room, roughly thirty meters long by twenty meters wide, was decorated on each side with Galman flags. Each flag, on its own flagpole, was evenly spaced throughout the room. The long table in front of him was empty. Many a meal had been served in this room but it would soon become a battlefield.
"So, you have come."
General Plimkin was standing at the other end of the hall. He was alone and was holding a laser pistol in his hand. He walked slowly towards Desslok. Desslok did not move. He would let Plimkin make the first move.
"Your time is at an end, Desslok."
Desslok remained motionless.
"Are you listening to me Desslok?" Plimkin yelled. "You cannot stop me! The Circle has people in high places all over this city. If by some miracle you survive this encounter my people will haunt you until the end of time!"
Plimkin stopped in the middle of the room. He raised his arm and fired his pistol at Desslok. The laser blast grazed Desslok's left wrist.
Desslok looked down at his arm and noticed that his shirt had been torn by the shot.
Plimkin couldn't believe what he saw. Desslok had given him a free shot and he had blown it.
"That's the second time you have failed to kill me General Plimkin." Desslok said calmly. "You are a disgrace to the Empire."
Desslok fired but Plimkin dove out of the way of the blast and fired back. Desslok dove out of the way onto the floor as the blast hit the wall behind him and pieces of debris fell to the floor. Plimkin got to his feet and fired again. The blast hit the locked door behind Desslok. Desslok rolled and got back to his feet.
"I will stop you Plimkin." Desslok pulled out the data disk and showed it to Plimkin. "I have all the information I need to destroy the Circle!"
"What is that Desslok? Some sort of trick perhaps?"
"It is a data disk containing a list of every person involved in the Circle." Desslok answered. "Let's just say a former Circle member was kind enough to share this information with me."
"Shoru!" Plimkin yelled. "I will kill that man!"
"He's already dead." Desslok answered. "His punishment for betraying me; a punishment you both will share."
Like a cat, Plimkin jumped up on the table and fired his gun. The move took Desslok by surprise and he had to dive out of the way to avoid the shot. Desslok hit the ground with a loud thud and the fall dislodged the data disk from his hand. It also sent his pistol sailing across the room.
Desslok swiftly rolled under the table and out of Plimkin's sight. Plimkin aimed his pistol at the table and fired wildly but the laser blasts missed their target. Desslok saw the data disk on the floor and lunged for it. But instead of grabbing it, his hands accidentally pushed it further away. Desslok pulled his hands back under the table just missing a laser bolt from Plimkin. Desslok knew he couldn't stay under the table for long. While on his hands and knees he used his back to push the table straight up. The move startled Plimkin enough to disorient him. The awkward platform made Plimkin's balance impossible and he crashed to the floor and his gun fell out of his hand.
Desslok ran to the gun but soon realized he wasn't going to be able to grab it. Knowing that he had little time, he did a baseball slide feet first into the gun pushing it away just as Plimkin reached for it. Desslok then backhanded Plimkin in the face. Plimkin's body got twisted around while Desslok gained his composure and got back to a standing position. A drop of blood formed at the base of Plimkin's nose.
Plimkin got to his knees. Desslok tried to kick him but Plimkin blocked it and grabbed Desslok's leg. Lifting ever so slightly, Plimkin toppled Desslok. Plimkin got to his feet and grabbed one of the Galman flags from its stand. He snapped the flagpole over his knee and threw the top portion containing the flag to the floor. Desslok ran to one of the other flagpoles and pulled it from its stand.
Plimkin swung the stick but Desslok ducked and swung back. It was easily parried away by Plimkin. Plimkin swung again and the broken pole struck Desslok on the upper portion of the arm sending him off balance to his right. Plimkin attacked again but Desslok ducked just missing a blow to the head.
Desslok fought back and jabbed the pole into Plimkin's midsection sending the General back a few steps. Plimkin swung the stick again but Desslok moved to the right. Plimkin swung again but Desslok moved to his left.
Desslok tried to get in another shot to Plimkin's midsection but Plimkin used his weapon to spin and twist Desslok's arm sending Desslok's weapon flying through the air and across the room. Plimkin raised his weapon high above his head. He brought the stick down but Desslok lunged at Plimkin. He grabbed Plimkin's arm but Plimkin wasn't ready to quit.
He kicked Desslok in the stomach and monkey flipped him backwards. Desslok landed on his back but managed to hang onto Plimkin's arm. The force of the throw dislodged the flagpole from Plimkin's hand and both men quickly got to their feet.
"Quite impressive Desslok." Plimkin said. "Too bad it is too little too late."
"I will kill you Plimkin," countered Desslok, "and after I dispose of your worthless excuse of a Galman body I will hunt down each member of the Circle and slaughter them just like you slaughtered my men!"
Before Desslok could react, Plimkin reached down into his boot. He pulled out a dagger and threw it. The knife stuck into Desslok's left arm and he winced in pain. Plimkin followed up the strike with a kick to the side knocking the Galman Emperor to the ground. Plimkin reached back and picked up a chair from the table and slammed it down on Desslok.
Desslok groaned slightly from the pain as he removed the dagger from his arm. He threw it at Plimkin but the General moved out of the way. The dagger flew past him and stuck into the far wall.
Plimkin began to laugh at his adversary. He walked over and picked up the bottom portion of the broken flagpole as Desslok tried desperately to put pressure on his wound.
"Desslok my old friend, you have to do better than that!"
"I can assure you, I do not die easily." Desslok promised.
Blood poured from Desslok's arm. He was beginning to grow faint as his life rapidly dripped away. He knew that he needed to stop the bleeding or die. He quickly surveyed the area and noticed the top portion to the broken flagpole just out of his reach. He slowly crawled to it as Plimkin continued to taunt him.
"You are as pathetic as your Empire. Now can you see why it is I who should rule this planet? Your new found love and respect for the planet Earth has made you weak. You never would have let your emotions for a inferior planet cloud your judgment. I will take this Empire to new heights. I will destroy you and then I will do what you could never get done. I will destroy the Earth!"
Desslok reached the top portion of the broken pole containing his planet's flag. He grasped the Galman flag in his left hand as the blood continued to flow from his arm. His vision was beginning to weaken. There was only one option left.
"I will bleed to death soon enough, Plimkin." Desslok said weakly. "All I ask is to die with the Galman flag in my hand."
Instead of having pity for his fallen Emperor, a smile crossed Plimkin's face. It was a smile of a madman. Plimkin lifted the broken flagpole over his head. He would end this fight his way. He would end Desslok's existence with a single blow.
But before Plimkin could carry out the execution, Desslok pulled back the Galman flag and exposed a very sharp break in the flagpole. Desslok mustered up all of his strength, sat up, grabbed Plimkin by the shirt with his good arm and with all of his strength pulled Plimkin on top of him. The sharp, broken pole pierced Plimkin's chest.
The look in Plimkin's eyes was one of shock and surprise. He had underestimated Desslok for the last time. As Plimkin's life faded and disappeared, Desslok smiled and whispered in his ear, "Your blood on our sacred flag will now cleanse our stained Empire."
Talan exited the elevator and the hallway ahead was empty but lit up. There were many doors on either side but they were all closed. Talan saw a big foyer at the end of the hallway and he began to run towards it. As he entered the foyer, the security system alarm went off and a circular gun on the ceiling began firing its lasers.
Talan dove to safety behind a short wall. He took aim and in one shot destroyed the circular gun and the alarm with a blast from his laser pistol. Talan got to his feet and slowly approached a glass wall at the far end of the room. On the glass wall was a small control panel. The touch pad screen on the panel was full of Galman numbers.
It was a lock.
Having looked over some of the information on the data disk given to him by General Shoru, Talan desperately tried to remember the security override combinations. As he finished pressing in the first combination another alarm went off and another circular laser cannon appeared from the ceiling. As laser blasts hit the ground he shot back but missed on his first attempt. A laser blast hit him in the leg and another hit him in the arm.
Talan was knocked off of his feet and to the ground. He shot again and was fortunate enough to destroy the gun but his injuries had drastically reduced his mobility. He struggled to get to his feet and came to the understanding that every wrong combination could mean the end of his life.
He finally remembered the numbers but before he could try the lock again, he heard a noise behind him. Lights flashed on the elevator down the hall and he knew he must act quickly. In any moment, the elevator doors would open and he would have company.
Talan quickly punched in the code. He turned around and aimed his laser pistol at the ceiling but nothing appeared. Instead, the glass door began to open. At the same time the elevator doors opened and within seconds, soldiers started firing at Talan.
Laser blasts filled the large room. Talan hopped inside the communications room and began to fire back. But he quickly came to grip with reality; he was totally outnumbered and had nowhere to go. He continued to fire back but a laser blast sailed by his face into the communications room and slammed into a computer station. The area immediately filled up with smoke.
But the Galman troops stopped firing. Talan anticipated a request from the soldiers to surrender and to drop his weapon. But the request never came. Instead, what appeared to be the soldier in charge slowly approached the entrance to the Communications station.
"General Talan, we have been given an order to stop firing and to assist you in whatever means necessary!"
Talan sighed in relief but then looked over his shoulder at the now charred communications equipment. Now what? Was there enough time to get the equipment repaired to prevent a war?