Space Battleship Omega: Circle of Death

by Chris Morin

Chapter 9

    In the Emperor's Palace General Weska was swiftly walking toward an open door at the end of a long hallway. He stepped inside the Emperor's office and noticed Plimkin staring into a computer monitor. On the screen were images of the Galman and Earth fleets along with the Space Battleship Omega.
    "Ha ha ha! Do you see this Weska?" Plimkin asked with a smile on his face. "The Earth ships sent to intercept our fleet are no match for us. We will easily defeat them. And as far as the Omega is concerned, they will be destroyed as well."
    Weska gave his commander a worried and puzzled look.
    "Well get on with it Weska, you obviously have something to say."
    The frazzled General cautiously began his report on the status of the facility in sector 7G. General Weska was unaware that the secret base was being used as a prison for the Galman Empire's exiled Emperor Desslok and his aide General Talan Masterson. All he knew was that he was responsible for General Shoru and the men under his command.
    "Emperor, General Shoru has requested a status on his food and supply order. We gave him the information he was looking for but he did not like the our response. He is demanding to speak with you directly."
    Plimkin slammed his fists on the desk and the computer monitor bounced three inches into the air. Weska was startled by the outburst and practically jumped out of his boots. Plimkin tried to compose himself but his limited patience had been pushed over the edge.
    "General Weska, I am growing tired of our beloved General Shoru. Prepare a strike on the facility in 7G. I want it leveled. If queried, we can say that it was the secret headquarters of the Circle."
    What Plimkin was requesting was traitorous and it startled General Weska. Destroying your own facilities and killing your own people carried with it a death sentence. Fearing his own life may be in danger if he refused to carry out the order, Weska reluctantly followed his new Emperor's wishes without further delay.

    On the outskirts of the Galman Capital an air field sprung to life as three heavy bombers rolled out of a large hangar onto a three hundred meter long runway. The bombers rolled to a stop as a small one manned hover craft that was delicately gliding over the surface of the planet came to a stop near the lead bomber. The driver of the hover craft dismounted and the canopy of the lead bomber opened revealing a Galman soldier in the pilot's seat. The hover craft driver reached up, handed the lead bomber pilot a data disk containing the ship's target and then got on his vehicle and left the scene.
    After the lead pilot inserted the disk into his bomber's guidance computers, he quickly went over the mission details and then distributed the information to the other pilots in his squadron. One that was complete, he closed his canopy and ignited the bomber's engines. The fighter's engines roared to life and the lead ship was sent sailing down the runway. The other two bombers followed their leader and were soon in attack formation heading straight toward the outpost in sector 7G.

    At the remote facility General Shoru's head was pounding with anger and frustration. He had his head down on his desk in his broom closet office trying to take a nap. His rest was broken when he heard echoes that sounded like someone was running down the hallway. A second later his first officer rushed into the office. The man appeared to be completely frantic with worry.
    "General Shoru, there are three fighters heading in our direction!"
    Shoru lifted his head and gave the young man a tiresome look.
    "Squadrons fly over this facility all of the time. It is probably just a training mission."
    "But sir, the fighters are heavy class bombers. That alone is highly unusual."
    An alarm went off in Shoru's mind. In one of his past assignments, he used to be stationed on a base on the other side of planet Galman where the military's heavy bombers were tested. Why were the bombers flying over this part of the planet? Something was wrong.
    "Alert everyone to abandon the base at once!" Shoru ordered. "I will see to the prisoners myself."
    A siren went off and young soldiers, some of them on their first assignments, hastily rushed to get out of the facility. They grabbed as many of their belongings as they could carry and ran out of the base to the single manned hover crafts.
    A young officer jumped on one of the vehicles and fired up the ignition. He pulled back on the throttle and the craft soared over the landscape.
    Another man jumped on a hover craft and tried to start the machine. It stalled so he frantically tried to start it again. Beside him, another two machines left the facility at top speed. The other soldiers rushed out of the base and quickly took off but the man who was having trouble starting his vehicle was not having any luck.
    Another soldier exited the base and began to panic as he realized that there were not enough hover craft for everyone. He noticed the man having trouble and rushed over to him. He grabbed the man by the shoulders, yanked him off of the machine and jumped on the vehicle. A moment later the craft was gone and the man who was having trouble rushed to one of the other vehicles. Not looking where he was going, he was knocked unconscious when another hover craft slammed into him.
    Two other men tried to climb onto one of the remaining vehicles. Friends throughout their lives, they decided they would try to leave together. The engine sputtered as it tried to support the weight of the two men. After a few attempts, the engine came alive and the machine barely got off the ground. Due to the extra weight the fuel supply would be eaten up in no time. The two friends would live but they would have a long walk back to Galman City.
    Another soldier stumbled out of the base as the last of the hover crafts left the scene. The man's pants were down by his ankles. Toilet paper was stuck to the bottom of his shoe and it was being dragged behind him leaving a faint trail in the dirt. He looked up in awe as a caravan of hover crafts were speeding off in the distance. Not really knowing what to do, he pulled up his pants and began to run in the direction of the fleeing convoy.

    Talan and Desslok were standing in their cells trying to figure out the cause of all of the commotion. Ten minutes prior to hearing the siren, they were discussing their plans to escape. Now chaos had erupted and they heard transports leaving the facility at top speeds.
    General Shoru ran down the hall, stopped at the computer pad outside of the cell area and disabled the tracking devices in the prisoner's clothing by entering his administration code. He unlocked the cells by deactivating the tinted blue force fields and then walked into the small cell area.
    "Emperor Desslok, General Plimkin has launched a group of bombers to destroy this base and us along with it. We have very little time. Follow me."
    Desslok stared at Shoru and grabbed the general by the arm, stopping him from going any further. Shoru stopped so fast that he nearly threw his neck out of place. The ousted Galman Emperor's eyes seemed to penetrate Shoru's soul.
    "Why should we trust you now General Shoru?" Desslok hissed.
    Shoru gathered all of his strength to pull away from Desslok and break the paralyzing stare.
    "Because I am the man with the information you need to defeat the Circle once and for all."
    Knowing quite well that Shoru had detailed information to the inner workings of the Circle, Desslok had no choice but to agree to Shoru's terms. He and Talan followed the Galman General out of the cell area. They hurried down the hallway, crossed a corridor and came to what appeared to be a dead end some fifty feet away. Shoru pulled out a data key, flashed it over a tiny control panel near the top of the wall and the wall began to recede exposing a hidden room containing a small transport vehicle.
    The transport, with four large wheels and a manually operated gun turret on its roof, sat six people. Shoru rushed to the machine and flashed the data key at the door of the transport. The door opened and Desslok and Talan climbed aboard the vehicle.
    Talan strapped himself into the pilot's chair while Shoru entered the transport and secured the door. Shoru sat in the co-pilot's chair and activated a small control on the computer panel. A wall in front of the transport began to open exposing the transport to the outside world.
    Talan started the ignition and the transport began to roll out of the base. Shoru brought the radar equipment online and noticed that the bombers would be in bombing range in thirty seconds. Talan saw this information and then kicked the transport into high gear leaving deep marks in the Galman ground. Dust flew in the air and moments later the transport had reached its full speed.
    "General Talan, we are still one hundred meters inside the explosion area." Shoru reported.
    Talan diverted all of the vehicle's power to its engines. Everything from computer power to the backup energy systems got re-routed into the main engine and the transport increased its velocity. But nothing more could be done. The small vehicle's engine had reached its limit as the bombers reached their coordinates.
    Shoru ran the calculations again. The transport had nearly fifty meters to go in order to be clear of the blast.
    "Hang on!" Shoru announced. "We're not quite clear of the blast range!"
    The missiles hit the base. The soldier with the toilet paper stuck to his shoe was obliterated by the blast as it began to catch up with the fleeing transport. Desslok watched out of the rear view port as the fire approached at an alarming pace. Talan continued to give the transport's engine all of the power it could handle but the explosion overtook the vessel.
    Instead of destroying the transport, the shock wave lifted and catapulted the vehicle ahead and away from the deadly fire. The craft slammed to the ground and it took nearly all of Talan's strength at the controls to keep the transport from flipping over. The Galmans had escaped the blast but they were not out of the woods.
    The three bombers had spotted the fleeing transport.
    An alarm went off on Talan's control panel. A gauge showing engine temperature had reached its highest point. If something was not done soon, the engine would burn itself out. Talan diverted the energy back to the other systems to reduce the stress on the engine. As he did, the radar sprung to life and Shoru noticed that the three bombers were in pursuit. Desslok decided that it was time to fight back.
    He unlocked the top hatch of the vessel by turning two levers counter-clockwise. Once that was complete, he pushed the hatch open and climbed up the three rung ladder to the top of the transport. He strapped himself into a small chair by fastening the safety belt around his waist. As he reached for the controls of the gun the bombers began to fire.
    A laser blast hit the ground only meters from the transport but Desslok gained his composure and aimed the gun at the incoming ships. He pressed the fire button and the blast from the gun clipped one of the wings of the attacking planes. The bomber spun out of control and exploded as it crashed into the surface of the Planet Galman.
    Down below, Talan continued to drive the transport over the relatively flat surface of the planet but laser blasts from the bombers were creating unexpected pot holes. He would often have to swerve from hitting one. Meanwhile, Shoru inserted a data disk into the computer. Talan looked over at Shoru and noticed the General accessing what appeared to be highly confidential information.
    "General Shoru, what are you doing?" Talan asked.
    "I am accessing the Circle's secret files." Shoru answered. "If Emperor Desslok can hold off our friends for a few moments, I will have all of the information he will need to destroy the Circle."
    A laser blast hit the ground in front of the transport. The blast lifted the right side of the vehicle off of the ground and rocks and dirt flew in front of the main view port. Talan desperately tried to keep the transport from tipping over. The vehicle twisted and shook until finally slamming down on all four of its wheels.
    Desslok, a little shaken and extremely dirty from all of the dust and grime, spun the gun around and took aim at one of the other pursuing bombers. He fired the gun and hit a fighter directly on its cockpit. It exploded into a thousand pieces.
    The remaining bomber aimed at the transport and fired its lasers once again. A blast hit the ground to the left of the escaping Galmans. A piece of rock caught Desslok under his right eye and blood began to trickle down his cheek. Desslok wiped the blood away and took aim at the bomber.
    As this was happening, Shoru was in the process of downloading the last of the Circle's documentation from their secret database. He waited patiently as the transport jostled from side to side. Finally the words "Download Complete" appeared on the computer screen. Shoru ejected the data disk and placed it in a shock proof container.
    "I have what we need!" Shoru said to Talan.
    Desslok pressed the fire button again and the blast destroyed the remaining bomber's right wing. The pilot desperately tried to eject but the blast had welded the plane's cockpit shut. The bomber was out of control and on a kamikaze course with the transport.
    "Talan, turn to the port side!" Desslok screamed. "NOW!"
    Talan jerked the control stick. The vehicle turned sharply on two wheels as the approaching bomber slammed into the ground and exploded into a huge fireball just missing the three Galman leaders. Pieces of the bomber rained down on the landscape while the transport rolled on towards Galman City.

    In the Emperor's Palace, General Weska entered the Emperor's office with his head down. He tried not to make eye contact with Plimkin.
    "What is it Weska?" Plimkin asked.
    "Emperor Plimkin, we have destroyed the facility in 7G but a dozen hover craft and a small transport have escaped the bombing."
    Before Weska could continue Plimkin yelled. "How did that happen?"
    "I don't know," answered Weska reluctantly. "Perhaps they were alerted to the mission. Emperor, there's more."
    "What do you mean more!" Plimkin asked as he got to his feet.
    "The bombers went after the transport but they were destroyed in the pursuit. The transport is now headed for the Capital."
    "NO!" Plimkin screamed. "With Desslok free he will walk into this city as a God! I should have killed him when I had the chance."
    General Weska, unaware of the kidnapping of the Emperor, was shocked at what he had heard.
    "Emperor Plimkin, I thought Desslok was killed in the blast."
    Plimkin saw the puzzled look on Weska's face and knew that he had let the cat out of the bag. Unfortunately for Weska, the situation had taken a fatal turn. Plimkin reached down for his pistol. Before Weska could react Plimkin shot him in the head.
    Plimkin sat back down at his desk as Weska's body dropped to the floor. He pressed a button on his computer and within a few moments, two security guards entered his office. They both looked down at Weska's smoldering dead body and then at Plimkin.
    "I want extra security placed on all of our highly classified computer systems." Plimkin ordered. "I do not want anyone getting into our Level One systems without my approval."
    An alarm went off on one of the security guard's communications equipment. The guard pushed a button on the small computer strapped to his wrist. The incoming message was then relayed to a small transmitter that was surgically implanted in the man's temples. Seconds later the man pressed the same button to terminate the conversation.
    "It is too late Emperor Plimkin." The guard reported. "Someone has already penetrated our firewall."
    Plimkin knew that it was Shoru that had breached the security system. If he was working with Desslok, the Circle's reign of terror on the Planet Galman could come to an end. Either way he knew what needed to be done. He had to kill Desslok.
    "Gentlemen, I want the Emperor's Palace evacuated at once. You can start by getting this traitor out of my sight."

    In the rear passenger area of the Galman transport Shoru handed the valuable data disk to Desslok.
    "Emperor Desslok, the Circle's entire organization along with current and future plans are described in detail on this disk. But there is more information that is not on this disk that you must know. The fleet that was sent to assist the Omega attacked it and nearly destroyed it. The Omega fought back and was somehow able to destroy our fleet but their long range communications are down and they cannot contact Earth. Our spies tell us that Earth is preparing for war and have launched a small fleet to assist the Omega. To make matters worse, Plimkin has launched another fleet to Earth to release the Bollar Virus into its atmosphere. Our fleet will overtake the Omega before the Earth fleet will arrive. The Earth battleship will not stand a chance against our forces."
    Before Desslok could respond to Shoru's information, an alarm sounded on the transport's communication equipment. Shoru walked back to the co-pilot's chair and pressed a button on the control panel. A small computer display activated and Plimkin's face appeared on the screen.
    "Well Shoru, it seems I have underestimated your talents." Plimkin said coldly. "Surrender now and I will let you live."
    "No Plimkin," answered Shoru. "We now have everything we need to destroy you."
    Plimkin began to laugh. "I doubt you will live long enough to see that day, Shoru."
    Shoru squirmed uneasily in his chair.
    "Speaking of the former Emperor, let me speak to him!"
    Desslok replaced Shoru in the co-pilot's seat.
    "So Desslok, you live to see another day." Plimkin said.
    "Your first mistake was betraying me," Desslok said. "Your second mistake was betraying the Galman people. Your third and fatal mistake was allowing me to live."
    "Cut the dramatics Desslok," Plimkin interrupted. "Time has made you weak! The Desslok of old would never have been in the position where he could be removed from power."
    "That may be true, General Plimkin. But I can assure you, I won't make that mistake again. Big changes are coming your way!"
    Plimkin knew that Desslok meant business. Once Desslok entered the Galman Capital it would only be a matter of making a public appearance and Plimkin's reign as Emperor would be over.
    "If you are a true Galman warrior Desslok, then come and face me man to man. I am at the Emperor's Palace and I am alone. I can assure you, it will be a fair fight."
    "I see there is still a shred of Galman honor left in your miserable soul. I accept your challenge."
    Desslok turned off the communications equipment.
    "We have a lot of work to do Talan. Your mission will be to contact our fleet. Make sure that they do not attack the Omega or the Earth forces. I do not want another war with the Planet Earth! As far as Plimkin is concerned, I will face him alone."
    "How can I help?" General Shoru asked.
    Desslok got out of the chair, pulled out his pistol and shot Shoru in the chest. Shoru looked up at Desslok in shock as he fell to the floor.
   "Emperor Desslok why? Why did you shoot me?" Shoru asked as he grabbed his chest in agony.
    "You have betrayed me once," said Desslok as he looked down at the fallen soldier. "I can never fully trust you again."
    Desslok pulled the trigger a second time and Shoru's body was blasted into the back of the transport.
    "Besides, you have outlived your usefulness."
    Desslok holstered his weapon and sat back down in the co-pilot's chair. He stared through the view port at the glowing lights of the Galman capital city. It was time to reclaim his throne. It was time for his revenge.