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Planet of the Rovers

by Scott Oliverson

CHAPTER VII

     The carts veered toward the side of the road and pulled to a
stop. As they did, Ace could see a procession of Rovers in long black
robes stepping solemly down the street, their faces masked by scarves.
They were chanting something low and slow. It was clear to Ace that,
canosapien or not, these were monks, and what they were chanting was a
prayer in their own language. Exile, the lead Rover stepped out of his
place at the head of the cart line and stopped before the line of monks.
 He dropped to one knee and lowered his head. The lead monk touched his
head with his own hand muttering another prayer. By the closed eyes and
trembling face, Ace could see that Exile was a spiritual dog. Then he
felt someone pull on his arm and he was dragged down to his knees.

               SPACE ACE
Who dare threaten me now?! <Spun angrily around>

     And found himself looking at the face of a human boy, a teenager
with yellow hair, blue eyes, wearing glasses and dressed in a red
t-shirt, blue pants and brown shoes. Ace recognized him as the same boy
who had been yanked up into the trees. His hair was wild and clothes
ripped & dirty, skin marked with cuts and bruises. But the eyes that
stared from behind his glasses were intelligent and sharp.

               SPACE ACE <Whispers>
Where am I?

     The boy shook his head in warning and turned away. Annoyed at
this insult Ace noticed the young girl huddled next to him and the
father who carried the fruit sack. Ace looked to the girl and asked in
a pleading voice.

               SPACE ACE
Will somebody please tell me what the h*** is going on here? What is
this place?

     The girl hissed a warning and glared at him under her hair. Ace
glared back, how dare nobody tell him what was happening, where he was
or what place? He opened his mouth to protest but the father reached
out and slapped him across the face causing Ace to cry in suprise.

               SPACE ACE
Ouch, hey! <Glowers> No one touches me like that.
               DAVID SEVILE
Silence! Head down, mouth shut. You'll get us all killed.
               SPACE ACE
I what?! <Still glaring> How dare you...

     Again Sevile whacked him across the face, harder. Ace was about
to strike him back but both kids moved to protect their father.

               RICHARD TYLER
Quiet! No talk, unless spoken to.
               ROBYN SEVILE
Yes, on this planet dogs rule and people are their slaves.

     Space Ace was shocked! What did these kids just say to him?

               SPACE ACE <Whispers>
Excuse me? Did I just hear you say dogs rule?
               DAVID SEVILE
That is correct stranger. They are the masters, we are their servants.
<Whispers back> I am David Sevile and these are my kids Richard and
Robyn. <Indicates the boy and girl> Sorry if I had to abuse you like
that but I must warn you never speak unless granted permission by the
canosapiens. If you want to talk, always address them by sir or madame,
master or mistress, but otherwise keep silent.

     Ace still refused to understand all that was happening at the
moment. Dogs rulers and people slaves? This can't be real he told
himself, it has to be a dream or nightmare.

               SPACE ACE <To himself>
Great Scott...my parents will never believe this when I tell them the
whole shocking story if and when I return home.

     But he agreed to keep silent. Whatever else Mr. Sevile was, he
was intelligent. If he was afraid for his life and his children, Ace
thought he should be, too...He quited down. The carts passed under a
great stone archway and into an enormous square or courtyard. High
stone walls surrounded the plaza on every side. In moments the carts
had assembled in the middle of the square, the cages were thrown open
and armored Rovers with whips were driving the people into the open.
Taking cues from the 3 people who warned him, Ace obeyed every order.

               SPACE ACE
I wonder what will happen to me next?

     A side door opened and a figure stepped out. It was dressed in
the same armored uniform steel gray & blue color. It threw back its
head and yawned, streched in the sunlight, scratching its back lazily as
it finally focused on the humans. It was a doberman, his black & brown
fur puffed & frazzled at the edges of his face. The doberman yawned
again and pulled a small cudgel from its pocket. Then he started
forward.

     The doberman, in no hurry, made one entire circle around the mob
of people before he grunted and approached one of the soldier canines.

               BLITZ
Are you trying to put me out of business? <Complains in a business-like
voice> These are the sorriest looking bunch of people I've ever seen.
               DYLAN <Not impressed>
You don't want them Blitz?
               BLITZ <Reconsiders>
Hmmmmph. I'll take the whole lot. I'll have to make it up on volume.

     He whistled and a squad of dobermans wearing sanitation masks
hustled out of the door and over to the humans. As Blitz paid Dylan,
the masked canines began to seperate the people into groups. Ace saw
Dave whisper to his daughter.

               DAVID SEVILE
Honey, don't be afraid. Do as they say and you will not be harmed.
               ROBYN SEVILE
I'll find you daddy. <Whispers back>
               BLITZ <Sneers>
Jah, very touching. Really, I can't see for the tears in my eyes. Now
move young lady! To the female pen.

     He grabbed her by the hair and threw her into the cage.

               DAVID SEVILE
Robyn! I'll teach you not to manhandle my daughter like that.
               BLITZ
Oh yeah? <Sneers> I'll see you on the playground after school brat.

     One of his brother dobermans aka Roscoe struck Sevile's
outstreched hand who was reaching for his child with a cudgel causing
him to cry in pain as he was led away cursing loudly. Ace felt himself
grabbed by powerful hands by another doberman named Desoto and thrown
into a pen with most of the other men. The boy, Richard Tyler, was
dragged that way too, but there was a brief pause as he struggled. When
Roscoe & Desoto both handling him at the same time tried to cover his
mouth he bit down hard! This made both brothers shriek in pain and
tried to shake him off. Ace tried hard not to laugh but couldn't help
giggling to himself watching the antics.

               SPACE ACE
Sic him, let them have it boy! Make them feel pain, yeah! <Smirks>

     Calmly, Blitz strode forward and sank his teeth into the rear
end of Tyler's pants. The boy screamed in pain and dropped to the
ground grabbing his backside in agony while Roscoe & Desoto jumped back,
clutching their painful paw-fingers and glowering at the human at their
feet. Blitz consoled his siblings saying...

               BLITZ
Tsk, tsk, tsk...how many times do I have to tell you? Wear gloves when
handle people.
               ROSCOE
You're the boss, brother. <Still glaring>
               DESOTO
Let me at him bro, I'll teach him a thing or two.
               BLITZ
Nah, I punished him by biting his tushie. <Grins> He will learn manners
in time.

     All 3 dobermans snickered and laughed evilly. Ace glared with
daggers of fire in his eyes.

               SPACE ACE
How dare they hurt that boy and make fun of him? I'll show those sore
losers.
               HUNTER
Are you going soft, Blitz?

     It was Hunter himself, the leader of the ROVER NEW WORLD ORDER
with Exile at his side. Blitz whirled around, the arrogant look on his
face morphing into a wheeling smile.

               BLITZ
General Hunter and Exile, what a pleasant suprise. And an honor, of
course, to have you at my establishment.
               HUNTER <Points to Richard>
You used to back off a limb when they caused too much trouble.
               BLITZ
Of course sir, but those were better times. These days, alas, I need
all the money I can wring out of them, and the creature is worth a lot
less if he's been hurt or worse jah?

     Exile brushed past Blitz and approached the pen. He eyed Ace
threateningly who stared back the same way, glare with glare.

               EXILE
Don't turn your back on this one comrade. He's feisty.
               SPACE ACE
I'm your worst nightmare pal. Go ahead, make my day.
               BLITZ <Chuckles>
Were these the ones raiding the orchards, sir? I know an old country
remedy that never fails. Gut one and string the carcass up...

     But Hunter silenced him with a wave of his paw.

               HUNTER
The human rights faction is already nipping at my tail.
               BLITZ
Do-gooders. Who needs them? I'll all for free speech - as long as they
keep their mouths shut.

     Hunter strolled over to a pen where the children had been
seperated from their parents and eyed them carefully.

               HUNTER
I promised my niece a pet for her birthday.
               BLITZ
Ah, excellent sir! The little ones make wonderful pets...but make sure
you get rid of it by puberty. If there's one thing you don't want in
your home it's a human teenager.

     Out from the ranks of canosapien soldiers stepped a female
retriever and a youngster. Hunter spoke to the young Rover.

               HUNTER
See anything you like, neice?
               BLITZ
Anything at all, it's yours my dear.

     The young canine eyed the children in the pen like a human
looking at kittens or puppies in a pet store. Finally, she shyly
pointed to a human girl about 5 years.

               BLITZ
What an excellent choice! She's yours my child.

     Exile opened the cage and snatched the girl who squealed in
terror. From his own pen, Ace kept his eyes on Robyn. Beneath her
yellow hair, her eyes burned with hatred into the Rovers. Hunter made
sure his relatives were a safe distance away from the pens and mounted
easily onto his horse. Blitz, still trying to make an impression, said.

               BLITZ
Jah, uh, general, they see if you piss along the fence line it keeps
them away from the crops.
               HUNTER
Stay back, tushie biter. You smell of people.

     Ace watched the leader of the nWo whirl his horse around and
ride away like the Lone Ranger followed by Exile as Tonto.

               END OF PART VII

              Proceed to Chapter 8