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Planet of the Rovers

by Scott Oliverson

CHAPTER VIII

     Space Ace had commanded himself to relax, and follow the example
of the other colonists to submit to the Rovers. All that ended when the
branding irons came out. The Rovers began to stoke fires, and to heat
metal bars inside the fires. When the irons were hot enough, they began
to tether the humans one by one, drag them from the pens and tie them to
posts set into the ground of the plaza. Ace watched in horror as Robyn
was siezed by a noose around her neck and hauled out of the female pen.
 The clothes were torn from her shoulders, and one of the canosapiens
pressed a hot iron to her shoulder blade. Robyn winced and tears welled
in her eyes but she did not cry or scream. The iron hissed as it burned
her skin. Then the Rovers were done. They tossed her back into the pen
and moved on. Two canosapiens (aka Star & Spirit) opened the male cage
and set their eyes on Ace. Before he could react, they grabbed his
arms. He dug his heels into the ground but they easily dragged him to
the branding post. Ace kicked and squirmed. Then he executed the
martial arts he learned at home visiting his little brother in Pallet
Town long ago...Jumping high he shot both legs out from either side of
his body catching both female canosapiens hard in their stomachs which
caused Star & Spirit to release their grips on his arms. Then spinning
to his left he backfisted Spirit in the face, followed by a roundhouse
kick to the head sending her sprawling. Then turning to his right as
Star rushed him Ace jumped high and caught the female german shepherd in
the face with the crescent kick! The other humans looked on in suprise
and shock, they've never seen anything like this before.

     Ace again threw a combination jab-punch to Star's body to soften
her up then leaped again and perfected a hook-axe kick to the face and
down she went. Spirit jumped back up to strike the stranger from his
blindside but Ace sensed her coming and blocked the thrust of a branding
iron aimed at his head, moved under the attack and chopped hard at the
wrist forcing the Rover to scream in pain and drop the weapon. He then
followed up with a judo throw taking the border collie onto her backside
where she lay stunned, unable to get up. Blitz watching all this looked
bored and angry.

               BLITZ
Do I have to do everything myself?

     He snatched up the fallen iron and advanced menacingly. Ace
assumed a stance, ready to fight.

               SPACE ACE
Go ahead, c'mon. I'm ready you coward!
               COLLEEN
Blitz, stop!

     The doberman trader turned to see a female collie frowning at
him, arms folded. Ace risked a glance at her and recognized the same
collie that had stopped the boys from throwing rocks. Now she strode
forward arrogantly and grabbed the branding iron from Blitz's hand and
tossed it into the mud. Blitz slapped one hand over his forehead.

               BLITZ
By Pyro, not you again!
               COLLEEN
I will not stand idly by while these colonists are being mistreated and
tortured like slaves.
               BLITZ
Lassie! <Interrupts> The only reason I put up with your nonsense is
because of your mother. But you test my patience!
               COLLEEN <Glowers>
Well, FLUFFY! <Her favorite insult> If you want me to stop harassing
you, then give up your business.

     Blitz opened his hands wide, his fingers facing up to the sky.
The handlers set to watch Ace Star & Spirit who both climbed shakingly
back to their feet again trained their gaze on the drama unfolding
between the two Rovers. Ace siezed the opportunity. He looked around,
seeking a weapon, and spotted a length of chain half buried in the mud.

               BLITZ
Hey, I do the job nobody else wants. I don't see any of you bleeding
hearts spending all day with these dangerous, dirty...
               COLLEEN
They are not dumb! They can be trained to live with us and I'm going to
prove it.

     Quick as he could manage, Ace reached down and grabbed the
chain. He spun it around the nearest handler's foot and yanked. Penny
a female dalmatian yelped in terror and fell off balance, her spear
popping into the air. In one smooth motion Ace snatched it and leaned
forward and touched the end of the spear to Colleen's neck, she gasped.
 Blitz, calm and unconcerned, laughed out loud.

               BLITZ
Muwa-bwahahahahahahahaha! <Doubles over> That's your proof?

     The other canosapiens snickered & giggled with him.

               BLITZ
I guess I'll have to put this one down!

     Ace wrapped one hand around Colleen's neck and used the other to
press the spear point against her throat. Instantly they were
surrounded by handlers. He looked at Colleen, who was staring at him
with a mixture of suprise and fear. But instead of threatening her, he
leaned in close and whispered.

               SPACE ACE
Please...help me. I mean no harm madame collie, I only want to escape
from this nightmare but I can't do this without your help.

     This seem to startle the canosapien even more.

               PENNY
Watch it!
               STAR
Hey, one's escaping!
               SPIRIT
Get her!

     All eyes followed the warning. As Ace held everyone's
attention, Robyn had realized that the female pen was open. She made a
break for freedom but Blitz intercepted her and stunned her with a blow
to the back of the head. Irritated now, he turned and stalked towards
Colleen being held by Ace like a hostage human shield.

               BLITZ
Look what you've started! Now I'm getting a headache!

     He came closer and Ace hunched down, pressing the spear blade
against Colleen's throat but trying not to hurt her at the same time.

               SPACE ACE
Stay back or else! I'll harm my hostage if you touch me.
               COLLEEN
Please, you promised not to hurt me.
               SPACE ACE
I'm only faking them, <Whispers> making them think I'll hurt you but I'm
not doing anything.
               COLLEEN
Ooh? <Eyes arch up> That's logical, I think...
               BLITZ
Oh, please! No one's going to hurt you now. Release the collie now and
I give my word no one will kill you.
               SPACE ACE
Hah! Over my dead body doberman. Make me!

     Ace kept his eyes on Blitz, watching suspiciously making sure
his hands were out of reach from his weapon since the doberman appeared
to be offering himself to him as an exchange hostage. Suddenly the
spear was gone, snatched from his hand by the Rover's teeth. Blitz had
sprang forward before Ace could blink and siezed the weapon with his
mouth and jumped back, chuckling.

               BLITZ
Hahahahaha, oops. Who's got the weapon now, sucker?
               SPACE ACE
Why you...!
               BLITZ
Take this, in your face hoser!

     Then he smashed the dull handle across his face & forehead
causing the hero of Earth to scream in pain and collapse facedown in the
mud. Sneering the doberman towered over him.

               BLITZ
Who needs this aggravation. It's tushie-biting time, jah. Hold him!

     Once again Star, Spirit, joined by Penny and Jeff a male
greyhound pinned Ace's arms and legs against the ground. Blitz reversed
the spear and raised it, ready to plunge the sharp tip into his heart.

               COLLEEN
Wait! <Gets his attention> Sell him to me.
               BLITZ
What? <Gasps> Are you nuts or what! He's wild, you don't know him!
<Points to Robyn> They're both wild!
               COLLEEN
Then I'll purchase them both, take them off your hands so to speak if
that's OK with you, FLUFFY!
               BLITZ
I hate it when you keep calling me that. <Glowers, then smirks> Buy
them, eh? <Greed came into his voice> That would be expensive 007, can
you afford both slaves?
               COLLEEN
Oh I'm sure we can come to a deal. <Smirks back> How would you want me
to pay, cash, check or IOU?
               BLITZ
Hmmm, on the other hand, now that I think of it perhaps I'll let you
have them for free, just to get rid of them.
               COLLEEN
What?! Free? Since when did you sell slaves for free.
               BLITZ
Dunno, maybe it's the first time jah?

     Ace felt the hands that held him relax as Blitz ordered the
handlers to back off, let the stranger stand up. He knew now he would
not be killed. He heard Colleen say.

               COLLEEN
In that case I'll take them for free. See to it personally they are
delivered to my house.
               BLITZ
Certainly my dear. <Bows> I just have to mark him first.
               SPACE ACE
WHAT?! NO, WAIT! <Fear in his voice>

     Too late! Hot iron pressed into his flesh and he screamed in
pure agony as pain shot through his body like a wildfire out of control.

               SPACE ACE
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! <Then blacked out>
               COLLEEN
What did you do to him?
               BLITZ
Marked him, to identify him as a member of your household.
               COLLEEN
Blimey, <Rolls her eyes> oh very well. I'll be waiting for them to be
delivered to my house tonight.
               BLITZ
As you wish madame. <Bows again>

               END OF PART VIII

               Proceed to Chapter 9