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Planet of the Rovers

by Scott Oliverson


     A squad of Rover soldiers marched down the middle of Main Street
with Exile at the lead. All had been roused from bed and none were
happy. The humans were huddled on the rooftop above them, waiting for
them to pass. As soon as the platoon was out of sight, Ace dropped
catlike from the roof. The rest followed one by one. Sevile came last.
 Unable to hold himself by his arms, he slipped and fell, hitting the
ground hard and didn't utter a sound. Robyn helped him up and Dave
gritted his teeth against the pain.

               DAVID SEVILE
Leave me here.
No father.
               DAVID SEVILE
I'm tired, and old. Old men get scared.
               SPACE ACE
You may be old and tired, but you're done being scared. It's time to
stand up to the bullies who threatened, mocked you because you were
afraid and it made it easy or fun for them to pick on you. Now you must
show them you are not afraid no matter what they think or do to you.
               DAVID SEVILE
Yes, you are right sir. I am not afraid no more, I will show those
bullies once and for all.
Rovers! <Hissed a warning>

     They all spun around, but the Rovers were on them before anyone
could react. There were 2 of them. A german shepherd grabbed Ace and
knocked him facefirst to the ground and relieved him of his weapon. The
other stepped forward and Ace recognized Colleen's face.

Blimey, you are lucky I found you before they did. <Glares at them all>
Come with me back to the house. I can reason with them.
               DAVID SEVILE
I've seen how Rovers reason with colonists.

     Ace was about to ask how Colleen found them so quickly, but
Cruella stepped out of the darkness, not daring to meet their eyes. Ace
was not sure whether to feel angry or pity for the black-white haired
woman in red dress, shoes, etc.

               SPACE ACE
Is there a good way out of this city?

     At first Colleen said nothing but Ace saw a hint of recognition
in her eyes. T-Bolt saw it too. The K-9 police dog leaned in, casting
a shadow between Ace and his mistress. He growled.

Do not get involved with these people.

     Bravely, Ace stepped into T-Bolt's shadow and caught Colleen's
eyes, holding them with his.

               SPACE ACE
Why did you save my life? You don't know me and I don't know you.
I...I don't know. Yes, you are very unusual and I never met you before
or don't know who you are or where you come from.
               SPACE ACE
Yeah? <Smirks> Like you can't even imagine. Come with me and I'll show
you something that will turn your whole world upside down.
               ROBYN <Gives a sharp look>
So this canine will understand, but I can't?

     Ace ignored her and said to the collie...

               SPACE ACE
You said humans were capable of culture. You were right, I'll prove it
to you. I can reveal it beyond your wildest dreams.

     Suddenly shouts drifted down the street, echoing off the walls.
 The noises were distant, but growing louder. Patrols were on their
trail. Colleen looked at T-Bolt and said.

When I was young I found a secret to escape outside the city walls.
Where no one could find me, I can lead you there myself.

     Thunderbolt shuffled from foot to foot but said nothing as if he
were trying to decide whether to defect, betray his family and friends
and join the rebels or stay behind and remain loyal. Then he stopped
shuffling and eyed the little girl in Robyn's arms.

This human child cannot survive the journey.
               COLLEEN <Agrees>
My maid will hide her in my house where mother will not harm her.

     Obediently, Cruella stepped forward and reached for the child
but Robyn refused, clutching the girl to her. To everyone's suprise, it
was David who broke the standoff. He stepped forward and scooped the
child out of Robyn's hands and into Cruella's.

               DAVID SEVILE
Sorry honey, but she's right. Mrs. Devile will take care of this child
and make sure no one harms her.
You have my word of honor sir. I'll protect this child as if she were
my own with my life.
Alright, but promise she will not be harmed?
You have my word young lady. <Bows>
We have to go now.
Yeah, before the patrols catch us and who knows what they will do man.
               SPACE ACE <Nods>
Follow me, stay close and don't look back!

     Together the humans followed Colleen and T-Bolt down the street
as Cruella shepherded the little girl back to Lassie's house. They ran
for three blocks, hearing the sounds of patrols on distant streets.
Harsh voices echoed over rooftops. But no one saw them...yet. On the
fourth block, their luck failed. Several dark shapes appeared at the
far end of the street and one canosapien let out a furious roar.

Exile, my blood-brother. They've seen us.
               PERCIVAL MCLEACH
What are we going to do? <Terrified>

     Again it was Sevile who took action. He put his good hand on
Robyn's shoulder and said.

               DAVID SEVILE
Honey, be well.
Father, no!
               DAVID SEVILE
Don't worry, no matter what happens, I'll be with you. Just like go, hurry!

     He jumped out of the shadows and charged straight at the Rovers.
 Dave forced himself to keep running toward the soldiers. He paused
long enough to snatch a wooden pole that lay in a doorway and wielded it
like a baton club. Exile and his soldiers watched in stunned confusion
as Sevile charged them. When he was a few steps away, Dave let out a
ninja scream and raised the pole in his good hand and swung it towards
the husky. Exile hardly blinked as he shot his laser beams from his
glowing eyes which exploded the pole into kindling. Then he backhanded
Dave hard in the face with a bolo punch that sent him crashing onto his
back and side in the dirt. David felt the breath leave his body as the
Rovers encircled him. Managing to regain his breath, he sat up staring
up at the husky and looking him right in the eyes.

Why do you not tremble before me?

     Sevile hesitated a moment and then smiled, or grinned evily as
he remembered what Ace told him.

               DAVID SEVILE
I'm done being scared, I fear you no more, big bully. Go ahead, do what
you will with me I am not afraid! <And he spat at him>

     Exile frowned. This man seemed noble and dignified - Exile was
not used to seeing this in humans. This man seemed enlivened by his
defiance. He seemed enlightened. Exile found himself envying that. He
looked up to see General Hunter approach on his horse, his golden armor
shimmering. Casually, he raised his arm. Exile caught only the
briefest gleam of steel in the moonlight before Hunter's sword came down
and struck Sevile's body without a sound. Dave did not scream or cry
out but smiled evilly up at the canosapiens as if daring Hunter to kill
him, as if he wanted death to take him away. As Sevile lay bleeding,
his life fading away he whispered final words to the sky.

               DAVID SEVILE
Father, almighty. Forgive them, they not know what they are doing to
me...into thy hands, I commit my spirit, my soul to you my master. <Then
his eyes went lifeless and his head fell to one side>
Huh, what? <Suprised>

     Hunter only scowled, frowning...he didn't like the sound of that
one bit. He studied his sergant, trying to understand his hesitance.
Finally he demanded.

Where are the other humans?
This way commander. They can't have gone far.

     But when two officers (aka Star and Xander) and their soldiers
finished searching the street, they found no sign of the fugitives.

They've dissapeared.
               HUNTER <Agrees>
Ring the city. Block every gate. When you find them, kill them all.
But keep the stranger alive. I must interview or how do you say,
interrogate him before he dies.

     Exile nodded, but did not move. He had something else to say,
something he did not wish to say.

There's one other thing, comrade.
The...the queen's daughter. She was with them.

     Hunter's face froze into a mask of anger.

They took her hostage?
They...she was helping them, sir. I saw her myself.

     Hunter took a step back. Then quickly turned Exile's statement
to his own purposes.

She had no choice. She was scared. They threatened her life. <He
nodded, as though convincing himself he automatically convinced everyone
around him> I will report the matter to the council myself. They'll beg
for mercy or for my help in the end.
They are weak without you, commander.
               HUNTER <Peers into the night>
Has she taken the K-9 with her?

     Exile had seen T-Bolt before he'd ducked into the shadows. He
knew the form of Thunderbolt well.

Yes, my blood-brother.

     Hunter turned a penetrating gaze back on Exile. There was
history between Exile and T-Bolt, long history. It meant little to
Hunter...unless it got in the way of his plans.

I trust...<He said meaningfully> that it will not be a problem?

     Exile straightened up. He hesitated for the slightest of
moments. Then he forced the words through his mouth.

No, comrade. As of now he is a traitor.

               END OF PART XII

               Proceed to Chapter 13