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Planet of the Rovers

by Scott Oliverson

CHAPTER XV

     Canosapien soldiers of the NEW WORLD ORDER stood in parade
formation on every street corner. Squad platoons marched down Main
Street. And not a single citizen complained, because last night a pack
of colonists had escaped and (IF THE RUMORS WERE TRUE) they had
kidnapped a number of one of the city's finest families. General Hunter
had gone personally to deliver the bad news to Lassie. Lassie had been
nearly broken by it. Despite her disapproval of her activities, it was
obvious that the old collie loved her daughter. To lose her to humans -
the very creatures she sought to protect - was a devastating blow.
Hunter had delivered his report with professional efficiency and then
invited the senator to walk the city with him.

               LASSIE
If I ever thought that those...those aliens were capable to taking my
daughter hostage...<She mumbled for the 5th time>
               HUNTER
Don't blame yourself, your majesty. Your family above all tried to be
compassionate to the humans...and look how they repaid you.

     Lassie felt frail and weak. She felt old. She felt as though
time had passed her by. Hunter, on the other hand, appeared to be a
pillar of strengh.

               LASSIE
General, leader of the nWo. Can you, will you find my daughter?

     Hunter stopped walking. He had known this moment would come.
He had planned for it all along. He said...

               HUNTER
If you untie my hands.
               LASSIE <Puzzled>
What do you want?
               HUNTER
Declare martial law. Give me the absolute power to rid our planet of
humans once and for all.

     Lassie took a step backwards. The pillar of strengh seemed to
loom over her now.

               LASSIE <Hesitates>
I don't know about this...
               HUNTER
Now is not the time to be timid and indecisive. <States firmly> I am the
only one who can bring your daughter back ALIVE.

     Hunter waited. He studied Lassie. The queen hesitated again
for a second or two. Then, as if frightened of her own actions, she
gave the slightest nod of agreement, turned, and hurried away. Hunter
watched her go. It was done. He would have his martial law. He would
be the absolute authority on the planet. Exile appeared at his side.
He gave the familiar salute of the NAZI (Arm outstreched with hand &
fingers pointed skywards at an angle) and then said.

               EXILE
Comrade, they are not within the city walls.
               HUNTER
Hmm...<Rubs his chin> We underestimate this human, this stranger from
another planet. I will hunt him down myself.

     Hunter started away, but Exile said...

               EXILE
Sir, there is something else.
               HUNTER
Quickly then, time is running out.
               EXILE
It's your father, comrade.
               HUNTER <Stiffened>
What?! What about my father.
               EXILE
He has sent word for you. You are to go to him immediately.

     Hunter understood the meaning. He gave orders tersely to the
other nWo warriors.

               HUNTER
Alert our outposts. Make sure the CHOSEN ONE does not pass.
               EXILE <Salutes again>
I understand commander.

     Hunter caught his gaze and held it fiercely.

               HUNTER
Except for my father, you're the one I depend on most. We are not just
soldiers...we are blood-brothers, friends Exile. I'm depending on you.

     It was a hard ride, but Hunter did not feel a step of it. All
that mattered was getting to his father's side before the end. By
nightfall he had reached the forest home of his father's retirement. It
was a quiet place, restful place. No place for anyone of their line,
canosapiens who led armies for generations. Hunter's father's former
profession did not match the vision of the poor, frail, black & white
husky that lay dying in bed in this quiet country estate. But this too,
was his father, and as much as Hunter wanted to turn away, he would not
dishonor the Rover who taught him to be a soldier of the nWo.

     He knelt beside his father's bed. A single candle burned in the
room, keeping watch over the dying old soldier. The eyes of the husky
were closed. The general reached out and gently traced the wrinkled
line of that face.

               HUNTER
Father, I have come as you wished.
               STEELE <Opens his eyes>
They said you would come tomorrow. I told them it would be sooner.
               HUNTER
Father, how are you?
               STEELE
I don't have much time, <Rasps> I...I've heard news.

     This did not suprise Hunter. His father's network of spies had
been the best in RoverCity in his prime, and was dependable right to the
end.

               STEELE
Tell me about this human who troubles you.
               HUNTER
He will be captured soon...and little trouble.

     The old husky stared at him, appeared to be angry as though he
detected a lie in his son.

               STEELE
You're not telling me everything son. You believe he is not born of
this world.
               HUNTER <Stunned>
How can you know this?
               STEELE
Has he come alone?
               HUNTER <Dumbfounded>
Yes...
               STEELE
More will come looking for him, to rescue him.

     Breath seemed to come slowly to his lungs.

               HUNTER <Can't believe>
How? How can you possibly know?

     Steele took a deep breath, gathering strengh to speak again.

               STEELE
I have something to tell you before I die or pass away son. Something
my father told me...and his father told him...back across our bloodline
to Pyro himself. <He put a hand on his son's arm> In the time before
time...we were the slaves and the humans were our masters.
               HUNTER <Snorts>
Impossible!
               STEELE
No? <Eyebrow arches like Spock> Behold, the proof that you seek of what
I tell you is true. <Points to an urn> Break it.

     Hunter scooped the urn and smashed it against the wall.
Something hard and heavy clattered to the ground - a laser gun. Hunter
picked it up, staring in confusion & puzzlement.

               STEELE
What you hold in your hand, is the truth of what I told you. Proof of
their power, power of invention, power of technology. Against which our
strengh means nothing.

     Hunter hefted the gun. It had an interesting weight about it.
But there was no blade, and it was far too short for a club.

               STEELE
It has the force of a thousand spears, the touch of death.
               HUNTER <Shrugs>
Then I shall summon 10 thousand against it.
               STEELE
I warn you son...their ingenuity goes hand in hand with their crulety.
No creature is as devious or violent. Find this CHOSEN ONE quickly. Do
not let him reach Calima.

     Calima. It was a name rarely spoken.

               HUNTER
The haunted ruins? Why would he go there? No one goes there, it's
forbidden. There's nothing there but old cave paintings.
               STEELE <Closes his eyes>
Calima holds the golden key, the magic secret of our true beginning.
               HUNTER
I will stop him father, I swear in the name of the New World Order.

     His father drifted back to consciousness for a second or two.

               STEELE
This human has already infested the others with his ideas. Damn them
all to h***...

     Then his hand dropped away from Hunter's arm and his face
settled into a relaxed pose as though the pain had been lifted from his
body as a smile came over his face. Hunter frowned, but tears ran down
both cheeks as emotions threatened to overwhelm him and he fought back
the urge to cry in front of his dead father. Instead he whispered a
prayer to Pyro, and blew out the candle.

               END OF PART XV

               Proceed to Chapter 16