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Planet of the Rovers

by Scott Oliverson

CHAPTER XXV

     Attar said it first. His jaw dropped, his eyes wide with
amazement. Without hesitation, he dropped to his knees.

               EXILE
Pyro.

     The word passed like a breeze through the ranks of canosapien
soldiers as they too spoke the mythical word

               nWo CANOSAPIENS
PYRO...PYRO...PYRO...

     Exile turned to Hunter, who stood over Ace, looking suspicious
and angry at this impossible new arrival.

               EXILE
Sir, the legend is true. Pyro has returned to us.

     Hunter did not move. Ace did. As the general's attention was
distracted, he jumped to his feet and bolted for the pod. As one, the
Rovers cried in alarm, but then to their amazement "PYRO" opened her
long arms and jumped into Ace's embrace.

               SPACE ACE
Daisy! You collie, I knew I would find you again, or rather you came
looking for me, good dog.

     The collie hugged Ace, licking his face joyfully at seeing her
master again and then held up one of her paw-hands. The thumb was
extended. Ace laughed again and held up his own thumbs-up sign.

               SPACE ACE
Good girl. You brought your pod home like I told you.

     Again Daisy licked him, then barked in answer and nuzzled under
his chin as the nWo looked on in suprise and disbelief. Suddenly the
humans cheered. The figure of sorcery whoever she was, had come to help
Ace. Their shouts electrified Ace. Quickly he unhooked a survival pack
from Daisy's uniform and slung it over his own shoulder.

               SPACE ACE
OK, Daisy. Let's go explain evolution to these canines.

     Boldly, he marched towards the Rovers. As he approached, they
dropped their weapons and dropped to their knees, heads bowed. Hunter
glared at them with hatred in his eyes.

               HUNTER
You fools, what are you doing? Stop them! <Not a single Rover obeyed>

     In fact as Ace neared, they backed away, awestruck and terrified
thinking Ace was a powerful GOD and Daisy was his goddess.

               HUNTER
Idiots! Go back! I order you...hold your positions you cowards!

     Still no one listened. The colonists cheered as canosapiens
backed off, then broke into a run. It was then Daisy suddenly took off
running towards the entrance of STAR COMMAND's ruins as if she knew
exactly where to go. Startled, Ace called out.

               SPACE ACE
Daisy? Stop, where are you going. Come back here!

     It was then Hunter attacked without warning. He sprang into
Ace's path and slammed the stranger hard in the chest, knocking him
backwards onto his butt. Then leered down at the angered Ace who
glowered up at him.

               HUNTER
Wherever you come from...you're still a wretched human!
               SPACE ACE
Over my dead body you stupid dumb dog! <Flips bird sign>
               HUNTER
GRRRRRRRRR, KILL!

     Then he grabs Ace by the shirt, yanked him into the air and
threw him a dozen yards away. He hit the ground hard, the backpack
skittered out of reach. Ace backflipped onto his feet again just as
Hunter rushed in only to have Colleen stop him.

               COLLEEN
Not so fast hunty-wunty! Kiiiyaaaaah! <Slams a powerful spinning SUPER
KICK into his midsection> You will not harm my new lover.
               HUNTER
You'll be sorry, regret this wench!

     Then he powerslammed the collie with both fists into her face
which propelled Colleen hard onto the ground, she gasped from the impact
and lay stunned. Ace rushed forwards to avenge his girlfriend but
Hunter jumped high and kicked him squarely in the face with both boots!
 He flew backwards and hit the ground again, this time near the entrance
to STAR COMMAND. Hunter backfisted Ace in the face, more blood flew
from his nose. Ace yelled and counter-attacked with a savage headbutt
that staggered the retriever back a step or two allowing Ace to jump
back to his feet, readying himself for another assault.

               SPACE ACE
You're slipping mutt. You're no match for the Terminator!
               HUNTER
That's what you think, fool!
               SPACE ACE
Talk-talk-talk...your mouth's your only BIG weapon!
               HUNTER
AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

     As he leaped into the air to land another kick or punch the
T-800 retaliated first by leaping upwards and striking both feet to
either side of Hunter's head. Hunter cried in rage & pain, stumbled
backwards only to have Ace attack again, this time jumping up, locking
both legs around his head, twisting-spinning in midair and rolling
forwards to catapult the retriever through the air where he hit the
ground hard. But Hunter rolled and back on his feet again to faceoff
the Terminator who waited for him.

               HUNTER
I will bury your remains...so they can be forgotten like the rest of
your evil race.
               SPACE ACE
Go ahead, make my day. <Threatens back with another bird sign>

     Suddenly a fierce snarling caught Hunter's attention but as he
turned in that direction Daisy flung herself upon the canosapien general
from behind, biting and scratching. Startled for a brief second or two
then recovering quickly Hunter threw the collie off him and Daisy struck
the far wall, screamed or yelped in pain, then fell to the ground where
she staggered painfully to her feet and limped off.

               SPACE ACE
YOU BIG BULLY! COWARD! NOW I AM REALLY UPSET! I'LL TEACH YOU MANNERS
NOT TO HARM MY PET LIKE THAT!

     In the next moment he reached into the pack, and pulled out
another version of the pulse phaser (Similar to the one strapped to the
holster on his belt) and leveled it at Hunter. To his suprise, the
retriever saw the gun and froze in terror.

               SPACE ACE <Shocked>
So, you know what this is, hmmm?

     Hunter took a step back, then another. This was the thing his
father Steele warned him about before he died, the device that could
turn those weak-limbed people into masters of the planet. The general
did not know what to do to save himself when fate intervened on his
behalf. Colleen ran into the cave, looking for Ace. Suddenly Hunter
was on her, arms grabbing and holding her like a hostage shield between
himself and the gun.

               SPACE ACE
Let the hostage go you bully!

     Hunter smirked and began choking Colleen around the neck as she
gasped and tried to pull free from his death grip.

               HUNTER
Yeah? Try me sucker. I am willing to die. Are you willing to see her
die? Go ahead, shoot me but you'll acidentally hit your girlfriend.

     Ace hesitated. The answer was NO and he knew it. He was not a
good enough shot to kill Hunter without risking Colleen's life and if he
missed, Hunter would still kill Colleen. Slowly, he lowered the gun to
his side and then the floor, speaking calmly and cooly.

               SPACE ACE
Alright! Ok, you win. I'm putting away the gun now, please release
Colleen, let her go. She means nothing to you now remember? Let her
go, I'm putting the gun down.
               HUNTER
Good idea human, that's using your head so to speak. Very well, she's
yours for now.

     With that he removed his grip on Colleen and roughly shoved her
towards Ace, she stumbled and fell on her face as Ace ran to kneel
beside her, cradling her head in his arms and glaring up at Hunter who
only sneered back. Just then Sergant Exile was in the room, he had
followed his leader when he saw the gun on the floor at his feet.
Curiously, he picked it up and stared at the weapon he held before him.

               HUNTER
Exile, with that device they are no longer the weaker race. We cannot
allow that.
               SPACE ACE <Ignores him>
Look around you Exile. This is who you really are. <Gestures around the
ruins of STAR COMMAND> We brought you here long-long ago in my time in
outer space where we trained canines like you, Hunter, Colleen, Blitz
and the others to live and work in space. We lived together in peace
with you until Pyro murdered everyone, including my wife Kimberly.

     For a moment Exile was shocked. Could this be true he asked
himself, was this stranger the CHOSEN ONE revealing to him what really
happened long ago?

               EXILE
No, Pyro a murderer?
               SPACE ACE
Yes, he went crazy. Killed Kimmy, Team Rocket James & Jessie and
RoboCop when they tried to stop him and the other canines from escaping
the ship after it crashed on this alien world. Commander Lightyear was
already dead in the crashlanding, my big boss. After that all of you
ran away into the forests & mountains, never to see this place again for
a long-long time while you evolved into what you are today...then I show
up, a victim of being trapped in an electromagnetic storm that
timewarped me far ahead into the future and sent me crashing onto your
world by accident.

     Colleen gave him a suprised look like she never heard this whole
story before but she had. Exile was stunned too, Hunter glowered,
refusing to believe he was hearing this.

               HUNTER <Tries changing subject>
Sarge, they would make us their slaves.
               SPACE ACE
Since when did we enslave you Hunter? No, we trained you with kindness
and cared for you in space. You only forgotten or refused to believe
the truth about your origin. It was TEAM ROCKET, your master & mistress
who taught you everything you needed to know before you killed them!

     Hunter gave Ace a shocked look. What did he just say he asked
himself? Team Rocket were his master & mistress??? He shook his head
as if to blot out the nonsense and ordered his 2nd In Command.

               HUNTER
Sergant, bring me the gun!
               EXILE
As you wish commander.

     He hesitated a moment. Then held the gun for Hunter who
snatched the weapon away, grinning in evil triumph as his fingers curled
around the trigger.

               HUNTER
Does it really make a difference how we arrived here? We are the only
ones who will survive.
               COLLEEN <Pleads>
Hunter, do not kill him, please I love him!

     Hunter gave his ex-girlfriend a quizzical look, cocked his head
in that gesture. Instead of pointing the gun at Ace, he leveled it at
her! Colleen gasped in horror, arms up to shield her face from death
that was about to strike her down as Hunter took careful aim.

               HUNTER
I was always less than human to you. Someday, if humans are even
remembered, they will be known for what they really are. Weak and
stupid!

     And he pulled the trigger. But nothing happened.

               HUNTER
What? What's wrong with this weapon, it won't fire!

     He pulled the trigger again, but it was lifeless.

               SPACE ACE
Ha-ha, fooled you stupid mutt! Stupid people, smart guns. <Pulls out
his phaser> This is the real one. That one was a FAKE!

     Hunter snarled, eyes blazing with hate as he motioned to Exile.

               HUNTER
Kill them.

     But Exile refused to move or obey. The general bristled.

               HUNTER
I gave you an order sergant, obey me!

     Still Exile refused. He only stared back, his eyes burning into
Hunter's. Then he spoke like the ANGEL OF DEATH.

               EXILE
Comrade, I was wrong to believe or trust you in the first place. Now
that Ace has shown me the truth of myself and what really happened.
Everything I believed in...is a lie. You knew about this place but were
afraid to share the secrets with anyone else. Your family has betrayed
us. I will not follow you anymore commander!

     Ace slowly drifted toward the door, closer to where Colleen lay
on the floor next to Exile. He reached for the control panel but Hunter
spotted him and tried to freeze him in place with a glare.

               HUNTER
When you're dead and this place buried beneath the rocks, no one will
know the truth.
               SPACE ACE
You will, forever. And you shall take that secret with you till your
dying days to your grave! DEATH TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER!
               HUNTER
NOOOOOOOOOOOO! <Fear and anger>

     Then he sprang again at Ace but the Terminator met him halfway
with a power-block from one of his punches thrown at him. Then swung
his own fist into Hunter's face, drawing blood. Then swung the other
hand in clockwise fashion to parry another blow and slam home with the
other fist. Left-right-left-right he battered Hunter, driving him
off-balance while shouting out...

               SPACE ACE
For Kimberly! <Block> For RoboCop! <Punch> For James Rocket! <Block> For
Jessie Rocket! <Punch> For Buzz Lightyear! <Block-Punch>

     Then backed off, ran forward, jumped high and spun in the
classic TORNADO KICK that threw Hunter across the room to crash hard
against the far bulkhead where he cried in pain, fell to the floor and
lay stunned, bleeding and groaning. Then he sneered evilly at the
canosapien as his hand reached up to slap a wall panel nearby.

               SPACE ACE
So long General Hunter. Asta-la-vista-baby!

     Hunter had no idea what his gesture meant - not until Ace
reached forward and grabbed Colleen's hand, pulling her through the air
and out into the tunnel. As he did, the shatterproof glass doors of the
bridge began to close. Hunter watched the doors close for a moment,
still not comprehending. But a second later his mind understood the
idea of doors that close by themselves, and he knew that a gate that
closed by Ace's command might only open by it. He leaped across the
room and slammed himself against the door before it closed. He managed
to wedge his hands between the door and the wall. The servos whined,
trying to finish their locking procedure. Hunter howled, his massive
arms straining. With unbelieveable strengh, he began to roll the glass
doors back. Suddenly two more hands appeared at the door. Exile's
hands, even larger than Hunter's, settled over the general's wrists.

               HUNTER
Help me...<Gasped from the effort> my friend. I command you...
               EXILE
Sorry comrade, I will pray for you.

     With all his strengh, he hurled Hunter back into the room and
the doors shut between them. Hunter hurled himself at the barrier with
the force of a hurricane. But the shield was designed to withstand the
pressures of an implosion, and not even that terrifying canosapien could
break it. At one point he stared through the glass at Colleen who
frowned back at him on the other side.

               HUNTER
Colleen?...I-I'm sorry.
               COLLEEN
Too late Hunter, I will never forgive you for what you did to me and my
friends. Ace is my new hunty-wunty now! Together we will live happily
ever after on his homeworld.
               SPACE ACE
Looks like you lost Hunter. The New World Order is dead forever.
               HUNTER
NEVER! I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE ON YOU ACE!
               SPACE ACE
I would like to see you try, coward.

     Hunter smashed himself again and again against the wall. Then,
giving up, he turned his rage on the control panels, ripping them to
pieces which set off electrical surges arcing through his body and he
screamed in agony! The same rage that Exile had seen earlier filled
Hunter again. It was terrifying to behold, and Ace understood how his
shipwrecked crew had grown to fear the dogs. A loud explosion shook the
sealed off bridge accompanied by a bright flash of light which made
Exile, Colleen & Ace to flinch, shield their eyes. A loud shrieking cry
filled the air like a sound of terror and pain.

     Then when the light and noise died away and the 3 stared back
through the glass doors, there lay Hunter sprawled on his back and side
under one of the consoles, whimpering-whinning with a pure look of
horror in the canosapien's eyes. Hunter knew his fate was sealed, he
had lost, all his plans of ruling the planet were finished. Not wanting
to hang around anymore Ace turned away.

               SPACE ACE
C'mon, let's get the h*** out of Dodge City.
               EXILE
Where you go comrade, I follow. <Salutes>
               COLLEEN
Me too Ace, <Smiles> thank you for saving my life again.
               SPACE ACE
My honor Colleen.

     Suddenly another voice called out, startling them.

               BLITZ
Is it OK to come out now?

     There was Blitz, peeking around the far bulkhead corner of the
ship, eyes wide with terror and fright, looking this way and that.

               BLITZ
Is it over yet?
               EXILE
You can come out wierdboy, it's over.
               BLITZ
Thank god, where's the general?
               SPACE ACE <Nods>
Locked away where he can no longer harm anyone.
               COLLEEN
Good riddence I say.
               BLITZ
Oh, me too Ace. <Bows> Get me out of this dump.
               SPACE ACE
Then let's be off Rovers.

     But suddenly he remembered something and spins around quickly.

               SPACE ACE
Ohmygod! I almost forgot, Daisy!
               COLLEEN
Who's she?
               EXILE
The mysterious Pyro?
               SPACE ACE
No, my pet who dissapeared into the electromagnetic storm and I went
after her to save her life before I got sucked into the storm and
crashed onto this planet.
               BLITZ-COLLEEN-EXILE
HUH? <All 3 said at the same time>

     Then they stood watching dumbfounded as Ace ran down the
corridors of the ship calling out his pet's name. Seconds later he
returned with the collie in his arms, whinning in pain and fright from
the blow Hunter struck her earlier but licking his face happily.

               SPACE ACE
I found her where she remembered to go, her cage in the CANINE LIVING
QUARTERS.
               COLLEEN
Oh, she's beautiful, <Smiles> looks like me.
               EXILE
Nyeh, I can't believe it. Daisy's not Pyro, the messiah?
               SPACE ACE
Afraid not Exile, you must be mistaken for someone else.
               BLITZ
Wowsers...and she's your pet, jah?
               SPACE ACE
Correct doberman slaver. But I do not treat her the way you treat me or
other people on this world.
               BLITZ
Hey, hey! <Protests> I do not do that anymore OK? I quit that job.
               COLLEEN
Well it's about time. <Frowns>

               END OF PART XXV

               Proceed to finale, Chapter 26