Slave 033

He was sitting on the edge of his seat, the silver back chair of command that sat elevated above the bridge of the ship. It offered him an unobstructed view of the proceedings below him, Lotor watching as various Drules ran about, tending to the machines that powered the ship. Their voices were a constant buzz, calling out readings, declaring the levels of radiation and oxygen out put. Monitors were lit up, some on the large view screen, allowing all who looked that way to read off the speed they were currently traveling at, and the strength of their shields.

To Lotor, the seventy-five knots they were traveling at simply wasn’t fast enough, the prince finding tension working it’s way through his body, tightening his muscles and making his hands cramp on his sword. He held the blade between his legs, tip pointed downwards to rest against the floor. He hadn’t been able to sheathe it, Lotor doing all he could to keep from lopping off the heads of innocents, fighting not to let his impatience cause him to act any hastier.

There was steps on either side of the command chair, leading downwards. Cossack was perched to the right of him, halfway up on the stairs, barking out orders to the men. Lotor let him for now, confidant the commander would not bungle the rescue mission.

For the umpteenth time, Lotor stared at the largest view screen on board the bridge, seeing the open expanse of space, stars blurring as they sped away from the planet. In the distance, looming large was the Amazonia Star Class Elite, it’s round shaped hull resembling the hive of a bee. Smaller ships buzzed around it, a guard of some kind, so far paying no attention to Lotor and his private fleet of ships.

Movement from below him, a Drule technician breaking away from a computer to run towards Cossack. The commander looked at him, exchanging a hushed out whisper, Cossack nodding his head in furious bobs of agreement. Lotor waited, Cossack slowly making his way up the staircase, his steps hesitant and slow.

“What is it?” Lotor demanded, eyes still on the view screen.

“Your highness, they are not responding to our hails….” Cossack began, trailing off when Lotor fixed cold eyes on him.

“Really?” Asked the prince, feeling his lips curve upwards into a humorless smirk. “Then fire off a warning shot. Something they can’t pretend to ignore.”

“Prince Lotor, do not joke…” Cossack said, and Lotor’s eyes narrowed, the prince hissing out an angry retort.

“Do I sound like I am joking?!”

“No sir….I do not detect even one ounce of humor in your tone.” Cossack’s glib manner was lost on Lotor, the prince just staring at his commander. Cossack let out a sigh, muttering out a reply. “Fine…we’ll fire a warning shot….”

He hurried down the steps, raising his voice so that it would carry to the front of the bridge. “Fire a level two ion plasma ray at the Elite, just off it’s star board bow.” The Drules seemed to fall silent, just staring in shock for a moment. “You heard me!” Cossack growled, and that got them moving once more. People ran to take their seats, strapping themselves in, and Cossack gripped tight hold of the staircase’s rail.

An alarm went off, alerting all personal that the ship was preparing to fire, red lights flashing in warning. One of the technician’s began speaking, voice echoing over the intercom system. “Preparing ion plasma cannon. I repeat, preparing ion plasma cannon. All personnel to retreat to the nearest safety zones in the next two minutes.”

The hum of the cannon could be heard, powering up it’s charger, the ship seeming to rumble in place. The announcement was repeated so that last minute stragglers could get to the designated safety areas. The ship maintained it’s current speed, the view screen lighting up as the red target light began bleeping, passing over the smaller ships to lock onto a space just behind the Elite. The ion plasma ray would shatter any stars in it’s path, and though it would not touch the Star Class Elite, it’s nearness would cause the ship to shake and rattle in place, surely knocking more than a few bolts loose.

Once more the message was repeated, the countdown beginning. “Ion Plasma Cannon preparing to fire in five, four, three, two…..one.” Lotor was thrown back against his seat, nearly cutting his leg with his own sword, the cannon’s release shaking the ship off course. Lotor righted himself, staring eagerly at the view screen, watching as the ray missed the Elite by just millimeters.

The smaller ships immediately reacted, a dozen moving away from the hive shaped ship to charge towards Lotor’s fleet. Cossack who had hung onto the railing for dear life, let out a sigh, looking up at Prince Lotor. “Well…that got their attention all right. Now what?”

“Release the star cutters!” Lotor said, seeing the small ships firing off their lasers in his ship’s direction. The beams of energy smashed into the forward shields, the technicians quick to send more power to keep them running at a full one hundred percent. The laser beams were absorbed into the shield, the ship shaking but suffering no damage from their attack.

“Releasing star cutters.” sighed Cossack, making a gesture with his hand. It took a few minutes, but three by three, the star cutters were unleashed, fifty in all in the sky. They circled Lotor’s ship, protecting it’s side and rear from attack, their own lasers and photon blasts being sent at the Elite’s guard. The space around planet Doom lit up with the glow of exchanged laser fire, surely even the people on the surface could see the fireworks show.

“Your highness!” One of his men was yelling, voice excited. “We have received communication from the Elite. Shall I patch it through on the monitor?”

“Let them stew in their own juices a while.” Smirked Lotor, content to let them wait as they had forced him too.

“Prince Lotor, are you sure?” asked Cossack, receiving another angry look from Lotor. The commander sighed, and shrugged his shoulders, muttering under his breath, “Why do I even bother….?”

Lotor was watching the battle, seeing one of his star cutters explode into a million pieces. He grimaced, hardly comforted that he still had forty-nine left, not when the enemy ships were proving to be adept at evasive flight maneuvers. He was eager to get to the Elite, wanting to get into the heart of the action and find Allura. He promised himself heads would roll if so much as one hair on her innocent head had been harmed, Lotor’s fingers tightening on the hilt of his sword.

He stared at the Elite, noticing the tiny shuttle attached to it’s side, a long metal tube extended to connect the two ships. Lotor wondered if Donovan was onboard it, the prince tempted to issue a command to shoot the shuttle down. But he did not risk it, not so long as he was unsure of Allura’s whereabouts.

“Prince Lotor!” Again that technician, voice high with worry this time. “Incoming communication from Planet Doom. Er….do you want to take the call?”

“It’s just my father.” Lotor said annoyed. “Hang up on the old goat.”

“Yes, sir!” Eyes wide with nerves, the man did as commanded, ending the call. Seconds later they could hear the beeps as Doom attempted to recontact Lotor’s ship, the prince growling out an order.

“Don’t answer it!” A glance at Cossack, Lotor glaring at his commander. Cossack raised his hands, and shook his head.

“I did not say a thing, your highness.”

“Yes, but you were thinking it.” Lotor growled, seeing an explosion out of the corner of his eye. “Whose ship was that?! Did we lose another?!”

“Sire there are losses on both sides.” Came the answer. “We’ve already lost five ships, but they’re down to nine.”

“Good, keep pressing the advantage!” Lotor ordered, the ring of Doom’s call echoing on the bridge. “Is the Elite still trying to contact us?”

“Yes sire. And getting more desperate by the moment.” Came the confirmation.

“Good.” Said a smiling prince Lotor, leaning back in his seat. “Perhaps they have learned their lesson on not keeping the prince of Doom waiting.” A direct hit from one of the smaller ships, it’s laser blast causing Lotor’s ship’s shield to flicker as it dropped down to ninety-three percent. That wiped the smile off of Lotor’s face, the prince scowling. “Return fire!”

“Returning fire!” confirmed a technician, the ship’s photon guns lowering, it’s head rotating to lock onto a target. Several high pitched booms accompanied it’s release, the shots being lobbed towards the ship that had dared strike the lucky blow on Lotor’s ship. Behind his ship floated two medium sized ships, devastators hovering in place, keeping the smaller ships from flying in close to the flag ship. The behemoths were slower in speed, large intervals in between their laser blasts. They weren’t really built for attack, their key use being defense, using their bodies to block all incoming fire from Lotor’s flag ship.

“This is taking too long.” Lotor muttered under his breath, his foot tapping impatiently on the floor. Cossack glanced at him, but said nothing, hands gripping the stair’s rail once more

The view screen wavered, going to gray static for the moment. Alarmed, Lotor stood up, a shout issuing from his lips. “What’s causing that?! Fix it immediately! We’re blind otherwise!”

“Something’s attempting to force their way onto the communication channel.” Came the report, technicians running frantic as they tried to fix the problem. The screen wavered, and then Lotor saw the command center of Castle Doom, Zarkon’s anxious face taking up most of the screen.

“Father.” Lotor said, tone calm as he went to sit back down.

“Lotor, stop this foolishness at once!” Zarkon snarled. “I command you.”

“You’ll do no such thing.” Lotor replied, pretending to be more interested in his sword than talking to his father.

“She’s just a slave. Do you really want to cause an intergalactic incident over a mere girl?!” Zarkon demanded, his clawed fingers gripping the back of a technician’s chair.

“It’s not I who caused this problem.” Lotor retorted, eyes on the glow of his blade as he held it up so it reflected the light. “You were the one who chose to give her away. That’s something I find simply inexcusable.”

“I can get you another slave.” Zarkon said. “There are probably hundreds, no thousands more like her on Arus. You can even have one of every hair color! Just….stop your attack!”

“Careful father…” Lotor gave an experimental swing of his sword arm, the lazon humming. “Your desperation is showing.”

“Lotor!”

“No….if you really want to be of help, you’ll contact that ship, and tell them there’s been a mistake.” Lotor said, lowering his sword to look into his father’s anxious eyes. “Tell them to hand over Allura peacefully, and we can avoid any further unpleasantness.”

“I can’t.”

“Can’t or won’t?!” demanded Lotor, arching an eyebrow.

“One simply does not gift Queen Merla and then take the gift back.” Zarkon said, Lotor’s eyes widening.

“Queen Merla?! That’s the Queen’s ship?!”

“Yes…I’m sure you’re quite familiar with her son, Prince Morwin. The fool has been after you to hand over one of your harem slaves to him for years.” Zarkon offered a shaky smile. “So you see, being as the situation is what it is, it’s time to issue apologies and come back home where you belong.”

“Oh there will be apologies issued….and they won’t be from me!” Lotor snapped. “I’m going to get Allura back, and it’ll be up to you to make things okay with Queen Merla.”

“Lotor, I am really starting to lose my patience with you.” Zarkon said.

“Good, cause I’ve long since lost mine with YOU!” Lotor gave a curt nod of his head, glancing at Cossack. “Someone mute him, and patch in the communications from Merla’s ship.”

“Lotor, don’t you dare…..!” Began King Zarkon, an instant before his voice was silenced. The screen split in two, a pink haired woman with a metallic visor over her eyes appearing next to Zarkon. The King’s mouth was moving, his eyes flashing with rage, the man gesturing comically. He even went so far as to pound his fists on the keyboard, the technician looking panicked at his actions.

“Prince Lotor, what is the meaning of this?!” Demanded the woman, Lotor staring back at her with a blank face. “Why are you attacking us?!”

“Why haven’t you answered any of my hails?” Lotor demanded in return, the woman hesitating.

“We have been suffering equipment malfunction since early this morning.” The woman answered. “We’ve been unable to manage even a short communication, never mind the energy needed to warp to our home planet.”

“A likely story!” Cossack shouted, jeers rising from the men onboard the bridge. Lotor held up his hand for silence, thanking his lucky stars they’re warp function was one of the things malfunctioning.

“If that is indeed true, then how are you contacting me now?” Lotor asked, curiosity getting the better of him.

“A radio patched together from one of our fighter ships.” Explained the woman. “Now, your turn to answer my question. Why are you attacking us?”

“I believe you have something of mine.” Lotor began, and the woman cut him off with an angry shout.

“You believe?!”

“Correction, I KNOW you have something of mine.” Lotor said. “A slave has been delivered to you by mistake. I’m here to collect her.”

“The slave…” He couldn’t see the woman’s eyes, but her uncovered mouth twitched, lips starting to slip into a frown. She quickly schooled herself to be impassive, but Lotor jumped on the expression.

“What’s wrong?” He snarled, instantly suspicious.

“Nothing.” The woman denied. “Prince Lotor, I am sorry, but your father gave the slave to my Queen. We will not give her back.”

“Do you speak for Merla, or is that your own opinion you offer?!” demanded Lotor. “I want the slave back, and I will not stop until I have her in my possession once more. So review your options. You will see your best bet is to do as I order.”

Hesitation from the woman, and then angry words came out of her. “Prince Lotor, you do not command here.”

“Oh?” An arching of his eyebrow, Lotor slamming a fist on the arm rest of his chair. “So long as you are in Doom air space, my word is law!”

“Prince Lotor, if you set foot on the Elite, it will be considered an act of war!” The woman threatened him.

“Then let this be the first shot fired.” Lotor said, and shouted down at his people. “Fire the cannon again! And end this useless transmission.” The woman was cut off mid protest, the screen once again full of King Zarkon. “And someone get him off of our monitors!”

The technicians hurried to do just that, wires being fiddled with, codes being inputted. Little by little, Zarkon’s image faded, until he was nothing more than ghostly outline, the battle in space being seen through him. The Elite’s fighters were down to only two ships, Lotor smirking. “Destroy them!”

The star cutters swarmed the fighters, barrels of their guns blazing as the lasers fired into the ships. The people on board the bridge erupted into cheers at the explosions, but Lotor was already turning his attention to the Elite and the few ships that still surrounded it. “Prepare to ram the Elite!” He commanded. “I want us going at maximum speed, aim for the connecting chute!”

“Yes, your highness!” Cossack began repeating his orders, people moving about, shutting down the shields as they diverted all power they could towards the flag ship’s speed. Bit by bit, the ship began to speed up, leaving the two devastators behind. The star cutters buzzed all around the flag ship, trying to keep up, their weapons firing at the fighters who fought valiantly to defend their ship.

Lotor’s ship shook with each unprotected blast they took, but never did it slow down in speed. It barreled forward, the tiny fighters hastening to move out of the way lest they be crushed in the incoming onslaught of metal. Lotor took the time to strap himself into his seat, and even Cossack ran down the stairs to find a spare seat to buckle himself into.

“Bracing for impact!” A voice shouted, the Drules all falling silent as they watched the Elite loom closer. It was barely moving, it’s top speed two knots, unable to out fly Lotor’s flag ship. The two ships collided, Lotor’s ramming into the side, and breaking off part of the tube, setting the shuttle free. It floated undamaged, half of the boarding ramp connected to it’s side.

Lotor let out a sigh, pleased the ramming had gone well. “Prepare our boarding ramp!” He was already unbuckling his straps, hearing Cossack repeat his orders. Lotor stood, rolling his shoulders to work out the tension in them. Tension that had been only partially released at the sight of their ship crashing into Merla’s.

“Prince Lotor, where are you going?!” Cossack demanded, jumping to his feet as Lotor ran down the stairs.

“Where do you think?!” Lotor demanded. “To join the boarding party. I’ll not sit back and rest my heels while Allura is still in danger.”

“But Lotor…” Cossack protested, and Lotor pointed at him.

“You’re coming with me Commander.” Lotor said, and turned, not even looking to see if Cossack was following him.

Cossack sighed and shrugged his shoulders. “I suppose somebody better come and keep an eye on you….See that cooler heads prevail.” He turned and caught sight of the other Drules staring at him, Cossack growing embarrassed. “What are you looking at?!” He demanded with a growl, and the eyes were quickly averted. “That’s better. Begin repairs on the ship. I want it in tip top condition for our return!”

“Yes Commander!” came the answer, a somewhat satisfied Cossack turning to hurry after his prince.


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