Slave 059

A ship had over estimated it’s position, speeding away from the rest of the Doom fleet only to find itself surrounded by the enemy. The Amazonian crafts seemed just as surprised as the Doom pilot, hesitating just long enough for the star cutter to open fire on those before him. The red lasers of Doom smashed into the enemy crafts, picking off vulnerable spots, explosions booming on impact.

The Amazonian ships around the star cutter began turning, tracking it’s movements. They quickly closed off the path behind it, leaving the star cutter no choice but to continue forward, right into the heart of enemy territory. Foolish bravery bid the ship onwards, gun turrets blazing as laser after laser was fired, the pilot trying to cut a path towards one of the larger ships. He seemed determined to go out in a blaze of glory, knowing survival was hopeless, and doing what he could for the glory of Doom.

Allura winced when the star cutter exploded, knowing it hadn’t stood a chance surrounded by so many enemies. Cossack made a sound, disappointed that the craft hadn’t succeeded in scoring a hit on one of the Amazonian devastators. But he was already turning his attention to another part of the battle, watching the wave of ships as they flew towards Merla’s, lasers being exchanged by both sides.

At the closest possible point before crash, the two sides dove downwards, avoiding the deadly collision. Behind them were more ships, pressing forward to engage each other. The diving ships return to the safety of the armada, waiting for another chance to attack, as others moved into position.

Explosions continued to happen, the horrific sound of screams as men and women died echoing over the air waves. The Drules seem unbothered by the deaths, watching the battle with eagerness in their eyes. She watched also, in a helpless kind of state, knowing she could block out the sights but not the sounds, Allura feeling a strange kind of obligation to watch. After all, wasn’t it her fault this war was happening? It was only right she bear witness to the violence, offering up quiet prayers to the soldiers fighting.

Another ship blew up, a spectacular explosion that spread to a nearby ship, causing it to catch on fire. The pilot did a barrel roll, diving straight towards the Doom star cutters, hoping to take out a batch that swarmed close together. They hastily got out of the way, the enemy ship finally exploding, burning shrapnel being showered in every direction.

The big ships of the two armadas were moving, slow behemoths that made their way forward with their large canons still in the midst of charging. Occasionally, one would fire, the ship just a little bit faster than the enemy. Allura’s eyes felt wet when she saw a pulse beam aimed at the fighter crafts, a whole line of them being disintegrated in an instant.

“So cruel…” She whispered, feeling Lotor hug her tighter, voice issuing a soft croon in her ear. But he was distracted, occasionally giving out orders to the people fighting the war for him. She wondered how long the battle had been raging, feeling as though she had been standing for hours watching.

“Man I wish I was up there!” Cossack exclaimed, and Allura startled to hear Lotor laugh.

“No, you don’t.” He teased the commander. “You like the castle life far too much to risk your neck in battle.”

Cossack looked sheepish, a hand going behind his head, laughing awkwardly. “Yeah, you’re right. There’s too much riding on other’s shoulders in this kind of battle. I rather fight the kind where I can use my fists and my sword, rather than just sit back and watch laser fire be exchanged.”

“You could always fly a star cutter.” Lotor said, continuing his teasing. “Do some damage up close and personal.”

“And die within seconds?” Cossack snorted, the noise rude. “No thank you. It takes a braver man than me to lay down their lives in such a way.” Lotor just chuckled, giving a rueful shake of his head.

“Brave or suicidal…” Allura murmured, watching as more ships were blown up, their remains left to float about in space. She hated this, hated watching these people lay down their lives for a war that needn’t be fought.

“They’re paid well for this.” Lotor told her, lips brushing her ear.

“What good is money if you aren’t alive to spend it?” Allura demanded, twisting in his arms to peer up at his face.

“Many of these men and women have familles.” Lotor explained to her. “The money goes to them, to better their lives. Some would risk anything, even sacrifice their own lives to make circumstances better for their children.”

She hadn’t thought of it that way, surprised that the Drules would care so much about their families. “OooooooooH!” Cossack exclaimed, slapping a fist against the wall. “That had to hurt!” Allura quickly turned her attention back to the view screen, but whatever had excited the commander had already happened, Allura unable to glean any information from the remains of a ship.

The small fighter crafts had seemed endless in number at the start of the battle, but now Allura could see that there was a lot fewer than either side had started out with. The bigger ships were coming into play more and more, their cannons and pulse beams firing as often as they could afford to power them up.

“Now the real fighting begins.” Lotor told her, pointing at the screen. From this vantage point, the star cutters were as big as his fist, the red and black emblem of Doom a blur of color on their sides. With less ships in the air, they were able to maneuver better, some breaking away to fly into enemy territory. The Amazonian ships were doing the same, sneaking past Doom’s crafts and heading for the bigger ships.

“What are they doing?” Allura asked, confused. She watched as a ship of Merla’s buzzed one of the Defenders, releasing space bombs on top of it’s hull.

“Trying to take down the big ones.” Lotor said. “The ships may be little but they pack a punch when it comes to power. Our bigger ships don’t have the maneuverability that the star cutters have, making them a lot like sitting targets out there.”

“How long must this continue?” She asked, letting some of her weariness slip into her voice.

“Until everyone is dead!” Allura jerked back in horror at Cossack’s words, Lotor growling at his commander.

“Cossack!”

“Just kidding.” Grinned the commander, unrepentant at the fright he had given Allura.

“We fight until one side gives up…many losses will be had, but unless one side is fool hardy it shouldn’t end in a total annihilation of one’s forces.” Lotor said, trying to sound soothing. “Allura, do you need to sit?” He was already guiding her onto the couch, easing her into a seating position against it’s cushions. She was grateful for the chance to get off her feet, seeing Lotor perch besides her on the couch.

The battle continued before them, the camera unsure of where to look first. It eventually settled on star cutters buzzing the hive like transport ships, dropping heavy missiles and bombs onto it’s metal hide. Bomb after bomb was released, numerous explosions dotting the skin of the ship, and still it did not fall, needing something more. Similar scenarios were being played out on the Doom side of the conflict, the armada under attack by Merla’s ships.

Lotor held Allura’s hand, his attention on the view screen, eyes excited as he watched the battle. The screen split in two, the General Lotor had spoken too earlier appearing in one half. “Prince Lotor, we have an incoming message from the enemies’ side.”

“What is it General Duceit?” Lotor asked, reluctantly looking away from the battle. “Do they wish to surrender already?” He and Cossack both laughed, the sound mocking.

“No sire, they are calling for our surrender.”

“Well, don’t give it to them!” snapped Cossack, turning surprised at Lotor’s chuckle.

“We weren’t even considering that.” Duceit was annoyed, leveling a glare at the commander. “But they are claiming they have some kind of ultimate weapon. One that will be the turning point in this war.”

“Nonsense.” Lotor said, unconcerned. “Doom would know if one of it’s planets had developed such a thing. Amazonia would have had to turn over it’s findings before building such a thing.”

“Nevertheless, they are adamant they have it.” Duceit replied.

“Then let’s call their bluff.” Smirked Lotor, and Cossack grinned. “Turn down their demands, and have another wave of star cutters press forward to attack something other than the transporters out in front. Let them know they cannot cow Doom into surrendering on words alone!”

“Yes, sire!” General Duceit said, and began shouting out commands to his crew. Their voices became louder, sending communications to both the Doom armada, and the refusal to the Merla’s ships.

“Ultimate weapon….heh….like we’d believe that.” Cossack snickered, watching the side of the view screen that held the battle. The star cutters were doing as Lotor commanded, a few sticking around to finish off the transporters, one such large ship splitting in half, the two halves slowly falling down towards the planet Mindigula. The Amazonian ships were attacking Doom’s devastators when they began pulling back. At first Allura thought they were leaving to defend their ships from the star cutters, but soon not even one single ship remained on Doom’s side.

“What are they doing?” Allura asked, feeling the start of nervous sweat on her hands.

“An intimidation tactic most likely.” Lotor replied, squeezing her hand. “Do not be concerned Allura. It means nothing.”

“Sir!” A Drule grunt had appeared besides the General’s chair, Duceit turning to look at him. “We are getting an unusual amount of energy readings off of the Amazonian’s side. Power levels are spiking drastically.”

“What are they up too now?!” Duceit growled, and the grunt shrugged his shoulders.

“We don’t know. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before.”

“Keep attacking!” Duceit shouted, gesturing in his aggravation. “I want our ships to take down the source of that energy, and I want it done now!”

“Yes, sir!”

Allura was clinging to Lotor’s hand now, her stomach rolling in anxiety. The star cutters were fighting with the crafts from Merla’s side, the ships blocking the way so as to prevent Doom’s forces from going any further. Explosions continued to happen, both sides taking losses, lasers shooting forward tirelessly.

“Energy output is at a maximum and still climbing” A technician cried out, the other Drules looking at him stunned.

“At maximum, are you sure?” Duceit questioned, getting an affirmative from the technician.

“What does that mean?” Allura asked, Lotor answering her in a distracted manner.

“Doom and Amazonia ships are similar in make and model. They even have the same power source, and according to what the technician have determined, a ship on the Amazonian side has just exceeded the natural levels in whatever they are powering up.”

“I want the ship responsible for this located and destroyed!” Duceit screamed, pounding a fist on the arm rest of his chair. “Immediately!”

“We’re trying to determine where this energy is coming from, but the other ships are running interference.” Another technician said, the woman apologetic. “It’ll take time….”

“That’s time we don’t have!” Duceit snarled, still smacking his fist against his chair.

“Could it be a fake reading?” Cossack asked, Duceit and Lotor glancing at him. “Something to make us believe in this ultimate weapon of theirs?”

“I don’t know, but General, I suggest you start diverting all power to your shields just in case.” Lotor ordered.

“Yes, sire.” Duceit acknowledged, giving a curt glare at his subordinates. “Lower our speed, I want every available inch of power used to man the forward shields.”

The crew of the Annihilator began working on his orders, but Allura could see nothing that implied the shield had been powered up. She was still trying to puzzle out what had been done, when suddenly a large golden beam came barreling through from the Amazonian side. It cut a path through the star cutters, ships disintegrating before the pilots had time to scream.

The beam didn’t slow, barreling forward to hit one of the flag ships near the Annihilator, taking it out in one shot. The after effects of the weapon sent the Annihilator rocking in place, bits of debris hitting the shields as the commander nearly fell of his chair with an angry shout.

“What was that?” breathed out Cossack, eyes wide with shock. Lotor didn’t answer, already standing, his eyes blazing with fury.

“Duceit, are you okay?! Damn it, status report, how many ships did we lose?!”

A grunt answered for the General, cowering before the view screen as though he felt Lotor would reach in and strangle him. “We’re still getting estimates now, but we’ve lost a dozen star cutters, and one flag ship. Other ships have taken damage but are still capable of fight.”

“Sire, what are your orders?!” Duceit had recovered, staring grim faced a the battle before his ship.

“Have your men locate just where that beam came from!” Lotor demanded, and Duceit glanced at his crew. Finally one nodded, speaking hesitantly.

“It’s a ship all the way at the back of the Queen’s Armada. It’s been staying out of the fight until now.”

“All right, I want everyone to focus their attacks on that ship!” Lotor snarled. “No one makes a fool out of Doom and gets away with it!”

“Relay the command to all star cutters.” The General said. “That ship is to be taken apart now, the others don’t matter at the moment.”

She watched the star cutters began fighting to get past the fighter ships on the enemies side, Merla’s forces not content to make thing easy for Doom. Lotor was pacing, issuing angry commands. “Have the ships move in close to Merla’s armada. They won’t dare risk hitting one of their own in an attempt to take us out.”

“Yes, sire.”

“What’s the reading on that weapon?” Lotor demanded, a hand on his hip. “Is it still capable of shooting?”

“No sire, the power levels have sunk to drastically low numbers. It appears it can only maintain one shot at a time.” Explained a technician.

“That’s good.” Lotor said, grim satisfaction in his voice. “It gives us a chance to take it out before anyone else is lost to that beam.”

“Your father won’t like this.” Cossack said quietly, Lotor whirling around to look at him. “He’d want that weapon captured. To study it and use it in further wars.”

“My father is not the one in charge of this battle.” Lotor said stiffly. “Right now my main concern is destroying it before it can be used against us once more.”

“Right…” Cossack sighed heavily. “I’m just stating a fact.”

“Your highness, they are attempting to contact us once again!” The General spoke up. “What should we do?”

“Put it up on the screen.” Lotor ordered, stopping right in front of the view screen. “Let them know they are dealing with the Prince of Doom!” The view screen flickered, it’s space being split in three so that a woman clad in gold and brown armor could be seen. Her magenta colored hair spilled down her back in waves, and she wore the visor helmet of one of the soldier’s Allura had seen onboard Queen Merla’s ship.

“Prince Lotor…” The woman did not bow, her lips curling into a mocking smile. “Order your ships to surrender or else face total annihilation.”

“Funny, that’s my line.” Lotor retorted angrily. “What is the weapon wench? And why has Amazonia not shared it with it’s benefactor?”

“Just a little something we kept secret in case this day ever came.” Said the smirking woman. “Once we are through with your armada, we will move on to Doom. We won’t rest until Prince Morwin’s death is avenged. If you hold any love for your people and your home world, you’d hand yourself over to the Queen. You and that troublesome slave of yours!”

“Never.” Lotor hissed, standing in such a way as to keep the woman from seeing Allura. “It’s only the first battle. And it’s not over yet. Tell that bitch you call Queen that I’ll kill every last one of her minions before this war is through!”

“No!” Allura protested, Cossack making a shushing sound at her. “What happened to fighting until one side surrenders?!” She was ignored, Lotor and the woman glaring at each other.

“I hope that slave is worth it Lotor.” The woman taunted, then turned her attention to Duceit’s crew. “Are they willing to lay down their lives for a slave? Do they even know the real reason behind this war?”

“It’s gone beyond the matter of a slave and you know it.” Cossack interjected. “You sent an assassin not only after the prince, but the King as well. Our ruler doesn’t take kindly to those kind of threats.”

“King Zarkon knows what must be done if he wants to appease Merla…” The woman retorted. “Perhaps by the time we reach Planet Doom, he will have come to his senses and be ready to negotiate.”

“I wouldn’t count on that.” Lotor said, folding his arms across his chest. “General Duceit, what is your position?”

“We are within reach now of one of the flag ships.” Duceit answered, Lotor smirking.

“Good, then open fire. Blow this bitch’s cronies out of the sky!” He laughed then, adding words that made Allura’s blood run cold. “And do it in Allura’s name!”

“Yes, sire!”

“No…!” breathed out Allura, staring in shock at Lotor’s back. “Don’t….it’s too cruel!” But the Annihilator was already firing it’s pulse beams, Allura cringing as Merla’s fighter crafts got caught in the way, mini explosions that meant more lives had been lost. She cried out, turning away from the screen, pressing her hands over her ears to block out the sounds.

Lotor was instantly by her side, his hands touching her. “Allura, what’s wrong?!” He caught at her wrists, drawing her hands down from her ears, forcing her to listen to the sounds of people dying.

“How could you?” She demanded, eyes flashing with her upset. He looked confused, casting a helpless glance at Cossack.

“How could I what?”

“Order people to be killed in my name!” Allura snapped out an explanation, not at all at ease when Cossack came forward.

“You should be flattered Allura.” The commander said quietly. “It’s a grand gesture the prince does for you. A real honor.”

“Honor?” scoffed Allura, shaking in Lotor’s grip. “To have people kill for me? It’s bad enough this war started because of me, it’s too much Lotor. Too much to have me be the cause of even more deaths!”

“Allura.” He tried to pull her against his chest, Allura fighting him every inch of the way.

“No!” She pushed her hands flat against his chest, feeling the muscles under his vest. “Stop it. Stop this war!”

“I am trying!” Lotor said, frustrated.

“You’re not trying hard enough!” Allura protested. “Just give me to them. It’ll end this for good.”

“I won’t. You know that.” Lotor said, still trying to hug her close to him. “And I’m sorry for what I just ordered. I wasn’t thinking….!”

“You don’t know me at all if you think I would be pleased to have you do that in my name!” Allura told him, not relaxing her arms one bit. “It’s cruel, and horrible…!” She willed herself not to cry, but her nose was already making a sniffling sound, eyes welling up with tears.

“Do you think she’s overreacting because of hormones?” Cossack said, not bothering to disguise his question in a loud whisper.

“No, Cossack…” Lotor sighed, still staring at Allura, her upset echoed in his eyes.

“I mean, what woman wouldn’t be thrilled to have such a romantic gesture done in her name!” continued the commander, Allura looking at him in surprise.

“A human one.” Lotor answered, no longer trying to pull Allura into his embrace. She stared at Lotor, understanding in her eyes. This was another attempt at Drule courtship! One that was even more disastrous than the last one he had attempted.

“You don’t have time to waste with me…” Allura said softly. “You have a battle to look over.”

“I do.” Lotor agreed. “But when it’s over, you and I are going to have a long talk.”

“All right.” She nodded her assent, Lotor letting go of her to allow Allura to sink back against the couch’s cushions. Explosions continued to happen on screen, General Duceit shouting commands in the background as the ship worked to tear apart one of the enemies’ flag ships. She nearly laughed, a giddy, desperate sound when she heard Cossak stage a whisper in Lotor’s ears.

“Human girls sure are complicated!”


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