Chapter 11: The Unveiling of TerrorGeneral Kyle adjusted the medals on his ceremonial uniform in his quarters at EDF: Star Fleet Command on Earth. It was the day that the Z-Project would be officially unveiled to the politicians and military top brass in a lavish ceremony. General Kyle was unsure of the merits of wasting resources on such an occasion, but he was going to make sure he looked dapper for it regardless. A beeping tone emitted from a nearby door, 'Enter!' responded the General, and the door opened to reveal a similarly well dressed older man with at least as many medals as General Kyle. 'I don't know how you are able to stand up straight with all that metal on your chest.' said the man in an informal tone referring to the General‘s plethora of medals. 'I could say the same about you, Admiral Miles.' smiled the General. The two men laughed and shook hands.Admiral Miles had organized the ceremony and he explained to General Kyle its importance, ‘I know, I know, We look like a couple of old peacocks and time and resources could be better spent on rebuilding the Star Fleet. But we must build morale as well as star ships or we will certainly lose this war. Let the Z-Project be a shining beacon of hope to the people of Earth.’‘Why, Admiral you’ve become positively diplomatic. A career in politics beckons.’ teased the General.‘No, no, I’m far too honest for that calling.’ The Admiral paused, ‘You know, I’d give anything to be a few years younger and back in the seat of a star fighter. Never let them ‘promote’ you William! Never!’‘Oh don’t worry about that old friend they will have to take me out of here in a coffin!’‘Who in their right mind would ‘promote’ you anyway, there isn’t a man in Star Fleet that could take your place.’‘I don’t know, I have high hopes for Number 1, but I’m in no hurry to retire just yet.’The two men continued their respectful banter on their way to the Admiral’s bar, reminiscing over past glories.Meanwhile in Star Fleet Command’s operations centre, Number 1 was conducting an investigation. A technician had been killed while working on the final stages of Z-Project. His death seemed accidental at the time, but Number 1’s inquisitive mind felt that there was more to this tragic loss of life. His investigation was unofficial, but his position allowed him access to certain evidence that was classified to all, but personnel of his rank. Evidence that he was now browsing on a computer screen. Number 1 scanned the dead technicians daily log, and was stunned by his final entry:EDF: Star Fleet CommandCODE NAME: Z-ProjectC-CLASS: 276388845/163839Earth Date: Jan/10/3001Private log of Verne McDonald (Tech Class)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My fears are growing for the safety of Z-Project and indeed the mental competence of its new head, Shin Darrow.Today he ordered me to remove the advanced laser from the Z-Project’s head unit and replace it with the Thalian Delta Laser. This is, of course, an illegal act and I feel that I will have to register a formal statement regarding this incident to Star Fleet Command, first thing tomorrow morning.------------------------------------------------------------------------------End-Line-3-002143-------Number 1 was shocked by what he had just read. The ill-fated technician, Verne McDonald was killed later that day by a malfunctioning lifting system. There were not enough resources for an independent enquiry so it was left to Shin Darrow to ascertain the cause of the malfunction, which was put down to a faulty motor system. The enquiry had been closed, but Number 1 was slightly suspicious of Mr Darrow after the stories he had heard about him and his time spent on Mars. It seemed that Number 1’s fears were well founded as he now had proof that Darrow had been able to cover up the illegal implementation of Thalian technology. But just how far had Darrow been willing to go to cover up his deceit? Had he been responsible for Verne McDonald’s murder? Number 1 would have to go to General Kyle with this evidence immediately.In the underground hanger that was the home to Z-Project, Shin Darrow was sat in the cockpit unit of Z-Project. Its form was still hidden by cranes and scaffolding, but these were slowly being moved away in readiness for it's unveiling. Shin had decided he wanted to test the Z-Project himself, which surprised many, but they conceded that he knew the Z-Project better than anyone, save Professor Hagen. An alarm bell rang out and an announcement was made through the speaker system that the ceremony would start in 5 minutes. Shin looked at his instruments, his mind was troubled, but he was adamant that what he was about to do was right.Outside the Star Fleet Command complex a booth had been erected which was full of High ranking Star Fleet officers and public officials all waiting to see the completed Z-Project. A synthesized fan fare announced the beginning of the ceremony and then Shin Darrow's voice came through the public address system to start proceedings, 'Ladies and Gentlemen it gives me great pleasure to present to you Earth's ultimate weapon, The Dai-Z!' A couple of large doors opened in the ground and revealed a giant red mechanoid, not too dissimilar to the Dai-X, emerging on top of a slowly rising platform. Audible gasps could be heard from the crowd. Some had seen the Dai-X before, but this design seemed much more dynamic and downright terrifying, especially up close. Once the Dai-Z had reached ground level, it gave out an electronic growl and it's single circular yellow eye in the centre of its head glowed. This made the entire crowd jump out of their skin, before applauding this new technical marvel. General Kyle's wrist communicator started to beep, it was a high level emergency communication from Number 1. As the General listened to Number 1's grave news, the colour drained from his face. Shin's voice started to echo around the ceremonial area again, 'Representatives of Earth. The Imperial Alliance has been responsible for the deaths of countless numbers. But from this day on, Its reign of terror ends!' The crowd responded with more applause as general Kyle frantically tried to summon security forces. ‘I know the source of the Alliance’s power and I aim to destroy it!’ a more muted response was given this time as the crowd started to realise that something was wrong. A group of missile carriers had converged around the Dai-Z and a squadron of EDF fighters had been scrambled and were circling the area. A clearly agitated Shin responded, ‘You cannot stop my destiny, what I do now, I do for the sake of the earth!’ The Dai-Z’s boot thrusters ignited sending the giant mechanoid 100 foot into the air. Suddenly various pieces of the Dai-Z started to fold and change shape. Gears and mechanisms moved around and once the transformation was complete the Dai-Z had changed it’s form to that of a star fighter. It flew off from it’s stationary hovering position at great speed, high into Earth’s atmosphere. The EDF fighter squadron was left in its tracks and soon The Dai-Z was out of their range as it made its way out of Earth’s atmosphere and into the unknown. The confused and startled representatives were ushered back to the officer’s bar, for a much needed stiff drink, while General Kyle looked up into the sky, hoping and praying that Shin and the Dai-X were at the very least still loyal to EDF‘s cause, because who knew now what untold damage the Dai-Z was capable of doing in the wrong hands.--- --- ---Meanwhile in the dark void of Sargasso, The Imperial Master’s spirit form was searching for something in the seemingly infinite sea of wre
ckage. The F01 may have unwittingly released the Imperial Master’s spirit into Sargasso, but he was still a prisoner here and it wouldn’t be long before the F01 drew him back into the ethereal realm. Luckily for The Imperial Master he had planned ahead.In another part of Sargasso a familiar alliance insignia could be seen adorning a domed shaped piece of wreckage. It had once been part of a Kathaar class Imperial battle cruiser, but now it served as a life support system for its occupants. Inside the vessel it was pitch black, save for a few dull lights scattered around the pod-like interior. In the centre of all of this, an unconscious female humanoid could just be made out. Her body was broken, but she seemed to be alive thanks to the many attachments that were connected to her head and torso. She wore a heavily damaged ornate helmet which also covered her left eye and this part of the helmet emitted a couple of faint glowing red lights. All of a sudden the pod was awash with a blinding red light revealing the identity of the unconscious woman. A booming voice outside called out her name, ‘Commander Makara!’ Inside the pod, the light that shone from Makara’s symbiont’s eyes started to increase and the symbiont’s lips started to slowly move, uttering the words, ‘Yes Imperial Master!’
I like parties, I like fun, I want to live in a hamburger bun!