Chapter 19: Day of the TermoidsThe X-Fighter wing led by Shiro Hagen in Braincom had just set off on their mission to stop the renegade Imperial Alliance Captain from opening a Pandora's box. Thanks to Lamia's mystical insight which was passed onto Professor Hagen, their enemy and its location was now known to them. Arkama was in command of a Kathaar battle cruiser, but it was now run with a skeleton crew of Termoids as most of his troopers, fighters and land craft had been expended in the search for The Temple of the Ancients. There was now only Arkama and a crew of 40 or so Termoid troopers in a ravaged Imperial battle cruiser to contend with, although the X-Fighter wing itself was far from functioning at full capacity, with most of the fighters damaged in some way.The plan was to intercept Arkama, before he reached The Temple of the Ancients. This would give the Professor, John Lee, Hercules and PPA the time they needed to repair the X-Bomber and make a risky atmospheric quantum jump to their current position.Hercules was none too pleased with this arrangement, though; he wanted to be out there in Mainbody along with the others.'I don't like this!' said Hercules 'There's action-a-plenty waiting on the other side of this rock and I'm stuck here in the engine room with fluttering heaps of scrap metal!''Tisk, charming as always Lieutenant Hercules!' said PPA, 'The Professor's plan is well conceived. If the X-Fighter squadron fail in their mission the X-Bomber must be ready to thwart Captain Arkama's plans'John Lee suddenly emerged from a hatch in the engine room floor wearing a yellow hard hat with his name on the front.'I wonder what is actually inside the temple that he's looking for?' said John Lee.'I don't think even Lamia knows for certain.' said Hercules, 'But if it's got her spooked, then there's no telling what kind of trouble the universe is in store for if Shiro and the rest of them can't stop this Imperial creep.'On the bridge, Professor Hagen was deep in thought. He had just sent his son on a deadly mission, along with his friends and comrades because of his daughter's revelation to him. What he hadn't mentioned to anyone yet was Lamia's mental state when he had conversed with her. She looked like she had been in a war; so frail. Her spirit was weakened and that could only mean that The Imperial Master was growing in power.She had told him that she believed The Imperial Master was plotting something for all of them and it was all linked to The Temple of the Ancients.She also told him about Shin's death. She would not have known at all in her current state had The Imperial Master not gloated about it to her. She could tell he wasn't lying when he told her he had driven him to murder. She desperately wanted to keep this burden from her Father, but the meeting of minds was a two way street and so the Professor learned of Shin's tragic fate and it had broken his heart.The professor's turmoil was suddenly suspended, however, as warning sirens sounded across the ship.'Proximity alert! Proximity alert!' blurted PPA, 'Multiple life forms converging on our position!''Bring up the main view screen, PPA.' said the Professor.At that moment John Lee and Hercules ran onto the bridge and joined the Professor. They all looked at the view screen in shocked astonishment.Hundreds of half termite, half humanoid life forms were closing in on their position from every direction.'Termoids!' said one of PPA's drones, 'Or at least what appears to be the organic precursor to them, judging by life scans.''What's the order Prof?' said Hercules 'These things don't look at all friendly. I say we shoot first and ask questions later!''I concur with Lieutenant Hercules, Professor!' said PPA, 'There is nothing benevolent to be found on this planet, Professor? Professor?!'The Professor snapped out of his trance. He hadn't been in contact with any ethereal beings this time. The burden of command was taking its toll on the brilliant mind of Professor Hagen. In his mind, he believed that he was responsible for Shin's death and now maybe he had just sent his son off to his death too.'Professor Hagen!' called John Lee, but the Professor was unable to reply.Hercules saw the incoming termoids and decided it was time to take charge.'Lee, take the right gun port! said Hercules, quickly putting on an environmental suit, 'PPA! Patch yourself into the other gun ports. That should cover our front and side flank positions.''Where are you going Hercules?' said John Lee.Hercules picked up a laser rifle, 'Outside!' he said.'Not without us you're not!' said several PPA drones that had converged in front of Hercules.Hercules smiled, 'Ok guys, let's go bag us some Thalian creepoids!'A massive fire-fight ensued with dozens of termoids cut to pieces instantly by a web of laser fire originating from X-Bomber's position. Between the gun ports' protection of the front and side flanks and Hercules and the PPA's defence of the rear, they were just about holding their own, but their energy packs wouldn't last forever and there seemed to be a never ending supply of termoids crawling out of the planet's crust.'Lee, how's the front holding up!' said Hercules into his helmet-mic.'We're keeping them at bay, but power's down to half!' said Lee. 'Also, I don't know where the Professor has gotten too!''Make every shot count, Lee!' growled Hercules, despatching a termoid at point blank range with a well aimed laser blast to it's head causing it to explode in a shower of green goo.The rear flank was slowly being over-run by the termite creatures. despite the best efforts of Hercules and his android deputies.An explosion was heard to Hercules’ right as one of PPA’s drones who had just been over-run by termoids self destructed taking a large group of them with him. The other drones followed suit, thinning out the ranks of the marauding termoids.A proud Hercules checked the energy level meter on his laser rifle.‘Damn, out of ammo!’ he said, while crouching on the ground; using the butt of his rifle to crush another of the termoid’s skulls into a gooey mess.‘Never thought it would end like this!’ he said as he watched the next group of termoids coming towards him.Much to his surprise this wave started to explode one by one before it could reach him. the cause of these explosions was a hail of laser fire originating from behind Hercules.Hercules turned his head to get a look at his saviour. Standing before him was an environmental suited Professor Hagen with laser rifle in tow.‘Professor Hagen?!’ said Hercules, ‘where did you learn how to shoot?’‘Star Fleet Academy.’ smiled Professor Hagen, ‘Come on Lieutenant, we need to get back inside the ship.’Professor Hagen helped Hercules to his feet and they ran back to X-Bomber’s entry hatch.They had managed to keep their termoid attackers at bay, but they were still coming thick and fast.Back onboard, Professor Hagen closed his eyes and concentrated.‘Lamia, hear me!’ he said, hoping that the connection with his ethereal daughter was truly a two way street. If ever they needed her power it was now.A glowing sphere appeared above X-Bomber and inside a familiar ghostly figure of a women could be seen.‘Creatures of this planet, I mean you no harm!’ said Lamia ‘Return to the grou
nd below and let this killing cease.’ The termoids stopped in their tracks, hypnotised by both the appearance and the soothing words of the F01. They began to retreat and return to the planet from whence they came.The glowing sphere also disappeared once all trace of the termoids had vanished.On board the X-Bomber the crew breathed a sigh of relief. ‘I still think Lamia should have wiped them out!’ said Hercules.‘You know that’s not her way Hercules.’ said John Lee, ‘Remember the Planet of the Mon Mons?’The Professor could only sit back in his seat and remember the warning Lamia had given him. Helping them again had weakened her further. The next time the F01 intervened in the matters of the corporeal plane would be her last!
I like parties, I like fun, I want to live in a hamburger bun!