Chapter 20: CaptureCaptain Arkama looked at the holographic map that was projected in front of him on the bridge of his Imperial battle cruiser. A small pulsing area showed their destination - The Temple of the Ancients. The temple was located deep inside the planet in a vast chamber and a treacherous cavern passage led to this chamber from the surface of the planet.Arkama wondered if this great power his symbiont spoke of was worth all of the military hardware they had expended. 'Captain Arkama!' said one of his Termoid crew, 'Two Imperial fighters approaching!''Allow them to land!' hissed Arkama's symbiont, 'And bring them to me for debriefing!' continued Arkama, who wanted to know what had become of the countless search parties sent out and why these two fighters were the only ones who had so far returned.The two Imperial fighters flew into the battle cruiser's landing bay and came to a halt. A reception committee awaited them in the form of a squad of armed Termoids. ‘We are to escort you to Captain Arkama!’ said the squad in discordant unison.The two fighters remained motionless with no response given to the squad’s request. One of the termoids took a scanning device from its utility belt and pointed it at the fighters.‘Anomaly! Anomaly!’ screamed the termoid.The image of the two imperial fighters flickered and faded and was replaced by the solid forms of Shiro Hagen’s Braincom and Emma Steel’s X-Fighter. A swivel mounted gun pod opened underneath the X-Fighter’s cockpit area.‘Eat this!’ said Emma, as she cut the termoid squad into ribbons with rapid laser fire.‘Well, so much for the stealthy approach!’ said Shiro.‘Sorry, boss!’ smiled Emma, ‘They clocked us!’‘No matter. The new FG circuits did their job.’ said Shiro, ‘We've got inside. now let’s find this madman!’The two climbed out of their cockpits and pulled out their laser pistols as alarms started sounding throughout the ship.‘Follow my lead Emma!’ said Shiro, ‘Remember your academy training. You’ve stormed this ship a thousand times before!’‘Yes Captain!’ said Emma proudly, she could be a hothead at times and probably went to the same charm school as Barry Hercules, but when it came to Shiro there was nothing, but adoration. She would flirt and tease him at times, but on other occasions she could hardly breath when he walked into the room. She loved him.On the bridge, chaos had ensued as a startled Captain Arkama watched the two intruders running amok in his hanger bay, via his view screen. He didn’t recognise the female, but the male was on the top of the Imperial Alliance’s hit-list.‘Shiro Hagen!’ shouted Arkama, ‘He must have been made aware of our objective, but how?’ hissed the symbiont eye patch. Arkama turned to his command crew. ‘I want Hagen and his companion captured alive!’Back in the hanger, Shiro and Emma had just despatched two more termoids. Shiro stopped for a moment and grabbed an object from his belt pack. It was a small metallic sphere with a similar paint scheme to PPA's drone units. Shiro held out the sphere in the palm of his hand.'ID1, activate!' said ShiroA bar of red light appeared on the surface of the sphere as it levitated above Shiro's out stretched palm.'Find the ships central computer system and gain access!' said Shiro.ID1 beeped a response and flew off.Shiro and Emma ran out of the hanger and into a corridor, blasting a few more termoid troopers on the way. Emma rushed around the corner, but was pulled back by Shiro, saving her from a volley of stun bolts. A group of termoids had set up a gun emplacement, blocking the most direct route to the bridge. A lift cage suddenly emerged from the floor behind them and deposited a squad of termoids. Shiro and Emma had been caught by surprise, but managed to turn around in time to take out two of the squad before being hit by a pair of stun bolts from the surviving members of the unit.Shiro and Emma fell to the ground unconscious. Arkama's personally customised ship, which enabled him to despatch troopers practically anywhere, had caught the two intrepid heroes off guard. They were now prisoners of Captain Arkama.Shiro awoke in the ships holding cell; his arms and legs were bound, but he was stood in an upright position. Two termoid troopers were standing guard over him while a cloaked figure walked into the cell area. Shiro gazed at the man attired in a similar fashion to Commander Makara.'Captain Arkama I presume?!' said Shiro defiantly, although his voice was still a little weak from the effects of the stun bolt.'Indeed!' said Captain Arkama, 'And you are the great Shiro Hagen. Responsible for the fall of the Imperial alliance, along with your friends.''Where's Emma!' said Shiro.'Oh, your friend?' said Arkama's eye patch, 'She'ssss quite ssssafe... for now.'Arkama walked closer to Shiro.'Her continued safety is in your hands, Captain Hagen.' said Arkama, 'I won't lie to you, you are to be converted no matter what happens. You are far too valuable a warrior to merely execute. No, you are to be the first in a new order of Imperial officers who will serve under me - the supreme ruler of The New Alliance! Your friend though, Emma isn't it? She is of less value to me.''Don't you dare hurt her Arkama!' snarled Shiro.'Ah, maybe more than just friendsssssss!' hissed Arkama's eye patch.Arkama smiled, and called for a view screen to descend into the cell area. An unconscious Emma Steel could be seen strapped to a chair with a memory dissimulator unit hanging over her head.'No!' screamed Shiro, who now truly realised what the young space pilot meant to him.'I offer you a bargain.' said Arkama, 'Tell me who else is here with you and how you have come to know about this planet and our mission on it, and your friend will be converted along with yourself.' Arkama's symbiont's eyes started to burn bright red.'Resisssst and I will sssssslowly and painfully wipe her mind completely!' hissed Captain Arkama's eye patch.
I like parties, I like fun, I want to live in a hamburger bun!