The Z-Files: Alpha to Omega - Arc 03 - Chapter 3

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Chapter 3 - "Shattering chase" by Aaron Hartman

When last we left our intrepid Z-crew, they had successfully launched their frozen friend into the 'safety' of space and settled down to a long series of Quake matches.

Achilles: You know, that was great.

Arkman: Look at the time! I can't believe 2 days have already passed!

Tashi: Well I guess we should think about retrieving Odd... if only to feed him.

Magically, a batch of muffins appear in Tashi's hands.

Aaron walks over to the C.L.O.S.E.T. and pulls out the remote control to Oddfellow's ship. After pressing a few buttons and shaking the device a few times, Aaron starts to panic.

Judicator: What's wrong?

Aaron runs over to an insanely large monitoring device and pounds away at a keyboard.

Aaron: Uh, I've got some bad news and some worse news.

On the monitor, a map of the solar system pops up.

Aaron: Which do you want first?

Silver: Ooh ooh... the bad news!

Aaron: Well the bad news is that Odd's trajectory didn't actually take him to the moon.

Aaron presses a few buttons and a line showing the path of Odd's ship appears. The line misses the moon and continues out of the solar system.

Achilles: That's okay though. It's a universal remote, isn't it?

Aaron: Yah, well that's the worse news.

Aaron holds up the remote.

Aaron: The only set of batteries we have for it are inside the Sith Infiltrator.

The entire group face faults.

A short time later, the Z-files crew gather in the cockpit of a sleek-looking space shuttle.

Achilles: I thought we only had access to Judicator's Sith Infiltrator.

Aaron: Yah, well when I told Bingo that we were on the cusp of an intergalactic biological and political nightmare for the universe at large, he was more than willing to provide the means to rescue Odd.

Madcat: Intergalactic what?

Tashi: He means Oddfellow.

Madcat looks blankly at Tashi.

Tashi: Oddfellow is still infected with the CRAFT?

Madcat looks blankly at Tashi and nods.

Tashi: And some alien races still haven't received the vaccine? Catch my drift yet?

A lightbulb appears over Madcat's head as the realization finally dawns on him.

Judicator: Okay, that I can understand, but what gives with the pack of Robo-Hamsters back there.

Judicator points at an enclosed glass case with five, very angry looking metallic hamsters glaring out of it.

Aaron: Yah, well... Say hello to the R-files team.

The rest of the Z-files team facefaults.

Achilles: The what?

Aaron continues to fiddle with the knobs of the spaceship, preparing it for launch.

Aaron: You heard me. The R-files team. When Bingo heard that Oddfellow was out roaming the galaxy and possibly infecting untold masses, he immediately decided that the mission was too sensitive for the Z-team to handle. Apparentally there's some criteria we don't meet, so the head office was going to send the R-team to retrieve Odd.

Robo-Hamster #1: And we would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you damn, meddling kids.

Aaron: Go stick your wheel where the sun don't shine.

Tashi: They can talk?

Robo-Hamster #2: Screw you, loser.

Achilles walks over to the glass case and glares at the rodents.

Achilles: Spill your guts. Why weren't we chosen for this mission? We know Odd best.

Robo-Hamster #1: You don't even know why you weren't chosen? That's rich!

Silver walks over to the cage and bares her fangs.

Silver: I'm hungry. I think it's time for a pre-flight snack!

Robo-Hamster #2(with a look of fear in its eyes): Ack! Not her!

Robo-Hamster #3: Okay, okay! Basically, the only time you guys get a mission are when it meets all 25 of the Files' criteria.

Madcat: Which is?

Robo-Hamster #2: If no one cares if there's destruction of property, loss of life, someone's toes getting stepped on (figuratively), someone's toes getting stepped on (literally), a time paradox, planetary destruction, diplomatic complications, theft of property, copyright infringement, genetic manipulation, typos, bad breath, blatant rejection of the laws of physics...

Robo-Hamster #1: Etc. Etc. Etc.. The point is that you guys didn't meet any of the requirements. As such, we were called in till that bastard in the pilot's chair spiked our food pellets, locked us in here and stole our ride.

Aaron beams with pride.

Aaron: Ain't I a swell guy?

Judicator: So spill it! How were you guys going to track Oddfellow?

Robo-Hamster #3: No way. Name, rank and serial number from here on out.

Tashi walks over to the ship's computer and taps a few buttons. She taps a few more buttons. She pulls out her hammer and slams it into the control panel. Several lines of text appear on a nearby monitor.

Tashi (reading): Well it says here that they were planning to trick Silver into tracking Oddfellow for them and then they were going to... oh... that's not nice.

Silver reads the screen growls.

Silver: Come on. Come on! Let me eat one of the little bastards!

Aaron: Yah, do whatever. We're launching in five seconds, so make it quick.

Silver: Eenie, meanie, mini... Ah screw it.

Silver snatches up one of the Robo-Hamsters and gives it a big cat-like grin.

Robo-Hamster #4: Robo-Hamster #4. Red tail. Number 0...0...0... I DON'T WANNA DIE!

A large group of miscreants sits in shadow around the Z-files briefing table. A holographic image of Bingo's head appears in the center of the table. Bingo does not look too at ease with the gathered group.

Bingo: As much as I disagree with this idea, High Command has decided that your services are needed.

Bingo's head fades out to be replaced by images of the Aaron drugging the R-files team and the Z-files team stealing the space shuttle.

Bingo: Earlier this morning, the team you know as the Z-files group waylaid the R-files team, hijacked a top secret faster-than-light shuttle craft, and took off in search of this man...

A headshot of Oddfellow appears and moves to the top left of the holographic display.

Bingo: Oddfellow. Some of you are familiar with this man and his unique circumstances.

Grunts of agreement can be heard from some of the shadowy figures. Other shadows scratch their heads.

Bingo: Others' have no idea what I'm talking about. Regardless, this man is of primary importance. Your mission is threefold.

A giant bullseye target appears over Oddfellow's face.

Bingo: First, you must capture this man and return him to these headquarters. Failure to do so, means you don't get paid.

Oddfellow's face fades out to be replaced by a schematic of a planet.

Bingo: Second, you must make sure that no one gets off this planet. We traced Oddfellow's ship to this planet. Every non-vaccinated individual faces contamination by the dreaded CRAFT virus and we need to quarentine the place before a rampant outbreak occurs.

Oddfellow's face reappears on the holo-display. Headshots of the rest of the Z-files team appear next to Oddfellow's face.

Bingo: Your final objective is to stop and capture the Z-files team by whatever means necessary.

Bingo's head reappears on the holodisplay.

Bingo: Are there any questions?

The shadowy figures mutter amongst themselves. One of the figures raises its hand.

Bingo: Yes?

Shadowy Figure: Are we authorized to use lethal force?

Bingo's image shudders for a second.

Bingo: Yes, as much as it sickens me to say so, you are authorized to bring them back... dead or alive.

The Shadowy Figure moves into the light and is revealed to be Saint Faucet.

Saint Faucet (in the best mock-Mr. Burns voice): Excellent.

The other shadowy figures start to maniacally laugh a very loud and evil laugh.

Sometime later...

The Z-files' space shuttle has parked itself in orbit over the planet that was seen in Bingo's briefing.

Arkman: Did you guys hear something? Sounded like laughter.

Achilles looks up from the sensor display he was working on.

Achilles: I think you're hearing things.

Achilles goes back to fiddling with several buttons on the sensor.

Judicator: Hey Achilles, have you figured that thing out yet?

Achilles smiles and presses a button. An image of the planet appears on the main screen.

Achilles: Check this out! If I press this button...

Achilles presses a small black button.

Achilles: zooms in. If I press this one...

Achilles presses a small blue button.

Achilles: zooms out. And if I press this one...

Achilles presses a large red button.

Achilles: ...we get all the pay-per-view cable channels for free!

Tashi sighs, walks over, and smacks Achilles on the back of the head.

Madcat: So where's Odd?

Achilles (rubbing the back of his head): Ow. Well Odd's ship crashed here.

Achilles adjusts a few knobs. A box appears around part of the planet's surface. The image inside the box grows larger and covered in static. The static grows more intense for a second before fading away to reveal an image of the Sith Infiltrator. The Infiltrator appears to have crashed into a field near a farm.

Arkman: What's the gameplan?

Aaron taps a gauge near the pilot's seat. He flips a few switches and then stands.

Aaron: Silver, Arkman, and Judicator take the lander tubes and check out the Sith Infiltrator.

Judicator: Okay, and what about the rest of you?

Aaron: The rest of us repel the boarders.

Tashi: What boarders?

The entire shuttle rocks from a sudden impact.

Aaron: Those boarders. Get out of here quickly!

Judicator and Arkman rush over to a set of circles on the floor at the back of the cockpit. Silver walks over and grabs one of the Robo-Hamsters.

Silver: Just in case I get hungry...

Silver walks over to a circle and stands in it. See-through tubes rise from the ground and lock the three Z-filers in. Judicator waves and then the tubes and their respective Z-files member disappear through the floor with a rush of air.

A radio crackles on the pilot's dashboard. Aaron moves over and flips a switch. Madcat walks out the back of the cockpit.

Saint Faucet (through static): Attention Z-files fugitives. We have you surrounded. Prepare to be boarded.

Achilles taps a button on the sensor. The planet view is replaced by an image of the Z-files shuttle. Three small blips descend quickly from it towards the planet with a ship in pursuit of them. Another ship hovers near the shuttle.

Achilles: Exactly how does one ship next to us count as "surrounded".

Tashi shrugs.

Tashi: I don't know. Let's ask.

Tashi grabs a microphone.

Tashi: Attention dumbass. At current count, you have exactly one ship. Please define "surrounded". Over.

Muttering can be heard over the speaker.

Saint Faucet (clearing throat): Attention Z-files fugitives. We have you outgunned. Prepare to be boarded.

Achilles taps a few more buttons. A scan bar sweeps over the other ship and a bunch of text appears on a small screen. Tashi reads the new information and shakes her head.

Tashi (speaking into the microphone): Attention dumbass. Our sensors indicate you only have one gun on that ship and you burned it out with your initial attack. Try again.

Muttering can be heard over the speaker.

Saint Faucet (clearing throat): Pizza man. Someone order a large pepperoni with cheese?

Tashi shakes her head.

Tashi (speaking into the microphone): Attention dumbass. No one's falling for that idiotic ploy and we already HAVE pizza. Thank you and please drive through.

Tashi turns the microphone off. She bows her head and sticks out her hand palm upwards. A large pizza appears above it, which she proceeds to scarf down.

Madcat walks in from the back of the cockpit.

Madcat: Well I've prepared a little welcome for our... errr... welcoming party. If they do get on board, it'll take them a while to get up here.

Achilles: Need I ask?

Madcat: I set a super-glue trap up. Anybody that sets foot back there will be stuck to the floor...

Madcat grins.

Madcat: ...and then a bucket of feathers will be dropped on them.

Madcat's grin gets wider.

Madcat: ...and then the elevator music starts...

A light blinks on the cockpit dashboard. Aaron leans over and presses it.

Aaron: What is it Jay?

On the planet, the three Z-files members stand in front of a door inside the Sith Infiltrator. Judicator talks into a headset.

Judicator: We just arrived at Odd's containment area.

Arkman taps a few buttons and the doors slowly open with a hiss. Steam pours out of the bottom.

Silver sniffs the air and looks around. Her eyes start to glow and she gives off a low growl.

Silver: We've got company.

Judicator: We've got a problem...

Aaron (through heavy static): Say... blizz... again... ov...zizzz...

The steam disappates and Arkman gasps.

Judicator turns away from the door and taps the side of his headset.

Judicator: Make that several problems... Oddfellow's not here.

The lights in the Sith Infiltrator go out.

Judicator: ...and the lights just went out.

Arkman: What next?

Mysterious Evil-sounding Voice: What next indeed?

End of Chapter 3

Note: Happy birthday, Odd (since technically it is your birthday now in your part of the world)! Hope you survive it. :-D - I did, thanks. - Odd

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