By: Jason Bliss
Chapter 4 – A Search for Help
Maxus made his way into a huge metallic looking hall, lined with pictures of the greatest commanders that ever lived. He paused to look at a picture of himself back in the early days of his career as a fleet commander. He silently chuckled to himself as he remembered the strange event that brought him his fame and notoriety. He began again down the long hall towards the massive gray steel doors at the end.
Unknowingly he stepped through a portal and landed in yet another room. This was also made of the same metallic metal as the one he just exited. However, this room had a long table, one of wood. It appeared to be wood from the old planet Earth. Was it oak or a very fine pine? He couldn’t be certain but he knew it came from old Earth.
As Maxus was admiring the craftsmanship of the table a single man entered silently and stood behind him. He watched as Maxus ran his hands along the length of the ornate table, knowing that Maxus thought this had to have come from the old Earth. He chuckled to himself knowing it was merely compressed particleboard with a fake finish placed upon its top. Treated with a certain chemical to give it the appearance and feel of natural oak. He thought he might tell Maxus of this, but thought against it for he seemed so enjoy the old crafts of his youth. He chuckled slightly alerting Maxus to his presence.
Maxus jumped as he heard the chuckle come from behind him. Without looking away from the table he spoke.
“I never thought I would speak to you again old friend.”
“Neither did I.”
Maxus turned to face his long time friend the only thought running through his mind was that of “Can I trust him now? With The Imperial Scourge’s cluster about to fall it will come for us next. I need to know.” The strange man was dressed in an old military uniform of old earth. The uniform must have been from the time of the Civil War, Maxus noted, for it bore quite an elaborate resemblance to the uniform worn by Stonewall Jackson. Obviously a recently made uniform, but it was effective nonetheless. Throughout this mans body was mechanical implants and nanites, each with its own purpose most of which were now needed to keep him alive.
“You know you can trust me Maxus.”
“How…how did you know I was thinking that? Have the implants now gone that far?”
“No, no they have not I can see the turmoil of this decision on your face. I know it pains you greatly to come to me for aid. Especially after you so vigorously stated that The Human Alliance could hold its own against anyone and anything. It seems…you may have met your match?” He said inquisitively.
“I certainly hope not. However The Imperial Scourge is about to fall to this alien race. We know very little about them, and we have not had any contact with them ourselves. The only information we have is a picture sent out by Mastermind of Azguard.”
“Ah Mastermind…it is good to hear the old ones are still around.”
“Uh…yeah, he and the rest of Azguard been a pain in the side of The Imperial Scourge for years and more recently a pain in ours.”
“I see. I assume Azguard’s attacks on both The Imperial Scourge and The Human Alliance have ceased yes?”
“Once again, that would be correct.”
“They must know something you do not. Have you seen any massive Azguard fleet movement?” as he spoke his beard moved in an unusual manner, almost as if it were flowing in the wind.
Maxus dismissed the idea of his friends beard being some sort of nanite extension and continued on.
“No, just the basics although we have noted a large increase in their production. It would seem they had the means to take us all out at once, but chose to hold back.”
“That would be correct, it is always hard to gage the true power of Azguard until they have taken you down hard. I would have expected this from Mastermind however. He is not a stupid man and would by now know, with the help of his closest commanders, almost exactly what is going on. Have you tried to get in touch with him? He may be your last hope for you know all I can offer you is a few fleets of old battle worn Doomstars.”
“Yes…father…broke of all contacts with Azguard before he passed on.”
“Passed on? BAH! You know as well as I that coward took his own life!”
Maxus lowered his head in shame yet still spoke.
“You…are right again.”
“Raise your head boy, you are a man now and you are leading the most powerful Cluster in the galaxy now that The Imperial Scourge has fallen. It will be on your shoulders and those of Azguard to hold together what will be left after this war. That I can assure you.”
“But Azguard? How do you expect us to fight along side them? They have been nothing more than a nuisance in the past.”
“That’s right, they were a nuisance in the past. However they will soon become the most valuable ally you could have ever imagined.”
“But how could they be of any use to us?”
“Don’t bother yourself with such questions now. I will send a memo to Mastermind myself. What I want you to do is to return home and prepare for war.”
“I’ve already begun preparations.”
“Not for this you haven’t. I want you to decree all production of commodities to cease, and your entire production base, excluding that of the bare necessities, will now be geared towards war. If you do not do this you will surely not stand even the slightest of chances.:
“But what about…”
“Azguard? They are already several steps ahead of you. I guarantee you that they have already begun what I have just told you to do. As said long long ago “A nation born by the sword must live and die by the sword.” In the case of Azguard that statement is no different and you know they will do just that.”
“You are once again correct.”
“Now leave me, I have some preparations to make before I can dispatch my fleets to The Human Alliances aid.”
Maxus turned and headed out the way whence he had come. Mazuko turned and left the room himself tearing off the mask of the costume of the once great commander Gak’tul. He than cast it aside as a snake does a second skin. He headed down a short corridor to a small-unmarked room and stepped in.
The room was filled with communication equipment of all sorts. Most of it now stripped, for his fleets had taken this compound many years ago. Only recently had they re-activated half of its systems in preparation for war. How could they have known eliminating a threat that could be easily regulated through the use of a costume and a voice regulation system? Maxus would come here for help? This was all going along nicely. At this rate not only would The Imperial Scourge be destroyed but The Human Alliance would then become an ally, yet again.
Mazuko was laughing hard as Maxus’s ship left the hangar, and he ran a life scan of the compound. It was now just he and his own crew left. His hands glided over a piece of communications equipment, as he switched to a secure channel. Shortly thereafter a lone voice came through the system.
“This is Mastermind go ahead.”
“This is Mazuko. Everything is going as planned.”
“Excellent, let us continue our preparations. Get that station battle ready, and get several of your Doomstar fleets outfitted to look like Gak’tul’s fleets.”
“You are going to dispatch them to The Human Alliance’s cluster as aid from Gak’tul. Tell your men to do nothing more than carry out their roles as crewmen. We don’t want to go to war with The Human Alliance right now…especially with the most recent events.”
“Yes Sir, I’ll be sure to get on it right now…I know just the right commander for the job.”
“Thank you Sir.”
Mazuko switched off the secure channel and called in Max Sterling.