Chapter 4: A Broken Hero
With a broken heart, Ace went on to fly blindly through open space; unconcerned about anything else but the loss of all those innocent lives of Bolden 3. Countless thoughts raced through his mind continuously; the loss of many lives, the guilt from not being able to prevent it… and the anger at himself for failing to do so.
He would not care to even think about his own well-being; having not slept or even eaten for more than three days since the disaster had happened. Even if he longed to rest, he simply couldn’t. The intense hurt he felt wouldn’t let him. It was impossible to ease his mind.
With teary eyes, he carried on flying at high speed into the empty void of space. He did not know where he was headed and what to do if he encountered a planet, spaceship or space station. He simply didn’t care about that. Ace was feeling very weak and exhausted yet he still managed to keep focus on piloting through the darkness of space.
What he didn’t realize was that he was entering an unknown and unlawful region of the galaxy… a place he had not come across beforehand.
“Hah! Did you see that? I’d hate to be in that guy’s shoes!”
A loud voice barked as he watched a show displayed on his large holovision screen. The show that was being broadcasted was Galaxies Most Painful Home Videos. He watched many clips of robots and aliens alike getting hurt or even killed in personal home videos, recorded by themselves or anyone who happened to be recording at the right moment. He persisted in laughing at the many videos while petting his little pet alien, sitting next to him.
Gleeman Vox was his name and he sat comfortably on his sofa within his luxury private home on a large asteroid. He was a slademan, a type of alien which had a slight resemblance to a shark-like being with rough grey-green skin, sharp teeth and gills. Although he respired through oxygen, not water.
He was a devious character, with a taste for sadism and wealth. He was very wealthy, having inherited a huge fortune from a dead relative a few years ago. The fortune not only contained a horde of bolts but it also included the Vox Networks that hosted many holovision channels and the Vox Industries, which was for any Vox related products and weapons sold across the galaxy.
Gleeman found the shows on the Vox network to be somewhat boring, so he had been busy ordering his seemingly unlimited amount of robotic minions to build something new on a grand scale; something illegal. Nevertheless, it was an idea he was obsessed with after coming up with it in his head, when he witnessed two of his relatives fighting viciously over a breakfast burrito.
He was relaxed in his private home, while his robotic servants did all the hard work away in the depths of space. He would move to his new home once the new space station was completed.
The pet who sat near him was a small creature named Slugga. She was possibly the only thing besides himself that he cared about and showed affection for. She appeared to respect him greatly and could even understand his speech, but could not speak back. She was small and looked like a green slug-type alien, with two big brown eyes and a single antenna.
Vox had turned off his HV screen now feeling slightly tired from staying up so late, he sat back and relaxed, while Slugga had already drifted off into her own peaceful nap.
Their relaxation was suddenly disturbed with a violent crash of metal and rubble outside. Slugga screamed and bounced off the sofa onto the floor; with Vox almost imitating her as he cursed loudly and sat up. He felt his home shake slightly. Something must have crashed into his home, or nearby.
”What in Drek’s name was that!?! Is the Solana Security trying to bomb my home already!?”
He shouted, before standing onto his feet and looking all around. He couldn’t see anything outside the window to his left just the darkness of space and the rocky asteroid terrain. He grabbed his mobile phone instantly and called for his robotic bodyguards,
”I need three of you down here now, and pronto!”
”Yes sir. We will be there as soon as possible”
Gleeman walked outside with three of his robot servants. They were quite large; a few feet taller than him. They also held guns, just in case there was a threat nearby. Vox was able to breathe outside, thanks to a high tech oxygen simulator that operated around his home; some plants were even growing in pots outside because of it.
Vox looked back at his house and could see the extent of the damage; something had crashed into the top part of his roof and he could see rubble from the asteroid scattered along a path. Someone had crashed their spacecraft here, he thought.
Vox and the robots followed the path until they finally came across the spacecraft they were searching for. It looked badly damaged, with one of its wings completely torn off from the crash and it had scratches all over. But the pilot window was undamaged. Some smoke was seen coming from the wreckage.
”Open it up; I want to see who this idiot is. That is, If he survived! And if he is alive, then I’d like to see him dead!”
The robots did as they were told and pulled out the spaceship from the asteroid terrain. They began to pull off the roof of the craft and opened it up. Two of the robots looked into the cockpit of the ship and saw the pilot. They could see that he was still breathing, but unconscious.
”He is still alive, Mr Vox. Should we destroy him?”
”Hold on, I want to see him for myself! Ha, I can’t believe that idiot actually survived, but he won’t be alive for much longer!”
Vox said with a laugh, walking up close to the ship to look inside. He stood up tall to stare down inside the ship and his expression quickly changed from sinister to surprise. He continued looking down and couldn’t believe his eyes.
That guy is the famous Ace Hardlight! What the hell is he doing out here though? He thought. Vox continued to glare down at Ace, who was still unconscious and laying on his side. Ace didn’t appear to have any major injuries, besides a few bruises to the face and a bleeding lip. He also looked unwell, judging from his weak and scruffy appearance.
Vox then remembered what he had seen on one of the news channels a few days earlier.
Ah yes… he’s responsible for the destruction of an entire planet. Hah, too bad for him. Say… he may just be useful for my new reality show…
“Should we destroy him, sir?”
”No. I have an even better idea on mind…”
Vox replied as he came down from the ship. His mind flowed with sinister ideas and he smiled deviously.
”Get his body out of there and take him to the DreadZone Station. Be sure to give him a deadlock collar after he’s been taken care of in the medical ward. Looks like we have a new contestant…”
Ace had been lifted from the ship wreckage by Gleeman’s henchman. Still unconscious, he was taken away in another spaceship which displayed a distinctive logo on its sides, the logo of Vox Industries.
He was taken to a large space station, somewhere within the Shadow Sector. A lawless region of the Solana galaxy. The station appeared to be under construction, as the many robots worked continuously on the outsides of the structure.
Ace was brought to a medical ward within the station by the robot workers. He lay there, still passed out from extreme exhaustion and his injuries. They examined his body and found him to be extremely low on nanotech, also known as nanomites. They were tiny blue organisms that lived inside all forms of organic life and some types of robots and technology throughout the universe. They were an important source of life to many living creatures in the galaxy. Especially to those who fought and got hurt often, as nanotech is capable of healing most wounds instantly if the right amount is collected by the host. Nanotech is capable of protecting its host from many forms of attacks but gradually decreases as their host gets injured and once their host ran dry of nanotech, they became very vulnerable to severe injury and even death.
Ace was given nanotech by the medical robots and his wounds healed quickly. The bruises and cuts disappeared from his face and arms. But basic nanotech couldn’t replenish his starvation. Instead, he had to be given another type of nanotech, known as nutritech. This form of nanotech came in a greenish colour, and was rarer than the ordinary blue nanotech. It was developed by scientists for use on people who didn’t like to eat so instead, they consumed nutritech. It was able to replenish dietary needs and stop hunger from its host. But it was rare and expensive, so very few used it. It also had to either be ingested orally or be injected into their bloodstream. Ace had it injected into his arm by the medi-bot, as he continued to lay there in a deep sleep. And now, he appeared to be back in good peek physical condition like he was before.
”Sir, the subject is now in good health. What do you suggest we do with him?”
”Good. Now give him a collar and send him to one of the containment suites. I want to put him through the qualification course first thing in the morning, to see if he’s even worth it...”