Chapter 29: Pirates on Marcadia
Ace took the remaining spacecraft that was left in the lower level of the starcruiser. The rest of the team were already on Marcadia - a planet not too far from where the Star Seeker currently resided.
He approached Marcadia at high speed and could already see the location of the other Seekers on the holoscreen and radar of the spacecraft he was piloting. As he flew in closer, he could examine the true extent of the war raging on Marcadia down below.
Soldiers from Batalia were there, as well as the robotic Galactic Rangers. Space Pirates were all over the capital city, and many buildings were destroyed with citizens fleeing and running for cover. The main citizens on this planet were a striped, furred race, known as cazares, some robots and other various races inhabited the planet.
Ace couldn't help but have a feeling, similar to that from his teenage-hood. He remembers fighting against the blarg with the Sonic 6 on this planet, and succeeding. He tried to shut out his bitter feelings towards Clint Carlson; after all, he was no longer the president.
He found a safe area to land his ship. It was quiet and secluded when he hopped out, but many of the buildings around this area were badly damaged. He saw more galactic rangers skydiving down from the air to aid the soldiers down below. He ultimately sighed and rolled his eyes when he saw that most were shot at and destroyed by Pirate cannons before they even had a chance to land on the planet’s surface.
“Looks like the Galactic President is still using those flimsy, mass produced robots… what a cheapskate”
Ace made his way down a littered path; buildings all around were heavily damaged or completely reduced to rubble. Ace looked on from the battlefield from where he ran ahead seeing many pirates fighting with Batalian, blue skinned soldiers and robotic rangers, and on the other side of the city, he could see some of the Seekers doing well against another Pirate clan.
He could go off and fight with them, but, then again, Jake and Jenna would most likely not appreciate his presence.
But that didn’t matter at the moment; civilians were being lost to the war and destruction spread with every passing moment. Ace’s mind started to ease now and the grudge towards the old president was fading. Lives here were at stake. He ran on through the city, noticing more destruction and death throughout the land. Putting a stop to this was now his top priority.
He wanted to get to the source of the problem. Instead of fighting the pirates with his team, he thought of something else. Every pirate clan has a Captain, and if he could only find that Captain… then maybe he could help put a stop to the invasion in a quicker fashion. Ace tried to remember where the President’s palace was located. At the moment it was somewhat difficult with the city roads and buildings being damaged; and the landscape had changed since he last set foot on Marcadia years ago.
As he scoped the cityscape from behind his tinted visor, he spotted a vehicle in the distance. It looked damaged from a distance but as Ace moved in closer; the condition of the vehicle wasn’t as wrecked as he expected. It was a standard civilian Hover-car, but decent enough to use in search for the Presidential Palace.
Ace quickly started up the craft up to take off down an open path along the street. He tried to spot anything that could trigger his memory, but it was somewhat difficult in the state that the city was in. At least until he spotted a few large arcs on the horizon - a few miles from where he was hovering with the vehicle.
Several Space Pirates spotted him though as he flew past and tried to lunge at him. He took no notice of most of them, as he was too quick but several scraped the underside of his craft with their swords, forcing Ace to grab out his Launcher in retaliation.
After firing at the few who attacked him along his path, he could finally remember scenery, streets and buildings from his teenage-hood. The Presidential Palace wasn’t far from where he flew, and oddly enough, there weren’t any pirates or soldiers around. It was unusually quiet… and Ace soon saw something shocking as it finally came to his destination.
There was a huge hole in the side of the building, caused by Pirate cannonballs from a nearby ship outside. The ship also had a large flag held up by a pole, showing the symbol of a high ranking Pirate. Either the soldiers and authorities hadn’t noticed this yet, or they were simply too fearful to go in and see who caused the damage.
Ace wasn’t afraid though, especially of Space Pirates. He leapt from the hover-craft and pulled out his HL launcher once again – eager to face the dangers up ahead.
”Now this should be fun…”
Ace made his way through the damaged wall of the palace. It was dark and dreary in here, giving him a slight eerie feeling, seeing flickering lights and damaged vases, glass ornaments and furniture. Small fires and smouldering smoke was also seen in various spots along the hallways.
At first, it was silent with only his footsteps and the burning fires echoing throughout the building, but as he came across more damage… he began to notice many Galactic Ranger robot pieces lying in his path, completely obliterated. Even some dead soldiers were seen, and now he could understand why none of the other solders would want to come in here, to face the danger that lay ahead.
More noticeable sounds were heard now and Ace picked up his pace, sprinting down the final hallway, and turning a corner where he could see a Space Pirate, completely different in appearance to the others he had come across.
”As more time flies us by, I be growin’ more and more impatient. So OPEN UP, furry scallywag and tell me where yer treasure be hidden!”
“I swear, we don’t have a collection of raritanium! Raritanium is rare mineral in the Solana Galaxy so please, leave my people alone… we can’t surrender if we don’t have what you are looking for!”
”LIES! That wretched lombax of this galaxy be stealin’ all our booty and Slag be takin’ all me credit! I AIN’T foolin’ around, so open up now and surrender! If you don’t now then I’ll be sure to sever yer limbs!”
The Pirate was reasonably large, at least a bit taller than Ace. It had the slight appearance of a Buccaneer pirate, but instead of one sword, he held two large swords in his hands. His body structure was also different, sporting a larger upper body than others of his model.
Ace scowled at the sight of him, not liking the attitude of this pirate one bit. He could see that the pirate had been trying hard to break into the President’s room, judging from the extent of damage on the walls around the doorframe, slashes from the swords and charred areas, caused by explosions.
Ace stalked up to the pirate carefully, already bracing himself for the combat that lay ahead of him. The Space Pirate was caught by his presence though, and he turned around, sneering down at Ace and giving off a bewildered expression.
”Oh, and what do we have here, eh? Another soldier be putting himself to a quick, and painless death?”
”Sorry to disappoint you but I don’t plan on dying. In fact, I don’t even plan to gain a scratch from your blunt swords”
”BLUNT you say?!”
The Pirate snarled, holding out both his swords in an aggressive stance. Ace wasn’t all that intimidated, bravely standing his ground a few metres in front of him.
”I be Captain Severzeas. I live up to me name; any who dare face me, be severed and stabbed, with their head on a pike if they be worthy to last more than a minute against me! I don’t play ‘Walk the plank’, unlike my unoriginal mates of Polaris… so yer quite the suicidal one!”
“You’re a funny one then, aren’t you? Cut the crap and show me what you’ve got then!”
Severzeas lunged forward in action, trying in vain to lay a cheap hit on Ace. Though he was quick enough to avoid the first swipe, sidestepping to his right and firing back with his launcher repetitively.
Irritating the robot was satisfying but Ace knew he had to watch himself as the Captain moved aside and came forward towards him again, swiping at Ace with both swords and barely avoiding the very tips of the large, rugged blades.
Ace gritted his teeth together but kept his eyes on the large metal frame of the pirate, avoiding the swords with grace and even swiping his launcher forward as they were in close range. Loud clangs of metal echoed as each of their blades came in contact. Ace’s gun blades were made of a strong titanium metal, much like the pirates own swords but Severzeas had the upper-hand, forcing Ace to step back more as he moved up closer with each slash.
Up against a wall, Ace had little range to fire back with his gun and so he had to think quickly – a sudden strong kick was all he could deliver to the foe’s chest, pushing him back a few metres, allowing Ace to dash to his left and aim his launcher at him again.
“Yer got some nerve makin’ a fool outta me!”
The Captain got back into his warrior stance, both swords held out. Ace was firing at him once again, but was slowly becoming irritated by the fact that his blaster shots weren’t delivering damage as rapidly as expected.
Ace had thoughts about using his hard-light clones but this Pirate was too quick on his feet and Ace had to be on full alert at all times, doing his best to avoid the swords at all costs.
Ace charged up his launcher, trying to evade the pirate at the same time. However, all of a sudden he was knocked, causing him to release the large blast of blue energy and fire it in the wrong direction, almost falling over and losing his balance in recoil.
Fuming, Ace was rather annoyed. Severzeas came in close and Ace ducked to swing his leg back, making the pirate flip over and fall onto his back. Ace crouched and braced himself, bringing out his launcher and stabbing it down onto the pirate’s chest, finally managing to cause some visible damage to the exterior of the robot. Sparks flew and Severzeas hissed, rolling over and swiping at Ace with one of his swords and repel him back. The sword slashed the surface of his chest vest but not his skin underneath - the material was thick and resistant against most metals.
Either way, Ace flinched and bounced back quickly, ready to fire more piercing shots towards the dreaded captain. Severzeas was becoming infuriated now, especially after being stabbed in the chest. He cursed and came forward, intent on stabbing Ace through his own chest this time. Ace braced himself and held his gun out in front of him to take the blow of the sword – he gritted his teeth tightly as the sword came down, less than a foot away from his face, with only his launcher in-between. With the strength he could muster, he pushed aside his sword and with that, both the sword and his HL launcher went flying to the right, crashing into the wall and onto the floor, metres away from the pair.
Captain Severzeas’ smile spread across his face now, seeing Ace disarmed and startled. Ace wasn’t afraid though, though he was somewhat bothered with his launcher being out of his grasp. But at least the pirate only had one sword in his hand now, and a damaged chest…
Ace sprinted up towards him, ready to throw a punch with his metal coated knuckles. The pirate avoided his first fist but was knocked at the side when Ace’s left fist came into contact with the side of his head. He yelled angrily and lashed out with his single sword, finally giving Ace a gash on the side of his left arm. Ace didn’t notice this at first though; more intent on knocking the robots head off with a few more punches – at least until he started to feel it stinging.
He had no time to check the cut though, and instead, had to avoid another clear swipe of the sword – suddenly bending his body back. Severzeas was even more frustrated that he missed Ace’s neck and head completely, though he had slashed something else instead…
Ace threw himself up straight again and suddenly kicked the pirate captain while he had his back faced towards him. Ace was rather stunned and surprised with that swipe but, at the same time, somewhat thankful he avoided it with such speed. Even so as he quickly turned around to face Severzeas on the floor to his left, he saw something down below that caught his attention…
There was about one or two inches of his blond hair on the floor.
The space pirate didn’t notice it though, nor did his care but Ace did. Rage started to build up rapidly and he stormed forward – with his eyes locked onto the foe in front of him.
”I think it’s about time I put an end to this…!”
The pirate wasn’t intimidated at all but he was startled when Ace suddenly grabbed his arm in which he held his sword with. He then lifted Severzeas up and swung him around several times, causing him to lose his only sword and watch it go flying to the side and out of reach. Ace slammed him down the ground with incredible force. He was definitely pissed off, and now the space pirate was defenceless.
Ace pinned him to the ground with his steel-capped boot and twisted his arm as he still had it tightly grasped, before ripping it out and throwing it aside, with sparks and wires flickering about as he did so. Severzeas was cussing and cursing loudly, but Ace ignored it. He bent down to a lower level to punch his damaged chest multiple times. Each blow triggered more sparks and small combustions to ignite before finally, lifting the robot’s body up, he ran with it and crashed it into a wall, almost making it explode on impact.
Ace released him and turned his back, only to hear the sounds of an explosion and wailing screams of Captain Severzeas, giving Ace a hint of satisfaction, finally managing to cool himself down as he took in a few slow breaths of relief.
The Pirate Captain was defeated and he could now relax, walking over to sit down on one of the undamaged chairs. He wasn’t badly injured, besides the slightly deep cut on the left side of his arm which refused to cease bleeding.
Not long after he sat down to rest, the door of the Palace centre finally started to open up. Ace stood up to see who was to come out from the highly protected and armoured room. He slowly paced up to the entry and he was a bit surprised with who came to light.
”So you’re the man who came to aid me at the very last moment?”
A friendly voice spoke out. He was a cazar, as expected but he looked much different to Clint Carlson.
He was stockier and shorter, with a large brown mane, fur and blue eyes. He was the current President of the Solana Galaxy, the one Ace had heard about from others, countless times.
”I think you deserve a great round of applause for the show you pulled off there! Me and my bodyguards saw all the action straight from security HV cameras as I waited for aid. You sure are a brave one coming to my aid in need, all on your own too! Here, take some nanotech!”
The President pulled out a small capsule and handed it to Ace, which was broken open immediately to release the nanomites, healing his injuries in a matter of seconds.
”You’re welcome! My name is President Phyronix. The Galactic President of the Solana Galaxy, it is a pleasure to meet a fine soldier such as yourself!
”No problem Mr. Phyronix. Just doing what my team would have done”
”No idea what you’re referring to son, but come this way! Me and my people wish to thank you for the help and support you have given, as well as your colleagues out there!”
Ace was slightly stumped with how friendly the President was. How come he doesn’t have any suspicion at all with me? Doesn’t he know about me from DreadZone?
The President had already walked off in the direction down the hallway, Ace was about to follow, until he heard a voice shouting out to him from behind,
“I’m still alive dammit! Come n’ face me like a real man! Dun’ walk away from me when I’m talkin’ to yer!”
Ace kicked the decapitated robot head away and scoffed, before walking over to retrieve his HL Launcher on the floor nearby.
Stupid Space Pirates…
The President led the way out of the palace. Ace followed him, a few metres behind while thinking to himself. This cazar was a lot kinder and jollier than the previous President, and he was somewhat glad the President didn’t recognize him from DreadZone. However he wasn’t too sure about the idea of all this publicity, especially once he saw what lay ahead of him…
Many cazar citizens and robot soldiers were outside, as well as flashing cameras and recording HV video cams. Ace was rather uncomfortable with this; knowing there is bound to be a lot of paparazzi out there…
But the President wasn’t fazed at all. He walked outside of the Palace and everyone praised his entry.
”Citizens of Marcadia! After weeks of war, it appears that we, along with the help of the Batalian Army and the help of a handful of Galactic mercenaries from far and wide… have allowed us to become victorious!”
The crowd clapped and cheered. From what Ace could see, defeating the pirate Captain had caused the rest of the Space Pirates to flee the planet – just as he had predicted. This brought him a lot of relief while he eased to stand back at the doorway, away from the attention outside.
”But I would like all the people to praise this man here! The mercenary who came on his own accord to save me and defeat Captain Severzeas - on his own!”
Phyronix turned around and beckoned Ace to come forward. Ace was very unsure about it, but at the same time, he didn’t want to be rude to the President. He walked up close to the stage outside and the crowd suddenly became quieter as they saw him standing there with the President.
“Isn’t he… that guy from that old DreadZone show?”
“I thought he was dead!”
”That can’t be who I think it is… Hardlight?”
“The guy who killed Captain Starshield?!”
“Wasn’t he in jail?”
Ace could hear people whispering amongst one another. He could even hear people mutter ‘DreadZone’ and his name. He tried not to take any notice of it though.
”So give his soldier a big round of applause!”
To his surprise, most of the crowd was clapping. Although Ace could still see a few uncertain glares from several people, and so he looked away, to avoid any eye contact.
“I would’ve called Secret Agent Clank and his chauffeur to come help, or even my personal favourite – Captain Qwark! But hey, you’re still a fine fighter yourself!”
Ace face-palmed himself, hard. He can’t be serious! Suggesting that… butt-faced idiot and some movie character!
The President didn’t seem to notice Ace’s reaction though, mostly due to the fact that he was looking out towards the crowd again and waving at his many supporters. Ace was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by all this attention, and soon he spotted a few of the Seekers in the distance; behind the crowd of people. Bettilena waved out to him, and he could see Kurt and Aster with her too.
”I’m sorry Mr. President but I really must get going…”
”Oh, leaving so soon? But the celebration ceremony was about to begin - and I was going to give you and your team an exclusive invitation to an evening dinner!”
”Thanks but no thanks. I have to go now…”
Ace rushed off from Phyronix’ side in the direction of his team. But the President called out as he made his way down off the stage, asking him.
”-Wait! What is your name? I don’t want to be rude and not remember the name of my savoir!”
The verpardi soldier disappeared into the crowd in a rush to meet up with the team mates. President Phyronix stood there for a moment then, somehow, that name seemed to ring a bell. Even Ace’s face looked vaguely familiar. Giving off a shrug, he turned back around to walk off with his wife and bodyguards.
At least Marcadia was free of chaos, once more.