A fleet of two thousand intimidating starships drifted at sublight speed
through the outer sectors of the Substantia Zone, the darkness of deep space
enveloping them like a black cloak of stealth. The largest vessel, over
ten kilometres in length, was the command ship of General Blubbard. This
mighty armoured leviathan dwarfed the hundreds of squadrons of skull fighters
and battleships that flew in numerous formations all around it.
General Blubbard stood at the giant forward view port on the expansive command
bridge and gazed at the distant star field. A million suns of varying
sizes glimmered faintly through the dark matter that proliferated throughout
this isolated section of the galaxy.
"Excuse me, general." A squelchy high pitched voice said.
General Blubbard turned around and looked down at the short, acne faced
cadet. "Yes?" He said ominously.
"I have found it!"
"The Palace of Amino!"
The general was stunned. They had only been looking for a few days. He
had expected the search to take months. "Are you sure?"
"Absolutely, general. Come and look."
General Blubbard followed the spotty cadet across the massive control
room to his console where he had been monitoring the progress of the probes.
"Reconnaissance Probe VBBMF entered the Archaica System several hours
ago." Acne man said with delight. "It quickly found a life supporting
planet and has been scanning it ever since."
They reached the console.
"Look!" The zit kid said, pointing at a display screen.
The well built general looked. The screen showed an area of a planet that
was covered in jagged rocks and pounding seas. On a cliff top there appeared
to be a huge dark castle. The young mottled crew member was getting excited.
"There it is!"
"Augment the image." General Blubbard said.
The small speckled chap obeyed the order and the castle was enlarged on
the screen. "Yo!" The wart faced cadet said. He took a good
look at the image. "Oh…" He said quietly.
"So you think that this ruined relic of a castle is the Palace of
Amino, do you?" The general said in a severe tone of voice.
"Err… Well… It looks a bit like a palace, don't you think?"
"No!" General Blubbard grabbed the zit kid by the neck and held
him at arms length. He gargled in agony and began thrashing his legs around
in a highly hysterical fashion. "It’s incompetent fools like
yourself that get me into trouble with the heinous Lord Lawrence!"
The general roared.
The spot saturated youth started to sweat with terror. "I'm sorry,
general!" He croaked. "Please forgive my cretinous behaviour!"
"No!" General Blubbard shouted. He dropped the acned cadet onto
the floor. "You will die as an example to your peers!"
The other crew members turned their heads and watched as their commanding
officer started to kick the youthful blotch kid hard in the face. Blood
began to pour out of his nose, mouth and ears. The general pulled out
a small fusion pistol from within his cloak.
"Burn!" He yelled with dark pleasure.
The zit congested cadet screamed as first his legs, and then his arms
were burned to ashes by intense beams of energy. He tried to roll his
torso away from the psycho general without success. Another beam laced
its way into his guts, cutting through his kidneys and intestines. He
howled in torment but was quickly silenced as the beam burned open his
chest and vaporised his lungs. General Blubbard stopped firing and selected
the pistol's highest power setting.
"Let this be a lesson to you all!" He said, pumping a powerful
white hot beam of charged particles into the speckled guy's face. The
cadet’s look of pained terror was wiped in a millisecond as his
head exploded in a flash of brightness. Bits of smouldering skin, bone
and brains showered the bridge crew. They gazed in horror at the charred
remains of their colleague.
"Get back to your work!" The general bellowed. "Or you'll
The bridge crew turned quickly and faced their display screens. It was
as though nothing had happened. General Blubbard walked back to the forward
view port and stared at the serene scene that lay before him.
I must find the palace soon, he thought to himself, otherwise Lawrence
will do to me what I've just done to that cadet.