Sunday, 16 January 1994

The Empire Saga Chapter Eleven

    The Star Destroyer was now a million kilometres away from the wormhole. When they reached that point in space Tarkin ordered the vessel to a halt.

    “Why have we halted?” asked Vader.
    “I am awaiting a report from engineering.” said Tarkin.
    A few seconds later that report came through.
    “We’ve managed to restore full power to almost every system.” reported the chief engineer. “But after consulting with the science section I would advise that we travel to the wormhole at one quarter impulse power, because we will need all available power to travel through the wormhole.”
    “Is that the best you can do?” asked Tarkin.
    “It is all we can do without returning to one of our bases.” said the engineer. “In fact I think that would be the best thing to do.”
    Vader turned to Tarkin.
    “I am in agreement with the chief engineer.” he said. “We sustained heavy damage in the battle with the Federation and Klingon ships. We may break up when we enter the wormhole.”
    “I know the risks.” said Tarkin. “And I am prepared to take them. We will continued with my plan.”
    Tarkin then left the bridge. After he left Vader walked over to the communications officer.
    “Try and put me in contact with the Emperor.” he ordered.
    “Are you sure that is wise, Lord Vader?”
    “I am you superior office and you will do as I command.”
    The communications officer began operating his panel
    “The signal would take many hours to reach the Imperial Senate.” he said. “It may be some time before we can get a reply.”
    Then the door to the bridge opened. Tarkin entered. He saw Vader standing at the communications panel.
    “What are you doing?” he said. “I have no order for any communications.”
    “I am attempting to contact the Emperor.” said Vader. “I am going to tell him of my objections to this mission.”
    Tarkin walked over to the communications panel. He then reached inside his jacket and took out a small blaster. He aimed at the panel and fired. There was a small explosion. The communications system was rendered inoperative.
    “You will all do as I say.” said Tarkin. “I will give the orders here.”
    “I have grave misgivings about this mission.” said Vader. “I believe that it could end with our destruction. If need be I will relieve you of your command and order the ship back to our own territory.”

    The Phantom Cruiser continued on it’s faster journey towards the Star Destroyer. Magus was still attached to the engines. Space Ghost and Watt were still in the cockpit.
    “I never though we could travel this fast.” said Space Ghost.
    “Believe me there will be ships that travel much faster than this!” said Watt.
    Then a light flashed on the control panel. Space Ghost leaned forward.
    “The long range scanners are picking up something.” said Space Ghost.
    Space Ghost adjusted the setting.
    “It’s the Star Destroyer.” he said. “They are now a million kilometres away from the wormhole. But for some strange reason they are moving at a very slow speed.”
    “Is it possible that they could now detect us?” asked Watt.
    “Very possible indeed.” replied Space Ghost. “Which is why I’m about to switch on inviso-power!”
    “Inviso what?”
    “You’ll see!”
    Space Ghost pressed a button on the control panel. From inside they felt the same.
    “Nothing happened.” said Watt.
    “Try looking outside.” said Space Ghost. “Magus said your powers can protect you in the void of space.”
    Watt got up from his seat and phased out of the ship. He was amazed to find that the ship had vanished. It was gone. A few seconds later Watt re-entered the ship.
    “How did you do it?” said Watt.
    “It’s really a form of cloaking device.” said Space Ghost. “I understand the Romulans are developing a similar device.”
    Space Ghost looked at the control panel again.
    “We’re getting quite near the Star Destroyer now.” he said. “The TARDIS can take us the rest of the way.”
    Space Ghost activated his communicator.
    “Space Ghost to the Doctor. Are you in the engine room?”
    In the engine room the Doctor replied.
    “I am.”
    “We are getting very near the Star Destroyer. I recommend we slow down. Can you get Magus to detach himself from the engines?”
    A few seconds passed. The Doctor helped Magus move away from the engines.
    “It is done.” said the Doctor. “But it looks like we’ll have to carry on without Magus.”
   
    On the Star Destroyer Vader suddenly stopped what he was doing. He looked out of the window towards the stars.
    “He is here.” he said. “Magus is here.”
    “What are you talking about?” said Tarkin. “The sensors detect no ships in this sector.”
    Vader walked over to the sensor panel.
    “There is a sub-space anomaly within sensor range.” he said. “It could be a cloaked vessel of some kind.”
    “Federation  ships are not equipped with cloaking devices.” said Tarkin. “Only Klingon and Romulan vessels are.”
    Vader walked over to the helm panel and pushed the helmsman out of the way. He then seated himself at the station. Suddenly the Star Destroyer ground to a halt.
    “What are you doing?” shouted Tarkin.
    “Magus is near.” said Vader. “I sense his presence strongly. I must confront him soon.”
    “We must proceed with our mission.” said Tarkin.
    “Magus will jeopardize our mission.” said Vader. “We do not move until I have dealt with him!”

    In the Phantom Cruiser Watt approached Dredd. Dredd was still unconscious after his earlier altercation with Watt. Now Watt had a bucket of water in his hand. He threw it over Dredd. Dredd began to cough and splutter. He looked up at Watt with an angry expression on his face.
    “Why you…! I oughta blast you into kingdom come for that!”
    “Don’t start you games now Dredd. We’re near the Star Destroyer, and we’ve got a mission to carry out. Now you’re coming with us one way or another.”
    “Do I have a choice?”
    “No.”
    Watt pulled Dredd to his feet. Dredd followed Watt into the cargo hold of the Phantom Cruiser. Once there they could see the Doctor, Space Ghost, Batman and Spider-Man standing outside the TARDIS. In another area Magus was talking to Leacock.
    “Are you sure you’re going to be alright?” asked Leacock.
    “I’m going to be fine.” Magus replied. “I just need a little time to recover. If you need me aboard the Star Destroyer just contact me. And please do what James tells you. He’s in command of the assault team.”
    When Magus saw Watt enter he walked up to him. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. He handed it to Watt. Watt unfolded it.
    “What is this?” asked Watt.
    “It is the technical plans to the Imperial Star Destroyer.” replied Magus. “If you can get to their engine room and try to destroy their power supply they will have no way of going through the wormhole. In effect they will be dead in the water.”
    Watt looked at the plans. After just three seconds he had memorised them. He screwed the piece of paper up and then tossed it away. Then Magus extended his hand.
    “Good luck Captain Watt.”
    Watt grasped Magus’ hand.
    “Thanks.” said Watt. “We’ll need it.”
    “Come on.” said the Doctor. “We must be on our way!”
    The seven members of the assault team entered the TARDIS. Dredd was amazed to find that the inside of the TARDIS was huge.
    “Will there by any energy reading from this thing that the Destroyer will be able to pick up?” asked Watt.
    “I don’t know.” said the Doctor. “I haven’t tried to transport onto a space vessel before.”
    “If I had my way we wouldn’t be transporting at all!” said Dredd.
    The Doctor began the starting procedure. A strange noise could be heard as the TARDIS powered up. A few seconds later they were gone, and they were soon on the Star Destroyer.
    On the bridge Vader looked at the sensor panel.
    “A strange energy reading from ninety thousand kilometres away.” he said.
    “What sort of reading?” asked Tarkin.
    “The reading has moved.” said Vader. “It is now on board our ship.”
    Tarkin signalled to one of the Storm Troopers who was on the bridge.
    “Where exactly is the reading?” asked Tarkin.
    “In section seven-delta.”
    Tarkin turned to the Storm Trooper.
    “Take your team into that  section.” he said. “I have a feeling we may have intruders on board.”
    Watt was the first to leave the TARDIS. When he did he looked around at the surroundings. The others were not far behind him.
    “Where are we?” asked Batman.
    “If I’m not mistaken we are in section seven-delta.” replied Watt. “The engineering section is in section one-alpha. That’s three decks below us.”
    “So how the hell are we meant to get down three decks?” asked Dredd.
    “For me that would be easy.” said Watt.
    “I could try and teleport us into that section.” said Leacock.
    “A good idea, but it would also be a good idea for you to conserve your energy.” said Watt. “We go on foot.”
    “It might be a good idea if I go on ahead.” said Spider-Man. “I can scurry along the ceiling and then alert you if there’s any danger up ahead.”
    Space Ghost handed Spider-Man a small device.
    “This is a communicator.” he said. “It will be of use to you.”
    “So which part do I put in my ear?” asked Spider-Man.
    “None of it does.” said Space Ghost. “You pin it to your costume, and to activate it you just press it. You can then contact me through it and let us know of any danger.”
    Spider-Man pinned the communicator to his costume.
    “Good.” said Watt. “So let’s get this thing over with.”
    Spider-Man leapt up and attached himself to the ceiling. He then moved on ahead. The others soon followed him down the long corridor. They soon turned into another corridor. In the distance they heard footsteps. Spider-Man’s spider-sense began to tingle. He sense danger. The danger was soon visible to the others as a lone Storm Trooper appeared in the corridor. He soon spotted the assault team and raised his blaster. Dredd also did this, but before the Storm Trooper could fire Dredd fired his blaster. The blast ripped into the Trooper’s armour, killing him instantly. The sound of laser fire rang out through the corridors, alerting all those nearby of the assault team’s presence. Watt was not pleased.
    “Are you bloody mad?” he said. “We can’t go around just blasting everyone out of existence. Your stupid act could have put this whole mission in jeopardy!”
    “So what?” said Dredd. “I hate all of this pussy-footing around. I prefer a good fight!”
    Dredd would soon get his wish. A party of thirty Storm Troopers suddenly rushed into the corridor. The battle began. Spider-Man whished the Doctor off for safety reasons and then joined the battle. Thirty against six seemed like bad odds for the assault team, but this team contained some of the finest battlers of their times.
    From a bridge monitor Tarkin and Vader watched the battle.
    “I want you to supervise this operation personally.” said Tarkin. “With you in charge there will be no mistakes.”
    “But they are heavily outnumbered.” said Vader. “They have no hope of winning this battle.
    “All the same I would still like you to go.” said Tarkin.
    Vader strode away from Tarkin and soon left the bridge. Tarkin made sure Vader was gone until he walked up to the helmsman.
    “Plot a course for the wormhole.” he ordered. “Ahead full impulse power.”
    Magus sat in the cockpit of the Phantom Cruiser monitoring the battle from afar using his powers. The ship was still in inviso-power so it was still cloaked from the Star Destroyer’s sensors. Then he noticed a change in the battle, a shift in power, one that could turn the tide in favour of the Empire. Magus knew that Darth Vader was about to join the battle. Magus knew that he had to do something, even in his weakened state. He decided to join the battle to try and tip the scales back in favour of the assault team. Magus got him from his seat and held his hand in the air. A glow appeared around him, and a few seconds later he was gone from the Phantom Cruiser.
    Vader strode through the corridors of the Star Destroyer. As he walked along the corridor Magus appeared, leaving heavily upon his cane. He had a ashen look to him. Swiftly Vader unsheathed his light sabre. A glint came into Magus’ eyes as the energy weapon swung over his head. He made no attempt to dodge the blow. As Vader drew back to strike again to his amazement Magus still stood, looking less weary than before. Once more he struck. Once more the blow had no effect, or so Vader thought. Magus’ eyes began to glow.
    “Stand aside wizard.”
    Vader aimed his fist at Magus’ head. Magus caught the metal hand with his own, and the two stood there while Magus drained the energy from Vader.
    “Fool of a Jedi, did you think that an energy weapon would kill me? I have already been dead and returned from the eternal sleep. My power has been restored in part by your blows. I cannot defeat you, but I can leave you with not enough energy to effect this battle!”
    Magus let Vader’s arm fall. As it did so did the form of the Dark Lord of the Sith.
    The Star Destroyer entered the wormhole. Almost instantly the very fabric of the wormhole began to judder. Those within the spacecraft felt the same tremors that rocked the space outside. Matter collided with anti-matter instantly, annihilating both. Magus gazed down at Vader and moved on to find his allies. They stood, not knowing what to do.
    “What is it Magus?” asked Batman.
    “The energy released by the Star Destroyer in entering the wormhole has caused an energy flux. I fear we are heading for a disruption of reality.”
    Almost as soon as the words had fallen from the wizard’s lips the wormhole reached critical mass. A rift appeared in the space/time continuum. All were returned to their allotted places in time, except for those aboard the ship.
    “Where are we Lord Vader?” asked Tarkin.
    “We are in a low orbit above a city called London on planet Earth, sector zero-zero-one. The year is 2000.”