The Io's fury was savagely bombarded from behind! The blast of the explosion completely vaporized the tiny vessel! But before the complete destruction of the ship, the crew beamed down to the surface of a nearby unexplored planet!
Unfortunately, the crew had no time to set proper coordinates, and they found themselves separated from each other!
Mark of Orion, the fearless spaceship captain, was greatly distressed at the apparent loss of his ship.
"Zounds! When I find the sucker who hit us from behind, they've had it!"
Mark wandered across the rugged terrain, the gaseous atmosphere swirled thickly around him.
The poisonous fog rapidly cleared and, suddenly, Mark found himself in the center of a imperial squadron!
Instantly, every enemy weapon was locked on the lone pirate.
"Uh... Greetings! I come in peace!"
"Enough with that, rebel scum! Surrender or die!" The Imperial captain snarled.
Mark wanted to appear innocent, and it was often possible to fool the not-so-brilliant Imperial troops.
"Hold on! I'm not a rebellious intruder! My ship was shot down just outside this atmosphere! If you hurry you can catch the fiends!"
The captain grinned maliciously.
"We took down a pirate craft just seconds ago!"
"Uh, that's well, that great! You've already got them! Bravo! I'll see you gents later!"
"Wait just a second, what are you doing with such a powerful handgun, and a sword?"
Mark looked down at his automatic laser pistol and razor-sharp sword.
"One can never be too careful out here."
Undaunted by the innocent act, the captain continued.
"Our scanners indicate that the crew escaped to the surface before the destruction of the ship!..."
Mark of Orion wasn't about to give up.
"See what I mean? There could be bad guys anywhere!"
"Okay, that's enough! Take him men!"
The Imperial captain hailed his starship with his communicator.
And so, Mark found himself in a Imperial interrogation cell.
The imperial officers began seeking information from their newest captive.
"Who are you with, and what was your mission on the forbidden planet!?!?"
The Imperial captain cracked his knuckles menacingly.
Mark's mind raced furiously. if he couldn't convince them, he wasn't a pirate, his chair would be set to five ga-zillion tetrawatts!
"My name is, uh..... Stanley. Yeah, Stanley. I don't have any so-called mission! You shot me down without the slightest provocation!"
"Oh, ho ho! So it was you flying around in a forbidden zone, huh "Stanley"." ?
"Umm, yeah, I didn't realize that area was off limits... You could have sent me a text or something instead of assaulting my craft!"
The Captain chuckled, completely undaunted ,and adjusted his sunglasses while he pretended to listen to the pathetic excuses.
"You're not the one asking questions here, bud. Why exactly were you flying a craft through illegal space?"
"Well, that's easy to explain! I'm uh, I'm a... Surveyor! Yup, I'm a surveyor. That's it."
One of the hulking imperial soldiers snarled.
"I say he's lying! Let's zap 'im right now!"
"Hold on Private, I'm about to give him the works..."
Captain Lockjaw decided to let the hammer drop!
"Well, "Stanley," I have news for you... We did a forensic identity check up, and your DNA, your facial features, your vocal patterns and your location all match PERFECTLY to the well-known space pirate and wanted criminal "Mark of Orion"!
What have you to say to that?"
Mark was flabbergasted by the barrage of guilt-proving facts.
"Ooh, that was a pretty good move there, Captain.
But I'm innocent! You can't prove anything!"
Captain Lockjaw wasn't convinced.
"You're lying! We've got you cold, Orion!"
"Prove it, Lockjaw!"
The Imperial captain saw an opportunity to crack this nut once and for all.
"I'll do just that! Bring in the "LDD"!"
"What!? LDD!? What's that!? What does it do? Is it up to interplanetary peace convention codes?"
The Captain cracked his knuckles. *Crackle-pop-snap*
"LDD Stands for Lie Detecting Device!"
"What a lame name... What about Deceit Destroyer, or Dishonesty Dishoner or maybe even the Treachery and Trickery Terminator?
Captain Lockjaw growled.
"Silence fool! You will now answer our questions truthfully or we will surely know about it!"
"Oh, I'm shaking in fear."
The machine responded.
*Bleep Bleep - Lie.*
The machine's reaction gave Mark an idea!
"Ha! You guys have this all planned out don't you?"
*Bleep Bleep - Lie.*
"AAUGH! Shut him up!"
Mark didn't stop. he was enjoying this and he was on a roll.
"Wow, you guys are so smart! Truly an example to the whole empire!"
*Bleep Bleep - Lie.*
"Haha! I love this thing!"
*Bleep Bleep - Truth.*
"RRRGGHHH! Turn that thing OFF!"
The infuriated Captain Lockjaw snatched the LDD from the Imperial soldier and chucked it across the room, knocking the poor soldier over in the process!
"Curses and foolery! This device is useless!"
The LDD smashed into the ultra double-titanium walls and clattered on the floor.
Mark was secretly pleased the device was destroyed. But he needed to keep his captors stressed and maddened.
"What a waste. You don't realize how many of those you could sell! They're quite entertaining! Ha ha ha!"
The other soldier pressed his neural neutralizer against Mark's head.
"Can I shoot him now?! Please, Captain?!"
The Imperial captain, with the greatest effort, calmed his shattered composure. With difficulty, he forbade the soldier to fire.
"Don't worry, Spike, we have other ways to get him to talk..."
Mark jeered at his furious enemies.
"Ha! How do you intend to do that? Are you going to ask nicely, for once?"
The captain turned round and with another malicious grin replied
"No Mark, I think you'll find this next device quite SHOCKING!"
"You sure this is the right tunnel?"
"...No, this is the left tunnel..."
"No no! I mean, is this the correct tunnel?"
"Oh, yeah. This is the one. Ten more feet and we'll be right under the prison area."
"Great! is the Captain alone?"
"No, there are three other life readings in his cell and at least a dozen more outside... They must be questioning him!"
"Hmm... We'll have to create a diversion. How is the phone connection?"
"You sure do ask a lot of questions... "
"Well, usually I ask Captain Mark, but he isn't here yet."
"Right, well, the connection will be a little tricky. But we don't have any other options..."
The Space pirate began pressing buttons on his hand-held device.
"Dude, I hope this works..."
Captain Lockjaw firmly gripped the electric torture device. "Still won't talk 'eh Mark?"
"WHOA! Whoa! Hold on! I can be reasonable! Really, I'm ready to talk!!"
"Oh yes! I'm sure you'll be reasonable once you can't feel your limbs! Mwahahaha!"
Captain Lockjaw's unpleasant proposition was suddenly interrupted by his easy-listening music ringtone!
The Capellan Captain's face turned a deep shade of purple and he yanked his communicator from his pocket.
"Who is this!!!? I'm very busy torturing a prisoner!-"
A terrified crewman screamed through the static-filled speaker!
*BZZHCK*"CAPTAIN!! We have an emergency situation here!" *BVVHZZ*
"What!? What's going on!? Who is this!?"
*BZZSHH* It's on level seven!! It's a HUGE alien creature! BZZSHK*K It's eaten four crew-members help! HELP!-"
"Just a little more screaming there, Shawn."
*BHHSSKKK*"AUGHH! It's after me It's so terrible!!.. AIIEEEE!!!"
Captain Lockjaw immediately began giving orders to preserve the ship!
"RED ALERT! RED ALERT! We have an intruder on level seven! I need maximum backup there NOW!"
"I'll deal with you later, Orion! Let's move men!"
"Hey, hey wait a minute! What if the intruder tries to get ME!?" Mark stammered.
The Imperial troops didn't pay their captive any more attention as they stormed out of the prison area towards level seven.
And Mark was left all alone...
Less then a minute later, Mark beheld in horror as a floor panel slowly began to hinge upwards as a glowing yellow light shone from below!
"Oh no! Captain Lockjaw! Guards! Come back! It's in here! HELP!"
"Captain! Pipe down! It's only us! We've come to bust you out!"
"Whoops! Sorry guys. Quick! Get me out of here! There's a alien or somethin... Wait, hold on..."
"We created a diversion! Pretty smart, huh?"
"Brilliant. Now get me free or I'm toast!"
"Don't worry, Captain! I brought a photon-grenade! We'll get you out lickity-split! Stand back, Lew!"
"No wait guys! It's not glass! It's..."
As the huge explosion echoed through the whole starship The Imperial captain stopped and while gritting his teeth turned to his men.
"WHAT. WAS. THAT!?!?!"
"I don't know, sir! But where's the intruder? There's nothing here at all!"
"Wait a minute, did we leave any guards on Orion!?!"
"Uh, no sir, we all followed you..."
"Get back to the prison area NOW! We've been tricked you idiots!"
The Imperial soldiers weren't the only ones who were surprised...
"Uh, I don't get it. The wall... It.. Wha?"
"I tried to tell you guys it's transparent aluminum! A grenade won't even scratch it!"
"What do we do now, captain?"
"The code! Crack the code! Quick, I bet they're coming back! The computer to the right! No, no! Your right!"
"It's a seven letter password, Captain!"
"Maybe try the "I forgot my password option!"
"This is a bad time for jokes, Shawn... Wait, did you say seven letters?"
"Yup that's right, Captain."
"Uh, ok..." *Access Denied* "Rats! No good!"
"Try it backwards!"
"Ok..." *Access Granted* "All right!"
"Haha! We got you out, Captain!"
"Careful when you unplug my seat! Make for the panel! Let's go!"
Captain Lockjaw and his troops stared into the empty cell.
"The first man to talk... DIES...
No, wait a second! He can't have gone far! No doubt he's still in the ship! SEARCH ALL DECKS!
I'll turn the galaxy inside-and-out before I let him get away!"
To be continued! One day! ;)
We would have liked to continue Mark of Orion's tale, but we have some other projects we need to work on. We'll get back to this one day though! They still have to escape from the ICV Scimitar!