Romeo woke up gasping for air, in searing pain throughout his body. PJ Robot was hovering over him. He was confused; he looked around and saw – his left arm! It was… Was gone. He saw Roman was missing an arm as well.

"PJ Robot?"

The little robot opened a panel on his chest and removed a chip from it. He stuck the small chip onto Romeo's forehead. The panel had "EMERGENCY BEACON" written on it.

Roman stirred, and PJ Robot whirled around but was struck with an energy blast. PJ Robot fell to the floor in a clatter, and Romeo grunted in horror.

PJ Robot buzzed in alarm as several of his circuits exploded. As the robot dragged himself toward Romeo, the computer declared, "Extreme danger! Fusion core overload in progress. Self-destruct in 45 seconds."

Roman shouted, "Oh no, you don't," but he was too late. PJ Robot touched the button on the chip. Romeo glowed white and was enveloped in a white energy beam that whirled out of the ship.

Romeo was gone.

PJ Robot rolled over with a satisfied smile on his face before he faded to black.

Roman screamed, "Goddammit!"

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

Romeo appeared on the PJ Seeker suddenly in a white flash. Owlette hopped out of her seat to check on him, shouting, "PJ Robot did it!"

Catboy turned and looked at Romeo, the boy's lips blue, and his lab coat completely drenched with blood. Catboy grimaced, horrified that one of Romeo's arms was gone. "What the hell happened to his arm?"

Gekko shouted, "Guys, focus! The fusion core is going critical. We gotta go!"

Catboy perked up and said, "Owlette, get us out of here! Gekko is right, Romeo can wait!"

Romeo nodded weakly, and Owlette shot over to her console. "Engaging engines."

The PJ Seeker began to accelerate away from the Jenolan, and Gekko nervously watched the main viewer. "Owlette, more speed! Gekko, raise the shields!"

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

As the computer counted down, Roman pulled himself upright and smiled at the screen as he watched the PJ Seeker turn away from the Jenolan. He said, "No, no. You can't get away." Breathing tensely, he looked over at PJ Robot's crumpled form. Romeo was just a man, but he'd beaten Roman. Roman could barely comprehend the thought; beaten by a weakling.

"...Seven, six..." The ship rumbled as a coolant line exploded somewhere.

Roman smiled at PJ Robot's burned corpse and said, "From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!" He fell over.

"...five seconds, four..."

"For Hate's sake... I spit my last breath at thee." Roman spit and gritted his teeth in a final act of defiance.

"...two, one. Goodbye."

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

Gekko looked back at his screen and said, "Core breach in progress! Hang on!" He unbuckled and grabbed Romeo on the floor, and held on with his lizard grip. He and Catboy looked at the main viewscreen just in time to watch the Jenolan explode with a fantastic bright light. A plume of fire and debris went forth, and one of the pieces came straight for the PJ Seeker.


The PJ Seeker rolled violently, and they all cried out in terror as the circuit box next to Gekko exploded in a shower of sparks. Alarms went off, and the computer announced, "Shields have failed! Primary stabilizers offline!"

Owlette struggled to stay in her chair and regain attitude control of the ship. Once the ship stabilized, she shouted, "Gekko, what happened? I'm not getting full power on the thrusters!"

Gekko sat Romeo down and tapped at his controls. "Half of the main power circuits are fried!"

Catboy watched the viewscreen closely and shouted over the alarms, "What's left, Gekko?"

"Not much!" Gekko bent down toward the fuse box and ripped the cover off. After a few seconds, he said, "I can have emergency power in a couple minutes!"

Catboy watched as the viewscreen showed them pitching down toward Earth. He shouted, "We don't have a couple minutes!"

Gekko mumbled, "Oh shit."

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

A few minutes later, the air had become hot in the PJ Seeker as Gekko shouted, "There! You've got emergency power to the thrusters!"

Owlette replied, "Great, I'm attempting to level our descent! Gekko, try to slow our approach!"

Gekko said, "Catboy, hurry up!"

Catboy was strapping Romeo into the spare chair. "You're not dying on me today, Romeo. Just hang on, okay?" Romeo nodded weakly; his lips and face were ghostly pale at this point. Then, Catboy ran over to his seat and said, "Time to impact?"

Gekko checked the computer and breathlessly said, "37 seconds with the extra thruster power. We're going too fast to land soft!"

Catboy said, "Can we eject at this speed?" Gekko nodded, and Catboy continued, "Owlette, did you manage to get us close to home?"

Owlette nodded, operating the flight controls diligently. "Yeah. We're going to crash in the forest about six kilometers from HQ!"

Catboy bit his lip and then said, "Good enough. We won't be here for it, that's for sure. Brace yourselves!" Gekko grabbed the first aid kit mounted near his seat as Catboy tapped a few buttons. Catboy shouted, "Eject, eject, eject!" He pulled a lever and then held onto his seat.

Rocket boosters in their seats propelled the four of them out of the PJ Seeker in short intervals. They slowly floated down with their parachutes and watched quietly as the PJ Seeker crashed into a hill in the woodlands outside the city with an enormous fireball when it hit the ground. Luckily, they had ejected over a clear pasture.

Before they even landed, Catboy had unbuckled himself and jumped to the ground, dashing off towards Tarabiscoville. "Keep him alive! I'll be back!"