Location: Dimension X
Zantor headed out alone into the empty landscapes of Dimension X, intent on finding his fellow Triceraton soldiers who had just embarked on a mission to rescue Zarkav. It was a long journey, but Zantor eventually managed to find the Triceraton army after much driving.
"My brothers, wait!" Zantor exclaimed as he rushed towards the Triceraton army after getting out of his vehicle, and arming himself. "Today I will not fight alone!"
"Lord Zantor!" One of the Triceraton soldiers exclaimed in response, with a tone of relief and pride in his voice. Indeed, all of the Triceraton soldiers were very satisfied with Zantor's decision to emerge out of hiding. "Come and lead us, my lord. We need your leadership to rescue your father."
Before Zantor could respond though, the re-union of the Triceratons was suddenly interrupted.
Many enemy aircraft flew past the Triceraton army in instant, dropping explosives in the process. Before Zantor and his squad could react, the bombs fell upon the army, causing many to be killed as the sounds of the explosions caused much shock and trauma to the survivors.
"Watch out!" One of the Triceraton soldiers shouted as he pushed Zantor out of the way, saving him from a bomb that dropped right ontop of where he stood.
Zantor reacted with horror as he saw many of his fellow Tricertons lose their lives infront of his very eyes. The young Triceraton knew many of his fellow specimen for his entire life, and to see them brutalized so quickly, from being fully-fledged individuals with personalities to skeletal corpses that let out blood and guts, one after the other, it was indeed a sight that caused him to freeze in his place, being unable to move or react out of pure shock and fear.
"Fall back! Fall back!" One of the more senior Triceraton soldiers screamed as the army began to make its retreat, boarding their vehicles and aircraft.
Zantor did not move from shock, but it was the sudden arrival of gunfire just inches away from his head, as well as his fellow soldiers pulling him, that caused the young Triceraton to join his army in the hasty retreat that was performed without much thought, being a result of adrenaline rather than as a matter of principle. The Triceraton army began to move back from where they came, directly towards the village from where they came where many innocent and elderly folk resided.
Indeed, many of the Triceraton soldiers were well aware of what a retreat into the village would entail, but they practically had no other choice as the huge army which opposed them had almost surrounded them, pushing them back straight into the direction of the village. The enemy Triceratons were anticipating this outcome, and continued to drive back their enemies with utmost ferocity and fanaticism.
Zantor's forces tried to fight back, but were utterly overwhelmed by the enemy whom possessed disgusting numerical superiority, as well as the recent element of surprise.
Within a matter of hours of continuous retreating followed by minimal pockets of resistance, the Triceraton army was back at the village, with the enemy not far behind them in hot pursuit. Zantor then got off one of the vehicles with many of his fellow soldiers, making his way into one of the specially designed air raid shelters that was designed for protection during such an occasion.
"Into the bunker, all of the high command!" Zantor exclaimed as he rushed into the underground bunker, protected by many soldiers who were on the lookout for the enemy. Accompanying him were many of the Senior Triceraton soldiers, who held high positions and were experienced in military strategy.
Zantor then sat down in the conference room, taking his time to take a deep breath as the high command expected his next orders. All the mean while, explosions were heard outside the bunkers, as the enemy Triceratons had already begun a strategic bombing campaign over the once quiet and peaceful village.
"Lord Zantor." One of the Triceraton generals enquired. "Tell us what we must do next. There isn't much time before the enemy Triceratons close in on the village, and we need a plan to combat them."
Zantor contemplated for a moment before giving his response, which was carefully thought out. Zantor was shocked and traumatised from his recent experiences, having been a bit too close to death a handful of times.
Was he going to take a risk again? This was the main question running through Zantor's mind before he finally spoke, looking at all of the Triceraton High-command that desperately looked at him for a response on their next orders to carry out.
"We cannot fight them. Their numbers and technology far surprass them. When I met the Fugitioid earlier today, I found out that our enemies have a powerful warlord by the name of Ch'rell supplying them with weapons, while we have no one. " Zantor said with great hesitancy, as the expressions of the fellow Triceraton soldiers turned sour and disgusted. "Our only option is to escape, otherwise we will have to surrender if we are caught, which I highly doubt would turn out well for any of us."
"What are you saying, Lord Zantor?" One of the Triceraton generals enquired. "That we just run away from them? What about all the elderly and the disabled that need us in the village?"
"Look, we can try to evacuate as many of our villagers as we can. But it is not possible to save everyone, some of our fellow Triceratons will have to be left behind." Zantor said in response. "Either some of us survive, or we all die."
"What about the glory and honour of our empire? Are we to just flee like cowards, not even standing to defend the ideals of our forefathers!?" The Triceraton general then shot back, with rage and a look on disbelief on his face, that the son of the great Zarkav would dare to mutter such blasphemies.
"Look around, there is no Triceraton empire anymore! We are no more than a mere village, a shadow of the empire that existed eons ago." Zantor then said with a tone of defeatism in his voice. "There is nothing to defend anymore, to fight on is completely pointless and stupid."
"What in Dimension X is wrong with you! Is this the young Triceraton warrior we all raised together?" The Triceraton elder then shot back, with his voice now both trembling and boiling. "If you weren't the son of your great leader, I would have had you executed by now for treason!"
"Well, you don't understand my situation at all, do you?" Zantor then said in response, his voice being much more dull and grey than usual. "I barely escaped the clutches of death multiple times within the past few days; I have actually seen our brutish enemies up close and both of my parents are probably dead now. I just want a normal life; I don't want any of this fighting for an ideal empire that doesn't even exist in the first place, having been wiped out by the Kraang a millennium ago. Is that really too much to ask?"
"Yes, that is too much to ask. No allegiance to our empire, and no willingness to defend any of it, and yet you call yourself a Triceraton. I speak for our entire village when we say that we are gravely disappointed in you." The Triceraton general then said as he turned away from Zantor, alongside all of his fellow soldiers who followed the disgruntled general rather than the son of Zarkav.
"Don't say I didn't warn any of you, when you are shot and gasping for dear life." Zantor then said in response, somewhat mockingly. "I have been far close to death, I know better than to take chances again. I just wish you all would come to the same realization."
"Ignore the traitor, let him do whatever he wants." The Triceraton general then finally muttered to himself as he left the room alongside the soldiers, not even bothering to look back at Zantor as he did so.
Zantor was now left alone, not a leader at all. He had abandoned his fellow Triceratons in their hour of need out of a fear of self-preservation, and as such, his fellow Triceratons rightfully abandoned him back.
"I have to get out of here, before everything goes to hell here." Zantor slowly muttered to himself as he slowly made his way out of the heavily fortified bunker, which no longer housed anyone but him now.
All of the other Triceratons had gone out to fight, even many children and the elderly who willingly put themselves on the frontline. Zantor however, feared for his life above all else.
"I'm sorry father, I failed you." Zantor then once again muttered to himself again, with a voice full of self-doubt and misery. "I know you can't hear me, but I never stood a chance to be as great as you, I am nothing but a sheltered son who is just now realizing what a jungle it is out there. There is nothing that I can do besides make a run for it, hoping that I make it out of all this in one piece."
Zantor then began to feel the bunker slowly shake from the bombing raid above, with the sound of the explosion almost defeaning him. He knew that he had to make his escape quick if he was to survive.
"Now, to find a getaway craft and make a run for it." Zantor said to himself one final time as he paced around the bunker and the surrounding buildings in his village, looking for a vehicle to escape the war that was looming on the horizon.
General Zera watched in delight from afar as her troops invaded the local Triceraton village. Standing ontop of a hill, she took a moment to admire the constant ambience of gunfire and shelling that had come to accompany the now dark red Dimension X sky.
"Why are you doing this? There are so many innocent Triceratons living in there, that you have told your troops to massacre in cold blood." Zarkav said as he observed the same sight as Zera, being tied up in chains and placed in a large cage as to prevent even the thought of resistance.
"Your Triceratons are a disgrace, and they deserve to wiped out completely." Zera then said in response, not even bothering to look at her husband. "If we let the weaklings of our race live, they will cause the destruction of the Triceraton race once again, like that empire you hold so dear."
"You're wrong Zera, the Triceraton Empire wasn't wiped out by the Kraang due to our weakness, it was wiped out because we were arrogant." Zarkav then said in response as he looked upon his once beautiful village in sadness as many buildings were being razed to the ground before his very eyes.
"You offer nothing but fancy and meaningless talk. Let's see your village will try and defend itself from my mighty troops, supplied by the latest Kraang technology." Zera then shot back, having little patience for her husband's ideology.
"Kraang technology? Are you insane?!" How can you even call yourself a Triceraton if you work with those brainwashed killing machines?!" Zarkav replied in anger, despite being in no position to change anything as a prisoner.
"I only ally myself with the strong. Now keep your mouth shut before I order my guards to torture you." Zera then said in response, being irritated by the stubbornness of her husband before noticing that some of her troops approached her, eager to deliver a new message.
"General Zera, we have good news for you." One of the soldiers said as he stepped before his leader, bowing in respect. "The invasion is an overwhelming success, with the enemy being disorganised at best. We have inflicted heavy losses upon them, and we intend to use the captured prisoners as slave labour to increase the strength of our own."
"You all have done well, I am delighted by the effectiveness of the war effort." Zera then said in response. "But do tell me my loyal soldier, has the Mutagen Bomb been completed?"
"Yes, your highness. Here it is." The soldier then added as he stepped aside, revealing that one of the Triceraton ground vehicles carried an extremely large and heavy weapon, with enough power to devastate an entire planet. "The DNA of the human woman that was recently delivered to us from planet earth, was essential to completing this perfect Mutagen Bomb. Any surface it touches from another world will instantly become like Dimension X in the blink of an eye."
"The power to devastate other worlds. I should've known that you would stoop this low." Zarkav muttered, just enough for Zera to hear. This once again got under the skin of the evil Triceraton, but she momentarily ignored the impulse of having an outburst in favour of proceeding with her plan.
"Well done, my troops. Keep up the good work." Zera then said to her soldiers, walking by them as she spoke. "Now, make sure that this Mutagen Bomb gets delivered to our friend on earth, and take the human woman back to him as well in once piece."
"We will carry out your order to the letter!" The soldier said as he gave a salute alongside his fellow Triceratons, before they once again got back to work.
General Zera then began to cackle, instantly grabbing the attention of Zarkav who was taken aback by the usually serious Triceraton now beginning to laugh excessively.
"What now?" Zarkav said as he looked at his wife from behind the firm steel bars.
General Zera may have been his captor, but she was the only one he could talk to at this point. No matter how twisted and evil this company was, she was still providing him with company nonetheless.
"I can't help but giggle at your situation. You and I could easily take my side, and we can live like husband and wife once again." Zera then said in response as she continued to cackle. "You could easily live like a king right now, at this very moment, but for some reason you choose not to."
"No matter what you do, no matter how happily we once lived together as a family, I will never take the side of a vile and disgusting animal like what you have become." Zarkav said as he was clearly not the least bit phased by Zera's attempts to bribe him with power. "None of your guards' torture methods will convince me otherwise."
"Oh, I figured that out a while ago." Zera then said in response, continuing to laugh. "You foolishly may not mind being hurt, but I know of something , or someone else whose pain will utterly break you."
"No, you wouldn't." Zarkav said as his eyes widened with the realization of what his wife was planning. "Please, not him!"
"Oh yes, it will be him." Zera then said in response, as she cracked a wide smile. "It won't be long before my son is brought to me, and then we will see how strong you really are."
Tears formed in Zarkav's eyes, as he foresaw the doom and misery that was yet to come.