Shelflands Saga II

Prologue

Sturm Trogdor's blue Godos stopped on the crest of the hill, his aide's Tank Zoid pulling up next to it. looking down form the cockpit, he could see the small town nestled in the valley below. It was a quiet, ordinary place, just like every other small town in this area. Only one thing about it stood out, and that was the Rev Rapter currently standing in the middle of it.

Sturm frowned. He'd been tracking this man for almost a week now. His faster Zoid had allowed him to escape every time that Sturm had come close to catching him. He'd expected him to try something like this. However, this time he had the advantage. He checked the status of the CP-13 pod on his Zoid's beck. The sensors and cannon pods all responded green. Not bad for a black market weapon that had been probably pulled off a junked Zoid.

"Are you sure about this, Sir?" the Tank Zoid's pilot asked. "I mean, it is a stolen weapon and-"

"Yes, I am." He replied warily. "I will hand it in when I am done here so the proper authorities can deal with it." But after today, I doubt I will need to, he mentally added. "Now stay here, while I deal with this criminal."

"Yes Sir!" The Tank's pilot replied.

Sturm advanced towards the town, keeping his eyes fixed firmly on the Rev Rapter. This was it. No turning back now. He had decided what he had to do, and he would do it regardless of the consequences. There was a message that needed to be sent. Unfortunately, he would be the one to send it. He flicked on the PA system. "I am Paladin Sturm Trogdor of the Zygra Empire. I demand that you power down your Zoid immediately and step out of the cockpit. If you do not comply, I will be forced to open fire."

The Rev Rapter took a step to one side so it was right up against a building, not allowing Sturm to get a clear shot at it. "Oh, you're gonna fire." It sneering pilot replied over the PA. "Oh, the big bad Paladin is coming to get me!" Sturm could hear him sniggering to himself. "What are ya gonna do, blast me with all these people around? You gonna take me out in the middle of the village? You gonna hit me where some innocent bystander could get hurt."

The Godos continued its advance, Sturm remaining silent.

"Go on then. Gimmie your best shot. Oh, wait, you can't." He laughed out loud now. "Man, you Paladins are so-"

Before he could finish. Sturm opened fire. The four twin beam cannons from the Weasel Pod blasted at the Rapter, blowing the house next to it apart while scorching the Rapter's armour. "I warned you" he simply stated.

"Paladin Trogdor!" The Tank's driver shouted over the radio. "What's going on down there? What are you doing?"

Sturm ignored him and continued to advance. The Rev Rapter, its pilot realising that something was amiss, broke into a run. Sturm tracked him, opening fire with the Godos' hip-mounted heavy beam cannon. The cannon spat fire at the retreating Zoid, shredding the armour over one hip. The Rapter ducked behind another house, only to have it blasted apart by cannon fire.

"You're crazy, man!" The Rapter's pilot shouted as he ran, weaving through the village as he went.

"No." He replied. "I'm doing my duty. I have stepped beyond the restrictions that my superiors placed on my comrades and I that have helped scum like you escape in past." The Godos opened fire with the Weasel Pod again, the shots narrowly missing the Rapter while setting several houses ablaze. "You bought this down on yourself."

The Rev Rapter stopped, realising that it had run into a dead-end street. "No way, man." He replied. "You're not gonna get me. You're insane." The Zoid turned, hissing at the Godos. "You're not gonna take me down!" It charged at the Godos, its blades extended. Running straight at it, the Rapter leaped into the air to strike.

Beofre it could connect, however, Sturm opened fire with the Weasel Pod. The Rapter was smashed out of the air, falling back into a building and crushing it. The arm and leg on its right side had been torn free from its body, while much of the torso was gutted. The enemy Zoid lay on the ground, crippled.

"You are beneath contempt." Sturm snarled as the Godos walked over to the wrecked Zoid. "Filth like you need to be eradicated form this world."

"No way, man!" He shouted. "I surrender! Please, I surrender!"

The Godos stood over the Rev Rapter's inert body. "It's too late for that. Too late for anything." The Godos smashed its fist down on the Rev Rapter's cockpit, crushing it instantly. The enemy Zoid spasamed, then was still. Standing, the Godos turned towards the Tank Zoid.

"Paladin Trogdor!" The Tank's driver shouted "What are-"

"Go now!" He shouted back. "I have no desire to kill you, but I will if you do not leave immediately!"

The Tank's pilot remained quiet for a moment. Then the Tank turned around and sped off the way it had come, its repair trailer clattering along behind it. Sturm watched it go, before turning away. The message had been set, he thought. A pity that it took so many lives to get it through. The Godos began to slowly walk away form the village, its pilot leaving all that he had known behind.