Chapter 9

The Village

Pain. Everywhere in his body was pain. Every part of him throbbed. He could not lift his head it hurt so much. He must've landed on something hard. "No duh, genius, you were freefalling from an escape pod." He shifted his weight to his side, trying to get a reading of his surroundings. Vegetation. He was surrounded by a Forest, a dark forest with tall trees, underbrush, bushes and very exotic flowers. The red eyes spotted an opening that looked like a path through the forest. For some reason, Zurg stared at the path and the darkness that the forest produced coming from it. He could of sworn something was there, something was watching them from inside that darkness. Oil was pumping faster into his main power cord, causing an adrenalin rush. Instinctively, he turned over sharply, claws digging into the ground, back arched upward, legs grounded; he was ready to pounce on whatever came out of that darkness. He waited, but nothing came except a sharp pain shooting up his back. He moaned reaching behind his back, or was it him moaning?

Christine was cradled underneath him, her whole body scrunched into a ball. She seemed to be whimpering and trembling. There was a deep red mark on her ankle leading up to her leg. Zurg sat up straight, getting a better view of the wound. Some black thick shiny water was on it. "Ah……… some of the oil hit her…….. that's gonna leave a deep one…" he carefully moved away from her and bent over towards the burn. Gently, he began to remove part of her skirt and leggings to reveal the burn.

"What do ya think you're doing!!" she panicked. "Don't touch it! It hurts!"


"Don't go…..!!"

"Nova, please….."

"Near it!!"

"I know what I'm….."

"You touch it and I'll….."

"CHRISTINE!!" his voice shouted over the treetops. Wildlife had flown from the trees and into the air in fright. The Tangean stared at him for a few seconds, her eyes watery. "Christine, please," his voice became softer. "Just let me see what kind of burn you have." Her blue eyes poured into his. He knew she was in pain, it was written on her face and it was also written that she did not trust him. "I won't touch it." Zurg lifted his hands into the air.

"Promise?" she said it like a child making a deal with a parent.

"Yes." He gently began to lift the skirt above her knees.

"If you do," her hand grabbed his. "I will kick you in the…"

"I said Yes." His voice rose a little to gain authority of the situation. "Yes, I promise not to touch it… Christine." she glared at him for a few moments before releasing his wrist. With her approval, Zurg pulled back the leggings covering the burn. She flinched. The hot oil splashed on her ankle and up to the mid part of the calf. "Ouch…" escaped from his mouth grille.

"How bad is it?" he heard her ask.

"I'd say a severe 2 degree burn." Again he pushed back the leggings, but something caught his attention. "That's odd…." He looked at her burn more carefully. The oil hit her skin in a very odd angle on her ankle and up to her mid calf. Her skin was raised, in a geometric shape. It reminded Zurg of a crescent moon with a dot or star between it. "That's strange…… where have I seen this before?..." he stared at the mark for what seemed like ages, but he shook his head and clear his mind. "That's very odd…"

"Wha…what?" Christine's voice connected with his hearing sensors.

"That oil was hot enough to burn flesh off the bone, but, you're…. fine…just a burn." Zurg seemed to drift off as he stared mesmerized at the miracle.

Before Christine could respond, she felt his cold hands lay upon the burn. She cried out, but the cold soothed the pain deep in her skin.

"You promised not to touch it!" small tears formed in her eyes.

"But does it feel better?" he asked. She didn't answer, but it did. she wiped her tears away, and let his hand lay on her burns. They were cool, the feeling sinking through her skin to the bone. She continued to breath heavily, until she heard him say,

"You need some kind of balm." He stood up and skimmed the surrounding vegetation. "There it is." The red eyes spotted a plant with long leaves and a white flower with green strips on the petals in a near by bush. With one swipe of his claw, the iron emperor cut the flower off the stem and came back to Christine's side. He knelt down beside her. Ripping off a petal, Zurg gently wiped it against her burn, a cool sensation caressing her leg. "The Billolo flower; best balm in the galaxy."

"Where did you learn that?" Christine looked at him, impression was written on her face. She tried to hide it, but she was otherwise impressed on Zurg's knowledge of this plant.

"I…I don't know…" Zurg pondered for a moment, still applying the petal on her burn. "I just always knew about it. I used to use it when I burned myself when I was a kid…" he stopped and glanced over to her. Christine was giving him a strange look.

"How could you…"

"Hey, hot oil can burn robots too!" he snapped, pulling away the cooling petals from her. Christine's wound started to ache again. She gritted her teeth. Zurg saw her face twist in pain. "You need better medicine than what I can do." He replaced the old petal with a new one, and her face relaxed. Zurg tore a strip of his cape, placed the remaining petals on her burn, and tied it all together making a cast. Christine watched him wrap her leg, but something caught her eye. It was pieces of purple paint shavings on the ground. Her eyes searched for the origins of the paint until she saw the side of Zurg's arm. It was a large slice that ran from the top of his shoulder to just above his armored glove, the purple paint had been chipped or more likey burned away from the exploding oil. It revealed the silver underbody that was his Robotic self. "He really is a robot……"

"Zurg…" she said softly, her blue hand held out the paint shavings. The Robot's red eyes stared widely at the paint in her hands, and then glanced over to his arm. Christine knew he saw the mark for one of his iron hands rose to gently touch it. He flicked off another piece of the paint and sighed.

"It's just the paint. I can get a paint job back on the Cruiser."

"Doesn't it hurt?" she asked.

"No." he chuckled, "Kind of embarrassing really." She looked at him puzzled. "It'll rust and it won't do any good for my image." He laughed to himself while Christine was left to ponder the thought. Robots had a very strange sense of humor.

Suddenly, he put one arm behind her back and one arm under her legs. She was lifted off the ground.

"What are you doing?!" she panicked a little as her arms wrapped around his neck.

"You can't walk." Was his reply.

"Hey, I so can walk!" she pouted. "Put me down! This is no way to treat a Duchess!" she began to squirm in his grip.

"Nova," Zurg rolled his eyes. "We might be stuck here on this rock, but you still are my servant." Christine couldn't believe how calm his voice was. Her anger boiled.

"Put me down right now! I can so walk on my own! I don't need you to carry me!" Zurg sighed. She was going to hurt herself, but he wouldn't mind watching. He placed her down. As she put pressure on her bad leg, Christine lost balance and almost collapsed into a tree. Her whole body weight pulling the tree off to the side. She regained her posture (on shaky legs) and slowly, she began to walk again. "One foot in front of the other…… come on, Chrissy, you can do it! Show that rusted piece of metal you're tougher than what he'll ever be!" Christine continued to hobble, leaning against trees for support, and hearing the iron emperor's chuckle. It went right through her, buzzing in her ears every time she almost fell.

"Don't trip and fall now, ya wobbly turtle!" he called out to her and laughed. Christine threw him a daggered glare every few comments, until the one comment….

Something wrapped itself around her bad ankle. It tightened its grip, puncturing her skin with its teeth. Christine yelped, and fell to the ground. She felt faint, all this pain increased in her already bad leg. It was spreading into her body, pain, nothing but pain! Her body shook violently to get away from the plant, but it could not handle it any more. Her world started to swirl, getting darker by the second. She saw a large purple being with red eyes shout her name. Then…… her world went black.

Zurg watched as Christine began to fidget violently. She was foaming at the mouth, her body shaking uncontrollably. "Christine!" Zurg crouched down beside her gently rolling her head straight so she can breathe. "Christine! Can you hear me?!" his armored fingers poking different parts of her body to see if she would react. "Damnit! She's not responding." Zurg had no choice. He needed to find a stream and get water into her body. It would help cleanse the body and slow the reaction down.

He turned on his scanners and searched the landscape. The nearest body of water was a mile's walk, too far out of reach and not enough time. A buzzer went off in his scanners. The vision zoomed in on a spot down that patch of dark forest he saw earlier. The X-Ray scanners locked on a strange looking shelter. There was smoke coming from the top of the structure. Where there was smoke, there had to be, "People…"

Lifting an unconscious Christine, Zurg started towards the path of the dark forests. He stopped at the entrance of the path, that feeling that something was staring at them heightened. Zurg suppressed the thought and looked down at Christine. Hesitantly, he took one step into the darkness of the forest. "Hold on, Nova. Hold on." Picking up speed, Zurg ran into the Forest of Shadows towards the structure.

As he ran, Zurg's hearing sensors picked up rustling bushes. Something was following them. That feeling he had earlier heightened. "What the hell…" Zurg ran a little faster. His hearing sensors picked up the galloping of "Hooves?... a hoofed animal?..." he ran faster, as fast as his legs could go. Red lights started to flash blinding his vision. If Zurg had hair, the next thing he felt would make the hair stand up. There was a presence right behind him running with him, hot breath against his neck. Oil rushed everywhere in his body causing an adrenaline rush. "Shit! Shit! Shit! SHIT!!" Without thinking he ignited his rocket boots and flew away from the pursuer. Whatever it was, it whined loudly and stopped following them. Zurg took at quick glance back at the forest; the creature was large and black with large raven wings. It roared back at them, like it was shouting at him. Part of him wanted to go back to that animal while his other half was screaming that he was crazy and to get the hell out of there.

His scanners showed the shelter he picked up was a few meters away, they were almost there! Suddenly he heard a dreaded sound; the whine from that creature. Zurg spun around; the creature's wingspan had to be a good 10 feet. It was flying straight at them, fast! The black winged creature had the body of a horse with the head of a Bird like creature. But was more astounding was it had the darkest red eyes Zurg had ever seen. Its wings beat faster and the winged stallion flew in front of them. Zurg came to a stop as it soared around them, circling them like it was checking them out. A few times the wing horse circled around them, its feathered mane whipping in the wind, getting closer until it came to a holt and hovered in the air. There was something different about this. The creature's raven wings were not making a sound as it hovered. Its dark red eyes were staring at Zurg with great focus. "I've seen those eyes before…… that look this thing's giving me……… why is it so familiar……" Suddenly the black winged stallion came close to Zurg and snorted a puff of smoke in his face. And then it flew away, the creature was gone. "That……. had to be…… the weirdest experience….. I've ever had……"

There was smoke coming from an opening on the horizon. The place was a few meters away where the tree tops suddenly stopped growing. A soft moan escaped from Christine's mouth. Zurg stopped thinking about the raven stallion and looked down to see Christine's unconscious form. "Hold on Christine, we're almost there." What was he saying? He thought to himself as he flew towards the opening in the trees. All of a sudden he was saying her name and being nice to her. NICE?? What was he doing being NICE to his servant. "The thing's I do for you Nova…..the thing's I do."

He came to the opening. To his surprise the opening did not have one shelter, but there was a few earthly made huts and smoke coming from a campfire. There were people dressed in animal skins and some domestic pets. Zurg flew down towards the villagers saying, "Hey! Hey! Is there a doctor?!" As he landed, some of the villagers panicked and ran from him screaming.

"Hey! This girl needs help!" he tried to shout over their terrified cries. The Village women rounded up their children and rushed them into their huts as a more frightening scream was let out. "Please! This girl needs help!" he yelled at some of the villagers darting past him. "She's sick! She could die! Don't you people know what death is??" Zurg's anger rose to the top. His heat vision ready to vaporize something. "She needs a doctor! You understand me? A doctor!" A loud rebellious yell came from behind him. He turned around to see the Tribe's men donned on their battle gear and charging at him. The spears pointed directly at him and Christine. The robot's eyes got even red-er as he vaporized the weapons in the warriors' hands. His anger surpassed boiling point. The men shouted more howling savage cries as one of the big soldiers came from behind the warriors. He was the Goliath of the men, and he was charging straight at them. Zurg tried to shout again, "SHE NEEDS A DOCTOR!! SHE'S DYING!! HELP HER!!" the Goliath of the group kept running at him screaming savagely. "Damnit! They don't understand a word I'm saying!" Zurg couldn't do anything, they couldn't go anywhere. Instinctively, he spun around and covered Christine with his body, waiting for impact.

Suddenly another voice rang through the air, towering the savage yells. Whoever it was, Zurg heard the person run behind him and the Goliath warrior had stopped dead in his tracks. He looked to see who had come to the rescue, but the sight was something he wasn't prepared for. A little old lady, about ¼ the warrior's size with long grey hair, long skirts and an animal skin wrapped around her was holding her cane up and shouting in a different language. Whatever she yelled, it made the village men stop their assault. The old woman turned to the iron emperor speaking an order in a different tongue.

"She needs help!" the Evil Emperor tried to reason with her, maybe the old woman would understand. "She got bit by this plant and she fell unconscious! Please, just… help her!" As if the old woman understood him, her dark blue eyes grew soft with concern as she knelt down to his level. Her aged hands touched Christine's face, two fingers on her forehead, neck, and her lips. Again the old woman spoke, addressing him this time. "I…I don't understand you." He said to her looking at her square in the eyes. "I don't understand your language. It won't register!" this was true. Zurg's internal voice chip tried to translate the words said to him, but the language came up as 'Unregistered.' There was no way of knowing what she was saying. Again the aged tribal woman spoke, pointing towards a hut near the outer part of the village. One of her veiny hands grasped his cape and pulled him towards the hut. All he could do was follow.

The Hut was located outside the village near the beginning of the forest floor, only some feet away. It was made of thick tree logs, close to ten feet in height in a square structure. The roof made from branches lay directly on top; it looked delicate and sturdy at the same time. Inside the place was a bed at one corner, a fire pit in the middle, and a homemade wooden table with bottles and papers all over. Another small table held pages sewn together along with oddly shaped candles and tiny wooden carvings. His sensors registered a strong herbal smell coming from the fire. The old woman tugged on his cape. "She's pointing towards the bed……Oh! I get it! Put Nova on the bed……" As gently as he could, Evil Emperor Zurg placed the young Tangean on the earthly bed made of straw and hay. The old lady pulled on his cape again and said something. Zurg turned to see her, she pointed at Christine and again speaking in that darn unregistered language.

"I can't compute what you're saying, old woman, I…" Crack! Zurg felt the old woman's cane hit side of his head. "OW!" again she whacked him with her cane, this time harder. "OW! OW! Stop it! I didn't mean to call you 'Old Woman!' Stop hitting me with that cane! Ow! I bruise easily!" Repeatedly, she continued to hit him with the cane. "I said I was SORRY!" The old woman hit him on the head with the cane again in the same spot while she spoke the tribe's gibberish. This time yelling. "I don't believe I'm getting beat up by an old lady……" Zurg had had enough. With one clawed hand he reached out and grabbed the stick from her. He stood to his full height, holding the old woman's cane high in the air. "Look! I don't have time for this!" his patience getting thinner by the second. "The girl's hurt! She could be dying at the moment, and you're standing here whacking me with your walking stick! Are you going to help her or not?!" the old woman's eyes stared up at him in fright. She froze just for a second, before her eyes locked on his in awe. Her expression on her aged face softened as she nodded her answer. Again she said something in ancient tongue.

"She wants you to do exactly what she says, my Emperor." A familiar voice reached his hearing sensors. Zurg turned to see a small bug like creature with blue/green skin and big eyes. The Grub was wearing a furry cloth over his pants, the rest of him bear.

"Alfred….?" Was it Alfred? Was it him!?

"Yes, my Evil Emperor," Zurg watched as his Alfred entered the hut and stood by his side. "Yes, it is I. We landed here some yards away and the villagers took us in. The Clones are fine," his voice was reassuring. "They're playing with some of the tribal children at the moment."

"Oh thank the Stars…" Zurg felt a wave of relief rush over him. At least they clones were alright. All he had to worry about was…. No, he wasn't going to worry about her. 'Worry' wasn't the word he wanted to say.

"What happened to Miss Christine?" Alfred's voice broke through his thoughts. The little grub was now touching her face. "She's hot with fever…and she's sweating. Zurg you got to tell me what happened." As Zurg recalled the story of the plant and the effects it had on Christine, the grub began to speak in a different language towards the old village woman. She kept nodding her head, and reaching for different bottles on the table and put the ingredients into a wooden bowl. When Zurg finished, the old woman said something to Alfred.

"I must go get water. She needs to cook the medicine. I'll be right back, My Emperor."

"Alfred…" the robot's voice box was soft as it said his friend's name. The grub turned to look at him.

"I'll be right back, Evil Emperor." The metal emperor was only able to nod his head as he watched his trusted friend walk out of sight. He turned to look back at the sleeping Tangean. Like Alfred said, she was starting to sweat all over. Her brow was soaking wet. She looked somewhat peaceful as she slept, but the pain was what caused her to black out. "It must've been too much for her…… My God…… so much is happening and it's all too fast for me!... What does Fate have for me next?" he stood watching her chest rise and fall with every breath she took. Something swelled deep inside him, rising higher and higher. His hand reached out, if controlled by someone else, and gently brushed Christine's hair off her brow. Again his armored hand stroked her hair and Christine's face relaxed a little more. She was now looking more in a peaceful slumber than a painful sleep. Zurg could not keep his mind from saying, "I wonder what she is dreaming of?..."

The sun was rising on the horizon. She could hear the morning wildlife begin to wake, each one having its own sound. They were beautiful. This place was beautiful. She sat near the watering hole's edge, a jar in her hands. She dipped it in, filling the jar to the top, and then placed it down beside her. This watering hole was her favorite place. Gazing around at her surroundings, she took everything Mother Nature had placed before her. There were exotic plants with their flowers in bloom, the tall red pinus trees sheltering her from the sun's rays, even the astounding wildlife that came there for water. She smiled, seeing a wild blue stallion walk near the water's edge hesitantly. It whined softly, and a few little ones came from the shadows to their mother. It was a sight to see. One of the hatchlings came close to her, its beak poking her leg. She laughed, scooping out water in her hands and placing it before the youngling. It sniffed the water, and then with its beak, began to drink the water. When it had finished, it chirped a high pitched squeak. She took it as a thank you and gently placed her hand on its head, stroking the peach fuzz that will one day become a long feathered mane. The hatchling broke away from her touch and trotted back towards its mother. But it didn't go back to its mother. It was now on the other side of the watering hole, next to a big figure in green and purple.

A sudden burst of terror erupted inside her. The figure she was staring at was a large man covered in green armor. Green chest plate, shoulder pads, armored boots and long arm guards. The pants he wore were black cloth sewn together. The purple she saw was an animal skin around his waist and on his arms. But wait! His arms were bare, that was the color of his skin! She shook her head, disbelieved when it donned on her. Her eyes escalated up towards the helmet that shielded his face. It was green, like his armor and covered his entire head except for the long black hair coming from underneath. His raven hair rested on the dark green cape and gold clasper he had around him. The front of the helmet had a T-shaped gap for his eyes, it was outlined with red paint down to the ends of the helmet (hint, somewhat like Boba Fett's helmet but more kick ass XD ). Blazing from the back of the helmet was a long flame of red fire, roaring in the wind. But what she saw next made her blood run cold. Horns…… his helmet donned on curled horns from the Bahuga Rams up in the mountains. Those creatures were one of the toughest things to kill. Her younger brother got hurt from one of those rams. He can't walk anymore.

A pair of glowing red eyes inside the helmet met hers. She almost jumped a few feet when he stood up to his full height. She knew who he was. She was told stories about a lone demon roaming the forests and protecting the wildlife. Some said he had fallen from grace and was banished. She also remembered he would strike down anyone who crossed into his territory. The green armored being took a step towards her, and froze, those deep red eyes pouring into hers. She wanted to run, wanted to scream! But her body was not obeying, and the horned demon stepped into the watering hole and began to cross it directly at her. She screamed the closer he came, until her legs finally obeyed her and she ran. She ran faster and faster through the forest floor. She turned back to see him in hot pursuit, a deep voice shouting for her to 'Wait!' and 'Stop!' She couldn't speak, she couldn't scream. The fear in her heart was greater than she could handle. He caught up to her now, his hot breath against her neck made her hair stand on end. At the corner of her eye, she saw one of his green armored hands reaching out for her. In a split second, she dodged it and darted into another part of the forest. This forest was more familiar to her now, but her legs kept pumping iron into them as she ran faster.

She hit something hard. Her whole body collided with something, or someone. From the ground, her eyes found another man, this time someone from her tribe. His tan skin glowed in the sunlight, the long orange hair and tribal markings and attire showed he was a man of high power. Close to the chief. She gasped at the sight of the bottom of her dress was slightly up, almost revealing herself. Heat rose in her cheeks as she tried to cover herself. The tribal man put his hand on hers pushing it away from the dress's hem. "Well…… this is my lucky day……" he said in an ancient tongue, but she understood everything he said. He pinned her down, opening her legs. She screamed, kicking wildly to get him off her, but he was too strong! Tears slid down her cheeks as the tribal man revealed himself to her bare legs. She writhed in agony as he came closer.

She felt hot breath above her. With all her courage she looked up to see the same tribal man on top of her, but a long sharp object against his neck. Her eyes went wide when a green armored hand ripped the man off her. The weight was lifted off her as she bolted up to see the green horned man standing between her and the tribal man. Tribal man charged at the armored demon who in return ran forward at him. She turned her head not to see the brawl before her, and heard a scream that died out. Her eyes saw the man's form on the ground as the green armored demon pulled his sword out of the body. As he put the sword away, the horned demon came closer to her, red liquid on his chest plate and his hands. He knelt down in front of her, she wanted to scream but couldn't find her voice. One of his armored hands reached into his cape and pulled out the jar of water she left behind at the watering hole. He placed it in front of her and the red eyes gazed at her. She stared at him, demanding who he was. His hands reached for the helmet and started to reveal his true identity when…………

She started to cough, her vision got blurry. The place was swirling. Her world went black.

Alfred had returned a short time afterwards. The fire pit was lit, the flames licking the wooden bowl and heating the medicine inside. The old woman prayed a chant as she stirred the mixture. Zurg thought it would make the elixir stronger as he and Alfred sat on the floor.

"What is she doing?" he whispered to the grub.

"She's the High Priestess of this tribe. They call her 'Shocha' a great healer. She's performing a healing agent on the herbs so it can cleanse Miss Christine's body." The Evil Emperor nodded his head in understanding.

"Better not disturb her…" Whack! She hit him with that damn cane again. "Hey!" he rubbed the side of his head. "I'll take that cane from you!"

"Watch tongue, demon." The Shocha said in perfect basic. Both the two outsiders stared at her as she bopped Zurg on the head once again. He was not fazed this time, but still stared at the High Priestess.

"Yo…you….you know Basic??" his voice box stuttered out the words while his hand rubbed the side of his head.

"I know many languages." Was her reply.

"Why didn't…. why didn't you speak Basic when I was shouting for help?" the Shocha continued to stir the healing elixir and poured it into a cup before answering.

"Forgot language you speak of." She came over with the cup. "Do as I say or girl will die." The two of them stood up and waited for orders. "No, only demon can help girl."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Zurg took a step back. "When did I become some mercenary? How is it that I'm the only one who has to help her!?" his voice rose. Another bop came from the cane.

"You brought her here, you help!" she looked at Alfred who was at the front door.

"I'm right here. I'll watch." Zurg sighed. If this was going to make that lady stop hitting him with that stick, he didn't care.

"What do I have to do,…." he sneered through his teeth. Her cane started to lift from the floor. "Oh great Shocha…" he said quickly afterwards. The cane came back to the dirt floor as she looked up at him with the answer.

"Help me undress girl."

"WHAT!?" Zurg almost doubled over.

"Her clothes too tight, body needs air." The old woman started to pull on Christine's clothes. "That shiny thing on waist," she pointed at the tracker belt, "What is it?"

"It's a tracking device. If someone…… "Um… Better not say anything about my Empire…" gets lost I can find them through that." Zurg answered the aged priestess.

"Take it off. She free spirit, no caged animal." Metal Emperor stared at the High Priestess.

"Excuse me? I'm…."

"Girl's master?" her cracked voice cut him off. "No! Girl have no master. She free spirit. Her spirit must be free. You should know that, Demon!" Zurg was taken aback from the fiery outrage of the Shocha. "Her spirit wants to be free, it will leave her body. You brought her here for my help. Now you help her! Bring her spirit back!" The little old woman was shouting at him. She pointed at the tracking belt around Christine's waist. "Take off!" Zurg felt the anger bubble up inside him. This was ridiculous… that Shocha was getting on his last artificial nerve… He was over Christine now, looking for the off switch on the belt. He disconnected it, yanking the device away. The two of them tugged Christine's clothes off until her body was almost bare. Zurg was kicked out of the hut when that time came and boy was he happy to get out of there. "Ewwwwww………………… I almost saw Nova……… Blah! That's disgusting!... she's a girl!! GAH! I have Nova germs on my hands! Kooties! KOOTIES!!" he brushed his hands violently against the bottom half of his robe. "Get it off! Get it off!"

"Demon." The old woman's voice beckoned his attention. The iron emperor turned to see her standing in the entrance of the hut. "Come. You help." With that Zurg followed her into the hut, dreading what fate had waiting for him next.

Dusk had fallen. Different sounds were made form the wildlife. The thermal scanners told him the temperature rose in the High Priestess' home. The atmosphere had changed; the oddly shaped candles were lit, the campfire's flames were licking the air, and the old woman stood beside the bed. He saw the sleeping form laying there, but when the crimson eyes rested on her every nerve in his metal being stopped working. Christine's bare form lay on the bed. The old Shocha had placed sea shells around her body, two large ones covered her breasts. A long translucent leaf, dried from the sea was placed over her lower waist. The Tangean's brown hair was styled differently, two long strands of hair on each side came from in front of her ears to her neckline. There were small creatures placed on it, dried up from the sea. "Yeah……… not a side I wanna see from my servants………"

"Demon, take off long cloth, will get in way." The old Shocha beckoned him to come closer. He unlatched his billowing cape hesitantly, letting it fall to the floor.…. Come on, this was one of the perks of being an Evil Emperor, you got a large billowing cape! And chicks dig the cape! He sighed, simply asking,

"Why are you calling me that?"

"You look like him….." she answered before shoving a bowl of green liquid in his face.

"Whoa! Whoa! I look like who?"

"No questions, not now." She came over with more candles placing them around the bed. "We busy."

"Hold the Galactic phone!" Zurg glared down at the little old woman, putting the bowl down. "Who do I look like? I demand to know!" Alright, being called a 'Demon' because he looked like one was one thing, not because he looked like someone else? That was a different story. Who could look as handsome and dashing as he was? Actually, who else had purple skin?

The High Priestess held her breath. She sighed giving her answer. "It too early to tell. Three moon's time, then tell."

"Look, ya old hag," Zurg's anger was rising again. "Do you know who I am? I am Evil Emperor Zurg! Sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance! Conqueror of worlds! The Great Foe of Buzz Lightyear! I demand to know who it is that resembles me! ME! EVIL EMPEROR ZURG!! I….."

"ZURG!" his name reached the hearing sensors. He turned to see Alfred holding his cape, panting. "My Emperor, forgive me, but…"

"This is none of your…."

"Business, I know!" It was the first time Zurg had ever heard Alfred shout at him, or look so frightened doing it. "Please forgive me, but forget about You for a moment and think about the life on the bed that's drifting away!" Alfred's voice rose in exasperation. His little heart beating faster with each passing moment. "Miss Christine is lying there unconscious and drifting away as we speak. Just do as she says, Please!" It was the first time one of his servants talked back to him, especially his personal servant Alfred. He simply stood there stunned, taking in everything Alfred said.

"Demon…" the Old Shocha's voice was softer than a whisper. Stunned as he was, Zurg turned to face her. She was holding the bowl of green liquid he put down earlier. "Hold this." She placed it in his metal hands. "Now, come. Stand over here next to girl." His feet automatically stepped towards the bed Christine was sleeping on. He towered over her, his shadow covering most of her body. "Take some balm and put it on girl's body. Balm will clean blood from plant poison." The evil emperor stood still as the old Shocha said her command. "Oh hell no! I'm not touching her! I just got rid of those germs!!" he remained still, and hesitantly looked back towards the doorway where Alfred was. His personal servant nodded his head to proceed with the healing treatment. The red eyes gazed back at the sleeping Tangean in her painful slumber. Her brow was sweating profusely even with the wet rags on her. Christine's facial expression had changed from a peaceful slumber to a tormented nightmare. "Her body fighting poison, Demon," the high Priestess's voice spoke. "Put balm on now." The iron fingers scooped up the green mush and….

Zurg forced himself lay his hands on Christine, the green balm now on her skin. As gently as he could, Zurg worked the antidote into her skin. Every pore drinking in the herbal medicine, he worked his way down from her shoulders to her legs trying not to look at anything. Again and again he reached for more of that green balm, and again and again he worked it into the Tangean's skin.

He was done. The bowl was empty. A wave of relief rushed over him as he stood up from his handy work. Christine's face had softened, possibly from the herb treatment. "Good, Demon, Good…." He felt the old Shocha's pat his leg, which was all she could reach. "Girl will wake in while. You go find babies and bring them here. I make supper. You sleep here tonight." With that the old woman rushed out of the hut and into the village leaving both Zurg and Alfred standing still.

"Well," the old grub finally managed to speak, "Seems to me that we're….."

"On a wild goose chase?" Zurg finished his sentence. He sighed watching the old woman run out of sight into the village. The campfires were lit, some shadows danced around on the houses. He could only guess the villagers were readying themselves for their evening meal. "This is…. Interesting, Alfred."

"Hmph…" the grub chuckled. "Well…. Let's put it this way, My Emperor," The iron being turned his gaze towards him. "We're on an adventure again, just like old times." Zurg held his breath before a smile spread on the mouth grill. "Back when all you wanted to do was follow you're Alfred around and fight in your imaginary wars?" Zurg let himself smile, recalling all those memories.

"They were fun…. But that was a long time ago…." His voice box became silent, drifting off into those memories. The only sound around them was the blue winged Owl calling out into the night. Bu there was a different sound that caught his hearing sensors. It was a cough. A harsh cough… coming from behind him…. in the hut. The Evil Emperor wheeled around towards the sound.

"Alfred, will you…."

"I'll get the clones, My Emperor." With that, old Alfred waddled into the village calling out the children's names.

Zurg entered the hut to see Christine coughing. "Nova….?" Each time she coughed, her body arched from the outburst. "Her body might be getting rid of it…." Lifting her up, Zurg sat behind her as the ex-Tangean senator gasped for air. The side of his hand rubbing her bare back. She woke up, coughing more violently now. She leaned over him to the side of the bed as her stomach erupted green bile. The stench was terrible, even he, a robot could sense it. "Oh man, Nova…." Zurg held his breath as her body rid the last of the poison.

A loud groan escaped from her as she pulled herself back on the bed. The only thing he could do was rub her back and wait for her to respond. She wasn't coughing anymore, but breathing heavily and shivering. "The fever must've broke…" Christine had tried to push herself off the bed but one of Zurg's hands assisted her, lifting her weight so she was now sitting straight. Zurg waited for her to say something through her panting, but her eyes said everything. 'Thank you…'

"Z…Zur… Zurg…" Christine's eyelids grew heavy as sleep overcame her once again. He got up, gently placing her back down. The red eyes caught the sight of some animal skins and woven material. One by one, he placed the layers of warmth on her cold body. Christine was still shivering. The last article of warmth was his cape. He sighed, was he really going to do it? "The things I do for you Nova…. The things I do…" and with that, The Evil Emperor Zurg placed his cape on a sleeping Christine and walked out of the hut.

The heart monitor beeped a few times. The sound of it was giving her a splitting headache. She was now placed in a Star Command Medical bay for observation. After what happened to her with their last confrontation with Zurg, she guessed Captain Lightyear didn't want to chance anything. She watched as two LGMs jot down notes from a man sitting in a chair not to far off.

"He was staring at the planet and then just took off! I tried to chase him, but I was blinded by this light. I don't know what it was but he must've built a new ion cannon. The fire shots from those babies are brighter than Asfala's twin suns. But this…. This was just blinding! It was unnatural. The next thing I saw was Ranger Nova falling, and well… here she is. That's all I can recall."

"Hhhhmmmmmmm" she heard the LGMs mumble in unison. "Interesting…."

"Well what do you think of it?" she watched Buzz Lightyear ask the question. The LGMs just shook their heads.

"Must listen to her story." One said. It turned towards her, it's three eyes gazing at her. "Tell us Mira,"

"What happened?" the other finished. All eyes were on her now. Mira let out a sigh, the headache she had was getting worse trying to recall the memory.

"I'm not sure…. I can't recall what happened."

"See, what did I tell ya!" Buzz jumped out of his seat. "I told ya she couldn't recall it! She doesn't remember that Zurg came after her and attacked her with…. With whatever made that light!" he was spitting out words, a vein in his temple was showing.

Suddenly an image came to her, the image of a man in green armor and long black hair. "Buzz, Zurg didn't attack me. I think it was one of his hitmen…." The human ranger stopped breathing and turned to face her.

"Mira, I think you still need some rest to recall this incident a little clearer…"

"No, Buzz!" Mira's head was filling with images, the headache was splitting! "There was this man, this large man, who wore green armor! His helmet covered his face and…and there was…. there was FIRE coming from the back of it! He had these…piercing red eyes! Like they could see through you!… and these horns….. I've never seen anything like it…." she was holding her aching head, rubbing the temples. "He was…just terrifying…. he said something to me… something I couldn't understand! He shouted something at me and then…. then his hands grabbed my arms…. there was this green light…. and… I felt tired… like all my energy was drained from me…. and I can't remember anything else……" the Tangean Ranger looked up to see all eyes staring at her as she told her tale.

"Mira…" Buzz's stunned face was looking at her. "I saw Zurg going after you…"

"But Zurg doesn't wear green armor or have long black hair!" the ranger shook his head. "Buzz I know what I saw… who ever drained me was not a robot…. It was alive…." Mira felt tired from all this. Why wasn't anyone listening to her!? "You gotta believe…"

"Mira," Buzz was next to her now, his hand holding hers. "I believe you… but it doesn't make sense." Before she could open her mouth, he interjected, "Please, don't strain yourself. We need you back on the playing field." She felt a warm hand stroke through her hair. Her eyes widened. "Get well Ranger," Buzz leaned forward planting his lips on her forehead. "We need you." As he left the Medical bay, Mira knew the words swimming around in Lightyear's head. "I need you…"

"I need you too, Buzz…." She said under her breath and watched him go, leaving her in the medical ward by herself.