Disclaimer: I don't own Toaplan or Zero Wing.
Author's Note: This is a novalization of Zero Wing. ZERO WING! If I hear "All your base are belong to us" come out of ANYONE's mouth, I'm gonna smack 'em so hard, it'll take three weeks for the pain to set in. Anyways. Here-a we go.
For Great Justice
The lone vessel floated silently through space. The red hue of the hull pierced the otherwise bleakness of space. Three people sat in silence on the bridge.
"I think we made it..." John Arrow, the ships communications officer mused after a long pause. The man to his left, the chief technician sighed and smiled.
"John, any word from the others?" Mark Apachie, the ship's captain asked, trying to remain professional. John scanned the communications frequencies twice before shaking his head, a grim frown on his face.
"Neg, sir. Radio silence. It's just us." He finally spoke. Mark swore, slamming his fist on the console of his chair. He sat still for a second, then recomposed himself.
"Well... we can't dwell on the past. Set a course for home." He spoke. The moment these words escaped, an explosion rattled the spine of the ship. "What the hell? Did we loose and engine?" Mark shouted. Alarms began echoing in the bridge.
"Plasma fire on deck three. Plasma fire on deck four. Plasma fire on deck six. Plasma fire on deck seven. Plasma fire on deck eight. Plasma fire in Fighter Bay Three. Plasma fire in Fighter Bay Four." The computer droned.
"Neg, sir! Plasma bomb..." the chief technician, Shawn Hasslebee replied, looking at the damage reports. "They hit us good."
"Sir! I'm detecting an enemy ship! It's their flagship, the Toaplan!" There came a pause, punctuated by a beep. "They're opening a channel." As John said this, the holographic projectors on the bridge activated, the visage of a man clad in a royal purple cloak, his face scarred and repaired with a large, obscure metal plate over the left side of his face.
"I should have guessed you, of all people, could have followed us, Cats..." Mark grumbled, sitting forward in his seat, staring at the holographic image of Cats, the enemy's commander.
"Greetings, my friends. How are you this fine morning?" A cruel grin appeared on his face as he taunted the men. "In case you failed to notice, your asteroid stronghold fell. As did the one in the Areos Sector, and after I wipe your pathetic smirk from the galaxy, the stronghold in the Natols Sector will be mine, as well." He crossed his arms, his bionic eye flaring. "You've got no hope, my firends."
"Where there's a will, there's a how, Cats. I'll find that how." Mark rebuttled, standing violently. Cats laughed.
"You have no chance for survival, Mark. Make use of what precious moments you have left!" He finished. As the image faded, the sadistic laugh of Cats echoed throughout the ship.
"Captain?" John muttered. "Your orders?" Mark slumped back into his seat and throught, his fists brought up to his chin. He sighed heavily, lowered his fists and spoke.
"There's only one thing left to do, Mr. Arrow." Mark began. "Launch all the ZIG fighters, in hope of doing the just thing."
"What should I tell them their orders are, sir?"
"They'll know what to do. They'll know..." Mark spoke again.
"Scramble! Scramble! All ZIG pilots, prepare for emergency take off! This is not a drill, repeat. All ZIG pilots, prepare for emergency take off! This is not a drill!" You awake to the cries of men and electronics alike. Something's happening, and by the sound of the commotions outside, it's not good.
"Hey! Hey, you! Get up! We've gotta move!" One of your fellow pilots barks in your ear, shaking you.
"I'm up! I'm up! What's going on!?" You reply, sitting. Your friend looks at you obscurely.
"Didn't you hear the alert? We're in a scramble situation. We've gotta get off the ground, and fast! Come one!" They grab your hand and pull you out of your bed and into the hall. The pilot leads you to Figther Bay Five. "Come on! Bays Three and Four are outta commission! Let's go!" The two of you run into the Fighter Bay and suit up in record time. You jam your helmet over your head and make a crazed run for the lined up ZIG Fighters. They were oddly shaped, but they got the job done, especially in large numbers. You're friend gets suited up as you do, and you board the two ZIG's closest to you. The moment you and your friend seal your crafts cockpits, the bay door explodes, crates sliding into deep space. Several pilots couldn't get to their ships in time before they're sucked out.
The light over your middle MFD lights up, the words 'LAUNCH!' appearing. You feel the pull of the catapult launching you and your friend down a secondary launching ramp.
"Time to light the fires, and kick the tires..." You hear your friend jest. The ship is listing badly left, and you can feel the Fighter Bay exploding behind you. Several other ZIG's have launched already and are engaging the enemy carrier and it's fighter escort and support. You're loosing the battle. Countless little ZIG fighters explode into a short, red burst of flame, then die. It's a massacre, at best.
"I'm on your six, aff?" Your friend asks over the channel.
"Aff." You respond, moving in for a strafing run on the main carrier. As you grow closer, your ship scans it. The TargID reveals it as the HND Toaplan. You swallow as you remember all the horrible things the Toaplan had done. The second your weapons are within range, the Toaplan disappears into Warp Jump.
"Damn! Got away!"
"All ZIGs! This is your captain! We don't have much time left! You have to get..." The signal fizzles into static momentarily. "And report our failure! We must not let the..." More static. "ms get to..." Again, the signal breaks. " You know what to do! Godspeed!" There came a pause. "And as for you, Cats! I'll see you in hell!" The moment he says this, the ship, your home for the last six years, explodes.
"Jesus!" You hear a pilot mutter over the communications channel.
"Alright, people, stay focused!" You order everyone. "Who's ranking here?" There comes a pause.
"The Brigade Commander... didn't make it." Another pilot responds. "That makes you ranking officer..."
"Right then. Listen up. Stay focused! We can do this! We have to!"
"Touching speech." A voice sneers. Your center MFD switches to your ship's status to a picture of the Enemy Commander, Cats. "Too bad it's all for naught. My drones will have you and your pathetic ZIGs for breakfast!" He kills the feed.
The fight lasts for some hour or so. And finally, as you mop up the last of the drones, you take a head count.
"Sound off!" You call into your microphone.
"Blue Sixteen. Status Red." A man response.
"Green Eighteen. Status Gold." A woman chimes.
"Blue Two. Status Green." Your friend replies.
"Green One. Status Green." You echo, sighing. You wait for more. "Is that it? Just four of us? Jesus, they went to town!" You hear yourself curse.
"What are your orders, Green One?" Blue Sixteen, a rather vetern pilot asks. You contemplate your options.
"Well, we can't stay on the border of enemy space. It's just not smart. We'll have to backtrack home. Maybe we can make it before Cats finds out we're still alive. Blue Two, take point, Blue Sixteen, Green Eighteen, take rear. If there's fighting, you take top cake. Make sure to stay out of trouble, especially you, Blue Sixteen." You order, feeling like a drowned bird.
"Aff." Green Eighteen says, falling in behind you.
"Aff." Blue Sixteen echoes, lining up behind Green Eighteen.
"Aff." Blue One chimes in, flying in before you. You set the coordinates on your Jump Computer, and signal Blue One to Jump when ready. "Ready to Jump in three." They drone. "One. Two. THREE!" You feel the pull of the ZIG's Jump Drive, and you nearly black out.
"Shhhhhit!" You hear Blue One curse. "I'll never get used to that..." You nod in agreement.