Chapter 9: Return to Planet X, 2280
The barren wasteland known as Planet X has been fought over for control for nearly a century. The military directorate on Earth has been suspecting that there has been a UFO base somewhere on the planet, and that it is close enough to fuel an invasion large enough to pacify Earth. Fortunately, the inhabitants, the Mox, have been fighting with one another over who has control of the UFO base. It seems that the Ozor Mox and the Meezor Mox were even less so cooperative than the Greeks of the Classical era.
However, the highest authorities on Earth have decided that having the UFO base on Planet X would still be an issue, despite its control being disputed between the alien species. Although Earth has enough of a force to level the UFO base to the ground, the humans had no idea of its whereabouts on the surface.
And ever since the kidnapping of the cyberbrain that took place on the Planet, hardly anyone would be willing to volunteer to search for the base. That's when Hank Nova stepped up for the task.
"I'll do it," he said, raising his hand amongst the crowd of Earth's finest pilots. He was then sent to Planet X in his personal spacecraft. Naturally, he wasn't escorted alone. A fleet was waiting outside the planet, waiting to attack the UFO base once Hank sent the coordinates of the base. Unfortunately, it was ambushed by a Meezor fleet, and was separated from Hank as he ventured deeper into the planet. He didn't manage to make it to the planet completely unharmed, as he was hit by stray gunfire.
Hank observed the scenery outside of his spacecraft. There were many cliffs that were rectangular in shape, and many plants, surprising for a badlands setting. The sun was shining in the cloudless sky, and Hank smiled to himself, almost forgetting about his objective and the damage of his ship.
Then the radio buzzed, and Hank answered the call.
"Captain, you have veered off target – what's your status? Over," the man on the other end of the radio asked.
"Base," Hank replied, "the squad's engaged with the enemy, but I've taken a direct hit."
"What's your damage sir?"
"The engine's shaky, but I'll be okay if the engine doesn't overheat," Hank reported before hearing a beeping noise coming from the controls immediately after. The engine status was flashing.
"Uh oh," Hank said to himself. One of the wings of his spacecraft went a blaze and a portion of it came off, flying far behind the speeding ship. Hank grabbed the controls on his spacecraft tightly.
"Mayday, mayday! Losing altitude!" Hank shouted as the ship plummeted closer towards the planet's surface.
"Commander, you just keep that bird in the air," the radio consoled Hank, "We're sending someone to pick you up. Over and out."
Hank's ship soared through the tight valleys and canyons of the surface as it was gradually losing control. The controls on his spacecraft began to malfunction, and Hank knew that he had to bail out.
Protecting himself against the sparks emitted from the controls, Hank tried to look forward. He was heading straight towards the cliffs!
"Ah hell," he grumbled. He struggled to get his hand on the eject button. The seat launched him out of the spacecraft, and the ship collided with the cliff with an enormous explosion. Hank was falling to the ground, when he managed to float just before he hit the surface. It seems that his extra accessories on his pilot's suit paid off after all. Hank was then carefully dropped to the surface, while being too tired to notice. A UFO was crashing to the surface as Hank was beginning to look up.
"Gotcha," Hank whispered, then fell asleep on the ground.
He was then woken up by a bit of shaking.
"Hank? Hank?" he heard a voice saying.
"Huh?" Hank said groggily, his eyelids only just opening. The first thing he saw was a gorgeous blond woman trying to get him back on his feet.
"Who are you?" Hank asked the woman.
"I'm Candi Skyler," the woman answered, "Command told me to pick you up after you made your crash landing. The UFO base can't be far from here, there's lots of UFO activity here!"
Moments later, more UFOs appeared in the sky above them. One of them shot lasers, destroying a landed spacecraft near the two.
"There goes our escape," Candi groaned.
"We need to find cover now!" Hank shouted as he ran to the nearest hole and dived in. Candi followed, carrying a large bag.
"What's with the bag?" Hank asked.
"Guns," Candi answered. She passed Hank a laser pistol, "One hundred bucks says we'll run into some unwanted company." She then grabbed another laser pistol for herself from the bag.
"Guess we're in one of the caverns," said Hank, "Let's make our way to the surface." He and Candi ventured out of the cave into a ravine.
"Guess we're not in one of the caverns," echoed Candi, "But I'm sure the passage still leads to the surface."
As soon as she said that, a minion of the blue Ozor Mox army teleported right next to them. He wasted no time in getting out his pistol. Hank immediately shot him with his own.
"Yes, I already know," said Hank without a pause in between, "I'll pay you when we make it out of here."
Hank and Candi advanced through the chasm, fighting more Ozor resistance along the way, both on their level and on the narrow ledges above. Eventually, they reached a hole.
Candi jumped down, landing perfectly on her feet. Hank went down next, landing flat on his front, forgetting to activate his gravity stabilizer that had saved him from a fatal crash-related accident before. Fortunately, he managed to recover quickly.
Of course, the falling was the least of the pair's concerns. An armada of spacecraft was gathering outside the beach next to the caves. Hank noticed a few turrets close by, likely used in previous conflicts.
Candi observed the same environment, and she and Hank did not bother to talk to one another, instead saving their energy to make a dash for the guns. They both knew an attack on the beach was imminent!
Just as Hank and Candi laid their hands on the turrets, hostile forces teleported onto the shores of the beach. Unlike the blue Ozor Mox, the red Meezor Mox were much more aggressive, and did not hesitate to attack head-on towards Hank and Candi.
Since aggression had to be fought with aggression, Hank and Candi let loose the bullets inside the turrets. At times, they were forced to fire the few rockets already loaded inside the guns.
Minutes later, after brutally gunning down the Meezor battalion, the two space troopers knew they had to advance. In the process, Hank located a piece of a weapon. Their only way out was blocked by a laser-fence.
Had it not been for Candi's hacking talents, the pair would have been stuck at this beach forever. They went through the now-deactivated fence leading towards more chasms.
An Ozor was heading out of the valleys, too shocked and worried to notice the two space cadets. They took no notice of him, instead taking the contents of a nearby crate (containing a Plasma SMG and a few Plasma Grenades).
When the two advanced through the trough, they found out what the Ozor was fleeing from; a pair of hives was suspended over the valley, and the bees native to the planet were already circling the region.
"Bees. Why did it have to be bees?" muttered Hank.
"There must be a way to get past them," pondered Candi. She began to observe the caverns carefully. She noticed a red "X" painted on the cavern wall next to one of the hives.
Candi brought out the SMG and fired a Grenade right at the X (being a Plasma Grenade, it stuck right on the surface upon contact). The Grenade exploded, bringing down the hive and killing the bees in the process.
"No way," said Hank in disbelief. They found another red X near the other hive, and treated the situation similarly.
"Someone must have visited this place and managed to mark the hives' vital point," said Candi. She knew a Hive had to be supported by something in the environment. Bringing it down would neutralize the Hive for good.
"No time for entomology," interrupted Hank, "We're here to bring down a UFO facility, not collect specimens for your bug collection." Candi gave him a glare, and they advanced through the caves.
Nearing the end of the valley, the two found another crate. This one contained an assortment of weapon parts and tools, but no manual nor blueprints. Hank found it fortunate that he took mechanics and weapon handling; he knew the designs of the parts. Upon finishing the assembly, he was now carrying a dangerous weapon; a MJR Heatseeking Rocket Launcher. It was capable of firing a salvo of three missiles at a time!
"I doubt we'll find much ammunition for this on this planet," Hank said, "Whoever carried this was really playing with fire."
"The UFO! It's up ahead!" shouted Candi. True to her word, the crashed UFO was imbedded in the sand of the beach ahead. It was slanted slightly, and the top of the spacecraft was reachable from the hill it was dug in.
More UFOs began to close in on the site, and began dropping off Meezor troops. The invaders, surprisingly, did not bother to attack Hank and Candi, who were observing the ongoing events from above the UFO, but instead focused their fire underneath the UFO. A few lasers sparked from the UFO itself against the Meezor. Apparently, the guns defending the UFO were still intact.
"Those guns aren't going to last long against those invaders," said Hank hastily. He fired his pistol at the Meezor battalion. Soon, the two space cadets were fighting against an angry army of aliens on the beach. Before long, the inhabitants of the crashed UFO were coming out to defend themselves.
In the midst of the battle, Hank and Candi sneaked into the UFO. They immediately headed to the UFO controls located at the front of the vessel.
Candi observed the surveillance cameras the UFO was currently monitoring. The cameras were all located at the UFO base she and Hank were looking for. One of the cameras displayed the outskirts of the base, where the Ozor inhabitants were still patrolling the area, unaware of the invasion. The second was inside the UFO hangars, and the third was located in the launch bay, where a UFO was being prepped for flight.
The UFO appeared to be sunk deep in the surface; a hole was located inside the UFO, leading to some underground caves. Hank and Candi both had a gut feeling that it would lead to the UFO base.