The Almighty Z stormed out of her spaceship, lightning in her eyes and thunder in her footsteps.
“Hey!” Jake called, jumping out of the ship behind her. “Wait up!”
Without a word, she flung open the metal double doors of the bright, airy launch bay and left. Jake caught the door, closing behind her, and followed.
“Where are you going?” He asked, sounding worried. She ignored him and continued walking at a fast pace.
A single drone passed them in the hallway, going in the opposite direction. When it saw the Queen, it stopped and bowed. “Dark. Rain. Thunder. Lightning. Now,” she told it. It nodded and sent the command, but Z was already on the move again. She led Jake down deeper into the castle than he’d ever been before. Staircase after shortcut after passcode after fingerprint sensor to the point where Jake was amazed that Z wasn’t completely lost.
Eventually, they got to a wall and Z stopped. Jake stood behind her. The wall was a dark, cold grey, and was completely seamless and smooth, and appeared to be made of rock. It appeared to stretch the entire length of a corridor that looked like it went on forever in both directions.
The Almighty Z turned around and said, “You in the most secret, most guarded, most powerful, most dangerous, and most mysterious part of this castle. Nobody is can know what is down here. Ever. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Jake replied, serious.
“Now, for all I know, you gave that command for ZOK to self-destruct and take me with him in some sort of suicide-assassination attempt,” the Queen said, narrowing her eyes at him.
Jake was taken aback. “I saved your life,” he said slowly.
“Maybe you were trying to get me to trust you,” she said.
“Why would I do something to get you to trust me when you already trusted me in the first place?” He pointed out. “Not to mention, I don’t know anyone in this Great Alliance, I was brought here in the first place by your friend Agent Z, who you trust, and robots are cooler than hedgehog things.”
The Almighty Z smiled. “Congratulations, you passed. Had to know I could trust you. Now, in order to release the captured drones from the order that’s keeping them deactivated, we have to basically turn the main computer off and back on again. That should reset all commands currently in effect.”
Jake didn’t pay attention to any of this. “I can’t believe you thought I’d be a traitor,” he said, crossing his arms.
Z sighed. “Look, I’m sorry, okay? But I had to make sure. The main computer is unhackable, so it had to come from either one of our computers or one of our drones. You were in charge of the computer in our ship. I didn’t really think it was you, but I had to check.”
Jake looked at her for a second before relenting. “It’s okay,” he said.
“Good,” the Queen replied briskly, turning back to the grey expanse of wall. “Follow me.” She turned left, and walked along the wall with her right hand skimming it lightly like she was feeling for something. Eventually she stopped abruptly.
“Here we are,” she muttered, studying the wall before pressing her hand against the stone. There was a thunk, then, with a deep, reverberating growl, a tall section of the stone began to slide downwards into the floor.
“How do you do that?” Jake asked. There wasn’t any panel or button or something she seemed to have pushed, she just placed her hand on the wall.
Z looked over her shoulder at him. “If I told you I’d have to kill you,” she said, smiling. “Come on.”
She led him into a large, square room with walls, ceiling, and floor all luminescent white tile, explaining that it was basically an elevator. Behind them, the door closed and sealed, trapping them in the cube.
As soon as it clunked to signify that it was truly closed and sealed, a strange sensation filled the room. It was as if they were trapped in a whirlpool, but nothing seemed to be moving.
Seeing Jake’s confused expression, the Almighty Z explained, “Don’t worry, they’re scanning us to decide where to take us. It’ll be fine with me here.”
“What would happen if you weren’t here?” Jake asked cautiously.
“If you had my permission to be here, nothing. If you didn’t, you’d have the option of staying in this room and dying of thirst, or jumping into a small inferno and dying that way,” she explained, matter-of-fact. Jake looked horrified. “Hey, I told you it was guarded and dangerous,” she pointed out.
“Fair point,” Jake said. “I didn’t know you owned an inferno, though.”
The Queen grinned. “I know, it’s kind of awesome,” she said. “I think we’re almost there.”
“Really?” Jake asked. He hadn’t noticed he whirlwind feeling dying away and the elevator smoothly slipping downwards.
“Yeah, any second now.” Just as she finished speaking, a door slid open on each side of the cube, exposing four identical, white hallways lined with identical, white doors. “We want the end of...” Zee spun around, inspecting each hall before choosing one and pointing. “...that one. Follow me, and don’t touch anything.”
With that, she started walking. Jake followed until they reached a set of black double doors or ornately carved wood. She flung them open dramatically and said, “Jake, meet the heart of the ZORG.”