By the time Z’s spaceship arrived at it’s destination the tension and excitement inside was nearly tangible.
“We’d better obliterate them,” the Almighty Z muttered, closely examining the screens for any flaws.
“You know, I’ve never actually met any part of the Great Alliance before,” Jake said thoughtfully.
“Oh yeah, this is your first big attack with me, isn’t it?” The Almighty Z smiled at him. “Welcome.”
“Thanks,” he said. “It’s starting.”
Z snapped her attention back to the screen. ZOK fiddled with some buttons on the dashboard of the ship. Jake pulled out a keyboard and situated his hands so he could type in any direct commands straight into the ZORG’s telepathy circuits or change anything that may be needed.
On the screens, multiple ships packed with drones released their charges silently onto the planet’s surface, surprisingly without detection. The drones marched quietly until they were a sea surrounding the highest, most colorful hill on all of Planet Teal. The one with the Great Teal’s haphazard, asymmetrical tower situated upon it’s crest.
Together, the ZORG had a moment of silence, then a telepathic, “And a one, and a two, and a one, two, three, four!”
Together, their speakers all began a fast guitar downstrum pattern “dunnadunna dunnadunna dunnadunna dunnadunna...”
The sound swelled, then drums kicked in, “BAM. BAM-BAM-BAM. BAM-BAM-BAM. BAM-BAM-BAMMMMM.”
Together, the drones began to climb the hill, uniformly swarming around the tower like ants. The music got more complex as they rose higher and higher, closer and closer...then, they stopped, they engaged their bubble shields...
...and they broke into dance as the lyrics started.
“‘Risin' up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance
Now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive’”
The ZORG drones stormed the silent tower. Flashes of light from exchange of fire made the windows flicker, but the feeds from the cameras in the drones themselves revealed that the Tealians’ weapons were doing less damage than a feather duster would.
Jake nudged the Almighty Z. “It’s the battle music,” he said, and she grinned, leaning forward to watch the screens more closely.
The ZORG drones went up floor by floor, working their way up to where the Great Teal and Greta the Great would be: at the very top. As they slaughtered the hedgehog like balls of prickly, neon fluff, they continued to sing.
“‘It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge
Of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the
Eye of the tiger’”
The Almighty Z could not stop smiling. “ZOK!” she yelled happily, “damage report!”
“Thirty percent damage to the tower, Z!” ZOK chirped back, still fiddling with buttons and knobs on the dash of the ship.
“Repeat,” she ordered ZOK, suddenly very serious.
“30 percent damage to the tower, Z!”
Jake looked at her in confusion. She ignored him.
“ZOK, what did you just call-” She stopped mid-sentence as every single ZORG robot on the screen froze in its tracks. The music stopped. Everything on the surface was silent. “What’s happening?” she asked, deathly quiet. ZOK continued to twist knobs and push buttons furiously, which made continuous clicking noises. Jake frantically pulled up the telepathic command logs.
“Someone told them to stop,” he said. On the screen, all the drones together disengaged their shields.
“NO!” The Queen screamed. “It must be a mistake. Tell them to go! Tell them to put up their shields and fight!”
“My command was rejected!” He said, dark eyebrows furrowed in obvious frustration.
“Who told them to stop?” Z leaned over his shoulder, stomach clenched in rage.
Jake typed for a second. “It...it looks like it was...us...” The ship was silent. They shared a solemn look, then together looked to the cockpit. There stood ZOK, facing them, electronic eyes dead-looking without their usual liveliness.
On his spherical belly was a countdown from sixty.
“Oh no,” Z whispered.
“That’s not-” Jake started.
“-Yes.” Z answered. “It is.”
They shared another look before they both started talking at the same time.
“Okay we need to-”
“Why would you even have that?!”
“-quick I’ll try to disable it.”
The queen rushed over to ZOK and opened a small panel on the side of his body and entered a long string of letters into the exposed keypad.
Nothing changed. 40.
“Crap, he’s been locked, there’s nothing we can do.”
Z turned to ZOK. “Who did this?” she demanded.
“ZOK! Answer me!” Behind her, Jake started typing on the computer as fast as he could. Beads of sweat formed on the Almighty Z’s neck.
Not even a blink. 30.
She tried another combination of numbers to try to shut him off.
The countdown was not daunted. 25.
“Z!” Jake yelled at her, “DOES THIS THING SHAPE SHIFT?”
“YES, WHY?” She yelled back at him, not taking her eyes off ZOK’s dead ones for a moment. A lump threatened to block off her throat.
“GET BACK!” Jake yelled. 15.
ZOK’s eyes lit up. “Almighty Z,” he croaked.
“JAKE, WAIT” she yelled. “What?” she asked. “What, ZOK?”
Z’s breath caught in a strangled gasp. 10.
“Z!” Jake yelled.
She scrambled backwards, tripping over herself. 5.
The ship shook, the glass wall behind ZOK bent around him. 4.
It enclosed him. 3.
He floated away. 2.
Zee watched out the window, holding her breath and her tears. 1.
The bubble exploded into a huge burst of flame. 0.
Orange and red washed over the newly resealed glass wall of the ship, and the heat shockwave fluttered the Queen’s hair back. Her hat had left her head at some point in the chaos.
She fell back into a chair, completely and utterly speechless and confused. Jake stood, shocked and breathless. He set the ship on a course back to the planet and sat down next to Z. He put his arm around her, silent support as they watched her precious drones, all ordered to be frozen until they could get home to override the command, be destroyed or dismantled and hauled away by the gleeful Tealian soldiers.
Z simply leaned her head on Jake’s shoulder and watched the horrors in silence.