The Almighty Z ran all the way down the hall until she came to one of the elevators. She pushed the button and the doors opened almost immediately. She and Jake stepped inside and stood in an impatient silence as the box whizzed downwards. They stepped out into one of the many stone corridors of the lower levels of the castle.
“Isn’t this near where Creep is?” Jake asked, jogging to keep up with Z who was now walking very quickly down the hall.
“Yep,” the Queen answered, “that’s not where we’re going, I hate him.”
“Yeah,” Jake said. “You have him locked in a cell under your elaborate castle just for asking you out.”
“That’s one way to put it,” Z replied. “But yeah, pretty much. It doesn’t help that he’s an untrustworthy, lying, stalkerishly creepy piece of crap.”
Jake looked at her and laughed a little. “You’re something, Almighty Z,” he said.
“Watch yourself,” she said back teasingly. He put his hands up in mock surrender and was probably about to say something super witty and hilarious when she told him to stop and move over. He did so, and watched questioningly as she laid down on her stomach on the stone floor of the corridor and stared at the wall.
“What are you doing?” Jake asked.
Z didn’t respond, but instead, reached into her pocket and pulled out a paper clip. She held it up to Jake and ordered him to make it as straight as he could while she scrutinized the crack at the edge of the stone floor tiles where they met the grey wall. Within fifteen seconds she found what she was looking for, took the now very straight paper clip, and pushed a series of teeny tiny little buttons that were all but invisible in a very specific order. She then stood up, adjusted her large, fuzzy hat, which had what appeared to be wolf ears on the top, folded the paper clip over and stuck it back in her jacket pocket, and pushed a section of the wall in, revealing a narrow staircase down.
“What is happening?” Jake asked, thoroughly confused. Z started down the stairs, which ended in a concrete hallway with doors on one side and electronic wall lights on the other.
“This is the safest way to get to the launch bay. These halls and rooms are pretty much everything-safe and have a bunch of emergency stores. The buttons were me manually disabling security measures to keep people like Creep from sneaking in. If there was an emergency event they would unlock themselves,” she explained, leading him through the halls and up another set of stairs to a long, well-lit room bustling with ZORG drones. “This is the launch bay.”
On one side of the long room was a row of cubicle-like garages, each with a different-looking ship, all made to shift appearances, much like the planet itself. Each had a team of ZORG working to ready it for battle. One ship sat in the middle of the room, attended to by it’s own team of drones.
It was a beautiful spacecraft, all sleek and silver with an elegant, purple racing stripe. It’s front was glass, and outfitted with holographic displays that would show Jake, Zee, and ZOK every detail of the quickly approaching battle.
Without so much as glancing around the large, airy room, the Almighty Z briskly walked towards the silver ship and climbed in, ZOK hopping in after her. A few seconds later, she stuck her head out again and called to Jake impatiently. As soon as he was in and the door was sealed ZOK launched the ship and they were rocketing through space.
“So are we going to the Tealians’ planet?” Jake asked, fiddling with his seatbelt. The inside of the ship was nice, with plushy, purple seats along one long wall and glass and holographic displays along the other.
“No we’re not going to the planet, do you think I’m going to get myself blown up? No, we’re going to a neutral spot in space where we can monitor the attack without my location being known,” the Queen said like this was obvious.
“Right. So where are we going?”
“It rotates. ZOK, where is it today?”
“Our destination is the Betelgeuse system. Galactic coordinates-”
“-You can stop there,” Z cut him off. “How long will it be, generally?”
“About thirty four minutes,” ZOK replied.
“Thanks, ZOK. Take us away.” He inclined his head respectfully and signalled that they were ready for takeoff. Above them, the ceiling of the launch bay opened up and the ground of the planet parted to make way for the ship, which rocketed smoothly into space.
Settling back into their seats, Jake and Z watched all the ZORG drones excitedly preparing for the battle on the displays. The Queen smiled to herself.
The Great Alliance would lose this battle. The ZORG would prevail. What could possibly go wrong?