ROM ORIGINS, issue 10. Betrayal, Aftermath.
- ROM ORIGINS, issue 10.
In the last issue, all Galador memorialized their dead and celebrated the
second chance at life that their victory over the Dire Wraiths entailed. But the
hope that ROM and the Spaceknights could return to their former lives were
shattered when the Prime Director declared that the war was not yet over! ROM was
asked by the Prime Director to continue in a war that may never end! ROM,
driven by a sense of duty, agreed, not wanting to doom other worlds to the same
fate that Galador faced; and so we continue our story...
The Prime Director sat alone in his private quarters, brooding over the last
24 hours. He had presided over the last rites of Galador's war dead and
reunited the living with their loved ones. He thought, "What have I done!" He felt
trapped in a paradox. "Yet what choice did I have?" He is overwhelmed by guilt,
"I asked them to become machines of war that they may save our world from the
evil of the Dire Wraiths. I promised them that they could reclaim their
humanity once the war was won! But now I have betrayed them in asking that they
continue fighting in a war that may never end!" (1) He berates himself for his
limited scope, "How could I have not known that the Dire Wraiths were not only a
threat to Galador but to the entire universe as well? How could I be so short
sighted, thinking that we could destroy Wraithkind's military might in one
fell swoop?" Tears came to his eyes as he whispered, "Forgive me."
Elsewhere in the city of Galadoria:
ROM's parents, Bra-amn and Sa-aan sat, holding each other, crying. Sa-aan
said, "Bra-amn, why did this have to happen; why?"
He looked around the dimly lit room helplessly, the feeling of utter
loneliness and loss overwhelming him. "I don't know, Sa-aan...."
She stood up suddenly and blurted, "Maybe the Gods are punishing us! Maybe we
have been too complacent in our prosperity! Maybe... "
Bra-amn grabbed his wife, holding her tight, "Sa-aan, PLEASE!"
She exploded on him, "NO!! He PROMISED!! He promised that ROM could return to
us once the war was OVER! And now-and now he says that it ISN'T over! Now our
son has to remain a cyborg soldier, fighting in a war that may never end! His
humanity forever denied him!"
Bra-amn's heart broke, he held his wife as she cried bitterly against his
chest. She wailed into his tunic, "It's not fair, just not fair!"
He was near tears himself as he said soothingly to her, "I know, Sa-aan. I
know." But his own doubts began to cloud his emotions as he thought, "He should
have known sooner about the Dire Wraiths. Who knows when he will be able to
return? Our son may be lost to us now!" He didn't voice his true feelings on the
matter, instead he put all his energy into comforting his wife.
On the planet Agricon:
The day before, she had persuaded ROM to continue the fight against the Dire
Wraiths, and after saying good-bye to her beloved, she went home to her
parents, not wanting to prolong their agony any longer then needed. (1)
She sits in the home of her parents in the small city of Salleena. Sa-eem,
her father, is a middle aged, dark skinned man with medium length black hair,
joined with a neatly trimmed beard. Her mother, Bre-eam, had long white hair
down to the middle of her back. She was a tall woman of medium build with dark
green eyes. She said as she looked into her grieving daughter's eyes, "Oh
Ray-na, I'm so very sorry that ROM was lost to you again." Her father added, "I saw
it all on the tele-viewer, it was a noble sacrifice you made. I'm sure the
Gods will reward you for your noble deed." Ray-na stared at her father as tears
poured from her eyes, "Ohh father!" She wailed as she collapsed in his arms,
weeping bitterly as her mother tried to soothe her by rubbing her back. Ray-na
thought about how unfair it was that she and ROM had to give up their love so
that others had the chance to love.
Back on Galador:
ROM and the Spaceknights are being briefed on the next Wraith insurgence.
Reports have come in that they have attacked one of the outer planets of the
Galadorain star system. The Prime Director shows them evidence of the Wraith
attack as it played on his private viewer. They watched as the Prime Director of
the planer Breem pleaded for help as his city burned all around him.
The Prime Director of Galador said to his knights, "My brave knights, We must
lend Breem aid and rid their planet of the evil that once plagued us!" He
opened a channel to the Prime Director of Breem, and he appeared onscreen, "My
Knights are on their way, Prime director, Bramm."
The Prime Director pleaded, "Please hurry.....!" And abruptly, the screen
went black. One of the Spaceknights gasped as ROM said, "There is no time to
waste!" and they made their way to the secret launch area where they were warped
to the coordinates of Breem, via a Wormhole.
The Spaceknights appeared above Breem amidst a swarm of small Wraith fighters
that assaulted the planet and were decimating what was left of Breem's
defense fleet. ROM saw this decimation and called out to his knights, "To arms,
Spaceknights!" And with that, they fully engaged the enemy. ROM took the lead in
taking out the lead vessel. When he did that, the other ships tried to flee!
"ROM shouted through his com-link, "There is NO escape, Wraith scum!" He flew
towards them at full rocket thrust, his neutralizer blazing crimson fire as the
other Spaceknights followed suit. Not one Wraith ship escaped!
ROM and the Spaceknights, then, went down to the planet's surface to the
capital city of Bree-Mar. ROM and his squadron walked slowly though the burning
rubble of what once was a proud city, rich in the art of light music. Rom was
privileged once to hear such music and now that art form was lost forever. His
heart ached at the loss of so much life and culture. He was beginning to see
the Dire Wraiths as a cancer on the universe that needs to be cut out.
He and his squad make their way to the Hall of Science. They enter its dark
corridors, now littered with rubble. They investigate many rooms until...
"Do you hear that?" Angel said.
"Hear what?" Pylor replied. All stopped to listen to the faint sounds coming
from farther down the right corridor. They approached slowly and opened the
door... One Spaceknight seemed to gag at the sight, turning away. ROM stood
transfixed by the utter magnitude of the horror that was unfolding before him!
Several people were hanging from scaffolds, stripped naked. He saw that tiny
black devices were attached to their heads. Their bodies were covered in
burns, bleeding wheals and many bruises. Each persons face was frozen in a
grotesque mask of terror and agony. One man's right hand was severed at the wrist. ROM
didn't want to think about what must have been done to these poor people by
the Dire Wraiths.
Gelid felt sick, he thought of the Prime Director. (2) He watched as ROM
approached the man with the severed hand, the man looked down at ROM from the
scaffold. ROM touched the man's face and asked, "What happened here?"
The man struggled to speak, "Wraiths! The came out of nowhere, we were
The man coughed as blood dribbled down his chin, ROM thought of the dead
technician in the cyber-lab back on Galador. (3) He said softly to the tortured
man, "Shhh I will free you," and he carefully removed the bonds that held him.
ROM placed the badly injured man on a table and Astra tended to him as best she
could, stabilizing him.
The man told ROM that he was the Prime Director of Breem and that the Wraiths
invaded the scared Hall in force. He said that he and his aids were tortured
for information about the planet's defenses, and when they finally got it,
they continued to torture his aids until they died in screaming agony as the
Wraiths laughed in sadistic glee. ROM looked at the people again, their dead faces
twisted in agony. He vowed again to see that every last Wraith is hunted down
and cast into Limbo. He wondered, "To what purpose did it serve for such
horror to exist?"
ROM ordered Scanner to contact Galador to send hospital ships to collect the
survivors. He said to the wounded man, "Rest now, I have sent for aid. The
hospital ships will be here shortly. You will be taken to Galador for treatment
along with any other survivors."
ROM said to Angel, "You stay with him until the hospital ships arrive, while
we look for more survivors."
The Spaceknights turned to leave, except angel, when suddenly, the Prime
Director grabbed ROM's arm. "N..NO! They are still here!"
"You mean the Wraiths?"
"Yes, they knew you were coming, they set a trap fo... !"
He barely got the words out before a tiny beam of light pierced his heart,
now he lay dead, a look of frozen surprise on his face. ROM and the others were
now engaged in a full on fire-fight with the enemy as Wraith lasers and
neutralizers blazed back and forth. ROM knew that they were pinned down in that
small space! ROM shouted, "Rakk!" But he was already on it, he aimed his
gauntleted hands at the Wraith army and unleashed, full power, the might of his
microwave energy on them, as Storm, a snow white Spaceknight, who projected force
effects from his armor, put up a force shield that deflected enemy fire.
With this strategy, the enemy was driven out into the corridors and out side,
where ROM and his knights made short work of the Wraiths.
ROM said as Wraith bodies crumbled to dust all around them, "Keep your guard
up, there may be more Wraith ambushes!" He ordered that his men spread out and
look for more survivors, He thought. "Odd, there are no bodies or evidence
that the people actually engaged the enemy."
After searching through the rubble for some time...
They all ran to Astra, a red and yellow Spaceknight with the ability to
manipulate emotions and to heal. She stood, fixed to the spot, staring at a macabre
pile of bodies and nearby, stood a strange structure. Upon closer inspection,
ROM realized why there was no bodies or real evidence of a fight before.
"Gods Of Galador!" He exclaimed in horror.
To be continued...
What new horrors awaits the Spaceknights? Will they find more survivors? Be
here next month as ROM experiences a terrible loss.
(1) Please see ROM SPACEKNIGHT, issue, 13, second story, RMU
(2) Please see ROM ORIGINS, issue, 4
(3) Please see ROM ORIGINS, issue, 3
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