Chapter I: First Contact
Maxzor the Dreaded let out a long roar of frustrated rage. All around him, his fortress was falling to ruin. Explosions rocked the facility throughout, and countless fires had broken out, some small, others threatening to consume the facility before the final explosion did. All around him lay the remains of his forces; super soldiers genetically engineered to be unbeatable, lay unmoving on the ground, while advanced kill bots were scattered about in pieces, only occasionally sparking. Even his trump card, a massive beast dubbed the Tyrant Lizard, was strewn about the floor, slain at the entrance way to Maxzor’s main chamber.
This is all their fault, he thought.
Once more, they had beaten him. Despite his plans, his weapons and forces, still The Seven had beaten him. Beaten him, and left him to his fate amongst his self-destructing base.
The counter on the exceptionally large screen to Maxzor’s right entered the final stretch of the countdown.
My only regret is that I never pulled Omegazon’s heart from his chest, he thought, and that I never published that cookbook.
Before Maxzor could draw one last breath for a final scream, everything around him turned to white, and he knew no more.
An instant later, Maxzor was in a dark void, still on his knees, still feeling very much the same as he had the moment before. Maxzor looked around, but aside from the shaft of light that he was currently occupying, the area around him was too dark to make out anything.
Is this the afterlife? Overall it doesn’t seem too bad. A bit cramped and dark, but overall I was expecting much worse. Unless this is just what comes before all that…
The supervillain’s train of thought was halted by a loud, metallic sound coming from behind him. He spun around, perhaps too quickly, considering his injuries, and saw a thin, blue line appear a short distance away. It slowly, but continually, grew wider, letting more and more light illuminate his surroundings. He saw seats and equipment, indicating he was in some kind of facility or vessel, but his investigations ground to a halt as the light source grew even more.
He was looking at his home planet. He was orbiting above it, and its eastern hemisphere was laid out below him. Thousands and thousands of miles below was the last remnants of the eastern continent’s coastline, with the only other landmass being the Massacre Islands, a collection of small landmasses that all featured blood-red sand and rock formations. Maxzor’s base had been on one of the smaller islands, as had Maxzor himself just a few moments ago. Everything else beneath him was the blue of the massive ocean below him.
A second machine noise caused Maxzor to painfully turn around once again. This time, the noise was coming from a large platform not too far from him. Maxzor held his breath, wondering what new surprise would be revealed before him.
The seconds ticked by, the sound getting gradually louder as whatever Maxzor was waiting for approached. Finally, an opening appeared in the floor, and as the mysterious new arrival slowly revealed himself, Maxzor made a realization.
It wasn’t a platform, it was a dais.
The massive throne that rose form the floor was only matched in size by the being who occupied it. He was easily twice Maxzor’s size, and Maxzor was a solid two meters tall. His skin was bone white, his head devoid of hair, but the thick eyebrows and goatee were coal black. His eyes also stood out, being a bright indigo. From just below the lump in his throat, the gargantuan being was covered all the way to his toes by a skin tight, silvery metal that was comprised entirely of flexible bands.
He was sitting straight on his throne, his fingers steepled before him, while his remained locked on Maxzor. Maxzor waited for the giant to speak. And kept waiting, and waiting and waiting. Maxzor was familiar with power plays, what with his long career of supervillain intimidation, so he recognized the one currently being employed.
He thinks he can psyche me out; well he’s got another thing coming. No one intimidates Maxzor the Dreaded!
Maxzor’s wait was a short one. However, the voice that greeted him did not come from the giant before him.
“Forgive us for the wait,” Came a male, but artificial sounding voice.
The voice’s owner did not remain hidden for long. Floating up from behind the giant’s left shoulder, a small, ovoid shape with a bright, glowing arrowhead shaped screen, appeared and quickly hovered over to Maxzor.
The little machine was twice the size of Maxzor’s head, and was colored a dull, metallic gray. A small, fin ran the length of the bot, from its “forehead”, to tail. Two smaller fins were placed on its sides, giving the whole thing an almost fish-like look.
The little bot hovered closer and closer until it was uncomfortably close to Maxzor’s face. Before the supervillain could do more than slightly move his head, the strange machine slowly retreated to a more acceptable distance, unknown letters dancing across its screen.
“I am Administrator Delta, major-domo, personal assistant, and loyal confidant of his majesty, Emperor Xandarius the Conqueror, the Uniter, the Unparalleled and the Great, Emperor of the Xenlong Empire.”
Well, someone likes his titles. Though, I can’t say I blame him; that is quite an impressive string of epitaphs. Maybe I’ve been thinking too small, “Maxzor the Dreaded” could really use with a few addendums.
Before Maxzor could draw a breath to question the machine, his host’s mouthpiece continued.
“Your world has been selected to join the ever expanding collection of planets joined together by the strength and wisdom Emperor Xandarius. This makes you the one-hundred- and-thirty-seventh planet to join the Empire. Congratulations!”
This last bit of information hit Maxzor’s stomach like a rock.
So, there go every last one of my plans to take over the world. Not that I was getting much done on that front before King Shinybritches showed up.
“As an Imperial Protectorate, your world is entitled to the advanced technology the Empire has to offer, as well access to dozens of alien cultures. You are also now under the protection of the Imperial Military, whose various beings fight to defend and expand our realm across Imperial Space. These gifts do not come without a price, however, as all Imperial worlds are expected to pay tax and tribute to the Empire in the form of goods, materials and soldiers.”
So his majesty is looking for soldiers, huh? Maybe I’ll get lucky and Omegazon and his idiotic friends will sign up for a few tours…and hopefully fall in a black hole.
“Additionally, your world shall be requiring a royally appointed governor, who shall serve in the Emperor’s place as acting-ruler.”
Hello, what’s this? Is this guy giving away the job? Just like that?
“This governor is responsible for ensuring the well being of his world, enforcing the Emperor’s will, and ensuring that all Imperial laws are followed.”
Wait…is that why I’m here? Did this behemoth of a conqueror rescue me from my exploding fortress so he could make me the appointed ruler?
“However, before we can come to that, we must first deal with the matter of your immediate and complete surrender to the Xenlong Empire…”
Well, on behalf of my new planet, I humbly surrender to his Majestically Polished… for now.
“…which brings us to the Challenge.”
“The Emperor is aware that, when given the choice between surrender to an outside force, or fight to the utter end, many, many, many, worlds choose the latter. As such, in order to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, the Emperor instituted the Challenge. Simply put, your world may select one Champion from amongst your population to face the Emperor in one-on-one combat. If your Champion bests the Emperor, your world shall be left in peace. If the Emperor defeats your Champion, however, then your world shall surrender and to the Empire immediately.”
Well, if you’d give me a nanoclick to interject I could surrender and we can avoid this whole “Champion” nonsense.
“It is customary to give the planet a bit of time to decide their course of action, so we shall be terminating transmission shortly. However, before that, the Emperor customarily likes to present new member worlds with a gift, and his gift to your world is the execution of its greatest living criminal, Maxzor the Dreaded!”
Lights and sound suddenly erupted behind Maxzor and he wheeled around as fast as his bruised body would allow him.
The viewscreen that had previously displayed a glorious orbital view of Maxzor’s world was now obscured by archive footage of various crimes the supervillain had committed. He saw footage of his armies marching across the Eastern Desert, destroying everything that opposed their master. He saw himself battling The Seven with the Staff of Darkness, one of the few things capable of matching the heroes combined power. He also saw footage of the destruction of the Fortitude, the official transport craft of the Council of Ministers, and one of his ploys to seize power that actually worked, albeit temporarily. Despite the circumstances, Maxzor felt the smallest hint of pride as he saw the highlights of his handiwork.
Shining purple light gleamed brightly behind Maxzor, but he was unable to bring himself to turn around. The light came closer and closer, but Maxzor could neither hear nor feel any footfalls. Eventually, the light held steady, but began to glow even more intensely, its shine building to become brighter and more powerful.
A flash of brilliant purple light erupted from the glowing hand of Emperor Xandarius as he floated a few feet off the floor, and in an indigo flash, Maxzor the Dreaded was reduced to burnt ash.
Xandarius looked directly into one of the many cameras capturing the events on the bridge and said, in a deep voice befitting a being of his stature:
“You have one planetary rotation to decide.”