Canto 154 – Mingo Mix-It-Ups
The fight had been almost boring as the waves of rot warriors shambled forward, trying to aim their various spears, guns, and lasers, and then being disassembled by the student Psions of Ged Aero’s Dojo. Shu Kwai had been the most destructive, able to rip out electronic controls with a mere thought. Phoenix had also laid waste, melting the circuitry out of the Mechanoid-zombie army of Mong the Unmerciful. The minions of Mong had melted like margarine in a microwave. Ged had found himself in his armored cat form with nothing to actually do.
The invaders soon found themselves virtually in control of the Ruined Palace of David King. Jackie teleported back to the Celestial Dragon and picked up Gyro. The little Neulon whiz kid hooked up some software in an injector device he had pulled together by rearranging molecules with his mind. He then linked it to an uncrushed rot-warrior skull and pulled out a map of the complex through the skull’s control link to the building’s computer system.
“What’d you find there, Smurf?” Phoenix asked almost immediately.
“I am finding Emperor Mong in his suite surrounded by rot-warrior generals trying to destroy two guys called Triumvirs with an even bigger horde of rot warriors than we just polished off,” said Gyro, grinning at his own manipulative genius at controlling computers without relying on Junior’s special Psion power.
“What?” said Phoenix, frowning.
“He’s telling you he found the Emperor in his private living quarters focusing his attacks on somebody besides us,” said Shu Kwai with an icy superiority.
Phoenix frowned at the nearly naked boy in his white loincloth. Ged could feel tension building again between the two.
“Okay,” said Phoenix, “so what do we do now, Ged Sensei?”
“We go pay Mong a little visit,” Ged answered, now back in human form and dressed in the jumpsuit and fedora hat he had brought with him.
“Has he detected us?” Rocket asked Gyro.
“I don’t know for sure, but maybe not. He is in… I don’t know how to say it in Galactic English. The kapooiac.”
“I have a feeling that means the fresher… or restroom… probably,” suggested Phoenix.
“Let’s go quickly,” ordered Shu Kwai, “so we can maintain as much surprise as possible.”
Gyro led the way through bone-littered corridors. The whole place had the feel of an old black-and-white monster movie. This wasn’t surprising, since the Galtorrians had based much of their culture on the TV programs they intercepted from ancient Earth in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, Galactic English had become the norm in the Orion Spur due to the fact that the Galtorrians worshipped the TV comedy I Love Lucy. Through artificial cobwebs and gray stonework, they wound their way down into the bowels of the palace. Finally, Gyro stopped them before a blank stone wall.
“There is a secret door here,” he said with a sweet blue smile.
“Good,” said Phoenix. “I’ll open it!”
A wall of flame swelled outward from Phoenix’s fingertips. The wall of artificial stone and plasticrete melted away before them, revealing Mong on his personal throne. It was not his throne of office, either, but rather the natural place one goes when he can no longer keep his bowels from emptying from fear.
“Eeuw! Gross!” cried Jackie, staring at the emperor with his pants down.
Mong was cringing while staring out from under his golden skullcap with the carved dragon as its crest. His Fu Manchu moustache was wet with tears of fear.
“Oh, great Ged Aero! You are the one my agents have been telling me about, aren’t you?” Mong’s voice was squeaky and timid, surprising from so sinister a caped figure, even with his pants down on his throne and toilet paper in hand. Shu Kwai, Rocket, Phoenix, and Gyro all laughed about this man they had so recently dreaded.
“Mong, I have come for her,” said Ged. “I want Tara Salongi back.”
“What? I don’t have your young lady! But you have to defend me! Protect me from those clowns and I will gladly give her back to you!”
The pitiful evil emperor was pleading in such a sniveling, groveling manner that Ged couldn’t bear it.
“Do you have her? Or don’t you? All I require from you,” said Ged, “is to lead me to Tara and then flee this planet for your pitiful life. If I don’t get her back, I will hunt you down and tear you to pieces.”
There was a large, startling crash as someone tore the fresher door on the opposite side out of the wall.
Ged’s eyes flashed with anger, an emotion that none of the students present had ever actually seen in him before. It chilled them all to the bone.
An armored clown stepped through the hole. He was obviously a cyborg, but far more sophisticated than any rot warrior they had yet encountered.
“So, Mong is not out of champions yet!” declared the Harlequin menacingly.