CHAPTER FOURTY: M
Zarbon looked very carefully at all of the engine readouts on his New and Improved Spaceship. The energy cells were completely drained. It would take at least seven hours for them to fully recharge. In a day and age when power cells usually took five minutes or less, this was bad news. Either the magnetic storm had really hit the ship hard, or Zarbon had better slow down his training for a while. Zarbon looked out at the terrain of the small planet that he had somehow managed to safely land on without any power left in the ship. He chalked that one up to pure luck.
Zangya glanced over at him. "How long until they recharge?" she asked semi-quietly.
"Seven hours. A long time for a ship, but not too long for us to wait it out or anything. Want to take a walk?"
Zangya smiled at him. A rare sight, that was.
The planet was possibly one of the most boring places to land. Boring was the only word that could accurately describe the place. The sky was a pale green, as was the ground, which was a hard, sandy substance. There were mountains in the distance, but they looked more like giant sandpiles.
The gravity was roughly twice that of Planet Vegeta, but that really meant nothing.
Mind you, if you were from Earth, and you weren't used to ten times your own gravity...
Finally, there appeared to be some sort of settlement ahead.
It consisted of small, primitive-looking huts. A few aliens were poking around in and out of them, going about their alien-business.
Physically, they looked very much like Apple, the Brackian. They were average man-size, with purple skin, and a white natural plating. Their heads extended far back, and they had a couple of spikes on their backs. Their eyes were yellow, and the little aliens had no noses whatsoever. They looked pitiful. Their planet probably wouldn't even fetch a mediocre price on the market, except as an industrial-sized sandbox or a prison compound.
As Zarbon silently calculated how much of a waste it would be to take control of this planet, he noticed something about the aliens that seemed very out of place.
Each of the little purple creatures had writing on its forehead. It might have been a tattoo, but then again, it might not have.
Each one had an M on its forehead.
The mark made Zarbon shudder for a reason that he did not quite understand, nor did he want to.
/It's probably just a religious symbol of some sort. Nothing to worry about,/ He thought to himself as he turned and looked over at Zangya.
The look on her face matched the unease that he had just been feeling. Whatever it was, they could both feel it...
Then Zarbon noticed something else. All of the aliens acted like robots. They moved with a kind of deliberate stiffness that suggested a preprogrammed set of actions. That, and their faces were entirely blank.
That is, except for the large one who was apparently overseeing them.
While looking at this intelligent alien with the M on his forehead, Zarbon realized something else. The smaller creatures were all doing one single job. One job, like slaves.
Upon closer inspection Zarbon realized that they were digging. All of them.
Suddenly he wanted very much to go back to the ship, and get out of here, recharged fuel cells or not. it had only been three hours, but still...
Zangya whispered very quietly in his ear. "Zarbon, I don't like this. Let's go back, now, okay?"
Zarbon started at the fact that she had basically just echoed her thoughts. He looked over at her and nodded.
The two of them simultaneously turned around and started for the ship again when they literally ran into a stray alien who has apparently been standing guard. he wasn't facing them, and if they hadn't crashed into him, the two of them might have gotten out of there unnoticed.
The small purple alien turned around and regarder them both silently. His forehead wrinkled, distorting the M on his forehead.
The creature smiled and lifted up one hand into the air.
Before either of them could stop him, the alien fired one single flare-type ki shot into the sky. It exploded in a huge spectacle of light, effectively alerting the entire planet to their presence.
Zarbon shouted a curst and blasted the small creature as he turned around to see the entire village look up at the two of them.
"Now would be a good time to leave." Zangya said, looking at Zarbon.
"Yes. very good," he said, suddenly grabbing her by the arm, not caring how she took it, and rocketing off back toward the ship at full speed.
What took them three hours to walk took Zarbon exactly thirty seconds to fly, with Zangya in tow.
They had just made it back to the ship when they saw the one thing that they didn't want to see.
Little purple aliens were surrounding the saucerer ship.