Space Flight 704, Chapter 1: Straight to the Hell Planet

Rex holstered his gun.

It was unfortunate that he’d been forced to fire on his old friend, but to learn he’d been lured by Jones into a trap… Let’s just say their friendship was over.

He’d need to think fast though - even one shot from his Corral Specials was usually enough to draw the attention of the dopiest of guards. Twenty rounds was sure to bring the entire security force straight to him.

“Good,” said Rex Havoc to his old dead buddy, “I like a challenge.”

With that, he sprinted off down a corridor.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 2: The Secrets of Manasar

He’d almost done it too.

The first guards went down quickly before they’d realized there was someone firing a gun nearby. The next few were easy pickings in the confusion that followed. Rex might have done it, but as the last few guards rounded the corner his guns let him down.

Normally he’d have had just enough shots left but dealing with Jones had cost him extra.

“Maybe the last 19 shots weren’t strictly necessary,” Rex thought as he was dragged to a holding cell, “but it sure made me feel better.”

Space Flight 704, Chapter 3: The Strength Within

Rex really didn’t know this time.

Usually when Rex Havoc was tortured for information he’d scoff at their attempts to draw out the location of the secret base or superweapon or princess.

He’d laugh and say, “Each time you hit me it makes your death a little more certain.”

Rex didn’t know what to say this time. They kept asking him about “the power of the Torimbalo” and he’d never heard of it. It certainly wasn’t what he came here for. If he wanted to survive this time though he would have to fall back on his regular routine.

Ignoring his questions Rex growled, “Keep hitting me boy. It makes my decision of who to kill first much easier.”

Space Flight 704, Chapter 4: Trust Is Not a Destination

He’d have to thank The Professor.

Every mission, it was usually The Professor’s neat inventions that got him out of his predicaments. At least the minor predicaments anyway - he usually still had to disarm the bomb or kill the leader or steal the jewels.

Not this time though. They had come on a mission set up by Jones. When Jones had turned on him, the mission no longer mattered. Now he needed to return to base and fill The Professor in.

A thought struck him, “What if The Professor has turned as well?”

He brushed the thought aside. The Professor had helped him, just then to escape. Besides, he had more immediate things to worry about, such as the fresh hoard of guards bearing down on him.

“Yearrgh!” he yelled as he lept towards them, guns blazing.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 5: The Exodus from Manasar

The explosion was deafening.

Or would have been if he hadn’t been ready for it with his hands over his ears. He’d found some explosives and a detonator in the weapons locker where he’d retrieved his guns, and it made a nice big hole he could use to get out of this catacomb.

Racing to the spot he and Jones had parked their invisible jet he stabbed at the remote.

Nothing happened.

“Blast!” thought Rex. But there was no time for casual swearing, Jones had sabotaged him again.

Calling up a schematic, Rex leapt back through the hole he’d just created as the concussed guards were coming to.

“Stay down!” he commanded as he blasted his way back through the hoard.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 6: Escape from the Hell Planet

He wasn’t sure he could do it this time.

Normally at this point in the mission he’d succeeded in liberating the artifact or downloading the master plans. He would rocket out of the enemy base, engines blazing blue below.

This time he was going it alone, barely escaping with his life, the mission in tatters and no real grasp on what had happened. Normally the exhultation and adrenaline kicked his reflexes into overdrive for the final escape. This time the rush was quickly giving way to exhaustion, and he wasn’t sure he would survive.

Trying to pull himself together he gritted his teeth, “Come on Rex. Survive this and you can find the answers.”

With that he rolled his ship sharply starboard and boosted, the pursuing missiles exploded far behind him as he burst free of the atmosphere.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 7: The Ruins of Xarnash

The Professor was dead.

He’d overturned the smoking ruins of his base to find his friend, the quickly cooling body faint on his bio-scans. Obviously he had not been complicit in Jones’ treachery.

The base and his friendship with The Professor were his final bastion of normalcy after his disastrous last mission, but even that was denied him, another certainty cruelly ripped away by Jones. He wished he could return to put another clip of bullets into his corpse.

Lying in the dirt and rubble, he held The Professor’s body to him.

“When did the world go mad, old friend?” he whispered as the sun set behind them.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 8: The Xarnash Wilderness

His mind was blank.

Normally Rex could conjure a plan from thin air. When circumstances were direst, when he had no weapons, no contact to base, no chance of surviving, he would see with startling clarity what what to do next.

This time when he paused, took a breath and exhaled - he had nothing. He didn’t care about the last mission, or the Torimbalo or whatever, and Jones was already dead so revenge was unnecessary.

Rex was empty.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 9: Xarnash Destroyed

It took death to bring him around.

Knowing full well he would return to base, his enemy had waited until he was helpless and come back, weapons raining fire down on the already scorched planet.

Hearing them coming, Rex took a breath, exhaled and saw clearly what he had to do. In that moment, he was vaporised.

“…” thought Rex as his component atoms dissipated.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 10: New Flight

That wasn’t supposed to happen.

Rex had believed, the way everyone believes, that he would live forever. He knew technically that this was not possible, and had a suspicion he’d die in the midst of a fiery battle or chained in a dungeon, but never-the-less the human brain likes to think it will continue forever despite all evidence to the contrary.

The fact that Rex’s consciousness was now slowly gathering itself together in an endless white plain was both reassuring (to that part of him that couldn’t accept death) and at the same time utterly terrifying.

“Where am I?” whimpered the swirling chaos of Rex’s essence.

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