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A HEART OF ICE

By ... Steve Lucky

CHAPTER FIVE

X, Shawn, Hank, and Lisa continued On to the blast furnace knowing that everything depended on the four of them. Their Thermal Protection Suits were designed to protect them from extreme heat as well as extreme cold, but even in their suits they could notice that the temperature was rising rapidly. Only X seemed unaffected. He looked like he could care less about the change in temperature.

At last, they reached the blast furnace itself. It was about the size of a small room and hot enough inside to melt most kinds of metal. Even with the Thermal Protection Suits on, they could not survive inside it.

"Hyzen must use it to punish Frigidans who turn against him," Hank remarked. "He doesn't even trust his own kind."

"A fact that can be used against him," added X.

X knew that the heat from the blast furnace could be used against Hyzen. The only question was how to transfer the heat to where it was needed.

"Let's see what would happened if we gave it some more fuel," suggested Hank.

X looked up at Hank as if he was seeing him for the first time.

"Perfect!" he exclaimed.

He set the blast furnace for as high as it would go. The roar of the furnace grew steadily louder as the room grew hotter and hotter.

"We'd better leave the area," warned X. "Soon it won't be safe here for anybody."

"Where do we go next?" Shawn wondered.

"To see Hyzen himself," X declared. "I think he will want to see us after what we've done."

Shawn kept a tight grip on their prisoner as he led the way to where they hoped Hyzen would be waiting for them.

TIME : 4:22 P.M. (16:22)
PLACE : The docking bay

Navillian and Kental were reunited with Peter and Linda. They exchanged stories of what had happened to them since they parted company and agreed that the best thing they could do would be to go on to the Altair system and unite with the forces that were there. They had plenty of information about Hyzen and his ship to be of use to them.

They all got in one ship figuring the others would need the second ship to escape with. Little did they know that the others weren't trying; to escape. In fact they were doing just the opposite. However, they didn't have time to find that out. They had a job of their own that needed to be done.

TIME : 4:28 P.M. (16:28)
PLACE : In the center of the battle ship

X, Shawn, Hank, and Lisa approached Hyzen who was sitting down in some sort of throne. He showed no signs of anger or fear as the four of them walked directly toward him.

"Greetings, Hyzen," Shawn snapped coldly.

"Who dares to call me by my former name?" roared the scarred Frigidan.

"Shawn, the leader of M.W.G.D.,'" answered Lisa.

She was afraid of Hyzen the first time they met, but this time she had Shawn and X on her side.

The master villain knew how powerful Shawn was as the leader of M.W.G.D. and knew he was a worthy adversary, but his eyes focused on X. He had never met X before, but could tell that the figure before him was indeed the one the Ruler feared.

"Why should we fight?" he asked X. "We're both on the same side. We should join forces and team up against the Ruler."

"Not by destroying an entire planet to do so," X cried in anger. "In fact, I have teamed up with the Ruler against you."

"But why?" Hyzen gasped in disbelief. "Why would you join forces with someone you have been opposed to for years?"

"We have a common enemy," X replied coldly. "The galaxy isn't safe as long as you possess that weapon of yours. I will continue to fight the Ruler as long as he remains a threat, but the threat from you is greater right now."

Hyzen saw how concerned X was about his weapon and could tell by the sound of his voice that X had done something to it.

"What did you do to my weapon?" he demanded.

"Why don't you try using it to find out?" X shouted back.

X had confirmed his suspicions. The weapon was sabotaged. Before he even had time to react one of his soldiers came running in with some urgent news.

"The blast furnace is out of control," he reported. "We think it might explode."

"The temperature on this ship is slowly rising," X explained. "If it gets above freezing you know what that means."

"The Ruler tried to kill me in that manner," Hyzen recalled. "but I survived it. Odds are I will survive again. It takes more than a little heat to kill me."

"How about a lot of heat," Shawn threatened finally letting their prisoner go who quickly ran out of sight, glad to be free again.

"You wouldn't dare," he grunted. "You'd risk killing yourself."

"I never said I was going to do it," Shawn cut in. "At this very moment, the combined forces of the Altair system are coming to meet you and most of them aren't as friendly as we are."

To confirm what he was saying, the Ruler sent them a message.

"Hyzen, so you're still alive," said the Ruler to his former subordinate. "This time I will make sure you die."

"Likewise," Hyzen replied. "I have dreamed of getting my revange for years. I am going to kill you first. Then, after I am sure you're dead, I am going to destroy planet after planet after planet and no one is going to stop me!"

"Are you sure?" smirked Shawn pointing a gun straight at him.

X, Hank, and Lisa did the same. Hyzen stared at the four guns pointed at him. Everything was happening to him at once.

For the first time since they had met him, Hyzen showed genuine fear. He franticly tried to think of a way out of the predicament he was in, but his efforts seemed to be in vein.

"I am not beaten yet," he cried in total defiance. "I still have my wits. This is only a temporary setback. I shall have my revenge on everyone!"

At that moment X who had a very acute sense of hearing, motioned for the others to be silent. He could hear someone coming. As the sounds grew louder he could tell that it was not just one person but a fairly large group of people. Hyzen had called for reinforcements.

"Everybody take cover!" he yelled suspecting that they were armed.

The scarred Frigidan just smiled. With the simple push of a button he could call for his troops. It was a rather simple device, but very effective.

The others took cover just in the nick of time. The instant they had established a good defensive position the first in a long line of guards entered the room. He was shot down immediately, but a second guard quickly appeared to take his place.

Hyzen saw his opportunity to escape and took it. He pressed a button on his chair and darted down a secret passageway that was now showing. Shawn, who was closest to the passage was able to follow him before the door closed again. He knew that he shouldn't be taking such a big risk as the leader of M.W.G.D., but he couldn't stand letting Hyzen get away. Fighting the Ruler was bad enough without having someone else to worry about.

Hyzen was not in the best of shape. He hadn't had to run for a long time, but Shawn was considerably weighted down by his Thermal Protection Suit and Hyzen had a big head start on him. He pushed himself to go faster knowing his escape pod was only a few meters away.

Shawn tried as hard as he could to catch up, but he was too late. A door closed only a meter in front of him. Shawn could hear the roar of an engine and knew that Hyzen had escaped. He turned around and headed back in the direction he had come hoping he could still be of use to the others.

Under normal circumstances the guards would have won easily, but X was highly skilled in almost all aspects of combat and was use to being heavily outnumbered. He shot the guards down one by one as if they were trying to get him. Hank and Lisa helped too. Hank was nowhere near as good as X in direct combat, but he was still better than most of the guards. He did his part to keep the guards at bay. Lisa was not that good with a phaser, at least not by M.W.G.D. standards, but that was not the only weapon at her disposal. She crouched down behind Hyzen' s chair and began pressing buttons hoping that one of them controlled some sort of weapon.

By luck, she was able to push the button that controlled the door to the secret passage freeing Shawn who was trapped on the other side. The guards did not expect Shawn to return so soon and were taken completely by surprise when Shawn opened fire.

At last, all the guards were either on the floor unconscious or fleeing to some other part of the ship. Shawn, Hank, and Lisa began searching the guards for anything useful while turned his attention to Hyzen and his escape.

"Where did Hyzen go?" he asked Shawn.

"He left the ship in some sort of escape pod," Shawn replied.

X wasted no time in reporting the news to the fleet from the Altair system which was almost upon them.

"Attention!" he announced. "We have managed to sabotage both the weapon and the ship quite severely, but Hyzen, their leader, has escaped. Be on the lookout for him because we don't know what his intentions are. Use extreme caution. He is armed and dangerous."

As soon as he was finished, X ran toward the docking bay.

"Where are you going?" Shawn called out after him.

"I have a ship to catch," yelled X.

TIME : 4:46 P.M. (16:46)
PLACE : 100,000 km from Altair 3

Hyzen had managed to pass through the fleet undetected due to his special ship which could not be detected by normal radar. Only X, who had a special kind of radar, was able to keep track of him.

Hyzen knew he had been beaten, but he was determined to make people suffer. Their victory would be a costly one. Instead of heading back for Frigida as X thought he would do, Hyzen headed straight for Altair 3. He didn't even care that it wasn't the Ruler's home planet anymore. He still had a bomb on his ship and with it he would craslh into the largest city he could find killing millions of people. Even though he would die in the crash, the galaxy would remember him for a long time to come.

The only person who could stop him was X.

"Give up! " warned X. "There is no way you can outrun me. I can chase you for as long as you can hold out and I will shoot you down if necessary."

"I don't intend to outrun you," mocked Hyzen activating the bomb and increasing his speed. He was locked onto his target.

"If you don't deviate from your Chosen course I will have to shoot you down."

This time X's voice was much more forceful. He knew that Hyzen wasn't going to back out, but there was that slim part of him that was hoping he wouldn't have to do the inevitable.

"Come and get me!" shouted Hyzen.

X only had a few seconds to act. He flew straight at Hyzen as fast as he could go. When he was almost upon him, he pulled up and launched one of his missiles. It was a direct hit. Hyzen's ship exploded less than ten kilo meters from his intended target.

"So much for the future emperor of the galaxy," X thought to himself.

During such unusual circumstances, it didn't surprise him that the Ruler was first to congratulate him.

"I see you took care of him," the Ruler declared being as cynical as always. "Congratulations on our first joint victory. Too bad it will be the last."

The Ruler had not helped Altair 3 fight Hyzen as X had thought. He simply waited for the forces from Altair 3 to leave so he could attack them while their defenses were low. Unfortunately for him, with Hyzen killed most of the fleet would be returning to Altair 3 completely prepared for an attack. The Ruler would have to wait for another day.

TIME : January 15, 2014
PLACE : The M.W.G.D. base on Frigida

Peter, Hank, Linda, Lisa, Navillian, Kental, and Shawnh were once again reunited. The master villain from Frigida was no more.

"Where did X go?" wondered Kental. "I'd like to thank him for helping us."

"He never stays in the same place for long," Shawn explained. "He seems to always be helping somebody somewhere, but the next time I see him I'll be sure and tell him you said thanks."

"No offense but I'll be glad when we get home so I won't have to wear this Thermal Protection Suit anymore," said Peter. "They're getting to be a nuisance."

"None taken," Navillian assured him. "We have to wear those things whenever we go to any planet other than our own."

"That reminds me, how did X tolerate both extreme heat and extreme cold without a Thermal Protection Suit?" inquired Lisa.

She addressed the question to Shawn, but wanted anyone who knew to answer. However, none of them knew the answer.

"There plenty of things I'd like to know about X," admitted Shawn after a long silence. "He keeps promising to tell me his secrets someday, but he never does."

"Perhaps someday he will tell you," Kental predicted confidently. "I heard that X always keeps his word."

The time had come for them to say good bye. Shawn still had plenty of work to do when he got back to M.W.G.D. Headquarters.

"It's time for us to go," he told them sadly. "I wish you the best of luck in the future."

"Same to you," said Navillian. Navillian and Kental watched the others get into their respective ships and leave the iceworld that they called home.

"Do you think we'll ever see them again?" asked Kentall.

"I'm sure we will," answered Navillian. "They still have the Ruler to deal with and he could strike almost anywhere including Frigida."

"I hope the Ruler never comes here," stated Kental. "but if he does I'm glad we have friends like them to help us out."

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