The End of an Era
All was tranquil, deep beneath the sea on Earth, though across a vast gulf of space, the fate –indeed the very existence- of Spectra was fraught with uncertainty.
But for one small robot, in his control room atop the undersea facility that was Earth's Center Neptune, it was on the five members of G-Force –all currently on the imperiled planet of Spectra- that his anxiety was focused.
"I'm so grateful to you, Susan," said 7-Zark-7, directing his words towards the small speaker dangling from the ceiling. "And to you, 1-Rover-1," he added for the benefit of his pet robot dog, "For keeping me company during a terrible time like this. Mark and the others haven't located Jason yet and Spectra's mantle is still so unstable, the whole planet could self-destruct at almost any moment!"
Even as 1-Rover-1 yapped and Susan cooed soothingly "You're welcome, Zark," on distant Spectra, still more massive volcanic eruptions were taking place, on land and beneath the seas, spewing forth lava from the planet's unstable mantle layer that both charred the land and unleashed devastating tsunamis within the seas.
"I've never been so worried…" added the robot plaintively.
The tall coils of the deep seismic energy detectors still loomed high over the chamber that housed the controls for the mantle procedure, deep within the secret base in the Damruk Mountains.
But time had nearly run out –the mantlemeter was almost to the ultimate "F," which would signify failure to restore stability to the mantle and that the planet's doom was both certain and imminent.
Even as a new pod was conveyed along the elevated track to the deep shaft that led to the mantle, the voice of one of the soldiers assisting Zoltar with the procedure could be heard, speaking nervously.
"Sire, we've tried all your pod sequences except this one. We've been releasing cadmixium and plutantrium, all over the mantle, but none of your sequences have resulted in stabilization."
"We're just making it worse -can you recheck your calculations against the newest data… please? This will be our last chance to get it right…"
And the pod was released, plummeting down the shaft towards Spectra's turbulent mantle layer.
As one, Mark, Princess, Keyop and Tiny dropped through the mist-banded air and landed in low, concealing crouches on the ground outside the secret base, amid the eerie and monstrous statues that filled this valley in the Damruk Mountains and marked the site of what had once been an ancient, underground temple.
"I wish we'd gotten a better explanation from my father," said Mark, looking grim but determined, "But as it is, I'll accept his directive that we find Jason first and then worry about the mantle.'
Princess, Tiny and Keyop all listened, their concurrence unspoken.
"And I'm sure we all agree that Jason's no defector," he added with soft vehemence.
"Right!" whispered Princess. "You bet," burbled Keyop. "Oh yeah," agreed Tiny.
They all drew closer to hear their leader's quiet and rapid parting words. They were all conscious of the need for silence and stealth to avoid the Spectran soldiers they knew would be searching for them while they sought a way to get back inside the secret base.
"But the look in his eyes the last time I saw him… He's in some kind of trouble –maybe even something to do with Mala's rebel movement. Let's get going!"
They all scattered in different directions, dashing off amidst the fog-shrouded statues, one of which surely had to conceal an entrance to the subterranean secret base.
If only they could find it.
Zoltar stood alone in a large and somewhat dimly lit room that was nearly empty but for the large globe that showed the oceans and continents of the planet Earth.
"Earth," he muttered, sweeping one arm angrily, "You would have long been a slave planet of Spectra, all your riches and resources my disposal, were it not for that cursed G-Force Team –and that Colonel Cronus too! There'd have been no need for a mantle reactor here on Spectra…"
He bowed his head slightly and folded his arms, as his voice took on a more anxious tone. "All my pod sequences have failed. I don't know what I am doing wrong…"
He flung his arm out again in frustration. "How can I ensure this final one succeeds?"
"Sire!" cried two soldiers, suddenly rushing into the room, "Please come at once!"
"Has my sequence failed already?" gasped Zoltar, "Surely not yet!"
He paused but then quickly turned to glare at them. They weren't soldiers from the mantle procedure control room. "What is your news? Report!" he snapped.
"It's a mutiny, Sire!" stammered one of the soldiers, "They're taking over the base!"
"What?" snarled Zoltar, "Tell me everything!"