Zik starts his ship and gives Seamus access to monitor the systems to keep an eye on the damaged engines. Meanwhile, Amelia has a million questions about the ship and how it works! Zik promises to teach her to fly when they get back home to Zoz. Speaking of heading home, it’s time to start that journey! The small fleet of ships takes off, heading for orbit, while the Zernabian prison factory burns in the distance. They have to travel carefully, trimming the use of the main engines once the ship gets high enough to go the rest of the way on the auxiliary maneuvering thrusters. They approach the Kodiak, which is drifting in orbit waiting for them, surrounded by the wreckage of some more Zernabian patrol ships! It seems the pilot, Gerald, has been busy!
Our refugees board the shuttle and James Anchor gives the order to take off. The first stop: Zik’s ship! As the shuttle rises into the sky, Vera peers out of the window and bids her dear friends an emotional farewell. Soon, the shuttle and its Chadee escort arrive at the cave where Zik’s ship is hidden. Zik and Seamus, the Kodiak’s chief engineer, get out to go and inspect the ship. A curious Amelia tags along. Seamus pronounces the patch job to be good enough for now while Zik changes clothes. Our hero steps out in his new (old) outfit, and Amelia praises his fashion choices!
Tanaka jumps out of his snub fighter and gives a huge high five to Zik. Now we finally see what a Chadee is! They are a race of genetically engineered chimpanzees, who were given the ability to speak and understand at a human level by one of the geneticists that helped rebuild Earth’s ecosystem on Zoz. The full story about that, and the huge controversy it started among Zozians, will be told in a comic exclusively for Zik site members! Make sure you sign up so that you can see it when the time comes. There will be all kinds of extra back-story type of stuff available to patrons! I’ll also be filling in the information into the Zik Wiki that’s available for members. There’s so much amazing stuff for people who sign up!
Meanwhile, as Zik begins to explain the story to Amelia (who has never seen an Earth animal), James Anchor interrupts to remind Zik that they aren’t safe where they are and need to evacuate as quickly as possible.
An elated Zik rushes back to find Amelia with Vera and a recovering Trent. He assures them that the new spaceships that have appeared are friends who have arrived to rescue them. The shuttle doors open and Zik eagerly greets his good friend James Anchor, who has brought some muscle to back him up. While Jason and Seamus keep a watchful eye for trouble, Zik quickly introduces his new Zernabian friends to James, and tells him about the insanity of Queen Elcyra. Zik also tries to compliment James on an incredible shot, but it was Tanaka who took out the giant clonoid from his snub fighter! The fighter lands, the doors open… and Amelia screams! What has she seen?
The Clonoid super-soldier is shocked as a large rail-gun round bursts through his heart! His thick skin may be able to withstand sidearm rounds, but this is significantly bigger! The Clonoid falls, the giant chunk of rubble he was hoisting crushing his head. Zik is taken aback, unable to comprehend what has happened until, through the smoke, he glimpses the familiar sight of the shuttle and two fighters from the Kodiak inbound! James Anchor has arrived just in time!
The Clonoid has waited until Zik was close, and it grabs him in its giant arms! Zik realizes his mistake too late as the Clonoid squeezes him in a crushing bear hug! Something snaps, and the Clonoid tosses Zik aside. Our hero can’t breathe! The chest plate has been crushed and it’s preventing Zik from being able to fill his lungs! Luckily, Zoot is always monitoring things, and ejects the body armor before Zik is suffocated. In the meanwhile, the Clonoid has grabbed a giant chunk of rubble. It heaves the huge boulder over its head and prepares to crush Zik with it! Is this the end??
Zik charges his enormous foe! But the Clonoid is waiting for him on top of the rubble of the factory. Our hero engages his EVR and rockets through the air and delivers a mighty punch! His nerves pushed past their rational limits, Zik yells at the Clonoid and proceeds to give him a giant boot to the head!
Zik has an apology to make to Amelia; he never intended for this riot to happen! All he wanted to do was negotiate for her release from prison, not cause a riot that ended in the factory explosion and the mass murder of a couple hundred people! Zik and Amelia look deeply into each others eyes… when suddenly a rock smashes into Zik’s head! The Clonoid Super Soldier has chucked a chunk of rubble at Zik, crushing his helmet! Zik tells Amelia to get herself and Trent to safety, and readies himself to finish this battle once and for all!
A shocked Amelia charges towards the factory, not believing that almost everyone she knows has just perished. Coughing, Zik emerges from the gloom and consoles her as well as he can. The reality is that the firebombs inside the factory that preceded the demolition would have immolated anyone inside. No one could survive that… or could they?
Zik’s horror is multiplied as the inside of the factory starts to explode! Multiple detonations engulf the entire interior in flames! He turns to run when the whole building is consumed by a massive explosion, leveling the entire structure! Did our hero get far enough away? Or has he been caught up in the blast and crushed by the rubble?