“We hadn’t found the Crimson Prince yet, so we were hoping that either both were together, or maybe that there was a way to use the suit without the sword.  The good news was this was entirely possible.  The bad news was somebody else had already taken the sword.  Fortunately, we had enough time to deal with the suit and Zombie Axer, having the highest iu-rating on the planet, was acknowledged by the suit and allowed to use it.

    “‘So, that’s why I couldn’t wear that thing?’ rang out the voice of the person who had retrieved the sword before we could.  So, you remember how Cigula got him and his country destroyed?  That was all intentional.  In fact, Cigula never really existed, nor did his wife.  They were lifeless machines speaking on behalf of the true ruler of Lyger that no one ever knew existed, Ray the Daring.  He stood there, holding the Crimson Prince in his hand, ready to strike down Axer in order to claim the Astro Bomber and the Ultimate Machine.  To Ray the Daring, the sacrifice of millions of lives was always worth something as precious as the power of the Ultimate Machine.  ‘Genui Verda, Idden, it is time to fight!’ declared the Daring.  Henchman Genui took his fighting stance as Idden slowly pulled himself from his comfortable leaning spot against the wall.”

    Roxy says, “I can’t say that fight was difficult, with seven of us fighting two henchmen while the Zombies, led by their now superpowered leader, beat the snot out of Ray.  I’d have felt bad if not for remembering who it was taking this beating and why.  At any rate, getting even crazier, it turned out that Cigula wasn’t the Emperor of Lyger, nor was Ray the Daring.  Idden was.  That one thug, leaning against the wall, with not a soul ever knowing he existed, was the one controlling Lyger, and he was more than enough to handle the seven of us once pushed into trying.  I mean, by the time he decided to fight serious, the Zombies were ready to join in, and Super Axer made short work of him.”

    Axer takes over.  “So, we had both the weapon and the armor, and we soon found the Ultimate Machine.  As Zombie Ax held the Crimson Prince in his right hand, the glow of the sword reacted with the massive Powered to open its chest compartment.  Axer hovered in the air a bit and turned back to me.  He looked at the sword, then tossed it to me.  He said, ‘I refuse to have so much unbridled power.  Either this thing won’t work with just me, or you’ll be there to keep me in check.  I’m counting on you, human.’  And that’s the last time I ever saw the clone in this life.  The chest compartment closed and the eyes of the machine came on.  Only seconds later, the voice of a nightmare was heard cackling from the large device, filling the cavern with its horrible sound.  Arion Jekel was finally awake.”

    Roxy hugs her man and says, “When Zombie Axer tells this story in the Drawing Board, he points out that the evil creature was visible on the monitor, taunting him as it took control of the Powered.  You see, whoever built that thing, made a program simulation of the original Arion Jekel and created a warped legend to lure the perfect victim to his demise.  At that moment, Zombie One was merely the fuel for the end of the world.  The Powered identified itself as Ultimax and shattered the ground above it, commencing the extermination of Ruyngard.  It began in Justinia.  In one leap, the Powered crushed the building housing the Prime Minister, his family and all that nation’s top officials.  The citizens of the town were to be next, and then it would be off to Razlor.  However, someone chose to get in the way of this plan.

    “As we hurried to Justinia, our minds were filled with nightmares and hallucinations caused by the Jekel program.  City lights everywhere, near and just beyond the horizon, flickered as the entire planet’s technology was being taken over by the program.  And that’s when we noticed the Powered was shaking.  It was trying to move, but we could tell its pilot was resisting.  We watched, trying to overcome our mental demons, and waited to see if Zombie One could overcome this menace.  Axer, Zombie One, succeeded in breaking free of the Ultimate Machine’s enslavement, but at great cost.”

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