TOM - Bang
The Absolution 2 was docked in the landing bay of an old station within the far reaches of deep space. But this particular station was infamous as it also served as a popular hangout for the galaxy's most notorious criminals. Many of these wanted men lounged within the rundown bar. If not, they were almost always working on tuning their spaceships. Most groups kept to themselves though full-on brawl tended to break out often. It was normally the owner of the station who finally brought order, and eventually the start of a repeating cycle.
The robotic captain of the Absolution, TOM, calmly opened the door to the pub. The whole room went silent as alien beings of all kinds turned their heads to glance at the sentient robot. TOM took a moment to scan the room before he began walking to the other side of the room. The loud sound of his metallic feet on the rustic steel tiles was the only noise made, that and the television broadcast but almost no one ever payed attention to that unless it was important. TOM himself sat himself in a booth with a hooded figure across from him. Once seated, the other aliens went back to what they were doing as if nothing unusual ever happened.
"If it isn't the Toonami Operations Module himself..." the figure remarked.
"I prefer TOM." he replied plainly. "Now what's all this about? I don't have all day."
The figure revealed a folder and slid it front of TOM who immediately began inspecting its contents. It contained a number of highly classified documents, some of them not even a high-ranking official should have in his possession.
"We have a job for you. A highly dangerous criminal is on the loose and he must be stopped before it's too late."
"A Naljian?" TOM read off. "Look, I'm not taking on someone who's practically one step away from becoming God."
"Oh?" he said in a amused tone. "I never thought someone like you would believe in a higher power."
"I may be a robot, but those aliens are proof enough."
"So you're declining the offer then?"
"I'm not stupid."
"What if I told you the criminal has been severely weakened to...manageable levels?"
"Not many people know this, but the Naljians have a strict code of conduct. Any one of them who violates even a single rule is condemned to...termination. However this Naljian escaped, but not without a price. As a result of his escape, he has been stripped of a majority of his abilities. The ones he has left are still powerful, but he can only utilize them at an extremely limited amount of times before being forced to rest."
"That sounds...easy. Why did you contact me then? There are plenty of others capable enough and come at a much cheaper price."
"Well, there's the location the criminal fled to."
"And that is...?"
The figure stood up. "Recall your show-hosting days? I thought this would be a wonderful chance to reminisce old times."
"That planet? It's practically superhero central. What's stopping them from apprehending this guy?"
"You haven't heard? It's been under siege for a while now."
TOM instinctively slammed his fists on the table as he stood up. "What?"
This sudden outburst was drawing some attention, but the figure's sudden and temporary change into a cold glare shooed them away.
"I thought you knew? Oh wait, you have been operating in a more desolate sector recently..."
"How long has this been happening?"
"Oh, two...'months' I believe those lifeforms call it?"
Without a word, TOM grabbed the folder and stormed out of the pub. He headed back to the landing bay where the Absolution awaited. There were a few admirers near the ship who instantly started swarming the robot with questions. TOM only remained silent as he ignored them and waited for the ramp to fully expand. He greeted his Model 51 Clydes as they blocked anyone from following him inside. After taking the elevator to the upper floors of the ship, TOM hurried to the captain's deck. The ship's artificial intelligence, SARA, greeted TOM as he sat in his chair and began inputting coordinates into the ship's navigational system.
"Hello, TOM. How did it go?"
TOM didn't respond.
"Ugh... Was it 227 or 638?"
"Coordinates? TOM? What's wrong?"
"...Our home's under attack." he replied calmly.
"Oh my... TOM... I know you must be angry, but must we blindly rush into this?"
"I'm starting up the warp drive now."
With the engines fully active, the ship exited the landing bay. It continued propelling itself forward until it was safe distance from the space station.
"TOM, I think you should reconsider."
"You remembered to update you software, right? I don't want another Hyperspace."
"And you're not even listening to me... Entering hyperspace in 3...2...1..."
A gigantic, multicolored vortex soon appeared in front of the ship and consumed it whole. The Absolution was now drifting through a seemingly endless tunnel of flashing lights. TOM normally avoided using hyperspace travel, especially after the Swayzak incident, but this was something he was willing to make an exception. Once the screen displayed a message everything was stabilized, TOM laid back in his chair.
"How long until we arrive?"
"About eleven hours." SARA replied. "We are far from home after all."
"Sigh... I knew I should've invested in one of those newer warp drives..."
"TOM... Are you willing to talk now?"
"...Uh, sorry about that... I guess I was being a little rash back there."
"Well, why don't we start with what happened at the station?"
"Alright. You see, there's a criminal on the loose and we were hired to take him down."
"I don't see how this has to do with anything."
"Home is where the criminal escaped to. And our client says it's too busy with an alien invasion to even deal with it right now."
"Oh my... That is quite serious."
"So now do you see why we have to go back?"
"But shouldn't we announce our arrival first? Intergalactic security on the planet has been increased ever since we left thanks to Ben Tennyson."
"That kid's sure been through a lot... Though c'mon. We haven't been gone that long for them to not recognize us."
"I guess you're right. Anyway, I need to you to perform some last minute installations. I got that new circuit board like you requested, but the mechanic never got around to installing it. I would send a Clyde, but they don't arms."
"Model 52." he said slightly annoyed.
"You know what I mean, TOM."
"Sigh... And just when I thought I could finally relax for a change..."
Hyperspace - A few minutes until arrival
"Wow... Can't believe it's been more than five years since we've been home..."
"Technically it's four." SARA corrected him.
"Well yeah...but I don't want to remember that year."
"Of course. As do I... Anyway, we'll be arriving shortly. Are you ready, TOM? We still don't know what to expect once we exit hyperspace."
"As I'll ever be."
"Understood. We'll be exiting hyperspace in 3...2-..."
SARA didn't get to finish her statement as the ship began violently shaking.
"What was that?" TOM quickly asked.
"I don't know. We seem to have collided with something. But that's odd. I never detected any stray objects within our course."
"Take us out now-Augh!"
This time the Absolution was forced out of hyperspace as it became lodged within something. The impact tossed TOM out of his seat as he collided upon the room's mainframe and rebounded against the wall.
"TOM!" SARA worriedly exclaimed. "Are you alright?"
He moaned as he rose to his feet. "Ugh... I'm fine... What did we hit?"
"It appears to be a...planet?"
"Huh? Don't tell me we hit-?"
"No. It's much...much larger."
"That's impossible. Bring me a visual."
"Uh...unfortunately, the crash disabled our camera system. I'm in the process of repairing them now."
"Then sent out some Clydes. Model 52."
"Understood. Launching three Clydes now... Preparing visual... Alright, TOM." SARA displayed the Clydes' broadcast on one of the screens.
"What in the world...?"
The Absolution was now trapped within a gigantic planet like SARA had said. But this was unlike any planet TOM had ever seen. It was essentially one big planet with a bunch of smaller planets attached to it by a strange gooey material.
"Hey, isn't that Lunero?" TOM asked.
"The planet that disappeared millenniums ago? Now that you mention it...I think it is."
"I recognize some of those other planets too... This is bad..."
"What do you suggest we do?"
"Can the ship still move?"
"Negative. This green material is keeping half of our ship firmly in place. Our thrusters are useless. And..."
"I've detected a breach within the lower deck... We're being invaded."
"Just my luck. Hopefully, I won't die again... How many we've got?"
"The Clydes are reporting ten... No, twenty... It looks like an army!"
"How far have they gotten?"
"They've already taken the entire lower deck. Wow, they move fast. And they're steadily making their way towards the upper deck."
"Great. So now we're trapped here..."
"Well, not necessarily. Only our starboard side was absorbed. If you hurry, you can still escape in one of the escape pods from port."
"What's with this 'You' stuff? I'm not leaving you behind."
"How do you supposed I come with you? I don't have a physical body, y'know. And the escape pod's storage banks are much too small for me to upload myself."
"Well... Why don't we..."
"TOM, don't be stupid. Get out now while you still have a chance. You may be able to find help. If you die, then both of us will truly die."
"But..." TOM was getting frustrated now, but realizing his situation, he slowly walked towards the door. "I'm sorry..."
"Goodbye? Don't worry, I'll be back. You said so yourself. If I go, we're both goners."
"Always have to be the optimistic one, huh?"
SARA immediately began closing the door so TOM would stop stalling and hurry along.
"What can I say? Stay gold..."