Chapter Four: New Beginnings
Zylak of Sovereign walked down the golden halls of the temple at the planet Sovereign. He just finished his work cycle as a pilot heading to his dorm room in the pilot dorm quarters when he was told from one of the Messengers to report to the High Priestess for what he wasn't told but guessing of how the Messenger spoke to him, it wasn't anything good. He was shocked to begin with to be spoken to a Messenger as no one ever want to send a message to him after hours. Well during work hours that was normal as most messages he receive was orders from his superiors such as the Pilot Warden or from his tormentors that wanted to tease him when they aren't able to do so in person.
This unexpected message to report to the High Priestess herself has got him nervous. He feel that something has happened. Something bad. He was being foolish. There was nothing to worry about he kept telling himself.
So why does he have this horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach?
The Chambermaid, one of the many daughters of the High Priestess greeted him as he approached the main grand doors of where the meeting halls was placed. It was the same Grand Hall that the Guardians just a few days before once stood after completing the task that they were hired to do. The woman who escorted him looked uneasy but hide it well as they walked through the doors and announced their presence. It was unnerving to see that they were greeted not just the High Priestess herself but the Grand Admiral along with the Pilot Warden which together was never a good sign as they both stood either side of the High Priestess' throne.
"Zylak of the Sovereign Pilots." The Priestess greeted him. She sat in her grand throne in her grand robes. She was most beautiful of the Sovereigns, as she was created for the grandest purpose as their High Priestess. Compare to her he was nothing. Easily replace for someone better.
"It is I." Zylak said to her as he awkwardly bowed to her. He have seen her many times in his lives but physically be at her presence? Very few times she has ever spoken to him. Her golden eyes stare back at him as if she see all of his faults. He held great respect toward her as he was just pilot it is what he was designed to do in his many lives. It was what they created him to do. It was his only purpose; he knows nothing else.
"We have knowledge that you have done great service to Sovereign." The Priestess said. Beside her the Pilot Warden coughed.
Zylak smiled, slightly bowing his head again keeping his excitement from bursting; it was high time he got any praise as he feels he deserved it. It was rare of him getting any praise to begin with and receiving one from the High Priest was an honor. "I am happy to be of service." He said.
The High Priest wasn't smiling back which made him bit his lip into a sudden frown as the High Priestess continued, "It has come to our attention that we do not need of your service any longer."
Zylak looked up in horror. "I beg your pardon?" he asked hoping that he heard her wrong. Surely she meant that he is being transferred not terminated.
"You have failed to kill the Guardians of the Galaxy."
This didn't make any sense. All of the pilots have failed as the High Priestess herself call for ALL of them to defeat them. "We all have failed, your Highness but I don't understand why I am to be terminated?"
"It was your last failure."
'You suck, Zylak.' Echoed in his mind. Of all the teasing and bullying in his short lives he had failed time and time again. He will do better he kept telling himself. But he never has. Not killing the Guardians was the last straw and the High Priestess along with the Pilot Warden have decided to terminate him.
"You are to be replace of course." She said off handily, as the Grand Admiral with his datapad started typing information of the events that is happening before him. "We will exam of what went wrong with you for your rebirth if of course if your designed genetic code is still superior."
She suddenly stood up and place her golden hand onto his cheek where Zylak looked up to her in horror. Her touch felt cold on his cheek as he force himself from shaking. "Oh my poor child." She whispered, seeing the shock and disbelief on his face.
Ayesha sometimes hated this part of her job as it never gotten easier even after so many life times; telling her people that their purpose as been refilled. At most cases this was a celebration. However in Zylak's case it wasn't, as the reason was of failure not by old age or a mistake from the birthing pods, in which this case makes her job harder but she has a duty and that duty is make their people more superior and flourish. Zylak is damaged. He is a threat that needs to exterminated; she already given him many chances and each time he has failed her. It was her weakness; many lifetimes ago she would have ended him the first time around. Now? She is merciful but Zylak and few others have shown her that being merciful in the long run heels no benefit to their people. She will not show him mercy any longer. She let go of him. "Report to the Afterlife Pods. It will be there we will recycle and recreate you into the better you."
Zylak mind was still racing. Sovereigns do not retire; when their purpose is finished there are no need for them to live any longer. Why be a burden to Society if there if there no purpose of you living? Zylak felt that it's not time to end his life just yet. He still has things to do in life he feels. But it is their way; the only way they knew. Zylak nodded slowly. "Yes, of course." As he was dismissed, as he bowed to each of his superiors and left the chamber without looking back. He was unable to look at the chambermaid's eyes as he walked passed her when she opened the doors for him to pass.
The Afterlife Pods was their form of burial where they are to be killed when their purpose in life has been refilled. After they are placed within the pods, their genetic scientists will then exam the genetic code to see what went wrong and needs to be improved . And later they will announce that he may be copied and modified better and be reborn into the birthing pods into his next life.
Zylak knew that they won't; he is to be discarded. This was the end of him. He was the last to be reborn of his line. He was denied over three times to share his genetic code for the future generations of the Sovereigns. His genetic code is somehow flawed for why and how he doesn't understand nor will anyone tell him. He isn't one of the pilots that gets everything right or perfect the first time. But he is able to learn surly that counts for something? He knew that everyone around him have better Epigenetic Memories then he, has everyone he knew knew stuff without being told or taught the moment they emerge from the birthing pods. Everyone knew their jobs the moment they are birthed. He on the other hand had to be told what to do; have to be reminded time and time again. People at first when he emerge from his pod thought he was careless, senseless and a mistake. He's been scolded for laziness so many times to count for all these years. No one liked him because they thought of him as a liar and a fool. No one likes a slacker nor does anyone want someone that can't do their jobs making them do his work that he should known how to do in the first place.
Now? Zylak thought he had improved for the better. He was the last pilot after the Guardians before his drone was shot down. No one expect one of them to come out of the ship itself to shoot at them after disabling their attacks! That was never in the manual! Who could've thought that you could do that? It been a few months since he was scolded of not doing his boring reports that he should done the night before. Did any of that was put in consideration before the High Priestess, the Grand Admiral or the Pilot Warden decided to terminate him?
He guessed it wasn't good enough. He had too many warnings, he is surprised he lasted this long as he has to begin with. He witness countless pilots around him disappear and later reappear as better versions of themselves. Others he have seen and remembered in his previous life times was never seen again but those people were clearly mistakes that needed to be terminated. Something went wrong of the birthing pod or outcome that the genetic scientists missed while recreating them. Zylak had never believed he was ever one of them. He wasn't deformed physically in anyway after birth (that he had noticed), nor was he ever gotten injured that he had to be send to the Afterlife Pods to be fixed or was mentally delayed. Zylak doesn't understand WHY he was chosen to be terminate as he wasn't that old yet either to be put down.
Every step Zylak took towards the afterlife pods, felt like lend. He kept going through of the what-ifs and if he done better would they still write him off as insignificant? He felt that he still has more to give in this life. Why doesn't he have a choice to end his life or not? Didn't he have a right to agree or not in all any of this?
He should be happy; many would tell him. At least he knew that he have finished his purpose in life. How many lower life forms can say to that? He was created to be a pilot, a Protector of the Sovereigns and he had failed. The High Priestess choose to end his life as it's foolish to keep a pilot who can't do his job. He is a liability.
Zylak stopped at the golden doors that was lined with a black border. Behind those doors laid the Afterlife pods, which is connected to the genetic engineering rooms. The moment he opened those doors, his life will end. Why hasn't he opened the doors? What is keeping him from going in? What is wrong with him?
Zylak looked through the creak of the doors that was slightly opened as he was too curious for his own good not to look. Another thing that was odd about him; curiuosioty. Countless times he been scold for asking questions that he doesn't need to ask (he should have already know the answers to them) or questions that he didn't need to know as it was pointless for a pilot to know things that are irrelevant for his job. What is the purpose to know things when he doesn't need to know as a common pilot?
Of what he saw through the doors chilled him to the bone. There stood one of the pilots that he knew. The woman's station was right next to his however Zylak can't place the woman's name for the life of him as they weren't friends nor was the woman one of the people that tease him of his failures. She was kind to him. Zylak watched as the mortician helped the young woman stripped into ritual robes, was given some form of a drink and was then placed into weird form pod. A child, by the looks of it just barely came out from a birthing pod, closed the lid after the woman laid flat on her back within the pod. There was a hissed and yelp within the pod and then...silence.
No, he will not do this.
Zylak turned the other way. And ran without looking back.
Zylak only took the essentials from his dorm room. He didn't own any real valuables as a pilot there wasn't any reason to have any. All he took was a week worth of off duty clothes, his tablet that held his journal and reading materials that was approved for him to read in his spare time even though it was little as he has so much work to do on and off duty.
Sovereign doesn't have any form of currency between them. They do have Units only used towards outsiders. However the units are out of reach of him to take cause as a pilot there was no reason for him to have any money. He never going to leave the planet so why have any money? Everything that he needs is already provided for him. Zylak isn't stupid. He knows he needs some form of money if he was going to do what he plans to do.
He was leaving the planet. For good.
He went to the storage where the left over Anulax Batteries was located. He knew that the guardians have stolen them so they must be worth something outside his planet. They are not the only people that have done so, nor will be the last so that should mean they are worth at least thousand units (he can't imagine anything worth more then a thousand). Zylak wasn't able to take as much as he wanted as he only took a handful that was able to fit in his pant pockets. The area he took the batteries from, he knew the Cleaners won't notice as missing as they just counted the batteries the day before. The next time they recount the batteries he should be long gone.
Zylak's hearts was beat faster as he carried his bag that was sling on his back as he approach where the golden drones was located from the hanger. It has been centuries such any of them drove their ships other then using them as drones. He himself has never sat behind the wheel of one besides the drone flight simulators at the temples. Nor as he ever left the planet before; he was never picked to be the pilot when the High Priestess had to leave planet-side. There was no reason for any of them to leave other then political reasons. And he wasn't a politician, a just a common pilot.
Zylak hide behind a golden pillar. He feels like he's going to throw up as he felt his hearts beat faster as he took several deep breaths. It was now or never. He can do this. All he had to do was go into one of the ships and drive off. Should be easy right? But how was he going to get the hanger doors to open for him to leave? It's not like he can ask the control room to do it as it's not like anyone drive the drones for thrills or practice. The only time the golden drones are used is when they are called to do so.
Zylak can wait for a shipment or something to happen for the hanger doors to open. But how long will that be before they find him missing? It won't take them long for the High Priestess to be notified of his absents of not reporting to the Afterlife Pods. The alarms will sound off and he will be asked to report back to the High Priestess. No one that he remembers ever defy her before.
Zylak can hear footsteps coming as he panicked and ran behind one of the ships. He needs to leave fast. He went and found his ship that was connected to his now previous flight simulator as they replaced the one that that he destroyed. Zylak knew it will be a while for them to create a Pilot to replace him as they can't force people from the birthing pods as the risk of damaging them is too high. Unlike some jobs, his is the most easiest to replace. It doesn't take much engineering to creat a pilot.
Zylak hopes everything from the drone flight simulator is the same as inside the ship. He doesn't think he would have time to read the manual again while escaping. Wouldn't the ship still have the manual inside it? What if it doesn't? Maybe he can find it on his data-pad? He shook his head from these thoughts as he pushed the panel to open it. It asked for his password. Zylak preyed that they haven't changed it just yet as he place the numbers onto the keypad as he doesn't think he knew how to get through the lock manually.
It accept the code.
Zylak smiled as the ship's doors opened with a quiet hiss and he place his sack inside before climbing in. He sat at the pilot's seat and looked around. It was a lot more dark and cramped then he's used to. Dust and dirt was everywhere as it been a long time since anyone been inside besides the maintenance crew. The controls and the switches was the same. He took several deep breaths to calm himself. The ship has this smell to it that crick his nose as the air inside was very stuffy. He knew where to go. He has studied the space maps for years. He can do this. How many times have he drove a drone? Countless times; he can do this.
But he was scared. He never drove a ship for real nor has he ever left the planet. What will happen to him if and when he escapes? No one he knew likes Sovereigns to begin with guessing by the comments that the Guardians made towards the High Priestess. He will be alone with no help when he leaves the planet for the first time in his life. He will be alone as the Sovereigns have order where everyone else outside is in chaos. Zylak will always be an outcast. But he will figure out what he's going to do after if he gets off this planet. Being thrown into chaos is better then being dead, eliminated from existence.
There was a red alarm that sounded. Zylak jumped at the sudden loud beeping within the hanger. Pilots was reported to their stations. He has finally been reported missing. Zylak smiled, soon the doors will be opened.
"MISSING! Zylak of the Sovereign Pilots! Report if sight of him. Zylak report to the High Priestess!" The intercom repeated the message within the red alert.
Zylak snorted. He will not allow them to terminate him. He saw drone after drone around him turn on as he turned on the ship itself. The moment those doors open he will be able to fly out and escape.
...any moment now.
Slowly the hanger doors finally opened. This was it. Zylak gripped the controls tighter enough that his knuckles turned white instead of its normal golden colour. One by one the drones lift off into the air and flew out. When it was his ship's turn he pushed the button to lift off the ground and with the auto pilot on (as the ship hasn't been manually drove for all its life) it zoomed out by itself through the hanger doors straight up into the sky in top spend.
Zylak screamed as he felt the ship lift him into space. His ears suddenly popped as they left altitude. He never felt this before. It felt different then controlling a drone. He felt so much weight on top of him as the ship went faster and faster into the sky. He felt like he's going to throw up and wondered if he did so he would choke on his own vomit. He couldn't breath as his chest was being crushed.
Just as sudden as his ship left the hanger it suddenly stopped, flouting lifeless as they left the planet's altitude into real space. It was then Zylak was able to breath. He forgotten to fasten his seat-belt. He never had to do that before. He quickly bulked up trying to remember what he read from the different manuals as he read them so many times because of boredom. He has never had to do most of what was inside it has a flight simulator you don't need to do such thing such as seat belts.
He slowly pushed the button restarting the ship's engines as the reason it suddenly stopped was that it wasn't connected to a drone flight simulator from the planet. He turned off the auto pilot and he slowly took the controls into his hands. He felt the ship hum beneath his finger tips. With his feet at the petals he can feel the vibrations under his feet.
He was literally flying a space ship. He have seen space before but never up close like this. He have seen worlds and the cosmos only through the screens of his flight simulator. This can't not be real. Is this freedom?
He started to laugh. Oh Gods he hopes this is what freedom feels like. The endless space looks so inviting. He never thought this would ever happen to him. He suddenly felt he was unstoppable.
Just as he thought he would be able to escape without being noticed, he was mistaken. The ratio went alive as a stern voice spoke to him. "Zylak of the Sovereign Pilots. Surrender now or be shot down. I repeat; surrender now or be shot down."
Zylak wonders if they would shot him down. It has been generations since any of his people been killed in battle or killed for that matter other then going into the Afterlife Pods.
Zylak looked around for the headpiece that goes around his head to talk back in the intercom. He found it laid forgotten on the dashboard. He wondered if it would still work as the cords looked decayed. He sat it on his head ignoring the dirt that now is all over his head and shoulders, turned on the button which he knew was located on the dashboard as he moved the mouth piece near his mouth (they never updated the technology as their was no reason to). He can now hear the warning blasting into his ears.
Does he dare haul back to them and tell them no? He flip the switch to do so but stopped. He didn't know what to say.
"Will you surrender?" The Pilot Warden asked into his ear. For years Zylak listen to the man's (along with the High Priestess) order without question or thought. Now he is about to dare himself to defy them both.
"I don't want to die." Was all he said. It was true. That was the sole reason of escaping. The reason of leaving the planet. Surrendering would be his death. Not surrendering, he may die but there is a small chance that he may live.
"So you are surrendering?"
At that moment the golden drones started firing at him. With a fluid movement Zylak grabbed the controls and easily maneuvered the ship around making the drones behind him accidentally shoot the ones in front of him missing him just barely.
He almost fell out of his chair as it wasn't for the seat belt however he forgotten to tighten it into his size. Flying a ship then a flight simulator is so much different. Never have he ever flown upside down. Never have he felt so dizzy. Where was up? Where was down? He found his way around right back up looking every which way around him looking for his once comrades that was now firing at him. He can hear them taunting him into ear from the headphones.
"Silly Zylak, thought he can run away?"
"Zylak ran away because he found out he's worthless."
"Should have done that years ago, so we can have fun of killing him."
"Do not cry. Do not cry. DO. NOT. CRY." He told himself. But he was, he can feel the tears running down his golden checks. He didn't make a sound but the tears kept on rolling. He took a few deep breaths, fire burned through his eyes. He won't let them win.
He turned his ship around, and fired back hitting the golden drones, one by one. He started laughing as he notice the the drones was easily destroyed. After all he is one of the best pilots they had. Attacking them was so easy. Much easier then the Guardians ever was. He enjoyed the challenge they gave him as it being a pilot is boring most of the time. The job of piloting became a chore after so many lifetimes of doing it.
When the last of the drones was destroyed he turned the ship to look back on his old home planet and saw that more golden drones was coming. A lot more then those that just attacked him. He knew that it would pointless to continue fighting. As it just one of him vs thousands the probability of him making a mistake that ends his life is high. Zylak knew how many golden drones they have, killing them all will take days as Sovereigns are able to stay awake long periods of time if needed. Zylak knew that he can not last that long before passing out from the lack of sleep after two or three days however he has never had do so but he remembers that he had done so many life times ago. Within a day they would have enough time to recreate more drones and the fighting will never end. The only way to escape is to jump.
Zylak looked into the old monitor an older version of the Galaxy Positioning System (GPS) next to the controls. It was hard to read the space GPS that it was as the marked measure by distance paint on the screen was flaking off as well one of the lights within the screen has burned out so the screen was very dimmed making it hard to read the screen.
Does it really matter where to go? It doesn't. He started clicking buttons randomly and finally just before the golden drones was near enough to start firing at him he click the green button to start the jumps. The golden drone sounded an alarm as the many jumps he picked was on the red zone of not advised. But he doesn't care; anywhere but here.
Just as he started the many jumps into light speed, he heard the voice of the High Priestess into his ear.
"My poor child, you will always be a failure. When you return you will be eliminated. You are nothing more then a mistake. I have always sense fear, jealousy and betrayal within you."
Before he passed out from all the many jumps he done, his last thought was that he for all these life times, he knew the High Priestess was correct.
He always felt those things.
(End of Chapter)
Author's Note: yep its Zylak! Our future Ravager in training! Link to the scene of gotg vol 2 where you see him. Felt so bad for the guy little bit. watch?v=3f-N-RsaT0Y
I have never really read the comics but going through what we only know through the MCU and what information marvel wiki that I have seen and read about Sovingtons I have created the little biology of the alien species & there way of life such had how they do things in their Society.
Hope you all enjoy. This chapter.