Having interviewed Max Overdrive – the money man behind this secret construction project, it was obvious from his reaction that he was surprised that anybody had survived the Klegg attack on the Hetzog brothers let alone that Chaplin had survived – but listening to him spout inspirational speeches for half an hour was not going to reveal any evidence, beyond a Psi Judges hunch, that he had any involvement with the Kleggs. A closer investigation of the city would be required.
Overdrive shuffled off to a board meeting leaving the Judges with a minion to show them round, a shuttle flight around this new city, showed off the scale – this place would be home to millions. Vast tower blocks were dwarfed by even larger domed flora habitat – re engineered forests and jungles gave this moon base an odd green look, but above all the city walls seemed to act more as a second skin than a deterrent to attackers.
There was nothing to be learned by flying above the city, so the Judges ordered that they land and interview some of the construction workers.
And this was when it became more interesting.
On closer inspection what had first looked like a jewel glittering in the desert crater of the moon, became more of a hodge podge, pieced together Cubic Zirconia – the quality of the workmanship, even to the Judges eye, looked poor. Whatever quality approvals they had for this construction would just be another offence by which Overdrive would be judged.
On landing in a construction zone, something pinged in the judges keen senses – initial eye contact was brief, before faces were turned, safety googles slid into place, and nearly half of the workers seemed to slink away. It seemed to the judges that many of those around them had guilty consciousness and those that hadn’t turned looked more like a heavily armed militia than skilled craftsmen.
Interviewing one foreman, the man squirming under their gazes, it became obvious that even if skilled workers had started out building this place, they had been slowly being replaced over the last few weeks with much less qualified folk. And those workers who failed to perform had disappeared. There were whispers of horror stories, of people being thrown out of air locks or fed to the dinosaurs in the Theme Park, but as far as this foreman was aware they had all been sent home.
Von Simian did a quick check, and quietly informed the team, that the evidence from the space port didn’t support these facts – if anything, over the last year there could be a hundred thousand workers missing from this site.
Missing bodies and the possibility of a Klegg running wild in caverns under the moon? If there was to be any evidence of Overdrive paying a Klegg with human meat to do his killing for him – it would be here. And dinosaurs in the theme park? Evidence indicated the park hadn’t been populated yet – if you were going to hide a reptile army it would be there.
Moving along to the park, the first clue unearthed was freezers packed full of Trans Time Dino Meat – top quality stuff that was usually only seen at high end restaurants back in the Big Meg and not used as fodder for beasts – that and the meat was less than a week old – and enough to feed an army, caused suspicion.
Judge Molotov was first to react – and called for the contents of the freezers to be quarantined – claiming that the arrival dates were too close to the outbreak of whatever viruses was killing millions of people in Mega City 1 – and instantly ordered it to be destroyed.
Whatever that meat had been meant to be fed to – would now force its hand – or claw – into action.
Retreating back to Luna 1 the Judges were first met with stony silence from the chief judge when the asked for support to attack this new city. It seems that with Mega City 1 being caught in the death throes of this virus there was already a shift in the balance of power within the global judicial community. The Sov Judges were no longer going to give MC1 any support whatsoever.
Below them on Earth whatever virus had been launched against their city had taken hold. Whole sectors were closed, millions of citizens were rioting on the streets – the virus having driven them violent and mad – and the longest infected were now dropping dead. Within a week of the breakout if the virus, the cities population had been halved. 200 million corpses littered the streets of mega city one. Whole sectors were on fire and could be seen by the naked eye from space.
Whatever Dredd and his team were going through down there – from here it looked like hell. Another couple of days and the other half of the city would be dead.
Already the vultures were circling. Hoardes of mutants were readying themselves in the cursed earth. East Meg 2 and Hondo City were dancing around each other waiting to strike. Even at the edge of the galaxy – judicial military units were being withdrawn and pulled back to earth, changing virtual borderlines in space re night.
The judges were lucky to be allowed to take a H-Wagon out for their support.
There was one piece of help they got – a scrambled call from the undercover judge within Overdrives city came through to their comms. There was trouble on the building site and hundreds of workers had been ordered to an exhaust port at the edge of the crater wall, in an area that had been off limits and complete for months.
Stationing themselves above and out of sight of the air lock the judges didn’t have long to wait for something to happen. Large hangar doors opened and about three hundred people – in temporary re-breather suits were forced out of the air lock – laser shots above their heads could be seen from this distance probing they weren’t going for an evenings stroll.
Bewildered the workers seemed to be huddling together as a last resort, when the shadows at the base of the crater wall began to move.
About a hundred Klegg soldiers in full space ranger gear appeared as out of nowhere. Within seconds they hand rounded up the ‘meat’ like a Shepard guides his flock and hounded them back into a cave within the crater walls – it was time for the Judges to take action.
Gunning the H-Wagon into action, Judge Bliss took over the Lazooka Cannon and launched a few shots into the retreating Kleggs, gunning down half a dozen or so with her first few shot. The Kleggs returned fire with military precision but their rifles shots just bounced off the armour of the tank. In the next few seconds it looked like the last of the Kleggs would make it into the safety if the cavern, when Judge Foe launched a surgical missile strike against the rim of the crater and brought half the wall down on top of the retreating Kleggs.
Four of the enemy were trapped outside on the surface and the H-Wagon zoomed in for close combat – launching a pair of concussion grenades managed to knock one of the lizards to the ground, and gave an opportunity for Bliss to fire the Lazooka one last time, tearing the three still standing in half. Climbing out of the tank, Foe managed to reach the Klegg and securely tie him up.
As he dragged his prisoner back to the tank, he thought he felt something move beneath his feet. Then some lights on the side of the city came on.
Within the tank Von Simian confirmed that this section of the city had seemed to spring into life and the tank was currently being scanned on all frequencies. Gun turrets emerged from the city walls and tracked the movement of the tank – and them a deep rumbling started.
It seemed like the crater walls were coming down and Molotov’s quick reactions managed to avoid the tank being crushed by the collapsing walls. Then the dark side of the moon lit up.
There seemed to be more dust in the air than the collapse of a crater wall would throw up – and then it seemed to be lit from below as even in the vacuum of space a noise tore through the tank causing them all to shout out.
And then they saw it. Overdrives city was taking off.
Thousands of rockets on the base of the city were thrusting the city out if the crater and into orbit.
Bliss fired off a shot and took one engine out, but the city didn’t flinch or shudder – instead the shockwave of a greater thrust hit the tank and sent it tumbling end over end out of the crater and into the cold dark dusty lunar sea.
The judges world turned dark, initially as they lost consciousness and secondly as Overdrives City eclipsed both the sunlight and earth light above their heads.