THE SPACE RATS' EPISODE GUIDE
TITLE:"The Silver Crusaders" (official)
"The Shield in the Stone" (mine)
WRITTEN BY:"The Blob"
Teaser -- Notes --
Synopsis -- Neat Stuff/Food for Thought --
Previous Episode -- Next Episode -- Episode Index
"Grow together, my lovely ones," says Sawboss. "Go to them... and overwhelm them!"
Meanwhile, aboard The Pride of the Skies II, Herc notices something strange on his monitor--Sawboss's huge tangle of MM vines, snaking their way through space. "What the...?" says Herc in befuddlement, giving the console a good whack.
"Some difficulty, Herc?" asks Gillian.
"Look at the size of that MM shrubbery in sector 37-delta... they just don't come that big, and it's not even trying to take over those planets," Herc says. "Huh, this scope's gotta be on the blink."
Gillian comes over to check the console--and gives it three solid whacks of his own. Though the scope goes fritzy on the first whack, it comes back by the third, still showing the giant MM vines. Gillian and Herc decide that "apparently they [MM Vine armadas] do come that big" and Gillian calls Jayce up to the bridge.
Jayce considers the size of the invasion force, and determines that Sawboss must want to overrun some place pretty badly. He has Herc plot where the vines are going... so the Lightning League (LL) can get there first and find out what Sawboss is after.
Herc makes the plots and changes course, muttering: "And it started out to be such a nice day...."
The LL finds the target world of Sawboss's invasion force. It's a blue Earth-like world with a bright yellow sun. Jayce tells Herc to set down on the planet. "What ever's so valuable to Sawboss on that planet," Jayce muses, looking down at the root, "might be even more important to us."
Herc flies the barge down to the planet's surface, which is over grown by vegetation, looking for an open space big enough to land in. The ship comes over a large field full huge, white, fluffy, round flowers. Flora looks at the flowers on the main monitor, and remarks that they look like huge dandelions. "They even feel like dandelions," she discovers, then suddenly turns to Herc. "Herc, no!" she yells.
"What?!" asks Herc, but it is too late. The jets of air from Pride's engines disturb the field of giant dandelions. Visibility drops to zero. Clouds of giant dandelion fluff fill the air... and get sucked into the intakes for the barge's engines. "Oh great," mutters Herc.
"What happened?" Jayce asks.
"The engines have said good night," Herc says. "We're out of control...." Everybody braces for the barely-under-control-crash landing. The barge sets down bumpily and with much ripping and tearing of local vegetation, but sets down in one piece.
Everybody goes outside to investigate what's there. The ship is surrounded by gigantic plants... that look surprisingly like oversized versions of the more normal plants that our heroes are used to. "What are those?" Jayce asks, pointing to the nearest plants--ones with berries bigger than Jayce himself.
"They bear an astonishing resemblance to strawberries," Gillian remarks. He goes over to one of the berries and breaks off a hunk, tasting it. "Mmmm... definitely strawberries," he declares.
Flora remarks that all of the plants are so big... and so happy--quite healthy and well fed. Gillian and Flora speculate on the causes behind such gigantic plants... the intense sunlight and the rich soil. Giggling, Flora remarks: "Boy, if I'd grown up here, I would have really grown UP!"
"So would Monster Minds," Jayce realizes. "No wonder all those vines are coming here."
Judging by the size of the strawberries around them, the gang realizes that the MM vehicles grown on the planet would be enormous. Gillian pulls out a handy telescope/sextant that he had up his sleeve and sites the MM invasion vines. Doing some quick mental calculations, he determines that the vines will reach the planet's soil in "three hours, five minutes and seventeen seconds... ah, approximately."
"No problem. I can get us out of here in forty-seven seconds, exactly." says Herc. He strides back towards the lift, but Jayce doesn't follow. "Come on, kid," Herc says, a trifle annoyed. "Even you have to know when it's time to--"
"To see if anybody lives here who can help us stop this invasion," Jayce interrupts.
"You got forty seconds now," Herc says, walking the rest of the way to the lift. "Plus the hour it'll take me to clean the dandelions out of my engines," he adds.
Herc goes back into the ship, to start the engine cleaning immediately. Jayce, Gillian, Flora, Oon and Brock lower the ramp and take the vehicles out. Jayce orders Quick Draw to stay behind and run it's barge defense mode program, while he and the others drive off in search of civilization.
Herc watches them go from inside one of the Pride's engines. "And bring back a little cash, will ya?" he mumbles to himself.
Jayce and the LL search for the planet's inhabitants, but are hampered by the fact that the abundant, giant vegetation is maxing out the life-form detectors. Before they have gotten very far in their search, they get a message from Herc--a little strained, saying he thinks they ought to come back to the barge.
Jayce asks Herc why. Herc watches Quick Draw moving back and forth, getting zapped by some strange electric-like bolts--but apparently unable to locate the source of the attack. "We got us some company," Herc says. Before Herc can explain any further, he is zapped by something, loses his balance, and falls the long distance down from the engines. Herc is bruised, but not seriously injured by the fall. Before he can pull himself together, a shadow falls over him.
Jayce gets no more word from Herc. Concerned, he has the LL turn the vehicles around and head back toward the barge.
Meanwhile, the MM vine armada has made it to the planet's surface. Sawboss sits happily on his throne and gets reports from K-O cruiser--that the natives who had fought so fiercely before are now fleeing in terror. "Of course they are, as will the entire universe!" says Sawboss.
K-O cruiser then reports that he sees the LL barge on the planet. "How convenient for them to be there," says Sawboss. "As the fruits of their destruction grow to ripeness...."
The vines contact the rich soil and grow like mad. They go through the entire growth cycle even faster than their usual accelerated growth. They flower and produce some really big MM troops. Sawboss has his HQ teleported to the planet so he can oversee the final destruction of Jayce and the LL.
Meanwhile, Jayce tells all the LL vehicles to stop as they approach a bluff. Everyone climbs out of the vehicles, and Gillian asks why Jayce wanted to stop. "It's obvious someone's here," Jayce begins.
"Someone who does not welcome invaders," finishes a strange, silver clad knight, stepping into view at the top of the bluff. He carries a large shiny sword. "Even insignificant ones!"
Flora and Brock take off into the wild vegetation at the sight of the knight.
"We come as friends," Jayce tries to explain. "To help you resist invaders!"
The knight merely laughs, and says with great confidence that if Jayce means the invading vines... the native crusaders slice them down before they touch ground. Jayce tries to explain that the new invasion force is too powerful to stop alone, and offers to start working together ASAP. The knight laughs again, and apparently thinks the idea of Jayce helping his people defend their planet is quite funny.
More knights step in to surround Jayce, Gillian and Oon. They brandish swords and take our heroes prisoner on orders from the head knight. "No invader leaves our planet... alive," says the head knight ominously.
Jayce notices a moment when the crusaders surrounding him and his friends are distracted. He pushes one away, and in the ensuing confusion, he, Gillian and Oon run off in different directions. Rather than giving chase, the crusaders stand calmly together and raise their swords high. A golden, electric like aura sparks around their swords.
Jayce runs as fast as he can to escape, before being stopped dead in his tracks by a network of golden beams that springs up from nothing in front of him. He's knocked to the ground, and a crusader comes to stand over him, threatening Jayce with his sword. The crusaders also recapture Gillian.
Oon, in his rush to hide from the crusaders, accidentally severs a giant strawberry stem with his lance. The strawberry drops on top of him, and he ends up inside it, with only the tip of his lance and his plume sticking out the top. The crusaders, looking for a tiny suit of armor and not a strawberry with a plume, are unable to find Oon. The head knight decides not to waste any more time looking for Oon. Jayce and Gillian are marched off toward "the castle" under guard.
Oon watches his master being forcibly lead away, but is stuck inside the strawberry and can do nothing to help.
Jayce and Gillian are finally marched into the clear by the crusaders. They see a giant castle, surrounded by a moat, in the center of an open plain. Jayce and Gillian stare at the castle.... their mouths hanging open in awe.
Still encased in a giant strawberry, Oon hops his way back to the Pride. Once on the ship, Flora's three Zoggies meet him in the hallway and surround him. The Zoggies yip and yap. "Help!" pleads Oon, his voice muffled by the strawberry. The Zoggies comply, extending little laser/electric spark nozzles out of their noses. They create a spark field that frees Oon from the strawberry.
Oon and the Zoggies run toward the bridge, hoping to find Herc and get help. But when they get there, they quickly discover that the bridge is empty. Herc is nowhere to be found.
At the castle, the Knight raises his sword. It sparks golden again, and in response, a giant drawbridge is lowered. The Knight and his crusaders march Jayce and Gillian into the castle. Crocodile-like beasts snap hungrily in the moat. Giant castle doors are slammed shut before Flora can follow the procession inside.
Back at the Pride, Oon sits in the pilot's chair and stabs at some controls. "Turn on, oh please, turn on," he pleads with the ship. Then, to himself, he says: "It always looks so easy when he [Herc] does it." Oon presses more controls, then pounds at the control board with his gauntlet-fists. Pounding at the controls causes the ship to hum to life. "I did it!" Oon exclaims.
With Oon as the pilot, the ship lifts off, flying clumsily through the air. Looking for the "castle" the crusaders took his master to, Oon happens across Sawboss's vine armada, and sees the giant vehicles being grown there.
Jayce and Gillian are led by the crusaders into a large, central chamber. The ceiling is missing from this ceremonial chamber, and blue sky beckons above. On a raised dias at the front of the chamber, the Crusaders' Leader sits on his throne. Upon entering the chamber, Jayce hears Herc call his name--and learns that the crusaders have brought Herc to this place as well.
"You have trespassed," the Leader accuses Jayce.
"I beg you to listen to me," Jayce pleads, "there isn't much time left!"
The Leader agrees that there isn't much time, then explains that "like all who trespass here," jayce must meet the new leader of the crusaders in single combat... "until the death." Jayce demands to speak to the new leader, but the current Leader motions for him to be silent--saying that the invaders have interrupted their ceremonies long enough.
The leader calls to the ranks of crusaders gathered in the chamber, asking who wishes to prove themselves worthy to become the new leader. A crusader steps forward, and agrees that he is ready to face the punishment if he fails "to remove the shield from the stone."
The ambitious crusader steps to the center of the room to the spot where a shield is partially embedded in a giant hunk of stone. The crusader pulls at the shield until he collapses with exhaustion, but the shield remains stuck tight. The exhausted, unsuccessful crusader is dragged away by his fellows.
"What happens to him?" Jayce asks. "We have dungeons, where there are hungry beasts," replies the Leader. "And I tell you there are hungry beasts outside who will destroy you!" Jayce tries to argue some more, referring to the invading MM. The Leader silences him again, and again tells Jayce that Jayce must fight him now.
Flying the Pride, Oon finally sees the crusaders' castle and lands nearby.
In the ceremonial chamber, the Leader orders a crusader to give Jayce his weapon. Jayce refuses the sword, and eyes the leader challengingly. "First," says Jayce, "I too would like to try to remove the shield from the stone."
"You?" asks the leader, chuckling at the idea. "Of course, the challenge is open to all. But if you fail, be prepared for the beasts in our dungeons!"
"Gillian, will your wishes be with me?" Jayce asks.
"They will indeed, my boy," replies Gillian with a knowning grin.
Jayce steps up to the stone. He kneels by the shield, takes hold of it with both hands, and begins to pull at it. The Leader sits back on his throne, telling Jayce that he's being foolish--"Meet me in combat," suggests the Leader, "your end will be swifter..." Jayce ignores the Leader, and continues to pull at the shield. Gillian bows his head in concentration.
Outside, Oon runs towards the castle to save his master. As he nears the drawbridge, he trips on a rock. The tip of his lance gets stuck in the end of the drawbridge. The drawbridge creeps up, and Oon soon finds himself high in the air, dangling over the moat. Crocodiles snap hungrily below him.
Oon's lance begins to slip, and he finds himself closer and closer to falling. "Goodbye, Jayce!" he wails into the air. "Goodbye, Gillian! Goodbye Floraaaaa!" he wails, as his lance pops free and he falls. Flora and Brock dive out of the sky, and Flora snatches hold of Oon before he is able to fall too far. "Flora!" Oon exclaims.
"Hang on tight!" orders Flora, helping Oon onto Brock's back. They soar skyward.
In the ceremonial chamber the Leader again urges Jayce to give up on trying to remove the shield from the stone. Gillian finally finishes his spell. Jayce pulls at the shield, and is pleased to see that Gillian's magic has loosened it. Before he can pull it free, he is distracted by a voice from above.
"They're coming," shouts Oon. He, Flora and Brock have come in through the open ceiling. Brock circles just out of the crusaders' reach. "The Monster Minds are coming! Big ones!" continues Oon. He gestures with his arms, to show just how big the new MM are, and loses his balance on Brock's back. He falls lance first towards the Jayce, and the shield in the stone.
"M-m-m-maaaasssttterrrrr!" shouts Oon. Jayce stands and gets out of the way. Oon falls straight for the shield. His lance slips down through the handle. When Oon hits bottom, his weight levers the shield free of the stone. As Oon flips upright, the shield slips down the pole of his lance and lands at his feet with a thunk. The crusaders look on for a moment of complete, awed silence.
"What?!" demands the Leader, flabergasted by what has happened. "Oooo!" say all the crusaders in amazement. Then the Leader gets off his throne and steps aside for Oon as the new Leader of the Crusaders. The crusaders gather around Oon and carry him over their heads, then set him down on the throne. Jayce follows the procession and stands beside Oon.
"Jayce... the MM are here," says Oon. Jayce tells Oon to warn the crusaders, since now Oon is the only one they'll listen to.
The new, big MM forces have reached the castle. They begin to attack the outer walls, and the walls of the ceremonial chamber tremble and shake. The crusaders mutter in fear. Jayce sends a signal to the LL vehicles to home in on his signal, and then tells Oon to get the crusaders to follow him outside.
"Outside, men, everyone outside," Oon cries bravely. Raising their swords above their heads, the crusaders (including the Knight and the former Leader) form up their ranks and charge outside.
The MM break through the outer walls of the castle and storm into the courtyards. The crusaders charge the troopers. Sawboss surveys the battle from his throne room... "Fight bravely Jayce... because this will be your last battle. I am too powerful now," says Sawboss, quite full of himself. :-)
Jayce faces a charging MM terror trooper. He leaps up and grabs hold of a banner pole above him, but the pole cannot hold his weight for long. It gives way, and Jayce falls down on top the terror trooper. He holds his balance there for a few seconds, then jumps clear.
By then, the LL vehicles have arrived. Flora, Gillian and Herc charge through the confusion of crusaders battling MM troopers. Jayce jumps up on top of Armed Force, and scoops Oon up out of the fray, setting Oon down beside him.
"Tell me what to do..." begs Oon.
Nearby, Jayce sees the MM Beastwalker trooper stomping towards some unprotected crusaders. He calls on the Ring of Light, which seems to resonate with the bright sunlight, producing bright beams. The beams sever some tree trunks and send a row of large trees tumbling at Beastwalker's feet. The trooper's legs get tangled on the tree-trunks, and its advance is stopped.
"That's it... the sun," Jayce realizes. He tells Oon to get the knights on top of the LL vehicles. At Oon's gallant, yet somewhat over-polite order, the crusaders comply.
"Shields up, Lightning Strikes," Jayce says. Oon echoes his order to the crusaders with an inspiring: "Shields up!" The crusaders raise their shields in the air, and atop Armed Force, Oon holds the shield that he plucked from the stone high. Then Jayce orders all the vehicles to do a slow swivel to the right. As the vehicles turn, the shields catch the sunlight and reflect the searing rays of the sun towards the enemy MM troopers.
In the intense heat and light, the MM troopers wither and die. Sawboss watches his defeat, most displeased with what he sees. "Enjoy your triumph!" Sawboss shouts. "There are other planets and other galaxies. You won't win forever!" Then sawboss teleports away, his figurative tail between his legs.
Later, Jayce and Oon stand just outside the the Pride's lift, facing the assembled crusaders. The sun sets behind the crusaders' castle, and everything is bathed in orange light.
"Thank you for allowing your new leader to depart with us," Jayce says. "I know your next one will be every bit as courageous."
"We've learned, my friends, that not all intruders are our enemies," says the Knight.
Oon salutes the crusaders one last time, then turns and follows Jayce into the lift. The crusaders wave farewell as the Pride blasts off, and the LL flies on toward their next adventure....
Ep. 4 "The Silver Cruisaders":
Teaser -- Notes -- Synopsis -- Neat Stuff/Food for Thought -- Snapshots -- Quotes
Previous Episode -- Next Episode -- Episode Index -- Main Wheelies Index