Back in the engineering room, Empath, Handy, and Dreamy noticed that the crew was somehow acting as if they have come out of sleepwalking, and are now fully aware of the current situation. They were now exiting the room and heading for the emergency escape pods. Empath had sensed that the fusion core overload sequence had also shut down the mind-controlling technologies that were implanted inside the Schliphargon captives, enabling them to flee for their lives.
Flyro now joined the three of them as they too left the engineering room. “I will take you three to the hangar bay where my ship is held captive,” he told them. “The force field and tractor beam that’s keeping the ship held there will weaken in less than two minutes.”
Unfortunately, Flyro and the three Smurfs didn’t get too far from the engineering room, when they found themselves blocked from their escape by Heftargan and his full complement of the Talektharkon, all of them aiming powerful energy beam weapons at them, ready to shoot.
“You’re not going anywhere, p’targaphnes, until the soft-bellied blue warrior returns to the engineering room and tells the computer to cancel the overload sequence,” Heftargan declared.
“It’s too late, Heftargan,” Empath spoke. “The computer won’t recognize any abort commands, even coming from this smurf, who made sure that the computer won’t recognize them. In less than two minutes, you and everyone still left on board this ship will die when it self-destructs.”
“You will die before you even reach the ship that brought you here,” Heftargan retorted. “And I’ll make sure that you and your companions die here with me if needs be.”
“Then we three will die with you and your people,” Empath calmly said.
Handy and Dreamy gulped as the Schliphargons pressed buttons on their energy beam weapons, getting them ready to fire. They had a feeling as if they were never going to get off this ship alive, if at all.
Several seconds passed as if it were an eternity, and then Heftargan bellowed, “Fire!”
The Schliphargons pulled the triggers of their weapons, but all of them began to sound as if they were now powering down. They all looked at their weapons, unable to understand what was causing them to malfunction.
Heftargan then looked at Empath, who just merely stood and smiled at their confusion. “Your block over this smurf’s minds-eye abilities is gone,” he simply spoke.
Then Empath used his minds-eye to amplify the punch that he threw in their direction. The shock wave it generated knocked the entire Talektharkon down on their backs, leaving them stunned and unable to do anything to try picking themselves back up – hopefully long enough for them to get to escape pods while they have the chance.
“We now have no more than a minute to get to the ship before the core overload reaches critical,” Flyro reported.
“Then let’s get smurfing,” Dreamy shouted as he followed behind Flyro, Empath, and Handy.
Back in the command center, Trakgharin reported: “The Talektharkon was unsuccessful in stopping the three stowaways who have activated the fusion core overload. Captain, we must consider abandoning the ship!”
“You go!” Cullivargh shouted, more than upset at Heftargan’s failure. “Join your brothers in the quest to avenge me as I face the honorable death of dying with this ship. It is my prized treasure, and I will not part with it!”
“As you command, Captain,” Trakgharin responded, bowing briefly before his captain before he ordered his fellow officers to join him in abandoning the ship.
Cullivargh merely sat back in his command chair and waited.
As Trakgharin and his command center team of Schliphargons joined Heftargan and the Talektharkon, however, they found out one disturbing thing: all the escape pods were jettisoned. “The slaves that are now free from our control must have used them all in their escape from this vessel,” a command officer named Braikegthor reported.
This made Heftargan scream in rage, cursing Empath’s name again and again.
Flyro led Empath, Handy, and Dreamy to the hangar bay where the spaceship was held in stasis by the tractor beam. They boarded it just as the electromagnetic force field that kept the atmosphere of the mothership inside began to weaken, causing everything in it to be sucked out into space.
The hatch was sealed just as Handy pulled Dreamy inside the spaceship before he got sucked out into space. They struggled to buckle themselves into their seats as Flyro reattached himself to the computer banks and the spaceship itself started to drift toward the open hangar bay hatch.
"Primary thruster engines are ready to activate at your command, Empath," Flyro announced.
"Just fly us out of here, Flyro!" Empath yelled.
The spaceship's primary thrusters fired, and soon it had launched itself from the hangar bay and back into outer space. The three Smurfs felt pressed back into their seats as the ship accelerated its speed, increasing its distance from the mothership as it continued to self-destruct as quickly as possible.
"Schliphargon mothership's power core overload at maximum threshold," Flyro reported.
From a viewscreen, the three Smurfs could see the mothership suddenly explode with such a violent fury, they could feel the impact of its shockwaves hitting their spacecraft. They fell over each other as the ship was rocked by the shockwaves. Empath could feel a lump forming in his throat again.
"Any survivors who managed to escape?" Empath asked as he got back on his feet.
Flyro performed a brief scan of the area in space where the explosion occurred. "I am sorry to say that I was not able to detect any life signs," he reported. "It is possible that all the Schliphargons on board the mothership have died in the explosion. That's all I can tell you."
Empath could feel a hole in his heart forming. He had promised that one time when he died swimming across the Pool of Souls and then was brought back to life that he would never take anymore lives in his lifetime. Now he had broken that promise. What did that say about him now?
"This smurf has failed in upholding the ideals of being a Smurf," Empath muttered, unsure if he could carry that burden of guilt again.
Dreamy put a hand on Empath's shoulder. "You haven't failed us, Empath. You protected us and the Earth from a possible invasion, even as you helped smurf us out to the stars."
"I agree with Dreamy," Handy seconded. "Let's just smurf ourselves back home."
Empath nodded, understanding. "Prepare us for re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, Flyro," he commanded as he, Handy, and Dreamy took their seats again and belted themselves in.
"Beginning planetary entry process," Flyro replied, activating the primary thrusters and sending the spaceship into a trajectory that would send them on a descent toward the region of the Smurf forest. "Energy shields activated. Descent now commencing."
The three Smurfs held on for dear life as the spaceship was buffeted by the friction of entering the Earth's atmosphere and the inside temperature slowly made its climb upward.
"Shield strength down to sixty percent," Flyro announced. "Adjusting descent trajectory."
Empath only hoped they would make it back home safely.