Chapter 8: The Good Professor...WITH A WORKING THESIS ON THE QUANTUM MECHANICS OF DOOM!
"We are Babettes," Gretchen explained, "from the planet Babeulon."
"Located in the Babeotronic galaxy." Claire added.
This was all a bit beyond me at this point, but with the way this case was going, nothing was out of the question, even if it did seem outlandishly retarded. A go-with-the-flow attitude was the only way to deal with the ever-weirder shit that keeps popping up. And my barbarian detective instinct told me it was only going to get weirder. I nodded for them to go on.
Gretchen continued: "For years, our planet has been caught up in a world-wide-wet-tshirt-war. The violence and sexy destruction will soon destroy our world if we cannot find peace."
Claire was getting upset, "It's terrible Johnny, terrible. I lost two of my sisters in the bikini jello battle of '06."
"What does my case have to do with this?" I asked.
"The only person who can put an end to our sexy, sexy war is our great leader; Queen Jenna, but she disappeared years ago." said Claire.
"Claire and I are members of our planet's Go-Go Security Squad. We were assigned to search the universe for our queen, and after years of searching and taking hot steamy showers together, we finally recieved a single transmission from her." said Gretchen.
"According to her broadcast, she is somewhere on your planet, held captive against her will by Professor Apocalypse." Claire finished.
Dammit. First the president's daughter, and now the queen of the Babettes. How many hot chicks did he have locked up? And what nefarious intentions did he have for them?
"Well, this doesn't change anything." I told the alien girls, "All we have to do is find Apocalypse. Once we get to him, both our problems are solved." I turned to Doctor Macabre, who was just beginning to regain consciousness. "Which brings us back to you Macabre."
I grabbed the doctor by the collar of his smock and lifted him up until his feet were dangling.
"Where's Professor Apocalypse!?" I screamed, my face inches from his.
He began to laugh. "You're a fool, Detective Explosion. Even if I did tell you where he was, it's impossible for you to get to him. Face it Johnny, you've lost."
I head-butted him as hard as I could. He stopped laughing. Blood shot out of his now-broken nose and he squealed in pain.
"You tell me where he is, I'll worry about getting to him." I growled.
He cried in surrender. "Okay, okay, I'll tell you. But it's still hopeless."
He was trying to stall and I knew it. "Spill it Doc, WHERE IS HE!?"
"He's in outer space!" the doctor shouted.
The Babettes gasped, but I didn't belive him. "Quit bullshitting me Macabre, there no way Apocalypse could get to space."
"I'm afraid for you, it's very much true. After you defeated him in the Avocado jungle, he went into hiding to plan the perfect scheme. He knew you'd try to stop him, and the only place you couldn't get to him is in space, so he created the S.S. Facemelter, an evil space station of his own design. With him in space and his goons doing the ground work back on Earth, he's unstoppable." The doctor pointed to the stars, "He's up there right now, just outside the Earth's orbit, looking down on us like a god. What are you gonna do Explosion? Whatcan you do?"
He wasn't lying. Professor Apocalypse really was conducting the whole operation from space. That explains why no one was able to find him.
I dropped Macabre, who immediately ran off across the rooftops. I wasn't worried about him getting away. I had bigger problems at hand.
Then I remembered the Babettes. "You are from outer space right? Don't you have a spacecraft or a UFO or something? All we gotta do is hop in your ship find the S.S. Facemelter, and put and end to this whole mess."
Gretchen and Claire looked at each other. From the somber look on their faces, I could tell they didn't have good news.
"We no longer have a spacecraft." Claire said.
"When we first arrived here, our ship was destroyed by Apocalypse's goons. We've been stranded here ever since. We knew that if we could rescue Queen Jenna, she could use her superior skills in spaceship design to get us all home." said Gretchen.
Damn. We knew were Apocalypse was, but we couldn't get to him. I was wondering if we had really made any real progress at all. I needed to clear my head. I made my way to the fire escape and to the street below.
"Where are you going?" Claire shouted behind me.
"Looking for a bar. I need a drink." I responded.
The spacewomen caught up with me as we began to walk down the street. As we looked for a halfway decent bar, we walked silently, caught up in our own thoughts.
The presidents daughter and the queen of planet Babeulon have been abducted. At this moment, a device is being constructed to destroy the planet. To stop all this, I have to get to Professor Apocalypse; but he, the girls, and the doomsday machine are tucked away in a space station floating around the Earth.
The million-dollar question here is: How do you get a barbarian detective into space?
I was pondering this when I heard a panicked cry for help about half a block away. Without thinking, I bolted down the sidewalk towards the source of the sound. It was coming from the alley. As I entered the alley, I was greeted by three mean-looking punk kids and a small elderly man. One of the punks had the old guy in a chokehold while the other two were taking turns punching him. They all immediately noticed me, shoved the old guy aside and turned their attention on me.
"You got a problem, chump?" the one who I think was the leader said, pulling out a switchblade.
These guys must be new in town. I almost felt bad for them. Almost.
Thirty seconds later, the three punks were layed across the alley in various states of disarray and missing a combined total of seventeen teeth. The old man stared at me with a look of disbelief.
"You okay?" I asked.
"Yes, I believe so. Thank you so much, mister....uh..."
"Name's Johnny Explosion." I said, offering a handshake.
"Well, Mr. Explosion, consider me grateful for you kindness."
He was a small man, probably in his fifties, with thin grey hair sticking out if his head in all directions. He was wearing a pair of thick-rimmed glasses, slightly crooked on his face, a dirty white labcoat and a bright red bowtie. He was completely out of place in this alley on this side of town with all the punks and pushers.
I had to ask, "What's your story old man? What's a guy like you doing in a place like this? Are you a crackhead, or is there some sort of new nerd-themed gang in town?"
He laughed, "My, such curious nature! Such an inquisitive mind!"
"I'm a detective, it's in my nature." I responded.
"Ah yes, a detective! Using powers of deduction and reason to right wrongs and bring justice to those who need it! Solving the mysteries of the criminal mind! A wonderous profession indeed!" He was waving his arms about dramatically, it was almost cartoonish.
He continued, "But to answer your question, detective; I neither a crackhead nor brutish hooligan. I am simply a down-on-his-luck scientist who specials in unconventional Earth-to-orbit travel who got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. I would surely have met a bitter end at the hands of those brutes had you not showed up."
He talked a mile a minute, and most of it sounded like aimless rambling, but I thought I caught something. I looked at Claire and Gretchen for reassurance, and the look on their faces told me they heard it to.
"What a minute. What did you say you worked in again? 'universal Earth-to-somethingorother'?" I asked.
He smiled even bigger, "Oh, forgive me. Once I start going, I tend to never silence myself. My specialty is unconventional Earth-to-orbit travel."
I though I knew what he was talking about, but I had to be sure. "Earth-to-orbit, that's like, to get from here to outer space right?"
"Indeed it is detective; but unconventionally. My passion is inventing newer, simpler ways for man to get to the stars. Unfortunately, unconventional space travel is a new, unperfected science that is mocked by my closed-minded peers. But one day, man will get to space by means cheaper and easier than their old-fashioned rockets. By slingshot perhaps, or a really big trampoline. And then my colleges will finally see that unconventional space travel truely is a great science indeed!"
He kept on talking, but I had tuned it out. I shot the Babettes a look only to see they were shooting the same look back at me. All three of us were thinking the same thing. I turned back to the scientist.
"Hey professor, how about you join me and my...associates for a drink?" I said. "We've got something of a proposal for you."
Unconventional space travel? Sounds dangerous! A planet of alien babes? Sounds awesome! Will Johnny make it into space in time to save the universe, or will he wind up another tragic, unconventional-space-travel-related accident? Find out in the next awesome-packed chapter of SPACEDOOM: A Johnny Explosion Adventure!