SPACEDOOM: A Johnny Explosion Adventure
Chapter 9: This is Ground Control...YOU ARE CLEARED FOR DOOM!
We took the professor, who's named turned out to be Dr. Theodore Cornhole, to a nearby bar where we got a couple rounds of beer and told him our situation. He listened quietly to our predicament, nodding every now and then in understanding with a look on his face that only a scientist could have; analyzing the ever-odder situation from all angles and forming silent hypothesis'. This may be a matter of galactic life or death, but to him it was just another scientific equation to solve.
"Let me make sure I have all the correct information;" he said after we finished our story, "in order to save both Earth and Babeulon, we have to get the barbarian to this Professor Apocalypse's S.S. Facemelter, which is currently orbiting in space around our humble planet."
"That iz correct." Gretchen confirmed.
Dr. Cornhole pondered for a few more moments, then asked "Since the consequences are so dire, why can't you get a spaceship from the neo-government?"
I took this one. "Knowing Professor Apocalypse like I do, you can bet your labcoat that his evil space station is going to be armed to the teeth with all kinds of ass-bizarre space cannons and stuff, and the neo-government and neo-NASA don't have any ships designed for space battle. If we take any conventional ship to the Facemelter, it'll be blasted to space-scrap the moment we're in eyesight."
Claire added, "Which is why we need you, Dr. Cornhole. Because of your expertise in unconventional space travel, we were hoping you could find a way to quickly get us aboard the S.S. Facemelter."
"So we need to get you from Earth to the Facemelter quickly to avoid detection and interception?" Dr. Cornhole summarized.
"Pretty much." I said, "Do you have anything that can do that?"
He scratched his chin in thought for a second and responded, "Yes, I believe I have something that can do just that. I must warn you though, it is very unconventional and there would be a potential for danger."
I almost laughed, "Dangerous and unconventional? That's like Tuesday for me. Let's do it."
Dr. Cornhole's face lit up, presumably excited about the chance to do something science-y. "Splendid! I have a warehouse a few blocks from here that houses all of my work. I you all can follow me, we can walk there from here."
Holy shit. Things were starting to actually work out in my favor. I threw the money for the drinks on the table and we all left the bar and made our way to Cornhole's impromptu lab. He led the way, all but skipping in excited anticipation.
As we were walking I asked him, "So what exactly do you have in mind for this doc? You got some kinda super-sonic-super-speedy-spaceship or something?"
"Not...quite." the doctor responded, and before I could ask for clarification, he explained, "The method I have to get you into space is a bit too complicated to explain. Once we get to my warehouse, you will see what I mean."
Fortunately we found ourselves ourside Cornhole's warehouse less than five minutes later. It was a large brick building about two stories tall, most likely originally used as a storage facility. Sticking out of the center of the warehouse was a massive iron smokestack that had to be three times as tall as the building that housed it. Flanking each side of the warehouse was a dog food plant and a dildo factory.
"I apologize for the unstately appearance." Cornhole said, "Unfortunately, the life of an unsponsored man of science is not a glamorous one."
"Don't worry about it doc. In my line of work, you see alot of ghetto scientists. Believe me, I've seen much worse than this." I said, thinking particularly of my many bouts with Captain McDeathenstien; a mad scientist whose base of operations was a train station bathroom.
Dr. Cornhole led us in through a massive iron door. The building was windowless, so once we got inside we found ourselves in complete darkness. I listened as Cornhole navigated the dark warehouse. He tripped over a few things, which was followed by the sound of glass shattering, and finally found and hit the power switch. The warehouse lab light up and sprang to life, countless unidentifiable machines and gadgets and doodads clanking and buzzing and humming doing whatever it is they were supposed to do.
The entire warehouse was one massive room, and Dr. Cornhole had done an impressive job of converting it into his makeshift lab. Scattered everywhere in an order only the lab's sole inhabitant could understand was various science-y and seemingly random non-science-y things: several portable chalkboards and drawing boards with unintelligable equations and stick figure drawings on them, beakers and bunson burners of every size and shape, a collection of red crowbars stacked neatly on a rack with a sign that read "IN CASE OF EMERGENCY", a giant abacus the size of a small car somehow hooked up to an old dot matrix printer, globes and homemade planetary models hanging everywhere, a Dungeons & Dragqueens pinball machine, and who-knows-how-many other odds and ends that I couldn't even identify, all centered around the base of that massive smoke stack.
"Nice place." Claire said.
"Why thank you dear. It may not be much, but I manage." said Cornhole.
While all this was indeed very interesting what really peaked my interest was the complete and total lack of anything that resembled a spaceship.
"I really hate to have to skip the tour doc, but we gotta get to work." I said, "What's the plan, you got a teleporter or an underground super-rocket or something?"
"Yes! A man who never loses focus, interesting indeed. As for the device that will send you to space..." he pointed at the smokestack, "Behold the Cornhole Cannon!"
I have to admit, I didn't see that one coming. "That things a fucking cannon?" I said.
"Not just a cannon, a space cannon!" Cornhole said.
"I too do not follow, please explain doctor." Gretchen added.
The doctor explained...in detail, "Yes indeed. You see, this cannon has been designed to sync up with my telescopeometer. I find a desired location in space - in this case the S.S. Facemelter - through my telescopeometer and it sends the coordinates to the Cornhole Cannon, which automatically aims itself towards the target. Then we enter the payload - and in this case that would be you detective. With the payload properly loaded into the space cannon, I just press fire and the twelve nuclear warheads I uh...acquired will detonate in their storage chamber deep beneath this warehouse. Then the pure explosive force - comparable only to the unmeasurable force of mad and crazy and vengeful god - will shoot up and out of the cannon, sending with it the payload - again, that's you Johnny - which will fire out of the cannon and towards the targetted destination at a speed of approximately Oh-Holy-Fuck. Simple as that."
This had to be a joke. Had to be. Exploding crackheads, chainsaw-faced retards, space babes, and now Dr. Happypants is sitting here telling me he want's to literally shoot me into space and he expects me to just jump into the cannon with a smile on my face.
"Let me make sure I got this straight." I said, "You're going to shoot me out of a cannon..."
"...into outer space..."
"...a cannon powered by a nuclear explosion..."
"Well technically, twelve simultaneous nuclear explosions, but yes."
"...and I'm supposed to be okay with this?"
Claire sensed my obvious disapproval. "I know it's scary Johnny, but it's our only chance."
"It's not scary, it's stupid!" I shouted.
"I prefer the term 'unconventional'." Cornhole said. Then he handed me a bizarre walkie-talkie-looking gadget, "Take this. When you arrive at the Facemelter, you need to disable the station's defense mechanisms so we can join you. Once you do so, use that to radio in to us and the babettes and I will fly up and meet you there in my Relax-O-Rocket."
"Sounds like a good plan." Gretchen said. Bitch.
"Now if you all will momentarily excuse me, I shall go and set up the proper coordinates." Cornhole said, heading for the telescopeometer.
As the doctor left, Claire came up to me and put a hand on my shoulder. "It's going to be dangerous up there Johnny," she pulled a space-age-looking pistol out of her pocket and handed it to me, "I want you to take this to be safe."
I looked at the pistol. It had all the basic mechanics of a handgun: handle-end, trigger, shooty-end, but it looked alien in design. Probably a babette weapon. Whatever it was, I didn't want it. "I don't need this. All I need to protect myself and stop Apocalypse is my trusty broadsword, Excelsior." I told her.
She took the space pistol back. She looked like she wanted to insist I take it, but even though she was from another planet, she knew it was better to not insult a barbarian's pride by making them carry a gun.
"How are you feeling, Johnny Detective?" Gretchen asked, "You do not seem very happy about this plan."
"Of course I'm not happy!" I shouted, "You all are trying to shoot me out of a fucking nuclear-space-cannon-fucking-thing! I didn't sign up for this shit."
"I know this isn't how you wanted it to go down, but please Johnny, your planet depends on you. My planet depends on you." Claire pleaded, "If you won't do it for the universe...will you do it for me?"
I was just about to tell Claire that she, her planet, my planet, and the entire fucking universe can kiss my ass and find some other dumb bastard to shoot out of a damn nuclear cannon when a loud explosion blasted a massive hole in the far wall of the warehouse and dozens of Apocalypses goons came pouring in, all wearing ghetto space armor like some wannabe-bargain-bin stormtroopers.
"Stop the barbarian for the glory of Apocalypse!" the one that must have been the leader shouted.
The babettes both had space guns out and were picking them off and I was about to charge them with Excelsior, but Gretchen grabbed my arm. "We will hold them off Johnny, you must get to ze cannon!" she ordered.
"I'm not gonna leave you guys in the middle of this mess!" I protested. I wasn't worried about them - they were Babeulonian warriors after all - I just didn't want to miss out on the fun.
"We can handle a couple of costumed henchmen. You have to go now!" Gretchen said.
"I have the coordinates Mr. Explosion. The Cornhole Cannon is ready to go!" Dr. Cornhole chimed in.
"Go Johnny! Please! You're our only hope!" Claire added.
Damn, they were insistant. I didn't like it, but they were right. This was probably our only chance to stop Professor Apocalypse. With the babettes providing cover, I bolted to the space cannon, found the entry hatch, and jumped in. The interior of the cannon was about the size of an elevator with no features except a little radio speaker. Light poured in above me and I realized that the cannon wasn't going to fire me off in a little pod or safety containment unit with seats and harnesses and all that, it was just firing me. This was going to be like those carnival shows where the guy gets shot out of the cannon, except this time, the cannon isn't gunpowder, it's twelve nuclear warheads.
This was a stupid idea.
Suddenly, Dr. Cornhole came in over the radio speaker. "Get ready for lift-off Johnny!"
"I hate you." I replied.
"Lift-off in three..."
"You guys suck and I hate you."
"I hate you all so very much."
"When I get out of here, I'm going to do horrible things to you."
"I'm gonna-" and then shit got real. There was a roar so loud that "deafening" doesn't do it justice. Then there was the feeling of movement. Of speed. It was so intense, I wasn't really aware of it at first. I kinda went stupid for a second and forgot who I was and what was going on. Then I came to my senses and looked down. Dr. Cornhole pressed the LAUNCH button maybe a second and a half ago and already his warehouse looked like nothing more than a dot below me.