Chapter 10: Rocketman, Burning Out His Fuse Up Here…WITH DOOM!
Three seconds ago, I was standing in the firing chamber of an untested cannon, several live nuclear warheads below me. 2.99 seconds ago, those nuclear warheads fired, propelling me into the heavens. Now, I can see the curvature of the earth.
These past three seconds have been educational, amongst other things. I learned that, when multiple nuclear warheads are detonated for the sole purpose of propelling you, the contents of your bladder will evacuate the premises. No matter what. Fortunately, you're going so mind-fuckingly fast that you're dry before you even notice it. I also learned that the human body isn't designed to break the sound barrier without the aid of a protective vessel. That shit hurts really bad.
I may have been screaming, but honestly I couldn't tell, I wasn't exactly aware of much of anything for the first few seconds. But as the surroundings faded from sky-blue to outer-space-black, I knew I had to get my game face on.
Snap out of it Johnny, we've got a case to solve. I told myself.
BARBARIANS WEREN'T MADE FOR SPACE TRAVEL! I fired back.
Bullshit. There is no problem that can't be solved with barbarian know-how. I countered, remembering the first lesson my father Grundig taught me.
That did it. I may be flying at break-everything speeds through the endless void of darkest space, but I had my unbreakable barbarian sense of focus back. The job was pretty straightforward; get into the S.S. Facemelter (preferably undetected), find Professor Apocalypse, mess his world up, save the girls. Pretty basic stuff really, I've done it countless times before. This time, it was just that, but in space.
Flying through the blackness of space, I scanned the stars for the S.S. Facemelter. Luckily, the Cornhole Cannon's aim was true, as I eventually saw the evil spacestation appear directly in my flight path. At first, it was just a small grey dot, but as I got closer I was able to get a better idea of what I was dealing with. If I had to guess, I'd say this thing was about as long as one and a half football fields and roughly ten stories tall. It was rectangular in shape, with various doodads, satellites, laser cannons and such, sticking out of it. Towards the back was what appeared to be a docking station filled with car-sized, single-pilot fighterships. Sticking out of the front in what must have been the control deck was a giant skull with erratic, frizzled hair and a pair of laboratory goggles - Apocalypse’s insignia.
And the fucking thing had a shark fin. I really don't understand villains at all.
The entire thing floated silently through the infinite abyss of space. There was no external security that I could see, no fighterships around, just me and the colossal spacestation. I eyed the docking station, this looked like the best place to enter. I unstrapped my surfboard, fired it up, and used it to steer myself towards the docking area.
Aside from the hum of the board and the distant roar of the Facemelter, all was silent. There was only about 300-450 yards between me and the station now and I was quickly closing the gap. I could now see what appeared to be an entrance lift in the docking station, my instincts were correct – this was my way in.
Good work Johnny. Just slip in silently, make your way to the control deck, and…
“PREPARE TO DIE, BARBARIAN SCUM!!!” the entire spacestation roared. Suddenly alarms were going off, lights were flashing, laser cannons were turning in my direction; it was like the Facemelter was a rabid wooly mammoth that was just woken from a deep, angry slumber, and I was the poor dumb bastard that disturbed it’s hateful, murderous rest.
I immediately recognized the voice blasting through the external speakers, I focused my eagle-like, barbarian eyes to the control deck, and there he was. The goggles that the station’s giant skull were wearing doubled as a windshield and there I saw the tiny silhouette of my nemesis, the man behind the whole case, Professor Apocalypse.
“DOOMFIGHTERS, DESTROY HIM!!!” his commands issued gigantic through the station’s speaker system. I turned back to the docking station to see that the once-dormant fighterships were now manned and were all flying in my direction like a swarm of vengeful murder-bees.
I pulled out my broadsword, they responded by firing a wave of lasers at me. I cranked my rocketboard to full speed and charged them. With their lasers speeding at me, and me speeding at them, this was officially the most awesomest version of intergalactic chicken ever. Fortunately for me, the combination of my gnarly rocket surfing skills and zero gravity made me even more agile and totally extreme. I was darting back and forth, flipping upside-down, and doing wicked spins through the lasers, dodging them effortlessly as I rocketed towards the fighterships. As soon as the closest fighter was in range, I shot past it and sliced it half, resulting in a massive explosion.
The rest of the fighterswarm began to buzz around me and within moments I was surrounded on all directions and everything went nuts. The ships were sweeping past me, laser were flying everywhere, they were doing everything they could to turn me into a red spacestain. I continued to fight my way to the docking station, bobbing and weaving through both the lasers that were coming at me from all directions and the fighterships that were trying to ram me. Ships were exploding everywhere, struck by friendly-fire lasers, colliding with each other, and getting hit by the lasers I was deflecting with my sword. The darkness of space was lit by the fire of explosions and laser cannons. Back on earth, it may have just looked like a bright spot in the sky, a large star maybe, but up here, it was hell in space.
Slowly, I made my way to the docking station. My plan was to land and make a break to the entrance lift. Suddenly, when I was only about 100 yards away one of those damn fighterships got a luck break and side-swiped me, killing the engine on my board and sending me tumbling uncontrollably through space.
I mashed the controls of the board trying to get it to restart, but to no avail. As I watched the docking station get further and further away from me, I knew I was screwed. I was a sitting duck for the fighters to pick off, and if they were feeling exceptionally cruel, all they had to do was leave me alone and let me float off in space forever.
The chose the former, one lone fighter buzzed towards me while the rest set back, preferring to be audience to my annihilation. The solo executioner came to a stop about 50 yards away from me and hovered in place.
The laser cannon pointed toward me and I gritted my teeth in anticipation. Without my board, there was no way I could dodge it. The best I could do would be to use my sword to deflect it back at him. I was still doomed, but at least I could take one more of Apocalypse’s goons with me.
The laser began to glow with power, preparing to fire. Then, after several excruciating seconds, it faded and the cannon lowered once more. For a second, I didn’t understand what was going on, but then the fighter’s propulsion rockets fired back to life and it immediately became clear: this bastard was going to smash into me again, knock me around for a while before he finished me off.
The other fighterships were buzzing around excitedly, like an excited coliseum audience hungry for blood. The ship that was to be my executioner remained still, but the roar of its rockets grew louder and louder. He was charging up for one full-speed hit, and he was taking his time; savoring the moment. That’s when I realize I may have a chance. My plan was a long-shot, but it was the only shot I had left. I sheathed my sword, strapped my rocketboard to my back and waited, unarmed, for the killing blow.
With a deafening explosion from the propulsion rockets, the fightership shot at me like a bullet. At the last possible second, I pushed with all my massive barbarian mass to the side, sending me floating to the side of the fighter. Then, with lighting-fast reflexes, I reached out and snatched the fightership’s wing and sent the ship spinning around me. Now I had the ship in a deathgrip and we were both spinning in place in a bizarre waltz.
I was an Olympic hammer-thrower and this poor bastard was my hammer of choice. We were spinning faster and faster; speeds were way past dizzying. I looked at the pilot, who had just decorated the interior of his ship with whatever he had for lunch. He looked at me and pounded on the window desperately.
“Please, let me go!” he said.
“Let you go? No problem.” I replied.
Pushing my barbarian strength to the limit and using the ship’s momentum against it, I launched the fighter directly at the side of the S.S. Facemelter. The pilot wrestled with the controls, but was completely helpless. The small ship collided with the Facemelter like an asteroid smashing into a small planet. There was another awesome explosion and when the flames cleared, I could see a car-sized hole in the side of the spacestation. It was nothing but a blemish compared to the massive scale of the Facemelter, but it was more than enough for me.
Screw the docking station, this was my way in.
The other fighterships remained motionless, obviously still shocked by what just happened. I pulled out my rocketboard and gave it a quick smack, knocking it back to life just as the fighters turned their attention to me. I jumped on the board and sped to the improvised back door. The fighterships tried to chase me, but I had already gained too much distance. I shot through the hole and seconds later, I could hear the explosions as fightership after fightership tried to follow me through the hole, but couldn’t make the tight squeeze.
Well, it didn’t exactly go as planned, but I was inside the S.S. Facemelter. Professor Apocalypse was only the length of a spacestation away.
I was never one for subtlety anyway.
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.
SPACEDOOM is coming along. I originally wanted to say it was coming along nicely, but I'm not sure if nicely would be the correct term for my feelings on this project. I have to admit, I'm equally delighted and freaked out by the random shit I'm coming up with for this story. My current take on it is, if something I created can warrant comments like this:
Are there two beautiful young women being held captive? Or are the president's daughter and leader of Babeulon one and the same? Does Jamie even know yet? I can't decide?
Then I must be doing something right. By the way Randy, they are being held against their will, Professor Apocalypse is a bastard like that. And no, I don't even know yet. I used to have an idea what was going on with this story, but it started doing it's own thing several chapters ago.
I've finished the latest editing on Wayward 2, and right now the only thing holding it up is my abilty to pay for it's printing. With Christmas and the up-until-yesterday understanding that I was going to be unemployed, shelling out money for printing was at the bottom of my survival priorities. Now that I'm not soon-to-be broke, I'll have to take another look at my situation.
Artwork on Wayward 3 is coming along nicely, but the book is long as hell, don't expect to see it completed, edited, and printed anytime soon.
If you've seen the news recently, then you probably know that Rod Blago-whatever-the-fuck-it-is, our state governor, as recently been busted trying to sell the senate seat recently made vacant by Obama's presidental victory. I have to admit I get a sick pleasure out of turning on the local news or opening a newspaper to see picture after picture of our governor with that scared kid look on his face. He's a twat. He's a corrupt twat and I hate him. I hate him so much that I can't even be arsed to go and look up how to properly spell his last name.
Damn this entry sucks. I blame the weather. It's so fucking cold out there that I can't even hate properly. PROTIP: Never shave your head a month before Chicago winter sets in, moron. Hopefully, I'll be able to post some more worthwhile inane rambling bullshit once my brain thaws.
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!