Ep. #7 – Mr Shiny.

Welcome back to the Adventures of Brett Bullstrider: Ranger of the Cosmos, brought to you by Faff-Co rotating radiators – Spinning heaters with absolutely no understanding of your needs!

Last week Brett and his crew were taking their brand new ship, Mr Shiny, for a quick spin around the solar system.  Brett had found that he mysteriously knew the ship inside out, but had no idea on how to fly it.  So Clara is now showing him the finer points…

‘Yeah, oh yeah, that’s real nice, just like that…ooh that’s good.  Mmm, easy does it now…now harder, harder, harder! You have to bank harder or your going to hit the asteroid!’ she shouted.

‘Sorry Miss Clara, I’m trying my best!’

‘It’s OK honey, just try not to get us killed before we’ve got past Mars.  Mr Shiny, will you activate the hull weapon sensors? Clear the road of any asteroids and debris if we get too close?’

‘Yes Miss Clara, initiating now’ said a calm, cool voice from the ships console.

‘You can tell it’s your psychological graft, even the ship calls me Miss Clara.’

‘Well you deserve it, for a women you’re a really great teacher.’

‘Thanks’ she said, accepting the backhanded compliment, as she knew Brett wasn’t clever enough to realise the insult behind it.

‘Jee whizz I sure do love this ship, thank you so much for teaching me Miss Clara.  I sure appreciate your help, but do you really have to grab my butt-cheek while I’m driving.’

‘Teaching 101 Brett, honey. Just don’t try it on no-one younger than 18 years old, OK?’

Clara smiled at her humour, but Brett hadn’t taken any notice.  She kept noticing him getting distracted; he frequently kept turning his eyes away from where he was supposed to be driving, and would look behind him and around the flight deck.  And each time he did the ship went off course. 

‘Brett, honey, you’ve got to concentrate, flatten out the pitch, your trajectory vectors are all screwy now. That’s it, ease her out.’

‘What?’ said Brett, suddenly confused (which admittedly didn’t take much).

‘What?’ responded Clara.

‘You said “her”‘

‘So? Ships are usually a her.’

‘No!’ said Brett vehemently shaking his head. ‘He’s a boy, Mr Shiny is a boy, “MR” Shiny…MR.’

‘OK Brett, sweetie, it’s a him.  My mistake.  Sorry Mr Shiny.’

‘That’s quite alright Miss Clara’ replied the smooth voice of the ship. 

Clara found its voice oddly calming.  When a new Captain takes control of the ship their psychological profile is downloaded into the ships A.I. so that it recognises the crew and works only on the crew’s instructions. It also took on useful aspects of the captains character and psyche to make it a more efficient system.  Petey was very much against letting Brett’s mind access the databases for fear of blowing it up.  However it was efficient, calm, had a heroic sounding voice, and had a brave thread of independence that made it more of a person, and less like a computer.  So much so that it had decided for itself that it did not like Petey!

Clara was considering this, and it made Brett oddly more attractive.  Aside from knowing immediately where every room and every apparatus in this ship was, he shared a strange kinship with it, which resembled more of a friendship than it did a connectivity between ship and Captain.  In fact she thought she heard the ship sharing a naughty joke with him a few hours before; she couldn’t be sure, but Brett was giggling for a good hour afterwards. As a result it was a dream to fly, it was quick, reliable, and fast.  This was impressive for its size, so much so that Clara didn’t even consider the strangeness of Brett’s insistence that the ship was a boy. And the fact the Brett was once more distracted by looking around the flight deck instead of paying attention to where he was going.

‘Brett, watch what you’re…never mind, what are you looking for?’

‘Oh jeez I’m sorry.  I was just wondering where Petey was?’

‘Mr Shiny, please locate Petey!’ asked Clara, kindly.

‘Certainly Miss Clara, Petey is hiding in the compartment underneath the navigation console.’

‘Could you give him a hand out getting out of the compartment, please?’

‘My pleasure, Miss Clara.’

There was a thud, and a snap, and Petey suddenly emerged from the compartment and slid a few feet along the floor and was greeted by a withering look from Clara.

‘What did you do that for?’ he moaned.

‘Why were you hiding in the navi-com?’ she snarled back.

‘Look if he’s driving, I’m getting somewhere safe, I’ll die as I see fit.’

To her left, Clara saw Brett bow his head in shame.  He was trying very hard to master the controls, and this time Petey’s was an insult which Brett could understand.  This made her more annoyed.

‘He’s flying fine, but he would be even better if you stop being an ass and helped him.  You are the pilot after all.’

‘No, he’ll kill us all; it’s like giving a Mercurian monkey a blaster!’

Just then a rotating radiator swished in and smacked Pete full on the head, making how bow over and clutch his head.

‘Ow! Goddammit!  I swear the damn computer is doing that on purpose!  It must have tapped into their A.I registers and manipulated their commands proxy somehow.’

‘Or they’re just Faff-Co products that work as well as any other crap they sell.’ said Clara sardonically.

‘No, it’s doing it on purpose.  Mr Shiny, shut down the radiators!’

‘Screw you Petey’ said a calm voice back.

‘You see! It hates me! !hy the hell did you program it to hate me, Brett?’

‘I didn’t, it’s supposed to obey all crew members, but for some reason I can’t override those functions.  It’s like it just doesn’t like you, Petey’ said Brett sheepishly, genuinely upset at Petey’s treatment.

‘Fantastic!’ blurted out Petey.  ‘Well I’m going to prepare for my death in one of the sauna rooms, at least I’ll be comfortable when we hurtle into a supernova!’

‘PETE!’

Petey didn’t disobey when Clara used her angry voice.  She scarcely used it, but since meeting Brett it was becoming more frequent.  He turned round to face her; a face full of anger, and she nodded over to Brett, who was still flying the ship with his head bowed.  Petey took the hint and walked over to Brett at the flight console.

‘Fine! Let’s see what you’ve got then, Brett.’

Brett’s head lifted, and his enthusiasm seemed to return.  Suddenly Brett was giving his full concentration to the task in hand.  Petey gave him some expert pointers, and Brett immediately altered his flight path.  Clara couldn’t help but smile, despite all of Petey’s barbed comments and insults, Brett was actually doing his best to impress Petey. 

‘Is that ok? Like that?’ asked Brett determinedly.

‘That’s fine, mind the pitch though. Lift her up a bit…there you go.  That’s good.’

‘Really? I’m doing good?’ Brett asked enthusiastically, asking as though Petey’s blessing would make his day.

‘You’re doing…doing good Brett’ he said reluctantly.  Even Petey wasn’t cruel enough to subdue Brett’s honest enthusiasm.

‘Aww jee willickers Petey that sure is swell.’

‘Well, well boys’ said Clara, content that her boys were beginning to get along (sort of) ‘ where in space will it be, Mr Captain, sir?’

Brett looked forwards and out to the stars and planets that dotted the abyss in front of them.  All of space in front; adventure, places few dared to tread, and it was all at their feet.  Brett began to bounce up and down and shake his hands in a gesture very reminiscent of a school girl who’s just seen a handsome pop star.  Clearly an idea had emerged in his boyish mind.

‘I know the very place we can go, let’s plot a course for…gulp.’

Suddenly Brett’s body convulsed violently.  Then again, making him double up and start rubbing his head furiously.

‘Brett? Honey? What’s the matter?’

‘Did you see that?’ said Petey, looking a little frightened, ‘he damn near kicked me he convulsed so bad!’

Brett convulsed again, then started to shake his head. 

‘Brett, sweetie, what’s going on?’

Clara saw Brett drool. He wiped his mouth, then spoke in strained voice.

‘That time of the month.’

‘What?’ said Clara with a scowl.

Brett then dropped to the floor in a seizure.  As he fell he cracked his head on the flight console, and suddenly alarms started to flare around the flight deck.  Brett was shaking violently, making loud raspberry’s as he convulsed.

‘Mr Shiny, what has happened?’ shouted Petey.

‘Shut up Petey!’ answered the ship.

‘Dammit not, now, what the hell is happening?’ he screamed over the sirens.

‘Mr Shiny, please, what has happened?’ asked Clara as the ship began to shake and the engines start to gear up.

‘As Brett fell his head hit the wormhole manipulator, the ship is readying for warp-jump.’ answered the ship calmly.

‘But we didn’t input a trajectory or co-ordinates, we could be flying anywhere in space!’ screamed Petey.

‘Shut up Petey.’

Clara and Petey strapped themselves, and the now still and unconscious Brett, in the best they could as the warp drives fired.  The ship groaned and creaked as it was thrown into a travel sequence it wasn’t prepared for.  And then as the final alarm chimed, they were thrown into the vortex…

Mr Shiny has been thrown into warp-jump with no destination inputted into the navigation console.  The jump puts the ship under extreme force.  When, and if, they pull out of the jump, they could be anywhere in the galaxy, stranded.  With Captain Brett unconscious from his mysterious seizure, can Petey and Clara save the ship?

Find out next week on the Adventures of Brett Bullstrider: Ranger of the Cosmos.

“Past the Nebula, and into the Black Hole!”

Fubar Robinson

 

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Episode #6 – Into the great beyond…

Welcome back to The Adventures of Brett Bullstrider: Ranger of the Cosmos, brought to you by Faff-Co Double-R Rotating Radiators, anti gravity heaters that have been heating your ceilings and decapitating pets for nearly 50 years.

And so we join our hero Brett Bullstrider on the cusp of a brand new adventure.  He is living his dream of being a Galactic Ranger! He now has the badge, the gadgets, the crisp blue uniform, and now all he needs is his brand new ride.  Each Ranger gets their very own, brand new, interstellar cruiser, and they get to name the craft themselves.  Brett has just told his new crew members, Clara and Petey, what he has called the ship…

‘Mr Shiny!’ spat Petey, ‘is he serious?’

‘Well it is shiny’ conceded Clara. 

‘You do not call Class 5 Interstellar vessels; leviathans of the space age – Mr goddamn Shiny!’

‘Well that’s what he’s going with…bless his little heart he’s so excited.’

Brett’s beaming face popped out from the ship’s hatch, he was positively glowing with over-excitement.

‘Jee whizz guys what are you doing down there? Time for lift off, she’s ready to go!’

Petey and Clara shared a look.

‘Are you sure about that, Brett Honey?’ Clara asked tentatively, willing him to be joking.

‘Sure, I’m sure.’

‘I don’t hear the engines’ pointed out Petey, sardonically.

‘Erm…well these new ships are real quiet’ replied Brett.

‘Well that’s impressive, Brett. So I trust you’ve aligned the guiding systems, programmed the gravitational transvectors, thrust polarities and couplers are powered up and managed to do all by first overriding the security failsafes to allow you to fire it up with the emergency exit wide open and with your head poking out of it?’

Petey took great glee in seeing Brett’s dumb, smiling face fall gradually into a constipated, confused frown.  He’d once again shown Clara Brett’s idiocy, and in doing so earning himself a scowl from her that was fast becoming her preferred mode of address towards him. 

‘I think maybe you need to re-read the manual, sweetie’ said Clara in an attempt to relieve Brett’s constipated expression, which was in danger of becoming too strained and may well make Brett’s head explode (wouldn’t that be a shame, thought Petey.)

As Brett disappeared Petey got an all too familiar jab in the ribs.

‘What was that for?’

‘What do you think, pea-brain!’

‘I’m not the pea-brain Clara, I mean come on! “We’re ready for lift off” these craft, these, titans of the space age, are like skyscrapers with thrusters, with the power to knock small moons out of their orbit, if it were ready for lift off I think you and me might here the engines!’

‘I know, Pete, I know.’

‘Do you? You’ll be taking orders from this guy, god help us if there happens to be a big red self destruct button in there! And you know what Faff-Co are like with putting big, obvious, self-destruct buttons.’

‘Then walk away, Pete.’

‘What?’

‘Just leave, you don’t have to be here.  You don’t have to do anything he says. Quit your bitching, and leave.’

Petey was blind-sided.  He had come to expect Clara to defend her moron-crush, but she had never been so blunt and aggressive about it.

‘I’m just looking out for you’ he murmured.

‘I can take care of myself Pete.  And I’m prepared to fly on his ship.  You’ve always wanted to fly one of these things too, no more 2 class freight-junkers, no more Faff-co crap, no more pirates, just the wide universe for us to explore.  Me and you are the best in the business, and we can keep him in check.  But if you can’t handle taking orders from him, you have to leave, right now.’

Petey knew what she was saying, and he would never have left her alone.  He knew she could take care of herself, but he wasn’t going to watch she who he loved the most fly away with a moron pretty boy.  But he couldn’t tell her the truth, he had been on the verge of doing so before, but now she only looked at him with annoyance and this alone sapped him of confidence.  One day she would get fed up with the pretty, boy, and he was going to be there when she did.

‘So what’s it to be Pete?’

‘Well…like you said, I’ve always wanted to fly one of these ships.  Should be fun.’

‘And Brett?’

‘I’ll just have to learn to hold my tongue.’

‘Right.’ She stormed off up the walkway and onto the ship.  Petey took a look around, looking at the collective masses of metal and fuel around him.  The bullets of space, spewing fumes and heat in the morning sunlight.  He knew spacecraft, and he knew this spaceport like the back of his hand; he’d loved it ever since he was a small child.  And as much as it pained him to say it, ‘Mr Shiny’ was the most impressive ship here.  Sparkling, shimmering in the purple sunrise.  The gravitational veneer splitting the sun’s light into many different colours.  The sun seemed to cast a halo around the point of this massive vessel.  All the star pilots around were looking at it lustfully.  It was with great delight that he stepped on board-like he was taking the hottest girl in school to prom and was looking out at the looks of envy.  Yes it was being captained by an idiot, but he forgot that as the thrill of space travel came over him; it hadn’t diluted over time, the feeling of impending adventure was, if possible, more tense, frightening, and thrilling as it ever had been.

The trouble was that the ship was so big that finding the flight deck was pretty problematic.

‘Where the hell are we?’ spat Clara, whom Petey had found wandering near a cargo hold.

‘I’m not sure, pretty boy clearly hasn’t activated the A.I. hub yet.’

A crackle around the room, and then Brett’s gleeful voice echoing all around.

‘Just turned it on now Petey, what are you two doing in the Cargo hold anyhow?’

‘Brett? Where are you?’

‘Waiting for you on the flight deck. Jee whizz it’s real easy to navigate huh?’

‘Unbelievable, he can barely tie his own shoes yet some how he can navigate this labyrinth.’

‘Shut up Pete! Brett honey, tell the computer to guide us to the flight deck will you?’

‘Sure will Miss Clare’ another crackle and he was gone. 

Once the ship responded they were able to get guided to the flight deck, and as they approached they heard Brett, seemingly, talking to himself.

‘I sure love the ship Mr. President, it’s real whizzers.’

‘I’m so glad you like it my boy, crackled President Huer’s voice through the communicator.

‘It’s weird, it’s like I’ve known it my whole life.  I found the flight deck easily, ‘though I never came here before.  I feel like I know every inch, except how to fly it.’

‘You’ll learn that fast enough I’m sure, you’re clearly a natural Ranger.  Plus, you have pilots for a reason.’

‘Yeah, I guess so.’

‘Well, enjoy taking it for a spin, my boy.’

With a beep the line was cut.  Brett looked pensively for a moment, which seem to cause him a degree of discomfort, before realising Petey and Clara had finally arrived.

And finally, it was time.  Nya-Gara trembled as Mr Shiny’s engines and thrusters roared into life.  All craft paled in comparison to this shining spear which tore through the sky.  It plunged into the stratosphere and squelched through the Perma-U.V. and the veil of stars and darkness unfolded in front of them.  they were plunging into the great, partially explored, abyss.

Brett smiled with glee, he was going to see the universe.  Petey smiled too, adventure is here again and he was flying his dream ship into the great unknown.  It was at this moment that Clara realised just how alike the two men in her life really were, and decided they needed to become friends.   After all, they were now off to tread where mere mortals only dare to imagine.

Join us next week when our intrepid explorers are thrown into the vortex of time and space and find themselves lost on a mysterious farting planet.

‘Past the Nebula, and into the Black hole!’

Fubar Robinson

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Ep #5 – Prologue

‘At last my plans are beginning to come tor fruition, in a few days time I shall be almost invincible’ slimed Baron Von Hammer.

‘But the failure at the Magisterial complex, master’ answered the slightly wheezy voice of Putrid.  You know the type…the ‘Igor’ figure, except he was tall, muscular, and no hump on his back.  Von Hammer simply liked the reference – few now remembered the primitive entertainment function humans once called the ‘Flicks’.

‘That was not a failure, Putrid, just an unfortunate divergence from the plan.  It matters not, I don’t think I want the sloppy seconds of Huer’s Nya-Gara.’ 

‘I do not understand, Master.’

‘You don’t, are your cognitive functions leaking fluids again?’

‘No Master, I do not know the term “Sloppy Seconds”.’

‘And you never shall, not when I burn Nya-Gara to the ground!’

‘But the warning Master, what about the warning?’

‘Yes, that is rather troublesome, but it can easily be avoided.  You know what you must do?’

‘Yes Master.’

‘Then off you go…make me proud…my sweet creation…and with him goes every hope life that Nya-Gara holds dear, then the Universe will be mine to play with.  It will be nothing but ash when I am finished with it.  But first…I shall have my revenge…Brett Bullstrider…will die!’

Even with the sound of deep-core drilling in the distance, Von Hammer’s notorious ‘evil’ laugh ws not to be overawed.

Fubar Robinson

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Episode #4 – Rise of the Plumber – Part 4

Welcome back to The Adventures of Brett Bullstrider: Ranger of the Cosmos! Brought to you by Faff-Co’s new pocket kitchen, for the fatty on the go!

Last week our intrepid heroes Brett, Clara, and Petey were in a race against time to save President Huer from almost certain death from a nameless foe  who drove his Gyrocosmolator right into the Magisterial Complex. Can Brett reach The President in time?  Honestly…probably not!

 

Brett clutched his side, gripping the pain that had overcome his left side and had him gasping for breath.  It was a very long stairwell!

‘What level are we on now?’ he panted.

‘One more than the last time you asked!’ scowled Petey.

‘Well Jee willickers…we’ve been climbing for hours!’

‘It’s been 10 minutes!’

Petey was trying desperately not to lose his temper, and while it would definitely be satisfying to club Brett around the head and send him tumbling all the way to the bottom like a Slinky-bot, he didn’t think the spell in the Mercury jails were worth it.

‘I hope you boys are playing nicely’ echoed Clara’s voice from above.

‘Jee whizz how did she get up there so fast?’

‘It’s these new fangled contraptions called legs they’re giving women now?’ spat Petey.

‘Women have to buy legs?’ said Brett, missing the sarcasm.

‘You have got to be kidding me!’

‘Petey play nice!’ cried Clara. ‘ Besides I think I’ve found the President.

Brett picked up his pace then, and began vaulting the stairs three at a time, but then had to stop half way up to catch his breath.  Eventually all three walked into the security room, and sure enough on the securimonitor was a prostrated and frightened looking President. Then a man came into the frame holding a blaster straight at Huer’s chest.  He was tall, old, but strong, with a long forked beard and beady eyes that seem to gleam from the shadow under his forehead.

‘Baron Von Hammer’ scowled Brett.

‘Who?’ asked Clara.

‘He used to be the defense minister, but they thought he was dead.’

‘And now he’s holding  a blaster at the President’ said Clara, watching the man who had gone great lengths to make himself look evil.

‘Let me at him!’ shouted Brett.

Brett lumbered for the door, but was held back by Petey.

‘Don’t be stupid, man! He has a blaster, as soon as you walked in you’d be reduced to dust.  Actually…forget what I said, go for it.!’

‘Pete! Come on Brett, we need to be smart!’

‘Good luck’ muttered Petey, earning him a scowl from Clara.

‘I don’t need to be smart Miss Clara…I’m a Ranger, I’m trained for this type of situation.’

Petey rolled his eyes and turned away to kick a large pipe running up through the room.  With the creak of metal came a distant gurgling; a water pipe by the look of it, thought Petey.

‘Brett, honey, I know you want to help him, but we gotta be patient’

‘But he’s going to kill him!’

‘And he could’ve done that already, it’s been a good half-hour since the crash. We need to come up with a plan first.’

‘Fine! blurted Brett.  He turned away petulantly as Clara started to scan the technology for anything that might help.

‘Jeez I can’t understand any of this control board.  Where the hell are the Rangers, they should be all over this?’

Brett would normally turn at any mention of the Rangers, and the inner child’s heart would start to beat with awe and enthusiasm.  However at that moment he saw the one thing that could distract him from the Rangers…a shiny red button.

In the office Baron Von Hammer was looming over his prey, smiling, barely blinking, glorying in his great success of a long-held planthat was finally coming to fruition.  He was savouring the carnage he had inflicted on Nya-gara’s (and the galaxy’s) stronghold of power and authority.  It was good. President Huer, however, was fearing for his life, judging by the tremble of his lower lip.  But sounding braver than he felt, he spoke;

‘How could you do this? All those murders of innocent ministers, stealing confidential information, how could you do this to Nya-gara and…what are you laughing at?’

Von Hammer had begun chuckling at the comment about ‘innocent ministers’ and it had quickly developed into a hysterical bellow – a truly frightening evil laugh that had been practised and perfected.

‘Innocent ministers? Are you joking?’ spat Von Hammer. ‘And how can I do this to Nya-gara? Ha! The ministers are ridiculous, power-hungry little weasels that only pretend to be nice to you long enough to see you hand over power or die! Preferably both!  And as for Nya-Gara? Well when they elected a trembling, decrepit, ancient bungler like you to be Presdient…again! Well let’s say they’re getting what they deserve –  a show of just how weak and easily manipulated your incumbency is!’

The President didn’t honestly understand half of what was being said, but Von Hammer was clearly determined, and keeping a deep resentment in check.

‘I would have seen this systems glory restored, shining in my beautiful image.  But no! You promise to lower the Martian supplication tax and they hail you as the messiah!’

‘That’s all this is about? Power? retorted the President.

‘Of course it is, you decaying little worm! My name is Baron Von Hammer, what else could someone with a name like mine want?’

‘Clara just let me out!’ demanded Brett, leaning on the console, not noticing the Monitors above him;  Von Hammer suddenly looked up at one of the Hovering Securicams. 

‘Brett no! I’m not unlocking the door until we have a plan.  Plus this console is crazy complicated, I’m not sure I can remember how to open it again!’

‘So I’m stuck in here with him all night? Great!’ shouted Petey.

‘Pete, don’t make me punch you!’

‘Just let me at him, Miss Clara, please!’

‘Excuse me!’ crackled a voice around the room. ‘I can hear everything you’re saying, you know?’

The three looked around for the source of the voice.  Then Petey saw, he tapped Clara on the shoulder, pointing out that both Von Hammer and Huer were looking at them out of the securimonitor.

‘How did he do that?’ asked Clara.

‘Oh it’s Ranger moron again, he’s pressing the vocaliser button!’ he pointed at the bright red button that Brett had given himself up to, he couldn’t resist for long when it came to big red buttons.

‘Oops!’

‘Well get off it then!’ screamed Petey!

A crackle around the office meant that Brett had let go of the button.  Von Hammer looked down at the President. 

‘I see you’re back-up has arrived, even a Ranger, although curious name…Ranger moron. I confess I thought they had vacated the building.’

‘You sent the Rangers away as well?’

‘Actually that was you’re orders, although I confess that I gave the Ranger Chief the idea.’

‘And how much did you have to give him to bribe him into service?’

‘Bribe? Not I President Arthritis.  No, the Rangers needed little persuasion.  You know it doesn’t take much to remember their names…it does increase the chances of loyalty.’

Another crackle around the room followed by Brett’s determined tones.

‘Just let me out, the President is in danger!’

‘Brett for Christ sake stop pressing the damn button!’ screamed Petey.

‘Brett? asked Von Hammer, a devilish grin appearing on his face.  ‘Oh surely not Huer? You’re great defender is Brett Bullstrider? Your plumber?’

‘I told you!’

‘Shut up Petey!’

‘Ye,s Von Hammer, I’m his plumber, and I’ve come to rescue him!’

‘Yes I’m sure you believe that, my poor deluded boy, but please understand that if anyone attempts to enter this room I shall execute your beloved employer. I confess I prefer him alive, but my plans will not fail should he die. Now kindly be a good boy and leave the building, and take your friends with you.

‘We’re not his friends!’

‘Pete I swear I’m going to club you!’

Another crackle, and the voices disappeared.

‘Well one of them has some sense.  But enough of all this nonsense…time to be on our way.’  Von Hammer lifted his wrist to his mouth.

‘Putrid my boy, time to go.’

‘Yes master’ crackled a voice from the communicator.

‘Up you ge,t old man, you’re going to accompany me to my very secret lair where you’re going to sign an agreement to hand over all power of Nya-Gara, control of the Rangers and the Martian militia’s over to me.  Then you shall sign a confession explaining all the crooked things you’ve been doing with the taxpayers money, and then you shall drop you off at your retirement home.’

‘I shall do no such thing!’

‘Oh come now old boy, we know what a coward you are at heart, might as well show a little willing or else things might get unpleasant for you.’

‘He’s picking the President up!’ shouted Clara.

‘He’s going to kill him?’ panicked Brett.

‘If was going to do that he could have done it already.  He just spoke into that communicator, he’s probably just kidnapping him.’ explained Petey dispassionately.

‘Well jee whizz we have to get out there!’

‘Brett honey no! We need a plan, and quick.  Damn why did I leave my blaster on the freighter.’

‘You work on a freighter, and have a blaster?’ asked Brett.

‘What century are you from…plumber!’ he said, smugly, looking at Clara defiantly.  ‘I told you, didn’t I say it?’

‘Yes Pete, but now’s not the time’ scowled Clara.  ‘We have to get that blaster out of action somehow, then we can take him.  He looks strong, but he’s fairly old too, I reckon we could take him.

Pete rolled his eyes, Clara was still going to defend the pretty boy moron.  Petey was strong, tall, and unlike the plumber, he was smart.  He glowered as he watched Brett, who was now keeping quiet and looking sheepishly at his feet.  Brett then looked up, caught Petey’s eye for a moment, then looked away in shame, and then watched the monitors as Von Hammer frog march the President towards the firey hole in the office walls.  Petey didn’t like that guy, but he couldn’t help himself feeling a bit sorry for him as he watched Brett’s face fall; his enthusiasm ebbing away…had failed his President.  Petey turned away while Clara panicked, looking frantically around the console for some sort of fail safe or weapon that might neutralise Von Hammer. but hse too saw Brett’s look of dejection and abandoned the console to pat his arm. Petey couldn’t believe it, he walked to the side and once more kicked at the water pipe, and heard it gurgle.  He followed the pipe up to the ceiling, where he saw a smaller vein taper off from the main pipe and fed into the water sprinkler above him.  It was then that an idea began to form.

‘Plumber…’ he muttered.

‘Yeah OK, Petey, I’m a plumber, I’m sorry I pretended to be a Ranger, but I-‘

‘No, moron, you’re a plumber, which means that you can regulate the water supplies of the building, right?’

‘Well, yeah, sure.’

Petey looked up at the securimonitors and watched as Von Hammer held his blaster at Huer, standing in wait for their ride.  Pete moved over to the console and quickly found the securicam controls, and zoomed in at the ceiling above Von Hammer where there was another water sprinkler.

‘Oh Pete you genius’ chimed Clara.

‘What?’ asked Brett, not following at all (bless!).

‘Don’t you get it sweetie? We overload the fire fail safe’s, merge the water supplies with like, the sewage lines from the millions of bathrooms this place must have, and let her rip!’ explained Clara, but Brett still wasn’t getting it.

‘Well I admit seeing Von Hammer covered in doody-water might be funny, but what good will it do?’

‘You galactic idiot, the water will short his blaster!’

‘What Pete is saying, Brett, is that you’re the only person that can save the President.’

A look of confusion spread over Brett’s face, his eyes wandering slightly from side to side as he put the pieces of the puzzle together, then his gleaming smile formed once more.

‘Have you ever been on one of these Gyrocosmolators, Huer?’

‘No!’

‘Fantastic speeds you know, very nimble.  Although they do tend to make my beard flutter up into my mouth, but all things considered…’

A distant rumble reached Von Hammer’s ears, a sound he was somehow familiar, and yet he could’nt place it.

‘Your tummy still giving you jip, old man?’ he asked the shaking President.

‘That wasn’t me’ said the President as he looked up at the next, louder, rumble.

Von Hammer followed his gaze up as the rumbles became gargles and gurgles, much louder and more consistent.  He realised all too late what was about to happen next. Above him the water sprinkler began to dribble.  Then cracks bloomed around it, and then gave way to a torrent of murky brown water cascaded from the ceiling.  The President managed to shuffle away and onto the remains of his desk to escape the first wave, and watched as Von Hammer omitted a high-pitched squeal as the blaster shorted in his hand. 

‘Argh…doody water!’ he gurgled under the putrid deluge.

It was then that Brett kicked the double doors open, emerging as if in slow motion, determinedly scowling at the sodden Von Hammer.  Clara and Petey soon followed and watched as Brett strutted through the doody water, almost as if his anger was parting it, and with it a fearsome aura of strength and power.  It was then that a new rumbling sounded.  Von Hammer looked up once more, expecting another dousing.  But he quickly realised that it was his means of escape.  The Gyrocosmolator fluttered into view, sending violent currents of air eddying around the office.  The President fell into the water, Clara and Petey struggled against the air flows to help him, and the gust sent Von Hammer’s forked beard into his mouth and began choking.

‘BRETT!’ shouted Clara. ‘ HE’S CHOKING! GRAB HIM!’

Brett didn’t need telling twice, he used his considerable strength to move against the gusts of air.  He moved through them determinedly, and was quickly in reaching distance of Von Hammer; his eyes widened in terror at the sight of Brett.  Brett reached out his hand, but just as he was about to grab him a fist emerged from nowhere and knocked him out cold.

The Gyrocosmolator flew away, and with it was Baron Von Hammer.  Petey and Clara saw little but a blur in the torrents of air and sprays of doody water.  Something had sprang from the Gyrocosmolator and snatched Von Hammer and vaulted back onto the craft…a feat of unimaginable strength, speed and agility.  They helped President Huer up from the floor, but he only had eyes for Brett.

‘Help him, please.’

The three of them walked over and hefted Brett’s bulk to a chair.  He woke up as he was sat down.

‘What? Who, whassat? Oh, Mr President, sir.  Are you OK?’ sputtered Brett, blood streaming down his face.

‘I’m fine dear boy, all thanks to you!’ he gushed.  ‘Thanks to your efforts Nya-Gara has been saved from that maniac’s clutches.  Thank you Brett Bullstrider!’ he beamed, taking Brett’s face in his hands and kissing his forehead.  Clara was in tears as she saw Brett blush and look down at his feet.

‘Aww shucks Mr. President. Just doing my duty!’

‘It’s not like we helped or anything?’

‘Shut up Petey!’

*

The next day, Clara stood at the Space station terminal and was looking excitedly over the sea of heads that bobbed around the terminal floor. Close by was Petey who stood impatiently, tutting and crossing his arms.

‘Why the hell are we waiting here?’

‘Brett said he had some big news to tell us?’

‘The question still stands!’

‘You should have heard him on the communicator, he’s so excited.   Said he has something special to ask me…think he might be asking me on a date.’ she said excitedly, giving Petey a playful nudge, completely unaware of the ache such a gesture had just caused in Petey’s heart.  Even though this moron had lied, taken credit for their hard work, failed to actually grab the criminal and was still a fricking plumber(!) Clara was still fawning over the wrong man. He could protest of course, tell her she was being stupid, and that he was the only one who could love her in the way she deserved…but he knew Clara too well.  You tell her that she’s both stupid and what she should be doing, it’ll only guarantee that she does the opposite of what you say. He could pin his hopes on Brett’s big news being that he was gay…but Petey knew that he wasn’t that lucky. 

‘Oh here he is! Hey Mr Bullstrider!’ shouted Clara in her best girlish voice.

Brett bounded down the terminal, his blue overalls clean and ironed, his chest puffed out in sheer pride, and his beaming smile parting the sea of terminal hoppers.  All the women in the place were turning to stare at him…Petey didn’t think it was possible to hate him any more than he did right now.

‘Hey Miss Clara, Petey! Thanks for meeting me here!’

‘Well come on now, what’s this big news?’

‘You successfully unblocked a toilet with just your reflection?’ scowled Petey, earning him a jab in the ribs from Clara.

‘No’ Brett gushed, ‘In fact, I’m never going near a toilet again, except when, well you know.’

‘What do you mean, honey?’

‘I mean…The President made me a Ranger!’ These words burst out of him with a glow of pride.  He’d clearly been waiting to tell someone since he got the news.

‘Oh my God, sweetie, that’s amazing!’ screamed Clara, reaching to give Brett a big hug.

‘Unbelievable, almost’ Petey growled.

‘I couldn’t believe it myself, The President said he needed Rangers that he could trust, and that there was no one he trusted more than me!’ he beamed, apoplectic with pride. ‘I  finally made it Miss Clara, I finally get to see the stars past the purple sky.  I get my own ship and everything, and well…I guess my news is, I kinda need a crew.’

He looked sheepishly over at Clara, who took a moment to realise what she was being told. 

‘Oh Brett, of course!’

‘Do you accept?’

‘Of course I do honey!’

‘WHAT!’ blurted Petey, making Brett jump and people around turn their heads. But he didn’t care, his life was falling apart, a few hours in this mans company and his worst nightmares were becoming real.

‘Seriously? You’re going to fly with him?’

‘Well of course, you didn’t think I wanted to spend the rest of my life on a freighter, did you?’

It was like a flagilator blast to his heart, a germo-borg had burrowed into his chest and gouged a great big hole in his stomach for his heart to fall through.  If he had hated Brett before, it was nothing to what he felt now.  It wasn’t enough that Clara idolised the pretty-boy, but now he was taking her away from him. He only vaguely heard the rest of what she was saying.’

‘…them Ranger crafts are fast too right? And no pirates are going to attack my ship now.  Sorry, you’re ship!’

‘Yeah, well I know it’s unorthodox to let women onto space crafts, but you’re handy in a tight spot Miss Clara, I’d be happy to have you aboard.’

Clara smiled, or rather faked a smile, at Brett’s backhanded compliment, and then grew fearful as she saw just how angry Petey was becoming. 

‘She…is…the…best…navigator…in the fleet, you moron! How dare you talk to her like that.  And you!’ he said pointing at Clara. ‘You’re going to abandon me for him? I’m the best pilot in the galaxy! And…all the missions we’ve flown…the Faff-Co crap…all for nothing!’ he shouted.

‘Erm, Petey honey, I think you maybe overlooking why Brett asked you out here.’

‘I don’t care…wait, what?’

‘Well Jee Whizz Petey, I didn’t want to break you and Miss Clara up.  I invited you both here, because, well…I wanted to ask the best pilot in the Galaxy if he would fly my new ship?’

He spoke so earnestly, and innocently, and Petey immediately started to feel sorry for him again, and slightly ashamed at himself. 

‘Come on Pete, you know you wanna!’ teased Clara.

‘Well…I guess it would be nice to not fly Faff-Co rubbish around anymore.’

‘Do you accept, Petey?’ gushed Brett.

Did he accept? Could he really stand to fly around the cosmos with this idiot boy whom the love of his life seemed to idolise? Not a chance in hell! Bbut at the same time there’s no telling what danger she might get into with Brett as her Captain.  He couldn’t leave her…

‘Fine!’

‘Aww whizzers Petey that’s great!’

‘And while we’re on the subject…my name…is Pete!’

‘Petey, right!’

‘No…Pete!’

‘What?’

‘My name is Pete?’

‘I know!’

‘Not Petey! It’s Pete?’

‘I’m not hearing a difference.’

Clara couldn’t help but giggle. 

And so ends this first thrilling episode of The Adventures of Brett Bullstrider: Ranger of the Cosmos.  Brett has finally achieved his life’s ambition of becoming a Ranger, and doing without passing a single test or exam; suspicious, no? 

And while he may have been defeated this time, this is not the last our hero will hear of the evil Baron Von Hammer!

Join us next week for a brand new episode where we follow Brett…

“Past the Nebula…and into the Black hole!”

Fubar Robinson

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