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.
‘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?’
‘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…
‘Aww whizzers Petey that’s great!’
‘And while we’re on the subject…my name…is Pete!’
‘My name is Pete?’
‘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!”