Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ship of Tools

bboy07head With my time bubble safely secured (I have "The Club"!) and stowed in one of Tesseract U-Store's finest lockers (the Primo model, the one with strobing disco lights, a fog machine, unlimited shrimp cocktail, and a legion of nubile, half-naked young employees to lovingly stroke and pat your merchandise whether you're there or not) I sprinted out onto the tarmac. Late again! There was only one dropship in sight. The pilot was leaning against the hull of the craft with his hands behind his back. The sight of his uniform gave me pause, and not in a good way! My fashion designer's eye (the left one) immediately analyzed it and tallied up its good points and its bad. The good: it was primarily orange and purple -- my signature colors! The bad: everything else. The symbol on the chest looked like an atom in an iPod commercial, the top was adorned with some sort of jacked-up black sweater vest with flared shoulders, and the boots had attached pouches. And just to throw some salt in my wounded aesthetic sensibility, the pilot's hair was cut in a mushroomy bowl style, like an overgrown child actor, or one of the Ramones. And his swollen, brutish face gave me the distinct impression he'd been smacked right in the kisser with a moopsball hammer. Repeatedly.

With low, growly sigh and a shrug of my broad, muscular shoulders, I greeted the pilot. "Nice ship," I offered.

"I guess," he replied. "It kinda looks like a wienerschnitzel on one end."

"Hey, what doesn't?" I chuckled at my own joke and waited for him to laugh, but he just stared at me. I held out my hand. "Blockade Boy. Pleased to meet you!"

"You'll have to excuse me if I don't shake your hand," he said in a bored tone.

"Oh. Huh. Well, I guess we'd better head off!"

"This ship can't go anywhere just yet. It won't be long, though. Just a few minutes." And with that, he clammed up again.

Great. I glanced around the spaceport, searching for another topic of conversation. I fixed upon a man ambling down the tarmac, messily eating a burrito. His outfit was even homelier than the pilot's! It was two shades of green -- Fecal and Fluorescent -- and it was accessorized with a burnt sienna harness/shoulderpad thing, in suede, with a matching turtleneck dickey.

I jerked a thumb at the fugly unfortunate. "Get a load of that guy! Do you think he's stupid enough to dress that way on purpose or did he lose a bet?"

At this, the pilot guffawed, but said nothing further. I glanced back at the man with the burrito. Refried beans and melted cheese were smeared all over the bottom half of his face. He wiped off most of it with his sleeve. Then, spotting me, he abruptly altered his course and began to walk with an accelerated pace in my precise direction. His dopey grin told me he hadn't heard my remarks.

Within a few meters of my person, he crammed another section of burrito in his maw, belched, and smiled broadly. A gooey strand of cheese connected his right incisor and one of his rear molars. He pointed at me. "Blockade Boy, right?"

I nodded.

"Awesome. You ready to go?"

"Er... yeah... wait a minute! You're the pilot?"

"Yup! Here, hold this for me, wouldja?" He handed me the unfinished burrito. He turned to the man leaning against the dropship. "Have a nice chat, did ya, Aabur?"

"Hardly," grunted "Aabur."

"Yeah, well there ain't a lot of stimulating conversation where you're goin', nohow," the pilot smirked. He grabbed one of Aabur's arms and with his free hand worked a device on his belt. There was a hollow, clanking sound, and then the pilot jerked Aabur's body away from the hull. The pilot led Aabur into the dropship, with me right behind, and I finally saw what had kept Aabur from shaking my hand: electromagnetic handcuffs.


I watched as Aabur was strapped down into a seat. "Don't forget to buckle up yourself," the pilot said to me. "Only you don't need so many buckles! Haw-haw!" A sliver of refried bean was ejected from his mouth. It landed on my chin.

I exploded. "What is all this crap? You're supposed to be piloting me!"

The pilot's cheerfulness remained undaunted. "If I can transport a prisoner at the same time, I get extra credit! Which I kinda need right now on account of I accidentally killed the platoon mascot. But that kid only had, like, a year to live anyhow so I don't see why it was such a big deal. But you know. Politics."

I was tempted to just cold-cock the idiot and commandeer the dropship myself, but I was already behind schedule.


Other than a series of burrito farts so regular I could have set my watch by them, the trip to Space Station Alpha was uneventful. I bolted off the ship just ahead of the pilot (who planned to leave Aabur there while he grabbed some curly fries). The decks were crowded with tourists who were visiting the station to observe, offer ardent prayers to, make sticky anonymous love against the backdrop of, or pretend to be "cool" and just ignore the famous Doomsday Comet which would soon be entering the sector. I'd almost made it to a race pod when a pneumatic tube deposited the pilot directly in front of me. "You've got to help me!" he cried.

I placed a fatherly hand on his shoulder, looked him in the eye, and said, "Okay. First, green and brown should never go together in the same outfit, secondly, I'd go with a shorter haircut, maybe something a bit shaggy on top, so you can gel it up for when you go out on the town but can still wear it in a conservative style for meetings and such, and lastly, cut down on all the junk food -- you're looking a mite paunchy."

"It's not that," the pilot jabbered. "Aabur has stolen the dropship! If High Command finds out, I'm gonna be court marshalled for sure!" He popped another handful of curly fries into his mouth and munched them anxiously.

"Oh! Well, in that case, it's really not my problem." And with that I sidled around him and jumped into a race pod. As I launched into the black void, I spied the pilot in my rear view mirror. The paper tray of curly fries dropped to the floor. They were followed by the pilot himself. His body heaved in what I guessed were either despairing sobs or copious vomiting.


As I darted past the buoys, I could see the Doomsday Comet blazing past the space station. And ahead of me was the dropship. Another craft was headed on an intercept course with Aabur's pilfered vessel. Its markings identified it as belonging to space banditos -- Aabur's compatriots, no doubt. In the back of my mind, I wondered if I should have volunteered to aid the hapless Remedial Space Marine pilot. I do have a superpower, after all. But since the only thing I can do is turn into a steel wall -- and not a terribly tall or wide steel wall at that -- I decided that there wasn't really anything I could do that would have been helpful. That's why I got my degree in Fashion Design and not Saving the Universe.

Soon enough I neared the moon. I dived low, hoping to use its gravitational field for a slingshot effect and pick up some speed. I worked! The race pod zoomed over the crater-pocked surface and hurtled back into open space. A flickering light danced in the rearview, and then flared into a blinding glow. The comet had been diverted by the moon's gravity and boomeranged around it, right behind my ship! I dove into the asteroid field as the comet shot past me, just overhead. I was lucky to avoid its radioactive tail! Sadly for Aabur, however, it was making a beeline straight for him.

I struggled to concentrate on piloting the racepod through the deadly asteroid field, but in my peripheral vision I could see the comet plow over the dropship.


As I reentered Hacknor's atmosphere, I could see the remains of Aabur's craft in the distance following suit.


It was a tragedy, in a small way. It's not as though Aabur didn't have it coming. Or did he? I mean, I presume he was evil. He sure did a lot of evil muttering on the first leg of my trip. But maybe he was just crazy. I'm no expert. At least I can think of one definitely good thing to come out of all this: at least nobody will have to look at that godawful costume of his, ever again!



Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Did you just dis the Ramones? The Ramones are awesome. The Ramones rock. They are the Johnny Appleseeds of punk rock. They are so awsomely awesome that there isn't one negative thing about them.

Uh, except for their haircuts, I guess.

Erifia Apoc said...

Don't you hate when somebody is locked with Electromagnetic Shackles. I don't know, I would have let him free.

Secondly, nice use of old pictures. It made it look very sepia. Too bad I hate sepia.

Professor Xavier said...

I was wondering why you were going on about Aabur's outfit, until I saw his picture that is. Hideous. He deserves what he gets for wearing that.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I heard that Aubur is a bit of a celebrity in the space villain cirlces. In fact, some of them even celebrate Aabur Day.

A Army Of (Cl)One said...

Evil Animated Armor. Ahh my old enemy EAA, we meet again.

Blockade Boy said...

Jon: Maybe it's my age showing (i.e. about 1,000 years younger than you) but I don't get the Ramones' haircuts at all. I'm similarly baffled by the mullet and the rattail. Also: "Aabur Day"? Ouch.

Erifia Apoc: That's not sepia. That's cat urine. Er... maybe I should have kept that to myself...!

Professor Xavier: Finally, the voice of reason!

(Cl)one: You lead a fascinating life! (I'm a bit jealous.)

Nathan Petrelli said...

You're calling out the hair...

Pot meet kettle.

Kon-El said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kon-El said...

I really hope I'm not evil enough for that thing I don't wanna wear it !

Simon said...

The only thing worse than having to look at that horrible suit was the cheesy spaceships special effects. Reading your post was like watching some terrible 70's shlock Ed Wood movie.

Blockade Boy said...

Nathan: I'm not familiar with your 21st Century slang, but I can only presume it means "I think your hair looks fabulous, and I'd like to schedule a personal consultation!" Thanks to my time bubble, I'm happy to fit you in. In fact, I'm right behind you this very second... with an electric razor and a bottle of "Tangerine Fantasy" Hair Dye for Men!

Kon-El: Fear not... a guy would have to be pretty darned evil (and tacky) to pull off that costume.

Simon: Sad but true, I'm afraid. To quote one of the greatest television programs of all time (MST3K): "Special effects by Billy!"

Gyrobo said...

The bad guy was a Vulcan? How... unexpected?!