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Planet of the Rovers

by Scott Oliverson


     Space Ace found a quiet spot in the rear section of the station,
leaned back against the bulkhead and clicked the postcard into PLAY.
The date flashed quickly "July 4, 2015" Nearly a week ago. The mail was
slow in outer space. For a moment the screen was filled with a heaving
blur, until the hovercam zoomed out and Ace realized it was his father
Dr. Emmett Brown's forehead. His mother Heather, younger brother Ash
Ketchum, aunt Mrs. Ketchum, uncle Professor Oaks, the B9 maintenance
robot and Annabelle the angel whippet genie were all crammed into the
frame. This postcard vid-cam was programmed so that people could talk
back and forth with each other no matter how far away they were even in
outer space and could see and hear each other clearly.

     "Here are some backgrounds on Ace's family members"
Doc Brown - Chief Inventive Officer (Back To The Future The Ride)
Heather - Guest Relations Secretary (Back To The Future The Ride)
Ash - Pokemon Grand Master (Pokemon Cartoon Series & Movies)
Mrs. Ketchum - Ash's Mother (Pokemon Cartoon Series & Movies)
Oaks - Scientist (Pokemon Cartoon Series & Movies)
Annabelle - Angel Whippet (All Dogs Go To Heaven The Series)

Now? <She is a bit flustered>
               DOC BROWN
I think so, hovercam is online and recording.
OK. Hi, Ace! It's your mother calling.
               SPACE ACE
Hi Mom, great to see you again.
How are you coming along out there?
               DOC BROWN
You not lonely are you son?
               SPACE ACE
No mom, dad. Everything's fine up here in space. In fact I like it
here living and working in space, almost like being onboard the Space
Shuttle or the International Space Station.
You mean you're not lonely or bored master? You don't miss us here on
Earth? <Looks suprised> We miss you alot, in fact I keep thinking of you
out there in the cold dark void and can't stop worrying about what might
happen to my #1 friend.

     This caused Ace to cringe or flinch, a chill run up and down his
spine before he recovered again.

               SPACE ACE
Ahh, no genie. But thank you for being so concerned for me. I do miss
you, and mom, dad, aunt Ketchum, uncle Oaks and brother Ash.
               ASH KETCHUM
Hey I miss my Big Brother too.
               MRS. KETCHUM
Keep your helmet sealed nephew. <Smiles> Wouldn't want you to die.
               PROFESSOR OAKS
Did you have to tell him that? <Looks shocked> He dosen't need to be
warned about dying in space.
               MRS. KETCHUM
Oops, heh-heh...<Looks innocent> Sorry.
               SPACE ACE
It's OK aunt, I forgive you. <Grins>
               DOC BROWN
Great Scott, junior? How's the experiments coming. I hear you and
Kimmy and Team Rocket and company are making good progress with the
canine students.
               SPACE ACE
Yes we are father. <He explains> So far the dogs are learning everything
about the basics of living & working in space and at the moment we have
reported no failures.
That's wonderful!
Very good master. Have they gone out in survey pods yet? Or do they
need more training.
               SPACE ACE
More training required before they can proceed with actual missions of
exploring other worlds.
               DOC BROWN
Whoohooa! <Suprised> But I thought you were the ACE pilot, you said so
yourself before signing on with Star Command.

     Ace sighed, he knew his parents were right...

               SPACE ACE
Yes dad...but for now we use canine pilots to test-flight first, then we
go ourselves.
               B9 ROBOT
               MRS. KETCHUM
Robot! Don't say that.
               PROFESSOR OAKS
Don't embarrass or insult him.
               B9 ROBOT
               ANNABELLE <Looks angry>
Yes, anybody or anyone who hurts my master's feelings answers to me!

     At the same time the hovercam began showing other images of what
appeared to be runways & taxiways, windsocks, hangers and main terminal
building of the HILL VALLEY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT where Ace took his
flying lessons long ago (Where he had the accident during an airshow
before his family & friends when his jet the FY-22 <New generation of
attack aircraft> malfunctioned and exploded upon crashing onto the
runway) That was so long ago...but he still remembered the nightmare
that almost claimed his life!

"The accident Space Ace suffered is similar to the OPENING SCENES of the
SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN. During an airshow where Ace was performing
aireal ballet onboard the FY-22 he lost control of the plane when it
malfunctioned, fell from the sky and crashed onto the runway where it
exploded into flames & smoke. He was almost killed in the crash but his
uncle Professor Oaks and his girlfriend Professor Ivy (Pokemon Cartoon
Series & Movies) decided to try and save his life by resserecting him in
the form of a synthetic-cybernetic machine. In other words they along
with Team Rocket & Kimberly assisting in the operation brought Ace back
from the dead in the body of a Cyberdyne Systems Series-800 endoskeleton
machine, aka THE TERMINATOR!"

     Then the image on the hovercam shifted back to his parents once

Ace, I have so much to tell you...

     His father cleared this throat and spoke up.

               DOC BROWN
But she can't son, cause this is costing me a fortune. It's hard for me
and even your mother to run the Institute without your help since you
are away in space and can't seem to get free time to come home.
               SPACE ACE
Sorry dad, I wish I could get some time off for good behavior or in
other words ask for R&R to return home again to spend time with you and
mother and friends.
               ASH KETCHUM
Yeah, wish you were home so we can hangout again as always at the HILL
VALLEY MALL and such.
I miss those fun days too. <Looks sad>
               SPACE ACE
Makes me sad too genie, little brother. <Also looks sad>
               DOC BROWN
Junior, cheer up. Keep your chin up, it's not the end of the world yet.
 Anyway the TV showed some pictures of you and your crewmates from
               SPACE ACE <Caught by suprise>
Huh? What-the!

     The screen sputtered for a moment, then snapped back as his
father was saying...

               DOC BROWN
I am very proud of you...pzzzztttt!

     The transmission cut out again, then Ace caught a glimpse of his
mother smiling against several tears running down her face and saying.

We just want you to come back home safely son...ppszzzzt-pop!

     The picture cut out completely, replaced by snowy static.

               SPACE ACE
Hey-hey-hey! <Yells like Fat Albert> Mom! Dad!

     He tapped the postcard and smacked it against the bulkhead. The
static was replaced by a black background and the words "YOUR SERVICE

               SPACE ACE
No kidding. We can build a starship with nuclear fuel cells designed to
last forever, but we can't...

     Suddenly the hallway lights flickered like a bad TV picture and
went out. In fact, every light on the station went out. For a moment,
Ace felt terror & horror seep through his body. He waved his hand in
front of his face and saw nothing. A moment later, an emergency
generator whinned to life and the lights came back online. Ace sighed
with relief.

               SPACE ACE
Great Scott, at least the generator's not on batteries, that's good
news. What the h***'s going on here?

     He bolted for the bridge of Star Command. Something was wrong!

               END OF PART II

               Proceed to Chapter III