Planet of the Rovers
by Scott Oliverson
Inside DELTA POD, the computer replayed Daisy's flightpath and
then ran through different combinations of the same thing but Space Ace
wasn't watching. He was staring over the top of the monitors and out
into the huge, empty blackness of space. Over his headset, he could
hear conversations passed along the open lines of the radio channels.
He ignored most of it, but a single voice pulled him out of his lonely
depression. It was Commander Buzz Lightyear talking to the rest of the
crew of the Star Command.
OK, that's it. We lost her. <Talking about Daisy, admitting defeat>
Want to send out another canine?
No, it's too dangerous. Shut it down.
The decision happened in a moment. Ace didn't hesitate. He
didn't wonder if what he was doing was right or wrong. He knew he had
to do it himself. With the press of a button, he sealed the pod's
door closed. Up on the bridge, RoboCop watched a light flash on his
control board, a light that should not have flashed at all.
UM, SIR. DELTA POD, IT's...IT JUST LAUNCHED.
What-the?! <Startled, then angry> ACE! <Face turns red> How dare he try
something behind my back, why that stupid idiot!
Ace? What is he doing out there?
I HAVE NO IDEA KIMMY. BUT I GOT A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS.
Oh my god. <Face white as a sheet>
Uh-oh. <Same look> We're in trouble. <Quotes Judy's famous line from The
Facts Of Life TV show>
Lightyear used his fist to smash open a radio link on his own
command panel. Face contorted into a hate mask he shouted into the mic.
Delta Pod, your flight is not authorized. Repeat, your flight is not
Sorry Commander, never send a collie to do a man's job. Especially my
pet! <Shouts angrily> I am going to rescue Daisy whether you like it or
not, I owe her my life. She is my responsibility even if it means
risking my own life to save hers.
I swear when I get my hands on you Ace, you'll never fly again. Ooh,
better yet...<Smirks> YOU'RE FIRED! YOU HEAR THAT ACE? YOU'RE FIRED!
Hah! <Laughs back> That's what you think Buzz, oh and by the way...you
can't fire me because I QUIT! I will rescue Daisy and bring her back
safely even if I'm fired or quitting the job. Besides she would do the
same for me if I were in danger or trouble.
Really Ace? She would save you?
You got that right Kimmy.
OH GOOD GRIEF. <Rolls eyes behind helmet visor>
The ranger's face turns from red to purple with rage!
Alter course, intercept that pod. No one runs off with one of my...
COMMANDER! WE GOT A PROBLEM!
Now what? <Whirls around> What problem Robo.
The cyborg police cop worked his console frantically.
I'M GETTING A MAYDAY DISTRESS CALL, SIR. IT's ON OUR SECURE CHANNEL.
Is it ALPHA POD?
You think Daisy is sending an SOS for help?
I...I DON'T KNOW. <Shakes head> BUT IT's COMING ON STRONG.
What on earth? <Puzzled look on her face>
The main screen came online in an explosion of static. Unknown
figures jumped in and out of focus, shadowy and undefined. Voices that
didn't seem to match the images dropped in and out of the static saying
Mayday...mayday...help us...massive turbulence...request instructions...
Then it dropped out completely leaving shocked silence and
stunned disbelief on the faces of the crew who looked at one another in
confusion and puzzlement wondering what the h*** was that all about?
Get it back.
IT's GONE SIR.
You mean oh s***?
Oh, s*** indeed.
BUZZ LIGHTYEAR <Lunges for radio>
Delta Pod, abort your mission. Repeat, abort your mission. Ace!
Inside DELTA POD, Ace heard Lightyear's voice, but couldn't make
out the words over the interference he was experiencing. The same storm
that interrupted his parents' communication from Hill Valley was
disrupting the signal between Star Command and DELTA POD. But Ace kept
right on track, following ALPHA POD's course trajectory toward the heart
of the storm. Amoung the waves and particles of strange light emanating
from the storm, he spotted a small white shape. It looked adrift.
Quickly he activated his microphone.
Star Command, I've got visual on ALPHA POD, over.
The only response he got was static.
SPACE ACE <Tries again>
Star Command, I've got...
He stopped, utterly astonished by what he saw before his eyes!
ALPHA POD dissapeared. It didn't swerve out of view or speed away, it
just was not there anymore.
St...Star Command? <Voice cracked with terror> Star Command, come
Ace felt his own words thrown back in his throat as DELTA POD
lurched violently to one side. He checked his instruments, but they had
suddenly gone useless - digital readouts flashed meaningless collections
of numbers, alarms blaring for no apparent reason. Suddenly, his
monitor was awash in blinding light, and the same light filled the small
glass portal. The screen went black, and all the lights on his control
console snuffed themselves out like dying candles. But the pod cabin
was lit by the glare from outside - a glare that seemed to come from the
electromagnetic storm that engulfed his tiny ship. Ace brought his fist
down like a hammer on the command console.
S***, s***! Whoohooa, great scott! Just what I need. <Curses himself>
He was dead, hanging like a stone in space. With the power
offline, his life support was nonexistent. A small craft like DELTA POD
didn't hold enough air or oxygen for more than a few minutes on its own,
and Ace could already feel the air growing stale and warm. He knew from
too many practice drills that there would be a race between stuffiness
and the chill as the coldness of space seeped through the metal hull.
Uselessly, he keyed his microphone again, gasping.
Star Command...come in, Star Command...
His only answer came on the wings of the storm or rather the
ANGEL OF DEATH which came to claim him. As Ace felt his lungs struggle
for breath, a brilliant pulse burst from the calm eye of the disturbance
and raced toward him like a striking rattler or cobra. It struck the
pod and tossed it like a toy boat on a tidal wave. Ace was jerked
around and felt his ribs nearly crack as his body slammed against the
Oooooooooh, aaaaaaaaaah! Whoooooooooah! Aaaaaaaaaugh!
Lights and sounds reappeared inside the pod and he was vaguely
aware his power was back online again, but he was still out of control.
Dials spun madly. The clock on the control console was running at high
speed, flashing the hours-minutes-seconds-months-dates-years.
Ooooooooooh myyyyyyyyyy gooooooooood! <Screams with horror> IIIIIIII'm
He closed his eyes, sure that he would die by whatever evil
force was throwing his ship around. But after a moment the violent
sensations settled into a steady, rhythmic banging. Ace opened his eyes
again and looked around.
Huh, what-the, what happened, where am I?
His viewscreen activated and he saw a giant ball of blue and
purple in front of him rushing towards him.
Hoooooly s******, what planet is that?!
He could hear an eerie whistling sound - a sound he hadn't heard
in years, not since his teen years as Dexter learning to fly in old
stunt planes for the airshows. It was a sound he's heard once before in
a plane that was...Falling!
I'm falling! Out of control and no way to stop myself from a hard crash
He tried to remember to breathe as the unknown planet continue
to rush towards his descending pod.
END OF PART IV