Zyzzx Zeeboomzee was surprised when he was called into active duty from the Compol Reserves. He was more than a controller now, he was the captain of a Compol destroyer class star cruiser. “Batten down the hatches!” he shouted into the intercom on the Captain’s console.
“Sir,” replied his first mate, raising the visor on his brushed metal helmet. “We don’t have hatches to batten.”
“I know that.” replied Zyzzx. “All ahead, full blast!”
“Sir, we are currently at maximum ion thrust,” the first mate chuckled.
“I know that. I’m just testing you,” Zeeboomzee cautiously eyed the crew. “What is our position?”
“We are on final orbital aoproach to Star-gate Outpost 4,” the first mate answered. “Our sensors are detecting recently produced ion traiis headed toward a point approximately 500 megameters beyond the outposts near the present position of Neptune. It is probable that the Interstellar Merchant Marines have set up a portable star-gate and launched their unauthorized rescue mission from there.”
Zyzzx stroked his beard, “We must stop the rescue and also find the crew and passengers of the Blutomo. No one must know the secret of Barnard-3. We will leave no witnesses.” Zeeboomzee then stood up. “Follow the ion trail! Get them! Kill! Kill! Kill!”
“Aye-aye, Captain!” the crew of Compols said in unison, banging their chests with their fists.
“Oh-ee-oh, Ee-oh-oh. Oh-ee-oh, Ee-oh-oh. Oh-ee-oh, Ee-oh-oh,” chanted Bommbahloombah the baboon as he dragged his jogging bag behind him, following the strange humans and all the animals from the Tree Museum toward a new place of refuge. The jungle underbrush had been cleared out by the funny metal man with whom Bommbahloombah had become good friends. Bommbahloombah turned to his mate, Beebopahloobah (who was also struggling with her jogging bag), and whispered, “Oogah boogah boogity woogity oogah boo boogah boogah.”
Beebopatiloobah replied, “Oogity boogity boogity boo.”
Bommbahloombah just shook his head.
Ensign Marshmellow had begun the countdown for star-gate entry, “28 – 27 – 26… Wait a minute! The longitudinal median transponder is drifting out of position, Admiral!”
Admiral Bozoni swung the Captain’s console around to face his first mate, “Stop the countdown! All ion drives full reverse thrust!” The ship shuddered as the reversed ion drives counteracted the ship’s momentum and gradually brought the it to a dead stop relative to the portable star-gate. “Get me Captain Garlicbreath on the horn and dispatch a work crew to replace the flakey transponder!”
“Aye-aye, Admiral!” said Marshmellow, heading for the exit from the bridge of the Cosmic Partner.
“Admiral Bozoni calling Captain Garlicbreath.”
“This is Garlicbreath, Admiral. What’s the problem?”
“The longitudinal median transponder has to be replaced. It’s drifted out of positon.”
“Roger, Admiral. Just a minute, Admiral. We’re picking up a blip on our long range scanner.”
“What is it, Captain?”
“Well have an idenfication lock in just a second. It’s a Compol destroyer at 300 megameters and closing.”
“Battle stations! Captain, swing the Gilroy around to meet them head-on. We’ll be there shortly for back-up. Bozoni over and out!”
The crew of tne Cosmic Partner scurried around the decks of the rescue cutter preparing for a confrontation with Compol. The Admiral went through a battle preparation spreadsheet as the intercept coordinates of the Compol destroyer were being calculated. 100 megameters behind them the IMM Battleship Gilroy turned to face the marauding Compols. From the intercom the Admiral heard, “This is Ensign Marshmellow, Admiral. I am at the site of the malfunctioning transponder. We had no spares in stock so I have attached a tether from my life support/propulsion cocoon to the transponder. I will hold it in position until both ships have cleared the star-gate. Don’t try to talk me out of it, Admiral, just get the ships through! I have turned off my receiver. That is all, the transponder is now in position.”
“Lock on molecular reducers!” shouted Zeeboomzee.
“Locked on!” replied the weapons specialist Compol.
“Reducing! Captain Zeeboomzee, they have raised a large mirrored disc in front of them! The reduction beams are bouncing off the disc! They’re headed straight for us, Captain! What shall we do?”
Zzyzx stroked his beard and disappeared along with the Compol destroyer as an aqua colored beam of light enveloped them.