INTO THE BLACK


Once there was a legend that told of three heroes that saved the galaxy. Pure of heart, able of body, clever of mind, these three bravely stood together to turn back the forces of evil. This is not that tale. These are not those heroes.

That tale happened over 200 years ago. Times now are darker in the galaxy than ever before. And, in desperate times, you take whatever heroes you can find…


Chapter One – The Harland

You’ve joined the action at the perfect time. Right now, Jupiter Black and Abe the Bonobo ape are on their latest death-defying mission.

Um, Jupe, I have a really bad feeling about this.”

Oh come on, where's your sense of adventure?”

Those android guards were not adventure: they were a near death experience! You’re 36 years old, you should know better; and I should be eating bananas in a jungle somewhere. I'm telling you, we should return to the ship, forget about this whole doomed mission.”

And then how are we going to afford food and fuel? We're so close Abe. Right through this door is what we're looking for. I can feel it. We get the sacred scroll and those 5 million e-Bayian credits are ours.” He gave Abe a confident smile. “Trust me, I've got a good feeling about this,” he added as he opened the door and strutted into the room. Abe followed, entering nervously. Without warning the door slid shut, locking behind them in.

You are now entering The Room of Death,” said a cold, computerised voice from some speakers in the ceiling.

Ok, so that could've gone better.”


Inside, the room was slightly larger than the one you're picturing in your head and completely red – possibly to hide all the blood stains.

Hey, it's not so bad, like how in the Earth days people had 'Beware of dog' signs – it was just to scare you off. Most of the time they didn't even own dogs,” Jupiter told Abe.

I was almost killed by a dog once,” he replied.

You worry too much.”

One of those little yappy ones... Hey, why is it so quiet in here? It's unnerving.”

A soft, whirring noise began to sound.

Jupe, I don't like that noise. I want the quiet back. Make the quiet came back.”

Relax, like I was saying, no one calls a Room of Death, 'The Room of Death'. It's obviously someone's idea of a joke.”

Before Abe could laugh at the joke, spikes, blades, ninja stars, knives, arrows, swords, spears and a piranha came flying out of the walls, headed straight for them.


Finger-lickin' good” yelled Jupiter at the top of his, now very high pitched, voice. In an instant the objects dropped to the floor, lifeless. Well, except for the piranha; it was flopping around everywhere. Slowly a fishbowl rose up out of the floor, capturing the piranha in its tank.

Safety sentence,” explained Jupiter. “Every death room has one.”

But how'd you know the right words?” asked Abe, gasping for breath.

Lucky guess.”

Walking to the end of the room, Jupiter found a small computer screen and keyboard sticking out of the wall.

This must be the way into the next room.”

Next room? Are you mad?”

Cheer up. We just got past The Room of Death, it's all downhill from here.”

That's what I'm worried about!”

I meant downhill as in, you know, it's easier travelling downhill,” said Jupiter as he turned on the computer screen.


On-screen a sentence scrolled across: How do you like your coffee?

Abe looked over at Jupiter, who in turn shrugged. Standing at the keyboard, Abe wrote back: I prefer tea.

Oh. What does tea taste like? The computer asked.

Sort of like hot water but with a little flavour added in. I like mint tea. Abe typed.

Sounds comforting – like a hug on a winter moon. Sigh.

I think the computer's gone crazy,” said Jupiter.

It's not crazy. It's just friendly and maybe a bit lonely.”

A black line of text appeared across the green computer screen. I think I'd like to kill a dolphin and swim in its skin. Are you a dolphin?

Ok, maybe it's gone a little mad,” Abe admitted.

Ask it to let us into the next room.”

Computer can you let us into the next room?

Yes. But I am a security computer. I really shouldn't. It would be very naughty of me.

Tell it we won't steal anything,” said Jupiter.

I can't lie to the poor machine. It's probably been left here by itself for a million years.”

Here, let me then,” said Jupiter, gently pushing Abe out of the way, taking his place in front of the keyboard.

We promise not to steal anything. In fact, if you open the door for us we can make you some mint tea later on.

To the right of the computer a gentle hiss of air escaped and a door slowly swung open.

Thank you computer. Abe quickly wrote as Jupiter rushed into the room.

:-) The computer replied.


Actually Jupe, I think I'll just wait here. Keep the computer distracted,” said Abe as Jupiter beckoned him into the room.

Get in here. Platinum label, double distilled, if you do,” replied Jupiter. Abe licked his lips like a Pavlovian dog responding to a bell.

750ml or one litre?”

One litre.”

I'm going to regret this, I just know it,” said Abe as he walked into the room. As before, the door slid shut, locking behind him.

Welcome to The Room of Painful Death,” said a cold, calm voice from the speakers in the ceiling.

Microsoft Vista!” swore Abe.


Inside, the room was smaller than your average Room of Painful Death room and completely white. On the far wall there was a door and an intercom; in the centre of the room there was a square glass box containing four gas masks, and scattered around the room were various vents. It was from these vents that a red gas began to slowly make its way into the room. At the sight of the gas Abe screamed and started banging on the glass container holding the gas masks.

Over the sound of shattering glass Jupiter cried out, “Relax, leave the masks alone. Take some deep breaths.”

Abe, who was now in no mood to listen, quickly did up the straps on his gas mask and made his way over to Jupiter who had his face up against a vent breathing as deeply as possible. Abe tried in vain to force the mask onto his face.

Please state your military rank into the intercom,” came the voice from the speakers.

Jupiter rushed over to the intercom and with an extremely high-pitched voice answered, “Colonel.”

The door hissed open.

It's coloured helium gas,” explained Jupiter. “The intercom only recognises high-pitched voices. The gas masks were a trap.”

Abe then burst into hysterics. I'm sorry, but your voice is hilarious. The gas masks were a trap,” said Abe, mocking Jupiter's voice.

Get in here.”

Abe thought this was probably a bad idea. In fact, he thought it was probably the worst idea since the creation of extreme golf – yet he wanted to hear Jupiter say more stuff in his now high-pitched voice, so into the room he walked.


Sitting in the centre of the room was a single metal briefcase resting on a pedestal. Above the pedestal was a light shinning down on the briefcase. Above the light was the ceiling. Above the ceiling was Jupiter and Abe's ship hovering out in space, connected to The Harland, the ship they were currently aboard. Millions of miles above the linked spaceships was a small planet called Eptonia. An unremarkable planet, the only claim to fame Eptonia has is that it has the only political system to include strip poker as part of the election process. Coincidentally, it is also the only planet to have never gone to war or had any unemployment. But back aboard The Harland, this was the last thing on Jupiter and Abe’s minds.


This is it: inside this briefcase is the sacred scroll.”

Well, let's grab it and get out of here,” said Abe impatiently.

I don't know. It seems too easy.”

Easy! Android guards? Two rooms of death?”

You're right,” said Jupiter lifting the suitcase from the pedestal.

Self-destruct system initiated,” came the smug, cold voice from the speakers.

I'm really starting to hate that voice” said Jupiter.


Running as fast as they could Jupiter and Abe raced back through the various Rooms of Death and past the remains of the android guards to the front airlock, which connected their ship to the Harland. Unfortunately for them, it was locked.

30 seconds to self destruction.

29 seconds to self destruction.

Abe raced back to the computer in The Room of Death.

20 seconds to self destruction.

Computer can you open the airlock for us? We need to get the ingredients for our tea.

15 seconds to self destruction.

I really shouldn't. It would be naughty.

10 seconds to self destruction.

Abe looked at the computer in desperation. Jupiter jumped in front of the keyboard.

5 seconds to self destruction.

It's too bad; the tea would go great with the dolphins that are on-board our ship.

Self-destruction halted,” said the cold, now slightly annoyed sounding voice from the speakers.

Dolphins?

Yes.

Alpha Airlock disengaged,” said the voice from the speakers.

Thank you computer.

:-)


Back on board their ship Abe and Jupiter celebrated their successful mission with a couple of bottles of wine. Both of them drunk by Abe.

Room of Death. Pfft! More like Room of... not death,” said Abe laughing at his own joke.

I can wait to see the guys’ faces back at Port Watson when they see what we've got.”


#


Port Watson, this is The Crusader seeking permission to dock and come aboard,” said Jupiter, his voice now full of pride and confidence.

Ah, Crusader I'm afraid we have no record of your vessel in our system,” came the reply from the intercom. In the background sniggering could be heard.

Must we do this every single time, Larry?” asked Jupiter.

Do what? I'm sorry I have no memory of encountering a ship called The Crusader. Please identify yourself mystery ship or we’ll be forced to open fire.”

Fine. Port Watson this is The Love Crusader seeking permission to dock.”

Jupiter grimaced as laughter filled the intercom.

You should never have let her name the ship,” said Abe shaking his head.

Well, I've got something that might shut you little girls up,” said Jupiter.

And what is that Loooooooove Crusader?” asked Larry.

Abe and I just collected the sacred scroll.”

No way!”

Better believe it. Right now Abe and I hold the original list of KFC's 11 secret herbs and spices.”

5 Response to INTO THE BLACK

  1. Luke says:

    And so it begins. Struggling a little with writing in third person. Will hopefully become easier as I go on.

    Probably spent longer changing the template than writing! Then when I finally posted the entry it changed all the formatting. Grr! (Let me know if it causes glitches on your computer.)

    The chapters won't always be that long, but there should be a new one at least every month.

  2. Dale says:

    This definitely has your trademark "clever funny" in spades - I laughed a lot. The interaction with the computer was awesome. :)

    Most of the time I didn't even notice the narration, it flowed really well. There were only one or two parts that were a bit unflowy. But yeah, the more you do you'll get it.

    Will you tell us what the 11 secret herbs and spices are? I'm guessing chicken salt has got to be in there... :)

  3. Jimzip says:

    That was hilarious! I can't believe there's more to come. I also know that there's nothing I can say in this comment that will be funny now, so I'll just back quietly away and let you do your thang....

    Jimzip :D

  4. mike says:

    I always wondered what happened to Douglas Adams' soul when he died. Now I know. What I don't get is how you can channel both him and a 16 year old superhero's brother. Deftly done.

  5. Tim Mc says:

    Im late to the party, but Dales right, you hardly notice the narration.

    And i know what about half of the 11 secret herbs and spices are, but il never tell...

    :-)