Chapter 17: Different worlds

Jupiter paused for what felt like an eternity to him as he searched for the right words to say. Words that could somehow make Belle understand the reasons behind his decision all those years ago. Words that could lessen the pain it had caused them both. Finally it came to him.
“I like what you've done with your hair.”
If looks could kill, Belle's look could've committed genocide.
“That's all you have to say for yourself?”
Jupiter racked his brain again for the right answer.
“Uh, your boots go well with that outfit.”
“Reign in the stupid or I'll shoot you myself,” Liberty muttered.
“And who is this?” asked Belle. “If you're dating him you should be warned, he can't be trusted.”
“Oh, sorry, allow me to introduce you two. Liberty, Belle...,” Jupiter said, then laughed nervously. “Liberty Belle – like the famous bell.”
No one else laughed. Jupiter gulped and looked around the cavern wishing he could be anywhere else. Wishing he was with Abe heading to Atlantis.


“No, it is not fine. We're about to vaporised into dust! And I'm allergic to dust!” yelled Abe, shaking Sunny by his neon-lit Hawaiian shirt.
“Relax,” Sunny replied. “I've got it all sorted. I have a plan,” he added as he took a small, rectangular device out of his pocket. He flicked a switch and started to tap the device like someone testing a microphone. Abe started to take deep breaths in an attempt to avoid passing out.
“Ahem, hello fine people aboard the warship – we ask that you kindly turn away and leave us in peace.”
Laughter roared down onto the planet from above.
“And why should we do that?” snarled the ship's commander.
“Because in return, we will hand over to you the chosen one, Google Jones. I'm sure Mykur would love to have him.”
In a flash Justice had his gun aimed at Sunny.
“That's not going to happen.”
“Now, now, let's hear the man out,” said Abe.


Belle flicked her long, blonde hair back as she punched a code into another set of giant, solid steel doors. Slowly they opened revealing the underground world of the Malacandra.
“My god...,” Liberty said, hand to her mouth as it all came into view.
“You've never been inside Mars before? Jupiter never told you?” Belle asked.
“No – I never knew. It's... it's beautiful.”
Laid out before them, continuing for miles on end, was what appeared to be a gigantic shopping centre.

When the decision was first made that Mars would become the second planet to be settled by humans, a worldwide effort was called for. Each nation was asked to provide its brightest minds for the mission. Mars was to be the planet where humans would finally reach their full potential.

However, once on the planet, each nation placed pressure on their representatives to claim as much land as possible for their country. This didn't appeal to the new 'Martians' as the people of Earth called them. Instead of sticking along national lines, they became a unified group. They no longer identified themselves as Americans or Chinese or any other nationality – instead they were all simply the people of Mars. After all, the greatest minds theorised that the absence of nationalistic tendencies would result in less conflicts and war.

What they didn't realise was that it would be the beginning of a new divide – the beginning of worldistic tendencies. Put simply: Earthlings versus Martians. People on Earth felt the 'Martians' were arrogant and elitist, people on Mars thought the Earthlings ignorant and un-evolved. Eventually it came to a head in what has since been described as history's most brutal water fight.

You see, water on Mars had not only been discovered, it had been found to be the best tasting water in the galaxy. People of Earth felt they had an equal right to the water – after all, they told the Martians, 'We're the ones that sent you eggheads there in the first place'. People of Mars, who had now started to call themselves The Malacandra, responded with, 'We may be eggheads, but at least we're not meatheads'. Gradually the name calling got worse until The Malacandra could take no more. Feeling threatened, they told the people of Earth, 'You want your water so bad, here it comes'.

In short, they created a water bomb – giving Earth all the water it demanded in one instant. The result was destruction on a scale never before seen, with most of the planet flooded. Earthlings felt they had no choice but to retaliate and launched all their weapons on Mars. Unfortunately for The Malacandra, although they were made up of mankind's greatest thinkers, they weren't exactly the world's greatest military strategists. With no weapons to speak off, only a few hundred thousand survived the oncoming attack, hiding out underground.

Needing to rebuild their crumbled society, they looked at all the greatest civilisations and the times and circumstances where society had thrived. Finally they deduced that their chance greatest of prosperity would be to convert their world into a gigantic shopping centre.

It should also be noted that most of mankind's greatest thinkers happened to be female.


“We'll find some other way out of this. We've got out of worse,” said Justice.
“There is no way out of this one though, is there?” said Google quietly. “Either we all get blown up or I let them take me.” He took a deep breath and looked around the beachside city. “I'll go,” he said finally.
“But you don't need to...”
“Yes, I do. All that matters is that Mykur is defeated. Get to Atlantis; get the next part of the key. Hopefully I can stay alive long enough for you to save me.” He turned to Sunny. “Tell them I'm ready to go aboard their ship.”
“Google is ready to surrender,” said Sunny into his megaphone device.
Laughter roared down onto the planet again.
“So you have Google?” the ship's commander responded.
“The Google Jones that Mykur wants dead?”
“Ah, yes.”
“The Google Jones that would be made dead when the planet he's on explodes?”
“Once again, yes. Now please send down a transporter ship and you can be on your way.”
More laughter from the ship above.
Sunny looked across at Abe with a smile.
“I think our optimistic approach to life here is having a good effect on them. They seem so much happier now. I told you this was going to work out fine.”
Abe turned his attention to Justice.
“Now can I shoot him?”
Before Justice could answer, 10,000 missles shot out from the ship, headed right for them.


Jupiter looked around, taking in the sights as the memories came flooding back. To the left was Herbert's Bakery where he'd eaten countless Herbie's sugar-free, fat-free, cholesterol-lowering jam donuts with added omegas 1-99, protein, fibre, iron and folateTM. To the right was the computer store that he and his friends would visit every weekend to get that week's latest computer and hand in their now outdated model.
“Over by that fountain is the town hall where the federation meets. I'll take you two there tomorrow to plead your case," Belle informed them.
Jupiter continued to scan the sights as Liberty squinted up ahead.
“Is that a communications centre?” she asked.
“Yep, you should be able to make contact with anyone in the universe from there.”
“Well, why don't I give you two a moment alone while I check up on Google and the others.”
Liberty wondered off into the distance, leaving Jupiter standing awkwardly with Belle.
“So... how have you been?” he asked.
“Very sexually satisfied, thank you.”
“Yes, I saw that you're married now. Congratulations.”
“For being married or the multiple orgasms he gives me daily?”
“Both, I guess.”
Belle paused, looked across at Jupiter and sighed.
“Look, perhaps I'm being childish. It's just – you hurt me. And for some reason it's important to me that you know, I'm doing great now. You didn't break me. After you left, I found my soulmate. So, I'm glad you did what you did. But that doesn't make me think well of you. So, you should know, I'm not ready to play nice just yet.”
“I'm just happy to see...,” but Jupiter never completed the sentence, because at that moment Liberty came racing over.
“What is it? What's going on? Are the others ok?” he asked.
“Oh no idea, the com centre was shut - but they're selling Gucci Blasters here at up to 60% off!”


Abe could only watch on as the missiles sailed down towards them like missiles sailing down towards a planet in a war simulation videogame. Then, just before they broke into the planet's atmosphere, the missile's swung around and went flying back at warship, like missiles in a war simulation videogame that had a strange glitch or cheat code. The ship never stood a chance, exploding into a billion pieces on impact. On the planet's surface, people cheered as if watching an impressive fireworks display.

Abe turned to Sunny in shock.
“How... How'd that happen?”
“That my friend is the power of positive thinking – and the latest state-of-the-art LG missile override system.”
“Why didn't you say something!? I almost died of a heart attack!”
“I know it was great! You should have seen all your faces! We got you good! Best. Joke. Ever.”
Everyone within earshot started to laugh and point at Abe and the gang. Abe reached for his blaster, but Justice held his arm back.
“You know for a planet of optimists, you sure are jerks!”
Sunny finally recovered from his laughing to reply, “Optimists? Haven't you worked it out yet? We're not optimists!”
“But wait, isn't this...,” Justice took out his map and pointed at the planet :-).
Sunny laughed again.
“No, no, no. That's the neighbouring planet. I was going to tell you before, but it was too much fun playing along. We're here,” he said pointing down at another planet on the map.

A planet founded by practical jokers. A planet named :-p.

4 Response to Chapter 17: Different worlds

  1. Dale says:

    'Countless clever ideas, twists on pop culture, and a humourous social commentary make "INTO THE BLACK" a must-read for everyone in the stratosphere' - writes this avid reader. :)

  2. Thanks for writing my first blurb quote, Dale. :) And it could almost sound official if we go "...a must-read for everyone in the stratosphere" Dale Stephens, The Daley News.

  3. Jimzip says:

    Aw! Jibbed!

    So we've never seen the real :-)!! That makes me >:-( !! I joke of course.

    Do you write the stories behind planets before you get there? The histories are really very amusing. I would love to see someone illustrate these chapters too... X) (I would also like to see what a 'Gucci' brand blaster looks like).

    Jimzip :D

  4. Most of the time I just make up the histories as I get to them. The history of Mars changed slightly because I wasn't a good enough writer to describe how I pictured it, so instead I turned it into a shopping centre because that's easy for everyone to imagine without the need for description. Then it became a matter of working out why it would've become a shopping centre (so working backwards).

    Similarly, with :-) I just wrote in the cliff-hanger type ending without knowing what would happen next, then when I sat down to write I realised they were actually on ;-) (convenient, no?) :)