The Shuttle almost launched itself and so, to Mike’s delight, it looked like it was going to be a quiet and uneventful trip.
As the ship’s guidance computer controlled the ship’s velocity perfectly, Moonblazer was free to show Stella the controls and his duties. Their conversation had been drawn back to Mike’s weird encounter in his state-room.
“It’s a shame that Vok had no time to convey his information, Mike,” Stella was saying. “Maybe it was some kind of joke…”
Stella was interrupted, however, as a fantastic sight came to the forward view screen. A deep purplish area was moving directly toward them. It was bordered by several huge, rather quickly gyrating, balls.
Mike leapt to the controls and shut down the Nav. Com. while activating the emergency beacon in one swift motion. He banked hard to port and the craft trembled with its sudden start. Avoiding the object seemed impossible—for it, gigantic as it was, swerved with them. Another attempt of Mike’s rendered the same results.
Though he didn’t like to do it, Moonblazer had no time to react differently—he fired a short burst of plasma energy directly at the purple object. The ‘thing’ was only half a kilometre from the ship as Mike watched the plasma hit the purple thing and … disappear. There was no expected explosion at all!!!
The Captain sat helplessly as he watched the object come closer. All of a sudden it moved clear.
“Look!” Stella exclaimed as she pointed to the rear and starboard screens. “A group of Zeploid Destroyers!”
It was too good to be true for Mike—Zeploid Destroyers were the fastest and most lethal space cruisers in the known Cosmos and there were seven of them!
The sleek ships soon completely surrounded the intruder, where it hung stopped in space—seemingly harmless. Suddenly Mike’s fervent hopes were shattered as seven yellow-green rays from one of the green balls enveloped each Destroyer. They were robbed of their movement and left seemingly lifelessly stopped where they were.
The object moved towards the Shuttle and Moonblazer tried to reassure his passengers; “I’m sure we don’t have to fear for our lives—the object seems to want to capture us,” the Captain said tersely. “For it did not, as I’m sure you saw, beam us as it did the Destroyers. Please, try to stay calm, I’ll do everything in my power to get your money refunded if there is any loss in time.”
Aboard one of the Zeploid Destroyers a half-stunned pilot lifted his head in time to see the Moon Shuttle disappear into the purple object. Then the object and attending balls vanished. He hit his emergency beacon before he sagged back into unconsciousness.Make sure to buy the stunning next issue to learn Captain Mike Moonblazer’s fate!
–1981/04 published in The Grapevine Volume VI, Issue IV–