Chapter 30:

Worlds of Tommorow (Jack versus the Cosmonaut)


Marilyn picked Jack up from his motel in the America News Network helicopter. The rest of the Blue Nasties were already inside. Everyone was in costume and sporting their slashing weapons. Marilyn had returned to her human form. Bookmark here

No one said anything for ten minutes as they flew. They all just looked out of the windows.Bookmark here

Marilyn broke the silence. ‘We’re going after the Cosmonaut. He’s trying to destroy the manned mission to Mars launching from Johnson Space Center tonight. I will be aiding you personally on this mission.’Bookmark here

Sam looked at Jack. He heard her voice in his head. Aren’t we going to ask her what the heck is going on?Bookmark here

Jack had been dreading this. He cleared this throat. ‘Marilyn, the team and I have been wondering what’s been up with you lately….’Bookmark here

Marilyn glared at him. Then her eyes softened. ‘I don’t know….’ Her eyes hardened again. ‘Focus on the mission.’Bookmark here

The helicopter landed in front of Space Center Houston. It was a complex of white buildings with a spacecraft on top of an airplane outside the entrance. Scientists and engineers were streaming out of it.Bookmark here

An Asian man in a lab coat ran up to them. ‘Thank Einstein, Newton, and Darwin you’re here, Marilyn! The Cosmonaut is headed for the spaceport right now! He’s going to sabotage the manned mission to Mars! It was supposed to be secret! Someone must have leaked it! It was Nigel from accounting, I just know it! He’s had it in for me for years! I’ve evacuated all non-essential personnel, but the spacecraft is unguarded!’Bookmark here

Marilyn nodded. ‘It’s alright, Director Tofu. The Blue Nasties are on the case. What’s the quickest way to get to the spaceport?’Bookmark here

‘Through the RockeTech Worlds of Tomorrow! Be careful, though! The Cosmonaut has left his Spacemen slasher gang there to kill anyone trying to stop him!’Bookmark here

‘We’ll deal with it.’Bookmark here

Sam leant close to Jack and whispered. ‘Isn’t it weird how much influence the media has in our society? Marilyn has NASA working with slashers.’Bookmark here

‘Focus on the mission,’ said Jack.Bookmark here

The Blue Nasties headed into Space Center Houston. There was a reception area with rockets on display everywhere. They followed the signs to the RockeTech Worlds of Tomorrow. There were ten doors leading to ten different planets. Bookmark here

‘Ten doors and six of us,’ said Marilyn. ‘We’ll find the Cosmonaut faster if we split up.’Bookmark here

‘Right,’ said Jack. ‘We seem to work better that way anyway.’Bookmark here

Sam raised her hand. ‘Can Lobo come with me? She can’t use the Zone.’Bookmark here

Marilyn shook her head. ‘No. If she wants to stay with us, she has to pull her weight.’Bookmark here

Sam frowned, but Lobo licked her hand.Bookmark here

As they entered the doors, a voice tour played. The voice was that of a cheery 1950s American housewife. ‘Welcome to the RockeTech Worlds of Tomorrow! Ever wondered what it would be like to live on another planet in our Solar System?! Well, wonder no more!’Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

‘Want to return to nature?! Become a lumberjack on the Lumber Yards of Venus!’ Bookmark here

Reptilian thought he saw something moving through the trees. He revved his chainsaw and prowled over to the spot. A twig snapped behind him. He spun around to find the Lumberjack swinging his fire axe.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

‘Want a permanent winter wonderland?! Become an ice miner in the Ice Mines of Neptune!’Bookmark here

Nordic Alien saw Puck slowly rolling through the mouth of the ice cave. He took an ice pick from the pile beside him and threw it at her. Bookmark here

It did nothing. Bookmark here

He threw three more. Bookmark here

It did nothing. Bookmark here

He threw everything he had at her. Bookmark here

It did nothing. Bookmark here

He turned around and ran. He heard the buzzing of roller skates behind him. A bladed hockey stick impaled him through the chest.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

‘Want some sun, sea, and sand?! Become a salt farmer on the Salt Farms of Uranus!’Bookmark here

Tentacle Monster stroked his poisoned harpoon. When the Blue Nasties tried to swim across the pool, he’d jump out from behind the salt mound at its centre and stab them to death! The Zone couldn’t protect you from poison! A figure appeared at the beach entrance. It was Mezu! Bookmark here

Mezu started to walk on water across the pool. Bookmark here

Tentacle Monster gritted his teeth. Zone-using punk! Whatever! Let’s see your magic save you from this! He jumped out from behind the salt mound and thrust his poison harpoon at Mezu. Bookmark here

A flash. Bookmark here

Suddenly, Tentacle Monster was underwater. His headless body sank beside him.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

‘Want some excitement in your life?! Become a lightning farmer on the Lightning Farms of Saturn!’Bookmark here

As soon as Sam Jacinto stepped through the door, Great Galactic Ghoul hit her with the cattle prod.Bookmark here

She laughed. ‘Quit it! Quit it! That tickles!’Bookmark here

He kept hitting her, but she kept laughing. She was a monster!Bookmark here

‘Stop!’ Bookmark here

She pushed him away. A gust of wind sent him flying into the electricity pylons. Electricity ripped through his body.Bookmark here

She cringed and pulled at her collar. ‘Sorry!’Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

‘Want some peace and quiet?! Become a gravedigger on the Graveyards of Pluto!’Bookmark here

Grey’s heart was pounding. Why did he ever agree to this?! He loved Mother Russia and all, but there was no way he was going to fight the Blue Nasties with a spade! He looked around for somewhere to hide. There were only graves. He got in one of them and went stone still.Bookmark here

He heard the panting and bounding of a dog moving across the room. Bookmark here

That must have been Loco Lobo. She’d passed him by. Thank Stalin!Bookmark here

He got out of the grave. Bookmark here

Loco Lobo was sitting right there. Bookmark here

She gave a wolfish grin and bit down on his neck.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

‘Want a man’s world?! Become an iron miner on the Iron Mines of Mars!’Bookmark here

Little Green Man ran through the cave complex. Bookmark here

He turned left. There was the devil woman! He turned right. There was the devil woman! Around every corner was the devil woman! The devil woman had not been mentioned in the Cosmonaut’s plan! Bookmark here

Eventually, he reached a dead end. Bookmark here

He turned around and found the devil woman right in front of him. He swung his pickaxe at her, but she caught it in her four hands and crushed it. She placed her hands on his chest and started to melt him. The last thing he saw was the devil woman’s smiling face.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

‘Thank you for visiting the RockeTech Worlds of Tomorrow! Whether the future of interplanetary colonisation is under capitalism or communism—we’re hedging our bets—we hope that you’ve learned that life on another world will be fun and profitable!’Bookmark here

Jack and the others reassembled outside at the spaceport. Bookmark here

Spaceman was floating towards the rocket headed for Mars. He didn’t look so tough in his puffy white space suit holding his flimsy USSR flag. However, the Zone was always a gamechanger.Bookmark here

‘Be ready for anything,’ Jack said to the others.Bookmark here

The Cosmonaut turned around, stretched his hand out, and spoke with a Russian accent. ‘Zona Osobyy: Nul' Sila Tyazhesti!’Bookmark here

The Blue Nasties started flying rapidly into the air.Bookmark here

Jack didn’t need to know Russian to understand what the Cosmonaut had said: ‘Zone Special: Zero Gravity!’Bookmark here

Instead of panicking, Jack, Puck, Mezu, and Sam launched a simultaneous attack.Bookmark here

‘Zone Technique: Fire Whirl!’ said Jack.Bookmark here

‘Zone Technique: Icicle!’ said Puck.Bookmark here

‘Zone Technique: Wind Wave!’ said Mezu.Bookmark here

‘Zone Technique: Whirlwind!’ said Sam.Bookmark here

They threw their slashing weapons at the Cosmonaut’s head. Bookmark here

The slashing weapons hit home. Bookmark here

The Cosmonaut fell.Bookmark here

The Blue Nasties went into free fall and crashed to Earth. Lobo made sure to land on Jack, winding him.Bookmark here

Jack coughed. ‘Thanks, Lobo.’Bookmark here

Lobo barked and licked his face.Bookmark here

Once everyone had recovered, they got up and walked over to the Cosmonaut. Jack had expected more of a fight from a member of the Big Five. Lying there, bleeding through his space helmet, the Cosmonaut didn’t look dangerous at all.Bookmark here

‘Why?’ said Jack. ‘Why were you trying to destroy the manned mission to Mars?’Bookmark here

The Cosmonaut slowly reached out his hands to Jack and Marilyn. Bookmark here

‘You want us to take your hands?’ said Jack.Bookmark here

‘It’s a trap.’ Marilyn stepped forwards and flexed her four clawed hands. ‘Let’s just kill him and be done with it.’Bookmark here

Puck blocked Marilyn with her arm. ‘Wait a minute, boss. I know a few Russians back in Canada. They’re a very straightforward people. If this guy was going to attack you, he’d just attack you.’Bookmark here

Sam put her fingers to her temples. ‘I’m getting a funny feeling in my head. It’s like a phone is ringing. I think he wants to communicate with you telepathically.’Bookmark here

Jack nodded. ‘Marilyn, you said you’re not sure what’s been up with you lately. This guy has been to space, and he seems mysterious, so maybe he knows.’Bookmark here

Marilyn scowled at him. ‘That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever—’Bookmark here

The Cosmonaut sat and up grabbed Jack and Marilyn by the hands.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.