It’s a silly piece, but what the hell, and what can I say? The ‘fiend inspired me to have a bit o’ harmless, goofy fun. So, without further ado, I present:
Captain Lance Bannon of The Space Patrol
the Flaming Disco Ball of Death!
Captain Lance Bannon shouted the warning an instant before the new burst of energy slammed into the side of his crashed spaceship. The hull trembled beneath the force of the attack, and as Bannon reached out to steady himself he felt the heat of the energy pulse radiating through the damaged plating. His square jaw clenching in determination, Bannon peered through the open hatch and saw the moon’s bleak, cratered landscape surrounding them along with the menacing object hovering overhead. What had Bannon’s arch-nemesis, Professor Havoc, unleashed upon them this time?
“What is that thing?” asked Lieutenant Holly Harmon, Bannon’s ace pilot, from where she crouched on the other side of the hatch opening, wielding her blastgun in her right hand.
Hanging in the air above the wrecked Space Patrol ship D-68E, the monstrous ball spun and spat flames and multi-hued light from the numerous openings visible along its smooth, mirrored surface. The thing oozed power, emitting a low hum that buzzed in Bannon’s ears even as he felt an odd tingle on his exposed skin.
Holding up his portable vizactuator, Bannon said, “It’s reading out as a self-powered drone of some kind, with an atomic power source at its center encased in a glass cocoon.”
“A heart of glass?” Harmon asked, her soft brow furrowing in confusion. Then she and Bannon ducked for cover as the sphere belched energy yet again, and another hammer blow rocked the ship.
Leaning out from his place of concealment, Bannon leveled his blastgun at the ball and fired, the echo of the energy pulse rolling through the ship’s interior. The blast harmlessly bounced off the ball’s mirrored skin, and he pulled himself back inside as the sphere shot at them once more, this time setting fire to a few patches of dry, dead grass poking up from the moon’s arid soil.
“Hot stuff,” Bannon said, grunting as he pulled himself to his feet. “Whatever that thing is, it’s tough.”
“It’s not as tough as this,” said Chief Chip Drucker, the D-68E’s crack master mechanic, as he stepped up behind Bannon, wielding a bulky silver weapon. “Let me have a shot at it.”
“What is that?” Bannon asked.
“It’s the new flame cannon,” Drucker replied as he knelt beside Bannon and raised the weapon to his shoulder. “Space Patrol just issued it before we left Mars. I’ve remodulated it so that it shoots a freeze ray now.”
Frowning, Harmon said, “Wait a minute. Didn’t Space Patrol give us a freeze blaster a year ago?”
Drucker grunted in irritation. “Yeah, but I had to remodulate that last week when we fought those Ice Robots on Pluto.”
“It’s always something,” Bannon said, ducking as the sphere released yet another barrage.
Shrugging, Drucker patted the new gun with a reassuring hand. “Besides, that one didn’t have enough power. This one’ll draw power right from the ship’s atomic reactor.” He flashed his trademark mischievous grin. “That’s the way I like it.”
As if on cue, the monstrous sphere fired again, and this time its dazzling energy ray struck the bulkhead above Drucker’s head, showering him with sparks and dropping a section of plating down upon him. The mechanic stumbled from the impact, dropping the remodulated flame cannon and collapsing in a limp heap to the deck.
“Chip!” Harmon shouted. Lunging from where she knelt next to the hatch, she crossed to where the mechanic had fallen, checking his condition. “He’s out cold, but I think he’ll be okay!”
Outside the D-68E, Bannon watched as the sphere abruptly halted its maddening rotation, one panel of its outer hull blinking and flickering for several seconds before Bannon realized it was a vidscreen. As he and his crew looked on, the screen buzzed and wavered before finally settling on an image of Bannon’s most-hated enemy, Professor Havoc. Tall and thin with an angular face that narrowed to a pointed jaw, she glowered at them with narrowed eyes peeking out from long, black lashes.
“You had your chance, Captain Bannon,” Havoc said, the corners of her mouth curved upward in a leering smile. “You could have lived a life of luxury, ruling the universe at my side, but instead you forsake me, and for what? Your outmoded notions of duty?” Pointing an accusatory finger at Bannon, Havoc leaned closer until her face all but filled the vidscreen. “You will pay for your defiance.”
“Hell hath no fury, Skipper,” Harmon said.
“Indeed, young Lieutenant Harmon,” Havoc said, making no attempt to hide her disdain for the ace pilot. “Powerful and influential though I may be, I am but a woman.”
Rolling her eyes, Harmon muttered, “I think I’m going to be sick,” before raising her blastgun and firing at the sphere. As before, the attack proved fruitless.
Bannon rose from his crouch and stood in the open hatchway. “You’re more than a woman to me, Professor. You’re evil personified, and I’ll never stop fighting you, not ever. Not until you’re brought to justice!”
In response to that declaration, the sphere belched fire and energy, and Bannon dove back into the ship. “Today you die, Bannon. Behold the unmatched power of my Flaming Disco Ball of Death!”
“Your what?” was all Bannon had time to ask before pulse after pulse of withering heat energy rained down from the sphere, pummeling the stressed hull of the wrecked D-68E. All around them, the ship groaned in protest as it withstood the attack. Unlike before, the assault did not relent. There were no pauses between strikes. Professor Havoc, driven by rage and betrayal, had unleashed the full strength of her weapon and would not stop until the ship and its occupants were destroyed!
“I’ve had enough of this!” Harmon exclaimed, now shouldering the massive remodulated flame cannon as she moved toward the hatch.
Aiming the weapon’s stout muzzle toward the sphere, the ace pilot thumbed the firing switch and nearly lost her footing as thick blue-white energy erupted from the modified cannon. The howl of power was deafening inside the ship and Bannon was forced to shield his eyes from the glare as the beam struck the sphere, enveloping it in a dazzling sub-zero maelstrom.
Harmon kept firing and within seconds the cannon’s effects were evident, with the ball shuddering under the force of the attack. It stopped rotating, and flames shooting from its multiple ports died out. Then its chaotic sequence of blinking lights faded before the entire sphere simply fell from the sky, crashing into the moon’s dusty, barren soil and creating yet another crater to join those already scoring the surrounding wasteland.
Watching as the sphere’s remnants were consumed by fire, Bannon rose from his crouching stance. “Nice shooting, Harmon,” he said, holstering his blastgun.
“Disco inferno, Captain,” the pilot retorted, smiling in satisfaction as she looked on at the destruction she had wrought.
“Now, let’s see about Chip, and calling the Space Patrol for help.” Moving to the D-68E’s cockpit, Bannon activated the radio and tuned it to the proper emergency channel, but before he could even raise the microphone to his mouth, a burst of static filled the cockpit, and the small vidscreen above the speaker flared to life with yet another image of Professor Havoc.
“You may have destroyed my toy, Bannon,” the professor said, her eyes all but flame as she regarded him, “but you’ve not hurt me. Mark my words, Captain: I will survive.”
To be Continued? You’d better hope not!
Copyright © 2007 by Dayton Ward. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute copies of this work for nonprofit purposes, provided that the author, source, and copyright notice are included with each distribution.