Judy Bolton Days

Judy Bolton Days
First annual in 1991!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011



A Rick Brant fan-written adventure from 1959,  a sequel to The Phantom Shark.

To get all the chapters, click on 'Golden Dragon' under Labels on side panel.


All the chapters currently available are now available on this alternate site:

THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON https://sites.google.com/site/rickbrantfanfiction/dragon



Thursday, May 26, 2011



Rick Raider:

copyright 2011 Stratomiker Syndicate
To get all the chapters click on 'Eternal Flame' on the sidebar.


Randolph Raider was a handsome man whose dark hair and eyes matched his son's. He looked a good ten years younger than his forty-five years, and it often happened that people thought he was Rick's older brother.

Rick watched him now as he talked to the two professors in the Lake City headquarters of the InterTell Intelligence Agency. He was calm and cool, as usual, and had managed to calm down both men somewhat. Rick grinned; he couldn't help thinking that in his polo shirt and casual slacks his dad looked more like a pro golfer than a secret agent.

Professor Blaine had told Mr. Raider about the malfunctioning of the two computer systems and his theory that it might have been caused by the occupants of the UFO which had been sighted the night before. Rick's dad had listened attentively and he now drummed his fingers on the top of his desk as he thoughtfully looked at the two professors.

"InterTell is aware of the UFO," he said at length. "As you may know, there have been some recent sightings reported along the lakefront between Lake City and Cleveland. This one, however, was different because so many people saw it. Among the many reports was one from a coast guard patrol boat crew who spotted the object over the lake. It was also picked up on their radar."

"It was up there, all right," Professor Blaine said, his voice weary now. "I watched it as it hovered right over the Science Center. The University's computer system is housed in there."

"Sally saw it too, Dad," Rick told him. "It was flying over the hills behind our houses."

Mr. Raider nodded. "Yes, there's no doubt an Unidentified Flying Object was in the vicinity last night, and it made quite a tour of the area. That much we know for sure. But we don't know if there's a connection between the UFO and the malfunctioning computers.

"Professor Manning," he continued, "you are the computer expert. Do you think it's possible for a computer to be short-circuited by a transmission from an overhead craft, from another computer or other device that's not online with it or networked with it in any manner?"

The young professor nodded eagerly. He was all, "Yes, I do! As you know, computer systems hook into each other via the telephone lines and cable systems, as well as by satellite radio communications. The University's computer and the newspaper's computer connect to the Internet through dedicated lines and, in the same manner, anyone who has a computer at home can access the Internet through telephone modems, cable lines, wireless systems, even cell phones. I believe that a civilization more advanced than ours could probably do the same thing through alpha particles focused and directed through the air. We know alpha particles can change computer memory cells randomly. An advanced intelligence might be able to control such modifications and changes at will."

"That sounds probable," Rick agreed. "You know darn well if they can come to Earth from another planet that their technology is highly advanced compared to ours. If a UFO is to blame, perhaps its occupants are spies and they wanted to find out exactly what scientific knowledge is to be discussed at the NASA conference."

"Alien spies!" Professor Blaine muttered nervously. The man ran his fingers through his wiry hair. "Exactly! The theme of the conference is to be Quantae space travel, a new theory being researched by NASA that would enable man to travel vast distances in space in short periods of time by warping space. Perhaps the aliens transmitted the data from our computers to their ship's computer, and then did something to make our computers malfunction so we won't be able to use this important information ourselves."

"You really mustn't jump to such conclusions, Professor," Mr. Raider advised, looking at the man gravely. "Going along with your theory that the aliens stole the scientific data from our computers, doesn't it seem to you that it'd be information they already have, since they were able to travel through space to come to Earth? Why would they want information they already have, and how would they know we have it?"

"You pose a good question, Randolph," said Professor Blaine, leaning forward in his chair. "It's most likely that they know all about Quantae space travel, but maybe they don't want us to develop the skill! And there are many ways they could have learned we are working on it. For instance, communications concerning the conferences have been sent around the world via the Laser Communications satellite that your own organization, InterTell, has put into orbit through the contract with NASA's space shuttle program. An alien ship traveling near our planet could easily monitor such communications, which could be the reason behind all the recent UFO sightings along the lake shore."

Mr. Raider looked very thoughtful as he sat back in his chair. "Very well, your reasoning is quite logical and this matter definitely requires looking into. You made the right decision coming here to InterTell, and I'm very pleased you have the trust to confide in Rick. But I must ask you not to make your suspicions known to anyone else."

The two professors agreed, and Mr. Raider asked them to wait in the lobby for Rick, as he wished to speak to his son alone.

"What do you think, Dad?" Rick asked when the professors had left the office.

"It's entirely possible that their suspicions are correct. Recent events in the area corroborate with the theory. In this day and age we cannot rule out the possibility of alien beings from other worlds coming to Earth. On the other hand, there may be no connection at all between the UFO and the malfunctioning computers. The first step is to have our experts check out the systems and see if there's been any foul play. I'll send crews over to the Science Center and the newspaper immediately."

Rick nodded sagely. "If there's been any  sabotage, InterTell will find it, that's for sure. But old Einstein ... I mean Professor Blaine ... he's convinced we're going to be invaded. Seeing the UFO last night must have frightened him. He sure is a character, isn't he?"

"I'll say," his dad agreed. "He reminds me of some of the profs from my college days . What do you think of all this, Rick?"

"I'm not sure, Dad." Rick shrugged his broad shoulders and frowned. "It's pretty logical there might be a connection between the UFO and the strange computer responses, but then it sounds too much like science fiction, like Star Trek and Star Wars. I guess I'd have to see a spaceship to really believe in it."

Randolph Raider smiled at his son. "That's because you tend to be practical. Not like your buddy Charlie."

Rick laughed. "Charlie is convinced we're being invaded too. He wants to search for the UFO in the Kirtland Hills. We're going to look for it after classes."

"If you find it, don't go on board." Mr. Raider was chuckling, but then his face suddenly grew serious. He was like, "Well, I guess it could be there, you know. There has been a lot of strange activity in the area lately, and this could be part of it. If a craft did land, the hills are the perfect spot. It's so secluded up there. Take along the encryptive transceiver and call me if you do see anything unusual."

The encryptive transceiver was a new communications device in use by InterTell that transmitted messages in code. Rick had been given one by the agency as a reward for helping to rescue the captives of the lost Yukon expedition as recounted in Danger on the Gold Trail.

Rick's dad had been one of the missing persons imprisoned in the dreadful dungeons of the secret underground city of Ophir, located in the frozen wilds of northern Canada. One of InterTell's top agents, Mr. Raider was often away for long periods of time on top secret missions. Rick had grown up under the guidance of his Aunt Bea, his father's sister, who had lived with them since the death of Rick's mother when he was a little boy.

Now nineteen, Rick was tall and good-looking, with wavy black hair and dark eyes to match. He was athletic, intelligent, mature, and one of the top students in his class at Lake University. He was also enrolled in the work/study program with InterTell, and often helped his dad research his cases.

Charlie Connors was Rick's best friend and constant companion.  He was a little shorter than Rick, but huskier, with brown eyes and curly brown hair. He lived on a farm down the road from Rick and his good looks and impulsive personality made him a very popular fellow in town. Sally, who thought Rick could no wrong, lived next door to the Raiders with her parents, Professor and Mrs. Anderson. The pretty green-eyed blonde was always with the boys and they were an inseparable trio.

Now, as Rick sat with his dad in the InterTell office, he wondered if he and his friends were on the threshold of something big. As Charlie had said earlier, it was definitely time for some serious excitement.

"I'll be sure to take the transceiver with me," he told his father. "And if we do come across the UFO, I sure don't intend to board it!"

Mr. Raider gave him a wry look, then, "Please don't, son. InterTell can do just about anything. But if you get captured by aliens and taken to outer space, there's no way we'll be able to rescue you."

Chuckling at the idea of such a thing happening, Rick got up from his chair and gave his father the lunch bag containing Aunt Bea's cookies. He had taken them in with him knowing he could give them to his dad who would eagerly devour them.

"Here's a little snack for you. Aunt Bea insisted I take them, but I won't eat them all. You know how she is. If I refuse, she really gets offended."

"Well, baking is pretty much her whole life these days," Mr. Raider joked. "I was wondering what you had in the bag." He looked inside and pulled out a cookie. "Ah, my favorite. Chocolate chips, eh? Your aunt must be baking up a storm again. "

Rick was all, "You bet. She sure is. And she's going to make brownies too." He snickered. "You and I are going to have to move out of the house if she doesn't calm down with the food. Otherwise we'll gain a hundred pounds each. Or maybe she could get a job. That way she won't be cooking all day."

Mr. Raider laughed. "Your aunt would bop you one if she heard you suggest she should get a job. No, we'll just have to put up with it and keep inviting Charlie over to finish off the leftovers."

"Right. Wild horses couldn't keep him away." Rick walked over to the door. "I'll see you later tonight."

Mr. Raider stood up from his chair. "Assure your professor pals that InterTell will be on the job immediately."

"I sure will. So long, Dad."

Rick met the two professors in the lobby and he gave them his father's assurances. Professor Manning was looking forward to working with the InterTell crew, but Professor Blaine did not seem to be convinced it would do any good. Rick felt sorry for the man and he knew that the UFO hovering over the Science Center late at night had frightened him.

They returned to the University campus and, throughout the rest of the day, Rick couldn't get his mind off the mystery of the UFO and the malfunctioning computers. It was almost impossible for him to concentrate on his studies. He said nothing to Charlie and Sally about the matter and, when they were walking back to his truck after classes, neither of them could control their curiosity any longer.

"All right, spill the beans," Charlie demanded. "Don't go pulling your James Bond Junior routine on us and keeping secrets. What's up?"

"Right," Sally agreed. "Why did Professor Manning take you out of class and where were you all that time?"

As he drove home, Rick told them about the malfunctioning computers and the two professors' theory that the UFO was to blame. "Dad says there's been a lot of UFO activity along the lakefront again," he added. "So there really could be a chance this is the real thing."

Charlie smacked the dashboard with his fist. He was all, totally, "Groovy baby! I knew it! Old Einstein must be right. The aliens are on a spying mission to find out what we know about space travel. And I thought those stories about the sightings by the Perry nuclear plant  on the lake were just hogwash. They may have been spying on us for quite a while because of this NASA deal going on."

Sally looked at Charlie. "I hope spying is all they have in mind. If they can steal the computer data and then screw up our computers, imagine what else they'd be capable of doing!"

Charlie gaped back at her. "Hey, pretty radical. What if they're preparing to attack?"

"You two better chill," Rick advised, as he pulled off the freeway. "Sounds like you're writing a science fiction movie script. Stop jumping to conclusions. We really have no idea what's going on yet. And don't breathe a word of this to anyone. If the news leaks out it could start a panic."

They arrived at the Raider home, anxious to go up into the hills and search for the UFO. Rick pulled into the drive and stopped behind Aunt Bea's car, which was parked by the side door. The back passenger-side  door of the big luxurious sedan had been left open, and Rick closed it on their way into the house.

"Aunt Bea must have gone grocery shopping," he said. "Sometimes she forgets to close the door after carrying the bags inside."

But Charlie was already all, "Yo! Do I smell something good or what?" He sniffed the air as they walked up the steps into the hall. "Yes I do! There's nothing like the aroma of freshly baked brownies. I could eat a ton of them!"

As they stepped into the kitchen, the first thing they saw was Aunt Bea. Still wearing her jacket, she was sitting at the table next to several grocery bags. She was rapidly fanning herself with a magazine. There was a frightened look on her face and she jumped at the sight of them.

"Oh, Rick!" she cried. "Good heavens! You scared me to death!""

Startled himself, Rick was like, "Aunt Bea! What's wrong?"

She fanned the magazine faster. "Oh my, I just had the most frightful experience of my life! I must be seeing things!"

The three chums hurried to her side and Sally placed her hand on Aunt Bea's shoulder. "What happened, Miss Raider?"

Aunt Bea's voice was trembling. "I...I was carrying my grocery bags into the house. On one of my trips back out to the car, I carried out a box of cookies and brownies I was going to take down to the Connors' farm." She fanned even more rapidly, the frightened expression growing more intense. Then, "I placed the box on the hood of the car and took one of the grocery bags from the back seat and carried it inside. On my way out to get the last bag from the car, I saw the most ... the most incredible thing! Good thing I stayed in the hall!"

Rick frowned. "What did you see? Tell us, Aunt Bea?"

Her shrill voice was almost a screech. "A man was standing by the car, sniffing at the box of cookies and brownies!"

"A man?" Rick repeated. "Who was he?"

Aunt Bea was all, "I don't know. He picked up the box, walked around and pulled the remaining grocery bag out of the car, and then ran across the backyard and into the woods!"

Charlie huffed, totally, "You mean someone stole my cookies and brownies?"

"Yes!" Aunt Bea cried. "And the bag that contained all the ingredients to make more!"

"Now try to calm down, Aunty," Rick said. "He was probably just a hobo looking for something to eat. You know that vagrants sometimes wander around in the hills."

"A hobo, my foot!" Aunt Bea shrilled. "The man was wearing a tunic and sandals. Like Hercules!"

"What?" Rick looked at Charlie and Sally.

"Yes, a tunic and sandals. And he wore a cloak of furs around his shoulders and held a strange looking gun in one hand." Aunt Bea stopped fanning and slapped the magazine on the table. Then she was just all, "I think I'm going crazy!"

"Uh oh," Sally uttered, exchanging anxious glances with the boys.

They were each thinking the very same thing. Could the strange man have been an alien from the UFO?

Charlie was all psyched. "Did the man look human?" he couldn't help blurting.

Aunt Bea's eyes popped at him. She clutched at her bosom. "Of course he looked human. What do you mean?"

"Charlie, keep your big mouth shut," Rick hissed.

Aunt Bea shot up from the chair. "Rick, what's going on? Do you know something? Oh, I'd be so happy to know I'm not nuts!"

"You're not going crazy, Aunt Bea," Rick assured her. "Something is definitely going on, but we can't tell you."

Then he turned to Charlie, all business. "Charlie, take Aunt Bea down to your house in my truck," he ordered. "Stop next door and get Mrs. Anderson too. Tell her to drop whatever she's doing and go with you. Tell your dad to call the police and have them send a squad car out to your house.  Aunt Bea can tell the police what she saw. Sally, you go home. I want both of you to change into hiking clothes and meet me in the backyard in ten minutes."

"Rick!" Aunt Bea screeched. "What is going on?"

"No time for questions now." He tossed his keys to Charlie and was on his way across the room. "Just go along with Charlie and we'll tell you about it later."

Rick ran upstairs to his bedroom and quickly changed into old jeans, a sweatshirt, and hiking boots. He slipped his jacket back on and pulled his cell phone from the pocket. He dialed InterTell to talk to his dad, but he was told that Mr. Raider had left the offices to keep an appointment. He told the agent on the line about the strange man and that he might possibly be from a UFO up in the hills. Next he dialed his father's cell phone number, but there was no answer except for the voice mail prompt. He hurriedly left the news about the intruder and that he and his friends were going up into the hills to look for the UFO.

Then he ran down to the den and over to a cabinet built into the book shelves. He opened the door and pulled out the small leather case holding the encryptive transceiver. Slipping it into his jacket pocket, Rick left the room.

After locking up the house, he went into the backyard to wait for Charlie and Sally. Hoping the thief might have left a clue behind, he searched the ground. But there was nothing to be found. Impatiently, Rick locked the doors of Aunt Bea's car, and then Charlie pulled the pickup into the drive.

The Connors boy was all, "All right, man, I'm ready to get that alien dude!" He jumped out of the truck and tossed Rick the keys.

"Just cool it, Connors," Rick warned him. "The man had a gun. And who knows what kind!  We've got to be careful. And quiet."

Charlie was unperturbed. "Are you insinuating I can't keep my big mouth shut?"

"You can't." Rick grinned at him. "Nobody has to insinuate about it. It's a fact, Jack."

Charlie grunted. "Okay, I'll put a zipper on it." His excited eyes scanned the hills. "This could turn out to be real serious, huh?"

"You better believe it. Aliens from space are nothing to joke about. Playing against them on a computer game is a lot different than the real thing."

Sally came running over and they started off toward the woods. "My mom was pretty shook up," she said. "But she went off with Aunt Bea and Charlie like a good girl."

"And my dad called the police," Charlie added as they entered the thick trees that led up to the hills. Then he burst out laughing. "Man, they're going to think Aunt Bea is loony when she tells them a man dressed like Hercules stole her groceries."

"They sure will," Rick agreed. "But we can't let them know we think aliens are in the neighborhood."

Sally was like, "Really. They'd be terrified."

They followed the trail that led up into the Kirtland Hills. New spring leaves were just beginning to show on the trees,  but the woods still had the stark barren look of winter. A cool breeze blew gently from the north and clouds scudded past the sun, casting moving shadows throughout the forest.

Soon the path began to ascend steeply. As they climbed the grade, they looked for footprints of the thief, but the ground was hard and there wasn't a trace of any.

"Look!" Rick suddenly pointed in front of them.
In the center of the path was a length of string. Sally stooped to pick it up.

"It's clean. Like new," she said, showing the boys. "It must have just now been thrown down here."

"Aunt Bea always ties string around her pastry boxes," Rick said. "Same as they do in the bakery shops. The thief must have gotten hungry and opened the box."

Charlie growled, all, "Wait till I get my hands on that sucker! Eating my cookies and brownies. Sheez! Come on, let's get going."

They moved on, hurrying deeper into the forested hills. A few minutes later they reached a fork in the trail.

"This path leads to Penitentiary Glen," Rick said, pointing to the left fork. "There's that big empty field there. Maybe that's where the ship landed."

Sally nodded eagerly. "You're right. I bet it did. That field is the biggest clearing in all the hills."

"We'll soon find out, " Charlie said, leading the way down the path. "We're almost there."

Penitentiary Glen was the site of an old prison that had been built in the hills by an old Mormon population in the middle of the 1800's. The old stone fortress had been abandoned for decades now and had fallen into ruin. The grounds were wild and overgrown, and no one ever went there except the hikers and vagabonds who roamed the hills.

"There's the old prison," Sally whispered a couple minutes later. She pointed through the trees.

They could see the ruins as they crept down the trail toward a row of wildly overgrown shrubberies. They took cover behind them and peered ahead. Directly across from them were the old gardens, profusely overgrown now, leading up to the rear of the old prison. On the other side of the gardens was an open field of long grasses and low shrubs that had once been the exercise area of the inmates.

Sally grabbed Rick's arm and pointed to the field.

"There it is!" she cried.

Charlie was unable to control his excitement. He was all like, "Freakin' Minnesota! Look at that!"

"Talk about awesome," Rick breathed, staring ahead in amazement. "I guess seeing is indeed believing!"

In the center of the field, the tall grasses waving around it in the breeze, was a large cylindrical ship of silver metal. It was dotted with rows of lights that blinked on and off in a rainbow of color.

Click HERE for Chapter Three: STOWAWAYS!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Rick Raider:
THE SEARCH FOR THE ETERNAL FLAME copyright 2011 Stratomiker Syndicate

This is the second Rick Raider e-book. It was online for ten years and can still be found on some mirror sites on the Internet. In this story Rick and his friends accidentally stow away on a ship headed to a planet in another galaxy where they have an amazing adventure helping a young prince and his princess sister overcome the occupation of their country by enemy forces.


"This game is mondo huge!" Charlie Connors said excitedly, watching the space-age graphics on the computer in front of him. "Rick! There's another alien Grogg fighter coming on the screen. Frag that sucker!"

"Hurry, Rick!" pretty Sally Anderson urged from behind. "If you don't destroy that spaceship, it'll blast yours into a million tiny little pieces."

Rick Raider sat tensely in front of the computer keyboard in the den of the Raider home. His eyes were glued to the big monitor screen on the wall where a supersonic chase through three-dimensional space involving two spaceships was being depicted. Rick was controlling one of the ships with a joystick. The other was an enemy ship just coming out from behind a protective force field.

"All right, eat red death, sucker!" Rick laughed, unleashing his hyperblaster. "It's total curtains for you, buddy!"

The roar of missile fire blared from the speakers as tiny rockets of flame shot from Rick's spaceship's laser ports. They smashed into the enemy craft and there was a loud explosion as it disintegrated into a ball of fire. Color filled the screen as the debris floated away into nothingness.

Sally grinned. She was like, "Yo! Fragmented he is!"

"Way cool," Charlie agreed with a hoot. "Man, the graphics and sound effects on this game are insane. It all looks so real!"

"Star Death is the hottest  game you can get right now," Rick told his friends. "And this is just a trial version I downloaded from the Internet last night. You can't even buy it yet. It sure the heck is a challenge."

"I think all the computer games are really challenging," Sally said. "Even the easier ones. It takes a lot of practice to master them."

"They're fun too," Charlie agreed, nudging Rick's shoulder. "Come on, scoot over. Let me have a turn."

Rick checked his wrist watch. "We don't have time.  Comp Sci class begins in twenty minutes. We have to leave for campus."

Charlie groaned with major annoyance, but a moment later his eyes lit up. He was all, "Hey, why don't we bring the game disc with us? Maybe we can play it in class. Professor Manning likes to show the class new games, and this one has the new experimental 3D hologram graphics he's been telling us about."

Rick nodded. "Right. It's the first of it's kind and everyone is gonna go bonkers over it. It's so awesome the professor will probably drool when he sees it. Nobody expected there'd be one coming out like it so soon. The new hologram graphics are sure to change everything!" Rick had burned a copy onto a DVD,  and he now pulled it from the disc drive.

"Isn't it amazing?" Sally said. "All the information for the game is stored on that disc. I'll never really understand computers and how they work. It's all so incredible."

"Totally," Charlie agreed. "And even more incredible -  wouldn't it be something if  aliens like these Groggs actually came down here to Earth?"

Rick pressed the disc into its plastic case and pushed back his chair. "It sure would," he said as he stood up, grinning at his chum. "And if we're lucky, dorkboy, they'll take you back home with them!"

Sally groaned. "Rick! How could wish such a dire fate on those Groggs?"

Charlie made a face at them. "Go on, laugh all you want. But I sure wouldn't mind going to outer space right now. Things have been way too boring around here lately. It's time for some serious excitement!"

Rick nodded his head in agreement, knowing what Charlie meant. Life had seemed pretty dull the last couple months since they'd gotten home from Canada where they'd had a really fantastic adventure on the old Yukon gold trail.

But he couldn't help laughing at Charlie. "If you're hoping for an adventure in outer space, dude, you'd better forget it. No Groggs are going to land here in Lake City and take you away with them. Unfortunately, we do live in the real world."

"And it's really the freakin' pits most of the time," Charlie added. "How are we gonna drum up some adventure?"

Much to the boys' surprise, a fearful expression suddenly crossed Sally's face, and the fingertips of one hand flew up to her forehead as her mouth dropped suddenly open. "Ohmygod! Fellas, listen up a minute."

"What's wrong?" Rick asked, frowning, as Sally suddenly shivered uncontrollably and wrapped her arms around her shoulders.

There was an apprehensive look in her eyes, yet she managed a tremulous smile. She was like, "You guys are gonna think I'm crazy, but I just remembered something. All this talk about aliens. Last night a strange humming noise woke me up. It was coming from outside and I got out of bed to check it out. It was some kind of craft, flying low over the hills behind our houses, as if the pilot was looking for a place to land. I watched for a couple minutes, but figured it must be an airplane flying low because of atmospheric conditions or something. I was so sleepy, I just shrugged it off and crawled back into bed."

"The sky was perfectly clear last night," Charlie said. "I was up late looking at the stars through my telescope. If the craft was flying low, it's because it was looking for a place to land." He looked at Sally for a moment, then his eyebrows arched up. He was all, "Yow! Maybe you saw a UFO. And if it landed, there might be aliens out there up in the hills right now. Maybe creatures like the Groggs."

The three friends all lived on the same road on the outskirts of Lake City. Behind their homes stretched a vast area of hills and forests known as the Kirtland Hills. The hills ran north to the high cliff-like shores of Lake Erie.

Unlike his impulsive friend, Rick Raider was not one to jump to conclusions. "Yah, right. I'm sure you'd love it, Connors, if aliens were out there in the hills. But it was probably just a small airplane that needed to make an emergency landing."

Sally shook back her long blonde hair. "I don't know, Rick. It was pretty strange looking, now that I think of it. Nothing like an airplane. It was cigar-shaped and glowed, with rows of flashing lights all over it. I've never seen anything like it."

"Sure you weren't dreaming?" Rick asked.

"No way. It really happened. If I hadn't been so beat from studying all night, I would've called you right there and then to tell you about it."

"Don't worry, I believe you," Charlie said. He grinned teasingly. "You don't have enough imagination to think something like that up on your own."

Sally made a fist and went to punch him. "Ha! You have no idea the imagination I have when it comes to you!"

Charlie grabbed her arm, all, "Chill out, I'm just kidding. I believe you, and I think we ought to go up into the hills and investigate. Right now."

Rick started to laugh. "Sheez! You really are hungry for some excitement, aren't you?"

"Hungry?" Charlie rolled his eyes at the ceiling. "I'm starving, man. I'm suffering serious adventure-deprivation!"

"But, Rick, it's possible," Sally went on in determined tones. "Lots of people have seen UFO's, and many scientists believe there might be people living on other planets who have the technology to travel in space."

Rick sighed. "All right, I give. You two are letting your imaginations run wild. We can go look for the UFO after classes."

"Cool!" Charlie clapped Rick on the back. "If that ship landed in the hills, we'll find it."
Sally returned to her usual humor. "And when we do, Bozo, I will definitely ask the aliens to take you home with them."

"Okay by me." Charlie was not one to be bested. "It'd beat going to school here in Lake City. I'm ready and willing to go to outer space."

"You're already pretty far out," Rick gibed, as they gathered their school books from the desk.

Sally winked at Rick. "Tell me about it. If he gets any farther out, he'll be gone!"

Laughing and jostling amongst themselves, they left the den and hurried down the hall to the kitchen where the aroma of freshly baked cookies was thick in the air.

"Mmmmmm!" Sally's nose twitched as she sniffed.

Charlie's eyes darted around the room. "Something smells totally sublime in here."

"Well, here you are at long last," said Rick's Aunt Bea, who was standing in front of the oven. "I didn't think you were ever going to stop playing with that computer. It sounded like the entire trilogy of Star Wars was going on in that den!"

Rick smiled. His aunt was a sweet and jovial woman, almost always in a pleasant mood.

"I was showing Charlie and Sally how to play the new Star Death game," he told her. "It's the latest thing, about space wars, and it's going to revolutionize the entire computer gaming industry."

"Humphh!" Aunt Bea wiped her hands on her apron. "We paid a ton of money for that new computer with that huge monitor. It's almost as big as the screens at the cineplex! And what do you do with it? Play games!"

Rick was like, "You know we use it for a zillion other things too," he chided her. "Dad uses it for work, I use it for school. Man, just the research alone I do more than pays for it. And what about the program for your household accounts I set up?"

"Which is all but Greek to me," she snorted. "I'm lucky I can turn the darn thing on. And I don't need a computer to take care of household accounts, thank you. I've been getting along fine all these years without one."

"You'll see, Aunty," Rick winked at her. "When you get rid of your felt-tipped pens and paper tablets and decide to join the digital age, you'll love it. And, besides, I'll teach you how to e-mail Robert Redford."

Aunt Bea's eyes widened at that. "Well," she sighed, "that would be putting the computer to good use! And now that you've fought all those aliens, why don't you replenish your energy with some chocolate chip cookies? Something that your digital age devices just cannot come up with." She pointed to a platter on the kitchen table that was heaped with freshly made cookies.

Charlie crossed the room to the table where his eyes had been lingering the last minute. "You don't have to ask me twice, Miss Raider."

Aunt Bea's eyebrows arched in amusement. "Charlie, one never has to ask you twice when the question is in regard to food."

Charlie chuckled and helped himself to a handful of the cookies, biting into one and putting the others into the pockets of his baggy cargo jeans. Rick and Sally each took one of the cookies and nibbled on them as they went into the hall.

"Delicious!" Rick told his aunt. "As usual."

"Wait a minute!" Aunt Bea opened one of the cupboards and took out some lunch bags. "Don't think you and Sally are getting away with just one cookie each. I have another whole batch baking in the oven."

Rick groaned as they pulled their jackets on. "But you know we don't like to eat a lot of sweets. We're the athletic type."

"Nonsense!" Aunt Bea crossed to the hall and handed each one of them a bag into which she had put several cookies. "Athletes need food too. I don't want you to starve to death at school. All that studying takes a lot of energy."

She patted Charlie on the back, adding. "At least Charlie knows what's good for him."

The Connors boy beamed. "I sure do. I'll eat anything you bake, anytime!"

Aunt Bea's eyes lit up. "You will, eh? In that case I'll make some brownies after the next batch of cookies are done. Stop by after classes and you can have some."

Charlie grinned happily. He was like, "Gotcha! I'll be here."

"I don't know how you stay so slim," Sally said to Rick as they left the house. "Your aunt won't take No for an answer when it comes to food."

"My kind of woman," Charlie said. "What do you think I hang around here for?"

"For the food?" Sally gibed as they climbed into Rick's sporty black pickup truck. "And we thought it was to visit Rick."

Charlie was all, "Not! I come here to eat!"

Rick smirked. "Then you'd better stay away for a while, dude. You've been chunkin' up a little lately."

"Who me?" Charlie swelled out his chest and struck a muscleman pose. "You gotta be kidding. Look at this great bod!"

"Oh, for sure," Sally laughed, rolling her eyes heavenward as Rick backed out onto the road. "No wonder you've started wearing those baggy hip-hop duds. You know, they're starting to go out of style. The tighter look is in.""

Charlie screwed his mouth at her. "Please. If I wear tight clothes, the girls at school can't keep their hands off me."

Sally snickered. "Right, 'cause they want to grab you and toss you out the window!"

Rick grinned as he drove to the freeway, listening to the endless banter between the two. The three of them had grown up together since childhood on the dead-end road on the outskirts of town. Rick didn't remember life before Charlie and Sally were in it, and he couldn't imagine it without them. Ever since he could remember, the three of them had teased each other mercilessly. And Charlie and Sally were like addicted to it.

Several minutes later they arrived downtown at Lake University. The campus was the hub of the college town of Lake City, which was located on the south shore of Lake Erie in the midwest, about fifty miles east of Cleveland. There were many beautiful old buildings on the campus and as many, if not more, modern ones. Students strolled in the early spring sunshine, and others sat on the lawns and benches studying or talking with friends. Rick pulled into the parking lot by the ultramodern Science Center, and he and his friends jumped out of the truck.

"We'd better hurry," he said as they ran up the steps. "It's one minute to class time and Professor Manning doesn't like us to be late."

They rushed into the building and climbed the stairs to the second floor, arriving at the classroom just in time. But Professor Manning wasn't there and the other students were milling around talking to one another as they awaited him.

"Where's the prof?" Charlie asked, since it was highly unusual for Professor Manning to be late for class.

But no one was able to answer the question and, nodding hello to fellow students, they went to their seats at one of the tables. Each of the long tables in the classroom had several of the latest style personal computers on them with the big flat-screen monitors.

Their friend Debbie Ross was sitting at the table. She greeted them excitedly. "Hey, have you heard the news? Everyone on campus is talking about it."

Sally shook her head as she took a seat. "No, we just got here. What's up?"

"It's about the UFO," Debbie said. "Quite a few people claim to have seen it last night. I saw it too."

"No kidding?" Rick sat down next to Debbie. "Sally saw a strange craft hovering over the Kirtland Hills last night. It must be the same one."

"What did it look like, Debbie?" Sally wanted to know.

Charlie was all ears, hovering over them with an excited expression on his good-looking face.

"It was long and looked like a cylinder," Debbie answered. "And it glowed. There were flashing lights all over it. I went out on the front porch late last night before going to bed, and I saw it flying over the lake. I called my mom and she saw it too."

Debbie and her mother lived in a big house set on the cliffs overlooking Lake Erie. Rick and his friends had been there many times since having gotten to know the girl and her mom.

Sally was all, "Ohmygod! That's the very same craft I saw. Wow, this is pretty exciting."

Charlie leaned on the table, his eyes glaring at Rick. He was totally, "See! I told you. Aliens landed out there in the hills last night."

Debbie could see how excited he was. "You really think so?"

Charlie nodded. "Totally. This is huge. We ought to be out there right now checking it out."

"What do you think, Rick?" Debbie asked, looking at him with a confused expression.

Rick shrugged his broad shoulders. "Who knows? Charlie could be right."

"I wonder if the newspaper has an account of the UFO sighting," Sally said. "I didn't see this morning's edition."

Neither had the others, and Debbie suggested they check the morning news online.

"Good idea," Rick agreed, and he switched on the computer in front of him.

The computer was networked with the University's computer system and, in turn, he'd be able to access the Internet for the Lake City Press website. Rick booted up the computer and typed the password to access the network. The computer beeped and an error message appeared on the screen.

"Yikes! Not this again," Rick groaned. "It says 'Password Not Valid'."

"You could have typed it in wrong," Charlie told him. "Try again."

Rick again typed the password, being careful to do it correctly. A series of asterisks showed up in the password field and he clicked on the little OK box below it. Again the computer beeped and the error message popped up.

"The University's computer system must be down," Sally suggested, drumming her nails impatiently on the table top. "It happens now and then, you know."

Before any of the others could respond, the classroom door opened and Professor Manning rushed in. The young man was visibly distressed and he hurriedly called the class to order. The students went to their seats and Charlie sat down alongside his friends.

"Something unexpected has come up," the professor announced, "and I will not be here for class this morning."

Charlie nudged Rick. "Great! We can play Star Death while he's gone. These computers are the latest. They ought to be able to handle those hologram graphics."

"Shhh!" Rick kicked Charlie's leg under the table.

Professor Manning continued, pointing to a table at the back of the room that had several older-style computers on it. "I want you to work on your current assignments, but you'll have to take turns using those old computers that connect to the Internet through the telephone lines. Don't even try using the ones connected to the University's network and T-1 lines. The system's down."

He looked over to the table where Rick and his friends were seated. "Rick Raider, I want you to come with me. Take your books along for you won't be returning here."

Rick was surprised at the request. He nodded, grabbed his books and bag of cookies, and got to his feet. Sally and Debbie looked at him curiously, obviously wondering why the professor was taking him out of class. But Charlie wasn't interested in that. He had something more important on his mind.

"The game disc! Give it to me, will ya?" he hissed. He was all, "I don't want to work on assignments. We'll have a mega-blast fraggin' the Groggs."

"Numskull! It probably won't work right on those old machines." But Rick slipped Charlie the DVD case anyway as the professor hurried to the door. Rick followed, trying to suppress a grin. He knew the whole class would soon be in an uproar battling aliens with Charlie.

"Come along, Rick." Professor Manning walked out into the hall and urged Rick to follow. "We have to meet Professor Blaine in the faculty lounge."

Professor John Blaine was the head of the Science Department, a very eccentric elderly man whom the students called by the nickname 'old Einstein'. Arriving at the lounge, Professor Manning opened the door and ushered Rick inside. There was no one in the room but Professor Blaine, and he was pacing across the carpet in an agitated manner.

He looked at Rick and a smile tempered his harried expression. "Ah, Rick Raider! Just the person I wanted to see!"

Rick had absolutely no idea why the man wanted to see him. His brow creased in consternation. "What is it I can do for you, Professor Blaine?"

"We must contact InterTell immediately," the elderly man said. "I know your father is an agent because he's done security work for us in the past. I'm hoping you'll go down to the headquarters with Professor Manning and me."

Rick's dad, Randolph Raider, was a top-gun agent with the government's InterTell Intelligence Agency, an organization specializing in undercover espionage the world over. What the professor didn't know is that Rick worked for InterTell, too, on a work/study program. He was one of only a handful of students throughout the nation being groomed for the agency's future.

"Of course I'll go with you," Rick returned, wondering why in the world the two professors wanted to contact InterTell. "I believe Dad is down at headquarters now. What's wrong?"

"Ahh!" Professor Blaine threw his hands into the air. "Everything is wrong! Tell him, Professor Manning."
"The University's computer system is malfunctioning," the younger man said. "We can't figure out what's wrong with it. It's failing to respond to any of our attempts to direct or control it. It happened sometime during the night, but there's no sign of anyone having tampered with it."

Rick frowned. "Did you check out the entire system?"

"Yes, we checked the operating system software and reloaded the hard discs from mag tape, but nothing helped. At first we thought it was hardware failure, but all the internal diagnostics check the system out okay."

Rick's eyes widened. The computer was acting as if it had a mind of its own. "But how could such a thing happen?"

"We don't know," Professor Manning said. "And there's more. We contacted the newspaper offices a few minutes ago, and the very same thing has happened to their computer system!"

"What?" Rick looked at the two professors. "Talk about a coincidence. This sure is strange."

" I have a theory, Rick," Professor Blaine said, beginning to pace the floor again. "Last night a UFO was sighted over Lake City. I saw it myself as I was leaving the campus after a late meeting. It was around eleven-thirty. It came from the lakefront, passed overhead, and it hovered over the Science Center for several minutes. Then it shot away southeast of town in the direction of the Kirtland Hills. I called the television station on my cell phone to report the UFO. I was told that the object had been picked up by their weather radar."

Rick nodded. "I heard about the UFO. But what does it have to do with the malfunctioning computers?"

"Everything!" shouted the eccentric professor. "I believe the craft was an alien ship and, by some means, its occupants caused our computer and the one at Lake City Press to malfunction. Both systems had extensive data on the forthcoming NASA space travel conference to be held here in Lake City next month. The data is gone, Rick. Vanished! The malfunctioning will make it impossible to hold the conferences!"

Rick's mouth dropped open and for a moment he couldn't think of anything to say. "But .......can't you get some back-up tapes," he finally asked, "or download the necessary data from the NASA computers?"

"We could," Professor Blaine replied. "But it took a lot of string-pulling to get the data the first time, and NASA will have a fit if we can't explain the malfunction. Besides, there is a system hardware/software problem somewhere. Even if we could reload the data into the computers, it seems the same thing would happen again."

Rick let out a low whistle. It all seemed so incredible.
"And you think aliens in a UFO are behind this?" he asked.


"I agree with Professor Blaine," Professor Manning said. He looked very worried. "This appears to be a sabotage effort by an advanced intelligence that knows even more about computers than we do. It may be the first step in some kind of alien invasion!"

Rick was dumfounded. He felt his heart begin to thud in his chest. Could it be that Charlie was right and that Lake City was soon to be the target of invaders from space?

"Wait a minute," he said. "Couldn't it be another country, a foreign nation, sending their spies to steal computer data?"

Professor Blaine spoke in proud tones. "Lake University is foremost in computer technology and development. We were one of the first major links in the Internet and are always on the cutting edge, continually in contact with the leading developers in the industry."

He gazed intently at Rick. "No one on this planet knows how to wipe out data from a computer through the air. It's not a skill we have developed yet. There's not a hacker on Earth who can do it!"

Rick felt a sickening sensation in the pit of his stomach. He couldn't believe that this was really happening!

"Come on, let's go," he said to the two professors, gesturing for them to follow him. "My truck's out in the parking lot. We'd better get down to Dad's office. This is definitely a job for InterTell!"

Click HERE for Chapter Two: THE SPACESHIP

Wednesday, May 11, 2011



Back by popular demand!
This Rick Raider novelet spoofs series book collecting in general and the mad desire amongst the collectors for the rare Rick Brant volume The Deadly Dutchman.

Action takes place at a series book convention in New York City!

Click here for the complete novelet.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


The Hardy Boys:

This is another of the three 'ABANDONED' fanfiction Hardy Boys books self-published for fans by a Canadian fan and author. Like the other two books, this one is written in the tone and style of, and with the atmosphere of, the first nine original-text Hardy Boys books by Leslie McFarlane.

The volume is filled with references to the first nine Hardys, takes place at locations from them, and stars supporting characters we all met and first got to know in those books. In this book readers revisit the Shore Road caves, the Raven Roadhouse, Tower Mansion, boating on the Willow River, and also meet again Hurd Applegate, the boy Lester from the Old Mill, the thug Rex Raven, and the comic Jadbury Wilson from Hunting for Hidden Gold.

These books are full-length novels, well-written, and they bring you right back to the Bayport of the late 1920s when the original Hardys were first published. In this story, Frank and Joe are researching an abandoned fishing lodge in old newspapers at the Bayport Library and they look for clues from 15 years earlier in 1914 newspapers. This author knows his Hardy Boys! All the cast of regular characters are present too, including Chief Collig and Detective Smuff, good old nutcase Aunt Gertrude, and Chet, Biff, and all the other chums, including the girls Callie Shaw and Iola Morton.

The boys plan a fishing trip to nearby Neebing Lake with several of their chums. While there, strange things happen such as eerie noises in the night and ghostly intruders into their camp. Someone sets their boats loose on the waters one night and they have to scour the lake in the morning in search of them. An old hermitage-like cabin is found in the thick bush of the woods, and the boarded-up abandoned fishing lodge is discovered nearby on a choked-up overgrown creek. What is the strange connection to all these happenings and places? You betcha the boys want to find out!

There is a passage in one of the woodland adventure scenarios that states that the boys felt so far away from Bayport that they could have been in the wilds of the Canadian north country. There is a similar passage in one of the McFarlane Hardys. It amused me that  a second Canadian writer, one from the same area in which McFarlane lived, got a chance to tease readers that the American Hardy boys could have been far away in the Canadian wilds, or so it seemed.

This book has a secondary plot of the kidnapping of wealthy men. Hurd Applegate is one of the victims. Ransom is demanded and once it is paid the men are dropped off in a neutral area such as an alley downtown. The Hardy boys help their dad, detective Fenton Hardy, on this case and at one point search the Shore Road caves for a kidnap victim, the same caves the stolen cars were hidden inside in The Shore Road Mystery.

This is a clever and intriguing book filled with early Hardy references and memorabilia. The tie-in of the kidnappings to the mysteries up at Neebing Lake and another at the Hardys' old elementary school are excellent examples of good plotting. 

Fanfiction at its absolute best!

This is a perfect example of how a fan takes existing characters and their universe and writes a tale every bit as enticing and exciting as the originals!

Hand-drawn endpapers depicting Barmet Bay and Bayport with sites used in the three 'Abandoned' Hardy Boys books.


                                      Hi everybody! I haven't been posting in several weeks because I had two major surgeries, one right after the other. The first was for prostate cancer, followed by open heart surgery. They had to replace my aortic valve, which was fused shut. (Lucky me, fortunately I didn't need bypasses!) But I was on the verge of heart failure (especially after the stress of the first surgery!). And I'd been complaining to doctors for years about weakness and passing out. They checked my heart totally out a few years ago (so they said) and couldn't find anything wrong. Yah, right! They sure missed it.

Anyway, I'm on the mend but it's been real slow. I'm finally able to get online again and type. It's amazing how hard it is to type when you are totally, profoundly weak. I have lots more stuff to post on the blog and will start this coming week, tons more about the Hardy Boys and all the other series characters we love and collect including a Hardys fanfiction novel fragment from an unfinished sequel to the original text What
Happened at Midnight, titled When the Lightning Strikes. Also, an exciting look at Margaret Sutton's unfinished autobiography, Jupiter Girl, and more chapters from the Rick Brant fanfiction, The Quest of the Golden Dragon.

Best wishes,   Mike