Judy Bolton Days

Judy Bolton Days
First annual in 1991!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011



Yes, it's true. Series book collectors whom most of you know and love (well, maybe not love) used to fight like animals, crazed animals, on the usenet newsgroup alt.books.nancy-drew during the last half of the 1990s. It was a combination of bullying, fighting back, bashing, and general free-for-all flaming that, when you read it now, is truly totally amazing.

This carrying on started on Applewood Books' Nancy Drew message board and quickly grew to a fever pitch around 1997 due largely to a certain Hardy Boys guru who would not leave anyone alone. It became impossible to post sensibly and have normal discussion because this character kept butting in. He even went so far as to link users' names to live-link porn photos, and they were really disgusting photos. Applewood had to close down the board!

Then everyone moved over to alt.books.nancy-drew and the same thing continued. The Hardy Boys guru was joined by a wannabe Rick Brant guru and, between the two of them, hardly anyone could make a post without getting ridiculously flamed. It was a constant battle that no matter what anyone said, these two characters knew better or just plain knew it all, and let you have it for your opinion. And it was nasty, dirty, and vile.

Naturally those getting bashed joined in and bashed right back and it turned into a free-for-all constant fight. People began posting with secondary screen names, trying to hide their real identities, but eventually everyone knew who everyone was anyway. By then it just didn't matter. The whole purpose of the group had changed to flaming for the sake of flaming. People who are well-respected in the hobby, including moi, used to carry on like idiots on this group. Many of them would be totally embarrassed for anyone to read this stuff. Which is why I'm posting this - because you can! And you must!

Yes, you can read it all, right online, all the insanity on alt.books.nancy-drew from its 'glory days' of 1996 through 2000. You can easily tell who most of the posters are by their screen names, by others referring to them by name, and by what they talk about - their jobs, likes, wants, etc.

I guarantee that you will be totally shocked at the extent of insanity that went on at this group. But what happened is that everyone got into it, some for the sheer fun of it. I certainly had a great time sassing back to the several collectors who were constantly trying to put me down because of their jealousies. If you're looking for a good time with some big shocks and lots of laughs, you have to try it out.

What eventually happened is that it got so bad most everybody started up private groups, like those at Yahoo, where you had to be OK'd to be a member and where posts were monitored. This was a necessity to keep out the troublemakers. Alt.books.nancy-drew fell out of use and since then has just been a magnet for stupid spam.

But Google bought out usenet, or at least archives it, so every one of those insane posts, zillions of them, is archived at Google Groups. So, just go to Google Groups and do a search for 'alt.books.nancy-drew'. You'll end up on the page specifically for that group. Then all you have to do is search for a topic, like Judy Bolton or Hardy Boys, and you'll get lists of threads pertaining to them that go on and on while the posters fight and flame and generally act like idiots. It's all very amusing!

And informative, too. These were all people really in the know about the world of series books, all extremely well-informed, yet battling it out amongst each other for no other real reason than that the nature of the Internet made it possible. Of course, this same thing happened on scads of other groups all over the Internet. It was a sign of the times, a way for even sensible people to act like idiots. And it was a lot of fun!

Go to Google Groups, get on alt.books.nancy-drew, and search for topics or screen names that interest you. Make sure you check out Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Rick Brant, and Judy Bolton, series that always whipped up lots of insane discussion. You'll have the laugh of your life and be so amazed that generally nice sane people could act so vicious and crazy!


Thursday, June 23, 2011


The Judy Bolton Society was formed in 1993 and quickly grew to have over 250 members in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Singapore. It was formed because of a problem that occurred at the Second Annual Judy Bolton Day Weekend in Coudersport PA in October of 1992.

We were there representing the Phantom Friends as Judy Bolton fans, as we had the year before. Two of the members attending for the first time behaved very badly promoting a political agenda they were quite radical about (anti-smoking), and they harassed not only members of our group and our hosts, but also Potter County citizens who were smoking. And this was way back in 1992 when smoking was still perfectly legal everywhere. It made us very uncomfortable and embarrassed, and our hosts asked me to make sure those two did not come back again.

I took this up with the Phantom Friends group leader when I got home and she refused to say anything about it to the two members. After all, they were her friends and important to her in the group for the work they did. So I wrote to them and told them they were not welcome in Coudersport again, by wish of our hosts.

This was not met well by either one of them, and one went so far as to tell people for years afterward that I had threatened to kill her and used to go to her home town and stalk her, and that friends of mine who went to following PF reunions did so only to spy on her for me. Amazing, eh? So, if you have heard the ongoing rumors that I threaten to kill people and that I stalk people, this is where they came from. A lunatic Phantom Friend.

We then started The Judy Bolton Society with the policy that we take no stand on political, religious, or moral ideology or agendas and do not discriminate against any members or non-members relating to such issues.  In the years following, we attended the annual Judy Bolton Day weekend as members of The Judy Bolton Society, and we had no problems with discriminatory behavior by adults acting like children.

Here is the complete first Judy Bolton Society Newsletter:
Click on images to enlarge for reading. If they don't get big enough, they will if you print them.



The following article about Judy Bolton Day weekend 1992 by Joe Slavin appeared in the December 1993 JUDY BOLTON SOCIETY NEWSLETTER. Click on images to enlarge for reading.

Joyce Wallner, Fred Batich, John Rotello, Mike DeBaptiste, Lorraine Rogers,
Diana McInerney, and Margie and Bob Kerns - 2nd Annual Judy Bolton Day 1992.

The Haunted Attic house in Coudersport PA - Judy's house in Farringdon.

Mike's 1981 El Camino parked on the road in front of the Dry Brook Hollow house
in Odin PA. This here is Dry Brook Hollow!

Monday, June 20, 2011


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


Standing in the portal was a man-like creature, tall and slim and pleasant-looking, with an expressive smiling face. He wore a tunic and sandals and resembled a normal man in every way save one. He was made entirely of what appeared to be a plastic-like substance!

A shock of blond synthetic hair crowned his head and bushy blond brows arched over his big round blue eyes as he looked the three friends up and down with unabashed curiosity.

Sally moved closer to Rick and grabbed his arm. She was  like, "Ohmygod! What is it?"

"It's not human, that's for sure," Rick muttered. "Some kind of robotic man, like an android. I just hope he's friendly."

A tentative smile quirked the edges of Charlie's mouth. "He sure looks friendly. I haven't seen a smile like that since the last time I saw a clown."

The plastic-like man walked into the room. He grinned broadly and nodded at them, and walked over to a cabinet on the wall opposite the computer. He opened the door and withdrew a small box, taking from it three rings. After placing the box back on the shelf and closing the door, he walked over to them and indicated that they were to slip the rings on their fingers. He handed one to each of them.

"This sure is weird," Sally croaked, eyeing the creature suspiciously.

Rick inspected the ring he'd been given. It was about one eighth of an inch thick and made of dull gray metal with tiny mesh inserts along the perimeter. It wasn't particularly attractive and obviously not used as decorative jewelry. He figured it had another purpose. Shrugging, he slipped it on his ring finger and Charlie and Sally did the same.

"There, now you can understand me," the creature said in a  low digitized masculine voice. "You are wearing sensor rings, invented thousands of years ago by Olympian scientists. The tiny speakers pick up vocal sound waves and the sensory apparatus in the rings scans the wearers' brain waves and translates the spoken word. They were devised to circumvent the problems caused because of the many different languages spoken on Teutron. With the rings, everyone understands each other."

Rick was all, "Majorly awesome! What an excellent device." He thought how valuable such a ring would be to InterTell. Noticing that the plastic-like man did not wear one himself, he asked, "Why don't you have one on?"

"I don't need to wear a sensor ring." The reply came with a chuckle and a grin. "I have a similar apparatus built into my head."

"Are you one of the Olympians?" Charlie asked doubtfully.

The creature laughed again. "Ask that question in Olympus and they'll think you've been out in the sun all day."

It was Sally's turn to laugh. She was totally, "People already think that of Charlie. All the time. So if you're not one of the Olympians, then who are you?"

"My name is ABL089 and, as you can see, because it is rather obvious, I'm a robot. The Olympians are humans, the same as you. I live with the Royal Family in their palace in the golden city of Olympia. We Olympian robots are very cheerful creatures and one of us always accompanies a space mission to keep up the morale of the crew."

ABL089 proffered his hand and they each shook it in turn, telling him their names.

"Hmmm!" The robot closed his eyes and a soft whirring noise was heard from the inside of his head. He opened his eyes and grinned. "There! Now I know all about you!"

Rick frowned. "What do you mean you know all about us?"

"Well, not really everything. But what I do know is all first rate. You are all three excellent students who achieve top honors at your university. You are all nineteen Earth years old and live close by each other on the same street."

"How do you know all that?" Charlie demanded.

"Well, as you seem to have discovered, for we picked up your radio transmission to Earth on our communications system, we extracted all the data from the two large computer systems in Lake City into Aristotle, our ship's computer. I, in turn, have transmitted the data into my own memory banks, for that is part of my job."

Rick's eyes widened. "You mean you can hold all the data this big computer can?"

"Just about. I'm a very sophisticated machine, perhaps the most technologically advanced robot in the universe. When I return to Olympus, it will be my job to relate the scientific information we received from your computers to our scientists."

Ricks brows were knitted in thought. "ABL089, ..."

"Please!" interrupted the robot. "Call me Abey, as my friends do. ABL089 is much too formal. And it takes such a long time to say!"

Rick's serious expression eased into a smile. "Sure, Abey. My radio devise transmits in code. How were you able to understand the message?"

The robot's jaw dropped in surprise. "Goodness, cryptic code is a thing of millenia past on Teutron. Our communications equipment is able to translate and decipher any transmissions we may pick up wherever we go."

"We didn't mean to stow away," Sally told him. "It was an accident. When we saw the ship sitting there in the field, we couldn't resist coming aboard to explore. We had no idea you were going to take off."

Teutron between the Olympians and the Zaxxons."

Rick nodded. "We know about the war. We read the command message on the computer's communications monitor."

The smiling robot nodded. "We figured you had worked the sensory mechanisms on the equipment to find out the information you told your father. That was very clever of you. This war is a dreadful thing and we have to hurry home. The Zaxxons have kidnapped Prince Apollo. I hope he's still alive!"

"Do you think they'd actually kill him?" Charlie asked.

"Yes." ABL089 nodded vigorously. "The Zaxxons want to conquer Olympus, and because the Prince is the heir to the throne it's possible they might do away with him."

"But that's horrible," Sally said. "Princess Athena must be pretty shook up over his disappearance."

ABL089 bounced his bushy brows. "You found out about the Princess, too?"

Rick explained how they had worked the computer to find out the information about Teutron.

"You young people were certainly busy. I'm impressed you could so easily handle Aristotle. Your operating systems on Earth must be very good ones. Yes, I'm sure Princess Athena is very distressed. She and her brother are very close to each other. You see, they are twins."

"Twins?" Charlie repeated. "That's something I've never heard of before, a prince and princess who are twins. I'd sure like to meet Princess Athena."

"You are sure to have the opportunity," ABL089 told him. "When we land in Olympus, you'll be taken immediately to the Royal Palace."

Sally frowned. She was like, "Can't you take us back to Earth? Our families are going to be frantic."

ABL089 shook his head. "I'm very sorry. There's no way we can turn back now. The ship has already traveled through Quantae space and left your galaxy. We will be approaching Andromeda soon."

"What!" Charlie was astonished. "We flew through an entire galaxy already?"

"Did you say 'Quantae space'?" Rick asked, before the robot could answer Charlie's question.

ABL089 grinned merrily. "Yes, we have traversed your galaxy already. And, yes, I did say Quantae space. It's a mode of travel the scientists on Earth are only now beginning to research."

"Yes, we know about it," Rick said. "They plan to hold conferences in Lake City next month about Quantae space travel."

ABL089 nodded. "We picked up a transmission concerning these conferences while monitoring a laser communications satellite orbiting Earth. That's what prompted us to visit Lake City several times recently. Yesterday we uploaded the information about the conferences from the two computers. We wanted to know just how much the Earthlings know about Quantae space travel."

There was a glint of wonder in Charlie's eyes. "You mean you can upload information just.....just...through the air?"

"Certainly," ABL089 confirmed. "Your computers have no alpha-sabotage protection. Don't forget, we're thousands of years ahead of Earth in technology. And we  believe we should keep it that way. We transmitted self-modifying code into the two computer systems so that they continually reprogram themselves, wiping out the data and rendering the systems useless. The Olympians want to prevent the people of Earth from discovering the key to Quantae space travel."

"But why?" Sally said in an angry tone. "The people of Earth have a right to that knowledge too, especially if they figure it out for themselves."

The robot turned to her. "Our observations have proved the Earthlings to be warlike in nature," he said. "Should they be able to travel the galaxies and visit other worlds, they shall want to conquer them. We've observed this same problem with the Zaxxons of Teutron who desire to conquer the Olympians. Although they have fine ships of their own, the Zaxxons do not have the knowledge of Quantae space travel and their explorations are limited to our own solar system, where they have already stirred up quite a lot of trouble. One of the reasons behind the current outbreak of war is because they wish to steal the Quantae secret from us."

"What exactly is this Quantae method of travel?" Charlie wanted to know.

"Hmmm, it's really not something you can readily explain, being based on Quantum physics technology, which is still only theory on your planet." The robot stopped for a moment, looking like he was thinking, then he went on. "To put it simply, you must think of space as not being a continuum, but instead a string of discreet points called Quantae. It's normally assumed that all matter must travel through each Quantae point in space. However, the Olympians have discovered a property of the universe which enables them to travel and communicate by skipping Quantae points, the same as you might skip a series of dotted lines on a piece of paper if you fold the paper and touch dots to each other that are normally far apart."

"It's like warping space, isn't it?" Rick asked.

"Exactly," ABL089 agreed. "And it enables travel equivalent to excesses of the speed of light."

"Far out," Charlie said, all agog at the idea of it. "They've been doing that on Star Trek for years now back on Earth. But it's only a space-opera  television show. We can't do it yet in real life."

"I'm sure the scientists of your planet will one day discover the secret of this mode of travel," the robot said. "Hopefully they will have overcome their warlike nature by then and be able to travel throughout the universe on missions of peace."

"Well, you're wrong," Rick told him, a defiant glint in his dark eyes. "We're ready to prove to the Olympians that all Earthlings are not warlike, and that most of them are peace-loving people like us."

"Right on," Charlie agreed. "Tell him about it, Rick. The Olympians' opinion of Earthlings seems extremely prejudiced to me."

Sally nodded, all, "But totally! There are problems on Earth, but most of its people would rather live in peace with each other. And even if they didn't, what right does Teutron have to come and steal ideas from us to retard our progress?"

ABL089 arched his brows. "You certainly feel fervently about it," he said. "With that kind of spirit, you just might change the Olympians' minds."

"They sure need to be changed," Sally harrumphed with finality.

Rick's hand closed around the encryptive transceiver in his jacket pocket. He looked at the robot thoughtfully. "Abey, do you think there's some way we can contact Earth from Teutron? I'd sure like to let our families know we're okay."

"I'm sure we can figure out a way for you to call home, Rick. Perhaps by means of your radio transceiver and the Quantae transmission rays used to contact our explorer ships. And when the war is over, King Pallas will undoubtedly see to it that a ship is dispatched to take you back to Earth."

Sally looked somewhat relieved. "Gosh, I hope so. Visiting a planet in another galaxy will sure be an awesome experience, but we do have to get back home!"

"Of course you do," agreed the robot. "But in the meantime, you'll be shown every courtesy in the city of Olympia. I must warn you, though, that our scientists will want to inspect and observe you. After all, you'll be the first Earthlings ever to visit Teutron."

"That's pretty way out," Charlie smirked. "Now it's our turn to be aliens."

"But there's no question about us being 'invaders'," Sally added, grinning at the boys.

"I'm expecting Teutron to be a lot like our planet," Rick said. "In fact, from what we've learned so far, the Olympians seem to be quite similar to the ancient Greek civilization of Earth."

"There are many surprising similarities and parallels in the universe," ABL089 told him. "We have no data on Earth's ancient Greeks, but you must tell me about them sometime."

"Why don't you try your memory banks?" Charlie suggested. "Aristotle may have sucked up some info on the Greeks from the University computer."

"Splendid idea!" The robot closed his eyes and assumed a look of ecstasy as they heard the soft whirring in his head.

"My word," he emitted when his wide blue eyes opened a moment later. "Heaven forfend! Yes, Aristotle did get loads of information about the Greeks, probably from e-books and e-texts at your library. The ancient Greeks are indeed the spitting image of the Olympians, in fact, of all of Teutron. I certainly shall have a great ball musing over this information when I have spare time."

He then gestured to the doorway. "Now that we've become acquainted, I'll take you to the crew's lounge. You may want to rest and refresh yourselves before seeing Captain Ion. I know that Quantae space travel can be very exhausting for humans if they are not properly prepared and suited."

"Which we certainly were not!" Sally was all like.

"Well, you shouldn't have any serious ill effects, regardless," ABL089 assured them. "The ship is built with human comfort in mind."

But Rick assured the robot that they hadn't suffered any bad effects from the forceful warps through space. As they followed him down the corridor, ABL089 told them there were a total of five crew members on board. In addition to himself there was Captain Ion, his two assistants, and the Quantae-drive engineer.

"There were several Olympian explorer ships abroad in your galaxy," he added. "But they should all be on their way back to Teutron now because of the war."

"Are there any other planets in our galaxy that have life on them?" Charlie wanted to know.

"Several that we know of," was the robot's reply. "But none of them anything like on Earth. Yours is definitely the most advanced civilization in the Milky Way galaxy!"

He led them through another dissolving door into the crew lounge. Here there was a large viewscreen on one wall, suites of  furniture of a futuristic design, game tables, a bank of personal computers with huge monitors displaying dazzling three-dimensional screen savers, and several arcade-style video games. On the far side of the lounge was a complete galley with all the appliances similar to those found on Earth.

What immediately caught their attention, however, was a tray on the galley table. It was loaded with very familiar-looking brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

"Hot dog!" Charlie raced across the room. He grabbed one of the brownies and took a huge bite. Then he was utterly, "I've been waiting for one of these all day!"

Rick laughed as he joined him at the table. "And I'll bet you never dreamed you'd have to leave the galaxy to get one."

"Yo, dude. It was worth the trip." Charlie shoved the rest of the brownie in his mouth. "Totally!"

ABL089 looked puzzled. "I don't understand. What do you mean that you were waiting for these? Officer Polamus found these food samples back on Earth. He said they had been left on the hood of a road vehicle."

Charlie smirked. "Yeah, a likely story. But I don't blame him. One sniff, and who could resist taking them?"

Rick explained that his aunt had baked the cookies and brownies and left the box of them on the hood of her car. "On the way back out of the house, she saw your crew member take the box and a bag of her groceries from inside the car."

"And he scared the daylights out of her, too," Sally added.

"Oh, dear," the robot murmured. He walked over to a bank of cupboards and opened one. "Here are the items from the bag Officer Polamus brought on board."

On the shelf were two boxes of brownie mix, a bag of chocolate morsels, and several other ingredients for baking. ABL089 pointed to the chilling unit. "There were also eggs, butter, and milk. I put them in there."

"Don't worry about it, Abey," Rick said. "I'm sure officer Polamus' intent wasn't to steal. He was out exploring, and food samples are something totally worthwhile to bring back to the ship."

Sally grinned with amusement. "Abey, you're the only one I've ever known who smiles when he's worried."

The robot chuckled. "I always smile. My face was constructed this way. I can't frown even if I try. And I don't actually worry much for I'm programmed to be relentlessly cheerful."

Charlie clapped him on the back. "All right, bud. Why don't you have one of Aunt Bea's brownies? They're the best in the universe."

ABL089 looked at the tray. "They certainly do look wonderful. But, unfortunately, I don't eat food."

Charlie pretended to be shocked. He was totally like, "No!"

"Yes! I'm a machine, young man, fueled by a power pack."

Charlie grimaced. "Well, you don't know what you're missing, dude."

The robot shook his head. "You're putting me on. Everyone knows robots don't eat food. Even Earthlings!"

Grinning, he turned and walked to the door. "I have to brief  Captain Ion on my interview with you. He'll expect to see you later. There's plenty of food in the chilling unit, so help yourselves if you're hungry."

"You can bet on that," Charlie assured him.

"We'll soon be approaching Andromeda," ABL089 added as an afterthought. "The ship will down-drive from Quantae flight before entering the galaxy. But the departure is not as forceful as the entry, so you shouldn't experience any discomfort."

"Well, what do you think of that?" Rick asked, after the robot had left the room. "Not too shabby, huh? A life-like synthetic man with a computer in his head far better than anything we have on Earth."

"I like him," Sally said. "He's cute, and it's almost like he's human. Abey would sure be a big hit with the kids back home."

Charlie bit into another brownie. "We'll be a big hit with the kids back home if the news leaks out that we've gone up into space."

"InterTell will keep it a secret," Rick told him. "And when we get back home, we'll have to keep it to ourselves, too."

"Figures," Charlie grumbled. "Just when you have something really big to brag about, mum's the freakin' word."

The three friends made themselves at home and were soon eating sandwiches made from bread, meat, and cheese found in the chilling unit. Afterwards, Charlie and Sally experimented with one of the video games, a holographic maze game similar to the old-fashioned Pac-Man back home on Earth, except that it displayed ontop of the table-top screen right up in the very air between them.

Rick looked over the remote control pad for the large viewscreen on the wall of the lounge. After pressing the sensor button on the unit, the symbols all changed to ones he understood. He pressed a button now marked FLY, and then one marked FORWARD PROSPECT.

"Wow! Check this out, dudes!"

On the screen was a magnificent color image of a giant pinwheel of stars, hung in the blackness of space.

Charlie and Sally hurried over.

"Like totally whoa! That must be the galaxy Andromeda," Charlie cried. "Jeez, look how quickly we're approaching it."

Each passing second the giant galaxy grew larger and larger as the ship rushed rapidly towards it. Sally stared at the screen, a thrill of excitement coursing through her.

"Hello, Andromeda!" she said with spirit. "Yow, I've got goosebumps all over! Isn't it fantastic, boys?"

"Like totally!" both Rick and Charlie agreed, mesmerized by the sight of the awesome galaxy they were approaching.

Suddenly, the ship's speed slackened as it decelerated from Quantae flight, and they had to fight to keep their balance, holding onto each other and laughing with excitement. Then,  seconds later, billions and billions of stars filled the viewscreen, and they were rushing through them at an incredible speed.

"Yahoo! Talk about the max," whooped Charlie. "This is it!"

"It's totally huge!" Rick agreed, thrilled with excitement. Then he was all, "And it's majorly insane! We're the first people from Earth ever to enter another galaxy!"

"Oh, look," Sally cried, pointing. "We seem to be zeroing in on that one star. Isn't it beautiful?"

"It must be the star Lexia," Rick said, as the glowing orb grew bigger and bigger on the viewscreen.

"We must be in its solar system already," Charlie cried, totally enthralled. "Man, and we think three hours from New York to London on the Concorde is fast!"

At that very same moment there was sudden shift in the flight of the ship, and a whooping siren blared throughout the room, startling them. The lights flashed and a digitized voice boomed mysteriously from the wall.

"Alert! Alert! Zaxxon warships closing in on rear. Alert conditions prevail! Prepare for combat!"

"Ohmygod!" Sally cried, her hands flying up to her cheeks. "Zaxxons are going to attack the ship!"

Rick quickly punched the viewscreen control marked REAR PROSPECT, and the screen's image changed to one showing the stars flying back behind them. Closing in on the rear of the ship were three small spacecraft.

He groaned. "Talk about Star Death. This is just like the computer game!"

"But real!" Charlie gawked at the viewscreen. "And those aren't the Groggs, they're Zaxxons! Real enemies waging war! Captain Ion had better leave those suckers in the dust."

"Or shoot them down," Sally said worriedly.

"If they don't get us first. Look!" Rick pointed to the screen. "They're shooting at us now!"

Streams of fiery light could be seen streaking towards them from the attacking warships.

"I don't believe this," Charlie groaned. "It looks like we're gonna be the ones to eat red death. And just when we were having such a huge good time!"

There was a mighty blast and the ship shook as if it were going to explode. They were thrown savagely to the floor and the room spun around and around. Rick twisted around to look at the viewscreen and saw that the warships were now above them as their craft went tumbling down through space.

They sprawled there stunned for several seconds, then the door to the room suddenly dissolved and ABL089 stood there clinging to the archway.

"Rick! Charlie! Sally!" he cried. "The Captain and his assistants have been injured from the phaser blast. You've got to help me fly the ship and fight the Zaxxons, or else we'll all perish!"

Click HERE for Chapter Five: ATTACK OF THE ZAXXONS

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


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

Chapter Three: STOWAWAYS

The three friends gaped in astonishment at the ship from outer space. The streamlined craft rested on several stilt-like legs and, in the center of the side facing them, there was an open hatch and a ramp leading to the ground.

Charlie nudged Rick in the side. He was all like, "How about it, Raider? Do you believe in aliens now?"

Rick could feel his heart pounding with excitement. "Totally. This is insane! Let's get a closer look. We can sneak through the prison ruins."

"You bet," Sally agreed. "Gosh, I wish we had a camera!"

Charlie had whipped out his cell phone. "We do!" And he began snapping pictures as they moved on.

They crept along the edge of the overgrown shrubberies until they were across the gardens from the crumbling walls. Making sure no one was in sight, they dashed through the open area into a doorway.  Inside the old structure, the upper floors and most of the roof had fallen in. Sunlight filtered down through hanging rafters and slit-like windows, casting weird shadows all around them.

Sally jumped as a crow croaked up in the rafters.

"Yikes!" She looked up, startled.

"Get a grip," Charlie needled her. "It's just a bird."

"Oh sure. Whatever you say, most fearless one!"

Charlie snorted. "Girls! Everything scares them."

"Will you two knock it off?" Rick hissed. "If any of the aliens are around, they'll be sure to hear us."

They crept through the large room and into the next, crossing the debris-strewn floor to a row of windows on the back wall. The glass had long been gone and the bars had fallen out. They were much closer to the ship now and could see a shadowy corridor just inside the hatch.

Rick scanned the clearing. He frowned. "No one seems to be around."

"They must all be out exploring," Charlie suggested.

"Someone has to be in the craft," Sally reasoned. "They wouldn't leave it unguarded."

Charlie leaned forward out the window. He took a couple more pictures and then pocketed his phone. "Let's sneak aboard and check it out."

Rick grabbed Charlie's arm to hold him back, instantly like, "Chill, dude. That would not be a wise move."

Sally nodded vigorously, grabbing Charlie's other arm. She knew only too well how impulsive he could be. "We might get caught," she whispered. "They might hurt us."

They exchanged glances, each wanting to explore the UFO but knowing it'd be a dangerous and foolhardy thing to do.
Charlie groaned, falling back a little, and  Rick and Sally loosened their hold on him. Then he shot forward and flung his foot up on the window ledge.

He looked wild with excitement. He was all, "I'm going! You two can wait here for me."

"Connors, wait!" Rick tried to grab him as Charlie heaved himself out the window. "You can't just go and sneak on that ship!"

But Charlie was already running across the gardens toward the field, and he didn't bother to even look back.

"Darn him!" Rick grunted as he climbed out the window to follow. "Sally, you stay here!"

"Not on your life, Rick Raider!" she tossed back with spirit. "I'm coming too!"

She followed right behind him out the window in pursuit of Charlie, who was now racing across the field to the ship. He paused at the ramp when he turned and saw his friends following.

"I knew you couldn't resist it." Charlie was all grins as they joined him. "Something like this happens only once in a lifetime! It's an actual spaceship from another world!"

"You're totally wack," Rick said, but he was unable to keep his eyes away from the little bit of the ship's interior that could be seen. "We don't know anything about the creatures who own this thing. They could be dangerous."

To which Charlie was all, "Yah, right. Like, since when does danger scare us? Aunt Bea said the space dude was human-like. He looked like Hercules. How bad can it be? Hercules was a cool dude. You know darn right you want to go inside as much as I do!"

"They might be friendly," Sally said hopefully, wanting to explore the ship more than anything. "Maybe all they wanted was the data from the computers at the University and newspaper offices. We can just tell them we live in the neighborhood and happened by. Which is the truth. It's only natural we'd be curious. If we see any of them, that is."

"Right." Charlie looked eagerly up the ramp. "After all, these hills are our territory. They can't just land their ship here and expect us to stay away."

Rick narrowed his eyes, looking up into the corridor of the ship. He had to admit that Charlie was right. He wanted to check the spaceship out just as much as they did, if not more. He knew it'd be risky to enter the craft, but like his friends, he just couldn't say No.

He shook his head. He was like, "What lame excuses. We're just plain crazy. Let's go!"

Feeling his heart thudding in his throat, Rick led the way up the ramp. They entered the ship and crept slowly up the corridor toward the bow. Lining the gray metal walls were control panels with glowing displays and other devices, and along the corridor were several arches containing doors of various bright colors.

"Cool," Charlie whispered. "Looks like the Starship Enterprise. Maybe we'll see Spock or Captain Kirk."

Sally shivered. "Just so we don't see a Klingon!"

"I wonder how these doors open," Rick mused. There were no latches or knobs on them, nor any other visible means for controlling them.

Charlie looked around. "Maybe by electronic eye, like at the grocery store."

Rick stopped in front of one of the doors and tentatively thrust his hand out. Suddenly, with a little swoosh, the door instantly dissolved.

Sally jumped, startled, and Charlie let out a low whistle.

Rick's eyes widened, his hand still in midair. "Majorly awesome! The door is completely gone."

The room ahead was a small one, and it was filled with computer equipment. They stepped inside and the door, with another swoosh, instantly solidified behind them. One entire wall of the room was what appeared to be a massive computer.
A number of large three-dimensional monitors were running displays of data with menus and icons above and below them, and in the center of the unit was a desk that had a large keyboard and similar monitor on it, and a cordless mouse-like device.

"Yo! Look at this stuff!" Charlie was so excited he could barely keep his voice down. "A space-age computer from another world! Man, old Einstein would go bananas over this."

"He'd flip," Sally agreed, looking over all the panels with their numerous dials, buttons, and devices. "Imagine all the data this unit has, information about outer space that we here on Earth can only guess about."

"Hey, check out this language." Rick pointed to one of the big monitors. It was running a banner-like printed message in a hologram field of outer space graphics.

"Looks like Greek to me," Charlie said, watching the strange symbols flash across the screen. "Or maybe Russian. That's definitely not our alphabet being used!"

Rick walked up to the monitor, his brows crunched in thought. "I wonder what the message is saying?"

Below the screen was a round red button. Thinking it would cause the message to repeat, Rick pressed it.

He jumped and was all like, "Whoa!" as an unexpected tingling sensation streaked up his arm and rushed up to his head. For a few seconds it felt like his brain was buzzing.

Sally rushed to his side. "Rick! What happened?"

He shook his head, slightly dazed. "I don't know. It felt like an electric shock, all the way up to my brain!"

Charlie pointed to the monitor. He almost shouted, "Hey! Look! I can read it now."

They stared at the screen in surprise. The scrolling message was now being repeated in a format they could understand.

"Incredible," Rick breathed. "Some of the letters are a little different, but it's English all right. I bet the computer read my brain waves and changed the language to one I can comprehend."

Sally began to read the message aloud as it scrolled across the monitor: "Attention all Olympian explorer ships! War has broken out on the planet Teutron between the Olympians and the Zaxxons. Decades of political strife have culminated in the kidnapping of Olympian Prince Apollo from a villa on the Elysian Fields by Zaxxon soldiers. It is ordered that all ships return to Teutron and Olympus immediately."

Charlie watched the message repeat itself. He was utterly,"Oh, man. Man, oh, man! Talk about science fiction! We're in an explorer ship from the planet Teutron, and a command is being sent for it to return home because of war. Whaddya think of that, dudes?"

"It's totally insane," Rick said, charged with excitement. "Especially that they can transmit a message all the way from Teutron, wherever the heck it is, down here to Earth."

Sally was like, "This is fascinating!" She turned to the boys. "Olympus is the mythical home of the ancient Greek gods. And Apollo is one of the gods, the son of Zeus."

Rick nodded eagerly. "Right. And the man Aunt Bea saw was wearing a tunic and sandals, same as the Greeks wore."

"The Olympians must be a highly advanced civilization similar to the ancient Greeks of Earth," Charlie concluded. "I wonder where the planet Teutron is?"

"There's one way to find out." Rick walked over to the desk in the center of the computer.

He sat down on the chair and studied the keyboard. It was similar to the one on his home computer, but larger with many more keys. The top of the keys contained a substance that looked like liquid crystal, and each had a strange symbol shaped within. Beneath the space bar was a round red button similar to the one on the monitor that was displaying the command message.

"Press that button," Charlie urged. "I bet it's a sensor, like on that monitor. It'll change those symbols to ones we can understand."

Rick punched the button and once again the tingling sensation coursed up his arm and to his head. His spine shivered from the effect. As they had expected, the symbols in the keys  rearranged themselves into ones similar to the English language.

Rick grinned in amazement. "Far out! It read my brain waves again."

Charlie smirked, all, "You needed your brains examined, anyway, bud." He pointed to the monitor screen above the keyboard. "Sheez, look at these graphics!"

The graphics and icons on the screen had all changed to ones that made sense to the three friends.

"And we think Windows 2000 is something," Sally said. "This is like Windows twenty-thousand! And all in 3D! It looks like you can stick your arm right into the monitor, it's so real."

"Wouldn't Bill Gates love to get his hands on this technology?" Charlie laughed.

"Microsoft probably has a similar system on the drawing board right now," Rick tossed back. "Just don't let the Apple executives find out about it!"

The  three friends laughed eagerly as Rick took hold of the cordless mouse-like device and moved it around. A bright pointed spiral appeared on the screen.

"Click on the weird looking question mark icon," Sally suggested.

Rick moved the spiral up to the colorful icon and clicked with the first of several buttons on the device. A window suddenly appeared center screen with an empty field in it. Lettering in the brightly designed box stated SEARCH ARISTOTLE.

"No way," Charlie said. "This computer from outer space calls it's Google-like search engine 'Aristotle'!"

Sally giggled. "Why not? Everything else here seems to be ancient Greek. And Aristotle was the famous philosopher. Perfect name for a search feature that knows everything!"

Rick typed TEUTRON into the field on the search window and clicked the mouse spiral on the little square that said FLY. With a musical bleep another box appeared below with the information he sought.

"Teutron is the third planet of six in orbit around the star Lexia in the third quadrant of the galaxy Andromeda," he read. "Yo, can you believe that? This spaceship is from another galaxy!"

Charlie was like, "No way! It seems impossible. Other galaxies are so far away! They can only do that kind of space travel in the movies!"

"Ask Aristotle about Olympus," Sally urged Rick, almost breathless in her excitement.

Rick cleared the field and then typed OLYMPUS into it, and clicked the space-age mouse. A moment later he read:
"Olympus is one of two continents on the planet Teutron. A peaceful nation, its seat of government is located in the golden city of Olympia in the mountains of the north sector of the continent. The present ruler is King Pallas, the heirs to the throne, his son Apollo and daughter Athena."

Sally's eyes widened. "Ohmygod! Athena! There's a Greek goddess by that name."

Rick cleared the field again and typed another word into it: ZAXXONS.

A moment later he said, "Listen to this. 'The Zaxxons are a barbarian warlike people who inhabit the continent of Zaxxonia, one of the two continents on the planet Teutron.'"

Charlie leaned over Rick's shoulder to look at the text. "The Zaxxons don't sound too cool, eh? But at least the Olympians are peaceful. They must have come to Earth only to spy, not to invade."

"Say, that gives me an idea, Connors," Rick said. "If the Olympians did steal the data from the two computers here in Lake City and transmitted it into this one, we can find out by asking questions."

"Right. Ask the computer something about Lake City, or NASA."

Sally nudged Rick. "I got it.  Ask Aristotle about Charlie Connors. See if this outer space computer can compute that!"

"Real funny," Charlie grunted, squeezing in front of Rick. His fingers hit the keys and he typed CHARLIE CONNORS into the search field, then grabbed the mouse and clicked.

"Yow!" he cried a moment later, stepping back in awe. "This freakin' Aristotle knows all about me!"

Printed in the reply window was Charlie's name, date of birth, address, his current class schedule at Lake University, and a history of his scholastic records from elementary school upward.

"Then it's true," Rick said. "Professor Manning and old Einstein are right. This data is straight out of the University's computer."

"There's no other explanation," Sally agreed. "There's no way they'd know about Charlie on Teutron otherwise."

Charlie swelled out his chest. "Not! I'm well-known throughout the universe, don't you know?"

"Oh, for sure," Sally scoffed. "Famous as a deadly black hole!"

Rick pushed back the chair and stood up. "I guess we solved that mystery! It's the Olympians who caused the malfunctioning of the two computer systems. Now we'd better get off this ship before anyone sees us. When we get back to the prison ruins I'll call InterTell with the encryptive transceiver and fill them in."

"Won't they be surprised?" Charlie asked. "One of these days they'll wise up and put us on the payroll."

"But what will they be able to do about it?" Sally asked. "The Olympians won't fix things right unless we can ask them to do it, and for that we'd have to ..... "

Suddenly, without any kind of warning, the entire room shook and there was a mighty thrust of power that threw all three of them sprawling to the floor.

Charlie hurriedly scrambled back up to his feet. He was all like, "Jeez! What the heck was that?"

There was a tremor in Sally's voice as she looked warily around. "We're moving, boys. Ohmygod! The ship is moving. It must be taking off!"

"Man, let's get outta here!" Rick leaped to his feet and pulled Sally up to his side.

But the ship was already moving upward at a brisk speed, even though it seemed that not even thirty seconds had passed since the initial power thrust. It felt like they were in a room-sized elevator, speeding up to the top of a mighty skyscraper.

They raced to the door, but before they could reach it the upward thrust of the ship increased to such a stupendous velocity that they were again pulled down to the floor, as if by a mighty magnet. They struggled to get up, but the force holding them down was impossible to overcome. It was as if they were glued to the floor!

"I can't move," Sally gasped, her voice weak and hoarse. "Ohmygod! Rick! Charlie! We're going to outer space!"

Charlie let out a low groan. He was all, "And we didn't even have to buy a ticket! The Olympians must have read that command message on another monitor. Now they're heading back to Teutron because of the war!"

"You guessed it, bud." Rick felt totally crushed, as if a heavy weight was pressing down on his entire body. "And with us aboard!"

Struggling against the artificial gravity, he pulled the encryptive transceiver from his jacket pocket. After withdrawing the small device from its leather case, he struggled to maneuver onto his stomach to easier use it.

The transceiver was the ultimate smart phone. It did everything a normal one did, and far more, and it did it all encrypted so that anything sent, whether it be audio, video, text, or voice messages, could only be received and translated by a similar device. They operated via NASA communications satellite networks and worked absolutely anywhere in the world.

Rick wondered if the ship was still within the confines of Earth as he keyed the device for transmission, punching at a couple icons on its screen.

"Rick Raider calling InterTell," he groaned, hardly able to speak. "Do you copy?"

A few seconds later: "Agent KG010 speaking from Lake City City InterTell. I copy, Rick. Where are you? Your transmission isn't very good."

"Dad!" Rick felt his heart begin to hammer at hearing his father's voice. "You're back in the office! I wish you'd been there earlier. Listen up! We found the UFO at Penitentiary Glen in the Kirtland Hills. We came on board to investigate, but now the ship's taken off.  I'm afraid we're bound for outer space!"

"Rick! Did I copy correctly?" came the shocked reply. "You boarded the UFO and now it's taken off?"

"Roger, Dad. We learned this ship is responsible for malfunctioning the two computer systems. It's from the planet Teutron which orbits around the star Lexia in the third quadrant of the galaxy Andromeda. We didn't get off in time, Dad. We're on our way to Teutron!"

"Copy not clear, Rick." Mr. Raider's voice was almost drowned out by the crackle of interference. "On ship bound for planet Teutron somewhere in Andromeda galaxy. Is that correct, Rick? ..... Rick? I told you not to board the UFO ...."

His voice sounded like it was a million miles away. Then, the transmission faded. Rick felt a thudding in his heart, an emptiness so vast it shook him to the core. He tried again and again to contact his dad, but there was no response, just dead silence.

"Give it up," Charlie grunted at him. "We're probably flying past Saturn right now. Way out of reach of NASA's satellites."

Rick could scarcely move his head enough to see Charlie and Sally where they were sprawled out alongside him. "This is a deadly mess we're in!" he gasped. "How are we going to get back to Earth?"

But before either of the others could attempt a response, the ship's speed increased to such an intense degree that they were left speechless, flattened to the floor.

Rick knew that astronauts had to wear pressurized suits to withstand the incredible velocities of space entry, and he feared he and his friends would now perish. His head began to swim and he saw stars in front of his eyes. He could scarcely breathe. There was a buzzing in his head and he thought he was going to pass out at any moment. There was no telling how long the torment lasted.

At length, he was able to move a little bit, then a while later sit up.  His entire body was trembling, and all he could do was wrap his arms around himself and try to stop shaking. It seemed like an eternity had passed.

"Good night!" he muttered. "Whoever's driving this thing was really putting it to the max. Are you guys all right?"

Charlie slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position. He was like, "Barely! Sheez, and I was the one who wanted to go to outer space! I thought it was all over for us."

"Really," Rick agreed. "I don't know how we survived that. They must have this ship super-pressurized."

Sally managed to sit up, scared and exhausted. "Oh, no! Our parents! They'll be so worried. What are we going to do?"

The ship was now moving almost imperceptibly in a gentle forward motion. Rick slipped the transceiver back in its case and pocketed it. As he looked grimly at Charlie and Sally, he ran his fingers nervously through his dark wavy hair.

"There's only one thing we can do," he said, rising to his feet. "We have to ask the Olympians to take us back to Earth."

Sally looked at him doubtfully. "Do you think they will? What if they won't? What if they make us prisoners?"

Charlie helped her to her feet. "They're peaceful people, remember? Friendly. At least I hope so!"

"It's most likely they won't harm us," Rick agreed. "I just hope they'll agree to take us back ..... " His eyes suddenly widened and riveted to the doorway as a little swoosh cut through the air.

Charlie and Sally followed his gaze. Then, Sally jumped back, her hand to her mouth. Charlie gaped ahead with an astonished expression.

The door to the room had dissolved and now, standing in the archway, was a creature the likes of which they had never seen before!

Click HERE for Chapter Four: HELLO ANDROMEDA!