Judy Bolton Days

Judy Bolton Days
First annual in 1991!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Rick Raider:
copyright 2011 Stratomiker Syndicate
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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