Judy Bolton Days

Judy Bolton Days
First annual in 1991!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Rick Raider:

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


Rick Raider jumped to his feet, steadying himself against the swaying of the Olympian spaceship. It felt like his heart was in his throat, it was pounding so hard. It was too much to comprehend that he was being called upon to pilot an intergalactic spaceship in a battle with enemy craft!

"Yo! Let's get going," he called to his friends as he headed to the doorway. "This is like totally insane, but we've got to do it!"

Charlie and Sally, for the first time Rick could ever remember, were speechless as they  scrambled up and rushed across the room as the runaway craft careened through space.

"The Zaxxon warships are small and their phasers aren't as powerful as our quasar torpedoes," ABL089 told them as they hurried down the corridor.

"Then we stand a chance against them?" Charlie asked breathlessly, finding his voice once again.

"Yes, we can destroy the Zaxxons if we can get the ship under control."

Sally hurried on with her hands against the wall to keep her balance. "What happened to the crew members?"

"They were hurled against the walls and equipment, and injured," the robot said as they arrived at a red door at the corridor's end. He reached out his hand and the door dissolved.

"Captain Ion has a wound on his head and I fear his two assistants were further injured by electrical discharge. The blast short-circuited some equipment."

"What about the Quantae-drive engineer?" Rick asked.

ABL089 shrugged, his big smile incongruous with the dangerous situation. "He's down in the engine room. I tried to contact him but there was no response. We'll have to check on him later. Right now we've got to get this ship under control!"

The control room was directly in the bow of the spacecraft. In front was a large viewscreen showing the stars as the ship plummeted through them. Along the walls were computer stations and equipment, hundreds of lights flashing and blinking. The acrid smell of smoke was in the air. A man was slumped against a counter by one of the stations, and two others were sprawled on the floor in front of a large control desk in the center of the room. All three wore belted tunics of a military style.

Rick looked around quickly and assessed the situation. He never would have believed that one day he'd be commandeering a spaceship, but he set his jaw firmly and followed ABL089 to the control desk.

"Charlie, see if you and Sally can revive these men," he ordered. Then,  "Abey, what do we have to do?"

The robot sat down in front of the control station. "Just follow my instructions."

Rick took the seat next to him and looked over the myriad of controls. He could feel himself trembling, but he knew it was from the thrill of excitement as well as a tinge of fear.

"The ship is run by the computer, Rick, but now it's out of control." ABL089 pointed to a lever directly in front of him. "I'll pull this lever to reactivate computer control. Aristotle will take over again. You have to work those four instruments in front of you to direct our movement while we fight the Zaxxons. I'll control the ship's speed."

Rick ran his fingers through his hair. This was like a total video game nightmare. The real thing! And billions of miles into outer space.

He was like, "It's a cinch. Let's do it!"

ABL089 pulled the lever. Lights flashed up and down the control panel in front of them and the ship slowly returned to a more even flight. As Rick manipulated the controls, he looked up to the viewscreen and saw that they were now flying through the stars in a normal manner.

"All systems go," he grinned. "At least the phaser blast didn't do us in."

ABL089 nodded. "Not likely, Rick. It would take a lot more than one phaser to destroy this ship."

Rick chuckled. "I am so totally glad to hear that!"

The robot reached over to press a control that changed the viewscreen to a rear prospect. The image on the large screen immediately changed to one showing the three enemy warships once again closing in behind them.

"Oh brother, here they come again," Charlie muttered from behind.

Rick turned to look at him. "What's up with the Captain and his assistants?"

"They're totally out, man. All three of them. We dragged them back to the carpeted area by the door. Sally's with them, but they sure need a doctor." Charlie's eyes bugged out at the viewscreen. "Hey, we'd better get away from those Zaxxons!"

Rick glanced back up at the screen, his dark eyes hard and cold. "Give this baby some gas, Abey!"

The robot increased the speed and Rick guided the ship upward. The Olympian craft streaked high above the Zaxxon ships in a wide arc.

Charlie was all, "They're coming after us. Get behind them, dude! Let's show those Zaxxons a thing or two and blast them right out of space."

"That's exactly what we must do, boys," ABL089 said. "Those warships are manned by Zaxxon robots that are programmed to kill or be destroyed."

Rick's eyes widened. "You mean we're fighting for our lives against robots?"

"Right. But they're not nice ones like me," ABL089 assured him. "Nothing will stop them from trying to destroy us."

As if to verify his statement, one of the Zaxxon ships flew out ahead of the others and fired a phaser that streaked through space at them. But Rick guided the ship upward, escaping the phaser's path and then, suddenly, he flew off to port side. Again, just as quickly, he shot downward.

Charlie urged him on. "Max it, Rick. Yo, to the limit!"

The warships were no longer behind them, and ABL089 switched the viewscreen to its forward prospect as Rick guided the ship upward again.

Sally rushed up to the control desk from behind. Her green eyes shone with excitement. She was all totally, "Yay! Good going, Rick! We're behind them now!"

The Zaxxon warships were up ahead of them, flying in formation. Rick had his eyes pinned on them.

"Man the torpedoes!" ABL089 shouted excitedly as he manipulated several controls.

Sections of the control panel lit up and a bullseye marker was superimposed over the image on the viewscreen.

"Line up the ships in the center of that bullseye," the robot directed, "and we'll torpedo those lousy Zaxxon robots."

Sally looked questioningly at them. "Robots?"

Charlie explained that robots manned the enemy ships and that they were programmed to kill.

Sally placed her hands on ABL089's shoulders. "Whew! I am  so totally glad you're not like them, Abey."

The plastic-like man chuckled. "I'd rather have windmills in my head than Zaxxon microchips!"

Then Rick guided the ship close in behind the three warships. He worked the controls so that one of the Zaxxon ships was directly in the center of the bullseye.

"Charlie, you press that torpedo trigger," ABL089 ordered. "It's that flashing button right in the center of the panel."

Charlie eagerly reached between Rick and the robot and slammed the trigger. He was like, "Red death for you, buster!"

A fiery beam shot across the viewscreen and connected with the Zaxxon ship. The small spacecraft exploded in a brilliant flash of light. A moment later all trace of it had disappeared.

"Good shot!" ABL089 cheered. "One down and two to go."

Rick zeroed in on one of the two remaining ships. The pilot of the craft tried to get away by swooping off into different directions, but Rick followed closely. Soon he had the warship in the dead center of the bullseye.

Charlie slammed the trigger and the quasar torpedo zoomed ahead. It hit the Zaxxon ship squarely, and the enemy craft exploded.

Sally jumped excitedly. "Excellent! One more and we'll be home free."

The remaining enemy ship was far on the left of the screen. Rick went after it port side and ABL089 increased the speed.

"Go for it!" Charlie urged. "The darn sucker!"

"Just watch me!" Rick laughed, then followed the erratic flight of the fleeing enemy craft.

It swooped up, then off to starboard, back quickly port side, and then it spiraled downward. They followed it closely, keeping it within the bullseye.

"Get ready, Connors," Rick said tensely, beads of perspiration showing on his forehead. "As soon as that craft is in the center of the target, give it the gun."

Anxiously, the foursome watched the viewscreen as Rick made every attempt to center the enemy craft in the target. Slowly but surely he did as Charlie held his fist poised above the trigger.

"Now!" Rick hissed.

Charlie was all, "You are SO dead!"  And he banged down his fist.

Their eyes were glued to the big screen as the torpedo streaked to the center of the bullseye and hit its target square on. The Zaxxon ship burst into an explosion of light.

A spontaneous cheer rose up amongst them.

"Good fortune!" ABL089 squeaked. "I knew we could do it!"

"Awesome flying, dude," Charlie said to Rick as they slapped hands together in a high five.

Rick grinned with relief. He was like, "Hey, it was a slam dunk. Good thing I was playing Star Death last night. Who knew it'd prepare me for a real fight in space today?"

"And some people say that playing computer games is a waste of time," Sally harrumphed. "It sure helped save the day for us. Totally big ups to you, guys!"

ABL089 switched off the control for the target marker and it disappeared from the screen. Then he turned a series of dials and typed in a code on a row of keys along the top of the panel. The ship dipped and sailed in a wide arc before leveling off again.

"There!" He turned to the others. "Now the ship is under automatic computer control and Aristotle will guide us on a course to Teutron. We will arrive there shortly."

"We'd better see to the crew," Rick reminded them. "Jeez, We've got to give them some kind of first aid."

ABL089 got up from his seat. "Sally, the boys and I will carry the officers to sick bay. I want you to stay here and keep an eye on the controls."

"Gladly," Sally agreed, and he showed her how to change the views on the viewscreen so that she could watch for enemy ships.

He pointed to a red lever. "If you see any flying objects out there, pull this lever. It'll set off the sirens and we'll come running."

Leaving Sally at the control post, the boys and ABL089 carried the officers down the corridor into sick bay. Captain Ion had come to and he was mumbling groggily. After the men  had been placed on elevated bunks, the robot led the boys down to the engine room.

Officer Janus, the Quantae-drive engineer, was found sprawled on the floor. His forehead was bleeding where he had banged it on a large pipe after having been knocked off his feet by the phaser blast. After they had carried him up to sick bay, ABL089 examined the officers with an electronic device similar to a small microscope. It was attached to a machine that monitored the bodily functions.

"None of them seem to have been seriously injured," he said at length. "You know, sometimes I'm glad I'm not human. The blast threw me too, but it takes more than a hard knock to throw this plastic head of mine out of whack!"

He opened a cupboard and withdrew a number of first aid items, including a small vial. He instructed Charlie to clean and dress the head wounds of the Captain and Officer Janus, and to revive them and the other men with the chemical in the vial.

Captain Ion was mumbling incoherently. ABL089 looked at him. "Charlie, when the Captain is aware of what's going on, give him a full account of the situation. But insist that he stays here and rests with the others. Rick and I will be in the control room. I have to contact the spaceport in Olympia and let them know we'll soon be landing."

"Gotcha!" Charlie turned to the bunk the Captain was on and held the vial underneath his nose.

Rick followed ABL089 out of the sick bay and they hurried over to the control room.

"Everything is A-OK," Sally told them. "No more Zaxxon ships in sight. But I think someone was trying to make radio contact with the ship. Static was coming from the speakers. There was a voice too, but I could barely hear it. I couldn't make out what it was saying."

"That's very odd," ABL089 said, raising his bushy brows. "There wouldn't be static if the spaceport was trying to contact us. The Quantae-space waves can reach us clearly anywhere, especially now that we're so close to Teutron."

He looked at the viewscreen. It now showed a glowing planet suspended in the black void of space.

"Maybe the ship's communication equipment was damaged by the Zaxxon phaser," Rick suggested. "It might not be picking up the signal properly."

"That's easy enough to find out." ABL089 walked over to a communications station on the side wall. He manipulated several devices and lights flashed up and down the panel.

"Everything is all right," he said. "It's really strange to receive a weak transmission. There must be trouble in Olympia. I'd better contact the spaceport."

He picked up a microphone from the panel and was about to turn a dial on the board when a rush of static filled the room. It was followed by a voice:

"Explorer ship XZ89, do you copy? Do not contact Olympia spaceport or land your ship there. Danger in Olympia!"

Another rush of static followed the message. Then, dead silence.

Rick was like, "Uh oh." He felt a chill streak up his back. He turned to the robot. "Looks like we're heading into more trouble, Abey."

ABL089's big eyes looked as if they were about to pop out of his head. "Great Andromeda! That was the voice of Princess Athena!"

"The Princess?" Sally repeated, startled. "Oh, what's going on? I hope she's okay!"

"Shhh!" Rick warned as the static filled the room again.

The voice followed. "Explorer ship XZ89. If you copy, please transfer to laser beam communication. I repeat: transfer to laser beam communication."

ABL089 immediately began to work some controls on the panel. "The Princess is contacting us from a laser beam communicator," he said excitedly. "I'm now hooking into the beam coming from her unit so I can transmit to her over it."

When the connection to laser communication was complete, he spoke into the microphone. "Princess Athena, this is ABL089 speaking. We are now connected for communication."

"Abey!" The excited voice of the Princess now clearly filled the room. "Oh what good fortune that my beam located your ship! Are you safe? I was so worried about you! It's been reported that Zaxxon warships are patrolling the quadrant to destroy the returning explorer ships."

"We were attacked by three warships upon entering the solar system," ABL089 told her. "The crew's been injured but I was able to regain control of the ship and destroy the Zaxxons with the help of three Earthlings who accidentally stowed away on our ship."

"Earthlings!" came the stunned response of the Princess. "Well, there's nothing to do but to bring them here with you. I'm at my uncle's villa on the Elysian Fields, and you have to land the ship here. The city of Olympia has been occupied by the Zaxxons, and they have stolen the Eternal Flame from the Temple of the Sun!"

ABL089 looked at Rick and Sally, his mouth agape.

Then he was like, "They stole the Eternal Flame? But that means there is no longer any hope for the nation of Olympus!"

The voice of the Princess was very sad. "You are right, Abey. The war is over and the Zaxxons have conquered our nation. They now rule the entire planet of Teutron!"

Coming next, Chapter Six: THE ELYSIAN FIELDS