Judy Bolton Days

Judy Bolton Days
First annual in 1991!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


copyright 2011 Stratomiker Syndicate

To get all the chapters click on 'Eternal Flame' on the sidebar.


Rick and Sally stared at each other for a moment, exchanging worried glances. The war between the Olympians and Zaxxons was over, and the Zaxxons had won it! And even though the robot was still smiling, they knew he was extremely upset.

"This is terrible, Princess," ABL089 said into the communicator. "Where are the King and Queen? Why are you at your uncle's villa?"

"My mother and father are being held captive in the Royal Palace by the Zaxxons," came Princess Athena's reply. "I was lucky enough to escape when the soldiers came, and I rode one of the horses out here to Uncle Orion's villa. But he's gone too! He went to Zaxxonia in search of Apollo."

ABL089 looked at Rick and Sally and shook his head in frustration. "What in the name of Andromeda are we going to do?" he asked. Then, to Princess Athena, "But don't worry, Princess, I'll soon be with you. And the Earthlings are terrific young people, just like you and Prince Apollo. Together we'll figure it all out."

"I hope so, Abey. I'll be waiting here for you. Lock into my laser beam with your ship's computer for landing guidance. May good fortune be with you!"

"And also with you, Princess." ABL089 slipped the microphone back onto the panel and hurried over to the control desk. Rick and Sally watched as he flipped several levers and typed a code on the row of keys.

"Now Aristotle is on laser guidance," he said, "and the beam from Princess Athena's unit will guide us to our landing place at the Elysian Fields."

Sally anxiously drummed her fingers on the control desk. Her faint smile held a touch of sadness. She was like, "Oh, Abey! The Princess is in a whole lot of danger. If the Zaxxons have the rest of the Royal Family in captivity, they'll want her too!"

"Right," Rick readily agreed, his hands on his hips and his face grim. "We've got to think of a way to protect her."

"We definitely can't stay at Orion's villa," ABL089 said. "The soldiers will surely look for her there.  That's where they found Apollo. We'll have to flee, but I don't know where to!"

"Yo, what's up?" Charlie asked as he came into the control room. "Why do we have to flee?"
Rick filled him in on the sudden turn of events.

Charlie groaned, all, "Talk about radical! This situation gets worse every minute." He turned to the robot. "But don't worry, Abey. Rick will think of something. He always does."

Rick grinned at Charlie's expression of confidence. "I sure hope I can this time. How are the officers?"

"They finally all came to. But they're still pretty out of it. I told them what's happened and they agreed to stay in there and rest. But Captain Ion insisted we call him when it's time to land the ship."

ABL089 nodded. "I'll let them rest a spell before telling them about the dreadful outcome of the war. It'll be a while yet before we land."

Rick was gazing thoughtfully at the glowing planet of Teutron on the viewscreen. "Tell us about the Eternal Flame, Abey. Why is it so terrible that the Zaxxons have stolen it?"

"Whoever possesses the Eternal Flame rules the planet," the robot explained. "It's the tradition on Teutron and nothing could change it, not even a signed edict from the gods. The Olympians have held the Eternal Flame for thousands of years and, because they are peace-loving people, they have allowed the Zaxxons to be free. But now that the Zaxxons possess the Eternal Flame, they'll no doubt turn Olympus into a military state. There will be no freedom for the Olympians!"

Sally frowned. "But why is the possession of the Eternal Flame of such great significance that it gives control over the entire planet? It doesn't make sense, tradition or not."

"It's the War Law of Teutron," ABL089 said. "You see, thousands of years ago there was a great nuclear war between the two nations of the planet. The Olympians conquered the Zaxxons, who had begun the Great War. But almost every one of the planet's great cities had been destroyed, and millions of lives were lost."

"Yow, that's pretty dreadful," Charlie said. "Thousands of people all over Earth are calling for nuclear disarmament. The same thing could happen there!"

"It certainly could," the robot agreed. "And for the sake of your people, I hope it doesn't. After the Great War on Teutron, the rulers of both nations met and signed the agreements known as the War Law. It strictly forbids the production or use of any nuclear weapons on the planet, in times of peace or war. At this same meeting, the Eternal Flame, then used for the Annual Games in Olympia, was placed in a golden vessel and given to the Olympian King as a token of victory. It was taken to the new site of the city of Olympia, for the old city had been destroyed by the warheads, and enshrined in the Temple of the Sun. The War Law states that whichever nation possesses the Eternal Flame rules the planet, and throughout the ages this law has been respected and upheld."

"A wise decision," Rick said. "It probably saved Teutron from another nuclear holocaust."
Sally shook her head sadly. "But now the Zaxxons have the Eternal Flame, and with it the rule of the planet."

"And the Olympians will no longer live in freedom," ABL089 added.

Charlie growled in frustration. "If only there was something we could do!"

"There is!"

It was Rick who had spoken, and in a low firm voice. The others all looked at him and saw the grim determination on his face.

Then he was like, "When we land on Teutron we'll go and find this Eternal Flame!"

Charlie gaped at him quizically for a moment, then excitement flamed in his eyes. "Dude! Right! We'll find the Eternal Flame for the Olympians same as we found the missing Yukon expedition last winter."

Sally beamed too, catching their passion. She was all, "Totally! Ohmygod, it'll be huge! And we'll rescue Prince Apollo too. Then the Olympians will be sure to reward us by taking us back to Earth."

ABL089 looked pretty astounded. "Do you think you can do all that?"

"Of course we can," Rick said. "There's a way to accomplish anything that has to be done. We'll just have to figure it out."

Charlie put his arm around the robot's shoulder. "And we'll change the Olympians' opinion of Earthlings too. Completely!"

Sally pointed to the viewscreen. "Look, you can see the two continents of Teutron now."

On the screen was the image of the planet, its two great continents now clearly defined. In the northern extremities the two masses of land almost touched each other, separated only by a narrow channel of water. Southward, the waters widened into a mighty sea and the lower regions of the continents wrapped around the globe.

ABL089 pointed to the left side of the screen. "That's Olympus, and Zaxxonia is on the right. The Elysian Fields are in the northern tip of Olympus, near the channel separating the continents." He pointed to the location of the Elysian Fields and then to the site of the city of Olympia, not far west of it.

"There's a place called the Elysian Fields in the mythology of Earth's ancient Greeks," Rick told him. "It's supposed to be a beautiful land where those who lived good lives go after they die."

The robot looked fascinated. "Then it's similar to the Elysian Fields of Olympus. Ours is a delightful region populated mostly by retired folks. Unfortunately, we'll have to leave the district as soon as we land. We've got to take the Princess to a place where the Zaxxons can't find her."

Sally got up from her seat at the control desk. "Charlie, will you take over? There's something I want to do for the Princess."

"Sure." He took the empty seat. "What's up? What are you going to do?"

"You'll find out later." She smiled mysteriously as she left the control room.

Charlie shook his head as he eyed the controls. "Humphh! Girls! They always have to have secrets."

As the ship flew towards Teutron, ABL089 and the boys remained at the control station discussing the turn of events on the planet and the courses of action open to them after landing.

"Where's the last place the Zaxxons would look for the Princess?" Rick asked.

"Why, in Zaxxonia, of course," was ABL089's quick reply.

Rick nodded thoughtfully. "Then that's where we ought to go."

Charlie agreed. "Good idea. They'll never think of looking for her in their own country. And I'll bet that's where they've taken the Eternal Flame."

"And Prince Apollo too," Rick added.

"I think you've got the right idea," ABL089 agreed. "We can escape the Zaxxons and search for Prince Apollo and the Eternal Flame all at the same time."

Rick looked up at the viewscreen. "Abey, is there a way we can cross the channel from Olympus to Zaxxonia?"

"I'm sure we can find some means of transportation, Rick. Orion owns an airship, the latest model. Perhaps it's still at his villa."

"Perfect." Rick crossed his fingers hopefully. "I hope it's there. There's no time to waist once we land. We have to get Princess Athena out of Olympus as fast as possible."

When landing time was near, Rick and Charlie went to sick bay to inform the crew. Although still weak from their injuries, Captain Ion and Officer Polamus returned to the control room with the boys. The other two men were unable to resume their responsibilities and had to remain on the bunks.

ABL089 told the Captain and his mate about the recent occurrences on Teutron and that the ship would be landing at the Elysian Fields rather than at the Olympia spaceport. The officers took this news with the calm reserve common to military men and proceedings were begun for landing.
After entering the atmosphere, the spaceship was soon sailing smoothly over the surface of Teutron. Rick and Charlie watched the viewscreen as the craft flew over a rugged mountain range riddled with glaciers, and then down to a district of rolling hills and orchards.

"We're now flying over the Elysian Fields," ABL089 said from his post at the communications panel. "In a few minutes we'll arrive at Orion's villa."

Sally came into the control room and greeted the two officers.  "We're almost there!" she said excitedly.

Charlie eyed her curiously. "What have you been doing?"

"I was in the lounge. I baked more brownies and cookies with Aunt Bea's supplies. That spectra-wave oven in the galley is outta sight! It works ten times as fast as the microwaves we have on Earth."

Charlie gave her a dirty look. He was all totally, "Puh! Thanks for bringing me some to eat. I'm freakin' starving."

Sally wrinkled her nose at him. "Dude, you are always starving. They're for the Princess, anyway. I hope she likes them."

"You can count on it that she will," said Officer Polamus, who was sitting with the Captain at the control desk. "I've never tasted anything here on Teutron with that unique flavor in those food samples I found on Earth."

"You must mean the chocolate," Rick said. "It comes from the cocoa bean, the seed of the cacao tree that grows in the tropical Americas on Earth."

"I wonder if we have any such plant growing here on Teutron," Captain Ion mused. "Why don't you check it out, Abey?"

The robot nodded and closed his eyes. The others could hear the whirring in his head as he checked his memory banks. When his eyes opened, he said, "I have no data of a similar plant in existence on our planet. There's also no word for 'chocolate' in any of the contemporary Teutronic languages. It must be a commodity particular to Earth."

Charlie hooted, all,  "Man, do I ever feel sorry for Teutronites. Life without chocolate! Who could imagine? That's what I call majorly deprived."

"Well, get yourself prepared for deprivation," Sally told him. "That's just what we'll be experiencing when our supply of cookies and brownies is gone."

Rick smiled to himself. Here they were, landing a spaceship on a planet besieged by worldwide war, in a nation now occupied by a barbarian enemy, and they were all talking about chocolate.

"Some good might come out of this trip to Teutron after all," he said. "I think Charlie's going to lose those extra pounds he's been carrying around lately."

Charlie sneered at him. "Think so, huh? Don't count on it. I'll find something on this planet to eat!"

Just then, the spaceship approached a populated area and they all turned to look at the viewscreen. Scattered here and there amongst the rolling fields were large stone villas. Captain Ion guided the ship above them to an open field aside one of the homes, and then he and Officer Polamus brought the craft down to a gentle landing.

"Home at last!" ABL089 croaked happily as he left his post at the communications panel and crossed to the control desk. "Captain, I must report directly to the Princess. I'll take Rick, Charlie and Sally with me."

"Certainly." Captain Ion turned to Rick, Charlie and Sally and thanked them for their help in saving the ship and its crew from disaster. "Unfortunately, this is not a good time for you to visit Teutron," he added. "But King Pallas will be informed of the help you've given us and, should Olympus once again rule the planet, he will see to it that you are properly rewarded."

"The only reward we want is to be taken back to Earth," Rick told him. "Olympus must rule again. That's the bottom line!"

After leaving the control room, they followed ABL089 to the lounge. The robot took his flight bag from a cupboard and, after adding to its contents the cookies and brownies Sally had baked, they hurried down the corridor and out the lowered ramp.

Awaiting them in the field were several servants from Orion's villa. One of them, a tall woman dressed in a simple tunic-like gown, stepped forward to greet them.  "Abey! What good fortune that you have safely returned. Are these the Earthlings you told the Princess about?"

"Indeed they are," he nodded eagerly, introducing them to the woman whose name was Hestia, the housekeeper at Orion's villa.

With an expression of awe she greeted Rick, Charlie and Sally, welcoming them to Teutron. Then she turned and gave orders to the other servants who had been standing there gawking at them.

As the servants hurried up the ramp to carry out the orders and attend to the crew, Hestia gestured to follow her.
"Come, we must hurry. Princess Athena has already left the villa. She was afraid to stay any longer in case the Zaxxon soldiers came back looking for her."

ABL089 was dismayed. He was all, "The Princess isn't here? Where did she go?"

As they hurried across the field to the villa, Hestia told them that Princess Athena had gone to Elysia, a nearby resort town, and that she wanted them to meet her there at a night club called the New Wave Canteen.

"She rode her horse to Elysia," Hestia added. "There are four other stallions in the corral saddled and ready for you."

"What about Orion's airship?" the robot asked. "Is it not here?"

"No, he flew off in it yesterday to Zaxxonia, the old fool!" Hestia rolled her eyes in dismay. "He went alone to look for Prince Apollo, and we are all worried to death about him."

ABL089 groaned as well as his cheerful programming allowed. "Then we'll have to ride the horses. But first we must get some clothes for our friends. They can't travel about our planet in those Earth clothes!"

The villa was set into a gently sloping hillside and a series of  landscaped terraces led up to the entrance. They hurried up the stone steps and entered the sprawling house. After sending Sally off with Hestia, ABL089 led Rick and Charlie down a marble-floored hall and into a large airy chamber at its end.

"This is the room Prince Apollo uses when he visits here," he said as he pulled open louvered closet doors. "Good, some of his clothes are here. You are all three about the same size, so they should fit you. While you boys change, I'll go to the kitchens and pack some supplies."

"Yes, food! Lotsa food!" Charlie shouted after him.

He and Rick pulled off their clothes and piled them on a shelf in the large closet. Charlie burst out laughing as he slipped into one of Prince Apollo's tunics.

He was totally, "Why do they dress like this here? It's so queer. I feel like I'm wearing a mini dress!"

Rick cracked up, laughing at his friend. "Your legs sure ain't as nice as Sally's, bud. Hard to believe, huh? They had nuclear war thousands of years ago, but no one here has invented jeans and tee-shirts yet!"

"I feel like we're getting in costume for one of those Greek tragedies the Lake University Drama Club puts on," Charlie added.

Rick belted the tunic he had pulled on. "We are dressing for a tragedy. The one playing out now right here on Teutron. Sheez! I sure hate to think of the Princess out there all alone with the Zaxxons on her trail."

Charlie slipped on a pair of sandals and tied the straps that came up to his calves. "Ditto on that. I hope she'll be safe in Elysia till we get there." He gaped down at his feet, all, "Man, how nuts is this? Gladiator shoes!"

There was a backpack on the closet floor and they put extra underwear and a couple changes of clothing in it. Rick flung it over his shoulder and they left the room. They met Sally in the entrance hall. She was wearing a simple white tunic-like gown, and she also carried a backpack.

"This is Princess Athena's dress," she told them. "Pretty neat, eh? Hestia said that the weather here is almost always warm. You seldom have to wear anything heavier than these light garments."

Rick nodded admiringly. "You look pretty ultra," he said. "Just like an Olympian Princess."

"I'll say she does," ABL089 agreed as he entered the hall. "With her long golden hair, Sally's almost a double for Princess Athena."

The girl's eyes widened. "Yikes! Then I hope the Zaxxons don't see me!"

The robot was carrying two backpacks now. "I put some supplies in these," he said, handing one to Charlie. "You young people do know how to ride horses, don't you?"

Rick assured him they did, having grown up riding the horses at the Connors' farm. As they crossed the marble floor to the door, Hestia came running into the hall.

"You've got to hurry," she said in worried tones. "Zaxxon soldiers are approaching the villa. Their road vehicles are coming down the lane. They've come back again! It was so awful when they were here earlier and took Prince Apollo!"

"We're outta here!" Rick said. "Let's go!"

"May good fortune be with you!" they heard Hestia cry as they rushed outside.

As they ran down the terrace steps and across to the outbuildings, the rumble of the approaching Zaxxon vehicles could be heard. Rick turned to look down the tree-lined lane that led up to the house. He could see a formation of rocket-shaped tank-like trucks speeding toward them.

"I hope they don't see us riding off on the horses," he shouted. "They won't have any trouble catching us in those space-age trucks of theirs."

ABL089 looked at him with wide eyes. "No way, Rick. Those are ground vehicles. They can't fly."

"Fly? Well neither do horses," Sally laughed as they rounded the corner of a large stone barn.

The next moment she stopped dead in her tracks and stared ahead, her eyes wide with astonishment.

Charlie, too, came to an abrupt halt. He gawked ahead in total amazement.

"Dude! Raider! Do you see what I see?" he blurted.

Rick's grin was almost as wide as ABL089's.

He was all, totally, "I sure do, buddy. Those Zaxxons won't catch us now!"

In a corral directly ahead of them were four white stallions, each with a long flowing mane, and each with a pair of beautiful widespread wings.

ABL089 let out a shrill peal of laughter. "I take it the horses on Earth don't fly, eh? Well, you kids are in for the ride of your life. These are four of the fabulous flying Pegasi of Teutron!"

Coming next! Chapter Seven: THE FLIGHT OF THE PEGASI