Candy Blazers - A Comedy Space Opera
by Candy's Capers & Sweetcandy
Looking out the viewport of his
quarters, Capt. William Albertar wondered if he would ever see his home planet
again. His space battleship, the Argon had journeyed over halfway to Earth’s
Moon since it’s take-off a couple of hours ago. Albertar remembered from his
Earth History that in 1969 it took over 3 days to reach the Moon, but this was
the year 2199 and spacecraft were capable of velocities that 20th Century man
could not achieve. Even now the Argon was hardly moving at a fraction of her
full speed – and then there was the Space Warp…a totally different kind of
propulsion, and they would be attempting one for the very first time, in a short
He turned his attention back to the Earth that would shortly be lost from his view. The lush blue/green planet that early astronauts beheld in their space travels was no more. Now, in its place, a hideous mockery floated in space as Sol’s Third Planet. Covered by thick clouds of radioactive fallout, one could occasionally see the scorched earth beneath, a dull reddish-brown or the poisoned seas, what was left of them, grayish in color and lifeless. Suddenly, a flash of red caught his eye, and streaked Earthward as he gazed helplessly on.
“There goes another Planet Bomb,” he said aloud to himself.
Moving much faster than his ship, the object hurried towards the Earth and vanished into the thick clouds at a point somewhere close to Australia, then momentarily there was a dull red glow under the clouds as the bomb hit it’s target.
“It was of little consequence,” the Captain thought. No people would be on the surface there anyway because all the remainder of the human race had been hiding down in underground cities for years and years. No one but authorized personnel were even allowed on the surface for fear of the deadly levels of radiation there.
Mankind had survived underground – but what kind of life was it? Never seeing the sun, feeling it’s warmth or experiencing the wind and the rain. No one under 15 years old could say they have experienced any of those things in real life…but Albertar remembered. He remembered wonderful, sunny days walking in the woods with all his woodland animal friends…he remembered storm and rain and wind. And he remembered things he would rather forget.
Now any living animals were all in zoos and preserves, all underground in hopes that some might not fall into extinction – if the world ever returned to normal, that is. Without the sun, without the natural environment they needed - many were dying even under the strictest care. Many of the creatures that once roamed the planet will never do so again. Thanks to them…
Albertar pushed a button and the viewport closed, hiding the sickly planet they were leaving. To save it they couldn’t look back but only forward, forward to the hope that was offered to them and that was where they were headed. It would be time for the Space Warp soon, but first there was the matter of a staff meeting with all the crew leaders. He left his quarters and headed to the Central Planning Office.
Terry Wyldstar sat alone in the large, empty room watching the large screen of the televiewer that covered most of one wall. The ship was on auto-pilot until time for the Warp so he took the advantage of the time to watch some Earth programming – it wouldn’t be long before they would be too far away to pick up the broadcasts. However, he was lost in thought and not paying much attention to what was on the screen. Terry was an officer, a weapons expert and pilot in the Earth Defense Force. When the planet bombing began, petty wars and conflict between countries soon ceased and a global military was organized, that was the EDF and almost every young man and woman wanted to serve.
“How did he wind up here?” he thought, but he figured he knew the answer, and it had something to do with an incident that happened about 3 months ago, in which he was personally involved…
He and Anthony Venture, a fellow officer had been on duty at a Mars outpost when the “Outworlder” had crash-landed not far from their outpost and they were assigned to investigate.
The Outworlder was the code-name given to a spacecraft, a robot craft from an unknown intelligence that contained a special object. They had recovered the object, unharmed from the impact and turned it over to their superiors. That was the last they had heard of it too, but Terry felt it was some kind of warning, or a message – a message from the stars.
Then two weeks ago they both received new orders and were assigned to this post along with hundreds of other officers and cadets, all under Captain William Albertar.
“Albertar”, Terry thought disgustedly. “The last commander in space that I would want to serve under!” Looking around members of the Argon’s crew were already filing into the Central Planning Office, including the Captain.
Captain Albertar looked around the Central
Planning Office at the young fresh faces of the leaders of the Earth Force and
collected his thoughts in preparation for the meeting. He was fairly young for
the rank of Senior Captain, just in his early thirties, making him one of the
youngest captains of the EDF. However, Albertar had more victories under his
belt that many of his seniors.
Being in command of such a young crew was new to him, as many senior space cadets had been killed by the Leagammalons that the rookie cadets were all that were available for this year long journey. But this group would be seasoned after this crucial and important mission he thought. Most of the group leaders in the room had no real idea why they were here and that’s why the meeting was taking place, so he could inform them of the dangerous and arduous mission that they had been chosen for. Everyone was now seated at the large oval conference table ready for the briefing that would explain their mission.
Terry Wyldstar a newly graduated cadet, had been hand selected by Albertar and would serve as Combat Group Leader (gunner) and would also lead the Black Tiger pilots squadron. Wyldstar’s older brother Rex had served under Albertar too. But he was killed in the battle of Pluto -- the last battle where Albertar’s fleet had been defeated and beat a hasty retreat from the Leagammalons.
Albertar already sensed Terry’s dislike of him, no doubt he blamed him for his brother’s death. Capt. Albertar had ordered Captain Rex Wyldstar’s ship to retreat, but acting like a hotshot space cowboy, he refused orders and continued to fight allowing Captain Albertar and his crew to escape death. Terry never knew the whole story and assumed that Albertar’s poor leadership caused the incident and death of his brother. Albertar’s selection of him was partially due to the thought (and rumor) that the more youthful Wyldstar was much like his brother. Albertar had duel goals in mind for Wyldstar, one to mentor him as a Deputy Captain and the other, he felt that once Wyldstar recovered from Rex’s death he would certainly be a brave and courageous combat leader that would encourage others.
Lt. Candy Nova Cain, another new cadet, would have multiple duties as Lead Radar Operator, ship’s Nurse and would Head up the Survey/Analysis and On-Ship Living Conditions Teams. Lt. Cain had the reputation of always being ready and willing to get the job done. Her cheerful attitude would be much needed on this long and hard journey.
Anthony Venture was also a new cadet and fellow student of Wyldstar’s, he would serve as Navigation Group Leader. Venture was also hand selected by Albertar. Paired with his rival friend, the hotheaded Wyldstar; Venture the calm, cool and collected-type would hopefully make the long journey steadier for them all.
Steardor Corwell, an experienced Technical Engineer and Physics whiz, would serve as Chief Technician and Leader of Engineering Group. Steador was a great asset to the force and Albertar insisted Earth Defense that he be assigned to this mission. Steador had gone to cadet school with Wyldstar’s older brother Rex and knew him well. Albertar hoped Steador might bond with Terry because of that relationship, but he wasn’t sure – it was too soon to tell.
Now, Capt. Albertar began the briefing, “I know you have all wondered why you were selected for this mission and most of you are probably wondering what our mission is, and that’s why I scheduled this meeting. This matter has been kept in strictest confidence, eventually the enemy will know what we are doing, but we wanted as little information to leak out before we departed. Now, I can tell you all exactly what our mission is.”
“Humanity is in grave danger as you all know, it’s only a matter of time before the Earth will be unable to sustain any life at all and we can only go so far underground to escape the deadly radiation. Two of you in this very office, recovered an alien device on the planet Mars. That device was code-named the Outworlder, and its purpose has been top secret these months.”
The televiewer flickered and came to life – it showed small cylindrical object, smoothing out to rounded points on each end. The object spun in a 3-D display showing all its sides. It was a pretty unremarkable-looking thing and Wyldstar had thought so the first time he saw too. He sighed a bit under his breath. “What next?“
The Capt. continued, “The Outworlder was discovered to be a message capsule, and more amazingly, an offer to help us recover our planet. Lt. Steardor would you play the message now?”
“Yes sir.” Steardor replied pushing some buttons on the console in front of him. The Outworlder vanished from the screen and a waveform display undulated on the screen as an alien voice echoed in the room, speaking perfect Earther. Terry and Venture now were hearing the voice recorded in that capsule they recovered months ago – a female voice.
“People of Earth, I am Queen Brightstar of the planet Izatso. We know of your conflict with the Legammalons and offer you our assistance. On our planet we a have a machine that is capable of negating the radioactivity that is rapidly poisoning your planet Earth…”
The message continued as the voice gave astral coordinates, technical information and also informed them that plans for a new weapon and space propulsion drive were in the capsule whereupon the message ended and Steardor added, “We took those plans and have incorporated them into this starship. Our destination is the planet Izatso.”
There was a concerted murmur of voices around the table. The Capt. held up his hand for silence. “If any of you have any questions, go ahead.”
Terry was the first to speak out. “How do we know this isn’t just a Legammalon trick and we are going to fall right into it?”
Steardor answered, “Actually, we do not know, but the fact the capsule contained the plans for the new technology to get us to their planet does speak volumes. Our scientists have determined that these new machines will work; and why should the enemy give us this kind of advantage?”
Terry was silent, it was a good enough answer for him. There were a few other questions, then one about the Space Warp. "That’s a good question." Capt. Albertar said.
“At 16:00 hundred hours we will conduct our first Space Warp. Steador, please explain how the space warp works.”
“A Space Warp is a speeded up form of space travel that transports us light years ahead on our course in a moment of time. We will have to warp quite frequently to make it to Izatso on schedule.” Steardor went into a very technical explanation about the subject and ended on this note…”If all our calculations are not absolutely correct we could end up many parsecs off course, or worse, lost in the fourth dimension forever.”
“Oh, great!” Terry thought one decimal point off and we disappear from the known Universe. He was really beginning to loathe this post, this mission, everything around him. But then again life on Earth was no bowl of cherries either. Maybe, just maybe this could be Earth’s hope – at least it was it’s the only hope. He determined to work on his attitude but it wouldn’t be easy. The briefing was almost at an end.
“Venture, based on Steardor’s deep space analysis do you think you can you navigate us through the Warp?” Albertar inquired.
“Fine, we are set then. Our first Warp will be a short test and should put us within a few thousand kilometers of Mars – from there we head straight to Jupiter and beyond to Pluto.”
Suddenly a small figure leaped onto Captain Albertar’s shoulder. Lt. Cain was sitting nearby and she gasped. Terry looked up to see that it appeared to be small skunk. The animal sat on the Captain’s shoulder looking around eagerly at the assembled crew members who had begun to smile and point at him.
“It’s okay, this is JoJo. Jojo is a robot, sort of a pet. But really much more. Jojo, how would you like to be the official mascot of the Argon?” The little robot could speak, and it said quite clearly in a pleasant voice. “I would certainly be honored, sir!”
“Excellent then. Jojo has been programmed with every iota of data concerning this trip and this ship…he can provide input on how to do anything concerning this mission so I know he will be useful. We also have a Model Q2000 robot aboard at our disposal. To succeed in our mission we will need every person and every tool our technology can provide.”
Terry, looking at Albertar just then, had a funny thought hit him…Albertar with JoJo on his shoulder, hat down low on his head covering his eyes…reminded him of a centuries old story and a dubious character – “What was his name? Long John…something. The image of a pirate captain replete with a parrot perched on his shoulder - Long John Silver! That was it.” He stifled a chuckle.
The Captain was almost done with the briefing. He looked around the room and said, “I am counting on all of you to be cooperative and ready for action. I would like to suggest that you all spend some time getting to know each other, as its going to be a long and hard year. This core group of leaders will be on call 24/7 and we will all work as team players and have to depend on each other to back each other up in times of need. You are dismissed.”
After the meeting Venture suggested to Wyldstar that they have lunch before returning to the main bridge. On the way Venture asked Wyldstar what he thought about Albertar’s robot pet skunk JoJo.
“I don’t know, why don’t you try to pet it and see if it bites.”
“It’s truly amazing, I think. Plus, he’s cute. Girls like cute things. You know and I think me and Jojo are gonna be best buddies.” Venture beamed.
“You would.” Terry said sarcastically.
Once in the lunch room and with food trays in their hands, Venture scanned the room for his target and said, “Hey, let’s go sit where the girls’ are. C’mon Wyldstar, be sociable for once, its going to be a long journey for us bachelors!”
“No way Romeo, you go on without me.” He sat down at the table nearest to him. Venture continued on in the aforementioned direction.
Terry sat down and began eating his lunch, thinking about the things that Albertar had said. While he didn’t particularly like Captain Albertar, he knew he had to follow orders, well, that is for the most part. He was right about one thing, that it was going to be a long hard year.
After awhile his thoughts turned to the reasons why girls didn’t seem to like his company like they did Venture’s. It’s not that he didn’t like girls or want their attention, but when Anthony was around, he knew he was just a leftover commodity. Anthony was a handsome young man, had a very charming personality, and he just naturally knew what to say to the opposite sex while Terry usually stumbled over his words like a bull in a china closet. “Well, no matter I can’t be thinking about anything else right now but my goal to defeat the Leagammalons.” As Terry thought about it some more, he realized that his older brother Rex never had any girlfriends either, “Maybe the Wyldstar men were meant to be alone.” Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by Lt. Cain.
“Is anyone sitting here?” Lt. Cain asked while pointing at the vacant seat across from him.
“Naw, go ahead.” He smiled tightly.
“So when did you graduate from the cadet academy?” Lt. Cain asked as she sat down.
“Just recently, and you?”
“The same, I have never seen you before.”
“I keep to myself mostly. Besides that weapons experts and navigators get most of their training on Mars – more room to blow things up and fly around out there.”
“Really? Did you know about the message capsule then, before the briefing?”
“I suppose you could say that, it was Venture and me that recovered that thing when it crashed but we had no idea really what it was.”
“Oh, I see.” Looking down at her plate, she asked, “Is this new dish tasty?”
“It all tastes the same to me, just looks different from day to day.”
She smiled and began eating her lunch. “He has nice eyes, but he seems so distant from everyone.”
“She’s cute. I wonder why she sat here instead of with the rest of the girls?” Terry thought.
A tense Terry, continued eating while trying to think of what to say to Lt. Cain. He glanced over at Anthony and saw him telling jokes and clowning around while the group of girls surrounding him all laughed at his antics. All the girls looked enamored with him already and this was only their first day out. “That’s Venture alright, Mr. Popularity.” Terry thought.
Candy saw him looking over at where his friend Anthony was sitting and wondered why he wasn’t sitting with him. “Anthony Venture sure had a way with girls.” thought Candy uneasily.
“So do you think we will make it to Izatso and back to Earth in time with the machine, Terry?”
“We have to Lt. Cain.”
“My first name is Candy.”
“Candy?” He asked with his fork in mid air with a bite of food, headed towards his mouth.
“Yes. Candy is my first name, is there something wrong with that?”
“Well it’s an antique-sounding name isn’t it?” Terry said, “All the girls on Earth have names like Quasar, Comet, Astra…you know – and they called you Candy?” Terry busted out laughing as the words left his mouth.
Lt. Cain’s face turned red and she sputtered, “Well, if you must know, it’s a family tradition – all the firstborn girls in our family have been named Candy since the early 20th century, since my great, great, great, great, great grandmother Candice White Adley Grandchester – so there!!” She got up and took her tray to sit at another table.
He stood up bowing as she left, “So long then Queen Victoria!” He mocked in a loud voice.
When he noticed people turned around to look at him, including Venture, he quickly sat down.
Later when he walked onto the main bridge he looked Candy’s way and she stuck her nose up in the air at him. “Well, Venture can have her too!” he thought.
He took his seat next to Venture at the command console and sighed. The Moon loomed ahead of them nearly filling the large viewport. Terry thought of some silly stuff all moon-related…about a cow, a man, and green cheese. All he saw was a dead, grey, airless planetoid pock-marked by countless impacts with space debris. Here all the romanticism and colorful anecdotes vanished… the Moon was pug-ugly and not much else to say about it. He wouldn’t miss it. Venture broke his concentration.
“Boy, Wyldstar you are a regular Casanova…in reverse!” Venture quipped. “I heard what you said to little Candy Cain…”
“Just shut up and drive you space jockey!”
“Attention Earth Force, we will Warp in five minutes. Stations everyone! Venture, prepare to Warp.” Albertar ordered.
“Prepare to Warp.” Venture repeated the order as procedure dictated
When Terry entered the bridge he noticed a lot of worried faces – No Earthman had attempted a Space Warp before, it was uncertain if it would work and everyone knew it. Glancing at Venture he saw no fear, but rather a sort of eager look of anticipation on his face. “ Like a guy sitting in his aircar waiting for his hot date to come out.” Terry mused.
Maybe that was what made Venture such a hit with the opposite sex…his confidence. He certainly seemed to have it now. Terry also thought, “Maybe he’s too dumb to know the danger!”, but dismissed that because he knew Anthony was highly intelligent and graduated tops in his class with honors.
No, Venture had something Wyldstar lacked, a driving force, a daring spirit, ambition. He thought about how long had it been since he had really wanted anything, besides getting into the EDF. Terry Wyldstar wasn’t afraid of the Space Warp either, but he wasn’t sure why. Maybe lack of interest of living in general – he didn’t like the thought.