Spacestronauts in... The Pirates at Wade Station! Page 1|Part 1

After a long journey down the I-678,923 Space Highway, the Spacestronaut starship Raybolt docked at a small, out-of-the-way gas station, set in a gas-giant's asteroid field. The place was just one small building with a couple pumps, sitting in a lone crater, a hundred times the size of New New New York City.

Inside the starship, Bob Rodgers - its captain - was brushing his teeth and fingering the bags beneath his eyes. I haven't slept for days, he thought. But I'll be damned if I let that kid drive. He ran an ice cold shower and stuck his head in.

He had a lot more driving to do, and he couldn't afford to be groggy... an ion storm had knocked out the ship's autopilot.

After he finished, Bob took his seat in the cockpit, and turned the channel dial on the CRT monitor set in the dashboard. Where the hell is that kid? he thought, glancing out the starboard viewport toward the shack. Jim had been gone for an hour now, an awful long time to pay for some gas. Bob would go in and get him, but Jim was wearing their only spacesuit. Eh... Gives me time, then. I guess.

"Fido," he said aloud. "Patch me in to Spacestronauts Command."

The Fido A.I. barked an affirmative, and Bob turned the dial to Channel 3, the outgoing communications channel. There flickered a monochrome "standby" message, then Commander Phillips of Sector B-67-Blue Command appeared. Bob's immediate assessment of the man was that he looked weak. He was thin and balding, and he looked perplexed. He does command one of the tiny sectors, after all. This guy probably doesn't come into contact with real live Spacestronauts very often.

"Hello, Spacestronaut..." he paused to shuffle through his papers, "... Rodgers. What can I do for you today?"

"I want to make a transfer. Class four."

"This is urgent, eh? Who or what are you transferring? And where?"

"A cadet. As far away from me as possible."

(The Raybolt)

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