Joe, a Typical Hero of the Future: The Secret Hideout

After surveying the explosion, Joe thought that it was rather odd for a ship to be flying to Eeloria. Eeloria was a prosperous planet with a population of 150 billion when, by a tragic accident of probability, at 8:37 one morning the planet's entire population jumped up and down simultaneously. The resulting planet-wide earthquake killed the vast majority of the Eelorians and forced the few survivors to leave the planet. Joe was curious what business a small fighter would have on an abandoned planet, and decided to visit the planet's surface to investigate further.

Joe's spaceship descended through the atmosphere of the planet Eeloria. Flying over the deserted landscape of the planet, he noticed a building that looked exactly like a large, well-maintained spaceport except for it being small, abandoned, and overgrown, and barely bearing even a vague resemblance to any spaceport that Joe had ever seen. Joe decided to land there anyway. He steered the spaceship in a tight circle and started descending in preparation to land the spaceship.

As soon as Joe started to do that, the words "Unsafe landing spot - refusing to land" were now displayed on the computer screen in the cockpit. Apparently the ship didn't like the choice of landing spot. Joe knew how to overcome that. He pushed a red button on the left-hand side of the dashboard, marked "Override". The computer screen responded by flashing a multitude of colours. Another message was then displayed.

"Unsafe override determined - cutting out engines for your safety" were now displayed on the display. Joe then heard the engines cut out. With no further upward impulse, the ship rapidly plummeted straight down. It would not be an understatement to say that the ensuing landing was somewhat rougher than Joe would have liked. The spaceship continued its descent, barely missing one of the walls of the spaceport, and hit the floor of the port with a loud crashing sound. Looking out the window of his spaceship, Joe saw a huge cloud of dust all around. He read the computer screen. The words "Engines have been cut out for your safety." were displayed on it.

The ship had at least ended up more or less where Joe had wanted it to land anyway, so he wasn't overly upset. Joe waited for the dust to settle, and then opened the ship's hatch and went into the hangar bay. A robot was detaching itself from a hookup on the wall. "Pleasewaitforcalibration", the robot said in a very fast, high-pitched voice. Joe backed up onto the hull of his spaceship, and approached the robot warily, creeping along the hull. The robot then spoke again:

"Calibratingvoicepitchpleaserespondifyoucanunderstandthis", said the robot in the same fast, high-pitched voice.

"Eh?", said Joe.

"Confirmed", the robot quickly answered. "Proceedingwithspaceshipmaintenance".

The robot then walked over to a hose with the sign "Sublight Spaceship Fuel" above it, unrolled the hose. He took it towards the back of the right-hand side of the ship, and then proceeded to attempt to unscrew part of the hull. As this part of the hull was not designed to be unscrewed, the robot met with much resistance. It appeared to try several more times, every time with more force, until the screeching, gnashing, crunching sound of metal being torn apart was heard. Joe saw a thin, small circular piece of his hull fly off.

The robot then pushed some buttons on the hose he was carrying, and spaceship fuel started to gush out from the hose. Since the inner wall of Joe's ship was still intact, none of the fuel made it to the ship's fuel tank, which was on the other side of the ship anyway. Instead, large amounts of the fluorescent green liquid sprayed the hangar bay.

Joe realised that it was a very old robot that had been programmed when virtually all spaceships had the fuel tank in that area of the ship. It was trying to refuel the ship, but was rather mistaken about the location of the fuel tank. Joe, after deciding whether shooting the robot would be the humane thing to do or the robote thing to do, gave up on that thought, unsheathed his laser pistol, and shot the robot anyway.

Portions of the robot's head and torso fell away from the rest of the body. The rest of the robot dropped the hose and stood there for a few seconds, sparking furiously, before collapsing in a pile of dust and sparks. One of the sparks ignited some rocket fuel that was still gushing wildly from the flailing hose, lighting the fuel ablaze. The stream of fuel instantly ignited and started consuming the hose, which continued to spray flame all around the hangar.

Joe desperately wished that there were a live robot around to put out the fire. He quickly looked around the hangar in the hope of finding another robot, but none were to be found. Fortunately the fire had not yet reached Joe's ship, so he ran into the ship. Turning left at the first corridor in the ship, he came to a pane of glass with a little hammer hanging nearby, along with a sign reading "In case of emergency, break glass". He took the hammer and broke the glass. He then reached in, grabbed the bottle of gin that was there, and downed the entire bottle.

His head now clear, Joe went back outside the spaceship, dashed through pockets of flame on the ground to the far wall of the hangar, and pressed three buttons on the wall to turn the hose off. He then ran back to his ship, entered it, and dashed seemingly randomly through the corridors on his ship. He opened the door to a closet, and rummaging through the piles of debris, found a spaceship fuel fire extinguisher. Running out of the ship, he ran from one end of the hangar to the other end and then back again like a maniac, spraying fire extinguisher on all of the pockets of flame that he saw, and even non-pockets of non-flame that he saw. After a while all of the fires near the ground had been doused. There were still a few more pockets of flame closer to the ceiling, but Joe was able to reach them by climbing on his spaceship.

Leaving the hangar, Joe found himself on a wide street flanked with decaying buildings. In places, the native flora had begun to reclaim the ground from the former technological civilisation. Joe proceeded down the street for a few hundred metres, where he then saw an enormous neon sign. Its clean, shiny surface contrasted greatly with the dull, dingy, decaying buildings surrounding it. Joe read the sign, which said "Secret Galactic Agency of Evil Hideout", and had an arrow pointing to the left. The word "Secret" was about five metres high, and the other words about three.

After thinking about the sign for several minutes, Joe decided to turn left. He walked on for a few hundred metres, and then saw a sign indicating that the Galactic Agency of Evil's secret hideout was 200 metres to the right. Joe turned right and proceeded along the street for 200 metres. Between the rubble of decaying buildings, he saw a set of shiny metallic doors below a huge neon sign. The sign read "Secret Galactic Agency of Evil Hideout".

Joe paused for a before stepping towards the doors. He noted mentally that the soldiers to be found here would no doubt be among the most talented in the galaxy, and defeating every last one of them would require his utmost efforts. Furthermore, the security would likely be extremely tight, making advance planning essential.

Joe then stepped towards the doors, which then slid open. He stepped in and briefly surveyed his surroundings. He was in a small room, with the door behind him and another door ahead of him. The walls and ceilings of the room were mostly white, metallic, and untextured, except for a control panel on the left wall. There were two guards in the room, one to his left and one to his right.

"Halt! Who goes here?", said the first guard.

Joe paused for a fraction of a second, and then spoke. "Zahrx, a Galactic Agency of Evil agent", he said.

"Right, on you go then", said the guard, and pushed a button on the control panel. The door ahead of Joe opened, and Joe ran through.

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