Joe, a Typical Hero of the Future: The Starfight

Joe realised that, if he wanted to catch the Galactic Agency of Evil agent, the time to act was now. There would be no easy way of tracking him once he entered hyperspace, short of visiting all 5,381,487 inhabited planets in the galaxy to see whether he had paid a visit lately. Given that he might be lynched if he returned to Hr'zaf, not to mention his aversion to Earth, Joe dismissed that option as a possibility.

Instead, intending to follow the ship through hyperspace, hopefully to the Agency's headquarters, Joe pressed the button marked "space lasso" on his ship's dashboard. A loop of thin cord popped out of the front of Joe's ship, flew forward, and attached itself to the tail of the agent's fighter. Just then the fighter jumped into hyperspace, and as Joe's ship was now attached to it, it came along too. The stars formed psychadelic patterns around Joe, and his ship bucked up and down as it went through hyperspace, literally on the tail the other ship.

Once they exited hyperspace, Joe checked his Galactic Positioning System and determined that he was now in the Xyrgek system. The fighter was slowly approaching the only planet in the solar system, called Eeloria. Joe released the space lasso. He then pulled back on the throttle, sending his spaceship flying over the fighter. Joe rotated his ship 180 degrees to face the fighter, aimed his laser guns at the fighter, and fired, narrowly missing the fighter. The agent appeared to be momentarily stunned, as his fighter's movements were momentarily as graceful as a swan that swam in a polluted pond and had died of botulism. However, the pilot then regained control, and fired a laser blast back at Joe.

Joe steered his ship out of the path of the laser beam, which sailed by harmlessly. Joe was not surprised by the fact that (since he had seen the laser beam in time to get out of its way) the beam must have been moving well under the speed of light. This was because he knew that it was common practice for legislators on many planets to pass new laws of nature to supercede the default laws.

These laws could only have a local effect (typically within a solar system at the most) which led to several surprises for the unwary galactic traveller. A common law that was passed was one regulating the speed of coherent light to well below the regular speed, for the purpose either of planetary defence or to create a holomovie set.

This fad died down somewhat after a small planet whose atmosphere was slowly drifting off into outer space passed a law legislating stronger gravity, but then, within the course of a few rotations, spiralled into its sun. However, the occasional law of nature is still being legislated, and the changed laws are still in effect on any planet that hasn't unlegislated them.

Joe aimed his laser guns at the enemy ship and returned fire, narrowly missing the small fighter, which then circled around him and fired directly at the rear of Joe's ship. Joe tried to outrun the laser blasts, but even with the local laws of nature helping him, the laser beams were catching up quickly. Joe then heard an explosion at the back of his ship, possibly indicating that he had taken a direct hit.

Joe decided to take evasive action. Intending to accelerate, he pulled the throttle back, but instead of hearing the roar of his engine accelerating, he heard a quiet sputtering sound. Evidently, the laser beam had damaged the engine. Joe took a paper clip off of the ship's dashboard, swivelled his chair around 180 degrees, left the cockpit, turned right, and then opened a door on his left, entering the engine room. There was a small hole in the roof, which had already been mended by the ship's auto-fix system, and there was a small fire in one corner.

Standing in the entranceway to the room, Joe heard another laser beam whoosh by just above the ship. He thought that to be odd, since his ship was in the vacuum of outer space, but chalked it up to another local law of nature. He then remembered that the laser beam he heard was being directed at his ship, and sprung into action. He ran to the corner of the room that was ablaze and stamped out the fire. He then ran to another corner, pressing a button that caused the shielding around the engine to slide open, revealing the engine core. Joe noticed that, instead of glowing a healthy green colour, the engine was instead glowing a sickly green colour.

"Eeny, meeny, miney, moe", said Joe, and randomly tossed the paper clip into the left-hand side of the engine. The engine then flared back into life, and its healthy green glow was restored. Joe ran quickly back to the cockpit, and pulled back on the throttle. This time, the ship accelerated forward at a rapid rate. Joe flew the ship in a wide arc around the enemy fighter, which appeared as if it were starting to struggle to keep up. Joe then turned on the fighter, quickly aimed his laser guns, and fired. It was a direct hit. The fighter exploded as if it were made out of pure gasoline and in an atmosphere of pure oxygen. Joe surveyed the explosion for a while, savouring the victory.

Previous: Joe, a Typical Hero of the Future: The Galactic Agency of Evil

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