Space Brat 4: Planet of the Dips
The Whoopee Warp
It was Dr. Pimento’s fault, really. Even a mad scientist should know better than to fiddle with a ship’s wiring—especially when the ship is about to go into hyperdrive.
But even though Dr. Pimento was brilliant, he didn’t have the common sense it takes to jump in a puddle if your feet are on fire.
So the tall, green scientist did fiddle with the wires.
This caused Blork’s ship to go:
Blork, Moomie Peevik, and Appus Meko saw stars. Of course, they had already been seeing stars through the ship’s viewscreen. But now they saw them inside their heads.
The ship shuddered. It juddered. It bounced, jounced, and flounced. It whirled and jiggled. Blork’s pet poodnoobie, Lunk, began to whine and drool. (Actually, Lunk drooled all the time. But now he was drooling gallons of poodnoobie slobber, and it was splashing around the cabin.)
Blabber, Moomie Peevik’s pet fuzzygrumper, was so upset he bit his own tail.
“Wowie-Kazowie!” yelled Dr. Pimento. “I didn’t expect this to happen.”
“We’re all going to die!” screamed Appus Meko.
“Shut up!” yelled everyone else.
Then no one said anything, because you can’t talk while you’re being sucked through a Hyperspatial Transdimensional Whoopee Warp.
They did think, however. And what they thought was:
(a) they were being turned inside out,
(b) it was really strange how the inside of their brains looked purple,
(c) feather plumgiddle dimple spek.
(Some things simply don’t make sense when you’re caught in a Whoopee Warp.)
The strange trip ended as fast as it had begun. They popped out of the Whoopee Warp with a sound something like the love call of a six-thousand-pound fremmis. (The fremmis is one of the ugliest swamp creatures on Blork’s home planet, Splat.)
“Dr. Pimento!” cried Blork when he could breath again. “What have you done?”
“I don’t know. But it sure was fun! Want to do it again? Here, this time you hold the wires!”
“I’m not holding anything!” shouted Blork. He felt a tantrum bubbling deep inside him. But captains aren’t supposed to have tantrums. So he took three deep breaths. Then he counted until the bubbles were gone.
He had to count to four thousand and sixty-three.
Finally he said, very slowly, “I am not going to hold anything, Dr. Pimento. I just want to know where we are.”
“I’ll tell you where!” cried Appus Meko. “Lost in space, that’s where! We’re going to die out here. I just know it.”
“Shut up,” said everyone.
Moomie Peevik had been fiddling with the computer. “I have a reading, Captain Blork.” Her eyes grew wide. “We’ve gone fourteen squintillion miles out of our way!” She punched a few more buttons. “We’re close to a planet, but I can’t find out anything about it. It’s listed as restricted.”
“Neat!” said Blork. “I always wanted to explore a restricted planet.”
“Are you kidding?” cried Appus Meko. “There could be all kinds of horrible things down there. Huge monsters! Weird diseases! Schools that don’t have summer vacation!”
Blork tried to think. He had only been captain for about fifteen minutes, and he wasn’t sure what to do. It didn’t help when the ship made a sound like a metallic sneeze and lurched sideways.
“Captain, we’re losing control!” cried Moomie Peevik.
“We’d better land to make repairs,” said Blork.
“We can’t land!” screamed Appus Meko. “We’ll all die!”
“Would you rather float aimlessly in space for the next several thousand years?” snapped Blork.
“Fine,” said Appus Meko. “Have it your way.” Then he threw himself against the wall, slid down, and began to sulk.
Blork and Moomie Peevik plotted a course that would bring the ship in for a landing. “I just hope I can control her until we get down,” said Moomie Peevik nervously.
Blork was hoping the same thing. He had gotten the ship from his enemy Squat after he defeated him on the Planet of Cranky People. Now he was worried that Squat had secretly done something bad to the ship before they blasted off in it.
When he told his fear to Moomie Peevik, she said, “I doubt it. I suspect letting you bring Dr. Pimento was revenge enough.”
Blork glanced at the mad scientist. He was standing next to Lunk, patting the poodnoobie on the head. Both of them were drooling. Dr. Pimento was a genius. Lunk was as dumb as a rock. Even so, they had a lot in common.
“H-o-o-o-old on!” cried Moomie Peevik suddenly.
The ship swooped close to the planet. It pitched and rocked as it came down, throwing the crew from side to side.
“Whoopee!” yelled Dr. Pimento.
“We’re all going to die,” groaned Appus Meko. But he did it quietly, so that no one would yell at him.
They skimmed so close to a mountain that its jagged peaks nearly tore out the bottom of the ship. They plunged into a huge lake, then zoomed into the air again.
Blabber was clinging to Dr. Pimento’s leg so tightly it looked as if he had been glued on. Lunk was facing the wall, whining and trying to pretend he didn’t exist. Appus Meko had crawled underneath Lunk so that he wouldn’t have to see what happened. “Are we dead yet?” he asked in a tiny voice.
At last Moomie Peevik brought them down at the edge of a great forest made of sproingy-looking read and purple trees.
“Good job!” said Blork. “Let’s go take a look around.”
“Shouldn’t we check to make sure the air is safe to breathe?” asked Dr. Pimento.
“I knew that,” said Blork, who had actually forgotten all about it. “I just figured since you’re the ship’s science officer you would take care of it.”
“Right-o!” said Dr. Pimento happily. “As it happens, I have a portable atmosphere tester in my pocket. I invented it myself!”
Taking out a box labeled Pimento’s Patented Sniff-O-Meter he asked Moomie Peevik to open the ship’s door.
“If I do that it will let our air out,” she said. “Won’t that be a problem if the planet doesn’t have any? Or if its air is poison?”
Dr. Pimento looked surprised. “I never thought of that!”
Blork sighed. “Moomie Peevik, ask the computer if the ship has atmosphere sensors.”
Moomie Peevik nodded. A few seconds later she said, “Ship reports air is A-OK, Captain Blork!”
Blork smiled. “Then out we go!”
“We’re gonna die,” muttered Appus Meko. “I know it. I just know it.”
“You can stay here,” said Blork.
“Are you kidding? If you leave me alone, some horrible monster will probably come along and spray poisonous venom on me and I’ll slowly and painfully dissolve into a mushy little puddle.”
“Suit yourself,” said Blork. He pushed the button that opened the ship’s door. Then he led the crew down the ramp.
“Not bad,” said Moomie Peevik. “In fact, it’s kind of pretty!”
Blork agreed. The air was sweet and clean. A cool breeze blew through the red and purple trees. Nearby flowed a pretty little stream.
Blabber ran in circles, babbling and growling in delight. Lunk began to chase a bouncy little animal.
Appus Meko grabbed Blork’s arm. “What’s that?”
At first Blork thought Appus Meko meant the boingy noise made by the animal Lunk was chasing. Then he heard it too. Someone was banging on the inside wall of the ship, shouting, “Let me out! LET ME OUT OF HERE!”
“I thought we were the only ones on board,” whispered Moomie Peevik. “Who can that be?”o
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