Last Stop Gas and Shop
At the edge of our solar system, there is a small interstellar last stop gas shop. Space farers use it as they travel across the Intergalactic Highway. The shop is owned by the hugely impressive LoopSmackaltack Inc. who have literally even forgot it existed due to nobody actually stopping to use the gas facility.
Its 8:30 a.m. and a small two man space craft winks out of hyperspace and zooms off towards a small object in the distance. As the ship gets closer, huge fuel pumps can be seen, and a small shop in the background. The shop has a buzzing green, fluorescent sign blinking 'Last Stop Gas and Shop'. The small ship slows down and moves around the back of the shop, parking up to a small spot and turning off its engines. A door on the side opens and a space suited man floats out and flies towards the back entrance to the shop.
As he reaches the door, he taps in his personal I.D. number into a keypad and the door slides open. He walks in to a small white room and flicks a switch. The gravity turns on and the air floods in. The man takes off his suit and places it in a small locker.
"Good morning Hal…" Zax Teepax yawns. He is a normal looking humanoid with a head of dusky hair, which is quite messed up, as he never brushes it. He is wearing a black pullover with a pair of combats; his nametag is pinned to his chest.
GOOD MORNING DAV…I MEAN ZAX. HAVE A NICE SLEEP?
Zax didn't bother answering as he walked into the shop itself. The lights automatically turned on and lit up the place. There was row upon row of aisles filled with assorted items from distant planets and galaxies. They were all individually priced at the normal retail market price.
Zax walked towards the main entrance and turned the small sign saying 'Closed' to 'Open'. The sign was a multilingual signboard, which adapts to the viewer's brainwaves and sends out the individuals own language.
He moved slowly towards the counter and took up his usual position of sitting down. He looked around at the place and yawned again. He hated his job but he needed the money to keep his girlfriend happy and to pay off his Kutarin ZX 9806 Space Boomer. He loved that craft almost as much as he loved his girlfriend.
ACTIVATING JUNCTIONAL INDIVISABLEISATION MECH. J.I.M.
A buzzing sound could be heard as a 6ft tall robot that came from down one of the aisles. He was the usual grey colour with a reinforced titanium casing. His head was just a grey sphere with a black eye in the middle. His whole torso just sat upon a black sphere. He moved up beside the counter and waved his big scary looking right claw.
"Good morning Zax…ready for another day of great work?"
Zax looked up at the robot and groaned, "Get me a coffee Jim…I need something to wake me up."
Its 11:00 a.m. and Zax is sitting at the counter, reading a 'Intergalactic Geographic' magazine. He looks at his watch and blinks. The shop is deathly quiet, except for the sound of Zax breathing and his heart beating. Jim is looking at him, watching him breath, hearing his heart beat. He was tired of cleaning up after humans. They were so dirty. Last night he had the place ultra-clean, but now the human was back again, leaving behind dead skin and hair. Such a disgusting creature, he thought to himself. His eye was now turning red, his claw clenched up and he knew what he had to do…purge.
His eye went back to normal and he straightened up, his claws reaching for the pricing gun.
A customer had just walked in the door; it was a Betelgusian slug worm. It shifted its massive body weight towards the hot snack stand and grabbed an extra large bag, throwing in some deep fried Petra Beast. It then sludged its way over to the counter, leaving a slime trail behind, and placed the bag on the surface.
Zax looked up at its thirty-three eyes and put on a fake smile.
"Welcome to the Last Stop Gas and Shop, how may I help you?"
The slug worm burped and farted from an unseen crevice, "Good morning puny human, I wish to purchase items and buy two quarts of fuel for my freighter."
Zax tapped it into the cash machine and seen the total, "That will be twenty three hundred credit…plap or plastic?"
The slug pondered for a moment, "Plap…"
Zax took a small, cute little furry creature from under the desk and opened its mouth, stuffing the contents inside.
Plaps were small creatures that lived on the planet, Plaptonia. Its race were discovered many hundreds of years ago by some other race and found to be of use by carrying things inside them. The creature is quite stupid, and is softer on the environment as they can be reused over and over again.
The slug handed over the credits; Zax returned the change and the slug moved out of the shop. Zax went back to reading his magazine while Jim turned his claw into a mop and wiped the mess from the slug.
THERE IS A SMALL CRAFT MOVING IN FROM THE SOL SYSTEM ZAX, THAT SOLAR SYSTEM WAS SUPPOSED TO BE UNINHABITATED.
Zax looked up from his magazine, "Yeah, so why is there something coming out of it then? Where did it originate?"
THE CRAFT SEEMED TO HAVE ORIGINATED FROM THE THIRD PLANET CLOSEST TO THE STAR…A PLACE CALLED EARTH.
"And how long till they get out here then?"
WELL I HAVE BEEN TRACKING THEM FOR FIVE YEARS ALREADY, SO THEY SHOULD BE HERE IN LESS THAN FIVE HOURS.
Zax stood up and shouted, "What the hell do you mean you have been tracking them for five years? Why didn't you tell anyone?"
I'M…SORRY ZAX. PLEASE DON'T GET ANGRY WITH ME, I JUST THOUGHT THAT IT WAS SOME SORT OF SPACE DEBRIS. SHALL I ALERT THE RANGERS?
"No don't bother, its too much hassle. I am going back to read my magazine."
Four hours, fifty-nine seconds later.
ZAX…THAT SHIP HAS ARRIVED AND IS NOW CURRENTLY IN ORBIT AROUND US. TWO LIFEFORMS ARE EMERGING FROM THE CRAFT AND ARE NOW HEADING TOWARDS THE ENTRANCE.
"Yeah, yeah…" Zax muttered, uninterested.
The entrance opened and a person in a bulky white, space suit walked in slowly. He looked around at everything and spotted Zax. He was looking then at the small computer screen on his left forearm.
"Ok Roger, I got some unbelievable views here for ya man. And the first extraterrestrial we are about to make contact with…is looking at me. This truly is a giant leap for all mankind."
Zax shook his head and smirked.
The astronaut moved towards Zax and stared for a moment.
"Greetings…my name is Max Hunter, I am an ambassador from the planet Earth."
Zax looked at him; he was holding back some laughter.
"Damn, I can't communicate with it…I am using the device now."
The astronaut produced a small screen, which began playing key images of Earth, surrounded by mathematical equations and some music by Beethoven.
Zax looked at it with indifference and cleared his throat; "Can I help you?"
"My god…eh yeah I am from Earth. My name is Max Hunter. We come in peace."
Zax muffled a laugh and straightened up, "Welcome earthling. This is a military compound of the Galactic Empire. You being here, has defied all our known treaties with your government and thus we must now declare war with your planet."
Hunter stepped back slightly, "Oh shit no, please we come in peace! We mean you no harm, we didn't know this was a military compound!"
Zax burst out laughing and put both hands on the counter, trying to hold him up.
"You primitives crack me up…how the hell are you going to get anywhere in that thing that your flying may I ask?"
Hunter looked back and seen his ship outside, "What do you mean?"
"Well from what I can see, you don't even have a Q.S.D.!"
Hunter was silent for a minute; "…what's a Q.S.D.?"
Zax smirked with amusement, "A Quantum Singularity Drive! Man, your brains probably can't even grasp the concept of a warp field!" He started laughing.
Jim maneuvered himself towards Hunter and stopped, "Greetings…"
The astronaut looked in amazement at the mech., "Is that a…robot?"
Zax looked at Jim, "No, Jim is a fully functioning cyber mechanical mandroid. He is used for cleaning and maintaining this place. Oh by the way, you can take off your helmet…this air is adaptable for even a Grexnix."
Hunter hesitantly took the clips off the side of his helmet and finally opened it up; he took in a deep breath and sighed.
"Feels good doesn't it? The air is also designed to add more vigour to your body."
Hunter was in his early thirties with blonde, crew cut hair. His face was covered with stubble and looked like he hadn't shaved in days.
"Yeah I feel a few years younger alright…so what exactly is this place then?"
Zax looked around and groaned, "Well it's a shop for trucker and long distance travellers…they come and fuel their vehicles and buy some stuff."
Hunter seemed confused and unimpressed, "Right…we got stuff like that on our planet. So…what kind of alien are you then?"
Zax frowned, "Alien? You're the one that's alien pal…but I am plain old human, from a planet called Adelpha. You probably never heard of it cause you probably have never seen a planet outside of Pluto right?"
"Are all you guys…so sarcastic all the time?"
Zax folded his arms, "I am getting tired of this, what do you want?"
"I would just like to know more about everything…we are explorers."
"Well ok, you stay here…tell your friend in the spacecraft to fly out towards these coordinates and take a sharp left." Zax handed the Earthling a piece of Plap skin with some numbers written on it.
"Eh yeah ok…thanks…do you have a name?"
"Yeah call me…Kinnor." Zax sniggered, as he knew that this meant Master in his language.
Hunter nodded, "Ok then, Kinnor, I'll be back in a minute."
A minute later, Hunter returned and him and Zax both watched as the shuttle blasted off towards its new coordinates…the Interstellar Highway. The shuttle was never seen again mainly due to the minimum speed being warp six, and the shuttle being plasmerized as a hundred different vehicles warped through the small Earth craft. Someone might have turned the windscreen wipers on as the shuttle hit a freighter's windscreen…but we'll never really know.
Meanwhile, Zax went back to reading his magazine while Hunter went around the different aisles exploring. His mind was hit with new sensations as he seen a thousand different things from a thousand different galaxies. He picked up a small ball, which contained some sparkly lights. He read the label hanging from its side, "Universe in A Ball! Only 9 credits!" Hunter put the ball down and walked down the aisle some more, this time spotting some robots hanging from a hook. Attached to one was a label saying, "Sexbot, adjust to your own pleasures…" The robot seemed like it was used already, and looked back at Zax who was already looking at Hunter, but quickly looked down at his magazine. Hunter touched the droid and suddenly it jumped to life, a plastic skin started stretching around it and formed the features of a woman.
"Uh oh…maybe I shouldn't have touched that!"
The droid started resembling his girlfriend Kimberly. He was taken aback by its total resemblance…and its lack of clothes.
"Ah for the love of Mazuul…why did you have to touch the droid?" Jim said as he pulled Hunter back, "Now she's going to be in that form for at least a week or so. You going to pay for it?"
Zax laughed loudly, "Don't worry about it, just throw her in the back Jim…and Hunter, try not to touch stuff."
Hunter frowned; everything was just too strange. He finally felt unimportant in the whole scheme of things, while back on Earth he was a hero to millions. He got slightly worried when he seen the robot pick up the droid by the neck with a set of steel claws, its eye was glowing red. The droid sure did look like Kim though, he thought.
"Hey Kinnok! Can I get one of those droids?"
"Whatever…well can I?" Hunter asked enthusiastically.
Zax was as always, uninterested; "Yeah whatever…just don't make a mess."
NEWS HAS JUST COME IN ZAX… THREE SMALL SOLAR SYSTEMS HAVE ERUPTED IN A MASSIVE EXPLOSION RESULTING IN THE EXTINCTION OF BILLIONS OF SPECIES… A WAR HAS BROKEN OUT IN THE BRYANT SYSTEM… A SMALL ACCIDENT HAS OCCURRED ON THE INTERSTELLAR HIGHWAY INVOLVING AN UNKNOWN CRAFT… OH AND THERE IS AN ASTEROID ON A COLLISION COURSE FOR THE SOL SYSTEM.
"Interesting as always…can you turn up the heat a little?"
Hunter came running for the counter, "Ok first thing…why did the voice call you Zax? Secondly…what was the voice? And thirdly, there is an asteroid heading for my system and I wanna know if it's going to hit Earth."
Zax looked up and blinked, "My name is Zax…my nickname is Kinnor that's all. The voice is Hal, the main computer. And I don't know…do you Hal?"
YES I CERTAINLY DO DAVE…THE ASTEROID IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HIT EARTH AND KEEP GOING UNTIL IT HITS THE SUN.
Zax smiled, "That answer your question?"
Hunter was standing there with his mouth wide open; "Can I get in contact with Earth…like now?"
Zax pointed at the phone nearby. Hunter ran towards it and looked at it confused.
Hal whispered to Zax, BY THE WAY, THE ASTEROID IS IN A DIRECT COLLISION COURSE WITH THIS SHOP…AND I DUNNO WHAT TO DO…WHAT CAN I DO?
Zax scratched his head and stood up, "What the hell? I mean any other day its quiet…but today I get some Earthlings in, and an asteroid going to be colliding with this shop! How long till it hits?"
FIVE DAYS AND THREE POINT FIVE HOURS THIRTY NINE MINUTES AND TWENTY THREE SECONDS…NOW.
Zax sat back down and into the magazine again, "Then what the hell are you telling me now for?"
TO BE CONTINUED…