Chapter Four


sssssssssss! - by Greg Hartman


Something slammed into Greg from behind. Turning and grabbing at whatever had hit him, Greg saw that it was a pressure suit, its helmet hanging open and a dessicated corpse hanging out. Quickly, Greg yanked the corpse the rest of the way out, shoved his feet into the suit, flipped the shoulder yoke/helmet assembly shut, and opened the air tanks.

Air began hissing out of the tank. Some went into the suit; much more leaked out of a slit in the tank's air hose. Gasping at the extremely thin air inside the suit, Greg grabbed a roll of tape from the suit's utility belt and taped up the slit in the hose.

As the air pressure returned to normal, Greg began wondering where the suit had come from and who the poor dead guy was. Fumbling at the suit's chest panel, he noticed a button reading "Suit's Log." Pressing the button, he jumped as a panicked voice yelled, "Open the pod bay door, Hal!"

"Hey!" Greg thought. "This must have been that guy who was trying to fix the antenna when Hal cut his air hose! The suit must have recorded Dave trying to get back in!"

Looking at the chest panel again, he noticed only 20 minutes of air left. "Well, I'm still better off than I was," he mused. Pulling his arms out of the suit sleeves, he opened the repair panels inside the suit chest and began sorting through the wires inside.


Todd leaned back in the command chair and frowned. Life was good, but his new shipmates were so doggone fast it was nearly impossible for him to cheat at Uno and get away with it.


Making one last connection, Greg smiled. "There!" he said to himself. "That'll pirate the nearest Starfleet subspace transponder and call my backup ship. He flipped a switch.


Drawing his towel tighter around him, Todd shouted at the being from the high speed dimension: "I TOLD you women to stay out of the bathoom while I'm in the shower!"

"You expect us to hold it for three weeks?" the woman shouted back. "I can be in and out of here in .5 of your milliseconds, but it takes almost a month of our time for you to shower!"

Gritting his teeth as she disappeared with the whine of a mosquito, Todd muttered, "This relationship isn't working out very well..."


Just as the suit's air ran out, the whine of a transporter filled Greg's ears. He materialized 3 parsecs away on the bridge of his backup ship. Rubbing his hands with glee, he set to work.



Todd reeled on the edge of consciousness. "It's not fair," he whined to himself. "First she challenges me to a fight, then she turns up the speed until she's slapping me a hundred times a second!"

SlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlap SlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlapSlap SlapSlapSlapSlap!

Suddenly, a transporter hum dissolved Todd right off the bridge of his ship, much to the relief of the high-speed aliens who had grown to loathe him, but not before they had taken turns at giving him exactly 4,821 high-speed noogies.


Todd looked around as he finished materializing and saw Greg's grinning face. "Greg! Thank God!" he sobbed.

"Eh?" Greg said, puzzled.

"Er, I mean," said Todd, catching himself, "you again! I killed you!" He sat up. Or tried to. Twisting about, he realized he was strapped to a gurney. "Hey! What's going on?" he fumed.

"I bought this old laser from United Artists, Todd," said Greg, making a few final adjustments. "Look familiar?"

Todd froze in fear. It did indeed look familiar. Greg pressed a button and a golden beam of light sprang into life just between his knees. The gurney sizzled as the laser burned through it. Slowly the laser inched its way higher.

"You expect me to talk?" Todd shouted for some reason, even though Greg hadn't asked any questions.

Greg sat down and sipped a latté. "No, Todd," he chuckled, "I expect you to die!"

Todd struggled futilely against the thick straps binding him to the gurney. He felt the hair on his thighs wither and curl up as the heat from the laser approached.........





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