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Publisher Description

A dorky genius, struggling financially and under his little wifey's thumb, goes for a quick trip to space with his best friend the knuckle-headed linebacker. They take a prototype spaceplane out for a spin. Their plans for a three hour tour are interrupted when the navigational computer gets the Blue Tickertape of Death.

They're hopelessly stranded. Worse, the jock ate too many beans. At least the nerd is nowhere near his greedy creditors and especially his control freak wife. Then he discovers the horrifying reason why he hasn't made a plug nickel from his super duper invention.

In this thrillingly cheesy tale, they must not fail, they must not falter, and especially they must not be late for supper. Other than that, space pirates - enough said!

*** The young engineer's friend drops by.

"Butch came in a day early, and I just wanted to let you know that we're probably going to be a teensy bit late, maybe..." Harsh noises emitted from the receiver of the telephone. Albert held the handset away and winced.

Butch grinned broadly and swung his arm with a wrist flourish as if he were cracking a whip.

"Yes, darling, I know you wanted to see me soon, but I was hoping to hang out with my old pal here... No, this doesn't mean I like him better; it's just that I haven't seen him in ages... No, dear, we're not funny, as you put it; we both happen to like women. Oh yeah, and I specifically like you. Anyway, I'll let Butch know that today might not be the best time."

The athlete sighed. "Come on, Pardner, can't you spare a few hours for your best pal? Be a little assertive, for the love of Mike!"

*** They take his spaceship out for a joyride, but end up nowhere.

Albert reached to the console, and noticed that a piece of ticker tape was hanging out of a slot on the console. It was blue with black edges; this was not a good sign. He ripped it off, looked at it, and frowned.

"You can read them weird computer dots?"

"Of course. It says STOP 0x00000041 (0x00001000, 0x0000adfe, 0x00004000, 0x0004678f)."

"Wuzzat? Huh? Huh?"

The nerd sighed, reached under his chair, and retrieved a volume that rivaled the size of the Manhattan telephone directory. He thumbed through the error reference guide. "MUST_SUCCEED_POOL_EMPTY - the parameters are the size of the request that coughed up a hairball, number of pages used from nonpaged pool, number of requests big enough to make it blow chunks, and the number of pages available. We got gremlins in one of the kernel space drivers, and since it runs in Ring 0, the whole computer bugchecks, just because somebody wrote lousy code."

"You know I don't speak Swahili."

"It means we're up the crick without a paddle."

*** Yet, through an incredibly improbable plot crowbar, they find that the utter void is filled with danger.

"They pirated my original design, the prototype I've been trying to patent! They stole my thunder! Those - those damn dirty apes!"

"Avast!" said a loud voice. They turned around. Two men confronted them, dressed in motley, both sporting scruffy beards and earrings. The one on the port side had a prosthetic hand in the form of a hook and a black three cornered hat with a skull and crossbones design at the peak. The one on the starboard side had a scarf tied behind his head and a peg leg.

Albert noticed that this spaceship had handicap plates, so he turned to the one on the starboard side. "Excuse me, is this your bucket of bolts here?"

"Aye. And a stiff price ye'll pay for messin' with me ship!"

The other one crouched down, looked fierce, and said, pithily, "Arrrr!"

*** Will our brave protagonists prevail in battling the buccaneers from beyond, so they can get home before the hotdish gets cold?

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
August 1
Rainbow Albrecht

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