Space:1959 – Penialation Chatper 2: Astro Smokes by Matt Wall

“Are you sure we won’t need space suits, Jacko?”

“I am,” Jacko said, as he took a small metal box out of the wall locker. “The science department gave me these right before we left.”

Captain Dick Rod had a skeptical look on his face. “That just looks like a metal cigarette case.”

“It is!” Jacko laughed. “These are special, top secret, astro smokes.”

“What does that mean?”

“All we have to do is light them before we go out, and the oxygen enriched tobacco will keep us alive.”

Dick shook his head. “What about the cold? What about…”

“These astro smokes take care of everything. Trust me.” 

Dick nodded. “If it’s good enough for Earth’s government. It’s good enough for me. Hand me one.” 

Jacko did and grabbed one for himself and gave it a long sniff and he ran it under his nose. “Oh, baby. That smells good.”

Dick did the same. “Turkish?”

“I believe so.”

“Holy cow. We have the greatest government in the universe.” Dick looked to Tin and said, “I know you have only been alive for a few minutes, but I’m sure that Jacko has programmed to face any eventuality.”

“He…Did…” Tin said. 

“Good enough for me,” Dick nodded. “Tin, you are in charge of the X-13. I wish we had a bigger crew for situations like this, but this is the hand we’ve been dealt. Can you handle it?”

“I…Can…” Tin replied. “I will… Also work on… A bigger crew…”

Dick chuckled, “Of course you will.” He turned to Jacko. “Got a light?”

“Always,” Jacko said, as he pulled a lighter from he front of his overalls.

After they lit up, and took a few satisfying drags, they opened the bay door and floated towards the “dead” ship.

“Jacko, these astro smokes are quite refreshing.”

“Aren’t they just. Remember, we only have about seven minutes to get into the other ship before these go out. It may be a bit difficult to light a second one out here in the vacuum of space.”

“Good point, old friend.”

Once they arrived at the other ship, they crawled along the hull, looking for an entrance. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this before, Jacko.”

“Indeed. I can’t even identify the metal used. This is completely alien to me.”

Dick pointed. “I think that’s the door, but it is quite large.”

“I hope that isn’t a clue for the size of the creatures inside.”

“If we judge this door compared to what the probable average height of the inhabitants would be, that would make them…”

“Over ten feet tall.” Jacko reached his arms out long ways as well. “And wide.”

“Let’s hope they are friendly and eager for assistance.”

“If not, we got our ray guns.”

“And how!” Dick examined the door more closely. “I think you will need to use your laser cutter to get us in.”

Jacko reached into the front pocket of his overalls and retrieved a pen-like object. He pointed it at the door and with a click of a button, a red beam shot out, sizzling on the exterior of the ship. “This may take a while, boss.”

“We don’t have a while.”

“I’ll do my best.”

Dick noticed that half of his astro smoke had burned away. Time was of the essence. His eyes squinted out of instinct and scanned their surroundings. “Jacko, something isn’t right. I have, what one would call, a bad feeling about this.”

Afraid to let down Dick, Jacko said, “I can’t go any faster.”

“It’s not that, buddy. Something is wrong.” Dick looked up and with his astro smoke clenched tightly his his teeth, he crawled up the side of the ship to see his fear made reality. He gasped, nearly dropping his astro smoke. “Jacko! You better hurry! Meteor shower incoming!”

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