Meeting with the Space Pope
I stood on the deck, looking over the railing at stars around us. I had flown through space before, but never with so little between me and the vacuum. It was incredible, albeit a bit harrowing. I looked over to see Jessie standing further down the deck. I walked over to her and leaned against the railing.
“Beautiful site, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Mmmhmm,” Jessie responded, looking off distantly into the stars.
She sighed and turned to face me. “I miss Reno, and I don’t really know anyone on this ship, besides you, of course.” Reno was Jessie’s husband, and last I knew, he had been working as an undercover agent.
“How is Reno?” I asked.
“He’s doing well, last I heard from him,” Jessie responded. “But he hasn’t been able to stay in contact much. We were actually supposed to come together, to represent Sierra Planet and the Heroiana Kingdom, but he couldn’t get away from the mission. That’s why there’s no representative from Heroiana here.”
“Oh wow, I didn’t even notice that!” I thought for a moment. The Gloriana Kingdom was once the powerful domain of Ole King and Queen Cole; however, after fearing retribution from the Vivendi Conglomerate years ago, the name had been changed to Heroiana. I had heard that King and Queen Cole had come out of retirement, and while they were still active in the Heroiana Kingdom, the current ruler was King Orion. “Well, perhaps Reno will be able to join us later!”
“I hope so,” she said, turning back to look at the stars as they zoomed past us.
“Don’t worry, Jessie! Everyone on this trip is great and you’ll be a fantastic addition to our party.”
“I definitely agree,” Serena’s voice said from behind us.
We turned around to see Serena standing on deck, now in her full battle armor, ready for anything. “I came to let you both know that we’d be arriving in Andromeda in about ten minutes and couldn’t help but overhear the end of your conversation. Princess Jessie, your royal station will be extremely useful should we run into any diplomatic problems on our voyage that would require a royal stand-in. I can’t express how grateful I am to have you on our voyage.”
“Oh, well, thank you,” Jessie said with a smile. “If you’ll excuse me, I should probably get ready before we land.”
Jessie excused herself as Tawmis approached us. “Arrr! We got a message from the Space Pope,” he told Serena. “He wants us to land on his personal docking bay. I’ll be needing your permission to deviate from the original directions ye gave us.”
“Yes, of course,” Serena said. “I wonder why he’s going through the trouble of clearing out his docking bay so that we can land there as opposed to the Andromedan spaceport?”
After a few minutes, the ship landed safely at the docking bay. Serena, Tawmis, Jessie, Blackthorne, Say, and I all disembarked to meet with the Space Pope. Brad and Estir remained behind, as the Space Pope had only authorized the six of us.
MrKidd-02, the Space Pope’s android, met us at the docking bay. “This way, if you please,” he said. We were ushered out of the docking bay into the main corridors of the Space Pope’s headquarters. We took an elevator to the top floor, where the doors opened to reveal a magnificent office suite that overlooked the busy city. Airships and speeders flew by at lightning fast speeds outside of the window, as the technological boom of Andromeda made itself clearly known. Coming from a much less populated world, it was quite breathtaking for me to see.
The Space Pope sat quietly at his desk, musing over several datapads. The room was filled with several other people, some working at various workstations. I recognized several of the faces from my interactions in the past year or so with the Space Quest community. As we approached the desk, the business of the room stopped as everyone turned to face us. “Ah, at last,” the Space Pope said, looking up from the sea of pads. “Serena, thank you for bringing this group together and coming at such a quick speed.”
“Of course!” Serena responded. “What information can you tell us?”
“Not much, I’m afraid,” he replied. “At some point last night the Two Guys from Andromeda were kidnapped from their rooms. There are signs of a struggle, but it’s not enough for us to go on. Our top detective, Luck A. China, has been throughout the room, but his results were inconclusive.” He handed Serena a pad which I assumed contained Detective China’s results. “I’ve had the Wilco Web intelligence agency look at it, but they couldn’t find anything. Meanwhile, the Janitorial Times newspaper, the Subspace Channel, and the Cassara Radio station have been hounding the office for questions, and I can’t keep them off forever.”
“Is that why you wanted us to land here directly and not the main spaceport?” Serena asked.
“Not exactly,” he responded. “It seems that some anonymous source has leaked information to the Janitorial Times that implicates me as the one behind all of this! I’m now facing a full investigation!”
“Have there been any direct threats?” Say asked.
“Not yet,” the Space Pope replied. “But we’ve taken full precautions. I had the grand musician, Mr. Allen, brought here full time to be kept safe in case anyone tried to abduct him as well. The great warrior, the Decaffeinated Jedi has been brought in to keep him and everyone here safe. No one can get through his watchful eyes unless it’s absolutely necessary.” As he said this, the Decaffeinated Jedi entered and placed a pad on the Space Pope’s desk. He nodded politely to us before he left to continue his patrol. I felt much safer knowing that he was here. He was one of the finest warriors on Andromeda, and quite possibly the entire galaxy.
“Were there any witnesses who saw anything?” I asked
“I’m afraid not,” the Sapce Pope responded. “The Two Guys’ android, PCJ-1, was turned off at the time, and he’s not been able to find anything else either to help. He will help guide you around their office and apartment, if you wish to begin your investigation.
“Has production on SpaceVenture ground to a halt?” Blackthorne asked.
“Pretty much,” the Space Pope replied. “Without the Two Guys, I’m afraid Ace may never see the light of day.”
“Never!” Serena said. “We will find the Two Guys and punish whoever might have taken them!”
The Space Pope smiled at Serena’s determination. “That’s why I asked all of you to come. I needed a dedicated fan base to assist in the investigation. One that could travel through the galaxy and be able to solve this mystery. But I need to make some introductions. As you know, I have selected a couple of people to assist you in your investigation. If they will come forward…”
The first person to come forward was four-armed, green-skinned bespectacled alien with blue hair and a rather large mouth. He carried an alcoholic drink is his upper right hand. “I’m sure most of you know the Space Quest Historian,” the Space Pope said.
“Hi! I’m the Space Quest Historian!” the alien said to us, “And I’m ready to do whatever it takes to find the Two Guys!”
I had known the Historian for some time, and I was grateful to have him on the team with us. His knowledge of Space Quest, as well as the Two Guys, would be a helpful advantage.
“And also, here on Special Assignment, the great Intergalactic Space Hero…”
“Bill!” I cried out, excited to see my dear friend Bill Grig amongst the Andromedans, in his typical blue beanie visor hiding most of his eyes, along with his characteristic mustache as well. Bill was one of my closest friends, and I was excited to see that he would be joining us.
“Umm…Yes,” the Space Pope said, a bit startled by my interruption. “Bill Grig.”
“Sorry, I just didn’t see him at first,” I said sheepishly, feeling somewhat foolish for my outburst.
The Space Pope smiled. “It’s all right. It’s good that everyone be on the same page and united together. The quicker that we can find the Two Guys, the better! And now, let me introduce you to the team here who will be helping you with anything that you might need.”
He walked us over to a group of computers with several people around it.
“This is our resident mad scientist, Frede,” the Space Pope said, indicating the gentleman who looked like Albert Einstein from an old black and white movie. “You may recall him from his research work in that great epic, Vohaul Strikes Back.”
Frede smiled at us. “It is going to be great to work with all of you guys!”
“And then, of course, we have one of the Gentlemen of Rock, Musically Inspired,” the Space Pope indicated the young man who came next in line.
Musically Inspired pressed a button on his wristband, and seemingly from all around us, the fantastic metal medley, “A Greatly Exaggerated Tale of Adventure” played.
“And last is one of our many talented artists, and a woman of few words, Akril.” As the Space Pope introduced her, the young woman who I just noticed had been writing on a pad that she was holding held up a picture of the Two Guys, with the words “I will do whatever I can to help you find them!” written on it.
“They’ll be in contact with you through the Historian, and if there’s anything that we can do here on Andromeda to help you out, they’ll organize it,” the Space Pope said.
He turned towards Serena. “I’ll leave this in your more than capable hands. If you’ll excuse me, I need to try to try to keep things here as stable as possible, even if work is scarce. If you need anything, PCJ-1 can assist you.” The Space Pope pushed a button on his desk, and the Two Guys’ android, PCJ-1, walked into the room.
“Of course,” Serena said. “Thank you for your time. We’ll do whatever we can!” There was a resounding noise of affirmations from our group in response.
“I know you will,” the Space Pope responded. “Good luck!” He sat back in his desk and began reviewing the data pad that the Decaffeinated Jedi brought him.
Serena introduced the people in our group who weren’t already familiar with the Historian and Bill. After everyone briefly connected, she motioned for PCJ-1 to come over.
“PCJ, can you take us to the Two Guys’ rooms and their office?” she asked.
“Most certainly,” the android responded.
“Great!” She said. “I suggest we split into two groups, that way we can cover more space in less time. Josh, Blackthrone, and Historian can come with me to search the Two Guys’ office. Tawmis, will you take the others and check out their personal rooms?”
“Arrr…It’d be me pleasure.” Tawmis responded.
Serena turned towards PCJ-1. “Lead the way!”
As we departed the Space Pope’s office, I turned around and saw a great deal of eyes on us. There was a lot riding on our quest…I just hoped that we’d be able to turn over some clues that would lead us in the right direction. As we opened the front office doors and stepped outside, though, we were met with a challenge that took me quite by surprise…