THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF MISTER GUNN, AGENT 18, in...
The Android Princess Warriors from Neptune



A 15-Chapter Star-Spangled Serial in Space!

by Mike Ferguson
About the author


Previously: Dixie Sterling and Agent 18 are given a spaceship and asked to deal with an alien menace.  The Scorpio One is shot down on Mars where Butch Murdock and Jack Coogan are taken prisoner by aliens in stiletto heels...

 
 

Chapter Three -Freedom is a Four Letter Word!


MISTER GUNN DRUMMED HIS FINGERS on the dashboard of Scorpio Two.  "Come on, come on, baby," he muttered, "what's the problem?  Let's get this tin can in the air!"

Dixie smiled at Mister Gunn.  "It won't be long now," she said, brushing a few perfect strands of blonde hair away from her eyes. "They just have to finish loading the data tapes onto the navi-computers.  Once they're done, we'll be on our way."

Dixie was right.  Outside the ship, a dozen workers in black jumpsuits were busy unloading huge reels of computer tapes from two large cargo trucks. They'd been working for the better part of an hour, busy preparing the Scorpio Two for takeoff while Mister Gunn and Dixie received their orders from General Hammer.  The mission was simple and sweet - go to Mars, find the wreckage of the Scorpio One, bring back any survivors, and destroy a super-secret piece of experimental government equipment called the proto-analyzer. General Hammer never explained anything about the proto-analyzer or what it did, but made it darn clear that the device could be nuclear gangbusters in the wrong hands.

"Lousy eggheaded scientists," said Mister Gunn, "always making stuff complicated.  Mars is up in the sky, right?  How hard can it be to point a rocket towards the sky?"  He stared out of the cockpit window.  "If I miss my poker game this weekend with Ike and General MacArthur, I'll be real hot under the collar."

"You don't find this all terribly exciting?" Dixie asked breathlessly. "Flying into outer space, fighting aliens . . . how can you be so calm?"

"Sweet cakes," said Mister Gunn, "when you name's Victor E. Gunn, nothing surprises you anymore.  You've seen it all before."  Mister Gunn turned to look at Dixie and grinned.  He let his cold blue eyes wander over Dixie's flawless body for a moment.  "Although, to tell the truth, spending a few days in a spaceship with a gorgeous broad does sound pretty good."

Dixie blushed.  "You really think I'm good-looking?"

"Good-looking?"  Mister Gunn gave Dixie a solemn wink.  "Baby, if beautiful was bullets, I'd be bleeding all over this cockpit right now."

Dixie leaned over to Mister Gunn.  Closing her eyes, she drew her pouty scarlet lips close to the rugged stubble of his face.  She felt his handsome mug come closer and closer to her, felt his hot breath brush across her skin, wanted to feel his lips brush against her own, let passion wash over their bodies . . .

. . . but was interrupted by the harsh sound of the galactic communicator.

"Everything is ready," crackled the communicator.  "Twenty seconds to blastoff."

Startled, Dixie opened her eyes.  Mister Gunn's face was nowhere near her own.  He was busy searching through the glove compartment of Scorpio Two, an unlit Lucky Strike dangling from his fingers.  Had Mister Gunn really almost kissed her, or had she just imagined the whole thing?

"Where's the cigarette lighter?" Mister Gunn asked Dixie.  "I don't see one on the dashboard."

"What?" Dixie answered.  "Oh, um . . . the protonic lighter's right between the ejector seat switch and the self-destruct button."

"Thanks, Dixie.  You're the cat's meow, that's for sure."  Mister Gunn pulled out the protonic lighter, stared at it oddly for a moment, and then used it to light his cigarette.  "Protonic lighters?  What's wrong with those scientists, anyway?  Those eggheads trying to give me cancer or something?" Mister Gunn shook his head in disgust, and dragged deep and hard on his Lucky Strike.

"Ten . . . nine . . . eight . . ." started the communicator.

"Gracious," whispered Dixie.  She slumped back in her space chair.  "I'm such a fool."

"Seven . . . six . . . five . . ."

"Hey, Knockout," Mister Gunn asked, digging once more through the glove compartment, "they stash any bourbon on this bucket of bolts?"

"Four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . blastoff!!!"

With a thunderous roar, Scorpio Two leapt into the air at a thousand miles an hour, hammering Dixie hard into her seat.  Her knuckles grew ivory white as she clenched the arms of her space chair.  For over a long, scary minute, the cockpit shook as though it was being attacked by an atomic tornado, and Dixie was sure that she and Mister Gunn would surely perish! As their spaceship reached orbit, however, the shaking stopped, and Dixie felt her heart stop racing just as her body started to float.

"See?" said Mister Gunn.  Cool gray smoke rolled out of his nostrils.  "No sweat, sister.  Easy as pie."

"If you say so," Dixie answered uneasily.

A long strip of tape began to roll out of Scorpio Two's cockpit super-computer. Dixie tore off the tape once the computer's electric auto-keys stopped clacking.  "The computer says that all systems are A-OK," said Dixie, "and that we should be landing on Mars in just three hours."  A troubled look crossed her face.  "But . . ."

"But what?" snapped Mister Gunn.  He casually flicked cigarette ashes into the artificial atmosphere filters.  "Talk to me, honey.  What's up?"

"The computer," said Dixie, "says that it's identified a weird electrical signal, one that's nearby.  The radar can't find the source to the signal, though.  It's like something invisible is making it."

Mister Gunn laughed.  "Don't worry about it, Dixie," he said.  "Those eggheads down at Crimson Omega probably stuck a wrong data tape on one of the computers.  Nothing to worry about, not at all."  He leaned over and gave Dixie's thigh a little squeeze.  "Lean back, relax.  Look at the stars, or . . ."

Dixie laughed nervously.  "Or what?"

"Or you gonna finish what you started?" asked Mister Gunn.

Dixie jumped out of her space chair and into Mister Gunn's lap.  "Oh, I'm ready, Mister Gunn," she purred.  "Ready, willing and able."

"Prove it," said Mister Gunn.  "I want a Knockout in twelve rounds."

Scorpio Two sailed on through the majestic void of space, headed onward towards Mars, blissfully unaware that an invisible red rocket was following close behind, a rocket controlled by evil forces . . .


Previous episode: Where Eagles Dare!
Next episode: The Dungeon Pits of the Android Princess!


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The Android Princess Warriors from Neptune is copyright Mike Ferguson.