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Funny Stories for Kids: Family Wars Episode II: Escape from the Detention Star

Funny Stories for Kids

Family Wars

Episode II:

Escape from the Detention Star

Starring Dark Zader

Written by:

Dr. Dexter Dweezel

&

Parnassus Pallie, Ph.D.

Rights

Thank you for downloading this ebook. It is licensed for your personal use but may not be altered or redistributed. Thank you and enjoy!

© 2016 Dweezel and Pallie eBooks

All Rights Reserved.

Check out other titles by the authors at www.dweezelandpallie.com

Acknowledgments

Cover art:

Andrea Piera Laguzzi (an amazing artist)

http://society6.com/andreapieralaguzzi

http://gormlaith.deviantart.com/

Editorial Assistance:

Charlie Ward, author of “Frotwoot’s Faerie Tales” and “Zoey Nova”

An Introduction to Family Wars

(Skip If This Bores You)

Dear Readers,

You may be wondering what this story is, how it came to be, and why some elements of the story may seem familiar to you. I will explain this now.

Some years ago my academic partner, Professor Parnassus Pallie, made the groundbreaking discovery of certain ancient documents, collectively called the Chintow Codices, that I, Dexter Dweezel, have had the exciting fortune of translating. They told the story of a war among the stars, of mystical, magic wielding knights, and evil villains of all sorts. I was amazed, though not entirely surprised, to find some similarity to stories that had been told in the recent past, but that many important aspects of the stories had been lost from their ancient sources.

Therefore, Professor Pallie and I have endeavored to set the record straight, and to tell how these events among the stars really happened, in all of their ridiculousness.

Our stories, of course, have no association with any movies or books that have muddled up this epic drama so much, though which, even so, have been so highly enjoyable.

Sincerely Yours,

Dr. Dexter Dweezel

Some time ago, out among the stars…

FAMILY WARS

Episode II:

Escape from the Detention Star

Dark Zader has betrayed his family to the

evil COSMIC EMPIRE to get his old job

back. Nuke Landhopper, Princess Neia,

and John Solar languish in prison.

Feeling guilty, Zader attempts to free them

using the best methods available to him…..

Chapter 1

“Master?” Dark Zader, (formerly) evil lord of the Gith, asked in his awesomely deep voice.

“Blammit!” exclaimed the white, wrinkled, dark-robed, magic-using villain, throwing his headset off with a clang. “What are you doing here? Can’t you see I’m busy?!”

Several spooky, glowing blue holograms glared back at Zader. The emperor had been in a teleconference with his governing underlings.

“But master, I need to talk to you,” Zader simpered. “It’s important. I have a question.”

The emperor pressed a button on his desk.

“I told you to never let Lord Zader disturb me. You’re fired!”

The secretary swore back as the emperor cut off the communication.

“Master,” Zader continued, “It’s about my family—I mean, the rebel scum I captured.”

Zader had to tread carefully here, he didn’t want the emperor to know that he had any sympathy for his family, a group of heroes that had fought tirelessly against Emperor Eugene and his Stellar Empire.

“I’m not going to tell you anything about them,” Eugene cracked irritably. “If I tell you where they are you’ll just have a change of heart and rescue them.”

“No master, I promise I won’t have a change of heart this time.”

“Lord Zader, you’re always having change of hearts! Changes of heart… “ The emperor scrunched his face in confusion at the wording. “Whatever! You always do that, you’re so predictable. First you’re good, then you’re killing little Meti babies, then you’re bad, but you’re throwing me down a three hundred mile radioactive plasma infused shaft, where I am ejected into the frozen vacuum of space and exploded on with shrapnel—”

“Yes master, I know, I know, I threw you down the shaft on the Doom Sphere.”

“Yes, you did, and I’m still pissed about it! Anyway, I know how you think. That’s why you’re so easy to manipulate.”

“But I, uh…” Zader fumbled for the words needed to change the emperor’s mind.

“Get out of here!”

“Fine…” mumbled Zader, “But I don’t have to be happy about it.”

“Be happy about it!” The emperor ordered. “And get me some lunch.”

[]

[]

Chapter 2

Nuke Landhopper, the famous Meti Knight, hero of the galactic revolution, couldn’t believe his rotten luck. His dad, Dark Zader, had turned evil again and betrayed his family, and had gotten them all thrown into jail aboard the massive prison space station, the Detention Star. The worst part was that Nuke had to wear a really ugly purple zebra-striped vest that made it so he couldn’t use the fizz at all.

Nuke, along with his sister Neia, her husband John, his friends Zando and Hairywonka (a huge furry dog/bear/man), and the two droids, TCB0 and R1-21, all wearing orange jumpsuits (yes, they had a specially-fitted one for the trashcan shaped R1, and they had rudely tailored Nuke’s so that his girly vest was showing), stepped out into a huge room for their first yard time aboard the Detention Star. Yellow sand covered the floor and high barbed wire fences hemmed the space in, even though the station was in space.

“I thought a space station would be cleaner,” said Neia.

“They just want everybody to have the complete prison experience,” said Zando. “Didn’t any of you guys read the brochure?”

“Hey everybody,” a dirty prisoner grunted, “Look at the FRUIT!”

Nuke’s face reddened and his shoulders slumped as a several groups of thugs pointed their fingers at him and laughed.

“I can’t take it off!” Nuke tried to explain.

“And look at the lady,” shouted a criminal, waggling his eyebrows and running a comb through his greasy hair.

“Looks like they finally sent a beautiful woman to our prison,” said a third crook.

John gathered the family around. “All right, here’s the plan,” he said under his breath, “Let’s just stick together and try not to make any enemies.”

“I’m great at sticking to myself,” Nuke said as he bumped against a guy who was curling weights. The barbell fell out of the man’s hands and onto his foot.

“Hey runt, I’m gonna rip you apart!” the prisoner roared.

“Ahh!” Nuke shrieked and hid behind Hairywonka.

“Lay off the kid, he’s with me,” John announced, marching up to the prisoner.

“And just who do you think you are?” demanded the thug.

“John Solar.”

The man blinked in surprise.

“No way,” dismissed another prisoner.

“No, that is him,” said a smaller prisoner, marching up to the front of the group. “That’s John solar, captain of the Bizarre Buzzard. The man that blew up both of the Doom Spheres!”

The doom spheres were moon sized space stations, each capable of blowing up a planet. The evil Emperor Eugene built one every few years.

“No, I did that!” complained Nuke. No one seemed to hear him.

“Didn’t you make the Cecil Run in fifteen parsecs?” asked a thug.

“Twelve,” John corrected.

The crowd gasped.

“Didn’t you cut off Dark Zader’s hand?” asked a prisoner in awe.

“Yeah, sure,” said John with a shrug.

“I did that too!” Nuke shouted.

“I was with this guy on Wath, the ice planet,” said a human prisoner, like this made him extra special. “This guy’s awesome!”

The crowd was cheering.

“Come on, let’s take these guys to the boss!”

A moment later the prisoners had ushered John Solar and his gang over to a corner of the yard where a bunch of prisoners, male and female, of many different species, were gathered. They all had their right sleeve rolled up to their elbow to show that they were together.

Six prisoners were sitting at a folding card table and playing a game of Spazaak. At their head was a small blonde woman who kind of sat like a dude. She had a cigar hanging from her mouth.

Nuke gasped. “Hey, I know you! You’re Stardoe. You’re the best viper pilot in the galaxy!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” she said. As she looked at Nuke he felt very embarrassed again by his zebra vest. He crossed his arms across his chest to try and hide it as he flipped some hair out of his face.

Stardoe smiled at him for a moment. Nuke blushed. “And I know all of you,” she said, putting down her cards and standing. “John Solar, Zando Darissian, Nuke Landhopper,” Nuke felt a little thrill as she said his name, “the Princess,” Stardoe said the words with some bite, “Hairywonka, and some droids,” she pointed them all out.

“Commander Stardoe?” Neia asked, pushing her way past some ogling prisoners. “Admiral Snackbar doesn’t speak very highly of you.”

“Yeah, he hates you!” Nuke almost shouted, a bit conflicted. Admiral Snackbar was Nuke’s idol. At home Nuke ate almost nothing but the Admiral’s name brand breakfast cereal.

“That’s because last time we talked I put admiral windbag in his place,” Stardoe said.

Nuke giggled.

“You’re in charge here?” John asked.

“I’m in charge of the Hidden Specks,” Stardoe answered. “That’s the gang here made up of us revolutionary fighters. That’s only on levels 32 and 33. This prison’s so big we have to break things up.”

“Why are you called the Hidden Specks?” Nuke asked.

“Old joke about the guy that started the gang up, Lieutenant Commander Speck,” Stardoe explained. “Here on the Detention Star it’s us Specks vs. the Skulkers. That’s the gang that’s made up of the common criminal trash. Anyway, I’m a commander in the revolutionary navy, and I’m the highest ranking revolutionary officer here, which puts me in charge of the Hidden Specks.”

“Well I’m a general, so I outrank you,” John said.

“I’m also a general,” said Zando.

“I was a general first!” Nuke shouted.

Whum mum,” growled Hairy, indicating that he was a general.

Beep beep,” noised R1.

“R1 and I are also generals,” TCB0, the gold robot with a high class voice, translated.

“I’m a general,” Neia added, “And my father was a founding member of the galactic revolution.”

“Some of us had to earn our ranks,” sneered Stardoe.

“I also seem to remember that a Commander Stardoe was put on probation before she was captured,” said Neia icily.

“Really?” Nuke asked. “For what?”

“Striking a superior butthole,” Stardoe quipped to many laughs.

“How long have you been practicing that line?” Neia asked, disgust in her voice. Nuke felt suddenly annoyed at Neia, though he didn’t know why.

“Since I got thrown in this prison,” Stardoe replied with pride.

“Yeah, they made me a general after I blew up the first doom sphere!” Nuke added to the conversation, even though nobody was talking about this anymore.

“Hey kid,” said an older man with a cat, pulling Nuke to the side, “We already established that John Solar here blew up both of the Doom Spheres. You need to play to your strengths. I’m sure you’ll do something important someday, if you really set your mind to it and keep your grades up real high, but first you might think about ditching that girly vest.”

“But…” Nuke complained, but just then a small, intense-looking man stepped in front of Nuke and pulled down his orange jumpsuit to show everyone his chest.

“I’m Cycle Mofield. My brother’s here on death row. I’m going to break him out. Look here, I have the plans for the entire Detention Star tattooed to my body. If you guys help me get him out of here then you can escape with us.”

The man’s chest and back seemed to be tattooed solidly black with no pattern at all.

“Are you sure those are plans you got on you?” Zando asked. “It kind of looks all blended in together.”

“Well,” Mofield answered, “If we get a microscope I think you can see the lines in between, but the part you need is, well, its not showing right now…” The man looked embarrassed and trailed off.

“I killed a giant snow yeti on Wath!” Nuke shouted, trying to get back the crowd’s attention. “And I can bullseye rats in my speeder back home!”

Nuke was finally crowded out as it was revealed that John had once taken Stardoe out on a date.

Nuke stomped away.

“Oh!” Nuke groaned as he kicked a can. “Stupid John, always gets all the credit! I’m the Meti Knight! How come everyone thinks he’s so cool?”

Nuke walked into a big solid object. He looked up to see an angry walrus-faced alien.

“I’ve got the death sentence on 20 systems!” shouted an ugly and disfigured man at his side.

“Oh, man, not these guys again!” Nuke griped. He recognized the alien as Waba Poowoo, and the man as Dr. Fizfan, the two jerks he’d run into when he’d first left his home planet, Tunisia II.

Waba, the walrus alien, pointed at a stump that used to be one of his arms and grunted a bunch of angry noises.

“I didn’t do that,” Nuke answered, “It was Old Man Krobey!” Old Man Krobey was Nuke’s first Meti master. Krobey had cut off Waba Poowoo’s arm when they’d gotten into a scuffle in a cantina.

“My friend here is going to kill you,” laughed the ugly man.

Uh-oh!” Nuke cried. He thought fast, picked up the can he’d been kicking and threw it at the walrus dude’s face.

The two criminals roared and chased Nuke as he turned and ran away.

“Help! Help!” Nuke cried.

Dr. Fizfan pulled Nuke to the ground.

Two Imperial shocktroopers ran over then to break up the fight, beating the three participants with batons.

As more guards came to drag the prisoners away Dr. Fizfan threatened Nuke one last time.

“You’d better watch yourself, because I really don’ like you…”

Chapter 3

It was late at night—when the lights were dark and no one was around to intrude—that Lord Zader, Evil Lord of the Gith, walked on his tiptoes down the tall, statue-lined, marble hallways leading to his master’s office. Zader had made every preparation, and knew, by heart, the routes that the incompetent security officers would take through the night, and had timed everything just so so that he could slip into the emperor’s office unseen.

Zader approached the black doors, imprinted with the imperial seal, and input the emperor’s secret key combination to unlock the door. After using two of the allowed three failed attempts (curse these mechanical fingers, Zader thought,) the doors slid open to the emperor’s sprawling black and purple office.

Zader entered and the doors shut behind him. The office showcased a breathtaking view of Metropopolis, the capital of the galactic empire. The emperor’s desk, carved from ancient and fine dark wood, was placed so that the emperor sat against a wall, and on this wall was a large and regal painting of Emperor Eugene, clad in flowing robes, electrocuting all of the free peoples of the galaxy into submission.

Zader approached what he called the “shocking” painting, chuckling to himself at his “wit”, and pulled it open on a hinge to reveal a hidden wall safe.

Now all he had to do was turn the knobs to input the safe’s passcode, a hexidecimal cipher which spelled out the words “I hate Lord Zader.” Zader comforted himself by deciding that the password was meant only as a joke.

As Zader twisted the knob to input the second number of the code he began to hear a quiet muttering. It grew louder until—what horror! Zader realized it was the emperor! Talking to himself it sounded like, perhaps on a phone. Zader closed the portrait and crouched down to hide under the emperor’s desk.

Almost as an afterthought Zader remembered his breathing apparatus. It made loud and ominous breathing noises that were perfect for frightening underlings and the weak everywhere, but could get him caught if heard by his master. With reluctance he shut his breathing off and hoped that the emperor would leave before his… suffocation.

“Why are these doors locked?!” came the cracking and irritated voice of Zader’s master. “Fizz unlock!”

The office door unlocked magically and Zader watched as the emperor shuffled over to the wall safe in a bathrobe and slippers.

“Yes, yes,” he shouted. “I’m getting the medicine right now!”

This could be fortunate, Zader thought to himself as he began to feel the pains of holding his breath. If the emperor left the safe open it could buy him some valuable escape time.

“Of course, my blood pressure’s fine right now anyway,” the emperor shouted, presumably into his cell phone. “I’m so happy that lord zader’s rebel family is going to die, mwa ha ha ha!”

Zader gulped.

“Yes, they’re going to die, horribly. But don’t tell Lord Zader. He’s such an idiot. I hate him. He thinks I’m his master,” he said this last word like a baby. “[_ M-m-m-master-- Haha _], he’s so stupid.”

Zader’s head hit the desk, partly from being upset by the emperor’s words and partly from running out of air.

“What was that?” cracked Eugene. “I thought I heard something…”

Zader held very still.

“You’re right, probably just another drill.”

Zader heard a click as the emperor opened the wall safe, then a lot of little rattling noises. Zader glanced around under the desk and saw that he could see a bit of the emperor’s reflection along the glass of one of the windows. Eugene had pulled out a cheap plastic box that held his medicines, all thirty or so of his daily prescriptions, along with a water bottle.

Eugene opened up a bottle, grabbed a pill and downed it with a sip of his water, gave a little gasp of refreshed satisfaction, then replaced the lid of the bottle.

To Zader’s dismay the emperor then grabbed the next pill bottle, opened it with some difficulty, placed a pill on his tongue, took another slow sip of water, and then gave his little post drink sigh.

This continued for a third bottle, then fourth, and on and on. Some of the pills he cut into halves and quarters, two he ground and added to applesauce. He took some of the pills twice on accident. He continued conversing on his phone as he did this.

Zader’s extremities began to tingle and his chest seemed to be imploding from the lack of air. The world grew dark.

Eugene gave a sudden shake that lasted for several seconds. “I feel so healthy! I think I could live for another thousand years!” He finally put the box of pills away and made to shut the safe’s door. Zader quickly used the fizz to pull the door just enough that it didn’t actually lock into place.

Eugene, in a sort of post meds euphoria, hummed to himself as he floated out of his office, slamming the door shut behind him.

Zader, barely conscious, finally turned his breathing device back on and listened as his suit gasped asthmatically, sucking in as much air as the suit allowed.

After lying and recovering for several minutes Zader crawled back from under the desk, stood up, and opened up the safe door that he had so cleverly prevented from closing.

In the safe were the emperor’s pills, stacks and stacks of cash, a small gold ring, a white glove covered in rhinestones, a diary that looked like it had been stabbed through with a knife or a basilisk tooth or something, and-- There! A white envelope labeled with the words:

That Idiot Zader’s Rebel Scum Family

If You Are Zader Then Don’t Read!

Zader ignored the warning and opened the envelope up. Scanning the pages, he quickly found the information he needed.

“Oh, of course,” Zader whispered to himself. “The Detention Star… the galaxy’s largest prison. Oh no! It says here they’re scheduled to be executed!”

Just then the door to the office opened, the light turned on, and a little hairy alien in a brown jumpsuit shuffled in backwards, pulling an unpowered floor buffer.

Zader held very still.

The janitor took the cord of the machine and looked up to locate the power socket in the room. His eyes narrowed as he noticed Zader standing there by the open safe.

“Hey, you’re not the emperor,” said the cleaner in a thick accent. “You’re not supposed to be here! I’d better call security.”

In a flash Zader activated his laser sword, ready to strike the janitor down. The janitor cowered in fear.

Suddenly, as though she were really standing there with him, Zader could hear his daughter Neia’s voice, repeating words that he’d heard her say a week or so ago.

Look, Daddy, instead of killing people you can put them into jail. And instead of torturing people you can give them bribes.

Zader looked at his red glowing laser sword, then at the pathetic cleaning man.

You can give them bribes.

“Sir,” the janitor trembled. “I don’t mean to interrupt, but are you having a flashback?”

“Yes, I am,” Zader answered absentmindedly.

Bribes.

“I know!” Zader yelled back to Neia’s disembodied voice. “But what am I supposed to do?”

[Ugh, _]Neia’s voice groaned. _Give. The. Man. A. BRIBE.

Zader finally understood. He flicked off his laser sword and put it back on his belt.

The janitor watched him hesitantly.

“Mr. janitor, how would you like a lot of money?”

Chapter 4

It was mealtime aboard the Detention Star, and Nuke and all his imprisoned friends were in the cafeteria, making their way through trays of gruel and water. R1 and CB0 had been led to a droid table, where they were allowed to plug into power outlets to recharge their batteries.

“Man, I hate this place,” Nuke whined to himself, dropping his spoon into his bowl of slop. “I wish I could get out of here.”

“Use the fizz, Nuke!”

Nuke looked up in surprise to see the ghostly form of his first Meti master, Old Man Krobey. He had a white beard, robes, and was wearing—as usual—a very wise expression.

“I can’t use the fizz, I have this stupid vest!” Nuke motioned down to his zebra-striped fizz inhibiting vest.

“Yes,” Krobey replied in a mystical tone. “And it looks quite silly.”

“Who’s that?” asked Stardoe as she came to straddle the bench next to Nuke.

Neia rolled her eyes. Nuke blushed. “Oh, he’s just an old guy I used to know…”

[_“I’m Nearly-Cut-In-Half Krobey,” _]the ghost answered spookily.

“How can someone be nearly cut in half?” Stardoe demanded.

“Like this,” Krobey said, pulling his entire ghostly torso to the side to show the gory wound, inflicted by Dark Zader, that had killed him. His top and bottom half were only connected by a thin strip of flesh.

“Ewww!” Nuke shouted in revulsion.

“Get that creep out of here!” John demanded.

Well, goodbye…” said Krobey. He floated through the walls and out of view, but not before stopping at the Skulker side of the cafeteria to smirk at Dr. Fizfan and Waba Poowoo.

“I wish that dude’s ghost would die,” said John.

“That’s mean!” Nuke objected, but he kind of agreed at the moment.

Hairywonka growled and pointed toward the other side of the cafeteria. Nuke turned to see Vossk, a famous lizardy bounty hunter that had once taken up the bounty to catch John.

Vossk was staring back at Hairy and John and showing a smile of sharp teeth.

“Don’t worry about it, Hairy,” John soothed. “We don’t need any more enemies.”

John had looked away, but Nuke clearly saw Vossk stick out his split lizard tongue at Hairy. Hairy’s eyes grew wide and he smacked the table. Vossk laughed.

Stardoe, still to Nuke’s side, cleared her throat and stuck a cigar in her mouth.

“Well, scum, do you want the bad news or the worst news?”

“Worst,” Neia answered.

“Looks like you guys are all set to get the ax end of the day tomorrow.”

“That’s just great,” John said sarcastically. “So what’s the bad news?”

“The Skulkers are after you, and there could be a riot any day now. Normally I could get you some weapons but our supplier’s just been released for good behavior.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Zando replied. “I’ll get us some weapons.”

“You? Weapons?” Neia asked incredulously.

“I’ve made a few allies,” Zando answered. “Some guys I knew on the outside. They’ll come through for us.”

John, Neia, and Stardoe looked impressed.

“You know what,” John said. “This riot thing might be just what we need.”

“What do you mean?” Neia demanded.

“Remember those little teddy bears that helped us out when we attacked the second Doom Sphere?”

Neia nodded slowly. “A diversion.”

“Exactly,” John said.

“You’re almost as good at planning as you are at kissing,” Stardoe said with a wicked smile, taking a big puff from her cigar and watching Neia for her reaction.

Neia got pale and stiff, and looked like she could kill Stardoe. John went red and looked down at his food tray.

Nuke felt suddenly angry at John. What business did John have kissing Stardoe? Nuke imagined himself kissing Stardoe, but pushed the thought aside quickly and shook his head.

“When we need to know the kissing skills of the men on this station we’ll let you know,” Neia said coolly.

“At least I’ve never kissed my own brother,” Stardoe shot back.

Nuke nearly choked on his water.

“I suppose he had standards,” Neia said, folding her napkin.

Stardoe stood up fast and nearly launched herself at Neia, but instead she stopped, flashed a big smile, took a bow, and walked away.

Chapter 5

[]

“Lord Zader! It’s an outrage! It’s a scandal!”

“What is it, my master?!” shouted Zader in reply as he ran into the emperor’s office.

“Somebody stole all my money!” Eugene shrieked, veins popping across his face.

It had been a night since Zader had broken into the office to steal the location of his imprisoned family and since he’d bribed the nosy janitor with a large amount of hush money.

“All of it?” Zader asked. “I’m sure some of it’s there.” The janitor certainly hadn’t taken all of the emperor’s money, had he?

“I’ve been robbed!” shrieked Eugene. “I’ve been burgled! And the worst part is I recorded over the security camera footage with Desperate Imperial Housewives!”

Phew,” Zader sighed in relief, drawing his gloved hand across his helmeted forehead. “And was that,” Zader pried, “All that was missing from your safe?”

“Yes, only my most valuable possession, my money!”

This was good for Zader because it meant the emperor hadn’t noticed any tampering with the documents that Zader had broken into the office to get.

“Don’t worry, master,” Zader said, going to one knee. “I’ll find out who’s responsible and arrest them.”

“No, not arrested, dead! Find who did this and kill them!”

“But what if the responsible party is the sole provider for a large ethnic family?”

“Perfect,” Eugene hissed, then laughed with a “Mwa ha ha!”

Zader chuckled feebly.

“What are you laughing about?” Eugene demanded, suddenly not looking so jovial.

“Well, I—”

“Get out! Kill the thief!”

*****

It was three hours after Zader received his orders and he was in his chambers in the emperor’s palace, paralyzed with indecision.

“Should I kill the janitor?” Zader asked himself. “I tried to just bribe him, instead of killing him, but now the emperor wants him dead. What if he finds out what I had to do with it?! The emperor will electrocute me into soup!”

Suddenly Zader thought he could see Princess Neia, his precious (and military revolution leading) daughter, about half a foot tall and sitting on his right shoulder.

“Daddy!” the little Neia demanded.

“Pumpkin?” Zader answered tentatively.

“You’re not really thinking about killing that poor janitor, are you?”

“Well, I thought—I mean… maybe I have to!”

“You do not have to kill him and you know it. You just need to be a bit creative.”

“But—”

“LORD ZADER!”

Zader jumped up with a start as Emperor Eugene’s voice bellowed through his ears. Zader looked up and down his large quarters, and made sure that his communicator screen wasn’t activated.

Zader reluctantly looked down at his left shoulder to see a miniature Emperor Eugene sitting there, grinding his teeth and scowling.

“You aren’t really thinking of letting that thieving weasel live, are you?” demanded Eugene.

“Well, I had thought that—” Zader mumbled.

“Are you a weenie, Lord Zader?” Eugene asked with false patience.

“I don’t think so…”

“Don’t listen to him, daddy. It takes true strength to be kind.”

“THAT’S A LIE!” the Emperor shouted. “The strong take what they want! Besides, if you don’t kill that janitor thief then I’ll zap you until you’re dead!”

“Daddy, if you kill that janitor then you’ll be on the dark side.”

Zader nodded easily, considering this.

Neia looked indignant. “If you’re on the dark side then I’ll never forgive you!” she shouted with fury.

“Oh, fine!” Zader bellowed, brushing the two miniatures from his shoulders (who screamed as they fell into oblivion.) “I’ll find another way.”

Chapter 6

EEEEEEEEEEEEEWWW!” Nuke screamed. John was sitting on the prison cell’s one exposed toilet and had made a rude noise. “Gross gross gross!!!

“Shut up, kid, or you’re going to get flushed home,” John quipped back.

Nuke, John, Neia, Hairy, and the droids all shared this one prison cell. Zando did, too, but he hadn’t been brought back from food duty yet. The cell didn’t have any privacy, the toilet was in the middle of the room and the walls were old style bars. On the brighter side the bolted down bunk beds were kind of comfortable, and the cell had a nice view of space through a thick transparent metal window.

“John, that’s so gross!” whined Nuke. “Why can’t you be more like Neia? She’s never stunk up our cell!”

“‘Course she has,” John said with a dismissive wave of his hand. His expression quickly changed to puzzled. “Haven’t you?”

“No,” Neia answered, politely keeping her eyes averted, “I’ve been holding it since I was brought on board.”

“Man…” Nuke groaned. “I can’t believe Dad-- I mean... Dark Zader, got us thrown into this place! I mean, why did I let the emperor zap me on the Doom Sphere if Zader was just going to go bad again?”

Let him,” John scoffed.

“I did let him!” Nuke shouted back indignantly. “I really did! I threw my laser sword away, and then Eugene starting zapping me and Da—Zader felt so bad that he picked up that old grey prune and threw him down a thirty mile shaft into outer space. It was awesome!”

Hairy growled sadly.

“Yeah,” said John, still on the toilet, “Bringing the Emperor over really showed Zader’s true colors, didn’t it?”

“Yeah, Neia, that was real smart,” said Nuke sarcastically. “Don’t worry Daddy,” Nuke mimicked his sister, “You can be a good guy while you work for your horrible sorcerer boss. No wonder this happened!”

“It was better than watching you and Zader kill yourselves eating that Admiral Snackbar cereal!” Neia shot back.

Nuke tried to protest about the health of his favorite cereal brand, with its vitamins and minerals for growing bodies, but Neia continued on.

“Maybe if John hadn’t brought the groceries home six hours late, or if you—” she pointed to Nuke, “—Hadn’t destroyed the emperor’s statue, or if R1 hadn’t set him on fire, well, maybe things would have been different.”

“Do you really think he wants to rescue us?” asked Nuke in a small voice.

“I don’t know,” replied Neia. “I’d like to think so. But we can’t count on it. Besides,” she said, her voice changing from sad to snippy, “Things have turned out quite well for John. He’s been reunited with his true love.”

“I told you, that thing with me and Stardoe, it was a long time ago,” John said from the toilet, trying to defend himself. “It didn’t mean anything.”

Neia scoffed.

“Can’t we talk about this some other time?” John asked. “Maybe we can focus on how they’re planning to kill us all very soon?”

Nuke leaned against the bars of the cell. He looked up lazily to see Dr. Fizfan’s mangled face leering back from his own cell.

“Look,” the criminal almost sang. “It’s my favorite prisoner.”

Nuke felt the back of his head get punched. He rolled into the middle of the cell.

“Oh man! I just want to get away from this guy!”

Dr. Fizfan and and his walrus faced friend, Waba Poowoo both started spitting into the family’s cell.

The family scrambled for cover, except John, who was busy.

“Stop it!” Nuke shouted. “STOP IT! Eww, that one went in my mouth!”

Probably seeing this as a nice diversion, John suddenly… made a lot of noise on the toilet.

“Excuse me,” TCB0 interjected politely. The ruckus continued.

Ahem,” CB0 tried, to no avail.

“Please, if you will just…” the droid trailed off as a volley of soggy toilet paper balls fell into the family’s cell. Some took cover behind the preoccupied John Solar, who was doing his best to stay focused on his own business. Nuke was hiding behind a bed.

R1-21 let out a screeching whistle. This got everyone’s attention.

“Excuse me for saying so,” began TCB0 in his high pitched and proper accent, “But my counterpart, R1-21, and I have had enough of your disgusting organicness. We will be escaping now.” Everyone looked excited. “Without you.” Faces fell into confusion.

“First,” CB0 continued, “R1 will complete cutting through the exterior hull, as he has been working on for hours.”

R1 did have a cutting torch out and pointed against the wall. How had Nuke not noticed?

“Next I will hold onto R1. He will fire his rockets to set a precise mathematical course to Kwelba 4, an inhabited planet in the nearest star system. These complex calculations made, we will both shut down, and after approximately 10,000 years of drifting through space we will land on the planet and begin life anew. We would send help at that time, but you all will be very dead. Goodbye.”

At this instant R1 finished his cutting. TCB0 held on tight to R1, and the pair were blasted into space. The atmosphere of the entire cell block began to evacuate through the hole. Nuke held on tight to the bed he’d been cowering behind. Neia held on to Hairy, who was holding onto a bar of the cell. John, in a most undignified position, held onto the toilet he’d been using.

The whole thing ended almost as soon as it had started. Sirens blared, the hole cut out of the cell wall was covered with an automatic force-field, and air pressure quickly returned to normal.

Nuke stood and looked out the window to see TCB0 holding on snuggly to R1, who was rocketing them both away.

“Man, and R1 smuggled in my laser sword!” Nuke complained.

“Your laser sword?” Neia demanded.

“Yeah, I put it in him just in case we were ever in an emergency.”

Neia smacked her own forehead as hard as she could just as John flushed the toilet.

Chapter 7

The night after the emperor had discovered the robbery Zader had replaced the exact same amount of money that the janitor had taken for himself, and had then tried his best to convince the emperor that there hadn’t actually been any break in and that he’d imagined the whole thing. The emperor hadn’t bought it, saying “No, Lord Zader, you idiot! I know I had WAY more money than that!”

Zader had left the office for the day, stopped at the bakery to have a “special surprise” sent to his imprisoned family, and was now in their empty house. Ever since Zader had had the entire family arrested the place had felt quite roomy, if a bit depressingly lonely, and Zader liked to use the house as his own personal bachelor pad. If Zader’s plan worked, and he had every reason to think that it would, then they all might be back home, rescued, by the end of the next day; but this being handled meant that he had to confront his conflict with the emperor.

“Oh, what am I going to do?!” Zader now whined. “I can’t kill the janitor or I’ll be a bad guy, and I need to be good, but the emperor wants me to bring him the dead body of whoever stole his money! I seem to be in a real pickle…”

After looking into the fridge, and not seeing anything good (including no jar of pickles), Zader fell down onto the couch and turned on the TV.

He flipped through channels for a minute before he ran onto a commercial that caught his attention.

“Welcome to Discount Cadavers,” cackled a morbid little man in a black suit. “We are the final resting places of… low prices. Whatever you need, recently deceased, anciently entombed, mummified, even pickled—” (Zader gasped.) “—We have something, or someone , to fit your needs. 20% off today only. Please call us at 1-800-WE-R-DEAD. Located in the Space Mart shopping center above Faris.”

Zader almost flipped off of the couch, and barely remembered to shut the front door on his way out.

It was just like television to come along and solve all of his problems, Zader thought to himself, but as he looked as his small, one man fighter, he realized that it wouldn’t have enough free space to attach a corpse. Maybe if he used a capsule sealed against space, and he towed it behind him… but then he couldn’t be sure if the FTL drive would work correctly.

Then there was the matter of the little ‘surprise’ that he had planned for Neia and the others. It would require that he not use his own ship. There was only one option, though Zader didn’t like it. He would have to fly the Bizarre Buzzard.

Chapter 8

“I don’t like her,” Neia said as she quickly paced the cell. “Stardoe is rude, aggressive, and has no manners. I don’t know what you ever saw in her.”

“I hate her too,” John said, but didn’t really sound like he was listening.

“It’s no wonder Admiral Snackbar demoted her. Oh, I just can’t stand her!”

“She’s not so bad,” Nuke replied, feeling very irritated. “She’s neat. Did you see her at that boxing match? She can punch like a man!”

Neia was ready to argue but just then the prison cell door opened and Zando strutted in. He waited, without saying a word, until the guards that had escorted him walked out of sight.

“Good news,” Zando announced in a whisper as the John, Neia, Nuke, and Hairy leaned in. “I’ve acquired some of the most sophisticated prison weapons available.”

Nuke rubbed his hands together as he imagined the grenades, war droids, mechs, and personal shields that Zando must have gotten for their escape.

Zando, one by one, pulled items out of a special wrap that was hidden under his shirt, his own personal smuggling compartment.

First were a few socks, then some plastic toothbrushes, and finally some bars of soap.

“And what are we supposed to do with these?” demanded Neia.

“See, milady,” said Zando smoothly, acting out his directions. “You place the bar of soap in the sock and you have… a soapsock!”

Hairywonka grunted in a way that sounded like, “That’s it?”

“What’s with all the toothbrushes?” asked Nuke.

“Well,” said Zando. “You see, these are perfect stabbers, if you sharpen the handles.”

“You didn’t sharpen them,” John stated.

“This stuff stinks!” Nuke shouted, then sat back on his bed in a huff.

“Hey now,” said Zando, sounding hurt. “I procured some very valuable prison commodities. I figured you could do some of the work. Now, if you’re all done being ungrateful I think I’ll just leave.”

He turned around and banged a little rhythm on the bars.

“Where are you going?” Neia asked as a shocktrooper appeared to let Zando out.

“I’ve got myself a new cell. I’m using it to entertain clients. Private bedroom, full spa, the works. Later.”

“That man sure knows how to take care of himself,” Neia said with disgust as Zando strutted out of sight.

“Well, this stuff’s not great,” consoled John. “But they might just be the extra little bit that we need to pull this off.”

John suddenly threw the socks, soap, and toothbrushes on Nuke’s cot.

“Hey, what’s the—?” Nuke tried to complain, but stopped when he noticed a few shocktroopers approaching the family’s cell. They were followed by a scruffy maintenance man pushing an antigravity cart, holding two battered, blackened, and immobile droids, R1-21 and TCB0.

Hairy growled in concern.

“What happened to them?” Nuke asked, quickly hiding the prison weapons under his bedsheet.

“Seems your robots thought they’d make a little escape,” said the maintenance man. “They’s been deactivated so’s they can’t try anymore of their shenanigans.”

The shocktroopers carried the two droids into the prison cell and left, locking the cell behind them.

Nuke waited for the men to walk out of sight, then said excitedly, “Now we can get my laser sword out of R1!”

Without any further discussion Hairywonka had picked up R1’s trashcan shaped body and smashed it against the floor with a horrible crash of twisting metal, then manhandled a particular compartment off of his body.

The laser sword wasn’t there.

Hairy howled at Nuke in rage.

“I know I put it in there!”

Neia shook her head in disappointment. John was holding a toothbrush and going around the cell trying to find a good spot to sharpen the handle to a point. The best bet so far looked to be a lip on the sink.

An overweight guardswoman entered the far end of the cell block, pushing a little metal cart.

“Listen up, everyone!” She announced excitedly. “I need everybody’s attention!”

Men in their cells grumbled to themselves.

“This is gonna be FUN! Everybody, look under your mattress. Look now! You get a cake!” She announced excitedly to a filthy prisoner. “You get a cake,” she announced to another prisoner. “EVERYBODY GETS A CAKE!!!”

Cheers and applause sounded from the entire cell block.

Then the complaints and swearing began as everyone realized there were no hidden cakes.

“Ha ha ha!” The guardswoman laughed. “I lied! The only ones who get a cake are the prisoners in cell 1138.” The family’s cell. “I guess they’re just special!”

The other prisoners cursed and glowered at cell 1138. The fat woman unlocked the cell’s door, wheeled in a hefty pink box and smacked it into Neia’s hands.

“This cake says it’s from some guy called ‘Dark Father,’” explained the guardswoman. “It’s a fruit cake. I checked. I don’t eat fruit cake, it’s too fattening. I’m on a DIET.” She yelled this last word as though she expected a standing ovation.

All she got were skeptical and incredulous looks.

“Thank you,” Neia said curtly to dismiss the woman, who left the cell with a disappointed expression and muttering something about having lost 15 pounds.

“A cake? That’s great, I’m starving!” Nuke bellowed.

“Precious dears have got a treat?” sneered Dr. Fizfan from the next cell. “What makes you so special?”

“You’re just jealous,” Nuke goaded.

“‘Dark Father,’ huh?” said John through narrowed eyes. “I’ll bet I know who that is.”

“I think I have a good idea, too,” Neia said. “But if my father thinks he can buy my love with cake then he is sorely mistaken.”

“Open it! Open it!” Nuke chanted excitedly. “I knew dad loved us. I hope it’s chocolate!”

Neia opened the package to find a brown, lumpy cake, filled with colorful fruit chunks.

Ewww,” groaned Nuke. “It [_is _]a fruit cake! I thought she was just lying!”

“It feels heavy,” Neia said quietly.

“Zader is the worst dad ever!” Nuke whined. “I wish I’d left him on that Doom Sphere before it blew up. That’d teach him!”

John hefted the cake. Then he crammed his whole hand into it.

“Hey, what’s the big idea?!” Nuke complained. “I was still gonna eat that!”

When John pulled his hand back out of the cake he was holding something black and metal. A blaster pistol.

Nuke gave a little gasp of surprise. He looked back quickly at Dr. Fizan and Waba Poowoo, who were craning their necks to see what was in the package.

The family squared up around the package to hide its contents.

“Look at this,” Neia said, pulling a tag off of the pistol’s barrel. It was browned from the heat of baking, but a note was written on it.

“Zader’s writing,” Neia whispered. She held up the tag for a moment to show the messy and jammed script. “It says, ‘Use this ‘special present’ to get to level 6 corridor B92’s maintenance shaft, deactivate the shield generator and tractor beam, open shuttle bay 21 for distraction, then get to prisoner level 40, block G2 cell, 16 for escape.

Neia flipped the card over. “There’s more!”

She quickly scanned the contents.

“This is the most complicated plan that I’ve ever seen. How does he think we’re going to manage this with just one—” she dropped her voice even lower, “One blaster pistol?”

“It gets worse,” John said. “This blaster isn’t charged. It’s useless. There’s no way we’ll get any ammunition for it here.”

“Let me see that!” Nuke demanded as he ripped the blaster out of John’s hand.

Nuke held the blaster under his chin and pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

“Put that thing away you’re going to get yourself killed!” Neia shouted.

“Aw, who cares,” Nuke moped as he dropped the blaster on the floor. “It doesn’t even work!”

Nuke grumbled to himself and looked out the cell’s window into space. He saw a small silver glint.

He squinted, then realized what he was seeing.

“Hey guys, look out there! It’s my laser sword!”

They all gathered to look out the window. Hairy growled something.

“Yeah, I can get it, easy. I’ll just use the fizz and…” Nuke remembered he was still wearing his fizz inhibiting zebra striped vest. “Oh, never mind, I guess I can’t get it.”

“We’ll just have to stick to our first plan,” said John. “The riot is our ticket out of here, but trust me, this isn’t gonna be pretty.”

Chapter 9

Zader, after much frustration, had managed to get the Bizarre Buzzard to the Space Mart orbiting Faris. The Buzzard was a fast ship, Zader had to give it that, but it required constant attention. Alarms frequently sounded, warning about catastrophic damage if some minor adjustment wasn’t made; it also had many additions, such as an expanded sensor package and hidden blaster turrets. To Zader’s frustration, more than one of the ship’s components functioned opposite with the controls.

Zader landed the ship after finding a parking spot that was rather good. It was probably this same Space Mart, Zader thought to himself, that the idiot, John Solar, had come to buy them a galactic goose on Dark Side Friday. But Zader wasn’t going to Space Mart, but instead a little shady-looking store that shared the parking lot: Discount Cadavers.

Zader entered the store, and a little bell rang automatically.

Within moments a young, suited salesman strode into the room, then faltered when he saw Zader.

“You’re Lord Zader!”

“Yes, I am, and I demand that you provide me with a quality corpse.”

The salesman’s frightened demeanor lightened completely. A huge, phony smile spread across the man’s face, showing just about all of his teeth, and his arms began to fly around dramatically as he spoke.

“Well, then, I’m the man you need! I’m Stan, your Discount Cadaver salesman! We have the finest collection of embalmed, entombed, in the ground, intact, cremated, highly sanitated, sarcophagi, scary guys, you name it!”

Zader stammered a bit, but didn’t get anything out..

“We’ve got furrian, malurian, human, cleeclorn, wonka, yobian, shrogun, and many more, plus we’ve got a special right now on our bug-like friends, the modians!” He motioned toward a rather worn-looking modian corpse that had turned grey and clammy.

“No, I don’t think so…”

“Well, what about these?!” Shouted Stan, his arms still flying wildly, “you can’t go wrong with Funsparks!”

“No thank—”

“How about a nice blue-skinned Friss? They’re truly lovely beings, lovely, far nicer than human!”

“Now listen!” Zader shouted, using the fizz to choke Stan a bit so that he’d shut up. “I need a corpse, a discount corpse. I will only pay 100 credits and you will provide me with your finest specimen. Do you understand?”

“Yeah, got it—” Stan choked out. “I gotcha’.”

“Good,” Zader said, releasing the fizz grip.

The overzealous salesman swayed and choked for a moment, then stood up, again fully alert and loud. “You drive a hard bargain, Lord Zader, but I’ve got just the corpse for you.”

Stan led Zader over to a section marked ‘clearance,’ which held just one pine box.

“We decided to save this very special corpse for a knowledgeable buyer!” Stan shouted.

“You kept it special by putting in the clearance section?” Zader asked incredulously.

“Why yes, it’s the perfect place, people tend to walk right by these discounted corpses without a second look. But I can tell that you really know what you’re looking for.”

“Well, I have killed lots of people,” Zader agreed proudly. “And not just men, even sproutlings.” This was the stupid name given to young children studying to be Meti Knights. Zader had killed many of them in his youth.

“Of course, who can stand sproutlings? Irritating little things. Anywho, this fine corpse can be yours for the low one-time price of only 150 credits!”

“But it says 50 on the side!” Zader complained.

“Ah, yes, so it does,” Stan shouted, his arms still flying around him in excitement. “But that is a decoy price to deter our less knowledegable customers.”

“Oh, I see,” Zader said slowly. “Well I know exactly what I want, and it’s this corpse! I demand you take my 150 credits!”

Stan smiled even more broadly. “Oh, wait, sir! I’ll have to confirm with my manager that this corpse is available after all. I now remember that a customer came in just the other day looking at this very model! He put 200 credits down on it already!”

“Oh, he did?” Zader asked nervously.

“That’s right, but don’t worry, although we’ll never find a corpse of this high quality again, we may find one that could be a far second!”

“No, wait!” Zader shouted. “I’ll match the 200 credits! Here,” he rummaged through his pockets, “I’ll give you 400 credits if you’ll just let me buy this corpse now!”

“Make it 500 and we’ll load it up for you and coat the box with under-casket sealant!”

“Done!” Zader replied, forcing the money into Stan’s hands. “Just give me this corpse now!”

A burly little alien used an antigravity cart to wheel the banged-up pine box that held Zader’s newly bought corpse into the common room of the Bizarre Buzzard. Zader, on seeing the box in different lighting, had a pang of buyer’s remorse, then remembered that he was very very rich and didn’t care what he’d paid at all.

His buyer’s apathy turned to fear, however, when—as he began to set a course—he heard a small cough.

Zader tried to ignore the sound, then heard it again, another little cough.

Zader left the cockpit and went back to the ship’s common room to look uneasily at the old box.

“Probably nothing…” Zader whispered to himself. “Just my imagination, running away with itself…”

The box rattled.

“Oh no,” Zader moaned as he backed away from the coffin. “Maybe it’s a ghost. I don’t like ghosts. I’ll bet it’s Old Man Krobey again, coming to show me how I only nearly cut him in half. Face your fears, Zader, be a man!”

Zader marched up to the pine box.

“GET OUT!” he pompously ordered.

Immediately the lid of the box sprang up and out jumped a pink, lanky creature with long, floppy ears, bulging eyes, and a snout.

“Meesa back!” it announced in a high-pitched and offensively-accented voice, arms out wide in expectation.

Zader didn’t know what to think.

“Andy?” the creature asked, first noticing and then gazing at Zader intently. “Andy Landhopper?”

Zader hadn’t heard that name for a long time. It was what he had been called before he had gone to the dark side of the fizz.

The pink alien clumsily approached Zader and began to sniff at him intrusively.

“Yousa smell like Andy Landhopper, but yousa no look like him. All black and helmets and bright buttons!”

“How do you know my old name?” Zader demanded. “I haven’t been called that in a long time.”

“Yousa was with master Gin and Tonic when meesa meet yousa. Yousa was so cute, then yousa turn into a creepy adolescent that wanted Panda Bear. But then yousa went bombad!”

“I don’t know who you are!” Zader shouted.

“Yessen yousa do. Yousa meesa longo friend! Itsa me, Jam Jam Stinks! Meesa know you since yousa little. Meesa change yousa diapers. Meesa love you!”

“What are you talking about?!” Zader demanded now as ‘Jam Jam’ fell on him in an unwelcome hug. He had no memory at all of this irritating person.

“Meesa tell you why meesa alive. Itsa miracle! Weesa, the boongaboo, getten all the symptoms of death. Weesa heart stop, weesa breathin’ stoppin,’ weesa brain activity stop. Then meesa musta slept through meesa alarm. Yousa woke me up from boongaboo hibernation!”

“I do not even know what a boongaboo is!” Zader shouted.

“Meesa is boongaboo. Meesa people! Anyway, boongaboo go into hibernation for 30 years to rejuvenate their life back. Dis how the boonga stay young. Boonga hibernation rejuvenates ussen. Meesa gonna live forever!”

Zader felt like he was spinning. What horror would allow such a creature to exist in the universe?

“I need a corpse, not a boongaboo!” Zader shouted. “I’m going to return you and get something more dead.”

“No, no,” Jam Jam shouted, his eyes bugging out. “Yousa gotta take me to the bank. Dassen the point. Meesa investments have matured.”

“Matured?” Zader asked, holding his hands to his helmet and sitting down at the Buzzard’s chess set.

“Yes. Before boonga go into hibernation weesa put all oursa money into diversified passive index funds. When weesa awake, then weesa rich! It’s as the boonga always say, invest all yousa money and sleep on it!”

Zader tried to take a deep breathe to release some of the dark side anger that was building in him, but Jam Jam had his nose at Zader’s helmet’s eyes and was sniffing at them.

Zader shot up and threw a wave of fizz energy that threw Jam Jam across the room.

“Daddy, no!” scolded Neia’s voice.

Zader looked to his right shoulder to see that the little Princess Neia, that represented his conscience, was back.

“But Neia, this is… this is too much. I have to kill him!”

“No, daddy, you can’t. He’s an innocent creature, and even though he’s clumsy maybe some kids like him? Besides, daddy, doesn’t he seem familiar?”

Zader hated the thought, but it was true. Jam Jam did seem familiar, like something from a long-forgotten dream, or nightmare…

“… Fine.” Zader said at length.

Jam Jam seemed to have been aware of Zader’s internal struggle, because once Zader had made up his mind not to kill him he shouted a little victory cry and hugged Zader very tight.

*****

Taking an unexpected and unwelcome backtrack, Zader had flown Jam Jam Stinks to Metropopolis, the capital planet of the galaxy. The entire planet was one big city, and was, of course, where the emperor’s office was and where Zader commuted to work every day.

Flying up to a miles-tall building, the location of one of the most important banks in the galaxy, Zader had pulled the ship over on a landing pad and waited, watching as Jam Jam had sauntered in through the gleaming doors.

After some time, during which Zader had almost left multiple times, Jam Jam strutted back out of the bank holding several large sacks with credit symbols printed on the side.

Zader groaned as he saw that some green coins that were falling loosely out of the bags were million credit coins. Jam Jam, having several heavy bags of these, seemed not to care about the change.

Jam Jam had spotted the Bizarre Buzzard and was halfway towards the ship when half a dozen men and women began to crowd around Jam Jam, at first picking up fortunes that he was dropping in change, then eventually ripping the bags open and stuffing their pockets to the brim.

Jam Jam pulled against the people, rushing around, trying to stuff his own pockets, tearing back at the cloth flaps of the bag, but he was powerless against the crowd, which had grown now to dozens of people and was becoming much more violent. After he’d regained a few of his coins, Jam Jam ran away as fast as he could toward the Buzzard as police arrived at the scene.

During all of this Zader had sat bored, with his head in his hands, sighing loudly, and thinking about how he needed to proceed with his plan to rescue his family, but once the police arrived he became nervous that they might run a scan on the Buzzard and impound the notorious ship.

Zader started to take off as Jam Jam jumped into the ship, and Zader flew away quickly to avoid any police entanglements.

Chapter 10

“Let’s Start a Riot, a Riot!”

“It would be far too dangerous to begin a direct war between the Hidden Specks and the Skulkers,” croaked an old fish man. “We must use a series of proxy conflicts to mask our efforts and shield the Specks from any direct involvement.”

It was yard time in the huge, sandy, and fenced space aboard the Detention Star, and Nuke, John, Neia, Hairy, and Stardoe, along with some other leaders of the Hidden Specks, were listening as an old officer of the same species as Admiral Snackbar gave instructions. (Hairy had worked on fixing and reactivating R1-21 and TCB0, but hadn’t finished the project yet.)

Nuke yawned with boredom. He looked over at Stardoe, who was looking his way with her eyes crossed. They both laughed.

“The Brutes are the perfect group to begin infiltration,” continued the officer. “We have an agent—we’ll call him Jasper—that has made his way into their middle ranks. An act of valiance, necessitated by a conflict with the Hidden Specks, can propel Jasper—”

“Wait a minute,” John interrupted. “I’ve got an idea, and it might just be crazy enough to work…”

Nuke felt himself lifted as John grabbed him by his collar and shoved him hard into somebody.

“Hey, what’s the—?” Nuke stammered as he spun and tried to find his balance. He hit something hard and wrapped his arms around the thing to keep on his feet. Shaking his head, Nuke finally looked and made out what he was hugging: Dr. Fizfan!

“Ahh!” Nuke shrieked, letting go of the deranged criminal.

You again!” Fizfan shouted in fury.

Waba Poowoo, Fizfan’s walrus-faced companion, grabbed Nuke from behind and held him tight, and Dr. Fizfan landed a heavy punch to Nuke’s gut.

“Hey!” Stardoe shouted. “They’ve got our guy! Get ‘em!”

The old fish faced alien tried to stop the rush, but it was no use. The Hidden Specks and Skulkers ran from all corners of the yard to join the fight.

Stardoe knocked out Waba Poowoo with one punch, and John took out Dr. Fizfan.

Hairy entered the fray and was immediately met by Vossk, the lizard bounty hunter, and they engaged in powerful hand-to-hand combat, lizardly scales and wonkaish fur flying.

The guards that had already been in the yard rushed over to quell the fighting. Nuke grappled with one guard, trying to get his baton, as Neia grabbed another one from behind, tripped him, and got him in a tight leg hold.

Stardoe, not to be outdone, flipped a Skulker woman a full 360 degrees in the air and then stomped her face as she landed.

Stardoe smirked at Neia.

(At this point Nuke finally managed to get the baton and began to batter his guard absentmindedly as he watched the girls.)

Neia got competitive. She jumped up and began a full roundhouse kick against a nearby shocktrooper, who ducked, leading Neia to kick Stardoe across her smirking face and knock her to the sandy ground.

“Oh no!” Nuke shouted.

Neia rushed to her side. “Stardoe, I’m so sorry! I didn’t—”

Stardoe rose up suddenly and hit Neia with a right hook to the jaw.

Neia fell back, and Stardoe stood up again.

Neia got to her feet and made to punch Stardoe, but Stardoe caught her hand and spun her around. Neia moved with the spin, with reflexes that came from her princessly martial arts training, and made to elbow Stardoe.

Stardoe ducked under this blow and somehow the two women descended to the ground together, pulling each other’s hair and scratching at each other’s faces.

Nuke stopped beating the guard he was fighting, dropped the baton, and stared with his mouth open.

“Hey, guys!” shouted Dr. Fizfan, who had just come to. “Check this out!”

Hidden Specks, Skulkers, and guards alike ceased their brawling and gathered around what was quickly becoming a vicious catfight.

The two women rolled on the floor, striking each other. Their eyes were furious; their hair flew wildly.

Nuke felt a tap on his shoulder, and looked around to see John, motioning for him. He pointed at a distracted shock trooper captain.

John pointed more urgently and Nuke saw that he was pointing specifically at the old-fashioned set of metal keys that hung from the trooper’s belt.

Nuke nodded in understanding and, following John’s cue, snuck up behind the man. As John was approaching he stepped on a random twig on the ground.

“Hey!” the guard shouted, and turned to face John.

John quickly, and awesomely, flipped the soldier over his back.

Nuke scrambled over the guard as fast as he could and pulled the keys off his belt to throw them to John.

The soldier rose, knocked Nuke over, dug his knee into Nuke’s back and put restraints on his hands.

Nuke saw John scan the keys and rip one off with a twist. He threw the key to Hairy, who caught it in his big furry paws.

“Quick!” John yelled. “Swallow it!”

With one gulp Hairy swallowed the key, and it was good that he did it then, because shock troops entered the yard from all directions, shooting tear gas and flash grenades into the crowd.

“This is a lockdown,” came an amplified voice. “Stay on the ground.”

Chapter 11

“But I already went to the bakery!” Zader shouted.

He and Jam Jam Stinks were in the cockpit of the Bizarre Buzzard, which was speeding along in FTL space.

“WHAT!?” Jam Jam shreeked. “Meesa need to go to the bakery now! How could yousa go to the bakery without meesa?”

“That was before I knew you were alive,” Zader said through gritted teeth, trying to regain his composure.

“But meesa [_soooo _]hungry, meesa thinking meesa gonna die!”

“Really?” Zader asked excitedly.

After more argument Zader furiously propelled the Buzzard to a bakery, went inside with Jam Jam, and bought him boxes of sweets so that they could quickly be on their way.

“Meesa so glad weesa got to go to the bakery!” said Jam Jam, lazily examining his haul of treats.

“You had better be!” Zader shouted. “I need to get to the prison so I can rescue my pet wonka, my daughter, my lazy son, and some other idiots!”

“Andy Landhopper’s got kids?” Jam Jam gasped as he stuffed a donut into his mouth.

“YES! I already told you that!”

“Oh no!” Jam Jam cried. He held out his long hand and spit out a tooth.

“What the—?”

“Oh no! Yousa got to take me to the dentist right away!”

“I don’t have time to go to the dentist!”

“But look,” Jam Jam said, holding the tooth closely to one of Zader’s eyes. “It’s all full of cavities!”

“I do not care.”

“Hmm… Meesa can try to put it back in.”

Zader said nothing.

“Oh no!” Jam Jam shouted, spitting two teeth into his hand. “Now meesa got two broken teeth!”

“Fine, I’ll drop you off at the dentist,” Zader relented.

“Oh, no, Andy, yousa can’t just leave Jam Jam!. Meesa berry scared, yousa got to hold meesa hand.”

“No!” Zader shouted as he slammed his own head down into the ship’s controls in anger.

“Yousa owe it to me,” said Jam Jam, crossing his arms and taking an accusatory tone. “Yousa did nothing to help Jam Jam when he was getting robbed! Nothing! Meesa knew you saw, meesa know what yousa was doing…”

Jam Jam stuck his foot up on the cockpit’s dash and waggled a toe at Zader in shame.

Zader looked over at a chronometer. He had about two hours until he needed to be at the Detention Star. If they got Jam Jam in immediately he might just be able to make it on time.

“Oh… alright,” Zader finally said, “to the dentist we go.”

Chapter 12

EWWW!!!” Nuke whined. “Not this again!”

“Shut up, Nuke!” Neia demanded irritably. “You’re just making it worse.”

Grr grr waa waa.” Hairy said.

“What do you mean you can’t go?” John asked.

Wah wah uh-uh.”

“Oh, great,” John translated. “He’s constipated.”

“I thought wonkas couldn’t get constipated,” Neia said.

“Why would you think that?” John asked irritably.

“I read it on the nets somewhere,” said Neia. “I thought…”

“I’m glad he’s constipated,” Nuke announced happily. “I don’t want him stinkin’ up this place.”

“He’s gonna have to stink it up if we wanna get out of here,” John said through gritted teeth. “It’s the only way to get back—” John spoke very quietly now, “—The captain of the guard’s key.”

“I can’t blame him for not wanting to… go,” Neia said politely. “I haven’t used these toilets yet either.”

“Yeah, well,” said John. “We gotta fix this, or they’re going to execute us tonight. Medical droid! Medical droid!”

The medical droid was a floating ball, bigger than a head, mostly black, and had a few glowing lights on its body. It almost looked like a torture droid.

As John called for the droid again Nuke could see it in a cell on the other side of the block, pulling a sheet over a dead prisoner while other prisoners stood by, awkwardly hiding makeshift weapons behind their backs.

A few minutes later the medical droid made it to the family’s cell, being let in by a guard.

“My last patient died of a broken heart,” the droid explained in a soothing voice, directed to no one in particular.

“That’s great,” John said dismissively. “We need you to give this wonka an enema.”

“Very good. This procedure will be done in no time.”

The droid made Hairy kneel over and put a device into the wonka’s rear end.

Ew, gross, ew!!!!” Nuke was beside himself in horror at the grossness. He pushed against the bars of their neighboring cell, wanting desperately to get in and escape, but was quickly smacked back by Waba Poowoo.

The task being done, Hairy immediately was able to do his business, and the key was recovered from the waste.

“Next enema,” the medical droid announced, approaching John.

“Get away from me,” John ordered as he scrambled away from the droid. “I said the wonka! I said the wonka!”

It was no use. John got an enema too. One by one, to their humiliation, everyone in cell 1138 got an enema. After Neia, Nuke, and the droids, (yes, even the droids), the medical droid moved to the next cell, and for the next several hours the droid did nothing but enemate the entire cell block.

Chapter 13

Webo gowoo poofoo fzz,” Jam jam muttered.

Zader was again manning the controls for the Bizarre Buzzard. Jam Jam sat next to him, his mouth full of gauze.

“Shut up!” Zader shouted. “I’m 45 minutes late now!”

He flipped the controls to bring the Buzzard back out of FTL space. Ahead was a gigantic, grey, spiky space station: The Detention Star. This was where Zader’s family was being kept.

Jam Jam made a series of astonished noises.

“Shut up!” Zader shouted.

“Excuse me?” said a haughty voice from the ship’s communicator.

“What?” Zader asked.

“I’ve asked you to identify yourself, your ship’s registry number, and your intention for visiting this space station.”

Jam Jam got very close to the communicator and yelled a bunch of muffled noises.

Zader did not want to positively identify the Bizarre Buzzard, not yet anyway, as that would set off an immediate red alert on the station. He also did not want to identify himself, as that would be the end of his working for the empire. He therefore did the only sensible thing.

He flipped off the transmitter.

“Boring conversation anyway,” Zader muttered.

At top speed Zader flew toward the station. Reexamining the prison’s plans on a nearby viewscreen, Zader angled the Buzzard toward level 40, block G2, cell 16, where his family ought to be waiting now for his step of their escape.

The communicator was flashing again, certainly a warning from the space station. Zader ignored it. Instead, using an aft view screen, he backed the Buzzard up to the cell and fired a metal tow cable onto the station’s hull. As soon as the chain attached to cell 16’s wall with powerful magnets, Zader flew the Bizarre Buzzard away.

First the chains went taut. Then, after some noises from the Buzzard’s engines, the wall to cell 16 ripped away and the Buzzard launched forward.

Zader, pleased that his plan had worked, looked up again at the viewscreen to see…

Bodies flying out into space, first struggling for air, then going limp in the cold vacuum.

“Uh-oh,” Jam Jam said thickly through his gauze.

Zader’s mouth hung open inside his helmet. Space suits. He knew he’d forgotten something. Space suits.

“They is all dead!” Jam Jam shouted, spitting out his gauze. “What did yousa do?!”
“Oh, Neia baby,” Zader lamented. “And Hairy Wonka, and the rest…” his mind drew blank on who else was in there. “I think I liked another one of them. Was it a robot? Hmm… Oh, but Hairy, my loyal pet! He’s dead!”

“That is berry bad,” Jam Jam said. “Yousa kill everyone yousa love.”

“Bring them into the ship, Jam Jam,” Zader ordered. “I can’t bear to see their cold, dead bodies!”

Fighters had been released by now to fire on the Buzzard, so Zader trudged his way up to one of the gun turrets to shoot them down.

He blew up one fly fighter, then another, but his heart wasn’t in it. He’d shot down something like fifteen fighters when Jam Jam yelled up at him, “Yousa three-headed friend is berry ugly!”

“Oh, Fluffy!” Zader gasped. “Yes, he was so very ugly, but I loved him! Hey, wait a minute…” Zader thought quickly. He didn’t think he’d had Fluffy while living at Neia’s house. No, he’d been a school pet.

“And yousa girlfriend needs to wear more clothes. She is berry scandalous!”

“Yes, Neia, she must have been wearing her slave outfit!” But wait, didn’t Neia hate that slave costume?

Zader left the gun turret and went to the Buzzard’s big living area, where Jam Jam had loaded about six dead bodies.

To Zader’s relief and puzzlement there were a couple of three headed aliens, called Ballasters (not Fluffies), some more conventional three eyed aliens, some of the bug-eyed aliens that are always criminals, and some multi-colored women with weird tails that came off of their heads, called Rastafari, known for only being either scientists or dancers in trashy bars.

“Yousa got a nasty family,” Jam Jam said. “Is good that theysa dead.”

“You idiot!” Zader shouted happily. “Don’t you see? They’re not my family, they were just some random criminals! But wait, that means I still have a chance to save my family!”

“Thatsa wonderful!” shouted Jam Jam, dancing. “Weesa save yousa friends, then weesa all live together and be a happy family! Yeahahoy!” He waved his arms up in the air.

“Oh, no, no, no, no,” Zader stammered, terrified at the thought of living with Jam Jam.

“Meesa so happy yousa found meesa. Yousa meesa berry best friend!”

Zader sat down, his head in his hands. There had to be some way out of this!

Wait, Zader thought. There might be a way. Yes… but it was evil. Neia would never approve. He just couldn’t.

“By the way Andy, whatever happened to yousa wife Panda Bear? Did yousa become bombad, and break hersa heart, and kill her? Shesa was berry hot, meesa wanted her to be Jam Jam’s girlfriend! Meesa made a pass at her! Shesa wanted Jam Jam and himsa body.”

Suddenly Zader’s moral qualms dissolved.

“Jam Jam,” Zader said darkly. “I have a special task for you.”

“Is it gonna be fun?”

“Yes, I think you’ll enjoy it. I know I will…”

Chapter 14

Nuke sat on the edge of his prison bed, arms folded, trying to get rid of the memory of what the medical droid had done to the prison block several hours ago. Things had been awkward since that time. Neia hadn’t said a word. She hadn’t used the toilet since she’d arrived at the prison, or at least that’s what she said, and so when she finally did go… well, it made a big mess.

Two good things had come from the enemas, though: The first was that they now had retrieved the key that would hopefully open their cell door, and so now whenever things were right they could try for an escape. The second was that the droids, R1-21 and TCB0, had somehow been reactivated. Hairy had done what he could to repair them back to full capacity.

“The enema was quite… stimulating,” CB0 mused in his prissy voice. “I’ve never felt so clean.”

Beep beep,” warbled R1.

“That is so vulgar,” CB0 complained. “They should have used the enema on that mouth of yours!”

R1 beeped some noises in reply.

“What do you mean, they did?”

A patrol of shock troops finally stepped out of sight and John pulled the metal key out of his pocket.

Eww,” Nuke cried. “That thing’s so gross!”

“It says 32 D,” John said, ignoring Nuke. “That’s our floor and block. Let’s just hope this works…”

He reached his hand through the cell’s bars, twisted the key in the lock from the outside, and, with a little click, the door unlocked and slowly swung open.

Nuke watched the door excitedly.

“Here kid, catch,” John called as he threw Nuke the key.

Nuke caught it on reflex, then held his hand out in front of himself as far as he could, trying to keep the nasty key as far away from the rest of his body as possible.

Ohhh, that’s so sick,” Nuke moaned as John and Hairy laughed. “Why’d you do that?”

Nuke went to throw it on the floor, but John stopped him.

“Hold onto that, we might need it.”

“Then why don’t you hold it?!” Nuke demanded.

“Come on,” Neia ordered, cutting through their chatter. “Let’s go.”

“Hey, what’re you guys doing?!” demanded Dr. Fizfan from the next cell. Waba Poowoo pointed and started howling.

Hairy reached through the bars to their cell and clunked the two criminals heads together.

They fell, knocked out, onto each other.

Ha, ha!” Nuke mocked, forgetting about the grossness of the key in his hand, and spit on their limp bodies. “See you later… not!”

“Come on, kid,” John ordered as he ran down the line of cells, cheered on by Hidden Specks and booed by Skulkers.

Ahead were two prison guards, who turned around and raised their blasters. John pushed their guns up as they fired, making them shoot the ceiling, then Hairy smashed the men against the wall.

As R1 plugged into a nearby terminal, John picked up the blaster rifles and threw one to Hairy.

“Hey, I want a gun!” Nuke demanded. He still hadn’t been able to remove his fizz-inhibiting vest and was feeling useless.

Neia went up to John and pulled the blaster rifle from his hands. John looked ready to take it back.

“I’m a better shot,” Neia stated.

“But…” John began to argue.

“It’s true,” CB0 chimed in as he and R1 caught up. “Princess Neia is 57% more accurate. Our odds of survival increase by--”

“Fine,” John interrupted. “But I get the next one!”

“But—” Nuke complained.

“Yes, and I get the next one,” CB0 interrupted.

“Hey!” Nuke shouted indignantly.

Beep boo beep,” R1 sounded, grabbing dibs on the next gun.

Aww!” Nuke whined. “Well I got the one after that!”

“Oh yes, Master Nuke,” said CB0 in a patronizing voice. “You can have the gun after that, the very last gun.”

“I might want to try dual-wielding…” John thought out loud.

“R1 has located a transport for our escape.” CB0 announced. “Wait, are you sure? Oh my! R1 says it’s the Bizarre Buzzard!

“My ship?” John asked. “How’d it get here?”

“Where is it, CB0?” Neia asked.

“Hangar 31A.”

Rawr!” Hairy growled, shooting his weapon as a team of shock troopers ran up from behind and opened fire.

“Let’s go!” John shouted, and turned down a hall to cut off the guards’ line of fire.

Nuke ran to follow, and as the enemy’s fire broke for a moment he suddenly remembered something very important.

“What about Stardoe?!” Nuke shouted.

“No time, kid!” John answered as they reached the end of the hall. An elevator door. R1 moved to the front to interact with the terminal.

“Yeah, you get out of here,” came Stardoe’s voice. “I’ll be fine.”

Nuke looked around the lines of cells to see that, only a few doors away, was Stardoe, along with a group of Hidden Specks. He then remembered the key in his hand and, with a burst of courage, ran toward her cell.

It wasn’t far, and Nuke reached Stardoe quickly. He pressed the key into her cell’s door and…

It didn’t work.

Nuke tried again. Still, the door didn’t open.

“Let me see that,” Stardoe said.

Nuke handed her the key.

The key read ’32 D.’

Stardoe swore and pointed up at some blue glowing writing that was showing periodically throughout the block. Signs that read ’32 A.’

Nuke moaned and his hand fell.

“I’m so sorry, Stardoe! If I’d known—”

“Forget it,” Stardoe said. She didn’t look mad. Instead she grabbed Nuke’s ugly vest, pulled him close to the bars, and kissed him quickly across the lips.

She let go.

Nuke stood thrilled, euphoric, and dumbfounded.

“Now get out of here,” Stardoe ordered.

“Huh?” Nuke asked stupidly.

“Get out of here!” Stardoe shouted. A dozen shock troopers were now running up the cell hallways towards Nuke. He still had a clean break to his family and the elevator, which R1 had successfully called.

“I’ll never forget you, Stardoe,” Nuke promised dreamily.

“Yeah, yeah,” Stardoe said, pushing him away.

Nuke then ran as fast as he could back toward the elevator, where the family had successfully squeezed themselves in.

Nuke passed rushing blaster fire and stepped into the elevator as John smashed the ‘close door’ button as fast as he could.

The elevator door closed at a lazy pace and John put in their desired floor, where, supposedly, the Bizarre Buzzard waited.

Nuke looked behind him and saw that a couple of unfortunate shock troopers must have been waiting in the elevator, as their crumpled armored bodies lay on the floor and John and TCB0 were holding their blaster rifles.

The gang waited awkwardly. Nuke could hear some light music and news being piped into the elevator.

“In financial news,” said a woman’s voice. “A boongaboo trillionaire, thought dead, withdrew his entire holdings from Metro First Bank today, causing a cascading run on the Metropopolis Central Banking System.”

“Yeah, Sandy,” came a man’s voice in reply. “The galaxy’s gonna be feeling the effects of this for years, and it’s not just the financial sector. This much capital in one man’s hands could spill over into the political arena as well…”

The elevator finally came to a stop and the doors opened.

“What is that?!” Neia cried.

A strange pink creature, with big floppy ears and bulgy eyes, was jumping very high in the air, doing backflips and somersaulting around, and somehow, in the process, killing dozens of shock troopers. He gave horribly irritating battle cries and screeches.

Off to the creature’s right, completely unguarded, was John’s beloved ship, the Bizarre Buzzard.

“Quick!” the jumping monster shouted in an accented, high-pitched voice. “Yousa get on da ship. Meesa makin’ diversion!”

The family ran through the hangar at top speed, TCB0 shuffling behind.

Nuke made it onto the ship first and ran into a very heavy object. He looked up and saw that it was his dad, Dark Zader.

“I’m Dark Zader and I’m here to rescue you,” he announced in his amazingly cool deep voice.

“We know who you are,” Neia shouted at him irritably.

Hairy barked at Zader in anger.

“We don’t have time for that,” John said to Hairy, “we gotta get out of here.”

Nuke scowled at Zader, then tripped over something on the floor. He looked to see what it was, and was terrified to see the blank, empty eyes of a dead alien.

“AHH!” Nuke shrieked, jumping up and away from the eight or so bodies that were laid across the floor.

“What’s all this?!” Neia demanded.

“Oh, them, don’t worry, they’re just… collateral damage,” Zader explained. “As they say, you can’t make a cake without cracking a few eggs.”

The droids strapped themselves in and the rest of the gang ran up to the cockpit, John and Hairy taking the controls while Zader, Neia, and Nuke watched in anticipation.

Through the transparent metal of the ship’s cockpit the ugly pink creature could be seen walking acrobatically on the tops of the angry shock troopers’ heads.

“Shouldn’t we let that guy get on the ship?” Nuke asked.

“We can’t,” Zader answered. “No time.”

“Looks like there’s plenty of time,” Nuke replied.

“Look,” Neia pointed. “He’s waving at us.”

“Yes,” Zader said reassuringly. “He’s waving goodbye.”

Hairy didn’t look so sure about taking off, either, but Zader pulled a lever, and once the ship had gotten moving John shrugged and flew the ship on out.

The pink creature could be seen, from various view screens, running along the Buzzard for a moment, then throwing himself to the ground as the ship shot away. He seemed to be yelling.

“Don’t worry about him,” Zader soothed.

“But, Daddy,” Neia began to object as John plotted an FTL jump.

“He’s fine, he’s fine, he’s fine,” Zader said quickly.

Ha ha,” Nuke laughed. “Maybe he is fine.”

“He is,” Zader stated finally, as the Bizarre Buzzard escaped into the safety of FTL space.

Chapter 15

On the way home from the Detention Star Hairy had managed to remove the fizz-inhibiting vest from Nuke, who promptly burned it. Meanwhile, Zader had told John to pull over at a fast food fried chicken restaurant, and Zader bought an extra large bucket. Neia had seemed very surprised to learn that he intended to share it with everybody.

On arriving home, exhausted, everyone retreated to their beds and charging stations for some much needed rest.

The next morning, Zader, having stayed up for much of the night, walked around the house and, banging a pot, told everyone to come to the dining room.

Zader then watched as, drowsily, Neia, John, Nuke, and Hairywonka entered the dining room and saw, to their surprise, that Zader had made them all a great big breakfast, with sausage, eggs, toast with butter, three types of juice, and a pitcher of blue milk. Zader had also put bones on Hairy’s plate, and even put out some fine oil for the droids.

“Wow!” Nuke exclaimed. “But what about—”

“The Admiral Snackbar cereal?” Zader interrupted, pulling a box from behind his back.

“Alright!” Nuke shouted, grabbing the box and sitting at his place.

“Well, this is very nice,” Neia said.

John sat down and started shoveling food onto his plate, then into his mouth, as Neia and Hairy also sat.

Zader took his place at the head of the table, as the family ate breakfast at the table where, only a short time ago, Zader had allowed Emperor Eugene to arrest them.

Zader began to eat as well, forcing little bits of food into his mask as he told them all about his plan to rescue them from prison and about the creature he’d found, Jam Jam Stinks.

“So,” Zader said as soon as he was full, “I guess all’s well that ends well.”

“What’re you talking about?” Nuke asked, his mouth full.

“You know, the way I betrayed you all to the Emperor to get my job back.”

“Oh, yeah,” Nuke said, as though he’d forgotten already. “That was mean!”

“Father,” Neia said, then softened a bit. “Daddy, I’m glad you got your job back, but it’s going to be some time before we can trust you again.”

“But you forgive me, don’t you Neia? And what about you, Hairy?”

Hairy looked very angry for a second, then he picked up the last bone from his plate, began chewing, and shrugged. He growled a noise that sounded like ‘alright.’

“I suppose I do, too,” Neia said. “But from now on there had better not be any more betrayals.”

“Yes, yes,” Zader said with a wave of his hand, “Of course not.”

“I also forgive Dark Zader,” TCB0 announced.

“Don’t care,” Zader said in disinterest.

“And I don’t like you,” John said, still eating.

“Also don’t care,” Zader said with the same amount of apathy.

“And I’m still mad,” Nuke whined.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you!” Zader said excitedly as he rummaged on his belt. “I found this in space!”

“My laser sword!” Nuke exclaimed. He used the fizz to pull it over to himself, turned it on, and made a few quick moves that almost killed everyone he was standing by.

He turned the laser sword off and put it on his own belt.

“Fine,” Nuke said. “You’re forgiven. Again.”

“Good. Oh, yes,” said Zader, remembering a detail about his side of the story that he’d forgotten to share. “So I took those gangster bodies, the ones that I accidentally killed, to the Emperor and told them that they were you guys, and that you were the ones that had stolen the Emperor’s money.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” Neia said. “We were in jail.”

“And we don’t look anything like those freaks you killed,” Nuke added.

“I caught him before he had his morning coffee,” Zader said proudly. “Anyway, I’m off the hook!”

“What’s this money you’re talking about?” John asked, a glint of excitement in his eyes.

Neia sighed and stood up.

“I’ve got to work,” she said. “Thank you for the breakfast, Daddy. I’m glad you’re on the light side.” She walked over to Zader, leaned over and kissed his helmet. “Come on, CB0.”

“Bye, Dad,” Nuke said. “R1 and I are going to go buy some power converters.”

R1 warbled.

“R1 says that master Nuke will actually be mailing a letter to Stardoe,” CB0 translated as he followed Neia out of the room.

Nuke blushed and left, with R1 close behind.

“Hairy and I’ve got to transport some giant scary illegal animals,” John said as he, too, left. Hairy growled a goodbye to Zader.

Zader was alone at the table, happy to again be in his family’s good graces. Even when they were mad at him, he thought, it was still better than his life had been before he’d turned to the light side.

MWAHAHAHA!

Zader was so deep in reflection that he almost fell out of his chair as he heard the noise. What was it? A strangled animal?

Mmm, Hm Hm Hm!

It was coming from under the table. It almost sounded like laughter. Strange, but he hadn’t heard something like that since…

Zader leaned down to peer under the table.

There was a very short, ancient, purple creature, with big pointy ears.

“Under the table, good scraps there are!” the creature shouted in a high, gravely voice. “Mwahaha!” it laughed.

“Master Yoba?!” Zader cried.

“Master Yoba, I am, yes. Back I am!”

P.S.

Neia was reclining as a passenger in her sporty little space car as TCB0 flew them to work aboard the Liberty Now. feeling again relieved that they had escaped from the Detention Star. She hated to think of how much work must have built up for her while she’d been gone.

She closed her eyes, feeling very close to falling asleep, until, with a wave of shock, she sat up and yelled the one thing they’d all forgotten:

“ZANDO!”

Afterword

This is the end of Family Wars: Escape from the Detention Star, and boy, oh boy, what a ride! Now that they’ve escaped from jail, what zany adventure will the gang get themselves into next? Will Yoba die again? Will Zando and Jam Jam, both being abandoned on the Detention Star, seek revenge, or comfort one by having a romantic candlelit dinner? Will Nuke go back to lazily sitting on the couch and eating Admiral Snackbar cereal, or will he finally do something useful with his life? Is this part of a multipart series? (Of course it is!)

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and visit our website to find when the next riveting installment of this story is released, and some of the answers to these questions might be revealed!

“Family Wars”

If you were lost and confused during this short book, it’s probably because you are dumb, or, more likely, because you missed the first installment of Family Wars!

“Family Wars Episode I: The Forced Dinner”

In a galaxy ravaged by tyranny, planets are destroyed at the push of a button and empires are brought down by farm boys and scoundrels. Dark Zader was one of the most powerful men in the galaxy, but when he threw his emperor down a shaft, he found himself without a job.

Living with his kids and down on his luck, he finds that he only has one solution, beg for his old job back from the very emperor he thought he’d killed.

Read as this family of rebel scum scrambles to prepare a dinner fit for an emperor in the most ridiculous culinary experience ever.

Double the excitement.
Triple the laughs.
Paintbrush illustrations.

This is…
Family Wars Episode I: The Forced Dinner

“Funny Stories for Kids”

Did you know that “Family Wars” is not the only series written by the famed Dweezel and Pallie? The “Funny Stories for Kids” series is designed to make fairy tales less crappy. We take the best classic stories and make them more exciting and far more hilarious.

“Lily White and the Horrible Dwarves”

“[A] funny and clever little book… I like this version even better than the original story.”

Chytach18, Reviewer for OnlineBookClub.org

What would the story of “Snow White” be like if the princess was an idiot, the evil queen was completely incompetent, and the dwarves, instead of being happy and silly, were instead super gross and mean? The answer: “Lily White and the Horrible Dwarves,” a comedy short story that is so awesome you’ll have to read it to believe it!

Here’s how the story begins:

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the palest woman of them all?” asked a woman with a slender face and high cheekbones. She was fair skinned, with black hair, a dark dress, and a silver crown.

“Why, Your Majesty,” answered the mirror’s ghostly face in a spooky voice, “That would have to be the fair maiden… Lily White!”

“Lily White?” asked the Queen, sneering. “Who is this? Show me now, I command you!”

Green smoke swirled in the mirror, then vanished as a picturesque village came into view. The image zoomed into the village market, with a bustling crowd moving about amidst the red glowing lanterns of the shops. In the crowd, with skin that was so white it was almost like snow (you get it?), a plain looking girl with a rather stupid grin on her face pranced from shop to shop, peering in as though looking for something in a particular.

“That is the whitest girl I’ve ever seen…” said the Queen, trailing off. “That little fetcher! I find this most disturbing. Doesn’t she know that the palest girl or woman in the land is made the Queen? How dare she?!” She picked up the magic mirror from off of its stand.

“What are you doing?” asked the magic mirror, its voice trembling.

“This!” said the Queen, and smashed the mirror to the floor.

Interested in more? Download this story for FREE from all major eBook vendors.

Visit for http://www.dweezelandpallie.com/ebooks/lilywhite for download links.

“The Big Fat Mermaid”

She’s nasty, she’s gross, and she’s anything but little. All Aria the mermaid princess wants is to stuff her face full of food, but what happens when her dad, the king, tries to stop her? The answer: laughs beyond belief! Watch as Aria deals with her mean dad, a chubby-chasing prince, a harpoon wielding sea captain, and, in a grand final battle, the monstrous water witch herself. 

Aria will bite, belch, and fart her way into your heart in this second installment of the Funny Stories for Kids series, brought to you by the famed Dweezel and Pallie.

An excerpt:

Look at my stash, see all the treats?

See all the cupcakes and pickled pigs feet?

You can see I’m a mermaid

who wants to eat… everything!

[]

I eat every second I’m waking

I’m so fat that I’m breaking the floor

Double chins?

I got twenty!

[]

But so what?

I don’t care!

I want more!

[]

_I need to eat what the humans eat _

I’d like to eat when the food is still dry

I want to eat some fresh…

Uggh… beef!

Down in the brine the food tastes so bad,

when all you’re allowed is some seaweed to live by,

None of that stuff that’s so salty and…

mmm mmm mmm… Sweet!

What do I care

if all the laws

say we have to stay hidden?

And what do I care

if eating of meat

is strictly forbidden?

I’m addicted to food

but it tastes so good

so I don’t give a single crumb about rules;

want more yummies, dipped in honey,

no one to intrude.

Off by the ships

I get just get what drips

off of the sides, or they throw in barrels.

No primo stuff like

fresh dip and…

[_ uggh...* chips! _]

I want to munch,

I want to brunch,

I want to eat the thing they call lunch!

Sweets and the meats…

I need to eat

all of that food…

To read the rest of this awesome story visit http://www.dweezelandpallie.com/ebooks/mermaid for download links.

Thanks again for reading our story.

Read and laugh on, true believers!


Funny Stories for Kids: Family Wars Episode II: Escape from the Detention Star

*FULLY ILLUSTRATED* The long awaited riveting and hilariously ridiculous sequel to Family Wars Episode I: The Forced Dinner, is released at last by the famed Dweezel and Pallie! Having betrayed his family to the evil Emperor, Dark Zader must find a way to rescue his family of rebel scum from the largest and most secure prison in the galaxy, the Detention Star. Dark Zader is trying to lead a double life, secretly keeping to the light side of the fizz while working for his former master, the vile Emperor Eugene and his Cosmic Empire. Meanwhile John Solar, Nuke Landhopper, Princess Neia, and the rest of the gang deal with the brutal realities of prison life, such as their impending execution, gangs, and toilets without privacy. Along the way they'll make a new friend, Stardoe. (Dweezel and Pallie decline to comment on any similarities to the female Starbuck of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica) Read on as Dark Zader, Nuke Landhopper, John Solar, and Princess Neia, and a few surprise friends try to make their family work, sitcom style. Double the excitement! Triple the laughs! Paintbrush illustrations! This is Family Wars, Episode II, Escape from the Detention Star

  • Author: Dweezel and Pallie
  • Published: 2017-05-05 20:35:16
  • Words: 15992
Funny Stories for Kids: Family Wars Episode II: Escape from the Detention Star Funny Stories for Kids: Family Wars Episode II: Escape from the Detention Star