A few days after our big blow-out sales event on Rimbor, and after Plant Lad had gone on his merry way, the U.P. showed up with one of their tow-cruisers, zapped the H.M.S. Exquisite with a repo-beam and hauled our asses up, up, and away from the planet.
And we were right in the middle of breakfast! The jolt knocked everybody on their asses, and I wound up with strawberry-flavored protein powder all over my crotch. Storm Boy offered to "clean that up" for me. Having a good idea of his preferred method, I politely declined.
I'd prepped the crew for this event, and we'd already settled on our future plans... I think that helped everybody to keep from losing their shit too much. Well, Tusker kept a firm grip on his dental tools and kept clacking the pliers together (menacingly) whenever a U.P. goon passed too close by, and in any other situation I'd be pretty proud of him. (I've been talking to him about sublimating his fears and replacing them with something more productive, like violence... which may or may not have a positive effect on his love life, provided he ever gets one.) I just had to remind him that the "silent threat" stuff is inappropriate for dealing with the Law. Cootie, bless 'er, managed to stay a couple of steps ahead of all the U.P. officers the entire time, or else they would have impounded her as an unknown species under the Please Don't Eat Our Native Fauna And/Or Flora Act of 2871.
So anyway, once the U.P. had combed the entire vessel and found no evidence of stolen merchandise, they set about frisking me for metal parts. Of course, they didn't find any, which meant the end of my Space Pirate Captain career. (And good riddance.) They weren't about to buy a story about my getting a new, identical body, especially when the videotape makes it look like a cheap magic trick involving a robot and a smoke bomb.
"Blockade Boy," harrumphed the U.P. captain, "You're under arrest for acquiring a Space Piracy license under false pretenses! We have a nice cozy cell for you on Takron-Galtos!"
I cleared my throat, and on cue, Storm Boy produced a holo cartridge (from the Luck Lords know where) with our pre-arranged alibi on it. It was a message from the renowned detective, Eyeful Ethel!
Naturally, the U.P. captain was so thrilled he demanded to view it on the spot. He was seriously excited, people. He even did this thing where he held his hands out and fluttered his fingers and squealed "OOOH-ooh! Gimme!" He snapped the cartridge into a portable player from his belt and an image of the gorgeous Ethel flickered into the center of the room. She was attired in the sweet new ensemble Storm Boy and I had designed for her. Which means it's time for... Legion of Substitute Costumes!
Ethel's gimmick? A ring of eyeballs all around her head, like a cross between a goddamn hippie and a Tim Burton character. Ethel honestly had no business trying out for the Legion, since she couldn't really do anything. Like a lot of kids, she just did it just for fun. So, she wasn't too broken up when she didn't make it. She did have an interest in law enforcement, however, so she worked her way up to the rank of "captain" in the U.P. Security Agency before striking out on her own as a private investigator. It was rough going for a while. By universe-wide lottery she was matched with Storm Boy as his designated "fag hag" and they spent many tear-stained, wine-soaked nights commiserating with each other. At her suggestion, he designed an admittedly cool set of goggles for her to wear: each lens allows her to see into a different spectrum, like x-rays, infrared and the like. Thus attired, she cracked a headline-making case by capturing serial peeper Radiation Roy. She brokered her new fame into expanding her detective agency, and she's now a brand name in the security biz! Aside from the goggles, though, she still dressed kind of frumpy -- too many baggy pants and overcoats. As advance payment for getting me out of my mess with the U.P., Storm Boy and I designed these new duds for her!
The whole thing is inspired by her sweet goggles, with iridescent colors and a modest amount of straps. There's also some interlaced detail on the bodice. The haircut is edgy-cool, and it's way more practical than the long, tangled mess she used to sport. Now she's ready for the cover of Heavy Metal!
Aaaaannnyway, in her recorded message, Ethel said:
To Whom It May Concern:(At this, Tusker blurted "Wait, I don't remember any of--!" but Rainbow Girl elbowed him in the gut and he dutifully shut his dumb pie-hole.)
These four fine individuals work for me. Also, there's probably a sixteen-legged cat-like thing somewhere, but it's just four cats in a pantomime cat suit so don't worry about it. Er, anyway, the man you think is Phyl Staad, the notorious pirate, is really his long-lost twin brother, PHYNN Staad, who looks just like him and even uses the same code name but has different finger prints and all his original genitalia, as I'm sure you can authenticate. Attached to this message is all the necessary paperwork confirming his identity. I'd like to commend my operatives -- Storm Boy, Rainbow Girl and Tusker -- for infiltrating Phyl Staad's piracy operation by pretending to be his loyal crew, when the whole time they were transmitting vital information to my headquarters.
And finally, I'd like to give a special thanks to my newest operative, the other Blockade Boy. Yes, let's all give a round of applause to Phynn Staad, who is so loyal to the United Planets that he would turn on his nefarious twin, going so far as to impersonate him, sort-of, after the latter's mysterious disappearance, in order to keep the dread pirate's spacecraft from falling into the wrong hands before the U.P. could take charge of it.(The beauty part is, the U.P. goons really did applaud me, some of them stomping their feet and saying things like "Here, here!" and "YEAH, boy-ee!" and I'm pretty sure the U.P. captain cried a little bit.)
I will be happy to transmit all the information I've gathered on Phyl Staad to the U.P. so they may continue the investigation. But for now, I need to recall all of my operatives and those four cats, the ones in the big, unremovable cat-suit, to my agency, because I have other jobs for them. Thank you, and keep up the good work!And as you may have guessed, our scam was a total success!
So, to the relief and sheer delight of everybody involved, my former crew and I are working as Special Agents (or some shit) for Eyeful Ethel at her headquarters on Lallor! We've all managed to remain really good friends, although our closeness seems to have driven a wedge between ourselves and Ethel's four other employees. I mean, they're friendly enough, but I don't really feel like I know them, y'know? Here they are, and I'll tell you what I know about them so far, going from left to right:
- Gadfly Lad: from Imsk; can shrink to a dainty size; gets around with an old flying harness Storm Boy had designed; has a detailed, well-researched opinion on everything, apparently; is in denial about the fact he can't grow a decent mustache (or sideburns!) to save his life
- Dentata Damsel: from Bismoll; can eat anything, and does, constantly; won't stop smiling; never blinks; constantly cheerful for no good goddamn reason; can reduce Tusker to jelly with the mere wiggle of her hips
- Nightmare Boy: from Naltor; alleged clairvoyant; Ethel's receptionist; can barely be bothered to work the whole "Goth" angle and is in fact a "smoove playa" and "ladies' man" (a role model for Tusker, maybe?); his hair always looks absolutely perfect, even when he's just gotten up; sports skull-and-crossbones birthmark situated just above his crotchal region; I'm not sure why but I kind of want to slap him
- Frigid Queen: from Tharr, ice powers, rocks a tall faux-fur hat, hard worker, way too chatty about her apparently effed-up relationship with Phantom Lad (think "Sid and Nancy" with super-powers)