Read The Dark World Online

Authors: H. Badger

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The Dark World

BOOK: The Dark World
3.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub














‘How’s your ice-cream sundae, Jett?’ asked Kip Kirby. ‘Hot enough for you?’

Kip and his best friend Jett were spending a rainy Saturday at the One Moon Shopping Mall.

It was freezing, so Kip and Jett had headed straight to the ice-cream shop to warm up. In the year 2354, ice-creams were served steaming hot. Cold ice-cream was
last millennium.

Kip licked his toasty caramel ice-cream. He practically never got to hang out having fun like this.

Normally, Kip was busy with school or with his job as a Space Scout.

The Space Scouts explored unknown galaxies for a second Earth. The current Earth was so crowded with people that it would soon run out of room. The future of all humans was riding on Kip and the 49 other Space Scouts.

Some people would have crumbled under the pressure. After all, Kip was only 12 years old. The other Scouts were older and more experienced. But although his job came with huge responsibilities, Kip absolutely loved it.

He’d seen some awesome planets on his missions – some freaky, some scary, some fun. He never knew what was waiting for him when he blasted into space. That was the coolest part of the job.

‘Want to check out the pet shop?’ Jett asked, leaning forward. A motionsensitive moist serviette on a mechanical arm popped out from the middle of their table. It wiped Jett’s sticky mouth then disappeared again.

the pet shop. Every time they came to the mall, Jett spent ages staring in the window. He had serious allergies to animals and wasn’t allowed his own pet.

Before leaving the ice-cream shop, Kip and Jett bought a packet of Flamin’ Asteroid Chips to eat on the way. They simply swiped plastic cards, and the chips popped up through a hole in the shop counter. All the shops at the One Moon Mall were completely automatic, with no-one serving in them.

The mall was 50 storeys tall and hundreds of square kilometres wide. There were 803 sportswear shops, 667 burger bars and 1407 different sneaker stores. Walking to the pet shop would take ages!

‘Let’s take Locata Arms,’ Kip suggested. The mall was shaped like a colossal doughnut. Suspended from the roof in the very centre was a huge bunch of Locata Arms. These were mechanical arms with claw-like grippers on the end.

Kip walked up to the nearest free arm. As soon as the arm’s computer detected him, the claw closed firmly around his chest.

‘Pet Palace, 30th floor, east wing,’ Kip said clearly.

There was a whirring of gears, and Kip’s feet were lifted off the ground. The Locata Arm carried him straight to the door of Pet Palace. Jett followed in another Locata Arm.

The Pet Palace windows were filled with alien pets like glow-in-the-dark Florgs, which were bird-beaked snakes that came from the distant Ur galaxy.

The shop was having a sale on microrhinos. These mouse-sized rhinos were native to a planet called Bron, and could be trained to ride on your shoulder. Jett wanted one more than anything.

Kip watched as Jett pressed his nose against the glass. Luckily for Jett, the pet shop window was specially sealed. Nothing that could trigger allergies could escape.

‘Should I go in and hold a micro-rhino?’ Jett said. ‘Maybe my allergy has cured itself.’

‘Don’t risk it,’ Kip replied. Jett’s animal allergy was so bad that if he even
an animal, his skin turned blue, his eyes bulged and his fingernails fell out.

Kip was about to remind Jett of this when he felt his SpaceCuff buzzing.

SpaceCuffs were the powerful mini super computers that all Space Scouts wore on their wrists. Kip checked his screen.

Kip felt a bubble of excitement in his stomach. He couldn’t
to get back into space!

Then he remembered. He’d been planning to go to the Virtual Sports Centre to practise virtu-surfing that afternoon. His mum was coming to pick him up in ten minutes.

Kip loved virtu-surfing. But with the future of Earth at stake, there was no way he could go.

The real question was, how could he get to the Hoverport quickly?

Kip thought hard, but he knew there was only one answer. He’d have to ask his mum to drop him at the Hoverport.

Kip kept a spare spacesuit, helmet and gear in the back of his mum’s SnapDragon for this kind of emergency.

Bet no Space Scout’s ever turned up for a mission with his mum, though,
he thought, cringing.

That was about the most uncool thing in the known universe!

The airspace above the mall buzzed with spacecraft. The massive parking area was jam-packed.

Kip checked the time on his SpaceCuff. 5.30pm! His mum would be here to pick him up any second. Jett had already gone home with his mum.

Kip scanned the sky for his mum’s SnapDragon. Almost every family had one of these buzzing personal short-flight spacecraft. Kip’s mum’s was bright blue with a yellow sign on the side:


There it was, streaking towards him.

‘Hurry,’ Kip’s mum called as the SnapDragon touched down. ‘I’m almost late for Venusian Folk Choir practice.’

Kip felt bad as he jumped in next to her. His mum loved Venusian Folk Choir. But he really needed a lift!

He paused for a moment, thinking about how he should ask his favour.

‘You look nice today, Mum,’ he began.

‘Do I? Thanks…’ his mum smiled before trailing off. ‘Kip Kirby, are you about to ask a favour?’ she asked, laughing.

She saw right through me!
Kip thought.

‘Could you please give me a lift to the Hoverport?’ he pleaded. ‘I just got a message about an urgent mission.’

Kip watched guiltily as his mum entered the Hoverport’s co-ordinates into the trip computer. She’d miss choir. But he knew she understood that he was missing virtu-surfing too. With the future of Earth’s people at stake, there was nothing else for it.

The Hoverport was inside Earth’s atmosphere, about 10 kilometres off the ground. All intergalactic space flights departed from there, so it was very busy. Kip’s starship, MoNa 4000, was docked there when Kip wasn’t on missions.

BOOK: The Dark World
3.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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