They Came From Planet Q (2 page)

BOOK: They Came From Planet Q
10.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Dad flipped channels. But the channels were all the same, with warnings galore. Even WNN, the Weather News Network, was raising a red flag. Dad flipped to WNN and saw a spinning cyclone and the words: TSUNAMI DOOM!
?” Dad cried. “Hmmmmph. What's
going on?”
“Global warming, I'll bet,” Mom grumbled. “If it's not a melting ice cap, it's pollution in the sky . . . and now
She grabbed the remote and clicked the television off.
“Wait! Mom!” I wailed. “We were watching that!”
“Not anymore,” Mom said sweetly. “This is your special birthday night. No bad news or hot topics allowed. How about another slice of cake?”
I sighed. “Moooom.” But it did no good. I took the slice.
Of course, at that moment, I probably should have known what was
going on out there in the world. I should have clicked the TV right back on and taken pages of notes. After all, as a member of the Monster Squad, it's my job to pay extra-close attention to freaky occurrences just like those.
Often, it's a sign of B-Force.
B-Force is the incredible power generated by the presence of a real, live B-Monster. B-Force may take the form of wild weather or a bug swarm or even a river of goo. No matter what form it takes, B-Force always means the same thing: Some B-Monster is coming to town.
Mom handed the phone right to me. “Who's Stella?” she asked.
There was only one Stella that I knew in the whole world and she was in the Monster Squad like me. Other kids in Riddle call her Ninja because she's got a mean karate kick.
“Lindsey?” Stella's voice crackled. “You watching TV? You sitting down? Because right now channels 6, 8,
10 are showing this extreme stuff happening all over the planet. And you know what
usually means . . .”
“I know,” I whispered. “B-Force . . .”
I didn't want Mom or Dad to hear. Neither is allowed to know the inner workings of the Monster Squad or the truth about all the real-life B-Monsters that have been on the loose. Mom would have a cow if she knew I was moonlighting as Lindsey the B-Hunter.
“So we need to meet!” Stella said. “It's too late to meet tonight so let's hook up at the mall tomorrow. Food court. Eleven AM. I'll call Jesse. You call Damon. Got it?”
I got it. I dialed Damon right away. An answering machine picked up and I explained the plan.
“B-there, or B-square!” I blurted into the receiver at the end.
A massive B-Monster takeover may have been brewing, but that wasn't about to stop little old me from making a pun.
When we're not meeting at school or Leery Castle, Monster Squad meets at Petroglyph Mall. Sometimes Dad even arranges for us to get food court discounts. Lunch that day was served at Wok N Roll. Nothing like planning B-Monster destruction with a side order of rice.
The mall is called Petroglyph because it's supposedly built on top of these old, haunted, cavemen-painted caves. A petroglyph is a caveman's cave picture, complete with stick figures and bows and arrows. All the rumors about the mall being haunted don't scare me, but they do set a good mood for plotting and planning.
Jesse, as usual, came prepared for a meeting. Super-prepared.
He threw a stack of important papers onto the table.
“Read 'em and weep, Monster Squad,” Jesse said. “Evidence of B-Force all over the world! This is one bad B-Monster.”
He'd been up late last night, printing out dozens of stories he'd found on the Internet. They were stranger-than-strange-but-true stories that pointed to some kind of powerful B-Monster presence.
“Check out
headline!” Damon said, pointing to one of the stories.

kidding,” I cackled. “Who
up that disaster?”
“Awwwww, Lindsey,” Jesse said, laughing. “That's just lame . . .”
“And lamer,” Damon added.
I made a sourball face and read the piece aloud, anyway.
Officials in Rambo were stunned when the Kitchenette Factory, which produces supplies and appliances, came under an apparent attack. Yesterday morning at approximately seven AM, the roof to the company building appeared to open up like a volcano. Passersby reported seeing a large cloud of red, hazy smoke. Refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, garbage compactors, and microwaves seemed to lift up into the air through the gap in the roof and disappear into the smoke. Kitchenette president, Herb Splutter, said, ”We suspect foul play.” Company representatives are working with law enforcement to investigate the bizarre incident.
“Foul play?” I joked again. “What? Like a bunch of chickens stole all the microwave ovens?”
No laughs. Just groans.
“What do these stories mean?” Stella said, flipping through the pages Jesse had brought.
“Hey, read this one!” Damon cried, pointing to yet another article.
—Esteemed Museo Magnifico curator Rolando Miguel de Cervantes is recovering in the hospital tonight following the strange events that took place inside the city museum last night. Numerous antiquities and an entire collection of knightly armor disappeared in the middle of the night. Mr. de Cervantes was knocked out by a steel sword as it left the building. There is no evidence to indicate who took the sword or the rest of the museum inventory. No other people were seen at the scene. Police are checking security cameras at the scene as well as the alarm system. Museo Magnifico is closed until further notice.
“Museo Magnifico isn't the only heist,” Jesse said, glancing at the pages. “There are articles here about armor and jewelry stolen from other places, too.”
We looked at the other articles about places whose names I could hardly spell, like Czechoslovakia and Zimbabwe. There was a town in Australia where every single lawnmower vanished into thin air.
What B-Monster could be that powerful? There were so many possibilities.
“Okay. Armor, lawnmowers, appliances . . .” Jesse started to list off the subjects in all the articles.
“Wait!” Stella blurted. “Everything you just mentioned is made of the same thing: metal.”
I gave Stella a high five. “Impressive observation, Ninja,” I said.
“Actually, if you want to be accurate, they're all made from alloys of metal,” Jesse added.
“Huh?” Damon said, looking befuddled.
“In alloys, the metal is not pure but rather a combination of numerous different metals that make up the many varying levels of—”
“WHOA!” Damon yelped. “Stop, please! We get it, bro. What
you know?”
“Well,” Jesse said, “I don't know what B-Monster we're dealing with. Do you?”
“This can't be too hard to figure out,” I said. “If the B-Force involves metal objects . . . then what does that say about our B-Monster?”
“That maybe it's magnetic?” Jesse observed.
“Whoa,” Damon shook his head. “You know what? There are a lot of magnetic B-Monsters.”
“Excellent!” I said. “So let's start there . . .”
Brrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaw! Brrrrrrraaoooooo!
All at once, a mall alarm went off. It sounded like a dying Brontosaurus. We covered our ears.
that?” Damon asked.
“It's coming from the lower level of the mall,” I said. “Let's go look.”
We left Wok N' Roll, passed a dozen more food court stalls, and leaned over the railing to see what was going on down below.
And there it was—unbelievable!
Just outside the Toy Mania boutique was the strangest parade of toys. Playstations, Xboxes, remote controls, battery packs, race cars, handheld radios, and a whole slew of other junk had come to life and started walking in formation. Leading the way was a toy monkey with little, crashing cymbals and motorized wheels.
And everything in the parade was
. Maybe they were being pulled by a magnetic force?
“Follow that monkey parade!” Damon cried.
This was getting
weird. And we weren't the only ones sensing B-Force. I could hear people downstairs freaking out a little, too.
“This mall is cursed!”
“Nah, haunted!”
“Run away!”
One woman in the crowd actually yelled, “It's the end of the world!”
“Let's go down and get a closer look,” Jesse said, nudging me. “Maybe the parade will lead us to the B-Monster.”
We made a fast break for the escalator.
Naturally, the escalator was jammed with people. Everyone wanted out of the mall at the exact same time.
I raised my new camera up over my head and began clicking random photos of the puzzled crowd. But as I snapped pictures, the camera snapped a fuse or something. It let out this blinding white flash and made a sizzle sound. Then it glowed hot. I nearly dropped it on the escalator step.
Damon saw it glow, too. “Oooh,” he blurted. “That looks a lot like one of Leery's cameras . . .”
“Really?” I asked. I couldn't remember ever seeing this before. “From where?”
“One of the movies . . .”
“Which one?”
But Damon couldn't remember which one. Even a B-Encyclopedia gets brain freeze once in a while. He pulled a crumpled list of Bs from his back pocket and scanned the movie titles. In the world of Leery's Bs, there were so many monsters it was hard to keep track of them. We sometimes used this list to help ID our B-Monsters.
“Look for movies with a magnetic B-Monster and a camera,” I said.
“Okay.” Damon read the names: “There's Robototron. That B-Monster was metal. He's a possibility.”
“I don't recall a camera in
,” Jesse said.
“All right, well . . . there are other Bs on this list that fit our profile, too,” Damon said, scanning the paper.
“What about
Iron Dino
?” Stella asked.
“Not that B,” Damon frowned. “Iron Dino was just a fake, prehistoric B-Monster that
like he was made of metal. Not magnetic at all.”
“What about Dr. Disaster?” I asked. “He worked in a steel-encased lab. That
to be magnetic.”
“Didn't he have arms of steel, too?” Stella asked, high-fiving me.
“Well, c
of steel,” Damon said, shaking his head. “But Dr. Disaster was only three feet tall, remember? He operated from inside a mechanical cow.”
“Yeah,” Stella said, “but the cow was metal, too, right?”
“Stella . . .” Damon said. “It wasn't Dr. D.”
“Oh, sure,” Stella said. “Just shoot down my answer just because—”
“Guys.” I tapped my foot nervously. The whole mall was falling apart and Stella and Damon wanted to pick a fight with each other?
“Hey, what about the robots from
They Came from Planet Q
?” Damon said, “Remember them? They were held together by magnetic force! When they came to Earth, they nearly destroyed the planet.”
“Yeah,” I said. “They were powered by that crazy, red rock . . .”
“Firequartz!” Jesse exclaimed. “It magnetized the robots!”
The escalator arrived at the lower level and the four of us jumped off. It was hard not to get body-slammed, but we dove into the mob, anyway.
BOOK: They Came From Planet Q
10.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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