They Came From Planet Q (5 page)

BOOK: They Came From Planet Q
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“Great work, Monster Squad,” Jesse said. “There are sixty-three B-Monster flicks—some with more than one monster in them. It's hard to keep track of everything in the world of Oswald Leery . . .”
“But we keep doing it,” I said.
“Damon, can you tell us more about
They Came from Planet Q
?” Jesse asked. “What else do we need to know? You're the expert on this stuff.”
“Well,” Damon explained. He puffed up his chest proudly. “In
They Came from Planet Q
, there were these UFOs that circled the planet. They shape-shifted like Transformers before Transformers even existed! Even though they looked like they were held together with barely screwed in bolts, these massive, magnetic robots nearly destroyed everything on our planet . . .”
“What finally destroyed them?” Jesse asked.
Damon cleared his throat and smiled. “Roger Rogers, of course.”
Roger Rogers was one of Oswald Leery's coolest superheroes. He beat a lot of B-Monsters.
I held up the photograph. “What are these glowing red bulbs on their bodies? They look like ordinary lightbulbs.”
“Don't forget in the world of Oswald Leery, looks can be deceiving,” Damon said. “Don't judge a B-Monster by its bolts or its bulbs.”
“If Roger Rogers saves the day,” I cried, “we can save the day the exact same way, right?”
“I sure hope so,” Jesse said.
“This is rough,” Damon said. “Bots are so much worse than slime. Worse than multiplying mantids. This is an entire
of angry, magnetized aliens. In case you hadn't noticed, there are only four of us. I think this might be mission impossible.”
“Look,” I said. “Nothing is impossible, Damon. In previous battles against B-Monsters, there is always some trick or weakness or way to destroy the monster. It has to be the same with this. We'll find that weakness.”
“Yeah, after almost every single person on the planet dies . . .” Damon sighed.
“Damon!” Stella yelled. “For someone who has so much useful information, you can be so USELESS.”
“Stella,” Jesse groaned. “Look, we know our B-Monster is magnetic but I think we should all go up to Leery Castle and watch the movie together again to find out
stuff about the B. While we're there, we can talk to Walter about a plan of action. The survival of planet Earth depends on us.”
“Yes!” I cheered. “We vaporized slime! We smashed giant mantids! We faced off with a bunch of eyeballs! We can do anything!”
“Come on,” Stella snarled. She assumed the ninja pose. “Let's just kick some monster butt. Lets find the bots, dunk 'em in the ocean, and rust all their bolts . . .”
“Ha!” Damon laughed. “Not bad, Stella. That would have been a great alternate ending for the original flick.”
Stella cracked a smile. “You think?”
“No ifs, ands, or bots about it,” I said.
I called Walter from the phone in my room. He picked us up from my house and delivered us to Nerve Mountain in no time. That guy drives fast.
“What's that buzzing noise?” Stella asked as we entered Leery Castle.
“Aw, the dratted alarm system,” Walter said. “It has been buzzing all day long. We're having a power problem. Leery Castle has gone completely kerplooey!”
“You can say that again,” I said. “There are problems like that popping up all over Riddle, especially at Petroglyph Mall. This town's shutting down. Something magnetic is interfering with all the power . . .”
I told Walter about all the crazy things we had seen at the fountain and in the parking lots. Then we showed him the robot photo.
“Definitely from
They Came from Planet Q
,” Walter said. “Good work. But how did you ever catch them in a photograph like this? They have not even shown themselves in Riddle yet!”
I held up camera twenty-two. Walter's face drooped.
“That's the camera from the
They Came from Planet Q
set!” Walter cried. “It's been missing for decades. Where in the four corners of the galaxy did you get
“Um . . . my grandpa Max,” I said. “Mom and Dad gave it to me yesterday as a birthday gift.”
“Ah! Max! Of course!” Walter smiled. He seemed relieved. “This was a prized prop from the movie
They Came from Planet Q
—and other movies before that. Dr. Leery thought this camera was stolen or lost years ago. I'm so happy to see it again! And that definitely explains how you got the shot of the bots.”
“Nice rhyme, Walt,” Damon joked.
“It was just hidden in a box in a closet,” I admitted. “I guess Grandpa put it there for safekeeping.”
“Well,” Walter said. “You should know that most of the knobs and buttons on the camera are meaningless. Except for one; and you've already found it. The red lightning bolt button enables the camera to pick up B-Monsters even before they're visible to your Squadder eyes.”
“We know that now,” I said. We all grinned.
“Well, Monster Squad,” Walter said. “You've gotten very good at your job, haven't you?”
“But it doesn't really make sense,” Jesse said. “Scientifically speaking, can you really take a photo of something that can't be seen?”
“Oh, Jesse!” I cried. “Use your imagination. In the world of the B-Monster, anything can happen. Haven't you learned that yet? The way to fight B-Monsters is to use a little science and a lot of imagination.”
Weeee-oooo. Weeeee-ooooo.
All at once, the castle alarms went off even louder than before. We covered our ears.
“I have to go check the castle's communication system,” Walter told us. “We're trying to get it back online. You can call Leery yourself and tell him what you've discovered. He will be thrilled.”
Walter handed us an enormous bag of larva crunch, our favorite, cheesy castle snack.
“Take this,” Walter said as he left the room to go and turn the alarms off. “Get the copy of
They Came from Planet Q
from the vault. I'll meet you in the screening room. Hopefully you can watch it before the power short-circuits again.”
My head whirred like a pinwheel.
I had so many questions, but there was so little time for answers. We needed the movie screening. We needed a Leery pep talk. Even though we'd made some smart guesses so far today, this B-Monster still intimidated me.
We found our DVD copy of
They Came from Planet Q
and headed for the screening room. Getting into the screening room might very well be my favorite part of being on the Monster Squad. We get to go down a slide that lands us in our individual, cushy, floating theater seats.
Although the power was out in some parts of the castle and the alarm kept triggering, the screening room had its own generator that seemed unaffected by the B-Force.
A hazy, red light filled the screen. Then words flew out of the haze like comets. They zipped around the screen and came together to form the movie title.
A loud engine revved and a large metal UFO came into view. It was half in the shadows, but I could see it throbbing as if it were
and breathing.
“The first time I watched this with my dad,” Jesse whispered to me in the dark, “we spent a week trying to make a miniature replica of the UFO in his laboratory . . .”
“SHHHHHH!” Stella shushed. She's always telling us to be quiet.
Boom-zwah. Boom-zwah
A low hum-hum noise gave way to a backbeat. It sounded like B-Monster hip-hop—if such a thing existed.
They came from Planet Q.
They came 'round here for YOU.
Metal mashing,
Buildings crashing,
City smashing crew!
Robots will land at night.
You think things are all right . . .
But nuts, bolts, screws,
The humans LOSE.
These bots were born to fight.
All at once, a narrator's voice began to speak . . . real . . . low.
“Once upon a galaxy, there was a mysterious race of robots made of metal and bolts but powered with the soil and rocks of their home planet of Quotidian, known to most as Planet Q,” the narrator continued.
All of a sudden two robots appeared on-screen. One of them was holding a rock. Their power stone was named firequartz and even the tiniest stone contained the magnetism of a thousand conductors and the energy of a thousand fires.
A burst of flames filled the screen. A chorus of violins played in the background, strings screeching. I got goose bumps all over.
“One day, the supply of firequartz grew perilously low. The robots were barely surviving on the dust of the last remaining firequartz stones on their planet. Now they needed to find another source of firequartz—or lose their civilization forever . . .
“Using a special magnetic detector housed in their robot shells, the robots were able to locate the last remaining bed of firequartz rock in the galaxy. They only needed to find one spectacular stone buried deep in the ground of a distant planet . . . a planet called . . .
The camera swooped up from the underground into the sky.
“Awesome!” Damon let out a gasp.
Out of a red haze surrounding the opening credits, a huge green and blue orb filled the screen. I could just make out the outline of oceans and continents beneath the massive cloud cover over Earth. Then the camera panned in closer, through the sky and all the way to the ground. It ducked down into a hole in the ground, past worms and roots, until it reached the darkest place ever.
The spooky narrator breathed heavily.
“One rock of firequartz could energize an entire army of Q robots—but how would those robots find it? Could they use their finely sharpened roto-blades to dig deep enough for the stone? The robots formed an armada of spaceships and headed for Earth . . .”
A solitary bot appeared on-screen. It looked exactly like the one in my photo from the mall. Its dark gunmetal body pulsed with red light (fading in and out just like its firequartz energy, of course). The robot rolled out of a smoky red dust and across the ground. It looked fake-o, but what great B-Monster didn't look fake-o? Leery knew what he was doing.
They Came from Planet Q
theme music in the background swelled louder and louder and I clutched the armrests of my seat. In the background, a low rumbling thunder sounded like the worst storm ever was brewing.
And then, just as I felt like I wasn't scared anymore . . .
Everything went black.
The screening room was dead silent.
“Is everyone all right?” I said softly.
“You mean even though it's the end of the world as we know it?” Jesse said.
But of course this was just a movie moment. Oswald Leery had us right where he wanted us. A beat later, the rumbling thunder sound effect started up again. There was a bright flash of red. Up on-screen, a faint glow took over the sky. Everything was red. A massive cluster of UFOs circled, headed for the ground, dropped down, and then descended into a wide crater. Dust blew everywhere.
The narrator's voice boomed: “Earthquakes! Panic! Fire! The bots from Planet Q would do whatever they could to get the last remaining firequartz stone in the universe!”
Up on-screen, UFOs transformed into land-roving robots. The bots' metal arms shook in the air. Crooked metal legs covered with loose treads moved across the dusty Earth. The robots probed at stuff with twitching metal antennae that curled out from their heads. Different sized lightbulbs flashed from their midsections, too. Their mouths opened wide, exposing rows of sharp metal. Their robot teeth looked like knives!
The robots moved in and out of the canyon, trying to find the firequartz rock they needed. They moved with great speed at first, but then they started to slow. The journey across space to visit Earth, running on nothing more than firequartz dust, had wiped them out. Soon they would be powerless. But still, they kept up their search.
Each time they dug into a stretch of land, the bots split the Earth and caused tremors and quakes all over. Tremors! That was the shaking we felt inside the mall when we were with Big Wally.
Music played low in the background as the camera slowly pulled back and showed buildings crushed and towers toppling from an aerial view. There were people and cows and even chickens lying by the side of the road. Some had robot tire tracks on their bodies.
My pulse raced hard.
BOOK: They Came From Planet Q
6.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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