GREAT PRESS CONFERENCE
There was a
genuine air of relief and rejoicing at the
press conference. And why not? The Grangorians had been
defeated after 12 years of bloody struggle -- defeated
almost at once
by the actions of a single determined man and his partner.
Grangorians would never again threaten the future of the
subjects. Brad Grandle had personally seen to that. He'd
bombs to do it, and they said that the last Grangorian was
alive in a pool of flaming atomic muck like an alien steak
ghastly hot marinade. Yes, the Grangorians were dead. Every
last one of
Conference was held
that evening on the famous
Golden Causeway on Draconis. There was a clear, starry sky,
single moon of Draconis IV was full. The sight was one of
ever witnessed there or anyplace else for that matter. On
of Megopolis, Capital of the Federal Empire and the most
populous city of the Milky Way Galaxy, lights lined the
railways, and terraces where thousands upon thousands
crowded to cheer
for and honor the man who had saved them from slavery at the
the murderous two-headed Grangorians. Their gay clothing
multi-colored panorama all along the magnificent causeway, a
woven by the citizens themselves -- the grateful citizens
who sat in
the miles-long golden rows.
people of Draconis waved their handkerchiefs
praise their hero and often enough used those same hankies
to dry the
tears of joy from their wide and adoring eyes. Near the end
causeway, where the conference was held, stood the now
famous ship, the
Eternity, captained by BT Grandle, Hero of the Empire.
whirled but even in this excitement the eager
reporters stood quietly asking no questions as the Prime
leader of the Empire and Brad Trentworth Grandle,
contractor and adventurer, addressed each other. Marty
Quinn, who had
stood by Grangle's side as they thwarted the Grangorian plot
the Empire, was also there. Brad, with a little help from
defeated the Grangorians all by himself through cleverness,
math, and just plain he-man guts.
was seen simultaneously on 60,000 planets
across the galaxy-spanning Empire. Over a Zillion people
Indeed, this was the first time a television audience's size
the all time record the Beatles had set on the Ed Sullivan
1964, six thousand years ago.
"I used a
simple phase decopulator to extract the
plutonium, of course," Brad was saying.
said the Prime Minister.
in: "But when the fragmented ionic
particles started streaming out of the decopulator, Brad had
ordinary aluminum foil around the entire set-up! What a
Brad with an embarrassed smile. "Let's not
get into that."
The men and
women of the press, the Prime Minister, the
camera men -- everyone-- laughed with joy from the relief
of tension even more than from the actual humor of the
then broke into an applause that lasted many
minutes. Finally, the Prime Minister, raised his hand to
and broke in with, "You have performed splendidly!" He put
his hand on
Brad's shoulder. "You deserve the highest of honors. What
you have me bestow you?"
his head in modesty. "The highest honor
would be to be united with you."
what way, Brad?" asked the Prime minister.
"As in sharing command of the armies with me?"
that way, of course perhaps -- but also
perchance united in matrimony."
Minister laughed. "I'm afraid my wife has
position filled, but..."
of giving her the brush-off?"
"Of getting a
divorce, I mean."
"You Jest," said the Prime
Minister with a smile and a
chuckle that were met with others from the host in the room.
the smiles and titter seemed a trifle forced -- even before
And he spoke slowly and not very amicably.
"Look, all I
am asking is for you to consider it, all right? We could get
tests tomorrow and..."
that blood tests are necessary on this
they aren't, but...."
shall marry at once!"
Brad -- we are the same sex.."
"I propose that we celebrate
then took a no-nonsense approach but
shaking his head kindly and saying, "I'm sorry, Mr. Grandle.
proposition is out of the question. What other honor would
you have me
grant? You may name your reward."
There was an
awkward silence and then an evil shadow
crossed Brad's face. "Out of the question?" He intoned in a
voice. "Out of the question? Just like that, huh? Well, if
maybe you'd like to hear a little something what I left out
tale of heroism. Maybe in addition to all I told you I just
decided to keep a little of that plutonium for myself -- for
personal use. How about that? How would that suit you, huh?
vacillate over a little matter of matching gender, you big
Minister blanched. "Brad , surely you aren't
saying that you would use atomics to settle this?"
EXACTLY that, jackass! snapped Brad.
gives the bum's rush to B.T. Grandle. Nobody!"
on his heel and stomped stiffly down the
long causeway in a snit, brushing past the guards who stood
instructions from the Prime Minster.
whirled. The galaxy watched.
the door of the Eternity. "You haven't
heard the last of B.T. Atomic Grandle!" he vowed.
was right on his heels and the two of them
stepped into the airlock.
out at the stupefied crowd, gave them all
the finger, and slammed the door. A moment later the space
engines caught and the ship rose from the causeway. There
was a roar as
the Eternity leaped away into the sky.
the prime minister. "We're right back
we started from-- facing destruction from atomic attack. "
"At least he
killed all of the Grangorians," replied
of the guards.
way he's carrying on I'm not sure if I
wouldn't want them back instead. He'll likely kill us all
Minister pointed to a blazing light streaking
across the sky. It was the Eternity. "There he goes. Off to
"If you had
ordered us, we could have arrested him
before he got back into his ship," the guard remarked.
Prime Minister bit his lip, slapped his own
thigh, and said, "Well, hot damn! Nice of you to tell me
Thank you very much!"
me," said the guard. "I didn't say
There was a
rumble and the lights went out. Then a
bright flash lighted the causeway again and a glow from the
the city began to spread outwards. The entire causeway
heaved and the
air around it turned suddenly orange and red with the onset
of the fire
from the zillion megaton hydrogen bomb. There were screams
screams of agony.
later, the main concussion from the blast blew
out the entire scene the way a smoker blows out a match and
remained but a moonlit plain of melted slag that seemed to
forever and ever in all directions under the swirling
shrouds of a
smoking gray sky with bits of people and their scorched
fluttering down like so much confetti.
with BT Grandle.