Their adventures, of course, were eagerly followed by billions on the civilized planets of the United Worlds.
And then, in their greatest adventure - a daring attempt to circumnavigate the entire galaxy - they vanished.
For a few years their countless fans confidently expected them to return, fresh from new and glorious adventures; but gradually the mundane reality of ordinary lives took precedence, the young fans grew up, grew middle-aged, and only the old vids remained, to inspire new generations in the spirit of headlong adventure with Captain Jack Starr of Space Squadron! and his trusty companions ...
And more than fifty years later, those old vids were still being eagerly watched by restless, adventure-hungry youth throughout the UW, even on such lost and remote outposts as Eros II, a tiny Meteorid in the Rigel sector ...
Two Astrogirls, Ultra and Spectra, were cruising - and bickering, as usual - on their Meteorcycles in the outer reaches of the Rigel sector. Their spacecraft, rough meteoroids equipped with saddles, atom-thruster tubes and rudimentary controls, left the two girls entirely exposed to airless space, but neither of them wore more than the merest scraps of cloth over their glorious bodies, since - as everyone knows who is familiar with the cover art of this magazine - although spacemen require bulky space-suits, spacegirls require nothing more than the briefest of brass Bikinis and perhaps a bubble helmet. And they were arguing, of course, by telepathy, since there was no air to transmit their voices.
"Well, I say we head back to Eros, so I can get laid!" Ultra grumbled. "That is, if you will stop hogging Poppa for at least five minutes." Her long hair, floating around her angry, pretty face, flashed in different shades of red, blue and green with her irritated mood.
"Oh, come on, Ultra!" Spectra retorted. She turned to show a sunny smile to her companion, her huge blue eyes twinkling with amusement. "I'd swear you were a frustrated virgin, if I didn't know you've already humped everything on two legs, sometimes more ..."
"Why, you big-titted cow ..." Ultra flared, but Spectra only grinned, complacently bouncing her incredibly large, round breasts with one hand - then suddenly pausing to peer intently at a small screen on her Meteorcycle's control panel. "Wait, there's something paralleling our course, only half a lightyear away - it's a ship! Come on, let's go check them out ..."
"And maybe get laid?" Ultra added hopefully.
As they came within visual range of the unknown ship, both Astrogirls gaped in astonishment. There was no mistaking the sleek, Art-Deco lines, the flamboyant chrome trim, the bold Space Squadron! emblem on the streamlined bows.
"My gosh, it's the Invincible!" Spectra declared. "It's been gone for fifty years! I never dreamed I'd see it in person..."
"Well, I see something I want in my person," Ultra added tartly, nodding at the Invincible's broad control-room windows, where a craggy, handsome face was peering out at them. "That's Captain Jack Starr himself!"
After signaling for permission to board and leaving their Meteorcycles docked near the hull airlock, the two Astrogirls were in the luxurious cabin of the Invincible, almost speechless as they faced the legendary Captain Jack Starr. His strong, chiseled profile hadn't changed in the slightest from the old vids; his dark, immaculately waved hair showed only a trace of gray at the temples, and his famous, flashing smile still displayed perfect, even teeth. Spectra felt her panties unaccountably growing damp as she watched him, while Ultra was staring at him with the hungry expression of a cat contemplating a canary.
"I'm delighted to meet two such lovely ladies in open space," Captain Starr declared, in that rich, virile baritone that made Spectra's panties feel positively squishy. "I can only imagine that some great danger must have brought you to seek my aid. Do you need me to destroy a monster? Defeat a brutal dictator? Rescue your home planet from certain annihilation? Tell me, ladies, what can I do for you?"
"Well, I can make out an itemized list..." Ultra began eagerly, and Spectra hastily interrupted, "er ... ah... bluh... T-tell me, Captain, Why are you still so young and handsome? You've been gone for more than fifty years!"
"Fifty years?" Captain Starr smiled dazzlingly. "No, this voyage has lasted barely five years."
"But that's just because of Relativity," Spectra protested.
"Relativity? Pooh, we in the Space Squadron! don't go in for little details like Relativity," Captain Starr boomed.
"Well, I can propose certain relations that you'd really get into..." Ultra insinuated, and Spectra hastily interrupted again, "B-but where are your loyal companions? The lovely but virtuous Gale Barden?"
Captain Starr's craggy face grew somber. "Ah, I'm afraid Ensign Barden is no longer with us."
"She isn't?" Ultra said innocently. "Oh, that's too bad, you've been without a woman's comforting touch, but I happen to know some touches that would comfort a brass..."
"How did she die?" Spectra interrupted quickly.
Captain Starr cleared his throat nervously, and a slight blush colored his manly features. "Well, strictly speaking, she didn't die. She was captured by the ruthless Emperor Ling the Lecherous, and, before I could rescue her, she was - ahem! - made a member of his harem. But Ensign Barden is - ahem! - a rather determined woman, and soon she was the only member of his harem. I understand that Ling is now in the condition that is vulgarly known as 'pussy-whipped,' and has become an enlightened despot, or at least a meek and inoffensive one."
"Well, you can be just as offensive as you want with me..." Ultra blurted - and Spectra cut her off again, "But where is your youthful sidekick, freckled, wise-cracking Cadet Jimmy Jones?"
Captain Starr's handsome face darkened with anger. "Ex-Cadet Jones has deserted! We had just rescued the beautiful Queen Voluptua from the clutches of the nefarious Dorkians and returned her to her planet, Amazonia, which as it happens has a very low percentage of males in its population - and Ex-Cadet Jones absconded with a dozen of the Queen's maids of honor!"
"'Honor' is an overrated commodity for maids, anyhow," Ultra chirped. "You can have lots more fun without it - for instance, I can easily be maid ..."
"WILL YOU STOP TRYING TO PUT THE MAKE ON HIM?" Spectra finally exploded.
"Why, so you can have a clear shot?" Ultra jeered. "Look here, Captain honey!" She pulled down her panties, exposing her curly muff, which was semaphoring a message of "come an' get it" in various bright, flashing colors.
"There, Captain! Did you ever see a technicolor twat like this one?"
The Captain's jaw dropped almost as far as Ultra's panties.
"That's nothing! Look at THIS," Spectra snapped, pulling down her top and letting her huge, pink-tipped, bountiful bouncies surge free. "See? I have the nicest titties in the galaxy!"
The Captain's eyes bulged out almost as far as Spectra's massive mammaries.
"That doesn't count!" Ultra shouted. "She made a promise to Poppa that no man but him would ever go in her - vortex!"
"But Poppa told me I don't have to keep that promise!" Spectra yelled, yanking down her own panties to display her curly black welcome mat.
"Captain!" Ultra wailed, "If you're going to lay that chubby cow, Spectra, at least let me watch!"
Captain Starr drew himself up sternly. "Ladies! Ladies!" he barked.
"Ladies? Where?" Ultra and Spectra looked around hastily.
"Ladies, you must remember the youthful innocence of our fans," Captain Starr boomed. "And, more important, the perfectly natural jealousy of my own crew."
"Your crew?" Spectra stammered. "But I thought you said..."
"True, Ensign Barden and Cadet Jones are gone," the Captain said. "But I discovered that another, more loyal and affectionate crew had been aboard the Invincible from the beginning! They have become my assistants, my companions and - to be very frank - ahem! - my lovers."
Turning, he said gently, "Adriana, my dear, won't you come in and meet our guests?"
Nothing happened. Spectra and Ultra exchanged nervous glances, and Spectra telepathed, "Uh-oh, years of solitude have affected him -"
"Affected? You mean made him stark, staring, yabba-babble batshit crazy!" Ultra replied bluntly.
But Captain Starr was beaming with pride and affection as he raised a hand toward the Astrogirls and said, "Adriana, my dear, these are our visitors, Moonchild and Ultra -"
Spectra and Ultra blinked and squinted, but there was still nobody there. They glanced around the room, up to the ceiling, down to the deck ... and there in the middle of the deck sat a tiny, a very tiny creature, covered in gray-brown fur, with shiny, black, beady eyes, twitching whiskers and a long, skinny tail ...
"YEEEK! A MOUSE! A MOUSE!" Spectra and Ultra shrieked in unison, the ancient, automatic female reaction. Despite her panic, Spectra wondered if she could parlay this situation into an excuse to clutch frantically at the ruggedly handsome Captain, begging him to defend her from the rampaging rodent - then she realized that Ultra was plotting the exact same scheme. They glared at each other as the startled mouse scurried back into hiding.
Then Ultra glimpsed a furtive, furry motion all around the cabin, and clutched at Spectra instead. "More of them!" she yelped. "The ship is infested with mice!"
"Not 'infested,' but 'crewed,'" Captain Starr corrected her sternly.
"B-but you said they were your lovers ..." Spectra stuttered.
"Well - Ahem! - of course they are all females," Captain Starr said firmly. "After all, I'm not..."
"...But aren't mice rather ... er... small?" Ultra asked timidly.
"Ah, that's no problem, as long as there is plenty of butter available," the Captain beamed.
As Spectra and Ultra gaped blankly at each other, he continued genially, "I've written a song about the lovely little ladies. Would you like to hear it?"
Taking their stunned silence for assent, he struck a dramatic pose and sang:
Oh, some might say that mousies are discouragingly small,
But slick them up with butter, and they'll win you one and all!
They're the princesses of pleasure, it's a treasure beyond price
To host a wiggling, giggling horde of hot buttered mice!
Their degree of maiden modesty is also is very small,
They accost me in the bedroom, and pounce on me in the hall.
I've said it to you once before, and now I'll say it twice:
There's nothing makes a house a home like hot buttered mice!
They are in my morning oatmeal and I find them in my milk,
All swimming brazen back-strokes with a dozen of their ilk.
For all their naughty little ways, there's nothing quite as nice
As a heaping double handful of those hot buttered mice!
Some folks are into foreign cars, and some like Persian rugs;
Some folks get off on politics, some on designer drugs.
But I prefer to stay aloof and feed my secret vice
With another hearty helping of those hot buttered mice!
Now some will say my love affair is kinky or perverse,
But trying to resist it only makes the impulse worse;
You may send me down to Hades, I will gladly pay the price
If the little demonesses there are hot buttered mice!
"Well," he beamed, "What do you think?"
"Er... meltingly sentimental," Ultra said, hastily yanking up her panties.
"Mysteriously romantic," Spectra added, stuffing her billowing bosom back into her top.
"Quaint," Ultra said, edging toward the exit.
"Whimsical," Spectra declared, yanking up her own panties and edging after her.
"...Really be going!"
The exit hatch slammed. An instant later, through the broad cabin windows of the Invincible, Captain Jack Starr saw two bright sparks of Quark exhaust streak away and disappear into the starfield.
A very tiny voice squeaked from the deck near his feet: "Well! So those two trollops are finally gone! Now, let's get out the butter!"
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