A round-headed man, hairless except for a trim moustache, came into view. He was frantic. "We need the FutureTeam!" Armand deGris, head chef of Planet Fleur, screamed.
The control room of the FutureShip was full of awe-inspiring scientific gadgets and equally awe-inspiring people -- the FutureTeam. In a transparent box floated Brainbox, the brain of the greatest scientist in the universe; beside him stood a giant robot, Grog. At the controls was Dota, the multi-lingual white android; beside Dota stood the super-sexy Lurena.
deGris' distress was so evident that Cap immediately answered, "The FutureTeam is here to help, sir. What is the trouble?"
"There are no turkeys! This is awful!"
Cap knew that Planet Fleur was the restaurant planet of the universe, where everyone went for the best food. But --
"Turkeys?" he asked, puzzled.
deGris nodded. "Yes. Yes! Thanksgiving is coming, and there are no turkeys! What will we do? What will mankind do if they can't properly celebrate Thanksgiving?" Knowing Cap and the FutureTeam, the chef added, "Imagine a universe with no Sirenan donuts!"
Cap was aghast. Such a thing would be catastrophic. He and the team had to do something!
"What has happened?" Cap asked. "We want to get onto it right away!"
"There has been a blight," the chef informed him. "All turkey farms I know of report that all their turkeys have died!"
"What about Planet Gawble?" Cap asked. "I recall they specialize in turkeys, and use all modern methods to protect them."
The chef nodded. "That was my understanding, as well. However, they tell me they have no turkeys."
After finishing on the comm, Cap turned to Brainbox. "I find it strange that a planet devoted solely to the raising of turkeys could be caught by a blight. Do you agree?"
"Exceedingly so," Brainbox said, as his antigrav floated him a few inches off the deck.
"Dota," Cap said to the white android, "feed in the coordinates for Planet Gawble and get us there as quickly as possible."
+ + +
The FutureShip orbited Planet Gawble. "We don't want them to know we suspect anything," Cap said. "I'll put on my glidesuit and go down unannounced."
"Grog go!" the big robot said. "Grog smash!"
"Which is exactly why you won't go," Cap said. "There is no parachute large enough for you, and your rockets would advertise our presence."
"Grog not need!" the robot said. "Can drop without hurting me. Grog strong!"
"Quite true," Cap said. "But if there are any turkeys there, your landing could kill hundreds of them. Not only that, but the thud of your landing would, again, announce our presence. No, I go alone," Cap told the disappointed robot.
"Why the glidesuit?" Lurena asked. "A parachute would let you land more gently."
"And, again, it could announce my arrival, even in the fog," Cap said, for the planet below was enveloped in fog.
With a smile, Lurena asked, "Then why not in a turkey suit? Your wings could be turkey wings."
Cap snorted. "It would be quite noticeable. No, the glidesuit wings will slow me enough. I will have to roll on landing, but I can do that."
Using his antigrav beam, Brainbox floated a small disk to Cap. "Something for luck," he said.
Cap retrieved it and looked at it. It was a small pin, with a red F on a blue background.
"I know," Brainbox said, "that it identifies you. Under the circumstances, I don't think that matters -- do you?"
Grinning, Cap slipped the disk in his pocket. "Not at all," he said, not revealing how moved he was by the gesture. "I can use the luck!"
"I know that 'luck' is a human superstition," Dota said. "I also know that it is a strong feeling of approval. Even thought I have no feelings, I will acquiesc to the gesture and, also, wish you luck, Cap."
His throat thickening, Cap could only nod. Then, slipping into his glidesuit, he went to the airlock and exited the FutureShip. He was over a mile above the small planet. He could hold his breath until atmosphere was available, then -- at the last moment -- he would open the glide wings and land.
Even though the planet was small, its gravity was near Earth's. Cap's reflexes kicked in and he landed on his shoulder and rolled, but found a lot of air knocked out of his lungs. He lay on the dewy ground for a moment, in the misty night, then got to his feet, to hear:
"Well, well; we have important company!" a voice sneered from behind him as a gun barrel jabbed his back. "Just hold still, Cap, while I frisk you."
"I wouldn't do that," Cap warned.
"Why not?" the sneering voice asked, as a hand touched Cap's side.
"This is why!" Cap said, slapping one hand on the gun while spinning around and using the other hand to slug the man's jaw.
The man dropped to the ground.
Tearing a wing off, Cap gagged the man and then, ripping off the other wing, he bound the guy's hands behind him. He was disappointed he was so quickly spotted, but pleased as well. The response proved he was right; something was definitely afoot.
He pushed the unconscious body into some bushes and glanced around. Ahead of him was a large, three-storey building with a broad porch. The roof of the porch sloped down closer to the ground than usual and above it were a series of long balconies. Lights were on everywhere -- and then six men came running out of the house and toward him.
"They must have an overactive alarm system," Cap thought. Deciding not to disappoint the attackers, he ran at them. At the last second, he dove flat to the ground and rolled into the men, sending several tumbling. Leaping to his feet, Cap swung a blow at one of the two still standing, connected satisfyingly to his jaw, then kicked the second one in the solar plexus.
By then the other four were stumbling to their feet. Cap grabbed one by the arm and swung him around at the others. In seconds, there was only Cap and one other guy who danced back, fists raised, head down.
Cap moved in, slipping aside to avoid a jab. "You know how to box," he said, jabbing once only to have it avoided. "Only one trouble," he went on.
"Yeah?" the other said, swinging a haymaker that Cap took on his shoulder. "What's that?"
"I fight dirty," Cap said, kicking the man in the balls.
Seeing all his opponents were out, Cap looked at the roof. In one smooth movement, he jumped to the low-hanging edge, then sprinted up the roof to a balcony. Making it easily over the rail, he went to the window. The room appeared to be deserted, so Cap entered and looked around. It was a large, cream-colored room with a white carpet on the floor and a scattering of comfortable-looking furniture.
"Might as well rest a moment," Cap said, closing the window and drawing curtains. Looking across the large room he saw massive double doors. "Well," he said, stepping forward, "that's a moment!" He placed a hand on each knob, twisted, and yanked the doors open.
Opposite the doors was a opulent wide desk, behind which a bald young man sat, calmly lighting a cigarette as a cage fell over Cap.
Blowing out smoke, the young man remarked, "After seeing you at work, I think you should be named Captain Action." A smile was on his thin, wide mouth.
"Why?" Cap asked.
"Well, the way you knocked them around, taking on six at one time, and --"
"No, no!" Cap interrupted. "I mean, why this stuff with the turkeys?"
The man chuckled. "Straight and to the point, eh?" He blew out another puff of smoke, studying it as it curled upwards. "My name is Mark," he said, looking at the cigarette. "When a scientist discovered a blight that would instantly kill turkeys --"
"Why would a scientist on a turkey planet -- Oh!" Cap abruptly exclaimed. "I see. You are not from this planet, are you?"
Mark's high forehead emphasized his bald head as he smiled. "Indeed, not. In fact, I was behind the search for a blight. As soon as it was devised, we sprinkled it on each planet with a turkey farm, but with a timing mechanism embedded in its genes. That way, there was no possibility of it being traced to us. Then I gathered a few dozen skilled men, and we took over Planet Gawble.
"Now," he finished, "we will be able to offer turkeys to the universe -- at a really fantastic profit." Mark smiled with satisfaction.
"That may be your intention, Mark, but you forget one thing -- the FutureTeam."
Mark's smile broadened. "You will note, Cap, that you are in a cage."
"So?" Cap asked. He hoped he was right in an assumption he had made. He was proven correct by the sudden blare of sirens and flashing of lights.
"What the --?" Mark exclaimed, as another sound was added, the sound of crashing timbers above them. In another second, Grog plummeted through the ceiling, his rockets blasting just in time to stop him. "Grog smash!" he said, with satisfaction, as he landed on Mark's magnificent desk, turning it to rubble.
Striding across the room, Grog ripped Cap's cage to bits.
Mark watched it all in disbelief. "We, we planned so well," he moaned.
Pulling out the medal Brainbox had given him, Cap said to Mark, "But you didn't count on the ingenuity of the FutureTeam." To the medal, he said, "Right, Brainbox?"
"Correct, Cap," Brainbox's voice said. "We were listening to it all. Grog wanted to. . .ah. . . 'drop in', and I thought it was a good idea."
So the universe had its turkeys, as well as an antidote for the blight. The FutureTeam, on the other hand, sat down to an unusual Thanksgiving table. A gigantic turkey was in the center of the table; a turkey made entirely of donuts.
Biting one, Cap said, "We might start a new tradition."
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