Forry loved writing short-shorts with pun endings. So don't blame us -- blame Forry!

The Terror of Terria X

by Shelby Vick

“This must be my birthday!” said Zark, the reptilian pirate captain from Terria. He was looking at the human two of his followers had standing in front of him. “The great space hero, Forry Rhodan delivered into my hands! I couldn’t ask for a better gift.” His cyclopean eye was gleaming.

“How about your life?” Rhodan asked, grimly.

“My life?” Zark tilted his cone-shaped head. Puzzlement caused his ten-foot long tail to vibrate against the ground.

“Extending your life beyond today,” Rhodan explained. “Wouldn’t you like that? Most terry-people live to a ripe old age. I’m sure you must want to, as well.”

Zark roared with laughter. He pounded one of his big feet on the dirt. “He’s threatening me, guys! Here he is, alone in the forest with all of us around him, and he threatens me.” The laughter stopped as abruptly as it began. Zark leaned toward the human. “I never thought you were stupid, Rhodan, but maybe I was wrong. You were caught trying to sneak up on me.”

Rhodan shook his head. “I wasn’t sneaking; I was walking straight for your camp.”

Zark gave the guards a puzzled look. “Wasn’t he sneaking up on us?”

“Well. . . .” one of them said hesitantly.

“Was he sneaking up or not?” Zark snapped.

“. . .Nossir; he was just walking into camp.”

Zark stared at Rhodan. “That’s even more stupid! Now, you are surrounded by my men, and at my mercy!” He smiled. “But, to humor me, tell me what I can do to save my life?” Several of the pirates snickered.

“You terrian pirates get around a lot and pick up info. One of my sources tells us you have info we need on a certain revolt.”

Zark shrugged his reptillian shoulders. “There are revolts everywhere. We make money off ‘em, so it’s not a good idea for me to give you that info. Even,” he added, smiling again, “to save my life! Besides,” he added, “you wouldn’t threaten me; we’re buddies! Remember how we fought the omnerian fleet, side-by-side?”

“As I remember it,” Rhodan said, “five omnerian ships had you surrounded when I came upon the scene. Since omnerians are regarded as slime even lower that you, Zark, I picked off three of the ships. The other two, seeing the odds were even, scooted off.”

“With me firing at them!” Zark yelled – then he scowled. “But enough reminiscing; Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you.”

“Because,” Rhodan answered Zark, “I have the power to tear you apart.” He stuck his arms out straight, made opposing fists that were one above the other, “Like this!” he said, twisting his fists in opposite directions.

Suddenly the guard’s upper body twisted to the right, while the lower part of his anatomy turned left. Screaming, the guard fell to the ground. For a second, Zark was frozen in amazement; then he shouted at the other pirates, “Kill him! Kill him!” But, even as he said it, Rhodan said “Now!” to the transport operator orbiting above him, the same man who had used twin tractor beams to twist the guard. The other guards suddenly vanished.

Rhodan and Zark were on the rocky top of a mountain, Zark standing on the edge with a long drop below him. “Better bring your tail in, Zark,” Cosmos snapped. “It’s overbalancing you.”

Zark, squeaking and tottering on the edge, snapped his long tail around. After taking a calming breath, he said, “See? I knew we were buddies. You didn’t want me to get hurt.”

“Not until I get my information, Zark. Remember what I did to your guard?” He stuck his hands out in front. “I could grab the tip of your long tail and pull you apart, split you to the top of your head. Now,” he went on, seeing the reaction he desired, “talk!”

For several minutes, Zark rattled off detail after detail. When he finished, he was doing something unusual for a reptile – he was sweating. Then, taking a deep breath, he looked at Forry Rhodan. “You know, it’s not that I’m afraid of dying. We all die, sooner or later. You know what got me? The idea of being torn apart head to tail.”

Rhodan nodded. “I know. That’s a long, long way to rip a terry.”

by J. DeForrest Ur-Human

J. Wellington Verne sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door. More than a knock, really. Someone pounded on the door. And to J. Wellington Verne, the ‘who’ was no mystery.

The door splintered and the monster came into the room.

Verne made no effort to rise. The monster stood in front of him, gazing with hatred.

“So at last I meet my maker,” it said in its rasping voice. “And within moments, you shall do the same.”

“I don’t suppose I can show you the error of your way?” Verne said.

“No more than I can show you yours,” said his creation. “I can only show what I feel about it.”

Verne nodded. He had thought as much.

He was tired, was J. Wellington Verne. How many years had this been going on? How many years since he had created this being, this monster. How many years since it had fled his lab, scratching itself on a shard of broken window glass as it escaped? He had not seen it since but he heard. What it did, how it acted, the pain and fear it afflicted on the world – pain and fear for which Verne was responsible.

He tried to correct his error, and in his efforts he merely compounded his mistake. From the DNA left on the broken glass he created a second creature, this one female. Not that it was an improvement. She was as much a monster as the male. She, too, escaped the lab and joined her male counterpart. Together they inflicted much pain and suffering upon the world. Six months ago the monsters were tracked down. He escaped, but she was captured. In the years since her creation Verne gave much study to the problem of creating a being that was not a monster and, in fact, he now knew the secret. It involved engineering the she-creature’s DNA so that she was no longer just a replicant of the monster who stood before him now. The monster who said, “I loved her. Do you understand? I loved her.”

“I know,” said Verne.

“But now,” the creature said, “you have changed her. She is not like me at all, anymore. Because of what you did she will now have nothing at all to do with me. Because of you I am more alone now than I was before.”

“And for that you must kill me,” said Verne.

“Certainly,” said the monster, raising his fist high above his head and moving toward Verne. “You forgot the first rule! There are things Man was meant to leave a clone!”

The Return of Forry Rhodan

by Weaver Wrong

Law enforcement on Thebo XXXIX was rendered more difficult than usual by the fact that all the natives looked alike. They were tall, slender creatures with two eyes sticking out of a head to toe pelt of black fur. For the most part the people of Thebo were a kindly sort and they obeyed the law. But it was known that there was one notorious space pirate living on the planet. Repeatedly this furry felon, would attack the space lanes, and as the star cops closed in on him he would retreat to Thebo where he would blend in with the other locals. And although all the other locals were law-abiding creatures without so much as a citation for jaywalking, no Thebone would commit the crime of ratting out a friend, either. The Star Cops were stumped and decided there was only one way to catch this guy. They called in Forry Rhodan.

The next time the Thebone Pirate struck a message was flashed to the planet and Forry Rhodan set his trap. Sure enough, when the pirate ship landed at the planet’s main spaceport Forry and his men were waiting for it. The pirate came out of his ship and was immediately ordered to surrender. But instead of surrendering, he drew his blaster and fought. The Star Cops all dived for cover. All except Forry Rhodan.

The pirate was fast and almost out of sight before Forry could take his shot. As it was the best he could do was to graze the pirate’s scalp and he reached a nearby street and disappeared into a saloon.

Forry Rhodan rushed after the creature and dove into the saloon. It was filled with Thebones, all of them tall and slender and covered with black fur. “Okay,” Rhodan said. “The guy who just came in here is under arrest.”

The bartender leaned across the bar and said, “Forget about it Rhodan. We’ll never tell you which one of us that is, and you can’t identify him otherwise.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” said Rhodan, a grim smile on his face. “I’m looking for the furry with the singe on top.”

GASTRO DIPLOMACY

by Ron Fortier

Kar Malson and Dumis Lokand hadn’t seen each other since they had graduated from the prestigious Universal Culinary School of Perfection. Now, in the Greensward space station satellite, they happily crossed paths. They settled in the station’s VIP lounge sipping cocktails and caught up.

Lokand had become Head Chef of the White Star’s flagship cruiser, the Shining Comet, where he prepared four gourmet meals a cycle for the rich, famous and all powerful.

“That sounds exciting, my friend. Seeing all those exotic worlds, traveling through galaxies.”

“Oh, it has its headaches as well. Like finding fresh spices when you’re lights years away from the nearest habitable world. Sometimes I’m forced to rely on synthetics and I remember Professor Tutoo’s constant admonishing.

“If it isn’t grown, shot or hooked,” they both recited together. “Then don’t put it in your stomach!”

Kar explained how he had been hired by the royal family of the planet Oreon to be the assistant cook. Their personal chef was none other than the blue-skinned Thulian, Joet Seel, who’d graduated from UCSP with the highest honors the school ever recorded.

“You must have been beside yourself,” Dumis said. “We’re you anxious?”

“Especially when I learned about the flatulence factor.”

“The what?”

Kar chuckled and went on to explain that the people of Oreo had three stomachs and after a hearty meal produced a very distinct, sweet aromatic gas.

“It’s the highest compliment you can pay your host, and it almost got me killed”

“How so? Tell me everything!”

Chef Seel had announced that the royal family was going to play hosts to several representatives from neighboring clans. They wished to put on the finest frule feast anyone had ever attended. Frule was a dog-sized fowl that tasted very much like Earth chickens and they were plentiful on Oreon. But the frule were hard to digest and specific spices and other ingredients had to be added to whatever recipe was used. Otherwise the threat of constipation was very real.

“Wait a second,” Dumis held up his hand with a drink in it. “You’re telling me if people didn’t digest this…

“Frule.”

“…Frule bird well, no farting.”

“Exactly.”

“And you could be dismissed.”

“For sure. May I continue?”

Dumis gulped the rest of his drink and nodded.

Under the guidance of Chef Seel they had set about two days before the big feast, purchasing the freshest frules and sautéing them in pans of sweet wine. At which point Seel informed Kar that there was one final condiment and he was going into town to pick it up, as the kitchen was depleted of this mysterious ingredient.

No one took into account the violent storm that came up and as the oily skinned Seel (remember, they are descended from sea creatures) was climbing into the fliver for the flight to market, it was struck by lightning. To Kar’s horror, he watched poor Seel collapse. Although he did not die, the royal physician announced it would take the master chef at least three days before he could be roused.

“And the feast was in two?” Dumis was really into the story now.

Kar spent the next day going through all of Chef Seel’s recipe files looking for that necessary added ingredient. But nothing stood out. He asked the kitchen staff, but they all pleaded ignorance. They were never allowed near the chef when he was creating. The condiment could be one of hundreds in the bottles on the supply shelf.

“Which is when it hit me,” Kar proclaimed. “All I had to do was check the inventories to see which we were completely out of.”

“And what did you discover was depleted?”

“Hiss honey.”

Dumis arched an eyebrow. Kar explained it was the product of a dangerous Oreon snake. As it crawled along, it left a trail of body secretions that people found very sweet and delicious. Because of the viper’s hissing sound, the people called its goo, Hiss Honey.

“And . . .?”

“I was lucky enough to buy the the shop’s last bottle.”

Kar told Dumis the Frule Feast had been a huge success, with the main hall becoming filled with the pleasant stench of copious amounts of gastro gasses.

“What did Chef Seel say when he woke up?”

“He just looked at me as if I was a dummy and said, ‘My dear Kar, everyone knows…a frule and Hiss Honey are soon farted.’”

End