The Life and Times of Captain Cosmos
Superhero of the Thirteenth Void

by Roderick T. Long

[May 25, 1977 (age 13), San Diego. At the time I wrote the description of the Neganavy building, I’d never seen an atrium-style hotel.]

The sleek, disk-shaped craft glided silently into position, and Captain Andromeda Cosmos stepped out. Doublestar, the twin supernovas of Earth, the thirteenth void, glinted off Andy’s sleek red and white flight suit. Captain Cosmos had arrived in New York.

He checked his wrist computer. 2:37 and 15 seconds PM, it read, Galaxyday, February 4, One Billion A.D. He had an appointment at 3:00 with the Blastmaster, head of the Neganavy, so he had almost half an hour of free time.

He looked around the Skyport section of New York. “Ride the Savage Mufglufs of the Arctic!” flashed a sign. “Battle Bloodthirsty Robodroids!” screamed another. Andy paused a minute – and then entered the robodroid shop.

The room was alive with color. Shiny mirrors decorated the walls, and swirling ribbons hung from the domed ceiling. Bright lights flashed in synchronization with weird electronic music, and an other-worldly odor filled the room.

Captain Cosmos approached the bored blonde hunched at the counter, a novel in her hand. “Name, please?” she asked in a monotone, not bothering to look up.

“Andromeda Cosmos, Captain in the Neganavy,” he replied.

“Which robodroid type do you want to fight?”

“Dreadnought III.”



“Battle situations.”


“You’ll find your triplestick on the counter. Go to room A·17 and wait. That will be thirteen credits, please.” Cosmos gave her the money and left.

Captain Andromeda Cosmos entered room A·17. Unlike the first room, it was totally bare and white. It was square, and devoid of features except for the door by which he had just entered, another door on the far side, and a revolving pivot in the center of the floor.

The door on the far side slid open, and a robodroid thundered out. It was the third type of the Dreadnought class, as Andy Cosmos had specified. It was roughly spherical, with flexible trunklike arms and legs that could extend and retract at will.

The Dreadnought came hurtling toward Cosmos, front arms extended forward, v-like, in battering ram position. With the flick of a switch, the Captain activated Function One of his triplestick, sending a sizzling atom blast into the robodroid’s control box, causing the machine to falter long enough for Andy to twist out of the way with the skill of the trained Neganavy officer he was.

Smoking and sputtering, the robodroid retreated to a far corner of the room. Sparks flew from its control box. Captain Cosmos hadn’t used enough power to damage the Dreadnought, so he knew this pretended state was a ruse to throw him off guard. Sure enough, the robot’s pliable arm unexpectedly came whizzing through the air at Andromeda.

Cosmos set the triplestick at Function Two, ejecting a flaming acid pellet, which hit the robodroid’s arm and exploded. A corrosive gas burst forth, eating away at the Dreadnought. Angered, the machine sent a sudden laser blast at Andy, grazing his left shoulder.

The pivot at the center of the room receded into a hole in the floor, and a vague, dull rumbling ensued. Gradually the room started to rotate. As the room spun faster and faster, the rumbling became a whine. This was the most dangerous part of the standard battle, because, while the robodroid’s gravitrons prevented it from being affected in the least, a human might very well be knocked off balance.

The Dreadnought now came rushing at the Captain in a perfectly straight line, as though the room were not wildly whirling about. Not daring to use the acid pellet while the pivot was operating, as the acid might splash back in his face, Andromeda switched his triplestick back to Function One. He tried to hold it steady as he fired at the robodroid. He missed.

The robot’s control box opened, revealing the glint of a homer cannon. Captain Cosmos heard the faint “phut” of the firing, and then a homer bomb was whizzing around the room. No mater where a target was, or how fast it was moving, a homer bomb could home in on it. And Captain Andromeda Cosmos was this homer bombs target!

Andy Cosmos flipped the triplestick to Function Three. Only the almost-imperceptible shimmer at the end of the stick showed that the magnetic disruption field was activated. “That machine’s clever,” thought the Captain. “That machine’s clever,” thought the Captain. “It’s dangerous to activate Function Three while the pivot’s on, because the combined vibrations might cause the triplestick to blow up in my hand! But a magnetic disruption field’s the only thing that can stop a homer bomb! The robodroid used that homer bomb to trick me into using Function Three!”

The homer bomb had stopped buzzing aimlessly and was pointing at Cosmos, about to home in. Then, it whistled through the air toward him. The Captain raised his triplestick and struck at the homer bomb to bring the bomb into contact with the magnetic disruption field. The field hummed, and the bomb fell at Andromeda’s feet, deactivated.

Suddenly, the triplestick began to quiver in Captain Andromeda Cosmos’s hand like a living thing. “Just as I feared! ” thought Captain Andy. “It’s about to explode!” Just in time, he hurled it like a javelin at the Dreadnought III. It hit the robot, and they exploded together like colliding mines.

Captain Andromeda left the robodroid shop. “Come back son,” the blonde said automatically, still engrossed in her book. Andy looked at his wrist computer. It was almost 3:00.

Now outside the shop, Captain Andy pushed a green button on a console by the side of the road. A hovertaxi skimmed into view. Cosmos stepped into the chairlike conveyance and dialed Neganavy headquarters. The hovertaxi sped off rapidly in the indicated direction.

Upon reaching his destination, Cosmos entered the mile-high Neganavy complex. All the offices were on the outside of the building, so that when one entered, one could look up the full mile and through the skylight to the dazzling display of lights (donated by the New York Superenergy Company) at the top.

Andromeda Cosmos stepped into the power elevator. “Going up, sir?” the elevator man, a Neganavy recruit, inquired.


“Which level?”

“The top.”

“Oh! Going to see the Boss, huh?”


The shaftless elevator floated up through the empty space without need of cables. Upon reaching the highest level, it drifted toward the Blastmasters door, which opened out on thin air. Grappling hooks grabbed holds on either side and contracted, bringing the elevator door flush with the office door.

Cosmos entered the spacious room. The “Boss,” the Blastmaster of the Neganavy, was seated at her desk. “Well,” she frowned, “Mr. Cosmos, you’re five minutes late!”

“I stopped to practice in a robodroid shop, and I lost track of the time,” Captain Cosmos replied.

“Now, let’s get down to business,” the Blastmaster said. “I called you here to promote you – from Captain to Superhero!”

Andy gasped. He had not known why he had been summoned, but he had hoped he would be promoted to the next office above Captain – Second Warlord. But Superhero! That was skipping three ranks! He had never expected that honor.

“Th-thank you!” Andromeda stammered. “I–”

“Don’t thank me! I let you skip Second Warlord, Warlord, and Second Superhero because you have more than earned them. You may go now. Enjoy your time in New York before you’re reassigned. “And –” as Captain Andromeda Cosmos – no, Superhero Andromeda Cosmos now – walked out the door – “have a happy Galaxyday!”

Back to Juvenilia and Other Offenses