A couple days passed, with Cobalt spending a lot of time at Pudgy’s cabin construction site. He was starting to get overwhelmed, and the clock was ticking. So, it was as he was at work, when Comix Villain sent him another message. “Hi Cobalt, the LOV confirmed the source of the moon quakes is a region called Mare Anguis. One of the villains has a powerful telescope and is seeing strange lights floating along the area. I think we now know where Harvey is focusing his attention. The coordinates are.” Cobalt started taking notes and forwarded to Pudgy. Then Snicklefritz sent a follow up communication that NASA was planning a mission to investigate. Their target launch was February 15th. Cobalt felt sick, he had to get Pudgy there first. So there was no getting around it. He requested vacation time from his job, knowing he was going to work all night on the rocket. Pudgy informed Lord Doomcock, and he agreed that they had to get there first. The lord was already working on the refining process to fuel the rocket. Cobalt thanked Comix and Snickle for the updated information. As the man tried to focus on work.
Meanwhile Pudgy was busy, he had finished sewing the interior space suit. He had started working on the interior suit. The little hedgehog was getting pretty good at this, and he liked making the clothes. He might even try his luck later at other clothes. As the critter peeked over his table and out his window. It was snowing, and his little cabin was toasty, as his wood stove was casting a nice heat. But he had a strange feeling he was being watched. Pudgy turned and looked around. The cabin was empty. The hedgehog turned back, as he heard shuffling and a clunking noise. He turned back around, and found a gray alien holding his head. “You ok, Pudgy can make tea?” The alien froze and disappeared. Pudgy turned and went back to working his sewing machine. He saw the alien peeking in his window. The hedgehog was not scared of the aliens. He was curious, so he waved, “you wanna come back? Pudgy have cookies.” The alien realizing, he was no longer invisible, and disappeared quickly. The machine made a rhythmic thumping noise, and the interior insulation suit was taking shape.
The LOV messages started to come in with information, including two great pictures from Frankun. The villain was able to locate high resolution maps of the moon surface. The second map was a list with coordinate locations for the various lunar missions from the American, Russian, Chinese, and European space agencies. Pudgy noticed 3 Russian landing sites were nearby to Mares Anguish. He wondered if anything was still up there. Standing up, the hedgehog stretched, and saw Cobalt driving up to his cabin. He scooted out the door and waved. The man got out of the car, and walked up to the cabin, and knelt to hug his friend. Then stood back up to start working on the rocket. Pudgy would scamper back and forth with drinks and snacks. Cobalt worked late into the night once again. As the skies cleared, he sat beside the cabin, with Pudgy curled up on his lap and looked up at the moon, “it looks calm and pretty.” Cobalt nodded, ” but we know Harvey is up there. Pudgy, I am going to take some time off work. We need to get there ASAP, to beat NASA. I hope you don’t mind me coming over more?” Pudgy bounced happily, and hugged Cobalt.
Every day passed like this, and with Cobalt talking time off from work, the rocket assembly was quickly progressing. A week had flown by in the blink of an eye so to speak, when the loud stomping noise of footsteps echoed through the forest around Pudgy’s cabin. The dinosaur looked around the cabin and found the huge camo blinds had disguised the cabin. Grumpasaurs sniffed the air and could smell the human and hedgehog nearby. In his mouth, he had carefully carried the ion drive. As he walked around the blinds, he found an opening and stuck his head inside, placing the ion drive onto a flat spot. He saw a platform had been built, with rocket sections one and two connected. The landing module was in pieces but coming together. But there was no sign of the two friends. Sniffing around he found a scent trail. Following the trail led to a nearby pond. The dinosaur found Cobalt waving beside the pond. He was working an air bellows to drive air somewhere. The pond was bubbling. But no hedgehog. Walking curiously towards the human he asked, “where is Pudgy?” The man pointed in the water.
“Pudgy finished his space suit, so we are testing. NASA uses water to test space suits.” The dinosaur investigated the water and found Pudgy floating in the water. The dinosaur looked around, then watched Pudgy float to the surface. Pudgy waved, and his friend pulled him to shore with the air hose. As the hedgehog scampered up, he waved at the dinosaur. Cobalt disconnected the air hose, and then connected the air tank, and hose assembly. Then Pudgy jumped back into the pond. The dinosaur sighed, “we’re really going to do this? Send him up to the moon? It seems like a silly game, till you realize how close we are.” Cobalt nodded, “yes. How’s the ion drive? Is it ready to go?” The dinosaur nodded, watching as a light rain started to fall, causing ripples on the pond. It was another abnormally warm day, which was nice. Pudgy was amazed, as he swam under the water. The pond bottom was full of rocks, and the occasional fish swimming around slowly.
Inside of his helmet, he heard crackling, then Cobalt’s voice. ” check your regulator and gauge. How much air do you have?” Pudgy looked at his paw, seeing the gauge Cobalt had attached, “Pudgy see green, 250.” Cobalt crackled again, “ok, you have been down about an hour, and I loaded 300 psi of air. This shows how much air I will need to pack. Do you feel any wetness?” Pudgy laughed, “Pudgy dry, no drink anything.” As Pudgy swam to the surface, he crawled up the bank to reach his friend. Cobalt was talking into a walkie talkie, “ok, we’re going to walk back to the cabin. I want to see how much air you use.” So the two walked slowly around the pond. Pudgy usually was carried by his friend, as hedgehog speed was much slower than human speed. The dinosaur turned and walked slowly. The hedgehog was used to scampering, but soon found it was very hard to walk. The hedgehog was learning how to use his suit. Cobalt would check his air usage, it was slowly draining, which was to be expected. After an hour of excruciatingly Slow speed, the trio reached the cabin. Pudgy looked at his gauge and activated his radio transmitter, “25 psi, Cobalt.”
As his human friend stooped down, he started to disconnect the air tank and assembly. Twisting the helmet off, Pudgy wiggled his ears and nose. The critter bounced happily and waved at his dinosaur friend. “Mister Dino, is the special drive ready?” The tyrannosaur nodded, and pointed with his snout, “it’s fueled and ready to go. Cobalt, how do you plan to power the ion drive startup?” Cobalt pointed; two boxes were resting beside labelled Apex Energy Systems. “I bought two bendable solar panels. When we are ready for launch, I will have the batteries fully charged. When the ion drive starts its initial launch sequence, it will suck the power dry. The solar cells will recharge the battery banks, and thus allow a restart when Pudgy needs it. The panels should be able to make 300 watts of power. ” the dinosaur nodded, “that should be sufficient.” Cobalt heard shuffling behind him as he was talking, so he turned around. He didn’t see anything, so he turned around to help Pudgy out of his space suit but heard the noise again. “Think my ears are playing tricks on me.” Pudgy shook his head, “Mister alien, you can come out now.” The dinosaur turned his snout towards the noise and sniffed, “something smells off.”
Cobalt turned, and a shimmering light distorted a tree. The man blinked, and started to stand up, but quickly the shimmering stopped, and the tree looked normal. “Pudgy, how long has that been going on?” Pudgy rubbed his chin with his paw, “a couple of days. Poor mister alien smacked head off of Pudgy roof when he was inside the other day.” The dinosaur blinked, “they got inside? How, there is not enough room as there is in there?” The hedgehog chuckled, “he is a small alien. I’m going to name him Bob.” Cobalt shook his head, “this is not good, but we expected to be monitored … Pudgy. Have you found anything missing?” The little critter shook his head and bounced out of his little space suit. The Dinosaur called out, “Ok Bob, no messing with Pudgy.” There was no response, but the three friends knew Bob the alien was out there somewhere, reporting back. As Cobalt looked at the dinosaur’s ion drive, he smiled, “Good work Grumpy.” The dinosaur shook his tail playfully, and watched as the man lifted the drive and positioned it into rocket cone stage 2. He then started to connect the various parts to the flight module / lander.
The dinosaur assisted as well, instructing the man how to connect certain parts. “Just how exactly do you know how to do this?” Cobalt asked, while connecting parts. The Tyrannosaur smiled and beamed with pride. “In the end days of Pangea, I was part of the engineering works to launch our species into space. As I referred to before, my species was much more advanced than primitive humans. We had art …. culture …. It was a great society. I miss those days…” he trailed off. The man nodded, “Sounds like it was a much different world.” Pudgy scampered up with a tray of cookies and hot tea. “Cobalt, can I give mister dinosaur his treat?” Cobalt nodded, and the hedgehog scampered off. The large dinosaur looked as the Hedgehog was pushing a blue cooler which was on wheels towards the man. He scurried around and opened it and started to pull out a huge haunch of meat. Cobalt had to help and looked up at huge nostrils sniffing. “I had to get this with the bone, is that going to be …” and with lightning reflexes, the deer haunch was snatched away. The dinosaur happily chewed, as the Hedgehog nibbled on his cookie. Hours passed, with more assembly, but the rocket was almost complete.
Cobalt had Pudgy get back into his space suit, which the hedgehog did as quickly as he could. After some time passed, Cobalt carefully loaded his hedgehog friend into the flight module. This was important, as the placement of dials, switches, and other means to control the ship would need to be set to his specs. Doomcock’s voice came out muffled, as the crystal was underneath several layers of materials. After some quick work, and many giggles from a ticklish hedgehog, the crystal was repositioned so that the tip would stick up into his helmet. “Hail Cobalt, Pudgy, and Grumpasaurs. How goes the rocket?” Pudgy couldn’t bounce, as he was packed tight into the flight module. “Pudgy in-flight module, Cobalt done with rocket stage 1, stage 2, ion drive, and solar cell 1. He must hook up solar cell 2, then the heat shields. He is hooking up the controls now.” The lord of the earth laughed heartily, “It will soon be time to go to space to stop Harvey. Did your dinosaur friend bring his crystal?” The dinosaur sniffed, “Yes I did, can I go to Xanadoom too?” The lord cleared his throat, “my dear dinosaur friend, the crystal Harvey gave you was for containment purposes. I am unsure why he would send that. Pudgy, you will be able to use this to trap Harvey. Then you know what to do next.”
Pudgy frowned, “but if Pudgy shatters the crystal, it means Harvey will never be able to return.” The lord snapped at him, “He hurt me, and your friend Cobalt, and if he succeeds in refusing with his external body on the moon, he will return to destroy the world.” Pudgy nods, “yes, that is bad. Pudgy understands, Pudgy will smash crystal.” Doomcock sighed, “I wish it had not come to this. But we must stop Harvey, at any cost. Cobalt, I will send my robots to the surface soon, so you may begin fueling. Based on my calculations, the conjunction that Hecate spoke of is this coming weekend. NASA is planning a February 15th launch, so this will give Pudgy 2 weeks tops to handle this.” Cobalt nodded, “How exactly are we going to stop Harvey?” The man asked, as the Hedgehog was working foot pedals that would control the ion drive. They were not connected to the drive yet, so there was no danger of unexpected thrust. Doomcock laughed, “Pudgy will fly to the moon, and then land on Mare Anguish. He will find the main body of Harvey secured within the crater, and then use the crystal to entrap it. Harvey’s current form is essentially his brain, and spirit, so when you destroy the body, the connection point to our world will cease to exist. He will be phased back to his original dimension.”
Cobalt nodded, as he was continuing to work. “Lord Doomcock, there has been an alien lurking around Pudgy’s cabin.” Pudgy laughed, “we named him Bob.” The future ruler cleared his throat again, “That was to be expected, has anything gone missing?” Pudgy shook his head, “No, everything seems to be here. Hey Cobalt, can I get out now?” The man shook his head, “No Pudgy, you have to stay in there. It will be a 5-day trip to the moon. Then you only have a couple of hours on the surface, with a 5-day return trip. You are going to be in there for a long time, so it is crucial that I set everything right, plus you get used to the cramped quarters.” Pudgy blinked, “10 days Cobalt? I won’t be able to get out?” His friend shook his head, “No, you would pass away, and never come back.” The hedgehog’s ears folded down, and he started to whimper, “Pudgy wanna help … but not go away forever…” He started to sniffle. Cobalt felt bad, he couldn’t hug him, so he reached inside and touched his nose. Pudgy wiggled his nose and started to calm down.
“There, there Pudgy, please don’t be upset.” Doomcock’s voice started to distort with static, “Pudgy, please be ok. I will contact you once more, Xanadoom repairs …. still.” As the hissing sound increased in volume, a strange voice started to click through. Something was interfering with the crystal, “Clak …hru ….” The strange voice started to click through. Pudgy blinked, “Bob, is that you?” The slender gray skinned creature appeared in front of the flight module. His black eyes were unblinking, and for the creature to appear in the daylight, meant this was an escalation. Cobalt turned, and the loud noise echoed through the forest, Pudgy watched as blood came out of Cobalt’s nose, and he fell onto the ground. The dinosaur roared, “your trick will not work on me!” The alien stood there looking and placed a three fingered hand on the tip of the rocket. “Clark … hruy ….name ……. not Bob.” Pudgy and the dinosaur blinked, “What is your name then Mister Alien? and why did you hurt Cobalt?” The alien stood there, looking around the camp / build site. “Warn …. you ….” The alien’s body started to contort, and then disappeared in a shimmer of light. Cobalt coughed and sat up wiping the blood coming out of his nose. “I really hate it when they do that. What did I miss?” The dinosaur blinked, “The alien spoke through the crystal. His name is not Bob, and he was going to warn us. then he got teleported back.” The hedgehog started to wiggle, “Pudgy need to get out now.” The man reached inside, and then hoisted his hedgehog friend out. Pudgy started to hug Cobalt, not whimpering anymore. Doomcock was right, Harvey and his friends were not nice. Many quiet moments passed, then he scampered off back into his cabin.
In the blink of an eye, another weekend was gone. Cobalt had to go to work On Monday, having not been able to schedule time off from his job due to scheduling conflicts. So Pudgy was busy preparing space food using special pouches the astronauts used. Realizing the ability to bring solid food, and the space limitations of said food had issues, Pudgy was making a variety of liquid based supplies. While the pouches were human child size, the hedgehog knew that space would be tight, and they would fit within his flight module. As the little pots bubbled on his stove, Pudgy looked on his calendar, only 4 days to go till he would launch. Pudgy was also aware of what happens when he eats and researched that the astronauts in the old days did not have potties in space. He would have to rely on a diaper, and using absorbent materials, he rigged a series of layers within his suit for that purpose. Meanwhile at work, Cobalt sent Comix Villain a message: LOVOC is go.” As Pudgy saw the communication appear on his home phone, he clarified, “League of Villains Orbital Command.” Almost instantaneously, a flurry of messages started with the various villain members. The moon quakes were getting stronger each day, and rocks were floating off the surface over Mare Anguish. The national news was mentioning that the Russians were scrambling to launch but would be February 21st at the earliest. The Chinese offered to move their lander towards the crater, but they were months away due to the speed of travel. The world did not know there was a hedgehog ready to fly, to save the day.
Doomcock’s last message to Cobalt and him last night was the robot from Xanadoom with the fuel would arrive Tuesday and fueling would take 2 days. Any pressure leaks would be fixed by the robot. To meet the conjunction window, where the distance between the earth and moon would be the closest, the launch had to be Friday at the latest. As the hedgehog was filling the plastic pouches of his travel food, he peeked out his window. It was a dark gray day, and raining. He hoped mister dinosaur was ok, and happy in his Cave. Hours passed, day turned to night, and Cobalt came over. More work on the rocket, while a pot of boiling water sterilized and preserved the pouches of food Pudgy had made. His friend also brought a box of sterilized saline and freshwater pouches. The little critter scampered up to his human friend, who was finishing the assembly of the flight module. Pudgy saw a pallet loaded with small green metal bottles. “What are those?” The man smiled, ” I am glad that I still had my late father’s oxygen concentrator. Those are your air tanks. I worked out the numbers, and you will need 25 of those for the trip up, and back. Really 18, but I want you to have a buffer. Space is a vacuum, and you will suffocate without oxygen. The capsule’s air will stagnate, so for most of the trip, I want you to keep your space helmet glass down.”
The hedgehog nodded and hugged his friend’s leg. His human friend smiled and picked him up for a proper hug. After some moments passed, Cobalt put him in the module. He started showing him how to work the controls. Then he stood up and started carrying over the green tanks one by one. Once they had been moved into a better position, the man started connecting them into the rear section. Using a torque wrench, he tightened the steel braided air lines. Pudgy could feel a little rush of air behind his head. “Cobalt, I feel the wind.” His friend grumbled and reached into the module. Pudgy had pushed the air lever accidentally. “Turn off the air lever Pudgy,” he called out as his hedgehog friend found the air control levers. As Cobalt checked the main tank gauges, he determined that luckily the air loss wasn’t bad. Cobalt checked the master air supply, and each tank would pressurize the main supply. He could top off the loss once he had an idea of how much air he needed. Pudgy looked around, and he saw his space was 1/3 of what Cobalt started with. “Pudgy, what are the air gauges showing?” The hedgehog called out, “two zero zero zero psi.” Cobalt nodded, I have three big tanks to connect also. The problem is weight. I hope I am not overloading the rocket.” Pudgy peeked and saw led bulbs lighting up around the gauge. Pudgy peeked out of the hatch, “Cobalt, all these green lights are showing around the air gauge?”
Cobalt crawled over and rubbed his nose against the hedgehog’s, who bounced happily.” Each dot is a full tank. You will eventually see 25. When all dots are off, you have no more air.” Pudgy looked at him, then slunk back into the chair. Cobalt grunted, as he moved a large tank into position. Using Doomcock star trek level language, he hoisted the tank into the center of the rear compartment. It was going to be another long night, and the man rubbed his weary eyes, “I hope this adventure is your last big one…. i….” Cobalt trailed off. The forest got quiet, and Pudgy peeked out, seeing cobalt shining a flashlight into the woods. “Hello?” The loud screeching sound hit, and the man dropped down onto the ground. Pudgy looked around, and gray aliens started to appear in the woods, looking at the rocket. Pudgy starts to climb out and look above. Far into the sky, he saw the circular object floating above. The hedgehog jumped out and crawled up to his friend. Cobalt’s eyes had rolled back into his head, and he started to float. Pudgy screamed, “NO! Don’t take Pudgy friend!”
The man’s body was limp, and suddenly he was flung across the camp and landed hard against a tree. The aliens started to float closer towards his rocket. The man sat up, and coughed up blood, somehow, he was defying whatever was causing the paralysis. The noise got louder, and Cobalt dropped to his knees. Reaching into his tool belt, he threw a ball peen hammer. The hammer nailed one of the grays between the eyes. “You leave my friend Pudgy alone.” The campsite was bathed in white light, and the noise screeched louder. The aliens started drawing closer, they were at the edges where the tarps tied into the trees. Three gray aliens rushed Cobalt, knocking him down. They had surgical tools and were cutting his clothes off. The man swung wildly and clocked one alien in the head. He gasped, as they held him down, cutting gouges in his skin. He was starting to bleed, bad. The hedgehog cried out, “Noooo!” More aliens started to appear, one by one. Pudgy noticed they were only focused on his human friend. The hedgehog scurried around, and found a blow torch, still lit. And an unconnected oxygen tank. Pudgy had to be careful and pushed the torch towards it. Tense moments passed as the critter moved and pointed the tank at the aliens.
The noise was deafening, and Cobalt’s body dropped onto the ground again. As the ten aliens subdued the human, they turned their attention to Pudgy. They saw the 50 liters air tank, and a lit blow torch pointed at them, “tell Harvey he’s next.” Pudgy growled, as he hit the air valve sending a fireball at them. The aliens screeched, as they were set ablaze, and ran around. The white light disappeared, and one by one the injured gray creatures disappeared. Pudgy scurried up to Cobalt, seeing the extent of his injuries. He started to whimper, ears folded, “Cobalt…pwease wake up.” The whimpering hedgehog scurried up to his cabin. The fireball had blown apart his cabin. One wall had fallen, and the windows shattered. He scooted inside and got out any cloth or first aid supply he had. Then scurried back, to help his human friend. Pudgy started to tend his wounds, and kept looking at him, repeating Cobalt’s name. The man eventually started to groan, and his eyes opened as Pudgy was sitting on his chest binding wounds. “Hello Pudgy, I think they’re worried now.” The hedgehog bounced as he was relieved. the human shivered as he Looked over at the damaged cabin, the lit blow torch, and air tank. “Fireball?” Pudgy nodded, and the man chuckled, “we’ll need to refill that tonight. Pudgy, I need a cookie.” Pudgy nodded, and the two crawled over to the cabin. Pudgy came out with a box, and the two munched while watching as light started to shimmer nearby.
And poof, a shower of white sparkles, Hecate appeared in her fine white long dress, and feathered headdress. Her smile quickly faded, as she looked at the hurt shirtless man, sitting next to a partially destroyed cabin. “Cobalt, don’t move!” The man nodded, and watched as she quickly came over, running her hand over the wounds. Her touch felt like hydrogen peroxide, burning his skin. But as her hand passed, the injuries slowly faded. Her green eyes had started glowing blue once more. Pudgy watched, and Cobalt turned his head for a cough, spitting out some remaining blood. The magical woman spoke as she continued her work, “Pudgy, what happened?” Between whimpering sobs, the hedgehog started to tell her, the color drained from Hecate’s face. Pudgy scurried back and forth, with what medical supplies he had. Cobalt soon was ok with the care of the hedgehog and woman. Just as Hecate was about to speak, more light shimmers started, and floating robot sentries started to appear around the camp. The royal Crest of Xanadoom was emblazoned on the chest plates. One floated up to the trio and spoke in a metallic voice. “Hail Pudgy, legionnaire of Doomcock. Sentry droid 47 reporting. What is situation?” Pudgy bounced and started to explain everything. The robot floated, and after the story ended, “situation parameters defined.” Four more robots appeared, this time with turrets.
Hecate grinned, “Lord Doomcock is not taking any chances now. Dearest Pudgy, dost thou see what I meant now?” The hedgehog nodded, and watched the robots start working on the rocket. “Assembly 95%, error, tank empty.” Cobalt laughed weakly, “Pudgy had to make a fireball.” The robot attached the tank to its claw, and in a matter of seconds, repressured the air tank. A maintenance robot took the tank, and quickly started to finish the work. Hecate sat beside Cobalt, watching him smile at her. “Thank you for healing me, Hecate.” She giggled and looked at Pudgy who had made tea. The trio sat quietly in the dark forest, as the generator sputtered and ran out of gas. The lights faded, and soon the only light was coming out of the cabin. The robots moved around, adept for the low light conditions of Xanadoom. They had work lights built into their bodies. She watched in amazement and was shocked at the progress the two friends had made. The daughter of the goddess had been occasionally stopping by to watch, though had been gone for a time due to other pressing matters. Sipping her tea, she patted Pudgy’s head. Cobalt had brought a change of clothes and had a new dirty shirt on.
Luckily the cabin damage was not severe as expected, and the man was able to piece together the wall once more, hammering it back into place. The windows would need to be replaced. “Pudgy, we need to build a blast shield around your cabin. The rocket will cause a lot of damage.” The hedgehog nodded, though he was barely able to send from exhaustion. The hedgehog started crawling into his cabin, then his bed immediately falling asleep. Cobalt wearily stood up and headed over to help the robots finish the flight module. Hecate nodded, still sitting. Watching, waiting, lest the evil ones return. Cobalt was still hurt and would need help if the mysterious beings returned. As the hours passed, the forest regained its serene nature. Cobalt worked alongside the Xanadoom robots on the rocket. The sun started to come up, Pudgy woke up finding his friend moving lethargic, dragging his feet. Hecate had disappeared again. The hedgehog scampered out concerned, “Cobalt, have you been up all night?” His friend nodded and dropped onto the ground beside the cabin. The hedgehog peeked over his leg, and up at him. ” no go work, stay here. You need to sleep.” Cobalt nodded, “Pudgy, I don’t feel good.” He got out his cell phone and called off from work. He handed Pudgy his phone; can you hook it up to your charger?” The hedgehog nodded and dragged the phone into his cabin.
The man dropped down onto the wet ground, and immediately passed out. Pudgy peeked out his door, and saw his human friend partially blocking the door. But the hedgehog knew he needed to take care of his friend. Pulling out from underneath his home the tarps he used to cover his roof, he set up a tent over his friend. Then scampered back to the cabin, firing up the woodstove to high. The door was open, so the heat travelled out to the tent enclosure. He peeked out and watched the robots continue to work. The hedgehog began to make many trips back and forth from his cabin to the rocket. The robots helped him load supplies into the flight module. Each trip, he would check on his human friend. It wasn’t until late afternoon, Cobalt woke up. He found himself under a tarp tent, and a hedgehog peeking at him. “I’m better Pudgy.” He said, which drew a tired smile, and many hedgehog hugs. He rolled out from under the tarp, seeing the robots fueling the rocket. “Hey, 47, how’s it going?” The sentry drone turned, ” rocket assembly 100%, fueling 50%, oxygen 100%, supplies 90%.” The robots had attached solar panel 2, the remaining oxygen tanks, and the heat shields as he had involuntarily slept.
The man turned, patted the robot and returned to work, helping Pudgy move and pack supplies. Once that was finished, he made a big fire in the firepit, and started to cook various canned products. He was tired, so they went into the coals. As scents of dollar store beef stew wafted in the air, Pudgy curled up beside his friend, watching the light fade in the skies above. “Pudgy hope tonight is less eventful.” Cobalt chuckled, “yeah me too. Where did Hecate wander off to?” Pudgy nibbled a chunk of blackened spam, “she had to go find a chaos goddess.” Cobalt nodded, “ahh, Eris I think, if I remember her profile.” Pudgy nodded and bounced, “she’s pwetty, and nice.” Cobalt chuckled, “you keep that up, and one of those Darlings might ask you to be with them. I would never see you again.” He laughed, but Pudgy hugged his leg looking up at him. “Pudgy would come back. Pudgy would miss Cobalt too much.” The human patted his friend gently, and cut another piece of spam, then handed it to him. The hedgehog nibbled. “Tonight, I have to build a barricade around your cabin. The force of the thrust from the rocket would blast your cabin apart.” Pudgy nodded, nibbling his food. “We are almost ready to launch; I think tomorrow you should leave. So, after I finish work tonight, you need to sleep. I do too for that matter.”
The hedgehog nodded and started to clean up supper. This was while Cobalt started to dig, move rock, dirt, crates, so that he could form a blast shield barricade around the cabin. The man worked late into the night once more. The robots also helped, realizing quickly what he was doing. With their help, it was done. The tired, mud covered man hugged his hedgehog friend once more, before taking his leave. He needed a hot shower, 4 heavy duty aspirins, and a long sleep. Pudgy waved as Cobalt left, and watched the robots hover, patrolling the area. “47, Pudgy goes sweep now. Nite nite.” The sentry blinked its yellow eyes. The door shut, and soon the hedgehog dropped hard into his bed, falling asleep immediately. The cabin was quiet, save for the errant shuffling of leaves, and a faint shimmer in the corner. “Pudgy need sweep, go home Bob!” The hedgehog grumbled and tossed an empty cookie box at the corner. There was a clicking noise, then the shimmer disappeared. By that time, Pudgy had fallen asleep again. One sentry looked inside the cabin window, “intruder gone.” Doomcock’s voice rang out over the intercom. “Good job 47, stand guard. Tomorrow we launch.”
The night quickly passed. Pudgy napped frequently throughout the day, as he knew that he would get little rest in the coming days. Late afternoon, Cobalt arrived, and started going over a check list. Pudgy got more hugs than usual too, which made him happy. The robots also were double checking the rocket and various systems. It was as the light started to fade; Cobalt grew very serious. “It’s time Pudgy to get dressed.” The man knelt and started putting the layers of clothing on his little hedgehog friend. As he pulled the second layer onto and fitted Pudgy, he watched him wiggle his nose and bounce happily. Cobalt smiled, and then secured the outer layer, and air tank assembly. He picked up, and carried the hedgehog, and helmet over to the flight module. Connecting his helmet to the space suit, he looked at the excited critter, then kissed his nose gently. “Pudgy, please come back to me.” The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy Promise.” Cobalt nodded and loaded him into the module. Locking the air tank into its holder, he strapped the hedgehog into place. “We can keep the hatch open for now, I will let you know when to close it. Don’t touch the controls yet.” The man stood up and motioned to the robot sentry 47. “Can you help take down the camo blinds and tarps?”
The robot blinked, “affirmative!” The sentries started to cut the lines and rolling up the camouflage materials. Soon the rocket became visible from the sky, and Pudgy felt the rocket being tipped to an upright position. Doomcock had sent a launcher platform, which was hoisting the rocket to launch position. The digital displays started to light up: T minus 30 minutes. Pudgy heard Cobalt talking to him over the radio. “Pudgy, shut the hatch.” The hedgehog worked the controls, and his hatch closed. The rocket started to seal, with loud clicks and hisses. There was a small window in front of his flight module. The clock kept ticking down; meanwhile, the rocket was in launch position. Cobalt was moving items away from the launch platform, less anything be turned into a projectile. As he finished cleaning the site, the robots were also moving away to a safe distance. Taking a cue from the robots, he too moved far back, behind the cabin. Then after considering things, he backed further up the hill by a large boulder next to a tall pine tree. The man sent a message to the villains, with Pudgy in his space suit inside the flight module. That got an immediate response, with an excited flurry of messages between the group online.
Pudgy’s voice crackled on the radio, “10 minutes Cobalt.” Doomcock, realizing Cobalt had to build and train, while Pudgy had to fly, numbered the switches. The man pushed the transmit button on his walkie talkie, “Pudgy, start flipping the switches into the one position in order one through 10.” The hedgehog began to push the numbered switches in order to 10, calling out each switch number as he did so over the radio. When the critter reached 10, Cobalt spoke again over the radio, “go ahead, and turn on the oxygen.” The hedgehog reached back and turned the valves to allow the oxygen to flow. As Pudgy looked around inside the module, there were various screens. Very wisely, Cobalt had printed a paper manual, in case something was to occur. Outside, the rocket was making clunking noises, as the various seals to move into place readying for launch. The hedgehog pulled his glass face shield down, and locked it shut. He could feel the faint wisp of air against his face. The hedgehog tapped his crystal.
“Lord Doomcock, Pudgy ready to go.” The crystal hissed, and Doomcock’s voice came through the helmet, “Pudgy, I have my network monitoring you. T minus 60 seconds. Turn on switches 11 through 20.” Pudgy started turning on the engines which began to roar, which made the whole rocket shake. Cobalt’s voice came through the radio, “Please be safe Pudgy. You’re my best friend, now go kick Harvey’s butt back to the dimension he came from. Hit it!” Pudgy pushed the radio button and the battle theme from Flash Gordon by Queen started to play. ” 10, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1…BLAST OFF!” Cobalt watched as the flames shot out from beneath the rocket, and it began to lift off. The rocket started to ascend slowly, and then as it cleared the treetops, the thrust kicked into full burn, and it shot into the air at a fast clip. Cobalt was cheering and dropped to his knees from exhaustion. The blast shield that was built to protect the cabin was ripped apart. Pudgy’s cabin burst into flames, and logs were blasted in all directions. The roar of the engine bellowed through the forest.
Mister dinosaur opened his cave door, to see the rocket shooting into the sky. He roared in excitement, “GO KICK THOSE ALIEN’S BUTT PUDGY!” and far away on the opposite side, mister bear watched, praying this endeavor worked for the best, and the little hedgehog returned safely. On the edge of the forest, a couple miles away a gentleman wearing Gideon’s Mob jacket was on his patio playing a guitar and looked up. “Honey, do you see a rocket?” His wife poked her head out and watched the white plume of smoke. “That’s it…. we’re moving!” The guitar player pulled out his phone, and wildly excited posts of Pudgy going to the moon were flooding twitter. Worried darlings were commenting as fast as updates were provided. The villains were quick to action, and started their mischievously evil deeds, to run subterfuge to ensure the hedgehog could make it to space. As Cobalt watched the fireball from below, he watched the robots disappear one by one.