Archevos was always a dreamer for travel. He collected anything and everything, unusual or valuable, relating to outer space. Now he got to have his own luxurious spacecraft, the Pandora. Fueled by a sulfuric compound, it could only be utilized with an ignition system activated by his own thumbprint.
During the construction of the Pandora, Archevos required the utmost perfection, even with the most trivial of details. The advanced technology developed for the ship included a UPS (Universal Positioning System) with the precise location of all galactic landmarks and important sites. The Pandora’s internal atmospheric system was built so that no crew member could ever suffocate, even if they tried. And believe me, living under the direction of the ever-tedious Archevos did cause some crew members to wish they could quit breathing.
When Archevos viewed his finished ship for the first time in all her glory, he shouted, “Balderdash! And my sixth grade teacher said I would never amount to anything!”
The day of his first voyage finally arrived. Archevos was determined to travel where no mentally balanced man had gone before, the Planet of the Space Hamsters, ruled by her royal majesty, the most celebrated and vicious hamster of them all, Queen Persephone. Archevos imagined that the queen would willingly become his pet, that poor delusional man. But he had held onto this dream since he was 10 years old, when he first read about Queen Persephone and her world of ageless Amazonian warrior hamsters, whose advanced technology had created an atmosphere where aging no longer occurred. He was smitten with the Queen’s adorability and had created for her a complex system of hamster mansions connected by pearlescent tunnels. He really believed she would love it.
On Earth, centuries before Archevos was even born, hamsters, beloved by their owners, evolved to become super-intelligent and grew opposable thumbs. They tore open their metal cages and smelted them together to create a rocket. They stole the copper wiring from their owners’ electric control boxes, and powered the rocket with hundreds of hamster wheels turning throughout the voyage. They had set their sights on a planet habitable for life and far enough from Earth to preclude humans from reclaiming them. They mined the rich ores from the planet using their razor-like teeth and natural digging abilities, and created a beautiful city for themselves, where they lived happily and without fear of their Earthling oppressors. Archevos’ arrival would come as a shock to the hamsters, who had almost forgotten their long-ago flight from captivity.
The Pandora’s journey to the Planet of the Space Hamsters went off without a hitch. The ship’s accommodations were deluxe beyond measure. The crew’s quarters were palatial, right down to the silk carpets and memory foam couches, mattresses and pillows. Archevos had hired a world-renowned chef, descendant of Gordon Ramsey, the famed television 5-star Michelon winner. The cryogenic refrigeration on board kept the organic produce and proteins fresh for unlimited periods of time. The cooking was accomplished using state-of–the-art laser technostoves. If a crew member wanted to eat in their room, they had only to choose from the telemenu, and the food was manifested into their private kitchenette.
Two days and 536,873 light-years later, the Pandora touched down on the Planet of the Space Hamsters. Archevos sent his head messenger with a note to Queen Persephone, asking her to become his lifelong companion and cherished pet. Sadly the messenger was immediately attacked by the planet’s furry residents. Archevos and his crew watched with horror as the messenger was transformed into a mindless servant of the space hamsters.
By the time Archevos came to his senses and began the sequence for launching, the space hamsters had gnawed on the ship enough that the Pandora was almost unable to achieve liftoff. Archevos’ dream of a life with the adorable queen was abruptly broken and shattered into a million fragments. He was bereft.
Just as the space hamsters were about to utterly disable the ship with their oral daggers and scrabbling talons, the Pandora began to hover above their little furry heads. Archevos knew from that moment he was a fugitive from the Planet of the Space Hamsters, their superior technology, and his beloved Queen Persephone.
© Maxwell Wilderson, Abner S. Baker Central School, Fort Morgan, Colorado