Authors: H. Badger
SCOUTING THE UNIVERSE FOR A NEW EARTH
THE SLIME VOLCANO
The Slime Volcano
published in 2010 by
Hardie Grant Egmont
85 High Street
Prahran, Victoria 3181, Australia
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means
without the prior permission of the publishers and copyright owner.
A CiP record for this title is available from the National Library of Australia
Text copyright Â© 2010 H. Badger
Illustration and design copyright Â© 2010 Hardie Grant Egmont
Cover illustration by D. Mackie
Illustrated by D. Greulich and S. Spartels
Series design by S. Swingler
Typeset by Ektavo
Printed in Australia by McPherson's Printing Group
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Why hasn't someone invented an easier way to
Kip Kirby grumbled to himself.
After all, it IS the year 2354!
Kip was twelve â old enough to stay home alone during the school holidays while his mum and dad were at work. But while they were away, Kip had to do chores around the apartment for his pocket money!
Kip was used to working hard, though. As well as going to school, he had a job as a Space Scout.
Space Scouts explored unknown galaxies in deep space. They were searching for Earth 2.The current Earth was running out of room, and another planet was needed for humans to live on. No other planet in the Milky Way had water or the right atmosphere.
Being a Space Scout was an honour, but a huge responsibility. Earth's future depended on Kip and the 49 other scouts.
Kip was due to leave for his next Space Scout mission in an hour!
In his apartment on the 2,342nd floor, Kip squirted cleaning liquid onto the bathroom mirror. It was the latest Best-U model. Instead of showing your actual reflection, the Best-U suggested cool new hairstyles and outfits.
That day, Kip's reflection had short, blond hair with a blue spiky fringe. His outfit was a sparkling gold spacesuit.
Gold's my colour,
Kip decided, imagining when he might get to wear a gold spacesuit for real.
The Shield of Honour presentation ceremony
, he sighed.
After finishing a mission, Space Scouts earned one Planetary Point. Important discoveries on new planets earned two points. But the Space Scout who actually discovered the next Earth won the ultimate prize â the Shield of Honour.
Kip wanted to win it more than anything. He pictured himself holding up the shield while the other Space Scouts cheered. There were also other prizes for the winning Space Scout, like a brand-new Turbo RoboHorse to ride on Earth 2. Of course, saving humanity would be awesome, too.
Suddenly the doorbell rang, interrupting Kip's daydream. It was Jett, Kip's best friend from school. He lived on the 1,698th floor of Kip's apartment building.
âCheck this out!' Jett grinned, holding a microphone with flashing blue and yellow lights.
WorldCorp Turbo RoboHorse 8000
âNo way!' Kip said. âYour parents got you a Pro-Planet Star Mic?'
Pro-Planet Star Mics were the latest craze at Kip and Jett's school. You simply sang into the microphone and it recorded you, instantly adding backing vocals and a band.
The microphone then beamed your performance to big screens on Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury. Local aliens on each planet voted on the best singers. If they liked you, you could be in line for immediate interplanetary fame!
âThey love me on Venus,' Jett said modestly.
âGive me a go!' Kip begged.
Kip launched into one of his favourite hard rock songs, âSpace Junk'. Then Jett had a turn, singing âSun Spots'.
Next, Kip belted out a rocking version of âMeteor Strike', with air guitar and headbanging moves. But no matter what he did, Kip couldn't get the aliens watching on Mercury to vote for him.
âThey must prefer boy bands on Mercury,' he muttered.
âEwww,' Jett said. âGross!'
Then Kip remembered that he was
to be finishing his chores before he left on his next mission. He quickly flicked on his SpaceCuff.
SpaceCuffs were thick silver wrist cuffs with mini-supercomputers built in. Space Scouts used them to communicate with their starships on missions.
He checked the time. It was 16:58 hours already!
Kip had to leave for his mission in two minutes. A UniTaxi would be waiting for him on the roof of his apartment building to take him to his starship, MoNa 4000.
The Pro-Planet Star Mic had completely distracted Kip from his chores. His parents would kill him if he didn't finish them. Plus he'd miss out on his pocket money. All the same, he couldn't abandon the mission.
Saying a quick goodbye to Jett, Kip raced to his bedroom. He yanked on his spacesuit, which was bright green and custom-made to fit him perfectly.
His matching helmet had glittering flames on the side. Kip's space boots were brand new Cometchasers. According to gossip on the Space Scout intranet, Cometchasers were even better than Kip's old boots, the Hummingbird Pros.
It was time to leave.
I'll just have to do my chores when I get
, Kip decided.
Whenever that is!
Kip jumped into the lift outside his front door. The lift hurtled up a thousand floors in 0.2 seconds.
Kip raced onto the roof and spotted the waiting UniTaxi. It was green and pod-shaped, with a clear roof that opened automatically as Kip got closer.
He jumped inside and punched in the co-ordinates for the Intergalactic Hoverport, where all space flights departed. The self-piloting UniTaxi rose into the air. In 2354, all spacecraft took off vertically. There wasn't room for runways on Earth.
The UniTaxi sped the 10 kilometres up to the Hoverport, where MoNa was docked.
Every cell in Kip's body buzzed with excitement. He loved heading into space. After all, not every kid got to explore unknown planets.
Soon, Kip could see the Hoverport looming up ahead. It looked like a giant car park floating in the air. But instead of old- fashioned cars, it had rows of starships.
Kip's starship was one of the biggest. MoNa was gleaming black with a pointed nosecone and powerful thrusters. She was custom-built for extreme long-distance space travel.
âPlease open the landing bay door, MoNa,' Kip said into his SpaceCuff.
âNOW you decide to turn up?' said MoNa grumpily.
Kip rolled his eyes.
I'm not even that late!
But he said nothing to MoNa. She was very bossy. Plus, she liked to think she knew everything about space travel. Kip preferred to ignore her bad moods.