If you think scouring all of space for one meteor is a tough job, imagine scouring all of space for a HALF of a meteor! But that’s what Space Cabby finds himself having to do to reclaim his cab — and a fortune!
Our story begins with the space cab in bad shape!
Space Cabby pulls over onto a large meteor with a peculiar “S”-shaped marking on it to fix up his vehicle. After doing so he notices a cloud of sparkling stones that look just like diamonds! After a thorough testing
he starts loading up the cab with as many “sparklers” as he can cram in it. Woohoo, his money-free days are over! Or are they? Because just as he’s nearly got it full, tragedy strikes!
Without a cab, he’s not going to get far, so Space Cabby signs up for duty with the Meteor Sweepers! “They patrol the space-lanes for dangerous meteors!” In no time at all he’s out there, dropping atomic bombs on space rocks!
But despite what you might think, atomic bombs can’t solve every problem. When the Meteor Sweepers come across a fire meteor, they know they can’t bomb it, because the flaming remnants would be even MORE of a hazard! And it’s too big to douse with water! How can they suffocate the flames of this hazard in the vacuum of space?
It’s lucky that Space Cabby and the Meteor Sweepers found each other! But that’s just the beginning of the atypical meteors! Their rocket nearly gets grazed by every spaceman’s nightmare: an invisible meteor! How can you lob atomic bombs at something you can’t even see? This is horrifying! Calm down, and let Space Cabby do his thing:
Aren’t you glad these guys are out there protecting the space lanes? So they “paint space red” until the invisible culprit shows up and then apply a finishing coat of mighty atomic death.
The next hazard on the list is the most fantastic of all! Although visible and not on fire, it actually repels the Sweepers’ bombs! Cosmic rays have made it into a dreaded anti-gravity meteor! Why this is a hazard to rockets, which usually have gravity, I don’t know, but it’s gotta go! But how? “Pshaw!” says Space Cabby. “All you have to do is bomb it with something that weighs nothing!” Does that sound crazy? It doesn’t to Space Cabby’s boss!
As they pour neutrino dust on the meteor, Space Cabby notices a marking on the side of it. It’s half of his missing meteor! But unfortunately, it’s the wrong half! However, as the neutrino dust removes the anti-gravity effect, the meteor half begins shooting through space, powered by super-magnetism pulling it towards its other magnetic half! THAT BETTER NOT BE GIGGLING I’M HEARING BACK THERE. Space Cabby jumps out of the Meteor Sweeper rocket and grabs onto it. And sure as SCIENCE!, it carries him back to his diamond-filled space cab!
He hops in and heads for Earth, dreaming of space yachts, moon ownership, and possibly buying Pluto (upgraded back to a planet, it seems) all the way. When he gets to Earth, though, a rude surprise awaits him.
All of that space-lane-protecting work was for nothing! But not exactly for nothing, because immediately an off-panel voice informs him that he’s won the Meteor Sweeper Award for Meritorious Service!
No, Space Cabby, I wouldn’t believe that.
Next week: The Pea-Pod Planet!
“Search for the Space Sparklers!”
Mystery in Space #31 (April-May 1956)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Joe Giella
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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