In case previous adventures have not yet convinced you that Space Cabby has a lightning quick wit that can solve the most tasking problems in but moments, in this story Space Cabby turns his incredible mind against the animal kingdom!
Our tale begins with Space Cabby drunkenly swerving around in the space-lanes. You’d think that with all of interplanetary space to work with, folks would have plenty of room, but no, we even need little satellites to direct space-traffic.
The space truck, which sustains massive damage, belongs to Buck Bolton, a cosmic big-game hunter, who has been hired by the Interplanetary Zoo to pick up three rare animals from the asteroids. Not wanting to involve Ippy or put points on his space insurance, SC negotiates with Buck: he’ll hire some trailers and help catch the critters.
Together they head out to the “asteroid jungle”, where Buck tells Space Cabby about their first specimen.
The thing is, Buck explains, the slow rotation of the asteroid makes days last an entire week! Nuts to that, says Space Cabby, since this frivolous mission to make up for his careless driving is taking precious precious fare money away from him. He starts wandering around slapping at the air trying to find an invisible cocoon, but it’s no good. It’s almost like these invisible cocoons don’t want to be found!
This comment of Buck’s sets Space Cabby’s UNIVAC-like mind buzzing, and in moments he heads for the space cab and tells Buck to get ready with his net. It turns out that the sun is so far away out here that the space cab is enough to create an eclipse on the asteroid! Sure enough, Buck, down in the umbra (“the shadow cast by an eclipse. — Ed.”) is able to snag an emerging caterpillar within moments! Score one for the hunters!
Buck points out the next target, which appears as just a blur in the sky.
The supersonic hawk zips by so speedily that Buck and Space Cabby can only hope for a lucky hit with their lightning-guns (it’s okay, PETA, they only stun animals!) Buck mentions that the hawk nests on top of an asteroid, and once again, SC almost at once has a plan. He climbs up a mountain (no problem in the asteroid’s low gravity), finds a nest with an egg in it and swipes it! Using the egg as bait they easily trap the mama hawk in one of their cages. Two down, one to go!
The last target is a gigantic ameboid which looks like a cross between a bear and a seal. Space Cabby lassos it easily enough, but it immediately splits into two identical creatures. This is a bigger problem than is immediately obvious.
This seems like an odd sort of defense mechanism, since Buck goes on to explain that after the ameboids breathe in air, they take up to an entire week before they exhale. Mama Cabby didn’t raise no dummies, so SC dives off into the panel gutter to grab…
…a little space pepper! Buck analyzes the sneezes to identify the fake, and soon the real deal is packed up for shipment! As they head for the Interplanetary Zoo, Buck Bolton is singing Space Cabby’s praises, promising that today’s deeds will be spoken about by space hunters for generations. And when he gets to the Zoo:
Everyone seems to think SC should go into business separating animals from their freedom, what with his pepper-making-things-sneeze know-how. But we all know that being a cab driver in space is what our hero loves, or his name isn’t Space Cabby!
Next week: Dangerous Journey to Earth!
Mystery in Space #33 (August-September 1956)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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