We all know Space Cabby is a crackerjack pilot. After all, he’s certainly told us about this enough times. But can he win a race to Pluto?
He gets into this race after getting some work done on the cab by his trusty space-mechanic, Bret. Bret offers to eat the cost of repairs if Space Cabby will race him to Pluto in his Spacemobile. It seems that Bret wants to try out a little something he’s been working on in his spare time.
Even if this wasn’t just a chance for him to not have to pay for repair work, Space Cabby takes the bet. After all, no mechanical contraption can out-drive him!
They climb in their ships and start making the calculations for Pluto.
It only takes Space Cabby five minutes to make a drawing with all the wrong routes labeled, but he finds out that Piloton did it in five seconds! And three of those seconds Bret was just putting in numbers and turning it upside down to see it spell “BOOBIES”! Space Cabby shifts into gear but Bret and Piloton are already well on their way!
Piloton’s first challenge comes in the form of a meteor swarm. Space Cabby flies around the group of rocks and suspects Piloton will have to do the same. but no!
(I apologize to any Venusian Frogmen in the audience. It was a different time, you understand.)
Next, the racers come upon a ginormous asteroid. Space Cabby swerves to avoid it, but Piloton keeps going straight ahead. Why? Because as it turns out, Piloton immediately detected that it was actually a “space mirage” which had deceived Space Cabby’s pitiful human eyes!
Our hero can’t catch a break! Piloton effortlessly handles every hazard the turbulent atmosphere of space throws at it!
Space Cabby is about to throw in the towel when suddenly he picks up an SOS! And space law requires the nearest ship to answer it! He’s out of the race for sure now! Except…wait a second, diagrams to the rescue!
Space Cabby gets to Pluto and is surprised to find that Bret isn’t there, despite it seeming as though he would win the race easily. What could have happened? By now you’re wondering where the criminals are and sure enough, a news broadcast reveals that space bandits have eluded even the fastest Ippy ships as though their ship were driven by a superpilot! “Howling comets!” exclaims SC. “That sounds like Piloton!”
The crooks are holding Bret prisoner and Space Cabby knows that no pilot could possibly get close enough to them to rescue him! But even if he can’t find all the wrong routes to Pluto in less than five minutes, he can come up with stellar ideas for catching criminals! He radios Ippy HQ, telling them that he’s got the plans to Piloton and is on his way to deliver them to the Interplanetary Police so they can make Pilotons of their own!
Sure enough, the mountain comes to Mohammed! Bret’s Spacemobile comes straight at Space Cabby, but our wily hack is ready for them!
Ah, the old high-powered flash bulb trick!
He boards their ship, treats the crooks to a little chin music, and frees Bret from the storage room. Bret now realizes the flaw with the Piloton: crooks could use it for crime! He vows to give Ippy exclusive rights to the invention, meaning that robot pilots won’t take Space Cabby’s job away from him! Illegal Venusian Frogman immigrants are still the only threat on that front!
Next week: The Anti-Gravity Man!
Mystery in Space #40 (October-November 1957)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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