Space Balls!Orbs From Space!
Ska Dastard rolled menacingly through the cell block to the hoots and cheers of his fellow inmates, an armed guard at either side. His dimples were scuffed and his tattoos were scratched from eight long years in the astro-penitentiary. If he had a chance of parole in the next 50 years he might have used his time more constructively. Might have. Ska was a hardened criminal, with an emphasis on hard. They busted him for spice smuggling, barge-jacking, and racketeering, but he'd done everything in the book, usually twice over. This recent riot business was just par for the course.
But the Warden wasn't amused. This would be Ska's twelfth stroke in his books, which would probably mean a lunar cycle in the cat box, or even worse, another spell in the cyclotron. But to his fellow inmates Ska Dastard was a hero, and that kind of reputation greased a lot of gears in the joint. It was easily worth whatever hazard the Warden could throw at him.
Ska entered the Judgement Chamber and took his accustomed position on the Tee of Misconduct. A magnobeam locked him to it, allowing the guards to withdraw to the periphery of the chamber. A panel of jurors rose on tees from portals in the floor, and then at last came the Warden on the Tee of Judgement, towering over the entire proceeding. The lights dimmed except for a spotlight fixed directly over the perpetrator.
“Ska Dastard,” the Warden began, “You are hereby charged with inciting riotous assemblage. If convicted this will be your seventeenth stroke.”
Ska shrugged as best he could within the confines of the magnobeam. Next they'd probably charge him with being bad at math.
“How does the jury find?” the Warden continued.
“Guilty!” rang the cries from the panel. Fair trials weren't exactly a part of Orbian culture.
“Ska Dastard, you are hereby found guilty of a seventeenth stroke,” the Warden continued. “The punishment is... exile!”
That was a new one. An expression of confusion briefly crossed Ska's face despite himself. Details would be forthcoming, of course. The Warden loved the sound of his own voice when meting out sentences.
“You will be left stranded on Douchebag 3, where the yellow sun and native's penchant for fluorescent track lighting will sap you of your alien powers. You will be a prisoner in your own shell, powerless to move, a passive witness to the barbarities of the native culture for the rest of your days!” The Warden smiled wickedly as his tall-tee slowly withdrew into the floor portal, followed by the jury and even the guards. Ska was left alone to contemplate his fate.
The cyclotron was starting to look pretty comfortable. Maybe he could-
Suddenly a floor portal opened beneath him and he was sucked out into the vacuum of space, sent hurtling in the direction of the bluish Douchebag 3. He screamed as the yellow sun bombarded him with strength-sapping radiation, but Ska had a thick shell and was inured to pain. He would survive. He would escape. He would have his rev-
At that moment he entered the nitrous atmosphere of Douchebag 3 and his shell began to oxidize with a glowing flame. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!” he screamed as he plummeted to the surface at two kilometers per second. And as painful as the burning of atmospheric entry was, it had nothing on the pain of impact that was about to-
WHAM! Ska left a crater almost a meter across right in the middle of a stretch of urban asphalt before bouncing back hundreds of meters in the air. Strangely he noticed that there were many other such potholes throughout the urban fabric, but they seemed to go unrepaired by the natives. What kind of deadbeat losers lived here anyway?
WHAM! Ska made another impact, this time merely cracking what was left of a pedestrian right-of-way before bouncing scores of meters into the air again. He felt nauseous at all of the changes in direction, but wouldn't give up now that he was so close to landing. Now there was nothing beneath him but a nice soft carpet of grass. He gently skipped another four times, and then rolled to a stop.
Whew! His ordeal was over. But wait... who was THAT?!? Not two meters from him, nestled next to some broad ground foliage, there lay another Orbian! What were the chances? “Hey!” Ska called to him. “Hey you! Can you help me out, bro?”
“No way, man,” the other Orbian called back. He lay half in shade and was able just barely to rock back and forth.
“C'mon, bro!” Ska called.
But the other Orbian had now managed to roll entirely into the shade and laughed with glee. “You're the Titliest 4 now, man!” he called as he disappeared into the rough.
Ska strained and pulled, but he couldn't move from his spot on the open green. What had the other Orbian meant? When darkness descended he would surely-
But what was this now? A club wielding native barbarian was approaching, with a pair of radiation-filtering lenses over his ocular nerves and a can of anger-sauce in his hand. He immediately spotted Ska and planted his feet to either side.
“Greetings, Douchebaggian,” Ska began, trying his best to affect the same accent he had heard from his fellow Orbian, hoping that it would somehow pass for native language. “I have come here from an advanced society to-”
Suddenly there was a light tap against his side. Ska turned to notice the business end of the native's iron club looming menacingly next to him. And then it withdrew away, far away. And then it approached even more quickly, and Ska braced for impact....
But then nothing. What was going on here?!? The bizarre ritual repeated itself twice more, and Ska began to think that these Douchebaggians were crazier than they were barbarous. Then suddenly, on the fourth iteration of the ritual, the iron club did not stop and slapped him upside the head so hard he thought his brain would juice itself inside his shell. He soared up high again, before bouncing gently on the grass a few times and coming to rest again.
What had he done to deserve such ill-treatment? If only he could regain his powers, he would wreak his vengeance on that senseless barbarian!
But vengeance for some unknown offence flowed only one way that day. Ska was driven, and sliced, and beaten to within an inch of his life. Once the beast even tried drowning him, fishing him out with a long pole only at the very last moment. Finally, at the end of the day, when at last the sun plunged close to the horizon and Ska felt his powers starting to return, he was zipped into a prison that smelled of dead cow with a dozen or so other former inmates of the astro-penitentiary.
“Brothers!” Ska gasped, trying hopelessly to roll in the crowded confines. “What terrible place is this? Tell me there are no greater horrors on this planet?”
The other Orbians huddled together in silence for a long moment. Then one bravely spoke up: “There is a juvenile in the barbarian household that likes to clog up the plumbing at his educational center....”