The American Astronaut

Institute History


Space travel has become a dirty way of life dominated by derelicts, grease monkeys, thieves, and hard-boiled interplanetary traders such as Samuel Curtis, an astronaut from Earth who deals in rare goods, living or otherwise.

His mission begins with the unlikely delivery of a live cat to a small outer-belt asteroid saloon where he meets his former dancing partner, and renowned interplanetary fruit thief, the Blueberry Pirate. As payment for his delivery of the cat, Curtis receives a home-made cloning device already in the process of creating a creature most rare in this space quadrant . . . a Real Live Girl.

At the suggestion of the Blueberry Pirate, Curtis takes the Real Live Girl to Jupiter where there are no women and they have long been a mystery. There, he proposes a trade with the owner of Jupiter: the Real Live Girl clone for the Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast. The Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast is an adolescent entertainer regarded as royalty on the all-male mining planet of Jupiter because of his unique and exotic contact with a woman. It is Curtis' intention to take The Boy to Venus and trade him for the remains of Johnny R., an Earth man who spent his lifetime serving as a human stud for the Southern belles of Venus, a planet populated only by women. Upon returning Johnny R.'s body to his bereaved family on earth, Curtis will receive a handsome reward.

It all seems simple enough.

But while hashing out the plan with the Blueberry Pirate, Curtis is spotted by his arch nemesis, Professor Hess. Hess, whose mission it is to kill without reason or remorse, is unable to kill those with whom he has had unresolved differences. Hess has been pursuing Samuel Curtis throughout the solar system in order that he might forgive him, then kill him. Along the way, Hess has executed each and every individual to come into contact with Curtis.

Unaware of this danger, Curtis sets forth on his mission.

After retrieving The Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast from Jupiter, Curtis is contacted by the evil Professor Hess who makes his location and intentions known. Fearing for their lives, Curtis and The Boy look for a place to hide. They come across a primitive space station constructed by Nevada State silver miners from the late Eighteen-Hundreds.

Inside they discover a small group of miners still alive, their bodies crippled and deformed by Space Atrophy. Unable to return home for fear that Earth's gravity would kill them, two of the miners mated and gave birth to a boy known as Body Suit. He was raised in a suit of hydraulics to simulate Earth's gravity with the intention of sending him home. In trade for supplies and sanctuary, Curtis agrees to deliver Body Suit to Earth, knowing that the delivery of Body Suit and The Boy to their destinations will lead to their deaths at the hands of Professor Hess.

But even in this surly world of galactic commerce and thuggish space pirates, sometimes good prevails—even if it is motivated by a rugged quest for survival, human barter, or even evil.


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