Welcome to the futuristic FUTURE of the 22nd Century! Widespread panic has gripped the galaxy as a dangerous gang of space-criminals has embarked on a time-capsule looting spree! No cornerstone is safe from their violent methods of antiquities acquisition, rx and the worried masses place their salvation in the gaudily garbed hands of SPACE RANGER!
You remember Space Ranger, right? Had a crewcut and a goofy transparent half-helmet? Fought future-crimes with the help of an irritating shape-changing sidekick and kept a blonde bit of rescue-bait in his secret asteroid lair? C’mon, you have to have some idea who he is. That one dude who wasn’t Adam Strange, Tommy Tomorrow, the Star Rovers, Space Cabby, Star Hawkins, Chris KL-99, or Captain Comet?
Doesn’t ring any bells? No matter.
Using his amazing detective skills, Space Ranger was able to determine that the string of related robberies meant that the space-crooks were — brace yourselves for shock, kids — looking for something, the mysterious and much-coveted device known to future historians as…
This fabled device, according to fragmentary accounts passed down from the early 21st Century, has the ability to reverse an individual’s growth. Slap on the machine’s flimsy headset, log into a public multiplayer session of CoD: Black Ops, and BAM — it’s like you never left the middle school realm of affected machismo and casual hate speech!
Despite Space Ranger’s
best nominal efforts, the cosmic crooks were able to get their greasy space-mitts on the X-Box, which was brought back to their hideout for a quick round of the latest Madden game…
…after, of course, they got it hooked up to the home wireless network, created user profiles, provided their space credit card information to Microsoft, and downloaded a half-dozen sizable-yet-required firmware and title updates.
Realizing that the so-called Guardian of Space was hot on their trail, the n00b-smoking space fiends decided to give their nemesis a little taste of the device’s memory-limited power. (The henchman who suggested that a Play-Station would have been a better choice suffered a severe flaming…by getting jettisoned into the heart of a dying sun.)
By exposing the Space Ranger to the X-Box’s power, the villains hoped to revert to hero into a babbling baby…
…or more accurately, “a babbling man-infant who lives in his parents’ basement and subsists on a diet of Hot Pockets and Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel, yet blames feminists for his inability to get laid.”
The Ranger’s square jaw and exceptional blandness carried the day, however, allowing him to turn the tables and trap the space miscreants in their very own red ring of (eventual) death.
And thus were “TwiztedN1nja,” “CaptDogBallz420,” and “AsassenKilla” brought to justice.
(from “The Billion-Dollar Time-Capsule” in Mystery in Space #103, November 1963; by Dave Wood and Howard Purcell)