Space Taxi: Water Planet Rescue


By Wendy Mass

By Michael Brawer

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In the second book in this series, Archie, his dad, and Pockets fly to a planet in peril: someone is stealing the water from this underwater world! Can Archie and Pockets save the day?

Archie Morningstar’s dad drives a taxi through outer space! And with the help of a talking cat named Pockets, Archie and his dad help fight crime across the universe.


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Chapter One:

Cats Don't Swim

I know everyone thinks their family is strange, but seriously, mine has them all beat. First of all, my dad drives a taxi in OUTER SPACE! Second of all, I'm somehow able to read the space map that helps him get from planet to planet. And third, since my little sister, Penny, only eats things that start with the letter P, I had to eat a persimmon for dessert last night. A persimmon is kind of like a cross between a mango and a tomato, only not as good as either a mango or a tomato. I asked Mom why we couldn't have popcorn (also starts with a P) instead, but she said if she has to pop one more batch of popcorn, she's going to run screaming through the neighborhood in her nightgown.

See? I told you. Weird family!

But I haven't even gotten to the weirdest part yet. A few days ago we got a talking cat from another planet. Pockets helps protect the universe as an Intergalactic Security Force officer. We call him Pockets because he can fit almost anything into pockets hidden behind patches of fur on his belly. And also his real name is way too long to remember.

Pockets made Dad and me deputies of the Intergalactic Security Force (called the ISF for short) because we helped him catch a criminal and sort of save the universe at the same time.

The ISF needs Dad to be available whenever Pockets has a mission for us, so his regular space taxi job is on hold awhile. I had expected Dad to grumble about this because he loves driving his taxi, but nope. He's totally into being home all the time. Two days ago he fixed that crack in the wall in our kitchen (but made a new one on the floor by dropping a brick). Then he painted the family room green (and dripped paint all over Mom's favorite chair), and tried to put up a shelf but only made two really big holes in the wall, which Mom had to cover with an old, broken clock.

Yesterday he took us to the zoo, where Penny got scared by the butterfly exhibit and cried until we got kicked out for upsetting the other kids. Today we're going swimming. Hopefully nothing will go wrong at the pool, but the odds are against it.

Truthfully? I'm itching to get back to outer space, and I know Mom is ready for Dad to get back to work.

"Got your suit on, Archie?" Dad calls out from the hall. "The pool opens in half an hour."

"Coming!" I grab my ISF badge and my space map and tuck them into my pool bag. ISF deputy Archie Morningstar is ALWAYS ready for duty. Mom said she'll only let me do this job if I promise to look before I leap and always listen to Dad and Pockets. She says I don't "think things through," because of one trip (okay, four trips) to the principal's office last year due to a series of science projects that didn't work out as expected. The janitor was able to get the scorch marks off the ceiling after only a few weeks of scrubbing, so really, I don't see what all the fuss was about.

When I get to the living room I spot Pockets asleep in his favorite sunny spot on the window ledge. That cat sure sleeps a lot. And he sheds a TON. Our apartment is covered in clumps of white fur. It sticks to the carpet and hangs from the walls (still wet from the paint) and lampshades and furniture. I don't know how one cat can shed so much. Mom's vacuum cleaner is lying on the floor, broken. Clearly, it was no match for all this fur.

You wouldn't know it from all the shedding, but Pockets likes things to be neat and orderly. He cleans up my room every time I leave it. I haven't told Mom yet that it's not my doing. She'll figure it out soon enough.

"This is NOT what I signed up for," a voice growls from behind me. I turn around to see Pockets frowning up at me, his paws on his hips. He's wearing a pair of my old yellow swim trunks and Penny's purple goggles. I turn back to look at the window ledge, where I can swear I'm looking at Pockets asleep, then back again to the cat behind me. I rub my eyes to make sure I'm fully awake.

"If you're here," I ask him as my dad walks into the room, "then who's that sleeping by the window? Do you have a twin? Can you clone yourself?" Do I now have TWO talking pet cats?

Dad strides across the room and pokes at the sleeping cat on the ledge. His finger goes right through! It's not a cloned space cat after all. It's a Pockets-shaped ball of fur! I admit I'm a little disappointed.

Dad lifts up the huge pile of fur. "This," he announces, "is the sign of a cat who needs a good grooming."

"How do we know that's mine?" Pockets asks, crossing his paws in front of him.

Dad and I raise our eyebrows at him.

"All right, all right," Pockets says, walking toward Dad. "I can't help it. Something in the air on your planet makes my fur grow very quickly." He waves the dangling fluff ball away, and white fur flies in all directions. I sneeze as a few pieces fly up my nose. I consider reminding him that he shed a lot before he even got to Earth, but he looks like he's in kind of a dark mood.

"Can we focus on the larger problem here?" Pockets demands. He points to his swim shorts with one front paw and to his goggles with the other.

Dad turns to me. "I don't see a problem with the way Pockets looks," he says. "Do you, Archie?"

I try hard not to giggle. "He looks like a cat who's ready to go swimming."

Dad nods. "My thoughts exactly, son."

Pockets tries to pull off his goggles, but they just snap back in his face. "I am a highly respected Intergalactic Security Force officer," he says, puffing out his chest. "I have won medals for bravery on more missions than I can count. But one thing I do NOT do is swim."

"Why not?" I ask.

"Cats don't swim," he replies.

"But why not?" I ask.

"They just don't," he snaps.

Dad puts his arm around Pockets. "We're only fooling with you. Of course you don't have to come. In fact, the pool doesn't allow pets. You were a very good sport to let Penny dress you up this way."


On Sale
Mar 10, 2015
Page Count
128 pages

Wendy Mass

About the Author

Wendy Mass is the New York Times bestselling author of The Candymakers, Pi in the Sky, Every Soul a Star, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, and A Mango-Shaped Space.

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