This week we find the good folk of Fireball XL5 on a routine mission to Space Station 9. Here it is:
And here's the chap who runs it: clearly severely depressed, he has nothing to do all day but talk to the voices in his head.
It's probably a blessing for the XL5 crew that they never make it to Space Station 9, as the ship's stabilisers fail and it becomes impossible to slow the ship down. Matt Matic ventures into the ship's nutonium reactor to find out what's going on. He wears a delightful safety outfit that both Steve and Venus get to try on themselves at various points in the episode. I feel like I should do one of those "Who Wore It Best?" polls like you get in gossip magazines (or, erm, so I'm informed).
It turns out there's a chain reaction in the nutonium core, and Fireball XL5's going to keep going faster and faster until it goes beyond the speed of light. Just look at the reading on the ship's handy things-we're-going-faster-than-ometer:
When the ship eventually breaks the light barrier the whole crew are rendered unconscious. Unexpectedly, they awake to find the ship's suspended in a bizarre part of space nobody's ever reached before. They may not have long to explore it, though, as Zoonie, on a sugar high from vast quantities of sweets he pilfered from Commander Zero's son Jonathan, has swallowed the ship's entire supply of oxygen pills (which consisted of one small jar - they're fools to themselves, these people), and everybody's likely to suffocate within an hour.
But wait! They don't die after all (you'll be stunned to discover). It turns out the region of space they've drifted into is, erm, a sea of air. Inhabited by giant birds. Which look like a cross between a vulture and a pheasant. The Science of Fireball XL5 is one book I would love to read.
Zoonie, bothersome as ever, follows Matt and Steve outside the ship as they explore the sea of air, and immediately ends up in the clutches of one of the tatty birds.
Can Steve save Zoonie? Will Fireball XL5 make it back to Normal Space? Yes to both. Steve drives his hovery bike thing at the bird, scaring it into dropping Zoonie, and the ship manages to fly back far enough for the Space Rescue Service to supply it with the fuel to return to Earth. So that's nice.
You can watch Faster Than Light here:
In music news, the Beatles continue to cling on at number 1 with "From Me to You". At number 4, here's Cliff Richard and his "Lucky Lips".