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Book: The Kretins of Doctor Combobulay
Chapter 10: Formidable Strategies

Like a greased hog on ice, the Blenheim emerged from subspace at the edge of the Droog System and slipped unseen behind the dark mass of a small dormant comet. An arm, brimming with passive sensors, extended beyond the edge of the comet. The sensors targeted the planet Droog and began taking readings.

Peter the Ace and Panman were sitting in the Blenheim’s tastefully lit main situation room at the heart of the ship. Strewn across the wide oval conference table were the remains of a spicy feast – an essential part of mission planning for top-class bounty hunters. For the last few hours they had analysed the data sent back by Sind’a Thighs before her ship had been attacked. And they had discovered some intriguing details.

The door to the situation room whooshed open. The Blenheim’s now part-time assistant, Jemima Murma, entered, wearing nothing but a black thong, a thin white belt and a strapless black bra. Her long bleached-white hair was coiled into a thick bun on the back of her head. She placed a tray of cheese snacks on the table.

Panman grinned. “You read my mind!” He stuffed his mouth as full as possible, and then chomped like a hippo.

Peter the Ace agreed. “You are indeed an insightful assistant. You predict our needs with an accuracy I’ve never seen. It’s a shame you are no longer with us on a permanent basis.”

Jemima Murma bowed. “You are so kind to say so.” She looked up. “If you wish it, I will cancel my studies at the Amino Weapons Institute and return to a full-time position here.”

“I wouldn’t hear of it!” Peter the Ace said, taking one of the snacks. “You are fulfilling your ambition to become a flesh incineration engineer, and that is something I must not interfere with. Justin provides adequate assistance to us, and will continue to do so until we find a more suitable and well toned alternative.”

The assistant bowed once more. “Thank you. If you need anything else at all, please call.” She left the situation room, her firm exposed butt-cheeks swaying enticingly. The door whooshed closed behind her.

A small communications console on the table bleeped. Panman reached out and answered, his mouth still packed with food. “Yeah?”

The reply was devoid of feeling. “It is I, Justin.

Panman swallowed. “I know! What is it?!”

I am standing guard at the detention cell containing Radic.

The bounty hunter laughed. “I’d almost forgotten about that vacillated fiasco of a miscreant! How is he? Is he still blubbering like a jilted minger?”

No. He is giggling and mumbling.

“Sound’s like he’s gone mad.”

He is mumbling about a secret operation that you are not aware of. He is taking pleasure from the fact that, despite his incarceration, his whore-cloning business is not over and will continue to function with a satisfactory level of success.

“Nonsense! Ross Mental is finishing off the remnants of his business as we speak. Soon even Repugnius won’t have any of his whores. He’s finished, and his business is finished. His cloning facilities have been destroyed and his whores will soon be off the streets for good. Tell him that and he’ll stop giggling.”

I obey.

“And then get on with your cleaning tasks!” Panman ordered. He silenced the communications channel and turned to Peter the Ace. “Back to the business at hand!”

Operating a few controls, Peter the Ace altered the image on the room’s massive display screen. An image of the devastated planet Droog appeared surrounded by numerous statistics. “Right, to summarise: eight days ago 14 large asteroids impacted on Droog. The impact locations are spread quite evenly around the planet, as indicated by the data received from Sind’a Thighs. The impacts completely wiped out all sentient life, except for a few million humanoids on the central continent – the same continent that our exceptionally toned young bounty hunter was scanning when she was shot down.

“Such an arrangement of impacts could not occur naturally, and the chance of just one continent having all the survivors is remote. What’s more, the weapon that shot down the Butt Muffin was located in the ocean far from the shore. Despite the planet-wide destruction, some advanced technology, far more advanced than that of the indigenous civilisation, is still operating. What does that mean?”

Panman swallowed hard, and then spoke. “It means that a sophisticated off-world megalomaniac caused the asteroids to collide with Droog at locations that would wipe out most of the planet’s population, leaving a manageable few alive and in despair on the main continent. Those survivors, subdued to the lowest level of self-esteem and personal hygiene, will be east targets for brainwashers and have no choice but to become the followers of the megalomaniac’s grand vision, whatever that may be.”

“My thinking exactly.”

Panman continued. “Of course, shooting down the Butt Muffin was a major mistake!”

Peter the Ace nodded. “Not surprising, though. Megalomaniacs tend to lack intelligence and common-sense on a scale that continues to astound me.” He pointed at the screen. “Our records indicated that the civilisation on Droog had launched many satellites into orbit. There is nothing but debris in orbit now. I suspect the Butt Muffin was shot down because it was mistaken for another satellite.”

Panman laughed. “Whoever they are, they’re idiots!”

“Indeed. And whatever it was that shot down Sind’a Thighs is still pumping out regular sensor emissions from the ocean. Currently it is near the east coast of the central continent. We will have no trouble finding it.” Peter the Ace operated some controls and the image on the display screen changed. “Our objectives are simple: destroy the megalomaniac and rescue Sind’a Thighs.”

Panman grabbed another snack. “Cool! We can do that!” He chewed noisily and swallowed hard. “And there are two ways we can do it – the stealthy way, or the in-your-face way.”

“I’m intrigued. Please explain.”

Panman stood up and stepped over to the giant display screen. The image from the sensor arm was displayed, showing the sad brown sphere of the once thriving planet Droog. “Using a small piece of the comet that we are currently concealed behind, we drift towards the planet and plummet into the atmosphere. It will look like a natural impact, and once we land in the ocean we can commence our mission in total secret.”

Peter the Ace nodded. “Hmm… I like it!”

“Or, we simply fly there as normal and fight them head on, unleashing our arsenal of advanced weaponry with complete disregard for the consequences. Insanity at it’s purest!” Panman raised his arms like a famous orator, rightly proud of his two plans.

Peter the Ace applauded. “Bravo! Exceptional, as always!” He thought for a moment, scratching his chin. “They’re both formidable strategies which makes it very difficult to choose between them.” He grinned. “So let’s do both!”

Panman laughed. “Of course! Whoever’s down their will go mad with rage as we mess with their minds! Awesome!” He hit the conference table and activated a communicator. “Jemima, our plan has been formed. We need beer and deep-fried meat now!”

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