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Book: The Kretins of Doctor Combobulay
Chapter 23: Wine

Peter the Ace sat at the dining table in his lavish quarters. He had just finished eating his sandwiches, and was sipping at a glass of some of the finest wine ever made. The wine was also some of the most exclusive - Suculan Hills grade 1, only available to first-class bounty hunters.

The bounty hunter leaned back in his chair, which automatically adjusted itself to offer maximum comfort.


Peter the Ace sat up straight. “Excellent!” He got to his feet and headed over to his plush curved mocha-velvet sofa, wine in hand. “Display them on my view-screen.”

The large view-screen on the far wall of the bounty hunter’s quarters faded to life, displaying the results of the scan in numerous text and graphic forms, and several images. Peter the Ace sat down and examined the results with great interest.

With a whisper the door opened. Jemima Murma walked in, wearing an ankle-length white summer dress, and a matching shawl around her shoulders. Her long bleached-white hair was now tied in a single ponytail down her back. “I thought you’d like some more wine.” She said, walking round to the front of the sofa.

Peter the Ace held up his glass. He smiled. “Your proactive manner is impressive. That’s just what I was thinking!”

The Blenheim’s assistant filled her master’s glass. “You are so nice to say so. Thank you.”

“No problem.” Peter the Ace said, taking a sip. “Whilst you’re here, what do you think of that?” He nodded towards the screen.

Jemima Murma looked at all the information. “Hmm… Looks like a rather old-fashioned design for a star ship. Very basic armour and weaponry – still effective, though. That energy emitter on the topside appears to be quite impressive.”

Peter the Ace nodded. “Indeed. That must have been what shot down the Butt Muffin. Have you noticed something odd about the design; something that indicates the quality of the mind of the designer?”

Jemima Murma looked again. “No! It isn’t, is it?” She looked again. “It is! That ship has a Nokyab-Nivec sensor array placed right in front of an Esultuph propulsion system. They’re completely incompatible!”

Peter the Ace smiled. “Well done! And what does that tell you about the designer of that ship?”

Jemima laughed. “Only a brain-dead ignoramus would implement such an obviously critical design flaw!”

“Exactly!” Peter the Ace said, chuckling. “Just what I was thinking.”

Jemima thought for a second. “I guess that means that, so long as that ship’s propulsion system is active, they can’t detect us.”

“Indeed. At least not with their sensor array, anyway. I do believe they have spotted us, though.” The bounty hunter operated a few controls on the console next to the sofa. One of the images on the view-screen zoomed in, right between the ship’s two large engines. A small round domed viewport could be seen. A face, long and gaunt, was peering through it.

Jemima Murma made use of her flesh incineration training. “If this ship had a functioning energy weapon you could burn his face off right now.”

Peter the Ace gulped back the last of his wine and then jumped to his feet. He handed Jemima Murma his empty glass. “This ship may not have any functioning energy weapons, but the Baby Blenheim does! Thanks for the idea!”

After kissing Jemima Murma gently on her right cheek, Peter the Ace strode proudly out of his quarters.

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