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Book: The Kretins of Doctor Combobulay
Chapter 25: Pressurised Cheese

The ship was still following.

Chief Engine Inspector Fillop Assuna was sitting on a small metal stool by the Nebulon’s rear maintenance viewport. He had been watching the ship for almost an hour now, and nothing had changed. There it was, never deviating, and never doing anything remotely interesting. Apart from its dark, muscular and alluringly masculine design it proved to be of little interest to the engine inspector. He was getting very bored.

Fillop had been the Nebulon’s chief engine inspector for many years, ever since the ship’s launch from deep within Doctor Combobulay’s fortress. Due to the almost completely automated nature of the ship’s engines his team of inspectors was small - there were only three in total – and they were all female. That would have pleased most male crew members, but not Fillop: he was as homosexual as it was possible to be. His confinement to the engine section with only women as companions gave him almost constant sexual frustration, and he would often reach breaking point, causing great stress to his subordinates. He would regularly force them to dress up as men, cover themselves in his own stale sweat, shave their heads, drink beer in obscene quantities, shout profanities in deep voices and take it ‘Navy style’ in the showers. The women, of course, often complained at this treatment, but Fillop knew that deep down they were pleased to receive it. They had needs too, and although it was not quite what they wanted, the chief engine inspector knew that they enjoyed whatever close attention he gave them.

But abusing his female subordinates was not an available option at the moment to deal with his boredom. They had all been reassigned to hunt down an infiltrator and a traitor.

Fillop was completely alone.

To pass some time he started fiddling with the telescopic imager he had set up by the viewport. He adjusted some settings - turning knobs and pushing sliders - until he managed to improve the image resolution slightly. He smiled as he noticed more detail appear on the image of the ship. Much more of its very manly design could be seen, including some of the formidable and almost phallic gun-mountings on its forward section. It had been an adjustment well worth making.

And then the chief engine inspector noticed that something was moving.

Gasping like an ecstatic mongoose, Fillop watched as an object rose out of the ship’s topside. After a few seconds the image became clearer. It looked like another ship, but much smaller - some kind of shuttle craft. Its design, although much smaller, was similar to the parent craft – muscular, powerful, and highly desirable. The engine inspector activated the communications panel next to the viewport. Colonel Hamblaba would be very interested to hear about this.

There was a brief flash of blinding white light. Intense pain, similar to a million stabbing white hot needles, spread like pressurised cheese across Fillop’s face. He shrieked as his eyes boiled and shrivelled and his skin bubbled into a multitude of deep blisters. Instinctively, the engine inspector covered his face with his hands, but then he screamed as the flesh on his hands ignited and vaporised. Spears of agony shot down his optic nerves.

With a shudder, Chief Engine Inspector Fillop Assuna slipped off his stool and fell onto the floor’s grated surface, his super-heated skull shattering on impact.

The Baby Blenheim’s holographic head-up display showed the results of the attack. Peter the Ace had watched the close-up image of the unidentified vessel’s rear viewport as its occupant’s skin on his face and hands had blistered and vaporised.

The ship made an announcement. “TARGET NEUTRALISED.”

Peter the Ace smiled. “Marvellous!” Grabbing the flight and propulsion controls, the bounty hunter activated the rear thrusters and edged the Baby Blenheim forwards over the Blenheim’s topside.

Within seconds the little ship was clear of its parent vessel and speeding towards the ugly green unidentified vessel ahead.

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