Blenheim tumbled slowly, surrounded by an expanding cloud of debris; the
remains of what was once the bounty hunter ship known as the Gash Station.
The bridge was in chaos. Alarms sounded and red warning lights flashed.
Display screens were filled with damage reports.
Peter the Ace gripped the plush leather arms of his command chair. “That
was an extraordinary experience!” He said, silencing the alarms.
Peace and quiet returned.
Panman pealed himself off the weapons console. He grinned. “Can’t
argue with that!” He looked at his screens. “Only the fast-scan
sensors are working, but it looks like the Gash Station was utterly decimated.
And so was Jack Cardio.”
“An unfortunate but necessary sacrifice.” Peter the Ace said.
He lowered his head as a sign of respect. “His achievements will
not be forgotten.” After a moment’s pause he looked up. “What
about the Cifitra?”
Panman called up some new data. “Torn apart like a rat in a yam
“Yeah! Only its head remains intact.”
“That sad machine certainly has a tough cranium!”
“It’s still impossible to tell whether it’s still alive.”
Peter the Ace played with his control console. “I’ll take
us to the head’s position.”
The Blenheim lurched sideways.
Peter the Ace apologised. “Sorry about that. The stability system
is off-line.” He guided the ship through the debris field.
The main view-screen showed the view ahead – including a view of
Peter the Ace slowed the ship. It drew to a halt a few metres from the
Cifitra’s head. The head, looking as lifeless as always, rotated
slowly against the blackness of space. “It looks well and truly
Panman smiled. “That’s what you said last time!”
“I did, didn’t I?! But this time I’ll be happy if I’m
wrong. If that head’s alive it’ll make a great exhibit in
the Palace of Amino’s Mad Animated Head gallery.”
Panman frowned. “I didn’t know the palace had such a gallery?”
“It doesn’t. But if that Cifitra’s head is still alive,
I’ll open one as soon as we get back! It’ll be the prime exhibit!”
Panman punched the air. “Awesome!”
“Indeed.” Peter the Ace said, his expression the epitome of
deep thought. “And it’ll motivate other bounty hunters to
bring back living heads from their missions. In a few years the gallery
could contain dozens, if not hundreds, of completely mental heads muttering
inanely in their life-support pods.”
Panman laughed. “Cool! I’ll go and get that Cifitra head now!”
Just as he was about to get to his feet, the communicator bleeped. He
“It is I, Justin.”
“I know, damn it! Every time you call, your name appears on the
screen! When are you going to realise that?!”
There was a moment’s pause. “Now.”
“Good! What do you want?”
“I request that you open the upper rear cargo bay external door.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot you were outside. Well done!”
“Please specify the reason for praising me.”
“Because you managed to hold on during our phenomenally extreme
acceleration and collision! What other reason would I have?!”
“You did not specify a time period. I have performed many praiseworthy
tasks during my…”
Panman’s patience with the cyborg broke. “Enough! I’m
going to open the cargo bay door and then…”
Peter the Ace interrupted. “I have an idea.” He nodded towards
the main view-screen. The Cifitra’s head was still there, tumbling
Panman smiled. “Justin, forget coming inside for now. We have a
job for you!”