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Book: Rise of the Dough Monster
Chapter 8: Puss

"Where is this substance now?" Peter the Ace asked.

Dick Burton wandered over to a large, north facing window and pointed towards the horizon. "There." He said. "In one of my subterranean bakeries, about twenty kilometres from here."

"And it just keeps on rising?"

"Yes. But as it rises it keeps the same density."

"It's mass is increasing?"

"Rapidly. It seems to be devouring the bakery's grain stores at a phenomenal rate. It can't be contained much longer. The complex has been evacuated and sealed, but the pressure is building. It will break out any time now."

"I see your problem." Peter the Ace said. "Once it gets out, the whole moon's surface will become a giant feeding ground for it."

"Right!" Dick said, facing the two bounty hunters. "Our economy and atmosphere will be destroyed."

"That's bad." Panman said. "People will become poor, then suffocate!"

"Indeed!" Peter the Ace agreed. He looked at Dick. "It was rather silly of you to do what you did, Dick."

"Yeah." Panman said. "Developing a form of whole-wheat dough with a strong sense of ambition was a dumb idea. It was pretty cool to try, though!"

"Yes." Peter the Ace said. "We'll give you that!"

"Enough of the criticism." Dick said. He walked over to his elaborately decorated desk and seated himself in his sumptuous, leather chair. "Can you help me?" He said, pulling out a bottle of ancient German 'bier' from a small refrigerator.

"We can help anyone!" Peter the Ace announced proudly. And we get enormous satisfaction from it.”

"Yeah!" Panman agreed. "The process of creating carnage amongst the corrupt classes of the criminal community is very pleasing."

"What can you do?" Dick asked.

Peter the Ace thought for a second. "We'll fly out to the bakery and check out the situation."

"Excellent idea!" Panman said. "We'd better get to the Baby Blenheim."

"Indeed!"

Peter the Ace looked at Dick Burton who was sitting at his desk and gulping at the beer. "We're off to sort out your problem. Stay here. We'll be in touch."

"And don't drink too much." Panman added.

"Right!" Dick said, taking another swig.

The two bounty hunters walked out of Dick's office. The sound of lustful moaning filled the air. The two dark-skinned, well-toned humanoid females guarding the office entrance were sitting together on the floor, sweating heavily. Panman looked at them curiously.

"What are your names?" He asked.

"Lisa." One of them whispered. She arched her back and groaned quietly.

"Maggie." The other one said, stroking her genital region.
Peter the Ace watched them both with interest. "This is an unusually strong response to our presence."

"Yeah." Panman agreed. "Some reaction is inevitable but not like this, even for premier galactic heroes such as ourselves."

Maggie began panting heavily.

"Let's go." Peter the Ace said. "I don't think they can take much more!"

With the smooth efficiency of a soaring elephant eagle, the Baby Blenheim cruised high over the flaxen expanse of wheat that gently swayed in the mid-morning breeze. Several giant machines tended and harvested the crops, cutting rigid symmetrical channels through the fields.


"We're five kilometres from the bakery." Panman said, looking at his view-screen.

"Excellent!" Peter the Ace said. "Deep-scan the structure."

Panman dexterously set up the scanner array and pressed a button marked 'Begin'.

Several data-screens flickered to life and displayed a detailed collection of three-dimensional, rotating, ray-traced graphical representations of the underground bakery.

"It's big!" Panman said seriously. "And expanding, just as Dick said."

"How big?"

"It has a mass of over sixty thousand tonnes and is almost three hundred metres in length."

"Interesting." Peter the Ace said. He brought the Baby Blenheim to a halt directly over the baking complex, at a height of half a kilometre.

"There's an awesome amount of pressure on the bakery's ceiling." Panman said. "It could break through any second!"

"Perplexing!" Peter the Ace said thoughtfully.

The communications panel bleeped furiously.

"Yeah?" Panman answered.

"It is I, Justin." Came the monotonal reply. "Where are you?"

Panman muted the sound.

"Shit!" He said. "We forgot to tell Justin that we were down here!"

"You're right!" Peter the Ace said. "You'd better apologise to him."

Panman reactivated the sound. "We came down to a restaurant for some bread." He said with a tone of convincing sincerity. "Sorry we didn't invite you, but as you can't eat anyway it's no real loss, is it?"

There was a moment’s pause.

"That is logical." Justin responded.

There was another pause.

"Well," Panman said. "I'd love to talk but we're involved in some intense business at the moment..."

Justin interrupted. "The Blenheim has intercepted a coded emergency transmission, Amino priority one."

"Really?"

"Yes."

"Play it to me."

"It is text only. I will download it to you."

The message appeared on the Baby Blenheim's main view-screen.

"Whoa!" Panman said. "Although it isn't signed, it's quite obvious who that's from!"

The message read as follows:


To: The nearest available bounty hunters.


The fucker's back! Here I am, doing some fuckin'

essential, but relatively laid back, covert

observations on this fuckin' stench collection of a

planet, when that fuckin' evil fucked up fucker

virtually lands in my fuckin' lap! Our assumption

that he was dead was a bit premature to say the

fuckin' least!


I need help. I've got this fuckin' fat, stumpy

bitch to take care of and can't attack the insane

fucker in case he fuckin' incinerates her, or

something.


I've activated the Morbid's Stealth-Follow (TM)

systems, so extreme fuckin' bloodshed can occur

the instant that the fuckin' obese woman is at a

safe distance from the fuckin' fucked up fucker of

a fuckin' hell fucker.


I eagerly await a fuckin' reply.


"A message from Ross Mental!" Peter the Ace said. "We haven't heard from him for almost two years."

"Yeah!" Panman said. "He went off on some solo mission that was so secret; even we didn't know what it was."

"Indeed." Peter the Ace said. "And he's made a most heinous discovery!"

"Lawrence!"

"Absolutely."

Peter the Ace directed his voice to the Baby Blenheim. "Tell me the origin of the message."

"THE MESSAGE ORIGINATED ON THE PLANET MUD-PAQ, WITHIN THE BOG-STAR SECTOR."

"How far is it to Mud-Paq from here?"

"THE DISTANCE TO MUD-PAQ FROM THIS LOCATION IS 452.1 LIGHT YEARS."

Panman's mental mathematical co-processor was activated. "That's only two days at maximum sub-space speed!"

"Indeed it is. We must go to his assistance immediately!"

"Justin?" Panman said.

"Yes?"

"Send a message back to Ross Mental. Tell him that Panman and Peter the Ace are on their way!"

"I obey."

An ear-shattering crunch resonated through the shuttle.

"Something's hit us!" Panman shouted.

The Baby Blenheim was tumbling towards the ground. Peter the Ace quickly regained control and piloted the shuttle back up to a higher altitude, dodging the thousands of tons of soil and concrete that was flying all around.

"Maybe we should deal with the current problem before we assist Ross Mental." Peter the Ace said with complete calm.

"I think we should." Panman said. "That dough monster is loose!"

An enormous, grey, globular mound was rolling rapidly away from a hole in the ground that was once the bakery, a huge opening in its body sucking up the surrounding wheat with unbelievable speed.

"It's heading for the Dick Burton Feasting Tower!" Panman announced, gazing at his projected trajectory screen.

"Panman?" Peter the Ace said with intense seriousness. "Fire when ready."

Panman pressed every fire button that he could find.

The Baby Blenheim's quad-barrelled pulse cannon initiated a rapid-fire spread of white hot energy. The dough monster's outer skin blistered and burst, spraying toxic puss in all directions.

"Die!" Panman shouted as he let loose another volley.

More toxic puss splattered into the air.

"It's having very little effect." Peter the Ace said. "It's still moving towards the tower and its still gaining mass!"

"What should we do?" Panman asked, firing once again.

"We need more fire power. Only the Blenheim has it."

"Great idea."

Panman activated the communications panel.

"Justin!"

"Yes?"

"Fire all the Blenheim's energy weapons at the dough monster on my command."

"What dough monster?"

Panman was annoyed. "The one that we're flying above of course!"

There was a slight pause.

"Weapons programmed." The cyborg said without feeling.

Peter the Ace guided the Baby Blenheim out of the line of fire.

"When your ready." he said to Panman.

"Justin?" Panman said.

"Yes?"

"Fire!"

Instantly, several continuous beams of blinding energy slammed into the dough monster. It shuddered violently, ejecting boiling innards high into the atmosphere. The beams continued their onslaught. Several thousand acres of the surrounding wheat fields were vaporised in the intense heat.

Panman looked at his data-screens. "It's not working! The monster is gaining more mass than it's loosing."

"We need even more powerful weapons." Peter the Ace said.

"The Blenheim has even more powerful weapons, but they would also destroy Dick Burton's Tower."

"I don't think we have a choice." Peter the Ace said. He activated the communicator. "Dick?"

Dick Burton replied quickly. "What are you doing?" He asked anxiously. "You're burning up my fields!"

"Forget about your fields. Evacuate your tower immediately."

"Why?"

"Do as I say!"

"No!"

"Do it! You and your customers are in supreme danger!"

"Can't we leave it for a couple of hours? I'll loose so much money!"

Peter the Ace was becoming slightly annoyed. "You must evacuate now." he said. "The dough monster is resisting our maximum energy attack and is heading towards your tower. It will reach you in less than thirty minutes."

"But ten percent of all takings are instantly transferred to my personal account at the precise moment a customer pays. I make millions of credits per minute."

"If you don't leave now, you and your customers will perish in an unbelievably brutal manner."

"I'll share half of the profits with you."

"We are not motivated by wealth." Peter the Ace said sternly. "Do as I say or we will arrest you and charge you with disobedience."

"You can't arrest me!"

"Yes we can!" Panman shouted, joining in the conversation. "You will be taken to the Palace of Amino's Supreme High Court of Galactic Truth, Justice and Execution."

"Okay okay." Dick said reluctantly. "I'll evacuate."

"Glad that you're seeing sense at last."

"Yeah, right!"

Dick closed the communication channel.

"Justin?" Panman said.

The soulless cyborg answered. "Yes?"

"Keep firing on the dough monster. Use controlled five second bursts at maximum output. That should slow it down."

"Firing…"

Another intense spread of death sliced into the dough monster with outstanding force. Puss and innards flew everywhere.

"Let's get back to the tower and assist in the evacuation." Peter the Ace said.

"This is going to be great!" Panman exclaimed excitedly, as the Baby Blenheim thrusted south. "I love the Blenheim's most powerful weapons!"

"Indeed." Peter the Ace agreed. "They are spectacular to watch!"

The Baby Blenheim was tracking the dough monster on its main view-screen. The mound of bread mix was rapidly devouring wheat, harvesting machinery, and field workers without any signs of remorse. The potent beams of carnage from the Blenheim were having little effect on its advance towards the tower.

Directly ahead, the Dick Burton Feasting Tower dominated the skyline. Thousands of small shuttle craft were leaving its multi-level landing platforms and blasting up towards space. Some of them collided in the panic, exploding like fireworks and causing havoc to those flying below.

"The flight controller isn't doing his job very well." Panman said.

"Of course not." Peter the Ace said. "He's an incompetent, arrogant wart muncher."

"yeah." Panman said in agreement. "He's probably dying of a stress related condition as we speak!"

Peter the Ace pulled back on the flight stick, increasing the Baby Blenheim's altitude. "We'll fly directly to Dick's office. I want to make sure he's not up to anything devious."

"Good idea!" Panman looked at the view-screen that was displaying an image of the dough monster. "If I were a lesser being," he said calmly, "I'd be very worried about what that bread beast has just done."

Peter the Ace looked at the view-screen. The dough monster was transforming. Instead of a shapeless mound, it had transmogrified itself into a fat humanoid shape. Giant hands were scooping up acres of wheat and stuffing it into a gaping mouth.

"If I was an ordinary person, that would worry me too!" Peter the Ace said. "What's its size now?"

Panman looked at one of the data-screens. "It's over a kilometre in height! Awesome!"

Another blast of energy from the orbiting Blenheim pounded the monster's head, causing it to detonate in a cloud of charred dough. It swiftly grew a new one.

"It's less than ten kilometres from the tower." Peter the Ace said. "I bet everyone can see it now. They'll be terrified."

"Yeah." Panman said, looking at his companion. "It's a good job we were here!"

Panman looked back at the main view-screen. "Oh dear!" he said.

"What's wrong?" Peter the Ace asked.

"Look!"

"Peter the Ace looked at the screen. "I see what you mean!"

Using its two gigantic new legs, the dough monster had begun to jog towards the tower. The ground shuddered under its incredible weight as it stamped and crushed machinery and personnel.

Panman performed some complex mathematical reasoning within his digital mental augmentation systems. "It'll be at the tower in less than ten minutes!"

The Baby Blenheim soared over the tower's pinnacle and descended towards its roof.

"Once again," Peter the Ace proclaimed. "The lives of millions rest in our hands!"

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