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Book: Rise of the Dough Monster
Chapter 10: A Large Quiff of Dark Hair

"Get a move on, Dick!" Panman shouted.

Dick continued to tap at his office's data console. "I must transfer my wealth off this world!" He said.

Panman pointed to the window. "Look! It's almost here. You have less than three minutes!"

The computer bleeped.

"All done." Dick announced. He glanced in the direction that Panman was pointing. "Bloody hell!" He exclaimed.

The monumental dough monster could be clearly seen stomping heavily towards his tower. The vibrations of its giant steps shuddered through the floor.

Dick walked over to the large, multi-paned window. "What have I created?" He said putting his hands over his face.

"A dough monster!" Panman said.

Dick turned. The emotions of outrage and despondency swirled within his eyes. "It was a rhetorical question!" He screamed.

"No need to get upset." Panman said. "You'd better get to your shuttle."

"I don't have a shuttle." Dick said. "But I have a luxury cruiser in a hanger at the base of this tower."

"Really?"

"Yes. Its three hundred metres long and has a crew of ten, ready and waiting to serve my every wish!"

"Very impressive, but it's too far. You'll have to come with Peter the Ace and I in the Baby Blenheim."

"My cruiser is worth one billion credits!"

"You'll come with us!" Panman ordered. He picked up a basket of bread sticks and meat paste that was conveniently resting on the desk. "This will come with us too!"

Dick walked over to a cabinet, opened it, and took out a gleaming, highly polished, golden guitar. "Then so will this." He said. "It's my most treasured possession."

"Okay." Panman said. "Now get to the ship!"

"Can we come?"

Panman looked in the direction of the sensual, captivating voice. Lisa and Maggie were standing by the office's entrance, breathing heavily.

He smiled. "Of course!"

"Yes!" They said in unison.

Panman watched as the two well-toned, dark-skinned female humanoids bounded up the marble staircase that led to the roof. Their tight fitting green leotards left little to the imagination.

The monstrous pile of dough was less than half a kilometre away.

"Go Dick!" Panman shouted.

Dick ran up the stairs, closely followed by Panman.

"My baking empire is doomed!" Dick cried as he ran out onto the expansive glass roof. Strong gusts of wind blasted across its surface.

"Don't worry," Panman said. "A man of your business acumen will rebuild in no time!"

The tower began to shake and shudder furiously. Crunching and tearing sounds could be heard. Then there was a mighty roar.

Dick Burton and Panman reached the Baby Blenheim and raced inside. The Hatch closed behind them. Except for the panting and moaning of Lisa and Maggie, all was quiet. The shuttle's advanced Poly-Digital Sound Proofing (Copyright Amino Internal Noise Reduction Systems Inc.) cut out nearly all external sound.

Peter the Ace was sitting up front. Panman took his position next to him. "Status, Ace?"

"You just made it in time." Peter the Ace answered, guiding the Baby Blenheim up and away from the tower. "That dough monster of Dick’s is hugging the base of the building and squeezing hard!"

"Whoa!" Panman said. The whole scene was displayed on the main view-screen. Masonry, glass, steel, bread, and restaurant staff were flying into the air and plummeting to the ground. "Dick. Come here!"

Dick joined the two bounty hunters at the front of the shuttle.

"Isn't that a spectacular sight!" Panman said, pointing at the images of death and destruction.

Dick sighed, and then dropped to the floor, resting against the shuttle's deep carpeted side panelling. A tear rolled down his face, half of which was obscured by a large quiff of dark hair. He sighed once more, and then grabbed his guitar. "My poor tower!" He said quietly as he started to strum some minor chords. "Fade away..." He groaned. "Fade away..."

Panman had been watching Dick. He turned to face Peter the Ace. "He's taking this in a less than heroic fashion."

"Indeed." Peter the Ace said. "It's not surprising. He doesn't have our superior will and determination to overcome even the most unbelievable and overwhelming problems."

"True."

The dough monster's attack on the tower was reaching a conclusion.

"That's a strong lump of dough!" Panman said. Watching the monster's act of brutal destruction made him hungry. He grabbed three bread sticks from the basket, dipped them in the meat paste, and then stuffed them into his mouth. "Hmmm!"

Peter the Ace had started to feel hungry too. "Pass me one of those!" He said, taking the Baby Blenheim out of the bread moon's atmosphere.

Panman handed him one. Peter the Ace eagerly munched away.

"Have a snack Dick." Panman said. "It'll cheer you up." He threw him some bread. Dick ignored it.

"Fade away..." The former bread restaurant king groaned, plucking at the bottom 'E' string of his guitar. "Fade away..."

Panman looked at Lisa and Maggie. They were sitting at the back of the shuttle on its extravagant, red leather sofa.

"Have some bread sticks!" He shouted, throwing two towards the female humanoids.

"Oh yes!" Lisa said, gasping as she caught one of the sticks.

"Feed me!" Maggie panted, licking her lips slowly and deliciously as the other stick landed in her hands.

Panman turned and faced the main view-screen. The Dick Burton Feasting Tower was falling to the ground. It was an awesome spectacle. The dough monster was punching and eating the huge lumps of debris that were smashing into the surrounding wheat fields.

"Cool!" he exclaimed.

"Indeed!" Peter the Ace agreed. "I'm recording this marvellous event so that we can show it to the others when we eventually get back to the Palace of Amino. It's not often that you see a massive restaurant complex pulverized and eaten by a sentient mass of unbaked bread mixture!"

"True!" Panman said. He looked into the food basket. No more bread sticks! Resourceful as ever, he forgot about the bread and went straight for the paste. Scooping up a large handful, he stuffed it down and swallowed powerfully.

"The eating machine is relentless!" Peter the Ace said, smiling at Panman.

Panman nodded and placed another handful into his mouth.

The Baby Blenheim had reached high orbit. Peter the Ace locked the little ship’s navigational tracking systems on to the Blenheim, which could be seen several kilometres ahead. Formidable energy blasts were clearly visible emanating from its weapons and burning their way down to the dough monster below. Peter the Ace activated the communicator. "Justin?"

"Yes?"

"We'll be docking in six minutes. Power up the 'Last Resort’ weapons array and prime all systems for firing."

"All systems?"

"That's what I said. We can't take any chances!"

"I obey."

The communicator was deactivated.

Panman laughed. "Were gonna really kick some jumbo ass this time!"

"Absolutely!" Peter the Ace agreed. "But we must show restraint."

"Yeah. We don't want to do more damage to the moon than necessary."

Breathless moaning filled the air.

Peter the Ace and Panman looked around. Expressions of astonishment spread across their faces. Lisa and Maggie were writhing on their backs on the shuttle's floor, groaning and panting. They had slipped out of their leotards and were completely naked.

Panman looked at Peter the Ace. "I didn't realise that bread sticks were so versatile!"


Peter the Ace and Panman stepped out of the Baby Blenheim and on to the smooth, polished floor of the Blenheim's shuttle bay.

Justin was there to meet them. "Last resort weapons array primed as ordered." The cyborg announced.

Peter the Ace nodded. "Excellent."

Justin continued. "The dough monster is eating wheat again."

"How big is it now?"

"It is approaching three point six kilometres in height."

"Whoa!" Panman said.

"Whoa indeed!" Peter the Ace said. "We must get to the bridge and deal with it immediately."

Lisa and Maggie, sweaty and out of breath, emerged from the shuttle. They had put their leotards back on and were smiling broadly.

"But first," Peter the Ace said, looking at the two female humanoids, "I'd better get those two to the guest quarters. Panman, I'll see you on the bridge."

Panman nodded.

Peter the Ace, Lisa, and Maggie left the shuttle bay.

Twang. Twang "Fade away..." Twing.

Panman poked his head inside the Baby Blenheim.

"Dick?"

"What?"

"Stop sulking and come with me!"

Dick got to his feet and walked through the shuttle's hatch, dragging his guitar behind him. It bounced and kerranged across the floor in a most annoying fashion.

"Justin?" Panman said above the noise.

"Yes?"

"There's a lot of bread lying around inside the back of the Baby Blenheim. Be a good machine and clean it up, would you?"

"I obey."

Panman and Dick headed for the bridge.


"INDUCERS ON-LINE." The Blenheim's computer announced. "DESIGNATED TARGET: DOUGH MONSTER... TRACKING..."

"Great work, Blenheim!" Panman said from his weapons console's chair. "Lock on the 'Brilliant, Ruthless, and Ultimately TerminAL missile."

"B.R.U.T.A.L. MISSILE LOCKED. AWAITING LAUNCH AUTHORIZATION."

The B.R.U.T.A.L. missile was developed two years ago by the emotionally suppressed scientists at the Palace of Amino's Strangely Designed and Incomprehensibly Destructive Death Laboratory. Because of its power, it has never been tested. The Blenheim was the only star ship equipped with such a weapon.

Peter the Ace leapt onto the bridge and performed a double back flip over Dick into his command chair. He looked at the main view-screen. "Wow!" he said excitedly.

"I know." Panman said. "That dough thing is over fifteen kilometres tall and rising."

Dick's guitar twinged. "And the leaves fall down... From the trees. Ser sa sa..."

Peter the Ace turned and looked at the fallen bread restaurant king. "Please keep quiet." He said. "There's a good man." He turned his attention back to the main view-screen. "What's our status?"

"The B.R.U.T.A.L. missile is charged and locked. All we need to do is authorize the launch."

"Let's do it!"

Peter the Ace and Panman placed their hands onto a recognition plate on their relative control consoles.

"Blenheim?" Panman said. "I authorize B.R.U.T.A.L. launch."

"HAND PRINT RECOGNIZED AS 'PANMAN', BOUNTY HUNTER OF UNPARALLED STRENGTH AND APPETITE. VOCALISE CODE."

"One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Two thousand, three hundred and seventy eight."

"CODE CORRECT. SECOND HAND PRINT RECOGNIZED AS 'PETER THE ACE', BOUNTY HUNTER OF MUSCULAR PERFECTION AND LIGHTNING DEXTERITY. VOCALISE CODE."

"One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Two thousand, three hundred and ninety seven."

"CODE INCORRECT. LAUNCH UNAUTHORIZED."

"Sorry!" Peter the Ace said. "I mean one. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Two thousand, three hundred and seventy nine."

"CODE CORRECT. LAUNCH AUTHORIZED. AWAITING LAUNCH COMMAND."

Dick's guitar kerringed. "So close... Your eyes..."

"Be quiet, Dick." Peter the Ace said. "Depressing songs will not help our situation!"

"The dough monster's twenty kilometres tall!" Panman said. "Let's launch!"

"After three." Peter the Ace said.

"Okay."

"One... Two... Three!"

The two bounty hunters slammed their palms down onto their recognition plates. "Launch now!" They shouted in unison.

Immediately, a subtle, yet deeply resonant rumbling cascaded through the Blenheim's interior.

"B.R.U.T.A.L. MISSILE ENGINE INJECTORS TRIGGERED." The ship's computer announced. "ENGAGING DRIVE SYSTEMS."

A completely unsubtle, piercing whoosh reverberated through the ship.
"B.R.U.T.A.L. MISSILE LAUNCHED."

The main view-screen showed the track of the six metre long, twinky shaped death device as it powered its way down to the moon's surface.

Panman and Peter the Ace looked at each other.

"That was a cool launch!" Panman said.

"Indeed!" Peter the Ace agreed. "In fact, it was probably the coolest launch of a missile ever made!"

"IMPACT WITH TARGET IN FIVE SECONDS."

Peter the Ace and Panman returned their gaze to the main view-screen. The dough monster, now more than thirty kilometres in height, was staring at the object that was racing towards it. The expression on its face seemed to suggest curiosity, or a headache. With slow, lumbering swings of its monstrous arms, it tried, without any success, to grab the missile. The dough monster watched as the missile impacted on the surface between its legs.

For exactly three tenths of a second, nothing happened.

Then...

A brief flash of intense white light was followed by one of the most awesome sights ever witnessed. A thirty two kilometre wide column of blazing destruction rose up and out of the bread moon's atmosphere. On its tip, the dough monster, writhing and burning, was being thrust out into space at a phenomenal rate.

"Whoa!" Panman screamed with profound pleasure.

"Absolutely fantastic!" Peter the Ace said with excitement. "Look at that mutant fly!"

The view-screen provided a marvellous panning shot as the gigantic dough monster flew by. With its innards boiling away, it exploded.

"Several hundred thousand tons of dough heading our way!" Panman said.

Peter the Ace responded. "Blenheim? Shields up!"

The ship rocked as the dough hit.

"SHIELD FAILURE IN SIX SECONDS."

Peter the Ace sat down at his command console. With the dexterity of a 'Whacking Mole' champion undergoing strict steroid injections, he guided the Blenheim away from the huge lumps of charred dough that were tumbling in every direction.

Several tense seconds passed by.

"We're clear." he said.

Panman laughed. "Another success!"

Peter the Ace looked at the view-screen. "Maybe not."

"What do you mean, Ace?"

"Look at the moon."

Panman looked. "Oh yeah."

Peter the Ace explained. "The detonation of the B.R.U.T.A.L. missile seems to have caused an inverted vortex of air within the wake of the exuded dough monster."

"I see." Panman said thoughtfully.

Peter the Ace continued. "The initial outward surge of air was so huge and rapid that the expansive vacuum it created near the moon's surface sucked in and ejected another massive swell of air out into space."

"It's a knock on effect that's out of control!" Panman said with enlightenment.

"Exactly!"

"Interesting side effect!"

"Indeed." Peter the Ace looked serious. "The moon is now a lifeless, airless ball of rock. Were we justified in destroying it?"

"It was Dick's creation that ultimately destroyed the moon." Panman said. "We tried to save it."

"You're right!" Peter the Ace said. Panman's rationalisation had shown him the light.

Panman continued. "Although a thriving little world has ceased to be, countless millions will be saved from death by dough. That monster would have grown to absurd proportions and possibly found its way to an adjoining, populated system."

"Once again we have excelled ourselves!" Peter the Ace said loudly. He operated the internal communications panel. "Justin?"

"Yes?"

"What are you up to?"

"I have just finished cleaning the Baby Blenheim."

"Excellent. Go to the galley and bring a bottle of fine champagne up to the bridge. We need to celebrate the destruction of the bread beast."

"I obey."

"Bring a box of doughnuts as well!" Panman added.

Peter the Ace turned off the communicator. "What shall we do now?" he said.

"We should go and help Ross Mental."

"Oh yes. I forgot. Blenheim, set a course for Mud-Paq - maximum sub-space velocity."

"COURSE SET."

"Engage."

The Blenheim slipped effortlessly into sub-space.

Dick was still sitting at the back of the bridge, strumming his guitar. He sang. "The endless... Night!"

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