The undulating sub-spacial mass entered Mud-Paq's atmosphere and smashed
into a mountain less than fifty kilometres from the Blenheim and Morbid,
which were hovering low in a valley. The force of the impact ejected several
billion tons of debris high into the upper atmosphere. The subsequent shockwave
began its destructive journey around the planet.
Panman entered the bridge. "Justin's working on Martha." He
said. He looked at the main view-screen which was displaying the terrifying
impact. "Whoa! Cool collision!"
"It is rather spectacular, isn't it!" Peter the Ace said, smiling.
Panman sat down at the weapons console. "Have you worked out what
it is yet?"
"The Blenheim is scanning at this exact moment. I'm waiting for a
The Blenheim made a timely announcement. "SCAN COMPLETE. ANALYSIS
COMPLETE. THE UNDULATING SUB-SPACIAL OBJECT CONSISTS OF 98.3% DOUGH. OTHER
"Surely it can't be!" Panman said with controlled shock.
"I think it is." Peter the Ace said. "Blenheim. Compare
the dough here with the dough monster we encountered in the Ye'Est system."
"COMPARING... THE DOUGH OF THE UNDULATING SUB-SPACIAL OBJECT MATCHES
THAT OF THE DOUGH MONSTER EXACTLY. MARGIN OF ERROR: 00%."
Panman was confused. He looked at Peter the Ace. "I thought that
we obliterated it with the B.R.U.T.A.L. missile?"
"That's what I thought too." Peter the Ace said. "We blew
it into many charred and boiled lumps. My theory is that one of the larger
pieces retained its sentience and bodily control and followed us here."
"How can a piece of dough, however intelligent, enter sub-space?"
"I don't know." Peter the Ace said. He activated the internal
"What is it?"
"Come up to the bridge please."
"I'm tired. I'm in bed!"
Dick groaned. "All right, I'm coming!"
Peter the Ace looked at the main view-screen. The splat of dough was swiftly
forming into the familiar and menacing monster that they had encountered
a couple of days ago. Already, it was towering above the mountain peaks
and scooping up tens of square kilometres of forest with its incredible
arms. Its gargantuan jaws crunched on millions of trees, turning them
into a rich, nutritious pulp.
"It doesn't look too happy." Panman said.
"It never looked happy!" Peter the Ace said.
Dick arrived. He was wearing a gold braided bounty hunter dressing gown
with the distinctive Palace of Amino logo on its front. His normally neat
quiff of dark hair was scattered all over his fatigued face. "What
do you want?" He asked wearily.
"Look at the screen Dick!" Panman said. "What do you see?"
Dick looked. His Jaw dropped and all signs of tiredness disappeared completely.
He brushed his hair away from his face.
Panman asked again. "What do you see?"
"Er. A dough monster?" Dick answered sheepishly.
"Wrong!" Panman said. "Not a dough monster. The dough monster!"
The massive monster had started to smash and stomp towards them, pulverizing
mountains with the same ease as that of a child crushing sand castles.
Peter the Ace turned and faced Dick. He spoke sternly. "Somehow you
managed to endow it with the ability to travel through sub-space, didn't
"Err... I guess so."
"I thought that it would be useful."
"I used to export millions of tons of ready mixed dough every year
to many of the neighbouring systems. They relied on it for top quality
bread of a most delicious and delectable nature. After years of transport
hassles, delays, and massive transit bills, I decided to develop an intelligent
form of dough that could leave my factories, enter sub-space, and deliver
itself completely free of charge. I would have save millions of credits
a year and also I could have lowered my prices, undercutting my competitors
and giving myself a monopoly in the bread mix export business."
"Your idea back-fired in a gruesomely sensational manner." Peter
the Ace said. "Instead of saving you millions, it destroyed your
feasting tower and your business."
Dick dropped to his knees. "What have I done?" He wailed.
"Pull yourself together!" Panman said. "Do you have any
idea how to destroy it?"
"No!" Dick blubbered.
"Then go back to bed." Peter the Ace said harshly. "You're
no use to us here."
Dick stood up and wandered away.
The communicator bleeped
Ross Mental was calling from the Morbid. "Have you seen the size
of that fucker!" He shouted with excitement. "It's so tall that
its head is actually sticking outside the fuckin' atmosphere!"
"Yes." Peter the Ace replied. "We encountered it a couple
of days ago. We thought that we'd destroyed it but it followed us through
"My scanners must be faulty." Ross Mental said. "They keep
telling me that it's made of fuckin' dough!"
"They're not faulty. It is dough."
"How can that be?"
"That's another long story which I'll tell you later. We have to
find a way to annihilate it."
"What did you do before?"
Panman spoke with extreme pride. "We made history by using the first
"Fuckin' awesome! How did it go?"
"Phenomenally well!" Panman said. "In fact, it exceeded
all expectations and actually sucked away an entire moons atmosphere!"
"Cool! But it didn't kill that giant striding fucker, did it?"
After a moments silence, Ross Mental spoke. "There's only one thing
we can do!"
"We'll have to perform a S.T.O.R.M."
Peter the Ace became serious. "A Sub-space Total Obliteration Ram
"Excellent!" Panman exclaimed. "That's never been tried
before. We'll clinch another first and be heroes of heroes of heroes!"
"We'd better get ready." Peter the Ace said. "That dough
fiend is almost on us!"
"What about that bastard fucker Lawrence?" Ross Mental said.
"He's still down there somewhere."
"If our S.T.O.R.M. works," Peter the Ace said, "he'll be
wiped out by the blast wave along with most of this planet's surface."
"Two problems solved at once!" Panman said excitedly. "Cool!"
"Three problems solved!" Ross Mental said. "Part of my
mission involves assassinating certain leaders of certain organisations
hiding out here. The S.T.O.R.M. should do it for me!"
"Triple cool!" Panman shouted. "Let's get to work."
Panman and Peter the Ace began to program the attack plan into the Blenheim's
weapons and navigation consoles. Ross Mental did the same on the Morbid.
"Ready!" Ross Mental announced.
"Us too!" Panman said.
Peter the Ace operated the Blenheim's internal communications systems.
"Hello everyone currently aboard the Blenheim. We are about to perform
a previously untried and totally drastic method of attack on an enormous
dough monster. Please stay calm and relaxed, and hold onto something."
The communicator clicked off. "Right." he said. "Execute
Panman pressed a large red button marked 'Engage Program'. The question
'Are you sure (Y/N)?' appeared on the screen. Panman pressed 'Y'.
"WARNING. S.T.O.R.M. VIOLATES ALL SAFETY PROTOCOLS." The ship
"Overide safety protocol!" Peter the Ace ordered.
"OVERRIDDEN... FORWARD SHIELDS ENERGISED. SUB-SPACE EMERGENCY ACCELERATION
ACTUATORS PRIMED. S.T.O.R.M. ENGAGEMENT IN FIVE SECONDS..."
The dough monster stepped into the valley where the Blenheim and the Morbid
were waiting. It scooped up the entire contents and stuffed them into
its gapping jaws.
"Lawrence was down there." Panman said. "It's eaten him
"Indeed!" Peter the Ace said. "Not a nice way to go, consumed
by a monumental lump of uncooked bread!"
Panman looked at the countdown on the view-screen. "Here we go!"
Ross Mental screamed over the communicator. "Fuckin' awesome!"
The sub-space power systems on the Blenheim and the Morbid went into instantaneous
overdrive, accelerating both craft from zero to a speed of almost ten
light years per hour within one nanosecond. Travelling faster than light
within an atmosphere was not recommended. The air around the two ships
was heated to a temperature of eight billion degrees celsius, instantly
destroying life and melting the entire range of the Mumph-Scuttle Mountains.
A nanosecond later, the two ships hit the dough monster - the Blenheim
colliding with its chest, and the Morbid with its gut. Several billion
trillion super-heated molecules of dough scattered at more than seven
hundred times the speed of light in all directions. Mud-Paq's core was
split, liquifying, and then vaporizing the entire globe. A few seconds
later, its neighbouring planets suffered the same fate. A few seconds
after that, the system's sun, seven billion years old and sustainer of
life for almost the same amount of time, was snubbed out like the flame
of a candle. All matter within three light years of where Mud-Paq had
once been was separated into its individual atoms within the time span
of ten point two seconds.
The Blenheim twisted and tumbled out of sub-space and drifted away from
the scene of interplanetary mega-destruction. Warning lights and alarms
flashed and sounded throughout the ship's bridge.
Panman, dazed and confused, peeled himself off the back wall and made
his way back to his chair. "Status!" He asked, silencing the
The Blenheim spoke. "COMPLETE SHIELD FAILURE. SUB-SPACE DRIVE SYSTEMS
DAMAGED. ALL SUB-LIGHT PROPULSION METHODS INOPERATIVE. ATTITUDE CORRECTION
THRUSTERS NON-FUNCTIONAL. TRANS-STABILISER STABILISATION STABILISERS UNRESPONSIVE.
SIXTY TWO PERCENT DEPLETION OF OUTER HULL ARMOUR PLATING. WEAPONS SYSTEMS
OFF-LINE. NAVIGATION SYSTEMS OFF-LINE. HOLO-GAMES SYSTEM OFF-LINE. SAUNA
INOPERATIVE. WHIRLPOOL BATHS INOPERATIVE. MICROWAVE OVEN INOPERATIVE."
"What!" Panman yelled with despair. "How the hell am I
going to heat up my apple and cinnamon Danish swirls without a microwave
"THE CONVENTIONAL OVEN IS UNDAMAGED."
"Oh," Panman said, calming down. "I forgot about that."
Peter the Ace sat back down in his command chair. "Are the scanners
Panman looked at his console and nodded.
"Scan Mud-Paq." Peter the Ace said. "Let's see if we were
The two bounty hunters watched the results of the scan appear on the main
view-screen. Their eyes widened in complete astonishment.
"Whoa with bells on!" Panman exclaimed. "We destroyed the
"It appears so." Peter the Ace said. "That's slightly more
damage than we anticipated."
"You’re right." Panman said. "I was under the impression
that the destruction would remain isolated to one hemisphere." He
reached under the console and pulled out an operations manual. "I'm
sure I read it in here somewhere." He turned to the chapter named
'S.T.O.R.M.: Quick Guide to the Last Resort Last Resort Weapon'.
"Have you found it?" Peter the Ace asked.
"Yeah." Panman said quietly.
"Well? What does it say?"
"It does say that the damage is limited to one hemisphere. But that's
at the recommended maximum velocity of five times the speed of light."
"Ahh." Peter the Ace said, realising what had happened. "We
went to maximum sub-space speed! Maybe we should have read that first."
Panman's astonishing mathematical augmentation processors kicked in. "Maximum
sub-space speed is more than 87,000 times the speed of light. That means
that we were more than 17,000 times over the recommended maximum!"
"We have really over done it this time!" Peter the Ace said.
"No we haven't!"
"What do you mean?"
Panman started to rationalize the situation. "If we hadn't destroyed
the dough monster, it would eventually have eaten the whole of Mud-Paq,
increasing its mass by may thousands of percent. its sub-space ability
would also have improved and it would have travelled from system to system
devouring all matter until the galaxy had been completely consumed."
"I see." Peter the Ace said.
Panman continued. "Although we have destroyed the entire system and
countless millions of peasants as well, we have saved billions upon billions
of lives elsewhere from an undignified and tedious death!"
Peter the Ace stood tall and proud. "We have saved the entire galaxy!"
"Absolutely!" Panman said. "We've also obliterated Lawrence
Peter the Ace sat back down and relaxed into his sumptuous command chair.
The view screen showed a three light year diameter gas cloud in the place
where the planet Mud-Paq and its system had once resided.
"That cloud will one day condense into a new star system." He
said happily. "We have started a process that could eventually result
in new life, and a new civilisation."
Panman Laughed. "We are so cool!"
"Indeed we are!"
Peter the Ace entered a thoughtful phase, and then looked at Panman. "Have
you heard from Ross Mental?"
"No, I haven't." Panman replied. He directed his voice to the
ship. "Blenheim? Where is the Morbid?"
"THE STAR SHIP MORBID IS NOT WITHIN SCANNING RANGE."
"He was probably blown in the opposite direction to us." Panman
said. "He'll be back."
"Indeed he will." Peter the Ace said getting to his feet. "We
should check on the rest of the ship and tell the others of our outstanding
"Great idea!" Panman agreed. "Blenheim? Can the sub-space
engines be repaired?"
"THE SUB-SPACE DRIVE AUTO-REPAIR SYSTEM IS OPERATING. TEMPORARY SUB-SPACE
CAPABILITY WILL BE AVAILABLE IN TWO HOURS."
The two greatest bounty hunters ever to exist within the confines of time
and space left the bridge.