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Book: Rise of the Dough Monster
Chapter 18: Sleep

Ross Mental opened his eyes to a very odd sight indeed. Strange whirls and swirls of light drifted hypnotically around the Morbid's cockpit, brightening and darkening in a syncopated rhythm of phasing colours.

The instrument panels were shimmering in a most peculiar way. It was as if their material substance had weakened and liquefied beyond the consistency of water.

The bounty hunter noticed that a siren was bleating rapidly. He reached for the damage control console and silenced it. The console's texture felt soft, warm, and delicate; more like melted cheese than the super-toughened plastic that it was really made from.

"Morbid? What's our fuckin' status!" He asked, his head pounding with pain at the sound of his own voice.

"COMPLETE SHIELD FAILURE. 92% ARMOURMENT DEPLETION. ALL WEAPONS SYSTEMS INOPERATIVE."

"Not bad considering what happened. Was the dough monster destroyed?"

"THAT INFORMATION IS UNAVAILABLE."

"Why? Where the scanners damaged, or something?"

"THE SCANNERS ARE FULLY FUNCTIONAL."

"Then tell me if the fuckin' dough monster has been destroyed!"

"THE NECESSARY INFORMATION CANNOT BE OBTAINED FROM THIS DISTANCE."

"What the fuck are you on about?"

The Morbid lurched violently. Ross Mental was thrown forwards and pressed against the forward view-port. The weird shimmering and swirling had stopped. The cockpit looked normal once again. The bounty hunter looked outside into the total blackness. Something wasn't right. After a moments thought, he sat back. No stars!

"Morbid? What's our position?"

"OUR CURRENT POSITION IS UNCONFIRMED."

"Just give me a rough fuckin' idea then!"

"WE ARE LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 116,000 LIGHT YEARS BEYOND THE RIM OF THE MILKY WAY GALAXY."

"Impossible!" The bounty hunter shouted. "There is no way to travel that far in such a fuckin' short space of time!"

"THE INFORMATION IS CORRECT."

"How could this happen?"

"THE EXPLOSION FOLLOWING OUR COLLISION WITH THE DOUGH MONSTER CAUSED AN ULTRA-SPACE PULSE OF EXTREME MAGNITUDE. WE WERE ACCELERATED THROUGH SUB-SPACE AND INTO THE NEXT SPACIAL FIELD."

"But ultra-space can only carry communication signals!"

"OUR EXPERIENCE SUGGESTS OTHERWISE."

"Wow!" Ross Mental exclaimed. "Is this the first time that this has happened?"

"I HAVE NO RECORDS OF A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE BY ANY OTHER SHIP."

"Fuckin' cool! I'll be a hero amongst scientists when I get back!"

Ross Mental operated some controls. "Set a course to the palace."

"COURSE SET."

"Engage at maximum sub-space velocity."

The Morbid turned and folded away from reality.

"How long will the journey take?"

"1.33 YEARS."

"Fuck!" Ross Mental said. "I forgot how fuckin' far we'd come. I'm going to be so bored!"

He looked out of the forward view-port at the side on view of the Milky Way galaxy far ahead.

"I don't suppose that the Blenheim is anywhere near here?"

"THE BLENHEIM IS NOT WITHIN SCANNER RANGE."

"Shit! I was hoping that we could dock. Then I could play holo-games to pass the time."

He sighed. "I guess it's just you and me then."

"AFFIRMATIVE."

"Maybe I'll just sleep."

Something glinted in the view-port glass. Ross Mental squinted and tried to figure out what it was.

"Morbid? am I looking at a reflection or is there something just ahead of us?"

"THERE IS NOTHING AHEAD OF US."

"It must be a fuckin' reflection then!"

The bounty hunter looked closer. It appeared to be a face, a face twisted and evil. A face with a bald, bleeding, badly bitten scalp. Ross Mental sat back. "Fucker!"

An acute, agonizing pain passed through his mind…

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