Justin slowly scanned the scene around him as each of his battered systems
came back on-line. Several beings, all clothed in bright suits and wearing
tinted visors, were standing around him. They were still and silent.
A status report arrived in Justin’s synthetic consciousness. He had
lost external awareness for three hours, sixteen minutes, and four seconds
due to a complete failure of his primary power generator. Auxiliary power
was now operational. The cyborg realised what that meant: only three days
of energy left, then his external awareness would be lost forever.
As Justin continued to examine his surroundings damage reports from all
over his mechanised body flooded in. A table of damaged systems formulated
in the left half of his field of vision:
CRITICAL DAMAGE: Primary Power Generator
STATUS: Auxiliary power activated.
Total power failure in 74.37 hours.
CRITICAL DAMAGE: Hydraulic Motivators: Left Arm
STATUS: Utterly useless. Replacement required.
ANNOYING DAMAGE: Plate-Like Feet
STATUS: Completely disintegrated.
ANNOYING DAMAGE: Auto-Posture Stabilisers
STATUS: Intermittent loss of posture.
Evil hunchback posture likely.
IRRELEVANT DAMAGE: Multiple Scratches
STATUS: Smooth chrome appearance compromised.
Scratch elimination treatment required.
IRRELEVANT DAMAGE: Multiple Burn Marks
STATUS: Shiny chrome appearance compromised.
Full body polish required.
An advice box appeared:
RECOMMENDATION: Return to the Palace of Amino
immediately and consult Doctor De-Morgan
Well, that is just brilliant, though Justin. His sarcasm subroutines
were still fully operation.
One of the suited figures approached. The figure bent down and leaned
close to Justin’s scarred metal head. The cyborg’s defence
systems prepared to strike if necessary.
The figure spoke in a hushed but forceful tone. “Justin, you fuckin’
idiot! What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
The voice was muffled but Justin’s voice recognition processors
instantly identified the speaker as Ross Mental. The cyborg lowered the
volume of his vocaliser and answered. “I am currently suspended
by four steel fibre cables from a LiftMaster 5000 mobile crane unit.”
Ross Mental punched the side of Justin’s head. “I can see
that, you dented fucker! I mean what are you doing slamming into the centre
of this fuckin’ city like that? You shouldn’t even be down
The cyborg replied in pure monotone. “The stability of my orbit
around Gun-Loc was jeopardised by the blast wave produced by the detonation
of the CR4 Stealth Penetration Mine embedded in the engine section of
The bounty hunter punched Justin again. “Why the fuck didn’t
you avoid the city?”
“I have no means of controlling my trajectory during an atmospheric
entry. It is purely by chance that my impact co-ordinates were at the
centre of this city.”
“You’re a fuckin’ useless piece of fuck-off metal, aren’t
“That is an incorrect statement.” Justin stated with a logical
lack of emotion. “I have fourteen distinct uses as defined by the
Palace of Amino’s Cyborg Council of Usefulness. They are as follows:
one - A capability to rapidly assess the sublimation of…”
“Shut the fuck up!”
One of the other men spoke. “What are you doing, Kent? Do you know
what that is?”
Once again, Ross Mental spoke in his best Gun-Loc accent. “Um…
I’m not sure really. Maybe.”
“The man seemed impatient. “You either know or you don’t
know. Which is it?”
“Um… I think it’s just one of our communications satellites,
“Well, whatever it is, let’s get it back to the lab, I don’t
want to be in this suit much longer, it’s chaffing me like crazy.”
All the other men nodded in agreement.
Ross Mental spoke quickly and quietly to the cyborg. “I can’t
let them lock you up in a fuckin’ lab. With Peter the Ace and Panman
unavailable, and the palace almost thirty-thousand light years away, the
only fuckin’ backup I have here is you!”
The bounty hunter’s statement was logical. Justin answered. “That
is a valid statement.”
“Do you have the strength to break free from these fuckin’
“Good. I’ll count to three. On three, you burst free from
the cables the scream and thrash like a wild fuckin’ bongofiend.
Justin thought for a moment. “The data I have on bongofiends - from
both Ram-Arszole and Fattooine IV - state that, contrary to their name,
bongofiends are passive and silent creatures of…”
“Just act fuckin’ wild, you metal fucker!”
“Here we go.” Ross Mental counted. “One… Two…
Using maximum hydraulic pressure, Justin extended his legs and his one
good arm. Even on reduced power his strength was more than enough to break
free. The cables snapped loudly. The cyborg began screaming in a loud
and digital manner. It was very disturbing.
“Oh my god!” Ross Metal yelled. “It’s free! And
The other men jumped back.
Justin began thrashing through the dust. The sound of his shrieking and
the violence of his movements was one of the most frightening sights ever.
The men panicked and ran.
One of the men shouted. “Kent! Get out of there!”
Ross Mental, now engulfed by the cloud of ash kicked up by Justin, shouted
some bullshit back. “I can’t see! What’s happening?
Ahh!!! It’s tearing me apart!”
Thinking that one of their colleagues was being gruesomely murdered made
the men run all the faster.
As soon as the men where out of sight, Ross Mental turned to the screaming
cyborg. “Stop! The fuckers’ have gone.”
Justin silenced his screaming and stopped moving.
Ross Mental laughed. “Those weak-minded fuckers! What a bunch of
Justin was incapable of finding the situation amusing. His cold and calculating
synthetic brain ignored the irrelevancy of the bounty hunter’s last
statement and formulated something completely relevant. “It is logical
to assume that those men will return with powerful weaponry.”
For once, Ross Mental didn’t argue with the cyborg. “You’ve
got a fuckin’ point there. We have to get away from here as soon
as fuckin’ possible. Otherwise we’ll blow our cover.”
“That is a logical course of action.”
Ross Mental was thoughtful. “We have to stay in the fuckin’
city though. I have an appointment to keep with a crumbly old fucker.”
Justin was compelled to state the obvious. “It will be difficult
for me to blend in with the indigenous population. My original mission
role was as food and beverage server onboard the Blenheim. It was never
intended that I partake in away-missions of any…”
Ross Mental fumed. “Shut the fuck up! You’ll do as I fuckin’
say.” He calmed down and looked at Justin’s contorted and
scorched metal body. “It’s a shame that you’re in such
a fuckin’ state, but you seem reasonably functional. And I’ll
find a way to conceal your freakish looks.”
“It would be wise to do so now.” Justin said. “We will
encounter many emergency service officials as we leave this crater.”
The bounty hunter looked around. “Follow me,” he said, looking
at something in the distance. “I have a fuckin’ plan!”
With a whirr of damaged servos, Justin the cyborg followed the foul-mouthed
bounty hunter across the dusty surface of the crater.
“There!” Ross Mental said. He stepped back and admired his
handiwork. “That looks fuckin’ great!”
Justin was now concealed within a large orange tarpaulin, part of which
arced over his head creating a deep dark hood. Only the cyborg’s
piercing red eyes could be seen. Justin began walking. His damaged systems
didn’t make it easy, or elegant.
Ross Mental laughed. “You look like a fuckin’ fat-arsed druid
Justin stopped and looked at the bounty hunter. “It is imperative
that we leave the vicinity of this crater immediately to avoid attack.”
“I know it is, you fucker!” The foul-mouthed bounty hunter
shouted. He pointed to the west. “We need to head that way. That’s
where my appointment is with the old fucker.”
Justin made an enquiry. “Who is the ‘old fucker’ with
whom you have an appointment?”
“He’s a member of that fuckin’ ‘Cause’ that
we’ve been trying to infiltrate. He’s going to take me to
a meeting at their subterranean chambers. This is our chance to find out
exactly what’s going on. I’m meeting the fucker at sunset
outside Miss Pussbucket’s Breakfast Place.”
Justin consulted his local information database and returned a useful
fact. “The day is short on this world. Sunset will occur in four
hours and thirteen minutes. Over this terrain it will take four hours
and six minutes to reach Miss Pussbucket’s Breakfast Place. We must
head there immediately if you are to make your appointment on time.”
Ross Mental punched the cyborg hard on his shoulder. “I know that,
you metal fucker! Stop stating the fuckin’ obvious!”
The bounty hunter turned and began to stride purposefully to the west.
With a whine and a whirr, and with the grating crunch of damaged motivators,
Justin lurched unsteadily after him.