“I think you’re fuckin’ right!” Ross Mental said, looking
around. Several of the black-cloaked figures were indeed getting closer.
Justin was standing next to the bounty hunter at the rim of the giant emitter
dish. He was holding yet another focus modulator under his one working arm.
“There is a high probability that your true identity has been discovered.”
“The fuckers’ must have found my clothes! That fuckin’
idiot Rinkle must have just left them lying around.”
Justin responded with incredible insolence. “It would have been wise
for you to have reacquired them.”
Ross Mental punched Justin’s charred and wizened left leg. “You’re
a fuckin’ stupid cyborg, aren’t you?! That would have blown
my cover even earlier if I’d been carrying all that…”
“Drop your equipment and come with us.”
Ross Mental turned. The tip of a small hand weapon buzzed close to his face.
There was a loud clang as Justin dropped the focus modulator.
The cloaked figure that was holding the weapon spoke again. “Drop
“But I have important work to do.” The bounty hunter said, holding
up his welding torch. “The great Cause demands that I…”
There was a blinding flash. Ross Mental groaned as a focused beam of energy
cut through the flesh and bone of his left shoulder. He fell back, flames
licking at his wound.
The cloaked figure that had fired had no time to contemplate the gravity
of his mistake. Justin’s E.F.B.H.P.R. (Extremely Ferocious Bounty
Hunter Protection Routine) was activated as soon as his posi-digital-hypercube-derived-omni-directional-phantom-powered
brain had processed the imagery of the attack on Ross Mental. The routine,
deeply embedded into the operating system of all Palace of Amino cyborgs,
overrode all other routines, turning cyborgs into cold machines of pure
With a scream of damaged servos, Justin swung his left arm high and fast,
bringing his huge metal fist down onto the cloaked figure’s spherical
helmet. The helmet crumpled like a paper cup, crushing the figure’s
head like a watermelon. The cloaked figure dropped like a stone, a spray
of rich blood scattered in all directions.
The other cloaked figures opened fire, sending a dozen dazzling beams slamming
into Justin. He sparkled like a firework as the energy fire sliced into
Two of the cloaked figures headed towards Ross Mental. The bounty hunter
tried to get to his feet, but was instantly forced down but a stream of
fire. Another beam of energy cut into him, burning a deep fiery gash across
his right thigh. “Fuckin’ fuckers!” the bounty hunter
yelled, falling back and almost tumbling over the side of the dish.
With unbelievable agility, Justin leapt through the air, landing squarely
on one of the cloaked figures and pinning him down. Following the instructions
embedded in the E.F.B.H.P.R., the cyborg bent over and began punching the
cloaked figure trapped under him. The muffled sound of shattering bone was
clearly audible as Justin pummelled his target without remorse.
One of the other cloaked figures approached. “Cease and desist!”
he shouted. Another barrage of fire swept over the cyborg.
Justin spun round and held up his hand, protecting his head from the onslaught.
He walked over to Ross Mental, constantly shielding the bounty hunter from
the weapons fire. Ross Mental was attempting to get up again.
Justin spoke. “I recommend immediate surrender.”
Ross Mental glared at him. “You’re fuckin’ mad!”
“Despite my damaged appearance, my mental capabilities remain intact.”
The cyborg said, shouting to be heard above the sound of the fizzes and
bangs around his body. He continued. “Without your protective clothing
and weaponry you are unlikely to survive this battle.”
As if to reinforce Justin’s point, a beam of energy cut cleanly through
Ross Mental’s right ankle, severing his foot. The foot rolled off
to one side, smouldering like an over-cooked steak.
“Fuckers!” the bounty hunter screamed, falling back once again.
He gripped his cauterised stump.
Three of the cloaked figures closed in. One of them spoke. “Continue
to resist and you will be decimated.” They all opened fire again.
Justin crouched down next to Ross Mental, protecting the bounty hunter from
the blasts. “I am sustaining serious damage.” He said; his voice
suddenly more metallic than usual. Energy fire pounded into his back. “I
will not be able to shield you for much longer.”
The bounty hunter seemed preoccupied. “Look at my fuckin’ foot!”
There was a sudden blinding flash, then a shocking bang. Justin was thrust
into the air, fire bursting from every joint and seam. He landed hard on
the rim of the dish, and then slipped over the side.
Ross Mental pulled himself over to the rim and looked down. There, a metre
below, was Justin, hanging with his one working arm from some pipe work.
“Get back up here, you fucker!”
Before the cyborg could answer a voice spoke. “You will come with
Ross Mental looked round. Three cloaked figures stood over him, their weapons
aimed at vital parts of his body. More were approaching. The bounty hunter
looked back down at Justin. “I said get the fuck back up here!”
One of the cloaked figures walked to the edge of the dish and looked down.
He aimed his weapon. “Your large metal friend will assist you no longer.”
He fired. A beam of potent energy cut into the cyborg’s hand, neatly
slicing away his huge blocky fingers.
Ross Mental watched as the cyborg tumbled down through the giant chamber,
and then into the deep wide shaft of the power core far below.