A surge of pain washed through Ross Mental’s consciousness, ebbing
and flowing in ripples of sustained agony. The sensation was something he
had never felt before. In fact, it was something he should not be feeling
now. Something was very wrong.
He opened his eyes, and then rolled his aching head slowly, examining the
points of his body where the pain was strongest. The reason for all the
pain soon became brutally clear. His wrists - caked in blood - were clamped
by rusted iron shackles to a rough stone wall. His left ankle was also clamped
to the wall, and twisted backwards – almost certainly dislocated.
His lower right leg though, was causing the most pain. The bounty hunter
looked down at it, and then gasped. Instead of a clamp, there was a thick
iron nail straight through his lower shinbone and into the wall. The reason
for the nail was glaringly obvious: all that remained of his once powerful
right foot was a black cauterised stump.
Ross Mental groaned as another rush of pain swept by. This had to be the
most despairing moment of his long life. He screwed up his eyes and bit
down hard, snarling with anger and confusion. Why were his pain suppression
implants not working?
“I’ve been expecting one of your kind for quite some time.”
A slobbering voice said.
The bounty hunter looked up and squinted. There, a few metres in front of
him, in what looked like a small lake of sugar syrup, squatted a dumpy,
bulbous, and dung-brown creature of absurd ugliness. The creature’s
large pitch black eyes and wide thick-lipped mouth instantly gave away its
identity. It was the Fump-Fester lump-being, Pys Phecees.
The lump-being continued his smug speech, splashing saliva in all directions.
“The fact that it’s taken you seven decades to discover my little
project proves how ineffective you and your organisation really are.”
Ross Mental growled. “Let me go, you fat fuck!”
Pys Phecees leaned back and laughed, his tongue slapping around his mouth
like a grounded fish. He farted loudly. “Such foul words! How amusing.”
“Fucker!” the bounty hunter shouted; his voice hoarse. He pulled
on his shackles, and then screamed as an astonishing level pain dashed across
The lump-being chuckled. “I guess you’re wondering why this
isn’t working.” He held up marble-sized object.
Ross Mental recognised it immediately. “How the fuck did you know
“At the height of our power my people dissected several of your kind.
I know an awful lot about your little devices.” He threw the object
to the floor, smashing it in two.
“You’re doomed, lard fucker! You’re fuckin’ doomed!”
“It is you who are doomed.” Pys Phecees said quickly, suddenly
very serious. He clenched his butt muscles and slithered out of his syrup
pool, letting loose another waft of noisy wind. “In a few days you
and all your kind will be no more. I have foiled your foolish attempt to
stop me. Now your extinction is confirmed.”
Ross Mental spat hard, landing a sizeable lump of saliva in Pys Phecees’s
left eye. The lump-being blinked furiously, and then spat back. Almost a
litre of sticky discharge splashed onto the bounty hunter’s chest,
soaking his tattered red overalls.
Pys Phecees chuckled. “I have impeccable aim, don’t you think?”
The bounty hunter scowled, but did not reply.
A dull bleeping sound started. The lump-being turned and sank back into
the shallow syrup, leaving a smear of defecation on the smooth floor. “Before
I render you unconscious there is something I would like you to witness.”
Pys Phecees said. He hauled his huge arse out of the opposite side of the
syrup pool and waddled over to a control console in front of a large domed
From seemingly nowhere, a young female appeared. She ran over to the trail
of defecation leading into the syrup. Quickly, she scraped it up into a
Ross Mental looked down at her. Her blonde hair, tied tightly into a bun,
and her slender yet toned neck seemed familiar.
When she had finished she looked up at the bounty hunter. She whispered;
her voice barely audible. “I will help you.”
Before Ross Mental could respond, the girl ran away, disappearing into the
With a flash, one wall of the room burst to life. A wide field image of
a cavernous underground chamber appeared. Ross Mental recognised it immediately
– it was the first chamber he had seen where the induction speech
had taken place. The chamber was crowded with thousands of recruits. The
image began zooming in to a tall metal post that had been positioned at
the centre of the chamber. Someone, naked and bruised, was tied to the post
by a thick waistband.
The lump-being was chuckling to himself. “You should recognise that
creature. An acquaintance of yours, I believe.”
The bounty hunter watched as the imaged zoomed right up to the naked figure’s
face. It was Rinkle, the old man that had brought him here. “What
the fuck are you doing to him?”
“He helped you to infiltrate my organisation.” Pys Phecees said,
his tongue slapping wildly over his fat lips. “He must be punished
horrifically for his actions. He must be made an example to all.”
Ross Mental yelled. “You merciless fucker! My disguise was perfect.
He had no way of knowing who the fuck I was! Let him go – now!”
The lump-being ignored the bounty hunter. He touched the control console.
The image on the screen zoomed back. Several metres in front of the post
to which Rinkle was tied stood a black-cloaked figure. His spherical helmet
glistened, reflecting the numerous lights that sparkled high above on the
chamber’s ceiling. “Yes, master?”
“Begin the procedure.”
Supervisor Tyrsum bowed. “Yes, master.” He raised his arms and
prepared to address the crowd of recruits.
The murmurs of the crowd ceased. An air of expectant silence fell across
Supervisor Tyrsum spoke, his voice now amplified across the entire chamber.
“We have been infiltrated. Infiltrated by those who cannot see the
glory of the Cause.”
The crowd gasped.
“Their malevolence against us is deep and powerful, yet our magnificent
master has defeated them with ease.”
The crowd cheered, and then began jumping with joy. Many joined arms and
spun each other round and round in a dance of pure celebration. Supervisor
Tyrsum raised then lowered his arms. The crowd settled. Silence returned.
“The infiltrators did not enter these chambers themselves. They were
brought here by one of us. Brought here by an individual whose thoughtlessness
could have jeopardised the fruition of this benevolent cause.” Supervisor
Tyrsum turned and pointed at Rinkle. “They were brought here by recruiter
The crowd hissed like lard snakes. Several stones were thrown towards Rinkle,
one of them hitting the old man squarely on the chest, tearing a gash across
his solar plexus. Blood oozed its way out. Rinkle coughed.
“Fuckers!” Ross Mental yelled as he watched then events on the
Pys Phecees chuckled.
Once again Supervisor Tyrsum raised then lowered his arms. Once the crowd
had settled, he turned and spoke to the old man. “Recruiter 9-488,
do you have anything to say before punishment is served?”
The image zoomed in to Rinkle’s face. He was looking around frantically,
his old ripened face pale with fear. “I am devoted to the Cause!”
he said, his voice weak and unsteady. “I am a loyal servant to the
Inductor. Please allow me to continue to serve my master.”
The image changed back to Supervisor Tyrsum. He was facing the crowd once
again. “The Cause is fair to those who fail it, or deviate from its
teachings. I ask you all to sentence recruiter 9-488 with compassion and
neutrality. Sentence him as you have been instructed to during your weeks,
years, and decades serving the Cause.” The supervisor took a couple
of seconds to survey the silent crown. They all stood expectantly, waiting
for their final instruction. Supervisor Tyrsum shouted. “Sentence
The decision was unanimous. The crowd began chanting, stamping their feet
in time. “Dissection! Dissection! Dissection! Dissection!”
“Recruiter 9-488 has been sentenced.” Supervisor Tyrsum said,
shouting to be heard above the noise of the crowd. He turned to face Rinkle
and pointed. “You will be dissected for the Cause. And as your failure
was of the most severe form, your dissection will be a slow ordeal of overwhelming
torment and misery.”
Ross Mental struggled, screaming as the rusty shackles cut into his wrists.
“Order him freed, you fuckin’ butt freak!”
The lump-being ignored the bounty hunter.
On the screen, the old man was wriggling like a larva, trying to loosen
the single waistband that strapped him to the post. “Please no! I
will do anything for the Cause. Anything!”
“Of course you will.” Supervisor Tyrsum said. “And today
you will be dissected for the Cause!”
The crowd cheered at those words. Whoops of delight echoed round the immense
Pys Phecees giggled inanely. He turned to the bounty hunter. “This
is going to be highly entertaining, don’t you think? We haven’t
had a slow execution in months!”
Ross Mental glared at the fat lump before him. “You’re fuckin’
dead, you ugly dump fucker!”
On the screen Supervisor Tyrsum was now brandishing a small hand weapon.
He raised it and aimed at the old man.
The crowd were silent – not a single cough, burp, or fart was heard.
The supervisor waited for a few seconds, letting the tension build like
a true professional, and then fired. Instantly, a thin bright continuous
beam of energy connected with Rinkle’s right knee. In a cloud of vaporised
flesh and bone, the old man’s knee was slowly dissolved away, the
low power setting of the weapon ensuring that the process was as slow as
possible. Rinkle screamed as he watched his limb burning like an overcooked
sausage. Instinct made him waggle his leg, trying to move it out of the
path of the beam, but Supervisor Tyrsum’s impeccable aim kept the
beam on target.
It took more than a minute for Rinkle’s lower limb to be burned free
and drop onto the smooth stone floor. There was no blood to be seen, the
old man’s wound sealed by the heat of the weapon’s discharge.
The crowd of recruits cheered with delight.
Rinkle had stopped screaming now. He looked up, tears streaming down his
ancient face. “Please, finish me quickly.” He said; his voice
croaky and feeble. “I beg you!”
Supervisor Tyrsum took aim again. He fired, this time only a brief burst.
Rinkle yelped as his left eyeball blistered and burst; the vitreous fluid
inside boiling away. He covered his face with his hands, sobbing like a
Ross Mental watched with disgust as the supervisor fired once more. The
bounty hunter grimaced as the old man’s wizened genitals burst into
a brief and spectacular inferno. Old Rinkle writhed in agony, his hands
now covering the void that was one his manhood.
The injustice of the situation got the better of Ross Mental. “You
fuckin’ fat greasy fuck!” he screamed, pulling hard on his shackles.
Despite the pain, he managed to loosen the one of the shackles, breaking
it free from the wall. Blood was pouring out of a deep cut in his right
wrist, but his arm was free. “Let him go, or kill him quick, you fuck-faced
fuckin’ flab bucket!” The bounty hunter bent down and pulled
on the shackle of his left leg, trying to set it free. He succeeded, but
tore several tendons. He howled as sharp layers of pain stabbed at his sanity.
The image on the view-screen continued to show Rinkle’s slow execution
in excruciating detail. Supervisor Tyrsum was now working on the recruiter’s
left leg. With incredible accuracy, the supervisor was splitting the leg
vertically in two, and was already up to the knee. Rinkle was moaning and
sobbing, his hands still covering his non-existent genitals.
The crowd could be heard shouting encouragement to Supervisor Tyrsum. He
certainly did not need it.
“You’re all fucked!” Ross Mental yelled. He reached up
and yanked hard on his still shackled left arm. Summoning all the strength
his failing implants could muster, he pulled hard. There was a loud snap.
The shackle, and the bounty hunter’s wrist, broke. The bounty hunter
slipped down to the floor, rotating on the large rusty nail that still pinned
him to the wall through his right shinbone. He shrieked as his left dislocated
ankle slammed into the stone floor.
Pys Phecees, engrossed in the spectacle of the execution, had failed to
notice Ross Mental’s escape. Until now, that is. The lump-being glanced
over at the bounty hunter. His wide thick-lipped mouth hung open with surprise
as he watched the bounty hunter attempt to rip his right leg off the nail.
The lump-being slammed his hand onto his control console. “Medic Borldin.
Get in here. Now!”
Within a couple of seconds the door to the lump-being’s personal chambers
slid open. A black-cloaked figure wearing a polished spherical helmet entered
and bowed. “Yes, master?”
Pys Phecees pointed. “Anaesthetize him!”
Medic Borldin nodded. “Yes, master.” He pulled out a small device
from inside his cloak and walked briskly over to Ross Mental.
The bounty hunter looked round at the approaching medic. “Stay the
fuck away from me!”
Medic Borldin answered. “No.” He grabbed the bounty hunter,
stabbing the device into his neck.
“Fucker!” Ross Mental shouted. He swung his fist hard in the
direction of the medic, but before the punch could find its target, the
anaesthetic soaked into his brain. The bounty hunter felt the world spin
and begin to fade away. Every single gram of strength dissolved to nothing.
He slumped to the floor.
A fat, ugly, blurry face appeared and stared down at him. The face spoke.
“I was going to let you enjoy the full spectacle of your friend’s
execution, but unfortunately you’ve been rather naughty so I must
put you to sleep for a while. Never mind, I’ll wake you when it’s
time for your dissection. I wouldn’t want you to miss that!”
Ross Mental tried to respond, but he didn’t even have the strength
to move his mouth.
Fuck, he thought, as the world faded away.