Unseen under a pre-dawn sky, the Blenheim thundered at hypersonic speed across
Gun-Loc’s equatorial ocean, skimming less than two metres above the
rolling waves. At this time of day the ocean appeared jet black - the perfect
camouflage for the flagship of the bounty hunter fleet.
Flying either side of the Blenheim were two much smaller ships – the
Hooded Whore and the Drug Abuser. Both ships kept a tight and disciplined
formation slightly back from their much larger leader.
Panman wandered onto the Blenheim’s bridge, rubbing his eyes and
yawning like a hippo. He was dressed in a white suit of body armour. “Are
we there yet?”
Peter the Ace spun his plush command chair round. “Not for another
ten minutes, I’m afraid.”
Panman sat down on the sofa at the back of the bridge and stretched out.
He looked at the main view-screen. The dull grey and black view of the
ocean changed to a dull grey and black view of a flat plain – the
first change in scenery for almost an hour and a half - ever since the
ship had swooped down over the icy wastelands of Gun-Loc’s South
Panman reached out and touched a nearby communications panel. “Jemima?”
There was a prompt and sweet response. “Yes?”
“I’m starved. That quick nap I just took has left me weak
with hunger! I’m going to need a dense mass of food in me if this
mission is to be a success.”
“A huge breakfast should sort that problem out. How about eggs benedict
with hash browns, bacon, banana pancakes, and a clotted blood shake?”
“Yes!” Panman said, punching the air. “You read my mind!
“You are most kind. It’ll be ready in five minutes.”
“Cool! Bring it to the bridge.”
Peter the Ace got to his feet. “Blenheim, continue to the destination
point as programmed.”
The ship replied. “I WILL.”
Peter the Ace headed out of the bridge. “I must change into my snow
armour. I’ll meet you down in the lower cargo bay.”
Panman nodded. “Cool. I’ll be there after breakfast.”
Still clutching a handful of sticky banana pancakes, Panman stepped out
of the lift and into the Blenheim’s lower cargo bay. An icy blast
of air hit him full on. “Damn, that’s cold!” he exclaimed.
Fearful that the remains of his breakfast would freeze, he stuffed the
pancakes into his mouth and chewed hard.
At the centre of the cargo bay, right on the edge of the open lower hatchway,
stood Peter the Ace. He was wearing his full white arctic body armour,
complete with its snug-fitting helmet, and he was already bound into his
white snowboard. Several powerful and deeply vicious weapons were strapped
to his back.
Peter the Ace turned, his face invisible through his white visor. “Panman!
Right on time!”
Panman activated his helmet. It hissed briefly, rolling over his head
and sealing against his suit. The chill went away as the temperature of
the helmet’s interior rose. The bounty hunter approached his companion,
grabbing his snowboard from its locker as he passed. When he reached the
edge of the hatchway he dropped the board and stepped into the bindings.
There was a whirr of activity as the board’s bindings clamped round
his boots. The board bleeped three times. Panman laughed. “These
boards are cool! We should use them more often.”
Peter the Ace agreed. “I can’t believe that on all the thousands
of missions we’ve been on, this is the first time we’ve had
the opportunity to use them.” He handed Panman his drilling equipment
Panman strapped the equipment to his back. “Let’s remember
to accept all missions on frigid and mountainous planets from now on.”
Fifty metres below, the sharp ridge of a snow-covered slope fell steeply
away. A strong wind was blowing, and clouds of powdered snow billowed
off the peak.
Panman looked down at the dim view of the mountain. “Whoa! That
looks awesome!” He said, obviously excited at the prospect of boarding.
“Let’s go!” He leapt up, flipped over, and then fell
through the hatchway yelling some kind of war cry as he fell.
Peter the Ace leapt forwards and followed Panman down.
After a few seconds of free fall, the two top class bounty hunters hit
the steep northern slope. They began to carve their way down the mountain,
weaving round rocky outcrops with remarkable speed and skill.
Peter the Ace activated his helmet’s communicator. “Blenheim,
descend behind the peak. Await my signal.”
The ship responded. “I WILL.”
“Sebastian Blood. You know what to do and when to do it.”
“I do.” Sebastian Blood replied.
“Warrior babes. Proceed to your waiting point. Wait for my call.”
“Absolutely!” Ginny the Screech ‘n’ Wail Mistress
said - her eager anticipation of the violence to come was obvious in her
Panman examined the information on the heads-up display in his visor.
“It’s twenty-three point two kilometres to the target area.
At this speed we’ll be there in eighteen minutes.”
Peter the Ace leapt over an outcrop, flying more than fifty metres across
a deep dark crevasse. “Excellent.”
The two monumental heroes continued their rapid and graceful descent.