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Book: Vengeance of the Lump-Being
Chapter 28: Automatic Exhaustion

“That’s fuckin’ good!” Ross Mental said. “More!”

Jodi Funk Junky nodded and poured another load of banana-curry smoothie into the bounty hunter’s mouth. He gulped at it eagerly. Some of the dark yellow liquid dribbled down his chin and onto his neck. It began to soak into his charred red overalls.

Ross Mental pointed. “Give some to the old fucker!”

Jodi Funk Junky looked over to Rinkle. The old man’s legless, armless, genital-less, and eyeless body was lying on the next table. He was unconscious, his breathing shallow and laboured, and his mouth was dribbling bile. “I don’t think he’d appreciate it at this time.”

Ross Mental propped himself up onto his elbows. He looked at his the remains of his once mighty legs. His left leg was missing at the knee, and a wide black and crumbling wound split his right leg vertically from his thigh to the cauterised stump that was once his right foot. “Look at what the fucker did to my fuckin’ legs!”

“Try not to think about it.”

“The fucker will pay for this!”

Jodi Funk Junky decided to ignore her superior’s revengeful attitude. She sat down next to him and rubbed her hands over her toned thighs. The dining hall they were in was remarkably chilly, and the fact that she was wearing nothing more than very skimpy black underwear gave her very little warmth. She looked around. The room was large, but with a low honeycombed ceiling – a stark contrast to the cavernous chambers below. Unfinished meals and drinks littered most of the evenly spaced tables – the recruits eating here had obviously left in a hurry when the explosion occurred.

Jodi Funk Junky stretched her arms above her head, trying to lesson the aches and pains in her shoulders and back. She had carried Ross Mental and old Rinkle up twenty-eight levels from the chamber floor, often against a flow of fleeing recruits, and she was starting to feel the effects of exhaustion. If only she had qualified for the A.E.R.O (Automatic Exhaustion Reduction Optimiser) implant before she had embarked on this mission she would have found the task much easier. And even easier if she could have had some of the bionic implants that some of her superiors had. She turned to Ross Mental. “I guess we should think about…”

There was a hiss at the opposite side of the hall. An arched doorway was opening.

Jodi Funk Junky grabbed the small weapon she had stolen from the lump-being, and then took up a crouching position next to a table. She raised the weapon and took aim at the doorway.

Ross Mental lifted his head. “What the fuck’s going on?”

“Stay quiet!” the lesser bounty hunter whispered, keeping her aim. “Someone’s at the door!”

The slim barrel of a rifle appeared at the side of the doorway. It panned slowly, its user obviously scanning the dining hall. After completing its sweep, the rifle disappeared.

Jodi Funk Junky was surprised. “It’s gone!” she whispered. “Whoever it was, I don’t think they saw us.”

Ross Mental knew better. “You fuckin’ idiot! Of course they saw us! Get ready for…”

In a blur of motion, a white figure sprinted into the room.

Jodi Funk Junky fired. Several bursts of brilliant energy skimmed by the figure, burning wide holes into a couple of food dispensers on the far wall. One of the dispensers exploded in a shower of blue-green sparks. The figure disappeared under one of the tables.

“Shit!” the lesser bounty exclaimed.

Ross Mental lifted his head again. “Where the fuck’s he gone?”

“He’s under one of the tables.”

“Fuck! He’s going to sneak up on us! Go down and find the fucker!”

Jodi Funk Junky nodded. She got down on her hands and knees and looked around. The thick supports for the chairs and tables made it difficult to make anything out. The dim lighting of the dining hall did not help. She started to crawl forwards, careful not to make a sound. As she passed under each table she peered left and right, looking for any sign of movement. She saw none. Gritting her teeth, she whispered to herself, annoyed. “Where are you, you sneaky bastard?”

“Right here, you practically nude female.”

Jodi Funk Junky gasped. She froze, the cold rim of a rifle pressed firmly into her neck.

The voice spoke again. “Please be kind enough to drop your weapon.”

She did as she was told.

“Push it over here.”

She complied. The rifle was pulled away from her neck.

“You’ve got a lot to learn, miss Funk Junky.”

She turned, confused. The white-suited figure sat next to her. With a quiet whirr, his snug-fitting helmet opened up and folded away neatly behind his head. She recognised him immediately. “Peter the Ace!” She bowed down, grabbed his gloved hand, and then kissed it.

Peter the Ace pulled it away. “Relax, my dear. There’ll be time for that later.”

She sat up, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I’m sorry. I’ve had a hard time lately. It’s not usual for me to come across a friendly face in here.”

“Who are those two that you’re with?” Peter the Ace asked. “You realise that there are more important things to do here than save a couple of cripples?”

Jodi Funk Junky shook her head. “Only one of them is just a cripple. The other one is Ross Mental.”

Peter the Aces’ eyes widened. “Really? But they’re both in such a disastrous state!”

The lesser bounty hunter nodded, and then explained. “Ross Mental was drugged, had his clothing and weapons removed, and also his pain suppression implant extracted. They were both tortured and dismembered.”

Peter the Ace was mildly concerned. “That sounds serious. Let’s go.”

They both stood up and walked over to the corner of the dining hall.

Ross Mental had propped himself up on his arms. “Ace! What the fuck did you do? That was one fuck off fuckin’ bang!”

“We just collapsed the roof of the chamber onto the emitter dish, that’s all.” Peter the Ace said. He looked at Ross Mental’s incredible injuries. “You suffered all this without your pain suppression implant?”

Ross Mental nodded. “Too fuckin’ right I did!”

“Remarkable.” Peter the Ace said, genuinely impressed. He turned to Jodi Funk Junky. “What are you all doing up here?”

“We’re on our way up to find the lump-being’s private chambers.” She said. “I believe he’s up there trying to re-establish order. We intend to neutralise him.”

“Fat fucker!”

Peter the Ace ignored Ross Mental’s outburst. “Excellent!” He said, pleased. “I was looking for Ross Mental. I’ve obviously achieved that aim, and more.” He looked up and down Jodi Funk Junky’s reasonably slim and reasonably toned semi-naked body. “I certainly didn’t expect to find you too, my dear. I’ll guess I’ll join you.”

The lesser bounty hunter’s jaw dropped. It had been her secret fantasy to work with Peter the Ace ever since she had graduated. She bowed her head. “It will be an honour to have you with us!”

Peter the Ace nodded. “I know.”

“Where’s fuckin’ Panman?”

Peter the Ace looked at Ross Mental. “He’s at the emitter dish, trying to get inside it and cause some damage.”

“Didn’t the roof of the fuckin’ chamber damage it when it collapsed?”

The first-class bounty hunter shook his head. “I’m afraid not, at least not in any serious way. The millions of tonnes of rock on the dish will only lessen the output. The dish and the power core shaft are made almost entirely of quadrillium-tritanium, the strongest material ever known. There is very little damage done. I don’t expect Panman will find a way to break into that dish.”

“Fuck!”

“Indeed. I have Sebastian Blood down the power core shaft. He’s going to explore the power source of the emitter and hopefully damage it enough to lessen the output even more. Of course, as the entire shaft is more than likely made of quadrillium-tritanium too, it’s unlikely he can cause much more than minor damage with the weapons available to him.”

Peter the Ace’s communicator bleeped. “Excuse me one moment.” He answered the call. “Hello?”

Yo, Ace!

“Panman! What’s happening?”

I can’t get into the dish! It’s going to take some obscenely potent and as yet unavailable weapon to get into that thing!

“That’s unfortunate.”

It is! What are you up to?

“I’ve found Ross Mental, or at least most of him?”

What do you mean?

“I’ll let you find that out for yourself. I’ve also found our long lost bounty hunter.”

Jodi Funk Junky? Cool! I hope she’s got a good reason for being out of contact for six months.

“No she hasn’t, but we’ll deal with that later.”

Too right we will!

“Well, I guess you may as well join us up here.”

Actually, I can see what looks like some sort of control centre way up on the chamber wall – the opposite side to where you are. It’s been damaged. I think I’ll go up and take a look, and maybe damage it some more!

“Good thinking. See you later. Peter the Ace out.” He closed the communications channel. “Right!” he said to Jodi Funk Junky and Ross Mental. “What do you suggest we do now?”

Ross Mental screwed his face up. There was obvious rage behind his foul expression. “Let’s go and fuck up that fuckin’ turd fucker!” He punched the air, and then fell off the table, yelling as the stub of his left leg smacked into the floor.

Peter the Ace looked down at his fallen comrade. “That sounds like a good idea to me.”

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