The syrup flowed at an annoyingly slow pace.
Peter the Ace had been in the gooey liquid more than an hour now, travelling
lethargically up towards the Lump-being’s personal chamber. The sensation
of the thick syrup had been interesting at first, almost sensuous, the electrostatic
pumping mechanism sending ripples up the skin of the bounty hunter’s
environment suit. But the novelty of the sensation soon wore off.
It was fortunate that the suit came with a full array of entertainment options,
allowing Peter the Ace to keep himself occupied with several games of Frog
Masher, an octo-phonic playback of the classic Dayglo Fishermen album Comet
Nerdlinger, and a rarely seen edit of Simpsons outtakes – all highly
enjoyable. But the time for digital entertainment was over. The syrup tube
was arching over to the horizontal. It was getting lighter. The outlet was
Patiently, Peter the Ace allowed the syrup to carry him leisurely round
the bend in the tube. It was another few minutes before the bounty hunter
saw the outlet – a bright ellipse, yellowed by the viscous fluid.
The bounty hunter got as close as he could, and then jammed his arms against
the sides of the tube to prevent himself being pushed out. He peered through
his visor. The view ahead was distorted madly. He activated some image processing
systems which immediately corrected the distortion. The view ahead cleared.
Peter the Ace smiled. He now had a perfect view across the syrup pool in
the lump-being’s chamber. And there, at the far end of the pool, was
the lump-being himself – Pys Phecees. The lump-being had his side
to the syrup outlet, and his arms were flapping wildly. His tongue was slapping
across his lips. He was talking to someone in a highly animated manner.
Peter the Ace pushed himself to one side to get a better look. Then he saw
whom Pys Phecees was talking to. The bounty hunter sighed. That girl really
needed sorting out!
Jodi Funk Junky sniffled, finding it hard to hold back a flood of tears.
How could she fail yet again? How could her judgement be so poor? She
had been so confident that her spur-of-the-moment modifications to Peter
the Ace’s plan would work. What a fool she was to think that she
She had followed the first part of Peter the Ace’s plan without
a problem. As instructed, she had found a safe place to hide Ross Mental
and the old man. Once they were secure, she had made her way stealthily
towards the door to Pys Phecees’s chamber and hid herself in an
alcove at the top of the stairway. There she had lingered, waiting patiently
as ordered for the door’s guards to rush into their master’s
chamber – the sign that Peter the Ace had emerged from the syrup
But then something unexpected had happened.
The sound of rapid footsteps, and the sound of sobbing and mumbling, had
appeared from below. A young male recruit, dried blood covering the front
and back of his head, was rushing up the steps. He ran passed the hidden
bounty hunter and up to the guards at the door. After a short and breathless
discussion with one of the guards, the door to the chamber had opened.
The bloodied recruit scurried into the chamber.
Thoughts had rushed like lambs through Jodi Funk Junky’s un-enhanced
brain. This was a fantastic opportunity to get into the chamber. Should
she take it? Or should she wait for Peter the Ace to create another chance
later on? There was no time for analysis. There was no time to weigh up
the pros and cons of each option. She had to make a decision now, based
purely on her instincts and previous experience.
She made the wrong decision.
The lesser bounty hunter leapt forwards and sprinted up the last few steps.
She raised her pistol, aiming at the closest guard.
A voice, experienced and profane, shouted at her from behind. “Not
now, you dense fuckin’ bimbo!”
Instantly Jodi Funk Junky realised she had made a mistake – a whopper
of a mistake, but there was no going back now - the guards had already
seen her. Desperate, she fired, sending a spray of blistering energy towards
one of the guards. His black cape sparked and flashed as it took the full
brunt of the onslaught. The guard fell, shrieking like an acid-soaked
The second guard returned fire. The bounty hunter dropped and went into
a roll, narrowly avoiding the intense beam of energy, and then got back
to her feet. She was now only a few metres from the door. She fired at
the second guard, hitting his shoulder and sending him spiralling to the
floor. Jodi Funk Junky gasped. A feeling of exhilaration rose inside her.
I’m going to make it! She thought. She rushed through the now closing
doorway and into the lump-being’s spacious chamber. There he was,
squatting like a dung heap in the middle of his syrup pool. She raised
her weapon once again and aimed at Pys Phecees.
A searing pain, intense beyond reason, spread up her arm. Her pistol,
along with her right hand, disappeared in a flash of white. She could
not believe it. Shocked, she fell to the floor, landing badly on her left
side, and hitting her head hard on the stone surface.
The next thing she had know was that she was sitting at the side of the
syrup pool, her arms bound tightly behind her back, and her legs bound
in front of her at the feet and knees. Her head throbbed madly, and she
was shivering. It was cold in the lump-being’s chamber, and the
minimal clothing she was wearing – nothing more than skimpy black
underwear – gave her barely any warmth whatsoever.
Right next to her, both Ross Mental and the old man had been propped up
against a small plinth – evidence of another of her failures –
to place the two in a safe and secure hiding place. And to top everything
off, the two guards she had attacked seemed unharmed, suffering nothing
more than charred cloaks.
A voice, rumbling and wet, bellowed at her. “Look up at me, you
treacherous little bitch!”
She looked up. Just two metres in front of her sat the lump-being, Pys
Phecees, his big black eyes blinking furiously. Saliva, thick like glue,
rolled off his fat lips.
Pys Phecees smiled. “That’s better. You have such an innocent
face, and an appealingly vague expression. I’ve always found it
so endearing. That’s probably why I never saw the perfidious intent
Jodi Funk Junky struggled with her bindings. Pain shot up her right arm.
“Let me go!” she demanded. Tears streamed down her face.
“Can’t do that, I’m afraid.” The lump-being said,
his tongue slapping around his face. “You were my most trusted shit
shoveller, but you betrayed me in a most public manner. You therefore
must be punished in a most public manner. After order has been restored
to this facility, you will be dissected slowly and with expert precision.
Agony of a most disagreeable form will fill your simple mind.”
The bounty hunter sobbed. She bowed her head. “This can’t
“Sort yourself out, you useless fuckin’ baby! This is not
Jodi Funk Junky turned and faced Ross Mental. She shook her head. “It’s
my entire fault!” She blubbered. “I’ve failed everyone!”
Ross Mental glared at her. “It’s not over yet! So stop that
Pys Phecees laughed. Phlegm scattered across the chamber. He looked at
Ross Mental and farted loudly. “Sorry to disappoint you, but it
certainly is over. Your dissection will soon be completed.”
“Fuck off, you hefty fuck!”
“Now now, my dismembered friend. There’s no need for such
vulgarity. Be gracious in defeat.”
Ross Mental struggled and fell forwards. He pushed himself up onto his
arms and looked fiercely at the lump-being. “You’re fuckin’
Pys Phecees had had enough. “Guards. Take them and prepare them
A flash of intense white light lit up the chamber.
The lump-being turned and gazed out of the huge domed window behind him.
One of the loudest thuds ever heard rocked the chamber. The syrup in the
pool rippled and frothed. And then the huge window shattered. With a distinctive
zipping sound, dozens of razor-sharp pieces of shrapnel burst into the
chamber, cutting through anything in their way. Both guards screamed as
their cloaks and flesh was ripped apart. They both fell to the floor,
their body parts sprinkled into their air.
The lump-being yelped as several pieces of shrapnel cut deeply into his
leathery hide. Chunks of his thick skin tore away from his body, one landing
squarely on Jody Funk Junky’s face. She screamed, and then vomited
And then it was over. The chamber fell quiet.
Ross Mental, the unconscious Rinkle, and Jodi Funk Junky, who had all
been down on the floor, had escaped injury.
“That was so fuckin’ cool!” Ross Mental exclaimed. He
punched the air, and then fell over backwards.
The lump-being shuffled out of his syrup pool, leaving a trail of blood
and defecation in his wake. He stared out of the shattered window and
across to a glowing hole of devastation on the far side of the emitter
chamber. “My control room!” he exclaimed. He turned, his expression
baked in malevolence. “Forget public dissection! You will all die
now!” He grabbed a pistol from a holster in the side of his control
console and aimed. “Prepare for incredible agony on a scale never
Peter the Ace had watched the few seconds of carnage with great interest.
And he had smiled at Ross Mental’s profane exclamation of delight.
But the entertainment was over.
The injured lump-being was angry as hell, and he was heading out of his
beloved syrup pool. Whatever his sick and juicy mind was planning, it
would not be good. Peter the Ace released his arms and allowed the pressure
of the syrup to push him forwards. In the manner of an aborted grunk foetus,
the first-class bounty hunter slipped silently out of the wide syrup outlet
and into the pool. Staying low, he looked up. Pys Phecees was out of the
far side of the pool and reaching for something at the side of a control
console. Peter the Ace reached round to his back and pulled out his rifle.
Slowly, he began to rise out of the gooey liquid.
The lump-being yelled. “Forget public dissection! You will all die
now!” He aimed what looked like a small pistol. “Prepare for
incredible agony on a scale never before conceived!”
Kneeling in a coating of syrup, Peter the Ace raised his rifle and fired.
A single bright pulse flashed across the chamber. It was a perfectly timed,
perfectly aimed shot. The lump-being’s pistol, fully charged and
milliseconds from release, burst apart into a spray of molten metal.
Pys Phecees’s large black eyes widened in shock as he examined his
smouldering left hand. He turned and looked for the cause of his weapon’s
Peter the Ace rose to his full height. Syrup dribbled gradually off his
The lump-being was stunned. His broad mouth hung open, his tongue slipping
slowly out over his fat lower lip.
Peter the Ace’s helmet whirred quietly, folding quickly away over
the back of his head. He spoke, his voice measured and level. “It’s
time for all this nonsense to end.”
Pys Phecees’s eyes narrowed for a moment, and then widened once
more, this time with stunned realisation. “It’s you!”
Peter the Ace looked down for a moment, and then looked back at the lump-being.
He smiled. “Why, yes! You’re right! Well done. You’re
not as thick and brainless as I thought!”
Grunting, the lump-being slid into the syrup and butt-walked towards Peter
the Ace. “You destroyed my society! You destroyed my homeworld and
my family!” He broke wind, frothing the syrup in his wake. “Prepare
to suffer in the depths of my deep rancid…”
Peter the Ace fired another single shot. Pys Phecees howled as a blazing
hole opened up in his gut. He sank back, shuddering into the syrup.
Standing proudly, Peter the Ace spoke the words that everyone, except
Pys Phecees, wanted to hear. “In the name of the Superior Beings
of the Great Hall of the Palace of Amino, I arrest you for the crime of
terrorism against all the known civilised worlds.”
The lump-being spat out a huge glutinous globule of saliva. “Damn
your skinny arse!”
Peter the Ace aimed at Pys Phecees’s knobbly head. “Do not
move, and remain silent. Otherwise you will suffer instant Amino justice.”
The lump-being growled, pursing his thick lips. He said nothing, obviously
well aware of what instant Amino justice entailed.
“Fuckin’ yeah!” Ross Mental screamed.
Peter the Ace squelched across the syrup pool and stepped out onto the
stone floor. He knelt next to Jodi Funk Junky. Pulling out his Assassinator
Class One Super-Heated Battle Blade, he slit her bindings.
As soon as her arms were freed, Jodi Funk Junky hugged her idol. “Please
forgive me!” she sobbed.
Peter the Ace pushed her away. “We’ll discuss your disgraceful
failure later. Right now we have more important things to do.” The
first-class bounty hunter stood up. Behind the female bounty hunter lay
the two black-cloaked guards, both of them cut to shreds by the shrapnel.
One of them was still moving. Peter the Ace did the decent thing and fired
two shots, vaporising the guard’s chest and neck area. The guard
shuddered briefly, and then lay still. “Take this.” Peter
the Ace said to Jodi Funk Junky, handing her the rifle. “I want
you to keep an eye on Pys Phecees. Make sure he doesn’t leave the
Ross Mental yelled. “Fat fuckin’ shit bag!”
Peter the Ace ignored the second-class bounty hunter and continued. “Shoot
him in the buttocks or the arms if you have to, but do not kill him. Can
you do that?”
The lesser bounty hunter accepted the weapon and got to her feet. With
her right hand vaporised she would have difficulty operating the rifle,
but she would try. She wiped her eyes, and then stood proudly. “Yes.”
Peter the Ace nodded. “Good.” He walked away, and squelched
back across the syrup pool towards the broken window. Stepping out of
the pool, he stood at the control console. A piece of the shrapnel was
embedded in its side. He pulled it out and examined it. It was serrated,
and razor-sharp. Smiling, he activated his communicator. “Panman?
Are you there?”
“Yo, Ace! Was that cool, or was that cool?!”
“Neither.” Peter the Ace answered. “It was very cool!
Nice choice of weapon – tremendously effective. We’ll certainly
be using PUSS charges again in the future.”
“Damn right! That control room has ceased to exist. The emitter’s
firing mechanism is destroyed.”
“Good stuff. Looks like our mission is successful. You may as well
get yourself over here. I’ve apprehended the lump-being, and…”
“That’s not possible at the moment. I have a slight problem.”
“Really? What problem is that?”
“Nothing I can’t handle. I’ll get it sorted, then come
and find you.”
“Excellent. See you soon. Peter the Ace out.”
Peter the Ace turned and faced the lump-being. “Well, my plump and
revolting friend, I guess your emitter can no longer fire. What do you
have to say for yourself now?”
A hideous grin spread across Pys Phecees’s wide leathery face. Not
the reaction Peter the Ace had expected.
The lump-being spoke. “Look at the console’s screen. That
says it all.”
Peter the Ace looked. His eyes widened. “Interesting.” He
looked back at Pys Phecees. “Quite cunning. Quite cunning indeed.”