The Blenheim rose swiftly through the dark dense cloud layers of Gun-Loc.
Of course, with its engine section still damaged beyond reasonable repair,
it could not do this alone.
Docked on the ship’s topside was Sebastian Blood’s mushroom-shaped
ship, the Hooded Whore. Attached to the Blenheim’s port side was the
Morbid, Ross Mental’s devastatingly destructive vessel, recovered
from its long stay landing pad at Ry-Fol’s spaceport. Finally, docked
on the Blenheim’s starboard side, was Jodi Funk Junky’s modest
but capable little ship, the Superfluous Third Nipple, also recovered from
its long stay landing pad.
The subspace engines of the three smaller ships burned brightly, pushing
the Blenheim onwards and upwards into empty space.
Panman wandered onto the bridge. He was sporting his more familiar black
body armour, and munching noisily on a foot-long sub. He spoke between
huge mouthfuls. “You know, this is the first food I’ve had
in more than a day!” He took his seat at the weapons console. “If
I hadn’t had that recent upgrade to my anti-gastric implosion suppression
system, I’m almost certain my stomach would have collapsed in on
Peter the Ace, also back in his black body armour, spoke with great wisdom.
“Have you ever wondered whether all those hyper-digestion enhancements
and intestinal modifications within your digestive tract have extended
your nutritional requirements to inefficient extremes?”
Panman stopped chewing and thought deeply for a second. Then he swallowed,
allowing his peristaltic augmenter to force the food down and pack it
hard into his reinforced stomach. He looked at his companion. “No.”
“Glad to hear it!” Peter the Ace said happily. “I’d
hate to think that you doubted or regretted anything you’ve done.”
Panman shoved the last piece of the sub into his mouth. “Never have.
Peter the Ace’s console bleeped. He looked down. “Ah! The
warrior babes are calling.” He answered. “How are you both
Ginny the Screech ‘n’ Wail Mistress’s voice shrieked
over the communications channel. “We’re doing great! We shot
a thousand little holes into that saucer. It’s adrift and leaking
“Well done.” Peter the Ace said, pleased with their performance.
“I hope that that flabby bundle of defecation is still alive?”
“He is. But he’s not answering our calls.”
“That’s not unexpected. Beings as foul and ugly as him are
usually intensely rude as well. Pull alongside the saucer and wait for
us. We’ll rendezvous with you shortly.”
“OK. Drug Abuser out.”
Peter the Ace spoke to the ship. “Blenheim, set a course to bring
us alongside the Drug Abuser.”
“COURSE SET. TIME TO ARRIVAL: SIXTEEN MINUTES AND FOUR SECONDS.”
“Excellent. I think I’d better send a quick message back to
the palace and warn them that the emitter will fire.”
“Good thinking, Ace.” Panman said, getting to his feet. “I’m
going to see how everyone’s doing down in the cyborg construction
Ross Mental’s new state-of-the-art fully mechanised legs were the
most advanced ever created, and had quickly integrated into his nervous
system after being built and fitted in only six minutes. But they still
took some getting used too. With deep unease, the foul-mouthed bounty
hunter stepped unsteadily around the Blenheim’s cyborg construction
lab. “These fuckin’ legs are fucked!” he exclaimed.
“I’m walking like a fuckin’ cripple!”
Justin, his metal body blackened and worn by repeated exposure to incredible
heat and friction, was propped up against the lab’s wall awaiting
repair. “The artificial legs that have been fitted to your body
will take several hours to form the complex neural links to the motor
control centre of your brain.”
Ross Mental glared at the battered mechanoid. “Shut the fuck up!”
Jodi Funk Junky was sitting on a bench next to where Justin was resting.
She was staring at her highly polished cyborg lower right arm and hand.
She smiled broadly. “It’s quite beautiful.” She said,
clenching and relaxing her new hand. Insulated servos purred quietly.
She looked up at Ross Mental. “And the new sensations it generates
are quite thrilling!”
Ross Mental scowled. “You’re fuckin’ warped!”
The lab’s computer made an announcement. “CYBORG CONSTRUCTION
UNIT RE-INITIALISATION COMPLETE. AWAITING NEXT PATIENT.”
Ross Mental stumbled noisily over to a stasis bowl at the far side of
the lab. Reaching inside, he pulled a limbless and naked body out of the
preservation gel. It was the old man, Rinkle. Turning, the foul-mouthed
bounty hunter wobbled and clomped his way over to the cyborg construction
unit. He placed the old man onto a bench at the centre of the unit, and
then took a couple of steps back.
Immediately, a dozen mechanical clamps, blades, and probes grabbed Rinkle
and began to fumble, feel, and slice their way around what remained of
his body, scattering blood and dead tissue into the air. Several sensor
receptors began rolling around the old man, scanning his molecular form.
A large screen on the far wall of the lab displayed old Rinkle’s
innards with remarkable clarity.
Ross Mental laughed, his mind taken off his annoying new legs for a moment.
“This fuckin’ contraption never fails to entertain!”
With its initial scan and cleanup complete, the cyborg construction unit
moved on to its next phase. Strobe lights flashed rapidly, and a cacophony
of thunderous cracks sounded. The old man was enveloped in a cloud of
white swirling smoke.
The cyborg construction unit had to work much harder on its current patient
than it had on Jodi Funk Junky and Ross Mental. The old man’s injuries
were severe, and he had been on the verge of death for well over a day.
There would be plenty of dead and gangrenous flesh inside him, and it
would all need to be cleaned out and, where necessary, replaced with cyborg
Panman wandered into the lab. He looked at the turbulent activity on the
cyborg construction unit. He took a deep breath, relishing the aroma of
cooked humanoid meat, one of his secret pleasures. “Hmm… Cool!
Is that the old dude in there?”
“Too fuckin’ right it is!”
Panman looked at Ross Mental. “How are the legs?”
The foul-mouthed bounty hunter looked down. “Fuckin’ awful!”
“They look alright to me.”
“Oh yeah, they look fuckin’ great. But they feel like fuckin’
“You’ll soon grow to love them.” Panman said. “They
are way more powerful than your original legs. Just think of the destructive
power of the roundhouse kicks you’ll be able to do with them. You’ll
literally be able to kick filthy miscreants in two!”
Ross Mental pondered that thought for a second. “You know, you’re
“Of course I am.”
A piercing whoosh sounded as powerful extractor fans above the cyborg
construction unit sucked away the smoke. In seconds, the air was cleared.
The machine bleeped, then fell silent. The word ‘Done’ appeared
on a nearby display screen.
Panman walked over to the bench at the centre of the machine. Effortlessly
he lifted up Rinkle, forcing the old man to stand on his gleaming new
legs. Rinkle moaned softly, his head flopping forwards like a rag doll.
“Wake up, old dude!” Panman shouted. He pushed Rinkle’s
Slowly, the old man’s large new synthetic eyes faded to life, glowing
a deep shade of red.
Panman turned to Justin. “Ha! Look! He’s got your eyes!”
Justin responded in his usual irritating manner. “That is an illogical
statement. Both of my eyes are still fitted securely to my…”
Panman frowned. “A joke! Lighten up, metal buddy!”
Old Rinkle shuddered, and then spoke weakly. “What is this place?”
He looked at Panman. “Who are you?”
Panman grinned. “I’m Panman, a bounty hunter of vital astuteness
and massive digestive ability. And you’re onboard the Blenheim,
one of the greatest star ships ever constructed!”
Rinkle looked incredibly bewildered. He looked down at his highly polished
legs, and his gleaming metal arms. “What happened?”
Ross Mental approached, his wide tritanium feet stomping heavily on the
reinforced floor of the lab. “Hey, old fucker! Remember me?”
Rinkle looked up. A shallow smile, his first for two days, spread across
his creased face. “Is… Is that you, my friend?”
“It certainly fuckin’ is!”
Rinkle repeated his question. “What happened to me?”
“Isn’t it fuckin’ obvious? You had your limbs burned
off, and your fuckin’ eyes vaporised!”
“My eyes?” The old man said. He reached up and felt his own
face. His metal hands clanked against his digital orbs. “But I can
see you clearly, my friend. My eyes are fine.”
“Better than fuckin’ fine! Haven’t you noticed how much
fuckin’ better things look?”
The old man scanned the room slowly. “Hmm… The cloudiness
and fuzziness certainly appears to have gone.” He looked at Ross
Mental and grinned crookedly. “These new eyes will help me appease
the Inductor! I will gain new favour with him when he becomes aware of
my remarkable optical prowess! I will regain my status as a recruiter!
I will receive a gold star for my extraordinary vision!”
Panman whispered to Ross Mental. “The lump-being’s brainwashing
still seems to have a hold on him. Take him away and sort him out.”
The foul-mouthed bounty hunter nodded. He whispered back to Panman. “Good
idea.” He turned and spoke loudly to Rinkle. “Come with me,
old fucker. Time to discuss something important.”
The old man grabbed Ross Mental’s arm. “Of course! We must
plan our return to service the great Cause!”
Ross Mental and Rinkle clanked and stumbled out of the cyborg construction
The computer made an announcement. “CYBORG CONSTRUCTION UNIT RE-INITIALISATION
COMPLETE. AWAITING NEXT PATIENT.”
“Ah! Cool!” Panman said. He walked over to Justin, whose blackened
and withered form was still propped up against the wall. “Well,
metal buddy, I guess you’re all that’s left. Time to get yourself
a shiny new body. Jodi Funk Junky and I will help you onto the…”
Justin interrupted. “I am not the last one in need of repair.”
With a cringe-inducing screech, a thick set of double doors opened up
on the mechanoid’s scorched chest plate.
Panman stared at the contents of Justin’s chest cavity. “Whoa!
I was not expecting to see that!”
Jodi Funk Junky got up from the bench to see what Panman was looking at.
When she saw it she gasped, putting her hand over her mouth. There, inside
Justin, encased in a transparent domed helmet, was a young female humanoid
head. The wide eyes of the disembodied head blinked furiously and flicked
from one place to the next.
Panman glowered. “You had better have a good explanation for this!”
“I have.” Justin said.
Panman smiled. “Well, that’s alright then. I guess we should
get her into the cyborg construction unit as soon as possible.”
He reached inside Justin’s chest cavity and pulled on the helmet.
With a snap, the umbilical tubes feeding the head broke free, spraying
dark liquid into the air. The head’s mouth opened with shock. Her
eyeballs rolled back.
Justin spoke. “The female considered her biological body as slim
and sexually attractive. It would be logical to assume that a similarly
shaped artificial body would prove psychologically beneficial to her recovery.”
Panman laughed. “Ha! You just want a sexy lady robot to leer at,
“I do not. I am only stating logic.”
“Relax!” Panman said. “I’m keen to see a sexy
female cyborg as well.”
Jodi Funk Junky nodded vigorously. “Me too!”
Panman looked at her for a second. “How brave of you to admit that.
The lesser bounty hunter realised what she had implied. “Oh no!”
She said, with some alarm. “I didn’t mean that…”
“Don’t try to take it back.” Panman said. “There’s
nothing wrong with that kind of thing. At least between females.”
Before Jodi Funk Junky could respond, Panman turned and carried the helmeted
head quickly over to the cyborg construction unit. “Emergency total
body build.” The bounty hunter said. “Female form. Slim, shapely,
and sexy.” Smashing open the helmet, he removed the female’s
clammy and now unconscious head and placed it on the bench at the centre
of the construction unit.
“EMERGENCY TOTAL BODY BUILD PROGRAM ACTIVATED.”
Immediately the cyborg construction unit hissed and whirred into a frenzy
of activity, far more violent and rapid than before. Sensor arms, flesh
cutters, and cauterisers shaped and scanned the female’s crudely
cut neck, cleaning and preparing the wound for attachment to a new body,
which was already under construction up on the ceiling.
Panman folded his arms and watched the mechanical commotion with anticipation.
“This is going to be so cool!”