“Remarkable! Absolutely remarkable!” Peter the Ace said. He looked up and down
the curvaceous metallic blue cyborg body. Every seam, joint, rivet, and
panel was fitted with consummate precision, and every bulge and curve carefully
designed to ooze sensuality, and titillate the nether regions of even the
coldest of humanoids.
The bounty hunter returned his gaze to the female humanoid head that was
seamlessly connected to the neck of the cyborg body. “My dear, you
are stunning. I’m not sure what your previous body looked like, but
it certainly could not have been more pleasing than this! You must be over
The girl looked back, a single tear swelled in the corner of one eye, and
then escaped slowly down her cheek.
Peter the Ace turned and looked at Panman. “Is there something wrong
“I think the whole experience of loosing her body so violently affected
her mind somehow.” Panman replied, casually.
“How did she loose it?”
“Justin sliced it off with his circular saw attachment.”
Peter the Ace frowned. “I’m hoping he had a good reason for
“Yeah, he did.”
Peter the Ace nodded and turned back to the female cyborg. He spoke calmly
and assuredly. “What’s your name?”
The female cyborg responded to the bounty hunter’s soothing tones.
“Anelianioniathama.” She said, her voice tinged with a synthetic
“Really?” Peter the Ace said. “Nice. But far too long.”
“My family call me Anelia.”
“What is to become of me?” Anelia asked.
“You’ll be coming back with us to the Palace of Amino. The hyper-advanced
technology that you contain must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.”
Anelia looked worried. “I’ll be a prisoner?”
Peter the Ace laughed. He gently stroked her face. “No, of course
not. Although, you will not be allowed to leave. At least not without an
accompanying bounty hunter. And bounty hunters are always busy so that’s
unlikely. Still, the honour of living at the Palace of Amino is extraordinary,
so I doubt you’ll ever want to leave anyway.”
The female cyborg did not seem impressed.
Peter the Ace continued. “There’s a thriving cyborg community
north of the palace that’ll gladly accept you. You’ll be with
your own kind, so you’ll be perfectly happy there. A dumpy old lady
named Martha Raisindough runs the place. She set up the community many years
ago. She was once a full humanoid, just like you. I’ve forgotten exactly
how she lost her body.”
“Eaten by a fuck off subterranean beast!” Ross Mental shouted
from the other side of the lab.
“Ah yes. Thank you.”
Old Rinkle had been leaning against the wall of lab next to Ross Mental.
“We can integrate into palace society together, Anelia.” He
said, cheerfully. He stumbled and whirred towards her, his new artificial
arms spread like wings for balance. “It will be a struggle, but we’ll
Anelia looked at the part-mechanised old man as he approached. It was a
very odd sight, especially his glowing metal eyes. “That would be…
nice. I guess.”
Peter the Ace clapped his hands together and smiled. “That’s
what I like to see – cyborgs working together for the common good
of their kind. Very touching.”
An alarm sounded. The Blenheim’s computer spoke. “A MAGNITUDE
FOUR ENERGY DISCHARGE HAS BEEN DETECTED ON THE SURFACE OF GUN-LOC. THE EMITTER
“Fuck!” Ross Mental exclaimed with his usual perspicuity.
Panman frowned, looking very serious. “We’d better get to the
bridge and have a look.”
Peter the Ace nodded in agreement. He looked around the lab and focused
on Jodi Funk Junky, who was leaning lazily against the construction unit.
“Miss Funk Junky? Stay here and keep the new cyborgs occupied.”
The lesser bounty hunter nodded. “OK, but I’d rather…”
“What you’d rather do is of no concern to me at the moment,
Jodi Funk Junky bowed her head. She knew her place.
Peter the Ace turned to Justin, who was standing next to Jodi Funk Junky.
He was looking in fine shape. His new and polished components gleamed like
precious gems, and his new transparent skull cap and chest doors revealed
an interesting array of flickering lights and spinning wheels. “Justin,
stay and help Miss Funk Junky.”
Justin replied in his usual mind-numbing manner. “I obey.”
Peter the Ace, Panman, and Ross Mental headed out of the cyborg construction
Panman made a quick call. “Jemima?”
Jemima Murma, the Blenheim’s assistant, answered cheerfully. “Hi!
What can I do for you?”
“We’re off up to the bridge. It’s a serious situation,
and it requires serious refreshment. Bring pizza, curry, buttered baps,
sliced honey-roasted ham, a variety of jam sponges, and a jug of strawberry
and banana smoothie up there immediately.”
“And a large mug of strong milky tea.” Peter the Ace added.
“And a fuckin’ melon!” Ross Mental demanded. “With
“Did you get all that?” Panman asked.
“I did indeed. It’ll be with you in a few minutes.”
The bridge of the Blenheim was dark and brooding, illuminated by nothing
more than the glow of display screens and control surfaces.
Peter the Ace and Panman sat in their respective chairs at the front of
the bridge. Ross Mental stood behind, along with Sebastian Blood.
The main view screen displayed an incredibly chilling sight. A thick beam
of purest purple could be seen radiating from the surface of the planet
Gun-Loc. Around the source of the beam, the landscape was glowing brightly,
turned to liquid by the astonishing temperature. A ring of devastation
was spreading from the epicentre.
Panman was examining his screens. “The city of Ry-Fol has been roasted
away to dust! And everything within a thousand kilometre radius of the
emitter beam is burning fiercely.”
“It’s obviously inefficient.” Peter the Ace said. “The
emitter’s focusing system must be quite severely damaged to release
such a harmful amount of lateral energy.”
Ross Mental laughed. “A good job we damaged that fucker like we
did, otherwise all that lateral energy would have gone straight to the
palace and fucked up our home!”
“Indeed it would,” Peter the Ace said, solemnly, “but
then the city of Ry-Fol and a huge area of the planet Gun-Loc would not
have been cremated, and millions of life-forms would not have been wiped
out. Were we justified in causing all that damage to the emitter which
merely diverted the destruction across the surface of the planet and away
from the palace?”
Panman punched the air. “Yes we were! Want to know why?”
Peter the Ace smiled. Panman never failed to justify anything he was involved
in, no matter how shocking and ghastly. “Indeed I do. Please explain.”
Panman explained. “It’s simple. If we had not caused the damage
to the emitter to divert some of its energy across the surface of the
planet, that energy would have reached the Palace of Amino. It could have
been just enough to breach whatever defence plan battle command has devised
to defend against the beam, thereby destroying the palace and most of
the bounty hunters, and maybe even the Superior Beings themselves. The
central and surrounding worlds would have been left defenceless against
the conniving forces that seek to eradicate all civilisations, and billions
would have perished in torment beyond the imagination of even the most
cerebrally enhanced intellectual. Therefore, the energy we diverted, which
has cooked and vaporised millions of unaware individuals, was a minuscule
price to pay to help ensure the continuation of all the enlightened and
superior civilisations and the way of life that we all hold so dear.”
“But what if the palace is still fuckin’ destroyed?”
Ross Mental yelled.
Peter the Ace nodded. He looked at Panman. “That’s a good
Panman grinned. “Our actions are still justified. If the palace
is destroyed, we will have spared millions on the planet Gun-Loc from
the humiliation and misery that they would suffer when, in the absence
of bounty hunter resistance, the degenerate leaders of doom take control
of their world.”
Everyone applauded once again.
“Bravo!” Peter the Ace said, clapping rapidly.
Jemima Murma entered the bridge wearing nothing more than a tight pink
pair of hot pants and a blue and yellow striped boob tube. Her hair was
gelled into a dozen disorganised spikes. “Snack time, everyone!”
She announced. The Bleinheim’s assistant placed the two trays of
food and drink she was carrying down between Peter the Ace and Panman.
Everyone tucked in.
“Marvelous spread!” Sebastian Blood said, smiling cheekily
“Thank you.” The Blenheim’s assistant said, blushing
ever so slightly. She looked at Peter the Ace. “The warrior babes
have docked and are now onboard. Should I send them up here?”
“No. Show them to the banqueting room and ply them with Champagne
and fish eggs. We’ll be heading back to the palace soon. Once were
underway we’ll join them to toast our success.”
Jemima Murma nodded. “As you wish.” She turned and headed
off the bridge.
The Blenheim’s computer made an announcement. “THE ENERGY
DISCHARGE FROM THE SURFACE OF THE PLANET GUN-LOC HAS CEASED.”
Panman’s console was bleeping. The top class bounty hunter looked
down at his display. He wiped his screen, brushing away a mass of crumbs
and butter. “Whoa! Take a look at this, guys!” He said through
a mouthful of Sloppy Guiseppe pizza. The bounty hunter transferred his
display to the main view screen. A diagrammatic image of the entire planet
Gun-Loc appeared, surrounded by complex tables of data. The others quickly
absorbed the information.
Ross Mental made the first, and loudest, comment. “The fucker’s
stone cold!” He said through a mouthful of clotted cream.
Peter the Ace added his bit. “And it’s contracted. The diameter
of the planet is now almost two hundred kilometres less. I’ve never
seen that happen before.”
Panman nodded. “That emitter sucked literally all the geo-thermal
energy out of the planet’s core. It effectively aged the planet
by more than two billion years in only three minutes!”
Sebastian Blood had been reading some of the other information. “All
the other cities on the planet have been devastated. And the ecology’s
in turmoil. I think they’re done for!”
“It does seem that way.” Peter the Ace agreed. He sat back
and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “But there will be survivors.
And in time, over the next couple of centuries, those survivors will rebuild
their civilisation. Eventually the inhabitants of the planet Gun-Loc will
look back on this appalling day as an immeasurably positive event - the
event when their world was cleansed of all the ruthless corruption and
sickening depravity that had spread like fungus throughout their society.
They will heed the warnings of the past and build a civilisation based
on trust, peace, and innocent pleasures. They will use their time for
the pursuit of knowledge, and for the exploration of the limits of artistic
expression. I’ll be interested in returning here to see the enlightened
culture that develops.”
“I’m not coming back!” Ross Mental said, frowning. “Sounds
like it’ll be as boring as fuck!”
Peter the Ace smiled at his foul-mouth companion. “You do have a
point. In fact, now that I come to think of it, I’m quite bored
of this place right now!” The bounty hunter directed his voice to
the ship. “Blenheim, set a course for the Palace of Amino. Interface
with the Hooded Whore, the Drug Abuser, the Morbid, and the Superfluous
Third Nipple. Utilise their subspace engines and take us home, maximum
“INTERFACING WITH ALL DOCKED VESSELS… INTERFACE COMPLETE.
COURSE SET. ENGAGING SUBSPACE INTERLINK SEQUENCERS… SUBSPACE INTERLINK
SEQUENCERS ENGAGED. ”
The bridge shuddered mildly as the Blenheim slipped from normality and
entered the realm of subspace.
“SUBSPACE TRANSITION COMPLETE. CURRENT VELOCITY: SUBSPACE 7.1. JOURNEY
TIME TO THE PLACE OF AMINO: SIX MONTHS, TWO WEEKS, FOUR DAYS, TWENTY-ONE
HOURS, AND SIXTEEN MINUTES.”
“Cool!” Panman said. He got to his feet. “I don’t
know about you guys, but I need fish eggs!” With a determination
rarely seen in a humanoid, the top-class bounty hunter marched off the
Without hesitation, everyone else followed.