“Your tomato juice, General Talwartz.”
“Thank you, Schnitzel.” General Jenny Talwartz said, accepting
the beverage from her assistant.
Schnitzel nodded, and then marched strictly out of the general’s small
but plush office, his purple gold-braided cloak billowing around his squat
pair-shaped frame. The door whooshed closed behind him.
The general spun her chair round to face her office’s large oval window.
Taking a sip of her juice, she looked down through the tinted glass to the
spacious Palace of Amino Long-Range Intelligence operations room below.
She could see her team, twenty strong, working diligently, lit by the orange
glow of their consoles, and the giant three-metre tall view screen at the
front of the room.
Reluctantly, as ordered by Commander Pepe, Jenny Talwartz had set her team
scanning as deep as possible in the direction of the planet Gun-Loc, almost
thirty thousand light-years away. They had been scanning for a couple of
days now, and not even a ghost of an echo of a threat had returned.
A complete waste of time, she thought as she took another sip of juice.
There’s no threat out there! And if there is, Peter the Ace and Panman
will eliminate it. Pointless!
The communications console on her desk bleeped. She answered in her usual
stony manner. “Yes?”
The general frowned. “Yes, of course it is. Who is it and what is
“This is Chief Officer Weezil Sagifagpakit. We have received another
DEEPSHIP encoded message from Peter the Ace.”
Jenny Talwartz laughed. “Finally! So everything is resolved, is it?
Good. Now I can put my department back to…”
“Everything is not resolved, general. The emitter could not be disabled.
According to the information in the message, the emitter will now have fired.”
The general could not believe it. “No! You are wrong. My faith in
our top-class bounty hunters is complete. I’m certain they have disabled
“I’m afraid I’m not wrong, general. But most of your faith
is not misplaced. Peter the Ace and Panman, with a little help, have managed
to reduce the output of the emitter by seventy percent - a remarkable achievement,
and one that should give us a reasonable chance of survival.”
“But our deep scans have not detected the emitter beam.” General
Talwartz said, confused. “We refocused our sensors and have been scanning
out to almost fifteen-thousand light-years – half the distance to
Gun-Loc. Surely the beam would have appeared on our screens by now?”
“By my calculations you should begin to detect something very soon.”
“I’ll let you know if I do, chief officer. But I don’t
An alarm whooped loudly.
The general’s heart sank. She recognised it immediately. It was an
alarm that had not sounded for more than fourteen years, when the approach
of the Mechanism was first detected. The general looked out into the operations
room. It was full of activity, and the giant view screen had filled with
numerous colourful diagrams and windows of information.
“What’s going on, general?” Chief Officer Weezil Sagifagpakit
General Talwartz looked out at the collection of images on the giant view
screen. She sighed as she quickly interpreted what she saw. “We’ve
just detected the emitter beam.” She said. “We’ll be able
to confirm its course and exact speed shortly.”
“I told you so.” The chief officer said.
“So you did.” The general agreed, annoyed at Weezil Sagifagpakit’s
“I’m arranging an emergency meeting in the main situation room.
Be there in ten minutes. Make sure you have all the necessary information
“Of course I will.” Jenny Talwartz said through gritted teeth.
“What makes you think I wouldn’t?”
“Your attitude, general.”
Before the general could respond the communications channel closed.
Arrogant self-satisfied little zit! General Talwartz thought. She operated
her communications console, opening a channel to her second in command.
The reply was swift, and tremendously camp. “Hiya, General Talwartz!
Amazing, I was just about to contact you! Contrary to what you expected,
we have detected the…”
“I know! I can see, idiot! I need a thorough analysis within the next
few minutes. Create a suitable visual presentation for me and deliver it
to the main situation room.”
“Of course, general. I’ll prepare it for you myself. You’ll
have it in five fabulous minutes!”
“Thank you, Dimpal.”
“No problem, general. Bye!”
Commander Pepe was the last to enter the main situation room. He was
accompanied by Hazel Lazernipelz, who was dressed in nothing more than
a translucent pink miniskirt. Her oiled toned body glistened in the subdued
Chief Officer Weezil Sagifagpakit greeted the commander. “Sorry
to have to get you down here so quickly, commander.”
“The emitter has fired, I presume?” Commander Pepe said.
“It has.” The chief officer said solemnly. “We received
another DEEPSHIT encoded message from Peter the Ace a short time ago.
Our bounty hunters on Gun-Loc were unable to disable the emitter, although
they did manage to reduce its output by around seventy percent.
Commander Pepe strained a smile. “A remarkable achievement.”
He said. “We are fortunate to have our three best bounty hunters
“Indeed we are.” The chief officer agreed. He pointed to the
front of the situation room. “General Talwartz and her long-range
intelligence department have just detected the emitter beam. She’ll
now present the details.”
Commander Pepe looked at the general. “Well, Jenny! It looks like
your blasé dismissal of the threat a few days ago has been proven
completely and utterly stupid! Don’t you agree?”
General Talwartz straightened her bland grey uniform, trying to hide her
discomfort. “I guess so, commander.”
“You know so!” Commander Pepe bellowed. “Freely admit
your failures, general. I have no time to entertain buck-passers and yellow-bellies
in Battle Command. Understood?”
Jenny Talwartz nodded once. “Yes, commander.”
“Good. Let’s get on with it.” The commander ordered.
He squeezed his abundant frame into his opulence chair at the head of
the table. The only other person present was Woody Tiptoe, head of the
Palace of Amino’s external defences.
Hazel Lazernipelz stood behind the commander’s chair. She began
to slowly massage his shoulders.
General Jenny Talwartz motioned towards the curved view screen behind
her. A diagrammatic map of the galaxy appeared. The image zoomed in to
the first quadrant, spraying multicoloured solar systems in all directions.
The planet Gun-Loc was now labelled at the top of the screen, and the
planet Enchantia, home of the Palace of Amino, was labelled at the bottom.
“Well?” Commander Pepe asked impatiently.
The general began her presentation. “Sixteen minutes ago, shortly
after the message from Peter the Ace was received, the emitter beam was
detected, confirming that the emitter has, against all expectations, been
A pulsing red line was added to the image on the view screen, indicating
the position and progress of the beam.
General Talwartz continued. “A rapid analysis of our preliminary
sensor information confirms that the beam is indeed on an intercept course
with the Palace of Amino. The front of the beam is currently 12,533 light
years away, and travelling at an ultra-space speed of magnitude-four.”
“No way!” Woody Tiptoe said, rubbing the back of his head.
“I’m afraid so.” The general said. “And that means
it’s travelling at almost 740 light years per hour. It will strike
the Palace of Amino in sixteen hours and forty-eight minutes.”
Commander Pepe spoke. “Dear me. Unfortunate, but not unexpected.
What about our two fleets? When will it reach them?”
General Talwartz motioned towards the view screen. Icons and text appeared
over the main image. “The blue diamond indicates the position of
the first fleet, located at the nearest border of the Ar’Mar’Ni
sector, just over 192 light years from the palace. The yellow diamond
indicates the position of the second fleet, located in the Humki-Pumki
system, 93 light years from the palace. The first fleet will encounter
the emitter beam in sixteen hours and nineteen minutes. If that fleet
fails to absorb the beam, the second fleet will encounter the beam in
sixteen hours and thirty-two minutes.”
Commander Pepe worked out the rest. “And if the second fleet fails,
the beam will hit the palace twelve minutes later.”
General Talwartz nodded.
Commander Pepe turned to Woody Tiptoe. “What’s the status
of the palace’s defence field? Did you manage to increase the field’s
“No.” The head of external defence answered.
The commander was taken aback. “What? I thought I asked you to see
if you could boost the strength?”
Woody Tiptoe nodded. “You did. And I investigated ways to do it.
But the field is already enhanced, optimised, and augmented to its maximum.
The only way to increase the strength of the defence field is to redesign
the system from scratch, and then completely dismantle the old field mechanism
and replace it with the new one. That would take more than a year to complete.”
Commander Pepe slammed his fist onto the table. “Just increase the
power going to the field, you dim shit!”
Hazel rubbed her naked oiled breasts across the back of the commander’s
head in an attempt to calm him down.
The girl’s actions distracted Woody Tiptoe for a brief second. Blinking,
he returned his attention back to Commander Pepe. The head of external
defences shook his head. “The field has always been saturated with
power each time it’s been used. Sending more power would more than
likely burn out the system. That would be a disaster, don’t you
The commander had no choice but to agree. “Yes, it would. Never
mind. We’ll just have to hope it’ll hold. Weezil?”
The chief officer appeared from the shadows at the back of the room. “Yes,
“Send a message to Admiral Phutphungus on the Slaying Mantis. Relay
all the information we’ve just seen. Copy the message to the leader
of the second fleet.”
“Of course, commander.”
“Good!” The commander said, hauling himself awkwardly out
of his chair. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointed
with three pairs of pendulous breasts back up at my apartment.”
“I’m afraid you’re going to have to stay down here,
commander.” Weezil Sagifagpakit said.
Commander Pepe glared at the chief-officer. “What in Darrin’s
“The Palace of Amino is now on its highest state of alert.”
The chief officer said. “All important personnel are being evacuated
to bunkers. Throughout the duration of this crisis you must stay within
the confines of Battle Command. If the emitter beam reaches the palace,
and the defence field fails, all surface structures will be vaporised.
Your only chance of survival is to be down here.”
The commander was annoyed. “What about my pendulous breast massage?”
“I’ll arrange for your pendulous-breasted masseurs to come
down here to your emergency quarters.”
Commander Pepe nodded. “Very well. But do it now. I need those breasts
on my body as soon as possible!”
The chief officer nodded. He walked briskly out of the main situation
Commander Pepe looked at Woody Tiptoe and General Talwartz. “What
are you two staring at? Get back to work. Now!”