“They’re all beyond the perimeter now,” Commander Pepe
said over the communicator. “Some have started digging.”
“What are the damn things up to?” Panman asked.
“Who knows?” the commander said. “But it seems very ominous!”
“Maybe destroying them would be the safest and kindest thing to do?”
“No!!” Panman shouted. “That must be considered only as
an extreme last resort.” Panman could not bear the thought that Justin,
the palace’s most accomplished kebab compiler, may have to be exterminated.
“As you wish, Panman.” Commander Pepe said. “I will not
question your wisdom.”
The communicator fell silent.
“How’s Justin?” Panman asked, turning to Peter the Ace.
Peter the Ace looked at the scanners. “His rate of progress has increased
dramatically. He’s drilled to a depth of over one hundred metres!
He’s going to drain the lake!”
“Whoa!” Panman exclaimed.
“Whoa indeed. I’ve started to receive reports from the bounty
hunters who are watching over the other mental cyborgs. There are over four
hundred of them! And sixty seven have drilled beyond a depth of thirty metres!”
“It appears,” Panman said with sagacious notoriety. “That
our mechanical assistant is their leader.”
Peter the Ace smiled. “I never thought of it that way. But he does
work for the two greatest galactic saviours ever to exist. He was bound
to pick up some exceptional leadership qualities eventually.”
“I’m receiving another report.” Peter the Ace said. He
read the information on one of the data screens. “Now they’re
Panman was anxious. “We have to find out what’s happening, and
quick!” he said. “The Superior Beings may order us to destroy
them all if we can’t come up with a solution!”
“Calm yourself my friend. We always succeed in the end!”
The Blenheim’s sensor alarm sounded. Panman looked at the resulting
data. “Another beam has swept the area!” he said. “And
it’s sustained this time.”
“Can you get a fix on its origin?” Peter the Ace asked.
“Not from here, but Amino Battle Command may have got one.”
Peter the Ace activated the communicator. “Commander Pepe?”
The commander answered. “That was a big one, wasn’t it?”
“Indeed!” the bounty hunter agreed. “Did you get a fix?”
“Yes!” Commander Pepe said proudly. “Chief Officer Chimpapazapadon
was on the ball this time!”
“Where is it?”
“It came from within the confines of sub-space forty three light years
from here. Co-ordinates 123-59-08. Whatever fired the beam is approaching
us rapidly at a speed beyond our current maximum.”
“It must be highly advanced!” Panman said, accepting a bowl
full of chocolate eggs from Carmen who had just swayed on to the bridge.
Her hair was still damp from her time in the Jacuzzi. “Even we can’t
emit mental control beams from sub-space!”
Carmen handed another bowl full of eggs to Peter the Ace, then left.
Peter the Ace started to munch away. “We must intercept whatever it
is immediately.” he said with perfect clarity. “It is a severe
threat to our future opulence.”
“You have my blessing.” Commander Pepe said. “Good luck.”
The communications channel closed. Peter the Ace opened a new channel to
the Satyr which was hovering just off the Blenheim’s port side.
“Peter the Ace!” she said. “I’ve been monitoring
what’s happening. It’s so weird it’s actually cool!”
“Indeed!” Peter the Ace agreed. “Panman and I are going
to intercept whatever it is that’s out there and single-handedly prevent
it from rupturing the plane of luxury existence that we have carved for
ourselves here at the palace. Stay here and monitor Justin, would you?”
“No problem!” she said without a hint of jealousy. The channel
clicked, and then went quiet.
Peter the Ace manipulated the helm controls. “Blenheim?” he
said, placing another chocolate egg into his mouth. “Plot an intercept
course with the unidentified sub-space object.”
“WARNING,” the ship announced. “HEAD-ON SUB-SPACE INTERCEPTION
EXCEEDS SAFETY PARAMETERS. CANNOT COMPLY.”
Peter the Ace thought for a moment. “Blenheim, reset the safety parameters
so that they are not exceeded.”
“THAT WOULD INVALIDATE THE REASON FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SAFETY PARAMETERS.
Peter the Ace raised his voice. “If you do not comply,” he said
assertively. “I will invalidate the reason for your existence!”
There was a moment’s silence.
“SAFETY PARAMETERS RESET.”
“Good. Now, do as I ordered and plot an intercept course with the
unidentified sub-space object.”
“INTERCEPT COURSE PLOTTED.”
The course appeared on the main view-screen in an ultra-high resolution
Peter the Ace spoke to the ship once more. “Take us out of the atmosphere,
maximum vertical acceleration. Engage full sub-space thrust when we’re
The Blenheim’s super powerful under side engines fired, vaporising
several million litres of water in the lake below. The finest craft in
the bounty hunter fleet thundered swiftly up through Enchantia’s
“Cool beyond cool!” Panman said, finishing his fiftieth
and last chocolate egg. “You really showed the Blenheim whose boss!”
“It’s a firm hand that gets things done.” Peter the
Ace said wisely.
The Blenheim left behind the speed restrictions imposed by the atmosphere
and entered free space. A gentle rumble spread through the ship as the
sub-space engines blasted to life, setting the Blenheim free from the
shackles of sub-light physics.
“Blenheim?” Peter the Ace asked. “How long until interception?”
“THREE HOURS, FOUR MINUTES, TWENTY TWO SECONDS.”
Panman leapt to his feet. “Plenty of time for a holo-games session!”
he said excitedly.
Peter the Ace nodded in agreement. “Awesome idea. Go and initialise
the system, I’ll be with you as soon as I finish these eggs.”
“Any suggestions as to what we should play?” Panman asked,
walking towards the bridge’s exit.
“How about Exuded Brain Syndrome?”
“Hmm.” Panman said, unsure. “That’s a cool game,
but we should go for something more violent to get the both of us ready
for the possibility of the mass slaughter session that may await us.”
“You’re right as always.” Peter the Ace said. “We
could try Barbarous Deep Laceration zombies Fester Uncontrollably Within
the Digestive Tract of a Gigantic, Liver Digesting, Bog Dwelling, Toxic
“A classic beat ‘em up!” Panman exclaimed. “I’m
Panman left the bridge. Peter the Ace stuffed down another egg.
Sarah Savage was bored. She’d been monitoring Justin’s position
for almost two hours now, and all that had happened was that he’d
drilled deeper, twelve kilometres deeper, deep enough to half empty the
lake. His rotation rate was now forty revolutions per second and increasing
- very odd. It was a mystery as to where the cyborg was getting the energy
to keep going.
With intense expertise, Sarah Savage transmitted the data on the cyborg’s
progress to Amino Battle Command for analysis, and then pulled herself
out of her command chair. She left the Satyr’s cramped but ergonomically
designed bridge and stepped into its habitation section. That too was
cramped. The galley, tele-video system, bed, and personal hygiene unit
were all located within an area of sixteen square metres. Everything was
covered with brown leather and studs, Sarah Savage’s favourite form
She lay down on her bed and sighed. “This is so tedious.”
she said loudly. “I wish I’d asked to go along with the Blenheim.
Some other lesser bounty hunter could do this job.” She looked around
her small ship. “I can’t even partake in some simulated slashing!”
An ear-splitting thud ended her boredom abruptly. The Satyr began to pitch
and yaw wildly. An alarm sounded. Sarah Savage jumped off her bed and
staggered through the rocking ship to the cockpit. “Satyr?”
she asked. “What’s happened?”
“THE CYBORG NAMED JUSTIN HAS ATTACHED HIMSELF TO MY NOSE CONE.”
Sarah Savage looked out of the forward view-port. Justin was indeed hanging
onto the ship’s nose, and trying his hardest to rip it off?”
“How did he get from the bottom of the shaft that he drilled up
to here so fast?”
“AN UNIDENTIFIED ENERGY SOURCE SATURATED THE LAKE ONE MILLISECOND
BEFORE THE CYBORG NAMED JUSTIN APPEARED ON MY NOSE CONE. A COINCIDENCE
“Was the energy source from the same place as those other unidentified
“IT WAS INDEED.”
Sarah Savage was still watching the mad mechanoid. He was punching, slapping,
pinching, and squeezing the nose of her ship. The bounty hunter operated
her communicator. “Commander Pepe?”
A reply was prompt and efficient. “This is Chief Officer Chimpapazapadon.
Commander Pepe is undergoing a stress reducing total body massage in his
personal steam chamber. He’ll be busy for another hour. Can I be
“Sure. It’s me, Sarah Savage!”
“Ahh Sarah!” the chief officer said. “It’s wonderful
to hear your sweet, delightfully coarse, steroid deepened voice again!”
“We haven’t spoken for years!”
“You’re right!” Chimpapazapadon said. “Not since
our violent, torrid, love affair ended.”
“Oh yeah!” Sarah Savage said with revelation. “I’d
forgotten about that.”
Chief Officer Chimpapazapadon was offended. “How could you forget
that?!” he said with extreme annoyance. “Our three hour bedroom
“Don’t take it personally,” Sarah Savage interrupted.
“I am a very high ranking bounty hunter. It takes a lot to satisfy
me. Anyway, there have been sixteen others since our minor relationship
“Sixteen others?!” the chief officer exclaimed. “Minor
The bounty hunter changed the subject quickly. “I have an update
on Justin’s situation.”
The chief officer took a deep breath to calm his nerves. “Is he
trying to rip the front of your ship off?” Chimpapazapadon asked
with complete professionalism.
“Yes!” Sarah Savage said with surprise. “How did you
“All the bounty hunters monitoring the other cyborgs have just reported
the same thing.”
“What could they possibly be trying to achieve?”
“Maybe it’s some robot rights demonstration, or something?”
“If it wasn’t for those strange beams that have been hitting
the palace, I would have thought of the same thing.”
“Hold on,” the chief officer said. “I’m getting
some more information... Oh no!”
“What is it?” Sarah asked with concern.
“Two bounty hunter ships have crashed! The attacking cyborgs destroyed
“Jasmin Pawasacket’s and Boris the Well-endowed’s.”
Sarah Savage suffered an instance of shuddering body shock. A tear appeared
in her left eye and rolled down her cheek. “You were the best, Boris.”
she whispered quietly, sniffing some dribbling fluid back up her nostrils.
She bowed her head in respect.
“You knew Boris?” asked the chief officer.
“Very well.” she answered, wiping her eyes. “We pleasured
each other regularly.”
“You were lovers?!” he shouted in disbelief.
“You didn’t know? He used to come to my apartment after you’d
Chief Officer Chimpapazapadon was distraught. “How could you?”
“I had too!” Sarah Savage said. “You never finished
what you started. Boris used to complete the job. He was huge, and sometimes
he’d be so eager to please that he’d almost split me into
“Enough!” the chief officer shouted.
“Calm yourself.” she said. “We’d better discuss
this, but not now. We have a more pressing problem.”
Chief Officer Chimpapazapadon had no choice but to agree. “You’re
right. Let’s hope that Panman and Peter the Ace find the source
of those beams and neutralise it, before it causes any more deaths.”
“I’ll drink to that!” Sarah Savage said. And she did,
too. Under the Satyr’s cockpit chair was a four litre flask of steaming
Menthol Beer. The bounty hunter grabbed it, unscrewed the top, and then
knocked back its entire contents. She burped loudly with extreme satisfaction.
Justin continued to bash away at the Satyr’s outer hull.