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Book: Mechanism
Chapter 13: Bottomless Pits of Depravation

The Blenheim - potent, deadly, powerful, and really quite dangerous -thundered down the usually dark, kilometre wide tube towards the unknown innards of the gargantuan purple pyramid. It is necessary to precede the word ‘dark’ with ‘usually’, as the word ‘dark’ on its own would not be an accurate way of describing the general levels of apparent luminosity present. That’s because at this precise moment, intense floodlights on the Blenheim’s bow were illuminating the tube’s walls and the way ahead. Weird and wonderful shapes and colours were revealed that seemed to be intricately woven together into a rich tapestry of advanced circuitry.

What strange alien monstrosities of glum gloomy doom infest this craft of unique design? Only time will tell.


“How deep is this thing?” Panman asked. “We’ve travelled five hundred kilometres already and there’s no sign of the end!”

Peter the Ace looked perplexed. “I can’t tell how long it is. The scanners’ can’t get a clear reading. Something’s jamming them.”

“There must be something down here that they don’t want us to find.”

“Indeed. But they don’t seem to be able fire on us. This tube is not defended. They obviously didn’t expect anyone to get in here.”

“That’s a good thing.” Panman said. “Our shields are still down and we’re full of holes!”

Peter the Ace smiled. “A minor concern for high ranking genetically perfect guardians of autonomy such as ourselves!”

“True.”

Carmen walked onto the bridge. She had changed her clothes and was now wearing black military boots, a crimson ankle length dress, and a matching head-scarf. Her bald head and scalp tattoo were completely covered. The tray that she was carrying had two steaming mugs of Earl Grey tea on it. “Tea’s up, chaps!” she said cheerfully.

“You’re so cool!” Panman said to her, taking the Homer Simpson ‘Hmmm... Doughnuts!’ mug from her. “We didn’t even order this!”

Peter the Ace agreed. “You have an uncanny ability to anticipate our needs.” he said, grabbing the Bart Simpson ‘I didn’t do it! Nobody saw me do it! You can’t prove anything! It was like that when I got here!’ mug. He took a sip. “Perfect! Keep this quality of service up and you’ll graduate in no time!”

Carmen bowed her head. “Thank you!” she said respectfully. She looked up. “How long is no time?”

“Twenty five years.”

“Really?”

“Indeed! Not long is it!”

“No.” she said. “I expected to train and study for the whole forty year period.”

“Not if I have anything to do with it!” Peter the Ace said. “I was talking to Panman earlier about recommending you to the Superior Beings for the fast-track training regime.”

Carmen’s face lit up with excitement. “Would you really do that for me?”

“Indeed I would. Especially after this outstanding example of pro-active behaviour with the tea!”

“Wow!”

“Wow is a good response.” Peter the Ace said. “Your training time would be reduced to only seventeen years plus seven more years of work experience, although it would be more intensive.”

Carmen moaned with ecstasy. “Oh intensity!” she exclaimed. “I love intensity so much. Endless workouts’ delight my senses!”

“I’m glad to hear it.” Peter the Ace said. “The fast-track training instructors will require you to do many arduous and potentially terminal activities.”

“Please give me an example!” she said breathlessly.

Peter the Ace thought for a moment. “Well... There’s the deep sea test. You’d be taken to a location one kilometre below the surface of Enchantia’s frigid northern ocean and released into its icy depths without a diving suit or air. The objective is to get back to the surface, then swim approximately three hundred kilometres to the shore.”

“I love a challenge!” Carmen announced, grinning widely.

“It’s a good job that you do, because before you’re taken down into the ocean, you’re starved of food, water, and sleep for thirty six hours just to add that extra bit of danger and excitement!”

“Cool! Cool! Cool!” she shouted. She held her arms up straight and threw her head back. “Oh, I can’t wait for some intensely arduous and potentially terminal activities! I wish I could experience one now!”

Three milliseconds later she got her wish.

An enormous, mind-splitting crunch rippled frantically through the hull of the ship, shaking loose from the bridge’s back wall three framed photographs of other Annihilator Class star ships - the Blenheim’s highly respected but highly inferior predecessors.

Alarms sounded and warning lights flashed. Sparks scattered through the air like fire flies. Flames licked across command consoles and data information points. Velvet covered wall panels’ buckled and cracked. The anti-gee system failed.

Luckily, Peter the Ace and Panman were sitting in their chairs, so the failure did not prove too dangerous for them. Their chairs’ RSCHS (Instant Response Self-Connecting Harness System) and their consoles’ airbags cushioned them and prevented any chance of facial laceration.

Carmen, however, had been standing. Without the protection of the anti-gee system, she had no choice but to obey the laws of physics and allow herself to be propelled forwards with spine straining rapidity. The main view-screen at the front of the bridge broke her horizontal fall.

All was quiet; apart from the alarms. Panman silenced them. “Blenheim? report!”

“WE HAVE COLLIDED WITH SOMETHING.”

“Give me more information!”

“WE HAVE COLLIDED WITH SOMETHING HARD.”

Peter the Ace spoke calmly. “Can’t you be more specific?”

“THE SCANNER ARRAY IS STILL BEING JAMMED. SCANS OF ANYTHING EXTERNAL ARE CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE.”

Carmen moaned. Peter the Ace got up out of his seat and walked over to the main view-screen. “You wished too hard!” he said, peeling her of the display surface.

Carmen brushed herself down. “Please forgive me!” she begged.

“Don’t worry, I’m joking! I’m not going to charge you with the wishful destruction of bounty hunter property!” He looked up and down her body. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” she said. “My metal nose implant protected my face, and my well-toned bulbous breasts acted like shock absorbers and prevented any damage to my chest cavity.”

“Excellent!” Peter the Ace said. “But surely your breasts are bruised?”

“slightly,” she said, bouncing them up and down. She looked at her idol and smiled sensuously. “But if you massaged them they’d get better.” The trainee bounty hunter unzipped the front of her dress and pushed it off her shoulders. It crumpled to the floor around her boots. She reached round to her back and unclipped her satin bra, sending it down to where the dress was lying. Apart from a tight, translucent pair of white panties, she was naked. She took hold of Peter the Ace’s hands and placed them over her breasts. “Squeeze please.” she asked.

“Okay,” Peter the Ace said in a very relaxed manner. “If you think it will help.” He squeezed.

Carmen moaned.

The bounty hunter squeezed again.

Carmen moaned even louder.

Peter the Ace squeezed once more.

The trainee threw her head back. “Your touch sends a wave of healing energy flooding through my entire being!”

Panman had been watching. “Ace?”

The squeezing and moaning continued.

“Ace?”

The squeezing and moaning gathered pace.

“Ace!” Panman shouted. “We should get on with our mission!”

Peter the Ace took his hands away from Carmen’s breasts. She dropped to her knees, panting heavily.

Peter the Ace looked at Panman. “You’re right.” He looked back at Carmen. “They should both feel okay now. Get dressed, and then clean up the bridge. Panman and I are going out to explore.”

The two miraculous bounty hunters left quickly.

Carmen laid back. One of her life long dreams had just become reality. She caressed herself tenderly, and then gently slipped out of her panties. They’ll be gone for quite a while, she thought. I’ll do the cleaning later!


With a resounding ‘clank’, the Blenheim’s forward cargo bay ramp slammed open. A black, wheeled ground car of menacing design rumbled out of the ship and onto the smooth surface in front, its two powerful headlights focused on the way ahead.

“Using the Blenheim Mobile was a great idea!” Peter the Ace said to Panman. “This alien vessel of mammoth proportions is way too big to walk around.”

“Absolutely!” Panman said. He looked back at the ship. The Blenheim’s thickly armoured nose was sticking through a wall surrounded by debris. Shattered power conduits sparked and fizzed erratically. “It was quite lucky that we smashed through that wall. Else we wouldn’t have had such an easy method of entry into this fortress of the damned!”

“Indeed!” Peter the Ace agreed. He took the car up to a moderate speed of only forty kilometres per hour and drove down a wide purple passageway. His detailed heads-up display showed scanning results, systems status, and navigational information.

Panman’s heads-up display was more interesting. It showed weapons and targeting information, and could track more that fifty enemy objects at the same time. protheyn missiles, teyston pulsars and lasers were all at his disposal. The mass destruction of galactic death propagators brought Panman great joy, and he desperately needed an opportunity for carnage creation to arise very soon.

Peter the Ace watched his display. “The scanners are showing nothing of interest.” he said, guiding the car around several power cables that stretched from the floor to the ceiling several metres above. “No defences; no gun toting tentacle fiends; nothing!”

“I need to slaughter something!” Panman said, his trigger finger itching to press one of his dense arrays of fire buttons.

“Stay calm, my friend. I’m sure your needs will be fulfilled shortly.”


Five minutes of time and four kilometres of travel passed uneventfully.


“What kind of a mission is this?!” Panman asked in disgust. “We’ve passed dozens of other passageways, doors, hatches, and seemingly bottomless pits of depravation, and still no resistance!”

“Indeed.” Peter the Ace said thoughtfully. “Maybe this giant spacefaring monstrosity is fully automated. Then it wouldn’t need a crew.”

“Surely it must have some sort of defence, though.”

“Yes. Like an artificial immune system or something.”

“If it has it can’t be very efficient!”

Peter the Ace entered a thoughtful phase once more. “It may not perceive us as a threat.”

Panman became instantly annoyed. “How could they not perceive us as a threat? We are bounty hunters. We are brimming with weapons!”

“It’s good that we’re not perceived as a threat.” Peter the Ace said with sage-like wisdom.

Panman turned and stared at his companion. “What possible justification could you have for saying that?”

“If you calm yourself I will tell you.” he answered. “It’s obvious that we haven’t yet entered an area of this gargantuan vessel that is critical to its function, otherwise we would have met with some resistance.”

“So?”

“So, when we do meet with resistance, we will know that we are somewhere that we should destroy. Then we can disable this hefty purple pyramid and save the Palace of Amino from Justin and those other rampaging mechanoids.”

Panman was quiet for a few seconds. “I guess that was a good justification.” he admitted finally.

“Excellent!” Peter the Ace said. He sent the Blenheim Mobile into a rapid and controlled spin; then he revved it hard, accelerating down another wider passageway in a dangerous and calculated way. The speed was now a more respectable two hundred kilometres per hour.

“What’s that up ahead?” Panman asked.

Peter the Ace checked the vague information on the scanner displays. “The passageway seems to get extremely wide, five hundred metres further down.”

“Why?”

“Who knows?”

“We’ll probably find out any second!”

A huge and dark cavernous chamber opened up before them, rising beyond comprehension up into nothingness. Mega-giga-terra watts of electricity arced and sparked between its walls illuminating strange and wonderful shapes and colours hundreds of kilometres away.

Peter the Ace noticed that the end of the platform upon which they were driving was about to end. “I’d better brake!” He braked. There was no change in the car’s forward velocity. “Interesting.”

“I thought you were going to brake?” Panman asked.

“I am braking.” Peter the Ace said with complete and utter calm. “My display indicates that the wheels are locked.”

“Why aren’t we slowing down?”

“We must be on some kind of frictionless surface.”

The car smashed through a set of low barriers and began to plummet down into the chamber’s infinite depths.

“This is not what I intended!” Peter the Ace said, peering out of his side window into the nothingness below. He turned to Panman. “What do you recommend?” Peter the Ace was never too proud to ask for help from his peer.

Panman smiled and opened the glove compartment in front of him. “I have some tuna fish and mayonnaise sandwiches in here!” he announced, pulling out a small container. “I suggest we have a snack to nourish and encourage our brains’ to increase their synaptic activity.”

“Good idea!” Peter the Ace agreed. “When in doubt - eat!”

“Too right!”

Panman began to stuff his face.

Peter the Ace followed suit, putting their present predicament completely out of his mind. If there is a problem that does not seem to have an immediate solution, forget about it. There’s always a chance that it will solve itself.

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