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Book: Mechanism
Chapter 18: Magnificent Specimens

“Turd munching intestinal blood blossom!”

“Hello, chief rotten antelope toes!”

Chimpapazapadon tried not to let the cruel and heartless insults of his fellow prisoners get him down. It was a difficult task, and took almost all of his sixteen cortical willpower amplifiers to keep him from breaking down and embracing defeat and anguish. What a totally bogus and embarrassing situation to be in! The ex-chief officer of the Amino Battle Command rolled over to the translucent grid of energy beams that kept him from escaping, his straight jacket and ankle cuffs making it impossible for him to move in any other way.

“Toilet frequenter!”

Another round of abuse was hurled in his direction.

“Go shit pineapples, bubble breath!”

His willpower amplifiers overloaded. “Shut the fuck up! Shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up!”

“Ho ha hee harr! He’s finally cracked! Hee harr hee!”

Chimpapazapadon looked down the dank corridor in the direction of the laughter. He recognised its owner immediately. It was old Felix Pugsy-Moon Raughtmonger, the Ee’Xtraktia system’s most devastating dental assistant. During his twelve year rampage of doom, Felix had obtained employment in over four thousand medical facilities and managed to brutally rip out the teeth, tusks, horns, and tongues of an incredible amount of patients. It was a blood bath of stomach churning proportions and made headline news all over the populated systems.

Inevitably of course, a bounty hunter had captured the molar defacing fiend, extracted his teeth without anaesthetic, and sealed him for life in the maximum security dungeons several kilometres below the Palace of Amino. Felix had been here more than two centuries, arriving long before Chimpapazapadon’s birth, and was one of the first miscreants to feel the wrath of Amino justice.

The ex-chief watched as the old man smiled satanically at him, his scarred and scabby gums protruding out over his wizened lips. Sad bastard, he thought.

The inmate opposite, who had so far opted out of the shouting match, suddenly appeared out of the darkness at the rear of his cell. He grinned through the gaps in his cell’s energy bars.

Once again, the ex-chief recognised this person, but this time, even though they were separated by an unbreakable security system, a twinge of fear shuddered through his physical manifestation. It was the opprobrious Ken Kasino, former president of the Ken Kasino Corporation, former overlord of an expansive and loathsome underworld, and former number one assistant to Lawrence, lord of continuous putrefaction.

Ken was locked up here five years ago after Peter the Ace and Panman violently arrested him in Hadus, the pungent capital city of the planet Repugnia deep in the Odious Sector. After a brutal interrogation using electrified crocodile clips, he was dumped here and forgotten. Chimpapazapadon could not recall Ken’s name ever being mentioned again and had never given him a moments thought until now. This was not surprising as the Palace of Amino’s dungeons were totally automated. Three times a day, a meal containing just enough nutrients and calories to keep the inmate alive was delivered to a small hatchway in the cell’s side wall, and every morning at five, the cell’s bed would fold away, dumping its user onto the floor. Not only was that necessary to wake them up at an unreasonably early hour, it was also the start of their enforced fitness regime. The floor would instantly begin to move, forcing the inmate to run to exhaustion before breakfast. His or her life signs were carefully monitored to ensure that he was brought to the verge of death each time.

Chimpapazapadon suddenly became unsettled at that thought. What if his cell’s floor started to move? How would he cope strapped up like a mummy?! His train of thought was broken by Ken’s grating voice.

“Justice is sweet, is it not?”

“Shut it!” the ex-chief said sternly.

“That’s such a rude thing to say for someone so highly respected in this sickening palace of goodness,” the former casino king said with a smirk on his face. “But then, I guess that respect disappeared utterly and completely the second you were sentenced and demoted to trainee assistant drinking fountain operator.”

Chimpapazapadon sat up and propped himself up against a wall. “How the hell did you know that?” he yelled, embarrassed and disgraced.

“I’m not as isolated as you may think down here. Information comes to me when I wish it to.”

“I bet you don’t know anything, prison security is too tight. That was just a lucky guess.”

Ken Kasino began to march slowly up and down his cell. “You think so?” he said calmly. “Then how would I know that the palace was attacked recently by an unknown force more powerful than anything you and your bounty idiots could develop? And how would I know that Sarah Savage, the muscular warrior that you lust after daily, is missing and presumed stripped of all flesh?”

Chimpapazapadon swelled with anger. “How dare you speak of her?!”

“I shall say what I wish about whom I wish when I wish.”

The ex-chief officer calmed down slightly. “It’s not impossible for those to have been lucky guesses.”

Ken Kasino looked at him with eyes of death. “Really? Then when I say that several million tons of molten lava is surrounding your precious palace and has almost bubbled its way up to your perimeter wall, I’m making another lucky guess am I?”

Chimpapazapadon was defiant. “I don’t know. I knew of some lava released by the rogue cyborgs but there was not enough to cause any danger to the Palace of Amino.”

“Well, there is now.”

The ex-chief was worried. Ken had been right so far. Maybe the Palace was about to be engulfed by undulating liquid rocks! But for what purpose?

Ken Kasino spoke once more. “Maybe you’re wondering why your mechanical friends’ initiated such a flow of magma?”

“Do you claim to know that as well?”

“Of course.”

“Then tell me.”

“No.”

“Tell me!”

Ken Kasino smiled, and then wandered back into the darkness of his cell. “There’s no point. Soon you will die.”

Chimpapazapadon managed to get clumsily to his feet. “Tell me now!”

“I need to rest. Please keep quiet.”

“You’re full of shit!” the ex-chief officer shouted. He had become very annoyed and terrified in the same instant. He lost his balance and toppled over, slamming his torso hard on the floor. He moaned in despair. A bruise to end all bruises would appear on his back and butt tomorrow.

“Please keep quiet.” Ken said.


“Augment section five, zone three,” Commander Pepe ordered as he gazed intently at the gigantic central view-screen of the Amino Battle Command.

Sub-Officer Samuel Griezy-Baykon-Rynd, the leather-clad visuals director, complied and updated the display. A new and enlarged widescreen video image appeared in glorious super high resolution.

Commander Pepe took a step back, his jaw dropping and sinking into the folds of his three chins. Within a second he had regained his composure. “It’s worse than we thought.” He said grimly. “How long have we got until that colossal swell of lava reaches the perimeter?”

Samuel looked up at the commander. “its speed is erratic. I’ll need to make some complex calculations before I can give you an answer.”

The commander nodded. “Calculate away.” He returned his gaze to the screen. A low frequency, high intensity rumble swept through his body as the battle command’s digital surround sound system simulated the noise of charging molten rock. “Peter the Ace and Panman had better hurry,” he said. “We’re fighting a loosing battle here. Over a hundred bounty hunters - including many insufficiently clothed females - have been massacred by those demented cyborgs. Sarah Savage is still missing. And now Lloyd Helmet is missing too!”

Commander Pepe heard Samuel snivel and then saw him wipe his eyes dry with his sleeve.

“Ah...” The commander said, placing his hand sympathetically on the sub-officer’s shoulder. “I see that you have a soft spot for Sarah Savage too.”

Samuel looked up at his fat commander. “Not for Sarah,” he blubbered. “For Lloyd.”

Commander Pepe’s eyes widened and he stepped back a few paces. “Er... Really?” He said awkwardly, stepping back a bit more. “That’s... er... very interesting. I didn’t realise that you swung the other way.”

“Actually I swing both ways, but usually more to the other.”

“The other being?”

“Men of course!”

Commander Pepe’s eyes remained wide with shock. “Well... fine. Let’s change the sub...”

“Tall, tanned, muscular guys.”

“As I just said, it’s time to change the...”

“Their bodies glistening and dripping with sweat!”

Commander Pepe watched in horror as the sub-officer panted wildly with excitement. “Get back to your work!” the commander shouted, recovering control of the situation.

Samuel stopped his ranting and hurriedly turned to face his control console. “I... I’m sorry commander. Please forgive me.”

The commander took a couple of steps forwards but maintained a good three metre distance from the queer sub-officer. “I understand how upset you are about Lloyd’s disappearance, I am too, in a different and totally innocent way of course, but I will not tolerate any pink pansy-patterned leotard wearing limp-wristed bender talk from anyone whilst they are in my presence!”

Samuel buried his face in his hands and sobbed.

“Is that clear?” the commander bellowed.

The sub-officer nodded slowly.

“Good.” Commander Pepe said with a smile. He always felt better after having had a good old shout at one of his subordinates. “Now get on with your job or I’ll replace you with someone normal!”

A shout from another officer drew the commander’s attention. He walked towards the front of the battle command hall where scanner operator Suzanna Havanabanana was waving frantically. “What is it?” The commander asked in a business-like tone, his eyes instantly drawn to Suzanna’s breasts which seemed as if they were trying to escape from the top of her low cut bodysuit.

“It’s the cyborgs sir.” she said sweetly.

“What are they up to now?”

“I’ve just detected several large explosions one point two kilometres north of the perimeter wall. It seems that they have destroyed the cooling vehicles that were trying to freeze the progress of the lava.”

“How the hell did they manage that?” the commander said with annoyance as he continued to watch the attempted breakout of flesh.

“They’ve started to group together in an attempt to magnify their strength.”

“It’s obviously worked!”

“Yes, and in a destructively exponential way.”

Suzanna realized that the commander’s eyes had not met hers during their entire conversation. “You seem distracted sir?”

Commander Pepe failed to reply.

“Sir?”

The commander blinked then at last looked into her eyes. “I’m sorry.” he said.

The scanner operator smiled gently. “The pressure on you must be intolerable at times.” she said with sympathy.

“Not as intolerable as the pressure on your chest!” he replied.

With great timing Suzanna’s suit tore open from the neck to the waist, launching her breasts out onto her console. After an initial moment of shock, she laughed. “Oh yes, I see what you mean.”

Commander Pepe stared at the delightful sight that lay before him.

The scanner operator apologised. “I’m sorry sir; I’ll pay for a new uniform and for any damage to the console.”

“Nonsense!” the commander said, his eyes fixed on the two mounds of fleshy heaven. “There are plenty of spare suits available and that console is built to withstand a red mercury fusion blast at ground zero. Even your magnificent specimens are not that powerful.”

“Thank you, sir.”

The commander looked contemplative. “You know, I noticed your ample commodities many months ago and have been thinking.”

“About what sir?”

“About promoting you.”

Suzanna grinned broadly. “Really?”

“Indeed. But it’s more of a sideways promotion than an upwards one.”

“How do you mean?”

“I could do with another masseur in my massage chamber. I realise that the three decades of training that you did for this position would have no relevance to your prospective new one, but you are extensively qualified naturally.”

A look of unpleasant surprise washed across her face. “I don’t know sir; I would have to think this over for a very long...”

“I know what your doubts are.”

“You do, sir?”

“Of course! The thought of giving my obese naked body lengthy rub-down disgusts you and you feel compelled to vomit just at the thought of it.”

“Well... I...”

“Don’t worry,” the Commander said happily. “Admit it. It’s quite normal.”

“Yes.” she said. “You’re right.”

“Angelina, Sue, and the others in my chamber felt that way at first, but after a course of strong drugs, and with booster shots weekly, they’ve never felt that way again.”

“Really?”

“Absolutely. And what’s more, their libidos’ have risen dramatically. They can’t get enough of me!”

Suzanna’s console bleeped furiously. “We’d better talk about this later sir.” she said with intense concern. She operated a few controls and an image of mass destruction filled the giant screen above them. “The perimeter has been breached by the Lava!”

“This,” the commander said as he watched the impressive imagery, “is some serious shit that’s happening!”

“The lava has also interrupted the defence shield generators.” continued the well-endowed scanner operator. “It could shut down in seconds!”

Commander noticed something on top of the advancing magma. He turned to face Samuel. “Augment sector three, zone nine.”

The visuals director complied. An enlarged view of the front of the lava flow zoomed out from the centre of the screen.

Commander Pepe gasped with awe. The rest of the battle command’s staff followed suit. On the wave of molten rock, standing menacingly on panels cut from the wreckage of destroyed ships, were several dozen cyborgs. They were surfing back into the palace!

The commander noticed something else. He had recognised the cyborg on the leading piece of debris, even though it had no legs, only one arm, and was badly damaged in every way. It was Justin! Lloyd had not destroyed him after all, and the insane mechanoid had returned to lead his metal friends back to destroy their home.

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