A fluke the size of several moons blessed the Palace of Amino on the day
that the Mechanism hit. It was a fluke greater in strength than those experienced
by the ferocious fluke fiends of Ohm’Bavor-Khail’Le’La’Treistaar-Pah.
Those fiends of vicious intent are under constant bombardment by volcanoes
and meteorites and have been for millennia, yet not one of them has even
been scratched by the molten debris that falls their way. What a remarkable
fluke that is. Even more remarkable perhaps is the fact that they can all
pronounce the name of their planet without ever faltering once, even when
inebriated beyond recovery.
Commander Pepe stepped out of the elevator and walked across the richly
carpeted lobby of the Central Tower. The lobby was huge, over a hundred
metres in height, and was lit by several giant chandeliers suspended high
above. Dozens of glass elevator shafts whisked their passengers up to the
tower’s heights or down into its subterranean chambers. The commander
had just come up from one of those chambers. One of the deepest chambers,
in fact. The Amino Battle Command - five hundred levels and almost two kilometres
straight down into the iron-solid crust of Enchantia.
Accompanied by the scantily clad Suzanna Havabanana, Commander Pepe walked
towards the main doorway that led out into the street. This was the first
time that he’d visited the surface since the Mechanism hit Enchantia
two days ago. The giant ship had hit the planet several hundred kilometres
east of the palace and gouged out a groove fifty kilometres wide and fifty
deep. It had sent a billion tonnes of molten earth and rock thundering into
the sky and caused major ligament snapping earthquakes all over the planet.
Fortunately the Mechanism bounced away from the surface just as it reached
the bounty hunter haven. It had missed ripping off the top levels of the
Central Tower by a mere thirteen metres.
Through the glass of the main doors the commander could see dust, tonnes
and tonnes of dust. It had been falling like snow for the last thirty six
hours and covered roads, parks, and buildings a metre thick in some places.
Ground cars, joggers, and street entertainers were having great difficulty
going about their business. The clean-up operation had begun almost immediately
but it would take a couple of weeks to completely clear away the fallout.
Several members of the Central Tower security forces saluted Commander Pepe
as he walked by. He acknowledged them then walked out into the street. A
deafening cheer erupted from the crowd outside. They clapped and waved at
their leader, kicking up a cloud of dust as they did so. Several of them
started coughing and spluttering, and then fell to the ground as their lungs
filled with ash. Medical teams dragged them out of sight. Several hovering
tele-video cameras drifted above the crowd and focused on the commander.
“My friends.” he said joyously. “The crisis is officially
The crowd cheered again.
“Apart from all of this annoying dust, we are completely out of danger.
How do I know this, you may be asking yourselves?”
“Yeah,” shouted a spotty adolescent at the front of the crowd.
His long and dribbling nose twitched nervously. “How do you know?”
“Because, my repulsive and acne-covered friend, I received a communication
less than ten minutes ago. A communication of ultimate importance.”
“None other that Peter the Ace and Panman!”
The crowd went wild at the mention of their heroes’ names.
“What did they say?” the crowd shouted gleefully.
“They have eliminated the final alien dude that was controlling the
Several members of the crowd dropped to their knees in respect and awe.
They were rapidly consumed by dust. Medical teams moved in.
“That is not all.” Commander Pepe said with importance. He loved
the way the crowd was responded to his words. He also loved the way Suzanna
was caressing his body. “Whilst onboard the Mechanism, they found
Ross Mental frozen in a pod. Our foul mouthed mentor has been found and
they’re all on their way back!”
The crowd could not take any more excitement. They cheered, and then cried,
and then some collapsed with delight into the dust. The tireless medical
teams moved in once again.
“That is the end of my statement.” Commander Pepe said after
waiting for several hundred people to be bundled into ambulances. “But,
if you look up into the sky you will see a shape that will fill your souls
with ecstasy and admiration. It’s a shape that will be all too familiar
and all too astounding for your minds to assimilate into coherent patterns
of mental activity.”
The remaining members of the crowd followed the commander’s gaze.
Far above them and descending rapidly was a black object. Its movements
seemed erratic, and smoke was billowing from its backside. Although it looked
in pretty bad shape, it was obvious what it was. It was the Blenheim.
“I will leave you now,” Commander Pepe said. “And journey
up the tower to greet our unfathomable monumental heroes.”
The crowd was moaning and swooning with blissful happiness. They rapidly
became overwhelmed with emotion. The sight of the flagship of the bounty
hunter fleet was too much. The entire crowd gasped then fell backwards into
the dust. They began to suffocate instantly. As usual, medical teams began
pulling them to safety. Even as they neared death, the still conscious members
of the crowd continued to watch the mighty ship as it manoeuvred into its
huge hanger bay hundreds of levels up the side of the Central Tower. They
smiled, even though their lungs burned and ached and their faces blistered
and cracked. They cheered, even as their throats melted and their tongues
solidified and rolled out of their mouths. They strained to stay alert just
a few seconds more as the Blenheim disappeared from sight into the monolithic
Commander Pepe and Suzanna wandered back into the tower leaving dozens of
medical teams to clear up the mess of choking bodies.
Peter the Ace and Panman strode confidently down the exit ramp of the
Blenheim and onto the polished surface of the Central Tower’s prime
hanger bay. A roar of delight almost deafened the two returning champions
as it echoed around the massive room. The hundreds of technicians, engineers,
electricians, and games designers dedicated to the sole task of keeping
the Blenheim in tip top condition had gathered to welcome their beloved
idols home. The two first class bounty hunters nodded their heads in polite
appreciation for what was to them an every day occurrence. Panman took
four chocolate éclairs from a container on his utility belt. “It
appears that we have increased our level of mega-hero-super-stardom once
again!” he said through a mouthful of cream and chocolate.
“Indeed we have.” Peter the Ace agreed. “But it’s
“Of course not! Our exceptional intellectual powers coupled with
our muscular perfection and fearless disregard of safety regulations during
impossibly hazardous situations makes us virtual gods to these people.”
Panman looked around at the screaming crowd. Many of them had collapsed
with pleasure, especially the women, and were being carried away by medical
“I think your right.” he said through another mouthful of
A man in an overall approached, smiling broadly. It was prime hanger bay
chief technician Doctor Eric Brillo BSc BEng MSc MEng PHD.
“Welcome back!” he cried, slapping the two bounty hunters
on their shoulder armour. He looked up at the damaged Blenheim. “You’ve
really pushed this baby to the limits this time, guys!”
“And beyond!” Panman said as he finished his last éclair.
“That’s impossible!” Eric said with disbelief. “I
set those limits myself. The maximum speed, rate of turn, and holo-game
difficulty levels were the highest that my century of full-time training
“We increased them with ease.” Panman said calmly.
“It’s a shame they all decreased on the way home though.”
Peter the Ace added. “It took us two days to get back here when
it should’ve taken only two hours. Those engines are pretty lame.”
The chief technician bowed his head with disgrace. “I apologise
for their lack of performance. What punishment must I endure to obtain
Peter the Ace looked at Panman. Panman shrugged and shook his head.
“We’re not sure.” Peter the Ace said finally. “I
hadn’t really considered it. Maybe you could clean the dust off
our apartment windows without a safety harness and using only your tongue?”
“I’ll get started right away!” Eric said, eager to appease
The chief technician scurried away towards the express elevator that would
take him up to the penthouse apartments thousands of metres above.
“There goes one loyal member of staff!” Panman said.
“Indeed.” Peter the Ace agreed. “I hope he doesn’t
leave greasy lumps of saliva everywhere, though.”
They watched as an elevator car appeared and opened its doors. Eric stepped
in. Two figures, one round and portly, the other slim and sexy, stepped
Peter the Ace smiled. “Looks like the commander’s come to
praise us deeply for our extraordinary accomplishments a couple of days
Commander Pepe approached smiling broadly. His female companion grinned
inanely. “Welcome home! I must praise you deeply for your accomplishments
a couple of days ago.”
“Thank you commander.” Peter the Ace said. “In return
I will praise you for following our recommendations and saving the palace
from total devastation.”
The commander dropped to his knees in appreciation for the kind words
bestowed upon him. After a few seconds he looked up. Tears had suddenly
welled up within his eyes. “I have devastating news.” he said
solemnly. Suzanna licked the tear drops that dribbled down his face.
The two bounty hunters’ DSAs (Depression Suppression Actuators)
flipped into immediate overdrive.
“And what might that be?” Peter the Ace asked calmly.
A hush of respect spread throughout the hanger bay.
Commander Pepe’s lower lip wobbled. “Your cyborg assistant
Justin, during his phase of insanity, dismembered Sarah Savage and impaled
her through the chest using her own sword!”
“Is she alive?”
The commander was blubbing. “When she was brought back to the palace
her brain was still active, though her harshly sexy body was hacked to
pieces. Her solar-plexus was split in two and her gorgeous legs were mangled
to a pulp. Litres of blood had completely soaked her tattered garments
and torn flesh hung from each orifice. She’d started to go rotten.
She stank like...”
“So is she alive?” Peter the Ace interrupted.
Suzanna massaged the commander’s buttocks and he calmed down. “Her
head was removed and is being held within a stasis field until her private
medical team can think of something to do.”
Panman had an idea. “How about a cyborg body?”
The commander started to weep. “That would have been the ideal solution,”
he said shakily. “If it wasn’t for the fact that Sarah insisted
long ago that if brutally crumpled and disfigured, she was never to be
mechanised even in a small way. She hates droids of any kind.”
“There is always a solution.” Peter the Ace said with maximum
optimism. “I will order the private medical teams of Panman and
myself to take care of our battle worn friend and nurse her to health.”
“What about her splattered body? It’s irreparable!”
Panman thought. “She could live as a disembodied head!” He
said excitedly. “She could have nutrition and propulsion systems
connected to her neck and float around freely!”
“That would be too close to being a cyborg.” the commander
said dejectedly. “She would never accept it.”
“I guess so.” Panman said. “Never mind. Our medical
teams are far superior to any others here. They’ll find a unique
and cunning solution.”
Commander Pepe nodded and thanked the two great heroes of the galaxy.
Suzanna Havabanana nuzzled up to the commander’s groin and he felt
a little better. “I have some other bad news.”
“Tell it, man!” Panman said.
“Justin was blown to pieces.”
“No. Just one arm and both legs are gone. But he’s badly damaged.”
“Where is he now?” Peter the Ace asked.
“He’s in custody. He led the assault on the palace and, of
course, was responsible for the dissection of Sarah Savage. He must be
“But surely he’s only a machine?” Panman said. “He
was programmed to do that by Xjaq Dominator in the Mechanism.”
“True,” the commander agreed. “But he is also partly
biological, even if only by three cells. He should have been able to overcome
the forces acting upon him. His weak will cannot be ignored and he must
be tried as a traitor.”
“I see your point.” Panman said. “Have you decided upon
“No, but the trial is tomorrow. You’re welcome to attend.”
“Will it be televised?”
“I’ll just watch it at home if that’s okay?!”
“Fine by me!”
Just at that precise moment, Ross Mental strode down the Blenheim’s
exit ramp. He was carrying the naked and sweaty Carmen in his arms. “Pepe,
you fucker! Great to see you!”
The commander smiled. “Great to see you, my foul-mouthed champion!”
Ross Mental grimaced. “This bitch is fuckin’ heavy. Is she
densely fuckin’ muscled, or fuckin’ what?”
“She is indeed.” Peter the Ace agreed.
Commander Pepe stared at the mounds of flesh on Carmen’s chest as
they heaved up and down. “What happened to her?”
“We think she was partially absorbed by Zyix Taskmaster.”
Peter the Ace said. “We scanned her on the way home. Her brain has
been reduced to the size of a maladjusted pea. No hope of recovery, I’m
“That’s such a shame. I heard that she was such a promising
“She was indeed.”
“Still, her stimulating body must not be wasted. You’d better
take her down to Doctor DeMorgan’s medi-lab on level forty four.
He’s the expert on mechanisation.”
The foul mouthed bounty hunter nodded. “No fuckin’ problem.”
He slung Carmen over his shoulder and stomped away through the crowds.
Commander Pepe smiled sympathetically at Peter the Ace and Panman. “I’m
sorry that you’ve had so much trouble and anxiety during your mission.”
“We are able to cope better than anyone else.” Peter the Ace
said. “It’s no problem.”
Panman suddenly got excited. “I’ve just remembered! Lawrence
is in one of the Blenheim’s detention cells!”
“Of course!” Peter the Ace said. “I completely forgot
“We can finally punish him for his wretched violations of all that
is good and holy! It could be a show trial and broadcast to the galaxy!”
Commander Pepe was gleeful. “Great idea! Show me!” He looked
down at Suzanna. Her face was buried between his legs. “Stay here
and strip for the engineers’ pleasure.” he said to her. “I’ll
be back soon.”
Suzanna did as she was told and sensually began to remove what little
clothing she was wearing. The crowd of workers cheered.
The commander followed the two bounty hunters up into their ship. He glanced
behind and witnessed Suzanna’s unclothed body gyrating at the hips.
He groaned. Hoots of delight emanated from the enthralled hanger bay staff.
Peter the Ace, Panman, and the commander reached the Blenheim’s
detention area. Severed power conduits hung from the ceiling like slaughtered
snakes, and bent and scorched wreckage littered the cracked floor. A smoky
musty smell filled the air.
Panman looked around. “It looks like this section was hit pretty
bad.” he said, stating the obvious.
The three colleagues walked over to the cell where Lawrence had been placed.
“Lawrence, you bald imbecile!” Panman shouted as he approached
the cell. “It’s us, your awesome captors!”
The energy grid that should have sealed the cell had failed. Panman, Peter
the Ace, and Commander Pepe looked inside. At the back of the cell was
a two metre wide hole. Through its jagged and scorched edges could be
seen the hanger bay outside. Several gay electricians, uninterested in
Suzanna’s erotic dancing, waved at them in a very limp-wristed fashion.
Lawrence was nowhere to be seen.
The bounty hunters and the commander remained silent for many long seconds.
Panman spoke first. “He’s not there!”
Peter the Ace was more insightful. “Our arch-nemesis seems to have
eluded us once again.”
“He must be dead.” Panman said. “He must have been sucked
out into space when the Mini-Mechanism fired on us. He’ll have died
in torturous agony! His irradiated remains are probably drifting through
the void as we speak.”
Peter the Ace shook his head. “We can’t be sure. Lawrence
may be evil, radically insane, and have an exposed scalp, but his level
of intelligence and cunning is close to ours.”
“I can’t believe that!” the commander said.
“It’s true. And my humbleness allows me to admit it.”
Commander Pepe sighed deeply. “You are wise so your words must be
true, but how could he survive the savage vacuum of space?”
Panman spoke. “Maybe he is dead and we should just forget about
Peter the Ace grinned. “You know Panman, you’re probably right.”
The commander smiled. “Panman is right. Forget about Lawrence, he’ll
trouble us no more. Let’s change to a more joyous subject. There’s
a celebration planned for tonight in the Great Hall. It’s in honour
of both of you!”
“That’s normal.” Peter the Ace said.
The commander continued. “Only the top one thousand members of the
Palace of Amino will be allowed to attend. Even the Superior Beings are
making a special visit to the surface to join in the festivities!”
“Cool!” Panman said gleefully. “That’s a first,
“Your damn right it is!” the commander said. “Top engineers
have been modifying their cylinders to make them transportable. We don’t
want them coming up naked and making everyone empty their guts out, do
Peter the Ace agreed. “A wise precaution. Their profound ugliness
can kill on sight.”
The commander walked away. “You two had better freshen up and prepare
for the party. I’ll see you later.”
Commander Pepe left the Blenheim via the gaping hole in the detention
cell, just managing to squeeze his bulbous frame through the sharp edges.
His tent-like pants ripped and his left butt cheek began to bleed. He
laughed away the pain. “I’d better get that seen to!”
he said, and then wandered away. The gay electricians followed him, hopeful
for the chance to stroke his wide and gushing behind.
The two greatest bounty hunters of all time looked contented. Once again
they had conquered the evil black forces of flesh nibbling wretchedness.
Once again they had saved billions upon billions of wealthy citizens the
embarrassment of encountering sick smelling peasants and low-lives. Once
again they had recorded images of momentous detonations to show to their
lesser colleagues. They had done real good and they knew it.
Peter the Ace and Panman laughed deeply and healthily, and then leapt
into the air. They managed to somersault forty three times before hitting
the floor. Then they shouted as loud as their vocal enhancers would allow.