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Book: The Nomads and the Mind Machine
Chapter 14: Vibrations

“Fuck!”  Ross Mental exclaimed.  He gazed up at what appeared to be four gargantuan circular energy emanators above his head.  They were humming deeply, and the bounty hunter could feel the hairs on his body standing on end.  The emanators were active.  “What the fuck are those things doing in a government building?!”

Cardigan Moth looked down at his sensor device’s screen.  “According to my scans they are part of a wave-particle duality subspace drive system, most commonly found on long-distance heavy-duty interplanetary cargo vessels.”

Ross Mental turned and glared at the lesser bounty hunter.  “I know!  But what the fuck are they doing here on the ceiling of a massive room beneath the lobby of a government building?”

Cardigan Moth shook his head.  “I have no idea.  But the drive system continues up into the core of the building, which, as we already know, is now encased in a polytitanium casing.”

Ross Mental was thoughtful.  He looked up again.  “Hmm…  It’s truly fuckin’ bizarre.  It’s almost as if someone want’s to turn this building into a star ship!  But why?”  He turned to face Cardigan Moth again.  “Scan deeper!”

The lesser bounty hunter shook his head.  “Unfortunately the polytitanium casing is still blocking my scans.  We will need to get inside to get more results.”

The foul-mouthed bounty hunter nodded.  “Then let’s fuck to it!”  He clipped his rifle to his back and then crouched down.  He pushed hard with his artificial legs and leapt into the air.  He grabbed onto the rim of one of the giant emanators and pulled himself up inside.  He shouted down.  “From what I remember, this kind of propulsion mechanism requires plenty of internal space to work.  If there’s any way inside, this is fuckin’ it!”

Cardigan Moth did not seem convinced, but he knew better than to argue with a higher class bounty hunter.  With a powerful contraction of his thin but enhanced quadriceps, the bounty hunter leapt up and followed his superior up into the emanator.

The inside of the emanator was a series of connected spherical chambers, each tall enough for an average humanoid to stand.  Each sphere had a perfectly mirrored inner surface and a vertical rod running through its centre from which a grid of thorn-like metal pins stuck out.  The pins were glowing white hot.

Ross Mental was sweating.  “It’s fuckin’ uncomfortable in here!”

Cardigan Moth was pulling himself up from the spherical chamber below.  “It’s more than 60 degrees and rising.”  He said.  He stood up next to Ross Mental with a serious expression.  “If this is a star ship and it launched now, we would be vaporised.”

Ross Mental nodded.   “Of course we fuckin’ would!”  He looked up.  “That’s the final chamber.  Come one!”  He reached up, pulled hard, and clambered through the connecting tube to the next chamber.

The next chamber contained a small maintenance hatch in its side.  Ross Mental opened it with ease.  “Fuckin’ bingo!”  He exclaimed as he squeezed through it. 

Cardigan Moth followed, closing the hatch behind him.  “It was rather easy to gain access.”

Ross Mental was looking around the cramped chamber.  “Villainous deviant fuckers always seem to allow easy access to their vessels.  That’s one of the main reasons why they almost always fail.  They’re fuckin’ idiots!”

Cardigan Moth was configuring his sensor.  He nodded.  “They do appear two notches clear of a madicoot’s secondary cerebral prowess, don’t they?”

The foul-mouthed bounty hunter ignored yet another of the lesser bounty hunter’s odd expressions.  “Can you get a good scan yet?”

Cardigan Moth nodded.  “Indeed I can.”

“Then fuckin’ tell me about it!”

The lesser bounty looked back at his sensor device’s screen.  “I can confirm that this is indeed a space vessel.  It’s approximately one hundred metres wide at the base, and then tapers to a point almost 4 kilometres up.  The inner lining of the hull of the top kilometre of the vessel is made from tri-melded quinteranium.”

Ross Mental’s eyes widened.  “Fuckin’ no!”

“Yes.  The vessel’s power source is a four-stage ultra-core atom masher, located just above our heads.  Other than a chamber near the tip, most of this vessel appears to be hollow, and completely unmanned.”

The foul-mouthed bounty hunter shook his head.  “Why would a fuckin’ Sadeeni go to the trouble of secretly building a ship such as this inside a government building in the middle of a city on a central world?  What’s the fuckin’ point?!”

Cardigan Moth replied.  “I think the answer could be found in the chamber at the tip.  It is heavily shielded and therefore must contain something important.”

Ross Mental frowned.  “You’re fuckin’ right!  How do we get up there?”

“Once we get above the power source we’ll have a clear view right to the top.”

“And how do we get above the fuckin’ power source?”

Cardigan Moth pointed up to the low ceiling.  “There’s an access hatch right there.  That’ll take us where we want to go.”

Ross Mental reached up and pulled on the handle.  “The fucker’s locked.”  He reached back and grabbed his rifle.  “Stand back.”  He took aim and fired.  In a whoosh of flame a searing blast of red energy vaporised the hatch’s door.  A pungent cloud of thick smoke spread out.

Cardigan Moth appeared a little shocked.  “You do realise that there is an ultra-core atom masher right next to that hatch?”

Ross Mental looked at him.  “Of course I fuckin’ do!”  Placing the rifle back on his back the foul-mouthed bounty hunter leapt up into now open and still slightly molten hatch.

Cardigan Moth was about to follow when his sensor device sounded an alarm.  He looked down at his screen.  As he did so deep vibrations could be felt.

Ross Mental was looking down at him from the hatch.  “What the fuck’s going on?”

The lesser bounty hunter read the data on the screen.  “There has been a sudden build-up of energy in the power source above.  Its duality concentrators have been primed and flooded.”  He looked up.  “This vessel’s engines have commenced their activation procedure.  Launch could occur within thirty minutes!”

“Fuck!”  Ross Mental exclaimed.  He thought rapidly.  “I need to find out what’s in that fuckin’ chamber at the top.  It’s the only way to know what the Sadeeni are up to.”

Cardigan Moth nodded and moved to join his foul-mouthed superior in the hatch above.

Ross Mental shook his head.  “You’re not coming.  I need you to get back to the fuckin’ ships!”

The lesser bounty hunter began to protest.  “It would be best if…”

“Do as I fuckin’ order!” Ross Mental shouted.  “If this thing launches the Government Tower will be fuckin’ annihilated.  Our ships are sitting on top of it!”

Cardigan Moth nodded.  “Of course.”

Ross Mental threw a small device down.  Cardigan Moth caught it.  “That contains the auto-activation codes for the Morbid.  Get the ships out of here.”

The lesser bounty hunter nodded again.  He looked down at the hatch that lead into the top sphere of the engine emanator below and then at his device.  “The engines are heating up.  I must leave now to avoid being vaporised.”

“Then fuckin’ go!”

With a swift and smooth motion the lesser bounty hunter opened the hatch and disappeared into the engine.  He closed the hatch behind him.

Ross Mental continued up into the vessel’s power source.  This is fuckin’ insane, he thought, grinning.

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