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Book: The Nomads and the Mind Machine
Chapter 20: A Remarkably Disturbing Sight

Through the wide curved viewport ahead the scene was dark.  Only a few distant of stars could be seen.  This was typical of the Slimyebba Void.

“We are in position and holding.”  Aj Nin said.  He was sitting lower and in front of Yug Evahsadeen and gazing down at his control surface.  He looked up and back at his master, almost invisible in the dimly lit interior.  “The ship will arrive in one minute.”

The Sadeeni nodded.  “Good.”  He stroked the black fur of his neck.  “What of the target?”

“It is positioned as expected.”

Yug smiled.  “Things are going well.  I am looking forward to this.  Ensure that we capture everything.  Our home world will find it quite entertaining when we return.  It will reward them for the adoration they are sure to lavish upon us.”

Aj Nin nodded and grinned wryly.  “All cameras are programmed.  Nothing will be missed.”

“Good.  Activate the projection panel.  I wish to see all that occurs.”

Ross Mental slammed into the ceiling of the chamber.  After a couple of hours of no gravity, the sudden and heavy gee force of deceleration was a shocking experience, even for the bounty hunter’s highly trained and enhanced physique.  A brief wave of nausea swept over him.  “Fuck!”

Professor Larberec spoke, his voice synthetic and ever-so-slightly disturbing.  “We have emerged from subspace.”

“No fuckin’ shit!”

With a struggle, the foul-mouthed bounty hunter clawed his way down to floor level and held himself close to the transparent dome containing the heads of the two professors.  The force of the continuing deceleration was holding the heads up and out of the green nutrient sludge.  Cables and tubes could be seen entering the necks of the professors through their veins, arteries and oesophagus’s.  It was a remarkably disturbing sight.

For some reason the green sludge seemed unaffected by the gravity shift.  It remained at the bottom of the dome, undulating slowly.

The deceleration ceased.  Weightlessness returned.

Professor larberec spoke again.  “We have slowed to a velocity of five kilometres per second.”  He said.  His head, and his companion’s, sank slowly back into the sludge.

Ross Mental welcomed the relief.  “That’s fuckin’ better!”  He looked at the professors.  “Do you know what the purpose of this fuckin’ ship is yet?”

The eyes of Professor Espanys rolled back.  His jaw shuddered.  “No.”  He replied.  “We will be informed when we reach our destination.”

“When the fuck will that be?!”

“There is very little information coming back to me.  I find it difficult to…  Wait!”

Ross Mental’s eyes widened.  “Why?  What is it?”

The two professors shuddered, sending ripples through the green sludge.

The foul-mouthed bounty hunter was not known for his patience.  “Wait for fuckin’ what?!”

The two professors stopped shuddering.  Professor Espanys spoke, his eyes wide and bright.  “We know the purpose of this ship.  We know why we are here.”

Ross Mental grinned.  “About fuckin’ time!  Tell me!”

And then before he could even blink, the bounty hunter found himself pinned once again to the ceiling.

A crunch and a roar of deafening sound heralded the start of the most intense period of deceleration yet.

Aj Nin spoke excitedly.  “The target vessel is hit!  Penetration is clean and swift!”

Yug Evahsadeen watched the detailed sensor information on the projection panel ahead.  A small window on the panel showed a close-up enhanced image of the immense target vessel.  He smiled.  “Very good.”

The projection panel displayed in great detail the progress of the ship as it penetrated smoothly into the target vessel like the needle of a giant syringe.  Within seconds it had slowed and drawn to a halt.

Aj Nin spoke.  “Penetration of the target vessels inner core is successful!  The nose of the ship is now positioned perfectly.”

Yug reached up with his long black and furry arms and rested his hands at the back of his head.  He leaned back.  “I am pleased. You may deploy the payload.”

Still stunned, Ross Mental crawled back towards transparent dome containing the professors’ heads.  There now seemed to be a normal level of gravity, but from the side of the ship, not the bottom. 

The bounty hunter reached the dome which, because of the gravity, now appeared to be tipped up on its side.  The heads of the professors were angled awkwardly down.  The green nutrient sludge, however, remained firmly in place.

Ross Mental frowned.  “That was fuckin’ annoying!  What happened?”

Professor Laberec answered.  “We have successfully penetrated the hull of the target vessel.”

“The target vessel?”  Ross Mental said, confused.  “You’d better tell me what the fuck is going on!  What’s the purpose of this fuckin’…”

With a crunch and a whirr of loud motors a panel at what once was the centre of the chamber’s ceiling opened.  The bounty hunter looked at the open orifice.  “Fuck!  What now?”

The base of the transparent dome hissed.  The sound grew in volume.

Ross Mental looked at the dome and immediately realized what was going to happen.  He shouted at the professors.  “Answer my fuckin’ question!  Now!”

Professor Espanys spoke.  “The purpose of this ship is to…”

With a deafening whoosh the transparent dome shot forwards and disappeared into the orifice.  A trail of smoke swirled in its wake.

Ross Mental sat in silence for a few seconds.  He grimaced as some of the smoke entered his nostrils.  He shook his head.  “Fuckin’ typical!”

Getting to his feet, the bounty hunter leapt into the still open orifice and headed after the professors.

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