With remarkable ease, and with a little help from the two silent but amiable nomads, Peter the Ace had configured the nomad ship to generate an ultra-space gravistatic pulse. Now he waited for Ross Mental to complete his task. Bored, he turned to Bob and engaged in some small talk. “So, from this spherical room you control the entire ship?”
The nomad nodded once. He pointed to the two nomads that were still sitting at the centre of the room in front of their consoles. They were gazing intently at their screens, their hands moving over their controls with gentle ease. “We oversee the functions of the bio-mind. That is all. The bio-mind controls everything.”
Peter the Ace nodded. “It’s a very easy job then?”
Bob blinked and looked down at the bounty hunter. “Working in the monitoring centre requires dedication and discipline. Positions here are much sought after and are considered a great honour.”
“I’m sure they are.” The bounty hunter said. He thought for a moment. “It would be nice to meet your leader.”
“That will not be possible.”
“The leader must never be physically disturbed, not even by me.”
“The leader demands it.”
Peter the Ace frowned and shook his head. “It’s not healthy for a leader to demand such a thing. You’re supposed to be enlightened beings, but having a leader like that makes me doubt the true benevolence of your…”
A fizzing noise from the communicator interrupted the bounty hunter. And then through the noise a voice was heard.
“This fuckin’ mind is fighting back!”
Peter the Ace looked up at Bob. “Where you aware that the bio-mind has offensive capabilities?”
The nomad’s expression was blank. “I was not.”
The bounty hunter’s eyes narrowed. “I see.” He directed his Voice to the communicator. “It is imperative that you shut down the bio-mind.”
“I fuckin’ know!” Another loud fizzing noise was heard. “Fuck, I’m burning!” He gasped. “I’m almost out of the dome. Don’t worry; this fuckin’ bio-fucker is done for. Unfortunately so are those decapitated fuckin’ professors!”
Peter the Ace nodded. “Understood. We must prevent these nomad ships and the Sadeeni fleet from reaching Nemia. All other considerations are secondary.”
Bob spoke. “My leader and I are alarmed at the prospect of losing the bio-mind, as are the leaders of the other ships.”
Peter the Ace’s expression was solemn. “I understand, but this action is completely necessary. Nemia is the nucleus of control for the central worlds. It is the home of Lord Gastronemus himself. If Nemia is lost and central control removed all civilised worlds would soon fall prey to the degenerate and deviant societies of the surrounding systems. Order would turn to chaos.” The bounty hunter reached up and patted Bob on the side of his shoulder. “I’m afraid that even beings like you who hide in the darkness of the galactic voids would eventually be affected. There would be no avoiding the inevitable. The time that you and your kind are consumed by the nefarious fiends of gloom would one day arrive, and it would arrive devoid of compassion and tenderness.”
The nomad stared blankly at the bounty hunter.
Peter the Ace continued. “I’m convinced you can recover from the loss of the bio-mind. The bio-mind’s incredible regeneration ability will allow it to be reconstructed quickly. The bio-minds on the other ships will, I’m sure, be able to control your ship whilst your new bio-mind is created.”
Bob the nomad looked down at the bounty hunter. After a second he spoke. “There is much logic and wisdom in what you say.”
Peter the Ace grinned. “Indeed there is!”
With his black battle suit flaming like the wok ring of a gas stove, and ripples of energy still fizzing around him, Ross Mental leapt out of the bio-mind’s dome and rolled across the snow-covered ice. With the flames doused and the energy dispersed, the bounty hunter crouched and then leapt into the air, his cyborg legs propelling him into a high arc over to his ship.
As he slammed into the top surface of his ship the foul-mouthed bounty hunter activated his communicator and barked an order. “Morbid, emergency vertical escape. Fuckin’ now!”
Immediately the black ship rocketed into the air. Outside the protection of the ship’s gee-dampers, Ross Mental grimaced as the force of the acceleration crushed him onto the hard uneven hull.
A brightening wash of white light surrounded the ship, and then after a few seconds it faded. The light levels in the vast inner chamber flickered and faded for a moment, and the lights on the city platforms momentarily shut down.
Ross Mental spoke. “Stop accelerating. Maintain course.”
With the acceleration gee force cancelled the bounty hunter crawled to the edge of his ship and looked down. Far below he could still see the dome of the bio-mind. Although blackened and buckled by the powerful detonation within, it had survived intact, which, judging by the expanding white clouds of vaporised ice, had forced most of the energy of the explosion outwards.
The Morbid shuddered as the shockwave from the explosion hit. Ross Mental gripped tightly onto some handholds. He looked up. The ship was close to chamber’s ceiling; he could already make out the rows of round docking ports used by the nomads in their funny little bowl-like aircraft. “Morbid, head for one of those docking ports on the ceiling.”
The ship responded. “THE DOCKING PORTS ARE DIMENSIONALY INCOMPATIBLE WITH…”
“I fuckin’ know!” The bounty hunter yelled. “Just hover underneath and I’ll climb the rest of the way!”
Ross Mental felt a momentary wave of nausea pass through his guts. He looked around. Everything shimmered for a moment as a flutter of distortion spread through the chamber and over the cities below.
The bounty hunter laughed. “Fuckin result!”
Bob the nomad spoke. “The bio-mind has ceased its activity.”
Peter the Ace nodded. “Excellent!” He looked at the screen that covered the entire wall of the spherical room. Views of the Sadeeni fleet were fading. He smiled. “It looks like the subspace field is collapsing. We’re returning to normal space.”
Several weak but noticeable tremors were felt. The screen indicated that some of the Sadeeni ships were colliding with the back of the nomad ships. Several of them were very large, more than a kilometre in length.
Peter the Ace grinned. “It looks like some of their ships cannot react fast enough!” He watched the screen as the collisions continued. “What a marvellously unexpected spectacle!”
The device on the side of Bob’s head flickered. The nomad closed his eyes for a moment and cocked his head to one side. He then looked down at the bounty hunter. “There is major surface damage to the rear of all five of our ships. The hulls have been compromised in several thousand locations. The defence shield has been considerably weakened.”
The bounty hunter nodded. “I’m not surprised, considering the size and number of vessels that just hit. Any nomad casualties?”
“Good to know.”
The device on the side of the nomad’s head flickered once more. “The four bio-minds on the other ships have taken temporary control of this one. Your plan appears to have been successful.”
“I had no doubt that it would be.” Peter the Ace said. “Things seem to be going better than I expected.” He operated his communicator. “Ross Mental, well done! The bio-mind has been destroyed and we’ve left subspace.”
The reply came quick and loud. “Fuckin’ cool! I’m not surprised though. That was one amazing fuck-off device I used! Did you see what happened to the surrounding ice?! It vaporised like a puss-infested rat in a fuck-off fuckin’…”
Peter the Ace felt the need to silence the foul-mouthed bounty hunter. “Get yourself back up here.”
“On my way. Almost there. Ross Mental fuckin’ out.”
Peter the Ace looked at the screen. The Sadeeni fleet had completely disappeared from the room’s screen. He spoke. “All we need to do now is wait for the Sadeeni fleet to join us.” He looked up at Bob. “And then we make them regret the day they returned to this galaxy.”