Ross Mental and his ship, the Morbid, had still been inside the Sadeeni flagship as it had entered subspace.
That was not a good place to have been.
As the giant ship’s subspace field had coalesced, and as the ship was whisked away from normal space, the forces of contorted reality had played havoc with the bounty hunter ship. With its shields drained the Morbid had been subjected to a vicious series of jolts that had challenged its gee-dampers, and its occupant, to the limit. Most of the ship’s armour-plating had been severely damaged or torn off and its hull had been breached in several places.
Ross Mental silenced a cacophony of alarms. Many of his screens were filled with damage reports, all highlighted in bold shades of red or purple. There were too many to deal with so he ignored them. “Can you still fuckin’ move? That’s all I want to know!”
The Morbid replied. “MANOEUVRING THRUSTERS, SUBLIGHT ENGINES AND THE SUBSPACE DRIVE ARE ALL OPERATIONAL.”
“Fuckin’ yeah!” From his darkened cockpit the bounty hunter looked out through the viewport ahead. In the pale bluish light of distant stars he could see the vast debris field that surrounded him. Frayed bulkhead fragments, some of which were hundreds of metres in length, spun slowly in the gloomy void. Smaller debris, which no doubt included the remains of thousands of Sadeeni, could be seen drifting outwards in a slowly expanding mist that would soon join the much larger debris cloud that was once the rest of the vast Sadeeni fleet. It was an extraordinary sight, and one that filled Ross Mental with an amazing sense of satisfaction and pride. He laughed and punched the air. “Useless fuckin’ Sadeeni! We fucked you good!”
The communicator bleeped. The foul-mouthed bounty hunter looked at its screen and answered. “Ace! What a fuckin’ ride! How’d you do?”
“We managed to get away from the Sadeeni ship’s superstructure just before it entered subspace so we suffered only minimal damage. It looks like our ride was not as thrilling as yours!”
“Shame. It was fuckin’ awesome!”
“I can imagine. I’ve just performed a scan of the local area. There’s no sign of the Horizontal Assassin or the Pig. It looks like Mister Moth and Miss Beast Feaster managed to successfully stowaway inside that ship.”
Ross Mental laughed. “It’ll be cool as fuck to see the mayhem generated when they get to Sadeeni space. I can’t fuckin’ wait!”
“Indeed. Before we head back to the palace how about joining us for dinner? Panman has instructed Jemima Murma to roast a hogsaurus.”
“Hogsaurus?! I thought they were fuckin’ extinct?”
“They are. Panman acquired the last supply of frozen ones from a particularly dodgy-looking chap on Erovin a couple of months ago.”
“Sounds Fuckin’ delicious!”
Ross Mental’s sensor console bleeped.
The Morbid made an announcement. “WARNING: FOUR VESSELS HAVE EMERGED FROM SUBSPACE 2.6 MILLION KILOMETRES FROM THIS LOCATION.”
“Fuck! Ace, do you see them?”
Peter the Ace remained calm. “I do. Don’t worry, they’re bounty hunter ships. It looks like our back-up has arrived, just when we don’t need them!”
“Not as pointless as you think. I’ll get Jimima Murma to roast a second hogsaurus and then invite them all to our feast. The more the merrier, I think!”
Ross Mental smiled. “True. If you’re going to pack your guts with food and beer and then burp and fart like a fuck-off bean-hugger it’s much more fun to do it in a fuckin’ crowd!”