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Book: The Nomads and the Mind Machine
Chapter 42: Annoying Grating Sound

In a close formation, the Blenheim and the Morbid flew into the vast hanger bay of the nomad ship and landed softly on its smooth blue surface.

Peter the Ace, Panman and Ross Mental stood under the Blenheim’s nose next to its exit ramp and watched as three small bowl-shaped aircraft approach rapidly from the huge transparent wall at the back of the hanger bay.  Skimming low, the three craft drew to a silent halt just a few metres in front of the bounty hunters.

As before, Bob the nomad was the sole occupant of the lead aircraft.  Standing up, he stretched his long slender right leg out of his craft and stepped down onto the hanger bay floor.  He took a few slow and graceful steps forwards.

Ross Mental could not stop himself from laughing as the green leotard-wearing being approached.

Peter the Ace spoke.  “Good to see you again, Bob.  How are things?  I hope your bio-mind is rebuilding itself.”

The nomad answered.  “It is.”

“Good.  So, what is it that you wanted to give us?”

The red light on the device on the side of Bob’s head flickered.  The nomad cocked his head to one side.  Behind the nomad the side of his bowl-like aircraft whirred open.  A platform slid out and drifted forwards.  On the platform was a scarred and blackened dome.

The three bounty hunters watched as the platform and the dome came to a gentle rest next to the nomad.

Peter the Ace looked up at Bob.  “Is that what I think it is?”

The nomad nodded.

“Why couldn’t you tell me when you called?”

“I wanted it to be a surprise.”

Peter the Ace smiled.  “You’re more humorous than I realised!”

Ross Mental pointed at Bob.  “That’s nothing.  Look at his fuckin’ leotard!  If that’s not humour, I don’t know what is!”

Peter the Ace ignored the foul-mouthed bounty hunter and stepped over to the dome.  He reached down and felt along its charred rim until he found a control.  He pressed it.  With a loud and annoying grating sound half of the dome folded back revealing a transparent surface underneath.  Inside, sitting in a shallow pool of green gunk, were two severed heads.  “Professor Espanys!  Professor Larberec!  It’s good to see you at last.”

The two professors looked up slowly and stared at the bounty hunter.  Their expressions were bland and lifeless and they looked pale and weak.  Green drool seeped from their lips.

Bob the nomad spoke.  “They are unable to communicate.  Their health has deteriorated to a minimal level.”

“It does seem that way.  Their life-support dome must be malfunctioning, which is not surprising considering what it’s been through.”

“Yeah!”  Ross Mental said with obvious pride.  “Look at the fucker!”

Peter the Ace looked up at Bob once again.  “I must get the professors onboard the Blenheim immediately.  There is only one way I can save them.”

The nomad nodded.  “I understand.”

“Thank you once again, Bob.”

Panman nodded.  “Yeah, Thanks!”

Ross Mental simply laughed.

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