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Book: Bounty Hunters of the Palace of Amino
Chapter 8: Gathering Smog

"I've got a visual!" Panman said, looking at the main view screen. "Locking lasers. Target five hundred metres."

Peter the Ace guided the Blenheim through the multitude of giant towers with expert precision. "He's heading for that construction site. I'll never fly this ship through there."

The construction site consisted of eight new towers almost as high as Ken's. Their scaffolding and grid-like frameworks was the perfect hiding place for a skycar.

Peter the Ace had a fantastic idea. "Panman, try and take out one of his engines."

Panman nodded, took aim, and then fired. A low powered laser lanced out and connected with Ken's skycar, cutting deep into its port side thruster. The explosion sent the car spinning out of control.

"Shit!" Panman said. "I think he's going to crash!"

"Think again." Peter the Ace said.

Ken had managed to land on one of the maintenance platforms that littered the new towers. The Blenheim swooped between two of the buildings and hovered next to where Ken had set down.

"Wait here." Peter the Ace said. "I'll get him." The bounty hunter got out of his chair and ran out of the bridge. Grabbing a stunner from the armoury, he made his way to the side air lock. It opened. Wind gushed in. Ken could be seen making his way towards a service lift. Peter the Ace leapt onto the girders of the framework. He looked down. It was more than two hundred and fifty levels to the street. He began to run, arming the stunner as he did so. The construction workers looked on in awe as the bounty hunter sprinted fearlessly through the maze of steel. Ken had reached the lift. In less than a second, Peter the Ace aimed and fired, hitting Ken squarely between the eyes. The casino tycoon slumped to the floor. Peter the Ace reached the lift and effortlessly picked him up. "I’m amazing! I've captured the infamous Ken Kasino!"

Carrying Ken on his shoulder, Peter the Ace headed back towards the Blenheim. The workers cheered. This hero of the galaxy had brought excitement into their otherwise mundane lives. Ken was placed in one of the ship's detention cells. A fuzzy, pale blue glow signified that the cell was secure.

"Well done!" Panman said entering the detention area.

"No problem." Peter the Ace said modestly. "It will be an hour or so before he comes round. We should leave the city, his friends may come after him."

"Too right!" Panman said. "Oh. By the way, there are five police skycars surrounding us. Apparently we are under arrest."

"Hmm. Okay, I'd better speak to them."

Peter the Ace walked up to the bridge, closely followed by Panman. This is such a comfortable seat, thought Peter the Ace as he sat down in his command chair. He activated the communicator. "What are we being arrested for?" He asked.

"You have violated six traffic laws." Replied a fat, green skinned officer whose chubby face had just appeared on one of the view screens. "Number one: you were flying in excess of five hundred kilometres per hour in a two hundred kilometres per hour district. Number two: you are flying a craft that is more than four times the maximum size allowed in the city's central districts. Number three: you activated a weapon within a populated area. Number four: you blatantly ignor..."

Peter the Ace muted the communicator. "Is the air clear above us?"

Panman performed a quick scan. "Yep!" He said. "Apart from loads of gathering smog, it's clear all the way into orbit."

"Good." Peter the Ace said. With masterful accuracy he operated some controls. The Blenheim's belly thrusters roared to life. The ship accelerated at an ultra-phenomenal rate straight up. The police skycars were blown backwards, two of them slamming into scaffolding, one of which subsequently began to plummet down towards the streets. Its driver regained control just in time.

"Bollocks!" The green faced officer shouted as he watched the powerful vessel disappear rapidly into the clouds above. "Follow it!"

"We can't." His partner said, looking at the car's scanner. "It’s already left the atmosphere."

The Blenheim powered its way past the planet Hadus's space traffic control station and entered free space.

"Blenheim." Peter the Ace said, taking a large bite out of the kebab that Justin had just passed him. "What’s the condition of out prisoner?"


"He came round quick!" Panman said, stuffing a whole kebab into his mouth.

"Indeed he did." Peter the Ace agreed. "Let's go and see what he has to say."

The two bounty hunters, followed closely by a curious Justin, left the bridge.

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