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Book: Bounty Hunters of the Palace of Amino
Chapter 18: Tunnel

The maintenance platform came to an uncontrolled halt on the top side of the Blenheim's impressively armoured hull. Energy blasts coursed overhead.

"Get inside." Panman ordered, returning fire.

Tara carried the bodiless Justin into a hatchway that had just swung open. The cyborg began to punch and kick the Blenheim. Screaming with artificial ferocity, it began to clamber up the side.

"How can we get to the off switch?" Panman asked, continuing to fire the fusion pistol.

"I don't think we can." Peter the Ace replied. "Let's get inside. The Blenheim's weapons should be powerful enough to destroy it."

"Yeah, lets unleash some serious fire power!"

The two bounty hunters climbed down into the ship. The hatch closed behind them silencing the noise of the battle. The heroes made their way to the bridge.

"Blenheim," Peter the Ace said with extreme authority, "prepare for emergency lift off."

"AFFIRMATIVE."

The ship hummed to life. Display screens flashed into action.

"READY."

Panman was at the weapons console. "All weapons systems are armed and ready for carnage!" He announced proudly.

Peter the Ace sat down in the command chair. He could see on the scanners that the metal freak was now on the top side of the ship. "Vertical acceleration, thirty G's." He said with great wisdom. "Execute!"

The Blenheim powered up the ventilation shaft, its exhaust blast vaporising two whole platoons of guards. The ship's gee-damping system saved the crew from the bone crushing forces. The cyborg seemed unaffected. It was currently attempting to bash its way into the upper hatchway.

"Can you get a lock?" Peter the Ace said to Panman.

"It will be difficult. " The bounty hunter replied, adjusting his controls. "It's too close to the hull. We will have to shake the thing loose."

The Blenheim continued to thrust its way up the shaft, knocking maintenance floaters out of the way.

"WARNING: SHAFT CEILING WILL BE REACHED IN TEN SECONDS."

"Full reverse of all thrusters!" Peter the Ace commanded.

The Blenheim complied and began a rapid descent. The Cyborg lost its grip and continued upwards, smashing into the ceiling with awesome speed. It began to tumble helplessly down, closely followed by chunks of debris.

"I have a lock!" Panman announced excitedly, pointing to the complex graphic display on one of his screens.

"Do what you have to." Peter the Ace said calmly.

Panman smiled broadly as he programmed a fantastic weapons sequence. He pressed fire. A large selection of missiles and energy beams laced their way into the cyborg. An explosion of nuclear proportions blasted the metal beast and the surrounding shaft walls away. The Blenheim's shields protected it from the blast wave that was ripping apart everything in its path.

"Why didn't we think of this before!" Panman said with satisfaction. "Who needs to turn something off when you can nuke it!"

"Good point, Panman." Peter the Ace said. "Blenheim, give me manual control."

"AFFIRMATIVE."

Peter the Ace skilfully guided the ship out of the shaft and into the tunnel that would lead them out into free space. "Nuke everything behind us." He said as enemy fire began to challenge the shields.

"Devastation!" Panman screamed as he fired various missiles.

Blinding explosions ensued behind them.

"WARNING: SHIELD STRENGTH EIGHTY PERCENT AND FALLING."

Beams of intense strength lashed out, coursing into the Blenheim's defense fields. The ship shook violently. Peter the Ace struggled calmly with the controls, skilfully guiding the awesome vessel through the tight passage. Three particularly powerful blasts hit the front of the ship.
"WARNING: SHIELD STRENGTH FIFTY PERCENT AND FALLING. COMPLETE FAILURE IN TWELVE SECONDS."

Panman continued to launch as many missiles as he could. Blinding white hot blasts erupted behind them, silencing the giant craft's guns. Peter the Ace increased the thrust level and the ship surged ahead at phenomenal speed.

After what seemed like five minutes, the Blenheim powered out of the tunnel and away from the giant black mothership. Panman let loose a final array of missiles that exploded on the dark behemoth's surface, shedding its some of its heavy armour.

"SHIELD STRENGTH HOLDING AT THIRTY SIX PERCENT."

Seventy fighters appeared on the scanner.

"Do you see those!" Panman exclaimed, excited at the prospect of a major dogfight.

"We'll be in subspace before they reach us." Peter the Ace said. "Blenheim, power up the Gargantua Drive Systems."

"GARGANTUA DRIVE SYSTEMS POWERING UP… READY."

"We should stay and fight!" Panman said.

The scanner showed that Lawrence's huge mother ship, although crippled, had turned and was closing in. It had locked all weapons onto the Blenheim.

"No." Peter the Ace replied, operating his master control console. "We have more important things to do."

He operated some more controls. Power surged through the ship. The Blenheim entered the safety of subspace.

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