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Book: Bounty Hunters of the Palace of Amino
Chapter 22: Melted Hog Fat

Justin wandered around the various passageways of the mighty Blenheim. He was beginning to get used to his new artificial body. The Bio-chamber, a glass dome over his biological head, protected him from possible infections that proliferate in the outside world. He was unable to eat with it on, but he didn't need to anyway. That knowledge upset Justin, but at least he was still alive.

After a few minutes he staggered into the gym. It was awesome. The most high-tech bodybuilding equipment in the know galaxy was kept here. Although their physiques were maintained by a cocktail of astonishingly potent chemicals, Peter the Ace and Panman liked to use the gym to keep a track of their incredible strength and stamina. Curious about the strength of his new artificial body, Justin positioned himself on the bench press machine and looked at the various options in its display screen. He selected the one marked 'Display current record'.


CURRENT RECORD: 612 Kg PETER THE ACE.


"Wow!" Justin exclaimed. "OK, let's see what this synthetic contraption of mine can do." He set the weight to five hundred kilograms. Taking a deep, simulated breath he pushed hard. The weight was raised effortlessly. "Cool!" Justin the cyborg exclaimed. "my previous best was only forty kilograms."

Justin set the machine to six hundred kilograms. This time it was much harder but still manageable. "OK, this time I'll equal his record!"

The machine was now set on six hundred and twelve kilograms. Justin heaved, pushed and heaved and pushed. The bar did not move even one millimetre. "What?" He set the machine to six hundred and eleven kilograms. This time he managed to press the weight all the way. "Strange!"

Justin tried to lift Peter the Ace's record weight once again. It wouldn't budge. "Something isn't right!" He said, annoyed. "Why should one kilogram make all that difference?"

Justin clambered awkwardly to his feet and clanked out of the gym and towards the bridge.


"NON-STANDARD HYPER-ELYPTICAL ORBIT ACHIEVED." The Blenheim announced proudly.

"Lemmingia looks like quite a pleasant place." Panman said, lookingup at the main view screen. "So many forests and lakes."

"I agree." Peter the Ace said. "It does look rather pleasant.”

"Right, let's get a fix on Lew Brain Ache's brain." Panman said facing the task at hand, "Blenheim, locate the exact source of the signal."

"SCANNING… LOCATION: SOUSEA OCEAN, COORDINATES 1254.12/7632.32, DEPTH: 12.6 KILOMETRES."

"What the hell is he doing down there?" Panman asked.

"Hopefully we will find that out when we rescue him." Peter the Ace said. "I hope that Jayne Eye-Catcher is safe."

"So do I." Panman said. He liked Jayne Eye-Catcher.

Peter the Ace entered the correct course setting and the ship began its descent into Lemmingia's atmosphere. Small fluffy clouds whisked their way past the viewports like a flock of agitated sheep charging past a cleverly positioned camera. The scanner showed a five kilometre wide crater directly below. For a radius of forty kilometres all around, the forest had been flattened and scorched.

"What happened there?" Panman asked.

"I don't know." Peter the Ace said. "It looks like some sort of fusion drive mega-blast!"

"You could be right!"

Descending and decelerating, the awe-inspiring Blenheim weaved adeptly through the mountains and valleys. A large ocean came into view on the horizon.

Justin clanked onto the bridge.

"Ahh Justin!" Peter the Ace said. "What have you been up to?"

"I've been in the gym." He replied artificially.

"Great! Testing out your incredible new body?"

"Yes."

"How do you find it?"

"OK, apart from one small thing."

"And what might that be?"

"My strength seems non-existent beyond six hundred and eleven kilograms."

"Of course!"

"What do you mean 'of course'?"

"Well, it would be silly for me to have a trainee bounty hunter on board who was stronger than I am, therefore I had to program a cutoff point into your strength parameters. You will never be able to bench press more than me!"

"That's so unfair!"

"Don't worry about it. Whenever I better my record, usually about once a week, your strength will increase automatically due to a special subliminal interface that you have with the work-out equipment."

"I don't know anything about that!"

"Of course you don't - it's subliminal!"

The Blenheim soared at a low altitude out over the deep blue Sousea Ocean, its formidable engines disturbing the surface.

"Justin?" Panman said, entering the conversation.

"Yes?"

"When we fearlessly rescue Lew Brain Ache and Jayne Eye-Catcher, they'll probably be famished. Could you knock up a couple of rounds of pork sandwiches and a bowl of salad."

"Dammit!"

Justin jangled his way to the bridge exit.

"Oh! I almost forgot." Panman said. "Lew Brain Ache likes to drink melted hog fat, so if you could get some on the boil that would be great."

Justin clattered out of the bridge without saying a word.

"Here we are!" Peter the Ace said, bringing the Blenheim to a halt.

The Outstanding starship hovered placidly a few metres above the relatively calm ocean surface.

"Blenheim, deep scan the ocean floor."

"SCANNING… FIVE UNIDENTIFIED CRAFT LOCATED. THE DISTRESS SIGNAL IS EMANATING FROM A SMALL CRAFT POSITIONED DEEP WITHIN THE PALMER ABYSS".

"Give me a detailed scan on the five unidentified craft."

"ALL CRAFT ARE IDENTICAL. DIMENSIONS: ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX METRES BY SIXTY SIX METRES BY THIRTY SIX METRES. HEAVY ARMOUR AND WEAPONRY DETECTED."

"I wonder who's in them?" Panman asked.

"WARNING: UNIDENTIFIED CRAFT ARE ON AN INTERCEPT COURSE WITH THE ORIGIN OF THE DISTRESS SIGNAL."

"Let's create carnage on a grand scale!" Panman shouted arming every weapons system that he could lay his hands on.

"Absolutely!" Peter the Ace agreed.


The mighty Blenheim pitched forwards ninety degrees and thrust hard into the sea, plunging into the deep dark deadly depths.

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