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Book: Bounty Hunters of the Palace of Amino
Chapter 25: Partly Roasted Brain Tissue

Drifting snow blew chillingly across the icy wastelands of Neo-Thrahl, a cold, barren world deep within the Viral Sector. Run by Depravites, a race of deranged, loathsome neanderthal type fiends of ill-intent, this planet was used for one thing only, the development of super-potent chemical and bio warfare mechanisms. Sold throughout the criminal underworld, these devices have been used to assist the downfall of many of the weaker central worlds.

Dismahl Base, located at the western tip of the northern continent, was the largest of the Depravites’ research stations. Its blackened towers of stone and steel dominated the summit of the ice cliffs in a very overbearing manner.

Sarah Savage, a barbaric bounty hunter of extreme cunning and adeptness, climbed swiftly up the steep, freezing slopes towards the station, her baggy leather clothing concealing the fact that she was carrying eight fusion grenades, four flesh strippers and a large Conan style broadsword. She never carried a gun of any description. Nothing could replace the intimate sensation of a heavy blade slicing through the flesh of an opponent. Sarah loved it.

It took her several minutes to climb to the top. She rested for a few seconds to catch her breath and surveyed the scene. A tall security tower could be seen above the main entrance gates. One guard sat behind a double glazed window, puffing gently on a well stocked pipe.

Easy! She thought, and began to creep stealthily along the wall to the bottom of the tower.

Sarah Savage smiled dryly. Time for death to visit the dammed!

Laughing loudly, she armed a flesh stripper and threw it towards the window. It spiralled through the air and hit the glass, gripping it tightly with its tiny suction cups. The guard was puzzled. He leaned forwards for a closer look. The contraption ignited, vaporising the glass instantly. The guard screamed as the soft parts of his face were shredded and splatted onto the wall behind him. After six seconds of this brutal torture, he died. His exposed skull rolled backwards and fell to the floor, cracking like an egg. Partly roasted brain tissue squeezed its way out.

Sarah Savage sprinted into the research station and along several dimly lit passageways. An alarm was sounding. Great! She thought, rushing into a laboratory, any moment now I'm going to be surrounded by ripe targets.

She was not disappointed. Six large Depravites armed with heavy rifles appeared from several entrances. They began to unleash shimmering beams of potent blue energy in her direction. She dexterously dodged most of them, deflecting the rest with her gleaming sword. The beams hit the walls and ceiling, showering the floor with charred and shattered stone work. Sarah leapt into the air and landed in front of one of her opponents. His look of astonishment rapidly changed as her razor sharp blade slashed down into his chest, penetrating his heart, lungs, liver and right kidney. He slumped forward, vomiting several pints of rich red blood. Sarah turned briskly, just in time to block three incoming beams. This time they deflected into the floor, melting the highly polished tiles. She armed another flesh stripper and set the detonation time to one second. Dropping to her knees to avoid another barrage of energy fire, Sarah tossed the device into the air. It exploded violently. The five remaining Depravites yelled and gurgled in torment as the flesh on the upper halves of their bodies began its six second exodus onto the walls. Their completely intact legs fell to the floor, closely followed by the dry bones of their upper torsos. Sarah laughed wickedly. Devastation was deeply fulfilling.

A bleeper bleeped on her utility belt. She unclipped it and looked at its small display screen. Her Jaw dropped in disbelief. What she saw was something she had never expected to see. The TAR command!

Something really heavy must be going down! She thought.

Her mission to destroy the research bases on Neo-Thrahl was effectively cancelled. Still, it would be a shame to waste an opportunity. Sarah Savage started to arm and position her fusion grenades around the lab.

After completing her task, she ran like the wind through the dank passageways towards the entrance. Guards by the dozen tried to burn her away with their powerful rifles. Hack! Slash! Stab! Gash! Sarah cut into them as if they were made of butter, sending severed limbs soaring through the air. After two minutes of fierce butchery, Sarah escaped and slithered down the frosted slopes, away from the doomed base.

She was less than a kilometre away when it went up. A huge dome of white hot flames expanded rapidly, pushing molten stone and steel work high into the biting atmosphere. Sarah smiled with sadistic satisfaction. "If you're gonna do something, do it as violently as possible!"

The bounty hunter turned and continued her journey back to her starship, hidden down a deep crevasse several kilometres to the south. She had no idea that the greatest mission of her life was about to begin.

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