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Book: Bounty Hunters of the Palace of Amino
Chapter 46: Lava Pit

Jayne Eye-Catcher reached the bottom of the shaft. Using her night vision system she calmly scanned the surrounding area. She could see Kathwoman's shuttle and some of the wreckage of the Euphoria, but there was no sign of Kathwoman or Belinda. Jayne Eye-Catcher started to worry. Belinda had fallen over half a kilometre and it was quite possible that she was severely injured. After collecting her thoughts, the bounty hunter made her way across the jagged surface to the shuttle which appeared to have been damaged by the falling rocks from the recent earth tremors. A quick peek through the open hatchway revealed that it was completely deserted. The only sign of life was a blinking view screen that was displaying the word 'STANDBY > ' in a deep shade of red. Jayne Eye-Catcher looked around once again. Behind the shuttle there appeared to be a naturally formed tunnel.

That's where they are, Jayne Eye-Catcher said to herself. Feeling more positive about the whole situation, she headed through the opening and into the deep, deadly looking darkness beyond.


The Blenheim, a usually powerful and awe-inspiring craft, limped its way back into a low orbit above Epicuro.

"I can't make contact with the Euphoria." Panman said.

"I can't scan it either." Peter the Ace said. "But what I do scan is one huge monster of a battlecruiser heading our way!"

Kathwoman's mothership, thirty two kilometres long and abundantly armoured, was only seven hundred kilometres away and closing. Although badly damaged from the effects of the destruction Lawrence's mothership, it still posed a considerable threat, especially as the Blenheim had absolutely no shields whatsoever.

"They've activated their weapons systems!" Panman said doing the same himself.

"I'll take us lower." Peter the Ace decided.

The Blenheim rolled and dived towards the parched yellow moon.

"They have weapons lock!" Panman shouted, instinctively firing as many of the Blenheim's energy beams and missiles that he could.

A beam of deepest dazzling red emanated from Kathwoman's massive vessel and connected with the underside of the Blenheim. The ship shuddered with the force of the impact.

"WARNING: HULL BREACH SECTION TWELVE B. COMPARTMENT SEAL ACTIVATED."

Sirens wailed annoyingly all over the Blenheim's bridge.

"What’s section twelve b?" Peter the Ace asked.

"That's Justin's quarters!" Panman answered. He silenced the sirens and operated the communicator. "Justin? are you there?"

No reply.

The missiles that Panman had launched reached their target with deadly accuracy. The massive mothership lurched under the tremendous pressure of the nuclear blasts that were detonating all around it.

"I'm scanning an object that's drifting away from us." Peter the Ace said. "It's Justin!"

Justin had been sat in his quarters recharging when the beam hit. All that was left of his room was a four metre wide hole. He had been sucked out with the rush of escaping air.

"We have to rescue him!" Panman said, distressed at the thought of making his own kebabs if Justin were destroyed.

Another red beam skimmed the top side of the Blenheim, stripping away tons of heavy protective armour. The ship shook once again.

"We'll have to concern ourselves with Justin later." Peter the Ace said. "He can survive without us for a while. I have to get us down to the surface otherwise that huge mother vessel will destroy us completely!"

The Blenheim entered the atmosphere of Epicuro. Because of the lack of shields, the ship's outer hull began to glow yellow with the heat of re-entry. Kathwoman's mothership continued to fire but her beams were less accurate within the atmosphere.

"Right," Peter the Ace said as he guided the Blenheim through canyon after canyon, "let's find Jayne and Belinda!"


The dark tunnel was getting lighter the deeper Jayne Eye-Catcher went. It was also getting warmer and smellier. A stench of sulphur filled the air.

After a few more minutes of careful treading, Jayne Eye-Catcher reached an opening. She was standing on a ledge looking down into a huge lava pit hundreds of metres below. Above her, almost a kilometre away, several giant stalactites hung ominously from the cavern's ceiling.

"Jayne!" A weak voice shouted.

Jayne Eye-Catcher looked around the red glowing rock faces of the massive cave. Straight ahead on the opposite wall was Belinda. She was in a bad way. She was hanging by her feet from a small outcrop directly over the lava pit.

"Stay calm!" Jayne Eye-Catcher shouted back. "I'm coming to get you."

Jayne Eye-Catcher began to climb around the walls of the cavern - a most deadly of tasks. How did Belinda get into that position? Jayne Eye-Catcher wondered, trying not to look down into the pit of death. It must have something to do with Kathwoman, but how did she get Belinda over there?

Time will tell.


Justin drifted without purpose through the void. Below him was the moon named Epicuro, and behind him was the mothership of Kathwoman, which was currently firing at the surface of the sweltering moon in a vain attempt to annihilate the Blenheim. The cyborg accessed all menu options on his heads up display. There were none for thrusters of any kind. He was helpless.

A few minutes passed by. Justin thought digitally about his predicament. His mega-tronically enhanced brain seemed to produce no solution other than 'PLEASE WAIT…'

With silent accuracy a potent beam of light spanned the space between the monstrous battlecruiser and Justin's metal body. The incredible heat vaporised the cyborg's frame within a second. His display went haywire. Warnings flashed everywhere as the electronic nerve endings in his neck registered no response. He began a synthetic panic attack as more and more messages of gloom appeared within his manufactured mind.

There was nothing that Justin could do.

Justin's head tumbled gently through the vacuous expanse of space, his red glowing eyes scanning the cosmos for any sign of help. The alternate power system that was keeping him conscious would only last a few more hours.

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