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Book: Bounty Hunters of the Palace of Amino
Chapter 47: Incredible Illiteracy



Dicky Zip, a bounty hunter of modest ability, carefully examined the wreckage of a skull fighter that lay half submerged in the boggy swampland of Soddon, the fourth and smelliest world of the Exx-Kre-Mant System. He had shot down the fighter as it attempted to destroy a medical research installation two hundred kilometres to the north. The installation was crucial in the fight against Empty Syndrome, a condition that, once acquired, ate away at the victim's insides until only a hollow husk remained. The interesting thing about this condition is that, even in its advanced stages, the person with the disease remained fully conscious and in a great frame of mind.

Dicky Zip peered into the fighter through its shattered view ports. He could see the co-pilot, bloodied and limp, crouched over his control console. Several pieces of loose circuitry were embedded into his face and chest. The bounty hunter looked over to the pilot's seat. It was empty. Dicky Zip's heart jumped a beat. He instantly drew his fusion pistol from its holster and spun around, scanning the tree filled wetland. Nothing stirred. Nothing that is, except for a small doltish mooch lizard that was squatting by a small puddle attempting to whisk to death three worms with a twig.

"Yakky yak!" It screamed, glaring at Dicky Zip. It grabbed the semi-mashed worms, thrust them down its throat, and then scampered up the nearest tree. "Yakky yak!" It screamed once again, vomiting violently.

Bile covered worms splatted into Dicky Zip's eyes. "Shit!"

The bounty hunter attempted to wipe his face but was distracted by an immense feeling of pain in his left leg. He lost his balance and fell into the mud. Finally he cleared his eyes of sick and looked around. The same moment that he realised his leg had been completely severed, he felt another excruciating pain in his right arm. An intense beam of scarlet energy burned through it in a second. Dicky Zip screamed and looked towards the source of the beam. A humanoid figure was walking towards him. It was the skull fighter's pilot, and he was really pissed.

"You shot me down." The pilot said.

"So?" Dicky Zip replied, trying to sound calm and collected.

"You will die!"

The pilot fired at the bounty hunter's neck. Dicky Zip’s body shuddered as the beam performed a quick and clean decapitation. The bounty hunter remained conscious for a few seconds.

"I'm going to steal your ship." The pilot said, kicking his victim's head. The bounty hunter's head rolled through the mud and stopped face down in a pool of stagnant water. Satisfied with his victory, the pilot splashed his way to Dicky Zip's compact looking ship. He climbed into the open cockpit and pulled down the canopy. Several displays lit up in a complex fashion. Some information flashed onto one of the view screens. The skull fighter pilot tried to read it, but his incredible illiteracy made it difficult.

And then an audio countdown began.

The pilot only required a second to realise what was happening. Frantically, he pushed up on the canopy, but it refused to open. The pilot slumped back into the seat and sobbed like a girl.

A white hot fireball expanded rapidly over a fifty square kilometre area, vaporising everything in its path.

After a few minutes of devastation calm returned. Nothing stirred. Nothing, that is, except for the small doltish mooch lizard who, by sheer fluke, had been twenty metres underground when the ship detonated.

"Yakky yak!" It exclaimed in disgust.

The lizard headed south in search of worms.

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