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Book: Bounty Hunters of the Palace of Amino
Chapter 48: Protection Net

"Fire!" Commander Pepe shouted as the targeting graphics on one of the command centre's giant screens achieved lock status.

One of the commander’s officers obeyed the order. Four huge energy cannons situated at each corner of the Palace of Amino erupted to life, sending streams of energetic particles into orbit. Less than an instant later, they converged on their target in a shower of potent power.

"What's happening?" General Blubbard screamed as his massive command ship shuddered violently.

"A gigantic discharge of energy has hit us!" Bristow said, an inconsequential officer. "Our shields are down to less than seventy percent!"

"Where did it come from?"

"The surface." Bristow replied. "Location 14364.432-32."

"It must be the palace!" The general said with evil intent. "Return fire now!"

The command ship's fusion cannons locked on and burst into action. Beams of destruction connected with the palace's shields. No effect. The palace fired again.

"What now?" General Blubbard shrieked as his ship was rocked by yet another direct hit.

"Shields are down to thirty five percent!" Bristow announced with obvious distress. "One more hit and we'll lose them completely!"

"Shit!" The general yelled as he punched Bristow in the back of the head.

The stunned officer fell off his seat.

"Move the ship out of range!"

The enormous craft thrusted powerfully forwards, passing through many spectacular dogfights that were going on between various other ships. Another blast from the Palace of Amino sent a quake of vast vibrations thundering through the command vessel.

"Shields have failed!" Bristow said as he pulled himself back to his console.

"Are we clear?" The wide shouldered general asked quietly.

Bristow checked his view screens. "Yes." He said with relief.

"Good." The general smiled. "Now that we have the palace's exact location, the ground attack to end all ground attacks can be launched!" His smile broadened. "Eject the unholy army of the night!"

A one kilometre long segment of the command ship separated and began to accelerate towards the surface. It was immediately challenged by the grid of defence stations that surrounded Enchantia. Hundreds of beams pulsed into the descending transport craft blowing away tons of armour. The heavy craft entered the atmosphere, still under fire. By the time it had reached its cruising altitude of three hundred metres, almost all of its one hundred metre thick armour had been blasted away. The giant transport ship headed towards the palace's coordinates.

"It's below our defences!" Chief Officer Chimpapazapadon said to Commander Pepe. "Our orbital weapons won't fire on it. They're afraid of damaging the wildlife!"

"Oh no!" The commander exclaimed. "Is this a hole in our protection net?"

"Yes, commander."

"When will the ship reach the palace?"

"It’s currently seven thousand kilometres away. I estimate that at its current speed it will get to us in less than thirty minutes."

"Mobilise the ground defences."

"We haven't got any!"



Commander Pepe remained remarkably calm at the news. "How many trainee bounty hunters are there still at the palace?"

"One thousand, three hundred and thirty eight."

"Arm them with huge hand weapons. They can fight."

"Yes, commander." Chief Officer Chimpapazapadon scurried off to carry out the order.

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