The battered Blenheim thundered through the skies of Epicuro and out into
vacuous tract of space
"How's Jayne?" Panman asked Peter the Ace as he walked
onto the bridge.
"She in a coma but stable." Peter the Ace replied, taking his
seat at his command console. "At least the sickbay computer is still
functioning, otherwise we might have lost her as well."
"Yeah" Panman said thankfully. "Belinda was a fine cook.
I'll miss her."
The two top-class bounty hunters held a three second silence in honour of
their vaporised assistant.
"Back to business!" Peter the Ace said. "Is there any sign
of that mothership?"
"The scanners are still malfunctioning so its hard to say."
"Maybe it’s on the other side of the moon?"
A loud clank interrupted their conversation.
"What was that?" Panman wondered.
"We may have hit some of the debris of Lawrence's mothership."
"I don't think so!" Panman said pointing to the forward view screen.
The two of them looked. Justin's head was staring back at them, slightly
dented after the impact.
"What a stroke of luck!" Peter the Ace exclaimed. "Panman,
you'd better get him inside!"
"No problem." Panman left the bridge.
Within ten minutes, Justin's metal head was in the cyborg construction
lab and ready to be re-energised.
"Justin! How's it going?" Peter the Ace asked, connecting the
cyborg's head to a power supply.
"B B Body systems f f fail u u ure!" Justin answered synthetically.
"I think you're slightly under-exaggerating the situation."
Panman said cheerfully. "You don't have a body at all!"
"Never mind." Peter the Ace said. "We'll get you a new
one when we get back to the palace. What we can't do, however, is save
much of what remained of your biological brain. Unfortunately, the oxygen
and nutritional system that was keeping it alive failed some twenty minutes
before we found you. There were only three brain cells left that we could
recover. They are now safe and receiving the necessary life giving substances."
Justin groaned artificially.
"Just be happy that you're still partly biological." Panman
said. "Three cells are better than none!" Panman's ability to
look on the bright side was unparalleled.
The two galactic heroes wandered out of the lab and back to the bridge.
"Blenheim?" Peter the Ace asked as they walked onto the bridge.
"How are you?"
"How are you feeling?"
"WHAT IS FEELING?"
"Useless!" Panman said, slightly annoyed.
"Yes." Peter the Ace said, sitting down on his command chair.
"There is no way that we can repair the subspace drive without a
fully functional computer."
"How do we get back to the palace?" Panman asked. "At sublight
speed it will take almost three centuries!"
"I have a fantastic idea!" Peter the Ace said.
"Lay it on me, man!" Panman said with renewed vigour.
"Do you remember the movie, 'The Empire Strikes Back'?"
"Of course I do, it was only a few hundred years ago!"
"Well, during that film, they hid their ship on the side of a huge
mother of a cruiser. When it dumped its garbage, they drifted away with
it and made their escape."
"So, we do the opposite. When Kathwoman's mothership reappears, we'll
hide in the debris of Lawrence's ship, wait until it passes by, and then
clamp ourselves to its underside and catch a lift into subspace!"
"But surely they'll detect us?"
"Not if we turn off all unnecessary systems and stay silent."
"Cool! Let's do it!"
With immense skill and supreme dexterity, Peter the Ace guided the Blenheim
into a particularly dense collection of tumbling wreckage.
"This should be OK!" He said, positioning the ship next to several
clusters of scarred and twisted armour plating, one of which had the smouldering
remains of a crewman splattered all over it. All unnecessary systems;
the whirlpool baths, the holo-games room, and various other devices were
"All we have to do now is wait!"
"That's easy." Panman said.
"Keep an eye out for that ship." Peter the Ace said, getting
to his feet. "I'll go and get us some freshly baked vanilla coated
"Super-cool idea!" Panman exclaimed.
Peter the Ace left the bridge and headed for the galley.
"You were unable to destroy the Blenheim, even though it had no shields
at all?!" Lawrence yelled into the right ear of the newly appointed
commander of Kathwoman's mothership.
"No," the commander said, terror filling his veins, "but
we badly damaged it, and disabled its subspace drive."
"Where is it now?" The lord of all that is heinous screamed.
"We tracked it as it plummeted into the atmosphere. I'm almost certain
that it crashed and was completely fragmented."
Lawrence showed unusual restraint. "Calm yourself, commander."
He said gently. "With such extensive damage they'll be of no further
threat to my plans of galactic domination."
Lawrence walked towards the communications panel and entered several codes.
"General Blubbard?" He said ominously and with incredibly evil
"My lord!" Came the reply. "I thought that you had been
"I am invincible!" Lawrence screamed.
"Of course, my lord." The general said nervously. "I beg
forgiveness for my lack of optimism."
Lawrence noticed that a lot of shaking and buffeting was going on behind
the general. "What is happening there?" He asked.
"We are engaging in a massive attack on the Palace of Amino. The
unholy army of the night has infiltrated its perimeter but our space bound
forces are severely weakened. Their orbital defences are exceptionally
powerful. My command ship is in bad shape. I need assistance."
"Incompetence!" Lawrence shrieked.
General Blubbard hated that word. "At least my command ship is still
in one piece!" He said, instantly regretting saying it.
"Insolence on a grand scale!" The lord of all that is dank and
"I apologise most sincerely, my lord, but we are all stressed beyond
belief and need assistance now!" The general stumbled and almost
fell as another barrage of energy fire jolted his massive vessel. Lawrence
"Transmit your coordinates to me. We will join you. I will recall
some of my fleets to help also."
"Thank you, great lord of shadowy objects."
The ultraspace communications link was closed.
"Commander?" Lawrence said, staring intensely into the quivering
man's eyes. "Take us to these coordinates now!"
The commander obeyed without question. The gigantic mothership of the
deceased Kathwoman rumbled powerfully as its awesome engines projected
the hulking vessel into the serenity of subspace.
"Bitchin'!" Panman cried with exhilaration, stuffing the last
of the cinnamon buns down his throat.
The two amazing bounty hunters felt a wave of satisfaction wash over them
as the Blenheim was pulled into subspace. The clamps that gripped the
underside of Kathwoman's mothership were only just strong enough to cope
with the millions of tons of force exerted upon them. Panman recovered
from his excitement.
"Where do you think they are going?" He asked.
Peter the Ace mused. "It's possible that the secret location of the
palace is known. Hopefully they're going there. If not, then I have no
"Well," Panman said with a familiar look on his face, "how
about utilizing the few hours of free time that we have with a holo-game
"We can't." Peter the Ace said. "We have to keep all unnecessary
systems turned off to prevent our discovery."
"Did you turn off the ship's central computer?"
"We should. It's pretty useless in its current state. Then we could
turn the holo-game back on!"
"Fantastic idea!" Peter the Ace said. "I'm surprised that
I didn't think of it first." He initiated the CCESP (Central Computer
Emergency Shutdown Procedure).
Panman rushed to the holo-games room with euphoric delight.