Two months later...
Ross Mental stood proudly as the raging blizzard pounded him from all
sides. He was well protected. His fur coat - pure mammoth hair and the
thickest ever made - shielded him from the minus 50 Celcius temperature
(and a wind-chill factor of minus 90 Celcius).
His new assistant Brother Drool was less well protected. He wore a much
smaller, much thinner fur coat, and he was shivering like an electric plaque
remover. He did not deserve anything better of course - his mere five years
as a trainee bounty hunter entitled him to very few luxuries.
“Right.” Ross Mental said, peering out from his enormous hood.
“Let’s fuck to it!” He pressed a button on his wrist.
His ship, the Morbid, bleeped twice and all its hatches sealed tightly shut.
The bounty hunter started to stomp away through the deep snow.
Brother Drool protested, struggling to keep up with his superior. “We
shouldn’t be doing this!”
“Why the fuck not?”
“We’ve just completed our mission, that’s why. We should’ve
like, headed straight back to the palace to hand in our report, or something,
not detoured to this wuss of a planet!”
“I’m a second class bounty fucker of exceptional offensive and
defensive ability!” Ross Mental shouted. “I’ll do what
I fuckin’ want!”
Brother Drool flicked through a small book he’d produced from an inside
pocket. “Regulation 125 paragraph 65 states that after a mission has
been completed a bounty hunter must return to the Palace of Amino directly
and without hesitation to…”
Ross Mental turned and glared at his assistant. “Read me regulation
“Um… OK!” With the eagerness of a first year philosophy
student, Brother Drool turned to the last page of his book. “Regulation
999: Never quote regulations to top class bounty hunters…” The
assistant’s voice tailed off and was buried below the howl of the
wind. He looked up at Ross Mental. “Um… Sorry.”
“So you fuckin’ should be, you little fucker! Only trainee fuckers
like you have to follow regulations, not galactic heroes like me!”
Ross Mental punched the frigid air with both fists, belched like a pipe
organ, then carried on stomping through the snow. “I brought you here
as a reward for helping me on my mission, so show some fuckin’ gratitude!”
Brother Drool shuffled along behind the bounty hunter. “But you said
we were going somewhere for a drink, not for a hike across a freezing mountain
of total woe! This reward sucks!”
Ross Mental laughed. “But we are going for a drink! The best fuckin’
drink in the sector!” He pointed.
Brother Drool squinted to see through the driving snow. In the distance
he saw a dim orange light. “What is it?”
“Follow me and you’ll fuckin’ find out!”
After ten minutes of torturous trekking across the steep icy slopes Ross
Mental and Brother Drool arrived.
“It’s a pub!” the Trainee exclaimed.
The foul-mouthed bounty hunter nodded. “Of course it fuckin’
is!” He pointed at the sign above the door, barely visible through
the thick snow that was swirling round the squat building. “Doubleguts
Tavern. Fuckin’ cool!”
With a mighty swing of his right arm, Ross Mental thumped the heavy wooden
door, forcing it open. He wandered inside, closely followed by his shivering
assistant. The door’s automatic mechanism slammed it shut behind
them. With the howling blizzard silenced, a sense of sanity finally returned.
Brother Drool shook the dense snow from his coat and looked around. The
tavern was small and cosy, lit only by four roaring fires - three on the
walls and one right in the centre. Groups of stocky and bearded men huddled
round the flames playing Worms on portable hand-held holo-game systems.
A couple of old dowagers sat in one corner knitting what looked like huge
black pairs of trousers. Starting to notice just how hot it was in the
tavern, Brother Drool took off his coat and hung it on a peg by the door.
He walked over to Ross Mental who was already at the bar.
As the trainee reached the bar Ross Mental slammed a huge pitcher of foaming
ale down in front of him. “Get that fucker down your neck!”
Brother Drool looked unsure. “My belly doesn’t have the capacity
to hold that much…”
“If you don’t start drinking vast quantities of alcoholic
beverages, it never fuckin’ will.” the foul-mouthed bounty
hunter explained. “I’m already on my forth and we’ve
only been here two minutes.”
The trainee acknowledged his superior’s exceptional wisdom and began
The bartender, owner of one of the largest human midsections in existence,
approached. “Who’s yer little friend, Mr Mental?”
“Brother Drool, my new fuckin’ assistant.”
Noticing Ross Mental’s rapidly emptying pitcher, the bartender started
to pour him a new one. “In all the years yer’ve been coming
here, I’ve never seen yer with an assistant.” he said, handing
the ale to the bounty hunter.
Ross Mental finished his forth pitcher and smashed it down on the bar.
It shattered completely. “I’ve never had a fuckin’ assistant
before, that’s why!” He started to gulp down the fifth.
“He’s a fine looking lad, a bit of a soft drinker though.”
The bounty hunter looked at his assistant. Brother Drool was looking ill
and struggling hard to finish the last few mouthfuls. His struggle failed.
With a mighty slosh, a violent discharge thundered from his mouth and
across the bar, spraying the rows of bottles at the back with brown vomit.
Ross Mental laughed. “Ha! You’ll never graduate with that
kind of gut capacity!”
Brother Drool was embarrassed. “I’m sorry.” he said,
spitting out the dregs of beer and semi-digested food that clung the sides
of his mouth. “I promise to do better next time.”
”You’d fuckin’ better!”
Suddenly the whole bar began to shudder. Several bottles crashed to the
The bartender shook his head. “Not again!” he grumbled, grabbing
a brush. He started to clear away the mess. The floor was a blur of vibrations.
“What the fuck is this?” Ross Mental asked, looking around.
The bartender continued brushing. “It’s been happening for
almost two weeks now.”
“I never knew this area was a fuckin’ earthquake zone!”
“It isn’t! At least not until a couple of weeks ago, then
it started. Two tremors on the hour every hour. Each one only lasts a
minute or so.”
The shuddering stopped.
The bounty hunter leaned closer to the bartender. “What the fuck
do you mean, ‘on the hour’?”
“I mean yer can set yer clocks by the regularity of the tremors.
Two at the top of each hour, a minute apart.”
“No natural earthquake is that regular. You’re fuckin’
The bartender shook his head. “I wouldn’t lie to a fellow
like you, Mr Mental. There’ll be another one any second. You mark
Sure enough, the bar began to shudder. The bounty hunter’s half
filled pitcher cracked under the stress.
Ross Mental watched some of his ale dribble out. “That’s so
“It is!” the Bartender agreed. “I wish these earthquakes
would stop. It’s very expensive to constantly have to import glasses
and bottles and stuff.”
“They’re not fucking earthquakes, you idiot! Something sinister
is going on!”
The bartender put his hands on his hips and started to swing his colossal
belly from side to side. “Do yer really think so?”
“Of course I fuckin’ do! And I’m going to fuckin’
stop whatever it is, too!”
Ross Mental punched the air repeatedly with both fists. “Bounty
fucker cunning, that’s fuckin’ how!”
The rest of the bar’s occupants cheered.
The foul-mouthed bounty hunter back-flipped and landed up on the bar.
He looked down at the bartender. “Do you have any idea where the
fuck those tremors originate?”
“Well,” the corpulent bartender replied. “Whenever I’m
down in the cellar it seems a lot louder. It’s almost as though
they’re coming up from the old mine.”
“Old mine? What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Centuries ago there were mines all over this mountain. They’re
all abandoned now. I built this tavern right on top of one of the old
“Why the fuck did you do that?”
“It was my intention to open it up as a tourist attraction. It would’ve
been cool too. I think it goes all the way into the heart of the mountain.”
“So why didn’t you open the fucker?”
Ross Mental laughed. “You fuckin’ moron! Any fuckwit would’ve
realised that this passionless planet would never get any tourists!”
The bartender nodded. “I was a bit silly, wasn’t I?”
“Yeah, fuckin’ daft as a cow in a steak house!”
“Well, enough about my stupidity. Would you like to see the shaft?”
“Of course! Lead us there, fat fucker.”
The bartender stopped swinging his gut and hauled his mass towards the
rear of the bar and the entrance to the cellar. Ross Mental followed in
a very purposeful manner. Brother Drool stumbled along behind, his legs
weak with nausea.
The cellar was large, twice the size of the bar itself, and stank of raw
meat. The bartender, Ross Mental, and his assistant stomped down some
steps and across the slime-coated floor, passing between several uneven
stacks of beer kegs. The dim lighting made walking on the slippery surface
“There’s the shaft!” the bartender said, pointing to
a section of the floor that was covered in rotten planks of wood. He flicked
a switch on the wall and illuminated the area.
Ross Mental walked over to it and started to rip up the planks. The wood
snapped and splintered as he tossed them effortlessly across the cellar.
Brother Drool helped as best he could, but the sickness in his stomach
still bothered him. The bartender just watched, his gut was far too massive
for him to help in any way at all.
In less than a minute the four metre wide entrance to the vertical shaft
Ross Mental looked down into the shaft and scanned it extensively using
his jaw-mounted sensor array. “It’s five-hundred metres deep.”
he said. “We’ve got to get down there before the next fuckin’
tremor hits!” He pulled out a small device from his utility belt
and aimed it at the wall. He fired. A small projectile connected to a
thin cable shot out of the device and embedded itself into the brickwork.
Fighting the desire to hurl like a koala, Brother Drool followed suit
and fired his own device.
“Right.” Ross Mental said. “Let’s get the fuck
After activating his standard bounty hunter issue hip-mounted floodlight,
the bounty hunter began to abseil down the shaft. His assistant followed
Ross Mental called up to the bartender. “Get a few pitchers of your
best fuckin’ ale lined up for when we get back. We’ll probably
be parched as fuck!”
The bartender stared down into the shaft. “As you wish, Mr Mental,
sir.” He wandered off back up to the bar.
The state-of-the-art abseiling equipment - standard for bounty hunters
and trainees alike - ensured that Ross Mental and Brother Drool reached
the bottom of the shaft in only a couple of minutes.
Undoing themselves from their cables, they looked around. A single wide
tunnel, dank and foreboding, was the only way forwards. A deep resonant
humming sound could be heard in the distance.
“Ha!” Ross Mental exclaimed. “For an old and abandoned
mine this place sure sounds fuckin’ active!” He strode powerfully
into the tunnel.
Brother Drool followed with vigour. His nausea had finally disappeared.
As they walked, the humming sound became louder and louder, and the odour
of raw meat was slowly replaced by several other smells; those of melting
metal, oil, and trion-fused alloy composition residue.
“Weird as fuck!” Ross Mental said, sniffing the air. “Why
would a decrepit mine smell like this?”
Rounding a tight corner, the bounty hunter and his assistant were confronted
with a most monstrous and unexpected sight. In fact, it was so monstrous
and unexpected that they both stared at it in silence for two whole minutes.
Finally, Ross Mental said the only thing that he could think of. “Fuck!”
They both stared silently for another minute.
Brother Drool broke the silence this time. “I don’t think
that should be down here, should it?”
Ross Mental glared at his assistant. “Of course it fuckin’
They both continued to stare at what lay before them. The mine shaft had
suddenly come to an end at the top of a gargantuan, and obviously artificial,
cave. Inside the cave a massive multi-segmented ‘thing’ resembling
a huge turd sat there taking up almost all of the available space. Hundreds
of beings wandered round it, under it, and over it welding and cutting
and slicing and painting under the illumination of strong floodlights.
With one end vicious with vast spikes and antennae, and the other end
fat and bulbous like a rhino’s backside, the thing in the cave looked
Brother Drool made an inane statement. “It’s ominous, or something.”
Ross Mental found no reason to disagree with his subordinate. “Too
A loud siren bleeped three times. The beings that had been working all
over the turd thing began to sprint towards the far end of the cave. A
deep buzzing sound reverberated off the rock walls, rising in pitch.
“Now fuckin’ what?”
A blinding yellow light saturated the cave quickly followed by a thundering
roar of sound. A blast of heat whacked into Ross Mental and Brother Drool,
sending them slamming hard into the back of the passageway. The whole
cave shook vigorously, showering the bounty hunter and his assistant with
After a few long seconds, the bright light and noise faded. Calm returned.
Dazed but not at all confused, Ross Mental crawled back to the edge and looked down at the giant
turd. Its fat end was glowing red but fading fast. Behind it, the cave
wall itself was also glowing. Molten rock was dribbling in a syrup-like
manner down to the floor.
“It’s a fuckin’ star ship!” Ross Mental said.
“And the stupid fuckers’ are testing the engines in an enclosed
Brother Drool joined him and looked down. “I think we’ve found
the cause of the earthquakes.”
“Of course we fuckin’ have!”
“We should tell them to stop, or something.”
Ross Mental smiled sweetly at his assistant. “Oh yes! That would
work! Why don’t I go down and tell the fucker’s right now?”
Brother Drool’s sarcasm detection implant went into overload. He
decided to remain silent.
Ross Mental looked back down into the cave. “Whoever is behind this
monstrous vessel is one truly bad fucker. No-one would go to all this
trouble to conceal a fuckin’ giant construction bay inside a mountain
unless pure evil was their intent!”
Once again, the siren bleeped three times.
Ross mental and Brother Drool ducked. The second ‘on the hour’
engine test began and blazing violence filled the cave. Tremendous tremors
shuddered through the surrounding rock.
After a few seconds, peace was restored. Down in the cave, the beings
returned to their positions and continued working.
“Come on!” Ross Mental said, getting to his feet and heading
back up the passageway.
Brother Drool followed. “Um… Where are we going? We just got
“Some heavy fuckin’ shit is going down!” the foul-mouthed
bounty hunter said as he strode powerfully up towards the mine shaft.
“We have to get back to the Morbid as quick as we fuckin’
Brother Drool struggled to keep up - bionic thigh enhancers were not available
until well after graduation. “What are you going to do?”
Ross Mental stopped and looked at his assistant. “Call for fuckin’
backup.” He smiled. “But not just any kind of backup.”
His assistant’s eyes widenened and he gasped. “You don’t
“Yes!” Ross Mental screamed, punching the side of the passageway.
“I must execute a B.E.L.C.H. command!”
“Whoa!” Brother Drool exclaimed. “A ‘Bounty hunter
Extreme Last resort Call for Help’!”
“Cool! That’s never…”
“Never been used?” The bounty hunter interrupted, laughing.
“Of course it fuckin’ hasn’t! The right situation for
it has never arisen.” He paused for dramatic effect. “Until
now!” Continuing to laugh, Ross Mental hooked himself up to his
cable and began his ascent up the shaft and back to the surface.
Brother Drool followed. He was very excited. “B.E.L.C.H. commands