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Book: The Face of Satan's Bog
Chapter 11: Public Transport

“He activated a B.E.L.C.H. command?” Panman said. “Cool!”

The ten metre tall steam-shrouded image of Commander Pepe on the main view-screen nodded. “You are right to say it’s cool. And the fact that this is the first time it’s been used makes it even cooler.” Suzanna Havabanana appeared behind the commander and began massaging his wrinkled scalp.

Panman agreed, and with the passion of a great poet. “Too right!”

Peter the Ace spoke. “The B.E.L.C.H command was developed as a call for assistance of momentous importance, second only to the T.A.R. command, which itself has only been used once.”

With the excitement of an unskilled opera singer, Panman shouted. “And by us, too!” The dulled echo of his voice bounced of the carpeted walls of the Slaying Mantis’s bridge.

“Indeed.” Peter the Ace said.

Commander Pepe smiled proudly. “You were both wise beyond verisimilitude.” He bowed with the deepest of respect for the two first-class bounty hunters. After a few seconds of silent adoration, he looked up. Suzanna Havabanana undulated behind him. “Now Ross Mental has made history, although not quite as astonishingly as yourselves all those years ago.

“Of course not.” Panman said.

The commander continued. “I will now play back the short vocal message that accompanied the tactical data within the B.E.L.C.H. command. It is perfectly articulated and explains Ross Mental’s situation quite brilliantly.

The Message began…


Fuck! Have I stumbled onto something fuckin’ important or fuckin’ what?! I’m here on the fuckin’ planet of Drazzil-B with Brother Drool, visiting Doubleguts Tavern with the intention of getting fucked out of my skull, when what do I discover deep inside the fuckin’ mountain? A fuck off shit-shaped star ship of horrendous proportions, that’s what! The fuckers that are building it are even testing the engines down there! They’re going to shake the fuckin’ mountain apart!

Whoever’s behind all this is one fucked off demented fuckin’ insane fucker! We’ve got to stop this daft fucker getting this metal fucker off the fuckin’ ground before it obliterates the entire fuckin’ mountain - and my favourite fuckin’ pub! It’ll take you a couple of days to get here so you’d better fuck to it! But travel incognito. By the time you get here I’ll have created so much fuckin’ havoc that they’ll be on full alert!”


A brilliant plan formed instantly in the mind of Peter the Ace. He smiled. “I have it!”

Panman was excited. “Tell us, Ace!”

“I will.” Peter the Ace said. He inhaled deeply and approached the front of the bridge, stepping over the unconscious form of Jim-Jam, the ship’s pilot, as he did so. Commander Pepe was calling on a priority one scrambled encrypted encoded secure channel - for the eyes and ears of top class bounty hunters only. The bridge crew had been heavily sedated - almost to the point of death - to prevent them listening in.

Standing tall and proud and rhythmically flexing the densely packed muscles in his neck, Peter the Ace spoke. “Stealth and subtlety. Secrecy and concealment. Cunning and covert. Those six enigmatic words perfectly describe the ingenious plan that came to me the instant Ross Mental’s B.E.L.C.H. command message ended.”

Panman stared intently at his companion, gripped with expectation. Commander Pepe smiled, realising that Peter the Ace was on top form. Suzanna Havabanana fondled the commander’s ears, too drugged out of her face to realise the significance of what was being said.

Peter the Ace continued. “There are two things that need to be considered. The first thing is transportation to the planet Drazzil-B. As we must travel undercover, we cannot use the Blenheim - it’s capability to annihilate the damned is too well known in the criminal underworld. We must, therefore, make use of public transport.”

Panman was shocked. “Ace? Do you know what you’re saying?!”

“Indeed I do.” He replied solemnly. “And I too find the idea of travelling with the scum-classes repugnant and degrading, but it is the only way.”

Although it was a humiliating concept, Panman had no choice but to agree with his colleague’s wisdom. “You’re right, of course. But what about immense weapons of mass devastation? We’re going to need them when the shit hits the fan, and we can’t smuggle those onto a passenger liner!”

Peter the Ace smiled. “That’s true, and you’ll be delighted to know that my plan accounts for that. I intend to have the Blenheim follow us to Drazzil-B. It will remain at least one light-year away from the planet. That way, it will be out of range of all known sensor nets, but still be able to reach us in less than ten minutes.”

“Cool!” Panman said. He though for a moment. “There is one flaw, Ace. Only you and I have the skill and sheer disregard for safety regulations to fly the Blenheim. There’s no-one else that can do it.”

“My plan has taken that into account too. There is one person - or should I say, one ‘thing’ - that knows the Blenheim inside out, and that also can communicate with the ship on a one-to-one basis.”

“Only another computer could do that, and I don’t know of any that…” Panman stopped in mid sentence. He started to laugh. “Wait a minute! You don’t mean…”

Peter the Ace laughed. “Yes I do!”

“Justin?”

“Indeed!”

“But he’s still a drinks machine! He still has two years left on his sentence!”

“He does, but you and I are the most powerful bounty hunters ever to exist. We can end his punishment and re-attach his mechanical body whenever we wish.”

Sudden realisation filled Panman’s face. “Oh yes, we can, can’t we!”

With style and charisma, Peter the Ace continued. “Now that our transport details and backup are sorted out, I can explain how I’ve accounted for the second consideration - that of our personal cover story.”

“Cool!”

“I will take on the identity of Professor Wigfield Rottingliver, head of the Radical Philosophy Faculty at the University of Deep Thought on the asteroid colony of Braen. Panman will become Doctor Lesley Charlatan, senior lecturer in Convincing Bullshit at the same university. We’ll be travelling to Drazzil-B to show one of our most promising students some of the best and most remote bars and gambling dens in the known systems, the aim of which will be to improve their inane conversation skills.”

Panman was impressed. “Excellent cover plan, Ace. You mentioned a student?”

“I did. To aid us in our mission, an assistant would be useful. That assistant will have to be a keen fighter, enthusiastic beyond comprehension, female, and toned to perfection. There is only one person that fits that description - Sind’a Thighs!”

Panman nodded vigourously. “Absolutely! She has excelled at everything in the two years that she’s been at the academy. Her performance at the training cliffs a couple of months ago was nothing short of spectacular!”

“Indeed. And if nothing else, her sensuous physique will prove to be an invaluable distraction to our opponents in any upcoming battle.”

“Right as always, Ace! What about her cover name?”

Peter the Ace looked perplexed. “Oh yes, I haven’t thought of that yet.”

Panman smiled. “I have a great one!”

“Excellent. Tell me.”

“Titsy Buttfest!”

Peter the Ace laughed. “What an awful name! It’s so stupid that it’ll be accepted as real without question!”

Commander Pepe applauded. Suzanna Havabanana wiped the tears of joy and admiration from his eyes. “Marvellous! Absolutely marvellous! With each plan you come up with, and with each mission you undertake, you both continue to astound me!

“Thanks.” the two bounty hunters said in unison.

Peter the Ace gave the commander a few moments to compose himself, and then spoke. “Commander, we must leave immediately. Please arrange passage for us to the Drazzil-B System, and instruct the Amino Costume Institute to prepare suitable attire for our cover. Also, contact Sind’a Thighs and inform her of the good news.”

Commander Pepe’s giant view-screen image nodded. “I will get onto it right away.

“Good. Panman and I will return to the palace in the Blenheim and arrange Justin’s early release.”

The commander’s image nodded once more, and then faded away. It was replaced by the Palace of Amino insignia.

The two ultra-awesome bounty hunters zigzagged between several unconscious bodies and headed to the lift at the back of the bridge, the lift that would take them back down to the Blenheim, which was still attached to the underside of the Slaying Mantis.

As they reached the lift, Panman issued a command. “Slaying Mantis, revive the bridge crew.”

There was a hiss from above, and Revival gas flooded the bridge.

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