Inside the leathery-skinned, sewn-up corpse of Mister Blister, Lawrence smiled.
He stood at the front of the bridge and admired the gruesomely designed
sight that lay before him. The minimal lighting created a foreboding and
chilling mood. The many control consoles and data-screens, each glimmering
a deep and different shade of red, added to the ominous effect. It was a
truly trauma-inducing achievement - exactly as the lord of fiasco had intended.
After almost two months of frenzied and bloody activity, his star ship was
finished. Once their work had been completed, all five-thousand of the engineers
had been butchered, mechanised, and placed in one of the ship’s numerous
catacombs. They were now soulless zombies, powered by batteries embedded
in their shrivelling butts, and controlled by vole-sized computers in their
brains. They now had only one motivation - the consumption of raw and living
flesh. They were now full members of Lawrence’s new Unholy Army of
A couple of metres in front of Lawrence stood the five executives. They
were motionless and pallid, and they were wearing their new black PVC uniforms
- designed by Lawrence himself. Covered in hundreds of pointy iron studs,
and with sleeve and ankle cuffs of pink lace, they certainly made a bold
and disastrous fashion statement. Whatever it was that inspired the Lord
of Grim Austerity to come up with such costumes must have been cruelly disfigured
Lawrence spread the arms of Mister Blister’s corpse apart and spoke.
“It is complete. This fiendish vessel - a mere design statement a
few weeks ago - is now a fantastic reality!” He raised both the arms
up, careful not to tear the armpits. “Revel in its illustriousness!”
The executives stared at their master. They remained still and silent.
Lawrence shrieked. “I said revel!!!”
With the fear of a burning nation coursing through their veins, the executives
leapt up and down. Nervous cheers and laughter filled the bridge.
“Ha harr!!” Lawrence bellowed. He attempted to leap too, but
a ripping sound foiled his attempt. Doctor Manacle, who had been sitting
at the back of the bridge, rushed to his master’s side and began sewing.
The executives were still leaping around.
The executives became still.
“As you know,” Lawrence stated. “This vessel is currently
nameless. And it has remained nameless until now for a good reason: its
The executives looked at each other nervously.
Lawrence continued, choosing to ignore their momentary lapse of concentration.
“A vessel of such monumental magnificence should be respected above
all else. It should be worshipped like Lucifer and kissed like a harlot.
It should be fondled like an udder and stroked like a bitch. And all of
that takes time.”
A look of horrified disbelief spread across the faces of the executives.
What was he talking about? Their master was clearly insane.
Lawrence read their expressions in completely the wrong way. “I see
that you’re all as proud of this ship as I am. I will therefore keep
the name of this vessel a secret from you no longer.” He turned to
face the giant view-screen and pressed a button on the console in front
of him. The view-screen flickered to life.
The executives gasped at what they saw. The image on the screen was of the
port side of the vessel looking up towards the two-kilometre-high ceiling
of the cavern. Strapped to the end of a long pole hung from the ceiling
was Maureen Crevassé, Mister Blister’s secretary. She was struggling
feebly and yelling like a cosmic poodle.
Lawrence pressed another button on the console. The pole started to swing
sideways and away from the ship’s hull. Lawrence was delighted. “Ha
One of the executives dared to speak. “My lord, Ms Crevassé
has been in your service for over a century! Surely she deserves better
A tough, sinewy fist collided with the executive’s lower jaw, shattering
it in fourteen places. The executive stepped back, spitting blood, teeth,
Lawrence screamed. “Dare to interrupt the naming ceremony again and
I’ll split your ventricles!!!”
The executives did not argue.
The pole had swung right up to the cavern wall. It stopped and held position.
Lawrence raised Mister Blister’s right fist. “I name this ship
Satan’s Bog, Death-Ship class. May the almighty demons of dismay infect
all who ride within her.”
With tremendous force, Lawrence brought the fist down onto the console.
On the view-screen, the long pole began a rapid free-fall swing. Maureen
Crevassé screamed - she was rapidly being thrust towards the hull
of the Satan’s Bog. Within a second she arrived. Her body slammed
against the ship’s armour, shattering every part of her frail frame.
Her head broke apart like an egg, spreading her brain out across the hull
like a splash of cranberry juice. Pulverised flesh showered through the
Lawrence laughed inanely. He operated some controls and replayed the image
in super-slow motion. He laughed even more inanely. Giggling like a child,
he set the image to repeat-play and took a step back. Maureen’s messy
demise was played over and over again in full wide-screen high-resolution
glory. “Ha harr!!!”
The executives shuddered. The pureness of the evil inside Mister Blister
Lawrence stopped the gruesome playback and turned to face the executives.
His laughter had ceased. “The entertainment is over. My mission of
vengeance must begin within the hour.” In a stiff and awkward manner,
Lawrence walked the tough-skinned corpse of Mister Blister up and down the
line of executives. “Each one of you will give a brief report on your
area of responsibility. You will deliver your report clearly and succinctly.
And you will deliver it with the greatest of respect for my roaring intellect
and unrelenting perspicacity. Any bullshit and you’ll gorge on vomit!”
Lawrence pointed to the left most executive. “Begin!”
The executive spoke weakly. “All weaponry has been installed and is
ready for use. Simulations have been run with total success. The sheer power
of all the systems, even at their lowest settings, means we cannot test
them within the mountain. A full test should be carried out as soon as we
leave the planet.”
“Excellent!” Lawrence glared at another executive. “You
The executive trembled, noticeably less confident than the first, possibly
due to the shattered jaw he’d acquired earlier. He still managed to
deliver an acceptable, if rather slurred, report. “The mechanisation
of all the corpses went well. All are now in a subdued state in the catacombs
ready to play their part in whatever you have planned.”
“Once again, excellent! Now you!”
“All of the teenage girls have now fully integrated into the ship’s
computer. A bizarre collective intelligence has emerged. After consulting
various info and trivia channels on the video networks, I can now confirm
that this ship has the most powerful and insidious computer system in the
Lawrence chortled. “Marvellous! Bloody marvellous!”
“I must warn you, though,” the executive continued foolishly,
“that the system appears to have an unstable personality. At any time,
especially when stressed, it could…”
The executive stumbled and fell as a hardened fist smashed into his face.
“Never warn me!” Lawrence shrieked. He booted the fallen executive
in the left kidney then pointed at the next in one line. “Speak!”
“Um… Your private chambers have been decorated and furnished
to your exact specifications. Gothic stone columns, torture implements,
and lizard filled waterways occupy each of the three cathedral-like rooms.
The giant rotating bed at the centre of your sleeping area has fourteen
vibration settings as ordered.”
The fifth executive was about to speak when he was rudely interrupted. Several
shrill alarms sounded across the bridge.
Lawrence freaked. He hauled Mister Blister’s body around in random
directions. “What in Hades child is happening?!”
The Satan’s Bog’s computer-collective answered in a chorus of
adolescent voices. “AN ATTACK HAS BEEN INITIATED UPON THIS VESSEL
FROM CO-ORDINATES 343:455:232.”
Lawrence bellowed. “Impossible!”
One of the executives spoke. “I’m afraid it’s true.”
he said, examining several data-screens. “The ship is being pummelled
on its backside by an unidentifiable thing.”
“Unidentifiable thing!” Lawrence screamed, hitting the executive
on the back of the neck. “Put in on the main view-screen - now!!!”
The main view-screen glimmered to life. High up on the cavern wall was a
small opening, and from that opening bright beams of energy pulsed rapidly
onto the ship. Layers of precious armour plating scattered into the air.
“Raise the defence shield!” Lawrence yelled.
“We can’t!” the executive shouted. “If we raise
the shield in this cramped space its energy will bounce off the rock and
cause a colossal feedback of power! The ship would suffer a cascading failure
of biblical importance!”
“Then return fire!”
“But master! Our weapons systems are too powerful. We must not risk
using them inside the…”
The executive died instantly as his forehead caved in. Shards of bone buried
themselves deep within his brain. Lawrence was proud of his head-butting
ability. “Someone else do as I command!”
One of the other executives ran over to the weapons console and operated
a few controls. The main view-screen displayed the results of his action.
An undulating globule of white energy slammed into the cavern wall. A violent
explosion rocked the ship. Hell had broken loose.
“Yes!!!” Lawrence screamed, punching a console. He was pleased
with the result. “The bastard thing is dead! We won with ease!”
The executive at the weapons console shook his head. “We didn’t,
my lord. The thing that attacked us fell to the cavern floor. It’s
currently blasting at our underside!”
Lawrence grabbed the executive’s hair and ripped out a huge clump.
“Stop calling it a thing! Identify it!”
With one hand covering his gaping scalp wound, the executive operated the
sensor controls. An image of the thing appeared on the main view-screen.
Data appeared next to it in a green san-serif font.
Lawrence watched the thing on the screen. It was a small but heavily armoured
vehicle, with one potent-looking cannon on its top side - a tank, and it
was driving around erratically, spitting out energy fire like a maniac wine
taster. The data on the screen reported the tank’s dimensions and
that it was of ‘unidentifiable origin’ - nothing more.
The doom lord of foulness knew better though. He watched, his eyes wide
with sudden realisation. There was only one type of being that would have
the guts and arrogance to attack a ship like the Satan’s Bog in such
a small vehicle. “Bounty bastards!” he screamed, stomping angrily
on the bloodied head of the dead executive at his feet. “Bounty nugget
shit mother turnip magnet bastard hunters!!!” Lawrence bounded around
like a morris dancer. “Fire! Fire! Fire! Continuous beam! Now! Now!
Even during the last two months, the executive at the weapons console had
never seen Mister Blister exhibit that much mental illness. Although it
was dangerous to do so in such confined conditions, the executive fired
as ordered. The main view-screen displayed the ensuing devastation in all
its splendour. An arc of white energy wove its way over the tank and across
the surrounding rock faces. The rock melted into lava immediately and gushed
down over the tank. The tank battled like a beetle in golden syrup as the
molten rock flowed over and around it. Unlike the beetle, however, it refused
to weaken, and continued to blast away.
“We need to use a higher weapons setting!” one of the executives
“Then use it!” Lawrence shrieked.
“We can’t, not at this range! Without the defence shield we’ll
rupture the hull!”
Lawrence grabbed the executive tightly by the throat and whispered deeply.
“Then increase the range!”
The executive struggled to speak. “To… To do that we would have
With unusual strength, Lawrence threw the executive across the bridge. “Then
launch, you bitch trainer!”
Another executive spoke. “The engineers have not yet cut the doorway
in the mountainside. There is no way out.”
“We will blast our way out!!!
“We’ll have to be patient. The engines are cold; they’ll
take at least fifteen minutes to reach flight status.”
Lawrence was almost at breaking point. He trembled with rage, sending shock
waves up and down Mister Blister’s corpse. “Imbeciles! Do as
I duck-bucket bloody bally-hoo say!” He ran over to the dead executive
and began pounding the man’s broken body.
The other executives hastily initiated the engine power-up sequence.
“EMERGENCY ENGINE START-UP MODE SELECTED.” the female computer-collective
announced. “LAUNCH CAPABILITY IN 14 MINUTES, 53 SECONDS.”
A deep resonant rumble spread through the ship.
The view screen continued to track the movement of the tank as it continued
its remarkably arrogant attack.