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Book: The Face of Satan's Bog
Chapter 13: Lizard Filled Waterways

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 the Night.

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 at birth.

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.

“Be still!”

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 monumental magnificence!”

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 harr!!”

One of the executives dared to speak. “My lord, Ms Crevassé has been in your service for over a century! Surely she deserves better than…”

A tough, sinewy fist collided with the executive’s lower jaw, shattering it in fourteen places. The executive stepped back, spitting blood, teeth, and gums.

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 air.

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 was extraordinary.

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 next!”

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 known galaxy.”

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.”

“Brilliant!”

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! 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 said.

“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 to launch!”

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.

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