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Book: The Face of Satan's Bog
Chapter 14: Perpalian’s Levitation Theorem

The Korma Sauce, a small and friendly looking passenger ship, rose gently off its landing station, its powerful thrusters churning up clouds of grey dust from the surface of the airless moon, Dubius. Once clear of the spaceport’s ugly skyline of ageing terminal buildings, the ship’s main engines fired. Rapidly, the ship accelerated away from the crater-scarred surface and into a wide orbit of the moon’s parent planet, the jolly green gas giant, Erronius.


Peter the Ace, Panman, and Sind’a Thighs sat in row B of the first class section of the liner. As far as the crew and other passengers were concerned though, they were not who they really were. According to the official passenger manifest, the three people sitting in those seats were Professor Wigfield Rottingliver, Doctor Lesley Charlatan, and Titsy Buttfest.

A deep rumble passed through the ship. The breathtaking scene of Erronius through the view-ports was whisked away as the liner breached the light barrier and entered the realm of sub-space.

An announcement was made. “This is Harry Bonce, your captain, speaking. The Korma Sauce has reached her maximum cruising speed of sub-space six. Our first port of call will be the planet Drazzil-B, followed by the planets Neo-Thrahl, Repugnius, and finally Degeneron. Flight time to Drazzil-B is 27 hours.

May I take this opportunity to welcome aboard all of our remarkably wealthy first class passengers. Our young and sensuous stewardesses in the first class section will fulfil all of your desires. Feel free to ask for as much food, drink, and personal services as you wish. Also, the first class lounge, casino, and holo-entertainment suites on the upper deck are available for your exclusive use.

As for our economy class passengers, you’ll get a cheese roll and a mug of water half way through the trip. Fat Doris, the economy section stewardess, will serve you. I recommend that you all cover your noses when she comes near, her BO is legendary. Note that you are forbidden from leaving your seat at any time. If you need to urinate or defecate, use the plastic bag provided. You only get one bag each, so show a little restraint!

The announcement ended. Eight sensuous stewardesses, each dressed in tight white thigh-length skirts, red blouses, and pointy red hats, fanned out through the first class section.

Panman was reading. “Cool!” He said, fiddling with his false moustache. “Ace, look at this.” He pointed to a page in the in-flight magazine.

Peter the Ace leaned over to look, struggling slightly under the weight of his academic robes. His waist-length artificial beard flopped onto the magazine. He brushed it away. “Look at what?”

“This article on Thum-Dhun log racing.”

Peter the Ace looked at one of the pictures that accompanied the article. It showed an emaciated primitive dude covered in tattoos. He was holding a three-metre long log of wood between his legs and had a look of total agony on his face. “What a strange sight. What’s he trying to do?”

Panman explained. “Every year at mating season, Thum-Dhun females are released from their shackles in their caves and sent running up into the mountains. Then the males grab the largest log they can manage, slam it between their legs, then race after them. The first male to knock down a female with his log becomes the tribal leader for the rest of the year, and also gets to mate with that female. Apparently, the larger the log you can manage the more virile you’re considered.” Panman pointed to the picture. “According to the article, that dude there is the most virile of them all, and he’s been the leader for the last four years!”

Peter the Ace shook his head. “I’m not impressed. I could handle a log twice that long with ease, and I could catch and knock down all the Thum-Dhun females before the other males even got moving.”

“Me too.” Panman agreed. “But if you saw the females I don’t think you’d ever try.” He turned over the page.

Even with his N.S.S. (Nausea Suppression System) working at maximum efficiency, Peter the Ace still felt queasy. Thum-Dhun females were pig-ugly and had the greasiest and longest armpit hair he’d ever seen. “You’re right. No wonder they usually keep them chained up in caves!”

“Yeah! And no wonder this tattooed dude is so bony. As soon as he gets his female he probably pukes up half his body weight before he can face doing the deed!”

Sind’a Thighs leaned over from her aisle seat and looked at the picture of the Thum Dhun male. “It’s strange how handsome the male is, and how repulsive the female is. It is the complete opposite in my society.”

Peter the Ace looked at her. “Your society is more advanced. Once the Thum Dhun’s develop complex corrective surgery techniques, maybe their females will become as desirable as you.”

Sind’a Thighs could not believe what she had just heard. “You think I’m desirable?” she panted.

“Indeed.” He looked down at her legs; her virtually non-existent black skirt left nothing to the imagination. “Your shapely, toned thighs have already attracted the attention of most of the males in this section.”

Sind’a Thighs groaned and breathed deeply, pushing her hands between her legs. Her head arched back. She moaned. To be described as desirable by one of the greatest beings ever to exist was an honour and turn-on of the highest order.

After allowing herself a few moments to calm down, she took Peter the Ace’s hand and kissed it gently. “Thank you.” She said. A bead of sweat dribbled down her forehead. “You have pleasured me deeply with your kind words.”

“No problem.”

“Please excuse me, I need to compose myself.”

“OK.”

Sind’a Thighs got out of her luxury seat and headed towards the restrooms at the rear.

Panman laughed. “She’s so easily aroused!”

“It’s quite a normal reaction.” Peter the Ace said casually.

“True.”

A stewardess walked over to the two bounty hunters. “Professor? Doctor? Would you care for some champagne?”

“Oh yeah!” Panman answered eagerly.

“Yes please.” Peter the Ace said.

The stewardess handed them two glasses of sparkling liquid.

Panman looked unsatisfied. “Leave us a couple of bottles would you?”

The stewardess smiled sexily. “As you wish, doctor.” She placed two bottles on the table in front of them.

“Leave a glass for Titsy, too.”

After putting another glass on the table, the stewardess bowed and walked away.

Panman sipped at his champagne. He resisted the temptation to down an entire bottle in one go.

“Excuse me, gentlemen.” A gravely voice said.

Peter the Ace turned around. A portly and bearded old man was leaning on the back of his chair. He was wearing thick robes similar to his own. “Can I help you?” The bounty hunter asked.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but did I hear the stewardess call you both professor and doctor?”

“Indeed you did.”

The old man smiled crookedly. “Excellent! It’s good to have a couple of fellow intellects on board. My name’s Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn.” He offered his hand.

Peter the Ace grabbed it and shook it firmly.

“What is your field of speciality?” the old professor asked.

“Radical philosophy.”

Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn laughed. “Tremendous! That’s mine too.” He stared intently at Peter the Ace. “It’s funny; our field is so small and specialised that I thought I knew all the professors of the subject. I have not heard of you, though?”

“I usually keep a very low profile.” Peter the Ace responded, his bullshit implant stepping up to the next level.

“Interesting. Well, never mind, I’ve been mulling over a problem and as you're a new face to me, maybe you can shed some light on the matter?”

“Um… yes, I’m sure I can. What’s the problem?”

“Well, I’ve been trying to write a modified version of Perpalian’s Levitation Theorum for the last ten years. As you know, there are several major faults with the theorum, the main one of course being her insistence that the thought divergence criteria for self-levitation must be accompanied by one’s own personal belief in the experience.”

“And, that’s your problem?”

The professor laughed heartily. “Your sense of humour is most refreshing. Everyone knows that that’s the easiest fault to rectify!”

“Of course it is.”

“I over came that quite obviously by arguing that mice do not have a personal belief system, yet they can still be trained to levitate - fulfilling only the thought divergence criteria must therefore be enough.”

Peter the Ace remained calm, even though he had not got clue what the professor was talking about. “So, what exactly is your problem?”

“My problem is with the last fault of the theorum, the group levitation formula. Almost all of the galaxy’s radical philosophers believe that the fault is irreparable. I do not. They argue that Perpalian’s arrogant belief that she was the only one able to maintain constant communication with the afterlife meant that her theories were clouded by supernatural intrusions. Those intrusions resulted in flaws in her mental pathways that eventually transmogrified her formula into nonsense.”

Peter the Ace nodded. “I see…”

“So?” the professor said. “Can you help?”

“Um… Could you show me a copy of the formula? I can’t recall it in its entirety.”

Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn nodded and reached into his pocket. “Of course, it is a bit of an awkward one, isn’t it?” He pulled out a note book and pen and scribbled away for a few seconds. “There you are.”

Peter the Ace took the note pad and looked at the formula. “Ah yes.” the bounty hunter said calmly. “Please excuse me for a few moments while I discuss this with my colleague.”

The ancient professor nodded. “Of course. Take as long as you wish.”

Peter the Ace leaned over to Panman, who was still drinking champagne and reading the in-flight magazine. “Panman, take a look at this formula.”

Panman glanced at the formula. “What about it?”

“The fat professor behind us wants me to fix the fault in it. What do you think I should say, bearing in mind that we don’t want to blow our cover?”

After thinking for a second, Panman pointed at the formula. “The division by two is wrong. It should be three.”

Peter the Ace looked at the formula. “Hmm… I guess that’ll do.” He turned to Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn. “The two should be a three. Is that any help?”

The professor’s face screwed up as he thought deeply. Suddenly his eyes widened and his jaw dropped. He was shaking visibly, and gasping.

“Are you feeling unwell, professor?”

“Unwell?” he shouted. “I’m quite the opposite, I assure you! This is a miracle breakthrough! The formula is correct! It balances perfectly! Radical philosophers have been trying to fix it for three-hundred years. This will revolutionise the levitation industry for millenia!” Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn looked at Peter the Ace. “I must write this in my journal immediately. You will, of course, be credited fully for solving this problem!”

Peter the Ace, as calm as ever, pointed at Panman. “Actually, my colleague Doctor Lesley Charlatan spotted it.”

The professor leaned over and patted Panman on the head. “Then he shall also be credited fully!”

The professor returned to his seat.

“What was all that about?” Panman asked, turning over a few pages.

“I think we just solved a three-hundred year old philosophy problem.”

“Oh.”

“Indeed.”


The Korma Sauce continued its journey through sub-space.

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