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Book: The Face of Satan's Bog
Chapter 19: Moustache

“Ace? Take a look at this!”

Peter the Ace crawled over to Panman who was looking out through a large grating in the duct’s floor. “What’s up?”

Panman pointed. “Way down there! Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?”

Peter the Ace looked. “If you mean the row upon row of slim young women, then yes, you are seeing what you are seeing.”

“Cool!”

“What a strange sight. Why would thousands of girls gather in a giant hall at the centre of a ship run by a psychotic mastermind?”

“Good question. And why would they all fall asleep at their desks and suffer nightmares?”

Peter the Ace was perplexed. “Asleep? Nightmares?”

Panman pointed. “Look. They’re all lying face down on something!”

“Hmm… Yes. Very odd indeed.”

“And they’re shuddering randomly like terrified field mice.”

“Even odder.”

“It’s a shame we don’t have any of our ingeniously designed bounty hunter equipment.” Panman whispered in a frustrated manner. “It would have told us in a second exactly what was going on.”

Peter the Ace agreed. “True, but our cover would have been blown instantly if we’d tried to board that passenger ship with any of it.”

“We should get down there and have a closer look.”

“I agree.”

Panman started to vigorously remove the grating.

“Wait!” Peter the Ace said, grabbing his arm.

“What?!”

“We must be stealthful. Look.”

Panman looked down. Far below, a tall man was walking among the rows of girls. “Oh yeah, you’re right.”

“It looks like that turd burglar, Chester Bolus.” Peter the Ace said.

“It’s a shame we don’t have our usual arsenal of potent weapons. I could have swung down there and burned off his face off!”

“That would have been a fine spectacle, but we’ll just have to use our super-intellects and devise a less brash solution.”

Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn groaned.

The two bounty hunters turned and looked at the chubby professor.

The professor was struggling to prop himself up into a sitting position. With difficulty he managed, and then he began rubbing the large swelling on his forehead. “What is going on?”

Panman smiled. “Professor! At last! You’ve come round!”

Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn remembered what had happened then scowled. “You two almost killed me by sending me falling down that shaft! How dare you threaten my life in such a way?!”

Panman laughed. “You shouldn’t have landed on your face, should you?!”

The professor was fuming. “I am a member of the League of Scholastic Stone Cutters, the most revered and exclusive academic social club in the known galaxy! Just wait until the profound high council hears about the danger you subjected me to! You’ll both be stripped of your credentials and cast out into plebeian society without a letter to your names!”

“Calm down, professor.”

“I will not calm…”

The powerful left hand of Peter the Ace swung round and grabbed the professor’s mouth. His head slammed into the wall of the duct. The bounty hunter glared at the professor. “Be silent! From now on you will do as we say without question. Do you understand?”

Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn’s eyes were wide with fear, but there was still a hint of defiance in them.

Peter the Ace repeated his question with stern authority. “Do you understand?”

The professor nodded weakly.

Peter the Ace withdrew his hand. “Good. If I hear one more cowardly outburst from you I’ll arrest you and charge you with wilful and pathetic obstruction of a bounty hunter covert mission.”

The professor was shocked. “A bounty hunter covert mission?” He gasped. “By saying that you must mean that you are both…”

“Yes.” Peter the Ace said with pride. He sat up straight, his shoulders back and his mighty chest out. “We are top class bounty hunters of the Palace of Amino!”

The professor knew his place. He bowed his head. “Please forgive my outbursts. Had I known I would never have said what I said.”

Peter the Ace enjoyed watching the professor grovel. “You are forgiven. There is no way you could have known. Our disguises are totally convincing. No one could ever see through them.”

The professor stared at the two bounty hunters. “You are right. I would normally recognise any of the top class bounty hunters - stories of their exploits are broadcast all the time on the news channels, but I don’t recognise you or your colleague.”

Peter the Ace turned to Panman. “Should we?”

Panman nodded. “Yeah, why not?!” He pulled the large bushy moustache from his face and smiled.

Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn nearly fainted with awe. “The extraordinary Panman! I am honoured beyond my senses!” He bowed deeply, almost to the floor.

Peter the Ace pulled on his beard. As soon as it left his chin, his identity became clear.

The professor nearly fainted again. “Oh my! The phenomenal Peter the Ace! This is a truly monumental occasion. If I die now, I’ll do so knowing that I’ve already experienced the greatest moment of my life!” He bowed once again, this time hitting his head on the floor. The swelling on his forehead burst and splattered blood all over.

“Hopefully that won’t be necessary.” Peter the Ace said, replacing his beard.

The professor wiped his face with his cloak, soaking the rich material in blood. “I will improve my attitude immediately. I wish to help in any way I can.”

“Excellent!” Peter the Ace said. “We can make use of your intellectual abilities. Come and look down here and see if you can figure out what this is all about.”

Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn bowed then crawled unsteadily over to the grating. He peered down at the scene below. “Hmm… It’s a little unclear. My eyesight is not what it used to be. He placed his hands onto the grate and leaned his face closer. “There, that seems better.”

Panman’s P.A.P. implant (Potential Accident Predictor) kicked into overdrive. “Professor, I don’t think you should rest all your weight on…”

There was a huge crunch and clunk as the grating buckled and gave way. The professor disappeared. The two bounty hunters looked down just in time to see the hefty academic slam into the floor of the huge hall a hundred metres below. The sound of the impact echoed for several seconds.

Peter the Ace looked at Panman. “That was rather unfortunate.”

“It was.” Panman agreed, his eyes still fixed on the professor. Suddenly he smiled. “But then again, maybe it wasn’t!”

Peter the Ace was intrigued. “Are you saying that the professor’s plummet was good?”

“Yeah! Look!”

Peter the Ace looked. Instantly he realised what his esteemed colleague meant. “Yes! What a remarkable fluke!”

Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn had landed right on top of the executive, Chester Bolus. The executive was lying still and contorted under the mass of the flabby professor, and he was obviously as dead as a dodo. The professor, however, was moving ever so slowly.

Peter the Ace had noticed. “Let’s get down there.”

Panman nodded and reached under his robes. He fiddled with his belt and began to unravel a cable. “At least we were able to bring our standard bounty hunter issue micro abseil gear with us.”

“Indeed.” Peter the Ace said. He began to unravel his own.


Sind’a Thighs lay in the ventilation duct beside Digby, her breathing calm and shallow. She smiled as she caressed herself, playing with the beads of sweat that clung to her body. Digby’s hand began stroking her inner thigh. She looked at him. “You performed quite adequately for a common male.”

Digby smiled. “Thank you.” he said between heavy breaths.

The trainee bounty hunter jumped to her feet. “I feel fine now. We need to get moving.”

Digby sat up and grabbed her hips. “But I… I’m ready for more!”

She noticed that he was still highly excited. “I can imagine how much my toned body must arouse you, but there’s no time. We’ll be found if we stay in one place too long, and anyway, next time you’ll probably die.”

Digby reluctantly let go of her. “I suppose you’re right.”

“Of course I am.” She said, pulling on her skirt. She picked up her top and pulled it over her head. “Now get dressed.”

He looked around. “I can’t.”

“Why?”

“You tore my clothes off, remember. Most of them are in shreds.”

Sind’a Thighs bent down and rummaged through the torn clothing. She picked up a long strip of one of his trouser legs. “This will do. Tie it round your waist.”

Digby got to his feet and did as he was told. The strip of material barely covered anything.

She handed him his socks. “These are intact. Put them on.”

“I’m still almost naked.” he complained, looking down at himself. He looked up and smiled wryly. “Can’t I wear your clothes and you be almost naked?”

Sind’a Thigh’s ignored him. “Let’s move.”

The trainee bounty hunter led the way along the duct and into the gloomy depths of the ventilation system.


Peter the Ace and Panman stood over Professor AmpléBläckett Hàgênmåclídensõn as he lay groaning on the floor of the giant hall. Underneath him, broken and still, lay Chester Bolus. A lake of blood surrounded his head. He was dead all right.

“Yo, professor?!” Panman shouted, slapping the professor across the face. “Are you there?”

The professor mumbled, and then lapsed back into unconsciousness.

“He isn’t well.” Peter the Ace said with great insight. “Without high-tech medical facilities he’ll die within the hour.”

“An hour?” Panman said. “That’s loads of time! We have time to explore this hall.” He looked around. Thousands of girls surrounded him, each one shuddering like a massage machine. Their faces and hands appeared to be stuck in bowls of jelly. “Look at them all. What are they up to?”

Peter the ace walked over to one of the girls and examined the complex network of equipment surrounding her. It was all connected up to a long thin spike that reached all the way up to the high ceiling. Occasional flickers of electricity arced upwards. “They all seem to be connected to the ship.”

“What for?”

“I think they have been integrated into the ship’s computer system.”

“Whoa!”

“Whoa indeed. The brains of young females are highly active and intelligent. The combined power of thousands of them co-ordinated by a computer would produce a very potent intelligence.”

“But all of them seem excessively young - almost children.”

Peter the Ace smiled. He had figured it all out. “That’s because the clearest and most focused minds are those that have yet to experience puberty. Once those hormones start pumping, the mind becomes preoccupied with other things.”

“Cool!” Panman exclaimed. He walked over to another of the girls and peered closely at her. “If I grab her by her hair and pull up I’ll disconnect her. If I do that to enough of them, I’ll wreck this ship’s processing abilities!”

“That’s true,” Peter the Ace said, “but we should be a little more cautious than that. Ripping all these girls away from their jelly bowls will certainly have the effect you describe, but it could also kill them. And we wouldn’t want to do that.”

“You’re right, Ace. All the letters we’d get from their parents would be really annoying.” Panman scratched his chin and took up a thoughtful pose. “We have to be subtle again, don’t we?”

“Indeed.”

Panman’s stomach suddenly let off a long and audible rumble. He looked seriously at his colleague. “Uh oh! We’d better not take to long. I haven’t eaten for hours and my recently installed nuclear hunger suppression system is overloading. It won’t work for much longer!”

Peter the Ace nodded. “That’s serious. Let’s get moving. Over there looks promising.” He pointed to a large and intricate set of controls and displays. Several large levers hung from the wall.

Panman nodded. “Let’s get on it!”

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