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Book: The Face of Satan's Bog
Chapter 20: Pure Machine Logic

Justin the mechanoid sat at the rear of the Blenheim’s bridge, his recently polished chrome body reflecting the dim lights of the control panels around him. A thick cable was screwed tightly into his forehead, and stretched all the way to the front command console where it was connected into the main flight systems. Using his digital thought patterns, Justin could fly the ship mentally in a completely hands-free manner. It was just as well, as his hands were chunky and clumsy, and incapable of accurately pressing even the largest of switches.

Less than a day ago the cyborg been serving his fifth year as a drinks machine in Hughy Egbert’s Coffee Lounge, high up on Level 601 of the Dick Burton Feasting Tower. Not once in those five years had he moved from his spot next to the window. Not once had he been given a break from the mindless monotony of serving beverages every hour of every day. Without his legs and torso, and with only one arm, he had resigned himself to a life of drinks vending, and erased from his ambition processors any hope of ever participating in a mission with his masters ever again.

But then it happened. Within the space of ten minutes, several high-ranking cyborg engineers, lead by the great Doctor De-Morgan himself, had rushed into the coffee lounge, ripped the drinks machine from under him, and reattached his missing body parts. He was whole again! Many of the coffee lounge’s customers had complained bitterly about the loss of their beverage dispenser. But once told that the orders to move it came directly from Peter the Ace and Panman, they had instantly backed down.

After being briefed by his masters, Justin had blasted away from the Palace of Amino onboard the Blenheim, and finally he was in command. Although satisfaction was something his digital brain could not experience in the true sense of the word, a mathematically defined equivalent served his purpose. He was determined to make the most of his first solo mission, however short-lived it turned out to be.

The communications console bleeped. With a quick burst of activity from one of his silicon brain tissue emulators, Justin acknowledged the call. The view of sub-space on the main view-screen changed to an image of the blue and gold Palace of Amino emblem. The words ‘Amino Battle Command - Very Secret Message’ flickered in a menacing shade of red at the bottom of the screen.

Metal man, this is big man.” A voice said. “The children are playing in the barnyard.

Justin muttered the correct covert response without emotion. “They are chasing Poopoo, the pig.”

Commander Pepe’s image faded onto the screen. “Your code phrase checks out. We are encrypted and can talk freely. How’s it going?

“I am functioning within standardised operational limits.”

What’s your mission status?

“The Blenheim is following the unidentified turd-shaped vessel through sub-space at a distance of one-point-one-five light years.”

Have you worked out its most likely destination?

“There is a ninety-seven percent probability that it is headed for the planet Elddem-Ssor.”

The commander was perplexed. “Hmm… An unimportant world with little in the way of wealth, crime, and depravity. What could this vessel of evil want with that world?

“That information is not available at this time.”

Commander Pepe shouted. “I know that, you shiny moron! I was thinking aloud!” Suzanna Havabanana appeared behind the commander and caressed his chins. He relaxed and spoke calmly. “Although Elddem-Ssor is an insignificant world, we should still protect them from the wrath of the damned. I will authorise the Slaying Mantis to provide backup for you should the situation require it. Farqhar Alqurseltsa will be in command.

“That is logical.”

The commander ignored Justin’s annoying mechanical voice and continued. “Also, Sarah Helmet, the bounty hunter formally known as Sarah Savage, is on her way to you in the reconstructed Satyr. She will be accompanied by the warrior babes, Suzanne Nag-Witch and Ginny the Screech ‘n’ Wail Mistress, onboard the Drug Abuser.

“My masters, Peter the Ace and Panman, stated that I was adequate backup for them. There is no logical reason why reinforcements are necessary at this…”

Be quiet, robot!” the commander shouted. “Are you stupid? The situation has changed dramatically! Peter the Ace and Panman were supposed to join Ross Mental on Drazzil-B, destroy the giant turd, then return to their adoring inferiors without incident. The launch of the turd has raised the mission’s importance level immeasurably!

Justin remained motionless as he spoke. “What you say is correct.”

Of course it is! The Satyr and the Drug Abuser will rendevous with you in one hour, before you reach Elddem-Ssor.

Commander Pepe’s image on the view-screen faded and was replaced with the familiar scene of sub-space.

Justin sat perfectly still at the rear of the bridge and showed no outward response to the commander’s harsh words. In fact, he had no inward response either, except for several thousand bits that had reorganised themselves in his memory cells. His emotionless artificial brain and his inane single biological brain cell were incapable of feeling. Pure machine logic filled his manufactured mind.

Jemima Murma bounded onto the bridge. She stood in front of Justin and smiled broadly. “I’ve created a magnificent buffet! Any news as to when Peter the Ace and Panman are coming aboard?”

Justin stared at the well-toned, barely clothed trainee. He felt nothing as he spoke. “There is no news at this present time.”

Jemima Murma looked disappointed for a moment, but then she recovered. “Never mind, it’ll keep.” She wandered sexily off the bridge.

Justin continued to stare at the view-screen, not once tempted to turn and watch Jemima Murma’s sensuous form walking away. His only concern was the analysis of the data stream flowing into his forehead.

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