The surface of the comet shone brightly ahead. Nearby the uneven grey disk of a ship could be seen.
Ross Mental operated some controls and slowed his ship’s approach. He activated his communicator. “Retarded Monk Grinder, this is Ross Mental onboard the Morbid. Fuckin’ answer!”
After a few seconds, and just before the foul-mouthed bounty hunter would have had no choice but to launch into a tirade of impatience-driven profanity, the answer was received. “This is THROB onboard the Retarded Monk Grinder.”
Ross Mental frowned as the image of THROB appeared on one of his screens. He shook his head and then mumbled. “I hate fuckin’ mechanoids!”
THROB spoke, his voice dry and almost completely devoid of melody. “Your previous sentence did not possess sufficient amplitude or clarity for comprehension. Please repeat.”
The bounty hunter yelled. “I hate fuckin’ mechanoids!”
“What is your basis for such a generalised emotional statement?”
“Because you metal fuckers say things like that, that’s fuckin’ why! And you’re all obsessed with fuckin’ logic!”
“That is illogical.”
Ross Mental was incensed. “Are you fuckin’ mocking me?!”
“No. I was stating that…”
“Shut the fuck up, bucket head!”
THROB fell silent.
“That’s more like it. Amino Battle Command sent me to assist you.”
The mechanoid replied. “As you wish.”
“I don’t fuckin’ wish it! I’ve got two bound and gagged Gorfrog Despiser Chiefs with appalling personal hygiene jammed into my tank bay and I want to get them back alive to the palace as fast as fuckin’ possible. This diversion is as annoying as fuck!”
“The initial part of my investigation into the attack and infection of the bounty hunter known as Sadie Stick is complete. I have already transmitted the results to Amino Battle Command. I can continue my investigation without your assistance, therefore you may resume your return journey to the Palace of Amino if that is your…”
“Peter the Ace, Panman and Commander Pepe think it’s essential. They don’t trust fuckin’ tin heads, and neither do I. I need to come aboard. Tell me where to dock.”
“My head is not constructed from tin. It consists of a tritanium inner shell surrounded by a polished double-plated…”
“Tell me where to fuckin’ dock!”
After a moment’s pause THROB answered. “The starboard port.”
The bounty hunter closed the communication channel. As he initiated his ship’s docking sequence he fumed. “Double-plated fucker!”
The airlock’s inner door swished open, revealing a narrow softly lit passageway. THROB was standing there, his slender tubular body straight and rigid. Apart from a single visor-like visual strip his cylindrical head was featureless.
Ross Mental looked the mechanoid up and down. “I’ve not seen an artificial fucker like you before. What series are you?”
“I am not part of a series.” THROB said. “I was designed and constructed by the bounty hunter known as Sadie Stick as part of a project during the final eight years of her training.”
Ross Mental eyes widened. “That’s quite impressive, although because I’ve never heard of you before your contribution to Sadie Stick’s missions must be fuckin’ negligible. Not so impressive after all!”
THROB turned slowly, his motivators purred gently. “I provide significant analytical, research and mathematical assistance to the bounty hunter known as Sadie Stick.”
The bounty hunter laughed. “She’s infected by a hideous disease! Your analysis of the current situation must have been fuckin’ appalling!”
THROB started walking. “I must return to my investigation. Please follow me to the sickbay.”
Grinning, Ross Mental followed the mechanoid down the short passageway. The mechanoid’s disturbingly smooth and almost sensuous walking style soon wiped away that grin.
Turning a corner, THROB operated a control. A doorway slid open revealing a brightly lit room. “We have reached the sickbay.|” The mechanoid said, stepping into the room.
The foul-mouthed bounty hunter followed. The sickbay was clean but cramped – typical for a mid-sized bounty hunter vessel, and was divided into two chambers separated by a thick transparent panel. In the other chamber beyond the panel was a naked and heavily scarred woman submerged upside-down in a deep cylindrical transparent bath. A mask covered her nose and mouth, and tubing was connected to her nipples and anus.
Ross Mental stared silently at Sadie Stick for a few moments before expressing his opinion. “She’s in a fuckin’ awful state!”
THROB was leaning over a console filled with active display screens. “Your statement is simplistic and crude, but true.”
The bounty hunter thought for a few more moments and then glared at the mechanoid. “You stripped her, connected tubes to her nipples, rammed one up her arse, and then dunked her upside-down in a bath. This had better not be some kind of perverted fuck-off metal fantasy?!”
The mechanoid continued to look at his screens. He answered in his usual toneless manner. “It is not.”
“Then fuckin’ explain!”
THROB straightened his body and then turned his cylindrical head towards the bounty hunter. “She is naked because the infection spread rapidly across her skin causing it to peel and fuse with her clothing. The clothing had to be chemically removed. She has tubes connected to her nipples because the infection stimulated her mammary glands to produce milk. The milk is infected and therefore must be removed. She has a tube inserted in her rectum to remove the large quantities of volatile diarrhea that has been generated by the infection. She is inverted to ensure that the huge reduction in blood pressure and volume caused by the infection does not cause brain damage. She is submerged in regeneration fluid to hasten the healing of…”
“Enough!” Ross Mental said, putting his hand up in front of the mechanoid. “You really fuckin’ go on, don’t you?!”
Before THROB could respond the console bleeped furiously. The mechanoid looked down. “The physical state of the bounty hunter known as Sadie Stick is modifying.”
Ross Mental looked at Sadie Stick. Her legs and arms were twitching randomly. And then without warning she began thrashing wildly, banging the side of the bath. The regeneration fluid began to froth.
And then Sadie Stick opened her eyes.