Lord Ecnerwal was lying on his back on his bed and giggling like a little girl. He raised his legs up and slammed them into the bed, sending a fast ripple out across the bed’s purple silk sheets. And then he sat up and pointed at one of the screens ahead of him. He lowered his hood. Tears were streaming down his gaunt and scarred cheeks. “Look, Badoodoo! We are almost there! Success grows beneath us like swelling bruises!”
Badoodoo looked at the screen which was showing the rapidly growing image of the Palace of Amino. Deep and uneasy feelings made it hard for him respond positively, but he managed. “Yes it does, my lord.”
“And look!” Lord Ecnerwal said, pointing at another screen. “They flee so fast! The terror they feel at the thought of my superior audacity and my inevitable domination of the entire galaxy is unmistakable!”
Badoodoo look at the sensor display. The hundreds of bounty hunter ships that had been swarming all around the asteroid had ceased their attacks and were indeed leaving the scene. And they were doing so at quite incredible speeds. But the fact that one of the ships had remained relatively close made the assistant not view the development in such a positive manner. An almost consuming sense of dread and suspicion grew inside him. “Perhaps it is not fear that drives them away, my lord?”
Lord Ecnerwal glared at Badoodoo. “Of course it is, toe fungus!”
“But the Blenheim is still…”
“The arrogance of Peter the Ace and Panman is legendary,” Lord Ecnerwal spat, “as will be their humiliating obliteration! Their presence is nothing more than a blotch on a pear!” He raised his arms, took in a deep and noisy breath, and then screamed. “I am about to fulfil my destiny!”
“WARNING: THE ASTEROID WILL COLLIDE WITH THE PALACE OF AMINO IN TWENTY SECONDS.” The Blenheim announced.
Panman finished tapping at his weapons console. He swallowed his last mouthful of pork pie. “Proximity and yield parameters set!” He said, reaching for his glass of port. He knocked the last of it back and gasped. “This is going to be so cool!”
“That’s a significant understatement.” Peter the Ace said, looking at the new information that had just been overlaid onto the main view-screen. It showed an oval schematic of the MADPLOP – the MAssively Destructive Projectile filled with Liquid with a consistency of Oil but much more Potent, the first prototype weapon from the recently established Amino Rapidly Deployable Unguided Weapons Institute. As usual, the Blenheim had been given the honour of being the first bounty hunter ship to be fitted with such a weapon.
The ship spoke. “MADPLOP LAUNCHER ALLIGNED.”
Panman grinned. “Launch!”
A mild shudder was felt as the weapon, resembling a giant fish oil capsule, left the ship. The main view-screen image changed to a view of the asteroid as it plummeted into Enchantia’s atmosphere in a storm of fiery plasma. The hypersonic course of the MADPLOP was plotted.
“Blenheim,” Peter the Ace said with urgency, “take us away from here, maximum subspace acceleration!”
The background rumble of the ship’s engines increased in pitch.
“MADPLOP DETONATION IN SEVEN SECONDS.”
Peter the Ace was thoughtful. He leaned back into his plush command chair. “Do you think it’s insane to use an unproven prototype weapon, developed in a new and unrated facility and which is in essence nothing more than a big transparent bag of exotic liquid, this close to the Palace of Amino without its defence field functioning and as the one and only attempt to neutralise a potentially terminal threat at the last possible moment?”
Panman nodded. “Yes.”
Lord Ecnerwal was sitting cross-legged on his bed and giggling. “Now they flee!” He said with glee as one of the screens showed the rapid retreat of the Blenheim. “Wretched creatures!” And then he noticed something on another screen; an approaching object. “What is that?”
Badoodoo looked down at his data pad. “Well, it appears to be a container of liquid, my lord.”
“Toilet waste, no doubt!” Lord Ecnerwal yelled happily. He giggled. “The bladders of Peter the Ace and Panman must have emptied without a shred of control as fear of my monstrous capabilities overwhelmed their minds!”
“It does not appear to be urine, my lord.”
“Shut up, belly guff! We are twelve seconds from triumph! What else could it be?”
An alarm sounded.
Lord Ecnerwal glared at his assistant. “Now what?”
Badoodoo’s heart sank to a record low. “It can’t be!” He said, almost as a whisper.
Lord Ecnerwal bellowed as he got to his feet. “What is it?!”
Badoodoo was shaking visibly. His voice quivered. He looked up at his master. “The Palace of Amino’s defence field has activated!”
And then all the screens turned white, and a tremendous jolt sent the assistant and his master flying across the bed chamber.