The sloping transparent walls of the wide circular room gave Badoodoo a clear and unnerving view straight down to the brightly lit jungle. Hundreds of metres below him he could see dozens of giant egralons moving slowly through the dense foliage and grazing on the tree-tops. They seemed completely oblivious to the disaster that had occurred beyond the confines of their humid little world.
Badoodoo was far from oblivious. He was still shaking from the shock of the ferocious detonation and impact, and from the terror he had felt when Lord Ecnerwal had demanded an update from him on the asteroid’s status. He had given his bleak report and had prepared himself for a brutal, prolonged and agonising death. Instead his master had simply thanked him in a sweet and mellow voice and then dragged him up to the viewing room above the jungle. The fact that bounty hunter ships were now blasting their way through the asteroid’s interior seemed to be of no concern to his master whatsoever.
Badoodoo’s data pad bleeped. He looked at the screen. Against all the odds it appeared to show some good news. He looked over to the centre of the room where Lord Ecnerwal was. His master was sitting in a well-padded chair and chucking to himself as he spun round, manipulating controls on his circular control surface.
The assistant walked over to his master. “My lord, it’s hard to believe, but the bounty hunters seem to be leaving!”
Lord Ecnerwal turned and glared at Badoodoo. “Of course they’re leaving, pork slab! Their dull, fudge-like minds have finally figured out what I’m doing!” He turned back to his controls.
Badoodoo was confused. “Why are we up here in the jungle viewing room, my lord? And why are you so happy considering our failure?”
“I am happy because I predicted that this could happen.” Lord Ecnerwal said, glancing back at the assistant. “This time I have a momentous backup plan beyond judgement!”
“But why are we in the jungle viewing room, my lord?”
“We are leaving!” Lord Ecnerwal said as he focused on his control surface. He hit a panel and then turned. A distant rumble became audible. “We will abandon this asteroid and withdraw to a more restful and decadent location. There we will wait.”
The assistant shook his head. “But we can’t leave. The propulsion system of this asteroid has been destroyed, and even if it weren’t you ordered the ejection of the subspace field generator which is essential for…”
Badoodoo staggered back as a bony hand smacked him across his cheeks.
Lord Ecnerwal scowled. “You are indeed as dense as my best testing indicates!” Vibrations built up as he jabbed his index finger into his assistant. “Think, little fat man!”
Badoodoo thought for a moment. He could think of no way of escape. He had overseen most of the design and construction and there was not a… He remembered his master’s trick of using the chiropody clinic as the cover for his penetrator. Perhaps… His eyes widened. “The boating lake beneath the jungle!”
Lord Ecnerwal giggled. “Exactly! Why would I ever need a boating lake?” He narrowed his eyes and flicked them left and right. “I hate boats! Their bobbing and creaking drives me mad!” He screamed. “Mad, I tell you! Mad!”
Badoodoo did his best to ignore his master’s typically odd outburst. He thought for a moment. “So, there is a propulsion system there instead?”
Lord Ecnerwal slapped his assistant again. “Of course there is, turd captain! And a subspace field generator, too.” He turned back to his controls. “Everything’s ready. Up we go!” He said with glee as he hit another panel. “Ha harr! I am a sage!”
The deep rumble of explosions could be heard above. Several violent shudders forced Badoodoo to grab the back of his master’s chair. He felt the weigh of acceleration pushing him into the floor. “Where are we going, my lord?”
Lord Ecnerwal yelled over the increasingly deafening sounds all around. “I told you, dim fart: to a more restful and decadent location!”
“Where is that?”
“Are you dense?! To the collection vessel, of course! Captain Elbano is waiting for us. There will be a banquet to honour my brilliance and fortitude. I intend to consume vast quantities of tiny eggs and wait in opulent surroundings.”
Badoodoo continued to hold onto his master’s chair. “Wait for what, my lord?”
Lord Ecnerwal turned and grabbed Badoodoo by the neck. He squeezed firmly. “Until we hear that Sadie Stick has successfully completed her final mission. What else would we wait for?!”
Badoodoo desperately tried to breath but he could not. After a few seconds his master let go. The assistant fell to the floor, gasping.
Lord Ecnerwal smiled down at him. “Would you be so kind as to bring me some raisins?”