“Oh… What have I done?” Jock cried, sticky tears trickling
from his eyes. He was sweating profusely.
Another muffled scream emanated from the bowels of the well. The slime
had been pouring continuously into it for more than five minutes now,
its evil whispering voice sending chills down the spines of all the onlookers.
“B l o o d . . . B l o o d . . .”
“Jock?” young Ysabell said, walking purposefully up to the
apeworm. “What have you been up to?”
Jock looked up from his misery. As always, he was momentarily mesmerised
by her staggering beauty. As far as he could tell she was physically perfect,
and the only person that really understood him. “I’ve killed
my friend Sprag!” he said, his voice pathetic. I made him fall down
the well. I lead that strange slimy stuff to him. It’s my entire
Ysabell smiled. “Don’t be silly.” She said gently. “I’m
sure that you didn’t mean it. And anyway, High-Tech Green Thing
will put things right. He always does.”
The apeworm nodded weakly. “I know. I just wish I didn’t keep
causing disasters. And this is my greatest disaster yet!” He started
to sob like a poor little girl.
Ysabell stroked Jock’s sweaty scalp.
A sudden roar reverberated through the village. Overhead a menacing black
shape burst out of the clouds and dived at an amazing speed towards the
village. With a whoosh of its engines it slowed rapidly and soft-landed
next to the well. A gasp of awe and admiration could be heard as the flying
machine’s powerful engines faded to silence.
From out of the flying machine’s underside a black-clothed figure
dropped and landed on the ground. The figure took up a proud and powerful
A voice boomed from inside the flying machine. “BEHOLD, THE MOST
RESPECTED AND ADORED HERO OF ALL TIME: HIGH-TECH GREEN THING.”
The crowd of villagers cheered.
High-Tech Green Thing strode boldly over to the well. The slime was oozing
into it in huge quantities. He turned and walked over to Jock, who was
still being comforted by Ysabell.
High-Tech Green Thing looked down at the apeworm. “Is this your
Jock replied feebly. “Yes.”
Ysabell shouted. “No!” She looked up at High-Tech Green Thing.
“It was purely an accident. Sprag fell into the well because he
is a sensitive fool. And the slimy stuff followed Jock from the hilltops
without him knowing. It is not Jock’s fault!”
High-Tech Green Thing looked quizzically at Ysabell “Is that so?”
She nodded furiously. “It is! And now I think the slime wants to
High-Tech Green Thing nodded and looked back at the apeworm. “Jock,
where did the slime come from?”
The apeworm snivelled. “It was squelching out of a rock.”
High-Tech Green Thing rubbed the chin of his helmet thoughtfully. “Interesting.”
He turned and looked towards the well. “This is the first time I’ve
encountered blood-thirsty slime.”
Ysabell spoke. “What can you do?”
High-Tech Green Thing took up a proud and powerful stance once again.
“Drastic things are what I can do!” He pulled small gun from
a holster on his belt and aimed it in the direction of the well. He pulled
the trigger. A stream of pulsing red energy shimmered into the slime.
The slime began to glow, first orange, and then bright white. The heat
and light was almost unbearable. The villagers covered their faces, and
Jock and Ysabell dived for cover behind the giant horn. Barrington Billshot,
the corpulent mayor of Grimuk, put on a rather fashionable pair of sunglasses.
For more than a minute High-Tech Green Thing kept the deadly energy beam
focused on the slime. And then the gun ran dry of power.
The slime cooled and returned to its malevolent shade of black. It continued
to pour down the well.
Mayor Billshot waddled over to High-Tech Green Thing. “That didn’t
do much good. What now?”
High-Tech Green Thing nodded. “You’re absolutely right, it
did no good at all. I think I need a closer look at this stuff.”
He walked fearlessly over to the well.
“Be careful.” The mayor shouted with concern.
High-Tech Green Thing nodded, and then crouched down next to the black
slime. It bubbled silently as it made its way across the cobblestones
of the square. Pulling a small transparent container from his belt, High-Tech
Green Thing scooped up a small sample of the slime. He sealed the container
and walked back towards his flying machine.
A disturbing whisper was heard. “S t a y a w a y . . .”
High-Tech Green Thing responded. “I’m afraid I can’t.
You are devouring Sprag, who is stuck down the well. I have to destroy
The ladder descended from the underside of the flying machine’s
cockpit. High-Tech Green Thing grabbed the ladder and was pulled up. Once
inside the cockpit he placed the container of slime into a hole in one
of the display surfaces. “Analyse this.”
“I OBEY. ANALYSING…”
After a few seconds the display surface surrounding the hole lit up. A
colourful depiction of the slime’s molecular structure appeared.
A complex list of chemical formulae was listed on an adjacent display
The flying machine’s computer gave its analysis. “THE SLIME
IS A COMPLEX NEURAL NETWORK. IT CONTAINS THE GENETIC CODE OF SEVENTEEN-THOUSAND
FOUR-HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SIX LIFEFORMS.”
“Interesting…” High-Tech Green Thing said as he stroked
the chin of his helmet once again.
The computer continued. “THE UNIDENTIFIABLE NATURE OF MOST OF THE
GENETIC CODE SUGGESTS THAT THE SLIME IS NOT INDIGENOUS TO THIS PLANET.”
“Amazing! It travels the galaxy consuming its victims and absorbing
their genetic information.” High-Tech Green Thing though for a few
moments. The study of genetics just happened to be his second most favourite
pastime. His most favourite, of course, being sleeping. “Find a
“I OBEY. SEARCHING FOR A WEAKNESS…”
While the computer was thinking, High-Tech Green Thing looked out of the
cockpit and down at the slime. It was still pouring down the well. The
condition of Sprag must be critical. “Hurry up. I don’t think
Sprag can last much longer.”
“SEARCH COMPLETE. NO WEAKNESS FOUND.”
High-Tech Green Thing rubbed the side of his helmet. “Hmm…
Not good.” He noticed that Ysabell was looking up and him and shouting.
He pressed a switch and part of the cockpit’s transparent canopy
Ysabell shouted anxiously, and with more than a touch of anger. “Why
don’t you do something?!”
“I’m working on it, Ysabell.” He said, peering into
her deep blue captivating eyes.
Ysabell peered back into his hypnotic glowing green visor. “Sprag
is about to die. Jock is about to pass out. And I am about to explode
“You don’t want to do that, my dear. It won’t help anyone.”
Ysabell glared at him.
High-Tech Green Thing diffused the situation. “Calm yourself. Go
back to Jock – he needs you. I am on the verge of solving this unpleasant
“I hope so.” Ysabell turned and walked back over to the cowering
Lying to the most sensuous female he’d ever encountered was not
something High-Tech Green Thing had enjoyed, but it was the only way to
get rid of her - at least for a while.
An evil whisper was heard. “Y o u c a n n o t d e s t r o y m e
. . .”
High-Tech Green Thing spoke with false confidence. “Actually, I
can!” He flicked a switch and the opening in the cockpit canopy
thumped shut. He turned to face the messenger bird, which was still perched
behind his well-padded chair. “Well, this is not our usual ‘rescue
some idiot from a cliff face’ or ‘blast the legs off a miscreant’
scenario. We have a formidable and interplanetary – possibly intergalactic
– mega-being on our hands.”
The messenger bird squawked. “Formidable!”
High-Tech Green Thing turned and faced the cockpit’s display surfaces.
“Scan the well. Report on Sprag’s condition.”
The flying machine’s computer responded. “I OBEY. SCANNING…
THE SPRAG LIFEFORM IS NOW UNCONSCIOUS. HIS LIFE SIGNS ARE FADING. ESTIMATED
LIFE EXPECTANCY: TWELVE MINUTES.”
“Hmm… What are our options?”
“THERE ARE THREE OPTIONS. OPTION ONE: ALLOW THE SPRAG LIFE FORM
TO DIE IN THE HOPE THAT THE SLIME ONLY CONSUMES ONE LIFE FORM PER PLANET
AND THEN LEAVES. PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS: TWENTY-ONE PERCENT.”
“We can’t possibly do that!” High-Tech Green Thing exclaimed.
“Ysabell would never forgive me, and then I’ll have even less
chance of enticing her into my bed!”
“YOUR LUST FOR THE YSABELL LIFE FORM IS ILLOGICAL. IT SHOULD NOT
BE CONSIDERED AS A FACTOR IN YOUR JUDGEMENT AS TO WHETHER OR NOT OPTION
“Shut up and give me option two!”
“OPTION TWO: ENTICE THE SLIME AWAY WITH THE BLOODIED CORPSE OF ANOTHER
LIFE FORM IN THE HOPE THAT IT WILL FOLLOW. PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS: FORTY-FIVE
High-Tech Green Thing was shocked. “How are we going to get hold
of a bloodied corpse?! We can’t kill anything! Give me option three.
And it better be good!”
“OPTION THREE: EVACUATE THE VALLEY OF OMAHL, EXTRACT THE BRAIN OF
THE SPRAG LIFE FORM FROM HIS BODY, STORE IT IN A CRYOGENIC CAPSULE WITHIN
THIS VESSEL, ASCEND TO AN ALTITUDE OF TWENTY KILOMETRES, ATOMIZE THE VILLAGE
AND THE IMMEDIATE SURROUNDING AREA, RETURN TO THE CAVERNS, CONSTRUCT A
CYBERNETIC REPLICANT OF THE SPRAG LIFE FORM’S BODY, INSERT THE BRAIN
OF THE SPRAG LIFE FORM INTO THE CYBERNETIC BODY, RETURN THE NEW CYBERNETIC
SPRAG LIFE FORM TO THE VILLAGERS. PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS: EIGHT-NINE PERCENT.”
High-Tech Green Thing was astonished. “How did you come up with
such an amazingly outrageous and far-fetched idea?” He thought for
a few seconds. “Still, it’s better than the first two options.
We would be saving Sprag. We would be saving the villagers. And as far
as we know there is nothing that an atomiser can’t destroy, so the
slime will be gone. It’s drastic, but drastic is good. Let’s
High-Tech Green Thing pressed the switch to open the opening in the cockpit
Ysabell noticed and walked over to the flying machine. She was followed
closely by Mayor Billshot and several other villagers.
High-Tech Green Thing took a deep breath. “I have a plan.”
He announced with remarkable assertiveness. “And a fabulously drastic
plan at that!”