“Sprag, grab Jock and bring him to my flying machine.” High-Tech
Green Thing ordered in his usual authoritative tone.
The Sprag cyborg picked up the unconscious apeworm and placed him onto
his powerful metal shoulders. He followed High-Tech Green Thing, who was
running towards his flying machine. Ysabell was close behind.
“Everyone climb onboard.” High-Tech Green Thing said as he
lowered the rear entrance ramp on his flying machine. He looked back across
the landing platform to the laboratory door. Thick globules of slime were
oozing through it. Once Ysabell, Sprag, and Jock were onboard, High-Tech
Green Thing ran to the front of the flying machine. He grabbed hold of
the cockpit ladder and was pulled up.
Ysabell sat in a chair and strapped herself in.
The Sprag cyborg dumped the limp form of Jock on the seat next to her.
He strapped the apeworm to the seat and then spoke in a synthetic manner.
“Jock is a weak-minded fool.”
Ysabell glared at the cyborg. “Leave him alone! He has shown nothing
but guilt for what he did to you. His concern for your safety was greater
High-Tech Green Thing appeared on the display screen. “Be quiet,
you two. No time for arguments. Sprag, secure yourself. As you can see
through the view port to your right, the slime is attempting to absorb
this vessel. I must take off.”
“That is a logical course of action.” Sprag muttered. He was
too large and heavy to sit in one of the chairs, so he simply wedged himself
into a corner.
A deep rumble shook the flying machine as its potent engines roared to
life. Ysabell gripped the arms of her seat tightly as the force of acceleration
pushed down on her toned and pleasing body. The rocky walls of the cavern
rushed by, and then the brightness of the early evening sky flooded the
cabin. Down below the green and pleasant landscape was no longer very
green, nor very pleasant. Glistening pools of black could be seen in all
directions. The slime was everywhere.
High-Tech Green Thing played with his control surfaces. The flying machine
banked hard, and then levelled off in a westerly direction. “What’s
The flying machine gave its analysis of the situation. “THE SLIME
IS APPEARING IN MANY LOCATIONS ON THE SURFACE. ITS MASS IS INCREASING
AT AN EXPONETIAL RATE. AT THE CURRENT RATE OF GROWTH THE SLIME WILL COVER
THE ENTIRE SURFACE OF THE PLANET IN THIRTY-FOUR MINUTES.”
“This slime is becoming quite a problem.”
“WARNING: SIXTEEN COLUMNS OF SLIME ARE RISING. CONTACT IMMINENT.”
High-Tech Green Thing played with his controls, sending the flying machine
into a wild series of rolls and turns to avoid the slime columns. “What
do you think we should do? Give me options.”
“THERE IS ONLY ONE OPTION: RESCUE THE VILLAGERS, ESCAPE THIS PLANET
AND TRAVEL TO A MINIMUM SAFE DISTANCE OF SEVEN MILLION KILOMETRES, WORLDSPLIT
THE PLANET AND THE SLIME, AND THEN FIND A SUITABLE NEW PLANET TO LIVE
“Oh dear. What a shame. I have so much cool stuff in my caverns!
Never mind. No time to waste. Locate the villagers.”
“SCANNING… THE VILLAGERS ARE LOCATED ON THE HILLTOPS IMMEDIATELY
SOUTH OF THE VALLEY OF OMAHL. WARNING: THE SLIME HAS SURROUNDED THE VILLAGERS.
THEY WILL BE ABSORBED IN FORTY-TWO SECONDS.”
High-Tech Green Thing sent the flying machine into a steep dive. Within
seconds the villagers were in sight. They were screaming and flailing
their arms as the slime closed in all around them.
High-Tech Green Thing brought the flying machine to a hover right next
to the villagers. He opened the rear entrance ramp, and then opened part
of his cockpit canopy. He leaned out. “All of you get in the back.
We have to leave this planet immediately!”
The villagers, too terrified and confused to argue, did as they were told.
High-Tech Green Thing watched on his video display as the Sprag cyborg
used his incredible strength to haul the villagers into the rear cabin.
Once inside the villagers made themselves comfortable on the fur-lined
seats and sofas.
Despite the luxury and quality of their surroundings, the villagers were
looking pale and forlorn. They would need a distraction from their woes.
High-Tech Green Thing operated some more controls on one of his control
surfaces. He watched on the video display as a portion of the back wall
of the rear cabin opened. A compact but well-stocked bar was revealed,
complete with a six-armed robotic barmaid ready to serve the new arrivals
with any beverage they required. On the video display Mayor Billshot could
clearly be seen putting in his order. The mayor obviously wasted no time
when alcohol was around.
High-Tech Green Thing operated the intercom. “The slime is almost
upon us, so it’s time to leave. Hold tight!”
A deep and throaty roar reverberated through the cabin. The villagers
groaned as the extreme vertical acceleration pushed down hard on their
Mayor Billshot, who had been standing at the bar, was pinned to the floor
with several litres of fine ale swilling all over him.
Several of the villagers vomited like hoses.
“WARNING: A COLUMN OF SLIME IS FOLLOWING OUR CURRENT TRAJECTORY.”
“I see it.” High-Tech Green Thing said with remarkable calm.
“Prepare the Worldsplitter for firing.”
“Give me an update.”
“CURRENT DISTANCE FROM THE PLANET: SIX POINT SIX MILLION KILOMETRES.
CURRENT VELOCITY: FIVE HUNDRED KILOMETRES PER SECOND. SLIME COLUMN HEIGHT:
FIVE POINT THREE MILLION KILOMETRES AND RISING.”
“That stuff just doesn’t give up, does it? Target the planet.
Fire on my command.”
High-Tech Green Thing activated the intercom. “Hello everyone. High-Tech
Green Thing here. We are now many millions of kilometres from your home
planet. Take a good look at your planet through one of the view ports,
or on the display screen at the front of your cabin. It will be your last
chance to see it as I will shortly be destroying it.”
Most of the villagers made their way to the view ports. They gazed at
their world. It looked so fragile against the blackness of space. And
so beautiful, even though it was now almost completely covered in slime.
Mayor Billshot was not interested in the view. Still soaked in beer, he
made his way back to the bar. “Three beers, please.”
The robotic barmaid spoke. “Would you like the same beer as before,
They mayor thought for a moment. “Well, not really. What I did manage
to drink tasted a little weak. What else have you got?”
“William Wartmaster’s Fester Brew, Xobby’s Black and
Slightly Foul-Smelling Bitter, Bungo Badrock’s Septic Ale, and a
wide selection of fine wines and spirits.”
The mayor smiled. “Good choice. I think some Xobby’s would
go down nicely.”
The robotic barmaid quickly filled three glasses. “Enjoy your drinks,
Mayor Billshot greedily downed the first glass. He burped loudly. “My,
that is good!” He started on the second.
The flying machine shuddered violently as a bright white flash, followed
by a stomach rumbling roar sped passed the view ports.
The mayor fell onto the carpet, his drink splashing across his face.
The villagers watched as a powerful energy beam laced its way into their
home planet. A brighter than white flash marked the planet’s instant
destruction. Swirls of lightening crept like fire up the immense column
of slime, splitting it into tiny and useless globules of gunk. After a
few seconds the light faded. A cloud of fine debris – the remains
of the planet - drifted through the void.
Ysabell had watched the ensuing destruction on the large display screen
at the front of the cabin. She had felt terror, despair, despondency,
and a couple of other emotions too. Almost everything she had known, believed
in, loved, hated, and smelt was no more. She thought deeply about all
she had lost. And then she sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.