the grace of a fin whale, and the silence of a lamb, the black mass of HMS
Death Reaper accelerated out of the Earth’s atmosphere, and entered
the frigid void of space.
With an almighty thud, a powerful shockwave passed through the ship. Captain
Justin Codd, the only member of the bridge crew standing, was thrown against
a bulkhead. He bounced off it, and slammed face-first onto the floor.
Peter, Ross, and Pan, their instincts and hand-eye coordination tuned
to perfection from decades of video game abuse, managed to grab hold of
something just in time.
Lawrence was shaken like a cocktail, but remained asleep.
Distant explosions and shrill screams emanated from the lower decks.
The bridge lights dimmed to a cool and menacing level. Several deep red
lights on the ceiling began to pulse on and off.
The ship’s sexy female computer voice spoke softly. “WARNING:
HULL BREACH ON DECKS TWELVE AND FOURTEEN. ALL THIRTY-TWO CREW MEMBERS
ON THOSE DECKS HAVE DIED IN VARYING DEGREES OF AGONY.”
With Justin out of action, Peter decided to take charge. He shut down
the game of worms that they had been playing on one of the bridge’s
large screens. “What the hell happened, Death Reaper?”
“AN IBM MINE (WITH INTEL INSIDE) DETONATED OFF THE PORT BOW.”
“Why didn’t you avoid it?”
“AUTO-PILOT WAS NOT ENGAGED. THE INDIVIDUAL NAMED ROSS WAS SUPPOSED
TO BE DRIVING.”
Peter and Pan turned and glared at Ross.
Ross was slightly embarrassed, but stood his ground. “You invited
me to play worms! How the fuck was I supposed to resist that?!”
Peter thought for a moment, and then nodded. “Fair point.”
Peter spoke to the ship once again. “Any damage to vital systems?”
“NEGATIVE. APART FROM LIFE-SUPPORT ON DECKS TWELVE AND FOURTEEN,
Pan smiled. “Not bad, considering we hit an IBM product. They’re
very well built, and state of the art!” He spoke to the ship, “So,
what was on decks twelve and fourteen? Obviously nothing important.”
The ship answered in its usual sensuous manner. “DECK TWELVE CONTAINED
THE LAUNDRY PROCESSORS AND THE TOILET ATTENDANT’S QUARTERS.”
Pan laughed. “Yep! Nothing important!”
The ship’s computer continued speaking. “DECK FOURTEEN CONTAINED
SIX MONTHS SUPPLY OF CAKE AND DOUGHNUT MIX.”
Pan’s laughter stopped in an instant. A look of gloom spread like
rancid custard across his face. He spoke with quiet anxiety. “There
must be more? Maybe on deck fifteen? Am I right? Please tell me I’m
The ship answered. “YOU ARE NOT RIGHT. THERE IS NO MORE CAKE AND
DOUGHNUT MIX ON BOARD THIS VESSEL.”
Pan screamed. “NOOOO!!!!!!” He ran over to the doughnut dispenser
by his seat. It was empty! “We’re doomed!” Pan began
to kick and punch the doughnut dispenser like Homer Simpson on a beer
and acid bender.
Ross leapt up, grabbed his distressed friend, and held him tight. Even
Pan’s frantic thrashing couldn’t break free from Ross’s
powerful Tekhan-style grip. “Take it easy, mate” Ross said.
“We’ll get the fuckers that did this. We’ll tear them
apart, tie their entrails round their necks, and watch the life ooze out
of them!” Ross laughed gleefully. “It’ll be fuckin’
Pan sobbed. “But that won’t bring back the cake and doughnut
“Yes it will!” Ross said. “We’ll force the fuckers
to make tons of the stuff before we slaughter them. We’ll even force
them to do the baking, icing, and sugaring as well!”
Pan smiled weakly. “I suppose that would be good.”
Ross nodded, and let go of his friend. “Damn fuckin’ right
An alarm started sounding.
The sexy voice of HMS Death Reaper spoke. “CONDITION RED. ALL HANDS
TO BATTLE STATIONS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
“Oh dear.” Peter said. He was staring at a console screen.
Ross wandered over and looked. “What’s up?”
“I think something’s coming towards us!”
The screen showed a computer representation of a blob-like shape growing
Peter looked up, and then questioned the ship. “Death Reaper? What’s
that blob-like shape coming towards us?”
“IDENTITY OF THE APPROACHING VESSEL IS CONFIRMED AS LENTIL SEED.”
Peter and Ross looked at each other, confused.
Ross spoke. “What the fuck’s ‘Lentil Seed’?”
A moaning sound was heard. It was Justin, trying to scrape himself off
the floor. Peter and Ross grabbed hold of him and helped him to his feet.
Justin spoke, spitting teeth and blood over his friends as he did so.
“Lentil Seed is the name of that vessel.” He groaned. “It’s
the reason we’re all on this mission.”
Peter grimaced as he wiped Justin’s blood off his own face. “What
do you mean? Is that the alien doom cruiser you mentioned?”
Justin nodded, and then coughed. More teeth escaped from his mouth. “We
have to destroy it. It’s the enemy’s mother-ship!”
Peter and Ross were still confused.
“Maybe it’s about time you told us who the enemy is?”
The last of Justin’s teeth flew through the air. “The people
of the planet Layzee-Sponjers, more commonly known as, Hippies!”
Ross found it hard to believe what he was hearing. “You mean that
hippies are actually fuckin’ space aliens?”
Justin nodded solemnly.
“This is fucking fucked up, man!” Ross looked at his friends.
Peter and Pan were equally stunned by the news. Lawrence was still fast
asleep. That annoyed Ross. He stormed over to Lawrence and shook him violently.
“Lawrence, you lazy fuck! Wake up! You’ve gotta hear this!”
Being violently shaken and shouted at by Ross would normally wake anyone.
But not Lawrence. “I’m used to him being lazy, but this is
excessive, even for him!”
Justin spat out more blood from his now toothless mouth. “Settle
down, Ross. Leave him. Maybe something will sink in subconsciously.”
Justin’s tone was serious. “Now listen to me carefully. We
know that the Supreme Layzee-Sponjer, leader of all the Hippies, is said
to be asleep somewhere on planet Earth. It is also believed that the Lentil
Seed is here to rescue him.”
Ross spoke in his usual eloquent manner. “So you mean that we’ve
known about these fuckers for fucking years?”
Justin continued. “All will be revealed in due course. But for the
time being all you need to know is that after a great battle in 1990 with
Royal Navy forces just beyond the orbit of the Moon, the Supreme Layzee-Sponjer’s
ship was severely damaged. It crash-landed on the Earth. The 16MB memory
card that we recovered from the crash site in Whiteknights Lake, Reading,
revealed that the Supreme Layzee-Sponjer was put to sleep and his memory
erased to protect him until the hippy mother-ship, the Lentil Seed, came
to rescue him.”
As usual, Pan’s mind was elsewhere. “Anyone for white chocolate
doughnuts? This is the final batch. No more mix, remember.”
Peter could never refuse anything that had white chocolate on it. He took
three. “Thanks, Pan.”
A deep and slightly disturbing snore emanated from Lawrence’s mouth.
Despite the distractions, Justin continued. “It is imperative that
the hippies remain leaderless. Without the Supreme Layzee-Sponjer they
are disorganized and easily defeated. Even though their leader is the
laziest being ever known, he is a dangerous opponent. It’s hard
to believe, but his ability to sleep through anything is the source of
Ross scratched his shaved head. “I don’t fucking get it.”
Peter was anxious about something. “Pan, have you got any more white
Pan answered. “Just a second, Pete. I’m thinking.” He
was staring blankly at the front of the bridge as his thought process
began to kick in.
Justin could not ignore this interruption. “All of you shut it and
Everyone was quiet.
Justin resumed. “We need you to infiltrate the Lentil Seed and destroy
it from within. You will do this by...”
Pan dared to interrupt. “Justin? Do you know everything about us?”
Justin frowned, and then nodded. “Yes, although we had a little
trouble finding out anything about Lawrence prior to 1990 – the
start of his university years. Those idiots at Kent County Council didn’t
have any of his records.”
Pan’s thoughtful expression deepened. “Is it possible that…”
A warning alarm blared. It was a strange siren – similar to a cacophony
of screeching tires, duck mating calls, and a variety of face slaps and
Ross looked around. “What the fuck’s that for?”
Justin looked more serious than he’d ever looked in his entire career.
He silenced the alarm. “That alarm was personally created by me
to indicate one terrible and catastrophic event. I programmed it to sound
when a special and unique signal is broadcast from the Lentil Seed hippy
“What signal is that?”
“It’s the signal that reactivates the Supreme Layzee-Sponjer’s
Pan climbed up and stood on his seat. “Guys? We all met for the
first time at Reading around 1990, right?”
Justin, Peter and Ross nodded. Lawrence, of course, remained sleeping.
Pan continued. “This is going to sound stupid, but Lawrence seems
to fit the bill perfectly.”
Peter was a little confused. “Explain yourself, Pan.”
“Well, Justin said not long ago that the Navy couldn’t find
any information on Lawrence before 1990. The same time the Supreme Layzee-Sponjer
crashed on Earth. And Lawrence is in an almost permanent state of sleep,
or near-sleep. It seems possible that he could be the…”
Once again Pan was interrupted, but not by an alarm. A groan, chilling
and disgustingly loud, filled the bridge. That was followed immediately
by a deep tearing sound.
Pan, Ross, Peter and Justin all looked round towards the back of the bridge.
What they saw shocked them to the bone. Lawrence was standing in a hunched
and distorted pose in front of his seat. He spoke. “Gimme da ganja
me brudders, it feels like I aven’t ad un in tens of years.”
He looked up; his face twisted and lined with anger. “Who da fuck
are ya peoples?”
As usual, Pan’s instincts were right.