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Book: Hippies
Chapter 5: Flesh Particles

Back on cool oxygenated tranquility of planet Earth, General Kath had demanded that all her night’s winnings be put on black. The roulette wheel was spun and the ball bounced its noisy way across the numbered bays. As the centrifugal force of the wheel lessened so did the ball’s speed. The ball first landed on a red number, lingering there for what seemed like an age. And then the ball jumped out, dancing and toying with a multitude of other red numbers before finally landing on... a black number.

Kath grinned - another win. But her happiness was lessened by the absence of her friends. It just was not the same without those crazy chaps Pan, Ross, Peter, Lawrence and Justin. Kath recalled the last time they were all here; a perfect summer’s evening back in their student days. It had not been the excessive gambling or eating that she was recalling now. It was the car races on dark country roads that had followed. Pan and Ross had destroyed several sets of tires in the process, and Kath remembered how she had giggled in her unique and endearing manner as her two speed-freak friends had pushed their cars beyond their theoretically determined maximum speeds. She chuckled as she recalled how Ross and Pan had decided to race despite a police car slowly pulling up behind them. Before the police had realized what was going on the two racers had screamed off at neck-breaking speeds towards a distant finish line deep in the Berkshire countryside. Peter and Lawrence had been at the finish line with bags of snacks and cases of beer for the winner. And for the loser too, in fact. And also for those that did not race.

General Kath sighed. Winning without those guys just was not the same.

“Splendid performance.” Corporal Jackson said. “Will ma’am be playing again?” He was a little worried at the amount of cash his superior officer would have to carry home. Security was always on his mind. Only he and a useless private had accompanied the general tonight. She had promised that she would only bet ten pounds, and stay for no longer than an hour. He should have known better.

General Kath did not have time to answer. In the distance a commotion could be heard. The corporal and the general looked up from the table. Someone – clumsy and loud, was entering the casino.

Private Schwimmer appeared. His clothes were dirty and ripped, and his face was bruised and scratched. As he approached he bumped some of the casino’s other guests, finally tripping over a tiny bump in the sumptuous red carpet. He fell hard onto his face. An air conditioning grill on the floor had managed to trap the private’s nose. He fought with the grill for a while until the screws that held it pulled free from the ground. He looked up, his face screwed up in pain. Clambering to his feet, he pulled the grill of his nose, tearing a new nostril as he did so. He looked at the general. “Hum adasgas dagahasaghadasnaf, ma’am!”

General Kath was not impressed. “What have I told you about speaking too quickly, private? Take a deep breath and slow down. Think first. What’s the matter?”

Private Schwimmer breathed deeply. “Royal Navy Mission Control requests the immediate assistance of the army, ma’am. It appears that Captain Justin Codd, commander of HMS Death Reaper, has got himself into a spot of bother with the hippies again, ma’am.”

“I’ve not spoken to Captain Codd since the battle of the Spliff.” The general said. “And as far as I can recall that was his last encounter with those listless idiots. This should be interesting. I’ll be there in a while, private. Give me half-an-hour to finish up here.”

“Pan, Peter, Lawrence and Ross are also with Captain Codd, ma’am.”

A glow filled General Kath’s eyes and a massive grin spread across her face. She stood up. “Why didn’t you say so before? Corporal? Private? Let’s move out!” She somersaulted over the roulette table, dived out of the front entrance and leaped in a very ballet-like manner into her seat in the jeep. Corporal Jackson following closely behind.

As usual, Private Schwimmer was having great difficulty negotiating the casino’s exit. A small Yorkshire terrier that was nipping his ankles only added to his troubles.

High above the surface of the Earth, the crew of the massive hippy ship, the Lentil Seed was trying to deal with a potentially deadly attack.

“Oh, heavy man!” The ship’s weapons officer, said. There's, like, 20 or so torpedo-like things heading straight for us, commander!”

Commander A’Doner was standing right behind him. He swung his momentous gut sideways, whacking the weapons officer on the back of the head. “I know, arse magnet!”

The weapons officer was distressed, not least about the giant gut-slap he had just received. “What defence have we got against, like, those?”

The commander whacked the weapons officer once again. “Don’t be such a thick faggot! We'll have to use our last line of defence." He reached down and lifted the safety cover on the weapons officer’s console. A big black button was revealed. The commander pushed the button.

A few decks down, Randy Pansie, one of the most useless beings ever born, was relaxing in his bunk in the Lentil Seed’s dank but flowery sleeping quarters. He was smoking like a chimney. “Man, dis dope iz de slamminist sheet!”

Randy’s relaxed enjoyment suddenly turned to a state similar to very mild concern as a metallic door whooshed up pinning him into his bunk. Next his bunk tipped up sending him tumbling into a wide and slippery tube. “Man, dis iz jist lick one of dem water slides!" He exclaimed as he fell. He managed to continue drawing deeply on his spliff. He relaxed again and settled down to enjoy the ride. He had no idea where he was going, but he really did not care. “Dis is outta dis world!”

With a dull pop, rather like the opening of a bottle of cheap sparkling wine, Randy was expelled out into space.

On the bridge of HMS Death Reaper Justin, Peter, Ross and Pan watched the torpedoes close in on the Lentil Seed.

Justin was amazed at what he was seeing. “They’re insane!” He said, his speech slurred by his lack of teeth. The giant screen at the front of the bridge was showing a frightening event. The Lentil Seed had expelled a cloud of hippies, thousands of them. They were drifting, frozen and dead, in the path of the torpedoes. With a flash of crimson the first of the torpedoes detonated as it hit a drifting hippy. Seconds later more of the torpedoes detonated as hippy corpses got in their way. “They’re using their crewmembers as chaff!”

Peter nodded. “Hideous. But in another way, cool!”

No one disagreed with their learned friend’s appraisal of the situation.

As the rest of the torpedoes detonated, the cloud of vaporized hippies thickened and grew.

Justin looked down at his console. “Damn! Only three of the torpedoes found their mark!”

Under cover of the vaporized hippy cloud, the damaged Lentil Seed limped of to rendezvous with the rest of the hippy fleet. Onboard thick smoke and loud moaning filled almost every deck. But most of the smoke was not because of the damage. The shock and stress of three direct hits had caused most of the hippies to instantly skin-up and draw huge lungfuls of dope. The shuddering of the heavily damaged ship worried them no longer.

On the bridge, Commander A’Doner leaned forward in his command chair. Sweat dribbled down his face and over his four chins. His plan to swallow up the British submarine into his huge ship and rescue his long lost supreme master had failed miserably. He was pissed off beyond belief. “Give me more speed, you boney bastard!”

The Lentil Seed’s wiry pilot, a being barely alive, looked back at his commander. “We’re, like, going as fast as we can.”

Commander A’Doner slammed his fist on the side of his chair. “Liar! We normally go much faster than this!”

“Not with only, erm,.. One engine.”

The commander fumed. “How long will it take to get back to the fleet at this chronic speed?”

The frail pilot looked down at his display. “Erm… It’ll take, like, a week, or something.”

“Turds!” The huge bellied commander turned to his weapons officer. “Hey, cheek licker? What’s that submarine up to now?”

“Well,” the weapons officer answered, “that cloud of hippies that we launched vaporized really well. The submarine got, like, coated in bloodied flesh particles. But, like, they recovered pretty quickly. They’re now following us and, like, they’re gaining, or something.”

“Damn it! We’ll never get to the fleet in time, and we’ll never survive another assault. There aren’t enough crewmembers left to eject!”

The weapons officer leaned on his console and buried his face in his hands. He sobbed. “We’re, like, doomed.”

The commander got heavily to his feet. “You sad, pessimistic arse donkey!” He shouted, stomping over to the weapons officer. “I’ve had enough of your rectum-sucking whining.”

The commander pulled a sledge hammer from out of his robes and swung it high into the air. With incredible speed, Commander A’Doner brought the hammer down hard onto the back of the weapons officer’s head. With a dull wet slap, the weapons officer’s head was crushed like a tomato against his console. Shattered skull and pulverized brain matter scattered across the bridge. The officer’s headless body slipped sideways and on to the floor. His still beating heart pumped rich oxygenated blood across the carpet.

The commander wiped blood and bone off his face and looked around at the rest of the bridge crew. “Let that be a lesson to you all.” He bellowed. “There’ll be no more negativity on this vessel, is that clear?!”

The crew nodded lazily. Most were too stoned to care.

Commander A’Doner sat back down. “Set a course for Europa.” He said to the pilot. “Our only hope is to hide at our secret base in the ocean deep below the ice and make repairs. There’s no way they’ll be able to follow us down there.”

“OK, commander.” The pilot said. He played with a few knobs and levers. “Course to Europa, nice and icy moon of Jupiter, is, like, laid in.”

Back on the bridge of HMS Death Reaper, things were looking up.

Peter laughed and pointed at the main screen. “Even with all our damage from that IBM mine, and the hull smeared with pulverized hippy flesh, we’re gaining on that hippy ship!”

Ross punched the air. “Fuckin’ yes!”

Pan chuckled in an uncharacteristically evil manner. “We’re gonna get those smelly bastards! Vengeance will be sweet! Manky-haired shit mothers!”

Peter was concerned. “You’re taking all this a little personally, Pan. Try to stay objective.”

Pan turned and shook Peter by the shoulders. “The doughnut and cake mix, remember?! The skinny bastards laid that IBM mine that destroyed six months supply of the stuff! Apart from the emergency supply I always carry with me, there’s no more on this ship!”

Peter nodded, remembering. “I understand, Pan. Don’t worry, vengeance will be ours.”

Justin spoke, his voice slurred. He still had not got used to having all his teeth knocked out. “Look, the Lentil Seed has changed course!”

The large screen at the front of the bridge showed the hippy vessel’s new course.

“Death Reaper?” Justin said, directing his voice to the ship. “Where’s the enemy headed?”

The image on the screen was overlaid with a map of the solar-system. “THE LENTIL SEED IS ON A DIRECT COURSE TO EUROPA.”

“Of course!” Justin exclaimed.

Pan was perplexed. “You were expecting that?”

Justin smiled. His toothless grin was incredibly disturbing. “I’d almost forgotten. During the battle of the Spliff our intelligence uncovered some vague details of a secret Layzee-Sponjer base in the ocean deep below Europa’s ice layer.”

Ross spoke. “Why didn’t you destroy the fuckin’ thing?”

“We tried,” Justin said. “But the ice that covers the whole of Europa is more than ten miles thick. We just didn’t have the energy or technology to break through it.”

“Fuck!” Ross said, as eloquently as he could. “Those fuckin’ hippies are more advanced than we are! Motherfuckers!” Ross punched the ceiling, denting some piping.

“Not any more.” Justin said, smiling again. The others took a step back. Captain Codd’s lack of teeth was indeed a very disturbing sight. “This submarine is equipped with a supremely cool device that’ll get us through extremely thick ice with incredible ease.”

Ross grabbed Justin and kissed him on the forehead. “You fuckin’ star!”

Justin was speechless, so Peter gave the order. “Death Reaper? Set course for Europa, as fast as you can.”

With the elegance of a wounded rhino, HMS Death Reaper left Earth orbit and headed for the icy moon.

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