I’m such a snarxhüset. When it comes to pftzer-oozing juice cases, I can’t seem to turn anything down--even when I know that accepting the assignment will cause me a stinging pain in the lower pusher. I just hope Sensi, the love of my life and bearer of my chingos, will forgive me someday. Otherwise, it’ll be a long cold season this side of the sun; and quite honestly, I’d rather have a sharpie jabbed in my darkies, blinding me forever, than to live through that.
“This is your last chance, Krii!” With the scratches and zizzings pouring through my headsets, I barely made out Reginald’s words.
“Oh gee, I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied.
It wasn’t that I disliked Reginald. Well, okay, it was that I disliked him. In fact, most everyone in my brood felt the universe would spin better without him. Since he was in his own language “family”, though, I felt a small obligation to extend simple courtesies before I pulled the trigger and took him and his ship out of commission. Permanently.
Reggie corkscrewed left. Not bad. Clever even. But still not enough to escape my pursuit.
“My gamma beam will blow your snake heads into oblivion,” he screamed.
Chuckles grumbled up both of my throats. P3 Bi-pods were all the same: they demonized what they failed to understand. No appreciation for differences.
“No reason to be nasty, Reggie.” I pushed into a slight dive. “It’s not my fault your God made you with only half a brain.” I nosed up on the fighter, targeting my guns on the vulnerable heat shield of his underbelly. “Maybe you should have done a better job using what you do have, though.”
A split second before I pulled the trigger, he flanked right and pulled into a sharp downward dive. A typical Zizklak maneuver. If it had been done on his planet, the G-forces would have squeezed him into unconsciousness; out here, half a million miles from the farthest moon of Saturn, the dive most likely just tickled his chest like a small cough.
I twisted my right head and kept my eyes on Reggie as I pulled up through a 135-degree arc and flipped around, trailing right behind him.
“That was a nice trick,” I said, “but you’ve forgotten one thing.”
“I’m a better pilot than you’ll be in two lifetimes. And you’re still in my sights.”
I couldn’t control my laughter when a stream of obscenities cut through my earphones. The Bi-pod design again: big mouth, tiny brain.
“Why are we fighting each other, Krii?” I detected a note of panic in Reggie’s tone now.
“You made someone very angry.”
“I haven’t done anything.”
“Stealing an antimatter bomb and then attempting to sell it to terrorists?”
The radio fell silent a moment. Then: “I’m acting on behalf of my government.”
“It’s your government that paying my contract.”
“Reggie, is that anyway to talk to your cousin’s life mate?”
What Sensi’s uncle ever saw in a Reggie’s mother, I will never know. Listening to Sensi tell it, though, the whole brood took it as a personal affront that a Quertz would try to marry a Bi-bod. We don’t even belong in the same species, a Quertz with four arms, four legs, and two heads, each with four sets of eyes. By design, a Quertz is far superior to the simple creatures from the blue orb. That we can actually crossbreed had always been considered an unnatural act by most in their right minds. However, Sensi’s uncle was never one to stick to the confines of creation. Consequently, their consummation produced a total disaster: a Bi-pod with three eyes, one of which Reggie couldn’t even use. Sad.
Reggie spiraled down and attempted to cut back into me. Surprising.
I snapped left, jettisoned through a tight downward bank, and caught up with him at the bottom of the dive, my guns trained on the back quarter-panels of his spacecraft.
“Don’t act like you’re better than me,” he said. The bitterness returned to his tone. “You’ll probably just use the government’s money to buy more drugs.”
“I don’t use.”
“Tell that to Sensi.”
My fuel gauge told me that time was on short supply. My holographic readout also confirmed a lock on my target. “I’m done talking, Reggie.”
“Wait,” he cried. He pulled up into steep angle.
I jerked back on my controls and re-acquired the laser-lock.
“Do you still have Jules?” he said.
Jules? Two seconds away from termination and Reggie wanted to know about the family pet? How interesting. He gave us the thing, said it was a guinea pig. I told Sensi it looked more like a dust mop, or maybe dinner. She didn’t find the humor in it.
I didn’t answer him. Instead, I sent out an electro-magnetic pulse and scrambled his systems. Then, I flanked right, past his dead ship. I circled around, toggled another lever, and jettisoned a timed explosive device. A moment later, my read-outs confirmed a secure attachment to the floating coffin. In ten minutes, Reggie would be dead, and I would be clear by then, the universe a safer place. The P-3 government would probably be angry to lose their precious bomb. I didn’t care.
Using a communications monitor, I sent a transmission home.
Sensi’s luscious heads filled my screen. “Is he dead?”
“He will be soon.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. "Right or wrong, he was still brood.”
“Yes. But he could have caused a universal war.” She closed her eyes for a moment. “When will you get back?”
“I’m on my way now.” I fired up my after-burners. “It will take a couple hours, though.”
“What do you want for dinner?”
I thought about Reggie’s last question.
“Take Jules to my lab and X-ray him, will you? If he has an explosive device imbedded under his fur, send him to your uncle. If not, put him in the microwave.”