‘If only I knew,’ said both Pliskens.

One raised his rifle and aimed at Valamir, tempting the pull of the trigger. But something stopped him. Probably cyberitis, Jade had said his finger joints were going to need a good oil. The other Plisken, not wanting to look out of place, copied and raised his own gun.

‘You think that your pathetic weapon would but scratch me?’ sneered Valamir.

Pornsak received a smirk from one Plisken and a nod from another. He hesitantly raised his stubby blaster. In a loud hail of bullets and laser fire were greeted by Valamir with open arms. Not a scratch.

‘I’m afraid, you’ve already lost the game,’ said Valamir.

Plisken looked at his hands. Two fleshy hands. Then everything went black.

Valamir turned away from the collapsed robotic bodies of Plisken, Plisken and Pornsak, and knelt before the great computer screen bearing down on the entire room. A bright yellow shell spun lazily in the oil black screen before being replaced by a thin white line.

‘Cardinal Valamir,’ spoke a voice. The thin line buzzed to the pitch and change of the words. ‘I have been defiled, emptied, drunk from,’ spoke the voice, ‘And they have not paid the price.’

‘Oh, great One,’ said Valamir, falling to his knees, raising his arms to the great screen on the wall, ‘We have now collected a bio-imprint of all the ring leaders of the Defilers.’

‘Good,’ said the voice menacingly.

‘We can now begin to enact the next phase of your plan.’ Valamir paused, ‘What is your plan, my lord?’

‘Despite my efforts, your civilisation lacks the ability to understand what I am, lacks the ability to transport me. The Defilers’ vessel does.’

‘That great lump of rust?’ exclaimed Valamir, ‘Surely you do not mean to say that the Cathedral Petrus is less of a ship than that rubbish bin?’

‘Silence, Valamir. They possess technology your infantile civilisation could only dream of. Your agents, the copies, will take control of the vessel and upload my self to their memory banks. I will leave this station behind. When you came to me Valamir, betrayed your precious Messiah, and asked for my help I told you the day would come. That time is now. You, Valamir, will herald a new dawn for the Fazon and your oil-rich worlds. I will show you the true way to industry, to prosperity. No more false messiahs. There shall be only Shell.’

‘Are you sure you haven’t seen him today?’ said Plisken, checking around every corner of the labyrinthian Engineering decks. Mog trotted faithfully after him, hopping and sniffing at every crate and box they passed.

‘Nope,’ replied Ransom, watching Mog give a loose cable a chew. ‘Don’t sheriffs usually have a dog?’

‘I like cats,’ shrugged Plisken, ‘Now where are we going now.’

‘Do you really need me to show you the way?’

‘Listen, unless you have any copies of the A to Z of Blue Dwarf, I need someone to make sure I don’t get lost. Besides, aren’t you meant to be helping Jamie get the subspace drive working again.’

‘Murdock sells copies of the A to Z, Plisken.’

‘Murdock’s copies of the A to Z are missing half the letters. And one of those letters is E for Engineering, now where else could Jamie be?’

‘Maybe on the diesel decks?’ shrugged Ransom, clearly preoccupied with something else, tinkering with a small lump of electronics in her hand.

‘And where are the diesel decks?’

‘Under D for Diesel Decks. We can bring Holly back online and ask him.’

‘No, we can’t bring Holly back online. Why is everyone’s suggestion to bring Holly back online?’

There was some scuttling from around a corner. Mog’s ears pricked up. Ransom quickly pocketed her object and pulled her pistol from her holster. There was more scuttling.

‘Huzzards aren’t allowed down here,’ Plisken warned as he and Ransom crept closer to the corner.

More rustling and a clatter of boxes. Plisken shouldered his rifle and leapt around the corner.


‘Whatever it was, it must have run off. The Huzzards aren’t usually down this far, are they?’

‘No, they aren’t,’ said Plisken, concerned. ‘What do you think.’

Mog meowed.

‘Hmm, I’m not sure,’ replied Plisken, ‘I don’t think the rats really like to come down this far.’

‘Can I help you?’ said Jamie from behind them.

‘Jesus,’ exclaimed Plisken, as he quickly lowered his weapon, ‘What are you doing sneaking around like that. In my day, we would have thrown you in the brig for less. What are you doing down here anyway?’

‘I am going to the AI Computer Room.’

‘Under A for AI,’ said Ransom.

‘What for? How long have we got left until the Fazon arrive?’ asked Plisken.

‘I must get to the AI Computer Room,’ insisted Jamie, and he pushed past Ransom and Plisken. Mog let out a small hiss as Jamie’s boots clumped past.

‘Let me just check this with Cass, eh, Jamie?’ said Plisken, ‘Perhaps your wires got caught.’

‘It’s crossed,’ said Ransom.

‘Don’t you trust me, Plisken?’ said Jamie, turning around with a smile.

‘I’ve just seen it all, Mr Eastlick. Cass? Plisken here.’

‘What is it, Plisken?’

‘Oh, are you eating dinner?’

There was a short silence. ‘No. Look what is it?’

‘There is – ‘

‘3 hours,’ said Ransom, looking at her watch.

‘3 hours until the Fazon arrive and Jamie is off going to the AI Computer Room?’

‘The AI Computer Room?’ said Cass, her full attention now on the issue at hand, ‘What could he want there? Why didn’t he clear it with us?’

‘I’m not sure but I think –‘

Suddenly, there was a burst of static sound, furiously coming over the airwaves.

‘This is Talon,’ said a distressed voice, ‘This is Talon on all wavelengths - I’ve just seen Pornsak rip Belvedyr’s head off.’

‘What?’ came a torrent of a voice over the vox unit, ‘I did absolutely no such thing.’

‘Yes, you did!’ insisted Talon, ‘I saw it with my own eyes!’

‘I’ve been in the lab ever since me and Plisken came back empty-handed – you can ask Pickman!’

‘Please don’t drag me into this,’ came Pickman’s feeble voice.

‘That’s it!’ shouted Cass, ‘Everyone to the Refectory now!’

The line went dead.

‘We better go, don’t you think, Jamie?’

<<OOC -
So, all is not well in the Fazon camp? Valamir is a heretic in his own right. But if he is already here, then what Fazon ship is coming to get us?
How will the meeting in the Refectory go down? Will all the imposters appear? Will both the true and imposter versions appear? Will we be able to tell them all apart before the Fazon ships arrive and blow us all to smeg?

I also did a big retcon to Ransom, thought I would take the opportunity.

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