Short Story -- Milk Run

 

Milk Run

by

Duke Davis

 

 

"Har Matey! Avast there!  Heave to or I'll broadside ya!"

Par looked at the speaker, his jaw would have swung in the breeze had there been any breeze, and were he equipped with a jaw. "Caxon! Caxon!  Get your ass in here! Caxo..."

"Avast the caterwauling ya lubber! Batten down yer lips. Prepare for borders!"

Several clunks, a thud, and two scrapes echoed along the port side.

Par swiveled an eyestalk toward the rear hatch, "Caxon! You best get your green speckled ass in here now!" He screamed, as Caxon oozed over the ships rib that served as a hatchway.

Caxon gathered himself into one contiguous mass and towered to his full height of nine drels. "Wash... Whash de mamer?" He asked trying to look dignified.

"You imbecile! You've been at the protopolops again! This is supposed to be a milk run, but now we've got a real emergency and you're stoned!" Par ripped out a feelerful of cilia, the bald spot on his crest grew some more.

"Har ye self-breeding scum, heave too, we're coming aboard! Attack, me hearties! Don't kill 'em! We wants prisoners, we wants to torture 'em, we wants to know where they sailed from! And then, maybe we wants to eat 'em! “The still unseen voice ranted over the com system.

"We gotch a lil' company?" Asked Caxon, again slumped into a reeking puddle with half a dozen eyestalks and a pseudo gripper pod sticking out the top.

"We've got more than a 'little company'. We're being attacked by something that wants to torture and eat us!" Par nervously drummed twenty-five or so digits on the control ridge.

The control ridge is the one place where an Immuner ship is ticklish. A vibration started in the rear propulsion and defense pods. It worked through the central cavity storage units, shaking up all the plasma storage containers holding cell growth fuels, and by the time it reached the bridge...Well, the ship was shuddering like a leaf in a heavy wind.

"Reverse Attack! Set the jib! Secure for heavy weather! The poxy self-breeders have counterattacked!"

Par quickly retracted all his feelers, digits, pods, and even all but one eyestalk, which he peeked out from under a flap of whatever he was made of.

This was followed closely by several more clunks, thuds, and scrapes.

Par flowed rather jerkily over to a vision membrane. He distorted the field so rear vision became possible.

"Megadeath!"  He screamed again. "There's at least twenty of those big white ships behind us! Do something Caxon! You're the damnable defense unit!"

Caxon slithered across to the membrane. "Well Dad-Gum! Look at all them suckers!" Caxon went through six color changes, and grew more eyestalks than his body            could handle. He lost so much substance he collapsed in a pile of appendages on the deck.

Par scooped up a section of Caxon, dragging him up level with six of the eyes he pulled from the membrane. "If you don't stop them from screwing with us, we'll fail! The entire Proctoligum will fail! Do you want to be remembered as the one that let them beat us? The Procto that let them stop the continuation of the Empire! The Procto tha..."

"Enough all ready! Scheech, can't a guy relax once in awhile without some damn Tranquilator getting all excited." Caxon gathered himself up, purged the protopolops from his system in a maliciously offensive and unsavory cloud from his front ventricle. This obscene gesture made him feel much better.

Now standing at his normal nine drels, he put two eyestalks through the hull, left two looking at Par, and retracted the rest. "Hmmmm, there's twenty-three of them out there. And, if you look behind them, you'll see a Viral Annihilator coming up fast."

"Now what are we going to do?” Wailed Par.

"Just stay on the yellow brick road, pilgrim. I'll head 'em off at the pass. Pull the ship into a circle; put the women and children in the center. The yellow peril will never win!" Caxon pulled his eyestalks back through the hull and went aft.

"What the blathering bladder drains are you talking about? Go stop those Viral Bastards! Stop them! Stop them! STOP THEM!" He screamed repeatedly while pulling more cilia from his crest. "Can't trust those single cell defense pods any farther than you can throw one," he muttered and turned back to the control ridge.

Caxon opened a port in the central cavity, slipped through and closed it back. At the first defense pod, he opened the triggering system and stimulated the contacts there. He did the same thing at the next three pods.

Copious amounts of acidic plasma sprayed out behind them. The large white ships ran headlong into the globs of plasmatic destruction. The plasma digested the ships, paying no attention to the pleas for mercy that emanated from within.

The Viral Annihilator swept past the plasma blobs as if they did not exist.

"Yeeee Hawwwww, ride 'em Procto!" Yelled Caxon in the excitement of the moment. He squished up to the next pod, put a feeler through the wall and stimulated the contacts there.

The front of the Annihilator started flashing blue; a siren screamed an undulating scream. "Pull over to the side and keep your hands in sight!" Said a basso profondo voice over the comm speaker.

Long strings of antiviral countermeasure gunk sprang from the hull. They homed on the Viral Annihilator and started wrapping it in a cocoon of sludge. The blue flashing stopped, the siren faltered, slowed, and stopped as the gunkie strings constricted around the Annihilator. The Annihilator died.

Caxon laughed, "Procto Man strikes again! In his secret identity as Caxon, duty drunk, of the main human immune system, he goes about his blundering ways. But when danger arises he springs to the rescue!"

Caxon created a hatch in the wall between the propulsion chamber and the central cavity; he went through and closed it behind him. He pulled three protopolops from the wall and consumed them.

"Thash better," he mumbled and crawled into the control room.

"We safe now Cheetah, rouge elephant not climb tree this big," he told Par and collapsed into a puddle that flowed into the corner.

Par sighed, only three more ferls to the Aorta Freeway, then another half a dozen miliferls to Heart Central. He checked the control ridge of the Immuner ship and then looked at his reflection in the vision membrane, "What a way to make a living!"

 

The End


 

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