Covalent Blonde stared at the men in the tan uniforms. They were big and purple, and looked vaguely familiar.
If pressed she might have been able to rustle up a memory of a fight in a cheap bar on a backwater planet. But that had been three years and at least a hundred fights ago. Covalent Blonde couldn’t be bothered to recall the face of every loser who came at her before she rearranged it. And if she could even recall that planet, she would more than likely have remembered finding Balls at a club called Middle-Aged Mamas, drunkenly motor-boating a stripper who had breasts bigger than her head.
But Covalent Blonde had been to dozens of planets and had kicked scores of asses since then, so she was focused more on the fact that there were four large, muscular purple men armed with blaster rifles, and they were pointing them in her direction.
The Deloobians for their part might have recognized Covalent Blonde, if she weren’t covered in mud from her scuffle with Vexa. That fight three years ago had left them all scarred and damaged, both inside and out. They had been in countless fights before that fateful night in the Head Shot. They had even lost fights before, albeit rarely. But they had never been so thoroughly dominated by a single opponent, and one who emerged unscathed from the conflict at that. It was an event that weighed heavily upon the Deloobians. Weeks of medical care were followed by months of counseling, team-building exercises and motivational speaker seminars. It was an arduous process but in the end the clone-brothers had come through it stronger than before. They had been tested but not bested, as Nulian had said. He was their favorite motivational speaker, as he punctuated his speeches with timed explosions and firearms practice.
“Don’t move,” Brek said. He was the commander of this particular squad of Deloobian clones, although he took care to listen to the concerns of his brothers. ‘We hear with our ears but listen with our hearts,’ Nulian had also said. Then he had blown up a small tank with a proton grenade. Brek kept his blaster rifle pointed at the group and moved towards them.
“Unable to translate,” King Zixtik cried as Brek and his clone-brothers got closer. Brek gave him a glare and the crabman shut up. The other Deloobians kept their rifles trained on Ziktik, Vexa and Covalent Blonde as Brek moved to Princess Tasmin, who still lay sprawled in the crashed aircar. Brek checked her pulse, which he judged to be normal. He wasn’t really sure, as he didn’t even know what race the green alien was, but ‘Lead with confidence or die from doubt,’ as Nulian had said.
Brek still wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but Nulian had called in an air strike after saying it, so it was obviously important.
“Round ’em up,” he said to his clone-brothers. “We’ll question ’em back at the base.”
The other three Deloobians nodded and walked toward the group as Brek picked up the green girl with one large arm and hefted her over his shoulder.
Tasmin opened one eye. She’s been knocked out by the crash, but was seemingly uninjured. That wasn’t a surprise, really. She came from a durable race and Tasmin herself had been through far worse collisions. She’d usually been the one causing them, actually.
The princess had started to come around when Covalent Blonde and that stupid cyborg got into their fight and Tasmin had watched the battle with no small amount of interest. She loved it when people fought over her. She had decided to throw herself at the winner, but she couldn’t decide which one she’d prefer. She’d never had sex with a female cyborg before. A male, sure. That had been quite the memorable night but the next morning the poor guy couldn’t even walk straight. Tasmin had quite literally blown out his ball joints.
On the other hand, Covalent Blonde wasn’t trying to kill that poor crabman.
The fight was cut short when the big purple Deloobians showed up. Princess Tasmin was well acquainted with the race, as her father had hired them as mercenaries over the years. He had seemed happier with their martial skills than Tasmin had been with their knowledge of all things carnal. Honestly, they had less imagination than her rather extensive and esoteric collection of dildos, vibrators and ticklers. Sure, some of her toys were sentient, but still.
Tasmin had played dead when she spotted the Deloobians. She thought she might have a chance to escape, but one of the half-wits had picked her up like a sack of grain and slung her over his shoulder. It was undignified, which would have been fine if it was going to lead to something fun, but Tasmin knew from past experience that a Deloobian’s sense of foreplay was eating half a Terbian rhino and watching a game of slaughterball.
Hard pass, thought Tasmin. She looked down from where she was hanging and saw the Deloobian’s blaster pistol. He was wearing it in a holster on his hip, and it was just sitting there, waiting to be grabbed. So Tasmin did.
Truthfully, being raised a spoiled princess had not earned Tasmin much in the way of firearms experience. She had used a foam soaker to hose down debauched party-goers on more than one occasion, but that had in no way prepared her for the kick of a real Zymmtec Mk. II heavy blaster pistol going off. She hadn’t even meant to pull the trigger, she was just curious what would happen if she did, and suddenly there was a loud noise and one of the Deloobians was standing there without a head.
Everyone stopped for a moment, and then chaos erupted. Brek, still unaware that Tasmin had stolen his pistol, spun around at the sound of the blaster and saw the headless torso of his clone-brother come crashing down onto the jungle floor. While he spun, Tasmin kept reflexively pulling the trigger of the blaster pistol. A barrage of deadly blaster fire sent Covalent Blonde splashing into the mud even as Vexa dove into the relative safety of the crashed aircar. For his part, King Zixtik did his best to lie still in the tall grass and pray to the Crabmother that he would somehow get through this madness and back to Ksskyrr in one piece.
The Deloobians, on the other hand, raised their guns up, intent on returning fire against whoever had killed their clone-brother. Tasmin’s wild shots strafed them both with blaster fire and they fell, missing vital organs and very dead. Brek spun this way and that, seeing his clone-brothers fall but having no idea where the shots were coming from. Then he spotted Covalent Blonde rising from the mud. A simple soul, Brek had no idea if she was to blame for all this carnage, but he decided to kill her anyway. ‘Sometimes you’ve just got to kill stuff,’ Nulian had once told him. It was good advice, and Brek followed it often.
The Deloobian raised his blaster rifle at Covalent Blonde. But then he froze. She had a rock, a large one, and she hurled it directly at Brek’s face. All those months of therapy and still, on seeing the rock heading directly for his face, he was paralyzed.
“Not again,” he murmured, a distinct whine breaking through his normally deep voice.
The rock struck Brek full in the face and he collapsed in a heap. Covalent Blonde slogged through the mud and looked down at the huge man, and the lithe green limbs that stuck out from underneath him. She rolled the Deloobian to the side and Princess Tasmin struggled out from underneath the purple mass.
“Gah,” said the princess. “I think I swallowed a bug.”
“I’m sure you’ve swallowed worse,” said Covalent Blonde, taking the blaster pistol from Tasmin’s hand. “Nice shooting, by the way.”
The princess smiled brightly. “Thanks! Can you believe it was my first time?”
Covalent Blonde looked around at the three dead Deloobians. “You hit a triple first time at bat. Not bad.”
Tasmin smiled again and nodded, even though she had no idea what any of that meant. She wondered if it was a sex thing, and if so she was hoping they could try it out later. If they needed three there was always the crabman.
Vexa stuck her head up out of the crashed aircar. Covalent Blonde pointed the blaster pistol at her and the cyborg raised her hands.
“Truce?” Vexa looked hopeful. Covalent Blonde, dripping mud, glared at the cyborg.
“Sure, we could call a truce,” she said. “Or, and hear me out, I could just blast you into scrap and leave you here.”
“I don’t think you’re going to want to do that,” Vexa said. “We’re going to need each other if we’re going to get away.”
“Away from what? The princess here already took care of the purple patrol.”
Tasmin grinned and nodded happily, and clutched Covalent Blonde’s arm.
“Yeah,” the princess said to Vexa. “What do we need you for anyway?”
In response, Vexa pointed up, towards the sky. “My sensors picked them up a minute ago.”
Covalent Blonde and the princess looked up towards the sky. Lights appeared, and then they heard the sound of large engines. A pair of armored aircars swept into view above them, turrets pointed down toward the group.
“Don’t move,” boomed a voice through a loudspeaker. “You are all under arrest, by the order of the Madrak!”
“What’s a Madrak?” asked Princess Tasmin.
“I have no idea,” Covalent Blonde replied as she dropped the blaster pistol. “But I think we’re gonna find out.”
“Unable to translate,” whimpered King Zixtik from where he lay in the tall grass.