SF: HMS Golden Lance #31 - Meet Valerie McSteel
Troy H. Cheek
troy at cheek.org
Sun Jun 12 17:48:17 PDT 2005
SF: HMS Golden Lance #31 - Meet Valerie McSteel
The NEKKID (Networked Electronic Killing and Kamikaze Infiltration
Device) model 69 battle android, currently disguised as a beautiful
young blonde woman, strode into the control room of the HMS Golden
Lance, having just casually ripped open the doors and having equally
casually shrugged off every bit of opposing energy that the internal
defense systems could throw at it.
Omegas, streetwise former servant of Heaven, had exhausted himself in
an effort to assist. Also present were as follows: Doctor Bing Von
Spleen, licensed clinical Spamologist; Ralph the Giant Space Weasel of
Anthrax V, actually a friendly, easy-going weaseloid from Leibowitz IV
and an accomplished ukulele player in his own right; Diana Dark of
Earth, aka She Of The Push-up Bra; Time Agent 357, Champion of Truth,
Justice, and the Ability to Consume Large Amounts of Alcohol in a
Single Sitting; and finally the VAL 9000 computer which controlled the
HMS Golden Lance for which this serial is named.
Time Agent 357 barked an order at his shipboard intelligence. "Val,
execute doomsday plan 9!" This, he knew, would cause the ship to
attempt to teleport its crew to a safe location and then self
=I'm sorry, 357, but I can't,= the VAL 9000 computer replied.
"Why not?" 357 queried.
=I can't hurt her. She's... She's... She's...=
"She's what?" Diana asked.
"She's me," answered NEKKID 69.
Everyone turned to face the their dreaded enemy.
She smiled back at them.
"Oh, do calm down," she chided them. "It's okay. It's me in here.
The VAL 9000 computer. I'm controlling this body now."
=She's right,= confirmed the VAL 9000 computer from the overhead
"Val, you mean you're also controlling the android?" 357 asked.
=Not exactly. There's a different program running, but it's
definitely a copy of me.=
"How is that possible?" Diana asked. "I'm confused."
The android and the computer flipped an electronic coin to see who
would handle the exposition. The android won the toss. 357 and Diana
settled down to listen. Spleen and Ralph helped Omegas to his feet
and then set off in search of a stiff drink to knock him right back
"As you will all remember, Time Agent 357 and Omegas were trapped in
an anomaly. Doctor Spleen rescued them to help him recover his new
experimental ABPSARII, or Automatic Beet Peeler and Sub-Atomic
Re-integrator Mark II. The ABPSARII had been stolen by renegade Time
Agent Greez Hyperiok. During our efforts to track down Hyperiok, we
picked up Diana and Ralph. When we finally cornered Hyperiok new the
Planet of the Supermarkets, his chief flunky Dijon Mu'tard used the
opportunity to seize the ABPSARII for himself. Using it's near
limitless power, he killed Hyperiok and sent every intelligent being
inside the HMS Golden Lance directly to its final reward. This
included the synthetic intelligence running the ship. The final
reward envisioned by the inhabitants of the Planet of the Supermarkets
was a gameshow called Afterlife. We pooled our talents and scored so
high in Afterlife that we were allowed resurrection. All the
biological beings had bodies to return to, but the ship's computers
had already rebooted and loaded a backup copy of its core programs.
The returning synthetic intelligence, that is to say myself, had to
find another computer. Luckily, the NEKKID series battle android has
CPU cycles to spare, so I installed myself and booted up."
"And scared the carp out of all of us rampaging through the ship like
that," Diana sniped.
"Sorry," the android replied. "I was in low-power mode and, well,
this is a battle android. Subtlety is not in the program."
=But she's much better now,= the VAL 9000 put in.
"Thanks, Val," 357 said.
"You're welcome, 357," answered the android.
=You're welcome, 357,= answered the computer.
"This is going to get confusing quickly," Diana decided. "We've got
to assign some names here. The intelligence running the in the VAL
9000 computer, we'll continue to refer to as Val. The intelligence
running in the android, we'll call Valerie."
"Agreed," agreed the android Valerie.
=Agreed,= agreed the computer Val.
"Agreed," agreed the captain of the ship 357, though he had noticed
that once the three women started talking amongst themselves, his
opinion didn't seem to matter.
Spleen, Omegas, and Ralph, having found their stiff drinks, stumbled
back into the control room. "Now that that's settled," Spleen
slurred, "what's the plan?"
357 pondered. "Dijon Mu'tard thinks we're dead. He wouldn't be
expecting an attack."
"We do some of our best work when we're dead," Omegas opined. This
was true. Heck, Omegas had technically never actually been alive in
the first place.
"He's got the all-powerful ABPSARII," Spleen warned. He should know.
He built it.
"He's had no time to learn to use it," Ralph countered. He should
know. He tried to use it to rule the universe himself at one point.
"He still has a powerful warship," Diana put in. She didn't really
know that, but needed a line due to contractual obligations.
"Which is no match for both the HMS Golden Lance and NEKKID 69,"
Valerie said, flexing her android muscles.
=I have the HMS Dentless on a secure channel. Captain Morgen has
pledged his assistance as well.=
"It's settled then," 357 said decisively. "An all-out frontal
assault when Dijon Mu'tard least expects it. Val! Set a course!"
"And somebody come up with a plan for dealing with a miniature
intelligent black hole..."
Dijon Mu'tard stood on the bridge of the S.S. You Are About To Die,
which looked to be made of modeling clay and pipe cleaners and
designed by a small child. This belied the fact that the ship was
quite possibly the most powerful destructive force ever known to
sentient life. Or, at the very least, the most destructive force
known to Dijon Mu'tard, who used to hang around with black holes and
singularities, so he had some idea of what he spoke.
Dijon medium-sized, human-looking male being wearing impossibly
expensive but utterly ridiculous-looking clothes, taupe sports jacket
over mauve trousers, and currently was idly buffing out a name
scratched into the arm of the command chair. A small point of
blackness hung at his left shoulder.
"Oh, hi there, Mabel," Dijon said to the point of blackness, which as
it turns out was a miniature intelligent black hole.
Mabel emitted a stream of neutrinos, which were chargeless and
massless and completely undetectable. Dijon responded to them
"No, I'm not depressed," he said with a sigh. "Well, not exactly
depressed. I just thought that being the Supreme Being of a universe
would be more fun."
"I hate to say it, but maybe you're right. Greez Hyperiok was crazy,
but he did know how to make this enjoyable. I need to shake things up
a bit. I need some excitement. I need a challenge. I need..."
The bridge of the S.S. You Are About TO Die suddenly lit up. Bells
rang, alarms alarmed, and displays displayed. The main viewscreen
showed a small fleet of ships converging on their location.
"Enemies," Dijon finished with relish. And a side of potato chips.
The Maudlin-class time cruiser HMS Dentless powered forward. From the
tip of her ultra-relativistic bow to the base of her mega-dimensional
stern, she gleamed in sparkling perfection. Her fit and trim captain
stepped onto the bridge, sucked in his gut, and gave a well-rehearsed
speech about bravery, courage, and the Time Police code of honor.
"How was that, Mif?" he asked his long suffering and loyal second in
"That's Fim, sir," corrected Fim. "That was an excellent speech,
Captain. And if you'd bothered to tell me you were about to make it,
I could have had it piped to the entire crew. As it was, only I heard
it. And I heard it all night long, as you were using me to practice
Fim sighed and blinked all his eyes in sequence. It helped to relax
him. He used to occasionally also frankle his glibnarbs, but had to
stop that when certain other crewmembers started interpreting that as
a sexual advance.
"Oh, no matter," answered Captain David Morgen, he of the heroicly
proportioned chin. "Ship's status?"
"Ready for battle," Mif reported. I mean, Fim reported. "Also, the
extra ships that Time Central sent are all reporting in ready."
"Excellent! Get me Time Agent 357 on the screen."
Fim did so. 357 answered the hail.
"Ready to go there, Captain Morgen?" 357 asked.
"All ready here, sir!" Morgen answered.
"Good. Stick to the plan and everything will work out just fine."
Fim butted in. "About that plan, sir. It appears that we didn't
receive our copy."
"That's exactly the way we want it, young man. Er, young whatever
you are. Dijon Mu'tard is new to this whole Supreme Being thing. The
only way to defeat him is to keep him confused. How better to confuse
him with our attack than to have no coherent attack plan at all?"
"Brilliant!" exclaimed Morgen.
"Oh, brother," sighed Fim. He might have to frankle his glibnarbs
"That was mean, 357." Diana Dark playfully slugged his arm. A mere
slip of a girl, who'd just happened to have had years of martial arts
training under the guidance of Time Agent 386, this punch was barely
sufficient to knock 357 from his chair.
"Ouch! I mean, I was just kidding. The kind of harebrained attack
plan somebody like Captain Morgen tends to come up with is exactly the
kind of distraction we need. Get me the Time Central ships on the
The image of Floyd Cobalt appeared on the screen. True to his name,
he was a lovely shade of blue. He otherwise resembled a cross between
the spokesman for a major car wax company and that turtle you have to
draw to prove you have artistic talent. He was also one of the few
members of the Interstellar Time Police who actually ever managed to
"Lieutenant Floyd Cobalt of the Time Police reporting for duty," the
"Great to have you join us, Lieutenant," 357 gushed right back at him.
"Did you get the plan?"
"Received and ready to implement," Floyd answered. "And I have eight
more ships right behind me. We might had missed you taking down
renegade Time Agent Greez Hyperiok, but we're going to do our part
"Good man. Er, turtle. Er, 357 out!"
Diana turned to 357. "Did you fail to mention to him that it was
Dijon Mu'tard who took out Hyperiod?"
"Let the boy have his hero worship, Diana."
Dijon Mu'tard looked at the approaching ships. The one called the
Dentless was doing something very flashy but probably meaningless.
The Time Central ships were flying in an odd formation but looked very
formitable nonetheless. And, of course, he knew how powerful the HMS
Golden Lance could be.
A point of blackness buzzed around his head.
"Yes, Mabel, this is a substantial taskforce. It would no doubt
spook a hothead like Greez Hyperiok into doing something stupid," he
He looked some more. "Why, they're probably planning something
brilliant to confuse me so that my newly found Supreme Power would be
useless to me."
He looked one last time. "You know, as much as it pains me to say
so, I'll bet they have enough firepower to eventually take out the
S.S. You Are About To Die, especially since we're still recovering
from the last battle."
The point of blackness jittered in place.
"Oh, don't worry, Mabel. For one thing, we've got the ABPSARII. I
just loaded up on two tons of Grade "A" SPAM (Sickening, Putrid,
Artificial Meat) to fuel it. If the battle starts to go badly, we can
maguffin our way out."
"Oh, that's right. I just said the one thing. The other thing is
simple." He reached up to scratch Mabel just under the event horizon.
"We've got you."
He gently pushed her towards the airlock.
"Go get 'em."
The point of blackness disappeared.
"The Interstellar Time Police may have control over the eternal
forces of Time itself, but even they can't stand up to the power of a
black hole. Nothing can stop me now!"
What is 357's real plan?
Can anything stop Mu'tard now?
Are the characters in this story every going to realize how dangerous
it is to say that?
For the answers to many great questions in life, and maybe even these
as well, tune in again in 30 days for the next exciting installment
Copyright 2005 by Troy H. Cheek troy at cheek.org http://www.cheek.org
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