Dead Planet XIVI

Dead Planet XVI

“Stream of what?”
—Graham Greene,
The Third Man

Tyrell popped up on the vidscreen.

“Are you alone?”

“Yes, Dr. Tyrell. How are you today, sir?”

I lied. I wasn’t alone. The kid was sleeping in bed. Knowing him—he probably could hear the conversation. Subliminally anyway.

“I’ve got a request, Mr. Deckard.”


Static wiggled across the screen.

“I need your bounty hunter services.”

A foreboding evil faint-violet zigzag began slithering across the screen like a snake. I could almost smell the ozone. Something was wrong. Tyrell’s voice was tense.

“I need your bounty hunter services badly.”

“I’m retired.”

“I’ll make it worth your while, Deckard.”

“I’m retired, Tyrell. I don’t retire droids anymore.”

Tyrell turned briefly to somebody off-screen. There was a hushed conversation. I heard the low thud of stun-guns in the background. More static. He turned back to me.

“Look, Deckard. We’ve got a problem down here.”


“The lizards have offed my droid-bodyguards. You’re the only one with a Nexus-9 droid up there now. My staff & I are teleporting to Titan any minute now.”

“What is it you want me to do?”

“You & JJ your Nexus kid. The exo-creepazoids will be after you next. We’ve got an exo-war on our hands. They’ve taken over Mars Underground.”

More static. I heard some atomic void-zoid rumblings in the background. Metal screeching against metal. Loud banging against the bunker doors. Tyrell’s empire was crumbling down there. For some reason, I’d been expecting it. You can only deal with the exo-creeps so long—and then they go for the jugular. They can’t help it—it’s snake-brain genetic. How many of them were down there? Jaysus Christ. Just one lousy retired bounty-hunter—WTF could I do against an army of snakes? It was a viper’s nest down there. I shook my head. Tyrell with all his high-tech expertise & brains. So much for exo-diplomacy. And any kind of Earthman finesse.

“C’mon Tyrell. What do you want me to do?”

“Protect the kid. Use your hunter skills to hide him. He’s the only Nexus-9 we’ve got left now. Everything depends on that kid now. He’s our only hope.”

The vidscreen went blank.

I sat there in a cold sweat. Night was descending over Hellas Town. Phobos sailed overhead. Far down below the Amazonis Plains—a war was breaking out. A really nasty one. I turned around—the kid was standing next to me.

“Get my zoid-gun in the safe, kid.”

I pointed to the safe in the wall. He walked over to it, clicked the fake Picasso open & took out my shoulder-holster & zoid-weapon.

“Let’s get outta here.”

The kid already had his jumpsuit on—his desert boots too. We got to the hover-craft fast—quickly we were zooming low outta Hellas Town. The radar was clean—the air was cool.

I needed a drink. But there wasn’t any.

“Where we goin’?”

The kid slid down his night-vision glasses.

Amazonis desert dunes—skimmed down there below.

“To the pyramid.”

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