A New Intern @ The Old Outpost
Andy Dufresne: “You know what it’s about? You’ll like it, it’s about a prison break.”
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: “We oughta file that under “Educational” too, oughten we…?”
Following a hefty bout of blockade-running around Planet Tumblabungla, Brad Company got caught in a nasty ambush on Droopy’s Heights.
On the other side of this theatre of inter-galactic war, Brad Fartlighter awakes to find himself – sans Company – trapped in the harsh prison complex of Sandler’s Slammer on Ajövő Világában, in the Wotchagonnado System, one of the misbegotten outer worlds of the Zandokan Empire.
Talk about an insufferable dive: Mexican food is NOWHERE to be seen on the menu and the local constabulary have struck the word: ‘escape’ from the local vocabulary…
“Hiya fellas, ‘ow ya doin’?” Brad slurred groggily, massaging the wincing pain at the back of his noddle.
A typical pair of scheming, thoroughly-nogoodniks stood by the bars of what looked like a grotty litle prison cell. The shortest, most brutish-looking miscreant stepped forwards.
“I am Warden Mal Praktizz. I will be your host for this – the final day of your pathetic, misspent life…”
The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger looked around in confusion: “Wha’…? No par’y, then…?”
“‘Fraid not, Fartlighter. You will find no donuts in this institution…”
Woddafuj Wuzzat, the Warden’s twisted right-hand man, leered at your hero: “NO donuts – no HOPE! NOBODY can save you NOW, you rebellious… rebel…!”
“Okey-dokey, Bright-Eyes…” the Warden spat impatiently. “Leave the monologuing to me, capisce? Hmm… they warned me about your… flippancy, Fartlighter. YOU are quite possibly the WORST Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger I have ever seen. Really, this does NOT look good for you, jackass… The Zandokan Provincial Council have already found you GUILTY of crimes against the Empire. At Dawn tomorrow, you will be executed! Do you have anything to say?”
“Oh, you BET the blue blazes I do, fella!”
“Very well, Earthman, OUT with it…”
“I ‘AVEN’T ‘AD ANY CAKE FER FOUR’Y-EIGHT ‘AHRZ, AN’ I’M STARTIN’ TA MOULT…”
“Can you believe they call us criminals when he’s assaulting us with that haircut?” – Rocket Raccoon.
“Welcome…!” announced Graf Masvoodler – that shifty scavenger from Shakatak – as Brad was flung unceremoniously into Cell 21-87. “…to the Imperial Home For Stray Moofmilkers, Mr… erm- by Dyzan! It’s YOU… isn’t it?! How did you end up all the way out here, Commander?!”
“Same as th resta’ yas… I got caught…”
Your hero found himself in a larger, but equally grotty cell. Apart from Graf, it was occupied by two other, very different, humanoid aliens: a scowling, purple-skinned being looming a full head taller than everybody else, and a fidgeting, green-skinned bounder. Brad became aware that the latter stared at him rather too impudently.
“‘Ey, Earthman!” smirked Thurston Satnavbenda, that mischievous mercenary from Szoldos. “Come ‘ere! I’m gonna redecorate this cell with yer-”
“Oh yeah?! See this, Fudgeface?!” Brad gleered, waving a clenched fist between them. “ONE swipe from this an’ I’ll break EVERY bone in it! So jus’ BACK ORF-!”
“Now, NOW! That’s enough hoity-toity!” Graf interjected. “Stow that attitude, Thurs! Don’t you know who you’re talking down to?! This is the Cakecharmer himself: Brad-“
“Fartlighter?! What, legendary Battleforce Commander? Leader of the notorious Brad Company… all the way out here?!”
“Yayep! I am that person; I am him, I am he…”
“In full effect, fella,” Brad replied nonchalantly, reaching down to pull the shocked admirer back to his feet. “Git OOP, ya wazzock. I’m not the Pope…”
The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger turned to the tallest inmate: “An’ you! I bet yer in ‘ere fer makin’ dodgy pies-“
“Rengeteg van hátra!” the alien grumbled.
“Oho, well, we both know that, but-”
“Egyet fizet kettőt kap!”
“That much, huh…? Who the blazes is this fella…?!”
“Oh, don’t mind him, that’s just Tummhenkkz – he’s one of those Kadaars from Kajta-Flajka-“
“Oh, one a’ those, is ‘e? ‘Oo – would ya Adam-an’-Eve it – doesn’t speak a frickin’ word a’ English – tha’s gonna be a real bummer once we break aht-“
“Break… out?!” Graf laughed incredulously. “Oh no-ho-ho! You don’t understand, Commander. Absolutely NOBODY has broken out of here in all the DECADES this lousy institution has been in op-“
“Well, whoopee-doo, lucky fer you, cootchie-coo – I’m a COMPLETE nobody so this should be a doddle…”
“Hogy érted, nem viselsz nadrágot?!”
“Whoa, took the words right outta me mahf, fella…”
“He’s right! We’re going to need to distract the guards! But how…?!” Graf shrieked.
Brad let off one of his trademark snarky grins: “Easy peasy, fellas – I got jus’ th bunny…”
Carla: “But Captain! They need your help!”
Captain Kremmen: “Well, they can’t have her! Besides, she only comes twice a week…”
“Okey-dokey, kiddies, it’s like this…” the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger scratched his straggly crumbcatcher in pensive mood.
BUT! At that very moment:
“RIGHT!” roared Tendril Soggisox, Captain of the Guards, as he loomed up outside the cell. “Which one of you bums is Fartlighter?!”
“Well, obviously…” Brad drawled, approaching cautiously. “‘E’s the only one in this nick wiv migh’y fine cheekbones-“
“Oh, YOU, y’mean? Doesn’t matter – you all look a sorry sight to me. You will come with us – the Administrator wishes to interrogate you-”
“Huh, do ya mind?! We’re still in the middle a’ ‘atchin’ our escape plan, ya see…”
“…Ha! Cute. NOBODY is going to escape-!”
“Ooh! Fancy me chances then, do ya…? Cool!” Brad winked.
“Uff, that’s ENOUGH a’ this banter. We will stall no further- Guards! If you please…”
One more tedious frogmarch to another decrepit part of the complex later…
++BRING IN THE EARTHLING!++
– hollered Denny Dethlok, a lofty, nasty-looking cyborg – half his face encased in galamantium steel, his eobham-chrome hips creaking ominously as he marched into the interrogation room. Guards burst in, dragging Brad into the seediest dentist’s chair in the galaxy.
++PREPARE TO BE CATALOGUED, ENEMY OF THE EMPIRE! ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS TO BEST OF YOUR ABILITY!++
“Ooh, goody gumdrops, quiz-time! Groovy. Fire away, fella.”
“Brad Burri’o Fartligh’er.”
“‘Ere, steady on, Cassie Nova! We only jus’ met! Ain’tcha gonna woo me first wiv flahs an’ choccies?!”
++ARE YOU PREGNANT?++
“NOT YET! Slow DAHN, willya?!” The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger lifted his jacket in disgust: “‘Ave a butcher’s at me abs, ya dozy stainless steel nerk. Do I LOOK like I got a bun in the oven?! Fer goodness sake, flamin’ Nora…”
“‘Eadfirst, wunnit? Whaddya think?! What kind of cockamamie questions are th-”
++ANY DEFECTIVE ORGANS?++
“You betcha – me Roland keeps playin’ bum notes…”
++ARE YOU DISABLED?++
“Jeez, I’ll disable YOU in a minute, fella! Right, I’ve jus’ abaht ‘ad ENOOF a’ this – I’m outta ‘ere…”
Thoroughly dischuffed, Brad shot to his feet and lunged back to the door: “Bein’ stook in me cell wiv that gaggle a’ goofballs is preferable ta this loada’ cobblers…”
But the guards shot back in, fully-charged stun-batons waving manically in front of his ridiculously good-looking features.
++HMM, SUBJECT: S.K. SYSTEM BEING – NON-COMPLIANT TO OFFICIAL PROCEDURES-++
“Huh, story a’ me life-“
++INTERROGATION TERMINATED. GUARDS! RETURN RECALCITRANT SUBJECT TO HIS CELL++
Denny stormed out of the room, his circuits overheating in frustration…
“What’s wiv these barmy questions anyways…?” Brad huffed as the guards escorted him out sharpish.
“Testin’ your suitability, rebel-scum!” Tendril muttered. “After your execution tomorrow, your organs will be relayed to the Imperial Medical Division for clone-development-“
“WHOA, reverse thrust, fella! NOBODY gets ta fondle me organs except-“
“GYAARRRGH!!” the Captain abruptly screamed, then collapsed unconscious to the ground.
As the second guard slammed ferociously into the wall, Brad peered over his shoulder to gawp at a colossal alien being in military fatigues. Its pointed ears twitched excitedly; a big, dopey grin spread across its oversized canine-like face.
All of a sudden, it flung its mighty arms around your hapless hero.
“Oh moy Commander!” it boomed ecstatically. “Thank the stars! Oi’ve found you…”
“Stone the flamin’ Porgs!!” Brad hollered aghast. “BARBY?!”
“Oi would folla Commander Fartloighter anywhere. Oi wouldn’t betray ‘im fer all the custard in the galaxy” – Barb Degoya.
“GerrORF, ya big softie!” Brad grumbled, struggling to prise himself out of the Rontavahrian handyman’s pincer-like grip. “What the blazes are ya doin’ all the way aht ‘ere?!”
“Oi came all this way to rescue you, moy Commander-”
“Didya?! Aww, bless yer ‘eart, Barby… but- but ‘ow didya get in?!”
The Rontavahrian cracked his knuckles; the Earthman gulped.
“Yikes, I migthta’ known! Always a brute force ta be reckoned wiv, eh?! Good on ya – glad yer on ahr side! C’mon Barby, let’s go par’y-! ‘Ere – ‘ang abaht… I’m forgettin’ some’t…”
Brad raced back inside; Barb jogged apprehensively behind his Commander, clamouring for an explanation.
They arrived at Cell 21-87.
Graf bolted upright on his bunk, staring in consternation: “Welcome… back, Commander? What, no guards…?!”
“Nah! Mostly useless ayways. Chop-chop, Thurs! Tummy! We’re breakin’ AHT!”
“You- you come back… for us?!” Thurs spluttered in disbelief. “Bless you, Brad! Er- who’s your Rontavahrian friend?”
“Our best chance ta escape! Meet Barb Degoya, the best buddy ya could ‘ave in a tight spot! Stand thee back, fellas! ‘E’s gonna rip the door orf its ‘inges – mind yer toes…”
The show of gargantuan strength gobsmacked them all.
“Abbahagyja, a köldökem a tűz!”
“‘Ell yeah! Ya can say that again. It must be all that custard ‘e gobbles… Well, dahn’t jus’ gawp there, amigos – C’MON!”
They raced straight out the main gates; the guards still lay out cold. Onto the harsh Swiftayla Wastes they emerged, shivering in the treacherous cold, and gasping in the thin air.
“Over this next ridge, Commander!” Barb panted. “Oi got a ship waiting…”
“Excellente! Good lad! Er… oo’s ship, Barby-?”
“….“Borrowed” from Boba Boxanuggetz-“
“Boxanuggetz-?! That charmless nerk?! ‘E NEVAH let’s ANYBOD borr- uff… Blimey Charley, Barby…!! I’ve only jus’ broken aht a’ prison, an’ ya expect me ta fly orf in an ‘ot crate?! Bloomin’ marvellous this is – ‘ow’s me muvva gonna ‘andle all this?!”
“Soz, Commander, Oi-”
“‘Ey, Brad’s Rontavahrian sidekick!” Thurston suddenly chirped. “Didya bring friends…?”
Both Brad and Barb spun round in confusion.
To their horror, on the opposite ridge, stood Brad Company’s rivals: the notorious Oprah’s ‘Ombres – the meanest and most merciless combo this side of Scarif, led by their moronic mauler-in-chief: Captain Korsten Kronsteen.
As if losing an eye and a leg during this war wasn’t bad enough, the Cap looked close to losing his patience…
“Well, well, blinkin’ ‘ell! WHOA no!” he growled, training a particularly vicious pulse rifle at… guess whose cheekbones…? “This dipwit ain’t NO CHUM a’ ours! What the blazes are YOU doing all the way out here?!”
“Ah jeez…” Brad cried. “If it ain’t one nerk it’s anuvva…”
Princess Leia Organa: “Looks like you’ve managed to cut off our only escape route.”
Han Solo: “Maybe you’d like it back in your cell, your highness.”
“Goldarn it!” Captain Kronsteen snapped impudently. “That’s all we need – another nut ta fall outta the stoopid tree… Well, what kinda Mickey-Maus-mission are ya on now, BattleFARCE Commander Jackass?!”
“Well, Captain Crotchstain, it’s kinda like this…”
“Hush up! I don’t wanna know. It’s alright fer you dashin’ ‘ero-types – arsin’ about ‘ere, a bit a’ sabotage there – then ponse back ta base fer cake an’ medals. Us grunts…! Goldarn it – us grunts are the ones doin’ ALL th real ‘ard work of trying ta destroy this rotten Empire-!”
“OI, Kronst!” Barb bellowed. “You can’t talk down to the Commander loike that!”
“Oh, is that so… Fido? An’ YOU can’t talk back ta ME like that – hey, Jackass! Ever thoughta’ keepin’ yer dozy doggy on a doggone LEASH?!”
Barb thrust forward, snarling through his fangs, but Brad held him back: “An’ ya don’ wanna talk ta this big fella like THAT! You should see what ‘e did ta some a’ Sandler’s guards… blimey! It’s jus’ like ya: NOT a pret’y sight!”
“Seein’ as the ‘Ombres an’ I came all this way, Brad – an’, heh, this sector is never monitored anyway – we oughtta deal with you… here and now, once an’ fer all…” Kronsteen drawled. “But we’re here on behalf uv… a certain Boba Boxanuggetz – seems like yer DARN DAWG ‘ot-tailed it in ‘is prized cruiser: the Mapother IV.
“Let me explain!” Barb protested to the enraged Captain. “Oi pleaded with Mr. Boxa – but he steadfastly refused to co-operate…”
“Yo, that sounds like the Boba I know an’ not love…” Brad blurted.
“Oi assured him that Oi WILL return his ship, once Brad is safely returned… It was on the spur of the moment…”
“Ya dig spur of the moment, boy?!” Kronsteen leered. “I’ll give ya spur of the moment…“
And with that, he swung his pulse rifle menacingly at the startled Rontavahrian. A deafening shot rang out. Then another! And another?!
A bunch of Sandlers’ guards had regrouped and were streaming out of the main gates, blasters blazing; th ‘Ombres returned fire.
In the confusion, the good guys scarpered off the battlefield.
“Hey, you guys!” cried Graf. “If we stick close to the hero from Earth, we CAN’T get hit!”
Kronsteen hollered some furious curse after them, but fortunately his expletives were drowned out by the laser barrage.
Huffing and wheezing, the desperate band reached the Mapother IV.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to Commander Fartlighter and Barb Degoya for breaking us out of that hellish place…” announced a peculiar voice.
“Eh?!” Brad frowned. “Who in blazes said that…?”
The Kadaar gingerly raised his hand.
“So ya DO speak English…! Tha’s a neat twist. But why didn’tcha-“
“I figured: they can’t interrogate me if I pretend that I can’t… After all, what are the chances of finding a Kadaari interpreter-“
“All the way out here…” the others interrupted in unison.
As Barb took the helm and engaged the Mapother’s engines, the free fellas settled back to enjoy the flight to somewhere-infinitely-more-groovy.
“Okey-dokey then – before we take orf, Tummy, there’s some’t I’d like ta wish ya…”
Brad stood upright and – giving a flawless Kadaar salute – announced: Három herékem van…”
“Impressive. Most impressive… Apart from not conjugating the verb properly that’s… not bad for a… human. I will return the sentiment: The “very besta’ luck” to you TOO, Commander… …”
“That’s right! That’s right! We bad! Uh-huh, that’s right, we don’t want no shit either!” – Harry Monroe.
“The guards have managed to quell the… trouble outside the gates, sir,” Woddafuj babbled, trying to appease the irate Warden.
Mal Praktizz and his goons assembled outside Brad’s cell.
“Very well, dipwit! You may have bamboozled my guards, but you’re NOT gonna fool Warden Mal Praktizz!”
“Oh… he already has, sir…” Woddafuj moaned, surveying the cell in dismay.
“What are you talking about?! Stand aside! Let me see-” he blurted, shoving his right-hand man off to the left, and froze in astonishment at the EMPTY cell.
“OH MY SWEET VIN DIESEL…” he wailed, realising, full well, that: “That Earthling really gets on my-“
“My goodness… That’s got to be the best Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger I’ve e’er seen…” Woddafuj shook his head in utter astonishment.
“So it would seem…” Mal shook his head in utter dejection. “GAH! Zan Doka will have MY HEAD for this… AOW FUDGE! SOUND THE ALARM!!”
BRAD FARTLIGHTER WILL