(while winding up for a punch) Sometimes you have fun, and sometimes the fun has you.
Crazy robots...Crazy robots everywhere...
We're gonna be bodyguards for teen rock-stars. Schlock:
Wouldn't the cause of freedom be better served if we killed them instead?
'Minimal collateral damage' and 'Entire star system' do not belong in the same sentence.
: ...How did Petey get a gestalt off of a battleplate
I didn't ask, and all he said was "in for a penny, in for plutonium".
Chief of Security:
Do the words 'Temporary Restraining Order' have ANY MEANING? Schlock:
Yeah. 'Come back with guns.'
I'd punch you in the face, but I don't want to get any stupid
on my hands.
Oops. Brad, I think some of those walls were structural.
It's not in a very nice neighborhood. Schlock:
That's okay. I'm not a very nice neighbor...and I've got my own hoods.
We don't run from the end of the world. We CHARGE!
No offense, sir, but you think too slowly. Every three seconds you waste kills over a hundred thousand people. Captain Kaff Tagon:
I think that's the stupidest I've ever been called, Petey.
Captain Kevyn Andreyasn:
There are customers we serve
, and customers we service
Now, quick. Let's save the galaxy while they're confused.
Leave me before I'm compelled to use your lifeblood as cream in my coffee.
"Like a chainsaw through butter."
Stop [the doublethink]. You're hurting my brain. Commander Kevyn:
Isn't your brain distributed throughout your entire body? Sergeant Schlock:
See why I want you to stop with the doublethink?
"Spy" is such a short, ugly word. I prefer "espionage." Those extra three syllables really say
Is this another one of those questions where one of the answers goes 'blam?' Gateclone!Doythaban:
Actually, I think several of your possible answers make that noise.
From the fleetmind, there is a single ship, the Plaited Daisies
. Captain Kaff Tagon:
Oh, there's a nice, peaceful name...I assume it's one of Petey's "Devastator" class warships. Ennesby:
Actually, he's dubbed this class "Extortionators."
Now let's 'port out of here and run like we stole something. TAG:
Historically, the most successful thieves depart at a moderate saunter, confident in the knowledge that the theft has gone undetected.
Pretend you're a purse snatcher. TAG:
Am I feeding a drug habit, or am I nobly stealing to buy medicine for my sick child?
Obviously it's a giant death-ray that fires through hyperspace! Ebby:
You either need more medication, or less science-fiction. Pi:
Or less medication and more ammo.
I know, I know ... this operation was your idea. Remember, the true officer can let others execute where his own passion lies. Brad:
You just made that up. Tagon:
No, I got it off a poster I saw at the police station.
Massey, you've been with us since before Doyt came aboard. During that time have we done anything illegal? Massey:
Do you want me to sort the list by date, or do you want it grouped into 'felonies' and 'misdemeanors?' Tagon:
You could have just said "yes" and left it at that. Massey:
A couple of items may fall under 'high treason' or 'war crimes.' I'll have to check.
Captain, may I interrupt? Captain Tagon:
You may not. This meeting is important. If you want my attention there had better be a fire, a hull breach or a lot of blood. TAG:
So...will you listen to me if I blow a couple of bulkheads and spray burnex across the deck?
This is the universe calling to tell Tagon that his reality check has bounced. 
Now please stop pretending that you are the voice of the people. You just happen to be loud, and wearing a microphone.
Lieutenant Ventura, I need every scrap
of your notes and schematics for "King" Lota. Para Ventura:
Sure. But why? Kevyn:
It's one of the oldest rules of good strategy. . . "Know thy enemy." Para Ventura:
Yeah, yeah. I've heard that one. But isn't Lota signing the checks for your mission? Kevyn: Fact one:
My enemy has money.
Maybe we're just jaded, but your villainy is not particularly impressive.
Schlock, I know those union thugs were threatening us all with physical violence, but you went too far there at the end. Sure, the plasgun was all you had handy for our defense, I understand that. I can even understand you putting them down permanently when they begged you to make the pain stop. Schlock:
Eating their ashes was uncalled for. I'm sorry. Breya:
Don't let it happen again. Kevyn:
At least this way there's no evidence to worry about.
That's the name. "LOTA". It's your
name. You live in those control systems. You are
the Discontiguous Particle Acceleration System. LOTA:
Yes, that is a little megalomaniacal. Kevyn:
Only now "LOTA" stands for "Long-Gunner Of the Apocalypse." LOTA:
...and Lota likes it.
I can't help but wonder whether you're able to function in society. Pi:
I don't function in
society, sir. I'm a mercenary
. I blow society up
TAG, let's force their hand. Make a run for it, between the Tokyo
and the Terra Firmator
, full power to drive and shields. Tag:
Full power, roger. It worked, sir. Captain Tagon:
We're getting away? Tag:
No, we have been tractored by the Popigai
and the Plaited Daisies
. Captain Tagon:
Oh, we forced their hand. Ennesby:
They're holding flushes of face cards, and I think we're the pot.
Captain, I don't care how much you hate somebody... it's just wrong
to bring cake and champagne to their funeral. Captain Tagon:
Somebody assassinated King Xinchub
I'll fab some party hats, and maybe some of those noisemaker thingies. Kevyn:
And ice cream to go with the cake.
I could drop the low end, but then what you'd really be holding is a small caliber rotary artillery piece. Schlock:
That's the nicest thing anybody's said to me all day. Kevyn:
For it to be useful you'll need micro-grenades instead of slugs. I've got some right here. Schlock:
No, wait. THAT is.
Our "passive scanning" has slowly gotten us exactly nowhere. I'm open to ideas. We may need to adopt a more risky approach. Schlock:
Burn the place until the smells go away, then interrogate the survivors. Chelle:
Would there be
any survivors in that scenario? Schlock:
Probably not. What a time-saver!
Lt. Commander Shodan, years ago when you enlisted you asked for a job as a martial arts trainer. Captain Tagon:
And here you are, trying to solve our current problem with martial arts training. Captain Tagon:
How's that saying go? "When you're armed with a hammer, all your enemies become nails?" Shodan:
Sir,.. you're right. I'm being narrow-minded. Captain Tagon:
No, no. Please continue. I bet martial arts training is a really, really useful hammer.
Captain, about your security: Have you ever heard of a modem? Megiddo:
No. Why? Kevyn:
Let's just say that those who don't study history are doomed to get their butts kicked by the geeks who do.
: That's not how I remember it, Commander. Kevyn
: Who's telling this story, Sergeant? Schlock
: Oooh! I know this one! "A mind-control
test-subject who hasn't yet had his head re-examined!"note
: You get stuff like this in your dreams? Doctor Bunnigus
: Yup, four times, and that's just tonight. Schlock
: Doc, that's a swarm of nanites and a naked, headless zombie. Doctor Bunnigus
: My brain is a dangerous place. Schlock
: Well, if you are
dreaming, please stop, okay?
If I smash the little hover-projector does the Koala-God feel pain?
: They're letting up. Cover me, I'm going to unleash some hell... Chisulo
: Hell already slipped its leash, Mr. Crunchy.
: I told the captain you probably wouldn't appreciate the cheek. Emm
: Commodore, in our zeal to not make the news, we have been timid and allowed our quarry to escape. We are fast approaching the end of our short list of non-newsworthy tactics. If you and the Captains under your command can find the Touch-And-Go
without creating an incident, I will accept cheek, smack-talk, ribald humor and all manner of political incorrectness. If you cannot, however, I may be forced to charge this command into the Fleetmind's meat-grinder. If it should come to that, we shall all want your reservoirs of wit full to overflowing, that our last words may be clever and entertaining.
: It's not extortion if they pay you before you have a chance to properly threaten them.
The opportunity to get paid by the enemy for extracting your own troops doesn't just knock on your door every day. Kevyn:
I say we invite opportunity inside for a nice cup of tea, then hit her on the head and steal her purse. Thurl:
Here's hoping she's got expensive tastes and a great credit rating.
Dehaans would have gift-wrapped Oisri for us by now. Colonel Krum is too cautious. Colonel Krum:
(from behind him
) Maybe if Colonel Dehaans had been more
cautious, he would be less dead.
Also, let me know whether duct-taping a zombie counts as "desecrating a corpse" in your jurisdiction.
: You know what they say. Ain't a proper charlie foxtrot until you've got the brass involved. Reporting Ensign
: Oh, look at that. You're involved.
They committed suicide when they saw me coming.
Tell me how much [the repairs] will cost an how long it will take! Petey:
It will cost the price of a new ship, and take as long as it takes you to go shopping.
Apparently "That wasn't our fault" still doesn't play well on a resume.
They're mercenaries. They're paid to find the danger and then wreak violence until it stops being dangerous.
About those vows. See...I'm morally opposed to having my mind and memories altered, even to save my life. But now that we're married, you've got me playing Adam to your Eve. I can keep one Commandment, "Don't eat the fruit," by not eating it. Or I can keep another Commandment, "Cleave to your wife," by eating the fruit with you, and staying with you through all of the consequences. Lots of people wonder if Adam made the right decision. I think he did, but I doubt I'm strong enough to do the same. Bunny:
I don't think they're going to give us a choice in the matter. Theo:
Oh. Problem solved. Adam tells God that the Serpent force-fed him an apple while he slept, and BAM! He woke up wondering why he never before noticed he was naked.
Travel the galaxy, meet interesting new people, and then swim in their poop.
I sent our only trained diplomat out the sally port because he set himself on fire.
Never tell me what you
can't do as if it's something nobody
We need a word to describe "intelligent beings who are not us." Fleetmind Athens:
"Mortals" works. It may be a little demeaning, but it is
currently accurate. Fleetmind AI:
It has a whole symphony of religious overtones, though, beginning with the implication that we
. Fleetmind AI Petey:
That's not a bad rumor to start, even if it's not quite true yet.
They're calling us back. Am I picking up the call, or blowing them up? Tagon:
(After thinking it over) Pick up the call. We can always blow them up later.
(On discovering that the enemy "bugs" are intelligent) Does that mean we don't kill it, or that we have
to kill it?
Neosynchronicity is an artifact of a lost era of galactic history. Lieutenant Sorlie:
I'm not a history student, but that sounds like something I'd have heard of. Ennesby:
"Lost" era. Lieutenant Sorlie:
I got that. Eras are big, hard-to-lose kinds of things.
Sergeant, were you eavesdropping? Schlock:
We can talk about how loud you talk and how well I hear later.
This 'bright side' of yours is gloomy and smells funny.
You realize that typically when I get my hands 'dirty', most of what needs to be washed off is the blood of my client's enemies.
Be a pal and hand me my other eye, would you?
Now your giant warship is gone, and it occurs to me we can shut your mouth very permanently without spending very much money at all. Tagon:
You're right, General. My price is very low, now. In fact, I'll shut my mouth for free. Xinchub:
But will you pay us for the privilege of being able to breathe at the same time?
Will it be falling to me to sweep this under the rug, Ma'am? Admiral Emm:
Word choice, Kweng. Replace 'sweep' with 'compress', 'under' with 'into', and give me 'neutronium' in place of that ratty old 'rug'. Kweng:
I shall ready the big broom.
And if we had
just asked, what would you have told us? Archivist:
That the data was none of your business, but that we do have a very progressive portfolio of bribery packages you can purchase.
S'okay, Nick. I got into a fistfight, blew up a door, and got to use duct tape twice...it's a good day to die.
For that which you are about to receive, I am truly thankful.
I have this rule about not starting flame wars with people who ride around in battleplates
Well-armed, extremely dangerous tourists, but tourists nonetheless. Ennesby:
The word most people use to describe that kind of tourist rhymes with 'invader'.
Forgive them, Lord, 'cause I'm positive
they know not what they do.
I see that your brain was built by the lowest bidder.
You need to capture some moral high ground that sits outside of artillery range.
Please, entertain me with your definition
of the word 'commingle.' You can use gestures if you like.
Go ahead. Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of...no, the...umm... Ennesby:
Telescopes of Doom? Tagon:
Take some free cycles and come up with a decent battlecry for these things, okay?
Consider yourself under orders to not engage in gratuitous kitten-eating.
"Just fine without me." How do you talk about me when I'm not
We joke about how that shade of green makes you look fat.
a rhetorical landmine I shouldn't have stepped on.
Before any of you unwisely take this as your cue to step further out of line than you were already planning to, I'd like to say two words in my capacity as the company's munitions commander and resident mad scientist: guinea pigs.
Leadership by following the right grunt: one of the hallmarks of a leader who probably won't get killed by his own men.
They're what? Heathens? Mundane? Muggles? Armed? Doorman:
I was going to say 'not on the list.' Did you say 'armed?' Kevyn:
No, I said "Perhaps you should check the list again, this time in 'edit' mode."
The price on our respective heads has more zeroes in it than Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Celeschul law: ex-generals have quiet retirements, or treason trials.
If you shut your mouth quickly, you won't get any more foot in it.
Yummy shoes, Captain?
They want us in one piece— [thunderous hull impact] UNS Marine:
No, go on. I'm all ears, even if they are ringing a bit.
No, I'll tell me myself. Besides, I want to see the look on my face when I see the look on my face. Ennesby:
We may need to issue you some additional pronouns.
Your paranoia is a powerful defense against my sarcasm.
Where's your sense of adventure? Captain Kevyn:
It died under mysterious circumstances. My sense of self-preservation found the body, but assures me it has an air-tight alibi.
I think somebody rubbed all the sixes off the dice he throws.
You need to stay on [Kerchak's] good side. Breya:
I've been all the way around him. I'm not sure he has a good side.
I'm in the mood for making payroll or killing robots. Help me choose.
Lots of big words. If you want to pay me to kill Glamor Assault
, the answer is yes.
Puns are not supposed to be that gross. Please don't do that again.
Schlock: That story
needs to stay between you, me and two emotionally scarred sanitation techs. It may be good for free drinks someday, though.
"Brass" is not an acronym, though enlisted men throughout history have been quick to point out that when you're field-stripping the word, you can discard the 'b' and the 'r' and then brandish a shorter, more meaningful term.
That's as far as I got. I'm not sure you and I speak the same language. Massey:
This document outlines our plan to perpetrate insurance fraud, insider trading, and character assassination...hopefully tripling our paycheck for this job. Tagon:
Okay, see? Those
words I understand just fine. Use them more often.
Quit relishing the moment. People are waiting.
If Tagon makes me give you a medal, I'm going to pin it to your eye.
You know, confessing to avoid prosecution is
a time-honored strategy. Tagon:
I don't want to be honored with time. Honor me with 'slap on the wrist', or maybe even 'scot-free'.
My decision, and it will be mine alone
, swings neither on rhetoric nor legalese. It swings, hangs, and will fall upon truth. You cannot impress me with logical constructs, airtight arguments, or six-syllable words. Well...okay, you could impress me with them
, but only if I knew they were yours.
You know, a little tit-for-tat? You scratch my back, I scratch yours? Tagon:
Yeah, but you have claws.
Any kid who plays with fire learns this stuff. It's too bad I was playing with shaped charges instead.
I will have to persuade
her, using my manly charms and roguish good looks. Schlock:
So a rogue is a dumpy bald guy with beady eyes and a chin-chilla?
Time to put the "hot" back in "shut up!" Kevyn:
Schlock, the phrase "shut up" doesn't have the word "hot" in it anywhere. Schlock:
No, but "SHOT up" does. Elf:
I like the way you spell, Sergeant.
If you say anything else I will amputate your mouth at the hip.
I know he murdered our friend, but that will take you to a very dark place, Nick. We are going to turn Shufgar, alive and well, over to judges of House Est'll. [evil smile]
Then, per ancient tradition, he will be killed and eaten a little bit at a time. Nick:
Your place sounds darker, sir. Kevyn:
It has the advantage of being legal.
I know what all those words mean, but in a line they just make me angry.
I'm going to treat that as a humorous stab at your own exaggerated amorality, and then move on, if you don't mind.
It's a big galaxy. How many different hells just froze over?
Let me know when your brain finishes its boot sequence.
I'm here to supervise. Put this much brainpower all in one place with no supervision, and you'll get either an explosion or a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
Your processor is completely contained within that smallish sphere. Do you really have sufficient mind to be able to give away pieces of it?
This is one of those tales that ends with "Everybody is out of the hospital now, but we need help posting bail."
Is it wrong for me to think that that
would be pretty cool to watch?
You've been getting stupider ever since you tried to hit puberty, and puberty hit back.
That's what I said. Ennesby:
No. What you said was "I am a hayseed halfwit
," and I think you just said it again.
Exactly how old do you think I am? Kevyn:
You look like you're twelve. You whine like you're six. Do you want me to add those numbers, or subtract them?
I want "speed up", he calls to say "all stop," and you say this is "serendipity?" Ennesby:
Humorous irony, sir. My mistake.
supposed to be interviewing you
Yeah, but you know more than I do. If I ask the questions I can fix that.
Doctor, I think I broke a tooth with my kidney. Dr. Bunnigus:
That's anatomically unlikely. Open your mouth. Aardman: [holds up broken-off tusk]
It wasn't my tooth. Chisulo:
Hey doc, I think I ruptured a kidney with my face.
Oops, wait. The sound of fun is now being drowned out by the sound of somebody talking out of his brass.
No thank you. I've had enough reconstructive surgery for one week.
Save her life and ask her yourself. That's an order.
I want to hit him so hard the carbon cracks.
All in favor, say "Tyranny of the majority."
I wish I could say "It seemed like a good idea at the time," but this seemed like a bad idea right from the word go.
Perhaps I should have told you that after we negotiated compensation. Schlock:
Nah. If you're hiring mercenaries a great big hazard multiplier is already figured in.
You're rational, sir. It's only us crazy people who get to swap out realities on a whim.
Bracketing stupidity with "sir" will not earn you any points you'll live to spend.
I think you're under orders to not do anything you might find interesting.
I believe your brain might be on a three-sentence delay today.
You need a few good first resorts to go with your last resort.
Lota chose the lesser of two evils. It is in Lota's job description as Monarch.
If you say "I told you so," I get to say "My sarcasm is more accurate than your paranoia."
Hey! That's my
compliment you're basking in.
Telling me I can win a fight with one arm tied behind my back doesn't make me happy about only using one hand.
"Make a hole?" What does that even mean? Legs:
It means "please panic and throw your shopping bag in my face." You got it exactly right.
Good job. Another sentence slain, sir.
Hello, sirs. I was just possessed with a peculiar urge to come and offer you legal advice.
I love the way he set you aside like you were a set of left-handed golf clubs.
Parkata urbatsu is far from being my only martial art. On your behalf, I shall now exercise the win/win kata from 1st-dan conversational judo.
Either way, no hard feelings, no charges pressed. You're free to go, gentlemen and lady. Well...female
at any rate. Maybe there are a few
That's oddly specific. How quickly can you be done? Pi:
Ten seconds ago.
If this news elicits violence from you, please note that this was all his idea.
That sounds like a pair of team members in need of explicit orders.
Your eye just did that twitchy thing. More good news?
It's still not worth billions of lives just to kill her, but she really knows how to jump up and down on that scale.
shooting up a high-speed train will be the right thing to do. I can be patient.
I have a long list of double entendres, but you have a million ways to kill me.
Just tell me what happened. Lota:
Is it not obvious, Commander Andreyasn? Lota
happened, and Mistress Ventura ensured that Lota did not happen excessively.
I'm doing all the talking, but I've already lost this argument, haven't I?
How can anybody ever NOT need a gunship?
You're not paying me to be stupid, and you're not paying those two enough for how good they are at it.
That would require us to compensate this expert. Ennesby:
A happy side effect of letting me navigate the starless wastes of your bureaucracy for you.
Ooh, I probably shouldn't have told you that. Now you have to choose between taking revenge and rescuing a friend. Schlock:
I can have revenge cold. We need Shep warm. And breathing.
Stop pushing my "grouchy" button.
Calling them a 'battery' is like calling me a 'computer', or Tino there a 'meat-sack.' Dr. Bunnigus:
Computer, please recharge this battery so we can armor that meat-sack.
Cool. His ego and his survival instincts are fighting for control of his mouth.
Extreme makeover, "running for my life" edition.
Do you really believe that the UNS messed with you in order to make you a better, happier person? They're not that competent, much less that benign.
'More' keeps being 'better' for the Very Dangerous Array. I'd like to see how long that keeps up.
I've delivered worse news than this before. Bristlecone:
Indeed. And you use that "would you like me to help plan the funeral" tone for everything. Let me put a good spin on this, sir.
Sir, in all those cases somebody else made the critical mistakes, not me. Tagon:
Good point. You should stay up there where you're not working with all these crowds of somebody else.
I'm not expecting any trouble at all, which makes this the ideal time for our hypothetical enemy to do horrible things.
No shakedown cruise is complete without an ecologically irresponsible weapon test.
So...you'll let them make up rules about ghosts, but they can't make up rules about custom pistols? Nick:
They can't make up rules about custom pistols because I already know
I guess I was wrong. If you're the last AI on the planet, I will
let you fly my ship.
Revised optimism: I might survive as long as everyone else who dies horribly on this ship.
You said 'old' again. Beer me.
Is that the "please save the nice lady" face, or the "please let me kill things" face? Schlock:
Those are the same face.
Check with the enemy and see if they'd like to join us outside for a breath of fresh nothing.
Pride goeth before the unemployment.
You're using the word "fix." In this context, you want the word "recycle."
Somebody increased his threat level while I wasn't paying attention.
A vast and perilous gulf lies between knowing how people will act, and getting them to act differently.
You deliberately phrased that to make me sound irresponsible. Tagii:
It took less deliberation than you might think.
If a close look ruins a thing, the thing was already broken.
So "the xenobiologist we need right now" is the one-eyed king in the land of the blind?
I'm curious, son: when has "this could be a trap" ever stopped you? Tagon:
Stopped? Never. Slowed me down while I load the guns? Every time.
'Eventually' is when all the potential survivors become casualties.
It's like finding a spent rifle round the size of a house. Somewhere, somebody has a rifle that fires rounds that size.
I'd rather be alive for reasons other than an unbroken streak of really good luck.
"That's a great question" is a terrible answer.
This is what antacids and plausible deniability are for.
more things than we currently know. Tagon:
I've heard that one before. Old people say it all the time. Ennesby:
Well, here's a new twist. I've seen the size of what's missing. She's forgotten more than what ALL of us know. All of us put together. Tagon:
That's not a new twist. Dad used to use that on the new squaddies. Karl:
And I wasn't lying.
We welcome our new friends with open arms. And if they're not friends, well...we're big
, and our hugs can be a little suffocating.
If you're having issues with the captain, you kind of do
have 'god problems.'
Short version: this is an offer we can't refuse. Murtaugh:
The long version? Ennesby:
PlutRes 329.6, subchapter F, section 3 is forty-two hundred words of fine-tuned legalese. Murtaugh:
[The furniture is] deployed from the bulkheads, via these buttons? Schlock:
A fun game is to push 'em all at once, then dive into the room and pretend it's artillery.
No, she's the perfect spy. I like her and I feel sorry for her. She's cleared my first two lines of defense.
"His thing" is one of those "the less you know about it the happier you'll be" kind of things. Trevor:
I'm unhappy just knowing those things exist.
And you take orders from foreign powers now? General Bala-amin:
No, but I do have standing orders to start exactly zero wars
with the psycho-bear of destruction at the galactic core.
I don't understand him. Sometimes he seems to function like I expect a grizzled sergeant
to. You know, correctly
. Dr. Bunnigus:
And sometimes he functions more like an overstimulated child? Yes, it takes some getting used to.
How does that miraculous hearing of yours work, exactly? Schlock:
Your voice makes the floor tremble. Murtaugh:
That's the nicest thing anybody's said to me since I became captain.
That look means he can tell you're being patronizing.
Give me a moment to change into my very finest scowly face.
As the commanding officer you can observe this exercise, or obtain valid results from it, but not both. Murtaugh:
If the Xeno Team performs poorly under my withering gaze, I will in fact have obtained valid results.
I remember that face. That's your "minimum safe distance" face.
Right. Thurl, check the contract. Do we get paid on delivery,
or on distribution
? It's one of those D-Words, and I can't remember which one. Thurl:
Dammit . . . is also a D-Word.