Viscount Gomer scanned the people round the huge slab carved from the last tree in the Amazonian dustbowl.
‘Gentlemen,’ he scraped thin blonde hair away from his eyes. ‘We have a problem.’ The leader of the free world drummed his fingers on the table. ‘Mammon say’s only those with pure blood can enter his kingdom and as of last week we are deficient in that respect.’
‘How the hell did that happen?’ said Representative Sweeney – a hunchback with fangs who drooled far too much.
‘Unfortunately,’ Viscount Gomer ignored the man in charge of emergency care as he brought an image onto the wall display, ‘what we now have in our blood stream looks like this.’
Gomer zoomed in on a blood corpuscule shaped like a rubber duck and said, ‘He’s bound to notice.’
‘We could buy real estate up there like the Chinese?’ said the representative for Cultural Forms – a wizened geriatric with an IV drip in one arm called Norm. ‘He’d have to let us in then.’
Viscount Gomer shrugged, ‘He only lets them do that because they built him the pearly gates first. He also say’s if we can’t keep up supply of the good stuff he’ll institute the T/B/Omega clause of the medical regulations act,’ continued the leader of the free world, ‘and clean us out completely. There’ll be a hostile take over for sure if people hear no one’s going to have any blood left.’
‘But that means…’ began Norm before Representative Sweeney interrupted him.
‘I say we roll with the punches,’ said Sweeney. ‘Synthetic serum production already meets demand. Ever since we started using opiates the population hardly feels a thing. They’re happy so long as they think they’ve escaped the MammonFrame’s hoppers.’
Viscount Gomer gave him a look that would have had anyone able bodied running for the door, ‘That’s not going to solve the problem. Let’s call Ian; it’s time we took Mammon out.’
There were gasps round the table, ‘That’s right,’ Viscount Gomer nodded, ‘The hamster is a highly trained killer and the only one of us capable of taking out a god. But we need to be more clever than that. We’ll arm him with a virus. It could work. If we can cause Mammon to attack itself the only hostile take over round here will be ours.’
‘How are we going to do that? Mammon’s impervious to any known contaminant.’
‘We’ll use a Flower Child.’
Gomer looked at them over the top of his steepled fingers. Few knew how lethal a Flower Child could be. He shuddered as he remembered the cloying stench of patchouli oil.
‘Will we get our real blood back, afterwards?’ said Research and Devlopement as he tried to scratch a rash that was crawling over his face. ‘I think this new stuff disagrees with me.’
‘Only if Ian implants it imprint directly into the mind of Mammon himself,’ said Viscount Gomer.
‘It won’t work,’ said Research and Development. ‘Mammons not stupid. He’ll know the hamsters been sent by us. There’ll be consequences.’
‘How? Rodents are out of Mammon’s jurisdiction. We call Ian, or would you prefer to find yourself with your med license revoked?’ snarled Viscount Gomer. ‘How long do you think that meat sack you call a body is going to last without fresh transfusions?’
‘Maybe we can make a deal with the MammonFrame,’ said Cultural Forms. ‘More of our consumers for more access to the boss.’
‘I don’t know.’ Viscount Gomer steepled his fingers. ‘It might get depressed again. You know what it’s like when it gets like that. Last time I had to feed it myself.’ Viscount Gomer rubbed a nipple with an odd smile on his face. ‘We’ll let it ascend a Flower Child. Mammon will be so confused it’ll let anyone in after that. The unwashed are not supposed to be able to endure sight of god.’
A chorus of assent ran round the table.
‘Listen,’ Representative Sweeney pointed at the boardrooms doors where the sound of chanting was beginning to filter through.
‘I took the liberty of doing a little forward planning,’ said Viscount Gomer with a viscious gleam in his eyes. He knew who’d be first. He could her wailing already.
‘Queen Nefertiti,’ he beamed with a wide paternal smile as a woman with badly dyed hair and a crash helmet roller skated into the room. ‘How are you and your people these days?’
‘Starving Viscount Gomer, our holistic therapy centres are failing, and our slaves refuse to co-operate.’
Gomer’s eyes narrowed. If there was anything worse than listening to the limp wristed complaints of Queen Nefertiti and her subjects it was news to him.
‘You may leave your Queen with us for a day or two.’ Viscount Gomer gestured to the woman’s entourage.
Isolate and confuse; Viscount was well acquainted with the levers of power.
‘But…what about my charity workshops?’, said Nefertiti; Queen of Organdonia.
‘They’re no longer your concern,’ repled Gomer. ‘Managers remove these people. It’s time we told Ian who we have as our guest.’
‘Ian?’ said Queen Nefertiti with her face turning red at the thought of the highly respected hamster and his international reputation. ‘You can’t mean it.’
Viscount Gomer blinked, this was a turn up for the books. He’d never realised it would be so easy. Ian was a notorious mammal of mystery who’d been sent into low grav orbit to keep him away from the rest of earth’s inhabitants so they could safely observe him without losing fingers. But Queen Nefertiti’s reaction was extreme for a woman as well grounded as her. She’d obviously do anything the mammal wanted.
‘Are you feeling alright?’ said Viscount Gomer to the Queen. ‘Do you want a glass of water? Maybe…something stronger?’
‘You don’t understand Gomer there’s an ancient prophecy…’ Nefertiti gulped, it tells of a hamster who jammed the cogs of Mammon.’
There was a shocked silence, but Queen Nefertiti wasn’t finished.
‘If that ever happens, Viscount Gomer, it will open the gates of Hell. Ian is only part hamster. He is also part lizard too – a mutant who’s a living testimony to the perils of mammals having access to free love. It can’t be allowed to happen.’
Organdonia’s Queen was shaking now.
Viscount Gomer considered trying to enquire how she knew so much. But trying to communicate with a Flower Child on a level beyond the insane was useless and torturing the delusional woman was something he’d prefer to keep for emergencies. He turned to Representative Bardely instead.
‘This was your responsibility Bardely. Give me a long range forecast. I need to know what effect the latest productivity quotas are having. How long do we have before Mammon demands a fresh fix?’
‘It’s hard to tell.’ R and D pressed his fingers against his temples and concentrated. ‘There’s a disturbance in the donor cloud. ‘But I’m sensing Mammon is angry. We’re all in this together but…’
Twenty three drool collectors gurgled appreciatively as the floor to ceiling screen at one end of the room began to flicker. It looked like MammonFrame was about to make an entrance.
‘Run while you still can Nefertiti,’ said Representative Sweeney out of the side of his mouth. He’d always had a soft spot for the Organdonia Queen. ‘They want to send you to Mammon.’
The stick insect shaped woman was off her arse so quick you’d have thought someone had lit a fire.
‘Not me,’ she screeched as she raced around the room as fast as she could go. ‘Don’t take me. I don’t want to be sacrificed. I haven’t completed my incarnation cycle.’
‘I’m afraid there’s no choice Queen Nefertiti. I’m terribly sorry, but you must ascend so that others may live,’ said Viscount Gomer.
The Representative for Malignant Transmission’s who’d been busy squeezing spots grabbed her as she ran past. ‘She better not be infectious. There was havoc last time – half my team burst before we’d finished the process.’ Nefertiti had come to a halt in the middle of the room with her chest heaving. ‘Are you?’ said Malignant Transmission’s, ‘infection free?’
Viscount Gomer gestured for silence, ‘Forget it, we have no choice.’ Great clouds of roiling flame rose into the sky outside as he spoke the sacred words. ‘Mighty, Mammon, are you receiving me? Will you send your servant so we may hear his wisdom?’
There was silence; then the phone began to ring.
Viscount Gomer lifted the receiver, ‘Hallo? How may I help you?’
The voice of MammonFrame, Mammon’s representative on earth spread from the speakerphone.
‘What are you people doing now?’ the M-Class 10 Right Hand of God’s face flickered as it resolved on the wall mounted screen. It looked like someone had tried to make a face out of tin foil and cardboard boxes and it had the sort of voice that made a terminal cancer patient sound like they were full of life. ‘Who’s that woman you’ve got with you? I can see her on the camera’s you know…she’s a hippy isn’t she?’
MammonFrame sighed, one look at the room and it knew exactly where this was going.
‘Oh Mighty MammonFrame. We have a problem.’ Viscount Gomer’s voice boomed. ‘We need you to help us. Take this frail virgin and process her so she may ascend.’
‘Hold on…I’m going to have to put you on hold.’
‘But Mighty Mamm…’
The brain curdling sound of easy listening filtered through the air.
‘Ahem,’ said the next generation M-Frame when it came back. ‘The Carpathians want me to chair a meeting for them on ‘Leaving It All Behind and Joining Mammon’ and their offers way better than yours. Plus I get to go to Venice with them on a jolly. They’re even going to upload my command drives so I can move around.’
The boardrooms overheads dimmed as MammonFrame began to call up booking times and you could tell by the way Viscount Gomer was grinning he was pissed off.
The yellow haired leader of the free world turned to Queen Nefertiti. Maybe there was another way. Royal blood had been known to possess certain properties.
‘What phase of your incarnation cycle are you on Nefertiti?’ said Gomer. ‘I want to introduce you to someone…oh…’
The Queen’s eyes had rolled so far back only their whites were visible as she fell to the floor.
‘We’ll just have to do it to her whilst she’s asleep then,’ said the leader of the free world.
‘OW…Jesus…what did I drink last night?’ Ian rubbed the fur on the back of his head with a forepaw as he tried to remember. There’d been some mindless bollocks about the washing up rota and what a disaster it all was. Then he’d gotten bored and sneaked off to raid Starpansy’s homebrew. The crystal worshipper hid her organic wine under a pile of crochet leaflets in the privy. Ian had followed her for months until she’d eventually slipped up and exposed her stash.
‘Ian my lovely, you in there?’ warbled Starpansy. ‘You haven’t been at my home brew again have you? You promised you wouldn’t after last time.’
A knock sounded on the airlock as Starpansy arrived outside the downed satellite that had been Ian’s HQ ever since re-entry had left him stranded on the edge of Organdonia.
‘Please go away,’ muttered Ian clutching his head.
The girl with the multi coloured hair and purple kaftan opened the hatch and peered in, ‘Oh, there you are Ian. I’ve some bad news. The boards got Queen Nefertiti.’
‘They’re supposed to. That’s why I sent her,’ said Ian with a gleam in his pitch black eyes. ‘I’ve implanted a deep cortex hypno-sequence in her. All she has to do is perform the dance of the Exotic Humming Bird at exactly the right time and we’ll have total control over Gomer.’
A chime from his hands free head set stopped him.
‘The takeover’s brewing already,’ said Ian staring at one of the satellite’s screens that still worked with a frown.
‘What are you going to do Ian?’ Starpansy’s eyes were wide. ‘Whatever it is. I know it’ll be the right thing. You’re so amazing.’
Ian removed some falaffal crumbs from his furry coat. The compliment was entirely true but Starpansy had that funny gleam in her eye again. The one that meant she had plans and she was staring right at them. Ian sidled behind some exercise gear.
‘They’re saying they’re going to return Nefertiti to me if I co-operate. I should meet them. Starpansy, I’m sorry. I have to go.’
Ian cracked his fingers, and dropped into the splits with a stern expression on his face.
‘Oh God, you’re such a hero,’ said Starpansy with a look that could scorched hair on at ten yards.
Ian finished limbering up with a few bounces and turned to the besotted girl.
‘What was that Starpansy?’
‘Ian…please…I beg you. Don’t go. I’ll do anything.’
Any moment now she’d be on the floor sobbing uncontrollably thought Ian as he coolly removed her hand.
‘Can’t Starpansy,’ said the daring Hamster. ‘Things to do. You know how it is.’ Ian bounded into the air spreading his legs like a falcon taking flight and disappeared into the night.
MammonFrame was having problems again. The annoying men were back; the ones it was supposed to have dealt with when it released its missiles. This time they’d come to see it in person.
‘What is it you want?’ said MammonFrame; it’s voice dripping round the vaults that housed its main processors like the water falling into the puddles from where the roof leaked.
‘Oh Mighty MammonFrame.’
‘Don’t start with that again…just get on with it.’
The M-Frame Class 10 tried not to listen too hard as the leader of the free world and his acolytes began to speak. Truth be told it was bored. The only thing these people ever did was talk about their latest stupid sales drive. It on the other hand had other, higher concerns like trying to work out where the suction switch was on the Mammacitadrive and improving its collection facilities..
‘Bloody wish I’d launched the virals. That would have shut them up,’ said the M-Class 10.
‘Your pardon Mighty Mammonframe, what was that?’ said the balding figure of Viscount Gomer from where he stood at the head of the group.
This time MammonFrame’s sigh went on a little longer than usual.
Viscount Gomer nudged Queen Nefertiti to the front of the small crowd.
‘Oh MammonFrame, we’ve brought you a gift,’ said Gomer raising his hand.
‘What? That hippy again? What do you want me to do with her?
‘Take her as your consort Oh Mighty MammonFrame. As it is written so shall it be.’
MammonFrame couldn’t believe this. They still couldn’t get over that stupid instruction book of theirs. You’d have thought they’d have given up by now. The thing had had so many revisions nobody knew what it was on about half the time and it was anyone’s guess what language it had been written in. What was it called? ‘Machine Systems in the Modern Era?’
‘Where’s she from this time? No wait…let me guess. It’s Organdonia isn’t it?’
‘That’s correct Mighty MammonFrame. We’ve brought you their Queen.’
‘Drain her MammonFrame and ascend her so she may be filled with the spirit of Mammon. Leave her nothing but a husk so that we your servants will be saved.’
A thin formless mantra escaped Queen Nefertiti’s lips. She had one chance, and one chance only, if she was to escape the pain of being ground to a bloody pulp in MammonFrame’s milking units.
‘Ohmani…Ohmani,’ said Queen Nefertiti as she began to sway to the beat of her finger cymbals.
Viscount Gomer paused mid flow, there was something about the swaying woman, something…oddly….seductive…
‘Is she on drugs?’ said the M-Class 10. ‘I swear I can hear bongos.’
‘Not very many; certainly not enough to make her act like this,’ said Gomer frantically trying to uncross his eyes.
‘Well, hurry up, and take that look off your face. One more can’t hurt. You haven’t made a mess of her have you? I hate it when you people do that,’ said MammonFrame as it popped a collection hatch and knocked Queen Nefertiti off her feet. There was a scream and a hand drum she’d carefully concealed underneath her kaftan rolled into the shadows.
The M Class 10’s grinders were ticking over nicely by the time Ian arrived in a deadly rain of flying glass as the skylights went through. One shot from his weapon and MammonFrame’s facilities were scrap metal.
The Right Hand of God tried to control the flow from its ruptured distributors as Ian finished abseiling to the floor. ‘You can’t do this,’ said the M-Class 10. ‘Come back next week when I’ve really squeezed.’
‘Nobody move,’ said the figure sighting along its weapon, but Viscount Gomer wasn’t to be silenced so easily.
‘Hah, I knew you couldn’t stay away Ian,’ said the leader of the free world.
‘Let Nefertiti go Gomer.’
Ian’s gaze was steady, ice cold, and hard as basalt.
‘Then die,’ said the hamster.
But Viscount Gomer was quicker.
In the background there was the sound of grinders shifting gear as MammonFrame shifted into ‘smooth operator’.
‘We’ll let her go,’ said Viscount Gomer. ‘If you work with us. We need access to the mind of Mammon before its too late.’
‘Why? you work together.’
Gomer nodded, ‘It’s true, but Mammons appetites have grown beyond our ability to deal with. It wants more….always…more.’ For moment Viscount Gomer’s face paled. ‘We need you to deliver an imprint of Queen Nefertiti into its mind and take its place when things have run there course. You will, to all effects and purposes, be God. So long as you do what we say of course.’
Ian was thinking faster than he ever had in his life as his eyes scanned the room. Ian had no desire to aim for the top job. There had to be something, anything he could use besides his gun to stop this insanity. Firing again with the M – Class 10 so close to an ascension would be suicide. Already the MammonFrame was manouvering its chutes closer to Nefertiti.
‘What exactly do you want me to do if I co-operate?’ said Ian.
Viscount Gomer smiled, ‘Good, you’re thinking for once Ian. Join us, and we can topple Mammon together. You think we’ve been sitting idly by while our bodies grow decrepit and old? No, some of the best minds in artificial ascension have been working to get us into heaven too so we can advise Mammon. Viscount Gomer shrugged, ‘We’ll get you into his kingdom. But you’ll need to do the rest.’ Gomer produced a large gold key. ‘Of course we’ll need replacements for your Queen if we’re going to keep Mammon distracted. Viscount Gomer coughed, for some reason he was having trouble meeting Ian’s eyes. ‘Have you got any more that can dance like that?’
Ian’s eyes narrowed, ‘There’s always a price with you people, damn you.’
‘Think of the power Ian. That’s all you need to do.’
‘Don’t do it, Ian,’ said Nefertiti
Belatedly Viscount Gomer realised MammonFrame was trying to get his attention as warning lights bathed everything in red.
‘One moment Ian,’ Viscount Gomer raised a finger. The leader of the free world turned to the Industrial CPU hanging from the wall. ‘What’s the matter MammonFrame? Can’t you see we’re in the middle of a crisis?’
‘I can’t hold off the process much longer,’ said the state of the art Right Hand of God. You see once I’ve got up to speed its difficult to stop. A catastrophic reaction will begin in T-minus twenty seconds unless I have input.’
Unnoticed to the M-Frame and the free world’s leader Ian shook himself. Unfamiliar thoughts of total domination had been filling his head. What had he been thinking of? For a moment he’d been considering the deal.
Ian’s swung round and a red mist exploded above Gomer’s shoulders.
‘Ian?’ Nefertiti made a grab for Ian as the last of the trance left her. ‘Is that really you?’
‘Of course Nefertiti. I never left,’ said Ian with his eyes firmly planted on his nose.
But soon Ian’s gun was spitting bloody rounds of destruction through the boards feeble bodies as he pulled Nefertiti closer. When he was finished all that was left were tatters.
‘Errrrrr excuse me?’ said MammonFrame.
‘What?’ said Ian pausing mid reload as the last body fell to the floor.
‘She’s mine. They promised me.’
There was a rattle as what looked like the entire armaments stockpile of a world war swung down from the vaults ceiling and pointed at the couple on the floor
Ian didn’t move his eyes from Queen Nefertiti’s.
‘You’ll never have her MammonFrame, never.’
It was the last thing she heard as Ian bounded for the machines hoppers.
‘Sorry about this,’ said MammonFrame. There was a crunch as the hamster disappeared into a chute. ‘There’s nothing I can do. It takes too long to stop.’
The sound of motors changing speed rose through the air then a red mist of finely pulverized mammal erupted out of the M-Class 10 with a sound like a truck going up hill.
‘Oh dear,” said Queen Nefertiti as it sprayed across her face.
Some of the images that helped me write this can be found on: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/PirateFrequency/mammonframe/
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