The Dark Continent was a land of pirates, ninjas, zombies, roving bands of drunken monkeys, the evil empire of the garden gnomes, pot-smoking dragons, ecstasy freaks, witch doctors, intergalactic bounty hunters with large breasts, mad scientists, and the best fried chicken joint in the history of the known universe, just to name a few of its amenities. It survived in a remote corner of galaxy 3476 on the planet known as Snicker.
For the most part it was a bad place, usually passed over by any traveler who happened to be out that way. It wasn’t exactly the cast of shady characters that inhabited the planet that made people stay away so much as the hybrids that were created there. Roving bands of drunken zombie monkeys, evil garden gnome ecstasy freaks, mad intergalactic bounty hunter scientists with large breasts; you get the picture.
None were as cunning or ruthless as the pirate-ninjas. Having pirates and ninjas on the same planet was bad enough; they destroyed everything they came across. Pirate ninjas simply could not be defeated. Worse than that, they were rogue. They always worked alone or in small bands and never had any real aim behind the madness they created.
This wasn’t a problem for the rest of the universe until three of them got a hold of a freighter bound for a more civilized region of the universe. While a pirate ninja does have a good understanding of the word “honor”, the word “law” is completely and utterly unknown to the species. This simple fact caused a misunderstanding that ended up costing a lot of grief for more than a few elected officials in more than one galaxy.
An “emissary” consisting of fifteen of the galaxies finest star fighters was sent to deliver a cease and desist order to the three rogues. One returned and refused to talk about what happened to the others. More were sent, this time fifteen battalions, and the pirate ninjas were defeated. Of the three battalions that returned with the news only a few men were able to tell the grisly tale. It was around this point that people started to realize that there were more of these pirate ninjas out there.
Leaders of several powerful governing bodies and corporations met to discuss the menace and decided there was only one way to deal with the new found undesirables. The decision was unanimous; the pirate ninjas must be destroyed. The subject that was in debate was how to go about it.
Most of the leaders, being frugal and proud, argued against sending massive forces out to the small world of Snicker due to its distance and the financial factors involved. They argued that Special Forces from their home planets could take out the pirate ninjas, and laughed as they all relayed tales of how their heroes defeated monsters and cheated death time and time again. In the end, they agreed to send 10,000 of their greatest hunters and killers to handle the problem. A value of 50,000 rupees was put on the head of any pirate ninja, with regular ninjas and pirates bringing 5,000 a head. The varied group of deadly paid assassins were boarded upon ships and sent on their way in the direction of Snicker. Amongst them, and unknown to most, were the worst murderers and criminals from the penal planet of Guitmo.
Zero and Katana had no idea about the hell that was slowly closing in on them. From across the vastness of the universe, the fiery tempest was closing in on their position. Unaware, they sat perched on a rooftop near the roving band of drunken monkeys, watching the miserable miscreants they needed for the wicked plan to steal rum from a horde of garden gnome ecstasy freaks.
Dammit, Zero hated working with chicks. Especially pirate ninja chicks; they were always bleeding. An old pirate ninja once told him that it made them meaner and if the males could bleed, they would. It was part of the natural order of things. Even though it was probably true, it still didn’t make it any easier to work with them.
Katana must have been pissed for some reason, because she had been staring at Zero with her deep black eyes for the last fifteen seconds. Even though he couldn’t see her because of their invisibility, he could feel her. Apparently, she did not find it as amusing as he did to see one of the drunken monkeys get hit in the head with an empty bottle of rum that mysteriously fell out of the sky.
He would have to deal with her later. The monkeys were now in position, it was time to herd them down the hill towards the doped up gnomes. The idea was to make it look like an attack by the monkeys on the gnomes, and while they were busy fighting it out, the two pirate ninjas would make off with the shipment of rum the garden gnomes were bringing to port to sell to the pirates. This would be easy given the current intoxicated states of both groups. Zero moved before Katana could burn any more of a hole in him than she already had.
Herding a roving band of drunken monkeys is not an easy thing. It is tough to gauge how each monkey will react to any given situation. Zero had it down to a science.
He had studied the monkeys for three days before. He knew what type of alcohol they were drinking, how much each one had to drink at the certain moment, which were likely to lead and follow, and which had been doing other drugs that day and were most susceptible to paranoid hallucinations. Katana had been compiling similar information on the garden gnomes.
The two pirate ninjas moved with deadly precision. One monkey was freaked out and ran, another was following the bottle of schnapps’ that had mysteriously flew out of his hand, and one was even chasing the illusion of monkey breasts. The plan was working perfectly; the monkeys were halfway to their destination before Zero even needed to pause for a swig of rum.
Dammit, she was still staring at him. Even though she didn’t miss a cue, she also never took her evil stare off Zero’s back. While a pirate ninja could still work flawlessly with a wandering mind, this was getting downright uncomfortable. Pirate ninja women have been known to kill a normal man with such a stare. It is a good thing Zero was no normal man.
He finally felt the stare subside as the first monkey reached the sight of the garden gnomes. It felt like a knife had been removed form his back. Zero immediately struck the thought from his mind to go about watching the inevitable chaos and hilarity that was about to ensue. Drunken monkeys mixed with doped up garden gnomes always proved to be great fun.
The events that unfolded were just that: hilarious.
The monkeys were noticed first by a group of gnomes dancing erratically on the outskirts of the group. The first one that came running wildly into the gang was nearly humped to death. His desperate and high pitched screams made for quite a funny scene.
Within seconds, the rest of the monkeys came running onto the battlefield. The initial small group of garden gnomes was instantly overwhelmed. The rest joined the fray and before long, chaos began to break out everywhere.
Monkeys were humping gnomes, gnomes were humping monkeys, drug usage was running rampant; the entire scene was reminiscent of a high school kid’s hazy memory of a wild prom night orgy, with the exception of horrid creatures taking the places of the women. Zero was thoroughly enjoying every bit of it. Then the piercing stare returned.
Katana was waiting impatiently for him near the shipment of soon-to-be stolen rum. It would take both of them working together to get the rum far enough away from the intoxicated creatures to avoid having to kill them all. She seemed far from as amused as Zero was at the events unfolding before them. Zero could take only so much of this penetrating stare before he gave up on his entertainment and relented himself to the female pirate ninja’s position.
With a slight nod between them, they were off, running at full speed away from the madness they had just created with the shipment of rum balancing perfectly on their backs. After putting ten minutes and a good three parsecs between them, the two stopped in a small clearing. This was the moment Zero had been dreading. Katana would finally have her chance to voice her displeasure, whatever that may be.
Again, Zero thought, Dammit.