sab39

... indistinguishable from magic
effing the ineffable since 1977
Ambivalence

Ambivalence

10/10/2005

Okay, here's the deal. The Earth got used up so a bunch of other planets got terraformed. Some were rich and flush with new technology, others had cows. The central planets formed the Conglomerate and offered peace and prosperity to the rest, but we decided to fight them anyway because we're all cool and anti-authoritarian and stuff. I'm Bon Arnold, captain of Ambivalence. She's a mosquito-class transport. Got a good crew - well, a crew, anyway. Fighters, a pilot, a mechanic. Even picked up a Father for some reason, and a bona fide pet. Got a doctor too, rescued his idiot sister from some Conglomerate lab so for some reason they think it's a good idea to hang out with a bunch of people who routinely get pulled in by law enforcement. You understand.

If you've got a job needs doing, we can do it. As long as it involves cows.

(Note to readers: if you didn't get the reference yet, don't bother reading the rest, just go watch the show and come back. Hell, I don't care if you come back, just watch it. For everyone else - I haven't seen the movie yet so you won't find any spoilers here... and please don't post any in the comments)


Bon walked over to Scrub and tapped him on the shoulder.
"Just got a call from Impala, she's over on Ap Lanet and she's ready for us to pick her up."
"You got it, boss. I am a leaf on the tree, watch me hang there."
Bon looked at him, nonplussed, as Estuary's scream of "Noo!!! No! I won't eat the cottage cheese!" echoed down the corridor. They were both too used to this to take any notice.
"Scrub, what the la plume de ma tante are you talking about?"
"I thought it might make a good catchphrase. Do you like it?"
"Just get us to Ap Lanet. While we're there we'll drop in on Bert, he has some sick cows and heard about the cow medicine we've got stashed in the hold."
"Ok. Zee honey, would you engage the ignition?" Zee was gazing adoringly at Bon leaving the room and hadn't heard the question.
Bon turned back in the doorway. "Scrub, we ain't going nowhere without the ignition engaged."
Zee immediately jumped up and ran over to the ignition as Bon left. Scrub glared.

***

Later on Bon knocked on the door of Impala's cabin.
"Come in!"
"Are you sure?"
"Absolutely, come right in!"
"I wouldn't want to disturb you."
"It's not a problem, come on in!"
"You're sure I can come in?"
"Absolutely, please, come in."
"I'll just talk from out here. I just wanted to let you know that Zee, Mary, the Father and I will be heading out to talk to Bert."
"Okay, I'm going to take a nap, this last guy had me up all night."
"You realize that's totally demeaning, right?
"My profession, Bon, is a noble one with a long and auspicious history. Now I have to go take off this leash and collar."

***

"Well chim chim cheroo if it isn't Bon Arnold!" Bert was surrounded by goons and holding a chimney-sweep's brush. "Spiffing to see you, old chum."
"Howdy, Bert. I think you've met Zee, the Father, and Mary."
"Did he say Mary?" whispered one of the goons to another, and they stifled a snigger. Mary looked murderous.
"'Ave you got some medicine for me poor cows?"
"That all depends, Bert, on whether you have some money for me."
Bert threw Bon a small pouch. Bon checked the contents and counted the seven identical small gold coins.
"Hey, we agreed on two hundred and thirty five thousand credits, what's this singe blanc with only giving me twelve hundred?"
Suddenly every one of the thugs had a gun pointing at the group.
"Way I sees it, like, you don't got much choice," Bert smirked.
"Well now, Bert, it's my feeling that we always have choices in life," smiled Bon, as Mary muttered "What you looking at?" at one of the thugs.
"Oh, nothing, Mary." This time they didn't bother to stifle their sniggers.
A second later the room was a flurry of activity as Mary knocked the heads of two goons together while simultaneously kicking a third in the groin, Bon delicately flattened another with a punch to the nose, Zee whirled around and laid out two more with high kicks, and the Father held the last in a tight headlock until he slumped to the floor unconscious.
Bon looked over at Bert. "Say, I'd be rightly pleased if you'd choose to hand over the rest of that money right about now."
"Fine," said Bert sulkily and tossed over another coin.
"Why thank you kindly! So where are those cows?"

***

As they walked back to the ship thirty minutes later Bon turned to the Father.
"Where did a man of God such as yourself learn to fight like that?"
"Son, sometimes the altar boys put up a hell of a struggle."

***

Later on Zee passed Impala rubbing her eyes tiredly in the hold. "Rough night?" she enquired.
"Like you wouldn't believe. First guy was okay - he just wanted my head in his lap for a couple of hours - but the second had me awake on a leash all night just in case intruders came in."
"What would you have done if they had?" asked Peter, coming in with Smylee and Mary.
"Barked, of course. What else? Still, I've had worse. At least it wasn't some three hundred pound guy sitting on my back while I crawled around neighing..."
At that moment Estuary walked through the door timidly, her eyes darting around to each corner of the room in obvious abject terror.
"Bananas", she whispered fearfully as she backed up against the wall. "There are bananas... bananas everywhere..."
"Bananas? Are you sure?" Peter strode over to her and grasped her shoulders. "Estuary, listen to me, what were the Conglomerate doing with bananas?"
Mary laughed derisively. "She's talking gibberish, Peter, as usual. She ain't right in the head! Don't tell me you actually think that there's some gollum meaning to this petit chien about bananas and cottage cheese!"
Peter ignored him and looked back to Estuary, who was still cowering against the wall and wouldn't meet his gaze. "Bananas... Bana... nanana... nananananas..."
"Bunnies are nice," pointed out Smylee.

***

"Scrub, how long will it take us to get to Amune?"
"I am a leaf in the mud, watch me get all soggy."
"Pardon?"
They were interrupted by the buzz of the proximity sensor, at which everyone immediately looked to the control panels. Suddenly the atmosphere became tense and fearful.
"C'est ça que j'ai dit à ta mère la nuit passée," whispered Bon reverently after a few seconds.
"It's le chat est sur la table weevils!" whimpered Mary, backing away.
"Weevils? I thought they were a myth," said Peter.
"They ain't no myth." Mary was visibly shaking now. "They do... horrible things... they climb up your trouserlegs... they get inside your underwear!"
"I think it's okay, I don't think they've spotted us," said Scrub, looking at the trajectory monitor.
"Shut up, bitch, Bon's trying to figure out what to do!" snapped Zee.
"So what do we do? Run away?" Peter asked Bon.
"I like pretty flowers," interjected Smylee helpfully.
"Can't run, they're faster than us and they'll chase. On the other hand, if I'm not mistaken, I do believe they haven't spotted us."
"Oh thank goodness!" exclaimed Zee, pulling Bon into a tight embrace.
"Will you get your je m'appelle Philippe et j'habite à Paris hands off my wife? I'm a leaf in the drain and I don't have to put up with this!"
"I said shut up, bitch."

***

It was two hours later that the proximity sensor started buzzing again.
"Poisson un, poisson deux, poisson rouge, poisson bleu, they followed us after all!" groaned Scrub, kicking the engine up to full throttle.
"Nuts!" cried Estuary.
"Can't this heap of junk go any faster?" yelled Bon, at which point the engine cut out entirely. Scrub started pounding on the control panel frantically as Peter turned and gazed intently at his sister.
"Smylee, can't you get that je suis un escargot engine running again?" demanded Bon.
"It's sad! You hurt it's feelings!"
"Yeah well, just get it working again."
"They're all nuts!" continued Estuary in an agitated tone.
Smylee shuffled over to the engine, leaned over and whispered gently, "Aww, it's okay widdle engine, ignore the big meaniehead saying nasty fings about oo, you's a good engine, I yuv you." She planted a delicate kiss on the driveshaft, and the engine gradually rumbled back to life allowing Scrub to dodge the incoming weevils at the last second.
Peter was still looking with intense interest at Estuary. "Pecan nuts!" she added.

***

Peter barrelled back into the control room a few minutes later and grabbed Bon by the shoulder.
"We've gotta head to As Ecretla B, right now!"
"Case you hadn't noticed, we're mighty busy right now." The ship veered again as Scrub attempted another wild maneuver to throw off the pursuers.
"It's important! I know what the bananas mean!"
"Look, Peter, I know she's your sister and all but this really ain't the ti—"
"I can pay you a dozen cows!"
"Scrub, head for As Ecretla B!"
"I am a leaf in the gutter, boss."
"And give that a rest, too."

***

As they careened towards the atmosphere of As Ecretla B, the communications screen lit up to reveal a man with a red cap, a long white beard, and bright blue skin. "I am Evil Papa Smurf, and I demand to see your authorization to approach this secret la— I mean planet! Right now!"
Peter shoved Bon out of the way and leant down to the screen.
"I know what you're trying to do!" he growled. "You're mass-producing fruit and vegetables and salads to destroy the beef economy of the outer worlds!"
"Clever of you to figure it out, but we have no intention of stopping at cows. We'll get the sheep and pigs too!"
"Not the pigs!" cried Bon. "Burn the land and boil the sea, but you can't take the sty from me!"
"How very noble. But you'll never stop us! I have this thing that'll give you a nosebleed!"
There was silence for a moment as the crew tried to suppress their laughter.
"Well, you'll still never stop us!"

***

Scrub pulled Ambivalence out of its mad dive at the last minute. The weevil ship tried to follow, but couldn't change direction fast enough and plunged through the roof of the lab.
"That ought to do it," said Peter in satisfaction. "The weevils will eat all the fruit and salad and vegetables. The cows are safe!"
"Scrub, you did it!" Zee actually planted a kiss on Scrub's cheek before jumping on Bon. Impala rubbed her nose against Bon's knee and purred.
"I'm a leaf in the — hey, that's it! — I'm a leaf in the win—"
A clang reverberated throughout the ship as the Conglomerate grapple locked on.
"Merde."