Chapter 37

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"Attention, baristas.  To both the rancid, wretched puke-stains on board this station, and the putrescent scum who are harbouring the Australian prime minister, this is your first and only warning.  Your laughable resistance must cease, immediately.  You must deliver the pathetic Australian PM to us, immediately.  You must surrender your woefully inadequate selves to the nearest Rigellian forces, immediately.  Disobedience is not an option.  Resistance is futile.  The might of Rigel will not be denied.

"Soon, as a direct consequence of your witless actions, the primitive cesspool known as New York will be destroyed.  Millions of worthless Earthlings will die, because of your pointless deeds.  There is nothing you can do to prevent this, and furthermore, if you do not accede to our demands, more cities will be destroyed, and millions more will die.  All because of your stupidity in even dreaming that you might threaten the unstoppable rise of the Rigellian empire.

"Although it is too late to save New York, if you submit within the next ten minutes, no further Earth cities need be destroyed.  However, be warned, should you choose to continue with your infantile resistance, the consequences will be severe.  Your entire planet will be made to tremble at our wrath.  You must know that your capture and defeat are inevitable.  The only variable is how many of your fellow scum-sucking Earthlings will die, first.

"You have been warned.  Ten minutes, baristas.  Ten minutes, and then we unleash hell."

Splurmfeen gave the signals technician a satisfied nod, signifying that the transmission was over, before turning back to Kwoin.  "You know, Councillor, I suppose I should be grateful to these baristas, in a way.  A soldier needs the occasional challenge, to keep himself sharp.  Not that they really proved to be all that much of a challenge, in the end."

Back on Marilyn's bridge, pandemonium reigned, as two panicked baristas ran around, past and sometimes straight through the hologram who was trying—completely ineffectually—to calm them both down

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Back on Marilyn's bridge, pandemonium reigned, as two panicked baristas ran around, past and sometimes straight through the hologram who was trying—completely ineffectually—to calm them both down.

"It's OK," soothed EJ.  "Everything's going to be fine."  He put on what he judged to be his most relaxation-inducing expression.  "Take a deep breath. Chill."

A gobsmacked Mel stopped dead in her aimless charge across the bridge.  "Chill?  CHILL?  They're bloody well about to blow up New York!  What the hell are we going to DO?"  She had never seen a more punchable expression in her life, and it was all the more aggravating for being attached to a face that was completely non-punchable.

"Think, think, think," panted Cora, as she bounced off chairs, control consoles and walls.  "Must think, must save New York, think, think—"

"Excuse me," interjected Marilyn, "I'm picking up another incoming transmission."  As nobody paid her the slightest bit of attention, she was forced to rephrase slightly, this time with a little more sub-woofer.  "OI!  Everyone SHUT UP!"  There was a stunned, but gratifying silence.  "Thank you.  Incoming message, from the battle-station."

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