Date: December 02, 2017 03:33PM
Tales of the Golden Exmo – Chapter 3
The crew of the Golden Exmo bustled back and forth under the starlight preparing for battle.
Two anonymous unregistered crew members wearing gas masks stirred a bubbling pot with wooden paddles. Filled with the contents of www.exmormon.org, the mixture hissed and steamed even though no fire glowed beneath it.
Ancient Nephite pikes, swords and halberds were brought up from the hold, polished and then dipped in the mixture which ensured that even the slightest wound would be fatal.
Skunk Puppet felt the wind and watched the stars, ignoring the ship he shadowed. Despite his seeming indifference, the J.$.$. Morgannic drew nearer and nearer.
SusieQ#1 was seated on the deck. Her shoulders hunched over her laptop, her legs braced against the rise and fall of the gentle swells. "SusieQ#1," asked Captain Steve Benson, "what are you doing?”
"I'm parodying some FAIR/FARMS correspondence," answered SusieQ#1. "It isn't easy. It already reads like a parody."
"Please put that light out, SusieQ#1!" said Moniker as she adjusted a bandoleer of buckshot. "We're only a league away. Do you want them to see us?"
SusieQ#1 powered down her laptop. What use were words when battle was near?
Under the bright stars the massive sails of the J.$.$. Morgannic shone whiter and whiter. "Fear not," growled SL Cabbie, "their lookouts look forward, never back."
The Golden Exmo crew left Skunk Puppet at the helm and made their way to the base of the bowsprit where Susan I/S was handing out the weapons.
"Hold," said Ziller, "in the excitement we have forgotten the hymn and benediction."
"We've no time," snapped Susan I/S.
"There are no attacks too important to bypass the hymn," Captain Steve Benson solemnly intoned.
"Or the benediction," echoed GayLayAle, "that's my favorite part of any attack."
"Except the beheadings and plank-walkings," said Get Her Done.
"That," answered GayLayAle, "goes without saying."
"And," crowed SL Cabbie, "the ear-pullings!"
At the sounds of those wonderful words the apostates all raised both fists over their heads and cheered soundlessly, grins splitting their faces.
"Ah," said Captain Steve Benson, wiping away a tear of joy, "we haven't had a righteous ear-pulling in longer than I can remember."
"Tonight," replied SL Cabbie, "tonight we'll have ear-pulling galore. I swear to it."
"Save your swears," said Ziller. "It is time for the blessings."
"All right," said Susan I/S, "to the rope."
The apostates turned to a thick rope wrapped round a wooden stanchion. A large sign hung over the stanchion said: “Dump Food In Slot”.
The apostates took the rope in hand and hauled with all their collective strength.
From deep in the bowels of the Golden Exmo came a creak as wood shifted, a long groan as iron moved on iron, followed by the sound of unintelligible human speech and discordant music.
As the apostates pulled on the rope the sounds became louder and more distinct and a large object hove into view.
Hovering over the vastness of the hold, swaying just below the level of the deck, was a huge iron cage. From its top ran a food chute which connected to the slot just beside the stanchion.
Inside the cage was a wild man chained to a giant pipe organ. His skin looked as if it had never seen the light of day. His sunken eyes possessed a fire and peered from behind a mane of black untamed hair. His nimble fingers protruding from beneath his black robes moved carefully across the greasy keyboard producing ethereal music of extraordinary power.
The unintelligible mumble of words emanating from the cage grew into unintelligible shouting.
“O Great Alice Cooper," pleaded Ziller, "please whisper. The enemy is near."
"Yeah," said SL Cabbie in his relaxed commanding way, "lower your f***ing voice."
Alice Cooper’s music contained too much truth and poetry for the LD$ authorities, and so they had shackled him to this pipe organ and given him a life sentence on a LD$ slave galley.
Rescued by the Golden Exmo some years ago, he eschewed the bright sunlight in preference for the gloom of the hold. Captain Steve Benson preferred it that way as well.
To the crew of the Golden Exmo, Alice Cooper was a living monument - a living legend, and, ultimately, the celebrant of any important action.
He placed his filthy hands on the keyboard and began to play “Praise to the Man”.
"Excuse me, O Great Alice," Captain Steve Benson said tactfully, "this is an apostate ship."
Alice Cooper nodded distractedly and shifted without flaw into "O Canada!"
The Crew smiled with delight at the rising bloodlust that the hymn engendered.
After the hymn Ziller intoned, "O Great Alice Cooper, the hour is at hand. Give us your blessing."
"Leap into their rigging," shouted Alice Cooper at the top of his lungs. "Put your hand down their throats and tear out their bowels!"
His hand drooped. He appeared to have dozed off.
"Ears," hissed SL Cabbie. "He didn't say anything about pulling their ears!"
"Pardon me, O Great Alice," said Captain Steve Benson. "But we need to know. What about pulling a few ears?"
"PULL!" Alice Cooper screeched. "PULL and PULL and PULL!"
A piercing voice split the gloom, freezing the apostates like startled deer. "Who goes there?" came the authoritative question from the J.$.$. Morgannic. "Name your vessel and show your colors."
Suddenly they were atop the J.$.$. Morgannic. So engrossing was the hymn and benediction that none had noticed their rapid closing of the intervening distance.
"Let me down," wailed Alice Cooper.
SuzieQ#1 sprang for the tiny cannon which swiveled on a brass stand at the bow. She seized the firing lanyard and looked back to Captain Steve Benson, awaiting his command.
Stray Mutt whispered excitedly, "Don’t forget. We can not attack without first launching the Head.”
The Head, taken years ago from the grave of Brigham Young, had been carefully cured and shrunk by Stray Mutt, Cricket and Skunk Puppet, using organic and naturally derived shrinking substances.
No battle ever began without launching the Head across the decks of every ship the Golden Exmo attacked. Since the Golden Exmo had yet to lose a battle, the Head was always retrieved.
The Launching of the Head, as many apostate rituals do, had begun as someone’s idea of a joke. But like so many other apostate jokes, it had become deadly serious – a joke they could believe in.
Captain Steve Benson stood stymied only for a moment.
"GayLayAle," said Captain Steve Benson calmly, "take the helm. Skunk Puppet, come forward with Stray Mutt and launch the Head. Susan I/S, prepare to present colors."
"Name your vessel and show your colors or be fired upon," commanded the voice of the J.$.$. Morgannic.
"Susan I/S, present colors!" screamed Captain Steve Benson, ready for battle at last.
Susan I/S snapped the flag onto the lanyard and yanked with all her might. The flag shot into the moonlit sky and proudly unfurled. The wind stretched it taut and blew it toward the J.$.$. Morgannic. It stretched free and brave, to strike fear in the heart of Mormonism and its ilk.
"Behold!" came the terror-stricken cry from the J.$.$. Morgannic.
"Behold the Rainbow Salamander!" cried another voice, quivering with fear.
"The Rainbow Salamander?" This stunned whisper traveled the length and breadth of the J.$.$. Morgannic. The apostates could feel the Mormons lose heart even across the short length of sea which separated the two fighting ships.
"Joseph Smith, preserve us!" screamed another. "We are doomed!"
"Man your stations," barked the imperious voice from the J.$.$. Morgannic. "We have found the apostates."
"Surrender instead," called out Captain Steve Benson. "None may best those who sail under the Rainbow Salamander!"
Stray Mutt and Skunk Puppet scrambled forward bearing an ornate chest which contained the Head. Together they readied what they called the Catapult and loaded it with the Head.
"The Catapult is ready," cried Skunk Puppet.
"The Head is ready," echoed Stray Mutt.
"Then," said Captain Steve Benson, with the eerie calm which always overtook him at the moment of battle, "fire when ready."
Stray Mutt knelt beside the catapult and whispered an incantation known only to him into the Head’s ear. Skunk Puppet flipped a switch and the Head shot out across the short length of sea which separated the two fighting ships.
Skunk Puppet raised his hands to the sky in a paroxysm of joy. "Ramming speed!" he screamed.
"Fire!" called the captain of the J.$.$. Morgannic.
The LD$ crew yanked the lanyard on their stern-facing swivel gun.
The Head smacked square into the open barrel of the LD$ cannon.
The cannon, its barrel blocked by the Head, backfired, blasting the charge through the rear of the breech- loading gun. The Elders manning the gun were ripped to shreds.
SusieQ#1 made the Golden Exmo’s bow cannon speak and grapeshot mowed the deck of the J.$.$. Morgannic like a scythe.
GayLayAle spun the giant wheel of the Golden Exmo smashing her bowsprit into the stern of the J.$.$. Morgannic.
Clinging to the bowsprit with one hand, waving his mixture-dripping cutlass with the other, Get Her Done pointed to the enemy helm and issued a bloodcurdling scream:
"GET ‘ER DONE!!!
… to be continued …
P.S. – For entertainment purposes only. Ziller apologizes in advance for using your moniker in vain.