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Published December 17, 2010

“Frozen goats of Malvin!  Those are the largest, land-based walking shrimp I’ve ever seen!” cried Lieutenant Henley Lipworth, peering between the crevices of the lattice-like, green rock formation on the Planet of the Obscenely Giant Shrimp.   The last of the three towering white shrimp was swaying off into the sickly olive-hued distance, its nearly transparent legs sending up little plumes of avocado-colored dust with each step.

                Commander Greta Bin-Lector looked through a slightly larger crevice using her authentic Space Command-issue binocularama.  The shrimp’s magnified body bumped into her field of vision so dramatically that she gasped at the looming immense smoothness of its pearly covering.   “Eye boggling!  I haven’t seen so much smooth white curvature since the Biennial Porcelain Festival on Rugger-11.”  Bin-Lector readjusted the focus on the viewing device and shifted her position.  “There it is, Lipworth.  The legendary Crystal Shrimp Palace.  They’re lumbering right up to it.”

                “Let me see.”  Lipworth held out a hand, always eager to see one of the officially registered Shrimp Wonders of the universe.

                Bin-Lector looked at him skeptically.  “You haven’t even returned my copy of Annals of the Perverse Abbesses.”

                “I’m still on the fourth Annal,” explained Lipworth.  “I had to re-read annal two a few times.  Remember that part with the overfed dog?”

                Bin-Lector sighed and handed the device over.  “Point it there.  Just to the left of that last giant shrimp butt.”

                Lipworth did as she directed, scraping his chin on one of the little protuberances of the gnarled rock formation.  Bin-Lector held back a chuckle as a somewhat poisonous Mango Bubble Crab scurried across the rock face, nearly brushing Lipworth’s face.

                Henley Lipworth let out an impressed whistle as he brought the Shrimp Palace into view.  He’d seen shrimp bridges, underwater shrimp tunnels and even multi-leveled, orbiting, self-sustaining shrimp space stations, but this was his first experience with a shrimp palace.   It was an inspiring sight, which would’ve been even more inspiring if Lipworth were an obscenely giant shrimp in search of a grandiose seat of government.  Four stories of twisting hallways, imposing chambers and tastefully furnished crustacean pleasure dens were all constructed from glinting, transparent, variously-hued crystal, giving the viewer access to the sight of busy shrimp dignitaries, courtiers, servants and commoners scurrying about their business among the chambers.  

 “Amazing!  It’s incredibly complex yet as finely detailed as one of the ancient Potato God cathedrals on the Planet of the Vegetable Acolytes.  How do they make such intricate crystal palaces?”

“With their riches made on iron ore investments.  Buying up whole planets full of iron deposits, then selling the drilling rights when iron prices went through the roof.  Don’t let anyone tell you shrimp aren’t clever speculators.”

“No, I mean physically how do they make them?  Shrimp don’t even have opposable thumbs.”

“They were built by slaves,” answered Letitia.  “Their unhappy, short Gunnerdal slaves, imported on direct, no-frills flights from the Gunner system.”

Lipworth gritted his teeth.  Enslavement was one of his least favorite things.  Especially when it involved short people.  “That’s repulsive.  If these Obscenely Giant Shrimp are going to use their wealth to put up grandiose palaces as monuments to their own nearly limitless power, they should at least pay regular construction crews a decent wage to build them.”

                “Save your outrage for the Shrimp King.  Now that we’ve discovered their route to the palace, we can put our plan into action.”

                “You mean the plan where we dress up as hungry, bedraggled space travelers stranded beside  the shrimp trail and then they take pity on us and give us a shrimp-back ride to the palace, where we pretend to recuperate from our travails while actually uncovering the details of their strategy to colonize the Planet of the Recumbent Sages?”

                “Yes.  Except I’m making a slight change of plans.  After seeing these shrimp tear apart those bedraggled rock antelopes for dinner, I no longer have as much faith in their ability to pity weary travelers.  We’ll ask for admission to the palace head on.  Posing as fine crystal salespeople with a great deal on transparent blue crystal bricks, perfect for shrimp palace add-ons.”

                “But I’ve never sold anything,” protested Lipworth.  “My cousin’s the salesguy.  He could sell a pair of designer sunglasses to a Blind Throbbing Pumpkin Slugworm.  In fact, he did sell a pair of designer sunglasses to a Blind Throbbing Pumpkin Slugworm.”

                “You don’t have to actually sell anything, Lipworth,” explained Greta.  But she couldn’t complete the thought.  She was instead rudely interrupted by the piercing, twisted battle shriek of a rearing, nearly-translucent Obscenely Giant Shrimp charging from behind, rearing on a misshapen green boulder, its many surprisingly thick and aggressively kicking legs creating a maelstrom of deadly shrimp appendage action. 

                Lipworth backed against the rocks with nowhere to go, a shrimp-induced scream of jumbo proportions about to escape from his mouth when a blunt shrimp foot knocked him on the side of the head and his body’s coherency was lost in the bloody pummeling of numerous Obscenely Giant Shrimp limbs. 

                “I didn’t even know they could shriek.  I didn’t even know they could shriek,” muttered Bin-Lector in a trance-like monotone as she saw the unpleasant black eyes of the Giant Shrimp bear down on her and the limbs kick into action to eliminate the last potentially meddlesome intruder attempting to interfere with the internal affairs of the Planet of the Obscenely Giant Shrimp.

 

Be amazed by more Space Command adventures at: http://amzn.to/g2SLsq

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