"So there are two blondes, and one says to the other, "Where'd I leave my makeup?", and the other replies-." Markinson was cut off by General Brainzap's entrance.
"I don't get the puncline." Robins said.
"I hadn't said it yet. And you never get the punchline."
"See, like just then. I didn't get the punchline there either."
"It wasn't a joke."
"Oh...okay. So will there be a punchline?"
"It wasn't a joke!"
"You should really work on it. It's got potential."
Markinson glared at Robins. The man was as inept as a pair of French intelligence agents in a room full of bio-weapons. It could be right in front of his eyes and he'd never see it.
"Listen up gentlemen." Brainzap ordered. "Today, you are going on the last mission you'll ever embark on. A mission so sensitive and unorthodox that there's an estimated 98 percent chance that you will die before you even hit the ground...oh.....oh god....umm....disregard everything from 'Today you'. I was reading my side notes again. Damnit. Stupid, stupid, stupid-" He trailed off as he erased his notes. Markinson only stared at Robins with horror in his eyes. Robinson turned to face him, and smiled.
"Hey, we get a new mission. I hope it's fun." Robins responded. The knife on Markinson's belt was getting very, very ready to stab Robins in the temple.
"As I was saying. Today, you are going on a mission that shouldn't be too hard once you land. It's a simple search and rescue. Good luck. The pelicans are waiting." Brainzap quickly turned from the podium and began to leave.
"Wait! Sir. What are the mission specs? What are the details? What kind of gun do I need?" Markinson shouted after him.
"If I were you I'd take a cross and an angel, but I guess you'll have to make due with whatever's left in the pelican. You don't have time to prep before launch." Brainzap left without so much as another grunt.
"What was the punchline on that?"
"What the General said. I didn't get the punchline on that."
Forces of nature beyond man's comprehension held back Markinson's hand from his M6D right then, and saved Robins' life from a gruesome fate. Instead, Marks, as he was commonly know, turned and walked to the launch bay. A single pelican awaited them.
It was rusted, old, and shot to hell. One port engine was clearly not working; the cardboard cutout that said 'Engine Applied For' gave that away quickly. The rear hatch was also a bit 'rustic', with only a belt strap to keep the vacuum from pouring in during space flight.
"Now I know why the mission said we had a 98 percent chance of dying before we hit the ground. We've gotta go in this piece of-"
"Antiquity. Yep. They don't make 'em like this anymore." The pilot, Warrant Officer Durang said with a smile.
"Yea, they stopped making these about the time the ones that ACTUALLY flew came out." Markinson quipped.
"I don't get the punchline." Durang replied.
Fear and darkness crept into Markinson's belly. Robins smiled and shook the pilot's hand. He was laughing hysterically.
"Now this guy's got a sense of humor!" He bellowed as he slapped his knee.
"Oh yea, you two are gonna be REAL good friends. I can see that already. Anyway, where are the weapons stored?"
"Personal weapons or the ones built onto the ship?" Durang asked.
"Well, we don't have any of those per se. But we do have a fine selection of show tunes, and a lovely meal on the trip down." Marks cupped his face in disbelief. He'd be going on a suicide mission with Beavis and Butthead, on crack.
"Alright. So what does the ship carry that can give us some cover fire?"
"Well, we don't really have any of those either. Good reason too. It's a long story, but I'll give you the short version. I was born in 2553 to a small mining family on Panduras prime. My mom sold her body for booze, and my dad drank the booze. All in all my childhood was a good one. My sister with the gimp leg was a bit of a nuisance, but we kept her chained up in the basement a lot...(Four Hours Later)...and long story short, I ended up losing all of my weapons in a card game."
"You call THAT a fucking long story short!" Marks growled wearily.
"Dude, your sister with the gimp leg. She still single?" RObinson asked eagerly.
"Yea, I can hook you two up sometime if you want me to."
"Gee, would you man?"
"STOP IT!" Marks screamed furiously. He'd damn near snapped. They were incessantly stupid. They were so stupid they didn't know they were stupid. It was like having Forest Gump as your daddy and one day he decides to go for a five year 'jog' with the 'friend' named Melinda. Markinson brushed the childhood memories aside; for now.
"But I saw guns, what are those things?" He pointed to two long barrels protruding from the nose turret.
"Them's just broomsticks I painted up. Looks real don't they."
"Yea, you did a good job on 'em."
"I really like the way the light shadows on them from an angle. I wasn't expecting that when I was painting it, but I think it's a nice touch."
Amazing. Simply amazing.Marks thought to himself. Ren and Stimpy were talking about the only weapon to save them from the hordes of Covenant invaders on the planet below. On a ship that should have, by all logical means, literally fallen apart years ago.
"So, are ya'll ready to go?"
"As ready as I'll ever be." Marks replied downtroddenly, a tear on his cheek.
The three strapped in, and the rear hatch closed with a fake motorized sound; courtesy of Durang. He even made the little clicking noises that real hatches made as they ensured vacuum seal when they locked, as he slipped the rod through the hole in the belt.
"Is that entirely safe?" Marks grabbed Durang's arm as he headed to the cockpit.
"Sure! It's 100% leather you know." Durang shrugged off the hand and went to the cockpit. It was about to be a VERY long ride.