When the Microchips Are Down...

General Villainous laughed enthusiastically, the reverb causing the chairs and tables nearby to tremble with subsonic anticipation of a sub-Western brawl and imminent destruction.

Then he laughed some more.

Then he laughed even more.

As he laughed yet more, his face contorted and one of his robotic hands slapped it sharply, cutting off the laughter at last.
"That sounds like a defective Intel Hyperreal Discrete Fourier Transform modulator to me," said Loomis.  "Weren't they all recalled after that aquarium exploded and covered New Bognor Regis in unusual clams?"
Dr. Bacon stared at her, and then looked down at his Proctor and Gamble Astro-Med Field Kit, still open on the table before him.
"I'm sure I just gave you a dose of female pronouns," he said quietly, shuffling through the vials again.
"How dare you infer that I am somehow defective!" shouted Villainous, turning the reverb down quickly so that the assembled crew members could understand him.
"Er, did I?" said Loomis, turning red.
"Yes," mused Commander Tunney, "I think you did actually.  Though, as I understand the rules of the Propositional Calculus and first-order predicate logic, it was an entirely correct inference."  He looked around at his slightly shocked crew.  "What?" he said quickly, defensively.  "I did a lot of reading when I was going through my third divorce...."

"Be quiet, you pedantic meat-bags!" shouted General Villainous.  "I am here to flense and scour, to cleanse this planet of the putridity that your presence brings to it, and you are debating the quality of my components and logic.  What kind of heroes are you?"
"Well, this is a coffee shop," said Loomis trying to toss her hair coquettishly.  Her wedge cut resisted, making her look like her neck had suddenly gone into spasm.  "It's traditional to philosophise in coffee-shops.  Over coffee."
"Pah!" spat General Villainous, Castrol Ultra-lube HyperOil Engine Enabler landing greasily on the table and just missing Dr. Bacon's Med-Kit.  "You pontificate at the level of a developmentally disadvantaged seven year old!"
Loomis gasped and blushed, her hand flying to her mouth and her eyes filling with tears. "You're mean!" she said with vehemence.

General Villainous snorted and shuffled his robotic limbs, servos whirring noisily.  "And now, if you're completely done, I believe you all have a date with the Captain's Daughter."  He twisted the reverb dial, cunningly situated with several others underneath his chin, to full and started laughing again.

"The Captain's Daughter?" said Varis.  She looked enquiringly at Commander Tunney, her lips making a moue.
"The Cat'O'Nine tails," said Tunney.  "It's an old sea-going reference, though I've no idea why Villainous here has dredged it up."
The crew looked at him again, each face a variation on the theme of surprise.
"It was a long and messy divorce!  I had a lot of time for reading!"

"Look," said Loomis, "His Intel chip's got stuck again, he's still laughing.  Can't we take advantage of this somehow and do something before he fixes it again?"
"Of course," purred Varis.  She stood up, somehow managing to undulate and causing Dr. Bacon to apply his Transdermic Injector to his forehead and depress the trigger.  Ignoring his hiss of pain she stepped in close to General Villainous, reached under his chin, and twisted a dial underneath his chin.  With a sound like a chainsaw tearing into a rotting Louisiana swamp coffin his robotic legs extended upwards at high speed, embedding his head firmly into the ceiling.  General Villainous flailed his arms, trying to reach his chin dials, but was foxed by the laths and plaster that his head had penetrated.  His laughter continued unabated.

"Sterling work, Varis!" announced Tunney.  "Now, where's my coffee?"

The End

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