Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dead Planet XXIX

Dead Planet XXIX

“Every identity is distinct.
No matter their overt similarity,
one of any two objects in a class
of objects is an individual.”
—John C. Wright, Null-A Continuum:
Continuing A. E. van Vogt’s World
of Null-A

[The Predictress materializes in Deckard’s apartment. The Lizards have put him under house arrest—after not getting anything outta him in the orbiting Snake Ship. Nor with Marty "The Martian" Augustine. The kid’s REM training—has made Deckard a hard nut to crack. Phasing in & out of brain patterns randomly—a real mess of alpha, beta & delta humanoid buzz & static. Hard to pin down—or predict. It’s been 3 weeks since the Pyramid Affair. Deckard can’t visit his pals in his hover-craft—he’s grounded & being monitored every minute. His escape from the prison-ship being planned—resulting in no leads either.]

Predictress: “Well, Deckard…here you are.”

Rick: “Well, well, here yourself, sweetheart... If it isn’t the Fugitive Predictress—welcome back to the Laughing House! [Both laughing]

Predictress: “They were blocking us.”

Rick: “Do me a favor, will you? Keep away from the patio & windows. Somebody might... blow you a kiss.”

Predictress: “Kiss me, Mike. I want you to kiss me. Kiss me. A liar's kiss that says I love you, and means something more.”

Rick: “Whoa, honey. The kid must’ve shared some of his Earthboy hormones & wisdom with you—while you two were gone. Those Nexus boyz sure are devil droids—aren’t they?”

Predictress: “I apologize, Rick. You’re right. He made me realize there’s more to being an android—than just the usual cyborg-asexuality. He’s learned a lot about being human—living with a guy like you. And he gave me—some of it…”

Rick: “Listen, sweetheart. Get yourselves to nearest droid-zeit bus stop—and forget you ever saw me. If you don't get outta here—things might not work out the way you want.”

Predictress: “We can’t—we need you.”

Rick: “If you need me—then you’re the only ones on Mars who does. Everybody else has been tryin’ to shut me down—pretty soon permanently, that’s my guess.”

Predictress: “The kid told me—you’ve got only one real lasting love.”

Rick: “Well, it isn’t him—I can tell you that.”

Predictress: “He knows that. He said you're one of those selfish, self-indulgent males—who thinks only about himself. Your car, your zoid-gun, yourself. He said the only reason you do push-ups every morning—is just to keep your belly hard.”

Rick: “I gotta do that, girl. I gotta be able to still see my dick. I got pride, you know. Sorta. Kinda.”

Predictress: “I could tolerate flabby muscles in a man—if it'd make him more human. He said you give a lot in a relationship—but after Rachael you gave up. Us woman-droids—what is it we can do to make you love again?”

Rick: “WTF—there’s more than enough Rachael dames hanging around. They get me in trouble—then they get me outta trouble. Either way it’s a losing proposition—I’m getting’ too old for the game.”

Predictress: “The same with the kid?”

Rick: “What's this all about? I'll make a quick guess. You were out with the kid—and you thought love was gonna be more than just a four-letter word? But with the kid—it’s a two-prong proposition ain’t it? Was he too much for you—he can go on all night long if he wants. Did he go queer on you—or something?”

Predictress: “No. But I looked into his future.”

Rick: “Yeah? What did’ya see, hmm?”

Predictress: “I wasn’t there. But you were.”

Rick: “Well, don’t worry about that. I doubt that’s ever gonna happen—at the rate things are happening around this joint. I don’t expect either one of us—to survive this Lizard War. You two might—you’ve got ways to come & go. I’m stuck here—nowhere else to go.”

Predictress: “They’ve lost Los Angeles. No bus stops—in & outta there anymore. The Lizards are tractor-beaming Earth outta orbit—terraforming it on the way out to Saturn. It’s gonna be their new homebase—it’s gonna be Lizard Alpha for the incoming Snakes.”

[Deckard doesn’t say anything—Marty & the Martian Mob ain’t gonna like this one.]

Deckard: “Do you always go around with no clothes on?”

Predictress: [smiling] “The kid likes it that way.”

Rick: “I can see why. I’m happy for both of you.”

Predictress: “We followed what happened to you. Your coma—the reptilian interrogation. You were under for three dayz—the kid thought he’d have to get you a new tux & bury your corpse.”
Rick: “Sounds like him. You better get goin’. They’re monitoring this place bad.”

[Predictress dematerializes into thin air]

[A few minutes later—the Creepazoids bust down the door]

Lieutenant Snake: “C’mon, Rick. We know she was here. Why don't you tell us what you know? Then step aside like a nice fella—and let us professionals do our job.”

Rick: “What's in it for me?”

Lieutenant Snake: “Like what did the Predictress say? She was blocking us out. What did she want?”

Rick: “She told me she wanted to go to bed with me. We just had time enough for a quickie—and then she's gone.”
Rick: “An ordinary private eye gets nailed—his droid partner escapes. It rings bells all the way to Titan Town & Venus City. There's gotta be a pitch—I’m just some private dick—the kid just another usual suspect. What was the big deal? Maybe we got into a pyramid by mistake—so what, big deal. We got outta there as fast as we could. All hell breaks loose—it’s still goin’ on. WTF—I don’t know nothin’, boss.”

Lieutenant Snake: “You lie. Nobody can get down that quick, Deckard. Not even a private dick like you.”

Rick: “I was horny, that’s all. You’ve grounded my hover-craft on the roof. No dames or chicks come see me. She teleported herself onto my face—android-precogs are good at doing quickies, you know Lt. Snake?”

Lieutenant Snake: “You were with her the night she disappeared. With your android buddy boy. She knows a lot of things. She can see into the future. She was part of Tyrell’s exo-archeology team. She must have talked and told you something... If she knew something—you'd know it, dope. C’mon, what was it Deckard—something about the Lizards? They wanna know bad. She knows too much—what are we gonna do with you, asshole?”

Rick: “I dunno. Do like everybody else. Beat the shit outta me. What good would that do, Lt. Snake? You know us humans by now. We’re just a bunch of stupid naked apes—compared with you guyz.”

Lieutenant Snake: “Lizards live longer than monkeys. That’s all. You monkeys are clever—you can’t be trusted.”

Rick: What does it matter? My retirement gets interrupted, my hover-craft gets grounded, my life gets roughed-up, to put it mildly. If you hadn’t made a play for this solar system again—none of this would’ve happened. So let's pretend—you didn’t take over.”

Lieutenant Snake: “Well, we're gonna steer away from these penny-ante runaway cases like yours for a while. I've got a line on something better.

[Rick raises his eyebrow—acts disinterested. Acting disinterested—not taking the bait right away. A cop’s hint on purpose—about something big. An invitation—worth following up on.]

Rick: “Can I have my hover-craft back? And my zoid-gun?”

Lieutenant Snake: “Why not? You’re just small-change now. You’re free to come & go now, Deckard.”

[Deckard’s really curious now. He wants to know what’s up. Or what’s comin' down. Something’s up—that’s for sure. Lt. Snake smiles & leaves.]

No comments: