Dead Planet XXXV

Dead Planet XXXV

“The function served by a tool
can be inferred by its design.”
—John C. Wright, Null-A Continuum:
Continuing A. E. van Vogt’s World of Null-A

Rick: “You’re a chick with sullen tendencies.”

[Hellas Tower the old resort hotel is ahead & down below them—it looks dumpy & rundown from the air. Half hidden from view behind a bunch of Mars City ruins—it seems especially oppressive to Rick today for some reason.]

Rachael #69: “You saw the way Tyrell was acting today? What's his problem, anyway?”

Rick: “Oh, nothing. He’s just another sulky mulky Serpent, that’s all."

Rachael #69: “I'm an Emo kid too—sulking is the name of the game. And sulking is what I do best. Especially in bed.”

Rick: “Hey, baby. You wanna sulk shake? To kinda go with your cry fries? I love a chick who whines & dines away her time. I’ll make ya whine for more—when I get your fine ass back home. We’ll get down real nice. I’ll take care of your sulky pussy, Rachael."

[Rachel looks down at Hellas Tower. Rick slowly circles it on purpose—checking out the roof for any Creepazoid hover-craft. His lets his right hand move up Rachael’s leg—feeling her up all the way. She smiles.]

Rick: [Shrugs, looking for a place to land] “I heard the lizard-boss whining back there underground. He sure knows how to—make a guy feel sullen & down in the fuckin’ dumps.”

[Rick feels up along Rachael’s nude leg. It looks like flesh—all pink & nice & warm & inviting. But actually it feels cool & smooth like a snake. She’s really a Reptoid snakedroid—disguised as a cute Rachael #69.]

Rick: “Let me adjust your safety belt.”

[Without blinking an eye, Rick hits the belt-button, then hits the Jag-jet door release. Tilting the hover-craft to the right—letting the Rachael lizard-droid fall into space. The cabin roars with air—he closes the door with a click.]

Rick: “So much for fuckin’ Rachael #69. Jaysus Christ, the Lizards are getting good at it. Now they’re doing Nexus-9 Snake chicks—to entice poor stupid fuckers like me.”

[Rick lights up an electronic Marlborough—inhales and breathes it out slowly down thru his nostrils.]

Rick: “Man, oh man. They’ll try anything won’t they? Hmm, Jag boy?”

Jag-jet Voice: “I was kinda goin’ “boing-boing” on that one, Decker. She fooled me—but WTF am I? I’m just another droid bot like her—it’s your Private Dick intuition. It saved your ass again.”

Rick: “Yeah, well, lucky I wasn’t drunk. I might not have noticed the difference. It’s been a l-o-n-g time, don’t ya know, Jet-boy?”

[The gray structure of the Hellas Tower seems to have turned its back on the old Martian sea—at the bidding of some crazy Terra fairy-tale conjuror. The tower facade, with its columns, cracked stairs, and stories stacked on top of each other. The whole thing looks like an old used-up Midwestern grain tower back on Earth—the kind that used to line all the railroad tracks along towns full of wheat belt booty, bent eternally before a blasted winter wind outta nowhere.]

Rick: “Ah, home sweet home. But for how much longer, I wonder?”

[Looking down on the shallow courtyard full of space junk & debris—he circles around it to get a good look at what’s left. No familiar squatter domes, no smells outta Earth-émigré kitchens, no more laundry hanging in the breeze, and down there on the lower floor where the hustlers, hairdressers & tricks used to mingle & gossip about the latest Earthboyz to arrive. Empty & abandoned. Gathering red dust.]

Rick: “Wonder where the kid is now?”

[What’s left of the once swanky interplanetary tourist hotel—now it’s just a massive monolith facing an empty ancient dead shoreline with only two or three unbroken picture windows at the top. A few yards from the colonnade there’s a high concrete wall—beyond that ochre rays of the sunset glint on the aerials of the shut-down local power plant. The tall formal doors of his condo conceal themselves in the shade of a cyclopean balcony—it’s been locked for so long that even the crack between them & the doorway has disappeared under several layers of caked Martian dust. Until recently.]

Rick: “Scan the lower floors, Jag-boy. Any lizards or creepazoids still hangin’ around the joint?”

[The courtyard usually empty, except when an occasional hover-truck used to cautiously squeeze its way in, bringing milk and bread from Feodosia. But all the drifters & riffraff have been cleared out by the Lizards. Deckard’s the only one left—in the Hellas Tower. This evening there isn’t even a Snake or Creepazoid cop in the condo—so there’s no one to notice the individual leaning on the molded balustrade of the balcony, except perhaps for a pair of droid seagulls out on patrol, two white specks drifting across the sky. The stranger is looking up and to the right, toward Deckard getting ready to land on the roof. Down below toward the shelter on the dock—the cone of a semi-dead loudspeaker lodged under the edge of some ruined tiles of a collapsed roof. The sea is soundless—but when the wind blows toward the hotel, it carries audible snatches of some kind of radio broadcast directed at the deserted beach. The Lizards scan the beach—checking out the dead city.]

Jag-jet Voice: "No lizards or creepazoids down there... The Lizards are playing another one of their Snake Religious Broadcasts, tho…"

Lizard announcer: “…not at all the same as each other, not cut to the same pattern ... created us all different; is not this part of the grand scheme of things, counted, unlike the transient plans of Monkey-man fools, in many ... What does the Lizard Lord expect of us, as He turns His hopeful gaze in our direction? Will we be able to make use of His gift? ... For He Himself does not know what to expect from the souls that He has sent to Mars..."

[Then comes the strains of a church organ. The melody is majestic, but from time to time it’s interrupted by an absurd "Oompah-Oompah"; in any case, there’s no chance to become caught up in the music, because very quickly it’s replaced once again by the voice of the Lizard announcer.]

Lizard announcer: "You have been listening to a broadcast from Snake Inc. especially prepared for our station by the Lizard Charity of The Rivers of Babylon ... on Sundays ... to the following address: The Voice of God, Bliss City, Amazonis, Mars."

[Deckard lands his Jag-jet on the roof. He knows who’s waiting for him on the balcony. It’s the kid—back again it seems.]

Rick: “Wonder what he’s got goin’ now? Probably up to no good. Knowin’ him—he’s got something goin’ on tho.”

No comments: