“Help us… We need cocktails… and Oxygen.”
It’s hard to know what to make of the battered individual in the pressure suit leaning against the ‘bug. José pops the door and three walking wounded stagger in and collapse. There are times to ask questions, and times to head back to base. They head back to base.
Marigold looks like he’s seen better mornings. There are still people sleeping in the corners, but he’s got coffee on and Space Rum ready in the Tiki Bar. He looks at them bleary-eyed. “What the schmeck happened to you?”
Our first refugee contestant drops it on a barstool. “It’s called a space wreck. No one knew how to fly the ship, nor how to do a landing.”
The second sits himself down next to her. “Who knew we’d end up doing a flaming re-entry on another planet?”
…and the third: “Can I get a Mai-tai or a Zombie? Got any cigarettes?”
Marigold is rattling the barware. “First one’s usually free, after that you have to pay up in oxygen credits.”
“Eh? Who needs oxygen when you’re on an all-expense paid junket to a sci-fi convention on the moon?”
José has been quiet, but now he leans forward. “Who the heck are you people anyway?”
The tall skinny one gives him a knowing look. “Perhaps you know my works: ‘Starship Poopers’, ‘A Stranger in Strange Pants’, ‘The Moon is an Expensive Mistress Who Gives You the Run-Around When You Want to Get Naughty’…?” He’s got a pencil-thin moustache and looks like he should have a tiparillo, a good sports jacket and a 60’s Italian sports car.
José gives him a blank look. After a pause he sighs, shrugs and adds, “You can call me Heinie. Heinlein for long.”
The shorter man with the impressive sideburns and thick spectacles coughs and rolls his eyes. “Ah yes, all noble works for the future of mankind.” He waves a hand, “You may know me for my works, ‘I Had To Reboot The Goddamn Robot Again’, ‘Foundation And I Couldn’t Figure Out When To Stop Typing’.”
Now it’s Heinie’s turn to roll his eyes. “Ah yes, let’s all worship the great Ass-imov. Let us not forget the three fundamental laws of robotics:”
- Fuck, is this thing on?
- Why won’t it connect to wifi?
- Fine, I’ll just do it myself
Another set of eye rolls. “Oy, the endless fight of male egos.” She places something on the table, it appears to be a human head.
Beth gives it a long look and asks, “….and what is that?”
“That’s Kilgore Trout. He didn’t survive the crash. I’m André Norton, the quiet serious one.”
Onward to Chapter Nine – The Plan