“A FEAST!” LoKrazz proclaimed. “A Feast for our friends from the Good Ship–” LoKrazz paused — “What was the name of your, er, once fine vessel, again?”
Coughing, MM, “that would be, the Corroborree.”
Dragonflier #1, “Vuor” cracked her whip at LoKrazz. “LoKrazz, your sarcasm is hardly hospitable. Quit licking your chops.”
“The Good Ship Corroborree, and its noble crew…”
Undaunted, LoKrazz, “Just what is a Corroboree anyway?”
“Corroboree,” piped up a new crew member who hadn’t spoken before, “is a word from a primal people of the Australian outback, common to most timelines in my native cluster. A tribal gathering of sorts, where people would come together from far distant places to make sand art, sing and dance, and of course, share food. Some would say, the earliest known mode of Travelling.”
“OHO! The MudMen!” LoKrazz noted, “We run into them from time to time. Boring though, no tek, those ones. No angle in it for me.”
The newbie, insulted – “So, you’re just a scavenger, then? You have no real interest in helping other Travellers, crash VICTIMS. You’re just hunting for salvage. We were warned about people like you. AMORAL Timeship Scavengers.”
“AHEM!” Vuor interrupted, “Let us toast to a fortuitous arrival of the Corroboree crew to our boring little hamlet – we welcome their company and what stories of far times and fanciful new devices they may care to share with us, as we endeavour to secure replacement parts and help
them on their way, to whatever ultimate destination they may have in store.” Vuor’s speech was suspiciously stilted, and bureaucratic.
GRZUZR, eMeM, Fallaballee and other copilots, engineers and random stowaways exchanged skeptical glances, waiting for someone else to make the first move. They were nervous as to exactly what they’d be tasting too — their growing interaction with LoKrazz and the Dragonfliers having been none too promising, when there appeared to be ambiguity as to whether they were invited to HAVE dinner, to SERVE dinner, or BE SERVED FOR dinner. Considering their weak strategic position, a dose of caution did seem in order. On the other hand, what other option did they have? There was a hot repast staring them in the face.
A clown-faced madmen with large ears jumped up from his seat, “WE SALUTE OUR HOSTS! To The three lovely ladies of the irridescent wings, and the Mighty Lord LoKrazz, our rescuer and partner in timeship-repair! To Health and Sovereignty across the many banded face of the Multiverse. May She guide and guard us all in all our wanderings!”
“HEAR HEAR!” LoKrazz raised his bierstein and the dragonfliers raised their vials of flavored ionic liquids. “Hear hear!
The crew rose in turn, though hardly in unison. Rather unconvincingly, they cheered “Bravo! Saluje!” They clinked their glasses, mugs and assorted drinking vessels, knocked back some unidentifiable but excessively high alcohol-content liqueur. “Mmm, engine grease!”
“FEAST! EAT!” spouted LoKrazz once more, grandiloquently sweeping his arms wide.
“Well,” mumbled GRZUZR, “as the Sufis say, ‘deal with what’s on your plate’.” And proceeded to chow down.
As the music began to crank, a pleasurable hubub ensued, Xapador, GRZUZR and Fallaballee conferred among themselves:
“GRZUZR: “So, what do you think?”
Fallaballee, “Food’s not bad. A little undercooked, perhaps.”
Xapador: “Drunkenness great soon come.”
GRZUZR: “No, I mean these guys. The Situation. Are we good … safe?”
Fallaballee: “I wouldn’t go so far as to say safe, but what’s the option? The ship’s a total wreck. These people obviously have plenty of spare parts–assuming they want to part with them for our sake. These dragonfly chicks are much too cute. I’d say that’s the major plus in the scenario thus far.”
MM, butting into the dialogue, “ACHOOO. That’s what I say. That LoKrazz is a crock. Don’t trust him. He reminds me of Zoltan the Magnificent, or an even worse parody. What a douchebag.”
Xapador: “Metaprinciple: All douchebags shall be sacrificed–“
“at the altar of the Great Erotic Attractor at the End of Time. Zantra MetaPrinciple #69, yeah yeah.”
Fallaballee, “Honestly I wouldn’t waste a Zantra recitation on him. He may not be nice, but he’s sitting on a heap of timeship components we need. Surely we can find what we need here.”
“But will they give them to us?” GRZUZR probed. “I guess we haven’t quite broached that delicate subject yet, have we?”
Xapador: “Scavenger Crow Knows, but does he fly? Shiny things steal, compile. Build he wings or just devour, defile?!”
“YES, please DO devour.” Nuor, dragonflier #2, had popped out of nowhere.
“May I refresh your flagons?”
Fallaballee was smiling, as Nuor leaned over and between them.
“Tell us, O Kind Hostess, how do you name this place in which we are so honored to dine?” Nuor looked askance, as if the question didn’t quite make sense. Instead she asked, “how do you find the victuals?”
MM — “Victuals. Now that’s a word we should be using more often back on the Corroborree. The victuals are fine. Definitely better than we’d be able to scrounge from our poor ship. What a mess we’ve made out of this outing.”
“Well, you know, things happen for funny reasons sometime. Perhaps you were meant to come here.”
MM rolled his eyes. “I’m sure you tell that to every crashed timeship crew. AFTER you’re BORROWED their KALEIDOSKON.”
“PLEASE!” Retorted Nuor. “Don’t confuse me with with LoKrazz. We keep him around for entertainment. Nothing more. Well, mostly…”
“So, you’re saying you’re the ones that run this place? Not him?”
“Hardly,” replied Nuor. “I suppose you could call us caretakers. Our Elder Sister is away… on … vacation…”
“Interesting,” muttered MM, still disgruntled and paranoid.
“By the way,” added Nuor, eyeing Fallaballee, “have I introduced you to our other guests of the moment?”
“Why no,” Fallaballee responded for the group, watching ripples of turquoise phosphorence flow up and down Nuor’s back and thighs. “We’d be delighted.”
“Just a moment then, I’ll be back.”
“Hey!” MM noted.
“Hey what?” replied Fallaballee.
“Hey pass that dessert, I think I need something to take my mind off our hostess.”
“I recommend you do so,” said Fallaballee, “I’ve got dibs on that one.”
Fallaballee, “Well–a sort of exchange, mayhap? Hostage exchange?
GRZUZR factored, “Hm. You think — one-for-one? One-for-10? Wonder what the fuss is over. Trying to imagine what it would be like to surrender myself as a volunteer hostage.
MM, derisively: “Idiots! Don’t you get it? Sex slaves. They’re sex slaves.”
GRZUZR: “On drugs – of course. Sex slaves on drugs. This scenario gets more interesting all the time.”
MM: “So, like, aren’t you kinda curious who runs this joint?”
“The Elder Sister – ‘on vacation’?”
“And they still haven’t told us where we are, either,” Fallaballee motioned to Nuor — “Ah, Nuor, dear. I must say, we’re still a tad curious. You haven’t mentioned to us the name of this place.”
Nuor glided over. “I thought you might infer of your own accord.”
Fallaballee, “Well sometimes, mystery IS more exciting than knowing.”
Fallaballee was beginning to wonder if the constantly shifting phosphorence of Nuor’s lithe body was actually just an advanced catsuit of some kind. Which would add additional mystery to the seductive equation of Nuor’s curvatures… indeed, Fallaballee started to do the calculations.
Meanwhile the three hostages sat impassively, on some level taking it all in. Perhaps they were relaying their sensoria to some distant point in time. They didn’t seem to mind the bondage all that much. They were quite resplendent in their prisoner uniforms, in fact. The crew of the Corroborree could only marvel at the spectacle. Not such a bad sight after such a bad crash.
And sometimes maybe its not so bad NOT to know where you are.
And who your real hosts might be.
And what they just fed you for dinner.
Friday/Sat Nov 11/12,
inscribed to the tunes of TranceFarmers and Insects Vs. Robots, ArtHaus Final Bash, Abbott Kinney Blvd, in the Free Caliphate of Ballona; with tips of the of the hat to Bella, Paradox, Mathers, and other random denizens of the Art Haus & BRC.