Although their hop-junger had its own plarter, it could only transport them one at a time. Besides, visitors had free use of a machine at the Gigantic Mall of the Galactic Center. It used the same transdimensional technology as sliding with a junger.
Damitol and Testicleeze stepped from the Gigantic Mall homing pad into the frantic frenzy of galactic shoppers. It took more than a minute for their visualizers to adjust to the pandemonium. They’d seen post-florked beings, of course, either in person or in holimages, but the vast number set their aurae spinning.
They first noticed a cabal of three merbers sitting on a bench licking one other.
“Surely not Nella,” Damitol said. “What’re the odds?”
Testicleeze calculated the answer. “More than 4.7 trillion to one. But since we know she’s a mewber, it drops to a few hundred million to one.”
Damitol knew better than to challenge him on numbers. He always got them right. Testicleeze swallowed his gag reflex as they walked by the licking cabal.
Some of the beings they saw, like the mewbers, had florked into pure material entities. Others remained a mix of matter and energy, like all pre-florks, but in a new, set form.
They saw five quallers scuttle along, their ten claws clicking on the stone floor. The largest held a pack full of purchases on his back using two energy tendrils.
“Shwiick-clack.” Testicleeze whispered the punch line of a juvenile joke involving quallers.
Damitol punched him with a tentacle. “Don’t make fun,” she said, “for tomorrow you may scuttle.”
A sleek whizding glided above them. It had to veer to avoid a pair of shizgoes. The long-necked, winged creature squawked at the two beings of pure energy, but as usual, they ignored everything they regarded as lesser. Which meant anyone not another shizgo.
“This looks like a bonzer place to eat,” Testicleeze said. “It’s got a good view.”
They didn’t know what to call the server’s form. A bipedal, matter-only upright with fat legs and pad-like feet, she had four arms ending in so many tiny tentacles that it was impossible to count unless they stayed still. Which they never did.
Looking up they could see millions, probably gazillions, of bright stars through the transparent ceiling. They had plarted to this section of the mall because it had revolved to the dark side of the moon. The Gigantic Mall itself formed a complete ring around the lunar equator. A visitor could always find a view of the stars somewhere in the mall.
Testicleeze pointed up. “See that swirling place? It’s a birthing area for new stars.”
“Why aren’t we seeing colors?”
“Too much dust. Light from UV and longer doesn’t get through. The ceiling here is a massive infrared sensor. We’re seeing that part of the spectrum.”
“You’d think they’d give us some false color,” she said.
“Too expensive. There’s places in the mall that we can pay to see false color, but it’s mondo credits just to get in.”
“Oh,” she said. “This is nice enough.”
They talked about the dense star field while eating. The synthoproteins sated their material appetite, and a gentle bath from a trizortium lamp fed their aurae.
“Wanna shop for anything?” Testicleeze asked.
“I don’t know what we’d need after florking. We’ve got junk food in the junger. This place feels too crowded for my taste.”
They waved their credit chip across the table and went back to the main plart station and up to their junger. It took several minutes to undock from short-term parking, and then Damitol began the tedious task of slipping away from the stellar system.
They had almost gotten out of the deep part of the gravity well when their controls froze and a subspace holimage appeared in the cockpit.
“This is Officer Clodburt,” the image announced. “Transmit your travel passes immediately.”
“Oh, crap,” Damitol said. “The fuzz.”
Image of galactic center in infrared from NASA.
Stay tuned for the next stop in the joy rides of Damitol and Testicleeze.
You can download more free stuff from Mark by clicking here. Merlin is coming to Texas, but first he has to get the ship he’s on through a hurricane. Did he stow away on the wrong vessel?
Just a reminder, you can find a glossary of gonzo terms here.