“La…Lan….Lana? Lan..Lan Lana Dan…druff? Lana banana….Lana…”
“What has Zap-Zap been putting in your coffee?” asked Cole who had swiveled around in his flying saucer seat to give me the hairy eyeball treatment.
“What? I think I just phased out for a minute.”
“You were saying something that sounded like a name. Lana Dandruff? Why does that name sound familiar?”
“I don’t know. I could see a face for a second but it was sort of like daydreaming……Dandro…I think her last name is Dandro. I can see it in my head somehow.”
“It was like deja vu when you said it, gave me a weird feeling,” replied Cole who had turned back to the controls. He is flying us to the bank, to collect a huge sum of money gifted to me by a garden gnome, who may also be a cult leader, after we narrowly escaped being murdered by a slightly unhinged robot named Salad Bowl Bob.
“Me too. Whoever she is, I wonder if she can tell me why I can’t remember anything before waking up on the spaceship. Maybe she can also explain the number 22 to me while she’s at it.”
“I’m not sure anyone can explain any of this,” remarked Cole as he brought the saucer in for a landing.
It’s a weird feeling to get out of a flying saucer with two monsters in a parking lot. Thanks to the invisibility field, those people over there can’t even see us. We’ll just merge into the crowd. No other flying saucers to be seen anywhere in the parking lot, just sleek looking floating space cars, and now I’m starting to feel like the alien. There is an enormous, gleaming metal building towering over us. Hundreds of polished metal tubes snake around the building’s hulking exterior. Small robotic courier drones fly in and out of holes in the side of the building like a well-orchestrated cloud of birds. Walt must have lit another one of those magic cigars because I can smell it and nobody seems to notice us as we head for the front door. Unlike Salad Bowl Bob’s mostly deserted parking lot, this place is filled with people. Blue fish people who are dressed like they are on some sort of winter vacation. What a curious sight.
Everyone here has fins for ears and blue skin, but they still look surprisingly human, almost Swedish in their puffy winter coats and gloves. It’s like walking into an aquatic winter wonderland without snow and the annoying cold temperature. Many of them are posing for pictures in front of the building in their finest fur-lined winter active wear. A few of them are a bit more suggestive in pose, involving some light groping. Everyone seems like they are having a great time.
“Who are these people and what is going on with all the crotch grabbing?”
“Hardware-assisted psychic sex tourism. The people of this planet developed a powerful technology that allows them to rent the use of their bodies to individuals in other worlds who come here on virtual reality vacations. Due to their strong sexual nature, natural disease resistance and a keen interest in other cultures, they were able to turn this planet into a hub of interstellar sex tourism. They’ve accumulated an immense fortune, it’s why they need such a large bank. Beings from many different worlds broadcast their consciousness here to experience the warm coastal waters and intense sexual pleasures of the people of Kremeth,” replied Steve who was looking at me earnestly with his head cocked in classic owl-like fashion. “The bank is a popular tourist stop for guests on their way to the underwater pleasure domes.”
“Hold on. What? I’m about to become extremely wealthy and you guys take me to a state-of-the-art sexual theme park to cash the check? Well, I could use a good vacation, especially after all the explosions.”
“We are here because we need a big bank for a big check. If you get lost in the orgy pile we’ll never get out of this place,” replied Cole who was suddenly sounding very serious. “Do not let yourself get pulled into it. Stay focused.”
“They have orgy piles here?”
“Walt, grab him and let’s get into the bank. This is for your own good,” Cole responded sternly as big hairy monster Walt scooped me up and tossed me over his shoulder.
“Hey, wait a minute, put me down!”
You really can’t fight against someone of Walt’s size and power. So the only choice is to enjoy the free monster ride into the bank. The shining guilded doors must be twenty feet high and they swing open smoothly to reveal something that looks more like an elaborately decorated boiler room than a bank. Thousands of polished copper pipes weave around the ceiling and extend like roots towards the gold-flecked sparkling stone floor. Six-armed robotic bank tellers on wheels collect message pods from tubes and scan them before transferring them to other tubes. They perform this act with astounding speed and precision in a choreographed mechanical dance that is awe-inspiring. What kind of mind would have made this? How would you engineer or operate something of such immense complexity? Walt put me down on my feet and I can feel the rhythm of it resonating in the floor like a symphony.
“Marvelous isn’t it? The whole thing builds itself now with very little intervention from us. We are just the ones who turned it loose in the world. Lord Kularcan himself provided some of the specialty craftsmen needed to complete this project,” stated a voice behind us which belonged to a monocle-wearing blue fish-man in a smart-looking insulated business suit. “He told us you were coming. We have, according to his instructions, made numerous investments with the lump sum he provided. I’m happy to inform you that those investments have already dramatically increased the size of your fortune. Lord Kularcan has crafted you a financial instrument that will never wear out or stop working. You can call me Elkor and it a pleasure to meet you for sure. I think Lord Kularcan has chosen wisely.”
“Chosen wisely for what?”
“For what is to come, of course,” Elkor responded.
“But what if I don’t know what is to come? And how did he know we were coming here?”
“If you’ll present your access card I will activate your account and you can begin to answer those questions for yourself,” replied Elkor who bowed deeply with a bit of flourish and then extended his hand towards me.
The metal access card started to vibrate and jump around in my pocket. The whole world seemed to stop, I can move while everyone else is frozen in place. Everything stood still for just a moment and then time’s grim march forward continued on. In the space of that moment, you could hear the tiny footsteps of tapdancing angels gathered around the heads of invisible pins. As I hand the card to Elkor he makes a whistling sound and one of the two-wheeled sorting robots comes racing towards us. Elkor’s monocle turns on and shines a blue light onto the card which also begins to glow blue before he hands it back to me. He removed a message pod from his pocket which he hands to the robot who races back to place it into one of the tubes.
“Congratulations my friend, you will never have to worry about money again. It’s is quite an honor to be selected by Lord Kularcan for such a life-changing event. You will be able to access your fortune from any interstellar banking terminal. I would be happy to provide you with free passes to the underwater pleasure domes if you’d like to begin your celebrations here on our wonderful planet,” stated Elkor who again bowed deeply.
“Oh, now that would be nice….maybe we could…”
“You guys better get out of there, we’re tracking a jump ship headed in your direction,” exclaimed the voice of Jerry over the commlink.
“Don’t worry about us, we’ll be fine, get back to the ship and get out of here while you can. Lord Kularcan warned that this might happen,” said Elkor who activated a small button on his lapel which caused giant metal shudders to begin descending over all the windows. “Go now! HURRY!”