Part 15: Episode 14: Red Light Special
Wow…this one turned out to be much longer than I thought it would be. Almost every npc in the red light district says something at least a little amusing. Maybe I went overboard.
Episode 14: Red Light Special
Back in The Lounge it appeared that things had settled down. Rho had somehow managed to convince Grumpos that investigating whatever caused Sunder to split in half was actually more important than investigating the MysTech on Hephaestus to make a few extra bucks. I suspected that the bruises on Grumpos' bald head were a key point in her argument.
I had to choose a third person to travel with Dr. Bowman and I to the Red Light District. The prospects of corrupting an entire planet were far too appealing to consider bringing anyone except for Democratus. I'm sure by the end of the day he'd be tractoring the ladies in.
Before going to the Red Light District, Dr. Bowman requested that we take her to the scientist in the GDP suites. Since most of the brains of the galaxy had been destroyed on Sunder, Bowman was looking for any remaining scientists to help her figure out what happened.
We found Dr. Brywelle still talking to his new flame. He owed us bigtime for not letting him get on that shuttle. He seemed to be familiar with Rho, since he actually stopped talking to his new girl when he saw her approach.
"Dr. Rho Bowman…? You survived the destruction of Sunder?" His face lit up. "What splendid news! I'm so relieved one of the most gifted theoretical scientists of our generation was saved. I barely avoided death mysef. How ever did you manage to survive? Luckily, there are quite a number of survivors. In addition to the few who managed to escape the planet before the explosion, there were a great many others doing research off planet. I'm considering a new Scientifica Association. We would have to call it something else, of course… but it would be formed with the same sense of purpose… love of knowledge, and the search for truth."
I began to think this scientist was some sort of Democratan in disguise. He just kept going and going. "We would start from scratch. No politics. No hidden agendas. No heretics. It would be the way the Scientifica Association was before special interest groups perverted the original vision. You, of course, have an open invitation to join our community. Well... if I ever get around to starting one. Whatever decision you make, please read my new thesis on Cultural Symbology. Good luck, Dr. Bowman."
Sitting through the brain's speech was worth it because that book would allow Dr. Bowman to Analyze more complicated objects.
So it was back to the Routubes to get to the Red Light District. I told Dr. Bowman that the path was blocked by the destroyed door, but she insisted. Not much had changed down in the Routubes.
Same Result. Although the Gorian had certainly beefed up a bit, so had we.
Yep. The door was still busted.
Rho puzzled over the schematics for a while, consulting the book that Dr. Brywelle had given her from time to time. After a while she stood up and announced that she could fix the panel. And indeed she could.
We went deeper into the Routubes. The look of the place wasn't any different from the upper section except for Gorian drug runners.
Lots of Gorian Drug runners. These guys were no pushovers like the others.
The octogun did significant damage, but their armor severely limited the impact of the blow.
The drug runners' weapons were pretty heavy duty too.
Democratus used the Tractor beam to immobilize one of them while we hammered the rest. He followed it up with a blast from the outer ring's weapons array.
Dr. Bowman made good use of both her plasma wall and her weapon. Before long, we emerged victorious.
We found a radiated bat nearby where the drug runners were. These could be used like glodents to recharge our shieldcells. I was a little bit worried about seeing naturally occurring radiated animals. Maybe it wasn't safe down here.
And then we found another one. This couldn't be good.
We navigated the tubes, and eventually found the pumping station sign. From years of experience, I knew that following the sign would lead to the Red Light District. You could tell from the wasted bippies just to the right.
Today, however, we would take the path to the left.
The path was blocked by a locked door. That meant there had to be something worth finding back there.
The lock came off after some work. This lock was a bit tougher than most. The tunnels continued to go deeper and deeper down.
We encountered another Gorian, except this one was armed with only a pot and what looked to be a dead bippy on a plate. I already liked this Gorian.
"Why are you all tense?" he asked, "You think I was gonna attack you or something?"
As a matter of fact I did. I asked what was with the cooking gear.
"Gorian cuisine uses the blood of the animal being cooked to accentuate the flavor of the meat. We have no vegetarian dishes. Would you like a sample recipe?"
How could I possibly pass up on this offer? I don't know if I'd ever meet anyone that I hated enough to serve them a Gorian recipe, but it pays to be prepared.
"I'll give you one that's low in blood."
"1. Soak the zizinti chips in cold water for 1 hour. Toast vinegar seeds in a salted skillet over medium heat until they turn blood red and start to pop. Transfer to a plate.
"2. In a bowl, whisk the mustard with the lime juice, blood root and radishes. Season with pepper.
"3. Light a grill, and lightly brush the grate with oil. Drain the zizinti chips and spread them over the burning coals. Run your fingers over the bipidri fillet, feeling for hairs, and use medical tweezers to remove them.
"4. Season the bipidri with the red wine and earth salt. Set the fillet on the grill, skin side down, and grease with blood. Close the grill and cook over high heat for about twenty minutes. Serve hot."
He gave me a bippy recipe. It's like he read my mind. If only Grumpos had this when Alejandro met his fate.
We continued through the hall behind the Gorian chef. Democratus spied an object on a nearby pipe and tractored it up.
I didn't know what a Paco toy was doing this deep in the Routubes. I don't think it belonged to Red Light District clientele. In fact, the only lifeforms down here were these little white midgets called MugMugs.
We approached one of them.
"MugMug like friends. MugMug live here. MugMug grow bad moss. MugMug want good moss. MugMug thank for moss. MugMug thank. MugMug want moss…MugMug want moss a lot. MugMug see MOSS! MugMug want moss!"
We gave him both the Hive Moss and the Sunder Moss, and in return he gave us a Circlet of Safety, a nice defensive item, and a Resonance Crystal. The Resonance Crystal could be used to focus Democratus' outer ring defense systems.
We couldn't go any further through the lower routubes, so we turned around to head to the Red Light District.
We knew we were going the right way.
The man in leather spoke as we approached. "Oh no. I'm outta here, fella, so you better just back off. I don't care what you're offering or selling. I've had enough of the Red Light District."
Yeah man, I've been there.
"I heard the Red Light District was a hot scene, man. I came out with some friends of mine for a night of fun. Thirty-two hours later, I've gotten falling-down drunk, been slipped a tab of blue kloovin, groped a hooker in the dark, been shot at by the Brebulan Mafia, woken up in these clothes, danced for money, and escaped with this big bag of stolen money, er… dung. This is a bag of dung. Not money."
Ok, maybe I haven't quite been there.
Welcome to the Red Light District(video) / Backup
It had been too long since I'd last been here. Time to take a look around, see what had changed, and try to find someone who knew where Kevester was.
A dead body wasn't anything strange down here.
A dead body with a full wallet on the other hand…
A nun from the Order of Mysterium...also not as rare a sight as you would imagine. There were always a couple of these nutjobs running around.
"You're… you're sure? No one will know who I am?" She asked.
The leather clad blue man responded, "Become any face. Play any role. Lose your identity. I am host to the widest selection of anonymity purdahs in the Red Light. I have shadow cowls, fanfaronade masques, high quality Judas cloaks, and even Brebulan smoke veils. I have muffle napkins, leather face curtains, tragedy masks, and lampshade dominos of every size, color, scent, and luster. There is a mask for every face. Shall we see which one fits you?"
As impressive as the guy's stock was, we had to keep moving.
"You interested in getting pierced," a woman called out to us. "I can pierce any part of your body. I don't even need any equipment. Brain piercing is popular right now. Just a remote-activated microbarbell in the interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus allows you to control your reproductive behavior at will. Comes in handy around here."
Come on Democratus, it won't hurt a bit, I promise! The council protested that they already had two large rings. I tried my best, but they wouldn't do it. Maybe a tattoo?
Yes sir, you could get anything down here.
We caught the tail end of a conversation between a Brebulan and a man in a sailor suit outside of…Live Nude Brebulans.
"…All this time, I thought I was smooth down there," the Brebulan said. Noticing us nearby, the turned around and yelled, "What're you looking at?"
"We're just looking for Kevester, you seen him around?"
The sailor spoke up. "You're looking for a guy called Kevester," he asked, "It's funny you should ask… my buddy-pall Sam Schlung's involved in some offshore drilling with Kevester's very young, and quite frankly drop-dead wife. He tends to know what Kevester is doing. I think he was heading to Mistress Mavina's to have his fortune told. You dig the outfit? The sailor thing seems to be such the rave these days… and I'm always such a scurrying bitch for trends, know what I mean?"
We would head to Mistress Mavina's for sure, but we'd have to investigate the other locations on the way for completeness of course.
Also for completeness' sake, we'd have to buy some smut from the vending bots.
I got Democratus a copy of this month's Deus Sex. Check out the augs on her!
The robot's speakers came on as I pulled out the mag. "Come back when pages stuck fast. More magazines shortly."
Ahhhh The Orange Navel. This place definitely called for thorough investigation.
DO NOT do this to me, Fatima.
At least she let me into the Cold Sweat Sex Machine after some convincing. After all it was just a titty bar, not a brothel.
Nice Atmosphere. Even though the place was pretty dead at this hour, there were still a few people to interrogate.
Like Children. "Move ON, fuzzy! You'll blow my cover. Rat on me and I'll knife you."
They're so precious at that age.
It'd be a shame to cut our trip short on account of being shanked by a little kid. So I went to check out the floorshow.
Somehow the magical aliens from Frank's ended up here. They weren't naked or female. This place was going downhill fast.
The other patrons were not pleased either.
"This is such cheese," the masked man named Peenith complained.
His companion concurred. "This might pass for entertainment if they were topless. And wearing diapers. Or rubber masks that look like women's heads. Maybe for suits. Y'know, like mascots at Zongball games? But with bigger breasts. Actually, you know those rubber cat suits that you inflate, kinda make people look like a biker santa with a gask mask? Maybe some flippers? THAT's the kinda stage presence these people need to have…Yeah there's only so far I can tolerate this vanilla crap. If the drinks weren't so good, I'd be back over at the Not Even Barely Legal… At least THEY have monkeys.
I quickly moved over to the next table to continue the investigation.
These Cordicans took off from work early to grab a few beers and catch the show.
"My hopes are gone. All desire has vanished from my life. Why am I here?" The first said.
"This spectacle does nothing to exorcise my personal demons. Why am I here?"
"I am not aroused."
Nobody was. Some had gone to drastic measures to get their money's worth.
"Sorry Rich, I just can't get off on this."
"Open your mind man. Just go with the experience. Enjoy it for what it is."
At least Detta's thugs were enjoying the show.
This is the Brebulan with the nasty tendril who was looking for a good Gorian recipe. Well at least he would have asked me for a good recipe if I hadn't already gotten it by going into the lower routubes. So instead of asking me for one, he just thanks me for the one I already had.
"Gorian grilled Bipidri with Blood Sauce? This is a perfect recipe and the ingredients are so readily available. I will pay you an extra 25 loonies for your efforts. Thank you! I guess it's another visit to Club Foot."
He should have just taken the Bippies at the table behind him. They were so wasted they wouldn't even put up much of a fight.
I went to the bar to get a drink and catch up with the Phunkie, the baretender.
"Slap me some dap," he said.
"Slide me some dermis," I replied.
"Damn, baby. Where you been? Vibe's been good 'round here since you been gone. PAX raids are rare. Guess they got bigger worries now that planets are splittin' in half huh?"
Well there was nothing going down here and no sign of Kevester, so we moved on.
Hey, we don't have to go in there, right?
The more flamboyant members of the Democratan High Council and Dr. Bowman overruled me.
Inside were the typical array of bondage guys and blues. Chatty ones.
"Many people don't understand my attraction to bondage leather. It's my statement on the mechanical & repetitive nature of the human condition. I use my method of dress to empower the image of human bondage to the impersonal forces of destiny/history/society. Bondage is just an aspect of my psychological/spiritual 'immobility'."
I couldn't stand the way he was eyeballing me, so I went over to a gentleman in a sailor suit.
"I'm the one who originated the sailor look that has become oh-so 'de rigueur' in the red light fashion circles. My thinking was, everything old is new again, right? I mean, we had the Cowboy thing that was so chic for a while, and, hell, the whole Sheik thing that was chic for a while. But we hadn't really seen the Sailor look for three or four seasons. While everyone scrambles to own up to the revival, the people who really know about fashion safely attribute yours truly as the true influence behind the Sailor look."
I would get back at Rho for making me go in here.
"Ixnay on the trench coat gumshoe. The Hardboiled look was in about four seasons ago but these days it's older than hat."
Did this mean that everyone would be wearing green trenchcoats next season? Everything old is new again after all. It pained me to think I might have to give up going to the district.
"Me? I'm just 'Blue Curious'. Some of my closest friends are 'Blue'. Beat it. You're not 'Blue'. You'll ruin my cred."
"You don't have to talk to him," his "Blue" friend said.
"He says I don't have to talk to you."
The Blue man kept talking, "I've been 'in the life' for years now. I mean, once you've gone 'Blue', that's all you can do. It's not so much that I'm proud of my 'Blue-ness'… I'm just not ashamed."
Thank God I was running out of people to talk to. I mean it's not like Kevester would be in a place like this. Still, for completeness I talked to the guy running the stage.
"You gotta reason to be here, Bigfood?"
"Any ways to earn a quick buck around here?" I joked.
"Well, you could give us a man-dance, Flippy."
A man-dance? I dunno. I had some some things I wasn't too proud of to get through college, but those days were behind me.
Ok ok, fine. "Here comes Mr. Slapdance!"
Boots struts his stuff(video) / Backup
I have no idea why Schizoguy wanted a video of this! (:gay
"You really tore up the floor there, hotstuff. Those sensuous sashays really set me off. Here, take my Stargent Turboblaster. I want you to have it, to remember this occasion by. Take it with you and you can tickle my trigger anytime."
Eww. I wasn't sure if I'd be abe to actually use this gun.
Finally, Mistress Mavina's.
Sam Schlung was inside just as we were told.
He said, "Kevester Kopp? His wife's such a little cream lily. Oh wait… Kevester himself? He's a regular at Slutopia. But you'll look up his wife if you know what's good for your goods. Man, I wouldn't' mind reading Mistress Mavina's cards… I'll tell you THAT much."
Seeing as how Mistress Mavina wasn't naked, there was only one other person in the store, a Brebulan.
"Could that really have been Senator Zontag from the Zahdri Enclave….with a Bipidri?"
We took a quick stop at Booze 'N Condoms.
Someone left a shopping list on the ground. Butt garnish?
"Meat," The giant said resolutely.
The leather clad man beside him said, "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times! Just because your bank-monitors are speculating Redlines, there's NO reason to liquefy holding assets. That's equity, man."
"People just don't consider their investments carefully."
We bought a TACO for 50 bucks.
Apparently the shopping list belonged to a certain Regina Dentata. "Where did you find this? Thanks a million. I'd forgotten about the butt garnish. What? You want a medal or something? All you did was pick up my shopping list. Gimme a break."
Lady, without me you would have no butt garnish. NONE. Can you even imagine something so cruel? Ungarnished butts are just gross.
Anyway, we got out of there and went straight to Slutopia.
"Three rules. No yelling at the girls. Keep your zipper up. And nothing wet against the glass."
Alright, time to find Kevester.
(Silly Democratus getting in the way of this Screenshot)
(Ok here's a better shot of Lord Peenix and what appears to be the head of a tiny realdoll by his side.)
Another masturbation double entendre!
And there's Kevester.
"Why if it isn't my favorite private eye! What's the occasion, butch? Hell, I haven't seen you in months. You found me in the middle of a pickle, man. I left my wedding ring in one of the rooms at the Orange Navel. Dumb, huh?"
"Should I ask what you were doing at the Orange Navel?"
"Hey, don't gimme that look. You're the one walking around with a planet. I was just negotiating some special items with Madame Pulp. Honest and truly on my grave. I love my wife and I ain't breaking my wedding vows for any ol' flat backer. It was just business."
"Fine, fine. But how did you lose the ring? Answer me that."
"I was demonstrating one of my items. Very illegal in this sector. I can't tell you what it was, but let's just say your hands need to be bare when handling it. Twenty minutes later, I noticed my ring was gone. My wife's gonna kill me. My main supplier's meeting me here at any moment to go over some orders. I can't flake out on him. Do me a favor and find my lost wedding ring for me. It shoud be somewhere in Room #2. Please, man."
I told him to check his supplier for a Field Transduction Module in exchange for doing his dirty work. But still, sweet sweet vengeance. Did Fatima really think she could keep me out of the Orange Navel. Braver women have tried.
Back to the Orange Navel.
Man this planet was no fun at all.
I'd have to get one of the girls to go upstairs with me. That's right Fatima. I HAD to. For the case.
The Madame of the house was discussing the details of an arrangement with a Cordican.
"Can she read?" he asked.
"Of course she can read. All my girls have at least secondary school education."
"What about math? Can she do math? I don't like girls what can't do math."
"She can subtract, multiply, and divide large numbers in her head. What is the point of these questions, Mister Caliente? Do you want a prostitute or a secretary?"
Cordicans just didn't get places like this. Yet they came in droves. Another Cordican was having a drink with a buddy while a bippy danced on the table.
He said, "Do you know anything about Opera? There's a libretto by Janacek called "The Cunning Little Vixen" in which a farmer takes a little fox from her home in the forest. At the farm, the fox is constantly tormented by the amorous advances of the farm dog, attacked by children, all kinds of stuff. She eventually gets away and ends up having a fine life. Lots of cubs. But she never forgets her life outside the forest. It just gets me thinking….These poor creatures may never see Bipidrius again. Maybe they have hopes and dreams too. Who are we to take them from their proverbial forest home? Just gets me thinking."
His partner fired back. "For your information, Mr. Tonkdish, the Bipidri's name is NOT 'Little Vixen'. But no one orders table dances from 'Al', so HE had to change HIS name to something that would appeal to degenerates such as yourself. Klaz, if it isn't the Microphiles, it's the Opera freaks."
I took a survey of the girls and what they were offering.
Tonight, Melon Jug caught my eye. I ordered a Melon Juggle Special. I followed that butt all the way up to room 4. Shame it wasn't room 2.
"Okay, twenty dollars gets Mr. Richboy a Melon Juggle Special. Pay now, groan later."
"Here's the dough. Let's get this thing over with."
"Should I undress first or you?"
"I'm pretty perverted. You undress first."
"Do you want the lights on or off?"
"I'll brave the glare."
"Dairy or non-dairy?"
"Can I call you 'mom' ?"
"Okay, little boy. Let's get this show on the road. Let's see the sauce-pocket….Well I'm waiting. You mean to tell me you ain't got a sauce-pocket on you? What's wrong with you? You got ice in your head or something? You know damn well I can't do a thing with you unless you've got a sauce-pocket. Run downstairs, catch Switz's ear, and see if he's got one to spare. I think the vendo-machine's frizting."
Sex with a hooker wasn't really for me, anyway. If I had gone through with it, I doubt Fatima would have spoken to me ever again. I still had to get the wedding ring from room 2.
The lock was easy.
Inside the room was a TACO and a sick bippy.
The bippy coughed, turned green, died, and spit up the ring on the bed. With a bippy, Kevester? Damn microphile. His hot wife was going to waste.
I grabbed the ring and we ran back to Slutopia.
Kevester was visibly relieved to see the ring when we returned. "Thanks man. You're a life saver. I was pretty sure you were gonna come through on the wedding ring, so I asked my supplier about a Field Transduction Module. You're in luck. He's been sittin' on one for the last few weeks and dying to get it off his hands. Cheap even. Remember my partner, Phunkee Collins? Someone's supposed to deliver it to him within the hour. Find him at the Cold Sweat Sex Machine. Good luck."
I thanked him and returned to the CSSM.
"Wait is this package from Kevie for you? What kind of trouble you getting' into, baby? Should I be worried? I've got it here under the counter. Get it out of my place before it blows up. But before you leave, check out the new girl. I haven't seen her dance yet, but I know she's gonna sizzle. She calls herself 'Stiletto Anyway'."
"What a dumb name," I replied.
"Just wait 'til you see her."
Presentingggg Stilettoooo Anyway! / Backup
She ran out before I could say another word. Phunkee's jaw was dropped almost as low as mine although for different reasons. "That was, without a question, the greatest show I've ever seen. I hope she comes back. I got a list of bad customers I wouldn't mind making part of her climax. Hey, get that package outta here."
I was still in shock from seeing her. The dead bodies, the FTM, and the splitting planets seemed insignificant. It was impossible… We made the walk back to the Lounge of Commerce without speaking a word. It was dark on Sender Station. We had been out longer than I thought.
Not even a game of OX would help calm me down at this point.
Was it possible?
End: DUN DUN DUN!