Part 22: Episode 21: In Limbus Limbo
Episode 21: In Limbus Limbo
There was a deathly silence in the room after I finished my report. I had to gather a party to go to Limbus. Due to the Conservation of Time Theorem capacity of the shuttle, I could only take two volunteers. Of course, that was assuming I could even get two volunteers. Apparently nobody was in a hurry to rush off to the planet of death with me.
Certainly Sera would be up for one last hurrah.
"You've got my full sympathy and support on this Limbus thing," she said, "I wish you only the best. I really do."
I couldn't believe she was running away again.
"Don't give me that look. You're getting ideas again, and when you get ideas, I get trouble."
How could she say that after all that happened back then. "Figures. You never could close a case, could you?"
"Thanks for the low blow. I'll add it to my list of reasons to hate you."
I never could count on her.
I turned to Grumpos and said, "C'mon gramps, let's do this."
He responded, "Limbus is a remote planet on the far side of the universe. Any ships that attempt to land on the surface vanish without a trace. Stories of eerie visions and ghost fleets have haunted the planet for years. One thing is for certain about Limbus… the name is synonymous with death for good reason. Go there, and you die. It's a crying shame it's gotta end like this, son. It really brings a tear to my eye. Especially after all the scraps we've been through together. Hell, given a few more adventures, I might have gotten to like you. If you want, I'll donate your share of the Elementor profits to the charity of your choice. And I promise to keep the little beebot safe and outta trouble."
I guess there wasn't enough money to be gained from saving the galaxy to interest the old man. Certainly Dr. Bowman would be willing to go along. You know, for science and all that jazz.
"Even though I'm skeptical, " she said, "make sure you ask the right questions on Limbus. Maybe Fatima can record the proceedings for playback."
"Fine, you gutless wonder. Let ME do all the hard work."
"Good luck. Drive safely, kiddo."
Alright, well if there's anyone I can count on, it's my little buddy PAL, right?
"I'm awfully sorry you gotta go to The Planet of Death, Mister Boots. I'm gonna miss you something terrible."
Come on PAL, you can't even die!
"Fine, you little coward. Stay here and watch the fort."
"Good luck, Mister Boots! Don't forget to write!"
I guess nobody was really dumb enough to want to rush off to their death. It figures. It would take a real idiot to-
"Exit polls show the population of Democratus is overwhelmingly in favor of participating in this adventure," I heard Councilman Hagan's voice say over Democratus' loudspeaker.
"Sure. Risking every life on an entire planet is a super idea. Let's do it."
"It's a risk we're willing to take in order to save the universe. Just imagine how our relations with other planets will improve."
I hate to say it, but I actually began to respect Democratus for that. I also felt bad for treating Sera that way, so I went back to try to make up.
"Don't give me that 'puppy dog' face. You've got a bad habit of pushing the wrong buttons on me, dick."
"Sorry," I said quietly, "Asking for help has never been my strong suit."
"Wow. That sounds suspiciously like sincerity. Fine. Just don't get any ideas about us. You've been looking at me pretty funny lately."
In that get-up, how was I supposed to look at her? Anyway, I guess I was lucky just to have a full team. I went to check with Salsa to see if the Resistance had any more errands for me to run, a token of my support before meeting an untimely demise on Limbus.
"The tittle-tattle around town is that Detta set up a meeting to solidify his trade relations with the Gorian Drug Runners here on Sender Station. If we could shake up the meeting somehow and plant the blame on Detta's feet, we might direct Detta's attention to Sender while the Resistance finishes up preparations for the big raid. The meeting hasn't gone down yet, which means Detta's operatives haven't made contact yet. If you see any of Detta's 'businessmen' hanging around, you know what to do…"
The plan was to insult or kill the Gorian representative in order to hurt relations between them and Detta. Of course, in order to do that, we would need proof that we were actually from Detta. I guess I had time to do his job. But before we got started, Democratus wanted to head to the GDP to talk to Engineer Recator about the Proximity Beam Defense plans we found on Hephaestus.
"Excellent. Ah, grand, very damaging, perhaps stunning, yes. I estimate that will cost, given your new scale… 2000 dollars."
"Excellent. Proceed," the council unanimously replied.
"Splendid! This shouldn't take long at all."
Staredown, as Engineer Recator hinted at, did good damage (would you expect less from a planet-scale defense system?) as well as stunning enemies.
Back outside, we patrolled Sender Station, looking for the Detta thug that was to meet with the Gorians. Eventually, we found him hiding in a corner near the spaceport entrance.
With the credentials in hand, we proceeded into the routubes to crash the meeting.
"Detta's done with low-life lizards. Take these papers and walk."
I decided to insult him instead of just finishing him off. If I killed him, how would the other Gorians think it was Detta who did it?
"Rudely message understood. Detta's drug trade are become history. Trade finished."
Alright well that was fun. But, do know what would be more fun?...
Down to the Red Light District!
We took a brief detour to see the MugMugs and deliver the monk moss from Hephaestus. In return we were given a Firestorm MysTech.
Ahhhh it was good to be back. I hoped we would get Democratus laid this time.
Sera wanted to go back to the Cold Sweat Sex Machine, I guess to visit the scene of the crime.
I guess the triple homicide exotic dance really left a mark on the place.
Phunkee looked happy to see her again. He said, "There you are. I was wondering if you were ever gonna come back, sister. That was, without a doubt, the best act I've ever seen. You've gotta become a regular! I can already see the posters: 'Someone will die every night. Is it worth risking death to see the dangerous Stiletto Anyway? Find out at the Cold Sweat Sex Machine.'
Sera went back to the restroom to freshen up and ran into an old friend.
Don't ask why I'm in this picture.
"Stiletto? What're you doing back here? Quite a climax you added to your last number. They weren't very good tippers. I was glad to see them go. Like your outfit. Really takes those little things and makes some serious clea-vahhge. Of course, no offense, they are perrrr-fect, but you know guys. Hah. Ooh, you left something in the dressing room. You really wowed 'em with your Mrs. Claus number. Hooh."
Putting on the Hot suit in combat would distract even the gayest of foes long enough to kill them.
Back on the street, I ran into my old pal Detective Rukh.
"Hahaha! I had a feeling I'd bump into you here," he said. "Man I've had no luck tracking down our killer. It's like he vanished. I'm trying to suss out his next move, but tracking down black market connections ain't easy. Everyone here seems to sniff my PAX connection a mile away. I don't exactly blend in, do I? Don't YOU still have contacts here? If you could find out where my killer is selling the Tetra, or who he's working with, I'd be in your debt."
Tell me again why Rukh is making the big bucks with PAX and I'm barely surviving out of South Anachronox? Anyway, Kevester helped me out with the TDD, so maybe he'd have some dirt on the tetra market.
"Tetra? Hold on a minute. You're not getting into that stuff are you, Sly? It's dangerous. Better to steer clear of that junk and stick to Toka. I know a Cordican who sold his family into slavery for a choice piece of Tetra. Now he sits around his apartment in squalor, neck-deep in hallucinations, while his grandmother lifts crates on Goria. Besides…The Tetra trade's too inbred for my portfolio. Maybe Phunkee knows something. But you better tell him you're researching a case, or else he'll chain you down and put you in Phunkee Rehab. And you don't want to be in Phunkee Rehab. Trust me."
"Tetra? Excuse me? Am I gonna have to slap you down and put you in Phunkee Rehab? Is this for an investigation? There's one goner that walked in here earlier today. I kicked him out when he started pawing the Bipidri. I sent him to Slutopia across the quad. Let Reuben deal with him.
It wasn't hard to spot the tetra goner in Slutopia. He was the only patron who was facing away from the dancers. He must have been hallucinating something awesome.
"Tetra? Oh yeah. There's some Tetra under my head right now. Under the pillow. See, I like going to sleep with it. My dreams are so real, it feels like I'm really here. Like right now. Talking to you. It's so lucid. Hey, I just urinated long strips of wallpaper in the corner. It was the same pattern from my childhood bedroom. Except this wallpaper was pink. You have a question about… I mean, you would love Tetra. When you wake up, you wonder if you're still asleep. I mean, I know I'm dreaming, but if I wasn't, I still might now know the difference. What's your question? You wanna know the who? The what? Oh, the Tetra-snatcher? Oh yeah. He's got everone nervous. But not me. I don't have unflawed Tetra. I wish. No one knows where he's fencing it. It's a pretty small community. Far as I know… no big anonymous deals lined up lately. But I've been asleep an awful long time. Or not. They say dreams happen in a second, but they feel much longer in your head. So maybe I've only been asleep for a little while. What was the question? Yeah. Prime buyers are getting anxious. Upping their bids and hoping he'll cut a deal. Careful not to wake the Brebulan tiger sleeping on your head. Don't you feel it purring into your brain? Feline engine. Meow-meow?"
All that I could gather from the goner's ramblings was that Rukh's tetra killer wasn't selling his stock. I went to report my findings to Rukh. Along the way back, I noticed a floater that hadn't been there before.
"I hear the alien sorrow of the insects in your collection. You find them useful, yes? I find them delicious. I caught a particularly juicy bug just a few minutes ago. It was in a courtesan's hair. Perhaps it will aid your journey."
I thanked the floater for his kindness and returned straight to Rukh.
"Nothing on the market, huh? But it doesn't make sense that anyone would horde Tetra for their own personal use. More than one piece of Tetra is worthless since more than one crystal results in bad dreams instead of good ones. I was so sure the killer was looking for a Tetra monopoly: cut out the market, then make a killing selling the top quality crystals at premium rates. But if he's just hoarding them, and not sniffing around for buyers… I don't know man. That doesn't make much sense. Thanks Sly. I appreciate it."
Maybe it's just an emo tetra fiend who wants bad dreams? Ever think of that Mr. Incredible Detective? Apparently Rukh wasn't done talking, however.
"Listen, I dropped in on my favorite gear master while I was in the neighborhood. He had a prime piece of slim jim you're gonna love… the Galendan Lockpick. Look at this baby. Knurled stainless polysteel set screw, 32 pick designs including the Brebulan diamond rake, a double-sided wishbone jib, and 12 tension wrenches. I'm gonna give it to you. But having the lockpick isn't enough. You gotta know the technique. It's easy to learn, but it takes a while to master. If you've got a few minutes, I'll teach you…"
"Thanks again for the lowdown, Sly. I'll sniff around off-station and tackle this from a different angle. Maybe I'll hit up some Tetra miners and see if they know something the dealers don't."
So we left the Red Light District and returned to Salsa.
"Gorians never forget. Their rancor is as legendary as their tempers. Detta's been wanting to solidify his drug trade, and you flushed it down the toilet within minutes. Excellent work man. While Detta's boys scramble to recover lost ground, we'll set the stage to our advantage from the shadows."
He gave me a Regenergy Round for my troubles.
Now that I had this new lockpick from Rukh, I wanted to go back to my office on Anachronox and open up that chest. Also, I had now taken pictures of all eight red bippies, so I could cash in with the bippophile.
With the autotargeter, I could now cap people.
I stopped by Plib's store in the MysTech museum and picked up a copy of Mysteria Scientifica for Rho. I also made a quick stop at Zordo's. He was kind enough to donate a two-function host. The bippi lover was still standing outside Zordo's watching in awe as the little creeps worked. I flashed him the photos.
"I can't believe it! You found all 8 Red Bipidri! I'm beyond words. My hands are shaking. Money would be insulting. I want to give you something special. Before I learned the glory that is Bipidri, I was a comics collector. But now that I have these photos to treasure, my holy grail, the height of my comic's collecting career, holds no more fascination for me. I give it to you."
Yeah, I used to own this episode too, but that was a long time ago. I've since sold my comics collection. Frankly, I'm sick of comics.
We had delayed long enough.
It was time to go to the planet of death. / Backup
End: Well, this wasn't a terribly long episode, but the cutscene was a natural dividing marker. Stay tuned next time for the villain ship and more Krapton adventures!