Mort left his dome by the sole pressurised corridor leading to PinkLounge.
And that was ANOTHER thing! He hated pink as a color or shade or whatever damn thing it was! Whose bright idea was it to put him here?
Although if he hadn't ended up in PinkLounge he would never have met Rachael.
Good or bad?
Can you have good without the downside? Or is that just moral cowardice?
PinkLounge was empty. Most of the colonists would be hooked up to their Zebby sets or having sex. There wasn't too much else to do on Alphaks Zigma.
Harrison J. Bounel entered PinkLounge, with his usual offensive charm and certainty.
There wasn't much else to do on Alphaks Zigma - unless you were Bounel.
He's a zakking bureaucrat, Mort thought angrily. Not a spacemarine, not a pastor, not a bughunter not even a builder. Just a freakin frakkin zakking tablet tapper!
"Ah, Mort! Just the Pinker I wanted to see!"
Harrison J. Bounel tried to keep the fake smile on his face, but his eyes tightened in anger. Like all unimportant men he was jealous of his self-imagined station.
"Mort, things work better here when everyone show due deference."
"To you? I'm showing you the scientifically verified exact amount of deference due, to three thousand decimal places."
"I don't think I like your tone-"
"I don't think I like you."
"You need to shape up, Mort!"
"Or what? We both know that colonization is really deportation. None of us, you included, will ever see a SettledWorld again. This is it. We're either the founders of a new colony- or more likely mulch for the GubEcology."
"Gub is life," Bounel intoned automatically.
"Anyway, what is it?"
"I need help on my patrol, and Sinkiewicz is sick. Drank a bad batch of Sumpin."
"I've never known a Sumper to make a good batch."
"Whatever." Bounel was supremely disinterested in any of the colonists except to the extent they were props in his own internal action movie. "Without him I can't get auto clearance for the flibmobile."
"And we all know that riding around in the ATV looking for nonexistent alien threats is how you get your pleasure."
"Are you alleging I don't Zeb? Because if you are-"
"Don't be obscene. We all Zebragate. Zebby is fun fun FUN!"
"Zebby is fun fun fun," Brounel agreed. "And I do. You know that. I've spent a fortune in credits getting the Extras 3Ded."
Zebby the Zebra, plastic idol of uncounted trillions of humans.
Every single inhabited dwelling -every single one, anywhere- was expected to have a plastic idol of Zebby, around which 3D printed artefacts and souvenirs of his adventures would gradually be added. Not to participate, not to conspicuously consume, was to imply aloofness. And in the crowded human universe aloofness was mortal heresy.
"I know you're seeing the deviant off on the next Uprocket," Bounel said insultingly, although he himself thought he was being conciliatory. "We have time do a recce and get you back in time. More than time."
Recce, thought Mort with utter contempt. Now he thinks he's Zolodon of Fomalhaut or something.
7/25/2016 10:50:30 PM
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