The Karmora Papers

Chapter Twenty-One


Quand 12 was sick of Gourmet Food pellets, he’d viewed each hologazine a dozen times and from every angle, his legs were cramped, and there had been no on-board facility in which to deposit his waste items. But what troubled him most was the utter absence of ammoniweeds... beautiful... succulent... ambrosial... ahh! No, stop it!

His duplex minds tortured him with juicy recollections of the tidbit. Tidbit! It was so much more! Indeed, it was a dietary necessity! Why, ammoniweed starvation played nutritional havoc with Saturn-dwellers. Tests showed that capricious mental deficiency normally set in after only a few chew cycles without the stuff...and here he’d been lacking the luscious... chewpore-watering... droolable... ahh! Stop it stop it!

But Quand 12 was already exhibiting classic symptoms of prolonged ammoniweed deprivation. His chewpores puckered uncontrollably, his exopants luminesced, and his skin crawled slowly around his outer torso. Worst of all, though, his minds were gradually withdrawing into eerie subconscious shadows. Reality had been reduced to a great gloppy mush in which his minds conversed with each other, seeking a kind of irrational nihilism:

"...fellow think-processor, it’s high time to terminate this debt-plagued existence once or twice and for all..."

" you wish to opt for Megadeath of level 6?"

"...surely we deserve no better than Limbo and Voidness of level 7!"

"...ahh, true; an inedible decision awaits us!"

"...would that we could have stayed home and let Mr. Luigi capture and housetrain us!"

"...would indeed, for we deserve no better!"

" better!"

Quand 12 squirmed and the pathopsychosis mellowed into his coconsciousness. Partly awake now, he focused his Visiscreen and the rinso blue cloud layer around Mokus 5 loomed before his flickering eyes. A thought tendril wafted by but he couldn’t quite latch onto it...something about "destination.’

"I’m here, then. I suppose I should land this craft somewhere."

The Saturnian’s reasoning was unusually sound, considering his current nutritional deficit. Too bad he couldn’t have gone one picayune step further and released the spacecraft from its VERY FAST mode.


Bob, Pflud and Pike, meanwhile, had watched the on-rushing aerobus in morguelike silence. Finally, Pike spoke.

"Look, before things get entirely outta hand, we’d, uh, better settle up. That’ll be 40 astroclams for the AstroGastro."

Bob continued to watch the apocalyptic aerobatics. "Frankly, I just don’t know how you can think about money at a time like this!"

He rooted through his pockets. "Ahh, I don’t seem to have any ’clams on me right at this moment... would you take a check?"

Totally without warning, the heretofore reverved elder proprietor exploded. He began ranting about an unfulfilled life, about scurrilous customers, about an unjust government in the Likable Triple Cities who taxed his establishment beyond politeness, and about the pain and itching of certain values of death.

At last, his outburst was cut short, as the aqua ballistic aerobus -- slower than an astroblimp but much much faster than an armed space trawler -- plunged haplessly into the dyspeptic Mokus 5 atmosphere. next

The Karmora Papers is Copyright ©1976,1993,1996 by Dennis Báthory Kitsz and David Gunn. All rights reserved. If you enjoy this book, an appreciation fee of any amount may be made to Dennis Báthory-Kitsz or David Gunn at Malted/Media Productions, 176 Cox Brook Road, Northfield VT 05663.

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