Walking along the crowded streets of Pledu, you kick at stones and sigh,
wallowing in self-pity. Here you are, once more on the opposite side of
the galaxy to the love of your life. Things were supposed to get better
after you freed yourself from your contractual obligations to the
Treemaids; but in your absence the Law was changed.
|Artwork © Ulysses Ai|
You see; as Lord Gablentite explained to you with a huge grin on his
face; his daughter; Pomplompotom, your ex-girlfriend; is a Merchant
Princess. That means that whoever marries her will join the financial
empire currently administered by the Merchant Prince and will in future
become a merchant prince themselves. As such, the Amorphonons have
always valued financial acumen. Normally it was this quality that
impressed a Merchant Prince sufficiently for him to grant a suitor's
contact to someone who expressed interest in his daughter. For you to
be awarded a suitor's contract due to your heroism was an exception.
During your absence, the matter was discussed at the Amorphonon
Enterprise Board, and it was decided that all potential suitors had to
be means-tested before they could be approved. Lord Gablentite took you
through the application form personally, a task that he seemed to enjoy
greatly. After noting the value of your assets, your income and
expenses, he informs you that you are worth a grand total of 27 Galactic
Roubles, well below the 1,000,000 GR minimum.
After this devastating piece of news, it seemed unnecessary, cruel even,
to dispatch you immediately to the other side of the galaxy to deliver
eggs; but here you are.
In the great, crap-filled pit of darkness that is your life, there is a
glimmer of something that is not as joy-slaying or hope-decaying as
everything else: the Pleduans are famous for making the second-best
pancakes in the galaxy.
Pancakes! That'll hit the spot. With your mouth watering, you begin to
look about for the nearest pancake-vendor to bury your sorrows under a
stack of warm, crispy-edged yum-discs.
The Pleduans are humanoid with yellowish skin, and have their faces in the
middle of their backs. This anatomical oddity has given them a unique
perspective on life, producing a cautious society with a reverence for
history. As they move through the streets, they walk backwards so they
can see where they are going. You look across the sea of shoulders that
you stand head over and scan the neighbourhood.
As you are looking about, you see a strange figure approach you. It is a
head-bearing humanoid, wearing a black, hooded robe. Given that the
figure, with no greater oddity than an archaic taste in apparel is
standing in the middle of a crowd of headless yellow aliens with their
faces in their backs; it is perhaps unjustified to call it 'strange'.
In any case, regardless of how you would describe it, the figure is
different from the norm of its surrounds. Not different in the negative,
discriminatory way, but rather in the universe-is-enriched-by-variety way.
Hence the lingering of your gaze on the figure is in no way racist, but
rather an embrace of the wondrous multicuturalism of the galaxy.
The said figure sees you looking at him and pulls something from the folds
of its robe, holding it out for you to see. It is a white, plastic fork.
What a freak! you think (surely a celebratory thought acknowledging the
edifying kaleidoscope of numerous unique cultures that is our modern
galaxy). Since the strange figure and his odd gesture has nothing to do
with pancakes, you move on.
Soon you come to a stall, and sniff the air in delight before eagerly
joining the line. As you are waiting there, you feel a tap on your
shoulder and turn to see the strange figure standing right behind you with
his hands on his hips. "Excuse me!" he says in an irritated voice.
"What's wrong with you?"
"Hey! I was here first!" you say. "Sorry you have to wait an extra
nanosecond for your pancakes!"
"I don't care about pancakes!" the figure says.
"Then why are you in the line?" you criticise.
"I'm not in the line! I'm trying to talk to you!"
"You're making a scene," you say.
The man's shouting has caused many of the surrounding Pleduans to turn
their backs on you and stare. Seeing this, the man lowers his voice.
"What do I look like to you? Aren't I a 'mysterious figure'?"
You shrug. "I suppose so. Not that I'm racist or anything."
"So when a mysterious figure appears to you, you're supposed to see what
it wants, not just walk the other way!"
"I have a craving for pancakes," you explain. "Anyway, you're here now.
So what is it?"
"Fine," the figure seems disgruntled, but gets on with it. Once more he
dramatically presents the plastic fork.
You smile and nod. "Thank you." Turning back to face the vendor, you
crane your neck trying to see what the hold-up is. There is another tap
on your shoulder. You turn back to see the mysterious figure is still
there. "What is it now?" you ask, a little irritated.
"The same thing!" the figure says, matching your irritation, and upping
it with a sizeable chunk of frustration. He waves the plastic fork in
your face. "Doesn't this mean anything to you?"
"No, I wasn't going to get takeaway."
"Do you think I walk around dressed like this offering plastic forks to
You shrug. "Hey, it's a free galaxy."
The figure plants his fists on his hips once more boiling with frustration.
"When a mysterious figure appears, it obviously has some important,
personal message for you, that will send you on a life-changing quest!"
You move a step in the line. "A-huh. So what is it?"
"You," intones that figure, "are the chosen one."
"Chosen by who for what?" you ask.
The figure seems pleased with this question.. "You are no ordinary
person. You were created to fulfil a great destiny!"
"What destiny?" you ask.
Silently and with grave profundity, the figure lifts the plastic fork.
Several moments pass, but nothing else happens.
"What's my destiny?" you ask again, guessing he didn't hear you.
"This!" the figure thunders, shaking the fork.
"That's not a destiny, that's a fork."
"It's your forking destiny!" the figure shouts (at least that's what you
think he says).
"To get takeaway?" you ask, hoping this is going to make sense soon.
The mysterious figure seems to be angry for some reason. "No! You are
the chosen one! Your past is shrouded in mystery, the sign of power
hovers over your birth! By reaching out to grasp your birthright, you
will achieve greatness. Can you deny the glory and honour that beckons
"Hi. One stack please. Eat in."
Something pokes you in the back. "Ow!" you cry and turn around, seeing
a man dressed in a black robe holding a plastic fork, ready to impale
you with it. "What do you want?"
"Have you been listening to me or not?" the man shouts in rage.
You collect your plate. "Yes. You were saying something about takeaway."
You move over to a table and sit down, savouring the smell of the
The black-robed man stalks after you, seeming determined to spoil your
meal. "You must return to G15-275!"
"Fine! I'll go back there tomorrow!"
The man pauses in uncertainty. "Will you?"
"Yes, I promise!"
The man frowns. "Are you lying?"
"No," you lie. "I promise you I will go there tomorrow."
He falls silent, and you cut off a piece of pancake dripping with syrup
and cream. You put it in your mouth and shiver with delight. They
truly do make the second-best pancakes in the galaxy! As you eat, you
smile with pleasure at the black-robed man. He stares at you helplessly,
then turns and disappears into the crowd, leaving you in peace. You
concentrate on your food and soon clean your plate.
Sighing with great satisfaction, you leave the table and make your way
back to the spaceport. As you take a shortcut through a dark alley, you
feel movement behind you. Before you can react, something smashes into
the back of your head, and you collapse to the ground.
As you fade into unconsciousness, you have a feeling that you really will
be returning to G15-275 after all.