McEdifice Returns brought to you Timothy the Talking Cat, “the wonder ingredient to a slimmer you”, and Straw Puppy, “the HDMI cable that deliver all your bits with freshness”.
The Anti-Vampire Alliance had barely begun full mobilization of its forces when diplomats managed to broker a peace-treaty. With the failure of the harvest on the garlic and blue-cheese planet of Halitosis Z, the Alliance had good cause to delay a conflict. Meanwhile the Space Vampires had gained intel on new weapons development by the Alliance that gave the Space Vampires their own reasons for suspending hostilities.
For regular soldiers the arrival of peace was as sudden and unexpected as the emergency draft had been. This was felt most keenly on the worlds exchanged by both sides as an outcome of the peace negotiations but other worlds felt the impact also. Notably Planet Campus – the Boot Camp and Corporate Office Planet of Tau Bootes X, which had a substantial population of army recruits living there at the moment peace was declared. The mass transportation of these recruits within a few hours was the most notable logistical exercise of the war, despite it technically occurring only after peace was declared. – Extract from “The Eight Space Vampire War” Omnipancyclopedia Cosmosicos 3576
McEdifice was running. He’d changed into his basic uniform in the car park to the space port but he still smelt of sweat, timber and garlic. He arrived at the check-in desk hoping against hope that a military transport was still available to take former recruits up to the Lagrange Platform and onto a space flight home.
“Sorry, you missed the last one.” said the helpful check-in desk robot.
“Damn.” said McEdifice.
“There is a civilian flight in twenty minutes,” said the robot helpfully.
“Great! How much?” asked McEdifice.
“Well the shuttle flight only costs 20 decicreds.” said the robot.
“But it will get me to the platform in time to catch the last military interstellar flight back home?” asked McEdifice.
“Yesssss, but…you see I can’t sell you a shuttle flight to the platform without you having a confirmed ticket for an interstellar flight. Now you had a confirmed booking from the Army on the earlier interstellar flight but you missed that one and you aren’t on the passenger list for the last one. So I can’t sell you the ticket.” the robot pulled a sad face to express empathy with McEdifice.
“Damn.” said McEdifice.
“But…you could buy a ticket for a short-run commercial interstellar flight taking you 3 light years over to the neighbouring system of Bip-Bop Alpha – the jigsaw system of wooden puzzles and cake stands. That would be only 1.2 kilocredits. That will give you access to the platform and you could sort out your booking up their AND get a refund (minus booking fee) on the commercial flight.” said the robot with a proactive helpfulness that gave it an inner feeling of warmth and comfort. It liked helping customers in a way that almost bordered on sexual self-gratification.
“Great! I’ll do that!” said McEdifice.
“I should warn you the booking fee can be quite high,” said the robot.
“I don’t care. I’ve places to be. Here is my credit spool-cassette.” McEdifice handed over the hi-tech magnetic tape cassette on which was stored his financial transactions – allowing for interstellar commerce despite the limitations of speed of light communications and the fact that you couldn’t use ansibles for money exchanges for reasons we can’t think of right now.
The robot took the credit spool-cassette and placed it into the tape-player. As it spooled along the player gave a “doohnkg” noise.
“Oh dear!” said the robot, “Unfortunately you have no valid funds for this transaction!”
“What! There must be some kind of mistake!” said McEdifice.
The robot shook its chrome-like head sadly. “I’m so, so sorry sir. You see your funds are all in non-standard Steppe Farthings – the currency of the Grassland Planet of Steppes. You may not be aware that the Grassland Planet of Steppes was handed over to the Space Vampire Empire (or “Vempire” if you will) as part of the peace treaty.”
“No, why would they do such a thing!” cried McEdifice.
“Well basically almost nobody lived there except a gang of outlaws and some crazy old war veteran. Also, the planet really only had one thing: having lots of grass. People really want planets with two or more things these days. Multitudinous Gamma has at least six things now! It’s the disco planet, the knitted sock planet, the equatorial ice-cap planet, the bouncy-castle planet, the four-headed fish-monster planet and also its oceans are purple!” explained the robot helpfully.
“but what will I do now?” said McEdifice.
The robot patted his hand in an attempt to comfort him. “I’m so, so sorry dear. It looks like you are stuck here for the time being. Go into town, get a job and work up some credits for a flight home. You’ll see, it will all be OK.” The robot gave McEdifice its best conciliatory smile.
“A job?” said McEdifice.
“In an office.” said the robot.
“Nnnoooooooo!!!!!!!!’ cried McEdifice.