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Clear, on CatH Post 7, receives an invitation to board The Oh My Love! and intends to rescue Hebedee and Green. After she takes a small transport ship there she is guided by an anti-gravity tractor beam through a tunnel until she arrives at a party. She meets the Oh My Love! Barmaid, who can gives her the best drinks and split herself across several bars. After passing through several rooms she meets with The Boss, the owner of the party yacht, who tells her where to find her friends. He is, however, keen on invading her personal space and patronises and demeans her in front of his friends, which mortifies her as she leaves to find Green in Room Three.

Post

The Passion Yacht

Clear stands in the hangar, her hands on her hips.

Clear: "They took my Bug..."

She looks across the bay to the void of space looming just beyond the atmospheric shield. There she could still see the strange ship, almost sparkling against the star-dropped background. The best option would be to jump and leave the two of them behind. But Clear isn't sure how many jumps the ship has left in her and she'd be leaving a valuable mechanic behind. And Green is probably terrified over there. She stands and watches it. The internal conflict rolling. Save them or ditch them.

Note"You have been cordially invited to board the vessel known as Oh My Love."

Clear breathes out slowly. An invitation to join her friends in captivity. Friends is too strong a word. Allies. Shipmates. Crewmen.

Acquaintances.

She guesses they'll send a ship to collect her. Maybe even send the old Bug back.

And that is a really stupid name for a ship. 'Oh My Love' indeed.

----------

They had sent their own ship. It was a small transport vessel, even smaller than the bug. Little more than a box and was even box-shaped. Its wall had dropped and she was inside the small space. Despite being so claustrophobia-inducing, the interior was plush with blue velvet and small robot that offered her drinks. Drinks that were neon pink or neon orange. She had refused both. She wasn't sure her stomach could stand a second round of alcohol.

The ship delivered her to the diamond-like vessel but she couldn't see outside. She had no idea how the small ship got inside. All she knew next were the doors opening and she was released from the tiny box.

The door open, she now steps onto the hangar floor of the 'Oh My Love'. She sees rather cramped interior, much like the insides of the shuttle-box, and she is impressed as the deftness of the ship's auto-docking to bring the shuttle into such a small space. She doesn't have long to look around as gravity suddenly vanishes and she starts to float. The shuttle remains clamped the the floor with large metal arms that hold it in place. She, on the other hand, becomes a rag-doll.

A gust of wind, or perhaps some magnetising effect, pushes/pulls her through an opening door. The door closes behind her as she gently, but quickly, is carted through the ship. She tries to swim about but there's no resistance to be had. There's an atmosphere, she's breathing, and yet it is like she's swimming in the void. Eventually she resigns herself and tries to relax as she's whipped along. She is suddenly in a long blue corridor with huge windows along the right side. She peers through the windows and she can see lots of people - all manner of aliens - in what looked like a bar. One big party. She tries to rearrange herself into more dignified position with so many people able to see her flying along, but only ends up spinning and turning herself upside down. Another attempt has her spinning like a spinning-top. Her stomach is growing ever more upset with her.

A new room and the windows are gone. She is unceremoniously dropped on the floor, albeit gently. Her head still hurt from connecting suddenly with the metal floor where her feet were supposed to go. She sits up and rubs her head. She grows ever more worried about the situation she is in.

Need a daring rescue, she could do that. Need to sneak through ventilation shafts, she could do that. Need to punch guards in the face, she could do that. Need to converse with people at a social gathering, not her forte.

She glances down at herself. She'd dressed prepped for danger, wearing her hardy leathers instead of her casual-wear. She is going to look very out of place. She tries to rearrange her scarf to be more... coquettish instead of the practical state it was usually in - covering her mouth. She finally walks through the open door and finds herself in a fashionable lobby with black and white tiles on the floor and beige marble walls. The lights are dim but she can see well enough. A robot wheels itself over to her and offers her a ticket. She pockets it, takes a deep breath. She steps towards the glass doors and they slide open. Music instantly bombards her eyes. She isn't much of a music connoisseur but she is sure it sounded like 80s Earth electronica. The rooms are large and are all connected to one-another, as Clear had seen outside. However she spies a slight shimmering blue between the bulwarks that divided each room - likely to block out the sounds of each room. The windows she'd seen though on her way here are blacked out. They're one-way. She sighs with mild relief that nobody saw her floating hijinks.

She uneasily makes her way through the room. This room has a dark red carpet, black paintwork on the walls and a red disco light that gave the room a fairly sensual feel. She looks at the people. They incredibly varied. Some appear humanoid, two arms and two legs, while others are extraordinarily unusual. They're even more unusual when she sees them, what she guessed to be, dancing. Flailing tentacles, buzzing mandibles, ghostly oozing. She had never seen anything so bizarre. The dance floor is an area of bright blue tiles that light up when stepped on. The bar appears fairly conventional, which she's grateful for. She has a couple of coins and decides her stomach could manage a single drink. She approaches the bar and the barmaid, a grey-skinned girl with a big pink spot on her forehead, totters over, still dancing to the music as she serves Clear. Occasionally glitter will explode around her head from the aether. She pours a cocktail, not the beer Clear had asked for, and hands it over to the Martian. The barmaid offers the cutest smile she could muster.

Barmaid: "For you from me!"

Clear: "Uh... thanks! How much is it?"

Barmaid: "You don't pay for stuff on Oh My Love, my darling! You have a ticket, right?"

Clear nods.

Barmaid: "Then it's yours. And I want you to try this. I think it'll suit you."

Clear shrugs and drinks some of her black-coloured cocktail. It's bitter and strong - just the way Clear likes it. She's amazed.

Clear: "How--!!?"

The barmaid titters and extra explosions of glitter scatter over her blonde punk pig-tailed hair.

Barmaid: "I'm good, right?"

Clear: "Amazing."

Clear takes another drink, forgetting, for a moment, why she's even here. Then she recalls when the song switches to the next track.

Clear: "I was invited here."

Barmaid: "Well, I guessed that! Nobody comes here unless they're invited!"

Clear: "Right... I'm looking for my friends. They were invited just before me."

Barmaid: "Might take you a while to find them! It's a big place. You could ask the boss. He's four rooms down."

Clear: "I'll try that. Thanks. And thanks for the drink."

Barmaid: "When you want the next one, come see me okay? You know I'll do the you the best drinks! "

She grins at Clear and then moves on to serve the next person. Clear wishes she could steal the girl and get these cocktails on The Hopeful every day. She walks through the shimmering shield with her drink and finds herself in a new kind of atmosphere. As she breathes she gets a little light-headed. A little giddy. Extra oxygen.

Music in the room is playing but it's beyond Clear's comprehension. It sounds like a series of tiny bells being played with a disgruntled cat growling over it. Evidently some kind of alien tune. The people in the room are, however, mostly human. Conversation seems to be the best source of entertainment in the room as the people sit on comfortable sofas and giggle at each other. Clear continues through and comes to the third room. Even in the high-oxygen room she could see the grass and the flowers, but only when she entered the room could see feel the gentle breeze and the warmth of the artificial sun that loomed where the disco ball ought to be. Birds and bees and other creatures' sounds could be heard. In one corner she hears the disconcerting sounds of something horrible and alien, but some of the alien sentients seem to enjoy the sound. Mostly people are walking, skipping or playing sports in the long room. There's a small stall serving what appears to be lemonade. Clear quickly heads through the room, eager to escape the sunlight. She looks quite out of place with all of the shirtless people and the bunch in white slacks.

The fourth room is playing loud pop music (Róisín Murphy - Cry Baby[Ext 1] is the song I imagine playing). People are dancing and often in a very raunchy fashion that found Clear's cheek's burning an even brighter shade of red than they already did. If she didn't need to find the boss, she might have run back to the playing field of the previous room.

Barmaid: "Hey! Hey!"

Clear turns to see the barmaid from the first room also behind the bar in this room. Clear approaches cautiously.

Clear: "Weren't you..."

Barmaid: "Oh right. I'm in four bars actually! There's... four of me."

Clear: "Four of you!?"

Barmaid: "Yes. I mean, actually me. I don't have any sisters or anything like that. It's just something I can do. Split myself. So if it gets busy behind this bar -- POP! I make a new me."

Clear: "Wow. That's... amazing!"

Barmaid: "Not as amazing as my drinks, right!? Here, time for another don't you think?"

Clear looks at her black drink and realises it's almost gone. She doesn't even remember drinking it. The barmaid serves up a new one, this time it's coloured a rusty orange and has a swirl of yellow at its middle. The barmaid hands it over and grins expectantly.

Clear drinks. It's bitter but has a sour tang through it that she guessed was the yellow swirl.

Clear: "That's really great too. How do you know what drinks I'll like?"

Barmaid: "One of my many talents. I just get a ... vibe."

Someone else approaches the bar.

Barmaid: "Oops! Got to run!"

Clear: "Oh wait! Where's the boss?"

She points, extending her whole arm as though posing for a photoshoot, to the far end of the room. Sparkles explode. Clear waves her thanks and allows the barmaid to get back to work. Clear gathers her nerves. What would the boss of a place like this be like? She walks to the far side of the room and sees a gathering of people sitting around a low table. They're relaxing, hugging, kissing... one couple seem to be doing something much more explicit.

The Boss: "Can I help you, lovely~?"

The Boss stands up. Clear cocks her head. She's sure it's a man but he's wearing women's clothing. A long gold and sleek dress with plenty of sequins. His wig is a large bouffant of white and gold curls that cascades down to his shoulders. His face is a picture of make-up but aged lines that reveal him to be middle-aged at least. His lips are large and red against his brown skin. She thinks he's a human but she couldn't be certain - lots of aliens just looked human but turned out to be something weirder.

Clear: "I'm, uh, looking for my... friends. My ship is nearby an--"

The Boss: "Aha! So you're the precious Martian girl, are you?"

The Boss links her arm with Clear's, a girlish fashion that Clear had never actually experienced.

The Boss: "You are as pretty as your little Green says you are. One of a kind! A rare and delicate gem!"

The Boss turns, dramatically, to those sitting at the table.

The Boss: "Ladies, gentlemen, hermaphrodites and undisclosed--"

The group laugh at that.

The Boss: "--This is Clear the Salmitton. A lost little lamb from a world taken from her long-dead people. Doesn't it make your heart weep?"

Clear feels The Boss is being quite insincere.

The Boss: "But she's been found here now. Aboard the Oh My Love!"

The group cheer and raise their drinks in Clear's honour. Clear, uncomfortably, follows suit and drinks her own drink.

The Boss: "So, my little rabbit, how do you like my passion yacht?"

Clear: "Oh. Well the drinks are really good."

The group laugh again.

The Boss: "Well then. I'll be sure to give a raise to your bartender. The drinks are the only thing you have to comment on, then at least I'm doing something right."

Clear: "Oh! I mean... everything is quite overwhelming, to be honest. It's a very impressive place."

The Boss: "Ah, but you haven't found the room to your tastes, yet? I suppose you never will. Displaced as you are, the only thing that would make you happy would be to see your people again..."

The Boss runs a finger from his eye down his cheek in a mock tear.

The Boss: "One of the few people in the NeSiverse I can't appease. What a lovely little thing you are."

The Boss starts playing, idly, with Clear's hair.

The Boss: "I suppose you're wondering where your friends are?"

Clear nods.

The Boss: "Well, you must have missed your little Green darling. She's in with all that plantlife in room three. Your rotund human companion is in room six."

Clear: "Thank you."

The Boss: "You're welcome, dearest. Anything else you need you just come to see your Auntie. I'll get you whatever you need, my little precious~."

Clear smiles awkwardly and turns to walk away.

She is suddenly spanked on the bum.

The Boss: "You should really loosen up, little flower!"

The group laugh again and Clear, mortified, sulks back to the previous room in hopes of finding Green amidst the grass and the flowers.

Notes

Britt's Commentary

"When creating the Oh My Love!, I wanted to create a space-version of a pleasure yacht designed with several locations for different people. It was also useful to show how Clear may never be able to find her perfect life because of her lost heritage and sense of never belonging to any culture. I had fun creating The Boss and wanted a character that's never been seen in The Never-ending Story. I wanted him to be realistic and while funny in his own way, I didn't want him to be funny because he's a transvestite. I was also adamant that it was clear he's in charge and no respect is lost just because he wears women's clothes, which was the function of his 'yes men' gaggle of people. His invasion of Clear's personal space, and his spanking her bum, were deliberate attempts to emphasise that while he's helping her, he is still an antagonist to the story of Clear." - Britt the Writer

References

External References

  1. Róisín Murphy, Cry Baby music video, YouTube.
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