The Tourist


“Hello. I am 719-08-2542. But you can call me Shine. That’s what most people call me. On my world, I am an imaginist. Although, I suppose here I’m just a tourist. It’s so nice to escape from the monotony of one’s life and experience another place, isn’t it? I’ve been saving up for this for years, really. I’ve always dreamed of leaving my planet, experiencing this one, well any other populated one really, no offense. To me, the Spas of Iago or the Grand Forum of Iridu, the Palaces of Muavec, all such remarkable wonders the only way I could choose was well, which left the bank account denser. You know what it’s like, I’m sure.”

“Do you tip at this kind of establishment considering, I mean, I’m not familiar with the customs on this world?”

“Hahaha no I’m not being cheap, I just, you know. I’m new at this.”

“Yep, I’m no Fairholder, I’ll tell you that. I mean, I hold a few, who doesn’t? Yes, please, keep them coming. Thank you. I still have to work to get what I want. You know what I mean, I’m sure. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. The true Fairholders, though, they are something. All the industry is the galaxy is theirs, and why shouldn’t it be? It was built with their backing. Couldn’t’ve been done without them. They just pay me for my mind. Rent it out. The Greatmind, as they call it, oh you’ve heard of it? All the decisions in the universe are made by that thing. All the important ones anyway. The Fairholders built it, a long time ago, with the help of the Imaginists. We’re still building it really, constantly upgrading and expanding, its abilities ever growing. I’m in awe of it every time I plug in. It’s sheer vision, it’s understanding, it’s knowledge, it’s no wonder the universe was united under the Fairholders. I wish you could see it, understand it, but someone like you never could. No one could without experiencing it, I mean. And imaginists, we’re chosen before we can remember. The Greatmind chooses us. Chooses us to be a part of its great system, inventing, planning, deciding, building. It has brought such greatness to this galaxy.”

“You haven’t met many people from my world, have you? I mean, I guess how could you, growing up on that farm in Tenne… oh Missouri, was it? My mistake. It’s all the same, though. I’m probably the first Telemek you’ve met, aren’t I? That’s good. I think everyone should meet at least one of us in their life. Might show them we aren’t as bad as they say. Everyone had a fair shot at it, and we just came out on top. Our strength and ingenuity and compassion and fairness put us here. And then people go bombing resorts or shooting up restaurants instead of accepting where the universe put them. I’ve heard rumors there’s even a bounty on us on this world, placed by the terrorists.”

“Why did I come here then? Oh, you know, the wanderlust. And I’ve heard the food here is to die for, you must know that? I mean, how couldn’t you? Ha… ha… And I’ve always wanted to meet people from other worlds, other species, you know? Experience the exotic, taste the exotic, go somewhere new, you know?”

“Yes, keep the drinks coming.”

“Yeah, Vueltvo is nice, but it’s such a tourist trap. The real interesting thing about a place is experiencing the culture, the art, the people, the food. So, tell me, how did you end up here?”

“Oh, come on… don’t be shy, I really want to know.”

“Look, I just want to know you better, before we, you know.”

“Oh, I don’t have much of a life outside of work, really. Wake up, eat something bland, walk over to my docking station, plug in, and ride the waves of thought for hours, until I’m exhausted and then I unplug, eat some more bland crap, nothing like this meal’s about to be, and dream of travelling the universe. Seeing new things, getting out of that dull room and boring food, you know?”

“Oh, I have friends. I mean, I don’t see them much anymore. We go to have drinks on weekends now and then. Maybe take a levicar to the beach, watch a tournament together.”

“Yeah, I love playing games. It’s second only to travel. You really liked Warvoid? I was more of a Dark Palisade type.”

“Yeah, I love it, it’s a great escape. Breaking back to nature, letting the inner hunter out.”

“Oh, I agree. They’re a great way to let out our aggression.”

“Oh, and the stories, I know, sometimes they’re great… I just think they go too far sometimes.”

“Well, no I know, they just, we need to keep politics out of recreation, all I’m saying.”

“Well yeah, I can see how someone in your situation might say that, but I really…”

“Look, just try looking at things from my perspective? Ok? Broaden your horizons, look at things from more than just your angle.”

“What do you want me to do? It’s not my fault the universe is that way. I didn’t cause any of that stuff.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it. Some people were oppressed. My ancestors didn’t exactly ask the rest of the universe politely if they wanted this.”

“But look at what we brought you? Look at where you were before we came along. You were still burning fossil fuels, half the planet about to starve because of climate driven agricultural collapse, and if that didn’t get you the piles of atomic weapons you were constantly pointing at each other would have.”

“We civilized you. It’s that simple.”

“Oh, come off it. Your choices led you here.”

“Your parent’s choices, whatever.”

“Yes, another drink, please.”

“Look, I didn’t even have parents, alright? That’s how little my parents gave me. On my world only Fairholders can afford to have children. People like me are grown as the Greatmind deems we’re needed. If we make enough currency in our life, we can pay to be made fertile.”

“Well, I suppose it keeps us from making mistakes that burden society.”

“Yeah, and see where that got you?”

“You can’t expect other people to pay for your mistakes, can you?”

“Nobody should have to pay just to keep another useless person alive.”

“Well, I suppose you found a use for yourself, didn’t you?”

“And I’m sure they’ll grow up to understand why you did what you did and learn from your mistakes, won’t they?”

“Well, if it makes you feel better, I’m sure they’ll miss you.”

“Oh, don’t be like that.”

“Well, we better stop talking. As they say on this planet, the food is getting cold.”

“To you, my dinner-date, and our eternal union.”


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