By: Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi
System Undaaman owned by an alien species,
940 light years away from Earth
There were only two employees at the reception of the hotel at that late hour, male and female aliens, who had humanoid shapes. They worked already continuously for five Earth days, and the next shift could have arrived only after the terrible storm ceased. When the aliens observed the lift moving to the ground floor, they left their high-tech office hastily. The two aliens with beige marbled skin approached the precious polished wood front desk, which was filled with various objects. All aliens thought that these should have found a place in a museum of history for common people, but only a millionaire from Earth could afford such luxury.
Adam emerged from the lift with his heavy backpack and sweating under his long coat fur. The two employees looked each another and smiled.
“Good evening!” Adam said joyfully. “Oh! Almost forgot!”
Adam mimicked at perfection the salute given by the bartender from the club, whom he encountered him earlier.
“Greetings… Adam!” the male alien read from a discreetly camouflaged display.
The aliens were not allowed to use advanced technology in front of the customers in order to preserve the authenticity of the experience, which was promoted by the tour company where they have been working. Adam knew this already and approached the front desk, while he looked for a bell, but he found none.. Adam was disappointed, so he said:
“Where is it?”
“What are you looking for sir?” the alien woman asked him.
“You know, the thing you push it then it rings.”
“For suggestions and complaints please fill out our questionnaire, when you will reach the spaceport.” The alien woman said, while she observed his disappointment.
“Okay. I’ll do it.” Adam responded.
“If you don’t mind me, your salute wasn’t properly given,” the alien male added.
“No? Then how should I do it?” Adam asked curiously.
“We use the ‘Salute of live giving Sun’ during sunny periods only. When the weather is bad or it’s dark, we use the ‘Greeting for Cold Weather’.” The alien male replied.
“Seriously? Show me!” Adam demanded eagerly.
The two aliens crossed their arms over their chests, with hands on the shoulders as if they were experienced cold.
“Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!” Adam laughed. “Smart indeed! I like it!”
He practiced both of the salutations in front of them.
“Warm! Cold! Got it!”
“You do it wrong!” the alien woman said, who had big shiny topaz-like eyes.
“On which of them?” Adam asked puzzled.
“On the Greeting for Cold Weather you didn’t crossed your hands properly. You must touch your opposite shoulder with the left arm first.” The alien woman answered.
“I am right-handed!” Adam protested.
The alien lady looked on the screen for the translation of right-handed then said:
“No. You saluted like a woman.”
The two aliens saluted simultaneously to show the difference.
“Wow! I didn’t know that!” Adam said loudly.
“It’s already in the guide sir.” The alien woman told him.
“What guide lady? I have never even seen one!”
“It was mentioned in the travel guide that we distributed it on arrival on the spaceport.” The alien male added.
Adam was puzzled.
“I have not received something like this! Never!” he said.
“All your girlfriends you brought here did it.” The alien male said.
“What? I didn’t even know this!”
“We tried, but we couldn’t share this information with you. We always scanned you, and according to our sensors readings it seems you don’t have a proper device, in which you can store this huge volume of data.” The alien female said.
Adam was embarrassed and smiled.
“I see. Let’s get over this. I only want to check out. Also I need some transportation to the spaceport. There is an android there, which is waiting for me in the shuttle. Can you help me please?”
“I am afraid it’s not possible, sir. You should stay here for a while,” the male alien said.
Adam became nervous and lost his temper. He was anxious because he didn’t want his secret identity to be disclosed.
“I am a customer and the customer is always right! Send something to pick me up. I will pay!” he demanded.
“I’m sorry sir. You must wait until the weather improves,” the alien male refused.
“I don’t care about the gale!” Adam shouted. “Don’t tell me that you don’t have the technology to handle this for I don’t believe you! You are not in the Stone Age. You have at least radars, right? Oh! I almost forgot. You have short pulsed lasers too.”
“Calm down sir or I will call security at once!” the alien male threatened Adam.
“Give up, Yang!” the alien woman said worried.
She looked at the screen on which was displayed Adam’s bio-metric ID and his vital signs.
“Let’s start again, Adam,” the alien lady proposed to him. “We are just two employees who are doing their job. Please be a reasonable person!”
Adam nodded and agreed.
“If you have other names, titles or nicknames, tell us and we will update your profile immediately.”
“What profile? What are you typing there? Show me at once!”
The alien female hesitated but the alien male told her:
“Show him, Yin!”
“Here is the information gathered by A.I. from your frequent trips to our planet. These data are at the disposal of the Company from the moment you entered on its property, by this I mean the entire touristic compound.”
“Here, sir! We offer you a free copy of the guide and the internal regulation.” Yang told him then he picked up a small object from a crystal bowl.
Adam took it and stared incredulously refusing to believe. On it was carved with laser the Chinese symbol of duality.
“Yin and Yang!” he exclaimed.
“At your disposal, sir!” the two alien said.
“What does this means?” Adam was astounded and scared in the same time.
“This is the logo of the Company, ‘Light and Dark.” Yin answered. “We are on a polar planet, sir.”
“We have copyright on this too!” Yang warned him.
Adam leaned against the table and almost fainted. All the events of that day overwhelmed him. First that weird alien Princess and now this.
“Are you okay, sir?” Yin asked worried. “Yang, bring me some cognac! Hurry up!”
The alien male started to run. Adam said weakly:
“I prefer something stronger!”
“Yang, leave the cognac and fetch some bourbon! Or vodka!” Yin shouted in communicator.
“And some ice, please!” Adam asked with a faint voice.
“And ice too!” Yin said loudly.
Yang appeared after couple minutes with a bottle and some ice cubes, running on his legs which had extra joints like dog’s ankles. He breathed and sweated heavily because of effort. Yin poured some synthetic whisky from the bottle and added the ice. Adam grabbed the glass and sipped all quickly.
“Now tell me everything!” he demanded. “Please don’t waste my time because I’m not going to read thousands of pages from your crystal disk.”
Yang looked at him angrily. Despite being tired, Yin agreed to help Adam and started to recite from the tour guide.
“The short story is this: the Company offer experiences for the cold, arid and oceanic environment, where organic civilizations where born and developed. We bring a symbolic tribute to these civilizations by doing our work. Therefore we limit the use of advanced technology here and in all our tourist resorts as much as possible, because we want to simulate how they lived in the dawn of their existence.”
“We are a serious Company not like others, sir!” Yang said. “Also we reserve the right to select our customers. You are here only because somebody pulled a few strings for you.”
“What? Who did this?” Adam asked confused. “Oh, it was the Princess, right?”
“The politics of the Company don’t allow us to disclose such information,” Yin said. “Shall I resume?”
Adam agreed. He listened carefully to the alien woman until at one moment he observed something weird on the table, something he never saw before, because he was always so busy with his ‘girls’: the android called Hemera and the alien princess. Adam moved around the table and started to stare at the engraving.
“What is this?” he asked terrified for he recognized the well known shape of Africa.
“Oh, this is replica of the original furniture, sir! The drawing displays the first planet owned by the Company. It happened four hundred thousand years ago.” Yin told him.
“How many years are you talking about?”
“She just told you, Human! Four hundred thousand years. The colony was abandoned and it’s ancient history now.” Yang answered being very irritated by this inquisitive customer.
“What? Why did this happen?” Adam asked.
“It was nothing special.” Yang said edgy.
“Why this colony was abandoned?”Adam insisted.
“Why? Everybody knows it’s a bad idea to use all resources of a planet for just one purpose! The Company was at the beginning when did this mistake. The result was catastrophically.” Yin said very touched.
“But what happened?” Adam pleaded for more.
Yin took a huge breath, blinked her large eyes then said:
“The Company went bankrupt!”
“What? Why?” Adam asked.
“It was just an unfortunate experiment!” Yang said very bored.
“That planet was sold and the Company learned from this bitter lesson. For example we share now this polar planet with other species. They pay rent because they have research laboratories and mining exploitation. We have here only military installations in order to assure the safety for everything and this touristic compound,” Yin answered.
Adam was petrified. His face had turned yellow as wax.
“And you don’t know anything about this planet anymore?”
“Who cares?” Yang said exasperated. “The first round was from the house. You must pay if you want more!” he warned Adam then pushed the bottle again to him.