Pre-Lukas real-time refractions of husk-minds often found themselves misting vaguely into space time, but their awareness is usually diluted to the point of hallucination. Lukas was different, the consciousness-bubble he projected retained its real-time agency, seeming to only be enhanced by exposure to Space Tim Stellations that usually sent the husk-mind hurtling to the abyss of nexus purgatory.
- Brondo Listener to Brondo, casual conversation
The multi-colour morning sun of Flandergon reflected off the shiny domes of Chrome City, sending chromatic spotlights across Cool Todd’s pitted face as he watched the gates to the city, keen on the arrival of his quarry. Cool Todd was unsure of how much Mr. Mills knew of his new position in the Bamboozlers guild, and this uncertainty set him on edge. Their meeting this morning would send Cool Todd along a branch of Tim’s Nexus he wasn’t familiar with, but such is the double edged sword of his new responsibilities as Chief Liar to the Bingo Babies. He longed briefly for his simpler early years, when he was just Todd.
Surely Mr. Mills would be dead already at the hands of some two bit bamboozleman if the Guild knew for sure he had fallen in with this new Lukas. Cool Todd’s thoughts raced, the morning stillness leaving him too much room to think. The Bamboozlers Guild was weary of Lukas’s arrival on the galactic scene, worried he might unify things in a non confusing way.
Cool Todd’s pupils dilated in and out as beams of light danced across his face with the undulations of the Chrome City’s famous bulging domes. Cool Todd eyed his chronocube, noting approximately 4.21 hangrons had passed since he last checked it. His rhythm was off... one one hundredth of a hangron was an admirable metronomic skew for the layperson, but Cool Todd was only this inaccurate when he was sweating balls, and boy was he.
Why is the Guild tasking me with this meeting? Is it a test now that I’m Chief Liar? Cool Todd recalled the letter he had received from the Bamboozlers guild a fortnight ago, redolent with the Guild’s bamboozling nonsense:
“Chairman cometh to the serried domes. Greet him absently or face the Oozle. Do you know what time it is? The knave beckons. Goodbye and Hello, my dear dear boy”
Cool Todd could easily interpret the hidden message of this letter: say hello to Mr. Mills as he enters the city and determine if he’s fallen in with this Lukas everyone seems to love, and if possible smoke weed with Mr Mills and his travelling companions.
It was nearly a week ago Cool Todd was put to his first task as Chief Liar, and it hadn’t been an easy one to pull off. His dear boy Proby Glan Glan had come asking after a Bingo Baby of suitable stature to deliver the specialized v’cuum concentrate pens used for Operator Communion. It pained Cool Todd to mislead his old friend into believing that he himself was a Bingo Baby, but that is after all the job of the Chief Liar for Bingo Babies. The Bamboozlers Guild treated the fact that there hadn’t been a Bingo Baby birthed in a century as one of their most highly convoluted facts. Widespread knowledge of this Truth would surely throw the entire galactic economy into a state of extreme efficiency, a possibility the Bamboozlers Guild found most repugnant.
Cool Todd was feeling extremely on edge when he heard the distant jingle of the Knave of Coins. He composed himself using his far-out conditioning, and for a brief moment remembered his namesake. I’m Cool as shit, he thought to himself, in an accent that would make most people uncomfortable. He gathered materials to prepare the fat mangoij he would offer to Mr. Mills.
“Mr. Mills always travels with the Knave of Coins.” The words of his master echoed through his dome as he packed that mangoij as fat as it would go. “The young Mr Mills prefers to go by the name Chairman, but the same name should never be used to refer to the Senior”. His predecessor Pokie had trained him well, but was called up the ranks in the Guild, leaving Cool Todd utterly alone with his knowledge and thoughts. He fumbled for a while with a filter and ultimately decided one wouldn’t be necessary, he’d be dead or too stoned to care by the time he accidentally inhaled some small particles of space weed.
The jingling intensified. The knave was close. Cool Todd slid the blunt into his front pocket, and assumed the ancient stance of welcoming, his hands forming fake glasses around his eyes, dick dangling out of the tiny hole in his pants.
The trumpets of Chrome City sounded, and the gate crept open. Cool Todd could see the unmistakable silhouette of the Knave Of Coins first, a pure black form against the blazing sun of Flandergon. As the gate opened wider more of the travel party was revealed, the Knave Consorts and their beautiful fleshy robes, the famous mute howlers of Bilio, and in the back two seated figures, riding raised plasteel chairs carried on the backs of a retinue of tiny doggies. As the procession made its way under the Chrome Gates their features came into contrast against in the shade of the city walls. Cool Todd noted an uncharacteristic prevalence of the colour red in their attire. Have they already gone over to this new Lukas character, and so brazenly? The procession stopped 6.9 feet in front of Cool Todd, who was still assuming the welcome pose. He could see the wiry moustache of mr Mills, but the other seated figure Cool Todd presumed to be Chairman was hooded and obscured by a heavy cloud of perpetual smoke.
“Todd, My dear dear boy!” A voice echoed from the back of the procession, unmistakably Mr Mills himself. “There’s no need for formalities with me! Put your dick away.”
Awfully cordial! Does he forget my namesake or seek to subtly demean my status... Cool Todd shuddered at the implication, but he obliged, and then: “greetings Mr. Mills! And I see you travel with the young master Chairman, what a distinct privilege it is to welcome you to the Chrome City. I offer you this fat-ass mangoij as a simple Token of welcome to you and your esteemed travel companions.”
The Knave of Coins shifted uneasily, known to be made very uncomfortable in the presence of any non-Truth. Cool Todd wondered at this. What was my lie? A short silence was palpable, broken by Mr Mills, “we are more than just travel companions now... we’re all banging you see.”
It’s true then! The realization flooded Cool Todd’s sense memory with his experience confronting followers of this Lukas elsewhere. Who is this Lukas who so quickly turned ancient traditions into roaming bands of love seekers, seemingly hell bent on getting their rocks off? Cool Todd stifled a knowing smile and said, “what a lovely choice to make with full consent from all parties, shall I spark this bad boy up?”
“Indeed you shall Cool Todd, indeed you shall”, said the Knave of Coins in his characteristic repetitive style of speech.
Cool Todd lit it up, the game was afoot.