History repeats

Four worlds in as many weeks. I do think I signed on to the right ship if I want to see the Empire. Or, every Second Street in it, anyway. Sunar looked around himself at the street full of bars which always seemed to be two streets over from the spaceport, and always called Second Street. Standing on the corner of this street gave him an odd sense of not-quite déjà-vu. I could be standing on the corner of Second and Anything, and I don’t think it would look any different. Same color of asphalt, same semi-pre-fab strip-mall buildings, same music coming through the doors. Even the glass is tinted the same. It seems the only thing that changes is the names on the bars… except that one. Why is there always a ‘Gilded SpaceMan?’ I know they aren’t a franchise.

He shook his head and laughed a little at himself. I shouldn’t be complaining. Wait, am I complaining? I mean, it is not like I have spent all of my time dirt-side on the various Second Streets of the Empire. I did get to see several places with what was left of my leave after we finished with the ship, and managed to get to those exotic plant gardens at the stop before last.

Sunar allowed himself a rueful sigh. Still, that was the only time I had more than a couple of hours out of the last four stops. We get in, unload, hit the bars, come back, sleep, load, and take off. Sometimes it feels like I am coming right back to the same place. I’m even starting to recognize some of the spacers from other ships. He smiled to himself a little at that. My ship-mates certainly seem to recognize a fair number of people wherever we go, and have their own lists of friends and foes. I guess these wayfarers do have a community of their own, even if it is a little looser than what I grew up with.

A wind came down the street and played over his scales, bringing a long list of unfamiliar odors with it. A smile tugged at his lisps. Every world does seem to have a distinctive odor, though. Of course, every city back home had something of a distinctive aromoa, too, but… He shrugged, leaned against the lamp pole, put on his shades, and waved a hand to bring up a display. Might as well find something more interesting than 2nd street, since we will be here until tomorrow evening. Wonder if I can find a nice nature preserve where I can get out and stretch my wings? Too many cities have ordinances about flying.

He flipped through various screens, looking for something to do and wishing he’d looked things up earlier instead of simply planning to hit the bars with his crewmates as had become his habit. Looking at the cookie-cutter set of bars had just been too much, however, and going in felt like a waste. A couple stopped near him, arguing about something, but he paid them no mind. After a few minutes he considered switching street corners as they got harder to ignore.

He finally closed his windows out and turned to leave just as the woman crossed her arms. “…but you promised! You said we could go catch that movie! Hey, last time Leave got shortened we skipped out on those Opera tickets, you owe me!” The woman then stepped forward and ran her hand up and down the man’s chest. “Besides, wouldn’t you rather go sit in the dark with me than go by yourself to see some crumbling ancient junk?”

The man shook his head and wiped his hand down his face, then held his hands up in surrender. “Ok, ok. We can go to the movie. I really wanted to see this place, but fine.” The man sighed, he then turned and looked at Sunar. “Hey, buddie! Ya, you. Look, I got this ticket here, but my gal… well, you heard, I’m sure. So, you have any interest in a weapons museum? Supposedly this planet had some interesting armor back in th’ day, y’know?”

The man advanced, holding a couple of strip of plastic. Sunar felt one eyebrow rise. Physical tickets? On a major world? The man made to hand them off, and Sunar took a good look. The little strips of plastic had a map with a bright dot in the center, and another pulsing dot at the edge. Ah, I see. They help you find the place. Clever enough, I guess.

He shrugged, and dug into his pockets for some change. I’m not sure if they guy intended to give these to me as a freebie, or was hoping to trade them to pay for his movie tickets. He handed the guy enough change to pay for typical movie tickets, and took off in the direction the plastic seemed to indicate.

It didn’t take long to find the place, but when he got there, he felt quite confused. A cloth banner had been hung against the typical side door of a non-descript warehouse in the middle of the warehouse district. I doubt this street even normally sees anything that isn’t automated more than a handful of times a week. He checked his ticket again, however, and it seemed to be leading him here, so he shrugged and entered. Either this is some private collection that someone is just starting to try and turn into a museum, or I have walked into some stupid ‘B’ rate movie and something unpleasant is about to happen. The thought brought a chuckle at his own paranoia. Stupid ‘B’ movies. I’ve seen too many of them, it seems. I’m getting paranoid.

He found himself in a generic hallway with doors at random intervals on both sides. A standard sized piece of paper taped to the wall indicated that he should continue down the hall, so they he did. After he passed a few doors on each side several doors suddenly opened at once in front of him, and he heard at least one open behind. Maybe I am just not paranoid enough?


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