An SF story on the tourist planet of Luxor. Unfortunately we don't have a universal translator, so we can't understand what the Luxian is saying. ;-)

Inspired by a prompt on Reedsys Prompts

Stuck on Luxor

Background

Luxor, the Earth name for the planet, is a luxury tourist destination. Luxor is within the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ and with a gravitational field of 0.9 standard units, it is habitable by most of the thirty four known intelligent species.

Luxians are remarkable bioengineers. With few other marketable skills, they had created ‘entertainment zones’ for the nineteen bipedal galactic species. Each of the ‘entertainment zones’ is enclosed in an atmospheric bubble. Plant life is bioengineered to replicate the ideal home world setting. The zones offered luxury accommodation and every diversion in entertainment, food, and companionship that the target species would want.

Zuck City, one of the three open ports on Luxor. Leaving their space vessel in orbit, clients land there using the Luxian, planet to orbit, shuttle system. From there they are taken to their ‘entertainment zone’ of choice. The open ports are also home to embassies from other worlds, corporate headquarters, and foreign workers.

Work not carried out by Luxians is done by foreign, transient works, androids and robots. Foreign workers required work permits. Robots are owned by the Luxian government and leased by companies for use on Luxor or off planet. 

Androids, for want of a better term, are a bioengineered species. Androids are sterile and production numbers are limited. However, they are considered ‘persons’ under the law. They are considered ‘independent contractors’, paying the same taxes as other Luxians. 

Androids come in all the client species shapes and genders. They work in areas that require an exact match of the client species and are too critical to entrust to foreign workers. Each android can adjust its skin colour, texture and other features to meet specific job requirements.

Robots are bioengineered from a variety of plant species. While the outer form is plant material, the processing and drive units are electronic.

###

“Hi - been waiting long”

????

“Can I get you a drink?”

????

[Turning to the server bot] “Two brandy.”

“Let’s get a table - over there in the corner. It’s quieter.”

[They go over to a round table with seating for two.]

????

“Not really much to tell. I am from Earth - but you knew that.” 

????

 “It's a cockney accent from East End London. Not many East Enders go into space - not sure why.”

“ I’m a comm tech for Infostellar. Mainly emergency repair on the communications systems on high end space yachts.”

????

“Yes, that's why I came here.”

????

“Are you sure you want to hear the whole story. Its pretty boring.”

????

“Yes, I guess you don't bore too easily.”

[They both smile]

“I left Earth about twenty days ago. Its only one hyper jump to here. I emerged back into real space about three light hours out. The ship started decelerating at one ‘g’. It still took about ten days to reach the holding orbit.

????

“I know. It depends on the species. One ‘g’ is as much as I can take.”

????

“Those Earth yachts have an inertial dampening field that lets them decelerate much faster. The company isn’t going to pay to put them on the repair ships.”

“Thirty light minutes out from Luxor the computers started negotiating. Unlike what you see on the telecasters, each world has its own standards for communications. Most systems are digital but there are even a few analog systems. The computer was setting up all the information needed to change the image format the Luxians were transmitting to the information needed to create the image on my computer screen.”

“You’re smiling - you knew all that, just letting me blather on.”

[I smile.]

????

“I know, it should be standardized. Every species thinks their system is the best.”

????

“A real mess.”

“Where was I? On yes - one of the space yachts has stopped communication with the Luxians main control station. Infostellar had broadcast a system update and the comport linked to the Luxian station didn’t reset. They had a parking permit for a specified time and were running up a pretty big bill for not leaving orbit on time.”

“All I had to do was enter a 24 digit code in the system terminal to reset the system. Infostellar could have sent the code to the client. But, they can’t have the clients fixing their own systems or we would never be able to sell a maintenance package. They don’t even trust me with the information. I was given a posthypnotic suggestion that is activated when I am sitting in front of the system terminal with my hands on the input device. There is even a screen that comes down to cover my hands so I can’t even see what I am typing.”

????

“Nope, no memory wipes. They could wipe my whole memory, but not a specific item.”

“Once I reached the holding orbit the Luxian placement rockets attached to the side of my ship. It's a pretty elegant system when you think of it. The placement rockets hold you in your parking space and won’t let you leave unless you have paid your bill.”

“I love the billing system. Do you know how it works?” 

????

 “Are you just saying that to keep me talking?”

 ????

 “No, it doesn’t really matter. It is nice to have a conversation without going through a translator. Not too many English speakers staying here”

????

“Not really. I get a translator implanted for the local language. So, I can understand you and anyone else speaking Luxian. For anyone else, even other Earth languages, out comes the translator.”

“Anyway, everyone pays the same price, 64 credits per orbit. The closer they are to the planet the more orbits per day, the more they pay. Out where I am parked I do two orbits a day. The luxury yachts usually go into low orbit, sixteen to twenty orbit per day."

"Here’s the kicker - Infostellar credits my expense account based on two orbits every Earth day, the Luxian day is one and a half times longer. So, in addition to my regular expense allowance, every two days I get a 128 credit bonus.”

????

“That’s the Luxian amount. Luxor uses base eight, Earth uses base ten. So 100 Luxian is 64 Earth.” 

????

 “I know, just another complication of interstellar travel”

????

“Yeah, that's why I can afford to stay here.”

‘This place is amazing. I would be paying ten times as much Earth side.’

“So, I get parked. Don’t know how long it will take to do the repairs, I get an indefinite parking permit. Luxian control takes the 128 credits from my expense account every day until I leave.”

[The server bot comes to the table.]

“Another drink?” 

????

“No - thanks.”

[The server bot leaves.]

“This is where things start to fall apart, although I didn’t know it at the time. I take a retinal scan and store it on a public access file on the ship. When I am ready to leave, Luxian control will take their own retinal scan and compare it to the one on the ship - an easy way to verify the ship's ownership.”

????

“Yep, I thought you might see where this is going”

“So, the job was easy. Up to the client’s yacht; enter the code; everything works. The client is happy and breaks orbit as soon as I leave. Then the fun begins.”

????

 “You got it - the retinal scans don’t match.” 

????

“No idea what went wrong - stuff happens.”

“Here I am, stuck on Luxor until everything gets straightened out. Infostellar keeps paying my expenses.”

 ????

“This happens often enough that the Luxian’s have a protocol for solving the problem. I give them the access code to the ship, they go up and take a DNA swab. As long as it matches my DNA, I will be cleared to leave. I got the results this morning.”

“I leave tomorrow.”

????


“Yep - one last night on the town. Any money left in the expense account goes back to Infostellar. I am going to make damn sure there isn’t much to give back.”

[They both laugh]

????

“Yep, that’s where you come in.”

“You’re the first pleasure android I have ever hired. Would you mind if I had a holocube made?”

????

[This happens often enough that all server bots have holo scanners built in. They stand up and the bot scans them and places a holocube on the table.] 

[I place the holocube on the server bots tray.] 

“Have it sent to my room”

“My friends are going to be green with envy.”

“Would you like dinner?”

????

“I know, but I’m rather enjoying your company. We can get to that later. ”