Once, before the greatest destruction our universe has ever known threatened to obliterate the greatest man-made wonder in the universe, this was Venus:
Venus was the universe’s largest theme park planet, covered with a baby-pink cotton candy atmosphere, illuminated by flying neon lavender lights.
Once you passed the cotton candy and lavender lights, you could see thousands of brilliant flashes in dozens of shades: purple, green, blue, pink, red, orange, silver, gold… As you drew nearer, you could see the city-like outline of hundreds of rides, food booths and attractions. The brilliant blinking lights would become sharper: violet, fuchsia, fiery orange, deep indigo, lime green.
The biggest rides were easiest to see first: The Balbosa, The Ziggurot, The Flying U, The Driller.
Everything you could ever want was on Venus: entertainment, adventure, fun, food, distraction, unlimited sex.
Once you landed on Venus’ surface, you were surrounded by a cacophony of sounds: accordions, fiddles, electrical music, pounding music, pianos, barkers yelling, guests laughing, babies screaming.
The sounds were accompanied by delicious smells: caramelizing sugar, melting chocolate, buttery popcorn.
Venusian food tended toward massive: you could gorge yourself on popcorn balls as big as your head, whole barbecued cows the size of your tour shuttle, multi-legged chickens frying. There were corndogs as long as your arm, fried pig ears as big as a tent, hamburgers as large as a baby sandwiched between two chocolate-covered donuts.
Venus was as close to Heaven as any mortal could get.
However, at the southernmost pole of the park, the part where few guests ever ventured, sat the park’s original dilapidated attractions.
The Dark Venus Cabaret was located at the main entrance. The dark cabaret overflowed with polyester lace—and rayon-clad automatons, dancing, singing, and performing in any way the guests requested. The lucky few who found the dark cabaret just before the park closed for the night gloried in the burlesque show, featuring the widest range of automaton body types in the universe.
Across from the dark cabaret was the Venus Historical Center where astronaut automatons recounted the first landing on Venus, and how Venus was purchased and then turned into the universe’s most magnificent amusement park.
At the end of the way was Lady Fey’s Wilde Ride.
The ride included The Trojan, a pirate ship the size of a small sail boat, with three pirates who sat on the deck yelling, “Arrr,” and “Avast!” and “Yo ho ho!” to the park guests.
Sometimes they waved Styrofoam swords. The ship was surrounded by blue Styrofoam peanuts instead of water.
Captain Carl, the Robo-Pirate, oversaw Venus’ pirate attraction. Captain Carl didn’t know who the Lady Fey was supposed to be and how such a lame pirate ship was supposed to be a wild ride. He didn’t create the attraction; if you asked, he’d make sure you knew this important fact. He’d ensure you knew that if he had created the pirate attraction the ship would have been amazing, not the clichéd job the original designer made with its toy-like mast and miniature cannons. Still, the ship was his charge. He took pride in the attraction, the best he could, despite the rotting boards and moldering sails, and the lifeless automaton pirates.
Once upon a time Captain Carl had been one of them, just another automaton pirate with blank eyes, jerky movements, and bland dialog. An automaton no more brilliant than any of the automatons: the other pirates on the ship, the dancing girls at the cabaret, the astronauts who spoke in endless loops.