Tourist Trap

"I know it's early, but let's see if we can find a shop that's open and buy some clothes for Thunderhorse that fit. You look way too out of place and we need to blend in with the locals better. Then we'll have some hot breakfast and try to track down Dmitri. I haven't eaten in ages and my belly is empty. Look lively gentlemen, cause I'm not sure what we are getting into."

"Was it not just the evening? Did we travel time again?" Thunderhorse asks, rocket-lagged.

"No, dummy, we're on the other side of the planet," Mark replies.

Thunderhorse remains confused, but quiet about it.

The party disembarks from the Python. The main road through town runs parallel to the river. Their landing site has conveniently placed them in the midst of a large commercial zone, what might be considered a tourism welcome area. They are surrounded by bauble shops and street performers. Fire jugglers, robot dancers, contortionists, even a geek show.

"They havin' some kinda fair today?" Mark asks.

"I don't think so," Doc replies. "I think they're just desperate to entertain visitors."

Indeed, they seem to be the only non-locals on the streets. Doc stops to talk to one of them.

"[The morning good.]" Doc says. His Russian is a bit rusty.

"[Good morning! Welcome! What brings you to Yakutsk? Business or pleasure?]" replies a man juggling a burning devil's stick.

"[The business is.]"

"[Well, then! Allow us to make your business pleasurable! We have many fine places to visit, sights to see, and shops of all kinds!]"

"[Thank you.]" Doc pauses to remember the language. "[Where for is good breakfast place?]"

"[You speak Russian well!]" the juggler bullshits. "[There is Nadia's just over there. Finest blini in town! Surely after breakfast you will wish to see the sights?]"

"[A clothing store there is nearby?]" Doc asks.

"[Yes, we have many! We have a Hot Topic, a Gap, and a Banana Republic! Few are open this early, but I'm sure they will make an exception for you!]" The juggler is very good, he hasn't even come close to dropping the torch yet, even through the distraction of conversation.

That seems a bit odd to Doc. Aside from the fact that none of those stores have been popular in America since Doc was even born, everyone seems to be paying special attention to Doc, Mark, and Thunderhorse. "[Why do they that?]"

"[Well, honestly, the city has been pushing hard for tourism income for years, but you're the first visitors we've had in a month. Even with the old airspace restrictions still in place, no one ever lands here. That's why everyone's out this morning. Your arrival was even broadcast over the radio. You're in for quite a treat, though. We have much to offer!]"

"[Such as?]"

"[Oh, there's the Soviet Prison Camp museum to start. The Art museum, the library, the Cossack Casino, and we have the world's only remaining Planet Hollywood! It have props from the classic movie Waterworld!]"

Planet Hollywood was bankrupt four times before Doc was born and convicted of fraud for it when he was young. "[Uh, Not sure am I the time for these all will have we,]" Doc says. "[We are visiting Khara someone there. How to go may we transport?]"

The juggler is a bit dejected. It doesn't show in his juggling, though. "[There is a taxi service or you can rent a car.]"

"[Thank you.]" Doc turns to lead the party towards Nadia's for breakfast. There is a clearing of the throat. The juggler spins the flaming stick around a baton with one hand, and holds the other palm out.

"Mark, toss him a penny, will ya?"

"Fuck that. You pay him."

"I don't have any change. Besides, I'm buying breakfast. Plus, you dumped my beer all over the ship."

"Fine." Mark digs into his pocket and flips the coin into the juggler's palm.

"[What's this? One copper?]" The juggler is upset.

"[Date the check. Is worth it more than think you.]"

The juggler does. "[1830?]" He pockets it. "[Thank you!]" he calls out.

The party heads out to the restaurant.

"What the heck is that about?" Mark asks.

"Your change is worth a lot more money now than in your time. First there's inflation. What you could buy for a penny these people pay ten bucks for. Second, there's the historical value. If he finds the right collector I bet he could get three hundred bucks for that coin."

"Holy shit! You mean I just tipped a geek three hundred dollars?!"

"What did it cost you, really? A loaf of bread?"

"Maybe, but as far as I'm concerned you still owe me three hundred bucks. And that ain't no spilt beer."

Breakfast at Nadia's is fairly good, a Russian version of a greasy spoon. Eggs, buckwheat pankakes, black sausage, and tea all for a reasonably inexpensive price. Doc charges it to his ID card. The locals are very friendly, and everyone is asking them where they're from, where they're going, have they seen the sights yet, etc. They comment on Thunderhorse and Mark's clothing. Doc keeps the conversations short.

After breakfast, they head over to the Hot Topic to find Thunderhorse something to wear. The woman working there greets them as she unlocks the doors for them. She's got a blue mohawk and lots of piercings.

Mark goes off and marvels at the rude noise machines and sex toys, proclaiming this to be the most incredible store he's ever seen. Doc takes Thunderhorse to the clothing. Thunderhorse gets excited about a Manowar Triumph of Steel shirt. They also pick out a faux-leather jacket with studs on it and a pair of black jeans with the chain hanging down.

"[I like your leathers. It's bad-ass,]" the woman at the counter tells Thunderhorse.

"[What did she say?]" Thunderhorse asks Doc.

"[She says she likes your armor.]" Doc translates. He remembers the translator button on the I-Browse.

"These are some sweet ironic-retro threads," she says of their purchases. "Are you guys in a band or something?" she asks as she rings them up.

"We are a band of time travellers," Thunderhorse answers proudly.

"Time Travellers. That's our band name," Doc interrupts.

"Time Travellers, eh? What kind of sound do you play?"

Thunderhorse answers with a loud, gutteral roar.

"Metal." Doc tries to explain.

"Rocking. You guys here on tour?"

Doc answers. "No, just passing through."

"Where are you headed?"


"Really? My brother runs a boat service. I can get you a deal if you need a ride. So, what do you play?" she asks Thunderhorse.

He doesn't understand the question. "Shoot Out?"

She giggles. "No, what instrument?"

He's still a bit confused. "I wield an axe."

"He's lead guitar and vocals. I play bass, and civil war hero back there is our rythm section."

"Power trio, huh? Metal. So what are your names?"

"I am Thunderhorse. This is Doc, and Captain Daniels is behind us playing with the false horse penis."

"Daniels? Like the whiskey?"

"Yes, I like whiskey. I like it very much."

She laughs again. "$81.08" Doc hands her the ID card.

"My name's Nastia, but everyone calls my Nasty. Here you go, Thunderhorse." She smiles as she hands him the merchandise. "If you guys aren't busy tonight, stop by The Pit. I'll be there and we can hang out or something."

"Hang in a pit?" Thunderhorse is having a hard time with the modern colloquialisms.

"Hang out at The Pit. It's a bar," Doc explains. "Isn't it?"

"Yeah, it's the only place to be around here. This whole town is stuck in the 1990's. If you want to hear some real noise, come by around eleven. If you want, you can even play a set or two. We haven't had a new band down there for almost a year now. Free drinks if you do."

Although he doesn't understand the rest of what she's said, Thunderhorse certainly understands the concept of free drinks. "Free drinks are the best kind of drinks. We will be there."

Doc tries to get them out of this. "We didn't bring our instruments."

"Yes, this is true," agrees Thunderhorse. "I do not have my axe."

"That's okay. You can use the house equipment. It's pretty modern. The house band, Sons of Loki, got second place at the battle of the bands last summer. They bought all new stuff with the prize money. Hey, maybe you guys can have a little battle of the bands with them. Honestly, they suck."

Doc keeps trying. "I'm not sure we can make it..."

"You wish us to battle the Sons of Loki? This is a challenge I must accept. We will destroy them!"

"Sweet! See you guys there!"


Doc said...


But some Russian nesting dolls and have them sent to Nadine.

"Come on big guy, we've gotta go!"

Rent a car, get the full coverage insurance, and go find Dmitri. We've got to set things right.


Doc said...

And don't go to the Battle of the Bands. We just left one bar fight and it cost us two medkits. We don't need to repeat that.