Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

I’d always wanted my own planet, and now my dreams were about to come true. Sure it was my entire life savings plus everything of value I had. But what a deal! It was remote, but my very own world? With lush jungles, sandy beaches, plentiful resources, and friendly locals who would treat me like a king, who could refuse?

I put my palm to the screen, transferring the necessary funds and sealing the contract. Xanthomane smiled a smug green smile with his slobbery lips and slapped my open palm with an extremely slimy tentacle. “Congratulations Mr. Nussbaum, you are the proud owner of ‘Zephoria’ of the Signus II system,” he said in his wet bubbly broken common.

I looked over his shoulder and saw my old reliable star freighter being towed away by a lumbering industrial hauler. “You’re still going to keep up your end of the bargain and get me there right? After all, I just gave you my only transportation.”

Xanthomane gave me a slimy smile and his three left eyes winked knowingly. “Right this way Mr. Nussbaum, a transport is waiting to take you to your new planetary paradise.”

An hour later I was aboard a very cramped and smelly interstellar transport, packed in alongside a myriad of alien beings and their accompanying pets and androids. We jumped in and out of hyper drive over and over, stopping at this planet and that. Finally the conductor-bot floated down the middle of the car, “Next stop Zephoria of the Signus II system! All disembarking at Zephoria follow me.”

I was the only one who followed. We passed through another car and then into a utility area. The conductor-bot scanned my ticket and said, “Please climb into the escape pod Mr. Nussbaum.”

My mouth hung agape. “What? We’re not landing?”

The robot answered matter-of-factly. “No sir. Zephoria is much too small and remote for an express transport to land. But fear not, this pod will keep you alive until you reach the surface.” I saw little other choice so, without argument, I cautiously climbed into the tiny coffin.

No sooner had the lid sealed than there was an explosion and my little pod went hurdling away from the beat up transport. I hung on for dear life as I careened downward, passing through wispy white clouds, first a vast blue ocean then a lush green continent rushing up toward me.

I landed roughly in dense jungle, my pod tumbling over and over through the foliage. It finally came to rest and the lid unsealed, letting in cool fresh air. I was shaken up but unhurt. Excitedly I scrambled out and stood up to study my surroundings.

I was at the edge of a splendid clearing and there before me stood a tribe of blue skinned savages, spears in hand, faces painted menacingly. I wasted no time. “Greetings,” I said with a warm smile. “I’m Ronald Nussbaum, the new owner of your planet!”

The beings stood for a moment stone faced, staring at me without expression. And then they all burst out laughing.

“Not another one!”

“Bought yourself a planet did you?”

“Lemme guess, a fat amphibian named Xanthomane?”

They continued to laugh for a minute but then, seeing my look of utter disbelief and disappointment, they took heart and stopped. One of them held out a blue hand. “Come friend, there is a refugee camp set up by others who have been ‘sold’ our world in the past. You can probably squat with them.”

Wiping away a tear I began to follow the friendly aliens across the clearing.

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