“Ok Tony, showa da Dogs in” said Don Guiseppe Corleonne to Big Tony. Tony grunted and left momentarily.
He looked over at Walter Pertwilloughby, his brief. The guy was likely a fruit but hey- he was one of the best mob lawyers in the business. The door opened and the Strontium Dogs walked in. Pertwilloughby raised his eyebrows slightly. What a freakshow.
Some sort of punk rocker with a bug arm, a Lord of the Rings extra, Some sort of Halloween Woman and a blue chicken smoking a cheap cigar. And a gypsy chick with a bandana and a look that spelled trouble. Lefty hadn’t bothered to frisk them for weapons. He doubted they would have complied.
" Mr. Corleanne?" said gypsy chick, “We ‘re here for the warrent you’ve served via the Agency. But the details are a bit sparse.”
Don Guiseppe looked over at Walter and waved, lighting his cigar. He was far too important to talk to these bums.
“The details are quite sensitive” said Walter, introducing himself in a buisinesslike manner. "And to a respectable businessman like my client details leaking out could cost us a lot of money.
Chick had guffawed at the description of Don Guiseppe, and Walter narrowed his eyes to slits, his pencil moustache straight as a ruler. Staring at Chick he continued.
“You are familiar with Fargo?” asked Walter.
“Only from what we’ve picked upon the database” said Clarissa.
“System with but a single world – fortunately habitable – swept clean of all debris at some stage in the distant past: an ancient war maybe” intoned Anwyn.
“Hints at a culture that took all the physical matter of the system, save for the third planet and used it in something else – perhaps a Ringworld or Shellworld. Scientists have been unable to conclude the mystery and so Fargo remains an enigmatic system.”
“Yes, yes” said Walter impatiently, "It’s that world-Fargo III we’re concerned with.
“Some sortae holiday destination furr dickheads ah think issit Jimmy?” asked Chick.
“It is a premier holiday destination for the discerning tourist” said Walter flatly, " Fargo III is a premiere holiday world owned by the Quadrant Corporation, a world blessed with several unique conditions."
“Firstly, despite the small amount of surface water, the planet has an incredible supply of sub-surface aquifers, making all but the poles lush with vegetation. Second, it is remarkably poor in minerals, making it useless for mining. Third, non-native plants grow poorly and native plants do not take well to cultivation, due to complex forms of symbiosis which mean that every ‘useful’ plant requires a half-dozen ‘weeds’ in order to grow properly.”
“The result is a world with no value but its natural beauty and the Quadrant Corporation has exploited that with gusto. The entire economy of the world is given over to resorts and hotels, which make use of its unique assets”
“And yer in cahoots wi yon Quadrant richt?” asked Chick puffing his cheap cigar.
“We are legitimate partners in certain aspects of their business, yes” replied Walter.
“Westworld, Jurassic World, Knightworld, Romeworld, Christmastown, Halloweentown, Leathertown and a half dozen others” sighed Walter.
“Ach, what could possibly go wrong in a holiday resort full aff giant robot dinosaurs, gladiators or cowboy gunslingers?” asked Chick. “Why d’ye need us?”
“It’s a sensitive and difficult situation” explained Walter.
“Cracker,” said Moe, “I’m dead sensitive an’ all that”. Clarissa blinked slowly.
“It all began with a mix up with ’Call Me Cal” Walter continued. “‘Call Me Cal’ is one of our Roman Emperor series in Romeworld. We quite often switch Emperors for different scenario experiences, sometimes Augustus, sometimes Nero, sometimes Caligula and so on”
“Caligula was due for some downtime and we brought him in for a routine service, but there was a bit of a mix up unfortunately.”
“Do tell” guffawed Chick, puffing on his cigar.
“Yes. Well. We often duplicate synthiflesh sheaths for characters in different resorts. Thus for example in Westworld you will find the odd saloon tender or dusty cowpoke looking like Caligula, Henry V or some other character we feature in one of our other resorts. Similarly in Romeworld you might find a Centurion looking like Wild Bill Hickok or even John Wayne. The point is, we have a fixed database of robot ‘looks’, and we tend to spread these about a bit.”
“Isnae’ that a mite confusing?” asked Chick.
“Not really” replied Walter, "The database is quite large but it is not infinite. When a new sheath is required one is randomly generated to frame build and put in place during the next maintenance. You must remember that each resort has a huge number of robot ’extra’s- shopkeepers, serving maids, even children and so forth. Our resorts require a realistic population size. "
“Anyway, it transpires that ‘Call Me Cal’ got mixed up with a lookalike Victorian Hot Chestnut Seller in Chrismastown. Unfortunately this has led to a few minor problems.”
“Sich as?” asked Chick, guffawing again and sending himself into a coughing fit with inhaled cigar smoke.
“He somehow managed to follow the Technicians back to their hidden maintenance depot- and of course their deactivation codes didn’t work on him. As far as we can gather he has used them to seal of the maintenance tunnels and keep him active. Many of the robots have also been reprogrammed.”
“He’s now made himself Emperor of Christmastown-or New Saturnalia as he calls it now. He’s instituted the Saturnalia Games, featuring a number of our clients, and turned the Bobbie Bots into his Praetorian Guard.”
“So it’s fair to say” interrupted Clarissa, “That it’s a bloodbath down there?”
“Expensive legal complications” said Anwyn, sucking her teeth.
“Da Droid’s Nuts!” interrupted Don Guiseppe. “He’s married one of da’ reindeer and installed it as da’ Lady Mayor.”
“There are probably still two or three hundred living clients in Christmastown” said Walter, “Including some very important clients.”
“Ah” said Clarissa.
“Although our living clients have not simply been rounded up” said Walter, “A simple scan or trace will easily identify them, and the Praetorian Guard have been doing this periodically, and using some captives for games and so on.”
“Why haven’t you simply gone in mob handed, as it were?” asked Clarissa. “I’m sure you can muster the firepower.”
“Same reason we haven’t sent a merc. unit” said Walter, “Massive collateral damage and the implied threat to kill ALL of the clients in Christmastown”
“‘Call Me Cal’ also seems to have control of the localised automated defence systems- which includes anti aircraft capability. Some of our clients are the very wealthiest and we need to protect against kidnappers and the like.”
“So what do you need from us Squire?” asked ’Enery.