Following on from Part 14:
'Why are there so many shops?' Edrig asked, as they wandered through the city centre later in the day.
Adrig welcomed the opportunity to discuss his professional specialities.
'This is an odd society, with its whole social and economic structure dependent on ever-increasing consumption rather than minimizing consumption. The only way the whole unstable inverted pyramid can be sustained is if more and more things are consumed by more and more people. They call it economic growth, and it also requires population growth to keep it going.'
'And can they not see where that is going to end up on a small and finite planet? Can they not see how unsustainable that is?'
'They are beginning to, but they all think in such very short term ways, with their own lives being so short, and their politicians rarely look beyond winning the next election, so they are so obviously heading for disaster even if they avoid the nuclear conflagration, but they have no political or social structure that can prevent the disaster.'
'Something similar happened in another sample I examined,' offered Edrig. 'I forget which one. They had not reached the nuclear phase but their consumption and breeding grew exponentially and of course led to famine and war, endlessly. It was a miserable place. It still is.'
'Whereas here, in this country, many people are still managing to be happy and reasonably content. It is a different story in other countries of 717 of course, but they don't care enough to address that. One thing that our Lady Lords are at least good at is keeping everything on a sustainable path. You have to give them credit for that.'
'But look at those lovely ladies heading into that shop? Can we go into that shop?'
'Well, I think that is a womens' clothing store Edrig, but I suppose we could be looking for things for our ladies.'
And so they entered the womens' clothing store, and gazed at the many young women who were milling around. Edrig even gazed rather longingly at the mannequins wearing skimpy clothing, and quietly said, 'Oh my goodness.'
'Can I help you gentlemen?' a woman asked, in a rather unfriendly tone.
'Just looking at ladies,' Adrig responded, 'I mean just looking at ladies' clothes, eh... for our ladies,' managing an even deeper toner than he had managed before.
'Anything in particular?'
'No. Not really, but can I ask you something? Are there clubs with pole dancing ladies near here?'
The shop assistant looked somewhat disgusted, but neither Adrig or Edrig could think of any reason why she should do so.
'I'm sorry gentlemen, but if you are not looking for something specific and don't know what you wish to buy I would really prefer you to leave.'
'OK,' said Adrig, meekly, 'but the clubs, are there any?'
'Leave the store please.'
'And do the ladies ever dance naked?'
And so they left, puzzled why simple questions should have drawn such a response.
'The young ladies are so beautiful,' said Edrig as they wandered further along the street, 'but their beauty lasts for such a short time. Why does everyone die so quickly here? As far as I understand they have the same basic chemical processes as us. DNA, RNA, proteins and all that. Why are their lives so short?'
'Well,' offered Adrig, 'I am no expert on that but I think it is largely down to two things, fragile chromosomes and poor tolerance of oxygen. Their chromosomes are fragile at the ends. Telomeres, I think they call them. I read an article about it in my briefing notes before I undertook this analysis. And they have a very poor molecular system for coping with the reactive chemicals that are created from oxygen. Radicals, I think they call them. Free radicals.'
'And other than that they are very similar to us?'
'Well, in terms of their basic biochemistry, yes. Their brains have much less capacity, but here's the interesting thing, in terms of socially intellectual thought they can sometimes demonstrate capabilities that are superior to us, especially some of the women.'
'It is,' agreed Adrig, 'and the women are very interesting in other ways too, and look at this my friend. I think we may have found exactly what we need.'
They were standing beside a wide doorway with colourful advertising posters on either side that proclaimed, The best erotic dancers in town, and below those entrancing words there were images of pole dancing ladies.
'Wearing hardly anything!' gasped Edrig.
'This, my boy, is the place for us tonight,' declared Adrig.
They spent a long time gazing at the images before moving away and wandering farther along the street, slowly.
'Look at her,' Adrig whispered as a young woman flounced past. 'Can you imagine her doing a pole dance?'
'And what about these two?' offered Edrig as more young women approached. Then he continued with, 'This place could be heaven. Absolute heaven.'
'It could come close,' Adrig agreed, 'if the men were not allowed to mess it up so much.'
'Can you imagine Adrig, if the women here were as dominant as our women, and were demanding sex from us with great regularity, while keeping everything running along just fine?'
'Ah... Now that would be the best of both worlds my boy. The best of both worlds... But still, at least we have tonight. Let's find somewhere to rest, and a coffee. They probably do not too bad coffee here, judging from how busy the coffee shops are.'
Which led them to a nearby coffee outlet to request two large lattes, which the rather bemused server just managed to comprehend in Adrig's helium-like squawk.
'Would you like a Blueberry Muffin with that?'
'Ah, yes please, two each.'
'Two? Very good.You sure not three?'
'Well fine,' Adrig responded to the server's joke, 'we are hungry so three each. A feast!'
'Enjoy,' commanded the server, as the order was completed and handed over on a tray.