Through the curtain and down a hall, a much brighter and utilitarian room opened up. In contrast to the high ceilings and echo of the front room, this room had human dimensions. More important, in the center of the room held a large table adorned with big dishes of different foods and pitchers of drink. Mixie dug into it with abandon.
“I take it the food is to your liking?” Pez said with a smile and just a hint of revulsion.
“Yeah!” Mixie said through a mouth full of something starchy. “This is great! A real lifesaver. I’ve been going on rations for a while. It’s…”
“I was going to say wonderful, but I guess it’s that too.”
Pez sauntered around the kitchen. “I am so glad you like it. I get so very few opportunities to entertain, you understand.”
Mixie cast a wary eye while continuing to eat. “I don’t want to sound ungrateful or nothing, but, what are you doing here?”
“I’m feeding the hungry.” The tall man made a display of looking off into the distance. “I believe it’s called a form of charity where you come from.”
“No, I mean, you’re out here in the middle of nowhere with enough power to take out a robo pursuit pack. And let me tell you, we could really use what you’ve got.”
“Yes. Yes, you could.”
“So, what gives?”
“Why I do. I give without the expectation of repayment. It’s one of the things I do.”
“No, I mean, why are you here with enough firepower to save my behind?”
“I’m…” Pez started to say with a grand air and then stopped. He eyed the eating woman and sat down on an adjacent stool. “Mixie, you are not likely to believe me.”
“Yes. For you would like the truth, but it runs counter to your beliefs.”
Mixie frowned. “I’ve only been here an hour and you think you know what I’d believe? I believe what I can see and I saw you, or something you did, save me. Why do you think I wouldn’t believe you?”
“Because I know your heart, Mixie.” He stood up and struck a grand and dramatic pose. “You see, I am the god of love.”
The last word hung in the air and dropped into silence as Pez retained an exagerated pose. Inspite of herself, Mixie started to giggle. When he broke his pose by glancing sideways at her the tension of the past days broke out in full out laughter.
“Ah! Levity!” He became once again friendly and happy. “I Adore levity! Yes, you’ve found an incongruity and as such you laugh. I’m most pleased!”
“And mad as a hatter. You? You’re the god of love?”
“Well,” Pez became defensive. “A god of love, yes. More specifically the god of love to the people of this world.”
Mixie looked around. “But Pez, this world… It’s a rock. No one lives here. I did scans before I lande… Ok, so I crashed, really. And I was under fire, but … I’ve been here a couple of days and all I’ve run into are little gecko-looking things.”
“Yes. So, you can see why I haven’t had much company lately, and I do so enjoy entertaining.”
“You’re mad.” she said, still chuckling. “But fine. Keep your secrets.”
“I assure you that I have no secrets, only mysteries.”
“Oh, yeah, of course, because …” She waved a fork in the air. “yeah.”
Pez continued to be a gracious host, but became short and miffed. “I told you you would not believe me. Regardless, I am who I am and you are welcome to stay and heal. I grant you the sanctuary of my altar.”
“Uh, yeah. Thanks.” Mixie scraped a fork across her plate, but noticed the sudden chill in the room. “Hey. It’s. I didn’t mean to be … It just … I’m sorry. Your pronouncement just hit me funny. I didn’t mean to laugh.” She looked up. “That is, I didn’t mean to laugh at you. That was wrong.”
Pez started to clean the empty dishes and take them over to a sink set into the stone of the wall. “Apology accepted,” came from the turned back in a way that meant that it wasn’t, at least not fully.
After a few moments of awkward silence Mixie tried again. “Hey, listen. I am going to need to get to my rocket so I can at least try to get out of here. Not that you don’t have a very nice… altar, but there is a war on out there in the galaxy.”
“I’m aware of your wars.” Pez said coldly, still cleaning the dishes.
“Really? This place just seems… remote. Do you have some kind of hyperspace uplink or something?”
“I have no need for your technology so I do not possess it.”
“Yet you have stores, can lay out this kind of spread. How can you do that without technology?”
“In the face of love, all things are known. Plus, I’m a God remember? It does come with a few… perks.”
Mixie shrugged. “Whatever you say. You don’t happen to have a perk that will just grab my space ship and drag it here, do you?”
“I’m afraid I’m a bit weak at the moment. After centuries with nothing but my pets, it’s been quite the busy morning. Exhilarating!”
“I’m glad I could get you warmed up… Look, Pez, that thing you used to make the robos self-destruct, that’s a damned handy thing. Can you at least consider telling me how it works?”
“You are unconvinced of the reality of my being. However, I am pleased that you do not find me to be a threat to you, because I am not. You amuse me. But you will find that I am not good with your technology nor am I a fitting replacement for it. Love is not a tow truck.”
“Shame. I’d love a tow truck right about now.”
“Ah, more levity! That one I get!” A smile stretched across Pez’s face and for the first time, Mixie had the presence of mind to examine it. Pretty, with eyes that were a little sunk and a nose slightly too big, but not so much that it made the face unfriendly. If anything, the imperfections made the whole more relatable and endearing. In the face of that draw, Mixie became more curious.
“So, you know of the war going on, yet remain here? In a place not exactly rich in resources? You must trade. Who are you allied with? The Alien Federation? The Floon Empire? The Bakag Holding? You aren’t allied with the Terran Colonies or else you’d have been marked on my navigation map and you clearly aren’t with the Robo Central Collective.”
“I am with them all. And none. Well, all except for maybe the purely synthetic ones. Those are as rocks to me.” Pez waved a hand. “You are curious, cautious, likely paranoid and distrustful. Fortune placed you within my influence and you are rightly wary of fortune. I will not judge as that is not in my nature. But I have no place in your war and will take no sides, even yours.”
“But the Robos…”
“… have no love and no life. I will not betray you but I do beg you not to bring your conflict to my world. Now, as I mentioned, it’s been a long day. I will leave you now. You will find quarters including a bath through that door. My chambers are through that door. I would be pleased if you would join me, for levity is not the only thing that gladdens my heart. You are very lovely, Mixie. I would like you to lie with me.”
“Um. thanks? I’m flattered and all but … I think I’ll just … turn in, if that’s OK.”
“Of course. The invite is open and there is no obligation. Overcome your caution and suspicion. Love is patient and I have nothing but time.”