They had a new, lethal weapon: the love dart. This cunning creation slipped past SLs and implants for as long as it took to seduce the victim into not wanting rescue. Earlier that evening the management of the auditorium had pleaded with the more responsible Marleeseen to refrain from using the love darts during the evening’s performance – Meeko did not realize how near she had come to circumventing this. This arrangement, however, did not extend to Rahhoon’s party; the Marleeseen were there with serious and energetic intent.
They flew all over the place, their wings moving rapidly in a frenzy of anticipation, obviously getting the lie of the land before attacking. Many partygoers ran for cover whilst others waited for the inevitable, no one seemed particularly disturbed. ‘Oh bring them on, the little darlings,’ Meeko exclaimed.
Harmony thought she recognized Maleena, her childhood Marleeseen friend. ‘Hey, is that you Maleena? Oh it is, you naughty thing. What are you planning?’
Maleena turned and hovered over Harmony, smiling sweetly.
‘Harmony sweetest thing, do you know what I bring, do not ask me why or who, here is a love dart for you!’
It hit Harmony squarely in the chest. She became thoughtful for a few seconds and then turned to Voreesh who happened to be standing beside her. ‘Vor,’ she said. ‘You have always been the one, you know that don’t you?’
‘What do you mean by the one?’ Voreesh said, backing away.
‘The one I truly love.’
‘But I’ve got Monomay!’
‘I don’t care,’ Harmony said with dreamy acceptance. ‘I will wait, I will wait for as long as it takes, forever if needs be. Hold me, oh Vor, hold me!
‘Help! Monomay help me, Harmony gone crazy!’
‘I’m only crazy for you my love. I’m just a girl crazy for a boy called Voreesh!’ With that, Harmony flung her arms around him.
‘Hey, hands off, that’s my boyfriend you’ve got there.’ Monomay had arrived on the scene.
‘I know, I know,’ Harmony cried. ‘I’ll share him with you, I don’t care, I’m willing to share him, and I don’t care.’
‘Well I do; hands off my man!’ Monomay shouted.
‘But don’t you see I love you too, we can be together always.’
Monomay didn’t see the love dart. It came from above, entering her crown and travelling down her spine. She simply melted into Harmony’s arms. ‘Oh darling, it is you, so beautiful. May I rest forever in your bosom?’
‘Monomay, oh Monomay, words forsake me!’
Harmony and Monomay sank onto the grass gazing into each other’s eyes
‘Voreesh! What’s happening?’ Voreesh spun round. It was Omigali.
‘Omi,’ Voreesh said. ‘I’ve always wanted to tell you about my experience with temporal lag. You are the only one I know who will listen and understand me.’
‘Oh Voreesh, my darling Vor, of course I’ll listen!’
Voreesh and Omigali sat down together on a mound of grass. They looked into each other’s eyes and Voreesh began a long detailed analysis on the nature of temporal lag, touching on quantum mechanics, quantum gravity, and the speculative theory of the Infinity Drive. Omigali understood everything, from time to time stroking his face and saying, ‘you are so clever, so, so clever, dearest Voreesh.’
Meanwhile, Rahhoon was talking to Evangeline over by her horses, checking on safety precautions. When the love darts hit them, it did not have a great effect on Rahhoon; as a Master Teacher of the Song, he tended to take unconditional love in his stride. However, he did allow Evangeline to sit on his knee after they had reached a small seat near the horses.
‘Rahhoon,’ Evangeline said dreamily, stroking his beard and resting her head on his shoulder, ‘can I ask you a personal question? Have you ever thought of having a relationship with someone very much younger than you, someone for example, aged sixteen?’
‘Well, the last time I had a relationship with someone of sixteen was when I was myself sixteen, maybe seventeen,’ Rahhoon replied.
‘Oh Rahhoon, that is such a sweet answer. That’s why I love you so much. It’s answers like that. Oh you are so wonderful!’ Evangeline was in ecstasy. ‘Rahhoon, dearest Rahhoon, can I ask you another question, would you at least be my special grandpa? I don’t mind sharing you with your other grandchildren.’
Rahhoon decided that his best course of action was to say nothing.
‘Look, wondrous Rahhoon, there’s Pol,’ Evangeline said. ‘Did you know that I love Pol.? He’s a bit young for me now, but I’m happy to wait. I’ll even share him with that Rann girl Rakku if I have to. By the way, who’s that girl with blue skin in his arms?’
‘That’s Leelamboo or something like that. She is a friend of Rakku’s and is visiting from Rayneard’s Globular Cluster.’
‘What is it with these girls from Rayneard’s Globular Cluster? They are all so good looking and sexy.’
‘But you are a lovely girl, also. You must not feel inferior to them. You have a most beautiful nature.’
‘I don’t want a beautiful nature, I want to look sexy and gorgeous like Rakku and Raymar and that girl with the blue skin.’
A short distance from Pol and his blue-skinned siren were Rakku and Raymar. They had locked themselves into each other’s arms and were talking softly. Raymar had not been to the Dance performance, as she did not have the patience to sit through hours of dance, but she had a tremendous nose for parties. Rahhoon and Leela had overlooked inviting her, but she had attached herself to someone who had.
‘Raymar,’ Rakku was saying, ‘we should not be in competition, you, and me, because we are the same. I can look past your gorgeous, lovely, and stunning superficial self to your true nature.’
‘And I can see past your sexy, attractive, elegant, self to the real you, which I find so exquisite. Oh Holy Mother I love you so!’
Meeko Mako Ma had collapsed under another pile of kissing Marleeseen as if she were involved in some ancient contact sport. ‘Oh I’ve had enough of this kissing, where’s that gorgeous Limbardin! It’s not fair! Get me out of here someone!’ But no one was there to get her out. She was a victim of her own outspokenness. Try as she might the Marleeseen kissers were like a black hole from which there was no escape.
The party was now quiet as the love experience took complete hold. The Marleeseen spared no one, except the young children who had enormous fun watching their parents and teachers behaving absurdly. Some of the more spiritually developed people, such as His Holiness Hakinadouus, Anakaran and Rahhoon, were able to respond with some degree of dignity, or so they thought. The whole thing would only last a few minutes more. The love darts were not designed to last long, they were purely recreational, a party distraction. Gradually people would emerge, and soon the party would be back to normal with everybody laughing about the whole thing and pretending they couldn’t remember what had happened.