In a shadowy corner, lit by a strand of blue and purple lights, sits the wall of heads. Perhaps they are trophies from a long-forgotten war, perhaps helmets that have been retired, perhaps robotic heads waiting for someone to talk to.
Belmo hated visiting the Oracle. He could never remember Daniela's instructions about the heads. Was it the first head that spoke the truth you didn't want to hear? Or did it speak with the voice of a worried mother? There were procedures, specific questions you could ask each head in order to suss out which head was which, but Belmo didn't have the patience for such games.
"Where is Daniela?" he demanded, as if the Oracle had taken her itself.
The fifth head immediately chirped up. "Daniela Aarons of Chicago, Earth, is in sector 346, aboard the Jacobi. Daniela Aarons of Singapore, Earth, is in Hong Kong at the Mandarin Hotel, located at…"
"Enough!" Belmo wagged a finger at the head. "You're the head who talks too much."
"Ooh!" The third head began jerking its head up and down. "He doesn't know which head is which!"
"Now, now," cooed the seventh head. "I'm sure he's just stressed. Now dear, tell us what's wrong."
Belmo covered his face. "Daniela, she…" He remembered the fifth head. "Daniela Setrakian. Of Aldrin City, Mars. We were at Curiosity Landing, and she just vanished. I don't know where she is." He glanced down at the seventh head. "I'm so worried."
"There, there," said the seventh head. "It'll be okay."
"Don't tell him that!" snapped the eighth head. "Empty platitudes won't do him any good. Look," the head telescoped its neck out a few feet, "you're better off without her. Go to Clarke Station, a little bar called HAL's. There will be a girl there, eight feet tall with skin dyed blue. She'll be the best sex of your wretched little life, believe me."
Belmo pushed the eighth head back to the wall, still trying to appeal to the seventh. "Just tell me she's okay."
"How did she seem when you last saw her?" asked the second head. "What did she have with her?"
"Okay, I guess?" Belmo let out a small chuckle. "She bought me a bacon-wrapped soya kabob, which she never does. She had her rucksack with her. Said she was worried her stuff would get stolen from the hotel."
All the heads murmured at once. Even the third head sounded a little sad.
"What?" Belmo asked.
And the first head replied, "If she wanted you to find her, you would."