I spent the day moping in the cabin while Pish explored the castle with Jeremiah, but they finally managed to coerce me to come out in time for dinner with the captain. For the first time ever I opened up our luggage and dug around through the new clothes Glory had bought for us back in Thaumas. I found a clean set of duds for Pish and myself, and a heavy metal container which Jeremiah identified as a "black hole box" used to evade the scanners.
I opened it up and was less than surprised to find it filled with row upon row of Glory's little orange sticks. "Is it a narcotic?" I asked.
"Dilly chalk," answered Jeremiah with a nod. "Highly illegal to transport."
I snapped the lid shut and decided to deal with that little problem later. I reluctantly doffed my plush blue robe and we got changed for dinner.
To arrive at the dining room we had to pass out of our rotating habitat hub and into an adjacent hub, neccesitating another embarrassing session of freefall gymnastics. Pish said I was doing much better, but I still couldn't keep up with the dog. It didn't help that the tunnel between the hubs was transparent, tempting me to distraction as I gaped at the castle spread fore and aft of us, space all around.
The dining hall for our "intimate dinner" was a vast auditorium filled with high-backed wooden chairs and mahogany tables spread with shining silverware. A chandelier lit by a thousand tiny points of light hung heavily over us, making me feel faintly uneasy. A maroon robot escorted us to our assigned seats one table over from the head table. Other maroon robots were escorting other guests, the buzz of unintelligible chatter drowning out the quiet music...
It's finally happened: the free version of this science-fiction novel has been taken offline in order to make room for the hard-cover printed edition from Ephemera Bound Publishing, on sale in stores and online beginning Valentine's Day, 2008.
I regret any disappointment. I kept the free version available as long as I could. Pleasure be sure to check out the new edition! See Cheeseburger Brown.com for more information and updates.
P.S. You can read more of my free fiction via my weblog or in the complete story achives.