(All rights reserved. All characters and events are fictitious, any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.)
'Two tickets for the hottest show in the five galaxies!' Mentor slaps Edwear's head with two thin silvery digibillets.
'I though we were just having dinner to discuss my options?' Edwear dodges the tickets as Mentor tries to hit him again with them.
'Where is the fun in that!' Mentor grabs him round the shoulders and propels him to where his maglev bike is floating gently above the rail feeds in the plaza. 'I feel it my duty to exploit this opportunity to spend company cash on a good night out. It's all part of the recruitment budget, so why not? And, you will not believe who we are going to see. Come on!'
Edwear is aware Mentor is dressed head to foot in a beautiful shot black and emerald green suit. His hair has some kind of green sparkle to it and his nails, cowl-tie and shoes are a striking orange. 'Shouldn't I change?' Edwear glances down at his now-crumpled work clothes. 'It's been a long day. And my girlfriend could come too. She works for Alimentorum, you might know her, Kainya?'
The last thing Mentor wants is Edwear getting a chance to try and contact his so-called girlfriend. Kainya, the name doesn't ring a bell with Mentor but it doesn't matter, spy names are rarely real. 'Sorry, Eds, can I call you Eds? This is a recruitment perk and I can only apply it to you, especially if she's already Alimentorum personnel. Now, I thought about the clothing thing and there's a cleaneasy right next to where we are heading. No time to argue, or we'll miss the show!'
Mentor guides the bike, block after block, across Yum-Yum City, deep into the night as the planet turns. After a while, Edwear stops trying to work out where they are and then, as they draw to halt outside a small, well-lit cleaneasy, he recognises the sprawling hump of a large building looming behind the narrow thoroughfare. The Rink. Mentor has tickets to The Rink.
Inside the cleaneasy Edwear steps into the narrow air-cleaner and waits as he travels through the automatic cycle of damp air, nano-soap magnets and a blast of dry air. At the far end of the air-cleaner he steps off, clothes and hair fresher than before. Mentor is busy feeding scads into a fashion vending machine in the corner. 'Finished.' Edwear announces, none too impressed with his now fluffy hair.
'Good! Here, hair slick and a little finishing touch!' Before Edwear can stop him, Mentor runs a digital slick-comb across his hair.
'I can do that!'
'Clearly not. Look, much better!' Mentor points to Edwear's reflection.
Edwear looks in the nearby reflecting wall and sighs. Mentor has restyled his hair to look more.. well, more like Mentor's. 'And this is for you!' Mentor drapes a soft, black, iridescent scarf across his shoulders. The fabric ripples and falls, catching the light and reflecting it as though made of a million crystals. 'Liquid jet, woven. Looks good. Time to go and catch the show!'
The Scintilla is empty apart from a small army of clean-bots and techanoids. Kainya picks her way through them carefully checking each berth and deck all the way to the flight deck and then throws herself in the Captain's chair. It's an easy steal. The controls look pretty standard but navigation will be an issue. She could do with a crew. Or at least a crew member. An image of Edwear pops into her mind and Kainya has to grudgingly admit to herself his company knowledge and area of expertise would be useful. She messages him and waits for a reply, familiarising herself with the controls of her new ship.
The Rink was an ice rink, once home to the legendary holo-hockey team 'The Y Stars', champions of the Galaxy League for six consecutive years until the water ran out and a Five Galaxy ban on ice rinks, swimming pools and water parks was put in place. Now it had reinvented itself as a nightclub, gambling hall and concert arena for the super rich. Tonight, the multi award winning music duo Zombie Turns Two is headlining, famous for their fire dancing routine. Hot tickets indeed.
Mentor and Edwear find their reserved table just behind the safety glaze and order several rounds of shots. Looking around, Edwear can recognise some very famous people. 'Isn't that Scint Bourbon over there?' he asks, fame-struck.
'Probably, look if you want to name all the famous and rich here, go ahead but personally, I wouldn't bother. Relax, eat, drink, enjoy the show. Its what I'm going to do.' Mentor smiles his brilliant smile which manages to include Scint Bourbon in its warmth. She raises a glass to him and returns the smile.
'Do you know her?' Edwear asks.
Mentor shrugs, 'Do now. Shh, the show's about to start.'
The lights dim and out across the old rink smoke starts to billow in twisting ropes to the roof, lit with sparks of violet and silver. Somewhere a drum begins, then another and another until the whole building is shaking to the beat and a lake of flames spreads out across the floor as Zombie Turns Two leap from its midst and the music takes over.
Sometime during the show Edwear's messenger bleeps but before he can find out who it is, Mentor grabs it and drops it into a drink but Edwear is too drunk to care and he laughs loudly instead, just before passing out. Mentor sighs and looks over at Scint Bourbon and winks. If he has to be here tonight babysitting Edwear for the company, he might as well make it pay and super rich single ladies pay very well.
The wink works and Scint wanders over. 'Let me buy you a drink, my dear. It seems your friend is a little worse for wear.' Scint eases her considerable height into a chair next to Mentor and orders another round of shots.
Kainya's bleeper pings with an unavailable at this time alert from Edwear's messenger and an ad for The Rink. Typical Edwear, he never switches off advert-tracking. So, Alimentorum had given him a ticket to the Rink? Not bad for a journey worker. A delicious thought pops into Kainya's mind and she initiates the Scintilla's ion-engine and plots in the coordinates for The Rink. She would pick him up from there.
More episodes soon...
More episodes soon...