Today’s Daily Prompt of Moon offers a perfect opportunity to introduce a small sample of one of the early chapters in my second novel of the Nu Trilogy. Any thoughts or reactions are welcome at this early stage in the new book. I hope you enjoy this morsel.
Informal Planning Session
Cam had made reservations for four at The Dome restaurant in the Hilton. As with all of the facilities at the base, the hotel was almost completely below the moon’s surface, using the actual lunar rock as the first layer of insulation from the extreme temperatures and intense solar radiation at the surface. The Hilton, however, had gone to the expense of creating a transparent dome fifteen meters in diameter as the centerpiece for their five-star restaurant. Directly below the dome was a raised circular bar platform, surrounded by bar stools with what they called ‘The best view anywhere on the moon’. Each bar stool had a direct view through the dome at the surrounding moonscape.
As soon as Sted and Jessica got out of the elevator, they were greeted by the maître d’hôtel.
“Welcome to The Dome,” he said. “How may I help you?”
“We are with Cam Dunston’s party,” replied Sted. “I believe he made reservations for 8:00 PM.”
“Of course,” said the maître d’. “Would each of you please place your right thumb on the scanner, signifying that you accept the risk of dining under the dome? This is required of all patrons each time they choose to dine with us.”
Jessica looked at Sted, making sure that he was comfortable after this reminder of the result of the last meteorite strike on the base that had taken his legs. Sted just shrugged and placed his thumb on the scanner. He took much bigger risks every time he went out on one of the many missions in the belt.
Jessica followed by placing her thumb on the scanner and then the maître d’ walked them over to, and then up, the short stairway to the raised bar platform. When they reached the platform, they saw both Cam and Vice Admiral Bunting on the other side of the huge bar. The two men were waving at them and gesturing them to come around and take one of the bar stools that they had been guarding.
“Welcome, travelers,” said the Vice Admiral as he swiveled the bar stool for Jessica and then took her hand and helped her up. “It’s so nice to meet you in person, Jessica. I know we have been on several video calls together over the past several months and everything was very formal. Let’s drop all formalities tonight. We can just be Al, Cam, Jessica, and Sted, even when we stray into shop talk.”
“I appreciate the offer,” said Jessica, accepting his assist onto the bar stool and smiling up at this bear of a man. He was almost two meters tall, with broad shoulders and a barrel like chest. “I hope we get to enjoy a cocktail or two before you men stray into ‘shop talk’. This is my first time here, and I want to enjoy this view for a little while.”
“You have my promise,” said the admiral as he continued to hold her hand, bowing his head slightly in recognition of her status.
Next, the Vice Admiral turned to Sted and took his hand in a firm handshake. “It is so good to see you again, Sted. You appear to have completely conquered your new legs since we saw each other last. And now you are back to being a Captain, just like I’d hoped.”
“Yes, Sir,” said Sted. “I’m currently a captain without a ship, but I think you’re going to change that very shortly.”
“Sted, I want you to drop the “Sir” tonight and just call me Al. We have much to discuss, but that can wait until after cocktails, when we will retire to a private dining room reserved by Cam for the evening. So, what would you and Jessica like to drink while we enjoy the view?”
“I’ll have a French Martini,” said Jessica. “It only seems appropriate in this French restaurant.”
“I’ll have one glass of that Talisker 18, neat, with a splash of water,” said Sted. “It’s not often I get to indulge when my old boss is picking up the tab. After that I’m going to switch to water. I’m assuming that you have already chosen several bottles of fine wine for dinner, and I’d like to enjoy those.”
“Of course I have,” said Cam. “I’m sure the navy will be paying for this eventually anyway, so enjoy yourself.”
The four of them sat at the bar making small talk and getting comfortable with the evening. They all knew that this would be their one chance to really relax for a very long time.