I originally wrote this story at the start of February, 2014! I know, right? I searched the blog and cannot find where I posted it, if I did. Anyway, I was searching for the recipe I have in the story, a specialty bar drink that I created for a Chuck Wendig prompt. So I thought it would be cool that I make the drink an actual recipe card to hand out at my Phoenix ComiCon appearance in May. www.PhoenixComiCon.com. I’m not sure the title fits. What do you think? What would be a better title?
Paula Vance held up the heavily embroidered scarf with intricate metallic blue and silver swirls and stars. “Look at this, Rob! I’ve never seen anything like it.”
He stepped to his wife. “Beautiful.”
The stall keeper sensed a sale to the tourists. “I know the artist. She does fantastic work but as you can imagine, it takes a long time to hand embroider. I don’t get many like that.”
“We’re on our 10th anniversary trip,” Paula shared with the stall keeper. “We heard about the Gulliver Station BioDome and since it was on the way to Pica, we decided to stop here. I’m glad we did.” She tried on the scarf and looked at herself in the mirror standing on the counter. “I have to have it.”
Rob laughed. “Why not? It’s our anniversary after all.” He handed the stall keeper his ID.
“Shall I wrap it for you, Miss?”
Paula took a couple of steps backward to get a different perspective in the mirror. “No, I think…”
She shrieked as she was struck by a speeding methane breather transport pod. Paula slid over the bubble protecting the alien and rolled off of the back onto the floor.
“Paula!” Rob shouted.
The pod stopped. The stall keeper called Station Security. Passersby gathered around the fallen woman and the transport. In a few minutes, Station Security Officer, Helene Guzman, arrived on the scene.
“Are you alright, Ma’am?” Officer Guzman took a swift glance at the transport. There was no smell of methane so the bubble wasn’t cracked. The exterior speaker hissed and sputtered. She read the display.
“Fright. Female. Broken!”
Guzman sighed. She hated dealing with the V’Heeme. It was hard to figure out what their messages meant. Was it scared and broken or was it asking about the woman?
Rob helped his wife to her feet. “I think she’s fine.” He dusted off her dress.
“Stay right there, the medics are coming.” Guzman turned to the transport’s speaker. “May I ask your name, Honored V’Heeme?”
The screen printed, “Zmugn.”
“Honored Zmugn, are you injured?” She tapped her pocket pad with the V’Heeme’s name and the number of the transport pod. The message went straight to Security.
“I will inquire, Honored Zmugn.” She turned to the couple. “May I ask your names?”
Paula straightened the scarf, then her hair. “I’m Paula Vance, this is my husband Ron. We were just buying this scarf when the pod hit me.” She straightened her dress. “I never expected to see a Methane breather.” They peered into the bubble.
“So you didn’t see the pod travelling along the market aisle?”
Paula glanced around her, the crowd, smaller now that there was no apparent injury, hung onto every word. “Well, I stepped back a bit, to see the scarf in the mirror.”
“That’s true, Officer,” the stall keeper called out. “She was just admirin’ the scarf.”
Guzman nodded. This was an accident but with the V’Heeme involved it could turn ugly. “I can do a couple of things here. I can take both of you and the V’Heeme to the office where everyone can file complaints.
“Or, I can call it no harm, no foul, since no one is injured and you can go about your business.”
“Oh, no,” Ron said in a hurry. “We were just about to go to dinner.”
Guzman nodded. “Let me ask the V’Heeme.”
“Honored Zmugn, do you wish to go about your business or come to Station Security to file a complaint?”
The speaker hissed and crackled and the screen finally printed, “No. Business now.”
“Thank you for your courtesy, Honored Zmugn.” Guzman tapped the answer into her pad. She turned to the couple.
“Your lucky day, the V’Heeme is eager to get on about his business, too.”
They watched the pod speed away. “It goes kind of fast, doesn’t it?” Rob said as he watched it take the corner.
Guzman held out her pad. “Could you sign at the bottom of the screen, please? To confirm you are not filing a complaint.”
Paula reached out and pressed her thumb to the screen. When the medics arrived, Officer Guzman stayed so she could complete her report. It only took a moment for them to do a scan and pronounce Paula fit. She thumb-printed her release on their pad.
“Have a good evening.” Guzman tucked her pad into her pocket.
“Wait,” Rob said. “Can you recommend a good place to eat? Some place you would go to have dinner?”
Guzman stopped. “Are you looking for fancy or for good local food?”
“We can get fancy food on the ship. Local food,” Rob said.
“Go to the Eastenders on this Level. Best Irish stew on the station.”
They thanked her and wound their way through the market to the maglev. It took them to the other end of the market. The Eastender’s was in full swing but they found seats at the bar. The stew and fresh bread was delivered promptly and they ate with gusto. “We should have an anniversary drink,” Paula said.
“Good idea,” Rob said. “Jake,” he called to the bartender. “Do you have a signature drink for the Eastenders?”
Jake, a long time bartender on the station, scratched his head. “No. None on Gulliver Station, as far as I know.”
“Good.” Rob rubbed his hands together. “Is there a particular favorite drink?”
Jake grinned. “That would be whisky. It’s made right here.”
The two men put their heads together. In a few minutes, the three of them had a squat glass filled with ice cubes and a light chocolate colored drink. “Cheers,” Rob toasted. They each tasted.
“What’s in it?” Paula asked.
“One and a half shots of whisky, half a shot of chocolate liquor, half a shot of Irish cream whisky, and a shot of coffee. We’ve decided to call it The Gulliver.”
“It tastes like dessert!” She sipped again. “Thank you, Jake.” She raised her glass. “To Gulliver Station.”
“To Gulliver Station,” they toasted.
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