This is the twelfth section of the eighth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
Iz wasn’t sure what she expected after going through the doors. From the descriptions she was half expecting the room to be half smashed up in the signs of an apocalypse. Society turned back to barbarism. Instead it was the same lobby reflected with the same designs of drones waiting for visitors.
The room though didn’t just have a lift connecting to other levels there were multiple exits, she picked one at random and went through. She struggled to see any difference between the accommodations here and on the rest of the Habitat. The same semi anonymous endless corridors and rooms would have been familiar to anyone who had ever been to an airport and somehow she expected more people. Still this was near the entrance to the area and just like the rest of the Habitat there may have been sufficient accommodation room but people only tended to cluster near the social parts.
Now she was here her pad had a variety of information about the facilities here that it hadn’t had before. This in itself was unusual but not unprecedented, it was designed to only give you relevant information and why would it show you information from an area it was a trial to even find exists never mind enter.
In the distance she heard the music coming from what must be the club that her pad had highlighted for her. She had expected a bustle of people outside but it was quiet. Never mind she pulled herself up and went in.
Inside it was pretty much as you’d expect for a club on the Habitat. There was a hint of various drugs hanging in the air, some familiar some less, but the noise of people who were seasoned drinkers and debaters was recognisable anywhere. She looked for a quiet booth to position herself in to get a sense of the area, the only one with any space available in it had a couple of people having sex in it. Again nothing unusual for the Habitat’s nightlife, but not what she was after at the moment. Giving up she sought out the bar and took a seat there.
“I don’t know you.” questioned the barman
“I’m new.” Iz wasn’t sure if this was the best plan, but until she knew more about this place lies were just too much trouble.
“I see,” replied the bartender. With this a shotgun swung from under the bar and before she could react she was staring down the barrels
“Private club?” she tried to maintain her gaze without flinching and to not break eye contact, she tried to keep thinking about the shield protecting her, she had been assured it would react automatically, but how quick, would it be quick enough to form before the pellets reached the end of the barrel? The knowledge of the personal shield might have helped but it really wasn’t enough to keep her voice steady so she stayed quiet and just stared.
“Ha!” the barman laughed “I like you, you’ve got balls.”
“I’ll leave the obvious jokes aside” Iz glanced from his eyes back to the end of the gun barrel. “Now are you going to point that at me all night?”
“Nope, sorry to say but everyone has to see the boss first.”
“You don’t run this place?”
“The bar yes, but the sheriff likes to know the competition,” he reached under the bar pressed a few buttons and a few seconds later Iz felt hands grabbing her arms “Sorry, but you can’t say I wasn’t fair. Come back here next chance you get and let me get you a drink”
Iz felt herself being dragged off, she didn’t try to resist “If I make it back.”
“Yeah, sorry about that too”
“I meant that as a joke.”
“I know, sorry about that too.”
Iz had been pulled out of the bar before she got a chance to reply.