This is the tenth section of the ninth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
This section was supposed to be part of a much larger subplot that I would expand to flesh out the ideas of how money works in a post scarcity society. Unfortunately I have never had the chance to do it, so please imagine I had, I guess if I was getting more hits I might have spent the effort but...
Martin stumbled out of the bar, he’d tried a few drinks, tried to get a conversation out of that woman that wasn’t headed down a single track and given up. In the end even when he’d had enough to drink that he could convince himself that he wouldn’t be taking advantage of her, quite the opposite in fact, he still was told that suggesting that they needed to ‘go home or even to just some sort of private room’ was a ‘bit old and fuddy duddy’ and at that point had just given up and stumbled out into the night.
On his way out of the bar he’d grabbed a sober up pill, but it had yet to have its effect as he wandered down the street bumping off the walls and various other pieces of street furniture. Wait, he told himself, street? Shouldn’t this be a corridor? No this area had been explicitly decorated to look like a street. Even the roof was decorated to look almost but not entirely unlike a late night scene possibly near the docks somewhere. Was that supposed to be simulated Fog? Or was the climate control just not working very well. That was probably unlikely.
Martin realised he was now walking along relatively straight without bumping into anything. He’d heard the sober pills were good, but hadn’t anticipated the speed at which they would work. This would have taken something significant out of his university years he mused.
Surprisingly alert he walked into another random door, this time opening up to reveal a hallway decorated in metallic golden colours, harsh colours and bright lights
“Oh” said Martin out loud “A casino.”
Martin had first come across the concepts of casinos on the Habitat only relatively recently. He noticed that certain individuals that had been powerful on Earth were still supported by ranks of servants here too. Every person had the option of ranks of robotic servants but these were people serving others by choice. Some people even had the occasional drone to tend to their needs, although that might have been the Habitat’s way of keeping track of certain characters.
At first he had thought it had been perhaps the pull of celebrity, or perhaps blackmail, but while that might be an effect gambling was responsible for a whole lot more.
“Ah, Sir welcome” came a voice from the corner.
Martin looked at the man before him decked out in some sort of costume, although what that pink monstrosity was supposed to do except make the punter feel superior was beyond him.
“No, no I’m sure it’s not me you’re after” replied Martin “you don’t need me for anything”
“We welcome all new visitors” with this the pink greeter put his arm behind Martin and ushered him into the main hall.
It was like many that Martin had heard of or seen in videos before but noisier and strangely enough more humid than he had pictured. The place was quite quiet so he felt all the more need to get out of there. “No seriously” he said “I have no GamCreds or whatever the hell you call your money in these circles. I have nothing to give.”
“You insult us Sir, we always welcome new people with open arms”
“Until the second time they visit I’m sure, then you want to get something from them. A favour here, a help out there, then before you know it they’re addicted and you have a new servant. I know someone has to wait tables in your restaurants and you have to ensnare celebrities for your punters, but no, count me out of this.”
“There are whose for who it does become a way of life, a whole community shall we say, but communities are always a welcome addition”
“As in Cults,” Martin swiped his hand at the man and turned around to storm out “Now let me go and good day”