A Luxurious Room

Their suite on the IDS Marseille Marriott is the most luxurious apartment Doc has ever seen. It is trapezoidal shaped with soft corners, opening from the entrance to the full-wall window on the opposite side. The window is something like 100' wide, 20' tall, and 50' from the entrance. The walls are marbled white and gold. The ceilings are white fleur de lis patterned tin. The floor looks like tiled light-blue marble, but it is impossibly soft. Bananna trees and palm ferns are potted in cobalt blue glass all around. The living room sinks into the floor, with a couch extending in a single, plush cushion all around its the semicircular edge. Bars surround the living space like crenulations on a castle turret, each contain glasses, taps, and a combination microwave-dumbwaiter. The taps and dumbwaiter hook into the ships automated room service system, and nearly any potable liquid can be delivered to any individual tap. It faces the window wall, which currently holds an incredible view across Saturn's rings towards a collection of moons lazily orbiting their planet.

The entrance is immediately flanked with service tables and palm trees. There are welcome baskets for each of them. The baskets contain soaps, robes, chocolates, little bottles of scotch, soda, and champagne, pens and paper, and an electronic book containing the Bible, Torah, Koran, a Wiccan spell book, the Satanic Verses, the collected works of Nietzsche, and Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion.

Along the side walls are three sliding doors; two bedrooms rooms and a shared bathroom on each side. The bedrooms and bathrooms are soft triangles, about 20' from edge to corner, fully furnished with luxury facilities. The beds are soft and round, in the corners opposite the bedroom doors. They each have their own dresser desks, video monitors/mirrors, and recliners. The bathrooms are a black marble tile, have hands-free controlled faucets, a dispenser for white terrycloth towels and washcloths and a hamper for them after use, all automatically cleaned and refilled. The bathtubs span the wall opposing the corner entrances.

"You rented us a fucking castle?" Mark asks. "Hot damn you're the best boss a man could want."

"This was the cheapest room they had," Steve says. "for four people, anyway."

The adventurers settle in, claiming their rooms. Doc and Steve take one side while Mark and Thunderhorse take the other. It doesn't take long to get relaxed here.

Doc flips through a brochure to find the other amenities. It's like a small town phone book. The ship has a sports arena, several olympic swimming pools, an enormous spa-lake with its own beach, variable gravity golf course, Freeball sphere, ski slopes, hundreds of bars, restaurants, and casinos of any theme imaginable, an art museum, a space history museum, amphitheaters, a pit fighting arena, more clothing stores than can be imagined, video and holo arcades, and a 3100 acre wooded park on the top deck beneath the skydome.

It doesn't take long for Mark and Thunderhorse to discover the taps and the endless flow of liqours within, and not long after that to stumble upon the controls to flood the living room with hot, sweet smelling water. They even manage to turn on the enormous holovid screen, but they can't seem to change the channel off of a low-g golf game being played elsewhere on the ship.

After a quick drink and another lesson on why we don't press random buttons, Doc convinces Mark and Thunderhorse to head down to the arcade and practice their shooting skills.

Meanwhile Doc and Steve head to the nearest bar, which is a casino called The Paper Doll. It's a sort of oriental themed place dimly light with red paper lanterns and decorated with gold dragon statues and Chinese watercolors and tapestries. They have all the standards, roulette, craps, and black jack, but they also have pachinko machines and mahjong tables.

The place is pretty packed. There are several people at the bar where they grab a stool. To Doc's left sits a nice looking woman in an expensive business suit. Her hair is held to her head in a bun with two ebony chopsticks and she's wearing invisiframe glasses. Next to her sits a balding older man in a suit and red tie that screams politician. There's an United States of Earth flag pinned to his lapel. Beyond him sits another, younger man who is talking very loudly about God to the politician.

To Steve's right sits another man in a suit with an USE pin. He seems to be drowning himself in scotch. Next to him sits another well dressed woman, this one in a very fashionable casual evening gown. Her hair is green and cut evenly around the top of the neck, almost spherical. Next to her sits a large, physically fit man whose muscles barely fit into the casual dress shirt he's managed to stuff himself into.

While Doc examines this man, he starts feeling a bit hungry. The last thing he ate was a package of peanut flavored wafers on the sublight shuttle. As his gut rumbles, the buff, overly tanned man looks up to meet his eyes. There is a strange moment between them.

The man turns to the bartender. "Hey, dude. Can I get some nachos or something? I'm starving all of a sudden."

The woman next to him berates him. "You just ate like ten minutes ago! What are you, a chernoboar?"

Doc orders some spring rolls for Steve and himself. He can't quite understand what just happened. He must've accidentally read the man's emotions, but it was Doc that was hungry. The other guy had just eaten. Somehow Doc had transferred his feeling to the other man.

"What's up with you?" Steve asks.

"I don't know." Doc answers. "Remember how I told you I could sometimes get into people's heads and figure out what they're feeling?"

"Yeah, I remember."

"I think I just did the opposite. I think I just made that guy hungry."

"Interesting. That's very strange. Try it again. Try it on me."

"Okay, uh, what should I try to make you feel?"

"I don't know. I'm already hungry. Surprise me."

Doc takes the suggestion literally. He looks hard at Steve and thinks Boo! at him.

"Well?" Doc asks.

"Well what?" Steve asks back.

"Damn. Must not have worked."

"Maybe it was because I was expecting it. Try someone else."


"I don't know, anyone."

"You know, I can't believe you actually believe me. Most people I try to tell this stuff think I'm crazy. And you're a scientist. You of all people should think I'm crazy."

"Not at all. I've seen weirder stuff. In fact, I've been developing a theory about these kinds of pheonmenon. Remeber how the Younger Brother Pear was origionally built as a research vessel to detect the effects of pan-dimensional space travel on the human mind?"

Doc tries to remember "Not really."

"Well, it was. They determined that excessive travel through the fifth dimension can cause severe depression, while the fourth dimension tends to cause giddy mania. Unfortunately, the research team spent a whole lot of time going back and forth in the fourth dimension, and they never really go to the sixth. My theory is that the sixth dimension is somehow tied to what we would call psychic powers, that perhaps somehow our sentience and consciuosness are tied together in some way there. I've got some experiments designed to test this, but we've got to get to the Pear first, and there are more important tasks beyond that."

"So you think that somehow I'm tapping the sixth dimension, like I can move my consciosness, or at least parts of it, through this dimension just like a starship?"

"In a localized sense, yes. I think so. But we need more experimental data. Pick a person at the bar and try to make them feel it something. Maybe you have to tap into their emotions first to see what they're feeling?"


ERR said...

Steve Will save 18(16+2) vs. Doc Suggestion 5 (1+3+1), Critical failure. Chi-2

Doc said...


Turn to the man with the USE pin who is trying to drown himself in scotch. Point him out to Steve and have him observe the man. This guy might be an easier cadidate as he is under the influence of alcohol. First read emotion and see what that gets me. Then try to suggest that he feels giddy and wants to dance.

Meta: I'm looking forward to using this a lot. I thought my read emotions skill kicked butt, but this might prove to be much more useful. Thanks for the punch-up. I don't feel like quite such a weakling character. Can't wait to see what you have in store.