(The new Moon settlement is changed to the Enceladus Project. That’s one of Saturn’s gazillion moons.)
I missed the moment when the guests arrived because there was some fight issuing out between Rosalind and another kitchen maid that had something or another to do with a bowl of uncooked beans.
I went into the kitchen to see if I could clear things up. In the end the beans were cooked, but nothing else was resolved.
I walked out into the hallway taking a big sigh of relief. I could hear voices in the guest parlor right outside the dining room. It was dark outside.
I fixed the collar on my shirt and went in.
Uncle was standing wearing a suit and tie while talking to two other suited gentlemen. There was a bit of a cluster around the two couches. One quiet looking man stood by the window holding a drink
Of course there were cocktails before dinner. I wasn’t quite sure what the point of a good meal was if one’s head wasn’t clear enough to enjoy it.
My Uncle looked up when I walked into the room.
“Ah, you escaped from the kitchen it seems,” he said.
“Barely,” I answered, walking up, my hands awkwardly in my pockets. I noticed one of the girls eyeing me. I wondered if she was my cousin. But I couldn’t remember what her face looked like at all.
He tapped me on the elbow. I must have looked like I was drifting.
“This is my Nephew,” he said, introducing me to the two men. “This is Joe Slagowski, he’s the CEO of The New Moon Times. This is Mr. Newman, the editor.”
I shook their hands. And I probably should have said something. Flattery. It’s an honor to meet you. But I didn’t say anything.
“I heard you’re working on the Enceladus Settlement,” Slagowski said. “It’s very interesting with the moon being so endogenously active.”
“Ah….yes, sir. It is.” I stuttered. I probably had the stupidest expression on my face. “But it is…. beneficiary….I mean..”
“It is the closest of all Saturn’s moons to a living planet,” he finished for me. My Uncle went over to talk to someone.
“Sometimes a little too alive when you move a rock and suddenly water spits up in your face.”
Mr. Newman laughed.
“I should have brought my reporters with me,” he said. He took a deep swig and then wandered across the room.
I was wondering if I would be able to escape this Slagowski. I eyed the table where the cocktails were sitting. I was beginning to feel itchy and I considered taking one. But then I decided I had already seen too many out of place things that day and I didn’t want to see anymore.
Fortunately enough my Uncle called me over.
“I know you don’t remember each other, but this is your cousin Myra,” he said. He put an empty glass down.
She looked up at me. Brown hair. Brown eyes. A gorgeous smile. The girl who had looked at me when I walked in.
Too gorgeous I wondered.
“Glad to see again,” I said, forcing a smile myself. She took my hand.
“You know the last time we saw each you had claimed the sandbox was earth. And anyone who was off it was considered an alien.” She moved over and indicated me to sit next to her.
I did. I tried not to sink into the couch.
“Well, now I’m the alien,” I said. Oh you’re so clever, I admonished myself. I looked up when I heard a tapping on the window.
Myra said something. I didn’t hear her.
It tapped again. It was too dark to see out of it.
“What?” I said. I suddenly snapped back to focus. A call that dinner was ready saved me.