There was a wall of nothing but tea. Every brand. Every variety. Every imaginable combination of herbs. Sorted by color, and by caffeine level. All ready for steeping in water available at precisely the right temperature. All fronted by a dispensing system that evaluates the drinker and chooses precisely the right tea, and offers it in the right container.
The next wall was laden with coffee.
A walk-in fridge was filled with every imagined soda, sorted by flavor as well.
All of this to support the team of hackers that kept the peace, and might be expected to spend several straight days pursuing that effort.
The space also included a snack area filled with every imaginable snack food, and even a small supply of salads because there really is a limit to how much Pocky you can consume and survive.
Survive and flourish.
And eventually leave.
But first, there’s just one more bug that might provide an opening that can be exploited…
The white sand beach was unblemished as far as the eye could see. Unblemished until the group of men in wet-suits walked out of the sapphire-blue water and left a trail of footprints as they made their way to the nearest stand of trees. A few minutes later, a tuxedo-clad group of men sauntered off the beach, clearly just returning from a bout of quiet trouble.
The evidence was all there.
It was also all a lie.
The wet-suits were indeed in the trees, but they were also full of drying flesh, and each had a serious leak that looked suspiciously like blood.
The bat-drone told that version of the story from its vantage hanging from a tree-branch.
The actual spy was already ashore, having a spot of tea while the diversion was creating a backlog of plausible deniability for his cover. His actual target was at the next table, just beginning to be distracted by the confusing array of reports received. A degree of confusion which would likely prove fatal shortly.
As my quest continues, the doors seem to be everywhere I turn. But so far almost none of them have opened to my key. I have not given up hope of returning one day, but even I will admit the prospect seem grim.
Then I punched the button for the elevator. The door opened and I stepped inside.
That’s when I realized that I had never seen an elevator on this level before. The door closed behind me, and the elevator car went totally dark.
A light came on in the distance, and I knew that I had to prove myself by running to it before it disappeared. I would have made it too if I had seen the chasm. As I was falling seemingly endlessly, I replayed the whole journey looking for a better way forward.
I landed well, and realized that the chasm was actually a cliff, and I was closer to my goal.
I also realized that I was no longer sure why I was so set on catching the light. Glancing over my shoulder revealed that the light was a projector, and my image was projected on to the cliff face. With commentary. And suggestions.
The only way out of that trap was to change my goals and never look back. I decided then and there that first chance I got I would step onto stage dressed as Prince and perform.
That was nearly absurd enough to break me free. It did allow the light of the projector to show me a door hidden in the rocks at the base of the cliff. Surprisingly, my key fit the lock and the door opened.