“Is Jeska-Bel DotCom here? Is she here?"
“IS SHE HERE?! Tell me! Now! Tell me now!”
Then, the deep, incomprehensible voice Daniel had heard earlier began to say something over and over. A single word or syllable.
It meant nothing to Daniel. Then the sound was gone.
“What was that?” he asked.
The Tour Guide remained silent.
“Where is Jeska?” Daniel asked one more time.
Still more silence.
Daniel let the matter slide. For now.
“Fine,” he said wearily. “Let’s take the tour.”
“Wonderful! Before we begin,” the voice said, “are you hungry?”
Daniel was about to say no, but his stomach violently disagreed.
“I’m starving,” he said.
There was a flash of light and the terrible stench returned. The smell made his eyes water.
When his vision cleared, Daniel was standing in the largest room he’d ever seen. Even the moon-sized Cassandra Cloud Facility didn’t have anything to compare to it.
He looked in every direction and couldn’t see the chambers walls.
If it weren’t for the rows and rows of food, he would have thought it was one of those math virtuals he’d experienced as a child— the simulations his Aye teacher had used to show him examples of infinite spaces.
In every direction as far as he could see, shining containers of bubbling, simmering, roasting meals sat on polished tables of blue and white material.
The mix of smells was overwhelming. Sweet, bitter, noxious, the conflicting odors brought to mind a thousand meals in a thousand nonhuman cafeterias.
This place was bigger, of course.
The Food Court of The Gods, Daniel thought.