The Coin Keeper, episode 4: Anticipation

The press of a button opened the drawer where Madseu're kept his clothing. He took out a pair of socks, slipped the coin into the toe of one of them, then folded the pair and carefully placed them at the back of the drawer. With the precious coin safely hidden, he turned his attention to his preparations for the events of the evening, first cleaning himself in the shower of compressed air, then finding the dress clothes that had once belonged to his father, Angeu’re, and, before that, had been his grandfather's. Since the time when man had first been forced to leave the surface of the planet and live in the miriad of orbiting space stations, new clothes, particularly a tailored suit such as this one, were expensive and rare. With a limited ability to produce fabrics in the ships that circled the planet, fabric was generally a rationed commodity, unless you had the wealth to purchase additional articles of clothing. Therefore, if you had a nice suit or pair of footwear, they were preserved and treated with care, so that they would last longer.
With a few last adjustments of the cummerbund around his ample waistline, and a final tug on the bow tie around his neck, Madsue're left his quarters, and, after entering the digital combination sequence on the small touch-screen panel outside to lock his door, he headed for the Grand Hall.
Station RK237 was classified as a "Carousel Station" due to its circular shape, and the rotating motion that gave it an artificial gravity by use of centrifugal force. there were 10 levels in the station, which radiated out, arranged in such a manner that when one stood in any of these levels, their feet would point toward the outside of the station, and their heads pointed toward the center of the station. The 3 innermost levels housed the engines and machinery that kept the ship alive, the 3 central levels were the quarters for crew and passengers, and the outer 4 levels were where all commerce, scientific work, etc. took place.
Madseu're made his way down several flights of stairs, and, passing through the automated sliding doors, entered the Grand Hall. The Grand Hall was on the outermost level, a long, palacial hall with a gently curving floor with thick glass panes through which one could look out and see the stars, the sun, and the gray, dying planet below. The hall was quickly filling with men and women in their finest clothes and uniforms. Many were gathered around tables and whispering in hushed tones, and a feeling of anxious expectation hung heavily in the air.
Madseu’re found his way to the place where he was to be seated. To the left of him sat his assistant cook, Sancarl, across from him was Willheim, the runner, and on his right was one of the station’s engineers, a woman named Alyana Maryala. Madseu’re didn’t know her as well as some of the others in the room, he had only seen her occasionally around the ship, and at meals, with the rest of the crew and passengers. She was new to the ship, transferred from the Academic Station to replace a crew member that had become too old to do his work efficiently.
Madseu're nodded a greeting to Sancarl, granted a glance of acknowledgement to Willheim, then sat with his eyes down at his plate, waiting for the arrival of the Big L, so the meal could begin.

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