Man and machine whirred about in the kitchen in an astonishing level of precise synchronization and coordination. cooks, assistants, and robotic task-helpers all moved about the room in a perfectly timed series of maneuvers that were the product of years of practice, training, and perfecting. In under an hour, they could easily have prepared a banquet for the entire crew of the 500-man space station, and just now, that was precisely their assignment. At the epicenter of the organized chaos stood Madseu're Disvone'ray, dealing out instructions and assigning tasks to the various assistant both man and robot as the buzzed busily about him. As he paused just briefly to curl his finger in the end of his gleaming waxed moustache, a hesitant voice stuttered from behind him, "s-sir?"
Turning to see who had addressed him, he nearly knocked over the quiet supplicant with his fat elbow.
"s-sorry, mister d-Dis..d-dis..," the small young man apologized as he shakily ran his hand over his mussed red hair.
"Well? WELL?" Madseu're demanded impatiently. "You have questions? Out with it then, I don't have time to waste, we need to have the food prepared by 17:00!"
"fr-from the b- the- the big L," With a trembling hand the young man opened his grey leather jacket and reaching the other hand into an inside pocket, withdrew a small envelope, and handed it into Madseu're's fat, eager fingers.
"Thank you, Willheim," Madseu're waved off the young man brusquely.
He held the envelope out as far as his stubby arm's-length could, and examined it. It was made of a fine, beet-red colored vellum paper, and written in fine script on the front was his name.
eagerly, he turned the envelope over and tore at the seal with fumbling, greedy hands. Some of the cooks near him stopped what they were doing to peer over his shoulders and see what was inside the envelope.
"What is that you've got, Mr. Disvone'ray?"
"Oh, from the big L?"
"What could be inside?"
Madseu're paused, his hands dropping angrily to his sides as he turned on those around him. "Back to your work! If it concerns you, I'll let you know! Back to your tasks! We have a banquet to prepare!"
There was one millisecond of silence. The elbow joint on one of the older robots creaked, then suddenly the activity in the room leapt anew to a fresh flurry of such intensity, that idle eyes scarcely dared to cast even the briefest of glances from their work toward Madseu're.
Satisfied that there would be no further interuptions or distractions, he returned his attention to the mysterious envelope. What possible message could the big L have to communicate to him? Surely the banquet being prepared was not being demanded sooner? Madseu're cautiously pried his thumb into the opening of the envelope and lifted the flap to peer inside at the contents.