Amun arrives at the Lunar café
Amun looked at the narrow window in the transporter as he descended. Light flashed from illuminated corridors, and darkened from the thick, reinforced edges of floors as the elevator moved to the bottom level. Once at the lowest level, the doors opened onto an open air café. Flowering hedges and trees from Mussara were arranged around columned walls. Orange sunlight shone into the space through arched entryways. Shadows filtered through palm trees. The entire space was a tropical island at Mussara, shadows moved in gentle breezes, sliding against a floor of electrical circuits turned golden by the orange sunlight of Sandu. Waves washed onto a nearby beach. It would be to forget he was actually in an enclosed space, deep underground, on a barren moon.
He sat at a table made of soft, white metals, the chairs also white but more pliable. He sent a telepathic command to a blue matrix of light hovering above the table. A clear mug of a transparent liquid materialized in its place. Taking the warm mug in his hand, he breathed steam rising from it. As he sat there, sipping tea brewed from a leaf humans would find bitter, he looked at the scene in front of him. If not for the reddening sunlight, he could have been sitting in a beach-front café at Terra. Seeing palm trees sway in gentle breeze, he thought of Batresh. Closing his eyes, felt her fingers on his skin.
He remembered an image from the first time he saw her. Obviously, she was Tayamni, her appearance was too perfect. Unknown to him, the Matriarch specified the DNA of her body at conception. Upon first seeing her, he found himself wishing Batresh had a physical imperfection. She seemed flawless, unreal. Courtiers, priestesses and farmers walked among them. Like the space in which he now sat in the café, palm trees moved slowly. He heard wind moving through leaves. He remembered the sound of small birds in the courtyard, open to the air above. He could not stop looking, the way she walked, the dignity of her bearing. He was sitting on a bench, trying to concentrate on a design he drew in the sand. Trees cast shadows in front of him. Perfumed fragrances of royal women wafted through the space. Batresh wore a thin, white tunic. In the afternoon sunlight, he saw the outline of her body through thin linen as she approached.
She had been curious about geology. She wondered about the rich, black farmland, the bluffs across from the city, and the contrasting red desert. The Matriarch advised her to talk with him. Unknown to either of them, the Matriarch had ulterior motives. Just as she took Batresh and Namazu to rear as her daughters, she had taken Amun millennia earlier, to bring up as her son. The Matriarch hoped they would be attracted to each other. When selecting Batresh’s DNA, she specified traits her son would favor, a noble bearing, a quick intellect, a manner of speech both soft and exacting. One might say the two were made for each other.
As Batresh approached him, she nodded formally. She spoke with an elegant pronunciation of the royal dialect. He remembered her scent as she sat down beside him.