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Serge For Tomorrow

Serge For Tomorrow
Ginny — 25 Sep 1998, 9:11 AM

Wearing her nightclothes, Clare sat in a comfortable chair in her elegantly appointed room at the Voyager City Ritz-Kradin Hotel, sipping a cup of raspberry tea. She was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to crawl under the covers on the four-poster bed and go to sleep. It had been a long, eventful day, capped by her civil, but strained, meeting with Judge Riker and D.A. Balle. Will Riker seemed an intelligent and reasonable man, but she had a bad feeling about Wyatt Billiard Balle. Clare didn't like him, and, more importantly, at some deep, intuitive level, she didn't trust him. She would have to keep her wits about her in this trial, if she was to save Sevenita from the gallows.

Clare finished her cup of tea, washed her face, and laid out her favorite maroon serge shirtwaist for the following morning. Wearily, she pulled back the covers on the bed and climbed in. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow.

The next morning, Clare rose, dressed, and went downstairs to have breakfast in the hotel's only dining room, the Nemesis. The Ritz-Kradin, while not oppulent in the fashion of the large hotels back east, was pleasant and genteel and boasted one of the most beautiful arboretums Clare had ever seen. The Nemesis restaurant was located inside the arboretum, and, as Clare sat at her table, perusing the menu, she could almost convince herself that she was really in the jungle.

The restaurant staff at the Nemesis was wonderful, too. They were so unobtrusive that they seemed to fade into the background of trees and shrubs. That is, until a customer needed service, and then a waiter would appear, out of nowhere. Clare decided that the waiters were immigrants, based on the unusual, but amusing, vernacular that they spoke.

I'm really hungry, Clare thought to herself, and, immediately, a waiter was standing at her table.

"Has Madame had an opportunity to glimpse the menu?" asked the handsome young man, wearing the green and brown uniform of the hotel's restaurant staff.

"Yes, I have. I believe I'll have hot tea, cinnamon toast, and fresh peaches." Clare said, laying the menu aside.

"I am overcome by the trembles, Madame. We have no peaches this day." The young man was apologetic. "However, I fathom that the boysenberries are fresh and, with a little cream, would be to nullify for."

Clare smiled. "Then I suppose I'll have the boysenberries."

The waiter smiled back. "Well chosen, Madame. I shall dispatch your order immediately," and he disappeared into the trees.

Clare pulled out a copy of the morning's Voyager Chronicle. She had forty-five minutes before Larson was to pick her up. She wanted to enjoy a quiet breakfast and do the daily crossword puzzle. Opening the newspaper to the right page, she read the first clue. A six-letter word for...

A person who is not a doorstop, commando, or counterinsurgent.

The waiter returned with her hot tea, set it down on the table, and vanished.

I have no idea,Clare thought and moved on to the next clue.

The finest organic suspension ever invented.

Clare frowned. She didn't usually have this much trouble with crossword puzzles. She raised the teacup to her lips, but before she could take a sip, she was distracted by a commotion outside the door of the restaurant.

To be continued in The Young And The Reckless