Mike Morse joined the coffee pot crowd at the cafeteria. His status with them went up when he became self-employed. Although they still made ritual fun of Glen for buying into Eric’s lotto, a few secretly bought into Mike’s numbers game. When it became obvious that he wasn’t talking their personal business around that enhanced his reputation too.
Glen sat next to him as was often his habit now if there was a seat open. He’d appointed himself Mike’s buddy. So far it wasn’t often enough to be irritating.
“They said they’re going to put the ball on the big screen if you want to come to watch it here Saturday,” Glen told him
“Ball?” Mike said, oblivious.
“The sovereign’s ball on the Moon,” Glen said. “Do you live in a cave man? If you look at the news and gossip boards that’s the big topic right now.”
“I’d make the case that the Moon people are the ones living in caves,” Mike said.
“I never thought of it that way,” Glen admitted. “Literally instead of allegorically.”
“Why is a ball such a big deal?” Mike asked. “Haven’t you had balls before?”
“No. They dance at the Quiet Retreat but there’s nowhere else to really have a ball. Nobody has bothered to organize that sort of thing on Home. I’m told the Moon queen has a fancy big room that’s suitable. I guess we’ll see Saturday. What changed, why she has a sudden interest I don’t know. Her partners are often seen in public on Home but she stays holed up on the Moon and very rarely comes here. We normally don’t hear a peep out of her. Not that she isn’t a political force to be reckoned with.”
“But they’re going to stream it on video live? On Earth nobody streams things like state dinners live. That’s kind of brave to do,” Mike decided. “If there are people who don’t like her governance and know it’ll be on camera, they might use the event to raise a fuss.”
“I wouldn’t want to try,” Glen said. “She holds court every Sunday and dispenses justice. You can look up all the old court days on video. They post them just like they intend to do the ball. Believe me, she’s a no-nonsense kind of judge. She’s banished people before and she sits with a pistol on the table right at hand. She hasn’t shot anybody but one day she made a note for heads or tails, tossed two guys at odds with each other a coin, and invited them to flip it. Then she’d shoot the loser.”
“But she didn’t?” Mike asked.
“They begged off. Their dispute suddenly seemed less important in the face of a lethal solution. But I took that to mean they were sure she would shoot. Quite a few of the people who bring her complaints withdraw when they see she’s going to resolve their problem and it may not be the way they’d like. There’s no years of appeals and such nonsense.”
“That sounds a lot more interesting than the gossip boards. I may check that out.”
“It’s entertaining and amazing the damn fool things people bring to her court knowing they will be recorded for posterity and freely available,” Glen said.
“You’ve got me interested now. I’ll watch it Saturday,” Mike decided.