Maite awoke to find herself encapsulated in some kind of pod. It stood upright, though at a slight angle. It reminded her of a coffin, though the cover was transparent. For a moment, she panicked, a feeling of suffocation taking over her body. As she was about to hit the cover with her fists when it suddenly opened. Maite half-stepped, half-stumbled onto the floor. The tiles were warm on her feet.
She looked around. The small room housed the strange pod, a small closet, and little else. She noticed a note on a small stand. Picking it up, she read “Once you are refreshed, please come out through the large red door.”
Maite looked and saw the red door in question. There was another door on the opposite side of the room, smaller and of the same off-white color as the walls. Maite cautiously opened it, discovering a strange little room with gadgets that she couldn’t understand. One had a little cubby that reminded her of science fiction shows. “Ura,” she said tentatively. A glass of water appeared in the cubby. She took a sip. It was chilled to the perfect temperature.
Returning to the first room, Maite opened the closet door. Inside was an array of clothes, from a relatively mundane white athletic suit to a bright turquoise robe. Maite grabbed the robe, a sense of security as she wrapped it around her body. On a shelf were a pair of slippers. She smiled to herself as she grabbed them.
Maite pushed a button on the red door and it silently slid open. On the other side was a small patio that overlooked the city. In the middle sat a table with two place settings. At one of them sat de Lancre.
“Ah, egun on,” said de Lancre, a smile across his face. “I do hope you slept well.”
Maite tensed, her eyes darting back and forth for some kind of weapon. She remembered Kepa’s ability to summon light and focused on her fingertips, hoping some kind of lightning bolt might erupt from them, but she barely felt a tingle. She backed into the bedroom.
“Please,” continued de Lancre, “I did not mean to frighten you.” He waved toward the empty spot at the table. “I imagine you are famished. Please sit. I promise you no harm.”
Maite warily sat at the table opposite de Lancre, her eyes never leaving his.
“Would you like some coffee?” asked de Lancre as Maite settled into the cushioned seat.
Maite nodded slowly.
With a wave of his hand, a cup of steaming coffee materialized on the table in front of Maite.
Maite took a sip. Cafe con leche with half a packet of sugar, just the way she liked it.
“Where am I?” she asked, finally allowing herself to look out the deck and onto the city below.
“This is my home,” said de Lancre. “The tallest tower in Bilbao. Quite the spectacular view, no?” He took a sip out of his own cup. “Did you sleep well?”
Maite paused for a moment, assessing her physical well being. Her legs, paralyzed during the attack, were working normally. In fact, she felt great. She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt so rested and energized.
“I… did,” she said. “What was that thing I was in?”
De Lancre chuckled. “I had thought about getting you a regular bed, but the thing is, they are impossible to find in this time and the system wouldn’t even create one, it being so archaic. Everyone sleeps in these pods, which provide the perfect sleeping environment and administer basic medical treatments while you sleep.”
“Whatever it was, I feel… great.”
De Lancre smiled. “I’m glad.”
Maite paused a moment. “But, I couldn’t figure out how to use the toilet.”
De Lancre chuckled again, and Maite couldn’t help but be struck by his charm. “My sincerest apologies. I remember how confused I was when I first got to this time.” He touched something on his wrist and a spherical drone flew up to the table.
“The drone will show you how to use things. Rejoin me when you are ready.”
Maite stood up and walked back into her room, the drone hovering just above her shoulder like a strange parrot.
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