First - Previous
I popped out into a cafeteria, not far from the fruit bar, and Kaylee and River are mere seconds behind me. While well stocked, it was nearly empty of patrons; only two people were there to see us arrive, a husband and wife by the look of them.
My stomach flopped only lightly from the transition, as I seemed to be adjusting to the stark transitions.
River, on the other hand, dropped to the floor, clutching her head.
"Yes, she is a sensitive indeed. Perhaps not so gifted by our standards, but nonetheless." The woman stood from her out-of-the-way table and approached, placing her fingertips on River's temples and humming softly.
I could almost feel something passing between them beyond my senses, as if I just couldn't reach close enough to hear what they were saying. Her husband comes up and stands over them, head tiled as if he can reach.
"There you go, dear."
River lifted her head slowly, her face flushed. "Thank you."
"You're most welcome." The woman stood and approached me, not offerring her hand. "Is this the traveler you spoke of, Kaylee?"
"Forgive me for not offering my hand to shake, but we try to keep physical contact to a minimum around--" The door slid open, interrupting her, and empty hallways stretched beyond it. "Now, I told them-- oh. Just one of the cats."
The cat moseyed in, surveying us in its own time, and then wound between my ankles.
"You really are something, aren't you?"
"Rascal likes you, and he's quite discriminating."
"Rascal? Wait... I know you."
"I should hope so." To Kaylee and River: "If you're up to it, why don't you bring the rest of your company through, though I imagine you're probably not terribly hungry. This is probably the safest place to come through, if I truly understand what those devices you're carrying are meant to do. In the meantime, I suspect your friend here would like something of a tour of our facilities."
They nodded and stepped away, and Rascal mrowed loudly, upset I wasn't paying attention to him.
"So, I suppose you'd like to see the Tower then."
"I would indeed," I replied, smiling, and scratching Rascal's head obediently.
All parts of Only Sweeter