The next morning he set off for Taste!. With his account on fractions of cred, he didn’t want to waste a chance to make contact by talking to Amanda_adnamA’s voice mail. Better to just go in person. There were twirling sensations in his stomach. Why am I nervous again? This girl is prolly half my age. I’m an idiot. Doing the shuffle routine through the streams and currents of humanity, he mused again, I’m an idiot who’s about to be but out on his arse. Play it cool, doofus.
Taste!’s building had grown. It’s dome top had gained at least two storey’s height since his last visit, it’s exterior was now a reddish sort of pink that transitioned to various shades of brown and then back to bright red, and it’s diameter had widened, displacing it’s neighbors by a couple of meters at least. The surrounding Floor area was teaming with people, pushing in and out of the now multiple portals into the place, all filled with that same mist that had boggled Paul’s mind before. More people than mist, now. Halfway up, Taste!’s purple glowing sign was gliding around the building’s circumference. As it glided out of sight, a new glowing image in green flicker strobing “WANT IT>>> NEED IT>>> TASTE IT” followed. A voice over an unseen PA boomed, “Only 12,456 left! Only 12,455 left! Only…” The Detective was right, that kind of economic growth was unheard of in the business district. Even PanPro only grew about a centimeter per fiscal year. This was all very bizarre and slightly disturbing.
A vacant face in the mirror looked back at him. “For the love of all that’s holy,” he said to the image, “You’re not looking too good, my man.” His face was haggard, eyes popping out in dismay. He looked at his coveralls. Their shaggy pleats were going to need some touch up work soon. That meant finding some cred and a tailor program that would stitch up something durable enough to last on his threadbare budget.
Paul could feel his sweat starting to evaporate. If that was happening, it meant his disguise was fuming into air as well. He had very little time to get out of the arteries the Detective was plowing through. He looked desperately for some place of salvation. The buildings in the business district of the Expanse were like forced bubbles with cylindrical bottoms. Various doors and windows of transparent spongiform glistened in the skylight, style shops with a trickle of customers at this hour, none of which seemed too appealing for a fellow that was about to transform into something else.