[YC126 NECWC] The blood cellar

I’d like to submit part 5 of a storyline from back in January ; the whole story arc is more than 5000 words but I like this particular chapter as a stand-alone. And yes, for some reason I thought a blood sommelier would use newspeak.

Just after the Bhaalgorn warped off for its daily rotation, we went back into the Blood Raider structure. I was as amazed as the first time that I entered the vast spherical space of the blood cellar. The sphere’s inner surface is covered by an immense bottle rack with uncountably many bottles of blood in cubbyholes. The inside volume of the sphere is completely empty apart from a central platform, connected by a narrow walkway to the airlock where we entered.

I was equally unsettled by seeing that creature again, waiting on the central platform. The upper half is a human male in a Gallente sommelier attire. Its body ends midway, just about where one expects the navel. That upper body is anchored to a circular plate with five mechanical insect-like legs.

It saw me and my crew-member Idesbald, whom I had brought with me again. Both of us were carrying the suitcase antimatter bomb as we approached the sommelier. I took the left handle, and he took the right. It’s a big heavy thing, we were panting.

The sommelier’s upper body swiveled around on its base plate and greeted me. “What a doubleplus joy, sir, to see you again, sir, allow me the immense honor to fetch your precious purchase!” My deception had been successful, I fooled it into thinking I agreed with a twenty billion isk purchase, just so I could blow up this horrible place.

It snapped its fingers, and small spider-like creatures, also five-legged, scuttled about on the sphere’s surface, far away from us as we were slowly making our way to its center. As they moved around and their legs touched bottles, they made an eerie tinkling sound. At their destination, they grabbed bottles with two of their arthropod limbs, using the other three to make their way back towards us along some sort of spider web threads. A table and chairs appeared at the platform in the center of the sphere.

The spiders laid out two bottles, one containing Luna’s blood, and the other I assume was the complimentary bottle of Ishta blood I had been offered. Both bottles were expertly wrapped first in protective material and then in beautiful gift-wrap paper, and then finally they were placed delicately in a wooden box with straw filling. The wooden boxes were carefully sealed, and one was marked “Sanguis Lunarissis. YC 119. Aspenstar Appellation d’Origine Controlée”.

The sommelier took a third bottle and uncorked it, pouring two flute glasses of sparkling Mikal Vektor blood, and joyfully dropped a dwarf strawberry and gold flakes in both glasses. Another spider brought a plate of crackers with human liver paté and blood marmalade, and a small bowl of blood sausages. “Welcome, sir, welcome! And doubleplus congratulations! Such an exquisite choice, sir! Let us celebrate, on the house!”

Only then did the creature seem to notice the suitcase, and it despaired.

“Oh… sir… what have you done? No!”

It gave me a pained look and said “Sir why carry so much cash or precious metal? I should have told you we are a cash-free shop! Cards and banking apps only.”

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For those interested in a more complete version, it is formed by the following log entries:
chapter 1 Inside the wreck
chapter 2 Queen bee nectar
chapter 3 Seventh fleet ombudsman
chapter 4 The art of the deal
chapter 5 Return to the cellar
chapter 6 Confrontation
chapter 7 Treason
chapter 8 Flush
chapter 9 Banishment