Elliot’s All-American Diner, Illyria, Elysium
5:23 PM - 22/03/2176
Vasquez entered through the old-fashioned hinged doors of the diner, a smile spreading across her face as soon as the aroma of waffles, bacon and all sorts of other delicious things hits her. Her eyes wandered briefly across the billboard near the entrance. Paper rather than digital, a conceit happily made by many local organizations for being able to advertise in one of the more popular places in the southern end of the city. The entire place was modelled after the old diners that populated the eastern United States during the 20th century. She’d been subjected to more than one lesson on the history of such establishments during her time there.
Her smile grew as she walked past the entrance, taking in the familiar sight of the long counter with the kitchen behind it, stools all along and a row of booths along the outer wall. The place stood out like a sore thumb, with a ridiculous color scheme and constantly playing obscure music on a sound system disguised as an antique jukebox. Probably the most advanced piece of tech in the building, along with the TV screen hanging from the ceiling. It didn’t take her long to find her team - they were by far the loudest people in the diner. With a shake of her head she walked over and slid into the booth next to Cynthia, a pale woman with a black crew cut who looks too small for her fatigues. A relatively fresh blob of medi-gel covered her lip and chin.
The formal tone of the exchange was enough to cause Viktor and Samsak, who were sitting on the other side of the table to burst into laughter, raising the beers in their hands. Viktor looked every bit the viking, with a blonde beard that definitely exceeded Alliance regulations. Enforcement was lax for garrisons, and she didn’t have it in her to report him herself, besides, he always whined for weeks whenever he was forced to cut it. Samsak was the oldest at the table, but just a Private. He’d joined late. He was short, muscular and a hell of a drinker.
“Aww, c’mon sarge! You’re not still pissed about the stunt yesterday?”
“I swear the volus started it.”
Vasquez rolls her eyes at the comments, but soon drops the serious look, chuckling as she looks around. There wasn’t a place in the galaxy she loved more than this stupid diner. Her right hand started to slide into the pocket of her fatigues as she looked around. She grasped the box in her hand briefly, just to reassure herself that she still had it, and then turned to the others to ask.
“Where is she? Her shift is over.”
“Yeah, she’s in the back I think. She’ll be here, Linda.”
“Tonight’s the night, right? No chickening out this time!”
She’s elbowed in the side by Cynthia and is about to say something about who’s the one running away from a fistfight with a volus, but she’s not given the chance as Janet comes out of the kitchen, lifting the counter hatch aside and stepping out to their booth. She’s 22, one year older than Linda, and freckles dot her smiling face, curly red hair tied up in a bun and emerald eyes wandering across the group of soldiers before locking her gaze with Vasquez’. The most wonderful woman in existence, she has no doubt of that. And after tonight they’ll spend the rest of their lives together if all goes well, she thinks as she feels the box, unable to keep from looking nervous as she returns the smile.
Janet puts one hand on the table, and the other on the backrest of the booth, leaning down to kiss her. She’s still wearing her work clothes, a ridiculous shirt and skirt combo. The kiss is enough to soothe her worries and she stands up, grinning.
“Hey… ready to go out? We have some special plans tonight. I-...”
The music in the diner comes to a sudden halt as the TV screen switches from an antique TV show to a live news broadcast.
BREAKING NEWS - ELYSIUM IS UNDER ATTACK. UNIDENTIFIED FORCES HAVE BREACHED ATMOSPHERE.