The False Infinite (part 5)

The cafeteria on the Tellustria Mission base (it bordered on a capital offense to refer to it as the Tellustria “colony”) was almost empty at that time of the evening. Most of those on the day shift came early for dinner, even though the window for service was two hours long. Paul, however, preferred to wait until most others had eaten and gone back to their quarters. It usually meant that the selection of available entrees was limited (and they were not particularly lavish to begin with), but that was a cost he was willing to bear for relative peace and quiet. That evening as he scooped into a slab of what he took for some kind of artificial meat substitute, he was closely examining some pictures he had taken earlier that morning—so closely, in fact, that he didn’t bother to think about what kind of meat was being replaced and whether the substitute was a believable imitation.

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