A silvery flick of drones swooped and soared over a mirror lake. Transports streamed past Mount Shani. Their chem trails sparkled like diamonds against the platinum sky. Lewis 5 stared out the window over its station as it chopped Italian parsley.
“What do you think it’s thinking?” William whispered.
“Well it has been chopping herbs for three hours so I hope it is thinking of the lunch menu,” Peony whispered back.
With an impatient snap, the android turned its dark gray head to face its staff. The sous chefs hurried forward with bowls of lemon balm and pineapple geraniums.
The murmurs of hungry patrons rose. The Oobah was the hottest restaurant on Saturn with four Michelin stars. Only ten guests per seating, only one seating at night Oobah was the talk of the galaxy. Artificial lifeforms had been the backbone of food processing and preparation for centuries. Rollo Carmella had set the haute cuisine world aflame when he inexplicately promoted an andriod to head chef at Ares, his flagship restaurant on Mars. Reporters considered it a promotional stunt, patrons thought it was a prank, critics opined he was making a comment on post-industrial throwback to naturalistism, until they tasted Lewis 5’s food.
Customers weep with joy over the oyster mushroom risotto. Moans of ecstasy accompanied the beef Wellington. Lewis 5’s limoncello tart led to a standing ovation. When Rollo moved his culinary find out to the wilderness of Saturn everyone thought he was crazy. Lewis 5 grew more creative. Poetry in edible ink covered pastry shells, pork medallions en papillote scented with smoke from Black Forest, each meal was an ephemeral work of art.
“Dear God tell me it’s ready. People have been waiting for over an hour,” the maitre’ d whispered into the kitchen.
“Ssssh,” William hissed back. “It’s coming.”
Peony made a rude gesture.
The lights dimmed and then went out. The patrons murmured in excitement. Tiny faux votives flickered on as the smell of frankenise rolled into the dining area. Solemnly the waiters brought in simple white ceramic bowls of cheese soufflé. One guest snorted before his partner kicked him under the table. Everyone began to eat. The room was completely quiet except for the occasional scrape of a fork. The quiet was eaten up by sobs as the patrons finished their bowls.
William turned to Peony who was scooping out the remains of the souffle on the counters. A tear slid down her cheek.
“Freedom,” Peony said. “It tastes like Lewis 5 wants to be free.”