He found his way down to 57th Street and parked in front of Medici’s. He wished they were just going there. Medici’s had been there forever and he knew he liked the food. But they were going a few doorsteps down to a new place called The Cube’s Annex. Max’s choice, Max’s night, he reminded himself.
“Stella, pay for parking,” he said as he powered down the car.
“Parking paid,” Stella replied. Will climbed out of the car and pressed his palm against the side to lock it. He jogged across the street and stood in front of the restaurant. On the storefront marquee, instead of the word “Cube” there was a holographic three-dimensional rotating cube in between the words “The” and “Annex.”
“Subtle,” he whispered under his breath. He allowed himself one eye roll to get it out of his system and then pushed open the door to the restaurant.
“Are you here to dine or to play?” the hostess asked. Will looked around. He saw the far wall of the restaurant was lined with standing VR stations for headset play.
“I’m here to dine, please. I believe a friend of mine is already here. Yes, I see her right there,” Will said, pointing to the back.
Sitting at a four person table was Molly, captivated by whatever she was reading. Her long black hair was slightly covering her face. Will always wondered how women could see when their hair was in their way like that.
The hostess motioned for Will to go ahead, and Will started his way through the restaurant. Everything around him was white. White walls, white tables, white chairs, white uniforms for the wait staff. Made sense for a Cube restaurant. There was nothing quite as blinding white as the inside of the Cube right before game play. The normal color of the clothes of the patrons was a bit jarring against all of the white -- like a jelly handprint on a wedding dress.
On the wall opposite the VR stations was a giant interface, split into multiple views, all showing Cubes from around the country. A small child was touching one of the screens, each touch flipping the view to another live shot – Alaska, Montana, West Virginia. The largest view, in the center of the wall, was locked and was broadcasting the Illinois Cube (although everyone called it the Chicago Cube). The Cube was huge, about three stories tall, hovering at an angle over the Cube Deck base. It was radiant with light bouncing and reflecting off the thousands of tiny solar panels that made up the surface of all six of its sides. Surrounding the Cube was a large stadium and miles of grounds and open park space, but the interface was zoomed in on the Cube itself, slowly spinning in place.