Chapter One Part Six

Mandy and Sarah stand on a thin walkway, high above the ground. A slight breeze blows fallen leaves around, cooling the air and making Sarah get rather annoyed at her long hair.

"Vend Coke."

"Specify Coke," the vending machine replied.

"Whaddya mean, specify coke? Vend Coca Cola."

"Here is your Coca Cola."

The VirtualVendor rattles a little before spitting out a bottle of a brown fizzy drink.

"Sarah, what in the name of all that's virtual isthat?" exclaims Mandy, unable to comprehend why her friend would consider a liquid that was mostly sugar and carbon dioxide to even be a drink in the first place, much less why she would willingly want to drink it.

"Coca Cola. You know, invented in, 1886 or something?" says Sarah casually, not understanding Mandy's confusion.

Mandy whistles. "That's one old drink. However, tea is better, especially when you don't put mountains of sugar in it." This last bit is spoken through gritted teeth. Then she turns to the vending machine.

"Vend tea."

A delicate china teacup with a pink floral pattern appears on the collection platform, where the machine dribbles hot water into it and then uses some sort of spoon-like implement to stir and remove a teabag.

"Here is your tea."

Mandy grins, supposedly triumphant. She takes the white teacup, sips the tea and makes a face.

"Ugh, this isn't tea."

"Tea type: unspecified. Last requested tea: peppermint. Default to peppermint." the machine informs them brightly.

"Which would be why," says Sarah, grinning slightly.

"You, shut up. You, vend proper tea."

"The machine doesn't stock proper tea."

"Vend request, proper tea."

"Define: Proper Tea."

"I give up," says Mandy, unable to figure out what to tell the Vendor.

"Here," Sarah tells her, tossing the bottle of Coca Cola. Mandy fumbles to catch it, narrowly missing dropping it on the head of someone below.

"Vend request tea."

"Specify tea."

"All of them."

"Unknown command. Please specify."

"Looks like we'll have to do this manually," says Sarah. She turns to Mandy.

"Name a type of tea."

"Earl Grey."

"You want that?"

"Not particularly, no."

"Then why..."

"It's a type of tea."

"...Vend request, Earl Grey Tea."

The machine is silent for a few seconds, then says "Vend request accepted. Earl Grey Tea will be added to the machine soon."

Mandy jumps up and down, clapping.

"You're that excited about a vending machine?" Sarah asks, frowning, raking her reddish brownish fringe with her fingers.

"No, I'm that excited about tea."

"You have a go, then."

"Uh... Vend request Chai Tea."

"Chai Tea added."

Mandy smiles, happy that yet another piece of technology is now under her control.

The End

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