“So,” Maide asked her roommate, Parthi, “What are you going to do with your twelve, glorious hours out of here?”
“I’m going to a concert.” Parthi had pulled her civilian boots, a pair of trousers and a tee shirt out of her cabinet.
“Oh,” Maide looked pleased, “You’re coming to see Stinnix too?”
“No,” Parthi shook her head, “I’m going in the other direction, to Helgen. I’ve got a ticket for HJ8.”
“That’s a guy band,” said Maide flatly, clearly not understanding the attraction.
“I know. Five guys on stage,” Parthi deliberately misunderstood what Maide had said, “and an audience full of guys – I might even run into some people I know.”
“But, but Stinnix are dreamy!”
“Maide,” Parthi said directly, “outside this room I will deny I ever said this, but have you ever looked at the guys in HJ8?”
“But they’re old!”
“Not that old,” riposted Parthi, “but they can vote, don’t live with their parents and I like their music more.”
“What are you looking at that for?” Her questioner was a man/boy about her own age and Parthi was standing at the merchandise table looking at the music and concert files available for purchase.
“Because I like their music. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.” Parthi continued looking through the files.
“But you can’t, you’re a girl!”
Parthi looked at him. “That’s as silly as saying you can’t like their music because you’ve never been in the military.”
Another male voice suddenly cut in from behind Parthi’s annoying acquaintance, “Parthi! I thought that was you! Is this guy annoying you?” The speaker was a shaggy-haired, blond man, four years older than Parthi, wearing purple-lensed glasses.
Parthi smiled at the newcomer. “Not, I suspect, for very much longer. It’s good to see you, Merrick. What’re you doing these days?”
He grinned as the man/boy slunk away. “Learning how to be a civilian and getting an education in the process. Look, I ran into Danovan in the queue to get in, if your ticket’s for the pit, want to join us? We can all catch up before the concert starts.”
Parthi’s smile widened to a grin. “Sounds great. Lead on!”