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A Visit to Chocolate Town (San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán — an Olmec site) From the Great Thirst Part Six

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If Keith had to assign a Bradley Central report on this trip, he had an idea what the favorite part of this day would be. The museum had just added on a welcome center outside the gift shop where they could try small samples of cocoa as the original Olmecs might have drunk it. The kids loved the tiny versions of tecomates, the round, decorated pottery jars for drinking it.

They counterfeited cocoa beans?” Tom exclaimed, reading the various posters about the history of cocoa.

“Yeah, because they used them for money,” Rikki replied. “That is unreal. They hollowed out those little beans and filled them with sand.”

“They made their cocoa foamy!” someone else said. “How’d they do that without an espresso machine?”

The display included Inca and Aztec uses of cacao beans, since so little was known about how the Olmec did it. At first they made faces at some of the varieties, especially the unflavored brew, but most of them still tried the different dried flower essences, vanilla, honey, maize, and lime.

Keith saw Talia sneak out of her aunt and uncle’s lecture and tour three times to get more of the chili-flavored kind. He refused to even taste it, but it was fun to feel the baby dance extra fast after those multiple chocolate doses had hit Talia’s system.

“Maybe I should stop,” Talia lamented.

“Maybe you should.” Keith laughed.

“But they’re such little cups. And it’s so good!”

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from Empire Saga: City on a Hill by Michael Findley

resized empire

“What?” laughed another man listening to them. “Spend money on the moon colony? Cut into their profits? Come on!”

“I’d rather have them raise our pay, anyway,” The small man grabbed another carton and shoved it into place. “But I can’t see them doing that, either.”

“They just might change their minds if enough of us complained,” said Joe. “We’re just taking it. We gotta do something to get their attention.”

“This is Shuttle Three,” came a voice over the console radio, “requesting landing clearance.” No one noticed.

“Com Center, this is Shuttle Three,” said the radio again. “I repeat, request landing clearance.”

“Hey, is there a shuttle out?”

“Huh?” grunted the pale-haired fellow who had commented about clean rooms. He wandered over to the console. “None of the pilots are logged out.” He flicked a switch. “Well? Who is this?”

“Like I said before,” said the voice. “I’m trying to land Shuttle Three. I didn’t put a whole lot of fuel in it. Can we make it soon?”

“But who is this?” demanded the radio operator.

“Jon Newton. Excuse me. Newton, Jonathan A., employee number 63451. I was assigned to repair Shuttle Three. Repairs being completed, I took it for a test flight. Request permission to land this D-20 infraction shuttle. By the way, who are you? Isn’t there supposed to be a real radio operator on duty?”

“I am the operator for this shift,” snapped the man. “Sam Aleti. Newton, you don’t have pilot’s rating. What are you doing flying a shuttle?” Newton and Aleti’s argument had gotten louder. Most conversations in Com Center ended as eyes wandered to the monitor.

“Ahem, Mister Aleti,” Newton began with exaggerated patience. “Pilot Viccieri is assigned to this shift but he’s … shall we say … a little too well-oiled to fly. Pilot Jones is on temporary suspension from flight duty due to one too many D-20 infractions. Pilot Ting is spending his next paycheck on a … ah … lady. Not that I mind — what someone does on his own time is his own business.

“All other pilots being assigned to sleep rotation, someone needed to test the shuttle, so I took it out. As to my pilot’s rating, I was classed A-1 readiness for flight in the Air Force before I had an emergency appendectomy and got a medical discharge to spend six months recovering from complications. May I land now?”

“Sure, Newton,” grumbled Aleti. “Come on in.”

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/empire-saga-mary-c-findley/1111503996

Sony Store https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/mary-c-findley/the-space-empire-saga/_/R-400000000000000527672

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-space-empire-saga/id472874764?mt=11

http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Saga-ebook/dp/B0040V4E8Y

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