Title: Orbital Shifts
Genre: Hard Science Fiction
The clientele of the Afterburner chatted and took little notice of a new face at the door, but gave the four bar occupants wide berth and kept to the tables. Shen took the zero gravity perch at the end of the bamboo-topped bar, hooking his ankles under one bar, folding his knees over the other. Barkeep glanced up and nodded, then risked a sidelong look at the other four.
Tanner Sheppard surveyed his new neighbor, silent. On his other side, his three companions laughed at the comedy sketch on the screen behind the bar, rocking on their perches.
“Came back, then,” Tanner commented.
“Can’t tell me you’re surprised.” Shen looked over the bottled spirits locked in a glass cupboard behind the bar, and told the barkeep, “Rickey. Refill for him, too.”
Tanner looked at the puddle clinging inside his squeeze-shot bottle and finished it off. “Buying me a drink? Sure about that?” he asked.
“Got no reason to shoot me, that I know of,” Shen said.
Then Julia laughed at something on the screen and threw herself into Tanner’s shoulder. She pulled her drink off its tether to the bar and sucked it dry. “Another one here,” she shouted at the barkeep, and tossed it. In the zero gee, the bottle bounced off the back counter and flew across the seating area, spinning. The three laughed at that too.
“First chuck to buy me a drink for shooting my father. What’s it to you?”