¿Más vino de ciruelas, queridos?
'Ingenious little thing', the Baroness continued, looking around. 'I think we're ready. There!' Her pudgy forefinger struck at one of the buttons, and lights about the room began to lower. 'I control the whole meal just by pressing the right one at the right time. Watch!' She struck at another one.
Along the center of the table now, under the gentled light, panels opened and great platters of fruit, candied apples and sugar grapes, halved melons filled with honeyed nuts, rose up before the guests.
'And wine!' said the Baroness, reaching down again.
Along the hundreds of feet of table, basins rose. Sparkling froth foamed the brim as the fountain mechanism began. Spurting liquid streamed.
'Fill your glass, dear. Drink up', prompted the Baroness, raising her own beneath a jet; the crystal splashed with purple.
On her right the Baron said: 'The Arsenal seems to be all right. I'm alerting all the special projects. You're sure this sabotage attack is going on right now?'
'Either right now', she told him, 'or within the next two or three minutes. It might be an explosion, or some major piece of equipment may fail.'
'That doesn't leave me much to go on. Though communications has picked up your Babel-17. I've been alerted to how these attempts run.'
'Try one of these, Captain Wong.' 'The Baroness handed her a quartered mango which Rydra discovered, when she tasted it, had been marinated in Kirsch.
Nearly all the guests were seated now. She watched a platoon kid, named Mike, searching for his name-card halfway across the hall. And down the table length she saw the stranger who had stopped her on the spiral stair hurrying toward them behind the seated guests.
'The wine is not grape, but plum,' the Baroness said. 'A little to heavy to start with, but so good with fruit. I'm particularly proud of the strawberries. The legumes are a hydroponicist's nightmare, you know, but this year we were able to ge such lovely ones.'
Mike found his seat and reached both hands into the fruit bowl- The stranger rounded the last loop pf table. Calli was holding a goblet of wine in each hand, looking from one to the other, trying to determine the larger.
'I could be a tease', the Baroness said, 'and bring out the sherbets first. Or do you think I ought best on the caldo verde? The way I prepare it, it's very light. I can never decide--'
[...]With the console smashed, along the table the fruit platters were pushed aside by emerging peacocks, cooked, dressed, and reassembled with sugared heads, tail feathers swaying. None of the clearing mechanisms were operating. Tureens of caldo verde crowded the wine basins till both overturned, flooding the table. Fruit rolled over the edge.
[...]Spitted lambs rose to upset the peacocks. Feathers swept the floor. Wine fountains spurted the glistening amber skins which hissed and steamed. Food fell back into the opening and struck red heating coils. Rydra smelled burning.
[...]She darted away, came up against a length of tale, and vaulted the steaming pit. The intricate, oriental dessert -sizzling bananas dipped first in honey then rolled to the plate over a ramp of crushed ice- was emerging as she sprang. The sparkling confections shot across the ramp and dropped to the floor, honey crystallized to glittering thorns. They rolled among the guests, cracked underfoot. People slipped and flailed and fell.
'Snazzy way to slide on a banana, huh, Captain?' commented Calli. 'What's going on?'
'Get Mollya and Ron back to the ship!'
Urns rose now, struck the rotisserie arrangement, overturned, and grounds and boiling coffee splattered. A woman shrieked, clutching her scalded arm.Samuel Delany, Babel-17, pp.88-90