Dani stood in the middle of the hologrid. "Computer, run program 'House Party.'" The room was immediately transformed into a wild party, with loud music, dim lights, and an abundance of people.
Dani looked at the chronometer on her wrist. It was 2000 hours. When she looked up, she spotted Harry's face among others in the large crowd.
'Punctual Harry,' Dani thought, as she started to weave through the crowd toward him.
She called his name jumping up and down, "Harry!"
Harry looked up when he heard his name. He spotted Dani and started to make his way toward her.
"Hi!" Dani shouted after she and Harry had finally reached each other.
"Hey!" Harry yelled.
"So, what do you think?" Dani asked.
"Well..." Harry looked around the room at the rest of the party. "It's certainly not what I expected!"
"Well, what did you expect?"
"I don't know! Something a little more...tame, maybe!" Harry admitted. "I mean, you are the Captain's daughter!"
"Maybe!" Dani agreed. "But what does that have to do with anything? Let's get one thing straight-just because I'm the Captain's daughter doesn't mean I don't know how to have a good time!" She grabbed Harry's hand and pulled him deeper into the crowd.
Dani and Harry partied hearty that night. It seemed that Harry could never really get into it, though. The same couldn't be said about Dani. She did this all the time. She was in her natural element.
Although she'd written beer into the program, her mother had made her remove it. It was no big loss, though. "Replicated beer was never as good as the real thing," her mother had said. The beer had been replaced by soft drinks from the era that the program simulated-the late twentieth century.
After the party, Harry walked Dani back to her quarters.
"I had a good time, tonight," Dani said. "It was nice to have a real party companion for once instead of having to simulate one."
"I had good time, too," Harry said rubbing his ear. It was a lie, and Dani knew it. She smiled.
"It's not nice to lie, Harry," Dani admonished gently. "I know you felt like you were out of your element. You probably had a miserable time."
"No. It was definitely something new," Harry insisted. "I'd always heard about wild parties at the academy, but I never went. It was just never my scene."
"I know." Dani looked down at her hands and then back up at Harry. "Harry, you were a really great date. But, honestly, I felt like I was going out with an older brother tonight. I think we should see each other just as friends."
"I think that's a good idea," Harry agreed.
"You're not just saying that because you're afraid to date the Captain's daughter, are you?"
Harry smiled. "No."
"That wasn't always the case, so I hear."
"Tom told you." Dani nodded and smiled. "I'm gonna kill him."
"No, don't. We were talking about it, and it just sort of slipped. He really hadn't meant to tell." Harry's expression softened somewhat. Dani kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks for a great night, Harry." She turned and walked into her quarters.