Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sept 28, 5 AW – Victoria

The city of Victoria is a massive place, both in scale and complexity. Like all of the largest Earth Cities, Victoria is protected from the atmosphere by a bubble of energy called the Shield. This Shield is the City's sky, no stars pierce through and the moon is a mere shadow. The daylight, tinted by the Shield, reflects off the highest peaks of the buildings and parkways built upon a forest of superstructure. Layers of City Levels are stacked upon the island's tip, always spreading outwards over the inland straight until only a thin bridge spans to the other side. Those who I ask say that the Shield touches the far shore along with the bridge, but few cross the dirty waters to the mainland.

I am left to hire a taxicab for my initial tour, a half-dwarven veteran with many strange (and often rude) tattoos covering a large portion of his skin. His name is Rup, and his yellow armoured grav-car is named Julie. The cab climbs upward first and Rup stays along the shoreline roads, pointing out odd bits of knowledge here and there, until we are coasting along a winding road close to the arc of the Shield. The surrounding architecture was enamoring as each estate (or corporate buildings as I was told) was a spectacular example of ingenuity. Through the use of grav-engines many of them had little to no support, and I could see several out above the water.

The elaborate facades were not the focus of Rup's route however. As we turned a gradual corner the Pyramidion came into view. The structure was reflective black, like onyx, and consisted of eight triangular sides like two pyramids connected at the bases. Each side was easily fifty kilometers long and the entire building hung above the water with only one narrow road connecting it to the rest of the world. Rup explained that the Pyramidion was the seat of the GIS Corporation, one of the major world powers. Within sight of it, I could almost feel it watching in a cold machine way. I asked Rup to take me to the inn I was expected at and was at once glad to be away from it.

It did not take long for our route to take us away from the splendor of the Upper Levels and into the darkened Middle Levels. Here was where “normal” lives were lived out by millions of humans, and thousands of others from dozens of races. Consumerism was king here with nearly every street level space being a store or service outlet (or a thousand other things). As the ride drew on, I recognized the same logos and brands, but the quality and space got worse. Soon we were on Sub-Level 3, where my inn was located.

The Sub-Levels are dirty places, as if an entire metropolis was built from alleys and junkyards. Each block is twice as long as those above, the thin roads having to wind around the massive City supports, and all light is cut off from the sky by the roads and structures above. Rup tells me there are more Sub-Levels, and they don't get any better as you go deeper. The inn he leaves me at barely has a sign, through the graffiti and posters I can make out “Helmeken Inn”.
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