Trex World, Part 35
Paul waited in the the apex of Taste!’s HQ, staring out the panoramic windows that offered little in the way of an interesting view. The building’s just not tall enough, yet, he thought. A small slice of the pie shaped space allowed one to peer out, towards the edge of the Expanse, where the Business District buildings receded like…like something from a dream. The Floor was teeming with folk. Of course it was, it always was. It seemed so calm from here, though, at this level. How calm it must seem from the top of PanPro? How calm from the president’s suite in the Center? Places he would never enter. Nor did he ever really want to. He realized that now. After all his time on the Expanse, in the Capillaries, under the Skylight, his ambition in life had been nothing more than to get out from under his parent’s watchful eye and just be on his own. And that’s exactly where his was now, on his own, looking to a bunch of kids for salvation from being Dispossessed.
Far beyond the window’s of Taste!, the Floor was constantly shifting, the multitudes of hot humanity pushing their way too and fro, each according to their perceived desire. Height was an advantage. It gives you perspective. Height was a disadvantage. It sets you apart.
Paul was staring now, out past the mass of bodies, to the point where they blurred together into a blackish moiré pattern and into the distance. There was enough air on the Expanse and enough heat from all the people that seeing the edges of the Capillaries was a hazy difficulty. Easiest to be seen was the line where the Capillary Wall met the Expanse, it was dark from the hundreds of thousands of openings, the whole enormous structure towering off towards the Skylight. Once upon a time, Paul had asked his papa where it was that the Wall met the Sky. No, he hadn’t been that eloquent. He had been much more to the point. Brutal, even. How much had he forgotten?
“Papa, Papa, who made the world?”
A father and son are sitting together, watching feed on the living room wall. The child is tucked under his father’s arm, forcing his sleepy eyes to stay open to the glowing, strobing wall. It’s a popular viral bit about getting chased by Authority for doing things you weren’t supposed to be doing in public. The theme song is catchy, of course, it has to be. The content is probably questionable for someone his age, but the father doesn’t care. He’s tired and has had a long day. Watching mindless feed before his son’s bedtime has become something of a ritual. The question the youngster places before him though, is troubling; not for what it asks, but for it’s timing.
“Huh? Oh. Well, Gawd, I guess.”
“Hmm? Oh. Well, Gawd is ‘That Which Is.’”
“So. Gawd is everywhere?”
“Yes. That’s right. Absolutely Everywhere.”
“The entire City?”
“Yup. The entire City, the Expanse, the Hives, the Capillaries, all of it.”
A beat passes. A child’s brow furrows.
“Papa, what is outside of the City?”
“Hrmph. Oh. Well, that’s what your Mom’s been trying to find out. She doesn’t agree with the standard model. Don’t tell anyone that, OK?”
Another beat. A pursing of lips joins with the furrowing of brow.
What’s “the standard model”?
“Ha. Oh. Well, that’s a name that your Mama uses to describe what people in Authority say is outside the city. They say that there’s just Moar Gawd.”
“Yup. Lot’s and lot’s o’Gawd. Outside the City is where we wind up when we’re retired. Outside the City is More Gawd, so it’s considered a time to celebrate. Your Mama doesn’t think so.”
“What do you think?”
“I think I love you both very much and that it’s time for bed.
Rumblings from the edge of the world. A toddler can’t sleep. His parental units are experiencing malfunction in the room farthest from his.
Mama (using that biting tone she reserved for when he did something wrong): “There are no spectral lines!”
Papa (annoyed, his tone lowering): “Calm yourself, you’re getting agitated. You’ll make yourself sick again.”
Mama doesn’t like that: “That’s nice. That’s real nice, Trist. And useless, as per usual. The Skylight’s spectra is completely homogeneous. Where have we all come from?”
How many years ago was that? Almost all of them Paul muses to himself and, wiping a tear from his eye, he decides that once he gets to a point where he can afford looking up information again, he’d figure out just what in the hell of hells spectral lines were. “Gawd bless Taste!,” he whispered, not sure if he meant it or not. He had forgotten so much. The events of Spectral Line Night had sent his mother to her longest stay in Hospital yet, and he realized now that he had blocked the words from memory as a result. When she returned from Hospital, Mama and Papa started sleepig in seperate rooms.
He took a breath. The air in the room was fresh. It smelled of cinnamon. There was a displacement to his left. He could feel it on his skin.
Amanda_adnamA’s head popped in from the corridor. “C’mon,” she said, “It’s time for your interview.”
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