THE HIVES ZOMG THE HIVEz OMG DA HIVES OHM MEH GAWD DAR HIVENS…
Amanda_adnamA's vid feed dropped off an addymap to the fore of his working environment on his trex's screen. Straight into the Local No. 108 Youth Development Complex. Great holy fleist, what was she doing there. Stomping grounds for the young. Get your beat on. Get you shag on. Get your experience on. Start networking NOW, kiddo, or you gonna fall hard on the Floor. You gonna be walkin' the Expanse instead o'tubin under it.
They left the bank by tubewerx, peristalting their way to a node that was local to Paul’s borough. It was a casual stroll though avenues that Paul was instinctively familiar with. What was extra nice was not having to go home to say goodbye to it. What remained to be seen though was what exactly the taster’s where planning on doing with it. Extension office? Holy shight, what was that supposed to mean? What was in store for him now?
“So,” started Paul as they got to his door. “Does extension office mean anything like HR office?”
“We’ll be seeing about that, mainline, now why don’t you get around to trexing that door open.”
Itty elbowed Baby sharply in his side.
“Kidding,” he said, rubbing the insult. “I can see by the look on your face you still have some questions, Paulie, and we’ve got some time before arrival. “What’s grindin’ on ya?”
“Yes, that just so happens that is true. What’s the flooring made of again?”
The three of them just stared at him. “Oh,” said Baby. “Yer serious. Alright. It’s called plastiform, right? That’s common enough knowledge. It’s extremely malleable when exposed to the right combination of electromagnetic frequencies, which are scrambled on a daily basis by Tubewerx Central in what I can only believe to be some sort of attempt at keeping people from doing what we’re doing now. Plastiform’s the stuff that let’s buildings grow and take shape in the biz district, right? You saw how big Taste! is now, correct? Well, it just doesn’t stop there. The whole of the tubewerx is malleable as well. Partitions of the plastiform slowly move into position, allowing tube capsules to zip through in peristaltic motion.”
Paul had had enough of being talked down to by angry monsters. Having survived an ordeal with two of them previously, he found no reason why he wouldn’t survive another. What was there to lose? Obviously they weren’t going to let him go now, and he didn’t believe that they were capable of murder. No, this ‘Baby’ character wanted to intimidate, but that was all. He jumped from his seat and bounded over on his long legs to confront the Goliath, pointing his finger at it’s nose and asked, “Your name 'Baby'?”
“Authority, what do they have to do with anything?”
“Well, you said it yourself, we’ve got to be under the tubewerx, right?”
“Well, yeah, but how in the hell of hells does authority not notice you? I mean, they run the tubewerx and –“
Her trex beeped a harsh tone. “Here it comes!” she squealed.
“Here comes wha--”
“So, where are we going?” Paul asked following Amanda_adnamA’s shapely form down the spiral staircase. She had her gold spun hair in a bun, held tight with elegantly adorned chopsticks. Their simple refinement shouted subscription heaven. Perhaps they were as easy to remove as they were on the eyes…Stop it, told himself, forcibly letting go fantasies of taking her in this cozy space. Just stop it.
“Your interview, like I said.”
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.
Her eyes went wide. Amanda_adnamA stared off into some unknown distance. “That’s….That’s a very good idea, Paul.”
“Yeah, I’m full of ‘em,” He said, and his focus fell onto her mouth. The crenulations of her lips, the whiteness of her teeth. the coyness of her tongue. “But right now, I’ve wandered into something for which I’m all out of ideas.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I got no job and I got no prospects and in a day or so, I’ll have got myself no placed to live, either.”
Tubeways were scattered about, projecting titles in front of their doors, “Adults Only”, “Kids Only”, “Lovers Only”, “Tubeway Only”, and, finally, “For Your Eyes Only”. It had the smallest line of the bunch.
The next morning he set off for Taste!. With his account on fractions of cred, he didn’t want to waste a chance to make contact by talking to Amanda_adnamA’s voice mail. Better to just go in person. There were twirling sensations in his stomach. Why am I nervous again? This girl is prolly half my age. I’m an idiot. Doing the shuffle routine through the streams and currents of humanity, he mused again, I’m an idiot who’s about to be but out on his arse. Play it cool, doofus.
Taste!’s building had grown. It’s dome top had gained at least two storey’s height since his last visit, it’s exterior was now a reddish sort of pink that transitioned to various shades of brown and then back to bright red, and it’s diameter had widened, displacing it’s neighbors by a couple of meters at least. The surrounding Floor area was teaming with people, pushing in and out of the now multiple portals into the place, all filled with that same mist that had boggled Paul’s mind before. More people than mist, now. Halfway up, Taste!’s purple glowing sign was gliding around the building’s circumference. As it glided out of sight, a new glowing image in green flicker strobing “WANT IT>>> NEED IT>>> TASTE IT” followed. A voice over an unseen PA boomed, “Only 12,456 left! Only 12,455 left! Only…” The Detective was right, that kind of economic growth was unheard of in the business district. Even PanPro only grew about a centimeter per fiscal year. This was all very bizarre and slightly disturbing.