Gordon Littlejohn was late to work the morning of the fifth because of the EMP bomb that went off two blocks from his apartment. At six fifty-nine a.m., a utility truck disguised as an official State vehicle disintegrated under the pressure wave of a conventional explosive while every unhardened electrical system within a kilometer of the truck’s secondary explosion, unseen by the naked eye but well felt by everything that conducted current, had its useful properties scrambled by electromagnetic pulse. As a result of the EMP, none of the electrics in Gordon’s apartment, including his alarm clock, functioned properly anymore. Heavy sleeper that he was, the rattling of his windows was mistaken for an errant compost truck and Gordon had responded by rolling over in bed and grunting a bit. When the sun’s rays finally pierced Gordon’s cheaply veiled windows to tap dance on his eyelids, it was ten o’clock. Rockmore was definitely going to count this as an occurrence.
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Now Paul was angry. Whatever had just happened, whatever that “hemorrhage” was, it had stirred up painful memories from years past. Things better left to Retirement. The swirling circles of the ceiling were pissing him off as well. What business had they doing in his world? All opulent and grand and haughty and, he couldn’t help feeling, they weren’t jetted out of a trex. Double-you-tee-eff.
Rumblings from beneath the world. “Beneath the world, what did that mean?” There was the Floor. There was ductwork. There were the tubes, the pneumatic shuttles that he could no longer afford to take. And beneath that? The firmament, which was what the City was grown from.
“Momma! Momma!” shouted a very young Paul, fresh from trex happy fun-time lessons.
"Omnitrex Tech" is now "We Make the World". Perhaps one day we'll learn why.
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“You’ll be wanting to know who I am, I expect,” she said, exhaling after a long pull from the brown cylinder.
“Yes, I would–”
“But I’m not going to tell you. Not yet.”