The City: 030: Paulo

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Paulo nodded at the American punk girl.
Do you think the one has to do with the other?  Is Midas screwing with the trains to manipulate the market?
Xue shook her head.
Too expensive.  Midas owns too much of The City to wreck it’s productivity.
Maybe a rival?  Ingmar offered.
The timings too close.  The announcement about the trains came before the sale.
I got a peek at the meeting.  The new CEO’s avatar looked weird.
Weird how?
I don’t know.  Out of sync.  Kind of creepy.
I’ll look into it.  Paulo offered.  He was always trying to impress Dawn.

The City: 029: Nora

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Nora frowned after the cat and sat down on the bench next to Hiro.  She furiously typed into her messenger.  Between the six of them, they spoke ten languages, but there was not one they all shared fluently. So they typed, and used translations to be understood.
Paulo and I had an awful time getting here.  The trains are all shut down.  Nora wrote.
A woman got hit by one. Hiro replied.
Is it?  Dawn typed.  Or is it just so unlikely that it never happened before?  The Man sold out and the trains stop.  No such thing as coincidence.

The City: 024: Hiro

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They gathered in Midas Park.  It stretched for miles, in the middle of The City, a patchwork of famous public spaces from a hundred terrestrial cities, and more so fanciful they could only have been designed there.
Hiro waited in front of Osaka Castle.  There, the cherry blossoms always fell, and it had an excellent view of both the Sphinx and Old Faithful.  Plus, he could see the building-sized screens covering the announcement.  A crowd of milling Daytrippers and uncertain Citizens was already gathering beneath them.  It was several hours before Dawn and the others arrived, looking completely frazzled.

The City: 014: Ingmar

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Dawn hadn’t been very specific, but it sounded like they would need a car, at the very least.  The only friend Xue knew that had one was Ingmar, but he and Dawn did not get along.  Great.  She booted her phone’s translator and connected.
“Hi, it’s Xue.  I need you to do me a favor…”
Traffic was glacial all throughout the city.  It took them nearly two hours to reach the financial district.  The sight of Dawn dangling helplessly from a gargoyle was worth it though.  Ingmar laughed so hard he could barely record her annoyed frown without camera shake.

The City: 011: Xue

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Xue was feeding the ducks when she got Dawn’s message.  She liked ducks.  They didn’t build, didn’t destroy, didn’t do anything but swim and eat bread crumbs.  Feeding the ducks was her favorite thing to do in the City.  It was a meditation, a retreat from the pressure and demands of school and family.  It was not that she was ungrateful.  Her future was being formed like a diamond by that pressure.  But too much and she would collapse instead.

She listened to it twice, gave up and ran the translation.
“Please come pick me up?  I’m kind of stuck.”

The City: 001: Dawn


Dawn loomed over The City.  She stood and watched the rising sun filter through block after block from her vantage on the roof of Midas Corp. Tower.  She had climbed up without light, making the perilous trip by memory and relying on a FAQ when the going got tough.  There wasn’t anything up here, but it was the best view short of buying your own plane.  And who had the credits to waste on something like that?  This was her city, and she was its vagabond master.  It was a new day, and below her adventure was waiting.  She Jumped.

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