Dimension 10 – Rokon city
April 3077. 10:30.
They flew swiftly into Rokon city, following one of the sky “roads” indicated only by holographic lines but seemed to allow the hover cars to maintain stable traffic. Kiri was barely able to keep up with everything passing by. Some of the first things she noticed were a couple of gigantic portals surrounded by hefty circular structures like what zei’d seen in the grassy plains—actually, it was the “sea” now. The portals stood tall in different parts of the city and were visible at the same time from where their car was. Each of them hosted a constant and yet reasonably quick stream of vehicle traffic.
Interestingly, most of the vehicles flying in and out of the portals were not even cars like Kiri would expect to see in most of huir planet’s (well, mostly just huir own country’s) cities. A majority of them were long strands of hover trains. Fewer other vehicles were much larger—looked like hovering cargo or passenger ships. Personal vehicles were relegated to their own sky roads, which seemed to be even fewer than the roads for the trains, to Kiri’s surprise.
There appeared to be many layers to the city. One aspect, of course, included the holographic sky roads. As Sage and Kiri traveled deeper into the city, they could see that these roads spanned from the ground all the way to the tops of the tallest buildings. They weaved around the buildings, a few of which were adorned with sparse wall gardens that deflected some of the heated light reflecting off the buildings. Most of the greenery existed on the ground far below where, too, a majority of the pedestrians walked and where the occasional tram would pass through on grass-surrounded tracks.
The buildings themselves were multi-layered with elevators floating up and down along the sides as they brought people to and from platforms. The platforms were attached to or surrounded the buildings like large balconies. Each of them had at least one glassy-looking bridge branching off to a platform on another building. At a few of the platforms, hover trains picked up and dropped off people. Myriads more people in their business attire or street clothes walked along the beautiful complex web of platforms and bridges. It looked almost like a crystal lattice with a tiny society living within it.
Only adding to the bustle, bunches of orbs floated between the roads and the bridges with their little mechanical eyes searching. Holographic projections of advertisements lined the walls of some buildings, adding a bit of flashy color to the overall green and silver color scheme. There seemed to be advertisements with anti-senergie sentiments strewn about, which could easily be missed or simply ignored because of how integrated they were into the infrastructure of some of the buildings.
Most surprising of all, Kiri noticed how incredibly quiet Rokon was for a city. At most, zei could hear the quiet humming of Sage’s car and a few of the cars surrounding them. If car traffic was already this quiet, and if the trains and other vehicles were also this quiet, zei wondered what it would sound like from down below.
Sage said, “financial district for ya.” She tapped a button on the car’s dashboard and set it to something “automatic,” and then was able to take huir hands off the wheel for a bit. “There’s a crap ton of people here because of those portals. You saw one of them earlier. They’re all throughout the Sooted Star Realm. Most stressful place to be in, if I do say so myself.”
Kiri stuck huir head out the open window that Sage had rolled down a little bit earlier. Zei was utterly speechless, huir mouth hanging open slightly. “Stressful? This is almost as quiet as my town…” zei whispered.
Not catching Kiri’s comment, Sage continued. “So you know how this place has portals leading to five different planets, right? And it also leads to yours now. So like, this place is called the ‘Sooted Star Realm,’ or the SSR if you will, because it’s the only place that connects these planets together. But the entirety of Sooted Star including all of the planets is actually the ‘Sooted Star Network,’ also known as the SSN.” Zei tapped the screen of the hologram that came from huir watch. “Are you okay with seeing videos in a car? My friend made this awesome video explaining Sooted Star in a nutshell for a project.”
Kiri looked back at Sage away from the distractions out the window. “Ah—yeah, well I do get a tiny sick from a car, but this driving is smooth enough. But wait—how can you just take your hands off the wheel?!”
Sage laughed. “The car will drive on its own!” Then zei continued on with the previous subject. “Hey, go ahead and hold the screen like you’re holding a real object, then tap that button there,” Sage pointed to the triangle shape in the middle of the video on the screen. It was surprisingly the same “play” symbol Kiri’s own world used.
Kiri looked at Sage hesitantly. Then slowly took the hologram into huir hands. When zei did, it had a light, a mildly electrifying, and yet a very real sensation. It was almost like the water zei had touched in huir dream—not real, and yet undeniably there. Zei laughed in disbelief. Moved the hologram around in a circle and tossed it between huir hands a couple of times. It made such smooth motions and could not break, and yet seemed to abide by physics enough for it to be convincing as a tangible object. Zei attempted to bend it, but huir hands simply phased through.
Sage chuckled. Laced huir hands together behind huir head and leaned back. “I know. You’re probably tempted to punch it. I assure you, it will just move to the edge of the force field, unless you’re holding it with your other hand while you do, of course. Try not to lose the video while you’re at it.”
“Sorry, sorry,” Kiri looked embarrassed. “It’s just simply amazing to me, I—”
“No worries! I think you might be able to borrow one of them while you’re here. Heck, you could probably spend years just living on this thing, and not even care about Sooted Star,” Sage said and laughed.
“No, no, I dubious—I mean I don’t believe so since there is so much here.”
While Sage looked on like a proud parent, Kiri started the video.