Chapter 3:

Nemo Wars - Entry 3 - The Town

Further Tales From The UnderCurrent (Short Story Prequel Series)

Entry 3; 03-07-TA424
Guess I should explain 'what' it was we crashed into huh?
So there I was, bleeding out as the only survivor of a sudden crash, last thing I see is this bizarre blue sky where it should be empty-black space.

Well not sure I can explain it proper', I'm supposed to be a solider not an engineer but I guess I'll write what I know.
I'm sure you're already aware of what a Nation-Satellite is right? Those things TSU are always running publicity campaigns about - Massive rectangles in space that contain cities and such inside.

Kind of like taking a slice of the planet, boxing it in a giant fish tank and then floating it into space - Covered in solar panels and artificial gravity generators.
Well I also hardly need to tell you about how anything in space is marked on maps - If you launch a Tv-Satellite it gets marked, can't have those getting crashed into now can we.

So obviously a Nation-State Satellite is marked, I mean it's a massive fecking city in space - And yet this one wasn't on any map.
Now don't get me wrong, my mech and those of the other two who crashed with me - All 3 of us should of been able to detect something that big with other sensors, but I guess in the thick of battle we were all too focused on fighting each other to bother checking such things - Sounds embarrassing to think about now...

But I can guess what a person reading this might be thinking and ya I don't know either.
What sort of political contacts do you need to have to get something like this kept off the books?
Honestly, I don't know - I've got some theories but then again I was never paid for thinking, so I'll keep those to myself.

It's an incomplete one mind you, the Nation-State I mean.
These things are way too big to be built in atmosphere or a conventional shipyard, so they're made in sections and then flown out into space.

This one I landed on has the central 'block', the bit where people are meant to live - And a temporary single-ship dock that's can potentially be used to transport building supplies. 
Aside from that it's missing its main ports on both sides, only has a handful of the solar panels it needs to produce energy and has full gravity only inside 'The Town'.

Ah who am I kidding, if you're reading this you must already be in the town right?
No one's allowed to leave after all so you must already know all this - Then again I've started so I guess I'll finish.

See when one of these Satellites is being constructed, once they have a decent bit put together work crews are brought in to start, ya know, building the city part of the whole thing.
But those guys need somewhere to sleep themselves while doing this and building in zero-G is generally quite tough.

So they erect these giants domes made of hexagons hooked up to that solar panel grid I mentioned before - From inside these they have a localised area of gravity and air, plus a water supply and somewhere to sleep - One of TSU's better ideas I guess.
Once either the city is done or the satellite complete enough to hold air by itself, the dome is then removed and you can start moving people into their new homes.

Except like I said, what I crashed into was an incomplete one - There's no city here, just this endless horizon of dull metal floor as far as you can look, except for the workers dome.
It's like a giant blue oasis in the middle of this blank sea of unrefined metal.

Outside the dome you got just enough gravity to say, drag down an already fast moving mech like mine - But inside the dome, well rather then construction-worker's dorms or vehicles and materials for city-building - Instead there's a full on town.

The land is terraformed with fields of lush green and verdant forests - The building's are traditional, all low rise and made out of light materials, lots of stone foundations, timber walls and slate roofs.
There's pathways and gardens, a little town-centre with market stalls and a fountain - A raised bit where the town elder's house sits - The whole works contained in this dome, hidden in this seemingly abandoned Satellite, out in the backwaters of colonised space - Weird to put it simply.

And it gets weirder - Town's got all sort of odd traditions and secrets.
For one no one is allowed leave, in case they should break the secret and tell someone this place exists - But that much is fairly logical I guess.

Nah its 'government' is what gets me.
They have this odd sort of hybrid system in three parts.
One part or 'vote' lets say, is the village-Elder, seems normal enough. Another is the village council, nothing strange about that - But the final vote, with the same weight and power as the prior two, belongs solely to one little girl.
Yup friggin' weird.

It's a town of a few hundred people at a guess, the population is I'd say more 'old' then young - There's maybe 15 kids ranging from in nappies to high-schoolers, in comparison I would say there's atleast 4 times that of what ya'd call pensioners.

So it doesn't take a genius to come to the conclusion this place has got to be some sort of refugee camp right? People, the old and the young running from a war while the working adults go fight, but damn they don't act like it.
They all seem so, happy? 

Everyone does their bit, it's the sort of place where no one ever goes hungry - Where if you die a widow, the rest of town comes around to make sure your house is in order and you can be damn-sure everyone turns up for your funeral even if you didn't have a single friend in life.

Money essentially has no value in such a closed community, you go to the bar and your tab is payed off when the barkeep next buys vegetable from ye're stall. There are no police but by the look of some of the residence, they don't need any - Like I said, It's a weird place.

I don't mind saying that I had alot of questions when I first got here;
Why is this here, who built it, who are these people, where do they get additional resources that they can't grow, what's so speical about the girl, etc, etc.

Though then again I guess I haven't explained how I actually went from lying in a pool of my own blood, to being a resident of this strange hidden oasis in space.
I'd be pretty cool if I said I dug into my deepest reverse of willpower and dragged my bleeding form across the metal ground to the town in the distance right?

Ya well that ain't how it went.
The townsfolk came out to investigate all the noise and make sure the Satellite had sealed itself where are mechs impacted - Found my unconscious body, brought me home like some stray dog and patched me up.

I still wonder why they did it - Even if their elder had told them to bring back any survivors, they could of just waited a few more minutes and I would of bleed to death - But whatever the case they chose to risk everything, bring a dangerous soldier who still had a gun clasped in either hand, into their homes and offer their hospitality - Very strange people.

The first thing I remember after 'The Fall' is opening my eyes to see two faces - One was this ugly mug, didn't help said block-head was covered in this massive facial scar.

The other was a young girl, maybe 8 or 9 with this long red hair that caught my eye for how similar to blood it looked.

The girl seeing my eyes open starts waving frantically for someone else to come over, the scar-faced man glares at me suspiciously as though assessing whether I'll rear up and attack.
They were two poplar opposite faces I woke up to, young & old, distrustful & excited - Soldier and something else...

And then I fell unconscious again - Apparently it was whole days till I woke up for good, the doctor who saved me said it was close run thing, I really had lost alot of blood.

But hey, I did wake up and the townsfolk did choose to save me rather then shooting on site - So here I am, writing a 'diary' living my third life in the hidden town, forbidden from ever leaving - Weird indeed.