Chapter 13:

Chapter 13: Level 1, Sector 12

Neo-Tokeyo 199X: M1

Arron stumbled off of the MagLev along with several other passengers who were limping or being helped off by another person. If they didn't get off now there would be hell to pay since the MagLevs did not allow people to stay on them longer than their ticket's destination.

The large man who had caused all the trouble was still laying on the floor as the doors to the MagLev closed and shot back out the station to its next destination.

Ding! At that moment Arron's NerViz Implant made a bunch of racket as it started to send him several notifications.

Arron taped onto the furiously blinking holographic icon above his Wrist datapad and read through all of the notifications.

The most important of the bunch was the notification letting him know that his social credit score had been updated to its proper score and he was now granted proper access to the first level’s city network.

Arron swiped down, closing the notification and opened his personal government issued profile. Sure enough, he found his social credit score right under his name [B: 850].

All the options that had been grayed out before were now unlocked. Now the only thing grayed out was the contact information for Chief Harlan on the 4th level.

Along with the numerous notifications, there was a second reminder from the M1 headquarters giving him the address once again.

Arron looked up from the notifications and studied his surroundings.

The smell of cheap but sweet street food, mixed with stale beer, piss, puke, BO, and rotting garbage all assaulted his nose.

The station was far warmer on the 1st level than it was on the 4th level. It was a damp heat which led to the smells being far worse.

With over 10x more people on the MagLev station platforms than what he had seen on the 4th level, this was to be expected, but some of the smells were downright rotten.

The station showed its age with how worn down it was. Several cracks, large amounts of grime and rust could be seen almost everywhere.

Arron opened the NavGuide and entered the address to the M1 HQ in the 12th sector which was not that far away from Sector 2 where he was currently. He made sure to pick the option to find the fastest route to his destination without worrying about the cost. He wasn't here to sightsee today, that could happen later.

The blue blob NavGuide chimed a happy greeting upon seeing Arron and started to lead him through the crowded station platform towards one of the exits.

As he was exiting the large mass of people and nearing the exit his path was cut off by an extremely grimy and rusty square cleaning bot. It was a model from several generations ago. The cleaning bot held onto an equally dirty broom which looked to have over half of its threads missing.

The cleaning bot was wildly sweeping the ground, flinging trash and dirt into the air as it 'cleaned' the station.

Everyone at the station gave it a wide clearing so they would not be in the range of its cleaning... unfortunately Arron had not been paying attention and was forced to dodge several rotten food pieces as they were flung into the air near him.

The cleaning bot continued moving forward mutely working on its task of 'cleaning' the entire station platform.

On the walls near the MagLev station's exit Arron started to see several holo-graffiti programmed on the station's walls.

Some were blinking swear words, or messages that a person had been there. A few people had even programmed moving 2d pictures.

The two holo-graffiti that stood out to Arron was the message that said [Kill all Separatists.], and a large animated picture of a large plump woman blowing a kiss towards a stick figure man.

Arron was unsure why the holo-graffiti was allowed to stay on the walls. He guessed it was probably the same reason why the MagLev station looked like it did.

The station guards paid no attention to Arron as he made his way through the exit. They were only stopping those who were trying to enter the station.

As he exited the station out onto a small plaza. Even though it was around noon it looked as if it was still the middle of the night with how dark it was. At the center of the plaza there was a large dry fountain which was not working.

Surrounding the fountain were several large flashing signs with news, ads, current events for sector 2, and a map of the entire sector.

There were several groups of people all over the small plaza.

One of the groups was break dancing with the help of their cybernetic implants. A teen used the tips of his metallic fingers to do various hand-stands, while a man with a polished metal plate covering his head was able to continue spinning on his head like a toy top.

Across from them was a rare sight to see, it was a band with only humans playing the instruments. They were creating an awful screeching racket as they played their newest song.

The noise assaulted Arron's ears making him feel like he was going insane. He didn't know if you could even call this music, but nearly a hundred people were wearing odd colorful outfits surrounding the band cheering them on.

He plugged his ears and ran through the various crowds following the NavGuide out of the square passing several dozen Holo-ads that winked on and off.

The buildings near the plaza all towered high into the sky, some even reached the ceiling far above which separated the first and second level. There were only a few heavily guarded exits and entrances for Flying cars far above.

The NavGuide led him to another MagLev station a short distance away.

Unlike the 4th level, the 1st level had an internal MagLev network that was not connected to the outside. It was used for getting around from sector to sector due to how large the first level was compared to the upper floors.

Taking a taxi on the first level was even more expensive than on the 4th level due to the large distances and many zones and sector checkpoints. This caused the MagLevs to be used heavily by the first level's large population.

Arron used his wrist datapad to access the station's ticket application and paid for a ticket to sector 12 zone 3.

[Checking SCS... Authorized. 20 credits have been deducted from your account.]

When the transaction was finished his NavGuide led him to one of the lines to enter one of the carriages. The people that were entering the carriage were all being scanned by security bots as they passed by.

When Arron reached the front of the line he found the carriage was already near max capacity. He was forced to stand at the back of the jam-packed MagLev.

After his two previous rides, one up and one down the large walls of the Megacity, he now had a slight distaste for MagLevs, which he had not had before coming to the city.

“Dear passengers, people who travel without a ticket, behave disorderly, or smoke in public areas, will be punished according to regulations. Your behavior will be recorded in both the Office of Reasons database as well as your Social Credit Score. To avoid negative points being added to your Social credit score, please follow the relevant regulations and help with the orders issued on the MagLev and at the station,” said a middle-aged female voice that came from the MagLev's ceiling.

This was Arron's first time hearing something like this and he was not sure why the announcement was made. Was there something about tickets that he did not know about?

Arron looked at the ceiling of the MagLev and found that it was a large Holo-vision. It was currently broadcasting KNN but the only person paying any attention to it was Arron. Everyone else was reading their E-newspaper, watching holovids on MeTube, one of the main social websites that were run by the party of Mother and Father. Several passengers had their hands wildly moving in front of them as they played an unseen game, there were even several people in worn-out suits typing up documents for work.

Arron was surprised to see so many people who had Visible Cybernetic modifications. He couldn't even remember if he saw one person on the 4th floor with such a variety of visible modifications.

He turned his attention back to the broadcast of KNN.

“...they say that the population of the first level has tripled from just two years ago. The same experts are unsure how fast the population will grow in the next year but their best guess is it won't be enough to cause too much strain on the food supply in the stores or the housing costs,” said Kommy.

“Now onto today's weather, can our viewers take a guess? ...You guessed right! More damp darkness with the possibility of rain like always,” said Fela cheerily.

“Such depressing weather,” said Kommy, with a sigh and a faked sad smile on his face.

“Everyone should cheer up, in a few months there is a 50% chance of sunlight reaching the first level during the peak of the summer months! If such a rare day happens I am sure everyone will be able to enjoy an hour or two of sunlight.”

Arron let out a long sigh. Although it was far warmer and more comfortable than on the cold 4th level the weather was not to his liking. It indeed was a depressing eternal night almost all year round.

With the quick speed of the MagLev, he reached sector 12’s MagLev station which looked several times cleaner than the last station. He took a few steps out onto the city square plaza and stopped when he saw several large statues at the center.

They were enormous, standing several stories high, and were quite amazing to look at.

The largest statue showed a military officer in the center pointing forward while shouting. On the right of the officer was a soldier in the motion of charging forward with his weapon held at the ready and his face set with determination. On the left of the officer was a mother holding a young baby to her chest protecting it from some unseen danger.

Arron studied them from afar for a few moments before walking up to one of them and looking at a small floating holo-screen at the base. It explained what they were and why they were there.

[In memory of those who fought and died for liberation during the Troubled years. Paid for by veterans. Authorized by Father]

Arron looked at another nearby statue that looked like a replica of a small and insignificant city compared to the Megacity Neo-Tokeyo.

[Honoring the several hundreds of millions that lost their lives during the destruction of the old capital. Paid for by the comity of remembrance. Authorized by Mother.]

There were several such statues in the dark square but none were as large as the first two. Several of them had been salvaged from the old capital and still showed damage from the old city's destruction.

Ting! The blue NavGuide chimed loudly reminding Arron that he was supposed to be somewhere else.

When he reached the sidewalk he stopped and waited for it to start moving.

One minute passed but the sidewalk showed no sign of moving. It looked exactly like the sidewalk from the 4th floor.

Several tens of people walked past him looking back at him wondering why he was standing still staring at the ground.

“I guess it's broken?” Arron quietly mumbled.

He would have to walk the rest of the way dragging his hover case behind him.

To his surprise, the roads were jam-packed with hover cars. In the air far above the road, there were only a few random flying cars passing the hectic lunch rush hour below.

Arron watched as a flying red and yellow police car raced through the air sirens blaring as they headed off to some area where a crime was happening.

On his walk to the M1 HQ, he saw even more late-generation round floating bots taking care of minor jobs.

As he got closer to his destination he now understood why people had mentioned the ads. The first floor was nothing like the 4th floor in that respect. The ads were everywhere and they were also the main source of flickering light for the dark streets outside the giant towering buildings.

Seeing everything with his own eyes on his walk gave him a better understanding of what the rest of the first level was like. Now he could understand all the reviews.

Although some reviews he had read complained that the first floor was poor. It was still far more high-tech and seemed to have several 1000's times more money flowing around than what could be found in his hometown.

He could now see why the city people looked down on everyone from the country towns.

The majority of the people in the city, not all, but most who claimed to be 'poor' in the city would be considered middle or high class back at his hometown with all the tech and money they had.

Ting! The NavGuide stopped and let out a loud chime before it disappeared.

Arron looked up at the massive building in front of him. It was one of the buildings that seemed to rise to the ceiling. The M1 HQ building was also extremely wide, taking up several normal city blocks.

The entire building was bare of any ads or news screens and only had a large dark blue glowing M1 HQ projected on each of the four walls.

He had finally arrived at his new workplace.

The first level was vastly different from the 4th level, but for better or worse, he would make the most of it and strive to put his all in completing whatever tasks he was given.