Welcome to New Tokyo
The First chapter
The hallways were empty, for once. On any other day, the smooth, white interior of Tokyo Tower would be packed with thousands of young hopefuls looking for citizenship, and a chance at a new life. Forced from Earth by overcrowding and droughts, and drawn to Hades Prime (a planet about half the size of Earth called simply Hades by many inhabitants, although most of the younger generations had forgotten the old Greek myths that the pun came from) by the holovids idealising it as a lush, green paradise where anyone could live as they wanted.
New Tokyo was the largest city on Hades Prime - its cluttered sprawl covering almost a quarter of the planet's habitable land. The structures nearer to the centre were dingy shacks, built using the old building methods from back on Earth, but as you moved outwards you would see hundreds of thousands of almost identical spherical white dwellings; some dug into the ground, some floating seamlessly. Right in the middle of the older buildings, stood the largest structure ever recorded. At fifty three kilometres high, and two in diameter, it towered over the rest of the city.
Access to the higher floors was restricted, but it was rumoured that every building in the city could be seen from the top using the high-power optiscopes. Tokyo Tower was Japan's greatest achievement, one of the first buildings to be made with the new methods of building, and the first large scale structure on the planet. Not that the old nations of Earth meant much now, instead people treated the huge cities as their countries now and were fiercely loyal to them.
* * *
Picture the scene. You stand at the centre of New Tokyo, among the large, decrepit buildings once used as government offices, but now left to vandals and gangs as hideouts. You step forward cautiously and hear (although 'hear' isn't quite the right word, it's more like 'sense') a faint hum. It is a jovial kind of hum, filling the casual passer-by with optimism. Yet you are not a casual passer-by. You stop. Listen. Do you hear? Beneath that pleasant sounding façade you hear something sinister, something wrong. It plucks the wrong strings inside you; plays the wrong notes. It could barely even be called music anymore. The notes clash horribly, discordantly. It is that horrible sound that rings in your ears when you discover a truth that you wish you never knew. It is the sound of 'not quite right'.
You turn to face the source of the noise and see the faint glow of the walls of The Tower. Curious despite yourself, you step towards the huge, ornate gate, and though the small inset door, opened onto the street and spilling out the light of The Tower like the guts from a fatal wound. You turn. You want to go back, don't you? Too late. The door is gone. Before you can think your next thought, your body is flung upwards by a massive force. You feel as if your eyes are being pulled from their sockets, but when the machine stops and you tumble out onto the cold tirinium floor, you realise you are still unharmed. You step forward and hear a faint whir as the platform descends behind you. The shutters lift and a few lights flash on the console in front of you. The windows begin to dilate, blackening their outsides, but leaving your view unobstructed. You look over the city, over New Tokyo, and your lips curl into a faint smile.
* * *
She lived in Third Sector. She had wanted to move to Rome District in Fourth Sector when her parents moved away from the centre, but they had been too worried about the skirmishes from Budapest to agree to moving anywhere that close to the perimeter. Third Sector was the obvious choice - far enough from the centre to avoid the skyrocketing house prices, but far enough from the edge to be safe. Well, as safe as you can be in New Tokyo.
"Misa?" She sighed. "Alright, in a minute mum." She called back. She clicked the bookmark button and shut the book. Yawning, Misato slipped on her coat and walked stepped onto the top step. Nothing happened. "Mum? The stairs are broken again!" Her mother came out of the kitchen, looking impatient. "Well you'll just have to walk down then, won't you?" She growled. Misa sighed and shuffled down the stairs slowly, muttering something about not seeing why they didn't have working stairs like everybody else.
* * *
Alexis sat up and looked over her half-moon glasses at the door, listening to the old fashioned jingle as it rang. She didn't even need glasses, and even if she had she could have just got optiscopes put in. But she liked them, good for the image. What was a librarian without half-moon glasses, after all? She was slightly puzzled by the doorbell ringing; she rarely got visitors now, since most people hated the old style buildings at the centre of the city. A few collectors came in (although most people just read macrobooks now) but the shop was closed, so it had to be a personal matter. The bell rang again and she snapped out of her thoughts and stood up.
She gasped slightly when she opened the door and saw him standing there. At six foot, she was considered reasonably tall, but she was dwarfed by him. She had always thought her flowing ginger hair stood out, but somehow his lack of hair stood out even more. He smiled, but it looked slightly forced, as if his smooth, tanned face wasn't used to showing such expressions.
"V-Vinny..." She started, but stopped abruptly when she realised she had no idea what to say. His smile disappeared and he grabbed her throat, ramming her against the wall. "You goddam Tokes are all the same. You shut your goddam mouth, a'right?" She gulped, feeling the saliva trickling down her dry throat, and managed to nod quickly.