Most people when they arrive at the gates to Rumeo have an ecstatic reaction to the opulent display awaiting you up the steps from the train station. There is a huge ceramic façade, etched with hundreds of different languages in a variety of colorful letters. It is a rocky tapestry dedicated to the diversity of the human condition. I do appreciate it, but I know the real reason why all the nations from the contested lands sent them here. No politician likes a refugee camp outside their office. On each side of this slab of sedimentary color are two waterfalls, pumping in ocean water in an endless curtain of roaring fluid. I only stared at it for a few seconds. I was carrying too much stuff. My gun was heavy in the guitar case. My luggage, a single black carry-on with a red ribbon tied onto its zipper to distinguish it from the others in the cargo bay, had a drone on the bottom so it would follow me without being pulled. Still, I could feel my forearms starting to shake from my war weapon.
The streets on the way to my motel smelled like saltwater, metal, and fried food. There is a cacophony of feet on concrete, chatter on phones and watches, and the dull mechanized whine of the light rail buzzing over and between rooftops. The streets are filled with people, carts, cars, bikes, motorcycles, drones, and hoverboards. I wanted to take the train to my lodgings, but they said to avoid mass transit on the account of my target, whatever that meant. The weather over Rumeo is almost continuous rain and clouds, an endless array of sprinkles, downpours, mists, and deluges. This morning it was an idle drizzle that bounced against the top of my head. I did not bring an umbrella.
I did not think I would have to walk this much.
My motel was right next to the Neon Quarter, an outer section of the city that spread in a slummy ring around the skyscrapers in the center. If this cities’ layout were a dart board, the lower scoring portion would be this distant halo, and the bullseye would be the wealthy center. It was called the Martian. It was a flat block of a building, with purple bars over its windows, and a ruby red neon sign of thin letters flashing “Martian” in cursive. It sat over the front door like an electric gargoyle. An automatic door snarled open when I approached. Inside, there was a small lobby with blue furniture, a long black desk with a sheet of bulletproof glass resting atop it like an eyelid. There were a bunch of miscellaneous pieces of paper taped along it in various languages. The air stunk of dust, cobwebs, and a cheap, sweet smelling air freshener. A ceiling fan whined somewhere nearby. Outside a car honked. A man yelled. Glass broke. Someone screamed.
“Hello,” I said at the window, knocking on it. There was a grumble. A blob of a man strolled over from the back of the building. He was smoking an e-cig with a neon pink line along its silver hull. He was morbidly obese, and wearing a short sleeved shirt, that was once white, but now sweated and stained into a urine-like yellow. He was nearly bald and had a blue visor over his eyes. He looked like he lived constantly in the Verge, a virtual reality network where life was not as real.
“What?” He said, pulling back the headpiece to reveal a dimpled forehead with two brown eyes.
“Here for Adamov. Need my key,” I said.
He sat down on a black stool with grunt and typed on his computer.
“How long will you be here?” He asked. His voice had an accent to it. I could not tell from where.
“However long it takes,” I said.
He rolled his forehead at me with an annoyed frown.
“Okay, we can go day by day, but the computer still wants a limit.” He said.
“The computer gets what the computer wants,” I laughed.
“Sorry. Just put in two weeks. Hopefully, I do not have to be here any longer. I don’t like swimming in cesspools for very long.” I said.
The man did not say anything. He just nodded and handed me a small, gray fab with the number nine written on to it.
“You’re good to go. They just finished up there.”
“Who? The cleaning crew?” I said.
“Yeah, I think so. I think it was them.” He said reaching for his visor on the desk. He sat down on the stool and leaned back with a smile.
There it is. Genesis Adust part three. Here is part one of this story. Here is part two. And just for good measure, part four will happen next week. Thank you everyone for reading my fiction. I love cyberpunk so much.