Story:Darana, Island City-State

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Darana, Island City-State
Written 10 March 2018
Timeframe 19 Charu 4318
Wordcount 1250
Character(s) Daora Meredok
Location Darana, Coracan, Primanna
Also posted at Chromographia

Dawn rises on the metropolis; sunbeams bounce off great glass towers and the sea. Pale yellow lights slowly flicker off and the city wakes up.

The city stretches around a bay on all sides, glittering in magnificence. Stretching impossibly high into the sky is the Wallen Building: a spindly, yet stately, stick of glass, steel and concrete.

The streets are still, for now. Cleaning trucks brush the streets.

In the thick of this city, was a hoodied figure. She stood at Astrolabe station, the hub for all trains on the island, but never actually boarded a train there.

What was she doing here? In truth, she didn't know. At least it was her money she was spending travelling here; it was earned at a Nacmange 'restaurant' where teens deep fry kurutic (a foodstuff created from kurut beetles and tasting about halfway between bread and potato) and (minorly) burn themselves on a semi-regular basis.

That was outside of school of course, which she would have been in, had it not been the weekend. Not that she'd ever need to come here to get to school - the city centre was far out of her way.

It just seemed the right place to be now.

Would granddad know where she was? Maybe he would call any minute, wondering where she was. She'd know if her phone weren't on silent.

She sat on one of many wooden benches, clenching a cast iron armrest. People of all descriptions rushed past in all directions. Business people (why on a weekend she didn't fully understand) in grey suits filed past in an orderly fashion with their bulky suitcases while holding their smartphones to their ears and talking about such bland topics as 'growth', and 'targets'.

A few students walked with purpose to the electric trains, but there weren't many of them. Cleaners, restaurant staff, police, clerks, receptionists, ticketers and emotionless security cameras worked tirelessly to keep everything running.

Then there were the tourists: an awful lot of tourists; some were from the towns on the south coast, here for some special purpose she didn't know, but the rest were international, mostly from Bandonia and the northern coast of Brontia. The Cassavelians were in a league of their own, when they showed up, they really made their presence known with their incessant signing (chanting) and coming in large groups with identical shirts.

She decided to look up at the many television screens hanging from the ceiling. Most were simply showing train schedules, but a few were showing national news.

A female newscaster in bright red pointed at a map of Darana on the screen, with the districts shown in various shades of blue. She explained the information to a panel of three sitting behind a desk.

They were election results for the office of National Chief Executive. A few people around the station were mildly interested and raised their heads once in a while, but the vast majority kept their heads down. At 16, she couldn't vote yet, but that didn't mean she wasn't studying the results.

Most of the country was awash with brilliant shades of blue, with slightly less blue in the densest areas and even some yellow, red and green areas showed up on the map. The preferences were yet to be calculated fully, but the result was clear and had been for several hours. Out of the 113 seats in the Legislative Assembly, 61 of the 57 required seats for majority government had been won by the incumbent National Democratic League. Again. The last 60 years had not seen a change in government. She wondered why the national broadcaster (the only one) even bothered to pretend the election was legitimate.

Chief Executive Naramendarekam would be reappointed to the role by the end of the month for his fifth four-year term, despite the fact that the constitution explicitly limited the Chief Executive to three terms. This was a minor inconvenience and hadn't even batted the eyes of the judges on the Supreme Court four years ago.

She noted, however, that large swings away from the NDL had taken place in most constituencies. Maybe the government was admitting that change was happening.

Ugh. Politics was tiring. Not great for the neck. She rubbed it.

She looked downwards at the concrete floor. For a few moments, she fiddled with her necklace, which contained a tiny green stone so dark it was almost black. Holding the stone in front of her eyes, she noticed it slowly become transparent.

It was an heirloom from her mother's side of the family and one of the few things that still left of her that she could hold. If only she were here now.

What would she have said?

She couldn't answer that question. She'd hardly even know how to imagine her: what she would look like now or how she'd act. It was messy, and that's all she'd say about it.

Her stomach winged. She headed for a restaurant and handed over a 100-Yat note. The meal: a chicken wrap with chilli sauce (she brought her own water-bottle). She received one half-Yat coin from the cashier.

She took her time and savoured the meal. It was easier to eat than to wonder why she wasn't doing something else with 'friends'. Sixteen-year-olds were supposed to have friends, right?

Well...While her schoolmates had been discovering pop music and mobile phones, she'd been devouring books of all sorts: from history to entomology to fantasy, to Why You Have An Appendix ((4300/5) by Dr. H.C. Miller, subtitled 1000 Weird Facts About The Human Body).

There were three real friends of hers, though. She wondered what they'd be doing this afternoon.

At this point, she saw the 12:47 from Kessal Prefecture entering the station on her left. It wheezed to a standstill. The doors opened. People trickled out. She tapped a piece of plastic at the entrance and took a seat.

The carriage was about half filled and had quite a sterile feel. The green-and-yellow plastic trappings and blue-cushioned seats made it look a bit like a hospital. No gum under the seats, that was illegal. Nor was there graffiti scratched into the windows; there was glass filler for that.

Reluctantly, she pulled out her phone. The lock screen was bombarded with notifications.

One missed call from 'Grandad' - 10:09
Charyn Bergen-  games night starts at 1830 at my place
its 96B not 69B jason :D  Sent at 10:15
Charyn Bergen - coming to games night - Sent at 10:36
Tim Ngak - kom on Daora! want 2 go or not - Sent at 10:41
Jason Kammarsan - ??? - Sent at 11:01
Now she remembered. They'd been planning a games night for the last week and she hadn't confirmed she would go.
Marku station passed her by. She texted:
will go

Bass St. Station with its famous clock tower, was stopped at. The train moved again.

Little circles popped up on the screen, indicating that the others had seen it.

A bunch of other stations passed by as she looked out the window at the passing city and thought. It was a skill she had honed to kill boredom on transit.

Glass-and-steel commercial buildings gave way to residential buildings, but she wasn't really paying attention. She was looking forward to board games, followed by swapping their projects around and setting challenges for each other.

Daora disembarked at Kessal Station and walked a short distance to her house. The houses were wall-to-wall and predominately an off-white colour with red tiled roofs.

She let herself into her house, B78.

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