I slowly walked down the sidewalk letting my head whip from right to left. The city was a stark and pristine collage of white and gray shapes. Even the city's cloudless sky seemed to be a lighter pale blue. The people themselves had too melted into the atmosphere of the city with their pale complexions and uniforms. I couldn't stop staring at this alien planet with its bizarre landscape and people.
I was not from the city, which is something few people can say nowadays, but from the barren country full of its wide spread ruins. There, living among crumbled structures entwined with vines and wildlife I had lived a colorful existence, which barely reached this world. I was wearing a sun faded light blue plaid shirt and my favorite pair of boots. My hair was let down and hair frizzed and stuck out in an unkempt manor. My leather knapsack was slung over my shoulders, and bulged with its heavy contents. I had walked for miles on end, and after weeks of traveling I finally reached my destination. From any other point of view, I would appear to be a horribly out of place farmer from the olden days, lost in the distant future. Sadly though, not many people even know what a farmer is and would just view me as an out of place stranger.
My home was considered to be isolated and desolate. Everything there was abandoned centuries ago and left to rot. Nature had taken its course, and most of it has grown over. I don't like the term "Barren lands" however, because it inclines that the area is devoid of life, color, and is a bare wasteland. Sure, there are barely any humans, but the other wildlife has blossomed in the time that was given, all of man's environmental damage was given time to reverse itself, and the barren lands were not so barren at all. In fact, one might be able to say that this city is more barren then the remains of the great deserts that lay scattered across the globe.
A few centuries ago, the world was falling into chaos. Pollution had gotten out of hand. The deserts which had grown beyond their original size were on the verge of consuming the earth, and almost ever species was endangered, including humans themselves. As time dwindled away, a brilliant scientist of the name Skywell rose out of the desert's sands with a striking new idea. He presented the worlds super powers with an amazing new race of computer and an underground farming system that could save us all. He proposed to build a large building that would double as a super computer to control a vast network of computer controlled underground farming systems. His idea was invested in, and soon a prototype was built.
It was a success! The building controlled a farming system independently, using barely any human force to operate. Within a month, enough food was produced to feed an entire city. Using genetically altered fast growing tough fruits and vegetables, the city was able to constantly produce this much food and sustain a whole city's worth of people.
This, of course, led to a city being built around the prototype, which was now fully operational. More super computers were built, and along with them so were many more cities. People migrated by the thousands to these cities, drawn in by the promise of food and shelter sometimes leaving whole communities empty within a day. Large cities became ghost towns, as they were abandoned for the newer high tech ones.
These cities popped up overnight sometimes in random placements draining the population of every area around them. Within five years, it was thought that entire populations resided within these cities. In the year 3310, the cities were all closed off by enormous walls to protect them from the harsh sand storms that were still plaguing the planet back then. Few expected this to happen, but after the walls were built communication between cities and the people within them began to cease to exist. It wasn't before long, but all communication had been lost due to the complete independent structure of the cities. The countries that the cities resided in had a quite downfall, as the cities took it upon themselves to create their own individual government.
By the year 3500, the world had started restoring itself through the process of nature. People in the cities had grown ignorant, forgetting about what lies on the other side of the walls. Most history and information had been lost, and few knew anything other than the history of their own city.
The few people out there that actually knew about the world were usually the ones that lived in the barren lands. One thing I don't think I'll ever know is how, why, and when people came into the barren lands. Some could've stayed, refusing to let the cities work for them, some might've escaped from the cities, or maybe some were exiled for trying to start a rebellion. There's a possibility that it's a mixture of these reasons and more, but I can never know.
Living in the barren lands, I have a lonely life. Every once in a while some else passes through, because I rarely leave my home. I live in the remains of an old company building. It had been built with thick walls, to protect it from the harshest of sandstorms. It was probably a government building at one point, judging by the shape and all of the technology left behind within it. The walls have acted as a barrier, keeping the building the same as the outside changed and eroded, allowing a new landscape to take hold. I don't have much memory of when I was younger, but a small group of traveling nomads found me when I was a baby and I traveled with them until I was old enough to take care of myself. I never thought of them as parental figures, for most people in the barren lands have a tough personality, and they wouldn't take care of me if they knew I could fend for myself.
When I was a little under ten years old, they dropped me off at a building on the outer edge of a city's ruins. To see a building of this age in such spectacular condition was an utter shock for me to behold. I had never seen something so new looking, even though some things were rusted and dusty. What surprised me tenfold were the gray blocks sitting on top of desks throughout the main building. They had a dark reflective piece of glass placed in the middle that seemed like a black window. It wasn't until a year later, that I turned one of these things on. I pressed a small button underneath the screen, which made it hum to life and suddenly light up, but beyond that I didn't know what to do with it.
One day while gathering plants I stumbled across a boy a little older than I that had been injured. I was still young and didn't really understand what had happened, apparently he had been attacked by some wild animal, so I showed him the old first aid kit and he took care of himself from there. After a few weeks, he had recovered greatly and taught me how to do many things. He taught me how to cook (I had been eating the canned food I found in the basement cold), he improved my knowledge on edible plants, and most importantly he showed me what that magical gray box was.
A computer, not the modern ones, but from when computers had reached their height in popularity. It wasn't a fancy computer and it was a little slow, but he showed me how to work it. Together we also found more computers that were stored in the closet. My favorite was the black thin rectangle that we found in a suitcase. It flipped open like a book, and instead of having that oval thing called a "mouse" attached to it, there was a flat touch bad. I had grown an image in my head that all computers were large and bulky, so this small device that could perform just as many functions as the larger one surprised me. I was taught by the boy everything he knew about computers, how to keep them running, how to shut them, and how to use some of the basic programs on them.
He eventually left, saying there was some where he had to go. In a way, he was the only kind person I had ever seen in my life, so the memories I have of him hold a special place in my mind. One thing he didn't teach me about, in fact he told me to stay away from it was the
I could type in anything, and find out what it was. I was able to read stories and look at pictures. I would stay up all night as often as I could browsing through stories and websites. I was saddened to find out though, that the internet had not been used for centuries. The only reason that it still exists is because at one point satellites were thrown into space, and every computer was made so that it could access the internet from anywhere via these satellites. Once the new "modern" generation of computers was invented, the internet was discarded and no longer used. It had been replaced by something else, not the internet, but something similar to it that connected modern age computers. It was called the "Skywalk" which was a play on the creator's name "Skywell" and the word "Skywalk" which referred to a great bridge that used to connect two continents through the sky that was built somewhere in the year 3000. It allowed people to directly communicate with each other and transfer data to one another. Each city had a "Tower" on the Skywalk. All people had an account in the Tower, which allowed them to talk to and send things to other people in the Tower. Government officials were the only ones that could communicate outside of their Tower though; this was so city's officials could keep in contact with the others from other cities. This feature had never been put to use from my understanding, and people only communicated within their Tower, using Tower Connectors, which were devices built into modern computers so they could access Skywalk.
Some of my computers had Tower Connectors, and I was able to access Skywalk as some type of government official. I would get news broadcastings from each city's Tower, so I was pretty aware with current events.
But onto how I reached my current situation. Using the internet, I got a true feeling of the world was like. Big, vast, and we will never understand how it works no matter how we try. I was at a young age when I came up with the conclusion that I would never know everything, no one, not even the internet, will know everything. As time passed, I became an internet expert. I found out about "viruses" and "spy ware" that plagued my computers a few times. I read articles dating back from when the internet was first invented. I watched and read enough until I felt I had memorized the encyclopedia.
So when I got a news article from a city's Tower, saying that an underground rebellion had infected their cities network of computers with a virus and was stealing information and locking up the computers, I was able to contact with them using Skywalk and give them directions on how to manually remove the Spyware.
Now, this city was having virus troubles again. I had left them directions on how to take care of other viruses and such just in case the rebels tried to do anything again, but it seems they're having quite a problem right now, and they even insisted that I go take care of it in person.
As of where I stand right now, the only problem I notice is the complete lack of color and life within the city walls, and I feel that if spend any more time than needed here that I would fall into a great depression. After a good amount of walking through the twisting city streets I arrived upon the station that I was told to wait at. It was the late afternoon on a work day, so few people were roaming the city streets. The people that were, were accompanied by holographic projections of computer screens and were holding multiple touch screen computers and communication devices. I had read about most of these devices, but most of my knowledge came from the internet which is a bit out dated in this subject. People were so immersed in the small computers and technology surrounding them; they probably don't even notice how empty the world around them is. Althoughâ€¦I remember hearing something about this city having a downtown fashion market that opens up during the night. That was probably the only thing worth seeing.
After a while of considering whether or not I should take out my laptop, I decided its better not to waste what little battery juice I had. I brought a couple of laptops on the trip, because there are barely any outlets that fit the charger cable nowadays, especially not in the city. Plus, I have no idea if this supposedly super advanced virus would be able to make its way on my computer. If it started corrupting my files, it would have a decent amount of hell to pay.
I started to grow drowsy, after all I had just been travelling for weeks and this is my final destination. I sat on a white bench and leaned my head against the wall. Apparently some helping assistant from was to come along and give me directions on where to go, I could only imagine what that would look like. As I thought on these things my eyes grew heavy and the world around me started to fade away. In the end if felt like I was sleeping indoors because the last thing I remember seeing was white, and the outdoors has never been such a boring color.
The streets had begun to fill up with sounds as the day ended and people came home from worked. My eyes opened up and I stretched surveying my surroundings. The street was indeed full of much more people that it had been before, and this time some of the people noticed my presence on the bench and let their stares fall on me and stay until they walked away. I shifted uncomfortably and yawned, I didn't like the feeling of being stared at by multiple people. I wasn't used to being around people; this was probably the most people I've ever seen in my life, so it's only natural that I should feel uncomfortable.
I twisted around to crack my lower back and noticed a green blinking dot on the wall behind me. I inspected the dot, and above it in small letters the phrase "Message waiting" appeared. I looked around me, then back at the small blinking dot. A message?
"â€¦" I felt uncomfortable sitting there. I got the feeling that maybe somebody else was supposed to be here and that there was some type of message waiting for them. Possibly I had overslept and the assistant had left me here. I stood up and swiped my hands across my pants trying to smooth down the wrinkles and started walking down. The dot moved along the wall with my movements as if it was following me. A girl with unnaturally golden hair who had been watching me stated "You have a message you know. "and continued walking down the side walk.
I wanted to ask her what I should do, but the tone she used when she talked about it gave me the sense it was something even an idiot would know. Nothing I had read on the internet had prepared me for this. I nervously bit my lips and turned towards the blinking dot again. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man turned towards the wall. He had a little over twelve of the blinking dots following him. He pressed on one and a screen opened up on the wall.
"Ohhhâ€¦" It was a touch screen. I pressed the little dot, and it sprang open, revealing a window. Inside the window was a face that was very pixilated so I couldn't make out any exact details, but It was certainly a face. A green blocky woman's face with a light green background. As if I hadn't had enough troubles being around humans, now I had to deal with these computer people tooâ€¦
That's right! Computer navigations systems! I had read about them on the internet, they were to be programmed right into the walls of the city itself, so people could access a computer from anywhere. "Thank you ----- welcome to PROTOTYPE. We are the first of all of the modern cities to be built. We are the biggest and the most advanced, and welcome visitors with open arms." The box spoke, and the mouth of the image moved along with the words. It had an extremely electronic sounding voice, and the words and sentences didn't flow together.
I snickered at what it was saying. Obviously they figured they weren't going to get many visitors, and never changed what the system greets visitors with. It still referred to the city as Prototype, which was it's name originally because that's exactly what it was. The prototype city. And plus, computers don't have arms, and the people around me didn't look like they were too pleased to see me. I doubted any one was going to give me a warm and fuzzy open armed welcome.
"Hello, please proceed to the Jewel where you will get further directions. We thank you for taking your time to come to our city Barenlander." This time the voice was smoother and sounded more realistic, but there was still the faint hint that it was computer generated. This must've been programmed recently.
"So where exactly do I proceed to?" I asked feeling extremely stupid talking to a wall.
"Please follow me." The box collapsed into a green arrow the size of my hand. It started gliding across the wall at an easy speed to follow. I walked across streets and through a few narrow alley ways. It was getting late, and the sun was going to set soon. I crossed through one alley way that opened up to a large area. It was closed in by the tall buildings and looked almost abandoned. But soon shops appeared out of nowhere, with the shifting of metal and rock wall turned into door and windows, I wondered why, they would need the shops to be hidden during the day, and wanted to stay but as soon as I slowed down a voice would come from the arrow stating that I needed to speed up, for I was going to be late.
Then, we came across it, the Jewel. Inside the Jewels Metal pyramid on its top that reflected the sky, was the world's largest, and first, super computer. It was marvelous, the way the pyramid reflected the clouds and the darkening sky. I stood there with my neck bent all the way backwards, surveying the tower. Walking on ground level, it's hard to see this tower because of all the other tall buildings, but this is surely the tallest building in the whole city. From the outside, I could see it standing like a giant, reaching into the sky. It had towered above everything else, with its gleaming top and black plated sides. It might be just to say that this is the only beautiful thing the city has to offer.
After my neck stiffened up, I walked inside. I came up to the receptionist at the front desk but she just scanned me from head to toe and waved me away. I looked around and flopped down on a white couch that was pushed up to a large window. As soon as you walk inside to the building you enter the lobby. It was simple and white, but had an assortment of modern art pieces hanging from the wall, and metal sculptures carefully placed throughout the room. There was even a sculpture that doubled as a fountain in between the elevator and what appeared to be a large garbage shoot or something.
This was the city's main building, used by important officials and people that took care of the computers and the city itself. A good percentage of the city works at this tower, because most of the few jobs you can pick from are I the city. From my understanding you don't really have to pay for anything, because the government supplies it all from the underground storage and farming facilities. Must be nice to not have to worry about anythingâ€¦ The lobby was bustling with busy people, and also those who were on their way out, wrapping up their work for the day. The receptionist looks like she was too busy talking with her friends to be working, and I was starting to get annoyed at her laid back attitude. If a higher up saw that she was sitting there like that, she would surely get fired wouldn't she?
After a good hour or so of waiting, the lobby had become quite as most of the people had left for home. All of the others that were still in the building were probably busy working upstairs. Suddenly a porky looking man came out of the elevator and started yelling at the receptionist, woops some ones in trouble. He pointed and wagged his finger at her and all of her computers shouting and I couldn't help but think how dumb he looked. This man was middle aged, he was balding, and I was surprised he didn't have trouble coming out of the elevator. It would seem as though the elevators' opening wasn't wide enough for himâ€¦ oh yes, he was that porky.
The receptionist looked as though this man was of none importance and brushed everything he was throwing at her off. She rolled her eyes and spun around in her chair to look towards me. She motioned for me to come towards her, so I got up and approached the desk. I glanced sideways at the fat man, who was tapping his foot, and noticed his face was an odd pink color.
"Look, how many times do I have to tell you? So what if you're the president's daughter, you have to do your job!" He continued to lecture her despite the fact that I was standing right next to him.
"That barren land scum was supposed to be here an hour ago, but now I won't know if she showed up or not! She probably saw the city, got scared, or ran home! No, you probably ignored her and she went home! That is it I'm telling her father!" I became extremely peeved, figuring I was the "Barren Land Scum" he was referring to.
I coughed into my hand, loud enough to get his attention.
"Ah, yes, I seem to be that scum that was supposed to be here an hour ago, and despite being scum I have good memory of walking in here an hour ago, and being told to wait by a preoccupied receptionist." I addressed both of them giving an exceptionally long glare to the girl behind the desk.
They both gulped in unison, blushing, (In the man's case he just turned a deeper pink). The girl shrunk back into her office chair as the man across the desk from her sent her an obvious "You're-in-trouble-and-you-know-it "stare. He turned towards me and put on his best tour guide smile, which seemed a little rusty. "My deepest apologies Missâ€¦ahâ€¦you look a little youngâ€¦" He peered down at me with his beady little eyes and I glared right back.
"Ahâ€¦well I guess the border lands have their own system of working, don't they?" He looked unruffled glancing back and forth between me and the elevator. He must be thinking "Dear me why do I have to take care of this scumâ€¦my position is certainly too high to get stuck with a job like this."
"Dear meâ€¦" He started than looked at my unwavering glare and stopped; he wouldn't actually say that to my face now would he?
"Wait hereâ€¦ahhâ€¦Ma'amâ€¦I'll go get someone to take care of youâ€¦" His head looked around the lobby as he spoke, as if he was searching for a life line to help him out.
"Oh yes! Ms. Bridget, how about you escort this young lady to the director's officeâ€¦yes? She has a very important with ahâ€¦the directorâ€¦or was it the president? No surely it must be the directorâ€¦they wouldn't let her see the president would they?" His words faded away towards the end until I could barely hear them. This man was seriously ticking me off; I secretly hoped the president wasn't like this tooâ€¦