Through her transparent umbrella, Dame Li gazed at the rainy night. A sudden downpour rustled in the semi-artificial canopy, high above the busy street. Few drops survived the journey to the ground. They were warm and heavy, like fragments of the nearby ocean. They scattered the street lights against the smooth bark of Eloran pseudotrees, drawing constellations of halos alongside the white coral walls of arcologies. Far away to the south, the space elevator towered in the night. A needle made of glass and azure, a tendril extending away from the forest and towards the stars. Lakshmi City blossomed all around the megastructure in concentric circles of arcologies and world-trees; they all gleamed in red, gold and blue, reflected on the envelopes of passing airships. The pyramid of the Crimson River filled the left bank of the river with red-violet halos. A convoy of ten Farseer Transporters had entered low Eloran orbit earlier in the evening. The crew and passengers probably wandered the hallways of the pyramid, trying to drown the cold loneliness of three months alone in space with the warmth and lights of games, books, music and lovemaking -- not necessarily in that order. Many wondrous things would be birthed by the night to come. Conspiracies; fortunes made and unmade; love stories and untold pleasures. Distant mirages, as far as Dame Li was concerned.
She folded her umbrella, brushed off a leaf that covered the white triangle on her left shoulder and got on her Traverse Citizens' Militia-issued bicycle. Tonight's case was three blocks away. It involved a sentient tree, a Turing-complete drone and three small, yet to be identified Eloran animals. It was a noise complaint.
Illustration : Pexels.
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