Ascension II: Talkin' to the Walls

Yrtle pushed his way through the slow-flowing sludge of low-grades exiting Center, noticing one guy in an Atomworks uniform a size too big for him casting furtive glances at everyone. Escaped con, he surmised – must have hopped off a transport, ’cos sure as hell no one ever escaped from JDC itself.

He stopped at a stall to buy Dona a gift: her favourite fungal inflorescence, a fleshy stem bearing ruddy discs like inflamed blisters. It had a powerful scent which for 99. 9% of the population was sweetly fragrant, but for the remaining 0.1% who lacked the necessary receptor, stank like goat’s urine. Freshly nauseated, Yrtl headed home.

He called Dona as he stepped through the door – no reply. Moving from room to room, he found each empty.

Might as well talk to the walls, he thought. Like every building in JS, the apartment had a low-level sentience built-in: just enough to oversee routine domestic tasks and allow constant surveillance by the authorities.

“Hey wall!” shouted Yrtl at the plasterwork.

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