City of Dreams

They call Paris the city of dreams these days, which is kind of funny or maybe ironic, since all the other Earthly cities are nothing now but dust and dreams. No one really remembers how it happened, or why, but one day the tide turned and the sea changed and everyone, everyone, decided they had to live in Paris. Almost overnight the population swelled from 18 million to something closer to 35 million, and the people kept flowing in. Trash filled the gutters; hotel foyers took on the interlocking-people look of an Escher print; people died standing up and couldn’t fall down in the press of humanity.

By the time Orly Orbitale opened for business, the aire urbaine housed a hair less than 100 million people. Paris ate the countryside. Before it was all over, Paris was France, and France was, for all intents, Paris.

London collapsed; New York decayed; Mumbai vanished. The only other cities that showed any population growth were the canisters at L5 and above Nairobi.

And to this day, no one knows why.

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