The Tumbleweed reduces speed and falls in with the traffic flow on the main drag of Scar City. Vehicles pass and maneuver around each other on the ground, in the air, and up and down the walls of the skyscrapers. Life in Scar City runs in every possible direction.
Feller reaches out the window and slaps a trajectory indicator onto the outer wall. Like a police light, the indicator offers warning to other drivers of a vehicle’s general trajectory – and when it might change direction. Most of the time the indicator lights just point straight ahead but when a turn is imminent, they can prevent mass collisions. Faster vehicles stay closer to the ground while the slower sightseeing ones float along up higher.
“How close are we?” Rebecca asks.
“About a block away, according to the coordinates,” May says, poking data into her keyboard. “We should see it up here on our right.”
The airship Tumbleweed is like four RVs stuck together, an oversized tour bus lumbering through the city. Most smaller craft make way for it. Every so often a hovering bike or other tiny object will bounce off the side. The driver might wave a fist or spit out a few choice words but then they move on.
“Right… here,” May says. They all lean forward and look out the front window to their right. There sits a monolithic grey high rise about a block wide and many stories tall. It’s got almost no features but Rebecca remembers the spot where she fell out onto the sidewalk. They can see the Tumbleweed reflected back at them in the dark windows.
“That’s it,” Rebecca says. “We were in that high rise. At least Sam was. I was invited to leave. I wonder how we can get in there and see what’s going on without being detected. I don’t want to do anything to endanger Sam.”
“Hey May, let’s try something,” Feller says. “Remember those codes you had that looked like Casino security, but it turned out they were not? Do you still have those?”
“Yeah,” May says and fishes a scrap of paper out of her high-top sneaker. “Right here.” She unfolds the paper and flattens it out in front of her with her palms.
“Let’s see if we can get a better look at that thing from the outside,” Feller says. He hops out of his chair and grabs a see-through viewer from the console. The viewer is a rectangle the size of a large picture frame with handles on the sides and glass at the center. He affixes the viewer to the front window so they have to look through it in order to see the high rise.
“There we are. Put one of those codes into this thing and let’s see what happens,” Feller says to May. “I’ve got a hunch.”
May’s fingers fly across the keyboard. The viewer’s screen fills with lines like a blueprint superimposed on the real building. Walls fill in while labels and coordinates appear. When the process comes to a stop they can see a complete schematic of the high rise complete with who supposedly occupies each floor.
Philo appears in the doorway. “I see you found a use for those codes. I have been analyzing them as well. They provide access to hidden information about the building when used correctly.”
Philo plugs a long cord into the side of his head. Next he steps forward and attaches the other end to the viewer in the window. The blueprint on the glass now fills in with more details and labels in between the ones that were already visible.
“Can you magnify that?” Rebecca asks.
The view expands and Philo focuses on the top several floors. With the new information they can see that these floors belong to “VTT.”
“I saw those letters when I was there,” Rebecca says. “But I never saw it spelled out.”
“VTT stands for Vertical Technologies Testing,” Philo says. “Angelica told me that this is a secret testing facility for technologies relating to upper atmosphere activities.”
“Upper atmosphere,” Rebecca says. “Like the sunlight amplifiers?”
“Perhaps,” Philo says.
“Interesting,” Rebecca says. “Now we have to find a way to determine where Sam is, if he is still there at all.”
NEPTUNE ROAD ©2015 BETSY STREETER. PLEASE SHARE WITH A SCI FI LOVING FRIEND!