Intercosmic - Chapter 42 - Tranquillus, Nyame

Edan insisted on seeing me off, as if it would be the last time we ever saw each other. He offered to give me a ride to Tranquillus, but I didn’t want to get in any more trouble with him. I also don’t think it would be a great idea to bring him to a small town. Tranquillus only has a population of about one million people, not as big. One of the smaller places I’ve been to besides Pluto or the resort on Enceladus; it’s by far the smallest actual city. But, it’ll be nice to have something a little quieter for a change. I opted to take the hour-long train ride, I was actually looking forward to it. I’ve always been a fan of trains, I just wish they were a little slower. I enjoy the moving scenery, but it moves by too fast for me to fully take in. Watching the towering metropolis of Invicta shrink into nothingness before speeding through the wild forest area around the lake, riding along the water side. Slowly a small town pops up and grows into a thriving city. An old one, one like the texts, data entries and videos. I’ve never seen so many single-family residences before. It’s got an entirely different style than Invicta.

I make my way onto the platform and look for my ride. I took a job with an older couple who needed some help on their property. Blake Meadows, a small farm, or ranch, and bar on the outskirts of town. I said I could just get a taxi, but they insisted on picking me up. I guess I should have asked if they had a sign or something. Do people actually do that outside of films?

My wrist comp rings, I tap it to take the call, “Hello.”

“You the lost looking boy with the rucksack and two bags,” the voice asks.

“Yeah, that’s me.”

“Great,” the call ends and an elderly man waves at me.

“Thanks for picking me up,” I offer my hand.

“Not a problem...hmm. Sorry, I can’t remember your name, we have so many workers in and out. They never last once Pauline gets a hold of them.”

“I’m Efrem Gray,” I follow him out of the station.

“Martin Delany-Hopkins, just call me Martin. Nobody calls me Marty but my wife, and only when she’s mad.”

“Yes sir.”

“That formal stuff won’t last long. You been in the military?”

“Marines.”

“I was too, during the corporation wars. We can trade stories one day.”

“I’d like that.”

The ride to the plantation is slow. Martin drives incredibly slow, but mostly so he can point out key locations in the city. Peculiar Park, a massive park where they occasionally hold concerts in an amphitheater. Martin likes when they show classic films outside. There’s a museum of classic music I can’t wait to check out. The more he shows me of the town, the more I like it. It also seems like a town stuck in the past. While Invicta was probably fifty percent human, I’ve barely seen anyone of another species here. The town isn’t without charm, I really do like it, but it doesn’t seem like the happiest place.

“You ever done farm work before?”

“No,” I don’t even know how to grow houseplants.

“What about bar tending?”

“I’ve tended to a lot of bars,” I joke.

“What about general labor?”

“Now, I can do that.”

“Well, most of the farming is done by robotics. Your job will be maintaining them. If you maintain them, you don’t need to learn how to repair them.”

“I’ll be sure to take notes.”

We approach Blake Meadows, a huge sign above the entrance makes sure that everyone driving past knows exactly where we are. The property looks massive as we drive along a winding road. There’re are fields of some kind of yellow plant growing from vines spread tightly across the dirt. Small robots tend to it, some watering the plants, others collecting and dropping them into baskets.

“Sorry the pay isn’t much, but you can borrow the car if you’ve got a license and you get a whole separate guest house to yourself. It’s small, one bedroom, but it’s got a kitchen, living and dining room. It’s basically a really nice apartment. You can have dinner with us every night if you’d like,” Martin seems almost apologetic but I’m getting a good deal here.

“I’m sorry I don’t have more work experience.”

“We’re marines, we adapt. I’m sure you’ll be fine after the first week. Truth be told, I mostly cook at the bar and make deliveries around town. I do some handy work around the house, but Pauline handles the hard stuff. Making sure the robots run, the harvests are up to quality, sales and all that.”

“Sounds like a lot of work.”

“It is, and honestly, I want to sell the place, but Pauline says it isn’t in good enough shape for anyone to want it. I’m 117, she’s 112, we’re not young anymore. She just won’t let the place go.”

“At least that means I’ve got a job.”

“For now, if you don’t catch on, she’ll fire you. She loves firing people.”

“I better get on her good side.”

“Well, she won’t be back for a few days so you’ve got me until then.”

We spend the rest of the afternoon touring the grounds. The yellow fruit outside is far from the largest crop. It’s for a niche market of people who like to purchase food grown in the ground. Majority of the food is grown is massive vertical farms off behind the tree line of their home. It’s a style of home I don’t recognize, but I can tell it’s old, made well before I was born. Eventually he hands me the keys to the guest house after he’s shown me everything important. It’s nothing special, but it’s bigger than any apartment I’ve ever owned. There’s some basic furniture, but nicer than what I owned. It’s not a bad place to live. It’s quiet, lonely. I need to buy a television or computer, maybe a book. For now, the bed is much more comfortable than Edan’s couch, which means it’s three times as comfortable as mom and dad’s.

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