Deathwalker 3.2

             The float stopped with a suddenness that slapped me back so fast that the fancy seat barely adjusted in time. A huge CarbonCoreTM mesh gate towered inches from the float’s nose. There was no visible scanner. Of course, the dim blue lights of the tunnel weren’t conducive for seeing mucah of anything.
            Even as I opened my mouth to ask if this was the here he meant, the gate swung open inwardly, and I was blinded by a flood of light. Feeling the float moving forward, I blinked rapidly to try to clear my vision and then stared dumbly.
            And I thought I was nervous before.
            I had expected a mansion, something expensive and intimidating. What I saw was a compound. Fields of flora spread out to either side until they we ran into a vast wall. There were hundreds of different colors along with shades of green that I had never seen before. And the land! The entire city could practically fit in these walls. Of course, the house in the middle could probably have held most of the people from the city. At least half.
            Not only was it huge, especially by Kaihmi standards, but it also had an Old-World feel that simply wasn’t used anymore. I had never seen it outside of books or old shells that had somehow survived back on Earth or New Earth. People simply didn’t decorate their houses like that now. They couldn’t. It was nearly impossible with the new interstellar building standards. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could manage to build a place like this. Or why people weren’t knocking at the gates to see it.
            Unless they didn’t know it was there. I frowned. But we’d have to be completely out of sight of the city for that to happen. How far had we traveled in that tunnel?
            Eyebrows furrowed, I peered back behind me. The towering shadows of the city were visible but distant. People in the city should be able to see it. Come to think of it, I should’ve seen it as Whisp danced through the entry field. My eyes narrowed and I leaned forward as far as I could to look up. I could see the sky and the ships moving as they landed. I turned my head, trying to see the walls from a different angle.
            “Figure it out yet?” The laconic voice startled me so that I jumped and hit my head on the float’s ceiling. “Maybe you’re not so slow after all. Not many people ever think to look.”
            My head hurt, and the back of my neck heated as I realized that I’d been practically crawling around his float – I’d gotten so caught up that I’d completely forgotten he was there. Before I could catch my scattered wits, his door field had already dissolved, and he was out of the float. I nearly fell out of my side in my hurry to catch up.
            “It’s LightBlock isn’t it?” I asked quickly, trying to show that I wasn’t a complete rube. “A whole dome of it.” I had seen a dome during the flight in. It was the only explanation I could think of that made sense.
            He stopped and gave me a long considering stare. It was the first time I’d actually seen surprise on his face.
            “You’ve heard of LightBlock?” he asked instead of answering my question.
            Actually, the new factory head had hired Neph to talk to the inventor, who had unfortunately died before sharing the secret of the technology with his son. It was the first deathwalk Neph had let me sit in on, so I remembered it vividly although I hadn’t understood all the nuances at the time. But the son had been nice, so I was glad to see he’d gotten everything working.
            I didn’t say that though. Neph had recommended (ordered) me to never mention her name to the Ialuans, especially deathwalkers. So as much as I wanted to see Ter Dryst’s reaction to the story, I simply nodded instead.

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