It is a nice morning when Kitty steps outside. The sun filters through the ocean above and flickers down around her, shining in shifting patterns on the ground. The crisscross shadows of the metal supports of her neighborhood dome lay around her.
Her apartment is on the edge of the dome and she walks a couple blocks along the border on her way to work. On the other side of the thick glass and metal beams, there’s an underwater garden. More than the usual underwater flora, the plants around this dome have been cultivated especially for the high-end residents.
There are all sorts of colors, from red to yellow, to green to blue. The texture is mesmerizing, too. There are tall plants with long leaves waving in the current, shorter plants with bright bunches on the end of their arms like water flowers, and bushes that look like red fur. The glass is scrubbed almost every single day so the residents can see clearly. They tend to pay a lot of taxes in this neighborhood.
Kitty was very excited to find the apartment that she shares with two other roommates, in this neighborhood, especially at that rate. She didn’t really want to move to the towers where most people live. In the dome, she gets mostly fresh air, soft ground to walk on, and a nice view of fancy underwater plants. She definitely cannot complain.
At the end of the block of nice apartments and expensive houses, she turns and starts walking through the center of the dome. Once in the middle of the dome, she can almost forget she’s underwater, with 100 meters of ocean above her.
The paths between the houses are clean and mostly empty this time of the morning. There’s a sub-bus stop near her house on the edge of the dome, but she likes walking. It’s when she gets her best ideas for stories.
Once Kitty nears the other side of the dome, she sees the undersea mountains in the distance that surround the city. In front of the mountains, she sees towers. She aims towards the nearest tower, a tall one covered with circular windows. The top ten floors are residential, and the bottom ten are offices.
She passes under a low glass tunnel to the tower, entering at the first floor. Clanking cage-like lifts take her up to the seventh level, where several accounting offices are located. She enters one, though almost no one else has arrived yet. Their typewriters sit like metal ghosts on their desks, papers covered in scribbled numbers, formulas, and calculations laying in stacks next to each desk.
Kitty makes her way to the meeting room, which has a small round window out into the ocean. She peers through the window and sees her neighborhood dome just below them. It looks like a shining bubble trapped in a cage of metal.
She can see a few other domes in the distance, on the flat ridge where they make their city. There are many other towers trickling off into the distance, with yellow lit windows, mostly round and very rusty. Factories off to the left pump steam out of pipes that looks like a spout of bubbles shooting into the ocean. A school of fish swim by in front of her window, their blue scales glinting with reflected light. A pair of dolphins cast shadows on the seafloor.
From that high up, she can see that the city ridge is ringed by underwater mountains, with chasms cutting through the city, and ridges in the distance. The chasms are dark; little light reach their depths. When Kitty first moved to Seastelle, she used to fear falling into a chasm so badly she refused to ride her water scooter over them.
Sub-buses chug by on their routes, accompanied by smaller, personal subs and water scooters. The drivers of Seastelle are fearless, ignoring both the chasms, the occasional shark, and each other. A few workers in heavy metal gear walk slowly along the bottom, cleaning glass and rust.
Students start arriving. Kitty picks up her chalk and stands in front of the chalkboard.
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