Friends at Colossus Massive
Getting to the Underground was half the battle.
The Colossus was huge, as its name implied. Every central hub had hundreds of doors, paths, ramps, and lifts at the ready for residents.
The Underground was a little bit different.
There were only three main entry points. There were a handful of other ways to get in, but those required traveling through the maintenance corridors. The average Colossus resident wouldn’t be able to do that.
Nerice didn’t understand making the whole of the Underground so inaccessible. The northwestern quadrant of the Underground served as a prison for the Colossus, but the security was top notch. There had never been a breach.
Even living quarters sharing a wall with the prison were just as safe as a home on one of the upper levels. Theoretically.
The majority of the Underground was technically allocated to storage space. While many of the rooms in the Underground contained emergency supplies, raw materials, and spare parts. It was the spaces between the storage that contained all of the hidden gems that made the Underground such a special place.
“What are you doing down here?”
A tall alien woman with three arms, a single eye in the middle of her forehead, and hair that looks as if it were made of spun metal.
“I’m looking for someone,” Nerice matched the alien woman’s sharp, surly tone. “An Elndrix called Tryden.”
“I haven’t seen an Elndrix today,” the alien woman shrugged. She started to turn away, but she paused. Her eye raked over Nerice. “You’ve been down here before.”
It wasn’t a question.
“I have,” Nerice nodded. “I come down for the music. There’s a Zodian down here every once in a while. He makes music out of sounds taken from all over the space station. It’s amazing.”
“Tyr?” The woman blinked in surprise. “He’s here now.”
“You know him?”
“He’s my partner.”
Nerice’s mouth dropped open. “No way! That’s amazing.”
“Come on.” The woman jerked her head and strode away.
Nerice hurried to catch up with the long-legged alien. She had to be seven feet tall, at least.
“I didn’t catch your name,” Nerice said.
“Oralind,” the alien woman replied.
“I’m Nerice. I’m a DJ at Novalight.”
Oralind wrinkled her nose.
“I thought only celery people went there.”
“Celery people?” Nerice furrowed her brow.
“You know, the human food? It takes like nothing.”
“I’ve had it before, but I don’t understand what you mean by celery people.”
“People whose likes and dislikes are dictated by what other people tell them is good, even when it’s not.”
Nerice nodded. “People who want the more palatable, simplistic thing over and over again because they’ve never tasted anything better.”
“You get it,” Oralind nodded with approval. “Are you sure you don’t belong down here?”
“Oh, I definitely belong down here but it’s not like the gigs pay. I need to keep a roof over my head and celery in my body,” she smirked.
Oralind barked out a laugh.
“Money can be made if you know where to look. We can talk about that later. I want you to meet Tyr.”
Oralind led Nerice into a long, narrow storage room teeming with people. Everyone wore glowing headsets that pumped the music directly into them. The room itself was totally silent.
“What?” Nerice smiled, confused.
Oralind passed her a headset, which she immediately put on.
Complex, vibrant, living music poured into her.
Yes, she definitely belonged down here.
Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla