Hannah woke up to the sound of her mental alarm clock - a little string of code programmed into one of her brain nerves to generate a loud beeping noise in her dreams until she woke up. It was painful sometimes when she couldn’t find a way to push herself out of her dream, but generally, it worked fine. She couldn’t quite afford the code that helped get you out of your dreams, which was often suggested along sides the alarm clock code. It was just too many Gangabank points that she didn’t feel like wasting.
She rubbed the remaining traces of sleep away from her eyes and turned off her air bed. The constant jet of air below her slowly weakened and she sank to the ground, landing gently on her cushioned super-bounce floor. There was something sciencey behind the super-bounce floor, but all she knew was that it was suppose to energize and make you happy, and it did.
She got up and stretched before bouncing to a small screen on her wall.
“What’s in for today Ivis?”
“You are scheduled for a day of Ancient China followed by Italy during the Renaissance Period.”
Hannah’s eyes lit up.
“Wonderful!” She giggled, turning away from the screen in excitement. She bounced into her bathroom and changed into her usual drab gray uniform. There was a shout from outside the bathroom.
“Hannah? You up?”
“In the bathroom!” Hannah shouted. It must be her roommate, Sarah.
“What did you get scheduled for?”
“Ancient China and Renaissance Italy! You?”
“I’ve got a day off. I think I’ll go the forest.”
“That’s nice. How’s the weather?”
“Just a tad bit warm.”
“Maybe I’ll join you after Italy.”
“That would be nice. Meet you at the usual spot then?”
Sarah was sitting on the ground, caught in a half yawn. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail. Someone obviously did not brush their hair.
“Have fun.” She said with a wave as she finished her yawn. Hannah nodded with a smile and left.
She stepped onto the sidewalk outside of her dorm room and took a long breath. It was a bright sunny day and the weather was beautiful, though it was slightly on the hot side just as Sarah had said. If she had a free day, she would have definitely gone to the forest as well. It probably would have been really crowded though.
The city of Vinya was a very bleak shade of gray. Towering buildings stood throughout ridged cut streets, set in perfect lattice patterns. At the corner of each street was a sign and a live map telling you where you were and where everyone else was. The buildings were quite sleek with nothing that told on apart from another other than the flashing signs on each one. While they looked quite similar on the outside, the inside was a completely different story.
The more Gangabank points you had, the better the room. The older you were, the more privileged as well. If you didn't try to get Gangabank points, you would get exiled to the slums. The natural hate of the slums combined with bad rumors about it made it probably the most detested place and name for the people above ground.
Hannah made her way down the street to the Dome portal. There was no line today. Was she early?
“Good morning.Where would you like to go?”
“Dome Center please.”
“Step right in mam. Portal will startup in 3... 2... 1... Portal ready.”
Hannah stepped in. The portal flashed blue. When the air cleared again, she was at the Domes.
“Welcome to the Dome Center. Returning members please step to the right. New visitors please step to the left.”
Hannah took the right route and quickly entered into the dome field. It was a large vast plain of huge glass domes on the outskirts of the city. Each dome was like a miniature BIOME (?) of a certain ancient society, all imported directly from the past. You could spend Gangabank points to sign up to visit different domes and you earned points from going to domes. It was an intricate system. Glancing happily at the flashing pictures on each of the domes, Hannah sighed contently. What a lovely system.
Each country was assigned to a dome which was given a number. Hannah would need to go to dome 243. When she arrived at the dome, surprisingly, it was dim instead of the usual flashes of preview images. Wasn’t this the Ancient China dome? She definitely did not remember the wrong number. This had to be the dome.
“Excuse me.” She said, waving to a maintenance guy. “What’s wrong with this dome?”
“It got slummed.”
Hannah looked up in shock.
"Oh that's terrible!" She gasped.
Below the city was a once sophisticated society of the most elite people in the city. After Andromea, the people of the underground society were not let back above ground, mocked for their arrogance and selfishness. So, as the society fell to shambles, the slums were created. The relationship with the slums and the domes were never very good.There were wars all the time and the most common way to aggravate the people above was to slum a dome. Or in other words, invade it from underground and destroy everything in it.
“Did the area get relocated?” She finally asked.
“Are you looking for Ancient China?”
“New dome 558.”
“Ok thanks.” Hannah turned and left to find dome 558. She sighed in relief when she saw that the dome was up and running, flashing the usual preview pictures. Thank god. She joined the line waiting to enter the dome. As she waited, her eyes wandered over to the little flashing screens meant to be tutorials. The amount of people that actually listened to them were few. Often though, she liked to listen to them explain things over and over again. It must be the forever looping voice that calmed her down.
“Miss, your pass please.” The sharp voice knocked her out of her reverie and she hastily handed over her pass. The ticketmaster quickly checked it and handed it back to her. “Enjoy.”
Hannah took the pass and walked into the dome.
Hannah was slowly moved forward by the conveyer belt beneath her feet and stopped in front of the familiar wardrobe station. Like usual, she was given a selection of 15 different outfits randomly selected from a catalog of 2000 to choose from. She could have purchased the option for more outfits, but she knew she would be stuck there forever trying to choose an outfit.
“Number 7.” She said, pointing at the beautiful pink and yellow outfit. It slipped smoothly over her gray uniform. Normally, it would have been hot just to wear a uniform during a day like this. But since the new air control uniforms, weather wasn’t much of an issue anymore. Days at the domes were much more happier.
After the wardrobe station was of course a station to quickly change your features. You couldn’t just walk in with brown hair and green eyes in a place where everyone had black hair and brown eyes. It was extremely quick, but extremely important.
“Welcome to Ancient China. Enjoy your day.” An automated voice repeated mundanely as Hannah stepped out of the entrance strip and into the dome. She took in a breath of fresh air as she smelled the sweet smells of food wafting from the market square with a sweet smile. This was all the reason why she loved this place.
The translation code in her mind was whirring as Hannah spoke to shopkeeper.
“Zao shang hao. Qing wen ni yao mai shen me ma?”
Good morning, may I ask if you want to buy something?
“Shi de. Ni you mei you na zhong piao liang de lu se shi tou?”
Yes. Do you have that kind of pretty green stones here?
“Ni shi shuo yu?”
Do you mean Jade?
Hannah nodded slightly flustered.
“Dui bu qi. Wo men gang mai wan. Ni ming tian zai hui lai ba.”
Sorry, we just sold out. Come back tomorrow.
“Ou... Mei guan xi.”
Oh... It’s ok.
Hannah walked out of the shop slightly drained. All the translation. It was too much for her. Some people processed it easily, but it looked like she was not one of them. Still it was good practice and fun. Too bad they had no jade today.
Hannah walked down the street wondering where she should go next. Food? Clothing shop? She had no idea.
Hannah looked around but it was too late. She stepped straight into a sewer hole. She tumbled down the smelly thing and fell a good few feet before she landed on the ground. There was a sickening crack from her ankle and pain jolted up her leg. A pain she had never felt before. She had no idea what was wrong with her ankle other than that she couldn’t move it. In her moment of bewilderment, she could think of nothing but to scream. And so she opened her mouth and screamed.
Hannah rocked back and forth hugging her knees, screaming until her voice had gone hoarse, yet no one had come. The pain in her ankle was reduced a dull throb, but she still could not walk on it. As she sat there, she heard footsteps ring out. People. It must be people here to save her.
“Here! Over here! Someone please help me!” She shouted, straining her already hoarse voice.
The footsteps came closer and closer until suddenly, Hannah was faced by the wretched face of a crackhead. The man grinned at her as Hannah tried to shrink back, making a face at his putrid breath.
“You- you- don’t touch me! Get away from me! Someone help me!” Hannah shouted, looking around desperately. She scrambled backwards until the wall of the sewers pressed uncomfortably against her back. The man raised his arm and brought it down, thumping Hannah on the head with a heavy stick. Hannah screamed once more before she slumped down on the ground unconscious.
“No one can hear you here darling.” He whispered with a small chuckle. “You’re no longer in the dome.”