"I hate all these Synthetics. They're making everything out of them these days."
A young man and a young woman walked along a raised path, on their way to school. The boy was staring unhappily at the newly redesigned structure, but the girl, Kifa, seemed to be at ease.
"It's supposed to be soothing, Gigi. You need to relax."
"It's unsettling, Fa."
The young woman stopped walking down the highway to glare at her companion. "Don't call me that!" Fa meant zero, in the system of names they used, and was considered an insult, if only a mild one.
"Don't call me Gigi, then," said the young man, shrugging the proceedings off and continuing to move along on his own. "You know I go by Leivell."
"Gigi is your name, though!" said the female, jogging to catch up. "I'm not asking you to call me some odd nickname of my own invention; I just want you to have the decency to call me Kifa. Does 'Leivell' even mean anything?"
"First of all, 'Gigi' is not my assigned name, Pret Ha No Gi Gi is."
The woman stopped walking again, this time to stare at Leivell in shock. He hadn't revealed his full name until then, and she'd had no idea he was a Pret. It had never come up at school, either; there was no need to use his family name when he insisted on going by his strange, made-up moniker. She had to admit it made sense now, why the professors allowed him to go by the name. There would be a riot it the students found out who he really was.
"Y-you're a Pret?!"
"Yeah," said Leivell, coming to stop beside Kifa. "Can you blame me for picking a new name for myself?"
"But... the Pret family is practically evil!"
"Tell that to my mother. She's the one who married one of them."
"I... I'm sorry, I didn't mean-"
"Don't worry about it."
For awhile they walked in silence, Kifa staring at the leaves beneath her feet between glances at her friend, Leivell gazing off into the distance as if he was deep in thought, and neither of the two paying much mind to the direction they were headed in.
"I guess it is kind of unsettling..." Kifa said quietly, again looking down.
"Isn't it though? What gave them they idea that walking on a highway made of trees would be enjoyable? We should be falling through, not moving around as if we're on solid ground."
The uneasiness on Leivell's face made Kifa giggle. Despite all the times she told him he needed to relax, he was actually very laid-back. In fact, she might have gone as far as to call him unflappable, but clearly there was an exception to that rule.
"Is that why you keep doing that? Are you afraid of heights, Leivell?" she teased.
"Doing what?" asked Leivell curiously, and Kifa proceeded to look distractedly off into the distance as he had been earlier.
"Oh, no. That just makes me look mysterious," he said, putting on his best 'staring into space' look and dreamily striking a pose that would have anyone with a curious bone in their body wondering just what it was he was thinking about.
He broke the pose and smiled as he received a giggle in response to his shenanigans. "And I'm not afraid of heights, either."
"Really. I just don't like walking on things that look like other things that I would fall through if I tried walking on them," he said, almost defensively.
"Oh. I guess you won't be too happy about the aeromobiles that look like clouds, then," said Kifa, the ambivalent smile she wore looking very much at home on her face.
"I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me."
"What is it with everyone trying to make everything we've created look natural lately?"
"Well, you could always ask Giki," Kifa said, sarcasm dancing amidst her words.
"You know, Grent Giki? The weird kid who thinks the leadership is trying to 'placate the masses' so we won't fight back when they take away our rights?"
Looking along the high walkway of manufactured treetops they were travelling on, Leivell suddenly didn't think Giki was so crazy.