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Omnitrex Tech part 14

kelson.philo's picture

Link to part 1

Paul followed his towering, acrobatically talented and exceedingly fit savior into the building. They must have been about five stories above the Expanse floor. The platform was a bare balcony with a softly flowing rail structure and the entrance to the building was an arch about twelve feet tall at the apex and was paned with a black glass that didn’t hold his reflection. It didn’t reflect anything at all, and the effect tickled the back of Paul’s brain in a fashion most eldritch and unholy.

Tall, Slim and Yellow glided through the black pane like it wasn’t there and Paul hesitated a moment before following after her. The ridiculousness of the day’s situations was suddenly staggering in their weight. There was no reason for any of this happening. Not to him. He was not part of some daily cacophony show. He was not the star of a feed com, nor did he want to be. And yet, here he was staring at his non-reflection. This was not standard issue life. This is not what should have been metered out for him. He should be looking for a mate and getting the kid-factory in motion and then waiting out his retirement year in serenity. “But,” a voice from somewhere long repressed began to say, “You never have been good with relationships. Your desire for kids is just frustration for your lack of wish fulfillment.” That was probably mom talking. She had a thing for pop psychology.

Paul looked around the balcony and realized it was one-of-a-kind on this building. There weren’t any other windows at all, just shear cotton candy blue plastiform up and down another fifty feet or so both ways. It was hardly the tallest building in the business district. Paul had never been to the district’s Center Plaza; some of those buildings seemed to tower as high as the skylight itself. It was, however, tall enough that he wouldn’t be able to jump across to the next lowest building. The balcony wasn’t nearly long enough. The only way off this platform was to jump to the expanse below or go through the blackness.

Going through the blackness was like stepping through a soap bubble. He closed his eyes involuntarily while his face passed through . Tingly, like breaking surface tension. His ears popped. What he saw on the other side was completely disorienting, for completely different reasons than how Taste! had been. It was entirely too normal, for one thing, but normal in the sense that nothing was right. Someone had specifically decided on the placement of things. Some one had planned it out, but the materials involved! They defied description.

It was a circular chamber as tall as the arch he had come through. The ceiling was embedded with circular patterns, swirling and combining and flowing with one another, radiating light through out the room. The circular walls had built-in shelves with rectangular boxes of some sort of various sizes and thicknesses and colors with strange glyphs on their edges. The shelves themselves were made of a brown material with dark whorls inlaid. A rectangular desk of astounding proportions was against the far wall, regular windows behind it, overlooking the expanse. In the center was a larger round table made of more of the brown material with inlaid whorls. Surrounding the table was a three-quarters circle of continuous seating.

The lady taken a seat behind the arcane and elephantine desk and had her feet up on it. “Have a seat,” she said, motioning to the wrap around couch. She then started fiddling with one of the desk’s drawers on her side.

“Why not?” thought Paul, and he went to sit down. The seat was a bizarre black material. He had felt furniture like this in his former supervisor’s office, a plastic that felt like slightly rough skin. This was different, though. The feel was the same, but the smell was…different. Primal, ancient. Paul noticed his nose was a lot more sensitive after his experience at Taste! and briefly wondered what else that little side trip had done to him.

The lady had pulled out a box and placed it on the desktop. From it she pulled out a brown cylinder and a couple of implements. With the first of the widgets she cut off the end of the cylinder and then, after placing the cylinder in her mouth, she used the second of them to produce a flame. After puffing the cylinder in the flame for a few moments, she sat back, put her feet once more on the desk and blew a bluish smoke ring in Paul’s direction.

“What, don’t you smoke?” she asked and then started laughing.

***
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