Suddenly, a bright red light flooded car. Everyone squinted and moved in their seats. They had emerged from the subterranean train tunnel through the mountains. Before them, an immense barren plain stretched wide in every direction. Traveling east, the jagged, snow-capped mountains to the north continued in a range that extended beyond sight. Their bases were a soft purple but, as they rose and caught the light, they gleamed bright red and orange.
Towards the south, the plains stretched on to blend silver with a radiant fuschia sky. The silver band that overlapped both ground and sky converged into a single, impossibly beautiful, crimson sun. It glowed heavily beyond violet cirrus clouds that floated through the light in wisps . Directly below, a mirrored sun reflected from a far-off ocean in a shattered trail. Lena gazed out the window, trying to fathom the expanse before her.
The train sped on, slicing the reddened plains like a shining blade. On the eastern horizon ahead of them, a silhouette of structures emerged that carved a shape of many vertical lines. It extended wider and wider in both directions until it nearly covered her peripherals. Although the bottom of this new shape disappeared into the deep backdrop, the pinnacles sparkled like shards of amethyst reflected from the scarlet southern sun.
“Rhod.” Zark said. “It’s named after the minerals that were found in the area. It’s why the buildings are so shiny.”
Lena looked at Zark. He had an article open on his celltab, but had gotten up and was kneeling on the bench seat to take in the view. She looked back at the city. She could now see individual lights within the buildings. They dotted the silhouette like glittering stars.
The city grew as the train moved closer. Gradually, they felt the speed of their vessel slow. The shape in front of them developed depth. The plains began to show traces of civilization. Small, squat, windowless buildings appeared more and more frequently as they approached. It was now apparent that the world outside was suffering from violent winds. Lena noted a marker along the track, bent at the base, flailing wildly. Ahead of them, a mighty wall towered above the landscape, encircling the city. It was smooth and paneled with enormous louvered vents. The vents looked as though they could be opened and closed via control. Initially, it looked as though the train were going to plow straight into the wall, but then there was a hole just large enough for the train. It slipped into darkness once more.