It was nearly 6:30 in the evening when Lena finally reached her apartment. The weather was warm and clear. It made her ride from the train station meditative. She had asked that her personal bike be delivered to the North Rhod train station where she arrived from Vogt. She had wanted see some of the city on her way to the new apartment.
The apartment complex was a towering cylinder covered in smooth gridded glass. A parking area below the structure descended multiple stories. She followed it down two levels before finding a spot. She took off her helmet, locked it to her bike, then found the elevator in the center of the parking area. She took it up to the main lobby.
When the double door opened, the desk was straight ahead. Behind the desk clerk was a lush park that was encircled by the entire apartment building. The park rose on all sides into a knobbed hill. Atop the hill was a stout oak tree with a tire swing that hung from a thick rope tied around one of the its lower branches. There were benches, picnic tables, and three jungle gyms scattered around the edges of the hill. From above, a waterfall cascaded down into a natural pool.
The desk clerk welcomed her when she arrived, uploading the door code to her celltab. 91M was her new room number.
“Your guest will be happy to see you,” the clerk said with a smile. Lena almost missed the comment. “She was fed around noon when she arrived.” The clerk told her that her belongings had arrived with Nico, who had been given a bed and food. Her essentials had been unpacked, but a team of androids would be available tomorrow at her discretion to unload the rest.
The elevator shot her up to the ninety-first floor. She was nine stories away from the top. Upon exiting she noticed the inside glass wall of the park below went all the way to the roof.
To her left and right, the hallways rounded in a gigantic circle. The waterfall fell past this floor as well. Lena still couldn’t see the source as it fell onto spiraling platforms along the inner cylinder of the complex. Bridges spanned the diameter of the interior opening. They held planters of beautiful flowers and grasses. Wooden benches were situated on either side of
see-through floors. Over the edges of these walkways long tendrils of moss hung in pendulous threads.
Lena made her way to her apartment. She punched in the access code and the number pad lit up green. There was a click and she opened the door.
Her apartment began with a hallway leading straight back to a large, open room with the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, window showing the circular opening descending to the park below. A little black head poked out from the room’s entrance, looking down the hallway.
“Hey baby!” Nico meowed once, then trotted down the hallway towards Lena. She scooped her up and carried her over her shoulder with one arm. Crates of all sizes were pushed up against the walls allowing her space to walk. She went down the hallway. To her right was a large, square sliding door suspended from an overhead track that hid a sizeable room where a bed had been placed.
Lena entered the back, windowed room. She set Nico down, and the cat jumped up to the top of one of the crates. The back room was connected to a small kitchen on her right. It was similar to her apartment on the Duskrider. The giant window was on the same wall as her old apartment, but this one was much larger and held a much more colorful view. She could see the pale red sky looking up from her room.
On the right wall, next to the enormous window, was a knob. She turned it through the four options. The first option, where it was currently set, turned the window into a one-way mirror, reflecting to the outside. The second turned the window dark, dimming the light from outside. A third option turned it into an interior mirror, giving the illusion that the room was larger.
Finally, there was an option to make the glass completely clear so that anyone could see inside her apartment.
“Yeah, no thanks,” she said to herself. She turned the dial to the left to change the window back to the one-way mirror. She continued her examination of the apartment.
On the wall left of the window was a handle. It was flush with the wall, but seemed to serve no purpose. She placed her hand within it and felt a button under the grip. When she squeezed, a large chunk of the wall separated from the rest.
It was a couch. She held the handle, lowering it to the ground. Although the couch was hefty, it was perfectly counterbalanced making it easily liftable. She tested it out and was pleased to find it comfortable. She let out a sigh. She felt
exhaustion overtake her as she sat. Nico joined her.
Lena took her celltab from her jacket. She had been meaning to look at the LSP-88 User Manual and the MRL Handbook Zark had sent her. Zark had been reading the android manual, so she figured she could ask him for a condensed version of that later. That stuff was his field anyways. She decided to look at the MRL Handbook first.