Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daily Story 7: Uncharted Territory

White Hat Fabbers came through not too long ago, driving supports into the Earth and making structural webs for the buildings. I can't say for sure but it feels like they hit us just in time; some of the piles around here were swaying awfully bad, and the layers further down had started to shift and compact. The White Hats were nice enough guys, and they let me have a copy of the deep-scans they took to assess the situation. Since then I've gone down five times, down all the way to where there are still some streets from before the Fabbers, streets with traffic lights and trash cans and even a few cars, and below that subway tunnels just like in old movies.

I found a store - an actual store - full of things that had been made without Fabbers. They had to be made by giant old machines, or by hand, or from wood grown on actual trees. I found money there too, which still blows my mind - I can't even imagine how society functioned on little scraps of paper. Ever since the first time someone Fabbed a house on top of mine I wondered - what if I stayed where I was instead of Fabbing somewhere higher up? I didn't, of course, I threw up a new place on top of the pile like everyone does - but what if I had stayed? I started going down after that, down a few levels at a time. Just to look. The first time I dropped below two thousand feet and saw that I was standing on a floor made out of pre-Fabber materials, the top of some old "Sky Scraper", I was hooked. I couldn't find plans for a good enough scanner though and I was scared, so when the White Hats gave me the files - scans all the way down to that pocket of empty air above the old streets - it was a dream come true.

I showed an old doll to my friends but they tossed it into the Fabber to prove some sort of point, because they didn't understand what I was trying to tell them. I was too slow and before I could stop them there was a pile of twenty of the things, identical bearded old men with funny red outfits. They tried to hand one back to me when they saw I was upset, but of course there wasn't any way to say if it was the right one. That confused them more than ever - if there was no way to tell, why did I care? After that my trips got longer. I stopped calling them, though they probably didn't notice. They have other friends. I've been down for three weeks this time, and last night I Fabbed some raw meat and cooked it over an actual fire. I have a shelter I built with my own bare hands, it's not very stable but it hasn't fallen down yet. I taught myself how to read street signs so I could find it again, and I walked all the way to what I think used to be the ocean.

The ground drops off there, drops off so far my lights don't reach. There's just support beams stretching off into the blackness, and slimy white things jumping around on the salt. If you listen really closely, you can hear this strange sound - like the wind, but coming and going in a pattern. I know what it is, know that all those feed tubes never reached quite far down enough and somewhere in the deep dark there are still waves. For now the streets are enough, but one day - one day I'm going to build a boat.