The builders

Her people had lived on earth since their creator had breathed life into the first. They were a people of learning and science; they loved to explore the stars. They had built many ships that could reach beyond the boundaries of their own galaxy but they had never built one as grand as this. Atlantis was more than a ship. She was a city, a home from home for her people. With Atlantis they would be able to traverse the known universe as well as explore the unknown. The construction had been ongoing for the last fifty years. It would have been much quicker but the council with their pointless politics kept delaying to see to some unimportant details. Well, Ella thought they were unimportant anyway. She was an engineer who was the proud builder of the east tower and surrounding buildings within the city.

The city was humming with activity when she arrived, with people adding the finishing touches to their work. Her tower was almost complete but there were a few, more personal details, she was keen to add. The council would no doubt protest at the builders leaving their 'mark' but this ship was different to all the rest. Everyone felt it. This city would last longer than any of their others. It was to be home and the future of her people. A few of their allies were coming to her maiden voyage in a week and Ella, like all of her co-workers wanted their city to be perfect.

She climbed high up the east tower, using the ladders and stairs provided. Eventually the transporters would work but as usual the transport team had been delayed working else where. She didn't mind. The day was warm, with a light breeze carrying the salty fragrance of the North Sea inland, to tickle her nose. The outside walls were slick with dew in the morning sunlight, and the city glistened like a graceful shimmering palace upon the shore. Ella had never felt more at peace than when she was sitting upon the highest peak of her tower.

The air was chilly up here and she pulled her jacket around her tightly. From her vantage point she could see hundreds of her people working across the vast city to complete it in time. She stood and leaned precariously over the edge to get a better look. She laughed with mirth when one of her oldest friends knocked over some tools and was chased away by an older man, both running and shouting across the east pier. She abandoned the view and set to work adding her final touch. She used metallic paints to add the symbol of her family onto the top of her tower. It was small, and would be hard to see from anywhere but where she stood with the naked eye. The symbol was of simplistic design, and had been in her family for generations, now it marked her greatest achievement. Slowly she sealed the paints with a device from her bag, to ensure that it would never wear away. Her contribution to her society's magnificent accomplishment complete, she proceeded to decent the tower.

Her foot slipped from the ladder, and it fell away, the morning dew causing her shoes to lose their grip. She dangled, kicking her legs desperately trying to find a foothold on the side of the smooth building. She was holding with all her might to a small ledge hundreds of feet in the air, the ladder having crashed onto the pier when she slipped. He arms ached with exertion but she clung on, screaming for help. A small crowd of people ran to the commotion and a few were hurrying to climb the ladders that were left, up the side of the tower in time to reach her. She had never been a religious sort of person but some how, hanging there she found some inner calm and accepted her fate. The men scrabbling up ladders would never reach her in time, but she found she was contented, her work on Atlantis finished.

She fell in a graceful arch, but she never hit the floor. Her body merged with the pier as she reached it, the crowd of people gasping, for they had never seen anything like it before. Ella became one with the city, its circuits and instruments became her limbs.

Her people unsure of what they had seen endeavoured to understand, which of course eventually they did. But no one could fathom how the city seemed to come to life that day. Ella knew, but she was unable to tell them. But then she wasn't Ella anymore. She had become Atlantis. The city came to life that day, because it found its heart and soul.