New City By Chip Bell (Based on the TV Series Logan's Run)
Jessica swung the solar car into a turn up a grown over rutted road. She was driving up a canyon with tan granite rock out crops on each side. In the back Rem and Logan were playing some children's card game they had found in a little plastic case in some ruins a ways back. It was a cheap toy but they both became fascinated by its cheapness and the idea that it could still entertain if played so they had decided to keep it for its pure whimsical nature. Jessica swerved to the right and topped out in a much greener area. Before them stretched a grassy plane surrounded by tall mountains covered with trees. Snow clung to the tops. In the middle of the plane rose tall square towers glinting in the sun. They were spaced in such a way as to appear to have grown right from the plane like crystals. Rem adjusted his vision to bring in the image. Vehicles flew all through the massive city at every level starting at a few feet off the ground and above the tallest building. Here and there platforms floated apparently belonging to venders and the like
Looks promising said Rem, very advanced technology and apparently newly built within the last 5 years or so. This is not a relic like most of what we encounter this is truly new civilization. Jessica perked up at the thought of the world once more opening its eyes. They pulled in to the town and were met with broad expanses of apparently untouched plane with glass clad towers of one sort or another rising abruptly, hundreds of feet in the air. Every manner of vehicle crisscrossed the air above them and some made their way along just a few feet off the ground. A long door way gaped in the side of one tower at ground level and vehicles were going in and out. Jessica made for it and entered the door way went from one side of the massive tower to the other and vehicles were sitting in little painted squares in neat rows far back into the building. Jessica maneuvered the solar car into a square and set it down.
They got out and headed for a doorway to the west of them. A few people were approaching up ahead. Jessica gasped as they approached. One woman had grey skin covered in black spots a man was fat with oversize eyes. These people all seem deformed said Rem. A lot of mutants Logan said. They made their way to the door and it slid open. More mutants were inside. The mutants seemed to cover a spectrum from what appeared to be radiation deformities to quite a few genetic experiments of all sorts. As Jessica Logan and Rem made their way along the broad hallway mutants gave them the once over, apparently here they were the unusual ones having no deformity or alteration
At the end of the hall was a receptionist tall and very thin the creatures eyes were amber with pupils like a cat the mouth was low to the chin and opened to reveal cat like fangs. Can I help you? "Yes" said Rem. We are new to the city and would like information on it. Oh of course, feel free to use our visitors center just down the hall to your right. The visitor's center had high greenish glass double doors which opened in. Another mutant sat behind a desk. The mutant's eyes grew wide at the site of them. Oh my! Your not from here are you? I haven't see people like you in 6 years or better. Where did you come from? I'm Logan 5 and this is Jessica 6 and Rem Jessica and I are from the city of domes. Rem is from the mountain city. Ah! I know the mountain city. I know the city of domes to but they have their own way of doing things there. Do you know Morgan? Logan snorted derisively, I know him all right. The mutant gave Logan a sympathetic look and smirked as if to second his opinion of Morgan. Morgan came through here 10 years ago, got pretty drunk and wrecked a car over by the research clinic. Flew into a tree and killed the engine. The car floated upside down in the branches until they towed it in. Morgan went to Jail for a couple of days on that one. Logan and Jessica looked at each other and laughed Rem snickered and shook his head. So how did this city come to be? A tall woman entered the room from a door behind the desk. She was about 6 feet 11 tall with deep blue eyes and pale skin with a hint of teal blue. Her hair was short above the ears and striate with a deeper teal blue tint to it. Hi I'm Maxine Clay .
The woman shook hands with Logan and his hand completely disappeared into hers. He noticed that she had florescent teal blue nail polish which matched her hair beautifully. She was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. Your from the City of Domes? Yes, were from all over. All mutants of some sort of another outcasts who had trouble so we came together about20,000 or more over the last 50+ years. We built this city using old processing equipment. We are relearning old technology. We can now manufacture the machines that manufactured the materials the city is built of. We build all sorts of things here. The cars you see flying about are mostly manufactured right here. Beneath the city is our ultimate achievement. Rem perked up at this. What is that achievement if I may ask? A ship capable of carrying a thousand people faster than light. All based on old diagrams of a cruse ship some of us found abandon in a ruined city a hundred miles south east of here. We took all the computer equipment from the city and rebuilt it all here, scanning the drives and restoring the data, than we started building our own ship last year. It's now complete and we expect to launch it within a few months. We're sending a crew to the moon to study the ruins there, than on out into the solar system to study the other planets, see if any one survived the war. "Likely every one died off of earth" said Rem
Life on those worlds was tenuous to a certain degree in the first place, add a few nuclear devices and it's likely no one survived. We considered that, but we hope to restart the old machinery, rebuild the civilizations there. Logan wondered briefly if the council of the City of Domes had a ship of their own.
We have done other things as well, We have a full university here to teach all the old knowledge we have retrieved and seek out that which is undiscovered. Our whole city is basically devoted to getting things running again. "An admirable objective" said Rem. Three days from now, the ship will be launched on it's first flight out of orbit, were taking it to the moon to explore the old city's. If we find any thing intact there were going to leave a crew to get it up and running again. "You mean like if there is an old city still intact, Your going to leave a crew there and just sort of camp and see if you can restart some of the equipment?" said Jessica. The ship carries a large module that can serve as living quarters complete with a tech facility and power generating equipment. We do have some knowledge of the city's on the moon from brochures in the computers on the abandon cruse ship but unfortunately they are not very detailed. "Perhaps I can help" said Rem, my memory contains a full atlas of every city on every planet in the system with technical diagrams up till just before the war.
Maxine's eyes lit up at that. Oh that could be so helpful to us! Yes If you have the time the computer in the other room can copy your files instantly. It would be my pleasure. Rem accompanied Maxine to the room in back and sat him at a computer terminal. I'm familiar with this design but I see you have made some modifications. Rem found his way to the screen and opened the software that copied files. In a few key strokes he had downloaded a copy of all his files excluding a few personal ones to the computer. There, now your computer knows everything I do. Oh thank you Rem this will be a great help to us I'll see that the files are archived immediately.
"Can we see the ship ?" said Logan. Of course, let me take you there It's the least I could do after this. She motioned for them to follow her out a door in back of the office and to an elevator. The elevator went down for a long time than shifted sideways. They rode this way for a few minutes at what seemed great speed. Finally the car stopped and the doors opened. They had arrived at in a cavernous facility hundreds of feet high and a mile square. Occupying most of the floor space was a giant space ship It was square like the room , only the front came to a wedge shaped point that traversed the entire front of the ship. There were some sloping windows along the wedge that followed it's contour that must have been 8 or 9 feet high. They could see people working inside the ship through them. The ship sat on four giant landing legs one at each corner with round pads. Maxine escorted them to an elevator that went up into the ships belly. The module is in the center of the ship and is basically another ship the rest is living quarters, supplies etc. we built it to explore the whole system eventually. Jessica and Logan smiled at the achievement that had been made here by a bunch of outcasts who would have lead miserable lives elsewhere. It's almost time to eat if you would like you can eat here on the ship, see the cafeteria.
"Yes we would like that" said Jessica . And Rem, perhaps you would like to brows our tech facility while your companions eat? Your welcome to any parts you would like if you need any. Well thank you, yes I could use a couple of things. There are some tools I could use actually and a few spare parts always come in handy.
They left the ship and traveled back to the visitors center. You're welcome to stay in one of our guest rooms if you like. They thanked her as she escorted them to a small car with a round pink tinted dome for a roof . Maxine flew the little car out of a bay in the side of the tower across to the top of another and into a small garage. The rooms are just above the garage, they have a great view. "Yes I can see that from here" said Rem. As night fell Logan and Jessica changed into some black and pink pajamas from the closet and fell into bed. Rem, who did not sleep sat down at a terminal to do some research.
In a few hours Jessica woke up. "You're an early riser" said Rem, it's still dark outside. I know it is Rem but there's some tea in the back by the sink and I wanted to try some plus I'm too excited to sleep right now. Jessica made her way over to the window and looked down to the plane far below. Rem what is that light? There's a car down there. Let me take a look. Rem's optics could rival the best binoculars made at the time of the war and allowed him to see in total darkness if he so chose. He gazed down on the deserted plane below. A single car was parked down there with it's one front light shining brightly.
Rem adjusted for distance and light and could plainly see Frances and one other sand man standing next to a ground car it's doors open. Frances was on his long range transmitter apparently reporting what he had found. "Francis" said Rem. Here? Apparently so, he's down there standing by ground car number 8 right now. He'll be able to find you by his follower. I know, you can't change your DNA sequence. I better wake Logan up.
They're here, somewhere, the follower is pointing to that building, let's go john.
Frances and John piled back into the ground car and drove into an open garage in the side of the tower. They found a parking spot and started off on foot. Francis, look, an elevator! Good , they got in and immediately started the ascent up the many floors. Frances's follower beeped faster and he pressed the button to the floor just below his first choice. They got out of the car and the beeps lead them to a door. John pulled at the door but it was the automatic sliding type and had no handle to grasp. Francis drew his blaster and took aim. I'll get us in. Flame spewed from the blasters nozzle and the glowing ball of energy turned the door to molten charred debris. Francis and John entered cautiously but the room was empty. There was nothing in site. The smell of the melted charred door filled the room and the light on Frances's follower revealed smoke in its beam. Francis shined the light around and found a switch near the door. The touched the little panel and the lights came on. John pointed to a grate in the wall, "do you think they went in there? With Logan it's hard to say but it seems to be the only way out. Francis grabbed the chair that Rem had been sitting in and placed it under the grate. He climbed up and released a catch on each side. Francis hoisted himself in the grate and shined his light down the air duct which stretched far out of the lights range.
Francis herd voices in the room , they were telling John to drop his gun. Francis had anticipated some such response but had banked on a quick snatch and grab operation, Logan moving into the duct had upset the whole plan. Francis started to crawl deeper into the duct when a large hand grabbed his ankle, he was being yanked backwards and shot out of the duct to find himself dangling upside down A very tall woman was holding him by his ankle his head was a foot off the floor. She carried him over and tossed him on one of the beds where he looked up at her shocked. What are you doing here? Were sand men from the city of domes, were after some fugitives. But you destroyed the door to this room, look.
Frances was still shocked, partly by the size of her and partly by her concern for a mere door that he had blasted. He looked at her as if to say "are you kidding me?" I know about the Sand Men and I know about the City of Domes but this is New City, we have our own laws to worry about. There is no extradition treaty with the City of Domes even if you could find you fugitives; the people in this room are our guests. If they committed some crime have Morgan get a hold of our council and set up some procedure to retrieve them legally. Francis was shocked anew that she knew Morgan but when he considered it , it did not seem so surprising. Morgan knew a lot about the cities outside and probably had dealings with a lot of them. Look, park your vehicle and we'll give you a room for the night. In the morning you can eat and we'll talk with you and your council. Francis exhaled in frustration. All right we'll take the room and talk in the morning. Frances and John were lead out by the two mutant guards and Maxine who had made it a priority to look after her two guests. She called down the air duct after Logan , Jessica and Rem who came crawling out a side duct. She grabbed each of them around the waist and lowered them to the floor.
Maxine stood with her hands on her hips and shook her head. The city of domes must really want you bad, we get a lot of runners but by the time they reach us the City of Domes has long given up on them.
Logan explained about their situation as Maxine lead them to a new room. Several robots were already hard at work setting up sound dampening equipment and other tools to repair the blasted door.
They woke at around nine the next morning and made there way down to the visitors center where Maxine was waiting for them. Come in and sit down I have some coffee and some fruit here, I have a plan that can get you safely away from Francis and his colleagues . We can stall Francis with all sorts of political moves until the ship leaves . When it does there is more than enough room for you to ride along. It will be at the moon for a month or so. You can come back then. We'll tell Francis that you have left the city. We could use you as crew any way, especially Rem. Francis pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger, another day of procedures and conference calls on the big screen with the council of the City of Domes and the Council of New City. Francis at times didn't like his promotion, he was a Sandman and his duties involved shooting runners and dealing with unruly cubs. This political stuff was trying to his military mind. He couldn't simply intimidate or blast these mutants Last night he had seen a peculiar light rise into the sky off to the west but wasn't sure what that had all been about.
John had watched it till it grew small then suddenly shot off to the east so fast the eye could barely follow it.
Francis was arguing about a birth for a death and the limited capacity of the city of domes when Maxine entered the room. I have some news about Logan and his friends, I'm afraid they have taken their car and left the city. For a split second Frances felt anger rise in him than was suddenly struck by hope. They had left there protectors! Now he could get back to simply chasing them down! Well, I guess my job is done here. Francis and John swung their car back onto the plane and looked for grass laid down by the air cushion of the solar car. But cold find none. John studied the screen and scanned for any residual electromagnetic disturbances that could have been laid down but came up empty. Frances's long range transmitter beeped. "Yes?" this is Morgan Francis. You're wasting your time looking for the solar craft. I need you and John to return to the city immediately. Francis met Morgan in his privet office in white quadrant one. Come in Francis. The council of New City has committed yet more treachery on us . Morgan activated a screen on the wall. Two nights ago a very large vessel left New City and headed in to space. I have reason to suspect that Logan and his friends were on that vessel. Space? How will we ever get them now? Morgan gave a sinister chuckle. Come Francis , I'll show you. They stepped out of a maze car into a large hanger. Francis and Morgan stood on a balcony one story above the hanger floor. On the floor of the hanger were numerous ships. Round silver disks with a dome on top and a smaller one on the bottom on the domes were life clock insignia and numbers like a ground car. Sandmen stood in formation in front of the ships. Their receiving their first training today, I want you to join them Francis and learn how to fly our fighters.
Francis's training was tougher than the other sand men. They needed to master the fighters but he needed to master leading the squadron. The ship had been tracked to an orbit around the moon but little else was known. It had been there for two weeks but when it might return of shoot off into space was not known so the Sand Men trained hard, working long hours drilling and re-drilling practicing every move .
Francis stood under the rim of his disk shaped fighter and reached up to lean on the nozzle of one of it's twin L7 Blazer weapons. The Sand Men pilots stood around him as he addressed them. Check your equipment, helmets suits and run a flight check on your ships we're ready to lift off when we're in space I want you in v formation behind me.
In a desert canyon of green zeolite two doors opened on the side of a hill the disk fighters flew out one after another till twenty of them filled the sky than shot off to the south east
Francis 's fighter fell into its self made gravity well the stars a blur outside the clear piece of hull in front of him. The display read a massive object directly in front of him. It had to be the New City ship. Ok every on drop to sub light speed and stay in formation, L7's on! Francis flipped a switch on the console and scanned the ships communication frequencies. This is Francis 7, you are harboring two fugitives from the City of Domes, we want them back, if you refuse we will have no choice but to fire on your ship. Frances's window switched to the image of Maxine, "As I told you before we have no extradition treaty with the City of Domes Francis." Then you leave me no choice, prepare to strafe that ship go in, in groups of 2 and fire continuously. The DS fighters broke formation and began to make runs on the ship, bright bolts shot from the L7 weapons and hit the ships energy barrier.
Rem looked up from the view screen , around which he , Jessica and Logan had been standing. They had made short work of repairing a large hole in the dome of the lunar city they had landed next to. Robots were swarming around getting the city up and running again. Everyone from the landing ship had moved into the city given how easy it had been to pressurize it and get its systems back on line using the robots. I'm afraid the ships energy barrier won't hold up under that kind of attack for much longer Logan. I know, Rem , there using L7 blazer weapons their state of the art. Jessica thought for a moment. Remember those small ships we saw in the lower level? There were hundreds and hundreds of them. Do you think they fly? "Very likely" said Rem," but we don't have nearly enough people to fly them. " Are they armed? Yes , they were part of the city's defenses but they never got off the ground." Good " said Jessica, "Can the robots fly them?" "Of course" said Rem but the robots won't fire on human beings Jessica. I know Rem but what if they just fired at them? " A bluff" said Logan, that could work, make the sand men think they are under attack by a superior force and they will retreat. "I can make It more convincing than that even " said Rem. I can program the fighters weapons to fire at half power, If the sandmen are hit with a few glancing blows it will shake them up good, if the shots just graze their energy barriers , the sandmen won't know whether they were half power, or whether they just didn't do any damage because they only glanced, and, the robots won't hesitate to shoot if they know it's really harmless.
"Your ships energy barrier is weakening " said Francis Don't be foolish , we'll put you in one of those creators down there if we have to. Look Francis! Frances's computer had already sounded the alarm. A black swarm of small cigar shaped ships was closing on them from the moon's surface. "There's hundreds of them " Francis said to himself. Everyone back in formation! Francis jammed the control stick over and his fighter did an instant 180 degree turn followed by the other ships. The robot ships got off a few shots , one of which grazed Frances's fighter shaking it violently. "Damn it!" said Francis as he fought for control " Try to outrun them!" The DS fighters were improved over the hundred year old design of the moon ships and they began to pull away and disappear toward the Earth.
"That's done it " said Rem, your plan worked Jessica! Logan gave Jessica a longing look, impressed by her quick wit. A large screen on the wall lit up with the Image of Maxine. I don't think they will be back any time soon, thank you, our energy barrier was almost gone.
Rem , Logan and Jessica walked across the parking garage to the solar car which was sitting right where they left it. Maxine took a sip from a bottle of juice she was carrying, I hope you find your sanctuary, but if you don't please consider New City as an option, we would love to have you. "We will keep that in mind" said Jessica. "Yes" said Logan, and thank you for all you did for us. "It's our pleasure, the City of Domes is perverted culturally, we couldn't let you be taken back to them, and now they look on us with a new respect thanks to your trick with the old fighters.
Logan swung the solar car off down the road away from New City. What's over there Rem? Looks like a big desert Logan, stretches for miles and miles. "Well" said Jessica. I don't think Francis will look for us there.