Author's Note: This is a modified version of a previous story. The main differences are in the latter portion of Part One, Part Two is entirely new, and there are some minor differences in Part Three. The original story felt incomplete and it had been pointed out that there was some lack of originality. Looking back at it, I noticed that there was a lot more that I could have done in order to make the story better. I wanted to make up for the lost potential of the first version. Additionally, I wanted to do more exploring in the city and have more adventures with Fritz. On a sadder note; the day that I am publishing this, 6 March 2012, is the day that I found out that Sam Youd, known to Tripods fans as John Christopher, had died. He passed away on 3 February 2012 at the age of 89. His memory will live on with his fans and I am especially grateful to him for writing the Tripods Series, as well as his other books, and allowing all of us Trippies to go on a world-saving adventure with our friends Will, Henry, Beanpole, and Fritz.

A Spy in the City

Part One

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms-to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way,"-Viktor Frankl

Another Day in Paradise-

It was my choking that brought me out of the darkness of unconsciousness and back into the light greenish hue of reality. I sat up, rolled to my side, and then to my hands and knees. I dry heaved; the uncontrolled spasms pummeled me in the gut and sapped my strength, causing me to go to the floor. I could barely breathe! I tried taking a deep breath, but instead of oxygen I inhaled the acrid fumes of the air of the city. It dawned on me: The filters of my mask were failing! I must change them quickly before the poisonous air of the masters fully breached the filters and choked me to death!

I stood up on wobbly knees and made my way toward my domicile. I did a quick scan of the dwelling and saw that I was alone. My Master must have left me after he had administered his beating. I reached the door to my room and entered. Between the Master's room and my small space was a smaller room that I had been told by my Master was an airlock. One had to wait in here until the door to whatever room one had come from had closed. As soon as I was safely inside I tore off my mask and took a deep gulp of stale, yet refreshing air. I leaned against the wall and allowed my knees to buckle under me as I slowly slid down to the floor. I sat there for a few minutes with my head hanging down as I worked to regain my breath and calm myself. I then looked up at the wall and saw that according to the clock-like device of the Masters' that it was now between three-ninths and four-ninths. That roughly corresponded to about 9 o'clock in the morning in human terms of time. The day/time scale of the Masters was divided into ninths which, after doing the arithmetic in my head, worked out to roughly 2.6 hours. My Master left for the day right before three-ninths and returned from wherever in the city he worked shortly after six-ninths.

I slowly stood and walked to the small area of my already small enough living quarters that contained a basin, toilet, and a small tub with a device fitted with a metal tube that connected to the wall and a water spout on the other end that one could hold and use to spray water over one's body. Instead of spraying myself down for comfort, I instead stood at the basin and looked at the mirror.

I winced at the sight before me: A thin, sallow-faced boy with limp blond hair stared back at me with weary eyes that belied his age. It was the face of a person who had endured years of hardship and struggles and yet it belonged to a mere boy, one that hadn't quite reached fifteen years. The boy's face wasn't the only part of him that looked bad: Slaves in the city were outfitted in shorts, footwear, and masks, there were no shirts for us, it was too hot to wear them, and so our physical condition was made all the more noticeable, as was my weight loss; I had once been heavier and more muscular but now I had thinned to the point where my muscles had largely withered away and my ribs shown through my skin. I turned around and looked over my shoulder to see the reflection of my back. Angry welts and bruises; some old and some brand new, marked my bare back, signs of my Master's displeasure. Sighing, I turned back around to face the mirror.

"Another day in paradise," I said to the tired boy in the mirror.

I turned away from my reflection and went into the rest of my living area, which is a small and nearly featureless room that has a chair and table, a chest with two drawers, a cupboard for food storage, a ladder that led to a hard, flat bed, and the already described toilet section. I went straight to the ladder and climbed up to my bunk. I lay back on the bed and its small, thin pillow, and shut my eyes.

What this Place will do to You-

Judging by my looks one would think that I had been living in the city for a few years but the truth is that I have been here less than three months. This should show you just how bad the conditions here in the city are on the human body. It isn't just the presence of a poisonous atmosphere that is in the city, it gets worse…much worse. This place is extremely humid and this in turns drains the strength and energy from us slaves. We constantly sweat and thus need to drink water many times during the day. Unfortunately the water never gets below slightly warm here. The food provided to us is meager and virtually tasteless and there is never any variety. The medical facilities, staffed by fellow slaves, are sparsely furnished with beds and have little in the way of any medicines. Basically it is a place where one can lay down and feel miserable. However, there are two major reasons as to why this place is so terrible…as if the air here weren't bad enough that is. There is an oppressive weight that seems to be pressing down upon all of us here. It seems as though the gravity here isn't Earth's, rather I think that this is how it is on the home world of our keepers. They have recreated their world here in the city including their heavy gravity.

There is one other aspect to this place that makes being here so much more terrible. It is my Master. The three-eyed, three-tentacled beast takes an obscene pleasure in beating your humble narrator. He comes down harsh on me for the slightest infraction. His tentacles lift me up and he lashes me with them all the while berating me for being a stupid boy. He has this switch which he uses to strike my body. His favorite targets are my back and ribs. He once whipped my feet but he was displeased by the results as I could not walk for two days which did him no good. He had to drag me into my room. Thankfully he never whipped my feet again. Another thing he (or it, I am not sure if they even have males and females among them) does is shake me as he is talking down to me and more than once he has thrown me to the ground. That is how I had been knocked unconscious. The worst part about all of this is that the vast majority of his beatings are for no reason. At first he would punish me for messing things up like spilling his food or being slow to come at his behest. Mainly he beats me because he is a merciless and sadistic monster that apparently has nothing better to do with his life then terrorize his slave. I hate him.

Sadly I don't think I have the worse Master. A freckle-faced slave who works at the infirmary told me that the day before I had gone in for my second visit, that there had been another slave that had been beaten so badly that he had died of his wounds. If that wasn't bad enough I was told that another slave had been beaten down so much that he felt as if his Master deserved better and so was heading to the Place of Happy Release. What that is, is quite simply a place where worn out slaves go to die. The same slave who told me of this assisted, along with another infirmary slave, the worn out slave in getting there. He told me that the slave entered a room and was hit with a flash of light which caused him to drop dead. Then the floor opened up and his body fell into a furnace. I was told by the slave who witnessed this that the dead slave had smiled right before he died, apparently he was happy to have given his Master his all. I understand why the Masters named this killing room the Place of Happy Release; they have a sick and twisted sense of humor.

What kind of life is this where someone who is beaten so badly that he feels he has failed his beater, and that his beater deserves better, would happily go to his own death?

If this giant, overheated torture chamber isn't Hell than its pretty damn close.

How I got here (Why I chose to subject myself to life in misery)-

When I was twelve I ran away from my home in Bavaria. I had just witnessed my older sister being capped and was terrified at how much she had changed. She had been a tough and independent girl who had openly questioned the role of the Tripods in life and had resisted her capping. After she had been brought back by the Tripod she was a different person. Gone was the self-reliant Kerstin and here was a wild vagrant. Whatever had happened to her in the Tripod had destroyed her mind and reduced her to a babbling madwoman. She had been turned over by my parents to the town's vagrant house where she was to be cared for. After this my family refused to speak of her. Even my brother Jan, who is four years younger than I and overly inquisitive, learned to keep his mouth shut about our sister.

After weeks of wandering aimlessly on my own, I was found by a pair of men who, I would later find out, were wearing false caps, and were on a mission to spy on the Tripods. They took me to a stronghold high in the mountains of the Swiss where I became a member of the Freemen. They explained to me that they were dedicated to overthrowing the Tripods and freeing Humanity. This was all I needed to hear. I immediately asked to join them and told them that I would do everything in my power to help in freeing the world.

I didn't do much for my first year as a freeman except help out the older people in the stronghold but after I had spent some time in their company I had been selected to be a part of a raiding party. We would go down to the lowlands and steal food and supplies from the capped and on occasion we would recruit new members. It was well known that children nearing capping age are more apt to talk to younger capped strangers than older ones. Of course this meant having your head shaved and getting a false cap placed on it. Because of this I had briefly worn a cap prior to setting out to the Games.

It was the Games that provided me with the opportunity to enter the Tripods' domain so I could perform my role as a spy in the city of the Masters. I had trained up as a sprinter and had been selected with two others, a French boy named Jean-Paul Deliet, who went by the nickname 'Beanpole', and an English lad named Will Parker. These two, along with Will's cousin Henry Parker, had traveled together to the White Mountains. Beanpole is an extremely intelligent, and extremely near-sighted, individual who lost out in the high jump event and was thus not able to enter the city. Will, on the other hand, is a small but deceptively strong boy who won the lightweight boxing event. He is also the only person I know of who has destroyed a Tripod. I was at first skeptical about this as I thought that no one would be able to single-handedly destroy a Tripod but my skepticism was later rebuffed when our scouts had come across the remains to the Tripod, which had been blown up by another tripod. As for Will's cousin, I am under the impression that he doesn't especially like me seeing as I was chosen over him for this mission. He did however wish me good luck in what I feel was a genuine manner. I feel that both Beanpole and Will resent me somewhat for this. I apparently have broken up their trio but the fact is that I was chosen based on my skills and not on my popularity.

I may not be especially well-liked by everyone, including the boys with whom I had trained up with, but I feel no reason to change my personality to suit them or anyone. I am by nature a quiet person and I prefer to keep my own company than to spend much time with others. I am a solitary person and I suppose that makes me shy. I have never been much of a talker and I do sometimes feel uncomfortable and even a bit awkward around large groups of people. Anything more than three or four people is a large group to me. I guess that I choose to be quiet and act mature as a way to make up for my social awkwardness but that is something that I have no desire to share with anyone.

Henry may be sore that I was chosen over him and the rest of his trio may have gripped about my inclusion on the team but at least he isn't here. If I am suffering here then I know he would be too, so he is fortunate. My strength and speed are no match for the humid oppressiveness of the city and the angry lashings of my Master. I wouldn't wish this place on my worst enemy. However I had made the choice to come here for one reason: revenge. I wanted revenge on these monsters for what happened to Kerstin. Liberating the world from them was only an added bonus.

A Beating-

"You stupid, lazy boy!" sneered my Master as he glowered down at me, "I desire my food now and yet you take your time!"

"I'm sorry Master," I said as I bowed my head reverently in the manner that all slaves are to show to their Masters when making an apology, "I thought you were going to dine at your table, I didn't…"

He didn't let me finish. He instead poked me hard in the chest with his central tentacle and said, "You thought! You insolent boy if you can think then why didn't you think to check the pool!"

It was true, I should have checked but he rarely eats in the pool so I did not look to set his food there and now I must pay.

His tentacle snaked across my midriff and lifted me off the floor. He spun me upside down and shook me hard enough to where I hit the top of my head on the floor. I cried out in pain.


"I'm sorry Master," he said mockingly, "You're always sorry boy, you and all of your kind. You're always messing things up!"

He lashed my back with his switch and I screamed in pain.

"That's right boy, scream!" he said as he made a noise that I had learned passed for laughter in his kind, "Scream!"

The towering green beast glared at me with anger in his three eyes. He is truly hideous. The Masters are large, reptilian creatures with rough skin. Aside from their three tentacles and their eyes they have three legs and two orifices below their eyes, one of which is for eating and the other for breathing. All together he is a vision from a nightmare, but this nightmare is all too real.

I screamed.

Afterward I lay in the small tub and soaked in the warm water. My back had been bleeding and it hurt but I gritted my teeth as I lay there on it. The beating wasn't anywhere as bad as most of his beatings and I think the reason why is because he wanted to eat. Thankfully he was now asleep and would be until he got up to leave in the morning. I hope that he'd have an accident at work or wherever it is that he goes and that he will not be coming back…ever. Of course then I would be expected to go to the Place of Happy Release which was never going to be an option as far as I was concerned.

I had started to fall asleep but was alerted by the buzzing of a device on the wall. My Master needed me.

"Yes Master?" I asked respectfully to him as he lay in the mossy area that was his bed.

"Bring me a gas bubble."

"Yes Master," I said as I fetched the transparent container that held the gas.

My Master took it, inhaled, and then sighed. Apparently the gas had some sort of affect of the Masters as did alcohol on humans.

"Boy, tomorrow I will be away for most of the day…if this place is in anyway messy I will throttle you until you beg me to take you to the Place of Happy Release."

"Yes Master," I said. I read between the lines and decided that I will spend the morning making his home as clean as I possibly could. It was never messy but I knew that he insisted on fresh plants for his pool and I had noticed that his pantry was running a bit low. Tomorrow, bright and early, I would get up and clean out the old greens for him and hopefully show him that I was doing my job. Then when he was gone I'd go and get new plants for the pool as well as his food. I'd be sure to take my time and notice if I could find any information that would be useful to report on. Maybe I'd see Will too.

Errand Boy-

"For once you have done something smart boy," my Master said approvingly as he walked up to the pool.

I was standing in the hot water and finishing the removal of the older plants. The hot water was barely bearable on my skin. The uncomfortable feeling caused from the hot water was almost as bad as the pain I felt from my newly inflicted wounds.

"I am going to go and get you some new plants as soon as I finish with these Master," I said in a cheerful voice.

"Good," he said and then placed a tentacle on the side of his face as if in thought, "Make sure you get the purple-tinged ones too."

"Yes Master."

After he left, I took the old plants outside to the enormous hallway that was in front of my Master's home. At the end of the hallway opposite the lift was a room in which waste could be disposed. Once I had rid of the waste I left the building and set about my errands. On my wrist I wore a strap on which was a small device that was given to me by my Master. It was through this that he could summon me from anywhere in the city. If I was summoned the device would make a sound like the buzzing of bees to let me know to return. This was the one good thing about my Master, he allowed me to venture from the pyramid, but only on errands.

I left 71 Pyramid 43 which was a squat four-sided building that was by my guess 250 feet tall. From there I took road 46 to bridge 11 to a large complex that served as a warehouse for items that the Master's needed. The building was staffed with slaves that were overseen by a triad of Masters who worked somewhere in the back and controlled the entire operation.

"Hello, what can I do for you today?" asked an exhausted looking slave with limp brown hair as I approached the counter from which he sat behind.

"I need a week's worth of food delivered to 71 Pyramid 43, 8th floor, Room 4," I said and continued, "Plus I need a couple of bushels of plants for my Master's pool."

"A week's worth of food and a couple of bushels of plants," repeated the clerk as he jotted down my order on a piece of paper, "Do you need any gas bubbles?"

"Glad you reminded me," I said, "I had forgotten. Yes, I need a container of them please…Oh! I almost forgot…About the plants…I need some of the purple-tinged ones too."

"How many?"

"Make them a quarter of the total plants."

"Alright, we will have your order ready shortly," said the clerk who handed the order to another slave who set off to pick up my goods.

I took a seat on a bench and waited along with two other errand runners while my order was gathered. Presently two slaves, one, tall and skeletally thin, the other ginger haired, came up to me with a wheeled platform on which was my order.

"We have your order," said the thin one, "You can lead us to your Master's home."

The three of us loaded into a specially built pyramidal-shaped carriage that was larger than most carriages in that it was designed to transport goods. The carriages were designed to fit both Masters and slaves and were able to be piloted by both. The ginger took the controls and sped us along our way to my Master's pyramid. The roads here wind along and take several turns and ups and downs. The Master's design for this city was so haphazard and unorganized that it seemed as if either a total genius or a complete moron had come up with the layout.

As we exited the lift on my floor we were greeted by a Master and his nervous-looking slave. We quickly got out of their way, bowing to the Master and greeting him as we did so. His slave was then smacked in the back by his Master who said to him, "See that boy? One of your primary duties will be to bring me food and other things once a week or whenever else I desire."

"Y-yes Master," said the boy in a timid voice.

"And for goodness sake speak like a man and not a scared child!"


"Good," said the Master in an imperious voice.

As soon as the door to the lift closed the thin slave looked at me and his companion and said, "Must be a new arrival."

"He'll learn his place soon enough," replied the ginger.

Oh yeah, he'll definitely learn his place, I thought to myself, Poor kid.

A talk with Will-

"So found out anything new Fritz?" Will asked quietly.

The two of us sat at a table in a crowded communal room that was part of a pyramid that served as communal baths for the Masters. As we talked we drank water and sucked on salt sticks that were provided to all visiting slaves.

"I overheard another slave saying that he had been part of a group of slaves that had been taken to deliver some stuff for the Masters to the city's power source."

"So slaves can go there," said Will with a bit of wonder in his voice, "This is something that can help us if we ever decided to sabotage it."

The city was powered by some sort of energy that, I had gathered from my eavesdropping, was a pool of burning heat that was located underneath the city's center.

"Yes, but you and I can't do it."

"I know, it'd be too risky, but Julius and the council will need to know this."

"Maybe we can somehow 'get lost' while on errands for our Masters and find it for ourselves."

"We could but we'd have to be careful," said Will who added, "I've been taking down notes about what I've learned."

"Good idea Will, that's something I haven't done."

"Well you seemed like you were ahead of me in finding out information so I guess I had to do something smart," Will said with a smile.

"As long as we both continue to pool or information," I added.

Will went on to say that his Master had been sick a few days before with something called the Curse of Skloodzi and asked if my Master had ever gotten this sickness. I answered no but we both decided that this was important information to know. Perhaps our scientists, that are what the more learned members of the resistance called themselves, could do something with this information.

"Maybe our scientists can find a way to make them all sick," Will ventured.

"It's a possibility," I said and then added an important piece of information that I had saved for last, "I came across a globe on the way over here."

I had passed the large globe as I had gone to the supply pyramid. I had discovered it when I had decided to take a meandering route to the complex instead of my usual straight to the point route. Along this winding route was a pyramid that had a series of moveable pictures on the wall that showed the night sky, complete with stars and planets.

"I imagine it is of our world," said Will questioningly.

"Yes, it is at a place where one can see the stars and planets. I saw constellations that don't look anything like our own."

"It must be how the stars look from their home planet," said Will, "Did you happen to recognize any of our constellations there?"

"Yes, there were some panels on one wall but the important thing is the globe of our world," I paused and saw that Will was waiting intently for me to go on, "I saw some things that looked familiar to me: I saw what I am certain are the White Mountains as well as the sea that you and Henry crossed."

"You did?" Will asked, "What about this place?"

"It is represented by a golden button."

"Alright," Will said as he considered what I was telling him.

"But there's more: There are two others."

Will's ears pricked up, "Two more cities?"

"Yes, one is on the edge of the great continent east of us and the other is right on a narrow point where two continents meet in the west."

"If they have cities there," Will paused and looked around to make sure that no one was paying us any attention. As far as we could see no one was. "Then that means that there is a good chance that there are more of us out there."

I nodded. This was something that I had thought a lot about. There was no way that the freemen of the White Mountains were alone in the world, there had to be more like us and the fact that the Masters were spread out around the world gave me hope that they were spread out so much because there was a threat to them elsewhere in the world.

We chatted on about nothing in particular for a while longer until Will's wrist device buzzed to let him know that his Master required his presence.

"I've got to go," Will said, "I'll try to find you in a few days."

"I'll be looking for you," I said and added, "Take care Will."

"You too Fritz."


After the exchange of information with Will I decided to redouble my efforts at gaining intelligence on our enemy. Surprisingly this was not as difficult as one may think. Already I had been able to glean information about the city from going out on errands for my master, by listening to the things that other slaves said (most pertaining to the location of different areas of the city such as factories and living quarters), and from personal observations of my master's habits.

I had made it a point to memorize as much as I could while I was sent out on my errands. I had jumped at any opportunity my master gave me (order is more like it) to go out and accomplish any tasks he had for me. So I diligently traveled around the city picking things up for him or dropping things off. Sometimes I would have to accompany him to one of the many garden pools or to the arena where the sphere chase was held. During all of these forays I was able to get a grasp of the number of masters inside the city.

Now my estimate is by no means accurate, it is after all only an estimate, by taking the approximate number of residences in my masters building, about 10 master per floor, times the approximate number of levels in residential buildings, I determined that there was something on the order of three to five thousand masters in the city though I wouldn't be surprised if there were more; given the size of this place I wouldn't doubt that there were ten thousand masters here. As for the numbers of slaves: I estimated that there were around 1,500 to 2,000 of us which meant that not every master was allotted a slave.

Will had told me that his master stated that each tripod was crewed by four. Coupling that with the amount of tripods that I have seen in the dock area where they are kept, I guessed that there were anywhere from 100 to 120 spaces for tripods. Most of these spaces were taken up, a fact that I had noticed when I first arrived in the city, and I imagine that the tripods that were outside of the city must come in on a rotation and take up spaces that would be vacated by outgoing tripods. If there were an equal number of tripods outside the city as there were in the city at any given time that would make 200 to 240 tripods per city. That leads to 800 to 960 masters that are assigned to tripods. This left a considerably high number of masters inside the city. What all of these spare masters did wasn't exactly clear to me but I imagined that they must have occupations that dealt with the running of the city as well as some sort of leadership structure.

Currently I am away from my master. He is at the arena watching the sphere chase and has no need of me for a few hours so I have decided to wander about the city. Slaves are not usually questioned about where they are going as the masters hold the view that we slaves would never cause any harm to them. This plays to my advantage and so I blend in with the many other slaves that are out and about.

My back is sore from last night's beating and the heat and humidity are taking their toll on my already taxed body but I am making decent time to my destination. Where I am going is to the tallest pyramid in the city. This central spire soars high above the ground and towers over the rest of the city's buildings. Its top gets lost in the green haze that permeates the city and I imagine its reach must come near to the roof of the glass ceiling. When I first arrived I was able to see it from a distance and for a moment I thought that I could see some tall and thin protuberance that crowned it. Perhaps this is where a radio signal comes from. After we had set off to the Games, Beanpole had told Will and I that our scientists had spoken of something called radio waves and that our ancestors had used them to communicate over great distances. It has been surmised that a command could be sent by radio waves to not just the tripods outside the city but to the capped. In a sense the capped could be kept enslaved by these radio commands. Perhaps if this pyramid had a radio tower on it then that tower could somehow be disabled or destroyed. The only problem with this would be getting to it.

This central spire, a narrow pyramid, is the scene of many masters who apparently work here. There are a few slaves that I have noticed coming out of or going into it but I strongly doubt that I would be able to make it very far inside. It would be one thing to walk into it and pretend to be on an errand but I imagine that it would be unthinkable for a slave to go all the way to the top. I could try sneaking inside and finding my way up but I don't want to risk getting caught. I don't like backing down from challenges but if I failed there would be a possibility that I could be exposed as a spy and jeopardize Will at the same time.

I was about to walk away but was stopped by a tired sounding voice. "Do you think you can help me carry these inside?"

The voice belonged to a tall and thin slave who I reckoned was a year or two older than me, although I couldn't be sure. He was carrying two boxes, one under each arm, and he seemed like he was struggling to maintain his grip on them.

This was my chance to get a look inside! "Of course," I said reaching out for a box, "Let me take some of that weight off of you."

"Thank you very much," he said and the added, "I don't recall seeing you around here before."

I needed a reason to be here. "I was on my way back to the arena and took a shortcut," I lied, but the arena was in fact not too far from this pyramid.

"Then I am lucky that you took this shortcut. I've already dropped these boxes more times than I'd like," he said with a weak smile.

"It feels pretty heavy," I said.

"Yes, I have no idea what is inside but I am to deliver them to my master."

"He is in this pyramid?"

"Yes, he works here," the boy answered as we entered the spire-like pyramid.

We came into a large open area with a high, tapering ceiling that rose around a hundred feet or so above us. It was lit with soft, yellow light that reflected off of the pale floor and had a central lift that appeared to lead past the ceiling of this room. A pair of small garden pools flanked it.

Additionally there were several masters that were coming and going, we both bowed for them as they passed us, and there were a few slaves inside as well

"So where do we take these?" I asked my tall companion.

"To those slaves over there," he said beckoning to a pair of slaves that sat at a table off to the side, "They will make sure that the boxes get to my master.

This fact ruined any chance I had of getting a look at the upper floors of this place. I would have to remain content with viewing the lobby area.

"Do you come here often?"

"Yes, a couple of times a week. My master has me go to the central supply center and tell them that he needs his packages."

"The other slaves automatically know what to get him?"

"He and the other masters that are here have things set aside for them that they require for their work. I just tell them where my master works and they give me these."

We leave the two boxes with the two slaves and then walk back outside.

"Thank you for helping me…" he said and then paused.

I realized that he was wondering what to call me, "Fritz," I said.

"Thank you Fritz," he said and extended his hand, "Alexander."

"Pleased to meet you," I said as we shook hands.

We walked together, he lived on the south side of the arena which was in the same direction that I was going. As we talked we exchanged basic information about each other like where we were from, how old we were, how we got into the city, and how long we had been here.

Alexander was from Saxony which is north of my homeland of Bavaria. Saxony is the central-eastern part of Germany. He is seventeen and was the champion long jumper at the Games three years ago. I said that I was surprised that someone last here after so many years but he laughed and said that he had met a slave that had been here for five years. How anyone could make it here so long was beyond me. I had no intention of staying here any longer than was absolutely necessary but I couldn't tell him that. Instead I told him that I could only hope to be able to serve the masters for as long as I could. He agreed and then pointed out his pyramid which was partially blocked by the arena.

"I would go and watch the sphere chase with you but I am too tired," he said.

"Maybe we will see each other around," I said and extended my hand.

"That would be nice," he said with a smile.

He shook my hand and bade me farewell and walked off. Like many slaves, Alexander seems friendly enough but I have to remember that a spy in the city cannot afford to have any friends aside from other spies.

With my chance at spying on the inner workings of the administration of the city thwarted, I returned back to my master's home. Three days later my Master informed me that I was to assist other masters and slaves in a part of the city that I had only been to once: the Hall of the Tripods.