This is the Fifth section of the third chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
Sorry for the Delay in posting, between Blogger going down and a holiday for me it's gone a bit wonky...
“Ah, Martin, you’re back”
Martin was just stepping through the locked transparent door that marked the air lock between the new plate and the city plate. “Well just heading home now”
“Mind me joining you?” asked Iz
“Not at all. You stalking me then?”
“I just asked the Hab to let me know when you were back in the city”
“Look, not that it isn’t good to see you, but is something up?”
“What, well no I’m fine, I just wondered if you were okay after your little trip” she outstretched her arm in an attempt to link it with him.
“What that? No nothing wrong there, a little bleak, a little artificial, but give it a chance and it’ll be great soon.”
“You haven’t heard about the land grab then?”
“People moving into the east plate already, I should have expected it really”
“No people are moving into your west plate”
Martin froze at this news. “What, the whole point is that it is to be left alone to be developed.”
“Oh the surface is, apparently there are whole new cities available on the west plate and people are being allowed to move in”
“Yeah I saw it build one overnight and that was just one chamber I guess I shouldn’t be surprised”
“Well there’s that city but otherwise land is being given away on a first come first served basis”
“I thought it was quiet around here.” The park that was the surface of the city certainly had fewer people than the last time he stood here.
“Yeah,” she said somewhat dejectedly “They’ll be back I’m sure when they’re bored of the isolation.”
“It just seems such a daft thing to do, you say anyone can have as much as they want.”
“Yep, for the moment up to whatever fraction of the volume that is unused shared between however many people are asking for it”
“Right so everyone is miles apart from each other.”
“Interestingly enough it’s allowing people to have two spaces, nominally one in a city of their choice and a place in the country. From there on people can trade and subdivide and share out. Seems to be working well so far at least in theory, popular places get divided into small volumes, unwanted places give you huge estates”
“You can either be close to people or have lots of space”
“The currency is social convenience. Interesting.” he paused for a moment lost in thought he carried on, “Well as long as they leave the surface alone. Still I thought we had left all that greed behind.”
“Only because the Habitat gave us as much as we wanted; well except living space, now it’s offering us nearly unlimited space, is it a wonder that in the same way as when we came here we’d try and stuff our faces.”
“You think the Habitat is breeding us to be more greedy and lazy?”
“I never said that. I think by giving us exactly what we always wanted in vast quantities it’s actually trying to breed those qualities out.”
“Anyway, interesting as this is, I just want to get home and have a good rest; fancy joining me?”
“I’d love to, but got an appointment down the centre”
“Anything interesting?” asked Martin
“No just some religious thing, bit of a pain really, but I’ve been trying to cover more of these things as a kind of study into the human mind.”
“Fine,” said Martin half distracted, half weary “Okay catch you later.” and walked off.