“I’m not going to tell you. At least, not yet.” She looks at me with a good approach to what can be a real disappointment. I don’t remember this expression on her, so she really changed in the last 50 years. “Do not patronize me! Do you think that because I’m here since quite a while, I’m not able to understand Earth politics? Just to let you know, I keep track of everything that happens around me. It’s part a case archive, part a diary. I can tell you, almost word by word, what each intelligent being that came to me told me.” So that is a very different Machiko of the forgetful one I was familiar with. I wonder if it’s the environment that changed her, or she changed because of the city. Probably both.
“Alright.” I make a dramatic break. “I did fall on purpose. I’m looking for something.” She goes to the fridge and get another beer, that she hands me. I wonder if she thinks she can make me speak more because I’m drunken. “It’s a key.” A smile. “Have you been hearing rumors about another portal to us?”
“Yes, I did hear something.” But she lies, because I do so also. I don’t look for a key. I improvise. “Somebody used the key to open a portal, back on Earth, and travel through it to here. I’ve been asked to find him, and find out how he opened the portal, and how we can control it. It is of paramount importance for the System to have this City under control. More and more people fall or decide to do so, and as in my case, there is no way back.” I start walking on the direction of the zooming terrace. I was wondering if I can have a look to the other planets…
“We are fine here. I don’t have internet, that’s true. Also no music until now. But that’s OK, if I want to hear music, I just need to walk around, and I’ll find a troupe ready to play what I want. Or I can simply hear them. Some of them are pretty good, it makes you wonder what they could achieve on Earth…”
“Got it. So you don’t miss what you had on Earth. But don’t you care about?”
“Seriously? No. Did they care about the people when they started to fall through the edges? Did they invest money on trying to find out what was going on? ” Yes, they did, but I don’t want to break her line of thoughts. “They were all scared like hell, they thought it was the end of the world! And then they forgot us.” She stands now also, waving her arms around, like engulfing the world around. She’s still having a gorgeous body. I smile. She looks at me and misinterprets my smile. “Don’t you think so?”
I get closer to her, and extend my arms to get her waist. She doesn’t resist. “Machiko. I’m here, so they care. How long do you calculate you have been here? ” She doubts. “I have visitors. I had already like 300 cases, so I calculate around a year.” My smile broadens. “A year? It’s been 50 years since you disappeared!”