Maite stood at the edge of the patio and looked over the city. She watched as, in real time, a new building, a tall sky-scrapper, appeared in the distance. First its core structure grew literally out of the ground. Then the walls. It was another one of these organic structures, with numerous pods growing out of the sides covered in trees.
“How?” she asked in awe as she turned back to De Lancre.
“Nanotech,” he said with a shrug. “I admit, I understand none of it. It is so far removed from what we had in my time. But, my understanding is that there are literally billions of little robots that swarm together to build these things. Like an army of ants, but doing our bidding.”
“Who’s bidding, exactly?”
De Lancre shrugged again as he took another sip of his coffee. “Not mine, if that’s what you are asking. If I could control them, then I would have routed Marina a long time ago.”
“There is some central computer that guides them. It does simulations of what is needed most to adapt the city to the needs of the people. It anticipates growth, changes in the economy, those kinds of things. And it builds new structures or takes down old ones based on those simulations.”
Maite shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. “It’s so amazing.”
“I thought you might find it interesting. At the ground level, it is hard to appreciate how the city is almost a living organism, and I mean that literally. But, from up here, you can watch it change, watch it grow and almost breathe.”
Maite sighed and turned back toward the table. She sat down, grabbed her coffee cup but just stared at its surface. She looked up at the man across from her, who she realized had been watching her intently. She had to admit that he was an attractive, even handsome man. And he certainly had his charms.
She quickly took a sip of coffee to hide the blush that rushed to her cheeks.
Once she had regained her composure, she put her cup down. “So, what now?”
“That’s up to you,” said De Lancre with a smile that made Maite’s blood go cold. “I’d like you to stay, to get to know you better, and to show you this world I’ve helped make. However, unfortunately, I can’t let you leave. You are simply too dangerous to be out there, plotting against me. So, you’ll stay regardless. It just depends on if it will be as my guest or my prisoner.”
A cold shiver ran down Maite’s spine, but she did her best to hide it from De Lancre.
“I…” she began. “I would like to get to know you better too.”
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