This could describe any point in the commute over the last two days. Savage gusts of wind, needling blasts of cold rain, and, as always, the enveloping darkness of winter.


Push again.

Head down. Crank the chain. Grit the teeth. Ignore the throbbing ache of shoulders, protesting about the relentless strain against the bike.

Ignore the speeders, their riders warm and dry in each micro-cabin. Weave slowly, unsteadily, between them as they crawl to a halt in the storm-wracked streets of Citadel.

CN20Panel_smlWonder to yourself if there is a better way. Hoping your electronics stay dry, sealed in compartments, trusting to the manufacturer’s claims.

Lights, all around, glaring in the rain water, white and red reflecting and refracting in a cacophony of confused, sharp, distraction.

Upside: the oppressive weather keeps down the pollution, too. Beneath the rush of wind, the scent of exhaust is, for once, subsumed.

Watch foot traffic as each junction lengthens the interminable journey home, even further. Most are cocooned in wet-weather gear, but here and there are the few foolhardy souls that are clearly unprepared or uncaring, yet still out. Wonder, briefly, what their story is. Who in the lost millions of the city, are they? Where are they going, what pool of safe light do they call home?

Departing lovers, tired commuters, friends and families of others in the vast metro-sprawl. And, as ever, the silent and alone. Wrapped in the anonymity of the masses, soaked in the downpour, making their way from somewhere to somewhen. All caught, for a moment, in my fleeting mind’s-eye.

Back at the hab, tired, peel off wet layers. Hang what can be hung, clip the bike back against the wall. Try to ignore the marks left against the paintwork, slow wear building with time. Fall back on the couch, exhausted, and stare silently at the ceiling. Summoning energy to heat something from the cryo. Sustenance. Cant move yet, so browse the data feed. Ignoring fresh clothes, piled on the floor, waiting to be stowed away.

CN20Lowbat_sml320An hour passes, unnoticed. Eyes feel hot, body is demanding sleep. But rations are needed first. Got to take something on board, or I will be starving in the morning.

Briefly, find the time and energy, somehow, to finally plug in a new terminal screen. It’s been leaning against the wall for months. Saved from scrap, it’s nothing special. But it needed a bespoke adapter, as it’s old. Got one earlier today. Prop it up on a spare box that will serve as a stand for now, wire it up, and connect it. Flickers into life with a blue glow. Do I need it? No. Did I want more screens?


Always, yes.





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