Jonas’ Untitled Book Chapter 2

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2 – Intruders, Friends, Opportunities

The Spire was a gargantuan monolith of pre-war architecture mixed with trademark Iron District patchwork. Originally a gutted office building, it was one of the few buildings in Old Munich that survived the War. The tower was repurposed as an affordable housing unit for factory workers in the Iron District, which at the time had been experiencing a crippling epidemic of homelessness. A handful of centuries after the fact, the original building upon which most of the Spire was built was draped in layers of newly laid metal. About five whole floors had been added retroactively, and entire sections branched out from the original structure like a tree of rusted, corrugated iron and copper panelling.

 

Sitting at a workbench in my small apartment, my elbow and hand crutched my head as I leaned it against the table. Small piles of screws, circuits, and other miscellaneous items dotted it as I tinkered, fitting bits and baubles together to pass a particularly long weekend. Even as I absentmindedly fiddled about the desk, I couldn’t help but remind myself time and time again of Tanniss. She possessed about as much common sense as a broken doorknob with financial skills to match, but I still felt compelled as her elder brother to be of some assistance, however that may be.

 

Surely, I’d require a second source of income, a rare opportunity for many in New Munich as their primary occupation often took up a majority of their day. I made enough to sustain myself, but with little left over for recreation or emergencies. Another adult and child would, of course, be entirely unfeasible.

 

Oh, certainly there was always a ready supply of well-monied Silver District financiers and stock brokers who had less mathematical knowledge than they let on looking for another secretary to add to their growing army of pencil pushers. However, on top of my lack of time, there was little in the way of protections on my working hours or salary, thanks to the central government’s outspoken policy of laissez-faire economics (a nice way of saying that they have more important business to attend than managing the treatment of proles). Silver District work did not always equate to Silver District wages.

 

Looking back on it, I don’t remember much of the events that transpired between me ending up on the floor and ending up on the roof of my apartment; A deafening crash that rattled the whole building, followed by shouting and sounds of panic from the other sides of each of my thin walls. I practically crawled out my front door before I clammored my way through the mass of bodies and up the main stairway. The roof was barely large enough to fit even a small portion of the Spire’s residents. Pushing past the roof-access doorway with as much assertiveness as I could muster, I glanced over the roof to the right at the sprawling forest of glittering metals that was New Munich. Strangely enough, it was still a comforting sight; One that helps to conceal the less comforting doings and dealings that take place in its streets and towers.

 

Have you ever seen something that forces you to put yourself into scale? Something so unexpectedly or imposingly large that your eyes need a moment to readjust just to absorb as much of the edifice as you gawk in childlike amazement? It’s a distinct yet idiosyncratic feeling, and maybe one that I’m merely misconstruing as simple, intense surprise, but nonetheless it was one that I hadn’t experienced for quite some time, living alongside some of the tallest structures still standing in Europe, if not the known world. It had been the first time in years that I’d experienced it. 

 

It wasn’t fully situated on the roof; it couldn’t hope to be. In fact, it was about as long as the Spire was tall, if not longer. The gargantuan intruder appeared as a scaled up version of an old sailing frigate that used to travel the seas when they were… traversable. Although, I’m not sure how many of them sported an all-metal interior, or suspended itself in the air with a massive pair of b balloons that were a hair larger than the ship itself. Even powered down, the conversation around me was barely audible over the propellers’ bone-rattlingly loud droning. 

 

When I pushed to the front of the hoard, I saw the crowd was afraid to approach fully, and a large open area remained between us and the physically imposing visitor. That was, at least, until a trio of guards, the intimidatingly tall and fit one in front muttering profanities as he flung myself and others aside, cut through the crowd and into the open space. The crowd hushed as their eyes set upon the lawman in front, waiting on his opening move. His face was already beet-red before the yelling began.

 

“ ‘Scuse me!” he yelled towards the deck of the ship, within earshot but still a ways above him. He received no response for a brief moment before the blackened silhouette of a man appeared over the rail. “Good day!” the figure yelled down

 

“Hey, yeah, what do you think you’re doing?”

 

“Landing my vessel, sir!” The man aboard the ship yelled down unconfrontationally.

 

“No you’re not: Get off this building and go somewhere else.”

 

“And where would you have me and my crew go?”

 

“I don’t care! You think that’s my problem?!”

 

“As our host and greeting party, I believe it is.”

 

“I’m not your greeting party, get off the roof.” The lawman snapped quickly

 

“All we ask for is a place to rest our heads; We’ve travelled for many weeks without respite.” The figure yelled down, lacking any indication in his voice that he did actually need a rest.

 

“I didn’t ask what you want. I asked you to get off this roof before I come up there, and personally break your jaw, you fop!” he shrieked, arms flailing about him, vaguely directed at the man on the vessel. The silhouette didn’t respond for a brief, dead silent moment.

 

“You’re being an awfully rude host, sir.”

 

The officer was nearly purple with fury. As I watched him ready his weapon, something small tumbled past me and a group of other crowd goers. He appeared only as a passing blur, out of sight before I could focus on him. A wide-eyed, mousy looking cadet of the peacekeeping force flopped onto his stomach behind the trio of lawmen.