I checked the clock again. 13:40 pm. Just 20 more minutes before I can go to my next job. Miguel's Hover Repair Shop is usually this quiet. Not many customers come by because no one in this district can afford any kind of fancy hover craft. We do repair other smaller gadgets but we mainly specialize in big ticket items. That way, the fancy tourists from other planets try and sneak in to this district to get their little toys fixed at a lower price than the other districts. Those idiot tourists are the only reason those doors stay open and I still have this job. Among others.
I check the clock again. It was only 13:42 pm. Just a little longer and then I can leave. The digital wall clock tick, ticked away. Tick...tick...tick...Then it disappeared and the lights went out. The soft humming in the background I found comforting was gone only to hear the sound of silence. Followed by a loud clank and Miguel cursing under his breath.
"Alright Xander, since the power's out you get to leave early...again." He shouted from the back.
I was already out the door when he finished his sentence. "Thanks Miguel, see ya tomorrow!"
"Hey, hold on a sec!" I stopped and turned to see his face. There was always a smudge of grease under his eye, covering up his bags.
"What's wrong?" I stepped back into the shop. I saw Miguel rubbing his temples in frustration, making him much older than 34.
"Listen, Xander, if these black outs and power outages keep happenin' more frequently I can't keep this shop open much longer."
"C'mon man, don't do this, I already lost a few good jobs I can't afford to lose another one. These blackouts are becoming a normal thing by now."
"Sure it might be, but the back up generator is out of power already. We're a repair shop you can't expect us to go retro."
That's what most shops out here are doing now, "going retro" using gas lamps and dated tools to keep track of expenses and to do their jobs all to keep a steady income.
"Miguel, I need this job." I couldn't lose another one.
"You're not the only one Xander, I have a snake to feed."
"And I have mom."
"Touche. Alright, I'll cut you some slack. If by tomorrow the power is still out, don't bother coming in alright. Come get your check before you leave."
The power outages have been getting more and more frequent now to the point where some businesses closed permanently. With so many job losses, people started looking for more work in the inner districts as housekeepers, street cleaners, garbage men, and the like. If you're really lucky you can work as a tour guide for the districts, which may be less dirty or lower class. Unfortunately they all receive less pay there than anyone would make here. I'd rather live in the street than work in the inner cities.
The district I live in used to be called the Poseidon District but we just call it the District. In fact, all of this used to be called the Atlantis. But then the starter colony became more populated and even more settlers began moving in and, well, the districts were born. Beyond us are the farming district where all our foods are grown and sent to factories in specialized domes since M-25 isn't really suitable for growing most plants, with the surface comparable to Mars.
But the lack outs aren't necessarily a new thing. Years ago, the previous Emperor was a tyrant and neglected the District. The core of M-25 should be replaced every few hundred years, but the time has gotten shorter and shorter to the point where it's now every ten years. The previous emperor ignored his responsibility to replace the Oracle Chamber, and all of Atlantis was in the dark, for the first time. Eventually it was replaced and things went back to normal for Neptune and Triton. But, the District continued to suffer with rolling black outs every now and then.
Now, they feel like every other day.
I took the tram home and watched as it passed through Neptune to pick up some other workers who were also done for the day. Triton and Neptune are known for its clean streets and pristine white buildings. All so tall and grandiose. All thanks to the people in the District keeping it clean and shining against the sun. It's not all bad in the inner districts though. During the sunrise or the sunset, watching it glitter off the buildings, changing shades from dazzling orange, to a calming blue green from up atop one of the taller buildings is a magical sight.
A girl with red hair sat next to me. I looked over. Her hair was a blood red afro that bounced when she giggled. She had sepia skin and a wide nose. Her mouth was curled in a sly smile, her eyes were doe like and amber.
"Excuse me sir, you're sitting on my skirt," she whispered to me.
I smiled back and got up. She slid over to my side and I grabbed onto the railing. I made sure I was a little farther away from her. Coming up was a tunnel. Perfect timing every time.
Once it got dark, the girl screamed.