Into the Artificial Sky

"Take me to the parking lot," Doc asks the hover rickshaw.

The little computer beeps questioningly at him, displaying a "destination unknown" message on its screen.

"The docking bay?"

Still unknown.

"Sun Tower?"

The robot dings in acknowledgment as it zips into the sky with him on it, once again flying over the campus. The campus is on an island about a mile in diameter amidst a small ocean which extends about a mile further to the edge of the dome. The dome arcs over the campus about half a mile up at its highest point where it meets the Sun Tower.

The Sun Tower looks a little like the City Spire chain of franchise restaurants from Doc's era, except the thing is about as tall as the old Burj Dubai. The base of it rises asymptotically into the long, cylindrical shaft that extends the best portion of a half mile to the top of the protective dome. The tower and the dome are capped with a flattened sphere with opened holes, where Doc can see a few small ships coming and going. Doc imagined that if the campus had a handle and spout, it would look very much like a squashed teapot from the outside.

The robotic rickshaw flies upwards towards the spheroid lid knob of a docking bay. The people are getting smaller. The women on the beach become naked as their tiny, skin toned bikinis disappear with distance. Doc is overcome with the beauty of the place. The sun rises over the Earth as the station crosses the terminator into the night side of the planet. The rays of light, filtered glitter off the water surrounding the island. Doc can see dolphins breeching. Beyond the dome, a green aurora dances as the station's magnetic field shields them from a minor sunburst. And beyond, stars. Stars unfiltered by dust and clouds. More stars than anyone can see.

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