Not much to say about this one. I might expand it sometime. I like the whole concept of cities in unusual places, be it the moon or Mars or deep under the ocean. Simply setting a story in an exotic place like that forces your mind to come up with a whole new set of aesthetics and technologies.
As such, I’ve always thought the concept of Atlantis was awesome. I’ve never actually bothered to do much research into the actual Atlantis (though I think there’s not much to research, right? just a couple of references in ancient Greek texts or something?), but the possibilities are a lot of fun. Friend Erin has a good Atlantis story.
This is right at 500 words.
Cal sat at the highest peak of the city, the famous Spire of Gallar, and gazed out across the ocean floor. Beyond the city walls, the lights of civilization faded into murky water. The dirt-dwellers’ sun had little sway this deep. Long schools of fish formed glinting ribbons in the darkness. Sharks, little more that shadowed silhouettes, drifted past the Parliament buildings to the west. High above the city, a glowing mass of blue marked the jellyfish field.
Cal turned his attention to the small computer in his hands. He needed to focus—the tests were tomorrow. Statistics about marine life and geology scrolled across the screen, and his eyes quickly glazed over. If only it weren’t so boring!
“Prepping for your failure tomorrow, Cal?”
Cal’s face darkened as he looked up to spot his brother, Halif, floating a few feet away. Halif wore the Home Guard battle armor, polished so much that Cal saw his own reflection in the gold sheen. Strapped across his back, Halif’s trident seemed far too mature a tool for the childish brute.
“You know, there’s sharks by Parliament,” Cal said. “You could go do your job.”
Halif scowled. “I’m not on perimeter duty today, little brother.” He puffed his chest out proudly. “I’m training for trench duty this afternoon.”
Cal rolled his eyes. Ostensibly, trench duty was a patrol of the nearby passes, a ward against invaders. But the various city-states of Atlantis had been at peace for two centuries. For years trench duty had been little more than a squad of idiots imbibing too much wine and cruising the nearby trenches looking for lone fish to harass. It would be perfect for Halif. Most troubling, however, was the fact that the “serious” duty would warrant a sidearm. Halif would be carrying a hydrogen-powered blaster. Cal shuddered.
“Well, I’m sure you need to go get ready,” Cal said. He tried to turn his attention back to his notes. Halif shrugged.
“Nah, it’s fine. I’m just waiting on my helmet fitting.”
“Yes. For overworld service.”
Cal blinked. The military—the real military, not the Home Guard—wore bubbled helmets, in case they ever needed to venture above the ocean, to the surface world. The helmet created a self-contained, sealed environment for the soldiers, so they could breathe and work unhindered. Much like the trench patrols, they were largely unneeded. The Atlantean Army had not ventured above the ocean surface in generations. The Home Guard, little more than a convenience for rich kids and politicians unwilling to join the regular Army, would never need such a thing.
“That’s ridiculous,” scoffed Cal. “Why would you ever need such a thing? You’re not going to the surface world.”
“I-” Halif cut himself off, glaring at his younger brother. He opened his mouth, then shut it several times. He flexed his hands.
“There’s a lot you have to learn about the world, little brother,” he finally sputtered. “You better study up.” He turned and swam fiercely toward the sharks in the distance.