I could smell him before I entered my space to grab my pack. He always smelled as if he practically bathed in that horrid perfume crud that the greenhouse made from the scented flowers to sell in the specialty shops. Most of the time only the elite could afford it as luxury items are not a necessity and are therefore a rarity down here. I thought about turning around and leaving without my gear, but the good luck bracelet that Ellie had made for me from some of her plant fibers was in that pack and I wasn’t about to leave without it. Not now.
“Is it true, Kai?” He practically shouted at me.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about and you’d do well to keep your voice down, Ronin. People are trying to rest. They have jobs, you know.” I snapped back at him, furious that he would dare to invade my space.
“C’mon, I’m your brother. You owe it to me to tell me if the world is going to end.”
“You know, that’s your problem. You think everything is owed to you. It isn’t. And so what if something was going on, what could you do about it? Could you build a vessel big enough for everyone to leave? Could you restore the planet to its former glory? Could you keep the sun from swallowing everyone? What could you really do?” I found myself growing angrier by the moment. I rushed to grab my pack from its hook on the wall, my heart beating a million miles a second. I heard my neighbors stir in their spaces.
“Well, no Kai, but I could spend my final hours trying all the things that I’ve yet to try. And so could the rest of these….people.” He sounded so disgusted with his current surroundings. Ronin leaned against the wall before remembering where he was and standing up straight. While brushing his arm off with a gloved hand, he said “Keeping it to yourself is selfish. You really should be ashamed, Kai.”
“I have to go to work. You should try that sometime and perhaps it would give you a sense of perspective.”
“So, I should take that as a yes, then? It is true. Why else would the Topsiders be going out again so soon?”
“You’re free to believe whatever you wish,” I said pushing past him. “Regardless, I have things to do and you should really consider getting back to quadrant 1 before some of these … people … start to think that you have things that would look rather nice on them.” The people in my quadrant weren’t at all violent and they definitely weren’t thieves, but Ronin didn’t know that. I smirked as he scurried back down the corridor and I casually strolled in the opposite direction toward the Topsiders’ meeting place.