Welcome to the Empire

Nima had never seen anything like this before.  On all sides outstretched before him along the narrow throughway rose towering structures of glittering coloured lights up into the starless night sky. As he struggled to make out the flickering words alighting the buildings, countless locals violently beat Nima shoulder to shoulder almost as if in punishment for his inability to just absorb the flashing madness about him. This truly was the most difficult civil service assignment tasked to a Barisian yet.

Rooting himself firmly to the hardened ground beneath him, Nima endeavoured to get his bearings straightened. The whole scene was disorienting and he was glad that Astra, his wife, had stayed behind at their lodgings. Staring at the hard surface below, Nima became aware of the filth covering the walkway: empty containers that once held what was presumably some form of nourishment; bits of papers; and some brightly dyed sticky substance that abounded in flattened globs.

The sound of a gruff voice caught Nima’s attention and turning his head to the right beside the fluorescent walls he caught sight of an unclean man in tattered rags, hands outstretched in warn gloves full of holes. “Got any cash?” Bewildered, Nima looked at the weathered creature, whose face was covered by matted hair and was startled to notice that dozens if not hundreds of others just like him lined the bottom of the neon buildings. Stifling a gasp, Nima involuntarily stepped back from the unfortunate column of humans and hurried off into the crowd of people thumping one another down the street.

What shock this scene must bring to those at home, Nima wondered thinking of the million or so Barisians who would be viewing this experience along with him through the broadcast lenses he now sported. At least they don’t have to breathe this air, or the lack thereof, thought Nima as he choked on the thick pollution of exhaust and human rot. I just hope our being here provides us some insight as to why the Empire hates us so.

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