Commonwealth, II.XXXVII: Bioswale

Commonwealth, II.XXXVII: Bioswale April 16, 2021

Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 2, chapter 8

Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month, or $2 for exclusive author’s notes and behind-the-scenes material. There’s also a table of contents for all published chapters.

Jane contacted Rae in the morning. “We’ve found another influential civic figure who’s undecided. I believe it would help if you spoke to him. Are you willing?”

“Always. I’ll head right out. Is Will coming with me?”

“Not this time. I’ll accompany you, if you don’t mind. The person we’re meeting is an old acquaintance, and the path we’ll have to travel to see him is somewhat… complicated.”

That piqued Rae’s curiosity. The Pacific Republic’s network of fast, efficient passenger trains reached every corner of the city, and its dense urban planning and mixed zoning ensured that nowhere was more than a few blocks’ walk from the nearest station. Between the trains, the free bike shares, and the self-driving cars that could be summoned as a fallback, she had yet to find a place that was difficult or inconvenient to get to.

Jane met her at her apartment. They took a train to a hub station where several lines intersected and switched to a different train heading south.

Rae was familiar with this line. It was the one she had taken on her first day in the Pacific Republic, the morning she had awoken in the hospital and Jane had taken her to Miranda’s. This time, they were traveling in the other direction.

The train carried them across the lush green wetland preserve to the south of the city’s urban core. They flashed west, catching a glimpse of the sculpted sandstone shape of the hospital, and curved around to the north, running parallel to the coast.

They traveled along an elevated track with blue water on both sides. The gateway of the clouds opened a little wider, and the sun’s weak light became a blaze. A rippling streak of brilliance, like a fluttering flag, raced alongside them.

“The train will only take us partway there,” Jane said. “Some people prefer slow living, intentionally choosing to reside somewhere a little more difficult to get to.”

“Like the private houses in the mountains?”

“Like those, yes. We’re headed to another of those places.”

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