New Zhongzhou 79ºS


I woke up one morning to see the twilight of the horizon and the midnight blue sky interrupted by the blocky skyline of Mosquito Hill. I then went through my normal routine, washing up, getting dressed, and powering up my computer to undertake the rituals at my family shrine. I went downstairs to the common area to meet some of the evening regulars and have my breakfast. There were many people I knew and so I interacted with them discussing many things though there seemed to be a central theme, the way that the long darkness that happens every year since our community is so far south. All of us felt a sense of timelessness with the sun not rising for many months. For me, it made the night shifts I worked less disrupting as I would not be missing much. Anyway, once I finished my meal I went to the tram stop and could feel the chills of winter permeating into the sheltered stop reminding me of what it was like outside. On the tram, I saw the city with its many apartment blocks peppered with lit windows all behind the skeletons of trees.

At the Police Station, those of us who do the Night Shift began to meet up and delegated our responsibilities for the night. I was then assigned to patrol the entertainment district where, despite the cold of winter, crowds there still gathered. Much of that neighborhood was made up of the similar garden and warren configuration common throughout the town. It is absolutely beautiful in the summer as the community enjoyed the long day to enjoy themselves in the lush parks that make up the city (this is also the part of town with the least amount of mosquitos). However,  winter is different with the parks only holding skeletons of their former greenery and the entire neighborhood being lit by electric lights giving it a seedy character with many dark spots. In this neighborhood, I patrolled with my partner Rightnoble as we were tasked with “making a presence” whatever that was supposed to be. 

Though there were always rumors about this neighborhood, I always thought they were just the murmurings of parents keeping their children away from the “bad side” of town. So as we walked down the street observing the devoted merrymakers at the various clubs that operated despite the biting cold and darkness. We could hear the sounds of the music played in some of the adjacent dance clubs and the clusters of dedicated patrons moving from club to club. The night had only “begun” so there was not much of the debauchery that happened later when drugs started to be added to the mix. After some time of patrolling the many streets of the neighborhood to “remind” people not to commit crimes, not much had happened. From time to time we would see some people begin to get into heated arguments though everyone but them managed to prevent anything from boiling over. After many frigid hours of patrolling there something in the distance that looked suspicious. I moved quickly to this person to see what was going on. This person (the identity was hard to see with the heavy coat worn) seemed to be getting overly close to another who did not seem to be in full control of themselves. I whistled to get their attention to have them turn back and step back into the light. They signed me on what the problem was and I responded with an attempt to show my concern for what was going on. I then proceed to ask for their name and Identification. Thankfully for me, he responded saying that his name was Treasure Plum. That prompted me to ask who his partner was, and he responded that she was his good friend. I was definitely suspicious and I could see his eyes stare at me seeming wary of me. I then asked how his “friend” was doing and he responded with some discussion of his “friend” consuming some illegal ethanol. This response prompted me to take notes as this could be a violation of the strict laws that are in place in our world. Once I had finished probing his story about ethanol I asked if his “friend” needed anything as I could get a taxi to help them out and was refused. 

Still possessing suspicion I left them and continued on my patrols bringing the cold darkness back into my mind. Meeting back up with Rightnoble I nodded and moved to other streets starting our presence on this long, cold, winter, night.


New Zhongzhou O