Maybeline is sitting on Renyke's shoulder cleaning herself. Renyke makes a point of collecting small pieces of food which he stores in the pocket of his long leather coat.
He catches himself in a window reflection and puts on dark glasses. The winter sun is low in the sky.
'We look pretty good Mabeline, considering,' says Renyke.
Mabeline nestles into Renykes neck as they enter the street.
They are in the centre of the metropolis, There is a lot of activity and people are bartering goods, shouting and moving quickly about the place. There are small groups of people leaning against vehicles smoking pipes.
The vehicles seem to be a mix of old-fashioned scooters and motorbikes, There are also some hybrids, electric solar and engine mashups.
There are smells that Renyke is not familiar with, possibly fuel for the engines and the substances being burned in the pipes.
'Hey, dude from the Brightside, you want some nibs*?' A man hovers expectantly. He looks disheveled and seems edgy. He is checking all directions and avoiding eye contact.
Renyke checks his database for 'nibs'.
A drug used by nearly half the world's population that creates euphoria and doubles strength for a limited period. Can cause temporary and permanent coma. Long-term effects; brain rot.
'How much?' asks Renyke.
'I can do you a deal' said the man, '50 bits*.... Or the Rat'.
Renyke checks the database for bits.
.....Bits: street talk for gold and silver metal nuggets used in the black and grey markets without government authority....
'I have no bits,' said Renyke.
'Hahahahahaha'.........' see you in hell brother!' shouts the man as he dances away on long legs and a demeanor that seems contrary to his attire. Perhaps Renyke had been too judgemental, Perhaps in the zones happiness was not akin to cleanliness and highly polished sleek styling. After all, he was not in the Midcast areas where all these things appeared to be a measure of success and achievement and theoretical contentment.
A fat man in a fur coat whistles at Renyke, 'Hey girly, you want some dirty action? I'll take that rodent off your hands if you need some sexy time.'
A warning comes from the OS.
Danger. Immediate. Ground Level.
A robot dog approaches barking loudly and snarling at Mabelinewho had been rudely awoken and began to snarl.
Renyke glanced down at his little friend and saw long dribbly teeth and a fearsome glare which took him aback.
'Wow, not so cute after all......I am most pleased you are on my side,' Renyke exclaimed, hoping that Maybeline was just that that, on his side.