Antarctica West Islands - Ramaxia
8 Bamx 2228 – 0230 Hours
Human companies in Antarctica City made their real money on import goods, yet they all leased space along the commerce strip of Entry-Port Secondary and stocked their tiny shops with a diverse variety of beautiful women.
Koba’s favorite café was a true hovel by femarctic standards, but its menu had introduced her to the glory of fried bananas smothered in a sauce of thick sour cream and brown sugar.
“Rolly,” she addressed the petite girl working behind the chrome-coated bar. “Where’s Yvette?”
Yevette Komba had been a preferred dish; tall and stocky, her coal-colored skin glowed under the water-closet lights where they shared clandestine trysts.
“She’s gone back home,” said Rolly, teapot in hand. Her neon green jumpsuit’s red snaps matched the hibiscus blooms on the wallpaper. “She went back home because she was getting too fat.”
Koba sucked her teeth. “Why do humans dislike body fat?”
“You’re not fat,” she said, refilling the bizak’s mug with honey tea.
“If I were, you’d never see me.” Koba smiled. “I’d be in my residence, touching myself, constantly.”
Laughing turned the girl’s cocoa-colored cheeks pink. “Well, Madame Yvette is back home, being touched by the man she married.”
Koba gulped down the heated tea.
“You think Yvette told him about the three of us?”
“There is no three of us,” she said, rolled locks tumbling with a shake of her head. “When I found you and Madame doing what you do, you asked for a kiss, and I gave you one. Then I left you to it.”
“You should’ve stayed,” Koba said. “It would’ve changed your life.”
“My life is fine unchanged,” she assured, finger raised.
“Unchanged is no way to live, Rolly.” Koba set three gold coins on the table. “Neither is being thin. Gain some weight.”
“I’ll get fat when you get fat,” she yelled as Koba exited.
The four corners where Port Avenue crossed the Commerce Strip contained the relics of Antarctica City’s once-thriving human district. When the Robust Gen ran things, humans blanketed three city blocks with unique shops, food carts, and quaint hotels.
After the Polluted Gen ascended, the Second Office ousted them, one shop at a time, until Koba’s kermatic-sibtox, Rasa Jyr, stepped in and negotiated for them, a meager square.
Past the quiet of Port Avenue lay the waterfront.
Four massive docks stretched over the bay like silvery fingers, the pulsing lights of Entry Port Prime glowing beneath the choppy surf. Colorful lights twinkled on Stephenson Ridge. Once a mountain’s highest peak, it now contained cargo decks with shimmering tiers that cast a strange reflection upon the restless water. Along the skyline stood a pair of glowing high-rises, rydokular monstrosities that lorded over a bloom-community filled with bizaki stupid enough to live there on purpose.
Raucous laughter peeled out under the pedestrian bridge.
A group of muscled bruisers appeared, their pants tight and their big-collared shirts, colorful. Lingering after them came a uniformed Bakiprime with a deep red architeuthid stained on her scalp.
Koba hadn’t seen the silvery-hued Deltad Polvix in over fifteen years, her signature red streaks now dulled with age. Intent on reacquainting, she moved toward the stairs, pausing when a stunning zaxir joined the bullish marix on the quay.
Rotund and glowing beneath the lights, she fell into the bruiser’s muscular embrace. Long yellow fingernails danced over the red tentacles on Polvix’s scalp, and when the pair kissed, those fingers deposited a tiny sliver of paper into the officer’s collar.
Polvix romancing a zaxxy felt strange given her habit of chasing turbaned hizaki around the citbluz. They walked beneath Koba’s position on the bridge before Polvix dismissed the zaxir with a slap on the rump.
After several agonizing moments, Koba sprinted to the stairs. Grasping the tubular rails, she kicked up her feet and slid down without taking a step. She caught up to Polvix at the Yukat Launch Center, an open-air shuttle bay surrounded by green metallic ribbons that resembled an algae bloom hurricane.
The lofty bruiser tapped her Ramaxi-Credit ID ring against a nearby boarding sentry screen, then jogged over to a line of citizens entering Shuttle Pekada.
The undersea ferry, a glass salamander with an oversized head, was the only civilian way back to the mainland. Unwilling to pay for such a quick trip, Koba distracted the boarding attendant, an aging bizak with some strong opinions on this year’s crop of BK Glides.
When the departure bell sounded, she slyly excused herself without plugging her credit stick into the attendant’s handheld.
Concealed within a group of subaki and bizaki, Koba filed toward the last row of plushy back seats. Polvix had plunked down in front, her sights set on the backside of an hizak who’d boarded without wearing her suit jacket; this was the lewd bruiser she used to know.
A gentle lurch came when the shuttle dropped into the sea. Dark polar water closed in outside the glass, loaded with mobs of luminous icefish that parted for their advance.
Coligon’s smooth voice rang out on the overhead, estimating the arrival time to Pikalit, along with the Triad’s current weather conditions. Good-natured Coli felt like an old friend. At the Bizaki Academy of Citizenry, where she’d come of age, the lifeform’s voice had been ever-present in the classrooms, showers, and dorms; she’d even made herself available for talks when young Koba straddled the gape.
The shuttle rocked as they rose out of the waters of the Ramx’atol. When the doors opened, everyone filed out into the motley-colored realm of the Dirtoxian Plateau Launch Center. The scored concrete floors were drenched in vivid kaleidoscopes cast from the station’s irradiated glass ceiling.
Outside, dark subglacial cypress trees surrounded the food-court, their phosphorescent leaves shivering in the midnight breeze. Dozens of globular paxo-carts had set up shop in the circular common, flattening its white grass and filling the air with the aroma of quickly food.
Polvix sought out a specific cart and knocked on its backdoor.
An Eleventh Gen bizak greeted her, and after exchanging some words, they shook hands before Polvix retired to a nearby table. The bizak appeared moments later with a tray of food, and while talking to Polvix, she pointed to the cart.
The tall marix nodded at some questions and beamed with pride at answers to her own. Afterward, the bizzy refused to take the marix’s payment; rising from her seat, she jogged back to her cart, smiling.
This was a cit-cat sit-down.
The young bizak had gone to the Citizen’s Catalog and pulled her biological maker information, a procedure that notified Polvix of a young citizen potentially seeking her out. By now, nearly every Tenth-Gen had met up with at least one biological donation she hadn’t raised; Koba had done it twice already.
Polvix discarded her trash in a nearby brazier before heading into the dark, and Koba would’ve followed had she not spotted another familiar face enter the food court.
Pita Wex, another long-ago bluz-buddy, was now Bakiprime of the Woxidat, the Arkelon assigned to the waters around Yazhou.
Tattooed on her scalp were two koi floating head-to-tail resembling the yin and yang symbol native to the Jungwanian culture. Ginger-hided with milky blotches throughout, she veiled her dark golden freckles beneath a bright sheer blouse, one sealed at the chest with a thick front stripe; such modesty came with bondship.
Buying a transit-sized bottle of water from a cart, the marix exited in Polvix’s direction, and Koba tracked them to Pikalox Grand Terminal.
The nation’s Fifth Gen had established continental transit with the advent of the ‘Slide’, a train that levitated on a kyron pulse within an air-sealed tube. Pikalox Grand remained the largest transit hub, a giant red crab crouched over the triangular park where all three of Pikalit’s domes met. Her two daily slides were called the Inbounder and the Outbounder, and each connected the Triad to Utama.
Polvix and Wex waited for the Outbounder on the same platform without acknowledging each other. The lengthy slide slowed to a stop, its doors parting with a hiss. Polvix entered first and sat up front, ignoring Wex as she strode to a spot in the middle.
Moments later, the Orta Slide out of Gulidox slowed onto the opposite platform, and among its exiting passengers was Bakiprime Fos Tis. A jade-colored bruise with patches of brown along her neck and shoulders, the unbonded Tis advertised her wares with a bright orange blouse opened wide to display the dark green seam between her suzsch. She’d been Fusada Kul’s closest friend, active in the troubled Komadon’s life right up to the day she died.
Trotting to the Outbounder, Tis boarded two rows in front of Koba, who now sat hunkered down in the last row. Three high-ranking marixi didn’t arouse scrutiny as Pikalox was the single access point to the military’s Gulidox Terminal. Yet, all three had been close friends out of Orta, and today they behaved as if strangers.
Outside Koba’s window, tribes of tendril-laden squid slapped at one another over clusters of glowing anemones.
Conversation filled the cabin as they climbed the Pikatal’s ascending terrain. Over the ridge, the slide raced across the flat Ditoxian Coastal Valley. Cloudy water hovered over a tigoz plantation, where spines of white-bladed seaweed rose from the depths.
Steam obscured the windows as they sped out of the bay. Here, warm glacio-volcanic pools littered the coastal flat, each lightly colored puddle packed with acropora coral and surrounded by bedded keltavi. When Koba was a donat, she’d wipe the windows dry with her shirt, hoping to see the ripe blue rice paddies.
Coligon’s airy timber heralded a momentary stop in Mynu before recommencing toward the elevated heights of the Yulitox Valley.
Bone-white terraces of glowing subglacial flora whirred past before a mighty rush of water pounded the windows. Suddenly, they curled downward and moved behind the powerful falls that spilled into Lake Utamx. Their descent lasted seconds yet caused Koba’s stomach to jump. The world outside became submerged once more, and when a dome appeared on the horizon, Coligon wished everyone a productive day.
Moments later, they idled into the spiral tower of Jyrtax Terminal. Erected over the Utamx river, every major slide moved through Jyrtax, including a for-pay vocational line bound for Marixitak Station in Orta.
Utama possessed the continent’s lone highway to the surface, and naturally, they collected tolls from those unwilling to drive to the Pikalox. Everything cost something in Ramaxia’s political center; a greedy city, Koba half-expected the dome to begin charging visitors to use its public restrooms.
All three marixi went separate ways at the end of the deck.
Koba barreled down the entresol’s length, hopping over small geysers that chopped the gray floor into squares. Like its little northern sister Mynu, dome Utama belonged to the hizaki, and no amount of rumbling aquascapes or textured surfaces remedied its lack of bold colors.
Leaving the station, she entered Utama’s tiny citbluz district and spotted Polvix entering the Exruzat. Founded by a Tenth-Gen hizak, the ‘Zat catered to hizaki admirers but kept a strict age requirement barring elders and youth.
Koba debated following the marix inside, but the aroma of fried food in the air began nagging her stomach. The bright signage of Rakuta Bakuti gave her mouth-watering fantasies of a crunchy deep-fried bakuti breast.
Unfortunately, the moment she pulled out her credit stick, Polvix emerged from the citbluz dressed in Ortosk-style flair. The marix returned to the Jyrtax and met with a local named Vaniav Gwo.
Also dressed for bluz-hopping, the hulking Gwo punched shoulders with Polvix before the pair boarded the Utox Slide. Gwo, another known ally of Fusada Kul’s, had been Polvix’s best friend in Orta. Assigned her own Ornithocheirus, the ranking Bakikom served as liaison to the Axyrn Division at ISO Main in the north pole.
Gwo had crossed paths with Koba back in her cit-bluz days, stealing away all the best zaxir. Patches of black and gray riddled her sandy hide, and she’d tattooed a vibrant green moray eel on her scalp, its three frightening teeth bared for effect; no doubt she still wrangled the bellies.
Suddenly, Fos Tis and Pita Wex reappeared just a few citizens ahead of Koba in line. The two marix ignored one another, sitting on opposite sides of the cabin, yet before Koba found a seat in the back, the tube beside them outside pulsed with a new arrival. Fresh from Orta’s Marixitak station, the Turkol Shuttle let loose a gaggle of noisy bruisers, and behind them came Zerix Julo and Bam Yuxi.
One could dismiss all these officers taking liberty simultaneously, but all being former peers of Fusada Kul and acting like strangers would pique anyone’s curiosity.
Koba disguised a spying eye behind her Filmark when the two entered because if anyone noticed her, it would be her sibtox, Zerix.
When eight years old, Koba and her kerma saw cousin Zerix off to caste training. She’d held out her hand to say goodbye, and the pink-and-black-striped Zerix gave it a playful slap before running off to her caste sisters.
Zerix was once Fusada’s spy in the Axyrn. The proverbial ‘ice on the pond,’ Zerix went unseen while serving the Custodial Branch of the Sernatae.
Fusada Kul, a well-spoken marix, cultivated her peers with the skill of an hizak. Back in the day, she’d had Pita Wex in the Ramaxatae, monitoring Polar Air Command’s highest ranks.
Polvix, and Koba’s other sibtox, Ryoz Julo, were Fusada’s chief intimidators; habitual girz-kickers, no one crossed those two without risking a beatdown.
For a diplomatic approach, Fusada always sent Bo Kilvx. It had been Kilvx who’d recruited Koba to Fusada’s cause; in those days, Koba had been regularly riding two of Kilvx’s zaxxy sibs.
Bam Yuxi, cunning as any hizak, had entered Fusada’s life as a rival brood leader. Legend said that teens Yuxi and ‘Foos joined forces to overcome a challenging obstacle course in Orta. Fusada had come to rely on the red and gold Yuxi after her twin Sofita became estranged.
After the slide set off, Polvix and Gwo began a vulgar debate with a young zaxir and her brainer associates about the merits of fisting an aroused guzshlix. While Zerix and Yuxi discussed the Committee’s latest move to provoke glaciers in Greenland, Tis spoke with an older bruiser about a workout regimen, and Wex chatted up a couple of bizaki in matching bonding sashes.
At Kyrtabi Station in West Toxis, Yuxi and Wex climbed into a parked glide. The remaining bruisers crossed the platform and boarded the Toksul, bound for Vanda. Koba boarded and slipped into the last row, secure in her mission until the tattoo of a bear claw slicing through ice appeared.
Gazing at the back of Zerix’s head, she waited for the marix to turn around and confront her. Luckily, she arrived at Terminal Tiskol unharmed. Slipping out unnoticed, she trailed Tis to a resident commune in the museum district.
Vanda’s upscale Lurata housed educated zaxiri, but Tis stood in its lobby consoling a subak.
Koba recognized Ozbi Banto, formerly Ozbi Tis, now the bond partner of Eppis Banto. Suddenly, a zaxir she recognized as Hib Perkad entered with a box of prepared food in hand. Moving in closer, Koba opened the door for a group of modestly dressed zaxiri and overheard Tis decline Hib’s offer to come upstairs.
Hib and Ozbi kissed goodbye, the sort of sexless peck that breeders often shared, and perverts like Koba eroticized.
Afterward, the bruiser escorted her sib to the Lux Garden Club. Seeing her off at the front door, Tis then vanished down the next-door alley. Moments later, a hired transport delivered Wex and Yuxi, who entered the same path behind the Lux. The brutes’ meeting here was an admirable strategy; garden clubs were the domain of subaki, and the caste went out of their way to exclude everyone from entering, even zaxiri.
Brochures for these places offered fitness treatments, platonic and intimate socialization, and aesthetic care. Subaki frowned upon revealing too much hide, and that’s why they wouldn’t be caught dead at a bluzsh. Yet behind the walls of their clubs, the snobbish pranced around naked and grouped up openly.
Eager to expose the hypocrisy, Koba had found a young subak willing to take a hidden camera inside a club in Vanda. Footage showed mud and steam baths, along with spaces dedicated to massages, hide scrubs, and hair braiding. Each passage led to a central atrium designed like one of the continent’s many oases; gentle cascades fell into darkened ponds surrounded by bioluminescent flora and soft white sand.
Sex occurred, and that was the story; subbies group masturbated, performed oral sex, and some even dabbled with insertions.
Koba had bragged of her findings while out on the town, compelling a young zaxir to flirt her way back to Koba’s flat and abscond with the footage.
Those damn breeders always stuck together.
Fortunately for Koba, the Lux was owned by an elder relative named Fylux Acari. The lobby seemed designed to discourage visitors. Its bare walls lacked falling water, and its lifeless tile floors held no pots of those big leafy subterranean plants that subbies nurtured by just kicking the dirt.
At the front door, she spotted the receptionist slash guard, a young subbie with a head full of intricate braids. Clinging to her hourglass figure was a tan subati covered with roses, coal-black like its wearers hide. Lime-colored vines ran behind the blooms, like the stripes along the subak’s neck.
“Good evening, citizen,” Koba entered with a smile and, under the kiosk’s brilliant light, noticed the subbie’s verdant freckles also spread into the valleys between her braids.
“Can I help you, Citizen Julo?” she asked with an edge of warding.
Koba blinked. “I’m here to see my elder, Fylux,”
“Citizen Acari doesn’t entertain visitors anymore,” the young thing came out from behind the service desk. “This Garden Club is off-limits to outside visitors, and if you’re recording me right now, you’re breaking the law.”
“I’m not here for work,” Koba deflected. “I’m visiting my elder.”
Three beige chairs lined the wall, each made of rigid polar fiberglass that would creak under anyone’s weight.
The tall subbie pointed at them. “I’ll see if she’s interested,”
“I’m not an interest,” Koba huffed. “I’m her bone.”
“I’ll be back,” she said, finger still pointed as she pushed through the curtained arch behind reception.
Once alone, Koba darted to the adjacent door, jiggled the handle, and found it locked. Through its lone circular window was a corridor where soft light glowed behind falling water walls.
“Citizen Julo,” the young subbie reappeared, startling her. “You’re to go down the hall, to the door on the right. The door on the left is forbidden.”
Koba paused after a buzzer opened the door.
“You are the rudest host I’ve ever met.”
“Just because I don’t want to ride you,” she sassed. “Doesn’t make me rude.”
“I wouldn’t ride you if you paid me.”
The subak’s lip curled. “I wouldn’t spend one credit on your old-narrow girz, either.”
The fruity aroma of split gabishol filled the dimly lit passage. Koba tapped the forbidden door, testing its availability with her foot before pushing her way through.
Instantly, she found herself shoved back out.
“What the fuck are you doing here, bizzy?”
Ryoz Julo held Koba’s collar and pinned her against the wall.
Line Acari’s lone subak, Fylux, had bonded to Clan Julo’s most underwhelming bizak, a transport mechanic named Pikaz. The pair fell in love with a big-name cartographer assigned to Project Suvayul, and after the hizak’s death during the Rubo Tragedy, they’d chosen Zerix’s zaxir maker to birth their donux; they named that shithead, Ryoz.
Eight-year-old Ryoz had needed no farewell handshake the day she left for caste training in Orta. After a playful tussle with Koba’s kerma, the black and brown striped marixidoe had ran off without saying goodbye. Despite her orneriness, Ryoz had excelled in Orta, becoming a peer of Fusada Kul’s. These days, she commanded the TCS Chironex.
“My invitation to your strategy meeting got lost,” she cracked as Deltad Polvix appeared beside them.
“What is she talking about?” the marix demanded.
“Koba’s always talking shit.” Ryoz grasped Koba under the arms and hoisted her up off the ground. “My kerms loves this noisy fucker.”
“Put me down,” Koba demanded.
Ryoz looked to Polvix, and when Polvix gave the nod, she released Koba. Dropped to the floor, Koba’s pride hurt more than her tailbone.
“What’s going on?” she grumbled, rising to her feet.
Polvix shrugged. “I don’t know, Julo. What’s going on?”
“I know you’re all here,” she accused. “Except for Kilvx.”
Ryoz pointed her head at the lobby door.
“What do you think of Akuda?” she asked.
“Mouthy subbie gashes ain’t my thing,” said Koba.
Ryoz grasped her neck and anchored her to the wall.
“That’s my subakidoe,” she growled.
“How sweet,” Koba choked. “Maybe she can hook up with Polvix’s bizzy,”
Ryoz released Koba and turned to Polvix.
“I thought you had a zaxiridoe and a bruiser?”
Polvix beamed. “I found out I got a bizakidoe,”
“Look at you,” Ryoz said with a grin, “patching up all over the place.”
Polvix nodded with pride. “You know, being a kerma’s not as weird as I thought—”
“-Where’s Yuxi?” Koba shouted.
Ryoz seized her arms and slammed her into the wall. “It’s rude to interrupt conversations you’re not part of, Koba,”
“The First Office isn’t seeing anyone today,” Polvix added.
Koba spoke, though winded.
“Our First Office is Eppis Banto.”
“No-no-no, a brainer that icy isn’t anyone’s First Office,” Polvix said with a leer. “I used to dream of getting my face between Banto’s hizbacks.”
“I think we should take Koba back to West Toxis,” Ryoz released her. “Drop her into one of those predator-and-prey rooms.”
Polvix chuckled. “Those freaks would form a line to punch these little fronts.”
“Pry open that big mouth,” said Ryoz. “Hock a wad a spit in it,”
The pair of marix laughed.
“Rape humor.” Koba scolded. “Are you two damaged?”
“Yes, we’re damaged,” Polvix caught Koba in a headlock and walked her back to reception. “We can damage you, too,”
“I want to speak to Yuxi,” she cried against Polvix’s hip.
Ryoz sighed. “That can’t happen here, Julo.”
Polvix released Koba. “Be at the Tavitax in ten hours.”
“I’m only talking to Yuxi,” said Koba, shoved out onto the street.
Under the pale blue light of the club’s signage, she pulled out her Filmark and brought up Eppis Banto’s contact code.
Suddenly, the club’s door flew open.
Polvix yelled, “Yuxi says no Banto, not yet.”