A Day in The Life [2 BBT]

 Scytheros stepped out into the bustling streets of Colonus Prime, taking a deep breath. It felt good to have fresh oxygen after so much time spent in a breath mask. He could see the complicated web of spider lines high up in the buildings. Off in the distance were some the domes, boroughs of different atmospheres that allowed for more comfortable living to the non-insectoid species. Speaking of which…
 “You know, maybe the Galactyans have a point. It would be much more convenient if we could all coexist without the fear of suffocating and whatnot,” Governor Lux sighed, running his fingers down his breath mask. The man was young for a Governor, and over the past 6 years Scytheros had found himself growing a liking for him. At the very least, he was a good counterbalance, the charm to Scytheros’s gruff.
 “You may complain now, but we both know that you take great joy in seeing all the bugs dress up just to be in the same room as you.” he replied. Lux laughed, resting a hand on Scytheros’s shoulder. That was a tendency Scytheros found less endearing.
 “Well you seem to be in a mighty fine mood today! And a joke? Well, I’d almost think someone killed you and took your place!”
 “It must be the grand old rogue planet, it’s been years since I last was called back to her. Ahem, yes. My father has summoned me and the more important members of the royal lineage to discuss some matters of business later tonight. Since you and I were already in the area I figured I’d take you for a tour of the place, it’s my understanding that you’ve never actually been here before.”
 “You really are in a good mood! Well, you’ve heard correct, and I’m certainly not one to turn down a private tour from the heir apparent himself! Lead on, my good man.”


 Scytheros led Lux down the street, where they passed by citizens shopping and hurrying to work. It was a very different place then the cities on Scytheros (the planet, that was, not the lord walking ahead of him). Where the architecture there was small and hidden, with most big buildings stretching below the ground to hid their true size, here they rose up into the sky defiantly.
 “I don’t get it, Colonus doesn’t have any official currency. How are these people buying things?”
 “The basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, things like that are covered by the government. Everything else is rationed, in a sense.” Lux cocked his head.
 “How so?”
 “Where the Scytherians, Ythri, and Krim have a currency with a perceived value inside their fragments, those that are more directly controlled by the Government do things a little differently. Since Colonus owns all the businesses and jobs, we’re able to directly know the value that each position has. With that, we can apply a status of sorts to each position. A higher status allows greater access to things, as well as access to things lower status don’t have. Within reason, of course.”
 “Isn’t that, I don’t know, a little unfair? It seems like punishing people for having a job the government sees as unimportant.”
 “You do that with the market. Advertising should not determine the wealth a worker generates. Besides, most of your money just flows into the people at the top. At least here people get what they are owed.”
 “I don’t know, it seems weird to me,” Lux sighed. He looked back up at the buildings, and the webs between them. “Far as I can tell, the smaller buildings are more like markets and such, places to make purchases. What are the taller buildings, and what are the webs for?”
 “Ah, those would be the management areas. It’s where most of the government work is done, as well as headquarters for businesses. Even though we technically own them, we allow those actually running it a greater degree of freedom with how they run it. Interestingly, that’s meant having to stagger the businesses so that competitors don’t work next to each other. Oh, and the spider lines are there for quicker access between buildings, as well as unintrusive police patrols. Riding the spiders is indeed faster than the alternatives.”
 “Amazing! How’d you manage to train them?”
 “We don’t. Once they’re old enough their brains are removed and replaced with computer systems. They’re quite easy to control, really.” Scytheros furrowed his brow and looked back up at the spider lines. The more he learned, the stranger Colonus seemed to get.


 “There are plenty of public spaces for us to visit, and I’m sure that you’ll be wanting to visit some of the boroughs later on. I figure we might as well leave this section of the city on a high note. Come, there’s a bar somewhere down the road, we can pick you up a bottle for later. It’s one of the Royal Family’s favorites, they make sure to stock the place with the- hrmm…” Scytheros stopped talking as whispering began to fill the air. The crowd had finally started to take notice of who it was walking amongst them, and they stopped to bow their heads and pay their respects. While Scytheros addressed the people, Lux scanned the streets for any signs of humans. Sure enough, he saw a couple of them curiously watching the crowd and waved to them. They seemed startled at first, but some of them decided to wave back.
 After a while Scytheros managed to dispel the commuters, shaking his head. It struck Lux that the Scytherians weren’t big on ceremony when it came to non-humans. It must have been a strange feeling to be regarded like again that after so many years without it. The destination wasn’t much further, so they walked the rest of the way in silence.
 Once they reached the bar itself, Lux was again surprised. It seemed a much more… common location then he would have expected someone like High Lord Araknis to frequent. It almost seemed quaint. He peered in and saw a little mandi attending the bar. Attached to their neck was a metal box, likely for communication. Ah, that explains it. It was a Freethinker establishment, likely recently after the establishment of Colonus’s modern borders. The freethinkers tended to be much humbler than their genocidal sister. Lux’s gaze wandered from the bartender to a figure laughing a little to his left. A vanti.
 “Hey, one of your family members?” He joked, pointing the man out to Scytheros. As Scytheros’s eyes settled on the vanti, the atmosphere around him suddenly dropped. His muscles tensed, quick enough to produce a slight scraping sound as his scales rubbed against each other. In all the years the two had known each other, this was the first time Lux felt that he had said something wrong. For the first time, he could feel the full weight of Scytheros’s status, an aura of power, and right now, a terrifying amount of hate.
 “Indeed,” Scytheros growled. Lux watched as he pushed through the crowd, too afraid to follow.


 It came as a great surprise when Scytheros walked past his fellow royal, instead going to the bar and ordering a drink. Lux shifted uncomfortably in the doorway. Somewhere from further inside he could make out a hand, seemingly waving him over. By the time he could see who it belonged to, it was already too late.
 “Hey there, skin bag.” It was a Ytharan, evidently sharing a table with a Krim.
 “Ah, you must be one of those needle-toothed gargoyles I’ve heard so little about. I have to admit, you look far more cowardly in person.”
 “Talk shit all you want human, at least you’re more entertaining than Ms. Lightbulb over here,” they said, pointing a long finger at their companion. “You seem to know tall dark and brooding, the hell’s his deal?”
 “I don’t know, seems to be a family problem.” Lux turned to find Scytheros and the royal facing each other. He hadn’t even heard them talking. The ytharan muttered something about pheromones and returned to his drink. The krim just shrugged and returned to… whatever a krim could possibly be doing in a bar. Was there a Krim borough somewhere? That’d be interesting, although he doubted he’d be able to see it.
 “Julia, would you happen to have any Ythri Spice Wine?” Scytheros’s booming voice gave Lux cause for relief. He was ordering that bottle for him. Evidently the confrontation had ended, and the two could be on their way. Lux turned to bid his host farewell, only to find the Ytharan nearly choke on his drink. Apparently not.


 “Cousin, you can’t be serious!” the royal protested. “Surely there’s some other way for us to sort out this disagreement of ours?” Julia, who was evendently the bartender, returned with a selection of bottles. The colors ranged from bright yellow to dark red, and Lux was reminded of the peppers of earth. Scytheros carefully picked up a bottle with the darkest shade of red lquid and turned to face his cousin.
 “Oh, forfeiting before the game has even stsrted? Are you perhaps more cowardly than I had previously thought?” The vanti’s mandibles clacked and he let out a hiss.
 “I’d rather down that whole bottle than lose to the likes of you.”
 “Trust me, you’ll be doing both.”

 The two of them were seated at a table in the center of the room, or rather the center of the curious patrons who had circled around them. Lux had managed to squeeze and elbow his way to the front. He was no biologist, but he’d talked to farmers before. Capsaicin could be deadly to bugs, and at least had to be agonizing for a big one like the vanti. Of course it was the ytharans who had invented it; if they were mammals, they’d probably consume rat poison just for the fun of it.
 “I won’t hold it against you if you die, Harvar, I hear it’s the only way for your sisters to raise in status.” Scytheros took a shot of the substance and passed the glass to his cousin.
 “Oh, you’re still mad about that after all these years? I’d meant it only as a joke, I didn’t expect Ishani to take it so seriously.” Harvar filled the shot glass and downed it, passing it back to Scytheros. Scytheros drank without pause.
 “It was my responsibility to deliver their punishment. Why the hell would you expect me to just get over it?”
 “Hell? How very scytherian of you.”
 “Ah, xenophobia, how very mandi of you. When do you get the metal put in?” Harvar slammed his fist against the table, knocking the shot glass to the floor.
 “Excuse me my lords, would you like a replacement for that?” Harvar shook his head and stood up.
 “No Julia, that will be all. I have business to attend to, and I’d rather not adress the High Lord from a hospital bed.” He left the bar, trying to hold himself up with as much dignity as he could muster.
 “Damn coward, can’t even forfeit when he knows he’s beat. Another bottle and I would have had him!” Scytheros growled. He got up and looked at the crowd, seemingly asserting his strength. “Come now Lux, let us find a discreet place for me to vomit.”