Shades
Chapter 3
Little Bend

ne month before the meet-and-greet Cecily Baker attended with her mother, Jahn, to introduce the “Apple Stuff”, the Mercury Courier ran a front page article about the 20th anniversary of Little Bend, the first urban renewal project that was approved in the northeast in over 50 years.  The old Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard was the site of the 2004 Master Redevelopment Plan that was scrapped due to the national economic crisis and, what small funds were set aside, fiscal misappropriations.  

Galactic Beauty by Allison L. Williams Hill

The one thousand acre former naval base was glorious in its day from the year this country obtained its independence from England for almost 200 years.  The Yard brought into existence fifty three ships including two battleships: the New Jersey which earned more battle stars for combat actions than any other Iowa-class battleships. It was the only U.S. battleship that provided gunfire support during the Vietnam Conflict.  The Wisconsin, the last completed battleship, was built here. Uranium 235 was prepared for the Manhattan Project at the Yard’s Naval Laboratory.  

The twentieth anniversary celebration highlighted the success of the integrated eight million square feet of residential, commercial, industrial and manufacturing space.  The twenty five acre development was evaluated for replication on the west side of the ship yard and in mid-America.  

The ingenious spot zoning that heralded the International Mixed Use Zone specification was not embraced by traditional Euclidean urban and regional planners who were just getting used to the neighborhood development codes.  Little Bend was a stellar example of “planning to walk” design of symbiotic activity a critic called “a metal and concrete living thing.”

Depending on when residents and visitors stepped onto Little Bend’s soil, there was a “lag” of sorts, not unlike crossing the time zone when flying, to get used to the Fourth Layer, established time zones similar to the planet.  Zoning the fourth dimension was implemented to encourage activity in all parts of the development at all times.  The Philadelphia Experiment was alleged to have taken place here, an interesting foreshadowing of time manipulation.

Office space was designated international space, with thirty eight time zones, never dimming the lighting or power.   Corporations, professional users, and cleaning staff operated in the “cycles”, as they were referred.  As a result revenue generation here greatly contributed to the economic well being of most countries.  Almost every country had a presence here, rivaling Silicon Valley and other global nodes of capital.   

Every single square foot was occupied, all of the time, managed under the watchful electronic eyes of the Central Nucleus responsible for scheduling and administration of spatial use and energy.

Almost one million jobs grew in Little Bend providing every possible indulgence, entertainment, and need for professional, employee, visitor, or resident.  Hotels and conference centers, for those who wish to maintain physical contact, were maintained.  

Virtual technology was preferred by the majority of business people. People did not get fat and lazy.  Vanity was the motivator as people wanted to impress from the chest up.  Virtual technology and business created a lucrative industry in avatar development for business people to have the ability to respond to questions when they accumulated fortunes while they slept.

The virtual world spawned a league of performers who’d adapted the last name “Virtual” such as   “Alphonzo Virtual” and   “Alphonzo Too Virtual.”   The most famous virtual performer was Jakkie Virtual.  Popular with the teen and new to middle single markets, Jakkie Virtual liked to jump out of her environments at any time, keeping audiences in suspense as to whether she will be there to do it. The “Will She or Won’t She?” created a following that people attended her performances in person just to see if she will make an appearance.  Once, people said, Jakkie Virtual did her entire virtual performance in person.  The dancers and chorus were electronic projections.   Virtual performances ranged from Old English, Cultural Asia and Africa, to non-human and erotica genres in environments people either watched or participated in.

The white-haired man in the gray suit lived in the penthouse of Countclierge, one of seven mixed income developments of Shenoah on Little Bend that stood as perfection, reflecting the studied shortcomings of high density developments like Pruitt Igo, Co-op City, Tsuhupt, and Falmarrell.    He had his own private elevator he rarely used opting for  secluded access by helicopter  down to his personal space from the penthouse’s roof.

The white haired man in the gray suit wore that particular style like a uniform.  He never wore navy, brown, or black suits.  It was always gray, and always the same color gray with a white shirt and plain silk gray tie.  He had a quiet countenance developed from the ability to listen more than he spoke.  His thinking processes appeared slow but were betrayed by his sharp wit when he eventually responded.  This man has seen the best and the worst of humanity in his 152 years of living.  He did not look older than his selected 60 years of age.  He kept suspicion to a minimum by “aging slowly” and by “disposing” of people who were in his “employment” or within his sphere of influence for a maximum of three years.  They eventually no longer showed up for work.  It was unfortunate for them that they were never told that this was a condition of their employment, literally.   

He stood looking out of the darkness of his apartment into the night sky.  Little Bend’s glow was unearthly; all lighting was in use.  Structures were lighted forms that spread horizontally topped by the solar panel roofs above the transparent concrete walls.  It was unfortunate that we do experience night, thought the white-haired man.   Imagine how much power we could harness.  He smiled.  Soon, he thought, soon.  He was pleased with this project.  He began this at the same time he started developing the Arch.  The last phase of the project was connecting Little Bend to the Arch with the underground tunnel system, tubes busy with activity completely isolated from the people whose taxes paid for it.



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Shades Chapter 3 Little Bend

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