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Jules Stewart Memory transcript 1. Monorail from Breeze Hill to Aigburth
The strata never sleeps. Two in the morning, the night outside the windows recedes into darkness but the corridors and walkways are flooded with light and streaming with people. I stand on the platform. I desperately want to lean, but there's nothing to lean against. Held in place by the crowd, I rub my eyes, they're gritty and sore. I've left Dorace dozing and I’d rather head straight to my cube, but I'd better go and celebrate, or at least be tagged in a bar. The news is out and the heroine should finish with a victory drink not alone in her sleep sack. I need to keep my ratings up. The monorail carriage silently glides in. The doors hiss open. On board I brace my feet and grip the strap. The network voice cuts through my soundtrack and recites the stations all the way to Dingle Rise. The carriage around me a sea of faces, shoulders and backs, elbows and arms. A man, unshaven, eyes glazed, stares straight ahead, struggles to undo the clip on the high neck of a dark grey top with his one free hand. In front a couple slump into each other, their heads touching, giggling at something shared on the network.
Two young men in GoGo Grasshopper uniforms just make it on board at Vauxhall Vaults as the doors close. Wired, all set for the day that lies ahead of them.
I turn away and gaze out at the river as we pass along the waterfront. Eerily lit, yellow lights from piers and watercraft project shimmering paths on the dark choppy surface.
At Pierhead Towers I'm swept into the elevator at the exit. Packed in, we stand with knees curved into the backs of knees. I keep my place at the door edge, facing the metal, feeling the surge of bodies behind me. As the doors open on strata ten I stride out, most people heading on to twelve. A year or so back ten was popular but the crowd’s fickle.
I cross the skybridge from the Pierhead Towers to Lime Street Interchange. From here the strata is a pattern of white lights in grey blocks against the dark night sky, illuminated walkways and the monorail's electric blue lines connect all the hubs like a diagram. Light spills down into street level far below, bright pools in the darkness, making the surrounding shadows impenetrable, too dark to see from here what’s going on down there. And I’d rather not know. It’s out of my jurisdiction.
Anyway, come on, tonight we're here to celebrate. Case 166 closed, the Lime Street Stalker captured and I’m topping the nineteen board, one step nearer to Strata twenty, one more case is all I need.
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