Freefall

When the Earth’s population abdicated in favour of the far reaches, a few were left behind: mad scientists, the Literals, Chronophobes, pugilists, danger addicts, libertines and the Mods. They built their cities in space, above the green Earth.

The Earth was seeded once again. The mad scientists dropped life bombs on it and stepped back to see what happened. An artificial ecosphere consisting of the entire Earth bloomed with plants and creatures that hadn’t existed before. The cities watched in joy.

The cities were created to spin around each other. The moon, recreated from images found in film archives, watched sullenly as the cities floated above it. Seven giant cities – Labia, Canary, Citizen Kane, Army of Spice, Mania, Town Hall, 24-Carat – each with its own agenda, existing in imperfect harmony with the rest of the later-day world.

One city fell. The mad scientist in control registered chasms growing in the apparatus, and decided that it was Armageddon for Mania. He disconnected it from the circle, and let it fall through space. The rudimentary steering mechanism helped the navigators to avoid asteroids, but they couldn’t stop descent. The mad scientist was put under house arrest, and sat playing with his Lego set.

As it fell, the sky opened up above it. On a good day, there wasn’t too much dust, and you could see the scape of the solar system through the dome. Planets growing tinier and tinier, the orange sun shining genially in the black reaches.

Contact broke, and the city of Mania was isolated. But you could still see stars in the sky, and while the ones you could see were ever falling away, there would always be more.