Act 1: The City at the end of the World
Fit 1x01: Acquaintance
"Mr. Mayor? Finally we've found you!"
I had been walking around for the last hour, partly in a daze, and partly in wonderment. Without any real sense of my surroundings, I now found myself in a residential neighborhood.
I turned around to see the person who had called me. He was a youngish looking man, probably around 40 years old, but already with streaks of gray. He also looked somewhat familiar.
"Mr. Mayor, we need to get back to City Hall right now, the planning meeting is about to begin!"
"Look, I don't really think I am up to this..."
"Mayor, our city is growing quickly, and we need someone with real leadership to ensure that it grows effectively. And you'll always have me to give you advice when you need it."
"We NEED you Mayor Defacto. Please, just come with me."
So, the mayor's name was mine as well. It seemed that I really was the mayor of this village.
Seeing that the man wouldn't give up, and somewhat curious to see what the meeting would be like, I decided to accompany him back to City Hall.
"City Hall" was a red-bricked house behind several small cottages just off Main Street. The inside was as cramped as the outside looked. The man directed me to my office, a tiny room inside a tiny building.
"The meeting starts at 12. We'll need to go survey some land later, so dress appropriately. And don't forget your tablet."
I looked around my office. It was a fairly bare room, with only a bookshelf (full of many thick and thin volumes), a small wardrobe with a few sets of clothes, an overhanging ceiling fan light, and a desk whose only contents was a tablet (which sort of looked like an iPad).
Upon closer inspection, I found that it WAS a iPad. In the same case that I had. And the same color that mine was too. (although considering the color options, that wouldn't be too much of a coincidence). The wallpaper however was different; I recognized it as being the city I had just built, the city I was in right now. Curious, I unlocked the tablet.
None of my apps were there. Instead, all of the folders, I recognized, were named after the menu options in SimCity 4. Opening the folders up also revealed the same listings as in the game, except of course now in an iPad style grid. Scrolling the main screen to the left revealed much of the same apps as included in an iPad, excepting Safari, which I couldn't find.
I turned to walk to the wardrobe, and suddenly, the wallpaper turned with me! A quick check of my bearings and the compass on the wallpaper confirmed my suspicion. The wallpaper was tracking my location. How was it doing that? I've never seen any iPad with that functionality, and even an Android device's map Active Wallpaper wasn't this precise.
Seeing that it was almost time, I quickly changed into jeans and a new shirt, and walked to the meeting room next door. There weren't many people at the meeting; just the person who had found me earlier, a few people I had seen inside on the way to my office, and several others I didn't recognize. The only furnishing in the room was a large table that seemed to take up almost all the space in the room. The man from earlier noted my appearance, and got up to speak.
"Now that Mayor Defacto is here, we can begin the meeting. Now, as you all know, this meeting has been called to discuss expansion plans for our village. Many of our houses are getting crowded, and I am sure that some of our children would like to get out and start there own households."
There were murmurs of agreement. The man continued. "In addition, there are some new settlers who will be arriving soon, and we will need to accommodate them. You can see from the data then that we thus now have demand for new residences."
At this point, many in the room pulled out their own tablets and opened them up. I decided to open up mine too, but was still unsure as to what to do next. A person next to me noticed my confusion, and leaned towards me.
"These tablet things aren't always intuitive, are they? Just press the "Maps" button, and drag the fold at the bottom right. You can select the demand graph from there."
"...But the Maps app is only supposed to bring up a map of the world."
"That's what we'd think, right? But it doesn't work that way." She gave a short laugh, and went back to her tablet.
Pressing Maps, I found that it no longer brought up the world. In fact, it seemed to do nothing except create a fold at the bottom right. Sure enough however, grabbing the fold did exactly what she had described.
"Now, Mayor, where should we build this new development?" All eyes suddenly turned to me. It was rather unnerving.
"Well..." I stumbled around for words, "Give me a moment..."
I had an idea for where to build more houses, but how was I to convey my idea to everyone else? Much less plan this all.
Or perhaps this would just be like SimCity?
I performed the gesture to move around a map. Instead of switching to a different main screen, the wallpaper moved around. I dragged my finger around until I was at the southern end of town. "How about here?" I asked.
Everyone looked at their tablets. I could see from my view that they were now looking at the same place that I was. People began to nod their heads in approval. At this point there was another conversation taking place at the other end of the table.
"It says in the data that we have even more demand for agriculture. Shouldn't we be satisfying that as well?"
"We've already designated a good chunk of our land for agriculture. Any more and the fertilizers they use will seep into our water system."
"But still, wouldn't you say feeding our citizens is as important as housing them?"
"Well," I said, "maybe we could also set aside some land in the new development for farming." I selected the zones folder and began drawing out my plans. "How does this look?"
Once again, faces to the tablet, and nods of approval. Planning a city can't be this easy, can it?
Later in the afternoon, our group walked over to observe the new developments. I noticed a large herd of dromedaries in the woods just outside the development area. I turned to the man with gray hair.
"Say, you don't think this development might cause some disturbances to the natural wildlife, do you?"
"Well, all urban developments do, don't they? I guess it would be up to you to decide what would be a good balance. Or, you could ask your environmental advisor, but you know how she is."
"Uh, yeah, I guess. Oh, also this is a bit embarrassing, but I don't quite recall your name..."
"It's Neil, Defacto. Neil Fairbanks."
The development continued through the night. All the buildings houses would be completed by tomorrow morning, and the shops would be built soon after.
I returned to rest at the Mayors House, which was one of the cottages in front of City Hall. It had been a very long and bizzare day for me. How was I now the mayor of a village that I had created in my game? Was there any escape from this?
And did I really want to escape? I now had more power than I'd ever have before in my life, and I was still unsure of what to do with it, or even how far it could go.
I slept as fitfully as I usually did.
I apologize for the very long gap to this update. Unfortunately, midterm season came up and, well... *trys to think of a joke*
... Duck Season! Rabbit Season!