In the belly of the whale (the Dept of Remembrance), Deel is being led down an unfamiliar hallway. He’s never seen walls so pristine. Sterile. The only break, the only visual cue that he isn’t just standing in solid white nothing, is a pearlescent blue stripe about hip height running on in front of him.
“It’s funny,” she’s saying. “You shouldn’t be down here.”
“Where are we going?”
“I busted my ass for seventy-three years just to get my foot in the door, and here you are.” She side-eyes him. “If I’d known that I just had to murder someone…”
Deel cringes. “Do we have to call it that?”
“No,” James concedes. “But if I’d known that I could just murder my way up..”
“Your way up to the basement,” Deel ads.
The blue line directs them around the corner. As they turn, Deel is slightly disoriented by the walls opening up into a wide round room. The blue line rushes away from him and makes the perimeter.
“Whoa,” he says under his breath.
“Yeah,” James agreed.
In the center of the room stands a pedestal. The same blue pearlescence radiates from the display on top.
James approaches the pedestal, and Deel hangs back, spinning in a slow circle.
“My implants don’t read anything here,” he realizes.
James jabs at the display.
“This place doesn’t exist for your amusement,” she tells him.
The blue line on the wall opposite the pedestal pulses. Deel blinks. It splits itself into four corners, two rising above, and two below. It settles in the shape of a rectangle the size of a door.
“Oh,” Deel says.
James taps the display and the wall inside the rectangle disappears. In its place is an opening into another room, this one dark, like he’s wearing sunglasses, but only when he looks at that one spot.
“Come on, Deel,” James says. She’s already walking toward the room.