R2

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R2 - LIBERTY CALL

Ariel jumped off a balcony near the ceiling of Taurus City. The excess folds of hez fabric wings inflated and che found hezself gliding slowly down under the one-sixth Lunar gravity. It looked like so much fun Suriel and Orifiel immediately followed hem. Like babies thrown into a swimming pool they were instantly required to adapt to the changing circumstances of their flight. Ariel, with the ease of long experience, flew circles above and around them to stay close enough to speak as they tried to learn the ropes. They flew over the business district of Taurus City where the glass and steel Church of End Dome tabernacle, still under construction, shared a courtyard and fountain with an office building, also under construction. Of course both these structures ran for many levels underground.

Ariel began to give them a guided tour. There's two-seater electric vehicles available any time from a motor pool beneath the shopping mall. That ramp from the motor pool dumps right onto the Taurus Highway, three miles of concrete winding from one end of the tunnel to the other.

They flew down for a look at the glass tower that was the headquarters of Astrodyne now that Seattle was closed off for the duration of the war. On the other side of the highway was a bank and a plush hotel where Lahatiel and Nuriel had decided to stay. That's Obion street and the City Administration complex where we handle the day to day operation of Taurus.

They continued to glide along and drop very slowly. Ariel pointed out the Taurus City adjunct to Nyduly Academy. The highway curved gently through Cedar Heights, a 40-home development of big ranch houses for the most important people in Astrodyne such as Mark Felton or Ambe Omphal. Then the highway bent sharply to travel directly east to the other wall of Taurus City's canyon. On that stretch, ladies, on foot, you can cross from one wall to the other in about two minutes of brisk walking. Somewhere within that wall was the fold-door to the temple of El Shaddai in Nath. Barakiel and his dependents had chosen to go to the Land We Know from here, and later Suriel would learn they even went on to tour Earth.

Bike paths led down and around Mineral Canyon which was a thousand foot long stretch of whitewater in a deep chasm. There were eleven mansions along there for the bene elohim, and an elegant cantilever bridge near a big pretty two hundred foot artificial waterfall plunging into a soggy grass bowl at the head of the river. Suriel saw that Kushiel was hiking down there in front of the waterfall with hyz two wives, basking in the sun that beamed down from tilting mirrors in the ceiling of the vast tunnel.

They were getting much closer to the ground now, and the yen could see the road did an "S" curve past the two lobes of nine acre Lake Taurus. Suriel spotted Adnarel way down there speaking alone to some dolphins in the water near an apartment complex where the bike trail ended. Adnarel waved.

There were two hills on the floor of Taurus City, both with glass elevators leading to the ceiling. Suriel looked far down the length of the tunnel to see the other, higher one, covered in trees. The nearer hill nestled the estate of Robyn and Lilith in a little cirque near its summit, which was now over their heads. Ariel landed first in hez parent's backyard to show them how it was done. Orifiel followed hem and found sha could deflate or inflate the wings at will to control har descent perfectly. Sha came to a gentle stop on har feet right next to Ariel, who beamed with pride.

Suriel was a little too happy to let the flight end just then. Sha was overcome with the same feeling one gets on terminal cruise, when a plane's engines were throttled back near the end of a flight. There was a qualitative change in the background noise of har mind, an attitude shift. Robyn's estate danced under har feet. Descending into the compound sha tried to finesse har landing with small forced deflations of har wings...too much. Too fast. Ariel and Orifiel watched Suriel come down like a bat shot out of the sky. There was a swimming pool, screw it...

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