(Alpha Star System- Planet Cthelen)

(Hive City- Subsection Delta Quadrant)

This city was a monstrosity of mechanical parts and inhuman organic matter.

That was the only description that Sophie found suited this city perfectly.

Massive urban structures towered far above the numerous ant-like citizens running around the metropolis.

The city contained industrial zones, agricultural sectors and transportation systems all designed to be self-sufficient.

Each building was connected to others by numerous walkways, bridges and corridors that had been welded together using old fashioned techniques.

The citizens living in the lower levels of the city were the genetically modified humans and the androids in charge of maintenance and upkeep.

At the peak of the spires there were mansions and impressive buildings that displayed both opulence and a gaudy show of wealth.

These peaks were adorned with rare pieces of artwork such as massive statues, paintings of famous members of the Imperial Family and contemporary pieces of great renown.

A stark contrast to the crowded hexagonal buildings where the majority of the citizens on this planet would eat, live, sleep and eventually die.

Their corpses would then be converted into agricultural fertilizers so their lives and deaths would both be in service to the city.

Sophie found the entire affair completely disgusting.

There was no point in using what were essentially slaves stripped of their free will via genetic modification when androids could easily do the work that they were assigned to do.

But perhaps the reasoning behind these slaves was not logical but rather as a show of force.

These people were nothing more than props to emphasis the authority of the Imperial Family.

Sophie frowned slightly and waved her hand to dismiss the servants who were standing patiently near the front of her assigned room.

They were more like robots than humans.

Their heart rates were noticeably slower, and their pupils were dilated as if they were permanently in a dazed state.

Living dolls.

That is what they were… nothing more than puppets to the genetic programming embedded in their chromosomes.

The servants simultaneously bowed their heads and then departed from the room with synchronised steps echoing through the corridor outside.

The hybrid girl waited for a few minutes and then walked towards the window. She peered outside the glass and saw a clear blue sky that was tainted with tinges of purple.

The air around the spires was clear and refreshing thanks to the filtration systems installed in the middle layer of the city.

On the ground floor however, there was a different story.

Sophie looked down and could barely see certain sections of the city due to the thick chemical fog that hung over the alleyways and narrow road paths.

She turned away from the window and glanced at the sleeping figure on the bed.

Cleo was fast asleep with most of her body covered by a soft velvety blanket that looked very comfortable.

Sophie had to admit that she felt tempted to lie down and take a rest as well but something about this city was putting her on edge.

Maybe it was just her imagination since her danger sense had yet to go off but there was something just not right about this place.

She just could not put her finger on why she was feeling this way.

A walk would probably help.

Sophie sneaked out of the room with quiet steps and slowly closed the door behind her. She pressed her palm against the security keypad and locked the door.

She was currently sharing this spire with two hundred other nobles, but it was far from crowded since there was more than enough space for everyone.

The upper-class nobles in particular were given private wings the size of small football stadiums so Sophie did not have to worry about nosy neighbours.

She nodded at the servants that she passed but each one just stared blankly at her as if waiting for orders.

Sophie darkly wondered if someone commanded them to stop breathing if they would kill themselves…

It wasn't right.

The hybrid girl continued her walk through the private wing and passed dozens of portraits of previous leaders of the Imperial Family.

Each one seemed to be in direct competition with the last to have a portrait that was grand, ambitious, and portrayed their glory.

These paintings were a monument to arrogance and self importance.

Sophie's lips pressed together into a thin smile as she moved past the painting and paid them no extra attention.

The corridor widened and soon Sophie found herself in a wide-open space with a large pool of water in the centre.

The floors were made from solid marble and golden pillars rose up from the ground. There were lounge chairs, mattresses, and hammocks along the edges of the pool.

Sophie sat down on one of the lounge chairs and slowly leaned back. She spread out her blade-like appendages so that she could relax comfortably.

This was clearly a recreational space.

There was a warm flow of air coming from hidden vents around the room and small waves lapped against the edge of the pool.

The hybrid girl let out a sigh of contentment as she reached inside her storage bag and pulled out a small bottle of wine.

She unscrewed the top of the bottle with ease and popped the cork. A sweet sugary scent wafted upwards.

Sophie took in a deep breath and then raised the edge of the bottle to her lips.

She took a small sip and enjoyed the smooth and delicate flavour of the wine as it slid down her throat.

This was a peaceful place and served as the perfect distraction for just how uneasy Sophie felt on this planet.

Hopefully she would not have to return anytime soon. This was definitely a once in a lifetime trip that she could have done without.

The hybrid girl took off her shoes and placed them carefully next to her chair.

She reached out with her hand and her fingers accidentally pressed against a small button hidden on the underside of the chair.

Sophie immediately recoiled but nothing happened.

She waited for a few seconds and then sensed some movement coming from somewhere close nearby.

Sophie tilted her head to the side as she heard some noises coming from the left.

She watched in disbelief as a hidden door opened up and dozens of naked men and women strode into the room.

Well not completely naked.

There were wearing skimpy and provocative clothing that barely covered their rippling muscles and perfectly sculptured bodies.

There was a blank look on each of their faces even as they posed seductively and strode towards Sophie while swaying their hips.

"Wait! Wait!" Sophie yelled quickly as she raised up her hand.

The men and women stopped moving and froze in place like statues. Sophie glanced at them and quickly realised what was going on.

These were genetically modified humans bred for pleasure and it looks like they were assigned to upper class nobles to provide them with sexual relief.

"Yeah… I'm sorry but… I'm going to have to decline…" Sophie firmly spoke as she raised up her hand and made a gesture of 'no thanks'.

She didn't even want to think of what Cleo would say if she stumbled across this scene. She would definitely be sleeping on the couch for the next few weeks!