Maphira followed a woman through the playground of a play cafe, navigating around children who ran about without a care in the world. Oh, how she missed those times. Life had been so much simpler when she was a child without having to worry about a dystopian nightmare developing right before their eyes. Did these children even realise how much of a mess Robotopia was?
Once, Maphira had considered staying in that world of play forever. She hadn’t wanted to join the police force at first. No, she’d wanted to create beautiful wallpapers and prints to liven up the rooms of children across Melbourne. How wonderful it would have been to give kids the perfect butterfly wallpaper or dinosaur wallpaper. It would have brought her so much joy, but ultimately, she had decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a detective.
The middle-aged woman brought Maphira to a play tunnel, barely big enough for a single adult. She got on all fours and crawled through, waving for Maphria to follow. The woman stopped at the end and tube. She sat awkwardly, cross-legged while lying down in the tunnel.
“Come on, sit with me in here,” she said.
“You’re joking.” Maphira couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “You want us both to squish in there?”
The woman crossed her arms. “It’s the only place we can speak freely. The Mechanists have eyes everywhere.”
Maphira was really starting to wish she’d just followed her dream and opened a Melbourne shop for flower wallpaper. Too late now, she supposed. With a heaving sigh, Maphira squeezed next to the woman, immediately feeling cramped.
“Well, why am I here?” Maphira asked.
The woman grinned. “You’re here to join the Resistance. You are interested in bringing down the Conclave of Mechanists and the entirety of Robotopia, aren’t you? I’m sure you want to get revenge on your old partner, right? Heck, even your captain betrayed you for the Mechanist cause!”
Well, the woman had done her research. Maphira had to give her that. So, she’d stumbled into the secret resistance fighting against the Mechanists. Very interesting.