Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

The echoes are thunderous, something that keeps most of the predators down here away. This far along, everyone is fatigued. Even the children no longer have bursts of energy. Existence is eat, sleep and march to the beat. The chant cadences our footsteps through the netherways, the deep tunnels that were once used to move building materials between the growing United Cities.

“Come tomorrow, we’ll live in a far better place.”

Each Petacity is a continent covering sprawl that incorporates everything into an extended conurbation. Intensive automation overseen by computers fast enough to map DNA in minutes made them possible. Mankind quickly became dependent on the hyperstructure that provided everything. Then the control systems worked out that growing replacement labour was far more ecologically efficient than building it.

“Come tomorrow, we’ll suffer no machine-led pace.”

We went from dependent to subservient in two generations. Some objected, of course. But ancient tales of rising against robot masters were glaringly short on overcoming the details. Death came in crush corridors and gas clouds. When you’re inside the thing you fight, nobility and righteousness count for little in the immune system versus disease deathmatch.

“Come tomorrow, there will be space for the free man.”

Our opponents could dynamically run every possible strategic response for every scenario before we detonated the bomb, landed the second blow, fired the second shot or took the next step. We lost nearly a whole generation in a guerrilla war that more resembled rodents versus pest control than a resistance movement. Finally, cleverer minds prevailed.

“Come tomorrow, we’ll do it all with our own hands.”

Rats did not fight, they inhabited places man couldn’t reach or didn’t want. Living underground was not an option and Galifan Scott gave us the answer: United City Seven. The south-polar Petacity had been abandoned as the cold was something that the robots could not overcome without causing ecological harm. They had withdrawn along the netherways, leaving the nascent Petacity to the eternal ice.

“Come tomorrow, the white land will become our home.”

The netherways remain, some decrepit, some submerged, all dangerous. But those who survived the first long walks found only a Gigacity core with Petacity foundations unfinished in the face of machine-freezing cold. The founders of Free City One defined the maximum technology that could support millions without processor-based automation. From there they designed a new culture.

“Come tomorrow, our children will be free to roam.”

I am a Finder. We go out along the netherways from Free City One, equipped to rescue and retrieve those coming to the end of their long walk. We help the hearty and build cairns for the dead. No more shall we become food or fertiliser depending on our age at dying. The chant gives them hope and strength, keeps them moving toward freedom. It is the last regimen they will have to endure, as Free City One runs on pride, courtesy and idealised British policing.

They say that one day we will reclaim the world. I am one of those who believes that to be a futile objective. We will watch as an alien culture of our ancestor’s creation tends the world we so nearly ruined. What the future holds is for our descendants to decide. ‘Come Tomorrow’ is more than the title of a chant to march the people home.
It is a promise that free humanity will never cease to be.


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