A word of advice about Trudent (811;327;142).
Don’t listen to the ones who claim it is the most enjoyable locale to visit. “If anything’s happening in the Culture, it’s happening right HERE,” they say. Stupid frenztalk, as misinformed as it gets. I swear, the place is just a trap for the weak-minded with its game of style scaling driving everyone insane — Top Twenty-Four and all that nonsense. A temple to the glory of style, AR cosmetics, one-task-wonders, and the fashion intelligentsia.
Picture a cubical cave for giants, with buildings on the left, buildings on the right, buildings on top of you, buildings under you, so dense no sunlight ever shines through. The place you’d never build a home in unless it got you a gajillion free likes. Now make it all grey. Neutral grey. Here, you got it. Well, almost… You’d have to add a stifling smokey atmosphere, and fluorescent light beams sprouting upwards, reverberating on unhealthy-looking microscopic particles of plastic dust.
First thing that strikes you when you get there — and you won’t — is the place could really use a more natural temperature of color. And more actual air to breathe.
The only glitch, or so to speak, in this boring cityscape is the Strip: towards the center of the locale, the floor curves up to form an ovaloïd and bright white runway where the Top Twenty-Four come to showcase their latest fashion templates to admiring plebeians recklessly seeking an answer to the eternal question: “how does one become cool?”
In Trudent, the answer lies within the unquestionably reasonable aSHaNßaßUsU8RA|-|man — µ5†aƒalli©a scale, originally coded by… well… aSHaNßaßUsU8RA|-|man and µ5†aƒalli©a. Behind this unpronounceable name, commonly shortened as “A.M. scale,” lies just another ranking of the city’s most stylish gentlemen and gentlewomen, based on a daily vote.
New combinations every day!
While in the morning, the place is a motionless desert — only the most zealous come here early — the actual show starts around noon, as frenz begin flowing in the streets of Trudent, hastily running towards the runway as soon as they get off the perpetually jammed mag.
And each day the fashion gods elected by the A.M. scale march on the sacrosanct Strip, from number twenty-four to number one. Artificial lights adapt, following complex scripts and music ranging from deep bass and loud muffled pulses to ear-piercing, high-pitched, senseless sequences of notes. Some frenz push towards the Strip, others beg the pushers to stop pushing, and dedicated reviewers broadcast their ever-changing opinions all over the Stream, adding more noise to the noise. All in celebration of some guilty pleasure game between willing spectators stuck in envy, and democratically elected celestial entities parading on the Strip as if chosen by a divine algorithm.
People love this. They seem to parade, too, wearing unrestrained augmented outfits of all sorts seemingly mixing up into one big puddle of tesselated mud, while the air around them, rife with adaptive perfumes clumsily covering body odors, gradually turns into a thick miasma as unbreathable as it is indescribable… Waiting for Number Three, Number Two and — oh my! — Number One to show up amidst cosmetics workshops and on-the-spot orgies, people stay in Trudent until complete exhaustion, sedated by excitement. Typical. Drunk frenz, mass hysteria, sweat and spectacle, shows and decadence. The party must go on.
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