The journey to Coscarla takes several hours by transit rail car, during which time you have to change rails repeatedly (into increasing dilapidated and vandalised cars), and your pass tokens and cognomen are repeatedly checked by suspicious Magistratum enforcers, dull-eyed carriage servitors and unctuous looking officials.
As your journey progresses you pass from the relatively open spaces and clean air of the government district, down and across whole hive levels, passed collapsed finery and the fallen architectural splendours of the “good of olden days” and through vast steel sky vaults filled with endless rows of hab-stacks and kilometre after kilometre of thunderous manufactora. The further you go the more depressed, ill-maintained and decayed things become; these are the lower stretches of the mid hive, beyond these no transit rails run. Beyond this outer circle is the underhive where no law holds sway.
Long stretches of the journey are spent in the stale tainted air of the wormhole-like tunnel passageways within the Hive’s thick supporting bones, and in the nameless black voids of deserted spaces between, the car’s lights flicker and fail regularly.
Eventually, in a single car, now deserted but for your group, the rattling carriage breaks into another vast and dilapidated hab-vault and begins to slow. You look out upon a vista of vacant and decayed buildings in a worse state than any that you have seen up until now, stretching beyond sight into a dark horizon beyond.
The rail car shudders to a stop and the doors open onto a wide, raised platform devoid of passengers save for a single huddled figure dressed in rags. The figure quickly bundles themself onboard, flashing a pass to the door mechanism with unseemly haste and takes up a seat as far from your group as possible. A moment later a dull, crackling servitor intones:
“Coscarla Southern Railhead. Passengers to Coscarla to disembark. This conveyance will
The rest is lost in a howl of static.
This is Coscarla and you have arrived.
Coscarla has the feel of a buried and abandoned city, shrouded in darkness beneath a steel sky. It is a cold and empty place, where whole tenements and hab-stacks are blacked by fire, or stare silently with a hundred vacant smashed-window eyes, while ancient and seemingly purposeless columns and arches of black granite soar high into the darkness.
The power supply is poor and the streetlamps along the main thoroughfares flicker and cast a pale twilight, while refuse and debris clogs the alleyways where shapeless and half-hidden forms of dregs (and perhaps worse) haunt. The skyline near the southern portion of the district is criss-crossed by the overhead rail lines of Sibellus’s mass transit network, which clatters and sparks intermittently through the cycles. Far above, in the high shadowed skies, the periodic exhalations and clamour of the hive’s vast air processing network is muted into distant thunder, the action of which materialises later at ground level as squalls of sudden chill wind, and even the occasional curtain of dirty rain lasts too briefly to wash the grime from the streets.
There are people living in Coscarla, thousands of them in fact, but they are so swallowed up by the vast and darkened spaces around them that they seem very few, nor do they linger outdoors, rushing silently to their destinations with their collars turned up and their heads firmly down. They are dishevelled, threadbare and have the look of frightened men and women, determined to get on with life the best they can.