The Colonial Development Plan called for a city there to supply services to the surrounding towns and settlements. It would be an underground rail nexus and there was, of course, a long term plan for the deep residential, storage and work bunkers to dug down into the bedrock underneath it but for now it was going to be a surface city and that was the problem. On the surface it was open to the weather and the weather here meant the winter storms.
Not just an occasional storm but a constant maelstrom of wind, snow, driven ice and cloud that expanded and contracted with the seasons. Winds so strong that a heavy cargo hawler wasn’t safe in them. Settlements and towns had developed successful strategies for coping with the winter storms so the planners examined those and selected what they thought would work. Domes were rejected and tunnels were chosen.
“So,” clarified Maika, “the apartment building has two entrances, the ground floor one that goes onto the street and the lower ground floor one that goes into the boulevard underneath.”
“That’s right,” confirmed the building superintendent, a boy called Callow. “You can use either but once the winter storms move in the ground floor door will be automatically locked so we have to think before we go out onto the street. At the same time the windows will automatically seal and we’ll be on air conditioning till spring,” Callow nodded in approval .
“That seems a bit extreme.” Maika liked fresh air.
“Ma’am, the wind from the winter storms is fresh, but it’s not nice. You don’t want it getting inside your apartment, the wind chill can bring the external temperature down to forty below.” He sighed, “And it doesn’t just affect you, it increases the load on the apartments around you to keep warm too.”
“So we hibernate for winter?” Maika had been expecting life in her new home to be different but this was more different than she’d realised.
“Yes ma’am, for six and a half months we need to be cave dwellers and tunnel lovers.” Callow smiled, “I’m sure you’ll get used to it. I’ve got some pamphlets here on decorating advice to help avoid seasonal depression and some on interest groups you might like to join to avoid cabin fever.”
“Thank you,” replied Maika faintly and took copies of them all.