(This is a free introduction to the series Pantheon City; chapters will be published weekly, if you wish to read them sooner, consider becoming a patron)
As he looked to the camera, nervously, he turned on the microphone as he cleared his throat. The characteristic sound of a microphone turning on could be heard on the island, before he finally started his speech: “Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Pantheon City, the first of many…” as he spoke, he couldn’t help but glance at the papers he still held on his back. Some giggling could be heard from the audience. “… A-As I was saying, in a moment, the gates of the city will be opened. At that time, you will all be checked for any objects you may try to bring. No weapons are allowed to be brought inside the city; this is for security reasons.” At this moment, he seemed to observe the audience, trying to discern a reaction; but his gaze met only the camera, and, resigned, he finished. “At the same time, we will check if you are registered as a participant for this test. Only those who were registered will be allowed to enter; again, this is for security reasons. I hope you will all enjoy your stay.” Right as the speech ended, the dome emitted more metallic sounds, as the screens went back inside it, and the doors to the city opened.
You might wonder, how could this audience, formed by people from all over the world, understand what Kuromo said? The answer is rather simple, really. This was one of the miracles that put him on the spotlight: The universal translator, a device that's capable of, on the fly, translate any language into any other. It didn’t even require the hearer’s to be wearing anything. While the principles behind it where unknown to anyone but its inventor, it was undoubtedly one of the greatest inventions of the last century, that allowed for worldwide communication and cooperation to reach unimagined heights.
The procedures were quite simple for those entering the city; they would simply pass under a metal detector, handing over any object they carried on themselves. Very few people actually had some of their belongings confiscated, and none had complained, as the rules were very clear and the security, very tight. Once they went in to the actual city, they found themselves astonished; the first pantheon really looked like a dream brought down to reality. It seemed that the dome was made of some kind of glass, rather than steel, as the sky was visible through it, although somewhat distorted and blurred. Below this ceiling, rather than a city it looked like some kind of gigantic microchip. The entirety of this space was divided into equally sized squared, between which pitch black streets ran, with no signs of a sidewalk in any of them. In most of these squares, gigantic glassy pillars stood as tall as the dome allowed, looking very similar to ordinary skyscrapers; however, in the outer side of these pillars, thousands of protruding lines of glass stood, like rivers that surrounded them all. As the first people entered the city, four gates opened in each of the pillars, one on each side.
A mechanical voice spoke once one entered the city: "Welcome to Pantheon City. You may now choose an apartment for you to stay in; the building's gates will close as they fill up. We recommend you look for a residence near the center of the city, as some events may require the inhabitants to reunite there."