Adam drained his second canteen, and wiped the sweat from his brow. Dry heat wasn't supposed to be as bad, but everything counts in large amounts. It had been a long time since he was in this part of the country, and needed to acclimate once again. Another few days, and the tacky giant glass disco ball that formed part of the arcology complex would be visible. It contained high class restaurants and five star hotels, yes, but that would never change his opinion of the architecture. None of them would be quite so fancy five years of the apocalypse anyway..
Other feats of engineering were already visible - roads, construction depots, clusters of adobe houses, and metal shelters. Two entire communities popped up around the mega construction project. One was just the workers seeking to avoid commutes and costs by living nearby. Adams father had been one of those. Farther South of the complex was a refugee camp where his mother had lived. It almost seemed like Moses had parted Central America, sending people flying North and South - though sea rise and desertification had more to do with it.
There had been some attempts to make the place more livable than a shanty town. Few of the official actions had amounted to much, but a very large number of women had unofficially become tile layers and painters for the project. Normal union rules didn't apply, since the area had been declared and EDGE special economic zone. The government decided getting things done was more important than being right, and had let private interests take a free hand.
Even now, that was part of the reason why the young man was reluctant to return. There were many people who still held large amounts of the old money and a feeling that they owned the place. Legally that was true, but did those old rules mean they got to be the uncollected de-facto rulers of the complex? A legislative body existed, but the old rich held veto power over all but the biggest majorities. Maybe it was just a bit of low class resentment, but it just didn't seem right that there be kings in America.
Other problems waited there as well. To the East were the holy soldiers of New Birmingham, always eager to assimilate the complex. West and North were a pair of Planetary Citizen - tribes? Swarms? Nations? Groups - and opposed to each other no less. Alternately both sided would cajole or threaten the people of Lone Star to get supplies for their conflict, and none of the humans were really quite sure which to support. Mexico to the South had returned to the semi-feudal Hacienda system, a patchwork of plantations, some owned by the former government, some by independents, and many by former criminals. It was the 1910 revolution all over again, complete with soldier trains and horse cavalry. No brilliant general Obregon to bring it to a close, however.
For now, all that could wait. Only a few hours remained until sundown, and traveling at night was rarely a good idea. Better to stop now and find a residence. Provided they were free of reanimates, the old adobe houses up ahead would be the best accommodation Adam had in months.