"You can't name an underwater city Rupture!" Kelly wailed.
"I can name it whatever I like. I am Cyrus C. Cwiggus, and I am the mayor of Rupture," said Cyrus. He had spent the last hour attacking a piece of paper with a pen, and only looked up when he thought Kelly had struck a telling blow against his plans. The last time he'd moved his head was forty-five minutes ago.
"You're going to get sued. Remember that video game Bioshock? It had an underwater city. Named Rapture."
"The vowels are totally different."
"What about the name Rupture? That doesn't sound like it would stay very...dry." Kelly looked out the curved, fisheye window of the undersea research station into the murky twilight beyond. The word 'Rupture' made her think about the massive pressure bearing down on their fragile shell of concrete and steel, and the millions of gallons of water waiting to rush into the gaseous sanctuary that they'd built down here. Kelly knew why Cyrus kept a curtain over his window.
"All of our city ordinances will be printed with water-soluble inks on tissue paper. That's how dry it will be. A Bedouin nomad could come visit and die of thirst." Cyrus looked up and grinned. "Now shut up about all that. I've done something important. I've finished the official city seal for Rupture."
He pushed the sheet of paper across his desk. Kelly picked it up.
"You spent an hour drawing a stickman with a fork menacing a pack of eyeballs?"
Cyrus got up from around the desk. He leaned over her shoulder, breathed in her ear and pointed at the illustration.
"No! This is me, the Mayor of Rupture. This is my mighty trident, like what Poseidon used to pitchfork seaweed into bales to feed his seahorses int he winter. And that's a school of fish, not eyeballs. Eyeballs don't even look like fish."
"No, they don't," Kelly agreed, and handed the paper back to Cyrus.
"I"m beginning to think that you don't believe in Rupture."
"Rupture might be a cool idea but you have two problems: the first is that nothing of that scale has ever been tried. The second is the name. Sorry. I'm not trying to be a killjoy."
"No! Not at all. Every city needs problems. A mayor of a city without problems is just somebody sitting behind a desk. I would get bored. Actually, can I tell you a little secret?"
"You have to promise not to tell anybody."
"Really promise! For real!"
"I do! What's your secret?"
"I'm already the mayor of Rupture."
"What do you mean?"
"I have already built Rupture. We have already held our first elections. And I was elected mayor," Cyrus said, his voice conspiratorial.
"Do you have a fever? It will take a little time to get you up to the surface to see a doctor but if you're sick, we're all sick, and we need to see if Bernard has any ibuprofen to help." Kelly frowned and her mind wandered onto logistical problems.
"No, no. I'm fine. Do you know why I keep a curtain over my window?"
"Because even though the window keeps out millions of tons of water it is permeable to thought that you've spent the last several weeks working, living and playing in your own grave?"
"No, it's because that curtain is the only thing keeping Rupture a secret. Now it's you and the curtain."
Cyrus pulled the curtain aside.
The skyline was distorted by the water and the window but was unmistakable.
"We are under the ocean." Kelly felt behind her for a chair. Finding none, she sat down on the rubberized floor and put her head between her knees.
"Are you okay?" Cyrus asked.
"That is a skyline."
"Under the ocean."
Then Kelly remembered that she was a damned scientist.