This is the start of a 30 story chronicle I have in my head.....
Oh and the fact Nigel has been playing in it makes this even more special...
Here we go...
Season 1: Fractal
Prologue: The Great Metropolis
We speed across the Atlantic Ocean towards England and the north. Ahead dry land looms out of the dark seas and soon the billowing columns of steam and smoke are visible, twisting up into the atmosphere.
About us on the oceans are the super dreadnaughts of the Royal Navy, blistering with their V-prop cannons and Vent Blasters. Above the skies are filled with Zeppelins and soon the smaller Zepcars, coated in Etherium and ornate steel.
Soon the madness of the Liverpool docks and the coagulated River Mersey, filled with steam ships and metal clad galleons.
Soaring up we swoop over the towering megablocks of red brick piping imperial tonnes of choking gas into the skies. Networks of roads and flyovers crisscross the city between the labyrinthine warehouse and slum sectors. The sky above is filled with the swarms of zeps, snaking between the corporate and imperial towers, great iron arches span incredible distances, insect like domes cap the opulent upper levels of the city, railways spear through the city and great searchlights peer down and up, acting as luminous cyclopean watchtowers for the police.
We descend down into the upper streets, a patchwork of cobbles and steel plate, lined with chemists, tobacconists, gaudy sweet shops, windows filled with dresses from London, suits from America, furniture from China, the multitude of these stores enticing their rich and influential clientele to spend their disposable incomes while their servants look on.
Further below the shops and streets take on a new sheen, the local denizens spending their money either to lord over those lower than themselves, or to merely survive. Gangs thread about the gas lamp streets, dank and sooty even during the daylight hours, a constant deluge from the condensing steam from high above. Pubs and inns maintain a defensive aura while smoking rooms are filled with the more well off shop owners and factory foremen who drink away the monotony of life with single malts and gin.
Scene 1: Anime Corp
Cutscene: High above the chaotic clatter of trains and the fog of steam stands the leering tower of AnimaCorp, a gothic structure of cut limestone and steel, clad in glass sheets and arched iron. Small buttresses of steel protruded like fingers for the zeppelins and a cavernous dock allows for Zepcars to swoop in and out as if the building were some large beehive. The afternoon sky is a burnt orange as the sun is refracted through the clouds of steam.
In the top few floors luxurious offices look out onto the city, the observatories and atriums plush with lacquered wood futons and marble desks.
The troop takes the lift from the Zepcar dock, it’s already floor 76 and the wind at this height rushes through the dock. There is the noise of workers refuelling the coal gas tanks of the cars, or loading Zepcarts with particular supplies and devices that need shipping quickly. Even the dock is stunning, with its marble floor and vaulted wood panelled ceiling.
A zepcar descends and from it steps out Morgan, dressed in colonial khakis, a long windbreaker, a stetson and unkempt hair and stubble. He unloads his gear, among which is his rifle, and a porter comes to aid him. He approaches the main desk and hands over his invitation to a sneering old man he peers down at him with a constant from and a pair of wirey spectacles.
Morgan then proceeds to the main foyer, a twin staircase and opulant paintings of scientist and their discoveries, a part of AnimaCorps history. He takes a seat and is brought a refreshment. Also in the room is the smartly dress aristocrat (contrasting the aristocrat of Morgan) Kendrigard, a member of the Eugenics League and thus a Alpha class human, the cream of the crop, bred from the best families.
The last arrival is Curate, dress in a priests coat minus the collar, carrying his working class origins with dignity and pride.
An aide comes to gatehr them and they are taken up in a lift. The doors open upon the 90th floor and again wide windows allow the light to beam in and reflect of the waxed wood furnishings, the marble floors and bronze. They are led to the auditorium where a number of businessmen, high society types and scientists filter out.
They then wait at the door, looking in on the auditorium from the side, plush red velvet seating running upwards left while to the right the main stand is illuminated by projector light. Massive cog like butresses hold up the chandelier decorated roof while Gabe Decker, head of AnimaCorp is stood leering down at a scientist, scolding him on the time it is taking to get results from the portal research. He use the threat of reassignment to Antartica to motivate the scientist, a Dr Kale.
Decker is dressed in non traditional Victorian attire, more streamline, akin to real world version of scope leathers. He has a waistcoat and a cravat, held in place by a gold pin. He is bald and has a goatee and a kaiser like moustache. He then waves for the aide to bring in the troupe. He flicks a switch and the projector screen mechanically folds up revealing a hugh window past which zeps and zep cars fly past.
Decker explains that the group, being relative unknowns, yet skilled in their respective fields, Morgan being a hunter and tracker, Kendrigrad a link to high society and industry, Curate more a a street level man and scope rider, and wishes to test them intially with the simple task of retrieving an experimental energy unit from Cadecus Labs, a quite subsidary of AnimaCorp little known to his rivals, in particular a Japanese company.
Curate sees through this rouse and has Decker assure him that it isn't for weapons (Decker obviously lying but has little care for them and threatens Curate with renovation of his district). Curate soon shuts up.
Scene 2: Shopping
With the right papers and finances the group then leaves for a spot of dinner at the Balck Candle restaurant in Castlefields where the group gets more aquainted and discusses their plan of action. While there they overhere of a recent NRM raid on a Metropolis research factory for the government, and a simultaneous hit on a police sector in the Scope city of New London. Curate is intrigued.
A spot of shopping later, the aquirement of Ethercomm units, a further van in addition to the one given to them for the job, and some hired muscle, the group scouts out a new warehouse for emergencies, and Morgan looks at the labs while purchasing a velocycle.
Curate meets up with a renowned scope hacker called Gyre and finds out some more about the raid and discovers that it was funded by someone high up, potentially a business or an aristocrat. The research was also a form of portal tech. Curate is now more curious about Decker.
So the plan they set up is to have one of the hired help look after the spare van in a nearby tunnel where they will switch the device (that must reach AnimaCorp in 36 hours untouched and unopened) while Morgan keeps look out from a far.
Curate and Kendrigard go to the lab and in the warehouse are told that the device has already been taken by men with the exact same documents. They learn that the men were Chinese. Kendrigard tells Decker via Ethercomm and is scalded. They have a few clues to lead them on.
Cutscene: In chinatown down an alleyway two chinese men speak to an unseen man that they have the device and the deal is ready. The man agrees and pulls a pistol on them shooting them dead.
End of Part 1
Scene 4: China Town.
At a loss to how to track down the men the group decides the best course of action is keeping an ear to the ground in China Town. So the troupe make a prompt departure from the labs and head north again, back to Manchester and the heart of Metropolis.
China Town is a boisterous place. The layers of walkways and streets are festooned with lanterns, making the colours of the Orient come to life in the middle of the dank city. Huge lats of coffin cubes tower up, balconies displaying clothes being dried, clouds of steam billowing out from kitchens, gawdy lights illuminating the variety of restaurants, bars, clubs and stores. The streets are lined with stalls, and a mixture of well off Mancunians and Chinese fill the streets and steam cabs honk their way through, adding to the babble of Cantonese in the air.
The group decides to hit the bars and head to one restaurant that Curate remebers for being a prime location and meeting ground for the Triads and the other gangs that exist outside of China Town, for here the Triads rule, the police leaving them to look after their own.
In the bar, decorated iin laquered woods, winding worm dragons of blues and greens, dancers and barmaids swanning between the tables, the group begin to scout about, but it doesn't take long for Kendrigard to get the attention of the local Triads, and they make their way up onto the balcony where the smell of cigars and sake mingles with that of opium. Here they meet the short and rotund man known as Lao Yong, aka 'Tiny'.
Their discussion, amongst other gang leaders who seem to have adapted to Imperial rule well, quickly leads onto their work and their interest in the now dead chinese men. Lao explains how they were not working for him and believe the involvement of the Japanese, a problem he wishes to flush out and stop at all costs. Due to the Triad link to the twon dead men, the men being employees of a large industrial cleaners, he thinks that it would be better for the group to go instead of his men to investigate the home of the two men, since it seems the events have drawn in the Met Police.
The group head to the location, having now gained a new contact in china town, and find a way into the flats past the police who are watching most of the entrances, save the one on the lower levels where all the boilers and communal wash rooms are located.
The block of flats in squalid and claustrophobic, fllied with cell like flats, with rubbish left outside doors, and the smell of mould filling the already thick air.
They find the room and force their way in and find the small flat ransacked, the bed overturned and torn apart. A scope point is found under the littered papers, though is utterly wrecked. However after a closer inspection they find a letter in chinese with scope coordinates, which Curate recognises as being Centropolis, the scope city of the USA. Also on the paper is the emblem of the Eastern Alloys company.
The group leaves and does a bit more shopping, though time is ticking, its now close to midnight, and that leaves 11 hours to locate the device and ensure that it is returned to Decker.
Curate jumps into the Scope and from his domain, a small study, he begins to draw up files from the scope with regard to the holdings of the Eastern Alloys company. It turns out they are a Japanese family run business that has no holdings in the UK, but has many in Japan and America. Though after careful cross referencing it turns out that the company has many smaller companies, one being an importers of art and furniture located in Metropolis, with a warehouse in Liverpool and and office in Manchester.
The group now has a new line of investigation and send Kendrigard to scout out the office while Curate and Morgan drive to Liverpool. It is at this point that Curate realises the coordinates he has are too long, and in fact include a time. 0230. He jacks in and while in the back of the truck and scouts out the area, first having designed an armour program ready.
Scene 5: Centropolis
Centropolis is a city of towering dirty lime green filing spires that hold all of Americas data for its corporations. About the air buzz scope cars, their sodium lights gleaming as programmers are between domains and regions of the scope city. Alll about the bottom of these filing towers are the scoep users of America, wandering about between work looking for entertaintment and relaxation in the virtual city. Their attire is more akin to that of the 1920's while some sport more crisp and cropped clothes not unlike the future envisioned in the 50's.
Through the mass of users Curate makes his way to the coordinates, a scope cinema, greated by the flickering crystal blue holographic action above the foyer, fight air craft and huge monsters. The ticket booth is also attended by a flickering program who asks Curate if he wishes to purchase a ticket.
Inside the cinema is no different. Couples walk about eating scorching pink popcorn, and at the bar a shimmering hologram mixes cocktails. Near the bar are two men. One is dressed in dark shiny scope leathers, tailored to the style of a kimono-come-suit, while the othe ris more traditional in garb, wearing a bowler hat. Curate finds a table and listens in and hears that the device is to be moved soon, onto a Zep.
Moments pass and two men exit with the rest of the audience from the cinema, one is wearing a pair of red sunglasses and under his coat is what appears to be a complex armour. The other is in a simpler suit and carries a long coat. They great the other two and begin to leave.
It is then that through the exit of the cinema steps out Agent Archangel plus a further agent, clad in bowler hats and walking canes. He regards the man in red sunglasses and mentions that the 'System' has deemed them illegal possesors of restricted data and that all his CIA training wont help him.
The two oriental men had already been edging back and make a break for it, exiting the cinema, the other agent in chase, breaking the doors off the hinges as he pounds through. Curate gives chase, following behind the agent down the street. He witnesses the agent pull out a heavy looking pistol and watches a stream of bullets hit the kimono man, and then he pauses before bolting off round the corner to chase the other man. Curate stops and checks the body. Normally people get jacked out. This must be something important for System Agents to get involved, though they may only be denizens of the Scope. Curate looks up to see the Agent walk out from the corner of the block and then derezz, and following after Curate finds another body, corroding into purple plasma. returning to the cinema finds things no better. The cinema itself is blistered with gun fire, seat blown apart revealing their spider slik like stuffing. One of the Americans is there, comatosed, his eyes white static. The wound to his body is necrotic, tendril of dark fractals moving through his avatar. Curate tries to help but to no avail and then jacks out.
Curate and Morgan are now 30 minutes from the Liverpool warehouses at the docks, Curate jacks back. A scope search and a bit of hacking in the manifests for the Zep ports reveals the importers shipping a crate to America. Curate Jacks back out and the truck is turned about. Back to Manchester and then onto Rignway and the international Zep port.
Scene 6: The Zep port.
The rain is pouring down and it's 3 am. Having stolen some documents from a truckers vehical the troupe makes its way into the port and tries to find out how they determine which Zep the device will be loaded onto. Morgan dismounts and heads to the Dock office and tries to break in, while Curate drives off to scout about. not long after the alarm is raised as guards give chase to Morgan, who is clipped by a bullet as he tried to get onto the roof of the warehouses. Curate drives back and upon doing so sees another vehical pull out of a warehouse. The sign read Phoenix Imports. He gives chase while trying to find Morgan, who uses his ethercomm to tell Curate to pull up along the warehouses so he jump down. Morgan barely does, having to pull himself up onto the truck. A quick turn and their back heading to the main landing strip and towards one of the open Zeps and toward the truck that is now being unload, by a rather large looking Cybernaught, his large mecha arm with ease lifting the device out of the back of the truck.
scene 7: the zep
So in the pouring rain the troupe surges forth toward the zep in the truck, leaning out ready to take the odd pot shot, Curate calling out to hand over the device so no one gets hurt. His call go unanswered and shots start hitting the steam truck.
Morgan on top of the truck levels his gun at the cybernaught and takes a shot, though misses, barely holding on as the cybernaught goes toe to toe and slams his mecha arm into the engine block, steam hissing everywhere and the cybernaught is puched back by the slowing vehical.
Curate leans out of the door, using it for cover, and fires at the cybernaught, the shot glancing of the steel arm. Morgan leap off and rolls firing at the cybernaught, catching the opponent in the side of the gut. Kendrigard however takes a shot from one of the other men and is dropped, blood pooling from a wound to the stomach.
The cybernaught charges for Curate, and clips the door, shattering the window and is caught by a well placed shot into the back by Curate. He drops with and all mighty thud.
Once the other two men have been dealt with, and with police sirens in the distance the troupe order a group of workers to load the device, a metal case the size of a desk, into the back of the other truck and they drive off, Curate tending to the wounds of Kendrigard.
Scene 8: AnimaCorp
Upon arriving an emergency team takes Kendrigard off to the emergency medical bay while Decker coldly speaks to the others, teasing what information they have out of them. Pulling a small ether ring out of a pocket he unlocks the case, using the ether ring like some sort of encoded key, and a hiss of liquid nitrogen is met. He surveys the device and locks it up, another scientist quickly has the device loaded up onto another truck that quickly leaves.
Decker is pleased with their work and has more for them.
Curate and Morgan seem very worried about who exactly they are working for.
At a icy station in the dark cold the scientist of AnimaCorp unlocks the device and begins preparations. "Put the lensing ring into place."
Next time on Etherscope: Celerity
Episode 1: House of Cards
Cutscene: Banquet hall
A variety of well dressed people are in a large ornate hall sampling the fine foods and drinks being served. In the centre of it all is a large ice sculpture of a Hawk with a fish in its claws.
Decker in amongst the crowd moves off to a quiter area and flips open the ethercomm and makes a call.
"Everything is in place. Payment will be made upon confirmation of the surveillance equipment functioning. You have 3 hours at most."
Einstein, don't tell God what to do. (Niels Bohr in response to Einstein's 'God does not play dice)
How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress. (Niels Bohr)