Ep. 005: Dark Red Intentions transcript

NARRATOR: Since the Seventh Age began, our magicians have been refining the black, viscous, tarry substance called mana-pitch into clear grey magical gems of great value across the Forty-One Worlds. Almost as long ago, explorer-mages discovered a limitless supply of that raw material here beneath our fair coastline, and built Manapitch City to exploit their find.

But so much raw magic twists the very planes of existence, causing aura surges across the city and the citizens. The city filled with unlikely events and improbable people as reality seemed to… glitch. Over the centuries, Manapitch gained a new name, known to all and used by most.

We present Managlitch, City of Accidental Wonders. Do try to keep your aura clear, citizen.

GLENN 755: Glenn SevenFiftyFive here: we’re back and bringing you Managlitch City Underground, on a zed-frequency of twenty-three-oh-eight. Broadcasting by net, infotower, and data-scry every open period, we have what *you* need to know to stay grounded in the City of Accidental Wonders.

It’s the twenty-first of Chillsnap, year Seven Hundred and Fifteen in the Forty-One Worlds. It’s perfect weather given the name of the month, since we’re all putting up with biting cold. Right now’s the perfect time to be in business selling amulets of warmth or personal heat coils! Let’s all just be glad it’s not snowing; when snow glitches, cleanup can be messy and expensive.

But of course, glitched snow isn’t on anyone’s mind right now. For several hours Managlitch City’s been treated to a dark red moon blotting out a tenth of the sky and hovering ominously at us. Glowing volcanic activity is clearly visible on its surface and casting an uncomfortable light on our own landscape. This is weird even as glitches go, cohorts, because the whole world sees this one. Folks out in the Cadrenna prairie and the Badlands surrounding the city quickly and uneasily confirmed a third moon above the horizon tonight.

So, physical object or exotic illusion? Well, the ethership “Darkdiver” got the short straw from the City Council and lifted off to investigate. One quick trip later, Captain Connie Gordon reported a safe landing; she also reported a thin, poisonous atmosphere, no signs of life, and a strong urge to leave: the latter possibly a personal reaction. No one has any idea whether this is a permanent addition to the City skies, but the Council is already discussing exploitation – in other words, looting the place – of potential resources by remote techmagic or by recruits on high danger pay.

Speaking of the Council, you will all remember the self-styled demon hunter I recently encountered. Well, now hardly a night goes by without a tale spreading of a horrific, twisted, crashed citizen committing mayhem in our streets, and a demon hunter showing up to vanquish it. Sometimes these hunters appear before someone’s seriously hurt… sometimes they don’t. Whenever they show, they always display great skill and remarkable weaponry. Well, the Underground hears the Council is preparing to send the Ministry of Order after these vigilantes, claiming a flagrant disregard for the law and for the safety of Managlitch citizens. On the other hand, the Cybercasters have pointedly suggested that these self-appointed heroes are doing a better job on crashers than the Council is, which certainly isn’t improving the mood at City Hall. There’s been no statement from the Palace; they’re still quiet on all fronts, though our best sources suggest the Princess’ condition is much improved since the Royal Chiurgeon returned.

Well, for any glitchers out there unwilling to let this matter rest in other hands, Nikolen Weber wants to talk to a few like-minded folks with a taste for fighting and skill at avoiding unfriendly eyes. Frankly, I’m tempted to hook up with him myself. Grateful as I am to have been saved by Ms. Purple Jacket in my first meeting with a crasher, I think next time I could make a much better showing of myself. Besides, I don’t like sitting back when there’s work to do, especially when potential mayhem’s involved! I know Nikolen’s been doing a little tinkering, and while he sure can’t replicate Cybercaster tech, a couple of his devices look like they’d do some serious damage to the next crasher any of us bumps into.

So contact him by the usual secure methods if you’re interested in a little – what? Slippery Adam… what do you mean, “we have a caller”? For us? Who could possibly have spun their way through your data barriers, your dark-routing, and that abomination you call a voice menu? … Well, uh, okay, I guess: patch it through!

Hello caller, you’re live on Managlitch City Underground: and that’s a first, so go ahead!

ARTEMA SABLE: Hello again, Glenn Something. Remember me?

GLENN 755: It’s Glenn SevenFiftyFive, if that’s all the same to you. And yes, I remember you, Ms. Purple Jacket.

ARTEMA SABLE: You may call me Artema. I do own other jackets.

Listen, my numbered friend, you and your buddies don’t know a thing about these creatures. If you have any sense, you’ll stay far away from any ridiculous amateur crasher hunt. Since the Ministry can’t protect Managlitch, we’re going to do what we must to keep our city clean, and it won’t help if you get in the way. We know how to find them, and we’ve got the tools and skills to finish them off.

GLENN 755: Who’s “we”? Where did you come from, and where are you getting those toys of yours? I mean, doesn’t it worry you that the Ministry of Order’s coming after you next?

ARTEMA SABLE: Given the amazing job they’re doing keeping crashers off the streets? No, it doesn’t worry me even a little bit. And never you mind where we found what we needed to do this job. You may think that crashers are a new thing in Managlitch, but this isn’t the first Portalblast to shred the City’s tenuous hold on reality. You’ve got data-spinners: maybe you should consider a little *serious* research. Some of us have expected this day, expected it for a long time.

I know you’re a glitcher: I saw you casting the other night, you’re free of cyber, and you’re involved with the Underground. Do you stay awake nights waiting for the Ministry to kick down your door? Did you apply for a press pass for the Portal re-opening? Do you feel like you should have gotten permission from the Palace to help rescue “Starhunter Seven”?

Listen, you’ve been off-world. Other big cities out there are full of darkness, day or night. People starve in alleyways, soldiers of fortune wage small wars for control of a few city blocks, and you might get shot just because your ears are the wrong shape. Managlitch may be screwed up, sure, but it isn’t like that. It’s a good place, and it’s *our* place. So I’ll repeat: stay out of the way, and we’ll fix this crasher demon problem just like I fixed yours the other night.

GLENN 755: Well… Artema… I agree, Managlitch is a great City. And I don’t want streets full of crashers any more than you do. No one here’s looking for brownie points with the Ministry, so you keep doing your thing; we could hardly stop you.

ARTEMA SABLE: Good night, Glenn Something. And for pitch’s sake, do something about that insane voice menu. (disconnects)

GLENN 755: Ah. Well, then. Cohorts, we’ve just been talking to Artema the demon hunter, woman of mystery, danger, and more than one jacket. She insists that her people have the crasher problem in Managlitch handled, and that a bunch of glitchers with a few tech trinkets and funny ideas about excitement are just going to get themselves into trouble. And let’s face it, she’s probably absolutely right.

So that settles it! We’ll be setting up our own demon hunt as soon as possible! If you want to join in the fun, Nikolen Weber is the one with the toys and the plan. I promise it’s easier to get through to him than it is to reach our little studio. Do make sure you know how to take care of yourself; we want to return with as many people as we leave with –

Erm, sorry, cohorts, this is quite a night for interruptions. One of our contacts just copied a message into our infosystem flagged “For Immediate Release”… hmmm… official word from the Palace? Holy pitch! Princess Swiftstorm will be addressing the City soon! The message says the stress of the attack on the Rune Portals, combined with the complex job of leading the Council and Cybercaster efforts to restore normalcy – huh, normalcy in Managlitch, heh – has kept her from engaging her public duties in the short term, but she will correct this at the earliest opportunity!

Well, that alert managed to dodge any direct mention of her health situation. And I’d like to know how she’ll explain producing a power beam intense enough to disrupt a Rune Portal, supposedly without a glitch or any boosting cybertech? Cohorts, we wouldn’t miss an address by Her Highness anyway, but this one ought to be good. I’ll be hanging on every word!

Speaking of words, I’m all out for the night. Don’t worry; we’ll have lots more for you next open period, broadcasting by net, infotower, and data-scry. This is Glenn SevenFiftyFive for Managlitch City Underground, shutting down zed-frequency twenty-three-oh-eight. Remember, keep your aura clear, and stay grounded.

ANNOUNCER: The voice of Managlitch City Underground today was Michael O’Brien as Glenn SevenFiftyFive. The narrator was Maya Kralovna as Princess Swiftstorm. Kara Dennison appeared as Artema Sable. The Underground voice menu system was voiced by Bert Fox. Episode Five, “Dark Red Intentions”, was written by Michael O’Brien. Our theme music is “Crime of the Century” by Consortium 499. All other content is ©2015, Glitch City Media. Visit our website at managlitch.com for more information about the City and links to our podcast archives. See more of Kara Dennison’s work at karadennison.com.

VOICE MENU: – our options have changed. For your personal aura forecast, press L6. For discount prices on ethership flights to Placir, press Dark Blue. For pizza delivery south of the Blast Scar, press Hexagon. To apply for a staff position with Mistress Messiér, press Submit and attach at least three compromising images of yourself in a popular 2D, 3D, or 4D format. To speak to a technician with the Managlitch City Underground, press Tweed once – [beep]

VOICE MENU: – once you have held down the Shift key for three seconds. We’re sorry, but our system was unable to accept your input. We thank you for your interest: please listen carefully to the menu items as our options have changed. For your personal aura forecast, press L6…

ARTEMA SABLE: *strangled scream*

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