Ep. 011: Travel Plans transcript

NARRATOR: Mana-pitch. Centuries ago, we built a city on this coast to exploit a vast underground supply of it: a black, viscous raw material we refine into powerful mana gems.

Soon after, the city became a magnet for unlikely events known as “glitches”, and improbable people called “glitchers”. Eventually, most citizens came to call Manapitch City by a new name…

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

GLENN 755: Glenn SevenFiftyFive here! Zed-frequency twenty-three-oh-eight once again finds itself carrying the waveforms and bitstream of Managlitch City Underground for your listening pleasure! Broadcasting by net, infotower, and data-scry every open period: we’re here to help *you* stay grounded in the City of Accidental Wonders.

It’s a busy week here at the Underground, as we get everything packed for the big trip to Terra-Epsilon! I say we, but it’s mainly me. See, I couldn’t arrange a simple step through a Rune Portal like the top dogs, so I get to take a transbeam. I don’t mind that, even if there’s only room for a couple bags in the underfoot bin. But Slippery Adam turned down a ticket. He doesn’t like the transbeams; I hear he once tried to ride one without wearing the electro-sleep headset. Would explain a lot about him, really. I mean, I agree it gets a little claustrophobic inside the protective capsule. An hour or two is a long time to be nothing but a multi-dimensional mass echo after all! But most folks prefer to have a little shielding between themselves and any pockets of matrix distortion turbulence. And staying awake the whole time would make for a boring trip! You can’t see out of the capsule very well, and there’s no in-flight movie.

Anyway, I’m proud to say I have absolutely genuine press credentials for this jaunt, and no, you don’t need to know how I got them. According to my pass, “Glenn Septimor” of the Manapitch Weekly Aethergraph will spend the weekend reporting on the diplomatic progress of the trip. I’ll be writing some text reports for them; after news distributors back here correct for my legendary spelling choices, I could end up on half the feeds in Managlitch. But the Underground will also be doing a live broadcast direct from the main event, and anything could happen! With these papers and a little luck, maybe I’ll even get to interview Princess Swiftstorm or High Minister Sheaffer! I mean: I know which one of those interviews I’d consider good luck. But whether it’s the High Minister, one of our valued economic representatives, or a Palace tourism flunky, I’ll stick my microphone at them: the public has a right to know, and that gives me a right to be nosy!

I’m still a bit miffed that we ordinary folk are pretending to be tachyon artillery shells fired into trans-space, but VIPs are getting the cushy experience of stepping though a Rune Portal at the City’s expense. Yeah, sure, the trip’s important. It’s been many years since we had normal relations and commerce with Terra-Epsilon, and our city leaders all agree that was too long. Even local business owners and cultural icons have been invited! I hear Mistress Messiér could have had a slot if she wanted one, but turned it down; that slot went to Managlitch’s own professional noise generator Euripides Zapnowski. I only pray that he won’t have the chance to perform a concert there, or it’ll be another decade before Terra Epsilon’s willing to talk to us again.

Speaking of cultural icons, Captain Wecyi is a free… uh… being once again. I don’t know if Liz ThreeNinetyOne’s little campaign had anything to do with it, but apparently all the charges have been dropped. My sources tell me that the allegedly smuggled weapons were real, but Wecyi knew nothing about them, and her ship may not even have been the source. Either way, the Captain got off without even a slap on the wrist, and is back enjoying the clubs and scenery of our fair city. We here at the Underground would like to congratulate her! Captain, if I see you before I leave, first round of tentacle gloss is on me!

The Manapitch Aurametric League, represented by Avrela Singer, continues to study the strange pyramid brought into the city by Frederic Thurms. Recent research suggests that a section of the carvings refers to a “Rhythmic Attractor” and may describe installation instructions for such an object, or perhaps strong wishes for its continued proper operation. Rumor insists a member of the research team was allowed to find employment elsewhere after suggesting the term was a reference to Ms. Singer’s backside. More ominously, at least one researcher maintains that certain glyphs show our planet Neimma with three moons, which certainly wasn’t the case until a few months ago. I can’t help remembering what that Glitchbuster supposedly said: “At least Nibiron’s back.” Whatever this means, cohorts, I don’t think it’s good.

We’ve got some more mail today, and this time it’s not an additional pet for Nikolen to adopt! Or to adopt him… sometimes it’s really hard to tell. No, it’s an actual message, and it’s a question from a listener named Jovacks who hails from the city of Tsishek on planet Freehome. They ask: “You mention powerful organizations from time to time, but I’m confused by the politics of Managlitch. Who is really in charge over there? Who makes the decisions to fight invaders, or build Rune Portals, or repair damage like the Scar you’ve talked about?”

Well, Jovacks: greetings from Managlitch City, and that’s a good question. Lots of people here have very strong opinions about that, especially if they’re part of one of those organizations. Figuring out exactly who has say about what seems to be one of the primary pastimes around here.

There are three important power blocs in Managlitch. The oldest would be the Royal Family; they’ve been around longer than the City, possibly a lot longer. History before the Seventh Age gets pretty weird! Historians and aurametrics argue constantly whether conflicting documents are due to glitches in the fabric of time itself, or just the result of hack writers who didn’t want to do research. Anyway, the Royals’ function is to suggest policies the city should follow, and represent our people as a culture. Our current ruler Princess Swiftstorm is pretty popular, (I’m biased, of course) and her opinions carry a lot of influence around here.

The newest bunch is the City Council, chosen by the citizens of Managlitch using a complicated electoral process you and I don’t care about just now. See, back when one of the Royals wasn’t doing a very good job as a leader, a bunch of his Ministers formed an unofficial government that worked surprisingly well. Before anyone really noticed, the shadow council evolved into a trusted, legal, official body elected by the citizens. Theoretically, they make all the actual decisions and implement them via organizations such as the Ministry of Order. Luckily for us, they’re so bogged down by documentation and protocol that they can’t get the City into *too* much trouble with their flailing around.

Finally: in a metropolis literally built on magic… like, really, a big tarry underground pile of it… I suppose it was inevitable that the Cybercasters’ Guild would become powerful. Those technomages are responsible for the majority of the spells and devices that protect the city and keep it running efficiently. Their fingerprints are on everything from Rune Portals and ethership engines to the 3-D display built into your scryPhone. Officially, they have no political power; realistically, any citizen much past kindergarten knows better. They’re influential, they know it, and Prime Cybercasters get invited to any party they want.

So thanks for your question Jovacks, and I hope this helps you understand the way things work in Managlitch. Of course, there’s a lot more going on than that, as I may have hinted in a broadcast or five. You know: subtly and quietly. Somehow, it all works pretty well… most of the time… when things aren’t exploding and stuff.

On the subject of scryPhones, we’ve heard of an eye-opening occurrence down in the underground gem processing facilities this week, and I mean that literally. Workers were looking over a small shipment of finished mana gems going to a phone factory on the other side of the continent, when suddenly each stone looked back with a pair of deep black eyes! Amidst the workers’ cries of surprise and dismay, the mana gems then grew limbs, becoming small crystalline humanoid figures and climbing from the carts! They all ran from the room in an ankle-height crowd, apologizing the whole time and chattering about some kind of mission. The Ministry of Order deployed teams to track down the tiny mob, but even if they succeed the shipment will have to be replaced. It’s pretty unlikely those mana gems are still suitable for phone hardware. You know, there’s always something loose in this city, isn’t there? If it’s not crasher demons, it’s nutjobs in maroon battlesuits, forbidden military weapons, or contrite mineral formations.

I dunno, cohorts. It just seems like there’s something in the air… or the ether… or something. I wish Kinson was still around. The official aura forecasters insist everything’s fine, but I get a weird itch between my shoulder blades whenever they do; and despite Slippery Adam’s suggestion, changing my brand of undershirts didn’t help. Ah! I hate to leave my city at a time like this, but this trip to Terra-Epsilon is just the sort of break I’ve been looking for – and no space pirates this time! To anyone there who somehow picks up this transmission: here’s hoping you live close to the event, and you can swing by and say hello! I hear the rooms where we’ll be staying are pretty nice; last time I stayed off-world, the place was comfy, but decorated kinda weird. It had so many horse photographs and studded leather accents that I kept a wary eye out the whole time for seductive-looking folk carrying riding crops.

Well cohorts, despite my hopes, the packing for my trip didn’t finish itself while I’ve been talking to you. So it’s time for me to return to my challenge of fitting things inside of other things, and to wish you all a quiet evening. The next time you hear my voice, we’ll be transmitting from another planet: on a special amplified coherent zed-band ley line, ether-bridged by Slippery Adam through… uh… oh, never mind. Just know that as always, you’ll hear us 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. Episode Eleven, “Travel Plans”, 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. If you have questions about the world of Managlitch City, email them to glenn755@managlitch.com, or leave them as comments on our website, and we may use them in a future episode.

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