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! Not the same “here” as usual though: you’re hearing me on zed-frequency twenty-three-oh-eight not from Managlitch but from the city of Vokrill on planet Terra-Epsilon! Even from across the ether and through trans-space, Managlitch City Underground broadcasts by net, infotower, and data-scry every open period: we’re here to help *you* stay grounded wherever you may be in the Forty-One Worlds.
Cohorts, as far as the rest of the room knows, I’m “Glenn Septimor” representing the Manapitch Weekly Aethergraph. The Weekly is technically a print publication; but I’ve arranged permission to carry a live mic around the event this evening. Well, by “arranged” I mean, uh… you know… I’m sure they won’t mind; I’ll clear it with them later. If I remember.
Back home on planet Neimma, it’s the Fourteenth of Heatdays, year 715. All I know about the calendar on this planet is even though it’s just the first day of the Rejoined Worlds Summit, this venue’s been hopping since early morning. Princess Swiftstorm formally announced the new Ambassador to Terra-Epsilon, and their President returned the favor with an official appointee to Neimma and Managlitch. Economic bigwigs argue the details of millions of pitmarks’ worth of trade contracts, while lucky businessfolk from smaller operations shop for raw materials rare on our planet. The Ministry of Order even got to show off a bit! Earlier today, they joined a parade of Terra-Epsilon military, and I’ll make myself admit they looked rather splendid in their dress uniforms.
You know, there isn’t much war around the Forty-One Worlds these days, mostly because it’s a big pain in the rear to conduct aggression via rune portals and transbeams. Plus, we all have the horrible example of the Empire of Ash, a civilization that years back nearly committed planetary suicide by unlimited warfare. Still, every so often someone tries something dumb like those space pirates raiding ships; or maybe a natural disaster needs many disciplined bodies on the scene immediately; or something of the sort. So lots of planets still have militaries, and they like to parade.
I’m told that tomorrow we can expect – wait – wait just a minute, cohorts… there’s a platoon of bodyguards entering the event room here. They’re quite cliché with their dark suits; threat-detection visors; and clearly visible auto-targeting, mana-gem-enhanced sidearms. Well, someone important’s going to be in the middle of that crowd. Oh, it’s the Princess! It’s Princess Swiftstorm! I’m going to try to speak to her, hang on…
Princess Swiftstorm! Excuse me, I’m Press. I’m from the Weekly Aethergraph! I’m sorry for the intrusion, Princess, may I have a few words?
PRINCESS SWIFTSTORM: (to bodyguards) He reads clean? Very well then, stand aside, it’s all right. (to Glenn) What can I do for you, citizen?
GLENN 755: Your Highness, I’m Glenn Septimor; thank you so much for your time. I’m sure Terra-Epsilon is just as flattered by your presence as we are at home, and I was hoping to hear a few words from you about the diplomatic progress you’re making here.
PRINCESS SWIFTSTORM: (speaking to both the room and Glenn) Terra-Epsilon is one of Neimma’s oldest friends in the Forty-One Worlds. I’m overjoyed to be walking upon its fair soil once more, and it’s clear their leaders are eager to re-establish the most favorable relations with us. I’m sure that after this summit is complete, I can promise my Citizens an array of cultural and trade opportunities they’ll be thrilled to experience.
TEGRIL: (nervous, excited) Your Highness! Excuse me. Um… hello. My name’s Tegril, I’m with the VIP group. This is a very special occasion; we don’t often have royalty of your caliber visit our planet. Now that you’ve been here a couple of days, how do you find Terra-Epsilon?
PRINCESS SWIFTSTORM: (slyly) Turn left at planet Khedvar? (polite laughter from all nearby) Ahhh, it’s a lovely world, and I can easily imagine coming back purely for a pleasure visit.
HIGH MINISTER SHEAFFER: (slipping self-importantly into the conversation) Sadly, there is little time for pleasure on this trip. The Council has much to do here: both our planet Neimma and Terra-Epsilon have a host of details to settle before we can consider frivolous matters.
PRINCESS SWIFTSTORM: Indeed, High Minister. Well, if you all will excuse me, I’ll take what time I can to slip in a few moments of frivolity tonight.
GLENN 755: High Minister Sheaffer! I’m Glenn Septimor with the Manapitch Weekly Aethergraph. I’m pleased to encounter you here; our readers and listeners are curious to hear your impression of the summit so far.
HIGH MINISTER SHEAFFER: Gladly, Mr. More. The Manapitch City Council has always considered good relations with the other members of the Forty-One Worlds to be a top priority. While a few short days are by no means sufficient to settle every question raised by the restoration of contact and commerce between ourselves and Terra-Epsilon, it is my fondest hope that –
ARTEMA SABLE: How about the questions raised by the murderous creatures rampaging through Manapitch City? Any plans to settle those any time soon?
HIGH MINISTER SHEAFFER: I’m sorry, young lady; do I know you?
ARTEMA SABLE: Metara Black, trade delegate. I’m the owner of the “Blackened Greens” restaurant back home.
GLENN 755: Wait a minute. Have we met?
ARTEMA SABLE: No.
GLENN 755: Oh.
ARTEMA SABLE: You can say all you want about Terra-Epsilon commerce, High Minister, but commerce is suffering at home when people are afraid to go out on the streets because of those dangerous freaks.
HIGH MINISTER SHEAFFER: Ms. Black, I can assure you that while glitchers can be unnerving to normal citizens, they’re hardly –
GLENN 755: (quietly) Hey, now.
ARTEMA SABLE: Glitchers? Don’t make me laugh. Our city has done just fine for centuries of their existence. You know very well I’m talking about the crasher demons. They’re the ones attacking innocents, maiming and even killing sometimes, and your Ministry of Order has been completely useless in putting a stop to it.
HIGH MINISTER SHEAFFER: Ms. Black, the matter is in hand, and I can give you no further comment at this time. Yes, you – you had a question?
SAMNISS JANN: Thank you, High Minister Sheaffer. I’m Samniss Jann, with the Epsilon News Network. I know that many of the manufacturing companies here on our planet are eager to be importing mana gems once more. How long do you think it will take before Manapitch will be able to resume the shipments?
HIGH MINISTER SHEAFFER: That’s an interesting subject, Samniss. While I do not of course have access to specific figures –
TEGRIL: Look out! Somebody’s thrown something!
– – – – – SCREAMS, HISSING, AND SEVERAL SMALL SHARP EXPLOSIONS.
GLENN 755: A grenade! Wait, it’s just glowing – No! Something has happened to the Princess’ and Minister’s guards, they’re wounded, most of them are down! It looks like – it looks like their weapons have exploded!
BLACKWING: Nobody move! This is a blaster sword from the Empire of Ash. I can kill you all in a second!
GLENN 755: Cohorts, it’s hard to see in the unearthly glow of the techno-magical device this man’s thrown in here. The Princess and the Minister are unhurt; I don’t see any casualties besides the guards. I can’t see the woman from the restaurant, though.
– – – – – A SHIMMERING ELECTRIC HUM, RISING QUICKLY IN PITCH AND CUTTING OFF WITH A CRACK.
GLENN 755: What was that flash? Hey – you’re not Ms. Black; who the surt – oh, pitch, I know who you are: Artema Sable.
ARTEMA SABLE: Yes, Glenn Something. It’s me. And hello, Blackwing. It’s been a long, long time. Why don’t you drop that sword before I have to make a nice big hole in you with this one?
GLENN 755: What’re you doing? They’re no demon!
ARTEMA SABLE: Says you.
BLACKWING: Quiet, all of you. Minister Sheaffer: you are a traitor to Managlitch City, and there’s only one punishment for your sins!
– – – – – FORCE FIELD APPEARS.
GLENN 755: A shielding spell! Your Highness: are you wearing your cybercasting rig?
PRINCESS SWIFTSTORM: Sheaffer, get over here with the rest of us, quickly. I can’t cover you with this shield from here!
BLACKWING: Not fast enough, traitor!
– – – – – BLASTER SWORD FIRES.
HIGH MINISTER SHEAFFER: Aaaagggghhhhh!
ARTEMA SABLE: You crazed fool! How dare you? For him and all the others, you’ll pay!
BLACKWING: No! I shall not die to the likes of –
– – – – – ARTEMA’S PLASMA SWORD FIRES.
BLACKWING: – urk.
ARTEMA SABLE: Of me? Yeah, right. Uh-oh… Uh, Princess – keep that shield up! I think his blaster sword’s overloading. It’s going to…
– – – – – BLASTER SWORD DETONATES. LENGTHY PAUSE.
GLENN 755: Your Highness! Your Highness, the shield spell is down, are you all right?
PRINCESS SWIFTSTORM: Is everyone else all right? I’m a bit dazed, but I think I will be fine.
GLENN 755: Your casting did the trick. I think the only casualties other than Sheaffer were the guards and that Blackwing person. I couldn’t find Ms. Black during the confrontation, but she’s with the others now and she’s as well as any of us. Artema Sable’s gone, but no one saw her leave.
PRINCESS SWIFTSTORM: I see. The Ministry of Order, and the Terra-Epsilon police will certainly be here any moment. There will be a lot of questions, but the most important thing is that the innocent bystanders still live. When the police arrive, I’ll vouch for your press credentials; but I think you’d better wrap up your show for tonight – Glenn SevenFiftyFive. Good evening.
GLENN 755: Yes. Yes, that’s probably for the best – what? What did you say? Your Highness, come back!
Um. Cohorts, it’s been… pitch, saying “an interesting evening” just sounds kinda stupid right now. High Minister Sheaffer’s been assassinated. His killer’s been slain by demon hunter Artema Sable, who slipped in and out without attracting a bit of notice. Princess Swiftstorm once again saved a room full of people with a cybercasting rig we still don’t know if she even needs. And she certainly knows more than she lets on.
I think I’ll take her suggestion; a long evening’s only begun, and I’d better get this transmission sent off just in case. I doubt I’ll be sending from Terra-Epsilon again this trip; expect to hear me next from our quiet, boring, uninteresting digs back in Managlitch City. We’ll be broadcasting next open period 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. Maya Kralovna voiced Princess Swiftstorm as narrator and in person. Kara Dennison appeared as Artema Sable aka Metara Black; High Minister Sheaffer was performed by Terry Molloy. April Walters played the part of Tegril, and Gillian Kinney played Samniss Jann. Onezumi Hartstein made a special appearance as the Event Announcer. Episode Twelve, “Intervention”, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave them as comments on our website, and we may use them in a future episode.
See more of Kara Dennison’s work at karadennison.com.
Barb Fischer’s new blog will soon appear at auntie-barbizard.com.
Find Gillian Kinney’s blog at rydain.org.
Learn what Onezumi Hartstein is all about at onezumiverse.com.
Visit Terry Molloy’s official site at terrymolloy.co.uk.
April Walters’ workshop site is located at 14audioworkshop.com.
Special thanks to Chris Griffith for additional recording equipment.