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: with some special effort on our part, you are hearing 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 keep your aura clear in the City of Accidental Wonders.
Cohorts, we come to you today from a most unusual place: a small stateroom aboard the ethership Tomorrow’s News, making all haste in the general direction of the Jet Protectorate. No one at the Underground was on the original passenger manifest, but a few favors, a little influence, and we’re on board. Why are we on board? That’s a bit of a story.
Let me take you back a few days: Managlitch City is still buzzing over the attack on the Rune Portal opening ceremony. Troops in the armor of the legendary Disruptors terror organization literally sprang from the very ground, in an attempt to kill or kidnap Princess Swiftstorm. At the very moment that the assault seemed to be a success, she saved herself and all nearby by manifesting an unexpected energy beam from her body and detonating the newly-generated portal to Khedvar.
And when I say the City’s buzzing, I’m not exaggerating. The Ministry of Order had to evacuate several blocks around the Portal landing plaza, an area still vibrating with a hum like a swarm of angry insects. Council members publicly stated their faith in the Cybercasters’ ability to bring the area’s aura under control; I hope it won’t take long ‘cause you can’t find a better bagel than the ones at Lariman’s, and you can’t focus on breakfast when the cream cheese is humming.
Prime Cybercaster MacAllen hasn’t been seen for days, and for that matter neither has Princess Swiftstorm nor High Minister Sheaffer. Rumors are thicker than manapitch right now: is the Princess all right? Is she one of the Changed, like us? Did she or anyone know about it beforehand? No member of the City’s Royalty has ever shown signs of a glitch. There have been whispers over the centuries, but never any kind of proof before this unexpected and public display.
Now an alarming new situation makes the question more urgent. As I mentioned, we’re hurtling through tensorspace on an ethership, in the midst of the worst planar storm I’ve ever seen. I’ve previously mentioned our Underground aura forecaster: if Kinson’s personal glitch didn’t let him see through this mess, you wouldn’t even be hearing our transmission back in the City. And now we’re heading for who knows what, all because of an intercepted message. Listen to this!
CAPTAIN COOPER (distorted) “… all-channels distress call from ethership Starhunter Seven, six days out of the Jet Protectorate on a heading for Manapitch City. We have struck a twister mine! Hull damage is not serious, but our instruments are scrambled and our engines are disabled. We fear pirates or other hostiles in the area. Casualties are light, but we are a class-eight ethership with 500 passengers and crew and we need help. Please assist us! This is an all-channels distress call from ethership Starhunter Seven…”
GLENN 755: Five hundred people, cohorts! Weeks before the Rune Portals are back in order, and now we have an ethership disaster. Could this be the Disruptors again, or is this a leftover from some old conflict? I’m sure the ship’s scanners would have seen the twister mine if the planes weren’t so jumbled right now, and they’d either have avoided it or disabled it as a hazard.
That’s bad enough. But then Slippery Adam did some data-spinning, and got a look at a partial passenger list for Starhunter Seven: including, as it happens, the Royal Chiurgeon aboard on a priority ticket! Dame Cynthia Blue has been visiting the Jet Protectorate’s medical facilities, but it says here her entourage rushed aboard just before launch. Nobody official will say the Disruptor attack has anything to do with this; nobody I know thinks otherwise.
Cohorts, things haven’t always been easy in the City for those of us who’ve Changed. The Unchanged can be a little afraid of us; the Cybercasters like to pretend we don’t exist; and there have been times when the Ministry of Order treated us like target practice.
But Her Highness, Princess Swiftstorm the Second has always believed in all her citizens. She was vital in expanding programs to make sure that even the most disturbingly changed of us had a place to sleep and enough to eat, despite all the objections of the Council. Even those of us who don’t want what she offered have it easier in the City because of her efforts. So, thanks to a few more fiddled computer systems, we’re aboard with a private little glitcher rescue party to help fetch one Dame for one Princess.
Whatever happens, it won’t be long now. We’re nearing the best-guessed position of Starhunter Seven, and things ought to move quickly – what? Yes, pipe it through!
CAPTAIN COOPER (distorted) “… Starhunter Seven, under attack! Our assailants are unknown, and without instruments, our weapons are useless! You must be near our location by now, but we cannot detect you. Defense fields are holding for now, but time is running out. Please assist us! Tomorrow’s News, are you receiving?”
GLENN 755: Pitch, if space had typhoons, we’d be in the middle of one. The ether’s so crazed it’s taking Slippery Adam’s and Kinson’s best efforts to get this transmission back to you though momentary clear spots in the storm. Sometimes a glitch is a handy thing! With conditions like this, it’s amazing none of the Unchanged on this ship have developed a new one.
We can hear the shock of weapons detonations out there. Not aimed at us yet, or they’d be a lot louder. They may not see us yet in this horrible murk. All this chaos forces an almost conscious effort to keep one’s aura clear. But the detonations are louder. Tomorrow’s News is a class-eleven ethership, well-armed and prepared, but if we can’t even find them, we’ll be reporting failure to all you listening…
Wait: that’s it. Kinson, forget the transmission beam for a moment. I can hold it for a little while. You can see into the planes, though murk and aura storm, better than anyone else! Don’t worry about the city: find Starhunter Seven! Yes… yes… focus… that’s it… you know what a class-8 looks like, we’ve all seen them… Cohorts, cross your fingers, throw salt, whatever: this may be the only change to save Her Highness…
Yes! Yes! Slippery Adam, can you turn that fix into standard coordinates? Spin them into the Starhunter’s transmission datastream, make them think it’s from them. Last thing the Underground needs is a lot of explanations right now. Okay… our ship is moving, I can hear the engine noises changing… the explosions are getting louder… our guns are firing at something!
Something very loud has exploded outside! We could feel that one in the deckplates. Now, the battle noises have stopped, cohorts. I think Tomorrow’s News has driven the attackers away. Even through the murk outside the ports, I can see a large shape, it’s got to be Starhunter Seven. Oh – what’s that? Yes, hang on…
CAPTAIN COOPER (distorted) “… don’t know how you found us in all this garbage, but you weren’t a minute too soon. We’re damn glad to see you. If we can compare settings and with your help recalibrate our instruments and restart our engines, we can get these people safely to Manapitch City by tomorrow morning. Thanks again, boys.”
GLENN 755: Yes! We did it! The ethership’s safe!
Cohorts, I know you all were behind us on this crazy venture. Unless we want to lose the progress we’ve made as proud citizens of Managlitch City, we’ve got to support Princess Swiftstorm. And if her life really is in danger, the Royal Chiurgeon knows her needs better than anyone else. This could end up being vital to all of us.
It’s asking a lot to believe the attacks on the rune portals and on this ethership are coincidence, especially given Dame Blue’s presence. No doubt we’ll soon know more than we’d like, and you can bet we glitchers will be hip deep in the dirty work.
And oh yes, The Current Weird: just before we left the City, a gentle rainshower started in our ship’s portside aft cargo bay. Crew members report standing in the rain to be both relaxing and invigorating, and the captain is sending small off-duty groups there for brief periods as a stress reliever. Slippery Adam and Kinson and I are going to try to sneak down there ourselves later. We could use the break – Kinson especially.
Time to shut down for now. Of course, we’ll be back 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 cohorts, 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 Her Highness Swiftstorm the Second. Captain Cooper was portrayed by Jerry Conner. Our theme music is “Crime of the Century” by Consortium 499, on the web at reverbnation.com/consortium499. All other content is copyright ©2015, Glitch City Media. Visit our website at managlitch.com for more information about the City and links to our podcast archives.