Ep. 007: Gate Crashers 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: 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’re here to help *you* stay grounded in the City of Accidental Wonders.

A cool, relaxing evening breeze sweeps the City on the fourteenth of Flowerbirth, year Seven Hundred and Fifteen in the Forty-One Worlds. I’m glad for it, cohorts, because it’s been a hectic several weeks! I hardly know where to begin to bring you up to speed. So, I’ll just pick a place at random, and we’ll see how it all works out.

Once again, we’ve moved to a new studio-ish thing. But this time we did it on purpose, and not because of an incident combining a couple of small mana gems, a glitched guinea pig, and a squad from the Ministry of Order. [pause] Yeah, I’m still going to avoid any great detail on that. But you know, I gotta tell you, the pure volume one of those critters can produce – no. No, some other time. So anyway, our new studio is still not a room at the Palace; but we like the new digs, and hopefully it will be easier to keep to the broadcast schedule here. More secure, too: Slippery Adam’s installing new mana barriers using his latest designs, and we’ve got a few other enhancements planned. No enhancements to the broadcaster, though. You’re still going to be listening to plain old me for the time being.

We did have one *big* distraction, and I have to watch what I say about it, but here goes: Slippery Adam, Nikolen Weber, and I *got invited* to Mistress Messiér’s First of Flowerbirth event. We didn’t attend as staff, or as part of someone’s entourage; we got *actual invitations*. I may have mine framed. And it was a heck of a party, as they always are. If I were to name even one or two of the people I saw there, and say what they were up to, there’d be a price on my head by tomorrow morning. Since I’ve gotten pretty addicted to breathing over the years, I’ll keep all that to myself.

But still, none of us thought twice about attending. Smart folks don’t turn down an invitation from Mistress Messiér; and I’m that smart, at least. They say she knows everyone with any power or influence: Royals, Ministers, Cybercasters, Ambassadors, and plenty more you and I’ve never heard of! Last night’s guest list certainly confirmed that. They also say she’d be running the City if she could be bothered with it. But cohorts, guess what? It turns out that the Mistress wanted us for a private chat in her office. No! I mean an actual chat, not… like… okay, yeah, I was pretty wound up. She’s a striking figure; tall, red-haired, and compellingly handsome. I’d find it hard to guess her age, if I had the suicidal urge to do so. If you’ve met her, you know: Mistress Messiér comfortably commands any room she’s in. On the other hand, while I’m not bad-looking, I was at least eighty-two percent sure that her request had nothing to do with my looks. She proved me right; Mistress Messiér stood there wrapped in confidence (and an impressive party outfit), and said she’d heard of the little demon-hunting expedition we’re assembling. She found it fascinating. Would we mind if she joined us?

Cohorts, imagine Princess Swiftstorm inviting herself over some morning for breakfast cereal and chocolate vitamin beverage. I would have found that more surprising… but not very much. Now, we knew we were free to turn her down. We also knew we were free to regret that choice for a long time, so it was an easy decision. But I’ve got some courage, you know; I’ve faced down a crasher and lived. So I had the strength to look her in the eyes and ask her if there was any particular reason she wanted to come along.

Mistress Messiér moved to the side of the room and drew a black metal rod from a cabinet. It was studded with garnets and mana gems, and looked expensive as hell. Of course, damn near everything uses some size of mana gems these days. They’re in power sources, memory blocks, 3-D displays, enhanced optics – all over the place. But this artifact practically dripped with them. Really, it looked like something a Cybercaster would use to knock down a rogue office building. She contemplated the device and said, “You’re out to learn more about the crasher plague? So am I. I may even be willing to share with you what I learn, if you’ll return the favor.”

In that moment, I could sense clearly she was ready to face down demons or anything else that got in her way. Nikolen, Slippery Adam and I had no plans to get in her way and agreed swiftly to her request; the four of us spent a few minutes making preliminary arrangements, and then everyone returned to the party. Despite the ominous start to things, I had a very nice time at the party with some wonderful folks. And that’s about everything else I plan to say about the evening.

Not to change the subject, but of course, you can’t think the word “ominous” without thinking of our new lunar friend Nibiron. Now, you may have noticed we haven’t heard any aura forecasting from Virgil Kinson lately. Well, news got out of his contribution to the “Starhunter Seven” rescue, and *somebody* hired him. We don’t yet know who, and he hasn’t been around here for us to ask. Maybe he can’t find the new place. Anyway, our source says he’s been on a mission to that lurking red intruder: it seems somebody had a use for his special ether-viewing glitch.

We couldn’t get much from our source, but we got some bits of interest. The biggest thing Kinson found out for them: Nibiron isn’t there. I mean, of course it’s there; we can see it, the glowing orange lava dimly lights the City, and you can land on the darn thing. But it also isn’t there, which is how it can be in an impossibly low orbit around our planet and how it hasn’t affected our ocean tides even a bit.

Strange enough! Now, the next curious thing is that lava. It’s glowing, it’s orange, but it’s not lava; I mean, it’s not molten rock. It’s kind of a runny clay, cool and safe to handle with one’s bare hands. So what’s making it spew out of Nibiron like molten lava? No idea. Also, Kinson said it looked “wrong” when he viewed it his way. What did he mean? No idea there, either. The mission crew called it Nibirite, I guess because it gets old saying “orange glow-y runny clay”. There’s also an unclear reference from our source to “creamsicles”: I hope to hell Virgil had more sense than to taste the damn stuff. Whatever it is, the Aurametric League is desperate to get some to play with. Are you a glitcher with ether travel experience? Are you willing and able to visit a lonely satellite on a cold Monday evening? Get in touch!

Speaking of cold: High Minister Shaeffer just survived a vote of no confidence by the Council, and he’s not happy. He’s unhappy enough that several of the Ministers are lucky the votes are anonymous. I suspect someone finally got around to telling the Princess about the crashers, and that’s how the vote got called. For certain, Shaeffer has forced the Ministry of Order to increase crasher patrols. This is mostly happening north of the Portalblast scar – the old Portalblast I mean – but we hear Artema’s little demon hunter bands are taking up the slack in the City south of there. That’s good news for Managlitch citizens, bad news for crashers, and a trickier incursion for us. But our new influential demon chaser says we won’t need to worry about that. Inside info, perhaps? Personal influence, maybe? Don’t know, too relieved to care.

A couple more updates: the gazebo in Cat Sun Park is still demanding souls, and still unable to do anything about it… we think. Interestingly, someone accidentally discovered that if you leave cupcakes in the exact center of the gazebo and turn away for a bit, the cupcakes aren’t there any more and the gazebo stops making threats for a while. Only cupcakes will work; someone tried various flavors of frozen algae, but they just sat there softening in the sun. While I’m on the subject of mystery dessert: there was a fifteen-minute shower of candy sprinkles around the Managlitch Center for the Visual Arts back on Monday. While the shower was inconvenient, no serious damage occurred. Workers swept away the majority of the colorful sugary bits; however, an official voiced privately that he hoped rainy weather would soon get what they missed. I quote, “A glitched sugar spill is how you get glitched ants.” Terrifying thought. Wonder if the cupcakes and sprinkles are related.

All this talk of dessert reminds me that I skipped dinner tonight to move equipment, and it’s time to do something about that. You can bet 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, 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 Seven, “Gate Crashers”, 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.

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