Chapter Five: City of Shadows (Part 1 of 2)   1 comment

The psychic screaming in Sir Victor’s head grew louder as Deacon Nedeau drew closer with her terrible relic. Gritting his teeth, Victor maintained that he had no idea what she was talking about. When she pressed him, he admitted having studied with a Father Flavian in the Eskatonic Order, but confessed nothing further. Mollified, Nedeau pocketed her relic and withdrew. Victor breathed a sigh of relief, then checked in with Countess Adorna, confirming that she was a telepath like him.

Captain Manx set out to track down Utashki, the Ukar who seemed to have a similar interest in Manx’s son’s whereabouts. Inquiries in the undercity pointed toward the Arena, all abuzz in preparation for an upcoming gladiatorial tournament. Utashki had tracked his quarry to the grand melee, a brutal slaughter full of the dregs of Achaeon’s underclass, and had entered the tournament to find him. Figuring that his services as a Muster might be useful to someone who needed gladiators, Manx set off for the Arena to make himself useful.

Engineer Fannagus and his Hazat aide, Manuti Lesange, approached the power plant in the lowest levels of the city. Guards paced outside, armed irregularly and all wearing matching respirator masks styled like a lion’s muzzle. Fannagus bluffed his way past them (“problems with the trip-selector switch in T-18B”), but felt nervous at the lack of Engineer presence. His suspicions were confirmed when he came to a catwalk overlooking a reactor room and saw the Engineers herded together at gunpoint. Ferezio was among them – as was Master Hazuki Long, the senior Engineer who had dispatched Fannagus on the pilgrimage.

Sir Victor and Countess Adorna had a telepathic conversation while strolling through the gardens of the Li Halan enclave on Achaeon. Adorna described the cool formality of her strict family, while Victor shared his embarrassing failings at traditional noble pursuits. Neither had ever shared a telepathic bond of such duration or intensity and the two quickly became close. That newfound connection was endangered when Lady Maryam caught up with them and cheerily offered to accompany them to tea. But Adorna induced a “forgetting trance” on her, much to Victor’s delight, and the two psychics continued on their way.

Manx introduced himself to Lady Louise Abahr Howeitat, a lesser al-Malik noble with a functionary role in administering the games. She complained of her difficulty in finding an exotic weapons specialist to fight a captive Vorox she found. “Often, you’ll find experienced fighters slumming it in the melee, hoping for easy pickings,” Manx offered. “If I might peruse the roster …” Armed with a list of fighters, Manx descended into the fighters’ dormitories.

Fannagus plugged his think machine and the quantum core into the power plant’s data terminal, initiating an overload in one of the reactors. While the guards hustled some of the Engineer hostages off to deal with the crisis, Fannagus and Lesange overpowered the remaining guard and spirited Ferezio away. Fannagus sent Ferezio and the other Engineers off, trying to duck back inside to rescue Master Engineer Long. He found Long and one of the guards at a core terminal. Fannagus watched, separated from them by a pane of resistant glass, as the guard shoved Long out of the way and, over his protests, pulled a massive lever. Alarms sounded and warning gauges spiked red as nuclear coolant was vented, heralding a meltdown …

Posted November 21, 2011 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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  1. Pingback: Chapter Five: City of Shadows (Part 2 of 2) « Fading Suns: Road to Nowhere

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