Friday, January 18, 2008

In The Dark, Part Three: The Process of Discovery

I stood before the pile of explosives, shocked, appalled - and thinking.

The city of the deeps, Città del Profondità, is protected from the terrible pressures outside by a gigantic, miles-wide dome, as any citizen knows. The dome is, in fact, double-layered, with the greater part of the structural support on the outer layer, and the reflective shielding and lights on the inner part, with a small, bulkhead-separated space in-between. If the outer wall, by some vast catastrophe, were to give way, the inner wall and bulkheads would (in theory) hold it for long enough for evacuation to take place. The inner space, where I now stood, was painted and ornamented where it formed part of the main exits (used for trade, fishing, and travel), and elsewhere locked and plain. Those parts were scarce-used, frequented only by maintenance workers, smugglers, and vagrants who managed to pick the locks. Those latter groups were largely thought poorly of by the law, and cracked down upon often. Certainly anyone seen loitering in such a place would be attract the attention of residents, and the law would follow soon after.

Yet, here before me were enough explosives to blow a hole in both parts of the dome at once, flooding the city instantly. Everyone would die, save perhaps for the very fast and very lucky on the other side of the city, if they reacted in time.

There were a lot of questions here. Who would want to blow up the city? Why hadn't the law come down on the thugs while they loaded the explosives here, and why had Jacko come to me, not them, for that matter? But the question that occupied my mind as I traversed the inner airlock to re-enter the city was one readily answered: what did the thugs know about their deadly task? I turned past the corpses littering the wall to question my captive.

He was gone.

Hmm. This was a problem.

From the looks of it, someone had dragged him to a street-trolley and taken him away, depriving me of my only source.

What did I know? Someone was trying to blow up the city. That someone seemingly had cooperation from the local law, judging from the utter lack of response from that party. They also had more resources than the thugs, judging from the quantity of explosives (how did those get into the city, anyway?) and were ready to respond quickly when I waltzed in and killed their men. I was willing to guess that it was the work of foreign spies; extremely worrying that they'd gotten so far before I found the explosives.

On a hunch, I checked the bodies again. Their purses were filled with coins: a few of mixed vintage, from the Tyrant's mint or the Franks', but the vast majority of them were from the Councilman Adrianus's own mint.

Most suspicious, indeed.

I had my own plans for further investigation; but the first thing to do was to walk to the local deli. I was hungry, and, in addition to their sandwiches, they possessed a telephone. It was about time for me to tell the Tyrant what was going on.

Author's Note: As usual, I underestimated how long this would take to write; it's the first half of what was originally going to be one post. Some exciting stuff is going on. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

King Kessler said...

This continues to be awesome!