Protocols: Volume Five
Written by Lawrence Miles
Directed by Nigel Fairs
Post Production and Music by Nigel Fairs

Suzanne Proctor (Cousin Justine), Ellis Pike (Godfather Morlock), Keith Drinkel (Godfather Sabbath), Kate Dyson (Demetra Kein), Linda Bartram (Shuncuker), Matt Kelly (First Ordinary Selvynkesh), Chris Manville (Second Ordinary Keeble), Emma Kibley (Fiora), Nigel Fairs (Reverend).



Era - Posthuman historical.
Technology - Variable, occasionally time-active.

The demise of Earth was followed by a period in which there was, effectively, no such thing as the human species; a period in which humanity suddenly found itself released from its heritage, with genetic manipulation and vast tracts of space separating the survivors from everything they’d once been.

Many “posthuman” societies inevitably became glorious, grotesque Princedoms, and none more so than those of the Blood Coteries, who -- like the Medici and Borgia families of antiquity -- commissioned the greatest art and culture of their age even as they conducted unimaginable vendettas and poisoned their potential rivals...

  • This is the fifth story in BBV’s Faction Paradox audio series.
  • Released: December 2003
(drn: 63'28")

Cousin Justine has been sentenced to perpetual imprisonment on the Homeworld’s prison planet, where First Ordinary Selvynkesh and Second Ordinary Veeble intern her in a stasis capsule. The biodata tattoo on her arm links her to a timeframe in which she will relive a moment from her past over and over again. In theory, it’s impossible for her to escape unless there is a catastrophic security failure. Some time later, there is a catastrophic security failure; Demetra Kein of the Blood Coteries gets out of her capsule, and immediately begins to release some of her fellow prisoners. Selvynkesh is taken captive, but Veeble flees into the depths of the prison. Learning that Kein is searching for the Cousin who carries the shadow of Grandfather Paradox, Veeble goes to the nearest Faction prisoner and releases her, hoping that she’ll help him to escape. However, he’s released Kresta Ve Coglana Shuncucker, last scion of the Faction homeworld, and her standard means of dealing with other people is to kill them. Fortunately for Veeble, she’s still disorientated enough not to just kill him outright, and he is able to explain the situation to her; however, instead of trying to escape, Shuncucker insists upon tracking down this Kein person and killing her.

Kein briefs her fellow prisoners on their situation, and reveals that to ensure their co-operation, her seguaché, Mandeema, has modified their biodata tattoos so that Kein can cause them pain if they step out of line. As the prisoners prepare to defend themselves against an imminent assault by the House Military, Kein questions Selvynkesh, who admits that he released her in order to create chaos on the prison world, embarrass the ruling Houses, and make his own dying bloodline, House Ixion, look better in comparison. He admits that it was not a well-thought-out plan. Kein, however, does not intend to take advantage of his political ambitions to escape -- at least, not without the Cousin who carries the shadow of Grandfather Paradox, as she intends to take the Cousin back to Siloportem with her to face the justice of the Blood Coteries. Mandeema inks a biodata tattoo into Selvynkesh to keep him under control, and as Selvynkesh leads her and Kein to the casket in question, he comes to realise that Kein is strangely prepared for this breakout, as if she’s expected something like this to happen all along.

As Veeble leads Shuncucker to Cousin Justine’s cabinet, he discovers that Shuncucker has the ability to drop her shadow weapon and grow a new one whenever she gets bored with the old one. Unimpressed by her first sight of Justine, Shuncucker knocks on the outside of the cabinet, loudly telling Justine that they’ve come to wake her up because she’s important. Selvynkesh and Mandeema then arrive with Kein’s fellow inmates, and Shuncucker attacks them, delighted to have a good fight at last. In the course of the fighting, Mandeema throws a strata grenade that blows a hole through the structure of space-time, dropping Shuncucker and Veeble into the prison world’s historical infrastructure. When Shuncucker learns that the prisoners’ belongings are stored here, she orders Veeble to take her to the storage room so she can reclaim her suit of armour.

Meanwhile, Justine is reliving a significant day in her life, back in Victorian times when she was an ordinary girl named Justine McManus. She and her cousin, Emma James, have left church to visit Emma’s Aunt Fiora, whom it’s rumoured has been seeing a local man named Faraday. On their way past Geddis Fields, they encounter a party of hunters dressed in armour made of bone, and the lead hunter, Godfather Sabbath, brusquely asks the girls whether there are any strange or unusual women in the vicinity. Fiora fits this description; she is a rather eccentric widow whose late husband, Tuluku, came from an island in the Pacific Ocean. However, Justine and Emma are unnerved by the hunters, and say nothing about her. The hunters ride off, but stop some short distance away, as if watching the girls. Justine begins to feel odd, and Emma grows worried when her cousin begins to babble about being in her own coffin. Justine claims to see a beautiful face looking down at her, telling her that she’s going to be woken up because she’s important. In fact, though Justine has no way of knowing it, this is Shuncucker hammering on her stasis capsule; somehow, Justine can sense that her future is overlapping her past. Worried, Emma takes the somewhat distracted Justine to Fiora’s cottage, and the kindly middle-aged woman lets them in and speaks of her late husband, Tuluku, while preparing tea. Tuluku taught Fiora about totem animals, but when she tries to read Justine for a lark, she gets the unnerving sense that Justine’s totem animal has not yet been born. Justine collapses as if having a seizure, and, sensing that her future and past are overlapping, she orders herself to wake up. Outside, Sabbath and his second, Godfather Morlock, approach the cottage, having sensed a temporal disturbance in the vicinity and suspecting that Sabbath may have found his target...

In the prison, Kein is surprised when Shuncucker and Mandeema bring Justine to her, as this wasn’t the woman Kein was expecting. However, the House Military is apparently on its way, and Kein thus sends Selvynkesh and Mandeema to the outrigger platform with Justine’s casket, telling Selvynkesh to open an escape channel out through history. Selvynkesh warns her that the only channel away from the prison leads directly back to the Homeworld, but realises that she has apparently planned for this as well. He also realises that she freed the other prisoners just to create a distraction; Kein intends to escape while the others are fighting the House Military. As requested, he opens up the time channel, but as he does so, Justine’s casket begins to crack open...

Down in the labyrinths, Shuncucker is armed, fully encased in her Faction battle armour, and ready to face whatever may come her way -- or so she claims. Veeble isn’t so sure; there’s a secure data store in the labyrinths, and it’s said to be protected. Indeed, a figure is approaching them as they speak -- but when it emerges from the shadows, it is revealed to be Cousin Justine, who has escaped from her capsule...

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • Godfather Sabbath is not the same man who went by the name of Sabbath in the previous audios. If the Victorian-era Fiora is his grandmother, the Godfather was presumably born in the late 19th or early 20th century, as opposed to the Service Sabbath, who was alive in the mid-18th. We have yet to learn what connection there is between the two characters, if any.
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