Of the City of the Saved...
by Philip Purser-Hallard
mad norwegian press
Of the City of the Saved...

For Humanity, the War is over...

We all remember Resurrection Day. Even now, three centuries later, we cannot forget that awakening: our bewilderment, our terror and our joy. Each of us had experienced death, imagining ourselves bound for oblivion, Heaven or Nirvana, according to taste. Instead, we found, each member of the many human species -- from tool-wielding australopithecines to posthuman philosopher-gods -- had been harvested, gathered here by the Founders’ unfathomable technologies.

Reborn in our countless immortal bodies, we were given the freedom of the City of the Saved. A single conurbation as broad as a spiral galaxy, she has been our sanctuary from the ravages of the War. That monstrous conflict between inhuman cultures cannot touch us here: we live our afterlives beyond the end of time, in perfect safety.

We may be certain, therefore, that these rumours of a murder (the brutal stabbing of a City Councillor, no less!) are nothing more than lurid fabrications. The supposition that the murder weapon is missing, or that it could have been -- as hysterical conjecture has claimed -- a “potent weapon,” capable of injuring a Citizen within the haven of the City, is equally absurd. The idea that a guerrilla war has already begun in one of our less harmonious enclaves need not be dignified with refutation.

Please go about your business, Citizens, as normal. We are perfectly safe, here in the City. Humanity has never been safer.

  • Featuring former Doctor Who companion Compassion, this is a stand-alone novel that takes place in the Faction Paradox Universe.
  • Released: April 2004

  • ISBN: 0 9725959 5 3 (Paperback); 0 9725959 6 1 (Hardcover)

This story takes place in the City of the Saved, a gigantic metropolis the size of a spiral galaxy, located between the end of this Universe and the beginning of the next, and inhabited by every single human being who has ever lived, resurrected after death in an immortal and invulnerable body. The identity of the City’s “Secret Architects” remains a mystery, but many believe that the City itself is a goddess, whom they worship under the name of Civitata. Only human beings have been resurrected in the City; those who are only partly human are treated as second-class citizens, “collaterals,” and forbidden to hold public office. In addition, whenever history is rewritten -- usually as a result of the War between the Great Houses and their enemy -- the City’s history is retroactively rewritten with it to include any new human beings, or versions thereof, brought into existence by the change. As a result, the population of the City is much, much larger than anyone outside suspects.

Laura Tobin, the original Remote colonist whose later “remembered” iteration became the timeship Compassion, now works in the City as a private eye based out of the seedy Paynesdown District. She is hired by the mysterious Godfather Avatar of Faction Paradox’s Rump Parliament to investigate the murder of City Councillor Ved Mostyn, which should be an impossibility, since Citizens cannot be harmed within the City. She suspects at first that the Faction is playing mind games to get her back under their thrall; rumour has it that Avatar himself doesn’t exist, but is a fictional personality put on by various members of the Rump Parliament as and when required. Nevertheless, she accepts the assignment, and goes undercover as the new researcher and personal assistant to Councillor Mesh Cos, the last human being in recorded history.

Mesh Cos’ former assistant, a Neanderthal named Julian White Mammoth Tusk, has been searching desperately for his missing lover, Mesh Cos’ daughter Lon Shel, and has even hired the Great Detective Agency, an agency staffed entirely by remakes of Sherlock Holmes generated from the City’s remembrance tanks. When Julian arrives for work, Mesh Cos reveals that she knows he has played on her reputation in order to hire the Great Detectives. However, this is not why she’s firing him; she has another assignment, related to Ved Mostyn’s murder. Shocked to learn that a Citizen has been killed, Julian accepts his assignment and finds himself sent into RealSpace -- a simulated vacuum environment within the City, 50 light-years across and 200 deep -- to transport a certain object to the legendary Lost Planet of Erath.

Councillor Lucius Cassius Ignotus, one of the most powerful people in the Romuline District, sends his great-grandson, the City-born Urbanus Ignotus, to Kempes District to investigate rumours of an important business development. Urbanus is to be accompanied by a slave, and he is delighted when that slave turns out to be his old tutor, a hermaphrodite named Tiresias. On the journey to Kempes, Urbanus comes to realise that the City is much larger and more varied than he’d ever imagined, and that, contrary to Lucius Cassius’ personal beliefs, the Romuline District is not the centre of it all. Tiresias continues Urbanus’ education by stopping in Memorial Park, which commemorates those killed in the Timebeast Assault; Urbanus has only heard of it through reputation, but few who were alive at the time have forgotten or forgiven this attack. It occurs to Urbanus to wonder why Tiresias seems so content to be a slave in the Romuline District -- but he does not ask, and remains unaware that Tiresias in fact drugged the collateral slave Dedalus, who was supposed to be Urbanus’ escort, and took his place for reasons of his own.

Security at Council House is complacent at best, and Laura easily hacks into the CHAS mainframe to learn about Ved Mostyn. It seems that the late Councillor was known for his sexual deviance; it’s possible that he somehow got his hands on a “potent weapon” and had himself killed just for the thrill of it. However, Laura also learns that Mesh Cos herself had access to the crime scene, as she is regarded with some awe and the security forces didn’t think to question her presence. Mostyn had been managing Councillor Alisheer St Marx’s Mayoral campaign, and his proclivities were causing her some political embarrassment. Laura tries to set up an appointment with St Marx, but the Councillor is too busy arranging a reception for a visiting non-human academic, Handramit, to see her; Laura therefore decides to crash the reception. In the meantime, she attends a few meetings to maintain her cover as Mesh Cos’ assistant, and in the process, learns more about the question of Manfold.

The Manfolk, an offshoot of the human race presumably created by the War-time powers for unknown reasons, have always denied their human heritage and have cut themselves off from the rest of the City. This has changed in recent years, as more moderate elements in Manfold have gradually gained power over its seat of government, the Manthing. Kyte Jamute, a female Manfolk, is petitioning the Council to reinstate it as a District, but Ignotus claims to despise the Manfolk as an abomination and has accused them of being Houseworld agents planted within the City to render it vulnerable to the Great Houses. Mesh Cos suspects that Ignotus is playing up his own prejudices for political reasons, and is open to granting the Manfolk full status as Citizens again, particularly since the female and elderly Manfolk have now grown in prominence in Manfold -- a situation that is only possible because the protocols of the City prevent the young male Manfolk from imposing their will through violence, as they normally did in life. Unfortunately, events are soon to overtake them, as a wavefront is spreading through the City, altering its protocols. Its epicentre is no longer a part of the City, and any weapons taken out of that epicentre remain potent, capable of harming Citizens...

St Marx meets Handramit at the Uptime Gate; his appearance has changed, but she still recognises him. Likewise, he easily senses that something is troubling her, and she admits that she and Ved Mostyn shared secrets which, if revealed, could cost her everything. Elsewhere in the City, a Tube train containing a shipment of automated robot soldiers is hijacked by a Manfolk agent wielding a potent weapon; however, the hijack goes wrong when one of the robots comes to life and uncouples the carriages from the engine, leaving the furious Manfolk to continue on his way while the lost carriages are swept up by a gigantic ship with a double-zero emblem on its side.

Once Urbanus and Tiresias have settled down in a boarding house in Kempes District, Urbanus goes out to investigate rumours of “undesirable” Citizens gathering on the border between Kempes and Manfold. At a pub on the border, he witnesses a fight between a Viking and a collateral named Skray that ends when Skray actually kills the Viking. Urbanus flees in shock, but eventually comes to his senses and concludes that the Viking must have been a fully realistic, vulnerable homunculi. He sends a detailed report back to his great-grandfather and returns to the boarding house, only to learn that Tiresias has gone to Manfold, leaving a polite note advising Urbanus not to follow him. In fact, Tiresias -- whose real name is Keth Marrane -- is a spy who has been keeping tabs on the Romans for Kyte Jamute. He also possesses a talent for precognition, and he’s returned home due to a feeling that things in Manfold are changing for the worse.

Laura returns to her quarters to find Godfather Avatar waiting for a progress report. She informs him that “Ved Mostyn” didn’t actually exist in the real Universe; the name refers to a satirical figure from his society’s commedia dell’arte. She has thus concluded that Mostyn was not a real Citizen, but a Houseworld agent who reconfigured his biodata to pass for human, infiltrated the City Council to sabotage St Marx’s progressive agenda, and was killed by St Marx when she learned the truth. However, Avatar reveals that, although Mostyn was indeed planted on the Council to keep St Marx under control, he was in fact a human working for the Rump Parliament. Laura kicks Avatar out of the apartment, furious with him for keeping this information from her, but before she can drop the case and leave, she receives a call from one of her later remembered selves, Compassion III. Compassion III believes that she’s being stalked by men with guns, and Laura reluctantly agrees to investigate.

Urbanus follows Tiresias into Manfold, seeking an explanation for his tutor’s odd behaviour -- but he is captured by Manfolk at the Tube station, where he sees them shoot another of their kind dead for trying to smuggle out two Citizens, Peter and Kathka. Urbanus begins to feel pain when the Manfolk shove him around, and finally realises that he’s witnessing the breakdown of the City’s invulnerability protocols. The Manfolk lock up Peter and Kathka, while Urbanus is questioned by Gnas Gortine, the leader of the faction that controls the Epicentre. Gortine, a remake of a traditional trickster figure from Manfolk legend, discusses the City and its beliefs with Urbanus for a while and then locks him up with the other two hostages. However, one of Gortine’s followers, Priske, turns out to be a double agent who opens up the Tube arch and lets in a rescue team led by Professor Melissa Clutterbuck, a comparative anthropologist with combat experience. Clutterbuck leads a squad of Citizens and City-loyal Manfolk into Gortine’s compound to rescue the prisoners, and they flee to safety, although some of the rescuers are killed in the fighting.

Julian White Mammoth Tusk arrives at the Lost Planet of Erath, a planet hidden away in the depths of RealSpace and populated entirely by various sentient robots. There, a robot butler escorts Julian to a meeting with the Universal Machine, a conceptual artefact that embodies all of human technology in a single sentient mind. The “UniMac” is the pinnacle of human achievement -- and it’s one of the City’s two Secret Architects. The last generation of the last posthuman civilisation, foreseeing that the Great Houses would one day wipe them out and bring all of human history to an end, decided to make the Universal Machine in order to make a lasting mark on the Universe. Mesh Cos raided the Houseworld itself for the technology they needed to finish their work, attracting the attention of House Mirraflex and triggering the attack that ended humanity. Alone in the ruins, the Universal Machine honed its abilities on its own, and eventually became capable of reaching through Time to commune with other forms of machine life. Eventually, it found a mind even more powerful than its own, and together, they created the City of the Saved, where the human race could be remembered and achieve its full potential.

Even as Julian is reeling from these revelations, UniMac reveals that some Citizens don’t appreciate the lack of conflict and struggle within the City, and that it has therefore opened up a Downtime Gate and allowed disenchanted Citizens to start a colony in the Next Universe. One of those colonists recently returned, and UniMac discovered too late that she had been possessed by an alien force that has now corrupted the operating system of the City itself. Since the City is so incomprehensibly large, UniMac was unable to locate the exact source of the disturbance, but now Mesh Cos has sent Julian with the dagger that killed Ved Mostyn, and once UniMac analyses it, it is able to pinpoint the moment it ceased to be human technology -- and locate the source of the disturbances, which is within Manfold. Julian finally realises that the colonist in question is Lon Shel, which is why he hasn’t been able to track her down within the City. UniMac prepares to send the army of automata it “rescued” from the Manfolk hijacker to Lon Shel’s rescue in its ship, the Zeronaut, while Julian struggles with his first real ethical dilemma. All he’s ever known is the safety and security of the City; can he give all of that up and even risk his life for the sake of the woman he loves?

In the Epicentre, Cousin Porsena of the Rump Parliament has been killed and resurrected repeatedly, while being tortured by his Manfolk captors and a disturbingly familiar figure who seems to have a personal grudge against him. Despite his delirium, he manages to pull himself together for long enough to cast a shadow ritual and transfer his consciousness into the body of one of his captors. After knocking out his other captors and freeing himself, he starts looking for a way out, but the architecture of the building twists about in a confusing manner, and he is soon lost. In his wanderings, he finds a factory floor on which the dead are being brutally reassembled by machine in a twisted parody of the City’s Resurrection protocols. He also finds Lon Shel, who has been chained up and tortured in another nearby room. He is unable to pick the locks of her chains, but, impressed by her self-control and clear-headedness, promises to send help for her once he gets out. Sadly, he fails to do so; just as he gets within sight of the exit, his mysterious nemesis suddenly appears as if from out of thin air and kills him once again.

Laura is confronted by two armed men in the CoHo Tube station, and when a bystander happens into the station, one of the men shoots him in the head, killing him. Fortunately, a young man with spiky black hair happens by as well, distracting Tobin’s attackers long enough for her to get the drop on them and flee, wounding one and killing the other. She goes to Mesh Cos, who reveals that she’s always known Laura’s true identity and agenda. By now, Tobin has worked out that someone planted a potent weapon in Ved Mostyn’s boudoir, and that his lover -- possibly St Marx, who was for some reason having an affair with the boorish Mostyn -- accidentally killed him in a game gone wrong. She also knows that Mesh Cos entered the murder scene without being challenged, and Mesh Cos admits that this is the case and gives Laura a Manfolk dagger which may help her investigation.

Meanwhile, the young man who saved Laura’s life in the Tube station is trying to pull himself together. He is in fact Little Brother Edward of the Rump Parliament, a remake of a famous lover in the form of an actor who had portrayed him, created as the plaything of a bored rich socialite. When he learned the truth of his origins, he suffered an identity crisis, and took revenge on his mistress by returning to History and arranging for her parents to split up before her conception. When he returned to the City, he discovered that his mistress was still alive, although confused that her parents no longer seemed to know her. He was then contacted and enlisted into the Rump Parliament, where his fragile sense of self made him the perfect host for the loa of Godfather Avatar...

While waiting for her earlier self to show up, Compassion III is confronted by the two thugs who have been stalking her. Fortunately, they’ve been in Teletopia for so long that they’ve fallen victim to the unshielded signals and are unconsciously conforming to the media stereotype of comic hench-goons. She is thus able to bluff them into believing that she is the timeship Compassion, and while they hesitate, she grabs one of their guns, shoots the other and flees. However, she can’t help but notice that the man she shot is bleeding and in terrible pain. Realising that she’s in serious trouble, she heads to Warner Village and contacts Chad Vandemeer, otherwise known as Cousin Berle, and offers to defect to the Rump Parliament.

Meanwhile, the wavefront continues to spread out into the City, corrupting and changing more of her structure as it goes. The Districts bordering Manfold are beginning to discover that they have the ability to impose their will on their weaker neighbours, and Romuline troops are moving in to take advantage of the situation. Dedalus, the collateral slave who was supposed to accompany Tiresias to Kempes, has been punished for his failure by being reassigned to shovel out the troops’ latrine trenches in Kempes -- and when one of his fellow slaves is accidentally killed by a wild boar from a Kempes zoo, Dedalus is accused of the murder and taken back to the Romuline District to fight in the arena. Collaterals, already considered second-class citizens, are clearly not going to do well in the new order.

Unable to contact St Marx personally, Laura approaches her husband, Professor Anthony Fisher of Aelfred College. Fisher has been writing a paper on the political history of the City, specifically on its reaction to the Timebeast Assault; decades of shock are giving way to more extreme politics, both reactionary and progressive, and the City is now at a crossroads. St Marx -- who, among other things, administrates the student exchange program with Manfold through Professor Clutterbuck -- has been spending more and more time at Council House, and Fisher fears that the pressure is beginning to get to her. However, he is horrified when Laura accuses him of using his wife’s contacts in Manfold to acquire a potent dagger and place it in Mostyn’s apartments in order to trick his wife into killing her lover. It turns out that Fisher had no idea his wife was having an affair. Embarrassed, Laura convinces the shaken Fisher to add her to the guest list for the reception so she can speak to St Marx in person and clear this matter up. Fisher attends the reception, which is being held at View Point, an observation deck on the 93-million-mile-high Watchtower at the heart of the City. St Marx realises from her husband’s reactions that he knows the truth about her, which can only mean that secrets are coming out that will destroy them both.

Professor Clutterbuck and her entourage return to Manfold College, where she arranges for Peter and Kathka to be sent home to safety. Urbanus refuses to leave without Tiresias, and Clutterbuck sadly informs him that his former tutor was killed while rescuing the hostages. The shaken Urbanus questions her further, and learns that the invulnerability protocols began breaking down in Manfold some time ago, resulting at first in a wave of gender changes and pregnancies, formerly impossible within the City due to the violent nature of the Manfolk reproductive cycle. The Gortines moved in and seized control of the Epicentre, where it’s said that the dead are resurrected again, and they have since seized control of the Manthing. Realising that Clutterbuck intends to investigate the rumours about the Epicentre, and still wishing to rescue Tiresias, Urbanus insists upon being allowed to accompany her.

Godfather Avatar contacts Laura at Council House for a progress report, but he flinches when she shows him the potent gun she took from her assailant in the Tube station. Realising that he recognises it, she tries to force him to remove his mask and reveal his true identity, but he takes the gun from her grasp and points out that, even if he is currently inhabiting the body of Little Brother Edward, he remains a loa who is not to be trifled with. However, he is then shot in the back and killed by Laura’s assailants, who have returned with reinforcements. Before they can kill Laura, they are themselves shot and killed by Romuline troops armed with potent weapons and commanded by Cassius Ignotus. Though she generally doesn’t follow politics, Laura does note something odd about Ignotus marching armed troops into the seat of government; however, Ignotus claims that he’s taking preventative measures to protect the City, as he claims to believe that the Manfolk are Houseworld agents armed with potent weapons of their own. Already, his troops have sealed the Uptime Gate, and Cassius intends to propose further security measures to keep the City’s collaterals on a much tighter leash.

Ignotus insists upon accompanying Laura to View Point, where he and his troops cause a stir when they enter the reception and take Handramit into custody, intending to expel him from the City. St Marx protests to no avail, for Laura has guessed her secret. Now that she knows Mostyn was an agent of the Rump Parliament sent to sabotage St Marx’s progressive politics from within, she understands that he must have seduced her using a fascination ritual to manipulate her biodata. In so doing, he must have learned something that she’s willing to kill to keep a secret. St Marx is forced to admit that Handramit is in fact her father; she’s only half human, and half of the Houseworld, which means that she’s ineligible even to vote, let alone hold a position on the City Council. She hid the murder weapon in Mostyn’s rooms after his death in order to make his death seem like an accident, but since Mesh Cos removed the dagger from the scene in order to investigate its origins, Laura’s investigation went off in an entirely different direction. Now, Ignotus takes it upon himself to accuse St Marx of smuggling potent weapons into Manfold on behalf of the Homeworld in order to overthrow the City -- and while he’s at it, he also arrests her husband, who is not “Anthony Fisher” at all but the Emperor Claudius. Claudius realises that Ignotus has known his true identity for some time, and was waiting for the most politically opportune moment to make his move -- and now that he’s publicly unmasked an alleged Houseworld spy, he’ll be seen as a hero by most of the Citizens.

Clutterbuck and her team break into an abandoned warehouse at the Epicentre to find that it’s been put to use as a torture chamber for the newly resurrected. Fortunately, the Manfolk are caught off guard by their attack, and Clutterbuck’s team rescues the victimised resurrected -- including Keth Marrane, who’s forced to admit to Urbanus that he was acting as a spy for Kyte Jamute’s family all the time he was in the Romuline District. As the party tries to retreat, Marrane has a premonition that rescue will be coming from the docks, which are, unfortunately, on the other side of the factory. Clutterbuck’s team tries to fight their way through the now alert Manfolk, and Urbanus, caught in the midst of dangerous and harmful combat for the first time in his life, is surprised by how exhilarating it is. Nevertheless, he and his allies are outnumbered -- but just as it seems that all hope is lost, the Zeronaut arrives, and UniMac’s automaton army rushes to the rescue.

Cousin Porsena, now revealed to be the man who went by the name of Ved Mostyn, has retreated into memories of the past rather than face the agonising process of resurrection in the Epicentre. In so doing, he recalls the name of the figure who has been torturing him: Cousin Antipathy, a violent and brutal recruit into Faction Paradox who blames Porsena for inadvertently revealing that he’d been conducting business with the Great Houses’ enemy behind the Faction’s backs. Porsena is then yanked back into reality by Godfather Avatar, who ended up in the Epicentre when Little Brother Edward was killed at Council House. Since Porsena has history with Antipathy, Avatar needs to confront him in Porsena’s body; however, Porsena only agrees to act as Avatar’s host if Edward rescues Lon Shel. Avatar agrees to his terms, and after passing into Porsena’s body, he gives Edward a shadow weapon and field promotion to full Cousin, and sends him to rescue Lon Shel.

Laura is angered that Ignotus has taken advantage of her investigation for his own political purposes, but before she can storm off in a snit, Ignotus receives a message from the high priestess of Civitata stating that the goddess of the City wishes to speak directly to Laura. It’s the first time the spirit of the City has ever spoken, and Laura reluctantly visits the temple of Civitata as requested -- and once she sees the statue of the goddess in the inner sanctum, she recognises it as herself and thus learns the truth about the City of the Saved. The City itself is the second of the Secret Architects -- the living timeship, Compassion V.

The Gortines are threatening dire consequences unless Manfold is excised from the City, and the frightened Council agrees to let Ignotus deal with the situation. When Kyte Jamute tries to return to Manfold, she finds the way barred by cybernetic soldiers in Ignotus’ employ, with orders not to let anyone in or out. However, they’re unable to prevent the Zeronaut from entering Manfold airspace to rescue Clutterbuck and her team -- and, less fortunately, they’ve acted too late to prevent Gnas Gortine from leaving Manfold in a Tube chain filled with enough potent annihilation bombs to destroy an entire City District. At first, Gnas had intended to crash the chain into the base of the Watchtower, causing the entire 93-million-mile-high structure to collapse... but his earlier chat with Urbanus has now given him a better idea. Instead of demolishing the Watchtower, he pilots the chain to Memorial Park, and the annihilation bombs wipe out all trace of the Timebeast Memorial.

Julian has accompanied the Zeronaut to Manfold, where he watches from safety as the automatons storm the Epicentre. Frustrated, and fearing for Lon Shel’s life, he finally realises that he has to enter the battle himself to rescue the woman he loves. UniMac provides him with a non-sentient suit of armour, and Julian enters the fray. His suit is damaged beyond repair in the fighting, but he survives inside -- and Lon Shel has already been freed by Little Brother Edward, whose shadow weapon easily frightens the superstitious Manfolk. When they meet Julian, they are able to follow the footprints left by his suit of armour and thus escape from the twisted, confusing architecture of the Epicentre. Once all of the Manfolk’s former prisoners are aboard, the Zeronaut launches, taking them to safety -- but on the way, they receive word of the attack on Memorial Park, and Urbanus realises from the Citizens’ appalled reactions that he made a terrible mistake in talking Gnas out attacking the Watchtower. The Timebeast Assault was the most devastating event in the City’s history, and the memorial was a powerful symbol of the City’s ability to survive anything that was thrown at her. Its destruction is the single most insulting gesture the Manfolk could possibly have made. All of St Marx’s, Mesh Cos’ and Kyte Jamute’s attempts to reconcile Manfold with the City have come to nothing, as the other Citizens will never forgive the Manfolk for what Gortine has done.

Godfather Avatar finds his way to the rotting, corrupt heart of the Epicentre, where he finds Cousin Antipathy standing in a fetid chamber similar to the console room of a Houseworld timeship. Antipathy is himself a timeship; he is Compassion’s first son, and he has never forgiven her for giving birth to him and turning him over to the cruel warlords of the Houseworld. His desire to remain with his mother has twisted into a bitter Oedipal complex; part of him wants to destroy his mother, and part of him wants desperately to be accepted by her. All of his attempts to break into his mother’s body once he discovered her Uptime Gate have come to nothing, but he eventually came up with a more cunning plan. First, he created the Manfolk, a twisted version of humanity whose brutal life cycle mirrors his own insanity; since they were still human, they would end up in the City once killed, thus planting a part of Antipathy within the City. Then, Antipathy slipped between Universes just as his mother had, and when the Citizens opened up their Downtime Gate, they opened it not into the Next Universe, but into Antipathy’s timeship body...

Meanwhile, Compassion/Civitata is explaining the situation to Laura. She admits that she was never able to love Antipathy, but while she knows that she’s damaged her son’s psyche beyond repair, she refuses to let her innocent Citizens suffer for her mistake. She can always expel the parts of her body that Antipathy has corrupted with his own operating code, but doing so would mean expelling the Citizens who have been transformed into part of him, thus condemning them to eternal agony and torture at Antipathy’s whim. She needs to work together with her united Citizens in order to drive Antipathy out of her body and repair the damage, and since Laura is now regarded as a heroine for exposing the “traitor” St Marx, Compassion wishes to join with her so that Laura will become her avatar, a living embodiment of Civitata’s presence within the City. However, she will not do so without Laura’s permission -- and Laura flatly refuses to become a spokesthing for a goddess who wishes to control people’s live. Compassion insists that this isn’t what it’s like, but Laura has made up her mind, and she leaves the temple, leaving the City to its fate.

Meanwhile, in the Epicentre, Avatar’s shadow has been sorting through its inventory of weapons while Antipathy rants and raves, and has finally found what it needs -- the shadow version of an annihilation bomb. Antipathy realises what Avatar is doing too late to stop Avatar from detonating the bomb. It seems that Antipathy’s consciousness had been fully embodied in his human form, which was destroyed by the bomb; at least, when UniMac learns what’s happened and sends probes out to explore the “Downtime colony”’s new home, it determines that there’s no longer any sign of life in the empty structure of Antipathy’s timeship body.

Ignotus puts himself forward as a Mayoral candidate with a speech carefully calculated to paint the Manfolk as the greatest enemy that the City has ever faced and to convince the Council of the necessity of draconian security laws to protect them from Houseworld agents and collaterals plotting to destroy their way of life. In fact, even though some potent weapons have fallen into the hands of various fringe organisations, most of the potent weapons in the City are now in the hands of the Romuline troops. Urbanus returns to the Romuline District with a better understanding of what’s really going in the City, but, for obvious reasons, Keth Marrane decides not to return with him. Mesh Cos resigns her post on the Council and retreats to Erath, where she sends Lon Shel and Julian through the Downtime Gate and then seals it off. The colony will continue to survive in the empty shell of Antipathy’s timeship body, and it may end up being the last chance for human culture to survive, now that War has come to the City of the Saved.

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • Though it’s not specifically stated, only implied, it seems likely that “Little Brother Edward” is Don Juan as played by Johnny Depp in Don Juan DeMarco. Which would make his Faction name a reference to Edward Scissorhands. This has nothing to do with continuity, really, but it’s a neat touch.
  • UniMac mentions that something similar happened the last time it, or something like it, tried to manifest itself to humanity, presumably referring to the events in This Town Will Never Let Us Go.
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