[Inaius] Moebius Calls

North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
Once upon a time a bunch of down on their luck explorers stumbled by blind jump on to a verdant and unspoilt world in an uncharted patch of space. They landed and after doing a few deep scans found the world to be absolutely jampacked with mineral wealth. There were a few odd readings in the planets noosphere but no one seemed too fussed.

Well pirates killed those explorers and decided to do some investigating of their own. They promptly all started having bad dreams and eventually went mad and killed each other.

Eventually and almost as accidentally as the first ill-fated explorers an adrift starship carrying telepathic exiles rediscovered the world. The telepaths were overjoyed to discover that the world was able to support carbon-based life and promptly settled. They named the planet Moebius.

Something was off almost from the start, hallucinations, visions and insanity afflicting the hypersensitive telepaths. Soon the worst affected became utterly demented and tried to kill anyone not similarly insane. The ‘possessed’ as they came to be known threatened to destroy the entire colony with their rampage.

For five years the unaffected battle the possessed and constant assaults upon their psyche. During this time latent telepath and leader of the colony, Serenthia Kaan, discovered that the source of the attacks. The planet was host to its own sentience; a vast telepathic field covered the entire planet.

Serenthia realized the only way to save her people was to placate the entity. She communed with the world spirit and became one with it, her physical body dying in the process. The possessed regained their sanity and the colony survived. Serenthia was venerated as a saviour.
The new colony soon began to develop a society that grew rich as the mineral wealth of the planet was exploited. Over time hyperspace lanes connected Moebius to the wider universe and corporate interests as well as new immigrants swelled the size of the world.

A curious thing occurred during those years; the world spirit was found to have retained Serenthia’s consciousness within itself. She would return to life several times over the course of millennia in order to save her people. Over time understanding of the world-spirit was lost and Serenthia became more mythological deity then historical figure.

The world continued to swell and grow, the telepath population fading into the background as the number of unattuned grew to untold billions. Two thousand years after its settlement Moebius is a vast planet-wide city of billions.

Its corporate nobility has grown rich off of its rare minerals and the sale of forbidden psychic technologies. Meanwhile, in the darkest recesses of the planet city, the poorest toil in darkness never seeing the sun. The nightmares have begun again, terrible madness afflicts the masses, a droning background noise slowly rising to become all-consuming.

But the people have forgotten the world spirit, their leaders blame extremism and poverty for the rising violence utterly ignorant of the truth. Moebius has deified Serenthia, worshipping her as an immortal god, but they have not seen her presence in centuries and they cease to believe in her return. If something is not done soon the planet will be consumed by the rising tide of madness and despair.

North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
Chapter one: Portents


Hub 416, Lago District, Moebius

I'm in the throes of a beautiful dream, green forests and lush open fields, they are waiting on the edge of the hill. My wife smiles as she catches sight of me, that look that always set my pulse racing. My son runs through the long grass towards me, I reach out to embrace him

“TIME TO GET UP CORPSMAN LI!!!!’ The alarm jolts me out unconsciousness and back into the sore darkness of the waking world

“shit!” I growl as the apartment AI sets the lights to dim and begins reciting the usual droning list of two dos, should dos and don'ts dos

My room looks like a tsunami ripped through it, uniform strewn across the floor, empty syn beer capsules on the bedside, an ash tray so full of cigarettes its more synbacco then glass. I drag myself to the end of the bed and sit slumped, my mind goes through the daily process of negotiating with my body to start moving. I light a cigarette and savor the dull burn in my throat as the toxins swirl in my lungs. A Bioscan light flashes from the wall and runs up my chest.

“Corpsman Li! Your cancer risk assessment is now at 19.5%” it blares in that overly cheerful tone

Home AI, one of the many perks of government employment, they install them in all state housing to keep the occupants fit and productive. Mostly they just yell announcements and complain when you do anything they are programmed not to like. I ignore its nagging and retrieve my boots and green fatigues before stumbling into the shower.

The pipes spin up and blast me with 20 seconds of lukewarm, mostly nontoxic, recycled water. I stand under the drying light and attempt to get my brain into some form of functionality, it gets harder the older I get. I pull on my creased overall and strap on my boots before heading for the living room, I don’t bother shaving.

The news is playing on the vidscreen, scenes of mourners in white and flags at half-mast are plastered across the screen. The face of Tryko Naeve, the aging Grand Consul of the Moebius republic, flashes on the screen. The Navaeuns distinctive red skin and tattooed concave head flash on the screen, his black Avian eyes piercing even in advanced age.

I pause for a moment, I'm not usually one for politics but when a man runs Moebius for over 100 years it's hard not to be thoughtful. It's the end of an Era and that means endless lines of funeral processions and months of traffic buildup, great.

“Corpsman Li! Your partner, Corpsman Drek, is waiting for you in the lobby!” the AI announces with artificial cheer once again snapping me out of my daydreaming

“Yeah whatever” I mutter as I light another cigarette, a bio scan flashes

“Cancer risk assessment is currently at 19.5.1%!” it yells in a nagging voice

“I’ll take my chances!” I growl slamming the door

Drek is waiting for me in the building lobby, his tufty ears perk up as he hears my distinct ambulance corps boots clatter on the tiles. He gives me a toothy grin as I come into eyeshot. Drek is a splicer, a human fetus that was combined in utero with other species DNA, in his case canine.

Splicers were all the rage twenty years ago, these days they make headlines for all the wrong reasons, the growing purist movement making their lives in the lower wards' hell. Drek raises a furry claw in greeting, I nod in acknowledgement.

“Smoking I see? Didn’t shave either,” he says with a tut

“You aren't my super!” I mutter defensively as I take another drag on the cigarette

Drek rolls his orange eyes disapprovingly, I've been working with him for over ten years, you’d think he’d be used to my slow descent into self-destruction by now. Ten years with Drek, How many with the corps? Twenty-one next month...the number hits me like a dull blow, I've been an ambulance Corpsman for twenty-one years.

There was a time when I wore the dress greens with pride, there was a time when I still believed I was making a difference, got harder to be so enthused by it all as the years' war on. I stub out my cigarette in a nearby deposit bin and motion to the holo set on Drek’s wrist.

“so, what's the day looking like?” I ask as we head for the door

“Its hub 416 so, stabbings, OD’s and traffic accidents, live ones to the med zone and the stiffs to the morgue” he replies bluntly his spliced vocals a bizarre mesh of dog growls and human speech

“Another day on Moebius,” I think with a mirthless grin

We head outside, the sea of neon signs and holo ads flashes and glitters endlessly above. A cacophony of ads jostle and compete for our attention, selling everything from cancer pills to the latest synthetic concubines. We ignore the infomercs with practised indifference and haul ourselves into the waiting ambulances.

Drek activates the ambulance with a retinal scan and opens the dispatch menu, a gigantic map of Hub 416 flashes across the window. Alarming red icons glow in clusters all across the Hub, blue icons representing the local militia are covering about a quarter of the total incidents.

It's an endless battle, the civil militia hopelessly overstretched by the unending tide of violent crimes and suicides that seem to define life in the inner-city hubs. Drek and I started placing bets on If the militia would be able to answer even half the incidents.

“30 Nex* says they don’t get above 50%,” I say with a dark smile

“You're on,” he says with an approving half growl “think ill get a vat-grown steak for lunch” he replies with an overconfident smirk

I roll my eyes; I don’t know if it’s the Canid DNA but there's definitely a sort of dumb optimism present in Drek that I've never seen in any pureblood. He keeps things entertaining at very least, I might even buy him a steak when I win.

“This is dispatch, R43* in Shi’Uggur tenements, police on the scene, any units please respond” the dispatch holofeed buzzes

Drek presses the confirm icon and boots up the engines, the ambulances VTOL pushes us off the street and we rise up into the glittering dawn air. Golden spires and lines of air traffic greet us as we reach maximum height.

“time to go to work,” He says with a grin

“hit the sirens” I reply as I click my badge in place

Ultraviolet and green lights flash above us warning traffic to get out of the way, the ambulances engines burn into life and we race through the airways. Drek touches an icon of Serenthia that hangs above the dashboard, I look away disinterested in his superstition. The endless sea of plasteel and gold spreads out in front of us, from up here it almost seems idyllic.

*Navaeuns-An avian species from a distant world in the Inaius periphery, noted for their deep red skin, low beaks and long-life spans.

*The currency of Moebius, 30 Nex is about the price of a moderately expensive meal or a carton of synth tobacco.

*code for stabbing
The Shi’Uggur tenement is the sort of dime a dozen mass hab block that you can find anywhere in Hub 416. The working classes crowd into these ageing conurbs by the millions. Piles of trash are heaped outside the tall plasteel spire, municipal only sends armed patrols to collect trash once a month. Grime covers every surface with a greasy film and there isn't a single surface that isn't tagged with holo graffiti or classic.
Several militia patrol-craft and holding vans are parked in a curve outside the building entrance. Militia officers in black body armour and dark tinted helmets are standing guard around a red holo line. Everyone is armed, militia officers with G96 heavy pulse rifles scan the crowds for any potential threats, no one comes to the mass habs unarmed anymore.

“So, what's the word?” I ask as Drek returns from conversing with an officer

“Dockworker started seeing demons in his sleep and stabbed his whole family before taking a stride off the ledge...this is a cleanup job; bodies need taking to the morgue” he replies motioning to the line of yellow body bags in a line next to the curb.

I sigh, this is par for the course in the lower habs, it's been getting worse with each passing year. Doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by that you don’t hear about someone losing their mind and lashing out, sometimes we get here to find arrests and living survivors, mostly its corpse detail.

We start hauling the bodies into the ambulance's freezer unit when the last one is loaded, we get airborne and head for Lago general. Coroner likes his stiffs delivered on time after all.

As we glide through the pale indigo sky, I notice something glittering in the distance. Like a star but brighter and closer, it's so bright it pierces the clouds and smog that usually block out celestial bodies. Golden light flows across the sky in a luminous trail as it descends.

“Hey, you see that?” I say pointing to the light

Drek shrugs “probably a liner from Siezon or the alliance, those things generate a lot of light when they make planetfall,” he says dismissively

“Guess so,” I say, but I'm not convinced

The light seems to be getting brighter and a heck of a lot closer. Something is in an awful hurry to make planetfall.
A sensation is the first thing it feels, a feeling of falling. It sees nothing save the blinding glow of own descent; it does know why it falls only that it does so. Strange sounds echo up from an unseen origin, it feels an instinctive familiarity as it struggles to make out the individual noises in the midst of the din.

Immense heat gives way to cool icy winds that shriek and hammer at its glowing form. Its vision begins to clear, eyes it has eyes! It starts to make outlines of towering objects and countless objects that move past and howl as they swerve to avoid its skyward descent.

It sees a great grey expanse rising to greet it, limbs it knows as hands glitter as it holds them out as if trying to embrace the ground below. Its hands remain outstretched, it crashes into the hard surface, a cloud of dust rises and obscures everything.

It sleeps.
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North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
Chapter 2: Fallen Star


Hub 416, Founders Hill hospital, Moebius
Founders Hill was named for the legendary first site that the ancient Terran colonists chose to construct the initial settlement upon. From memory the actual hill is several miles away in Hub 415, but why let facts stand in the way of a good name right?

The early morning sky is bright pink as Davek* glitters and illuminates everything with his burning gaze. Founders hill is located in the high-rise zone and the landing platform affords a view of the entire surrounding area. Tall spires and endless lines of sky traffic fill the morning air, Moebius in full manic activity.

We offload the last of the stiffs, hazmat garbed morgue staff with hovering freeze capsules in tow arrive to collect and process the deceased. If the dead are lucky, they have family who can come and claim them for burial. If they aren’t, they will lie unclaimed in the freezer for weeks before being recycled in the bio mulcher.

Life in a city the size of a planet necessitated a certain degree of brutal practicality; any source of energy or protein was used unless you could give a damn good reason for it not being. Most days I try to avoid thinking too hard about where the protein in the synth food Is sourced from, it makes breakfast a little more palatable that way.

“sign here corpsman,” a masked morgue staffer says in a weary, muffled voice before passing me a tablet with a gloved hand

I press my thumb down on the palm reader, a government bio ID immediately fills in the required sections. Old Terran script flows across the screen revealing my full name and title:
State Ambulance Service, Corpsman Cuthbert Sheng Li, Indigo* grade

I grimace slightly as the wall of text reveals itself, I hate the way the systems vomit every detail and title onto official documents. The little three-eyed smiley face icon always accompanies the sign-off and the damn “have a nice day!” message is just disturbing.

“We done here?” Drek asks impatiently asked as I pass the tablet back to the morgue officer

Yup all signed off” I reply before lighting a cigarette

“Cool because I reckon it's time for breakfast, there's this Bathan* joint on the way....” the words die in his throat
The cigarette drops from my mouth as we gaze up with dumbfounded horror. The bright light from earlier is accelerating downwards like a missile towards the founders square below. An explosive shriek fills the air as whatever that light is, impacts with the ground and kicks a vast cloud of dust. Alarms and sirens screech across the Hub in response.

*Davek was one of Serenthia Kaan’s companions during the mythical Possessed war. Legend has it Serenthia entrusted to him the care of the colony before her sacrifice. His name adorns shops, squares, warships and even the stellar body which illuminates Moebius. Legend claims him as the first Grand Consul, some two thousand years before the present date.
*Decorated service over a period of two decades, a specialist rank
*Bathan are a race of big game hunters from the Inaius Periphery
We race through cleared skyways, militia patrollers screech past at high speed as we all head for the impact site. The dispatch is awash with status updates as the civil defence protocols kick in, hundreds of personnel are being thrown at the founder's square.

“R15 in progress, potential mass casevac, all available units reroute” the dispatcher buzzes on the comms

Hundreds of ambulance officers, militia grunts and fire service units are simultaneously torn away from other callouts. Murders, stabbings, suicides and fires go ignored as priority shifts towards the explosion on founder's square, the planet might as well have been invaded.

The square comes into view as the ambulance hovers overhead, clouds of dust swirl around the smashed permacrete and obscure our vision. I pull out my respirator and strap it in place, Drek does the same grumbling as growling uncomfortably as he shoves the ill-fitted mask onto his face. They never bothered to issue properly shaped masks for splicers.

I pull down my infrared lenses and the world is suddenly bathed in blue light. We pitch down at the edge of the crater and leap out of the vehicle with our gear in hand. The scene we step in to is like the aftermath of an orbital bombardment.

Statues made from solid adamantium lie in shattered pieces and the floor of the square has been cracked open. It looks like the fist of some angry deity has smashed into the earth; a long trench has been formed where something ploughed through the square.

Militia troopers spread out and begin establishing a perimeter, survivors are herded to makeshift medical tents, thousands of civilian's stream past with torn clothing and dust-covered faces. A militia officer runs up to us panting visibly, his armour already caked in dust.

“Hey guys, looks like the biggest impact was the retail block up ahead! We need med techs in there!” he says breathlessly, pointing to a nearby mega mall

We pull the auto stretcher from the back of the ambulance; it hovers behind us as we move towards the stricken commerce building. A gigantic hole has been created where whatever unnatural force impacted with the front of the building. Metal frames on the edges of the hole look as though some sort of heat has melted them.

“What the hell is going on!” I growl as we struggle through the dust

Drek is struggling to keep up, his mask digging into him uncomfortably as we wade through rubble and smog. He doesn’t answer, instead he touches a pendent around his neck, a tiny micro image of Serenthia on its crystalline face.

We clamber over a hill of collapsed Perma-crete pillars and shattered metal frames. Militia troopers are already inside searching the darkened hallways for injured and dead, the lights are flickering erratically and the mall AI keeps blurting out broken messages in an eerie loop

“We...Wel...Welcome to founders arca...cad....Arcaaaaddeee....Shhhhh....shop...t-tilll you Drop!” the AI drones, the cheerful tone all the creepier when paired with the sheer devastation around us

I scan the nearby stalls and shopfronts; shattered glass is everywhere that and a long trench down the Centre of the hall. I see an arm poking out from an overturned pillar.

“There's someone here!” I call out as we pull out our multi-tools and begin removing rubble

Several troopers join us and soon we have enough space to haul the body free, it’s an old Bathan male, his fur is ashen with dust and he feels limp in our grip as we heave him out. Drek runs a bio scan with his diagnostic kit, he shakes his head as the readings come back.

“Probably died in the blast” Drek says

I sigh and pull up my comms, calling in casualties is always an ugly business. Once upon a time I dreaded making the S-0 update, nowadays it's so common I do it on instinct.
“Dispatch, this is ambulance crew 342-16, one confirmed S-0 at the impact site,” I say calmly

“Copy 342, prepare the body for transfer and continue your search” the dispatch responds, I suspect this isn’t the first S-0 she's had to deal with today, and it won't be the last

We place bag the body and place the holotag on the front, Drek mouths a little prayer to Serenthia and the world spirit, then we are up and moving. Further up in the main foyer we hear screams as a Ketrian* in a torn waiter's uniform holds flashes a knife at a group of militia troopers

“Sir calm down and drop the knife!” an officer yells attempting to diffuse the situation

“The light has fallen! She walks amongst us!!! The darkness rises to meet her! It’s the end times!!! Get away!!!” he screams

I reach for my sedater* and load a dose of anti-psych, Drek quickly runs a check on the dosage for me, 10mgs of Hetramine*, enough to stop an adult human for at least a few hours. I aim the sedater and fire, a small micro-dart hits the Ketrian in his neck and he stumbles and collapses as the Hetramine diffuses into his bloodstream.

“Restrain him and get a psych callout, probably trauma from the blast” I say as the officer nods and motions for the troopers to secure the sedated Ketrian

A shout fills the arcade “We found the impact crater!” a trooper yells, everyone begins running in the direction of her voice

We are soon standing over a vast hole in the floor, below darkness obscures everything. Whatever that light was it's bored right down into the lower levels of the building. I open my kit and retrieve the rappelling tool.

I shoot a length of polymer gel onto the ground to secure the nano-rope with, then I attach the harness and switch the attached lights to full intensity. Drek checks the line and then I begin my descent. Several troopers and a few other Corpsmen begin doing the same as I lower myself into the darkness.

*Ketrians are a tall, emotionally hypersensitive race from the barren world of Ketris on the Inaius Periphery. Hairless and pale skinned with weak pupil free eyes, they have an amazing sense of smell and minor telepathy which allows them to navigate the darkened tunnels of their homeworld. Their limited diet and telepathic traits make them highly susceptible to pharmaceutical substances.
*Sedaters are the standard-issue tranquillizers given to frontline health workers and militia units in order to subdue distressed or violent patients or offenders non-lethally.
*Hetramine is a synthetic sedative and anti-psychotic that is delivered via nanocarriers to the bloodstream and brainstem, it is one of the most universally effective drugs when dealing with standard nervous systems.
I finally hit the bottom of the crater, my boots crunching on rubble as I land. My rigs lights pierce the gloom as I scan the area, overturned storage units and crates suggest the impact dug right into the basement.

I move forward scanning the surroundings with my lenses, a sea of blue stretches out in front of me, no signs of life anywhere. I pause as I realize my foot is brushing against something hard, I look down to see a smashed warehouse droid, its eye sockets are smoking.

“What in Serenthia’s...” my voice trails off as I hear something crash up ahead

My heart begins to pound as scan the room, I see something move in the corner of my eye and I pull out my Sedater and raise it in front of me. I do so more out of fear then common sense, the dose isn’t even loaded into the chamber.

My lenses pick up a single heat sig, red hot and... moving right towards me. A shadow stumbles into view, my chest is pounding so hard I begin to think it will smash through my ribcage.
“Li your heart rate is in the hundreds! What's happening down there...” Drek is shouting over the Intercomm

I'm not listening though, the shadow looms into view and steps forward, a Terran woman in her early 30’s shuffles into view. She is completely naked and her eyes have a disorientated, crazed look about them. I calm down and breath in before speaking.

“Ma’am?” I say gently as I holster the sedater and step forward “Are you hur...” my words cut off as she lunges at me and grabs my throat

Everything stops for a moment, a sensation fills me like paralysis, I feel like someone is pulling me out of my body. It stops suddenly, she releases her grip and falls back, her eyes roll back in her head for a moment as she hits the ground, then she's completely still.

“LI WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!” Drek yells down the comms

“I’m okay Drek, you might want to tell the rest of the team to bring a stretcher down here though...we have a survivor,” I say catching my breath as I stare down at my unconscious assailant

Soon I can hear the other officers rappelling down into the darkness, their lights piercing the black. I open my med kit and retrieve a thermal sheet which I place over the woman for decency.

It only begins to hit me later as we are winching her up, how the hell does someone survive the epicentre of a block levelling blast? And what the hell did she do to me? Despite my usual reservations, I find myself making the sacred sign of Serenthia for protection.
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North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
Chapter 3: Awakenings


Founders Hill Hospital, Hub 416, Moebius

An Untethered mind drifts in the unconscious, a billion minds whisper in the dark, from this realm I glimpse the webs cast by sentient life with unburdened sight. A dock worker returns home, most nights he drinks, tonight he is overcome by a rage he cannot place, he beats his wife bloody. A militia officer feels a sudden surge of anxiety and squeezes the trigger of his rifle instinctively, a target is a man reaching for his phone. A civil servant signs a holodoc, it will make thousands redundant, he feels a surge of malicious self-satisfaction.

I feel the pull of the waking world, the light seeps into this dark mirror world, I struggle listlessly against the onslaught to no avail. I let out a low scream with unformed lips, and then the throbbing ache of corporeal existence drags me mercilessly back into the waking world. Being pulled from formless incorporeality back into the physical is never a pleasant experience, it seeing everything and then being blinded.
The light floods in like a blinding wave, I groan audibly as the weight of being trapped in fleshy prison bears down upon me. My wrists and ankles are bound in synth steel shackles and I can feel the painful buzz of psychic suppression devices around my neck. I scan the room, the bleep of medical equipment and the stink of disinfectant permeates the bed space, I am in a hospital. That they saw fit to restrain me suggests medical care is not their primary concern.

I try to cast my mind's eye back to the fall but all I earn for that is a blur of painful images. The trauma of returning to flesh and bone has left gaps in my memory, the omnipresence I once enjoyed has been severed. In its place a feeling of dejection fills me, to be one with all things and then walled off from them has narrowed my focus. I can feel the gaps in my understanding, things I should know I cannot grasp within the confines of this meat prison.

I have returned to mortal life three times since my physical death, each time bearing the trauma of resurrection. I do so because I have a purpose, if only I could remember what it was, I need to remember. First things first though, these bindings have to go. The psychic dampener was designed to suppress telepaths, but not ones as latent as myself. I focus my awareness into a sharpened point and feel the dampener strain against the tide of pure mental energy, a few sparks fly and the lights on the machine dim.

The bindings are easier, my body may be mortal but it was forged by a distinctly immortal force, every strand of muscle and bone is strong enough to bend steel. A simple raising of my arms and legs the synth steel bindings shatter harmlessly. I drag myself up, tearing tubing and medical gear from my body. I hear them before I see them, determined one tone mental emanations, disciplined and ready to act without hesitation, a hit squad.

I look around the room, windowless and padded, my options are limited. The crash of boots grows louder, I can hear the click of weapons and feel the surging adrenaline as they prepare for the kill. I decide to pre-empt. A surge of telepathic energy rips my room door from its hinges, it crashes to the ground with a loud crack. A cluster of armoured figures surrounds me, black gear without insignia, they raise their rifles ready to tear me to shreds.

I glare and send a wave of energy shrieking through their minds; their inbuilt psychic dampeners are wholly unprepared. A series of shots ring out, the smell of blood and superheated ozone fills the air, I step over the bodies clogging the hallway. I head for the locker room; I won’t get far in a hospital gown.
“come on Sar, time to go to work” I snarl inwardly as I tear a locked door open

I search the room pulling boots from a locker, serendipitously they are a perfect fit. I grab a pair of pants a few sizes too short and I pull a vest with the words “telepaths do it better” from its hanger. I'm about to leave and then I see it, a tan synth leather jacket with red wings, I snatch it up and pull it on, I'm ready now.
Alarms begin to ring out behind me as I reach the lift

North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
Chapter 4: The Bloodhound

Senatorial Palace, Prime Hub, Moebius

Grolko Bass, Grand Consul of the Moebian republic, eyed me with weary curiosity. He writing at a relentless pace with his claw stylus. reams of holographic text filling the air as memos, reports and directives were hurled into the ether. The new consul’s workload was punishing, Tryko’s death had left the republic in upheaval and while Grolko did not show it I could guess he was drowning in paperwork.

I have been a member of civic protection* for nearly thirty years. My role gives me unprecedented access to the republics most powerful, in those near three decades I came to know Tryko very well. Grolko could not have been more different from his predecessor, where Tryko was ebullient and gregarious, Grolko was quiet and managed everything with a calculating gaze. Compared with the old consul, I must confess I found myself struggling to get a sense of my new master.

Grolko frowned, well in as much as a great lizard can, he removed his claws from their stylus and leaned and rested his hands on the table. The room was stifling, the temperature had been set to mimic the more tropical preferences of a Salamex, he noticed that I was sweating.

“Come Hannah Zar’Kadar, let us walk,” he said in a slow and deep voice, he used my full name which I found strange, almost no one does

I nodded and rose slowly, Grolko stood and did something I was not expecting, he stretched out a pair of leathery wings at his back and then with a single movement they slid into the crevices at his back. I knew little of the Salamex people, they were relative newcomers to Moebius, they seemed alien even in a world as mixed as the republic. Tales of great dust-covered plains and vast mountains always accompanied talk of the Salamex homeworld, by all accounts, Skaerax was a beautiful if utterly hostile planet.

The doors slid open seamlessly as we moved out into the corridors of the senatorial palace. The Grand Consuls office was located at the end of a great processional, the republican gallery, great bronze coloured walls stretched out in front of us for miles. The guards outside saluted and prepared to form up around the consul, he waved them off with a gentle hand and we proceeded down the processional unescorted.

As we moved down the immense processional the great events of Moebian history were given new life as holo-paintings and great monuments graced our view. They say if you walk the length of the gallery you can learn all there is to know about the history of Moebius. We pass the holo-portrait of Davek, Moebius’s first consul, his ancient features made immortal gazing out at us with unnerving liveliness. The blank wall display marks the four-year anarchy of the logic wars. Further down still we see the deliberately empty plinth of Calligari, the mad consuls once garish monument having been destroyed centuries ago.
History glares out at us from all directions, an endless assault of heritage, legacy and emotion, my telepathic sensitivities are even beginning to feel strained simply being here. Finally, we come to a widened section of the processional, a great winged statue towers over us, the eternal guardian of the republic stands sentinel. We have finally arrived at the icon of Serenthia, it is here that we stop, Grolko eager to discuss matters beneath the deity's wings.

“You served Tryko well, Hannah Zar’kadar” he says calmly, I still feeling a jarring emotion whenever he invokes my father's clan name

I have hunted the enemies of the republic through sludge and degradation of the under-hubs, tracked smugglers and pirates using only the psychic echoes of their victims and I even have chased fleeing criminals down the great star lanes when they tried to escape Moebius. My career has been long and demanding, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat, I believe in Moebius.
That must sound like day time television nonsense, a patriotic slogan repeated ad nauseum by rabid campaigners, but I'll be damned if it's not true. I believe in Moebius even with its myriad flaws, I believe in her despite the stratification, despite the frequent violence and in spite of the endless lines of traffic on the skylines. I believe in her because for all her flaws, Moebius is a haven for tolerance in a galaxy often lacking such virtues.

There are few places in Inaius where a Ketrian miner and a human nurse could fall in love without judgement, fewer places still where they could create new life unopposed. But here on Moebius that is exactly what happened, my parents met and had me without any of the mobs or inter-species violence that Marrs so much of the sector. Instead, the couple with the black-eyed hybrid were just one curious sight amongst a sea of billions of curious sights.

“I did my duty” I reply modestly

I think I see Grolko smile, though it could also be him bearing his fangs. He lets out a throaty chuckle and pats me on the shoulder.

“Would that others were so modest; your exploits could fill several holo archives” he says amused by my response

I have never sought approval for my work, I did it because I had a talent for it, even in the foulest and most dangerous situations the joy of the hunt never really leaves the truly gifted. My Ketrian blood ensured I was born able to read the emotions of others, the miners use it to find one another in the darkness, I used it to hunt. For nigh on three decades, I was Tryko’s instrument, tracking and removing threats to Moebius.

“I never visited the archives; it was always one job complete and then on to the next one” I reply being honest

Grolko nods thoughtfully, when he called me to his office this morning, I wasn’t sure why now I know he is trying to figure out if he can trust me. I can’t say I'm surprised, things are bad out in the wider city, he will have the need of every agent he has if he expects to govern this sprawl effectively. He is like a child who has just been gifted with a dead uncle's sword.

“I hope I can trust you with another such job,” Grolko says his tone sincere

I stare down at my hands for a moment, fingers slightly too long to be human and skin a little too pink to be Ketrian. I straighten and await my assignment, discipline asserting itself naturally as I realize he is sending me back out into the sprawl.

“I am at your disposal sir” I reply obediently

“You have been briefed on the incident in founder square I trust?” he askes

I don’t think there is a soul on Moebius that does not know about the chaos in the square. Stories of falling gods and madness have spread like wildfire across the ethernet as the firsthand accounts became increasingly embellished and sensationalized with each new telling. Every from salvation to signs of the apocalypse have been called upon to explain what happened, all I know is something fell from very high up and left a crater somewhere it shouldn’t have.

“I have sir, the accounts are...a little difficult to take seriously...someone even claimed they found a woman who fell from the sky!” I say trying to make light of the nonsense I read in that briefing
Grolko frowns and shakes his head slowly “what I am about to tell you is classified and not to be shared with anyone” he says firmly, locking eyes with my own
“Understood sir” I reply

“Not only did the woman fall from the sky, but she also survived and now she has escaped from founders hill hospital, leaving a trail of unidentified assailants behind her,” he said, his tone indicated he was being utterly serious

“Sir, with all due respect, that object fell from the atmosphere, it's physically impossible for a living being to survive such a fall!” I replied incredulously

Grolko didn’t answer, instead, he pressed a button on his wrist-mounted admin tool, a holographic projection rose from it. The familiar footage of a great ball of golden light fills the projection only this time the image freezes and magnifies. The image magnification continues until the only thing present on the projection is a dark and distinctively human form bathed in yellow light.

“it's not possible!” I think unable to process what I am seeing, it shouldn’t be possible, but there it is staring right back at me. A living being falling from the sky.

“This image was captured by a government surveillance drone a few minutes before impact, the rumours are true” he said his voice utterly sincere

“what do you want me to do?” I ask, my voice still shaky from shock and amazement

“You are the best bloodhound the civic corps has ever trained; I need you to find this person and bring her to me,” Grolko said in a serious voice as he closed the projection

My eyes linger on the image for a few seconds before it vanishes, I struggle to believe what I am seeing, there it is though. A being has fallen from the sky and now I am to hunt it.

*The Civic Protection Corps are the most elite security unit in the United Republic of Moebius, answering directly to the senate and charged with protecting the republic from internal and external threats its members are some of the most skilled operatives in the Inaius sector. Extensively trained in hand to hand combat, firearms, melee weapons and all manner of vehicles a single Praetorian is one of the deadliest opponents a criminal could ever be unlucky enough to face. Praetorians of the corp are also typically psychic and they use their heightened telepathy to aid already impressive skills in negotiation, investigation and interrogation. The best Praetorians become members of the "bloodhounds" a small elite group within the Corps that hunt the most elusive enemies of the state.
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North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator

Chapter 5: Fiery She Rises

Founders Hill Hospital
Hub 416, Moebius

Alarms shriek as I race up the stairs on legs that have only just learned what solid ground is. I bolt forward my muscle memory imposing an athletic pace on my legs because of course, I've escaped from places in a hurry before. My senses are coming back to me more acutely with each passing moment, I can hear the cacophony of thoughts roar up from the hospital floors below.

“Cut her off!”
“Suspect moving on foot!”

These thoughts hold none of the silent menace of an assassin's mind, too ordered, someone must have called the militia. Would they shoot me down too? I have no desire to stick around and find out. I focus my awareness into a sharpened point and fill my body with a surge of pure energy. The rooftop door evaporates as I smash through it like a bipedal missile.

Shards of superheated perma-steel fly across the roof and lodge themselves in walls and pipes, it's then I see it for the first time. The sun is fading into the horizon, a dying orange haze bathes Moebius in its burnt hue. A flash of eidetic recognition hits me like a pickaxe to an early battered brain.

Images of rolling hills and the descent of crystal mirrored vessels fill my mind's eye, Founders hill, the tall spires and endless lines of skycars are new but I know this place all the same. I have beheld this sight three times before and each time it has become more alien.

“Used to be greener” I mutter with a sigh

People don’t realize how lucky they are to be born once, to experience existence in a single linear motion. For me the gaps get longer and harder to patch with each new return, my body walks in the present while my mind is assaulted by the images of the past. I don’t know why I came back, so far, all that makes sense is that I am back on Moebius and that someone would very much like me to not be.
The thoughts are getting louder, militant mantras chanted by disciplined minds, the police are coming up the stairs. I need to leave this place before the militia gives me a chance to see how incarceration has evolved since my last return. I gaze around, I'm a long way up and the only exit is a long way down.

“so, use your wings!” a voice whispers in my sub-conscious

“Do I look like a bird to you!?” I growled annoyed by my brain's tangent

“You’ve forgotten haven't you, you always forget” the voice chuckles

“I never had wings! Bashir* painted those devotionals for artistic license!” I say raising my hands in exasperation

Look don’t judge, I'm a reincarnated psychic with the accumulated memory of three lifetimes. Sometimes you end up with a slightly loose interpretation of sanity after the first couple of rebirths.

“Use them! Come on you can do it!” the voice urges, it's getting louder, I can feel my legs begin to move towards the edge

The militia are close, almost within shouting distance, I can hear their boots crash on the permacrete steps. Something comes over me, instinct, memory, desperation, whatever it is I'm running for the edge. I come to my senses at the last minute, too late to stop. I can plunge over the edge, the wind shrieks like angry demons around me as I fall.

Shit....just had to listen to the voices

For a moment my heart is racing, panicked images of splattered remains impacting with industrial-grade paving flash before my eyes. I'm screwed, killed by my own crazy subconscious. I close my eyes, then everything disappears in a blur of white light.

I feel something unseen grip me, two wings of blazing light explode from my back and unfurl, I glide downwards on trails of pure energy, guess Bashir was more into realism then I gave him credit for. The feeling hits me with another surge, and I find myself involuntarily pulled towards an open hangar, I don’t know if it's my instincts or something stranger but I can feel a presence in this hanger, someone I need to meet is close.

*Samael Bashir, Famed Moebian artist, companion of Serenthia during the logic wars. populized the depiction of Serenthia as a winged being with his famed portrait "fiery she rises"
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North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
Chapter 6: Noodle Break
Hub 416, Sojek Ward, Moebius

They used to say that if you want to live you go for a walk down Dashang alley*, if you want to die you take a stroll down Kosh block* after dark and that if you want to eat you come to Sojek. The glowing row of neon-drenched eateries has filled hungry Moebian bellies since before we had skyscrapers. It's just a shame I'm not hungry, we sit in Kazurr’s noodle tunnel and I can’t even look my bowl without wincing.
My hands shake as I gaze at the swirling bowl of Ketrian Udon, it might as well be full of worms, Drek picks up on my unease. I'd say it was canine instinct, but I don’t want to get pulled up for insensitive comments by the splicer relations council.

“Come on man! That shit isn't cheap! Cost me 10 Nex a bowl!” Drek says in a nudging tone before slurping up the noodles in his bowl with a single disgusting motion

I pull a cigarette from my overalls and light it, eager for the chance to give my hands something to keep them occupied other than the shakes. The nicotine helps slow things down, I exhale a thick cloud and feel my shoulders slump as I relax.

“Cancer risk assessment is currently at!” a store mounted AI yells in infuriatingly jovial tones, Serenthia I hate AI’s!

A waitress pours Drek a cup of coffee and he stares at me with a knowing look, he’s worked with me for nearly a decade, he can tell when I'm not myself. Lecture incoming in 3...2...
“What's eating you LI? Come one you can tell me, need to know you're not gonna go all flakey on me” he says in a

Oh where do I start, how about the fact that a few hours ago a crazed naked woman attacked me and while we’re on the subject how about the fact that I felt like my entire mind was being sucked out of my head by said insane nudist. Yeah, maybe not the best after-work convo to have over Udon.

“it's fine, just a long day is all,” I say trying to dismiss his suspicion

“Bullshit” Drek says slamming his cup down a little too dramatically

The waitress glances in our direction for a second, if Ketrians had pupils she would be rolling her eyes about now. Drek reddens but after a pause leans in ready to continue his interrogation.

“Bullshit Li, I've seen you pull 14 hour shifts replete with bliss-heads and gangers and still and polish off entire portions without a second thought, you not eating is a warning sign” he says motioning to my still full bowl

I sigh and stub out the cigarette “Okay fine, back at the impact site, you err...ever had a telepath read your thoughts” I ask nervously

“It's a planet of telepaths Li, every second joy girl on Dashang alley is a path” he replies nonchalantly between sips of coffee

Dashang alley does indeed have its fair share of joy girls, joy boys and even a non-defined joy entity who all do watered-down mind reads for extra cash. It's like a soft hand caressing your subconscious when they do it.

“Not the fluffy shit Drek, this woman...it was like she was ripping my mind out of my skull,” I say shuddering as

Drek’s expression turns thoughtful as he scratches a fur-lined chin and considers what I have told him

“You should really report it to dispatch,” he says gently

“They’d give me a section 8 and muster me out in no time if I did that, they’ve been on my case ever since...” I let the words trail

Ever since she died, ever since life stopped being warm nights and smiling welcomes and became blackouts and hangovers. The Corps would love to pack me off on an honourable discharge and load me up with enough stims and psych sessions to keep me dumb and dazed until I shuffle off. No, I need this job, so I won't be telling dispatch shit.

“well look, she took a peek inside your head, that would mess up anyone, a few days and you’ll be back to your old self, can’t be any worse than the ganger with the wardrobe malfunction,” he says with a toothy grin

Don’t ask...let's just say bliss and all-day raving are not a great combo and leave it at that...

I chuckle despite myself “yeah you got a point there, clothing-optional clubs are just a little bit worse”

“let's hope she didn’t see that!” Drek replies with a mischievous laugh

After several more minutes of gallows humour and war stories we pay and head back to the ambulance, I take the Udon with me at Drek’s insistence. we pile in and the display lights up ready for us to take to the skies again. Something rustles in the back seat. I turn and nearly jump out of my skin

“are you errrr...gonna eat those?” a female voice asks softly

Drek is already ramming a Hetramine dose into the Sedater, looks like crater lady decided to abscond

*Dashang is the largest entertainment district on Moebius and includes the famed red-light district
*Kosh Block, located on the lower levels, gang violence, slave trading and organ harvesting are common pastimes.
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North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
Chapter 7: Amidst the Cold Silence


Central Forensics, Prime hub, Moebius

I make my way through the labyrinth of biometric scanners and decontamination points. The stink of disinfectant seemed to cling to every surface, I wondered privately how long I would need to linger before that stink migrated onto me as well. Central forensics might as well be the netherworld, every stiff they scrape off the streets ends up here.

I pass endless rows of cryo-vaults and sub-morgues before I reach Maxwell’s office. Most of the dead will remain unclaimed in those vaults for months before finally being recycled, it's an ugly truth but in society as vast as Moebius nothing is ever wasted. Vast rendering plants give the dead a chance to contribute to Moebius in ways that the living cannot.

I feel creeping unease as I approach the coroner's office, Ketrian’s don’t do well with death. In the depths of the undercities, the collective telepathy shared by all ketrians connects us in the dark. But the silence of the dead unnerves the people. the Underpriests long ago commanded that the dead be fed to the carrion worms, their flesh giving rise to new life.

As a hybrid I can see more similarities then either side would really like to admit. But it's all a bit academic down here, no voices greet my thoughts with an answer, just cold silence and the low hum of machinery. The office door groans as aged servos pry it open, inside a bunker-like office reveals itself.

Over a dozen bodies lie on vivisection tables, auto-dissectors busy themselves extracting vital organs and analyzing biological data. The conductor of this twisted orchestra lies on a cot injecting caffeine stimulants into his eyes.

“Hannah! What a pleasant surprise!” he says jumping up from the gurney

Jin Maxwell might well be the most unkempt and unprofessional soul ever to hold the rank of a coroner. Crumpled scrubs hang of a gaunt frame and two sunken, sleep-deprived, eyes stare out at me with a look of half-crazed excitement.

He doesn’t get out much, not entirely his fault either, Jin is a latent telepath even by Moebian standards. Most Moebian’s have some level of telepathy, sometimes it's as weak as being able to make a pencil shake slightly. Jin though, he can rip the memories from the recently dead, a gift which makes him perfect for this job and entirely unsuited for public life.

“let's get this over with Jin,” I say motioning to the grisly slabs

“Of course!” he says eagerly, he smooths over a shock of greasy black hair and then pulls on a lab coat

He leads me over to one of the gruesome autopsies, a mass of pallid flesh and organic matter in preservation tanks. It reminds me of something from a horror vid.

“This one of the bodies recovered from the hospital?” I ask as we stare down at the grisly remains

I get a good look at the dead man's face, it looks...unfinished. The only way to describe it is as though someone had taken the image of a human being and produced a half-finished copy. Hairless, sickly grey and with eyes so underdeveloped that the irises barely possess colour.

“Ever see that imitation meat they sell in the vending machines?” he asks with a sly grin

“can't say I have” I reply, feeling mildly nauseous at the thought of “imitation meat”

Most Moebians subsist off a mix of street food, artificial and maybe organic when they can afford. I'm lucky enough to have grown up in a government area with plenty of decent sustenance, grey meat was never on the menu.

“Yeah well, these guys are the same, they look human, but they lack all the work that goes into a living being,” he says shining a light on the remains

“What do you mean look human?! They stormed a hospital with automatic weapons” I reply irritably

“That's the thing, they were programmed to! That was likely all they were built to do! These bodies were living on borrowed time, a few days and they would have collapsed from stress and organ failure” he says noting the degeneration of the organs in the jars

“Why produce bodies that weren't going to last?” I ask quzzically

“Perfect assassins, they get the job done and they die, they botch it and they die, either way, no loose ends,” Jin says with a self-satisfied grin

“Last time I checked cloning without government permission was illegal,” I say with a raised eyebrow

“Whoever created these things had money and a lot of influence enough potentially to hide from the government” he replies with the closest tone to serious I've ever heard

Great, a conspiracy, right under our noses no less, first it was human comets and now its imitation meat assassins. This week is creating more questions than answers, I'm going to need to dig deeper if I'm to make sense of any of this.

“so, what are you going to do?” Jin asks curiously

“Find the source of this mess,” I say turning to leave

It's going to be a long week.