Part 29: 22:46-1:28: Karaoke For SpiritsChapter 29: 22:46-01:28: Karaoke For Spirits
Content warning: Cunos back, folks
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Disco
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Oh hey, Morell and Gary made it back.
ARIST: [Medium: Success] Okay, fine, we get it, talk to Lena.
KIM KITSURAGI: I knew it you hear Kim say quietly to himself.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: [Medium: Success] Im not surprised its already getting out of hand.
INTERFACING: [Easy: Success] The little silvery knob holding the tie together feels warm in your hand. Its in the shape of an avian skull. With *eight* eyes.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: Oh you dont want to hear about some old womans ramblings
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Ramblings? Nonsense! Your description of the phasmid is the most precise Ive ever heard!
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: But darling, I didnt even get the *size* of it right.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: You were a *child*, my dear. Really, its extraordinary what you were able to describe. Now go on, tell our friend about it. Hes proven his interest in the field.
KIM KITSURAGI: Reflexively, the lieutenant readies his familiar notebook.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: Ah, Im getting ahead of myself. I was five and a half. In Betancourt, in the suburbs. My grandmother had a summer home there.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: The strangest moment of my life: I looked up and one of the reeds *moved*. Not like a plant, but like a living thingit stood up and looked at me. Its body unfolded like some antique toy Ive never seen anything like it.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: I tried, but I was only a child. There was mud and high water, I couldnt see it anymore. I was just standing there, knee deep in mud, looking around me
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: I ran back home to my grandmother and asked her if *reeds* could *walk* and told her they were looking at me. She chuckles. Of course, she just laughed at me, but I knew what Id seen For years it was a story I told at parties, when I wanted to impress *boys*, that sort of thing. She brushes her hair back. Of course, most people just took it as a strange, amusing anecdote. So did I, honestly. But then I met Morell
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: We were on a date, can you imagine? She tells me a story and its the most detailed report of the Insulindian phasmid Ive ever heard. The soundsshe told me it hissed
SUGGESTION: [Medium: Success] So thats how they met. This is *beyond* significant for them.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: It did, yeslike reeds in a gust of wind.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: the way it moved, the colour, how some of its limbs were white like marble He breathes excitedly. It matched *perfectly* with what I know from other accounts! It was amazing.
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Hey! Thats rude!
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: How could she? Who imagines this? She didnt *know* about the phasmid. This is the main thing here, what makes it a confirmed sightingshe had no previous knowledge of the insect.
LOGIC: [Medium: Success] So she couldnt have made it up. Or imagined it.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: Thats true, yes. Im almost certain neither my mother nor my grandmother knew of it. It was only when I started telling my story as a teenager that boys would tell me: Lena She lowers her voice, imitating a boy.
KIM KITSURAGI: I thought it was a wonderful story, maam. He closes his notes and gives her a simple smile.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: Youre welcome, sweetie. I do appreciate the chance to relive it, whenever I get one. It was just she sighs. Such an impossibly sunshiny day. So warm.
We put on the Eight-Eyed Teratorn Tie.
ARIST: [Challenging: Success] Part of you resists the urge to take off the Horrible Necktie, but lets be real: it only ever gave you bad advice, and you never liked the way that thing looked at you.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Hell no, I had no idea. And Im still cross with him to be honest. Its not like him. Hes got his quirks, but dishonestyor disloyaltyare not one of them.
GARY, THE CRYPTOFASCIST: Thanks, the man mutters in the distance. He doesnt dare say more.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: No locusts but no phasmid, either
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Thats not *ideal*, but
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: The old womans face lights up. It just means the Insulindian phasmid is even more clever than we thought!
RHETORIC: [Medium: Success] Shes engaging in a well-known self-deception called motivated reasoning. You should *correct* them.
KIM KITSURAGI: Of course, the detective whispers to himself. More clever
SUGGESTION: [Medium: Success] Youre dealing with a subject near and dear to their hearts. It might behoove you to tread *lightly*.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Yes! The *phantasmodea* picked off the locusts and escaped. This is good news! Though well have to reconsider the design of the traps, make them *more* secure
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: The cryptozoologists face flushes with indignation. Of course we have!
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: Wait, Morell the old woman raises a hand. He may have a point. We have an obligation to rule out other hypotheses
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: His face relaxes. Youre right, dear. Its a fair point. But what other explanation could there be? He turns to you.
INLAND EMPIRE: [Easy: Success] Heartfelt gratitudebut does it feel like closure? What *really* happened?
KIM KITSURAGI: Thank you, its an honour, he says with a straight face, then turns to you. We should probably return to our *main* investigation here. This has been refreshing, but
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: A little hooligan? But what would a *child* want with bugs?
ARIST: [Medium: Success] Is this dude *kidding*?
KIM KITSURAGI: Delinquentsmy favourite. It doesnt sound like its really his favourite.
GARY, THE CRYPTOFASCIST: The man turns to his companions. Well, I see youve got all the help you need. Ill see you tonight at my placelets play Suzerainty but no more field trips for me.
LOGIC: [Easy: Success] After this is your last chance to talk to Gary.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: Really, Gary? The womans voice is a little shaky suddenly. Were *getting* somewhere here. Id love to play Suzerainty, but
GARY, THE CRYPTOFASCIST: Lena, Im sorry, but youre not *getting* anywhere, it was some kids. I know the little mutants around hereleave anything out in the open and theyll steal it. Even if its bugs. He looks at his tea. Morell, its been fun, really. But I need a bath and I have deliveries to handle. When this tea is done, I gotta run.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: No-no. No need to apologize, Gary. Youve been more than helpful. Well have to take a rain check on that game of Suzerainty today thoughwere gonna follow this through.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: He eyes you skeptically. All rightwhat cryptids, precisely? I usually discuss these things with *specialists*, so I dont know what
RHETORIC: [Easy: Success] * we would have to discuss?* he wants to say, but decides against it since youve offered to help.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Theyre not people, reallysome argue that theyre not even animals, as they seem to have evolved directly from trees. He says it in a self-explanatory, everyday manner.
ARIST: [Medium: Success] That sounds dumb.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Gary and I painted an entire groves worth of trees in slow-drying paint. It was a bright lavender colour. I was hoping one of the willow people would get paint on it and not be able to camouflage itself.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: I chased it with a netnot very elegant, but you cant be elegant in the fieldand, well, it was faster than me!
KIM KITSURAGI: A lavender shadow He smirks.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: I know you think we were snacking on funny mushrooms. Its easier to mock someone than to admit that the world might be more interesting than youve imagined. Furthermore, he raises his finger. I am not saying it was a *confirmed* sighting. I am painfully aware of what goes into verifying such things. There is a serious possibility that I saw a squirrel, or a trick of the light. I am my own harshest critic.
ARIST: [Challenging: Success] Thats probably not true.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Confirmed, he replies quickly. Its 100% verified and meets all the standards of an authentic cryptid sighting.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: The woman nods, thoughtfully, while her hands smooth over the plaid covering her knees.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: I see youve been talking about cryptids with Lena, he smiles. The kind green ape is one of her favourites.
EMPATHY: [Medium: Success] A warm wave passes over him. Of course the *kind* green ape is her favourite, he thinks.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: We travelled to South Safre to look for it once. Gary and I got stuck in a rainstorm, though, and had to spend most of our time there in a little village. The search was fabulously unsuccessfulbut the people were very nice. Im glad they didnt understand what Gary was saying about them
EMPATHY: [Medium: Success] Hes a good and loyal man despite his ramblings, the elderly cryptozoologist thinks to himself.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: *Formerly* the most dangerous, yes But do you know the most dangerous *living* cryptid?
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Oh, youre just talking about *humans*. Well, yes, we are quite dangerous, but were hardly cryptids. He corrects his hat and saysas if its the most sensible thing in the world
ARIST: [Medium: Success] This fucking *rules*.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: You cant! Thats what makes it so dreadful and hard to identify.
KIM KITSURAGI: Of course you do.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: The bodies found in the forest are just one piece of physical evidence. Theres moresightings in Vaasa, reaching back *four centuries*. But, of course, nothing satiates the skepticism of
KIM KITSURAGI: A *detective*. He finishes the sentence for him, then his tone turns surprisingly mild. Pardon me, I did not wish to seek conflict. Its simply my training to question things.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: I havent had a chance to travel to *Koko Nur*, no. And I likely never will. The Samarskilt desert region has been embroiled in a small civil war for the last eight years. I fear this mindless barbarism may have wiped out the elusive creature entirely. Sightings of *towering luminosities* have grown rare recently. While they once used to be constant
LOGIC: [Medium: Success] Yes. Sightings of *mirages* are constant. A mirage is a constant phenomenon that people have no time to *report* when a war is going on.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: Oh, everyone knows about that one, thanks to professor Mijanou being the talk of the town for a time He coughs in his fist.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: A flightless *cursor owl* found in the Semenine isles. Its long legs permit the Nnong Okk to run faster than any other avian, perhaps any other *animal*, who knows? When its not hunting its prey in this manner, the Okk hangs from tree branches, like a bat, waiting to dive on hapless prey below, on the jungle floor.
MORELL, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: No offense, officer, but Im not much of a *pedagogue*I dont know what I wouldve done if Lena hadnt persuaded me to go back to field research. You should ask her, if you want interesting stories. MeIm not a peoples person, unless you havent noticed. And I dont make a good lecturer. My strength lies in field work and *persistence.* He brushes an errant strand of hair from his eye.
ARIST: [Medium: Success] Oh, you *absolutely* noticed he wasnt a people person.
COMPOSURE: [Challenging: Success] This is a gruff man whos been ridiculed too many times to feel comfortable talking about whats dearest to his hear. Its in his shoulders, his face, his everything.
LENA, THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WIFE: Be friendly, dear, the woman says. The detective really likes these critters, weve talked about them in great *detail*.
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Looks like youve exhausted this racist. Better find another.
GARTE, THE CAFETERIA MANAGER: No, you *dont*. Its not happening.
COMPOSURE: [Medium: Success] He tries not to look at youits dangerous to *acknowledge* the karaoke man.
AUTHORITY: [Medium: Success] This is the look of a man whos *defeated*. He knows hes out of excuses.
PERCEPTION (HEARING): [Medium: Success] Im having it uninstalled, he mumbles to himself.
ARIST: [Formidable: Success] When you look back over at Gary, Lena, and Morell, theyve all left during your conversation with Garte. The Hardie boys have vacated their booth as well. Perhaps they overheard the word karaoke and decided to split
ARIST: [Medium: Success] Hell yeah! Get up on that stage! Actually now that youre up here, these lights are really bright. Bright and hot. Oh god, what are you doing?
SAVOIR FAIRE: [Easy: Success] You feel a little dizzy. A little *unsteady*, suddenly.
KARAOKE STAND: Immediately a loud feedback noise startles the room. You feel like an amateur. How are you supposed to hold the mic? Should you just *sing* into it? Where should you stand?
KARAOKE STAND: The bar is full and buzzing with chatter. No one is paying you any attention, but still you feel your knees turn to noodles. Okay, now a couple is looking at you! Even worse
Smallest Church in Saint-Saëns (Watch this)
ARIST: [Easy: Success] The noise emanating from your throat more closely resembles a dying animals desperate cries than anything that could be called singing.
KARAOKE STAND: Your words echo in the karaoke mic. People talk in the distance. A couple tries not to look at you.
ARIST: [Legendary: Failure] Oh fuck, ghost!!!!!!
LOGIC: [Medium: Success] Settle down, he probably came back for his keys or something.
KARAOKE STAND: You hearor *think* you hearuncomfortable shifting around. A bit of laughter, maybe? No ones saying anything.
GARTE, THE CAFETERIA MANAGER: Thats it, Im unplugging it. He presses top on the tape carousel. You hear a little whine of feedback and then the mic dies in your hand.
INTERFACING: [Medium: Success] Thats it. Youre unpowered.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: [Easy: Success] I mean it, he thinks.
ARIST: [Challenging: Success] You and Kim youre connected through time and space, by an unbreakable bond of cop-hood.
Sweet, sounds dope.
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Go get the dirt on those locusts from Cuno.
CUNO: No. Cuno doesnt give a fuck about bugs.
RHETORIC: [Medium: Success] So he knows locusts are bugs.
CUNOESSE: Oh my god. The little one seems distraught. I told you that shit is lame!
CUNO: Shut up, C!
CUNOESSE: Now theyre gonna take you to lame-prison!
CUNOESEE: Deny everything, Cuno! You need to lawyer up!
KIM KITSURAGI: Well, detective, it appears youve solved the case The lieutenant looks around, writes something in his notebook, and turns to you
KIM KITSURAGI: If anything, the presence of the locusts points to the oppositethe phasmid did not take the bait from the traps. It was Cuno. The phasmid doesnt exist He shrugs. But what do I know?
ARIST: [Medium: Success] Ignore Kims attempt to spoil the cryptid hunt and go talk to Cuno again.
CUNO: Yeah, he says slowly, meeting your gaze with sullen defiance. Cuno took the bugs. So what?
CUNO: Its not Bug Town, its the *City of Locusts*, he says, enunciating every syllable. Locusts arent just bug-shit. They come out of the sky like a fucking shadow. Shit *descends*.
CUNOESSE: Stoooooop! she wails from behind the fence, then buries her face in her hands.
CUNO: You stop! Its like theyre fucking *night*. Locust City, Night City, City of Rage
CUNOESSE: Cuno, the pig wants to *help* you she moans. Thats how lame it is. Please just dont say youre
CUNO: An *artist*? He pushes his chest out. Maybe I *am* an artist? You hear that everyone, Im a fucking *artist* now.
CUNO: Cuno made Cuno. Cuno says whatever the fuck he wants! There are no rules here, pig. He steps closer I fucking say I when I wanna and Cuno when I wanna. Cunos free. Cunos free to fucking *die*, bitch.
CUNOESSE: OH MY GOD, CUNO! Hes gonna make you totally lame in, like, three seconds! Dont let him, Cuno!
CUNO: Yo, fuck you, C. Cuno can be what Cuno wants to be. Cunos his own man, Cunos *free*! He tears at the buttons of his shirt, trying to rip them open. They dont give way. Cuno made himself into Cuno. Cuno can make himself into *anything*. Cuno can make himself into a *pig* if he wants, Cuno can make himself into a f******t. Cuno doesnt give a shit.
Whatever word that is, it is too long to be the word I would assume it was.
CUNOESSE: Dont make yourself into a pig, Cuno. Youll have to take me away A leaden silence fills the yard.
PERCEPTION (HEARING): [Medium: Success] In it, you hear snow melting, dripping from the eaves. Someone closing a window.
CUNOESSE: I dont believe you! she disappears entirely behind the fence.
CUNO: For once, the boy is lost for words. Hes turned completely red now, with splotches of white beginning to appear across his face.
AUTHORITY: [Medium: Success] Use this momentary confusion to take *control* of the situation.
CUNO: It doesnt mean anything. Its shit. Cuno just likes to focus. Cuno likes to concentrate on shit, build shit when hes zipping hard. Fuck He turns his face up to the heavens.
CUNO: Huh he mutters to himself.
CUNO: Bitches think Cuno doesnt *know* shit he says angrily. The fuck outta here, Cunos tired of this shit.
COMPOSURE: [Challenging: Success] As you leave, you notice his usual rooster-like swaying posture has changed, slowed down. Like clockwork unwinding.
ARIST: [Medium: Success] Dont stop to think about the rift you just created between them. To the motor carriage!
ALICE: Im afraid theyre closed. It says here that the library is open from 10 AM to 6 PM.
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Wait that doesnt match the hours on the library card! It said 9 to 18! Not that that would have helped you!
KIM KITSURAGI: We should try again during business hours.
ALICE: One moment You can hear her shuffling through some papers.
KIM KITSURAGI: We suspect he might have been inebriated when he fellthere were bottles all around him, and traces of vomit on his shirt.
ALICE: No field autopsy necessary she repeats.
PERCEPTION (HEARING): [Medium: Success] You can hear her quickly typing in the background.
ALICE: I have assigned the case to lieutenant Kim Kitsuragi. Please follow up on this library lead to identify the man. Well send someone to take the body to the morgue.
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Now, we head back west, near the Capeside Apartments, to see Joyce. We have garbage to scour and questions to ask!
JOYCE MESSIER: Word has travelled, yes, but nothing of real substance has surfaced yet, I gather? She smiles, then explains: Wild Pines has eyes on the intersectionbut not ears.
VISUAL CALCULUS: [Medium: Success] One of the tall buildings overlooking the roundaboutit would give them a read on the entire quarter.
JOYCE MESSIER: By love, you did! She inspects the piece of blue plastic, her eyes scanning from left to right.
COMPOSURE: [Medium: Success] Fast, observantly. Like an electronic printer.
LOGIC: [Challenging: Success] She is memorizing your badge number.
JOYCE MESSIER: She hands it back to you. Pleased to meet you, Lieutenant double-yefreitor Du Bois. I am glad to see a man of high qualificationthe situation is precarious. Seaweed drips from the badge in your hand. It smells of fish. What can I help you with, lieutenant-yefreitor?
KIM KITSURAGI: How about you share your information on the lynchingnow that youve seen his badge.
JOYCE MESSIER: The goal posts have moved, lieutenant. In the absence of the badge I have informed my employer there will be a probe.
ARIST: [Medium: Success] God, youre just getting played by all sides in this, arent you?
JOYCE MESSIER: She shakes her head vigorously. My plan is to share information. The only way to do that *now* is by telling my employers youve kept your end. Which I hope you will, because let me tell you: we are in *dire* waters.
RHETORIC: [Medium: Success] Meaning: the information she has will raise the stakes in this game.
ARIST: [Easy: Success] All right. This is the real shit. Get to it.
JOYCE MESSIER: On the other hand She turns north, to the bombed-out buildings lining the waterfront. Maybe youre right.
EMPATHY: [Challenging: Success] No. The tiny apes are doing all they can to be better. Its not their fault.
JOYCE MESSIER: Those would be the communists. Generally speaking, 40 million people got shot in the head during the World Revolution. But the communiststhey *all* got shot in the head.
EMPATHY: [Medium: Success] Shes not gloating. Its a relieved celebration.
KIM KITSURAGI: It was a kerfuffle all right, the lieutenant mumbles from behind his notes.
JOYCE MESSIER: Oh, lots of people. Even the king got shot in the head, or thrown beneath a horse. Or drowned. Accounts differ. It was unceremonious. She shakes her head. Just as wellhe wasnt actually the king. Just the kings nephew.
JOYCE MESSIER: I prefer the term *risk-averse*. King Guillaume was nobodys foolhe could smell a PR disaster brewing. So he got out alive and his nephew Frissel got shot in his place
JOYCE MESSIER: Liberals are usually middle class people, detective. Or the remaining gentry. The beneficiaries of the pre-revolutionary *arrangement*.
JOYCE MESSIER: They didnt *win* so much as survive. *We* were the last ones standing when the war endedeveryone else got shot in the head, remember?
JOYCE MESSIER: The Coalition of Nations. Graad, Mesque, Vesper, Messina, Oranje and Sur-La-Clefthe armed centre of the world. They landed here and ended the Revolution. It was the *moralist* thing to do.
JOYCE MESSIER: The moralists believe in keeping everything exactly the way it is. They believe in mineral rightsand not shooting people in the head At least not in the same *manner and volume* as the others do. They are the long-standing provisional rulers of Revachol nowthe Coalition Government. This is their Zone of Control. They embolden the RCM with crumbs of the same law they took. Technically speaking*you* are a moralist.
JOYCE MESSIER: The Turn-of-the-Century Revolution? She smiles, mischievously. Dont answer itits a trick question.
JOYCE MESSIER: Why, you and I, officer She spreads her arms, raincoat flapping in the wind. Our lives in the Zone of Control.
JOYCE MESSIER: A city state divided into free market zones. Under the *everlasting* interregnum of the Coalition of Nations. And you, of coursethe Citizens Militia.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: [Medium: Success] The clatter of typewriter keys fills the main hall of a re-appropriated Silk MillPrecinct 41. Chad Tillbrook presses ENTER. Outside: Officer *Elfboy* Willians slams the door of an armoured motor carriage
JOYCE MESSIER: Modernity. They developed the marvels of inter-isolary communication, telematic milieus, radiation, coloured plastics. Meanwhile, in Revachol West, the *aftermath* continues for the fifth decade.
JOYCE MESSIER: Ive no right to be dissatisfied, she shakes her head. This shirt is Barbara Muskova. This raincoat is impervious to rain and is guaranteed for a hundred years, my daughters will wear it. No, its just She looks at the crumbling tenements, paint flecking from the stone
JOYCE MESSIER: Good question. She cranes her neck: What would *you* have done differently?
ARIST: [Challenging: Success] Sometimes theres only bad options.
JOYCE MESSIER: Then you would have died, most likely. Not far from heremaybe even *right* here, during the Beachhead, defending the coast the day the Coalition took the city.
SHIVERS: The wind stops, there is silence on the dark water of the Martinaise inlet
PERCEPTION (HEARING): [Medium: Success] A dog barks, a gunshot echoes off the walls of some distant building.
JOYCE MESSIER: They are what they arewho knows, an afterbloom may yet come Anyway, enough sentimentality. Is there anything else you want to know?
JOYCE MESSIER: Its a neurological disorder, caused by a lack of vitamin B in the brain. Symptoms include retrograde amnesia. Its quite seriousyou should get yourself checked out.
EMPATHY: [Medium: Success] She conveys it in short, cold bursts, trying not to invest too deeply in the condition of this doomed detective.
ESPRIT DE CORPS: To his left, his partner Emil Mollins whispers: You heard what happened to Tequila Sunset? In Martinaise? Yes, he lost his mind, Tillbrook answers, finger on the trigger. Dont worry, Emil He pulls on it slowly. Slowly now Hell find it again.
JOYCE MESSIER: Nothing more nor less than the de facto law enforcement body of post-revolutionary Revachol, detective.
KIM KITSURAGI: Yes, the lieutenant steps in to make a gesture encompassing you both: *We* are the Revachol Citizens Militia.
JOYCE MESSIER: The RCMs responsibilities are defined by the Emergency, Wayfarer, and Ailments Actsthree pieces of legislation keeping the city in alets be honestlaissez-faire stasis to the benefit of foreign capital.
JOYCE MESSIER: Theres nothing *basic* about your role, detective. Its true that the RCM keeps everything the way our seemingly *permanent* provisional rulers like it She leans in.
JOYCE MESSIER: The post-revolutionary decade was a disaster for the Coalition Government. Revachol in the Twenties was hell, especially on the west side of the river: gang warfare, a botched privatization scheme, a nuclear pile meltdown They called it the *International Zone*because no nation wanted to claim responsibility. The RCM restored peace where the Coalition failed. A true-blue citizens initiative, she smiles. They will never forgive you.
KIM KITSURAGI: Thats *somewhat* of an exaggeration, the lieutenant interjects. In reality, ours is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Revacholians get to keep the peace in Revachol, and the Coalition doesnt have to worry about it he coughs. Anyway, sorry to intrude. Please continue.
JOYCE MESSIER: Hmh She hums.
JOYCE MESSIER: I am the vilest of the vile, she says with a sudden flash of teeth. A traitor, a devourer of nations and infants I am an Ultra.
JOYCE MESSIER: Yes, she nods slowly. I am the nether creature of the forbidden swamp. I pushed the king under a *shitwagon* and betrayed the Revolution. My kind surrendered the nation to financial colonists I can see you thought wed gone extinct. After all, no sane person identifies as an *ultraliberal* anymore. Not in broad daylight. She looks into your eye. Youre a man of the left, no? Tell menow that Ive *uncoiled* myselfare you repulsed?
EMPATHY: [Easy: Success] In her green eyes you see a mixture of truth and self-satire. Decades of guilt *and* pride.
SUGGESTION: [Medium: Success] Forgive her.
JOYCE MESSIER: Im afraid youll find that *every* woman is a Devil Woman, detective. There are only *aesthetic* differences between one and the other. Honestly she paused. I may have even *preferred* it, had the communards won. Who knows? They might really have built something better. But they didnt, because they lost.
JOYCE MESSIER: With due respect to our overlords, the eternal *caretaker* government that keeps Martinaise a monument to the efficacy of its artillery
SHIVERS: [Medium: Success] While a gentle wind sweeps the streets in the rebuild East, light drizzle washing it clean, lights go up and motor carriages circulate the tracts
JOYCE MESSIER: I would not have relinquished sovereignty to the Coalition. Not here in Martinaiseand not in the Stella Maris or Delta beachheads either. If not for my own sake
COMPOSURE: She realizes her small, cold fists are clenched. She loosens them.
JOYCE MESSIER: the for my daughters. We had an obligation to defend our sovereignty. We should have *burned* the whole isola down rather than let them have it.
JOYCE MESSIER: Yes, I suppose I am. But I wouldnt be a patriot anywhere but here.
JOYCE MESSIER: Ah! She spreads her arms almost as wide. *This* is the pier of Rue de Saint-Ghislaine 33A, where the tenants have been kind enough to rent me a slot
JOYCE MESSIER: A pre-revolutionary tenement. Old buildings are called *tenements*, you see, and new buildings *batiments*, after *les batiments noveau*. But 33A and 33B are not *noveau*, theyre old. She looks up at the crumbling facade
JOYCE MESSIER: Mostly the urban middle class, I believe. This was once *primo* real estate. Before the cannons lopped four or five stories off
PERCEPTION (SIGHT): [Medium: Success] You could be wrongbut from here it appears as it shes running the brush *across* her throat, in a sawing motion.
JOYCE MESSIER: Yesyou and I belong to the supraculture. Were common, the herd. The music on the radio, the food in the chain restaurantthose are all too *popular* for the girl in the old-lady rags.
JOYCE MESSIER: I cant. Thats how simple it is. One may dye their hair green and wear their grandmas coat all they want. Capital has the ability to subsume all critiques into itself. Even those who would *critique* capital end up *reinforcing* it instead
JOYCE MESSIER: What world? The fading pearls of her eyes look to the sea. The only one, I supposethe world of matter and its pale antipode
JOYCE MESSIER: Great bodies of water, forest-covered surfaces clusters of light where the cities lie. Youve seen the montage, we all havethis world is enough, she concludes.
JOYCE MESSIER: Not in this case, no. That sounds more like something the Mesque petrofascists might say Her gaze wanders.
ENCYLCOPEDIA: [Medium: Success] The Confederate Republic of Mesquethe worlds largest state by territoryhas fallen into an especially nihilistic strain of nationalism lately.
JOYCE MESSIER: Thats looking less and less likely, detective. You wouldnt know it from the tabloids, but the ORG nations have been launching weather balloons into the lower ionosphere since the thirties.
ENCYCLOPEDIA: [Trivial: Success] ORG: Occident-Revachol-Graad.
JOYCE MESSIER: Yes. She pauses. Pale covers 72 % of the surface. There are grey flares and prominences, even arcs above entire isolas The images are blurry, but if there was a sphere in there it certainly looks like it fractured a long time ago.
ARIST: [Medium: Success] Youve stopped breathing at some point. Just just relax. Its all gonna be fine
JOYCE MESSIER: They say there is a rarefied envelope of matter surrounding the darkened disc of our planet. That is, if we are still living on a planet. Or, to speak more plainly, imagine vast swathes of land disrupted by nothingness. I am sorry, dear, she looks around. It must sound quite terrifying through the acute encephalopathy. Even scientific positivism isnt entirely convinced about what were dealing with here
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Its crazy. Shes crazy. Dont listen to her, shes clearly completely out of her fucking gourd.
JOYCE MESSIER: You have mis-imagined it. I dont have the power to convey to you the effect and geometry of the images that depict our world from below low orbit. Its
SHIVERS: [Medium: Success] The cold seeps into you. The air is heavy with 80% humidity.
INLAND EMPIRE: [Easy: Success] Suddenly youre conscious of yourself standing there, on whatever this all is. Your arms hang down by your sides.
JOYCE MESSIER: The pale is not, technically speaking, part of *reality*
AUTHORITY: [Medium: Success] His voice is low, but firm. All she can say is
ARIST: [Easy: Success] No! Dont let Kim stop this! Find out more, you have to find out more!
JOYCE MESSIER: I dont think your colleague would appreciate thathe has already been so patient with this whole exercise.
ARIST: [Medium: Success] Sorry Kim, but this is something we *have* to know.
Oh, come on!
ARIST: [Easy: Success] Left hanging on the mystery of the pale, your mind is reeling.