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In Their Shadow - City of Shadows

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Summary: Parallel story to In Their Shadow, covering events on Earth

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Sci-Fi > Night's Dawn Trilogy, TheSmegheadFR151642,158075,80413 Jan 0413 Jan 04Yes

Evil Afoot

In Their Shadow - City of Shadows

Author: Bobby Cox

Disclaimer: Some of the characters are mine. Some aren't. The 'verse in which this is set, however, belongs to Peter F. Hamilton (the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy 'verse). There may or may not be characters and situations belonging to ME productions and the team that writes Buffy. I'm just covering my arse there. No money will be made from this, but if someone *thinks* it's good enough to make money, I'd be flattered :)

Summary: This is a parallel story to 'In Their Shadow' by rei_ite (and later on, myself), and provides back-story for Xander's activities on Earth. Basically, vampires and the Light Bringer sect - a Satanic cult (no, really!) - are starting to bump heads with each other in the Downtown section of the Los Angeles arcology. Normally, the authorities wouldn't pay too much attention to something like this.

However, when the fighting spills over to the Uptown sections...

Authors Note: To anyone who hasn't read the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy, there will be some confusion generated with all the mentions of nanonics, affinity, habitats, Adamists, Edenists, arcologies, etc. I'm thinking about hacking together a (relatively) short guide to the NDverse. But I'm going to *have* to put in a brief note here about arcologies.

'The complete collapse of Earth's environment at the end of the 21st century was caused by the ludicrous amounts of waste heat pumped into the atmosphere by the newly-industrialised Third World, and spaceplanes aerobraking as they returned from the burgeoning O'Neill Halo and the Jovian Helium-3 mining operations adding even more heat to an already catastrophic situation.

'This led to the birth of storms that made the so-called 'superstorms' of the early 21st century look like a light breeze in comparison. Chaos Theory had produced the pop-culture reference (not entirely factual, but not without a grain of truth) that a single butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon rainforest can cause a storm on the other side of the world. After the first mega-storm, a news presenter made the comment that that storm must have been caused by a whole armada of butterflies flapping their wings. The name stuck, and the armada storm was born.

'Earth's population had no choice - they had to relocate to somewhere that could be protected from the newly amok elements. Cities were the obvious choice, and armour-crystal domes designed to withstand the high winds and massive downpours of rain generated by the armada storms started to appear, with London being the first.

'By the start of the 27th century, Earth's population - depending on who you asked - was either fast approaching the 40 billion mark, or had passed it. This meant that some arcologies were home to more people than had lived in that country at the start of the 21st century. The London arcology, for example, was home to an estimated quarter of a billion people, while three hundred million lived in New York.'

AN2: The follwing text formats will be used for datavises and affinity:

Affinity will be represented as such: Affinity

Datavises will be represented as such:{Datavise}

Chapter 1

'The thirteenth of May 2452, was a Friday. Superstitious people claimed the bad luck inherent on a Black Friday explained the events of that day, for on that day, disaster struck the Los Angeles arcology, not once, but twice.

'The first disaster was an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude. Measuring 9.8 on the Richter scale, the quake flattened Domes Six and Eight, resulting in the loss of millions of lives as entire residential and commercial towers were brought down by the tremors or by falling debris from the domes. Tens of millions were injured and trapped under the rubble, and a frantic rescue effort, with assistance from the San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, New York and Washington arcologies and the O'Neill Halo, was launched.

'The rescue efforts had to be called off a few hours later, however, when the second disaster of an already black day struck. An armada storm had been detected, and it was bearing down on the battered arcology.

'When the storm hit, it piled tragedy on tragedy. Three more domes, Domes Five, Seven and Nine, had been weakened by the quake to such an extent that the armada storm brought those domes down as well.

'Even to this day, the death toll from the quake and the storm is unknown. But estimates range from fifty million to one hundred and ten million. It was certain that there had been very few, if any, survivors from the destroyed domes, but what was uncertain was the number of casualties in the remainder of the arcology.

'Determined not to suffer such a disaster again, the Los Angeles Municipal Authority decided to shift the geographic centre of the arcology to the north and east, away from the San Andreas Fault.

'By the start of the 27th century, the centre of the arcology had been shifted by two hundred kilometres ... the newest dome, Dome Thirteen, was situated on the former site of the small town of Sunnydale.'

- From 'A Brief History of the Los Angeles arcology' (2613)
Govcentral State of North America archives

Dome Thirteen (Sunnydale Dome)

Los Angeles arcology

27th May 2614

Fear. Fear was the key.

Acolyte of the Light Bringer Luka Cormarthen reflected on fear as he patrolled the Downtown districts of the Sunnydale Dome. He was able to do this without worrying unduly about lack of concentration, as threat-analysis and peripheral-motion programs were both in primary mode in his neural nanonics, and would let him know if there was anything suspicious in the area.

The High Magus of the arcology imposes his will on the Magi of the domes through controlled fear. The Magi impose their will on the Senior Acolytes through controlled fear. The Senior Acolytes impose their will on the Sergeant Acolytes through controlled fear. The Sergeant Acolytes impose their will on the Acolytes through controlled fear. And we scare non-sect members into giving us what we want. Control fear, and you control a lot.

But something was making the Magus of the dome experience, not fear exactly, but worry and a little concern. Acolytes and Sergeant Acolytes had started disappearing, some while carrying out their assigned tasks, and others had just... vanished.

For a while, desertion had been suspected. But some of the latest disappearances had been of sect members who had been amongst the most dedicated. Some of them had been about to be promoted further up the sect hierarchy, which made it unlikely that they would desert.

Then a few bodies had been discovered, with their throats torn out. Blame had immediately settled on a nearby gang who used cosmetic adaptation packages to make themselves look like vampires. Which wasn't a bad idea, on reflection. To make yourself look like one of the most feared things in human legend had to be useful. And the fangs would probably make effective and nasty close-quarters weapons.

Several of the more aggressive acolytes - Luka among them - had wanted to break out the heavy weapons and sort the gang out once and for all. The Magus had not been impressed.

"God's Brother, just how stupid are you people?" he'd roared when the idea had been first brought up. "We don't do anything until we find out more about this gang. Information is how God's Brother wins His wars."

But he had authorised the issue of hand weapons - TIP pistols and rifles mainly, along with maser carbines - and heavy-duty communication blocks, and ordered information-gathering patrols. This had cheered up some of the aggressive acolytes - after all, there might be the chance to inflict grievous bodily harm on a few members of the 'vampire' gang.

Suddenly, neuroiconic warnings flashed red in Luka's display, cutting off his optimistic thoughts of violence. The peripheral-motion program had picked up something, and his threat-analysis program had flagged it as a potential threat.

Drawing his TIP pistol, Luka spun to his right and saw...

A heavily distorted face, with ridges on the forehead, glowing yellow eyes and long, sharp fangs. Luka grinned to himself. He'd obviously run into a member of the 'vampire' gang. Pointing his pistol, he snarled, "Alright asshole, you're coming with me. There are a few people who want to ask you some questions. One wrong move and I slice you in half."

The gang member just smiled and began walking towards Luca. As he approached, Luca was startled to recognise him. He was one of the missing acolytes, Steve! And to think he had about to have been promoted to Sergeant Acolyte...

Luka's mind whirled with confusion. Some of the missing acolytes had betrayed God's Brother, and had gone over to the 'vampire' gang. Well, it would explain the near-surgical way that some of the others had been grabbed. This was information worth taking back to the Magus, and might even earn him a promotion to Sergeant Acolyte...

Luka was brought back to reality when his threat-analysis program started going berserk. "I'm warning you, dickhead. One step closer and you become crispy-fried."

If anything, Steve's grin became wider.

Fuck this, Luka thought and pulled the trigger. The TIP pistol buzzed as it sent fifty thermal pulses towards...

The empty space where Steve used to be standing. He'd dodged out of the way so quickly that Luka hadn't even seen him move.

What the fuck? No way was that possible, unless he's got a boosted muscle system! Cosmetic packages and boosted muscle implants? That's some heavy shit.

Luka adjusted his aim to where Steve now was closing at an even faster rate. He pulled the trigger again and held it down for a sustained burst, wiggling the muzzle slightly to cover a greater area.

Five hundred pulses laced an area of about three square metres... and, once again, missed completely as Steve flattened himself below the incoming thermal pulses, before picking himself up and charging at an impossibly fast rate.

Thoroughly panicked now, Luka simply held in the trigger and sprayed pulses almost at random, desperate to even come close to the charging Steve, who ducked and weaved at that same impossibly fast rate, causing every shot to miss.

The TIP pistol bleeped as the power cell ran dry. Without a thought, Luka dropped it and went for the fission blade clipped to his belt. Too slow.

Steve grabbed the wrist of the hand holding the knife and squeezed. A sickening crunch and a burst of pain - quickly cut off as Luka's neural nanonics erected axon blocks on the nerves in his lower arm - announced that his right wrist had been crushed, and the fission blade fell from suddenly nerveless fingers.

I'm fucked, Luka thought as Steve adjusted his grip and bent Luka's head back to expose his neck.

God's Brother, help me! was Luka's final thought as he felt something rip into his throat.
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