Arcadia, Volume One: Trials And Testimonies

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The Arcadia Series is the sordid saga of blood and dust, concerning the Either, a cosmic force that ties a group of unexpected heroes together, including Oswald Harbinger, a rogue vigilante, Anna Sterling, a dogged FBI agent, and Roland Lane, a powerful teen. Joining the fight alongside them is Edward Culligan, a psychologist with a dark secret, and Vayentha Masrani, the daughter of a mentally-ill billionaire. As strife and stress drives a deep chasm within their fractured alliance, they must fight against a rising tide that threatens to consume the world.

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Chapter 1

Chapter One

The Transcript

This document was released to the public circa the Freedom Of Information act following the calamitous events at Edward’s Island.

The Battle of Edward’s Island, which claimed dozens of American lives, continues to ring true throughout the world today. The Commission wishes to honor the massive loss of life and inform the public of the invisible force that acted as a catalyst for this tragedy.

Is it friend or foe? Here to harm us, or help us? What is it? Someone, or something, must pay for the events on the island, and the monstrosities that now lurk our in world, both visible and microscopic.

Welcome to the 2019 Commission for the Future of the Aether.

The trial has begun.

Chapter Two

The Proceedings Begin

Justice Daniels: We will now take attendance. Justices, when I call your name, please rise, and state your attendance.

Justice Daniels: Justice Timberlake?

Justice Timberlake: Present.

Justice Daniels: Justice Kaufman?

Justice Kaufman: Present

Justice Daniels: Justice Larson?

Justice Larson: Present.

Justice Daniels: Justice Faulkner?

Justice Faulkner: Present.

Justice Daniels: Justice Grove?

Justice Grove: Present.

Justice Daniels: Finally, Justice Yancey?

Justice Yancey: Present.

Justice Daniels: You may be seated.

Justice Timberlake: Thank you, Justice Daniels. I will now begin calling witnesses to the stand. When I call your name, please rise and comply with my instructions.


Justice Timberlake: Edward Culligan, please rise.

(Edward stands.)

Justice Timberlake: Mr. Culligan, place your left hand on the Bible and raise your right hand. Now, Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Edward: I do.

Justice Timberlake: Good. Justice Kaufman?

Justice Kaufman: Thank you. Edward, I’ve been told that you are an expert in the science of the Either.

Edward: That is correct.

Justice Kaufman: And you’re a psychologist as well?

Edward: That is correct.

Justice Kaufman: As well as a hotelier?

Edward: That is also correct. I own the Arcadia Hotel in Arcadia, Oregon.

Justice Kaufman: Quite the mixed bag.

Edward: Indeed.

Justice Kaufman: But you’re not associated with Edward’s Island?

Edward: Funny naming coincidence. I’ve been there before, but we’re not related in any other way.

Justice Kaufman: Odd. On another note, Edward, what can you tell us about the Either?

Edward: Is this an inquiry or a testimony?

Justice Kaufman: This is a commission, Mr. Culligan, not Judge Judy. We are here to learn about the Either. Nothing you say will be held against you.

Edward: I see. In that case, allow me to begin.

Chapter Three

What Is The Either?


Edward Culligan’s Testimony:

What is the Either?


“Well, to start, let’s consider the Bible. Massive floods. Rivers turn to blood. Swarms of gnats filled with disease. Men like giants and angels everywhere. The Bible is likely the earliest recorded manuscript detailing the Either. Now, let’s fast-forward a bit to ancient Viking cities in Greenland. How did ancient peoples lift their broken longboats onto the high cliffs? They couldn’t have possibly done this themselves. All throughout history, the Either has been by our side.”


“But how does the Either work, you might ask? Well, the Either is actually a simple name for a complex system. We can distill it down to a series of microscopic strands of carbon, radon, and argon.”


“Like how ozone conducts and collects electricity, causing lightning, this compound naturally draws rogue particles of energy from the world around us. Certain people have extremely high counts of this material within their bloodstream, for reasons science still doesn’t understand.”


“When a person has high levels of this compound in their bloodstream, they are able to manipulate energy to their will. Light and heat are only the start. Some users, if powerful enough, can summon suits of armor and weapons from thin air, splitting atoms and reshaping them at will.”


“However, it is not without its pitfalls. The Either compound is highly toxic, and its presence can throw the body’s circadian rhythm out of balance and lead to problems with blood acidity. Long-term Either users report kidney stones, liver problems, and some major intestinal blockages. The presence of the compound in certain amounts can cause cytokine storms in some users, which is massive immune response in which the body attacks itself. Finally, there is one other, deadlier, scarier possibility. This is called the Culligan Differential.”


“Named after my family line, the Culligan Differential is a mark on a psychological scale. If your power level reaches higher above your control, you have passed the Culligan Differential.”


“Those who lose control over their power slowly descend into madness. People lose their sense of taste and smell. Hallucinations, auditory and then visual, are bookended by psychosis and paranoia. Blindness and deafness follows, and then neurons inside the brain cease proper function. The frontal/temporal lobe, which controls empathy and emotion, shrivels and shrinks. In the series of a few months, the person you once knew is a shell.”


“I understand, firsthand, the damage that the Culligan Differential can wreak.”


“I grew up in a 4-sibling family. Mel, the youngest, Jack the second-youngest, Vivian, and myself, the oldest. Just as the US Army was beginning to realize the existence of the Either, in the wake of the MKUltra project, my parents married.”


“My father, a successful hotelier, married into my mother’s cosmetics empire. We were raised in the now-destroyed town of Arcadia, Oregon, at the feet of one of the country’s biggest cosmetics factories. Today, after extensive research, I have deduced that prolonged exposure to these chemicals gave my mother similar qualities to a barrel of chemical waste, which would later gift her with multiple, lethal, fast-acting cancers.


She passed in the summer of 1983, when I was 14.”


“My father raised us alone from that day forward. Later that year, all four of us realized that we had the Either. A new field of research populated mostly by delusional firebrands, there was very little information available to us. We fancied ourselves heroes with superpowers.”


“After my mother’s death, we retreated into our own fantasy lives, but the grief was too much for my father. He committed suicide.”


“The week after, Jack passed the Culligan Differential.”


“1987. Mel was 12 at the time, Vivian 14, Jack 15 and I was 17. A little while later, Vivian passed the Differential as well, and I struggled to protect Mel. My friends, Luna and Daniel, helped me to contain Vivian, but not Jack. Nobody could stop Jack.”


“On prom night, he set a firebomb at the Arcadia cosmetics factory.”


“The next morning, we found him at the scene.”


“He was eating.”


“Strangely complacent, he allowed us to lead him back to his room at the manor, which we had already fitted with dozens of padlocks. The windows boarded, his room was a prison.


“Vivian spent every day in a ball, rocking back and forth on the floor, while Jack scratched our names into the walls. Edward, Mel, Viv, Jack. Edward, Mel, Viv, Jack. When we stopped bringing him silverware, and took everything sharp from his room, his fingernails became nubs and his walls incomprehensible.


Over and over, he wrote a word. Crimson. I still don’t understand why.”


Daniel’s father, the mayor, would become Governor Of Oregon. In 2009, when his father died, Daniel followed in his footsteps.”


“Luna, Daniel and I parted ways the following year. We headed off to separate colleges, but Luna returned to Arcadia, working as an accountant at the company office.”


Daniel’s father, the mayor, would become Governor Of Oregon. When his father died, Daniel followed in his footsteps.”


In 1997, I returned to Arcadia as well. After a getting an expensive degree in psychology, I began renting out the bungalows that my father owned on the property. Living on the bungalow income, Luna and I researched Jack and Vivian. Five years later, in 2002, we married. Our son, Roland, was born in 2004.


“I didn’t use the Either for years, and neither did Mel. Nobody worried about Jack and Vivian. They were contained at Culligan Manor. I should have seen that there was a storm on the horizon. All along, I didn’t respect the power.”


“Now I do.”

In next week's installment of Arcadia, three new characters begin their testimonies - Oswald Harbinger, Anna Sterling, and Roland Lane. What will happen when a rogue vigilante, a dogged FBI agent, and a powerful teen collide?

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