An Excerpt from Arcana Aeternum

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The Short Bit where Virgil Freaks Out

This Primus has made a task of correlating the comings and goings of Nikki Starr 3415, Wadjet 3598, and _untitled 3384, here documented. Certain facts have been omitted by right of artistic license as granted by Consulate bill 6F2m04. Other facts have been omitted in accordance with Consulate bill 0000a3. While an understandable degree of unavoidable ambiguity has been created by these omissions, no facts have been fabricated or purposefully miss-represented except to comply with the aforementioned bill.

On an unrelated note: The Eco Shell itself, and other systems like it, are considered class eight planetoids, categorized by the inhabitants being a space faring species. The policy for hailing another class eight planetoid is to call an assembly of the Consulate to meet with the Primus while it attempts contact. There are three known non-humanoid space faring species, one of which is to be avoided due to their record of hostility.

Much like a single-celled organism’s process of mitosis, the Eco Shell will occasionally schism into two separate Shells. This has happened not only in the spirit of continuation of the species, but in order to end an insoluble dispute among the populace.

An interesting observation was made when two Shells managed to find each other after some time apart. Despite the fact that a Shell’s drive system is not built to propel the Shell at anything near light speed, the two Shells’ time clocks were displaced by years. It is due to this observation that it has been decided that we cannot accurately determine the Earth-relative or absolute time.

The Short Bit where Virgil Freaks Out

Virgil! Virgil! What the hell are we doing?” Wadjet hung loosely from the collar of the frantic man’s shirt, legs and tail swinging freely. When the lights first went out, Virgil’s whole body simply tensed, but when the emergency lights flicked on to the sight of men in black suits bursting through the side doors, he grabbed the flimsy catering table and heaved it over, tossing heaps of fruit to scatter across the floor before bolting for a set of stairs to the area below the stage.

The thunder of a thousand footfalls upon the stage above made it impossible for Virgil to have heard Wadjet’s wailing. Leaping over crates of set dressings, and taking hairpin corners through dark and narrow passages, Virgil gave no indication as to what he was doing aside from running away. It was only once the man pried open an access panel and shut down the emergency power that it occurred to her that he had this sort of escape planned out ahead of time. Virgil then slipped into a duct, where the sounds of the stage were muffled.

“Good god!” Virgil gasped, “I didn’t expect them to come after us so soon.”

Wadjet took this opportunity to clamber back to a more supported position on the man’s shoulders. “You mean those suited guys? What are we going to do? Turning out the lights won’t slow them down, they’ve all probably got network tracking, or heat vision, or laser x-ray eyes, or something even more crazy. What are we gonna do?”

“Calm down girl, I’ve got this under control.” Virgil continued through the ductwork. “We won’t show up on the network tracking if we keep off the network—don’t make any queries—I don’t even think you’re outfitted to access the network, so yeah, at least you should be good on that point. Heat vision shouldn’t see us through so many walls, and laser x-ray eyes don’t exist. Did I cover everything? Yes, yeah, uhm... right now- what we’re doing here is, well, I’m getting us away from here. We’re going to book it. Get out of dodge. I’ve got a warehouse in another spoke we can hide out in until I can contact a friend.”

Wadjet squeezed in close and shivered gently. “Virgil, I’m scared.”

The man opened an access panel and stepped out into a crowded hall, transitioning, without breaking stride, into a casual gait. “We’ll be alright, girl. I’ve got this.”

The atmosphere in the hallway was calm. No one outside of the auditorium was aware, yet, of the pandemonium occurring inside. Most folks were simply going about their daily business of shopping or delivery. One woman was jogging in a thin spandex suit, likely a professional runner. The suit was riddled with the logos of sponsors and she ran on the wrong lane of the tractors (the tread lanes that moved lazy folks along automatically.) She seemed to be doing so just to draw that much more attention. She was either very proud of her body or very desperate for cash. Either way, she steadily paced Virgil, making a show of every powerful stroke of her legs.

“The thirty-floor express is on the floor below.” Virgil muttered, breaking the easily-distracted lizard from her train of thought. He pulled his little pad from his breast pocket to check the time, avoiding the direct access to the net he could have through his implant. “It should be at the platform in five minutes... at the most." Virgil nodded to himself as if doing so made things more official. "No- or rather yes, but... anyway, I think we ought to make a detour. There’s a component we will need which can be fetched at a place between here and there—very important if you’re going to have any amount of independence. Nice little shop, though we may have to- yes, I think we may have to acquire the part... in a less than conventional manner. On the down low. Under the table? We’ll have to steal it, I mean.”
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