Monday, 1 November 2010


"Jungarw," Reg said slowly, her lips snarling out the syllables, "is a new build nothing northern glacial lake mineral fuck. An MCM self-assembly job. Do you know how they run the glacial lake mineral fucks up there?"
"Of course," Val said, bluffing and shifting his gaze to the shifting gallery images of Esplinade Chronicle front pages throughout history flashing across the antique rectangular gizmo affixed to the wall of Reg's office. "I studied the whole history at Fleet."
"Fleet," Reg chuckled mirthlessly, "Fleet is a flea circus mockery of the operation they use in places like Jungarw. You're the journalist, look it up."

Val said nothing. He knew damn well what Jungarw was. He'd taken MCM's direct training programme and devoured everything he could lay his hands on. He hadn't made the cut, that's why he was out here in God forsaken Esplinade, living twelve stories below sunrise.

He left across the office and strolled across the sparsity of the newsroom and flashed a smile at Tre as she accepted the incoming.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Abe sat soaking up sun-rays as he sucked a Sweet Stick on Strawberry Lawn, a non-descript patch strewn with Sweet Stands amongst the grassy metropolis of the park. The pink of the grass and creme of the sky grew more distinct as Abe sucked the Stick, growing ever less aware of the couple of thousand people scattered intermittently across the huge expanse of Strawberry Lawn.

"Mind if I join you friend?" said a disembodied voice.

Abe looked up in reverence at the curls and goatee that accompanied the voice - a pale skinny guy clutching a Sweet Stick that had been sucked down into a nub.

"Sit," Abe said after several dozen awkward seconds, he trying to comprehend the visitor, the visitor beyond all comprehension.

Half-clumsily and half-robotically, the visitor coiled his body and crumbled into a seated position on the grass. He gave Abe his hand: "Tel."
Abe touched the palm of his right hand to Tel's open right palm: "Abe."
Both hands instantly folded into fists and bumped each other.
"Teleborian Avivalaraza."
"Abraham Alexander."
Their hands disconnected and lolled to the grass as the new found friends surveyed each other.
"I work at the Stateler. I've been in Espliande for four years out of a fifteen year contract. I originally come from Old Hambria."
"I'm a mainlander," Abe said slowly.
Three were customary. Tel didn't know Abe, didn't know what he was coming from, wouldn't who to tell even if he were inclined to. But what of an APB? What if he'd aroused suspicion? Abe was about to launch into lies, Tel's glazed eyes glaring with the blissful non-thought of trained expectation. "I've been in Esplinade less than 24 hours." Tel already knew his name, what point would there be in embarking on deception at this point? "I'm from Jungarw."
"Jungarw?" Tel said, his glazed eyes suddenly betraying some spark of recognition.

Monday, 27 September 2010


"I don't get it," Bub sighed, finally yielding to Mod's respectful silence. "I've dealt with some real fuck artists in my time. Psycho-schizo Rembrandts. Hackers. Slashers. Carvers. I've had some walk into an interview thinking they're Mo-fuckin'-hamed. Regular fucking prophets. I've seen fear, incredulity, anger, the whole gamut of human fuckin' emotion in that interview room. What I ain't never seen is someone just..."
"Blank." Mod completed his sentence. Bub looked at her thoughtfully.
"Blank. Yeah. Nothing there. No humanity. The sickest bastards that've ever lived are more often than not more human than anyone. This fuck... he's nothing. Literally nothing. Like a ghost of a dream of fuckin' nothing."

They sat in The Park in silence for a few minutes, further contemplating the greenery.

"You wanna get a 'lucidator?" Bub said suddenly.
"Sure," Mod replied. She didn't, but she felt obliged to ease her superiors anxiety by any means possible.

They strolled along the grass and soon found themselves near one of the many big cat enclosures. Bub strolled towards the bars and Mod followed. The cage contained lemas - squat powerful spotted things, a dozen of them, half yellow with big black splotches, the other half black with big yellow splotches. They were lazing in the sun. A few animal carcasses lay around their enclosure, stripped to the bone. The lemas were relaxed and full.

"Look at these things," Bub said thoughtfully, "killing machines. They don't know what they're doing. They play with their prey, make 'em suffer, but they don't have any understanding of what the prey's feeling. There's no maliciousness to it. Just pure untempered evil. The same that everyone needs to blow off once in a while. What I don't get is how some mute fuckin' Rembtard can bring so much fuckin' chaos to a city so designed to siphon it. Where the fuck did this Abe arsehole spring up from?"
"Jungarw," Mod answered with detached authority.
"Jungarw," Bub repeated thoughtfully. "You ever been mainlanding?"
"Once. A family trip, when I was about eight. We went to Tropanisia."
"Tropanisia," Bub repeated with a smile on his face.
"How about you Bub? You ever go mainlanding?"
"Shit Mod, I'm entering my second century, I've done my fair few stints of mainlanding. Jungarw though, I ain't never been to Jungarw. I don't even know where the fuck that is. I understand it ain't no small place."
"Eight million people," Mod clarified without pause.
"Just the eight fuckin' million huh? What is it, a fishin' village?"
"It's northern," Mod replied, "coastal."
"I've read his rap sheet from up there and it's all so fuckin' M.O.-heavy. What the fuck's a fuck like that doin' flippin' out fuck wild in Esplinade? Shit, I seen clone fucks with more nous to them then that fuck Abraham Alexander."

A significant silence fell upon them as they watch the lemas sleep and purr.

"You don't think..." Mod tentatively suggested.
"I don't think," Bub snarled, suddenly perceiving the state of play. "I know."

Sunday, 12 September 2010


The morning found Abe refreshed as he emerged into the brilliant sunlight of an Esplinade morning. He walked away from the steps at Main Central Avenue 11, thinking of moving on to another district. The slaughter of the armless pig the night before had wiped away all the good that his Maryelle had done for his brain. The Dissociator and his decision to log into a Floater at the Underland Sleep Centere had done their bit to remove the worst of the memory. It was a new dawn and a new day and Abe felt nothing.

Tel emerged from the same point on 11 minutes later. He'd opted for a Herodyssey at the same centere. He'd thoroughly enjoyed the brutality and degradation that the Money Pit had allowed him to inflict on some broken down old Maryelle. He thought for all of a half-second about returning to the Stateler, but quickly decided to spend his last full day of freedom before another 15 and a half day stint in the Contact Centre out in the open air.

Both Abe and Tel settled upon the same destination as they ambled along Main Central Avenue 11, the only destination any right-thinking person would head towards with time to kill on a sunny day upon the roof in Esplinade: they were going to The Park.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


Officers Bub and Mod were growing sick of Abe's non-answers. They stared across the table at the sparsity of his emotionless eyes.
"What do you want?" Bub said in desperation, prompting a searching look from his female colleague.
Abe said nothing. He kept staring straight past the officers at the cold white nothingness of the walls of the interview room. He'd been in custody for long enough to comprehend. He still said nothing. He'd been offered legal consul. He'd said nothing.

For her part, Mod contributed nothing to the interrogation. Her femininity had prompted trust from the most disturbed offenders. Bub would probe and Mod would reinforce esteem. Those were their roles, and long had they worked out just fine. But with Abe - nothing. Just the cold dead stare of a retard.

Mod found herself struggling to comprehend how this incompetent could've plagued Esplinade with such a rampage.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


................some placeless impossible amalgamation..... a tissue of quotations, firing off against the walls of the inside of his own... some mid-20th..... no.... he surveyed the scene, trying to place it, trying to grasp.... desperate to pass to judgment, to attain any kind of.... ..... certainty.. ... ... ... ... . .

It came into focus. The dark starless sky above. The streetlights. The stump-like six-floor 'skyscrapers', little dwellings along the side walk, bright lights strung across all buildings, billboards affixed at every flat orifice. The road running between streets was clogged with six lanes of slow-rolling traffic, three lanes flowing in each direction. The cars were a fairly even match of sharp-angle yellow NY taxi cabs and stately black Ford Model Ts. The streets were thick with glamour - blonde haired ladies with feathers and features as pretty as a Maryelle, but all different, different coloured dresses, different dresses, different facial features.... and men.... white men in top hats, suits, monocles, cigars, waistcoats...... .... some in army uniform, flat khaki uniform, World War style..... .... and black women in plastic clothing fitted tight to the curves of their bodies..... black men with gold and diamonds swinging from their necks, hooded sweatshirts, jeans flowing loose and baggy from well beneath the waist..... and more - Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Iranian...... he tried to place himself: where was this? ....... he wandered the streets and looked, and decided that he must currently be walking through a city located somewhere between the mid 19th and early 21st centuries of the Piscean period.. .

... he without thought entered through a plush gold-lined velvet opening, along a corridor that stretched far from the street, growing narrower towards its end.... the end was breached.... he pushed on..... he moved deeper....... he exited the red and entered into darkness...................

.. he looked up at grainy projection of a cinema screen..... in greyscale, a white man with neat slicked black hair and a thin black moustache talked, and then a pretty white girl with big eyes and curls looked at him from a different angle, the image flickering back and forth between the two of them, words and reaction, words and reaction....... he could hear no sound.......

. he turned around and looked behind him at the expanding darkness.. he felt sudden fear... he didn't know.... could be..... anything in that darkness......... he turned back to the screen..... what screen.... he turned around and around..... he fumbled through the darkness.......... his foot. the first to slip through..... chink of lightness in the floor........ then through bright light he was falling, down from sky, the rooftops of Esplinade floating on the surface of the ocean tens of thousands of feet below...... he hurtled towards oblivion with detached relief..

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Abe felt queasy as he walked along Main Central Avenue 8, away from the Money Pit and the horror of the Designated Activities Areas, focusing on the sanctity of an Underland Sleep Centere. The Dissosciater he'd taken at Mildred's had left him unable to focus with any kind of certainty. All the forlon faces in Mildred's danced about behind his eyes, disconnected from any form or context... he tried to keep his movement in one straight direction..... the sheer bloody regret of their expressions, the sorrow, quickly melted into calm nothingness as they disconnected their burden and left......

He descended the dirty pseudo-steel wrought staircase to the Top Deck, the strung out first level of the mass of floors beneath the roof. He needed solace. As soon as walked a few feet away from the bottom of the staircase he could feel the darkness, despite the solid white hum of the pseduo-lights. People were more spread out down here on the thin streets lined with vendors hawking food and daytime relief to the office workers, all now closed. There were two lit-up wide night vendors at every second intersection. He knew he'd find a sleep centere if he just kept moving. He let the Dissocsiator guide his body there......................

Monday, 30 August 2010


Abraham walked into The Colosseum, its circular insides decorated in the fashion of a multi-leveled Victorian theatre. The whole structure centred itself on the pit in the middle. Abe was on the ground floor. There was one floor above with a balcony looking down at the pit, which was currently shielded from Abe's vision by a chatty, excited crowd, mostly employees from the surrounding businesses. The activities of the three or four higher levels with hidden behind red velvet curtains.

Abe wandered across to a bar. He wasn't sure what to have. Frisky had knocked him for six earlier, made him a jibbering wreck. He'd behaved like a coward and a fool. He wanted something that would make the night more vibrant, but wouldn't snatch his wits away from him. He decided on Ice. He sipped at it slowly and feel it prick the synapses of his brain into calm concentration.

Abe ascended a snaking black metal staircase, one of many dotted about the place. He paid little attention to the other people, groups breezing through easy conversation, guys forcing awkward conversation upon girls, some loving it... Abe found himself paying more and more attention to the people around him as he came to think of it. The women of Esplinade were fascinating creatures.

Lusting at one face after another, Abe moved through the people and towards a view down onto the pit. A punter was waiting to start in against the prey - a bald naked beast with digitless stumps were his arms should be. The concierge handed the punter - a fat, long-haired, greasy behemoth, presumably a technician - the Stunner: a thick plastic baton. More of the crowd drifted towards the front of the second floor balcony as word spread. The bald-headed freak, a third-rate organ clone, had a bloodied noise and a raw red gash amidst heavy purple bruising on the left side of his face. A red-smeared surgical mask obscured the mess that had been made of his mouth. He trembled as the punter stepped forward. The punter took a look at the prey, smiled, then lifted the baton high over his head.


The soft, precision-designed thlunk of Stunner on skull. It was nowhere near full force - the punter was just getting into his swing - but it was enough to knock the prey's head to the left and send the mask floating from his face to the floor. The prey shuffled his feet a little, trying to regain his balance, to a general chorus of whoops and whoos and 'hit him harder faggot' coming from the crowd. The punter shot his eyes around the auditorium, searching for the bitch with the temerity to call him a fucking faggot. Unable to find the culprit, the punter decided upon taking his anger out on that ugly armless clone cunt instead. He took a breath and swung the Stunner up high over his head, ready to pendulum its weight straight through that clone cunt's skull.

The prey leapt forward and bit, clamping his teeth on the punter's nose. He bit and tore a chunk of flesh off, causing the punter to scream in pain and the crowd to collectively gasp. Without hesitation, the prey moved his reddened teeth to the punter's neck, tearing through flesh, trying to bite through the arterty, red jets of blood escaping through the savagery... black-clad security officers moved forward, four of them, wielding machetes and KN11s.

One security officer pulled the prey back and cut his machete quick across his throat, as the other security officers pushed their machetes into either side of the prey's torso, just below the ribcage. The three of them dragged the prey quick to the ground as the fourth security officer dropped to one knee and held his KN11 to the back of the prey's head. Health assistants ran forward to keep the punter on his feet as the KN11 devastated the prey's head.

A chill made its way across the nerve endings of Abe's spinal chord. Esplinade. The After Life.


Tel walked along D Quadruple-A 16 (D.A.A. 16: Designated Activities Area Avenue 16) with pounding heart and empty mind. He shoved his hands into his pockets as he hurried along the street, not wanting to be seen by anyone who might recognize him. What he wanted to do was legal but it wasn't exactly everyone's thing.

He entered Reject Parade, a thin doorway deep at the foot of a set of stairs running in from the street. The doorway had red and green lights shining about its edges. Tel went inside and saw the cages, about thirty of them, around a third occupied. There was one other guy perusing the merchandise. He shot Tel a cool look with nervous blue eyes then turned his attention to the Cleopatra in front of him, sat staring at the wall, eyes half-alive, probably fucked up on Entropy.

Tel looked through the glass paneled cage at a Maryelle, clearly in her late forties, blue eyes staring straight out at Tel. Her face was expressionless. The eyes betrayed nothing human. She was still pretty - her face was only slightly cracked with wrinkles. Tel smiled at her. She suddenly smiled back, super-sweetly, then her face contorted into a scowl of pure hatred. She looked to be chewing the inside of her lip as she glared with soulless evil at Tel. Tel was going to enjoying this.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


When the rain came it came quickly. Abe was sat on the third floor roof terrace at the J. El's. The thin sheets of cover sprung up and uncoiled themselves over patrons quickly. Still, many opted to head inside. Sheltered from the sheets of rain filling the terrace, Abe remained where he was, looking out over the evening bustle of the floor, night descending slowly.

His mind was fixated on Maryelle. Blonde hair, blue eyes, 20th century American model... the Barbie Doll Classic. Espinlade really had it all. The choice was endless. Abe thought about his namesake, that American Licoln. He existed in a world well away from this. What would he make of it? Fuck, what would anyone make of it? Made to order perfection. Esplinade. The After Life.

Someone strolled through the terrace, oblivious to the rain. They spun and fixed their cold eyes upon Abe. Abe froze. Rain blurring his features into an aura of bad news, the guy in the rain reached slowly into his jacket pocket.

Abe took his cue and leapt to his feet. He sprinted through the rain to the wide open doors at the edge of the plush velvet interior. Abe delved inside, the mad man still fumbling for his weapon out on the terrace. Abe glanced back and saw that he was smoking a cigarette. Abe slowed to a walk, ignoring of few stray glances from the other punters as he moved towards the exit.

Minutes later he was out on the street and staring through the crowd, slower now, performance everywhere, trying to filter out the noise and find himself. Esplinade was causing him problems.

Abe walked along Central Avenue 10, letting the weird air of the city waft all about him. He was in no hurry to get anywhere. He carried on through the disjointed gathering and arrived at the edge of Main Central Avenue 11: Money Park.

The thrills and frivolties of seedy Central Avenues, the golden toilet bowl ringing the airport, gave way to the quiet order of Money Park, a team of five or more HK209-wielding Security Partners (official jargon for Esplinadian Pigs) posted outside every premises. Most people were filing out of work at this hour, staggered finish times doing little to quell the silent rush of headset-equipped money makers filtering out of work and on with their lives. Some were filtering straight through cracks into the Great Beneath, the huge multitude of underground levels running deep beneath the roof, housing most of the city's inhabitants. Plenty more were escaping straight into the rooftop entertainment arenas. Abe thought instantly of Main Central Avenue 7: The Money Pit.

The Money Pit was a concession by the governing coalition of corporations profiting in Money Park to the needs of their tens of millions of employees. Arenas there had been given special exemption from Financial Cleansing legislation that barred all 'dark entertainment' from within the confines of Money Park. Abe suddenly noticed that of the workers not heading home, at least half were walking towards The Money Pit.

Amongst them was Tel. He was pounding pavement from the Stateler on Main Central Avenue 9, knowing exactly where his rediscovery of the roof would begin. Tel's mind was entirely focused. He knew what he needed to do.


Esplinade has always had a reputation as the original Sin City. But some sins scream louder than others. Esplinade has just been hit with a howler so loud it's caused tidal waves in Yankara. Yeah, and who gives a fuck right, but let's get it straight and up and out there Esplinadians - Sin City, Live and Let Die, Land of Horrific Fantasy, has fallen victim to one of the grossest abasements of humanity ever to occur.

Abraham Alexander, some weedy little bitch from Jungarw, hath come to our fair city and defiled it. This inglorious cunt hath arrived via air transport, fleeing prosecution for a string of debasements in his native desert land. Yes, they have laws in desert communities, fucking weird isn't it? You'd expect them to be a load of total faggots.

We here at The Esplinade Chronicle are offering you the blow-by-blow dissection of this odious corpse. Full series just 5c.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


- The Contact Centre was an expanse of performance capture gear-clad employees generating avatars for horny punters across the planet and beyond, the long-distance ones coming at a premium. Esplinade was the Contact Centre capital of the known universe. RLE was one of the largest, spanning floors 290 to 308 of the Stateler Building. A room rammed with out of towners in need of a buck.

The horror, Tel thought to himself, staring off at the scramble wall hiding the depraved actions of his colleagues and their avatars. He had to leave it behind him soon.

Tel wondered why he'd stayed so long. Then he remembered: the nightlife. He'd grown up in some forgotten northern nowheresville, cold and safe. Huge human communities were scattered across the snow-swept higher hemisphere. It was the last place on earth humans could carry on with civilization in peace and quiet, without wild animals and weather craziness dragging the population into alienation and discord. That was what was happening across the overpopulated mass of the rest of the earth's surface, billions of creatures slugging it out for survival. That's what was forever threatening to happen here in Esplinade, Tel reminded himself. Exiting the centre of the Contact Centre, Tel chose the stairs over the elevator, then ascended said stairs taking every opportunity to peer through plate glass windows at the massive fall into the free-for-all of the floor. He was so isolated from the noise and craziness of it up here. He hadn't actually ventured down there in... how long had it been now?

His first few months in Esplinade, Tel had gone downstairs and visited the floor every weekend. As time had elapsed, he'd grown content with the in-house amenities at the Stateler. How long had it been? A year? More? Since he'd left the Stateler? Tel stopped suddenly on the 306th, letting the realization sink in. He hadn't been outside in over a year. The thought made him sick. He'd shut himself up in the Stateler building and let it slowly swallow him whole. How much had he saved? Enough, surely. Tel's eyes started to dart rapidly across the populous surface of the floor. He was leaving the Stateler. And not just for the weekend. He was going to go straight home, gather his stuff, hit the floor and go. Tel smiled softly to himself and carried on up the stairs to the 309th.


- High on the 309th, Stateler, Tel reclined and wondered when he'd return to the freedom of the floor. His little temporary living cubicle had been his home for two months short of three years. It was easy money with little time to spend it, but it was exhausting. He wanted to board a flight and get the fuck out of Esplinade. Enough time had surely elapsed. One month's notice had to be given to an outranker before he'd be permitted to leave. If he left before that, they wouldn't give him a digit of the money they owed him. Tel had to time his move carefully.

As soon as he closed his eyes for longer than a second he felt sleep take-over, a fast succession of images taking him from waking reality -


Esplinade lay on an island and looked as if it had erupted from the surrounding ocean. Great hulking shells of skyscrapers stood ready to topple around the four levels high constant shack covering and raising the island.

As the rickety passenger jet stuttered through the air and dipped towards the city, Abe shuddered. He hated landing.

The jet skidded and bounced along the surface of a platform strung up precariously between jittery skyscrapers, a couple of hundred metres above the weak mess of four floor city sat confidently underneath. Textbook.

Abe moved quickly through the wide expanse of featureless customs and past the armed guards into an elevator. He rode it to the ground floor, stuck in the close vicinity of a half-century of other passengers in the tight metal holding pen. It hit the ground floor without incident.

Moments later Abe was through the last armed, crew-cutted, angry-looking armed guard build-up and into the loud crazy free-for-all of the roof. Odd cars lay stranded between swarming pedestrians, crawling cautiously forward. Bikes and scooters nipped in between people who moved aside, zen-like, breezing past each other without collision as they pressed forward calmly.

Abe wasn't used to it and soon found himself flailing wildly and throwing shoulders at people, knocking them off their instinctive paths. They scowled at Abe with angry faces as they re-aligned themselves. Abe needed to get out of this craziness.

He pressed through the swarm of limbs, shoving and pushing his way across the street, to where a huge billboard at the seventy foot long base of a dilapidated skyscraper. Abe ran his eyes high up the ravaged frame, the skyscraper a mere fifty-foot stump, thousands of metres having broken off and fallen into the ocean, burying a large portion of the roof no doubt, and crushing anything in the lower levels unfortunate to be positioned beneath it. The repairs would've been almost instantaneous, Abe thought to himself, surveying his situation with what he regarded as no small amount of moral calm.

There were about two dozen suit-wearing security guys lining the wall of bar, keeping gatecrashes, as people filed past the guards, cover fees instantly transferred to the management. Inside, the seventy foot of plant and water feature dotted skyscraper interior spread out in epic calm before smiling Abe. There were maybe a half-thousand people dotted far and wide about the space, soothing music programmed in from outside. The whole place was brilliantly light with blaring spotlights expanding over the entire ceiling.

He got to a machine and got himself an ice-cold Frisky. He sat at a station and sipped slow and thoughtful, thinking through the purpose of his being in Esplinade. He was here to relax and forget about work. Success had its drawbacks, and Abe had a lung stuffed full of them. He knew that the longer he stayed here the worse things would get. Such is life. The Frisky sparkled across the synapses of his brain. Abe smiled suddenly. He was growing comfortable in his new environment.

Abe sat there and let the Frisky delicately soothe away any critical internal rumours. Thoughtless. His gaze fell across the place and landed on a three person group, a girl and two guys, sat indeterminate minutes away. The girl looked nice. Abe realized suddenly he had no idea what the time was. Flights'll do that. As will Frisky. It was early, surely. Abe composed himself and looked at the huge main staircase, leading up to the darkness of The Upper Rooms. He probably had time to squeeze in a quick visit. He could easily do that and be done in time to get on with everything.

Abe glided across the pseudoturf towards the huge spindles of mammoth tree trunk wrapped together to comprise the thirty-foot by twenty foot staircase leading up into the electric dark above. He stumbled across the dead wood and looked without seeing at the others ascending and descending the thing. He was clear of purpose and of conscience.

The peace was shattered as he reached the top of the staircase -