OoC: This story may seem a bit random at the start, but bear with me. I do know where it is going, the path on how it's going to get there is a little fuzzy though. I hope you enjoy, I'll be working on this and Blood Ties at the same time, so be sure to stalk them both. Hope you enjoy and keep an open mind Chadwyck Fic~ Chapter 1: In Which We Meet an Interesting Character “Amazing view, wouldn’t you agree?” Asked a young man of about twenty-four. He had sandy blond hair and looked as if he would be on a billboard somewhere, his eyes were piercing blue. He was dressed in a very formal looking morning suit, it was ivory white and he wore a sky blue shirt beneath it. The question had been directed at a young woman who sat across from him. “Yes, quite astonishing. I’ve never been aboard a dirigible before.” She said shyly, through the window they were seated beside, she could see several cities sprawled out far below the great flying balloon that they were currently dining aboard. The woman was dressed in a blue dress, which had been provided by the gentleman across from her. Her hair was a chestnut brown color. The view really was amazing, as long as one didn’t have any recollection of when there used to be foliage as far as the eye could see. The world as it was had become nothing more than an expanse of machinery. Steam-powered cities stretched as far as the eye could see, some floated in the air; entire cities suspended in flight. Others had been built beneath the sea. Still, others were simply built on the ground: high towers powered by steam. But the greenery that used to cover the face of the Earth was gone, all that was left were treated as gold; if someone were to own a shrub their social status would jump up several notches. Providing it wasn’t stolen. “Have you not?” The man said haughtily, “You have never lived then. Though, I forget those less fortunate than I have precious little luxuries.” He laughed with a self satisfied tone. The girl chuckled nervously along with him. “Ah! Good, I’ll have a rare steak.” He practically shouted to the waitress as she approached, “And my companion will be having the salmon salad.” He ordered without actually taking the girl’s preference into account. Since the destruction of the world’s plant life, salads became a thing of status. If you were eating a salad, or with someone eating a salad, you were the cream of the crop. The girl didn’t mind that she had been ordered a salad, but she wondered if it would taste as good as everyone imagined. The waitress nodded and walked away, the man was a valued customer aboard the blimp; she practically ran to put his order in. Suddenly, the man felt a presence behind him. “What? Have you forgotten what I ordered already, you insignificant—“ He was cut off as he turned around and came face to face with the business end of a “Moses Brothers Self-Defense Engine Frontier Model B.” “Hello, Monty.” Said a slick, deep voice from the other end of the revolver. People started to panic at the sight of the man with a gun, several of them running from the restaurant to other parts of the massive airship, a few others ducked below their tables. “My name, sir, is Montgomery. Edward Montgomery.” The man growled. The man at the other side of the gun sighed and checked his pocket watch with mild interest, “How long have you been twenty-four, now, I wonder?” The man smiled a smile that would have sent a rabid dog running for cover. Edward Montgomery’s eyes went wide, “How did you…?” “Because it’s my business to know, filthy undead heathen.” The man pulled the hammer back on the gun, “I’m only going to ask once, where is the necromancer who created you? My current employers would very much like to know.” “Go to Hell, detective,” Edward spat the last word, almost literally. His next thought is unknown as it was at that moment that his head disappeared from his shoulders with a loud bang that rang through the restaurant. Everyone who had been hiding beneath their tables poked their heads out to look. No blood had come out of the man’s head, simply gray dust. He had been dead for quite a while, then. The man stuck his weapon back within his coat and looked at the mortified woman across the table, smeared with gray dust. “Wh-wh-who…?” She was trying to say something, but the man hadn’t the time for her to get over her trauma. “My name is Chadwyck Felling, I am a detective; a mercenary if you prefer, I dabble in both I suppose. Yes, that stuff that is covering your face and dress is dear Edward Montgomery’s dried up blood and brains. No, you will not become a zombie. And I killed him because my current employers are trying to eradicate this infestation. You’d be surprised how easily the walking dead can blend in with normal society.” He seemed to answer any and all questions that she could have possibly put forth to him, at least in her stupefied state. He’d obviously done this many times before. She closed her mouth and looked very nauseous for a moment, before turning incredibly pale and ultimately losing consciousness. Chadwyck checked his pocket watch again, “She didn’t last much longer than the others,” He observed. “When she wakes up bring her some water, and her salad. Money is no issue. It’s on him.” He grabbed Edward’s wallet from his pocket and tossed a small wad of cash onto the table, and then took the rest for himself before turning on his heels and walking toward the exit; despite the fact that they were still airborne. Everyone in the restaurant took a mental picture of the man, not intentionally of course, but that is, after all, the way that the human brain worked. When recounting the happenings to their friends and families that night, they would all, more or less, remember a man of about twenty-two years old, who was six feet tall with fair skin. He had been wearing a top hat, as most gentlemen would wear, but around the base just above the brim, he had a pair of welding goggles strapped onto it. They could easily be pulled over his eyes, which is what he did as he reached the exit with his gloved hands, the gloves themselves going up about halfway up his forearm. He had been garbed in a black duster, made of wool for keeping warm at high altitudes, and a gray-brown pinstriped vest beneath it, both of those worn over a white formal shirt. His trousers were black and he had combat boots that went up about half way up his calves. He walked with a black cane topped with bronze, despite being able to walk perfectly fine. As he reached the exit he opened the door. Then, without even looking down at the massive space between himself and the closest piece of solid ground, he stepped out and somehow managed to stay suspended. The more observant of the onlookers would remember what looked like small bolts of electricity around his person as he levitated casually to a small one-man dirigible that had been tied onto the massive cruising blimp. He stepped into the passenger basket and untied the craft with a tip of his hat toward the passengers (everyone would claim that it had been directed toward them, but in fact it was a gesture toward the airship itself, curiously enough) and with that the one-man aircraft floated away, directly toward the nearest floating city: Alpha London. Alpha London was never in any one position, seeing as it was a floating city; it was constantly on the move. One day it would be in the position where it had first launched: directly over Old London. Other days it would be far to the North, getting as far as Glasgow before heading west. Of course, any of the cities on the ground had been assimilated into the giant mechanical mass that was very much one city. There were official borders between one city and another, but the buildings and the people stayed the same. Even countries had become little more than distant memories, when everything appeared the same and the government was nonexistent, there was little need for countries. The official borders and boundaries were still on all the maps and globes, but they were simple formalities to tie the past and the present together. Anything on the ground lost its individuality, even the people. The only things that were recognized as separate entities were the floating cities, which weren’t always cities necessarily, sometimes they were a single building that took to the skies, sometimes they were amusement parks; but they were all known and envied by the people on the ground. Of course, they still belonged to the Invention Production Committee. While there was no formal government, everything; from the floating cities, to the underwater communities, even the expanse of machinations that covered the Earth’s surface, had been invented and provided by the IPC. They were the informal rulers of the Earth. Not in the light, but if something was amiss, they were the ones who would handle it. One way or another. Chadwyck docked his dirigible at a completely unremarkable building; several of the windows had been smashed or boarded up, graffiti covered the brick walls, and there didn’t appear to be another living soul in the building. That’s what Chadwyck liked most about it; it was silent and gave him his solitude. He walked up to the heavy iron double-doors, unlocked the padlock and slid them apart. It opened up into a cage elevator. He produced a small, bronze key and inserted it into the elevator panel, unlocking the button for the basement. He pressed it and promptly removed his hat and duster, placing them into a small locker as he stepped out of the elevator; but he kept his goggles over his eyes. He opened another door at the end of a small hallway, and he was immediately in a fog; steam ran through various tubes and fastenings at all hours of the day. He flipped a small switch and a fan in the ceiling began to whir, sucking the excess steam from the room out and expelling it into the air. The young man wiped a few beads of sweat from his brow that had formed in the heat. He could already feel the difference in temperature as the excess steam was removed. “I’ll have to find whichever pipe is leaking.” He noted to himself as he looked around the vast room. It was littered with machines, some of which looked very near completion, others sat in disuse; untouched. There was a wall near the back of the room with a few completed tinkerings, but they were simply prototypes that hadn’t been perfected yet, but that didn’t stop Chadwyck from using them. There were ten different lab tables spread throughout the room, each with a different item on it, some with coils and others with viewing screens. The space between tables all along the ground was littered with heavy black hoses and various bronze pipes. The lab wasn’t a clean place, but it suited Chadwyck fine, he knew where everything was and he didn’t need to worry about people being displeased with the appearance; he never let anyone into his lab. He was breaking a law: he was attempting to invent without the approval of the IPC. Tinkerers such as himself were disappearing by the handful, but those others couldn’t defend themselves. They never referred to themselves as inventors, the reason being that the Inventor, head of the IPC, would never allow it. While he Invented, they tinkered. In his mind, they were little more than children playing with toys. Chadwyck walked over to a table near the back, it faced away from his experiments and toward a very plain looking wall. He sat in a large, leather chair that looked more comfortable than it actually was, removed his goggles and set them aside, then pressed a button on a thin, bronze lined screen. “Sorry, no luck.” He said before the picture had fully loaded, “He refused to talk. On a side note: he was actually able to talk. This necromancer is getting better; the girl dear Edward was with didn’t even notice until his dusty blood was smeared across her face.” He shrugged, “Where to next?” Finally the picture loaded, before becoming fuzzy and blurry with static, “Blast this thing.” Chadwyck muttered as he smacked the side of the device, fixing the picture. “Actually,” Said the small, bloated man in the derby hat and suit on the other end of the conversation, “You’re contract with us is coming to an end.” At the look of anger on Chadwyck’s face he quickly added, “Of course the money will be sent to you posthaste, you’ll still receive payment for your services. But something rather important has come up. You’re contract was purchased by the ICP.” Luckily Chadwyck was an expert at covering his true feelings at any given moment; otherwise the man would have seen his heart skip a beat. The ICP, either they know what I’m up to and they found me, or they really want my help with something… I don’t like this, regardless. Chadwyck decided subconsciously, while on the exterior he continued the conversation. “Yes, of course, are they waiting on another line?” “Yes, we’ll transfer you. It’s been a great pleasure working with you, and we’ll be sure to look into your detective service again in the future.” The man said with a flick of a switch. “Yes, yes. No trouble at all so long as the payment goes through,” Chadwyck muttered to himself as an impressive looking man in a navy blue uniform, golden buttons shined and polished, and well kept hair flashed onto the screen. He was wearing dark glasses and looked deadly serious. “I hear you have work for me?” Chadwyck questioned, an unimpressed look on his face. “The ICP has purchased your contract, Chadwyck Felling, so that we may utilize your renowned skills as a detective and mercenary to find a missing person.” The man said in an obviously rehearsed fashion. “I didn’t realize this was going to be a prerecorded message, can you just get on with it?” He checked his pocket watch, he realized that the ICP was an important entity that he should show respect to, but at the same time he was a very busy man and would like to get some work done before going to sleep that night. “The person in question is unknown as far as appearance, age, gender and location are concerned.” The man continued, ignoring Chadwyck, or at least trying to. “Wouldn’t want to make things to easy, of course. If you don’t know anything about this person, how do you know if their missing?” The young man queried, he didn’t like being lied to, and that’s what he felt was happening here. “We do, however, know said person’s capabilities. They are able to create, nourish, and grow plant life.” That got Chadwyck’s attention, a Chlorokinetic; they’d trapped him with something interesting. If for no other reason, he’d try to find this person simply to study their ability. After all, living in a dead world; someone with the ability to bring the plant life back and control it, that was something too unique to not want to see with one’s own eyes. “It is the Inventor’s wish that this individual be found quickly, which is why we’ve come to you. Though, you must be aware that to receive any payment they must be found alive. The results of their ability were last discovered in the ruins of Old Venice.” “Very well, I’ll begin my search immediately. Thank you for the information, despite how little of it there actually was.” The man on the other side of the screen nodded and switched off the monitor. Chadwyck stretched and leaned back in his chair. “Most interesting,” He muttered before grabbing his goggles and moving toward one of the various lab tables set about the room. --------------------------------- He awoke the next morning with his head plastered the cold metal of one of his tables, he had a screwdriver in one hand and several components sprawled out before him. He blinked away the sleep and sat up cracking his neck as he did so. “It would have been nice to fall asleep in a bed for once,” He noted as he plucked a small gear off of his forehead and rubbed the mark away. He checked his pocket watch, taking into consideration, as he did every morning, the beauty of the golden case, the clear watch face so that he could watch the cogs in motion. He enjoyed watching the machinations working, all the work that went into a single fluid tick of the clock. It reminded Chadwyck of a heartbeat. “Seven in the morning, as good a time as any to head out.” He stood and went into the small apartment that was attached to the laboratory and went about getting ready. He showered, shaved and dressed in an outfit nearly identical as the one he’d been wearing the previous day, except now his vest was golden tan with burgundy pinstripes. He walked toward the elevator, lifting his hat and coat out of the locker on his way, and stepped into the contraption as it lumbered upward, out of the building and into the morning light. He lowered his goggles against the light, and set off in his one-man dirigible. Not quite sure where he should begin his search. “Bloody ICP could have at least tried to dig up some more information on whoever this person is. Can’t be helped, I suppose.” He sighed, “What a waste of time,” As he floated down, directing the dirigible toward another floating city that was currently moving the other direction as Alpha London, toward the rest of Old Europe. Particularly the Italy area, he needed to see if there were any remotely useful bits of news to be found. Though, he wasn’t sure how helpful the rabble on the ground would be. In the meantime, while he waited for the city of Baron’s Bay (“Interesting,” He thought, “As the city is in the sky near no body of water at all.”) to draw nearer his final destination, he could try and dig up some rumours. They weren’t always the most reliable information, but sometimes they came through, and other times it was good for a laugh. The buildings that made up the floating city of Baron’s Bay were ancient looking, all stone work, covered with arches and varying degrees of gothic architecture. They literally applied the method to historical cities, gave it a new name, and let it take to the sky. Now, after who knows how long amongst the clouds, the buildings were beginning to fall apart. Not completely, but there were noticeable signs of damage. Chadwyck set down and docked his aircraft in a side alley, out of view of the public eye, and stepped casually out into the main streets. There was no one around, something inside of him told him to leave, but the curiosity of where everyone had gone proved too much for him. He continued walking, looking for signs of recent activity, fresh footprints, anything at all that would lead him to believe that there was someone he could ask questions to. Upon closer inspection of several connecting streets and alleyways; he realized that the city appeared to truly be deserted. He saw a flashing neon sign, a pub of some sort that appeared to still be in business and open. He stepped in through the doors, removing his goggles and placing them around the brim of his hat again. The pub looked as if it had been abandoned for years, but it also looked that it had been abandoned in a hurry. Leaving a sickening mess in its wake. There were pitchers and pints of stale, stagnant beer littering the bar; the aroma was enough to make someone gag repeatedly until they were to actually vomit. Luckily, Chadwyck’s constitution was strong enough to withstand the sickening scent. There was rotten meals that had been placed out on the table covered with maggots, Chadwyck had to avert his eyes; there was only so much he could take, really. “What makes an entire five square mile city disappear? And why in the hell is it still flying?” He questioned as he looked at the deserted pub before him. Overturned chairs and tables littered about the floor. Satisfied that he wasn’t going to find anything here, he turned and left the establishment. Curiosity was wearing thin now, and it was getting dangerously close to becoming a waste of time. Time was something that Chadwyck didn’t have a lot of, or rather, something that he preferred to use on something productive. Since wandering aimlessly around an abandoned city did little to help him reach his overall goal, he decided it was time to leave. He carefully retraced his steps, positive that he had remembered correctly; he put great faith in his memory. Finally he saw familiar buildings that he had taken a mental picture of when he’d first arrived. He turned abruptly down a side alley and stared ahead of him, absolutely seething at the lack of a dirigible. “Someone has stolen my craft. How impressive considering there is no one bloody here,” He clenched his fists as he heard the beep an intercom system begin to work. “Actually, you’ll find that this place is just teeming with life.” An enthusiastic, slightly flamboyant voice said through the loudspeakers on every corner. “We simply didn’t want you to find us, so you couldn’t. After all, it wouldn’t have done us much good if we didn’t want you to find us but you could do it anyway.” “I demand my property returned to me at once you two-bit thief.” Chadwyck growled. “Ah-ah-ah. I wouldn’t be getting that attitude. You see, we did take something of yours, and if you want it back you’re going to have to play a little game. Here’s how it works. You have from now until Sundown to find me. If you succeed, then you get your thing back and you can go about your business. If you fail, however, it doesn’t really matter what the consequences are because you’ll most likely be dead.” The voice said matter-of-factly. “You see, this isn’t a simple game of hide and seek. No, this is something much more interesting.” Chadwyck looked around and saw a small lens that had been fashioned into a camera of sorts, that’s how this man could see him. “My friends are spread all over the place, and they’re coming out of hiding to find you. And if they do, well, they’ll try to kill you. Doesn’t that sound exciting?” Chadwyck closed his eyes and sighed deeply, “I really don’t have time for this, you slack jawed sideshow reject.” Chadwyck drew his revolver and shot the camera without even looking in its direction. “Oh my, temper, temper.” The voice said, it sounded slightly amused, “The game begins now, and do try and be an entertaining player.” The voice sang into the loudspeaker before it cut out. “I knew that this whole ICP contract was going to be an absolute pain in my ass.” Chadwyck said, irritability taking over his sense of propriety. He fired several shots of his revolver toward various cameras, all the ones he could see, at least. “Let’s get this over with; I want my dirigible returned to me.” He muttered as he stepped out into the street once more, only this time he could tell he wasn’t alone.