What have we here?
Before the Chapter 2 Prologue, we ended up with Sean being accosted in a DownTown alley (pages 37 – 38).
This week I offer up another gratuitous double-page spread. I consider these two pages to be the real prelude to the Season 2 opener since they literally feed into the Chapter 2 title page (39) and (40). In the shadows of the TopCity Spanner, a robotic emergency surveillance drone zips through the rain soaked underbelly of society; DownTown, Hong Kong 2. On any given night these drones may encounter the casualties of being left out after curfew. As discussed in a previous blog (p31):
The criminal element in Downtown is robust, but the after hours street criminals are in another league entirely. These consist of roving gangs of synths who were twisted by local gang lords to rape and/or torture their victims while recording everything from the victim’s perspective; a process called head-jacking. A small device is clamped to the back of the neck directly over the victim’s chipset and the memories of the incident—complete with all five senses—are recorded. The experience is then sold on the black market. Depending on the quality of the device and trauma the victim is subjected to, if the victim survives the crime, headjacking can result in partial or total memory erasure, and in some cases, death.
Headjacking is a capital offense.
The drone might also encounter other emergencies: a chem overdose victim, the remains from a gang hit squad or even someone who didn’t make it inside before curfew — and they’re still alive. If they’re uninjured the drone would call in a synth sentinel to escort the lost soul to a holding cell until morning. Surviving a curfew violation is only slightly better than being a victim. The penalty for being out after curfew, is a cur-too, a tattoo. Three curfew tattoos and you can be sent to one of the penal colonies for an indeterminate time.
For the injured, a quick chip scan will identify you as being from DownTown or TopCity, whether you have a criminal record or just ended up chem’d out. If you’re from DownTown you’ll most likely end up in a clinic, TopCity residents get treated above the spanner.
In The Lightstream Chronicles Season Opener (aka Chapter 2) next week, we get to see what the drone is looking at, though there are zoom opportunities in this weeks post to get a little more information. Is Sean dead or alive? And exactly how bad is it? This warning: there will be blood.