This is the second support thread for the @BerkaZerka s collaborative Dark City storyline
The original thread has grown large enough that it'd be intimidating for people to join in the conversation, so we're starting this second one. Thank you @mizal for the original, and thank you everyone who's participated in shaping the story to where it is today.
Looking forward to seeing the story move forward as the now assembled factions fall upon each other like crashing waves descending upon the shores of Dark City. Let there be battle on the streets, in the sewers, in the homes, and in the hearts and minds of all who live in Dark City. Happy writing!
Please do not reply the the following two posts, the Index and the Whiteboard. Replies to those posts will be removed to prevent them from becoming edit-locked.
Context: Work with nuances, do not use overt storytelling (don't explain the cause of the city's madness outright until we reach the conclusion of the storylines). Include the occult within a range of plausible deniability. Can introduce small players willing to fight the darkness, but they must do so without superpowers or any real hope of ultimate success.
//Government and Civic Administration//
Toll and checkpoints on the periphery of the city help regulate the influx and immigration of people, and also provide much needed funds via taxation on goods being traded (though the clever will know how to avoid these). Corrupt tolls manned by a city-owned organization are why foreigners can easily be welcomed into the city and subsequently trapped, and peasants who dream of better lives and have the survival skills to make their way as a free man in the city can't just bolt off and escape.
Subway was sealed off with concrete slabs after earthquake. Aboveground section is functional, but only on prayers (accidents frequent and expected)
Has coal power plant
Has port and harbor
No heroes, no miraculous saviour nor hope (exception: if they're putting up a con)
Thrice Dead Men
Profile: Malice and greed
Highlights: Elaborate induction ritual (read post)
Distinguishing features: Members have scarred faces
Person of interest: 'Man with gunshot wound to the chin' responsible for finding new talent
Leader: 'Ezekiel, Chosen of the Craven Ones - "the picture of a gentleman" Possibly has magical powers. May have survived being shot from close range in the past.
The Green Sharks - own half the area from Fourth to Kino
The Reavers - own a chunk from Vinnerva to Ender's Way.
Everything else is for the little guys to squabble over.
Sisters of the Fallen
Profile: Placid, somber clothing. 1000 yard stare eyes. Tattoo emblazoned on forehead of followers
Highlights: Have bases across city, welcome anyone into order, provide first aid for all around city for free. Large number of members, run farms outside city to fund operations. Secretly uses its beggar network for intel, have exclusive access to information from across city. Being funded by an unknown source (business house?)
Motto: 'Do not think, only help'
Leader: Charismatic lady 'Head Sister' information broker, works through loyal members and cutouts. Kills defectors
Person of Interest: Unknown benefactor, many impostors would claim to be the benefactor/related to the benefactor/supported by the benefactor. Knows of truth of Head Sister's activities
Relation with other factions: Permitted by all but most powerful warlords, acknowledge existence of Vulture men but not much interaction due to differnce in objectives
Goal: Help city, Head Sister - find out identity of benefactor
Base of operations: North Darktown Morgue
Leader: A very dangerous blind man in a morgue uniform, with a very dangerous following, does things in the underground levels that nightmares dare not express. Clearheaded out of all of the Vulture men, but he generally doesn't get out much unless something's very, very wrong
Profile: Heavily armed and poorly washed individuals, nearly as cold and skeletal as the corpses they stalk, babbling on about “Sensuous Oils” and a “Throttled Goddess”. Always quietly mumbling. Unnerving and grim. Given their protective, but not really territorial behavior and their poor conversational skills, they're probably regarded in much the same way a local pack of animals would be, and generally aren't sought out or spoken to unless someone gets curious
Highlights: Ubiquitous wherever death is present, always haunting the alleyways and corners, always perched in safe places overlooking the battlefields and street fights. Always scornfully violent to anything they perceive as being in their way.
Goal: Collecting eyes from the dead (or nearly dead)
Profile: A faction of heavily disfigured individuals, with deformities ranging from burns to skin diseases. The ones who were mutilated are much worse to behold, some even having their bodies rearranged to resemble animals.
Location: Scattered throughout the vast sewer system of Dark City
Highlights: Kidnapping people off the streets, using the manholes and sewer grates as entrances and exits. Disfigure and indoctrinate their victims to assimilate them into their "family".
Person of interest: Dr Mosef - Skilled surgeon who willfully hurts others
Leader: A heavily bandaged man with grey facial hair poking out here and there, has a mouthful of rotting yellow teeth.
Goal: To eventually "beautify" every person in the city.
Dark City Police Force (DCPD)
Those who live (or more accurately, end up) in The Warrens are called Warrenites, and seem to take on more and more animalistic qualities over time spent there.
Profile: The majority of Warrenites are unusually large and hairy people - unkempt and feral in both appearance and manner, earning them a few colorful nicknames, such as feral hoboes, cavemen, and junkyard thugs.
Highlights: Warrenites almost never venture outside The Warrens and do not appear to have an established leader among them.
Leader or not, the Warrenites are fiercely protective of each other and their trade - human sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the Warrenites have no shortage of depraved clientele to keep them in business for a very long time.
People driven mad after Coroner's TV presentation
James Tovar's friends - killers who kept souvenirs of their prey, and flaunted their ill gotten gains amongst each other.
Runs a private section of the otherwise collapsed subway to haul their chemicals into the city. There's a steady demand for their chemicals to use to increase yields from rooftop gardens. For reasons mentioned below, the chemicals are also a good the government wants to clamp down on, hence the smuggling.
Currently unnamed company running coal plant (and obtaining coal for it somehow)
//Places of Interest//
Borough. Factions within are at war
Municipal Square (in Midtown) - where the Police Precinct building (known as the Citadel), the Courthouse, and other Government Offices are located
Business District on Cypress Hill (Midtown)
Hosts the personal businesses ventures, gated communities, and private properties of the Mayor and other City Elites.
Lucky Lanes - bowling alley down on Ender's Way (Midtown)
Roscoe's Food, Drink and Gas - Gas station in Midtown
Location: On Western and Seventh
Hugo's Tavern (in Midtown)
Location: At the corner of 4th and Vinnerva in Midtown
As close to a neutral territory as can exist in the borough of Midtown.
Person of Interest: The Bogeyman - Bounty hunter
Known and feared. The only two reasons anyone ever talks to him is if they need someone dead, or they don't know who he is. Righteous, violent, manic, enjoys kills (Read post for nuances). Preferred weapon - baton. Between Lawful and Chaotic Neutral
Saugath was mayor here
Park Square - Marketplace for contraband
Location: Darktown, next to Saugath's Way
Person of interest: Blind Old Beggar "wrapped up in so many rags and bandages only the briefest hint of flesh can ever be seen. He's there every day, seemingly just as silent and barely more aware than the statues themselves." Informant for drug traders
Was once a world famous destination for tourists to come and spend their money
Massive square is a strategic place to move drugs and other contraband.
Has many avenues for escape, should a rival try to take your product by force
Location of morgue
King's Garden - District
Not much is left of the grand old district, its townhouses and palatial towers are in advanced decay. Avenues and plazas that once housed the rich and powerful are now filled with rats. Few human inhabitants. Former residents had a lack of ethics and decency,
Prince's Folly - Bakery in King's Garden
Location: Right off the main road, in the half-toppled shell of a former palace
Person of Interest: Reginald Harper.
No one really knows at what point Reginald Harper opened up shop, nor where he came from, or how he manages to maintain his business. Some rumours say that he is the only royal to have survived the purges, others say that he is an outside opportunist. If you are desperate for food, and have money to spare, his shop always has freshly baked goods for sale.
There is a noticeable absence of rodents in the vicinity of the Folly.
(Defunct) Manufacturing District
Old Warehouse: Venue for Thrice Dead Men inductions (atleast once)
Sundial- One of few remaining towers in city.
Considered the downtown area of the City in its early days.
Surface streets remain as the only ways to get near it, no subways nor highways were built within five city blocks. Within this radius, no buildings exceed two stories in height. All similar in design; white walls with dusty white floors. All entirely empty for some unknown reason. (Read post for nuances)
A vast shantytown on the southern slopes of the city dump, inhabited by feral hoboes known as the Warrenites.
A unique magnetic interference in the locale hampers the use and longevity of electronic devices.
Harbors an extensive human trafficking ring.
The Sealed-off sections of the underground subway
The Coal Power Plant
City Dump (Warrens are adjacent to this)
Sewers below City
Home of the Nausies, Lurkers (mutilated, mind broken humans at this point) run free in the more isolated sections
Rooftop Gardens spread across the roofs of the city, giving residents an extra source of income and a defense against starving. Toxicorp's chemicals are used on the plant life like a fertilizer. The mutated food that grows on those plants increases cancer risks, and kills slowly over time but keeps the hungry masses alive today. The chemicals boost rooftop farm yields (by 90% but that benefit will dwindle to around 40% after a few years as plants get used to it). Mutated crops can be distinguished by their pale yellow and white colors, instead of normal green.
Chronic Fatigue has been a problem in the past
Noteworthy: Toxicorp's Chemicals
The same chemicals from Toxicorp that mutate food can be converted to be used as as weapons (poisons or explosives). A faction going all out will convert its potential food income from the chemicals into weapons for the fight. So it's a warning sign to other gangs if one gang ISN'T using chemicals on its rooftop farms. Really ruthless gangs eagerly raid civilian communes and take their chemical supplies when they need more food or are expecting a large battle.
Mishandling the chemicals has caused disfigurement, one of the many ways in which people end up as one with the sewer folk.
Chronic Fatigue has been a problem in the past
Television exists (News employs anchormen and support staff)
Wired payphones exist
StrykerL's whiteboard - Last updated Feb 19th Morning
Now would be a good time for everyone to give directions for the existing factions, and start outlining every faction's goals and rough motivations
Major content updates below, open for discussion
Economy and History
Please don't reply directly to this post so I may erase the whiteboard as necessary!
@Riversage @WizzyCat With the weekend coming up, looking forward to seeing your complete works on the main thread :)
(At all: Please pardon the long delay in action on my part on Dark City, was busy with the Jan challenge/getting feedback therefrom)
Damn, I feel really guilty. I've been monitoring the main thread for the past few weeks and I've avoided working on Eden. I've been really slacking for the past month and I haven't even started working on my story yet(Not to mention my performance in school).
This weekend is going to see some serious and quality work getting done. 'Tis time to get some shit done.
All the best, looking forward to what you come up with :)
Haha, same here. I have a halfway finished story as well. I'll get it done by next week.
Glad to see it up, it's a nice read :)
Can you add a quick summary for the Index? Also, remember to keep the supernatural plausibly deniable
I'd like to call it the 'Shroud'.
The Shroud is an illusory being, preying on the pain of others in loss. It muddles the mind of it's host, presenting itself as something to be targeted and killed. In this manner, the Shroud projects itself onto the host's beloved, prompting them to destroy the person or thing that is cherished most in it's hosts life.
The Shroud is only perceived by it's host, making it a nie impossible entity to permanently defeat.
Still needs the plausible deniability angle. Also, technically illusory means non-existent, I think you're aiming for ethereal being
"extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world."
I don't think that's what I want this to be. In short, the being only appears in the minds of people. From the outside, the host is simply committing murder. After the session, the host will insist that they were tricked somehow despite their apparent actions.
That's simply insanity. No "being" there. Just send them to an asylum, and everything's all dandy again.
However, the host will argue there is a being tormenting them, tricking them into harming the people they care about.
Yep. I've been working on it outside of CYS. Hope to update it soon.
Alright, I'm working on a major content update for the economic foundation, demographics, and general context of Dark City, should be out in another day or two.
Beyond that, check out the city of Baltimore (the template for Dark City) in Google Maps 3D, this is an unprecedented level of visual information I've never used before, it's brilliant!
Google Maps Baltimore
Context: For Dark City, a city of millions to exist the way it is, a lot of things have to go really, really different from the way they did in our real world. One of the few plausible ways for this to happen is if America is not a world power, and stuck with regional infighting, hence the city is decaying. Simply put, a 'Dark City' cannot exist in a prosperous country, society at large and the government would either step in, unless the entire world was in dire straits and Dark City is a symptom and not a cause. To achieve that narrative/logical objective, I propose the following alternate history.
Please keep in mind I have no quarrel with any nation and am not out to lionize or demonize any one, just to create a believable story (with plausibly deniable supernatural forces behind the scenes). Since a large part of modern economics is based around international trade, this context is also required to be able to justify (amongst a lot else): the limited and generally shady job options in Dark City, why the government is so weak, how mutant plants were allowed to be researched, and why no one has come to clean up Dark City (because they can't / won't).
//Alternate History for the Dark City Universe - Part 1 - The World War the Soviets won
/The Battle of the Bulge (1944)
On the morning of the 16th of December in 1944, the Wehrmacht launched Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine"), better known to history as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, or more simply as the Battle of the Bulge.
The German offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers' favor. Once that was accomplished, the German dictator Adolf Hitler believed he could fully concentrate on the Soviets on the Eastern Front.
In our reality, the German surprise offensive against overextended allied armies was repulsed at great cost. The Germans' attack involved around 450,000 troops. Between 67,200 and 125,000 German men were killed, missing, or wounded in action (casualties). For the Americans, out of 610,000 troops involved in the battle, 89,000 were casualties. British historian Antony Beevor reports the number killed as 8,407. It was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States in World War II.
In our alternate timeline, the German war machine succeeded in its military objectives, and threatened to decimate the encircled (and cut off from supplies) allied armies. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill however were fairly confident about the outcome of the war, even if this loss would set them back by a year or two. They did not accept the German entreaty, and tried to call the German's bluff, air-dropping emergency provisions to the cutoff armies through the allied aerial superiority, albeit taking unusually high losses in the air war. Unfortunately, the German's were not bluffing, and they were no strangers to wholesale slaughter. After allowing one more day for negotiations, and concerned about aerial resupply affecting their ability to maintain the encirclement, the Wehrmacht initiated Operation Winterwolf on the 20th of January, 1945. After four days and nights of non-stop battle, the death toll in the allied lines was an astounding rout, with 600,000 allied soldiers killed, missing, or wounded. German losses were relatively light in comparison, at around 19,000 men. For the Americans, it was four days of infamy that would seal the nation's fate, the papers called it the 'Winter genocide'.
| For context, in our reality, the American population in 1945 was 140 million, 12.2 million served in the entire war (both Eastern and Western fronts and at home), and 400,000 did not make it back. Germany's population was 80 Million in 1939, plummeting to 65 Million by 1946. It wouldn't be till the 1970s that both Germanys' combined populations would reach pre-war levels |
/ Conscription in America, Germany holds her lines (1945)
The allies were shocked and outraged at this massacre, they did not expect Hitler would be barbaric enough to condone this slaughter of his own racial kin. Popular sentiment in America switched from boisterous bragging about their chances of victory to rage and disbelief at the turn of the tide of war. The nation was gripped with a fervor of revenge, to the extent that a woman's frontline combat brigade was approved amidst other measures of gearing up for total war. Of the 50 million Americans between the ages of 18 to 64 who were eligible to be called for Conscription, twenty million were committed to the war |10 million above the number of conscripted in real life|.
A resurgent German war machine was able to refocus and fend off the Soviets at the East while the western front was slowly secured, and Italy and large parts of France returned to firm Axis control. On the Pacific front, a reprioritization of war material due to public demand for vengeance in Europe throttled the supplies to the Pacific fleet. Emboldened by news of the American defeat in Europe, the Japanese put up a ferocious defense of Okinawa, and held, though at extreme costs to both sides. FDR died in this year, and Truman took over.
As both fronts looked grim, Truman withheld deciding where to use the Bomb, giving the Manhattan project till 1946 to deliver 15 working atomic bombs to the Air Force, as no strategic objective could be achieved with just two under those circumstances.
/ Soviet Breakthrough, and the Angel of Death (1946)
The German eastern front held in Poland, the last nation holding back the bear's claws from directly clawing out Berlin and the heart of the Reich. In January, the Soviets declared war on Japan and fought a pitched land war in Manchuria, which they won.
American GIs, trained in an expedited twelve months finally arrived to the European theater, but you can't fool the Eagle twice. Operation White Knight, the American led Allied plan to land a large relief and expeditionary force in France was a bloodbath for the Allies. This time the Germans were prepared and expecting the attack in the right place (unlike Normandy). By March, as the American death toll skyrocketed towards three million, in Washington cries for revenge turned into whimpers of frustration and tears of sorrow. The American will to fight the land war was lost on those bloodied beaches, washed away with the lives of so many young men.
In April, the death toll had cross four and a half million, across both theaters. There was no end to the deaths in sight, both the Germans and the Japanese held out and made sure every inch gained was paid for in the lives of hundreds of young men. For America, hereto the victor in the wars it had fought, fate was a very cruel mistress. Within the United States, a movement formed to pull out of the European war, the Soviets would probably win soon enough, and any gains that would come would not be worth the lives that paid for them.
Fighting wars with defeatists at home and the Axis overseas, Truman took the decision. On the morning of the 15th of April, 1946, two hundred B-29 bombers left airfields in Britain under heavy fighter escort. Their targets were Dresden, Nurnberg, Kassel, Brunswick, and Magdeburg. Forty of those two hundred were carrying America's greatest, nay - the world's greatest, weapon till date, the atomic bomb. By the 16th of April, after 28 nuclear bombs detonated and removed Germany's ability to wage war was removed from the face of the Earth. Those who saw the savage destruction wrought by the explosions nicknamed the bomb 'the Angel of Death.'
The Soviets rushed through the disarrayed defenders and captured and staked a claim on all of Germany and her provinces, including France (where they installed a communist puppet government). Alarmed and awed by this new miracle weapon, Soviet intelligence agencies would begin their years long campaign to replicate its power. Hitler would commit suicide before accepting defeat, though his final words were broadcast to the whole world "The Allies did not defeat us, God did."
The arrival of the atomic bomb changed war overnight. The Japanese quickly moved for an armistice, agreeing to pay the Americans exorbitant reparations for their attack on Pearl Harbor, in exchange for ceasing hostilities. The war drew to a close on the 1st of May, 1946, and the world finally let out a sigh of relief, as soldiers started returning home. Many ranted and raved about seeing demonic horrors, and were never the same again.
Stalin did not demilitarize in 1946. While the rest of the world stepped back to take a breath, the Russian factories kept producing weapons of war. Stalin recognized that history had given him a singular chance to paint the world Red, and he would not waste it.
<<Contents open for discussion>>
While the first half has to be exceedingly specific, so the divergence in the timelines can be established to one trigger point, what happens in between should be intentionally vague to not restrict the large number of authors who'll be contributing to the work. If I were the sole author, I'd have detailed the 30 years between 1947 to 1977 on a year by year basis, but that would be counter productive in this format.
//Alternate History for the Dark City Universe - Part 2 - The New World Order
/ 1950s - The world turns Red
The Soviet war machine marches through China, and covers all of Europe. Britain's nuclear threat was no match for Stalin's ability to overwhelm the battlefield with sheer numbers. The Soviets do not agree to pay what the Europeans had to return under Lend-Lease, hamstringing the American economy. The Ruble becomes the reserve currency of the world. The Soviets successfully test nuclear weapons in 1949, and the Iron Fist becomes ever more powerful. Soldiers around the world complain of unusual fatigue, their officers tell them to 'man up.'
The UN is never formed, the Politburo rules its domain with an iron fist. Foreign colonies (Vietnam, India) are (unwillingly) absorbed into the Soviet nation. Rebellions pop up like mushrooms and are swiftly crushed under the Iron Boot, but are never fully extinguished.
Americans are shunned by Europeans for killing their own kind, the German remnants in particular vow revenge. Beyond its lost troops, America's moral standing and morale are crippled, and it begins to focus internally instead of vying for global power with the Soviets. Dissidents rise up within the US vying for power, and are heard, undermining the two party system.
The Soviets demonstrate Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles, being the only country in the world with the scientific and industrial ability to make them | Operation Paperclip never happened as the Allies never got half of Germany, so they lagged behind in the missile race | Rumors emerge of malevolent entities roaming the halls of the Kremlin, all cats are exterminated in Moscow. The world slowly but certainly comes to accept the USSR as the only superpower. A space race never happens, so mankind never reaches the moon (as of 1977)
America enters a decade of depression, seeing the rising Soviet Bear across the ocean, yet lacking the political will to challenge it. Within the US, divisive factions rise, claiming to Make America Great again. Some want to turn isolationist (live and let live), some want the US to remain aspirational globally, while others push to accept Soviet ideals (clearly democracies had failed the world, in their eyes). This tussle accelerates internal divisions in the country along ideological lines, and four separate blocs start forming, roughly according to geography.
The West Bloc (California and the West Coast) wants the US to actively participate in world affairs instead of retreating. The South Bloc (Nevada, Texas, till Georgia) wants to join the Soviets, with nearby Cuba as a shining light of how Communism can transform a nation's fortunes. The Center States (the bread basket of the US) remains neutral from all other factions, happy to support them all due to its control over the country's food supplies. The Center does not come out in favor or against any of the other blocs. The North-Eastern bloc (everything to the right of Michigan and north of Georgia) wants to keep America isolated, tired of the surge of refugees left by the the World War and the Soviet campaigns arriving at American shores daily.
Dialog between the factions breaks town towards the start of the decade.Towards the middle of the 60s, each bloc denies the other's legitimacy (as well as the federal government's), and starts conducting its own elections for its own president. Somehow, government functions at some level in each bloc.
A major earthquake in 1963 devastates the East Coast. The South and West blocs do not send aid, escalating hostilities amongst the sides.
Unusual fatigue is now common across the world, doctors have no clue what's causing it. Africa is hit bit a plague of locusts, and the Soviets rush food and relief, earning rapport across the continent.
The blocs are unable to reconcile their differences, and start treating each other as foreign nations. The South partners with Mexico, Cuba, and the USSR and switches from Dollars to Rubles as popular currency (the Soviets are all too happy to exchange the currency at their own expense). The West bloc has enough resources to hold on its own, and continues to use dollars. In the North-East, dollars remain the unit of exchange, though there is often a shortage of dollars to meet payments, and within the region an IOU system becomes common for household expenses. The Center bloc, which sells food to all regions, accept both dollars and Rubles.
Pogroms against refugees break out in Dark City, and are repeated across the East as resentment against refugees crosses critical levels. Vices run rampant as defeatism lingering from the war days takes hold of the minds of the remnants. In the aftermath of the earthquake, law and order start decaying. Checks on large corporations are non-existent, as they're some of the only remaining sizable sources of income for the semblance of government that now exists. An uncontrolled experiment by Toxicorp outside of Dark City causes plants to mutate.
Rumors emerge of the USSR arming the South to take over the remainder of the US by force. AK-47s become a common sight on Houston streets. In response, the other blocs restart their limited factories for production of war material, for a worst case scenario.
There's an alarming number of reports from across the world of people falling asleep, and not waking up. Scientists think cause to be a pathogen spread via insects.
Through all this, Dark City becomes the City we know.
Economics, Demographics and Dark City
Three forms of currency
Sources of funds
College Graduates (Note: Most employers in this period do not require college degrees but apprenticeship)
Between 0.4 and 0.6 (High inequality)
Bartering and Pawn shops are both highly active
Law and Order situation