analog death signal (rough-ish plot)

plot (?)

  • Zone Inspector Ladra "disappears" in the Exclusion Zone, is found dead clutching his Polaroid.
  • Ladra's polaroids capture humanoid-like shapes in the Exclusion Zone
  • The DEAAOO connect the incident to the new unveiling of the Quelman Machine
  • They send freelance ex-Reporter Katrina "Cat" Czerenovska to investigate the death and its relevance to the Quelman matter
  • Cat talks to engineer Mark Verbe on the way to Heathrow Airport, having been given the same ticket by the DEAAOO.
  • She arrives at Heathrow and meets Director Stack of the British DEAAOO-MI9 liaison office, as well as Acrovel executive Sara Zeaton; they both brief her on the Quelman Machine, the corporate auction from Brey Heavy Industries, and is given some particle blockers to deal with the Exclusion Zone.
  • Cat heads into Barieckferd itself and checks in at the Quintilium Towering Heights
  • Using the fittings added to her suite, Cat gets some information on the polaroids and Quelman before setting up her optical implant to relay back to the machine in her room
  • Cat attends the initial open party at Brey Heavy's operations castle as an undercover plant (within Acrovel) and meets the journalist Itsuki Shinohara reporting on the event
  • Quelman proceeds with the first unveiling of his Machine; he presents a process for pre-bidding on the machine - which intrigues and confuses the corporate bidders.
  • Quelman also promises a demonstration of the machine the next day for any interested parties.
  • Cat runs into Verbe at the end of the presentation; she asks him about the creation behind the Quelman Machine.
  • Verbe explains about the main people behind it: Ernst Quelman, the project head; Seneca Lot, the Chief Safety Officer; and Edwin Sanghar, the backup engineer. He also mentions taking a partial test run of the machine on the day the inspector conducted his usual rounds
  • Cat heads back to the hotel, where Itsuki is waiting in her hotel room. She realizes that Itsuki is her backup MI9 freelancer that's been assigned to the case. They discuss what they've learned so far.
  • The next day, Cat is called back to the embassy by Stack and Zeaton: they give Cat her confiscated short-rail CZ 75 and notify her that she has 2 million credits at her disposal for the auction.
  • She heads back to the castle in her '83 Turismo 2.2 to attend the bidding session. Cat also helps Itsuki get in by claiming that he's Acrovel's "internal" journalist.
  • Quelman performs a localized demonstration of the machine at the session; it works. He also introduces Sir Anthony Pruitt, Brey's president and the main sponsor of the Quelman machine.
  • Cat wins the bid by overbidding for 40 million, and using the 2 million as the 5% down on their win.
  • Quelman arranges with Cat a later meeting to finalize the sale and prove the effectiveness of the machine, which she agrees to undertake at the castle with Itsuki and Sara.
  • Sir Pruitt askes Cat and Itsuki if they would ride in the new armored dirigible brought by Brey, the Medium Gunship Areion. Cat agrees, but Itsuki declines, citing acrophobia. He takes Cat's car back to the hotel. The three scientists (Quelman, Lot, and Sanghar) also go on the Areion.
  • Upon the Areion's arrival at the Towering Heights, armed insurgents waiting in the boarding area storm the Areion. Several of the passengers, Pruitt, and the machine workers are stuck inside the Areion by two of the shapes. A guard attempts to disperse them, but is killed nearly immediately. The shapes start to converge and enter the Areion.
  • Itsuki manages to make contact with Cat when she attempts to signal him with a radio in one of the cabins. She tells Itsuki to grab some security officers and to hurry to the Areion.
  • The shapes nearly kill Cat in one of the Areion's hallways, but Itsuki and the officers manage to help her disperse them.