Issue 3: Action, That's How! (A Caper in Time Part 2)

by Evan Forman and Michael Robertson - One Chapter a Week Starting 27.11.16


Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - King Zaedar is Introduced, He Learns of Our Hero’s Exploits in Issue #2, and A Mysterious Force Awakens™ From The Depths of The Ancient Past
Chapter 2 - John Boss - Incredibly - Escapes from "The White Palace of Death”, Shoots A BUNCH of Dudes, and Makes His Way to The Relative Safety of Dryadora’s Coal District
Chapter 3 - Dhubagèl Escorts Aerin Through The Sewers of Dryadora, But Maybe Also His Subconscious? What I Mean is We Get to Know More About This Previously Mysterious and At Points Unsettling Character, and The Subterranean Setting is Associated - in Jungian Psychoanalysis - With The Subconscious, So That Works
Chapter 4 - That Relatively Sedate Chapter Was Just a Break from The All-Important Action! As John Boss and Chel Make Their Way Through The Coal District In Their Attempt to Find Safe Refuge, But Not Without The Police Giving Chase
Chapter 5 - John Boss, Aerin Liette, Dhubagèl Shaen, Chel Hagar, and More are Finally United, and Ready to Strike Back Against King Zaedar’s Brutal Regime
Chapter 6 - The Past 30 Years of Aerin's Life Are Unlived for the Sake of the Plot, by Which I Mean Primarily the Plot of This Book, but Also the Plot Which the Red Hand Formulate in This Chapter, Which - If That Wasn't Obvious to You, Reader - Is a Clever Bit of Wordplay on the Similarities between The "Diegetic" Rebellion's Plot Which Requires Sacrifice, in a Very Fatalistic, Heroic Sort of Way, and The "Non-Diegetic" Aristotelian Plot Structure Which Requires Sacrifice in a Very Ritualistic “High-Maintenance Volcano God” Sort of Way
Chapter 7 - In a ‘Baroque Formalism’ Power Move, Four Conversations between John Boss the 34th and the Three Members of the Dryadora Red Hand Cell Are Intercut with a Scene of Domestic Mundanity, and a Scene of Great Heroism Which Is Also a Flashback into the past of John Boss the 41st. For the Purposes of Light Genre Parody, a Minor Character Has a Silly Name; A Minor Character Waits for a Bus, Which Doesn't Actually Move the Plot Forward or Contribute to The Themeing in Any Meaningful Way, And a Minor Character Mentions Things from Wurld’s past but Doesn’t Explain Them, Which Gives You That Kind of High-Fantasy Texture without the Bogged-Downedness That Comes with Fields of Exposition: All the Flavour of Fantasy with None of the Nutrition, and I Think That's Beautiful
Chapter 8 - The Night before the Operation, Aerin — Overcome by Insomnia — Hides Away in His Study and Distracts Himself from His Fear of Tomorrow's Events with the Comforting Familiarity of His Self-Loathing. Kreida Tries to Comfort Him and the Two End up Comparing Notes on a Relationship Forged under the Crucible Pressures of Mental Illness. It's Actually Really Nice.
Chapter 9 - There's a Flashback to an Episode from Chel Hagar's past with Revealing Parallels to Another Episode from Chel Hagar's Past: Chapter 7 of Issue #2. You Might Assume This Is Our Only Reason for Jumping Back a Few Years in Time, but Only If You Pay Attention Will You Notice That We're Subtly Reminding You of and Expanding on the Sub-Sub-Plot of Dryadora and / or the Whole Elvin Empire's failing Electricity System, Because That's Going to Be Important Later. We Then Seamlessly Transition into the Red Hand Cell's Infiltration of the DTV Station Where the Tapes of What Actually Happened in the Arena Are Kept. Being the End of Act II / Beginning of Act III, Things Go a Bit Skiwhiff and the Chapter Ends on a Thrilling Cliffhanger That You'll Have to Wait 'Til next Sunday to See Resolved!
Chapter 10 - Aerin and Krieda Spend Most of the Day in Dryadora's Pearl District, a Nice Day out Which Is Actually a Ruse by Aerin to Get near the Arena Where the Prime Minister Is Making His Speech. Krieda Is Conveniently Scheduled to Visit Her Parents in the Afternoon, so This Gives Aerin the Perfect Opportunity for a Heartbreaking Goodbye Scene before He Goes to Infiltrate the Press Crowd and Place Lockswell's Signal Jammer on the DTV Van's Satellite. Aerin and Dhubagèl Engage in Some Breathtakingly Suspenseful Scenes of Social Deception, but Are They Wily Enough to Avoid Detection by the Already On-Edge Members of the Prime Minister's Elite Guard? Also, How Good Was Doctor Who Last Night?
Chapter 11 - The Red Hand Defend the Control Room as Their Broadcast Goes out to the World. They Flee, and after a High-Octane Chase Scene They Escape into the Forests. All Hope Seems Lost, but Then They Are Saved by a Mysterious Character from an Earlier Point in the Story in a Way That Is Surprising but, Crucially, Still Made Inevitable by the Aristotelian Clockwork We've Established up until This Point. I Liked This Week's Doctor Who a Lot More Than Frank Cottrell-Boyce's Last Episode. It's Good That We're Getting More Fully-Realised Alien Planets In The Show Again
Chapter 12 - The Twelfth One

NINE MINUTES UNTIL THE END OF THE UNIVERSE

“I wish, for all the world, that this was the last time I saw you.”

Krieda Caishead didn’t notice when the forgotten bedside lamp switched itself off, when the light from the bathroom went dark or the TV downstairs fell silent. Her entire body shook, curled up into a little ball on the bed, having read the letter she found on the table in the hall.

“So this is it, then. I don’t know if I’ve committed everything I can to memory for your benefit or mine, but. Language was invented so that knowledge could escape death, and now these word-pictures of you may survive the worst. I wish I could be there for you right now, but I know you’ll get through this without me. You don’t actually need me, see. You never did. You are one of the bravest and strongest people I've ever known, you are among titans.

I realise - too late - that all the combinations of invented letters and words could never express a modicum of what you are, and what you are to me. I’m not going to say ‘I love you’ because it isn’t enough, because that’s a vague and useless incantation that has been abused since its first recital, diluted into worthlessness by millennia of writers, liars, monsters and fools. So I'm not going to say I love you. (I do.)

By the time you read this, I'll likely be gone with no hope of ever returning to you. I might even be dead, so let’s get this out there: you are - literally and without a breath of exaggeration - the one and only thing in this absurd, cruel, parodic facsimile of of a world I would ever want to return to. Of everything I've ever seen or heard, you are the highlight and main attraction. As for my fate, I am a small part of events which barely make sense even to me, and which would take too many precious seconds to explain here.

If we never see each other again, I am content. I am just thankful that of all the lives there ever were or ever will be, I am privileged to be a footnote in yours. And what a life it’s going to be! I am only sorry for these next few moments of sorrow.

You will never be forgotten,
Aerin”

She hid beneath a pillow. She did not notice the commotion outside her window. She did not notice when a torrent of angry Collisterran noblemen started falling from the sky and hitting the streets. She did not notice when they bounced.

Aerin watched the rain on the city. In the glass of the throne room’s window he could faintly see his reflection, and the bright orange ball of fire and limbs that hung still in the air behind him. A watch on a disembodied wrist had stopped at 10:30am exactly. It had been a few minutes since then. God was late.

“AM NO A GOD FUR FUCK’S SAKE!”

The main doors to the throne room flew open, purple and green and pink and white light strobed in from the room on the other side. An orange woman with blonde hair and a pink dress stumbled out, screaming at someone behind her. “KEN HOW PEOPLE ARE LIKE ‘OH LOOK AT THAT WEE DUG, HE’S LOOKIN AT THE TV, HE KENS FIT THEY’RE SAYING HAHA’ BUT YI KEN DUGS ARE ACTUALLY NAE LIKE, SENTIENT BEINGS BUT IT’S FUNNY TO PRETEND THEY ARE? THAT’S FIT I THINK ABOUT GODS IVERY DAY OF MAH LIFE YA PRICK.” She turned around, only just now noticing the explosion. “AERIN LIETTE!” She raised her arms and grinned. “YOU ABSOLUTE SHITEHAWK!”

“Sorry?” Aerin squinted, walking over to the portal.

“LOOK AT AW THIS, BITS IVERYWHERE, IT’S A FUCKIN DISGRACE!”

“This wasn’t me!”

“Aye aye, right. Mostly am jist amazed you’re still alive min.”

“How…” he peered over her shoulder, women in dresses and men in suits and weird skirts danced on a wooden floor, chanting “-HUFF I’LL PUFF I’LL BLOW YOU AWAY SAY YOU WILL! SAY YOU WON’T! SAY YOU’LL DOOO WHAT I DON’T! SAY YOU’RE TRUE, SAY TO MEE-EEE! C’EST LA VII-IIIEE!”

Nobody noticed the door, not even the woman in a white dress who stumbled into the frame and clung to it as she projectile-vomited over the threshold between worlds, wondered where the vomit had gone, before disregarding the issue and getting back to the bridesmaid holding four shots.

Aerin stepped back from the encroaching puddle. “Eugh.”

“Oi!” the woman raised her eyebrows at him. “That vomit’s just been through eleven dimensions, it can hear you!” She knelt down and addressed the vomit, which had taken on the rainbow shimmer of an oil spill and whose crystalline hyper-chunks shivered with cosmic energy. “Sorry, sorry. I’d just- I would just like to welcome your species to the state of conscious thought. I imagine it wis quite the journey, and… once I've dealt wae this other thing-” she put her hand to her mouth and held back a little bit of sick, which she swallowed. “I'll refer yi ti the cooncil and we’ll see about finding a home for yir… burgeoning civilisation. Arite? Sound mate.”

She stood back up and turned to Aerin, putting an arm around him and escorting him to the table in the throne room. She leaned in close to him. “Aye, jist as well she wis sick. Itween you and me, it covers up the smell ae the best man’s boaby on her breath.”

“What?”

“His deck! Penis!” She shouted as she sat down. “That’s what I was there deein, mind how I had aw that booze? In the carriage?”

Aerin noticed her eyes: one pink and one blue. “When you abandoned me in that forest and left me to fend for myself in a new world for three days?”

“Ten minutes!”

“Three days.”

“Well I wis a cat in a carriage ten minutes ago, and av just spent ten minutes greasin the wheels between the new Mrs. Janine Kwiatkowski nee. Buchan and her husband’s best pal of fifteen years, standing guard ootside the disabled toilet as he got her up the duff.”

“Again: what?”

“Pregnant! He got her pregnant.”

“Oh right, right.” Aerin shifted his gaze around the room, looking for something normal to talk about. He failed. “Why were you doing that?”

The woman, who had been cradling her head on the table, became defensive. “Aye right now, that disnae sound like the kind of 100% ethical conduct yi might usually hold me to. One: aye it fuckin is. Two: I am beyond ethics, arite? Twenty five years fae now, Princess Khaleesi Kwiatkowski-Buchan is the first quine on Mars, takin a wee selfie while she’s up there, and the human race has me ti thank for it.” She slapped the table as punctuation. “Ethical!”

“Okay, so why are you here? Why now? Why not when everyone was still alive?”

She scanned the room, gravitating towards the ball of fire and intestines. “Ooooohhhh THAT’S what that is.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake!” Aerin got up out of his chair to find an exit.

“Arite arite, that was a joke. Joke. Sit doon. Business time.” The woman, suddenly wearing horn-rimmed glasses, pulled out a file from some unseen pocket of air behind her and opened it up on the table. “As I wis saying, I'm surprised you’re still alive, considering the succession ae fuckin debilitating nympholeptic seizures you’ve suffered over the past three days. Look!” She rolled out a long trail of graph paper, across which a red line oscillated up and down regularly before suddenly going off and spelling the word “KRIEDA” in cursive, dotting the “i” with a little heart.

“Can you just get to the point?”

“Fine.” She took her glasses off and her face became deadly serious. “Aerin, I'm crashing this universe.”

“Och!” said a large, partially balding and mostly red man in a loose shirt and kilt as he stumbled through the portal. “Far’s the bog Britney?”

“It’s no here Kenny but naebidy’s here,” replied the woman, waving her hand dismissively. “Jist ging for it.”

“Um,” said Aerin, watching the man lift up his kilt and piss behind the golden door.

“At’s Uncle Kenny, Janine’s,” Britney whispered. “He’s a fine loon jist dinna mention the EU arite?”

“What?”

“Noo at’s better,” said Uncle Kenny, taking a seat next to Aerin. “Fine ti get awa fae the last days ae Sodom through there,” he gestured back to the portal with his sweat-polished head. “Fit’s gaan on here?”

“I’m crashing the universe Kenny,” said Britney.

“Oh aye?” Kenny replied, visibily shitfaced as he fumbled through his sporran and tossed a packet of Amber Leaf onto Praeon II of Dryadora’s throne room table.

“Awrtie bud? Kenny,” said Kenny, extending a large hand to Aerin.

“Aerin,” Aerin smiled awkwardly as his hand was crushed by Kenny’s grip. “I’m a friend of- Britney’s.”

“Well at’s a gay name,” Kenny concluded.

“Kenny!” Britney exclaimed, putting on mock offence. “Aerin’s just watched nearly everyone he knows in this world be murdered and his world is literally ending, be nice!” she pulled the packet of tobacco over with the tin of rolling papers.

“Fitwhy?”

“WELL,” Britney drunkenly yelled as she started asssembling a cigarette. “Av sent Aerin and his pal, John,” she pointed at the smashed corpse next to Kenny’s chair, “into the year 2214 from their original time like… two hunner years ago? Summen like at, so they can see fit the future’s like if they dinna-”

Kenny pulled the roll of graph paper over to his side of the table and turned it so he could read it. “Fit’s iss?”

“Krieda is Aerin’s blon,” Britney said, licking the cigarette paper’s edge. “In this time. Well, she’s the blon of Aerin’s clone, who I made twenty-odd year ago to be replaced by oor Aerin so he can seamlessly intergrate into future society and take over his clone’s life, but like they’re literally exactly the same person, so it’s kind of fine? But at the same time it’s REALLY NAE,” she stared at Aerin as she sealed the fag and passed it over to Kenny. “But also like morality literally isnae a thing that exists, so fitiver. ANYWAY, since time travel isnae possible-”

“You sure aboot at?” said Kenny, pausing to light up and take a puff. “I seen iss documentary on ‘i History channel, right, and-”

“Let’s jist say it is, right?” Britney interrupted. “How could I send Aerin and his pal into the future?”

“Ancient astronauts.” Kenny bluntly replied.

“Trick question, I didny,” she leaned back in her chair looking extremely pleased with herself. “Aerin and John’s lives in the past were actually jist dreams I had their brain run through while their bodies were hidden in a safe location in 2214, and then, when the time was right, I woke them up and let them loose on this new world. It’s good innit?”

Uncle Kenny pondered for a moment, watching the trail of smoke fade into the air. “So if Aerin and John were never *in* the past, and they’re nae actually *from* the past because they’ve always been in 2214, how do we know that Aerin and John actually ever did exist in the *real* 2014 in the first place?”

Aerin was quiet for a moment, Cha Cha Slide (Hardino Mix) by DJ Casper was receding in the other room, he looked at Britney for any kind of comfort. “Did we?”

“Ummmmmmmmmm,” said Britney.

“OH MY GOD.” Aerin shot out of his chair, hiding behind his hands as angrily stormed off into the next room where Take a Chance on Me by ABBA was working the crowd. The music hammered through the soles of his feet as he stood still in the centre of the commotion for a while feeling like the floor had fallen out from under him. “OH MY FUCKING GOD,” he cried again, unheard, at that one bit where Anna just goes off about a minute in. Britney grabbed him by the shoulder and hauled him back into the throne room, waving the doors shut.

“Aye naw, you and John are actually real people in 2014, I remember now.” She sat him down. “It’s fine mate, it’s fine,” she said. “Definitely.”

“You’re sure?” said Aerin, holding his head up with his elbows on the table, fingers knotted in his hair.

“Aye,” she said, rummaging through her folder. “I’ve got the obituaries to prove it.”

Aerin sighed furiously.

“Fucking cheer up min,” said Uncle Kenny, offering Aerin a puff. “See now you’ve a chance to make aw this better.”

“HOW?”

“Ugh, look,” said Britney, pulling a scrunched-up piece of lined paper out from between her breasts. “Here, this is the simplest way I can put it.”

Aerin looked up from the diagram. “So you’re going to get us back into 2014 by… crashing?”

“Aye,” Britney nodded.

“Won’t that kill everyone in this timeline?”

She was quiet for a long moment. “No.”

“I’M NOT-”

“OKAY OKAY, WEESHT.”

Aerin tried to protest, but found his mouth glued shut.

“Okay, so technically: yes. BUT! Butbutbut, only in the sense that they will have no longer been born yet. From your point of view, at least.”

“Hmm hmm hmm hmm!?” said Aerin.

“What I mean is…time disna work how you think it works. Yous are all cutting aboot thinking that the past and future dinnae exist, you refuse to look up from the present moment, like a baby who thinks things arenae there because they’re no looking at them right this second. The way beings like masel perceive time… it’s sort of like how when you’re reading some fantasy novel where the hero’s in mortal danger and you know the author wants this to be suspenseful like ‘aw naw what if he dies?’ but secretly you ken that page 235 exists as a piece of paper in your hand and if you turned to it right noo you’d see that he’s completely fine. You know?”

Aerin was silent, arms folded.

“Oh aye.”

Able to speak again, Aerin sighed. “We’ve reached the point in all of our conversations where I don’t know what you’re on about and I don’t actually care. Can we go home now?”

“You’re remarkably unconcerned about the fact that John’s dead.”

“I’ve known John Boss for five days and I can’t remember how many times he’s appeared to have died by this point.”

“Four.” The woman replied. “Canonically.”

Suddenly, everything started to get bright, a metallic screech rang out and

[INCOMMUNICABLE.]

Soft ocean waves brushed over the warm sand. Aerin woke up peacefully, rubbing the sleep from his eyes to find that he was dressed in the same clothes he’d been wearing in the Crossroads Inn. A thick book was lying in his lap.

“Good morning, I woke up an hour ago,” said John Boss, who reclined in the chair next to him.

“Right,” said Aerin. “I have no idea what anything is or why it’s happening so before I sound crazy I just want you to confirm that you did the ‘200 years into the future thing’ too, yes?”

John gasped. “You too?”

Aerin sighed with something like relief and lay back in his chair, looking out to the bright and shimmering sea. “This is nice. Have you figured out where we are yet?”

“Somewhere in the Miragea, going by the…mirage.”

Aerin looked surprised. “I thought these were sailors’ myths inspired by some boring tropical islands. Didn’t think they were actually real.”

“Well they’re not.” John replied. “Until they are. Oh!” He shot forward in his chair and pointed at the horizon. “See that island? That wasn’t there a second ago.”

Aerin shielded his eyes from the sun and squinted. “Isn’t that just a trick of the light though?”

“No, no! The islands literally do not exist, some for centuries at a time, and then they just pop back in this general area of the sea. This is actually where naughty cartographers go when they die, the place is completely unmappable, so they just don’t bother putting it on.” He relaxed back into his chair. “Love the Miragea.”

“Just for the weather, or…?”

“There is always, always something new here. Some of the islands have totally unique species, some of the islands have never even been seen by a living thing before.”

During this natural pause, Aerin lifted the cover of the book. “Huh.”

“What?”

“I have a book I didn’t have before. The first page reads ‘The Spectacular Adventures of John Boss’ and is signed with a cat’s paw print.” He tilted the book to show John, who took it and rifled through its blank pages.

“There’s nothing here.”

“That’s because you haven’t had them yet.”

Boss looked offended. “I have had plenty of spectacular adventures! My life doesn’t begin and end with your involvement in them! And that’s the first deviation from the source material: ‘Spectacular’! My ‘spectacular’ adventures.”

“Aren’t they?”

“The word is underselling them, don’t you think?” He handed the empty book back to Aerin.

“Well what word would you use?”

“The… ‘The Unbelievable Adventures of John Boss’? No, that suggests they’re not true. ‘The Jaw-Dropping Adventures of John Boss’? ‘The Incredible Adventures of John Boss’?”

“We’re getting ahead of ourselves here. The most important part of any book is its actual plot, right?”

“Of course. You’re the author, tell me: what’s this ‘John Boss’ book about?”

“It’s about this muscular-” Boss flexed his arms in response “-handsome,-” he twirled his moustache “-intellectual,-” he rested his chin on his fist and looked contemplated the horizon “-impeccably charming hero and the guy he’s writing a book about.”

“Ha.” Said John.

“Well, John Boss, where would you say the story goes from here?”

“Hm,” Boss stood up and started slowly pacing over the soft sand. “I know that Praeon II hasn’t been coronated yet, let alone begun his siege of the whole continent. So we have time. I also know that I’ve never heard of this ‘Red Death’ character in all my travels, and that if there’s anyone in this world who can help us, it’ll be him.”

“But the Red Death failed, John,” Aerin countered, swallowing hard. “He’s destined to fall at the Battle of Dryadora.”

“Not if we help him,” replied John.

“How?”

“The Red Death failed because of three things: because of an unanticipated technological disadvantage, because of his soldiers’ lack of experience, and because of their wavering conviction to a losing cause.”

“How do you know all that?” Aerin leaned forward in his chair.

“I anticipated something like this,” Boss replied. “Why else would we be presented with a vision of a bleak future if not to avert it? I asked around.”

“So what are you…” Aerin hesitated. “Going to do about that?”

“I’m an expert tactician and master of every form of physical combat known to man. With my training, and with an expert propagandist at his disposal…” John turned and looked at Aerin.

“I don’t follow,” said Aerin, following. “Did you learn anything about me while you were… over there?”

“You’re a writer,” declared Boss. “Not an accomplished one, yet, but if you can compose sonnets that leave a peasant girl swooning onto your festering bed I’m sure you can write speeches that send men roaring onto the battlefield.”

“I see,” Aerin nodded.

“And on that bombshell!” John bellowed, his movements becoming large and dramatic. “Our hero and his stalwart biographer looked out onto the shining sea…” Boss gestured at Aerin to complete the passage, they saw not a mere plain of clear saltwater but a vast and empty realm of possibility, a blank canvas upon which they would write the next chapter of the history of Wurld and its seven kingdoms! A daring mission with all the future hanging in the balance! Incomprehensible creatures from worlds beyond worlds! Blood-curdling villains! Impossible odds!

“Join them!” boomed Aerin, stepping to Boss’ side, “as they embark on a quest like no other, an action-packed, nay, ACTIONTACULAR adventure!” John laughed. “Full of drama!” He swept his arm diagonally upwards, Boss dodging the impact. “Romance!” Aerin put his hands to his heart with an audible slap. “Danger! Mystery! Death-defying feats of physical strength and intellectual might!”

“So grab the quill, Aerin!” Boss took over.

“I don’t have one,” Aerin ran back to the empty book on the chair to check.

“Because here’s where the history books get interesting! Here the Actiontacular Adventures of John Boss begin in earnest, and this is only chapter one…” John placed his foot on a rock with his arms folded, the rising sun casting dramatic shadows on his face, staring purposefully at the horizon like he was looking for a fight. “…The story of how I saved the universe!”

JOHN BOSS WILL RETURN

IN

“Or!”

“What!?” John shouted as he turned around.

“Or, we could just kill this Praeon bastard ourselves?” Aerin suggested. “Statistically speaking, two attempts on his life have a better chance than one, and if we get this over with sooner rather than later we do conveniently avoid the whole ‘world war’ thing, you know?”

“That’s another thing,” John started walking over to Aerin. “‘We’. Who is ‘we’? You’re getting ideas above your station.”

“What do you mean!?”

“We’re not in this together Aerin, we’re not friends.” John shook his head. “I hired you to do a job and you’ll do what I’m paying you to. I considered making this a ghostwriting gig, but I relented at the last moment.”

“Why? Out of curiosity.”

“It’s not so much an honour-bound aversion to having someone else’s work attributed to me as much as it is an aversion to me being attributed to anyone else’s work, if that makes sense.”

“Yeah,” Aerin nodded.

“Nevertheless I don’t want this to read like a piece of… self-insert journalism, if you’re familiar with the genre. And no…” he waved his hand, looking for the word. “Postmodern… bullshit. Alright?”

“No postmodern bullshit,” I nodded, lying.

“Alright. Now that that’s settled, I think there’s a village not far that way.”

ISSUE #4: THE GHOSTS OF ENGAIA PRISON

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - King Zaedar is Introduced, He Learns of Our Hero’s Exploits in Issue #2, and A Mysterious Force Awakens™ From The Depths of The Ancient Past
Chapter 2 - John Boss - Incredibly - Escapes from "The White Palace of Death”, Shoots A BUNCH of Dudes, and Makes His Way to The Relative Safety of Dryadora’s Coal District
Chapter 3 - Dhubagèl Escorts Aerin Through The Sewers of Dryadora, But Maybe Also His Subconscious? What I Mean is We Get to Know More About This Previously Mysterious and At Points Unsettling Character, and The Subterranean Setting is Associated - in Jungian Psychoanalysis - With The Subconscious, So That Works
Chapter 4 - That Relatively Sedate Chapter Was Just a Break from The All-Important Action! As John Boss and Chel Make Their Way Through The Coal District In Their Attempt to Find Safe Refuge, But Not Without The Police Giving Chase
Chapter 5 - John Boss, Aerin Liette, Dhubagèl Shaen, Chel Hagar, and More are Finally United, and Ready to Strike Back Against King Zaedar’s Brutal Regime
Chapter 6 - The Past 30 Years of Aerin's Life Are Unlived for the Sake of the Plot, by Which I Mean Primarily the Plot of This Book, but Also the Plot Which the Red Hand Formulate in This Chapter, Which - If That Wasn't Obvious to You, Reader - Is a Clever Bit of Wordplay on the Similarities between The "Diegetic" Rebellion's Plot Which Requires Sacrifice, in a Very Fatalistic, Heroic Sort of Way, and The "Non-Diegetic" Aristotelian Plot Structure Which Requires Sacrifice in a Very Ritualistic “High-Maintenance Volcano God” Sort of Way
Chapter 7 - In a ‘Baroque Formalism’ Power Move, Four Conversations between John Boss the 34th and the Three Members of the Dryadora Red Hand Cell Are Intercut with a Scene of Domestic Mundanity, and a Scene of Great Heroism Which Is Also a Flashback into the past of John Boss the 41st. For the Purposes of Light Genre Parody, a Minor Character Has a Silly Name; A Minor Character Waits for a Bus, Which Doesn't Actually Move the Plot Forward or Contribute to The Themeing in Any Meaningful Way, And a Minor Character Mentions Things from Wurld’s past but Doesn’t Explain Them, Which Gives You That Kind of High-Fantasy Texture without the Bogged-Downedness That Comes with Fields of Exposition: All the Flavour of Fantasy with None of the Nutrition, and I Think That's Beautiful
Chapter 8 - The Night before the Operation, Aerin — Overcome by Insomnia — Hides Away in His Study and Distracts Himself from His Fear of Tomorrow's Events with the Comforting Familiarity of His Self-Loathing. Kreida Tries to Comfort Him and the Two End up Comparing Notes on a Relationship Forged under the Crucible Pressures of Mental Illness. It's Actually Really Nice.
Chapter 9 - There's a Flashback to an Episode from Chel Hagar's past with Revealing Parallels to Another Episode from Chel Hagar's Past: Chapter 7 of Issue #2. You Might Assume This Is Our Only Reason for Jumping Back a Few Years in Time, but Only If You Pay Attention Will You Notice That We're Subtly Reminding You of and Expanding on the Sub-Sub-Plot of Dryadora and / or the Whole Elvin Empire's failing Electricity System, Because That's Going to Be Important Later. We Then Seamlessly Transition into the Red Hand Cell's Infiltration of the DTV Station Where the Tapes of What Actually Happened in the Arena Are Kept. Being the End of Act II / Beginning of Act III, Things Go a Bit Skiwhiff and the Chapter Ends on a Thrilling Cliffhanger That You'll Have to Wait 'Til next Sunday to See Resolved!
Chapter 10 - Aerin and Krieda Spend Most of the Day in Dryadora's Pearl District, a Nice Day out Which Is Actually a Ruse by Aerin to Get near the Arena Where the Prime Minister Is Making His Speech. Krieda Is Conveniently Scheduled to Visit Her Parents in the Afternoon, so This Gives Aerin the Perfect Opportunity for a Heartbreaking Goodbye Scene before He Goes to Infiltrate the Press Crowd and Place Lockswell's Signal Jammer on the DTV Van's Satellite. Aerin and Dhubagèl Engage in Some Breathtakingly Suspenseful Scenes of Social Deception, but Are They Wily Enough to Avoid Detection by the Already On-Edge Members of the Prime Minister's Elite Guard? Also, How Good Was Doctor Who Last Night?
Chapter 11 - The Red Hand Defend the Control Room as Their Broadcast Goes out to the World. They Flee, and after a High-Octane Chase Scene They Escape into the Forests. All Hope Seems Lost, but Then They Are Saved by a Mysterious Character from an Earlier Point in the Story in a Way That Is Surprising but, Crucially, Still Made Inevitable by the Aristotelian Clockwork We've Established up until This Point. I Liked This Week's Doctor Who a Lot More Than Frank Cottrell-Boyce's Last Episode. It's Good That We're Getting More Fully-Realised Alien Planets In The Show Again
Chapter 12 - The Twelfth One

Next: ???