Red City was losing the war with reality. Land masses were shifting, volcanic eruptions and devastating storms were the undeniable evidence that the city was no longer Sovereign of the Earth. Conclaves of scientists gathered to solve the problem. They gathered in Stolemock Hall, a caverenous echo chamber named after Dr. Camine Stolmock who was a pioneer in Transference Technology. The Archons who ruled Red City revered Dr. Stolemock who unfortunately died while performing an experiment with the brains of unwilling volunteers. The modern crisis demanded leaders who were driven by the same genius and madness that drove Dr. Carmine Stolemock. Some of the students at the University thought old Carmine had been a raving lunatic, but they never voiced their opinions and the Archons had no idea regarding the true nature of Carmine or about the results of most of his botched experiments. Carmine was revered solely because he had been one of the ruling Archons at the time of his death. As a tribute To their old compatriot, the rulers decided all young scientists should be trained in the methods and practices of Carmine Stolemock. Of course that required a redefinition of science to include many of the old traditions of Alchemy. Stolemock originally trained as a Particle Physicist and he believed the basis of “true magic” was due to quantum entanglements — in other words, according to Carmine, magic was real. The scientists working on the current crisis were all alchemists — molded after Carmine. Many had long cascades of white hair worn on the head like a bun in the same way Carmine wore his hair. They aped the old scientist in every way — their dark laboratories in cellars and dungeons rang with Carmine’s favorite music recorded by “Crimson Death.” They studied ancient alchemists like Paracelsus and modern scientists like Schrodinger — as well as the journals of Dr. Josef Mengele.
The latest conclave of alchemists started with a discussion of Dr. Stolemoch’s research in hopes of finding some theory that might help solve the current crisis. Everyone was in agreement that Stolemock was a genius, but there were no hints to anything relating to current situations. A ritual was performed using the elements of fire, water, earth, and air; but to no avail. All the alchemist had apprentices as a way to continue the traditions and practices of the great scientist himself. From time to time one or more apprentices were used in some necessary, but radical experiments. Rufus Thyme had a pension for using apprentices in ritual sacrifices claiming they cleansed the city of unorthodox influences. Rufus was confident the current troubles were the result of too few sacrifices. Other alchemists were not so convinced. Jupiter Fogg was the defacto leader of the alchemists. At one time he was also an Archon of the Red City, but he hated politics and so he used a Shadow to take over his government post while he became totally involved with his passion to discover the Philosopher’s Stone, the secret to immortality. He was the oldest alchemist and he desperately needed a way to bypass death. Jupiter was clever and he knew exactly what caused the current crisis in Red City: a rift caused by climate change — dimensions were collapsing. He also knew there was no saving Red City, but he could save himself. Jupiter Fogg posed and prattled-on at the conclave pretending to be as clueless as everyone else. He was devious, he had no intention of sharing his discoveries. The Stone was the answer — it could open a hole in time and space. Fogg had evidence that Red City existed just below another dimension — he had actually peered through one of the ancient mirror devices that were built by Carmine Stolemock — he saw another world. Jupiter Fogg was the only alchemist who had access to any of Carmine’s devices. He suspected all the other alchemists had similar ideas. They all wanted immortality. They all sought the Stone, but Jupiter intended to stop them.
The conclave ended in a debauchery of drugs and sex. it was traditional . Madness reigned supreme. Demons were called upon and Trolls provided refreshments. In their drugged delirium the alchemists believed the magic was real. In their addled brains they bowed down to imaginary devils and made love to Gods and Goddesses. The hall echoed with screams of pleasure and pain. Young apprentices were used to carry out their master’s demands. Daniel Ot was Jupiter Fogg’s apprentice. Daniel was spared the indignities and shame that often riddled the lives of apprentices — he simply was not Jupiter’s sexual type. He was a diligent young man. Daniel was the perfect apprentice for Jupiter Fogg because he could keep a secret, but Daniel was also very intelligent — he knew what the old bastard was up to. (to be continued)