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Midnight City Problems

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> Be Doc Scratch.

Welcome dear Reader, to the beginning of the end. You’ve come just in time to watch the demise of the single most important man in the universe.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. You have absolutely no idea what’s going on, do you? Of course not, you did just get here.

Very well. I suppose it’s up to me to educate you. I’ll try to make this quick. Just because I have unlimited time doesn’t mean I want to waste it.

In the beginning there was a war. Before city streetlights existed, before the wisps of smoke from chimneys mingled with the clouds the skyscrapers touched, there was a war. A clash between black and white in a battle for victory that stained the moons red. A battle that waged on checkered ground, a chess game played between two masters. Before the buildings and the blocks, there was chaos. There was death and destruction and monochrome battlefields. There was gold and purple and victory mattered, and anyone standing in the way of it didn’t.

There was a war, and in its wake a city formed.

For centuries the war was fought, both sides numerous in quantity. The armies of black and white waged fierce battles and countless lives were lost. All of existence flowed into a bloody singularity that trudged forward towards an uncertain future. The gap between those alive and those dead widened by the day, and most forgot what exactly they were fighting for. This was normal for these soldiers, the Prospitans and Dersites. War was all they ever knew, it was what they were made for. They were cloned and created with the sole mind to fight, to conquer and win.

Unfortunately for them, the end result had already been determined.

The Black Queen, a ruthless dictator, commanded her armies with an iron fist. Cunning battle strategies and cases of subterfuge and blackmail ran rampant on the other side. Strategically she had the upper hand and with her cunning military expertise, she seized victory and brought an end to the bloodshed. The death of her king meant nothing to her and was quickly forgotten in the chaos. With the help of her archagents, the opposing side’s royalty crumbled. The King was gutted, the queen beheaded, and like the rush of the tides the battle was over. The glory went to Derse and war prisoners were taken, enabling the dark kingdom to flourish and thrive in their victory. All was well, so it seemed, for the Dersites.

All was well for everyone, except Jack Noir.

Now, Jack was no ordinary pawn. He was an archagent under the queen’s very thumb. A Sovereign Slayer, if you would. He did as she commanded, completed any work he was assigned, and sat through every torturous teasing that Her Majesty decided to thrust upon him. It was through those ends that a deep hatred festered in the mind of this high ranked carapace, and that hatred caused her ruin. Jack rose up against her tyranny in a coup that got him and several other carapaces exiled to the wastes. No one would show them kindness or mercy, no one would follow their cause, or so the queen thought.

Cast aside to the forgotten sahara of the moon, Jack wandered aimlessly with his three other arch agents. His anger manifested into vigilance, resentment, and confidence. He was determined to prove her wrong. They were all determined to bring her down and, through the use of dark magic unknown to this world, the four pledged a sacred oath to the darkness to do just that. Calling upon the blight known as Shadow Magic, the four would receive immense power in exchange for their souls when they died. A fitting trade, seeing as though they wouldn’t be using them. With revenge on their minds, they swore into this sacred bond at the stroke of twelve and became something new. Something we have come to call The Midnight Crew.

Newly formed, the Midnight Crew took on new identities. Jack Nour became Spades Slick, his colleagues donning the names Diamonds Droog, Hearts Boxcars, and Clubs Deuce to suit. With Slick’s guidance they set to rebuild the society that they were cast out of, and use their magic to pull a city from the depths of the sand. One made of blood, sweat, magic, and most importantly, the hate for the detestable queen that had sent them there in the first place.

Spades Slick built a city and he would be crowned its new king, and within a week Midnight City had formed.

Word of construction on the planet reached out to the moons. Dersites and prospitans alike left to travel to the desert planet with the city in it. They too became aware of the Black Queen’s harsh ways and decided to leave. The promise of a new world and a new ruler was more enticing than that of the lives they already led. With their chins held high, the rest of the moon’s populations fled to what was once Alternia. The Black Queen’s reign had come to an end. She was to rue in her inheritance. Slick’s vengeance seemed complete, but it was far from over.

When The Black Queen realized her citizens no longer wanted her, she became furious and vowed to destroy the newly named Slick. After all of her allied agents were gone, she sat and waited half a century before she made her move. Much like the Midnight Crew had struck a bargain with dark forces, she made a deal with a different devil. A much more handsome and charismatic devil. Her deal was simple. She was to become one with the universe, and was granted the gift of space. The only downside was that when she died, the universe crumbled with her. She did not care for the fate of the universe. A universe she could not control was not a universe worth having.

With a snap, Sn0wman became.

Sn0wman was given, by the grace of her new god, a crew to rival Slick’s own, and in no time the city was once again torn between two factions. A new war sprang up between The Midnight Crew and The Felt. For these creatures, war seemed the only way to live. Constant conflict was the only thing that would keep the city thriving. During the day, the world was ordinary. The mixed Prospitans and Dersites went about their lives, entertaining themselves with jobs and families, and the promise of a flourishing civilization. But when night fell, the world changed. Peaceful streets became canvases for crime. Gangs littered the alleyways and the authorities were at no liberty to stop them. The city stayed afloat on back alley trades and illegal smuggling, and they were none the wiser. When the sun rose on their city, it was as if nothing had ever transpired the night before. The only memories of anything were relayed on the news stations the morning after.

Though the organized crime helped the city survive, there must always be a light to the darkness. In a short amount of time, out of seemingly nowhere, a detective's firm had popped up in the middle of the city. In the beginning, the idea was laughable to the two sides. Who in their right mind would be idiotic enough to go after Spades Slick? What kind of person would risk their life to put him behind bars in the city he made with his own two hands?

The answer to that question was Problem Sleuth.

In no time at all, Sleuth and company went from solving smaller crimes and mystery cases to interfering with regular Crew and Felt affairs. He became a thorn in Slick’s side, hounding him in pursuit of what he called justice and interrupting his heists. A rivalry formed between them, and almost weekly they saw each other with knives to their throats and guns to their entourages.

Their rivalry, however, interfered with that of Sn0wman’s, and she too became an antagonist in the pulchritudinous gumshoe’s life. The three have been dancing to the dangerous tune of blood, guns, and knives for a fair amount of time, and with a carapacian lifespan, it could have gone on for eons.

And that, dear Reader, is where we are at this very moment. Time has passed and relationships have formed, alliances have been made, and chaos has been wrought. Well, not yet. You haven’t seen any of that yet. I, on the other hand, know exactly what is going to happen, and have seen it unravel before me like the very threads of time and space. The conflict between the members of The Midnight Crew and what they are up against are worthy of a tale all their own, but I won’t be the one to tell it. Oh, no.

You’re going to watch as it transpires. After all, what is a story if you can’t learn and grow with it? A dull one, in my eyes. I prefer stories with substance and a thrilling ending, and many many deaths.

Is this one of those stories? Perhaps. Possibly. But you’ll have to read to find out.

Welcome, dear Reader, to the tale of Midnight City Problems.