Restart - A Steampunk Adventure

In the year 1814, The Empress, Maria Vasquez's, Senior Inventor, Kole Tasker, turned corrupt and fled from London. As he did so, he destroyed their security systems, leaving the ever-growing city undefended.
It is now 1856, and news has reached the Empress's ears that Kole is planning to destroy London, and use it as base for his latest invention, an inter-dimensional jumper.
Maria's daughter, Ariannya, or Anya, has been picked to find Kole and stop his plans. She is reluctant, preferring her aristocratic lifestyle.
Will Anya live to take her claim on the throne, or will she and London both go up in steam?

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1. Prologue

The brass plating of the palace glinted in the half-light of a setting sun. Many people didn't like it, but the Empress claimed that it showed London's leadership of the Industrial Revolution. Kole's ears were filled with the sound of steam and hammers hitting metal. London always had a strange sound, even at night, where the hiss of gas being released from valves serenaded many people to sleep. Kole's footsteps were light on the grass, his bald head catching the light from street lamps.He stepped into the guard tower, and peeked around the corner. Typical. As usual, Tomelo was asleep in a chair, drunk as a skunk. Kole crept past him into a room filled with spare cogs and pressure gauges. He tapped one of the bronze cogs, and it rung a high, clear note throughout the room. Kole removed a ratchet screwdriver from his tool-belt and unscrewed a security panel in front of him. Inside was a messy jumble of gears and bare wires. Whichever apprentice had assembled this must have been in a rush. Kole flicked a recessed switch to the left, and the display on the panel died. He strained to push the heavy iron door open, grunting softly to himself. It finally swung open on it's well oiled hinges, and showed Kole a bare room, except for one contraption.

It was a network of steam tubes, connecting together with wires and one Arcane Rune in the centre. Every time the valves released, the symbol on the rune glowed for a second. This was what ran London's security system. With a simple bit of code, Kole could decide exactly who and what would be allowed in London, and more importantly, what could happen in London. Chuckling to himself, he grabbed the rune and slipped it into a pouch on his belt. Instantly, a klaxon blared and a man on a loudspeaker announced that; “London's security has been breached! Flee to the palace!” Kole grimaced. He'd forgotten to disable the alarm system. He started sprinting, his frail frame going surprisingly fast.

Down the steps, out of the tower. He cursed quietly. As soon as he came out onto empty streets, he slowed. They hadn't started coming yet. He hurried along into the nearest alleyway he could find, and moved into the shadows. After a while, he would emerge once more, and make his escape. They wouldn't suspect him, to begin with. He crouched down, hiding behind one of the walls which jutted out. Kole peaked around, making sure he had a clear view of the street when he leaned out, before returning to his ready position. So soon. So, so soon, so, so close. Then he could start his... project, without a single finger lifted by the Empress. She wouldn't know, she would think he were dead. A slight smile moved across his face, and he looked up at the starless sky. If he were anywhere else, stars would litter the dark blanket like pinheads on a notice board. This, this was the glory of London. The sheer amount of street lamps above everything was immense. It decorated the horizon with a wonderful orange glow. It was beautiful.

Kole didn't have to wait long before he heard footsteps, and saw a steady stream of figures dashing out, toward the tower. He wiped the smile from his face, and stepped around the corner, walking at a fast pace across the cobbles, and into the street. Police officers pushed past him, rushing by to get to the scene of the crime. A single one stopped at the sight of his face. One of the ones who actually remembered the Empress's senior inventor.

“Mr Tasker!” The man was well known for his success in cases. He'd been in a number of recent newspaper articles, celebrating his victories. Kole had to force his smile.

“Officer Lan.” He nodded his head in acknowledgement, “I hear there has been a breech in security?”

Lan nodded solemnly, pulling Kole along with him as he moved closer to the tower. Kole himself felt his heart sink slightly. The closer he came back to the crime scene, the worse off he'd be. What was it they said in police-work? 'The criminal always returns to the crime scene'? The hiss of steam was gone from the tower, and instead it was a rattling sound as the valves tried to squeeze non-existent gas out. “Indeed there has, Tasker. We were hoping you could fix it?”

​Kole forced a smile. “I can try, but I'll make no promises.”

​The pair entered the building, gathered policemen parting to let them through. Various cries, around the basis of “We know you can do it, Kole!” were called out to him. Some of the watching citizens were obviously too curious for their own good. Despite the full belief that Kole had resting within him, he couldn't help but feel just a little ​guilty. He pushed down the desire to back out, and forced himself forward. How hard could it be to fake his ignorance? He was known as the best mechanic in the city. If he couldn't fix something, then no one could. So everyone believed. Besides. He doubted anyone could fix what he'd done. Perhaps he'd even be able to cause more damage whilst fixing. He started to smile again. This could work out very well for him.

​As Kole returned to the scene, he was pleased to see Tomelo getting the grilling he deserved. This was one of the reasons London was to become his test. The growing population had so many slackers. If you didn't keep watch, no wonder something like this was going to happen. He turned his back to everything, looking into the security panel he had sabotaged just half an hour ago. As he worked, his smile warped from a smile and way into a grin. He jumbled parts, sneaked a few into his pocket, before rising slowly, fixing a grave look on his face.

​"I'm terribly sorry, Officers, but this simply cannot be fixed." He nodded to the policemen, before taking his leave. There was no way he was going to stay here now.

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