My name is Simon Berendt, and I’m here to explain. Even senior alchemists must emerge from their laboratories now and then to share the kind of history that people don’t really like to talk about.
People You are Meeting
I won’t dare introduce Dance, Emma, or Drin, but if you are here at this stage of class, I will assume you have met these three already.
Auren Han once worked for Zelin Industries. His rescue of Ira Zelin, their subsequent life on the run, and the collapse of their temporary haven make up the Strangeways story arc. Auren was desperately in love with Greenlaw Tewkes Barret, whose sudden reappearance in his life was the catalyst for much of the ensuing chaos and destruction he experiences. Auren controls a small consulting firm that takes advantage of his previous contacts in the criminal underworld and his extensive experience with shadow operations.
Greenlaw Tewkes Barret is a well-regarded young composer who was trained by Easley Blackwood. When they were in college together, Barret and Auren were lovers. As he became more and more complicit in Zelin’s criminal designs, Auren severed the relationship. At the time of the Snake Crossover, they have reunited, but there’s a lot getting in the way of Auren’s happy ending, including Barret’s refusal to be kept hidden for his own safety.
Barret knows Drin and Dance peripherally through some common aquaintances in the music world, and has taken matters into his own hands, hand-carrying a mysterious viola case to a certainly dangerous rendezvous.
Maxwell Bennie is an ex-cop from Hong Kong with considerable forensic background. He prefers to go by Bennie. How he and Auren first got to know each other is murky, but what is known is that he once worked under Auren Han in Zelin’s Ways and Means Division. He now works as Auren’s operative in Auren’s consulting company, Atsidi. Auren has sent him to investigate worrisome trends that I identified, and to lay a trail to attact Turner, a chemtrail assassin who has targeted Drin for unknown reasons.
Bennie is meticulous, dedicated, intelligent, and quite mad.
I, myself, do not work for Auren Han. I own Strangeways House and created and secured the Strangeways network. I let Auren and his people live here; occasionally I make myself useful to Atsidi.
Other Names to Know
Pen, himself a war relic with strange modifications and a patchy memory, is a mutual friend.
Turner, a very serious threat indeed, has not yet made his formal appearance.
We are in the Deep South, but the location is secret. Fozzie’s down-home Rancho Deluxe for rescued Kiplings (lab-created zoomorphs with many special functions in the last couple of wars) has already repelled attacks from an increasingly creepy collection of altered trackers and assassins.
Please stay tuned for further dispatches from Barret, who will in time find himself getting peeled off a really horrible tour bus.