Sunday, May 18, 2014

Queen's Gate Vol 1: Prologue (part 2)

Quite a "sui generis" "in medias res" we started with last time, right? That's kinda our author's style, but fortunately he explains things a bit in this part.

So, we left a girl in a diver suit (is she Alice?) fighting some nasty monsters, but what is she after?


The Vimana hovered directly above the undersea pyramid, analyzing the data sent from the Trump Soldiers and March Hare while maintaining an altitude of three hundred meters over sea level.

The air currents here were far from stable, requiring frequent altitude re-adjustments to the ship, but it was about as far as the Vimana could be allowed to distance itself from the pyramid while still being able to receive and confirm data from inside it. Had there not been a thick layer of seawater between it and the pyramid, the Vimana would be fine staying at a more stable altitude instead. Although, the possibility of the girl in the pyramid needing backup due to some kind of emergency was also a factor to consider, thus this position could be called an acceptable compromise.

“All Clubs were annihilated, two Hearts survived, six Diamonds survived, eleven Swords survived. All Chupacabras up until N block have been terminated.”

Inside the Vimana’s control bridge, located in a gondola beneath the airship, a raven haired woman wearing a silk-hat low enough as to shadow her eyes nonchalantly read aloud the results of the battle between Trump Soldiers and Chupacabras as displayed on a monitor.

The female trespasser down in the pyramid had an information terminal but with very limited processing capabilities, as such, an arrangement where she sent up raw data to the airborne Vimana and later received the fully processed data was key. The woman in the Vimana in charge of relaying this information was known as Hatter, and the girl in the pyramid was her Mistress.

And the name of that Mistress, the one who operated the Attack Device to melt through the Pyramid’s outer wall, the one sneaking around inside of it at this very moment and of course, one of the 5 best Treasure Hunters in the World, was Alice.

<Let me know when the Trump Soldiers are done with their search.>

Alice’s voice instructed from the speakers attached to Hatter’s headset.

“Understood, Professor.”

Within the dimly lit gondola, the monitors shone as the only light source, projecting several multicolored lights moving about in the submerged pyramid. The white colored blip standing at the center of the 600 meter deep pyramid indicated Alice’s position.

Details regarding the contents of the submerged pyramid continued coming in and before long, the movement of the blue light points on the map finally came to a full stop.
“The Swords have reached the deepest area. Route clear. Trump Soldiers, proceed with your additional mission.”

<Hatter, transfer the map to my terminal.>

Hatter had just finished the three-dimensional analysis of the underwater pyramid as she heard the voice through the headset begin to voice the new order. She forwarded the data.


The terminal equipped to the backhand of Alice’s diver’s suit beeped to signal the transfer of data.

She spread out the scroll-like screen attached to the terminal to confirm both her current position and the shortest route to her destination. While it looked similar enough to the pyramids of Egypt from the outside, the same couldn’t be said about the insides. There were no long or large corridors in here, in fact, it was a bit of a mystery how this thing even managed to support its own weight, let alone the weight of the ocean around it. Rather, the pyramid had innumerable pits all around, heading upwards and downwards deeper within and, according to the map, with only one of the pits actually stretching all the way downwards to the deepest area of the structure. A depth of about 50 meters, where a large hall seemed to be located.

As Alice released the screen, it folded back on itself automatically behind her glove.

There were better things to do here than play with Chupacabras like some kid at the zoo. Alice headed straight over the edge of the pit and, after approaching the hole without a hint of worry, casually took a step into thin air.

“Let’s Go!”

With a happy-go-lucky shout, she began to free fall. Naturally, Alice had something to slow her descent, a device attached to her belt which she activated with a calm gesture. Her inertial control system.

This piece of state-of-the-art technology was easily one of the more versatile tools carried by Alice. Not quite antigravity, but with a simple adjustment to how much inertia one is subjected to, even a five hundred meter drop becomes the same as going down a flight of stairs.

The world here was an abyss devoid of light. So it was also a good thing she had her ‘Eyes of Sound’, aka her ‘echolocation’ or sonar goggles, equipped or she wouldn’t be seeing much to begin with.

The hall where Alice landed had a semi-circular dome-like ceiling. Beyond the hole she had used, others were scattered here and there on the ceiling. Apparently that hadn’t been the only entrance after all.

“Say, Hatter.”

<What is it, Professor?>

“Do you detect any human beings down here? You know, besides me of course.”

<I can’t detect any.>

Hatter replied immediately from the Vimana.

“Hmm, that so.”

Alice’s gaze shifted from the ceiling to the center of the hall. On top of a 3 foot tall column with a foot wide diameter, a model ship of around the same size sat untouched and in plain sight.

According to the material analysis from the sonar goggles, the model was made out of high purity gold too.

“Bingo! Hatter, check this out!”

<There is no doubt about it. The Golden Boat.>

A golden jet similar looking to modern spacecrafts, a golden vehicle that was the very spitting image of modern day bulldozers, models such as these had previously been found in South America and were known as Geometric OOPArts. The golden boat in Alice’s sights was one such Geometric OOPArt. It was one among many ancient relics her mother had once pursued.

“Add this one and we’ll have the whole set.”

The miniature jet of the sky, the bulldozer of the earth, and now, the boat of the sea was hers. Alice slowly approached what had to be one of the most priceless artefacts of all known ancient South American civilization…


She stopped. Several Card pieces fell to the floor, showering all around the center hall where she stood. Alice’s eyebrows raised in astonishment. There was no doubt about it, these cards were the remains of a Trump Soldier.

“Hatter, your analysis?”

<Judging from the damage, there is a high likelihood that this Trump Soldier was attacked with a high-intensity laser.>


Alice paused, were Chupacabras known for having a power like that? As far as she knew, they weren’t capable of anything nearly as worrisome as shooting laser beams from their eyes. That fight from earlier would have been a whole lot scarier if they could do that.

If that wasn’t the case, maybe some kind of still-active defense mechanism within the ruins? Though making use of a high intensity energy weapon by harnessing the power of the sun was a bit of a cliché, it seemed pretty unlikely, what with it being impossible for sunlight to reach the ocean floor.

And if there were any other source of energy down here, it would have been detected through the analysis of the area beforehand. Alice would have most certainly had March Hare and the Trump Soldiers find and secure something like that before rushing in herself if that were the case.

That left but one possible conclusion. Someone arrived here before Alice did, someone able to slip through the detection network laid out by her team. And Alice had a pretty good idea of who would do just that considering the situation.

She took a deep breath and raised her voice loud enough for it to echo in the hall.

“I know you’re here! Show yourself!”

“Uhi, uhihihihi…”

A weird sounding laugh echoed throughout the hall and at that very moment, a powerful light shone down on Alice from someplace up on the ceiling. In an instant, the jet-black darkness that had devoured the room was now engulfed in lights, giving it all a dramatic flair similar to being on a theater stage. If Alice hadn’t switched her goggles to sonar mode, she probably would have gotten blinded by the sudden burst of lights.

“Good grief…”

Looking at the numerical value of neighboring radiance displayed on her goggles, Alice realized there wasn’t any point to keeping sonar mode active any longer. She pushed up her goggles, squinting her eyes slightly.

Her red pupils caught sight of silver armor. On the opposite side of the hall, a 3 meter tall giant made of silver stood upright. The strange laughter coming from somewhere in the suit of armor stopped and it bowed to Alice in a courtly manner.

<It has been too long, Lady Alice.>

A calm, dignified voice came from speakers within the giant. Its silver armor, polished to a mirror’s sheen, reflected Alice’s figure.

“Long time no see, Lumberjack.”

Lumberjack being the giant wrapped in silver armor of course.

As noted earlier, Alice knew of few who could fool her sonar sensors, the Trump Soldier’s enemy detecting abilities, and her other high grade sensors like that. Lumberjack’s stealth capabilities were derived from the very same super-technology Alice made use of, and because of that, he gave her a fair deal of trouble.

“You don’t show up on any of my sensors, yet you make no efforts to hide from plain sight. Typical.”

<Should revealing my large frame suffice to deter opponents, then I may as well, it’ll avoid needless confrontation.>

“That sure sounds like something you’d say. So, for a wimp like you to be in a place like this and still be keeping a level head, I’m gonna assume Dorothy is with you, right?”

“Huuuh? How did you guess?”

In complete contrast to Lumberjack’s butler like voice, a girlish voice very much like the strange laugh from earlier resounded from within the silver giant.


Before Lumberjack could fully voice his dismay, the massive chest plate on him opened up.


Alice could feel a headache coming up.


So this was it, oh, and we wanted to clarify a couple points from the text above:
-Like our pal Final Agent noticed, the pyramid has been mentioned a lot of times to be "hundreds of meters deep"... but that shouldn't be enough of a depth to make it really secretive, or to prevent sunlight from reaching it (unless we're missing some specific geology details from the zone in question?). Still, we're keeping it just like the author put it
-When Hatter mentions the cards suits, as we know, it should be "spade" instead of "sword"... but this seems to be on purpose, as the author will later go into a bit more details about this particular suit
-When they mention a "bulldozer of the earth", they meant these supposed relics (scroll down the page to point 8), I'm pretty sure they don't have a proper name, unlike the golden airplane

And, the prologue will end next time!

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