Mean Streets

Roots: Crime thrillers, especially mafia fiction and film noir. There is a quotation from Kipling's "The Long Trail". There are references to Al Capone and Sherlock Holmes.

Goofs: Garshak smokes nicotine-free cigarettes. Which rather raises the question, why?

Skoob, a.k.a. skar, is a plant extract here but a crystalline material in Catastrophea. Some of the other details about it also contradict events and information in that story.

Continuity: The Dethaki are a flightless avian species that were driven into the mountains of their remote home planet when the mining corporations took it over. Too proud to adapt, but too few to re-conquer their world, many of them died and the survivors became mercenaries and assassins. They are temperamental and have stiff codes of honour.

The Demoniacs are from the Planet Gehenna. They are tall, skeletally thin, with leathery wings, horns, and tails. They are covered in scales, black in Lucifer's case, red in Ezekiel's. They may have visited Earth during mankind's early history and inspired some of the demon myths, and tend to adopt Earth demon names for effect. They can fly on Gehenna, due to lower gravity, thicker atmosphere, and warm updrafts from volcanoes.

Wolverines are originally from Lupus II. They have a tradition called the Blood Truce that allows them to settle disputes without violence, a tradition originally started to stop them from wiping themselves out. They will eat almost anything including each other, but especially like marsh ox. A small handful of old Wolverines survive as Pack Elders for their wisdom, but most Wolverines are killed by other Wolverines when they get too old to fight.

Megacity covers most of one of Megarra's smaller continents. The Lair is a ruined area of Megacity destroyed during the last gang war and now largely inhabited by Wolverines. The Megacity Gazette is a newspaper. Devlin Mining Corporation, a.k.a. DevCorps, is one of the oldest companies on Megarra and is responsible for the Project. They have been paying security firm Custodiex to suppress any talk of the Project for years. The Project is an illicit programme of genetic manipulation that inadvertently produces psychopathic killers; the ARD at St. Oscar's is working on rectifying this problem.

Garshak is no longer Police Chief, since he and his Ogrons were fired: he now works as a Private Investigator. He drinks vragg. He's appointed Police Chief Harman's deputy here.

Dellah has a twenty-six hour day. St. Oscar's has an Advanced Research Department (ARD), which has very high security and is highly secretive. Jarl Kedrick is the Security Chief of the ARD.

Roz heard of the Project whilst she and Chris were trailing "the Ripper" in Megacity for the Doctor. Chris promised her that they would return and investigate further once their current mission was over. Chris carries a small black device that can block audio transmitters. He's framed for murder and briefly arrested on arrival in Megacity. He drinks beer with Sara. He learned about skoob during a lecture when he was an Adjudicator. He's sworn in as a Megacity Special Investigator here. He stays in Megacity with Sara after the Project is exposed.

Benny has a Secretary called Rodney, who is a small black robotic sphere similar to Joseph. She drinks Eridanean brandy here. Her bicycle is blown up by a bomb here, killing an Ootsi student named Jeran in the process. She's framed for embezzlement and briefly arrested on arrival in Megacity. She poses as a criminal known as the Dragon Lady. She buys new clothes for herself and Chris in Megacity. Chris insists on buying her a slimline blaster. She drinks champagne with Chris in Sara's Cellar. She drinks wine from Gehenna with Lucifer. She agrees not to pursue the ARD's role in the Project after Jarl Kedrick is killed.

Menlove Stokes is currently investigating the random aesthetic effects produced by the activities of the giant Dellahan dung beetle.

Lucideans are golden-skinned humanoids. A Lucidean works as a waiter at the Witch and the Whirlwind. An octopod works in the ARD.

Vathek II is a high gravity planet with round, troll-like inhabitants. Species currently present in Megacity include Foamasi (The Leisure Hive), Arcturans and Alpha Centaurans (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon), Falardi (Original Sin), Wolverines and Ursines (Shakedown). Nastur is a large toad-like reptilian. Werecats are supposedly the only form of wildlife that has adapted to live in Megacity; they are supposedly untameable.

Links: Shakedown, So Vile a Sin, Catastrophea (skoob). There are references to Vraxoin (Nightmare of Eden), Drashigs (Carnival of Monsters), jekkarta weed (Catastrophea), Chelonians (The Highest Science, Zamper, The Well-Mannered War), and Daleks.

Location: Dellah, and Megacity on Megarra, 2594.

Future History: Big Rocco is a famous gangster from Formalhoute Four. Books mentioned here include The Rough Guide to the Galaxy and The Rough Guide to Megerra.

The Combine is the biggest crime syndicate in the galaxy. Emil Malek is its head. It has so far steered clear of Megacity, which is considered to be too unruly.

The planet that produced skoob was eventually quarantined, and the plants that produced it burnt out.

The Bottom Line: Surprisingly entertaining exercise in pulp fiction, although its placement in the range directly after Ghost Devices makes it seem childishly simplistic. Still, Garshak is great fun and Benny and Chris make a great team, even if all the other characters are utterly two-dimensional.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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