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Paradigm

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paradigm
ˈparədʌɪm/
noun
a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model.

"This was a lot easier in a tram," Marv said as we slid, fell and tripped our way down from the Peak. Hong Kong wasn't called Hong Kong back here on Locque, and it wasn't a heaving metropolis, either. Here it was known as Anchen and was home to one man: whomever happened to be Emperor at that point in time. Now, I'm no history buff, as my teachers would gladly confirm, but Qinhu didn't always used to be this way.

Before I get to that, though, I need to navigate my way out of this enormous tangle of leaves and roots.

Here's the thing about hot, wet places. As in, climate. Not, you know, anything else. I come from a pretty mild country - not too hot, not too cold. Not too wet, not too dry. It just kinda works. But here, on Anchen, it's full-on tropical. Or was it sub-tropical? I'm sure someone back at the hideout corrected me on that one - either way, it's wet, and hot, and it feels like you're constantly wrapped in a suit of your own sweat. Even when it isn't raining, the air is still thick with moisture. And about ten minutes after arriving, it had started raining.

Turns out that when it's nice and warm and there's water everywhere, plants gets a bit carried away and think they own the place. A few branches and some regular sized leaves aren't enough for these guys. No, they've got to go and get all giant and exotic. The kind of enormo-leaves that you could wrap yourself in and use as a duvet, if it weren't for all the spiders and beasties waiting to eat bits of you.

Anchen is where the Emperor lives, in his mansion atop the Peak. Other than the main harbour there's not much else there - the rest is kept as a nature reserve, and is generally considered out of bounds for the public. Which is mostly good news for us. After we dimension jumped we fell onto the mountainside, because there's no observation platform this side. There's also no tram, or decent walkways, because the Emperor - inevitably - is part of the winged caste, hence how we're now scrambling our way through what I believe is commonly referred to as 'a jungle'. Which is one of those words that starts to look really silly if you write it too much. Jungle. See?

It was pitch black, which didn't help. Without the glow of a thousand skyscrapers lighting up the night sky, the island suddenly reverted to a more primal state. The rain was thick and heavy, broken up only slightly by the thick canopy above our heads, which swayed noisily back and forth in the wind. We were headed down to the dock, in an attempt to get a boat before anybody knew what was going on.

Back in Hong Kong, before we set out on this fool's mission, Wynton Simons had told us how it all works. "Every government on Locque has its parliament, or congress, or palace, or ruling council. They're all run by wings, and every place of power has an equivalent turbine here on Earth. They've built replicas of the key government buildings, so that we can warp in and out if needed. But most of the time we simply issue orders - you saw the device in the Aviary. It's sometimes called a 'diviner'. It's bio-organic, like all our dimensional tech. It issues proclamations from above. Stone tablet stuff. Messages from God. We call it a 3D printer."

Of the three of us, Furey was doing the best. She moved over and under and around the super-sized foliage as if she'd been doing it her whole life, and seemed to be barely breaking a sweat even in the humidity. She'd discarded most of the peacock costume already, of course. Someone at some point would find its remains and have no explanation. That'd be a good moment.

Marv was clumsy. He always was inclined towards being on his face, and this really wasn't his natural habitat. Combine that with a freshly attached artificial arm that he hadn't quite figured out and he made for something of a calamity, tumbling and rolling his way down the steep incline. It was a good job the trees were thick and frequent, otherwise he'd have fallen uncontrollably all the way to the sea.

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