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As I step out of the University precincts, the air is sharp with aetheric fluctuations, tinged with the darker taint of opium. Dirigibles hover above the massive dome of the Scientific Cathedral, waiting and watching. Thick pipes snake along the ground before disappearing into the ground, carrying emergency gas supplies to a lucky few buildings. Between the barricades, penny-farthing mounted constables, fire wagons, and steam generators adding their haze to the air, the streets are well clogged, despite the threat of thirty foot…

Oops, wrong genre. Let me try this again.

As I step out of my office building, the air is sharp with ozone, with a darker hint of burnt toast (minus the comfort of toast). Helicopters hover above the rotund, placid dome of the Church of Christ, Scientist. Thick black cables weave like nests of snakes from enormous generators, wriggling down into connections below ground. Between the barricades, the police cars, and the myriad generators, the streets are well clogged, despite the threat of thirty-foot flames shooting from beneath the ground like dragon flame.

Much better.

Just an hour earlier, residents and workers were shocked by a massive thump of percussive air, reported on social media outlets within minutes. It was made by a manhole cover, blown into the air by the force of the subterranean conflagration, hitting the ground and spinning–and I quote my coworker–“with a noise like a quarter makes when you spin it.”

I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Or perhaps I could…

As the grey light ebbed from the ravaged city, Master M. gazed out over the darkening shadows of his once-bustling precincts. He pounded his fist suddenly against the parapet. This scourge would not be allowed to pass unremarked. He would have his revenge! 

Newbury Street waits in vain for illumination (thanks to Fletch)

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