The city suffers a huge power cut and the data link to Earth is lost. (All Perplex City websites become inaccessible from Earth.) Sente blames the Third Power - but everyone else blames him.
By IONA RODIE
Power was lost to a huge swathe of the southern and eastern parts of the city and the data link to Earth was severed on Thursday in what various sources are calling an act of sabotage or criminal negligence on the part of the Academy. Power was lost in the entire area south of Polygon Park, as well as all along the coast as far north as Frigate Parade.
Earthologists were concerned the loss of the data link would be irretrievable, as the new fallback link to the city was not yet initialised, and the game the Academy designed to celebrate the San Francisco connection had been designed so that Academy sources could step in to help if the participants ran into trouble. Sources inside the Academy say that the carrier wave for the data link was "mere minutes away" from being lost completely when the data link was restored in San Francisco late Saturday night.
Sarah Covington at the Centre for Reality Research told the Sentinel that "an intentional act of sabotage" irreparably damaged the data link and cause it to shut down. "The blackout was simultaneous, but it's clear that the data link problem was completely separate," she said. Covington did indicate, however, that CRR equipment detected an anomaly which it does believe is linked to the blackout. Her group is still examining the data and is not yet prepared to discuss its conclusions. "So far, it's clear to us that the blackout and the damage to the data link were two completely separate events," she said.
City Council member Ruth Sawyer called the incident "incontrovertible proof that the Academy and its projects require more heavy-handed oversight," and railed against Council Leader Camryn Scott's more relaxed policy. "We have put dangerous tools in the hands of the academics, and it is our responsibility to watch how they are used," she said. "It is simply too much to believe that the power blackout that affected our city and the data link problem are unrelated in any fashion."
Power was restored to all parts of the city within about ten hours, though in the interim, chaos reigned in the areas affected. The Perplex City Electrical Authority said that a sudden, massive draw of energy overloaded the entire grid, leaving subways, businesses, homes, and key city infrastructure inoperable. The PCEA has not been able to pinpoint the origin of this massive power draw.
Kiteway is allegedly blaming the problems on a hostile third party, although he was unavailable to speak to the press directly. Information leaked to the Sentinel indicates that a group calling itself the Third Power, presumably to copycat the historic secret society, has claimed responsibility for the blackout and sabotaged the data link. Rumours from highly-placed Academy sources also suggest that the blackout was concurrent with a wormhole to Earth opening and one or more persons transiting to Earth through it.
"That's just ridiculous," Sawyer said. "By that kind of logic, I should blame the monster that lives in my closet the next time I make a mistake. ... And if there was some sort of wormhole, this places the blame clear on Master Kiteway and his lackies, to me. Who else would have the equipment and knowledge to make this alleged wormhole, anyway?"