You say you've missed the Earth shattering first instalment of the further adventures of Ed and Leslie! Look no further, here's Part 1.
Some say that when you're about to depart this world you'll see a bright light guiding you to the next. I saw some bright lights. They didn't lead to the pearly gates, but to a standard issue, industrial grade, overhead LED light fixture. I was lying flat on my back in a gurney staring up at a ceiling.
My head hurt.
I scrunched around a bit and propped myself up on my elbows to look around. I was in a long corridor where both walls were lined bumper-to-bumper with gurneys and patients. Some were sleeping, others hiding from the world under covers. There was silence and crying and moaning and cries for a nurse. At the far end was a waiting area with some chairs and a few vending machines. In front of the one dispensing coffee there was a woman trying to coax some liquid into a paper cup. I'd know her from a mile away. It was Leslie.
With coffee secured, she turned toward me. Our eyes locked in recognition. I was feeling a little light headed and eased back into the gurney as she walked toward me.
She sat in the chair beside my gurney and carefully placed her coffee on the floor.
"How are you?"
"Ok, I guess, but I have a headache. What am I doing here?"
"You don't remember?"
She reached through the bed's safety bars, held my hand and said, "You fell while you were trying to get on a streetcar and hit your head on the ground. You're in Confederation Hospital."
"I don't remember that."
"Do you remember anything?"
"I know you and I went to visit Mary's lab, and when we were done we walked out to the streetcar stop. There weren't any cars around, so you went over to the cafe to get a coffee. When I saw a car coming to the stop I called you to come. Then I woke up here just now."
Leslie looked me in the eye and picked up where my memory failed. "When you called I turned and saw the car coming into the stop. I turned back to pay and then heard a crash. I spun around and saw a big truck had crashed into the back of the streetcar. The crowd at the stop parted a bit and I saw you on the ground. I dropped my coffee and ran over."
"The police told me the driver said that when the car door opened, you put one foot on the step, and when the truck hit, there was a jolt, you stumbled, bounced off the door frame, fell on the ground, and hit your head."
"A truck was in the streetcar lane?"
"The cop said the driver was drunk and drove over the streetcar lane's curb. He was driving too fast too."
"I don't remember any of that." I paused and continued, "All I remember is when I woke up just now I had a feeling like I'd talked to Adams. Of all people. It was a strange feeling."
"Well, you were mumbling while you were on the ground. It sounded like you were having a conversation. You did mention his name."
Leslie let go of my hand and reached for her coffee. She took a sip, and after a few sips more she continued, "The cops said they'll probably come by today to talk to you. There's going to be an investigation." She stopped and took another sip from the cup. She looked tired.
I asked her, "How long have I been here?"
"About twelve hours. They brought you in around ten last night."
"Have you been here all night?"
"Thanks for staying." I hate these places, so I was compelled to ask, "Did they say when I can get out?"
"They want to keep you here today to do some more tests, but they say you seem ok."
A nurse and orderly made their way down the hall and stopped at my bed. The nurse looked at Leslie and said, "Mrs. Bryce, we're going to take your husband to the scan lab and then to a room when they're done." The orderly released the gurney's brakes and steered me out into hall traffic.
Missus Bryce? What else had I forgotten? I gave Leslie a questioning look with my eyebrows raised as high as my aching forehead allowed.
She gave me an equally raised eyebrow look, waved, and called to me as they wheeled me away, "I'll see you in your room when you're done, hubby."
Part 3 is here.
Throughout the series I've tried to have some fun with names and places. Here's a guide. These days even I can't tell the players without a program :-)
Ed Bryce: Edward was my paternal grandfather's name, and Bryce is from Utah's Bryce Canyon. I wanted this character to have a somewhat macho name even though he's usually less than macho. After working at the Fortran Corporation, he became a Special Investigator at OSI, but wound up getting dismissed as a consequence of the Adams affair.
Dr. Leslie Warden: Named after two roads in Toronto, Leslie Street and Warden Avenue. For awhile Leslie was the principal research scientist on fusor development at the Office of Scientific Investigations. Leslie figured out the mathematics behind making the fusor reaction stable. She quit OSI after her breakthrough when OSI then decided to transfer - without her and her team - the now viable fusor technology to a military department in order to remove it from the civilian world. After her departure, Leslie was falsely suspected of stealing prototype fusors.
Zachariah Adams: A high level bureaucrat at the federal government's Office of Scientific Investigations (OSI). I wanted him to have a biblical sounding name. He's not the kind of person you'd ever call Zach, although he sometimes used the rather pompous alias, Zed. Adams is short and thin, around 5'-6", but has a voice like Darth Vader. He has a daughter in Ottawa and a gambling problem.
Jess Bryce: Short for Jessie, short for Jessica. She was an artist and Ed Bryce's wife. They divorced during Ed's probationary period at OSI.
Donna Martin: An ex-OSI scientist who was thought to have stolen prototype fusors from OSI. She killed Constable Robert McMillan with a fusor and wound up in a prison know as The Hole. The Hole was known as The Hole because it was built into an abandoned open-pit iron mine. When Leslie disappeared after quitting OSI she used 'Donna' as an assumed name.
Mrs. Jane Warden: Jane is also a street in Toronto. She's made only one appearance so far. Although not yet revealed, she's Leslie's sister-in-law.
Michael: I never gave him a last name. He was Leslie's husband, but I never resolved last names, and just assumed Leslie continued to use her own name after marriage. Leslie and Michael got divorced soon after Leslie quit OSI.
Professor Mary Ellesmere: The Ellesmere part is named after Toronto's Ellesmere Road. She runs the University of New Toronto's Centre for Rail Guided Transportation, a completely fictional university and department.
Andy Dumont: Named in honour of Alberto Santos-Dumont, the aviation pioneer. Andy is an airship pilot for a clandestine blimp development group operating on Vancouver Island.
Cathy: No last name. Another member of the Vancouver Island based blimp development group.
David Ryan: A physics professor on Vancouver Island specializing in InterTrack Routing Protocols. Many years earlier David and Leslie worked together in Montreal and had an affair.
Helen Ryan: David Ryan's wife.
The InterTrack Network: Sometimes just referred to as the IT. A vast network of railed paths criss-crossing Canada. As our Intenet is to telecommunications, so the InterTrack is to rail transportation. Routing is governed by the InterTrack Routing Protocols.
University of New Toronto's Centre for Rail Guided Transportation: A group in the University of New Toronto's physics department with a near 1-to-1 model layout simulation of New Toronto's electrified transit system. They publish a magazine called Model Rail Experimenter. The Lone Trainmen work out of this group.
New Toronto: Throughout the series it's hinted that there's been a large-scale war in what we'd call North America. New Toronto is built on what's left of Toronto. The story takes place in New Toronto 20 or 30 years after it's been mostly reconstructed. Transportation in New Toronto is more-or-less all electrified. It's mainly streetcars and subways, but there are some cars and trucks. Although transportation is sophisticated, telecommunications technologies are rather backward in New Toronto's world, and are reminiscent of what we'd associate with the '40s though the '70s, with a crude proto-internet thrown into the mix
The Lone Trainmen: An homage to The X-Files' Lone Gunmen. A secret society of streetcar builders and advocates. The Lone Trainmen so far only has women members.
Frank Madwood: He runs a business called Model Investigations, and sometimes hosts a call-in radio show on WMRR. Where did the name Madwood come from? I wanted something that sounded crazy and ridiculous. He's an injured war veteran who picked up model building via making aircraft recognition models as part of his rehabilitation.
Model Investigations: A business run by Frank Madwood that does scale model related research, building, and investigations in the broadest possible sense.
The Office of Scientific Investigations: A semi-secret federal government department focused on early stage technical and scientific research, as well as evaluating developments in science and technology in the wider world. Sometimes referred to as OSI.
Fusor: A device about the size of a deck of cards that generates energy via a cold fusion process. Mostly considered a curiosity as the fusor reaction was highly unstable and couldn't be made to run without eventually exploding. While Leslie was at OSI she figured out how to stabilize the reaction and eliminate those nasty explosions. Fusors act as a McGuffin throughout the series.
Rob and Bob Birney: They run Birney Brothers Custom Trams, which makes trams for movies. They built a Pacer tram for Duane's World, and a 350 Boss Birney for Bullitt.
Keon's Dounuts, Mahovlich's Dounuts, Ellis' Dounts: Donut store chains in Ottawa named after players on the 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team.
Constable Robert McMillan: A street-level OSI officer. He's gunned down with a fusor-based weapon.
Constables McFarland, Williams, and Logan: Low-level OSI officers.