Those Who WatchIssue 1: Prelude Welcome to Neopolis, "The Gateway to Tomorrow" if you believe its Council approved motto, but if you ask the average citizen, tomorrow looks bleak at best and like a long shot at worst. Maybe, once upon a time, Neopolis was indeed a snapshot into the future, set up as one of the biggest experiments in the world by a group of impossibly wealthy, inconceivably ambitious, but apparently benevolent technocrats known as the 'Council'. A few decades ago this area was all but unsettled, but now, with billions poured into resources and the Council's personal, mysterious contracting company Saturn Corp., a major city appeared on the map almost overnight. A city built almost entirely without human labor, on the backs of machines that did not tire, demand wages, or fall victim to illness. Neopolis, the Council's grand experiment, to discover not only just how far technology could take us, but how quickly. The population boomed, from the dozens, just the Council and their Saturn Corp. contractors, to millions. Businesses of all shades, enormous residential buildings built up, not out, with the well-to-do at in the penthouses that knocked on God's door, to the very heart of the beast, city hall, known as the Citadel, the home of the Council. But all was not well in Neopolis. The city's glossy sheen, future-lust design, and tall structures served to pull ones attention away from what hid just beneath ones nose... Well, ones feet really. While Neopolis, from the knees up, may have seemed a magnificent city on a hill, the crowning jewel of civilized society's achievements, around the ankles lay the victims of advancement. Those left behind, a sea of urchins whose parents simply didn't come home one day. Something that happened at an alarming rate; while any disappearance should alarm someone somewhere, the vanishings in Neopolis was an epidemic. The missing persons posters told a story of lost pieces swept under the carpet because everyone knows the world does not stop turning, even for a momen- The harsh sound of paper being shredded before being tossed into the air, "What is this crap?" The polygon shaped, paper snowflakes fell around a stern, sweaty, portly man in a faded suit. His voice fell somewhere between chain smoking cheap cigars and the dawning of obesity brought on by job that required donut-based meals and sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, "What is this?!" He repeated, louder and garbled, the hues in his sweaty face flowing between pinks and reds, "You may forget, Mr. Galloway, but this is a well established and respected information distributing company, newspapers damn it, we craft newspapers not tabloids. I give you one goal, one. I tell you- I tell you to go get me a spin on why our town should take on those Saturn guys to build us a new head quarters in South Central and you bring me back this? I should have you drawn and quartered for wasting my time," A deep shade of violet now, having seemingly forgotten to breathe or just had a clot reach his brain perhaps, the portly man pushed his fingers into his eyes, groaning. "Sir?" Mr. Galloway, a young man, too young to have the amount of gray in his hair or bags under his eyes that he did, spoke sheepishly. He was tall, lean, handsome in that 'tall skim milk latte with an extra pump of caramel' way. The clip-on burgundy tie, the uneasy lean to one side, shifting his weight on scuffed up black loafers, clutching a folder by his side, a silver band on his ring finger... A strong jaw, clean shaven except for four hairs he missed this morning. "Does it bring you pleasure, Mr. Galloway?" The fat man seemed to be massaging his frontal lobe he had his fingers buried so deeply into his sockets. "Sir?" Galloway repeated, softer, more sheepishly. "To bring me pain, does it bring you pleasure?" The reporter's mouth opened, his lips were thin. One meaty sausage went up, the man's index finger, "Don't answer that, Mr. Galloway," The thin lips closed shut submissively, "In fact, don't say anything. Just turn around, get on the 9:15 and take it all the way to the end of the line," Galloway flinched, "A-am I being fired, sir?" "God I wish, but seeing as how I am either a damn saint or a closet masochist, no. No. You're being sent to Neopolis to get me a real story," The fat man reach under the table and produced a glass tumbler, dark brown fluid filled about a third of it, and a glass that was not unresembling of its owner, round and squat. Filling the glass to about half and taking a short, harsh sip, he began again, "This is your last chance Harper. I liked your old man, but I don't like you and I don't like your stories. I'm not joshing you here, either come back with a story, a real good story, or don't come back at all. Stay there... With your- your urchins and your robot slave labor," He finished the glass on the second swig, quite a feat by the expression the fluid left on his face, "Your ticket is already paid for and accommodations have been made for you in Neopolis, the paperwork is in the folder. But look at me Mr. Galloway, Harper, look at me. Do not screw this up. I mean it. Don't f**k up," Harper bowed quickly and shambled out the door that read 'Head Editor and Chief' in block letters. He didn't stop to make eye contact with any of his coworkers who returned the favor as they clattered about on their computers. Picking up a small gold locket and his jacket, a nice, casual pinstripe gray jacket, from his desk Harper Galloway, journalist for some little two-bit newspaper in some little one-bit town, was headed for the 'Gateway of Tomorrow" turned virtual open air circus. Strange things, horrible, wonderful things happened in Neopolis. A few decades ago, it had just been a city with some razzle-dazzle, now though, things most unusual took place. Boarding the bus with a sense of anxiety, Harper Galloway did not realize he had just crossed the precipice into something greater than he was ever meant to be; a turning point, not simply in his career as would-be journalist, but in his life as a human being. What await for him in Neopolis, as he handed the driver his ticket and took a seat three rows back, was something quite extraordinary. For Harper Galloway, Neopolis was just what it promised, the gateway to his future.