And so, drunk on a cocktail of whiskey and regret, it wasn’t difficult for our erstwhile quartet of psychos to snatch a cracked and sagging Ulysses to be dragged down here. Lightless depths of the City, some rusted-out under passage lit only by an illuminated sign, glowing over the door to a long-forgotten vault. A sign that reads “Penelope”.
Bam! The biggest of the Suits slams his fist into Ulysses’ face again and repeats the question.
HERACLES: “What’s the code to the vault, asshole?”
Ulysses responds less than cordially, so the big guy’s fist comes down again. This continues for some time.
ORPHEUS: “Why is it labelled Penelope? Who is she?”
This question from a pale, thin young man at the back, altogether unsuited to the rough company he’s running with. He’s answered by an old motherfucker off to one side, dark glasses hiding blind eyes.
OEDIPUS: “She’s not living anywhere in the City, and there’s no record of her in the Acheron.”
And everyone knows, if you’re not alive and you’re not in the Acheron, you don’t exist. A stern-faced woman at the back cuts in, ending the discussion.
ARIADNE: “It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are being very well paid to retrieve whatever is inside it. And I doubt any of us want to fail an Olympian.”
At this point some words of explanation are needed. See, a whole planet covered with steel and wire needs a lot of computing power to run. And there’s no processor more powerful or abundant than the brain. So you have the Acheron, an unfathomably vast network of minds, however badly damaged, plugged in and kicked back into a half-conscious hell to run the City. All ruled over by a mad bastard by the name of Hades.
Now, when the inevitable reality of death is so unpleasant, you better believe people will do anything to avoid it. And in the City you can buy anything, if you have a wallet thick enough for what it costs and a stomach strong enough for what it takes. So you have the Olympians: the oldest, richest and meanest families who can afford to life forever. And Ulysses managed to piss one of them off.
Shortly after the war, our hero conceived of some ill-thought-out revenge on Poseidon Industries, one of the architects of the conflict. Decided to steal something from them. The perfect diamond at the heart of the Cyclops: the industrial laser in Poseidon’s flagship workshop. Wasn’t a great plan. Just got drunk and walked in.