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Occam's Razor is the first audio play in the Kaldor City series. Written by Alan Stevens and Jim Smith, it focuses on the arrival of a mysterious figure called Kaston Iago and his insinuation into the confidence of Chairholder Uvanov.

Publisher's summary

"You are dealing with a professional. Probably a hired killer. Resourceful, highly intelligent. A computer specialist."

Kaldor: A city of robots on a world of robots. The Board runs the Company, and the Company runs the planet. Nothing happens in Kaldor City without the Board’s approval. So how come its members are dying?

Company Chairholder Uvanov is faced with an escalating problem: political allies and enemies are being killed and nobody knows who will be next or why. Even Carnell, the ex-Federation psycho-strategist, is at a loss to provide an explanation.

One man may hold the answers-- a man who crossed the border into Kaldor City six hours ago: Kaston Iago, a man with a past and maybe an agenda. A man with the skills to set everything right.

Kaldor City - Occam's Razor uses characters and concepts from Chris Boucher's Doctor Who novel Corpse Marker to tell a dark, aggressive tale of ultraviolence and political intrigue.

Plot

to be added

Cast

(in order of appearance)

References

Individuals

  • Stenton Rull is operations supervisor for The Company.
  • Cotton is Rull's deputy operations supervisor.
  • Uvanov was born a very poor man. He built himself from nothing.
  • Justina is Uvanov's executive assistant, and as such lives in a suite of private rooms situated in Uvanov’s house. She isn’t a member of the Founding Families.
  • Iago is officially in Kaldor City on holiday, his normal occupation is robot programmer. There is no record of Iago having ever been employed by 'The Company', freelance or otherwise. Iago now acts as Uvanov’s 'personal security advisor'.
  • Iago is apparently member of the assassins' guild. It’s against the assassin code to knowingly give out information leading to the death of a fellow assassin.
  • Carnell is a Firstmaster, but not part of the company board. He is also a psychostragist the only one there has ever been on the planet, and is on the run from the Federation. Much to Carnell’s surprise, Iago knows what a psychostragist is and about the Federation.
  • Landerchild is a primary member of a senior founding family.

Objects

  • Justina owns a painting of a red pentagram by Wallbank. Iago instructs her to get rid of it as red attracts psychopaths.
  • A stun kill is an electro shock baton.
  • Iago recommends the following security measures to be installed in Uvanov's place of residence:
    • The windows to be replaced with prism glass in order to throw off a sniper aim.
    • The walls to be reinforced with Herculaneum alloy girders in order to withstand the impact of a flier on ‘maximum drive’.
    • Steel braces for the top story ceiling so the roof space can be filled with 3 tonnes of rubber. The entire basement floor to be seeded with landmines in order to prevent anyone from tunnelling into the building. The floor space to be re-concreated to a depth of 9 feet, the mines sinked to a depth of 10 feet, so any blast will be directed downwards and won’t effect the integrity of the house.
    • All visitors to be strip searched and then subjected to an internal organ scan.

Kaldor City

  • Kaldor City is established as having no interstellar trade.
  • The social divisions in Kaldor City are vast. Uvanov believes trade with other worlds will disrupt the societies inherent inequality.
  • It is known of the existence of other planets, transmissions having been picked up for years. It is also known they are not indigenous to the planet, their ancestors came in colony ships from another world.
  • The Hotel Kolibri is located in the eastern sector of the Kaldor City. Iago's room is on the 4th floor of Hotel Kolibri, room 407, door code: 67767. The hotel is completely destroyed during an operation to take Iago into custody. Nineteen guards are killed in the ensuing firefight.

The Outer Zones

  • Individuals from the outer zones are known as ‘Zoners’.
  • Iago isn't from Kaldor City, he apparently comes from one of the outer zones, Zone 5.
  • Iago crossed the border into Kaldor City about 6 hours before Bibo Mechman's death.
  • 3 years ago in Zone 5 a fanatic walked into a government building with both lungs replaced with plastic explosive, he detonated them by clenching his teeth. Its unknown how he was able to breathe.
  • Carnell has convinced Uvanov, and most of The Company board, he is from a group operating in Zone 7.

The Company Board

  • Landerchild and Devlin are powerful members of The Company board.
  • Iago murders several Firstmasters of The Company board in order insinuate himself into Uvanov's confidence. These are:
    • Bibo Mechman, who is found dead in Uvanov's office, having been killed by a plasma bullet. She was a member of one of the 20 Founding Families.
    • Stal Ryan, who arrives dead in a Robot Pull-buggy outside Uvanov’s office.
    • Barlic, who arrives dead in a Flier that crashes into Uvanov’s office.
    • Ellia Sladen, who arrives dead inside a package addressed to Uvanov. She’s been shot through the heart.
      • Carnell suggests the motive behind the murders is due to a vote taking place in two weeks on a policy, as proposed by Uvanov, concerning trade with other planets. Uvanov's personal power will be greatly enhanced if the vote goes in his favour. Landerchild and his supporters are predicted to vote against the motion even though it’s success would be in their best interests. Carnell’s investigation indictates, before the murders, the vote would have been 16 votes to 14 in favour of Uvanov. Five new firstmasters would have to be appointed before any voting on company policy could now take place. It is certain 3 of these new members will come from the minor faction, causing the vote to go into stalemate and the policy thrown out.
      • Carnell predicts there is going to be one more murder. Both Landerchild and Devlin fit the profile of being the murderer. Devlin's motive being xenophobia and paranoia as off world trading could eventually damage the interests and bargaining power of certain groups existing outside the company. Landerchild's motive being his hatred for Uvanov. If Devlin is behind the scheme the next victim will be Maco, due to personal reasons:
        • A few years back Maco was found in bed with Devlin’s son, 3 days before he was due to marry into a powerful founding family. The marriage was cancelled and Devlin left heartbroken. Uvanov suspects she was probably thinking of all the wealth and power she missed out on.
      • If Landerchild is behind the scheme the next victim will be Uvanov, due to Uvanov sponsoring the motion, and because all the victim’s bodies have been sent to Uvanov.
    • Maco, who is killed by poison at a company reception.
    • Devlin, whom Uvanov instructs Iago to kill, for her part in the killing for the previous five murders. Iago having now framed Devlin.
      • As Carnell says, the only reason these last two killings took place was because he said in Iago's presence that was what would happen. Iago’s motive for the final two killings was created by Carnell.
      • Carnell hasn’t exposed Iago, as the throwing out Uvanov’s proposal is in his interests. The last thing he wants is for Kaldor City to establish contact with the Federation he has fled.
  • Before Uvanov's time, Devlin once attempted to murder a member/or members of The Company board.
  • The Company board have given Uvanov, largely symbolic, extra powers for his part in solving the murder mystery.
  • Iago’s consulting fee for helping Uvanov solve the murders is around 17,000.

The Minor Faction

  • Representing outsiders is core to the Minor faction's beliefs.
  • It fears The Company will use off-world trade to break the minor faction.
  • Devlin is a loyal member of the minor faction.
  • Landerchild dispises the minor faction.

Notes

  • The title of the story, that the simplest explanation is true, refers to the fact Iago has been committing the murders before framing another board member in order to gain Uvanov's trust.
  • The events of the story are based on the Night of the Long Knives, where the SS, under the authority of Adolf Hitler, purged a Nazi paramilitary organisation called the Sturmabteilung (SA), and hundreds were killed. A clue to the source material appears in the name of the hotel Iago stays in called Kolibri, which is German for ‘Hummingbird’, the codeword used to send the execution squads into action on the day of the purge. The society of Kaldor is partly based on Nazi Germany.[1]
  • The line where Iago claims to be a rhubarb farmer, inspired the plot of AUDIO: Hidden Persuaders involving oxygen production. Rhubarb being a plant that produces high levels of oxygen. [2]
  • There was an unfortunate coincidence, when this audio story was made available; it had been recorded in 2000, but was released in early September 2001, and the first review producer Alan Stevens read of it tied 9/11 to a scene where a flyer crashed into a building. The script was written about eighteen months before those events took place. [3]
  • Wallbank is probably named after Peter Wallbank, who produced artwork for several Blake's 7 audio productions associated with the makers of the Kaldor City series.
  • The copyright notice printed on the CD release of this production states: "Unauthorised copying, hiring, renting, public performance and broadcasting is strictly prohibited or Iago will fill your attic full of rubber."
  • This story was part of a recording block that also consisted of AUDIO: Death's Head.[4]
  • Russell Hunter reprised his role as Uvanov from TV: The Robots of Death.
  • Scott Fredericks reprised his role as Carnell from the Blake's 7 episode "Weapon". He previously played Maximillian Stael in TV: Image of the Fendahl.
  • Brian Croucher (Cotton) previously played Borg in TV: The Robots of Death.
  • The CD cover art was designed by Andy Hopkinson.
  • The third edition of Mad Norwegian Press' reference work AHistory gives a year of 2889 for the events of this story.

Continuity

  • Uvanov became Firstmaster Chairholder in PROSE: Corpse Marker.
  • From an in-universe perspective, Carnell first appeared in PROSE: Corpse Marker.
  • Bibo Mechman, who is found dead in this story, appeared in PROSE: Corpse Marker.
  • Justina owns a painting of a red pentagram by Wallbank. This is foreshadowing the emergence of the Fendahl. This scene will be revisited in AUDIO: Checkmate. The portrait of the Fendahleen given to Uvanov in AUDIO: Taren Capel is also by Wallbank.
  • The scene in which Justina is left alone in the bitterly cold wind takes on a more sinister aspect in AUDIO: Checkmate in which, transformed into the Fendahl Core, she mentions the cold winter wind that blows in directly from the centre of the Blind Heart Desert.
  • Carnell's comment, "People like to see patterns in things, even when there not there." is reminiscent of a line spoken by the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who made-for-TV movie: "I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren't there."
  • V31 is in the service of Carnell. V31 will next appear in AUDIO: Taren Capel, again voiced by Robert Lock.
  • As with TV The Robots of Death this story revolves around a murder mystery.
  • Uvanov recently made a proposal to the company board concerning the opening up of trade links between Kaldor and other colony worlds. This helps reconcile the continuity of the Kaldor City series with AUDIO: Robophobia in which Kaldor City has a massive interstellar robot trade.
  • The idea Kaston Iago might actually be Kerr Avon from Blake's 7 is seeded throughout this story:
    • Iago meets Psychostrategist Carnell, played by Scott Fredericks reprising his role from Blake's 7, and makes it clear he knows what a psychostrategist is and about the Federation; with Carnell remarking that Iago must be the only other person on the planet with this information.
    • Iago is skilled in robotic computer programming. (Avon was an electronics and computer expert.)
    • The sound effect of Iago's gun blaster is very similar to that used by Avon in the fourth and final series of Blake's 7.
    • Iago mentions Herculaneum alloy. (In Blake's 7, this substance comprised the 'Liberator's' hull.)
    • In addition, it is stated in AUDIO: Taren Capel that Iago killed the 'The Butcher of Zircaster' (This name is given in the charity audio The Mark of Kane to Travis, the Blake's 7 villain whom Avon shot dead on screen.)
      • Many fans of the series have taken these things - combined with similarities in Darrow's performance - to mean Kaston Iago is in fact Kerr Avon going for his own reasons under an assumed name. Magic Bullet Productions have neither confirmed nor denied this, and although other characters have been more explicitly linked to either Doctor Who or Blake's 7, Chris Boucher did not create Kerr Avon and so would have no claim to his copyright.
    • AUDIO: Metafiction plays with the listener’s expectation of this idea.

External links

Footnotes

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