Running with Rats is a Web Serial Diesel Punk fantasy story about an escaped slave named Alix Black-Eyes working with a band of rebels called the Rat Runners and figuring out who she is. It updates twice a month (second and fourth Fridays).
This story provides examples of:
- Absurd Altitude: One of the dreams features a maze of Floating Platforms connected by rickety bridges in an endless sky with the Committee of Progress Building towering over the center.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Lio is a valuable substance harvested from the dreams of humans that can be used to make tools or clothes ... or people.
- Black-Tie Infiltration: In Arc Two, the Rat Runners infiltrate a benefit party.
- Dream Land: The Rat Runners harvest lio by traveling through dream lands to find and grab it.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: It's not clear that it functions this way in the physical city (the building is apparently only about four stories tall), but the Committee of Progress Building functions thus in one of the dreams that the Runners have to infiltrate.
- Fantastic Racism: Thoughtforms - people made out of lio - are generally created to be slaves and assumed to lack any 'real' feelings. As you can imagine, they are not treated well.
- Magitek: Among the uses of lio is creating technological items like ray guns.
- Monochromatic Eyes: Alix's eyes are uniformly black.
- Slave Liberation: One of the goals of the Rat Runners.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: It's revealed early on that Alix is a shapeshifter.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Unsurprisingly, given that the thoughtforms are held as slaves, they are claimed to lack real emotions as well.They said that thoughtforms weren’t really people. They looked like people, sure, and acted like people. But a ray gun made out of lio could shoot real plasma rays, even if the inside was a black box that shouldn’t work by any world’s rules. In the same way, they said, a thoughtform could have ‘real’ feelings, but they weren’t the same kind of feelings everyone else had- they were just part of the illusion, there to make thoughtforms more like humans. They didn’t have souls, so any emotions they had were meaningless- hollow as a mannequin’s head.