The Basement is exactly what it says on the tin: a lower-floor set of rooms which serve as the Society's prison for captured Sues and Stus. It is not the only lower-leveled area within the Library Arcanium, but it is the only 'basement' (others being laboratories, storage areas, wine cellars, etc) that is called only that.
The basement door in the Library proper leads down a set of stairs and through a corridor, in which adjoins a small office for the agent on duty to sit. The office contains a few comforts, CCTV screens, a one-way window into the Basement, controls for the lights and such, and a T-shirt printer press for the uniform.
The basement itself is a large space, poured concrete for the floor and ceiling and grey brick for the walls. The only other door is the entrance to the small room where the Sues are permitted to shower and exercise.
The cells themselves are about five-by-eight feet, the walls and ceiling of each made up cross-barred tubular steel. Each cell contains a bed, a small sink and a toilet with a low concertina wall for the inmates' privacy. Most cells have mats on the floor for some warmth and comfort from the bare concrete floor. The cells are arranged into blocks, eight per block and four on either side, with doors facing each other (or the back/front walls) across a corridor that divides them. Each block is lettered starting with Block A closest to the entrance corridor. Each cell is numbered from front to back, left to right.
Block A is kept mostly empty to serve as an isolation block for those nearing parole, or for health or other reasons. When blocks B and C, the standard basement configuration, become full, more identical blocks can be added on through the Library's mutability. Currently block D is the latest in use.
- Doors have locks requiring special electronic keys that refuse to turn if a false key is used or if there is an attempt to pick or bump the lock, similar to an upmarket car lock. The circuits involved automatically seal all the cells if there is a failure.
- There is wire sheeting over the lights and sprinkler systems, which are embedded into the ceiling above the tops of the cells.
- There are five cameras which give an overall view of the basement and its surrounds, which can all be moved by the agent on duty (on the computers in the office) and remotely.
- Plumbing is reinforced, the water supply kept separate from the rest of the Library. The sinks in the cells do not have plugs.
- The sprinklers are the primary defence against a fire, as there is no evacuation procedure. As well as water, they are also linked up to spray a sleeping gas into the basement.
- As a last resort there are wires in the floor which can be electrified.
After a mission where there has been a capture, priority is simply to lock the Sue/Stu in an available cell. Processing the captive is a lower priority, taking place once any injuries to Agents have been treated and any fallout from the mission dealt with, which may be some hours. The new inmate is then processed, their file updated and allocated an orange uniform T-shirt (see below). Their subsequent threat level is then considered based on their Sue level, powers, attitude, level of remorse, difficulty of capture and whether or not they have fought or come quietly, amongst other things.
After the big break-out by Willowe's hand, a uniform was introduced for better inmate identification both in normal settings and in case of a break-out. The inmate is permitted to wear whatever they like (within reason) from the waist down, and trainer shoes; from the waist up they wear a boldly-coloured medium-fitting T-shirt. Their name and cell number is printed on front, back and sleeves. They are replaced readily and laundered often. The colour denotes their threat level;
- Orange: Newly-caught inmates wear orange for up to one week, as their file is made/considered and their threat level decided. Orange glows a faint grey in the dark. During a break-out, inmates wearing orange are more likely to be captured.
- Yellow: Inmates considered to be a low to medium threat level wear yellow. It is by far the most common colour to be worn. Yellow glows a faint grey in the dark. During a break-out, inmates wearing yellow are more likely to be captured.
- Blue: Inmates considered to be a high threat level wear blue. Their security level is increased. Blue glows a bright luminous blue in the dark. During a break-out, inmates wearing blue are more likely to be shot on sight.
- Green: Inmates who are being considered for a parole hearing wear green. Green does not glow in the dark as they are trusted enough to not risk their status in an escape attempt.
(Someone more knowledgeable than me on Season 1, i.e. someone who wrote it, please update the first half of this section.)
More recently, there was a major infraction of the basement that saw Louise releasing every inmate from their cells (although some ended up back in them) and taking five Society members hostage (Alice, Dave, Jess, Claire, and Emily). Some of the inmates were violent, tying up and in some cases causing injuries to the hostages. Others had more mitigating behaviour, defending the hostages instead. The senior agents eventually managed to defeat the situation, taking Louise away and locking the Sues back up.
Life in the Basement
It is well-known that basement duty is one of the most cursed chores of a Society agent, as it opens up the individual to the usual torrent of complaints and heckling from the inmates and the boredom that the duty generally entails. It is often given as punishment and as such is often resented.
Many of the Sues languish in the basement for some time, getting used to the routine of the prison. The basic routine set up entails three meals a day, a chance to go to the shower room a few times a week, and a standard day/night cycle set to British time. They talk to each other, eagerly hearing news and any other updates from new arrivals and discussing it, making them all knowledgeable, but often out-of-date. Other than that they play board and paper games or read.
However, when it came to Robert's parole hearing, it was revealed that every inhabitant of the basement was only so complacent in the Basement Incident because the living conditions were terrible, yet unnoticed and/or ignored by the vast majority of agents thus far. Not only were some agents on duty inconsistent with how they treated the prisoners, many of them were shirking their responsibilities: the day/night cycle of the lights was irregular to the point of being useless, a chance to take a shower or some exercise was a less common occurance than it should be, but most importantly, they were not being fed enough; as Robert, who later stated he had not had breakfast on the day of his hearing, reported it: "three times a day doesn't happen". The leaders vowed to do something about this, and Valerie has asked the newly-freed Robert to assist in sorting out the Basement's welfare.
List of current inmates
There are currently twenty-six inmates in the basement.
|Tabitha||Yellow||Capture information lost|
|John (a.k.a. Kirpy)||Yellow|
|Tiffany Maddock Springtime Fresh||Yellow|
|Sherri||Under compassionate release/house arrest with Ardelisa DeVinevil|
|Vladimir Van Helsing||Yellow|
|Fabian de Smytheford||Yellow|
|Evelynn Aliceabeth Marah Lanseal||Yellow|
|Ocean Daisy Etna Cumulus Sparkleflower Fields||Yellow|
Please note this list may not be exhaustive.