Ciem: Inferno is a story in the works for the Cataclysmic Gerosha universe of The Gerosha Chronicles of Dozerfleet Comics, focusing on the life of Candi Flippo before she officially becomes Ciem. Taking place in October of 2015, the story was first proposed in real-life on September 28th of 2015. While not an origin story per se, it does provide a glimpse into Candi's life before Sodality - even helping to set the stage for it.
It is Issue #3 in the Legacy volume, coming after Blood Over Water and A Bur in Missouri. Its events also happen a few months after Pilltar in the Legends volume. It is followed in-volume by Anarteq: Guardian of the Soo, Sniperbadger: Fall of the Critter Resistance, Ciem: Ash Cloud, and Ciem: Caldera. Its latter events happen in concurrence with Guardian of the Soo, as well as with the Legends story The Gray Champion: Shaken Dust and Orient story Mukade: Reinvention.
A 16-year-old Candi Flippo / Ciem, struggling with a traumatic past and a doomed romantic relationship, makes a careless mistake that puts her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading to confusion on the part of local law enforcement and jeopardizing her entire family's good legal standing in the wake of an oppressive new law. Now, she must find a way to save her home and loved ones from the Hebbleskin Gang and Gleeful-N'-Young cartel's latest nefarious plans for Gerosha.
She must also deal with her treacherous half-brother Darius' sadistic and obsessive quest to see her long-term railroaded into prison, while finding a way to tame the meanest girl on the jailyard. As if all this weren't enough, her desperate sister Miriam hatches a scheme to help out that requires making a deal with a very dangerous man. Her other loved ones are trapped out-of-state and can't offer any assistance. Making matters worse, she grows to suspect that one of the prison guards is secretly the villain Drop-In.
When the Hebbleskin Gang, Halal Affadidah, the Phaletori, and the Society of the Icy Finger join forces to create the Triumvirate and hold a meeting on how they wish to proceed with destroying America, they decide that the Hebbleskins' first plan of attack will involve the reconquest of Gerosha - a symbolic victory to undo Stan and Shalia's legacy. They create a diversionary assault by having the Screwworm Network attack Evansville, taking Exhibit Room B of the Old National Events Plaza hostage while also blowing up Betty McArthur's home with a small-grade nuke. This latter act is out of revenge for Emeraldon having foiled an Icy Finger plot in Florida some time earlier.
With Emeraldon aiding Anarteq on a mission in Canada, SCALLOP feels they must take back control of the city without the help of superheroes. The National Guard attempts to lend aid, though they are met with a major assault. Imaki Izuki, suspecting the convention center would be in trouble after a tip from an ally, has Candi infiltrate it in advance. She is able to take out the MPF traps intended to capture Emeraldon or the |Gray Champion with. She also subdues the Screwworm insurgents long enough for SCALLOP agents to arrive and kill off most of the remaining Screwworms. An agent for the Screwworms named Dayton Bronson tries to escape, but Candi hunts him down and stops him. She temporarily paralyzes him with her stings, leaving him for police. She also strips him of his means of committing suicide. He leaves her with cryptic warnings about the fate of Gerosha. Candi is later able to switch out of her proto-Ciem suit and hitch a ride back home with agent Thevia Logindil, who pretends to arrest Candi in order to avoid anyone asking too many questions about where Candi is being taken.
Emeraldon is informed about the mysterious centipede heroine that filled in for him, and decides that they should call her "Ciem" if they can't think of a better name. News outlets quickly catch wind of that, and give Candi's alter-ego that very name. Candi herself adopts it out of admission she didn't think of a better name. She is revealed to be dating Danny Loffin at school, even though her older sister / legal guardian Erin Flippo doesn't want the Flippo triplets to be dating anyone. She mentions that Marina is about to tour with an indie band, while Miriam has become a key member of the Critter Resistance Network dubbed "Sniperbadger." She also expresses insecurities about her recent discoveries, and over the oppressive new Kirby Act that has immediately become a launchpad for other judicial activists to pass worse fiats. She fears that simply doing her job could land her in jail - but decides it is necessary to take that risk. Meanwhile, Miriam works on some side projects with her fellow hackers, and learns a little bit more about what the Hebbleskins are planning.
Imaki, in need of getting his visa renewed, returns to to Japan briefly and lends aid to his other goddaughter - Charlotte "Mukade" Yamamura. However, a feud between the Yakuza and Hebbleskins erupts, leading to the former capturing Imaki for information. Fearing that Milp might kill Imaki, Charlotte gives pursuit. Also captured with Imaki is the Chinese MSS agent Zize "Plumb Bixie" Choi - who becomes a helpful sidekick to Charlotte.Mukade: Reinvention
Back in Indiana, Frank Morvel of Gleeful-N'-Young brings along Antonio "Lava Tigre" Frenze as a bodyguard for a sinister plot to abduct local Geroshans to add to the brothels of Clyde Spendelworth, improving business for Duke Arfaas and the Hebbleskin Gang. This alliance eventually recruits a local gang of teen arsonists called the Pyro Panthers into its fold, while several other Hebbleskin spies begin building stations to create another energy dome around Gerosha - chief of them hidden in a building near Moore St. by City Lake No. 1. All this activity results in Chris "Purge-Flare" Kennal paying Gerosha a visit - though local authorities make it hard for him to maintain a low profile when they quickly mistake him for Extirpon.
Erin leaves town for a few weeks to assist Meredith Stefflin with a 4H project in Nashville. She also is sent to a SCALLOP center there for more treatments, as her mental health is continuing to fade and her brain disease appears to be getting worse. Imaki's troubles compound as he must help Charlotte secure a means to flee Japan and hide in Louisiana. Left unsupervised, Candi and Danny spend a lot more time together, though Danny is apprehensive about his parents being in Oregon looking for work. He fears that if he must move to Oregon with them, he and Candi will be forced to break up.
As Miriam continues her work online as Sniperbadger, she discovers more and more disturbing bits of news. Roger, Danny's older brother, becomes a target of Pyro Panther harassment. Other grocery store workers start being abducted by Morvel's gang. Candi tries to become Ciem again and stem the tide in law enforcement's favor, resulting in her learning more information after a confrontation with traffickers at the Chuckles Gas Station. However, she nearly endangers Miriam with being exposed as Sniperbadger to local police when Antonio "Lava Tigre" Frenze - a Marlquaanite / Meethexo enforcer for Gleeful-N'-Young, gets within a block of the girls' house. After a quick encounter, and the fire department getting involved, she is able to send the monster fleeing in time for herself to get home. Chris becomes desperate when he runs low on supplies to operate as the Purge-Flare; compounded by the recent assassination by kinetic rod of one of his suppliers and comms operators: "Module" down in Cincinnati.
On the afternoon of October 15th, Candi and Danny finally decide they've had enough of skirting the issue of their feelings. They head over to Danny's house, knowing nobody else will be home. Their study group abandons them. And it isn't long after finishing their homework that the two teens begin having sex. However, the Panthers begin a full-scale assault on the neighborhoods near the Loffin home as this happens. The Hebbleskins make their move to start initiating the dome construction sequence. They also bomb the fire department and raid the police department, rendering the city defenseless against Frenze. When the Loffin house itself is shot at with a bazooka, Candi and Danny jump out of bed and decide to get dressed immediately. Roger catches up to them as they are fleeing the house. While the Loffin brothers head to where Roger has parked his car and then drive to Motel Manor, Candi decides to go north toward the Posey's Market to find a spot to change into her costume and assist local police any way she can. She promises to catch up later.
Candi reaches the parking lot so she can pull the Zeran wardrobe out of her backpack that will let her change into Ciem. However, three police cars arrive and surround her before she can get her Zeran wardrobe out. They accuse her of being a Pyro Panther, and of having a bomb in her backpack. They urge her to go to her knees. A startled Candi insists that she doesn't have a bomb, but then blurts out that what she's holding is a Zeran wardrobe. Realizing Darius Philippine at SCALLOP will not be pleased with her revealing this classified technology's existence to local law, Candi surrenders. She takes offense that they accuse her of setting the Loffin home on fire, but realizes that she does fit the description of a typical Pyro Panther gang member in terms of age and physique. She is surprised to learn that she is also violating an emergency curfew.
Police, realizing that their own station in Gerosha is compromised, decide to transfer Candi to the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's office near Evansville, and keep her there until she can be brought to juvenile court. A masked figure with a jetpack, however, attacks the police car. He states that the Hebbleskins now own Gerosha, and that no one is to get in or out without approval. The Hebbleskins complete the dome construction sequence, and the world looks on in horror as the Hebbleskins begin preparing the city for Arfaas to return to it. Unable to handle "Drop-In" and his weaponry on their own, Candi confesses to her arresting officers that she's Ciem. The police warn her that this could mean more jail time, depending on SCALLOP rulings. She informs them that she'll take the extra time, provided she can ensure they all live.
They agree to stop the car and unlock her door. Candi uses a Zeran teleporter to get a safe distance away while Drop-In is distracted fighting the police. She hides in the forest near the road of IN-62, snapping off her handcuffs and getting her Ciem suit on. After a quick battle, she nearly subdues Drop-In. However, he launches a flash grenade and then uses a Zeran teleporter of his own. Candi tries in vain to catch him, but soon realizes he's gotten away. While he doesn't know her identity, she is relieved he hasn't deduced hers yet either.
Drop-In reports on his phone to his Hebbleskin commanders that Ciem interfered with his operations involving two Gerosha officers. He is informed that the Gerosha officers are of no consequence, and to let them go. Plus, with Ciem outside of Gerosha, she can do nothing to stop the complete conquest of the city in several days' time. A frustrated Candi retreats into the woods and changes out of her Ciem suit, placing it back in its Zeran wardrobe. She returns on foot to the officers, and hands them her Zeran wardrobe as evidence. They are stunned that she'd turn herself in, given she had a perfect opportunity to flee. She assures them that while she will contest certain details in court, she will minimize liability to them any way she can.
Meanwhile, Roger retrieves Miriam from Erin's home and takes her to Motel Manor as well, at Danny's insistence. Miriam explains to the others what she was able to piece together about the Hebbleskins' evil plan - and how far-reaching it is. However, Miriam finds out soon enough that Candi has been arrested - and blames herself for not warning Candi about the new curfew.
Candi is brought before Judge Richard Deckinson a few days later. He decides that while waiting for evidence to be compiled for Candi's actual trial, she should be held at the Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility for a period of 8-10 days. He notes that Candi appears to be depressed and detached psychologically. Upon arrival at Madison, Candi is immediately assigned a cell with a vulnerable and scared Nancy Hizrah - who accidentally poisoned a dog she was watching for a different family. Candi soon finds herself embroiled in a rivalry with an ill-tempered fire elemental Marlquaanite named Amirah "Flintirah" Rose - whom nobody believes when she tries to warn warden Bruce Almin that corrections officer Lonny Factor is not what he seems. Candi takes advantage of her situation to befriend the warden and get the therapy she grows to believe she needs. She also begins research of her own about Factor, and grows to believe Amirah's suspicions herself. She is able to forge a truce with Amirah in order to expose Factor as a Hebbleskin spy. Factor tries to assassinate everyone at the facility after he is exposed as being Drop-In, but Candi is able to make Amirah believe in herself long enough to land a lucky shot on Factor - killing him before anyone else gets hurt. Both girls are taken to the infirmary for medical treatment, though they heal rapidly, given their abilities. Amirah apologizes for being rude to Candi when they first met, and requests SCALLOP intervention. This results in Amirah being transferred out to the SCALLOP Juvenile Containment Center near Houston.
Meanwhile, Miriam locates the Purge-Flare and convinces him that she can help him repair his suit and defeat Frenze - as well as stop Frank Morvel's human trafficking. She also assures him that if he can get her close enough to the dome's controls, she can destroy the force field and allow Chris to escape from Gerosha. He takes her up on her offer. They fight several battles together, with Morvel and Frenze hot on their trail. Darius learns the details of Candi's arrest, and he vows to take action to keep her in jail.
Imaki and Erin are finally able to arrive back in Indiana in time for Candi's trial. The arson charge is dropped due to lack of evidence. However, she is informed that she'll be due back in court in November over the SCALLOP leak. She agrees to the terms, and is issued a S'Poling tether. The Flippo family is able to re-enter Gerosha after Chris and Miriam successfully find a way to disable the dome. However, Morvel and his goons begin loading up trucks full of victims they've abducted for Gleeful-N'-Young. Chris disappears for a time while Miriam reunites with her family. She attempts to inform all of them of what has been going on since they were out of town.
Finally tracking down the location where the convoy is being kept, Candi attempts to free the hostages. However, Frenze engages her in a fight. Chris returns as the Purge-Flare to settle his score with Morvel, but quickly finds himself also under attack by Frenze. Candi decides to go after the convoy while Chris battles the monster. This strategy pays off, resulting in most of the hostages being released unharmed and Morvel being left for police to find after a road battle between Ciem and Morvel's goons. Purge-Flare and Lava Tigre battle to the death, with Chris landing a lucky shot with a chemical freeze weapon Miriam helped him engineer as a way to finish the monster off. Miriam jumps into Chris' van with him and guides him on the escape routes north of town. He heads with Miriam to a motel, and then flees westward the following morning - vowing to continue his war on Clyde's brothels. Miriam finds herself a ride back to Gerosha.
At Candi's trial a month later, she is sentenced to indeterminate confinement to Madison for the leak. She is given until the beginning of Christmas break at school to get her affairs in order. It is later revealed that a child named Randy Mintzel saw Miriam associating with Chris, and spoke out. Miriam fears Candi will get blamed, and decides to go to the police station with Candi and turn herself in - resulting in Miriam finding herself on the path to her own special adventure.
- Candi Flippo / Ciem (first full appearance, alias first given a formal name)
- Miriam Flippo / Sniperbadger (first appearance)
- Danny Loffin (first appearance)
- Chris Kennal / Purge-Flare
Madison staff (not notable elsewhere)
- Bruce Almin (superintendent) (first appearance)
- Audrey Motin (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Fran Hostar (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Chad E. Trea (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Jordan Grentzwell (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Reese Bautista (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Heidi Montanier (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Jake Maroon (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Bill Hompetek (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Brian Tomes (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Terry McCoy (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Laney Changier (corrections officer) (first appearance)
- Jack Silver (program director) (first appearance)
- Stacey Walleye (counselor) (first appearance)
- Lana Olanski (transition coordinator) (first appearance)
- Starr Teeli (community involvement coordinator) (first appearance)
- Brooke Nookery (business office contact) (first appearance)
- Colin Gourd (custody and programs secretary / student visitation information specialist) (first appearance)
- Sam Sinatra (media contact) (first appearance)
- Matt Carey (administrative assistant) (first appearance)
- Rick Evans (principal) (first appearance)
- Lionel Monsoon (gym teacher) (first appearance)
- Mike Eagleton (science teacher) (first appearance)
- Betty Petty (computer lab / teaching assistant) (first appearance)
- George Brenna (post-secondary / reentry / vocational programs teacher, part time) (first appearance)
- Christine Speasely (social studies teacher) (first appearance)
- Lester Vergt (math teacher) (first appearance)
- Miranda Vergt (English / language arts teacher) (first appearance)
- Marie Silverforge (special education secretary) (first appearance)
- Sparks of Vengeance (first appearance, reforms into Last Legs)
- Amirah Rose / Flintirah (first appearance, leaves gang after transfer to another facility)
- Brittany Lohmeyer (first appearance)
- Samirah Fantine (first appearance)
- Ji-Min Park (first appearance)
- Bri Nottabakkon (first appearance)
Non-Sparks of Vengeance inmates
- Ruth Teenal (first appearance)
- Zendaya Meteer (only appearance)
- Michelle Shock (first appearance)
- Breanda Georgia (first appearance)
- Tracy Offope (first appearance)
- Moira Noplate (first appearance)
- Da'Javon Moliffe (only appearance)
- Lynn Tovdreer (only appearance)
- Simone Somwhyne (first appearance)
- Sue Ermize (only appearance)
- Ura Reewaner (first appearance)
- Meagan Amez (only appearance)
- Sheila Rozu (first appearance)
- Pollyanne Zuratid (only appearance)
- Missy Tabuz (first appearance)
- Donna Looqueduhm (first appearance)
- Angie O. Plastie (first appearance)
- Nancy Hizrah (first appearance)
- Stacy Bombhina (first appearance)
- Pearl E. White / Leopaw
- Anita Zarplaty (first appearance)
- Emma Lohtz (first appearance)
- Tab Sonyou (first appearance)
- Amani Zinmairuhm (first appearance)
- Raven Anrantin (first appearance)
- Diamond Ozin (first appearance)
- Heather Forn (only appearance)
- Ebony Katoolidge (first appearance)
- Neva Oskthat (first appearance)
- Bella Weasel (only appearance)
- Upma Skoor (first appearance)
- Jaqueline Lyon (first appearance)
- Fay Talistik (only appearance)
- Claire Awfy (first appearance)
- Emma Nobati (first appearance)
- Machi Kuloor (first appearance)
- Asha Antust (only appearance)
- Polly Polisbro (first appearance)
- Frankie Modeer (only appearance)
- Flo Thatarway (only appearance)
- Amanda Sockarund (first appearance)
- Ashley Ansmohki (first appearance)
- So-Pah Aino (only appearance)
- Linda Hand (first appearance)
- Kareem Omarshoo (first appearance)
- Cassie Plestaroon (only appearance)
- Nicole Cukrus (only appearance)
- Phoebe Gadsbury (first appearance)
- Hebbleskin Gang
- Pyro Panther Gang (only appearance)
- Society of the Icy Finger
- Warren Buntine / Rappaccini
- Screwworm Network
- Dayton Bronson (only appearance)
- Darius Philippine
- Randy Lapborn (first appearance)
- Thevia Logindil (first appearance)
- Insila Murtillo (mentioned)
- Roger Loffin (only appearance)
- Richard Loffin (only appearance)
- Meagan Loffin (only appearance)
- Anthony Wellings, a talent agent for the Starboard Crickets indie rock band, that wants Marina to tour with them given he is impressed by her banjo-playing skills. (first appearance)
- Judge Richard Deckinson (only appearance)
- Marina Baret (first appearance)
- Imaki Izuki
- Charlotte Yamamura / Mukade (first appearance)
- Zize "Violet" Choi / "Plum Bixie" (first appearance)
- Erin Flippo
- Julie Saffins (first appearance)
- Donte McArthur / Emeraldon
- Nanaouk (first appearance)
- Isitoq Sundue / Anarteq (first appearance)
- Jissika Sundue / Nemara (first appearance)
- Tim Downsen / Tamperwolf (first appearance)
- Rick Sun / DeathDachshund (first appearance)
Note: While this may technically be a work of fiction, real locations were preferred over fantasy ones as often as possible.
- Metheel (mentioned)
- Zeran Throne Room (mentioned)
- Phaeleel (mentioned)
- Dephinapolis (mentioned)
- 410 Yellek Trail (Nanaouk’s home, where Emeraldon is staying)
- United States
- Massachusetts (mentioned)
- Boston (mentioned)
- Lynn (mentioned)
- Gerosha (Boonville in our world)
- 4500 IN-62 (Ciem's first battle with Drop-In)
- 1205 N. 1st St. (Erin's house)
- 1377 County Road 200 N. (Imaki's house + underground bunker)
- 510 E. Walnut St. (Loffin family's house)
- Gerosha Cemetery (Real-life Maple Grove Cemetery)
- Warrick County Jail (where Miriam is eventually sent)
- Construction site at 435 S. 3rd St. (Quality Liquor in real life)
- Gerosha High School (Boonville High School in real life)
- Gerosha Middle School (real-life Boonville Middle School)
- Gerosha City Hall — Miriam saves the mayor from Hebbleskin assassins
- Gerosha Fire Department
- Gerosha Police Department
- Posey's Market
- Chuckles Gas Station
- Corner of 1st St. and North St. (Candi's first battle with Lava Tigre)
- 11 W. Tennyson Rd. (Candi and Danny's first time)
- 799 Locust St. Long John Silver's rear parking lot (where the Purge-Flare is grounded)
- 322 Moore St. (City Lake 1) - location of the dome generator.
- Motel Manor
- Seasons Ridge District
- Robert D. Horr Freeway (I-69) outer edge of nuke blast radius
- Wheeler District
- 1198 Cedar St. (Amirah's old home)
- Gerosha (Boonville in our world)
- 3384 Anaconda Dr. (Module’s house)
- Texas (mentioned)
- Houston (mentioned)
- SCALLOP Juvenile Containment Center (mentioned)
- Houston (mentioned)
- Missouri (mentioned)
- Joplin (mentioned)
- Centipede Charlie's house (mentioned)
- Joplin (mentioned)
- Idaho Falls
- Pinecrest Event Center (Arfaas’ infiltrated compound)
- Idaho Falls
- 4H Clubs in Nashville (mentioned)
- Millennium Maxwell House Hotel (Hotel Erin is staying at)
- 504 Nile St. (Tacky’s house) (mentioned)
- Massachusetts (mentioned)
Gulf of Mexico
- The Chen
- South America (mentioned)
- Ancient Mesopotamia (mentioned)
- China (mentioned)
- England (mentioned)
- London (mentioned)
- France (mentioned)
- Paris (mentioned)
- Italy (mentioned)
- Rome (mentioned)
- Plains outside Rome (mentioned)
- Rome (mentioned)
- Gabon (mentioned)
- Gamba (mentioned)
Motivation for writing
Desire to write this came around the time in 2015 when some drastic rewrites were being considered for the Gerosha timeline. Desire for a proper Ciem trilogy to exist again were strong, after the Comprehensive Gerosha Ciem Novel Trilogy was canceled - as were the Sims 2 webcomics Ciem 2 and Ciem 3.
Part of the reason for Ciem: Inferno being pursued as a project was the fact that Candi's early life before becoming Ciem is given very little mention in earlier renditions of her life story apart from a few throwaway lines. The 2007 webcomic put the most effort into telling her early story, but that work still seemed unsatisfactory. Almost zero time is spent getting to know who she is before her college age days, explored in the Earth-G7 timeline as happening during the events of Sodality.
There is a theme in nearly all versions of her story about Candi wanting to preserve the old republic model of governance, even though it all too often elects weak leaders who are easily usurped by her enemies - who then use this usurped power to persecute her and anyone else like her. As such, she's had to accustom herself to wanting to protect a system that is guaranteed to treat her like a criminal - even if that means having to go to jail for her beliefs.
Early notes for Sodality demonstrated that both Darius' hatred of Candi over Stan and Shalia choosing her and the city of Gerosha over him and his family down in Texas influences his treatment of his half-sister. It also demonstrated that the more troubled world created by fallout of the natural and unnatural disasters wreaked on the planet by the Triumvirate would lead to an erosion of constitutional rights - and to Candi having occasional issues with the law.
However, the Sodality timeline by necessity doesn't focus on Candi. Instead, it's an ensemble cast. The first season must by-format give time and attention to Miriam, Jack, Dolly, Shing, Mingmei, Zize, Wen, Chen, Donte, Imaki, Phil, the Exodus Agenda, Don Mendoza, Celia Winehart, Halal Affadidah, etc.; and also demonstrate why a lot of the Legends (Gray Champion, Extirpon, Pilltar, etc.) are suddenly unable to make as big a difference in the world as before - all while plugging in one-off villains like Jawknee and setting the stage for season 2.
In that time, emphasis on all these other characters deprives Candi of an essential element: knowing how she became the personality she is by that time period, and what she did with her life beforehand. Ciem: Inferno fills in those blanks as much as it can, while trying to tell a story fitting to its own time period. It also shows that Candi's personal and legal issues didn't begin with Marion Wevenil arresting her on Darius' orders in 2018. Rather, these problems go back to a considerably earlier time.
Not only did the idea for a short story about Candi's first arrest evolve into this premise; but it didn't take long to come up with ideas for sequels. By 2016, Ciem: Ash Cloud was proposed as a sequel, mainly to justify reintroducing Eric Korsicht to Gerosha mythos after he'd been retired from it since Ciem 2. Ciem: Caldera was proposed in 2017 and set in that same year, initially dubbed "Wrath of Quoll." It became about personal challenge, personal innovation, and knowing when to hold on vs. let go; whereas the original draft was about Candi's continued sense of sexual frustration following Danny Loffin breaking up with her.
Choice for setting
Partially inspired by The Dark Knight Rises, Ciem: Inferno became a tale of a fallen superhero that must beat the prison system in order to rise up again and defend the home town. It became obvious that Candi's fall from grace had to happen in Gerosha, then lead her to a prison setting. However, exactly where and how, and how that would be geographically consistent, were mysteries when drafting first began. The research that would be needed for this was also essential for her latter woes in Sodality: Vindication - which several other Sodalists would wind up sharing with her. But in keeping with the specifics of what Candi would be facing in Inferno, it didn't make much sense for her to go to Houston right away. Instead, she finds herself in an even more convoluted legal pickle that keeps her closer to home.
At the time, Dozerfleet personnel knew nothing of the juvenile justice system apart from it existing, leading to a scramble of searching for information on where Candi would most likely have been sent. This secondary setting was selected as being the Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility after some research online revealed it to be the only all-female juvenile center in Indiana at the time the story took place. Details of Candi's stay were revised several times, as well as tied in with other events in her life (such as her untimely miscarriage in Fall of the Critter Resistance, after discovering herself pregnant via Danny Loffin.)
Exactly what the interior of Madison looked like, and how Candi's day-to-day would go, remained a mystery which frustrated plans for writing the scenes of her inside Madison. However, browsing through Netflix provided some insight into the culture of women's prisons. While the Asylum film Jailbait was viewed for its theme briefly, it provided very little useful information - and was generally viewed as being "utter trash." Its plot would later get parodied by Camelorum Adventures in "17 and Amphibious."
Locked Up, Lockdown, the Jared Cohn film Locked Up, the Canadian show Under Arrest, and more were all viewed, but were all seen as providing no useful content for Candi's stay at Madison - and even less useful for her role in the sequels Ash Cloud and Caldera. Kid Criminals episode 2 proved somewhat useful, as it featured interviews from then-superintendent Tim Greathouse and then-inmate Amanda Artyamsoal. However, this episode's mixed focus with various male centers made its use for studying Madison specifically difficult.
There weren't any real breakthroughs until Netflix released Girls, Incarcerated: Young and Locked Up to its network. The show proved a huge eye opener to many on what actually does drive young women into a life of delinquency, as well as how to get them out of it, as well as what their lives really do entail at such centers. It also showed that not all institutions are cold, heartless centers of brutality and unfeeling perpetual punishment, as are often depicted on other shows such as Beyond Scared Straight. Much of Cataclysmic Gerosha's mythology around Madison for the Centipede and Fire Trilogy therefore was based heavily on the inmates and staff that were shown featuring in Girls, Incarcerated.
Meanwhile, Miriam and Chris' adventures back in Gerosha centered heavily around using Google Street View to get familiar with the street layouts of Boonville. The goal was to create a Gerosha/Boonville for the story that only changed what needed to for the story, but that otherwise kept the city as close to real life as possible - in a manner similar to the development of Insomniac's Marvel's Spider-Man for PlayStation 4 trying to create as-realistic-as-possible a replication of real-life Manhattan (altered only as-needed to make room for Marvel landmarks.)
Development cycle evolution
Drive to create Ciem: Inferno didn't take off until after some initial plans were put into place for Sodality: Vindication and Swappernetters - the former inspired by Obama-era pessimism and Orange is the New Black and the latter inspired by Mirror's Edge. It was decided that Tabitha Pang idolized Candi growing up, and it would therefore be appropriate to have events happen to Candi that would allow the girls to be compared and contrasted with one another. Given Candi's general bad luck throughout Sodality, showing that she had issues with abusive law enforcement going back to her youth made sense - and filled in missing details about her early life that Sodality didn't have room to explain.
Researching and outlining on the wiki from September 28th of 2015-onward were interspersed until late 2017 with Sims 3 renders and simulations regarding Candi and her life situation. As early as October 1st, a lot of Sims 3 concept art made its way toward DeviantArt. After Girls, Incarcerated hit Netflix in 2018, emphasis shifted away from running simulations with EA software, and focused instead more on creating a directory of all the details that would be needed to truly convert the story to a proper novel.
The first step became determining who the inmates of Madison were that Candi would encounter during the events of Inferno, Fall of the Critter Resistance, Ash Cloud, and Caldera. As ideas came rushing in for this, development time was also shared with coming up with ideas for Camelorum Adventures, The Gray Champion: Shaken Dust (primarily inspired by Thor: Ragnarok,) Anarteq: Guardian of the Soo (heavily inspired by Aquaman and Freeform's show Siren,) and Mukade: Reinvention. Development of ideas for Ash Cloud and Caldera were further bogged down by development of a basic premise for Volkonir: The Series and the machinomic release on Mod The Sims of Volkonir Meets the Power Rangers - which tied in both with the release of 2017's Power Rangers film reboot and with the remodeling of the Emo Rangers Wiki on Fandom.
This process took a very long time; and it was interspersed with coming up with staff directories for Madison. With this figured, out, getting the other characters and locations scouted and documented took priority. This would give way to revising the timeline to include every important detail - enabling the development of chapter outlines to assist actual writing of the story itself. Concept art also stopped using Sims 3, with improvements to Sims 4 leading to that being the primary software for rendering scene concept art.
Selection of themes
The time in Candi's life - and prior struggles she'd faced - led to her facing several unique challenges, mostly related to facing the realization of her own wayward desires and need to renounce them, while also protecting other loved ones of hers from an impossible situation. For a full list, see this article here.
Like most projects before that were Gerosha-related, Ciem: Inferno began its life in the concept art stage with all characters and everything else being rendered in The Sims 3. These renders started happening more in 2015-2018 with The Sims 4, as that software improved. In 2015, altered photos of Lee Loo La became a base for the Flippo triplets' all-around bodily appearances. Other software started being used as well for rendering Candi, including renders made in Adobe Fuse CC and in MakeHuman software in late 2018. With initial success using non-EA and royalty-free software, more characters began being rendered in these formats. Candi, Miriam, and various non-Gerosha characters were also re-created inside Grand Theft Auto Online in October of 2015.
While earlier Sims 4 art relied on using the game's basic graphics, skin overlay custom content downloads started being used in late 2018 to add a sense of realism to renders - especially for character mugshots.
See also: Ciem costume evolution gallery
Few characters underwent more costume design evolution than Candi herself for this project. The transition from Sims 3 to Sims 4 opened up considerably more options for suit designs - particularly tops - for Candi to wear in her ever-evolving Ciem suit concepts. Lava Tigre and Purge-Flare were modified slightly from their original renders, but were still recognizably the same characters. The mask flare flames on Chris' mask were removed, as they served little practical purpose. Drop-In received an actual costume via Sims 4 in 2018, though he was intended to have one as early as 2015 in Sims 3 artwork. His corrections officer outfit was decided fairly early on. Imaki Izuki underwent only minor cosmetic changes in the transition between concept art render engines. In spite the exact outfits for corrections officers at Madison being shown to vary widely but mostly dark navy blue tops, the guards in most concept art are depicted using the same gray tops as Camelorum Correctional staff wear in Camelorum Adventures.
Candi's civilian and inmate outfits were selected based on keeping her simple and relatively humble and modest (in public, anyway.) Her exact civilian outfits were picked based on what was available in that style in whichever game engine was rendering her. Her Madison inmate outfit was selected based on whatever was available in the rendering engine for depicting a juvenile inmate, though modifications were made to textures to create a more life-accurate version.
It was decided that since this story happens around the time that Emeraldon and the media first assign the "Ciem" label to Candi's costume, which didn't previously have a name, that certain trademark details would've been omitted. Thus, the "Proto" suit features a centipede chest logo that Candi painted on with black paint. Imaki would later give her an updated suit of heavier-but-stronger material, dubbed the "Forfica, Mk. I" which would be her go-to for her mission to Cincinnati. However, the Proto suit depicted for this tale about Candi's fall from grace wouldn't have the golden chest centipedes. Initially, it would even lack the dart shooters (although Imaki quickly gives her this upgrade after finding a way back into Gerosha.) Candi's Ciem masks also didn't have a golden nose centipede on them early on, a feature emphasized on later renditions of her mask.
A suit was also designed for Amirah Rose as Flintirah by Imaki in his spare time; but she is not seen using it until Shaken Dust upon being furloughed to battle the same enemies as the Gray Champion, Mapacha, and Hea Pang. For Inferno, only Amirah's civilian and inmate forms are depicted.
Support document structure
While the story itself was always determined as needing to be made into an e-book format of one or another variety, drafts were to be stored in Word format and betas released to approved beta readers in PDF. Any file not requiring immediate editing once completed was also stored as a PDF, to discourage editing.
However, the tie-in directories of minor cast members would find their files saved in Microsoft Publisher format, with final edits copied into PDF format for distribution. Location directories were stored in both Word and PowerPoint formats. Madison inmate directories underwent some of the most dramatic changes in layout, as the directory had to balance page count, inmate listing efficiency, and backstory justice parameters. This proved especially difficult for Inferno, as everyone had to be introduced to the story's world for the first time.
Ash Cloud would face a different challenge: balancing the "new faces" with the returning faces while also keeping track of who lives and who dies during Korsicht's raid. The only simple part of that directory would be listing the names of those who'd left, when, and why - as no pictures would be required for that list. These challenges would further carry over to the directory for Caldera, made simpler only in part due to Madison's enrollment being much smaller by that point in time.
Poster and book cover
Just as much a challenge as coming up with research, plot, material, and theme balancing for the story was developing graphics that suited the story's title and world. Before the book cover that was chosen due to legality for commercial redistribution, there were several non-commercially-legal concept posters made. The first of these was a poster made entirely in The Sims 3 and Photoshop CS2 back in 2015.
This was before the Sparks of Vengeance were figured out in detail for the story, and when Amirah's backstory hadn't been deduced yet. In its initial form, Candi and Amirah were still wearing white uniforms, as material hadn't yet been made available to explain that their uniforms would be indigo. Lonny Factor is shown as a corrections officer, not as Drop-In, due to his Drop-In outfit having not been figured out yet. Bruce Almin, a crude render of the Proto suit, and a crude early render of Lava Tigre also feature on the poster. Chris' Purge-Flare still has the head flame flares, though latter renditions of his suit design remove these. The poster was later revised to make Candi and Amirah's tops indigo, although the inaccurate depiction of Madison in their panel and Factor's remained.
The initial Sims 3 art was mostly well-received, although some criticized the panel featuring Chris, Miriam, and Danny. Miriam comes off as a lot more fearful and a lot less confident than she should be per her overall personality; and Danny's hair was described as "a bit off." Chris' render was criticized the most, with critics saying he didn't look like "a former gangbanger fugitive vigilante" like he should. He instead "looked more like a rapist."
A new render of the poster made with Sims 4 in 2018 replaced the earlier Sims 3-rendered one. While Bruce Almin was stripped from the cover, a more-accurate Proto suit featured in a much-narrower frame. Drop-In's full outfit as a supervillain was realized for the first time. A better-looking Lava Tigre featured, and the head flares on Purge-Flare's outfit were gone. Candi, Amirah, the Sparks of Vengeance, and a more-accurate depiction of a Madison Juvenile hallway were added to the replacement panels on this new poster. Chris' out-of-uniform depiction was also corrected, to make him look more like the ex-gangbanger he is supposed to look like. Danny's "f*kboy" look and tendencies were toned down, and Miriam is depicted with her black Snakes on a Plane T-shirt (minus her Detroit Tigers baseball cap.) The most important new addition to this version of the poster, however, was Frank Morvel - who previously had no artwork or appearance.
These looks all proved highly useful for promotion; but a commercially-acceptable cover couldn't include any graphics which were EA-proprietary. The first book cover design for commercial-safe distribution was the old centipede chest logo and some abstract jail door bars transposed on top of a fire background. In front of these was a color-altered picture of the CarQuest of Lansing on St. Joe Hwy. stock photo, serving as a stand-in for Posey's. A MakeHuman figure of Candi in her Proto-Ciem suit is standing near a corner. Deemed rather uninteresting, a second book cover design featured a render of Candi's face out of the suit as a floating head graphic. A highly-modified public domain photo of downtown Boonville re-rendered in Photoshop CS6 to appear to be set ablaze became the base. Her face was rendered in MakeHuman to take advantage of the Creative Commons 0 license.
A third design added Miriam, Danny, Amirah, Purge-Flare, and Lava Tigre to the scenery - mostly as floating head. Lava Tigre was rendered with a free trial version of Adobe Fuse CC, further modified in Photoshop. For this design, Miriam's Detroit Tigers cap was added back in. Amirah is depicted in her Madison uniform, as her Flintirah costume hadn't been given to her yet. Subtitles and other labeling completed the look.
Early logos for Ciem-related media didn't have much going in the way of a standardized custom font and logo theme. There was a basic stencil that often replaced the letter "I," but fonts used were either Copperplate Gothic or Charlemagne - holdovers from the Classic and Comprehensive Gerosha era designs. On May 4th of 2018, the then-new font Bebas Centipede was released for free use by anyone, as a way to ensure a custom font just for Ciem-related material could exist. In December of that same year, a redesign for the centipede insignia was made. It's been decided that the new symbol would feature on the Vanadium Centipede, whereas Candi's Ciem suits would mostly stick to the old centipede stencil. Combining the centipede stencil for the "I" with everything else being Bebas Centipede produces a trademark-worthy Ciem logo. For the "Inferno" subtitle, fonts such as Living Hell and Rick Mueller's "Flames" have been experimented with.
Shirt design tie-in
Main article: Real-life Ciem suit designs of 2019
To celebrate her past cooperation in bringing Candi to life, a T-shirt was proposed for Lee Loo La as a 2019 birthday present back in December of 2018 that would tie in to development of the novel. However, the Proto design wasn't chosen. Instead, the Lithobara series Ciem top was chosen as a designer T-shirt option for the child size shirt. This is in spite the fact that Lithobara isn't used by Candi in canon until latter seasons of Sodality, after she's worn out most of her Variega series suits. Lithobara, however, is the simplest non-Proto Ciem top and bears most of the essential elements for the character's appearance. As a challenge, the Forfica Mk I. from Ash Cloud was chosen as Lee's suit adaptation.
The child-size Lithobara shirt was made first, and the test run shirt was given to a young girl living in St. Louis as a Christmas present. Lee's Forfica Mk. I suit went into production in December of 2018, and was completed a few days before her birthday on April 25th of 2019.
Main article: Set design for Ciem: Inferno
The desire to set things in Boonville goes way back to Comprehensive Gerosha in 2010, as it was viewed to be the best analog possible for where Gerosha as a city would be geographically located, in consistency with what was drafted in Gerosha Prime's The Battle for Gerosha. However, transferring the concept from an abstract to a practical proved difficult.
From 2010-onward, The Sims 3 was the default engine used for rendering anything. Google Maps was just beginning to undergo dramatic improvements to its format, but was not as useful for researching geography at the time interest first budded in reinventing Candi's origin story away from the cookie-cutter narrative established in 2006.
The themes of action, surprise, trauma, guilt, atonement, duty, compromise, fire, dread, despair, anger, friendship, pain of loss, and more that go into the story needed an appropriate soundtrack to accompany the mood for writing. Music sites (mostly YouTube) were scoured in search of a sound that would work. While no official song list or original soundtrack exist, four songs stand out as candidates should Inferno be adapted to film:
- The Ciem Theme (as first recorded for Ciem 2 as a ringtone.)
- A longer version would be required, with professional composition.
- "Ascendance" by Axl Rosenberg
- Most important for Candi's battle with the Screwworms in the Exhibit Hall of the Old National Events Plaza
- "Stitches" by Angelflare, a cover of the song originally performed by Shawn Mendes
- A special version of this song at 75% original tempo is preferable.
- "Into the Wild, Chapter I" by Axl Rosenberg
Around the same time, research was done for a soundtrack for Ash Cloud and one for Caldera. The first selection deemed appropriate for Caldera as an end credits song was the epic version of "Hope is a Ghost" by AngelFlare. For Ash Cloud, "Children of the Sun" by Thomas Bergersen was considered - right up until it was used in a trailer for Aquaman. "Claim Your Weapons" by Christian Reindl and Atrel replaced it. Also chosen was Eurielle's "City of the Dead," Christopher P. Bragg and Angelflare's "Open Fire," "Stay" by Two Steps From Hell and Merethe Soltvedt, "Keep it Close" by Seven Lions and Kerli, and "Gone But Not Forgotten" by C21 FX.
- Candi's arrest happens just a few months in 2015 after Kayla Tarington is sentenced to a year and two months in federal prison in Volkonir: The Series. As such, she remains at Madison in 2016 due to Darius taking pains to keep her there - even though the facility says her good behavior qualifies her for release.
- The year 2016 is also the year that Candace Mason gets sent to Camelorum Correctional in Camelorum Adventures.
- Around that same time period, Adam-00 wrote Cagegirl.
- In a teasing lead-in to the Percolation Warriors Saga, Volkonir Meets the Power Rangers jokes about the girls that would one day make up "Team F-Pod," and how all their run-ins with the law seem to have happened around the same relative time period.
- Candi's showboating and taunting of Amirah near the swingset was inspired by Girls, Incarcerated on Netflix. The scene is a rewrite of a draft scene involving a vent duct near the ceiling and a room with no cameras where Candi turns the tables on her tormentors. The original draft was meant to parody a scene from Jared Cohn's Jailbait, wherein Anna Nix was dragged into a room without cameras to receive a savage beating.
- Several members of the Madison staff mentioned in the guidebook are based off of real-life former Madison staff as depicted in Girls, Incarcerated. However, names are changed and character details are scant. Exceptions include Bruce Almin (modeled after Michael Caine's portrayal of Alfred Pennyworth in the Dark Knight Saga) and Lonny Factor (modeled after Brett Dalton as Grant Ward on Marvel's Agents of SHIELD.)
- Imaki Izuki
- Experiments and Offspring
- The Battle for Gerosha
- Of Emeralds and Sapphires
- Blood Over Water
- Mukade: Reinvention
- Anarteq: Guardian of the Soo
- Sniperbadger: Fall of the Critter Resistance
- Ciem / Anarteq: Kahoopiliana
- Ciem: Ash Cloud
- Ciem: Caldera
- Girls, Incarcerated fan page on Facebook
|Tie-in book releases|
| Ciem: Inferno: The Inmates of Madison Juvenile Correctional Center
Guidebook for download at MediaFire (PDF, will work on Kindle Fire)
| Ciem: Inferno: The Staff of Madison Juvenile Correctional Center (and Promise Jr. / Sr. High School)
Guidebook for download at MediaFire (PDF, will work on Kindle Fire