According to my outline, we’re one-third of the way through Innogen and the Hungry Half. Which is mind-boggling to me! Of course, I meant to be much further ahead by this point, but given the givens, I’m going to take it as it comes. I did, however, want to take a note from Monty Python and sum up where we are and how far we’ve come since the story began. It’s also been pretty long between updates, and I understand if October is a little hard to remember at this point. So, without further ado, the story of the film so far.
IMOGEN, daughter of the king of Britain, has reluctantly accompanied POSTHUMUS, an orphan and her dearest friend, to the Minervan Exposition, newly arrived in Londinium. The star attraction is a demonstration of wireless technology by an engineer named RIGANTONA, reemerging after a seventeen-year absence from the public sphere. As Imogen and Posthumus wait for the demonstration, she is approached by one of her father’s chieftains, asking the king’s position on a recent revolt in Illyria. Rigantona peppers her remarks with indications of pro-British independence sentiment. However, Imogen recognizes Rigantona’s equipment from a recurring nightmare, in which Imogen and Posthumus flee through a hall of machines while Posthumus’s voice cries out far behind them.
Posthumus hopes Imogen, as a lady of influence in politics, will introduce him to Rigantona, who could provide him with a career. Imogen visits DR. CORNELIUS, a biologist under the patronage of King CYMBELINE, to ask about Rigantona’s background. He reveals that during the last Minervan Exposition hosted in Britain, Rigantona’s device failed and shorted out the entire exhibition palace, leading to great scandal and her downfall. Imogen then meets with VARINIA, a financial officer of the Roman Empire, who warns her about letting pro-independence movements go unchecked, as in Illyria. Imogen’s final obligation of the day is a private dinner with Cymbeline and Rigantona. She is shocked to see an exact copy of Posthumus, only to learn that he is CLOTEN, Rigantona’s son.
Imogen’s mind races throughout the dinner about how Cloten can look so much like Posthumus. Cymbeline reveals that he is in talks for Rigantona to install a new wireless security system in the palace. Rigantona is nothing but charming to Cymbeline and Imogen both, though Cloten is nothing but awkward and obnoxious. In conversation, Cymbeline uses the old British name for Londinium, Lud’s-town, which Imogen takes as a startling sign of Rigantona’s influence. Imogen retreats to Posthumus’s quarters to reassure herself that he is still him.
The next morning, Imogen tells Posthumus about his double. Posthumus accompanies her to the national archives to further investigate Rigantona. On the way, they encounter both a group of anti-Roman protestors and Cloten himself, who snubs Posthumus and flirts with Imogen. Official records for Rigantona and Cloten reveal little, but in Rigantona’s patent documents, Imogen again recognizes the machines from her nightmare. She asks Posthumus if he remembers how, seventeen years ago, they snuck into the Minervan Exposition at night, and that they fled after shorting out Rigantona’s machine by touching it. Posthumus has no memory of this.
Posthumus spends the next several days avoiding Imogen after she has implied that somehow he and Cloten are linked by Rigantona’s device. Imogen tries to go about her business, and takes another meeting about Illyria, anti-Roman elements in Britain and a pamphleteer defending the empire. She agrees to approach the king about the matter, but Cymbeline is dismissive, leaving Imogen in high temper. A visit to Dr. Cornelius reveals that Rigantona and Posthumus have just met, which Imogen had been hoping to prevent for fear of Rigantona realizing how Posthumus is connected to her and to the event that once ruined her prospects. Frustrated with her inability to settle the matter, Imogen sneaks out of the palace in disguise and sets out to interrogate Cloten. Posthumus, on a similar mission, joins her.
Their quest to find Cloten takes them to Sower Street, the most disreputable neighborhood in Britain. Posthumus and Imogen quarrel about what each hopes to learn, but when they finally find Cloten, he is drunk, horny and belligerent. As they bring him home, he mumbles about events in his past that indicate he remembers the night of the split, when Posthumus became two people and Cloten was left behind in the dark. Imogen realizes that Cloten has the same recurring nightmare she does.
The next morning, Imogen is reprimanded by Varinia for neglecting her statecraft in favor of gadding about. She provides her with proof that Cymbeline has approved an increase in military spending, a probable sign of coming trouble. Imogen prepares herself for a meeting with Rigantona. She watches construction crews begin installation of the wireless security system, and she confirms that Cymbeline and Rigantona have spent the night together. Posthumus tells her that he believes in the split now, but he wrestles with the implications. When Imogen finally faces her, Rigantona knows exactly why she has come. The two sit down to share their accounts of the events surrounding the split.
Rigantona was a 28-year-old prodigy whose work was going to be establish her as a major scientific and policy force in Britain and the empire. When her device shut down the exhibition palace, she suspected sabotage by a rival; when she instead found a naked, crying boy of 8, she was determined to figure him out. When she realized that he was no ordinary child, she took him in to study him. Cloten spent years unable to fend off his nightmares and insecurities, while Rigantona slowly pulled herself back into respectability. Eventually they did come to love each other as mother and son, to the surprise of both. Imogen, on hearing her story, asks the bombshell question she’s been contemplating for weeks now: Was there another child at the scene of the accident? Is there another Imogen lost somewhere in the world?
Keep an eye out for the next chapter! In the meantime, you can always find me at Tumblr and Twitter. I’m always delighted to talk about Innogen (feedback is adored, no matter when the chapter was posted!) or anything else that’s caught my fancy.