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Borderlands - History and Game Thread
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Montresor
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:30 am    Post subject: Borderlands - History and Game Thread Reply with quote

It falls upon me to be the first historian of the human race. The other histories, written before the apocalypse, are now dust and ash, alike the monuments they once catalogued. Thus I, Alexei Vallis, shall begin history anew, after the death of man.

The earth is torn and barren. Generations ago, people lived amongst green fields, upon a land webbed with industry and infrastructure, beneath a blue sky. The last of us now live with a sky of faded red, through which little blue ever penetrates. The ground we stand upon is dead – what little life grows is sick with the diseases of death which our ancestors created with their war. Acid pours down in violent storms, great clouds of silt and ash can still be seen darkening the sky, and poisoned winds spew forth from the waste like the gas attacks of old.

We are told that there were three world wars before the war which annihilated mankind. The earth had become divided amongst great and powerful democracies which exploited dwindling resources, and amassed hideous and immense arsenals of destruction. Peace was their aim, we must believe. A peace so terrible they felt compelled to murder each other to achieve it. Now, in death, the earth knows its peace.

I was born forty years ago, by my best reckoning. Born in one of the shelters which housed the chosen men and women of the century before me, I had been accustomed to some luxury. At the age of twenty, my world changed. We were compelled to leave the shelter and see the ruined world which science had created.

In life I became inured to suffering, to seeing the last squabbling packs of humanity tear each other apart for resources. When once man murdered man for whole nations, or for mountains of gold; he know killed his brother and sister for a few scraps of metal, or a can of petrol. The world I was born into, and into which I would venture to observe, was a loathsome place full of twisted people, of insane cults, of predatory beasts, of a ruined civilisation, of starvation and eternal hunger.

I do not know what year it is by the old calendars of the pre-war world. The fourth world war happened in 2086, and it must now be the twenty-third century. It is my aim to record our final death throes as a species and, I hope, to write of the way in which mankind adapted to the nightmare he had given birth to.

I begin with this humble preface, therefore, and hope that – in writing – I may have created some life in a dieing world.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fshhhh--ear me? Thi--Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz--Line. Is there anyone listening out there? We need--zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz--hear me?--zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz--.
*click*
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Es vos lautus in cruor?

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Refrain

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Refrain

When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Refrain

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!

Refrain

_________________
"Oh of course," the Navigator said with faint mocking in his voice, "you have probably heard of House Praetus. We have a palace on Holy Terra. Like all powerful groups, we also have our enemies. Do you honestly think someone like you matters?" - A dissolute noble.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great. We turn on our radio, and the first thing I hear is static and the ranting of past Gods.

I will let it be known to all who dwell in these cursed lands. They were once ours. The Pale Men stole them from me and my people, and we WILL have it back. This land will once again be green and lush. Without the Pale Men.

Come into my lands at your own risk. We do not forget, and we do not forgive.
_________________
“A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.”
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The report just sat there, like a warning of damnation. Not since the day the elders had made their foolish decision had Nevin come across such bad news.

Grand Marshal Nevin sat at his desk of solid oak. He ran his hand over the smooth polished surface. Not for the first time he thought to himself that this might possibly be the last remaining oak desk in existence.

A solid knock at his door brought his mind back to the real world. "Enter."

A Lieutenant marched in and snapped a salute that could cut wood.

"Grand Master sir, I must report, there has been activity on the radio. We require your orders on the matter."

Nevin nodded and followed the gray uniform man through the pristine corridors of the shelter. "It seems, sir, that the opening of the main gate has allowed radio waves to enter the shelter again. The reception is terrible, background radiation making a lot of static, but theres definitely activity.

They entered the communications center and a small group of officers were surrounding the radio. They all snapped to attention upon the entrance of the Grand Marshal.

From the radio voices could be heard. Some authoritative man was making deluded comments about pale men and cursed lands in broken English.

Nevin rubbed his forehead hard. First the main gate, then the replicators and now this...

He looked to the Lieutenant "Monitor all communications, gather as much intel as possible, but DO NOT ,under any circumstances, communicate with the people of the wastes. If anything of note comes up, inform me immediately. Understood?"

All the officers present saluted. Of course they understood, they were the best mankind had to offer. Nevin turned and headed for the door, then turned.

"And someone find Benedict and get me a status update of those damned replicators"

The sound of Grand Marshal Nevins boots echoed down the hallway in his wake.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fzzzzzzsssssssss--still not working?--Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh--think--zzz--transmitter--zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz--almost--fsshhhhhhhhhh--taking so long."
"Try it now."
"Hello? Testing.... It doesn't seem as bad."
"How did you ever doubt me? Alright, we need to go and prepare a message to--"
*click*
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Above the Courtyard, a silent figure strode, her billowing skirts implying floating. The stride effectively hid her agitation. Lucretia, Sister-Ordinary, had submitted her semi-annual status report, and her current conclusion seemed less than optimistic. Yet her faith remained strong in the Sisterhood’s ability to survive and minister to the needs of the faithful. Mother Succour could do no less; she took the example set by her under-secretary to heart, and steeled her resolve to lead the Order with faith and clarity of vision.

Water - so precious and rare across the cracked and lifeless earth of the wastes - murmured and lapped in the fountain of the great Court. It's soothing hiss gave way to the hymns of dedication of the sisters gathered beyond as Mother Succour passed without, and when she came upon the entrance to the apse, the childish voices of the few acolytes of the Order singing a hymn for healing drew her in. The melody and words strengthened the effect of calmness upon her, and by the hymn’s final stanza she was among the acolytes, offering her words up to the heavens along with them…

One had vision
One came bringing its doom
One saw napalm
One heard the man in the moon
We were children of promise
We were heirs to their dreams

Tell me, why then is the hand slow
And the dog bites, well, I don't know
But the sky will fall
And heads will roll
And it's all that we can do
To wait for the healing

Hungry hearted reason coming of age
Running headlong into the the latest rage
Always reaching within us
Claiming the answers are there

Tell me, why then is the hand slow
And the dog bites, well, I don't know
But the sky will fall
And heads will roll
And it's all that we can do
To wait for the healing
For to carry on
For to stand when all is said and done
In the shadow of the rising sun
Longing, waiting for the healing

We are children of promise
We are heirs to their dreams

Tell me, why then is the hand slow
And the dog bites, well, I don't know
But the sky will fall
And heads will roll
And it's all that we can do
To wait for the healing
For to carry on
For to stand when all is said and done
In the shadow of the rising sun
Longing, waiting for the healing

~Beata Amy Grant
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Father De Soya climbed the last hill before the cannibal settlement. Behind marched the Sanctus Spiritus army - a division of Crusaders, followed by two divisions of Militia. Contrary to all expectations, their passage across the ruined earth did not create clouds of dust as the land was covered in thick, rubbery grass and strange transparent weeds. Ahead of the small 'crusade' was a low valley dominated by sickly-looking trees and shrubs, and wide crops. At the centre of this, a mere thousand feet from the Jesuit leader, stood a dilapidated town. Although the inhabitants were small figures at this distance their grossly misshapen bodies could be seen.

In reaction, Father De Soya made the Sign of the Cross. "Halt, brothers," he called out sharply. Immediately, the army stopped - a sign of how well trained the Brothers were. "I will not bore you by re-reading the full orders for this mission, but I know as a Holy Warrior and your leader that it will be best to remind you of our priorities.

"We are not to let harm come to God's children even as we destroy the bodies of Satan's. We are not to burn down the walls and crops before us, for Father Yperite has asked us to make this place our own; flame and ruin do not always make for purified ground and deed, brothers. Finally, we are not to let a single mutant remain alive. For though God loves all things, as Brother Francis once showed, he does not love those who practice the Devil's act; for was it not the Devil that led the men of Europe to eat the dead of No Man's Land?"

The Brothers stood to attention, still and quiet. The black, white and crimson robes of the warriors lazily drifted in the humid breeze. Despite the gas masks hiding their expressions, Father De Soya knew that he had gripped their minds. Some of them gripped their guns and swords with an eager energy.

He continued. "The people below breathe foul air. The mutants know no better; by the hand of the antangel Lenin their lungs have adapted to it, and by the hands of the antagel Kaiser they see no more the way of Love and Truth than their lungs know that there is purer air to breathe. But the untouched will soon know pure air. The untouched will soon breathe the Blessed Air of Jesus the Saviour!

"Brothers, to arms!"

With his strident cry - muted in no way by his gas mask - Father De Soya turned to face the distant settlement and walk puposefully down the gradual incline, swinging at gruesome parodies of plants and animal life. Behind him marched his force, chanting as they followed him and drew out their swords. Their speed grew as they gained an inkling that the mutant villagers we aware of their presence - for a man to taste another's fear is said to be the primary means to know one's power.

A strange scream shot across the warm air from the village. The army charged.
_________________
"Oh of course," the Navigator said with faint mocking in his voice, "you have probably heard of House Praetus. We have a palace on Holy Terra. Like all powerful groups, we also have our enemies. Do you honestly think someone like you matters?" - A dissolute noble.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TURN TWO

From A History of the Decline of Man, by Alexei Vallis

. . . Legends of violence travelled with the caravans of nomads in the waste with enough regularity that one would have thought the borderlands to be now utterly diminished in life, if but half of the tales held truth. As sand travels from one gust to the next, each tale probably precipitated another and elements of hearsay made up the whole. Yet, amongst the histories of massacres, some stand forth as undoubtedly true.

Radiation from the Old War, and the lingering poisons and chemicals which had been commonplace, had twisted the less fortunate. Generations of isolation sometimes led to inbreeding and further mutation. Out there, in the hinterlands of the waste, still dwell the spawn of man and the nuclear age. The harsh realities of a bleak world have stripped them of all moral luxury, and they are given over to many vices and cruelties. The traveller knows to be careful of certain places, lest they are caught by the malformed and forced into slavery, or worse.

Thus it was that, when I was young, a story emerged of a terrible community in the hills, peopled by inbred and deformed folk, who grew misshapen fruits in their groves. When strangers passed by, they would take them for work slaves, for food, and for breeding. Their reign of terror, removed from most though it was, came to an end in a brutal fashion.

The church of the Sanctus Spiritus, a name whom many were soon to become aware of through the travellers of the waste, came upon this den of mutants and incestuous cannibals. Given to the zeal that their order was, a detachment of the order’s soldiers invaded the community with righteous fury. Stories of the battle seem conflated and contradictory. In all reality, it was probably just a small engagement. Nonetheless, what does remain indisputable - and what quickly emerged as a story to either inspire or frighten in the waste - the Sanctus Spiritus showed their foes no mercy. When the mutants tried to surrender, after a short battle, Father De Soya ordered the entire community executed for their sins.

I had first heard the story as a tale of the horrors in the greater waste, and of a glimmer of hope against evil. Yet, it did not take long before wanderers began to ask, what further massacres would the Sanctus Spiritus inflict in the name of Christ the Saviour?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are children of promise
We are heirs to their dreams

Tell me, why then is the hand slow
And the dog bites, well, I don't know
But the sky will fall
And heads will roll
And it's all that we can do
To wait for the healing
For to carry on
For to stand when all is said and done
In the shadow of the rising sun
Longing, waiting for the healing


Hymnals whispering shut, with the occasional thunk as a younger rambunctious member of the congregation slammed closed the copy they held, the faithful settled themselves back in the pews and awaited the call to come forth for communion. For many of the congregation, the thimbleful of blood and slim wafer of crisp host would be all the sustenance they would receive on this day, if it weren’t for the weekly covered dish gathering in the Social Fair after the mass.

Mother Succour glided across the pulpit to the altar, upon which sat an overfilled chalice of red liquid, and a black dagger, a sacred athame. It was whispered the athame was more than ceremonial in days of old; that it was once used in blood rituals of great power. Now the congregants believed it was strictly ceremonial: dipped into the chalice to empower the blood, and used to cut the crisp wafer thin slices of the host. Still, as Mother Succour raised the athame towards the light of the late morning sun, and the blade shimmered and shone with the implied power within it, the faithful felt their devotion soar. And as she dipped the blade into the chalice, causing some of the crimson fluid within to seep over the lip and slowly drip down the side, their dedication was once again cemented to the Order. The communion offering may be tiny, but even this tiny amount once a week empowered and encouraged the faithful. It spiritually strengthened them more than the offering they each brought for the covered dish, although many found doing so to be a hardship. None of them would even consider not partaking of this gift of the Order.

Accolytes in white then approached the altar, and divided the crimson liquid and the crisp wafers in half. Descending down the stairs built into the front of the pulpit, they stood with their offering to the congregation at two low tables, and the sign was made for the faithful to come forth and receive their gift. No one hesitated, and among the younger congregants it was a struggle to contain their drooling…
******************************************************************************************************

The side doors of the Sanctuary were opened wide, and the sunlight beckoned each congregant to the Courtyard as they allowed the wafer to melt on their tongue after the small swallow of blood. Filing through the Courtyard to the great stone doors, opened fully on this day of worship, they proceeded outside to the adjacent Social Fair, where pavillions of white canvas were set up to protect the weekly offerings of the faithful from the reddish cast of the sky to share in a communal after mass social. The wisdom of the Mother Succour several decades ago had led the Order to establish these socials once a week as a moral booster for both the Sisters and the faithful outside the Convent. It was now the weekly event anticipated by everyone, except when a Blood Moon approached. But those were rare and far between, and not all of the faithful were allowed into the Convent for those ceremonies.

The offerings were meager, and barely offset the ehanced appetites of those partaking. But there was enough for everyone to have a small sample of each dish, for this had become routine and the women of the faithful knew how much to bring to be smiled upon for their offering. The atmosphere was one of comradeship and peace, and a few children ran and played on the edges of the Social Fair while the adults mingled and connected with their neighbors. The early afternoon passed in communal fellowship, and Mother Succour observed it all with a self-satisfied smile.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The beetle pushed its small ball of dirt in front of it. The small gray insect fascinated Koenig, who had never seen an insect apart from in books and holodisks. Its ten horny legs propelled it and its little ball of mess quickly across the baked ground. The men had named them scrap beetles, due to their tendency to collect crusted earth and pile it up, small bits of scrap shining in the red haze. The Life of the wastes was certainly odd.

"Lieutenant Valent to Victor Section, do you read? Report in. Over" The crackle of the coms channel coming to life snapped Koenig back to reality.

"Sargent Noels to HQ, Victor section is currently holed up awaiting a patrol to report back. Will report if anything eventuates, over and out."

Thoughts pulling back to the case at hand, Sergeant Koenig Noels, of Victor section of Strum Company, started to ponder the events that had led up to his current situation.

For over a week now, their position had been assailed by the deranged lunatic who resided in the farm house that now served as Lieutenant Valent's HQ. He struck at weak targets, workers and soldiers separated from their comrades. He showed no signs of honor, always attacking from long range and in hiding. Some of the workers were starting to think it may be a ghost, or a spirit of the wastes, but Koenig knew it was just a coward with a death wish.

The madman had been running rings around the LSF troops. He had complete knowledge of tracking and the land. His camouflage was perfect and the troops had no way to stalk him. But he had grown over confident of late. He had blatantly attacked a position full of troops, and hadn't been going to as much effort to conceal himself. One of Koenig's men, Pvt Arther, had adapted well to life in the wastes, and was starting to discover the art of tracking. He was sure he was finding signs of the madman. Koenig could not wait to get back at their silent assailant.

Arther came back. Koenig noted with interest that he had modified his uniform some more, cutting his great coat into a far shorter jacket, and refusing to clean his uniform for a week, till he was covered in the red dust, instead of the field gray of the Grenadiers uniform. Koenig had noted that the rest of the section was also getting lax in their uniform discipline. He would need to stamp down on it soon before it got beyond control.

“’Ey Sarge,” Koenig always let his men get away with too much when away from the officers.”I found a trail leading down to a gully. We’re close Sarge, He’s getting sloppy. I know where close. I’ll lead the way”

Koenig and the rest of the section got up to follow Arther. Most other sergeants would stamp down on such lack of discipline, but he had grown up with these mean in the shelter and knew each and everyone of them was as valuable as him, so he treated them as equals.

They patrolled out along a barely noticeable track for some time. It was late in the afternoon when they came up to the edge of the gully. They all gathered round.

“There sarge, the tracks lead tha…” Arther was suddenly cut short by a loud crack of gunfire. Trooper James next to him screamed as his shoulder erupted into a spray of blood and flesh. The troops all dropped to the ground or one knee and started firing away into the gully, not sure of where their assailant was.

A deafening crack foretold the mess that showered across Koenigs head, as the trooper slightly infront of him took a shoot directly to the face. The crumpled body lay on the ground before him. He had grown up with this man. His man. They were all his men and they were dying. James had stopped screaming now, laying still. Perhaps he too was dead. The whistle of another shot zoomed passed only inch’s from his head. He wiped the blood from his visor and looked around, mind racing. The shooter had them well lined up and he needed to get his men to a better position. Then he noticed something, the reason why his men were so exposed.

”EVERBODY! OFF THE RIDGE NOW! THE SKY HAS US OUTLINED! MOVE!”

On instinct, from months of training, his men got up and followed his orders without question. They ran to shelter, providing covering fire for one another as they did so. They sheltered behind a large boulder, seemingly out of the line of fire. Arther continued to put bursts around the rock while Koenig briefed his section.

”Right boys, this is it, we have him. We don’t know where that bastard is, but he’s here. We need to fix bayonets and clear this gully, one rock at a time. GET TO IT!” The men started checking equipment and attaching their bayonets. Then they waited for the order.

”GO!”And it was on. The men charged around the corner, firing at any bush that looked a likely hiding spot. A shot passed through the charging men and then their target broke and ran.

What they saw shocked them. The very ground itself seemed to stand and run. The lunatic seemed to be wearing a suit, made of rags and string which made him impossible to see when lying still. But now he wasn’t still, he was running, for even he knew his life was nearing its end.

The lunatic took cover behind a large rock. The men laid an intense amount or fire down on him and he vanished behind the stone.

Koenig ordered the men to keep him pinned whilst he flanked. He moved around the rock to get a better view but was shocked.

The man’s camouflage was too good. He knew he was there, behind that rock but couldn’t be sure where the man stopped and the earth began. Another shot flew past him and he instinctively hit the deck. Instead of returning fire he reached forward for the second trigger to the front of his rifle. And pulled.

The grenade launcher kicked back into his shoulder and the back of the boulder was obscured in smoke, as the lunatic flew through the air like a rag doll. His torn form lay still on the brown earth.

The men came out of cover. This was their first encounter of combat and they had survived. He couldn’t see their faces under their masks, but be knew they were relieved. They started searching the area. Soon they found a small camp, with a bundle of rifles amongst the lunatics other belongings. They weren’t the short bullpup design of the LSF trooper’s weapons, but rather long powerful rifles built for hunting at long range. Arther in particular seemed happy with them. Koenig decided the scientists back at base would want a look at them, possibly produce more for use in the wastes. Then a grunt drew their attention to the fallen man.

They went over to the torn figure. He lay there on the baked earth, looking dazed and shocked. His leg was clearly broken, lying in an unnatural angle to his body. He was a big man, well over the tallest soldier, and had a large bushy beard. Arther almost jumped when he saw the suit he wore.

”Look at that sarge! No wonder we could never find him, he looks just like a bush! And the colors are perfect, not like our dull gray. Oh this is great, Ill be taking that sarge, he won’t be needing it anymore. Oh, I guess we should discuss it, what we gonna do with ‘im?”

Koenig looked down at the broken man. This man had caused the deaths of half a dozen LSF men, including some of Koenig’s personal friends. He had no right to draw breath any longer.

”His life is forfeit Private, end it.”

”Roger that sarge, best not get blood on this ‘ere nice uniform.”
Koenig turned away as Arther raised his rifle high, but above the man’s face. The sickening thud was all he needed to know the job was done.

”Right men, gather your gear and lets get going, HQ will want a report. Lets go.”

And with that, what was left of Victor section, Strum Company marched off into the haze of the wastes.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"So God looked upon his followers and smiled. Yet, they saw not a face, and nor did the clouds part nor the food become plentiful. Instead, He showed his joy by making wise men in Europe say 'Armistice'. Then the Great Artillery Guns were silenced, and His Son died on a river, shot to the head. He also showed his joy by making a breeze blow the fumes away. The land was shattered and bleak, but it was at peace and safe to breathe."

Father Yperite closed the New Atlantic Bible and sighed. Before him, the gathered worshipers sat still on the pews. The faint whispering of the air-conditioners was all that could be heard. After a long moment, he climbed down from his altar to stand before his flock. "Below your seats are one of two coloured Crucifixes. One is red and one is yellow. If you are seated above a red Crucifix, you continue in your role and your duties. If you are seated above a yellow cross, you will make you way to the military training grounds."

The head priest held up a firm hand to silence the mutterings in the church, then continued. "According to Revelations, the devil wears three faces - Lenin, Kaiser, and Fuhrer. They will raise armies to poison the Earth when the signs are given . . . one such sign occurred recently. We must do our duty to fight, and we will increase the number of those of us who can fire a gun and swing a sword! God has spoken and I obey . . .

"Those who have a yellow Crucifix, go now . . . "
_________________
"Oh of course," the Navigator said with faint mocking in his voice, "you have probably heard of House Praetus. We have a palace on Holy Terra. Like all powerful groups, we also have our enemies. Do you honestly think someone like you matters?" - A dissolute noble.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Ah shit!” the mechanic cursed as he dropped a wrench on his foot. Those nearby laughed, much to the discomfort of the mechanic.
“So why did we keep you here again?” A rough voice called from the doorway of the command shelter. Everyone turned to see Anton with a grin on his face.

The mechanic's eyes widened in fear, then realised he was only being made sport of and returned back to work, ignoring everyone else's doubled laughter.

A moment passed before Anton's voice could be heard again “Alright shut it you layabouts, go find something productive to do!” mocking groans followed as everyone got up

“And you two, go to the north east group and help out there!” he yelled to some taking longer to get back to work.

Returning to the main building Anton sat down, looking over the resource inventory.

“Some workforce you have Anton, all they do is sit around” invaded the quiet tune he was humming to himself. In mock anger Anton turned around and retorted “What? And your lot aren't just sitting around watching mine break their backs?”

Laughing softly Elone shook her head and leaned against the wall, gazing outside.

“Anything new on radio?” Anton asked, returning to the papers before him.

“No.. nothing since those old broadcasts.” the woman replied softly.

“I see.. and your new guys?”

“Progressing, should be ready by the end of the week.”

Standing to leave Elone walked back towards the armoury for her regular inventory.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rain…
Cleansing. Refreshing. Rejuvenating.
Life Affirming

But not the rain that fell on the Convent of the Overflowing Chalice.

Her nose pressed against the window pane, Aspirant Helen watched as the rivulets of low-ph water seemingly deepened the fine grooves on the glass. All it took was one good natural storm to set back months of hand-watered growth around the convent’s walls.

Yet the atmospheric conditions of the storm offered benefits available only at those times. For reasons unknown to her, whenever a good storm hit, the radio transmissions from the Order were known to be heard in areas only imagined at by those of the flock. Something about atmospheric bounce. Yet prospective patients from these distances have arrived in response to previous broadcasts. And the timing of the storm could not have been better; the wards were emptying due to patients being healed and released, or the unfortunate deaths of those beyond the healing skills of the Order.

Helen glanced towards the administrative wing of the convent. Yes, lights were on in the mostly unused cloister where the radio was kept. Having been left at the convent as an infant, and raised within its walls by the Sisters, she had an intense curiosity of the rest of the Wastes beyond its walls and the boundaries of the Social Fair. Her eventual goal upon elevation was to be counted among the ranks of the Sisters of Mercy, so she could travel the Wastes as they rendered aid to those beyond the immediate influence of the Order. If she was to hear what was being transmitted, although she suspected it would be the same directions to prospective patients as had been sent before, or, what she was really hoping, to hear a random broadcast from somewhere else in the Wastes, she needed to move quickly. Hoisting her skirts so the acidic pools of water on the floor of the open air arcade that encircled the Courtyard would not cling to her, she hurried off.
************************************************************

The radio whistled and hummed. Throwing a puzzled look at her superior, Lucretia Sora adjusted and fiddled. Damn the weather! Attarax had been deployed only a couple of weeks, this storm couldn’t have held off just a little longer until he returned? He never seemed to have a problem with getting the radio to cooperate.

A muffled sound in the outer office attracted both their attention. Leaving the radio to sputter, the two ladies silently drifted towards the dark gap between rooms and peered out. From the far corner of Sister-Ordinary Lucretia Sora’s desk, a piece of white cloth was just visible. The two women exchanged a knowing glance.

“Helen!” Lucretia Sora called.

The white cloth was quickly pulled back.

Taking a deeper breath to raise her voice and call again, Lucretia Sora felt the light touch of her superior upon her arm. Glancing into the face of Mother Succour, she slowly expelled her breath and relinquished her control of the situation into wiser hands.

Helen…”, Mother Succour gently whispered.

The hunched up figure in white slowly rose from behind the desk. Helen’s young face paled, and her eyes widened slowly as she claimed responsibility for eavesdropping, yet her posture straightened with the knowledge that she believed in what she did. She faced the two older women with apprehension, but calmly.

Mother Succour nodded approval. “Well done. Come. If hearing the radio broadcast is so important to you, come into the other room where you can hear clearly.” She turned and strode back to the cloister.

Lucretia Sora’s raised eyebrow spoke volumes, but she waited for the young acolyte to follow her superior into the radio room and then brought up the rear.

The radio had quieted down in the few minutes it had been allowed to warm up. Lucretia Sora ran a quick check and nodded at Mother Succour to begin. Unfolding a well worn piece of paper, Mother Succour picked up the microphone and began…

“The Sisters of Solace at the Convent of the Overflowing Chalice will welcome prospective patients for consideration of treatment in the Courtyard of the Convent at the next full moon. The gates of the Convent will be opened wide all that day, and prospective patients may be brought to the Courtyard to be assessed overnight.

“Family members and those accompanying the prospective patients will be welcome to stay with their invalid during daylight hours, but when the sun sets, and the assessments begin, non-patients will be asked to leave the convent, and the gates will be closed. You are welcome to set up shelters outside the Convent’s gates to await the morning.

“Once assessed, those deemed beyond our ability to heal will remain in the Courtyard to be returned to their homes. The patients the Order determines we can help will have been removed to our treatment wards. Other than the Courtyard, the rest of the Convent is off limits to those outside the Order. For the family members of those accepted, it is suggested you return home until the next New Moon. At that time the gates will be opened again and those healed returned, while the progress of the patients still undergoing treatment will be presented to those in search of them.

“Peace be with you.”

Cradling the microphone carefully back on to its support, Mother Succour reached over to turn the radio off.

“…Mother…”

Turning slowly towards Helen’s hesitant whisper, the older woman nodded her head in acknowledgement of Helen’s desire to speak.

“Mother, why is the radio turned off except for when we broadcast on it? If others have radios to receive our broadcasts, can they not send one out to us as well? I have never heard of us receiving a transmission, except accidentally when we were either preparing to send one or having just finished sending one.”

The two older women looked at each other and smiled. Lucretia Sora went to her desk in the other office, and returned with a pad and pencil. “How are your transcribing skills Helen?”
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quiji stretched his tired muscles. It had been many long years of struggle and pain before they found this new land. Of all their other settlements, none had the potential that this did. As in all their previous homes, he consulted his Quiji Board inside the Tents of the Ancients as the rest of the leaders of the Patwa discussed tactics among themselves. It was a battered thing, passed down to him from his forefathers back into the Darkness. It's edges were decorated with small drawings and bead work, leather thongs and scraps of metal. Each Quiji before him had added a small trinket to let his successor draw on his power when reading the future.

He moved the guide block around the letters and numbers, letting his mind drift and allowing the spirits to guide his hands. Slowly they began to form. "Victory" it said. Such messages were often vague, and only the logic and wisdom of the Quiji could apply them. The board worked through the Quiji, not at him.

"It has been proclaimed by our god Zeus, and the spirits of the Underworld, that our attack on the Pale Ones to the north will end in victory." At his voice, all others in the tent quieted. The words of the Quiji ranked higher than all others in the Patwa when in the Tent of the Ancients. "'Victory' is what it says. And so the attack will continue."
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TURN FOUR

INCOMING TRANSMISSION BROADCAST ACROSS MULTIPLE FREQUENCIES

### This is the Republican Union. Increased radio traffic has been noted in the last month. Communities have been monitored. Reports suggest survivors from pre-war shelters have emerged to the surface. We have observed, via satellite link, increased expansion in the wake of communities entering the waste for the first time. The Republican Union takes this opportunity to announce its authority.

Elected by a unanimous majority, Colonel Artemis Benton is the designated head of the Republican Union. The RU is in possession of the last remaining untouched pre-war city on earth. This holy relic is the sacred capital of the RU. We have access to a vast array of technologies. We are able to monitor all activities.

By his first act of state, Colonel Artemis Benton declared that the areas on the periphery of the capital, otherwise known as the Borderlands, are properties of the RU. Tithes to support the growth of the RU will be extracted from the waste. Those resisting are guilty of treason to the established authority. The punishment for treason is death.

Co-operation is rewarded. New items and technologies will be presented for sale to all but the NWUL, which has forfeited its right to diplomacy.

All radio channels must be left on, and tuned to frequency 150.6. Further announcements will follow. Failure to comply with this request is treason. ###
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From A History of the Decline of Man, by Alexei Vallis

In the weeks which followed news of the massacre perpetrated by the Sanctus Spiritus, other tales of violence and conquest gusted across the barren waste. Some time after the massacre, two other small farming communities had been invaded by powerful factions. The first was a farm whose population were quickly overwhelmed and forced to flee by the fierce and frightening braves of The Patwa. This league of xenophobic, semi-tribal nomads claimed to be the true owners of the land, and actively sought to remove anyone from it who did not belong to their race. Or so the tales were to claim.

The second faction had different, less obvious motivations. They called themselves the USA. A phrase which stirred unconscious myths within the imaginations of the waste dwellers. No-one, at the time, knew what the initials stood for, but they were highly organised and extremely well-equipped. Their soldiers were covered in the best light armour and general anti-environment suits the militaries of the late 21st century had been able to produce. Doubtless, the faction was a remnant of another world, all but vanished with the oblivion. Retreating below the surface, they had been able to survive and, finally, to emerge to once more stamp their legacy upon a ruined earth.

Unlike The Patwa, the USA appeared magnanimous in victory. They fought only to subdue their foes, allowing the settlers at the farm they attacked to surrender and join their faction. Yet, stories still travelled across the waste warning other settlers to be wary of this new faction. For, as was always the case in the wasteland, where there was a food source, and none but the weak to hold it, marauders would always strike, kill, seize, and despoil.

These tales, nonetheless, were overshadowed in the larger communities by the announcement, via radio waves, of the Republican Union. Claiming to be a representative of an elected government, and in possession of a city unspoiled by the ravages of war, the announcer dictated the demands of the mysterious Colonel Artemis Benton. The name still holds a peculiar fear over the minds of survivors today.

As a young man, I had quickly heard of the RU’s announcement. In my own community, a sense of wariness and fear gripped the hearts of all. Who was to say what the limits of the RU’s power was or, indeed, if they even truly existed at all? Time would, of course, tell the answer to these questions.
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Mother Succour


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The transmission came to an abrupt end. “…treason.” Helen finished transcribing what she heard and hurried off in search of Sister-Ordinary Lucretia Sora. The words of the transmission disturbed her, and she hoped the older woman could allay her fears.

Once found, Helen passed on her transcription of the broadcast. Sister Lucretia looked up from the handwriting. “The Republican Union? No further information was given?”

Helen shook her head. “The transmission went dead at that point. Nothing more was said.”

Sister Lucretia gave a curt nod of her head. “Come with me. I’ll need your help with some research before we present this to Mother Succour.”

Helen gave a start of surprise. Research? What could they possibly research? And where? Following Sister Lucretia down into the lower levels of the convent, Helen was led to a heavy wooden door. Producing a ring of keys, Sister Lucretia unlocked the door, creaked it open and revealed…

Volumes. Shelves and shelves of books. More than Helen had ever imagined existed. Her eyes roamed the shelves hungrily. What could she learn of the outside world among these pages?

“Helen!” Sister Lucretia called, “Come keep track of these for me.” She was laden down with several large volumes already. “When I ask for one, bring it to me, and take it back when I finish. But keep track, I may need to return to one again and again.”

The teen and woman worked late into the night. All that was heard was the occasional muttering of Sister Lucretia as she took copious notes.

“Hobbes…”

“Rousseau…”

“…sovereignty, Leviathan and Du Contrat social…”
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One Week Ago

Barton stood on the ridge, raised hand shading his eyes from the light of the sun, and watched the unfamiliar metal shape retreat over the horizon.
"Jon's not going to like this." Steen's voice reminded him of his men who were gathered behind him. He turned to face the older man.
"It was the Chief's call. Roe will back him on it. If a mistake's been made, the Collective will face up to it."
Steen responded with a grunt, and returned to rummaging through the pack that lay beside him, pulling out pieces of dried meat. As Barton turned away, he caught the man's mutter. "Aye: face up to the barrel of a gun."
He ignored the remark, turning his attention to the two scouts that sat together to one side of his men. "Still waiting for your orders?" he called over to them.
"Aye," one of them responded, looking up from his meal. The other kept watch, goggles gazing out over the red plains.
"Well, no need to stay on your arses. We have work to do, and you can help us." He turned to his own company. "Orders, men. Time to get moving."
He saw grins on the faces of his men as they began to pack up their gear and ready for the real work. They'd been sat around waiting too long--about time they saw some action.
"Sergeant." The other scout was staring into the grass on their south flank; he raised a hand, signalling for silence. Barton moved next to him, squatting down low and peering in the same direction. "Something moving in the grass. Looks like they've found us." He passed the goggles over and Barton took a look at the spot he indicated. Pale grass, and something black rustling through, almost hidden.
Carefully, he unslung the rifle from his shoulder and took the pouch from his belt. Loaded the rifle, took aim. He could just make out the dark shape moving.
Crack
A short yelp from the grass, and the shape slumped into the plain. The scout gave him a nod--nothing else in sight. Barton stood, signalled to his men, and walked down to where the corpse lay. Blood stained black fur; the shot had taken it in the neck. Its body thick with muscle; strong jaw showing vicious teeth.
"Don't look too appetising," one of his men said.
"Food's food," another answered.
Two of the men took out knives and moved to start dealing with the corpse.
"Funny," Steen said, squinting down at the animal, "I thought dogs hunted in packs."
"Sarge!"
The scouts were shouting from up on the ridge; Barton quickly turned, a feeling of dread rising. The two men were signalling in opposite directions. To either side of him.
He started barking orders. "Form up! Circle, now, weapons ready!" His men gathered around him, some loading their weapons, others ready, rifles raised at their shoulders. He quickly reloaded his own. "Stay together; move for the ridge!" They began to trot steadily over to the high ground, leaving the dead animal behind. Barton glanced around frantically, searching for some sign of the pack closing in. A shout from one of the men on the right. Shots fired; he looked over in time to see a black shape disappear back into the brush. As the men reloaded, more shapes appeared—half a dozen. Shots again, this time on the left. His men were beginning to break into a run. A black form leaped on the right, its momentum stopped by bullets only a few feet from the raiders.

As soon as they reached the top of the rise his men formed into a circle, ushering the two scouts into the centre. Barton looked back over the trail of their retreat: two of the dogs lay dead. One of the men on the left flank had been injured; he joined Barton in the centre of the defensive ring. His men's shots had started to fall into a rhythm, one man firing while the next loaded his gun. The dogs were all around them, circling; now and then another would leap out from the cover and try to reach them, but from their position the men could see them coming. Barton joined their fire, picking off one at a time the shapes moving in the grass. There were perhaps two dozen of them moving in the grass. Not all fell on the first shot; many took wounds and just fell back into the circling group.
For minutes the stand-off continued, the dogs circling, his men sending any that advanced reeling back. The attacks were coming with less frequency, the animals moving more slowly, staying hidden. Finally they broke. In an instant, what was left of the pack dissolved back into the plains; Barton's men remained wary, watching for any movement. Slowly, they lowered their weapons.
"Good work," Barton panted.
Trusting the scouts to keep watch, he allowed his men to rest. The injured man had been clawed down his leg; one of the others helped him to apply bandages. It looked bad, but he could walk. Barton surveyed the ground around their camp—almost a dozen bodies lay scattered about. A good start. But he shouldn't have been taken by surprise.
One of the scouts—Harding or Collins? He couldn't remember which he was--was down there, examining at the ground. Maybe the beasts had left a trail they could follow. He called Steen over to his side.
“Get a few of the men on gathering the bodies. Then we'll see how much meat we can get off of these things.” While these orders were passed on, he marched down to where the scout was kneeling one the dark ground. The man glanced up as Barton approached, then turned back to the marks he'd been studying.
“They've not left much in the way of tracks on this hard ground. Might've been hard to follow them.” He stood, and moved a few steps over to a thicker patch of the scrubby grass that covered the plain. “Lucky for you, your boys aren't bad shots.” He pointed at the dark stains spattered among the blades. “Looks like they went north, back into the hills. Not a nice bit of ground up there. But you'll have slowed them down a little.”
“We're not expecting it to be easy. But that pile of bodies wouldn't feed this company for a week, never mind the rest of them back at the station. We don't have much choice but to go after them.” Barton straightened, studying the edge of the rough terrain that lay in front of them. He looked back at the men on the low ridge. “We appreciate your help today. Could have been worse without you.”
“No problem, Sergeant. We're happy to help, at least so long as we're waiting for the terminus to get off its arse and give us something to do.”
“Still, we're glad for it. Wouldn't mind keeping you with us when we head out, but orders are orders.”
The scout stood, wiping dirt from his hands. “Aye. Could be sent on any day now, so we're going to have to have to sit this one out.”
Barton nodded, then began to walk back toward the camp. When he'd gone a few metres, the scout called after him.
“Good hunting, Sergeant.”
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The report held concepts not thought about in the Sisterhood for a generation:
Sovereignty.
Implied social contracts.
The responsibility of an overseeing government towards its citizens in exchange for the support and compliance of said citizenry.

Mother Succour looked up from the documents towards Lucretia Sora. She noted Helen hovering demurely by the door.
“Nothing on this Republican Union in the library anywhere?”

Sister Lucretia shook her head.
“Our collection pre-dates the war. It was hard enough keeping it intact when fuel was non-existent. Adding to it is impossible, at least as far as we know.

“We have no information on this so-called government.
There is nothing to tell us when it was formed; what city they are referring to as their “sacred capital,” or even what type of governing body it sees itself as.
Or, if it even exists at all.”

“And other than the few radio transmissions received a few weeks ago, we have heard nothing else from others in the Wastes?”

“Nothing.”

“Then it seems we must initiate contact ourselves, if we wish to learn anything more about them before it potentially becomes too late...”
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