Author Topic: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm  (Read 22192 times)

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saltmummy626

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5085 on: October 10, 2018, 10:43:25 pm »
[last few lines of the Atomos bit provided by dragon, with a little modification]

Branches sped away from the dying down commotion, satisfied in it's good deed for the day. The men had been too preoccupied to take more than a passing note of it, and that was fine as far as the homunculus was concerned. Being around people had been a bit nerve wracking though, especially when people from the hall had shown up. Branches was supposed to be dead after all. Those people didn't know that, even the people from the hall wouldn't likely know unless Helen told them, but it was still a case of "better safe than sorry."

No more zombies were encountered that day, but Branches had plans. Plans that wouldn't hurt anyone, but would likely annoy Helen. To start though, Branches needed a shovel and some servants. The south side of the road was Helens territory, but Branches decided it would lay claim to the north side of the road. After all, part of being a person was claiming things, and to that end Branches needed more thralls. More clay automatons to keep watch over it's land. Keep undead incursions from happening. They would need to be bigger, better, smarter. That's what Branches would do. It slowed to a walk, retracing it's steps back towards it's mud hut. It cleaned itself off in the lake before returning to bed. As Branches tucked itself in, the light outside began to brighten.


Jennifer, Catalina, and Larion sequestered themselves in Catalina's office and Jennifer shaped up immediately. The report she gave was terse, factual, and Catalina suspected, incomplete. She detailed the journey to and her infiltration of New Bangor, and everything she'd seen and learned there in. God's Army was on the wane, men and women stealing away in droves. It seemed, from what Jennifer had seen, that the people had lost the faith and that only the most fervent of Astor's followers were sticking around. Bishops and the more zealous crusaders or templars. They were afraid. Afraid of the bishops, afraid of the new robotic fighting force that was beginning to dominate the rank and file of the wastelands despotic faction, and very afraid of Astor. The Archbishop wasn't playing his hand so close to the vest anymore, almost like he'd stopped caring or had begun to get sloppy.

From a simple canvas document case Jennifer retrieved documents taken from New Bangor. The sort of things that Catalina would have kept under lock and key in a cabinet marked "confidential." They had been left lying around and easy to steal, so all three of the gathered agreed that they should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, they were interesting. Project plans for improved warwalkers and several new autonomous units labeled "Warhunter" and an improved mobile foundry the papers simply called "scrapper units." Jennifer also showed off a partial report on God's Army's attempts at creating Devil Hunters and something called "Mammon."

"I think the people are leaving because of that project as well. The people who came to God's Army did so out of fear of that sort of thing. Now that Astor is adopting it, well... It disturbs them." Jennifer explained.

Their was also the collection. Jennifer explained what she understood of how God's Army was collecting relics. It was more than just grabbing and equipping his soldiers with anomalous items, Astor needed them for more. It was the reason for the attack on the center the year before. A miscalculation of location. The real target had been the vault. To that end, Jennifer informed Catalina that Astor had been in the vault after they'd left it. The details of his foray were unclear and after all she'd been through, it was more believable than it had been before.

"Why was he in the vault?" Catalina asked, deciding that the "hows" of the matter could wait.

"He was looking for relics, an item called the 'Oath of Iron.'" Jennifer explained, tensing a bit.

"And did he find it?" Catalina asked, leaning forward a bit in her seat. She wasn't familiar with everything kept in the vault, but the Oath was one she knew. It had been deemed harmless and brought up to the second floor for testing and storage. "Why did he want it?"

"He found it, and I don't know why he wanted it." Jennifer lied, "But I had it for awhile. He allowed one of his crusaders to keep it because, as I was told, it was useless to him."

"But you don't have it anymore?"

"No."

"Care to share why?" Catalina said, nettled.

"I don't think so, 'Captain.'" Jennifer shot back. There it was again, that belligerence. "I think there are some parts of my trip I'll just keep to myself. Can't go sharing all the secrets now, can I? Either way, apart from the storm and my choice to leave New Bangor, that's all there really is to tell. Except..." She dropped the attitude for a moment, "Have everyone keep an eye out for a creature, black, bristly fur. Kind of greasy looking, four arms, face like a lamprey. It stalked me most of the way home and I've seen what it can do. If our men encounter it in the field, they should do what they can to evade it. Direct confrontation is useless."

"I'll put the word out, but Jennifer, there are parts of this report you aren't giving me." Catalina stated, settling back. The captain glanced at Larion, suspecting that he at least might have been let in on something. This spate of hostility seemed to be directed mainly at her.

"Yep, but I've told you everything I think is pertinent to the center. Anything else that may have happened between my leaving New Bangor and my arrival here are between me, myself, and Cheena."

"Cheena?"

"My imaginary friend, nevermind."

Jennifer slid her chair back and stood, making her way for the door. Catalina bristled in her chair and stood to follow.

"Atomos, come back here. Goddamnit Atomos I havn't dismissed-" She began.

"No, I dismissed myself." Jennifer hissed, spinning on Catalina in the hall. "My report is given. Like I said, I'm done. You can keep all your secrets and your cover ups to yourself, I don't care anymore. It's fine, since I don't work for you anymore. I quit, I'm out, I'm done. Dishonorably discharge me if you want, it's not like it would matter anyway since the old world is gone and being dismissed like that really can't harm me anymore. Do what you want because I am not your or anyone elses marine. I'm my own marine. I'm a ranger of the Cen- New Paris, but I don't serve you anymore!" She didn't wait for a retort, didn't wait for the explosion that would surely follow. Jennifer only turned on her heel and stormed off.

Catalina grumbled a bit as she made her way back to her office, now rather thoroughly irritated by all this. She wanted to go after her, to explain what happened. Only Jenny had shouted down everything she attempted to say and wasn't interested in hearing anything else on the matter.

It was Larion instead who decided to follow Jennifer, losing her in the center but knowing where she was going. He gave a knock on the door to her room. At first he waited a moment, about to knock again when she opened the door. "What is i- oh. Hey Larion...oh um. Whatever your actual name is..."

Larion stood there, rather typically unamused by this, though it manifested as a mere blank stare rather than the scowl he was tempted to give her. "First name, yes. Last name's Pierson." he finally said, before sighing a bit. "Is it alright if we talk?"

At that, Jennifer gave him a concerned glance. "Did Catalina put you up to this?" she asked, and he answered her rather simply. "No."
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5086 on: October 11, 2018, 08:16:57 pm »
As the first rays of sunlight illuminated this particular corner of the arguably ruined earth, Roxanne walked into Walkerville proper with Rey and Christina in tow. The atmosphere was tense from recent events the trio did not know about. While Rey and Christina picked up on it and were rather wary about it, Roxanne simply continued nonchalantly with a smile on her face. Roxanne showed the other two around superficially as they walked towards Catnip's place, or what she assumed to be after asking some of the misling given many of the buildings were new or modified. Many of them looked at Roxanne with confusion and worry at her new “aesthetics”. The color of her Iris and Sclera along with the tattoos visible in her face and down to her neck were quite the visual for some yet others didn’t really pay much attention to as that was far from the weirdest thing they had experienced.

“So, this is where you live now?”, asked Rey.

6 years and counting.”, Responded Roxanne

“What’s with all the mice people?”, asked Christina.

Well, Catnip, our leader, went missing for about a year. We thought she had died and many of us mourned her... However, she eventually came back and with her she brought them here. They call themselves Misling and are very hardworking people. Apparently they were the result of science gone wrong.

“Huh, that’s quite the backstory…”

As with anything in this farm, nothing is simple. We have had spirits of death and harvest, people have died and come back like myself, lots of magic shenanigans and the occasional science experiment. If I were you, I would drop every expectation you have, this place can be… colorful...

The trio walked forwards, Christina waved at the pacing Misling while Rey seemed to be in discomfort. Roxanne took noticed and promptly brought it up. “You ok there Rey? You aren’t looking so hot...” He looked up at her and made a forced smile. “Yeah, I am fine it’s just that it’s been 3 weeks since my last… meal… feel kinda weak right now...”

It’s been three weeks already?!”, Roxanne exclaimed, “Christ time flies sometimes...

“Yeah, it does… and from what I hear you people have been very through at chasing off bandits and most of GA…”

Roxanne gave a deep sigh. “How much longer do you have?

“About a week…”

Alright… Damn it Rey, I told you I was done fighting… But whatever, I will help you find a meal after I am done catching up here. Just give me a couple days ok? Anyways, we are here.” Roxanne stood in front of what she was told was were catnip lived now. She was quite impressed with what had been done to the place and if she was honest a bit intimidated as well.

“What is wrong, having cold feet?”, Christina asked.

No...it’s just… things have changed I suppose. It’s been only two weeks but it feels like forever...

It wasn’t know to any of them about the whole ordeal with the undead rising a while ago or that Catnip had assisted with it. Roxanne knew she might not be home but she could wait. With a small sense of hesitation and dread, she knocked on the door and awaited an answer.



Another day that of hiding in plain sight had begun. Melody woke up from her assigned sleeping spot; she went to the changing area to put on her proper outfit she had adopted here, which included her blindfold during nighttime, ate some of the canned food she was given and went on her way to her work station. It was once she reached her work spot that she heard it again, Despair started to speak.

“Hey, Melody…”, said Despair suddendly. This shocked Melody for various reasons. First, there was no usual banter by speaking formally. Second, she referred to her as Melody rather than Marrie. Lastly, her “tone”, for lack of a better word in the context of telepathic communications, was off as if something was bothering the sword spirit.

“Oh, hey there Despair, what’s up?”, Melody responded. She had been tempted to start teasing Despair back but this seemed to not be the time.

“So… Are you comfortable here?”

Melody found the question odd. She was content in her position here and was secluded as order; besides, this was Despair’s idea after all. “Yeah, I am. No complaints here. Why?”

“Even with the higher ups seemingly distraught over something? That’s good to hear…” There was a pause which further worried Melody but eventually Despair spoke up again. “Listen, a few things have happened and it’s worrying me… Maybe that being from your dream was right and we should move… No sure, want your thoughts on it.”

“Things? What sorta things?”

“Well… First of all, I have reconnected with Void and Conveyance. Their signature seems different and they have made no attempt to communicate… I can’t detect Assimilation anywhere but traces of it seem to be in Luna’s signature…”

“Roxanne? Wait, you called her Luna?”

“That’s not the point Mel! Anyways, yes, but not only that. Seems like Roxanne’s own signature had changed slightly… I fear the worst…”

Melody was starting to get even more concern now. For Despair to be worried something big must have happened and she didn’t like it one bit. “What do you think happened?”

“This is just a possibility but it fits the data… I have no other explication but to think that Roxanne has become Assimilation’s wielder… and you know what that means…”

“Wait… are you saying…”

“Yes, that is what I am saying… Worse, she seems to have access to Void and Conveyance but has made no attempt to assimilate them… Something is off Melody… I don’t like it…”

“Despair… that can’t be… Roxanne would never… she couldn't have ok?! She is not gone!” Melody was starting to get a bit too loud for her own good and was beginning to sob a bit.

“Calm down… please… I might be wrong… I don’t know what is going on but… We need to make a decision before Roxanne finds us…”
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 10:31:40 pm by Noctifer-De-Mortem »
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5087 on: October 12, 2018, 03:42:05 am »
(( Taji stuff written with Wilson, Atomos stuff written with Salt. ))

"So." Larion continued. Mind if I come in?" he asked, Atomos giving him a wary look before nodding, letting him in to talk in private. He took a seat, seemingly taking a moment to prepare himself. "I'm not going to speak for the captain here. Much of what she's done was wrong, either from the start or in hindsight. I can...understand some of it, starting out. But not for continuing to keep things from you. And from the rest of us." he said.

Jennifer was still visibly irritated, and as she listened for the moment, she found it hard not to say something out of anger at first, but afterward she finally spoke up. "You really think she had a good reason to begin with? Look at how things went, this cover-up nonsense. How the world went to hell and it wasn't even remotely prepared for it." she said, a particular bitterness apparent in her tone of voice.

Larion nodded at that. "Hence why I said, in hindsight." he said, before giving a sigh. His expression had soured, notable less stoic as he looked down, and his next response was a bit more quiet. "It's hard to imagine it anymore, isn't it? Things being normal back then, before all this happened. Before zero day. Let alone what life would be like now, if all this had been prevented. Stopped before it even started, or at least soon enough things could go back to normal. Am I right, or is it just me?"

Atomos shuffled the photos piled on her desk and moved them into neat piles separating Polaroids, small 3x5s, and numerous portrait shots. From where he stood, Larion could barely make out the faces on them. Family photos, vacation photos, selfies, landscapes. Windows into the world of yesterday, memories pilfered and saved by the ranger.

"It's not hard to imagine. If it is, it's only because of all the time we spent in the vault..." She said, then gestured vaguely towards the foyer and the cafeteria, "all that out there... That's the new normal. Those people out there. Mutated and unmutated, farming like medieval peasants and working together. Can you really say it's not normal? I mean, people living life? This is the new normal. Captains motives though... I don't care for them. My father said that there is a mentality in government and especially the military that believes in covering up before anything else, even if it's far too late and covering up would just harm them."

She offered Larion a handful of cake. The chef had brought it by the day before, a luxury of milk and eggs and butter lavished upon the centers favorite hunter.

"I don't like being lied to Larion. I don't like languishing in a concrete tomb for seven years while strange things happen to my body. When you mix them together though... Do you even know what a relief it would have been to know the truth?" She stopped and thought about it, "No, actually it wouldn't have been. I wouldn't have understood what the report Captain tried to give me meant back then like I do now..."

Larion gave a little sigh at that, looking away a bit. "I suppose it makes sense, this is...normal. But it's not what we envisioned back in the day. All this death, things like God's Army, the shit going on back west...intel is out president died alongside SPD-X, and they're the reason this place isn't a fungal hellhole." he said.

"And you're right. There's a mentality that does more harm than good. But there's always a reason for why it starts, sometimes a good one. A year into it, she should've come clean. But back when we thought maybe, just maybe, we could stop all this from happening...this wouldn't have been the new normal." he said. "You didn't have to listen to scientists musing on inhumane experiments as though their subjects...no, victims were nothing but animals. Imagine the worst excesses you saw in God's Army during your time in Abaddon, and now imagine a world were mutants and augs are just a handful of victims of circumstance, and not a part of the populace, an unavoidable fact of life." he said, before rather bluntly continuing.

"They would've treated you like nothing but an animal, a scientific curiosity. Something to dissect. No sane officer wants to be to blame for someone under their command suffering that sort of fate. Now imagine having that hanging over your head, and tell me you could say it to their face that no matter what happens, all that sense of normalcy we spent the past decade before zero day hoping for will be just out of their reach. If all this went just a bit differently, she'd have to tell you that your family and friends are living comfortably and you'd never be allowed to see them again. Could you do that to someone?" he asked.

Jennifer was shocked by this, trying at first to respond, before looking away. "No. But that doesn't excuse not telling me after all this..." she said, and Larion nodded. "You're right. It doesn't. I only agree with why she started this deception and bullshit, not why it continued..."

"I'm only arguing against continuing the lies." Atomos said, spicing the statement with a pinch of bitterness, "I can't afford to care about why it started in the first place... She could have at least let the others in on it..."

Larion pinched his nose and screwed his eyes up before releasing the expression and saying, rather tersely, "They were never afraid of you Jennifer, knowing what was going on with you wouldn't have made them change their opinions because you already had their support. You aren't the only marine who survived down there. You spent all that time trying to distance yourself because you assumed we were afraid, just... Stop. Not every tribulation in the vault was a result of Catalina's not telling you about all this. Thinking like that is... It's... It's terribly self indulgent!"

Jennifer's tail curled around the base of her chair nervously and dropped her head. He was right, of course. Maybe she was being unfair to the Captain, taking all the stress of her trip and releasing all in a single direction for a selfish reason. What did it really matter that she'd been changed and it had been covered up now? Years later, and she'd lived life until finding out perfectly fine. She'd lived her life after the accident in the vault under a thickly veiled layer of fear, willfully unaware that there were people who would hold her up. With the realization, both glorious and terrible in it's ramifications, made Jennifer felt something slip. Somewhere deep in her soul, Cheena felt it too. The last chains of Astor's curse turning to rust and slipping away.

There was a long silent pause in which the only sounds were those of people going about their lives like they did every day and the low buzz of the centers budget ventilation system. Then, Jenny began to cry.

Larion didn't say anything at first, letting her reflect on this stroke of realization, but he remained there, calm and not showing any anger on his face despite the preceding outburst. He let her for a moment before speaking up. "We're here for you. All of us. Even me." he said calmly, before perking up a bit. She'd offered him a slice of cake, and in their argument he initially left the plate sitting at the table, finally deciding to try it now that things had calmed down a bit.



Solomon had been following behind, off to one side to screen for any undead still in the woods, when Liam had set upon the first bunch they encountered. Hearing the gunfire and and pop of magical flames, he activated his mask and shouldered the wraithslayer.

He had, on occasion the past couple of months, attempted hunting using his mask. Compared to how it was without the mask, it was in many ways a breathtaking experience. He could sense his way through every obstacle, picking up on life in all directions, even right behind him. But at the same time it carried challenges of its own. The mask's sight limited his vision to about 50 meters at most, and on occasion he lost quarry due to a lesson his brother taught him, years ago: the first step to crossbow hunting starts well outside of crossbow range.

The undead won't flee if they notice you first, however. And as he worked his way through the treeline, he spotted a couple of stragglers among the underbrush. Another thing that came to his mind was that he hadn't loosed a bolt at the undead in quite some time. Only really during the early days, before they found out that the undead weren't all that fazed by a single crossbow bolt.

The sound was barely noticeable, far quieter than the snap of a crossbow, modern or replica. Nor did he feel the vibrations from the movement of the prod, as it remained perfectly still. But what drew his attention was the brilliant bolt of green light, lancing out from the weapon and piercing right through the shambling figure that stumbled out into the open. It staggered, lurching forward from a wound that ripped a fist-sized hole through it, an expanding plume of green flames stripping bark from the tree behind it.

It didn't stop of course, nor did the horribly-decayed undead following alongside it, but he found the energy flowing into the weapon to be quite a lot faster than reloading his usual weapon of choice, and the follow-up shot blew the lead undead's head clean from its shoulders.

For the second, he circled around, pushing past to keep up with the others and ensure he'd see if any other undead were in the way, to continue screening the woods for the others, and a point-blank shot from the wraithslayer blew the second zombie's left leg out from under it, reducing it to crawling after him. Enough that he decided to leave it there and catch up with the others.

When he broke out into the clearing behind them he lowered the weapon and gave a wave, deactivating the mask and removing it. He'd swept his masked gaze over the lot and found only a slightly-familar presence, that of Alexei. The mask alone wasn't enough to betray Salazar's true nature. "Sure everyone's alright? I brought medical supplies if needed." he answered, before looking back. "Nothing else in this part of the woods at least, except for one of the older undead that'll crawl along eventually. Not a threat now at least."



Hector, meanwhile, had pushed ahead past The Hall after checking with Helen. He'd yet to tell her about his reunion with Roxanne, having more pressing matters to deal with. He figured that Liam and the others were able to deal with the sounds they heard elsewhere, so instead he went with pushing deeper into the woods to catch any other undead before they reached the bridge or The Hall.

And find them he did, running into at first a couple stragglers that had been following the distant sound, decaying undead that were more easily dealt with. It wasn't long before he was humming a tune as he backpedaled, driving the undead to stagger themselves and get caught up on underbrush, the better to cut them down one by one. It wasn't his usual tune he was humming, something else entirely, Latin rather than the only Middle High German he knew.

"Sancte Deus, sancte fortis..." As his blade opened the ribcage of some vaguely-humanoid monster, skin dried and grown over with spare bony plates, another creature lunged at him from the underbrush, another of the undead seemingly adapted to moving on all fours like an animal. It knocked him off-balance, skidding and clambering to try and snatch at the kite shield that it slammed into, only for the knight to roll with it, sending them both to the ground. As he jabbed at the feral undead with his sword, something caught him by the shoulder, a bony limb stretching with the tension of unnatural muscles, yanking back with enough force that he was pulled back up and dragged towards another abomination. It had spindly long arms, hunched over with its other limb cocked back in a way that would be quite reminiscent of Mica's peculiar ability, had he ever witnessed her use it.

It pulled him in, only to be met with a hard slam from his shield, but that alone wasn't enough to break its grip, the knight instead using it as leverage to keep it at bay, as the creature fumbled with trying to bite into the hardened plate armor. He hacked at it, carving open deep wounds before his blade caught the arm that had ensnared him, sending a twitching, thrashing limb splaying out as all that tension in the muscles were released by its severance.

He was in the middle of stabbing at the creature, pushing it away when the creature that pounced him earlier struck him again, sending him stumbling into the now one-armed undead and bowling it over. Claws and fangs frantically scrabbled at steel, until Hector regained his footing and tensed up. Augmented muscles drove him backwards, step by step until he slammed right into a treetrunk, causing the creature clinging to his back to give a hiss and loosen its grip. In an instant Hector pulled away, turning on his heel and going from a high guard to powerful slash that opened the creature up from shoulder to hip.

It wasn't long afterward that he turned to finish off the grappler zombie that lunged its other limb out to snare him, letting it skid off his shield to close in and lop the other arms off, followed by cleaving its head open. Suddenly, he gave a pained shout as a bolt of lightning arced around him, mostly flowing through the armor and all around him, yet still paining him at every spot where metal was near the skin. The cause was a stumbling figure, decaying flesh exposing old bionics, a few spots revealing bare wires and an old power cell. He lunged at the creature, shrugging off the pain and closing in, shouting in pain and anger as he felt the jolt from his blade cleaving its neck open. At first it didn't even topple over, even with the head little hanging by a few wires and a strip of flesh, before faltering bionics went slack, the zombie going limp before him.

By now he was working his way closer to the edge of the treeline, checking for more signs of stragglers in the woods, but so far he saw little else. It was as he neared the treeline however, that he saw something up ahead. There was a figure there, kneeling over a mangled undead body. Much like the one he encountered earlier, the creature had been heavily augmented, seemingly put down at some point during the fighting then dragged off by the stranger. The kneeling figure was clearly heavily augmented, to the point where the artificial skin covering what little was exposed gave it an almost robot appearance. The uniform was old, tattered and seemed to be a mish-mash of Army and Marine equipment, a peculiar combination that was uniquely suspicious. The faded shoulder patch and badge affixed underneath confirmed it.

The patch bore the emblem of some sort of boat and a solar symbol, with the Roman numerals VII. The silver badge meanwhile was something he hadn't seen in a long time, not since they took on the lab Apophis had taken over. The other thing that stood out was its left hand, a frayed, tangled mess of dried flesh, artificial bones, and wires, most of which were hooked up to the slain augmented zombie. As soon as it noticed the knight it whirled around, raising a pistol linked to its right arm with a thin cable, and the sharp crack of laser fire resounded.

The heat was painful, conducting through the whole of his cuirass, though the laser pistol alone wasn't adequate to damage the temper of the steel, nor to do him much harm. His eyes stung a bit already, even though he wasn't looking down at where he'd been struck at that moment. He raised his shield out of reflex, another laser beam striking it and stripping the paint from the strange ivory surface.

He rushed at the strange cybernetic zombie, another shot narrowly missing his head in an attempt to shoot past the shield, demonstrating a peculiar intelligence to the creature, before it swayed and sidestepped the slash he opened up with. In the exchange, though his shield forced its pistol hand aside to keep himself out of its line of fire, its other limb lashed out at him, wires and cables seeming to writhe and move of their own accord, directed by whatever bionics controlled them.

He'd only narrowly moved to avoid getting prodding cables in the eyeslits of his helm, instead feeling a jolt of pain as they arced and sparked across the steel, and raked at his neck in an attempt to jab at any exposed spot. In turn he stabbed at it, piercing through the tattered uniform, meeting minimal resistance from artificial skin covering desiccated flesh, only to feel another shock as he pierced something that sent the creature convulsing. A quick snap kick drove its leg out from under it, only for sparking wires to snake around his neck and drag him down as well.

The two scrabbled and struggled for a moment, Hector soon enough pinning it down and cracking its left arm with a hard slam with the edge of his shield, managing to free himself from its grasp. He practically jumped to his feet, frantically stomping it in a nearly berserk fury, its neck giving a crunch as his armored boot came down, again and again until the twitching augmented zombie ceased moving. He knelt, making certain it was so thoroughly damaged that it'd fail to get back up, before yanking the small silver emblem from its sleeve.

As he limped back down the road towards the farm, he'd sheathed his sword and slung the shield over his back by its guige strap, helm removed as he examined his injures. His neck was bleeding from several scratches, stopping briefly to take particular care of the shallow marks and electrical burns. With the adrenaline fading, the aches of all those shocks and strikes were now readily apparent, taking particular care of what injuries he could before returning to the farm, tossing an empty bottle back into his medical pouch, once half-full of some antiseptic concoction Helen had cooked up.



Pastor John Luke was there to greet them, giving a nod to Bigby as he approached. “Got a couple visitors here to stay a while, led by a friend of Taji’s.” he remarked, and the pastor nodded. “I see. And the troublemakers Heather mentioned?” Maya simply smirked a bit. “Bunch of gopniki he had trouble with, it seems. They won’t cause any further problems.” John simply hmmed a bit, giving a polite nod to Nashio as he stepped out of the van.

Nashio nodded back as he opened the cube van, assisting several women out along with a man dressed in formal wear stepped down from inside. The girls were dressed in classy dresses, either bright neon club dresses, or something cutesy with one of the mutants, a mothgirl, Among the group was a woman with augmented legs, rather clearly designed to mimic a human appearance yet with overt joints, just enough artificial structure to not look like an unsettling imitation.

The pastor gave the group of hostesses an odd look, before looking back at Nashio. “A friend of Tajima? Well, it’s nice to meet you. How about we head inside?” Nashio nodded, “‘Course. Lets go.” He said, and the two went inside the church to have a talk.

Meanwhile back at Heather’s place, she was already further tending to Taji’s injuries, promptly giving him a kiss. “Promise me you won’t get into trouble like that again...” she said, sighing a bit. “Or at least won’t tell me to run off while you take on a dozen armed men alone.” Tajima was surprised at the kiss, but at her second comment, Taji gave a small, pained chuckle. “No promises, can't have you getting hurt… besides, I think Nashio wants a ‘talk’ later.” He joked, patting Heather's head.

Heather grumbled a bit at that, giving him a firm poke in the side, confident enough that his ribs had been bruised but not broken. “He’s going to have to wait then, not much of a ‘talk’ when one of you is all bruised up already.” she pointed out. Taji winced a bit at that, “I’ve had fights with worse wounds, I’ll be fine. Who knows, it might be an actual talk…” He said, sighing as he reclined back on the chair he was sitting in.

Heather grumbled a bit at that, only for there to be a knock on the door. Jacob shouted from outside the door, “Hello?! Tajima?! I got something for you! Heard you like baseball!” He continued, knocking again. Heather followed Taji as he went over to answer the door, seeing Jacob there smiling wide. “What’d you have in mind?” Jacob clapped his hands together, “I fixed up an old pitching machine, aaaand your pirate friend mentioned that you two used to go to a batting cage together.” The man in the wheelchair explained, gesturing wheeling backwards and gesturing towards the old park, with a baseball field.

Tajima hmmed a bit at that, glancing back over Heather, before nodding. “It’s been awhile, but I wouldn’t mind it. Has Aurelia been...you know, following him? Or stalking around here?” he asked, and Jacob shrugged. “Lady with the tits and the wings, an’ the blonde hair, right?” he asked, before chuckling. “Saw her chatting up the pirate fellow previously, don’t think she’s the baseball type though.” he said, before giving a sly grin.

“Think you’ve got yourself a little love triangle going on soon, with your one-eyed pal around now.” At that, Heather promptly facepalmed. “Given she was only there to help with those goons because she was stalking Taji, I think we have that part covered already...”

Nashio gave a wave as Tajima walked up, handing the trench-bat to Taji as he fussed with a remote. “[Oy, Just like old times, right?]” Nashi said in his native tongue, Tajima gave a nod. “[Yeah…]” He said, accepting the bat as Nashio turned on the pitching machine. A baseball was launched and it was sent flying. The pair was silent as they relaxed for a moment, and Taji simply batted. Nashio let out a sigh,

   “[Tajima.]”
   “‘Uh?”
   “[Where were you?]”
   “...”
   “[Tajima.]”
   “[I had a ‘job’. Zero day struck as it went down.]
   “[Why didn’t you look for me?]”
   “[I don’t- I don’t know.]”
   
   Nashio glared hard as Tajima swung, another ball launched and Taji prepped to swing. Just as he was going to let it rip, Nashi barked at his friend. “[Horseshit!]” He shouted as he caught the baseball mid-air. The two stared hard at each other, as Taji let the bat hit the ground. “[I… didn’t want to see you dead if you got overwhelmed…]” Tajima admitted, as he dropped the club. He walked slowly into the field, as Nashio turned the pitching machine off. “[What’s the hold-up? The price of desertion is death, right? But kicking my ass is probably the next best thing.]” Tajima asked, Nashio let out a grunt at that. “[Well, we’re not gonna pull any punches then?]” He asked, and Taji smirked, “[Wouldn’t want it any other way.]”

   As the two squared off, a few others watched from the sidelines, a bit wary of this. Donavan had been there, about to use the pitching machine as a good way to test some recent repairs to his augmentations. “Oh hell. You can’t be serious, Ta-aji...” he said, wincing at the momentary distortion in his voice. Aurelia meanwhile winced some. “Today, after what they just went through? You can’t be ser-” She was interrupted by Nashio unbuttoning his shirt and tossing it aside, Tajima following suit. “Nevermind. Let’s see where this goes...”

Nashio ran at Taji, cracking him across the jaw. He stumbled backwards, spitting the blood out of his mouth and going for a wide kick which Nashi slid under with a wide grin. With a twirl, he was back on his feet and going for another haymaker. Tajima caught the fist and stared hard at the eyepatched man in front of him as he swung his fist square in Nashio’s face. The Mad Oni stumbled backwards, into the fence behind the homebase. The Phoenix pinned him against the fence and punched him hard in the ribs, then cracked him twice across the jaw. Nashi held his arms up, raising a leg to kick Taji in the chest, which caused his ribs to flare up in pain.

Aurelia watched with an unnerving amusement, while Donny shook his head a bit. There weren’t any others there at the moment, but the cyborg suspected things would go south rapidly if one of the Shepard’s Wolves saw them up to this. “For fucks sa-ake, of *BZZT* the...” he grumbled, nudging Aurelia aside to step forward. “Come on, break it u-” He managed to get as far as setting a hand on Nashio’s shoulder after he’d driven Taji back, only for the Mad Oni to deftly slip out of his grasp and yank him off-balance, sending him toppling to the ground. “Come now, let an old friend have his fun...” Nashio said with a smirk, while Tajima looked down at Donny, seeing him stumbling back up, unharmed but now glaring daggers at the both of them. “I’ll be fine, Donny.”

As Donny backed off, the two tried to catch their breath. Nashio popped his neck as the two went back to it, circling each other like wolves. Nashi ran forward, going for a feinting kick, which Taji fell for and Nashio twirled the opposite direction, cracking him across the jaw with a roundhouse. The Phoenix fell to the ground, away from the fence as he felt something in his nose pop. Tajima let out a frustrated scream as he jumped to his feet, running at Nashio and jumping at him. He grabbed the Oni by his shoulders and brought his forehead to his opponent’s.

Heather had been heading over to check on Taji belatedly when she heard the scream, rushing in only to find, to her shock, the two of them trading blows and grappling with each other, shirtless at that. “What the...are you fucking kidding me!?” she said, facepalming at that, right up until Taji shifted and tensed up noticeably, sending Nashio stumbling backwards and nearly bowling him over. “I...oh.” Aurelia simply gave a fanged smile as she saw that. “Let them have their fun. I was going to step in if things got too heated. Donny tried, didn’t go so well.” she said, and Heather looked away a bit. “...you’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” At that, Aurelia simply snickering at that.

The two were getting tuckered out, the two wheezed before Nashio ran at Taji again. He grabbed him by his shoulder and punched him square in the ribs, then cracking him across the jaw. Tajima stumbled backwards, falling to his hands and knees, spitting out blood. The phoenix couldn’t rise again, wheezing and coughing. Nashio stared hard at him, “[What? That all ya’ got?! Are you already fuckin’ done?!]” The oni screamed at him, as he ran at him with another scream, prepping to punch him square in the face. He stopped mere inches away from his friends face, “I can’t ruin that face of yours…” Nashio joked, collapsing next to him.

At this, Heather rushed over to Tajima, kneeling beside him and checking on him, rather clearly flustered. “Taji, damnit...are you alright?” she asked. Likewise Aurelia knelt beside Nashio and helped him sit up. “Easy. Guess you won since he fell over first, huh?” she teased. Taji nodded, “I’m alright, Heather. Don’t worry…” He said as Heather fussed over him, “Seems like you enjoyed it, though…” Tajima teased as Nashio looked up at Aurelia. “I’d say he won, he got a few good licks in, I think he dislocated my nose…” He grumbled, popping his nose back into place.

Nashio and Tajima limped back to Heather’s house to get patched up, with Heather and Aurelia in their company. Their brawl beat the spite out of Nashio, and Tajima was happy to have a good spar with his best friend again. Heather fussed over the two’s bruises and scrapes berated the two for getting into a brawl in the first place.

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5088 on: October 15, 2018, 06:11:24 am »
Roxanne waited patiently and took note of the little changes here and there. The early morning farm wasn't quite as busy as it would become, with Catnip's foremen going here and there on daily tasks and the workers under them collecting the needed supplies. Several men and women took up seats on a bench press in front of Catnip's picture window and the empty flower box under it, seemingly waiting for their dear artificer to appear. That Catnip could unintentionally instill a sort of loyalty in people was fascinating to Roxanne, now that she took a calm moment to reflect. A result of some inherent quality in the young mechanic? Or was it just the way she had been designed down in X7? A woman approached, rather rudely squeezing past Roxanne and hammering on the door.

"C'mon, c'mon, we ain't got all day! Walker! Are you gonna keep to the schedule or not?" She hollared up at the windows above.

"Sit the f... Heck down Connie, the line starts back here. This lady was here first." A man chastised. "Show some friggin respect yeah?"

Connie huffed impatiently and stormed to the back of the "line." Three men, all Misling, in work clothes, a human woman dressed like a gardener, and another in some kind of utility bathrobe. At least that's how it looked to Roxanne, all strapped up with belts and pouches and pockets but having long plush sleeves and practically dragging along the ground.

"Used to be she was always punctual." One of them men commented.

"Sure, but now that she's back home she doesn't have to be..." Connie sulked back prisily.

"That's not entirely right Connie. This is the first time she's been late anyway, you can't judge the future entirely off the events of the present..."

The door popped open, surprising Roxanne a little, and Kathrine's familiar innocent face peeked out at her. Except there was something different. Roxanne could see her shoulder. Just a bit but, but enough to glimpse the rim of one ovoid spot. On top of that, she was obviously a bit flustered. It was dark inside, but just bright enough to see the general disarray of a coffee table and the blankets on a couch. Apple and Cinnamon, the smells of Autumn, wafted gently from the barely open door in a wave that struck Roxanne and made her feel... Homesick? It only lasted for the moment before Kathrine spoke, and not that strong in the first place. If anything all it really left her with was a warm fuzzy feeling and a desire for some hot cider.

"Um. Catnip will be ready in just a bit. She's getting dressed." Kathrine peeped. She started to close the door, but stopped and looked out at Roxanne again for a long moment, almost squinting. Then, "Catnip!" She shouted in the familiar tone of displeasure she saved for "mean" people. "Ms. Roxanne has been using the infusey thingy again!"


A divine spirit waited impatiently as the woman who had summoned it looked over the work he and his fellows had been forced to do knowing very well that if it wasn't up to Sharlene's horribly unreasonable standards, it would once again be put to the torch. She'd done it six times already. The first of these was a veritable palace in miniature, a luxurious abode feature the very highest quality the world's next door could provide. That first and the four likewise exemplary examples of home architecture had been one by one put to the match until the last half assed dumpy example of backwoods cabin construction. It called the spirit and it's fellows, creatures mostly like itself, that it had come to such. The divine spirits were fed up, the krecks were bored, and the lone youthful Mi-go was downright disheartened. It was a being of science, it didn't need this kind of treatment from some meat being with bizarre delusions of power.

Sharlene finished inspecting the cabin from the outside. One door, a window at the back, solid wood construction. The door looked loose in it's frame, not like it was poorly fit, but as though it had been wrenched from it's hinges multiple times and rebuilt. The large picture window at the back was cracked in one corner as though the building had been shifted by force at some point. The whole building leaned ever so slightly in such a way as to give vertigo to anyone who stared too long.

"Okay, good enough I guess." Sharlene said nonchalantly. She touched the door and listened to the sound it made. A long low creak. "Sounds right."

"Madam, I must insist-" began the spirit.

"Shut up, listen. You hear that?" She asked, testing to first step below the door with one foot and making it creak. "Not quite... Hm..."

"Oh by the God's of the five shards..." The spirit moaned.

"Calm your tits guy, it's close enough for government work. This'll be fine enough."

The spirit fumed. Fine enough? After five burned down houses? After so much energy wasted, so much effort. Divine spirits had exhausted their essentia supplies trying to get this arrogant woman's cabin just the way she wanted it. The spirits had walked the planes of existence collecting materials and furniture to please this one picky Australians sickeningly simple tastes. Normally, the spirits would consult with one of their own, the highest and most glorious of their kind. A golden spirit. Unfortunately, the only golden divine spirit present was in league with this heinous witch. Instead they consulted with one another, taking no note of the krecks wandering off disconsolately and the Mi-go shifting it's weight nervously from one forelimb to the other.

"We want to be paid." The spirit spoke up suddenly. Sharlene didn't even spare a glance for the spirits. She seemed preoccupied with adjusting the positioning of a bucket near the door. "I said-"

"I heard what you said and it ain't happening. I don't have any money. What would you even do with money?" She said.

"You do have money." The spirit insisted hotly, "You have a horde in silver. As for what we would do with it, it doesn't matter. Humans use money to buy things, we will do the same."

"Oh right, the blanks. Uh..." Sharlene fumbled, "Those aren't mine."

The spirit screwed it's face up. "What?" It scoffed. It could spot an example of fast talk when it heard one. Sharlene tugged an ear, thinking quick. "Yeah, uh. Gave those away. Just holding onto them."

"We don't believe you." The spirit announced after a moment of silent consultation with the others. "Who have you given them to?"

Sharlene drew a blank, fumbling over the question like a woman treading water. The spirits moved closer, fanning out into a semi circle to make themselves look more intimidating. Fortunately, Sharlene knew better than that. These chumps would no more harm her than they would themselves. At least, she didn't think so.

"She gave them to me!" L called, walking calmly from the end of the beaten path and into sight of Sharlene's clearing. Alongside her was Sylvia and between them they carried a somewhat undersized trunk. Too flat to hold much and having a handle on both the top between the latches, and the bottom between the hinges. The spirits eyed her warrily, and ignored the Mi-go finally getting the hint and skulking off to find something it could reasonably catch and dissect.

"This isn't over Quintero." The lead spirit at last relented. It turned to the others and after even more silent discussion and a glare at Sharlene over his shoulder, vanished into thin air leaving behind a shimmer that faded quickly and oddly left the smell of lemons lingering in the area. Sharlene had already lost interest though and instead turned her attention to the new comers.

"Well, if it isn't Mo's new roasty rodent. Come to try and negotiate for those blanks again?"

L ignored the comment, she hadn't come to be pissed off at a witch who was frankly beneath her or so she told herself. Sylvia though looked pissed enough for both of them. L had come to know the stolid expression Sylvia showed and the fury that hid behind it. Sylvia had only come along because she wanted to watch what was about to go down.

"No. Well, sort of. Do you play cards Sharlene?" She asked smoothly. Judging from the smirk, L judged that Sharlene did in fact like the occasional card game. "I see that you do. How about a wager?"

"What sort of wager?" Sharlene asked, gaining interest. "And what do you have that I could possibly want?"

"Five hands of Texas hold em,'. If I win, I get your blanks." L explained. She'd gone over this with Mohammad the night before, discussing the in's and out's of how it would go and arguing about what L would bring to the table.

"Yeah, I figured." Sharlene said cattily. "But what-"

"What I have is this folding poker table, and this." L cut in, withdrawing from an inner pocket of her lucky jacket a rolled up sheet of card stock inside a paper towel tube. "My debt papers."

Sharlene scoffed, "What the heck would I want your debt papers for? That isn't much to offer, hump bunny, I think you should try again when you've got-"

Again L cut her off, this time adding a dangerous glare to punctuate the fact that Sharlene was getting awfully close to breaking the Mislings cool. "Why don't you actually look at it instead of jaw jacking, Wog?"

Sharlene snatched the tube, incensed at being called such by somebody like this, and read the document carefully. There wasn't so much to look at actually, and Sharlene found it more interesting than at first she'd believed. It read;

"The holder of this document agrees to house, feed, and clothe ELLE ERICSON until the sum of FIVE THOUSAND EIGHTY SIX water marks has been paid to the holder of said document or the courts of Pricetown, until which time holder may dispense with profits incurred by ELLE ERICSON as they see fit so long as share of said payment is made to the courts of Pricetown. After such time as the entirety of this debt is paid to either this documents holder or to the courts of Pricetown, this contract becomes null and ELLE ERICSON judged free from debt slavery."

"My slave papers, in other words." L put in. Sharlene scratched her head at that. It was a ballsy offer and she had to respect that, but Sharlene wasn't really down with the whole slavery thing.

"What's it worth? The number here? What's a water mark?" She asked.

"Water mark is about a gallon of clean water. Or about twenty bucks or so."

A quick burst of simple ars mathmatica brought a number to Sharlene and she scratched her head again. "I guess... The table comes with it if I win?"

"Sure."

"Well... Yeah alright, you're on then." Sharlene mused.

"Excellent." L said slyly, and thought "The fool and her money. First step on your way Elle, just the first step."
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5089 on: October 19, 2018, 12:11:41 am »
Alexei looked around and noticed the only one that seemed injured was Salazar. Asking if he would be alright in Russian Alexei grinned when he got a nod in response.  Looking back to Solomon he said “We’re fine. Thanks for the assist.”

Retrieving a cigarette from his pants pocket Alexei lit it as he waited for his men to start back home. Looking over to Edgar and speaking a quick sentence in Russian Alexei caught the bottle his associate tossed to him. Holding it in one hand Alexei walked over to Solomon and handed the bottle to him. “For Miss McKinnon. A gift for providing me shelter some time ago. I wish I had the time to deliver it myself but..” He trailed off. He wasn’t sure what to say, whether or not to admit he was preparing to die, and paused for a few moments. Flashing a fake smile as he’d become accustomed to Alexei finished “..I’ve business to attend to. Tell her I wish her and her family the best.”

Turning he followed his men. Alexei had no illusions about him having a long life now. Perhaps in another life he’d have stayed, maybe even joined Miss Mckinnon’s little group. But with what was coming he knew he’d only bring more danger to her and her child if he was there. Better to die like his brother he thought. Better to be killed protecting something.

Meanwhile Veronica received communications on a bandwidth that had been dormant for some time. The voice of a man she knew only as The Father called out “Hello. It has been a long time since I’ve spoken to my flock abroad in this land. But it is time I call upon you once more. It is time we pursue the heretic now that our scouts have found the area he is believed to be operating in.”

Veronica hadn’t been from the UT, or Voshkova, having arrived a number of years into the cataclysm and cementing her place there. She had been sent for a reason though she had lost sight of it after meeting that infuriating pastor. Something about the way he had treated her..

As of late though she had started what she had been sent to do. Looking at the other members of the ‘family’ in the room she saw the excitement in their faces. Listening they heard the Father give them some information and their excitement only grew. The Heretic was supposed to be near them.

Elsewhere a few minutes later in the 3rds base Schultz listened to the PA system. Closing his eyes and sighing he stood up. Krieg was sitting near him as the pair had been discussing the very thing they had just heard. Schultz opened a drawer and retrieved a detonator as he said “Girl I tried to guide you away like Roland had wanted but now..now you’ve gone and done it.”

The two stood up from their conversation as Krieg sent a signal to the Rangers. The pair were walking down the hall when a man in full kit stopped them. He was asking about some new authorization badge that Veronica’s little order over the PA instated.  Looking the man over Krieg spotted that little symbol Schultz had told him about a few days ago and that he’d been seeing more and more of stitched onto the man’s uniform.

A silent communication between Krieg and Gray led to the man falling to the floor. Grey had slit the man’s throat open. A few spats of gunfire erupted as they made their way to the garage. The Rangers were waiting there with the children that the 3rd had been sheltering.

Hopping into the back Schultz barked an order and the vehicles started off. As they cleared the garage Schultz pressed the button on the detonator.

After a few seconds the charges, disguised as toys, that were spread through the facility detonated. Of course this killed men and damaged the place. But there were survivors. And after a few minutes Veronica and her cultists stepped into the garage. Clenching her fists she said “Get in the vehicles, we’re going to find the Heretic and kill him. Then we’ll deal with the rest of these idiots.”

Elsewhere B-23 and his crew had intercepted the transmission. Not that it made much sense to the Carniceria. They didn’t care for such things. But they knew there would be an influx of trouble because of this.

B-23 adjusted the vest he was wearing as the vehicle came to a stop. Following the others and jumping out the back of the vehicle B-23 wondered what this new programing he’d installed would do. Something about a data base of individuals. It hadn’t been one that the scientists had shown interest in testing.

Walking towards the building to meet with someone that had contacted the head of the Carniceria B-23 kept a hand on his pistol as it sat in its holster. Upon walking in B-23 saw a woman and a young man, the woman being maybe in her early twenties while the young man was sixteen or so. A few words in spanish were exchanged as B-23 scanned the two.

As he’d expected the kid came up with nothing. The woman however surprised him. Her record had been clean though a few roving bots had clocked her for a few misdemeanors before law enforcement systems lost contact with each other. Her age was 25, and her name was Alicia Frontiers.

Walking back out of the building now that the two parties were satisified with the deal they’d made B-23 let the two strangers into the van before stepping back in with his comrades. As they got moving B-23 leaned forward in his chair and wondered just what was going on. Because the only person he knew with that name was supposed to be much younger.

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5090 on: October 19, 2018, 02:11:50 am »
Solomon gave a nod, looking back and found himself surprised at realizing who was there among the group. "Alexei...it's been a while. Helen had been hoping to come by the bar after Thomas gets weaned o-" He was then further surprised by the bottle handed to him, giving a sigh.

"I'll pass it on to her then." he said, with a resignation that hinted at him fearing the worst, whatever it may be. "Take care, alright?" he said, waiting with the others to ensure they'd be off safely before returning to The Hall.



Floyd grimaced a bit as he looked back, to the road Roxanne and two others had walked down. They didn't stop to talk for long, but Floyd gave her nothing but a simple piece of advice: she needs to talk to Hector after whatever she was up do was done. The tattoos didn't even get a mention, as much as he wanted to demand to know what was up with that.

Hector trudged his way back past the bridge, seeing a few mislings watching the scene along with Floyd, who gave a concerned look at the bandages around Hector's neck. "Yer gonna git yerself killed one a' these days, boy." the gunslinger said, setting a hand on the knight's shoulder. "Sure yer alright?"

Hector simply nodded at that, holding up a small silver emblem before handing it to Nate. "Been through worse, it'll heal up within the week at most. Area should be clear for the time being, all the ones I ran into I made sure to put down." Nathaniel went wide-eyed at the bade. "Holy fuck, is that...those things from the lab raid, remember those? They all had badges like that." he said, and Hector shook his head.

"Something close to it, augmented zombie but far easier to put down. Augs left it able to roughly point a laser pistol in the right direction too, but was able to handle that." he said, and Nathaniel hmmed a bit. "Don't like the sound of that...no telling what kinds of population these projects had, how many went rogue and have succumbed to the blob. Who knows, maybe the storms stirred 'em up..."

Nathaniel then continued. "Roxanne passed through here, two others with her. She get herself a tattoo job while she was out? Floyd told her she better not pull a vanishing act on you again without explaining shit." he said, and Hector sighed a bit. "Thank Agmen she came back this time...it's a long story, I'll have to talk to her about...this. And us." he said, before heading down the road towards Walkerville.

Nathaniel meanwhile handed the bade to a Shattered Helm guard. "Make sure this gets to Catnip." he said before heading over to go check on Lilith, a few of the misling fishermen nearby whispering among themselves, of what they witnessed, overheard references to an event they only knew of from Catnip's secondhand retelling.



Aurelia smirked a bit as she looked around, standing in one of the alleys of the Shepard's Wolves buildings. She looked up at the fire escape, its ladder just out of her reach. A trifling spell and it seemed like she was shrouded in flowing shadows, vanishing only to reappear a moment later on the fire escape itself, still cloaked by shadow. In her case it was a mere illusion, a good vertical leap at the ladder, and a practical approach to her getting up there while still in her usual attire.

Of course she knew a certain annoying mage hunter whose mask would cut right through the illusion, but she wasn't that concerned about that. Let the grumpy old man do so, for all she cared. If he wanted to keep spying on her, the apartment tower went high enough that he'd have to climb a few stories before getting her back in mask range, while she sunned herself and enjoyed time to herself on the roof. And personally she hoped he'd try, and throw his back out in the process.

As she made her way up the fire escape's stairs, she stopped in amusement on passing by one of the formerly empty sliding glass doors. To her surprise, Nashio had evidently picked that particular room, getting settled in from the looks of it. She amused herself, watching him go about seemingly unaware, before working up the courage to knock on the glass...



Elsewhere, south-by-southwest of the Center, now titled New Paris...

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Clck6XroqztGnZiHcct-Cjaywt1SkFX5PefrVLnuszo

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5091 on: October 20, 2018, 07:25:35 pm »
It seemed a bit odd to both Rey and Christina that a line had formed to see this Catnip person; was she really that important around here? Roxanne seemed to respect her and as Rey knew that was rather rare. The trio remained silent and rolled their eyes at the rude misling who seemed to have barged in, the three all to used to rude people in their respective lines of work before the cataclysm. They waited and made some small chit chat with the ones waiting in line saying that they needed some alone time with “Ms. Walker” and as soon as they left it they could meet with her.

For Roxanne and Rey, waiting was something they were used to and they did so patiently but Christina was another issue. She fidgeted and rocked back and forth with anticipation and growing boredom; she was by far the oldest person here yet the one who acted most like a child. When the door seemed to be opening Christina lit up but soon was disillusioned when it only opened slightly. Neither Rey nor Christina got a good glimpse of Katherine but they sure heard her voice when she made her particular accusation at Roxanne.

"What? Infu- Oh no, I hav-", Roxanne tried to say but she was interrupted by Kathrine going back inside slamming the door behind her with indignation; she quickly opened it again slightly, apologize for being rude and then close it again softly. Roxanne gave a nervous chuckle and then gave a deep sigh.

“Infusey? What was that all about?”, asked Rey

"Long story of when my stupidity in the post cataclysm began...", Roxanne answered.

“Your time as a mutey?”, Christina asked next. To that Roxanne simply nodded. While they waited a bit more Roxanne started to think of what she just witnessed and sensed. That spot she got a glimpse from Kathrine wasn’t there before, not that she could recall; guess she wasn’t the only one who got some new designs on her body. The smell of autumn from inside still lingered in her mind and she was grateful her senses had returned; that was one thing she could count with Kathrine, wherever directly or indirectly she could make Roxanne forget about her troubles for a moment with pleasant company. Then there was the way she was dressed; her own memories and those of Eris came to the front and she put two and two together causing her to smile a little. "About time...", she whispered to herself.

The door opened again, this time properly and fully and Katherine invited Roxanne in. “Uhm, who are they?”, Kathrine asked with both nervousness and curiosity. Her tail moved slightly obscured lightly by the long hoodie she had put on herself  and in her eye the same glim she got when she encountered new people was there. Roxanne had forgotten about the tackled hugs and almost expected her to do so at any moment but she was hesitating. Why? Well, these people seemed “mean”, specially the man who at 6’2” towered over everyone.

"Oh, they are some friends of mine. They are here for a visit and I was showing them around here. They too want to speak with Catnip if that is ok." Upon hearing that Kathrine smiled and simply said ok in her usual cheerful voice. “Catnip is still getting ready. I will make some coffee, you wait here ok?” Roxanne and company found somewhere to sit and soon Kathrine brought three cups of coffee. Now, both Rey and Roxanne couldn’t really drink the coffee due to being spirits but she knew better than to reject anything Kath had prepared so she gave a glance at Rey and took a sip of her coffee. Rey nodded and began to drank his cup too; the two would deal with processing it later. Christina on the other hand was enjoying her cup; the taste and the smell of the room that had been quickly tidied by Kathrine when she closed the door reminded her simpler times. Times before the cataclysm, before SoA, before any of her augmentations and mutations. It reminded her of a time in her youth when she was carefree and naive.

“Hey, this is really good!”, Christina exclaimed, “Haven’t had coffee like this in years. Did you make it yourself?” Kathrine nodded. “Well, thank you. What is your name?”

“Kathrine”

“Nice to meet you Kathrine, my name is Christina; at your service.”

Both Rey and Roxanne were a bit surprised, and pleasantly so, at how Christina was being. No jokes or pranks, no second hand innuendo; just a pleasant talk. It seems she was finally behaving her age...well, somewhat…

"Sooooo...", Roxanne said bringing the attention to herself, "Looks like  things have been busy around here lately huh? Pretty nice setup you got going here."

Katherine lit up and nodded enthusiastically. “It’s really nice isn’t it? Catnip will like to explain it to you I am sure, she likes that sort of thing.”

Roxanne laughed hardedly as she put down her now empty cup of coffee. "I am sure she will. Would be nice to have a chat about current events with her. Would also like to hear from you and how Mica is doing. Something tells me other things have changed beyond just the infrastructure." That last bit was delivered with a grin on her face to which Kathrine simply looked in confusion.

“Roxanne?”, Catnip said as she entered where they were gathered. “Oh, new people?” She then got a good look at Roxanne’s face. “So you have been using the infuser. You were told not to Roxanne.”

To that Roxanne first gave a deep sigh before answering. “No no, these are tattoos… and why my eyes are black where they should be white… uhhh… eye tattoos! Yes! It’s the new fad among middle age women with midlife crises…”

Now both Kathrine and Catnip looked at Roxanne confused the latter speaking up. “Uhhh, ok? What brings you here?”

“Well, it’s been a long time since we last had a chat and I would like to catch up a bit… that and as you can see I have some new friends and we would like to ask you a favor; nothing you need to do...we are more asking permission for something but that can wait. For now, what have you done with this place and the farm over all? Almost didn’t recognize it at first…”
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5092 on: October 23, 2018, 09:53:16 am »
"You can't fool me 'boob lady,' I know what contacts are!" Catnip said, squinting at Roxanne. Kathrine guided The guests to the couch, reserving a more stately looking chair for Roxanne while Catnip took to the heavy wooden seat across from her. To Roxanne Catnip's chair looked almost throne like despite it's lack of fancy adornment. Both modest and grand, Catnip's audience chair. "Look at you, tattoos and all. Aren't they nice Kathrine? Roxanne's not shy to show off her stripes. In fact, she went and got stripes of her own. You don't have to be nervous about yours."

Kathrine anxiously fidgeted with her hoodie, clumsily masking her attempt to pull it lower over her knees. Roxanne had never seen so much skin on the maid and found it hard not to find her eyes drifting to Kathrine's bare legs and the stripes and spots that ran unevenly up their sides. It was easy to imagine how Catnip might find them fascinating, when they were on the appealingly tomboyish legs of Kathrine. Catnip sipped her own coffee and gave the sweet smelling dowel retrieved from a clay jar on the table a few experimental gnaws.

"It has changed a bit, hasn't it? The Pricetown people did a good job right? They even patched up and repainted your house Roxanne. A lot of the shacks people around here were staying in just weren't up to much, and since the storm did us the favor of knocking them all down, it was decided to build proper houses. There was plenty of space, why weren't we using it?" Catnip said. When she thought about it, Roxanne had to agree. The farm hadn't been much of a farm after a couple years living in it, and the old shacks had just been thrown up over the field that had been where most of the actual farming had been done. Poor Nathaniel, Floyd, and Hector for a little bit had lived in crappy little sheds compared to Roxanne's claimed farm house or Dee's workshop.  Even the barn had been better outfitted. Now it seemed everyone had a small but proper house. Homes even, and where the shacks once stood there was now a large courtyard of sorts. The Mislings had even fenced in the area where the barn had been and rebuilt the farms armory and watch tower. Catnip and Kathrine's shared house was on par with houses of the pre-cataclysm, and if Roxanne was honest it entirely suited the couple.

"After that, me and some others decided to put people to work." Catnip went on, leaning forward in her chair and offering Roxanne a chocolate truffle, "Some Mislings wanted to fish, so a couple folks opened up a fishery and some smoke houses. Other folks decided it would be a great idea to start planting lots of vegetables, or at least getting fields ready for next spring. All of them come to me, can you believe that? It's kind of stressful actually... Oh! Oh! Some of the people I came back with know about Agmen! They want to hold services, whatever that means, and Hector even got the start of the chapel all up to snuff before now, so they have a place to meet!"

She leaned back in her chair looking like the prospect alone had tired her out. Then, she looked at her cup.

"Kat? Did you use that Chicory stuff again?"

Roxanne almost chuckled. A year away, and Catnip's accent had hardly changed, getting thicker with excitement. She could predict that it would only get thicker with age.

"So..." Catnip went on again, clasping her refilled cup in both hands and leaning forward, "Where did you go for two weeks?"


Jennifer rolled out of bed and dragged a hand across her eyes. She had things to do, announcements to make, and some small plans to prepare. First, to get dressed. Cheena had fallen silent almost completely now that the curse had been broken, but Jenny could still feel her strongly. While she couldn't hear the young fox, she could still feel her. Understanding the meaning of Cheena's intent almost instinctively. There was synergy between them that hadn't been there with Mikko. They both believed it was a factor as simple as gender. Right or wrong, it was the explanation they went with.

"Okay..." She groaned to the mirror, stretching the sleep out of her limbs. "Breakfast, then business. I wonder if you can feel what I feel?"

A sensation like being unsure came to her very briefly, then Jenny got the feeling that Cheena could to some extent. Taste, feel, experience. She was aware that Cheena became more active when she was asleep now as well. A handy trait to have as Cheena could keep watch while Jenny slept. It would take some getting used to, and a bit more time for them to adjust to the change. Mikko had been old and inactive, but Cheena was a young spirit and filled with energy. She wouldn't always be content with some things. Right now, she wanted human breakfast and Jenny had to keep her eagerness reigned in. Cheena would push her to eat as much as she could, her simple inexperienced mind wanting to act like the animal she'd been even as Jenny subconsciously behaved like the animal she wasn't.

"Bacon and eggs today, nothing else. Maybe toast. Toast? Ok, toast." she planned aloud as she left her room, boots slung over her shoulder. It would be a hard day to start, but later on she felt it would get easier.


Branches crawled from it's mudhut a sparse two hours later and got to work digging with it's bare hands and forming mud into as many servitors as it could before it's interest waned. What this amounted to was a solid eight small ape like mud creatures that would be a solid start to getting what it needed. The mud men would collect sticks, duff, and solid wood while Branches snuck down to the hall to get a few things. A close call here, a narrow escape through a window, and a good long look at the squishy baby thing in the crib and Branches had a shovel, a fresh shirt, and a collection of discarded feathers from the strange bird boy. These last Branches intended to use as a substitute for another ingredient. Right now, the feathers would be ground into a fine powder and bottled with salt, alder, and just a touch of clean water.

With those preperations complete, there was a bit of reading to be done and straightening up to do. Viscera from the previous night was buried, Branches grave was straightened and fixed up, and a book was selected. A primer on fashion. Branches delved into the book with a new interest and a mind for what Illiana had instructed it to do. Male or female? Boy or girl? After a bit of comparison, Branches gave up. Why couldn't Illiana have done this? Most people had one or the other arbitrarily placed on them by chance. Branches knew why actually. Illiana hadn't done it because doing it would deprive her of experiencing something no one ever got to experience. Time passed, the homunculus's servants worked with the shovel digging out clay, and after much more thought, Branches made a choice.
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5093 on: October 30, 2018, 12:10:36 am »
Alexei and his crew had returned home and had spent a few hours working at this point. As Alexei finished preparing the modified AK Edgar looked over and said “Hey boss that suit of yours was modified. Fucking thing can run on high grade alcohol like the shit we drank last night.”

Alexei nodded in response. Checking the last magazine for the weapon Alexei made sure it was fully loaded. Off to his right Edgar and another of his men were loading magazines for the various weapons they had. Behind him Salazar was lugging a fifty caliber machine gun while another man followed behind him with a stack of ammo boxes.

The cause of this amount of activity had been a message that Irene had been given earlier in the morning. It came from an old friend of Alexei’s that still worked for his mother in what remained of the Russian mob in New England. It was the only aid they were willing to send. A warning that trouble would arrive during the early morning fog tomorrow.

Salazar arrived on the roof to set up the fifty cal in position behind the sandbags, which were actually filled with dirt, while the ammo boxes were deposited next to it. Not far behind the fifty was an old mortar that looked like it had come straight out of a museum, the homemade ammunition less so. Below the fifty, behind a set of wooden blinds in front of the windows, were a pair of belt fed M249s that they’d ‘liberated’ from some folks a few days back.

Two more men came back in from the woods. Out of the fifty explosives they’d taken only five remained on the vests and belts. The rest had been spread out in the tree line rigged with various methods as traps.

As they entered the building Alexei called them over. Opening a crate as they made their way over Alexei produced a modernized RPG. Still cut along the same lines Alexei knew the weapon had still seen major use in third world guerrilla armies alongside it’s elder counterparts. Fired the same rockets too.

Producing a bastardized rocket Alexei turned to the two men and said “Increased payload but no arming distance. It’ll shred infantry easy.” Tossing the rocket to one man he picked up another “This one will punch through any modern armored plating and detonate within said vehicle. If you see something worth one of these by all means shoot it.”

Tossing that rocket to the second man Alexei turned and grabbed a canister of petrol. Cases of empty bottles sat waiting to be readied as petrol bombs. His old comrades called them Molotov Cocktails. As he prepared them he contemplated yet again calling the Hall and Walkerville. And yet again he decided this was his problem. These men were only involved due to some bastard sense of loyalty like he had felt for Bandit some years ago. They were far enough away from the bar that they wouldn’t be caught in the crossfire.

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5094 on: November 03, 2018, 04:19:22 am »
All the while Roxanne had been listening to Catnip speak, she had been thinking of things as they came along: Katherine’s new patterns, seems she wasn’t the only one with new “adornments”; the work the missling had made and how she had missed just sitting around talking to her friends. The tidbit about the contacts had thrown her off but she choose to go with it as it made things simpler, however, she knew an explanation for the rest was in order. It was in the middle of her thoughts about the chapel Hector was working on and what a coincidence she had similar plan that Catnip made her question.

Oh? Me?, Roxanne responded, she leaned back and gave a deep sigh before continuing, Where haven’t I’ve been? Word of advice girls, stay away from magic if you can help it… it’s only been a mess for me ever since I’ve delved in it. Not like I haven’t been a mess before hand! Infuser notwithstanding. Roxanne chuckles a little to herself but stopped when she noted no one else shared her humor. She cleared her throat and continued. Well, a few days before I departed I got an invitation to a little reunion of people involved with Shadows of Arcana, you know, the group I belonged to before the cataclysm. So I go there and I have this heartwarming reunion with Rey here.

Roxanne waves her hand to point at Rey who waves back awkwardly. Hey is… a long lost friend of mine from before the cataclysm. He was affected by the shifting too so he is team shifting too! Anyways, I met with him and with Christina too. She was one of the founders of our little groups. So we talked and had a few drinks as friends do. I had planned to stay for a couple days but then...

Another deep sigh from Roxanne and then a few seconds of silence before continuing. The other shoe dropped… Turns out the guy who invited me was a baddie and wanted to make me his slave of sorts. He chooses the wrong ghost… in short I uhm... She looks around and see kathrine and as such decides it to tone it down in details. I took care of him so that he wouldn’t bother me anymore. And that should’ve been the end of that but it can never be that simple… As I went and did a little celebratory dance I was jumped by someone else, don’t worry, they were taken care of too, and I passed out. When I woke up I found out I had these lovely tattoos and ‘contacts’ too. I was also pretty week from the beating so I had to rest there for two weeks and recover. These two were really nice in taking care of but now I am back!

Despite being overly excited now, Roxanne gave Catnip and Kathrine time to process what she had said. Still, she didn’t give them time to respond as she continued. By the way, ‘nip, I wanted to tell you and ask you a few things… First, our group, SoA, is operational agains so if you hear the name know that it’s us. We miiiight use a few zombies in our ranks so that is why I am letting you know… to prevent any incidents. Second, well, my friends and I were discussing a few things, I won’t bore you with the details but I wanted to ask if you know of any place I could use to hold a small gathering? I want to put up posters and have a little gathering for a club of sorts I have in mind… if it’s ok with you that is...

With that Roxanne finally quieted down for a moment too and metaphorically catched her breath. She noticed Rey and Christina awkwardly smiling, not sure of what to do.

How rude of me… didn’t give anyone else the chance to speak… Rey, Christina, anything you wanna say or ask my friends here?

“Nah, I am all good for now. Thanks for the coffee Kathrine. Can I call you by your name? Or is it too early?”, Christina responded.

“There is nothing particularly that comes to mind. I am sure this isn’t the last time we will meet anyways, if I have an inquiry I’ll be sure to ask. Still, I am your service if you need anything.”, Rey said as well.

Well then, guess we have two shy ones here huh? Kinda unexpected. Anything else you two wanna ask us? Roxanne had suddenly gone to her “Eris” persona but this time it didn’t feel like a switch; for the first time it felt like the two were one in the same and it visibly intrigued Roxanne. She noted Catnip and Kathrine looking at her eye color shift and smiled. Oh that? What can I say, advance contacts. I can change my eye color from pink to purple but the outer part stays black...



Elsewhere Lucy and Roxanne’s new zombie servant, Leonard, were heading back to the tower that once belonged to Plague. They were driving Roxanne’s APC as she was using the motocycle she found in the meantime. Lucy was the driver while Leonard was reading a piece of paper Lucy had manifested when he had asked more details on the pieces of anomon.

The poem read as follows:
[Seven pieces, seven swords; seven mages, seven souls.
Three were broken, four remain; two made shields, one left dead.

Seven kingdoms survey the land; as the sun rises they make their final stand.
The skies will darken, the rivers will run dry; as he awakens all will surely die.

Seven mages are called upon; one common goal they all cling on.
Different kingdoms they represent, all to which to god they had repent.
They set aside their differences to defeat the monster; he who threaten to devour and conquer.

The seventh mage captured the beast, the first bore its mark.
The rest created the seals and together they divided it up.
The broken god was born, Anomon was no more.

Seven pieces, seven swords; seven mages, seven souls.
Three were broken, four remain; two made shields, one left dead.

Assimilation, Annihilation, Convergence, Despair, Pestilence, Storm and Void.
The power was taken, the typhoon quelled, the ailment cured and from the corpses two more were made.
Trinity and Fantasia, Guardians of the night.
They envied the union and fought it will all might.

The first through fourth was handed a sword.
Firth and six a shield in tow.
The seventh left empty handed, for their hand was too slow.

The mission was done, the goal accomplished.
Nothing was left, the goal was achieved.
The mages however still ploated with glee.

A puzzle emerged, one with dire consequences; for once the mages had passed the swords would remain.
They plotted a plan for the legacy to go on. One of 6 wielders would the whole set one day obtain.
Once united the god will be awoken and he who bears the mark will become his chosen token.
No one will stop, not even the bravest knight; for he will unite all armies under ever darker night.

One man will have the power, one man will expose the sham.
But by then it will be too late for salvation for he will be no other than the lamb.]

“What does it mean?”, Leonard asked.

“Read it carefully, it’s kinda obvious. Mind you, some of it is wishy-washy noustromous tier prophecy stuff but it holds up. It was written a few centuries ago by a man who knew he was about to die too…”

“Noustromous?”

“Don’t worry about it… just, what do you think it means?”

“A group of people came together to seal a powerful being and sealed in swords? That much is clear but… can only be stopped by the lamb?”

“Ah yes, the lamb… back in the day people were very religious. They assumed if Anomon was reborn again it would bring the apocalypse himself and only the second coming of the messiah would stop him.”

“Messiah? Wait, aren’t you-“

“I don’t wanna talk about it ok? I am not as dumb as to rebel against dad a second time… Anyways, just shut up and think things through for a bit; gotta concentrate on driving… we’ll discuss it later...”

“As you wish Miss Morningstar.”

“Morningstar… jeesh, what was I thinking…”
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5095 on: November 05, 2018, 03:53:06 am »
People were watching her and Jennifer didn't even notice. She was too busy explaining the items on her plate to someone that only she seemed to be able to hear and generally sounding like a crazy person. Lyle, the chef, watched her from the small kitchen window opening out to the cafeteria. She'd ordered the basic breakfast; eggs, bacon, toast and for her he'd brought out the good stuff. Real pork bacon, chickens eggs, and fresh white bread with real butter. In the old days, such a simple meal would have run no more than a few bucks. Nowadays though, it was all fairly valuable stuff. Pigs were only just being captured and redomesticated, chickens were scarce since the farm that once produced them had been burned and looted, and butter...  Butter was expensive as hell, the only source being from that asshole Hoyt up north. Lucky bastard had got himself twenty head of cattle. They just showed up in his orchard one day and since then he'd run the entire beef and dairy market in the region. The man was breeding them too, but you could go fuck yourself for all the intention he had of selling any off to the center unaltered. A cornered market was a cornered market.

The meal was expensive to say the least, and Jenny was just picking at it. He couldn't hear what she was saying, not entirely, but the way her lips moved and the occasional snatch of words that came to his ears through the chatter of all the other people. To top it off, she seemed to be salivating uncontrollably. Every few moments, she'd reach over and grab a couple napkins and wipe her face, or swipe at her chin with the back of her wrist. Something had happened to her out there, he was marking the change even now. The sharp looks she sometimes shot at strangers who walked by, the little tensing in her body whenever someone greeted her, and the way her tail darted back and forth behind her. The fact that her tail was out was another thing that added to the impression that there was something altogether wilder about her. When she did finally dig in, she did so with a hardly restrained eagerness. The food vanished as quickly as it had come out of Lyle's kitchen. He couldn't help but frown. People shouldn't just vacuum down their food like that. Especially not food as luxurious as that, and certainly not ladies like Jenny. There was a bit of reassurance to come when Atomos settled in. Her shoulders sagged and her tail curled around her chair comfortably.

"So," Lyle asked as he took the dishes away, "did you even taste it?" Jennifer looked up at him and blinked.

"Yeah, fantastic, really good Lyle. Where'd you get butter?"

"Oh, so you did taste it? Wouldn't know it by the way you shoveled it down." He mused jokingly, "It came from that Hoyt prick up north. The cider man. He wants an arm and a leg for the stuff."

Jenny knew who Hoyt was. A thoroughly unpleasant man she had encountered during several of her scouting trips. He wasn't a gross man. Not a slob, but there was definitely a sense of menace or arrogance in most of his speech. The man had authoritative ways, big ways, and Jenny got the idea that he might just be crazy as well. There was also the drugs. Aside from the harmless products he peddled at exhorbitant prices, he was also a drug dealer. Cheena saw all this in Jenny's memories as they flitted by and Atomos felt her feelings on the matter. Confusion and trust for her assessment.

"Whatcha got there Ms. Jenny?" Lyle asked. She'd brought a pair of forms with her to breakfast and had been filling them out here and there while talking to her breakfast. They were a bit rough, but professional enough for documents that had been gone over with white out and stickers to turn them into a different sort of document, then run through a copy machine. At the top with ever so slightly crooked letters, Jennifer had placed the words "Letter of Resignation."


By the end of the day the woods north of the road, and by extension north of the hall, we're littered with Branches work. To the casual observer they looked like oddly vertical dirt mounds, but to people in the know they were crude golems. Simple but effective watchers of the woods like all-natural security cameras. Watchers. There were larger ones too, short and squat or lean and tall. These were branches wardens. Over time the elements would take their toll but as with all magic of this sort, it would get stronger with age. Moss and vegetation would take hold in the soft unfired ceramic of the wardens and watchers, making them blend in and look natural in the process. For now though, they were as bald as freshly dug stones.

That of course was the first half of branches day, or maybe two thirds? The homunculus didn't rightly know, it had spent so long on the project and wasn't sure if it should do more or not. Instead, Branches went for a dive. The stuff it had used thus far was relatively common sandy silty clay mud. It would hold together well enough, and it was ideal for growing plants in, but even Branches automatons were poor imitations of what they could be with real clay. To that end, Branches needed something special. Not for golems, but for itself. What it needed was good old fashioned new england stoneware, and for that it needed to find the original bank of the river. Normally this would have been a hell of a task, navigating the underwater forest of fallen trees and debris, but there was one thing branches could count on; Sharlene's Cabin. The cabin had been a half hearted stones throw from the river, and even now it's chiminy poked up just above the newly formed lakes surface. All the homunculus had to do was point itself at it and walk.

The clay near the sunken cabin was exactly what branches needed. A foot down, it hit the good stuff. A solid thunderstorm grey earth untainted by sand or silt that Branches hauled up in sticky clumps that stuck to the hands and the shovel and the canvas shopping bags used to carry the stuff out. Aside from the clay, there was another thing Branches wanted to grab that would save it a bit of time, and that thing was coffee mugs. There were many broken mugs in the cabins murk, cheap broken cryolite, Bakelite, and porclain mugs. There were very few it could use as Branches didn't want any of those. Branches needed stoneware. Mugs of a suitable type were found after a little searching, broken shards anyway, and Branches hauled it all back to it's side of the lake.

The mugs were pounded down into dust and mixed with the fresh clay. Then, Branches began to sculpt. Laying the new fire clay on was the easy part. Moving it evenly and getting the proportions right was not. Golems came and added water or more clay when necessary until all of branches save for hair and eyes were covered in it. The homunculus could feel the magic bound to the powdered mugs infusing into the clay and into itself, being absorbed by it's core and powering the process of addition. You couldn't have something for nothing when it came to quality. When it was satisfied, Branches instructed it's servants to put the clay away in a cool place in the hut and waited. The itch came on slow and steady, the feeling of the clay drying. It would have been more severe had Branches been a hairy creature, but fortunately it wasn't. The evening sun had dipped behind the trees and left long shadows on the lake before Branches stirred again.

There was a satisfying little crackle as the now thin layer or clay cracked and fell away from what Branches had wrought upon itself. Herself. Shallow curves, narrow hips, and distinctly feminine features. The choice had come down to a feeling. Something Branches caught from that tiny part of itself that was Illiana's essence. She spent a long time staring down at her new features reflected in the lake, grinning like an idiot child.

For the rest of the day, Branches lay or sat on her new bench (one of the days side projects) and played around with her new breasts until it became too dark to see them. It was time for pretending to sleep and later in the morning, she would gorge herself on fish and prod at her new chest some more.


Catnip and Kathrine listened politely to Roxanne, passing around biscuits or cookies and tea or coffee when appropriate. There were a few questions, but Catnip decided not to tax Roxanne with them. Roxanne was after all one of her three. Roxanne, Floyd, and Hector could be trusted despite their occasional foibles. As to meeting places though, Catnip could think of a few.

"Well," she said thoughtfully, "There's the chapel, when it's not in use. If you want something a little more private, then there's a big old room in the quarry under Walkerville. Oh! And that one place across the river. You know the one? It used to be a part of a larger bunch of buildings full of beds and stuff until they burned down. Now it's just one building. It's got a lot of space and one big meeting room."

Roxanne had to strain a bit to remember what Catnip was talking about. "The hotel?" She asked finally. Catnip nodded enthusiastically. The hotel wasn't a bad choice, not badly located either and certainly more private than the chapel. Catnip went on.

"The big room in the quarry was there when we got here I guess. You'd need to clean up a lot of broken glass and do something about the flooding... Floor is crooked too... Maybe not the quarry then. It's pretty cramped, only fit for Mislings and Catnip's to squeeze through. You can use the chapel until you decide though. Oh oh, oooor... We could ask the center to build you something!"

Roxanne thought about everything the center and the Arizona migrants had done already, and nixed the idea. They'd done enough as it was and had their own stuff to get on with, probably. There was an interim silence broken by small talk here and there while Roxanne thought about her choices. It felt like a draining kind of silence, the sort of thing that makes one lethargic and bored. What was odd was that she could see it in her companions too. Kathrine served energetically while Catnip served the role of chatty Kathy. Her accent, her nonsense filler words, and her nievete tinged with experience worked hand in hand to make her a somewhat charming conversationalist. So what was with this strange lethargy. Roxanne frowned as she remembered other times she felt this way. It hadn't been so extreme then though. The real reminder came with Mica, crashing through the back door and howling for her sister.

"Kat-nyp! Lizard won't help My-ka!!" She called, rebounding off the doorway under the stair case and rolling to the floor. She seemed to have been wrapped in up in hundreds of gossamer white and grey threads which bound all but most of one arm. "Roks-zan! Help My-ka! Lizard left My-ka hangin' and says My-ka's too crazy! Help My-ka!!"

Roxanne recoiled from the prone mutant. If Mica touched her, she had no clue what would happen. To add to her trepidation and fear, the threads Mica was wrapped in seemed to share some of her null properties. Mica wasn't just a null wrapped in that stuff, she was a vortex sucking in and nullifying any magic she touched. Catnip was giving some instruction to Kathrine and the maid disappeared to the kitchen for a bit. When she came back, she had a plain opaque jug that Roxanne correctly guessed contained vinegar.

"Eh!! No stinky vin-gurs! No vin-gurs!!" Mica squeeled. She flopped away from Kathrine and rolled or crawled back the way she came. Catnip rounded the table and grabbed Mica's feet while Kathrine splashed the vinegar onto her sister. At the slightest touch of the acidic stuff the threads started to separate and unravel, the adhesive properties completely lost and the muting property with it. Kathrine gathered up the silk and carefully spun it onto a dowel.

"What's this about?" She asked, "who did this to you sweetie?"

"She did it to herself." Kathrine said simply, "Mr. Dervish says he doesn't know if she could always do it or if it's a hormone change."

Kathrine stepped further back from Mica when her hands were free, and it was a good thing she did. Mica made grabby hands for the maid, and everyone saw the strands that formed between her fingers.

"When did Roks-zan change eyes? Eh? Why does Roks-zan smell dif-rent? Eh? Eh?" Before she could get out of the way, Mica sprang up onto two feet and launched herself to Roxanne, close enough to smell. She smelled like apples and smoked fish, an odd combination to be sure. "Hugs for My-ka? Eh?"
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 07:42:21 pm by saltmummy626 »
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RedVulnus

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5096 on: November 06, 2018, 10:45:45 am »
It was maybe six in the morning when Alexei sat down next to one of his men. If he recalled his name was Edward, but thanks to those damn romance novels he prefered Eddie. Handing a metal hip flask over Alexei watched the woods as Eddie took a drink and offered a cigar.

Taking the cigar Alexei waved off the offered lighter. “With cigars use a match.” He told Eddie as he retrieved one from his pocket. Lighting the cigar he let his eyes drift over the edge of the trees ahead as they sat there shrouded in the morning fog.

Above them they heard Salazar unzip his pants and saw the stream of piss fall down in front of their window. Eddie called up through the boards “Jesus man really? Right in front of my window?”

Salazar called back “Oh get the fuck over it. I saw worse back in my day, saw a hell of a lot worse.” But the stream rather quickly stopped and they heard the sound of the zipper followed by a few footsteps. The sound of him and Edgar talking was about the only thing that Eddie and Alexei heard as they watched and waited.

A few minutes passed and Eddie scratched his nose as he said “I’d fucking kill for a candy bar right about now. Haven’t had one since the world went to shit. But not those fuckin..off brand chalk tasting pieces of shit.”

Alexei nodded as he handed the cigar over to Eddie for him to take a drag of. As he took another swig from the flask Alexei hoped the enemy would come soon. Taking the cigar back he said “You a heathen Eddie?”

Eddie looked over before letting his eyes return to the tree line. The question hung in the air as the pair just stared out at the trees. Finally Eddie responded “To you christian motherfuckers maybe. But at least I know when I die I’ll sit with my ancestors and tell my stories. And I’ll get to hear how my great great grand daddy put rounds in them nazi motherfuckers back in WW2. Always was fascinated by that.”

Alexei shook his head as he idly tapped the side of his AK and responded “When I go I’ll be sitting right next to the devil himself I imagine. Done a lot of bad things. Killed a lot of people.”

Eddie looked at Alexei out of the corner of his eye. Picking up the SAW from where it had been resting on the ground he set it’s bipod on the windowsill and said “We’ve all done a lot of killing. A lot of bad things. Gonna do a lot more before we get put in our graves.”

Alexei looked over at the man and wondered just what this kid had done that was so bad before things went to shit. He was a relatively tame man compared to the rest of the lot. It was due to Eddie Alexei hadn’t gone and done some of the stupid shit he’d thought of doing. Like walking into the bar and shooting Irene in the face. Maybe he’d ask later after this little fight was over.

----

Meanwhile the group of men that had been approaching stopped. Retrieving a radio one of them called back that they were assaulting the Heretic’s camp now. The voice on the other confirmed their location before signing off and leaving them to their fight.

A few seconds later and one of them stepped on the first trap that was waiting for them. As he picked his foot off the ground the explosion rang through the air as what was left of his body and those that had been standing close flew through the air to decorate the nearby trees.

-----

Alexei lifted his rifle at the noise and he heard the footsteps of Edgar and Salazar taking position on the roof. Then the fifty cal boomed into the air as Salazar let rounds off into the woods. Eddie followed suit and swept the tree line as several more explosions sent dirt and blood spraying through the air.

----

Meanwhile back at Walkerville Isaac had been organizing the books in the library when he heard the explosions. Running out he started for his truck. A handful of minutes later and he hopped down with his small caliber minigun strapped to his chest as he connected the helmet to the rest of his armor. An M14 was strapped to his back as he ran over the bridge and towards the fight.

----

Salazar saw the mass of bodies before the others had. He couldn’t really count how many there were but it was a damn army as far as he could tell. And now they were returning fire.

Of course a fifty cal and two M249’s were for the most part keeping them from having the time to line up accurate shots. Still if things continued like this they’d be overrun due to the sheer number of bodies.

Below him Alexei sent off rounds from the drum fed AK-47 he was using. Beside him Eddie produced a remote detonator and watched while one of the others took over the SAW he’d been operating. Staring into the fog he waited a minute before pressing the button.

Three trees were turned into lethal shrapnel as a deafening explosion ripped through the air. And still they kept coming as they ran forward with axes, shovels, and whatever else they had managed to get a hold of while those armed with guns opened fire through the fog. Screams of ‘death to the heretic’ were heard as Alexei’s men kept firing themselves.

A rocket landed in a particularly thick part of the mob and sent body parts flying in through the windows as Alexei ducked down to reload. Salazar felt a handful of rounds tear through his stomach as scrambled to reload the fifty cal. Eddie meanwhile pulled out a pair of pipe bombs and threw them into the oncoming foes before ducking down to grab more of their improvised grenades.

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5097 on: November 06, 2018, 04:07:19 pm »
(( Parts of Green and Solomon section written with Wilson. ))

Solomon breathed a sigh of relief as he took off his mask, setting the wraithslayer down beside his normal hunting crossbow and taking a seat in The Hall. Green was there as well, looking up from the book he was studying.

"You alright?" Green asked, sitting up straight for once as Solomon gave a nod. "I'm fine actually, went well enough. Alexei was there in fact, hadn't seen him in a while." he admitted, Green shrugging. "Huh...before I came here, I'm guessing?" he said, before setting down the book.

"Yeah, stayed a while, helped set up a still...useful for medical supplies at least, much as he'd balk at not drinking it." he joked, Green giving Solomon a strange look before looking back at his book. "Huh. Medical supplies? Right...betting you an' Gabi would get along well."

Green looked at Solomon's hair for a moment, before letting out a snort. "Y'got cowlicks all over the place, it's all frazzled. D'ya want me to fix it up? Or try to, hair looks like I could find some change in there..." He joked, putting the book down.

Solomon was surprised at that, blushing a little. "I...oh. Never really...gave it much though before. Usually comb it myself but kinda been tending to things most of the day, but now that things have calmed down I...guess that'd be alright? Sure..." he said, surprised by the offer.

Green nodded, motioning for Solomon to take a seat, the two occasionally talking as Green did his work, mentioning some of the alchemical text that Green had just started to get into, a subject Solomon had more experience with, something to muse on intermittently as time passed by.



Meanwhile at Walkerville, Hector trudged his way back into Walkerville, stopping by the forge setup to set his helm aside and continue on into the main area of the farm's fortified space.

He made his way over to Catnip's house, seeing the people already there waiting for her to no longer be busy, looking around and finding no sign of Roxanne elsewhere. For now he'd wait, suspecting Roxanne had come to Catnip first, clutching the small silver emblem taken from the augmented undead.

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5098 on: November 07, 2018, 07:26:54 pm »
"expected you to just bust through like that other one. Cept she just went around back and snuck in the back door..." Said the rather pissed looking man at the front of the short line. The others looked rather irritated as well, though some to much more varied degrees. The woman at the end looked particularly livid. It had been a few years since Hector last saw people lined up to see Catnip. As far back as before the shifting in fact. Catnip had met with guests, mostly people from the center coming to see about the repair of vehicles, but they'd never really lined up for her. "You gonna get in line or what Mac?"

"Sorry, are you talking to me?" Hector asked innocently.

"Yeah I'm talking to you. The rest of us are waiting here all neat as you please and we already got one line jumper, you gonna jump the line too or what?" He said. He'd contemplated it momentarily, but Hector wasn't a barbarian. Not some dick head that would just force his way past a group of patient folks, even if his status perhaps gave him an allowance of such behavior. The man sighed and held out something to him. "If you plan on it, save me some time and give these to Ms. Walker. It's an income report. Said she wanted one when the run was over. First page is number of fish brought in per day, number released, and how long we can expect the supply to last. Second is expenses. Third is a thanks from the fishers. Tell her that the smokers are running their last load and then they'll be shut down for the winter." One of the others in the line stood and put his own collection or reports on top of the fishery report, then a third person did the same. One more report was forked over, leaving just two people in line. The pissed woman, and a placid Misling in a hooded robe. They seemed to have settled on the assumption that Hector had made up his mind to cut to the front of the line, but we're satisfied that they too would be leaping forward substantially. Faintly from inside he caught the voice of Mica, and could guess who the last line jumper was.


The game was two for two and L was losing the final hand. Sharlene didn't know that though, and Sharlene was having trouble reading L. To be fair though, L couldn't really read the Australian either. She was just too casual, not taking the game seriously. In fact, Sharlene seemed more interested in L's fancy portable poker table than the cards. On L's part though, the Mislings face was a furry stone. Even as a Misling, L could keep a straight poker face. It was hard though. This was the first game she'd played since being collared after her disastrous fall under a landslide of depression and truama that had come over her after her rescue. Drinking and gambling had been her escape before the Cataclysm and so it had been the same after.

Sharlene wouldn't take the contract though. L didn't know that, but she wouldn't. If she won though, L wouldn't hear the end of it. L had to win. She had to...

"Ok, you gonna hold em or fold em?" Sharlene asked. L looked at her hand and at the cards laid out on the table. A pair of fives. A pair of fives in hand and three completely unrelated cards on the table.

"Hold." L said, cool as a glass of water.

Sharlene was glaring at her. "I want free drinks, and no limits at your tables. High roller treatment." She said, turning her cards over. L's shoulders fell. A straight. Even with low numbers, Sharlene's straight beat out L's paltry pair. The Misling was back in the hole, all on a bad play. Or so she thought. Sharlene surprised both Mislings by reaching across the table, taking the rolled up contract, and putting it to the match without even looking it over. "What?" She said, amused, "Been talking to Mo' haven't ya? Judging by the look on your faces, you two expected me to start issuing orders and shit right away? Listen and listen good, I'm not down for that slavery shit. Wouldn't imprison you either. Mo' stayed for his own reasons, nobody ever made him stay. Maybe Lil a few times, but I didn't stop him. I'm sure he and half the farm have made me out to be some kind of heinous witch or something, but that isn't really how it is. So take the blanks and like I said, free drinks and high roller treatment, that's what I want."

L nodded silently, shocked by the repreive. She didn't think it would turn out like this. Not the game, no, to try and expect the outcome of the game would have been the right of foolishness. Especially for a gambler like L. From what Mohammad and the others told her, L expected Sharlene to behave like an A+ class bitch. Stubborn, irresponsible, greedy in the extreme, criminally minded, and perfectly willing to exploit L's contract in some way. Instead, Sharlene offered her coffee, and asked her if she'd play another hand with the Mislings for "funsies."


Jennifer polished off her toast quickly and completed her letter to Captain Anquiano or Sandell or whatever it was now. She decided it would be best not to focus on the Captains name, lest it reignite some new irritation in her. Instead, she addressed it to "Captain Anquiano/Sandell" and wondered whether or not she should add a second l to the end of "Sandel." She wanted to ask for more toast, Cheena insisted on it. Now that the stress of the journey was over, the curse lifted and all that, Atomos found herself getting annoyed with Cheena. They were more similar than Jenny and Mikko had been, and so Cheena had more "pull" than the old spirit despite not being a powerful... Ghost... Fox... Thing... She wouldn't pretend to get it. What she would get was that Cheena would make things difficult. Breakfast was more than proof enough of that. The richness of the butter and bacon had been almost completely lost to her, she'd devoured them like a starving animal. The impression from Cheena, was that she didn't want any one else eating it before she could.

"That's ridiculous." She'd thought back at the young fox. It wasn't to Cheena though. Cheena had lived until then in her own little animal world, where food had to be tracked and caught and killed and defended from other foxes. Even in such a place as the burrow where her whole life had been spent, there were foxes who would not have flinched at trying to intimidate Cheena out of a meal. Human food was delicious too, so there was that to consider as well... "Ok yes, fine. It's great. But no one is going to steal it from us. For one, there's enough for everybody here. We store food up and keep it for later. Like the cans, remember? For two, you saw and heard the way people reacted when they heard I was back. They wouldn't dream of stealing food from my plate. Unless they were friends. Oh jeez, are we gonna have a situation where somebody tries to snag a French fry or something and I bite them? Oh jeez..."

While she mumbled to herself, she walked to Catalina's office. Now she stood before the Captains door, wondering if she should knock or not. There wasn't really any question about it though, she wasn't an animal after all. She knocked, and waited.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 06:15:54 am by saltmummy626 »
I'm really just a sexy skeleton in a suit.
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5099 on: November 13, 2018, 08:20:27 pm »
They kept coming. With all of the gunfire the bodies were still pushing forward towards the building and there wasn’t much Alexei could think of to stop them. Not at this point.

Turning to run back into the building he heard a thud as Edgar fell to the floor above him. The man was clutching a wound on the side of his neck as he tried and failed to scream through the blood clogging his throat. Salazar meanwhile felt a round tear a hole the size of a grapefruit in his chest.

Stumbling back from that he let go of the fifty and felt a second open up his stomach. Tripping on Edgar’s blood he hit the floor and tried to breath through the hole in his chest. Before his world faded he saw two versions of himself standing over him. One, with a blood stained face and an eye that leaked brown blood, said “Well, this is interesting ain’t it Smiley? Something finally ripped a hole big enough in him that we could get out! I’m gonna have some fun after I finish making myself a corporeal form.”

The other version frowned at his bloody counterpart and said “You don’t intend to help anyone do you? A shame really, you always were the side more versed in violence but I know you could do some real good.”

As they disappeared to find a safe place to form physical bodies Salazar found himself sitting in his old living room. Looking around he saw a man in front of him reading a newspaper. As an older woman rounded the corner it dawned on him. He was home.

Back with the living Alexei had managed to get to his armor as he heard Eddie scream in pain as he was beaten. The armor wasn’t ready and he knew that had been his only real chance to get out of this alive. Which meant it was time for plan b.

Grabbing a device he’d had Eddie make for him he stared at it for a moment. Clipping it to his vest he sighed as it synced up to his heartbeat. Now if only he had the time to get drunk one last time.

Turning he sprayed the first few that got through the door before tossing the spent weapon aside and pulling out his machete. Decapitating the first to rus him Alexei felt at peace. For the first time in his life he didn’t care about anything anymore.

Then the shot tore through his head.

----

Isaac fell to the ground as the shockwave roared past him. He was fairly certain if he hadn’t been wearing his armor he’d have broken a rib or two. Forcing himself to his feet he ran forward and past the bar.

A few minutes at a dead sprint later he came upon a crater where Alexei’s little business had been. A few stragglers were picking over the place and making sure no one had actually survived. They didn’t last long under Isaac’s fire.

Once that was done he stared at the surroundings, what little of it was left. And he knew. He knew that crazy Russian Drunkard was gone. A relic just like him.

Then he caught sight of it. Alexei was standing with a pair of women and several young children smiling. Not the fake one that he’d always worn around the others. A genuine happy smile as he walked over to Isaac. Speaking in perfect english the man said “Haha, Isaac! I can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss our hunts! But I’m going to somewhere better I think. I’m going to be better. And who knows maybe we’ll see each other again! I could always reincarnate.”

Before Isaac could say much the spirit of his friend faded, whisking away to talk with some others before he could no longer do so. Falling to his knees Isaac felt himself cry for the first time in years. And he swore to himself he’d stay at Walkerville, raise Alice right. He owed her that much.

----

In the Hall Alexei decided to apperate sitting on a table. Smiling he watched Helen for a moment before saying “Ah..I wish I had spent more time here. You always gave me odd inspiration, like I could be better than I was. I’m going to miss that about you McKinnon. But I don’t have much time so I should tell you that I left a gift for you and the child, just ask Ernie for it at the bar.”

Said gifts were a good bottle of his favorite whiskey and an assortment of weapons for when the child grew older. There were also a few other things for the child. Mostly older russian toys.

Smiling as he cried Alexei continued as he began to fade “And don’t worry I’m not going to hell. I probably deserve to but I’m not. Instead I’m going to help a few old friends of mine watch over the spirits of children! And of course I’ll get to see my brother again..he uh..he was a good man, you’d have liked hi-” he was cut off by the fact he’d finished fading and found himself sitting in a mansion in front of a group of children.

Giving them a smile he picked up a book and said “Now who wants to hear about Miss McKinnon and her travels? Everyone? Good.”

---

Roland meanwhile decided to find a resting spot. He’d helped En for long enough he figured. Sitting down he decided he’d keep a watch on his wayward son. Afterall Isaac would need plenty of guarding now...

 

NOCTIFER IS A FAGGOT