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

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5100 on: January 16, 2019, 05:33:48 am »
"Ah, charmed! A scientist?" Jenny said curiously, "Well Mr. Dervish and Doc Efram could probably use you then. If you guys are mutants though, Dervish will want to give you a physical and an interview. Oh, and that robot will more than likely want to do the same, but she can be a bit more... invasive..." That last point was punctuated by a quick glance up. Foster followed the glance and saw the small black dome of an obviously still functioning security camera. "I don't know about jobs, but I guess... hm."

Jenny stepped back and gave Foster and TJ a more scrutinizing look. "Hm... brainwave." She mumbled, then asked, "Can you fight? If it comes down to it I mean? I've got something I want to do but I need a bit of time to scout a few things and ask around... Listen." Jennifer pulled the man aside and asked, "Have you heard of a guy called Hoyt?"

Steinar followed Branches as far as the other side of the bridge, then unceremoniously turned back.

"Where are you going?" Branches shouted, unable to keep a little of her credulousness from creeping into her voice. "Aren't you going to help me give all this stuff back?"

Steinar shrugged, "Nah. Helen gave ya' the task. You finish it. That means all of it now. Make sure it gets back to where it's gotta go little one, you don't want ta' face Helen wrath now do ya'?"

Branches watched him go, baffled and a little upset. How was she supposed to give all this stuff back alone? She didn't know these people. Heck, some of them might even try to kill her or something. They'd be upset at least. She watched Steinar from a long time as he made his slow progress across the bridge. At some point, it became apparent that he was drinking again, now and then retrieving a jug from the several in a messenger bag at his hip to fill his cup. About the time he got two thirds of the way across, Branches started to think about it a little differently. The mischief was creeping back in. No one to keep an eye on her, no one to tell her what to do.

"Pffft. No." She said quietly, as though Helen or Steinar were hidden nearby. "Leave the cart near the entrance, keep the rest..."

"You're looking for that youngin' with the one eye? If I were less experienced, I'd say she was your younger sister but I know mutation don't work like that. Otherwise, Catnip n' Mica'd look the same."

Branches just about jumped out of her shoes, if she'd been wearing any. She could swear she'd heard the voice somewhere before, but couldn't quite place it. The man who'd spoken to her sat in a plastic lawn chair just outside the entrance, across from where Branches had intended to leave the load of stuff. An odd sense of deja vu swept over her, as though she'd been through this before. Maybe she had though? Helen claimed that she'd been destroyed once, maybe something from that hazy space. She did remember something about an old man, so it was very possible.

"Names Floyd, and you're awfully similar to that other girl that passed through a couple days ago." Floyd said. He offered the other chair at his side, but Branches shook her head and stayed quiet. "She was pretty quiet too. Must be related somehow. Alright well, I offered. Watcha got there in your cart miss?"

"Er... Stuff?" Branches mumbled, stiffening noticeably, "Got it from... Bandits?"

"Hm. Lets have a look then, might be something we can- Hey, that's one of Mica's shirts!" Floyd shot out of his chair faster than Branches would have expected, showing off that he was a hell of a lot more spry than he let on. "And this is one of Hec's padded shirts, and look at this, my old sixgun. How'd you say you got this stuff? Bandits?"

Branches couldn't become much whiter, but she was suddenly overcome with the desire to be able to. Her big purple eye searched Floyds face for anger or coming violence, but didn't see it. Only confusion and concern. "B-bandits... uh... Showed up at my house?"

"Your house? Where's that miss?"

"Across the lake..."

"And what did they want with you? Nevermind, I can probably guess. Young girl like you, bandit scum." Floyd said scornfully, sorting through the items nearly sorted into the cart. "I've had my fill of that kind of trash. But how'd you get all this from them?"

Branches couldn't think of a lie or half truth quickly enough and on impulse blurted, "I'm not helpless. I've got... er... friends... I gotta go."

"I'm sure your not, and I don't think so. We gotta tell Hector about this, and you can meet your neighbors while your at it. Nobody is gonna hurt you here. How long've you been there? Can't have been long since the lake is new." Floyd said, grabbing the homunculus by the shoulder. The urge to grab the mans arm and lay him out was palpable, but Branches resisted. It wasn't nice, this man hadn't done anything to her. All the same, she didn't want to meet the people at the farm. She didn't want to be recognized for who she was, nor for what she was.

"Please, I just want to go back to-" She began.

"Nonsense." Floyd insisted, guiding her into the palisaded farm, "Let's see what Hec has to say and then maybe we can collect your 'sister' and get a good meal in you. What did you say your name was?"

"Branches..." Branches mumbled, sure that she was going to be dead for sure soon enough.

The streets sat empty and untended, the result of a week's worth of purging and exodus under cover of night, turning New Bangor into a varitable ghost town. A once populous settlement of xenophobic, scared, people of a little over a thousand now reduced to less than a hundred staunch believers. In place of the citizenry, machines walked the streets and converted the buildings into workshops and manufactories all to recycle old material and construct new soldiers for the growing army. The army masterminded and led not by the archbishop or his cabal of close followers, but by the AI.

Secretly, Astor cared very little for the army of machines amassing itself around him. They still followed their programming well enough and had yet to break away from it. Seek and destroy mutants or cyborgs, bring any artifacts to be offered up to him. They weren't perfect though, as they didn't truly believe any of what Astor wanted for them or in what these objects could do.  What mattered was that he was at odds with the AI that controlled the robots. Astor could wipe the AI out in an instant, devour it's huge potential and be done with it, but he still needed it. Astor couldn't do anything without followers, yet. And so, he sought a replacement. After losing track of the troublesome arcane knight, and what a fool he'd been to think that the meddling lawyer would intervene in everything he did, Astor had returned to his scrying mirror, reassuming his facade so to not frighten his Bishops.

Soon, he had found what he wanted. Deep in the Rocky Mountain range, trapped within a wall of howling wind and melodious voices, a woman sat upon a throne of tendrils and twisted steel and seethed quietly to herself. Another being of great power he could wipe away in an instant, but wouldn't. She was as beautiful as the breaking dawn and as terrible as the new moon, though starvation was not being kind. Rita, The Grey Queen, sat motionless upon her throne and plotted to break free of the trap she'd closed on herself. Ahz't'ur, The Eater of Days, could do just that for her, if she cooperated with him. That was the difficulty though. Getting her to work with him would have been easy, but getting them to do so was so much harder. He knew of them. A strain of resilient infectious spores from a dead world floating around the rim of the outer dark. The men of this world had made contact with it, and had been trying to contain it's spread ever since. They were a direct competitor to Ahz't'ur.

He watched the mycus queen, judged, and planned.

Yellow Jacket paced the interior of her yurt with a growing sense of unease and anger. Anger which had already spilled over thrice that day, leading to a lot of screaming and at least one stabbing. She and her gang had come south after Yellow Jackets defeat at the hands of an somewhat different sort of stinging insect, the mutant "Lady" Apis. Self proclaimed Queen of a hive of mutant honey bees. The bitch had come down on Yellow Jackets gang like a ton of bricks, crushing her Hell's Raiders in one shot on the shore of Lake Erie, and driving them south out of her "kingdom." Banditry was a losers game up that way on account of the Queen bee and her swarm. It was good for people up there so long as they behaved themselves and paid the Queen's tax.

Yellow Jacket decided she'd had enough of pacing and threw herself on her cot. Where the hell were they? First they get thrown out of the great lakes area, then they somehow get robbed in the night and lose all the stuff they'd planned to deliver to the Astor prick in charge of God's Army, and now the guys she'd sent out to find out what the heck was going on had failed to return. It was promising to be a very shitty few days if things kept up like they'd been doing. Just about out of food, game getting scarce in this region, Hell's Raiders seemingly lost their nerve around here, and good if there wasn't a lot of freakish shit hanging around in the woods these days. She stood and looked long into the mirror. A rather slim woman who behaved about as severely as she looked stared back at her. Her face was sunken and unattractive, as it always had been. Neck and cheeks scarred from the day everything fell apart for the united clans, and the sallow unattractive body beneath it. Yellow Jacket ran a hand down her face and felt the ennui seeping back in. What had happened to the world in which a woman like her had to suffer defeat after defeat and had to reign shitheads in with an iron fist and a razored tongue? Yellow Jacket, Delores VanAllen that was, had been a kind, respected, and much loved HR director before the cataclysm. Saving people's jobs, seeing the good in seemingly scummy potential employees. Beaten down by the end of the world, a young freak with a perky exoskeleton, and a swarm of mastiff sized bees.

"God, life is shit..." She groaned at the woman in the mirror. She cleaned her face and looked again. That was a bit better. Along with the dirt, she'd also wiped away a measure of her more depressing thoughts. Then, she snatched the jacket from the back of the camp chair where it had been carelessly tossed, and she emerged into the light of late morning.

"Alright you fucks," she barked, "If those chucklefucks aren't back by five... Make it four, then we go west and hit the first thing we come across, got it?"

The men and women still following her stood and said as one, "Yes ma'am!" As rowdy as this bunch could be, they at least still respected her. In Yellow Jackets mind, that was all that really mattered.

"This is uh... Scouting party six on approach, we are coming into New Paris."

"Yeah, this is New Paris, Communications officer Khaki Jones speaking. What's up six?"

"Uuuh, Khaki, get Captain Sandell on the horn. We've got a situation up on the north side."

"Oh? I'll get her right away, but what's the situation six?"

"It's uh, God's Army Khaki."

"Aw fuck, Aw f-"

"They aren't fighting or anything Khaki, just a couple bus loads of people and uh... Khaki? New Paris?"

"What are they doing now? Six?"

"Following behind, going slow, trying not to spook us I think. Khaki, they've got mutants with em."

"Shit, okay uh, take it slow. We'll meet you by the place where the road turns sharp just before you hit the new fields, we can take em by surprise."

"I'm not sure ma'am, they ain't got those freaky robots with em, and most of these people are civilians hardly any fighters I think."

"Alright, I'll be sure to inform the Captain. Get ready for a fight though, we don't want to go through what we went through last year. Over."

Khaki let the radio fall silent in it's cradle, and gave it only a moment before hitting the big green button with the strip of tape under it reading "Cap's office."

It was going to be a stressful afternoon.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 07:03:24 am by saltmummy626 »
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