BC: I awoke exactly where I was, exactly as it was before I killed the man. Kate ran up,and I hugged her to me. Then, and only then, did I feel truly good. I had saved the Derelict colony, Kate, and Jane. As I was lifted onto the victorious shoulders of my troops, I felt at peace.
FC: The Way of the wastes | By Kevin Roberts
1: Welcome to Xion
2: I'm not going to lie. If you said I Was completely unremarkable, I would nod my head knowingly and walk away. Not that you could talk to me usually. I try to avoid people. People are trouble, and trouble was what got my wife taken away. Kate and I have had to live in the colony outside of the actual city of Xion, because the Ebon guard patrol the city.
3: I know what you're thinking, why am I hiding from the guard? Are they not the black suited defenders of Xion? You, my friend, have not heard the story of the derelict colony.
4: I | After day zero, when the world as most folks knew it came to a screaming closure, reducing all but Xion to ashes and wastes. The first people to pop up where the rich, the wealthy, crawling from their tucked away compound.
5: They built Xion up from the ashen wastes, and instituted the Ebon guard to further their own ends. When anyone who couldn't afford a gold plated, lead lined bunker caught wind of the return of civilization, the Ebon Guard where the ones who kept them out.
6: Now we live in shanty towns, trying to scrape up what we could to survive. My wife was the one who got the bright idea to get help from the city, and went to make an appeal. She has yet to return from her trip. Shortly after she left, The rich gave the statement of social Darwinism. If the poor were to live in the city, they would have to be productive and affluent enough to buy into the city. The Way of the wastes, they called it.
8: Now that the stage is set, I suppose we should begin. It had been like any other day in the Derelicts, and I was about to retire to some corner or empty house somewhere. Kate was out trying to nick something for us to eat. Yes we steal from necessity. But we certainly take no pride in it. No one has it easy outside Xion, and nobody could begrudge us for surviving.
10: After watching for a little bit, my attention begins to waver. I start to take in my surroundings, checking for bystanders, For cameras, anything that could happen. I was so busy looking for potential danger, I didn't even see the very real danger that was after my daughter!
11: Before I could comprehend it, an Ebon guardsman had nabbed my daughter. I just look back where she was, and see just a puff of sand! I tried to give chase, but A hand clasped over my mouth, and dragged me away. I thought at the time that this was how I would die! If I where lucky, and they didn't put me in the prison, of course.
12: But It wasn't the Guard who got me. I awoke in a darkened room. There was a young girl, about Kate's age standing over me, and she had obviously been taking care of me. I couldn't believe where I was! It looked like I was in a slum somewhere, and let me tell you, it was the nicest place I had been in! An old fishing trophy hung on the wall, and dozens of newspapers with what appeared to be hastily scrawled notes where piled high in a corner.
14: After I had taken in my surroundings, I looked for exits. there was a door close to my bed, but when the girl caught me eying it, she had said that was the bathrooms, and guests weren't allowed in there. I then look to the windows. Both where broken, and one had boarding and grating put up on it. the other one appeared to be more recent, and was smashed open. Would have been a real pain, if it had still rained anymore.
15: The broken window looked down on polluted streets 40 feet below, and didn't seem to be a good exit. so that left the one last door. Before I could take it into consideration, an old man stepped out, with a noticeable limp. I shifted and sat up, and saw that he had some sort of mechanical leg! The man looked down and grinned. | "You curious about this?" "Yes" "Well, I lost it trying to fight the guard."
16: The man continued "Now, you seem like the type who has no love for the Ebon guard, am I right?" I nodded my head enthusiastically "so, why did you stop me? I needed to save my daughter." The man points to his robotic leg. "Son, nobody fights the guard alone and wins! Take my advise, forget about it."
17: "You know I can't leave my daughter to their mercy!" "Okay." The man says. "Do you really want to risk it all for your daughter? Because even if you make it to the prison, you may not wish to see what you will see. It may not even be worth the effort. You still want to try?" "Yes." "Even if it is too late for her, and they do the same to you?" "Yes." "Good man, that's what I wanted to hear."
18: Having passed the man's test, apparently, I was helped to my feet. "Jane, I think we can show the guest the bathroom now." Opening the door, The first thing I saw was the pair of guns in a wooden cabinet. "How did you get a hold of these?" I asked, astonished. "It's amazing how few people actually check the wastes. Found a place, you see."
19: ""But this," the man continued as he lifted a sword from in the bathtub. "This is for you. I figure If you are to lead the people, they will need a symbol..." "What?" I interject. "Nobody could hope to get into the prison alone. You'd need an army" "But where can I get an army? Can I dig that up from the wastes too?" "No, Mr. Nelson but you must realize you aren't the only malcontent here.
20: ""This society is a powder keg, Mr. Nelson, we must simply find a spark." The man continued, giving me a meaningful look
21: "thanks for the sword and all,but how am I supposed to "make a spark?" Or how am I supposed to find this armory you mentioned..." "Now now, Jane will come with you, and she can help." "Okay, but who are you anyway? And what's in it for you?" "Just consider me a fellow malcontent, Mr. Nelson." "But..." Before I could say any more, I blacked out.
22: I awoke back where I had been. There was still no Kate, and no Ebon guard, and I was alone. What had happened? I thought, as I got up. Did the Guard do something to my mind? Was it a dream? As I worked my way up I feel something cold and metallic in my hand. Looking down, I see in my hand the Sword the man had given me. So was it not a hallucination?
23: I awoke back where I had been. There was still no Kate, and no Ebon guard, and I was alone. What had happened? I thought, as I got up. Did the Guard do something to my mind? Was it a dream? As I worked my way up I feel something cold and metallic in my hand. Looking down, I see in my hand the Sword the man had given me. So was it not a hallucination?
24: Two Ebon Guardsmen stood above us, weapons cocked. "You know derelicts are not allowed weapon possession!" One of the guards said. The other one said nothing, instead choosing to kick Jane back to the ground. "Step away from the fugitive, citizen, and we will get to you later. Penalty for resisting is incarceration." I look the man in the gas mask covered eyes "What did she do?"
25: The reaction behind his mask must have been one of astonishment. "Care to repeat, derelict?" the Guard said "what did she do?" I repeated. "For non- compliance, you will receive an incarceration, derelict." This guardsman was worse with people than I was. He demonstrated this by putting his gun to Jane's head. I couldn't take it any longer. I stuck out with my sword, and the Guard fell dead before me.
26: The other guard stared in disbelief, allowing Jane to kick his leg, making him buckle over. I smack him with the butt of my sword, incapacitating him. Jane tared at me and my blade, and said "I hope you know what you just did stranger. Because You just wasted your life to save me!" "I think we should make ourselves scarce!" I said to her, and we ran off into the night.
27: When we made it to relative safety, the questions began."Who are you?" Jane asked. "Percy Nelson. Why didn't your father tell you?" "My father? He was killed years ago. Where did you get the katana?" "The What?" "You don't know what your own sword is called? And where did you find it?" "You're dad gave it to me!" "You knew him? What was his name?" "I don't know, he just gave me a sword and said you'd help me!"
28: "Help you with what?" "Raise an army and break into the prison."
29: Jane eyed me quizzically. "Why do you want to get into a place like that?" "They took my daughter." "And you're going out to destabilize the government for her? it's a noble sentiment, Mr. Nelson..." "Call me Percy" "Percy, the guard don't take kindly to rabble rousers. They won't let you live, you realize." "I know, but I have to try. Your father said I had to provide a spark. I suppose it's worth a shot."
30: Jane's face went pale white. "A spark..." she muttered, holding herself tightly. "Before Dad died, He gave me a locket, and told me to never open it until "the spark" came." "that's creepy. Can't be a coincidence, can it? Do you have it?" Jane looked at me condescendingly. "No, I pawned it. Of course I have it!" she took out the locket. "Ever since I was a little girl, I was curious what was in this thing. Here goes!"
31: The locket opened with a stifled click, and opened. On one side was a picture of her father, who was definitely the man I had seen earlier in my whatever had happened to me. On the other side, was a pair of numbers: 26,31. "Well, that's not a letdown at all. Dad say anything about these numbers?" "No." Jane vexedly closed the locket. "Wait! I do remember! He mentioned something about a place in the wastes!"
32: "Okay, you know that there are dozens of places in the wastes, right?" "But he said that we could find weapons there! like my sword. Do you know any cartographers?" "No, but I think the Ebon Guard might have a map." I was both curious and impressed. "Why do you think that?" "They must have some maps somewhere, this place isn't exactly easy to navigate!" "You where in the city?" "Why do you think they wanted to arrest me?"
33: "I see. well, let's see if we can find some helpful guards." Since they where throwing a man hunt for the two of us, it was not hard. Jane isolated one of them, and I knocked him out. Fortunately, the guardsman had a map on him, and we made ourselves scarce before the next patrol came. We sat under a bridge, the river that used to flow under it long gone. I ran my finger through the map, and eventually found where we had to go.
34: It took us all night, but we eventually reached where we needed to be. It matched it's surroundings well, and it wouldn't surprise me that nobody would find it unless they where looking for it. It was a simple hatch in a blasted landscape, and was entirely unremarkable. "Heres hoping it's what's inside that counts!" Jane said, and I had the feeling she was looking at me.
35: And boy, did the inside count.
36: "Wow, dad wasn't kidding, was he?" "No, I guess not." Jane looked at me "You know, somethings bothering me. Why do you know more about my dad more than I do? Why has everything he's said to me relate to you somehow?" I didn't know what to tell her. I didn't know either. We just sat there, thinking about it, and the more I thought about it, the less it made sense to either of us.
37: "Jane?" "Yeah?" "what was your father's name?" "What? You don't know? It's... His name is... uhm..." Jane stopped trying to peace it together, and we both just looked at one another. "Don't know? that's strange..." We decided to spend the night in the bunker. Ironically, when we should have felt the best was when we where at our most confused and weakest.
38: Our sleep was a long and dreamless one, and when morning finally came, we awoke and planned what we had to do. Jane was dead set on staying to guard our cache, and I had to go rally the army, her reasoning that I was the mysterious "spark" and I had to rouse the troops. I would have argued with her, but I noticed that her eyes where red, as though she had been crying. I decided it was better to leave her alone.
39: And let me tell you, this left me in an awkward position. I had spoken more in the past 2 days than I had in my entire life. How was I supposed to raise an army from the angry poor. I pondered this, and made myself an entire speech to give out to the people. I could be totally prepared. I could do it, and everything would go fine!
40: Everything did not go fine. There I was in the only significant building in the Derelict Colony,standing on a mountain of cardboard boxes. on the plus side I had made enough noise getting hold of the boxes that I had pretty much everyone checking to see what was going on. On the downside, Everyone was watching me. I mounted my cardboard pile, and tried to begin my speech.
41: "Friends, listen to me well!" I begin "What do you think we are doing?" A heckler interjects. "Uhm... I think we all know why we are assembled here..." "Is this tryouts for something?" A confused woman shouts. "Yeah, you gonna do a trick?" I got angry. reaching out, I grab my sword and hold it above my head. The crowd is shocked into silence.
42: "No, friends! We are here for something far more dire! I don't know about the rest of you, but I am sick of being under the heel of the Ebon Guard! Why must we follow the Way Of The Wastes, scraping away our lives under their boot heels? Why are they who rule us oppress? Why do evil men, who enslave us, and arrest us, and kill those of us who don't bow down to them in charge? What separates them from us but the Ebon Guard?
43: As we speak, good honest people are held captive and tortured in the prison! I can't be the only one with loved ones in there that we may never see again! Who's with me? Who says we tear down the prison, and then the guard, and then we live in the city, not as transients but equals! Who's with me?" I was amazed at the reaction I got. I had done it. I had stirred up the hornet's nest. I had an Army. "But where will we find weapons like yours?"
44: Oh, I know a place...
45: This was it. I surprisingly short order, I had outfitted my band of true survivors, and was ready to destroy the Prison. The look on Jane's face when we came down was one I will treasure always. After we had what we needed, we advanced on the Prison. Finally, we all stood at the foot of the Prison, a massive concrete structure, and we where ready for a fight.
46: "Attention citizens," A smug voice came in from an intercom "We request all citizens lay down your arms. We will only arrest 1 in every 3 of you if you rabble disperse now." One of my more radical follwers responded by firing a shot into the loud speaker, a signal I did not know about, but translated into "Charge." The thing about prisons, they are built with the intention of keeping prisoners in. They are therefore not prepared for, say, a siege.
47: And It was also clear that the Ebon guard did not expect anyone to try to break in, so there was very little outward defense, and the walls were in no condition to withstand weapon fire. They came down in short order, and My army swept in like a swarm of gun toting locusts. The Ebon guard was based largely on instilling fear in lesser opponents. Against people who had to survive the apocalypse on their own merits, they stood no chance.
48: I'd almost feel sorry for them, where it not for the fact every one of them had it coming.
49: Soon all the guard had fell to the vicious poor, and the last few had retreated to the warden's office. The voice on the intercom Chimed in a worried tone "Attention: All citizens lay down your arms, and you may leave the grounds with impunity!" Even if he hadn't been lying through his teeth, I'm pretty sure nobody would have listened to him. Finally, the prison fell, and all the prisoners where set free.
50: It was a beautiful sight, seeing so many people reunited, so many shattered families made whole again. I saw Kate and ran to her. Fate had other plans, and I blacked out.
51: I awoke in the Apartment in the slums again. Jane's father entered and applauded. "Congratulations, Mr. Nelson! I had worried all those years of preparation had gone to waste! So Nelson, how does it feel to be the man of the hour, to have taken your selfish guest and restored hope to an entire people? I knew I had found the perfect puppet."
52: "Excuse me?" "Ah yes," the man chuckled to himself like he had found a great joke only he could find in my words. "Yes, I have done well choosing my playthings" he said, as Jane materialized in front of us, floating unnaturally. "What did you do to her?" "Who, Jane, I believe, yes, one of my children..." Jane vanished before my eyes. "She has served her purpose, and you yours. Unlike her, however, the nature of our agreement is of one use"
53: "That's a person you're talking about!" The man openly laughed at that. "Mr. Nelson, she is more a puppet that you! She signed away for an extended service, and I use her for whatever purpose I need. Indeed, I like to think about it as a signiture of mine. When she's involved, I'm behind it. My peers say it's sloppy of me, but I think it's an interesting idea." "What are you talking about, old man?"
54: "Things you mortals where never meant to know. I tried explaining it once, but the poor man just snapped. I suppose you mortals can't see beyond themselves. Do yourself a favor, and don't look a gift horse in the mouth. I simply wish my sword back, and I can cut those strings on you." "I'm not a puppet!" "yes you are, Mr. Nelson. Does it not strike you odd how coincidences all piled up the way they did? How conviniently everything fell into place?"
55: "How you meet the girl after you meet me? How everything I said came in later? How you are able to rouse a crowd to war with no prior experience in speech making? you are a puppet on a string, Mr. Nelson, just give me my sword, and you can go back to normal. blissfully forget it all." "You want this sword?" I say, before making a break for the door the man always comes in "then come get me!"
56: "What is this?"
57: "This, Mr. Nelson, is something that should not have been seen by you. Turn back now, and you may still return normal. I beg of you, Mr. Nelson, just give me the sword." "And what happens if I drop this sword down here?" "I beg of you, Mr. Nelson, Do not do that. It could very well end the multiverse." "Unless you want this to take a fall, you will bring Back Jane, And you will free her!" "Mr. Nelson, why should you care for this woman? she had her deal, you have yours.
58: "Why do you trifle with powers beyond either of our comprehension, when you can go free?" "Because Jane Is a person, not some cosmic plaything! Let her go!" "Very well, Mr. Nelson. No strings attached." Jane appears before me a look of confusion on her face "Who are you?" She says, looking at me.
59: "And What are you doing with that Monster!"
60: "Setting you free, Jane!" "How do you know me? why would you set me free?" The Man Walks towards me "Now, Mr. Nelson, the sword! Give it to me!" "Wait! Before you can have it, you must return us to my home, where you took me!" "Very well, Mr. Nelson. Now, give me the sword!" He says, as Jane fades away and the world starts to go black. "No strings attached?" "No strings, Mr. Nelson."
61: "Then Have the sword!"
62: Citations Garry's Mod, Version 13, Garry Newman, Valve software, Facepunch studios, 2012, video game