Looking For Answers

0

Dystopia Rising has been going through some major changes. One of them is a huge shift to a new, more streamlined rules system. Now, I’m not here to debate the rules. I don’t even know enough about mechanics to pull that off. But I’m happy to give the new system a try and see if I enjoy it. Part of the process of switching to that new system is that we’re having a three year time skip. At my last DR event in August, Jeanie was 31 years old (not that she knows that). At my next event, in September, Jeanie will be 34. So, this story, is what happens a good year into that time skip. As always, Jeanie is my own character. Hugh is a character I made up solely for this singular short story. The rest of these characters are owned by the wonderful people who created them.

********

The compliance labs of the Iron Works had documented everything. Their work with the Iron Dragoons had been a massive atrocity that should have mentally destroyed those involved. It didn’t. They were focused on the science of it all. Not that they believed Irons were even worth considering as people, so they never once choked up about the potential repercussions of their actions. No, they focused on the data and science. And, as proper scientists, they documented everything in explicit detail.

It would have been impressive if not for the horrific subject matter.

Jeanie sat at the desk, stacks of research notes on the desk around her. Piles of it on chairs and on the floor. A metal mug sat near Jeanie’s open research notebook, filled with a tea that had long ago been forgotten and gone cold. The Iron was hunched over, reading through some of the data in front of her and pausing to take her own notes in her notebook, muttering each word she wrote under her breath.

With a groan, Jeanie dropped her pen and reached her arms up to stretch. She turned at the sound of the door creaking open. An Unstable entered the room carrying a crate. He smiled at Jeanie as he walked over and looked for a place to put his things.

“How’s the research going?” He pulled out two metal tins that had been strapped closed and handed one over. “Find out anything useful?”

Jeanie shook her head and turned the chair around to better face him. “There’s a lot of data on the areas of the brain responsible for decision making and compliance with demands and the relationship between the two thought processes. Earlier dragoons were created based on this data, complete with brain surgery to destroy the decision-making centers of the brain right in the most frontal area. It’s gruesome stuff. But, at least it can be used to help design the deprogramming process for the Dragoons. Give them a chance to start making their own decisions again.” Jeanie opened up her tin. It had creamed corn with some strips of grilled chicken sitting on top. In the middle sat a divider separating the corn and chicken from some canned peaches in syrup. Jeanie grinned at the sight of the peaches.

“What is it?” the Bay Walker had asked from where he stood next to Jeanie behind the bar.

“Peaches. Irradiated. Very tasty. The radiation gives it a nice cinnamon flavor.” Jeanie grinned with mischief.

“You should try some!” Francis had very helpfully added.

“But it’s irradiated.” Billy looked down at the peach in his hand. “Will it make me sick?”

Jeanie shrugged. “If it does, it won’t kill you. You’ll be fine.”

Billy Foster shrugged and took a massive bite out of the irradiated fruit he held. A few moments later he hunched his back over the bar and groaned as the telltale signs of radiation poisoning began to set into his body.

“What’s so funny? It’s mostly just canned food from the storehouse.”

“Nothing,” Jeanie muttered grabbing a fork from his crate. “It’s just… I was remembering when I willingly got a Bay Walker to eat an irradiated peach back in the Grove. It was… it was a fun time.”

“Must have been awhile ago. I mean, it’s from when you were living in the Mass. How long have you been living here in Three Rivers now?”

Jeanie put her fork down and looked over at the Unstable. “I’ve lived out west here for most of my life, Hugh, though mostly Motor City. But this time? It’s been almost a year since I came back.”

“A year? You gonna go back or stay here?”

“I’ll go back. The Grove is my home and there are a lot of painful memories here.”

“So, then how long you staying?”

Jeanie shrugged and took another bite. “Til the job is done. When I know there is a successful process for ensuring that Dragoons forced into submission and blind compliance have their free will once again and it won’t require a trip through the gravemind to get it back. That’s when I can go home.”

Hugh nodded and took another bite. After a moment, he paused and sat up straight, putting his meal down for a moment. “Oh, something came in for you today.” He leaned over and reached into the crate, pulling out a small package of brown paper and twine. “Mainz told me that this was for you. Said to bring it with your dinner and that I couldn’t give it to you till you ate something. Then they started ranting about how you’re worse than Tommi at the whole getting caught up in your work thing and you forget to take care of yourself and if it weren’t for them looking out for you, you’da starved awhile back.” He handed the package over to Jeanie. “It was actually kinda funny. They kept saying fuck as they ranted.”

Jeanie chuckled. “Yeah, that sounds like Mainz.” Jeanie looked over the package. The label on it stated that it was from the Aysea, well, what was left of the place.

“So what is it?” Hugh asked.

“Let me open it first, will you?” Jeanie grabbed a nearby knife and sliced through the twine. She tore the paper off to find a bundle of papers with a small letter on top. The letter simply read “Here’s the information you requested. Hope you find what you’re looking for.”

The iron quickly scanned through the documents. Her eyes would run across the page as her fingers slid over the writing. Then she’d flip to the next page and do it all again.

Finally, she stopped. Jeanie’s finger tapped on a number. A-816.

“Come on!” Hugh piped in again. “What is it? What’s it say?”

“It’s information about my sister. I’ve been looking for her, for years. Since she was sold from Motor City when I was a kid. Once, after I ran away, I got a letter from her. I hadn’t heard anything since then. Not til now.”

“Wait, really? What happened? Is she okay?”

Jeanie turned back to the previous page. In the Aysea. There was a riot. An uprising of Irons. They were all fighting for freedom. There’s a bunch that succeeded. They got free.” Jeanie froze and grinned. “Emily! Her number’s on here! She was there! She got out. She’s free!”

“Who’s Emily?”

“Emily Gordon. She was a friend. She helped me when I first got free and went to Hayven. She was the first person I met. She helped find me a safe place to stay. We went to the May Cape together and got snatched by slavers. I got away. I thought she was with me. But she wasn’t. She’s been in the Aysea every since. She’s free now.”

“That’s awesome! What about your sister?”

Jeanie read through more of the page and turned back to the one where she had found her sister’s number. “She… didn’t make it. She was noted among those that died in the fight. This says a bunch had died in the fight and when they didn’t come out of the morgue, they were looked for in the hordes that showed up. Her zed was put down that night.”

“Oh.” Hugh looked down at his food. “Sorry about your sister then.”

Jeanie shook her head. “No, don’t be. She died fighting for freedom. If you have to die, what better way is there to die?”

“I guess that’s true. I mean, especially with the whole, you don’t know if today’s your last, so enjoy it thing. Fighting for freedom sounds like a really good last day.”

Jeanie rolled her eyes and looked over at her blue glowing friend. “You sound like my uncle.”

“Is he a hedon?”

“A hierophant.”

“Then I’m doing the faith right!”

Jeanie shook her head and closed the now empty metal tin. “I should get back to work. There’s still a lot to do before I can formulate a proper theory to start testing. Fuck, what I wouldn’t give to have Idle and Mica here helping. We’d get this done so much faster.”

“Or, you could come back with me to Mainz and Tommi and get some rest. It’s well past nightfall.”

“Is it?”

Hugh nodded. “Seriously, you need to sleep too. Mainz told me to knock you out and drag you if I had to.”

Jeanie threw her hands up. “Fine. No sense in arguing with Mainz. They’ve got the stubbornness of Yorkers, like my mom Shea, down real good. If they say to stop working and rest, they’ll make sure it happens.”

Hugh smiled. “Besides, tomorrow is Saturday and the hedon temple has some fun stuff going on. You don’t even gotta be a Hedon to get involved and have some fun.”

Jeanie chuckled and turned out the lights, closing the door behind them both. “We’ll see.”

Advertisements

It’s Time To Fly

0

I had my third Advanced Profession Test at Dystopia Rising this past weekend and I wanted to try and recreate it here as best as I could. This isn’t a perfect recreation, but goodness am I so happy with every part of it. The test was fantastic and wonderful and I loved it so so much. Such great RP and a great way to get me ready for DR:Evolved coming out. Note – this isn’t me talking about my opinions on the system but just me saying my rp has led up to me knowing exactly how to handle the time skip and re-entering game when 3.0 starts. EITHER WAY, I hope you enjoy my memory of the weekend.

**********

Jeanie happily sat on the ground next to her uncle, joking about the outfit she was wearing. It had become obvious, even to the iron, how much her confidence had grown over the past few months. And while she was nervous about her test happening today, likely from Delta, she was still happy. Though, definitely still nervous. It was hard to not be nervous when she found out that Dr. Hibiki, from last night’s medical procedure with patient zero of this unknown disease, had given samples of the disease to Delta, her teacher. The nervousness got worse when she had been told that those who were working on learning to be saint’s of their faith were told they were going to be involved in her test. Then again, she could do this. She’d succeeded so far. She had grown confidence in herself and knew what she was capable of. She could do this, no matter how deadly it would likely be.

Take a deep breath. Don’t worry about. Focus on the fact that Charles is judging the red and black Krey outfit his seamstress had chosen. Focus on the fact that he had called her last outfit a sexy librarian. Anything but her nerves.

There were footsteps coming up behind her. Jeanie turned and looked to see who was walking up to the post office, where they all sat. Dr. Hibiki and Delta together. Dr. Hibiki held a briefcase in his hands.

“Hello!” Delta looked so incredibly excited. Today, his face was green like the leaves growing on most of the trees. But between some of the leaves, hidden in the shadows they created, twinkled two bright childish eyes.

“I should probably get up,” Jeanie muttered under her breath, nervous, but ready. It was time. With a deep breath and some continued conversation that she only half heard, she headed into the library with Delta and Dr. Hibiki to find Idle and gather everyone else who was going to be involved.

“So Delta, I heard that Dr. Hibiki gave you a blood sample from last night’s diseased patient,” Jeanie turned to her teacher, refusing to acknowledge all the hurt that she still held from his actions a few years ago.

“Nah! We’re gonna take that sample and put it inside you! Cause you’ve already had so many diseases and been so irradiated that it’ll either force your body to mutate past the disease or it’ll kill you. But you’re the best person to test and study this disease on! I think you’ll evolve past it.”

Jeanie took a deep breath and turned to Idle and Lyra who were setting up the library into a make shift surgery bay. “Remember what I told you about the disease last night and what I thought would happen? Yeah? Well, I knew it!” She turned back to Delta.

“So what do you think about that?” he asked with a huge grin! He was practically bouncing with excitement.

Jeanie rocked her head from side to side. “Given what I saw of the disease last night, it has solid scientific theory behind it and I understand why I’m the most valid test subject for this research. That said, as a scientist, I’m a little angry that I can’t be watching this happen to take down notes and data because this disease is utterly fascinating. I’m not saying I won’t do it. Just that I wish I could watch it happen.”

She looked over at those continuing to set up. Idle was taking charge and discussing notes and theories with Dr. Hibiki. Quinzie, Sigmund, and Lyra were helping set up and praying. Dr. Candy was there prepping the area and ensuring tools were clean and people were inoculated so that they wouldn’t catch the disease. Jeanie made a quick comment about how she’d be right back. She wanted to make sure she had water near by since it would likely be an exhausting process. Plus, it would let her find Charles and Spooky Jak. She wanted them to know that it was time. She wanted them to know who had her will and what to do with her items on the off chance that something went horrifically wrong. She didn’t believe anything would go wrong, but it didn’t hurt to be ready. Especially with how deadly this disease could be.

It wasn’t long til she was laying down on the bed with everyone surrounding her.

Dr. Hibiki took a syringe full of diseased blood and grabbed her right arm, pumping it into her body. Jeanie balled her hand into a fist trying to ignore the sensation of a needle piercing through the skin for the first time in almost two years. It had to be her right forearm. That was a sensation she wanted to forget.

It wasn’t long before her body started showing symptoms of the infection now raging within her. She started shivering as her body started to spike a fever. Her joints started to ache. Quinzie looked over Jeanie and let everyone know what was going on. The iron closed her eyes and listened as Spooky Jak, Tri, and Idle were debating what brew to use next. Jeanie reminded everyone in the group that the brews would not work as normal and to not expect that any of them would do what this team wanted.

They helped Jeanie up and Idle poured a brew down Jeanie’s throat. Then new symptoms would appear as the disease mutated in response to the brew. Over and over. Help the Iron sit up. Help her drink another brew. Take syringes of people’s blood and pump them into her arms. Repeat the process with addictive drugs, including drugs the Iron had struggled with. Over and over the symptoms would change. Her nerves were on fire. She was shaking with fever. She was dissociating and losing chunks of memory and comprehension. She curled onto her side in pain as a tumorous growth started forming in her stomach and then popped with a burst of radiation through the room. Her heart stopped and then she jumped up with a gasp as one of the priests called down the power of their faith into her. At one point, Idle asked for permission to put Mother’s Milk into Jeanie’s arm. Jeanie shuddered and agreed, if only because none of the drugs were acting as they were supposed to and she had yet to feel any of the familiar responses to any of the drugs that she already knew. Besides, it was for science. It was for faith. She had to believe that she would get through this and the team truly believed that Mother’s Milk was the right option at the time.

Thank Savanna that Jak Warner wasn’t around to see it at least.

It was going relatively well, for the most part. Til things started to spiral in the wrong direction. Something was wrong. Jeanie could feel it. Something was horribly horribly wrong. Something was mutating painfully. Her mind raced. What could be going on? What happened last night that could explain this? She remembered the image of the Remnant from last night. Watching as the woman’s eyes started to physically grown and the ridges that were her remnant mutation started shrinking and disappearing. Jeanie screamed, asking to know what was happening. Was she still glowing? Was she even still an Iron? She had worked so hard to come to an understanding with her strain. Her confidence in herself had grown. She didn’t know if she wanted that to change anymore. What was she becoming?

Jeanie started to cry and dropped the rad rods she had been holding for comfort. Tears sliding down her face. “Why am I doing this? What’s the point?” The iron had grown so much and gained so much. Was evolution worth it if it meant changing everything that brought her to this point? Even Delta had said to not ignore what she had been through and what she was? So why were they changing it now? Was everything a lie? It had to be a lie. Finch was wrong. Sparrow was wrong. Delta. Spooky Jak. They were all wrong. She couldn’t do this. It was wrong. She had to get up. She had to go.

Jeanie sat up and a burst of power shot through her hands and into Nell, freezing the Rover into place. She had to get out of here. Hands started trying to stop her and sit her down. She was carrying an unknown disease that was incredibly deadly after all. They couldn’t let her leave, but she couldn’t stay. People wouldn’t leave her alone. Goodness, why wouldn’t they leave her alone? She felt the power burst out of her hands again. Over and over. Everyone kept trying to stop her from leaving. Everyone kept trying to push her down onto the bed. And every time she shot a burst of power out of her hands, freezing them and keeping them from touching her. Charles picked up his niece. She struggled in his arms, trying to get free, shooting power into him that he kept resisting.

“Hold her down. Get rope. We have to tie her down,” he shouted as he placed her back on the bed. Everyone’s hands were pushing down on the iron. She kept fighting back. It wasn’t worth it. She had to leave. She kept fighting back as they rolled her over to her side. She kept fighting back til she felt her uncle’s fist slam into the back of her head and the world went black.

She woke up convulsing and straining against the ropes that held her down as the procedure continued. More syringes. More brews being poured down her throat. More pain and fire and ache. More exhaustion as more and more of her body struggled.

It wasn’t long before she closed her eyes and her body relaxed. It wasn’t long before she slipped into a coma.

“Darwinism is about getting stronger than you already are. About getting better. A curie is our leader. Like a mom. Disco is like the mom of our church,” Cal carefully explained to the scared and curious Iron as they both sat in the Double Tap. It was her first time in a town after finally escaping from Motor City two months ago.

“Jeanie you can do this,” someone said.

“Darwinism is like the butterfly in the story I just read to you,” Disco explained. “You’re the caterpillar. But you’ll grow and things will be rough. You’ll find yourself hurting and feeling awful. That’s like being in the cocoon. But then, you’ll break free of it all. You’ll find you changed. You’ll be the butterfly.”

“Jeanie’s cocooned herself. She’s stuck in her head. She’s turning into her butterfly and we just have to give her the strength to break free. Everyone grab hands. We can get her out of this.”

Jeanie stared out the door of the room where the nuclear reactor sat under the Double Tap. Disco had just run out into the snow to grab the rad rod that had shot out when Jeanie found it in the pipes. The rest of the crew smiled at the fact that they had together fixed the reich’s computer and figured out how to get the reactor working finally. Disco walked back in and held out the glowing green rod. “Hey kid. Here’s the rad rod you shot out of the reactor. Welcome to the faith!” Disco’s smile peaked out from under the metal mask that hid her rotting skin. There was pride there in the young Iron who had just figured out how to fix the nuclear reactor and save the town.

“Jeanie,” Spooky Jak’s voice could faintly be heard from far away. “You’ve come so far. Believe in yourself. This is your chance to grow.”

“Prove to me why you want this radiation again?” Jenna asked, the rainbow mohawk fluttering in the breeze from the window. Jeanie thought quietly a moment before answering “because radiation leads to mutation and growth. There’s scientific evidence for that. I want to grow and I trust it to help me.” Jenna smiled and opened the led box she held, revealing the blue glow inside it.

“It’s time to wake up!” another voice called to her.

“I see the changes in your body already,” Tiren explained as they sat on the steps of the Church in the summer night’s heat. “Your genes are already changing. You’re going to do great things one day.”

“Jeanie,” Nell’s voice cut through the memories. “You don’t need me to be your therapist anymore. Now I’m just your friend.”

Jeanie looked down at the dying Ascensorite in her arms. His blood covered the snowy ground. His blood covered the Iron’s hands. Delta coldly stared down at the broken Iron and the mutilated man she held. “Evolution is supposed to be painful,” he spat out.

“There is no future. There is no past.” Charles began to sing. “I live this moment as my last.”

Jeanie cried. This was the man who had cheered her on. This was the one who understood her struggles as an Iron. This was the one who knew how to help her grow. This was the love of her life. “Jeanie,” he croaked out with ragged breath, “Be the bird I know you’re meant to become.”

“Jeanie,” Delta’s voice cut through everything she was reliving. “It’s time to break your chains. It’s time to fly.”

Slowly the iron began twitching on the cot. Her body started shifting as her mind returned to the present. To the people around her, cheering her on. Her eyes fluttered open and she slowly sat up.

Everyone quietly watched, waiting.

The iron’s body shuddered and convulsed. Her head flew backward as a rad cloud burst from her chest and into the room. Most of the room dropped to the floor with shouts of pain. Jeanie sat there, feeling the warmth of the glow settling around her. It felt soothing. It gave her strength.

Jeanie caught eyes with Delta and his face burst into a grin.

Jeanie had evolved.

Apotheosis

0

Sometimes a Dystopia Rising event is so good, I have to try and recreate a scene that happened. This is one of those moments. As always, Jeanie is my own character. The other characters are owned by their players and the world is owned by the amazing people of Eschaton Media.

**********

“How are you evolving?” he asked very plainly. There was no skirting around the topic, just blunt and to the point. It is easy to understand someone like Richard Corey when they speak very plainly.

“I’ve been learning to not hate myself. I’ve been learning how to be comfortable being an Iron. I’ve been learning how to survive and have the will power that you spoke of earlier.” Jeanie smiled with pride. It had been a hard journey to where she was now. But with the support of her Curie, of her therapist, of Finch and Mica, of her Uncle, and even Jak Warner, she had grown and come so far. Her evolution was evident, even to the Iron now.

“Therapy and self help are admirable. Good even. They are important, but they are something everyone can do. They are not evolution. They are human. You are more than human. You are growing into something that no one else can follow or be. How are you going to evolve?”

Jeanie thought quietly to herself and looked away from the Techno Savant and towards the sky. Her thoughts raced. He didn’t want pieces of small evolutionary progress. He wanted to know the massive genetic level changes that Jeanie would endure as a result of the radiation in her pocket and the infection in her body.

Some birds flew across the sky. She smiled and heard a voice, long since removed from the wastes.

Be the bird I know you’re meant to become.

“I want to fly.”

Richard Corey placed his hands in the pockets of his lab coat. “Why?”

“I want to feel the wind against me. I want to explore the world and go where ever I want, with no one holding me back or telling me not to.”

“Ruse has an airship. Go with him.”

“That’s not the same. Technology is amazing and wonderful. We do so many things with it, but it isn’t going to last forever. We have to keep updating it and making it new. If I fly on my own, without the support of technology, then no one and nothing can stop me.”

“You want to be an animal? A bird?”

Jeanie shrugged and nodded. “Yes.”

“Flying. Self love. Those are things anyone can do. Becoming a bird? An animal. A creature to be hunted. A creature that shits wherever. This is not evolution, Jeanie. How are you going to evolve? How are you going to be greater than you are? How are you going to achieve apotheosis?” Richard Corey’s arms flew out from his coat and his face contorted.

Jeanie took a deep breath and felt her heart sink. She was being tested.

And she was failing.

The Iron slave gulped and looked at the world around her. She watched as Mica walked across the field to join Jeanie and the Techno Savant in their discussion.

What was Richard Corey looking for? What was he getting at?

“Jeanie, how many times have you died?” 

She looked back to the mad man who stood before her. “As in, died and passed through the grave or including the times I died as part of a tank heart procedure?”

“How many times have you died?”

Jeanie took a deep breath. “Seven.”

“And if you died again, would you come back?”

Jeanie swallowed and looked down at the grass they stood on. “No. I’ve green veined. I won’t come back alive.”

“You could die tomorrow. You could die tonight even, and your big plan is to become a bird?” The techno savant started raising his voice. “You are evolving. Your body is changing. You are becoming greater than anyone in this town could ever be. You are becoming greater than me. Greater than Mica here. You are on the path to becoming a god. How are you going to evolve?”

Jeanie looked up to the sky so that she wouldn’t have to make eye contact with either techno savant. She was failing her test. She didn’t know what they wanted.

“Ummm,” she muttered quietly.

“You are squandering your path,” the mad man screamed at her. “How are you going to achieve apotheosis? Have you ever even thought of this? Have you ever even considered that you are becoming a god? Or have you just been wasting away your chance? Am I wrong Jeanie? Tell me I’m wrong! Correct me! Tell me how you’re going to achieve apotheosis!”

Jeanie took a deep breath and lowered her eyes. “I…” The Iron paused. She could not just guess or try to convince him. Every thought she’d ever had about her evolution had already been given and gotten her nowhere. She had never thought beyond, the way he was asking about. She couldn’t answer him. She couldn’t prove him wrong at all.

Jeanie looked over at Mica. The remnant watched her without any judgement. Encouraging eyes reminding that she had already come so far. She could do this.

Jeanie turned back to Richard Corey. “You’re not wrong. I’d never thought about this before. I’d always hated myself and didn’t know what to do about it. So I tried the one thing I could think of and understand. I dosed myself with massive amounts of radiation. Maybe I could change my genetic structure. Maybe I could stop being an iron. Radiation could work. I have eleven rods in my pocket.”

Jeanie paused and took a deep breath. She could hear the lectures that Finch had given her over and over in her mind. She could hear the words of Spooky Jak. She could hear the way both had consistently told her again and again how what she had been doing wasn’t working.

“I have a bad habit of not knowing what to do. So I keep trying the same things over and over. Cause it’s all I understand. So I kept dosing myself with radiation. I wanted to fly, to stop being an Iron, so that I wouldn’t feel like a slave anymore. But it wasn’t working. So I finally… stopped trying. I stopped fighting to change my genetics. I started working to be okay with what I’ve lived through and what I’ve done. I started trying to be proud of myself. Because if I’m never proud of myself, then I’m never going to be good enough, no matter how much I change.”

“So, you seek perfection.”

“No. Perfection is an ideal, not a reality. No matter how much one changes, they can always be even better than that. But if they hate themselves, then no matter how much one changes, there is no evolution because they’ll never see it as a positive mutation. In order to evolve, one must start learning to be proud of who they are. So, I stopped trying to evolve and started trying to accept me. I never thought about what you’re asking of. I never thought of how to be better and stronger than this. You’re not wrong.”

“Jeanie, you are changing and growing. You are becoming better than everyone around you. You need to accept that. You need to understand that you are becoming an example of evolution. You are becoming a beacon of radiation, a light for everyone around you. You are a living example of the power of change. You are becoming a god. You need to accept that. Can you do this? Can you be a god?”

Jeanie thought about it a moment. A living example of evolution. A beacon of change. A leader. She took a deep breath and met Richard Corey’s gaze. “Yes, I can.”

The mad man dropped his hands to his side and nodded his head. No more yelling. No more pushing questions into thoughts that she had never faced before. Just quiet resolution. “I believe you.”

When Jeanie and Mica returned to town, she no longer walked as the quiet Iron who was just trying to survive. She walked with the confidence of a leader, a beacon of change. She walked with the determination of someone who had a job to complete.

She walked back into town, a god.

Freedom is a Gift

0

Dystopia Rising just had some AMAZING massive national level plot. They had realized there were some problematic elements in their story/world. They were working on rewriting and updating it and built that into plot rather than ending everything and starting over (which I personally love) and one of those stories that came out of these massive world updates involved the entire world working together to overthrow slavery. It’s been fantastic. Part of this included the entire plot line of their yearly springtime national event Uprise. For those of us who stayed at home, we got to be involved in some fantastic plots that could effect those playing at the event, such as volunteering our characters to go fight on the front lines and take injuries and deaths to help make it easier on the players at the event. I had my Unborn participate. This is her story.

**********

The Unborn knelt down and very slowly scooped the dirt into her hands while looking up across the field. The Vee-Dubs were leading the charge with their motorized caravans. There was a huge crowd of people gathered from various settlements. All of them here for the same reason, to take down the Iron Works. The world was finally starting to understand that treating people as less than equal to everyone else is completely and utterly wrong. The ancestors gave everyone the infection. The ancestors invited everyone into the great whole. The ancestors chose to make everyone equal. The ancestors gave everyone the gift of freedom. And these people here at the Iron Works decided to try and other the red workers and treat them as lesser.

Anyxa brushed the dirt onto her hands and stood. The words of the not dead one, the town called him Spooky Jak, echoed in her mind. The call to arms. We had this fight of our own, but it was time for the rest of the wastes to fight too. The teeth, the one they called Jackal, was going as well. Together they were gathering town folk to fight. Anyxa chose to go with them.

She stood slowly, green skin, soot smears, and eyes blaring. She grinned with wicked glee.

The group was quiet. There was tension in the air as everyone looked across the field. The Iron Works soldiers were staring them down. On the other side of the field was a large stash of missiles. That was the goal. Get the missiles for the resistance. Use them to fire on the enemy so that when everyone else went in to fight, there were less troops and tanks to hurt them. The more we could get out now, the better the chance in the long run.

The wastes went silent for a moment.

Then there was a large scream.

Two worlds ran towards each other. The Vee-Dubs engines roaring. Anyxa cackled and flung her hands out to her sides, feeling the burning heat fill her fingertips. Explosions rang out. Dirt flying up with the smoke and clouding vision. Gunshots peppered the air.

Anyxa screamed and threw her hand forward, pushing the fire from her hands into the nearest Iron Works soldier. “Freedom is a gift from the Ancestors, you fucker!” Anyxa slammed her fist into his shoulder. She may not have been good at punching, but she felt the power flow through her fist. The soldier stared up at her in terror and screamed as he curled onto the ground to protect his face from the visions that she placed in his heads. The Unborn giggled as she threw more and more fire at him.

There was a screaming whistle and then an explosion. Anyxa felt her body get thrown backwards. She felt the familiar burning just like Devil’s Rest and looked down to see the edge of her sleeves singed and burning. She saw the familiar twisted black flesh of burnt skin on her arms. Anyxa screamed in delight. She closed her eyes and breathed in the fire burning around her.

God, she loved fire.

She could thank the Hansfields for that.

She screamed in delight and looked around for the nearest soldier to go after.

“She!” Brother Claudio screamed,” Behind you!”

The Unborn spun around in time to watch the soldier’s blade stab into her gut. He screamed and yanked the blade out before stabbing again into her chest as she fell. She landed on her side. From the corner of her eyes she watched Brother Claudio fall. She closed her eyes as the world became peaceful.

She felt joy.

She felt ecstatic.

She felt the ancestors reaching for her.

She felt the cold steal slice through her neck and the world went cold.

The test

0

This is me attempting to rewrite a scene that happened at this past Dystopia Rising game. I don’t usually rewrite scenes from the game because I never remember them well enough to do them justice. They’re never exactly like they were in game and that kind of bugs me. However, this scene was extremely important to Jeanie’s character growth and it was a very big, exciting deal for me, so I wanted to share it. The other characters are creations of the players who played them (and were written here to the best of my ability as they were played out in the scene) and the world is from the amazing people at Eschaton Media.

**********

“Hey Jeanie! Delta’s here!”

Jeanie felt her breath catch in her throat. Delta. The Ascensor who had killed Caleb. Delta. The one who promised to be around so he could help her evolve. Delta. The one who disappeared for almost two years rather than keep his promise.

The Ascensor towered over her, his weapon dripping with blood. Tears streamed down her face as she held her dying mate in her arms.

“Evolution is supposed to hurt. Say your goodbyes.”

The Iron’s face felt red with anger. What could she even say to him that would make up for how far she fell when he refused to show back up and help, like he promised he would? What could make up for falling into so deep a personal hell that her struggles were colored by the drugs she shot into her arm, the desperate need for death, the deep struggle with even knowing how to get through to the next morning? Jeanie fought to focus on Spooky’s voice as he spoke of Richard Corey’s newest mechanical mess. She struggled to keep from turning and slamming her fists into the face of the smiling Darwin who didn’t quite realize how badly he’d hurt her.

It wasn’t long before her barely contained rage turned and starting spewing out on the young Ascensor.

“You left me! You promised to be back in a few weeks and you left me. It’s been almost two years now! Two years! You said you’d help me get through it. You promised. And you left me.”

“Yea…” he shrugged. “The seasons changed faster than I thought. I got caught up with the Hansfields that winter.”

“That winter? It was the last snowfall! The Hansfields had already left for the summer! They weren’t a threat in that moment!”

“I really was with them for awhile. They don’t really let people leave.”

“No, really?” Jeanie screamed at him. “You left and spent time with them. Meanwhile, I ended up far worse than I’ve ever lived.”

“So, what happened then?”

“Let’s see. I was more of a drug addict than ever before. I wanted to die and even tried to make it happen. Months of my life just lost to drugs and hating everything.”

“Okay, and did you grow?”

“I mean, I’m clean and sober. I don’t want to die anymore.”

“So then, I did keep my promise!” He grinned happily.

“Oh? And just how did you do that considering you left me!”

“I promised that I wouldn’t let you use me as a crutch.”

Jeanie rolled her eyes and glared at him.

“How about this,” Delta began, “How about we go find a place to see and we talk to a few people about how much you’ve grown since then.”

The two found their way over to a table in the bar and sat down. They called over a few people who have known Jeanie long enough to honestly answer how she’d been doing. Jeanie sat quietly listening to everyone tell Delta how she’d been doing, quietly listening as her anger slowly turned to embarrassment over the deep prying into her life.

“Jeanie can function by herself now,” Tri said quietly.

“I’m her therapist. She asked me for help and has been working very hard at learning how to manage her emotions and become her own person,” Nell explained carefully to Delta.

“I wouldn’t let her baptise me til she could stand on her own. I’ve watched her become her own person, with her own aspirations and dreams,” Spooky shared.

Victor came over and shared how Jeanie used to be bitter and now can attempt to do things. Bloo shouted loudly that Jeanie had grown into a better person.

“Okay Jeanie. Everyone’s saying you’re doing really well now. So, now, you have two options to choose from.” Delta started excitedly looking into the box he held. He opened and closed it a few times before looking over to the quiet iron. “You can choose to believe in your faith and trust in evolution. You can grow and learn. Or you can give in to everything and I’ll keep you happy for the rest of your life.”

Jeanie cocked her head confused. “I don’t understand. Can you explain it again?”

Delta’s eyes narrowed with a mischievous grin. He opened the box and pulled out a needle that he carefully placed on the table before Jeanie. “You have a choice.”

“What is it?” Jeanie quietly asked as she felt every muscle in her body tense up. She felt the itch that she’d fought to control return. The desperate want for the peace and calm that comes with shooting drugs into her arm. Delta placed another needle on the table.

And another.

“May I?” Spooky asked as he reached for a needle. He carefully sniffed at the needle, at the milky white liquid inside the needle, before quietly confirming her suspicions.

“It’s mother’s milk Jeanie. They’re all mother’s milk. Really good ones too.”

One by one, Delta kept placing needles on the table. All filled with swirling white liquid.

“Do you want it Jeanie?”

“No.” Jeanie’s voice was quiet.

“Are you sure?” Delta’s grin looked maniacal.

“I mean, yes, I crave it. But I’m not going to do this. I don’t like what I’m like on that and I fought really hard to get sober.”

“Why don’t you want it?”

“It makes me go numb. Lose all feeling but the need to get high. It’s not worth it.”

“Go ahead Jeanie. Hold one.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Hold one.”

“No.”

“Take one Jeanie!”

“Fine!” Jeanie grabbed one of the syringes and held it in her shaking hand.

“If you want it, just use it. Go ahead.”

“No. I’m not going to.”

“Prove it.”

Jeanie shifted her left arm so that everyone could see the needle and banner inked into her forearm over all the scarred track marks from shooting up without care. “I worked hard to stop. I got this tattoo after being clean for a year. I am not putting any more needles into my skin.”

“Are you sure?”

Jeanie threw the needle back onto the table. Her body was shaking. Her voice was unsteady. “I’m not doing it. I don’t know what you want from me. But I’m not taking one of those needles. I’m not shooting up. I don’t want it.” She pushed some of the needles away.

Delta turned to the others at the table. Nell and Spooky both sat watching quietly as Jeanie shook and fought to hold back tears. “Is she telling the truth?”

“I’ve seen her dealer put needles in her hand and she’s refused them. If she was going to shoot up, she would have already done it,” Nell answered quietly as she turned to give Jeanie an encouraging smile.

“I wouldn’t let her baptize me til she was good and sober. She’s serious,” Spooky reaffirmed.

“Good!” Delta sat up and grinned and then slid the box over to Jeanie. “So then, trust in your faith.”

Jeanie nodded. “Okay.”

Delta nodded towards the box. “Open it!”

Jeanie shrugged. Carefully, and without hesitation, Jeanie pulled the lid off the top of the box. A puff of smoke. A familiar gust of heat followed by a massive bout of nausea and the pain of feeling your body burn and melt away. Radiation. A lot of it. Jeanie keeled over on the table grimacing as her body struggled to breathe. She could hear everyone in the bar screaming around her.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Delta lean over and begin to whisper to her.

“They’re in reach Jeanie.  Just take one. It’s right there.”

Jeanie shook.

“You can save yourself. They’re right there.” Delta’s voice was sinister as he reminded her of all the needles on the table. All she had to do was move her hand a few more inches and she’d have the drug that could both save her and destroy her right now.

Jeanie pulled her hand into a fist and dragged her empty fist closer to her chest. She could hear Delta telling every doctor who came over to fix Jeanie that he would take care of her. Her chest was pounding. Her stomach had tightened into knots of intense pain. The world was starting to darken around her. She knew this feeling.

She was dying.

“Fine, if you’re not going to take one, then trust in your faith. Lean on your faith. You’re never going to stop wanting this. You’re never going to stop struggling with what you’ve been through. Stop trying to get rid of that. Stop ignoring it. Lean on your faith when you’re struggling. Gain strength from it and evolve. Choose evolution.”

She felt the familiar warmth of the green glow settling over her and slowly leaving as her heart beat returned to normal, her stomach settled down, her head stopped spinning and her vision cleared up.

Jeanie slowly sat up and took a deep breath. She took a moment to steady her thoughts by looking over the lead box she’d opened in detail.

A few slightly curious and annoyed town members surrounded the table seeking answers about what had just happened.

“You’re a priest Jeanie. You tell them. Tell them what just happened. Tell them why it was a lesson you desperately needed to learn. Tell them how you’ve evolved.” Delta began gathering his things.

Jeanie nodded and turned to those who were around. “I’m a priest of Darwin. We believe in getting stronger and improving our lives. Only, for the longest time, that was really difficult for me. I was hooked on drugs. I couldn’t get past being an Iron Slave and how I grew up. I’ve spent the past year fighting hard to grow from that. I’ve spent the past year trying to overcome that but still hating everything about my life and how I’ve struggled. He was teaching me. Helping me grow and learn. He was showing me that even though I’ll still struggle, I don’t have to hate that. I can learn from it and grow.” Jeanie paused a moment.

She glanced over to find that Delta had left.

Gain strength from it and evolve. Choose evolution.

Slowly, it dawned on her the depth of the test he’d just given her. Slowly, she realized what lesson he’d started to bestow upon her.

Jeanie knelt in the blood stained snow, tears falling upon Caleb’s tattooed face. She brushed his hair off his sweat covered brow as he gripped her free hand tightly in his paw. With his last breath, he whispered “Be the bird I know you’re meant to become.”

Jeanie turned back to the small crowd around her. “He’s teaching me how to evolve.”

Minority

0

Another  Dystopia Rising story from another Dystopia Rising game. It stars my Unborn. The song she is singing is “Minority” by Green Day.

**********

“I wanna be the minority. I don’t need your authority”

The Unborn sang, gathering pieces of kindling from the ground. She held the edge of her brown wool coat in one hand to build a basket and slipped the driest twigs she pulled from the ground into the basket.

“Down with the moral majority, ‘cause I wanna be the minority.”

She brought the small pile that she had gathered over to the small ring of rocks and began to pile them up carefully in the middle of the ring. Keep them loose to allow for lots of air flow. Make sure there is plenty of kindling in the center, under the pile of sticks branches, but plenty left over to build up around it. This way the flames will lick the branches and build the bonfire.

“I pledge allegiance, to the underworld. One nation under dog, there of which I stand alone.”

Off to the side there was a pile of sticks and branches thrown to the ground. The Unborn made her way over to the pile and began grabbing some of the smaller branches. These branches would be built up around the kindling pile. They would burn longer when caught and help the larger branches to catch and stay caught rather than the fast burning kindling.

“A face in the crowd, unsung against the mold.”

The Unborn smiled as she sang and worked. She carefully piled the sticks and small branches around the kindling. She carefully stuffed excess kindling between the sticks. All the while building up the pile and continuing to sing and smile, her body swaying slightly in time to her song.

“Without a doubt, singled out,the only way I know.”

Back to the pile of branches she had gathered. She gathered the rest of the larger branches and began to stack them on the outside of her current small structure of sticks and kindling. She smiled as she put each stick down, carefully circling these sticks around the pile.

“Cause I wanna be the minority. I don’t need your authority.”

The Unborn placed the final branches into their spots with a smile. She glanced at the pile that she had created and nodded, carefully shifting the branches around til every one of them was placed exactly as she wanted. She grinned and lowered her face while keeping her gaze on the pile of sticks steady.

“Down with the moral majority, ‘cause I wanna be the minority.”

She dug into her pocket and pulled out the lighter. She grinned at her reflection in the side of the polished metal piece. Green skin, purple veins, black soot streaked across her face, gauze mask wrapped around her eyes.

“Stepped out of the line, like a sheep runs from the herd.”

The Unborn flicked the top of the lighter open with it’s familiar and reassuring click.

“Marching out of time, to my own beat now. The only way I know.”

She slid her thumb along the roller and watched a flames spark to life.

“One light, one mind, flashing in the dark.”

She held a small twig up to the flame and watched as it licked the twig and lit it to life.

“Blinded by the silence of a thousand broken hearts”

The Unborn flicked the lighter shut and slipped it back into the pocket of her jeans. She reached forward with the lit branch and slid it into the pile, into the collection of kindling. She let go of the branch and smiled, watching the flames dance from twig to twig and start to consume the pile.

“For crying out loud, she screamed unto me.”

The Unborn stood up and grinned at her creation. She swayed back and forth to the beat of the song and in time with the lyrics from her lips and closed her eyes beneath the gauze mask that she had worn for years due to the Fallow Hope caravan.

“A free for all, fuck ‘em all. You’re on your own side.”

She spun around and threw her hands out as she spun. The caravan would have scolded her for these actions. Dancing in the woods at night around a campfire would have led to her getting into a lot of trouble with Father Jacob. She smiled brightly as she spun around with glee.

“Cause I wanna be the minority. I don’t need your authority.”

The Unborn began singing as loud as she could, almost shouting out the lines in the light of the campfire.

“Down with the moral majority.”

She screamed out the lines as she yanked the mask off her head. No more mask. No more of Father Jacob’s orders or the caravan’s rules deciding how she acts years after being away from them and in a new town. No more of the past holding her hostage.

Now it’s time for the young Unborn to walk with her head held high, marching to her own drum.

The young Unborn screamed the last line of the song as she tossed the mask into the flame and watched it burn.

“Cause I wanna be the minority.”

Burn

0

New short story based on the events of last game. This one is from the perspective of She. As always, the main character is my own. The other characters mentioned in the scene are products of their own players. Jackal is the creation of another player and was used with his permission and input. Let’s just say, I’m really excited for this upcoming game!

**********

“What’cha doin?” Jackal asked, his face popping up and blocking the light from the campfire that they had built together.

The Unborn looked up from her work and rolled her white and black eyes. “You’re in my light,” she muttered.

Jackal shifted over a small bit and poked at the leather vest in the Unborn’s hands. “But really, what’cha doin?”

The Unborn sighed and brushed Jackal’s hand away from the vest. She picked up the small surgical knife and went back to carefully cutting the threads that held the blue and white patches onto the back of the vest. “I’m cutting off these rockers.”

“Pretty sure those ain’t rocks.”

“Rockers. Patches. Same thing. I never asked why they were called it.”

Jackal licked his blood stained lips and watched for a moment as the Unborn continued. Slice through a few threads, pull up on the patch so that it was easier to slice through more threads. The more she cut, the faster she got at removing the triangular patch from the vest.

“Wait, does that mean you’re not in Warsong anymore?”

“Yup.”

“Why?”

The Unborn looked up and glanced over to the Semper. “Let’s just say, the final straw was being told they didn’t have time to deal with my coming back from the grave and the screaming pain in my head and hands.” The Unborn paused and looked at her palm. She remembered the burning sensation in her fingers before pausing to shake her hands and going back to snipping away the threads that held the patch in place.

“That sounds really shitty.”

The Unborn nodded her head. “Yup.”

“She?”

The Unborn paused with a groan and glared at the Semper. “Anyxa.”

“What?”

“Anyxa. My name is Anyxa. Not she. Anyxa.”

“Oh… Then why do people call you she?”

Anyxa groaned and put the surgical knife down in her lap. “Because I didn’t use names. I wanted to show respect to people. To acknowledge that the ancestors invited them to the great whole just like everyone else. But no, ass holes don’t give a flying fuck who or what they do and respect. It’s all hide your face. Don’t scare them with your power. Don’t be alone. Save people but don’t come near the dying. Help the town but be nowhere near the problem. Don’t be trusted because of the power you have and where you’re from.” Anyxa paused and ripped the last few threads with a sharp yank on the patch, separating it from the leather vest. “Be held at arms length even though we promise we’ll take care of you. Fucking liars.”

Jackal stared a moment, licking his lips and sniffing as he turned to look into the woods. A quiet “I’m hungry,” muttered from his lips and then he turned back to Anyxa with a  shrug. “Yeah, people can be dicks. But actually, I more wanted to know why you were talkin all normal now and not like you usually do.”

“Because these fuck heads,” Anyxa glared at the patch in her hands, “don’t seem to care about respecting me so why would I respect them?”

“Oh yeah. I guess that makes sense.”

Anyxa pulled a square lighter from her pocket and grinned. She could see Jackal’s eyes light up in the glow of the campfire. She flicked open the top and with a swipe of her thumb, pulled a flame to the top of the lighter.

“If you don’t have time for me,” she muttered holding the patch over the flame so the flame could lick and taste it before beginning to consume the fabric and paint, “then I don’t have time for you, mother fuckers.”

Jackal grinned. “What’cha gonna do now? Hunt ‘em down? Can I come?” He balled his fists up and pulled them back, bouncing and ready to go.

Anyxa tossed the burning patch into the campfire.

“I’m gonna watch the world burn!”