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IC Apocalypse World: The Past is Never Gone

The Tim

God-Machinist
Validated User
Dawn—Early in Sowing Season

A rancid wind blows in from the north, not the usual soured smell of the poisoned lakes there, but something fresher now gone to rot. It lingers most at the edges of the town, where the wind slows. Still those who plant and tend goats and do all the other things that keep them alive must still do it no matter what stench hangs in the air.

Desire, did you spend the night at your place or someone else's? If someone else's whose? If your own, tell me about your place.

By the flats, Mercer takes up watch, climbing a rickety tower and pointing her sniper rifle out at it. Anyone who comes by can see that she casts her eyes in the other direction now and then.

Dora the Red, is there a building or other marker for the Division's outposts? If so, are you set up in it? Regardless, how close are you setup to the heart of the community?

From the Source, Babylon can see the other guard, who comes from a place bearing her name but is alien to her. Is a threat. She puts her hand beside one of the symbols that Julirose would call the marking of a psyker saint and lets out a long, slow breath.

Ehrenschild, what is the symbol that Babylon puts her hand beside? What is she officially supposed to be looking out for in the early morning?

The Circle's bus swayed in the night from the wind, making terrible noises. But the wind's foul smell couldn't displace what hangs in the air in the bus.

Aspen, make your fortune roll and tell us how the Circle is doing. How have you been providing for them? And how close is the bus parked to where the Source's laws hold supreme?

Playboy, which other member of the Circle is nagging you awake first thing in the morning? Where do you sleep? How close is it to where the rest of the Circle sleeps?

Cato is walking waste-ward on the old road, towards where it ends. He's got an old coin dancing over his knuckles—whatever markings once covered it are faint impressions on the gleaming disc now. He slows as he realizes he's about to come across someone older and more dangerous than him.

Justice, where are you when Cato comes across you on the old road? Even if he didn't know your reputation, how can he tell you're dangerous?

Midway down the road—on the edge of a plaza ringed by mostly collapsed buildings—is Shin's three story, mostly intact building. Anyone coming by first thing in the morning sees a crude drawing of the tower put up there, telling anyone coming where to go if they need Shin or his deputy bad enough.

Jay, where is the infirmary situated? Who is currently in there receiving treatment?

It is a new day, just like the day before it, how does everyone start it?
 

Dirty Chai

Flamen Solis et Lunae
Validated User
Aspen
Spoiler: Show
Fortunes: 2d6+1 (base followers fortune stat)
Result & Orokos link: 8

"On a 7–9, they have surplus, but choose 1 want."
Surplus: 1-barter, party, stupor
Want: hunger


The morning star rises over the western passage, a lamplight shining bright through the firmament. The horizon beneath begins to light afire with the coming birth of Sol, silhouetting the sloping hills between the southern and northern mountains against a brilliant golden orange.

Today is Candlemas, halfway between midwinter and when Sol will cross into Aquarius, restoring a balance to light and darkness as life wanes into bloom and fills the world with a myriad of active thoughts. The youthful stir, boys become men, the home and hearth is cleaned, and, when the sun sets into the eastern hills, the collective female ancestors are invoked.

Śrāvakayāna - Aspen's name given to his beloved bus, Yana for short - is parked beside a pond, a catch-pool held aloft in the hills some ways south of the old ugly fences marking a remarkably prettier sacred abstract. There's no special reasoning for this spot except that Aspen likes to hear the birds and the frogs and all the little brothers and sisters who sing and dance and cry. And right now, that dance is just beginning.

Aspen is alone, outside Yana, seated upon the soil, his legs beneath him in a lazy but comfortable mockery of the padmasana. A woolen cloak is laid out beneath him as a mat, and a similar one is wrapped about him, covering his skin except for his head. He listens to the birds as they greet each other, offering their good mornings, just as the crickets and the frogs grow silent. He faces the sun, but his eyes have long lost focus - glazing over into an even blur of the painted landscape before him.

Yana is a reliquary of everything Aspen is, was, and may yet be. Within its walls painted with mandalas slumber the women of the Circle - or most of them. All-seeing eyes and divine travelers hang from its ceiling and tapestries telling apocryphal tales only Aspen seems to remember cover its walls and insulate its precious inhabitants. Literally a 'vehicle of the listeners', he has meditated on its importance to his intentions, an ark to ensure he may yet win this race against death which lingers against decades of health and straight-backed temperance like a storm summoning its forces against the levees of the holy city.

He rubs his hands together softly, feeling a mix of numb callouses and slight wrinkling. This is his first stirring in over an hour, and he feels a familiar dizziness. It brings a faint smile. He was born on this day, long ago, when the world was not what it is now. But now is the time for the day to unfold, for the night dissipates from black to blue.

The Circle ate well last night, but the morning brings scarcity. Aspen saw the bare cabinets and felt the mostly empty sacks. There's always bread and nuts, but more food must be found. Soon. Perhaps the newcomer will be of aid in this - Playboy, a name Aspen disapproves of. She will need a kinder name, he thinks.

Or, perhaps, it is time to seek Aquarius and find succor with destiny. 'Present myself to the temple?' A laugh escapes his lips, his first sounds of the day a self-humbling. But still, he does not move from his spot beside the mirror pool, thinking instead of finer things, like the strings of his guitar or the sound of Desire's voice when liberated from self-awareness.

The Circle has gotten itself through the seasons by a mixture of careful methods. They rule themselves - Aspen simply teaches them how. Consensus, he says again and again. Consensus, consensus, communion, union, harmony. And there are many ways to reach interpersonal harmonies, the most obvious of which is the carnal knowledge the Circle has between its members. Aspen recommends any of these primal, healthy ways of furthering the mind and soul via expression; after all, the beauty and power of self-control is only made clear when put in contrast with what is being left behind. Consensus in the past has usually led to either group efforts in scavenging or working for food - or Aspen laying his wisdom and wit at the feet of foolish ladder-climbers in return for what he needs.

And, at last, Aspen winces as a stench reaches his nostrils. Death. Rot. Putrid. Venom. Poison. Plague. Famine. War. Darkness. Disgusting.
 
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Nobby

Story spinner
Validated User
Desire:

Desire wrote furiously in the near darkness of a contained space. Desire always found burrows that were once cool storage for food goods or defense against the wrong apocalypse. Desire has learned early traveling with the Circle that they weren't welcome with the others.

This particular hole had a broken iron door leading down a narrow cement stairway. The room at the bottom was long and narrow, about eight meters long and under two wide. If there had been supplies once they were long since emptied. The only furnishing was a dilapidated desk that Desire had put at the bottom of the staircase, blocking the path further into the room.

The only decorations in the little bunker were three prints of artwork near the desk where a little light still snuck into the dilapidated space.

Behind the desk Desire stood writing intently in the dim light filtered through the open hatch that has been hidden in brush. After a few minutes Desire stopped writing and bound the parchment loosely before grabbing a bag and vaulting over the desk to ward the world above.

As Desire left they carefully covered the entrance with a tangle of brush, making sure it was intricately woven in a way that could not easily be duplicated. Desire would know if this space was disturbed. Then Desire headed to join with the Circle. Today Desire was going to volunteer to act as an emissary to the Source and perhaps figure out if it was a religious delusion or something more useful.
 

DannyK

One Shot Man
Validated User
Playboy

Playboy kept watch as the Circle slept, pretty and plain faces made slack and peaceful. Sometimes one of them laughs or says a few words from sleep. The Circle... was a problem. Their personalities were worn smooth as old coins, they shared everything and followed Aspen’s lead with enthusiasm, mostly, or with sleepy petulance. They slept like children, or puppies, in a big group keeping each other warm.

Most people understood without a word not to touch the axe, not to touch the mask, not to approach the woman behind the mask without respect and a good reason, and the Circle didn’t seem to get any of that. She could feel them wanting her to melt into them, just another chunk of ice melting in the river. But Playboy’s never known a river that wasn’t poisoned. She will have to speak with Aspen about it, or hurt someone.

And yet when the sky is turning gray with dawn, she wakes to find herself at the edge of the Circle, wrapped in a blanket, toasty warm on one side and chilled on the other, Mask still in place, axe by her hand. The woman lying next to her, really a girl still, opens her eyes and looks at Playboy. “Are you hungry? I’m really hungry! And what’s that smell,” she complains. Her name is Dayna, or Daya, probably something Aspen made up.

Playboy smiles behind her mask. “That’s trouble on the wind, baby. You go back to sleep now.” Food and violence, that’s what it all comes down to in the end, whether you’re the sacred executioner or just some woman living on a bus. Time to have a piss, then go see what Aspen has in mind. There’s always killing to be done, and always jingle for them as does it.
 

The Lore Bear

T(ime) L B(omb)
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Justice

Another day in paradise.

Justice stepped out of her home on the edge of town. Nice enough place after the bloodstains were washed out as best they could. Fits one bed, a place to store her bike and enough room to have a small group standing inside. Nicest thing inside is her clothes, a few colors to choose from. Red, white and black. No one would want to trade for those. Wearing those is a license for trouble.

Fully dressed, today in black, and ready to make the daily trip into town to see if there's anything worth buying. Any gigs worth taking. Maybe pick up something better to eat than the basics. Share something with Desire. Usually, the old road is clear this far out of town, so Justice focuses on the young man in front of her.

They say eyes are the window to the soul, and looking into Justice's eyes shows exactly who she is, and how she sees you. A quick evaluation from Justice, but as Cato looks into those eyes, he sees what she feels: No fear, no sympathy. If he took a single step of threat towards her, she'd not think twice about raising that gun that's barely hidden under her jacket, a makeshift shoulder holster that only hides due to matching the rest of her clothes. She reaches into her jacket.

A small packet of cigarettes, crumpled, is opened in front of the young man, her eyes not moving from his. She spoke, a tone that suggested he wasn't a threat but that he should still be wary. "One for the road?"
 

BlackSheep

Wise and Insightful
Validated User
The infirmary has never needed another name; not like there's another one here, or anywhere close. It's in the compound, a smallish building Jay thinks used to be some sort of warehouse. There are old grooves in the bare concrete walls and floors, probably from long-gone shelves and storage spaces. And more than a few dark stains despite the crew's best efforts.

Shigusa was there before Jay was, an old woman with skin like a walnut and white hair wound in a tight bun. She's half-blind, but she knows herbs by smell and touch, better than anyone who can see. Right now she's grinding up a particular kind of straggly grass that grows near where the Source flows. The greenish paste that she's making smells acidic and stings like hell, but it will keep a wound clean and that's no small thing in this world.

The other member of the infirmary crew, a skinny kid called Mox, is out running a delivery. Most people have to come get their meds, but Hoodoo is in the late stages of a difficult pregnancy and can't move around much. He'll probably be a while; Mox is chatty and gets distracted easy, but he doesn't flinch from blood or puke or pus or worse. Young as he is, Jay gets the impression he's already seen more than his share of fucked-up. One thing they have in common.

Jay herself is perched on a stool, next to the table Smoke is stretched out on. Smoke was out hunting a couple of days ago when something came screaming at her - she's still not sure if it was a what or a who - and took a chunk out of her hand with its teeth. She's lost two fingers already, and Jay is hoping she can at least save the rest. She's swabbing out the wound and cutting away scraps of dead flesh, her eyes intently looking for signs of whether the injury is healing or infected.
 

The Tim

God-Machinist
Validated User
As activity starts near the circle, the girl who Playboy spoke with doesn't go back to sleep. Divya—Danya and Daya are still asleep elsewhere—instead presses her face to the window, watching with the imagined stealth of a child, as Aspen, Playboy, and Desire converge outside of Yana. Whenever she thinks she is not looking, she stares all the harder, as if she could see the words in the air between them if she looks hard enough.


Cato takes the cigarette from Justice, twirls it in his fingers, and it is gone. A moment later, he slips the coin into his hand and presents the hand to her, opening it not to the coin but to two cigarettes. "I need one for Smoke, give her one last one before her mind is lost to the infection. How long do you think that Jay can keep the empty meat alive?"


At first it looks to Jay like everything is in the clear—besides the initial damage from the bite there doesn't seem to be anything else. No necrosis or discharge, but in treatment what seemed at first to be high pain threshold has resolved itself into something worse—not numbness exactly because the flesh responds when prodded. Instead a lack of awareness. Not just of pain, but any sensation, and no control of Smoke's mind over the hand.

"What's happening?" she asks Jay, face and arm tense with the effort to get any of her hand to actually move of her volition. There isn't panic in her voice yet, she's still stubbornly trying to push through the whole thing, as if once she gets a finger moving on her own it'll be over and done with.
 

The Lore Bear

T(ime) L B(omb)
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Justice

"From what I've seen and heard? As long as the body will go. Jay's the best stitcher I've seen outside of Megalopolis. Gotta ask, where the hell's Smoke getting an infection? Something on the loose around here?" Justice slides the last cigarette out of the pack for herself, before tossing the empty pack over her shoulder with little thought. "If Jay can't deal with it, and it sounds like she can't, that's a shitty way to go. Prefer three in the chest to that. Heart, lungs and gut."

She takes a moment to light her own cigarette, looking the young man over again. "How do you know about all this, anyways? Been something going around? Anyone doing anything about it?"
 

BlackSheep

Wise and Insightful
Validated User
At first it looks to Jay like everything is in the clear—besides the initial damage from the bite there doesn't seem to be anything else. No necrosis or discharge, but in treatment what seemed at first to be high pain threshold has resolved itself into something worse—not numbness exactly because the flesh responds when prodded. Instead a lack of awareness. Not just of pain, but any sensation, and no control of Smoke's mind over the hand.

"What's happening?" she asks Jay, face and arm tense with the effort to get any of her hand to actually move of her volition. There isn't panic in her voice yet, she's still stubbornly trying to push through the whole thing, as if once she gets a finger moving on her own it'll be over and done with.
"Nothing good," Jay answers, never having been one to sugarcoat her words with her patients. "Physically your hand is doing fine. Better than I expected, if anything. But it's like it's...disconnected. Could be in your head. Could be something worse. Can you tell me where the sensation ends?"

With that, she flips the tiny blade in her hand and starts prodding her way up Smoke's arm with the handle, from the hand to the wrist to the forearm.
 

QuZi

Libido Cattle Prod
Validated User
Dora the Red (Gunlugger)

Dora the Red, is there a building or other marker for the Division's outposts? If so, are you set up in it? Regardless, how close are you setup to the heart of the community?
It is a new day, just like the day before it, how does everyone start it?
Dora wakes to the crowing of the rooster violently, scrambling for the pistol tucked under her bedding.

Shaking her head ruefully, she thinks, "I am not meant for the relative peace of civilization."

Looking around at the empty room on the second floor of the Division outpost building not far from the tower, she mentally adds, "Or to be without a team."

After stretching, she begins her standard morning exercise routine. Boredom causes her mind to wander towards a familiar sore spot.

"Today is the day that I will go talk to Jay. And it will be fine and not awkward. At all."

Dora and Jay had spoken little since the rest of Crow Squad had left. In Dora's view, Jay had run to the safety of the Ehrenschild's authority, leaving Dora alone to stay where she belonged: outside. Though she did not agree with it, Dora expected that Jay felt that she was not a member of the Division and had made no oath to the Division.

It was true, but it still hurt. They had met when they were both young, before Dora had made the oaths as an adult.

"I thought that we were sisters."

Dora swears and cuts out her regimen early and goes to see to the chicken coop to make sure that everything is fine.

She stares for a moment at the eggs, but finds herself uninterested in eating at the moment and decides to head for the plaza.

Unwilling to leave anything of value behind, Dora prepares most of her belongings for travel. The single-shot grenade launcher goes into a holster in her backpack, while the armor just goes into it. The pistol goes on her right hip, while the AR has a sling that goes on her shoulder. Ammo magazines are distributed around her body to balance out the weight.

After heading down the ladder to the first floor, where the official lobby of the Division office will eventually (probably) be, Dora steps out into the morning sun.

Turning to see who is manning the tower, Dora smiles as she sees Mercer. Mercer is a good sort: quietly competent and a relatively good shot with that rifle of hers.

Scanning beyond the Tower, Dora calls out, "'Ey, Mercer! Need anything from the plaza?"
 
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