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PostSubject: RPG: On Rewinding   Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:37 pm

Time.

Time will not heal your wounds, but it will allow you to forget them.

All memories fade, even of wars. In a distant yet technologically stagnant future, the populace has finally forgotten, and all is quiet through the world.

Islands and coastlines have sunk under the oceans. Species have slipped into the void of extinction. Legendary journalist Qresa Kresann’s “foul compromise of inevitability”, in the face of the impotence of governments, has set in for good.

Gone are the old powers. Traditional countries have faded away in the long years. Even the iron dreams of the unassailable Otherwise fell apart when Geso Arrhakas disappeared, amidst a tangled conspiracy involving an attempt on his life.

The greatest juggernaut, the United States of America, died with its last President, his name lost to history. In its geographic place is an urbanized, concentrated nation of cities, the dark Republic of Wall – its heart of hearts invested in the charismatic master networkers who organize it, President Somlen Weirdjoke and his shadowy Vice President Noné.

To the west of the Republic and across the northernmost parts of the world lies the threat of the radical Preservation, beginning to extinguish the candle of society in the name of restoring nature. One by one, the remaining Eurasian powers are dissolved and buried for good.

Yet far more disturbing than the Preservation’s sweeping away of infrastructure is the silence to the south. The Southern Hemisphere, once Otherwise’s long-established birthplace, is under a cloud of silence that the isolated Northern nations are in no position to dispel. South America, southern Africa, and Australia are lost.

Do you believe in breaking the silence and waking the vanished countries? Or do you believe in closing the book on civilization for good?




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PostSubject: Re: RPG: On Rewinding   Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:32 am



The waves gently lapped against the shore, a rhythmic and entrancing pattern of water and sand. Looking out into the great blue expanse before him, the khaki-vested man sighed with content.

Although his job often required several hours of screen-staring every day, the lone man often came to the shore whenever he could. It was a short walk down a road in relatively good condition, considering the fact that nobody used personal vehicles nowadays.

It was during this jaunts that he could appreciate all the beauty of Costera Livrada. Natural appreciation wasn't always popular with some of the more militant civilized nations of the world, but the man was no Preservationist.

His name tag--clipped to the breast pocket of his khaki vest--read "K.S.M. - Region Shipper". The man was a multinet salesman, and his name was Kubwa Siri Monroe. He was of European descent, but his family had lived in Costera Livrada for so many generations that they considered themselves native.

The company he worked for, Penthisilea, had been formerly based in the Republic of Wall but had closed many of its offices after the collapse of its parent company. Opening the Costera office created many jobs, and Monroe went from repairing computers to handling all online shipping processing for his region.

He smoothed down his vest over a rounding stomach, still staring at the sea. The pay wasn't exceptional, but it kept him and his family happy. The middle-aged man had been married twice, the first ending in the divorce and the second ending in death. He had two children from his first marriage, a boy and a girl. Both had moved out over a decade ago, and Monroe missed them terribly due to sparse communication.

He did consider himself lucky with his mild problems--a couple of extra pounds, graying hair, and a nagging Aunt--quite manageable in comparison to the rapid de-civilization of the world.

Turning on the heel of his boots, Monroe turned to the road and headed back to Uneaba, a town over from the nation's capital, and his place of residence.

As he got one last look at the ocean, the shipper felt quite uneasy. The waves were getting harsher now, and the sea in the distance seemed more malicious than magnificent.

As the coast that shined white like ivory faded into the distance, Monroe collected his thoughts and began planning the next shipping order.

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PostSubject: Re: RPG: On Rewinding   Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:39 pm

IC:


The town of "Border Ghost" was not really a town. It belonged to no one in particular. Everything was a little off-putting about it, from the English name to the population of 0 people to the vast fence that cut it in two.

In Augena Square, the heart of Border Ghost, there was a glass wall instead of a fence. It was the safest place there, a dead truce zone. It was the only place worth going to in the town, as the buildings were crumbling and the days and nights never changed.

Today, thanks to the wall, Border Ghost's population was 3.

In the middle of the vastness of the abandoned town and the desert sky, the wall stretching sheer and bright above, there was a patch of darkness, shielding a particular man and woman.

President Simeydu aln Khopekh waited in the shade of her upended hovercraft, dispassionate, seated on a folding stool. Her bodyguard Hamen stood on her left. Neither of them had much to do. The audience was about to begin.

"Addressing the Preservation," said aln Khopekh finally.

On the other side of the vast glass wall, a man like a motion blur raised his head and looked at them, finally becoming visible. Only his face stood out from his indistinct tan form, his clothes rippling just like heat distortion over the stray sand in the square. "Hello, Ms. President. What will we be discussing today?"

"Borders." aln Khopekh stared directly at him, or else through him. "Your Preservation has been putting a great deal of pressure on the Tenbar Esdom of late, rather close to our border. I trust you have enough farsight to make no move against Al Seacant."

"It is in no way my Preservation, Ms. President. I am a falcon, not a falconer. 'Action on behalf'." Even the man's face blurred for a moment as he smiled. "But there are no plans to move against your Al Seacant. You came to the Preservation in cooperation, not belligerence, and the two entities have treated each other fairly ever since. It is my personal belief that your sovereign nation will be the last in the world."

"I would remind you, Baza, that Al Seacant shares a border with the Tenbar Esdom. We must maintain ties with them, too. The bonds of edges are difficult, and you are making it far more so." aln Khopekh's stare didn't change. "If they turn on Al Seac-"

"Then it is none of our business." Baza smiled his polite smile. "The Preservation can't help it if the Tenbar Esdom is so irrationally frightened as to turn against you with no provocation. We do not police the internecine affairs of civilization. We would rather there be no affairs at all, and we help you because Al Seacant stays within its given area, Ms. President."

"Has the Preservation stopped taking responsibility for its actions, Baza?" President aln Khopekh begins to rise from her seat, a dangerous sign. "It isn't like you to ignore the problems you cause."

Baza's face began to blur again, his body already fading in the heat distortion. "Don't mistake your nation for something natural, Simeydu. We take care of the problems people have caused in nature. Remember that the Preservation has no qualms about causing problems for those people."

As aln Khopekh stood up and approached the wall, Baza's face disappeared from sight on the other side of the wall, gone in a moment.

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PostSubject: Re: RPG: On Rewinding   Fri May 30, 2014 12:35 am

IC:

Clutter. Nothing was ever as cut-and-dried, or idiomatic, like what Crane always went on about. When he closed his eyes and imagined himself at the wheel, he didn’t see any of this - no corkboards, no stacks of papers and hastily scribbled notes, no loose screws or empty glasses and the napkins adhering to them in the condensing humidity of Costera Livrada.

But that wasn’t fair. He didn’t picture any of this, this spindly plastic wheel, this cheery little steamboat, the peppermint-striped smokestacks and ornamental live preservers. Commodore Diogenes Drake was a military man. He belonged on a warship on the high seas, not a ferry-boat. It wasn’t as though he needed money, it wasn’t that he had sold out. He has purchased this steam boat with his own money from retirement, and he had taken a job with Penthesilea to augment his living funds. The Archode paid its veterans well, especially when it was sweeping something under the rug - and it paid well for a nuclear family, with sufficient compensation for a man with wife and kids. Drake had neither.

When he closed his eyes and imagined himself at the wheel, he was back in the service of the Archode, back in the glory days. It may have seemed hypocritical that he would be looking back nostalgically on the life which he had traded away in more ways than one, but he supposed that Crane had been right all along. The stories of life before the war, of wars before the war, especially, has seduced them. Like harpies or nymphs or something, Crane would have said. They were playing to the idiom of the sailor, looking for military uniforms to wear, spyglasses to adjust, pirates to fight, and pipes to smoke. They got the uniforms and nothing else. They couldn't even find pipes, or anything to smoke in them, as the last great achievement of humanity had been the abolition of intoxicants and the end of the drug trade. Buck used to say that the real reason the Preservation went around planting seeds was because they wanted to get smoking again. That always set Crane off, but at least it was amusing the first time. If only it hadn’t been argued, again and again.

Drake turned away from the wheel, forgiving it for not being a wooden relic from an age long past, and forgiving his own disarray. He had bought the steamboat for the same reason he had applied to Penthesilea, because it seemed like the thing for a sailor to do. It had always seemed to him that he had spent his time in the past living it, and that was the only time around were it was worth experiencing, the time where he could change what came next. He wanted to forget his past, not re-live it.

It looked like Penthesilea might finally be coming through for him, too. If the boys were right, Monroe wanted a job done and didn’t want to risk a company boat. Rumor was he was asking around to see if anyone had a privately owned boat that could travel a good distance. Well, if Monroe didn’t mind peppermint smokestacks, Drake had just the boat. The word was that the trip was to Preservation lands, but Drake didn’t mind that at all.

Try anything once; don’t repeat the past; find the strongest current, and then swim against it. Maybe the Preservation squatters would have something for him to smoke.

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PostSubject: Re: RPG: On Rewinding   Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:47 pm

IC:

It was a clear day in the mid-south region. The rainclouds had broken in the morning and dissipated over the Seavan area, flooding the glass Spires of the capital megalopolis in brightness by noon. The change in weather had buoyed the moods of many, a warranted good feeling for farmers and the like... but quite unwarranted for those whose fortunes never improved.

Why had he let himself be persuaded to run?

His new oaken desk didn't really fit him, pale and deceptively strong. Quite the opposite of him. Honesty about his weaknesses had won him the Premiership, but he would rather serve the nation without leading the nation. If only... yet it seemed it wasn't his place to follow.

The people had accepted Jeremein Loderoy's leadership, and he would have to accept it too.

The Premier of the Cascordian Accord Lands raised his head from his reverie, blinking once in the noon brightness. Glass was everywhere in the spires but nowhere more complete than in the Hall of Clouds. It was nothing more than a great pillbox high among the Spires, transparent entirely, a receiving place for Premiers and their most important meetings. Typically it was favored for its mystique - visible yet shrouded in wisps of raincloud, windows misted, amidst the weather. But it was a beautiful place when filled with sunlight, as it was at the moment...

"Trigonos. What is the situation below, then?" said Loderoy.

The Secretary of Reordination dropped to one knee and rose again, her silver mane of hair falling around her face. "Premier. We've had an intrusion into the Basement in a nearby sector, that is to say not far from here. One hostile party was apprehended and incapacitated by a technician, Cerars Dianox. Defenses were switched off temporarily to take the party through; male, unknown age, he identifies as Qmauth but will not claim an affiliation. With the current assessment we don't believe he could be Preservation material."

"Then what do we know? Have there been any other signs of the Preservation?" Loderoy rubbed at his chin, watching her.

Trigonos shook her head. "No, Premier, we have been watching closely. We know what can happen when the Preservation is hidden in the system from the start, but I've been doing everything I can, and nothing seems awry. Best that you flushed the existing powers from their seats when you took the Premiership."

"Except for Sakai, and you should know." He continued to stare at her, assessing her state of mind. A.J. Sakai headed Strixcorp, the corporation that intertwined with the CAL's government. Once, that charismatic man - some called him the Aluminium Owl - had recruited the young Remington Trigonos to a position in Strixcorp. Instead, she had chosen to accept Jeremein Loderoy's nomination to government, as the information-juggling Secretary of Reordination.

Secretary Trigonos shrugged. "I never met him, Premier. But sure, I know what he's like, that's part of my job now isn't it?"

"You should be able to tell me."

"Yes, it is my job." A grin spread across half her face, a very strange expression. "Not to fear, I've been looking into Sakai, I'll tell you whatever I find. But I have my hunch."

Loderoy leaned forward. "What, then?"

"Here in the Spires, even the Preservation has trouble reaching us. The Vitambaric Missives hold little appeal for a people born among the clouds." Remington Trigonos folded her arms behind her back and turned to go, head held high. "It's not the Preservation I'd fear, Premier. It's Sakai."


---------


Still socked in. The windows were misted, the rooms so grey in the filtered light that he could swear his eyes were misted over too. But no, he was nothing if not clear-eyed - Aluminium Owl withstanding.

A.J. Sakai set down the glass of kiwi juice. He'd heard the weather had changed southward; shining skies for the capital. He wondered how the new Premier was adapting to office over there. Loderoy seemed a cautious political gamer, replacing all four previous secretaries with his own choices - Trigonos, Nokei, Atros, and Tell. All but Atros had passed up Strixcorp offers for the positions...

Shame that they wouldn't spy for Sakai. The head of Strixcorp had long since decided he would like to meet Loderoy, if the Premier could inspire such loyalty. The two would meet soon enough anyway, as Strixcorp worked together with the Cascordian Accord Lands' government, but sooner was better.

Other than that, Sakai himself was content with his lot. Strixcorp was not generally an object of distrust, and neither was he. The company's fortunes were secure, if unchanging; its partnership with the government helped cement its technological dominance. As he liked to think, all was well, all in all. Except...

He looked at the brass figurines on the mantelpiece. "THE PIONEERS", read the plaque at their feet, along with their names.

His hair was only turning charcoal, and one wouldn't think it to look at him, but Alaricardo Janus Sakai had survived the war despite being born in it. He had had another name then, just a little boy... His father had thought the dense apartments of Hong Kong would be safer against the Preservation than would the liberal-minded Pacific Northwest of North America. And his father had been wrong.

When the death came upon the refugees, it had only been the Portal Window that saved him. His parents had urged him to go on without them, and he had.

Sakai didn't like to think of that time. He had changed his name, hidden away his past life. But in the end, he owed it to the pioneers who had created the portal that saved that past life of his, to finish what they had started. It was up to him to complete the technology to build the bridge they had wanted. He owed it to his parents, too.

And he wanted, just a little bit, to be a pioneer himself.

After a moment, Sakai drifted to the window, thinking. The light outside was beginning to change, and behind him, the nameplates of the figurines glinted.

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PostSubject: Re: RPG: On Rewinding   Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:21 pm

As the antiquated and increasingly dysfunctional fan oscillated, sweeping the very tiny yet very full room, Monroe could not help but feel his guest was running a few minutes late. The regional shipping administrator was not necessarily a punctual man himself, but the day had grown increasingly warm--to the point of sweltering--and his patience was evaporating like the beads of sweat that dripped down his dark face. His working quarters were dominated by the large desk where he had currently sat himself. The desk nearly stretched the width of the box-like office, a hefty slab of very expensive and very old wood. It had been an heirloom in his family for many generations, and was supposedly made custom with a sister somewhere across the Atlantic. Monroe did not exactly have time for these familial stories and musings, just as he did not have time to be keeping his head focused on this potential employee rather than sticking it in an icebox to stay cool. Pulling at the front of his button-down shirt, the greying salesman struggled to prevent his clothing from plastering itself onto slick skin and sticking. His only solace was the low and relaxing hum of the various hunks of machinery that whirred in the back corner of the room; as expensive as this equipment had been, Monroe hardly had been able to use it for the original purpose and found it made a rather soothing noise machine. With two knocks and a creak, the ambient computation was thrown off and Monroe turned a sweat-flecked face to the door on the west wall.

The man who poked his head through the door was wearing a full captain’s uniform, with a neckerchief and a sailor’s hat and everything. The seadog looked to be older than Monroe by about twenty years; from the antiquated style of dress (an inability to let go of the past?) and his career (still in the merchant marine when you could have retired decades ago?) suggested that he was a navy man from the tail end of the war. Skin hung loosely around his neck, and his hair was wispy white that could have been mistaken for cotton; his eyes were either unaligned, or that was merely a trick of the way he tilted his head.

“Uh, sir? Mister, uh, Monroe?”


“Yes,” the thick voice replied under a waterfall of salt, almost gurgling. “Please, call me Siri. Everyone does. Have a seat right over there.” A pale, open palm gestured towards the wrinkled but clean chair that sat opposite Monroe.

Drake pushed the door open with enough force to send it slamming into the wall, causing the entire office to shake. Monroe could feel the vibrations even through the massive desk. He let himself fall back into the chair with a huff, leaning far back into it. It was a little surprising to see someone so advanced in years move so carelessly.

“Do be careful, rafiki. It is an older building, and I fear not as stable as it should. The years have weighed heavily upon it, but we could say the same for ourselves, no?”

There was a hearty laugh, and the open palm turned to come down on the desk somewhat more gentle than Drake’s entrance had been. With a sigh at his own joke, as if he had exhausted himself, Monroe readjusted in his own worn seat and began speaking in his timbre.
“Well, you have some idea of why you are here, yes?”

“You, uh, wanted to take a trip, uh, into the Preservation lands down south. The tree-huggers took out a bunch of the countries down there, right? But the company won’t give you a boat. You’re, uh, funding this yourself?”

Monroe cleared his throat with some discomfort.

“Yes, you appear to have the gist of it. In truth, Nahoda, it is a little more complicated. A few… representatives of my employers are aware of this expedition I am planning, yes. Yes, yes, they know a little about it. I am not getting a boat from them, yes, that is true as well. Yes, they do not want to risk losing a vessel in a cross-Atlantic trip.”

The hands atop the desk tapped nervously.

“We would be heading across the ocean, to the delta. It is my wish to… revive communication. I had thought about simply travelling along our blessed coast and down, but there is not much of interest or… glory down there. I am much more interested in seeing what has become of the Amazon, of the DJA.”

“Sure, sure, that makes sense. For the company.” Drake leaned forward so as to pump his leg. “I’ve got a privately owned ferryboat, but that can’t take you across the ocean. Uh, I used to sail on battleships back in my navy days, though. If you can find one, I can get you a crew.”

Monroe roared, leaning back in his chair.

“A battleship to open commercial lines, now that would something, wouldn’t it…We could call you Perry, eh?”

Opening the top left drawer, Monroe pulled out a stack of papers all haphazardly bound.

“I have petitioned with the government, in order to secure protection and supplies for our attempt at a voyage. They are more interested in visiting the DJA than perhaps I myself am, yes. It should be a very quick process, I cannot imagine anyone is daring what we are, or anything like it.”

Drake nodded absently, staring through the window at the watery horizon. “You’ve got a pretty view, Siri.” he said.

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PostSubject: Re: RPG: On Rewinding   Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:17 am

Sunset. The air was cool, the office of the Primerant silent and deserted. All the remaining light through the windows gleamed the livid orange of cooling coals, longwave sun rays coloring the room. The screen on the desk was beginning to fade in color too, mirroring the dying light from outside.

Head tilted, Amado Tkallenrai considered the request left on that screen. A troublesome request... one that had come at a fortuitous time. Yes, a good time.

He had been out among the people earlier in the week; well, she had, as it had been at the time... They had talked, and listened, to stories of those who had fended off the Preservation's encroachment in the eastern cities and few remaining towns. Without question, everyone had said, the Preservation did not mean them any harm. Alasmith Vitambar was telling the truth, the Preservation was not vicious, nor brutal, nor bloodthirsty. All the Preservation intended was total annihilation of civilization, and people only got in the way.

Didn't Tkallenrai know it? So close to the equator, he had to strike a balance, shaking hands with the Preservation while clubbing them in the side. He knew what they wanted, and did his best to show them he understood. But he wouldn't play aln Khopekh's part, wouldn't pander to enemies and pawn off his country. Oughtn't the Preservation understand Tkallenrai the way that he understood them?

Years ago, the Preservation had killed a part of him, a part of her. Tkallenrai had never been set on one gender or the other...

They reached a hand to their face, feeling for what they could not see without a mirror. The eye that had grown back just a shade or two yellower in color, the skin that had grown back just a shade or two paler. The mind that had not come back all in one piece.

So. No. Everything that could be done under the Preservation's sights had to be done, and would be done.

Primerant Tkallenrai picked up a plate of the screen, bringing its glow closer as the sunlight disappeared outside. A Penthisilea-employed shipper and an Archodean expatriate wanted to journey across the Atlantic, their mission to reach the Amazon delta and unravel the mystery of the Democratic Janeic Amazilia. How bold of them. Tkallenrai would not even have to spare a helmsman, only resources and protection; and come to think of it, his Treasurant, Mote, would surely approve of such a venture economically.

Most importantly, however - how better to stab the smoky dragon of the Preservation than to reawaken Juan Marerro Alcokurma, the Water Lion?

Amado Tkallenrai saw nothing to gain by turning down the petition.

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PostSubject: Re: RPG: On Rewinding   Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:19 pm

Cold, so cold. She didn't know where she was. It was flat and smooth like glass, but there was no glass anywhere... they had taken down that house...

She curled into a ball and shivered, eyes barely opening. So tired, too. Her clothes were... were -

Meverakt sat up and blinked, rubbing away the crust at the corners of her eyes. Not her clothes. Someone had washed them and her, and she didn't remember doing it. What had happened after her fight? She had received the transfer order out of the blue, and instinctively resisted, but the rest of her team had... brought her down. That was what it was.

But that had been in Preservation territory, in the vast desert. What was this room of glass? The morning light was beginning to spread as the sun emerged from low clouds, and she looked around stiffly.

"Greetings, N'MEVRAE. Do explain in your own words why you are here."

She sprang from her awkward sit to a low crouch. Someone was standing at the far end, by a doorway she hadn't seen... cloaked in black, or dark blue.

After a minute of silence, the hooded figure spoke again. "You fought. No one was sure why. You were supposed to go southwest from R'SONDES, to operate on the ground in Seranans. Instead you are here. Why?"

Meverakt gave him a look. "I was too homesick to go."

The figure swept into the light, all of their features invisible beneath the midnight blue robes. "Sarcasm, but there is a little bit of truth to that. I see. Perhaps they were wrong to take the girl out of the city."

"Where am I?" she said.

"A city. I believe you know who I am. Would you like to know why you are here, since you seem not to understand?"

Her addresser could only be Alasmith Vitambar. Meverakt shrugged. "Seems you want to tell me."

He turned to one of the transparent walls, apparently looking outside. Golden streaks in his robes, like roots or lightning, caught the dawn light. "You would have been duly shipped off or killed had I not been asking around for a rebel, MEVRAE. The Preservation does not need deserters. If crows could do their work, they would use crows. Humans aren't wanted."

"What do you want a rebel for, then? En't a loyalist better for your work too?" She half-expected Vitambar to laugh, but he didn't even look around.

"I am a rebel too. I thought you might find a new purpose in what we're doing here. Primarily, my hope was to give you another chance and to see what you can make of it. This, I believe, will be your third life, so to speak. Less metaphorically, this is my own fifth life."

"Living is better than no," she allowed. "You say 'what we're doing here', though. Where's here, now?"

Alasmith Vitambar retreated from the window and indicated the skyline beyond with a white-gloved hand. The clouds were clearing, and Meverakt squinted past the sun at the rest of the city.

"Welcome to C'PANAMA, MEVRAE."
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