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Beginning of the World As We Know It 4

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by EQandcivfanatic, May 19, 2018.

  1. EQandcivfanatic

    EQandcivfanatic Zailing Captain Retired Moderator

    Joined:
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    To: Ganglaw
    From: Clinchfield

    The people who joined you are thugs and criminals, but we are open to business. We will make ammo for you, but for every ten units of ammo, we require a gun as payment. Give us more guns, you get more ammunition.

    To: Ganglaw
    From: Vienna

    Thanks for the warning, we'll keep our eyes open.
     
  2. Zappericus

    Zappericus Euro scumbag

    Joined:
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    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Norway
    To: Backstabbing Scumbags in blue spandex
    From: Chem Dogs

    Well, we hope you're happy. Hundreds dead, vital resources lost, both our positions weakened.

    Now things are going to get messy, until either you or us are left standing. Nothing but your heads on pikes matter anymore.
     
  3. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,547
    Jam Me Up?

    To Proxxy's slobbering dogs,
    From V404's overseer Doug "Pooh Bear" Moore


    We make a deal and you got the nerve to demand more like some slickster?

    (never losing his smile)

    I want to tell you about the last guy who tried to jam me up on a deal.

    Anyway, I want to tell you. It's a good story, guaranteed to break the ice at a party.

    <leans back, grinning broadly>

    Dude shorted me eleven cap... thought I wouldn't count it till I got home. Wrong.

    (beat)

    You know what I did?

    (beat)

    I clamped his head in a vice.

    You should have heard him howling.

    Then I took a Mr. Handy's Saws All and I cut His skull open

    (calmly) You know, those Saws All really do cut through everything.

    So I'm standing there looking at this dude's brain and I'm thinking to myself, you know, this guy doesn't really need this thing. I mean, anyone stupid enough to jam me up doesn't really use their brain to begin with. You know what I'm saying?


    Mr Doug Moore hasn't been himself since he got his nose bit off by a drugged-crazed Chemdog during the attack on the Reaper headquarters.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  4. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    8,047
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    I dunnow who's more insane anymore.
     
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  5. Decamper

    Decamper ..!

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,158
    To: Neuquex @EQandcivfanatic
    From: Guards of the Coast


    You've got a big ol' nasty boy coming towards you. We'll do our best to keep it away from ya, but we would appreciate any and every spare hand you can send to help us slay the bugger.
     
  6. theDright

    theDright King

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    605
    Faction Name: Vault 121
    Leader Name: Overseer Edwin George
    Leader Trait: Intelligent
    Starting Location: King's Bay Naval Base
    Leader Background: not yet
    Origins: Vault-Dwellers
    Trait: Industrious
    Background: N/A
     
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  7. NinjaCow64

    NinjaCow64 Thought Bubble Thinker Supporter

    Joined:
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    8,035
    Gender:
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    To: The People of Elias City
    RE: The Bobblers @EQandcivfanatic


    As part of our agreement with the Bobblers, possession of Bobbleheads is now criminalised for Elias City residents. All residents of Elias City have a 48 hour amnesty period to hand over Bobbleheads in their possession. Any resident failing to do so within this period will be subject to punishments including time in the Tower, exile and death depending on the number of Bobbleheads hoarded, as hoarding Bobbleheads will be considered attempted sabotage of Elias-Bobbler relations.

    All Bobblers that come to town will be escorted directly to the Vault-Tec exhibit by the Elias City Militia. All Bobbleheads in Elias City will be placed within the Vault-Tec exhibit as a gift by the peoples of Elias City. While you are inside Vault-Tec exhibit you will not be disturbed, however a detachment of the Militia will be posted outside the Vault-Tec exhibit so no persons will attempt to sabotage your religious rituals.

    We trust that these stipulations are acceptable for the Bobblers, if they are not we are happy to negotiate.
     
  8. Grandkhan

    Grandkhan Telvanni Master Wizard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,677
    Location:
    Inside a mushroom
    Faction Name: The Most Pious and Holy Fraternity of the Star Engineers (the Star Engineers for when you don't want to type it out)
    Leader Name: The Most Pious and Star-clad Chief Astronaut Orion Pisces III
    Leader Trait: Intelligent
    Starting Location: The Facility (NASA Launch Facility, Cape Canaveral)
    Leader Background: Orion Pisces III, was elected by the Most Pious and Holy Fraternity in an emergency conclave meeting to deal with the potential food shortages in the Facility. Notable for solving the problem of the curious orbit of the WARMIGER Magi-Star, he was elected on the platform of opening up the Facility and emerging into the outside world, adding a curious notion - that perhaps not all problems can be solved within the walls of the Facility. His science-sorcery is strong, his mathematics are without error, and the most arcane powers of the Star Engineers are at his fingertips. Let the secrets of Old America be found!
    Origins: Pre-War Military
    Trait: Industrious
    Background: The inheritors of an ancient tradition of the construction of the Stars, the Most Pious and Holy Fraternity of the Star Engineers believe that the men and women of Old America were capable of magic sorceries, able to bend the stars to their will and create new ones. The Star Engineers of Old America would place their man-made stars in the heavens, where they would spy upon the earth, carry messages to other Star Engineers, and even cause suns to fall to the Earth to destroy their enemies in Thaumo-radioactive Fire.

    It was this power that destroyed the Star Engineers, as they used it too often against their rivals and smote their enemies. The last remnants of their Most Pious and Holy Fraternity, hiding underground in the Facility, have in the generations since lost this knowledge - they puzzle over the Arcane Consoles, pore over every piece of the Void Birds that sit within the vast caverns of the Facility and study the strange scripts and symbols that are extruded from the Arcane machines or flit across the Enchanted Glass from time to time.

    But now, as the radiation recedes and food runs low, the Most Pious and Star-Clad Chief Astronaut Orion Pisces III has given the order to emerge from the Facility, and obtain what secrets exist above.
     
  9. EQandcivfanatic

    EQandcivfanatic Zailing Captain Retired Moderator

    Joined:
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    Location:
    On the Zee
    I'll be starting the update some time tomorrow, so get those orders in. NPC stats have been updated and the new factions' stats have also been added.


    To: Guards of the Coast
    From: Neuquex

    We'll do the best we can, but we don't have many fighting men or militia.
     
  10. theDright

    theDright King

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    605
    Control Vault then?
     
  11. EQandcivfanatic

    EQandcivfanatic Zailing Captain Retired Moderator

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    11,578
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    On the Zee
    Nope, a vault with no storage space.
     
  12. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Messages:
    13,623
    Location:
    Workwork Workshop
    To Vault 107 @EQandcivfanatic
    From Fair Play Inns


    Hey friend. Have a drink on us! (+5 alcohol)

    Got some news and some invitations, so I'll try to keep it short and sweet, eh? Take some time to think on it. We could really work together on big exciting things, yeah?

    We've got lots of extra water storage and you've got lots of extra water production. We're planning to buy your excess and maybe some of your older water. Current offer is, for a 3 year deal, is that we buy all your excess water production for 100 scrap a year. (2000 production - pop, for 50 scrap a turn, for 6 turns. We understand as your pop increases your excess decreases, so this is a chance to lock in that price.)

    In other news, we saw you busting your butts all over Reed Creek. *holds hand up* now, it's not up to me to tell you what to do, but I just wanted you to know that we got a workin' forge back at the Inn. If you need some pieces hammered or bent, just let me know and I can work something out something for ya.

    Next up, we've tried to cross the Savannah River. Sweet Jenny Tucker loved the river, and I thought I'd get to catch up with her around March with her canoe in tow. She disappeared after leaving, and the boys back at the Inn didn't see anything either. However, we did see some kind of shadow-thing in the water. So two parts, yeah? One, a warning to stay out of the river for a bit, at least until we figure out this mess. Two, a request for help. I know you fancy vault-boys got gidgits and gadgets out the wazoo. You think you got any, I dunno, monster vision or heat sight or listen eyes we can borrow for a bit to track down that... thing?

    Oh yeah, one last thing! Our sweet Sassy Grubber is turn'n 50 and we're planning to throw a doozy of a birthday party. Yeah! We still got those in the wasteland! ... Who's Ant Sassy? Oh boy, do I have a story to tell you! But first, we're thinking about where to hold the party. We got the ol' Inn at Fair Play, and a new f... frank... ah, place at the Hartwell Inn down south. What do ya think if we had the party right here, outside yer beautiful vault? We'll bring our own booze, and we can celebrate our continued friendship an' survival in the wasteland! Even if not, you're welcome to bring yourself and some friends to the party!

    - Krispy Grubber, Fair Play's Delegate at Vault 107
     
  13. EQandcivfanatic

    EQandcivfanatic Zailing Captain Retired Moderator

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    11,578
    Location:
    On the Zee
    To: Fair Play Inns
    From; Vault 107

    If you can change 100 Scrap to 2 Tech Parts, you'd have a deal for the water. Alternatively, if you freely produce weapons for us out of our scrap without any additional cost, we will provide you the excess water freely.
     
  14. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Messages:
    13,623
    Location:
    Workwork Workshop
    To Vault 107 @EQandcivfanatic
    From: Fair Play Inns

    We're willing to trade 2 Tech Parts for one year's worth of surplus water, and your current stockpile of water. We're willing to throw in free manufacture rights for 50 LT weapons with this deal.

    (That would be 2000 + around 800ish water)

    EDIT: And do you have a response to our other information?
     
  15. Quisani

    Quisani Gaming Person

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Messages:
    569
    Location:
    The question isn't where, but when.
    Faction Name: Boca Ciego Academy
    Leader Name: Dockmaster Dennis Croft V
    Leader Trait: Agile
    Starting Location: Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg
    Leader Background: Dockmaster Dennis Croft V hails from a long line of dockmasters. Since the first reports of the nuclear attacks in 2077, Croft V's family has maintained the order among those who sought refuge at the Farragut Hall. After the passing of the previous dock master, Larry Croft III, Dennis was picked as the successor amongst the Faculty Body's families. Though he is not particularly enthusiastic about his selection, he is willing to embrace the role, and lead the Academy forwards.
    Origins: Survivalists
    Trait: Maritime
    Background: When the reports of bombs falling reached Admiral Farragut Academy, the faculty was quick to take measures to secure the well being of the student body living on campus. The students and some of the surrounding locals who took refuge at the Academy survived thanks to the various supplies and resources stored at the hall and relative safety of the large walled off grounds of the campus. This has allowed the Faculty Body to maintain order and reestablish the community. Being a school for youths with a naval emphasis, a natural hierarchy took over, where the faculty body oversaw everyone else. This system has in no small part due to the access to the waters of Boca Ciego Bay and the maritime competency of the population.

     
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  16. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Messages:
    13,623
    Location:
    Workwork Workshop
    To Vault 107 @EQandcivfanatic
    From: Fair Play Inns


    Hello, you must be Jacobson. Let me introduce myself - my name is Sassy Grubber and I'm on my way to Hartwell. Yes yes, I've heard all about you... I have something interesting to share, and I hope you'll agree.

    Now uh, when I say "We" to mean the two of us, it's "Capitalized." Yeah, I'll say it in a way that you can hear it. Trust me.

    Savannah Union
    Firstly, we shall open our forges to your weapon production. And in for the future, any of our production places shall be open for your needs free of charge, and similarly, any of your production places shall be for our needs free of charge. One party would provide the proper raw stuff for production in the other's facility, free of charge. However, We understand the need to allow craftsmen undisturbed, and so We shall man and manage our own facilities separately or together as need be and agreed upon. This cooperation does mean that We shall work together to plan the future expansion of our production abilities.

    Second, We shall share our surplus production of food and water. Our united storage space shall be common, and each may make withdrawals from the one other's storage space - because it shall be the same storage space. For the production using food and water, We each may do with our windfalls (captured/found food or sporadically gathered food to be used in the same turn) as we wish, but We shall plan the purpose of and production with shared surpluses together. Additionally, We shall work together to plan the future expansion of our food and water production abilities.

    Thirdly, We shall stand shoulder to shoulder against the dangers of the wasteland. We will not work at cross purposes, and consult each other to face challenges greater than each of us alone. Additionally, We shall strive to work together on a variety of expeditions, so that our people shall come to see each other more than neighbors, but as brothers in humanity. We will hold any resources and items found in our future partnered expeditions together, and decide together on their future use in furthering our Union.

    Finally, We shall work together through a Place of Pointing and Speaking, and each of us will send a point person from each major faction or production place. We need not submit to most hands or loudest voice - the Point People will bring forth their ideas and suggestions, and the final decisions will be agreed by both Speakers, one who will speak for you and one who will speak for me. But one day, we may add a third Speaker to speak for We, or decide on one Speaker to speak for Humanity. We can decide the future of Pointing and Speaking at a later time. The Speakers shall decide on Production Places, on Production with Surplus Food and Water, on Partnered Expeditions, and on Expansion using our Shared Resources; with the support of the Point People, as they are the ones who will enact these decisions. However, each of us will retain much flexibility in managing our own settlements.
     
  17. gay_Aleks

    gay_Aleks communism will win.

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    10,791
    Location:
    Nightvale, US
     
  18. EQandcivfanatic

    EQandcivfanatic Zailing Captain Retired Moderator

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    On the Zee
    Spoiler :



    From: Vault 107

    No thank you. We are currently content in our own production, and while we are eager to continue trading, we do not wish to push our relationship to any other level.
     
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  19. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
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    13,623
    Location:
    Workwork Workshop
    To Vault 107 @EQandcivfanatic

    Thank you for your reply. Would you accept 2 tech parts for 1 year of surplus water, for just one year? (1 tech part this turn, 1 tech part next turn, in exchange for surplus production.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  20. SouthernKing

    SouthernKing crickety cricket

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    6,914
    Location:
    Deva Loka
    Alex Drake's father died when she was seven. He had told her on his deathbed, with a grin full of rotten yellowed teeth, that he had been a raider, a brute, a savage from the north. He had slain half a dozen men with his bare hands. His left had been well and truly paralysed by then, so, to emphasise this point, he had raised his trembling right, clenched it into a feeble fist of strength--and then opened it like a blooming flower, laid it on Alex's wrist. "It'll be our little secret, okay?"

    And in those dying breaths, he told Alex one, final story, a rather dark one he had never told her before.

    “Do you know why I settled down? Do you? Well, I couldn’t go on.”

    Her father’s smile faded.

    “My friends and I found this bobble. Laid on the side of the road, up near Daytona Beach. Thing was like…a little human, a homunculus, I think, a boy dressed in blue and with golden hair. He looked so…warm. I couldn’t help--I couldn’t help but pick him up."

    Alex understood perhaps a third of her father’s words, but she understood the little sob that emerged from his mouth.

    “I had the strangest dreams, you know. But--but some feral ghouls--came in the night. Came to our come. They--they killed the others. All of them. But I--I had the bobble in my hands. So I lived.”

    Alex continued looking on, puzzled. Her father noticed, and smiled again.

    “Listen, Alex. Stay strong. Whenever you feel blue, remember--that little boy will always be with you.”

    Alex knows now that his words can't be true; the sea devils are saying that White City's old petty chieftain would have never allowed any outsider into the village's walls, let alone a savage such as the man the self-proclaimed Red Richard of Roanoke had claimed to be.

    But surely the bobble is on her side?

    ***

    Alex isn't sure why it's this particular memory is flashing before her sun-creased eyes as she looks up, through the barrel of a laser weapon, at the blue-capped man standing above her. From here, cast against a bright blue sky, he’s more silhouette than human, the sea devil who looks like a sailor from one of her mother’s tattered old pre-War comics.

    Perhaps it's because Alex wishes she had that sort of charisma. A little charisma would do her quite a lot of good about now. The metal of the sea devil’s gun is close enough to her face that she can feel its pulsating waves of heat scorch her skin. The bobble might do her some good, too.

    "I'm--I'm with the Order," she's trying to say, "just--just like you."

    Well, that won’t do. Not after she tried to take after her father and intelligently pounce on him. The sea devil’s response, however, takes her rather aback.

    “Then what is our creed?”

    Well. This should be easy enough. She’s heard the sea devils’ chant plenty of times from the station that had once been at the centre of White City before--before that day. “I believe in one secret and secret--and infallible--one infallible…” She desperately searches for the next word. “One infallible Moon.” She exhales. “And in one Sun--"

    “Hylic bastardry,” the man cuts her off.

    He laughs, a series of heart-stopping chortles that shake Alex’s whole body.

    “But…” he says next, looking to the sky, "your heart is in the right place.”

    And Alex Drake’s little eyes watch the laser gun as it drops out of his loosened hands and down to the sun-crackled pavement of US 1.

    ***

    If Alex Drake closes those eyes, she can see, in her eyelids, a great head, like that of a massive, floating balloon. Its hair is golden, its teeth white. This--this is the bobble, the one her father described. That smile is so beautiful--it’s welcoming her. She’ll be safe from the sea devils.

    But its eyes are as black as the shadow. And they’re staring right at her, piercing through eternity.

    Alex Drake can’t help but shudder.

    ***

    This sea devil’s name is Jonathan Agnew. That’s not the sort of name Alex associates with the sea devils, but he insists that’s his name, and he has the gun to prove it. He says he’s a Knight of the Seven Seas. Or, perhaps, an Illustrious Knight of the Divine Secret. Alex has heard it both ways.

    This Jonathan has taken her inside the house nearby, and now he’s telling her to repeat after him. This, Alex does; she has no particular desire to die.

    I believe in one secret and ineffable Monad
    What the hell is a Monad? And what the hell does “ineffable” mean?

    and in one Star in the Company of Stars of whose fire we are created
    She’s seen stars, but they’re usually clouded by red smoke. Do the sea devils believe the stars are nuclear bombs themselves?

    and to which we shall return
    This, she can believe. Alex has seen the world around her burn itself more times than she wishes to count. She isn’t sure what praying to this Monad or these stars will do.

    and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name Yaldabaoth the sole vicegerent of the Sun upon the Earth
    Right. Whatever--whatever that means.

    ***

    In her next blink, Alex can see the head again. And she can see the cosmic axis it’s settled on, the one the head’s rapidly processing about with much the same motion as a joyfully wobbling top.

    Beneath the bobble’s head sprawls a great city. It seems to sprawl on and on and forever, hugging azure southern waters and a gently arcing coastline. Spires rise from the city’s heart, fashioned from glass and glistening in the sunlight brighter than the finest jewel. Alex can see the monorails that are spun in a silken web across its streets, and she can the gardens, lusher than any Alex has ever seen, lusher than Alex can imagine it were possible to dream.

    ***

    And I believe in one Earth, the Mother of us all
    Alex has--had--a mother, yes, but she’s not the Earth.

    and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten
    Alex isn’t a man, either, for that matter.

    and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name Babylon
    Oh, if Babylon meant gardens, she’s already seen gardens, and--

    ***

    Alex Drake can see that city again in her next blink. Night has fallen, and with it, a thousand thousand little electric lanterns have flickered to life. They cast pools of enlightenment all up and down its roads and up its dreaming spires and in the heart of each and every last house. She wonders what it must have been like to live in somewhere so beautiful, to walk amidst the gardens, to walk past so many stars preserved in crystal.

    But is it just her, or is the bobble’s grin just that little bit even brighter--

    She doesn’t have time to think before she sees night flash into day. And, just before the blink ends and her eyes open, she sees all the lights of that city go out, one by one.

    She can feel a million screams.

    ***

    And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion


    Mystery of Mystery, in His name Baphomet


    And I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty


    the Word of whose Law is Sophia
    Sophia. Sophia. Sophia.

    ***

    Alex can see the ruins beneath her, the thousand thousand lanterns reduced to a thousand thousand crumbling skeletons all twisted in agony. There aren’t the blessed ones.

    These are the ones that have been stripped of life by the bobble.

    She looks up in anger. Some of the bobble’s skin has peeled off, and she can see the mangled tangle inside his cheeks and under his eyes. But his hair is more golden than ever, and--

    --and that ----ing bobble still smiles. Its like a white mirelurk’s pincer aimed straight at her soul.

    She’s going to make that bobble go away

    go away go away go away go away

    ***

    And I believe in the communion of Aeons
    Alex will believe in anything now.

    And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation
    She needs a miracle.

    And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal that was, and is, and is to come

    Yes. Yes, she can do that.

    ***

    My shoes are Japanese
    Have you ever thought to be wanderers in the fourth dimension?
    My trousers, British
    Have you? To be exiles?
    The red cap on my head, Russian
    This is a
    false goddess! I shall destroy her!
    Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?
    the Word of whose Law is Sophia

    Alex can still see that horrid bobble face. But now she can see the thousand, the million, the billions and billions of lights from behind. They build and build, coalescing and floating together and blossoming, until the starfield’s brighter than the bobble’s face, and the bobble sinks down, down, deeper down, drowning in the light.

    Come along and sing the song and join the jamboree!

    The bobble shall no longer bother her.

    ***

    Om mani padme hum
    Om mani padme hum
    Om mani padme hum

    These words themselves are meaningless. They're in some arcane tongue of the Old Orient, a tongue long ago swept away in the radiant rain of an atomic monsoon. But they are jewelled words of power, and Alex needs power now.

    ***

    Alex Drake is spinning through time and space. Maybe she’ll land back in White City, maybe she’ll land in Celebration, maybe she’ll land in Shanghai or Moscow, or Tokyo or Baghdad, or Chang'an or Nineveh--no, the Earth has ceased to exist.

    Well, that’s fine. All she can do is stare at the glowing starry rivers of the cosmos around her, and wherever she lands--she’ll be safe from the bobble there, surely.

    ***

    When Alex Drake opens her eyes, she can recite the whole thing. She doesn’t need a second revision. She isn’t bothered by how unlyrical the lines are. She doesn’t even need to work around the fact that her head feels like a pounding hammer.

    I believe in one secret and ineffable Monad; and in one Star in the Company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name Yaldabaoth the sole vicegerent of the Sun upon the Earth; and in one Air the nourisher of all that breathes.
    And I believe in one Earth, the Mother of us all, and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten, and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name Babylon.
    And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name Baphomet.
    And I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is Sophia.
    And I believe in the communion of Aeons.
    And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation.
    And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal that was, and is, and is to come.
    Om mani padme hum.
    Om mani padme hum.
    Om mani padme hum.


    There. She’s got the whole thing down, even the leaden emphasis on the names.

    Her head abruptly bursts through her skull, and Alex only vaguely feels her legs crumble under her.

    ***

    Alex blinks, and emerges from the time vortex to land in the middle of a great green under a bright summer sky.

    She’s standing upon dirt, at the end of a little Mobius strip, and she has a bat in her hand, a wide wooden rectangle, more like a greatsword than the baseball bats she’s used to. There’s three pillars behind her, three pillars fashioned into something like a gate holding up the cosmos, along with three mirror images, on the far side of her little dirt strip.

    Behind that gate stands a man, and all around the green stand other men, and all around them is a great bowl filled to the brim with people--lost souls from the days before the Flood.

    Is this the in-between?

    Down blow, there’s a man careening towards her. Like the gatekeeper, this man is dressed in blue and yellow--the colours of the bobble. The man accelerates, swinging his arm from low to high and up and around, reaching the far end of the dirt. But he stops, and a red flash erupts from his raised hand.

    It takes her too long to realise that the red flash is a projectile, being hurled straight at her, bouncing off the dirt at the speed of sound. She instinctively raises her bat to defend herself, but it’s too late.

    The edge of her bat strikes the ball with a satisfying thunk.

    Alex’s eyes snap upwards as she has an epiphany she knows she has no way of having. She watches as the red flash rockets up and up and up and far away, deep past the Melbourne Cricket Ground boundary and deep into the crowd for a six--a deep strike into the bobble’s heart.

    Her eyes widen as her mind registers where she is, and what the city she had been shown earlier was--

    ***

    She’s lying on the floor, Knight Jonathan Agnew leaning over her. His mouth is moving frantically, but Alex can’t hear the words. She can tell from her face that this was not normal for the sea devils, and that, by their standards, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

    But there is no time to ruminate now, no time to wonder why she has been shown this. Alex Drake has work to do.

    “I need a cricket bat,” she says, with more clarity than she’s ever said anything in her life.

    “A what?”

    That’s particularly silly. What is a cricket bat? “You people come from a distant land,” she says. “Surely you must know what a cricket bat is?” Her voice has changed. It sounds foreign now, even more foreign than a sea devil. “I’ve got to take it. I know what I must do. I’ve got to go to Melbourne. That’s near here, isn’t it?”

    “I--yes, it’s just up the M95. Are you alright?"

    Alex, truthfully, doesn't know. She doesn’t know where any of this has come from. All she knows is that this is how she will defeat the bobble.

    Jonathan Agnew, Illustrious Knight of the Divine Secret, looks upon Alex Drake with eyes as wide as the Moon. In awe, and in fear.

    ***

    Alex Drake leaves White City--or Akhetaten or whatever it is the sea devils are calling it now--she leaves it the next day. She’s carrying a cricket bat over her shoulder. No one can say where she got it from, not even a sea devil, least of all Jonathan Agnew.

    "I'm going to Melbourne," she says, whenever anyone asks her. "I'm going to Melbourne Cricket Ground.”

    They all ask her, “Why?”

    And she just shrugs and responds, “I’m going to play cricket.”

    ***

    Two vagabonds found the severed, mutilated head, almost unrecognisable as a Vault-Tec bobble, impaled into the flotsam-strewn shore north of Fort Pierce. The feral ghouls all around seemed still, as if something had pacified them.

    It was not the head of Ozymandias; this head had been clearly been smashed off its pedestal by a broad, heavy object. It lay in the centre of a pentagram, around which had been scrawled words of power, in Arabesque script too fine and too ornate to have been carved into sand: I believe in one ineffable Monad…

    Here’s the thing: Alex Drake isn’t literate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018

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