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Duty's End

Thud, Thud, Thud, a rhythm like a heart beat, thud, thud, thud; the sound of 6000 feet. Thud, thud, thud, the sound of progress, hopes and dreams, thud, thud, thud, the sound of Dread and loss. “Or one continuous headache” Falk thought to himself grumpily as the company pushed onward through the towering shards of debris and half collapsed towers that marked the passing of humanity in the ruins. Everywhere you looked burnt out scraps of the past’s shining dreams stood as moot testament to the only fact that Falk believed in besides the only two true rules of life he knew of growing up; Specialists are arrogant his mother said, Specialists will get you killed his father said and the more important one, a dream only lasts as long as the person who thought of it, beyond that it was already dead, forgotten and best left alone. He shifted the weight of his pack momentarily to his left shoulder whilst altering the sit of his rifle sling, as the burlap material rubbed against his neck where it has slid over on the recent days march, the rest of the column steadily pounding its way forward to its next objective as his feet kept pace with out bothering to consciously keep track of them doing so. “You alright Stitch?” a voice spoke to the right of him; a slight twist of an accent catching the end of each word making it sound like ’ya ‘right itch’, “Bloody strap keeps shifting every other pace Tarn” He replied looking round as his thick set squad mate. “Eye, got mine lashed up to my pack to stop it shifting” Tarn nodded as he looped along next to Falk’s orderly march, “Officer’s catch you with that and you’ll be on latrines all campaign” Falks quipped as Tarn snorted with a grin. An odd pairing outside of military life the two technician militiamen were from the flipside of one another, one heavy set and stocky whilst the other was average in everyway, apart from the set of permanent stitches that ran across his nose and so gifting him his nickname. “Stops it moving though” Tarn remarked with a mischievous look as Falk chuckled, the rest of the squad calmly chatting amongst themselves as they pushed further on. 6 months of campaigning has set them into an routine that their bodies followed without much prompting, the pattern of rising, dawn stand too, food, break camp, march, make camp, evening stand too, food, sleep, repeat that made up their day to day was repeating itself once again as the Old guard pushed northwards away from their last accomplishment, past baggage trains of supplies still tailing the end of the army with civilians further behind them still heading for the new town, wary eyes darting about the gloom in expectation of some bed time story told as a child suddenly coming to life out of the darkness. Falk shook his head, their were plenty of nightmares and scares for sure but nothing a rifle round couldn’t put down if backed up by some human courage of a liquid variety. Morale was generally high across the force from what he understood from his Sergeant, food rations had gotten better of late as well after a dip, something to do with the Expedition into the Greenland's, 9th company and Ranger business according to scuttlebutt. “What you reckon to all this Tribal business then?” a question floated back down the line from the militia troopers ahead “One off, some specialist twit stepped on some ones toes I reckon” “I Heard those thieves to the north was to blame, what ya call them, Ravens lot” Another quipped in, “Politics, I bets its politics behind it like always” a corporal piped up from the squad behind, Falk wouldn’t have been surprised if the Prime himself was asking the same question, a lot of runners had been coming in and out of camp more than usual lately and a new Wagon master being appointed from a reconnaissance company smacked of something odd going on, but as per usual specialists likely had their faces well and truly shoved in the trough and technicians would be clearing up the slop. Falk rubbed his chin with his free hand as the sound of shouted orders filtered past him, the column pulling to the side as a clattering and coughing sound grew from behind them, a tri-wheeled machine with a goggled rider wrapped in a padded jacket sped past, the Parliamentary crest emblazed on the rear end. “Some one’s in a hurry” Tarn raised an eyebrow at Falk as the rest of the column looked on in puzzlement, only then did Falk notice the dents and broken shafts of arrow heads sticking in one side of the tri-wheeler and the bandage wrapped around the upper part of the riders arms, “I think I might know why” Falk looked at his squad mate as a Specialist officer came running up, his Rust colour sash catching in the slight breeze left by the passing vehicle “Form ranks, Form Ranks damn your eyes, Sergeants prep squads and prepare to hold” “Sir yes sir” rippled up and down the line as packs where dropped and rifles clattered with the sound of loaded magazines and safeties being flicked off. Falk looked over at Tarn who was hurriedly untying his improvised carrying lashes whilst the rest of the column were finishing coming to their stand too order. “Hurry up” Falk whispered as the officer turned around and drew his side arm, “I am, I am” Tarn replied as he stood up as the sound of collapsing debris began to echo all around them, the air standing still for a moment as the sound of the dying began...

Military Campaign progress Edit

The fate of a people is often put down to a single action in history, a singular point in time where the greatest minds of a civilisation provide the perfect answer to a problem that no one else can see and is acted upon by one person to crown the start of a meteoric rise to their greatest heights, or a devastating defeat which  brings them down to their lowest point from which legends arise to begin the cycle anew for the generations that follow in the ashes of their forefathers. One tale held close to the heart of a thousand different voices can found a culture, one culture can unite an empire and one empire can bring an peace not seen the likes of before by the passing of a single people into the either of time.  This defining point is a beacon to all that follow seeking to emulate the passing of time and make their mark that adds to the tapestry of a culture as it developed and evolves with each action that interacts with it, whilst those that fail to learn from their past mistakes see their own tapestry become subsumed into another's, or forgotten entirely in some far flung corner of the genealogy of the human race.  For the technician masses and Specialists aristocrats of the mech-corp these defining moments come clasped in hardship of the worst kind and yet they push onwards, adapting to each in turn as their predecessors have done since mankind first climbed down from the trees and made the will of nature their own. This common cause catches now like a spark amongst the militia regiments of the Old guard and the colonists sent out by the parliament to settle the lands won throw the honest blood of soldiers that has marked the passage of mankind’s expansion since time immemorial. A single point of pride pulling in many different forms and for many different reasons but again all the same forging a link amongst those treading the ruins that they can point to as their mark upon history, their accomplishment pushing the mech-corp people to higher and higher reaches with each passing conquest, the problem with climbing higher is that inevitably the fall comes harder and faster with but a single slip of the hand. 

For the first couple of weeks after the initial ambushes conducted against the Old guard the army finds itself on a heightened state of alert, stress showing across some of the less experienced troops and hinting at cracks amongst the junior officer cadre as letters flit back and forth to family members in parliament requesting rotation home. Some of the more experienced officers find the idea of a fight more entertaining however, the promise of flexing old muscles putting a wicked sense of lust for combat into some of the more roguish of the senior officers. Amongst the massed ranks however thoughts turn to simpler ideas of payback for lost or missing  friends amongst individual squads and platoons, drinks lifted to their memories  around tent fires during the bits of free time they can find to honour them. The army breaks camp shortly into the third week after the previous conquest after orders arrive by parliament runner  accompanied by a small band of logistics personnel and a squad of reconnaissance troopers attached to the new wagon master for the army; the rank again separated from the general so ending the bizarre situation that had started 6 months before. Background politics is muttered around the camp by most as they finally head off pushing northwards back down the roads they had previously fought their way through the preceding three months, the marks of war freshly added to the canvas of the ruins tale of misery; scorch marks from grenades, weapon impacts littering the ground and walls of buildings, odd discoloured patches staining the ground in places  and the faint smell of smoke and ozone from old weapons fire. Caution creeps around the shadows of light cast by soldiers’ fires like a shadowy observer each night as the army places double the normal perimeter guard to keep watch for these ‘Soulful’ reappearing once more but nothing materialises, at least not yet. The dawn of the next week comes and goes with the sound of nought but pounding boots on concrete, the wind catching wisps of nervous jokes and conversations carrying them to and fro along the line like ghosts amongst the troopers as they pass the intersection marking the split from the path leading to their latest victory and the road that now flows to Silesia and the growing town settled there. Small bands of traders are spotted in a couple places who wave to the passing troops, a couple of kids waving small flags in one case whilst sat on a ruined balcony above the army as it passed below.

The end of the first month pushing ever northwards comes with little fanfare as the army settles into its routine once more, the dawn of the second barely registered by any but the paper of the dairies kept by some of the specialist officers, barely noticed and as quickly forgotten. The Old Guard progresses  onwards at a steady pace as they reach the final junction in the labyrinth maze of ruins, collapsed tunnels and ancient over passes that make up the long forgotten roads of the ruins. To the east lies home, the parliament and the towns of the mech-corp proper, to the north an as yet untamed darkness lying in wait with potential treasures and certain dangers in equal measure for those that would tread through it. Silently time marches onwards as does the army following behind their screen of advancing scouts and perimeter units, soldiers keep an eye all around them for signs of movement. The next week passes, yet more days of silence and tension amongst the darkness, more reports flit back and forth between the various officers and the general about their next move. The darkness beats them too it on the eve of the 4th day of the second week, a scout group is ambushed and the contact quickly escalates as more units are drawn into the battle. The army reacts like a coiled spring with the front battalions surging forwards to confront the Soulful warriors in a wave of ochre coloured troops and baying bugles, such a force smashes into the warriors who have yet to retreat into the ruins once more, overconfidence from their previous ambushes making them think the Old Guard easy prey smirk some officers and junior ranks. It lasts but a few hours leaving some 50 dead on the side of the old guard and the soulful equally from the scout squads and responding battalions, a pitifully small number on the mech-corp side that boys the army onwards like a hound catching the scent of the fox. However the soulful never emerge beyond the sight of a single figure, enough to pull the army faster and faster forwards and come close to the end of the second week the reason why appears with the force of a hammer blow. The two leading battalions troops push forward hard, desperate to close the gap and engage the enemy in a rush of vengeance for their fellows; the taste of blood in the air to some as a small hole begins to appear between themselves and their comrades behind. Here the true force of soulful reveal themselves from hides hidden amongst the rubble, warriors rising from covered pits whilst others crawl out from large pipes, dripping in waste of all kinds. In a tide of oil streaked ashened warriors, their faces covered in red to match the sashes tied at the end of spears or handle of a blade, the soulful surge into the gap and wreak havoc amongst the unprepared columns of militia regiment troopers. With no time to form ranks and present a united front chaos breaks out amongst the midst of the Old guard, at the same time the Soulful who had previously kept their distance at the fore of the army whip round and attack any force that attempts to move back, in effect pinning the much larger Old Guard in place whilst their fellows reap a whirlwind of destruction in the armies heart.  

It takes time for any army to react to a unexpected threat, even a well trained one but the sudden ambush amongst the various battalions and companies of the militia troopers throws any sense of command to the wind and few some hours it truly seems like the army may be forced apart. Disaster is averted at the 11th hour however by a force of 9th company troops pushing out from the ambushing blockade and forging a connection back up with the frontal battalions rear companies as they attempted to push back through the chaotic scenes, any sense of unit cohesion lost but bludgeoning their way back through sheer dint of numbers of massed bayonet charges at the tribals ranks. By the dawn of the next day you would be hard pressed to tell the Soulful were ever there if not for the moaning of the wounded and dying, the  ruins alit of wary squads of sentries patrolling around a camp established at the entrance to what should have been the start of another conquest. Combined with the 50 dead from the initial contact a further 150 men and women from the Old Guard find themselves returning home under their ochre great coats to join their forefathers in the mass rust graves at the boundaries of the Mech-corp homelands, 200 in all lost to the Soulfuls’ ash war as some of the officers have begun to call it against the Mech-corp. The next couple of weeks pass by in a morbid flurry of activity as the army groups together  and begins to cautiously push forward once more towards their original goal, the normally thinly spread scouts joining together into larger groups for protection should the Soulful attempt another attack but it never materialises as they begin to creep through the entrance ways and tunnels into the territory laid before them. The rest of the army joins them shortly as the second month out closes behind them, setting up their initial camp at the mouth of a half collapsed through way, the great tunnel providing shelter for the army baggage train of tents, supplies and all sorts of equipment. The Officers meet with the general to hold a briefing in the ruins of office, some bearing the odd smudge of dirt upon their faces from where they had taken to walking amongst the ranks to ascertain the situation. One point of contention comes up though amongst the conversations and arguments over tactics and approach, this ground as been trod before and though the normal rank and file would not realise it, to those students of history amongst the officers and seasoned ranks they know the rubble beneath their feet all too well, the legacy of the foundry war sitting like a silent omen over them all.

Utilising old maps the Old Guard slowly makes its move from the entrance way and pushes into the old manufactories looking to re-secure points old maps indicate to as defensible and over the course of the first week of the third month the army spreads out in a line equally spread through the first third of the rusted hulks of silos, silent ghostly factories and assembly barns, here and there the old scars of battle all to evident to the passing militiamen of the Mech-corp. Some hope that the worst has past as a few begin to feel more calm and even joke amongst themselves that if all the ruins can throw at them is tribals who run instead of stand then what’s there to be afraid off, this tune soon changes though in short order as the ruins pull back its shadows to reveal teeth more than willing to make good on its threats. Units at the leading edge of the army come across masses of bio matter like material clinging to the ruins of tall buildings, dripping with a residue that eats into anything it touches as a few troopers find out at the cost of their bayonets and great coats. Soon more and more of the biomass is literally tripped over as tendrils of the stuff is found covering roads and buildings alike, great nodes found growing and pulsing inside of empty barns, with tunnels clogged with spider web like strands of the material stretching into the darkness of the tunnels beyond. These discoveries and the ever growing sound of chittering coming from some of the highest still standing towers puts troopers and officers alike on edge and come the end of the second week that fear turns to a dread at the realisation of just what that bio matter is.

The first engagements spring up as sporadic cut off  reports of creatures and reinforcing squads find only blood, spent ammunition and dropped gear where a squad should have been, some immediately think its another tribal attack but then reports begin to filter in from the units at the rear as well of creature attacks, with each passing day the attacks increase and soon the senior officers realise what’s going on when a reconnaissance squad under the command of the new wagon master reports in, a great pool filled with skeletons and gristled meat, some still bearing their mech-corp regimental crests from the fabric remains of their great coats, the old guard has walked right into the middle of a mutant swarm’s nest and the swarm know they are there and is fully awake. The army immediately pulls ranks and closes up at the news but what ever intelligence behind the swarm of mutant kind that drives it reacts even faster with a ravenous hunger, as swarms of mutants with leather like wings pour from their perches and attack the army from every high tower whilst with great roars packs of howlers and behemoths burst from their slumbering states in tunnels to barrel through the Old guards lines, discarding the broken bodies of militia troopers left and right. Every battalion finds themselves engaged and over the following weeks the army finds itself in a fight for its life with the mutants as casualties mount every day from the ensuing blood shed, the biggest clash comes under the shadow of what had some point been the central processing plant, the bark of rifle fire echoing through the old structure as Militia troopers took what cover they could find and pour rank after rank of fire into the mutant kind who in kind responded with tendrils of vicious muscle that tore and shredded through trooper and officer alike, some units taking wicked losses whilst others were wiped out in the carnage. By the months end just two short weeks after the first mutant mass pile discovery some 300 mech-corp soldiers lie dead in the morgue tents, what parts of them could be recovered or who had died on the operating table laid in silent parade to their fellows as the army looks to its general and wagon master for what to do...

Summary:

The Old Guard has managed to grab a foot hold into a new territory, the same that had once fought over by their predecessors amongst the rust colonials during the Foundry War against Hive-Sec that has so disastrously gone wrong. Now they face an even more vicious enemy in the form of a mutant swarm that occupies 2/3rds of the territory in all. In total between the mutants and the continued tribal assaults some 500 members of the Old Guard will not be seeing home again in any time soon…

(Note: Any players who chose to Militarily support the Old guard through the military downtime please report to GOD before time in at E4)

The Wigs and the Coutts Edit

With the continued repots flying back from the dome expedition the lower and upper houses of the parliament find themselves in a continued cycle of debate, committee, debate and vote over the course of many weeks, for the lower house the technician unions argue and rage over one another on the correct course of action and the safety of the masses whilst the upper house is split between those of the right and left benches over the matters in Silesia and the reformation bill raised. On top of this the territorial committee; a cross party commission under the jurisdiction of the  minister of scrap, has raised a vote for a bill of colonial confirmation on the direction that the new town of Silesia should be directed. To the masses the two bills that draw the most attention are those for the reformation of the Rust colonials and the colonial development bill, the first spends days being debated with alliances forming and breaking during these moments in the parliament as well as the not mentioned but assured back room bar meetings amongst the specialist families. In the End the reformation bill is passed by a slim margin of 78 to 72 in the upper house after by passing the lower house due to the involvement of the Minister of the Yard and the military commission pushing their thin but aggressive political links in parliament to see it answered sooner rather than later. A new general will need to be voted in to take command and oversee the recruitment process as well as the current wagon master be contacted to provide the construction supplies but the commission takes it in its stride and it resumes its usual position of silent brooding to one side of the Prime during debates. As for the second bill the vote is split, resulting In a hung vote on the Development bill for Silesia. With out an elected mayor the territory can’t be directed towards an particular area , the parliament devolves into an endless round of filibustering by rival parties amongst the specialist families until the Prime and Speaker for the house bans all sides from re-raising the bill without direct specialist support to the effect of resolving the situation. Outside the political realm however and the on-going war that catches at the minds of all within the Mech-corp home lands, the annual decade Rust yard games have been rolling out with technicians parading through their home towns bedecked with banners and flags of their home teams competing. The resulting bar fights and inevitable clash of rivals keeps the local militia posts busy but sees a increase of morale and productivity amongst the technician masses, accordingly all technicians are reminded to support their home teams as each town attempts to out do the other whilst the techno order looks on with low scowls at the chaotic noise and spectacles that the games bring.

Summary:

1) The bill to reform the Rust colonials has passed by a slim margin, a specialist or Technician with Warleader who is NOT a serving general will be required to oversee the construction process alongside the Wagon master. This must be carried out and the Faction DPC be informed by Saturday evening.

2) The Bill to elect a mayor to Silesia has resulted in a hung vote and will require resolving amongst Specialists during the next event, please see your Faction DPC for further information during Friday of E4 and will need resolving that Friday evening.

3) With the annual decade Rust yard games on all technicians ONLY have the opportunity to support their home team, please see GOD before time in on Friday at E4 for further information.    

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