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Author Topic: Interactive Story - "Grassroot Gears"  (Read 3097 times)
« on: February 23, 2007, 07:52:57 pm »

Good afternoon friends.  Help me write a story.  One where we can live out those days together.

Grassroots Gears

Chapter 1 - "Memories of Yore"

Brigadier General Nicodemas Yardley sat at his desk in his darkened office.  A lit cigar rolling gently in his hands, the slow burning tobacco smoldering slowly.  Wafts of blue floated around his great, unkempt beard.  A soft ticking is emitted from the large pocketwatch haphazardly tossed onto his desk.

Waiting has been hard on the good General.  Many a battle has he fought, reduced now to watching cigars and listening to that infernal tick.  Damn near drove him mad.  He leans his great body back in his chair, gears grinding against his weight.  He takes a long drag off his cigar and places it in a tray.  Standing up, exhaling, adding to the already misty atmosphere of his office.  He likes it that way.  Reminds him of his time in the steamtanks, billowing boilers and smoke filling your nose, acrid, musty.  Those were the days.  Now he languidly waits, for what, he isn't sure.  But he knows that what he waits for isn't here.

He walks over to the window, flipping a switch letting in the midday sun.  Filtering through the smoke, the rays cast visible beams in the room and across his face.  He squints and looks out over the city of Genardia with a distaste in his mouth that only a military discharge could bring to a man with such an illustrious career.  He turns his head to see one of the beams of light falling on the picture of his old squad mates.  Most of their faces covered by soot and grime.  Mostly self-applied to prevent burns and scalds in the unpredictable machines.  But that was the way they liked it.  And now those days were gone.

He closes the blinds again and heads back towards his chair.  He stops, picks up his watch, nods his head and becomes resolute.  It will not end this way, cannot.  His remaining life cannot be wasted.  He pulls up his suspenders, throws on his goggles, overcoat, heavy gloves and hat, takes three great strides over to the door and becons it open.  His eyes open wide when he is confronted by...
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 08:06:36 pm »

...Nurse Williams!

'Come now General, back inside!', her voice was calm and firm.
She carried a small bag filled with medical equipment, some sharp others blunt.
'Have you been taking your medication General? Inside, inside!
The General gave her a casual salute.


Copper Sulphate
Zeppelin Captain
Denmark Denmark

Teslarian Electrosteam Contraptor

« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007, 08:56:33 pm »

The lieutenant replied in kind and appeared not to notice anything amiss. Those darn hallucinations just kept jumping at him out of thin air. For the thousandth time since the battle he sent a silent curse to a 'dear departed' crewmember. A gentleman, who didn't even have the good grace and live through the ordeal, so that he could face trial for mutiny. Well, at least the headaches were getting better.

"Sir, you told us to notify you at once if something out of the ordinary appeared to have happened near the coal mine district in the southern province. We just received this cable..." The young man held out a small wooden cylinder bearing the lavish lacquer seal of the Communication & Intelligence branch.

Taking the cylinder he dismissed the lieutenant, who responded by surprisingly refusing to move. "Sir, I am under strict orders not to let anyone but you see the contents of that cylinder. I am to either bring it back in the container carrying its present or your personal seal, or see the message contained within burn to a cinder before leaving."

Now this sounded promising.

"Very well, please wait here while I read this." He went back to his chair, sat down and slowly, almost casually broke the seal with a fingernail. The document inside was spread over three pages covered in fine print. This had been sent via cable?! Someone up high must consider this to be important, despite the usual apprehension his superiors seemed to have of him as of late.

As he read, his eyebrows slowly began to rise, almost disappearing below the grey hair on his forehead. When he was done, he continued over from the start and read it all again, slowly this time.

He looked up at the lieutenant still standing in front of him. There was an air of apprehension around the young man.

"Lieutenant, is this message either a severely misguided attempt at entertaining an old man, or the ramblings of a madman? This is ... preposterous!"

"Sir, I have been assured in the strictest confidence that the message originally has been composed and condensed through the aid of several highly reliable yet independent witnesses."

Well, well, well. There might be a cure for his headaches after all.

After meticulously having burned the papers over the flame from the lamp on his desk, he sat in deep thoughts for a few moments, before realizing that he had not dismissed the lieutenant.

"Right. Please tell your superiors that the message has been received and understood. I will contact them shortly after...

July 19th, 02009: Lab project delayed. Local home 'improvement' stores have apparently stopped carrying any kind of quality DIY materials... Huh
July 15th, 02009: Much progress was made today on clearing out my future laboratory, yet there is a ways to go still.
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2007, 03:43:17 am »

   Outside, the sky was the color of soil turned into a charred dead thing. Which, he pondered, was the exact same color of what was beneath the sky and under his heavy boots. A nasty short gust of wind blew what remained of hsi cigar off his lips like a whip. The tired Brigadier General bent down to recover it when a second gust carried it away several feet beyond the tent.
   “There’s no respect left left in this world,” he said to the wind or to himself as he raised himself up and went to the pad. "Even for a General."
   The observation post was set on a mound, and the pad from which the gliders took off was down the road, in the center of that terribly windy valley. As he walked downhill against the live wind, he patted the right breast pocket on his vest, beneath the dangling overcoat: it was empty. His luck didn’t improve when he went for the left pocket, or even the others. Out of cigars. Out of luck.
   The dark shadows in the sky were still there. The illusion of slow movement fascinated him. Were the clouds moving and the ships beyond them still? Or were the ships now embarking on a new course to somewhere else they could spoil?
   He would have loved to bring one of those things down. The only way they could stop them or even reach them was using one of the steam cannons, but three of them had been taken South to fend off the Marauders and the last one had been partly used as spare parts before that order had come through. It had been his idea. He wished he hadn’t had that idea.
   He also wished he had a cigar.
   And almost as bad as his cigar wish, and completely out of the blue, perhaps the only blue that remained in this browned greyed world, he wished he could have Sarah.
   From a distance, he could make out his glider, which was being loaded on top of the pad. Brown and frail, like the rest of the world. He would go unnoticed.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 03:55:09 am by radiosilence » Logged
Mercury Wells
Rogue Ætherlord
I insiste that you do call me WELLS. :)

« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 04:08:03 am »

Noticing a member of the 71st Glider Hussars ground crew with a unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. The Brig-Gen. called the man over to him, on hearing him, removes the cigarette and smartly marches over and salutes him.

"Stand at ease, man", orders Yardley, returning the salute. The fellow does so. "What is your name crewman?", "Ground Crewman Patel Jones Sir!", "Ah one of the Anglo-Indian chappies?", he replies. "Yes Sir" replies Jones. "So is the old girl ready yet?" askes Yardley staring at the glider. "Not yet Sir, about another 1/2 hour before she's got full head of steam and arms, but your pilot is ready though" Jones says in a musical sing-song voice.

"Right then follow me" as Yardley slowly walks to the Officers' Mess. "But Sir...I'm not allowed in there". "Pish & Tosh, you're with me until I take off, understood?". "Yes Sir" says Jones, snapping to attention. "Good now follow me and give me a few of blasted small paper cigars. Jones complies with the request and winces at Yardley as he takes most of the ready rolled cigarettes from the tin. "One thing more Jones, You do not have to salute me from now on, as I'm seconding you as my Batman", "Your Batman Sir?, Thank you Sir. But I'll have to clear it with my C.O. Sir" Yardley takes out a notebook and scribbles a note saying Jones is now his Batman, signs and dates it. "Take that to your C.O. after I have taken off", "Why thank you Sir".

Yardley heads towards the Officers' Mess with a bewildered Jones in his wake.

Logged old war wound? I got that at The Battle of Dorking. Very nasty affair that was, I can tell you.

The Ministry of Tea respectfully advises you to drink one cup of tea day...for that +5 Moral Fibre stat.
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2007, 03:10:11 pm »

The good General harumphs at the collection of dried tobacco bits in his hand and hastily stuffs them into his breast pocket, swinging the door of the mess open in a grandiose fashion.

With a booming voice designed to reverberate over the great boilers, or even the steam cannons at full tilt he said, "Good morning boys!  Shake the dust off and clear out the cobwebs.  Old Yeardly has some news for you all!"  He claps Jones on the shoulder and pushes him in to the hall, practically knocking him over.  The usual suspects grumble and gather around the mess table, sitting down, the general taking the head with Jones at his side.  Yardley looks the table up and down.  Col. Thomas Aquinas, a thin man, gaunt, showing his age.  Col. Rebecca St. James, one of the few officers the General could truly trust, her once beautiful face now scarred by an exploding steam tank.  Majs. James and John Gilooly, identical twins who found many uses in their career for having an identical twin.

With a heavy British accent, Col. Aquinas was the first to speak.  "I do say old bean, I hope that you haven't rustled our feathers for no good reason.  I certainly was enjoying a fine game of chess with dear St. James before you barged in."

"I assure you, old friend, that what I have to say will interest you ALL."  He leaned back on his chair and lit a cigarette, drawing half of it in one puff, blowing the thin smoke out.  "What if I were to tell you that we were all soon going to be back in battle again?  Eh?"

"You have told us that before," said St. James, "and we ended up here, practically stranded and forgotten."

"True.  But I have it on very good authoity that we are going to become extremely useful again my friends." said the General.  He placed his boots up on the table.  "We have been summoned to the office of High Command.  It would seem that the Consortium of Generals in Highland City has requested our presence."  He stopped, and drew in the rest of his cigarette, letting the importance of the request slowly sink in.  Slowly their eyes began to twinkle and widen in recognition of what this could mean.

It was the twins that spoke up first...
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2007, 10:34:11 pm »

'Is it the Martians again General, is it?' they chorused.

The General's left eye brow twitched, 'What? Don't be ridiculous! Those blighter's are all but dead, remember the Battle of Olympus Mons! No, not them, this is far more important, bah!'

'It's time for you medication General', the illusory Nurse had returned.
'Wont this infuriating woman leave me alone!'
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 05:08:08 pm »

The General closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose, waiting for the pain and the illusion to go away.

"Still having those flashbacks, aren't you sir?" asks St. James.

"Aye, I am.  They are getting worse, and no doctor can tell me why.  But at least my scars from the accident are internal where as yours St James...", he breaks off.  "I'm sorry Rebecca, I didn't mean to insult,"

"You didn't sir."  She impulsively sits up and casually brushes at her cheek, a nervous compulsion that developed since the accident all those years ago.

Aquinas breaks the tension in the room.  "Well then old chaps, I do say it's probably high time we take off.  Wouldn't want to keep the old blighters waiting now do we?"  He stands up and smooths out his jacket, adjusting his goggles on his forehead.  "I'll be damned if I get tossed back here for being late!"  He storms out of the mess hall with the Gilooley twins right behind him.  Patel clears his throat and stands up meekly.

"I'll just be waiting for you outside si.. I mean, I will be waiting for you outside."  He starts to salute, but catches himself, clears his throat again, glancing between the two remaining officers and dashes outside with a start.

"Good boy that Patel." says the General.

"Aye, he seems to be, much like many of the boys we have had the pleasure of fighting with."  said St. James, grabbing her wide brimmed hat, tossing it on her head, pulling one side over her scarred face.  She reaches the door and turns back to the General.  "None of which I wouldn't have died with."  And she storms out, leaving the General crushing the remainder of his cigarette in the heel of his boot.

"Aye Lass, me either." he mumbles, reaching over to his mechanical shoulder, massaging the joint where the gears meet his flesh.  "Me either." he repeats as he stands up and move out of the Mess hall to the hill where everyone has already latched into their gliders.  Jones was the first to speak to him as the General hoisted himself into his harness.
Mercury Wells
Rogue Ætherlord
I insiste that you do call me WELLS. :)

« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2007, 12:48:02 pm »

"Good luck" shouts Jones, as Yardley crams his helmet on. "What?. Toodle pip then" replies the General.

As the glider takes off and Jones walking to the office of his C.O., there is mighty explosion at the launch ramp and all hell breaks loose and there is a pause before the sirens go off...

In an bunker, deep underground somewhere near Highland City. A secret cabal are meeting. The leader is looking at her timepiece as it chimes, "They should be badly injured if not dead, so we'll have one less problem to deal with". "Are you sure that everything is going to plan?" askes a man with a heavy accent.
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