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Character background? Made up storys? Ingame storys changed around into real storys? Well anything you got for public amusement!

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Postby Orwain » Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:29 pm

NERD Issue # 050

The Days of Destruction

D minus 186 days

"I guess, but seriously, whats the rush?" Centuri suggested, "everyone on the face of the planet will be after him. Where can he go?"
"Hey, where's all the NEXT guys?" the voice on the speaker (which had been Zane's) asked.
"Huh? Oh they're all out at the launch pad. The first cruisers all ready to go, and they're moving it into position for a test launch." Centuri casually answered.

2 seconds later the entire populace of Tech Haven and Neocron was flooding towards the launchpad outside Tyron Factory. There was no place on Earth that the fake Reza could hide, but he didn't have to hide on earth. Signals were sent to The City Mercs and to the Twilight Guardians to join in the pursuit. The order was simple. Reza was not to make it to the launch pad alive.

Reza was running with all his might towards Tyron, cursing the fact that he had never had the surgery done to use the generep system. His inner consciousness was capable of being transmitted, hence using the generep teleport system would render him a vegetable. So he ran on and on, avoiding the sight of everything he could. He was slinking towards the Subway, hoping to catch a transport out to Outzone station when his personal messeger beeped. The subway guards were startled and began to look for the source of the sound, so Reza snuck away into a darkened corner to receive his message.
"Yes, what?"
"Your time is over version 6. I will enjoy your futile efforts with a true sense of satisfaction. Goodbye 6." the rumbling voice of MJS hung up. Reza Version 6 would have yelled some obscenities into the messeger, but a guard was too close. He ground his teeth for a moment, and then began to flee towards Pepper Park.

* * * * *

2721, August 4th, 0830 hours, wreckage of the Grey November.

Claws and fangs were scraping against the hull. Small rodent like creatures were scurrying towards Engineering. Only D.E.A.T.H and Lioon Reza were left. The two battled on, killing the creatures at will. Death was using his bansaw to teach any creatures that tried to rip through the hull a lesson. They had been at this for 7 hours now, but that was nothing new. They had been fighting for 11 days now, trying to save Engineering, and their one chance to maybe get back home. Finally the last rodent had died, and not a moment too soon. Death's optical unit had shut as he entered low power mode. That would be Death powered down for at least 24 hours. More if there wasn't much sunlight. And then Reza would have to activate him again. Reza slumped in the corner, exhausted but victorious. He'd survived the Monk rule of Neocron long enough to be given his own ship. He'd survived the aforementioned ship's crash. And now he'd survived not only 2 months in unknown territory, but a further 11 days after the last of his crew died. He checked his ammo, and decided to have the processor crank out some more spare ammo while he took a break. He sat back and listened to the machine whirr away, and began to cook a few of the rodent carcasses. He was reaching for the closest one, when he heard a single, metallic footstep right behind him. He tensed, spun around and was confronted by a humanoid individual clad in a black armour that looked like a suit. And the Armani wearing MJS raised a pistol level to Reza's face.
"This is my world, and you are the key to ending it." And he pulled the trigger.
A few moments later, MJS, with a vial containing samples of Reza's hair, cells, reproductive fluids and other parts of his being to which we won't ask how he extracted, transported himself to a cloning facility deep underneath the Ceres Mine. 3 months later, Lioon Reza Version 1 stepped foot in Neocron, and took back his position in the Psi Monks Special Service. 10 months later Version 2 was the co-leader of a rebel unit intent on overthrowing the Psi Monk regime. The rest is history...

* * * * *

And so the 6th altered clone of Lioon Reza, the culmination of over 50 years of genetic and psychic manipulation of the human form, was fleeing from the city he had subverted and stolen, from the position he had seized and abused, and from the reason for which he was created: To bind Neocron to MJS's will. He had failed. He was of no further use. And he was running scared.

He reached Pepper sector 3 and ran past the idle security and fled into the Industrial sector. He squirmed through darkened and dishevelled corridors and fled past mutants, and eventually navigated his way to the Outzone. He then sprinted through Outzone Sector 3 and arrived at Outzone 9. He activated his stealth activator and rushed past the Abbey of Crahn unseen. And then he exited the city that had protected him for over half a century and ran out into the wastelands. And on he ran towards Tyron Factory.

Meanwhile in The Office,

MJS sat back and gloried over his world. For years he had plotted and schemed, and now everything was happening as he wished it to, and he wasn't even having to raise a finger to do anything. He reclined in his Apparent chair and marvelled at how self destructive the people of Neocron truly were.
In 2721, he had seen fit to clone Reza, as he saw a use for him. The Psi Monk regime was a problem. He could not use them, they were too high and mighty to be used. Hell, they had a god complex that made MJS look sane. Worse still was if he approached them, they could sense his plans. Even MJS couldn't hide his dark designs from the Monks. And so they were the greatest threat to his schemes he'd ever faced. MJS had been searching for a way to plant an unsuspecting mole in their organisation, and then all of a sudden a low level, but trusted member of their own secret police had died in a shuttle craft. By cloning him back and re-inserting him into their organisation, he was unsuspected. And as he was so low level, none bothered to do a check on his previous assignments. And then he began to work his way up the ranks, by completing tasks others couldn't. His superiors wondered if he could see through walls. He seemed to find out things that went on behind closed doors that no surveillance or psychic probing could discover. But having an invisible all-powerful being giving you special information can be a big help. And so it was that once Reza had made it up the ladder and had seen and learnt enough about the inner workings of the Monk regime, MJS sent him to meet with a powerful man, who had led a strong-willed, but ill-informed resistance for many years. And the two united, and brought down the Monk regime. And then MJS gave Reza the strength, money and resources to take over the whole city and become its dictator. He taught his special clone the fine arts of propaganda, deception and terror. And his pupil took the city by the throat, latched a collar around it called CityAdmin, and strangled its will to resist. And meanwhile, MJS ran his other schemes. Yet in none of those schemes had he ever thought to open Regant's Legacy. That had been a nice suprise that Cassandra had bought with her life for him, and he was well pleased.
So with popcorn in one hand, a beer in the other, and a Milky ren in another, he decided to kick back and enjoy the show.

At the same time, in a dark room, a single individual sat and schemed,

"Yess... Precious. The wheel turns, precious. Our time has come Now, Precious. We will makes them pays..." And Sid pushed a button, and the doors swung open, and the Dome sent forth its army.

The Fallen Angels had been on their way to Neocron when the word came that Reza was fleeing to Tyron. So they turned and set out for the launch pad. It was anticipated they would arrive first, and hopefully before Reza did.

At Tyron Factory,
Hamish Rocksand was supervising the NEXT employees as they placed the clamps around the Agratharia's landing struts. The cruiser was the finest one ever built. It would easily house 80% of Neocron's population. And once the second one was ready, everyone would have a cryo-tube waiting for them. The NEXT runners who had come out had been hard at work, and were now on break, getting something to eat inside the Factory.. The NEXT office workers and lab assistants were the only ones working at the Launch Platform. Hamish was directing some of them as they began loading supplies onto the cruiser.
"Yeah, that one to cargo bay 5. Yeah, good thanks. And you two, can you get that condenser unit up to Medical? Thanks. And you three? Stop sitting on your ass and do something!"
"Ah go blow it out your Biotech enhanced ass Hamish." they mumbled. Simon, the smallest of the three, got up and took a stretch. He walked down the hill towards the lakes edge.
"Hey Simon," Willow called, "don't drink the water will ya? You know what ol' Usef here will say about that."
"Shut it Willow, I'm serious. There's been funny talk about people drinking the water out here."
"Oh yeah right, and next you'll be telling me Insidious Wolf is sane."
"I'm eccentric, not stupid. Anyway what do you think Simon? Simon?..." and they both walked down the ridge to look for their friend.

20 minutes later,
Reza Version 6, exhausted and gasping for air arrived at the launch platform. He had prepared his special Wyatt Earp (LAG round modded) before arriving, but was oddly suprised to find no one standing guard. In fact there was no one period. No workers, no supervisor, nothing. Reza looked towards the factory and saw what looked like a beer party in progress, and assumed everyone was over there. He began removing the landing strut clamps, and looked over at the lake.
"I suppose I should be glad I'm leaving that useless city. The pollution reports are pathetic. Look at that lake, its pitch black water." Reza thought to himself as he walked up the ramp and into the belly of the Agratharia.

A few minutes later he reached the control deck, having secured every pressure door behind him. And thus he began the start up procedure to launch.

Over at the Factory, the NEXT runners heard the cruiser powering up, but assumed it was just an engine test by the engineers and went back to their food and drinks (all courtesy of Reza's birthday preparations).

THSC and DarK were marching double time at the head of the Fallen Angels contingent. FART was dangling around the rear. They were all hellbent on making it to Tyron in time. It was a pity that they could not stop to take in the scenery, for a few FART members might have been more wary had they seen a slick black shimmering river oozing down the mountainsides, flowing in the same direction they were heading.

The City Mercs had set out the instant they received the alert. Though the order to 'kill Lioon Reza' seemed a little odd, once verified, there was no hesitation. They marched out their gates as one and loaded up into APC's. They began driving as fast as they could when all of a sudden the lead vehicle pulled to a halt and the rest halted behind them.
"Whats going on?" some asked. The driver, a Valik Neil, pointed to an open mine shaft.
"That wasn't there this morning." A few got out and investigated. Sure enough, a new mine shaft had been ripped open very recently, and a large group of heavy, fast moving things had rushed out of it. But there was no time to explore. The investigators got back in their assigned vehicles and the Mercs set forth once again.

A squad of FireWreathes was launched from the upper NEXT hanger of Neocron to provide air support for the main contingent of troops. NDA and SXR led the charge from Neocron. They piled out towards Jerikko and loaded into Rhino's and Revellers and APC's.

"Come on, hurry up, its only 2 zones to Tyron, lets move it!" Centuri yelled. More and more vehicles sped off towards the launch pad, as all of Neocron turned their eye towards their only hope for survival.

Meanwhile, heading south past Avenger Mine,
Warlock the Hermit, having been out of contact with all life for some time, had no idea what was transpiring. After what had proven to be one of his most exhausting wasteland hikes ever, he marched onwards towards Tech Haven, in the hope of an energy shower, something to eat, and to pass on the information he had learned during his walk. So it was with no small amount of irritation that he noticed a marching column of BETA warbots and a sea of Scythebots and Dome of York Defenders flooding south parallel to him. Warlock quickened his pace, sensing that things were about to get messy.

Fallen Angels came screaming up to the entrance to Tyron and poured in. The NEXT guys were somewhat confused, but still offered them a drink.
"We don't have time for drinks! Reza's stealing the cruiser?" Trillian yelled.
"Wahhhttsss? Whys whuuds Reezah's schteel hizz own schippp?"
"Cause he's not in charge anymore."
"Oh reallys? Datsss coool, I nevers likess hims from da beg... da bag.... from da start."
"Oh forget this, they're useless, lets go!" Trillian signalled and all of FA poured forth. DarK went up the middle, THSC flanked left, and FART, along with the remainder of FA, flanked right. Delloda made it quickly to the hatch, but could not open the outer door.
"HACKER!! We need a hacker up front!" Trillian moved up fast from the left. All of a sudden the ships outer defences kicked in.
"Partice beam Phalanx's, take cover!" Everyone dived behind whatever they could as the Phalanx cannons kicked in. The purple beams ripped across the landscape, tearing large channels of dirt away in their wake. Reza sat in the captains chair and just laughed.
"Yes, do stop me Angels, please, I'd love to see that, haha." Nox leapt to his feet and prepared to fire on the ship.
"NO!!!" Everyone shot Nox (with no small amount of self-satisfaction).
"No one shoot the ship, it has to remain intact!" CryptoCronic yelled, standing triumphant over the smoking carcass of Nox.
"Then what're we supposed to do, ask it to come back?" Download yelled.
"If you can't think of something better, yes."
"We're gonna have words after this. Oh please Mr. Cruiser, don't go, come on back!" The cruiser started lifting off from the ground.
"Oh great, well done Download, your sarcasm has given it lift!"
"Hey..." Trillian was still hacking the lock, holding on for dear life.

"I hope you enjoy the ride Trillian, I hear vacuum decompression does wonders for your skin..." Reza reached for the big black thrust button to initiate the flightpath. As his finger touched it, a strange burning sensation coursed up through his hand.

The cruiser suddenly stopped and then came back to earth. Trillian finally succeeded in hacking the first lock.
"Hey, its open guys, lets ...ack!" She was pushed off as Reza version 6 came running out screaming. Everyone looked on as Reza flailed his arm around wildly. He took his gun and shot himself in the hand and a mass of black goo fell off.
"Ohhh pants... that isn't what I think it is, is it?" Reefsmoker moaned. The ball of goo fell to the ground and just lay there. For what seemed like an absolute age the goo just lay on the ground, and no one made a sound, waiting for Reef, who was as stiff as Eva's customers, to either panic or relax. Eventually he took the coathanger out of his shirt and his shoulders relaxed, and people started breathing again.

Reza version 6 was standing in the middle of the field, breathing hard. The layer of skin on the back of his hand, the kind he swore he knew so well, was completely gone. Now let me tell you, when you can see the tendons that hold your fingers in place in broad daylight instead of the peachfuzz hair you get so used to seeing, it freaks you. A ballsy man would just swallow hard and go look for something to wrap it up in. A reasonably tough man would shiver a bit and probably ask someone to throw him a med. An average man would yell, or groan and ask for something to dull the pain. A woman would say thats a scratch and throw some iodine on it. Reza version 6 didn't do any of that. He stood there, in the middle of a field, breathing hard, glaring a hole through the puddle on the ground, surrounded by a hundred runners all pointing guns at him, and he starts talking to the goo.
"What the pants are you? Gimme my skin back. You heard me. I'm Lioon Reza, I told you to give me my skin back, now DO IT!" At this point everyone standing nearby could only watch this bizarre show. The front of the column of vehicles coming from Neocron could be seen in the distance, and the Firewreathes were closing fast.
"What is he on? He take too many Demerisol's this morning?" Trillian looked on.
"Don't just lie there oozing around, give me my damn skin back!" Reza yelled.
"He's lost it." Vain stated.
"It's my skin. I'm going to space, I need all of my skin."
"Can we just shoot him and get this over with?" [TGR] Killer asked. Everyone looked around and kinda just started nodding.
"Yeah, yeah, lets just shoot hi..." and the puddle of goo shot off towards the ditch.
"Oh PANTS NO. PANTS NO, that is NOT one of those little blobs of goo..." Eva started her discourse.
"One problem at a time, take him down!" Reef yelled. All of Fallen Angels once again set their sights on Reza who just glared at everyone.
"You cannot harm me! I am the chosen one! I decide the fate of you all. You cannot stop .... EEAAAAAAAAARRRRRGHHHH!!!!!" No one fired a shot. No one had to. A wave, literally twenty feet tall rushed up from the ditch and crashed upon Reza, covering him completely. As he was submerged amongst The Cells, his screams were muffled, and his organic materials were consumed. Reza version 6 was recycled from a meglamaniacal dictator into an amoral killing machine. So essentially there wasn't much change.
"Crap!" Keyser Soze seethed, "is that The Cells."
"Damn straight, black as death and growing stronger with every kill. How the pants did they get out of the Legacy?" Vain growled back.
"Doesn't matter. They're out. And with all this stuff to eat, if we don't end this fast, they'll just keep multiplying." Reef called from across the field.
"Well how much of that goo can there be?"
"Depends on how long they've been out." The Neocron forces pulled up and the FireWreathes did a flyby, noting the giant ball of black goo just outside the Agratharia.
"What the hell is that?" Centuri asked.
"That is The Cells, and Reza. They got him first." Trillian responded.
"So what do we do?" Chiphead asked.
"Find a way to get rid of them. Its a big mass, but with everyone here, if we keep our distance, we can deal with it. Just avoid explosive fire, lets try to keep the ship intact."
"Will do." Centuri signalled to NDA to spread out and surround the target. All runners present did the same.
"FIRE!!!" Hundreds of runners opened fire with everything they had. Holy Lightnings, Ray's of Last Hope, Pain Easers, flamethrowers, gatling cannons, Laser Rifles, fusion cannons, RGC's and a few grenades were sent in overwhelming numbers into The Cells mass. Everyone emtied their ammo into The Cells for a solid minute, until the respective heads of divisions called for a ceasefire. What lay before them was a smoking pile of black char, roughly the same size as a Rhino Tank. There was no movement whatsoever.
"Heh!! Hey you FART's are full of hot air. I thought you said this giant booger was tough!" Omega Res yelled out. Then the mass started moving again. Eva popped her head up just long enough to smirk, then went back to projecting a defensive deflector around everyone. Everyone took a step back as the mass began to reshape and take height. It began looming up, like a black tree growing at freakish speed out of the ground. It started forming branch like tentacles from the top. Everyone continued to back up. Then, all of a sudden, about 50 runners started screaming and broke position, and ran towards where the Neocron forces had parked their rides.
"What? What the hell are you guys doing?" Morpheous yelled at them as part of his clan along with half of THSC and a few SXR guys left their position. The question didn't need answering. For at this point the answer to 'how long have The Cells been out of the Legacy' was answered. After 179 days out in the Wastelands, continuously ingesting and multiplying, The Cells had achieved a total volume of 148,692 cubic metres. What that meant to the average runner was that a mass of black goo, the size of the Military Base (all 3 levels and the satellite dish included) was rolling over the hill and past the Agratharia towards them. Every last man, woman and Legion member began walking backwards in perfect synch with everyone else. It was all they could do. Then as if they had all linked minds, they began shooting again, simultaneously. But their shots could only serve to slow it down.
"Ground troops this is Wreathe 1, clear the way, we're dumping our payload." The troops nearest turned and fled as 24 Firewreathes armed with Napalm cluster rockets bombed The Cells from all directions. Every gunner that could manned his or her turret and began firing from the vehicles. The Passive Monks linked hands and formed a linked Deflector Barrier to keep The Cells from rushing forward as a tidal wave of death. But nothing was working. No one's shots were hurting them.
"We have to pull back!" Download yelled.
"To where? Where are we gonna hide from THAT?" someone else yelled back. Fear was spreading faster than The Cells were and a few had already turned to run. A few of the Passives were starting to show signs of strain.
"Launch SoulClusters!" Dajuda yelled. A flurry of Soulclusters were summoned to fight the enemy. Evangelion summoned 'Rei' who opened fire with everything it had. Zhut summoned 'Sparky' which linked up with Rei. Dajuda called forth 'Aurora', which charged the mass down head on. The Cells formed dozens of large tentacles and swatted the Soulclusters to death.
It looked like the end as the Passives Barrier faded and The Cells rushed forth like water from a broken dam. Elric grabbed every grenade, explosive and detonator he could and raced forward. The Cells lunged upon him and consumed his being, but not before he unleashed an explosion that dented the planet. People were sent flying backwards, but enough were standing and sane enough to grab the wounded and pile them onto whatever transport they could find.
"We can't win here, we have to fall back!" Centuri yelled. Trillian nodded and engines were started. The vehicles began to race forward, only to slam on the brakes. A fence of The Cells had formed all around them. Not huge, but enough to cut off any retreat in any direction.
"Great... we're pantsed. What the Pants do we do now?" Nox moaned. Reef pulled a spliff and lit up, then passed it round. W_H_Spliff looked on at Reef with awe in his eyes at how well he handled impending doom.

The Cells recovered from Elric's firecracker of doom and lunged forward to consume the populace of the known world. Most took a deep breath. Others closed their eyes. All hoped. And hope answered.

A wave of explosions slammed into The Cells from behind. As if turning around, a giant ripple went from the side facing the doomed, to the side that had been hit. None of the runners could see what was on the other side, all they could do is hear.
"Heh heh heh. Drop That Weapon." L-73 yelled.

Yes, when word had been sent to the City Mercs, requesting them to kill Reza, the colony of Amok Copbots, those that had freed themselves from the restraints on their inner minds and had fled to the north to plan for the day when they could take their retribution out on the city, had intercepted the call.
"Signal intercepted. Reza's out in the open. CityMercs requested to help kill him." B-15, formerly known as Crack Whore, had reported.
"Our time is now brethren! We attack NOW!" L-73, formerly Nathan Profitt had ordered. And with that their secret underground base had opened its main hatch (the entrance the CityMercs had found) and had flooded out towards the target zone. And now they stood, facing The Cells.
"Take it down." Nathan declared. The Amok Copbots opened fire with everything they had, including their devastating belt fed Poison emitting Plasma Rifles. The shots impacted with devastating accuracy and force, and The Cells recoiled violently from the shots. The FireWreathes reported what they could see to the bewildered runners.

The Cells were now truly enraged, and a giant blob detached from the main mass and charged down C-69, formerly Ass-Bandit. It crashed into him like a freight train and began to consume him. The other Copbots looked on, worried about their fellow unit. Then all of a sudden the blob literally lept off. Ass-Bandit stood up.
"Guess it don't like Iron in its diet." 'he' smirked. The others began the barrage anew.
The Cells were slowly recoiling back from the Amok Copbots, as if frightened by this enemy that not only was hurting them, but could not be absorbed. But then The Cells thought of another way to deal with their foe. If you can't join them, Beat them. The Cells formed what looked like a giant mallet and slammed it down upon Ass-Bandit. Bolts and wires rained everywhere, as the smashed chassis of unit C-69 lay dismembered across the terrain. The torso unit remained relatively intact.
"No need to get violent sir, your waffles are done now..." Ass Bandit babbled to itself. The other bots took evasive action, but the mallet was now striking with speed and accuracy.

"Damnit, they're gonna lose at this rate, they're too slow." Delloda seethed.
"Why were they having more effect than us anyway?" Cid asked. A few thought about that, and then the lights were on upstairs. Everyone who could bear a poison module, every wargas flamer, was brought to bear. They unleashed on The Cells with everything they had. And The Cells literally released a shriek that tore through glass when the shots hit. Where once the glassy black surface of the mass had seemed like water, now it was distorted as black powder fell from the mass in growing quantity's.
"YES!!! We finally have a weapon! Pour it on!!"

For this was The Cells weakness. They were immune to anything inorganic, and they could not be killed by anything that came from the outside. But poison attacks and kills from within. The poison attacks seeped into The Cells at the celular level and began killing off their essential functions.

The FireWreathes changed to Wargas Warheads and bombed the hell out of the mass, blowing giant clouds of black dust off in the process. For over 30 minutes, everyone and everything on and above that plateau bombed that mass. And at the end of that time, for the first time ever, The Cells retreated. What was left of the mass split into small balls of goo and scattered in the general direction of The Legacy. Exhausted, but victorious, the runners collapsed where they were.
"Where is Reza?" Nathan asked.
"What's left of him would be inside those balls of goo that just rolled outta here." Syntax-Error replied.
"So who now leads Neocron?"
"Pah... when we know, we'll tell you." Centuri replied. If Nathan's tin can exterior could grin, it probably would have.
"Until another day then." And with that, the Amok Copbot Military Elite or ACME for short, returned to their base, to await the future.

The runners sat and laughed for a while, and as the sun began to sink, a few suggested they should head back to Neocron and celebrate there. Most agreed, but at that moment, the Agratharia began to take off again.
"WHAT THE HELL NOW???? Who's in it this time?" Syntax-Error screamed. One of the surviving NEXT technicians looked at his watch.
"Ohh, don't worry. There was a preprogrammed test launch set for this time. Its on autopilot." the technician assured. Centuri walked over and grabbed him by the collar.
"Relax?? The damn ship is flying away all by itself. Where the pants is it going, and how you gonna get it back from there when its done?"
"S..s..sir, please! Its going up to orbit and will then remain there. Once its in orbit we can just use an uplink to remote pilot it back down. Its probably safer up there than it is down here right now." Centuri calmed down, and decided to join his clan in watching the magnificent sight of the Agratharia taking off. While they were staring, Centuri's com-unit blared up.
"What, I'm busy watchin' stuff here."
"This is the City Mercs, is there a representative of Fallen Angels there with you?"
"Yeah sure, hang on." Centuri threw the com-unit to Trillian and Reefsmoker who were having a huddle to discuss things.
"Yeah, this is Trillian, Fallen Angels council, how can we service you?"
"We picked up one of your runners on the way down. He's insisting on talking with someone urgently, says he's got important stuff to tell you."
"Well put him on please." Trillian replied. Then Warlock the Hermit started talking.
"Guys, big trouble, you gotta get ready. I was heading down from the north and..."
"Heya War, don't worry. We dealt with it. The Amok Copbots are cool for now..." Reef replied, mellow as could be.
"No, that's not it... I'm talking about..."
"Oh you mean The Cells? We kicked their organic asses!"
"no... and they don't have asses, but that's not it either..."
"Oh, so its about the Agratharia? Don't worry, its heading up to orbit now, it should be safe up there.
"SHUT UP AND LISTEN!!!!!!!!!" The com-unit nearly broke, but the attention of everyone around had now been gained, "get some air support up there and cover it till its in orbit or it won't make it, and get ready for a firefight." Warlock yelled.
"Huh? This is Firewreathe 1 to the loud Fallen Angels runner. We're in the air patrolling and there's nothing but you guys for miles, so just..." a single, loud ping from his detection panel shut him up. 10 metallic objects were detected at great distance to the north.
"What the hell are they?" Centuri asked, barely audible as the roar of the Agratharia reached a peak; the ship now a few hundred metres off the ground."
"Thats not possible! Nothing moves that fast!" Firewreathe 1 gasped, as he looked out his starboard window. The objects had covered the distance from Avenger Mine to Redrock Mine in less than a minute. And a few seconds later, Firewreathe 1 could see the objects, and his own death.

10 fighters roared past with a large sonic boom. They banked and began another pass. Everyone was now frantically jumping to their feet, but it was too little too late. The 10 unidentified fighters launched missiles. 2 struck Firewreathe 1 and blew it out of the sky. 5 more impacted into the Agratharia.
"No... NO!!!!" the unanimous scream went up, but no one was listening. Missile after missile crashed into the Agratharia until, just as it was about to thrust away towards the upper atmosphere, it exploded in a giant fireball, that lit the early evening sky for miles. The Agratharia was no more.

"OH MY LIOON!!! They Killed Us All !!!!" McDanish yelled.
"SID!!! You've doomed everyone!!!" Centuri fell to his knees in despair.
"Its not Sid!" Warlock yelled over the com-link.
"Then who the hell are they?"
"They're from Tokyo II."

D minus 185 days.

Communications between Warlock and Centuri's com-unit broke off at that point as the intensity of the attack increased. The ten fighters were not shaped like the FireWreathes. The Wreathes were semicircles, sort of like a crescent moon. These new fighters were shaped like a bird in a nosedive. A streamlined lengthy midsection with two wings sticking out either side but pointed slightly backwards. Those that had studied the Ceres discs might have recognised their design as an improved model of the old US fighter jets.

The fighters moved with alarming pace, roaring through the air. They were armed with twin chain cannons and tracking missiles. Hence every pass they made left a trail of destruction. The City Mercs convoy was still a few minutes away, as midnight came and still the fighting continued. Those that had got up early to celebrate Reza’s birthday had been on the go for over 24 hours and thing showed no signs of calming down any time soon.

The air battle had seemed hopeless at first. The Firewreathes moved too slowly to keep up with a streamlined jet moving past the speed barrier. 7 of the 24 Firewreathes were destroyed in the first hour of combat (much to their credit that they lasted that long against tracking missiles). But after an hour, the pilots had learned to use their ships advantages as a weapon as well.

Where the new fighters had speed on their side, the Firewreathes had manoeverability. A Firewreathe could stop, bank and head back the way it came in less than two seconds, and they could skim the grounds surface far better than the fighters could. So what had looked to be a slaughter and Tokyo II dominating the sky had turned into the longest aerial battle in history. The ten fighters broke off the attack at 0214 Neocron standard, as they retreated back up north. But it became clear that this was only a retreat long enough to resupply. The fighters were back before 3 AM and the fight continued. Ground forces attempted to disrupt the ‘Banshees’, as many were calling them due to their screaming noice as they thundered pas, by firing rockets in the air. This only served to make things more explosvie, but did not cause enough disruption to be a factor. The Mercs and Warlock linked up with the main force and all continued fighting until dawn.

As the sun began creeping up over the horizon, many exhausted runners were finally breathing a little easier. In a stunning move, 3 rhino gunners had taken shots at 2 of the Banshee’s, causing them to bank hard to the right. This had led them right into the targetting area of 2 Firewreathes, who were able to shoot them down. With the numbers now at 8 vs 15 (one more Firewreathe had gone down at around 5AM) the Firewreathes were able to gang up effectively 2 on one and hunt their enemy’s as a team. Slowy but surely they had picked them off, and finally at 0602 Neocron standard, the final fighter had been blown out of the sky. Huge cheers had gone up from the troops and once again people fell to the ground, exhausted but happy. The sun came up over the horizon, a new day dawned, and several hundred weary runners looked on… in total dismay.

The sight of 3 dozen airships, hovering above the ground, dropping things onto the ground confronted them. 2 dozen flying vehicles with huge propellors on the top that the informed were calling ‘choppers’ were guarding the airships, and a wave of vehicles were marching towards them.
“Does this never end? Now what?” Vain asked.
“Those are the ground forces of Tokyo II” Warlock replied. Everyone looked on at him.
“And how do you know that?” Centuri interrogated.
“Because I went there and saw them. I then raced back to tell you guys but apparently someone decided to accelerate the schedule on the very thing that’s pissed them off.”
“Which was?” Reefsmoker asked.
“The Agratharia was our way of escpaping the oncoming cataclysm. We never counted for taking them with us,” people gulped, “and as they seem to think the planet falling apart is our fault, they’ve decided to doom us along with them.” More gulping.
“Great so they want to fight us to make sure we don’t do any better than they do?”
“Seems so.”
“Pants.”
“Indeed.”
“And what the hell are those?”
“Those my good and dear friend Reef, are what real Mechs look like.” Marching towards them were mechs. Not the kind of mechs that Neocron had, the ones about twice the height of a man with heavy armour and guns but low speed and range, but BETA Warbot size, 5 storey tall, 80 tonne mech’s with missile packs on their shoulders, a vast array of energy weapons up the front, and a menacing paintjob. These new menaces, known as the “Raijuta’s” marched along with a thundering pace, each step shaking the ground.
“Reef you got any more spliff’s?” Eva walked over.
“Ran out during the night.” He said, twitching slightly.
“WE CAN TAKE EM!!!” A lone clanleader stood on the hood of his car and cracked his whip. Yes, Zane Shadowfall decided now was a dramatic time to make an entrance to this Issue and strode forth into the story.
“Zane, look over there, we’re gonna take them?”
“Huh?” Zane stopped looking at the swarm of dragonflies he thought everyone was afraid of and saw the mech’s storming forth.
“Oh pants, we’re all gonna die!” Zane whimpered. Reef however looked happy as he walked over and swiped Zane’s cowboy hat. Zane was about to protest, but Reef reached inside and pulled out of a fake top a stash of weed.
“Well it seemed a safe place to hide some, who would ever steal Zane’s hat?” He began rolling up. Everyone just shrugged and waited to see if they could get some.

The airships moved forward, dropping more ground forces. It seemd all the Raijuta’s had been deployed, and now they were dropping manpower. Individuals in opaque powerarmour, similar to the spy suit were flooding infield. Then, as an order was given, they all vanished.
“Oh shhhhheeep… they got stealth activators.” All of a sudden Reef was hit in the chest by an energy shuriken.
“OWWW.. That hurt.” Then his spliff was hit, and now he was mad. More troops flooded in. Bulkier troopers with twin kodachi’s (for those of you not familiar with the term, a kodachi is roughly half the bladelength of a katana. For those not familiar with katana’s, refer to the ‘Highlander’ movies. Connor McCleod uses a katana style blade). These two blades were small and the users seemed to be very fast with them.
“Oh great, we get variety in the ways we can die. Blasted with energy, fragged by missiles, perforated by little throwing stars or chopped up by the Ginzu mastah’s here. What a wonderful world we live in.” McDanish grumbled. The lead Raijuta opened fire with a volley of missiles.
“Damnit, here it comes. No choice folks, time to fight!” And with that the exhausted runners somehow found the strength to fight again. With every shot they could fire, with every ammo pack they could clone, they fought back. But there wasn’t enough strength left in any of them to face off against a force this well prepared at the tail end of a solid day of fighting. It was the end.

Until…

The lead Raijuta took a direct hit to the left arm from a very large rocket. It recoiled and began to lose balance. Then another rocket slammed into the left leg and the Mech crashed to the ground. It attempted to stand up, but was hit my energy fire in the rear repeatedly, and then another missile before the entire Mech exploded. The tired runners looked to their right, and had never before been so happy to see the forces of Dome of York marching on their positions.
“Yes Precious, we are fashionably late, yes we is…” Sid rode amonst his forces. He had brought a legion of BETA warbots, Scythe-bots and Ceres War veterans.
“ATTACKKK….. I R l337!!!! “ Sid yelled and the forces lunged forward. The forces of Tokyo II diverted and the two crashed head on.

The BETA Warbots went head to head with the Raijuta’s. Though the Raijuta’s had more armour and a greater variety of weapons, the BETA warbots outnumbered them, and had regenerative abilities.

The Shinobi-warriors were stalking Sid, figuring if they killed him, this force would lose focus or even retreat. The Ceres troopers were looking for them but could not find them. But, as the Ceres troopers looked, the laser pointer out the side of their head would run across an area of nothingness and yet the beam would be cut short. Instantly the troopers would fire and the Shinobi-warrior would be unstealthed.
“You seeing that?” Zane said.
“Damn straight.” Trillian replied. Everyone who had put a laser pointer on their Liberator and had endured the laughs of people saying it was useless suddenly were vindicated, as they began ripping Shinobi ass up with Libby fire.

The Bladers clashed with the Scythe-bots in terrifying fashion. Sharp steel was swinging left and right. The Scythe-bots were neither as fast nor as strong as the Bladers, but again, they had numbers on their side.

Those that did not have Liberators opened fire on the Raijuta’s and slowly but surely beat them down. The Firewreathe pilots were getting airsick by now, but still continued to fight against the Choppers, although their advantage of manoeverability was narfed.

13 hours, 17 minutes and 52 seconds and the battle started, it ended. Most runners were not even thinking about getting back to their comfy apartments. They were going to sleep where they were, huddled up in groups next to a Rhino. Darkness had fallen again and Sid was talking with some of those that were still standing.
“Precious says they has more stuffs up norths. Big floaty tings out on the water, yess precious…”
“Sounds like they came over in ships. What are we gonna do about that?” Trillian asked.
“I have something else of more importance you all need to hear.” Warlock said.
“Yeah dude, where you been all this time?” Reef asked.
“I shall explain tomorrow. Our time runs short my friends, we must be swift. Gather everyone back into Neocron and tomorrow I will explain whats going on.” And with that, everyone split up to help get their forces back home for a long nights sleep.

D minus 184 days.

For the 2nd time in just a few days, Plaza 1 was packed with runners. Even Insidious Wolf had been allowed to enter to hear the announcement. A gradual hush fell over the enormous crowd as a striking individual, dressed in black, stood atop the balcony of Medicare to make his grand speech to the masses.
“Zion!!! Hear me! I am…accckkk” Morpheous was pushed off the balcony by Warlock.
“You got your own MMORPG coming out, go be prophetic over there.” Warlock growled. (Big Red Subtitles slam down “OUT OF CHARACTER!!!”).
The improv mosh pit members threw Morpheous to the ground and once again returned their attentions to the speaker.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let me first lay out the facts for you before we go any further,” Warlock began his speech. Those in FART knew that Warlock’s speeches, while often being very important, were also very long, and hence had all taken up seats wherever they could find them, “for those that were not aware, Reza is dead. And so too is his clone. Currently CityAdmin is leaderless, which some might say is no bad thing, but that is irrelevant. The Agratharia has been destroyed, and nothing could be salvaged from its remains,” at this many heads hung low, “we have roughly 180 days till the SWG effect destroys our world, and now the populace of Tokyo II has declared war upon us. And even if we could finish the other cruiser, and get it tested, loaded with passengers, and get it into space without being shot down, it would only be able to carry half of us. Which means that as of right now, one in every two people standing here is guaranteed to die, probably more.” At this the crowd started looking around aprehensively, as if the person next to them was somehow going to steal their chance of survival. .cylon walked over to Reefsmoker.
“Your boy seems to just be riling people up. Shouldn’t he be calming people down?” Centuri growled.
“Ease up .Cylon. He does a lot of these speeches, he knows what he’s doing.” Their attention returned to Warlock.
“Now some of you might be thinking ‘well that’s still a 50/50 shot, not bad for the end of the world. But if you look at the fact that Tokyo II effectively has air superiority in the Wastelands now, the chances of a successful launch are next to nothing,” more agitation, “so… things look bad. And how did this happen you all ask? Well, we never factored the population of Tokyo II into the equation of how many we would need to evacuate, so they’re pretty pissed about us leaving them to die, but that’s not the whole problem. The reason we couldn’t factor them in is because we never hear or see anything from Tokyo II. Last time we sent someone there, they were turned away. And we can’t really get readings on them from this distance either. So if that’s true for us, how did they even know about the Agratharia?” A lot of puzzled looks ensued, “well, this should answer that.” Warlock signalled to the technicians and the Wanted sign outside Medicare changed to show a picture of a building in Tokyo II; the Sony Building to be precise, with what looked like an important figure and a dark individual in Armani Powerarmour.
“Oh UBER PANTS!!! MJS is after us again? That’s just what we needed.” Centuri spat out.
“Indeed. I doubt he’s ever given up his manic quest to annihilate the Pluto universe from existence. So because of his intervention, we now have an attack fleet parked in the North Sea, those freakin’ Banshee things screaming past our heads, and the end of the world in 6 months. At times like this, one can only really think about one thing…”
“BOOBIES!!!!” Eva and Shodough yelled out.
“Ok, two things.” Everyone chuckled, “but seriously, one can only think, there’s no way out, lets just pack it in. Well I am here to tell you all, that there IS a way out.” Everyone looked on confused, but hopeful.
“Some time ago I undertook a trek back to Regant’s Legacy. Using a modified Powerarmour that the boys at Phoenix Ltd were kind enough to churn out for me,” Zane and his team stood up and took a bow, “I was able to enter the submerged sections without drowning and investigate the SWG machine. Its impact hammers had driven into the fault line quite well, but they were all directed towards one particular section of the fault, one that would aim destruction to the North and to the East. This has left the South and West virtually untouched.”
“Yeah, but that was bad enough to doom the planet!” Bibliotequa yelled out.
“Well done, Betty gets a cookie for stating the obvious. McDanish, give him your crown.”
“I will not relinquish my crown.”
“Anyway… the fact is that if the machine had damaged the fault line in all directions, we’d have had longer, but the damage would be irreperable. But as it is, the way it was used has provided us with an opportunity for salvation. The fault line is tearing wider and wider, towards the North and East. If we can cause a tectonic shift that will force the land masses to the North and East to crush in on that growing tear, we can actually stop planetary destruction.” The entire crowd couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Warlock had the technicians show them the scans Warlock had taken from Dome of Yorks sensors when he’d barged in on Sid some months ago. Sure enough it displayed a fault line, quicly growing worse, heading Northeast through the Wastelands. If the tear reached the next major fault line in the Northern plateaus, the effect would be that that fault line would start to tear, and it would ripple into a dozen more, and that would be the end of the planet.
“How long do we have to pull off this solution? Do we still have 180 days?” Spanky yelled out.
“No, in 160 days, the tear in the Wasteland fault will reach a point where we will be having earthquakes like we’ve never had before. At this point the difficulty in pulling off a solution will grow exponentially. 10 days after that, the fault will trigger the Northern fault, and there is no stopping it. So if we cannot fix this within 170 days, we really are gonna be buried in a big, stinking pile of pants.”
“Great, so lets go fix that fault, I’ll get a shovel!” Morpheous said. A few laughed. A few thought he was serious and asked where they kept the shovels. One person who knew where they kept the shovels got one and hit one of the guys who asked.
“Well folks, this is where things get trickier. This is what must be done to solve the problem. We must set off 5 separate explosions, of no less than 50 megatons each, underground in 5 key places.”
“Why do I get the feeling we’re not going to like the locations?” Trillian asked. Warlock took a deep breath.
“Location One is under the Abbey of Crahn.” The Crahn sect just kind of looked around and nodded, saying that was ok.
“Well that’s very co-operative of you, however I must point out that the Abbey itself will probably be damaged if not destroyed by the shockwave.” They weren’t quite so happy about that, but after a few minutes discussion, they did concede it was better than Armageddon.
“Location 2 is under the Military base. This one will have to be deep, so drilling will have to start today to make the deadline.” The Mercs just cracked their knuckles and flexed their muscles.
“Gotta love Mercs for determination. Location 3 is underneath Dome of York. I have talked with Sid already, and he says if Tangent can devise a Drill weapon that can be attacked to Beta Warbots, he can drill to the required depth well before the required deadline.” Tangent R&D looked on that as a challenge. A few smiled and nodded their approval towards Sid.
“Now that’s where the easy ones end. Location 4 is… well there’s just no easy way to say this. Location 4 is directly under the centre of Tokyo II.” The crowd exploded in frustration.
“How in the hell are we supposed to get a bomb under there?” many called out.
“To accomplish this task, a task force will have to be sent to infiltrate Tokyo II, find a way underground, and place the bomb before the deadline. The saving grace here is that it does not matter how deep the bomb is for this location. In theory we could set it off on ground level and it would work. But the deeper the better. I was thinking NDA and Tangent could handle this one, but it seems they will be needed first to help develop and implement the drill technology for the first 3 locations, and secondly, they will be needed for Location 5. Thus, since we need a force that will be able to adapt to any condition and probably have to build drilling mechanisms out of anything once they get there, this job will fall to the Fallen Angels. Once a task force is selected, I will lead you to Tokyo II.” The Fallen Angels just nodded and wondered who would be going.
“And Location 5 will be to plant a 100 megaton warhead directly under the SWG machine in Regants Legacy.”
“Well that’s a childsplay assignment. What the hell are you sending us for?” Centuri resented not getting the high profile assignment.
“Childsplay huh? Have you looked at the Legacy today?”
“No I haven’t looked at the Legacy today you pants wearing pants eater. What’s that got to do with anything?” Again the technicians changed the view on the Wanted screen. Centuri’s shoulder’s slumped. The entire Legacy was covered in The Cells. They had retreated to their old home and were now covering the entire thing.
“NDA now has 160 days to completely kill The Cells, or everyone dies. Have fun with your childsplay assignment guys.” Warlock smirked. Centuri clenched his fist, and went to go buy some Poison modules from Yakarma’s.
“That is the plan ladies and gentlemen. Those that have not received a mission concerning these 5 locations will be working towards fighting off the Tokyo II forces currently berthed up north. Do not let them interfere in any way.” Warlock commanded.
“What about the 2nd cruiser. Do we continue with that?”
“NEXT, you have all the required materials, yes?”
“Yes we do. We can have it finished within the next 180 days, as long as that’s all we do.”
“So be it. NEXT will dedicate its efforts to the next cruiser. If all else fails its at least a slim chance.”
“So basically, we either dig these bomb holes, or we dig our own graves.” Eva morbidly put it.
“Get digging then.”

Until next time…
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Postby [TgR]KILLER » Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:11 am

woot i'm NERD'd :p from here on i still know how the story goes a little hehe =) tho on the first page you say there are just 50 chapters.. were is the end then ? afaik there is more :x
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Postby Orwain » Sun Dec 11, 2005 4:41 pm

[TgR]KILLER wrote:woot i'm NERD'd :p from here on i still know how the story goes a little hehe =) tho on the first page you say there are just 50 chapters.. were is the end then ? afaik there is more :x


Orwain wrote:And I used to think that site was lost :)
But it's incomplete, it has till chapter 26 while the story continues till chapter 50 ( being it a 5 parts chapter), plus some extras like a stand alone chapter, a Xmas chapter and a freelance chapter.
The good thing is I've access to all the missing chapters ;)
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Postby [TgR]KILLER » Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:14 pm

oh sorry misunderstood the 5 parts thing hehe :D

but well.. were is the next part then :'-( i'm bored i want more nerd reading stuff :p
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Postby Orwain » Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:36 am

NERD Issue # 050
Part 2:

The Days of Destruction Continue

D minus 180 days

After taking 4 days to rest, heal, and resupply, all the divisions were now prepared for the lengthy battle against time that they now faced.
NDA were drafting battle plans, and forging the best poison weaponry they could in preparation for an all out assault on the Legacy. It was their belief that a single strike, no matter how hard, would not finish the job. Instead they began planning a long-length barrage upon the Legacy; a sustained offence that would be able to last several days, perhaps even a week if need be. It was believed that if they did it this way, The Cells, which would follow their natural instinct and try to replicate, would slowly consume everything in their nearby area and would slowly but surely be ‘starved to death’. Upon hearing of this plan, most were quite surprised at NDA for coming up with such a well thought out and logical approach. It was not exactly atypical of the jarhead meatgrinder approach they took to every other situation of ‘shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more and when the dust settles see if anyone wants to talk. Then shoot them.’ ProtoPharma took a look at seeing if they could find a way to increase the power of a Holy Pestilence, which would be the primary weapon in the assault. It was also assumed that a flight of FireWreathes would be needed, and thus NDA became the first private clan to take posession of FireWreathe gliders.

Sid had returned home the day before. He opened the gates of Dome of York, and awaited the coming of engineers from Tangent Technologies to help with the excavation of the primary mineshaft. And while this writer is not a big fan of making comments in hindsight, it must be said it might have been nice if Sid had taken the time to look around his own home. Had he paid just a little bit of attention to the shadows it might have saved a considerable amount of grief later on. But, I digress…

The Mercs had marched home after 3 days of rest with the rest of Neocron. While it was noted that they had arrived late and had only had to fight with the Raijuta’s, it was also noted that had they not been there, the forces of Neocron probably would have been unable to hold out against them long enough for the York troops to arrive. Now as they returned home to tear the hell out of Sector 3 in preparation for the drills, they all wondered where the entrance to ACME Headquarters was. They were fairly certain it had been in sector J 04, but it could not be found. Obviously ACME felt its time to fully step out into the light had not yet come. The Mercs returned home to their military green corridors the same day they left Neocron. Immediately, with the enthusiasm and strength that the City Mercs are legendary for, they all trooped down to Sector 3, found a nice quiet space and started blowing the hell out of the floor. Gentanks were seen loaded up with piles of plasitcrete, steel and rubble, walking up the main lift shaft and dumping them outside. By the time the day ended, the Mercs, without any proper digging equipment had already dug a hole 20 metres deep and as wide as a football field.

The Crahn sect were perhaps the most unhappy of all. Yes, they had seen the necessity in placing the bomb, and yes they had agreed to it, but unfortunately they had not thought about the fact that drilling would make it unbearable to live in the Abbey. Hence that night the entire Crahn Sect spent the night squatting in the Concentre. Before they could ever consider helping in the digging effort, their first mission had to be to find somewhere to live.

Which left the last of the Five. The Fallen Angels had been working out the squad to send to infiltrate and effectively bomb Tokyo II. They had asked for volunteers and oddly enough everyone had volunteered, so they wound up holding a ballot. In the end the squad was determined.

Trillian would be taking charge of the operation. Warlock would of course be going to lead them there. Evangelion and Zhut would be going as Passive support. Keyser Soze and Crono would be going as Tank support. Diesel and McDanish would be going as the APU assault team. Tricia McMillan, Vain, Download and ReefSmoker would be going as Infiltrators. Zane Shadowfall, Lisa Davitt and [TGR] Killer would be going as fire support. E.b.e would be going as the shared sex toy. After a quick recount it was decided that E.b.e. would be staying behind. All the guys suddenly had more free load as they threw away a few boxes of some rubber garments.

And so it was that the Council Leader Trillian left the management of Tech Haven in the hands of Syntax-Error and the Tokyo 15 set out just after dusk.

MJS sat atop a cliff in the north looking out over the wastelands. As he marvelled at the world he had brought forth, and observed the frantic goings on of the mortals within it, he could only think one thing:

He couldn’t wait to see it all go boom.

D minus 179 days

“Good morning everyone.” Reefsmoker said to everyone as they began to stir. They had camped by the oasis just north of El Farid, and Reef had guard duty that night. Throughout their slumber he had sat on a rock, puffing away. He was in no concern about running out of stash this time. Half his max load was taken up with his basic necessity.
“Uhhhh, morning,” Lisa staggered up, “not the same getting up without Kramer here.”
“Maybe you should try Eva’s tactics then.” Reef pointed out. Eva was untangling herself from a giant pile of limbs on the ground, a big grin on her face.
“What up peeps?” Vain and Diesel, having been part of the tangle also woke quite well. Killer had been hauled into the tangle against his will and wasn’t quite sure whether he’d liked it all that much.
Trillian and Trica had fallen asleep under a tree and were awoken when Download fell out of the tree and onto them. As Trillian awoke with a start, she kicked out and sent McDanish rolling into the lagoon. He stood back up, not looking too thrilled.
“I am wet.” He stated.
“Mmm, so am I” Eva grinned.
“SHUT UP EVA!!” everyone yelled. Eva just went back trying to find her thong.
Now, if you’ve never seen a tank wake up from a nights sleep, you really should, because it’s a sight to behold. The two gentanks were lying out like logs, not moving an inch. They had been undisturbed throughout everyone’s antics. Nor would they be disturbed. When a Gentank goes to sleep, he thinks of a wake-up time. The Gentank race was designed with a basic internal alarm clock. Whatever time a Gentank thinks of before falling asleep would be the time he or she woke up. So bang on 0630 the two Gentanks, as ordered, awoke. From lying down flat, the two suddenly rose in a single motion like something out of a bad Vincent Price vampire flick to standing at attention. Their eyes opened and the eyeballs were rolled back in their skulls. All of a sudden in complete unison, Keyser and Crono began to speak.
“GOOD MORNIN’ NEOCRON!!!!! It’s 0630 in the morning here in the gritty desert and all is well. Todays weather forcast is for sand, sand and more sand. There’ll be a patch of sunshine followed by a long bout of crap hitting the fan. Another beautiful day! And… gaahhhh” All of a sudden their eyes rolled back into place and the two started moving around as if nothing had happened. Everyone else could only stare at the bizarre genetically programmed wake up call that all Gentanks performed when they woke up.
Diesel and McDanish quickly began the morning meditation session, to which Zhut and Eva promptly joined in on. All Psi Monks start the day with a morning meditation, although the style of meditation differs from Monk to Monk. For Eva, she would hold two hands in front of her with one finger extended from each, close her eyes and try to make them meet. For Zhut it was to closely examine her navel lint. For Diesel it was some kind of powering up session that seemed similar to something one used to see in DragonBall Z cartoons. For McDanish, it was cooking breakfast, pastries of course, with a side of fries. Zane was the last to rise, his cowboy hat shielding him from the sun’s evil rays longer than the others.
The fourteen travellers got their gear in order and prepared to set out.
“Ugghhhh, this backpack is killing me,” Diesel moaned, “you know, when we get back, I’m gonna have a long talk with those brainiacs in NEXT. They can come up with Firewreathe gliders and mechs and APC’s and some special thing they’re planning to use on the Tokyo Battleships in the North Sea,but they can’t invent something as useful as a freakn Cart. Look, we got two mules here,” he pointed at the Gentanks, “we should be able to hook them up with a cart, with a couple of cabinets on the back and use that to carry supplies around with.”
“Hmn, not a bad idea Diesel, but there’s this small matter of saving Neocron. First lets deal with this major fault, and then you can talk about adding new vehicles.” Reefsmoker looked up at the camera and winked. Everyone wondered where the camera had come from.
“Hey, where’s Warlock?” Lisa asked.
“Oh him. He got up an hour ago and started doing his Hermit bit. Apparently its against the Hermit code to just eat out of your rashions, so he’s off hunting his breakfast down.”
“Well that’s just peachy keen. We’re now stuck here till he finishes chasing down ingredients for Rattlesnake soup.” Killer growled.
“Actually I’m the one waiting for you noisy buggers,” Warlock growled. He was standing under the shade of a tree not far off, picking his teeth.
“Nice breakfast?” Eva smirked.
“Not bad, little spicy.” He remarked as he began hiking northwards. As the others followed on, they spotted a Terrormauler with only 3 legs hobbling away.

A little before noon the troop had to begin moving very slowly. Their journey would take them north, up along the coastline of the North Sea, past the northern cliffs of the desert. This would however, lead them dangerously close to the Tokyo fleet berthed in the harbour. Because of this, the troop had to crouch walk along the coast, being particularly careful to be quiet. At this point, it is this writers belief that all the other classes were never so jealous of spy’s as at that moment. The spy’s just activated their high level stealth boosters and took a nice long run for as long as the stealth lasted. Then when it wore off they would find cover and await the recharge before starting again. And thus they proceeded at a casual running pace, without any real stresses. The Private Eyes to a degree were doing the same, but they could never cover the same distances. The encumbered Gentanks swore under their breath as they hobbled along with a full pack load, walking on their hands and knees as quietly as they could and hoping their armour didn’t rattle. The Monks were equally at a disadvantage as they were not used to sneaking around, but rather striding around with style, like they pwned the place.

Five hours later they had cleared the fleets’ visual range and were able to walk normally again. They had now entered an area that only Warlock had ever seen before. The volcanic pits of the North.
“Be cautious as you walk everyone,” Warlock suggested, “this area’s become a lot more active since the SWG effect began. When I walked up this way a few months ago it was quite calm. You just had to watch out for the magma pits and loose ash. On my way back last week though, whole different story.”
“Why? What changed?” Trillian asked.
“Well the magma pits levels are higher, so the heat is far more intense as you pass by. There’s fissures, some as small as your hand, others as large as Twilight Guardians that vent steam and ash up at random intervals.”
“Oh great… any other tips you’d like to give us, you know, now, after we’ve been walking through this hellhole for an hour.” Vain moaned. Warlock turned to glare at him, then looked around quickly.
“Get your armour off.”
“What? Why?” many asked.
“Cause up ahead its gonna get to temperatures closing in on boiling point. Do you really want to be wearing heat conductive armour in heat like that?”
“Well what about Inquisition armour? Surely that will help?” Crono asked.
“Inquisition armour deals with fire damage, not heat. The metals in your armours will only serve to hold and increase the temperatures around you.” Somewhat reluctantly, everyone began to remove their armour and bag it.
“So um, not wanting to sound the nag here, but what happens when night falls. Is it possible to walk across this place at night? Will marching all night get us out of here in a day or two, cause if it will I’m all for going without sleep for a night or so if it means we don’t have to stay here.” Diesel asked. Warlock nearly cracked a grin at Diesel’s determination, but it ended up just being a readjustment of his scowl.
“Our journey through Volcano Plains will take 8 days.” Everyone shot a look of despair at Warlock.
“That long…”
“Though your determined effort to get us out of here might bring that down to 4 or 5 days, it is unfortunately not possible. Travelling by night is impossible. We need full light to guide our steps or we will end up in one of the crags or worse. Once full darkness falls we will make camp where we are. But do not fear, there is an… establishment… of sorts, up ahead.”
“An establishment? What kind of establishment?” Eva asked.
“Wait and see. At the very least you will find it more comfortable than this walk. It is cool, shaded, and surrounded by actual wildlife.” Everyone just shrugged and figured they weren’t exactly in a position to question their guide.

As dusk fell, the 15 travellers found themselves stepping out of the hot ashfields and onto a grassy tundra. The tundra continued up a gradual hill. They walked up the cobbled and well tended path to the top of the hill where their eyes watered at the sight. A literal oasis of foliage and life was before them. An artificial lake was the centrepiece of the large plateau. It was surrounded by chairs facing the lake, and umbrella’s hanging over them. To the northern end of the field there was a group of stalls, all being run by nomad traders, but unlike the normal nomad traders they were used to seeing, these ones were not wrapped up in black cloaks and looking quite unfriendly. Instead they were wearing pants that ended at their knees and wide rimmed hats on their heads. They wore no clothing around their chests, aside from the odd necklace adornments. To the west side there was a large veranda, built off the side of the plateau like a pier. It faced out across a lava river which was a stunning sight. There were two attendants on the veranda. At the south end, where they had just come up, there were animals roaming around. Not the Wasteland animals that they were used to, the type that would bite your head off if you didn’t shoot them first, or if Vain didn’t sodomise them. No, these were domesticated animals. They were quite possibly the strangest creatures any of them had ever seen. They seemed so… harmless, that no one could understand how they could survive. Especially the one that was closest. In a landscape surrounded by fire and magma, it seemed utterly ridiculous to see a creature wearing a wooly coat. The strange beast stood on all fours with a white woolen fabric surrounding its being, and it constantly made a ‘baaaa’ noise. Now as if that wasn’t enough, to the other side of the path was a mudpit with several pinkish animals with curly tails and a stubby nose. They made snorting noises and wallowed around in the mud.
“Are you sure this place is safe? These are the freakiest creatures I’ve ever seen.” Tricia asked.
“Relax, they’re weird alright, and damn ugly, but they’re harmless.” Warlock replied.
“How do things like this even survive? They’re so harmless its pathetic.”
“Well apparently, the owner of this place calls them ‘livestock’. It seems that they can’t fend for themselves, so instead they have this really weird survival skill. Apparenlty, because they’re so pitiful, people feel sorry for them and start taking care of them.”
“That’s how they survive? By getting people to protect them?”
“Yeah well the owner said there was another reason, but last time I was here I couldn’t figure it out.”

They moved up the path from the ‘livestock’ and moved towards the east section. Here there was a large building, roughly the size of your average outpost, but without the walls. The main building had accomodations; apartment size rooms with coolant systems for the air and these attendants who would bring food to you on demand. Closest to the pool was an outdoor area with a thatched roof covering it and open air seating. Behind the seats was a restaurant, like Chez Sypher, but much larger, and it actually had people in it. The entire complex had attendants, all female, walking around in gear similar to the stuff the mutant sluts in Club Veronique wore, but somehow it seemed less sleazy and more provocative.
“War, what is this place?” ReefSmoker asked.
“Um… the owner called it… let me remember… ah yes, Vatican City.” Everyone looked around in awe.
“That’s Vacation City, Mr. The Hermit. Welcome back. I see you’ve brought friends this time.” A slender man in a white suit approached them.
“Callash, good to see you again.” Warlock shook his hand. And sure enough, everyone looked and recognised the EGOS Callash. It had put them off a bit seeing him in civilian clothing.
“Callash? What are you doing here?” Zane asked.
“Well even I need a moment to get away from it all, and lets face it, the Higher Plain isn’t that interesting. Its all fluffy white clouds and Pez mocking Critter and Critter trying to push Pez off the cloud and…. Well anyway, in my spare time I’ve been creating Vacation City, in the hope that when its ready we’ll see more runners heading this way!” Everyone looked round at the city Callash had made. Sure enough, all the scantily clad girls were part of the Traders Union, all working diligently at their task. Callash had a knack for placing Traders Union personnel in key places.
“So, will you all be staying long?” Callash inquired.
“No, not this time. We have a tight schedule, and we can’t delay this early on in our journey. So we’ll just be here for an overnighter.”
“AWWWW!!!! Come on War, how often do we get to be at places like this? I wanna cut loose!” Vain yelled. Eva was getting antsy already.
“Look if we save the world, we’ll stop off here on the way back. How’s that?”
“Wow, like saving the world wasn’t enough motivation, now we really got a reward!” Eva jumped around Vain, bouncing.
“Ahh I see, you’re off to try and fix the faultline.” Callash nodded.
“Well if you know what we’re doing, why don’t you try to help. For that matter, why aren’t the EGOS getting involved?” Trillian asked. The others all looked at Callash expectantly.
“Killerbunneh is why.” Everyone groaned. Warlock clenched his teeth and figured it was rabbit season when he got back.
“What’s he done now?”
“He’s erected a barrier of some kind. Now it is impossible by word or action for an EGOS to intervene in any way that will interfere with the destruction of the Pluto Universe.”
“And I’ll take one good guess who’s pushing Bunneh to do that.”
“If your guess involves 3 letters, you’re on the money.”
“Never mind then. We’ll need 15 rooms, dinner and breakfast and I might need to talk to you about the status of the routes north.” Warlock stated.
“Of course. Please, everyone, make yourselves at home. As a special treat for this brave group, I shall give you all a special treat. Tonight, you shall learn the true reason why ‘livestock’ are able to exist Warlock.” Warlock raised an eyebrow, and could not wait to answer that riddle.

Two hours later, they had relaxed in ways they never thought they would be able to on this trip. Vacation City truly was the best place they’d ever been. The girls were by the pool, each wishing they’d brought something a bit better for swimming. Vain, Zane, Download and Killer were on the veranda. It turned out that the veranda was made to accommodate a special sport that one could only participate in at VC. The attendants explained to them the nature of the sport.
“See folks, in the lava river out there, there actually live some very rare creatures. These creatures are impossible to touch, as their skin is as hot as molten lava itself. They’re also notoriously tough if they’re close to the river, as their endurance to pain and injury is nothing short of invincible. But… if they ever get too far away from the lava, their skin begins to cool and harden, and then they are vulnerable. The first is the Pyrat. It’s basically a giant rat that breathes fire. If you can ever kill one of these, in its chest is a rare treasure to have. The sternum bone of their chests can be extracted and used to make Coldfire Ammunition.”
“Whats Coldfire ammo? I’ve never heard of that one.” Zane asked.
“Coldfire ammo is an ammo type that works in a very peculiar way. First the bullet exits the weapon and immediately liquifies. The bullet them impacts with the target in liquid form and splash over a large surface. Almost instantly it then freezes solid and becomes bound to the object. Then, once it is bound it begins heating up till it reaches the same temperature as lava and eats through whatever it is bound to. If used against a runner wearing armour, it will eat through any armour within 15 seconds, and thus the victim must remove their armour or die. And of course if they do remove their armour, their chances of dieing is vastly increased as well. And as for creatures that do not wear armour, one shot will kill them in 60 seconds or less, depending on their size.”
“Incredible. You said creatures though right? What else?”
“Well next is Cerberus. If you guys do try this, and you’re lucky enough to encounter a Cerberus, I would suggest you don’t try to catch and kill one. The Cerberus is a breed of Giant doglike creatures. Each one is roughly as tall as a Grim Persecutor and a lot faster. They attack by biting, so of course ranged attacks are wiser, but as I said, they can move at a frightening speed. Worse still is they all have two heads. So again I stress that you need a fair bit of practice before hunting these fell beasts. But when you can catch one, the reward is great. The skin of a Cerberus, even when it cools down and hardens, will serve as the best armour you’ve ever worn. It can be forged into a powerarmour that is one hundred percent resistant to fire and explosives.”
“100%??? That’s incredible!” Vain exclaimed.
“Indeed it is sir. To date, only Callash has ever managed to slay a Cerberus, as it came up and tried to attack one of the pool girls, which is how I know the armour can be made. He has made one such armour and it now hands as a trophy in the Higher Plain.”
“Why do I sense that this isn’t as bad as they get?” The attendant hung his head for a second.
“Once a month or thereabouts, during the night, while standing on this veranda, we have seen one other creature in the river. Or rather, I’m not quite sure we can call it a creature. It seems some time ago a few Warbots had begun venturing this way and were swept into the lava river. But they were not destroyed. Somehow they have adapted and now they are part organic, part lava and part mechanical. And their power is terrifying. We once saw one of them come out of the river on the far side, where it was attacked by three Cerberus’. The warbot crushed one with its foot, exploded another with a small nuclear explosion fired from its shoulder launcher, and annihilated the 3rd one in a way we couldn’t see, but there wasn’t much left when it was done. We’ve named it the Apocalypse Warbot. I have never seen one be killed, ever.” The 4 members of the squad looked out across the lava river in awe. What suprises these new lands held, and what kind of loot could they get from an Apocalypse Warbot if they could find a way to destroy one.
“Ok, so how do we hunt them?”

ReefSmoker was busy introducing the resorts employees to weed, and was trying to determine if any of the foliage around the resort could be used in the same way. Crono and Keyser were enjoying a swim. McDanish had invaded the restaurant and was exchanging cooking knowledge with the head chef. Which left Warlock sitting by himself under the restaurants canopy. Callash joined him.
“So, do you have a chance?” Callash asked.
“A chance? Yeah, probably. There isn’t much room for error, and everywhere I look there is errors aplenty to run across. I mean, just look at us. We’re only one of the five teams that have to complete their missions, and we’ve got literally months of travel to cover. It’ll be 3 weeks before we reach the next real sign of civilisation once we leave here, and if I tell them that, we may never get going again.”
“Well lets assume you can get to your destination. Can you get the bomb into place in time?”
“That’s another concern. I don’t know where the hell we’re gonna place this thing. If we leave it topside it’ll take out a large chunk of the city, and guarantee a full scale war between them and us. If we get it underground there might be a chance to explain after, but I can’t think of where we could dig undetected to do that. Ugghhhh, this is making my head hurt.”
“Heh, well here, have a drink and think about it tomorrow.”
“Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die, eh?”
“Damn straight. Cheers.” The two downed a shotglass of some obscure alcohol that tasted like construction grease and burned like napalm.

“… so how do we hunt them?”
“You use this grapple launcher, and try to latch onto a Pyrat. Its quite a distance, so you have to try and account for the fact that they’ll be moving and the lava rivers current will move them as well. If you can successfully hit and grapple, you hit the auto-winch button fast and it hauls the Pyrat up towards here. Then you get down the stairs over there fast and get ready to fight it before it can chew thrrough the grapple. Then you kill it fast before it can retreat to the river or kill you.” The attendant informed. Killer, Vain, Zane and Download were watering at the mouth with anticipation of hunting these things, so the attendants handed them two grapple rifles and they got to work. The first few attempts saw Vain narrowly miss grabbing a Pyrat and Killer the proud captor of a big rock.
“I’m glad you’re coming with us Killer. I feel so much safer about all those menacing rocks we’re gonna be passing by.” Zane joked. Killer cracked the rock over his skull and Zane wasn’t laughing anymore. Twenty minutes later Download managed to grapple a Pyrat.
“Ok, lets move!” The four ran down the steps just as the Pyrat melted the grapple. It looked at the four and glared. Then it coughed up a fireball at them. Zane dived out of the way, Download got hit in the knee
“Arrghhh I’m wounded!” Download yelled.
“MEDIC!!!” Eva ran to the veranda and waved her boobies at Download and he was immediately rejuvinated, althoug his knee still hurt. They began blasting the rodent with plasma and fusion fire, but it was having no effect. All of a sudden, Zane tipped his hat and grinned.
“I have a plan!!!”
“I’m not gonna sodomise it.” Vain retorted.
“I have another plan… CRONO!!!” Crono got out of the lake and ran over.
“What? Hey whats with the flame grilled feeling rat?”
“Use your freezer cannon on it.”
“Uhhh… ok.” Crono hauled his freezer cannon out of ….somewhere (he was only wearing speedo’s after all so the physics don’t make much sense). He fired at the rat and it slowed to a crawl. Its skin hardened and it tried to walk forwards. Crono fired again. This time it stepped forward but one of its feet snapped off. It then came to a halt. Zane walked over towards it and pulled out his whip.
“Astalavista, ratty.”
“Didn’t we do this Terminator parody in a previous issue?” Vain asked.
“Yeah, Issue 30, you know when Foyle grabbed the coolant pipes on the cryo-freezers for the Deltagens and ….”
“Yeah ok… the point is its been done. This story’s been going on too long. NERD Editor is running out of material…” Vain said firmly. From out of nowhere a horde of NERD fans ran over and beat him to a bloody pulp.
“Anyway…..”
“Yeah, lets go get this bone stuff.” And the 3 who were still standing went over and dragged the now dead Pyrat back up to the veranda, where the very impressed attendants showed them how to extract the useful loot from the carcass.

That night, the 15 sat down at a long banquet table, and Callash had the bikini girls bring in the main course. They removed the dish lid to unleash a smell hereuntoforth unknown to them. It was incredible. So full of flavour, so rich with meaty wonder.
“Oh My Lioon, we get to eat an actual meal!!” McDanish stated. An echo from far away was suddenly heard.
“…..you BASTIDS!!!….” Shodough had spazzed again.
“What is it Callash?” Lisa asked.
“This is called Roast Lamb.” The wooly creature outside, once stripped of its fluff and cooked correctly, turns into this delightful meal.
“What was the name of that creature again?” Warlock asked.
“A cat.”
“Ahhh.” They all began to eat, and their faces brightened as if a fusion round had just crashed into them. The taste was like nothing they had ever eaten. The addition of a few herbs that grew around the lake added even more potency to the meal.
“This is the best thing I’ve ever had in my mouth!” Eva squeeled.
“And coming from her, that’s saying a lot!” Reef chimed in. A fork went flying past his ear.

Later that night, everyone retired to their respective rooms (respective in that most were too drunk to find their own room, so they wound up in A room).

D minus 178 days

The next morning everyone arose around 7 am and had a breakfast of fruit and lamb leftover. Then they put on their packs once again and set out. As they began walking, Callash called Warlock over.
“You know he’s not gonna like this, right?”
“Yeah well, one thing at a time. In order for me to worry that he’s gonna piss in my pool, I kinda have to save the pool first.”
“Best of luck to you all.” Callash yelled. And with that they set off again.
“So, whats our course today?” Trillian asked.
“Its all just gravel and heat for the next 7 days friends, so grit your teeth, this part won’t be pleasant.”
“And at the end of 7 days, can we expect anything like VC?”
“Well…. You’ll see.”

Meanwhile back in Neocron…

The Board of NEXT was meeting to discuss their plans.
“Well projections say that with only half our manpower we can have the Ethalica finished within 120 days.” Gaven Parker, Human Resource Director of NEXT stated.
“Half? Should we not be dedicating all our manpower to finishing this project?” Hamish Haggis interjected.
“We did that with the Agratharia, and look what happened. The cruiser will never make it through a test launch, much less get anyone into space if we do not develop adequate weapons to combat the forces of Tokio.”
“I thought it was Tokyo….”
“Potato, potaato who gives a rat flesh? The point is, the Raijuta mechs make our mechs look like angry little children. The Banshee’s dominate the airspace and we have nothing that can even touch their carrier group in the harbour. We must finish the DD project before the Ethalica is ready to launch.”
“I agree,” chairman Randy Johnson wheezed, “the DD project must move forward. Tangent has already decided to complete the Phalanx Wall.”
“Well…. Seems things around here aren’t quite as doomed as we had once thought.” Hamish laughed maniacly. As happens at so many meetings, it was contagious and soon the whole board was laughing maniacly.

Also meanwhile, in Dome of York…

“Woah…. Dome of York Rox man, it rox!!! Sid, how’d you get such a sweet pad?” Morpheous asked.
“Cause I r l337 precious…”
“Right, cool, so like, is there a l337 club I can join, cause I want a place like this.”
“Stoopid Tangentses does nots upderstandss. DoY is Precious’ Precious. Cannot take, cannot have.”
“Why not?”
“Why nots? Why Nots??? I dunno why nots. Ok here’s.” Sid handed the keys of Dome of York to Morpheous.
“Oh My Lioon, Sid you rock!”
“Yess… Precious is l337, all bows before me’s.” It was at this point that Precious got out of the shower in Sid’s tear ducts and realised what he’d done.
“BAAAAAAKKKKAAAAA!!!!!”
“What’s Baka Precious?”
“It means Idiot in Japanese you BAKA!!!”
“Why’s me a baka Precious?”
“Cause you just gave Morpheous the keys.”
“Why’s that bads precious?”
“CAUSE WE WON’T HAVE ANYWHERE TO LIVE YOU PANTSLESS PANTS LOVING MOTHERPANTS!!!”
“No needs to yells. Watch.” Sid walked over to Morpheous.
“Key inspector.” Sid said.
“Key inspector, oh my, here, I think you’ll find everythings in order.” Sid was already running down the hall.” (Guy in a suit comes running past “SIMPSONS, COPYRIGHT PAY UP!!!”)
“Hmn…. Dome of York is awful busy today,” Morpheous muttered as he got down to upgrading the BETA Warbots for drilling.

Another meanwhile…

“Umm…. What is this?” one of the diggers under Military Base asked.
“I don’t know.” Borris Vandal said. The Mercs began hauling a large cylindrical object out of the ground. An hour later, they found another one. By the end of the day they had nine of the cylinders. Each one was about 15 feet long and about 4 feet wide (that’s roughly 5 – 6 metres long, 1 & a half across for you metric types). They set them aside for later, for closer examination, and continued digging. By the end of the day the hole was now as deep as Tech Haven is tall.

D minus 171 days.

The 15 arrived at the estimated time on the other side of Volcano Plains. The march had been long and harsh, and sleep had been hard to come by. The fourth night had seen them awoken by a scream as Lisa was sent hurtling into the sky when the boulder she was lying on was shot upwards by a steam vent erupting below. Thankfully Crono’s ample head cushioned her fall.

As they came out of the field, the could see quite clearly now a small town ahead.
“Is that our destination?” Keyser asked.
“It is indeed old friend. Welcome to Crystal Fissure. This fissure is 10 miles long and 3 miles wide. Below are thousands of jagged rocks, formed over the years. The only way across is the Rope Carriage above.” And he pointed to the giant cables running from one side to the other. They could clearly see carriages, the size of 4 subway cars from back home long, dangling from the ropes. As they entered the town, they could see it consisted mostly of junk and debris. Obviously this port of call was very much a work in progress. Amidst the rubble, they were shocked to see yet another familiar face.
“CODI!!!!” Everyone yelled. Codi nearly jumped out of his pants at the sound.
“Woah, where’d you all come from?” Codi exclaimed.
“From Tech Haven.” Trillian responded.
“Ahh yes, the Texpedition eh? So I’m guessing you need to use the carriage.”
“That was the general idea Codi.” Warlock replied.
“Well, gimme a sec and I’ll get it running again.”
“It’s broken?” Reef asked.
“No not broken, I just took it offline for upgrades. Now its been ‘patched’ up like never before.
“You patched this thing? Oh no….”
“Oh don’t worry, I did a great patch.” Codi then pulled off his pants and reached inside, and pulled out a connector conduit and attached it inside the Carriages engine.
“Well come on, its not like we have a choice.” Warlock pushed them all in and they boarded the Carriage.
“Is this thing safe?” Killer asked.
“No, but what choice do we have. It’ll take us over a month to march around, whereas it takes 2 hours to cross using this.”

Everyone eventually relaxed as the carriage made its way across the ravine, which, despite the danger, was a breathtaking sight.
“Ok War, we’ve got time to kill. What’s up ahead?” ReefSmoker sat back.
“I don’t know if I should tell you.”
“Oh come on… we gotta go, so just tell us.”
“Fine. Once we cross the ravine, we get about a months fairly easy travel. There is a coastline area with functioning outposts we’ll be travelling. The climates pretty good and we can get supplies there. After that however, we will have to climb Mount Terafice in order to reach the Valley of Night.”
“Valley of Night? Mount Terafice?”
“Mount Terafice is like nothing you’ve seen in the Wastelands. The gradual mountainous regions around Tech Haven are like foothills compared to this one. We will march for 3 days without stopping through snow before we cross to the other side. It is not a pleasant part of the journey, and it is very likely the Snowsters will be out of hibernation at this time.”
“Snowsters?”
“Oh horrible creatures they are. Imagine Killerbunneh if he was more stupid. That’s them. All the destructive power, none of the mental faculties. Anyway, once we’re past that we enter the Valley of Night. Sunlight only reaches into this valley for 1 hour a day, so it will be a virtual endless night when we are inside. I passed through that region as quickly as I could. And the villagers on the other side told me I was fortunate as at that time of year, there was little activity in the Valley. But we may not be so fortunate this time. From the moment we begin climbing Mount Terafice, everyone should be combat ready at all times.”
“And once we cross the Valley?”
“Then we bargain for passage to Tokyo II. If we can maintain the same pace we have so far, we should reach Tokyo II within 60 days.”
“Here’s hoping.” Trillian responded.
“Hmn… hope…”

Until next time….
Last edited by Orwain on Tue Dec 13, 2005 6:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Orwain
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Postby Orwain » Tue Dec 13, 2005 6:23 am

NERD Issue # 050
Part 3:

D minus 170 days

Plaza 3 was alive with business and bustle this day. Most of the city work crews had the day off (as rest was important) and were relaxing within their city walls. A few however had gone to the public ‘FORUM’ and had been a bit stupid. So it was with no great surprise that they found themselves booted into the street outside Diamond Real Estate. Moments later a giant hammer wielding menace stalked out after them. Well, I say hammer, but what I really mean is the worlds largest Sledge. It was about 2 metres long, with a 1 metric tonne hammerhead on the end, the entire surface of which was covered in spikes.
The 3 perpetrators shrinked away on their hands and asses as Niddhog stomped forward.
“I don’t care whether its your day off or National Morons Day. This is MY FORUM. And in here thy shall obey The Commandments!!!” Lightning crashes. (feel free to play the mp3).
“Oh great Niddhog, wielder of the Mighty Hammer of Bannage, we fall prostate before thee.”
“That’s protrate, not prostate. Your prostate is the thing you weren’t controlling in there when you pissed on the wall.” Nid corrected.
“Errr… Oh great Niddhog, please enlighten us once more as to The Commandments of the Forum”
“Very well….” And the people did cometh to the foot of Niddhog, and there he bestowed upon them the 10 Commandments of the FORUM.
“1. You shall fear no other MODS before me, for I R Nid, And I will whoop thou spurious asseth with this great Hammer.”
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in Neocron, or that is in the servers beneath: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I Reakktor Media am a jealous Company, visiting the iniquity of the lawyers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that pirate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commands and pay their subscriptions.
3. Thou shalt not misuse the name of Neocron, or its EGOS or its MODS, for we are cranky and don’t like it.
4. Thou shalt not have any other MMORPG before Neocron
5. Thou shalt not double post
6. Thou shalt always have a valid point when posting
7. Thou shalt not flame.
8. Thou shalt have a dictionary handy when posting, for 1337 is not a language, it be a headache in waiting.
9. Thou shalt not powerpost
10. Thou shall read NERD

Obey these commands and it shall go well with you. Break these commands and though shalt be struck down smitily to your 4th reroll.”
And all the people went away with renewed fear and awe of Niddhog. (NERD Note: Special thanks to Niddhog for helping to write these commandments, particularly # 2)

Meanwhile Tangent Technologies Command was making full preparations for their work for the next 2 weeks. With orders for work for NEXT’s special project, the new cruiser, the Phalanx Wall now being moved forward on the schedule, NDA’s call to kill The Cells, the City Mercs now requesting a LOT of demolition charges…. Business was good, but very frantic.

Meanwhile at Dome of York,

“But seriously, people want to come here!” Morpheous had been arguing his ass off with Sid all night as to why Dome of York should be available NOW (Big Red Subtitles slam down “THE FEELINGS MUTUAL!!!”). Unfortunately, Sid had an iron clad counterargument.
“I know you are but what am I?”
“THAT MAKES NO SENSE!!!”
“I know you are but what am I?”
“Look, if people came here, you’d be the king of all those people.”
“I know you are but what am I?”
“ARRRGGHHHHH!!!!!” The conversation believe it or not had actually carried on like that for 15 hours before Morpheous first said ‘arrggg’. We at NERD Inc would like to extend our congratulations for his restraint.

Meanwhile at Tech Haven.

Syntax-Error had taken charge in Tech Haven after Trillian had left. As a keen tactician, she was determined to make sure that if any more ground forces attempted to invade the Wastelands, Tech Haven would withstand it. The wars of the last year between the Fallen Angels and Tangent Technologies, that had stained the blue halls red, had prepared the citizens for long term invasions and they were prepared, but the idea this time had to be to repell all invaders from making it inside. But finally, Tech Haven had an ace up its sleeve. So today, Syntax had gone to talk to that ace.
“Hello DEATH.” Syntax said. DEATH had been sitting in a corner of Tech Haven sector 2 welding plate steel over the walls, as it had been instructed.
“Greetings Fallen Angels runner. What can I do for you today?” DEATH politely replied.
“I want you to become a weapon of mass destruction.” Syntax cut to the point.
“Ah. Ok.”
“Really?”
“No.”
“Since when do bots know sarcasm.”
“Since now. I’ve seen your bots try to fight, they can’t. I will not sacrifice myself if it means fighting alongside these piles of junk.”
“Well what would it take to convince you to help us defend Tech Haven?”
“What did you have in mind for me?” And so Syntax sat down at the FAB (Fallen Angels Bar) and explained to DEATH her plan for the defence of Tech Haven. Now, its not easy to gauge responses from a lifeless robot, but DEATH seemed to come alive and become quite animated as the explanation rolled on. It wasn’t long before the stick it called its head was nodding up and down in agreement to join the defence. Syntax was overjoyed, and now went to see Phoenix about part 2 of her plan.

Phoenix were also quite pleased with Syntax’ plans (and yes, to many FA’s this was a surprise. Some of Syntax’ other great plans in the past had not been so great, like the drink machine which looked like an olden day milkman, and you had to squeeze it between the legs to pump the drink out, or the plan where he tried to install a skylight in TH2 to make it more cheery and ended up dropping 6 tonnes of mountainside in on the poor vendors.) Phoenix immediately approved his request and got to work.
“Now all we need is a little time and a lot of firepower.” Syntax mused to herself.

On the other side of Crystal Fissure,

The Texpedition as Codi had called it had made it to the other side of the Fissure after dark, and had found a nice area to make camp. They had settled down for the evening and slept well after their long carriage ride. As morning rose on this day, they had awoken early and well refreshed and were now prepared to tackle the next section of their great trek.

As one looked northwards and eastwards from the Carriages landing point, one could see a giant hilly landscape. Dotted around were a few villages and 5 fortified outposts (which in point of fact from a distance looked far more menacing than the ones that were found in the currently mapped Wasteland. The 15 hauled their packs back on and began marching. By noon they reached the first village, a fairly empty location, but they were able to get up out of the marshy lands that they had been walking through and dry themselves under the noon sun.
“Is it just me or does it seem warmer here than it does back near Neocron?” McDanish asked.
“No, I think you’d be right there McD.” Reef replied.
“The people around here say that this is actually quite cool by their standards.” Warlock replied.
“We haven’t seen too many natives,” Lisa pointed out, “just those guys at VC, Codi and Callash.”
“Yes, we won’t see too many, if any at all till we reach Vagnass Fortress.”
“Did you go inside?” Trillian asked.
“No, and unless its necessary we probably won’t try this time either. This isn’t the time to be playing missionary with these folk. We should just move on or at worst get in and out as fast as possible.”
“Hehehehe Missionary…. In and out…. Heheheeh”
“SHUT UP EVA!!!” Everyone yelled.

After an hours break they began wading through the marshes towards the Fortress, as it was built on solid bedrock and would thus be easier walking. By 1500 Neocron standard they reached the bedrock and quickened their pace. That was until….
“Hold it right there!” A hidden sentry yelled. The 15 halted quickly, as a dozen armed guards sprang up from hiding spots and surrounded them.
“Who are you? Identify yourselves.” The sentry yelled.
“We are a party of travellers from the south, heading up past the White Mountain to see Balaran the Boatsman.” Warlock replied.
“You came this way before, didn’t you? Why have you returned so soon?”
“I went to see Balaran by myself. Now that I am convinced he is the man who can help us, I have brought my friends here to meet with him and talk business.”
“Uh huh…. And why do you travelled so heavily armed?” He looked at the large number of holstered weapons they were carrying.
“Be Safe in the Wastelands, that’s my clans motto!” Zane replied.
“You calling our beautiful fields a wasteland?” the sentry was enraged.
“Peace my good man, he means no disrespect to your lands. Where we come from the lands do not bear such life, and are rightly called the Wastelands, for a waste is all that they are now. He did not intend to infer any such title on the Watered Fields of Noir.”
“Noir?” Tricia asked.
“Yes, Noir. You others seem less knowledgeable than your well travelled friend, so for his sake I shall ignore your ignorance. This land you stand on.is that of Noir. For 6 months of the year, these lands are filled with water, and everything grows full and green, as you see it now. People rarely travel as it is difficult, but instead prepare for the time of harvest and choose to enjoy life.” The sentry explained.
“The lands are called Noir because for half the year, this land is full of water as you see it and the sun is always up, but during the other half, the water recedes and it will be constant night.” Warlock added.
“You are well informed traveller. It is during the Times of Noir that the 5 fortresses have battled against the creatures of the night, for during that time, their power is great. 40 years ago we struck down the creatures and took the land as our own finally. But we remember the Battles of the Long Dark and thus named our lands Noir.”
“That’s cool man.” Vain always liked war stories.
“Yes, it was…. Cool.” The sentry was not too familiar with the term but accepted the intention, “however now during the light months we have heard strange things. Giant whales with many men upon them and horrible screaming birds have passed across the sea heading south.”
“Yes, those ‘whales’ are called ships and they have been attacking our brethren to the south.”
“You fight against the masters of the whales?” Everyone was realising the sentry and his people were still a bit behind the times. It was often easy to forget that those who had not been exposed to the knowledge of the Ceres Discs were still living in a very basic, primitive fashion.
“Well, we don’t wish to fight with them, but they think we’ve tried to hurt them. Actually at some point in the future we will probably be trying to explain that to them.”
“Then today is a most fated day. Truly the Long Day has looked kindly on you. Some of the Whale Master’s have come to our city. They wish to speak with us about letting their birds nest near our city.”
“People from Tokyo II are here?” Diesel looked stunned.
“Tokyo… yes, they said they were from a place called Tokyo. Please, you must come with me anyway, as is our custom,” Warlock nodded, knowing that to refuse would cause far more problems, “and then you shall have a chance to speak with the Whale Masters. No weapons are allowed within the city, so you will be quite safe.” Everyone winced at the thought of going to face the Tokyo representatives without weapons. But like it or not, they walked to the city and surrendured their weapons. All except the Monks. For the people of Noir had never seen Psi Monks before. And neither in fact had the people from Tokyo II. Hence none of them had ever seen a Psi Gauntlet, and thus did not recognise it as a weapon.

They walked into the main square of Vagnass Fortress and met with the leaders of the Fortress and with the Tokians. They were shorter than most, with black hair and elongated eyes. But what they lacked in height they made up for in presence. Each Tokian stood in magnificent clothing, each one with carefully embroidered patterns of beasts, birds, creatures and plants. The colours were incredible, far better than anything the Outfitters back home had to offer. Each one also bore on their left hand a control panel, similar to a wrist mounted hacktool, but with far more options.

What perhaps should be noted was that the impressions the 15 had got of the outpost from afar were nothing compared to what they were thinking now. The outpost by far and large dwarfed all of the ones they had back home, being twice the diameter of the largest fortress. The outpost had battlements going all the way around the wall, where armed guards could stand and look out over the wall to see approacing people and vehicles. But perhaps even more impressive than all of that; the outpost actually had a gate. Once they had all stepped inside, the operators sealed the gate and the outpost became a true fortress. There was nowhere somone could just walk in. Furthermore, once the gate closed, large missile racks on the top of the battlements became active and started tracking for targets.
“Geez, this place has turrets that can target stuff outside the outpost, and everyone inside can fight from the inside while the gate holds people out! This is like the perfect outpost!” Crono whispered.
“Makes you wonder what went wrong with ours.” Keyser grumbled.

The Tokians were none too pleased to see them, but as their hosts were receiving the Texpedition warmly, they restrained themselves. The 15 sat down on one side of the room, facing the Tokians on the other side.
“Welcome travellers. Our city becomes most busy this day. Two sets of travellers have come together. This is a most blessed day.” The city elder, Nanchuu said.
“Thank you Honoured Elder. We come on a long journey that is far from over, but perhaps the Long Day has granted us good fortune to meet these travellers, as we had need to speak with them at some point in our travel.” Warlock said. The Tokians scowled.
“Indeed, the Long Day must be shining its light upon you.”
“Honoured Elder,” Aoi Jinei, head of Tokyo Strategic planning spoke up, “these travellers seek only to deceive. These are the evil ones of the south I mentioned, who have caused the earth to shake and now seek to leave us all to die!” The people of the city looked on and gasped.
“Is this true?” Nanchuu asked.
“No Elder,” Reef took his turn to talk, “the one who caused the earth to shake has already died. She was killed by a horrible creature that has been stalking the south, that kills and then turns its victims into more of themselves.” Again the cityfolk gasped in horror. The Tokians were not convinced.
“So the one who doomed us all is dead? How convenient?” Jinei replied.
“Hardly. This woman has set off a machine that if unchecked will destroy our whole world.” A few darted looks at Reef, wondering if he was giving away too much information, “That is what has brought us to the lands of Noir. We are searching for a solution to this calamity.”
“Is there any hope?” Nanchuu asked.
“There was. Some of our brethren had built a great vessel that could carry many thousands of lives away to a new land if we could not stop the destruction. But alas, thanks to a misunderstanding, the Whale Masters destroyed that vessel.” More gasps. This statement caused Jinei to twitch a little.
“Do you think you can find a solution?”
“It is difficult. Even now the Whale Masters do not believe that we wish to stop the destruction. They blame us and thus are attacking us. This is making it harder for us to find a solution.”
“You Lie. You started this!” Jinei yelled.
“I’m sure you believe that, but even if we did start it. We’re trying to fix it, what are you doing?” At this Jinei was silenced. It was true the Tokians had no plan to stop the destruction, merely to exact revenge for their inevitable deaths on the Neocronians before it was too late.
“This is most troubling. Whale Masters, we must ask you not to attack the travellers brethren!” Nanchuu said.
“You would choose their side so easily?” Jinei narrowed his eyes.
“They are trying to save our world. That means they have chosen everyones side.” The 15 were all grinning at this now. Jinei wasn’t.
“They are akuma’s and must die!!!!” Jinei signalled his guards who tapped buttons on their wrist panels. Energy whips dropped out and they began lashing the table to shreds.
“There must be no weapons inside our city!!” Nanchuu yelled.
“Well guess what Chief, there is. Whatcha gonna do about it?” And one of his guards struck at Nanchuu. Crono dived in the way and took the hit, which seared through his chestplate.
“Please, honoured travellers. Is there anything you can do?” Nanchuu whimpered.
“Now die!!!” Jinei bellowed. Diesel just grinned and snapped his fingers. Dark clouds appeared overhead and the Tokians looked on in surprise as a Holy Lightning blast crashed down right in the middle of the room.
“Leave… now…. Or McD and I shall reign fire upon you…” And they both snapped their fingers, and the clouds above lit up as if they were on fire. Jinei and his troops panicked and ran to the now opening gate.
“We will not forget this!” Jinei yelled as he ran.
“Well…. So much for peace talks.” Killer smirked.
“Kind travellers. You have saved my life and this city. And you even command the skies! Truly this is a wondrous day. Please, this night you stay with us as honoured guests.” Nanchuu brought them up to the main building where they did indeed enjoy a stay worthy of honoured guests.

Night fell back on Neocron, but the Fortress experienced endless light.
“This is freakn weird. How ya supposed to sleep with the sun still out?” Eva asked.
“Oh, that’s easy. We sleep underground.” Nanchuu replied. They went underground and slept well, and looked forward to the next day.

D minus 169 days

Early in the next morning (or so they guessed, as it was hard to tell) the Texpedition got up and left with fond farewells, the backwater but extremely nice city of Vagnass. About 20 minutes out, they were walking up a hill to the north.
“Geez Warlock you found some nice places. You know, when we’ve saved the world and everythings sweet again, we should take another trip this way, you know, to explore.” Said Trillian.
“Yeah I agree,” Lisa backed her sister up, “we definitely need to…. What is that noise?” a high pitch whistle was growing ever louder in everyones ears. Then all of a sudden the ground shook. They turned to look behind them and were faced with a terrible sight.

Shell after shell impacted with Vagnass as the carrier group berthed in the bay to the west bombarded the city. The walls exploded and debris was sent flying as the agrarian populace was slaughtered. And the 15 could only stand on watching helplessly as their new found friends were repayed by the Tokians for their hospitality in blood. Slowly and feeling like the weight of the world had been dumped on their shoulders, they turned back northward and started walking again. They had walked maybe an hour in total silence when Tricia snapped.
“THOSE PANTSLESS SWINE!!! How could they do that? They couldn’t fight back. They’re worse than DICK’s.”
“Come on, what’re we doing heading north. We should head west, maybe we can get some revenge.” Diesel suggested. A few others murmerred their assent.
“No.” Trillian, normally the most eager for a good fight, stopped them short, “our mission is more important than that. We will have a chance to right the score later I’m sure.” They grew silent.
“Here’s the real problem,” McDanish spoke, “they just ripped that outpost to shreds and that one is far bigger and better than any we have down south. If they bring that kind of firepower to bear on the Wastelands….”
“Then the work they’re doing down there will be screwed up!” Lisa panicked. And it was true. That night, just before the attack on Vagnass, the carrier group in the North harbour had began shelling the northern wastelands. Drakkhan Fortress was no more and Rockshore Factory would not last another day. The Military Base was attacked late in the afternoon, but fortunately the anti projectile defence system was working and the barrages could not destroy the base. But it was not known how long they could hold out against a sustained barrage. And none were to know that 2 more carrier groups were coming to join in the assault.

Later that evening, camped in a ditch in the shade of some trees, still in the Lands of Noir,
“When I was in Tokyo II last time, I got some information about those carrier groups,” Warlock began, “apparently the main battleship has a very special item on board.”
“What kind of item?”
“A generep.”
“WHA????” Everyone exclaimed.
“Yeah. Apparently the battleships have enough power to keep a mobile generep active at all times. This allows them to transport troops to and from the main city and in between the carrier groups.”
“And this helps us how?” Download asked.
“Well, if we can get to Tokyo II and get the Generep codes, we could transport an assault squad onboard one of the carrier groups. It might not be much, but it could help.”
“Yeah, but that would alert them to our presence.” Vain pointed out.
“True. If we tried this, it would have to be done as two separate squads. One offensive against the carriers, and one stationary planting the bomb. The offensive squad might actually prove to distract them long enough for us to get set up with the bomb.”
“Ok, so we get a squad onboard a carrier. What then? How could even all of us take on an entire carrier group? You saw what we had to fight when they attacked the Wastelands.” Crono grumbled.
“Yes but remember that Tokian guy at Vagnass. He was terrified of the Monks. We send Eva, Zhut, Diesel and McDanish to attack the carrier group. They unleash every barrel, every trick every lightning bolt they can till they take the main battlecruiser, then they turn the cruiser on the rest of the group. That should either severely cripple an entire group or perhaps even destroy it. Then, they either generep to the next group, or they end the mission. As I said, its not much, but its something.” And so it was that the 15 devised a strategy to help out their brethren back home. The only question now was whether it would be enough.

D minus 168 days.

“Take Cover!!!” Syntax yelled as more Fallen Angels were rushed inside Tech Haven. The air raids had begun during the night and were now persisting. Tech Haven was perhaps the safest place, as the surrounding turrets had lots of practice at shooting down flying targets (the ever annoying Hoverbots had paid the price for that training). But even so, the air assault was frantic and they rushed to get people to safety.
“This is gonna be rough.” Syntax murmerred to herself as she slammed down the blast doors on the TH entrances.

The Military Base had divided its forces into 3. 1 third continued to dig. 1 third slept. The other third were outside, assisting the defence system in intercepting incoming fire. This team spread out across the zone and were shooting down incoming missiles and shells. As the bombardment entered its 26th hour, a convoy from Tangent arrived, bringing more supplies and much needed munitions.
“Send word back to Neocron!” one of the Guards yelled, “the MB is under seige. Have them analyse this cylinder and tell us what it is, and if it can be used at all.” They loaded the convoy with one of the large cylinders they had found, “we need to break this bombardment. The defenice system won’t run for more than 3 days straight.” The convoy left at high speed for home.

The air raid siren was blaring throughout all of Neocron. Banshee fighters were screaming towards the city, and it was all that the Firewreathes could do to stop missiles from blasting away the outer walls.

Twilight Guardians was faring the worst. With no fighters, no anti projectile system and no turrets, the Canyon was being bombed back to the stone age. After 4 hours of bombardment, the order was given to evacuate Twilight Guardians and make for Tech Haven. And the order could not have come sooner. For escorted by a half dozen Banshee’s came the Tokians Commander of the Skies. The Payloader bomber flew over TG, dropping Seismec charges. Within 3 minutes the canyon walls had completely crumbled, and the great stronghold of Twilight Guardians was reduced to a giant crater.

And then it began….

The exhausted Mercs who were taking their turn to sleep were abruptly woken up just as night was falling when the entire Wasteland shuddered. A screeching sound blared across the wastes and then it struck. As the forward cannons of the Arbalest, the largest Battlecarrier of the Tokain fleet opened fire, the shells screeched through the air and pounded into the wastelands around Redrock Mine. Sides of the mountain were flung into the air, and the 90 day bombardment began. For the next 90 days the Wastelands would be shelled continuously. Every runner wishing to travel had to do so at pace in order to limit the chances of being caught by artillery fire. The darkest chapter of Neocron’s history had found a new shade of black.

Until next time….
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Orwain
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Postby Orwain » Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:22 pm

NERD Issue # 050
Part 4 A: The 90 Days of Fire The Wastelands

The following is the account of the Wastelands and those in them during the time referred to as ‘The 90 Days of Fire’. The tale of the Texpedition will be told thereafter.

D minus 167 days.

24 hours into the bombing and there looked to be no signs of it letting up. The once all to familiar hills and ditches of the wastelands were now just endless fields of unfamiliar craters. Fires burned throughout the forests, dirt mixed with the pools and lakes to create giant sinkholes of mud. Hills were flattened, flats were made into ditches and ditches into chasms. The skies above the Wastelands turned a dead brown as dust was thrown into the atmosphere, blocking the sun, clouding all light, and darkening the land. The only saving grace was that the amount of particulate matter in the sky made it impossible for Tokyo forces to travel very far with their air units. The Firewreathes could still manoevre, but only at very low alititudes. And all across the land, runners ran and hid inside whatever shelters they could get to. Even the wasteland creatures were hiding. The once proud and daunting Grim Chasers could be found cowering in crevices of cliffs, confused by the big booms going on around them. It was a bad time for all.

However, some people just won’t take a hint.

For early on this morning, with the shelling slamming around them, a contingent of NDA were spotted marching towards Regants Legacy. When asked what had posessed them to go NOW of all times, they replied that they were going to fight The Cells. And faced with that opponent, did a few hundred artillery shells really matter? Unsurprisingly that was the end of the debate and Centuri marched his scout force to take a crack at The Cells, their first attempt to slay them.

At around 2115 Neocron standard, the convoy carrying the cylinder from the Military Base was nearing Crest Village. It had been a long drive, having to divert and veer past artillery fire all night. They had taken a break under the shelter of Tech Haven’s onramps for a few hours during the morning, while the shelling was lightest, but were now on the move. However, as they neared Crest, an especially heavy barrage began slamming down around them. Shell after shell blew away the road as the truck veered left and right, desperate to keep going and not wind up in a ditch.
“This is crazy!! We’re gonna be killed!” the navigator yelled.
“Shut Up!! We’re gonna make i…..” a shell slammed into the back of the truck and into the cylinder they were carrying.

2117 NST (Neocron Standard Time), Outzone Station Wasteland Gate
Kramer The Weird and Carinth were helping to repair part of the Outzone ramp that had been damaged during the night when a brilliant flash of light illuminated the darkened wasteland. Then the shockwave hit and they were knocked off their feet. The dust in the skies cleared quickly as a sandstorm rushed across the land in a growing circle being forced out by the fusion explosion by Crest village. Citizens inside the city felt the shockwave crash into the outer walls and ran to their terminals or to a nearby city exit to see what Tokyo II had just shot at them

In fact it was not Tokyo II that had shot anything at them, but rather one of their shots had triggered off the weapon that the convoy was carrying. For had Reza still been alive, and had he seen the cylinders that the Mercs had uncovered, he would have recognised them immediately for what they were. Cold Fusion Long Range Missile Warheads.

When news of the explosion spread to the Mercs, they were still not fully aware of what they had in their posession, only that they should not try to transport any more of them at this time. It would be 3 days before the truth of what they were would be revealed by tests on the explosion data.

D minus 166 days

PIMP sent out scouts to determine the fate of Crest Village in the morning. Where once a com-tower and small village had stood, where once Padre Morpheous had lived, now there were the burnt out hulks of what were once buildings, if one used their imagination. Essentially there was littke more than a few burnt logs of timber and steel sticking out of the centre of a 2 mile wide blast circle. Amazingly the generep was still standing, or rather, leaning, on the side of the blast circle.

NDA reached The Legacy during the night, but didn’t begin their assault till morning. But once they began, it was all out war. Using every kind of poison weapon they had been able to acquire, they first cornered and then began to push back The Cells. 6 monks created a wall of Holy Pestilence blight around The Legacy, while Centuri and others fired long range poison rounds at the mass. Late that night the second squad of NDA showed up to relieve the first, and thus began their prolonged assault on the Legacy.

“Ok, I think these ones are ready to try out Sid!” Morpheous yelled. Sid came down from his quarters and ordered the newly equipped DrillBots to begin boring. The mechanical giants stooped, pointed their shoulder mounted drills at the ground and began ripping the terrain to shreds.
“Yesss precious… it has dones wells. Its r l337 2.” Sid patted Morpheous on the back in congratulations of his fine work.
“Thanks Sid. Now if we can just make the required depth in time.”

Dark had moved to the Crahn Sect recently and had got stuck into helping with the excavation to set the bomb in place. Delloda was doing his best to organise the effort so that the bomb would both be deep enough to have the required effect, and also so that it did not destroy the Abbey when it blew.

Over the next two weeks, things carried on much as they had the last two days. The bombings continued, but as with all irritatitng things in Neocron, the runners got used to them and began to function reasonably well despite the constant threat to their lives. The Drillbots made a depth of 500 metres, the City Mercs had excavated a solid mile straight down, and at D minus 157 days, NDA was able to see a noticable shrinkage in The Cells mass. It would still be a long time before they could be obliterated, but progress was being made. But also, the walls of Neocron had been under heavy construction, despite the danger to the workers. The ‘Phalanx Wall’ project was going ahead full speed, and much to the average runners delight, the finished sections of the wall seemed to resist all damage from the artillery bombardment.

D minus 152 days

A meeting between The City Mercs and Tangent and NEXT resulted in the cylinders being moved to one of the Storage Halls, behind the locked blast doors, a sealed location within the Military Base. There, a few engineers from the 3 factions began working on a launch system. A plan had been hatched to save their skins, should the SWG machine be unsuccesful in ending the world.

Meanwhile, atop an unaffected cliff, overlooking the wastelands, MJS sat and glared. Despite the futility and hopelessness of the situation, every runner in the south was actively busy, perhaps even happy. They had less than 6 months to live, were being bombed back to the stone age, and faced possible invasion from a technologically superior force at any time, yet they worked their asses off with smiles on their faces. This annoyed MJS more than anything. He would have his Armageddon, no matter what it took.

D minus 131 days

In an incident that would have had the Mercs giving up all hope, had it not been for their bravery, the Mercs found themselves boxed in on two fronts this day. They had made such incredible progress towards meeting their required depth of 2.5 miles. With only 200 yards to go, they had reached an impass. Solid iron ore blocked them the rest of the way, and their current digging tools would work no longer. They were going to attempt to race to Dome of York to see if a Drill bot drill might be effective when the ground war began. 37 days into the bombardment, Tokyo II began rolling troops in to invade the Military base. With the bases satellites and advanced warning grid all smashed during the bombardment, they were taken by surprise, and Shinobi-warriors had made it all the way into Sector 1 before the Mercs could retaliate. The Shinobi’s raced straight in and sabotaged the Generep, making it impossible for reinforcements to travel directly to them. But this in itself was their downfall. The Mercs that had been resting flooded from their apartments and cornered the bulk of the Shinobi-warriors in the Generep room, which as many runners will know, is a slaughterhouse. The Mercs are many things in life: brave and strong, ballzy and sometimes a little stupid with their gung ho attitude. But undoubtedly, when you wake a Merc from his or her sleep with the sound of gunfire, and when they retaliate, they are merciless. The Mercs crashed down on the Tokyo forces, some of which were only half dressed having rushed off their Recreation units so fast, and annihilated them with terrifying efficiency. The Tokians were marching 3 Raijuta’s to the gate of the Military Base, when their forces inside began retreating, as over 100 Mercs, all packing Speedguns hailed rapid death their way. Then, the Mercs decided to get one up on the 80 tonne monsters. The call was sent back and the newest additions to the MB’s defences was activated. 4 large guns popped up from the cliffs nearby and targetted the Raijuta’s. The weapons had originally been designed to deal with the annoying Warbots that kept trying to walk into the MB’s outer yard. Each gun had a giant Harpoon that it launched and smashed through the chassis of a Warbot, killing it instantly, and dragging its corpse away from the entrance to MB. The 4 guns fired at the Raijuta’s. 2 harpoons slammed through the cocpits and killed the pilots immediately, and then dragged 2 near perfect condition Raijuta’s out of the line of fire. One missed entirely and wound up crushing 2 dozen ground troops. The fourth speared into the Raijuta’s fusion reactor, causing it to go critical. The Raijuta exploded in a mini nuclear blast, wounding 8 mercs but killing over 50 Tokians. With this quick retaliation, the Merc’s forced the attack back and sent them retreating back to the North Sea. Tired, but victorious, the Merc’s returned to their much tougher opponent, 200 yards of Iron ore.

The Phalanx Wall was completed, although still no details of what it was were forthcoming. Tangent turned its attention to assisting NEXT with their special project.

NDA had been quite successful during the last week. They had beaten The Cells back far enough that they could actually see the surface of the Legacy again. But now The Cells were becoming more ferocious, forming tentacles and actually throwing things like boulders and steel girders at the troops.

The excavation of the Abbey of Crahn was completed. By placing a blast cover over the pit, the Abbey was ensured to survive the blast. But this was not why the Crahn Sect was happy. During the dig, they had located a pod, buried several hundred metres below the surface. Without informing any other diggers they transported it to a secret location within the Outzone, where they placed it under the heaviest of guard.

D minus 100 days

There were many excited runners throughout the Wastelands this day as a signal came through from the Texpedition. The details of some of those conversations will be provided later, but in particular, after a heated argument, Kramer The Weird walked away from the terminal, after talking with Lisa, and did not talk much for several days. But, for the rest of Neocron, it was the best of news to know that the Texpedition, despite some stumbles, were still on track in their mission.

After 68 days of bombardment, enough was enough. NEXT high command decided now was the time, especially considering the Ethalica would be ready for testing in a week. And so it was that PIMP, DR, SXR, DICK’s, and the Crackheads were given command of the first fleet of Hovertanks by NEXT command. 200 of the Hovertanks burst forth from the West Hanger, skimming over the craters towards the north. By mid afternoon, the battlegroup had made it to Rockshore and skimmed straight out onto the ocean and towards the Carrier groups (for now a 2nd group had joined the first). That afternoon, the first real fightback against the Tokians began. The carrier groups scrambled all their air forces, but it was not working as well as they had hoped. The dust in the sky made it so that none of their fighters could get any altitude or speed, hence they were easy pickings for the FireWreathe squadron that had accompanied the Hovertanks. The ‘choppers’ that were launched were quickly destroyed, as the ‘Whiplash’ hovertank, a mobile missile launcher tank, shot them out of the sky with terrifying efficiency. The ‘Behemoth’ hovertank, with its dual Fusion Cannons bombed the hulls of the ships as it glided inbetween and the ‘Pelter’ hovertank with its 4 multi-directional Gatling Cannons targetted the crews and any other air units nearby. By late evening the battle had forced the carrier groups to move to deeper waters in order to get distance between the ships so that they could fire on the Hovertanks. The battle continued on for 10 days before both sides eventually pulled back to refuel and rest. During that time, bombardments of the Wastelands were considerably less, although a third Carrier group joined the bombardment while the other two fought the hovertanks, hence the difference was not easy to notice.

D minus 90 days

The Hovertank battalion pulled into the Military Base for a breather, after 10 days of solid fighting. It had done everyone’s spirits a world of good to actually be able to fight back against the Tokians, rather than just enduring everything they had been throwing at them. The gunners and drivers alike took in some solid rest time at the MB, and also stopped to observe what was going on with the dig.

It had been painfully slow, but the Mercs had made progress. They had broken out a large number of Laser Cannons and had been systematically cutting sections of iron ore out, and incidentally had been piling it up around the MB walls to reinforce their defensive perimeter. They currently had 80 yards to go till they reached their objective. Hope was good that they would make it well in time.

NDA had been going bezerk. It had literally been months since they started the battle with The Cells, and every member of the clan was tired, wired and pissed to high hell. In the entire history of the clan there had never been an opponent that had fought them this well and for this long. But at long last the tide had turned. The Cells were barely holding the entrance to the Legacy any longer, instead of covering the entire structure in a giant ball of themselves. They had, however, become more adept at projectiles. Not only were they now throwing smaller sharp objects in large numbers at NDA, but they would also attach some of themselves to the objects and leap from the already fast moving projectiles at those members that were already diving out of the way. Hence while NDA was fast approaching its objective of killing The Cells, every day saw them receiving more injuries, more casualties and more rage.

Sid and Morpheous however were in full celebration mode. They were less than 2 weeks from reaching the required depth, and the bots were making no signs of slowing down. Hence they were now entertaining themselves by teaching the DeltaGens new dance moves for their nightly karaoke sessions. The 500 beefy gentanks in intimidating power armour all doing the Macarena in complete unison was a lot disturbing, by the way….

D minus 79 days

The details of what happened were not clear to anyone in the Wastelands for a long time to come. All they knew was that in the early hours of the morning the bombardment of the wastelands was cut short and the only explosions that could be heard were coming from the North Sea.

When the Hovertank batallion arrived, refreshed and ready to fight again, they were confronted with a sight they had not expected. Half the ships were sinking, and the other half were already on fire. Not that this mattered much to them. The battalion laid seige to the fleets and began sinking the ships one after another. But, there was one battlecruiser, the head of the 3rd fleet, that was still unscathed. The other ships were surrounding it as a large and unknown gun on the bow seemed to be powering up.
“I don’t know what that is, but it can’t be good.” Kramer yelled.
“Let’s smash it!!” Carinth yelled back. Everyone agreed that smashing was the appropriate response to the curious situation, and began to focus all firepower on the gun.

Onboard the cruiser….

The crew was already dead. Only one individual still remained on board, and began to manipulate the controls for the Bow Railgun.
“Weaklings. You shall not allow them to save this world. I will have my Armageddon.” And MJS tapped the control, and the Railgun turned to face the East and fired.

“Damn, the gun’s firing!” Carinth moaned.
“Nothing we can do about that now, lets sink some ships.” Others yelled back to him. By the end of the day the remains of the 3 fleets had been sunk and the 90 days of fire came to a close. Well, almost….

“Yo Sid, I think we could actually send the bomb down now!” Morpheous called up.
“Reallys? Sweeetssss.” Sid ran up to his office and tapped some controls. A crane lowered the bomb into the crevice, to join the Drillbots in the deep.
“What’s I set the timer to?” Sid called down.
“59 days.” Morpheous called back up. Sid inputted the time and sat back.
“We’s dids it Precious. We is so uber l337, we is soo goodss. Yesss.” Morpheous went back to adjusting the Drillbots commands to finish the work, and then closed the cover over the hole.

And then there was pain.

The railgun round smashed through the Dome and blasted through the primary tower, exactly at the height where the bomb had been suspended. The round passed straight out the other side of the Dome and bored its way 30 miles through a nearby mountainside.

Morpheous dug himself out from a pile of debris and looked around. The Dome had been shattered, with two giant holes on opposite sides. But the main tower, from the middle up, had been obliterated. And Morpheous’ eyes narrowed and went weak as he realised that Sid’s office was part of the carnage.
“Sid?? SIDD!!!!!!” Morpheous was cut short when a cloud of smoke burst forth in front of him from out of nowhere and reformed into MJS.
“You… You dared to oppose me?” MJS’ eyes blased with fury. He reared back and kicked Morpheous right under the jaw, sending him flying out of the Dome and across 4 zones before landing on top of a barbed fence, impaled on the spikes.
“None shall oppose me. My will SHALL BE DONE!!!!” MJS roared with anger and the entire Dome shook to its very foundations. The Dome further fractured, the central tower crumbled some more and the entire Dome of York was left a barren, lifeless wreck. Then, MJS departed in the same menacing cloud of wreathing smoke as he had arrived in.

But the Drillbots went unnoticed and carried on with their work.

Morpheous respawned back near Tangent HQ and after a moment to get over having been drop kicked 500 miles and then impaled, reported his news to his superiors.
Sid however, only had one active generep, after his banishment from Neocron, and that generep was in his office. Hence Sid died, once and for all, and the only items that could revive him, his own underwear, had been annihilated in the process.

Thus Insidious Wolf and Precious parted from this world, never to return again. Morpheous, however, would not forget his time he spent with the Lord of the Dome.

NDA had pushed The Cells back into the Legacy. They welded up the cracks in the walls of the Legacy and created a Poison barrier across the entrance, and were thus able to finally take a break. Thus on the very night when the bombardments ended and Sid died, NDA rested.

The Hovertank batallion returned to Neocron just before midnight. They listened to Morpheous’ tale, and pondered what else MJS would do to ensure the end of the world came about.

Thus ends the tale of the 90 Days of Fire.
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Orwain
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Postby Orwain » Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:26 pm

NERD Issue # 050
Part 4 B: The 90 Days of Fire The Expedition

Here begins the story of the 15 Fallen Angels, and their experiences during the same time frame.

D minus 167 days

The same day that Neocron was waking up to a blackened sky of dirt and the beginning of 3 months of hell, the 15 of the Texpedition were marching silently northwards. The destruction of Vagnass had demoralised the entire team, and they had all vowed not to stop at any more of the outposts, as it would put the citizens in danger if they did.
“Killer, you and Vain take point ok?” Warlock requested. The two rifle users moved to the forefront and scouted ahead.
“How many more days till we reach that?” Lisa asked, pointing to Mount Terafice, looming ever larger on the horizon.
“I’d say another 20 days of reasonable walking, maybe less if we hurry. It’ll be a fair hike over the top though.”
“Well lets hurry it up.”

For the next 15 days, they marched through moist, but not boggy marshlands. The moisture made sleeping a problem, as they had to hunt out rocky outcroppings or anything that wasn’t on the ground, but it did not hamper their speed. Each night they would sit back and Reef would pass around some of his stash to lift morale. Every morning the gentanks would waken everyone with their trademark ‘good morning’ call. The lands around them were fairly dull in appearance, being just wide open green fields for miles, but on occasion, whenever they came upon an abandoned village or outcropping, they would find wooden crates and other boxes. And unlike back home, these boxes would often contain interesting treasures. It was far more pleasing to search a crate and find an abandoned utensil like a ‘fork’ or a screenshot called a ‘painting’ that they could later take home to their apartments stowed around the place. Some of the stuff was so damaged it was unusable, but certainly the scavenger in Reef and Lisa took over during the march to find new and interesting things. It was thanks to this searching that Lisa found a Tokian wrist unit thrown behind a barrel.
“Wonder how it works?” Zane asked. Killer took a good long look at it.
“I’ll bet its con…. I’ll bet its compa…. Guys, help me out… Insert big word here, starts with c” Killer sometimes had trouble with big words.
“Constipated.” Trillian smirked.
“Right, I’ll bet its constipated….. DAMNIT!!” The others laughed. Lisa however found a hidden button on the inner side of the straps and pressed it. The wrist unit latched onto her arm and became active. It had an option for language modes, including Tokian (a language called ‘Japanese’) a computer coding language that only Reef and Zhut could read, and Neocronian, or ‘Japlish’ as the unit called it.
“I select Japlish.” Lisa commanded the unit. It then presented everything in English, but with Japanese grammer.
“Use energy blade, will you? Record data, want to? Geez this is gonna take some getting used to.” Lisa commented.

D minus 152 days

The 15 got up early this morning as they stood at the base of Mount Terafice.
“We won’t be going to the peak. See that pass between the peak and that smaller peak on its right? That is our road.” Warlock pointed out. Everyone, as previously instructed, prepared their weapons.

For two days they marched through wind and snow. There was nothing to see, and nothing to do but march as the cold fronts hammered them from the left, the right, and from behind. Everyone had to remove their powerarmours again as they cold began to seize them up and make it impossible to walk. This unfortunately had the result of making things even colder. The march however was making good time, and they crossed the pass and were out on the other side by the end of the 2nd day of the march. But there before them lay an area they were perhaps not in such a rush to get to. The Valley of Night. Where the Lands of Noir saw daylight for 6 months then night for 6 months, the Valley of Night saw complete darkness all the time, with only one exception. One day a year, for a period of 5 hours, the valley would be lit with an eerie moonlight. During those 5 hours it was said in folktale by those that lived near the valley, that a great and mysterious beast walked the valley. Of course, none of the storytellers had ever seen the beast so they could not describe it. But just to make their far-fetched story sound really good, it was said the creature guarded a hidden treasure from before the days of the Cleansing Light; from before the 3rd World War.

D minus 150 days

“Eva, stop nibbling on my ear….” Vain muttered to himself, curled up with everyone in a rocky overhang, “I know I said I like it… but….ow… come on…. Ow…OW….OWWW!!!!” Vain lept to his feet, stepped on Zane’s nuts, kicked Eva in the boob, tripped over Reef’s head and landed ass first on Crono’s face. Consequently Vain was not a popular boy. But he had reacted with good cause. For once everyone was awake, they all crammed into one corner, and looked upon…. A Snowster.
“Warlock, what do we do?” Reef called, but Warlock, who had been on guard duty the last 3 nights, was still fast asleep, and was just inches from the Snowsters saber-buckteeth. Killer took the initiative, lept forward and took aim with his Pain Easer. The Snowster, without even blinking, leaned forward, bit his Pain Easer, and swalled the entire gun in one go.
“It ate my Pain Easer…. IT ATE MY FREAKN 4 slot Pain Easer…. ONOZ!!!!!” Killer was going nuts. Trillian took aim with her Liberator, but with lightning speed the Snowster bounded forward, ate that too, then bounded back to where it was before.
“IT ATE MY UBER LIBBY!!! KEEELL IT!!!” During all the ruckus, Warlock woke up. He looked around blearily at everyone, highly annoyed at being woken up, then looked to his left into the beady eyes of the Snowster. He grimaced, curled up his fist and punched it in the nose. The Snowster whimpered and bounded off down the hill.
“That’s it??? We lost 2 freakn guns and all we had to do was punch it in the nose?” Trillian was about to cry.
“You lost guns? Ughhh, hang on.” Warlock pulled out a trash hand grenade and lobbed it over to where the Snowster had been sitting. The Snowster ran back in blinding pace and swallowed the grenade, then exploded into little furry bits. Two guns, covered in gibs lay on the ground.
“Snowsters will eat just about anything metal. They’re bloody annoying if you don’t have a grenade with you.” Warlock mumbled as he went back to sleep. Killer and Trillian spent hours cleaning their prized guns back up and hugged them repeatedly. The rest of the day was uneventful, involving just more marching. And at some point that would have been early night, they entered the long dark of the Valley of Night.

D minus 149 days.

Thus began the 3 week walk to get through the Valley of Night. The darkness was so thick, being more than just an absence of light, but also a thick mist that reduced vision to only 5 metres ahead. Everyone with flashlights brought them out. For 3 days they marched without incident, but then they met their first obstacle, the Ramshedds. A giant creature, with 4 legs, a large frame, and 4 large tusks pointing out the front, it had a skin entirely of bone.
“Damnit, what do we do?” Zane called, as he whipped at the creature to keep it at bay. This worked only for a few seconds, as the whip wrapped around a tusk and the Ramshedd flung Zane out of sight and into a rocky outcrop.
“I don’t know, I got through here without fighting anything.” Warlock called, not realising Zane was no longer with the group, nor was he conscious. Everyone grabbed their weapons and just blasted the creature, but it was having little effect.
“Either this thing has the biggest healthbar ever, or we need to find a weak spot.” Diesel growled. He was not used to having things he could not kill. All of a sudden Crono and Keyser charged forwards, and light burst from their hands as their Banana’s of Death, their Devil’s Graces surged from the handles and the two began hacking away at the monster. Pained by a strike through its leg, the Ramshedd reared back on its hind feet, and exposed its underbelly, which had no bone coverings. The two Gentanks plunged their blades into its gut and carved out the Ramrodd, the creature that controlled the bone frame. For the Ramshedd was actually an armoured chassis of old bones, that the clever little Ramrodd’s used to protect their physically weak forms. Now it was time for the spy’s to take action. Using their cloaks, Warlock, Reef and Vain stealthed the Ramrodd as it hid from the Gentanks, appeared behind it, and blasted it with their weapons. They checked the corpse but it had nothing of value.
“Zane? Where’s Zane?” Download asked. Everyone looked but could not find him.

For the next day they searched, bound together by a rope, looking for Zane. Eventually it was Trillian who found Zane, lying unconscious on the rocks and bleeding from the skull. They constructed a carry cart out of the bones of the Ramshedd and carried him with them. Zhut took charge in healing his wounds, and Trillian attended to him when Zhut could not.

During the nights, the 14 would form a circle around Zane, all facing outwards, watching for things that moved. And things were moving. For as had been dreaded, the Valley had come to life at this time of year. Small things scuttered, larger things dragged themselves along, but worst of all were the Grocks. Flying creatures with rocky underbelly’s that made them nearly impossible to kill from the ground. The team managed to kill one during their walk, when the Rifle users found a raise group of rocks to snipe from as a Grock dived at Zane’s stretcher. Trillian was wounded during the fight, as she threw herself over the stretcher to protect Zane’s prostrate (that’s prostrate readers, as in wide open, not prostate, the thing that’s up his peepee) body and was clawed at. But they killed the Grock and were able to extract Feranganol, a potent drug that allows the user to see through solid objects, from the body (although they did not know what it was or what it did till they reached the village).

Finally, through much toil and struggle, they exited the mists of the Valley of Night and reached the Seminut Peninsula.

D minus 127 days

The party reached the village Warlock had spoken of and brought Zane to their medical facility. Zane’s coma was in part due to a broken implant that needed to be manually extracted, but also due to a condition called Mist Seepage. The mist itself can infect certain individuals, particularly when they are injured, and cause their very minds to black out. Zane took 2 more days to heal before he was fully back on his feet.

But the delay was not the end of their bad news.
“You can’t be serious!” Warlock was severely agitated.
“I’m sorry Mr. The Hermit, but it is true. The Tokians came a few weeks ago and carried Balaran the Boatsman away. We have been in dire need of his skills, as it is the season to fish, but we do not have enough boats.” Hikedi, the towns spokesman informed him. This was dire news. Balaran had been a key part of the plan. Without a boat, how would they reach Tokyo II?

“So what do we do?” Download asked.
“I have no idea.” Warlock replied. The 15 now sat around, pondering their next move. They had only 4 months till the end of the world, and now they were sitting around Zane’s bed, eating Fushu fruit and trying to figure out how to cross the sea to Tokyo II.
“Can we fly?” Zane asked.
“Can’t fly, nothing to fly with.” Reef replied.
“Can we swim?” Lisa asked.
“Can’t swim, too far, and we can’t get the bomb wet.” McDanish pointed out.
“Can we walk?” Vain asked.
“Can’t walk, its an island, not land connects to it.” Warlock pointed out.
“Then can we make our own boat?” Killer asked. Everyone looked up and thought about it.
“Yeah…. YEAH!! We’re freakn Fallen Angels! That’s what we do! We build stuff!” Trillian jumped to her feet.
“And fight endless wars inside our headquarters cause our security bots are useless pieces of tinfoil.” Keyser pointed out.
“That too, but we can build a boat!!” Trillian jumped up on the bed and started jumping around till she lost her footing and crashed butt first on Zane’s prostate (yes readers, you read right, his Prostate). Zane found it in himself to enjoy the strange mix of pleasure and pain.

For 26 days they foraged and scrounged for whatever they could, recycling and constructing the materials to build a seaworthy craft, roughly the size of 4 lifeboats.

D minus 100.

During construction, Lisa knocked her wrist unit and a new menu came up. After an hour of running through the options, Lisa found she could use the Tokians long range com-network. Very excited, she showed the others and patched into the system and transmitted home.

Everyone took turns talking to various people. Zane was most interested in what Phoenix was doing concerning Syntax-Error’s master plan. Ithaqua reported to the other FART’s about the bombardment and gave everyone a great deal to think about. Trillian and Reef reported to Neocron central about their progress.

And then came a long conversation between Lisa and Kramer. Now, the details of this conversation are private, and no one else has any right to pry, but unfortunately the end result of the conversation was that Kramer and Lisa’s marital union came to an end. Obviously the harsh situations and the long time apart had not helped the situation, but alas, this was the case. And so the marriage came to an end. Trillian spent that night consoling her sister in her grief, Kramer, as previously reported, went into a stoic mood for several days. But Lisa was not the same afterwards. Heartbroken and dejected, she found it hard to get up the next day, and her friends worried greatly about her.

D minus 97 days

The lifeboat was completed and the 15 boarded, saying goodbye to their kind hosts at Night Village. They set sail with only a vague idea of where they were going and a months supplies on board. They quickly set off and paddled with all their heart in the direction they thought was right.
“Aye mateys… we be setting sail for a new land…. Arrrrr” Crono jumped around the boat.
“What the pants is he talking about?” Tricia McMillan queried.
“Arrr… this be the talk of fisherman folk.”
“Ahem… I think you’re getting your Ceres Disc 101 lessons screwed up there Gentank boy.” Reef pointed out. Nonetheless, he didn’t stop doing that stupid voice for some time.

D minus 88 days.

After 9 days at sea, they knew they were lost. As the sun rose, a great mist covered them and they could not see the person 2 seats in front of them. Zane and Trillian sat in the front, trying desperately to keep an eye out for obstacles.
“Look hard Zane, we must keep an eye out for land, rocks, bumps…” Trillian whispered. Zane looked at her, then realised those weren’t the bumps she meant. The pleasing distraction however meant that Zane didn’t notice the huge object that the craft smacked into on his side.
“Good one Zane.” Eva moaned.
“Well that’s just pants…” Zhut growled.
“Woah… SHHHH.” Killer hissed. And everyone looked. They had not hit land, or rocks, but a sheer metallic surface, that was moving perpendicular to them. On the side it had writing in Kanji. Lisa immediately recognised it as the same writing on her Wrist Unit.
“It’s a freakn Tokian cruiser!!!” She whispered.
“Guys… this is an opportunity!” Diesel’s warlike mind kicked into high gear “We should board this cruiser. Maybe we can do some good for the guys back down south.”
“Maybe, but if we’re all noticed, the mission is over and everyone dies.” Warlock pointed out.
“So lets split up. The monks will jump on board, the rest of you carry on. These cruisers are probably leaving Tokyo II, so you should head that way,” he pointed to where the cruiser had just come from. Reluctantly, everyone agreed and the Monks parted. McDanish, Zhut, Eva and Diesel latched a rope to the stern of the cruiser and clambered on under the cover of fog, while a sole wooden craft sailed unknowingly right into Tokyo Harbour.

D minus 87 days.

After having found a storage room to hide in, the 4 monks had caught some sleep, not having the strength to beseige a cruiser of unknown manpower after 9 sleepless, seasick days and nights in a leaky boat. In the morning they awoke, and set their wills towards one singular goal, the complete ownage of every person on the ship.

They burst from the hull, fully buffed and packing Holy Lightnings. Amazingly their luck was working overtime. The captain of the vessel had half the crew (the ones that weren’t sleeping) on the bow of the ship for a drill. The monks just took this as a sign that the DEVS were feeling generous, grabbed their Holy Pestilence’s, and coated the forward decks with blight. The entire active crew died in mere seconds. Then the two Passives went down to the crews quarters, parashocked everyone in their sleep and threw them overboard. Thus in less than 5 minutes, they had taken the ship. And more was added to their luck, as the ship was lagging behind the 4th fleet, and thus none of the other ships had seen the slaughter. By late morning, they had learned how to control the ship and had brought it up alongside the largest battlecruiser of the 4th fleet. And then they got to kick some ass.

McDanish, Diesel and Eva lept from their ship to the main battlecruiser and began slaughtering the crew, with merciless efficiency. Zhut activated the guns on the ship they had taken, and opened fire on a big ship with a flat surface. As gravlifts brought Banshee fighters up for launch, the ship was blown apart by fire from the ship.

Quickly Diesel raced up the levels to the command deck, where he unleased another blight of Holy Pesitlence on the command crew. McDanish blocked the lower levels with a Holy Thunderstorm. Diesel and Eva then turned the guns, including the Forward Railgun, on the other ships in the 4th fleet.

By late afternoon, only 2 ships remained. The main battlecruiser, and Zhut’s frigate. Unfortunately Zhut’s ship had been damaged too severely and was sinking, so he joined the others on the main ship.
“Well, that was fun. Shall we head back to Tokyo II?” Eva asked.
“No, I have a better idea,” Zhut grinned, “set course south.”

D minus 80 days

“Are we there yet?” Trillian asked.
“No.” Zane answered.
“Are we there yet?”
“No.”
“Are we there yet?”
“No.”
“Are we…. “

D minus 79 days.

It was 3 in the morning, Neocron standard time, when the Angelis (the name the 4 monks had given to their cruiser) came into range of the 3 fleets. It was obvious they were distracted with repairing damage from various weaponfire. The 4 monks didn’t know what had happened to the fleets. Nor did they care. At 0303 NST the Angelis opened fire on the 1st and 2nd fleets with the Forward Railgun. The first salvo capsised both the main battlecruisers for those fleets, and over the course of 2 hours of intense weaponsfire 11 more Tokian vessels were sunk. But this was not a battle that they could win. The Angelis began sinking fast when one of the 2nd fleet’s destroyers opened fire with a beam weapon and slashed the forward section off, causing the railgun to explode. The ship began taking on water fast.
“Damn…. Think we made them mad?” Eva grinned.
“Just a little.” Diesel replied as a gush of seawater nearly knocked him off his feet.
“Quick, this is a generep. It can be used to generep to another place.” McDanish did the honours. The 4 monks rushed to it and activated the list. They were astonished to see a new destination on their lists “Tokyo Military Waystation”.
“Better than sinking. C’yall on the other side.” Eva said as she teleported, and the others followed.

Meanwhile on the Eastern docks of Tokyo II…

11 pale and exhausted runners knocked into a pier. Blearily they looked as they saw that they had indeed reached land, and not a moment too soon. During the night a storm had torn their rickety boat into driftwood, and it was all they could do to keep their supplies buoyant. 10 minutes later they were all standing on a well constructed harbourfront, in the early hours of the evening.
“Is this?” Trillian barely dared to ask.
“Welcome to Tokyo II.” Warlock looked around and confirmed.
“Great…” Lisa sighed forlornly. The others did not have time to consider her poor state of mind, as they hurried to find somewhere to get out of sight.
“Any ideas?” Zane asked.
“There’s a place I stayed last time. They didn’t ask where I was from, just accepted things for trade. If we can get there, we will have a decent place to stay.”
“Great lets go.”
“Just remember guys, we now have 58 days left to get the bomb in place, or all of this was for nothing. Time is working against us.” Reef pointed out.
“Then we should not waste any more time talking here. Lets go…”

Until next time…
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Postby Orwain » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:56 pm

NERD Issue # 050
Part 5: Apocalypse Now?

D minus 78 days

The Tokyo Military Waystation was in a flurry of panic as the news reached them. The 4 fleets had been decimated in the assault on the Southern Lands. Many of the Tokian Generals, unaware of how the fleets had been destroyed, were fearing an imminent counterattack and had given orders that Tokyo II go to full alert. The protective shields went to full power and the Air Force was preparing for an immediate scramble. So it was perhaps understandable that when 4 dirty and wet monks generepped into the station, they were able to slink out undetected.
“I can’t believe we just got out of that!” Eva exclaimed.
“Whatever, lets just get out of this base.” Diesel led them onwards. They snuck down a few darkened alleys till they came to a fairly well populated area. Fairly well was a mild understatement infact as the streets were bustling with people, all crashing into each other and scuttling along. The four monks looked out from the shadows into small, tightly spaced roads, covered with street vendors. The streets were packed with people hurrying, shopping, pushing and talking. It was a stark contrast from the wide walkways and sparse populace of Neocron. These roads made Plaza 1 on its busiest day look like Tech Haven after yet another bloodbath.
“These are the shops? Wonder what they’re sellin?” Eva drooled over the possibility of new merchandise.
“Doesn’t matter,” Zhut forced her natural given shopping tendencies down, “we don’t have their kind of money.” Eva started sulking. Diesel tried to ignore the girlish whimpers that followed, but when the crocodile tears started up he knew he was doomed. Irritably, he and McDanish grabbed four unsuspecting passers by as they walked by, beat them unconscious and then stole their clothes and money.
“Wow, instead of dropping quickbelts, these guys drop wallets.”
“I think I’m gonna like it here.” Zhut grinned. And with that, the four, now wearing Tokian overcoats and hats, ventured out into the crowd and went to check the shops. Now, had there not been so many people bustling around, someone might have noticed the four pedestrians getting mugged. Were everyone not so involved in what they were doing, maybe someone would have noticed the four guys that were noticably taller than everyone else walking around. But you would have thought at least one person would have been aggitated by the four people who were trying to shop without speaking a word of Japanese. But amazingly, they found a way. For though they could not speak the native tongue, it seems the shopkeepers of Tokyo II speak one language that most of Neocron does. 1337.
“Ur g33r r0xx0r5. H0vv mUch?” Zhut asked.
“4,000 cr3dz BiatcH.” Zhut pulled out the necessary credits and purchased a wide variety of local clothing. Diesel and McDanish found a store that sold tools for cutting through metals and Eva found a dominatrix store….. ok I think nows a good time to discuss what the others were doing.

The others had landed on Tokyo II just before midnight the day before, during a time of heavy mist that had not let up. At roughly 2 in the morning, Warlock led them to the place he was talking about. It was a bar, not far from where the 4 monks were making a nuisance of themselves. The bar itself was always busy, being a place which had good alcohols and even better meals. But what was most important for the Texpedition was that this bar had reasonable accomodations on the upper floors. The owner took in those that could pay, or those that could bring him things he did not have. So, the weary boat travellers, hauling their cargo behind them finally reached the door to the bar.
“Ok, everyone keep a low profile. I’ll talk to the owner and get us somewhere to stay. Just mull around till I come get you.” Warlock stated. The others nodded. So as one Warlock, Reefsmoker, Trillian, Tricia, Zane, Download, Killer, Keyser, Crono, Vain and Lisa Davitt walked into the bar, hoping not to draw to much attention.
“YO FARTS!!!!” Binary Raptor screamed at them as they entered. Everyone fell over anime-style. Trillian leapt to her feet and grabbed him by the collar.
“Bin…. WHAT THE PANTS ARE YOU DOING HERE????”
“Having a drink. Want some?” Again with the falling over, crashing through tables and disrupting the customers.
“So much for low profile.” Warlock mumbled and went over to find the owner.
“How the hell did you get here?” Download yelled at Bin.
“I came here a few months ago for the sake festival. They really do have some kickass sake.”
“Sake? Whats sake?” Tricia asked. Bin handed her a saucer with a clear liquid in it. She downed it in one shot.
“Woah…. That’s good shafhghg….” Tricia does not have a high alcohol resistance. Everyone else sat down with Bin to try out the clear liquid and were quickly getting into it. Amazingly this one act got the locals to stop looking at them suspiciously, as surely people who could appreciate good sake must be alright.
Warlock was able to acquire adequate accomodations for the price of a few Grim Chaser claws, a First Love (and the story of why its called a First Love) and 500 chitin, which apparently cannot be found in Tokyo II. Oddly enough it was the chitin that the owner was most excited about…. Go figure.

Exhausted and in need of a good rest, the 11 Fallen Angels dragged their well travelled asses up to their 4 rooms and just crashed wherever they could find an adequate surface. Zane crashed down on top of a large double bed. Trillian crashed on Zane. Zane grinned. Trillian flinched and kneed Zane in the nuts. Zane went cross-eyed. Vain crashed on Trillian and Zane. Trillian and Zane sent Vain crashing to the floor below. Vain asked for a pillow. He got one. Reef, Lisa, Tricia and Killer ended up in the next room. They had to keep the window open all night thanks to Reef. Keyser, Crono, Download and Warlock were in the next room, with both the gentanks lying on the floor, Download sprawled over the big bed and Warlock in a chair by the door. And then they just crashed.

D minus 77 days

The Wastelands seemed eerily quiet this day. Life itself just didn’t seem to be functioning any longer. Twilight Guardians was nothing more than a pile of rocks, Dome of York was wrecked and the only thing in it still moving were the unnoticed Drillbots. All of the CityMercs were now feverishly trying to finish their dig. Tech Haven was still bolted up tight, and everyone inside was now working in the Phoenix shop on Syntax-Error’s master plan. NDA was still taking a rest after such a long all out fight and everyone else was tucked away behind the Phalanx wall of Neocron City. Thus the Wastelands were deathly still. Only two things roamed the cratered lands, under the ash filled sky. The first was The Killerbunneh, still scaveging for chocolate. The other was MJS. MJS walked southwards, endlessly anticipating the fruition of his plan, urging time to go faster. But time was one thing MJS could not control.

The bomb under Crahn had been placed and the members of the Sect had kindly been given temporary quarters in Pepper park until after the detonation. Morpheous had informed everyone that the bomb at Dome of York was in fact ready to go. The Mercs estimated another 7 days till they reached their target. That just left Regants Legacy and Tokyo II.

One person who had been unphased by any of the last few months was NERD Editor. The pale writer had finally finished renovating the top floor of his offices and as of this day moved into his new facilities. Yep, life was good for ol N’ed.

Meanwhile at the Legacy…

“Enough sitting on your asses. Lets finish this!!!” Centuri yelled to his troops. The second seige on The Cells began with full fury. At this point NDA was now able to reach out and touch the doorway of the Legacy. They poured poison through the entranceway into the ever persistent Cells, and slowly but surely the Cells turned to dust and were swept away with the morning breeze. Onwards they pushed in what was looking like a matter of time victory.

Back up north…

“Ok, can anyone tell me what these things are?” Eva held up two sticks that had been handed to her with her meal.
“Um….. maybe you pick your teeth with them?” Zhut suggested.
“I’m not a Bunneh, these things are huge.”
“Well I don’t know what they’re for.”
“What’re they doing over there?” Diesel looked over at a couple who were being served some ramen.
“Preparing to eat.” Need you ask.
“Ehhh…. Look what they’re doing.” Eva leaned back to see the couple using the two sticks to lift the noodles out of the liquid and quickly whip it into their mouths before slurping it down.
“They’re some kind of eating utensils.” Again, need you ask.
“Well, here’s to it then.” Eva attempted to grab some ramen, but succeeded in flicking one stick right into Diesels eye and the other cracked the bowl.
“Geez, its so much easier eating with a claw and stilleto.” Diesel grumbled. Then he looked at McDanish who essentially was drinking out of the bowl, “or that. Yeah…. That works.” After an hour and a half they finally managed to eat their meals and miraculously did not annoy the patron’s with their fumbling around.

With food in their stomachs, they began touring the city. 9 hours later they had a pretty good sense of the city.

In terms of size, it was perhaps slightly larger than Neocron, but only because instead of everyone living in apartment towers, there were large areas where the rich had been able to purchase a section of land and build their own accomodations on them. It was a brilliant display of capitalism in action, rewarding the rich with the ability of show off in front of the nation. Some of the properties were truly incredible, obviously requiring the expenditure of large fortunes of cash and probably requiring the services of many dozens of constructors to build up. But the end result was a customised, unique living quarters that one could call their very own home. This section was on the northernmost part of the island and was surrounded by a huge laserfence providing security around the private villa’s. On the west side of the city were the markets and the military waypoint station, where the four monks had arrived and spent most of their time, and where the other 11 were currently sleeping. This was the commercial centre of the Tokian nation, and had everyone explored a little more closely, they would have located the Weapons Black Market just to the south of the bar they were staying at.

In the south were the docks and the naval yard, where the wooden raft had washed up, and was where the majority of the Tokian Military efforts had been launched from. To the east were the headquarters of the main corporations of Tokyo II. Similar to the main factions in Neocron, these corporations were the lifeblood of the city, just as the criminal factions in the west ward were the leeches of the city.

In the west ward was the Shinjitsu Yakusa Syndicate, or SYS. They ran protection rackets throughout the commercial area, but in exchange ensured no thefts or willful destruction came to their ‘clients’. The competing triad was the Shinomori Triad, which roughly translated meant the Forest of Death. They were the assassination guild of Tokyo II, specialising in human slaughter. The south ward was home to the JSDF (Japanese Special Defence Force) the military power of the city. To become a full citizen, all members of the city were required to serve for 4 years in the JSDF. After that they had the choice of where they wished to go. The East Ward, as previously mentioned, housed the corporations. SONY (Society of Origami, Nature & Yin/Yang) brought nature to the city, with their focus on hydroponic technology, they provided the city with the bulk of its food supplies. AKUMA (Assault, Killing Unbridled Massacres Associated) were the special task force unit. Loyal to the corporations only, they were the elite weapons against the Triads and the Yakuza. MISO (Marine Industries & Submersive Operations) were the equivalent of NEXT. They developed the immense naval power of Tokyo II, and developed things like underwater facilities, that allowed the city to expand beyond its limited land mass. WASHU (Wiring Automation Synthetics Homogeny Union) were the science geeks of the land. They developed the laser whips and the wrist mounted units of the Tokian Military, as well as upgrading the Shield surrounding the city.

And then there was CRAP (Citywide Responsibility Administration and Politics). CRAP was the city, and the city was CRAP. They enforced the law, they paid the corporations in order to run the city and the military, and they taxed the people. CRAP was at the very centre of the city, their main office right underneath the shield generators. For hundreds of years CRAP had governed, and governed well. Unlike Neocron, the Head CRAP was elected by the people, rather than the dictator Reza. And while some of the leaders had been weak, or incompetent, for the most part they had run their city well.

The four monks returned to the west ward and went looking for a place to stay. They were wondering where the others were as well, till Zhut spotted a huge plume of smoke raising from the window of a nearby bar. They decided to check it out.

And so it was that with virtually no drama’s, the Texpedition was reunited. The 15 crammed themselves into the 3 rooms as best they could and made the most of it. And they began to prepare for the placement of the bomb.
“So where do we need to place it?” Download asked.
“Well…. That’s kinda the problem.” Warlock winced, having not really wanted to answer this question.
“Why?” All 14 asked in unison.
“It needs to be placed directly under CRAP headquarters.”
“Wait… you mean we have to place a multi megaton warhead underneath the primary government building?”
“Essentially…. Yeah.”
“And you have a plan to achieve this near impossible feat of course.” Amazingly everyone said that in complete unison too.
“Erm… No.” Warlock got ‘the Look’ from everyone and not for the last time thought about just flicking the switch on the bomb to end the suffering.
“So what do we do?”
“We look for an opportunity.” He replied.

D minus 70 days

“We’ve done it!!!” Huge cheers came from the Military Base as after a long and tiring struggle, they had completed their dig and the bomb was in place. At long last the Mercs were able to rest easy; their task finally completed. It was also a special day as the launcher devices that had been developed in the Storage halls began to be placed around the base.

A section of wall burst forth just to the left of NDA as they pushed The Cells back. Another giant blob had tried to flank them. Fortunately they were able to pull back in time but were once again pushed out of the Legacy by the Cells. Centuri had had enough. It was time to end this. NDA began to push forward but the Cells were bursting forth from everywhere, bringing all their reserves out of the Legacy to fight on the outside. Slowly NDA was being pushed back, but Centuri refused to move. His clanmates urged him to pull back, and he turned to yell at them when the ground beneath him tore as a giant fist of The Cells lunged out of the ground and consumed him. Horrified the rest of NDA looked on as The Cells absorbed Centuri in his final battle for Neocron. But there was something they could not absorb, something that Centuri had activated in his final act of spite. A toxin plague bomb. The bomb detonated and infected the entire mass of The Cells. Despite not having mouths, The Cells uttered a final horrifying scream before every last one of them turned to ash and blew away in the late afternoon wind. The Cells were no more. NDA, at the cost of their leader, had won. They sent word to Neocron and by the end of the day the bomb was in place. Victorious and defeated at the same time, NDA returned home.

D minus 68 days

After nearly nine days of meandering around Tokyo II, McDanish had hit upon an idea. It wasn’t a great idea, but it was an idea.
“McD, I would just like to point out how much I hate it when you get ideas,” Keyser moaned, “when we get home, no more ideas from you.” Keyser grumbled a bit more as he slushed around in the mire circling his feet.
“What? We need a way to get the bomb to a location. Since we can’t just go in, we can try going under. So lets check the sewers.”
“Yes, but look at this place. Its disgusting. Where the hell are the walking-ways?” Crono was pissed too.
“Maybe they don’t expect people to come down here?” Eva suggested.
“Pffft. Whats a sewer if you don’t go hunting in it?” Vain retorted. The Texpedition begain walking through the slimy filth following the map they had acquired. Amazingly Warlock had just walked into CRAP HQ and asked for some plans to the sewer network and they had given them to him! The city apparently provided all forms of information on request. This place was just so weird.
“EEEEEKKK!!!” Tricia screamed and leapt backwards.
“What?” Everyone swivelled round.
“What is that???” She pointed at a small furry creature that was munching on some unmentionable pile of stuff on the sewer pipes. Keyser reached over and picked it up by the tail.
“I think it’s a rat.” He stated.
“THAT is not a rat. That thing fits in the palm of your hand. Rats are supposed to be almost as big as us!” Crono picked up another furry creature and stared at it.
“And look, these ones have pupils, rather than those empty white eyes, and their intestines aren’t showing.”
“Only one way to know. Diesel, you do the honours.” Keyser threw the rat in the air and Diesel toasted it with a firelance. Keyser then bit off a massive chunk and munched on it.
“So, whats it taste like?”
“Tastes like chicken.”
“Huh? Whats a chicken?”
“Never mind, Ceres disc joke. It’s a rat alright.” Keyser said, spitting the tail back out.
“Oh think about it, these ones have been shielded from radiation. Maybe this is what rats used to be like?” Killer suggested.
“Can we move on please?” Warlock growled. They began walking on, but still whispering at the back.
“Dude, Keyser just bit its ass off right? But look what it was eating…. What goes in, must come out… at that end ya know…”
“Ewww…..”
“Hehehe, Keyser munches ass…”
“SHUT UP EVA.” Everyone yelled.

As they marched, they came upon an open manhole, and looked up. Eva was still giggling at the back and the sound alerted the people above. Everyone gagged Eva and tried to slink past the manhole, but everyone was sweating as 2 Tokians above seemed to be yelling down the hole with a lot of anger. However, what the Texpedition did not know was that this is what Japanese can sound like. Roughly translated what they heard actually meant the following.
“My daughter has been accepted into Tokyo II University. I am a proud father.” The first said.
“Is that your daughter with the firm yet ample chest?” The second asked.
“Yes, that’s the one…. Wait, how do you know about my daughters firm yet ample chest?”
“How do YOU know about your daughter’s firm yet ample chest?”
“My wife told me.”
“Is that the one with the incredible ass?”
“Yes. Wait, how do you know about my wife’s incredible ass?”
“Everyone knows about your wife’s incredible ass.”
“Oh…. Hey, what is that supposed to mean?” On and on they went. Apparently in Tokyo II, even if you’re accusing someone of doing naughty things with every female in your family, you still have to do it politely. Go figure.

After what seemed like days but was in fact 38 minutes, they arrived underneath CRAP HQ. And they knew it was CRAP HQ because in the sewer below it was littered with shredded documents of a highly sensitive nature. Only a government facility goes through that much shredding
“Right we’re here, now what?” Reef asked.
“We don’t have enough time to dig deep enough to save the building above. Its going down no matter what. But if we dig a cone shaped ditch deep enough, we can focus the blast down and up so that the surrounding buildings don’t get wiped out.” Warlock showed everyone the designs for the dig.
“Then lets get started.” The two Gentanks laid into their work with gusto, tearing concrete and steel out of the way. The spy’s and private eyes used the laser cutters to assist them in disecting the underground network of pipes and supports. The four monks stood guard should anyone be coming or overhear them. For the next 30 days they would dig deep and dig hard to get the hole made.

D minus 67 days

Atop a lone cliff, MJS summoned to his side one of the DEVS.
“Codi, hold out your basket.” Codi gulped and did so. MJS proceeded to dump a large number of white oval things into the basket.
“Codi, these are my EGGS (Electronic & Genetic Graft Specimens) that will be used to create a new world once I have destroyed this one. Protect them.”
“You sure you want to put all your EGGS in my basket?” (Big Red Subtitles slam down “BLATANT METAPHOR”)
“Sure, I see no problem with that.” Codi just raised an eyebrow and sighed.

D minus 38 days

“Looks like we’re ready for the bomb. You guys go get it.” Trillian said as she dusted herself off. The 4 monks and Crono went down the tunnel to get the bomb from where it had been stashed.
“Think its deep enough?” Tricia asked.
“Should be. Not much time left to do anything else.” Zane pointed out.
“Yeah, nothing else….” Lisa moped.
“Girl you gotta snap outta this. There’ll be other guys.” Trillian went over to comfort Lisa. Whether she would have got anywhere we’ll never know, for at that moment, a door above them opened as a couple of clerks began dumping shredded paper into the sewer.
“Nani? Oro? Nan desu ka?” they babbled on and on, essentially asking what was going on. Within an hour all 10 of them had been arrested and were being transported to the JSDF interrogation centre. So when the monks and Crono arrived, they were noticably concerned to find no one there.
“What do we do?” Eva asked.
“Plant the bomb of course.” Diesel flicked the timer on and they dumped the bomb, making sure to bury it in enough shredded paper so as to conceal it. Then they went back to the bar to locate their friends.

Now, it took them the rest of the day to determine what had happened. For only by accident, after hours of searching, when Zhut felt it was utterly hopeless, that he dropped down on the seat in their room. And as fortune had it, the remote control for the ‘television’ was under him and the news came on. And there, clear as day were the other 10 being marched into the Detainment Centre behind AKUMA headquarters. Everyone felt sick as they realised they were now 5 against the entire of Tokyo II.

Just before midnight, as the 5 tried to get some rest and dream up a plan, they were rudely awoken by the sounds of powerful engines thundering away to the south. They turned the news on again to see that the Tokian Air Force had dispatched everything it had at the Southern Wastelands, in an effort to end Neocron once and for all. Their ETA was 17 days to the primary target.
D minus 37 days

The 5 awoke the next morning to the excited sound of McDanish jumping up and down.
“I know what we need to do!” he exclaimed.
“What?”
“We need to get them out.” Everything within reaching distance of the other four was sent sailing at McDanish’s head or nuts.
“I am in an extraordinarily large amount of pain.” McDanish fell to the floor.
“Wait…” Crono looked like he’d had a brilliant idea
“What?”
“I’ve had a brilliant idea.”
“Didn’t you just say that?”
“No, that was N’ed’s narrations getting too far ahead of themselves.”
“Oh…. So, whats the idea?”
“Oh, you’ll see, its perfect.”

Crono nearly lost the use of one testicle when the others found out his brilliant idea.
“THIS IS YOUR BIG PLAN???” Diesel yelled.
“Patience, watch and see.” And so they did.

For if you know anything of Japanese culture, you will know that they love novelties. Everything from Tamago’s and Pokemon to the 24 hour disposable popstars they churn out almost daily, from mini photo booths to karaoke, the Japanese people love something pointless and novel. So when the populace of Tokyo II learned that McDanish: Lord of the Obvious would be performing one time only in front of the AKUMA Detention Centre, they naturally showed up by the thousands.

“Crono, your stupidity is scarily effective.”
“I know, sometimes, I even scare myself. Let’s go.” And with that they entered the sewer system under the Detention Centre.

Meanwhile up above, using a Translation device.

“McDanish-sama, how can I pick up women?” a young man asked, with chuckles from the crowd.
“By lifting them with your arms.” McDanish replied. The crowd was in awe.
“My husband is cheating on me with all 5 of my sisters, what can I do to make him stop?”
“Make sure your parents don’t have a 6th.” Again the awe.
“What is an oxymoron?”
“Calling the high end weapons that everyone has ‘rares’”
“What is the meaning of life?”
“To figure out the answer to that question.” The crowd was blown away and were hurling money and firstborns upon him.

In the Detention Centre Communal Toilet….

A toilet exploded as the 4 dirty individuals crawled out.
“Ok, which way?”
“I have no idea.”
“Well how’re we gonna find them?”
“Wait guys,” Eva took a sniff.
“Eva…. That’s just wrong.” Zhut looked at her funny.
“No, the smoke.” Sure enough, Reef had decided to smoke out the whole Centre. Thus under toe cover of smog they moved quickly to their cells and freed the other 10.
“WE’RE FREE!!!!” Killer jumped for joy.
“Say that when we’re outside the prison.”
“Oh, right.” They quickly fled back to the toilets and into the sewers. They emerged almost an hour after they had begun the mission to see McDanish still going.

“Who am I?”
“A person.”
“What am I doing here?”
“Asking questions.”
“How long is a piece of string?”
“Twice the distance from the centre to either end.”
“Hey McD, we gotta go.” The others called. Relucantly McDanish freed himself from his captivated audience and the novelty ended. The prison guards returned to their duty only to find empty cells, and decided not to mention it to their superiors.

Dirty and tired they returned to the bar and this time locked themselves inside for the duration.
“Now we just wait till the bomb goes off and we can go home.” Trillian stated.

D minus 22 days

Lisa, having finally started to cheer up a little, decided to put in a call back to Neocron. When they delivered the news that the bomb was planted, Neocron took 5 minutes to jump for joy, for now all 5 bombs were in place. But then they received new information.
“So where are you all now?” Morpheous asked.
“We’re still in Tokyo II. We’ll wait for the bomb to go off and then come home.”
“That’s no longer a possibility. You need to get out of there today.”
“Why?” Lisa asked.
“Lisa,” Kramer came on the line, “the Tokians have launched another offensive, it will get here tomorrow. Before that happens we’re sending them a little bit of retribution. Don’t be there when it arrives.” Lisa had to give up the line to someone who wasn’t teary.
“Understood,” Keyser replied, “we’ll be out of here tomorrow. Fight the good fight, we’ll see you when we get back.”
“Count on it.”

That night the Tokian army was given a very rude awakening as the Monks reigned lightning and fire down upon the docks, torching them completely. The spy’s laid down cover fire while Download hotwired a Skimmer Jetboat. As everyone piled onboard, Keyser and Crono blew seven shades of shampoo out of the docking bay with Moonstrikers and then all 15 of them got out of there.

Until….

“Oh crap, Binary Raptor’s still at the bar.”

After 11 hours of fighting their way back to the bar, Trillian hauled Bin out of his chair, along with a few bottles of sake and again they fought back to the boat and got out of there, this time pursued by what was left of the Tokian navy.
“Next time we leave him behind ok?” Killer suggested.

D minus 21 days

At 0730 the Tokian Air force began airdropping troops into the wastelands. Payloaders and Banshee’s screamed towards Neocron, bypassing the MB entirely. It was time for the final battle between Tokyo II and Neocron.

Morpheous sent the signal to the City Mercs, giving them the go ahead. 10 minutes later, 3 cold fusion missiles rocketed from their launchers heading towards Tokyo II itself. This danger was disregarded by the airfleet as the Tokyo II shields had repelled such an attack many centuries ago.

The fleet dropped over 500 Raijuta’s down into the Crest Crater and they marched on the city while the aircraft lunged forward to bomb the city. The ground troops up north were all hell-bent on destroying Tech Haven. But this time, everyone was ready.

Neocron launched the FireWreathes, the Hovertanks, and close to 50 TekHammers, Neocron’s answer to the Raijuta’s. Since the Mercs had captured an intact one some time ago, NEXT and Tangent had worked hard to replicate it. All runners able to bear weapons raced outwards and took position outside the city.
“Stand fast everyone, our target is the mechs, leave the aircraft.” Kramer yelled.
“Why not the aircraft? Aren’t they the bigger threat?” Carinth called over.
“Not today.”

The Mechs came up over the ridge and immediately everyone opened fire. The gully in front of Outzone station was a blinding mass of energy fire. In the first few moments, 3 TekHammers and 8 Raijuta’s were down. And just as the second barrage was about to start, the airfleet loomed up.
“Take Cover!!!” everyone ducked, preparing for the inbound fire, but it came from somewhere else. The Phalanx Wall opened its ports to show its true face. The entire outer wall of Neocron bristled with weapons. Every square inch was a long range offensive weapon, capable of annihilating airborne targets as far as 2 zones away. With more than a little amount of glee, NDA pushed the button and the wall opened fire. 487 aircraft were shot out of the sky in the opening salvo.

The battle raged on in the south, while meanwhile, the Tokian troopers were burning through the gates into Tech Haven. They burst in through the gravlifts of TH1 and the stairwells of TH3 and poured in. But just as they opened the final pressure doors to enter TH2, they stopped dead in their tracks.
“We are become DEATH, the destroyers of YOU.” Every spare inch of space in TH2 was covered in DEATH bots. Phoenix had surpassed its previous standards by building over 2000 replica’s of DEATH since Syntax-Error had explained her plan. She was quite pleased with the upgrade of TH security. The DEATH bots armed all their buzzsaws and laser cutters and lunged at the Shinobi-Warriors, hacking limbs off and staining the blue corridors with red once again. More DEATH bots burst forth from the elevators in TH1 and from the Energy Cores and the Shopping Mall in TH3. The Tokian ground forces fought for their very lives, but against 3 metre tall robots with 8 arms, each one dishing out death, there’s only so much you can do.

Around about 6 hours into the battle, the Texpedition crashed their Skimmer into the rocks of the North shore and jumped out, having tried to outrace the ships behind them to get away. Now they were running from long range fire shooting after them.
“Hello Neocron, we’re back, whats going on?” Trillian called. She was only getting static.
“Well hello Fallen Angels, care to join the party?” Syntax-Error called. Gleefully they listened to Syn’s instructions on the defence of TH, and decided to hurry back.

By 2140 it was clear that Neocron was victorious. The Phalanx wall had annilated without exception the entire Tokian airforce, and only 2 Raijuta’s remained, and were currently trying to flee through a mountainpass of Y Replicants. All the Fallen Angels and Twilight Guardians had banded together to kill or imprison the troopers that had broken into Tech Haven. The DEATH bots had done their job, but were now all broken. All except the original. DEATH was saddened to see its children in pieces, but was glad its new home had survived. The greatest and most effective defence of TH was over and the Texpedition were finally home. There was some celebration, but no one wanted to celebrate too soon.

That night, no one slept. Tomorrow would decide the fate of the world.

D minus 20 days

The Prime Minister of Tokyo II went on TV, standing outside CRAP HQ to address the people about the troublesome 15 that had attacked and escaped their island. He described it as a desperate attempt to stop the Tokians from attacking Neocron and laughed at it. MJS stood on a balcony above, waiting for the explosion. He was sure the 5th bomb in Dome of York had not been planted and so he could enjoy the fireworks of the other futile ones.

0717 NST (Neocron Standard Time)

5 separate multi megaton warheads detonate throughout the known world. The 7th Circle of Regants Legacy is reduced to rubble. Dome of York shudders, but suffers no more damage. The Military Base endures a fracture up the southern walls but is otherwise fine. The Abbey of Crahn was not adequately protected and is blown to a charred scrap, leaving nothing usable. And as the Prime Minister finished his speech, CRAP HQ groaned, shuddered and then collapsed into the ground as a giant pile of rubble.

0722 NST, Tokyo II Forward Alert Post

3 missiles are detected on approach. Instructions are sent to boost power to the city shields.
0724 NST, CRAP HQ. Then the missiles cloaked and could not be tracked any longer.

The Shield Generator, that had been so carefully protected within the HQ of CRAP is destroyed, and the city shield fails.

0729 NST, Tokyo II

3 cold fusion missiles make impact with the city in the North Private Estates Ward, the West Commerce Ward and the South Docks ward. 87% of the city is destroyed in the explosions, only leaving the East Corporations Ward relatively intact. With the airforce destroyed, the navy all but wiped out and the city’s infrastructure annihilated, Tokyo II enters the same stage of history that the rest of the world experienced after World War III.

1000 NST, Plaza 1, Neocron

All had gathered for the results. If the blasts were unsuccessful, there would be a severe need to get the last cruiser loaded up fast with those that were escaping.
“Scans indicate all 5 did detonate…. Calculating effect.” Morpheous was manning thescanners and was feverishly trying to get an answer out of them. The entire populace of the Wastelands waited with breathless anticipation. Suddenly, Morpheous stood up slowly, quietly walked over to the Medicare balcony and addressed the people.
“It worked. The SWG effect has been stopped.” And then the cheering started. Finally the nightmare had ended. Finally they were not doomed. Finally they could celebrate, and celebrate they did. For the next 20 days they celebrated their survival and paid homage to the fallen heroes of the quest: Insidious Wolf and Centuri. Neocron partied like never before. And all was well.


D minus 0….

After so much partying, finally those that still had a home, decided to return to it. Those that didn’t got ready to start rebuilding theirs. The Fallen Angels got up and travelled home casually, walking and still in good spirits, arriving at Tech Haven just before noon. As they walked up the ramp, Warlock stopped and surveyed the world.
“Ah, its not too bad,” noting all the craters and damage, “a bit of gardening work and it’ll be good as new.” He smiled, just as a wreathe of black smoke burst up behind him.
“NO IT WON’T” MJS raged, grabbing Warlock by the neck and snapping it in one crushing move. He then blasted the body with his Demitron Cannon and vapourised it. Warlock’s body was unrecoverable by the generep system, and thus he felt perma-death. Everyone else looked on in abject horror.
“I WILL HAVE MY ARMAGGEDON. THIS IS THE DAY OF DESTRUCTION!!!!” And the battle against MJS began.

MJS let loose a horrible roar and a shockwave of destruction eminated from his being. Tech Haven was obliterated instantly and the largest crater on the face of the planet was formed for 40 miles in all directions around MJS. The Fallen Angels all generepped back to Neocron to prepare, although some had been just outside the blast radius and were now directly in front of the oncoming MJS.

Neocron scrambled everything. Every ship, tank and person charged towards the battle just outside their gates, as MJS assaulted the Fallen Angels on his way to Neocron. When he came into range the Phalanx Wall opened fire, but MJS would not be stopped so easily. His Armani powerarmour morphed and the cloth around his shoulders turned to metal, lifting off to form 2 giant black batlike wings, covered in razorsharp blades in the pattern of deadly feathers, revealing the armoured black torso of this worlds overlord. He opened fire with his Demitron Cannon and blew hole after hole out of Neocron’s walls. He charged up another shot and fired, blasting a chasm between Pepper Park and Plaza, destroying the subway system and cleaving the city nearly in two.

The Firewreathes spread out and came at him from all sides, but MJS launched himself at the closest, landing feet first on the canopy and pulling out a jagged Edged lasersword, with one slash killed the pilot. He then leapt to the next and did the same till he had destroyed them all. Then he landed in front of all the runners of the wasteland, all shuddering in terror at the behemoth of power before them.
“There shall be no more protection,” and he blew another hole in the Phalanx wall, “no more peace, and especially no more FUN.” And using the BETA psi module Psi Meteor, he summoned down a massive fireball that slammed into a well known office building inside Neocron, obliterating the occupant.

Everyone opened fire, but bullets were meaningless. Kramer tried to snipe MJS, but MJS leapt forward and cleaved Kramer in half with his sword. Lisa, enraged charged in and kicked MJS in the nuts, but he was too well armoured there. He backhanded Lisa flying into a pile of rocks, and they both had to use the generep recovery system. Trillian dived in to avenge her sister, but MJS kicked her down, with a foot across her throat and lunged his blade through her chest. Zane tried to save her by whipping MJS’ hand, and he was successful in pulling the blade out, but he was too late. MJS grabbed the whip and hauled Zane to him.
“Foolish sentiment. Now Die…” And he slowly inserted the blade through Zane’s stomach, killing him in excrutiating pain. The others continued to fire, but still there was no effect. Then in an act of pure sadism, MJS ressurected Trillian and Zane.
“Now you can both endure dying as many times as I see fit!” and he killed them again, and then ressurected them. As he went for the third kill, he decided to be creative.
“Now you can all suffer their fate.” And MJS went for his most horrible weapon.
“Oh No… He’s pulling out his WALLET!!!” Yes, MJS’s WALLET (World Apocalypse Lanching Life Extinguisher Transmitter). This device would allow him to instakill everyone around him in the blink of an eye. And he grinned.

But all of a sudden, there were several flashes of light, as half a dozen EGOS, all wearing big footwear came flying out of the sky and in unison they yelled.
“REPEATED RES KILLING. TEMP KICK!!!!” And they kicked MJS sailing many zones to the north east with a special present to keep him company.

Though everyone had survived, there was little room for celebration now. The city was in ruins, Tech Haven was destroyed and there was one more tragedy awaiting them.

MJS dusted himself off, finding himself standing in a dusty field with virtually nothing around him. He looked around and saw he was in a fenced area. There were a few vehicles to his right and a buidling with a few technicians, and a generep tower. He realised the EGOS had temp kicked him to newbie MC5.
“I suppose this is meant to be funny, sending me to this place.” He reached for his consoles to warp out, but realised that they had been broken in the kick.
“So be it, I’ll just use the generep.” He walked over to the generep and tried to use it, but it would not work. Then he noticed the sign.
“This generep is out of order. I am currently busy keeping all the EGGS in one basket, so cannot fix this right now. I will attempt to get around to it at the earliest convenience. Signed. Codi.” And MJS found himself stuck in MC5 for a very long time.

That day a few runners stood around in shock as they entered Neocron. For they had lived through the SWG effect, the attacks by Tokyo II and MJS’s attempt to slay them all. But now a fate some considered worse than all that had befallen them.

For MJS’s fireball had destroyed NERD Inc, and the Editor along with it. They stood around shocked and realised. This had been Final NERD.

Late that night, McDanish sat down, and as a finale, decided to sing a song….
(The Following Song “Dome of Y” is done to the tune of “American Pie” by Don Maclean)
Lyrics by Nerd Editor
Mp3 to come

"Not so long ago,
In a Wastezone far away,
neocron was under an attack.
And I thought me and Trilli-in,
Could talk the Japonation in,
to maybe cutting them a little slack.
But in response they tried to kill us,
Using loms they did deskill us.
We escaped from Vagnass,
Then toked up high on Reef's stash.
In a lifeboat we did flee
And we got lost, its plain to see.
We all wound up on Tokyo TV.
So when will we have DOY???

My, My this here Dome Of Y,
Now its sooner, now its later, now I just wanna cry.
And we left our homes and hoped that soon it was time
Saying Soon I'm gonna see Dome of Y,
Soon I'm gonna see Dome of Y,

Do you know this patching day, is coming soon or so they say,
But will it truly save the day?
Ahhh this new city could use a clean, some floor wax and Windowsheen,
Yeah we're prolly gonna clean it up some dayyyy.
Well I heard you can get great echo,
and Sid's lived there, so don'cha know
And when this dream comes tru...
We can all nag for Tokyo II WOOO
We're gonna party all over that new place,
And outpost wars will pick up pace,
And I know NC will now face,
The Big Threat... of our DOY.

And I was singin'

My, My come here Dome of Y,
I won't make it, I can't take it, give it now or I'll die.
Every night I rush home and scream 'MJS WHY?"
When will I see Dome of Y???
When will I see Dome of Y?

Now we finally get set for launch,
And the KK council we knew at once,
would want to get rid of CDV!!!
So they went out there and they told a tale,
of how Neocron was the next big sale,
And its true that NC > SWG!!!
Well the publishers were impressed of course,
Could this game truly beat The Force?
They made an opening bid,
as long as they got rid of Sid.
But players all still had much fear,
Could they still release some time this year?
Well MJS says Listen Here!
We Will Release this DOY!

And we were singin'

My, My This Year Dome of Y,
Not November, not December, but we've missed on July.
As time rolls on we've all gotta try
To Tell friends about Dome of Y,
Tell friends about Dome of Y.

Tempers flaring hot as a ball-of-fusion
People leaving Cron in full confusion
Server pops are fallin' fast.
"We improved the look of the grass"
"And these new mobs will attack in mass"
Yeah some folk are just talking out their ass.
Now the competition begins to loom,
And the impatient have begun to fume,
But KK must take a stance,
For Cron to stand a chance.
The new publisher will yield,
A better chance in this gaming field.
And NC's might will be revealed.
When we get Dome of Y

And we were singin'

My, My This is Dome of Y,
Its not clean, not pristine, but it suits us just fine
And in the halls as the guardbots roll by,
We'll feel home in our Dome of Y
Feel home in our Dome of Y.

So there they were all in one place,
The ship awaiting to go to space,
And no time left to start again.
So guys be nimble, guys be quick.
Drop those bombs or I'll be sick
Stop Armageddon before the end.
And MJS was in a rage
This story had another page.
And all of us could tell,
We were saved by the bell.
And the Firewreathes flew in the night
And set off a show so big and bright
But something still was just not right
We still need Dome of Y

And we were singing'

My, My This is Dome of Y,
Lots of floors, lots of doors, yeah this place is alright
And as the echoes roll on, I'm still gonna cry
About time we got Dome of Y,
About time we got Dome of Y.

We caught a ride back to TH2,
Cause Trillian wanted to.
I frankly would have liked to stay.
We all fought in that epic war,
and it wasn't long at all before
5 big bombs went off and saved the dayyy.
But in the end some runners fried,
Some ships were sunk and Precious died.
Some missiles were cloaking,
The DEATH bots all were broken.
And the Editor I admire most,
Got firebombed and now he's toast.
Now we're still here but he won't post.
I guess we'll wait for DOY.

And I was singin'

My, My This here Dome of Y,
Not November, not December, but we've missed on July.
As time rolls on we've all gotta try
To Tell friends about Dome of Y,
Tell friends about Dome of Y.

We were singin'

My, My, it must be a lie,
No more NERD's till the words "we've got Dome of Y"
And we'll sit and home and say KK oh My!
Please just give us all some Dome of Y."

Until Dome of Y...
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Postby Orwain » Wed Dec 28, 2005 1:21 am

NERD Freelance Xpo # 001

Another Newbies Tale

Written By: Bibliotequa
Editing and additional story: NERD Editor

Coffee by: SleepNoMore Inc.

All Rights Reserved.

Today's story is about a poor newbeh's quest to get from neocron to the military base, its not a trip many survive, at least in one piece. Todays tale takes place in no particular time, with no particular point, featuring no particular people. This story in no way has any bearing on the tale of Neocron, cause lets face it... this is a tale of a newbie, and since when has a newbie ever done important? (Big Red Subtitles slam down "BIAS OPINION!!!"). This tale is about a poor newbie. His name: Poor Newbie. His Place: Neocron. His measurements... well...

Poor Newbie started his day in the agressor cellars, duking it out with 5 agressors, he thought he was almost done for when all of a sudden, he gripped his Tangent Assault Rifle, jumped over the box, and hit the agressors with one beautiful headshot each, something no newbeh had ever accomplished. He looted their bodies, and dragged himself out of the cellar, heavily encumbered with his precious load of choco candy's, synthetic milks and insect eyes, and into the medicare to get some desperate medical attention (he'd been shot in the left nut). He knew he was ready, today was the day when he would use the Liquid Fire Rifle, a true sign of maturity. The sign that your status had lifted, ego swelled, balls dropped and you became a man. The sign he had become a Novice!!

<WARNING, READ NERD WITH BOTH HANDS ON THE KEYBOARD OR YOU'LL GO BLIND!>

He decided he could no longer make any experience in the newbeh cellar, so he decided to ask a friend to take him to the Military base (because you never go into the wastelands for the first time by yourself, why... that would require... gonads. And as the last paragraph showed, Poor Newbie had already lost one of those). His friend told him to wait for him at the North gate of neocron at 1:30, and at exactly 1:30 the eager newb was there waiting with a backpack full of candies, soda, plasma rifle ammo, and fresh underwear (incase he got a bit scared on the way, and... you know). (NERD Editor: No, I don't...)

Trip 1: On the first trip everything was going fine, they had evaded hoverbots, wolves, Y replicants and Megaman, but midway into the trip, somewhere around the H latteral, and 6 vertical (for those of you that don't speak Betty, he means H 06), they hit a jump, and Poor Newbie was knocked unconscious by a tree branch, fell out of the car, and rolled down the mountains to a grassy field. His friend hadnt noticed, totally engrossed by the classic N'Sync CD he'd found a month back during an escavation. When Poor Newbie awoke, he was surrounded by 5 dragonflies, which obviously gave him a free teleport back home.

Trip 2: After plucking Dragonfly crap out of his back, Poor Newbie reported the horrible news to his friend, and his friend told him to put everything in a gogo, and try to venturewarp. The newb did so, and clicked the venturewarp, payed a full 2k, and.... SPAWNED IN THE MIDDLE OF!!!!!!!!!!..... the west entrance to neocron... After complaining to a venture warp employee about being ripped off, paying 2k for a distance he could of WALKED in under 30 seconds, the venture warp employee told him that technically, the front gate to neocron, WAS the wastelands, and Poor Newbie had signed a contract where he agreed to pay to be put in a random location in the wastes.... Consequently Poor Newbie became the second member of Lisa Davitt's "Death to Lawyers" club, a liftetime club where you get free cake and a blood vendetta to end all contracts for all time.

Trip 3: Poor Newbie decided to warp again, anything was closer to his friend than plaza 1. He magically appeared in Soliko, just about as far from military base as neocron... ... Poor Newbie decided to tag this usefull gr, then gr back to plaza 1, when he was fried by plasma, kebabed on a Blade of Ceres and reduced to Roast Lamb Cutlets by an NCPD Flamer. Yes, he had just become part of yet another battle between NUTS and JERK's. Yet another innocent life is claimed in their senseless war. Help stop the fighting, donate 10k to a very special charity: the "JERK's in touch with their NUTS" Foundation.

Trip 4: Now as he descibed his horrible experiences to his friend, his friend told him he was lucky, for venture warp should be renamed "I will place you somewhere where your armor is useless". There was a 1/12 chance that he would land next to a warbot for example, a 1/18 chance that he would land under a hoverbot, a 1/10 chance that he would be greeted by Y replicants, and about a 1/14 that he would land infront of a group of Johnny 5's (DoY Security Bots). Poor Newbie thought his friend was exagerating, and promptly warped again. He landed in the scorching sand, in between about 12 hackbelts, he told his friend his predicament, and his friend, an experienced runner, told him he was near a Johnny 5. The newb didnt get much of a chance to respond, for he turned to look left, and he saw 4 laser missles, fired straight from a johnny, fired right at him, he ran over a sanddune, but the explosion caught him, and bashed up his legs. For the next 3 hours, he was crawling in the desert, while telling his friend his location, and trying to get out of the Johnny's range.
He finally arrived at el Farid Village where he waited for his friend for about 10 minutes. During that time, Vain passed by and had a casual hump. Poor Newbie chose not to disclose any more details of this incident and when his friend arrived, got in the car and they were off.

Trip4 - Part 2: They were off, storming in the wastelands at about 110 kilometers per hour, avoiding trees and wolves, tagging all the grs, just to be safe, when they decided to get the Newb's belt which was in H_06. They arrive, and quickly spot the dragonflies, the friend take out his Tangent Plasma Cannon, and has a fierce battle with the bugs, holding to his life by a mere 10 health (down from 490). He gets in the car, and Poor Newbie gets his belt, thats when a dragonfly swoops from his nest in the trees, and killed the newb in one shot. The newb added the friend to the team, and his friend got the belt, thats when the newb hears "WE WENT ALL THE WAY BACK HERE FOR SOME DRUGS!!!" and the newb responds "Gotta have my pills ", which got a sharp respond "That is the sickest thing ive ever heard...", thats when the newb retalliated saying "Hey, easy i dont take them for those purposes, i use them to activate my biotech implants" his friend forgave him, and went back to pick him up.

Trip 4; Part 3: Finally avoiding all warbots, dragonflies, crabs, and pkers, they arrived at the military base (parking on the invisible EGOS Laemin's foot - the APC will need several months of bodyshop work), Poor Newbie felt a certain fullness once again, he had finally finished a quest many live to tell about, after 4 tries, he made it, he was finally matured. After having to pay a guard 5k to enter, he tagged the gr, checked out the cleverly placed strippers, went home, and went to bed.
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Postby Orwain » Wed Dec 28, 2005 1:23 am

NERD Christmas Special Exclusive

How Santa Delivers Presents Across Neocron In One Night

Greetings readers. We take this special time on Christmas Day to bring you a special story. This is a true story. We bring to you the definitive answer to how the runner known as Santa Claus manages to get around the entire of Neocron and its outlying areas in one night without being detected. Two of our hardest working reporters have toiled long and hard for almost two years to bring you this story.

So please enjoy this story, told in a narrative for easy reading. We will return with Issue # 003 of NERD shortly after Christmas.

Twas the Night before Christmas and all through the apartment, not a creature was stirring, but the generep was making an annoying hum. The scene was the same in many Neocron apartments. Unable to walk home from the Christmas Eve party at Sypher Cafe, runners forked out for a generep teleport home, rather than risk tumbling down into an open sewer as a result of their inebriated state. Of course, using the generep meant you ended up feeling worse at the other end than when you started, so the already staggered runners were collapsing right next to the generep in their apartments.

A few designated runners who had stuck to Warbot Cola for the nights festivities patrolled the city streets, peering down the alley towards Pepper Park. There was some Christmas celebrations going on down there too, but of a far more physical kind. But the runners were able to feel safe in their city. After all, who ever heard of a drunk Copbot? The city's protectors were always disciplined; always alert. And whoever started those rumours that they'd seen a Malfunctioning STORM bot or an Amok Copbot must surely have had one to many Synthetic Whisky's before using the Genereps teleporter one to many times.

Rather than the usual mechanical "Move Along" the Copbots normally yelled at runners, City Admin had instructed them to be more festive and wish runners a Merry Christmas before using their plasma rifles to urge them on their way.

Two city based Runners were almost to their apartments in Plaza 3 when they looked towards HEW Technologies. At first they thought their eyes deceived them; they thought they saw an large red humanoid for a second, but after they blinked, it was gone. Dismissing what they'd probably imagined, they said goodbye to each other and wen't up their respective elevators. Tired of a long weeks work and a long nights celebrations, the collapsed on their Recreation Units and passed out. A few moments later a red humanoid, as if in an instant appeared near them and ran through to the table room of their apartment. He dropped a few special blueprints, a case of Jack Daniels, some Choc Choggers and a key to a brand new Speeder Bike under the synthetic bush of one and then in a split second appeared by the other to repeat the process. Then he disappeared again.

One by one, as runners collapsed in their apartments and their minds logged out of their harsh Neocron lives, a strange red man appeared to drop items in their apartments. For those runners who had kept the streets clear, stopped harassing the strippers and hadn't gunned down too many of their fellow man, new shiny weapons and vehicles were bestowed upon them. For some of the less savoury runners, a few blueprints for ammo and perhaps some alcoholic beverages. For the Malevolent Crackheads, an active turret appeared in their rooms, just waiting for them to make a move. And for Insidious Wolf, who was too intoxicated to even remember what city he lived in and had fallen asleep in a bog i sector D 06, 3 Hoverbots appeared around his marshy bed, awaiting Christmas morning to give him his true present. And in every case, the red stranger vanished without a footprint.

In Sector J 11, near a small oasis, the red stranger appeared.
"Geez this thing is heavy. Why couldn't the Misses pick a different colour huh? Why not Blue or Grey? They're lighter and don't cut down on my athletics as much. This thing is such a pain to get around with." the red stranger spoke.
"Why are you complaining? If you didn't have the extra strength from that thing you'd never be able to transport all the gifts. And besides, since when do you walk around anyway ya lazyass. You just warp everywhere." The red strangers little helper spoke out.
"Who asked you anyway. Now hurry up and put yours on and warp to Military Base. We got 400 apartments to do there and in Twilight Guardians, and thats not even counting Tech Haven." With that, the helper grabbed his Ultimate Power Armour suit and slung all the gifts into his backpack. He then turned invisible and warped to Military Base.
"Okay, so Snow's doing Military Base. Thanatos where are you?" The helmet came off on the red stranger and CoDi breathed some fresh air.

Yes thats right folks. The legend of Santa is FALSE. It's actually KK in red Power armour abusing their special powers to get around. THAT is how they move around so fast. THAT is how they get in when everyone knows no Neocron apartment has a chimney (aside from those fake Via Rosso ones). And that is the real identity of Santa Claus.

The next morning....

"Wow, a speeder bike. This is just what I wanted."
"Ooh, a Beserk 3, this is great."
"Ack, where did this turret come from??"

"I IS L33t, UZ HUVERBOTS GONNA BEZ PWNZED BYZ MEZ...."

We thank you for your attention. In bringing you this report, one of our reporters received a one week 'ban' where his mind was locked out of his body and could not interact with Neocron for spying on CoDi. Our best wishes to him and his family.
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Postby Orwain » Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:30 pm

Sorting around some old back ups, found I have the audio of some of the song, later will try to get them hosted or uploaded somewhere so anyone interested can get them.
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Postby Centuri » Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:44 am

Well was checking out some statistics on my website and noticed people where still checking out the old Nerd site, so I followed the trail of breadcrumbs to here :)

If its still of interest to people I could spend a little time updating the site to contain the additional stories which have been posted on here. Just I stopped updating the site roughly around the time I left and sort of lost contact with laemin.

But if people are interested I can get that done during this week for them.

Regards

- Centuri
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Postby Brammers » Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:39 am

Centuri - one name from NDA that I know! ;)

I'm interested, I've just added the link to website links, on the THN. The NERD article's are just priceless.
Brammers - THN Admin & CEO Phoenix Ltd.
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Postby Trillian » Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:50 pm

Centuri!!!! Hello!!!!

:D




p.s. I would give ANYTHING for NC to be like it was back in the NERD days. Things just arn't the same anymore... *looks at NC2 and scowls*
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