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 Remnants of Civilization

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Vaudeville

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PostSubject: Remnants of Civilization   Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:11 am

A place for everything we have preserved from the past: A summary of the story thus far, old favorite posts, etc.
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PostSubject: Apocalyptic Dawn - The World After Nuclea Holocaust   Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:58 am

In this post Apocalyptic world, basically, anything goes.

After the nuclear holocaust, things changed, drastically. Most of the world is a barren wasteland of dust and extreme heat. Very little fresh water can be found as well as food.

Because life has a way of sustaining itself, species that normally wouldn't breed with each other have done just THAT. Or...because of the radiation contamination, the species has mutated to something that looks like it came from a Stephen King novel.

For instance, the birds Gregory fought against are a mutation of Ravens. They have huge teeth, are about the size of vultures now and have sharp talons. Their eyes are much larger and have a strange glow to them. This is due to the mutation caused by the radiation.

The Rex we are all fighting are actually a mutation of man that now resembles more of a dire wolf in size with a huge ass nose. Their fur is coated in a thick oil and grease mixture that comes form living underground in the oil pits that were formed after the holocaust. They have primarily lupine features as far as their features are concerned, with one strange exception. Their paws are not paws. They are hands and feet that resemble what humans have, only they have long, sharp claws. They eat what they kill, including each other. Right down to the bones. Nothing is left, unless it's contaminated with a disease such as cancer or hepatitis.

A hybrid is a lab created species that strongly resembles humans, but they were crossed with the DNA of an animal so they have the senses of the animal they were crossed with while standing upright, having the intelligence to learn and communicate with the world around them, etc.

In Kitty's case, she is a Tiger hybrid. She is just as much human as she is Tiger. While she looks and acts (for the most part) like a human female, she has teh heightened sense of hearing and smell like a Tiger. She also has more strength than a regular human thanks to her Tiger DNA. Her skin, while not fur covered, has the stripes of a tiger but her skin is normal skin colored where the stripes aren't marked on her body. The front of her torso is unmarked by the stripes, just as a Tiger's is unmarked. She has claws, but only when she needs them, otherwise, her fingers look normal. She has trouble talking because her vocal chords are more like a tiger's than a humans, but she has learned ASL as well as mixing in her own form of sign language that she can communicate with others. When she is in a confrontational situation, she really has to fight hard to control her animal side thus making her unpredictable at best.

Tom, on the other hand, is a more advanced form of hybrid. He is a human wolf and unlike Kitty, it's difficult to tell is he's a hybrid or not. UNTIL...he is in a confrontational situation. When he is in a situation where he or his friends are threatened, his animal nature become more dominant and he looks more like what one would consider a warewolf. While he was in development, he would be subjected to subliminal psycho therapy in where they would attach sensors to his head and "teach" him how to control his animalistic behavior as well as taught him how to read, write and learn ASL for the hybrids that communicated that way. Tom was the most successful hybrid of his kind, so far that we know of. There are others like him, but they haven't been found...yet.

Tom and Kitty were both experiments on creating the perfect soldier, capable of blending in with the regular human populace of an area and reporting reconnaissance to their superiors. However, after the apocalypse their creators eventually succumbed to the radiation fall out and died long, painful deaths.

Kitty's creator treated her more like a human child while Tom's creator treated him more like the lab experiment he was.

Gregory is slowly mutating into something other than a pure human. What, exactly, we don't know yet. He has enhanced sight and strength as well as hiding a tale under his clothes. His skin is a bit paler than normal folks, but that could easily be shrugged off as spending too much time underground. He carries around an Ovian shrub, talking to it and nibbling on it's leaves when he gets hungry. He things anything other than pure human needs to be eradicated form the earth and he's made it his personal mission to make sure he does just that. Especially Kitty.

We have a military group that is patrolling a sector of the area looking for hybrids to round them up. When they get them...well....I don't want to reveal that just yet. BUT...Major Strauss is a man who takes his duty serious and doesn't like slackers in his platoon. Dalton is a fair man who expects his men to follow command, regardless.

The world is harsh and it's first come, first serve. Survival of the fittest rules and if you're weak, you'll die. There are sporadic places where green grass still grows, clear water still flows and the air is cool against your skin, but for the most part, it's a massive desert with little to no shelter. What shelter there IS found is in the form of decaying, crumbling buildings.

Right now, the story setting is in the formaer city of St. Louis.

Basically, this story line is best compared to Mad Max and Resident Evil, if you would like a visual reference. Use your imagination when it comes to inventing all sorts of creatures that may have mutated or cross bred with each other. You're character can be what ever you can think of. Even a cyborg like creation, much like Rarmon. Or what ever you think will fit.

In this world, anything goes.
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PostSubject: Re: Remnants of Civilization   Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:21 pm

Synopsis of the Story Thus Far:

After escorting some travelers to the edge of the great and decimated city she lives in, the tiger-human hybrid named Kitty decides to return to the only place she’s ever called home—an underground bunker that used to be a research facility. Unbeknownst to her, she is followed by a strange, hairless man who calls himself Gregory.

Gregory wears a long leather jacket and dark welder’s goggles to disguise the fact that he is a mutant, for the town he grew up in, called Purity, is a human fortification that deems all non-human things impure and sources of the world’s current problems. Gregory now hunts Kitty with hopes that she will lead him to the scientists who created her, who might know of a way of reversing his mutation, but these hopes are mixed with a desire to destroy her.

Before Gregory can catch up to her, Kitty is captured by sub-human cannibals and seems destined to be roasted over a fire. However, a self-styled ‘treasure hunter,’ Leo, chances upon the cannibals and decides to save Kitty, thinking she is a human girl. Leo, himself a human, has traveled to the city from his distant homeland in search of ‘treasure,’ which as often as not takes the form of junk and seemingly worthless spare parts.

Leo creates a distraction with a few thrown stones and epithets and manages to free Kitty, who he soon realizes is not a human at all. He isn’t very picky about his chance companion, though, and the two are forced to flee as the cannibals regroup. Their escape leads to an encounter with mutant dog-men called rex, and makes an obvious trail for Gregory to follow.

However, an underground explosion causes Leo to lose consciousness, and as the human and hybrid hole up for the night, Gregory passes them, heading straight for Kitty’s bunker. When Leo regains consciousness, he explains to Kitty that he need to get back to his motorcycle. Communication is challenged by the fact that Kitty lacks human vocal chords and cannot speak without discomfort, causing her to rely on sign language. Leo begins to learn her language as they travel towards his bike and her bunker.

While traveling through the subway, Gregory encounters a blind old crone who prophesies that Kitty will lead him to a place called Paradise, ‘across the black ocean,’ because it will sing in her animal blood, where he might be able to cure his mutation, but Gregory blows her off. Later, as Leo and Kitty pass the same area—after a fight with two panther brothers who mistrust all humans and scorn Kitty for traveling with Leo—the same crone appears and tells Kitty that 'Home will never be the same again; will never be again,' and that she must ‘beware the black ocean.’

Meanwhile, in another secure but long derelict research facility, a wolf hybrid called Tom awakens spontaneously from his suspended animation and breaks out of his containment pod. As he flees into the subway, an oozing white mass filled with hundreds of floating black sensors awakens to pursue him. The Security Drone’s tentacles are filled with syringes used to tranquilize anything it senses as having a ‘contaminated gene pool,’ and it follows Tom relentlessly.

As Tom pieces together his memories and identity, he runs into Leo and Kitty in the subway. After they feed him and tend an injury he received from a mutant dog, he decides to join them, fueled by a loyal and protective instinct in his lupine blood.

Gregory, meanwhile, meets a filthy, skin-and-bones human called Skittles who, in exchange for Gregory's protection, agrees to take Gregory to a place where supposedly supplies abound. The place is dangerous, though, because of the presence of what Skittles simply refers to as ‘cats.’

Leo, Kitty and Tom reach the underground boiler room where Leo has hidden his Honda motorcycle only to discover that a gang of human ruffians found it first. While the ruffians taunt Leo and break the bike’s headlight, Kitty and Tom sneak around through a back access known to Kitty. While the gangsters are easily dispatched, their troubles worsen as a pack of rex spill onto the scene, roused by the racket and driven by the Security Drone that is hot on Tom’s heels.

Leo, Kitty and Tom flee to Kitty’s bunker. They manage to wash up, but before they can finish tending their wounds, Gregory walks in on them. The tense stand-off is broken only when the Security Drone ruptures into Kitty’s bunker, causing the power to fail. It becomes clear that none of them can do much about the drone, which manages to tranquilize Kitty, and they all flee together except for a mostly-robotic cyborg traveling with Gregory, Rarmon. The drone absorbs Rarmon into its body, where Rarmon manages to destroy it from the inside.

After a long flight, during which the unconscious Kitty is visited by a wondrous and glimmering dream city called Paradise, the party takes shelter in the storage unit of an underground parking garage. While there, Leo fixes his bike’s headlight and a rat-hybrid named Gavin dares to approach them in hopes of getting food. Leo gives Gavin some of their rations and invites him to share their camp and tell them what he knows of the city’s layout to the east. Leo is still intending to head east to his home turf, and plans on taking Kitty, as well as Tom. From Gregory, with whom a tacit but fragile truce has been struck, he hopes to learn more about the strange technology the man carries.

While the exhausted and mismatched party sleeps, the hybrids dreaming of Paradise, a horde of marauding mutants venture near and the party is forced to rouse themselves and flee again, though it’s still daylight outside. Tom and Rarmon create a distraction by attacking the mutant surface dwellers while Leo rides off with Gregory and Skittles, Kitty and Gavin running behind. Though they manage to escape much harm from the mutants, their troubles intensify when Gavin’s rat senses allow him to feel tremors in the earth from approaching vehicles.

The heat- and sun-wearied party takes refuge in the basement of an office building. Gregory has suffered so badly in the sun that he falls unconscious after feverish babbling. When he rouses again in the cool darkness, he doesn’t remember where he is and threatens his companions with his auto-bow. Kitty douses him with precious drinking water and he returns to his senses.

The incident sets the wheels turning in Leo’s head, however, and he gives the group a proposal, asking who would be willing to join a band like the one he is a member of back home, a band in which every member shares what they have and defends the others. Everyone, even Gregory, steps up to say he or she would join the band.

Meanwhile, at the scene of the fight with the mutants, a ‘witch hunter’ from Purity, called Luther Lofgrin, uses a grenade and an automatic machine gun to wipe out the straggling mutants who’ve returned to rob the bodies of their fallen comrades. His actions draw the attention of a group of pseudo-military men lead by Sergeant Dalton under Major Strauss. Lofgrin explains that he is hunting a dangerous horned and hairy monster but agrees to join the military men on their hunt for the hybrids.

As the military moves, Leo and his companions decide to flee once more into the night, hoping to get away from whatever might be traveling in the vehicles. However, they unwittingly run into a trap and are surrounded and blinded by the military vehicles. The soldiers use tranquilizing darts and gas to capture the entire party. When they wake up, they find themselves held captive in individual cages on the military trucks in what looks like a parking ramp in the city suburbs.

Leo realizes that he still has his lock picks hidden in his leather jacket, and the companions begin to plot their escape…


Last edited by Vaudeville on Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Remnants of Civilization   Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:23 pm

I want to preserve the post where Leo talks about his old friend, Honda, for future reference. Also, since this post flows into the scene, I'll keep the encounter with the would-be bike thieves, because I think it's funny!



As they continued down the tunnel that was now familiar to Leo, he found himself swimming in a whirl of memories that had been torn loose by the sight of a dead raccoon. Why were the people of the past coming to haunt him? First he had been torturing himself over Gina, and now Honda was right there, in his mind’s eye.

Not that the memories of Honda were painful like the memories of Gina—on the contrary, they were some of the happiest memories he owned. As he spent several minutes reliving the past ten years of his life, hearing Honda’s funny, high-pitched voice calling him “Dimwit” in that affectionate way, Leo was unusually quiet.

That would only last for so long, though. Leo tended towards the garrulous, when he had the company to be so, and at length he broke the silence that had hitherto been accented only by the scuffing of the trio’s boots.

“When I was still a kid,” he said, “I found a raccoon kit in the woods that had been abandoned by its mother.” He could tell by the way Kitty and Tom perked that he had their attention. He wondered what they would think of his tale, being what they were. “I thought it was pretty weird, because raccoons are extremely protective of their young. But as soon as I took a closer look, I figured out what must have happened.

“Not only was this kit an unusual find, it was a plain miracle—something I’d never seen before: a mutated raccoon. His mother must have abandoned him because he was so different. It was uncanny, the forms his mutation took, and to this day I sometimes wonder if it was evolution rather than mutation. He had opposable thumbs,” he said, wiggling his thumbs at Kitty and Leo, “and his head was shaped a little different, I guess because his brain had developed differently. He was as smart as you or I,” Leo had, in his travels, found more than one opportunity to relate the tale of Honda the Mutant Raccoon, and story had developed a kind of cadence for him.

“Of course, I didn’t realize how smart he was at first, but I could recognize the other signs of mutation. I could hardly leave him there to be prey for the next ‘zilla that came along, so I naturally took him home. My mother wasn’t exactly thrilled, but she let me keep him. I called him Honda—okay, so I was fourteen, and my dad had just given me my bike as a birthday present. That was the word it had on its body, ‘Honda,’ and though I didn’t really know what it meant, it sounded magical to me, so that’s what I called him. Honda.

“As nature would have it, he grew up faster than me, and he grew very clever, too. He learned to talk, in his own way. Maybe if we’d thought of sign language, like you two have, it would have been easier for him, but he managed to learn to speak well enough for me to understand him most of the time. See, his mouth was shaped wrong, and his lips and tongue didn’t work like human ones, so he always had a kind of speech impediment. But that’s beside the point.

“You can imagine how handy he was—literally—what with his thumbs. A raccoon’s hands are his best asset, more sensitive than almost any other species’, and he could get in places no one else could reach and fix ‘em right up, in a drainpipe, undercarriage of a vehicle, furnace duct, you name it, he was your animal.

“Yep,” he said musingly, “me and Honda, we went just about everywhere together.” He paused, because that was about the end of the story. “One day, though, I guess about three years ago, he decided to go off with this lady raccoon he’d met. They seemed to have an understanding. He said he, you know, wanted to get back to his roots, or something. I haven’t seen him for almost two years,” he looked melancholy for a moment, until he suddenly smiled at his traveling companions, “but I’m sure he’s doing just fine.”

He walked a few steps more and then scratched his nose on the back of his glove, saying, “Anyway, that’s about all, I guess.”

He looked round the dusty, cavernous tunnel, coming out of his nostalgia to recognize a particular heap of rubble. “Hey,” he said, “that’s where I killed the rex.” He grinned at Kitty and Tom, “that mean’s my bike should be right up here!”

Whether it was the distraction of Leo’s story, or the direction of the air current in the tunnel, or simply bad luck, it looked to Leo as if both Kitty and Tom were as surprised as he was when a pair of bullets ricocheted off the pavement, accompanied by a twin pair of thunderclaps.

Debris shifted in miniature avalanche and raucous voices of men laughed in derisive pleasure. “Trespassers will be shot!” one man roared, vastly amused with himself, as Leo dove for cover.

The shots had come right from the ensconced boiler room where his bike was hidden. A glance told him that Kitty and Tom hadn’t been hit either, and both were now under cover with him. He peeked over the shattered edge of a vending machine, trying to see where the shooters were and could make out two men with guns. Three other men were further back in the shadows, and seemed to holding sharp pointy objects that glinted dimly in the subterranean gloom.

“Want us to kill ‘em, Lucio?” one guman rasped to the other.

The second gunman, who seemed to be the one in charge, sneered and pointed his gun right at Leo, who needed no further encouragement to duck down.



“Nah,” Lucio said, loudly enough that he probably intended Leo and company to hear. “Not unless they do something stupid.”

“Hey,” Leo called up—diplomacy had worked in the past, might it not work now?—“we don’t mean you any harm! I’m just here to get something I left behind, that’s all. Maybe we can share information and supplies.”

This elicited more cruel laughter from the gang members.

“What, are you here for this moto-thingy?” one said. There was a pause, followed by the piercing sound of glass shattering.

Leo quivered with horror and rage.

“Well,” the snide voice continued, “it’s our property now!”

“You heard him, Skippy,” laughed the one called Lucio. “Now take your little freak friends and make like a tree, or we snuff you.”

Leo cursed, paused, and cursed again. He hated putting Kitty and Tom—who he barely knew—in a situation like this. But he couldn’t abandon his bike. “They’ve got two guns, so we can’t rush in there,” he muttered and smacked a fist into his other hand. “What we need is a plan.”

* * *
KITTY:

Kitty growled low and ducked for cover as the men shot at the trio. How dare they try and take control of this tunnel. As Leo tried in vain to talk to the men, she was looking all around and trying to figure out what to do. She knew this tunnel. Knew it very well. And what she knew the most was there was more than one tunnel in this area.
To make matters worse, she was picking up on the scent of Rex’s in the area. It wouldn’t be long before the grease caked mutations were swarming the area and attacking anything they could sink their teeth into. Kitty wanted to make sure it wasn’t the three of them.

She tapped Leo and Tom on the leg and began signing quickly to Tom. She would explain things to Leo as soon as she got Tom’s attention and kept him from out right attacking the men. Like she wanted to do. But brute force would have to be used later. Right now, they had to make sure nothing happened to Leo.

Other tunnel running same direction as this one comes out further up but in back of bad men. You and I use tunnel and come out behind men, attack form rear while Leo keeps attention focused this way. Must be very quiet, scent of Rex strong. Kill bad men and leave for Rex to feast on but need to hurry before Rex attack.

Looking at Leo, she wished now more than ever the young man understood her signing or she could talk. But, since that wasn’t the case, she began signing to him exactly what she told Tom, but made sure to do it slower so Leo could comprehend. To say the least, she was growing frustrated for she could see Leo wasn’t understanding everything and the urgency of the matter was causing her to go faster and Leo’s lack of understanding was forcing her to slow down.

* * *
TOM:

Tom looked at Kitty and nodded, he then turned to Leo in a horse gravely voice he said softly "There is another tunnel running the same direction. Comes out further up but in back of bad men. Kitty and I use tunnel and come out behind men, attack form rear while you keep their attention focused this way. Must be very quiet, scent of Rex strong. We kill bad men and leave for Rex to feast on but need to hurry before Rex attack." Tom then looked at Kitty to make sure he had given the directions properly.

* * *


Leo gaped at Tom. “You can talk?!”

Tom’s voice was less than crystalline, and no one could probably stand to hear him sing, even in a choir, but Leo understood him. Right now, he realized, that was all that mattered.

“Rex are coming?” he hissed. This was shaping up to be a fantastic day. He showed his palms to forestall further explanation or reprimands. “Okay, okay. I’ll keep them distracted, but be careful you two! Not only did I see two guns, but three of them have knives. We’re outnumbered almost two to one.”

Kitty nodded smartly and turned to slink away. Tom, inhuman eyes already looking strangely focused, padded silently after her.

Leo took a deep breath, suddenly feeling very alone. He loved his bike—loved it like a limb of his own body—but was it worth dying for? Was it not better to lose a leg and go on cracking jokes and laying in the sunshine, than to simply throw in the towel? But if the bike goes, he reminded himself, I’ll never get home.

He slithered out of his backpack straps, leaving the baggage lying on the tunnel floor like a dead animal and turned his attention to his gun, slipping it out of it’s holster under his arm. The ammo should have been full up, because he hadn’t used it all day, but he didn’t dare double-check for fear of making the tell-tale click that would spell his doom. Next, he carefully unsheathed his machete.

It struck him then that he had no idea how long it would take Kitty and Tom to circle around behind their enemies. He had to keep the thugs’ attention forward long enough to give his friends an opening, but he couldn’t risk raising their ire enough that they just decided to kill him and be done with it.

“Hey, guys,” he said in his most reasonable tone. “I doubt that motorcycle means much to you, and unless you know how to mix the fuel for the grease charges, it’s not going to get you very far. What do you say we make a trade, huh? I’ve got some food here, fresh water…”

“Who said we were going to take it with us?” a whiny-voiced ruffian shouted back. “We’re gonna stuff it full of dynamite and watch the show! Stick around, Skippy, you might see something memorable-like.”

Leo tried not to feel physically ill at the thought of the thugs blowing up his bike.

“Besides,” said a more hollow voice, “we got some food n’ water right here, hua, hua, hua! This is a mighty tasty lookin’ can of spom!”

“That’s SPAM, you bung,” snapped another.

If there was one thing you could rely on, no matter where you were, Leo decided, it was that hoodlums are easily lead into distracting banter.

“Okay,” Leo said, “Maybe we can come to some other arrangement. I’m pretty well traveled, and know a lot of places with all sorts of supplies and weapons, and you name it. I could take you to some of these spots if you just hand over my bike.”

“The only other arrangement we might come to is a rearrangement of your anatomy, numb-nuts,” the booming voice definitely belonged to the boss, Lucio, and he sounded like he was losing patience. Leo prayed to whatever God might be listening that Kitty and Tom were almost in position. “Now buzz off before I stop feelin’ like such a nice guy,” Lucio concluded.

“Hey, Boss, did you hear something back there?” one of the thug’s voices had acquired a cautious tint.

Crap, Leo thought. The jig’s up.

Just as Lucio grunted, “Hear what?” Leo launched himself forward, rolling through the open space between humps of wreckage in a bid to buy more time. “Rex!” he cried, trying to sound terrified—it wasn’t that difficult—and fired a round at the back of the tunnel, away from the gangsters, because he couldn’t risk hitting Kitty or Tom. “Oh my God, the rex are here!”

“Rex!?” one of the ruffians echoed, incredulous.

“What the hell?” said another.

Leo fired some more shots, shouting like he was being attacked, intermittently making growls in imitation of a rex.

“The guy’s nuts,” Lucio sounded mystified.

“Rabies, maybe, Boss.”

The last thing Leo heard was, “Let’s put him out of his misery,” before all hell broke loose. A man’s voice lifted in a blood-curdling shriek and bullets cracked the air. One, Leo distantly registered, just grazed through the shoulder of his jacket. A hot flash of pain. He was running for the boiler room, for Kitty and Tom, old shoes and buckets and empty cans spinning away from either side as he dodged through the hills of litter.


Last edited by Vaudeville on Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Remnants of Civilization   Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:26 pm

Next, I would like to preserve Kitty's first encounter with Paradise, because I think it's important:

As Kitty drifted deeper and deeper into her anesthetized slumber, the echoes of the waking world drowned in an over-sweeping silence. The silence was black. Black bottomless void. It went on forever. Or perhaps a few minutes. Time did not matter.

If there was any place in Kitty’s brain where her tiger half and her human half coexisted in complete unity, it was in her subconscious. In the place where dreams are born. Deep in that valley of her sluggish brain, distant lights as peach as sunrise, as golden as a cat’s eye reflecting in the dark, pulsed in soft and soundless melody. As if crossing a great lightless sea, she came to harbor in a place where something existed. Or perhaps the something came to her. It did not matter.


The thing at the end of the darkness was alive, and it was calling to her.



“Come, Kitty,” it said, or it thought, its thoughts her thoughts, reaching deep into her. “Come to Paradise.”

The lights resolved more: a blurry picture coming into focus. She really had arrived someplace new.


“Come to us.”

The place was a city. A city of silver and ivory, floating in purity and light above the wasted world: a beautiful pearl born from the lifeless shell of the earth. It was real, it was there, at the end of the darkness, waiting, a city more glorious than any that had existed before the end of the world.



A city called Paradise.

* * *
KITTY:

As Kitty saw the black void slowly turn to shades of light, she felt a peace engulf her that she’d never felt before. Ever. There was no struggle. No fight between what would dominate her mind. She was just…..Kitty. No worries of survival. No fear of prejudice. No fear of being hunted.

Could this beautiful place really want her there? Accept her for who she was and not see her as an unnatural creation never meant to roam the face of the earth? But even as she asked herself these questions, she knew the answer deep in her heart and that was YES. She felt a pull towards this place and something deep within her told her this was her true home. Not the sheltered bunker beneath the earth’s surface.

Kitty felt warmth surround her as she gazed at the sight before her. Like arms had stretched out and embraced her lovingly, holding her close like a mother holds a child to her bosom. She hadn’t felt that since she was a small child and her creator had comforted her after a bad dream. Yet now, as she let her eyes see the city that called to her, she felt that love once again and tears slipped unheeded down her cheeks.

Paradise. The home she longed and dreamed of her whole life was now before her and she felt as though she could reach out and touch it, but even as she tried, her arms refused to move. While that concerned her, something told her she would reach out and touch her home soon.


“But first, you must be guided by the one sent to retrieve you.”

She was confused but that confusion slipped away when she saw Leo’s smiling face drift before her and she blinked, smiling in return to him. His image faded and she was taking in the beauty of Paradise once more when the soothing voice spoke to her again.

“Protect him as he guides you for it is only through him can you find your way home. Home to us.”

She nodded, or at least she thought she nodded, in agreement with what the voice was telling her.

“I will. I promise.”

The voice she heard was hers, of that she was certain, but it sounded nothing like the voice she was so used to hearing on the rare occasion she normally spoke with. Gone was the growling like sounds and in its place was a soft, feminine sounding voice. The kind she had wished for so long for.

Kitty “felt” the smile that was given to her and again she smiled in return. The vision of the city began to fade as the voice spoke to her again.

“Paradise awaits you, Kitty. Come to us.”

Silent darkness found her once more but even as she swam in the darkness, she could still feel the pull towards Paradise within her.
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PostSubject: Re: Remnants of Civilization   Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:30 pm

Last, but certainly not least, I'd like to include Leo's speech about The Band, so that we can all remember the rules everyone agreed to:



Leo looked mollified as Gregory promised that he wasn’t after bloodshed, hands relaxing at his sides. Why was he so angry, anyway? Maybe the heat was getting to him. Kitty’s use of water hadn’t improved his mood. And no doubt the scanty hours of sleep he’d been running on for the past few days were starting to catch up with him. Still, seeing Gregory’s calm turn of nature diffused the worst of his rage.

Just then footsteps sounded on the stairs and his adrenaline spiked up again. His gun was pointed at the shadows before he saw it was Tom and Rarmon, come back to them. “Jesus,” he sighed, holstering his gun again.

He listened as the robot made his glib announcements and departed again to take watch. “I don’t suppose you guys replaced our garbage camouflage outside, huh?” He asked the retreating Rarmon’s back.

There was no reply and he turned to look in curiosity at the booty Tom dropped on the floor. He squatted next to the pile and started searching through it with expert precision. “Hey, this is great stuff,” he commented, his mood improving by the moment. “I guess I should expect it from you, Tom. The sharpest werewolf in the desert. What’s this, a water purifier? I hope we get a chance to use it.” There wasn’t much hope in his voice. He’d come through the desert to get here and already knew there was no water to be found until they reached the other side of the hills several days away.

He drew up a couple of the marauder cloaks. “These will definitely come in handy.” He waggled one at Gregory. “You could use one of these instead of that jacket. We don’t need you passing out again.”

Gregory’s look was not inviting so Leo let the subject drop. He handed the cloak to Skittles. “You need to cover up, too. You’re already sunburned.” He pointed to the red swatch across Skittles’s nose. Come to think of it, his own nose was burning a little, despite the efforts he had made to keep his head and face covered.

“For me, Guv, really?” Skittles eyes welled up like an expectant child’s. “Why, it’s just like Crissmus!”

Crissmus? What’s that?”

“I dunno, Guv,” Skittles admitted, rubbing his face against the rough cloth of the cloak. “Something me mother always used to say, so she did, Guv.”

Leo carried the other cloak over to Kitty, where she had returned to her nook under the stairs. “No more mud,” he said softly, handing her the cloak. “There’re also a couple of leather jackets, if you’d rather. But this will be cooler.”

She took the rumpled cloak and examined it.

Leo crouched down beside her so that they could talk more privately. “Listen, Kitty…” he began, looked at his hands and back at her. “I’m sorry I blew up, and all. It’s just that—just between you and me—I’m not really sure we have enough water to make it through the desert. Especially not if we keep getting bigger,” he gestured around to indicate their growing numbers. “I mean, I’d like to make it home without having to resort to drinking our…” he paused, suddenly conscious of Kitty, “…well, you know,” he alluded. Leo had never had to drink urine to survive, but he’d heard of people doing that and it sounded awful.

He went on, “I suppose you thought that the water would bring Gregory back to his senses, but…”

He trailed off as she nodded and scratched a message in the dust, also signing it to him. Also can’t use electricity to hurt you.

Leo chewed his lip as he pondered these words. “I see,” he said. Well, there was nothing they could do about it now, anyway. No use crying over spilt water, he thought wryly. The important thing was to make sure the air was still clear between him and Kitty.

He looked back at his friend. More than a friend? he wondered, but pushed the thought away. He stood up. “Never let the sun set on your anger,” he told her with a faint smile. “That’s what my mother always says.” He looked over at the rest of his companions, who were taking in sustenance and water. He himself was parched and hungry. “Well, I’m going to grab a bite to eat.”

Leo retrieved a bottle of water and fought the urge to gulp the entire contents down. They absolutely could not waste any more. He took a mouthful. He had to take another. Then he forced himself to cap the bottle and put it down. It’ll be better when we’re traveling by night, he told himself. Won’t sweat as much.

He wolfed down some of the dried meat and strips of burdock he’d brought from home. They wouldn’t keep as long as the EMT rations, and besides, there was nothing like home cooking. Then he took the opportunity to explore their hiding place more thoroughly.

The basement was as gutted as the ground floor above. There were a few broken sticks of furniture, shattered lights and an old switchbox that didn’t switch anything any more. Leo also fount a fire extinguisher, but nothing came out when he squeezed the handle. As he explored, he kept startling more and more rats. The rats were increasing exponentially. Gavin, he thought. I’m gonna have to ask him about this whole ratty business.

For the time being, though, Leo had other things on his mind. He could see his companions were getting ready to snatch a bit more sleep with Rarmon on watch, and knew he needed to do the same, but this latest exchange with Gregory was weighing heavily on his mind and he could not rest.

He saw Gavin nestled in the shadows, where the most junk was congregated, swarming with rats, on the opposite end of the room from Kitty. He wondered if Kitty was having a hard time resisting the urge to make the kill. This could become a problem, but it was the least of them right now.

Leo approached the seedy-looking man. “Hey, thanks for your help today,” he said. “You’re pretty handy to have around. But listen, I have one more thing to ask you. If we get into some trouble and we can’t go out the front doors, do you think you’ll be able to get out and push that dumpster aside by yourself, make the hole wide enough for us all to crawl out?”

Gavin considered the hole. “I think so…” he said.

“Good,” Leo said. “Hopefully it won’t be an issue, but that’s the plan if the front is breeched.”

Gavin nodded his understanding.

“And let us know if you feel those vehicle rumblings getting close, will ya?”

“Sure.”

Leo smiled and nodded to Gavin, then turned and walked into the center of the subterranean room. He pivoted, slowly taking in the strange traveling companions he’d picked up since coming to this amazing city.

“Hey, Guys?” he said, soliciting everyone’s attention. He was aware that Rarmon wasn’t there, but the robot was another can of worms he’d have to open at another time. “I know you’re all ready for what little sleep you can get, but there are a couple of things I’ve been cookin’ up here,” he tapped his head, “that need saying. Who knows when we’ll be running for our lives again, so I think we should make a decision or two while we have the chance.” He could see he had everyone’s attention, even the dark stare from Gregory’s goggles.

Jesus, listen to yourself, he thought with an inward snort. Who do you think you are, the leader of the pack? Still, someone had to make a few executive decisions, and no one seemed to be fighting him for the job. If Honda could see me now, he’d be laughing his ass off.

“As I think most of you know, Kitty and I—and I think Tom,” he looked to his scraggly-haired friend with too-dark eyes, “are on our way to my home, a good ways east of here, in the green and overgrown valleys.” He smirked at himself. “Anyone who wants to join us is welcome to come. And I know I’m only speaking for myself,” he gave the disclaimer to make it clear that he wasn’t trying to be Mr. Big Stuff, “but I don’t like to travel with anyone I can’t trust if I don’t have to.”

He couldn’t help but look at Gregory first, but he also glanced at Skittles and Gavin. Then, realizing his glances might have significance, he looked at Tom and Kitty. He looked back at Gregory. “Gregory, what you said today when you woke up, well I guess you could say it’s stuck with me. You said something about how your reaction was natural, given what company you’re in.”

Leo paused and looked at his boots. It looked like Gregory might say something, but Leo went on, “In other words, you don’t trust us.” He looked back at the man in goggles and shared his private epiphany from earlier that day: “You don’t trust us, so we can’t trust you. That’s the way it works, as far as I can tell.”

Leo’s next words flowed as outpouring of half-formed thoughts. “Gregory, I think you must be quite an inventor or something, and you obviously know how to use those weapons,” he gestured vaguely at Gregory’s person, “so there’s no doubt you’d be a good ally. But if you really feel that way about all of us, you might as well just take off tonight and go your separate way. I mean, why travel with us if you think we’re going to kill you in your sleep or something?”

Leo’s earlier thoughts came back to him and he looked around at the others. “But what I’ve been thinking here, well, it doesn’t just apply to Gregory.” As Leo was getting more passionate about what he had to say, his expression and tone of voice grew more animated. “My people don’t have a lot of rules, but those we do have, we live by. I wonder if we all can’t agree to live by the same rules. I just want to know what you all think.”

He continued to circulate his intent gaze among his companions as he ticked items off with his fingers. “The first rule is that all food and water is communal among the members of the band. The second rule is that every member of the band will protect every other member of the band to the best of his or her ability. The third and last rule is that no member of the band will intentionally hurt another member of the band, unless the parties have agreed the rules of a fight.”

Leo sighed and dropped his hands. “Those are the big ones, anyway. The cardinal rules.” He crossed his arms. “I know Rarmon’s not here to give his two cents, but maybe he can still hear us with super robot sensors or something, and we can talk to him about it later. But what do you all think? Are those of you who wish to come with me willing to form such a band?”

Leo waited to see who would respond first. It was the moment of truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Remnants of Civilization   Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:39 pm

I too wish to preserve Tom's response and his commitment.

Tom watched Kitty, then nodded, as she signed. He spoke in his gravely almost a howl voice, when she had finished.
" Kitty says she will not attack, unless attacked first. And that she will help all she can, will try hard not to kill rats and will share any food with all. That we are stronger working together as one than as single. There is strength in numbers and it is always better.

As for me, I will protect all the others in our pack." he then looked Gregory right in his goggled eyes.Tom's eyes said that Gregory's words although plentiful said nothing. A noncomittal comitment. Furthermore he still did not trust him. After a low growl that rumbled in his throat and chest, he added "From ANYONE that tries to harm them in anyway." He then stepped over to stand at Leo and Kitty's side.
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