Litterbug Junction: Open for Worldbuilding Jul 17, 2018 14:28:50 GMT -6
Post by Caulder Melhaire on Jul 17, 2018 14:28:50 GMT -6
"This is who we are, this is what we've got - no, it's not our Paradise. But it's all we want, and it's all that we're fighting for..."
The end came fast. If you weren’t looking, you didn’t see it.
Everything began with RUBIK. The dodecahedron device was acquired by Section 16 of the Watchtower Intelligence Commission in 1997, during an expedition to the heart of Salar de Uyuni. Over the next two decades they performed countless experiments with the alien device, shifting its numerous panels into every combination conceivable.
Eventually, they found one that worked.
Most experienced the shift as an earthquake. Wondering why they woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. A lack of balance; a slight quivering of the ground and air, though nothing moved. Those closest to the coast watched their homes move around them, although nothing fell off the bookcase, and nothing cracked. But the world fell off the rails.
Adjusting took time. Even though Element 121 was strange to our senses, it had been there all along. Hadn’t it? Or had it really creeped up on us? Waiting in the shadows, deep within the salt flats. Within mountains. At the bottom of caverns, and even growing just below Grandma Sadie’s beans. It had been there all this time, only we just hadn’t seen it.
Something else saw it too, and we called that something Vile.
No one knows where the first infestation came from. Twining masses of wire and steel. Living steel. Pockets and bags of flesh and amber lymph, guiding and directing its mass across the world. With each ounce of matter it added to the conglomerate, it grew stronger. Faster. With each human added to the living portion, it became smarter.
Yet all was not quite lost. In the years before the Vile came to Earth, we had studied Element 121. Learned how to activate its unique crystal structure. It seemed to be able to create matter and energy from nothing. It was impossible. Inconceivable. And yet the first people to use a CHRoMe unit threw water from their hands. Cast fire across the ground. Even created a form of sentience from the unit itself.
They say, “any sufficient technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And we had acquired it.
WIC was the first to fall. The Vile spread along the east coast, taking out the United States’ greatest defensive agency. The capital city stood even less of a chance. Humanity fled west, and the infestation followed. From the chaos, PROSPER rose up and directed the fight. They shuffled us west, kept us fed, watered sheltered. And they poured everything they could into the production of CHRoMe technology. Mankind’s weapons did nothing, but the CHRoMe units devastated the beast. Where bullets and missiles fell short, the thunder and fire of CHRoMe brought the clusters to their knees.
Across the country, humanity took a stand. And we were holding it back.
But it wasn’t enough for PROSPER. They privatized the CHRoMe technology, and converted it into a series of super bombs, that could sweep the world with concentrated Hetra output, and damage the Vile clusters en masse. It was a decent plan. Infrastructure had failed and we needed something extreme.
If only they had warned us. Those with the foresight to read between the lines made bunkers. We hid underground, behind mountains, and dug ourselves into hills. We fled to the untouched lands, where no Hetra had been seeded, and waited for the inevitable.
On August 13th, 2036, the ground shook once more. Surface level bombs were detonated across the country, at or near the heart of every infestation. Fire and ice, thunder and steel, radiating outwards in ripples of godly wrath. Man, earth, and man-made were devastated. But the Vile, not so much. It just wasn’t enough. Or perhaps it was too much. But the Vile did not die as we’d hoped it would. Instead, it doubled its pace, growing and spreading. Seeding the land with unnatural life.
PROSPER had failed. And they ran, leaving us to deal with the fallout.
The Hetra bombs were hardly nukes, but it took a few years for the effects to dissipate. In the end, it was the rebelling of nature caused by the sudden upswing of what we had called magic that destroyed most of the country. Earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes. Landslides and avalanches. It took 13 years for the commotion to die down, and the Earth to go back to sleep after we supercharged it with magic. And we stepped out of our hiding places to find ourselves in the middle of her nightmare.
Reliance, South Dakota; New Orleans, Louisiana; Antioch, California; Maiden, North Carolina, and Paradise, Montana. These were the last Stands of humanity. Led by people who called themselves Renaissance Agents; outfitted with the forgotten CHRoMe technology, they drew an arrow in the sand and banished the Vile east of it.
Of course, we didn't know any of this until people started showing up from other Stands. We all thought ours was the only remaining group of humanity left in the fight. That our Agent was a lone Godsend, sent to give us another chance against the Vile. But as it turned out, as more and more people started flooding in, there were more than one. More cities, more Stands, more strange and powerful Agents.
And it just so happened that one of them had made a railway...