Tribemeet 2020-21 Buildup & Story

Jul 15, 2020
113
229
63
It was a dark and sumpy night at One-Eyed Ripper Jack's Casino. A fairly quiet night, not counting the constant roar of machinery in the distance. Over crackling speakers played a falsetto voice singing over rythmic beeps, clicks, and whistles.

There were no winners in this house of ill repute. Some would call it a den, or a hole. Reeking, hairy dregs slumped over empty bottles and clogged pipes. The card and dice games at the moment were just a few practically creditless regulars going through the motions, betting with table scraps, pebbles and litter from the floor. The usual foot traffic of bored, curious, and greedy hivers was not to be found tonight.

Dennivan adjusted his dark poly-weave trenchcoat and grimaced. Something was up. He grabbed his associate Kakk by the shoulder.

"First up. Destroy that music cartridge. Don't even trade it. I never want to hear Jolly and the Sumptones ever again." Kakk nodded, the motion sending his reflective goggles rocking. The mirror image of Dennivan appeared to dance in the lenses.

"Second and third. Kill the lights. Get rid of the Punters for now. The Juves aren't back with reports and I'm calling a meeting."

Kakk wiped water dripping from a rusty pipe off his pale bald head. "I think that was four. Whatever. Okay." He motioned to Gog and Lunk, security for the evening. They began dragging the half conscious patrons outside.

Dennivan asked, "What's the general status, anyways?"

Kakk shrugged and itched his scarred nose. "No trouble with the other crews today. Oddly peaceful. Yeah though, Denn... I was hoping to resolve this before coming to you. The Inter-Hive network is down. I don't think it's just us."

"WHAT! You had to figure that's high priority. Drek this slop! We can never be the last to know... Ok, get Ratch and Krunk on that. Tell Suze to recall our operatives. I need you here. We're part blind now so the safe move is everyone in Jack's."

He groaned. "f**k it, we need some kind of outside intel. Just put on SCR. I'll pour us some Snake."

Kakk conveyed the orders through a wrist comms. Then, he adjusted controls at a panel. The colorful interior lights dimmed. A moment later, the gleeful crooning and blooping of the Sumptones music was replaced with static, then garbled voices. Sump City Radio.

"...total fucking mayhem! Trolls, clones, and mutants are running wild! Mass casualties, drowning deaths in the thousands! Creatures of unknown origin ...#CHHHH#... severe flooding! Captain Orangebeard ...#CHHHH#... Ambulls and Sump Crocs living together! absolute pandemonium in ...#CHHHH#... to run to!...mutated fish everywhere! Emporer preserve us!

Stay tuned to Sump Cit ...#
CHHHH#... updates coming in now. The first survivor out of Hive Fury is a loyal citizen named Chapwill Chipwall. We are seeking an interview but apparently he thinks we're collecting a bounty. Conflicting...#CHHHH#... ...conflicting reports are saying ...#CHHHH#... dozens of makeshift refugee boats spotted near Trollholme and Habzone Quandary. The refugees are armed. Some have three or four arms. Stout hearted Sump City volunteers are preparing an expedition to keep the dregs away from our peaceful shores. At this time we ...#CHHHH#... WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY YO, SUMPY! MORE ALGAE BLOOMS PER LITER THAN ANY OTHER--

"TURN IT OFF," barked Dennivan.

'...MAKE MINE SUMPY, PLEASE!'...*klik*

Kakk's lightning fast wired reflexes muted the jingle in a blur of fingers.

Dennivan grinned. Calamity meant customers. Desperate to rebuild, the drowned rat survivors would trade everything they had left for just a chance to make it. The crew running One Eyed Ripper Jack's knew all about chance.

At the same time Dennivan thought it, Kakk said, "we're gonna need to find Kurgan."

Before he could reply the sound of autopistols, shotguns, and unholy screams broke the silence. The return sniper fire was whisper quiet by comparison.

Two soaking wet Juves from the crew burst through the side entrance, almost tearing down the colorful tapestry covering the door. One collapsed on the gaudy carpet and lay still, blood oozing from his mouth. The other was also heavily wounded. She tried to speak. Her mouth was smashed and torn.

"Truh... Truh..."

"
Trouble?" asked Kakk.

"Truh..." was the last sound the Juve spoke before dying in Kakk's arms.

Dennivan adjusted his optics and leaned down. The Juve was holding something.



A shock of bright orange hair.
 

Stoof

Yakmarines 2nd Co. Word Priest
Yak Comp 2nd Place
Tribe Council
Jun 1, 2016
3,572
12,240
268
Ellon, United Kingdom
The old spider hunter scrapes the remaining dried sludge from the old data slate. He'd found it, filty and battered, in the guts of a small sump spider. Plugging it into the small portable power source in his shelter, he is mildly surprised that it powers up. Leaning back against the fibreplast wall, he puffs on his pipe and settles down to read the entries.

-------

EXPEDITION DAY 0001.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
We begin today. My fellow Enginseers have finalised construction of the drilling rig. The noosphere is chittering with excitement. We are keen to be off. Noted today: The arrival of an Arch-Genetor and a small retinue of their unusual non-pattern servitors. He outranks me but has made it clear that I am still in charge - he is interested in the biological developments in any long-sealed domes we encounter, and disinterested in our mission rearding archaeotech. I hear the actuators awakening. We are off presently.

EXPEDITION DAY 0018.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
We broke into our first lost chamber today. One servitor destroyed in the fall of the rig through the dome roof. Servitors and Junior Enginseer 4NDY-K44T tasked with recalibrating the impact dampeners and stripping the servitor for parts. Arch-Genetor disappeared into the darkness almost as soon as we arrived. Initial Servitor sweeps suggest this was a freshwater cistern. No water remains, only common technology still widely used found so far. Noted today: The rebar in the concrete of the dome wall is not at standard spacing, being 8.76% further apart than current doctrine demands. The Transmechanics have issued a request to find out when the spacing used here was in use.

EXPEDITION DAY 0062.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
We are finally through to our next dome. There is plenty of technology here, but it is still in use - we have dropped into a functioning manufatory sector. Wisely the workers saw the drill tip working through the roof and moved most equipment away from beneath in the days before we descended. One factory destroyed by the fall. Despite this, dome overseers are pleased at our arrival. The hole we have created makes for a far shorter route uphive for their goods. Arch-Genetor is angry at having nothing new to investigate here.

EXPEDITION DAY 0075.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
The concrete pours making up the dome we just cut into are canted at 22.34 degrees sinkwards. It seems a hivequake tipped it during contruction, as the floor level has been retrospectively corrected to horizontal. The dome is otherwise an abandoned, mouldy place. Several of the Lexmechanics and some of the Arch-Genator's retinue are acting strangely, saying they've seen everything from what appeared to be remakably clean looking data slates, to functioning servitors, to seldom seen Magos acquaintances amongst the mouldering buildings, fungus forests and slime stalagtites. It is most bemusing. The Arch-Genator is excited by this prospect for some reason.

EXPEDITION DAY 0075 Addendum.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
After losing a Lexmechanic and Transmechanic, the Arch-Genator went out alone. He came back excited as a neophyte - this dome contains a population of something he called Lurian Amphibious Sumpii - the "Sump Angler Frog" - it uses a psychic lure of what victims desire to draw them to its massive maw. All teams are confined to the drill until we've broken through to the next dome.

EXPEDITION DAY 0102.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
This dome is a wonder. It seems a hivequake sealed the access points whilst it was in use as a manufactorum centre and for some reason it was never re-excavated. Strange graffitti adorns many of the walls, and although the dome is without power there are plentiful signs of continuing habitation. We cannot yet establish how long the dome has been sealed, though the machinery maintenance docket one of the survey teams retrieved suggests around three thousand standard years. We have not seen any inhabitants yet but sensor sweeps indicate a large pupulation around us constantly.

EXPEDITION DAY 0104.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
We tried to re-activate the drill today and found many of the cables connecting the actuators have been damaged. Marks are not consistent with shears or chainblades - the Arch-Genator suggests tooth marks, and although implausibly large it does seem to fit a pattern. In any case servitors have been positioned around the drill whilst repairs are made, we will be unable to move for several days.

EXPEDITION DAY 0106.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
We have lost four servitors. Although nobody has yet seen an attacker, we hear brief gunfire and before we reach the source the servitor has been disabled and often dismembered. They are definitely tooth marks. Many adepts are reporting hearing "chittering" and rapid footsteps in the darkness. We have stopped surveying for archaotech and are focusing all efforts on repairing the drill. The Arch-Genator is taking his team out later, giddy with excitement.

EXPEDITION DAY 0107.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
The Arch-Genator has returned, raving about an amazing discovery. He returned alone. He keeps talking about rat-men and genetic viruses. It sounds heretical. He has cristened them the "Virattus".

EXPEDITION DAY 0108.
Enginseer S4MM31L0-XX3 transcribes:
They are coming.

EXPEDITION DAY 0108 Addendum.
Arch-Genator G3LLY8URG-23 transcribes:
The loss of S4MM31L0-XX3 will be sorely felt, I'm sure. The Viratuus however are a fantastic genetic blend of rodent and man. They are strong, fast, stealthy and clever. If only they would let me take a sample of a few dozen of them for testing. Pursuasion is proving difficult, we have no more combat servitors functioning and only half of our original team. The Mechanicus team seems to rankle at now being commanded by a Biologus. They are weak and wish to re-activate the drill now that it's repaired and escape. I can hear the howls of the Virattus coming again.

EXPEDITION DAY 0109.
Arch-Genator G3LLY8URG-23 transcribes:
That was unexpected. I was about to concede that it was time to lock ourselves in the drill and escape when the Virattus began to fall around us. Many hit with solid shot and I swear I saw arrows. It seems they did not anticipate being attacked from the rear by another force, but I shant complain about it. They soon fled into the darkness. We did not get a clear view of our allies, but what we could suggests standard human build but primitively dressed and armed. My records suggest these may be the mythical "Ratskins" I have heard about. In any case they seem adept at fighting the Virattus. The four of us remaining managed to drag some of the dead Virattus aboard the drill and into chill caskets - until now they've always taken their dead.

EXPEDITION DAY 0110.
Arch-Genator G3LLY8URG-23 transcribes:
The drill won't start - infuriatingly we can't tell from the diagnostics what's wrong. There are several Ratskins outside and we can hear the Virattus nearby. I think the Ratskins want us to go with them. I think we have to. It's that or death quickly at the teeth of the Virattus or slowly by degredation locked in the tomb of the drill. Omnissiah help me, we must go.

EXPEDITION DAY 0132.
Arch-Genator G3LLY8URG-23 transcribes:
We have been trudging with the Ratskins for days. Their culture is fascinating, despite their appearance of standard humans. They won't communicate with us much. They're very vague about where they're taking us, and simply say it won't be long. It is becoming harder to find functioning power sources for the equipment, and the Ratskins are beoming increasingly annoyed with us stopping to recharge.

EPEDITION DAY 0135.
Arch-Genator G3LLY8URG-23 transcribes:
*CAUTION - CORRUPTION - INCOMPLETE RECORDING DUE TO POWER FLUCTUATION*
...fascinating. The... invg vats... rat... man-ma... why would they do such... found... path back uphive... coming again...

EXPEDITION DAY 0136.
***UNKNOWN - WARNING - CORRUPT IDENTIFICATION STATUS***
*Hissing*
*Chittering*
Distant voice: We take the sky path! We takes it to the weak manflesh! Gnaw their bones!
*Loud chittering*
 

Stoof

Yakmarines 2nd Co. Word Priest
Yak Comp 2nd Place
Tribe Council
Jun 1, 2016
3,572
12,240
268
Ellon, United Kingdom
These fluff snippets related to the different campaign territories available.

------------------------------

"Whadda hellya doin' Ungo?" grunted Gruff, stomping over towards the crouching Juve and making the skiff rock. He glanced round, not wishing to take his eyes off whatever he was tinkering with for too long.

"Well Boss... y'know dis green sludge make de boys choke an' puke wen it gets in de air, yah?"

Gruff slowly nodded. This sounded a lot like thinking, and the Hammerheads didn't get where they were today by thinking too much about stuff. I mean, they were crammed on a barely floating barge in a toxic waste pool and half the crew were dead, but he was pretty sure if he'd spent too much time thinking it'd be much worse.

Ungo held up the canister he was working on - he'd carefully scraped together some of the foulest looking lumps of sludge into a big caff powder tub and stuck something in the middle of it.

"Well, since we're stuck ere anyways, figured we could use summa dis crud to get one up on dem ovver gangs." He pointed into the canister. "Blasting charge from da old mine, the best o' da poisonous stinky crap... boom! Air full o' muck gonna make our enemies puke der guts up!"

Gruff grinned. Ungo might be almost too bright to be in the Hammerheads... but sometimes, just sometimes, thinking paid off.

----------------------------------

Sheenie stalked along a girder towards the ruined building - it had been a warehouse before the floods came, but the force of the first flow had damaged the walls to such an extent that it had partially collapsed, leaving the building canted in the water at an angle that no building had any right to be at. It periodially groaned and creaked as goods within shifted and the waters flowed.

Spreading her trenchcoat like a rudimentary grav-chute, she dropped onto the slanted outer wall, defly perching on a 3rd storey window sill. She fired a laspistol shot into the lock, and the window swung inwards before falling from its rusted hinge to skitter down the angled floor and crash into a muddle of crates and junk against the opposite wall.

She dropped inside, slid on the dusy surface and almost fell before managing to turn it into a controlled surf down the floor. She raised a foot to stop against a crate - but with a splintering crunch her heavy boot punched through the flimsy fibreboard and into the box. Something writhed within, and she didn't quite manage to stifle a panicked sqeal as she pulled her foot out... wrapped in Imperial Guard webbing belts. Taking a deep breath, she composed herself, pulling her high collar up again. Just belts. Nothing creepy.

There were several crates marked as webbing, a few as gloves (left). She couldn't see any for gloves (right). There was one, larger box which had crushed several others on its slide over to the wall when the building had fallen. Heavy was good. Heavy was valuable.

She half walked, half slid towards it, canting her head to read the upside down legend.

"Bingo" she whispered - the legend read "FLAK VEST, UNIVERSAL (HUMAN), MK.MMCCXIV, COLOUR: HIVE WORLD GREY". She wouldn't be able to move the whole box, but she could take a few to sell and maybe come back for others. She shot a corner off to give herself a hand hold before bracing herself and pulling as hard as she could. There was a groan and a splinter as the nails pulled out then the lid snapped in two. Tossing the fragment of board aside she grabbed a vest from inside.

The board she'd thrown skidded over the jumbled crates, thudding into one just hard enough to dislodge it... it popped from where it was pinched by two others, alowing them to slide, which caused another to break and suddenly with a screech everything shifted.

Sheenie just kept her footing as the whole building groaned and shuddered. She heard four bangs, like gunshots, and the world rocked. With a sickening lurch the floor/wall dropped away, her ears popped, and she fell after it as the building finally collapsed.

-------------------------------------

"Go on, eat it!"
"It came from the sumpwater Gojo!"
"Yeah, but it's good. Arex had some and he's not dead."
"Gojo, Arex has the constitution of a brick wall."
The diminutive ex-chef sighed and stabbed a bit of the jiggly green sheet on the battered metal plate with a fork, and bit the end off. He almost managed not to grimace as he chewed the rubbery weed.
"Is good," he mumbled, "al dente."
Suma looked down at the plate Gojo had given him. He was very hungry, after all. He picked up a glistening strand and lowered it into his mouth. It had a texture like gristle, and was bitter... but it wasn't so bad as some things he'd eaten in his life.

--------------------------------------

Hadrion stood in the rickety, disconcertingly mobile street of Flotown, the hawker's tray of clinking jars heavy around his neck.
"Heat jelly! Get your heat jelly! Good for cooking! Good for light!"
An Escher ganger surveying the hawkers caught his eye and sauntered over.
"What is it?"
"Only the finest heat jelly madam!"
"Yeah, but... what is it?"
"It's... organic and... uh... all natural?"
"It's sump sludge isn't it?"
"...yes. But it burns really well! Don't get it on your skin though. Or anything you're particularly fond of."
She picked up a jar, popped the lid and gave a very tentative sniff. A moment later she started a coughing fit lasting a good ten seconds.
Hadrion considered sidling away - someone dropping dead in front of you was bad for business - but she soon recovered her composure.
"How much?"
Hadrion grinned - "A jar of water per jar of jelly, a full autogun clip or similar for two jars, or a standard ration pack gets you five jars. Make an offer."
She considered for a second.
"A frag grenade and lasgun cell for four?"
"Deal!"

---------------------------------------

There was definitely something good in the water. Shifting shadows made it very hard to focus on, but she was certain there was something down there - there was a faint red twinkle. Ruby carfully dipped an ungloved pinkie in the water. It didn't burn much. She could swim down and check it out before the boss got back, no problem. She'd been expressly forbidden from doing so, but if it was something cool she was sure she'd be forgiven.

She tossed her holstered laspistol to the juve lounging by the roof edge that was their temporary home.

"Hold that. And I will check it's got the same power pack in it when I get back."
The juve looked confused - "But the boss told us to..."
Ruby had already dived off the building, home-made goggles protecting her eyes as she swam into the water. Is this what space was like? No gravity, everything shifting around? She saw the glint again and powered towards it. She reckoned she could get down to it before her lungs gave out.
Reaching the glint, she pulled a slimy street sign aside to reveal it fully. The broken brake light of a cargo lifter. The lifter itself was nowhere to be seen.
Thoughts filled with expletives, she left a trail of bubbles as she propelled herself back to the surface and swam to the roof edge. Holding out a hand, the juve helped her climb up.
"What was it?" they asked as Ruby stripped out of her wet clothes.
"Fracking nothing" she spat as she rung out her hair, then the worst of the water from her top and trousers.
She reached out to the juve to retrieve her laspistol. The juve had rather presumptiously put the holster on. They unbuckled it and handed it to her just as she caught a glimpse of something moving in the water behind the juve.
"Get away from the edge!" she managed to scream as the tentacle whipped around the juve's neck and hauled her swiftly from the rooftop.
She shouted in rage and punched lasbolts wildly into the water. She couldn't see anything, not even a trail of bubbles. She didn't even know the juve's name.

-----------------------------------------

"You sure it was 'ere?" enquired Droxey, the gang leader.
"For certs man, I saw 'im jerkin aroun' like a puppet when 'e fell against it!" insisted Flex.
"Not 'cos you'd jus' shot 'im in the neck, nah?"
Flex ignored the question and poked at another bit of girder with the length of stiff insulated cable he was carrying. The other end of it was in the water a few meters away. He jumped as a bright blue spark lept between the stripped lead end and the girder.
"See! Told ya!"
Droxey suddenly looked much more interested. Careful not to touch anything metal connected directly to that girder, he looked around it as best he could.
"There! I sees it!" He pointed up to where a power cable had fallen from far above, the end coming to rest against the girder. It looked like it had welded itself there.
"Bring more cables man, it's time to juice up da guns."

------------------------------------------

Arex tried another twelve digit code. Whoever had worked in this precinct house had written them all down in a book they'd found in an upturned desk. But they had some kind of reference system on their list for what each code was for, and there were dozens.
The light flashed red again.
He sighed, shifting his feet in the ankle deep slugde, allowing a fresh waft of stench up. Gojo, sitting on a nearby worktop, groaned at the fresh smell.
He punched in the next code. With a heavy clunk the locks moved and the light showed green.
Steeling himself for the reek, he shifted again and hauled the heavy door open. Gojo coughed then retched up some thin stringy bile as the door opened. Through the door to the left were the holding cells - which had been fully occupied when the enforcers were driven from Fury's Rest. That was weeks ago. The odour from the now heavily decomposed bodies sealed in the room was eye-wateringly rancid. Empty and oozing eye sockets stared accusingly at Arex as he entered. He tried to ignore the corpses as he looked to the right - another door. He knew what this one was. He methodically punched in codes one by one, trying to subdue his writhing stomach.
On the twenty-third try, the light showed green. He hauled this heavy door open and managed to grin despite the stench. The guns were all gone, but there were still several boxes of neatly wax-papered stub gun rounds, a case of boltgun shells and two full crates of grenades - frag and gas.
"Jackpot, Gojo!" he shouted, "get Suma in here, I don't care about the stench - we need to get this stuff dried out."
 
Jul 15, 2020
113
229
63
Blind One, I know as you lay dying these words may be meaningless. Even if you spoke our language you would not understand. It is no insult to you. Even the whelps and Braves of my clan are ignorant and stick to the simple, common words.

My time here is a gift to honor your passing. Your corpse-slaves fought well by our side. But my words... the meanings are for me, and the small ones. My Elders lay dying as well and cannot counsel me. I have not the heart to reveal my betrayal of the Ancestor's ways in any case.

They call me Walks-On-Forepaws since I was climbing before I could walk. I have seen much. My deeds are in song. If I live through today I may be asked to be an Elder myself. Or perhaps I will be banished.

There is much to say and do. I speak so my desperate legs do not carry me to ruin. I speak in a doomed attempt to kill my own shame.

Your wheezes, odors, and movements are offensive to my eyes. You do not belong in our sanctuary tunnels. Yet you are the one to hear my confession. You, and the spirits, and their vessels. For with your approaching death they crowd close... ready for their feast. It is no dishonor.

The ways of Medicine are forbidden to my caste. I was a scout, not a healer or war planner. Yet I wanted to help the tribe. We are falling ill, it's bad. But tradirions heed not our intentions.

It was I, Walks-On-Forepaws, who brought the ruination of our Family. I acted without guidance of our patron spirits Rodentia and Fanglord.

We did not save your war party out of kindness. It was my decision even though my Brothers did not know it. I was not even there to fight! But I urged them on and lead the trail. It was I that had you followed for kilometers. I thought you might have the Medicine to save my people. If not we could trade your tools for what we need. I should have listened to the traditions and left you be. For my crime, so many of us are dead.

My sisters and brothers believed the ratfaces to be sacred. Others embraced them as relatives. I love my family but they are fools. They are demons sent to punish my hubris. They twist our worship into terror. I have not the words, even in this formal forgotten tongue of the Ancestors.

If we hadn't been tracking you those monsters would never have been released. And I would be now singing in the arms of my Beloved.

My feelings don't matter anymore, if they ever did. The tribe will continue in the great cycle of dying, eating, and spawning. Someday I too will provide a Spirit's Feast. It is The Way.

Our Elders warned of the flood. Their dreams become the next days. That's why they took us to safer, higher nests. They were cramped and corrupted and made us sick. Myself and some other Braves objected. We should have appreciated the old wisdom and listened. We could survive the illness. Not the bloodshed. By my hand I invited this.

Blind One, do you know why we call you that? Despite sparking eyes that see in the shadows, you are blind to the Hive. The rhythm, the energy that whispers it's next move. Now I am become blind. As your robes the color of rat's blood absorb the damp... as your life withers... my heart withers like a burnt rag. My essence is absorbed by the Hive. I should cut my tail from my body, in shame. But if asked to serve again it needs to be held high. Your curse to not have one means falling deaths. Yet we are despised? Plain envy. You greed for trinkets but not for what would save your life from the very basic forces of the Hive.

Your only freedom is the Spirit's Feast.

You metal ridden Hivers think we are a quiet people. A myth like the god-man. You simply hear, or see what is plain in front of you. What, a clicking device will do your navigating? To move on built legs like a sump crab? But my scorn is pointless now. I have fallen in honor just as Skree-skree fell from that pipe years ago. A ruined wreck speaking to what's almost a corpse. The same thought again and again cloaked in a thousand words.

Yes, we hate you. Not for your lost ways, the things I just said. Simply for the fact that my people are hunted for sport.

Oh how I wish you could understand me now.

My tone is even. But are these yet the ravings of a madman?

My people are not accustomed to feeling lost. It is only tonight I grasp the full horror of your lives and clockwork minds.

Yet I will not cast myself in churning waters. I must carry on. For there is much to say and more to do.

I am fallen. You are dead. We are the same? Now it is my sole task to weep.


His silent companion shuddered once more, then never again. A final hiss of compressed air accompanied the sound of sobbing in an almost musical way.

Green lights spelled out a message on its cracked chest monitor, scrolling endlessly:


[[data processing error... stack overflow...data processing error... stack overflow...data processing error... stack overflow...]]
 
Last edited: