Despatche #012

Day 4,394, 16:57 Published in Ireland Ireland by Sethesin

3.2 Ceannasaí Jack Moore, Dublin Brigade, Rasa Blank

I remember the cool air of dawn when we took to a gallop off and away from Skibbereen. We rode all day, through fields of wheat and barley all ripe to be harvested. It seemed the countryside was empty of farmers though, beautiful as the countryside was it did seem awful quiet, almost desolate. On the first night we'd made camp near the old castle of Blarney. We found a spot to set up camp in the woodland around Blarney Lake. Mick gave me the eyes not to go wandering too far in case we were spotted. Once he was asleep I made my way up the verge to the shadow of Blarney Castle. I took out a Rip-Flare I'd brought and pulled it once I got to the walls. Soon I was up the battlements and cramped tight up the winding staircase to the fabled site itself. Not wanting to make myself more obvious than I already had I put out the Rip-Flare by relieving myself. Maybe I let the stream carry on over to the fabled stone itself but ara sure it was dark and I'd the gift of gab to spare.

Mick pulled me up by the scruff in the morning, his eyes set wild. I thought he was going to throttle me. How could he have known I thought to meself and sure who cares? It's just a bleedin' rock. He stood me up and gestured around him. It turned out he was angry over one of the MacGillicuddy horses, his one. She'd broken loose and bolted during my night's watch. Sure it was a shame to lose that quick sandy blonde mare but what truly stung was upon it's back was saddled most of our provisions. Mick kicked up a bunch of rusty leaves, having no voice to express his fury. We still had my horse, the squat young piebald. We'd have to ride together and t'was lucky enough I was light. I tried to make the same case to Mick but he was having none of it. We took off early without breakfast. His eyes told me I was a burden but even in knowing that subtlety I was ne’er going to give up. If there was any justice in the world at all for my immortal friend Skimpy Graham Burke it began and ended in Dublin.

Riding together, our poor was horse fettered down with both ourselves and our remaining provisions we stopped to rest the following night in the woods near Clonmel. During the day we caught glimpses of shining airships through the high, towering clouds. The earth was unnaturally dry and we crossed yet more ripe fields with no one tending to them, even the grass was yellowing. As I gathered wood for the nights fire I spotted a convoy of soldiers, all well dressed and groomed, holding the latest Nightingale Semi-Automatic Rifles. They didn't look like Goshawk but they seemed just as mean. I crept back to our spot to warn Mick but both himself and our loyal Piebald horse were gone. A deep panic set in. I began to load my revolver, my hands shaking. That horse had my Great-Great-Grandfathers fiddle strapped to it. I thought only the worst in my growing despair. I stayed near our camp until the sun fully set.

I awoke with Mick's grim mug staring down at me. "Where'd you go?" I asked, making a looping gesture to emphasis my concern. He sat me up, pushing my revolver out of my hands. He pointed ahead up the road towards Clonmel. "Where's my fid- Where's our horse?" I stood up, sore boned from sleeping rough. "Hshs..." Mick had forgotten he couldn't speak and as soon as I looked like I was about to laugh he shoved my canvas bag hard into my chest. He gestured we were to walk to the North and made a handlebar pulling sign. "Auto-cycle?" I asked, making sure my dear fiddle was untarnished. He nodded. "The horse?" He took 500cc and change from his breast pocket. He counted out 200cc and handed it to me. "Food?" He gestured we'd eat after picking up the Auto-Cycle. I think being on the road together had softened his temperament towards me. Where once he'd seen a nuisance it now seemed to me he traveled with an equal and dare I say, a friend.

3.3 Mícheál Ruairí "Silent Fox" O'Malley, White Stag Unit, Rasa Blank

I was itching for Jackie to get the hint and feck off away from me. To be fair, he's a good lad and mostly harmless but I was on urgent business and he wasn't making things easy. My horse had the sample of Doppler's different handwriting styles writ on the "Monolith. Follow" queue card he'd left at young Graham's murder site beneath the Silver Birches. By the time we'd got to the Wicklow Hill's it'd been a wonder we hadn't been caught. We'd run low on water and Jackie decided he'd drink from a stream running down the bank of a gravelly road leading up hill. His words, not mine, "If it flows downhill it's sifted through the rocks and therefore, completely pure." I pointed to my stomach and play acted pain. Jackie o' the Liberties knew better than I until he felt the first cramp. I think his whinging was louder than our Auto-Cycle. We'd to stop every mile or so for him to visit the bushes. I'd warned him with a gesture not to do it again but being the big city lad he was he simply knew better.

We came upon an Inn at a crossroad in Glenmalure and by now Jackie needed help. I really didn't like the look of the place. No M.U's had been by in a while by the look of the road yet the chimney plumed turf smoke. Outside a solitary old rusty tractor rested, covered in fading graffiti. Jackie fussed to go but I had a feeling like this place was cursed. It was getting dark and we'd only another day until we got to Dublin. Jackie hopped off the Auto-Cycle holding his stomach, his fiddle-case strapped to his back and revolver tucked into the back of his trousers. I parked the Auto-Cycle hidden down near the brook and followed the groaning Jackie up the road and over an old stone bridge. There was a rotten old sign post; "An Gealach Ghorm Gardenia" was painted in fading green, blue and navy acrylics in old Gaelic script. The Eesti Vabadusvõim and Dublin Brigade took regular turns patrolling the countryside in a large loop covering most counties surrounding Dublin. I took Jackie's dog tags from 'round his neck and hung both his and my own on the sign post. If this place was a trap a patrol would eventually find them. When Jackie asked why I done it I tried gesturing "Just in case." He didn't seem to get it but he didn't press me for any further clarification.

"I need a Doctor Mick, I know we're not to be seen nor speak to a soul until we get to Liberty Hall but I think I'm gonna-" I placed a comforting hand on the poor cramped up Jackie as we past under the Gardenias ivy choked arches. I gestured he'd be fine as best I could. I carried him, his arm over my shoulder as we approached the tall, creepy building with its chimney billowing out thick, heady turf smoke. I looked up into the black windows above. A faint song could be heard playing within, an air both faintly familiar and haunting. I could feel lidless eyes upon me but all the windows were barren. With Jackie hanging off me I wrapped thrice on the green tarnished brass door knocker.

1.X Richard William "Dixie" Watson, Zilch Unit

Doppler had left me in this rickety old shack in the woods once word had come through our Korp Intelligence agent that Rasa's home away from home was in some Podunk town near Cork. One of the Foxes was in the family way and our plan was to draw him out then catch him for ransom once he'd figured out where the Monolith was. I was getting tired of following Doppler but staying here wasn't a solution. He left me with a very special servant, one that almost didn't take to the Type 5 surgery, having been so ill and emaciated when we'd gotten our hands on him. I had him lead my four other servants in cleaning up the place as I waited for news from Doppler. A few days went by and the place was starting to come together when I got the call. The Silent Fox was on his way to Liberty Hall. Excellent. I made damn sure he'd come my way first.

I'd been holed up a little over two weeks and I was starting to take it out on my property, expensive as they were. The one I'd sent out I chalked up as a reasonable loss but if I took it too far with the others, Doppler would get suspicious and tattle on me, that snake. I didn't want a visit from Roger, not until my plan was set in order. Doppler could kiss his command of Zilch Unit goodbye once I'd seen this through. Oh Lord when I heard that Auto-Cycle rumbling up the valley I just knew it had to be him. I'd sent one of my servants out to find him and make enough of a hassle that he'd have to pass through here, the dullard must have succeeded. I was listening to an old record of Irish music that'd been laying around. It sounded a lot like the music I'd been raised up on as a kid, maybe a lil' sadder, more antique... far off. I heard that Auto-Cycle getting closer so I rounded up the servants, got them to get a fire blazing then sent them to hide up in the attic. My very special servant, I kept close. I hid him in the former occupants room on the second floor and told him to play dead in the pile of corpses. I went to my quarters and lay out my subtle, fine tailored Prio Farmer clothes, a green-brown tweed jacket, brilliant white shirt, tailored canvas trousers and suede leather boots. I looked into the mirror and rushed back my hair with a glob of lavender scented pomade. I'd no time to shave so I tied a scarlet silk paisley ascot to really tie the whole "Prio Civ Farmer" look together. I rinsed off my hands then rushed back down stairs to set the bar up all tidy and ready to go. I heard three hard knocks on the door. Man oh man, my heart almost leapt outta my chest. Finally, an opportunity and some Gad damn excitement 'round here!

3.4 Ceannasaí Jack Moore, Dublin Brigade, Rasa Blank

"Well now, let me get that door for you. The name's Dick, but most people call me Dixie on account of my accent." I was about to dishonour myself. "Where are my manners, come right on in fellas!" I must admit I was instantly charmed and more than curious. His exotic accent, his neat outfit and such a charming slightly crooked smile. The Inn was dark and dusty, lit by grim gas lamps. A stair way curved up to a gallery hall with dozens of paintings. To the left there was a parlour stuffed with books and a blazing fire. To the right was a large old fashioned bar, pool table and all. I was so embarrassed asking but I just had to, "Sorry sir, can I use your toilet?" He was still smiling. "Of course! Be my guest, just take a left at the end of the bar, you can't miss it."

Dixie hosted us as a bartender but Mick wasn't having anything. He sat bolt upright on the bar-stool with a faint look of concern on his face. Dixie was the perfect host, mixing together a special cocktail for me he called the Sash and Soot. It was a shot of Irish Whiskey, a splash of orange cordial, a heaped teaspoon of sugar and half a tablespoon of charcoal. Dixie told me the Charcoal would help me with my stomach troubles. He had the Radio set to AM Útvarp Vinland with Red Ericsson playing all the heavy stuff like; "Battle Hero" by The Stealers, "(Won't) Pay to Play" by Deux Clique and "Perma Ban" by the Young Turkettes. Mick stayed at the bar as our new friend and host Dixie and I played pool. I was usually a good shot but I was starting to feel a bit tipsy.

"So Dixie, where is everyone? You've got this big place all to yourself out here in the sticks... Don't you get lonely?" Dixie chalked his queue, his face showing a hint of sadness. "Well sir, my brothers are away, fighting in the Sim Wars and well now it's just me and Granny out here. She's upstairs resting." I stumbled over to place a hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry, so sorry to hear that." He held back his tears and placed his hand on my shoulder. "You're a kind fella, not many kind fellas left in the world these days." I heard Mick croak. It sort of snapped me out of the moment. "Yeah well, we all do what we can eh..." I saw Mick nodding towards Dixie, his hands splayed out like a book. He wanted me to ask more questions. "So, your brothers. What unit are they with?"

Dixie set his queue beside the window and stared out, his face suddenly graven. "So... You're Rasa boys huh? I had a feeling. Neither o' you look regular. I had me some trouble with the Brigade a while back... So how much is it this time? I'm telling you now we ain't got much. Barely enough to cover Granny's medicine and treatments when that damn quack Doctor comes knocking. Didn't want to believe it frankly, but here you are. How much?" I was dumbfounded. "Nah, no! We're not Rasa Blank. Who'd you have trouble with? What patrol was..." Mick wrapped on the bar for attention. He stared at Dixie coldly and gestured he wanted to look around the property, I told him what he meant. "By all means. Say... I never got your names." Mick made the universal "not gonna happen" gesture as he made his way out of the bar and upstairs. "Sorry about him, he's tired is all. We've been on the road a while now." Dixie circled round to the bar. "Oh yeah, I'll bet." he said as he reached underneath the counter. I wasn't quick enough, I had my hand on my pistol but he had his own odd looking pistol aimed at me before I could draw. "Sweet dreams." I felt the dart thud sharp above my collar bone then the lights went out.

3.5 Mícheál Ruairí "Silent Fox" O'Malley, White Stag Unit, Rasa Blank

I knew that slick little shyster Dixie was up to something but I could never have imagined what I was in for walking up those stairs. Even thinking about it now it all just seems like a waking nightmare. I followed the stench down the warped, ramshackle corridors to were the stench was most pungent. The door was locked but I charged it down after a couple of tries with my shoulder. Inside was a pile of bodies, a families worth. I instinctively pulled my shirt over my nose to mask the smell. A swarm of flies, disturbed by the sudden noise buzzed around me. Of what I could make out in the heap there must have been at least twelve, all with waxing skin and empty eyes... all except one.

When he stood up, I panicked. I've seen some horrible things in my line of work but nothing can prepare someone for what I seen shuffling towards me. It was my former Commander Tadgh Mac Allistar. His lips were black and thin, barely covering his mouth, revealing a black maw of loose, jittering teeth. He'd a device crudely implanted on his neck, spreading up to his temples and down his chest, the rest was covered in his ragged old uniform. "Play dead, play dead, play dead." he muttered over and over, looking straight through me. I was paralyzed with fear. I turned to run but that rodent Dixie was in the hallway with a tranquilizer gun aimed at me. I was so freaked out I wanted the slimy bastard to shoot me before dead Mac Allistar could touch me. "Play dead, play dead..." On and on, closer and closer, I couldn't bare to look behind again. I was hit with a dart in the chest and I landed backwards into Mac Allistar’s bony arms. His broken mouth, chewed the words, "Play dead, play dead." His sunken yellowed eyes stared into mine 'til the tranquilizer dart finally overcame me.

3.6 Ceannasaí Jack Moore, Dublin Brigade, Rasa Blank

I woke on a dusty wooden floor. A stark light streamed through a long narrow window. I felt my hands were bound. I thought I was still dreaming until I seen Mick sitting across from me, his knees up and hands bound. By the door stood three, vacant looking men. They stood, staring into nothing, armed with Bullpup rifles. Mick noticed I'd woke up. He nodded towards the odd, pale guards. The all had different M.U uniforms and a black square on their neck with wires leading out of it. I motioned, "What do we do?". Mick held his fist up. Wait.

Time went by like a spatter of pomade down a rough tile. The Guards rotated, bringing us bread and water and also seemingly for beat downs by that trickster Dixie judging by their purple-black eyes and split lips. They never talked, it was like they were hypnotized. Occasionally we could hear Dixie on his Comm-Link, but only when he was annoyed and raised his voice. After the first week went by he came up to us. He looked as charming as when I first saw him. My G*d, I was developing Stockholm Syndrome. Mick didn't even look up when he burst in.

"A doctor is on the way... To fix you. Make you behave... It'll take a while before the good Doctor will arrive and frankly... I'm bored. He whispered into the ear of one of his servants, the tall bald one. "He'll bring us up a few drinks. Won't take long." He crossed the room and sat reclined at the foot of the tall, narrow window, projecting his shadow the whole length of the attic. "Why not be civil? This is, after all, just on my part, a job. I know you didn't sign up to any agreement... but you must admit I out stepped you and by achieving that now, well, your role now is my company. Company to a very, very bored host."

Mick gestured cards, I knew that one. "So, eh, Dixie. Mick's asking if you wanna play cards." He looked away for an unsettling amount of time. The big, bald servant arrived with a tray of liquor. and set it down before Dixie, returning back to his post like a wind up toy. "Ask him what his game is." Dixie exclaimed. He wasn't deaf, I was about to explain that until I remembered I was his prisoner and liable to suffer some very ill consequences. Mick gestured for Poker. He was talented, none of us would play against him back in the Foxes Covert. "No. Poker is played with equals. You have nothing and I have you. No stakes in it for me and don't suggest a game of Snap. You won't fool me so no tricks or I'll kill you both with a pencil!" he bellowed at me, his accent changing to a Prio Civ from the US. "I have an idea! I'll make you drink bottle after bottle of Vodka! Ha! That'll be fun! Hmm... fun and educational! I'll chart the results. How many do you think it would take to kill someone? Maybe six? I reckon risky six." He clicked his tongue and another of his servants, the shorter, bearded tan one stood to attention. "Bring me two boxes of Korp Vodka and be quick!" I squirmed in my restraints. "How about a drinking game instead!? You don't wanna kill us, you need us alive!" He shot at Mick's feet. I jumped in a panic but Mick hadn't flinched." Dixie stood up in a huff, patting the dust from his Prio Farmer outfit. "No games so, baldy, you come with me." He barged out in a fury. Once he was out of earshot I pstst to Mick. How had he not flinched? Even just jerked. I could hear his heavy breathing. He was asleep.

1.X Richard William "Dixie" Watson, Zilch Unit

The Doctor was late. It'd cost me 45,650,000cc to buy the two Type 5 prototypes on the black market. None of it was my money and to top that again I was going outside of my Orgs marketplace to execute this. I needed this to work out or I was finished. If it worked Roger would make me Deputy of Zilch and I could torment Doppler for the rest of my days behind a desk with his hot, blonde fiancé on my lap. Yet lo' and behold. The Dublin Brigade in a repainted A.P.C with Rasa Blank's Uranus symbol over the Brigades colours, sky blue and navy blue. Enemies at the gates. I heard the knock three times. Just as my prize Fox upstairs had done. Had they out maneuvered me? Was Doppler involved or even behind this? I answered the door. I was sweating profusely. "Welcome to the Blue Moon Hostel soldiers!" They breezed by me towards the bar. I didn't really need this. The Doctor was only another day away.

They drank heavily and assumed I was the hermit barkeep they failed to interrogate. I'd managed to mask my accent but that didn't seem to matter to these young soldiers. They seemed to just enjoy their pool games and war stories as long as the beer was flowing. I had my special servant sat hidden behind the bar, about seven darts in his chest from before they arrived. I hist "Stay" and peaked back over the bar. The afternoon turned to night as I spent my time pretending to be a bartender. I knew it would come to blows but I didn't expect it to start out how it went down.

Okay, the filthy leader looking type was ordering his two boorish compatriots to get ready for the ride back home to Dublin. The other two seemed amiable at first, packing up their stuff. Then out of nowhere the head honcho swings for the guy arguing with him. The third guy tries break it up but gets dragged into it. Soon they're in a ball on the floor, beating the heck outta one another. I took out my pistol, totally confused. They stood up, patting themselves down. "I think this will cover the night friend." I was handed a measly 50cc note. Before I remembered I was under cover and holding two priceless prisoners, I just let loose. "...and you thrash my bar and then hand me pocket change!?" The leader thumbed through a stack off bills. "Clemency is a favour non-citizen." He placed 10cc into my breast pocket. My mind had caught up. "Of course! Thank you for keeping the nation safe. It was silly of me to suggest you owed me..." The third guy and the shortest stepped forward and grabbed as many bottles of liquor he could from the bar. "Means nothing coming from a non-citizen. Your words are smoke little man." I was getting riled up, these Paddy savages talking to me with such... I don't know. Something clicked in my head and I shot. I heard the third dude drop, his bushel of alcohol smashing to the ground. I ducked behind the bar. After a few pings, reloads and cussin' we had a stand-off, agreeing both parties would vacate in opposite directions. 45,650,000cc gone lost to the N.A.F. Type 5.06 Servants gone. I was almost in tears as I broke loose with a gun-sack full of money spilling through the woods and into the barren Wicklow Hills.

3.5 Mícheál Ruairí "Silent Fox" O'Malley, White Stag Unit, Rasa Blank

I couldn't scream for help but I knew if we didn't make a racket now, especially after the fight we where gonna starve out here in no man's land. The Guards weren't commanded to do anything so even in the chaos downstairs, they stood their like toys. Oh my Lord, Mac Allistar is like that now, Christ above... Such an insult to life. The Brigade men had only saved myself and young Jackies life by being Brigade men. They'd lost their comportion through enjoying themselves and by chance found us hidden in it. They got a lot of both praise and flack for it. The "Hero Commandos of Glenmalure" they'd called it. I read the tale in segments, looking for my name; as they came out on print the next day, printed exclusively in the New Republic. Myself and Jackie were just up the quay from the new Liberty Hall in a slick, black Prio Civ Auto. We'd both seen each other across a room for days, weeks. I felt happy to breathe the sea breeze through windows, it reminded me of Muldonaich. I knew the fellow now, as well as anyone could and maddening as he could get with his fancy notions he was always honest about what he was trying to say, silly a man as he was.

I got a seat early in the newly built lecture hall. T'was flat black inside with a circular base and a built in water clock fountain tableu. Money well spent but a bit... The report was to heard by my sister, Base Commander Claire O'Malley, Chief Ceannasaí of the Dublin Brigade, Callum "Kaiser" McTaninon and the lithe beau of Brittany, Head Counsul Guénhaël Goff. I was panicking about Mac Allistar, I didn't want to suddenly see him again. Once was more than enough. We'd captured him for study along with our "guards". Claire took to the stage in a rush. "Whoops, I forgot me notes! Sorry! Gotta run!" and was soon gone. She used to do that when we we're little kids, pretend to be sick, worried or whatever to signal to me she wanted to talk in private. Liam knew that same detail too. I felt the familiar pang of his loss like an old gun shot wound.

I soon snapped out of it. Apparently I'd slept through the notes of our lead on Goshawk. When did that happen I thought to myself. Jackie made it out like we'd suffered all the sins of man and been tortured accordingly. If boredom is torture, you're likely not cut out for the role of Ceannasaí. He went forward saying that seeing the corpses and Type 5 ghouls had made him rightfully wilt from further missions. I left the hall, slamming the door behind me. I wasn't a "temper" guy but hearing what happened told as if it was a vicarious adventure got me agitated.

I looked for an office with a balcony about four story's down one of Liberty Hall's new, gaudy and gilded elevators. I really needed fresh air and a smoke. I'd forgone tobacco the past couple of years and opted to just roll herbal. As I was finishing up I spotted Claire in the gloom of the room. She had found me, or rather her odd looking puppy had. "It's a Russian Grey Tame Fox. They're very rare. He's lived long enough I started to call him Sheeney. He's a gift from Raven." The young kit bounced around me, looking for a game to play. Claire slumped into the room's office chair. "So, now we have something worse than Goshawk? Is that what you're trying to tell me or are you talking larger? I gestured "Larger". She stood by the glass wall, a hand to her forehead, looking down at Dublin with the Fox kit Sheeny at her heels.

"Tf the Monolith is a place then it's a trap Mick, c'mon brother!" I tried my best to gesture to those assembled but my diction tends towards shy of too idiomatic. I took to the lecture hall stage and chalked,"Goshawk > Zilch > ??? " with shrugged up shoulders. "The Academy. What's their Org's postal code?" a young scruffy haired Captain blurted out. I gestured to Claire to watch the board and help me cover what I was writing. Those assembled their were fust about their eviction on a matter of National Security. I locked the doors to try express what was going on to Claire.

"Killed, wait no sick, wait I've got it!" I nodded, she was close. I was trying to act out Zilch Unit like a game of Charades. "So Zero Unit is out to get us?" I nodded. "Do we attack back!? What is it you're asking of me?" I gestured Liberty Hall could fall without her help. That one took a lot of guesses. "Ok, I think I've got it now. I read you loud a clear bro, Rasa will be on alert for Zero... I shook my head. "Nada?" Nope. "Nothing?" I gave up. "*ahem* Rasa will apprehend the suspect Glenmalure serial killer. She gave me a look like, "Anything else?" I made a fist for safe. She had a look about her. She always seemed grumpy. Myself and Liam would tease her about it as children. Now she seemed oddly enough both commanding and calm. "... and with perseverance we'll have it done before dinner. End Despatche." The doors bust open but Claire had them gone with a nod. I pointed towards my stomach then to hers. She nodded her head. Yes! I gestured where was the Honey Badger. She turned away, gesturing he was flying. On a mission so. I didn't see Jackie after all the commotion. I sat up late. I thought about that bastard Dixie and our sprightliest, most unburdened man and what he'd put him through. I thought of Ratel finding the enigmatic Black Hound and capturing the monster Petrov. I stayed up late and I prayed they'd succeed. As I lay their dreaming, the smell of the ocean and Mac Allistars dread voiced echo woke me up. We’d managed to capture him but none of us knew what to do with him. I thought about going to check on him but I feared I’d be “breaking protocol” or whatever. I lay back down and looked up into the ceiling. I felt like a stranger here. So many that I fought with, to take Liberty Hall as our own, they were now all past and gone. One of the best of them is a meat puppet, sitting bolt upright in the bowels of our R&D basement complex. Liam would’ve probably ended one of these on a joke. I miss him. End Despatche.

Thank you for reading! So this is the last season...
Started back in Day 4,083
Thanks to everyone who has followed our tale this far.

Go raibh maith agat!

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