Despatche #021

Day 4,430, 13:30 Published in Switzerland Ireland by Sethesin

Doppler, Zilch Unit

I was sick of waiting around in this dreary town. I knew those Rasa dogs would come sniffing around eventually so I amused myself with a few social experiments. The first experiment was conducted in the town square. I’d heard somewhere that a King had left a great treasure without any guards in the centre of his town and such was his influence that without even a single guard protecting the treasure his subjects feared to go near it. So I put out bread and water. It’d “mysteriously disappeared” during the night. I knew it couldn’t have been my guards, they’d been through the Type 5 process, they were like mannequins. So it had to be the townsfolk. I had Lady Kana, the mistress of the Foxes Covert screen my thoughts. After one too many pints of ale I came to the conclusion that I should have made the stakes higher. The next day I put out one of their young beside the cornucopia of food, beer and water with a slate over the child's shoulders, “Take one, not the other.” The following day my bounty was untouched yet the child had disappeared. I went back to the drawing board.

I asked Lady Kana who was the most disreputable individual, other than herself, in town. Without hesitation she named MacGillicuddy, an old brewer who lived a mile or two out of the town. I was suspicious, she could have been leading me into a trap so I had her fetch the old man and his son herself, with two of my more lucid Type 5 grunts. I had him dragged before me. He pleaded for his life, despite his son being years younger than him. I appointed him “Sheriff of Skibbereen” but left his son still in custody. At first nothing much happened. The townsfolk had made panicked plans of escape and the like, all of which MacGillicuddy willingly reported. I found his immediate loyalty fascinating. He’d outdo himself each time; foiling escape plans, unearthing caches of weapons Rasa had hidden. He’d even reported on his own son who had tried to organise a rescue beacon using Halloween fireworks that’d been confiscated by a priest years ago. I told him to leave him to his plans and he grovelled off back to the secluded sty we’d made for him.

When I cracked down on the “rescue flair” mission the older MacGillicuddy begged his sons forgiveness for telling me. Sensing another social experiment opportunity I asked old MacGillicuddy if I should either shoot him and spare both his son and his gang of miscreants or shoot his son who’d led this ill advised revolt. “Him!” old MacGillicuddy bellowed, without a thought. I done as he wished. I had him stay with the rest of the townsfolk in the Cathedral that night. They couldn’t see me monitoring them from the vestibule above them. I timed it. It took two hours before they caved old man MacGillicuddy’s head in. What have I learned? Nothing really, perhaps that this town is uniquely boring. Maybe other towns will be more interesting. Dixie Cup, the little toad that lost in Glenmalure called on me as I was having a drink and talking towards Lady Kana. “Better come down to the cellars Doppler. Scouts say a host is coming from all directions.” Maybe this town wouldn’t be so boring after all?

Ratel, Chance Unit

We’d been informed of Raven’s treachery; leading the left flank into an ambush. vreeslik but not completely surprising. She’d perched upon a barbed fence and choose the wrong direction to land. We had taken the midland plains fairly straightforward, we took two camps and even had a parade through a nice little town called Boscobell near Cashel. The Civs came out in a groot skare, so big we’d to divert the rear to the front, having them circumventing the town. Flower petals and streams of green and gold wax paper rained on our procession. I seen a fancy looking priest, a seemingly holy man flanked with a group of his acolytes waving lavender incense behind him. He was splashing the troops with what was presumably holy water from a big silver trophy looking thing and praying in gibberish. I knew the rest of Ireland was different than international Dublin, with it’s Sectors and all but to be fair, it was interessant, different. Claire, stared ahead looking unconcerned but I knew by her shoulders she was basking in it. The sheer importance of our victory for the Civilians.

We met with Quigley, Mick and the young laaitie Jackie o’ the Liberties at their camp. The ambush had set them back but their wasn’t a soldier among them that didn’t want to continue the fight. They’d chosen their camp spot well. We’d a river nearby, cover to fall back into, with the surrounding forest, and a verge high enough to both see our enemy and defend against them should they strike. We drafted plans to take the town that evening until a eeinardige, a mad warp of the Comms broke through. “We’ve your boy Seán or as you know him, Black Hound. We’ve the Silent Fox Mick O’Malley’s wife and children. Parlay tonight at MacGillicuddy’s Brewery or they all die...” The tent was silenced and drenched in intrusive static. I switched the Comms off then checked my gear. “Don’t go Hannes, you know it’s a trap! It’s got to be!” cried Claire as she spotted me getting ready. “I’m just going to have a look. If they’re there, they’re there and I’ll return them. If not wel eks verdoem but someone has to go?”

I could hear Claire call after me as I took a few Brigade boys away from camp as the sun was dropping into the ocean, turning the sky red. Hard bliksems all, I’d seen each one of them fight in different battles and skirmishes. We came upon a turn in the road that led to MacGillicuddy’s Brewery. “You two, stay here and hol back to tell the camp if this goes sleg, understood, ja?” They nodded. “Okay, kom ons waai. Close to me lads, rifles at the ready.” We stalked towards the Brewery, which was just an old Mampoer barn by my estimation. A few Zilch where in the woods around it. “I’m Ratel le Roux! I’m here to parlay on behalf of Rasa Blank!” The sun was getting lower still and the Zilch Units in the woods had slipped out of view. I heard him coming too late. Another second and I would have, ah, sure dit help nie om te kla, I’d no use for that. Ms. Tiny, dressed only in a blood stained blue ball gown had thundered through the bushes, swinging hammers on ropes. I caught a few blows and one that broke my ribs and left me with no air to fill my lungs.

He bellowed out a sob and began stroking the head of one of the Brigade lads as I was coming to. The pain was eye watering but I got up to my feet and fired a burst at him. I seen the bullets land but he carried on, rocking the corpse he’d killed like a child. I felt one of the Zilch Type 5’s try grab me but I used my weight to get the clumsy bliksem to roll over me. I took out my pistol and made sure the Type 5 stayed down with six bullets. As soon as my attention was turned to Ms. Tiny, the hammer wielding lunatic had disappeared along with the corpse he was cradling. “Come out and face me!” I said with all the might I’d left.

He trotted into view, playing ballerina while swinging his hammers. If this was the last thing I’d see I’d make sure to applaud it with an uproarious hail of gunfire. The mad f*cker ignored the bullets as they tore him, he’d been ripped to shreds. He set upon me after, quicker still. I dashed into the woods. I was out of ammunition and had wasted my pistol. My head was cloudy despite the Type 4 juice dribbling from my shattered jaw. He got close to finding me but thankfully that was the point. As soon as he saw me I launched a tree branch into him. He landed awkwardly. His head chattered nonsense and spewed blood over his broken body and bullet ravaged ball gown. I managed to muster a “Bravo!” before I was dragged back to camp by the remaining Brigade lads. MacGillicuddy's “Brewery” lit up the evening dark with almost cataclysmic explosions. I was right, it wasn’t a Brewery, it was a Mampoer shack. I looked up at my rescuers in the smoky haze. They could have been Muis, J.P even that wee bliksem Seán, the Black Hound. I stared at the light fading and thought of Claire. Her resolve. I feared my unborn child growing up fatherless. When I felt Claire near me, I knew I was safe. I could smell her close by. I half-heard I’d been hit twice in the head with Ms. Tinys hammers. That smell was ever present though. My child, my wife, my home, alles wat ek wou hê and more was still in my enfeebled reach. I’d just have to become strong again.

Mac Allistar, General of the 3rd Republics Army

As we made our way south-east the townsfolk booed and jeered at us as we passed. President O’Flaherty had made me General of the 3rd Republics Armys, effectively outlawing the Dublin Brigade and other Military Units. Basically everyone who’d put him in power. I’d regained part of my strenght but what was more important was my mind. For the first time in years I could see what was happening around me without a sense of passivity or blame it on the weather style of mindset. I was completely focused. We’d been sent south-east to clean up anything O’Flaherty found unflattering. I was heading south east to save the remnants of Rasa Blank or at least it’s ideas. Two contradictory motives that, well...

When we arrived at the Brigade Camp we were treated with the same suspicion I’m sure Raven had advised them but was shocked to hear that she'd turned coat. I asked to talk with the O’Malleys on a “no-man's land.” I’d twice their force with almost four hundred men at my disposal. They looked haggard as they approached and openly revealed they were armed. I told my deputy to calm down and took my pistol from my belt, handing it over to him. I walked towards them, arms aloft. “What are you doing here Mac Allistar!? Can’t you just stay dead?” asked Claire. She’d a violence about her aimed way beyond me. “Make it quick Black Stag, we’re busy,.” said Mick in an odd, unnatural metallic voice.

“Black Stag!? How have I earned such a damning moniker?” I asked sincerely. “If you’re not here to help than feck off!” piped up one of their soldiers. I laughed aloud. “The President of the 3rd Republic finds your campaign against Zilch Unit unlawful. I’ve been tasked with *ahem* “ending” this battle.” They were a bit slow on the uptake. “I’m here to “stop you winning” and bring you to O’Flaherty’s justice.” The soldier pulled out a revolver, but I’d seen him fiddling under his trench coat and cleanly chinned him with a punch before he could fire. The O’Malleys aimed their guns at me. “I’m the backup you dolts!” I stated angrily. They cast aside their weapons as my deputy started in.

The O’Malley’s brought me into their camp. Many were wounded from the ambush. A storied soldier that Claire was involved with known as Ratel was at death’s door. It seemed this camp needed a morale boost. I returned to my deputy and informed him to relay a secret enveloped message to the President and to bring two Commandos with him, just in case. He did his duty but I suspected he’d read it before getting to Liberty Hall. I’d written “Mac Allistar is dead. I killed him. - Deputy Cleary, Gallowglass Army” He’d either have to raise another force or admit to treason. It’d keep him busy while I had the Gallowglass army pour into the camp to reinforce defenses and aid the wounded. I had my troops take MacGillicuddy's Brewery which had been so hard won and rinsed the Zilcho drones out of the surrounding woods. We were in touching distance of the town proper. Claire approached me later offering an apology of sorts. “You’re talking to the dead man, the Black Stag Mac Allistar. We’ll have no informalities henceforth soldier.” She nearly fell for it again. “I’ve missed you Tadgh.” I nodded. “Same, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to catch up once we’ve sorted this…” She’d already walked off towards the soldier Ratels tent. I stared down at Skibbereen. The sun was beginning to set. Darkness bodes well to those who throw caution to the wind. We’d still everything to fight for.

Jackie o’ the Liberties, Dublin Brigade

Once the night set in the Zilch soldiers, who’d been rebuffed by the Gallowglass attack had fallen back into the town. I crept through the woods, silent as a cat to get to the Foxes Covert. With darkness on my side I managed to slip through the Zilch troops undetected. I threw a rock at an oil drum and they basically all ran towards it. Without a brain to lead them they were almost harmless. I got to the Pub in the knick of time. The man I knew as Dixie called them back, striding out from the porch. I managed to get behind the pub before I was noticed but he’d set up a perimeter which meant Zilcho goons where coming me way. I threw another rock, this time hitting a canister way across the yard. No one would believe the luck of the shot without seeing it for themselves but it pinged and the Zilcho drones were off the investigate despite Dixies ranting orders.

I jimmied the lock of the cellar door open, it wasn’t something particularly hard to do but if you knew how to do it, you kept your secrets close. I ventured down into the surprisingly deep basement of the Foxes Covert, looking for the matron Sarah, her kids and the lady Kana. I blessed myself, thinking of my comrade Graham, how he’d been humiliated in death and resolved myself to balance that transgression. A couple of knocks, whistles and a few growls led the Type 5 guarding Sarah and her family away. “Where is the Lady Kana?” I asked, releasing them from their restraints in the wine cellar. “Dead. She tried to escape and Doppler had her… Doppler had her tied to horses and…” I embraced the matron O’Malley and held her children close. Thomás had lept in height, Erin was still as cute as a button but Cairán seemed totally different. Not in height or appearance but in his manner. He was very angry. “They took everything from us Jackie! Doppler used us like toys! You must kill him! I’m not a man yet but I’d kill him if I was.”

Sarah told me a creepy, half dead man was in the pub’s fridge room, dictating Type 5 movements. She told me he was a prisoner of sorts too. I had her stand back with the children as I ventured forward, pistol drawn. I approached the metal door, sweat dripping from my brow. I wasn’t a soldier. I was a party guy who played the fiddle. I thought of my promise to Graham to steel my resolve and opened the massive fridge door, prepared to die or even kill. Once the refrigerated mist cleared I seen a man handcuffed to a bolted down metal chair and in front of him all the fancy, bizzare Comm tech associated with Goshawk, now known by their last Units name, Zilch.

“Don’t step on the wires, some of them aren’t grounded. Sloppy work for a multi mil…” He barely registered my entry. I had to ask, “You called Doppler chap?” He laughed and then in a queer turn he snapped. “Do you think Heer Doppler would be chained to a f*ckin’ chair!?” Looking at my confusion he calmed down again. “You’re Rasa Blank, the plague that will eat us all alive.” This chap, who looked roughly about in his thirties seemed like he’d been stricken with dementia. He looked too old to be Doppler, or rather behaved too old. Plus he was right about his predicament. “So, you’ve been terrorizing and destroying and…” He cut me off with his chained hands aloft. “No, I’m just their Doctor. So have we finally lost?” I felt a pang of panic. I was deep in enemy territory. “No. Not yet, Doctor?” I led him into his introduction. “Dr. Nigel Stringer.” The creator of the Type 5. “Do you want to live? Stay alive?” He nodded. I unlocked his handcuffs. Despite Sarah and wee Ciarán’s protests I led them out of the Foxes Covert. The Doctor handed me a piece of paper with a smudged cypher on it. “This will jam the Type 5’s receivers. Give it to your brightest.” He ran into the center of town causing a ruckus in which we escaped back to the Brigade and Rasa Blank, a.k.a “The plague that would eat everyone.” or whatever he was on about.

Dr. Allison Payne

After almost crash landing Muis’s beloved “Banshee” we’d made it to the frontlines. I had a team of students with me and we were off to work before we could even comprehend how Muis managed to land that death trap. I stood up from Hannes’s bed stretching my back trying to get the kinks out of it, the battle had barely started and we were overrun with wounded from Raven’s ambush. I always had a feeling she was… well that’s not important now. I heard she’d her eyelids cut out and all sorts of other miscellaneous gruesomeness. Hannes told me one of Quigley’s men simply shot her. He had received some blows to the head cracking his skull from what I could feel with just my fingers. I had no other choice but to put him in an induced coma and injected my most advanced nanobots into the injuries. Only time would tell if he would survive. Claire entered the tent with young Jackie at her heels. “He says he has something important for you.” she said looking over my shoulder at the bed beyond. “Is he…” she started to say. I placed a hand on her shoulder “He’s stable for now, I’ll have someone watching him at all times, don’t worry.” I said softly. I stepped over to Jackie and led him out of the tent before she could query me any further, thankfully she didn’t follow.

“You were needing something Jackie? I’ve got a lot of patients to check on.” I said giving him a questioning look. “Can we go somewhere quiet?” he asked looking around. “But wait I need to…” I looked questiongly at him then I saw four people step out from the shadows, it was Sarah and her kids. “Jackie you found them?” I turned to look at him. He had a big smile on his face. I hugged them all tight, they were looking shell-shocked I’d need to check them over later. I led them all to the tent that had been set aside as my office and emptied it of some of my students, sending one of them to lead Mick’s wife and kids to where I had last seen him.. I turned to Jackie “What is it?” I asked again. “You in trouble?” “Nothing like that. I have something from a Dr Stringer, he says it’ll wreck the Type 5 soldiers.” he said handing me a piece of paper with something written on it. “I don’t understand it, but he said our brightest would.” I took it from and sat down in the rickety chair placing it down on the scarred wooden table that was my desk. Cleaning my glasses I looked down at the writing on the paper. I turned to the computer that I had been provided with and had loaded all my data on. Checking the sequence to the info I had available. “Is it useful?” he asked startling me out of my thoughts. I glanced up at him then turned back to the computer and punched in the code, adding it to an audio file. Which I then sent to my Comms Unit. I turned back to him. “I’m sending you an audio file, you need to broadcast it close to the type 5’s, it will disable them.” Standing up, I walked to the door of my tent and poked my head out. My students were assembled, waiting for instructions. “Okay Dove Unit, follow Jackie, he’ll send you an audio file for disabling the Type 5’s. Be quick about it.” They looked afraid. “What about you?” one of them asked. “I’ll be using them elsewhere, now go. That’s an order.” I watched as they left before exiting and heading for the tent where I knew Muis was.

“Is Hannes oaky?” he looked at me with worry in his eyes. I sighed. “He’s stable Muis, we just have to be patient and see if he pulls through. You know how tough he is.” He nodded slightly, he’d obviously heard about what happened. Looking at him I could see he had matured a lot since JP died and the rampage he had gone on. Ladybird, who’d stayed back to give updates over AM Hebrides was obviously good for him, plus their soon to be child... “I need some help with broadcasting code to disable the Type 5’s. Do you have the means to accomplish that?” I asked to get his mind off Ratel. “Ja, but you’ll need to be on higher ground for it to be effective, and it's rather large.” he replied. “Okay I’ll get my team together and meet you at the back of the camp, if you would collect some soldiers to help with the equipment.” He nodded his head at me before exiting the tent without another word.

I headed over to the tent where my squad were working on the wounded soldiers. Zilch had a gunship on the coast, firing blindly. I felt a deep sadness as I saw the bodies being carried out of the tents. We had arrived too late for some it seemed. Collecting most of my team, leaving a few to care for the wounded I headed off to my rendezvous with Muis. As I neared our meeting point I heard a rumble and looked up to see what looked like a large force entering from the east. They’d set the nearby woodland on fire. As they got closer I saw it in the smoke of their trail. It was young Seán. The Black Hound.

Seán, the Black Hound Murphy, Veritas Unit

I’d “borrowed” a white mare at landfall at Roaringwater Bay. I’d the Nero lads with me. The triple A’s. I had them set the woods on fire behind me as I made my way to Skibbereen. The flames licked at the smoke choked night sky, smoke so thick it blotted out the waxing moon. Our shadows in the bright smoke could be seen from miles away. I’d a man to settle up with and a Unit to put down. They must have wet themselves when they saw our fiery parade. I rode into town on my white mare. “Come out you slug. Come out and face a man who’d have you dead. Roger the Dodger! Out with ye!” My mare trotted the towns square. I heard a cry on the wind and settled off the horse to the ground. I felt a sudden strike and fell.

“You need a hand up, friend?” Roger stood above me with a sinister grin. I leapt to my feet. I was young, he was old. He hadn’t factored that in. I rushed towards him in a white hot fury. He flipped me over with my own pace. I jumped back to my feet as another bullet pinged close by. I saw the villain Roger raise his hand. He’d have this fight for himself, the fool. He struck once or twice but I had the better of the blows. He shrank against me. As he dropped to his knees he revealed a blade. I’d the one good arm after been shot so I backed off. “Coward dog!” one of his lot cried out. I wasn’t going to spoil my victory with poor behaviour so I ran a suicidal dash to take Roger down. It half worked, he stabbed me countless times as I used my right arm to lay blow after blow. Roger was beginning to wane so being a fair man I let him stand. He then rushed off towards the beach. Seeing his blatant cowardice his own men let me pursue him.

When I found him he had something in his right arm outstretched. A head. “Your Papa Murphy guided me here, you dog.” He mocked me with the grizzly bearded head, pretending to converse with it. “You’re right Papa Murphy, your son’s are all bastards and should die!” he exclaimed manically. I set upon him but he’d used the same trick again, using my force to flip me onto the sand. He stabbed at me with my Fathers teeth until I wrestled the head from him. A dazzling fury came over me and with a force almost separate from me I bludgeoned Roger’s cackling head into mush with my own Fathers. I called for my horse from the crowd who’d gathered to see this horrid scene. I hopped on the white horse, bathed in blood. I looked upon all those assembled. Rasa, Goshawk, Zilch, Civs, whichever. They all feared me. I knew then instantly that Roger had secretly won. I looked like a demon. I looked even worse than he ever had. “Where are you going Blackie?” called out the dead man Mac Allistar. I pinched the horse to gallop. “Another war!” I replied as I tore off up the beach inland, towards the woodland I’d set ablaze. There was always another war.

Created by Fox & Cat Productions

It's been one helluva journey I hope you all enjoyed the ride. But as the saying goes "All good things must come to an end." and in the immortal words of JP "Sien joy weer mense!" - Cat Sith

Ye Gads I could rave on about how we made this tale happen, but I guess you had to be there when it all went down. Thanks for reading. Sláinte! - Sethesin

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