Sanctuary and a call to arms…

((Editor’s Note:  This is Part 2 of a 2-part story reporting a recent turn of dramatic events in Wastelands RP))

Masheen-Guard (l to r clockwise: Clarington MacIntyre, Facemelt Loon, Jubal Quintus, Diamanda Gustafson, Agustsa Jun, Dassina Andel)

Masheen-Guard (l to r clockwise: Clarington MacIntyre, Facemelt Loon, Jubal Quintus, Diamanda Gustafson, Agustsa Jun, Dassina Andel)

While some of us Wastelanders followed the radiation-rampaging Tin Man only to see him disappear beyond our borders, Jubal Quintus, Facemelt Loon, and Diamanda Gustafson lingered behind at the Stygian salvager.  They stumbled their way back to the Trade Post, still suffering a bit from the illness brought on by the Tin Man’s green glow.  While they attempted to make sense of the Tin Man’s new behavior, another surprise hobbled in through the gates of the Trade Post.

The Old Man, Gill, has dared to return despite his frantic behavior at Fort Stygian when we last saw him.  Limping along with his crutch, he wearily took a seat at one of the spool tables, everyone’s eyes upon him…everyone remembering his dire warning and opposition to handing the Fire Crystal over to the Tin Man.

Jubal immediately informed the Old Man of the Tin Man’s earlier behavior at the Trade Post, the masheens, and after he received the Crystal.  If Gill was surprised, he didn’t show it.  He scolded the Wastelanders for not trusting him, essentially telling them “I told you so” but was still willing to offer words of advice given the dangerous turn of events, along with additional claims about the Tin Man’s capabilities.

Once again, Gill mentioned briefly that the rust men of long ago would maintain brominite hives.  I walked in upon their conversation and pressed the Old Man to speak more of this, but he was evasive.  He rubbed his left leg, denying any involvement with those metal beasts, and merely said “What’s more to say other than they’ll strip the flesh from your bones if they feel the need to.”  Still, his claim runs contrary to what we’ve seen the Tin Man do for the settlement.  We’ve often seen him silently tend and maintain the salvage masheens and even attacking brominites whenever they appeared.   Nonetheless, nothing should be ruled out entirely given the alarming change in the Tin Man after receiving the Crystal.

Brominites being neither here nor there at this time…”, Jubal accurately reminded everyone, bringing things back to the matter at hand.  Gill refocused and warned the Trade Post was in serious danger since the Tin Man clearly knows it’s a good place for salvage.  The Old Man suspected that even though he bought items earlier, the Tin Man would not upon his next visit… he’ll just take it.  “If we’ve lost track of the Rustman, it’s too late to stop what he’s started. We’ll have to confront him when he next returns.”

This begged the question of how does one or many stand a chance confronting the Tin Man, especially on their terms not his?  Facemelt Loon eagerly suggested wrecking a salvage masheen to get his attention but Gill recommended that we take one instead.  All thoughts turned towards the salvage masheen located a short distance to the north of the Trade Post.  Even though it was close, it took a great effort to move.  They struggled with the awkward and heavy machine for half a day before getting it set up inside their gates.  The masheen got banged around a bit and it’s a little slow to respond but it still works!

Gill, apparently pleased with their efforts, advised the Trade Post to keep it protected and requested sanctuary within its walls.  The Old Man still feels his life is in danger from the Tin Man, perhaps more so now than ever before.  Jubal agreed, promising no harm will come to the Old Man.   Before Gill retired to rest his elderly bones, he left the Wastelanders with another warning and a piece of advice:  “I suspect all market places will be targets.  If anything, it’s time for everyone to put aside their differences and unify in a force against the Tin Man.”

On the lookout  (l to r: Dassina Andel, Jubal Quintus (seated), Facemelt Loon, Diamanda Gustafson, Clarington MacIntyre, Agustsa Jun)

On the lookout (l to r: Dassina Andel, Jubal Quintus (seated), Facemelt Loon, Diamanda Gustafson, Clarington MacIntyre, Agustsa Jun)

Those parting words were weighed carefully as we sat down for some drinks, hoping to take the edge off of any uneasy feelings about what lay ahead.  The words proved inspirational for the Postmaster.  Jubal Quintus immediately planned defensive strategies for protecting the salvage masheen while requesting aid from those present.  Furthermore, he considered a wise bit of diplomacy would be prudent.  If Gill’s warning is true, the Tin Man will target not only the Trade Post but all markets where salvage is gathered.  Jubal surmised that it would be a wise and strategic goal to reduce the Tin Man’s targets of opportunity to as few as possible, and to increase his chances of appearing at the Trade Post for a prepared confrontation.  Word quickly spread as messengers ran out across the Wastelands and others wandered in, oblivious to the circumstances.

Even while I checked my notes and talked with folks at the bar to fill in the missing gaps, Jubal displayed his diplomacy and promptly set aside long-standing rules for the Trade Post, especially recent regulations the Press had not yet reported due to our settlement’s sudden upheaval.  For example, when the proud tigress, Dassina Andel, walked in to the Post, he asked me to reach up and peel down a newly-added sign noting isolated seating for the mutants and the manimals.  This gesture was not unnoticed by Dassina, and with some hesitation, she sat at the bar and listened to Jubal’s retelling.   She tentatively agreed to volunteer aid in defense of the Trade Post masheen…decisively if Jubal convinces the Black Market to return her ears (although by this point, I doubt they’re in very good condition).

But that’s only one example of many as Jubal continues to his effort to forge an uneasy alliance of Wastelanders from the factions and the various loners here and there.  The odds are stacked against him I fear, but even this digger of earth and wreckage, this scribbler of words, will do what he can.  At the very least, I can spread the word.  At the most, I may have to regretfully bring my excavator to bear against one who has silently aided me in the past whenever my curiosity in the hidden things nearly killed me.

Regardless, many individuals have already volunteered to lend their brave support to this effort and some have already brought in their salvage for protection.  Jubal wishes the following to be known:

TRADE POST SANCTUARY FOR MARKETS

  • Current Trade Post regulations are withdrawn until the threat is passed.
  • All are welcome within the walls of the Post regardless of race.
  • All individual volunteers are welcome and encouraged, regardless of faction, to lend their arm to the defense of the Trade Post salvage masheen.
  • All marketplace traders are invited to temporarily relocate their salvage merchandise to the tables of the Trade Post to benefit from the security of the defenses.
  • The newly completed portion of the Trade Post is being used as temporary storage.  Any Wastelander who values what is theirs is invited to store it here and stand guard on it if they wish, even if they have no desire to sell anything here.  ((OOC note from Jubal:  I invite Wastelanders to rez a few boxes in the storage area if they like to represent said stockpiles.))

As I write this, negotiations continue to play out.  We’ll see how they develop, but in the meantime I can’t help but wonder….if the Tin Man does return, what will happen?  He’s already taken away the Stygian masheen.  The others remain for now but would he come back for them also?  And when, not if, he returns to the Trade Post and this seemingly inevitable confrontation occurs…what will be the goal?  Should the Tin Man be destroyed to protect the settlement…if that’s even possible with our crude weapons?  Gill seems capable of tinkering with the salvager masheens but only the Tin Man has ever been able to repair them.  What would it mean for the future of the Wastelands to be without the Tin Man or the masheens?  Have we truly been far too dependent upon them and the Tin Man for our survival?

Perhaps these questions are pointless.  When the smoke clears and the dust settles, there may be no one left to answer them.