Words and Wrath: The Fire Crystal and the Tin Man

An offering of the Fire Crystal and the Tin Man speaks!  Wastelanders attacked by a deadly glow of green!   Rust Man on a Rampage?!?  Shaken and sickened by the glow, a dire promise returns to our ears along with the return of a particular old man of interest.  Meanwhile, the Trade Post attempts to scavenge a hasty alliance of defense.  That about sums up the events of the last couple of days in the Wastelands but it would do them a dishonor if I didn’t go into more detail.  So bear with this digger of earth, ruin, and knowledge because I’m about to turn over a lengthy story to share with you even while additional news floats in on the breeze…

((Editor’s Note:  Below is Part 1 of a 2-part story covering a dramatic turn of events in the Wastelands.  Part 2 to is forthcoming.  FYI: NeoBokrug Elytis will only be participating in RP as the Tin Man when he has the “Ruin’t Roleplayer” tag on.  Otherwise, if you see him working in the estate, chatting with residents/gamers or at events, he will be OOC.  So please take note of what group tag he has on before opening fire or assuming he’s IC! ))

The Witch and the Tin Man
The Witch and the Tin Man

Scavenging about near the borders of the Great Fissure, I noticed a small crowd gathering at the lip of Stygian’s crater by the salvage masheen, a notable and familiar place to anyone that’s been following the recent events of the last several moon cycles.  Crawling up the side of the crater, I found myself standing with Jubal Quintus and Facemelt Loon of the Trade Post, Diamanda Gustafson, and Destini Miles.  We stood some distance away from two others:  the Mutant Witch ((Ccindy Pfeffer)) and the Tin Man.  An exchange many of us had been anticipating was about to happen….

…but that’s merely where I walked in on the scene.  Curious activity had already unfolded before this and Diamanda was kind enough to fill me in later over a drink at Turp’s Bar in the Trade Post.  What follows are her words:

“So, we’re here mindin’ our bizness and all, and in comes Tin Man with a big thing of metal under his armpit and you won’t believe it, but he actually went and bought crates with stuff.  People said he got wires…nuts…such things.
“Jubal, Face and myself thought to follow him.  He started goin’ from salvager to salvager…knelt aside to them and tickled their insides, takin’ things out, blowin’ dust out, such things.  We couldn’t tell whether he was repairin’ them or oilin’ them.  Destini joined us in the Junkyard and we all tracked him down again at Stygian.  Then, the mutant witch appeared with the crystal…”

….which brings us back to the scene at Fort Stygian.  The Tin Man looked up from his tinkering on the masheen, noticing the witch.  Clearly anxious, perhaps even frightened (although she might pluck out your eyeballs at that suggestion), she dared to speak to him saying: “Thers…thers something I need to do.  Many decidet…I should…well, pass the orange cristal over to your hands”.

The Tin Man dropped the tools and sheets of metal he carried and silently held out his hand.  The rest of us, whispering to ourselves, decided to spread out around the two of them for our own safety.  The witch slowly set her crowbill on the sand, keeping her gaze down from the metal man standing above her.  She withdrew from a pocket a small bundle of leather skin and fabric bits, tied with twine and carefully laid it within the Tin Man’s waiting palm.

The Tin Man unwrapped the offering…a “tribute” Jubal gruffly called it…and examined the Fire Crystal.  With some hesitation, he quickly inspected it once more.

“It damaged but we…did repair it” Ccindy dared to say, ducking her head down.  Her words were true.  This strange crystal, once shattered and fragmented, was only made whole again by the brave and curious efforts of a few.  As she offered up these words, the Tin Man deftly opened a panel in his metal “hat”, inserted the Crystal, and closed the opening.

The Witch, Ccindy Pfeffer, looks on as the Tin Man smokes...
The Witch, Ccindy Pfeffer, looks on as the Tin Man smokes...

Immediately, the Tin Man’s body shuddered and emitted a low but loud electronic moan.  Some of us covered our ears but it faded away as quickly as it came.  Thick gouts of smoke plumed from his head and once again, he fell facedown into the sand.  Some of us cautiously approached his body but no one knew what, if anything, we could do this time…or even if we should.  It wasn’t long, before the smoke stopped and cleared.  The Tin Man stood up straight and did something surprising us all….

The Tin Man spoke.

The Tin Man speaks a strange tale.
The Tin Man speaks a strange tale.

At first, his speech was broken but it slowly cleared up and he began to tell a strange story as more Wastelanders arrived on the scene.  Joined by Mokuno Zarco, jaster Berkmans, Agustsa Jun, and Oleg Kiranov, all of us listened to his words, trying to make sense of it.  Some even relaxed their guard enough to sit as he continued to speak.  Pieced together from various sources, I have the following documented:

Repair self…
The solar platform was designed to focus the sun’s energy to a collec….
Designed and funded by Built by Lucy Strathholm it was a c…. fifth war became a weapon… lost in a decaying orbit…
I … remember some things…
Th… … been forever since I could s…k
I must con… to repair these machines, but.. ell you a story.
I was cre… o maintain other machines, and serve the people. I dddo no… emebe… much.
Th… rony is we ar… ere I last rememb… ing.
My primary function is to maintain the machines at any cost.
But.. On with the story…
Many of the words and ideas you will not understand, so I will tell you things in ways you might comprehend.
There was once a city in the sky, so high amongst the stars. This city was a giant ring, and it had the ability to bring the sun down to the earth to help people.  People would gather the sunlight, and trade it to other people.  But then terrible times came, and the world was changed, and people fought, and the city was forgotten.
Then one night, that city slowly began to fall from the sky,
And it almost crashed into the landscape, but in a last ditch effort it scorched the land for seven days and eight nights. And on the eighth day it went back into the sky.
My primary programming is to protect and maintain the machines at any cost.
The city is SA.. To be in THE sky.
TO this very day..
When the city fled this world… it was forever changed.

At this point, the Tin Man shuddered again, hunched over from whatever strange activity was happening within him.  He began shouting and ordering commands:

ERROR!  Repairing…  ERROR!
My primary programming is to protect and maintain the machines at ALL COSTS.
Proximity alert.
>> Biological detection. Engage radiation drive.

At that moment, anyone standing too close to the Tin Man began to feel sick.  Not necessarily in pain but not quite themselves.  I was lucky not to be hit by it, but based on their accounts and my research; I warrant they felt very low levels of something called “radiation”, an invisible but deadly force when exposed to high levels of it.  Regardless, it was enough to alarm Jubal, agitating his trigger finger, and he quickly drew a bead on the Tin Man with his slugthrower and opened fire while others backed off, unsure if they should join the attack.  The Tin Man didn’t seem to  notice the slug rounds laid into him though and he wasn’t finished though with his frightening behavior.

A deadly green glow...
A deadly green glow...

“Remove yourself from this area.  Give me your salvage.  Increase…” he said and a second more powerful wave of the radiation rolled over everyone.  A few were knocked to their feet or out cold from the invisible blast while others scrambled up the crags of the crater’s rim to keep away from the rust man’s wrath.  Those of us still conscious immediately noticed the Tin Man’s chest.  Where there was once a hole containing a strange spinning ball-shaped device, the Tin Man’s “heart” now pulsed with a disturbing green glow.

The Tin Man to the salvage masheen, lifting it easily from the ground and carried it down the side of the crater.  While some lingered, shaking off their uneasy sickness, I and others still capable ran to catch up to the Tin Man.   We didn’t dare to follow too closely after what just happened to the others, but he sensed our presence in Hambone Slash and turned to face us, his chest still aglow.  With these words, he stopped us in our tracks:

“Any hostility will be returned tenfold.

We stood, rooted to the spot, watching him turn and walk on to disappear beyond our borders.