1000 Days in the Desert (Part 1)

1000 days in the desert from Lili B. on Vimeo.

Time’s passage is hard to measure in the Wastelands.  Days bleed into days with little cause to mark any one of them special.  We go about our business.  Scavenging and fighting.  Scratching out survival in the rocks and junk and muck.  Keen senses will notice windshifts through the moon cycles.  Still, it’s just a matter of hot days being hotter or cold nights turning colder.

Regardless, this digger reckons it’s been over a thousand days since he first wandered into that small ruined town, a mere spec of blasted rubble in desert seas.  Every lodge of wreckage was home to a scavenger… man or mutant, ghoul or manimal.  Before I began my excavations, I was homeless but curious in those first days.  My silent exploring always brought me back to rest my tired eyes at the metal shack of an elusive and wandering storyteller, Integral Danton ((Warren Ellis)).

Integral’s word-weaving brought me and others here in the first place.  His stories, passed by word of mouth or scratched out on bits of paper, spread enticing rumors of feisty and talented scavengers gathered together in a blasted corner of the world.

A unique niche of broken streets and twisted rails and a broken bunker in the sand.  A canvas stretched and nailed to its framework by the Founders:  NeoBokrug Elytis, Spider Mandala, Gutterblood Spoonhammer, Makaio Stygian, Ash Garden, and Caligo Serapis.  Its surface painted with detailed decay and dirty brushes held by many skilled hands in those early days.  My broken memory recalls most of the names…Slade Onizuka, Anamenti Ruxton, Lorek Eusebio, Aidan Cardiff, Robin Laffer, Spin Martin, Wyeth Greene, Pygora Acronym, Dallas Posthorn, Giuseppe Spicoli, Ephemeral Flan, Jubal Quintus, Jun Kuroda, l1zrdking Obscure, Zen Mechanique, Malus Nosferatu, Aki Shichiroji, Grady Etchegaray, Kezz Mauriac, and of course the aforementioned Integral Danton.

As the desert days passed and the Wastelands grew, many wandered in and out to be a part of this place. Some lingered for a long time, marking their presence through salvage and trade, building and fighting. Folks like Sandling Honey, barry Wiranata, Facemelt Loon, Ironblood Mechanique, Alan Beckett, Pietro Moskvitch, Raze Repine, Crias Rowlands, Ridley Hooper, Odonta Zemlja, Mollyblue Etchegaray, Grinx Raymaker, Hannibal Mercy, Isambard Portsmouth, and others. Too many names now to recall, keep track of, or even list all at once for this little bit of nostalgia.  But I almost remember each one that stayed for any long stretch of time to join us, to participate in this unique, diverse, and proud community of scavengers…the roleplayers, the gamers, the builders, the scripters, the shopkeepers.

Wandering through the Wastelands, I looked back over the thousand days I have called this my home.  I tried to remember all of those faces, here and gone, despite the passage of time and I wished them safe paths wherever they tread.  I looked around, grateful to those with us now, who bring their own set of skills to add to this messy painting. I also looked up at the explosions of light and color in the sky and smirked.  Fiery heralds and signs of celebration, ignited by NeoBokrug Elytis, to benchmark this very special occasion in our history.  And now, I simply look forward to the days that lie ahead.

Taunt The Mutant
Kicking things off, an old familiar face wandered back into the Wastelands, taking center-stage once more on the plywood platform of the Chaoseum that overlooks the Great Fissure.  Giuseppe Spicoli, wily hermit of Burnt Oak and tech-shaman of games and moving picture shows, returned to the Wastelands for its third birthday celebration, 1000 Days in the Desert.  The long day’s schedule of events, music, and games was organized by Red Xu, guitarist for Redzone, the Wastelands very own rock band, and who better to start it all off than Mr. Spicoli.

The Chaoseum stands fill up
The Chaoseum stands fill up

“That was a crazy audience” remarked Giuseppe when asked if he was surprised at the tremendous turnout for the infamous gameshow after its long absence.

Benjamin Bigdipper, enenra Ghost, and Aposiopesis Fullstop earned a spot on the stage, answering the most questions posed by Giuseppe to the assembled audience.  The three of them took turns at answering Giu’s clever trivia and testing their luck with the flashing images of the game board.  “It was hilarious that basically the same old folks (from past games) ended up on the show and only fitting that Ben would win.”

Taunt the Mutant at the Chaoseum
Taunt the Mutant at the Chaoseum

Afterwards, the contestants and audience piled into Giuseppe’s old bus and drove north over the sand and rocks to the Junkyard stage for the next event.

Radio Three Wastelands
Aposiopesis Fullstop took to the Junkyard Stage to conduct her clever game called Radio Three Wastelands.  The players: anyone in earshot of her boom-box.  Their challenge:  To guess the common theme shared between three unannounced songs she plays for the gathered audience.  ((Fans of Apo’s sets can follow her performances by joining the group, Apo’s Audio Atrocities. – S.K.))

Radio Three Wastelands at the Junkyard Stage
Radio Three Wastelands at the Junkyard Stage (Pic by Raze Repine)

With the contest complete, the Wastelanders rushed to the southwest for more musical entertainment in addition to the cornerstone event of our community.  Fight Night!

Fight Night Entertaiment at the Potato Farm
Upon arrival, the Wastelanders were greeted to a new site by the infamous Potato Farm arena.  A large wooden stage was elevated on twisted steel off to one side and facing the arena.  Sandbags lined the perimater of the platform and two dark figures were setting up their gear and equipment.  Electro-mechanical looms weaving and stitching sound and fury into a blanket of dark patterns for the Wastelander ears.  This was the electronic music of Knox Kappler and Flexy Raymaker((For updates and news on in-world performances by Knox and Flexy, check out the website for their newly-named collaborative project called Unpractical Runway through the Ceiling. You can listen to their Wasteland set again at their site.  It’s called “Junkyard Destructions”- S.K.))

Knox Kappler and Flexy Raymaker on stage
Knox Kappler and Flexy Raymaker on stage

A large number of Wastelanders volunteered for Fight Night or watched the action from the perimeter.  Their blood pumping to the music as they gripped the chainlink fence with white-knuckled anticipation.   The metal walls and floors vibrating and pulsing…hungry for its weekly feeding.

Halfway through the lengthy and violent contest, the familar sounds of violin, guitar, electronics, and bass rolled in the air above us.  The Wastelands very own Redzone had taken the stage.  Cabaret Voltaire on vocals and violin, Red Xu on guitar, and Avomatsur Rustamova on keys and base joined and cheered the ongoing assaults as only they knew how via the music of Redzone.  ((For updates on Redzone news and performances, please join the redzone group and check out their recently redesigned website. – S.K.))

Redzone performs for the Wastelanders during Fight Night
Redzone performs for the Wastelanders during Fight Night

After the arena was cleared of bodies and the winners recieved their reward (full coverage of the Birthday Fight Night is forthcoming…), Wastelanders lingered around the Potato Farm to lick their wounds and listen to the hip-hop, electro, and indie tunes of DJ Rance Alva ((For updates on Rance’s performances in world, please join the DJ Rance Alva’s Fan Club or check out his blog. – S.K.))

As Rance wrapped up his set in the desert’s dying light, Karu Seetan was up next to take the stage while some Wastelanders journeyed southeast to the stone ball court of Cormac.

To be continued…

((Special thanks to Red Xu for organizing the day’s festivities and all of the Wastelanders that showed up to celebrate. Thank you to NeoBokrug Elytis, the Devs, and the many Wastelanders that have worked so hard on the game and the estate, calling it their home. Thank you to Lili Brink for the fantastic video of the Birthday and everyone that took photos! And a personal thanks to Integral Danton/Warren Ellis for the attention he gave to the Wastelands in its infancy and for attracting so many like myself to its ruined beauty. – Sandusky Kayvon))

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