14 hours ago
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Out of the Void
Salvaged photographs all show the same thing. Beings in strange suits, with face-plates empty but for the absolute black of the void. There’s an alien presence stalking the west of the New World...
In the summer of 5880, news of an approaching rogue planetoid swept the globe. The greatest scientists and thaumaturgists worried over charts and formulae, and made dire predictions. From the streets of the City, to the savannas of Ebon-Land, and across the half-ruined cities of Ealderde, people watched the skies, and faced the fearful prospect that the end of the world was near.
The world obviously didn’t end that summer, perhaps thanks to the actions of a renegade scientist and two less than willing companions. The scientist had constructed a rocket and planned to guide it into the planetoid, altering its course. This plan was doomed to failure, according to accepted theory. Thaumaturgists had long been aware that the alien, and hard to placate, elementals of vacuum and radiation were perturbed and driven to madness by the movement of large bodies like the planetoid. Also, astral projection had detected malign energies emanating from the planetoid. Was this the psychic death-cry of world propagating backwards in time, or something else?
The scientist averred he had novel approach to thaumaturgic shielding. His rocket could run the gauntlet. In retrospect, it may be that his thoughts in this regard were not entirely his own.
The three man rocket blasted off one a summer night on an apparent suicide mission. The planetoid’s course altered and the world was spared. Those who knew of the rocket assumed it had succeeded in its mission, and would never be seen again.
That was before last year, the falling star on Revenant Night (when tradition holds the dead can walk), and the reports of three beings in singed pressure suits, proclaiming the dawn of a new world. That was before towns were found emptied but for shadow imprints burned into walls or sidewalks where their inhabitants had been disintegrated.
Union officials have plotted the course of the harbingers (as they have come to be called). Moving from the Stoney Mountains, they’ve passed through only small towns, some barely worthy of the name. They’ve passed into the Dustlands where strangely the tornado overlords have given them wide berth. Ahead, lies the heart of the Steel League, and beyond that, who knows?
The crater left by the falling star has since been examined. It was found to contain the remains of a rocket resembling the one launched by the renegade scientist eight years ago.