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Last Post 7/13/2015 11:36 PM by  Randarchist
Deathlands: Local Nonlocality
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7/10/2015 2:27 PM
___Ville Juarez___

It was almost sundown when the tattered remnant of the salvage convoy had come limping back into Juarez. The large gate next to the Big Garage was quickly swung open to allow Motor Chief Alvarez and the other two survivors to pull directly into the rebuilt aircraft hangar. The torn metal and broken fiber glass shell of the main truck drew horrified shrieks from the mechanic teams and the waiting family members the instant they laid eyes on it.
Word traveled fast of their approach, and the Baron, his wife and the Council of Dons were left in shocked dismay at the story of what befell the survey and salvage operations crew and security teams. The grief was only consoled b the hope that the advanced scout team and the two man crew in the Painted Pony would be able to retrieve those few who were fortunate enough to have avoided the night of the snatch bats.
Don Alvarez ordered his son to get some rest, then to immediately start patching together as many vehicles as he could from the salvage yard. There was no time to waste. Already, half of the town had started migrating south on rebuilt buses and passenger fitted cargo haulers by order of the baron. The surviving rigs would be needed to finish the exodus. The Dons planned and argued, but the Baron kept order between them long enough to formulate the best course of action. The mechanic crews would work all night if they had to, but they would have the rigs ready by mid morning to start evacuating the civilian population to the Durango ranches.

Don Sanchez volunteered his people to stay behind with a small contingent of Baronial soldiers until the straggling Scouts and security team returned, with Sec Sarge Emil Corona taking control of the entire defensive wall. No one could argue the wisdom of that, the man was as hard as stone and demanded commanded the respect of every member of the Ville Juarez militia. As soon as it was decided, the Baron asked to see Corona in his bunker for a personal briefing. The proud traditions of the Mexican military ran back to far before the great war in the Corona family, there was no question that he was the best man for the job. That his son was one of the missing would not affect his performance.
That is how the facts were related to him by Don Sanchez, anyway, while they were riding to the clover leaf bunker complex.

"I hope you don't mind, Emil." The Don said, apologetics ready in case he did mind.

The Sec Sarge shook his head and checked his uniform shirt for any imperfections. "Marvin, my boy is still out there. He is alive and he is coming home. I would be more offended if you ordered me to leave without him."

"Would you, if I asked, ordered you to?"

Emil looked only forward and said, "I would, but we would settle later."

Don Marvin Sanchez chuckled and folded his hands uncomfortably. "Yes, I know. That is why I agreed to do this. The Baron knows this too. Try not to bust his balls while we are in there, okay? We all go way back, but it sets a bad example for the younger men."

"Of course. I respect the Barony, as always."

Don Sanchez smiled and relaxed. "Yes I know you do."

The Sanchez carriage stopped in front of the main bunker entrance. Already the news had spread of the massacre in the desert, and few had any illusions about the devastating blow would mean to the Baronial militia. Their enemies would figure it out soon enough, and then all hell would break loose. The only consolation was that the Paso Bandits wouldn't be harassing them again, or anyone else for that matter. Even though the trade season was almost over, there was still plenty of time for some of the hostile mutant tribes from the east to make trouble. And with a bit of clever planning, a mutie tribe could, in theory, put a real hurt on the now hobbled ville security forces, maybe even breach the wall defenses. There was no room for error, no place for questioning orders or hesitation. For the first time in over a decade, there was an existential threat to the future of the Barony from outsiders.

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7/10/2015 11:01 PM
___The Baronial Bunker, Conference room___

As soon as the rest of the Dons joined them, Baron Hadron ordered the security teams to leave. Aside frm the Dons, only Sec Sarge Corona was allowed to stay. The Baron sat in his usual spot, flanked by Dons Sanchez and Alvarez.The Baron sat up stiffly, wearing his combat fatigues. His face was emotionless, an expression that was a sure sign that his blood was boiling. All of the men in that room knew what that meant: the odds were that they would be at war, soon.

"My friends," The aging Barons voice almost cracked, a sign of his distress, "by now you have heard the news, you know the details as well as anyone is going to. We have lost most of our best, and others are still misssing. We are at a disadvantage, to be sure. We have lost most all of the scout buggies, we have lost transports, weapons.... we have lost technical workers, skilled essential citizens all. And it will take us years to replace those good people."

The room was silent.

Baron Hadron rose and walked around the table to Corona. "Emil, I hope that Marvn told you that your son was sent to find mine. He did, yes?"

"Yes, my lord Baron." The SecSarge stood at full attention.

"Stop, Emil, not withthe formality right now." Hadron ordered, and Corona reaxed. "Klash will get him and the others back, I have no doubt of that. But in the mean time, we will be moving every citizen back to Durango, starting at dawn. Until we have everyone in Durango, and I mean everyone, we will be vulnerable. My wife has also warned me of a great threat from within. We have been betrayed byone of our own, Doctor Lisa Hammond."

The Dons began to stir, gasping and murmuring.

"Listen, please," he continued, "there is more. I am not surprised by this, sadly. There is a great secret that Emil and I have kept these years. When we overthrew Milagros, her parents were, as you remember, his chief science advisors. I was privy to some secrets, as was Emil. There is a technologicaly advanced group, white coats who have reained hidden from he world since the war, who were conspiring with Milagros for those last few years. We had no contact from them and no trouble after the revolution, so I assumed that their interest was gone. My wife believes that Hammond was in contact with them, which would explain some of the strangeness of her behaviors over the years. She has recently disappeared, and we suspect that she has perhaps joined with this group. I do not know how my wife senses these things, but she has told me that they may be involved. But she has been mistaken once or twice in the past. I am also concerned, more realistically, that without our patrols and scouts keeping our frontier, that mutant tribes from the east will soon figure out that there is something amiss- if they have not already."

The Dons all sat in stunned silence.

"So," the baron said turned to Sec Sarge Corona, "Emil will be given run of all village Sec forces. He is to assume authority starting now. we need to be ready for anything. Now, let me tell you about my plan...."
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7/12/2015 9:39 PM
___Ville Juarez, The Main Gatehouse, Two hours before sunrise___

Emil was spent when he hit the bunk, but woke up feeling refreshed. Five hours sleep, it was probably more than Mike was getting out there in the sand, he thought. Luckily Corporal Hernandez was ready with a cup of Push, a mild stimulant thatSanchez chemists had come up with a decade before. It tasted like an old tire, but a single cup was like drinking half a pot of coffee, and that was exactly what the aging Sec Sarge needed if he was going to get through this day. 

In a few hours, the continued evacuation of ville Juarez was going to start back up. Some families had been evacuated, but it was going to take days with so many of the vehicles lost in the disastrous salvage operation. Motorcycle riding scouts were already preparing to head out at first light. He could hear them eating breakfast in the ground level of the gatehouse below.

"Hernandez, how did the men take the news?" He asked before taking a sip of hot Push.

"They are not happy, of course, but thee was no back-talk. They know that there is no point to it."

Hernandez was a good man, already seasoned at twenty-five. He kept fit, never questioned orders (a trait which bothered Emil as much as it assured him) and could clean any gun in the arsenal and have it back together in half the time as most of the young men and women that ever had served with him since the revolution. Hernandez was not the best shot, to be sure, but he was snapped from the moment he opened his eyes until he hit his bunk.

Emil looked around the Spartan furnishings of the bunk room. There were few momentos of his personal life on the desk, but Emil had never been a senimental man outardly. Hernandez had set his Makarov and PM-63 RAK on the small table next to the door. His combat harness was hanging on a wooden peg nnext to the door.
Emil pointed to the harness, "Let's get going. I want to see those patrols off. The baron said that as soon as the first Dina rig is repaired and ready, he wants them hitched to the passenger trailers and gone. I want those civilians seeing us all on top game, it will make them feel safe."

Hernandez stepped quickly, handed him the harness and said "But we are not at top game, Sarge. We are all stretched to the thin and it won't take much to break that."

"I know that, but they don't need to. Half of the ville was already shipped out. The first wave of women, children and older folks are probably arriving in Durango by now. We can expect those evecuation transports to drop them off, refuel and be back in another twelve hours or less for the remaining civilians." Emil recounted the barons' plan. "Then we get the technical crews out, one section at a time. Sanchez sec and services are last to evacuate. We gotta do the sewerage purge and final lockdown by ourselves."

"All the dirty jobs."" Hernandez chuckled.

"Exactly.. Marvin is staying with us until the end. He said he will personally lock the gates."

"Sarge, I don't understand that. So who is gonna hold down the fort over the storm season if not Sanchez sec?" The young Corporal asked, his frown creeping with his realization, "We are not just abandoning the whole ville to the muties and creeps, are we?"

Emil buckled the belts of his harness across his chest and hips before replying. "Yes. We are all going to be needed in Durango. Baron Hadron has decided that it is better to concentrate our people in the valley, where we can rebuild from these losses. Maybe in a couple of years we can come back, reclaim what we have built."

"What about the machine shops? The labs? We gonna have to haul alll that back to Durango too?" Hernandez was showing agitation. He had never questioned orders, but it was understandable.

"As soon as the last truck is repaired, Alvarez and his mechanics start tearing them down for transport." The Sec Sarge told him.

"Santos! That is gonna take a week, maybe more."

Emil loaded his Makarov PM, holstered it and then slung his RAK over one shoulder. "Most likely. And we better be ready for the eastern muties and those Deathlander Barons over in Texas to hit us hard if they find out we are so weakened. We beter be ready for war, my boy."

Befor either of them could speak, a loud pop from an AKM sounded from somewhere down the wall. Emil guessed that it was a good hudred yards away or more. They both froze for a moment, then a series of shots began to erupt along both sides of the main gate.

"We got trouble. No, not ready for this yet. Let's go!" The Sec Sarge yelled, pulling his wireless from it's pouch as he headed toward the door. "Command, we have...." He stopped before he wasted another breath. The system was down. How the hell could the system be down? "No... no, no, no!"

Corporal Hernandez grabbed two AKM's from the wall rack and handed oe to Emil. They both started stuffing magazines and loose rounds of 7.62 ammunition into their pockets. "Sarge," Hernandez said, "look out the window. What he hell, are those balloons??"

Emil turned his attention to the view to the air over Sanchez sector. From the cloudy night sky overhead, hundreds upon hundreds of small white spheres were descending on the town. As the reached just above roof level, jets of white smoke or mist began to pur out of them and down onto the village. He had read about such horrors in old books as a young man, the first war to end all wars had told of horrors that seemed unbelievable at the time.

"Gas." He muttered as it sank in to his thoughts. "Quickly, put your chem mask on, it's gas!"

Hernandez rushed to a foot locker under one of the bunks and yanked it out. There were ten stacks of four, but he only grabbed two. Emil was already grabbing one. In all of his years, he had only ever used them to deal withh chemical storms. As unbelievable as it must have seemed in that distant time, it felt more so now. Who had the technology to produce a bbastard gas attack, he wondered, and how did they get these balloons to fly over Ville Juarez like this?

More shots began to echo across the gate area and down along the defensive wall that had protected them for so log. Hernandez tightened his mask down and returned to the window.
"Men are dropping in the central part of town, Sarge! They are just falling down where they stand! Great Mother!"

The panic in his voice was something that Emil was not in a mood for, not at this time. "Stay snapped, soldier. Let's get these masks to as many of our people as we can. There will be an assault when it clears enough if history serves any example."

Hernandez reacted like his normal self. "Right, yes." he answered then started grabbing up as many gas masks as he could stack in his arms.
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7/13/2015 2:42 PM
Sarge Corona sent the young corporal down the stairs to hand out mask to the motorcycle patrol. They were tough and were more experienced with independant fighting than the average Juarez sec troopers. Hernandez would instruct them on how to get to the secret tunnel system if they were over run. The enemy may have caught themwith their pants down, they may even have had help from the traitor, Hammond; but there still were some secrets that only Sanchez sector soldiers and the baronial elite guard knew.
Emil ran up the scaffold ramp to the wall top, handing out masks and instructions along the way. Using the cellular communication system was impossible, but that didn't mean that there would be no leadership on the ground. He coud see that the main concentration of white balloons was on the clover leaf and bunker system. Nothing could be done about that right now. To make matters worse, when the wall defenders fired on the balloons, it only served to dump the gas down in more concentrated form.
"Hold your fire!" he kept yelling orders while handing out masks, "Take a mask and follow me! Hold your damned fire! Come on!"
Some of the soldiers were too frightened by the unfathomable technology to be of use, so he only gave masks to those who were keeping a cool head, saving two for the gates' ball turret gunners. In all, he had been able to mask ten men before the gas balloons started descending along the wall. Some of the guards started jumping from the wall to get away, not knowing what the gas was not lethal.
When he reached the ball turrets, the gunners were already climbing out.
"Jiminez, what the fuck are you doing? Get back in that turret! Here, take a gas mask and get yourself ready for a frontal assault!" The aging Sec Sarge bellowed at the gunner. "They gotta get through this gate, and you are going to cut them to ribbins when they try!"

The gunner snatched the mask and started to slip it on when a white balloon reached the top or the catwalk. He widened his eyes in disblief and pointed at the slowly falling mist jetting from all sides and screamed through the filter, "It's coming from above, Sarge!"

"Yeah, they brought balloons to the party, but we are..."

"No! Look up, Sarge!" the gunner interupted.

Emil turned and tilted his head to look up. "By the four Donnas," he said, "what the hell is that?"

Past the spraying mist of the gas balloons, dropping slowly through the clouds, he saw THEM. Five giant, rounded rectangular bulbs with wishbone shaped structures clinging to their bellies. Airships.

"Come on Jiminez," he yelled, pulling the gunner up by the collar, "we are going to blow them out of the sky!"

It was too late to grab the other turret gunner, he had already taken a dose of the gas and hung limply in his harness behind the twin RPK machine guns. They jogged down the ramp toward the nearest bunk house. There were RPG-7's in the armory, and plenty of rockets.
As they reached the entrance, Jiminez didn't even bother with the knob, he threw his weight into a front kick that sent the wooden door off its hinges and flat to the floor with a loud thump.

"Good man, gunner!" Sarge yelled, "Grab the high explosive, the yellow ringed rocket tips, as many as you can carry."

Jiminez wasted no time. Within seconds, he had a dozen rockets shoved into an iguanna hide carrier and a launcher over his left shoulder. He also picked up one of the wall stored RPK light machine guns and a box of belted 7.62mm ammunition. Corona picked up a smaller load of rockets and a launcher, then he yelled, "Okay, we got these bastards right where we want them! Stay snapped and stick by me!"

The gunner nodded and clipped one of his harness D rings to the strap of the hide carrier to prevent it slipping, grabbed an AKM and nodded. "With you all the way, Sarge."
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7/13/2015 11:36 PM
The white mist was rolling over the tops of buldings, winding through the streets of Juarez in an ever widening circle. Sarge Corona tossed Jiminez the end of a tether with a light aluminum piton clamp on the end.
"Snap it, kid," he told him, "we can't risk getting separated in this mess."

Visibility was quickly reducing as the cloud of gas thickend. The ground was litered with fallen security and other support workers. Emil kneeled next to one of the fallen soldiers and started pressing on his chest and neck. He was breating, his pulse was normal.
"It's sleep gas," he concluded, "they want us alive."

Jiminez cocked his head sideways then asked, "Why? Why not wipe us out?"

"Does it matter?" Emil knew there was no time for guess work. Whatever the reason, it was for no good.

The two of them made their way silently through the foggy streets of Juarez, with caution enough to avoid stepping on any fallen comrades. Emil knew that they had to get to the only place wide open enoughfor the long airships to land: the cloverleaf. If Hernandez was true to form, he had gathered a handfull of soldiers, masked them and had them into the emergency tunnel that ran under the length of Ville Juarez by now. He would have to trust the corporal.

(to be continued)
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DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, ROGUE ANGEL, ALEX ARCHER, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of GOLD EAGLE/Graphic Audio LLC, a division of RBmedia, and are used strictly under Fair use guidelines.