Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Scythe - A Clash of Steel and Circuits

by Jon of the Shred


Chapter I: Meganet

Camp Terror is a war-zone. Gunfire rings throughout the safe-zones streets and alleyways. The rebels gun down Paragon soldiers and scientists, the Paragon legions destroy the revolting Meganet cyborgs, and the cyborgs make waste of both their overlords and innocents alike. All hell has broken lose, explosions deafening the ears of citizens scrambling to find shelter, many perishing due to the shrapnel raining like raging hellfire from the sky. Blood stains the streets and sides of buildings – it is complete circuit board lunacy.

The fighting is heaviest in and around the Paragon Genetic Technology Corporation facilities. Meganet cyborgs are ripping themselves from their circuitry stations, grabbing nearby scientists and engineers by the throats, ending lives by the dozens. Lifeless corpses litter the labs and hallways. Decades of research and technology are destroyed in the wake of the great battle.

The most powerful of the Meganet Cyborgs are known as Elites. The number of Paragon soldiers and scientists these 12 machines have murdered in only their first 20 minutes of sentience numbers to nearly 100, collectively. They've got perfect aim and make quick work of their adversaries, fattened security guards who have grown complacent and bored in their day-to-day job of guarding the Paragon facilities. They stod no chance.

The Elites sprint towards the exit, a dozen strong. Paragon soldiers have mustered all remaining forces and set up an ambush point at the precise exit of the facility the Elite's are now headed for. As the Cyborgs round the corner, the Paragon soldiers open fire, a sea of bullets spilling sickly greenish blood from cybernetic limbs. An Elite is downed with a well placed head shot, an explosion of sparks and bloodshed marking it's demise. The other 11 Elite's open fire immediately, their laser infused arm canons leaving searing holes in the Paragon officials. In a matter of seconds the entire Paragon ambush team has been disposed of, now a pile of twitching and smoking corpses.

The 11 surviving Elite's continue their sprint, having never slowed down, now leaping over the fresh corpses and landing in a dimly lit parking lot. No more than 200 feet away, Paragon officials and their bodyguards are loading into their truck convoys, the majority of their chemical and biological weaponry stockpiles already loaded up. The Elite's open fire, downing a distinguished lab tech and one of Paragons top executives. The engines of the trucks rumble as the trucks peel out, driving straight through the fences surrounding the facility grounds. Impaled begin pouring in from all angles, having been pushing against the gates in the thousands for the duration of the fighting, distracted by the sounds of violence and scent of freshly spilled blood.

The Elites make quick work of the first wave of undead, nailing each with perfect head shots. The rest of the Meganet cyborgs filter out of the building, wiping out even more Impaled with well placed head shots. The Elite's quickly spot the Paragon freight train convoy, and start filtering into the train cars as hundreds of zombies continue to shamble onto the facility grounds. Only a few cyborgs have perished, overwhelmed by the Impaled swarming about them, the teeth of the undead ripping apart flesh and circuitry, rotting molars melting as the Impaled feast.

One of the Elite's has hacked into the trains computer system and fires up the engine. They head north, away from the battles raging in Camp Terror. As the train pulls off towards the hills, the Impaled become distracted by the downed corpses of Paragon officials and Scythian rebels alike, relishing in the easy meals.

Chapter  II: Frozen Soldiers

To the north lies the Ocean of Ice, a gigantic frozen tundra dotted by many mountains, most notable of which the Zakeenian Mountain Range. This domain is populated by the Frozen Soldiers, a gang of outlaws living outside of Scythian society, by choice of their own. Trade used to exist between the Frozen Soldiers Southernmost base, the Frozen Outpost, and Paragon officials, who together worked at the facility. The Frozen Soldiers were always skeptical of Paragon, simultaneously frustrated and frightened by the corporations seemingly infinite level of power and influence over the Scythian countryside, but they set aside these apprehensions in order to gain access to the corporate monoliths technologies – it was the only way they could survive on their own, after all.

Decades earlier, the Frozen Soldiers offered Paragon Icellian Crystals they harvested in the Zakeenian Mines. These crystals were used in the research and development of new medicines (and biological weaponry), and in turn Paragon traded useful technologies to the Frozen Soldiers that enabled them to live in the harsh conditions of the Ocean of Ice comfortably. Thermal heated body armor, power generators that ran entirely on snow, the means of food production and crops harvesting – the Frozen Soldiers owed a lot to Paragon, despite their skepticism of them.

Now the Frozen Outpost has been out of commission for over a decade. Only two Frozen Soldiers are stationed there to keep watch at this point, the train tracks having been long dormant...but still serviceable. When the Outpost was fully operational computers whirred and consoles hummed, several dozen Frozen Soldiers guarding the outpost and the Paragon representatives developing temperature-sensitive technologies within. Most of these technologies remained unfinished, covered in dust, the secrets and societal advancements they held never being revealed, only two lonely Frozen Soldiers guarding a dust covered, abandoned outpost...


Chapter III: Avenging Force

The train barrels along the tracks, legions of Meganet cyborgs standing perfectly still in the train cars. The train dips and ascends over hills, eventually going underground as it reaches the subway that lies beneath the Forest of the Impaled. As the train cars rattle along the tracks, tales of unspeakable horror and carnage occur just above in the Forest of the Impaled.
Deep within the train convoy, the 11 Elites have assembled and are standing together in a circle, mourning the loss of their 12th member, already planning their next course of action. The loss of the 12th Elite is deeply upsetting to the cyborgs – with each cyborg lost, the collective power and strength of the Meganet sentience diminishes slightly. With each Elite taken out, a great deal of power is lost, each Elite serving a particular tactical advantage. The decision to attack Paragon, the very creators of Meganet, generates unanimous approval among the Elites.

The convoy moves on, traveling deep under Specter City. Every so often an unlucky Impaled steps onto the tracks and explodes into an array of blood splatter and limbs, painting the sides of the subway tunnel like a twisted painting. The train is unrelenting in its momentum, it's passengers even more so unrelenting in their resolve. The Meganet's Avenging Force will exact it's merciless vengeance, and will uproot the very foundation of Paragon!

The convoy pops back above ground, the Zakeenian mountain peaks ominously dotting the skyline ahead...


Chapter IV: Everlasting Winter

For nearly a year now, a blizzard has been crippling the City of Ice, forcing the Frozen Soldiers to remain indoors. Very few brave the crippling cold and unrelenting winds, believing the Everlasting Winter is a curse. But every three days a new pair would journey to the Frozen Outpost to maintain eyes to the South. The two unlucky bastards guarding the outpost today were in for quite a shock.

The convoy pulls into the Frozen Outpost, screeching to a halt. The two Frozen Soldiers lazily lounging on abandoned consoles and generators hear the sound, springing to their feet and meeting outside immediately. Both guards shake their heads in disbelief at the site – the Paragon convoy is parked outside the station. They shake their heads in dumbfounded disbelief.

The Frozen Soldiers draw their pistols and take cover, never taking their eyes off the train sitting mysteriously at the Frozen Outpost. A door whirs open, and out step the 11 Elites, surveying the area cautiously. The Frozen Soldiers waste no time in hiding, instead immediately confronting this menacing presence standing a mere 100 feet in front of them.

“Stay right where you are! State the reason for your presence at the Frozen Outpost!”

The Elite do not respond. One tilts it's head sideways menacingly. Their infrared vision software pinpoints the thermal signatures of the two Frozen Soldiers, zooming in. Humans - in an agitated state no less. Were these allies or enemies of Paragon? The Meganet Elite decide it's best not to take chances, and begin to march forward. All humans will pay the price, not just Paragon. The Frozen Soldiers do not hesitate, immediately opening fire.

A laser round strikes one of the Elite's shoulders, and another round takes out a kneecap. The cyborgs appear undeterred by these wounds, marching forward, raising their arm cannons and raining laser powered bullets back at the guards. The metallic fixture the guards have taken residence behind begins to melt, pooling on the snowy ground at their feet.

“We gotta sound the siren and warn the City of Ice!” One of them yells. “Right, I'll cover you!” The guards opens fire in bursts, spraying gunfire across all 11 Elite's, distracting them just long enough to allow the other guard time to sprint back to the door, quickly opening it with his key card.

“Hurry, get in!”

From the inside of the Frozen Outpost the guard begins laying down supplemental bursts, taking full attention of the Elite's as they close in. The second guard makes a run for it, but doesn't run quite fast enough. A burst of rounds to his left leg sends him badly injured to the ground, barely making it into the facility as the doors whir closed behind him.

“C'mon, let's get the fuck outta here!”

The uninjured guard helps his partner hobble up the stairs to the second floor, the sounds of metallic clanging ringing through the abandoned outpost as the Elite's attempt to smash the door in. Just as they make it into the control center and close the emergency security doors behind them, they hear an explosion that sends the metal doors flying into the building. They've breached the Frozen Outpost...

All the train car doors whir open, dozens of foot soldiers pouring out of each, filing into the building, looking to exact revenge against the people of Scythe at large. Just as the Meganet Elite burst into the control room, the uninjured guard has sounded the alarm, before falling dead to the floor seconds later, the flesh surrounding the gaping hole in his forehead smoking.

Chapter V: Cybernetic Resistance

A shrill, invasive siren echos throughout the Ocean of Ice. The Frozen Soldiers immediately jump to their feet, alert and anxious. Those deafening siren hadn't been heard since the cataclysmic battle with the Scythian government nearly 50 years ago. Since then the community had lived in peace and solitude, only battling the elements, the frigid temperatures and harsh winter winds. But now something else was here and threatening their existence...

The Frozen Soldiers act quick, sprinting to the armory and gearing up for battle. Most of these soldiers are inexperienced in warfare, only having had wolves to utilize as practice. The toughest amongst them were able to down Wooly Mammoths with their plasma rifles, and had battled the 1,000 strong wolf pack a decade earlier. But even these feats were nothing close to ample preparation for the Cybernetic Resistance now bearing down on their doorstep.

Dozens of soldiers begin to line up along the walls of the City of Ice, carefully aiming their plasma rifles into the sea of snow, waiting for any signs of movement. Unsteady hands hold highly dangerous weapons. The minds of the Frozen Soldiers are already weary from the months of Everlasting Winter before them. What could be lurking beyond the city walls in the harsh snowfall?

First, they hear the foot steps, crunching in the snow. Then they hear the mechanical whirring of cybernetic limbs. The machines finally come into view, first just one, then another two, and finally dozens more, pouring out from every angle, completely surrounding the City of Ice. Before any chance of compromise or negotiation can be attempted, a nervous Frozen Soldier, still in their teenage years, slips and fires a plasma round directly into the skull of one of the cyborgs, killing it in a single shot. All hell yet again breaks loose...

Chapter VI: A Clash of Steel and Circuits

The battle escalates in intensity immediately. Laser rounds pour from both behind the wall and from outside it. Frozen Soldiers with charred holes topple over the sides of the walls. One unlucky Frozen Soldier takes a laser round directly in the gut, sending him crashing back into the City of Ice, his entrails getting snagged on the way down, causing him to hang by them several feet above the snowy ground. The citizens of the City of Ice, those that the Frozen Soldiers protect, immediately panic, running back into their homes and heeding the sirens at long last at the sound of gunfire and death.

The Elite's stand at the back of the army of cyborgs, sending tactical information to various units. One Elite sends the Aerial Unit to take down a guard tower. Three Frozen Soldier snipers have been taking out dozens of cyborgs with well placed head shots from this tower, spilling more green blood and white snow than anyone else. The Aerial cyborgs float around the tower, setting their arm cannons to their highest power levels. One of the snipers fires a quick round into a jet-pack. The jet-pack explodes, sending the cyborg careening into another, the two of them spiraling to the ground below in a hellish explosion. The snipers victory is cut short, however, when the tower begins to collapse. The other cyborgs of the Aerial Unit had caused irreparable structural damage to the tower. 

Back at the ground, several hundred feet from the crumbled tower, a number of cyborgs are working at the giant steel gates in an attempt to enter and ransack the city. Laser fire pours down at them from above, almost as frequent as the unrelenting snow. A cyborg takes a shot through it's right eye, slumping to the ground. Yet another cyborg is taken out with a perfectly aimed throat shot. The cybernetic creature clutches at the charred flesh and circuitry that used to be it's throat, falling to the ground amongst it's other downed comrades, suffering in it's dying moments.

But these counter measures are not enough to keep the Meganet Cybernetic Resistance from crashing through the gate. Citizens and infantry alike are torn down by the merciless cyborgs. The remaining survivors have fallen back into a group, a several dozen defenseless citizens hiding behind the remaining Frozen Soldiers. These soldiers were the most elite of the entire City of Ice, the most experienced in battle. A few had even fought through the Icellian Revolution. The group fall back towards the Zakeenian Mines, their last hopes of survival against this avenging force of sadistic cyborgs lying within. Another Elite perishes in a last burst of suppression fire, bullets riddling the cyborgs chest and face, green blood gushing out everywhere.

The Meganet collective sentience glitches out for just a second, giving the last survivors a chance to bolt into the Zakeenian mines. The survivors hope to reach one of several smaller communities that rest on several mountain peaks of the Zakeenian mountain range. As long as they can get their before the Meganet cyborgs discover them...

As the survivors scurry deep into the mines, they hear a deafening explosion behind them. Rocks and boulders now block the exit, the people trapped within, safe from the cyborgs but now stuck underground. The battle is lost and their society hangs by a thread, but at least they have survived, given an opportunity to exact their vengeance, to bring purpose to all those that died today.
Blood and corpses stain the Ocean of Ice, after decades of peace and self-sustainability. Paragon's technology has brought this carnage upon the City of Ice, ironically after having given the Frozen Soldiers the very technologies that enabled them to exist out of Scythian society in the first place. The battle is over, the charred remains of the city now serving as the base of operations for the Meganet operation. And just as the battle has stopped, the blizzard comes to a seemingly abrupt end, the Everlasting Winter extinguished by a clash of steel and circuits.

Tune in to Synthetix.FM in the coming weeks for more tales of the Scythe as Jon Of The Shred continues the adventure; accompanied by some of the brightest star in the 80s inspired synth universe.

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