The Stalker Mausoleum
The Stalker Mausoleum is the hulk of a Stalker assault mech, converted into a mausoleum by a wasterlander warlord known as the Devastator
The Man Known as The Devastator
The man known as Devastator was wrapped in as much mystery as he was armor. He was quite simply enormous, nearly fifteen feet tall, and was more than a ton and a half in weight. This was not flesh and blood, but a fusion of cybernetic body and custom built power armor. The Devastator ruled a fairly large bandit kingdom in the Wastelands between Europe and India, and amassed a sizeable army, including a number of mecha, dozens of power armor suits, and an arsenal of weapons. While violent, it was not an uncomfortable or unpleasant life. Despite living in the wastelands, and constantly being threatened by radioactive sandstorms, itinerant dimensional fatigue events, and reprisal raids from New Earth Governments, life was fairly good.
Then there was the wreck of the mercenary warship Cyclone.
The Cyclone was an independent light cruiser predominantly armed with light naval lasers and was used as a super heavy infantry transport and ground assault ship, and was at the time, unemployed. The Cyclone was engaged by the New Themysciran destroyer Gryne over the wastelands. Despite being larger, the Cyclone was less well armed, and had less capable combat systems, allowing the NTS Gryne to disable it with minimal return fire, sending the light cruiser plummeting to the ground. While the firefight occurred over a mile above them, Devastator and his men scrambled to avoid debris.
The Wreck of the Cyclone
The Cyclone took a nosedive into the desert hardpan and exploded. It's fuel bunkers and capacitors yielded a blast comparable to a low yield nuclear warhead. A large portion of the Devastator's army was wounded or killed, and he lost several valauble war machines. These, to him, were replaceable. What was not replaceable was the life of VIPER, a former sex clone who was psychotronically reprogrammed into an assassin and mech pilot. VIPER died in the crash, in the process of trying to evacuate her Stalker assault mech from the potential crash zone.
The Devastator was not previously a man concerned with death and mortality, and despite radically altering himself to cheat death through cybernetics and armor modifications, found mortality constantly on his mind. After the death of VIPER, the Devastator spent as much time brooding in the wreckage of the Cyclone as he did rebuilding his forces, or stripping said hulk of its few remaining valuables. The centerpiece of the his skulking was the burned and charred hulk of VIPER's stalker, her body still trapped, carbonized, inside.
The Devastator eventually gave up his throne as a warlord and let his warband disband, the remnants being split between several of his lieutenants. A few close and intensely loyal men and women remained with him, and with a handful of bandit mecha, they moved the hulk of the stalker away from the crater of the Cyclone and repurposed the torso into a shrine and mausoleum to those who died in the wastelands.
The torso of the Stalker sits on a rocky outcropping and is visible from some distance away, it's diamond impregnated ferroceramic armor gleaming in iridescent colors only capable of being created by the eruption of an unstable fusion core. The path leading up to the hulk is decorated with flags and pennants, some the colors of destroyed war bands, some little more than torn military fatigues flapping in the wind. The Devastator remains nearby, living in the wreck of the Cyclone, having long since improvised shelter and the necessities of his no longer human life within it's irradiated shell.
Visitors to the mausoleum are invited, coldly, to contemplate the futility of their warrior ways, and to see what they fate looks like. Those who wish to be buried at the shrine are accommodated, as The Devastator has replaced part of his mechanical body with excavating tools, and is as much an undertaker and gravedigger as he is a hermit and sage of war and death. Many infamous and villainous wastelanders have had their final request to be carried to the Mausoleum for The Devastator to inter them in the hard and hateful earth that they were cursed to live on.
The Legacy of The Devastator
The Devastator remains in the Wastelands, a seemingly immortal monster out in the harshest part of the desert. He once commanded a vast army, one that could have proved a serious threat to the New Earth Governments, not as overthrowing them, but being of such scope that they would have been better served with negotiation than confrontation. While inflicting serious material damage, the wreck of the Cyclone would have only been a temporary setback for the Devastator, and he had seen defeat before, and had come back from it stronger. A different Devastator would have tore the Cyclone apart for raw materials, or pulled the pieces of it's busted hull back together to make a fortress. But that man, that abomination of a man, died when the ship fell.
Because quite simply, he was still a man, despite being mostly machine, and he cared deeply for, loved, VIPER. This love was reciprocated, but never spoken aloud, and then in a moment of fire it ended. VIPER was reduced to a carbonized corpse, still grasping the controls of her destroyed mech. The Devastator had built his life, his kingdom, around the pursuit of what he thought was his greater purpose, the pursuit of wealth, power, military prowess, and to bring his enemies to the knees. This he accomplished, and in spades. Then, in a stroke, he discovered that what he did truly care about was pleasing the woman named VIPER, and her thirst for vengeance against a world that created her to be abused meshed well with his own vainglory and lust for violence. The world reduced her to ash, and revealed the hollowness of his pursuits.
The Devastator remains a fierce and respected figure in the Wastelands. He no longer has an army, no longer has armored titans and legions of armor at his command, but the Wastelanders still recognize him as a lord among them. The New Earth Governments have respected his retirement and have sent none to end him, lest he retake his mantle.
The Devastator could remove the excavator bucket from his left arm, and put the gatling guns back in its place. He could sound his horn, and raise his banner, and the armies of the wastes would come. The earth would shake under the treads of antique tanks, frankenmechs, and the great irradiated, unwashed, unwanted host of the dregs of humanity, and the rest of the world would be forced to turn their heads, and look to the madman in the desert, and acknowledge his power, admit their fear, and then light the beacons for war.
These things will not happen.
The Devastator is a broken man, one who cannot die because of his immense pride, and one who craves the release of death to be reunited with the love he never knew he could have had.
When you are under siege, you have nothing but time. But the abundance of time is just as much of a weight as the enemy outside the gates. It is time for the Citadel to develop a creative Stimulus Package to support the Strolenati during this unique time. After no deliberation and no votes, the following will be the procedures followed through the the Citadel Stimulus Quest. (Subject to change, amendment, and adjustment as needed.)
- Every Monday a minimum influx of $40 will be added to the Stimulus Package to keep the Creative Citadel Economy out of a Recession.
- The Stimulus Package will accumulate $40 weekly until there are 5 unique author submissions.
- Authors can write as many submissions as they like and each will be considered on their own merits.
- On the Sunday after the 5 author requirement is met, the 5+ submissions by 5+ authors will be weighed and measured by the Strolenati.
- Whomever is determined as the winner(s) will receive funds (as determined by the Strolenati) that have collected in the Stimulus Package.
- On Monday, if winners were awarded, the Stimulus Package will be re-established at $40 and the quest will restart.
- The quest will continue in this cycle until such a time that the Strolenati Council has deemed the siege over.
Current Stimulus Package: $40 Next Update: Jul 13 Contributors: Strolen, Murometz
Round 1 completed May 10: 7 Weeks - $280 in Stimulus reserves. Since it was the first round, and the amount was enough to pass around, we decided everyone who took the time deserved something. So sayeth the Strolenati.
Round 2 completed July 6: 8 Weeks - $340 in Stimulus reserves. Incresed funding and a stabilized creative force has allowed some increases in most awards. So sayeth the Strolenati.
|Round 1||Round 2|
|1. Scrasamax - $115|
2. Ted - $75
3. manfred - $50
4. Siren no Orakio - $20
5. valadaar - $10
6. Aramax - $10
Nature of the Location
The Stalker Mausoleum is comprised of the torso of an 85 ton Stalker assault mech. The machine has suffered catastrophic and terminal damage, and the armor shell is mostly intact, but shows damage from excessive heat and concussive force. The reactor is completely ruined, all of the weapon systems are ruined beyond repair, and even the canopy section of the 'head' have burned away, exposing the sole occupant of the mausoleum, the charred radioactive mummy of the former pilot. The legs are missing, and the Stalker mech was designed without arms.
The mausoleum is on top of a low rocky hill surrounded on three sides by sweeping panoramic rocky desert and badlands (no sand dunes), and towards the rear facing of the torso is the blast crater and the ruins of the Cyclone.
The rocky hill has a designated path that winds up around the side and ends at the hulk of the Stalker. This path has lots of visibility, and aside from the ruin of the mech, there are no concealed positions, or advantageous positions for firefights or combat. The path is lined by dozens of flags, and each of these flags is the headstone for a grave. Some were followers, others were enemies, but most were wastelanders who had their remains carried there and buried as a final request.
Inside the wreck of the Cyclone, the Devastator has made a home for himself, the spartan accommodations of a monk or a hermit. The only thing of value there is a primitive solar reactor that the Devastator uses to keep his mechanical components charged. The weapons and combat gear of his cybernetic body were either destroyed by his own hand, or were buried in a location even he cannot remember.
Denizens of the Mausoleum
The Mausoleum is predominantly vacant except for the Devastator, but even then, he sometimes wanders away, into the worse parts of the wastelands pursuing vendettas and nightmares only he can see, and can often be away for days or even weeks at a time. Likewise, he can plug into his recharging station and sleep for equally long periods of time.
There are rare pilgrims and vagrants who visit the mausoleum as a sort of shrine, a place of rest and worship on the Silk Road.
Warbands, especially smaller warbands, have sought out the Devastator. Sometimes this is as an advisor for terms of strategy and tactics, or seeking general guidance. Sometimes rival wasteland leaders will ask the Devastator to act as a mediator for them, as an alternative to entering ruinous feuds or wars with each other.
Some are simply errant shadowrunners, cyborgs, mercenaries, and so forth who've made the trek into the desert to ask the blessing of the Devastator.
mercs are superstitious
The Mausoleum as a Folly
A Folly is an architectural feature that is predominantly decorative in nature, as opposed to functional, such as imitation facades, two dimensional buildings, bridges that dont go over water, and so forth. The Stalker Mausoleum is a Folly, as mausoleums are intended to inter the remains of multiple or many people, and the Stalker contains the remains of just one person. All of the rest of deceased present are buried near and around the hulk of the mech, as gaining entry into the wreck of the machine is nearly impossible, as its armor was half destroyed, and half fused solid.
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? Responses (3)
Dang, that gave me a full backstory and a real visual of the location. And the character study is insane. I know it is written SF but the character is brilliant for any setting. Fantastic!!
Devastator and VIPER: a love story. Love it!! Reads very much like mad-max-universe-ish, and yet not. You came up with this after reading about follies? Wow!
Excellent! Love to read more of this storyline..