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Where the Crossroads Meet

 
Maddox Maxxinsky's picture
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Somewhere between Westreach and Embry Crossroads.....................

 

It had only been a day or so since the events in Odenville, Maddox had taken the time to get some distance between him and the incident that took place there.  He managed to aqquire a descent Dragoon Mount for transportation.  The horse a was a lot better fit than the previous one he aqquired. It seem this breed was meant for long travels and of course trained to remain steady and calm when the rider would shoot from the saddle.  He had taken odd jobs mostly scavenging, salvage, the occasional task of getting rid of a few mauraders, bandits, and even critters that threaten a community.  It seemed how awkward he found peace being on the go, and also taking up the task of someone needing his help, after all it did bring in the income.  It was during this time a fellow rider passing by stopped him letting him know about something, that there had been several miners near by attacked by what they called "Rotters".  He was somewhat familiar with the term, knowing that it was where clones either fully didn't develop in the pods, or their DNA was not stable during the process.  From here the clones would go into a mad, or feral like state and just act up like rabid animals.  A fate he never wanted to see himself.  The rider told him that they were going to pay big money for someone able to help with the situation.  As the rider then took off he paused, looking for a moment to direction the rider pointed out.  His options weighed should he get involved?  After all is good with a rifle and crossbow, plus he made improvements to the Acids he had been perfecting.

 

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Getting to his horse he packed up all the resources he could find that was scattered along the landscape, getting on his saddle and patting his steed enough he took the reigns, and began to tap his heels against the sides of the horse as it took off galloping now across the landscape.  Normally most people would take the roads since they offered a quicker route.  For Maddox this was an option he didn't always take, knowing all too well between point A and point B might be an opportunity lieing somewhere that could help him toward something he was working on.  Some time passed as he rode across the plains heading to the region that the rider spoke of.  After some time he came to a hill top that overlooked at the landscape below.  Taking his Slugthrower he would glance through the scope and zoom it in as he observed his surroundings below.  Just like the rider said, there was in fact a mining community here, and it was still active.  But for a moment it seemed as though things were running fine until he heard gunshots, observing the flash and the direction they were coming from it seem the aim was directed at the entrance of the mine.  There was screams, and a blood curling roar as a group of festering beings came running out of the mine with boils, decomposition on their face, scars with what looked like puss like liquid in some areas oozing with infection.  On some the eyes showing no pupils at all, just a solid white color as if they couldn't see, or perhaps the pupils never developed at all.  Gunfire would ensue until the last one or two fell only feet from the guards.  He would lower his rifle as he pondered.  The incident seem to bring back memories one of rumors of the clones that the White Crow from where he came from would take the deformed, and the defected and shoot them.  Citing that any clone in this state was unfit to live and only meant more collateral when allowed to live.  Perhaps they were right based on this oberservation he made here.

 

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It was from here he took his time directing his horse following to a set path coming down the gully.  Below rested a rather small mining settlement with a mine, crude made walls from whatever junk they could find near by and fix together, and of course several old trailers and run down equipment including trucks, dozers, even backhoes all before the Fall.  Of course this settlement had seen better days and the only sign of existance was the people roaming about there, and the guards on watch.  As he finally approached the entrance one of the guards stopped him, "Halt! I'm sorry sir, but we can't let you pass through here. We been having an infestation issue with some Rotters and we don't know where they are coming from, all operations on the mine are on hold until this gets resolved.  You're going to have to turn around and leave."

 

Maddox would settle into his saddle, as he leaned forward he held no expression of offense, fear, or even being intimidated. His facial expression was one of calm, a seasoned man that has seen much, and also one that never backed down.  He pulled out a cigar as he lit it and puffed on it, waving the match to put it out and toss it aside to the sand.  The guards looked concerned as he puffed on it, and then bit hard on the end with his teeth that he was puffing from.  Only to have the smoke exhaust from his mouth and nostrils he would lean forward to speak, "I heard from another rider, you hole diggers been having a problem with some defects.  If you allow me, I might be able to get rid of them for you, in turn I get dibs at the resources for supplies I need to further myself in my travels.  After all these days resources can be hard to come by, and hefty on price at the market."

 

His words, were simply, blunt, and to the point.  Very much like his personality when dealing with a situation.  The guards would pause for a moment as if not sure what to say, that until finally a woman came by and noticed him, to his surprise it was as though she heard of him, "You're the one that took care of that abusive man trying to beat that woman back in Odenville, you seem to be developing quite a reputation putting down scoundrils that have no sense.  Come meet me at my office and we can talk more."  She would leave then walking back to the Office Trailer where the business is conducted.  The guards looked surprised as one of them joked with Maddox letting him through, "Whatever you did, you must have made an impression that the boss is pleased, but I wouldn't get too fresh with her, she's been known to be a fiery one if you know what I mean?"  Maddox would simply puff on his cigar, nod, then pass through.  He had hoped he would be evading any news or gossip of the incident, but instead someone got on the radio and broadcasted it all over the channels, great now that meant he had to finish this job quicker, get paid, and get out.  He wasn't someone that was interested in being some community hero, he was just a man skilled with a deadly eye, quick on wit and reflexes, tactical, and good with a gun.  Nothing else more!  After he reached the trailer he dismounted and tied his horse to a post near by and made his way up the steps going to the office.  As he entered this fiery redhead would set in a relaxed pose, with a buttoned blouse showing some cleavage based on her figure, tight jeans hugging her legs, and a good pair of boots.  She did also wear a relaxing light jacket denium. Her eyes locked onto his with the expression of undivided attention and extreme intrest as well.

 

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She would then speak to him never taking her eyes off of him, " You're Maddox right?  Cause the description they made of you fits to the person I am seeing, my name is Angelia; I run this settlement here at Crossroad."  Maddox would pause as he looked to the floor and tossed down his cigar, using his boot to snuff it out.  While the woman did look a bit concerned for messing up her still her attention was to the business at hand as his eyes met hers again, "I hear you got a Rotter problem and need them put down."  She would nod before continuing, "We have been here only for less than a few months.  During that time we have been pumping ore and minerals at Crossroads, but lately there has been a serious increase in Rotter attacks.  Several miners, contractors, and even guards have either been injured, or killed from this increase in hordes of defective clones I take it."  Straightening his collar on his coat to hide the clone collar he wore he kept a steady pose, and a firm footing listening to her before speaking again. "I can take care of the problem, but it comes with a price."  He would notice her raising an eyebrow as she stepped forward, "Oh?  So you're coming here to my establishment making demands expecting me to accept?"  

 

He admired her attitude, and of course would have made the offer to more well, intimate resolution if he wanted to.  But after all business was business and already he had attracted enough attention in Odenville that now there was talk about him killing off some person abusing a woman.  He wasn't sure if perhaps she admired his way in being bold and up front in a situation, or perhaps maybe this boss wanted a man to take her by the reigns.  Either way he let pleasure come after business.  He parted his lips to address his proposal to her, "You have Rotters, I need resources, if I take care of this problem?  I need access to all your mineral and ore, and whatever salvage piles you might be willing to part with."  A soft, and seductive smile would break out across her lips as she would walk up to him her body almost close to his, "A scavenger huh?  Based on the tales about you, I thought to assume you were some drifting gunman looking to make some chips?"  He would smirk looking at her shaking his head trying to hold back a laugh.  She did carry an allure and appeal about her, "You service all your male workers like this?  I almost say that could be sexual harrassment."  She would shake her laugh at him, before turning and making her way back to her desk to sit down.

 

"The only service I ever give Mr. Maddox is a professional one, all personal business otherwise is only on my personal time, NOT while on the clock.  However if you take care of those Rotters, I might make an exception and not only meet your demands.  But also give you a personal thank you just between us.  So are you in?" 

 

He would nod with a calm look no expression, "I hope you're the type that peffers taking it from behind and being pulled by the hair, I'm not the gentle type though."  Was all he spoke as he stepped outside making his way to his horse.  He had to admit, something about her, reminded him of someone he knew long ago, perhaps it was Nya, the first woman since his emergence out of the Lifenet pod that carried that steamy personal about her that she would only show around those she was either attracted to, or very close to.  He would notice her watching him from the office window, as he went to his horse, and getting his rifle, and crossbow ready.  Along with those, he grabbed his Acids, they were a bit crude but enough to act as a detourant should the Rottlers cluster and he could take a step or two back to regain range and aim.  As he grabbed his flashlight one that was a low dim LED that would emit and not give away his position too much, he would then make his way to the mine.  Upon entering it, he could hear groans, and some moans.  Peeking around a corner he noticed how they seem to be endlessly roaming about in the mine.  Readying his rifle he would pull back the bolt, chambering the round and remaining croutched to try avoid from being spotted.

 

There was a sense of sympathy in him as though knowing that these were like him clones, bred from a Lifenet Pod, and walking the world deformed, defected, and also in many cases without any mind, personality, or even persona.  Just a body with instinct, a hunger, and a frenzy that could only be called animalistic.  And that itself was one to call a compliment.  He would stick to the edges of the walls of the mine and the protruding rock formations, as they would roam and move about. To his surprise they never seem to sense him, only pass by and ignore him.  Normally from what he heard, Rotters were like packs, one move, one smell, one sound, and they would come in a frenzy as if either disturbed, hungry, or enraged.  These never do any such thing to him, it was as though something in them either ignored or tolerated his presense for now.  He wouldn't question it, only exploit the moment as he would explore the mine.  As he continued deeper into Crossroads Mine, he noticed something awkward and out of place.  He had wondered if his eyes were deceiving him or not.  When he shined the flashlight upon the wall of the mine, there were scratches, as if frantic attempts to dig into the rock facing, but upon closer examinations there was something more, writing!  It was crude, but also barely readable, and also fresh.  He reached into his pack pulling out an old parchment paper he found outside a bank in town and took a crude made pencil he fashioned from things he salvaged and mined.  Putting the paper over he would etch out the writing to get a better understanding and also to keep as documentation about these Rotters.  After etching the writing or engraving on the wall, he looked and examined more closley making out the message in crude capital letters.

 

"FREE US FROM OUR DAMNATION!  FREE US FROM OUR SUFFERING!"

 

Below the etching read one more message, "White Crow did this to us."

 

Anger, and rage began to fill inside of him.  As he would turn a Rotter was right in his face barely in a rasp uttering the words to him, "White.......................Crow!"  He would pull back his jacket shining the light on his own collar.  The Rotter would step back in surprise, Maddox would speak to it, "Facility 51 LN-776!"  The Rotter would pause as though comprehending the the whole thing.  Hopefully if these things could write maybe they could be reasoned.  The Rotter would point his finger at him, it's body almost an expression of the Reaper himself standing before him, "Savior...............or Destroyer?"  Maddox would get on his feet and then hoist his rifle into position to hold pointed in case he needed to defend himself, "Both."  The Rotter would turn and head down the passage way, "Follow!" As he would let this decomposing flesh guide him the others would stand aside, and allow him to pass.  He had wondered how in the world could something like this be able to comprehend or even communicate it was awkward.  He was guided to a chamber in the cavern that opened around him was the control room built into this mine.  A somewhat crude and concealed Lifenet Pod Facility.  The Rotter would step aside as he would find a panel listening to an audio over and over play, 

 

"This is Captain Lenoir, clones rebelled, and killed many, we are sending message that Order Prometheus has been initiated, cavern will be caved in, and these festering copies well be sentenced to be cloned, degrade, and live eternity trapped here.  Lenoir out."

 

Maddox felt nothing but sympathy but he had one question turning to face the one that seem to accept him, "Why, why attack the miners they are not WHITE CROW!"  The Rotter only spoke one word, "Peace............"  Maddox thought for a moment, "You attacked so they could kill you, give you peace?"  All the Rotters began to speak the same word like an undead choir, "PEACE!"  

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"Fine then you will get your peace!"

 

He would walk over to where the lifenet pods were at, taking out some tools he had, he decided to rewire the circuits, this would take power from the pods and reroute it back to the main transformer.  He took what looked like several oil drums, and checked to find petrolium in it,  he would also take several additional wires, hoping in talking to them they would understand, "I'm rerouting the main power back to this transformer, these drums are filled with crude, once the transformer overloads, this chamber will burn like hell. I hope you understand what I am saying, and whatever happens beyond that, you will have your peace."  

 

The horde only spoke the same word again, "PEACE!" that is all he could take as their way of saying thank you.  Taking a remote he rerouted it that he could remotely away from the area where he would be safe it would detonate.  Making his way out, to now just at the entrance he ignited the make shift IED in the mine and detonated it as it exploded, the chamber down that way would cave in, but also not compromise the rest of the mine.  A sense of regret was all he could feel in sympathy for these defective clones.  As he walked out Angelina came out in a rush, "What the hell happened here?"  He would walk to her handing her a copy of the etching followed by the words he could only convey, "A solution, a solution for you?  And them!"  She would look up at him, "You mean to tell me they were suffering, and only wanted to die?  Who would do such a thing." He would shrug to her, then explain, "White Crow after Hoover Dam fell to the CHOTA."

 

She was overwhelmed not sure what to say, but wondered how would he understand any of this, and come to know this.  Maddox would pull back his collar as he explained, "That man you fantasize about in Odenville is a clone, like them.  Bred for an army, and for war.  Bred to bring about conquest for Alec Masters and his heathens.  LN-776 Facility 51."  She was shocked and only could put a hand near his cheek, "I thought that place was rumor, it was said the CHOTA and Vista's overran it."  He would walk with her and nod, "We helped them, because like the Rotters all we wanted was freedom..............and peace from oppression."  She was shaken hearing about it but found the courage to deal with it, "I'll make sure the men won't go to that area and reroute the work to take place in the other chambers.  It might set us back but they deserve that much it to be a memorial and hallowed ground to be respected.  

About that pay, I will make sure you are well compensated.  Is there anything else I can do for you Maddox?"  He would turn to her the expression of a man that had been through a lot and was just looking to vent some stress, "How about a drink, and a well deserved fucking?"  

 

(I hope everyone enjoys my story and hope to continue the further adventures and chronicles of my character.  Thank you.)



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