Collectables Lore – Set 1

Preface: I have not collected everything of all sets. I'll do a separate post for Set 2 and 3 later or tomorrow, though they are no where near as complete as my first.

Set 1

Vantage

  • Air Combat Academy

    • AUDIO: Apocashitstorm Tour, Day 2. My father guest-lectured here, a 300-level military history course on the Age of Human Airpower. Might as well have been teaching medieval siege tactics. I was eight when he died.
    • Text:

Hi Ma,

You brought me here once to see baba teach. I didn't know it at the time, but the class was like something out of the 20th century. He stood behind a lectern in a real-space lecture hall, raising his unamplified voice to be heard by flesh-and-blood cadets seated in plastic chairs. This being '45 or '46, our air forces must've been 60-70% automated, but the academy was still old-school – literally.

I suppose the quaintness of the setting fit the subject he was teaching: "The Age of Human Airpower, 1909 – ???" The cadets probably thought the question marks were wishful thinking – or willful ignorance. From their perspective, the era of the human pilot was already over. But not for baba. I can still see the medals he kept in that drawer in the bedroom, the inscriptions in Sanskrit ("Touch the Sky with Glory," you said one meant). Even as a Commodore in the IAF, he'd kept flying. He still remembered what it was like to sit in a cockpit with his hand on the stick and his finger on a trigger.

And that's how he died. June 5th, 2048. At the funeral, some Metallurgic International rep said we should be proud he died "defending free markets." Even then I knew that was a lie. He died defending M. Int's claim on a Tantalum mine – that's what he died for. And why stop the truth-telling there? Really he died because M. Int wasn't yet rich enough to afford a fully-automated fleet, because it wasn't cost-effective to upgrade a military-surplus Razorwing with imrproved electronics warfare gear. He died because human combat pilots were just as obsolete as the crates they put them in, and just as expendable.

When he spiraled into the jungle, our family crashed with him. For weeks you couldn't get out of bed, and then came the hospital, me staying with the neighbors… Even after you recovered, even when you said all the right things and promised we'd be okay, I didn't believe it.

Something had broken between us. I felt like an orphan, and nothing seemed to matter any more. Which is how I lived for the next seven years… until it almost killed me.

  • Colorado Springs
    • AUDIO:Apocashitstorm Tour, day 4. It's hard to believe Metallurgic International used to be headquarted in this dreary old ziggurat. Wyatt's office was on the second floor from the top. If M. Int had a policy against workplace romances, he probably wrote it.
    • Text:

Hi Ma,

Looking back, it's almost comical how much I detested Wyatt. I hated everything about him: his lumpy face, his bad skin, his always-calm voice, his out-of-style suits, and especially his stupid cowboy name. (I don't care how badly you want to assimilate, there is never any excuse for naming your kid after a gunfighter.)

I couldn't believe you would replace my baba – a decorated combat flier – with a corporate drone. So I made it as hard for you as I could. I was beyond cruel. I accused you to your face of only being interested in Wyatt for his money. Called you, my own mother, a gold-digger and worse. Refused to attend the wedding, then got myself arrested the night before just to cinch the point.

It took me years to understand the obvious.

Of course you married him for his money- for my sake, not yours.

Before Wyatt, the job you were working didn't even cover food and rent. When you didn't get overtime, we slipped deeper in debt or went hungry. You literally couldn't afford to spend time at home, let alone pay for childcare or rent a nanny-bot. Meanwhile your son was out of control, a truant and a thief, not even out of junior high and already a drug addict.

If you'd only had yourself to worry about, I think you would've politely refused Wyatt's interest. You were no stranger to hardship. Compared to what you went through getting out of Kolkata in 2037, simple poverty probably seemed like a cake walk. You knew how to survive.

But your son didn't. I was headed nowhere – at ramming speed.

You married Wyatt to save me. For the stability and opportunities his money could provide.

It wound up working, but not as smoothly as you hoped. Before I could be saved, I had to die first.

But that's a story for the Amphitheater.

  • Explorer Museum

    • AUDIO: Apocashitstorm Tour, Day 3. I was thirteen when I broke in and vandalized this place. Me and that kid, I think his name was Star. It was my first arrest. A real banner day for the Mati family. What a messed-up kid I was…
    • Text:

Hi Ma,

Like me, Star was a problem kid, but he wasn't really smart enough to get into trouble on his own. I didn't tell him my real motivations, just made breaking into the museum and vandalizing it sound like a fun thing to do high on Duster.

I was only thirteen, but my combined interests in tech and drugs had already acquainted me with the basics of hacking security systems. I used a jammer to bypass a window alarm, and then I got to work. I toppled holo-exhibits, smashed dioramas, yanked display panels off the walls and smashed those, too.

I forgot all about Star until he yelped about flying glass. He was just standing there, holding his cheek, staring at me with big, scared eyes, whining about how this was crazy and I was going to get us arrested.

He was right about the arrest – getting caught was part of my plan – but wrong about the crazy.

My one-boy orgy of destruction wasn't some kind of drug-soaked psychotic frenzy. It was a calculated attack.

Not on the museum. On Wyatt.

You'd started dating Wyatt a few weeks before, and I didn't like him. I wanted him gone.

When you had him over for dinner, one of the many boring things he'd droned on about was how he served on the board of the museum and oversaw its technology purchases.

Anyway, as I was saying, Star was right to think we were going to get arrested. It went down quick. Star began screaming about how he was burning all over, and next thing I knew I was face down in a mound of expanding foam. The police bots never even warned us. Compared to Star, I got off easy. I've never been on the business end of a microwave fun, but they say it hurts like hell. I was still picking bits of that foam out of my hair a week later, though.

Fines and damages came to eighteen months of basic income. So it wasn't just shame that my actions brought down on the family, but financial catastrophe, too.

Which is why the plan backfired. I didn't push Wyatt away, I handed him a golden opportunity. He stepped in and paid the bill, and it was only another month or two before you got engaged.

It's weird, but lately I've been dreaming about that night. I keep seeing that first projector I toppled, watching that hologram of a pioneer woman slew sideways and spin to the floor like a bowling pin as the emitter crashed over. A zap and a flicker and she was gone.

History shorting out. Kind of like now. I wonder if anyone will survive to build museums about us.

  • Bridal Veil Falls

    • AUDIO: Apocashitstorm Tour, Day 8. Holy crap. That glitched-out Lifter that crushed your arm and clavicle, back before you met Wyatt – that was in a mine back beyond these falls. Ugh, what a punk I was,
    • Text:

Ma,

I can't believe I just stumbled across this place. I remembered your injury, of course – I just forgot that it happened all the way out here.

This was before Wyatt, obviously, when things were really hard for us. I was twelve or thirteen, already smoking Duster every day. And you were working all the time, stuck on the job you convinced Metallurgic to give you after they stiffed us on the death settlement. It must've been terrible, servicing mining robots in dig tunnels for 1.5 basic. But it's how you kept us fed.

When the Lifter injured you, the foreman said it was your fault. Said the telemetry showed human error – yours. When you told me the telemetry had been cooked, I didn't believe you. I blamed you for your injury, same as the company. What a great kid I was.

I didn't understand the situation at all. Denial of Comp was a financial death blow. We were days from living on the street. Which is why you pushed your grievance up the ladder – up and up, until finally you wound up in Wyatt's office. He ordered an investigation, which was the right thing to do… though I've always wondered just how dispassionate his decision was.

The investigation proved the telemetry had been tampered with and validated your claim, and the implants and cybernetics fixed you up good as new. By all appearances it looked like everything that had gotten broken had been fixed. Hell, another six months and you and Wyatt started seeing each other, so before long even our poverty was fixed.

What we didn't know, of course, what that you'd been poisoned. LuBor-6 exposure from the solvents you used to keep robot joints clear. We were still years away from knowing the long-term effects, but the damage was done.

You doomed yourself working a shitty job to keep me fed and clothed, and I can't even remember a single time I thanked you for it.

Screw this place.

Ancient Vessel

  • Faro
    • A cracked and battered vessel once dear to the Old Ones. Bears the legend 'FARO'.
  • Arches
    • A cracked and batted vessel once dear to the Old Ones. Seems to show the terrain of the Gatelands.
  • Dronehop
    • A cracked and battered vessel once dear to the Old Ones. Shows a curious flying machine.
  • Wayfarers
    • A cracked and battered vessel once dear to the Old Ones. Bears the legend 'HARTZ WAYFARERS'.

Metal Flowers

All flowers contain the flavor text: "A metal flower of unknown design, possibly used to promote seed germination. Includes an embedded code fragment."

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (A)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{Light of the moon}}

      {{Moves west, flowers' shadows}}

      {{Creep eastward.}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (B)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{Evening wind:}}

      {{water laps}}

      {{the heron's legs.}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (C)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{Lightning flash-}}

      {{what I thought were faces}}

      {{are plumes of pampas grass.}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (D)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{Orchid breathing}}

      {{incense into}}

      {{butterfly wings.}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (E)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{Summer grasses:}}

      {{all that remains}}

      {{of soldiers' dreams.}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (F)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{When this pine sapling}}

      {{grows to flower…}}

      {{who'll be here?}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (G)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{Sharing tree shade}}

      {{with a butterfly…}}

      {{friends in a previous life.}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (H)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{Watching the river}}

      {{through a window of trees…}}

      {{spring rain falls.}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (I)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{From the mind}}

      {{of a single, long vine}}

      {{one hundred opening lives.}}

      ///

  • Metal Flower – Mark I (J)

    • Code fragment downloaded:

      ///

      {{To tangle or untangle}}

      {{the willow…}}

      {{it's up to the wind.}}

      ///

Banuk Figure

All figures contain the flavor text: "A wooden artifact, left in offering under a tribal mark, along with a strip of parchment bearing hand-written glyphs."

  • Banuk Artifact: I Name You

    Tektuk: Upon this peak I name you my son, that which I could not do before my exile. Signak, chieftain of my werak, thought your blood was his, but the truth was clear as the color of the sky, painted in your eyes, and mine. As I wander alone in this foreign land, it is not Signak's death that wounds me, nor the memory of Ili your mother, nor even the loss of snow-sheathed Ban-Ur my home – but instead the silence that lay between us, who should have been father and son. I paint my mark here for you, and leave you this offering, though it will never touch the warmth of your hands.

  • Banuk Artifact: My Claim

    Tektuk: As the months of my exile turn to years, I have thought long on what kept me from claiming you. Such a call could only be settled in blood – by the death of Signak our chieftain, or my own. It is true I feared this battle, and his strength. But not as much as I feared its aftermath: the eyes of Ili your mother, distant and dead, as they beheld the corpse of her mate. This I could not bear, and so I remained silent, ashamed. But fate is cold and cruel, and my fears came to pass despite me. I paint this mark in sorrow, and leave you this offering, though it will never touch the warmth of your hands.

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