Seismic Activity

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Seismic Activity

Post  Roderich Edelstein on Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:07 pm

In a way, Big Rock – or Große Fels, as the locals called it – was beautiful. Nothing compared to the intricate, ornate churches, castles, and government buildings Roderich remembered from the prewar world, but the city had a sort of natural awe-inspiring feel to it. The settlement had started in the shelter provided by the mountain, but as the population swelled, they began to cut straight into the rock to accommodate. Perhaps it was merely out of necessity, but Roderich liked to believe that the inhabitants of Big Rock were trying to take back the control of the land that humankind once possessed, and doing so in an artisan way. It was the first step in rebuilding the world as he saw it.

Besides, Big Rock was the closest thing he had to home. The people still spoke his language, albeit in a slightly modified dialect. As far as he knew, some of them still thought of themselves as Austrian, and that was the only thing keeping him alive.

Roderich pondered over all of this as he walked down a side street of the town itself. Aside from a few glances at a strange face, none of the people paid him any heed. He’d only been here for a few hours and had already learned that many of the citizens of Big Rock didn’t mind newcomers, but they didn’t exactly give a warm welcome. He didn’t mind this, of course; privacy was one of the few things of which people today had an abundance.

A sign hanging over a doorway caught his eye. It labeled the two-story building as an inn, so immediately Roderich’s interest was piqued. Just the thought of sleeping in a bed was enticing, after camping night after night out in the wilderness.

A drink wouldn’t hurt, either, he reasoned as he opened the metal-plated door. He had made it to Big Rock, hadn’t he? That was reason enough to celebrate in his opinion.

The first floor of the inn was a large common room with tables and mismatched chairs scattered about. Against the far wall was the bar, an array of dingy bottles displayed behind the polished stone countertop. Old light bulbs and candles alike gave the area a warm glow, despite the fact that the entire structure was hewn from rock. Several patrons lounged about, talking quietly in groups of two or three. A few looked up as Roderich entered, but for the most part he was ignored – except by the innkeeper.

“Good day, there, sir!” a burly man called out, his voice friendly and inviting. He walked up to Roderich, standing a good four inches taller than him and a great deal thicker.

“Hello,” Roderich replied simply as he shook the man’s hand.

“Ernst Schwann, at your service. Tell me, what can I do for you? Perhaps a room for the night at this fine inn?” He gestured toward the stairs leading up to what were presumably the bedchambers.

Roderich let himself bask in the man’s affable aura. “That would be delightful, thank you,” he said, already imagining what a great night’s sleep he would get tonight. Ernst crossed the room and produced a room key from behind the bar.

He walked back and handed the key to Roderich. “Room number four, up the stairs and to the right, Mr.…?” he trailed off.

“Edelstein,” Roderich said curtly. He figured that he didn’t need an alias here (he’d lodged in much shadier places before), but it was always a good idea to stay on the safe side.

When he realized that he wasn’t going to get a first name out of this Mr. Edelstein, Ernst went on undeterred. “So, what brings you to Big Rock? I haven’t seen you around before, I don’t think. We have a pretty tight-knit community, and I can at least recognize all the faces, but you’re not from around here, are you?”

Roderich’s opinion of Ernst was quickly fading from gratitude to annoyance. The last thing that he wanted at that moment was to stay and talk to this man, who looked like he could go on for hours. Roderich was about to make up an excuse about business in the city to attend to, but a strange noise caught his attention. It was almost like a weary groan was coming from… everywhere.

Before he had time to process what it meant, the earth itself began to tremble, rattling the entire building. The glass bottles behind the bar clinked together, and one fell off its shelf and shattered. It was as if the world was protesting, and its wrath was centered on Big Rock.

Trying his hardest to keep from falling as the ground beneath his feet pulsed epileptically, Roderich ran outside the inn without a thought of the other people inside. The entire mountain was convulsing, sending several boulders from its heights barreling down toward the town. He watched in frozen horror as they crashed into the unsuspecting buildings on the fringes of Big Rock, and he didn’t wonder why this was happening because the only thought going through his head was this is the end.

But nearly as soon as it had started, the quake was gone. In shocked awe, Roderich could do nothing but observe the dust settle from the air to the ground, revealing terrified looks from the townspeople, who thought that their mountain fortress could keep them safe from anything and everything. Worse than the palpable fear that now saturated the air was Roderich’s gut feeling. He had once known this land, and perhaps he still vaguely did, but he was almost certain that this was just the beginning, and there were much greater consequences in store for Big Rock in the near future.
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Re: Seismic Activity

Post  Ivan Braginsky on Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:00 pm

"Alright, I'll see you next shift, Braginsky," one of his other 'co-workers' said before they left on a small trip to the bars next door. Ivan meanwhile stayed where he was, unceremoniously plopped down upon his spindly chair. Nothing left to do for now but wait until noon where someone would alert him beforehand about his patrols.

Sigh.

Sometimes Ivan would find himself wondering what the hell he was doing sitting around and doing nothing. Currently other Protectors bustled in and out of the station, murmuring something about taking a break in one of the taverns situated near their base. However the nation found himself sitting behind a desk, legs crossed as always with his fist propped up, supporting his chin. Signing up to be a European Protector turned out to be an enormous task. Though it was easy enough to patrol the Wastelands, still he found it rather hard--even as a nation--to face a myriad of troubles regarding monsters, mass hysteria and even distress calls that proved to be mere pranks. Other times however, Ivan would find it dull and boring, doing nothing but walking around and overseeing that the Wastelands were still habitually safe for the Wastelanders.

Safe.

What a joke. Ever since the fallout began, nightmares constantly plagued him every now and then. Never had he felt so threatened by the mere thought of the apocalypse, never had he found it so hard to continue living. Why couldn't have things stayed the same? Him as the Russian Federation, perfectly content with living a normal life. Or as normal as nation's life could be. The fallout had been one major disaster after another that threatened civilization to no end. Even now, as they--the nations--tried to rebuild their world hand-in-hand, the major threat of a second fallout remained far too much as macabre thought to be ignored.

And so he found himself staring at nothing, bored out of his mind and hungry for trouble. Perhaps observing the room he was currently situated in would prove to be an enjoyable task. In front of the once-massive nation stood a quaint metal desk with drawers and knickknacks occupying its lower right side. To his left, a picture of the old world hung on the cream cement wall. Ah how nostalgic it was to gaze upon the world as it once was. Ivan would give up anything to travel back in time and relive his old world memories. To the right-hand corner of the room stood a three gray cabinets, their handles a shimmering gold in the dull ceiling light. Behind him meanwhile was a window. Enormous with a practical view of the town... that is, if the velvety gray curtains were to be brushed away and neatly tied at the sides.

....well this was boring. If only he could feel the warmth of the outside....

However, Ivan made no move shower the room in sunlight. No, even with the sun's rays beating down his back, the infernal coldness inside still chilled him to the bone. Before this depressing tragedy, the sun gave him hope of a warm, sunny place he could live in. Now all he felt was emptiness and ruin. Would the others feel the same way? The other nations out there who had been strong enough to survive...? The nation didn't know and made no insistence to know as he continued to sit still, mind wandering elsewhere. As a Protector, he had his duties. Ivan meanwhile was slightly different. He wasn't doing this to protect anyone but himself and his country. The New Soviet Republic. It was still small, smaller than the Russian Federation. It didn't even reach the enormous land mass he used to have. Maybe this was why he always felt so sickly these days. The built of his body wasn't meant to be sustained on such a small land mass. But he'd make sure to make himself known. One day he would rise up once more as the super power he always dreamed of.

For now, he would sit here quietly until his shift came or at least until he felt the pangs of hunger gnawing at his stomach. Till then, Ivan would remain where he was, not feeling up to socializing with the other Protectors.

Ugh. He really needed a break from all this monotony.
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Re: Seismic Activity

Post  Roderich Edelstein on Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:21 am

Once he was able to pull his gaze away from the scene of terror unfolding before him, Roderich tried to think straight. It wasn’t completely impossible for an earthquake to hit Big Rock, obviously, but the chances against it were astronomically high. The mountains were on a fault line, but it was an inactive part of the crust, so there should be no plate activity in the area – yet somehow there was, and that was the part that confounded him.

And then there was the strange feeling that this was only the first in a series of disturbances that he couldn’t help but notice. Was he just going crazy, or did he actually have some kind of connection with the land that was his, when country borders still existed?

None of that’s important, he thought, trying to clear his head. Right now he needed to prioritize, and thinking aimlessly about hypothetical explanations was not high on the list; helping the traumatized people of Big Rock was. But first, maybe it would be a good idea to contact the European Protectors, just in case this gut feeling was right and Big Rock was in a heap of trouble.

He headed back into the inn and singled out Ernst quickly. As the man righted an overturned chair, Roderich approached him, determined to keep the conversation to a minimum.

“Is there a radio station in the city?” he asked.

Ernst apparently didn’t see him, for he jumped a bit and turned around, a clumsy smile on his face. “Good God, Edelstein, you scared me. Thought for a moment I was seeing your ghost, since you ran out the door just a few minutes ago. Don’t you know that the safest place during an earthquake is—“

Roderich used the special death-glare that he usually reserved for when he was dealing with Gilbert. “Schwann, this is a matter concerning the future of you and of this city. Now, is there or is there not a radio station here?”

The man cracked under the intense glower. “Yes, there is,” he said timidly, the normal timbre of his voice gone. “Over on the north side of town. No one really uses it much. If you can wait a few minutes, I know I’ve got a map around here somewhere. I can show you—“
By that time Roderich was already out the door, and Ernst Schwann was out of his mind. He headed in the general direction, and after asking directions several times, he came upon a small shack that didn’t look too shabby, but it was plain to see that it was rarely occupied. Above the doorknob was a rusty padlock, and when he went to jiggle it, the lock sprung open in a shower of red-brown flakes.

Urged on by the fact that he was wasting time by just standing there, he walked into the shack and shut the door behind him. It seemed smaller than it looked from the outside, thanks to the desk that supported the various transmitters and a huge tome that held call signs for other stations across Europe. It was a worn volume and it looked painfully outdated, but hopefully the EPS hadn’t changed their call sign recently.

The last time Roderich had used an amateur radio like this had been during World War II, but he still remembered how to place a call… kind of. He flipped on the transmitter that looked the most familiar, turned the dial to what he hoped was the correct frequency, and opened the book of call signs. Thankfully, someone had thought to write the call sign of the Big Rock station on the inside cover, and the emergency number for the European Protectors Station was right under it.

Convinced that his luck was going to run out now, he listened for a moment to make sure there were no other conversations going on the air. When silence tinged with static greeted him, he picked up the microphone and keyed the button on the side, quickly saying a silent prayer to whatever powers were listening that his call would go through.

“RTL3EPS, come in Romeo-Tango-Lima-three-Echo-Papa-Sierra. This is ORF7GF, Oscar-Romeo-Foxtrot-seven-Golf-Foxtrot transmitting from Big Rock. Over.”

Roderich held his breath, knowing full well that any number of things could have gone wrong, from the repeater being busy to the duplex not functioning. Still, he waited for a voice to come from the EPS, any voice.

OOC: No, that’s not random gibberish he was saying, it’s the spelling alphabet. I would have used the German one, but I figured the less gibberish I had cluttering up the post, the better.
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