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The Skittering Chaos (Worm/Hazbin Hotel)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Thread Necromancer, Aug 7, 2020.

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  1. VisV

    VisV Feedback Addicted Writer

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    U CAN DU EET!

    I BELIEF IN U!
     
  2. Threadmarks: The Skittering Chaos 9
    Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    The Skittering Chaos 9

    This chapter is mostly just for set up, and a bit of further character development with the Merchants. Plus I thought I might as well include some of the ideas I had in the Skidmark interlude and add them here instead as they work I think a bit better here. Though there is a bit of action here because of it.

    I’ve decided to change up how Skidmark talks and would love to get some feedback on it. I’m thinking of going back and changing Skidmark’s dialogue to be much less egregious to read to improve readability while also keeping the contents largely the same since I know some people find Skidmark hard to read or just skip his dialogue entirely.

    Any and all feedback would be highly appreciated
    <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

    I unload my gun and check for what must have been the fifth time that the bullets I have in my gun are actually the rubber bullets we were going to be using for training. Once more, I see the dull rubber tips inside their casing. I had gotten us the rubber bullets for training purposes, as, due to our brute rating from being demons, they were basically worthless as non-lethal deterrents unless they were fired from high caliber weaponry. Demons didn’t even consider rubber bullets as something that a lethal gun would fire, hence, how I managed to buy them from a dollar store we had passed while out shopping.

    The side door to the warehouse swung open and out came Adam, carrying his magical baseball railgun. The glow on the gun however much less than when he had come and helped me out with the lizard thugs. It was still big, bulky and honestly looked like a tinkered up bazooka, but he had lessened the output of the thing to have a bit more power than the average baseball cannon. We would however still be treating it as if it still had its original power.

    Mimi, on the other hand, sat by the sidelines, idly reading a comic of hers while her gun, a small twenty-two pistol sat to the side. Despite all the danger here, she had never fired a gun, and really only had one because a concerned neighbour in her apartment block had given it to her for her own protection. Even so, she apparently had never used it, her excuse being that she didn’t like the sound of gunfire.

    It must be unfortunate for the girl with the city being in such disarray as it is. She seemed to have adapted to it well enough though, not even flinching when there was gunfire off in the distance. Reminds me of some of the kids in Brockton when Bakuda was blowing the entire place to hell and back and the ABB were fighting in the streets. I saw kids who would sometimes stare off towards gunfire when it happened in Brockton to just ignoring it entirely. In Brockton during those times, gunfire was just another sound of the city, and it became even more so after Leviathan hit.

    “Alright, I want to see what we are working with before we actually plan on getting into a fight. Adam, did well with the barriers and keeping heads down in those riots, so I want to see what you can do one on one,” I turn to Mimi. “If you want to stay you're getting involved too,” I tell her and she nods after looking up from her comic book.

    “Ain’t we just waiting for Sherrel to finish installing the turret on the van and shit? If you really think she ain’t going to be done in the next ten minutes, you must be trippin,’”

    “That’s why it’s just going to be a spar, see where we are properly and where we can improve. I did this all the time with the Chicago Wards when I joined them after leaving Brockton,”

    “Shit, fine by me, just don’t expect me to go easy on ya just ‘cause you’re new ‘round here,” Adam says, a big grin on his face. Thank God they weren’t his old teeth; those would have been unpleasant to see. Even so, when he gets to his spot, he doesn’t relax. Good, if that hadn’t just been bravado I would have to wonder if he was all there in the head.

    I draw on him while moving to the side, Adam ducks behind a dumpster and already I can see fields going up in the middle of the alleyway. I charge forward while keeping my pistol trained on the dumpster he’s hiding behind, meanwhile, the barrier’s glow is getting brighter. While I charge I lay down my own barriers, speeding me along to Adam’s own barrier.

    Adam however pokes his gun around the corner and starts to blind fire, sending his baseballs down the alleyway at random, but just close enough I have to break off my charge as a few get too close for comfort. With the barrier getting brighter, while using the bugs I have on him to get a general idea of where he’s aiming, I try to fire a few bullets his way, hoping to catch his hand, but the barrier is interfering with my bullets, like when hitting water. The sudden resistance is enough to keep my bullets from getting to the dumpster on target.

    Adam’s gotten faster at laying down his barriers than I remember seeing in videos from before my cape days. Whether that was because Adam managed to get more experience while down here or due to it being demonic magic rather than some eldritch shard power I don’t know.

    Secure in his position now with the further intensifying barrier Adam finally steps out from it, a smug grin on his face as he takes aim and fires. Luckily because of my bugs on his gun as well as on his baseballs, I’m just able to dodge the balls as they come at me, though as the barrier between us intensifies, the faster the balls come. I set down some barriers to accelerate myself as I retreat. At the same time, I'm laying down some more to slow down the balls being sent my way.

    Meanwhile, I begin to layer some barriers down near Adam’s main barrier, pointing straight up. Adam’s barriers can’t go on forever in any direction, just high enough that people can’t usually jump over them. I know that in some fights Adam’s had in life fliers like Glory Girl were able to fly over the barriers, and considering that most capes copied their power with their magic, myself included. To make sure, however, I sense Adam’s barrier with my antennae. Was I Lisa, I’d likely be grinning.

    I call my swarm down on Adam, bugs flying down from the roof and the dumpster. I didn’t have as many as when I still had my old power, but I’d been hard at work possessing as many bugs as I could get a hold of in the short amount of time that I had learned about how to take control of these bugs. I unfurl my wings and dash in as my bugs go straight for Adam’s eyes, not biting them or anything, just distracting him, while the other bugs I had started biting at Adam’s hands. I hear Adam shout out in surprise while I take advantage of the lull to advance my way up to my barriers, of course using additional ones to boost myself forward faster. As I hit my vertical barriers I open my wings up wide and push down with them as I jump up, boosted by my previously placed barriers.

    For a moment I’m high in her air, over the roofs of the warehouse and short buildings around us. I look down to my opponent, and almost by instinct, I move my wings while extending my foot out. Adam finally waves my bugs out of his face long enough to look for me, his baseball cannon ready. For a moment, right before the heel of my shoe makes contact, his face is scrunched in confusion as I’m no longer on my side of his barrier.

    My heel makes contact and Adam’s head jerks back. Adam makes a sound, more surprised than in pain as my kick drives him into the ground. With my wings, I flap them once so I don’t follow him downwards and curb stomp him. Even so, he bounces a little on the ground and his head makes a meaty thwack as it impacts the ground. As I land on the cement, Adam makes a pained sound while on the ground.

    Shit, I think I hit him too hard.

    I fold my wings back into their fluffy coat and rush to Adam. Even with our natural demonic brute rating, it was still better to check to make sure that Adam was alright. Luckily he’s still groaning on the ground so Adam wasn’t knocked unconscious. He looks up at me looking over him.

    “Mother fu- where the fuck did you come from?” Adam immediately looks upwards to the top of his barrier behind me. At least he isn’t disorientated, and he isn’t slurring his words. He should be fine.

    “Did you fuckin’ dive kick me!?” Adam accuses, his face scrunching up more as he looks even more incredulous. “Damn.”

    “Glad to see you’re doing alright,” I say as I reach a hand out to Adam, a small smile on my face.

    “A mother fuckin’ dive kick. Thought that shit was only in movies ‘n’ shit,” he says as he grabs my offered hand, and I pull him up.

    “There are a few capes that use it, though they can usually fly somehow or can jump well,” this was one of my very few dive kicks I’ve ever done, most of the time I have had my baton with me or my gun, or I just used my bugs, though with how I’ve changed, until I get a large enough swarm, and maybe a breeding operation going, I will have to be a bit more frugal with how I used my insects since already I know that a few have been destroyed while riding Adam’s baseballs, getting crushed while immobilized on the balls due to the g-force if they hadn’t fallen off.

    “Oh yeah?” Adam says as he uses a hand to crack his neck, making popping sounds as he makes sure his head is screwed on right. “Then why didn’t Glory Hole ever dive kick?” I shrug.

    “I think she was more of a pugilist,” I say before turning to Mimi. I can see the barrier Adam had made has already started to fade, and I do the same with my own. Rather than turning tail, Mimi seems to consider me for a moment before putting down her book. Even so, she looks nervous.

    “You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” I say despite what I had said earlier. While I would like her to participate and join us, I wasn’t going to force her. This wasn’t the end of the world, and this wasn’t the Wards. Even so, it would be good to get a grip on what I might be working with.

    “I, if that’s alright?” she asks, and I nod.

    “Yeah, it’s not a problem. I want to help you, not beat you up,” when he hears that, Adam snorts.

    “Could of fooled me,” Adam complains as he leans back on a wall by the table that Mimi’s sitting on.

    “Unlike her, you were an experienced cape. You actually know a thing or two about fighting, she doesn’t,” as far as I know.

    “Glad to actually be acknowledged. You know I swear I used to beat the shit out of half the newbie capes that came to Brockton ‘n’ shit from outta town just cause they think I ain’t shit,”

    “You never did give much of a decent showing when you showed up on video.”

    “Well excuse me for being a medium-sized fish in a pond full of big ass mother fuckers, you included,” I let the matter drop.

    “Either way we might as well show you how to use your gun, you’ve never had to use it before right?” Mimi nods at that and presents it to me. I take the gun gingerly and begin to look it over. The gun itself is fairly light and as I slip my hand around the grip, it feels comfortable enough. I aim down the sights and they seem decent enough, though if Mimi has never fired it before the sights would have to be calibrated, she couldn’t cheat at shooting as I do with my bugs. I feel for a button and as I hit it, the magazine slides out. It’s got a full payload inside the magazine. I load the magazine back in and pull back the slide a few times, letting the bullets fall to the table, my bugs forming a small area for them to fall into while ones that bounce out of it I have grab before they can roll away. I watch the chamber, looking for any feed failures as I empty the magazine. With no failures, the magazine spring seems to have kept its tension. Then once more I slide out the now empty magazine and pull back the slide once more to make sure that there are no rounds in the chamber I didn’t know about.

    “Have you ever disassembled this?” I ask Mimi who just shakes her head. Nodding, I begin to look for a way to disassemble the gun. The model looks like a knock off of a 22 Ruger pistol. Finding the catch in the back of the pistol, I begin to process of disassembling the pistol, pulling the pin, sliding the barrel off, and looking through the thing. The barrel itself looks clean enough, as well as the spring, and there is barely any kind of gunk inside the receiver aside from some dust and lint from being carried inside of Mimi’s hoodie pocket all this time. With a small burst of magic, I clear out the receiver and begin to reassemble the gun.

    I slot in the magazine and the slide cocks in automatically. To make sure I reassembled the thing correctly and didn’t screw up somewhere, I aim at the wall of the abandoned building and then squeeze down on the trigger, watching as the slide comes back and forth. Luckily there doesn't seem to be any kind of problem while I continue to pull the trigger and watch for anything wrong. Eventually, I present the pistol back to Mimi.

    “It’s an alright gun, though not as useful as it would be on Earth,” I turn to Adam. “You wouldn’t happen to have anything that could work as target practice?”

    “Yeah, we got some cans and shit up in the loft. You want me to go get them?” I nod.

    “If you wouldn’t mind,” and I turn my attention back to Mimi.

    “Alright so since you’ve never fired a gun before I’ll just go over the basics while we wait for Adam to get back, and I can let you reload the magazine with your bullets there.”

    <><><><><><><><><><><><><>

    It wasn't long before Adam came back with the cans and Mimi got to start shooting. The building beside us wasn’t occupied so we were fine to shoot at it, and Little Mark was awake so we didn’t have to worry about waking him, especially since Sherrel had turned on some video for him to watch and had Felix watching over him for a little extra pay.

    Mimi turned out to be a fairly good shot once we had gotten the sights all properly aligned. She wasn’t hitting every shot but she did manage to hit most of the cans she shot at with the first shot and the rest with her second shot, with only the ones we had set up farther away sometimes taking more. Compared to some of the Wards I had actually gotten to come down to the range and join me on the gun range, she had potential. There had been some awkwardness at the start, but she had adjusted to using the gun quickly enough and was actually enjoying it.

    After getting through her magazine she had wanted to shoot some more despite having no bullets left. Taking pity on her, I let her use my colt replica. The shooting for a moment was a bit off, hitting beside the cans that were beyond point-blank, but she quickly got her rhythm back and was popping cans off with my remaining rubber bullets.

    That was the scene Sherrel opened the door to, Mimi smiling as she popped off rounds at cans down the alleyway, angled so that unless she fired wildly off course, they would impact the brick of the abandoned building beside us. With my bugs on her, I knew that she was coming, and so was packing up the small ammo box I had that I was re-supplying Mimi with.

    “Having fun?” Sherrel asked. Mimi nodded emphatically as she lined up the shot to the last can at the back of our makeshift range. With a final bang, the four of us watched the last can topple over.

    “Yeah, it’s… different. I guess I never realised that it would actually be fun to try,” Mimi explains. “Guess you’re heading out now huh?” I nod. Sherrel and I were going to be heading out so that I could get an idea of where all the various pubs that vigilantes frequented so that I could spy on them and find out where we might find their bases so that we could hit them. With the loot gathered from their bases, we could finance and grow the Merchants. Hopefully, we wouldn’t have to hit too many before we made enough money to begin to properly expand.

    “Ha, you think that’s fun? How about next time you can try out Sherrel’s magnum, shit’s cash,” Mimi’s eyes go wide before looking over to Sherrel, her eyes practically sparkling.

    “Can I?” the mouse demon asks and Sherrel just shrugs.

    “Sure, just warn me so I can grab a few more rounds from the shop,” with that, Sherrel turns to me.

    “I’ll catch up in a moment, I’ve got to show Mimi a thing or two about disassembling her gun and how to properly clean it before I leave,”

    “Sounds good to me, I need to check to make sure that the turret won’t catch after a few rotations anyways,” and with that, Sherrel walks back into the garage. Mimi looks at me curiously and I beckon her over. As Mimi walks over, she makes sure to keep the gun I was lending her pointed at the ground, and was keeping her finger off the trigger light I taught her, bringing a small smile to my face.

    “Alright, since I’m sure you’re going to be using your gun a bit more often now, you’ve also got to learn how to clean it properly,” I start and Mimi watches in rapt attention as I begin to explain to her how to disassemble her Ruger knock-off, and showing off some of the various minor details of the pistol.

    I make sure to have Mimi assemble and disassemble the thing a couple of times until she can do it without my help. She isn’t fast at it but it shouldn’t matter so long as she keeps the thing clean when she isn’t using it.

    “I’m going to head in, I still need to go out with Sherrel and check those places Felix gave me,” I tell her as Mimi finishes reassembling her pistol once more. She looks up at me and smiles my way.

    “Hey, thanks for showing me this, and well, not making me fight and stuff. I’m, well, I don’t really want to fight really,” Mimi says as she stuffs her Ruger into her hoodie pocket.

    “It’s alright, not all of us are really cut out for a fight. Though at some point, you’re going to have to choose to either fight with us or run at some point. With a gun or without, I hope you will fight with us if things come to it,” I say as I walk to the garage to let her stew on what I’ve said. Despite things being calm at the moment, I’m sure that us claiming the territory around us will change that, and soon she’ll have to choose whether she’s going to stand with us or not. While it will be unfortunate if she does decide to run, I won’t begrudge her. When she joined the new Merchants, I doubt she thought it would end up like this.

    In the garage section of the warehouse, I can see the van. The thing had been outfitted with a set of armour plates that had been welded together that honestly made it look a bit like a block of scrap steel welded with the front sticking out. The top of the van held the tank turret and the front, comparatively, was lightly armoured, though I can still see where scrap metal has been welded to reinforce the engine block and the more solid metal parts. Surprisingly, the thing hadn’t gotten any lower to the ground despite the extra weight. Perhaps some of the tinker knowledge had transferred over to Sherrel, or maybe she just retained some of the less crazy things that her shard had her tinker up.

    Sherrel herself is in the tank turret, spinning the thing around. The turret doesn’t spin very fast but at a range, it wouldn’t matter as much as if it were in close quarters. Considering what most of the vehicles looked like in Pentagram city, that is to say, a complete lack of tanks, unless the demons that were attacking the van had anti-tank weaponry, whoever was in the turret likely had enough time to sight the target and just blow them away. The turret, however, as I approach, does look familiar. It almost looks like it came off of some tank from world war two. It wasn’t a german one I don’t think, those ones were generally flatter, and it definitely didn’t look like a Sherman. It kind of looked like someone had taken a round steel bin, and had attached a tank barrel on the thing, and flattened the top of it so that it was at an angle. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but it actually fit in with the rest of the van’s armour. As the tank turret turned towards me, Sherrel seemed to spot me from within and the turret stopped, pointing the barrel right at me.

    If I didn’t know that Sherrel was the one that was in that van, this might have been intimidating. Instead, Sherrel crawled her way to the front of the van, her larger form getting in the way, causing her, assets, to jiggle in some… uncomfortable ways, as she finally got to the front and climbed out the doorway. Once she is all sorted out, she walks up to me, a nervous smile on her face as she approaches.

    “So? What do ya think?” Sherrel asks. It looks like one of the contraptions that she’d have made during her Squealer days, though less crazy. It spoke less of Mad Max and more of something an African warlord thought counted as a tank. Even so, it looked good, and it had fewer random bits sticking out of strange places as some of her vehicles in life had had.

    “It looks good,” Sherrel beamed at the praise, and then she reached out and pulled me close. Not sure what to do I just let her until she let go.

    “So we’re off to find some vigilantes, any idea where they are?” Sherrel asks. In response, I reach into my long coat and pull from it a list of various bars and pubs with various addresses on them. All of them were given to me by Felix when he asked his various brothers and sisters what bars the vigilante’s hung out in across Pentagram city. It wasn’t an exhaustive list, but it did give a few dozen places in clusters across the city. Luckily, my ability to control bugs didn’t seem to be affected by distance, as I still had control of some of the bugs I had gotten while Adam, Mimi, and I had gone shopping, outside of my range.

    “These are all the bars and pubs that Felix says his family knows have some vigilante activity,” I say while presenting the list to Sherrel. Sherrel looks it over, mumbling the various pubs and street addresses next to them, nodding as she went until she reached a specific one.

    “Oh hey, I’ve been to this one a few times, we should go drinking after we get this done,” I stop, and surprisingly, Sherrel does as well. She looks over to me, an eyebrow raised. “Have you ever even had alcohol?” Sherrel asks.

    “No, part of my probation in the Wards prohibited alcohol since I was, or rather still am, underage,” it also didn’t help that they had been looking for any kind of slip up to put on my record. Not that I had time to drink in the Wards, but it was one more thing they wanted to do to add to the case they likely had been making to take me off the team and either send me somewhere where I wouldn’t cause trouble or possibly even, send me straight to Juvenile Detention.

    At my explanation, Sherrel’s lips slowly close, and a wide grin spreads across her shiny plastic face.

    “Oh, I’m definitely going to be taking you out drinking then, I wanna see you have your first drink!” Sherrel then takes off for the driver seat of the van. Wait, I can’t drink yet.

    “But!”

    “No butts! I clean enough of them with Mark!” Sherrel calls back, having popped open the van's driver-side door and calling out over it. Sighing I walk over to the passenger side of the van and climb in. Considering drugs were legal here, I doubt there is an official drinking age or any kind of law regarding it really. Though if she thinks that I’m going to let her have some drinks when she’s my only ticket back here, she’s got another thing coming.


    <><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

    We drive around the city trying to find the various addresses to the bars that Felix gave us the names for. Most of them were dives and bars with entrances hidden in alleyways. There were a few that actually looked like reputable joints, but they were few and far between. While we drove, I let my more predatory bugs resume their natural movements, searching for prey and before they were about to kill their prey, I had them bring it to me.

    A lot of the bugs in Pentagram city were carnivorous and killing other bugs rather than scavenging off the debris and detritus left behind by civilization. Not to say that there wasn’t a massive amount of scavengers that were loving the chaos that was being left behind by the various vigilante attacks and random gunfights that were breaking out between gangs who were taking advantage of the chaos the Vigilante’s were causing.

    More than a few times I had Sherrel stop so that I could go search through the aftermath of gunfights. Most of the time, they were stripped clean of everything other than their clothes and were being picked at by bugs. Bugs weren’t the only scavengers in this city. Though, I did manage to find a few wallets and some pistols here and there. Nothing too large though. Some of these might make a good gift to Mimi so she can finally get a proper gun for down here.

    We reach our final stop on the list, a pub named “The Toy Bar.” It seemed like an alright place, that is to say, it isn’t some bar down an alleyway. I begin to fill the place with some of the bugs I got from the previous looting when Sherrel turns the van off. I look over to her but she’s already getting out of the van.

    “Come on, I said we were going for a drink, I want to see you get your first!” and with that, she slams the door. She hadn’t forgotten about it as I had hoped. I get out of the van and walk after Sherrel. I’m not letting my ride back to the warehouse get drunk, especially since I doubt she would even consider leaving her van here without being knocked out first.

    We enter the place and the first thing that hits me is that the place is how little traffic there is here. Only a few people in the place, one blue-skinned demon is drinking at the bar and a couple consisting of a lizard creature and a faun is in the corner sharing drinks. The bartender looks like some kind of plastic army soldier toy, all green plastic, and I can see a trench gun on the back wall, feeling it with my bugs though it doesn’t seem to be made out of plastic but rather spray painted to be green. Interestingly, another was under the bar counter, and rather than the stereotypical pump shotgun, it looked more like the automatic shotguns that I had seen some PRT and SWAT units use when they were expecting heavy resistance.

    “Sherrel! You god damn sad excuse for a sex toy! You got a lot of nerve coming back here after the shit you pulled!” the toy soldier accuses, his plastic face glaring at her which stops Sherrel short. The toy soldier glares for another moment, and my hand slowly moves to the pistol in my belt. Then, the toy soldier smiles.

    “Ya haven’t called, I was worried about ya, come on here and get yourself a seat, I’ll get you your favourite,” He says and turns around.

    “Hold on, she’s the designated driver,” I protest. The toy soldier looks back at Sherrel and she sheepishly nods.

    “Huh, well tell you what, I’ll drive you back to your place so you can have a drink as well. Your’s is the eyesore out front right?”

    “Hey!” Sherrel protests. “It ain’t an eyesore she’s my baby.”

    “Yeah, with a face only a mother can love,” the soldier retorts as he sets down a cup filled with ice and starts filling it with a mixture of alcohol, some fizzy pop, and a straw.

    “Jackass,” was Sherrel’s reply as she drank from the straw in her cup. The soldier gave a chuckle before turning to me.

    “So what’ll you be having missy? I’m Anthony by the way.”

    “Skitty,” I tell him, using my cutesy nickname rather than my new demonic name. Considering this place catered to vigilantes, and they had decided that I was persona non grata, it would be better to keep that name under wraps until the Merchants had grown strong enough to be able to take on roving gangs of vigilantes. While there is a danger of realising the connection, my old villain name was known to inspire fear, and making it all cutesy would hopefully be enough to throw them off.

    “Skitty then, what’ll you be having?” Anthony asks again, not really knowing what to pick, I look at the back of the bar, but I might as well be looking at a sign in a foreign language.

    “I’ll just have what she's having,” I say eventually and Anthony nods. I sit down beside Sherrel and take my hat off to set down on the bar.

    “So how did you find out about this place?” I ask, not wanting to be a bore as Sherrel stops sipping from her drink. Sherrel takes a second to think.

    “She walked into my bar looking like a hot mess,” Anthony said as he continued to pour my drink.

    “Yeah, I didn’t even have any clothes,” Sherrel agrees before continuing. “I just woke up on the street to some guy touching me on the street, luckily he was a dumb ass and I got a good kick in before he tried anything else. Something like that happen to you?” I shake my head.

    “No, I had my wings so I just used those as a poncho until I figured out how to turn them into my coat here.”

    “Lucky, I just woke up with not a stitch on me and even bigger tits than I had before. I had to get outta there so I just ran into the first door that was open.”

    “Which was here, here ya go,” Anthony says as he passes me the drink. Picking it up I take an experimental sip. It’s sweet, with a bit of a strange taste that’s sitting alongside it. It definitely isn’t bad though.

    “Yeah, anyways, Anthony took one look at me, and walked off to get me a shirt and some pants.”

    “It’s what any good American would do,” he said matter-of-factly.

    “So yeah, after that he helped me for a bit while I got back on my feet,” Anthony smiles at that.

    “I still get customers asking about you sometimes, say, why not come back just for a weekend, see the guys again? You always did get a big ass tip,” Anthony asks but Sherrel just lets out a chuckle.

    “And get practically molested again? Nah, I had enough of that when I was alive, I think I’ll stick to getting frisky with Adam thank you very much,” So he was another person who liked to help. Maybe, I ponder as I take another sip, he could help us?

    “So what about you two? When’d you two meet?” Anthony asks, and Sherrel is all too happy to oblige.

    “We saw her on the sidewalk getting harassed by some of Valentino’s goons. ‘Course we didn’t know that they were Valentino’s at the time. Just saw her getting harassed. Skiddy saw her first and I wasn’t about to stop him. I wouldn’t want that shit to happen to me so we just stopped by the road and Skiddy got out and blasted one. Turns out Skitty here knew some magic so when she blasted them away, I ran one over, and then we picked her up and got ourselves a new Merchant.”

    “Well I’m glad my kindness rubbed off on you a bit, so what have you been doing lately?” This might be a good idea to see where his loyalties lie or even what he thinks about the vigilantes. If he betrays us, I’ll know, and we can quickly get rid of him.

    “Laying low mostly,” I remark.

    “Oh?”

    “You know that big shoot out in Valentino’s territory?” I ask and one of Anthony’s plastic eyebrows rises up.

    “Other than on the news, there were a few guys who were in here before that were talking about it, why? You involved with the vigilantes or something?” He asks, placing his hands on the bar, nearby enough to his auto shotgun that he could pull it out quickly.

    “No, but they did attack while we were there.”

    “So you’re hiding from Valentino or something?”

    “The vigilantes, some of them attacked us and we had to defend ourselves,” I ready my magic, prepared to blast Anthony back if he tried to draw on us. I hope he doesn’t but vigilantes do frequent here according to Felix. Instead of trying to draw though, he just shakes his head.

    “Some people can’t get it in their head that this place just isn’t America,” Anthony leans heavily on the counter now, arms folded underneath him. “But then, America’s been looking a lot less like the America I fought for from what I heard. Done get me wrong. Some of them are good people just trying to help, some of them are just trying to make the world make sense again. While they are trying to do good, they’re hurting a lot of people with what they are doing. From half the things I’ve heard, they don’t even have a plan; they’re just attacking people for laws and crimes that don’t exist here. Some of the shit people were getting attacked over in some of the territories that the vigilantes held back before they got broken up by the big man himself was mad. Whatever happened to “give me liberty or give me death?” fuckin’ bullshit...”

    I don’t even know half of what he’s talking about, and he seems to have gone into his own little rant while talking about them. He’s probably right in that the vigilantes are trying to make things better, and maybe I can use that. The vigilantes and I have similar goals, of making things better. Maybe I can convince some of them to join me, the ones who haven’t decided that I’m some threat to deal with before I get too big.

    “Perhaps you could help us,” I venture as I swirl my drink. “We, want to see about making things better here. You see, back in Brockton Bay, I and my friends all lead efforts to try and improve the city after a disaster hit. The government and its various organs were being useless, so we took it upon ourselves to try and protect the people of the city while the government only protected those that are rich and worth protecting,” there had never been an official policy regarding the PRT and the Protectorate pulling back to the few wealthy areas of Brockton, but that had been what had essentially happened. Everywhere beyond the rich suburbs had been abandoned, and it had been up to us to re-establish order there. Pentagram city was in a similar state of chaos with all the vigilantes stirring up the pot of an already heavily divided city, separated into little fiefdoms who were now taking advantage of the chaos that the vigilantes were leaving behind.

    “Pentagram city is in a similar situation. The government or whoever is not willing to come in and help anyone here, everyone is fighting, and if Pentagram city was in America, it would likely be quarantined. I want to try and make an island of stability here that we can use to try and help the people here, like my friends and I did in Brockton Bay. We can’t do it alone, however. Right now, it’s just us, but if you would help us, direct people to us, I think we can replicate the good my friends and I did in Brockton here in Pentagram. That sounds like something you could do for us?”

    The other patrons have all quieted as they seem to have taken an interest in what I was saying, watching us as I talked about what I wanted to do, what I wanted to accomplish here. Anthony himself looks at me for a long couple of moments, considering whether he wanted to get involved with us and help us out.

    I won’t begrudge him if he doesn’t want to join up. Not everyone can handle it all. I had been able the first time but it had been a lot of work. I would do it again in a heartbeat, though I might relegate some more to Charlotte, or even have seen about getting some more help than I had originally. Lisa had been there but I had continued to do things mostly my way. Maybe, maybe I could have included Dad in all of it. He wouldn’t have like that I was a villain, but if I had shown him what I was trying to do and that I was working towards bringing Brockton back from the brink, maybe I could have gotten him on board with me.

    So many maybes, so many things I could have done differently to make things better, yet largely I would do it all over again. This may not be a second chance a life, but in a way, by trying this all over again, I was getting a second chance. I was going to drag my little section of hell up from the pit it had fallen down, and I would do it better than I had the first time.

    This time, I would do better.

    Finally, Anthony seemed to stir and he looked up at me, an amused smile on his face.

    “Fancy yourself an Overlord do ya?” I think about responding with a resounding no, but, that wasn’t really true, was it? Despite it being possible to easily connect it back to me and my cape identity, I was asking him to send people our way to join us in at the Merchants. He already knew Sherrel and where we lived, he could easily bring the vigilantes down on our heads, but then, I had already bugged this place along with the other bars that vigilantes went to according to Felix. I would have advanced warning.

    Then I pause for a second, realising what I’m doing. I’m moving forward with plans I hadn’t even brought to the attention of Adam and Sherrel. I’d done such things many times while in the Chicago Wards, after all, most of the time the PRT and Protectorate would have tried to stop me from doing what needed to be done if they had known what I was about to do, or even actively tried to stop me. I’d never gotten in any significant trouble for it, or at least, anything that actually affected what I was in the Wards to do, restricting my ability to leave the base on anything other than patrols didn’t do much to someone that rarely left the base other than to do my job… and to attend a few dinners being thrown by the mayor. He and some of Chicago’s officials had actually proven useful in making sure I didn’t get much more than a slap on the wrist, as ever since I had been invited to one of their dinners, they had stopped implying that if I continued going off script, they would reconsider my placement in Chicago.

    This wasn’t the Wards though, I wasn’t dealing with the PRT and Protectorate anymore. I wasn’t some inconvenient ward that was just politically important enough to let things largely slide, I was now a major part of the new Merchants, and I was going behind the backs of Adam and Sherrel with this. I look to Sherrel, and I see a smile on her face as she sipped from her drink. As she notices my attention, she gives a thumbs up. Well, thats one.

    With the bugs I had left at the warehouse, I find Adam, he and Felix are watering the plants on the main floor while Mimi has brought lil’ Mark down and is bouncing the giggling babe on her lap. I coalesce my bugs into a sort of orb so that they can speak for me.

    “Adam,” my bugs buzz, causing Adam to jump, splashing water about as he turns, one of his hands tucked into his jacket pocket when he turns to my small swarm. Seeing the mass of bugs, he blinks a few times before he relaxes.

    “Jesus, you scared the shit outta me, so what you want?” remembering how Sherrel acted when he swore in front of Mark, she likely wouldn’t approve, I’ll have to tell her about it later.

    “Sherrel and I have met one of her friends in a bar, a man named Anthony, I was planning on recruiting him to help us get some manpower, he seems decent enough, and wanted to make sure it was fine with you before I did,” Adam’s eyebrows raised as I buzzed at him.

    “Anthony? Yeah sure, if he really wants to, I didn’t think we’d be grabbing anyone until we did that raid thing you were talkin’ about. Get some moola ‘n’ shit,” I note the second swear, and have my bugs bob up and down in a pseudo nod before I disperse them back to what they had been doing before. With my permission secured, I continue with Anthony.

    “I was a Warlord in life. When no one else would, I took charge and fixed my city, why not do the same here?” I ask him, and his smile grows.

    “Well at least you’re honest,” I nod, and slowly stick my hand out, I’m not sure exactly what I am doing, but I can feel something happening to my hand, energy engulfing it. My antennae detecting something I’ve never quite felt before. It was magic, but… different. Softer in a way, somehow, yet, unrestrained. I see a kind of wind, like when I let out a burst of magical energy, pulsing in my hand now, engulfing it, myself, and Anthony in a yellow glow as the lights around the bar dimmed until everyone except for us, was bathed in shadow. I look Anthony straight in the eyes, and Anthony looks into mine, both of us searching.

    “Will you help us?” is all I say. All I can hear is the howl of magical wind, an eerie buzz, and through my antennae, the beat of Anthony’s heart, suddenly pumping as he stares at me. He seems entranced for a moment, before, finally, he seems to shake himself from whatever spell I have accidentally ensnared him in. He looks down at my hand. He swallows hard now, gone is whatever bravado he seemed to have before.

    “Fuck, I’m probably going to regret this, but, alright,” he reaches forward, and we shake hands, the energy between us intertwining around us, and the wind suddenly reverses, imploding, before finally everything was back to normal,

    And a pact has been made.


    <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021 at 6:12 PM
  3. Gaming Geek

    Gaming Geek Tired of the random default stuff

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    Eh, they still need a rebranding... The Merchants aren't a name I'd want to go under, if I was from their Earth. :)
     
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  4. Night Hunter

    Night Hunter Making the rounds.

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    Surprising that someone in that bar don't ask Taylor if she fancies herself as a Overlord.
     
  5. VisV

    VisV Feedback Addicted Writer

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    She doesn't have to fancy herself one.

    She is.

    she just needs to take the throne from the seat warmer.
     
  6. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    You know, it didn't even occur to me to have anyone in the bar ask that, though it would certainly fit.
    Probably. Though, Taylor's already gotten them closer to rebranding, since they've taken down their Merchant signs and such. Wonder if Taylor, after getting Regent, might see about re-branding as the Hellsider?
     
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  7. VisV

    VisV Feedback Addicted Writer

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    The Under-Undersider's of course.

    Belowsiders?
     
  8. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    Whatever they decide it will esentially just be the merger of the Merchants with the Undersiders. A match that when Lisa becomes aware will be baffled by both because the Merchants are the Merchants, and how Taylor felt about the Merchants from before everything that happened. I imaging when Lisa learns about it and asks both how and why, Taylor will just end up looking at her and say:

    It's a long story.
     
  9. VisV

    VisV Feedback Addicted Writer

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    goddamnit!

    Write faster! I want to see that!


    REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    :V

    (This post is not serious. just in case you didn't get that.)
     
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  10. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    Undercorp?

    Merchansideing?


    I know! U and M Security!
     
  11. gale

    gale Versed in the lewd.

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    HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE
     
  12. Vladicus

    Vladicus Sage of reason and incomplete information

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    I'd personally go for the Undertakers. It has under in it, death and business. All one could ever wish in a name.
     
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  13. Erwidze

    Erwidze Not too sore, are you?

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    Cool to see all the neat character interaction. Especially funny to see Mimi’s slow descent into being a gun-maniac.

    One thing though, the speech, at least to me, doesn’t feel that inspiring. It is convincing, but it feels less like a speech you hear from a politician at the debate where people clap and shout their name afterwards/hero trying to inspire the crowd before the fight kinda type, and more like one used in a business trade/deal, which suits the situation, but reaction of other patrons doesn’t fit.

    If instead of clapping someone nearby went something like “Ha, I will cheer to that!” and Taylor noticing others glancing at her with interest, something like that would feel more appropriate IMO. Clapping just seems kinda awkward.
     
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  14. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    Yeah that sounds about right. I wasn't sure what to do with it at the end so I'll likely go back and change it to something that fits as you said. I had been thinking something along the lines of maybe a subdued clap at most but yeah that sounds better. If I want to do an inspirational speech like at a rally Ill likely have to look that up rather than the buissness proposal I have here.
     
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  15. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    Pretty good speech, I also liked the fight with Adam, however I'm going to nit-pick the scene with Mimi.
    Given that you established Mimi has no clue about guns, it would be safe to assume that it wasn't cared for so before trying to shoot it (and risking it blowing up in her face) if Taylor knew anything about handling guns properly she'd check the gun, preferably completely dissembling it and inspecting it, but at the very least checking the barrel for blockages and dry firing it a few times to make sure it's safe to use then showing Mimi how to disassemble and clean it thoroughly after firing it. The magazine also should have been checked, at least popping out a couple of rounds and checking them and the magazine spring before reloading them back in the magazine.

    That is unless there was a reason to believe the gun was in good shape, but I don't recall anything like that in the story.

    "The Merchants" is a fine name, unless someone was from BB or the immediate area around it they wouldn't associate that with "The Archer Bridge Merchants".

    That would actually have more people recognizing the name. The Undersiders would have been very famous by the end, doubt Taylor or Regent would want all the baggage that came with that.
     
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  16. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    Uh oh, my lack of gun knowledge is showing. Thanks for this though, since I don't own a gun myself I forgot about how important it is to check to see if a gun that hasn't been used in a while will actually fire without an issue and to check the ammo, especially since some of the surplus rounds that are being used are actually using black powder rather than smokeless powder, so from what I've read that would cause more corrosion.

    If the name does change it would likely be after gaining enough power that Taylor and co thought themselves secure enough to use the name being famous to their advantage of making sure there are fewer attacks on them by small fry newly deads, while drawing those who have heard of them in a positive light to their banner, like most people in Brockton Bay and others who've heard of them helping out. Plus it would make it easier for other Undersiders to find out about the Hellsiders and join up with them.

    Either way, thanks for the feedback, I'll make sure to put the gun info on the editing that I'll be doing to the chapter.
     
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  17. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    Not so much "hasn't been used" as "has been stored by someone who has no idea what they're doing". Well unless by "a while" you mean decades :)
    Supposedly there are guns that you can load with either modern smokless powder, or black/brown powder and actually have the gun fire. In general however that's not the case. A gun will be designed for one or the other.

    Thinking about it, I suppose a revolver, especially a single action one could work with both without much problem.
    Also I wouldn't worry too much about the ammunition going bad if the gun was okay (assuming it was good when Mimi got it) but springs don't last forever and if the magazine was loaded the spring was compressed so you'd want to make sure it's still exerting enough force to load the bullets.

    That makes sense.
     
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  18. Gaming Geek

    Gaming Geek Tired of the random default stuff

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    Look, it's simple. Hell guns work on 'Rule of Cool' and thus don't need to worry about such things as 'damage', 'wear', 'caliber' and so on...

    Totally as designed and not because the writer is not a gun guy. ;)
     
  19. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    That is certainly a reasonable explanation, and one I actually considered, however in that case I'd expect a line about that when Taylor was getting a gun.
    If the author decided to go that direction and add a couple of lines to establish it, I certainly wouldn't complain about it.
     
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  20. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    Huh I thought that they were interchangeable enough with the main problem being that the reason smokeless powder was invented was because of the fact that battlefields would be so chock full of smoke that no one could see a damn thing, thus, the invention of smokeless, that and black powder was insanely corrosive. I mostly came up with black powder stuff because every fiction enthusiast and their mother knows the formula for gun powder and likely would try to use it to make cheaper ammo while surviving in the wastes or even in some of the worse parts of town, like those Bazilian ghetto guns that are basically just Ork bolters.

    Edit: If any guns work on the rule of cool, it would be any demon that can just summon guns as if they are Miss Militia.
     
  21. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    The lack of smoke was a big advantage over cordite, but even cordite was also significantly more powerful. no one has used Cordite in...I want to say a century but that's off the top of my head without checking(and after checking looks like it was last used in WWII).Modern smokeless powders are stronger, cleaner and most importantly more stable than cordite.

    The main issue with trying to use blackpowder in a modern gun is that between the lower pressure and how much gunk it would deposit in the gun, any gas or recoil based mechanism is going to stop working. A secondary issue is that it would burn significantly slower than modern propellants so the bullet will be a lot slower, and (especially in handguns)if you try and pack more powder to compensate you'll end up spraying burning powder around you. The increased smoke and corosion of the gun will be tertiary issues compared to that.

    Going the other way, trying to use cordite or modern gunpowder (which can be a confusing term because prismatic black powder, developed in the early 19th century, is also called modern black powder) in a black powder gun, the higher pressure is liable to have the gun burst on you, although if you reduce the amount of powder and have a well made gun that might work.

    Actually they don't know the formula for black powder, mostly because there's no such thing. Practically any ratio of carbon, sulfur and saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate) would work...IF you know what to do with them. Figuring out how to make basic serpentine powder is easy, basically just mix the materials together and you'll probably manage to make them explode, if you're lucky it will be at some point AFTER you finished mixing, ideally when you want it to explode but that's really asking a lot.
    Corned powder, which actually looks like what you expect black powder to look like, is a lot safer to make and use, and somewhat more likely to actually go off when you want it to, but involves a couple of additional steps and still isn't actually safe. The developments after corned powder start requiring significant infrastructure to make.

    If you ever end up back in time or in some fantasy land and want to invent black powder, keep in mind the most important ingredient is a large supply of loyal, skilled, expendable workers.
     
  22. Gaming Geek

    Gaming Geek Tired of the random default stuff

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    I never said 'created from Rule of Cool', just worked on. ;) That way you could have them just be mass produced hellforged weapons.


    (edit) Which would imply a Demon Prince of Industry ...which given our RL history, I honestly expect.
    Some of our Robber Barons and Merchants of Death were damn near demons while they lived.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
  23. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    I can imagine that 90% of people who think that they know how to make gunpowder just blow themselves up in hell, especially with all the fire and heat around. Though if they can get access to a decent water source and don't blow themselves up super badly they could probably make some corned powder, then, depending on their intelligence, they either progress and build up, or they find out from people who've done it themselves. With how dangerous the wastes are, I wouldn't be surprised if the best tech they get in terms of firearms would be breach loaded or muzzle-loaded corned powder firearms or even guns that kind of look like Ork guns that can be taken apart easily and cleaned, at least until someone with more knowledge ended up in their part of Hell and didn't end up eaten by the various things out there.

    That could actually be something interesting to explore a quest like that if we had more information on Vizipop's hell. A colony of demons trying to survive out in the wastes and growing their tech base while hoping to get survivors that can increase the tech base of the settlement they have going.
     
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  24. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    Not depending on their inteligence, depending on if they know how to make Corned powder. It's not actually a very intuitive process, as evidenced by how long it took people to develop it.
    The issue with Serpentine powder isn't so much that someone might blow themselvs up making it, although that is an issue, it's that if you wait long enough one of two things will happen with Serpentine powder:
    1)It will self detonate from rubbing against itself.
    2)It will seperate to it's components and will no longer be possible to detonate.

    You also don't need a good water supply, piss works better than plain water for making corned powder.

    I would. While I don't know how to make modern explosives safely(I basically know enough to have a chance at blowing myself up if I tried) there are many people who do.
    I can believe the better explosives being rarer/more expensive, but not being unavailable.
     
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  25. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    Ah! I have fallen for the Wildbow blunder and forgotten about the survivalists and other kinds of people. Hell my uncle knows this kind of stuff as well. First and only time I went shooting with him we shot some tannerite and he has a couple of big ass bags of the stuff in the outhouse on his property. I guess my suggestion would be more along the lines of if the people they let into the Ward Megacity ended up in Hell and tried to make a community in Hell's wastes.
     
  26. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    I have made some edits, here are the relevant parts of the edits:

    I would love some feedback on these edits.
     
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  27. Miller At the Wash

    Miller At the Wash Versed in the lewd.

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    I like the edits.

    On the subject of gunpowder a culture that is chemically savvy enough to produce MDMA, Crystal Meth and Angel Dust in bulk is going to have the chemistry chops to make the more modern gunpowders and all it takes is one chemist who knows how to make modern gunpowder to go to hell and realise that the knowledge can buy them security and wealth, then Bam or maybe more accurately Blam.
     
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  28. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    There is no question that in places like Pentagram city and even most small towns in Hell have access to pretty much nearly the full range of chemicals due to the fact that it only takes one chemist, not to mention the fact that these chemists can be homegrown as well considering that there probably are universities and other kinds of educational institutions what with natural-born demons being able to be born in Hell as well as the fact that children and even babies can end up in Hell. The main thing about talking about gunpowder was that some dumbasses (such as myself) might think to try to spend less money on ammo or maybe even create a profit by manufacturing junk rounds with either serpentine or corned powder and using those. Then there are also the people who end up in vaguely the same place but there is no previous civilization there since it is in the middle of nowhere in Hell, and since people can literally arrive anywhere in Hell once they die, they have no idea that civilization even exists, so they may try to survive out in the wastes and, usually, are eaten because of it.

    There are some who survive though and they begin to build things up and create small towns that are on no map and have no contact with the outside world, and then, things progress depending on the new blood they get. With Golden Morning, there are going to be at least a few dozen of these towns scattered around in the wastelands of Hell, and not all of them are going to have a proper chemist, some of them are just going to have the local gaming/internet enthusiast who thinks they know how to make gunpowder not realizing they are actually making either serpentine powder or corned powder. Heck, with a majority of people early on dying in cities as Scion mostly went after cities, I can see there being at least a few settlements where there are a few settlements that somehow manage to survive but have the equivalent of the people protesting that there is no work and about food shortages without actually trying to deal with the problem and taking up farming. Though if there is any decent person at leadership they will likely whip the place into shape.

    But yeah, most of civilized Hell has access to smokeless powder and might even have access to more advanced technology due to the fact that the smartest people in history possibly going to Hell and continuing to create inventions there. Laser guns and other sci-fi tech are probably a big thing among the super-rich and I've already made a reference or two to the fact that Fallout weapons are being replicated in Hell and sold to the general public, so go to a high-end firearm store and you are likely to find some of the more interesting goodies like laser guns and ray guns all sorts of things.

    tl:dr - dumbasses thought they could get cheaper ammo by making it themselves and they don't know what they are doing.
     
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  29. Vladicus

    Vladicus Sage of reason and incomplete information

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    Or there's nobody else to do it the proper way and they need to reinvent the wheel or settle for substandard products. Judging by your post it seems hell is ran by RNJesus and we all know how, 'pretty' things can get when RNJesus is running the show.
     
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  30. Thread Necromancer

    Thread Necromancer Amateur Taylor Torturer

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    Where people largely end up is based on RNJesus with more pull towards big cities, especially Pentagram because that thing is a Megacity larger than anything else. Even the Ward Golden City is but a small town by comparison. Hell does things big and they expand outward a lot due to the number of people that do even up there as well as because of how there can be chaos erupting in gang wars between overlords or just large gangs, thus any expansion is either building up skyscrapers in the inner city after all the gang wars are gone or expanding outward, meaning there is a larger net to catch fallen sinners.

    There are however specific people who end up in specific places, Canadians for instance always no matter what, unless they go to Heaven, end up in New Canada in Hell due to enough of the Canadian government from backing the days when Canada was still a dominion getting together and figuring out enough magic to create a Canadian soul attractor that makes it so that they end up showing up in New Canada in order to continue to nation-build in Hell's more frozen wastes. The soul attractor or whatever they decided to call it may or may not involve Maple Syrup.
     
    SoldMars, Morphile and Vladicus like this.
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