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Quality in Rifts: Remembering Pete Overton

Quality In Rifts: Global Dispatch

By Pete Overton

Last Updated: 05.25.2004


On the Quality in Rifts list, we very occasionally discuss things, and sometimes out of those discussions comes a heap of frustration and headbanging, mostly. Once in a long while, however, an exceptional idea arises out of the perpetual flatline of conversational tone. :) No, no, it's a great list, and this is a great idea. It started when we were discussing about how Palladium lays out its setting and it remaind fairly static, as a rule -- PCs, while "larger than life" heroes, are not really supposed to affect major change in the world. There's some things in canon that "one just does not do." This stasis of setting is demoralizing for the players and annoying for the GMs, as we diverge more and more from the canon we have to create almost novel-sized House Rule & World Update files too. Note the "Battle of Tolkeen" that has been promised since Rifts first came out nearly a decade ago. Palladium does not like it when you mess with their static setting.

This in turn led me to bring up the White Wolf supplement "The Hunter's Survival Guide" for their Hunter: The Reckoning game. This supplement was designed to give an overview of the world, but it was novel because the entire thing was written in-character and gave no statistics or new toys, but rather detailed parts of the world through the characters' eyes. A city would be explained from a viewpoint, safehouses told of, law enforcement and local issues stated, that sort of thing. It was all delicious.

So naturally the next step was to combine the two above ideas. Rifts needs more dynamism and updates to its locales periodically, and thus was born the idea of Global Dispatches. These are in-character writings that detail thoughts, feelings, locations, plots, conspiracies, or what have you of the world of Rifts. From all over the globe, places and people are best represented from a local viewpoint.

This consists mostly of optional material for the GMs, and like the Inconsistencies, is driven by your submissions (we usually post them to the Quality List first for feedback). Create a character and write about your favourite part of the world, how you see it changed in however long it has been since Palladium last visited it. Once you see some of the samples, you'll understand, I think. But this isn't about introducting unstoppable characters or silly culture, but rather INTERESTING personalities, unique places, plots, schemes. The information may be all there or may be lacking. Use your imagination and above all, remember where it's being posted (here) and try to subscribe to the tenets of this webpage. :)

My thanks to Braden Campbell, Hugh, John and the Quality List in general for all their wonderful work and wonderful ideas. To them do we owe this page.

Volume 2

[Taken from notes written by Mick Sanders, a mutant. They were discovered in Arnham Land, Australia]

April 5th... "Damn these Kangs are getting plentiful, I could have sworn this place was unihabited by them a few years back. Oh well nothing a mutie like me can't handle."

April 6th... "Came across some interesting things today. Ran into a bunch of Aboriginals. Damned If I know what they were saying but something scared the hell outta them, they jabbered at me for a few minutes then started heading south. I wonder if the North has gotten worse? Only one way to find out.

April 7th... "Holy hell. I don't what they are but there's a damn lot of em. Big Croc looking suckers. Nasty too. Apperently they made ol' Arnham land their home. I was forced to kill one of em in self defense, the rest chased me farther north. Damn. I didn't want to go this far into Arnham... At least I got a nice pigsticker out of it."

April 9th... "Amazing, that's the only way I can describe what I saw. Giant ships and robots moving in from the sea. I mean these things were huge! I thought they were city goers but the spoke some weird language... Sounded kinda familiar. They're setting up base on the coast, I'll have to lay low..."

April 10th... "I never saw a demon gate until last night. It was... wonderful. The way it glowed on the water. The faint blue light was real nice, but I've heard stories about these things. If half of em are true I'll need to move on. The croc guys are one thing, demons are another."

April 15th... "Running low on food. I'm setting up camp by another demon gate tonight. I passed at least six of these things! Where are they comin from? I'll need to hunt something tonight."

April 19th... "I've run into something weird. I don't know what it was but it was red and had cybernetics, but it ain't human! Big too. Maybe these are the things the robots are huntin? They seem to be atracted to the demon gates, but I got no where else to go. Maybe if these gates open to other places to? It's worth a shot. I'm dead either way, hope lady luck is one my side."

[After much searching by the NGR scouting party no sign of Mick Sanders was found. It has been assumed he was killed by Brodkil. The expansion party has settled on the coast and awaits further orders. END TRANSMISSION]

[Written by Aaron French]

The Story of Bobby Masters

Cast of Characters

Bobby- A 27 year old soldier
Terris- A 22 year old Juicer
Lo-Gos- A 24 year old wilderness scout

When the play opens, all characters are on the stage surrounding what possibly might be a fire. TERRIS is to the left of the fire, BOBBY is in the middle, and LO-GOS is to the right. TERRIS has an unlabeled pop bottle and is drinking from it. He is laughing at the story LO-GOS is telling. Both are wearing light clothes, slightly dirty. BOBBY is wearing a long cloak and has a sword on the ground beside him. He is very somber and is not laughing.

LO-GOS: ...so then Cutter says to the Dragon, "Do you have any idea how much you're WORTH on the open slave market?" (Laughs uproariously)

TERRIS: (Laughing) Damnit. That's a good one. (Laughs) Your turn, Bobby.

BOBBY: Don't want to.

LO-GOS: Aw, come on.

TERRIS: Yeah, I told one. Tell us how you got here.

LO-GOS: Yeah, what's a clean cut Coalition boy like you doin' here at Tolkeen?

BOBBY: You don't want to hear about that.

TERRIS: Sure we do.

BOBBY: As long as it'll shut you both up. (Pause) I had just finished my basic train' at facility inside CS Missouri. Here I was, a Coalition soldier. Fighting the good fight. Protectin' my race against the advancing hordes of D-Bees and demons. I had made Corporal durin' basic. I lead a squad lookin' for a Dog Boy who tried to go feral. Got 'im. Brought 'im back.

That's why they called my new squad the Rogue Dogs. It was me, PFC. Jimmy Barnes, PFC. Jackie Goldbrik, Private Vanessa Collins and Private Marvin Warks. We became one of the best teams on base. We worked hard, trained hard and played hard.

Our first mission out was a week after we'd gotten to our new base near CFB Fellowship in Missouri. It seems a D-Bee village had sprung up around the ruins of the pre-Rifts town called Baxter Springs. Our platoon was to destroy this festering evil blight on the land. (Pause) I didn't even catch the name of the race that I was supposed to exterminate.

We was all suited up, sittin' in the Mark V, waitin' for the go code. A pair of SAMAS power armor were to fly in and attack first, takin' out any major defenses the blood thirsty monsters might have. I had my sword out and ready.

My nickname in basic was Hacker. I could hack apart a monster in the simulations in just under 12 seconds. That's why, while everyone else had a rifle, I just had a vibro-sword and pistol. I couldn't wait to hack up my first real D-Bee. I hadn't seen too many around the parts where I was from and even then they was tryin' to kill us. (BOBBY stands up and throws off the cloak. He is wearing a plain black T-shirt and black pants. He has the sword in his hands for the rest of the scene.)

The LT. called for my squad, the Rouge Dogs to take the left flank in the first wave. The entire platoon put out around a mile from the town. We heard the shots of the rail guns and mini-missiles bein' fired. We saw the shots of light goin' up from the village, but they were pretty sporadic. I suppose that should've told me somthin'. (Pause. He looks out past the audience, as if that is where the village is.) I had everyone check their weapons and move out. (He pulls a pistol from behind his back. He holds the sword in his right hand and the gun in his left. Unless otherwise noted, BOBBY acts out his actions.)

We slowly moved in towards the village. Vanessa was in lead, I was second, Jackie third, Marvin was fourth and Jimmy brought up the rear. We were just coming over this rise, when a D-bee came over it. It was damn ugly. Around six feet tall, with mottled blue skin and a long tail. It had something in it's hand and it was coming down on Vanessa head. She didn't have time to react.

My gun was up and firing instantly. It's head was separated from it's shoulders and vaporized. But it wasn't fast enough. The weapon came down on Vanessa's head. And bounced off.

(Looking down. Almost incredulously) It was a pitchfork. For hay. It tried to attack a CS squad complete with Dead Boy armor, light, medium and heavy weapons, with a pitchfork. I didn't know what to do. The only thing I could really do was move on.

(Looks back up. Voice is more resolute.) We got up to the edge of town. The SAMAS' had done their job. They always do. A few structures were collapsed and burning. We saw a few of the D-bees running into the biggest building in the town. Just across the square. I nodded to my team and we charged across the square.

We ran into a perfectly set up crossfire. (Pointing) There. There. There. There. And there. Jimmy took a six hits in ten seconds and went down. Marvin took a grenade to the chest. Jackie had her leg taken out and fell to the ground. She was as good as dead in the firetrap. Both me and Vanessa took some hits, but our armor held. I put my boot to the door and made it inside. I turned and fired back. I felt Vanessa's hand on my shoulder. And I saw what was in the room.

(Stands up and turns around to face audience. Looking slightly up.)

Around 200 of the D-bees were clustered in the building. Mostly women and children. (Drops gun and sword. Looks at TERRIS and LO-GOS.) I couldn't do it. I couldn't kill women and children in cold blood! I'm not a monster. I took off my helmet and looked at Vanessa. I said, "Kill me if you have to. But I'm getting these people out of here."

She looked back at me and gave me a silent nod. She was going to help. I put the helmet back on and picked up my weapons. We were going to get those D-Bees out. (Sits back down and pulls the cloak around him again.)

TERRIS: Wow. What happened to the D-Bees?

LO-GOS: And Vanessa?

BOBBY: We got most of them out. Some of them were killed when the rest of the platoon saw them escaping. And Vanessa? She took a hit from a plasma cannon. Doubt she even felt it. Is that good enough for you both? Are you satisfied? I'm here to make sure that the Coalition doesn't destroy this city like they did to Baxter Springs. Now, I'm going to sleep. Got a patrol to lead in the morning. (Lays down, cloak covering him.)

LO-GOS: Huh. You never know about some people.

TERRIS: Yeah, everyone's got a story. Did I ever tell you about the Cyber-Knight I met in Montana? First thing I said, "She's your SISTER! I thought she was a least thirteen!"...


[Written by James Kenter with consideration given to Chicken Boy]

Dateline: January 24th, 106 P.A.
Source: The Iron Times

by Andrew Raine, Staff Reporter

(CP) -- Residents of Iron Heart are gripped with terror today after the revealation that a Xiticix hive was destroyed using a small tactical nuclear weapon.

At 2:34 AM local time last night, border guards reported a bright flash and a small mushroom cloud, followed by a massive explosion. A Hazardous Materials Team was sent to investigate and confirmed that a nuclear weapon had been detonated at a site that had previously been identified as a Xiticix hive.

"It was a so-called 'briefcase bomb,'" said Coalition Military spokesman Major Dennis Franklin. "We suspect that the tight security measures that the CS enforces have been slipping in Quebec," he noted after being asked where the device could have come from. "This could have been much worse."

Quebec officials were quick to vehemently deny any theft of nuclear weapons. "Perhaps Major Franklin should audit his own state's nuclear stores," said Quebec General Francois Leftcourt. "All of our nuclear devices are accounted for."

Asked if this represented a new policy in regards to handling the Xiticix threat, Major Franklin was quick to set the record straight. "We admire the intent of the individuals responsible for this, but in no way do we condone the method used. The Coalition is pledged to defeat the Xiticix but we will do so without the use of nuclear weapons. Such devices were the downfall of humanity in the Golden Ages."

Officials have assured the public that they are following up all possible leads and that top priority has been assigned to this investigation. However, border communities fear that this may represent a new and reckless mercenary group. In any event, the cold spectre of the nuclear menace hangs heavy in the air.


From: Commander, SigInt Station #49
To: Major Franklin, Coalition Military
Subject: Events 01-24-106


Pursuant to the nuclear device detonation of Xiticix Hive "Snoopy" [TAG# 5196584273], the following transcript is sent per your request. Voice 1 is identified as Major Gustav Reese of Coalition Special Operations, and the rest are varying members of his unit.

---[Begin Transcript]---

VOICE1: Who's left? Sound off!
VOICE2: Gamma here, sir. [sounds of heavy energy weapon fire] Distraction squad holding the upper levels, but don't stop and take any pictures, sir.
VOICE1: Copy that. I'm meeting barely any resistance here. I'm entering what appears to -- [sounds of energy weapon fire]
VOICE2: Sir, say again, all after entering.
VOICE2: Sir, come in!
VOICE1: We're here. We appear to be in the nursery. Some very big and pissed off bugs to take care of.
VOICE2: Light casualties being taken, sir, please hurry.
VOICE1: You know Anderson, Louise was pregnant.
VOICE2: Sir?!?!?
VOICE3: Major, this is Delta, we're taking major casualties out here! Request mission status update!
VOICE1: She was pregnant. We wanted a son, you know. Always wanted a son, to carry on my legacy, you know.
VOICE2: [tentative] Uh... sir? [screaming in background] SIR!
VOICE3: SIR? What the fuck?
VOICE1: Louise was so beautiful. She was a wonderful woman. God I miss her. Soon, Lou, soon I'll be with you.
VOICE2: MAJOR! Major! Snap out of it! We're dying here! Finish the mission and let's get the fuck outta here!
VOICE1: There is no mission. [series of computer beeps]
VOICE1: They're gonna pay, boys. Fucking bugs, fucking killers! Inhuman monsters! Do you think they stopped to consider that Louise was pregnant? Let's see what happens when we nuke the hell out of their hive. Oh, Lou.
VOICE3: Did he say nuke?
VOICE2: Oh god. Oh god no.
VOICE1: Intel said this hive has a big queen. Let's see how she likes her children being burned into oblivion.
VOICE2: Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.
VOICE1: [singing] Oh, Lou, I love you, I can't wait to be with you, for all of eternity..
VOICE1: Anderson... this is my offering to my wife.. do you think she'll like it? She always did like bonfires.
VOICE2: Our Father.. who art in heaven...
VOICE1: Heaven... yes... I'm coming Lou...

---[End Transcript]---

Commander David, SigInt


From: Commander, Fact Reconstructionist
To: Major Franklin, Coalition Military
Subject: Major Gustav Reese

1) Major Reese lost his wife and unborn child in a Xiticix attack some three weeks before the incident of the nuclear detonation. This mentally unbalanced him, as evidenced by the transcript received from SigInt Commander.
2) This was the act of one crazed, grief-stricken man. However, this man was part of the Coalition Military hierarchy. Deniability is 100% due to the elimination of any forensic evidence.
3) While this was a tragedy, this would be an opportune time to shift the blame to an unfriendly mercenary group, possibly in conjunction with an implication that Quebec has been dealing out nuclear weapons. Alternately, the strong implication that Quebec lost a nuclear weapon would also be very beneficial.
4) We *MUST* find a small handful of unfriendlies and force them to admit to detonating the device, preferably as soon as possible. The idea that there are nuclear terrorists running around is too demoralizing for our nation. Trial and a swift execution are suggested.

[Name Censored]


From: Major Franklin, Coalition Military
To: Commander, ISS
Subject: Security Audit

How the hell did Reese get his hands on one of our nukes? I suggest you immediately get your team to work on a security audit for Iron Heart. This is highly intolerable! SF troops, even Majors, should NOT have access to nuclear weaponry without executive military backing! Find out what the hell happened!



From: Commander, ISS
To: Major Franklin, Coalition Military
Subject: Security Audit

Major Franklin,

1) Major Reese in fact did have all the proper authorized forms for requisition access to the nuclear arsenal. His authorization forms were verified by three levels of systemic checks. Crossreferencing the executive commander's signature revealed that such papers never entered his office, and thus are assumed to be exceptional forges.
2) Louse Reese lived in the heart of Iron Heart. She was visiting a border town under the apparent motive of seeing Major Reese and she thus fell in the Xiticix attack. However, Major Reese was out of Iron Heart at the time.
3) After such a trauma, leave is normally mandated, but Major Reese was pressed into another mission after his wife's death. This too ostensibly came from the same executive commander's office, but once more they deny having anything to do with Major Reese at all.
4) The psychic scan required by law for anyone accessing the nuclear arsenal was waived for some inexplicable reason in Major Reese's particlar case. His actions, however, are psychologically valid, and mind control is not suspected.

The conclusion I arrive to from all of this is that someone in Iron Heart set up Major Reese from the start, providing all of the documents that were either stolen or exceptionally forged, arranging for the death of his wife and then using his grief as a cruise missile of sorts for a Xiticix hive, arming him with a nuclear weapon.

I suggest you check your own yard before you bark at us again in the future.

Comander, ISS

[Written by Pete Overton]

Adrie Mercutio's Metzla Project

Adrie Mercutio, was perhaps the most ignorant, poorly trained, and incompetent graduate of the Lazlo School of Techno Wizadry. Her apptitudes were barely average, her understanding of spell casting was addled, and only her unique projects, which rarely did what she wanted, allowed her to pass the courses set before her.

Adrie's significance in history has had a turn of good luck. While attempting to buy crystals in the Splynn Dimensional market, she came across some lovely quartz crystals, which were at a decent price. The crystals were going to be the integral components in a new Techno-wizard communications device, which allowed normal people to use leyline transmissions. These transmissions would be more secure than radio, and useful to nations like Tolkeen and Lazlo, which would be in need of stealthy communications during the coming wars. the crystals, however, were not quartz at all, but were Volute Metzla meditation crystals; used to keep journal like archives of mind states(emotions and various other metzla thoughts), reference points(states of mind in which ideas became most efficient), and personal reflections.

When Adrie placed the communication helm upon her head, in her first attempt to contact someone along the Leyline channel she had opened, a brilliant flash of sparks from the head set, startled her Telemechanic mind into a reverie with the Volute thought crystals. Allowing her to experience the Volutes logs and mind state. the knowledge was immeadiately recognized for it's value, as an anthropological key into the society and thinking of Metzla. the first transcription/translation of these works follows:

My mind is at unrest, the hive is unsafe, this land is disgusting, I hate humans......

I send these thoughts to better understand them. My mind is awash with human thoughts better gleaned by destruction than contamination. This portugal, is a dangerous place for us, and I find the Human contamination to be an unbearable and an embarrassing state of affairs.

This morning, my Murvoma attempt to comfort me, but my transition to queen is unbearable, and uncomfortable. Already my egg sack bulges with broods of carapace, which will serve to fortify our position. My Murvola brought me the interlopers yesterday. Their sickly rotting smell and *untranslatable* sense of being, was enough for only the most cursory of deaths, but I was feeling pain and wished to torture them. My Murvoma began to rip and tear, while I pressed within their tiny psyches. I discovered upon the third that an attack had been planned against the base, and the concussionary detonation, and subsequent death of most of my Kreewarr carapaces, caused me to kill the wretch before extracting more of the plan. I dispatched my Kreelong carapaces, to execute the perpetrators, but they suffered heavy losses as the Humans retreated. My friend(*many other unexplained and untranslatable relationships*) Klik sa Ticix Murex was destroyed in the original explosion. He/She was my intellectual equal and I had hoped would produce offspring with me in the coming years. The loss was exspensive, and I sent Murvola to hunt down the interlopers, with half of my remaining Kreewarr. the Kreewarr fell through, into pits, which were lined with acidic salts, and filled with combustable materials. The fire was intense I learned, and those that fell into the pits were destroyed. Humans then opened fire upon my Murvola. They were outnumbered and were born by magic and fear to retreat, leaving the Kreewarr, to the burning pits. When they returned the humans had dropped explosives into the pits, finishing off my soldiers. I raged in and out of my cultured mindstates, searching for an atavistic fury, which would win war and duty. My colony is jeopardized by the low number of Kreewarr, and my Kreelong cannot be removed from patrols, to expand my nursery or to build upon my egg laying sack. My Murvoma are the only ones who understand my psychic rage, and I eat them sparingly, which has weakened me greatly. I fear for my colonies success, so I send my mind state to you, queen who birthed me, for advice and instruction. Why was i born knowing Humans were such simple prey, when I now struggle with them so helplessly. A Murex life is priceless compared to the lives of all humans. It was a Mind state you had while birthing me. I resolutely avow the truth in your understanding, but why am i beleagured by this simple foe. What is wrong with me?

Thus began the first journal transcription of the Volute, and the first time Humans had, had an insight into the thinking of Metzlas

[Written by Jason Starin]

             The True Chronicle History of Joseph I
                         Part the First

Dramatis Personae

The Coalition:
Col. Joseph Prosek       afterwards a General in the army

Gen. Gunthranus          commander of the CS forces, friend to Joseph
Leopold \                sons of Gunthranus, officers in the army
Sweetho /   
Gerard Albert Plume      a scholar, strategist, and advisor to Gen. Gunthranus
Krel Fargos              wizard, and brother to Malmorja 
Mosher Van-Meer          Mayor of Chi-Town, Chairman Elect of the Coalition
Catherine Van-Meer       his daughter, later wife to Joseph
Kellar Labelle, of Free Quebec \
Gaetan Jasper, of Iron Heart    \   Regional Ambassadors
Sarah Monroe, of Missouri       /
Archbishop of Chi-Town         /

The Federation: 
Nostrous Dunscon         a great wizard and leader of the Grand City
Lady Elenora Dunscon     his wife
Alistair Dunscon         their young son

Malmorja            a summoner of demons, and advisor to Dunscon
Whitewax            an old witch, and mother to Malmorja and Krel Fargos
Brethan   \
Coran      \        Three mysterious brothers, afterwards called The Lords Of Magic
Leizak    /
Plato                    A dragon, and Ambassador of Lazlo
Kiroll Elbron            Elven ambassador from Tolkeen
Errko                    A goblin servant to Whitewax and Malmorja

Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messages, Wizards, Necromancers, Attendants

SCENE: Chi-Town, The Grand City

ACT I, Scene I

Location: a room in the Chi-town Senate.

Enter Gunthranus, Joseph Prosek, Leopold, Sweetho, Plume,
Mosher Van-Meer, Labelle, Jasper, Monroe, Archbishop.
After, Krel Fargos, who stands in the shadows. They sit about a table. 

JOSEPH: Yet not so much a single fortnight old 
may this our Union claim, but we must find
by trial if we can stand together strong,
or if we shall unravel in the wind. 

FARGOS (aside): A greater test than this is yet to come;
but your poor vision sees it not, my son.  

VAN -MEER: Our party now assembled, and with thanks 
to our Ambassadors, I will, by your 
permission overlook the pleasantries
 of State, and come direct upon the matter. 
A week before, when this same council did 
last gather in the safety of these walls, 
our mission then to forge a new nation, 
that mankind might not perish from the earth, 
but burgeon forth and claim it for his own; 
then did we Senators, and like scholars 
with soldier's brawn, in one resounding voice
perform a marriage unlike any seen. 
Four States, four corners of the world, did we 
by our agreement bind then into one.
But like a game where players must be chosen, 
a game whose stakes are higher than the stars, 
some were included, some needs be left out. 
In choice selection of our friends and foes, 
this council sided with those states Humane, 
rather than embrace the savages. 
We may expand, God willing we may grow, 
our dream one day may come to fruition. 
But 'till that time, steps must be ta'en to curb
the nation-states that lie beyond our door. 

He riseth

I know that you have knowledge of the great 
and wondrous sorcerous powers that lay rule
to the ruins of the city in the north; 
"Chicago" once, but now a Grand City
that rises from the ashes on the shore, 
a shelter full of weirdlings, beasts, and worse, 
o'erseen by those who think they have the skill, 
the power, strength, or fortitude of mind
to tame demonic forces from the rifts.
Their leader's one who calls himself Dunscon, 
and mastery over Time is now his claim; 
our Coalition seeketh he to join, 
thus have we here invited him today.  

PLUME: With kind permission from our Lord High Mayor, 
the General's staff, and Regional State powers,
 these edicts do I here present to you;
demanding though they are, they must be met 
if Dunscon is to join with us in peace; 
their  number is one hundred thirty-four, 
while it may seem unreasonable a sum, 
upon my word I tell you that they were writ 
with utmost care and consideration. 
It was this very hand that made it so! 
We ask for little, but that he must give 
us all that we require; our aim is just
that we ensure a lasting calm; a goal, 
a dream, I hope, that can be shared by all. 

MONROE: Most heartily do I  agree with you! 
My territories are already weak, 
prone to invasion by marauding hordes 
that come in from the western wilderness;
each day the people of Missouri must 
endure both raids and monsters from the Gate. 
We signed the Treaty so that we could have 
some small measure of safety, and the power 
to call for help from allies; thus we hope 
to see another planting in the spring. 

JASPER: You mistake your own importance all this time! 
Each man among us knows, your State provides
nothing in means of old technology;
we signed with you to keep our bellies full, 
providing you with armour, men and arms. 
And yet you gripe? Are you in your small town, 
ha, if in fact Chillicothe rates as much, 
such cowards that you jump to see your shadow, 
and pale to look upon but one specter? 
Know you not the dangers that we face 
each time the sun sets in the blustry north;
you speak of hordes, yet never have you seen
the tribes of Savage Men when they do roam;
O, prisoners take they none, but tear a man 
to shreds 'fore he can scream, eat at his flesh,
and vanish in the night from whence they came; 
Compare your state to ours  

MONROE:             But hear me speak  

JASPER: Well prattle on then, woman, I'll not hear. 

LABELLE: Forgiveness please, I must correct you both. 
You speak of troubles like they were your children; 
belonging just to you and you alone, 
but we are allies now, and moreso friends; 
our burdens and our joys we all do share; 
For we are all one body politic; 
when that the little finger is but cut, 
the blood let loose is a loss to us all. 

JASPER: I am amazed you speak such things to me! 
"Equality?" and "Sharing"? Well, if we 
true equals be, like brothers set against
a common foe, what's yours is mine, and mine 
is an extension of your own; and yet 
not I, my people, nor this creature here (he indicates Monroe) 
posses but one of your weapons of war.  
Dear brother mine, do be so gracious as
to share your secrets of the Golden Age! 
For Iron Heart has done so, giving freely 
that which we unearthed, sharing the knowledge 
of all the centuries past, when man was sole 
possessor of the world, from long before 
the rifts arrived to tear the Earth asunder. 

LEOPOLD: Of what now do you speak; does Free Quebec
hold something the rest of us do lack? 

LABELLE: So please you it is nothing you should fear. 

JASPER: I live in fear of any man who'd preach
of honesty, yet spurn it's application; 
Archbishop, is it not considered sin 
to speak with one face but display another? 

ARCHBISHOP: 'Tis writ in Holy Scripture honesty
a virtue is, a virtue bright and true.  

LABELLE: That would you know, Gaetan, if any in
your poor province could read American. 
Is it a sense of duty now that calls 
you to deride us so, or rather, is't 
a feeling great of jealousy that we,
the Qu‚b‚cois are wiser far than you; 
that you but wallowed still with ignorance 
in miring darkness of another Age, 
whilst we were climbing out into the light? 
O, Jealousy, dear friend's, a deadly sin; 
and practiced by you and by all your kind!

(Jasper rises to draw his sword. Labelle does likewise.)

ARCHBISHOP: For God's sake peace, I prithee hold and stay;
your rashness is unportable this day. 

GUNTHRANUS: I'll make a ghost of he that lets me do it! (Rises) 

SWEETHO: O, Father, please 

GUNTHRANUS:              I will not hold my tongue; 
I shall no longer just abide of this! 
Are ye naught but children, worse yet birds, 
to peck and squabble o'er some trivial crumb, 
whils't weasels raid your nest and steal the eggs, 
devouring all your hope of progeny? 
If I produce the Treaty, I would find
upon it writ your true names, signed in faith; 
Upon that solitary document 
doth rest the cornerstone of this our house, 
and if it falls, collapsed in heaps of pride, 
relinquish then our claim upon the Earth.
Then since my life, indeed the lives of both
my sons, and this young man to whom I have 
since his poor father's sad untimely death, 
a second father been, I do depend 
upon your stern up keeping of your word; 
and I will burn in hell before I see 
this nation torn asunder by the likes
of sniveling, whimpering, starvelings such as thou
before it has fulfilled it's destiny. 
O, Woe betide the man, or woman, aye, 
who thinks more of themselves than greater good! 
We are a body politic 'tis true, 
and greater still a family comprised 
of sons and sisters, fathers, mothers, more,
I tell you there is nothing I'd not do 
if it would serve to hold and to ensure 
prosperity of this, my family great; 
Humanity is my entrusted care;
it's guiding hand and figurehead am I, 
if you support us not, but stand against, 
you are it's enemy, and moreso mine! 
We did not sign a contract with our foes, 
or do ye take us all for fools? If so, 
draw your blades and face me here and now, 
and we shall see if Pride or Age prevail. 

JOSEPH: (lays his hand on Gunthranus' shoulder) 
Good Sir, thou knowest well your battles lie 
outside these walls, for clearly you can see
there are no enemies here; thou knowest well, 
all families may argue, but the bond 
of love that ties them tight can not be cut. 

LABELLE: (sits) Young Joseph here speaks true; the boy is wise 
I cry your mercy   

MONROE:        I apologize. (Sits)

ARCHBISHOP: A very Christian attitude that we 
extend forgiveness unto those who sin 
against us   

       We have greater matters now. (sits)

JOSEPH: Please sir sit, and rest your weary bones. 

GUNTHRANUS: I only speak from passion, which oft time 
doth masquerade as madness, causing some
strange boiling in my blood, but nothing more.   

FARGOS: (aside) They talk of unity, and yet are still
so factious in their minds; but lo, here comes 
the thread to bind this patchwork blanket up. 

Flourish with trumpets. Enter several Coalition soldiers in full armour.
Enter a Messenger. 

MESSENGER: Sirs! Lord Nostrous Dunscon awaits your pleasure. 

VAN-MEER: Bring him to us, and we shall underway. 

Exeunt Mess. Enter Dunscon. 

DUNSCON: Good morrow, friends! And you, my dear Van-Meer,
or rather shall I call by your name 
that you did lately win; Chairman Elect, 
if we do stand on ceremony here;
Indeed and to you all, although your names 
I may know not, I wish you still good health.  

VAN-MEER: We are no tyrant, we are still a man, 
upon our shoulders titles yet must find 
a comfortable place in which to sit. 
Allow me if I may to introduce
the persons you see seated round you now. 
From northmost reaches of our fledgling land,
I do present Monsieur Kellar Labelle;
of Iron Heart, this Gaetan Jasper is. 
From gentle Missouri comes Miss Monroe, 
who all of late expressed great interest 
in making your acquaintance on this day.
And Mr. Plume, mine own right hand and friend,
(but more than that a total confidant);
Here General Gunthranus and his sons, 
both Leopold and Sweetho by his side; 
the figure in the shadows lurking there, 
in keeping with his air of mystery, 
Krel Fargos goes he by   

DUNSCON:            I know him well. 

FARGOS: Acquainted we already are my lord; 
his city did I leave to join you here.

DUNSCON: Your fragile mother still does speak of you; 
your brother told me that we two should meet
if into Chi-Town this day I should come. 
Have you a message I should give to him? 

FARGOS: None that he would care to hear. 
Might one inquire if he in your employ 
may still be found; around your winged heels
devouring scraps that from your table fall, 
a Cerberus in mind, but not in form? 

DUNSCON: My councillor he is, my oracle, 
this morning he did prophesy that much 
should come of this our gathering here today. 

JOSEPH: Prophesy; did he indeed? 'Tis strange.

VAN-MEER: And lastly but not least may I present
young Joseph Prosek's hand unto your grace. 

(Joseph and Dunscon shake hands)

DUNSCON: Is't possible we've met somewhere before? 

JOSEPH: I do not think it so. 

DUNSCON:            Forgive me, but 
your eyes bear something that I swear I have
beheld before; a half-remembered dream...
Pish! Nonsense though it is, but rather my 
excitement at your invitation kind: 
Good Gentlemen, and Lady lest I loose 
my manners, may I bring you gifts of plenty; 

(He reaches into his cloak and by magic produces a large tray of fruit.) 

These fruits in the vineyards of the gods doth grow!  
A place beyond the rifts: Olympia, 
where pegasi and cyclops romp and play, 
on trees that shine like lanterns in the night, 
do grow delicacies, bedecked with dew 
like purest crystal; help yourselves, and you
like me you will have no choice but to agree 
your mouths have never tasted such delight 
this side of heaven. No? be it your fear 
assure you do I that they're poisoned not; 
I come here in good conscience and good faith, 
hoping that we as councillors of peace
may build again the globe as we see fit; 
This union of yours, Coalition called, 
miraculous a meeting both of minds
and merging several cultures, side by each, 
I do believe our path to glory 'tis. 

(He sits)

I must admit before you one and all, 
a week ago, when you did meet to form
a brand new country out of lesser ones,
there were some in our city fair who raged
that we had been excluded from the deal;
but then quoth I  " 'Tis but an oversight, 
these men in Chi-Town have a master plan,
whatsmore, a vision, and so they must act,
for clearly they can see by things around
a new world has been born; 'tis ours to grasp! 
They will not cling to that which is no more, 
these relics from the golden Age of Man, 
but integrate our powers o'er the Lines,
the sum produced being greater than two halves."
And lo, your invitation doth arrive, 
that brought me here this morn, and may I say, 
how flattered I am now, and I do swear
when we today combine the Allied States
and magic from our Federation lands, 
an Empire great as Rome, as strong as Time, 
will we be fathers of forever more. 

ARCHBISHOP: Though fathers evermore we'll be that's true, 
never shall we embrace the likes of you. 

DUNSCON: I understand you not. 

PLUME: Then I'll speak clear. 
The purpose of our meeting is to warn
those peoples in your city to the north,
whose conduct walks the line 'twixt heav'n and hell, 
I do believe you know of what I speak; 
From Fargos we have studied and have learned
about the magic secrets you hold dear; 
you dare to think you've got the strength to hold 
the demons that you summon under sway? 

LEOPOLD: O, yes, we know quite well about your powers
o'er Time and Space and many other things, 
of circles drawn, and candles burning bright, 
a still-warm beating dragon's heart, a knife, 
the cryptic Runes that none can understand, 
all mingled in a string of breathy words, 
expanding like a womb that opens wide, 
a doorway, portal, rift, the other side  

SWEETHO: As lapdogs you may think these monsters be,
but I can tell you now that they are not; 
And what is more, dear sir, I here proclaim
unless you change your ways and your affairs, 
your Grand City, and Lazlo, and Tolkeen, 
will prove a greater threat than help to us. 
DUNSCON: Do you intend to threaten me, young man? 

VAN-MEER: The boys speak out of turn, but they are right, 
and such is our intention here today, 
to ask you, Dunscon, will you take in hand
the moral reigns and crack a righteous whip, 
and exercise some measure of control
in your own dark and mystical affairs;
the world knows too much pain, and so much grief, 
and yet you're adding to it's sum each day.
PLUME: If you would read the edicts on this form,
restricting summoning power, citizenship
to monstrous, alien and evil powers, 
and first and foremost bringing to a halt
the trade of goods with other-worldly realms,  (he indicates the tray of fruit)
then there's no reason why you should not seem 
as great a friend as you would claim to be.  

(Plume pushes the Edicts in front of Dunscon. There is a pause.)

DUNSCON: You do demean yourselves as well as me
by giving voice to your own ignorance, 
your fear, and your ridiculous requests;
I came to you in peace here as a friend, 
I came to you quite willing to ally, 
you treat me like a conquered enemy, 
or beaten animal to whom you can
but issue veiled threats and great demands. 

(He rises)

Know this: the people of the Grand City, 
my brothers in the various Magic Guilds, 
do not so much as fear your new nation 
of frightened, and of small-minded people; 
nor shall I, nor shall the swarming multitude
I represent kneel down before you here, 
before your ignorance and laughable
technology you seem to think so great. 
Wonders I have seen beyond this world, 
that you could not begin to fathom now;
magic is liberation, it unlocks
imagination, gives flight to the soul, 
doth place the universe within one's palm; 
you cannot know this, or you would not ask
that I should turn away from it and hide, 
my head stuck in the sand; No, we will go
and follow forth our destiny as we
deem fit, without a thought for your concerns!
There's nothing further to be said; I take
my leave of you; in closing let say
but these two things: that you have naught to fear
from me, or mine as long as you relent 
and leave us to our own devices, we'll
conduct our own affairs as we see fit, 
so give us please our berth; and secondly, 
if you dare challenge us, then you will earn
an enemy to tear your world apart
as easily as children kick aside
a castle in the sand or building blocks; 
unless you cast the first stone I see no
good reason why we cannot co-exist
in isolation and in peace; good day. 

(Dunscon strides towards the door, but teleports way before he reaches it.)

ARCHBISHOP: Angels and ministers of grace protect us!

PLUME: I must accept that as his answer, sir. 

LEOPOLD: So must we all Lord Mayor, the choice is clear.  

JASPER: We'll let not this young upstart prince of prates
curb these proceedings with his honey'd words, 
but finish boldly what we have begun. 
If Dunscon lacks the good God-given smarts
to change his ways, then we will have him school'd, 
and it shall be a lesson that goes hard.

JOSEPH: I must abide by your consensus that, 
we've made ourselves an enemy today, 
and what the future holds, I dare say not.

VAN-MEER: That do I know, for you at least, good son,
the future holds a banquet in thy name, 
for I've a daughter that I must unpack, 
discussed this have I with your father here, 
so, Joseph take a troubled girl to wife,  
and signify you love your land and me;
tonight we all shall feast within my home. 

PLUME: Then let us to your mansion, there we'll rest
'Till we decide if peace or war be beast.  

Exunt all. Leopold, Sweetho remain. Fargos lingers by the door. 
SWEETHO: A moment, brother  

 LEOPLOD:             what is't you would have? 

SWEETHO: (to Leoplod) You are a witness now of what I told you; 
our father's great age weighs upon his mind, 
and o'er heats his rot-infested brain; 
his once great arguments have dwindled down
to nothing more than rantings by a fool. 

LEOPOLD: (to Sweetho) Truly, I did not believe you when 
of first of it you spoke, but now I see 
this forlorn spectecle with mine own eyes, 
I swear he is not fit to lead our cause. 

SWEETHO: (to Leopold) The mantle then needs falls to one of us. 

FARGOS: (aside) Ambition bred so strong in two so young; 
Is't possible the lone adopted son 
could love the father more than natal born?            Exit Fargos.

LEOPOLD: But what of Joseph, for you plainly see, 
he clearly favoured is, although his blood's
as alien is the Netherworld; 
he is no true son of our father's loins, 
but praised for his compassion and his heart, 
his endless dedication to the cause;
we two are more deserving far than he. 

SWEETHO: And if he marries Catherine Van-Meer, 
a noble woman all possessed of wealth, 
when Mosher doth lie buried in the clay, 
then Joseph shall have rule o'er all of us, 
his progeny begin a line of kings, 
a title handed down time after time;
and what then should our history record, 
but that we let it happen whils't we stood
so idly by, and let our greatness fade.

LEOPOLD: We'll his undoing be, and then ere long
our names be sung in history's great song.             Exit.  

[Written by Braden Campbell]

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