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Quality in Rifts: Remembering Pete Overton

Quality In Rifts: Global Dispatch


By Pete Overton


Last Updated: 05.25.2004

Introduction

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 1

* Open broadcast from Free Quebec, to all of North America

"Fire burns tonight, self-styled Emperor Prosek. Young men sent on an illegal and ineffective campaign against the sovereign soil of Free Quebec have died under your command, and firefighters now desperately attempt to save your father's namesake vessel, the tyrannical CSS Joseph Prosek.

"Her carrier group moved to position forty miles off our shore, and besieged our coastal facilities with lightning raids against our port facilities, beginning on Wednesday. Anti-aircraft batteries leveled forty of the CS warplanes involved in the engagement, and we held out through the combined might of your forces. By providence or dark circumstances, your forces were caught within the massive energies of a ley line storm, and by noble will and a force a fortieth of the size of the contact group against them, the CSS Joseph Prosek was set ablaze with plasma charges. Her missile cruisers, so rudely stolen from another sovereign nation, were helpless to deal with the blaze, while the storm raged. She will be destroyed by missile barage, if the ship is not removed from our coastal waters, by the end of the following day. She is helpless against our own resources, and we do not wish for the loss of more "human" life.

"Remove your ships from our coast, withdraw your troops from our borders and territory, or prepare to lose them all. Your father's namesake burns tonight; would you have the last vestiges of humanity boiled from the Earth by the ravages of your petty and fruitless war? Quebec will fight for its independence with the might we have been given, the providence, which favors us, and the goals of the true state of humanity."

General Amiel Winston deLioncourt

Background information:
The fire is not nearly as bad as Quebec has made it, but it has put the CSS Joseph Prosek in dire straits. CSS Vice Admiral Nathan R. Copeland, was proving the CS's naval superiority to the Quebec coastline, when a massive leyline storm erupted. Quebec responded before the storm erupted, with frogmen teams armed with plasma charges. In the choppy waters a pair of the frogman teams came along a ship they confused with the missile ship, which was their intended target, but this mistake quickly became a triumph, when the sergeant in charge of the team informed his lieutenant, in comand, that the ship they had found in the dark, was the flag ship of the CS Navy (the CSS Chi-Town a month from its send off, due to special concerns over it's new defensive guns and munitions). The team set their charges, which aided by the ravages of the Leyline storm, set the ship ablaze in plasma. The plasma charges required special firefighting equipment, which was hindered by the ley line storm. Plasma forced an evacuation of the primary bridge. The fleet tactical ops center had just enough time to catch a radar signature in the distance, but it was already too late. Four salvos of missiles, with plasma warheads were launched at the unprotected Joseph, from the FQS Redeemer and three Hurricane patrol boats assigned to coastal defense. The warheads did a great deal of damage to the armaments of the aging pre-Rifts carrier, which is now being pushed out to sea, by her Sea King and Destroyer compliment. The FQS redeemer received a torpedo from the Seawolf, attached to the carrier group, but is still at 60% operational capacity, and has the FQS Formidable enroute, to level the main complement ship.

Without air support from the carrier, the amphibious ship with the carrier group will be unable to make a landing, without exposing itself to the missile cruisers. The first major naval battle of the Civil War has just been decided by the salvage of a wounded and vulnerable ship. The CS could recoup the defeat with a Firefly torpedo, or other nuclear weapons, but this would give the FQ's the leeway to deliever a similar salvo to the Joseph Prosek (a capital ship, whose sinking would cost the propaganda and war machine greatly. Only by salvaging her, and showing her to the Chi-Town populace, can they attempt to refute the claims made by the wily General). The battle is a great victory for Quebec, and the paranoid planners at Chi-Town will be loathe to attempt another amphibious assault from the Ley Line intense Atlantic coast of Quebec. It will mean many more naval battles in the tight straits of rivers, where Quebec is not outmatched by the Carriers and amphibious ships of Chi-Town.

[Written by Jason Starin]


Interlude

"....So what was the worst call you ever had?"
Lt. Joseph "Doc" Walker looked over at his younger comrade. "What?"
Private John Kopinski repeated his question. "What was the worst call you ever had?"
From the next chopper another paramedic, Sgt. Dan Tweed jumped into the discussion. "Why don't you just shut the hell up, Kopinski? Restock your chopper."
The newest paramedic to the 67th Evac Parameds looked over towards the older member. "Hey, it's a legitimate question. I just want to know."
"Why are you dredging up the past for? We go out, we pick 'em up and drop 'em off for the real docs. No offense, Doc..."
Lt. Walker smiled. "None taken."
"...so just shut up and restock your chopper. The captain will have your head on a stick if you're out in the field and need a metabolic restabilizer and don't have one cause you were too busy flappin' your damn gums!"
"I haven't gone on too many runs yet, and I want to be prepared for the worst of it."
Tweed stopped stocking his Demon Locust and walked over to Doc's chopper. "Junior, the Doc and me got enough stories to make you fill your shorts and you STILL wouldn't be prepared for the worst of it."
Kopinski looked down to the ground. "Sorry sarge, I just thought it would help."
Tweed made a noise that was halfway between a sigh and a growl. "You wanna hear the worst call..."

"It was year and a half ago, we were runnin' back and forth from an offensive back to the hospitals. Guys from two companies were getting cut down left and right. Intel really scewed the pooch on this one. They neglected to mention that this d-bee village had contracted out a battalion of mechanized infantry outa some merc group down south. Doesn't even matter who they were. All I know is that they had some Manga Arms weaponry and a real bad attitude.

I'm playin' Grim Reaper doin' triage, deciding who lives and who dies, when this kid grabs my leg. I look down and this kid, man, I don't know how he was alive. Took a plasma blast in his lower torso. I guess the bolt musta fused all his nerves and blood vessels shut, but he was dying anyway and he's got me by the leg and he's not letting go.

And he's looking at me with these brown eyes, these big brown eyes, and he's saying 'Tell them I love them. Tell them. Please.' over and over. So finally I say, 'Who?' And you know what he says? 'My dogs.' His goddamn dogs. If he wasn't dying I would have laughed in his face. So I say, 'Sure.' and this kid smiles and dies. Right then. That was my worst call."

"So you feel better, Kopinski?"
"Not really sarge."
"Your turn, Doc."
Doc looked up from the gauze packs he was stacking.
"Tweed..."
"Come on, Doc. Freak out the kid."
"Three years ago. At that town two posting ago, you remember, right Sarge?"
"Oh yeah. What the hell was the name of that place?"
"Wouldn't you know it? I can't remember. But remember that church?"
"That was a mighty fine church, Doc."
Kopinski looked at the pair. "So what happened?"

"It was some girl's wedding day. We were outside just watching. She was a real pretty girl. And she looked so happy. Like the world was her's to love.

Then one of the village dogs busts out of this alley. It was rabid or something, and it just makes a beeline for this girl. By the time we got our gear rounded around, the dog was dead, but not before it chewed off half her face.

She was gushing blood and we couldn't stop it. Pressure bandages, vascular sealant, nothing. But her other eye was just staring up. That's what stuck with me. That other eye. Just staring. I don't know why. Maybe it was because, for the first time, she realized that life is not going to go the way you want."

Doc went back to restocking gauze packs. The sarge started back to his chopper, and Private Kopinski just stood there. The sarge looked back and barked out a short laugh.
"Still want to be prepared, Kopinski?"

[Written by James Kentner]


(AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a Beta.... the numbers have been left as is, and there are some patchy places in the logic, but the years allow Joseph to be old enough to have done his duties, and still have fathered Karl.)

Strangers in Your Own Country

In the fateful year 53 P.A., the Coalition military had been intrinsically linked to the government of the Coalition states. Karl Prosek, the future emperor of Chi Town, was eight years old, and General Marshal Cabot, a thirty-three year old military genius, was shaping the greatest military machine, the world of Rifts Earth had ever known. Few knew General Cabot’s motivations, for his stalwart development of the Coalition military, but most considered him a selfless hero of the state, and ally to the aged Joseph, who was adjusting to family life at the ripe old age of 76.

Cabot had lost a brother in the bloody war with the Federation of Magic, forty-one years previously. Marshall grew up in the shadow of his parents’ love of their first-born son, Major Winston Cabot. Marshall was the last child born, of seven, and one of two sons born to an elite family. Sons were considered the way to glory within the complex society, which made up Chi-Town. Marshall’s five sisters married as quickly as possible, and always to military officers. Marshall’s birth was a model of modern medicine, as his aged parents of 80 could not have produced the child through natural means. He was produced using the scientific knowledge acquired from a science facility, recently discovered by Coalition expeditions. His birth was expensive and the only success of seven failures. His parents would raise the child in the image of his valiantly lost brother Winston, who was Marshall’s genetic twin.

Marshall showed promise in tactics, just as his brother had, but a failed exam in military ethics at age nine had sent his mother into a violent rage, which resulted in cardiac arrest, and the death of his mother. Marshall’s father, Huston, followed his wife to the grave with a brand new C-18 laser pistol, which was Marshall’s service weapon, at his graduation from officer school. Marshall rose through the ranks of the military, beneath Joseph Prosek’s watchful gaze. Joseph had been a good friend of Marshall’s brother Winston, who had saved the future leader’s life, by charging his 250 troops from trenches, towards a Rift and assaulting demon, during the assault on Chi-Town. The assault freed Joseph’s guard, and allowed him to move out of the way. The Rift shifted forward to engulf the dying demonic being, and over a hundred of the troops, as they attempted to save the auspicious Joseph. The Rift closed around the brave defenders of Chi-Town, and Joseph lost one of his greatest friends, but Marshall represented a rebirth of this friend, and anything Marshall said came from the mouth of a hero, in Joseph’s eyes.

General Cabot has spent his entire life living up to his brother’s unfinished duties. He took the mantle of his brother, and glorified the Cabot name, his brother’s and his own. At age 83 in 105 PA, General marshal Cabot has come to a comfortable place in his life, where he is prideful of his achievements and his identity. This will now change.

Coalition Outpost: Friday’s Frost
March 15th, 105 PA

Corporal Carmichael was attending to standard listening procedures to all available radio bands, when he received this message on an old unscrambled radio signal. He responded to the message with caution, and with the full acting permission of his commanding officer Captain Rial Worship.

Corporal Carmichael: Repeat message unidentified caller. You are a Coalition Commander, with troops? What are the watchwords? Over.

Unidentified Caller: I’m major Winston Cabot, and I have casualties in my troop. Is the siege through? Over. Can I return to base? Over.

CC: Casualties, troop, and siege are not watchwords. Can you transfer to a more secure frequency? Can you give us a locator pulse? Over.

WC: What the hell is a locator pulse? Call General Joseph and get something done soldier, and that’s an order. Over.

CC: Sir, I’ve dispatched a SAMAS team to triangulate your position. Maintain this radio signal, and we’ll be in contact shortly.

WC: Sam who? Are you pulling my leg? Is this some trick? My squad is fully armed, if I see a flying demon come in over the hills, you and all, your demon buddies are going to taste the best ammunition made in Chi-Town.

CC: Sir, SAMAS are flying units. Please don’t fire upon them, I repeat, firing upon the SAM’s would not be in your best interests; do you understand Major?

WC: Corporal, where in the hell are you from? Your accent isn’t from Chi-town…….

CC: I’m from the Coalition state of Iron Heart sir, please hold your fire; I’m in contact with the SAMAS units. They’ll do a flyby, but if you fire upon them, they are permitted to defend themselves. If you are who you say you are, you don’t have the firepower to deal with the unit.

WC: Holy Sh*t! Demons! Flying Demons, Corporal, what the hell…..

CC: Sir, hold your fire, I’m getting confirmation from the flyby, by video. Welcome home Major, I grew up watching television shows about you. If you’re the real thing, Welcome home.

The corporal was familiar with General Cabot, having served on a special communications position in the cupola of a Mark V, the general was using to coordinate an attack on a group of mercenary deebs. The voice was unmistakable to the trained radio operator, who was testing the voice against pre-recorded patterns of the General’s voice. The tests were inconclusive, but the enthusiastic corporal wanted to believe.

Major Winston Cabot and his troops were ferried to Friday’s Frost, communications base by Death’s Head transport. The troops appeared visibly shaken, but have been pronounced fit by our medical team and the team flown in from Command headquarters. A seventy- two-hour observation has produced no anomalous readings from the group other than two separate dog packs and Psi-stalker teams have confirmed that Captain Winslow Falconbridge is a magic using being. The Major was quick to point out in the captain’s defense that he was assigned as the “magic specialist” involved in the defense of Chi-Town. As anomalous as this was, Captain Falconbridge produced documents signed by Joseph Prosek himself, which appeared to be his registration and enlistment documents. Their uniforms are authentic, and the 154 men and women of Major Cabot’s troops fit each of the strenuous profile assignments we have from the sketchy records of the time.

Several officers at this installation have been able to verify family data with some of the members of the team. We view them with suspicion, but find it difficult to accept that an enemy intelligence would have the resources or data, to fake the reemergence of 154 coalition soldiers from more than ninety years in the past. We suggest immediate assistance from psi-battalion to authenticate the claims through independent means. We also suggest that a scan of General Cabot’s DNA, be undertaken to compare it with the Major’s DNA. Our initial conclusions to this report are that Major Cabot has returned from the longest stretch on the MIA list in Coalition history.

Acting Officer in Command of Friday’s Frost,
Captain Rial Worship

[Written by Jason Starin]





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