Prometheum Wastes Chopshop
All my submissions to the Prometheum Wastes Chopshop magazine and other work.
Imperial Standard Dictionary Vol. 64 T-U
Thundersurge [thuhn-der-surj] - noun
Type of low altitude scouting craft. The Thundersurge Mach II is a scouting craft used by some PDF forces in the Imperium. Responding to the call of various governor’s the [redacted] cooperation developed the Thundersurge. The design requirements were a light and fast vehicle for one or two passengers that could do quick reconnaissance runs over vast stretches of empty land or water. After a few prototypes the resulting design opted for twin promethium thrusters. This gives the craft the necessary speed while also providing a backup in case one of the engines fails in no-man’s land. The craft comes in two variants: with armament or additional storage. One of the pilot’s seats was often replaced with a robot assistant. While its primary function was to help with navigation and maintenance, the robot also keeps the craft on course in case the pilot passes out during take-off. The Thundersurge was discontinued due to maintenance issues. However, it is often found in Underhives and backwater regions where outlaws and scavengers used it for illegal races, raiding parties, and transport.
Crossing the Ashwastes is a painful and dangerous endeavour. The dusty air irritates the lungs, the terrain is rough, and the soft sands are exhausting to traverse. Many travellers have lost their way, suffocated in a sandstorm or drowned in the quicksand. The more fortunate fall prey to the wildlife.
But travelling the wastes is often necessary and for some a living. Those who frequent the wastes, traders, scavengers, bandits, established a network of shelters. These outposts are shared and maintained collectively: “What you take, you must restock”. They’re also a place to tell tales.
Outpost 43 is one of those tales. It’s anchored into the slope of a great arrow-pointed mountain, somewhat away from the main routes. It is one of the few outposts with a communications array, never used frequently and now only by the desperate.
On 6.123.912.M41 a well-known and respected gatherer and his party left from the Domed Community for the arrow-pointed mountain. Like every year, after storm season, they would search for eggs, which are sold as a traditional delicacy on the Grand Bazar. After they did not return in time the wives and business partners demanded the local militia to form a rescue party.
When they arrived at the outpost, they found it abandoned and badly damaged. The site baffled the search party. The gatherers’ belongings and shoes had been left behind. The door was missing and seemed to be broken down from the inside, with only the tarp hanging over the entrance. A set of 4 to 5 footprints were visible in the sand. Storm season had just passed, and the prints were left mostly undisturbed. The footprints were leading down the slope a couple of clicks towards a rocky cliffside. In the shadow of the overhanging rocks, the searcher found the first two bodies. They were dressed in only their underwear. The cliffside had visible scratch marks and one of the bodies was missing two fingernails. Between the cliffs and the outpost 3 more bodies were found buried in the sand, their poses suggesting they tried to return to the outpost. They were found 400, 350, and 610 meters apart.
Subsequent investigation found no injuries that might lead to their deaths and it was concluded they all died of either dehydration or asphyxiation, due to a considerable amount of sand dust in the lungs. Three of the bodies had fatal injuries: one gatherer had a major skull fracture, the other two chest damage. This type of damage would require extreme force, but notably the bodies had no external wounds. All bodies had damaged soft tissue, such as missing tongues, eyes, or part of the lips. Further investigation was eventually stopped, due to the absence of a guilty party.
Newcomers are often intrigued and intimidated by the tall and square appearance of the priests. They are a common sight in the domed city ever since its founding and are easy to spot due to their towering statue. They roam the busy streets day and night, sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs. Apart from that not much is known about them. They don’t communicate and seem to require no sustenance nor sleep but will from time to time show interest in or “stare” at certain objects, goods or individuals. While friendly in nature, they can defend themselves. The priests are able to detect malicious intent and instantly create a seemingly impenetrable forcefield against such actions. Other interactions they tolerate. Some religious groups hug them for good luck and many neighbourhoods decorate them for holidays. At night, their glowing eyes are for some unsettling and for others a symbol of security and safety.