What now sarge – The emergence of the military
dEar ValUeD CitiZen,
For those of you that have been following along with the latest from Digital Taxidermy you will know that we have had a new designer join our team. Lucas has signed up to produce miniatures for our Digital Taxidermy Buyers Club.
He has been hard at work busying himself in the evenings and weekends working on the brand new DT-Army, in his own words “The Hazard Response Team Squad - trained and equipped to tackle the harshest of environments - it is our equivalent of a Rapid Response Team that were tasked to scout the depths of The Lost Bio-Lab. The models are kitted out with a strong emphasis on environmental resistance and recon in mind, light-medium armour and relatively low firepower were the necessary cuts that had to be made to ensure swift and efficient deployment. A quick in-and-out operation to report back and bring out the bigger guns.”
The Hazard Response Team is the first Squad kicking off the line-up of DT Army from “Our Dystopian Future” Setting (Futuristic, post-apocalyptic, dystopian – which will definitely fit well with a number of your current table top settings/dioramas in 28 and/or 32mm).
This army will be building up over the next few months to incorporate all the units you know and love from your favourite tabletop games. The range will expand to have heavy weapons teams, front line units, artillery teams with set piece weapons, vehicles and much much more.
Stay tuned to find out the latest on the development of these guys and don’t forget to check out the Digital Taxidermy Buyers Club to get the Hazmat Recon Troopers and their follow-on teams plus a fresh bundle of extras from the Digital Taxidermy catalogue for just £10 each month, This works out at less than £1 per model.
We have also been working hard lately to build up the range of Bio-horror terrain and fill out your deathworld settings even more. We have made the air harvester which is a tall slender pylon that collects nutrients from the air and feeds it via its root networks to spawning grounds and feeding pools.
The Boil egg is another such creature of nightmares that is born of the toxicity of the Lost Bio-Lab and sprouts forth with a carnivorous creature from the depths of the darkness.
There are some other interesting additions to the ranges this month so don’t forget to check out what’s on offer in store and grab the latest terrain and vehicles to come off the line including the new SPACESHIP that we are showing off here
With all that out of the way we have a return to the flash fiction stories for you with a stirring short about the Hazmat recon squad out on a mission. Find out more below.
This week’s story is “What now sarge?” by Neil Woodman
It had been a long journey across the deserts of the outwastes.
Pushing through the hundreds of miles was tough, we brought plenty of water along. The heat was less of a worry though, while this place was a desert it was just because it never rained….The skies were rarely clear though….And the wind!
We hopped across in the ley of dunes and making camp under outcroppings, sometimes broken tops of buildings other times we found sheer rock cliffs. If we were lucky there would be a surviving structure and a roof where we could relax and clean the grit out of everywhere.
The environment really takes its toll on the equipment. In these wastes you never know what you will run into, the patches of toxicity can throw up some really ‘interesting’ surprises.
So, we had the standard gear for wasteland recon. Each member of the team has a poly-Kevlar over suit, specially woven to be neutral to acids and alkali, stab resistant and (to some extent) self-sealing. The body gets Lightweight tactical armour plates. Mainly there to stop the suit snagging than offer real protection. And then we have the Gen16 x1-Bio Tactical bio filter helmet. This helmet was the key to sealing up the system and has a full respirator on your chest. It contains a filter, cleaning the air of every known and some theoretical virus or biological threats. This whole suit was mildly radiation repellent and allowed you to stay moderately comfortable in any environment but a vacuum.
Our rotations spent wandering in the scouring dust takes its toll and so when we find the shelters we can strip down the gear and apply the polymer coating to restore the outer layers of the suit….This polymer dries quickly but there are always stones and grit gets stuck in it, eventually our suits begin to take on the look of the desert and slowly we disappear into our surroundings.
After 2 ‘Lunes’* we made it to the fringes of the desert. Seeing vegetation and ‘Life’ again was comforting and chilling at the same time. We were out of the desert…. but we are approaching our objective.
Our weapons were never at rest now eyes were sharp, movements purposeful and everything was by the book.
As we passed from the desert to the ‘Land’ everything was ‘familiar’ but somehow so strange.
We have plants back home, I have seen them in the Oxy farms and the tree museum….But these, they were grotesque and overgrown. Many with heavy spikes on stems and vines. Tall Icor covered structures that move and sway as you walk by. Strang Fungi all growing from overgrowths of large shapes…some familiar some unknown….they had to be bodies.
We were here at the invitation of the Corp. (maybe needs broadening), We were always invited…not ordered, no, always invited…As though our acceptance was optional.
‘Lost-Bio Lab’ it said on the party invite. We had shared what we knew on the journey….it wasn’t much, mostly hearsay and legends. During the Scour there were lots of complexes around the world that were full of creators and thinkers and they were trying to solve their way out of it all….Some did, some didn’t. Some of those lived on underground….Some Didn’t. We’ve seen a few.
The ones that didn’t…Well let me tell you, you want the gen16 filter…All those bodies make the air pretty toxic. The ones that made it tended to be a little feral but once you show them who’s boss everything becomes easy to handle…..But the Bio-Lab!
There were stories of people that had ventured this far, They were strange, rambling stories and cast off as being delusions.
Now seeing these surroundings, I wish they were just crazy ramblings.
Two rotations we hiked and fought our way through the jungle, There were trails sided by the flora, that tailed off and when you double back you could swear it was heading in a new direction.
We lost 2 of the squad in the first 6 dials**….They went off to scout a fork in the trail…It disappeared…And so did they.
We tried to hack through to find them, but they were just gone, no sign of them at all. From there on out we all stayed together, going was slow but we were getting signals from the sat tracker and we reported back to base patrol regularly.
We pressed on towards the target zone.
We entered a massive clearing in the centre there was a large stone structure with a metal door inset into it. We made camp and contacted the base patrol to list the coordinates.
Camp wasn’t a place we were going to stay the night….Not here. No after the trek through the jungle we wanted to get into somewhere a bit more secure before we took a true rest. Whatever their condition these complexes have had areas with beds and if you are lucky showers depending on the condition of the water. So the camp was more of a homing beacon to any other waves standing by in the wastes.
We stimmed up and felt the rush of the chem fill our bodies with renewed vigour, the warm pinprick spreading across our bodies as the stim shook all signs of fatigue from us, ‘you sleep when you die’.
The sarge ordered us to approach the doors, our cracker pulled out his box of tricks and worked his art.
“power’s still on but fluctuating, this will take just a few minutes as long as the power doesn’t dip” he called back.
After a couple of attempts the doors rumbled open and the darkness inside met us as the complex gasped. The stale air pushing out from its depths, these doors haven’t opened for decades, if at all.
Tox-scanners bleep their rhythmic tune as we venture into the chasm, we are glad for our equipment now, sealed from the environment we take in the scene through carbo-glass lenses.
The power wasn’t strong enough for the daylight substitute there should have been, lights were dull but stable. Our audio sensors picked up nothing but the dull thud of our boots on the floor, no signs of activity were coming from below. Weapons hot and torches scanning the all the corners. After 10 minutes of stalking the corridors and heading down we come across the first level airlock.
These bunkers run deep and are labyrinthine the levels are sealed from each other in case of a breach from above people can shelter further below.
Our cracker opens the first door with a hiss and jumps back….Our torch light illuminates the small room and that’s when we know something has gone horribly wrong.
The rear door of the airlock is clawed and chewed, and out of some crevices in the walls we can see growths and mucus that resembles small versions of the undergrowth from the jungle, fears unbidden begin to fall into place.
“Buckle up boys” hisses the sarge, “This is why we came here, Keep it together, we’re going in. Send a feed back to base patrol.”
We force the second airlock door and push on through, the aspect of level one is completely different, lights out or flickering, everything is the hazy red of emergency lighting, the tension is palpable now and our torches dance across the shadows in wide arcs and bouncing back to spots and corners. We see evidence everywhere of something horrible that happened here, bits of skeletons, none whole though. We see rents in the walls and gashes in the floors.
Nothing could be alive in here….That’s what we hope anyway.
We pass the hab level without any activity and we start to relax a bit, nothing can still be alive here, the bio scanners are bleeping harder now showing evidence of toxins in the air. There must have been a contagion escape and there was a scrabble and a crush of people in fear in the dying hours of this place.
Then a clang.
All our torches converge on a corridor….The corridor is no longer metal….It has changed, it looks….ALIVE.
All our hearts are in our mouths now, this is not what we signed up for.
No one says a word but the sarge points down the corridor and in combat sign says move you slubbenly bastards.
We proceed down the corridor the soft thuds of our boots turning to a wet slap as we pad down this living tunnel, The light takes a green tint now and we see that an algae is growing in the bulbs, if they are working.
We round a corner and there is a door….It was a door, now it resembles an orifice, we push the portal aside and enter into a vast space, this must have been a rec area or something it stretches off into darkness at its furthest extents. We scan the area with our torches, then our audio scanners pick up some steps that aren’t our own…too faint, the sweat beads of our brows….Torches wild now, the sarge presses forward, as we reach the centre of this space, a growl, we freeze. Somehow the light seems to rise and out of the shadows, They are there….Dripping with saliva, a maw that holds more teeth than seems natural the low squat creatures with 6 legs, the front two forming massive scythe blades and seems like they have no flesh over their muscles. They raise their chitinous heads and their beady eyes become fixed on our small group and a low growl rumbles from the encircling creatures.
“What now sarge?”
*Lune, a lunar cycle or 28 days
**Dial, 1 Hour
By Digital Taxidermy – Storytime collective
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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