Friday, 1 December 2017

Boonetown - a Necromunda Tale

Boone hunched over, a jug of wildsnake in his hands and a hollow look in his eyes. It was all happening again, except this time he was too old, too slow and too tired. Downing the wildsnake in a single gulp, he stared into the fire in the main room of the Brewer’s Tap and thought back to those days...

Regulus Boone had been a modest, comparatively honest and hardworking man who happened upon Shining Falls when working as a guard on a guilder's caravan. The guilder's trade however required less protection on the return journey uphive, and several of the guards were released, Boone included. He became another statistic, mining the horde by day and occupying the town's bar by night. One day however, a brawl broke out in the Brewer's Tap and as a friend of the landlord, Boone was prominent in breaking up the fight before anyone was killed. His actions brought him to the attention of the Shining Falls Guard, and by extension the Governor. The Landlord's good word saw Boone elevated from miner to the Guard, and over the following months he proved to be an asset to the township, being a crucial figure in breaking up a gang that had settled into the town, attempting to wrest control of the horde from the Governor.

Boone settled into life in Shining Falls well, and was a shining exemplar of someone who worked tirelessly to make the town a better, safer place. Then came the massacre, and everything he had known came crashing down. Boone was not the first to fall that night, nor would he be the last, but he was at the forefront of the fighting in the Governor’s compound, and it was only the frantic nature of the fight that saved his life. When it became apparent that they were being attacked, the Guard organised the majority of their remaining personnel into a single strike force, intended to overwhelm the Spyrers. Boone was in the front lines, and though he was cut down, the blow merely caused superficial wounds and knocked him unconscious, the Spyrers leaving him for dead to turn their attentions to the rest of their attackers. In the aftermath of the fight, Boone became a bitter man, driven by a burning desire for revenge on the creatures that had taken from him everything he cared for. Using his unique position and knowledge of both the town and its surroundings, he quickly gathered to him a group of individuals keen to make the most of the power vacuum to claim the territory and exploit the riches of the horde themselves. They became known as the Death Spectres, in a homage to how Boone himself had appeared to the town’s survivors on that fateful day, dragging himself to his feet from the butchered piles of the town guard, soaked in blood and paler even than most of the population.

But that had been a lifetime ago. Boone had ruled the Death Spectres through a mixture of charisma and fear, and his leadership had seen quashed the challenges of the brainless thugs from the 78th street smash mob and the more insidious but fanatical salvage snakes. Since then he and the Death Spectres had kept Shining Falls safe, the horde of treasures cascading down from above providing them with enough in scrap earnings to fund their own private arsenal and buy whatever the town needed in trade from other settlements in the underhive. Boone’s existence had become as safe as any in the underhive, and he had grown old and comfortable.

Three days ago all that had changed. Now, the Brewery Tap was all that was left of the old town, the back rooms smashed and still smouldering. Shining Falls had survived, even thrived, on the seemingly endless cascade of discarded material from higher in the hive - outdated tech thrown away and scraped into an old shaft that reached down into the hive depths. Some of that junk found its way into a subset of shafts that opened out in the upper level of the hive level above, and though smashed and non-functional, such items could be traded and sold.

Three days ago something else had found its way into that shaft.

Three days ago someone had decided that shining falls needed to end.

Three days ago, a capsule had come crashing down through the shaft onto the horde. Sending a spray of priceless artifacts and slime-ridden junk into the air, three days ago an Orrus Spyrer had emerged from the capsule’s interior. Ancient battle suit humming, the spire noble had strode down the horde, bolt launchers cycling and spitting death into the ranks of those who had come to see what had fallen from above. The Death Spectres had fought, and fought hard. They had the most comprehensive armoury for many cycles around, even a supply of ammunition for Ol’ Back Breaker, Vulture’s heavy bolter. Nothing had even caused it to break stride. It had smashed through the town buildings, taking out support stanchions and even walls, leaving only destruction in its wake, and it was heading straight for The Brewery Tap. The last dozen Death Spectres had gathered, a scene reminiscent of the shootout so many years ago that had signalled the start of their reign as the 78th street smash mob and the salvage snakes had put aside their differences for a few minutes to assault the Brewery Tap itself. Finally the Orrus was staggered, Ol’ Back Breaker finally synchronising with Vulture’s appalling aim and sending a round behind the knee joint of the armoured suit. Somehow, the warrior kept coming, crashing through the curtain of fire into the ground floor of the saloon, taking Maggot with him as he demolished the rear wall too. That was when it happened. With a violent burst of blue light, the rear half of the building disappeared. White hot blobs of plasma burst through the door, sending Hawg reeling, his hand clamped to one eye. Boone’s hand instinctively went to his belt, but the grip of his trusty plasma pistol was not there. Boone realised what must have happened, Maggot had always been one to want to be a hero, and he must have snatched the pistol in the frantic dash to lay down covering fire as the Orrus came down the street.

Boone’s gut felt empty. Maggot had been the only ‘volunteer’ of the original gang, wanting to stay near his step-father in the aftermath of the first Spyrer attack. He’d been an ideal, a reason to keep the Death Spectres honest and to do right by the people of Shining Falls, unlike some of the other gangs out there who would bleed their territories dry before moving on. Without him…

The door banged open, and Weasel entered. Somehow, he’d never shaken his Juve nickname with the gang. Time and again he’d proved himself to be a tough, brave and resilient fighter, but still the others called him Weasel.

“Boss, me and the boys have been talkin, and we’re headin out. Nothing here to stay for now, even the falls have dried up since that Spyrer came, ain’t nothin comin down from above now.”

“Fair enough.” growled Boone, his spirit broken. “I’m too old for this shit anyway” he said, knocking back another jug of wildsnake and staring into the flames, his backup stub gun held loosely in his other hand.

Weasel left the Brewery Tap to the sound of thunder, never looking back but with a steely resolve in his eyes. Only three others of the Death Spectres had survived, but they were laden down with weapons and provisions.

“Boss isn’t coming.” he said to Wolf, the new leader of the Death Spectres.

“Let’s move then.” growled Wolf, his unusually long canines that had given him his named bared to the stale air. “I’m gonna carve out a hole in the underhive the old man would be proud of. Let’s go and make our own Boonetown”. With that, he span on his heel, stalking off into the all-consuming darkness of the underhive, swiftly followed by Weasel, Hawser and Dog.

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Look out for a Necromunda campaign coming to you soon courtesy of the Grim Dark Brotherhood! Triple-D