Rapture & Ruin

Nil: 21 Years Before (2)

Somebody's poisoned the waterhole!

The Abolitionists came for trouble, and they found it in Nil.

James Santangelo, Barbara Wilks, and Cpl. Gregory Ward could only watch as the Abolitionists browbeat the Foreman, threatened Elder Elijah, and — when the Elder ducked out of a confrontation with a red-headed terror, Priest Major Leslie Byrd — went on a Nil-wide manhunt for him to wring more out of him . . . all for the whereabouts of “Constantine”, a one-time companion of Elder Elijah. Their furtive chat with Elijah revealed that Constantine left years ago, though, and Elijah had no idea where he was now. James, Babs, and Gregory were in no position to take on 50 soldiers in armor, the only harm done was Elijah’s black eye, and every authority figure in town took the time to scold them for being involved even tangentially . . . so the three retired to their homes.

In the middle of the night, Chief Holland woke Gregory — in their thorough searching, the Abolitionists were bound to find the water . . . Nil’s buried treasure. What the Abolitionists want, they take, leaving only corpses; Nil’s only hope was to kill the lot of them in the very mines they were searching. Holland sent Gregory and a couple people he could trust (Wilks and Santangelo) after the smallest group of Abolitionists in the mines.

The three took them by surprise, but they were outgunned and outmanned. Electric lances, concussion grenades, jet packs, full body armor — but somehow they fought their way through, eventually finding the Major Priest herself bragging about what an incredible find the water was. She caught sight of them and attacked immediately; Gregory Ward took an incredible beating and took blow after blow while Wilks and Santangelo rained bullets down upon Major Priest Byrd and her power-suited medic.

The Abolitionist leaders fell just as Ward was teetering on the verge of collapse; four more artillery had snuck up behind the three and might have been able to kill them, when four shots rang out and killed the ambushers. It seems everyone had been lying to Gregory, Barbara, and James; Constantine was here (and had been here all along), and there was no “smallest group”, since the mine tunnels were all interconnected. The leadership of Nil leaves a little to be desired in the way of foresight and planning; maybe someday clearer heads will be in power.

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