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Thursday, 5th February, 2004, 08:17 PM #1
We were like gods once... BIG UPDATE Friday Nov 5!
The year is 1944.
The world lies under a pall of darkness, wracked in the throes of a World War.
The allies have invaded Normandy, and are attempting to consolidate their position and loose the strangle-hold of iron the Axis has on the world.
There are men, ordinary men, in extraordinary circumstances; men who give their all so that others may live free.
Men who sacrifice everything for their ideals, their country, their buddies, or just the man in the next foxhole.
And then there are men who are something.... more.
Last edited by ledded; Friday, 5th November, 2004 at 10:46 PM.
Thursday, 5th February, 2004, 08:22 PM #2
We were like gods once... [Introduction]
France, somewhere near St Lo, June 1944, 4:22 am.
Major Jansen, US Army 1st Division, entered the room in his usual brisk, efficient manner, his relatively clean uniform and freshly shaven face a testament to just the kind of officer he was.
“Ok boys, here it is. We’ve got some fellas reporting in with a recon platoon of the 503rd about 12 miles from here that they’re tracking a Panzer Grenadier platoon that broke out through our advance and are high-tailin’ it back towards the Reich land”, he fires off in his unmistakable Massachusetts drone at the combat officers in the small barn now serving as a temporary command post. Weary and battle-stained, they quiet to impudent murmurs and look on with resigned acceptance.
Unruffled, Jansen gestures towards several points on the map spread before him on a makeshift table of .50 cal ammo cans and bullet-riddled splinters of old barn door, and looks up to make eye contact as the officers gather around.
“The colonel says we’re to take one of Captain Michaels mechanized platoons and D Company’s 2nd platoon and head up there ASAP to provide support…”
“Beggin’ the major’s pardon, sir, but aint we a bit thin right now for that sorta thing? Sir?” interrupts Captain John Michaels. His tone takes on the quality of a hard whisper as he continues through clenched teeth. “We barely got enough gas to get my boys into town, and 4 outta my 5 remaining Shermans is down for essential repairs. Those 88’s a couple days back caught us nappin’, and we’re due a rest and refit, or we aint gonna be able to push the door offa this barn, much less a line across this gol-darned peninsula. An’ I also know that Murphy’s D Company took it pretty hard from Omaha up till now, ‘specially since I just seen Murphy ride outta here on a jeep with a pressure bandage holdin’ his insides in. Hell, there probably aint enough left o’ D Company to make a damn platoon out of”.
Jansen takes a deep breath before he replies.
“Dammit John, don’t ya think I know all that? We have reliable intelligence that there are some high-ups riding in that caravan, maybe even with assets essential to this whole damn operation, and I don’t have time for your belly-aching, soldier. You will take command. You will scrape up whatever you can out of your company and the remainder of D, and you’ll leave here within the hour. The Brit’s are sending along a couple Cromwell’s, under your temporary command, to help out along with enough gas to get you there and back. But right now, the Jerry’s are moving fast, and you here are all I’ve got.”
Captain Michaels’s eyebrows raise slightly, “Hmph. Must be damned important if someone’s got the Brit’s *offering* to help us”.
He starts giving orders to his officers as he pours over the map, mind already at work. Major Jansen steps back into the shadows, lights a cigarette, and silently thanks whoever is listening that he’s not the one going out this morning. But then, being an S-2 does have it’s advantages, and so does an Ivy league education.
Last edited by ledded; Friday, 6th February, 2004 at 09:08 PM.
Thursday, 5th February, 2004, 08:48 PM #3
We were like gods once... [Hanks intro]
France, somewhere near St Lo, 4:52 am.
“So, Hank, whattaya got for me” Capt Michaels sighs to the slight, grease-stained southerner kneeling next to the M3 halftrack.
“Ding-dang ol’ shoot cap’n, that there thang, ya know, weeeell, we jus’ aint got much with the, er, I got one Sherman, a few trucks an’ jeeps there, dangit, and ya know, them ‘ere Limey-boys. An’ yer M20 car thangy tho' it need a bit ‘o tunin’, ding-dangit. Coulda gimme s’more time ‘ere, cap, coulda got them Shermans back a-rollin”, SSgt Hank Johnson rattles off in a mumbling north Texas drawl, voice half-muffled by the bolts he’s holding in his teeth as he continues to affect some repairs to the vehicle’s tracks.
The Captain ignores Hank’s rambling mish-mashed southern patois as well as his marked lack of “sir’s” and salutes; he’s the best damn mechanic Michaels has ever seen, a regular gol-darned miracle worker. If he didn’t bother with military protocol it’s because he had more important things on his mind at the moment.
“Sergeant, just get what you got ready to roll within the half hour. Oh, and Hank… thanks. Make sure you’re on the radio when we roll out; half these youngsters can’t raise nothin’ but Wagner on ‘em” the Captain replies over his shoulder as he walks back towards the CP. Hank continues to work on the halftrack without sparing him a parting glance.
Hank Johnson, kneeling down by that halftrack, is indeed distracted, but not by the work.
Oh no. Never that.
That just comes natural; just comes out of him like the sweet singing voice of Carol Dupree of the 1st Baptist Church choir back home, in Lipscomb, Texas.
No, his thoughts are turned to something entirely different…
Last edited by ledded; Sunday, 8th February, 2004 at 04:46 AM.
Friday, 6th February, 2004, 01:58 AM #4
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Over here you said:
Originally Posted by ledded
[Edit] Nope, no suck here.
Last edited by Len; Friday, 6th February, 2004 at 02:05 AM.
Friday, 6th February, 2004, 04:19 PM #5
Hank: Lost in thought...
Lipscomb, Texas, 11 years earlier.
“Boy, gimme a hand with that last bit, an’ lets head up ‘fore these rains get started down on our ding-dang ol’ heads”, rattles off Boyd Johnson to his son Hank, as the younger hands up fence rails from the trailer behind their old International.
“Ding-dang that ‘eres the last ‘un, paw”, as Hank, 12 years old, relinquishes the last rail to his father’s sure grasp and hops up onto the tractor’s seat. Boyd smiles at Hank’s attempt to copy his “swearin” ways, as his wife puts it, knowing that he just wants to feel like a man, if only as long as he’s away from momma’s skirts. As well he should, being a child doing a man’s job on their farm, and doing it well.
“C’mon ‘ere boy, and don’ be ding-dang cussin’, y’know swearin’, around yo momma less she be up in-nere beatin’ me widda rollin’ pin ding-dangit”, Boyd jokes with a wide-smiling Hank as he puts his arm around him on the single seat and trundles off on their temperamental tractor, empty trailer in tow.
Half an hour later, their jovial mood has all but washed away under the unexpected fury of the deluge they now faced. Boyd, his face now only a set of grim dark lines in the fading light and hellish downpour, holds Hank close to him as he navigates the treacherous last muddy rise towards their back pastures and home before it completely washes out.
Boyd is muttering angrily to himself under his breath, “Ding-dang ol’ stoopid feller thar Boyd, goin’ out gonna get this ding-dang ol’ thing stuck, shoulda known better thaAAHHHHSHHIIII…”. His self-deprecations end as the trailor slides viciously to the left into a small gulley, yanking the tractor enough to start it on a backwards slide in the slimy mud.
“Jump there Hank jumpjumpJUMP”, Boyd screams at his son, feverishly working the controls as the rear end of the tractor suddenly slips off the trail. Boyd grabs the frozen Hank and hurls him off as he, the tractor, and the trailor roll out of Hank’s sight.
“Paaaaawww!”, Hank cries as he lifts his head from the slimy muck of the trail and scrambles on hands and knees to the rapidly crumbling edge. He can see it, 6 feet or so down in a narrow wash created by the storm, and he can see that his father is pinned under the mangled wreckage of the trailer, though it’s still connected by twisted metal to the tractor. Hanks leaps and slides down the crumbling hill to his father’s side.
“Pa! Pa! Paaaawww! Tell me whatta do, ding-dangit!” Hanks frantically shakes the limp and bleeding head and shoulders of his father, trapped under the trailer.
“Ding-dangit boy, yer ‘bout to rattle mu teeth loose” comes the weak reply, as Boyd opens his eyes and tries to survey the damage. “Well hells-bells, I gone done and did it now... see <cough> see if you can start th’ tractor… should be able to pry up this <cough> ding-dang cart and pull it off enough…”
Hank returns in a few moments, tear streaming down his cheeks in synch with the increasing flow of muddy water pounding into the tractor and his trapped father. “I can’t get her ta turn over, ding-dangit! She’s busted, Paw!” he screams in near-panic at his father.
“S’allright boy, s’allright… you run… run hard up ta… <cough> Perkins’s place… short-cut the pasture and bring ‘im back with his tools… hurry boy”, Boyd orders his son, and Hank runs for all he’s worth.
Ol’ man Perkins mops the rivulets of rainwater from his face and gives the ignition another try; he turns back, tears of frustration in his eyes.
“Well, just dammit Boyd, I cain’t get it to crank! She’s got a busted distributor or sumthin’, I dunno!”
Hank is holding his fathers nearly submerged head and shoulders above the flow of rain and mud, while Perkins’s son Mathers is trying to pry and lift the cart with a 4-foot prybar.
Perkins jumps down, puts a hand to Hank’s shoulder and somberly adds, “Son, there just aint no doin’. I’m ‘fraid there aint nothin’ we cun do”.
“No! You can’t let ‘im die! Pa!”, but as he screams the water surges, covering Boyd’s pale and lifeless face.
Hank leaps through the rushing water, slapping both hands on the tractor, sobbing… praying… begging… *willing* it to start, to pull that wreckage off his pa.
All sound stops, all sensation stops; he feels the cold surface of the tractor, feels the components, the individual wires, bolts, pistons… he feels them and *pulls* at them, desperately… and they answer.
The distributor fuses together, the cracked piston re-aligns itself, torn cables pull back together, electricity flares and courses like hot life-blood through the cold, dead machine.
Perkins stands there, mouth open wide, watching as the tractor shakes and shudders like a thing possessed, the headlights weakly flickering, the boy standing there with hands-wide splayed on it like one of them tent revivalists.
But that isn’t the strangest part, he thinks to himself as all the hair on his body is standing on end bending towards Hank.
He just can’t fathom why his pocket watch would be standing straight out from his overalls by it’s chain, pointing straight at Hank like an arrow.
Hank slumps, and Mathers leaps onto the running tractor and guns it, skillfully pulling the wreckage away and tumbling Boyd out from under it.
Ol’ man Perkins is standing there in the downpour holding his now-limp pocket watch, when he notices Hank standing there.
“Hank… boy…what… wha… didja do… wha”, he slowly stammers.
Hank, wiping away the blood running freely from his nose, sniffs once and replies.
“You goin’ ta ding-dang pick up mu damn Paw an’ carry ‘im home, or I gotta do ding-dang everythin’ for ya?”
6 days later:
Hank, quietly peering through the cracked door into his father’s room, can clearly see Ol’ Man Perkins pacing the room and his recovering father, still abed.
“Dammit, Boyd, I know what uh saw, man, and I caint dodge that feller forever”, Perkins near-screeches at the prone Boyd.
“I don’ care what no G-man wants, Perkins, you don’ tell ‘im a ding-dang thing… ya hear me, ya can’t trust ‘im”, Boyd replies in a hoarse whisper, occasionally clutching at his bandaged chest. “Ya tell ‘im what I told ya ‘fore… that yer boy took a lump to th’ head, and imagined it, and ya didn’t see a thang, that he was talkin’ nonsense ‘round town”.
“But this feller, well, ya don’t unnerstan’ Boyd, he… he… unnerves an honest man so…”, Perkins weakly cries, all attempts at modesty thrown aside.
“Perkins… “, Boyd starts, but is cut off by a wracking wave of coughing, reaching out for the bed stand next to him. Perkins runs over, leaning over Boyd, pulling at the bed stand drawer with Boyd.
“Whut is it Boyd, whut can uh getcha son, can uh getcha anuuURK”, Perkins, cut off, glances down using only his eyes at where Boyd has one hand wrapped in his shirt, the other pressing an old Colt Revolver into the underside of his jaw, against his throat.
There is no weakness in Boyd now, no sign of caution; sweat rolls off of Perkins’s bald head as his eyes meet the unflinching, feverish orbs of Boyd Johnson, his friend and neighbor of 14 years.
His voice holds the certainty of the grave, or a tax assessor, Perkins thinks, as Boyd finally speaks.
“If you tell him *anything*, so much as a *peep* ‘bout what you think you saw, Perkins, he’ll take mah only boy and they’ll hurt ‘im and chop ‘im up fer study and then he’ll be gone, an’ my heart with ‘im. “
“And then... I’ll hafta kill ya. Then I’ll take this here Colt and kill all yer cattle, and burn all yer crops, and I’ll stand right here and watch yer family starve this winter and I wont feel a ding-dang thing ‘bout it neither.”
“We unnerstand each other, Perkins? Shake yer head up and down iffin’ you unnerstand.”
Perkins, sweating, and in dire and earnest danger of evacuating himself there on the spot, jerks his head like a marionette. Boyd slowly releases him.
“Da-da-da-dammit Boyd… ya din’t hafta… well, well heck Boyd you know ah’d never do nuthin’ on purpose that’d hurt yer family…”, Perkins nervously stutters.
“Ah know Perkins. Ah know. Not a peep, hear?”
“N-n-n-n-nossir, dunno whatcher talkin’ about Boyd, that boy o’ mine is a loon, he hit ‘is head and saw thangs was all…”
Boyd lays back, chest afire with pain, and tries to relax as Perkins rambles on about the farm and nonsense. He spots Hank, then, through the cracked door.
Hank, watching in shocked silence as their eyes meet, is further stunned by a single tear running down the tough old man’s cheek.
The next day:
Hank hid just outside the open window this time, cautiously peering at the stranger talking with his pa.
“Soooo, Mr. Johnson, you say that you didn’t see aaaaannny such thing as what the Perkins’s boy, Mathers, described to the fine citizens of Lipscomb last week?”, the pale-skinned man purred to Boyd with a voice like oil running over a hot rock. His dark suit was so black it seemed to almost leech the sunshine right out of the room.
“Nossir. They jus’ banged on it, and, well, ol’ Perkins aint the most reliable fella… ah’m not surprised if the boy got it ta crank where he give up”, Boyd replied in a tired voice.
The pale man seems almost bored as he writes in his notepad before flipping back a few pages and continuing, “Say, weren’t you delivering produce and livestock to that base over there in Los Alamos, oh, about 7 years back? You know, where there was that terrible, terrible accident? All those people killed, all that fire?”
“And wasn’t your oldest boy was injured that day, also? Burnt terribly, if my notes are correct. Yes, says here he was injured and taken to the nearest military hospital, where he died 4 days later.”
“Yeah”. Boyds voice grows hard. Hank shivers, heart skipping a beat.
“Say, your younger boy was hurt as well, wasn’t he?”, Mr Pale continues, not looking up from his notebook.
“Twernt there”, Boyd replies. A stone. His voice is like a stone, cold and hard, thinks Hank, as his heart starts to pound in his chest.
“Mmm-hhmm. Well, it seems that you and your wife never had any more children after that, even seen your doctor about it. That true?”
“Yessir. God didn’t see fit ta bless us again, and I’m not mucha one ta question his ways. Ya see, Hank’s all we got left now, the wife and I”.
“You sure about your younger son, seems there was reports of...”
“He twernt THERE. Was with his momma back home at th’ time, God as my witness”. The Pale man looks up at the interruption, casually noting Boyd’s hand on top of the bed stand, the tendon standing out in his jaw. Hank swears his heart is about to leap free, hammering against it’s cage of bone and flesh.
Mr Pale takes a few more notes, then stand up. “Well then. Thanks for your time, Mr Johnson.”
Suddenly, he looks straight at the wall Hank is hiding behind as Hank ducks back behind the window. Hank can feel the Pale man’s dead eyes boring into him, and he gets a feeling like standing too close to a brush fire; flaming nervous prickles rove up and down his body in waves, and he feels like the steaming, smoking ground after the blaze when it ends seconds later.
“I’m sure things are just as you say sir. Good day”. And with a cold smile, the Pale man was gone.
Last edited by ledded; Friday, 6th February, 2004 at 04:57 PM.
Friday, 6th February, 2004, 05:01 PM #6
Back to the present...
France, somewhere near St Lo, June 1944. 5:28 am.
“C’mon Hank, mount up! Get your butt in here and lets go!”, yells Smitty, a scoped 1903 Springfield held protectively in one hand as he extends the other towards Hank from the back of the troop truck.
The yell stirs Hank from his reverie, and he looks around for a moment, blinking, confused.
“Well, you coming, sergeant? Hank? Son, you ok?”, the Captains voice cuts into his thoughts from the seat of his freshly maintained M20.
“Er.. um… errr….yessir… yessir, ding-dang ol’, y’know I jus’, well, err, um, ah… yessir”, Hank trails off as he adjusts his radio and runs to accept the hand up from Smitty and into the accelerating deuce-and-a-half.
“Say, Smitty, ‘at there’s a ding-dang fine ol’ y’know, rifle, there, y’know. They sez yer purty dang-ol’ good withit, too, y’know?”
Their voices are lost to Captain Michaels as his driver starts the M20 and they roll out with the column.
Damn, Michaels thinks with a shiver, I have a bad feelin' about this one...
Last edited by ledded; Friday, 6th February, 2004 at 05:05 PM.
Friday, 6th February, 2004, 05:15 PM #7
ding dang good ol write up there,
keep up the good work,
Friday, 6th February, 2004, 05:40 PM #8
A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Boston, MA
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Piratecat
What system are you using? D20 Modern? It makes me think of Godlike.
Friday, 6th February, 2004, 06:08 PM #9
Originally Posted by Piratecat
Second, it's a base of d20 Modern with a mish-mash of house rules and stuff for the WWII stuff. Basically, a combination of V for Victory, Hell on Earth, info culled from some of the more knowledgeable folks on the Wizards boards, some of my own research and insanity, and a healthy helping of inspiration/flavor from Godlike and Weird War II, which I worked all into a couple of doc's for the guys to use. It's a rather eclectic mix that seems to work out pretty well so far; a lengthier description can be found here. Then for the Supers part tack on Blood and Vigilance from Chuck Rice (a *great* product) and some additional stuff from the ever-gregarious and helpful author himself, plus some new powers and rules for gadgets I dreamt up in another of my caffeine-induced psychotic episodes. I can't stress enough how much fun BnV has been for us, and how easy it was to use it to extend Modern into Supers.
Originally Posted by fludogg
Nevertheless, keep up the danged-Ol ding-dang talk there Flu Dogg / Hank.
Friday, 6th February, 2004, 06:40 PM #10
As usual (at least for your group), consider this Story Hour subscribed to.
You guys never cease to come up with something wierd and turn it into a great sounding game.
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