The Reaper Campaign
The bloody First American Civil War raged on for almost two decades… Until, finally, there was an uneasy peace.
The Confederacy had won. They were now their own Country.
With their Commonwealth Allies, they became a Trading Country, while the Union folded back in upon itself, becoming Isolationist once again. Slavery, one of the main Political reasons for the war, did not return, and a “Separate… But Equal” system was developed for the people of the new Confederate States of America.
From this point on, History proceeds on like it did in our Universe. People loved, fought, lived, died, like people always had, throughout all the ages of time. Except, Pandora’s Box had been let open… And all Hope for the future had escaped… whether the people of Earth knew it… Or not.
The “New Science”, which most called “Mad Science”, was in full inventing swing! Bizarre Devices, Strange Gizmos, and, most importantly, Terrifying Weapons were developed for the Militaries of the World… All running on the Superfuel known as…
While found throughout most the World, this coal-like substance was found predominantly in “The Maze”, the area once known as California, which had been hit with a horrendous Earthquake in 1868, and most of which fell into the Sea. They, who controlled the Ghost Rock, could possibly control the World.
History alters in only a few places…
During World War II, Hitler was able to hold off the Allied Forces until the U.S. finally uses the most devastating weapon to ever been developed… The Atomic Bomb! Built by “Traditional Technology”, it was one of the few times that the “New Science” had to play catch-up.
Near the beginning of the Millennium, Cults that worshiped Dark Gods started popping up, causing fear and uncertainty in the Populous of the World. Along with the Y2K bug, it caused much of the World to tremble in fear for what was to come.
Nothing happened, BTW.
From here on, life went on like it would… Technology continued to get better… And so did the occasional Brush Wars over ever dwindling supplies of Ghost Rock. Mankind went to the Stars… With International Colonies on the Moon and Mars… The Asteroid Belt was mined… And, with the development of “The Tunnel”, an Artificial Wormhole to another Solar System, Mankind went beyond the reach of Sol’s Solar Rays!
But the “Faraway” system, as it was later to be named, had its own indigenous people… Purple Reptile-Like people, called Anouks, who had barely beyond Stone Age technology. Humans behind Humans decided that, since they had firearms, the land was theirs. And, thus, Humanity became the first in recorded history to start an “Intergalactic Incident”. The discovery of Ghost Rock on the planet, “Banshee”, where the Anouks lived, made matters only that much worse.
Colonists swarmed to the new world in record numbers… And soon the Anouk natives of Banshee found themselves being run off the land of their ancestors, their very way of life was being destroyed. They did what anyone would do under such circumstances… They attacked. They had only Stone Axes, Arrows, and Sheer Bravery against Fully-Automatic Firearms, but they also had another secret weapon: “Skinnies”, Magicians who harnessed the power of the very Planet to aid them in destroying the intruders. It was this war that made it “Economically Unfeasible” to ship Ghost Rock to the Power Hungry Earth via the Tunnel.
Shortly after this, Dr. Darious Hellstomme, the poster child for the “New Science”, developed the greatest weapon Mankind has ever known, and possibly ever will know, the Atomic Ghost Rock Bomb. This weapon of “Limited Mass Destruction” would destroy almost all life in a city… Yet leave most of the Buildings intact! And the Radiation would only stay in place for a mere decade. It’s only side effect… A swirling Maelstrom of what appeared to be the Spirits of the Damned, screaming out in hatred. But these too disappeared in but a mere decade.
With the new source of Ghost Rock no longer easily available to the Powers That Be on Earth, they turned their attentions to the last remaining sources of the Superfuel left on Earth… The fact that the “Hauptman Survey” estimated that only twenty years of Ghost Rock was left on Earth, if Mankind used it at the same rate as they were now, brought matters to the forefront, and caused the Politicians to do something… ANYTHING… NOW!!!
The final straw to the ever increasing boiling point of Spaceship Earth Crew’s tempers was the destruction of the Latin American Alliance’s Spaceship, the Esmerelda! Its distress call was heard, but unheeded, by the Confederate Ship, the Dillinger, who merely replied, and then turned away. Leaving the poor Latin American crew to die in the loneliness of space.
This final act was the single spark that set off the chain reaction that caused the entire world to be led into the Third World War… One that Mankind may never recover from. The LAA declared War on the Confederacy… The Confederacy retaliated, and found evidence that the Union helped the LAA with preparations… The Confederacy declared war once again on her former Sister Nation… The Union Responded. The Commonwealth declared war on the Union… And so on, until there wasn’t a place on Earth where war had not broken out!!!
And then, at 6:17 PM EST, on September 23, 2081… Atomic Ghost Rock Bombs fell to the Earth… Irradiating Cities with Supernaturally Pumped X-Rays… Destroying life and buildings without remorse. On the “Bright Side”, the bombs were incredibly “Clean”, and would not cause the “Nuclear Winter” so feared by Mankind during the Cold War of the Post World War II Era. This was only a minor bit of breathing space for the poor survivors of the World for…
Revelations, the Last Book of the Bible, was at hand!!!
If further proof were needed, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, Death, War, Pestilence, and Famine, walked out onto North America, and pronounced their arrival in a manner as horrendous as even a madman’s nightmares could not contemplate them!
Surviving Americans are in the American West. No one knows what happened to the densely populated East Coast (no one who has crossed the Mississippi has never returned) or other countries (warlords are feuding in Mexico, and the same old same old is happening in Canada, nothing). The world has changed and the remnants of the world are faring the best they can. There is no government and organized religion, as we know it has all but disappeared. In this sorrow filled world, the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse appeared to smite survivors. Famine appeared in the Maze, War in the Great Plains where the Sioux valiantly battled him, Pestilence in Texas, and Death in Death Valley. Not long after their appearance they disappeared across the Mississippi and haven’t been seen since
It is now 2094… 13 years after the Ghost Rock Bombs fell. The Horsemen still walk the Earth. The Ghost Rock Maelstroms still rage on around the cities. And people still live… But only in abject fear of the Monsters, human, once human, and never-was-human…
Their only hope… The brave, but small, bands of heroes that walk North America, seeking to bring back the light of Humanity, while casting out the darkness of Despair to the blasted land. Their numbers are few. Their enemies are legion. But they have to succeed.
The only alternative… Is Extinction
During the past few months’ rumors have surfaced about a violent group in Montana, they are called the Brotherhood of Caine. These rumors may all be traced back to raids on technologically oriented settlements by groups of black-robed fanatics. These raiders, from examination of the few corpses they leave behind and from very limited interrogation of any captured, have shown that the fanatics all have lesions (or to be more accurate, scars where they were), pallid skin tones, have an aversion to light and (most obvious of all) evidence of paranoia. All those captured wore a small black stone around their necks; the stones are strangely warm to the touch. When removed the raiders reacted violently and with heightened paranoia, this was followed by violent convulsions and finally death.
Each of the raiders also had a small tattoo on their chest; this has now been labelled the “Mark of Caine”. One of the first raiders captured called out for Caine to save him, moments before he collapsed and died. Until recently this was the only information known about the Brotherhood. Until now. The Brotherhood has begun violent raids along the Lewis Range and the advance is approaching the town of Helena.