Deadlands HoER: Operation Damocles

Excerpt from Elmo Maddox’s Journal

written by John Pither

The dreams have gotten weirder since the ghost storm. We have all had them at one time or the other. Dreams that you aren’t going through life alone. The Shadow is always next to you, moving with you, wanting control.

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I’ve had one “dual” with my Shadow. In the middle of combat, I suddenly felt my emotions turn. I questioned why I was here fighting for my country and my unit (the only people I really care about in life). I almost stood up and ran, not from fear but with the feeling that I didn’t care about anybody but myself. It was wrong and I knew it! I fought against the feelings. I fought against myself (I thought).

Then the feeling ebbed, and felt the Shadow recede from the front of my conscious. I won control but realized that I was not alone in my own head. My Shadow was still with me. In my head. One other of our troupe has described a similar incident. Hopefully, that means I’m not crazy.

Finding out you are more or less dead and what isn’t dead got stuffed into a metal carcass is mind blowing enough to start with (let us not even mention the loss of sex), but that, at least, I have in common with my brothers in arms. After the Ghost Storm we rode through, things changed for me. Outside, I got uglier (didn’t think that was possible) but inside it was as if a veil had been removed and past got a little clearer.

The past has always been a problem for me. Memories only go back to just before I joined the Unit. That was shortly before Nigeria. Nothing like hardship and death to bred a tight group. Captain made some mistakes. Men died. Still, he’s the man to follow in combat (and mean follow, the man is on point most of the time). What we fought for in Nigeria would have been worth it if we all died(although, I would prefer not to).

After the Storm, I started seeing into my own past a bit at a time. My first memory was sitting in a chair with a man across from me, staring at me intensely. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. He was in my head. I knew I was strong but I could feel his strength and it was massive compared to mine. I knew what he was doing to. It was a mindwipe. It was one of the powers I was familiar with, but most those who had developed the ability could only block the memories of the last 5 or 10 minutes. This man was covering my life in layers of blankness. All of it.

The Ghost Storm started pulling the layers back.

Syker. That was the first thing I remembered. The name of what I am. The memories blocks drop away slowly. The Legion was the first outfit I fought for. Spy, assassin, shock troops, that’s what we did.

I can do things with my mind I shouldn’t be able to. Am I Crazy? No. I watch Misty with her gadgets. She can take a couple of pieces of metal and a battery make…the impossible. Build a gadget on the spot, hand it to Sammo and….he walks up a wall! I wonder about the mind set of the man that put the Unit together in the first place.

I’m starting to remember some of things I use to do, and how to do them again. Not yet as strong as I once was but I feel my mental strength increasing as time passes.

The memories come in bits and pieces. Today I was sure, for the first time, that I wasn’t one of the “Foreign” Legion, those Sykers who went off planet to fight the Anouk “skinnies”. I don’t know where I was during that time. I just know I wasn’t there. Maybe tomorrow it will come to me.

A little more every day.

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