Homebound

Retirement...

Mouse stepped out of the shuttle. Roadrunner followed close behind. They were escorted onto a massive platform with at least forty other wayfarers. After a sudden jolt, the platform lowered them underground and into Dawn, the supposed sanctuary of the wayfarers.   The lift stopped, and they stepped off, joining a growing crowd circling a metal platform. Most wore what they were wearing when taken from their homes. Others were already wearing their gear, though still unarmed. Their Echo suits were painted black and the symbol of Homebound rested on their shoulders, a depiction of Safeharbor's skyline on a red background.   Mouse couldn't recognize the man who stood on the platform, but she did know the woman beside him. Everyone knew Miranda Thrace.   Miranda threw her arms up into the air, and the hum of chatter died out. When all were silenced, her arms fell to her side. "Sorry for such short notice, but there's a situation. Three hours ago, we detected a massive energy spike in sector 487, level 17."   Whispers erupted from the crowd. No one had ever delved that deep underground before.   Miranda raised a hand and nodded. "I know. That's why we activated the Atlas Protocol. The more of you there are, the better."   "You have a damn army," someone screamed from the crowd.   Miranda scoffed and crossed her arms, "you want an army of grunts gallivanting around all that sensitive machinery. Even the smallest amount of collateral damage could sentence us all to extinction." She shook her head, "You're smarter than that, and so are we."
 
Sometimes, home can be more mysterious than anything found In the void. The Wayfarers believe Safeharbor to be a treasure trove, and they couldn't be more correct. They know Echoes are filled with wonders, but also terrors beyond counting. There are skeletons aplenty in our closet… and the walls… the floors.   Homebound is an organization of wayfarers who isolate their exploration to Safeharbor. They scour our planet wide city, as well as its massive subterranean complex. By collecting Keys to the city, they spread humanities' influence on the planet, sometimes taking years to search a single sector. They face unstable structures, faulty machinery, dangerous fauna, and more.     Of all the wayfarers, they have the shortest life expectancy, but the highest survival rate. They sacrifice themselves in search of anything that could lift humanity out of its current dark age. They do so for no other reason than to enjoy a job closer to home.  

A cursed blessing

Those who join Homebound often do so out of necessity. Some obligation binds them to our world, be it sick loved ones, a coming child, or even the passing of time. We humans can live quite a while, now, but age still takes it tole.   You never see a wayfarer fresh out of training in their ranks. These young souls still long for the stars. Veterans among The Wayfarers fill the organization. Their experience is vital, and their ability to adapt is second to none.   The organization allows them a home and bed to go to every night. They have far more time with loved ones, but their job is no less dangerous than before. In most cases, it's even more perilous. Despite the danger, this is how a wayfarer retires, their skills and experience put to use at home to make our world safer and our lives better.      

Search parties

A single party of Homebound wayfarers can number close to ten. The more eyes and guns on the field, the better. These groups enter the dark without fear, and rarely fail in their mission.   Homebound routinely sends out these search parties for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes the planet's infrastructure needs repairs, or a new artifact is located. Sometimes they detect technology that we desperately need. Most of the time, however, it's to find someone who went missing.   People disappear from time to time, dragged into the depths by the planet's vicious wildlife. Sometime they fall, fasteners holding the floor below our feet finally giving way from the strain. Safeharbor's ecosystem is vast. There are many plants and animals left undiscovered, and that's not always a bad thing. I imagine there are plenty of beasts that are best left undisturbed.

Level 13

Level 13 marks the deepest point of the planet the wayfarers have managed to reach. Going deeper is even more dangerous than before. The fauna are angrier, more bold in the deep dark.   Pipe roaches older than those closer to the surface retreat here to nest. Some of these ancient ones are twice the size of the average human. As fate would have it, most of the planet's inner workings are lost in those dark places.   What mechanisms turn and keep this planet wide city alive are at the mercy of foul beasts and the sad passing of time. Homebound seeks to claim these secrets before entropy takes hold. If they fail, the planet dies, and we die with it.

Tools of the trade

Due to their specialized nature, Homebound wayfarers are equipped with a much wider range of tools needed to do their job. Their gear is far more sophisticated than that of other wayfarers.   Many wayfarers build their own contraptions, usually upon encountering an unexpected obstacle. Homebound has the advantage of knowing what may wait every time they venture to the depths.   Their Echoes suits come with magnetic grappling harnesses allowing them to scale up walls and across gaps. Another example would be Grid Chisels, used to create, restore, and connect sections of Safeharbor's power grid.
     
Mouse raised her voice, the rage carrying her voice, making it much louder than she planned. "That checks out. Wouldn't want to gun anyone down in their own home, now would we?"   Miranda narrowed her eyes. It was uncomfortable, like she could pick Mouse out despite the size of the crowd. Miranda turned to the man at her side. The man said nothing.   "Uh oh." Roadrunner whispered, "its situations like this that made me leave the military."   The man refused to look at her, so Miranda stepped forward, bringing herself within inches of his face and forced him to. "You didn't tell me there was an incident, general."   "Didn't know I had to," he began with a smug grin, "admiral."   Miranda stepped back, nodding. They were technically the same in rank. She looked at the crowd, thought quickly, and snapped back, her words making the smirk on his face disappear. She spoke loud and clear. She made sure every single wayfarer heard her words, and understood exactly what she not only implied, but condoned. "Okay, the wayfarers have training equivalent to our most elite spec op units. Homebound, in particular, is filled with veterans." She paused and laughed before continuing, a smirk of her own painted on her face. "You know this, but I hope you realize that in about ten minutes, all of these fine young men and women will be armed."   An uneasy silence filled the room. Mouse turned to Roadrunner who had the widest grin on his face. The man on the platform stood in shock and horror.   Miranda merely turned to the crowd. "Get geared up and meet here in ten minutes. The shuttles leave in 15."

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
6 Jul, 2021 11:55

Oh no, if im not mistaken Miranda just gave the home bound warefarers permission to have an “accident”(?) concerning the general? That’s….brilliant. And awful. I love this article so much, the story telling you include to give each piece of information is so wonderful. Amazing. :D

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
8 Jul, 2021 23:58

Wooot thanks for such high praise! Miranda is not afraid to make a point, for sure.

6 Jul, 2021 19:32

Haha, go Miranda! That general isn't going to have a good time if he doesn't get out of there, and fast. Great article! :D

~TimeBender~
Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
10 Jul, 2021 09:05

The tension is rising! Miranda standing up for the wayfarers is such a wonderful moment. Wonderful storytelling as usual.

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
10 Jul, 2021 16:00

Thank you!

10 Jul, 2021 15:47

I feel like if there was a book detailing the setting of the void between, there would be a seperate sequel book just looking at the inner workings of safeharbor. Also there needs to be a rougelike video game set in the depths.   Also, as far as I'm concerned threatening the admiral is tit for tat (or a bit of a tame reactiion) to the navy LITERALLY MURDERING NONCOMPLIERS.   You make it sound like the homebound folks are a cut above the rest.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
10 Jul, 2021 16:03

If I wanted to really delve into how the planet worked, yeah. There probably would be a second book. And dude... stop predicting my surprises! Lol   Yes indeed. It is pretty tame.   Homebound is cut above the rest, for sure.

12 Jul, 2021 21:50

Ha, you tell him, Miranda!   The Homebound sound like a really excellent group of people. I don't think I could have the courage to explore the lower levels of Safeharbor.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
13 Jul, 2021 02:33

Meeee neither. I know tio much 0.0 its not fun down there XD. Thanks so much emy!

3 Aug, 2021 08:44

Keeping veteran Wayfarers close to home is an excellent idea! I like how it ensures that Safeharbor's machinery is in good hands while allowing those people to spend time with their loved ones. And oh, I really like Miranda in the framing story! That reply about military grunts accidently breaking stuff is brilliant, and her reaction to learning of the "incident" is even better. Yeah, gunning down highly-qualified professionals is short-sighted in more ways than one.

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   My entry for the Shipwright Challenge: Ycalla
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
12 Aug, 2021 17:38

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much!

12 Aug, 2021 08:56

Yessss go off Miranda!!!! What an icon. Other than that I'm so glad I finally have time to catch up on this series because GOD I missed it. Brilliant as always!!

Author of Interarcanum.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
12 Aug, 2021 17:39

Miranda is a beast. This is one of the first times she actually has a role to play so o wanted to make sure she had a good introduction. Thanks so much!

13 Aug, 2021 12:53

Loving the ongoing stories in your articles ^^ Go Miranda! Quite an intersting organisation as well with what seems a very crucial mission. Those deeper layers sound very mysterious and dangerous. Must be quite the adventure to go there.

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
17 Aug, 2021 23:47

I'm liking Miranda so far!   I gotta say Homebound is p dang cool, and also a great setup for a game...

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
18 Aug, 2021 03:48

Thank you so much! I will say that Homebound is definitely intended to be a bit of a dungeon crawl game I'm working on.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
18 Aug, 2021 15:25

Y E S. Do let me know if/when you need playtesters!

27 Aug, 2021 00:30

I'm going to try and get today's comment out early! I noticed you said that it picks up a lot from Atlas Falls, so let's see if you can top the amazingness that was Atlas Falls.  


 
Mouse stepped out of the shuttle. Roadrunner followed close behind. They were escorted onto a massive platform with at least forty other wayfarers.

This isn't a great hook. The sentence structure is repeated three times in a row and there's very little description to latch onto. It's very matter of the fact and doesn't have too much style to it. This is especially accentuated by it being the first few lines of the article.  
Miranda threw her arms up into the air, and the hum of chatter died out. When all were silenced, her arms fell to her side. "Sorry for such short notice, but there's a situation. Three hours ago, we detected a massive energy spike in sector 487, level 17."

Two smaller things here. Firstly, the motion that Miranda makes. What is its significance and how did everyone notice it if they weren't staring at her. Rather than feeling like a commanding moment, it feels like something that an annoyed teacher would do, waiting for the chatter to come to a stop. The other thing is, consider adding an adjective to "situation" as it could clarify the type of situation and potentially add something to the line.  
"You have a damn army," someone screamed from the crowd. Miranda scoffed and crossed her arms, "you want an army of grunts gallivanting around all that sensitive machinery. Even the smallest amount of collateral damage could sentence us all to extinction." She shook her head, "You're smarter than that, and so are we."

I picked up on a few somethings here. Firstly, the last line is semi misleading and confusing as you're now separating an unknown we from an unknown you. I could take it that the we refers to all Wayfarers and the you is an isolation pronoun for the one who screamed or I could take it she is referring to all of those watching as a royal you and then speaking of a mysterious we. The other thing that I noticed is that you never say the tone or way in which Miranda speaks, which is a bit strange as it now makes me think of a calm demand, but that directly contradicts the idea of there being tons of people in a large space. >How does she communicate with all of them?  
They know Echoes

You capitalize Echoes (also it appears to be a yet unpublished article) which leaves the question. Is this a proper noun, if so what type. I would expect it to need the supporting article "the" as "the Echoes" would be something specific. Alternatively, echoes may not need capitalization or be a purlized form of an Echo.  
our closet… and the walls… the floors.

This breaks all established patterns. Closet is the only non-plural word, the and is only carried over by one ellipsis, which doesn't even follow the rules of lists, and you change from possessive to singular. I would suggest either "our closets... our walls... our floors" or "our closests... and our walls... and our floors"  
our planet wide city

I would consider finding alternative ways to refer to Safeharbor as this one pops up an astonishing number of times.  
sometimes taking years to search a single sector.

Bit of a wording thing here; I would recommend that you change it to "sometimes spending years searching a single sector" as it implies more curiosity than slow work with low work ethics.  
Of all the wayfarers

Should or shouldn't Wayfarers be capitalized? It's automatically capitalized when linked, but that's because it's presumed article titles will, more often than not, refer to proper nouns or magic things that are emphasized by their capitalization.  
they have the shortest life expectancy, but the highest survival rate.

Can you explain this more? My initial reaction is that survival rate would be in general, but then you suggest that it isn't by saying they have a lower life expectancy. It took several minutes of puzzling for me to come to the (potentially wrong) conclusion that you could be going for "they have the shortest life expectancy, but the highest mission survival rate. These Wayfarers dedicate their lives to Safeharbor, looking to spend more of their time deep in the confines of the mysterious planet than on the surface, venturing into the unknown until the unknown claims their lives and they become one with the expanse of mystery awaiting us in the depths of the Echoes." //I know this doesn't quite fit, but it explains it nicely. And I'm leaving it because I think, for an unedited line, it sounded kind of cool  
We humans can live quite a while, now, but age still takes it tole.

You can debate with me on this one, but I would argue you don't need the comma before "now" as "We humans can live quite a while now" is fine, to my knowledge. It's a proposition so it fits? But, undebatably, you have a typo as "it" should be either "its" or "a" for it to make any sense.  
Their Echoes suits

Echoes shouldn't be plural here? Even if it's a named multiple, unless that's what you want. Also, why do you link this article twice when you seem to only ever link each article twice.  
he began with a smug grin,

I like the character of this line. But there are a few things that don't quite fit. Firstly, you use began a bit too often. It's ok to use said, but intermixing other adjectives and verbs should be done to add context. For example, you might say "Well," he began, but he was quickly cut off by the blaring of the tornado siren." Here, he isn't beginning. He is saying. The other thing is that, until this moment, words like "refusing" gave me a connotations more similar to someone being scared of than someone being so arrogant as to not even both reacting. I'm not thinking of a solution off the top of my head, but changing the wording slightly might help with keeping the character consistent here.  
The man on the platform stood in shock and horror. Miranda merely turned to the crowd.

I like this interaction, but it might be helped by a touch of alteration. For example, "the man's face quickly morphed from arrogance to shock and horror. Miranda merely turned back to the crowd, a light smirk growing over her face."  
Miranda merely turned to the crowd. "Get geared up and meet here in ten minutes. The shuttles leave in 15."

This one is nothing but personal taste. However, the general consensus is that numbers 0-100 should be written out in nontechnical writing and numbers 0-10 should be written out in technical writing. This is nontechnical writing and splitting the line like that in such close proximity is rather distracting. You should either pick to write no numbers out or most numbers out.  
  Well. That's all. I'd say Atlas Falls was better, but this was still a good article. It's interesting how you organize the template choice as Atlas Falls didn't feel like a condition. I'd assume it's based on the prompt template, though, as these are all from summer camp. Anyway, good work!

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
27 Aug, 2021 08:23

Oooo I'll be sure to adress those issues and thanks so much, as always. The plot is what I really mean when say it picks up.   Echoes refer to echo suits. Its capitalized cause it's a link to an article I just hadn't written yet... for some reason.   So atlas falls is a condition but not one I imagine some expected. It sets the condition of the planet. If it is determined the planet may be unsafe, they declare Atlas Falls, a code that "activates" conditions laid out between the government and the wayfarers when the wayfarers were pardoned for their rebellious nature way back when.   Ooo so actually the life expectancy and survival rate is meant to reflect their skill. They're well trained and often make it out alive.

Powered by World Anvil