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Life, death and the whirring cogs in between
Charles Baier cannot remember the drone of bombers flying overhead as he and other children walked through the snow in the Ardennes. He cannot tell you what sort of planes they were, what engines they had, their payload or even which side they were on, though at the time he studied such things obsessively. He cannot remember hiding in the basement of his uncle’s house set halfway up the highest hill in Belgium in early 1945 as fierce gunfire cracked in the village below, as American troops retook Laroche from the German Army following the German assault of 16th December 1944.
Charles remembers almost nothing of the Battle of Bulge, despite the fact that he lived through it, despite the fact that the house he was living in was damaged in combat and despite the fact that his aunt and uncle burned to death in the ensuing fire.
Charles does remember the wonder, the fear and the awefulness of the weapons of war, even though he does not remember the tanks, the planes, the trucks and the jeeps. That, that feeling remains with him even now.
Charles does not remember the men, both German and American who were littered, at least for a short while, around the Ardennes, but he still has nightmares, made all the more terrifying by the absences, the lacks where lives were snuffed out and he cannot remember.
Charles cannot remember this because he has given up these memories, given them up to his life’s work and soon, so soon he can taste it in the air, in the smell of oil and blood and amniotic fluid, he will be finished.
Charles was born to Belgian parents of Germanic origin, in Bütgenbach, a town in Eastern Belgium in the German enclave. His father owned a small factory and his mother had almost nothing to do with him. When he was only four years old, the greatest single bloodletting the world has ever witnessed began. When he was eight, his parents sent him to live with his aunt and uncle in the Ardennes, away from the cities, the factories and the bombs. When he was nine, he witnessed the Battle of the Bulge, the death of surrogate parents and the whirling death of rationalised, machine-driven war.
Something broke, something big broke, the beauty of the machines and the horror of their effects. There had to be a better way, machines had to be able to exist in some different relationship with people. Life, not death, that was the only way to reconcile the machines.
Charles realised that that machinery and life could not be separated, not if such things were to be separated again.
Charles became that rarest of rarieties in this modern day and age, he became a self-taught mechanomancer, and, eventually, a highly skilled one. He also became a local notable of Laroche, not through owning the local factory, or through being the local professional, but through co-opting these people into his cult, the Cult of the God-Mech.
This is who Charles Baier is, and who he used to be. What he wants is something wholly wonderful. He wants a world without death, a world without pain, but more than this he wants a world of beautiful cog-driven harmony. Immortal, ageless, perfectible and perfect people and all it needs is that we shed this poor flesh and transcend the barriers of the body and join with the sharp-edged, shining beauty that is The Machine.
The Machine is found in hospitals the world over, it breathes for premature babies, for car crash victims, it pumps fluids into bodies too comatose to eat, it drains urine from people whose minds are simply elsewhere. It is the life support machine.
Charles has some fifteen of his own, mechanomanticly driven, life support machines in the basement of the renovated house left him by his uncle. It is the very basement where he hid from the fighting, though of course he does not remember this. Hooked up to these machines are comatose patients taken from hospitals all over Belgium, some of them are young, some are old, all are alive only because of the whirring, clicking machinery about them. Of course by themselves they are nothing. Merely mindless bodies, bereft of anything that can bring the Vision closer. But, when you start greasing the machinery with fluids from that most questionably alive creature, the foetus, then… things begin to happen.
Soon, soon Charles hopes that he will have built up enough momentum in his ‘patients’ that they will begin to link in to other life support machines and begin to colonise them. And in the basement of the mansion, something metal and flesh, cog and tissue, will come alive.
Who would not want to join him?
Name: Charles Baier
Personality: Something of the aristocratic mien about him.
Obsession: (Mechanomancy) The beautiful and transcendental unity between man and machine.
Wound Points: 40
Rage Passion: Failures in others which affect his work.
Fear Passion: (Helplessness) Being Shown to be outdated.
Noble Passion: Marrying technology to life and creating a better world.
Body: 40 (Elderly, but tough)
General Athletics 20%, Self-defence 25%, Grit teeth and keep going 25%.
Speed: 40 (Needs a walking stick)
Initiative 30%, Dodge, 15%, Drive 30%, Surgeon’s Hands 15%
Mind: 85 (So sharp he cuts himself)
Recluse learning (General Education) 50%, Notice 40%, Conceal 20%, Speak French 15%, Speak Dutch 35%, Discern Patterns 25%.
Soul: 75 (Intense, inscrutable, godlike)
Charm 30%, Lying 30%, Mechanomancy 60%, Know metal 15%, Bring Tears To Your Eyes With Visions Of Wonder 45%.
Posessions: Clockworks. Many, many clockworks. That said, very few are used for violence. The few that are, are deadly beyond most imagining. The local war museum, full of artefacts from the Battle of the Bulge, its curator belongs to the Cult of the God-Mech. He does have a number of particularly powerful, semi-intelligent significant clockworks which are experts at breaking, entering and snatching bodies unseen.
The house his uncle bought. An old mansion, of a sorts, whose foundations go back to the middle ages, but which has been extensively renovated after war damage and fire. This is the central base for the Cult of the God-Mech.
Notes: The Bring Tears To Your Eyes With Visions Of Wonder skill is your standard cult leadership skill and covers rousing sermons about the World That Awaits and the initial indoctrination of initiates. It can also serve in a limited way like the first level channel of the Demagogue, insofar as with enough time (about a day), Charles can protect against violence checks only. This has proved most useful and necessary for the harvesting of the foetus’ from unconscious mothers.
Allies: The Cult of the God-Mech, Geoff Randall (Personomancer)
Friends: Jacques D’Altrecht, curator of the war museum in Laroche and lieutenant in the cult. May be weakly channelling the Demagogue himself.
pedant | profile | Jun 02, 06 | 5:15 pm
This is a somewhat modded GMC I created for a campaign which unfortunately was never completed. At some point I may write up Geoff Randall (mentioned in the Allies).
pedant | profile | Jun 02, 06 | 5:16 pm
This reminds me of Metropolis, and of that stage of science fiction; beautiful and horrifying at the same time.