September 18, 2012
by Gibson aka KapaLin
Glancing up at the looming warehouse, I pulled my coat tighter against the chill wind. The ramshackle, sprawling compound seemed to brood over the street with a purpose as grim as my own. Steeling myself, I ducked inside, and all traces of natural light vanished. The neatly furnished reception area, softly lit by glowing powerstones, wasn’t exactly what I had expected- polished chrome and gleaming brass contrasted sharply with the jagged, makeshift facade. The solemn simulacrum of a secretary seated at the desk glanced up at me as I approached, its eyes flickering with an electric blue light.
“Yes, how may I assist you?” it inquired in a tinny voice.
“I’d… well, I’d, I’d like to buy an army,” I managed to stammer.
“Ah…” rasped the secretary as it stood with a whisper of hydraulics, “I believe you will wish to see Mistress Nin, then.”
Led through a side door, I followed the secretary through a series of twisting corridors, doing my best to calm my breathing. It would not do to negotiate with the Pain Artist flushed and hyperventilating. It would be better not to talk with her at all sniped a small voice in my mind. I mentally shushed myself and moved towards the opening door as the secretary beckoned me inside.
Stepping inside the office, I barely suppressed a gasp. The far wall was floor to ceiling glass, looking out over the vast patchwork interior of the warehouse or factory or laboratory or whatever. Goggling at the view, I very nearly missed the slight, blue-skinned woman sitting behind her floating desk overlooking the windows. Then she turned around, and my wandering attentions snapped into focus. With an almost predatory smirk, she glided forward to shake hands.
“So you’re here to buy an army, S14 says,” she purred. “You’ll want to inspect the merchandise, yes?”
“If it wouldn’t be too much trouble.”
“What are you in the market for, hardware or software?”
“The whole deal. Weapons, supplies, soldiers, logistics systems. You’re supposed to be the best in this bloody business.”
“And do you doubt that?” her eyes flashed, and I was reminded for a moment of the the whispered stories of nighttime hits, fiery rockets and burning homes.
“Not for a second. But you were saying about displaying the wares…?”
“Right this way,” the Pain Artist replied, gathering up her staff and heading out of the office. “I’ll let some of my assistants show you around, and we can discuss your exact specifications at the end of your tour. Bosh, Memnarch, please show our client around. He wishes to make a large order.”
With her last words, a pair of huge metallic figures strode into view. The first, a golem the color of old blood, nearly scraped the ceiling, and his eyes burned with a sulfurous light. The second skittered about on spidery legs, beckoning with tiny, doll-like hands to follow. I strode out onto the open floor of the warehouse, again slightly overawed by its vast scale.
“So.” growled a nearly subsonic voice, jolting me out of my reverie, “you want weapons? We’ve got all sorts of cannons, mobile and emplacements both.” The huge golem banged an affectionate fist against the side of a spider-legged cannon. “This here’s a Goblin charbelcher, baby’ll roast an incoming patrol at a couple hundred blocks out. ‘Course, if you want real power, you’ll want a Lux Cannon. Nothin’ like puttin’ a big ‘ol hole in a bugger to get ‘im to shut up and sit down.”
He prattled on this way for quite some time as we walked, pointing out various other implements of massive destruction. I have to admit to being utterly flummoxed by the massive airship- how on earth did they expect to get the blasted thing out of the warehouse? We passed by massive foundries stoked by dragons, where huge crucibles exchanged trash for treasure. Fortunately, treasure mages were standing by ready to receive it, and goblin welder converted right back into more useless slag. As I marveled at this endless recycling, a new voice, high and piercing like a dozen harmonicas in monstrous unison, broke into my distracted thoughts.
“Yes, yes, Bosh, enough of the cannons. It’s high time we showed the client his… other options. After all, a more… subtle approach could do just the trick, hmmm?”
Memnarch led us into a new section of the warehouse, brightly lit and meticulously clean. Trinket mages and etherium sculptors painstakingly forged tiny, extraordinary objects on worktables beneath the blazing, constant light of sol rings embedded in the ceiling. Nearby, a golem artisan was busy replicating its own design in sculpting steel.
“Some of our software will be invaluable to you, I believe. A program to fabricate the correct solutions to your problems would be useful, yes? Our Artificer’s Intuition platform, or AI for short, provides just such a utility. Or mobile spare-parts units like this Myr retriever and junk diver. Even if you take some casualties, these units will repair your forces repeatedly- providing you a far more persistent army than mere flesh and blood soldiers.”
“Speaking of soldiers, I think it is time you review our combat models.” Nin stepped out of a prototype portal nearby and pointed to yet another hall. “This way.”
The combat automatons were varied in form and function, but uniformly impressive. Myr battlespheres stood wheel to spine with wurmcoil engines, while cohorts of lodestone golems stood at attention in neat ranks. A steel hellkite swooped overhead, followed possessively by a hoarding dragon.
“Well, you’ve seen the materiel on offer, what is your decision?” asked the arms dealer.
“I’ll take all of it. The Firemind has need of an army, but he has greater need of accomplished technicians like yourself. Will you join us in our glorious experiment?”
Nin, the Pain Artist shivered with anticipation. “It would be my pleasure.”
The Machine Shop
Red Count: 9/18 – hit the nail on the head!
Quick Tips – I love this deck because it’s capable of all the ridiculous explosive starts available to those who play with mana rocks, but it also can value-town durdle with the best of them. There are a whole bunch of synergies to play around with, and plenty of big bomby robots to finish out games. Hellkite Igniter is one of my favorite finishers, since no one ever sees it coming. Basically, this is my excuse to play a super artifact-focused deck that gets all of blue and red’s artifact enablers.
Until next time, may you find joy in assembling the pieces.