It looks like we've actually picked up a steady pace in downloads recently, so I'm getting back to work on updating the beta. In the meantime I thought it would be fun to make Alex's backstory more readily available. This is all accessible through the journal item in Alex's inventory, but if you'd rather not read it in NWN's conversation format then this may be easier on the eyes.
The next update will include better sound effects and a few bug fixes. The most serious bugs at the moment being the fact that dragons can capture Command Zones in the players favor (ideally they should have no bearing on either faction capturing those zones) and that pseudodragons don't properly spawn during the final boss fight.
From the journal of Alex Meda
March 4th, 2085
Here it is, first entry in my brand new HazCon tablet. It was an induction gift from Prader. That's right, today I'm finally a Nomad!
The ink on the deal hasn't dried yet, but I'm officially a member of OutRapture. The best Nomad pride in the whole world, and now I'm a part of it. Reiko was quick to remind me it will take a while for my name to catch on with the public, but I have all the time in the world.
Prader took me out to celebrate with a ride on his bike. He still wouldn't go higher than twenty meters with me on the back, but when he shut off the hoverdrive mode he let me ride around a bit on the street. I've decided, when I make my first fortune I'm buying a Suzuki Skylar.
March 9th, 2085
Finally went out to get my hair dyed today. I already had my heart set on green for a while, but when I found out they had PhosphoDye (that stuff that makes your hair literally glow) I had to go for it. It took a while, since they had to undo my tail and all, but it was all worth it!
The glow is a bit extreme though. Now that I think about it, being a walking glowstick might be a bad idea during a night op. Maybe I should get a hat too. I'm thinking a beanie, maybe black or dark brown.
March 17th, 2085
This sucks. I've been a Nomad for about two weeks now and we've done NOTHING. OutRapture hasn't left England in nearly a month! Jake made a run to Ireland and that's it.
The Mythans haven't taken a vacation from razing towns and hunting the innocent, so why should we take a break from killing them? Is my dad worried about taking me into the action? He should know better than to hold me back!
March 23rd, 2085
I bought a scabbard for my sword today. Doesn't match the blade very well, but they were out of black. Still, there's nothing sweeter to the ears than that SWISH sound when you pull it out at just the right angle.
God damn it, this was supposed to be a war journal and the first month of entries is my fucking shopping list. I'm a Nomad, not a 14-year-old girl who just got their first credit card! I swear if something big doesn't happen within the next two weeks, I'll go out and find a fight on my own!
April 12th, 2085
About time! OutRapture is being dispatched southwest to Venezuela tomorrow! Apparently the Skriven Collective finally got the balls to move out of the Amazon into Bolivar and gained enough ground to make Caracas nervous. Their government is calling for Nomads to shove those Mythans back into the jungles where they belong.
We're pretty much going to scour the Bolivar region for any new Skriven bases and wipe them out. Even other Mythans are afraid of the Skriven, so this should be fun. I get to kick some smug reptilian ass and then chill on Venezuelan beaches! What more could a Nomad ask for?
April 13th, 2085
Don't have much time to write. Things didn't go as planned on the landing. After arriving in Caracas we were being lifted by aerocraft to a Nomad encampment in the mountains south of Canaima. Something hit us in the air. I'm not sure if it was the Mythans or what, but it seemed like an RPG hit. I was sitting by the airlock when it got blown open. Didn't have my seatbelt on. Got thrown out the door at 1.5km altitude.
I used some fire magic as thrust to soften my landing but I lost sight of the aero in the trees. No sign of a crash in the distance so I have to believe the rest of OutRapture landed safely. God I hope I'm right. In any case I lucked out. Landed not too far from a side road. A pride of Nomads nearby saw the aero take the hit and drove up in a buggy. Tom Fury their name is. Offered me a lift to the encampment. I'm sitting in their backseat now. Head's still foggy from the blast so I'm going to take it easy. I'll write again when we reach the encampment.
April 14th, 2085
How the hell do things get so bad so fast?
It turns out my new friends Tom Fury weren't so noble. They took me to a fucking Cartel base while I was too out of it to notice. This place is serious. Concrete walls with barbed wire, turrets with spotlights, MagiBar generators, and shoddy wooden crates filled to the brim with loaded AKs. I think I know where that RPG strike came from.
I knew I was in deep shit as soon as I saw the guys in the black leather jackets. Some asshole tazed me before I could even jump out of the buggy. Everything after that is a little foggy. From what I saw, the Cartel boss was about to slip the guys in Tom Fury some cash, but they wanted more. Negotiations got heated. Somewhere along the line the boss snapped two fingers and every Tom Fury bastard got gunned down on the spot. The last thing I remember before they put a sack over my head is that Cartel boss leaning over their Alpha, taking out a hand cannon and executing him Gestapo style.
A day's gone by now. I don't know what the Cartel is planning but I'm not the only Nomad here. There's about a dozen others in this old prison. We all came here pretty much the same way, got separated from our prides, took a ride from a stranger and wound up in a Cartel stronghold with our weapons confiscated. Most of us are rookies. None of us are older than 21. We're corralled into some kind of courtyard in the center of the stronghold, where the Cartel guards can see every little move we make. As far as I can tell we're being treated like POWs, being offered three meals a day and relative freedom to mingle, mixed with the paralyzing fear that one wrong move gets you shot.
They took my sword but let me keep my tablet. I guess they're not afraid of me writing my way to freedom. I'm scared shitless. I have no idea where I am or what's going to happen next. The other day I was ready to take on every Mythan in the world. But the Cartel? They don't play fair. At least the Mythans are predictable.
I just hope dad and the rest of the pride is alright, wherever they are.
April 22nd, 2085
Or at least I think today is the 22nd. My journal is telling me it's been just over a week, but damn it feels like a bloody year has gone by.
Obviously the Cartel hasn't killed us yet, but that would at least make sense. What they're doing instead is beyond strange. Right after day one, they pulled me from my cell, sat me at a table in a room full of guards, and put a gun in front of me. It was some chinese AK knock-off, an AKS-74U or something. The guy sitting across from me didn't say a word. He just disassembled the gun piece by piece, then put it back together. Then had me do it. He loaded and unloaded a 5.56mm magazine, then I did the same. Over the span of six hours they taught me how to fix, clean, load and fire an automatic submachine gun. The thought to shoot my captors during target practice came to mind if I didn't have eight more guns pointed at me.
It wasn't just that submachine gun. They've drilled me on glocks, berrettas, shotguns, carbines, even a marskman rifle. I've lost count of the rounds fired into combat dummies. The Nomads around me are getting the same treatment. We came to this country with swords and spells, and here we are being trained with military equipment. Aside from barking orders, my captors are tight-lipped and won't answer any questions. Sometimes they almost act friendly. I no longer feel like my life is in danger, but I know we're being fattened up for the kill. There's no way in hell I'm being fooled into thinking these people are my friends.
I've gotten to know one of the other Nomads held here. Her name is Serene. She's a Scottish girl a few years older than me, with hazel eyes and short red hair. Apparently from a two-year veteran pride named "Gulliver's Travels". Funny, I don't think Jonathan Swift ever came up with any scenario as bizarre as the one we're in together.
April 25th, 2085
The Cartel finally got some visitors. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
It was the Skriven! The Cartel had a deal going on with the Mythans the whole time. They came in with a convoy of enough guns to overthrow every government in South America. Their trade was us. We were handcuffed, bound and marched over to the Skriven side. In exchange for weapons, the Mythans get a full squad of freshly-trained Nomads. I was trying to figure out a way to kill myself before the Mythans could make me fire a single bullet in their favor.
Then something incredible happened. The Cartel boss got an arrow stuck in his neck. I didn't see where it came from or how far, but as soon as he hit the ground all hell broke loose. The Cartel thought they got screwed over and opened fire on the Skriven. They responded in kind. Both sides forgot about us, giving us time to head for cover and cut out binds off. There was one problem. All our gear was still in the Cartel fortress.
Everything after that moment is a blur. With salvaged guns, we fought our way through both Skriven and Cartel, losing a couple good Nomads along the way. Somewhere in the fight the MagiBar generator got hit and we could finally use magic again, giving us the edge we needed to charge into the storehouse where our weapons were kept. This is where I killed a man for the first time. I kicked in through a door to find a guard on the other side. He raised his gun and I pulled the trigger on my pistol on instinct. Poor bastard didn't stand a chance. I wish I could say I had time to feel bad about this, but all I did was run to the nearby weapons locker and finally get my sword back.
Fighting our way out was harder than in. The Skriven realized they were missing property and came hunting for us. We decided it was best to split up and let the Mythans stay distracted with the Cartel. That was the last time I saw most of the group. I teamed up with Serene to make our way out the south exit. She practically dragged me out of there. I probably would have died in that fortress if it wasn't for her.
Now we're well out of the Cartel's grasp but still deep in the proverbial and literal woods. Serene and I are trying to stay low, but we can still hear patrols on our backs, both Cartel and Mythan. We've already had to take out a few scouts on both sides. We put a lot of distance between us and the stronghold, but it's getting dark and we're lost in Venezuelan wilderness, which isn't a big improvement over our last situation. Luckily Serene seems to really know her stuff. Building a shelter, purifying water, even hunting animals for food. Next to her, I feel useless.
Fighting the Skriven was my sole reason for coming to this country. Now I'm on the run from them. I need to kill something.
April 27th, 2085
I'm running low on battery life on this thing. That tablet sure has taken a beating considering all we've been through, but I haven't seen a charger in almost a month.
Serene is driving me nuts. Nothing I do seems to live up to her goddamn standards. Whether it's purifying drinking water or flanking a Skriven position, I'm always doing something wrong in her eyes. I swear I've had more fights with her at this point than the Mythans.
At the very least, we seem to be doing better than a few days ago. We've ran into a few other Nomads in the region and finally got our location figured out, as well as the bad news. The encampment everybody was supposed to assemble at got hit hard by the Mythans about a week ago. Human casualties were low but they had to abandon the position or be overrun. Now our big assault force is scattered all over the jungle, just like Serene and me.
Word is that just before the attack, we had finally uncovered the Skriven's main base of operations, an old mining complex about 5 kilometers south of here. The plan was to attack the place tomorrow just before dawn. Most of the Nomads we've met are still following through with that plan, hoping everyone who got scattered will meet up there. That means if my pride is still alive, they'll be at the assault point in about 16 hours.
Serene and I are tired, hungry, partially wounded, and hate each other. It would be easy to call it quits and navigate back to the main road for a hitchhike to town. But I can't leave my pride behind, not after all this. I have to know that my dad is alive. And most of all, I have to make a difference in this fight.
We're making a steady pace south. If all goes as planned we should find the Skriven base by dawn. What happens there is up to the Mythans.
April 29th, 2085
I can't seem to make sense of anything that's happened in the last 24 hours.
Serene and I reached the old silver mines at about 4 AM yesterday. There was no sign of any assault. We were the only Nomads in sight. It was disheartening, but it was too late to turn back. We snuck into the complex, ready to blow the place to hell ourselves if we had to.
The entrance led to an entire nexus of caverns, equipped more like a genuine dig site than a military base of operations. Security was suspiciously light, we encountered few guards and light resistance, which didn't add up. What the hell were the Skriven doing in Bolivar if not preparing for an invasion? That's when I saw it.
A sword. Recently excavated from the rock. It must have been what the mythans were after this whole time. I don't know what came over me, but I bolted for that sword like the devil was after me. Somehow I must have triggered an alarm because every mythan in the cavern began swarming towards me as soon as I got my fingers around the handle. Serene and I were completely surrounded.
I should have died right at that spot. But something new came over me. The sword felt weightless in my hand. I felt as though I had nerve endings along the blade, that I could feel the wind brushing against it as I swung and tasted the blood as the sword spilled it. It was a blur. During the fight, more Nomads poured into the complex. The assault had officially begun, but none of it registered with me. I was in the zone, just me and the sword.. By the time reinforcements actually reached us, every single mythan in that cave was dead.
As we left the complex, I finally spotted my pride among the crowd. All of OutRapture, my father included, as alive and well! Naza tackled me to the ground and cast every healing spell she knew the instant she saw me. I was covered in so much blood that she thought I had lost a limb. Turns out not one drop of it was mine.
The operation in the Venezuela is over. The Skriven are in full retreat and the local government can breathe a little easier. We are heading back to England on the next flight. Jake has a plan to smuggle the sword with us back to Kent. I think I'm going to hold onto it for a while. That reminds me, I should ask Jake where he buys his arrows. I could swear the arrow that took out the Cartel boss looked a lot like the ones he carries around.
I still have no idea what kind of arrangement the Cartel could have had with the Skriven. The Cartel wanting guns makes sense, but why would the Skriven need Nomads more than weapons? Why would they want humans in their ranks at all? There's something very strange going on out there. For now, I guess I'm thankful I didn't get my answers first-hand.
May 4th, 2085
Things have been awkward since Venezuela. Nobody seems to want to discuss it. The operation was a success. What nobody can seem to fathom is why.
I screwed up. When I fell out of that aerotech, I should have stayed put and made a signal fire. Instead I went off and took a ride from strangers like a six-year-old looking for candy. I distracted my pride from the mission for over a week while they searched for me. It would have been a straightforward op otherwise.
Yet I don't feel like I should apologize. I was stranded for nearly a month in foreign land. I had to utilize grueling survival techniques. I could have died countless times, at the hands of the Mythans or Cartel or just from not purifying water properly. And then I went and threw myself headfirst into a Mythan stronghold and triggered a blatant ambush. By all accounts, I should be dead and buried right now.
And I have never felt more alive.