I’m privileged to have been able to contribute a character story to After the War, the fantastic upcoming RPG by Jason Pitre and Alasdair Stuart, and published by Genesis of Legend. It’s a science fiction game of community and memetic horror, set on Polvo, a planet populated by the survivors of some truly awful galactic crises.
After the War has just launched on Kickstarter, and you should head over there to throw some money in its direction. The game features contributions by a really stellar cast of amazing writers, role-players and games designers, and it’s a really exciting game too.
In the meantime, I get to share my story with you! This story takes the form of an interview with a survivor of the aforementioned catastrophes—the Song and Tormenta. At the end you’ll find some of the character’s beliefs and other attributes you might use if you were to play them in a game of After the War.
Palmer Vaisey is one of the countless people who’ve found a new home on Polvo. Despite everything, some people just keep on hustling…
Building a Better Future: An Interview with Palmer Vaisey
Recorded by Melody Watson at the Red Dust Consortium HQ
Where were you from?
New Berlin, Mars — an old hab-dome in the Borealis Basin. Never mind the name. I’ve seen pictures of the old Berlin and they don’t look anything alike. But every Martian has a dream, and building a better city was ours.
Growing up, everyone I knew worked in Cornerstone Division. Engineers, mechanics, welders, architects. People who take nothing and make it into something worth having. But I was better with people and ideas than my hands. Got myself a job supervising an assembly line and eventually ended up managing the whole damn precinct. Things were good. MarsCorp was at its peak and we were all riding high on the wave of success. I believed we were going to make a world better than any other.
How did you experience the war?
The war was a bad time. Not just in the obvious ways. Those who escaped the Song, we nearly lost our hope. Our faith in a better tomorrow, our faith in MarsCorp. And MarsCorp had done everything for us — fed us since we were children, treated us when we were sick, housed us and gave us purpose. Without that, we had nothing.
I was lucky. Star Lift got me and a couple of other New Berliners off the planet before the Choristers broke through. But I saw the footage. I wish I hadn’t.
You bet I signed up to help build a weapon against the Song. We were turning asteroids into bombs. Basic exo-mining work, honestly. The hard part was filling them with their human payload.
Have you ever been up close to someone with Tormenta? They… they don’t move like people. They’re like an imitation of a person from an old animation. And I recognised one of them from back home. I got too close and I think she recognised me too. I still don’t know how she broke free. She didn’t make it far but, fuck, it’s easy to forget how much blood is in a human body.
I, uh, I’m sorry. I just need a moment. I don’t talk about this very much.
What are you doing now?
I keep busy. Don’t sleep much anymore. I don’t like where my mind goes when I let it rest.
Now I’m Director of Communications for the Red Dust Consortium. Where there’s people, there’s commerce. That’s why some of the towns down this end of Polvo set themselves up as corps, with shareholders and boards instead of citizens and councils. A little while back they merged, creating the Consortium. We’re mostly Martians. We remember how good it was back in the glory days.
Mostly, I’m responsible for our multimedia content. It’s an exciting time! We’re investing in tech that’s going to spread our brand further than ever.
Why do I care? Because we need to remember. I don’t mean the war. At least, not the bad parts. We need to remember that we won — that we won by making hard decisions and being a part of something larger. If we can do that again, the future’s going to be better than we ever could have imagined.
Palmer Vaisey, Director of Communications
Loyalty demands sacrifice
Free agents cannot be trusted
Origin: Martian, Cornerstone Division
War Story: Tormenta, The Battle of Amboso
Profession: Leader, Storyteller