Friday, March 26, 2021

Return to The Deathlands

By Bixyl Shuftan

It's been a while since we at the Newser first wrote about The Deathlands, and some time since we last did an update. Described as "an isolated post-apocalyptic island community where a handful of hardy survivors desperately cling to what passes for life after the nuclear winter," life certainly seems grim when you first drop in, with what looks like a ghost town in the desert full of wrecked buildings.

Dropping by while I was still in my Platinum Avatar Challenge as a tiny dinkie, I didn't look very threatening compared to the rats I saw crawling about. Maybe because I still smelled like a fox, they avoided me.

There was an opportunity to make a few Lindens, presumably for newcomers. There were little trees in spots in the sim that when touched gave a little cash.

Going  a little further, I found out one reason the rats were nervous.

I soon found a shooting area. There were a couple HUDs needed to play, and a free weapon provided.

Modern weapons sure are light these days.

To play the game, you need to be part of the Deathlands group. After that, just wear the Huds, have a weapon, and walk in and start shooting mutant spiders, zombified soldiers, scarabs, and other enemies. 

The larger spiders can shoot venom at you. That or otherwise being touched by a baddie results in lost hit points. Presumably bullets by other players will hurt you too, but when I was there we were careful not to hit one another. Other Deathlanders might not be so steady with their arm.

I didn't do too badly, getting a score of 82. I think it was mostly spiders.

I soon ran into Rebel Wolf, also known as The Baron, the man who runs the Deathlands. 

After I had a good look at the shooting area, there was something he wanted to show me.

He wanted to show me the bunker. 

"Can never have too many blast doors."

Inside was plenty of old equipment. "Sats and 'puters still work," Rebel commented, "We just have no idea what they are telling us"

"THIS was the problem...a 56K modem dial up."

There were some stocks of food here.

And of course there was the coffee, "Coffee was made by 'ays. It's Deathlands strong wolf blend. Gotta have coffee in Second Life."

There was a generator room to power the place, "It's a diesel genny. Well ok its nuclear, works better."

There was also an armory and a repair bench. There were plenty of rifles and submachine guns, enough for a platoon. 

"I'm wearing the SAC SR 16, a very nice weapon."

One room had "Wolfs humble bed, with moonshine, aged two weeks." Rebel commented after paying tier, he often felt like curling up in a ball.

There were also a couple maps on a table. Rebel commented "Yes we are planning to take over other sim."

"Got nukes? we do."

"Of course we have time for fun too." Rebel then grabbed a fire extinguisher, and fired it at me, chuckling, "Bix is on fire!"

Next was the decontamination shower, "I'll stay clothed so folks don't get blind. Also is good for the fleas."

Leaving the bunker, Rebel showed me a lookout tower.

Rebel told me he had a working tactical missile, "Its only 80-some years old what can possibly go wrong?" But opening the silo, something went wrong.

We checked out a concrete building next to a reactor tower, "Old reactor control room. Some stuff still working. Some guy named Homer Simpson worked here."

But the water running through didn't look so good. Rebel had different ideas, "Hey green water is NICE!"

Rebel showed me a garden area on top of a building, "Some food is grown on rooftops," explaining much of the area's soil was still recovering from radiation and other poisoning.

"I have a green thumb. Oh wait, that's rad poisoning."

But not all of the waters were too toxic. Rebel showed me a fishing area, "Yes we eat the fish. Help yourself."

There was some greenery nearby to prove the point, but one plant looked weird, "This plant watches ya. Awww, it likes you."

There was more greenery nearby, encouraged by moisture, "fresh water from mountain, broken pipe." He did caution me, "Don't pick any leaves off my marajuana  plant." I then asked with a grin, "For medicinal purposes?" Rebel grinned back, "Of course."

Medical care in the Deathlands can be a problem. The only one with a Medical Degree is (NPC) Doc Mengele. "Probably should not use him unless yer really sick," Rebel cautioned, "He's a little insane." Rebel went on to say there was a strong rumor he was the great-grandson of a certain German whom made his way to South America in the later 1940s, though of visitors, "not too many pick up on that."

We walked through the streets for a while, and at one point Rebel invited me to sit down, on a chair with a lot of wires, "Trust the wolf." I hesitated, so he sat down himself. The results were lots of electric sparks. When it was over, he called it getting his "Daily buzz." My response was I'll stick with coffee.

The last part of the area Rebel showed me was a place were there were several children, "We even have kids here. ... They a little crazy though." He commented this was the part of his sim that's gotten the complaints, "I have actually been yelled at for this." But he did say there was a certain reason why the NPCs were there, that one of the more troubling aspects of a post-apocalyptic world would be what happens to the kids, "How would kids be treated, loved, ignored, cast aside?"

It was about this time Rebel told me he had to take care of some real-life matters, inviting me to stick around at the shooting area or wherever else I wanted to explore.

On a final note, my avatar challenge in the dinkie fox soon ended after my tour. Rebel might say the background radiation or something else in the area cured whatever ailed me.

Post-apocalyptic themes aren't for everyone. But there is a message. What if our lives of material comfort, in which the only thing driving us nuts are things like a certain cartoon getting canceled and not being able to score with the ladies, were all of a sudden taken away and the matter of simple and basic survival became a day to day concern? Perhaps some of us whom think we're prepared wouldn't be, and some of those who think they'd be dead meat would end up not just surviving but starting up the path to rebuilding.

Bixyl Shuftan

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