August 2009
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The Tunnel

While the Bunker is a good place to use technology, sometimes we have the need for a location that's a bit bigger.  That's when we use the Tunnel.  It's part of the old iron highway about 3 klicks north of Homestead along the river.  At that point, the old path goes directly through a hill composed mostly of basalt.  It's roughly 75m long and one end collapsed so long ago that parts of the old iron rails are still trapped beneath the rock.  Everywhere else the iron has long since been scavenged and used for a variety of purposes.  With thick rock all around, all it took was for the entrance to be properly shielded and you have a large area that allows you to test all sorts of things and it makes a great shelter when you really need a mountain to protect you. Trust me, sometimes you need that around here. What we usually use it for is as a firing range to try out our personal systems at something close to full power.  It's good to know that your new rig isn't going to cut out on you, or worse, blow up leaving a smoking crater where you used to be.  Don't laugh, it happens.  There's always someone willing to take a risk with some salvaged tech that they don't understand properly.  Usually when someone is testing a bit of tech for the first time, it's only them in the tunnel.  Nobody understands how most of the things we use work at an intimate level.  We just read the old signs marked on the tech and hope they hold true.  Priests have the old scriptures that help with some things, but it's usually more about experience and luck than a thorough grounding in science.  I couldn't tell you how anything in my own personal system works other than it needs a power source, raw materials on occasion, and the occasional cleaning.  Once you know how to read the old symbols, you can usually make things work. Personal systems are the gear we use when lo-tech isn't enough.  I will have to explain this more at a later date, but I can give a short explanation here.  Adrias says computers were commonplace back in the old world.  Before things went "dark" and the world went to shit, the first generation of personal combat systems were introduced.  They are computers, after a fashion, but the difference is staggering.  Its like saying a sniper rifle is a projectile weapon, like a bow.  There's truth to the statement, but it doesn't do justice to the difference.  Personal systems allow you to fight harder, longer, wield energy and use magic.  The system itself is so stupidly simple that almost anyone could use it.  The reason they don't is because the systems are rare and hard to keep working.  You also have to be a person who can take the Merging without freaking out.  Not many can.  Even many that can choose not to.  It's not the most pleasant experience ever and it's one of the reasons why the systems get passed down.  There comes a time in one's life where the burden of using a personal system is greater than the benefit.  Guardians, more than most, tend to use their personal systems until old age.  Well, old for this world, perhaps not for yours.

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