The Vanguards of Darkwind
The life and times of the Vanguards, a gang struggling to survive in the wastelands of Evan, based on the game Darkwind by Psychic Software

Limpet beacons?

Jake was an habitual early riser. By midday, the heat of the inflamed sun was unbearable, so he always aimed to make use of the early hours, when the heat was only memory, a fear, before the sun’s strength sapped energy and enthusiasm and your only thought was to find shade and curl up and wait for dusk.

Jake walked through the cool night air, in the still, calm hiatus between night and day. The landscape even had a blue tinge, reminding him of the days before the Apocalypse, wintry February mornings.

As he approached his compound, he was surprised to see he already had a customer. Most of the gangs weren’t early risers – no surprise, Jake thought, they partied hard each night to forget the terrors of the day before – so it was rare to see anyone on the streets of Somerset at this time of day.

A battered van was parked across the entrance. The only sign of the driver was a pair of travel-stained boots with thick soles sticking out from underneath.


A thump and a curse. The feet wiggled in the dust and a youth emerged. Long, lanky, with dishevelled hair and dressed in dusty blue coveralls. The man got to his feet and Jake saw in his eyes the feral terror of hunted prey.

“Jake, man, am I glad to see you. Listen. You’ve got to help me.” The youth removed a half-smoked roll-up from behind his left ear and lit it with a shaking hand. “You know about that old stuff, right. You know, before the sun did its thing.”

Jake nodded slowly. “A little, sonny. I know a little.”

“You know about limpet beacons?”

“Not sure as I ever came across those particular things, meself.”

“Homing beacons? Magnetic attractors? Automatic argeting devices?” The youth’s voice rose in a pitch,and his words tumbled out.

“Slow down, sonny. What you on about?”.

“It’s this van. Four runs, I’ve been on. Four runs. And every single time I bring it you the underneath is shot to crap.”

“Every time?” said Jake, careful to keep the disbelief out of his voice.

The kid took a long drag on the rollup, then nodded. “Every time. They shoot from the front, they hit the bottom; they shoot from the sides, and the engine coughs smoke; they shoot from the back…” The kid reached up and pulled back the hair that flopped over his face to reveal red, puckered tissue that ran for six inches across his forehead.

“So I got to thinking, what if someone had found one of those things, like the used in the old wars to attract weapons. Something magnetic, or electrical, or magical, for Christ’s sake.” He exhaled, the smoke and water vapour in his breath condensing in the morning chill. “Maybe someone was out to kill me.”

“Kid,” said Jake.

“The name’s Josh. Josh Wang,”

“Josh, I’ll take a look, and I’ll fix ‘er up for ya, but I should warn you,” Jake shook his head, “I ain’t never heard of no limpet beacons in Evan.”


One Response to “Limpet beacons?”

  1. Nice throw back to a simpler time of autoduelling… :-)

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