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    Drifting has accompanying fiction that players can use to get in touch with the people and places they will encounter game or just generally enjoy to pass time. It is also used to help me, the author, evaluate things that should be put into the game.


  1. 1 Wardens


    I woke up as if it were any other day, but this day was anything but normal. We were being visited by a Warden today, which normally isn't such a big deal. Except we have a mine now. You see, the Wardens "offer peace and protection" to Pearlstone, if by peace and protection you're willing to settle for being extorted from. They've officially claimed all the lands and resources of Pearlstone as their own. Not that there's much to claim- whole planet's got no more than ten thousand people, and though there's plants all over the place they've all taken up the soil's lead. It blows in the dust, too. Breathe it in, and your kidneys fail, your limbs grow weak, and you start having all sorts of trouble. Wear a mask and eat only the blooming parts of plants and you're fine, but we don't all have that luxury all the time, and even then the dust can get on the food or sit on your skin or permeate your mask. People look at me weird- I'm an offworlder. I chose this place, and they don't know why.

    But back to the Warden. He marched into town with some buddies. Mark at the "bar", if it could be called that, asked for some people to come by and provide deterrence should he try to do anything funny, so I was there when he walked in. Warden Levi and I go back for years, not exactly as friends. He shot me a glare like he knew I was up to something; and I was. His friends were more amicable, the Wardens are funny that way; some are just plain old bandits in disguise, others actually care. Levi didn't, the others did, but I'm not giving them anything anyway. I went to talk to Levi, distract him from stuff. He'd noticed tracks out to the country on the way in. Towards Old Grayson's farm. Towards the mine. He suggested we walk in that direction. I suggested we didn't. He grinned and put his arm across my shoulder like an old friend, as enemies often do when they think they've bested their foe. He told me how he saw that we wanted to hide something from him. I grudgingly walked, putting on my dust mask with religious fervor. Levi left his off.

    We were about a kilometer out of town, still within sight range, when my Geiger counter started ticking. Levi looked nervous and asked me what happened. I just grinned under my mask and told him there were smugglers through a while back. Crashed bad, left fallout in their wake. Comes much closer to the town, we may have to move. Not that we'd likely live old enough for it to matter. We continued and the counter began to speed up. Levi turned and walked away, and I suppressed a fit of laughter. Warden had a counter himself, never bothered to consult it. Mine was a fake. Old trick I'd learned in the war.

    See, I come from Calm. About as old as Darian, and I served in his army soon as it rolled by. Been an old-timer for quite some while. During the war, I was considered an excellent scout. Enemy patrol jumped us one evening, shot everyone but me. Didn't know where our camp was. I'd been issued a Geiger counter a couple days after I'd joined up, just in case something bad should happen, but I'd been tinkering with it. Set it to detect radio signals and how far away they were. Not perfect, and pretty useless, but helped me find my way back to base after I'd gotten lost once. Wasn't even a Geiger counter any more, just a radio with a signal analysis kit. Couldn't pick up what was being said, but let me find stuff. Tuned it to our own frequency. In the morning, my captors asked me where the base was. Said I'd lead them to it. Turned on the radio, led them towards it. Secret was pretending to be a little uneasy. They never found that base, they chickened out behind the other side of a ridge. One of them shot me, left me to die. Got me a nice limp, but survived.

    Warden Levi left that evening, pitying us and our dilemma. I turned off the antenna at the entrance to the mine. Didn't need it any longer. Went to say goodbye, but he was already gone. I didn't mind.