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The Watch is Over
Author Bass
Participants Bass, Tala, Cassidy Sharp, Clay Cartwright
IC Date: 20 October 1878
RL Date: 20 October 2016
Story Arc
Location Colorado

A black rain fell on blasted desert, nourishing the few twisted, stunted trees that grew near the tracks. Thunder snarled irritably in the grim, lightless sky above, warring for attention with the train howling through the wastes. The enormous skull leering from the front of the engine lit the tracks ahead with sickly yellow lights pouring from its eyes. The conductor spit tobacco juice across the floor as he reached a black-gloved hand toward a speaking tube, rasping into it, "Nearin' the border, Commander. No incidents."

His voice bounced down a pipe before issuing into a sparse room a few cars down, no carpeting or upholstery sparing its inhabitants from the hewn metal of the furnishings. Two long benches down either side bordered a map-laden table and showed clear deference to a high-backed chair adorned with a grim logo: a skull mounted on a five-pointed star, itself mounted on a circle, all uncompromising silvery metal. More spikes curled back from the chair and its arms.

Four people lounged in here. On one bench sat a rail-thin hawk-faced man with the long grey hair and beard of an old west aristocrat, nervously fiddling with the scythe-like head of his cane. On the other, a grouchy native American woman lying back, using a jacket as a pillow, fiddling with the feathers hanging from her hair. To the side of the chair floated the morose-looking ghost of a woman with shoulder-length hair, smoky wisps drifting out of her neck. In the chair itself was a nondescript man, head slumped forward, white-gloved hands resting on the arms. Blood stained his hands, dripping from his fingertips, running down the metal.

All four of them wore a similar outfit, all black leather and metal, bandoleers and holsters, wide-brimmed hats for the men. Every one of them wore the skull-and-star badge.

The three of them glanced toward the speaking horn when the message came out, but not the man in the chair. He just yawned, interlinked his fingers, and stretched them in front of him. Blood spattered the maps, but nobody thought it wise to call him on it. He looked around, just coming out of a nap, blinking blood-red eyes. "Fuck. What'd we just kill again?"

The ghost responded glumly: "Werewolves by the Sutter farm. Pack of ten."

"Boring, no wonder I fell asleep. How long ago was that headless horseman?"

"Two months ago."

The Commander punched down on the chair arm, denting the metal. "Man!" The older man jumped and leaned away. "Stop being a bitch, Clay." The Commander shook a bloody finger at him. "I told you I'd let you keep rolling on the condition you stopped being a bitch."

Clay coughed into his fist. "Yes sir, of course sir. I reckon it's just a temporary relapse of... 'bitch.'"

The native woman spoke up, shifting to her side. "I thought you would be happier, Commander. You've accomplished everything you ever wanted. You're running the organization. You've freed the West from the Curse. You've /won/!"

The Commander stopped dead in his tracks. He reached up and pinched the brim of his hat, tipping it down, hiding his eyes, standing silently for a moment, ignoring the bouncing of the tracks. A grin slowly spread across his face, a shark's smile, pointed canines gleaming. "Yeah, no, you nailed it. That's the problem. I beat this place. It's fuckin' done."

He yanked the badge off his chest, causing everyone to start, and tossed it haphazardly on the table. "See ya, losers! Have a blast!"

The ghost tried to grab his shoulder, but passed straight through. "Wait... who... you can't be serious, after all this, you're just gonna go? Who's going to /lead Darkwatch?/"

The ex-Commander kept walking, rubbing his hands together, wiping them across his face. The blood left two streaks travelling down from his eyes, vanishing to either side of his cowl. "Ain't give a shit. Figure it out." There was a beat of dead silence until everyone started talking at once. The man ignored them all as the talking became shouting, pulling the heavy metal door between train cars open with one hand, stepping through, and hurling himself off the moving locomotive.

He landed dead on the wet sand, the momentum from the train's speed simply going away, the wind of its passing throwing his bullet-ridden coat about his body. The black rain washed the blood away from his face, revealing the natural purple streaks in his skin. He slapped at his coat, pulling ammo and sticks of dynamite from his pockets, tossing them all aside until he withdrew an odd, circular device, snapping it open. A W logo within began to spin within. Lightning cracked overhead.

Bass lifted the device to his mouth. "Old Man. HEY. OLD MAN. I'm done here."

He clicked it closed, folded his arms, and waited.