As I was walked down the hallway to the elevator, a real working powered elevator, my mind raced to all the steps that had brought me to where I found myself that evening. I had truly thought I had been clever, worse I had been over confident. I was in a cold sweat at this point, uncertain what I could expect. Mercy? Did these people even remember the word anymore? Understanding? It certainly wasn’t written upon their faces. I had not listened to the warnings of others and heeded their reputation. Now I only had to wait and see what it cost me.

Three days before the longest elevator ride of my life I was back at Terry Fox. By this point every waking moment that we didn’t spend gathering supplies or killing off Zees within our territory was spent gazing at the information on the CVC. It was there, a stray comment from Pinkersnitch that drew ATCO ITek to my attention. I tapped the screen, wincing as it flickered and turned a shade of purple for a few seconds until Malkoris smacked the back of the monitor. He grumbled at me, “stop screwing with it, we traded our last spare screen with the Sharks.”

I nodded again, “I know. And we’re down on medical supplies as well as coffee. I have been watching people talk about these ATCO people. More than a few have been complaining about their raiding parties. Sounds like they have a small city at this point hold up in their safe house. We can probably get some decent items traded.”

Beebles was quick to point out the obvious flaw in my idea, “with what? We don’t have anything of value to trade back.” I grimaced in response answering, “Then perhaps I can find out what they are lacking and we can focus our scavenging on such?”

“You mean focus on the needs of another safe house so that they hopefully give us what we need rather than focus on our own needs?” Malkoris logic was sound but my temper was frayed at that point and I snarled back at the both of them, “we have already combed through everything in our territory. What is left is too infested for us to get the supplies. And frankly more allies won’t hurt us.”

Beebles voice was a whisper I barely caught, “unless they hurt us. We’re the little guys.” I felt safe ignoring her comment since it was clearly an internal thought spoken out loud. It took me another day to convince my adopted family that my idea was a good one to pursue. It took another half a day to talk them out of joining me and allowing me to head to ATCO on my own.

So it was that when I entered ATCO’s territory I traveled on my own, and my pack was already extremely light in supplies. I had managed to avoid most Zee encounters and upon entry to ATCO I found the territory was well patrolled. When I got near the office that they had taken and turned into a city base I entered a nearby building and climbed up onto the roof. From there I crawled to the edge and peeked down upon the entrance to see what I was facing. ATCO had fenced off all around their building where it was open to the street. They had two large tankers in front, one clearly marked fuel, the other water. There was a lineup of people from other safe houses entering and purchasing both forms of supplies from ATCO. As I watched, each person approaching had to surrender weapons and display some sort of ID before being permitted within the fence to make their purchases. I did not have such an ID badge but from my advantage point I saw a weakness in the fence, small enough for someone my size to take advantage of. I could see the snipers on the roof and the fence line was patrolled by men in riot gear armed with guns. They had everything but dogs.

My approach to the fence line took more time than I had wanted. There was a patrol on bikes to avoid, but I was able to mingle with the crowd in the line. A fight broke out down the line when someone turned Zee and attacked their fellow traveler. That crisis diverted further attention and allowed me to get close to the fence and then in. I had made it. Or I had trapped myself, at that point I wasn’t certain which. Making my way up to the front doors, I joined the line and was permitted inside with a group. The bored guard at the door seemed to assume I was travelling with their party.

Wonder of wonders, the bottom two floors of the office had been turned into a market. Maps displayed information and I got to see what ATCO had built within the building. After the markets several floors had been turned into housing, with a buffer floor between the market and housing to deaden the noise and provide a security zone. Following housing there was a military like complex and the top floors were council member quarters and meeting rooms. The roof of the building had a garden, having brought soil up to boxes on top. There were even ramps leading off the ATCO roof to several nearby buildings where additional gardens had been planted. Rain catchers on the roof helped provide the water for these gardens. ATCO wasn’t a safe house; it was a city the same way that Rite Aid wasn’t a group but a travelling camp. Both Houses near equal in strength but playing upon the abilities of their members to survive in this new world.

I heard the soft click and felt the barrel press to my ribs as a quiet voice spoke near my ear, “let’s keep this without making a scene. Head to the far wall, press the button for the elevator.” Too afraid to even see who was holding me captive I obeyed the orders and walked to the elevator. Once inside, I got a look at the man in the sharp suit with a winning smile and a glock. Drachen introduced himself before saying, “we have been watching you approach. It was very cute to see you duck and weave among the buildings.” I felt my face flush in embarrassment at my failure to remain stealthy. He laughed and not unkindly continued, “it was a good attempt, however our surveillance is by far better than your …. Ninja skills.” He winked and gestured with his gun towards the door as the elevator slide to a stop. The doors opened and I left to walk down the hall towards a conference room.

A gun shot sounded and I jumped in the air letting out a sharp scream. Drachen’s hand landed on my shoulder to hold me in place. We paused a moment before he muttered, “alright, keep going.”  At the end of the hallway I stepped into a conference room. There to greet me was another man in a suit, now cleaning a gun and a third holding a baseball bat. On the floor was a body. Not a Zee, and notably not rising back up like a Zee but a man dressed as ragged as me, a survivor. I stood there shaking as Drachen gestured to the other man in the suit, “Supremacy,” and to the man with the bat, “wiredl0ve, this is our unexpected guest.”

Supremacy glanced up at me before bring out a file folder on the conference room table. He flipped it open and read aloud, “Chyram of Terry Fox Elementary. Fellow safe house members, Beebles and Malkoris. Designated CVC level 5 Safe House.” His eyes looked up into mine as if asking if any of the details were wrong. I nodded my head in response and dare not speak. wiredl0ve’s voice had a slight accent I couldn’t place as he asked, “mind telling the representation of the Council of ATCO why it is that you felt the need to bypass our protocols?”

My eyes dropped to the carpet before quickly looking up at the men, though not quick enough to miss the spreading of blood from the body beside me. “I don’t have anything to trade. I just came to scout to …” my voice died hearing all of Malk’s and Bee’s objections to my having come here in the first place. Supremacy nodded his head once before scribbling some notes into my file. “I would suggest we put her in on the green card, level three. Not to pass the militarized zone of course.”

Drachen, whose hand had not left my shoulder, spoke up in an amused tone, “I agree. This mouse is hardly a threat, and they are spread out far enough we might get some use out of them. Not enough to actually raid of course.” wiredl0ve merely grunted his agreement before giving the body on the floor a small tap with the toe of his boot.

“What did he do or not do that I didn’t do or did do?” I wasn’t even certain I was making sense at this point. wirel0ve however seemed to take enough pity on me to answer my question, “what this meat? He’s a spy. Was a spy, from the Green Zone. They don’t like that we’re rebuilding out here.”

Supremacy spoke without looking up from the paperwork, “just because society has fallen apart is no reason that we need to. We’re all civilized here, aren’t we?” I could hardly disagree with that thought despite the dead body at my feet. After all there isn’t a survivor alive on this side of the wall that does not resent and feel betrayed by the Green Zone. “There finished. Don’t lose this card. Also if your other members come in your stead they must bring this card with them, or go through the proper paperwork at the gate.” I took the card from his hand and slipped it into my pocket. Looking at the men, I sought confirmation that I was permitted to leave before turning for the door. I had just opened it when Drachen’s voice spoke behind me, “hey Mouse, remember next time use the front door and knock.” I nodded quickly without turning around and headed down the hallway.

When the elevator doors opened up I nearly bumped into a man leaving dressed in leathers. He had a bag in his hand that smelled rank. I heard one of the men down the hall call out, “sLicKtOShOtTa, here to collect on your bounty then?” Quickly slipping around him to enter the elevator I reflected that the bounty hunter didn’t give me as much as a second glance before heading down the hall with his grizzly collection to be paid. If I felt small before, it was only reaffirmed then.

When the elevator doors opened for the second time however I was greeted with a sight that nearly caused me to burst into tears of relief. Strange as it was to see their ghoulish faces, Lamaoh, ossea, frostcroft, Andigator and carlagsuperstar were standing there grinning. They rushed forward as I stepped out of the elevator to surround me and hug me. From them I learned that ATCO had assessed my threat by speaking with Rite Aid, and that the Raiders had vouched for my reputation. The girls gently rushed me off from the elevator and towards the market food stalls for a day of shopping. This whole event, the return to shopping in a mall like atmosphere with a group of giggling girls was a strange parody of the past and very comforting.

 

  • Safe House: ATCO Itek
  • CVC Level: 8
  • Current Recorded Members: 126
  • Overall Opinion:You don’t get and keep the top slot by being nice to everyone all the time. It’s not surprising that I have heard complaints about ATCO, as I have with Rite Aid, indeed most of the top five Safe Houses. However, I have my own personal experience to go on, and that is what I’ll express. Members have either ignored me, or been gracious with me. And that’s not a complaint! I would much rather be ignored than treated abusively if I have annoyed someone (and I know I’ve picked on some of them in Global Chat) or if someone doesn’t want to use the game in a social manner.  Those who choose to speak with me are friendly and I have been welcome on their forums in the guest section. They have provided a fair amount of tips on their message board however I would rank their tips second to Rite Aid at this time. I do find their forums a bit messy to try to sort through, and the turnaround for response can be slower than Rite Aid, however, they have given me feedback in areas that Rite Aid did not so patience with their message board can truly pay off. My interaction with them has been limited to Global Chat, whispers and their forums at this time. From what I have seen they eagerly support and defend one another as well as their reputation. Notably there is a section that appears to be a “hit list” of players to avenge against which is not open to public eyes.At the same time there are elements within the Safe House that have pride in having “the most banned and most muted members.” It is rumored that many who have spent a fair amount of real money in the game have invested into ATCO and there is a voice of authority that results when they speak, deserved or not.  That is from the passion of feeling ownership in the game, and a true interest to see it continue in a manner that they enjoy. I appreciate this fact because without such players supporting, and sometimes pushing developers, the game can be lost. Softer casual player voices do not always promote change. I am touched that recently my site has been added as a Friendly Safehouse to their website and appreciate the support!
  • Communication: Palringo Room (Contact within CVC or Forums for exact location), Safe House chat, CVC Global Chat for Safe House invites (1/2 fees when invited), Please Stay Calm Forums, ATCO Website
Comments
  1. Ryatt Nicklen says:

    i found this very entertaining and well written, i love that ATCO Itek is more city than safehouse. looking forward to seeing more from you.

    • chyrampsc says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this portion of the story. I felt that making ATCO city like was a good way to honor their number one slot and celebrate the achievement with them. I hope that you continue to enjoy what I present and look forward to any future feedback from you. 🙂

  2. wiredl0ve says:

    Thanks Chyram, I enjoyed the article.

    Sorry for the delays in responding on the forums, there’s a lot of other things going on in the boardroom that you don’t see – away from the prying eyes. 😉 Hopefully there will be more tips and hints on our site, it’s fairly new. We tend to want to play the game than write about it and I don’t try and push our members to write. 😀

    It’s unfortunate that you didn’t get to meet PBone, 6REAP or the many other fantastic players in your visits.

    Look forward to reading more.

    ~wiredl0ve

    • chyrampsc says:

      I’ve had the chance to watch the comments of PBone and 6PEAP as well as others in Global Chat and exchange comments with them in casual conversation. I’ve found so many of your members to be friendly that it’s often hard to narrow down a few names to use in a story. You three who have talking parts were picked mostly because you have responded to me in the forums and I’ve appreciated the help and encouragement you’ve given me.

      I’m looking forward to watching how your website continues to develop. I can see it’s a work in progress and don’t blame the majority for wanting to play the game and not build a site. It takes those with a bit of an obsessive nature (like me) to go to that length. 😉

      I hope as the story continues to change and shape to introduce more members in connection to both your House and the Terry Fox lore.

  3. Supremacy says:

    I agree with Ryatt, well written and very entertaining. You truly have a very remarkable talent in visual writing… Keep up the good work!

  4. bong says:

    Great article! I was telling everyone in our safe house chat about it and everyone got a kick out of it. Looking forward to future ones!

  5. Tenda foot says:

    Loved this safe. Best training one could ever receive. I was sad my vacation became a permanent. ATCO Itek truelly has and makes some of the best players in the game. Thanks guys for all you have done for me and the game in general. Also Chyram the image you paint of ATCO has to be one of the truest and insightful that can be painted. I love this blog 😀

    • chyrampsc says:

      Thank you Tenda. To hear the opinion of one who was within the inner ranks, the SH chat, that feels I represented the SH well makes me happy. 🙂 I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the blog!

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