Lamenting City: Pathfinders

This lore post was voted on in a poll on my Patreon earlier this month (not much of a competition, given there was… only one voter), so I spent the days after in a pandemic brain haze trying to decide what it should be about, since I’ve got several Topics.

So I’ve decided to talk about something that isn’t relevant to the story yet and won’t be for awhile. So, uh, here’s a sign of things to come, probably.

Anyway.

Pathfinders are mech pilots for whom combat isn’t the exact focus of their mission, but the mechs they use for this can range from models specifically designed for pathfinding to regular combat models. It pretty much depends on which pilots are around and what mechs they have.

The pathfinder’s job during the war was to travel the deadscapes of Earth, mapping out where cities were and if they were sanctuaries, ruins, or soon to be ruins. Sometimes it’s a single pilot, other times it’s multiple, but the max size of pathfinder groups is usually five.

After the war, pathfinding became, for all intents and purposes, the default job of the remaining mech pilots, connecting what remained of Earth’s cities together on quickly drawn maps to regain some semblance of order.

When cities were built within massive spaceships and sent to Mars, pathfinding once more found new life. The ships didn’t all land where they had planned to, some scattered across the planet and outside of the reach of the others. Some, for all those of the other cities know, smashed into the planet’s surface, their ruins strewn across the red expanse.

Both on Earth and on Mars, pathfinders risk finding nothing, and even worse, they risk being unable to find their way back home. For Earth pathfinders, it’s a risk they are given no say in taking. For Martian pathfinders, it’s one that they feel they have to take, for the sake of themselves and the people around them.

Besides enemy patrols, Earth pathfinders face danger if the forms of possible deadwalkers (though while many mech pilots of all kinds claim to have seen a deadwalker, most sightings are considered unverified) and the earth itself, as earthquakes and catastrophic weather persist as they always have.

The unforgiving terrain of Mars poses a risk to its pathfinders, as sandstorms are said to have buried some who never returned, and others froze in the harsh cold.

Some pathfinders even claim to have seen strange, large silhouettes of unknown entities roaming across the red dust within the darkness of night… but who can really say if that’s true?

Earth pathfinders can have varied opinions on the job. Maybe they see glory in it. Perhaps they’d rather not be a potential accessory to destruction. Others prefer the perceived solitude of it.

Martian pathfinders are generally of the same mind: they must connect the cities together and make humankind whole once more.

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