Old Gods of Appalachia

In the mountains of central Appalachia, blood runs as deep as these hollers and just as dark. Since before our kind knew these hills, hearts of unknowable hunger and madness have slumbered beneath them. These are the darkest mountains in the world. How dare we think we can break the skin of a god and dig out its heart without bringing forth blood and darkness? Old Gods of Appalachia is a horror-anthology podcast set in the shadows of an Alternate Appalachia, a place where digging too deep into the mines was just the first mistake.

To learn more about Old Gods of Appalachia, visit our website at www.oldgodsofappalachia.com, and be sure to complete your social media ritual and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @oldgodsofappalachia, or Twitter and Tumblr @oldgodspod. If you'd like to support the show, you can join or Patreon at www.patreon.com/oldgodsofappalachia, or support us on Acast at supporter.acast.com/old-gods-of-appalachia. You can also find t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and other Old Gods merch in our shop at www.teepublic.com/stores/oldgodsofappalachia.

Old Gods of Appalachia is a production of DeepNerd Media and is distributed by Rusty Quill. All rights reserved.

Get Build Mama a Coffin, Black Mouthed Dog and other exclusive content on Patreon!Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/old-gods-of-appalachia.

For Your Consideration, Kaiju: Battlefield Surgeon

October 30, 2022

Listen

Description

For your consideration, family, we present the first two chapters from our friends at Kaiju: Battlefield Surgeon.

An artist, still broken from a horrific family tragedy, takes on a commission that seems too good to be true: $15,000 to paint a mural. But there’s a catch. He has to first enter the deep-dive, VR videogame, Kaiju: Battlefield Surgeon in order to see what the client wants him to paint.

Trapped in a bloody, merciless nightmare, Duke only has one goal — to survive. And in order to survive, he must play the game. He must win the game. And to do that, he must become the most cruel, most ruthless monster of them all.

To continue listening to Kaiju Battlefield Surgeon and check out some of the other immersive serials by soundboththeater, visit soundbooththeater.com and click on the Series page. Or click this link: https://soundbooththeater.com/series/kaiju-battlefield-surgeon/

Get Build Mama a Coffin, Black Mouthed Dog and other exclusive content on Patreon!Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/old-gods-of-appalachia.

Transcript

Rusty Quill presents Well, hey there family. Steve Shell from Old Gods of Appalachia here to tell you about a brand new audio experience that has come across our horizon.

I'm talking about Kaju Battlefield Surgeon. Duke is an artist still broken from a horrific family tragedy.

So he takes on a commission that seems too good to be true, $15,000 to paint a mural.

But of course there's a catch. He first has to enter the deep dive VR video game Kaju Battlefield Surgeon in order to see what the client wants him to paint.

Trapped in a bloody merciless nightmare, Duke only has one goal. To survive.

And in order to survive, he must play the game. He must win the game. And to do that he must become the most cruel, most ruthless monster of them all.

Kaju Battlefield Surgeon comes to us from Matt Deniment and the Good Folks over at Soundbooth Theater.

You can check out everything they have to offer over at soundbooththeater.com and via the SBT Direct app.

First episode is free. Now without further ado family, let me give you a little taste of Kaju Battlefield Surgeon.

The first episode is free. Now without further ado family, let's get started.

Hi, all art is 100% human created, interior or exterior. Please see attached portfolio for a few samples. Low prices, willing to travel all over the Puget Sound.

Email Duke for more info. Do not contact me with unsolicited services or offers.

Duke, hello. I have a loft space in Capitol Hill. I am seeking an artist to make a mural. It is a large brick wall.

Do have a phone number so we can discuss this further. A. E.

Part 1. Bast. Chapter 1.

I should have known there was something wrong with the dude. He had been too eager to get me up into his apartment. He had a way about him, you know.

Twitchy, nervous. He didn't look you in the eye. He wore one of those fancy watches, an old school gold Rolex, I think.

Looking back, I think that's why I followed him to his place. He had money, and I did not.

We'd met at a Starbucks just outside his building. I'd ordered an Americano, black, extra hot.

He dithered looking over the menu, like this was his first time. He settled on an iced coffee.

It was the first week of February, and it had been slush raining for two weeks straight.

An iced coffee. Should have known right then and there to stay away.

Hey, good to meet you. My name is Anatoli. You too. I'm Duke.

So, I really dig your stuff. I was particularly interested in the Revenant mural from your ad. You're a good artist.

It was really bloody and realistic. Thanks, I did it for a haunted house thing last year.

So, is that what you're looking for? Something undead?

No, well, no, exactly. Are you familiar with Kaiju Battlefield Certain?

The VR? I've never played it, but I've seen some of the gameplay. It's survival horror, right?

Like, you're a dude running around the feet of giant monsters while they fight other monsters. Exactly.

Anyway, I was hoping to paint a scene from my home base on the wall.

I want to make my apartment look a little more like what I have in the game.

Sure. Do you have a screenshot I can look at?

No. A screenshot won't really work. It's kind of hard to explain. It's better if I just show you.

I have a rig in my apartment. It's in Bast. My home base, I mean, you'll have to jack in to get a look.

The game will let me log in as your character? Is that because it's single player?

No, unfortunately, you'll have to roll a new player. Don't worry. I'll get you in and get you there to my base so you can eyeball it.

We can walk to the portal and teleport right there. The whole thing will take about 10 or 15 minutes the first time, but once you're there, I'll get you a brand and you'll be able to log in and out at will to get a look.

Okay, I guess. Also, the game is single player, but there's also a co-op mode. You can have up to 22 players.

I run a private server and there are a few other players who regularly log into it. We each have our own base of operations.

This guy, this fucking guy, Anatoly, the whole time he didn't look up from the table. He put his coffee down and started furiously itching at the back of his left hand like a damn maniac.

Run, every instinct told me. This guy's bad news.

Uh, is 15 okay for the mural? I don't know how long this is supposed to take. Why don't you follow me up and we can take a look. It's just right there.

15? $15? No, no, 15,000.

You can do that if you recognize it. You can know the exact instant your life is about to change. We all look back at our memories, pick out individual instances, realize them as turning points, places where our paths diverge, moments where everything changes.

But we don't always recognize the moment as it happens in real time. This was an exception. $15,000. Not an earth-shattering amount of money. For this city, it was pocket change to many of the pricks coming and going as we sat there awkwardly facing each other.

But for Mary and me, it would be everything. It was a miracle. A god-damned miracle. I should have seen it. It's obvious when you look at it. That amount was too much, too convenient, too close to the exact amount of money we needed.

You can do that, too. You can look back upon yourself, replay moments in your mind, wonder how you could be such a fool. So naive.

Where's your apartment again?

Wow. Would you look at this place?

So, I have the whole top floor. The bottom floor is about to be renovated into some cafe or something. I'm not sure. My father runs all that. We are renovating the other floors, too, splitting them into apartments.

If you're looking for a place in Capp Hill, we can give you a deal. I wouldn't be able to afford a closet in this neighborhood.

I gotta tell you, man, this is not what I expected. Is that... is that a man, eh? Like a real one? My father is an art collector. This place is crazy. It's huge.

Look at the patina on this brick. So, that's the wall. I measured it the other day. It's 30 feet long, 10 feet high. All brick, as you can see.

Fuck.

This is what you want me to paint? This wall?

Uh, yes.

That is a beautiful wall. I could probably do some awesome work on it. But I gotta tell you, man, I just don't see it.

You want a mural on that? Maybe I can do an old-school, industrial-style sign. Make it look faded and antique. Maybe something from the end of the Victorian era to go with your decor.

But what you're asking just doesn't make sense. It's brick. Something too photorealistic is going to look odd.

I figured you'd say something like that. Look, I know it seems incompatible with the rest of the apartment, but you really got to see what I want wrong. It'll make sense when you see it.

$15,000.

Alright, let's see what you're talking about. Great! I have a pair of VR rigs over here by my bed. Let's get you jacked in.

Chapter 2.

Yes, slide right in like that. It's like a bed. All I have is the VR helmet at home. This will be unlike anything you've ever experienced. No cables? It's all wireless.

Some of the new rigs have the PC built into them, but I find the wireless to my own custom-built farm is a way better connection.

I had to pull an emergency eject the other day, and it felt like a regular logout. It's pretty sweet. Wow.

What do you have, two rigs? I actually have four of them. The other two are in the server room behind this wall. I don't personally game in there because I keep the room cold.

I like to tinker with and modify rigs, so I always have backups.

Okay, so relax for a minute, and I'll load up the game. The system isn't going to recognize you, and you'll have to roll a new character.

It'll take about 10 minutes. Pick whatever you want, except maybe a moleman. They have limited eyesight, and you'll need to see.

Also, maybe stay away from a crusher class, or anything that seems like it might be strength-based. They have shitty dexterity for what you'll be doing.

I'm just looking, right? Yeah, but you might have to crawl around to see it better. Once you enter the game, I'll find you. If we miss each other, just stay put.

There probably won't be too many people except NPCs. We're at the end of the season, so don't wander out of town.

What are you going to look like? My player name is Anatoly, and I'm a human bonesaw. You can't miss me. I'll be the only human with the player tag. If you see any other players, don't talk to them.

Okay, but how are we?

Loading. Welcome. Searching. Player unknown. Are you a new character? You may vocalize your response.

Whoa. Uh, yes. Welcome, new player. You may exit at any time by saying, quit game, two times in a row, or by logging out in the player menu.

Warning. This is a development build of Kaiju Battlefield Surgeon. Some features may not work as expected. Gameplay may vary from the commercial release. Proceed at your own risk. Loading.

Look at that sky. It's so blue. No seams. Christ. I thought this was an old game. What the? Oh shit. This is crazy.

We all knew this day would come. For centuries, the Guardians stood watch over the realm, protecting Medina from the gates of hell. For centuries, the demons trapped within their bitter dimension have yearned for escape. And on this day, they have finally broken free.

Whoa. The Guardians were placed in this realm as a stopgap to protect the heavens from the inevitable onslaught. The cities and towns of this world have all been abandoned, left to rot. All the remaining humans fled the walled stronghold of Medina, where they live in constant fear that this day may come.

Look. The demons attack Bast, the great protector of humans. The lion Kaiju has been swarmed and overrun. He is gravely injured.

The Kaiju is just ahead. Approach him. Holy crap. That thing is huge. I gotta get a copy of this game. The demons have once again been beaten back. Guardian Bast is injured. You are the last remaining.

Son or daughter? What? You have entered character creation mode. Son or daughter?

Son. Your name? We'll go with Duke. You, Duke, are the last remaining son of an ancient order of healers who have been tasked with the frontline care of the Guardians. While the arcane creatures are immortal, they are not invulnerable.

It is the duty of your order to brave the battlefields and administer field medicine to the injured Guardians. Without your administrations, the beasts will surely succumb to the demons of Hell.

A millennia ago, entire clans of humans supported a single Guardian, but after the false peace, years, then decades, then centuries passed. The clans faded, and the ancient art of Guardian support was forgotten by all but a few stalwart humans who kept the old traditions alive.

The years of dedication to a single Guardian, however, had permanent, lasting effects on the humans who were charged with that particular Guardian's care. As a result, 22 distinct races of people have evolved. You are...

...Juice, your race. Warning. This server is in co-op mode, and only one registered player of each race is allowed per season. There are 22 total races. Please make a selection.

Huh. Cool. Human. Not available. Lichen. Not available. Fei. Not available. Mender. Not available. Brownie. Not available.

Shit. What is available? Uh, show me what I can pick. Davion. Available. Moleman. Available. Groundling. Available. Worm Surgeon. Available.

Okay. What are these things? Moleman. He told me not to pick the dwarf guy. This fish guy is weird. Wait, these groundling guys are weird. No necks. How do they turn their heads? He doesn't look comfortable.

Hello. What's this? Worm Surgeon. Wow. It's like a zombie. Cool. Alrighty. Worm Surgeon it is. Hope you're not too difficult of a character to use.

You are a worm surgeon. For centuries, your people have been shunned by the others. In only recent years have your kind been allowed back within the walls of Medina.

Your ancestors served the outcast guardian, the Shrill, a former demon who turned its back on the Princes of Hell. Using resurrection magics, your people healed your kaiju by siphoning away the lifeblood of others.

Your expert knowledge of parasites and infestations, plus your ability to survive and see within toxic environments, makes you especially suitable for deep dive medicine.

However, while you are physically strong and agile, your lifeblood is constantly taking away. You must kill to survive, and for that reason, you are not trusted by the others.

Jesus. My health is always dropping away. I should have picked the fish, dude. While your elders taught you some of the healing arts, you spend your days working as a... pick a class.

What the hell? There's like 40 pages of choices. Good thing I'm not really playing this game. I'd spend all my time reading this stuff. Hmm. That looks like a good choice.

You spend your days as an arson, decorating the clay pots your family makes and sells at the market. It was on this day that you were outside of town, delivering your wares when the attack came.

A cart has appeared next to you on the field, and it is filled with your family's wares. And this is your mount.

Level 3 Nightcrawler. Mount.

This extra-large earthworm is your family's only means of transportation. Without this worm, you can't bring your artwork to the market. His name is Wormy.

Wormy? Really? Ugh. Gross. Is this thing made out of snot?

You are alone on the battlefield. Guardian Bast is injured. Approach the beast and administer care.

Administer care? When am I supposed to do that? This thing is the size of a shopping mall.

Approach the injured, Kaiju.

Alright. Come on, Wormy. Let's get this over with.

How you doing up there, buddy?

Man, they did a number on you. Look at all those cuts.

Most of the guardians heal physical wounds rapidly and on their own. As a result, the demons have found alternative methods of battling the guardians.

What is that?

The demons have infested the interior of the Kaiju. They have become parasites. Be careful. They can rip out of the body and attack you directly.

Holy shit! Wormy, watch! Out!

There are six schools of magic in this realm. They are Earth, Technology, Wind, Celestial, Resurrection, and Steam.

As a worm surgeon, you draw exclusively from the School of Resurrection. Today, you must administer a simple antiparasitic.

Resurrection spells require souls to power them. The more recently deceased, the more powerful.

Luckily for you, you have a nearby source of soul power. The now deceased, Wormy.

Ah, poor Wormy. Hover your hand over the corpse to draw out the soul power.

Soul power collected.

Whoa. That feels weird. I get it. I get mana points by collecting it from corpses.

Now, using your soul power, administer the antiparasitic. You must physically touch the blood supply of guardian vast to administer this medicine.

Luckily, in this case, the open wound before you gives you access.

Okay.

Available talents.

Administer antiparasitic. Level one. Cotterize wound. Level one. You have chosen antiparasitic.

Good job. The medicine takes some time to work, but that should be enough. As the days progress, you will be required to perform more and more complicated healings and surgeries.

You will be in constant danger from both the invading demons and their guardians themselves.

And sometimes...

Holy shit!

Even the parasites themselves will fight back.

What the hell? Get away from me!

Aaaaaaah!

Real pain. Not just the muffled, barely perceptible tingle of a regular VR rig's hidden Decatur. This was the real deal. I'd never felt anything like it. Not physically at least. It made me think of that day. Of my wife, Mary, falling to her knees.

This is too much. This is too much.

What the fuck? What the actual- fuck!

Welcome, surgeon. Welcome to all the wet gates of hell. Loading.

Screw this. Quit game. Quit game. Quit game, quit game.

Okay, emergency eject. This is gonna hurt, but not as much as that. How does it go again? Blink, blink, blink. Hold eyes closed for five seconds.

Blink, blink, blink. Okay, here we go.

Loading. Load. Complete.

Thank you for watching.

Thank you for watching.