Garth swept his gaze over the stunned crowd. “Nobody? Okay, you don’t need to actually raise your hands. If you’re cruising for a cervical bruising, when they send you back, go to Earth outpost three thousand five hundred and seventeen, that’s three five one seven, ask for Brian the minotaur. He’s a pretty nice guy, real down to earth, has a six pack, his own business, a house safely inside the city walls, and a cock like this.”
Garth held his arms apart for emphasis. “Lightweights need not apply, ‘less you’ve got a death wish. I dunno, might be squishy like Ron Jeremy’s, but I ain’t gonna find out for you.”
There was a smattering of chuckles, a bit of nervous laughter. Well, at least he did right by Brian. Maybe something would come of it, who knew. He made sure to point out Brian had a nice safe place to live and a stable income. People probably found that pretty damn attractive right now.
“What the hell is this?” Tyler demanded from the back of the stage. “We have to listen to this bullshit?”
“We had to listen to your bullshit about being the kings of the south and getting all the pussy and coke therin.” Leanne said, rolling her eyes.
“That’s right,” Kenra said. “Each of you is allotted five minutes of uninterrupted time to make a case for yourself as a leader.”
“Uninterrupted?” Garth asked, glancing over his shoulder at Kenra, who nodded.
“Cool.” Garth turned back to the audience of bedraggled humans, scanning the sea of faces as he organized his thoughts. He had a bigger goal than appealing to a couple thousand people, and this seemed like as good a time as any to get started on it.
“Alright, listen up, I’m gonna talk fast because five minutes isn’t a lot of time to cover everything I wanna get done today. This,” he said, pulling a Mythic Core out of his Status band. “Is a Mythic Core. They’re basically priceless, and the five million credit bounty for them is chump change. These things generate massive amounts of power and last indefinitely, as far as I know. If you get one, hold on to that sucker. These are the entire reason the Inner Spheres give one iota of a crap about us. Don’t trade it for a blanket and a place to sleep, keep it on Earth. Spread the word. Don’t be jackasses and kill people trying to steal them from each other either, we need to have the human population bounce back as quick as possible, so we don’t have time for that.”
“That being said, you might be wondering how to spread the word, how to get into contact with friends and loved ones that were across the country when the shit hit the fan. I’ve got you covered. The Inner sphere Postal Service is located in the government building about a block away from the Gate in each outpost. Outposts are all built the same, so once you find one, you’ve got a good idea where to find the others. To send a letter, write the name of the person you’re trying to get into contact with on the address. Luckily for us, the letters are magical, and can read who you intend to send it to and pinpoint that person anywhere in the multiverse; pretty cool tech. They also have a catalogue of services to get into contact with on request, including lawyer services, citizenship advocates and land claims associates. Don’t come crying to me when a guy waves a piece of paper in your face and tells you you don’t own your land; he does. Give them about five credits for postage, fifty for inter-reality mail. The standard package is a tube a little smaller than my forearm. Be sure to add a few credits and opt for return service if you’re not sure if the people in question are anywhere near an outpost, like relatives potentially hiding in caves or abandoned buildings.”
“You mean you could have found out whether mom and dad were alive this whole time!?” Jim demanded from the row of leading apostles.
“Please save any questions for the end of the demonstration, thank you.” Garth said, giving Jim the finger.
“You may have noticed a few people wearing these shiny gizmos.” He raised his left arm to show them his Status band. “These fancier ones have a connection to something called the Ethernet. It’s a bit like the internet was back in the mid nineties, if any of you were around for that.” Garth pointed at a man about the same age as him in thick leather armor. “This dude knows what I’m talking about. Anybody with one of these can send free mental letters to and from anybody else with an ethernet connection, along with pictures and scanned documents with the right equipment. There’s no games, but I think we can all agree that there’s more important things at stake here.”
There was another light chuckle, but people were paying close attention to his words. Any of them smarter than a shit-flinger like Tyler understood that he was spelling out the way to work the new system rather than being trampled by it.
“Build a network. Get in contact with other humans across the globe, make an infrastructure. Help each other out.” He paused a moment to let that sink in. The quicker he could restablish communication across the planet, the better.
“That being said, some of you might not have enough money to buy your own fancy Ethernet capable status bands, so I’m gonna front the bill here.”
Garth held his hand to his Status Band and drew out a thick stack of thousand credit coins. He glanced over the crowd, and chewed on the problem of how he was going to distribute so much money evenly in another two minutes.
“Leanne, would you mind?” Garth asked, glancing over his shoulder.
“Twenty upfront!” Leanne barked, and twenty men and women stepped smoothly forward. Garth still didn’t know exactly how her ability worked, but it was coming in handy right here.
“Hand those out,” Garth murmured, handing each of the twenty a big stack of thousand credit coins. Ouch. This was going to Destroy his bank account, but the payoff was worth it. “Come back when you run out.”
“There’s enough money there to get three primo Status Bands, and a little more for mail besides, if you want to establish a line of communication with your families.” Garth said, sitting on the edge of the stage and passing out money. If it worked for Oprah, it could work for him.
“Hi Doug.” Garth said intimately into the microphone as Doug walked by, shaking his head as he received a fist-sized stack of coins. “Good to see you’re alive.”
He turned his attention back to the audience.
“Once you get access to the Ethernet, you can get into contact with me or any of these other fine specimens,” Garth said, waving to the people behind him.
“If you’re looking for more ways to use those Status Bands, I’m looking to outsource some work, so if you need some easy cash, send me a letter with your name and your country of residence and I’ll send you a list with plants I’m looking for in your area. If you live in South America, the Congo, or Australia, you can bet your sweet ass there’s plants I want from there. Each one you send me via messenger service will get you five to ten thousand credits per sample. This is on a first-come, first-served basis, since I only need one of each kind. My name is Garth Daniels, just think of my handsome mug when you’re writing your letter and it’ll make it.”
“As an apostle of Beladia, there’s one thing I can offer you that the rest of these people can’t: A life. I can feed you. I can pay you. I can feed your family, I can house you, I can clothe you. I can give you a place to sleep, and a job. Safety. But I can’t do it all alone. I’ve reached a bottleneck in what I can do with just these two hands. Spread the word to your friends and family in I’m looking for, in no particular order, people who are comfortable enforcing the law for a living, former police officers and emergency response teams would be a huge benefit. I need clerks to keep track of the paperwork in the new city hall, People to maintain roads, people to raise cattle and weed crops, people to engineer aqueducts, people to cook the food, people to ensure sanitation. People to learn healing spells and construction spells. People to mass produce spellbooks.”
“That’s illegal.” Kenra said.
“I’m not a citizen.” Garth replied.
“I just need people, plain and simple, you show up, you get a job, and food on your plate. But more than anything else, I need MILFs.”
Garth chuckled as he watched his social value in these people’s eyes plummet. The faces that had been lighting up with hope turned dark. Maybe he shouldn’t have sprung that on them so early, but what the hell. Might as well filter out the prudes early.
“Humanity needs more people, so if you want to come to L.A. where I’m setting up shop and make people professionally,” Garth said, chuckling as he scanned the crowd. “Then you’ll get room and board and a healthy paycheck, with no chance of getting eaten by the monsters that are scouring the Earth. It’s only going to get worse. The dungeons have been seeded, and monsters completely unlike the Kipling have begun roaming the wilderness. You saw what can happen. You saw people killed at this very spot. If you or someone you know would rather make money raising a family in return for a one hundred percent guaranteed safe life, I can make that happen.”
“Alright, that’s five minutes,” Kenra said, uncrossing his arms. The guy didn’t look very happy, but then again, Garth was pretty sure he hadn’t ever seen him happy.
“Remember. Minotaur cock, outpost three five one seven, ask for Brian.” Kenra started walking toward him when he didn’t immediately vacate the microphone. “I’m Garth Daniels, I’ll be in L.A. You want a safe place for your family? I got one.” Kenra finally wrestled the microphone away from Garth’s fingers, and Garth stood back, waving as he rejoined the rest of the Ranking Apostles.
“Wow,” Leanne said, watching him and shaking her head.
“You didn’t send a letter to mom and dad?” Jim asked.
“I stopped after the one I sent to Natalie didn’t come back.” Garth said with a shrug. “Maybe you should send them a letter?” he brushed past the rest of the apostles, and paused by Tyler long enough to whisper in his ear.
“Still think you’re the only asshole that can bring me a coca plant?”