Date: September 14, 2013. Time: 1847. Location: Castle Destro, Scotland.
All around devastation. Once a bastion of strength and power, Castle Destro, lies in ruins. Gathered among the rubble huddle masses of people. Former citizens of the outlying towns now refuges. All looking to the Laird and his personal army, the Iron Grenadiers, for safety. All requiring food, water, shelter. All requiring round the clock protection. All stretching the Lairds great store of supplies thin. All expecting him to save them. To lead them from their darkest hour. He almost had. For exactly three years he had provided. Since his first meeting with the Queen, when Her Majesty appealed to his sense of loyalty and national pride, he provided. People looked to him with pride in their eyes, proud to have been loyal to Clan Destro. For three years they lived in relative prosperity. Food and water a plenty. Safety in the form of mighty walls, centuries old. The weapons of the Iron Grenadiers always at the ready, prepared to locate, isolate, and eradicate any undead who became too large a threat. Granted the fortress was surrounded and the moans of the dead bleated out into the ethos night and day. But the Laird countered this with music and white noise technology. While it wasn't perfect it created an aura of safety that the people ate up. No longer was religion the opiate for the masses, now Clan Destro was.
The day following the third anniversary of protection Castle Destro fell. Overrun and overwhelmed the Iron Grenadiers fought valiantly. The refugees were led to the many tunnels and caves below the castle where they hid in fear for the duration of the siege. Ammunition ran low, weapons over-heated, high technology began to fail. Yet they fought on. Each soldier having had been issued a saber at the earliest onset of the attack. A weapon reserved for dress uniforms and special occasions brought back to serve its originally intended purpose. The Grenadiers had found themselves hacking and cleaving the undead. No one who had witnessed the battle could ever claim that they didn't fight well. Nor could they speak of Laird Destro in tones other than in awe. He waded into battle sidearm blazing and then saber slashing. He alone permanently removed dozens of THEM from the battle. He also saw to it to release those IGs who had been infected by the curse himself. The battle raged for days. Grenadiers holding their ground as long as possible they would have succeeded were it not for an arrant blast from a high-grade plasma-rifle. The single shot caused a fire that burnt the ancient building to the ground. In the end the militaristic might of the Iron Grenadiers was no match for an enemy with no needs.
You may ask yourself how a structure of stone hundreds of years old burns. The answer is the stone does not. However the interior structures of wood do. As do the accumulated accouterments of hundreds of years, pairings, wall hangings, furniture, etc. All burst into flames. The IGs could have extinguished the fire, they had been trained for just such an emergency, but their forces were being overrun by undead. They could not divide their forces from the main battle. As the first ceiling beam came down with a crash so to did the supported wall leading to a change link of calamity. Now a blackened pile of stone remains. The people look no longer with pride. The light in their eyes has been extinguished. Now their eyes are filled with hopelessness and desperation. They still cling to Laird Destro but no longer are they willing to work, to help assist in the raising of crops, gathering of wood for the fires. Now they sit and watch. Expecting salvation to come from the steel masked man.
The Iron Grenadiers were able to stop the riot of rotting flesh and were set to work to try and create a semblance of protective structure around the grounds of the once mighty castle. The first order of business was the removal and disposal of the dead. The former undead burned in massive heaps far enough away from the castle grounds to prevent contamination. The Iron Grenadiers who passed who were not cleansed were ensured their death via lead. They, being honorable men and women, were buried in the Clan McCullen cemetery. Their internment the final act of respect from a grateful Laird.
While the removal of the dead was a priority so too was the establishment of a secure perimeter within which Destro could marshal his forces while providing the necessary protection for the refugees. Rubble was piled along the boundary to create an established line of defense, a jagged wall upon which gunnery stations are established every 10 feet. Razor wire was stretched between each position. Beyond the wall sensors were staked in the ground. The sensors relay signals to the tech tent raised within the castle courtyard who in turn are able to sound the call to battle should the invisible barrier be breached. Between the sensors and the wall, wooden stakes are set as distance markers for the sharpshooters and snipers of which there is one stationed in every other gunnery nest the along with a Grenadier rifleman.
Having created a perimeter a temporary camp is established. Tents for the refugees are erected as are quarters for the troops. Guard towers are erected within the camp allowing the Grenadiers a clear view of the surrounding landscape and allowing them to watch over those seeking asylum. A constant watch is kept. Should one of THEM enter the compound… The results…
It is here we find Laird Destro in deep concentration. Surveying the scene. His men, the refugees, the former home of his ancestors. As he looks out over the scorched earth a Captain of the Guard approaches.
"Yes, what is it?"
"A message from the Queen."
"It awaits permission to enter sir."
"What do you mean… 'it'?"
"Laird, it is not human, at least not entirely. It dropped from the sky. When it landed, what looked like a helicopter blade folded away into its hat." The Captain drops his gaze as he speaks the last words. Unable to believe what he saw nor what he said. He fears his Laird will think him crazy, but he is not.
"Well see to it that it be brought forth immediately."
"Yes my Laird…" The Captain lets his words trail off afraid to voice his concern. With a sharp salute the Captain makes his way through the rubble strewn grounds to what used to be the main gate and leads the thing to the Laird. For several minutes Destro is left alone to await his visitor, whatever it may be. He enters the tent that has become his quarters and ready room. He is alone within the canvas walls. He takes his place at the heavy oak throne saved from the blaze by his loyal troops. He gathers himself and patiently waits. He doesn't have long. The Captain of the Guard enters and announces a visitor sent by the Queen. The thing enters followed by a squad of Iron Grenadiers all ready to ensure the safety of the Laird. He looks like a man but it is readily apparent that he is something more. His grey suit is impeccable, not a spot or wrinkle to be seen. His posture arrow straight. His eyes, slightly hidden behind a low fedora, glow an eerie red.
The thing stops steps from the throne, bows before the Laird. "Laird Destro, greetings from Her Majesty." The voice sounds normal enough but even there, there is a hint of something else, something electronic.
"Thank you. I have seen you before. The day the Queen first came to Castle Destro. You were in her entourage."
"Correct you are. Nothing escapes your attention Laird."
"My Captain claims to have seen you perform something remarkable upon your arrival."
"You mean his claims of the 'a helicopter blade folded away into its hat."
"You heard him?"
"I hear everything Laird. And your Captain is not mistaken. I am not a man. At least not now. I am the next level of man. I am the perfect combination of man and machine. You see Laird, after the… successes of the Robocop Project in the United States, the Kingdom set out to create their own. A creation that combined the intellect and emotion of a man with the resilience and power of a machine. Using plans acquired from OCS, Stark Enterprises, and Skynet, the Majesty's best men set out to create me. Once I was an Inspector for Scotland Yard. I was killed in the line of duty by a group of Middle Eastern terrorists. Based on my prior aptitude, loyalty, and service I was chosen to be the recipient of the honor of being reborn, much to the surprise and elation of my dear niece and dog. That's enough about me however.
Today I have been sent to deliver a message to you Laird Destro. One of grave importance to you and your men."
"Please proceed Inspector… I'm sorry I don't know your name"
"Much to my chagrin my men have taken to calling me Gadget. Inspector Gadget."