“In short, I’m just minding on my own business and these guys are approaching. Red caps, burnt skin, smell of incense, you understand what I’m talking about. They tell me to serve the flame and to join them, because the world is sick and they are the cure and things like that. I refused, very kindly, and they went their way. I imagine that my Centipede had a part in the negotiation … Anyway better this way. I’m not done for religions, I just believe in a full belly and a loaded shocker. “
– Calico Delta, aspiring Citizen of Rad City.
“I was with the hyenas. This is true. Then one day they put me in the orders of a Starosta really stupid, I guess Hunt, or Blunt, who remembers it … Anyway, it takes us to ask the tributes to a new Outpost, in a free territory, before being reached by Peace. Easy bottleneck, he said. Well, they pulled his neck to old Blunt, and killed almost all the guys in a clash as quick as brutal. Of course I ran away, what else could I do? If hyenas hate me they can come to protest … Obviously, they must first find me, eheheh … “
– Jora “The Fist”, a deserter, two days before the execution at Boiled Village as a “Traitor of Peace”
“I pray the Saint, but I trade with the burned. If I lose, I ask some help to a Landseeker, and if I hurt and there is a Merciful in the area, I’m going to him. I don’t have problem with anyone, friend: everyone is useful and I don’t want any problems. If you are polite and pay what you are asking for, everybody can be friends. “
– Simon Abnett, Duster’s resident.
Despite the excessive power and diffusion of so-called Factions, there are still many who refuse to deploy openly with one of them, retaining a role of neutrality or, in rare cases, contempt for anyone. Such an attitude has the obvious advantage of attracting less hate and attentions, but at the same time takes away the protection and security conferred by a group of like.
There are many reasons to stay outside the faction structure. The first is the simple ignorance: despite their dissemination the Postworld is huge and very badly connected, so entire isolated outpost may never be aware of these groups of influence. Some contact us only for casual reasons, for example by having a racket of the Seraglio or seeing a racing show of Thapsody, but even so it is rare that someone leaves the security of their home to join them voluntarily. The only Factions to actively seek new members are the Worship of Saint Curie and the Church of Internal Self Combustion, always hunting for new faithful, and the Children Hyena during the expansion of their territory.
There are, however, many outposts where Factions exist but live in harmony. Some of the larger agglomerations devote entire neighborhoods to a specific group, such as the Cog Town Square, in the hands of the Prebellum, the Perfume Road in Libertas, inhabited by the Iris Adepts, and the Black Territories of Slaughter, the suburbs of the huge outpost managed with savagery by the Seraglio. It is these outpost where it is easier to find people who are not aligned, accustomed to birth, to deal with several different groups without conditioning that occurs in centers inhabited by only one Faction. These “wild dogs”, as they are sometimes called, are generally tolerated with no problems and accepted as unworthy or at most desirable customers, as long as they recall their place and don’t raise the ridge too much. After all they are alone against a poisonous world.
“Well, listen to me. I don’t care a fuck if you and those other babies are hungry and you want to attack Dr Karmina’s chariot. The Doctor found me in a ditch with a splinter straight in my stomach, could let me crack but did not do it, she treated me without asking me anything. So, by virtue of the Seraglio Agreement, the wagon, the doctor, and those two Landseeker have to consider them as my stuff. If tonight I see one of you coming too close I will show you what means a pissed Devil. “
– Cagnazzo of Giudecca, addressed to a group of dogs of Matiz
“Hey! Did you sniff kerosene dude? I will not tell you another time. Bess is part of the group and the caravan … and I don’t honestly give a fuck if it’s a mutant kiss-radiation and you’re a fucking burned. Hope I will not find yourself doing some bullshit or I’ll leave you in the midst of the vastness without a dick. We must remain united if we want to overcome the throat and the last thing I need is a holy war in a group of six people.
– Taria, Prebellum explorer and Leader of the Red hanky band, Mixed Group
“We found each other in this way. Escape from the pogrom that triggered the mutants at Blue Valley. On the streets was a slaughter, at a certain point not interesting no more who really was a mutant and who did not … just interested in what you were wearing. We found each other in the old sewers and we managed to get out; since then we have been together, because we have seen that in group we work much better. ZZ Top has even invented a name for the group, “The Trooper” … says it’s the title of an old song from the PastWorld that hardly want to listen to it. Amy is a half-crazy Bride when there is the full moon goes to pray to her Mother of Wounds while Vivant doesn’t want to hear and murmur the Psalms at Saint Curie. It is not easy to make everyone agree, especially when Vikko attacks with Amy; thanks to the sky we have Tia who, as a good Iris adept, can make a child of hyena and a bride agree. The truth I don’t admit is that I like these guys, even Dr. Walter, a part when he analyze corpses. All together we are something and I’m too tired to go around alone. Now I have something to protect, I’m likely to end up in the tomb to do it … but it will be worth it.
– Amethyst of the Landseeker, former Violet Snake, belonging to “The Trooper”, Mixed group.
In addition (especially?) In a terrible world like this , there is a need for human relationships and collaboration. As a result, it is not unusual to see groups composed of members of different factions to collaborate if, in some cases, even to become friends. Cases for such alliances can be multiple: a Landseeker may need a special team specially for a difficult journey. A Bride may ask for help to others to release a group of slaves from the hyenas. An alliance between Rhapsody and Sanctified could arise to reconstruct one of the old instruments of antiquity, while Prebellum and Church of Internal Self Combustion could join in a mutant hunt. But beyond large companies, most alliances are born by chance and necessity, for example during the hard journey to reach Rad City. Of course, some cultural reefs are more difficult to overthrow than others, and it takes a lot of effort to force a devotee of the Saint to work with the Ardent or to avoid a Hyena and a Bride jumping to the throat each other. This type of group is ideal for a non-aligned, which can thus maintain relations with more factions without having to unbalance or asking for favors.
They often take different names, such as Bands, Squadrons or Tribes, vaguely understand the difference between these ancient words and now meaningless. For those who aren’t experienced in the life of the Postoworld, it may seem that the Factions are good only in specific roles and that only they can do a certain thing, but that is not the case. Of course, the Merciful are the best known doctors, but the Seraglio must patrol its own, as well as those who possess an ingenious mind are not only sought by Prebellum but also by Rhapsody to create new and noisy musical instruments or Brides to enhance and repair the bikes. Every community has to be able to self-indulge in order to don’t pay professionals whenever they need extraordinary favors, and mixed groups in this excel, covering each other in jobs where they are’t specialized. It is difficult to say what the struggle to survive will reward, whether the versatility of the Mixed Groups or the cohesion of the Factions, but certainly Rad City will test both of these philosophies.