History of the Board
|This page contains information copied or paraphrased from the OCD FLEET site.|
Opening Moves: The Misery Journey
The semester began badly, with a highly suspicious gas explosion that proved just dangerous enough to move all six targets into one building. Within a week, the Board's worst fears would be realised in a single month of pure insanity...
The on-site surveillance team suffered a total loss of their equipment after a plague of fabric-eating (and, it is discovered, superconductor-eating) moths, leaving them totally unprepared and effectively blind when their three male targets promptly disappeared for several weeks. An entire brigade of Boardies was mobilised to mop up the trail of bizarre events left in the newly- mutated group's wake, culminating in the infamous "FBI Incident", where Board influence finally managed to have any and all federal charges levelled at their surrogate students dropped...and, in the case of one Boardie, personally dropping them off outside the building. He would kick himself later for not keeping ahold of them while he had the chance.
The end of the "Misery Journey" incident had one major side effect beyond the sudden frantic bioresearch - sudden accusations of "loss of objectivity" rocked Speculation for a highly-charged week, one that saw the formation of D&M and the laying of the groundwork for the near-civil-war that would follow. At the time, however, the slowly-building infighting was deferred by...
The Tokyo Incident
Mortal research mishaps, their cause still unknown to this day, unleashed a legendary forgotten god in an orgy of destruction in downtown Tokyo, scattering his mind-warping minions across the globe in the process. The Board responded en masse for the first time, revealing themselves to the world in a massive wave of urban combat that tossed Cthulu off the mortal plane in a spectacular battle of magical wills and bizarre war machines. The battle raged for 16 hours, and by the end of it the streets of the "matchstick city" were paved with sushi.
More worrying, however, was the later discovery that all research documents had vanished, along with the equipment used in the presumably-successful dimensional breach. Much of it would later resurface, in corrected and revised (albeit altered, from clinical lab reports to occult texts in ancient languages) form, in the hands of many mortal sorcerers - most infamously Steven Archer. In hindsight, the Adversary or His agents were clearly experimenting with large-scale summoning processes using means available to the mundane.
The once-again-nigh-miraculous survival of David Jones (assisting in the death of one of the elder god's minions, no less) led many Boardies to wonder just who this kid is. Despite this, background checks continue to show nothing more than a standard genetic provenance. It would not be long before his file finally acquired some more...prosaic...material to consider.
What Happened Next
Exactly where the species of fungi now classified as Lentinus Azuri originated from is unknown, and a more detailed analysis is available in the relevant files, but the first outbreak of mass hallucinations caused by the substance had spectacular results. Speculation would give their collective right arms to know just what their charges experienced in the storm of occult radiation given off by their release...but what they do know is bad enough. While a considerable curiosity on their own, it was the events that followed the release that attracted the most attention at the time.
Using an occult tome, provenance unknown but suspected to be diabolical (see above), a pair of college deadbeats more normally known for their bloody gothic practices somehow successfully contacted Diabolical Powers...or, as is generally accepted, said Powers only chose to come because they were specifically waiting for an opportunity. Exactly what transpired in that apartment remains unknown to the Board even to this day (there were several dozen feet of concrete between their satellites, less sophisticated at the time, and ground zero - all they have to go on are audio tapes from a laser bug), but by the end of it the Board's suspicions regarding Margaret had been confirmed, David had managed to resurrect himself and acquire a soulcat, and Roger's shotgun got put on the "quietly acquire NOW" list.
It was now abundantly clear that not only was there a genuine intelligence driving the suspected enemy action and pushing humanity towards a fiery atomic abyss, said intelligence was Not Very Nice At All.
And then Blue Green walked onto campus.
The Civil War
By this point, the Board was already beginning to show signs of severe strain as they struggled to absorb the stunningly rapid series of revelations. From a quiet belief that one should "never ascribe to malice events that may more easily be ascribed to stupidity", they had stumbled onto genuine Biblical demons, of all things. Appeals to the Goddess for information provided yet more data to sift through, mostly on occult practices, and in the process triggered waves of paranoid speculation that did little more than stoke the growing panic. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Board was starting to crack up into doomsday cults.
A bastion of sanity in all this confusion was the part social club, part political party known informally as D&M. Convinced the pair of mortals and their pasts harboured a solution to the dilemma, they provided the only understood route out of the situation...until the appearance of the flirtatious and less-than-subtle young Green heiress. Unbeknownst to her at the time, Lord Mork used her as the basis for a rival political stance, the later-to-be-infamous D&B. Holding as their central tenet the belief that David should be left to live his own life free of the clearly-cursed influence of Margaret, they rapidly attracted large numbers of rebellious, restless Boardies unwilling to follow D&M's policies of aggressive anti-demonic activity.
D&M's first response was informed debate, but the hysteria of the times soon degenerated the debates into little more than public slanging matches. Duels and riots soon followed, and it was not long afterwards that sheer open warfare broke out in Mohaborad wherever the two factions clashed. Just to make matters worse, a third sect of radical scientists attempted to resolve the dispute by pledging pure mechanical order - the so-called BoardieBorg. Their own philosophy added to the conflict, calling as it did for unrelenting assimilation of all factions into a harmonious unity. The streets of the Board's headquarters-city were soon little more than a low-level war zone.
Despite this, some degree of order was maintained in the Operations divisions themselves - discipline was maintained in the militia units that formed most ops teams. There was enough organisation o assist in the quelling of Fin-Groot-Taboo's zombie uprising, but it was abundantly clear from the frustrated after-action reports that support from Command was non-existent, there were nowhere near enough reserve personnel available to make any real difference if the operation had gone badly, and in any regard the teams were so woefully undermanned and ill-equipped that any serious opposition would go through them like tissue paper.
The War Rages On
With hindsight, the strife so effectively paralysing the Board may well have been planned. Certainly subsequent events revealed more than enough turncoats to have formed an effective fifth-column, but the warring organisations themselves seem to have been perfectly innocent in origin...which has not stopped low-level "you're all Satanic dupes!" sniping from continuing to this day.
As the long, hot summer dragged on, virtually all Board operations aside from Speculation ground to a halt. Appearances by the Goddess ceased entirely, and Mohaborad's many complex mystical wards and conventional systems either fell into disrepair or were destroyed by one group or another. The encroaching Himalyan snowline was just as much of a threat as a street fight. Almost all records from this period are either lost or so biased as to be almost entirely useless...until they all agree, on one being universally revered and hated by all sides. The militia commander known to his men as Miles.
Miles, later General Miles but for now a militia commander determined to reunite his decaying people, had thus far attempted to keep his unit's collective heads down. His first, dramatic appearance was when the BoardieBorg attempted to forcibly "recruit" them, fighting the cyborgs to a bloody standstill...all the while frantically attempting to negotiate with either of the other factions to save his men. When both rebuffed him, he turned on them in disgust.
It was an indication of just how far the Board had fallen that his units were capable of the rapid strikes that followed. As the only remaining group with any training or equipment to match their zeal, Miles rapidly disarmed and suppressed every faction he could find, proclaiming the sectors he cleared to be "peaceful", and inviting the subdued groups to reassemble High Command and govern "properly". By the time he issued this invitation, they were all battered shadows of their former glory...while mass desertions by exhausted and uncaring Boardies swelled the ranks of Miles' followers. They had little choice but to accept.
For a few weeks, matters seemed finally resolved. Rebuilding began, co-operation over insights and improvisations thrown together during the civil war led to many advances in magical and scientific realms. The Goddess was expected to reappear shortly. And, as the crowning glory, the reassembled Speculation teams reported the apparent vindication of D&M's theories when Dave finally convinced his brooding love to go on a date. The jubilation that followed was awesome to behold.
The week that would change Board history began in celebration, as Scott the Obscure took the salute of his triumphant D&M minions in Speculation as they set about investigating the vindication of their worldview.
Within hours, the apparent arrival of a new figure to watch had raised eyebrows. Joe's apparent wealth and the ease with which he had insinuated himself into Margaret's social circles even then made Speculators nervous...but given the chaos of the last few months, it was possible they had simply missed his arrival. More in annoyance than anticipating any serious issues, they magnanimously accepted calls from the DOOM splinter group for an embarrassing revenge on the "upstart yuppie" for his humiliation of Mike, promising to execute same when the opportunity presented itself.
The actual night itself began bright and clear, with low winds and hot, still air on the campus - perfect for thunderstorms. Somewhat voyeuristically, Boardies watched the entire carnival avidly on both the ground, via infiltrated carnival staff, and from the air via their satellites. They firmly expected to see a major blow struck against whatever diabolical force seemed determined to attack all concerned. The climate of confidence was so great that even Dave's brush with death in the form of a charging bull went relatively unnoticed...after all, didn't he laser it with relative ease? Some Boardies remember their fellows grimly spotting the significance of a burning, enraged bull, but this may be wishful thinking. All that is known from the Board's viewpoint is that the real flashpoint was the moment David and Joe finally confronted one another...for it was at that moment, when a mortal found the strength to sock his enemy in the face with a simple fist, that their beloved city went haywire.
Wild rumours tell of mysterious, warning calls on the mountain's internal comms net, or Satanic visions commanding Boardies to cease their interference immediately, or equipment exploding in sulphurous clouds to the sound of mocking, diabolical laughter. Whatever the truth of the matter, within seconds every method of watching Margaret from afar, from scrying to the most advanced spy satellite, dropped carrier and a blinded Speculation totally failed to see the Hellish forces being marshalled on the slopes of the mountain.
In the quiet interests of shuffling off their dangerously charismatic military officer before his popularity proved dangerous, the shaky new High Command immediately dispatched Miles off to investigate the loss of contact and extract the Boardies on the ground. His transport craft was the ahead-of-her-time Foxtrot, a well-equipped and well-armed brigade transport designed after Tokyo for just this kind of operation. Despite the severe weather and gathering darkness over the operations area, it should have had no difficulties conducting a swift, thorough search.
Which is probably why the Adversary blew it out of the sky the moment it came over the horizon.
The Real War Begins...
Approximately half an hour after taking off, the Foxtrot received a simple navigational message from HQ - a weather report forecasting severe storms. It was the last message the transport acknowledged before observing radio silence for the rest of their flight. It was also the last message ever sent by the Himalayan Boardies.
Perhaps frustrated at His short-term setbacks with Margaret, certainly in the interests of eliminating a threat to His plans, and probably in the hope of striking at the Goddess through her servants, the Adversary had amassed an army of thousands to pre-empt further "annoyances" by simply slaughtering them. An unusual move for a being traditionally preferring to convert enemies to His way of thinking, but the divine origin of the oldest Boardies may have precluded this as an option...or it would have taken too long.
The force itself appeared to be mostly composed of gibbering masses of the damned, dragged up from the Abyss and forced mindlessly into battle by heavier, more disciplined and stronger units of demons themselves. What defence systems remained active were simply swamped beneath sheer weight of numbers, and infernal versions of the worst war machines humanity had created were on hand to exploit breaches in the defence. Within hours, the conflict reverted to brutal, bloody street fighting, almost entirely hand-to-hand, with no quarter asked for or granted.
That the Board could even throw up a token resistance speaks wonders for the insane bravery many of them displayed that night. There were simply no preparations for a wide-scale assault. Boardies had expected a powerful infernal force to be interfering with their plans for humanity, but not in their wildest, most paranoid dreams had they ascribed it to a figure most still regarded as Judeo-Christian myth, too far detached from reality to be concerned with individual worlds or actions.
What fragments survive portray a vivid picture of heroism in the face of the most extreme violence imaginable. The great communications centre fell to a screaming volley of missiles within minutes, killing almost all within, yet the survivors rigged up crude antennae in the ruins to maintain a semblance of organisation. The Boardies within the huge, labyrinthine Archives barricaded themselves into the library sections and bitterly fought to the last, while the great magical college was only overrun when the demons collapsed the huge, central Update Tower on top of it. The armoury and highly advanced defence centre were crushed rapidly, but ironically most Boardies who fought did so from hidden civil war caches and defences, harrying the infernal legions wherever they could while frantic evacuation efforts spirited away most of the survivors, taking off and landing on a runway filled with gibbering horrors and infernal munitions in the teeth of a hideous storm. Others were less brave - many broke and ran, frantically trying to make their way down the mountainside, most dying of exposure en-route. Others, whether by design or simply out of pure fear, turned traitor and sold out their comrades for a few extra wretched minutes of life before their new masters turned on them.
Speculation continued to gather and analyse data on the attacks to the last, and legend has it that a party of evacuees had to pry the leaders of D&M and D&B from their controls, both reconciled at last in the face of the Enemy of All. They were the last party to leave before Moloch's infernal knights overran the landing strips...the remaining Boardies retreated to the maze of maintenance tunnels surrounding the pyramid where High Command met, dug in among the elegant panelled walls and carpets, and prepared for as good an end as they could muster. Hell eagerly butchered their way towards them in eager anticipation.
What exactly happened next is unknown - as Boardies put it, "The Boss was involved. What do you expect?". Whatever happened, His attempt on Margaret's soul apparently unsuccessful, the Adversary returned to His battle-lines to at least claim the satisfaction of watching one enemy wiped from the face of the Earth. The remaining defenders certainly saw His Infernal honour guard drawn up to await the final assault, and were astounded to see their own creator apparently appear amongst their own ranks to reciprocate - smiling, waving, offering words of encouragement, and holding a flaming sword big enough to cut the world in two.
The Enemy paused, smiling with diabolical gaiety, and waved to His legions, sending up an unholy cacophony of roars and wails that melted the snow around them and fused the ruins into glass. While the bedraggled Boardies attempted to drown out the infernal chorus with cheers of their own, their patroness simply grinned back and pointed up into the empty, pre-dawn sky.
At that, the Adversary turned to say something to Moloch, smiled again, and vanished, His hosts disappearing with Him in rolling clouds of choking brimstone.
The battle was, it seemed, over. And regardless of who held the field, the Board had lost.
Having skirted so close to annihilation, it was a traumatised Board that crawled from their ruins or emerged from the burning forests where Miles and his crew had somehow seen off a diabolical assault of their own. Out of thousands of Boardies, barely a few hundred remained... all wavering between disbanding the entire organisation or swearing oaths of bloody vengeance. Cooler heads grimly noted that revenge, in their current state, was not an option, and appealed to their patroness for guidance on how it might become one someday.
The first few days were spent picking through the rubble - at first, looking for more survivors, but when too much time had passed for there to be any hope of finding the living, the scavenging parties turned to recovering equipment and records, carefully noting what had survived demonic attack for possible future reference. Repair was not even attempted. Abandoning Mohaborad was perhaps the most painful decision the Board had ever taken, but the city was a burned-out ruin, filled with diabolical traps and malevolent spirts left behind to ensure it remained unusable.
In fact, it was while hunting for salvage in the haunted darkness that one group heard the whine of ramjet engines...
The New Era Dawns...
The first units of FLEET to arrive were, in their own words, hopelessly lost. The first shuttle to touch down had merely been following the transmissions that had drawn them to Earth, and they knew nothing of the Board beyond them apparently being the only Earthly organisation that could communicate with them. But they'd already met their leader, a mysterious "energy creature" who had impressed upon them the urgency of the situation on this world... albeit in tactical terms of terrestrial warfare, rather than spiritual battles for humanity.
To the revenge-hungry Board, the wonders of the new arrivals and their ships were almost equalled by their casual use of energies of potentially massive destruction. For their part, FLEET were highly cautious about these strange quasi-humans who seemed so eager to acquire the secrets behind their powerplants and weapons systems. An uneasy rapport would develop as more and more ships arrived from outsystem, the more fanatical Boardies seeing them as obvious gifts from on high to be used to root out and suppress Evil wherever it might be found. Plans were drawn up for a glorious rebuilding, a massive refounding of the Board, now to be dedicated to oppose the Adversary and all His infernal minions. FLEET reports of the time clearly regard the Board as almost as bad, but infernal attacks on their crews showed that Hell was steadfastly refusing to discriminate. Fears of the nightmare plaguing Earth spreading to their homeworlds drew the reluctant commanders into the fray, bringing with them the massive logistics problems of a full battlefleet.
For a time, the Board relied on their old, old combination shrine and airbase in eastern Mexico, but it swiftly became apparent that their ambitious plans called for an equally ambitious headquarters and staging base. A design competition narrowed down possible locations across the globe. Ranging from more mountains to the seabed, but it was probably the desire to use as much of the new technology as possible (with perhaps a little romanticism thrown in) that saw the Board decide to move into high orbit.
Board designers and FLEET naval architects poured their all into the plans, producing the most spectacular combination of Board weirdness and ultratech superscience they could imagine, first assembling modules on the ground before launching them into high orbit for rapid construction. Within a year, the massive hull of the Funky Horror began to take shape, the immense security and stealth operation surrounding her only eclipsed by the staggering resource-gathering programs. And when the startup switches were finally thrown on her huge reactors, half the Earth saw the birth of a new star in the night sky.
The Status Quo
Which brings us to the present day. The Funky Horror is online, everything her designers dreamed of. Her shipyards are even now churning out the first of new breeds of attack craft, built for anti-infernal conflict on a massive scale. Recruitment drives are bringing wave after wave of eager, young trainees aboard constantly, and a steady stream of hard-hitting raids keep mortal servants of the Dark Lord, if not in check, then certainly off-balance. Plus, of course, there remains the ever-watchful Speculation, slowly putting together their own hopes for their mortal charges, pondering ever-more-convoluted ways to nudge human events in directions that will loosen Hell's grip. Some optimistic tactical planners are even going over Dante and Aquinas, planning for some method of going on the offensive en masse, somehow finding a way to take the fight to the Enemy's own doorstep.
Valiant effort, or hopeless hubris? It remains to be seen. Whatever the future holds, it is likely to be spectacular... and very, very weird. The Board wouldn't have it any other way.