Rockrock: Six Hundred Pounds

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Operator Record
Six Hundred Pounds
Rockrock icon.png

This snow falls from first light to last, and from last to first again.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Rockrock to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Rockrock.
Rockrock icon.png
Rochelle (Rockrock)
Male Old Kuranta A icon.png
Aging Worker
Bodyguard icon.png
Company Representative
Ursine Villager icon.png
Haggard Worker
Male Kuranta A icon.png
Joyful Worker
Sarkaz Mercenary B icon.png
Sarkaz Overseer
Sarkaz Mercenary A icon.png
Sarkaz Soldier
Eartha Partisan A icon.png
Self-Salvation Corps Member
Male Kuranta A icon.png
Silent Worker
Robber (Robertson)
Londinium Industrial District Night
Village House
Londinium Industrial District Day
Londinium Suburbs
It is a snowy night in Londinium. Rochelle is waiting for her father to bring home a six hundred pound settlement payment from the company.
<Background black>
The snow keeps falling, not heavy, but tacky.
No one knows how long it will keep falling.
<Background 1>
[A company representative gives money to a haggard worker.]
Company Representative Take it and go.
Haggard Worker After I've counted it.
Company Representative It's six hundred pounds, what else is there to it? Did you think United Originium Industries would bother to cheat you?
Haggard Worker After I've counted it.
Company Representative Fine, suit yourself. Might as well.
Two years have passed since the railway stopped operating. You're the last one to sign the settlement.
Haggard Worker Fifty-eight, fifty-nine, sixty.
Company Representative (Long sigh)
You signed the agreement, you counted your money. Now go; you don't have anything to do with the company anymore.
Haggard Worker ......
Company Representative What now? We need to go home too, you know?
Haggard Worker I was just thinking.
Company Representative About what? Money? You've got all of it, not one pence short.
Haggard Worker About all the things the company promised.
Movie theater, public restrooms, nursery, salt soda in the workshops. Some of them came true, others didn't.
But I used to think that what was there wouldn't change.
Company Representative Whatever you want to think about, do it at home. Get out of here.
Haggard Worker What did the company promise you?
Company Representative ......
Just. Get. Out.
<Background 2>
Half of the street lamps have gone out due to disrepair, while the rest continue to shine dimly, painting the snowy night over the commercial sector a shade of orange and yellow.
[The worker is surrounded by armed people.]
??? Hold it.
The worker pretends not to hear and keeps walking, until he finds a knife pressed against his abdomen.
Robber Money.
Haggard Worker Don't have any.
Robber I know you just got a bunch. Hand it over.
Haggard Worker ......
Robber Don't dawdle.
Haggard Worker Mechanical division? Which line?
Robber How did you know–
–Screw that, no questions. Hand over money if you don't want to get hurt.
Haggard Worker What's going on? I could lend you the money, if you're really in a bind.
Robber You think I didn't try to borrow? Who would lend a sick man money in these times?
And did you think I could pay it back, even if you lent it to me?
Haggard Worker I can wait–
Robber Shut up!
I'll count to three. Make up your mind, whether you want your money or your life.
One... Two...
I've counted to three! Don't make me do this!
My lungs are already rotten! I don't have anything to lose! I'll really do it!
Hand the money over!
Getting no reaction from the worker, the robber presses the knife further forward, cutting open the worker's clothes.
He feels the sensation of cutting open something, and instinctively pulls the knife back, as though shocked by electricity.
Robber You–
Before the robber can finish, the worker takes out the flimsy envelope and hands it over his shoulder.
The robber grabs the envelope with trembling hands, looking like a man pardoned on the eve of his execution. By the time the worker turns around, the robber has vanished into the night, along with the money.
Six hundred pounds.
The worker stands there for a while, then walks over to the side of the road. He searches his pockets and finds a cigarette, lighting it with his last match.
He breathes the smoke in deeply and squats down like a drunkard.
A single speck of red light flickers in the night.
<Background 3>
[The worker returns home.]
Haggard Worker I'm back, Rochelle.
Rochelle Rockwell!
Where did she go? It's dark, and it's snowing. I've got to look for her–
[Rochelle walks into the room.]
Rochelle ...Dad.
Haggard Worker Why so late?
Rochelle The neighbors were talking...
They say you've been robbed.
Haggard Worker ......
Rochelle Is it true?
Her father nods.
Rochelle I went to the place they were talking about, but there was no one there.
Who robbed you?
Haggard Worker ......
Rochelle Thieves from other districts don't bother to come here. It must have been someone from the light industry district.
He even knew you were getting your settlement money today!
I'll catch that thief–
Haggard Worker Let it go, Rochelle.
Rochelle Let it go?
Haggard Worker I had a few words with him. He had no choice.
Rochelle Dad!
We would have lent him the money if he asked properly. He didn't have to rob you!
If he was any bolder, you would have–
Haggard Worker He wouldn't have done it.
f he had the guts, he would have hit me over the head with a hammer, like that guy a few months ago.
Rochelle shivers.
Haggard Worker He was sick and desperate, and there was no one who would lend him money.
It was just a moment of weakness. We're all in the same boat. When things get better...
Rochelle Will they?
Haggard Worker They will.
Remember how the boys in the mechanical division made you an operational drone out of spare material for your birthday, a few years ago?
Rochelle Of course I remember.
Haggard Worker It's not just mechanical. We're all family here in the light industry district.
He'll pay it back.
Rochelle But...
Haggard Worker What's that? You don't believe your dad?
Rochelle It's not that... Mrs. Clark came to ask for some food in the afternoon because they had ran out.
She has five kids...
Haggard Worker I know.
Rochelle I thought you would come back with the settlement money, so I gave them a whole baguette.
Haggard Worker ......
The two are silent.
The old house does an adequate enough job of keeping out the wind and cold, though the rattling of the windows is a constant reminder of the snow and wind outside.
Rochelle I'll ask Mrs. Clark if they had any leftovers–
Haggard Worker Don't, not with the snowstorm outside.
Rochelle ......
Haggard Worker I'll go out again tomorrow and see if there are any factories still looking for a stoker. If that doesn't work out, there are always places looking for laborers.
Rochelle But your back...
Haggard Worker Who doesn't have some aches and pains around here? I'm one of the lucky ones.
Go to bed. Don't worry about me.
<Background 4>
Years Later...
[An Eartha partisan runs toward Rockrock.]
Self-Salvation Corps Member I've got another wounded here, Rockrock!
Rockrock Coming–Mr. Robertson?!
Robertson ......
Self-Salvation Corps Member Can you stand, Mr. Robertson?
Robertson (Shakes head)
Self-Salvation Corps Member Keep an eye on him while I fetch a stretcher, Rockrock.
[The partisan runs off to get a stretcher.]
Rockrock Did you see any other wounded, Mr. Robertson?
Robertson ......
Rockrock Mr. Robertson?
Robertson (Shakes head)
Rockrock Alright. Don't talk; just hang on. The stretcher will be here soon.
<Background 5>
[The Eartha partisan tells Rockrock,]
Self-Salvation Corps Member I found out why the Sarkaz were beating up people in broad daylight.
Rockrock What's going on?
Self-Salvation Corps Member They imposed a ban on working in the light industry district.
Rockrock A ban on working?!
Self-Salvation Corps Member All employment relationships outside factories under their control have been banned.
Rockrock So they're forcing people into their factories and starving those who don't want to work for them?
Self-Salvation Corps Member Exactly.
These people were beaten because the Sarkaz found out they were doing jobs for non-Sarkaz.
Rockrock What about the old, the sick, the invalid?
Self-Salvation Corps Member Did you think they care?
Rockrock Those bastards...
(Deep breath)
Go and check on those whose conditions are less serious. We should have enough medicine, as long as we ration properly.
I'll take care of Mr. Robertson. He's... not in good shape.
<Background fades out and in>
[Rockrock walks toward the lying Robertson.]
Rockrock It's time your medicine, Mr. Robertson.
Can you sit up?
Robertson ......
Rockrock Mr. Robertson?
Robertson ......
Rockrock Mr. Robertson, it's time for your med–
Hey, you didn't take your meds for the morning!
Robertson Why... take care of me...
Rockrock Huh?
We care for all the workers of Londinium.
Plus, Dad said we're all family here in the light industry district.
And you were part of the railway's mechanical divi–
Rockrock did not see Robertson grab his sheets.
Robertson ...else.
Rockrock What did you say?
Robertson Someone... else.
Rockrock Someone else?
Did you want someone else to care for you?
Robertson (Nods)
Rockrock ......
Rockrock I'll get someone else. But make sure you take your medicine, alright?
Robertson (Closes eyes)
Rockrock Mr. Robertson!
Robertson ......
(Slight nod)
<Background fades out and in>
Self-Salvation Corps Member How are the injured, Rockrock?
Rockrock They're recovering well. We can send them home today.
Once we do that, it'll be time for us to move.
Self-Salvation Corps Member ...Yeah.
Robertson has been banging on his bed, by the way.
He keeps shaking his head, whether it's water, food or medicine that I'm bringing him. It's not toilet stuff either. He's too ill to speak, but he won't stop banging.
I think he wants you.
[Rockrock was shocked, before...]
Rockrock I'll be right there!
<Background fades out and in>
Rockrock walks into the tent and sees Robertson still banging on the bedplate weakly.
He only stops once he opens his eyes and sees Rockrock.
[Rockrock walks toward Robertson.]
Rockrock You were asking for me, Mr. Robertson?
It's alright. I'm here.
Robertson (Slaps the bed lightly)
Rockrock You want me to sit by your side?
Robertson ......
Made from several wooden planks, the makeshift bed would not have fit a bigger man.
Rockrock tries to find a space by the side of the bed, but finds only hard planks.
Rockrock I'm here, Mr. Robertson.
I heard you've been taking your medicine on time.
Robertson ......
Rockrock That's good. It'll help you recover...
The sounds that Robertson makes form no coherent words, but the meaning is clear.
Rockrock You're right, why talk about that?
How about we discuss the past?
Robertson ......
Rockrock When Dad was still around, he used to say that the railway was the lifeblood of the light industry district.
Raw materials come into the district by the railway, into the factories and workshops, and the finished products are transported out of the district to the rest of Londinium and Victoria.
The goods are the blood that flows in the vessels, while railway workers are the... they're the–
The cells that form the railway.
The cells have to work together for blood to flow unhindered, and the cells in turn get their nutrition from the bloodflow.
I thought about it, and said that the rumbling that the train makes is the pulse of the light industry district.
Robertson (Gasps)
Rockrock Dad thought a bit and said it was a good analogy.
After that, the trains didn't seem so noisy at all when they rolled by. Instead, they were like my own heartbeat, calming me down when I listened to it.
Rumble, rumble...
Rockrock emulates the sound of a train, while Robertson listens.
Rockrock Then the factories began shutting down, one by one, and the railway went out of operation...
Robertson (Gasps)
*cough* *cough*...
Rockrock Mr. Robertson!?
Sorry, I just kept going...
Robertson ......
Rockrock Let's talk about happier things.
This is my drone. Its name is Rock-11.
It's my 11th drone, I started with Rock-1.
The captain assembled it from a motley collection of parts, so it's not as good as what you get in the shops, but I had input in it as well, and the drones have been a big help.
The Sarkaz would've caught us if not for them.
It's all thanks to you, and Dad's colleagues in the mechanical division.
Robertson (Breathes raggedly)
Rockrock Do you remember how the boys in the mechanical division made a drone for me out of spare parts for my birthday? You were the one who made the core power plant.
I loved it. It couldn't fly very high, but I would hover it at home whenever I had time.
I would look at the spinning rotor, and dream about building bigger and better drones when I grew up.
That way, dad wouldn't have to watch the boilers night and day, and you wouldn't have to climb up and down all over the place when fixing stuff.
Everyone would live together happily, grabbing a round of beers together after work–
Robertson (Mumbles)
Rockrock Mr. Robertson?
Robertson's coughing interrupts her.
Rockrock sees that his eyes have become wet.
Rockrock Let's not talk about that! I–
Robertson tries to speak again, but is once again interrupted by violent coughing.
When the coughing finally stops, Robertson raises the hand that he used to bang on the bed and reaches into his shirt.
After some searching, he takes out a small plastic bag filled with money.
Rockrock Money...?
For me?
Robertson (Nods)
Rockrock I can't possibly accept this, Mr. Robertson!
Robertson (Slaps the bed)
Rockrock No, I really can't.
I could keep it safe until we find your family–
Robertson (Shakes head frantically)
Rockrock But...
Robertson gazes at Rockrock with pleading eyes, but balks at her determination.
He gives up.
He wants to sigh, but he cannot.
He lets out his breath, and reaches into his shirt again, taking out a stained envelope.
Rockrock Envelope... a letter?
Sure, I'll deliver it. But the money–
Robertson (Bangs on the bed)
Rockrock That's not what you mean?
Rockrock turns the envelope over. The writing on it has long become faded from being soaked in sweat:
Rockwell settlement, 600 pounds.
Rockrock's eyes open wide.
Robertson pulls open the bag with his last remaining strength, spraying the contents all over the floor.
Ten-pound notes, five-pound notes, one-pound notes, even coins.
No settlement money would have been issued this way. It was money saved up, pence after pence.
It was what Robertson got himself beat up by the Sarkaz for.
Rockrock ...Mr. Robertson?
There is no response.
As befitting of a laborer, Robertson died silently, having used the last bit of strength in his body.
<Background 4>
Another morning comes to the aging light industry district.
The effect of the Sarkaz work ban can be seen in the crowds of workers headed towards the factories in the dim light of dawn.
The Sarkaz sent people to keep an eye on them at first.
But they soon realized that they were like the walking dead, completely silent on their way to work. They never cross the line, even if no one is watching.
The Sarkaz have stopped sending people to monitor the workers, freeing up the manpower to deal with resistance to their rule in other districts.
Poverty and hunger make the best overseers.
Silent Worker ......
What's... that?
Aging Worker ...A drone?
A patchwork drone flies towards them.
Its bay doors open as it flies over their heads, dropping several bills.
Aging Worker Money?
The drone glides over the workers' heads, dropping bills and coins over them like a bizarre snow.
It was equal to the amount of settlement money that a laborer could get after working half his life.
Six hundred pounds.
<Background 5>
[A Sarkaz overseer accompanied by several Sarkaz warriors break into the room.]
Sarkaz Overseer Search the place!
We got the location of their hideout just this morning! They can't have gotten away so quickly!
<Background fades out and in>
[The Sarkaz soldiers found nobody in the area.]
Sarkaz Soldier Sir, there's no one here. They didn't even leave behind anything, except this.
Sarkaz Overseer A box of parts? Just on the table like that?
Shoot a bolt into it. See if there's a trap.
Sarkaz Soldier Yes, sir!
[The Sarkaz soldiers fire at the box.]
Sarkaz Soldier Sounds like an empty box, sir!
Sarkaz Overseer Open it!
The Sarkaz opens the lid of the box carefully.
There is no bomb, no poison, not even a dagger for demonstration.
Inside the box is an old envelope that has been rolled into a ball.
The overseer spreads it out. There is nothing in the envelope; a piece of it has been cut away neatly.
Still unconvinced, the overseer raises it against the dim light and examines it for a while.
Other than the old stains, there are only a few teardrop marks on it.
<Background 6>
Years Later...
Joyful Worker Huh? It's not the first time you've handed out money?
Rockrock Yeah, I don't remember how many times I've handed out extra money. It's not like I have any use for it.
Joyful Worker Really? Well then, I'll, er, help myself. Thanks.
Rockrock You're welcome.
Joyful Worker But that's a strange habit. Why did you start doing it? When was the first time you gave someone money?
Rockrock The first time?
It was just after the Self-Salvation Corps was formed. I helped an old colleague of my dad's–
Rockrock looks up at the lead-grey sky, thinking about where to begin.
She catches a glimpse of a new building by the roadside, one that feels rather out of place with the decrepit scenery around it. At the top of the building is a bright neon sign:
"United Originium Industries Londinium Industrial Revival Headquarters"