The Participants were, in order of Appearance in the text:
Moderator: Well, here we all are. Thank you all for coming. We'd also like to note that we extended an invite to a few other folks, but they had to decline due to reasons of personal security.
TK: That's nothing to be ashamed about. Security is a high priority for anyone who's been called a Renegade, or claims to be one.
MSF: Well, I can tell right away I'm the only real Renegade in this room. The rest of you are either pussies or sell-outs.
LLB: I'm not comfortable with the term "Renegade." I'm a good citizen. I obey the rules. But I feel that there is something terribly inhuman... dehumanizing... about the Hierarchy's use of barghests. And that is why I and my fellow members of the Anti-Barghest Coalition - Nevada Branch - have banded together to request a change of policy.
MW: And you are a fool, sir. A kind hearted fool, but a fool nonetheless. The Hierarchy will no more change its mind than a lion will its roar.
And as for your assertion, Enfant, that you are the only Renegade in this room, I would challenge that assumption. We have called for an end to things since well before the Skinlands of this country were colonized. Do not mistake a lack of earrings and visible anger for a sign of complacency.
MSF: Whatever, grandpa. You look like the only revolution you're into is spinning on your ass. Me, I get up and breathe revolution. I eat revolution. I-
LLB: And you shit it, too, I'm betting.
CHB: There's a big difference between unfocused head-banging and applied, direct action. We of the Undead Socialist Workers Party have been laying the foundation for a Socialist state to replace the capitalist dictatorship we've been laboring under.
As for the term Renegade, I don't think it's really applicable to ourselves. It implies that we're rebelling against something in an anti-social manner. I think we're fairly mature and well-meaning people.
TK: And as for me and mine, we could care less what we're called. We think of ourselves as businessmen. Renegade sounds horribly over-romantacized. We just want to be left alone to ply our trade. What's so wrong with that?
CHB: Taking five souls a month to keep a secret locked away? Buying into the capitalism that is destroying us?
LLB: Well, I hate to dissuade another's viewpoint, but I must point out that the Soviet Union went down in flames. Communism has been shown up as a joke.
CHB: Let me speak... let me speak to that-
LLB: Maybe you ought to find something other than a dead political theory... well, wait... oh dear. I could have made a joke out of that?
MW: I do not think you would have been the first?
CHB: No! The Soviet Union was a betrayal of socialist principles! Stalinism destroyed the tender shoot of Socialism that was growing under Lenin's care! If things had gone differently-
MW: If things had gone differently seems to be the watchword of our groups. Each of us wants for something to be different in a world where a grey, dreary sameness is all the current regime will tolerate. I think in that, we all fit the term of Renegade.
TK: And again, sir, though I hate to to disagree with someone as esteemed as yourself, I have no problem with that regime. I just wish they would let us be to make our money in peace.
Moderator: So, with that... what do you all do? What are you doing that makes the Hierarchy want to crash in your party?
MSF: Fuck shit up, baby! Tear it up! Break it down! Smash it! Tilt it!
TK: We keep secrets. Nothing more and nothing less. Unfortunately, the Hierarchy sees fit to interfere with our time-honored profession, and they call us Renegades because we won't hand over what we know. A shame, really.
MW: We seek the end of the current regime and its replacement with something much more fitting our needs. We are not in this world to obey orders and march to some despot's commands. We are here to seek our final destinations. Charon's ideas on that matter were grossly perverted by his delusions of grandeur-
LLB: Oh, come on. Charon was trying to make it easier to get to where we were going. The Hierarchy maintains certain goods and services that help us get to where we're going. That was the whole point.
MSF: (snorts) Pussy.
MW: So I suppose, then, that you are already planning your trip to the far shores? You are getting ready for Transcendence?
LLB: Oh, that's just-
CHB: Transcendence is a lie. The opiate of the undead masses. We're here for the duration, and that's why we are seeking to take the Underworld and give it back to the workers. This should be a glorious workers' paradise, not some hideous slave labor camp.
LLB: That's not much help either. We don't have any problems with the Hierarchy... it's just their use of poor thralls that are moliated and lobotomized. It's immoral... evil... and that's what we're trying to change. And that's all we're trying to change.
TK: I couldn't help but notice that you will call yourself a Legionnaire. Do your superiors know what you're doing?
LLB: Well, this sort of thing has to be done carefully. First we gain a groundswell of support, and then we present our demands-
CHB: Well, at least he stands for something. All you seem to want to do is destroy what is without thinking of what comes after it.
TK: Comrade has a point there.
MSF: Hey, fuck off, bitch. You too, Commie. And you, dogfucker. And-
MW: If you are going to call me grandfather once more, I suggest you do not. If I were your grandfather I'd have you over my knee in a moment and be teaching you some proper manners.
MSF: You wanna party, old man? Huh? You wanna-
(A ten second staring contest ensued between MW and MSF. MW won, and thereafter MSF was a lot more deferential to MW. I don't know what happened. Maybe I really don't want to know, either.)
Moderator: So would it be fair to say that you want something changed, and the folks who keep things the way they are don't like that you think that way? And that's why you got the tag placed on you, or why you took it?
TK: Not changed. They can run the show any way they want to. We just want to be left alone.
CHB: But isn't that asking for a change of some kind?
TK: No. There's no need or reason for them to squash private enterprise. They go so far as to encourage it-
MW: I can think of quite of few Guildwraiths who would disagree with you, my lady.
LLB: Hang on, there are no Guilds. Charon disbanded them in... um... what year was it?
(Laughter from various persons answered him, and LLB sat there looking stupid and, thankfully, quiet for a while. I hate Hierarchy apologists.)
Moderator: Okay, so what have you guys done lately? The only local folks that seem to be making any progress fucking the Hierarchy are the Dead Alcoholic Army.
LLB: Yeah, but you don't see them here, do you? I wonder why.
MSF: It's cause they're out doing their thing, man. Gotta love those guys. Love those guys! Remember the Tulpa, baby!
TK: How in the hell could you support that monster?
CHB: I agree with the capitalist. Their antics are of no aid to anyone in the glorious workers' strugg-
MSF: Man, you say 'glorious workers struggle' more time and-
LLB: To... um... answer the question, we're getting a groundswell of support and formulating our strategy. So nothing we've done would be newsworthy yet. No.
TK: And what we do is hardly newsworthy.
CHB: We have been educating the workers of the Necropolis as to their squandered rights and unfulfilled potential. To that end, we have formed a revolutionary committee, and begun the production of a means by which the workers can be educated as to their-
MSF: You heard about those Grims and Gaunts who went missing in South Vegas? That was us, man.
MSF: Fuck yeah! We smashed 'em flatter than pancakes and turned them into weapons, and-
MW: Tell me... how is that possible? You are not in league with the Artificers, and I doubt anyone who knows how to work the forge would consent to work with your lot?
MSF: Uh... we got our ways. Yeah. But I ain't saying, man. I got people to protect.
Moderator: And what are you doing, sir?
MW: That is a question that will see an answer in due course. I trust you will find it entertaining, and instructive.
Moderator: Okay, and let me ask a more personal question... why are you Renegades? What set you on the road you are now?
MW: I will not answer that for myself, but I will answer that for my colleagues. We claim to be the oldest Renegades in existence, and we rebelled because we saw that Charon was turning his back on his mandate. He would not listen to reason. If reason would not carry the day, then treason was needed.
And so we became traitors.
LLB: Well... the first duty I pulled was in the forges. I didn't mind seeing criminals and other folks soulforged... I mean, we have to fight Oblivion.
CHB: And only around this table could such a comment fail to require the obvious response.
LLB: Anyway, as I was saying, my job was to look after the kennels. And I... I couldn't help but look in the eyes of those poor, poor people. If you're going to soulforge someone, then do so... but turning someone into a Barghest... that's too much.
How could I turn my back on their suffering? Something had to be done. So I found some others who felt the same way I did, and we started to work together.
CHB: I've been a revolutionary all my life - why should I abandon that goal in death? In fact, I feel that here is an even more worthy struggle. Imagine the sort of socialist paradise we could build, here? The Legions tried to turn me with their seductions... (looks right at LLB)... but I resisted, as have we all.
TK: I found the Keepers very early on, and I joined, seeing a good opportunity. It meant having to turn my back on the Hierarchy, but I think I would have left by now if I hadn't then. They have a lot going for them, but...
MSF: You know what you remind me of?
TK: I'm just dying to not know, so--
MSF: You remind me of that guy in the condom commercial. You know? The one where there's this angry-looking grunge guy standing there shouting about The Man, and how They say this and They say that, and how angry he is that they're trying to tell us what to do... and along comes this pretty girl, who hands him a rubber, and says "Condoms. Use some, or get none."
And he looks at the rubber, he looks at her, and then he looks back at the camera, does a 180 degree turnaround and says Well, okay, condoms are good. Yeah.
So the way I see it... you're the guy, and the Hierarchy's the girl, and the rubber is whatever you need from them. You'll stand there with us and call yourself a Renegade, but you just want-
TK: For the love of Selene, how many times do I have to explain this to you? I don't call myself a Renegade. I don't want the Hierarchy to go anywhere - they're good for business. We're 'Renegades' because the Hierarchy's called us that. And that's it!
LLB: And we only have problems with their unjust enslaving of thralls as mindless doglike creatures... completely inhuman ... dehumanizing... and-
MSF: Oh man, did I walk into pussy central or what? Hellooo? Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? Is there a single Renegade in this room, other than me and... and this guy, here? (indicates MW)
MW: Slim... Shady...?
CHB: I think the trouble with you is that you're far too angry and unfocused. You'll lash out at anyone who stands in your way when you could take their hand, swallow some pride and work together. Why don't you try to be expedient?
MSF: Why don't you take that Campus Crusade for Communism crap and shove it up your-
MW: Tell me... please. Who is this Slim Shady? And why have I never heard of him?
TK: He's an asshole who beats his mother and wife, sir. No one near worthy of your attention. Anyway, we still haven't heard from the human butt, here.
MSF: About what?
Moderator: Why you got into the Renegades?
MSF: Man, I was chosen, man. They got me the moment I came over, and it's been a non-stop party, man.
CHB: So you've never even known just what you were rebelling against?
MSF: Of course I do! I see it all the fucking time. I'm just there, hanging with my crew, and here comes some patrol to mess with you just because they can. And they want you to join, or else they'll turn you into money. And you better eat that shit and smile, too, or it's time to go to the forge.
Of course I know what I'm up against. I just got out before anyone had a chance to put me in.
LLB: Then you don't know what we're really like. You're just seeing the outside.
MW: And he is fortunate in that, perhaps. See what being inside has made of you! You see what you call an injustice, but will not repudiate the entire system - which is built upon that injustice - for fear of what you would lose.
TK: I don't mind the Hierarchy as long as we're left alone.
CHB: But imagine what this could be like without them! If we but joined together, here and now, to work against them as one...
MSF: I am not wearing a shining mao button and marching to the 'internationale.' Fuck that noise.
LLB: You actually know what that is?
MSF: Yeah. I watch TV, too, man. I'm not completely ignorant.
CHB: Comrades, please! Let's-
TK: Hold up. Like I've said before, we don't want to join any huge revolution. We just want to do what we've been doing since time out of mind. And given that what we do doesn't strike you as being kosher, Comrade, I don't think joining you would be such a good idea, anyway.
LLB: I appreciate our system, there's just certain aspects... dehumanizing aspects... we wish to change. Other than that we're happy to call ourselves Legionnaires.
MW: And we will not have our plans placed on the block for discussion. We have mapped out the way in which the new Empire will be run, and it is a sound plan that needs no updating.
MSF: Hey, that's cool, man. But, like, what's the plan?
MW: I beg your pardon, young man?
MSF: I mean... well, do we get to see it before it's on the table? I don't want to sign onto something I don't know about, right?
MW: You will see it when it happens before you. "Loose lips sink ships" is the correct term, I believe...? (Looks right at TK, who squirms in her chair a little and doesn't reply)
CHB: So you're as good as admitting that you're just as much of a fascist as the Deathlords? You'll imprint your view on us when the time comes, and we don't even warrant a look?
LHB: That's not fair. The Deathlords are just dealing with an extraordinary situation-
MW: Oh, that they are... (Disappears)
Moderator: Um... yeah. Well, I guess that answers the next question I was going to ask: why not join forces?
TK: Yes, and if that's all there is, I think we should be going.
Moderator: Well, I do-
TK: I. Think. We should be going.
Now. (looks at the street outside)
True enough, she was right. We didn't get halfway out the back door before someone kicked the front one down. It was a whole Cohort of Legionnaires, all sent to get us. We all ran like pigs from a wolf, some of us slipping into the Tempest and the rest of us huffing it on land.
I managed to get away just fine, of course, and I suspect the representative of the Keepers had no problems either. I saw Mister Sister Fister less than a week ago at one of his group's "protests." He seemed really sedate and out of it, as though whatever he and the representative from Midnight Watch had shared had shaken him up a bit. Maybe he'll get with it. Maybe not.
As for the others, I'm not entirely sure. But I have it on good authority that Legionnaire Brown is now a barghest, himself. Word also says that the Cohort followed him here, courtesy of his Shadow, who always enjoyed spilling the beans on him. But the Nevada branch of the ABC is still around, if their latest fliers are any indication.