|Type of Government:||Raider band with quasi-mythological and tehcno-shamanistic overtones|
|Location(s):||Zero Point, Minnesota|
|Notable members:||Exaxes (I), Exaxes (IV)|
The Exaxes were born alongside the other Decimator warbands, raised by Dexter Malak (better known as Deximaxx) in his first convention in the ruins of Zumbro Falls. Their first leader was Henry Richardson, who was bestowed with the ‘name of power’ of Exaxes by Deimaxx. Like the other warcheifs, Exaxes was indoctrinated into Decimaxx’s mythology of ancient warrior kings and centuries-old traditions, and given his instructions on how to fulfill his ‘legacy’ while ensuring its perpetuity.
However, within these constraints, the warcheifs were free to shape their warbands as they saw fit. In Richardson’s case, he molded the culture of the Exaxes on his own fascination with robotics and technology. Richards believed that, had the Great War not intervened, then technology and artificial intelligence would have continued to a point where (in his words) “mankind and machine are united as one, a singular point where the two become indistinguishable.” He felt that, through the Exaxes, he could achieve this goal.
His earliest followers would lay the foundation stones for that as he built the Warband. Like the other warcheifs, Exaxes recruited troops, trained and armed them. However, he also had agents in the field that were scavenging for robots and other devices that they could use. These agents discovered material that was used in the construction of their first robots; while crude and haphazard, they still served as a valuable augmentation to the Warband's forces. At the same time, they laid the groundwork for the Warband's eventual fascination with technology.
Like the other Decimator warbands, the Exaxes spent their early years increasing their numbers while raiding across the Minnesota region. As with others and traditional raider groups, their early goals were aimed more at survival than anything else, with food, water, and other supplies, as well as slaves, being their primary goals. Initially, their Technological aims were more secondary to just simply trying to stay alive, but they were always present and always a part of their plans.
The Exaxes' biggest early boon came in 2209 when the group captured the commune known as Robotopia. Built in the ruins of Chickamaw Beach, the community was home to a gathering of eccentrics who enjoyed tinkering with pre-war robots. The Exaxes captured the majority of them alive, putting them to work both in building robots for their own forces, as well as teaching their own people their skills. At the same time, the commune yielded a treasure trove of parts, which allowed them to construct a number of new robots. The Robo-Throne, a hybrid of weapons platform, command unit and furniture, was one of them. By 2210, the Exaxes had made Robotopia, now known as Zero Point, their base of operations.
Due to their technological focus, the Exaxes grew slower than some of the other warbands. However, their use of Robots to supplement their numbers offset this somewhat, as did their growing interest in other areas of technology. The Exaxes began to trade with other Warbands, swapping raw materials and other goods for working examples of advanced weaponry and other devices. This further aided their technological aims, which in turn allowed them to maintain their standing against the larger Warbands.
In 2221, Exaxes (I) chose to stand down as the leader of the warband, due to old age and failing health. He appointed Xiue Woolang, one of his lieutenants, as his successor. This decision was to have far-reaching consequences for the entire warband.
Exaxes (II) proved to be very different to his predecessor in many respects. Having spent much of his life in the warband, he shared their fascination with technology and especially robotics. However, while Exaxes (I) had been more driven by the idea of man and machine becoming one, Exaxes (II) was more interested in how they could be used as weapons of war.
Under his rule, the Exaxes became more openly aggressive, increasing not only the tempo of their raiding, but also their aggression and drive. Seeking to compete more directly with the other Warbands, especially Tigon and Axoid, Exaxes drove his troops to expand their holdings and not only to take what they wanted, but to aggressively seize territory and claim it for their own. Fully aware of the rules and guidelines that the Decimators were founded on, Exaxes (II) was careful not to cross into territories where the other Warbands operated. This lead to the Exaxes being the first warband to cross the old state lines, making their first raids into Wisconsin territory in May 2223.
While the warband did continue to experiment with Robots, Exaxes (II) tried to ensure that their focus was entirely on weapons of war. As their numbers grew, he began to push the band further to add more weapons to their arsenal, especially those of unusual or exotic designs. Those that bought such devices to the Warband were rewarded. As the Exaxes continued their growth, he began to promote its more aggressive members, favoring strength and skill in battle over knowledge and technical prowess.
Like the other Warbands, the Exaxes' activities made enemies. There were those that rose up in opposition, but due to the Decimators' sheer numbers and being far more organized than the typical raiders, few of them ever succeeded in even slowing them down. But when a group did become big or powerful enough to take them on, the results were often bloody to behold.
Such was the case of the Minnesota Militia. The group had risen in response to the Decimators, formed by a collation of communities who had suffered under their hand. During a raid in 2233 that Exaxes (II) personally lead, his forces met stronger than expected opposition, turning what was meant to be a raid into a pitched and bloody fight. During the battle, Exaxes (II) was injured; thrown by this, the warband retreated to lick its wounds.
What nobody expected would be Exaxes' response. While it wasn't clear if it was his injury or the humiliation of a near-defeat, Exaxes (II) became much more aggressive and violent in the aftermath. He began to push his troops harder, stepping up the tempo of their operations. No longer were the Exaxes trying to overcome their image as a 'lesser' band, now they were at war with the Minnesota Milita. And while other Warbands were also in conflict with the group, the Exaxes had positioned themselves at the forefront. All too often this would be quite literal, with Exaxes (II) leading their forces from atop the Robo-Throne.
After a number of bloody clashes, the Exaxes began to take the upper hand in the conflict, driving the Militia back on several fronts. This lead to their digging in, their resistance becoming far stiffer and more dogged as they were less fighting to protect the people and more for their survival.
The July 2235 battle of Baxter Farm was the peak of this conflict, as the Exaxes launched an all-out assault aimed at eliminating much of the Militia's strength. Lead by Exaxes (II), the group struck hard and without mercy, forcing the Minnesota Militia into a defensive posture. Surrounded and outnumbered, they were saved by a stroke of good fortune when a stray shot killed the Decimator leader. The resultant confusion bought enough time for the surviving militiamen to retreat, preserving what little remained of their strength.
Leaderless and with many of Exaxes (II)'s high-ranking followers dead or injured, the Exaxes were left in a bad position. A hasty meeting of their surviving ranking members was called in order to choose a new leader. Feeling that they had strayed too far from their original goals, the cabal chose Athena Olsen, a second-generation Exaxes member born to two of the warband's original warriors as their new leader. After her appointment was verified by Decimaxx, Athena became Exaxes (III), the new leader of the Warband.
Her first act was to refocus the Exaxes away from militarism and back towards their attempts to understand and advance technology. While they were still primarily raiders that preyed on others in order to survive, the Exaxes began to undertake more expeditionary missions aimed at recovering technology and attempting to decipher it. Under her hand, a degree of mysticism began to take root in the Exaxes, aimed at not just understanding technology, but more revering it. The concept of the singularity, where man and machine become one, became more than just a concept, maturing into a philosophical ideal for the Warband to follow.
However, this did not mean that she eschewed violence either. After rebuilding their armed strength, Exaxes (III) pursued an active campaign aimed at wiping out the remaining members of the Minnesota Militia. The goal was not only to remove an organized opposition group, but also to punish them for their part in her predecessor's death. By the end of Fall 2238, the last traces of the Militia had been either destroyed, or had fled the region.
The next biggest challenge to the Exaxes came not from a military threat, but a cultural one. The destruction of the Decimaxx warband in 2249 decapitated the Decimators, shattering the structures that had been the basis of their society for nearly five decades. Exaxes were particularity stung by this loss, as they had always counted Decimaxx as a close ally for a number of reasons. Now they were culturally isolated and lacked strong bonds to their fellows.
The Long Winter
While the connections between the Decimator Warbands did weaken, Exaxes became particularly insular. The warband did little to interact with their fellows, and instead descended into their techno-shamanism, further developing their beliefs and strictures. This only served to further isolate them from the other Decimators, reinforcing their status as begin a fringe group at the edges of their culture.
The Exaxes responded in kind, choosing not to engage with others, and only sending a handful of representatives to the annual Convention at the Citadel. Exaxes (III) herself rarely contributed anything at the meetings of the warcheifs beyond those few matters that required a full vote. Instead, she deliberately cultivated an image of a mystic, even going so far as to wear a mask made from a ruined power armor helmet.
Even as their relationships with the rest of the Decimators contracted, the Exaxes continued their research and expeditions. By the early 2260s, they were the most technologically advanced and capable of the Decimator warbands, with their admittedly small population now boosted by a considerable army of various rebuilt and modified Robots. The group earned some small favor from Warband Vexar, who took to trading with them, exchanging recovered robot parts for high-tech weaponry and supplies. Conversely, relations between the Exaxes and Tigon Warband cooled even further, with the Tigon seeing the Exaxes as being weak for their reliance on robots.
Ironically, it would be this rivalry that would lead to a rebirth in the Decimators. At the 2265 conference, the Tigon announced their intent to launch an invasion of Illinois, boasting openly of all the high-tech treasures they would find and how they intended to share none of it with the Exaxes. This move lead to a rare bold declaration from Exaxes (III) herself, who broke her image of a wizened elder to publicly denounce Tigon for their foolishness. Her words seemed to only spur the warband on, which in turn lead to their destruction.
The effective destruction of Tigon was the impetus for the rebuilding of the Decimators, a sudden wake-up call that served to remind them of their collective mortality as an idea and concept. As Vexar (III) put it, by drifting apart, the Decimators were undermining the same goals of unity and self-perpetuation that they had been founded on. This did not stop the Decimators from taking advantage of Tigon's plight; with no leader and no representation to the Conference, the warband was quietly and unofficially declared to be fair game for the others. Exaxes, in particular, spent a lot of time in avenging themselves in Tigon for their perceived slights.
However, even with that past issue resolved (after a fashion), the Exaxes still found themselves at the fringes of Decimator culture. Their isolationism had made a degree of sense as the Decimators had drifted apart, but now as they were coming back together, the Exaxes began to find themselves without allies and support. They were very much isolated, and had little chance to grow or exert their influence. Much of the blame could be laid at the feet of Exaxes (III) herself, and her isolationist tendencies.
Fully aware of her own mortality as well as the need for change, Exaxes (III) stepped down in 2271, having served for thirty-seven years. Reclaiming her birth name, she retreated into seclusion and spent her last years working on a series of philosophical treatises about man's relationship with the mechanical.
In her place, the Exaxes selected Jeff Verne as their new leader. A young and charismatic man with surprising strategic acumen, Verne had displayed a degree of energy and drive that had been lacking in the stratified upper ranks of the warband. Jeff accepted the nomination, and attended the 2271 Convention as the newly appointed Exaxes (IV). One of his first acts was to try and mend fences with the other warbands and end the isolationism that his predecessor had so strongly built up. The process was not easy, however, both due to the two decades of distrust and the perception that the Exaxes had strayed far from the Decimators' original ideas through their technological worship.
Exaxes (IV) managed to win back some of that trust through shows of force, with the Exaxes launching expeditionary attacks into Wisconsin and Michigan in 2273, showing that they did not lack for martial skill and aggression. This won them some manner of respect and acceptance from the other warbands, helping to erode some of that distrust. However, at the same time, the Warband still found itself both politically and culturally isolated. Between 2273 and 2282, the Exaxes were never once nominated for the position of Prime Warband, showing signs of the ongoing mistrust.
The Flint River War
Following the 2282 Convention, Exaxes (IV) came to the realization that his warband drastically needed to change its image. Even with the revitalization of the Decimators that had occurred over the last decade and a half, the Exaxes were still seen as a fringe group to Decimator culture as a whole. Their obsession with technology and Techno-shamanisim were more derided then anything else, seen as silly superstitions by the other warbands who clearly still saw military prowess and force of arms as a true indicator of strength.
While he acknowledged this, Exaxes (IV) had no desire to take his warband down the same self-destructive path that his predecessor had followed. While he wished to remake the Exaxes as a military power, he planned to do such by careful moves rather than all-out bloodshed. While he felt that a war would be inevitable, he intended for it to be on his terms and with goals that would support the Exaxes as a whole.
For the last two years, the Exaxes had been receiving reports about the Foundry, a community located along the Flint River in Michigan. Supposedly a center for heavy industry and technology, the Foundry sounded like an idea target. Capturing it would give the Exaxes access to technology and machinery that would allow them to not only increase their military power, but also come closer to their goals of technological singularity.
As tempting a target as it was, Exaxes (IV) also knew that it would not be an easy one. The Foundry was heavily fortified, and boasted a large army. Added to that was the simple tyranny of distance; the Exaxes would need to stage a good portion of their forces well away from their regular territories in order to mount a successful campaign. A more detailed investigation of the region added a new level of woes to their plans as the Exaxes scouts reported just how heavily polluted the Flint River was, and how the Foundry had a monopoly on the region's clean water supply. This situation had lead to conflict between the Foundry and other groups, but none had the strength to challenge the fortress city.
Exaxes sent out ambassadors to some of the other communities along the river, offering them an alternative. He sold them on the idea of forming a collation to defeat the Foundry, with their numbers supplemented by the Exaxes' soldiers and robots. He built on the not inconsiderable resentment against the Foundry, sweetening the deal with 'gifts' of technological items and imported clean water. He quickly found willing allies, with the Exaxes building a collation among the dissatisfied. Of course, the Exaxes never had any intention of sharing power; however, they knew that once the Foundry was theirs, they could easily eliminate their surviving allies.
During 2284, the Exaxes began a build-up at their forward citadel of Machine's Reach, moving troops, robots and supplies into the region. At the same time, they were working alongside their newfound allies to train them to function as an army. In March 2285, the Exaxes launched their campaign, letting their allies lead the way with their greater knowledge of the area. Initially, the campaign went well, with the numbers the Exaxes were able to bring to bear pushing back the Foundry on several fronts.
However, the pace quickly faltered as the Foundry dug in, intent on keeping the battle away from their city while bleeding their would-be conquerors dry. As the campaign dragged on, the Exaxes found his resources strained and his alliance fraying as the offensive bogged down into a bloody stalemate. In August 2285, desperate to get the campaign back on track, the Exaxes essentially forced their allies into a major offensive, aimed at marching to the gates of the Foundry itself.
Instead, the offensive walked into a well-organized trap, meeting far stiffer opposition than expected. The Foundry's forces, lead by the Forgemaster himself, smashed the first wave of attackers before mounting their own counter-offensive. Suffering severe losses, the Exaxes were forced to pull back, while many of their allies simply broke and ran. Knowing full well that the offensive was unsalvageable, the Exaxes pulled back to Machine's Reach, effectively abandoning their allies and ending the war.
The Flint River had cost the warband much for no real gain. Rather than catapulting them to pre-eminence, it had drained their strength and further marginalized their place among the Decimators. For the last two years, the warband has had little option but to try and rebuild its strength while abandoning its plans for conquest and expansion.
For the Exaxes at Machine’s Reach, the situation continued to remain grim as 2287 rolled around. While the Warband had relocated a considerable portion of their force to the outpost, in the years since the Flint River War they had not received reinforcements. The reality of the situation was simple; the warband could ill-afford to throw more troops into a far-reaching outpost of their forces while maintaining their own conquered lands in Minnesota and Wisconsin. To that end, Kei Henderson, the outpost’s commander, was forced to make do with what he had.
Not too long after the new year, news reached him that presented a potential opportunity. There were reports of a disease outbreak within the Foundry, one that was sapping the strength and numbers of his workers. Curious as to the implications but at the same time cautious against tall tales or even a deliberate trap, he sent out his own spies to verify the situation and see how the Exaxes could exploit it to their own ends.
The first recon reports proved to be interesting. While the Foundry still had active patrols and scavenging teams in the Flint River working among the ruins, there was now far fewer of them active than before, even accounting for the typical slowdown in activity that occurred over winter. Further exploration, with agents infiltrating trading posts and fringe communities, confirmed that the Foundry was buying up medicines at an increasing rate, and were seemingly willing to pay for them with large quantities of freshly made guns.
The Exaxes are a part of the Decimators, and, as such, are bound by their culture and its rules. This makes them in effect a Raider band, albeit a strong and well-organized one with an underlying mythology aimed at self-perpetuity. However, the Exaces have their own particular twist on this mythology which makes them, in many ways, the most unique and distinctive of the Warbands.
Their founder, Exaxes (I), was fascinated by the idea of technology, and in specific artificial intelligence and robotics. Exaxes believed that human and machine would come together in a ‘single point’ where the two would become indistinguishable, and that it was his duty to guide mankind towards this point. To this end, he made such the goal of the Exaxes warband, one that would be achieved through their salvaging and employment of robots and other high technology.
Initially, this saw them employing robots to bolster their forces. Many of these machines were salvaged, and they often would sport improvised repairs or customized parts. As their armies grew, those within the Exaxes who possessed mechanical or electronic skills were highly valued for their ability to repair, rebuild and modify robots further. The Exaxes came to prize technical ability over fighting skill.
Over generations, this fascination with technology would evolve into a form of Techno-shamanism, the Exaxes seeking to take on the traits of the machines that they built and used. In much the same way that tribals might venerate the spirits of animals and wear their skins as a form of veneration, the Exaxes would do the same with robots. Warriors would wear armor made from destroyed robots, and their camps would be decorated with totems made from machinery. However, this Techno-Shamanism was still grounded in the practical; the Exaxes would not ‘waste’ good parts as armor or decorations that could be better employed on a fighting robot.
The colour of the Exaxes warband is purple. This colour often appears on their armour, and they will often paint their robots to match.
The Exaxes are currently driven by two main goals, one practical and the other more philosophical. The first is their desire to become the ‘Prime’ warband of the Decimators, the second is their underlying desire to achieve Exaxes (I)’s dream of uniting man and machine.
Throughout their history, the Exaxes have only been, at best, a mid-tier Warband. While undisputedly the most technologically advanced of the Decimators, their numbers were generally smaller than the other Warbands. At the same time, the Exaxes were often seen as being outliers by the other Warbands due to their beliefs, preferring technological superiority over the martial prowess favored by most of their counterparts. These two factors are seen to have stymied the growth of their influence, with the Exaxes having never been voted as the Prime Warband and only rarely even nominated.
To this end, Exaxes (IV) embarked on a bold program to greatly influence his Warband’s power. He sought alliances outside the Decimators, a move that while unusual was not against their teachings. At the same time, he sought to massively expand their territories while also targeting potential treasure troves of sophisticated technology. This lead to the Flint River War, which ultimately proved to be a disaster for the Exaxes. Forced to fall back, the Warband has been rebuilding but has not given up its goal.
Since their foundation, the Exaxes have been driven by their first leader’s dream of machine and man unified as one. To this end, the Exaxes have embraced technology to its fullest in order to bring them closer to the machine. Their experiments with building robots and the like are not just creating weapons, but also aimed at finding ways to improve technology, and to incorporate it into themselves.
In order to further this goal, the Exaxes actively seek out sources of advanced pre-war technology wherever possible. While robots and computers are their primary focus, along with weapons, they are fascinated by all manner of pre-war technology. Even if they have no immediate use for a device, they might still claim it to study or even to display in a form of veneration. The Exaxes are particularly interested in Vaults, and have been searching for any that might lie within their territories in order to fully explore them.
While a more liberal Warband, the membership of the Exaxes is still made up entirely of humans. During the Flint River War, the warband did form alliances with Ghoul groups, but none were ever permitted to join the Warband proper. The Exaxes have the same rules for recruitment, membership and the like as the other Decimators, continuing the self-perpetuating mythology that guides them. However, their leaders are typically chosen not from who is the greatest warrior, but who has demonstrated the greatest technological skill.
Aside from their human members, the Exaxes also boast a number of Robots that are used to supplement their forces. Many of these are unique constructions, cobbled together from salvage and then modified depending on the parts available or whatever ideas have occurred to their creators in order to ‘better’ their condition. While the Exaxes are fully aware that their robots are not sentient and do not treat them as full members, they also see them as being more compatriots then simple servants. In many cases, robots are treated better than human slaves. Some long-serving robots, such as the Robo-Throne are treated with a degree of reverence.
The Exaxes traditionally were found in central Minnesota and western Wisconsin, raiding communities and exploring as they wished. At the same time, they were always careful to avoid conflicts with the other Decimators over territory and resources. While semi-nomadic, they maintain a central headquarters (which is equal parts base of operations, workshop and temple) at Zero Point (Formerly Chickamaw Beach, Minnesota).
During their campaign of expansion, the Exaxes moved further east, heading towards the Flint River in Michigan. This expansion lead to the disastrous Flint River War, which resulted in their pulling back from many of their new gains. However, they still maintain their forward base in Machine’s Reach (Formerly Montrose, Michigan).
Technology and Equipment
The Exaxes are the most technologically sophisticated of the Decimators, but even then that technology is not evenly distributed among its membership. Most of its members are armed with relatively simple weapons, with makeshift ‘pipe’ guns being common. Others will be armed purely with improvised melee weapons. Body armor often consists of scrap metal that has been beaten into shape. However, even at these lower ends of the warband, automatic weapons can be frequently found among their members.
It is at the upper end of the Exaxes that the technological difference truly shows. Many of their lieutenants and other ranking members will be armed with more advanced weaponry. In many cases, these will be either rewards for their service to the band or loot taken from some pre-war source. At the upper end, Wattz 2000 and AER9 laser weapons can be found, along with more exotic items like P94 plasma weapons, M72 Gauss Rifles or Gamma Guns. Likewise, the ranking members of the Exaxes often have the privilege of wearing armor made from the wreckage of destroyed robots, in essence allowing them to become closer to the machine.
The current leader of the Warband was born Jeff Verne to second-generation Decimator parents. Growing up during the long, dark years following the destruction of Decimax and the Decimators’ gradual drifting apart, Verne could see that their culture was slowly eroding itself. While he wholeheartedly embraced the Exaxes’ ideals of technological reverence and achieving singularity, he did not take the same detached, almost mystic approach towards these matters as many of his fellows. Instead, he was more dynamic and active, leading expeditions to discover new tech or knowledge, or, where needed, take it from those who currently held it.
Verne’s actions bought him to the attention of Exaxes (III), the long-standing leader of the Warband. While his dynamic, active approach was very different from her philosophical and introspective one, she also recognised in him a potential future for the warband and perhaps the Decimators as a whole. In 2271 she nominated him as the new leader of the warband, entrusting him to build their future.
Now known as Exaxes (IV), Verne continued to build on the direction he had embraced. Under his leadership, the normally conservative Warband became more dynamic and active, seeking to become a leader within the Decimators. Verne also was more adept to taking risks, possibly the greatest of which was the Michigan expedition that would eventually result in the Flint River War. While this move would ultimately backfire, it did leave the Exaxes with a foothold in Michigan. Not to be discouraged, Verne has begun seeking other allies that could be useful in future, and still remains determined to see the Exaxes become Prime among the Warbands.
|This has been written by Darthfish. Please contact this user before editing this article.|