- "The call of the Devil himself! I've had friends go to chase it down and never come back! sure they could have got lost on the way, but i'll tell you this mister; whenever some does go in there, you can never tell, even if you were only a day apart."
- ―an old prospector in the Highlands
|Location:||The Highlands, Tamaulipas, Mexico|
|Current status:||calling lost souls|
An eerie and off-putting broadcast heard only occasionally in the winding valleys of the Highlands, the call has only added to the region's reputation. Despite all evidence to the contrary, there are those who believe that the station has never stopped broadcasting since the war...
La llamada was first heard by a caravan in 2113. Passing along the trails there, their radio was scanning for frequencies and picked up a panicked distress call in English. According to the men it was between American soldiers at a relay station and their superiors, with audible gunshots in the background. Tracking the site of the broadcast by identifying and following the signal strength, they explored for three days.
When they finally came upon the source of the broadcast, they found it to be a small Quanset hut with a radio mast outside of it. Entering the building, they found it untouched since the War. They left shortly after arriving, removing nothing. They retold the story around several cantinas in the District, and even shared the location of the station to skeptics.
Only one group of mercenaries actually dared to make the trek to The Highlands, going after they escorted a caravan. They confirmed both its existence and the unsettlingness of it. They also spoke of the cleanliness of it, as if it hadn't been disturbed since the war. Four months later in October another broadcast was heard. This time reported by a group of Comancheros who heard some form of game show. Called por la Fama y la Fortuna! Which contestants competed in trivia contests for prizes.
Not hearing the show before, the gang was intrigued and set off for several days throughout the highlands. They managed to stumble upon the building the signal came from as the sun was setting one night and instantly knew it was the place. When they threw the door open however, the Comancheros were greeted with the same sight as the merchants were; an undisturbed studio. When the gang told the tale later in the District, they were told of the merchants.
This second account would help the legend of The Call to be passed around the cultural fire of the region, leading to a relatively widespread knowledge by 2134. That April, a group of seasonal laborers were moving through the Highlands when their radio picked up a surprising broadcast. It was a news bulletin from the National News Desk, reporting on the status of the American Occupation. To compound their shock, the broadcaster signed off on July 12, 2055.
Having heard the stories of "the ghosts in the hills" already however, the workers moved with haste to Nuevo Leon. The traders there relayed the tale to their colleagues in the east when they encountered them, adding another chapter to the story. Two years later another broadcast was heard, this time by a mercenary band returning from a contract. They swore it was the game show por la Fama y la Fortuna!, and whats more the host referenced things from 2047.
By this time, the legend of the "Ghost Radio" in the hills was already well established to the people of the District and many of those in Nuevo Leon. The stories discouraged many from seeking them out (or even traveling in The Highlands in some cases), though some adventure seekers would continue to seek out the studio.
There would be three more broadcasts by 2200, the first occurring in 2157. According to the lone slaver who heard it, it was between two groups of American soldiers, who were hunting down a group of coyotes. The slaver, who had fled to the mountains to avoid a lynching, died soon after telling of the broadcast, frustrating those who sought answers for the phenomenon.
The next occurred in 2186, heard by a caravan of merchants heading to Nuevo Leon. They reported to have heard part of Aniceto Ortega del Villar's Guatimotzin (though they were unaware at the time). They were so shook that they turned around and returned to the District. Many found it interesting for music to be played on the frequency, but another expedition to the station proved fruitless.
The third took place in the last days of 2199, and was said to been a call for help from a downed American supply plane, with the pilot requesting reinforcements and trucks for the supplies. This caught the ears of Lobo Malvado, the leader of one of the district's (at the time) most famous mercenary bands. He and the rest of his Bushhawk Regulators would follow the coordinates deep into The Highlands after which they would never been seen again (though sightings of them continued as far west as Baja as late as 2221).
This broadcast was relayed by a merchant who had been camping with Malvado that night, and who had Malvado's current contract to prove it. After this incident, the station would be quiet for the next thirty years. This would be ended in 2236, when a party of Comancheros and the posse chasing them were witness to another broadcast. This would be from another episode of Fama y la Fortuna, apparently between filming sessions. According to men from both sides, the host, Orcecha Edmonto, yelling at one of the show's prize girls. He reportedly called her a whore, fired her, and yelled that her child wasn't his. They say she could be heard sobbing he she was escorted away.
This would mark the beginning of a four year period, with broadcasts heard once (or even twice) a month. The content would vary dramatically, from more episodes of 'fame and fortune', more opera, news bulletins to strange sounds and sirens. They would end as suddenly as they started in November of 2247. Following the last broadcast, the frequency would be silent until December 2256. The broadcast heard that night might have been the strangest, being heard only in the District and being an advertisement for Pork Sausages.
Despite the fears of some in the urban ruins, the station would again fall silent for almost a decade, with a Lipan scout reporting another broadcast in 2265. It was another News Bulletin he said, this one reporting nuclear weapons were inbound towards Mexico and that citizens should seek refuge.
There has only been only more transmission reported since then, heard early in 2279 by a pair of prospectors. They claimed that the broadcast was of Edmonto's last moments. Seemingly occurring in a hospital room, the gentle whirring of machine's could be heard. There was nothing else for a short time until a woman can vaguely be heard speaking, followed by muffled shouting leading to a loud whining sound.
While seemingly his murder, many are divided over what it could mean, or how they could even hear it. A caravan passing through the region in 2283 would hear a new broadcast, this time a young girl calling for her mother in spanish. While short, it would be thought of as one of the more unsettling broadcasts.
Though the actual relay station is located in a remote clearing deep in The Highlands, the broadcasts have been picked up on most of the trails and roads throughout the region. More curious, those who have heard The Call describe themselves as feeling anxious and uneasy afterwords. The station was host to numerous campers and skeptics since it's rediscovery, but whenever one group leaves and the next come in, its as they are the first.