CC vignettes #2: The Fern Wars

“… and our platoon arrived for service about twenty years into the broader conflict. We were part of a Clapper unit. [Murmuring] Oh, a Clapper? They were sort of… biomechanical, I guess. I’m not sure. The indigenous forces providing fire support had loads of them. Maybe relics from an older, more primitive war… though they must’ve been old as hell, because nobody knew who’d built them or why.

They had a weird way about ’em, those Clappers. They seemed responsive enough to take orders—the, uh, indigenous troops controlled things with little flutes—but I dunno. Sometimes you just got the feeling they’d been in the fight a little too long. This one time, we ordered our Clapper to mow down a platoon across a marsh. ‘Stead of turning its guns on the enemy, though, it just spun back around, grabbed the flute handler, and started tuggin’ like they were a ragdoll.

I’ve never seen limbs come off so easily. Well, anyway, ever since that day… everyone kept their distance from the Clappers. Especially me.”

– Ardent Restorer Valkris

This is a curious entry. There isn’t much recorded history of the Fern Wars in official Hegemony records, but if you do a little digging, you’ll find that 0.27% of their forces participated in the conflict at one point or another. That may not sound like much, but when you run that number against the Hegemony’s total rosters, it’s significant. Curiously enough, however, there are no images or vids of the aforementioned “Clappers.” The best we have is this painting, which was produced by the Hegemony’s official art liaison at some point during Operation Decisive Venture. It’s worth nothing that the same art liaison was killed just two months later, his death listed as “Accidental: Mechanical Malfunction and/or Defection.”

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