Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Savannah Zone: Street Milk

Factor's Walk, Savannah

One of the most insidious threats in the Savannah Zone is Street Milk. It's an organic syrup that smells faintly of alcohol and molasses. It seeps up from the seams where cobblestones and the foundations of buildings intersect.

Street Milk is particularly common along Factor's Walk, the interstitial street between West Bay Street up above, and River Street down below.  Street Milk is easy to spot during daytime. While it clings to the built environment, Street Milk never lurks indoors. It's always found on the outside of buildings. clinging to paved surfaces. Street Milk pools in patches up to 5 cm deep. It catches and reflects the sun. You can't miss it.

The night time is a different story. When it's dark, Street Milk absorbs rather than reflects light from artificial sources. It simply looks like a dark patch on a street. Observers often mistake Street Milk for a new pothole or a sinkhole.

The stuff seeps and moves about slowly on Factor's Walk during the daytime. But it migrates more broadly at night, and often thins itself down to the point of near invisibility. At night, Street Milk often seeps out of Factor's Walk, and onto the old stone stairs and walkways that join Factor's Walk to West Bay Street up above, and to River Street below.  It can easily seep into cracks in footwear. It is also slick and often causes deadly falls.

There's an illicit market for the stuff. A sub-type of Stalker, the Sloshers or Milkmen sneak into the Savannah Zone to collect the stuff. This generally requires an overnight stay in the Zone. Sloshers sneak-in during the evening, and find a place to hide and sleep. They rise with the sun, siphoning/hand-pumping up as much Street Milk as they can carry out in a few portable gas cans. Then they hide again, and sneak back out of the Zone at night.

A few Milk Labs under the historic district know how to cook Street Milk down into a solid pellet of pure Milk Rock.  About a half liter is required for one pure rock. This is then cut numerous times - sometimes with inert substances, and sometimes with other drugs.

The final street product's effects are similar to amphetamines. However, the drug also produces mild teratogenic changes in the repeat user, and even first-timers have reported experiencing a rather unique side effect of Milk Rock use, called Seeing Ghosts. These hallucinations are ghost-like apparitions, usually of people who went missing in the Zone at the time of The Visitation, but increasingly also of Stalkers who went missing or died there. Repeated users of the drug frequently report that their visions are frequently accompanied by extrasensory input including the perceptions and memories of people who disappeared during The Visitation, or of Stalkers who died in the Zone.

Most real Stalkers consequently have a superstitious fear of Street Milk and of the drug derived from it. They also avoid contact with Milk Rock users.

Stalkers look down on Sloshers; they say the Milkmen have no genuine interest in or connection to the Zone beyond the collection of Street Milk. The ill-paid security forces have a somewhat different point of view: they appreciate the bribes taken from Sloshers, Milk Labs, and Shosh Houses where Street Milk addicts congregate.

From the Zones logo courtesy of Hereticwerks

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