Portfolio: Apocalypse Arms
Dalton Colabello could never have predicted how drastically his life would change because of one inauspicious crate. A construction magnate with Credits to burn, Colabello’s passion for collecting antique weapons led him to buy a strange crate at a military surplus auction in Cestulus. Inside, Colabello found prototype parts for ship weapons unlike anything he had ever seen. The crate’s contents fascinated Colabello and started him on a journey that would end with the creation of Apocalypse Arms. After the auction, Colabello returned home and unsuccessfully attempted to reconstruct the weapons. Though he couldn’t get the prototypes working, he was captivated by their unique design and potential power. Colabello quickly became obsessed with uncovering their creator. Comms with the military warehouse only turned up one clue; the crate had been in storage since 2792. The year the Messer regime finally fell.
Fueled by the possibility that these weapons might be a lost part of history, Colabello hired private investigators to chase the digital trail and took the weapons to numerous experts, hoping that one of them could provide answers. Eventually, a Messer scholar at Reis’ Carey University found an archived datalog of shipments into and out of the Davien warehouse where Colabello had purchased the crate. A cross-reference against the extensive log scored a hit; the crate had been sent there from an address in Newcastle, Magnus.
The Elusive Engineer
Much to Colabello’s disappointment, a Casaba Outlet currently occupied the Newcastle address. Doubting that the fine purveyors of affordable fashion briefly made an inventive and bold set of ship weapons, Colabello searched the site’s 2792 property log. Records revealed that Genly Engineering Solutions was renting the space when the crate was shipped to Cestulus. Still, answers did not come easy. Outside of the name on the rental agreement, Genly did not seem to exist.
Years passed without any further information coming to light. Requests to the government uncovered nothing. The lack of progress sunk Colabello into a deep depression and he even considered selling the weapons. Yet his curiosity could not be extinguished. Hopeful that a brute force method would bear results, Colabello went to the Ark to meticulously checked Magnus’ 2792 census by hand, which, after months of pouring over names, led him to discover one Genly Maupin. Colabello was disappointed to learn that Genly was only six years old in 2792, but since he was still Colabello’s best lead in years, he kept digging and found out that Genly’s mother was Juliet Maupin, a former Aegis Dynamics engineer.
Months later, Colabello found the great-granddaughter of Juliet Maupin living in Lo and paid her a visit. He showed her the prototypes and asked if she had any idea if they were her great-grandmother’s creation. She explained that she had heard stories from her mother about the awards her great-grandmother had won for her scanner designs, but nothing about weapons. However, she was happy to allow Colabello to examine Juliet’s old notes. There, in an unlabeled folder, he found what he had sought for so long: Juliet’s original designs for the prototypes and a journal describing their creation.
The Unknown Genius
Prior to designing the weapons that would eventually inspire Apocalypse Arms, Juliet Maupin worked as a lead engineer for the titan of Cestulus industry, Aegis Dynamics. She led the team responsible for the 2783 revamped Retaliators still coveted by today’s “bomber boys.” Following that success, Maupin was introduced to Sylvain Evans, a high-ranking member of the UEE military. Evans enlisted Maupin for a classified project to produce a new line of powerful and advanced combat systems for the Messer government. Maupin leapt at the opportunity to design weapons with the freedom only government funding could provide.
In 2790, Linton Messer XI felt his Empire crumbling. From without, the ongoing Xi’An cold war and the emergent Vanduul threat were exacting a sustained toll, while from within, the death of Anthony Tanaka had begun to transform the dissenters among the public from mere activists to operational revolutionaries. Messer XI knew his time was limited unless he created a strategic advantage, i.e. bigger and better guns.
Evans provided Maupin with a high-tech lab and an able team in a non-descript building in Newcastle. To keep their work secret, the project was given the codename Genly Engineering Solutions in honor of Maupin’s young son. Building off the work she had done at Aegis, Maupin developed prototypes for a ballistic Gatling gun and a mass driver, the weapons that would eventually find their way into Colabello’s crate.
In 2792, the military picked up the prototypes with the intention of shipping them to Kilian for testing. During their journey, footage of the Massacre of Garron II leaked to the public and the entire UEE military was mobilized to quell the rebellion. The crate containing the weapons was offloaded into the Cestulus warehouse and forgotten until Colabello bought it well over a century later.
After the collapse of the Messer regime, Juliet Maupin grew concerned that her association with the corrupt government would be revealed. She swore off weapon design and fled with her family to the Corel System. Eventually, Maupin went to work at a Lo engineering firm where she worked on a project that built advanced scanning machines used to detect contraband along the UEE-Banu border. Many of the scanners still in use today are based off her designs. Maupin passed away in 2862 never knowing that her greatest contribution to the world was still to come.
After unraveling the mystery, Colabello knew what to do next. He purchased the original design documents from Maupin’s great-granddaughter, sold his construction business and poured all his assets into launching Apocalypse Arms, a name inspired by a line in Maupin’s journals that described her desire to “build guns that could overcome any situation … even the apocalypse.”
With the full designs in hand, Colabello was finally able to get the prototypes working and the first line of Apocalypse Arms branded munitions hit the market in 2913. Though updated to take advantage of modern technology, most of what Maupin had originally conceived over a hundred years earlier remained untouched, especially the weapons’ unique style and overpowering performance. In a bold move, Apocalypse Arms’ inaugural sales campaign did not shy away from saying the guns were built for the Messers. Many found the strategy obscene, but sales proved it to be effective. Colabello went on any Spectrum show, whether hosted by friend or foe, to talk about the weapons’ history, and how these innovative and powerful guns were saved from being used by a despot. From his perspective, Apocalypse Arms was a Human success story.
Today, the specter of the Messers still hangs over Apocalypse Arms and has driven some to shun their products. Many more automatically associate the name with its prevalence in chaotic conflict zones like Nexus IV and Charon III. Still, the guns’ quality and effectiveness cannot be denied, and over the years, the brand has built a loyal fan base. Using Maupin’s innovative designs as inspiration, Colabello has hired new engineers to continue to expand AA’s catalogue. All of this makes Apocalypse Arms one of the more interesting, and deadly, manufacturers in the Empire.