A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
Leaning my head against Jonn's shoulder, I try to relax. When the bright flash happens, I scream in fear, thinking we are all dead.
Considering raising my hand, I decide against it. Besides, who can chew anything with a beak. "Crikeey woman, you nearly frightened the chicken poop out of me! Control yourself or we'll toss your skinny Gren ass out along the roadside." Looking around at the group, I think that I might have misspoken, as all eyes look at me harshly.
Jonn too, is startled by Lamia's scream, and in fact may have screamed himself had his reflexes not instead been diverted to avert his gaze from the photons bouncing off the rear-view periscope.
"Cool your jets, Captain. Nobody's getting thrown out on my watch," Jonn calmly assures the Roosteroid. He wonders if the good Captain had been spooked more by the nuclear explosion than by Lamia's outburst. Leghorn clucks nervously, like the time after Brimstone mauled him back at the factory....
"Say, and where's Brownst--er, Brimstone?" Jonn asks. "Don't tell me you threw him out, Captain!" Jonn kids.
Walking silently behind Goatsmilk, I faintly detect a change in air pressure. Air pressure... probably created by a large object entering this tunnel. A large object, moving a lot of air around it. Pausing slowly, I place my foot squarely flat on the ground and my hand on the wall. Vibrations?
As simple as Brimstone's mind is, he just can't make any sense of it.
As for the rest of the group, they are still four hours to the south on Highway 61.
Those vibrations suddenly change into a very strong tremor that shakes the tunnel and brings down bits of debris and dust.
I sink back down into my seat careful not to hook my spurs. "I say, I say, yes Jonn, we threw Brownstone's ckicken-scratching courgaroid butt out!" I say, puffing up like a proud coc---er, rooster. I cluck nervously, putting a new cigar in my beak.
I realize Jonn is king rooster of the yard, but it's still nice to test him for weakness. You never know when a new rooster can take over!
"Sorry for screaming Jonn," I whisper. Shooting the rooster a harsh gaze in the dark grav-car, I lean on Jonn's shoulder and drift off to sleep.
"Let'sth sthee if we can find sthomething on the airwavesth," Howard injects into the tense air of the grav-car's conversation. He turns the frequency modulation and amplitude modulation dials, but finds nothing but static. "Pigsth-it! Nothin' on. Musth be too far away from New Alby."
Howard glances at Gallus 5/13's head sitting on the dashboard. "Hey G, keep an anthennae outh for ol' T-Rexth. You pick up any sthray warboth sthignalsth, I wanna know abouth 'em."
Continuing, he turns to Geo. "Do you remember where our old grav-car broke down? I wanna cram sthome more sthpare partsth from the wreckagthe in the trunk. Never know when we're gonna need 'em."
Then, Howard glances in the rear-view reflective glass at Jonn and the sleepy Gren. "And, Jonn, justh look at the two of you! <sigh> Heh heh. Justh kidding!"
Looking at our newcomer. "I say, I say there Jake... you know why the Pure Strain human crossed the road? To get to the Oadesa-Chicken-Factory! Har, har, har. I'm Captain Leghorn," (and I introduce everyone else except Jonn and Lamia). Reaching out to shake Jake's hand, I jerk my hand back. "Har, har, har, fake out!"
"Should I terminate the Roosteroid, Jonn? Or should I just wing it?" asks the K-11 security robot.
"Sure Howard," says the robot head after translating the mutant duck's language, leaving off the th's.
"Yes, my memory has not been damaged, Howard. The red grav-car should be to your left along the edge of the road about four hours from now. Look for all the scratch marks on the Highway. You know, the N.M. Highway Department will not be happy with you, Howard. And what's the deal with the black-eyed-jake?"
The silence that follows K-11's cold reply is so thick that Jonn couldn't have sliced it with a vibro dagger. Captain Leghorn breaks the silence with a loud swallow that seems to get caught in his craw.
"No, K-11," Jonn replies, yawning. Caressing the auburn locks at his right shoulder sends a twinge of pain from the opposite one---the one very capably winged by the coldly effective security 'bot.
He continues, "The Captain is a valuable member of our group. Without him, we couldn't have called this foray a success. And he just re-proved his worth by correcting my lapse in human social protocol: I forgot the introductions! Thanks Cap!"
Jonn adds, turning to Jake and K-11, "Oh, and this here's Lamia. She's had a rough day. And thanks for coming with us, K-11. You really came through with that nuke."
Uncocking his pistol, the K-11 security robot puts it back in its holster. "You are a Pure Strain human, Jonn, and that makes you very special. I am the one honored even to be allowed to travel with you." The K-11's red glowing eyes give off an ominous light within the grav-car.
Many boring hours pass by until it is well after midnight.
"There is the old grav-car Howard!" Geo says, pointing it out with his middle finger. "Maybe I should take over driving after we continue?"
Slowly, your new limo grav-car comes to a stop beside your much smaller and now ruined previous grav-car at the side of the road.
Stepping out of the grav-car as soon as the limo grav-car stops (and closing the door behind him), the K-11 draws both pistols and opens fire, firing dozens of rounds per second of laser blasts into the darkness. Suddenly from dozens of different positions, bullets begin pinging off the bullet-proof grav-car. Some even spark as they strike the bullet-proof security robot.
Awakened from a dead sleep, Lamia says, "Are we there yet?" and then realizes what is happening.
As the hours roll by, I slowly pull myself out of the pit of my despair. True, I'm travelling with a crew that reminds me of "Through the Looking Glass" on acid, and my Rip Van Winklish sleep of 100-some-odd years means I've got a severe case of future shock; but if I let myself be the Underdog then that means Jonn is Sweet Polly Pure Strain and that is just too bizarre even to contemplate. Besides, I might be able to sweet talk the K-11 robot into giving me some info about my family.
When K-11 suddenly exits the grav-car, I take off my shades and strain my eyes out the window, trying to make out our attackers' locations from the muzzle flashes of their guns. "Maybe we oughta forget about scavenging the old car for parts," I say, "they may have something heavier in reserve."
"I like the way you think, Jake!" Howard fingers the controls of the car and rotates the vehicle so that the high-beams of the limo shine forward into the darkness to shed some light on the attackers. "Hey, we got any firepower on thisth bucket? Anybody?"
He looks for any buttons that have "fire" or "missile" or "can of whoop-ass" on them to push, and notices Gallus' eyes staring helplessly from his position on the dash. He takes Gallus' head and tucks him under the dash, lest a stray shot get through the bullet-proof glass and damage what little is left of the poor robot. Howard keeps the car in motion, careful not to knock over K-11. Lastly, he turns on power to the manual controls for the windows. "Anybody wanna take sthome potsthotsth, feel free to roll-down yer windowsth!"
As Howard rotates the limo, a small missile just barely misses the limo, exploding out in the desert behind you and lighting up the night sky with a thunderous explosion. As the car turns, more bullets ping off its armor plating, some a bit harder than before. One of the stray bullets takes out one of the headlights. You do catch glimpses of dozens of mutants in the desert moving closer. Grabbing the door, the K-11 security robot climbs back inside and closes the door behind him, not saying a word.
"I see 39 mutants and one Pure Strain human who resembles Blackbeard," says Geo, using his holo-imaging thermal night vision.
"This limo grav-car does not come with weapons, Howard."
Jonn notes the silence of the security robotoid. "K-11, you OK?"
The constant pinging of slugs on the limo's exterior adds an urgent edge to Jonn's voice.
"There are too many of them---a futile effort at best. There is a rocket launcher mounted on a vehicle out there. Its second shot may not miss."
Geo looks at the K-11 security robot and the K-11 looks back at Geo. For a moment the two robots study each other. "The K-11 is an outdated robot with strange human tendencies. A piece of real human brain was used its creation. Purging it from our group may be better for everyone in the long run." The K-11 says nothing to Geo.
Jake wonders whose brain might have been used.
Bullets continue to pound the grav-car.
Howard flips the controls under his feathery digits and re-engages the propulsion system. Nervously, he sets the anti-gravity stretch back toward the tunnel and the Starport, intending to leave Blackbeard and his mutants in the dust of his wake. Relying on readouts from the console for direction, he dims the vehicle's remaining exterior lights as he punches the accelerator with all due haste. He hopes the robotic component of their group gets along at least until they make it back to the Starport.
Ben, you beat me to the punch! In an alternate universe, this could have happened:
Jonn felt the tension inside the limo rising again. "OK, people, here's the plan." (If anyone were watching Howard, they would have seen him roll his eyes.) "We're not going to get far with that rocket launcher there. So we fight fire with fire."
I'm assuming Dodgers still has the rocket launcher he lifted off the stunned mutant back at the Oad-Ck-Factory, though I'm not sure how in the world he manages to carry all his loot!
Jonn continues, "Geo, I need a fix on their rocket launcher, stat! Dodgers, I'll need you to zip the car around once Geo gets a fix and we figure out who's gonna fire your mini-tow missile. We need to do this soon, before their rocket launcher cools completely! Captain? You a good shot?"
Lamia reaches for the tow-missile launcher, wondering if Jonn's crazy plan will work, or get them all rendered into a FineRedMist™.
Back to your regularly scheduled universe....
Jonn feels the g-forces pressing his back into the cushions as Howard punches some Chewie. He has a vague notion that his plan could have worked had he acted fast enough.
Speeding away from the mutants bombarding your vehicle with bullets, you quickly leave them in the darkness and the dust. Less than an hour passes by as you continue into the tunnel. Well into the hours after midnight you see Brimstone and some other mutant goat walking down the center of the tunnel up ahead with your one headlight.
"Punch it Chew Me, they're evil mutants!" I squawk seeing and remembering the rooster-biting Cougaroid. Seeing Howard slow down instead of speed up, I sigh and adjust my cigar in my oversized beak.
"I say, I say, them damnable mutants are going to be the ruination of us all."
Glad to be away from the mutants, I look at Jake and the new K-11 robot. Leaning back on Jonn, I drift off to sleep again. It's hard to get a good gamma night's sleep now days.
The Roosteroid's nervous squawking wakes Jonn from a nightmare in which Blackbeard was punching all kinds of holes in their limo, which Howard was flying in nauseating circles in an attempt to give him a clear shot at the rocket launcher, but Lamia kept on nibbling his ear and messing up his aim.
Well, it started out as a nightmare, anyway.
Now it appears that Howard is going to run down two figures in the road. "Dodgers, look out!" Jonn thwaps the duck, who apparently was dozing. He only slowed down because his foot slipped off the pedal.
"Whath-huh??" Dodgers jerks, slamming both webbed feet onto the brakes, which throw the gravitic engines into a high whining braking cycle.
The grav-car comes to a halt microns away from Brimstone's nonchalant stance. He grins ferally in recognition.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:17 2006
All text Copyright ©1999-2006 PBPArchives.