A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
"Well it's about friggin' time!" I growl with a Cougaroid smile. "Folks, meet my new friend. This is goatcheese, er, goatsmilk, er.... What's yer name again?"
"Is not goatsmilk. Is Stramagix."
"Hey duck! Why'd you stop? Cougaroids are worth 15 points!"
"Stramagix. He's looking for the gods and their muchos stells or something. Told him I was going to Starport and he got all holy on me."
"Godstell Stramagix, they say come here, find muchgods. So Stramagix comes. But nofind godsyet."
"Neither of these two are good conversationalists, Jonn."
"Maybe they mean Starport Godshome."
"We go, findgods?"
"Don't shoot the goat!"
Brimstone gives a pained grin. "Friggin' thing's talkin' my ear off. Got any room in there for a Cougaroid, Jonn?"
Jonn, having stepped out of the grav-car to meet Brimstone and his companion, replies, "Sure! Good to see you again, dude! Stramagix, you're welcome to join us too. Brimstone, your friend Captain Leghorn (who missed you very much) will do the introductions once we get settled inside."
Brimstone's rifle is happy to see them:
"Welcome back, Red Elf!" it emits to Jonn.
"You are full of humans and/or mutants!" it quips to the grav-car.
"Green Valkyrie needs sleep, badly!" it tells Lamia.
Running my electric window down, I lean my cocky rooster head out and say, "I say, I say man, this is not a freakazoid bus stop. Get in, get it up, or get the hell out of the way." Noticing Brimstone's feral snarl at my remark, I add, "You know, if'n ya want to!" Pulling my combed head back inside I roll up the window and whisper to Geo beside me, "Damn tourists, they're going to be the ruination of us all."
Happily, I hop around to the side of the limo and open the pock-marked door. "Whoa. You guys must have more fun that I did."
"Don't you have a mute button or something?"
Stramagix gingerly steps inside, and I follow, sitting down roughly next to Captain Leghorn. I give him a toothy smile and a wink as I adjust my equipment and toss the talking rifle to the floor.
"Hiya, chums! Glad to see you're all still kicking, er... waddling in your case, driver."
The security robot aims one pistol at Brimstone's head and one at Stramagix's head. "Do you wish their terminatation, Jonn?" asks the robot. Its red glowing eyes look like something very, very bad and maybe evil, even.
"If they start hugging and kissing then we will know they are related for sure!" quips the robot to Howard.
"Brimthstone and Jonnth?"
"No, Jonn and the pulse rifle... Ha-ha-ha. I always wanted to say that! Look Howard," says Geo, pointing at a blinking light on the dash. "A grav calibrator unit is malfunctioning. We had best get back to the Starport. At least there we have two other grav-cars from which to salvage parts."
Jonn sighs, "No, K-11. Brimstone is my friend. He took some flak for us before you met me. Stramagix appears to be Brimstone's friend, so by the Transitive Law of Friendship™, Stramagix is my friend as well. I don't wish their termination. Now let's boogie! I want to put a lot of distance between Blackbeard and his cronies!"
After the K-11 vs. the Cougaroid/Goatman coalition issue is resolved, Howard requests that Geo drive the rest of the way home. "I'm duck tired, and that'sth no lie!" Howard offers to switch places with Geo, as the back seat is looking rather crowded as of late.
Howard also recommends that they deploy some kind of sensors, if they have any, at the tunnel entrance. Maybe they can detect remotely when anyone enters the tunnel, and <yawn> be alerted <stretch> to their prese---
"kkkKKKKKK fwabble fwabble fwabble fwabble...."
Suddenly having a strange ear-nibbling dream, I wake up and look around, noticing Howard smiling oddly in the rear-view mirror, even for a mutant duck. Crossing my arms and frowning, I wonder exactly what is going on and who was doing what to whom?
If the K-11 security robot could possibly be unhappy, it would be, as it puts its weapons away, having been told not to shoot anyone.
Taking control of the wheel, the robot waits for Howard to get settled (it doesn't take long) before acting like one of those prize fights in ancient times, and punches it. Quietly the grav-limo speeds away. Using his own better judgment, Geo decides not to wake Howard when a second dash light starts blinking. Some time later, Geo stops the grav-limo in the underground tunnel next to the abandoned Albuquerque Starport. No doubt the grav-limo will need to be repaired before being used again.
Climbing out of the grav-car, I unruffle my feathers, brushing out the loose ones. I scratch in the dirt and readjust my equipment.
Getting out of the grav-limo with a purpose, the K-11 security robot almost knocks down the scratching rooster as it takes off running up the steps into the Starport at full speed. Its clanking feet echo in the spacious Starport as it disappears in the distant darkness.
"I say, I say boy, that robot has some fluid backup I'm sure. Lucky he ran away when he did!" says the Roosteroid, throwing several phantom punches in the air, and then tossing his head back and crowing <RrerrRrerrRerrerrr>.
"Shoot it!" says the rifle, not saying whether it means the rooster or the robot.
This is probably not the smartest thing I've ever done, but what the frell™.
The Roosteroid is almost knocked over a second time as I launch myself from the car. Pouring on my full speed, I chase after the K-11 robot in a manner reminiscent of the Road Runner chasing Wile E. Coyote. With any luck, he'll listen to what I have to say before he reduces me to FineRedMist™.
"I say, I say, do I look like a corn-fed rooster, Jake Brake!" I yell as Jake stiff arms me in mid-crow, causing me to cough and choke. "Damnable tourists!" I grumble.
Using your Increased Speed mutation, you (Jake) bound up the multitude of metal stairs (once working escalators) into the darkened Starport. You quickly close the distance between you and the K-11 robot, which had a good lead on you. Sliding around a corner on the slick floor you see the glowing red eyes of the K-11 robot staring back at you.
As you sprint towards it, K-11 raises one arm and touches something. Elevator doors close in front if it as you slam into them. Stepping back and looking at the numbers lighting up above the elevator doors, you see them go from 3 (Ground/Tavern) up to 17 (Top/Hangar), before stopping and pausing there for a moment. You push the elevator button beside the door and the numbers start counting down. When the elevator opens, you are very tense and ready to react, but it is empty.
What do you do? You hear new your friends somewhere back towards the grav-limo.
Spurned on by the pulse rifle's command to shoot "it," and not sure what it meant by that, but also wondering where the frell™ both K-11 and Jake went, Howard takes to the air, and follows in hot pursuit. En route, he pulls out his IR rifle, knowing his needler will be of no use against the cold hard steel of the security robot.
I head back towards my new friends. I may be dumb enough to chase after Robbie by myself---but follow him up there by myself? I'm not that stupid. Besides, I've got a little hunch about his human brain tissue and what he just did to Area 61. If I'm right, he badly needs some time alone.
I encounter Howard on the way back. "C'mon, Duck, let's go. I've got a lot of drinking to make up for. D'ya think that Geo knows how to make a Pangalactic Gargleblaster?"
ROFL! "Shane!" "Pangalactic Gargleblaster!" You kill me Jake!! (No, wait! I was just kidding!!)
By the time Jonn stumbles out of the grav-limo, he is sufficiently groggy and disoriented. His stubble is verging on beard status, and his injured shoulders have cricks in them the size of Ganymede. He offers Lamia a hand as she exits the car.
Jonn looks around and sees Captain Leghorn scratching, muttering something disparaging about tourists. Brimstone and Stramagix, the mutant goat, are walking toward the entrance to the Starport. Geo has his chrome dome underneath the hood of the limo. Howard, Jake and K-11 are nowhere in sight.
Jonn walks over to Geo. "Is it bad, Geo?" he asks, worriedly.
Geo lifts his head slightly and responds, "The carkron mobile emitter is damaged beyond repair, Jonn. It will need replacing, Jonn, before this car rides <beep-beep> again." Geo observes the Pure Strain human carefully as he scratches his pseudo-beard.
"Howard, Jake and the psycho security bot are already inside, Jonn. Are you carbon-based lifeforms well-rested?" Geo continues, closing the hood.
"I uh, yeah, Geo. I could use a cold sarbis," Jonn responds, shelving for the time being, whatever grandiose salvage plans he was half-consciously cooking up.
"Ah, beer. You know, Jonn, it's not just for breakfast anymore! Ha-ha-ha. Always wanted to say <beep> that," Geo says, flexing his humor subroutines again.
"Hey Jonn, catch!" Lamia says from somewhere. But all Jonn catches is a peripheral glimpse of his pack sailing through the air towards him. SMACK! Jonn eats a pack sandwich, which levels him, his shoulders hitting the cold hard tunnel surface before his flailing feet.
"Oh, sorry!" Lamia giggles.
"I say boy! Broad packs a whallop, eh? Wouldya like some ketchup with that pack?" Captain Leghorn clucks.
Taking Howard by the wing/arm, you (Jake) lead him away from the elevator as the other members of your group arrive, some roosters complaining a bit more than others. As a group, you head across the very expansive and darkened Starport to the Albuquerque Starport Bar.
Hmmm, I haven't been called a "broad" since the last time I stooped over to pick up something. I blame the rooster, of course!
Walking beside Jonn, I talk to him (trying to feel him up/out) as we head into the Starport and eventually return to the bar. "So Jonn, do you plan on mounting any particular problem here at the Starport? You do know this Starport has hundreds of rooms, some of which are even honeymoon suites. Having a place to live might actually be nice, right Jonn?" Like most women, I wonder what he is thinking.
Entering the Albuquerque Starport Bar, which is lit up from above by wonderful bright lights, everyone takes a seat at a large table as Geo hurries around waiting on everyone. Geo puts the portable nuclear reactor behind the bar in the lost and found area.
"We have purified water, unpurified water, <beep, beep>, sarbis beer (adjusting the spelling on the board behind the bar), mead, coffee, tea or orange soda. Glass, mug, cup, bottle or feathered hand? Hold while I do a routine maintenance." Minutes pass as the robot stands motionless. "Done," says Geo. "Pretzels Howard?"
"Can you make me a Pangalactic Gargleblaster?"
"Ok Jake, you're a Pangalactic Gargleblaster... Ha-ha-ha! <beep,beep> I always wanted to say that!" Ending his humor programming, the robot makes Jake the drink he requested. Everyone one is eventually brought a drink. Returning behind the bar, Geo nukes several frozen Pangalactic tacos and gives them to any carbon-based life form who is hungry.
"Where's Captain Leghorn?" she asks, noticing the mouthy Roosteroid missing, like the K-11 robot.
I walk in exhaustedly and sit down violently on a chair at the bar, slamming my equipment in front of me.
"I'll have a dosage of alphabyllantrous radiation in a polarzied magnetically-shielded plutonium casing filled with highly unstable antiproton slag, on the rocks! Always wanted to say that."
"Warm rog milk, please." I say, dreary from the long, droll ride and the beating he took from the last mission. As I wait for my beverage, I fold my arms on the bar and take a Cougaroid nap.
As the indigo fowl sips from his orange bubbly beverage, he queries of Geo, "Sthay there, got any sthecurity link upsth in thisth placthe? I'd like to sthee what K-11 is up to, and maybe even figure out where my fowl-weather friend isth hiding, too." He shoves a feathered-handful of century-old pretzels into his beak and chomps away. If he had lips, a casual observer would swear he were licking them.
"Here'sth to a sthuccthessthful missthion, matesth!" Howard slobbers, raising his glass in a toast and spraying everyone seated at their table with pretzel residue.
Eager to take Lamia's mind off of more embarassing topics, at least while in public, Jonn attempts to lighten the mood as he nudges her and says, "Heh, I'd love to hear him try to say that ten times fast!"
Once the bar chat dies down, Howard hits Jonn up for the game plan for what's going on next. If there aren't any obvious or impending missions afoot, Howard finds an abandoned dark corner of the bar and gets some shut-eye.
In the morning, Howard will tackle the repair job on the grav-car and stick around for a few days until he heads back to his home outside of New Albuquerque.
"I didn't know Blue Warriors drank rog milk! Ha-ha-ha," Geo says, setting the glass almost against the Cougaroid's nose. "Sorry pulse rifle, we don't serve your kind here! We do keep some standards you know!"
"So Brimstone, how much do I owe you in domars? I really didn't expect you to survive, the way it played out. I cannot talk to you if you keep purring.... Wake up, fur ball! Sleep is only for the weak." I take a step back, just out of the clawed courgaroid's reach.
At the sound of domars, I perk up groggily, rubbing my CougarEyes™. "The agreed-to contract pay, plus salvage rights to equipment encountered," I say, putting a hand on the rifle and sliding it back closer to me, "plus the agreed-to contractual compensation for," I say, pulling open my trenchcoat and exposing my scorched and blackened body armor, "bodily damages. Also, you can expect my base rates to be higher for the second mission you contacted my employer for."
At this, the rest of the crew perks up, unaware that Geo had something else up his bulletproof sleeve.
"And you'd better come up with at least the contract amounts," I say, reaching in my small pack and pulling out a white, foamy solid object, "or I'll be forced to use more... non-ethical methods." I take the collar-like object and wrap it around my neck, fastening it tightly so that it constricts neck movement and rests snugly under my CougarJaw™. I then give Geo a smug smile.
"Blue warrior needs domars... badly. (chump!)"
Were you to snap open Jonn's skull and peer inside his brain, the view would be a veritable chunky soup of missions, rescue plans, and other hastily concocted schemes to get himself (and Howard) into lots of trouble. His contacts back at the New Albuquerque Restorationist Club (NARC) would laugh behind his back, saying that he'd raise Albuquerque to its former glory all by himself, or die trying.
It was his indomitable energy, his ever-imaginative wellspring of ideas that made him invaluable to the likes of NARC, even if he wasn't techie enough to fly a flitter. He would never be a card-carrying Restorationist, but his undercover successes for NARC usually left him with the last laugh, and his worth to them was far greater than the mere pittance he would accept in the name of Restorationist ideals.
So what am I getting at? <sigh> OK, here it is:
Jonn is in love.
Yea, the cold sarbis beer, clothed in its tightly wrapped label soaked through with condensation, glistens enticingly in the light of the bar as he lifts the curvaceous bottle to his lips and sucks down the last tender drop of backwash, which tickles his throat in ways he hadn't dreamed---
"Lamia, you gotta try one of these! They're the_best!" Jonn exclaims, apparently oblivious to her subtle habitation queries.
She kicks him under the table.
"Well, OK, maybe not..." Jonn adds, wondering what he said. Women. The more attractive, the harder to understand. (For Jonn, it also worked in the converse.) It was a subtle variation of the theme, "Women. Can't shoot 'em, can't waste your ammo on 'em," espoused by one of his former contacts at NARC. That poor guy's wife later shot him dead with his own slug thrower, and joined the Friends of Entropy.
Lamia starts to say something, but Jonn puts a finger to her olive lips. "Hold that thought, luv!" he says, standing.
He has to get a message back to NARC. The rumor they'd heard is true, but they shouldn't have to worry: he and his friends busted the anarchists' plans. He can even describe Blackbeard and his affiliation to NARC, and explain the nuclear detonation at Area 61. "They'll get a kick outta that!" he thinks.
He excuses himself from the table, and, limping slightly, walks over to Howard. "Cover for me," Jonn whispers in his ear, or where he guesses a duck's ear should be, "I'll be back in a sec."
Jonn heads for the portable radio he stashed on his way into the Tavern, not so long ago. "Yes, NARC will like this news," he thinks.
As soon as Jonn is out of earshot, Howard can't wait to announce to Lamia, but loud enough for all to hear, "Jonn'll be back. He hasth to call the wifthe and kidsth!"
"Why yes, we do have security cameras, Howard." Before Brimstone has a chance to question his payment, Geo quickly leads Howard into a back room, forcing Howard to bring his orange soda with him.
You (Howard) are bought into a small 10 by 10 foot room with a single chair. Hundreds of live monitors see many things inside and outside the Starport. One external monitor shows a group of twenty people approaching the Starport from about 4 miles away. A different monitor shows the K-11 robot looking at something taken from a small storage locker on level 17. On level 2 you see a very large plant dragging an entangled (wrapped like a Christmas present) and frightened Roosteroid. On level 3 (Ground Level), near the grav-limo you see a dozen lizard-like creatures climbing out of a storm sewer and milling about.
The radio is still inside the combustion vehicle tire where you left it hidden. You (Jonn) pull the radio out of the radial and tune it to the right channel. Clearly, NARC command answers you as if it is very close.
"Is that you, Jonn Dukas, you old salty dog? Crikes oh mighty! This is commander Stiles. How goes the mission?"
Jonn reported, "Yes, it's me, Ralph. The rumor's true. A faction of the Cryptic Alliance is being led by some human with a black beard and a personal force net. They were going to steal a portable nuclear reactor and a cache of Mark VIIs, but we one-upped 'em and now the reactor at least, is in safe hands. No telling what kind of havoc they could've wreaked with that reactor."
"You sure? We detected a tactical nuke hit over in your direction yesterday. And what about the rifles?" Stiles betrays a tinge of worry.
"Oh, the detonation was something different. Base 61 went up in radioactive ashes after we stopped a hellbent warbot from taking control of the place. Uh, and the Cryps got away with 3 of the rifles. Oh, and I think Blackbeard is still after us, too, with his surviving muties," Jonn adds, suddenly realizing the situation isn't as safe as it seemed a few minutes ago.
"Jonn, you crazy bugger, I figured you and your hare-brained ideas were involved. I hope you haven't mutated. We still need cheap expendable Pure Strain types like yourself!" Stiles laughs from the comfort of his Haven villa.
"Geeze, Ralph, didn't know you gave a nuke-pooch's ass for me!" Jonn sighs. Stiles would be Stiles.
"I don't. And remember, you don't know me," Stiles says, all traces of pleasantry absent.
"Now listen, Jonn. NARC needs more recon on your Blackbeard. No mutant faction under the command of a human of his description is showing up in the database. So your Blackbeard poses a threat to the balance here, as there's a Pure Strain power vaccuum ever since Stiltjees was killed. The Cryps tend to gravitate to charismatic egomaniacal Pure Strains, and that's all we need: Blackbeard to come around here and unite the anarchists. Kapow, Jonn, there goes all we've worked for. Kiss your glorious visions of a restored Albuquerque good-bye," Stiles mocks.
"Do what you can to neutralize him, Jonn, capiche?" Stiles barks.
"Right, Commander. I'll expect double my usual fees, of course," Jonn adds solemnly, not betraying the fact that at his epiphany in front of the Oad-Ck-Factory gate, he resigned himself never to kill another Pure Strain human again. And especially not Blackbeard.
"Yeah, yeah, 'double your fees.' Crikey, Jonn, I swear you're gonna break the bank on this one," Stiles muffles his snickering, "Use the alpha omicron tango frequency for your next report."
"Roger that," Jonn replies.
"Over and out," Stiles ends. "Crazy bastard," Stiles says offline, and continues his dart game on the pinup calendar (of Ancient bikini-clad Pure Strains, of course).
"Crazy bastard," Jonn says offline. It was amazing that NARC got anything done with belligerent heavyweights like Stiles hanging in the wings. Well, under NARC's employ or not, he was going to have to deal with Blackbeard anyway.
Jonn puts the radio back in the tire and walks back through the hole in the tavern wall.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:17 2006
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