A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
One external monitor showed a group of twenty people approaching the Starport from about 4 miles away. At least it did many hours ago. With weapons in hand, three of the twenty enter the bar. All appear to be human. The others remain outside. The first of the three points his high-power slug throwing hunting rifle at Jonn.
"You're busted, rebel scum! I've been trying to kill you for ten long years ever since you impregnated my wife!" You (Jonn) recognize him as Abe, an information courier for NARC. Abe lets a slight smile cross his lips and then clicks his empty rifle still pointed at you. The other two men burst out laughing.
I smile at the roosteriod, baring my fangs. "Well, Colonel," I say sweetly, "if you pronounce it like that, the meaning changes slightly. More like, oh, 'Drops lard-butt rooster into deep far fryer,' but if you insist...."
Ignoring the fowl, I return to Brimstone. "So is it always this exciting here, or it is just because it's Saturday night?"
I sometimes post under jake_omega or desuma_malevois. I blush to confess I'm a computer neophyte, and it's easier to go with what's already set up. Sorry for any confusion---I will work on it.
Jumping up and taking a position behind Jonn upon seeing the new arrivals, I whisper over his shoulder, "No Jonn, I've never been with any man; there is no way I could be, in... that... way." I listen to what the new arrivals have to say.
"I say, I say there Miss Leoparoid, those are some mighty sharp teeth you have there!" Slowly backing away from the female Leoparoid, I mumble, "I guess my pronunciation could use a little work."
Mental Note: Never add "Here Kitty Kitty" to any part of her strange speech.
Jonn and Lamia flinch a bit as Abe squeezes the trigger.
After a pregnant pause comes recognition. And relief. "Well I'll be a dobermutant's lunch, is that you, Abe?" Jonn finally manages to say, keeping Brimstone's claws and Howard's needler in check.
Jonn extends his hand. "Long time no see, kid! So I take it Bess finally convinced you to marry her, then, against my advice?" Jonn shakes Abe's hand heartily.
Placing an arm around the confused Gren, Jonn performs the introductions. "Abe, this is Lamia. Lamia, Abe. I hired Abe back in '61 for a, uh, job I had at the time." The two men exchange knowing glances, then Jonn introduces the rest of the group.
"So what brings you 'round these parts, Abe? And what's with the posse?"
"Waughth!" Howard joins in the laughter from his spot behind the bar. He slides a bowl of stale peanuts down to Abe. "In the absthencthe of our bartender, you'll have to put up with me. We have sthale peanutsth, stharbisth beer, orange sthoda, and sthome other stuff. Asth long asth you're not here to shthooth up thisth placthe, how about I get you sthomething to drink?" Howard tries to buy into the "any friend of Jonn's is a friend of mine" mentality, but doesn't trust the newcomers just yet.
How's the Geo repair job coming? Also, I assume Howard checked in with Gallus at security central recently to see what was going on with all the views of the Starport.
"And so could your breath, birdbrain," I growl, staring down the massive poultry.
"You and him have something going on?" Kicker asks of Brimstone in a coy manner.
"No, not any more. The moment we met, I KICKED HIS BUTT!" I say loudly as the conversation in the room picks up again after Abe's appearance, so Leghorn knows who's really in charge.
"Can you throw just a leettle more machismo in there, Blue Warrior?"
"Don't pay any attention to the rifle," I say admonishingly. "He just uses big fancy words to try to make me look stupid," I add, sounding as intelligent and dignified as I can. "It's just a part of its procreation."
Going back into the security room with Gallus 5/13, you (Howard) see a bit of information you have never seen before.
"Cameras never lie Howard," states the robot head.
Using a replay feature to rewind the camera's view back to a time when you first got out of the grav-limo, Gallus shows you on the view screen a small lizard creature's arm reaching up out of a sewer grate and attaching something to Geo's leg. Something very small and electronic.
"There... right there's Geo's problem," says Gallus 5/13 matter-of-factly, pausing the recorded information.
Leaving the security room, you (Howard) return to Geo. Looking at his leg, you locate and pry loose the small thumb-sized electronic device. The second you remove it, the device explodes harmlessly into pieces. Geo also sits up immediately.
"What the bloody hell! Has Jonn been rewiring me or something?" Closing my chest plate, I dust myself off and return to my place behind the bar.
"Nice to see you again, old man! Shouldn't you be old enough to retire yet?" Abe grins and slings the rifle over his shoulder giving a wink to Lamia. "Yeah, I married Bess alright and she just had a baby boy before I left Haven. We're naming it 'Dracon' after you, Jonn. Well, I'm here to deliver your next mission and the guys here are bearing supplies for your troupe. You are very pretty, Lamia; I hope you make Jonn do the right thing with you."
The Gren blushes a reddish green.
"Just give him the paper! We don't want to be caught around here!" urges one of the other men.
"Hold your horses Mik, we're not in Whore Town. Besides we need a drink or two. At least a few to go."
Hey, I am not opposed to some physical punching or fighting. Like all Southerners, Capt. Leghorn has a big chip on his shoulder and thinks he is king of the roost, at least right next to Jonn. Sorry, Will, you're a Southerner too? Ha, ha!!
I cluck in a laughing manner, picking up a pretzel with my beak, tossing it into my mouth and wondering when mating season is.
Abe hands Jonn a sealed envelope and two sealed metal canisters: one long and skinny, the size of a rifle, and with a shoulder strap; the other fatter and hand-sized. Jonn starts as if to shake the smaller container, but Abe stops him with a firm hand on the cylinder and whispers into his ear, "Don't push your luck, Jonn! Your instructions are inside the envelope." Jonn nods slowly, and gingerly puts the envelope and smaller canister in a pocket and slings the long cylinder on his shoulder.
Politely brushing past Abe, Jonn motions the rest of the posse into the Tavern, "Hey guys, take a load off! Gallus will keep an eye out for trouble in the security room."
Through the course of the hour or so that follows, Jonn mingles around the Tavern, catching up with Abe, and also checking in on his own battle-weary comrades. What follows are snippets of his mingling:
Catching Lamia momentarily alone at the bar, Jonn touches her shoulder and smiles when she turns abruptly. "About what you---"
"So, Bess is her name, Jonn? There's often truth in humor, you know. You going to treat me like her, Jonn?" Lamia accuses, haltingly.
Jonn stutters, blinking rapidly, "I, uh, Lamia, my intentions toward you have always been honorable. Bess and I were acquaintances growing up, but never like that; Abe's gun would've been loaded with a bullet sporting my name!" Jonn pauses, as they both consider his words. "And your secret is safe with me. To return your trust, it has been a long while for me, since... you know," Jonn left the sentence unfinished.
Seeing Howard make a pretzel run, Jonn heads him off at the bar. "Hey Dodgers, what's with Geo, dude? He take some flak or something?"
"Or sthomethingth, Jonn! He wasth sthabotagthed!" Howard splutters.
"Say again?" Jonn asks, confused.
"The correct translation is 'Or something, Jonn! He was sabotaged!'," Geo repeats, in Howard's own voice, only filtered for extraneous consonants.
"What? Someone really is on to us! Gallus see anything?" Jonn exclaims.
"Yeah, sthome lizthard creathure sthlapped a sthmalll devicthe onto Geo'sth legth when he stheppedth outh of the grav-car. It exthploded when I removed ith!" Howard says, reaching for the pretzel bowl, which Geo filled.
"Frak, Dodgers! Any damage? Geo?" Jonn asks the pair.
"Dunno! He's working fine now, though," Howard answers over his shoulder as he returns to the table where he was previously discussing fowl topics with Leghorn.
"Say 'Hi' to the good Captain for me!" Jonn calls back, waving to Leghorn.
"Jonn, have you been reprogramming me?" Geo asks, expressionless.
"No, way, Jose! It takes me all day to set the clock on my VCR---an Ancients' special, you oughta see it! Maybe you should run a self-diagnostic?" Jonn suggests.
"Hell, I hope my name's not Jose!" Geo thinks, running a memory check.
"Yeah, it just goes on and on like this. Sometimes I just want to shut it off, but I don't know how! Oh, hi, Jonn!" the Cougaroid looks up as the Pure Strain human approaches.
"Greetings, hu-mann. Quite a group. Amazing you haven't blown each other to pieces by now," she laughs a hearty Leoparoid laugh, if ever there was one.
"Welcome Red Elf!"
"Just checkin' in folks. I wanted to thank you personally, Kicker, for helping out back there. You're welcome to stay and help keep Brimstone in line!" Jonn quips, winking.
Jonn shakes his head, wondering what has the mutant goat so beat....
"Jake, my man!" Jonn pulls up a chair at the table where Jake is sharing a sarbis with K-11. (Well, K-11 isn't actually drinking his beer; in fact, the second bottle is probably Jake's as well.)
Jonn continues, in a serious tone, "I don't think I ever apologized for nuking your past. I am happy that some of your history has survived intact," Jonn nods toward K-11, whose cold duralloy features seem a tad softer, more humanoid. "I would be honored if you and K-11 stayed on with us."
"Why, what you got in store, Duke?" Jake asks.
"I uh, actually, I guess I should read this. I'll be back." Jonn retrieves Abe's envelope, and proceeds to the bathrooms at the rear of the bar.
The men's bathroom is in tip-top shape, save for a few graffiti here and there. One reads, "Hydrogen: a colorless, odorless gas that given enough time, turns into human beings," but the last two words were scratched out and replaced with "mutants!" He sits down on a stall whose only graffito, freshly engraved, reads cryptically "L + J = ?", and breaks the seal on the envelope.
Inside is a long letter from Commander Stiles of NARC, on Haven Restorationists letterhead. The last page is signed personally by Stiles, "If you eat this letter, Jonn, crikey you don't choke on it!" Jonn reads the contents of the letter.
Back behind the bar, the robot bartender's sensitive aural inputs detect a faint, "Whoa!" from within the men's bathroom.
Soon, Jonn bursts back into the Tavern proper. He makes straight for Abe and takes him aside for a private conference....
After all of Abe's men have had a cold sarbis beer, they each collect a bottle of water for the road, and prepare to leave.
"That is your new mission Dukas, and if you choose not to accept it we'll be forced to kick your ass, old man," says the young man, smiling. Noticing the Cougaroid's sharp teeth, low growl, and big gun, Abe says, "Of course, we can revise that last part, you know.
"Now that you have read your orders, we'll give you your stuff and be off. The boys are all afraid of being ambushed and are ready to head back home, even if it is safe here.
"We have enough supplies and equipment for each of your friends to last a month. We will also provide each member with three fully charged energy cells of his/her choice for each of their powered items if they join you, Jonn." Abe starts emptying rope, winter clothes, army-type rations, backpacks and portable tents: all of the common supplies needed to survive in the wilderness for a month. He holds off giving out the energy cells until he sees who needs what.
Patting you on the shoulder, Abe says, "Don't go and get yourself hurt or nothing. I still have my father's empty house, and when you return to Haven, I'm expecting you to live there for as long as you want!"
Abe gives you an area map. "Here, you might need this too!"
The mutant duck flops over to Jonn and sticks a clump of feathers in his chest. "Hey, wasthup with thisth missthion, anyway?" He spits pretzel residue with each "th" sound, much to Jonn's amusement. "Before I go sthigning up for anything, you know I gotta know at leasth where we're heading, Dukasth-brain™."
Howie just used a variant of "Doofus-brain", an insult coined by Howard himself, also used to refer to Jonn.
Assthuming Jonn satisfiesth, oh sthorry, now the duck hasth ME (the narrator) doing it! Ahem.
Assuming Jonn satisfies Howard by giving him enough info on the whats, wheres, whys and for whoms (but not necessarily needing to know the specifics), Howard will take some rope and rations---although he mostly craves stale bread crumbs---and request of Abe three hydrogen energy cells for his Infrared Radiation Rifle. "Got any grenadesth that can fit Old Sthmokey here?" he asks Abe, holding up his grenade launcher.
Before departing, Howard will take a gander (oooh, sorry) at the items in the gift shop, and check in with Gallus at the security station. He also brings up the fact that somebody should stay behind at the Starport to make sure things don't get overrun---or investigated---by any nasties. "Or can we get thesthe sthecurity botsth activated, Geo?" he remarks.
Away from Jonn and Abe, Brimstone starts to get up and walk over to the loot. "Ooo! Hey rifle, you need some energy cells?"
"The Pope Catholic?"
"Uh... Pope? Isn't he... Polish?"
"Never mind, Blue Warrior. Just grab me some energy cells that look like this:" The rifle partially ejects its rare atomic energy cell, then pops it back into place.
Since only Jonn knows the mission, all questions about it should be directed towards him. Heh, heh.... Just trying to help, Dave! --GM.
Abe gives Brimstone 3 very rare fully charged atomic energy cells (10 shots per cell). He gives Howard three hydrogen energy cells (5 shots with cell), and a belt of six grenades for his grenade launcher, 275 feet of nylon rope. Jonn is given 10 (30 shot) clips for his slug throwing rifle and 9 extra hydrogen energy cells for the 3 Mark VII blaster rifles behind the bar. Anyone else joining Jonn's mission are also given 3 energy cells for whatever type of weapon they are carrying, and enough normal equipment to last one month in the cold climate of the mountains. Army-issue white parkas and snowsuits are also included, as are three three-man tents. Even the K-11 robot takes energy cells for his two pistols.
If the large backpacks provided are packed correctly, they can carry everything one person needs, including a tent.
Once finished, Abe gathers his men, says his goodbyes and departs.
Kicker walks up to Doofus, er, Dukas (damn, these humans have strange names! :)), and asks, "Is this an invitation-only affair, or may I tag along also?" She sees the chance to pick up some cells for her energy mace. Besides, whatever this group is, it isn't boring. An adventure sounds like just what she needs.
"Oh, could I have some of those grenades too? I used my last two energy grenades on the plants and the robot (THEY OWE ME!). Just think, Doo---Dukas, when I attach them to my arrows, they will go a lot of places a throw won't reach." After I've replenished my stash, I turn to the only other female. "Lamia, I gotta powder my nose. Wanna come?" I say, knowing the code among all females; we never go to the john alone if at all possible.
"Sure, miss. Here, catch!" Abe says, lobbing Kicker a grenade belt with 5 energy grenades as he leaves the Tavern. The Leoparoid catches the belt gracefully.
"Sure, like I said, we'd appreciate your company. And that goes for everybody," Jonn says in a louder voice for all to hear. "From the looks of the mission parameters, I'm going to need all the help I can get."
Before Lamia and Kicker scoot off to the bathroom (hopefully the correct bathroom), Jonn summarizes his mission. "OK, it looks like our 'Blackbeard' is a powerful military dictator named Timon, and he's rumoured to be planning a big attack on the settlements of Haven and the Flower Lands.
"Rather than directly confront Timon, we're to try to convince his arms and tech supplier, a mysterious chap named Ranse, to stop supplying his gang. Kind of blockade ol' Timon, since an all-out war against his formidable forces would be disastrous.
"We only know that Ranse runs a mining camp somewhere south of here in the wasteland. Oh, and we're not authorized by my employer to waste Ranse; this is strictly a recon/diplomatic mission, but we're going to need a minor arsenal," Jonn gestures to the three Mark VII blaster rifles leaning up against the bar, "to protect us from Timon's well-armed gang, who have spies everywhere and are sure to try to stop us. Those of you who like action will get plenty," Jonn finishes, noting Brimstone's feral smile.
Jonn takes a swig from his sarbis and continues, "The reward is mostly up front: all this stuff is gratis. But---and this is a big but," Jonn looks at Captain Leghorn, "the Havenites have offered us citizenship in their beautiful and safe village. All types of humans and mutants are accepted there. Would make a nice home," Jonn pauses, wondering where Lamia went, and searching Jake's face for a hint of renewed hope.
Howard cuts in, "Yeah, a nice home ifth Thimon doesn'th scorcth ith firsth!"
Jonn adds, "Right, more incentive to stop Timon, Dodgers. Also, while we're down south, there are a few other places and people we need to investigate. Keep your ears and eyes peeled for the so-called 'Pit of Despair' and a missing Havenite hermit elder named Ermon. And of course, we should always be on the lookout for the 'Cities of Man,'" Jonn trails off, a twinkle in his eye. The location of the fabled "Cities of Man" was Gamma Terra's biggest secret. Anybody who found this paradise would be an instant hero throughout the wasteland.
Jonn finishes his beer, and looks at the gang. He's never had a gang before, having been a sole operative for NARC most of his life. He hopes he has the viscera for what it will take to lead them.
After her delight at Christmas coming so early this year fades somewhat, Kicker comes to her senses. "Dukas!" she yells, "Don't let your friends leave yet!" As the babble ceases, and all eyes turn her way in suprise, you get the feeling she would be blushing if she weren't covered in fur. "I mean, um, shouldn't you tell your buds what the cameras picked up? You know, the lizardmen roaming about on level 3, who already have tried to sabotage the barkeep? I'm assuming your buds are the armed group of 20 it also found, right?"
"It's OK, Kicker, that was them. Abe's group will avoid the rest of level 3 on their way out. I thought you were in earshot when Dodgers gave Abe the security update," Jonn says, looking over at the Duckoid, whose beak was caught in a pitcher of (stale) pretzels. Jonn sighs. "Then again, maybe you didn't catch the drift through his spare consonants...."
Kicker abruptly sits back down and nonchalantly takes another swig of her Ion Sucker (far superior to Pangalactic Gargleblasters in her opionion) like nothing had happenened. "Damn!" she thinks to herself. "Now I really do gotta pee!" She rises, streches languidly, and strolls away, seemingly ignoring the drooling Cougaroid.
"I would like that very much!" Together we head to the bathroom. "I do have a question for you, Kicker. Exactly how do we go to the bathroom in those tall white things along that one wall?" With a toothy smile, Kicker pulls me into a different bathroom and answers many of my bathroom use questions I could never get answered from anyone except another female.
While in one of the stalls I add a new graffito, which reads cryptically "L + J = Love."
Enjoying our group bathroom excursion, I can't help but notice Kicker's beautifully decorated beadwork as she checks herself in the mirror. Sitting on one of the sinks, I watch her. "You are very pretty, You must get a lot of drooling Cougaroids fawning after you? Exactly how do you handle these males who won't commit?"
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:17 2006
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