A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
Kicker finishes her fawning and unusual stretching and heads off ahead of the group with Brimstone close by. Less than an hour later, Kicker and Brimstone wait looking over a small hillside from a few hundred yards away as the rest of the group catches up.
Over the hillside, everyone can see a large multi-story stone building. A small wisp of very black smoke curls out from the roof. Such a type of smoke is visible from many miles away.
"Only one way in, through the main doors... and one of them stands open," states the Leoparoid, pointing authoritatively towards the doors. "Who would make a fire like that in the middle of the day?"
Standing beside Jonn, the robot sees its reflection in Jonn's reflective shades and says, "We are still many days from our objective area, possibly as many as six. Do you really think it is wise to investigate every building we encounter?" <beep, beep>
"I say, I say, droid, a little shade in the barnyard couldn't hurt!"
The terrain around the stone building is rough and desolate, with not much growing except sage brush. It's just a little after noon and the temperature is close to a 100 degrees.
"Whoever started the fire wants to attract attention, or doesn't care about attracting attention. And this could be good or bad," Jonn remarks, trying to think through the possibilities, and simultaneously impress Lamia with his mental prowess.
"What mental prowess?" she smiles. Were she privy to Jonn's stats, she'd laugh, lamenting the fact that his IQ rating, halved and tripled, is still two less than hers.
"Stho whath are you tryingth to sthay, Jonn?" Howard asks between "th"s, trying to get at the heart of the matter.
The human balks at his next words after noting Lamia's shaking head. "Uh, dunno, D. Flip a coin?"
Jonn reaches into his pocket searching for a domar. Flinging the domar high into the sky, Jonn loses it in the glare of the midday sun.
The domar would have ended its parabolic trajectory happily nestled between... but Brimstone yanks it out of the air above Kicker with catlike reflexes. That doesn't stop him from approximating the remainder of the flightpath with his eyes. Kicker squints at him appreciatively. Brimstone turns to Jonn, "Call it, flyboy," he growls.
"Uh, heads, for investigating the building."
"Heads it is."
"Blue Warrior is full of bombs and/or keys!"
Sighing and cursing the pulse rifle, the Cougaroid flicks Jonn's domar back at him.
"I continue to be flabbergasted at your highly inconsistent and unorthodox leadership skills."
"Why thanks, Tin-head! C'mon, I hope this place has a bathroom!"
Linda and I have lost convenient access to our computer for a few days---the new monitor crapped out on us (this is being posted from a rented unit at Kinko's). Please take over our characters as NPCs for a few days, until we can get the think tanks Hewlett and Packard to honor their warranty. BTW, Linda says that when she gets back, she doesn't want to see Brimstone with a satisfied smile and smoking a cigarette! :)
"I think we need to check for tracks around the building first. It may give us an idea of what's here. I'll check it out, but since I'll be in the open, Brimstone, would you cover me?"
Thinking that this she-kitty has a lot on the ball, I say, "That's a pretty good idea---Josh, would you mind covering her also?"
Whoa, That's a lot of people covering Kicker! <grin>
Jumping from her position, Kicker trots away with Brimstone following.
"I will, but I prefer not to." Drawing one of his laser pistols, the K-11 robot takes aim at Kicker, but only to check his weapon's sight for distance via a moving target. Turning away, the K-11 robot (a.k.a Josh) marches off. His pitch-black metal frame does not blend too well in the light sand and scrub.
Kicker circles the building and finds several dozen very large dog tracks. Even Brimstone is surprised to see such an abundant amount of dog tracks. Approaching the door, Brimstone peers inside (but smells no dogs inside) and then motions for everyone else to approach (also telling everyone what they have discovered).
Inside, in a very large open main room sits a single apparently Pure Strain human woman in her late twenties. Sitting next to the fire, she is adding small strips of rubber cut from an ancient tire. She looks up at you, but then takes a stick, pokes the fire and ignores you. She is dressed in traditional Native American style clothing. You see no weapons on her. Still standing at the door what do you do or say?
As the gang congregates outside the doorway, they are rejoined by K-11, who just completed a wider reconnaissance of the compound. Jonn hesitantly moves in front of the group crowding around the doorway, and stops one step inside the room.
When his gaze finds the woman at the center of the room, he is unprepared for his own reaction. It's been quite some time since he's laid eyes on another Pure Strain human female, and this exquisitely bronzed fem sure looks every bit the bill.
"Ahem. Hi! Uh, my name's, uh, Jonn, but you can call me... Jonn." An incessant poking finally registers itself upon his consciousness and Jonn turns around to find the source: a slender finger attached to a slender arm attached to a slender female body, which happens to be green, Gren and definitely not grinning. For a second, Jonn considers activating his "I'm innocent!" reflex, but he knows he's been busted. He blushes guiltily, biting his tongue.
"Sthorry if we're intherrupthing, missth," Jonn waxes Dodgers-esque, then releases his tongue, "but we were on our way south and saw your smoke signal.... Hey, that looks like an ancient Firestone ATX! Do you realize the history beh---"
"Focusth, Jonn!" Howard squawks, biting Jonn's leg.
"Ow! Oh, sorry, ma'am. Are you in trouble?" This adventure is not starting out as peachily as he hoped.
Hey, cool. Now I bite as well as slur my s's. Just be thankful ducks don't have teeth, Jonn.
Howard feels the need to step in to save Jonn from embarassment as the poor strained human tries to keep his focus. Not one to be a spokesperson though, he whispers to Lamia, "Perhapsth you shthould do the introductionsth," and sighs as only a duck without teeth can.
As the implication of "bite" is to use teeth, and since ducks are dentally challenged, I hereby revoke my use of said verb in Jonn's last post, and suggest it be replaced by "nip," which to my knowledge, makes no such demand on the dental apparatus of the subject. Thank you. <self-thwap> <Ow!>
Be aware, Jonn, that to revoke the use of said verb requires a GW-8 Epsilon form in triplicate from the NARChivist.... Oh wait, that's you! <grin> [And even that wasn't enough! :) --ed.]
"Perhaps I should," agrees the Gren, slapping Jonn on his lower cheeky area as she passes. "I'm Lamia, and these are my friends (introducing each of you). Strange as we appear, we need some information and would be indebted to you if you would be kind enough to help us."
Adding another small piece of the deadly Firestone ATX to the Ford... er, fire, she looks up at you casually, seemingly unafraid. It's a response quite different from what you expect. "I'm Alpha. Please come in and have a seat," she says simply. "You should spend the night. A storm is coming. What do you want to know?"
"This place looks like a lodge or something," says the robot, looking at the stairs and the balconies above.
"Broooock, a roost!" he adds, looking up above.
Walking back over to the double doors, the robot looks up at the clear hot afternoon sky and calculates the mathematical probability of a storm using his assaf constructivism program, "I do not see any atmospheric conditions which could materialize into an atmospheric disturbance."
"It will happen, but not until after nightfall." She motions for everyone to sit around the fire.
While Geo is making a skill roll on his weather sense non-weapon proficiency (oh, sorry, that's AD&D 2e), Howard notes the blank stares from his companions, and asks Alpha a question. "It'sth nicthe to meeth you. <quack> You menthion that a sthorm is coming. On behalf of the odd lot of usth, I gladly accthepth your hosthpitalithy. Guysth, put your sthafethies on and take a load off, that'sth what I sthay, anyway." He gestures to Jonn and Lamia. "Our fearlessth leadersth here probalby will have sthome questhionsth for you, Alpha. But my only questhion isth, do you want sthome pretzthelsth?" Howard takes out a handful of pretzels he saved from the Starport bar and offers some to Alpha.
"To enter the secret room, don't be greedy!"
Recovering blissfully from his awkward self-introduction, Jonn takes a seat around the tire-fire after thanking Alpha profusely for her hospitality. A little too profusely, as far as Jonn's would-be lover is concerned. Lamia sits close to Jonn to keep an eye on him around the exotic, well-weathered woman.
Jonn's nose crinkles from the foul smell of burning rubber as he takes in the scene. He can't make sense of it all, but he feels strangely at peace, at home, at whatever you want to call it. He's comfy. So comfy, that he doesn't even hulch in disbelief when Dodgers offers some stale pretzels to Alpha.
Thoughts of their missions temporarily put aside, Jonn decides to break the ice and hopefully get the mysterious woman talking about herself. "So what's with the signal fire, Alpha? And where did you study meteorology?"
No mention of Howard's biting has been included in this post. And Mute, the Pulse Rifle, was way out line and is playing with knowledge he/she/it would not know! This of course is only a warning, since it "Will" know that weapons made by Atari Corporation can become violent at even the slightest provocation.
"Focus Jonn," says Lamia elbowing Jonn as she notices him eyeing Alpha's tightly lifted cleavage.
"Focus on something else!" she whispers, when Jonn continues his questioning, albeit his face a little redder. She looks at her own cleavage and wonders if such an uplift might refocus his attention.
GM NOTE: I DO HAVE SHORT TERM PERMIT FOR USE OF MY DRAMATIC LICENSE.
"Hmmmm, no thank you... uh, Howard," she says, looking at the ancient and overly aged pretzels and then the overly witty mutant Duckoid. Forgetting the pretzels, she turns her attention back to Jonn, who does seem pleasing to the eye, but then so does Jake, in an ancient Clint Eastwood sort of way.
"Well I was told by this group of mutants and a Pure Strain Human named Timon, that if I saw it (she points to Geo) I was supposed to make a signal fire and alert them, after which he said he would send something to retrieve the robot within 4 hours. Timon does seem nice. Is he a friend of yours? No, I'm not a meteorologist but I do have a meteorgragh satellite uplink.
If Geo had any throat to make a "gulping" sound, he would have used it at that moment.
A very large and heavily muscled humanoid exits one of the upstairs rooms and walks out to look down over the balcony at you. He coughs a few times at the rising ancient Firestone ATX smoke.
Pausing for a moment, the large bronze-skinned man starts down the stairs casually in a non threatening manner. He has long brown/blond hair tied in a pony tail. His eyes are an odd golden color. As he walks down the stairs, a blonde and fully naked woman appears on the balcony where he stood seconds before.
PLEASE REMOVE THE CHILDREN FROM THE ROOM AS THIS SCENE CONTAINS FULL FRONTAL NUDITY.
The (real) blonde woman says "Cum back and see me again Ormahzd... pleazzz!" Waving at the men below, she goes back into her room. Once at the bottom of the stairs, the heavily muscled humanoid approaches your group.
"I'm Ormahzd. Did I hear one of your mention the name Timon? I would really like the chance to kill that bastard, in a very gory, painful way." Ormahzd looks at the K-11 robot who is pointing his pistol at him and smiles. "Down boy! No biting inside Wolf's Lair." says Ormahzd.
Ormahzd can't help but notice the young lady checking out her own cleavage, a duck that could feed a village, and several other not so interesting (for now) people. He also notices the rather easy way they all slip into kill or be killed mode.
"I believe you did say the name Timon. If he is your friend, we have a problem; if not, I would like to sit and be known," he says, making sure his hands are not too far from his weapons, just in case. He stares openly at Lamia's chest---I know, he doesn't know her name, but he knows what he sees!
"So, may I join you in this circle of meeting, or shall I return to the female upstairs? Here at Wolf's Lair, hospitality is almost always shown; it is preferred over the bloody messes one has to clean after, well, I'm sure you understand what I mean." Waiting patiently for an answer, he keeps an eye on all for any "bad" movements, and an even closer one on the woman's cleavage.
Not distracted by any display of cleavage, either from the ground floor or the upper level, Howard instead focuses his gaze on Ormahzd. Pocketing his stale pretzels, and taking no offense that Alpha didn't want any---after all, that means more for him later---Howard tries to size up the tall fellow. "Tall? Heck, freakin' huge!" he thinks to himself. He notices the newcomer giving him a stare which seems to say, "Mmm, dinner," and decides that he'll stay as far away from him as possible. He gives off Duckoid vibes, as only a mutated duck can, in Jonn's direction, to indicate his wariness.
"Welcome, Yellow Warrior!"
Brimstone pretends to ignore the rifle, and bares his fangs at Ormahzd in a neutral greeting.
simply steps in front of Lamia to intercept the newcomer's lascivious stare with his own steeled posture. He feels like a sacrificial pawn protecting his queen from an opposing castle in some cosmic game of 3-D chess. But he has larger concerns than petty games of testosterone.
"ClusterFrak™! Alpha, how long have you been sending this smoke signal? You may be putting us in grave danger! Despite the fact that Timon and I have a lot in common [c.f. Jonn's epiphany in the NARChives --ed.], he is no friend of ours; in fact, he probably hates my guts. I have no idea what he wants with Geo here, but it can't be good."
"Ok, battle vets," Jonn looks at Brimstone, Kicker and K-11, then tentatively at the big guy on the stairs, "is this place defensible? We may want to stay put if we're going to have to confront Timon."
Changing the position of his eyes from where her cleavage was, to this fella's face, Ormahzd tenses, senseing possible confontation. Blah, blah, ClusterFrak™, blah, I don't listen too well---caught the gist of it though: Timon enemy, house good.
"This is Wolf's Lair. It is more defensible than most structures its size, and it has its little secrets. Those ladies don't get in and out being hassled you know. I would please to put myself with you against Timon, unless you prefer I find him on my own---then I will leave you in peace." Making sure not to stare at the woman anymore, he leans against the wall, waiting.
Hmmmm, these "people" seem to be better than most. I might like it here. As long as no one attacks me, I might even help them. "Come, let me show you around the place. You might be interested in setting a plan, just in case."
The Gamma World map has been updated with Wolf's Lair and the village of Gamma One added to it.
Surprised at your response and dislike of Timon and his possible arrival, Alpha stops putting pieces of the ancient Firestone ATX on the fire and considers your options.
"Timon has many robots and mutants who work for him. I doubt any place can truly be defended. He will likely send some specialized mutant or robot. I believe it would be better if you faced him on your own terms when you have the element of surprise. I do have a way for all of you to escape. About a hundred yards behind Wolf's Lair is an underground shelter. It looks like a cave entrance, but it's not. Inside are two fully operational combustion vehicles. The Ancients called them called "dune buggies." If you take those, you could be long gone before Timon's forces arrive."
"About two and a half day's walk south of here, or 6 hour's drive by dune buggy is a small walled town called Gamma One. A mutant lizard woman named Kasteen runs an herb shop there called 'Podines Powders.' Find her and tell her I sent you, and she can help you find anyone you want, or at least point you in the right direction."
"I'm sorry for being such a bad host!"
Jonn showw Alpha his map, and she makes a mark on it where Wolf's Lair is and where the village of Gamma One can be found.
The duck mentions to Alpha, "Hey, I don't think you're a bad hosth. Buth if you stherved thesthe babiesth, I'm sthure you'd be a bethter one." Howard shows Alpha a few of the pretzel crumbs from his pocket.
"Hey Jonn," he says, turning to his Pure Strain human friend, "I vote we check out the buggiesth. Justh think of the vintagthe technology! It'd be greath!" He also concedes that sure, they could use them to get away real quick-like.
"Or maybe we shthould leave a trap---or a messthage---for Timon. Like, 'Don't bug usth, man, or we'll bug you!'" Howard swells (as only a duck can) with machismo as he tries to sound tough.
The Pure Strain human's eyes light up with unbridled excitement as Alpha mentions the dune buggies. He may not be able to fly a flitter, but its stalwart predecessor, the internal combustion car---here, finally, is a piece of Ancient technology in which he specializes. Frak, he threaded the needle back in Beggar's Canyon in his resurrected Porsche 944 Cabriolet faster than most did the trip in a grav-car!
"Why, thanks Alpha! This is just great! Woo-hoo!" Jonn is too ecstatic to question Alpha's sincerity or motives. He merely pumps Alpha's bronzed hands in a vigorous shake and then turns to his band. He knows they are living on borrowed time.
"Dodgers, you take one, and I'll drive the other. I'll try not to leave you in the dust! Everybody pile in! We've got a date with a Lizardwoman!" he exclaims, but he winces internally at his own choice of words, which unwittingly sting like heartburn. Some memories just won't die....
Walking over to "Muscles," leaning against the wall, Jonn remarks, "You're welcome to come along, if you like. We're bound to meet up with Timon someday, and then you can have him for lunch!" Jonn pokes him in the biceps as if to say, "And hands off the Gren!"
The Gren, expecting Jonn to invite Alpha too, is pleasantly surprised that he doesn't. "His one-track brain probably doesn't have room for dune-buggies and Pure Strain females," she thinks as the group mobilizes. But by his recent actions, she knows he still keeps her in his mind somewhere. He is loyal, if not completely aware of it yet! She smiles, thinking of Plan B, and then acts on a whim, as she frequently does, "Alpha, you wanna join us too? We girls have to stick together, you know!"
Calling from outside, Jonn yells, "Hey, shugah, hurry up or you'll be riding shotgun!"
"I say, I say there Howard, maybe we could leave them some gamma pretzels. I think that would be a good trap," laughs the Roosteroid in a clucking sort of way, slapping the Duckoid on the back.
"Sorry, no... my place is here. I can't leave. Until now I didn't realize who you were." She waves good-bye to Jonn giving him a NARC hand signal---a signal everyone else would mistake for a simple wave good-bye.
Waving good-bye, Lamia races to catch up with Jonn.
Leaving the Wolf's Lair, your group heads in the direction Alpha indicated. A little over a hundred yards away, you slide down a very steep bank into a dry gully. To one side of the gully you see a high man-made cave. Entering it, you find a flexible garage door. Lifting it open, you enter a large room only a little bigger than two dune buggies. The dune buggies are the standard offroad type with roll cages and the entire setup. Walking around the two dune buggies you see four spare gas cans (filled---two cans refill a dune buggy), which can be strapped to each dune buggy. You also see an assortment of parts, tools, and spare tires. A snap-on-tool calendar hangs on one wall and shows the month of June graced by a hot babe in a tight bikini holding a torc wrench.
A quick inspection under the hood shows both dune buggies have been well-maintained. Neither dune buggy requires keys and both start up on the first try. Both are filled up with gas and have a 200 mile range on one tank. Each dune buggy was designed to seat four people, and only has seat belts for four.
Jonn (the first driver), Lamia (front seat), Geo, Kicker, and Captain Leghorn climb into one vehicle. Howard (the second driver), Ormahzd (front seat), Jake, Brimstone (his rifle Mute), and K-11 are in the second vehicle. What do you do?
"Hey duck, can you see out your rear view mirror?"
Does this thing have anti-lock brakes? Or doors? Caution: the exit will move!
As he helps Jake and Ormahzd strap the gas cans two to a buggy bumper, Jonn can't help but feel giddy. And it isn't just the prospect of getting behind the wheel again. The signal Alpha flashed as he left Wolf's Lair told him that she was a NARCie, and that meant he had one more ally in the wings, if he needed her.
He is only slightly perplexed at how she discovered his affiliation, and even less so at how she had started her signal fire so long before Geo ever stepped metallic foot on her grounds. Those questions he filed for later perusal.
As Jonn takes the driver's seat in one of the buggies and straps on his belt, Geo offers, "I will ride beltless, as my duralloy skin and shielding make me impervious to Completely Heinous Response Implicating Systematic Total Momentum Absorption Syndrome."
"CHRISTMAS!" she smirks, having trouble finding her seat belt.
"All good and well, Tin-head. I guess you won't be needing presents come December!" Jonn quips, and turns to help Lamia fish her seat belt out.
Meanwhile, Kicker, in the back seat, hands Lamia her missing belt, while Jonn busily but obliviously continues his search. The Leoparoid shares a knowing look with the Gren, and Lamia starts to giggle under Jonn's attentions.
"Did you find that seatbelt under me, Jonn, or are you just using it as an excuse for free feelies?" she says, waving the belt in front of his reddening face. His "I'm innocent" gesture gets lost in her laughter.
The Roosteroid breaks out a new stogie and chomps on it, then pulls it out to exclaim, "I say, boy! What you say we get this show on the road?" He returns the cigar to his beak, looks over at Howard in the second dune buggy and winks.
Recovering, Jonn manages to reply, "Righto, Cap'n. Roll out, Dodgers! I'll take the lead!"
Very pleased to have allies with him, Ormahzd gladly helps strap the cans to the buggies. And he's even happier to get the front seat. Watching with amusement, he smothers a laugh at Jonn's antics with the beautiful Gren, thinking this might be an interesting "thing" to watch devolop. Looking in the direction of Gamma One in the distance, Ormahzd says,"Do you think the bugger is in there? Mayhaps I'll get a chance to 'talk' with it, I mean, him."
Looking in the dash, Lamia finds several pairs of strap-on protective eye masks, and passes them out to anyone who wants them, these being the kind which cover the eyes and face like a hockey mask. Like some burned out computer monitor, Jake and Kicker hold on, as does all the other strapped in members of the crew as Jonn jams the pedal to the floor and roars out of the cave with Howard following closely behind. In the afternoon sun, everyone feels the excitement, dust, and every bump as Jonn and Howard race gully after gully and climb over hills which would even be hard to navigate on foot, heading in a southward direction.
More than a few times Howard manages to take the lead, but like some all knowing big brother, Jonn manages to keep his lead for the the better part of the afternoon and into the night. With Geo's guidance and the dune buggies' head lights you continue southward late into the night. By midnight you spot the lights from the village of Gamma One exactly where Alpha said it would be. Shutting your lights off, you stop about a half a mile away from the village to confer with your friends and get a drink. Geo estimates your distance traveled as 126.7 miles (in very rough terrain).
As they rest, Howard turns to Ormahzd to respond to his open question before their road trip. "If he'sth there, I think we'll all be 'talking' with him, ifth you know what I mean." Howard stretches his wings and gargles some of his canteen water as only a Duckoid can. Eager to get back to the journey, Howard hops back into the dune buggy while everyone else is stretching their legs, and tries to see what modifications or tinkering might be done to the antique vehicle.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:17 2006
All text Copyright ©1999-2006 PBPArchives.