A Gamma World Hell Hole

A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm

Chapter 15: Dealing with Ranse

gammaworld_gm

GM

The steel door swings open and a pale 5 foot tall humanoid enters, followed by a very large creature which makes even Ormahzd look small. They close the door behind them. Both see you with the dog whistle. The very large creature approaches you, while the smaller humanoid moves behind the strange looking escritoire (touching some of the buttons on it). The large creature releases each of you (dropping you to the floor), points to your equipment and then moves behind the humanoid without saying a word.

Ranse

"My name is Ranse, it seems we have had misunderstanding. I thought you might have been some of Timon's men coming here for free arms instead of the usual payment which is required, since you were captured where Timon's men were. Since the mistake was ours, you are free to go, Jonn Dukas!"

"Your equipment is on the floor. You see the door? Use it!"


gammaworld_gm

GM

Marcus leaves a few extra domars, including a tip on the table to pay the drinks as all of you get up and leave. The comfortable, yet overcrowded bar is very different than outside, where you face an unrelenting, blinding, howling sandstorm. Marcus leads you towards Podine's Powder Shop.

Geo

"Been meaning to get one of these," says the robot, holding its arm up to sandblast its pit.

GM

Coming into view from out of the darkness of the sand storm appear two red glowing eyes. Marcus points his rifle but holds his fire as the K-11 security robot closes to near point blank range, seemingly unafraid of Marcus shooting him.

K-11

"Question?" asks the K-11 security robot, noticing Geo with his arm up.

Geo

"Barnacles," answers Geo.

[The groups are now as follows:

--ed.]

jake_omega

Kicker

I place my hand against some of the pipes, trying to get a sense of movement within them (as of running water), as well as their temperature.

"Be careful, Brimstone," I warn, "there may be traps here to deter unwelcome visitors."

Taking off one of my strands of beads, I tell Jake to drop a bead at intervals behind us to leave a trail for the others.

Jake

As I take the string of beads from Kicker, I can't help but wonder whether anyone will notice a small bead in the dark, gloomy corridor---still, it's better than nothing. As we get ready to proceed, I do my part as rear guard and keep an eye out behind us.


gammaworld_gm

GM

Only Brimstone and Kicker hear the high pitched dog whistle. Brimstone remembers the dog whistle Jonn carried around his neck. It was a souvenir from the Oad-Ck-Factory. Brimstone growls as he remembers his souvenirs from the Oad-Ck-Factory: Mute and some grenade scars.

Following a narrow corridor that branches off in four directions, Brimstone, Kicker and Jake follow the ultrasonic noise through a dozen twists and turns. The noise stops as the trio faces a dead-end at a large steel door.

What do you do next?


hunter_brimstone

Brimstone

"Well, the door can't be that thick if the dog whistle could get through it."

Mute

"No, wait! If we wait long enough in one spot, all the doors will open!"

Brimstone

Ignoring the now super-charged rifle, I step closer and examine the door, looking for obvious opening devices.


gammaben

Howard

"Kay-Elevthen," Howard courageously addresses the robot as he adjusts his purple sun glasses, not much good in the sandstorm. "Where'sth the resth of your group?"

K-11

"We found Podine's Powders, and Brimstone decided to go looking for Jonn. He found Jonn's sunglasses near an underground passage. They entered to investigate. I was sent to inform you of their location, and also that you should follow them." K-11's eyes glow only briefly as he finishes, "Quickly."

Howard

Not one to argue, Howard agrees. "Ok gang, let'sth go!" As the others begin to follow K-11, Howard pauses and hangs back a bit with Marcus. "Don't mind K-11. He'sth a little quirky. Long sthory! Anyway, sthince we apparently no longer need your sthervicthes in finding the Powder Sthop, feel free to go chasthe that waitressth friend of yoursth." He continues more excitedly, as only a mutated duck can. "<quack> Or you could come with usth! The latter opthion justh might be sthlightly more excthiting. Thisth Jonn guy isth alwaysth getting himsthelf into trouble and we probably need to go sthave him!" Howard holds his feathered arm out for Marcus to follow K-11, Geo, and Ormahzd.

Something about the mutated fox makes Howard want to trust him. Maybe he's just happy that there's another short mutated member of the animal kingdom in his company!


tharavos

Marcus

Marcus says, "Hell, I'll just come along with you guys. Could be fun!" He thinks, "Hey, this duck ain't half bad."


jonndukas

Jonn

Jonn drops to the floor like a Rodan turd. He helps Lamia to her feet, adjusts his plastic armor, stows his whistle, and studies the man named Ranse and his towering comrade as Leghorn and Lamia retrieve their equipment. "Ranse, I see you are an honorable man. If you know our names, and you know Timon, you probably know that we too have had our run-ins with him and his Cryp's. In fact, we were on our way to see you about him. Glad you found us first! We'd have found frak out there in that sandstorm! Anyway, I know you are a shrewd businessman, and your time means domars, so let me say up front that we mean to make you an offer."

Lamia

Lamia tilts her head at Jonn and discreetly mouths, "Offer?"

Jonn

"Can I buy you two a drink somewhere, or shall we get down to business? The rest of my group should be arriving momentarily."


gammaworld_gm

Ranse

Ranse laughs at the mention of being an honorable man. "I am a businessman and as such, my weapons go to the highest bidder. I also don't like being muscled in my own town, but with Timon and his mutants, I have little choice but to hide for the most part!"

GM

Ranse pushes a button in front of him. The entire back wall (a four foot thick concrete and steel wall) slowly slides to the side, revealing a lighted two hundred foot long and fifty foot wide room filled to the brim with never used ancient weapons. Only a few aisles cross the long room. Some stacked crates of grenades and mortars almost reach the twenty foot high ceiling. Leghorn casually strolls over to a 55 gallon barrel marked "Napalm." Without much thought the Roosteroid punches in 25 seconds, pulls the pin on the timing device and tosses it over his shoulder into the jumble of equipment.

Captain Leghorn

"I say, I say there, boy... I think your market for weapons is about to explode all over the place! <Broook>

Ranse

"What have you done?" screams Ranse, fear showing in his eyes.

GM

At that moment, the metal door to your right swings open and you see Brimstone, Kicker, and Jake standing there.

Mute

"Freeze MotherTruckers!" shouts the pulse rifle aiming at the Roosteroid.

GM

The timer says, "25, 24, 23...."

[The groups are now as follows:

--ed.]

gammaworld_gm

GM

After a few more minutes of walking, K-11 stops and lifts off the manhole lid as if it were an ancient frisbee.

>K-11

"They went down there," it points.

GM

A few yards away laying in the street in the raging storm, you see a very dead nomad humanoid. A hand sized hole can be seen in his chest. It's a hole that goes all the way through. A large knife can still be seen in his hand. What do you do next?


gammaben

Howard

"I'd recognizthe that weapon sthignature anywhere. Yep, Brimsthone'sth been here." Howard doesn't bother to loot the poor guy or check him for ID Instead, he waddles to the manhole, bends over and sticks his head down to see what he can see.

"Anybody got a flasthlighthe?"


cpt_leghorn

Captain Leghorn

"I say, I say there, Jonn, I suppose I won't ever be see'n Penny or our two chicks, Raggy and Little Bit ever again! <brooock>" he says, looking down the barrel of the Cougaroid's pulse rifle and at the timer counting down.


tharavos

Marcus

Marcus looks over to Howard. "Over here Howard! Think fast!" Marcus tosses a flashlight. "Don't lose it. I only have one."


jonndukas

Jonn

"Leghorn, if you're trying to get on my good side, you're going about it all the wrong ways!" Jonn quips as he rounds up Lamia and the Captain toward Brimstone and the others. He is disappointed in Howard's apparent absence, but wasn't Jake a techie too?

"Brimstone, Kicker, glad you're here! How far below ground are we?" Jonn asks the confused Felinoids.

Brimstone

"I uh..."

Mute

"Forty feet down, ya moron! Hiya Red Elf, all your powers will be lost!"

Jonn

Jonn breathes a quick sigh of relief. "Ok, rush Lamia and the Captain to the surface, pronto! This place is gonna blow, and you'll need all of that 40 feet below you!" He hopes it's enough to shield the settlement above.

Turning to Jake, Jonn asks hurriedly, "How are your bomb disarm skills?"

Jonn then asks Ranse and his towering companion, who are fiddling nervously with the controls on the escritoire. "Sorry about the Captain---not running on a full charge. Can it be shut off? Will these walls hold the explosion?"

The bomb says, "16...15...14...."


ormahzdthegolden

Ormahzd

Ormahzd pulls his vibro blade, "Hey Howie, turn on the light and let's get our friends outta the hole. I have a rather bad feeling about this 'hole' business. (sorry, bad pun) Hey Marcus, ever chase rabbits outta their holes?" As he says this, he is pushing forward to the hole, hoping that the group will act and enter.


gammaben

Howie

Howard shines the flashlight down the hole, and seeing nothing of danger or imminent doom, quacks, "Alrighth, let'sth go." Howard waddles down the sewer ladder underground as only a mutant duck of his stature can, holding the light between the bills of his beak.


tharavos

Marcus

In response to Ormahzd, he says, "Snakes yes, rabbits no." Marcus quickly moves down the ladder once he can. "OK, Howard, what do we have down here besides stench?"


gammaworld_gm

Kicker

"Forty feet or fifty feet---what does it matter? Like we have time to get away!" she demurs, looking at the pile of explosives.

GM

Jake walks over to the 55 gallon barrel marked "Napalm," looking at the timer, which reads "13... 12... 11...." Removing a toothpick from his pocket, Jake puts it in the hole where the pin was. It stops counting at 7 seconds. Turning to everyone he smiles and says, "We're not dead yet, dudes!"

Ranse

Taking a sudden deep breath, Ranse says, "I don't know whether to congratulate you or shoot you!" Ranse looks at the Cougaroid and Mute, then decides, noting his slightly wet pants. "It looks like I am willing to make any deal you want Jonn---Hell I'm even going to give you 25% off across the board... even a franchise!" Ranse smiles.

Captain Leghorn

The Roosteroid lowers his head in shame.


hunter_brimstone *****

Brimstone

"Yeah, that's right buddy, fear the rifle," he says to the chicken. Turning to Jonn, "Hey Jonn, don't listen to his offer of 'french fries.' Is this guy good or bad? That is," motioning expectantly with Mute, "should I holify him?"

Mute

"French fries? <pause> You... are... a... Moron!"


cpt_leghorn

Captain Leghorn

"I say, I say there, Jonn old boy, I think we can work this out like two southern gentlemen, can't we? Now that everything seems to have worked itself out. Whata' say old boy? Forgive and forget?"


gammaworld_gm

GM

The five of you (Ormahzd, Geo, Howard, Marcus, K-11) head down the stairs cautiously. Once inside the tunnel, you see a very long seven by fifteen foot dimly-lit man-made tunnel. Dozens of pipes line the right wall. Following the tunnel, Howard begins to notice a single bead discarded on the concrete floor every now and then. Your group continues following the beads, following many twists and turns. After a few minutes of walking, you enter a huge room where your friends are talking with a humanoid and a huge creature. Most of the 100 foot long room is filled with crates of ancient weapons.

[All the groups are together now. --ed.]


jonndukas

Jonn

"You da man, Jake!" Jonn spouts, relieved.

Jake

"Never underestimate the power of the humble toothpick," the former resident of Area 61 smirks, folding his arms and nodding in welcome to his erstwhile son K-11, and the others, accompanied by a mutant fox.

Jonn

"I'll get to use my diplomatic skills after all," Jonn thinks, acknowledging Brimstone's suggestion with a click of his tongue. "Lower your weapons, friends: this has all been a comedy of errors. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and Ranse here is still in business. Ranse, meet my friends; gang, this is Ranse," Jonn says, walking over to Leghorn.

"Captain, I assure you, we'll talk later," Jonn firmly replies to the Roosteroid, but winking, his back turned to Ranse and his bodyguard, whom he addresses next.

"Ranse, all we want from you is a pledge. Your 'client' Timon is stirring up lots of trouble as of late. The good Captain here really has a beef with Timon's amassing a huge arsenal for that damned Cryptic Alliance faction of his."

Jonn walks slowly around the escritoire, "Now, me, I have nothing against your line of work, but Leghorn here," Jonn leans in closer to Ranse, "there's no telling what he'll do next if you keep arming Timon."

He continues, further away, "So I suggest at the least that you stop your dealings with that man, permanently. As you've let on, such a deal makes sound economic sense, too, eh mon? And here's the bonus: if we meet up with that bad client of yours, we're sure to give him a lashing he'll never forget! Right crew?" Jonn twists around to the group, finds Ormahzd and nods especially in his direction.

"What say you, Ranse?" Jonn asks.


ormahzdthegolden *****

As Jonn catches Ormahzd's eye, Ormahzd rises to his full height, rubs his hand over his vibro blade and nods vigorously in the direction of Ranse. He thinks to himself, "Man, these guys have all the fun. I only get to kill weasels and look at women I don't get to please." He replies to Jonn, "Please guarantee our 'friend' that Timon will bother no one in the future, once we have caught up with him."


gammaben

Howard

Howard watches the scene with interest, trying to figure out exactly what transpired before their entrance into the underground weapons cache. He holds back salivating, as only a duck can, at all the weapons and tech stashed along the cavern walls.

"Ransthe," Howard nods respectfully in the direction of the weapons dealer. To his human friend, he takes a different tone. "Dukasth! Sthome exthplanation, pleasthe? You know how I hate being in sthusthpencthe."

Jonn

"Yeah, and I know how I hate to hear you say 'suspense,'" Jonn thinks to himself. Of all the words in the English language, could Howard have mangled any worse than that?

Howard

When introductions become appropriate, Howard introduces Marcus as their would-be guide to Podine's Powders.

Mute

"Welcome, Red Warrior!"

Marcus

If a rifle could talk in the direction of anyone in particular, Marcus felt as if this one were talking to him.

Brimstone

"<growl>"


tharavos

Marcus

Marcus looks at Brimstone and his rifle. "What the hell, it talks!"


gammaworld_gm

Ranse

Ranse nods to everyone. "You have my pledge Jonn. I've been fearing a Timon takeover for sometime. I thought you might have been it!" Listening to your words, Ranse again nods looking at the Roosteroid in a frowning manner, and then whispering, "I never liked Roosteroids! Yes, Timon is only setting me up for a double-cross. I will never deal with him or his bastardly Cryptic Alliance ever again!"

GM

Over the next hour, Jonn works out all of the problems with Ranse (making a new friend) and gathers his group together (especially Howard) and explains what happened to him and everything Howard and the others missed while they were separated. He also gets updated on Marcus'

Geo, to Marcus

"Nice fur! Warm I bet," says the robot, rubbing Marcus' fur the wrong way. "So Marcus, what do foxes eat?" Geo says, looking over at the bite-sized Duckoid.


gammaben

Howard

As Jonn gives some special attention to swapping stories with Howard, the Pure Strain Human's Duckoid friend pulls him aside with a feathered wing-hand for some privacy. "Jonn, I listhened to the radio. Leghorn'sth treachery stheemsth to fit what I heard." Howard thinks for a few moments, then recalls what Timon said over the channel. "When I flipped it on, Timon sthaid, 'Hello... are you there Captain? Sthop the heavy breathing! It wasn't funny the lasth time! Be aware that our contactsth in Gamma One have been corrupted by Ransthe. Don't walk into a trap and think they're my people... Timon out!' He didn't wait for me to sthay anything back, stho I don't think he'sth on to usth."

Jonn thinks it over and Howard suggests, "So Leghorn led you into a trap, thinking it was Timon'sth crew, but it turned out to be Ransthe'sth crew and they clunked all three of you? Then, it turned out Ransthe wasth the good guy?" Howard rubs his duckhead fur considering any new implications this might mean.

Just then, Howard overhears Geo asking Marcus about his diet, and "Waugh"s to himself as only a Duckoid can.

Jonn

Always one to be easily distracted with details, Jonn notices Howard's new gun. "Nice SMG, Dodgers. Where'd you get it?"

Howard

"Off a dead weasthel. Ormazthed hit him a little too hard. He wasth about to whack me when I wasth in the bathroom listhening to the radio." Howard fumbles in his leather vest's pockets. "That remindsth me. The weasthel alsth had thesthe on 'im." Opening his hand, Howard reveals one of the metal coin-sized tokens he'd lifted off the weasel. "Mean anything to you?" he says, giving the token to Jonn.


jonndukas

Jonn

Jonn hears Howard's report on his test of Leghorn's communicator. "Thanks Dodgers, that puts the final piece of this puzzle together! I knew I could count on you! But I have no idea what those coins are for." He calls the sullen Roosteroid over for a mini-conference. Dodgers repeats to Leghorn what Timon said. "Leghorn, I've never had much of a family, 'cept for Dodgers here, but I think I know how much yours means to you."

Jonn continues, "Despite being a royal pain in the butt, I realize that you quite possibly only acted in defense of Penny and your chicks. Now Timon's apt to assume that Ranse has 'retired' his mole---you---in my ranks, and so there's no telling what he's going to do with your family. We may have bought the Flower Lands some time by cutting off Timon's arms supplier, but he's still an immediate threat to your family, and so I'm changing our mission parameters slightly; we weren't really authorized to confront Timon, but then, neither were we authorized to nuke Area 61!" Jonn smiles. "And besides, I think Ormahzd over there just might go ballistic if he doesn't get his hands on Timon!"

"Now that Brimstone's group has found where our contact is, we're going to head over there and see if she can't help us locate Timon, and from there, we will get your family back. I promise. Hopefully, our other mission priorities can wait."

To the rest of his group, assembling outside Ranse's heavily armored underground bunker, Jonn says their next stop is Podine's Powders. He welcomes the mutant fox scout, Marcus, and waves a final good-bye to Ranse and his bodyguard. Kicker leads the group up the dark corridors to the sandswept, stormy surface.

Lamia

As they walk, Lamia sidles up to Jonn in the darkness, only illuminated by lights from Mute and Geo. Suddenly she pins him up against the corridor wall, and slaps a juicy smacker on him. "That was for saving our asses back there."

Jonn

Exhausted from his diplomatic efforts, Jonn sighs, "Yeah, I'm gonna sleep tonight!" But Lamia pinches him. "Er, uh, well, maybe not," he appends, audibly grinning in her arms.


gammaworld_gm

Marcus, earlier

The Foxoid looks at the metal coin-sized token as Howard shows it to Jonn. "That token is used to enter Timon's under ground 'subway' in Datil. I escorted some people to Datil about a year ago. That's how I know."

Captain Leghorn, earlier

Nodding, the Roosteroid agrees to whatever Jonn says, feeling lucky not to have been tossed out of the group on his tail feathers.

Geo

"Why doesn't Lamia ever check anyone else's teeth like that?" asks the robot, talking to Marcus as they walk.


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