A Gamma World Hell Hole

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

Chapter 16: Kasteen

gammaworld_gm

GM

You (Liska) enter Podine's Powder shop in the small town called Gamma One. The sand storm outside is howling like a banshee and the shop is a very welcome change. Just inside the door is a table and two chairs. Seated in one of them is a enchanting looking lizard lady. The lady you came here to see. You know her as Kasteen, having worked for her several times before. You never forget someone who actually pays. Removing your face wrappings and goggles (to keep out the sand), you sit down.

Kasteen

"I have another job for you Liska, but it may test your limits. It pays 100 domars, 25 in advance and I'll equip you with the stuff you need, even extra ammo. You interested?" Kasteen smiles a very sharp toothy smile.

[A new player implies a new group:

--ed.]

lis_ka_iron

Liska Ironclaw

Liska looks at the Lizardwoman. "Sure, what's the job, Kasteen?" She looks the place over. "And how dangerous is it?"


gammaworld_gm

GM

It has been about a year since you (Liska) last visited Kasteen at Podine's Powder Shop and not much has changed. The shop has several more aisles with shelves to the ceiling, which it didn't have before. Jars fill the shelves, some with herbs, but for many you can only guess as to their use. A long counter fills the back of the room. Kasteen also trades in a few non-standard ancient items (like a pawn shop) and if she can't get something, she usually knows someone who can. Podine's Powders is a small windowless shop with three more levels below ground that you know of, and an escape (that you've used more than once before) into the tunnels below the village of Gamma One.

Kasteen

"Please Liska, since when are you afraid of dangerous missions? Didn't you just come in out of that sand storm alone?" Kasteen's smooth mutant reptilian features attempt to hold back a smile as she speaks.

"I'm sending you into Datil up in the mountains to retrieve a box of microchips for me. You'll know them when you see them. They'll be waving 'Take me! Take me Liska!'" Noticing your lack of amusement, she continues.

"A rare Pure Strain human like you, only a male who goes by the name Jonn Dukas will be coming here today. He travels with a large group of misfits. You should fit right in. You will go with them when they leave, as they are traveling into the same area, plus you'll have the safety in numbers and the female thing working to your advantage. I guess not all Pure Strain humans are extinct... yet!"

"I'll provide you with two weeks food, water, winter clothes, eight extra clips, and the payment we spoke of. What do you say, Liska? Now or never, do or die. Isn't that your motto?"


lis_ka_iron

Liska

Liska looks at Kasteen. "You're right Kasteen. I'll take the job and you'll have your microchips, and the payment is quite reasonable." Liska looks over the shop and checks over her gear. "Alright, I'll take the job."


gammaworld_gm

GM

After a long walk back to the manhole, and then up to the street (and into the raging sand storm), everyone heads towards Podine's Powder Shop. Finding the quaint little windowless shop open minutes later, everyone enters, with Ormahzd entering first. Just inside the door (seated at a very small table with only two chairs) you see a mutant lizard lady and a rare good-looking Pure Strain human female dressed in army fatigues. Two uzis hang from her sides.


gammaworld_gm

GM

Kasteen gathers your (Liska's) supplies, ammo, winter clothes. Finished, she returns and sits the backpack at your feet.

Kasteen

"I added something extra to your pack which you can borrow, Liska: a set of night vision goggles. Take good care of them as they are very rare, you know. I know you like that kind of stuff." Kasteen sits back down in her chair. "Ok, now I'll tell you a little about this good-looking Jonn Dukas character."

GM

Suddenly the door of the shop opens and Jonn's 11-member crew (Ormahzd, Leghorn, Marcus, Kicker, Jake, K-11, Howard, Jonn, Lamia, Brimstone and his talking rifle Mute, and Geo) enter.

Kasteen

"Ah, speak of the devil and it shows up!"

[All players are now in the same group. --ed.]


tharavos

Marcus

Marcus takes a quick look around the place. "So, what are you guys looking for here?" He looks at the other party members.


lis_ka_iron

Liska

Liska looks over to Kasteen, "Which one is the devil in question?" She looks over the motley group she sees before her. She looks back at Kasteen, checks over her gear quickly and says, "Kasteen, thanks for the goggles!"


jonndukas

Brimstone

Just outside the shop, Brimstone hands Jonn his (Lamia's) glasses. "Hey big guy, you dropped these back there." Brimstone winces in expectation of another rifle-quip.

Mute

"Red Elf now has reflective shades!" the pulse rifle emits happily once again.

Jonn

"Thanks Brim. You da Cougaroid!" Glancing briefly at the four familiar letters highlighted on the shop's exterior as he enters, he thinks, "Wow, I didn't know NARC had a contact in Gamma One." From inside, Jonn breathes in the myriad scents of the store. Was that a familiar perfume? "I'm surprised I haven't heard of...." Jonn's jaw drops in mid-thought when he sees the Lizardwoman, who is already walking over to greet the party.

Under his breath, he mutters, "Xervian? Is that---" Not slowing her approach, the Lizardwoman comes within a reptiloid's muzzle-length of Jonn, stares into his eyes, then lustily licks his stubbly cheek with her forked tongue, and pokes a claw into his steely abdomen. His suspicions confirmed, his heart sinks.

Kasteen

Kasteen circles Jonn as if he were dinner. "Still sucking it in around me, eh Jonnie?" she smiles seductively, greeting Lamia's vorpal stare with a sparkle of recognition in her crescent pupils.

Jonn

Jonn thinks sheepishly, "It's a frakkin' conspiracy!" NARC's female operatives, and especially Xervian, were always conspiring to embarrass him! It had started with a mission way back in '61 when the nymphomaniac Xervian had saved his life, but Reptiloids were just not his type....

"Hello again, 'Kasteen.' Alpha sent us here. I should've known she was in on your little game." Jonn turns around to his gang as Kasteen huffs, "'Kasteen' and I go way back. She's really swell as far as sneaky lizardfolk go, but don't get on her bad side," he says, grimacing. To Lamia, Jonn whispers quickly, "Whatever she says about me, don't believe her!"

Kasteen

Before walking back to her seat, the Lizardwoman swings by Lamia, slithering huskily, "Have you seen his dragon tattoo? It's really something---what, you haven't? It's on his---oh, I'm sorry, I must've mistaken you for Jonn's---"

Jonn

"Xerv!" Jonn barks like a mutated prairie dog. But Kasteen only pats his butt.

Kasteen

Kasteen winks at Lamia, whispering, "We'll talk later, honey!" The proprietoress of Podine's Powders sits at her desk and motions toward Jonn, "There's your devil, Liska. He may look like a sack of rad-rat turds past its prime, but he's got a lotta fight left in him!"

Jonn

"You're too kind, 'Kasteen,'" says the sack of turds. "Hi Liska, I'm Jonn. I'm---we're glad to meet you, even under the circumstances. If you're headed toward Datil, you're welcome to join us." Jonn can't believe the coincidence of meeting two Pure Strain human fems in as many days. [Jonn doesn't realize that Alpha is no PSH. --ed.] "When it rains, it pours," he thinks. He also can't help but think why only the attractive human fems escaped mutation.

Walking to Kasteen's desk and glowering down at her, Jonn says hushedly, "Look, I need all the intell you've got on a PSH named Timon and an old Havenite humanoid named Ermon. And I need to infiltrate the former's compound in Datil, pronto. Can you put aside our personal differences and help me? I'm under orders from Commander Stiles himself!"

Kasteen

"I always knew you'd come back for me, Jonnie!" she smirks to his sigh.


ormahzdthegolden

Ormahzd

As Ormahzd enters the store (being pushed up front), he immediately spots a very intriguing and most delicious looking female sitting with a female lizard. The lizard looks like she might not be too bad as far as her species goes, but he's never had the pleasure (Jonn) of being with one before. Of course, it doesn't look like he'll be with any female for a while....

At least he can look forward to a Timon roast, a very slow and painful roast, yes, that would do nicely. Before he can speak, the lizard woman greets Jonn, and what a greeting. Ormahzd kicks back to enjoy the squirming going on, and to try to figure out why Lamia looks like a bottle rocket ready for liftoff. These folk sure don't know about the 'share and share alike' life that city folk knew.


lis_ka_iron

Liska

Liska walks over to Jonn and shakes his hand. "Mr. Dukas, it does appear that we will be working together for a while." She looks over the rest of the group and back towards Kasteen. "Is he a close friend of yours, boss?"


gammaben

Howard

Howard looks at Jonn, Liska, Lamia, the Lizardwoman, and then Jonn again. He sighs, exasperated. "Justh look at the four of you! Thisth is going to be harder than I thought!"

Howard takes a few moments to scan the interior of the shop and to look at the wares on the shelves. He defers the course of their collective actions to Jonn, since he seems to know what is going on.


gammaworld_gm

Geo

"We are here to meet one of Jonn's contacts, and he may have another dentist appointment by the looks of it," says the robot, standing beside the mutant fox.

GM

Walking over to the shelves, Marcus spots a set of range-finding binoculars, and looks them over.

Kasteen

Kasteen looks at Liska and motions to the Pure Strain Human male before they begin talking, and then nods "yes" to Liska, answering her question.

Lamia

"Just exactly how far do you go back Jonn?" whispers the Gren, maintaining her sang-froid. The meaning and the statement are very different.

GM

Howard walks over to a shelf and looks at a book he finds there. The cover is unreadable. Opening it up, he reads a few lines to himself:

"A lady walks into a bar with a duck under each arm.
The bartender says, 'Hey! you can't bring that pig in here!'
The lady says, 'It's not a pig. They're ducks.'
The bartender says, 'I was talking to the ducks!'"

Turning a page he reads, "A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why." The book is priced at 3 domars or equal trade.

Kasteen

"Ermon was doing something in the Flower Lands around an old mine. He told me he had been seeing some new robots there lately. I suspect he's still there somewhere.

"As for Timon, well his Cryptic Alliance around Datil has always been a problem. I did hear he lost a bunch of people lately. I heard that they were killed by some crazy mutant duck. I also heard a place somewhere to the south over the mountains was nuked a few weeks ago. Recently, a Cyber Mage called Bacrill, from the Mystic Mage faction, joined Timon's cause. Since their partnership, things have changed and Timon has been expanding his power base ever since. I have a contact named Hampshire in Datil who runs a supply store there called Oik's Equips 'R' Us. Find him and he will help you. He's a mutant pig.

"You'll stay the rest of the day and night here and leave at first light. Follow me. The storm will be gone by morning."

GM

Going behind the counter, Kasteen leads all of you down a set of steel steps to the next level below. The first seven doors she passes are ten by ten foot empty rooms with two army cots in each and a very heavy steel door. The corridor continues on and another corridor goes down to yet another level.

Kasteen

"You can come upstairs to the shop or down here to your rooms here, but everything else is off limits!" Kasteen heads back upstairs, but not before smiling at Jonn and Ormahzd.

GM

There are 12 of you (Liska, Ormahzd, Leghorn, Marcus, Kicker, Jake, K-11, Howard, Jonn, Lamia, Brimstone and his talking rifle Mute, and Geo) and 7 rooms with 14 beds total. Who sleeps with whom or where is up to you.


gammaworld_gm

Kicker

"We can bunk in the same room Brimstone, that is, if you don't mind," offers Kicker, eyeing the Cougaroid closely.


gammaben *****

Howard

Kasteen

"I have a contact named Hampshire in Datil who runs a supply store there called Oik's Equips 'R' Us. Find him and he will help you. He's a mutant pig."

Howard suddenly closes the book he was perusing, slumps back and staggers into the shelf behind him. "Pigsth. Why did it have to be pigsth? QUACK!" he emits, unechoingly. Before the group reconvenes below, Howard tells Kasteen that he'd like to buy the ancient book. Or, if she'd prefer, "I have sthome lip balm I could trade for it." Howard points at his bill as means of explaining why he doesn't need the lip balm.

At the rooms, which look more like cells, Howard thinks, he grabs Geo's elbow joint and says, "You're with me, Tin-head."

Geo

"Howard, as you well know, I am composed of silicon, duralloy and a positronic matrix of a standard issue K1B-Service Robot with MP1 modifications," Geo says matter-of-factly. "Very little of that is tin, and very little <beep-beep> of the tin is located in my cranial attachment."

Howard

Howard thwaps himself on his slowly shaking, downturned duck head and pushes Geo into one of the rooms. "Jonn," he says, "Pow-wow, fearlessth leader?" Howard motions for Jonn to follow him and Geo into the room. "When you get a minute, that isth." Howard quaughs (a duck's laughing quack) as only a Duckoid can.

Jonn

Jonn knows full well that Howard is making fun of him and his lady attractions, but at the same time, he thinks Howard's call for a meeting will give him a minute to distance himself from the brewing trouble.

Howard

Howard waits in the cell and reads duck jokes to Geo until Jonn follows them.


gammaworld_gm

Kasteen, to Howard

"You have lip balm? Deal, Mr. Ducky!" Kasteen takes the lip balm and you take the duck joke book.

GM

In his room with Geo, Howard reads the following joke from his book out loud:

"A Mutant Duck walks into a robot taxidermist shop carrying the dead bodies of his pet male and female monkeys. He explains they were his favorite pets and he misses seeing them around the Starport. 'Would you like to have them mounted?' asks the robot taxidermist. 'Oh, no,' the duck replies, 'standing side by side will be just fine.'"

Geo

Considers expressing his solipsism to Howard, but instead keeps his data to himself.


jonndukas

Jonn

"Kasteen, wait...," Jonn calls up to the Lizardwoman. Lamia looks at him worriedly, but Jonn flashes her his "I'm innocent!" look. Its effect appears to be weakening, if it ever worked on the Gren at all. Jonn hastens up the stairs and into the shop, where Kasteen has disappeared.

He finds her closing shop for the evening. "Xervian, I..."

Kasteen

The svelte Reptiloid interrupts him. "Jonn, if you're looking to get back with me, forget it. I'm waaay over you, babe. Gone pecan. His-to-ry. You really blew it back then, Jonn. You don't know what you could've had!" she lashes out, as if by the sheer force of her words, she could inflict damage.

Jonn

Her retort takes Jonn by surprise, and he balks, reconsiders. She really was psycho, wasn't she? He grabs what shred of composure he has left, and remarks, backing toward the stairwell, "So, I guess I'm out of line if I ask for the NARC discount on those cur-in doses?" He is rushing downstairs before her paperweight shatters sharply against the stairwell door.

Lamia

Lamia meets him at the foot of the stairs, wearing her poker face. "Look, Jonn, don't play games with me!"

Jonn

"Lamia, Xerv---Kasteen and I, we were never... we never did quite have the chemistry, and I think it's taken her ten years to realize it. It's finally over, I hope," Jonn says, looking suppliantly heavenward.

Lamia

"She did call you a sack of rad-rat turds," Lamia offers, trying for the deadpan unnsuccessfully. A Gren grin begins to grow across her green lips. "I'll be in that room, Jonn. I think Howard and Geo want to chat with you, though. Don't take too long, eh?" she bats her eyelashes as only a Gren can.

Jonn

"Right," he confirms Howard's request. "You moved out the Captain's cot, right?" he smiles jocularly as he heads for Geo, who is standing dispassionately at the door to another room.

"Wassup, Tin-head?" Jonn asks, patting Geo on the head and not waiting for an answer.

Geo

"Why do you carbon-based lifeforms continually mistake my duralloy for stannous compounds?" he mutters, shaking his head. He follows Jonn into the room and mimics his gait, which possesses a slight spring in each step.


ormahzdthegolden

Ormahzd

Ormahzd aproaches Liska. "My dear lady, would you be interested in sharing accomodations for the evening? Thoroughly business, mind you. I just thought that you might want some company." He spots Marcus heading their way, and hopes he has beaten the fox to the punch, and hopes Liska says yes. Whether anything happens or not, he does have a reputation to uphold after all. "I'll be in here, the one on the right, if you decide to join me. I don't often get the pleasure of a beautiful and smart woman's company." At that, he enters the room, listening carefully for Marcus' approach.


lis_ka_iron

Liska

Liska would look over towards Ormahzd and say, "Company but nothing more, Try it and regret it, golden boy." She would head towards the room, and when she gets there she, starts to clean her SMG's. Liska would also run her night vision goggles through a check.

[lis_ka_iron's unusual and frequent use of the subjunctive mood must be preserved for future references! Arrgh! --ed.]


hunter_brimstone

Brimstone

"Hoiya. Well, OK, Kicker. I got the bunk closest to the window. I suggest you take the one closest to the door, to provide adequate strategical positioning."

Striking a much-flawed pose of intellect, Brimstone draws a raised eyebrow from Kicker.

"Okaaay...."

Mute

"I think she was looking for a different type of strategical positioning, you moron!"

Brimstone

Puzzled at the rifle's response, Brimstone looks back up at Kicker and suddenly gets an enlightened look in his eyes. Kicker sighs relief.

"Ok, I get it now. I'll take the door, you sleep by the window." Smiling and nodding my head punctually, I walk into the room and toss my equipment on a cot near the door.

Mute

"MORON!"


ormahzdthegolden

Ormahzd

"My dear Liska, company was all I offered. I try nothing without invitation, so relax the gun cleaning bit. You want first watch or second? I figure it would be good if at least one of us were awake if something should happen: you know---we get visited by some weasels who need a good neck breaking to go to sleep, or something. If it makes you more comfortable, I'll even sleep with my back to you, for propriety's sake." Ormahzd smiles inwardly, his reputation is safe, even if his manhood might be in danger with this hot chick in the room. Don't want to lose those, ya know.


gammaben

Howard

"Glad you could sthpare a few minutesth of your time away from your women, Dukasth!" Howard says, closing the joke book and tucking it away into his pack.

Geo

<beep-beep>

Jonn

"Right! What's up, Dodgers?"

Howard

"Sthomething Kastheen sthaid earlier, right after sthome nonsthensthe about mutant duck being resthponsthible for Timon losthing sthome people." Howard points a six-fingered feathered appendage at Jonn. "By the way, on that note, how'd I get the credit for that?!" Howard recalls his torment over the massacre at the compound.

Settling down, Howard continues. "Anyway, thisth mutant pig---" at that, Howard shivers, his feathers ruffling, "---Hampsthire. I don't like mutant pigsth."

Jonn

Jonn tries to hold back a laugh and ends up sounding like he's got a bug in his throat.

Howard

"All I'm sthayin' isth, he may not like me, either. Justh wanted to give you a headsth up." Howard pulls out one of the tokens he got from the mutant weasel. "And another thing, we gonna track down the local thugsth? Apparently thisth'll get usth sthomewhere." He flips the coin in the air.


jonndukas

Jonn

"Dodgers, remember that our good Captain was blackmailed by Timon; he probably fingered you as the instigator of the massacre in desperation. No worries! We'll deal with Timon in no time! And dude, any mutant pig who gets to you has to go through me first!" he ruffles the Duckoid's feathers.

Geo

The ever-watchful robot notes that Jonn's ruffling action is identical (within 0.003%) to Lamia's. Was he taking lessons?

Jonn

When Howard flips the token in the air, Jonn catches it, recalls what Marcus said earlier, and says to Howard and Geo, "And no matter what that Porkoid Hampshire tells us, this coin could be our ticket to Timon!"


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