A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
Howard enjoys a good quack at Leghorn's remark about his rotten fruit joke, but quickly turns his attention to leaving Jonn's buggy in the dust of his souped-up vehicle. The smell of the gasoline-fueled combustion engine invigorates his olfactory senses and he amazes at how his ancestors could have possibly lived the good life without such exciting vehicular methods of migration. Howard makes sure not to get too far ahead of Jonn and keeps his pure strain human friend's buggy in his mirrors.
"Stho, Big O," he shouts above the ruckus of the trip, "tell me again why you hate Thimon stho much?"
Ormahzd replies to Howard, "Well, let's just say that a very beautiful 'woman,' who is Highest of the High in a particular religion, was assaulted. All of the women who follow her were assaulted, and their men killed outright. The women were then left hurt and damaged, lying in the grass to die slowly. Only Ormahzd is a reguar visitor and Great Friend of the pretties and I found them in their time of need. She who was Most High told me of the assault, and she knew the creature that led the party. I recieved the name and description, and for four years have tracked him back and forth. Now he pays for the removal of my Mother and family."
As Ormahzd says the last part, a dark look that reads danger to all crosses his face. He does not wish to hurt any of his friends, but he will not be stopped from bringing slow and most painful death to Timon. He has gathered the honey, salt, fillet knife, rope, and alcohol he needs to implement his revenge. This close, he will not allow anyone to stop him. Hopefully he will not have to face down any of the new friends he has made. "Howard, please do not mention this to everyone. I have told you because your life was saved by Ormahzd, and he believes that this bond will keep you his friend and confidant."
"Wha-huh? Frak it, Dodgers, you been messin' under the hood again!" Jonn yells, but his voice is swallowed by desert dust, Howard's buggy's exhaust gasses, Lamia and Kicker's giggling, and Mute's electronic quips.
"Red Elf, your reputation will be lost!"
Jonn glares at Brimstone, who shrugs, rolling his eyes. "Hey, man, you dumped this contraption on me. I'm innocent!" It is a page out of Jonn's own book, and aptly borrowed.
Jonn looks in his rear-view mirror, which is full of Lamia, giggling and jiggling....
"Jonn, watch out for that dune!"
"YEEEEEE-HAHHH!" <à la Dukes of Hazzard>
Marcus would just kick back in the dune buggy to which he is assigned [Subjunctive mood preserved for future reference. Arrgh! --ed.] "Frigging hell, I hope we don't run into trouble anytime soon."
"Boys and their toys!" says Lamia, talking to Kicker in the back seat.
"One more jump like that, Jonn, and my positronic matrix will be negitronic crap!" Leaning even closer, the robot adds, "It seems like you should have asked Jake to tune up our much slower buggy." Considering his stated words Geo deletes the word "crap" from his memory bank.
"My sensors show that an airborne <beep, beep> vehicle left Gamma One right after we did. It was flying low and very fast. It was headed towards Datil."
Howard, having the much faster dune buggy, holds the lead for most of the day until he makes a wrong turn (with Geo keeping Jonn headed the right direction). Howard is forced to backtrack and is behind Jonn when they stop for the night (at about dusk). Tall mountains impassable to dune buggies surround all of you.
"We are still at least a days walk from the Flower Lands (so says Marcus) and at least four days from Datil. I doubt we can take the dune buggies much father up in the mountains."
At this much higher elevation, the earlier 98-plus degree weather has changed to the low 40s (coat weather). Marcus points out exactly where the mountain pass begins and ends, even though it is not shown on your map.
Climbing out of the dune buggy and across its hood (leaving tracks in my wake), I hop to the ground and adjust my smashed tail feathers. "I say, I say there-ere big golden boy, were you ever corn fed? Youzz a mighty good corn color. Ha ha ha!"
Putting my hand beside my beak I shake my waddles as I speechify to Ormahzd. "Sooo, Ormwa' does that little fox give you the creeps in a hen house sorta' way or is it just me? Oh, hi Marcus Wellbe, we were just saying how nice your fur looked today!"
Biting the end off a fresh cigar, I spit it out and put the cigar in the corner of my beak and wink at Howard when he looks my way.
"I eat most anything, including chicken, my feathery friend. As for Marcus, I believe we share some of the same tastes, and not just in food, mind you," Ormahzd replies with a large toothy smile.
With a wink to go with his smile, he heads over to look at the mountains. "So Jonn, when do we get there? Tentatively, of course."
Jonn answers Ormahzd, as he dons the white parka that Abe gave him, "Well, I say we pitch camp for the night, hide the buggies here, then start the four day trek on foot to Datil in the morning. Can you hold out 'til then?"
Kicker strolls over to Jonn and taps him gently on the shoulder. "It's a pretty big loss to our group being minus K-11 and Jake. Do you really trust Kasteen that much, Jonn? How many years has it been since you've seen her? Can you be sure Lizardwoman does not speak with forked tongue?"
In exchange for detailed NARC information about Area 61 and your family from Kasteen you (Jake and K-11) have agreed to accept her mission as NARC operatives.
This mission calls for you to fly a skimmer to Datil and deliver a special package to an address Kasteen has given you: 2105 Subway Entrance #5. You do not know what is inside it, and Kasteen would only say that it was very important. The small leather bag is locked and sealed with a special tamper proof seal. You are supposed to land in preset spot (already set in the skimmer), about a half a mile outside of Datil. There you will leave the skimmer and someone else will fly it back to Gamma One. Once you deliver the package you are free to do as you please. Kasteen promised the Area 61 information would be given to you and you also know Jonn and the others will arrive in Datil within a week (as they are hiking across the mountains). Your total flight time (from Gamma One to Datil) should be less than an hour.
After the others have gone (i.e. Jonn, Howard, and the rest of the Scooby Gang) Kasteen leads you (Jake and K-11) to a small hanger with an open roof. Inside is a small one-man skimmer.
"Be careful Jake, especially of Timon's people." After saying that she helps you strap K-11 into the cargo net.
Finished with the startup prelims, you lift up and out of the small hanger and fly west towards Datil at a low altitude as Kasteen waves goodbye. What do you do next?
Geo taps Jonn on the arm as has Kicker and Ormahzd before him. "Remember Jonn, those dune buggies only have a 200 mile range. We traveled about 126.7 miles to Gamma One and 62.4 miles to where were are now. If we were to bury the extra fuel cans we would not have to worry about anyone stealing the dune buggies, if anyone would even find them up here, that is <beep, beep>."
Leghorn taps Jonn on the arm. "I say, I say there boy, we rooming together, matie? I will miss that K-11; he was such a cheery cap!"
Lamia puts her parka on and then shakes her head "no" to Leghorn.
Darkness falls quickly on the camp and the temperature drops as you secure the dune buggies and the tents for the night. What do you do?
Howard silently laughs thinking about how the humans and near-humans have to wear protective clothing to shield themselves from the cold. Sure, eventually the Duckoid would put on his duck-sized parka, but for the moment, he enjoys the cold until his higher tolerance for cold is reached. Howard again picks Geo for his tent-mate and makes sure all the robot's seals and panels are closed tight lest they let in any damaging cold winds or moisture. As soon as the tents are set up, Howard hits the proverbial sack, unless Jonn wants to try the two-way communicator again, just for "shthitsth and gigglesth," as an old friend used to say.
As he dozes off to sleep, he wonders what he will say to the mutant pig at their destined meeting.
Liska dons her parka. "Well, this looks like fun," she says sarcastically. "Why the hell does it have to be so cold?!? I hate the cold." She makes a quick visual survey of the area and gets ready to move into her tent.
Jonn looks at his shoulder, half-expecting to find a Post-it Note™ saying "Tap me!" No such luck, but there wasn't any dandruff either, and that at least is a good thing.
Jonn turns to the sleek Leoparoid. "I too will miss Jake and K-11. Kasteen may have a forked tongue, Kicker," he shivers quite involuntarily, "but she is NARC to the core. She wouldn't knowingly endanger another operative or his friends. I hadn't seen her for a decade before yesterday, but I've read her reports. She's very good at what she does."
Lamia overhears the last sentence and blushes, until Kicker unwittingly pops her bubble and lets it slip that Jonn was talking about Kasteen. Then Lamia furrows her Gren brow like a little beagle puppy pining away at the savory spiral-cut Christmas ham far out of reach on the dining room table.
Turning next to Geo, Jonn agrees, "Good idea, Geo. Why don't you get Ormahzd and Liska to help you bury the cans. As they're sealed and made of plastic, the odds of someone sniffing them out, electronically or otherwise, would be remote if they are out of sight. Captain Leghorn and I will cover the buggies with the tarps."
As the rest of the crew prepares the three 3-person tents, Jonn helps Leghorn cover the still-warm buggies. "So tell me about Penny and your chicks, Captain."
"Oh, Penny, she's a charmer, I say boy, a real doll, that Penny. I miss her cluckin'," Leghorn pulls back on a tarp, pecks at an errant arm feather, and looks up at the Milky Way. "My daughter Little Bit loves lookin' at the stars, Jonn. And Raggy, well he's just a rambunctious little Rhode Island Red, a real rootin'-tootin' cock-a-doodle-doo, that is, just like his father."
Leghorn sighs, and wiggles his wattle, then turns to Jonn. "You know, that Timon threatened to make a chicken pie outta my Penny! The nerva that cockaroach! I hope he doesn't. Penny ain't crazy about gravy, Jonn," he elbows the Pure Strain human.
Jonn laughs at Leghorn's humor under so much pressure. "We'll find them, Captain. And once we sic Orzo on Timon, he'll regret ever threatening your Penny. It must be nice to have family, you know. I lost my parents and siblings in the crossfires of the gang wars growing up on the South side of New Albuquerque."
"Why, I didn't know that, boy. I say, isn't this great, you and me, opening up like this? I guess this means we're rooming together, eh?"
Jonn looks with squinty eyes at the Roosteroid. "Don't push your luck, red!"
At that moment, female laughter wafts over the campsite. Jonn leaves Leghorn at the buggies, and pokes his head into the tent Lamia erected. She is inside, in a huddle together with Kicker and Liska, evidently discussing matters of extreme importance, as they quickly hush their talk upon his approach.
"Hey Jonn, I'm hanging with the girls tonight! I'm sure you understand, right dear?" She blinks her Gren lashes sweetly, and shakes her head.
Confusion sets in. Jonn nods dumbly, collects his pack by the tent entrance and trudges off to Howard's tent. As he leaves, he hears a disinctively Leoparoid voice start up again.
"So, c'mon girl, where is his dragon tattoo?" More giggles.
With Brimstone, Marcus and Ormahzd rounding out a second tent, Jonn sets off for Howard's tent and spends the night in there, with Geo standing guard outside. Yes, Jonn rooms with the Captain after all.
"I say boy, long time no see! That pert Gren lass give you the night off? Women.... Gonna be the end... of us all." <snores>
Snoring loudly, I stop and sit up some time during the night. "Jonn! I say, I say, boy are you awake there? When we find Penny can you tell her I'm the top rooster of this walk? Damnable tourists!" I grumble, followed by <snores>.
Howard has a fitful dream, a dream of when he was back in Datil and a manacle was attached to his small Duckoid ankle. Then he was a slave, working for a Pigoid named Hampshire. Howard worked furiously to finish the repair job on the ancient equipment, because he knew if he didn't, he would be beaten, and beaten badly. Looking down at his body, Howard could see that all of his feathers were gone, having been painfully plucked out and sold by Hampshire to make pillows. This was turning out to be one of those bad naked dreams....
Starting to get up to crow, the Roosteroid notices Howard mumbling "No'th Hampsthire no'th's! Pleasths...," in his sleep. Remembering overhearing Howard's words to Jonn, "Hampsthire. I don't like mutant pigsth." Leghorn smiles and then jabs Howard with his finger, saying, "Oink Oink, I say there!" and then tosses his head back crowing loudly <RrerrRrerrRerrerrr!>.
In the early morning of the new day, it is cold---in the low 20's. With the gas cans buried some distance away last night, and the buggies secured, you only need to have breakfast, stow your gear, and head out.
With a smile, she passes Brimstone and rubs up against him, stretching lazily, and then bounds up a steep hillside. She motions for Brimstone to follow.
Once the tents are broken down and stowed, Jonn gathers his group and has Marcus show the route they will take on Abe's map. "Kicker, you and Brimstone take Marcus and scout ahead of us. If the way is too steep, we'll have to string ourselves together with rope. Be careful and keep your eyes open. You all know the drill."
"Heheh, right. Lock 'n' load, Mute," the Cougaroid says, but almost immediately wishes he hadn't.
"Yah, whatever, moron."
"Shall I play some music for our journey, Jonn? More Ray Stevens?"
The commodious white-peaked mountains ahead of you seem to stretch forth endlessly from right to left and high up into the clouds. One particular mountain, the largest of them all, far off to the right belches huge volumes of white smoke like a percolating volcano. Marcus aptly calls it Mount Mordor.
You can't really see the mountain path you follow until each time it opens up into another narrow valley or rock strew gully with steep towering walls of stone. Such a place is a perfect ambush site if someone were daring or foolish enough to climb the towering walls of stone.
You do feel somewhat better knowing Brimstone and Kicker are scouting well ahead of your group, but you can't help but look up occasionally as your feet ground rock chips into the hard surface. A hegira in all respects but the most important, your journey sends you heading even deeper into the awe inspiring San Matoe Mountain range... and the dangers it enshrouds.
Marcus explains it this way: "Here you live or die and the mountains don't seem to care either way, and distances are measured in googols." Marcus' words seem hyperbolic, but when you look up at the mountains you will be facing, his intent is all too clear.
"Climb a mountain? <WAUGH?!> Thesthe feet weren't made for climbing rocksth!" the duckoid emits. His sleep having been disturbed my nightmares---nay memories---Howard is very groggy. He tries to pester Geo into carrying him uphill. "Surely he's strong enough to carry me and he won't get tired, because he's a robot!" Howard thinks to himself in perfect non-slurred words.
Forced to move around Geo to keep moving as the robot listens to the Duckoid's chatter, I grumble, "I say, I say, them damnable robots are going to be the ruination of us all."
As Ormahzd starts to follow, he hears Howard's exclamation about duck feet. Without a word or warning, he scoops Howard up as he passes, and just continues walking as if nothing happened.
The path levels out and then forks in two different directions. Waiting for everyone to catch up, Marcus says one path leads into a huge valley called the Flower Lands, while the other heads ever deeper into the mountains towards Datil.
Unless you tell me otherwise I am assuming you are continuing on the path toward Datil.
By nightfall you are walking through ankle deep snow. Two more full days are spent marching up and down narrow mountain paths (and sleeping in the cold). By the morning of the fifth day, you begin your march out of the mountains, exiting on the other side. The city of Datil comes into view about a mile away. Leaving the mountains (and the higher elevation) also leaves behind the snow and cold. The temperature quickly pushes ninety plus degrees as you close within view of the city of Datil.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:18 2006
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