A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
When Frederick's of Hollywood comes into view, Howard pauses and reshifts his gear as Lamia doles out some affection for his friend Jonn. "Lock and load, guysth, eh?" he says specifically to Ormahzd, who seems all too eager to <chick-chack> his weapon. As for himself, Howard holsters his needler and revolves his grenade launcher up and over his head. With accustomed ease, the Duckoid loads a stun grenade and checks that all the safeties and settings are adjusted. All the while, his visage is one of concentration and all buisness. He knows he'd better get his stunning shot off first because after the big guns start blazing, there won't be anything left to interrogate.
"Shots will now hurt other players!" the pulse rifle emits from down an alley. Much to everyone's surprise, Brimstone does not rebuke the rifle, as if he, for once, agreed with his charged charge.
Howard lines the grenade launcher up and checks the distance and the line-of-sight. The launcher confirms its readiness with a faint-sounding <bee-dee-bee-dee>. Howard lowers the launcher and returns his gaze to the human Jonn. "Let'sth go."
Thinking to myself that anyone whom the militia is trying to set up could be a potential ally, I search for a spot from which to observe the militia goons better and possibly see where their backup is.
If I can see the backup, I will attempt to place one third of the plastic explosive with a timer set for thirty seconds on the most vulnerable section of the building above it, then return to a point above the first three militia men. If all goes well, just before the explosives go off, I will pull the pin of a grenade, count to three, and drop it among the three militia men. Hopefully this will be enough to alert their targets to the potential ambush.
Jonn blushes at Lamia's kiss and has a bad Star Wars flashback. Firing off an appreciative grin at the Gren, he leads his group across the rubble-lined, pockmarked street into the side alley and its high-quality women's retail establishment, or what was left of it. Brimstone and Kicker are already inside.
Jonn has to admire Jake's style. The enigmatic humanoid has one killer sense of humor. As he enters the shop, he can already predict Leghorn's snickers. He desperately tries to look earnest in his search for Jake and K-11 amidst the chaotic jumble of mannequins and underwear, but he can't help spotting several pieces of negligée and imagining Lamia filling them out. Nicely.
Geo notes Jonn's gaze carefully. Such information could come in handy if the Gren ever requested it!
But Lamia is equally attentive. She hopes she's filling out those teddies in Jonn's thoughts instead of that scaly Kasteen!
"I say, I say, Howard, check this one out! Speaking of large tracts of land!" The Roosteroid ogles a particularly bedecked humanoid mannequin.
"Oh please, rooster, it's just a good bra," she sighs, exasperated.
Leghorn continues, undaunted, "You think you'd look good in it, Liska?" he winks, but only gets an acid stare. "OK, then. Howie?"
Howard quacks a dismissive quack.
"FOCUS people!" he shouts, half to himself. "Brimstone, Kicker, any sign of Jake and K-11?" Jonn calls out before realizing that he can't find the two Felinoids either. He lifts an eyebrow.
"Nothing under here!" the Foxoid barks, a brassiere dangling from his snout as he snorts out some centuries-old dust.
"OK, we'll spend the night here and wait for them. I'll take first watch."
Sliding broadside to a stop, Frieda puts one foot down to stabilize herself, leaves one in the stirrup, one hand on the brake, and raises the other hand in surrender. "Hi, um, sorry to interrupt. I really need to go now. Okay? Have a nice day. I really need to leave," she says, waiting and hoping for them to wave her off.
"Yeah, I'm still in, Jake. No challenge means no reward. The bigger the challenge, (hopefully) the bigger the reward." After his initial shock when the young lady on the bike appears, he spins to cover the area not covered by Jake or K-11, expecting a possible ambush.
As Howard passes by, I snap a newly acquired training bra on the indigo fowl, hooking it in the back like hand cuffs. Grabbing a pair of nearby panties, I hold them up to Jonn. "I say, I say there, Jonny boy, you can really get into the Gren's panties now!"
Lamia draws her pistol, but Geo snatches it from her hand before she can successfully shoot the Roosteroid, who is oblivious---still clucking with laughter. Kicker slides to a stop on the slick floor at the top of the second floor escalator, waving to Brimstone somewhere up there.
"Jonn! We've got lots of city militia and TW vehicles on the move outside. Seven vehicles and sixty or more men. Brim said we either hafta' move out now or we're trapped here. Make a choice Jonn. You have 30 seconds. If you choose to flee, Brim said come up to the second floor, to the teddy section," states Kicker from the top of the escalator.
"We never shoot the food Lamia; besides, you could never hit him at this range---you can't hit anything!" scolds the robot, putting the pistol back in her holster.
Two blocks away, a huge explosion rattles the unbroken windows in the building you are in, followed by a second smaller explosion, and then heavy weapons fire opens up.
"Don't shoot the lady, K-11. Sorry miss, of course you can go!" Jake addresses the attractive woman on the bike.
As Jake finishes those words, all hell breaks loose. City militia close their trap, sealing both ends of the alley, but before they can enter, a huge explosion rips the entire stone face off the seven-story Sears Store, hurling stone debris down, and fully revealing a suprised column of Datil militia, poised for ambush at one end of the alley. A grenade explodes a second later, and more militia screams are heard. Weapons fire erupts from the other end of the alley, while dust and debris fill the opposite end, but not before you look up to see a woman bounding down the fire escape from a nearby roof. You guess (correctly) that she is the one who set off the explosives and thereby foiled the ambush.
Holstering his weapons, the robot grabs the 5 by 5 foot, half-ton subway grate and lifts it off.
Climbing into the hole, Jake shouts, "Come on people! Come on lady, they will kill you, thinking you are with us! Bring your bike---you don't have a choice! Get in, Wardog!"
Bullets and laser fire hit everywhere around you.
Moving slowly up and over the building via the fire escape, you (Freya) place the explosives and timer and ready a grenade. As the troops move in you set the timer in the plastique, drop the grenade and run.
You count two TWs and thirty-plus men on the move. The plastique explodes (more than needed), ripping the entire stone face off the seven-story Sears Store, and hurling the stone debris down upon the unsuspecting city militia and Timon Walkers. One TW vehicle is demolished instantly, crushed by the falling stone. Half of the men are also killed instantly. The grenade explodes a second later ripping into the three militiamen you targeted.
You flee at top speed, jumping from the roof to the fire escape. You race down it towards the ground (fully six floors). Weapons fire opens up from both ends of the alley as dust chokes everything.
You see the people you just saved fleeing underground (via a subway grate). Do you join them?
Using teleport, I move as quickly as possible to the subway grate. With no time to spare, I enter, looking for the quickest route away from the ambush site, and keeping an eye out for the group that entered ahead of me.
It doesn't take Jonn 30 seconds to decide. "Frak! I sure hope that wasn't Jake and K-11 that just bought it! Follow that Leoparoid, people! Move! MOVE!" Jonn shouts above the din as he grabs Lamia's hand and runs toward the frozen escalator.
Without a second thought, he jumps thru the opening following Jake's lead. Once inside, he covers the entrance until everyone is thru and then follows the party.
Just for a second, Frieda pauses to make up her mind. Seeing a dead soldier gives her a brief vision of an inquisition from the authorities. They would find out about her school and her students and then they would go after her students and their families.... On the other hand, the armed strangers would have let her go. "Oh well, I knew it couldn't last when I started it," Frieda sighs. She slings the bike over her shoulder, pack and all, and drops into the opening.
"Padre Pio!" Squawking like a fox-chased chicken, I run up the escalator flapping my hot wings.
"Geo, fasthball sthpecial!" Howard squawks, having no love for escalators that don't work.
"Accessing 'fastball special.' <beep, beep> Ah! A combat maneuver made famous by the band of comic book mutant superheroes, the X-Men." With that, Geo picks up Howard with uncanny strength, and hurls him to the second floor, bypassing the motionless stairwell. "I always wanted to do that, <beep, beep>."
Howard folds his launcher inside his curled form and screams with exhilaration as he tumbles head over paddles up to the second floor. At the zenith of his parabola, the duck straightens out and half-flaps to the second floor's tile, floating somewhat awkwardly before coming to a clumsy stop in a mess of feathers.
"What a trip, man!" he says to Jonn and Lamia as they bound up the stairs behind the Duckoid. As quickly as he can, he continues the chase, following Brimstone and Kicker.
"And to think my patrons used to pick on me for reading comic books in my spare time. Ha, ha." Geo quickly ascends the defunct escalator behind his friends.
Running up the escalator, your group follows the Leoparoid to the second floor of Frederick's Of Hollywood: the Teddy Section. There you find Brimstone kneeling down, pointing towards a glass-encased corridor that passes between the building you're in, and a much larger mall in the next building over.
The robot grabs Jonn by the arm. "Use your PSH brain Jonn! Just because they are on the move outside doesn't mean they know we are in here! Use your NARC training, man. If we cross that glass catwalk, someone is bound to see us!" The robot releases your arm.
"Stand, fight, or flee, dude?" asks the Leoparoid (claws extended), also causing Brimstone to look your way.
"Better to flee than to die!" offers the Foxoid.
Once Jake, K-11, and Frieda are inside, Wardog grabs the half-ton grate and begins to slide it back into place, but before he can finish, the lady from the fire escape (Freya) uses her mutation to teleport inside. Seconds later, Wardog secures the grate and drops down to the floor below.
The four of you stand for a few tense moments in the half-dark seldom-used sloping subway hallway, looking at each other and breathing with excitement. The 15-foot wide hallway slopes upwards to the left and down to the right. You can still hear men/creatures shouting and gun fire above.
"Sorry lady," says Jake, looking at Frieda. "And thanks for the help!" he says to Freya. "Unless someone's making cookies, we'd better scoot butt!" Turning to his right, Jake takes off down the tunnel, followed closely by K-11.
Assuming everyone else follows Jake, eventually after a brisk five minute trot, the hallway opens up into a very large subway station, which is lit up with lights above. No subway train is here at the moment, but from your vantage point at the corner of the hallway (about 70 feet away) you can see the drop-off and the tracks. Outside a large room with glass windows, where you could once purchase tickets, you see one robot holding a slug throwing rifle; inside the room you see two humanoids and a mutant badger.
"Those are the guys we need to take out. Damn... I didn't expect four of them, though. We are here after some maps in those file cabinets, so grenades are out. We need to make quick work of it and get out of here before reinforcements might show up---say five minutes."
[Three groups have merged:
Freya hands her gear to Jake. "I have an idea. We need a distraction. I'll be subtle this time," she smiles. Removing her black fatigues, down to her shorts and halter, her spots leading to interesting places unseen, she looks down the tunnel, to a place out of sight of the four guards. Teleporting there, she makes a stumbling noise, curses out loud, and then makes sounds of distress as she hobbles into view of the guards. "OHHH!!!" Feigning surprise, she addresses the guards, "I've sprained my ankle. Can someone help me?!?!"
Jonn nods at the robot bartender/strategic advisor. "I say we stand, Kicker. Geo's got a point, and if he's right, Marcus, we won't have a confrontation: as long as we don't go poking our necks out any windows or glass catwalks, the militia has no reason to think this building is occupied.
"I can think of two more arguments for staying put: one, from the explosions out there, it would seem the militia's got their hands full enough, and two, we were supposed to meet Jake and K-11 here, and I'm not ready to give up on them just yet.
"Nevertheless, we would do well to keep an eye on the militia's approach so we aren't surprised. Brimstone, Kicker, Marcus---you're our scouts. Can one of you get up to the roof and take a look-see without getting yourself seen?"
"Don't send Blue Warrior! He's a moron!"
"Subtle huh? Well it looks like we're committed." With weapon in hand, I prepare to act." I don't think the blonde broad knows the meaning." He shakes his head.
The quiet clicks of her freewheel join the steps, pants, and clatter of equipment from the others. While the others have their heartrates up after their brisk 5-minute trot, Frieda is comfortable and relaxed, having had two wheels to roll on. She has also had time to consider the possibilities.
Her stun gun is ready, but it would do little to free her. She could ask to be let free, but she knows what happens to citizens caught by the guards in the subways. Her best bet for freedom is still to follow these conspirators, but she is not sure of their intentions. Just because they are enemies of Datil doesn't mean they are not just another group of cutthroats with their own lust for power. "Thanks for rescuing me," she says. "Would you mind telling me who's side you're on, and what's going to happen to me?"
Frieda has no love of the military government of Datil, but she has not suffered from its deeds as the others have. She has heard of what happens to those whom the military disfavors from her students and their families, but such things are just stories to her.
This action violates her live-and-let-live philosophy. If nobody explains to Frieda who they represent and why they are on this quest, she will want to stay with them only long enough to escape from Datil. If they explain that they are Restorationists, she will be sympathetic and will offer to help disable the guards with her stun ray pistol in order to prevent unnecessary killings. It will take more than this, though, to convince her to get off the fence and become an activist---her teaching was enough of a risk as it was.
I've been forgetting to post anything about Frieda's bot, Bayla. The most secure place to keep her valuables will be in the bot's storage compartment, but she will have kept some in her living quarters. Frieda has been expecting the possibility of having to move out quickly, so she lives out of her luggage. If the bot does not hear from Frieda or any of her friends for a certain period of time, it will leave Datil to a prearranged place in the countryside. It would be reasonable to assume there is a remote for the bot, and that Frieda has it. If so, then she would tell it to move out while going down the corridor and would tell it to warn the others running the school to clear out ASAP (and to load the rest of her stuff for her). The bot is too big to be running around in a basement, but should fit easily in the loading dock.
"I say, I say there Jonn-boy, what about me? What am I? Chopped liver? I ha-ha-have skills." Puffing on my cigar, I look around harshly at the non-posters [he refers to Liska, Marcus and Ormahzd --ed.], mainly because they won't respond to my Roosteroid intimidation.
"Leghorn, the reason Jonn never asks you to do anything is because you don't have any recognizable skills we can use."
"What?" I squawk.
"Ha, ha <beep, beep> I always wanted to say that!"
The Gren bursts out laughing.
The Duckoid chuckles along with Lamia at Geo and Leghorn's interchange. But he quickly turns his attention to the present. "Jonn, I'm with you and Gtheo on thisth one. Justh don't sthend me down there to investhigate and I'll be happy! I'm much better when I'm not dead, you know."
"<beep, beep> I think he always wanted to say that."
Your group spreads out. Marcus, Ormahzd, and Liska go back down to the first floor; Brimstone and Kicker head to the roof; Geo, Howard (the indigo fowl), Jonn, Lamia, and Leghorn hide in the Frederick's of Hollywood Teddy Section near the cross walk.
Seeing a few interesting black see-through frilly items, Lamia takes them and puts them in her pack.
"Lamia, I doubt those will offer much warmth or protection if worn as advertised." Geo points to a (very) ancient Linda Carter poster (on the wall) in which she is wearing just such a teddy.
The Gren blushes at the comment and hopes the Roosteroid didn't hear it. Quite the contrary, Lamia believes the absconded items would indeed generate much heat. She looks toward Jonn and smiles seductively. After a few tense minutes, the troops and vehicles outside are gone, or at least out view. Ten minutes later, Kicker returns in her Leoparoid like manner, leaping on top of a clothing display near you.
"Brimie said to tell ya the troops and vehicles have gathered about two blocks away and that they are not after us. Oh, and Mute said Brimie was a moron." The Leoparoid tilts her head slightly, watching everyone with interest.
Jake and Wardog look at each other and smile when Freya begins disrobing, and then teleports away.
"Subtle maybe... but if she is willing to disrobe for us, that can't be a bad thing, right Missy?" says Jake, turning toward Frieda.
Looking at the woman closely for the first time, Jake says, "I didn't actually rescue you, Missy. It's more like you didn't have much of a choice. We are NARC operatives, or what you would call Restorationists. We are here to steal some subway tunnel maps and a machine which makes city IDs. We are not killers, terrorists, thugs, rapists, shoplifters or complete lunatics!" Jake smiles at the lunatic comment. "If that's what you were thinking.... If I could take the items we require without violence, I would be very happy. I doubt it will be that clean, though. Our beef is not with the people, be they human, mutant, or mutated animal, just with the dictator who runs Datil. As you know, Timon lives in the subways, hence the immediate need for a real subway map.
"Missy, you and your bike have no doubt been spotted and instantly digitally identified. Every guard in Datil is probably on the lookout for you with shoot-to-kill orders. That would be my fault, and for that I am sorry. I can't let you go for fear of the city militia killing you. So I guess you are with us until I can figure out a way to save you. Should anything happen to me, I have friends who are supposed to meet us at a Frederick's of Hollywood Store about two blocks east of here. Go there if we get split up."
When Freya hobbles out of the subway tunnel feigning injury, the robot shouts to his companions and a minute later, all four guards are standing on the edge of the subway platform looking down at Freya and thinking she is a harmless escaped slave.
With the distraction, Jake, K-11 and Frieda charge out from around the corner and move toward the guards. Using his telekinetic mental power, Jake creates a huge almost invisible hand which grabs the four creatures (pinning their arms to their sides, and holding them together) while K-11 rushes up and takes their weapons away from them (two laser pistols, one needler rifle, one slug throwing rifle, two hunting knives, and one smoke grenade). The captured weapons are put in a pile.
"Why don't you use that stun ray pistol on them Missy, you know, the one you have concealed. I can't hold them forever," says Jake straining to keep up the telekinetic mental power.
Saying only "You did good." The emotionless robot returns Freya's clothes to her.
"Right, Kicker, thanks. We'll give Jake and K-11 15 more minutes; after that, we'll have to discuss search and rescue options," Jonn's voice trails off. "C'mon Jake, where are you, man?" he mumbles. If Xervian had gotten his pals in trouble....
Howard interrupts Jonn's vindictive thoughts with an elbow jab to the human's shin. "Hey, Jonn, isthn'th thath the same wonderfthul posther you've goth in your officthe backth home?" The Duckoid's grin is impossibly wide.
"Huh, wha? Oh.... Of course not!" Jonn says in Lamia's direction, simultaneously supressing his overused "I'm innocent" reflex, and surreptitiously kicking the snickering feather pillow at his feet. Lamia doesn't appear to overhear the exchange.
Geo records the Pure Strain human's feeble attempt at duplicity.
Lamia smiles a Mona Lisa smile, and pockets one of the lacy items seen in the poster.
Howard calms down a bit after giving Jonn a hard time. He didn't want to push it with more jabs. After all, Jonn's much bigger than he, and he knows about Howard's poster of Daisy Duck back at his nesting grounds. "Ya know, maybe while we're waiting, we can play with the duck, if you know what I mean," Howard says.
Jonn stares at his Duckoid friend in shock. "A whole sentence without one slurred word," he thinks to himself. "Amazing!" Jonn pauses, confused, wondering what Howard meant.
Lamia notices Howard pointing to the stuffed toy duck's head, poking out of his backpack, and points this out to ever-clueless Jonn.
"Right!" Howard says to Lamia. "Ya know, we got him on sthpeed dial, mebbe we can sthee what our 'friend' isth up to on line one?!" Howard shrugs. "Whattaya think, fearlessth leader?"
Frieda pulls out her weapon and fires four shots into into the captives. Once they are put to sleep, she says, "There, it's done. Macht shnell---the stun fades quickly. Careful what you say, they can still hear." Frieda then moves to grab a laser pistol (and hopefully some ammo). "I sent my bot away from the city," she adds, pointing to her comm link, "It should be gone before they find where I live."
Her stun ray pistol has 6 shots left, two spare batteries, and is charged by solar power. The stun lasts 20 minutes minus the victim's CON (probably with a minimun of 1 minute). It does not render unconciousness, just paralysis of all voluntary movement. That means temporary blindness or partial blindness.
Sorry, but unless you start posting again, Liska, Marcus, and Ormahzd are being weeded from the group and may reappear as NPCs from time to time. If any of you three decide you would like to rejoin us, then you can easily jump back in. Just state in your post that you find the characters again and rejoin them. It's that simple.
Kicker leaps off the clothing display and races away in a Leoparoid like manner. About fifteen minutes later Kicker returns, sliding to a stop on the slick tiled floor.
"Lots of news boss," she says, looking at Jonn who seems to have that far off (I'm on vacation) expression. "Liska, Marcus, and Ormahzd are gone. Or at least they are not downstairs anymore. Brimie said Jake, K-11 and three other newbies just entered the building from the alley. What now?"
Quickly, Jake drops his telekinetic mental power and runs into the ticket booth area with K-11 behind him and Wardog covering the mutants. Inside the booth, Jake notices a plaque on the wall which reads "Veni, Vidi, Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered." K-11 scoops up the small ID machine while Jake riffles through a cabinet until he finds the maps. He also takes a sack full of domars. Removing and emptying out a canister of flammable fluid from his hip, Jake takes out a lighter and lights it. The ticket area quickly erupts into flames.
At the same time Freya puts her fatigues back on and awaits their return. She stands near Frieda, eyeing her with interest as she takes one of the laser pistols from the pile, as well as the hydrogen energy cell from the second pistol. Wardog carries all of the other items not selected by anyone.
"We're done here," offers Jake as he trots back from the flames with K-11 following.
Jumping off the platform onto the tracks, all of you follow Jake for a brisk five minute hike. It ends at a subway tunnel wall, with metal rungs going straight up to a metal grate forty feet above. Going up first, the robot climbs the rungs, rips the grate off (which was welded shut) and climbs out into an alley.
"Want some help with that bike, Missy?" asks Jake, talking to Frieda.
Whether Frieda accepts the help or not, everyone climbs the metal rungs out of the subterranean darkness into the alley above. Once everyone is out of the subway tunnel, the grate is replaced and everyone hurries into the alley entrance of a nearby three-story building: Frederick's of Hollywood.
"Our friends should be upstairs," he says, walking past women's underwear discounted to half price. He can't help but smile, wondering if Jonn liked his sense of humor.
There are many ways to raise a bicycle--it's a piece of cake to carry mine four flights upstairs, pack and all. But with a ladder, there's the problem of keeping the thing secure while carrying it. Manpower makes it easy, brainpower makes it easier.
"Sure, thanks." Frieda quickly removes her pack from the bike and shoulders it. A quick knot with a bit of cord to keep the moving parts still and it's ready to move. With a bit of concentration, Jake sends the bike floating into the air and up through the exit. Frieda follows Jake and the others into the store, reclaiming her treasure.
"Brimie said Jake, K-11 and three other newbies just entered the building from the alley."
"Newbiesth? WAUGH! Now Jake isth getting histh own following!" Howard laughs and pokes fun at his Pure Strain Human friend. "Jonn, you may have sthome competithion in the fearlessth leader department!" Howard continues his chuckles and waddles over to the escalators to peer downstairs at the new patrons of Frederick's.
Following Howard over to the escalators, I can't help myself but to walk just like the Duckoid. I peer downstairs at the newcomers. "I say, I say there boy, this is some f-f-fowl business indeed!"
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:18 2006
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