A Gamma World Hell Hole

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

Chapter 21: Brief Reunion

gammaworld_gm

GM

Walking down the immobile escalators is a group of people to which Jake introduces you. They are Jonn Dukas (PSH and the group leader), Lamia (female Gren, and Jonn's girlfriend), Howard Dodgers (a Duckoid, and would-be comedian), Captain Leghorn (a Roosteroid, and a pain in the ass), Brimstone (a Cougaroid and group scout with a talking gun named Mute), Kicker (a female Leoparoid, also a scout) and Geo (a robot with a deadpan personality).

After shaking Jonn's hand and introducing your group, Jake takes you (Frieda) by the arm and leads you thirty feet away into the bra section.

[All the groups have coalesced into one. --ed.]

Jake, to Frieda

"Sorry, but we need to talk, Missy" he says, suddenly noticing his firm grip on your arm. He releases it and looks from side to side, surrounded by bras. "Before we start, I should tell you that this is against my NARC orders, but I did lie to you. Yes, I know your name is Frieda and not Missy. I knew it before you ever found us in the alley. It was not a coincidence that you met us. You ride that same route four times a week. I know because I've been watching you.

"I was ordered by the Restorationists to recruit you any way I could. Your language skills are very valuable to them. I'm sorry it took me destroying your life to recruit you, and that is my fault. You may really be pissed at me, but we do good things to help people. Hell, I was just recruited not long ago myself. That's it. I guess this is the part where you either hit me, kiss me, or cry, Frieda!"

Jake adjusts his reflective shades and stands there apparently emotionless, or at least hiding it very well.


frei_abel *****

Frieda, earlier

"This may be the most surreal moment in my life," she thinks to herself as she moves across the bottom floor of the store. An hour ago, she was exploring Datil on a bright morning, then she was facing men and guns, and then the military and the explosion, and then her life was shot to hell, and then she met up with these Restorationists whom she had just helped.

This lean, attractive Jake fellow is kind of nice, but she has been looking for another true human, and his mental powers are frightening. Now, she is walking through this store, looking at the remarkably well-preserved clothing. It must have been sterilized at one time by a neutron bomb. She is looking at a party dress when the others arrive. There is the Pure Strain leader, the beautiful Gren, the other animals, and the robot. The leader Jonn looks interesting, but the Gren Lamia made sure to indicate that he belonged to her as soon as Frieda met her. She is wondering if these people will let her go or if she should join them, when Jake pulls her aside.

Frieda, to Jake

Frieda's face turns pale, she backs away from Jake, then collapses against a column, shaking and sobbing. "Oh God. Oh God. Ohgodohgod. What have you done?"

Jake approaches Frieda and, trying to look in her eyes, says, "I'm sorry, Frieda," then touches her arm.

"Don't you dare touch me!" Frieda shrieks, lower jaw quivering, eyes ringed with red. If her stare really were daggers, Jake would feel better. "You Scheisskerl! You could have at least asked me before ruining my life! It was nice and quiet, and the cops turned a blind eye to my school, but now everything I built is gone, and every student I had and their parents and my friends are in danger. Did you even try to think about them?"

Frieda's face hardens and her shaking changes to quiet intensity. Her voice also hardens, flattening and turning quiet. "You asked me to kiss you, Jake," she says, with an unpleasant emphasis on his name. "That's why. That's what you really wanted." Then, Frieda reaches forward, grabs Jake, and gives him a rough kiss on the lips. "There, I hope it was worth it. Lots of people paid a high price for that kiss." Frieda turns and runs away, gun in hand, heading for her bicycle.


gammaworld_gm

GM

For a moment Jake stands stunned as if shot by Frieda's own stun ray gun. The remark about the kiss is just that: a casual male oriented remark, even though somewhere deep down, he may have wanted it. After all, she is very beautiful and athletic... and PSH women are very rare to begin with... and they are almost exactly the same height, although Jake is a bit more wiry....

Jake breaks out of his daydreaming to understand finally what he has done to the fragile creature before him, and he is moved. Seeing Frieda bolt toward her bicycle, Jake motions to K-11 and then follows her, in no apparent hurry.

Stepping out from behind a display as she passes, K-11 grabs Frieda by the back of her shirt and coat and effortlessly lifts her several feet off the floor. No amount of kicking or struggling will free Frieda from the robot's duralloy grip. Even a laser pistol would do little more to K-11 than leave a scorch mark on his duralloy frame. Physical abuse from a human could do nothing to him.

K-11

"If you attempt to flee I will shoot you, Miss Frieda Abel. If you continue struggling I will shoot you!" says the emotionless robot in a Hal-like voice, and looking up at the woman with glowing red electronic eyes.

Jake

I rule out the mention of a second kiss, but it was pretty good. Testing my lips, I approach Frieda with my hands up, since she still has her laser pistol in hand. "Calm down Frieda. No one is going to hurt you. I'm sorry.... I guess maybe I said the wrong thing, but as I said before, you can't leave and I can't fix what has happened. If you leave us, the city militia will find you and do things to you I dare not even mention. So you can hate me if you like---that's your choice---but you are with us until we say otherwise. Got it? Consider K-11 your personal bodyguard."

GM

After a motion from Jake, K-11 lowers Frieda back to the floor, but holds onto her arm.


lamia_best

Lamia

With interest, I stroll over to the three (Jake, K-11, Frieda). "You probably have her frightened out of her wits Jake. What were you thinking?"

Catching Frieda's attention, she says, "We are not all brutes, thugs and tactless, Frieda. Now let go of her, K-11."

OOC

It seems like forever since I last posted. I love you guys! I'm back now.


gammaworld_gm

OOC

Our newest GWA recipient is frei_abel for Frieda's most recent post. Past recipients are:

Good posters should be praised. A Merry Christmas to all, and to all an Apocalyptic night!


jonndukas

Jonn, earlier

Jonn frets over what to do with Marcus, Ormahzd and Liska. After greeting Jake's entourage, he sends Brimstone and Kicker to comb the area for the missing trio. While the scouts are gone, Jonn chats with the newcomers, sizing up their strengths and weaknesses. The PSH fem is particularly intriguing. Hadn't he seen her grainy photo in the NARC recruitment wish-list?

Lamia

Not fully appreciative of the "sizing up"s going on, the Gren interrupts Jonn's chat with Frieda rather enthusiastically: "Brimstone's back, Jonn!"

Brimstone

The Cougaroid growls and shakes his head.

Kicker

"There's no trace of them."

Mute

"Not even a subjunctive clause!" [A reference to the unique style of Liska's and Marcus' posts. --ed.] Brimstone's pulse rifle quips happily, much to his irritation.

Geo

"Maybe Ormahzd made a pass at Liska and she blew him away! Budda-budda-blam! Ha, ha, ha. Now that would've been funny." Nobody laughs.

"Frak!" Geo curses, as only a nonplussed robotic bartender imitating a PSH can, "Gotta work on these bargain basement humor subroutines."

Jonn

"Frak!" Jonn curses, as only a PSH can (much to Geo's dismay). He cannot afford to stall any longer. Captain Leghorn's family can only be presumed to be in immediate danger after Timon lost contact with his fowl spy. "We've got to find the Leghorns. And that means finding Timon. And that means finding Hampshire," he deduces on the spot.

He turns to find Jake and get his report, but the mysterious humanoid is not there. Howard points over toward the bra section, in which direction a shriek is suddenly heard.

Frieda.

Captain Leghorn

"I say, Jonn, it's a booby trap! <cluck-cluck> You get what I'm saying, boy? <Ar-ar-Ar-ar-ROOO!>" the Roosteroid gives Jonn a beaky smirk.

Jonn

Jonn grimaces when he finally realizes that the Roosteroid is joking. He is still pondering the Captain's joke when the PSH fem dashes toward the entrance of the store, followed moments later by a casually strolling Jake. Jonn sees Frieda get waylaid by K-11 near the door. He then scurries toward the commotion along with the others just in time to hear Jake's "Consider K-11 your personal bodyguard."

Ever the diplomat, especially when it comes to other fems, Lamia smooths over the tension with her dulcet words. When she finishes, she puts her hand possessively on Jonn's shoulder. Not entirely grasping the situation, but admiring Lamia's lead and judge of character, and encouraged by her touch, Jonn follows up, "K-11, remember your programming! Frieda, whatever has happened, please be assured that we are your friends. Having a K-11 unit as a bodyguard is the next best thing to powered assault armor with all the bells and whistles! We're here to rescue the Captain's family, and settle a score with a man named Timon. If you have problems here in Datil, they're probably ultimately due to him, so you might benefit in joining us. Heard of Timon?"

Jonn shoots a questioning glance over at Jake that seems to say, "What the frak did Xervian have you do, dude?"


cpt_leghorn

Captain Leghorn

Looking at our shapely female newcomer, "I say, I say there Frieda, you know why the Pure Strain Human crossed the road? To get to the Oadesta Chicken Factory!" Har, har, har. "I'm Captain Leghorn." Reaching out to shake Frieda's hand, I jerk my hand back. "Har, har, har, fake out!"


gammaworld_gm

K-11

Remembering his programming, K-11 calculates the action of a mild shot through the shoulder but decides against it.

Kicker

"'There's no trace of them' in PSH terms means we followed their scent to the first guard checkpoint towards downtown and then returned." The Leoparoid growls a toothy growl and then bounds away.

Jake

Jake motions K-11 away from Frieda and K-11 complies as he turns his attention away from the ever so smoochable Frieda to the less than smoochable NARC operative Jonn Dukas, a guy he considers his friend and group leader.

"After I completed her initial mission, Xervian sent me here to steal a copy of the subway maps which my new recruits and I did, and to recruit Frieda for which she's not terribly happy with me at the moment. It's not like I could stick a toothpick in her and fix her [A reference to Jake's solution to Ranse's problem under Gamma One. --ed.].

"NARC's orders are not to let Frieda go." I give the subway maps to Jonn. "We still need Hampshire to show us where the slaves are being held, and the maps don't tell us where anyone is. But they do show all the tunnels and hidden entrances."

Geo

"To quote a length of text from the Shadow Years which best sums up our current situation, 'We can't see the trees for all the Indians.' <beep, beep> Loosely translated it means we are in deep duck poop, Kemosabe! The chances of us taking out Timon at the moment are about the same as Frieda getting knocked up by Jake... ha, ha <beep, beep>, I always wanted to say that!"

Jake

Jake frowns at the robot and prays that Frieda didn't overhear it. "How embarrassing," he thought.

"I agree that your plan needs to continue to evolve, Jonn. Simply taking out Timon seems less and less likely, the more I see of Datil. We still must go see Hampshire regardless. Either way, I'm with you 100 percent, Jonn."

OOC

Unless Wardog and Freya post soon, they will be "NPC'd." I'm going on vacation for the next ten days, but will attempt to keep posting, sporadically. As always, the bothersome sub-GM/Roosteroid will help in my absence.


gammaben

Howard

Howard considers Jonn's plan of action. "There'sth alwaysth the two-way communicator, Jonn. Dare we try to usthe it again?" Howard offers to the man making the plan. "Maybe we don't need to find Hampshthire---" Howard ruffles his feathers in a shudder as only a Duckoid can, at the sound of the name he just slobberingly spoke. "---to find Timon. But we might find Timon straight up!"

Howard considers the newcomers carefully. The woman in black seems like she is way out of her element, and perhaps out of her mind to join up with the likes of his current traveling companions. So, Howard decides it is time to make a new friend and thinks of his best ice-breaker conversation starter.


frei_abel

Frieda

Frieda listens as closely as she can to what the others are saying, knowing that information is her best weapon, now. She takes note of the name Xervian. As soon as the robot lets loose, Frieda moves next to Lamia, who seems to be the only one sympathetic to how she feels, right now. As she holsters her weapon, she looks down to realize that she grabbed the laser pistol, not the stun gun, and that the safety was off. She switches the safety to on.

Frieda turns furiously red at Geo's crude remark, realizing that everybody must have been watching, but speaks up at the mention of her former boss's name, masking her embarrassment with anger. "Hampshire? Why am I not surprised that pig has a part in this?"

Turning to Jonn, she responds to his questions, "So, the Restorationists are trying to free their own, but at the expense of the freedom of innocent families? Listen, because of Jake, here," with the same nasty emphasis as before, "you put my students in danger. Remember these names: Taneeka Moses, Stella Roberts, Scott Adams, Jerry Markbright, Allison Steele, Krista Fischer, Elwin Ransom, Sarah Beeler, Lillian Olszewski, Tycho Nishimura, Jonn theMeasurer, and Pamela and Phylomena Zloch. They were my students. You are responsible for them, now, too. The price for my cooperation is their protection by the Restorationists."

She takes a breath to regain her composure, and when Jonn nods, continues, "Who hasn't heard of Timon? Haven't you seen the Brother Blackbeard posters? My language teacher always said, 'Schularbeit macht frei,'" (Frieda never understood why he always thought that was clever, but she believed it.) "If you wanted to free your people, you should have done your homework first. Have you ever heard of a Timon Walker? Datil's army has 3 battalions and at least one of those walkers for each company, and Timon's new factory is making more. Even with your war robot, your scrawny little group won't be able to get him by forcing your way through. Now, if you had wanted to contact Hampshire quietly, all Jake had to do was ask me before he ruined my life. I worked in his shop, you know."


jonndukas

OOC

Jake

Jake... turns his attention... to the less than smoochable NARC operative Jonn Dukas....

Smoochability is in the eyes (and lips) of the beholder!

Jonn

Jonn accepts the news from Kicker and the maps of the subway from Jake. He wonders what the frak Marcus, Liska and Ormahzd were doing abandoning the group. Oh well, ever-handy Jake already found replacements, it seems. "You da man, Jake. I'm glad Xer---Kasteen didn't screw you over for revenge."

Jake

"Why, you mean to say that sweet li'l lizard has a mean streak?" Jake smirks from behind his mirror shades.

Jonn

"When it comes to me, yeah, and it's the size of Texas. But anyway, glad to have you back, dude, and I agree with you." Jonn turns to face both Jake and Howard, "It might be best to avoid confronting or tipping off Timon via his communicator any sooner than we have to. Remember, we're not here officially to take him out. Ormahzd was going to do that on his own, and he might have gotten tired of waiting. Anyway, if Jake, you were behind all that commotion, Leghorn's family may already be in imminent danger. We're here to save them, we've got to act fast, and Hampshire's our best lead." Jonn notes the sudden blanching of his ducky friend's face. Why did Dodgers fear that Pigoid so?

Jonn finally takes Frieda aside, but she doesn't budge without Lamia. No problem. His Gren would find out everything sooner or later anyway. Whatever Jake had intended, it had gone horrbily wrong for the fiery PSH fem. Ah well, it seems he would be in the rescue business a little while longer now. But it wasn't on account of Frieda's condition that he had to save the children. He was a student once, too.

"Frieda, I don't claim to be the higest ranking NARCie here; we kind of keep to ourselves---frak, I just found out that Jake is one! But I do claim responsibility for your young charges. If they can yet be saved, we will save them. Perhaps your boss Hampshire knows what Timon has planned for them, or where they may be hiding, or, heaven help us, what fate has already befallen them. Another incentive to act fast. Can you use these subway maps to get us into his shop unnoticed?"


lamia_best

Lamia

"I'm sorry, Frieda. Some of these scrawny Restorationist guys are lovable, but they can be a little less than sensitive, although reluctantly, I must admit most of it is unintentional on their part. It does little to fix the damage done to your life. We do care about what we do even if we sometimes cause as much damage as we repair. Maybe with your added guidance, we can remedy that in the future. We will do our best to help you and your students, but you also have to work with us. We're not really that bad once you get to know us."


thorninfoot

OOC

Sweet Polly Pure Strain, the Roosteroid is taking over as group leader. Ck-ck-ckicken fight! Otay, maybe not. Since I was not allowed the command codes as gammaworld_gm I'm posting under my own name this time.

Jake

"I do have a plan, but we don't have much time to do it and our window of opportunity is closing with every passing minute. Yes, we can use the maps and the subways to get downtown. If I know the city militia, they will seal off Frieda's place and then send someone there who is more qualified to search her records and then send people to arrest everyone. If we leave now, I'm sure we can get there before that happens. It's only been a little over an hour or so since we were seen.

"The subway tunnels will take us right by Hampshire's (Oik's Equips 'R' Us). If we were to split up, we might even save more time, but with so few of us, it might not be wise. It's your call, Jonn. What do we do and when do we leave?"

Geo

"How do we know one of the new people aren't one of Timon's people? You should not forget the Mystic Mages Jonn <beep, beep>. They are here too, somewhere." The robot tightens a slip rod in its wrist and then looks at Frieda. Using a thermal microtech exo-scanner on his wrist, he scans her from head to toe. He then puts his arm down, saying nothing.

Wardog

"Give me my cut, Jake, I'm outta here!"

Captain Leghorn

The Roosteroid tries to think of something to add to the conversation, but instead just casually ruffles Howard's feathers with one hand. "Wow, very soft!"


frei_abel

Frieda

Now that her students are being considered, the teacher in her comes out, and she is all business. Lifting up a small black device, she says, "I used this communicator while underground to contact Bayla. That's an envirobot I own. The signal was bad, so all I could do was send the evacuation code. Bayla would have relayed the message to my backup, Geena, and she would have cleared out, ASAP, taking the roster with her..."

Captain Leghorn

The Roosteroid crows loudly at the mention of competition.

Frieda

"...I said roster, not rooster. Bayla would have fled to the countryside. When the authorities get there, all they will find is our equipment, any of my personal stuff that Bayla couldn't rescue, our books, the writing on the chalkboard, and some homework papers. They won't like what they find---my material includes history. They'll be able to find the students from those papers, but it'll take time. The biggest danger is if some of the students or their families don't get the message in time. They could stumble into a trap.

"The local MPs like me, and leave me alone. Also, my job with Hampshire and my name---the military seems to like German names---have protected me. When the authorities come, they won't be looking for a school, so that will give us a bit more time.

"Some of those families are part of a secret communications network they organized to protect each other, but I've stayed out of it. If we can meet them, they may be able to help you more than I can. If we can find him, you should talk with Elwin. He's a smart young teen, and I think he knows a lot about Datil.

"I have four students in my early class. But the Zloch sisters are in the most danger---they get up without their parents and arrive first. If any get caught, it will be them. We have to go to my neighborhood."


jonndukas

Jonn

Jonn approaches Wardog. "We've just met, Wardog, but Heaven help you if you rat us out." Jonn smiles fleetingly, and jerks his head over toward Jake to signal his approval of Wardog's request.

After Wardog leaves, Jonn turns toward the rest of the group. His leathery face seems suddenly to have aged even more. "Geo brings up an interesing point. But it's one that is potentially disastrous to entertain. I implicitly trust each of you. It may be a personality flaw, but it's kept me---and you---alive. However, all bets are off if you double-cross me," he deliberately avoids Leghorn's pleading eyes. "In the meantime, I refuse to divide my conscience or this group with suspicion."

The tension is so thick that not even Kicker's energy mace would disrupt it. Captain Leghorn nervously preens his vestigial wing feathers. Geo busies himself with recording and analyzing this latest facet of Jonn's complex PSH personality. Howard wipes that perennial Duckoid grin off his beak. Lamia fiddles with her black ray pistol's hoster strap. Geo stops recording only long enough to slap Lamia's hand before it acidentally discharges her lethal weapon. She frowns at the robot.

Jonn inhales sharply as he looks each of his group members in the eyes/optical sensors. "Let's get a move on, then. We've got people to rescue, and Timon and Bacrill to dodge."

Impressed with Frieda's resourcefulness, Jonn finally replies to her, "I suppose we have no choice, Frieda but to split up, despite Jake's suggestion. Too many people are in danger at once to do this in series."

Jonn addresses the robot bartender, "Geo, can you and Joshua work out some way to communicate with each other on an encrypted channel?"

Turning to Jake, Jonn continues, "Execute your plan, my man. Take Frieda, Freya, K-11 and Kicker and travel to Frieda's neighborhood. Show me on the map how to get to Hampshire's shop via the subway, and I'll take the rest of us to rescue the Captain's wife and chicks. If we don't hear from each other in 24 hours, let's meet back here (Frederick's of Hollywood) at that time."

Then he addresses Brimstone, "I hope you don't mind me separating you two. Each group will need a scout, and I have a feeling we're gonna need Mute.

"Any questions?"


thorninfoot

OOC

Is everyone still passed out from the eggnog? As Brimstone would say if he'd ever freakin' post, "What? That's your one-liner? You stink! That's pathetic!" Maybe it was Mute's quip, but it's still funny. How is it that a gun can be funnier than its owner? "Hole-istic?"

Jake

Looking at Frieda, Jake suddenly realizes he is staring and looks away, even from behind his protective shades. "Frimnuts," he thinks to himself, "I'm acting like a school boy." Jake tries to forget the kiss and concentrates on the mission. With a word from Jonn, the sack of domars is dumped onto the floor. Going to his knees, Jake counts the golden coins into four distinct piles. The count ends with each person (Jake, Wardog, Freya, Frieda) getting 34 domars.

OOC

A domar is about the same size as a silver dollar (maybe a little thicker), only twice as heavy since it is made of gold. 34 domars would be a lot of money!

Jake

Jake gives Wardog and Freya their cut. He then gives Jonn the 34 that was his cut and gives Frieda her 34 domars, trying not to pause too long as he gives her the coin sack (Frieda's having been put back in the coin sack). "Its NARC money, not mine Jonn. You may need it to bribe Hampshire."

Captain Leghorn

The Roosteroid continues preening his vestigial wing feathers.

Wardog

Standing emotionless, weapon in hand, Wardog says nothing as Jonn adds one last barbed comment. Taking his coins from Jake, he casually walks away without a word. In less than a minute, Wardog is gone.

Geo

"Yes Jonn, K-11 and I can both send and receive communications with each other. Its not like a field-fractional wave emitter transmitting in the lower band width of the tacron spectrum is a complicated thing, Jonn."

GM

Unrolling the subway maps, Jake quickly shows Jonn the best route to downtown using the subway system. The planned route exits right behind "Oik's Equips 'R' Us."

Jake

"Lets go Frieda, uhmm, and the rest of you."

Kicker

Rubbing up against the Cougaroid as she passes, Kicker only smiles.

GM

Jake, Frieda, Freya, K-11 and Kicker exit the front of Frederick's of Hollywood, with Kicker taking the lead. Together they head down the street.

Jonn, Howard, Geo, Lamia, Leghorn and Brimstone exit Frederick's of Hollywood's side alley entrance. Once Geo removes the subway grate cover in the alley, they see a metal rung ladder going down into the darkness of the subway about thirty feet below.

Both groups hurry away from Frederick's of Hollywood.

[We have two groups now:

--ed.]

frei_abel

Frieda

She looks down at the money she is given and frowns, juggling with her thoughts. "Is he looking at me?" she thinks, and "This is a lot of money, and it's not really mine, but there is so much I could do with it." As she gets up, she glances at Jake, and finds a place to stand with someone else between them.

When everybody starts moving out the door, Frieda says, "Raus, raus!" as much to herself as to the others. It's a new word to them, but that hard edge of German makes the meaning unmistakable---everybody moves a little faster. She looks around and above her, turns to Jake, and says, "Look, I don't want to tell you how to do your job, but if the MPs spot us before we get there, how are we going to help anybody?"


lamia_best

Lamia

"Don't worry Frieda, everything'll be alright. If you have any trouble, talk to Kicker. She will listen to you." I wave as Frieda leaves in a hurry with the others.


cpt_leghorn

Captain Leghorn

"I say, I say there, oh glorious, yet ever silent leader, there's could be evil mutants down there! Damnable mutants are going to be the ruination of us all." I sigh and adjust my cigar in my oversized beak. Squawking, I then begin climbing down the rugs [sic].


gammaben

Howard

With Leghorn's comment about the 'damnable mutants' burning in Howard's duckhead (as opposed to his Duck Head pants, which never did fit quite right), Howard heads down the rungs of the ladder in good order. Of course, that means....

"After you, fearlessth leader!" He motions for Jonn to precede him into the depths of the unknown parts of the Datil underground. Once he is down, he'll unholster his needler and holster his grenade launcher, careful to set the safety so that he doesn't accidentally stun-grenade his whole team.

OOC

Howard wonders why the good Captain would be climbing down rugs, when obviously there are no rugs here but rather rungs.


cpt_leghorn

Captain Leghorn

Squawking, I then begin climbing down the metal ladder.

OOC

I have one word for Howard! "Dam-m-m-nable-m-mutants!" So it's two words, so sue me (not you GM/Jim). As Bender would say, "Bite my shiny metal ass!" There you go, indigo fowl. Fixed like a capon.


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