A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
With everyone at the bottom of the rugs... uhm, er.. rungs, your small, yet overly smartellic[y] group heads down the subway tunnel. Geo activates his low beams and lights up the area dimly as everyone walks together.
"You have the safety on, right Howard?" The robot swore on his hydraulic fluid that he would never speak of his employee's stun-grenade fiasco. [A reference to Brimstone's first combat move in the prologue. --ed.]
Luckily (for Geo), Brimstone trots ahead unaware of the conversation. The subway tunnel is smooth empty and lined with a set of rail tracks. More walking... more walking... more walking... more walking....
Continuing his quick pace along the abandoned store fronts, Jake pauses at a corner (after traveling about 3 city blocks) on hearing Frieda's words. Jake turns face to face with Frieda, almost standing too close to her. Jake is close enough that Frieda can see her own eyes in his shades. "Look Missy, I know what I'm doing. If you're still upset because you kissed me and now you're somehow infatuated with me, that's fine, deal with it!" Jake smirks a little, "But know this... I'm not a newbie. I have a plan and we have contacts here." Turning away, Jake keeps walking.
You cross through an alley and then through an empty shell of a building. Silently, Kicker motions to Jake and points across the street into a darkened alley. Inside the alley sits a Troop Transport Vehicle (TTV).
"Now one of us needs to walk across the street and talk to them. If it's not a trap and they don't open fire and kill us, they are our contacts and they'll give us a ride downtown with no checkpoint stops. They never stop city militia vehicles." Jake looks around for volunteers.
Relaxing in a nook, flexing my roots as I take in food, I wonder about how I came to be in this subway. Noticing a light coming down the tunnel towards me, I stand silent, waiting.
[A new player means a new group:
Passing a narrow side tunnel, I see a sentient mushroom standing there as plain as some gamma-powered mechanical monster with freeway on-ramps for arms and a heart as black as coal. "I say, I say there get a load of this guy," pointing toward the mushroom. "He's going for his gun, shoot him! No, no, don't shoot him, he was just picking his nose."
"A sentient mushroom? Oh my God, I'm so excited, I wish I could wet my pants. You know the secret of traditional robot cooking? Start with a good high-quality oil, then eat it. I have an idea, you two fight to the death and I'll cook the loser."
Ignoring the robot, I march right up to the mushroom and introduce myself. "I-I-I'm Captain Leghorn. Ignore the robot, his artificial intelligence must be slipping again." I sigh and adjust my cigar in my oversized beak.
"Superstitious robot mumbo jumbo," it says, upon hearing Geo's words.
"Mumbo, perhaps, jumbo, perhaps not."
"I choose to believe what I was programmed to believe. I have copies of all of history's great acting robotic programs, like: Acting Unit 0.8, Thespo-mat, David Duchovny!"
"Si. I mean Nee. I mean, no."
Frieda stops in shock at Jake's reply, aghast, dumbfounded, and deeply embarrassed, burning red from her cheeks to her neck. She tries to ready a comeback, but the word "newbie" echoes in her head, pounding in her ears. "The children," she says quietly to herself. It is the thought of the children that keeps her from running away.
As she follows on, Frieda considers all that has been going on, thinking more about what has just happened than what is going on around her. She wonders again why Jake told her he was responsible for this. It just doesn't make sense to her.
As they stare at the TTV just barely visible in the darkened alley across the street, she can't see what's so scary about this scene, but the obvious tension in Kicker puts a knot in her stomach. Frieda turns to Jake to see that he has removed his shades, heavy concern showing on his face. She is scared now as much as she has been through this whole ordeal, but this consideration on Jake's part comforts her---maybe he really does know what he's doing.
She looks out at the TTV, thinking about volunteering. They are doing this for her, so shouldn't she be the one to go? But why should she risk her life when they are responsible for all this? And if she is shot, they would lose the information she has about her students. What is she supposed to do? Then she remembers what Jonn said about the war robot. With her eyes on the TTV, she says quietly to Jake, "Can your K-11 really protect me?"
"Hello warm-blood, to what do I owe the honor of your visit to my underworld home? And such a waste of a good cigar! Why smoke it when you can savor all the fine flavors by eating it?"
From beside Jonn, I wave at the mushroom. "Hi I'm Lamia. This is Jonn, Howard, Captain Leghorn, Geo and Brimstone. We are not really visiting; more like just passing thru. Do you live here?"
Jonn laughs at the Fungoid's quip and Geo's improving humor while Leghorn clucks, irritated. As usual, Lamia expertly washes over the group's antics with her warm welcome.
"Tar my feathers if another smarty aleck ajoins our group," he mutters. Pulling Jonn aside, he whispers, "Jonn, I say, Jonn-boy, do we really want a fungus amongus?"
Jonn extends a hand and shakes one of the mushroom's vines. "Super to meet you, good Fungoid. We're headed up this tunnel into the heart of the Datil underground. Anything we should be wary of?" Jonn asks the loaded question, attempting to ascertain the mutant mushroom's loyalties. His party is armed to the hilt, and so the Fungoid may be wondering the same about them.
The bulk of Jake's (NARC's) domars in his pack causes Jonn to shift his rifles to his shoulder and to shift his weight closer to Lamia. The lovers' hands touch accidentally, though Lamia takes his hand as if he'd offered it. "If you so erect, uh... uh, elect, we could actually use a ride---I mean guide if the going gets particularly tough down there," he points down the long tunnel with the hand not attached to the blushing Gren. "Uh, what did you say your name was?"
"Hello Lamia, Jonn, Howard, Captain Leghorn, Geo and Brimstone, my name is Mycinod Ascomoid, but you may call me 'Myc' as warm-bloods often do. I normally live above, but even a being sch as myself gets wanderlust now and again.
"Good sir, any knowledge I have of this area is yours for the asking; all I ask in return is to be allowed to join your group, as you no doubt know there are many dangers and there is strength in numbers. Plus I desire intelligent conversation and most beings I have met do not have that particular ability." I look slyly at the Roosteroid.
"Buk buk buk! I say, I say there, Mycy'd you seem like a fun-gi. Ya's can't be all bad if 'uhoo's like cigars too!" I blow smoke at the indigo fowl. "Don't worry Mycy'd---you're not a mutant, you're a vegetable. We like vegetables, right Jonn?" I say, elbowing the PSH. "Young mushroom, you have the bravery of a hero and breath as fresh as a summer ham. I would be honored to walk behind you."
Howard nods in the mobile mushroom's direction as introductions are passed around. He offers nothing to the conversation, but wonders how fast a sentient plant could actually move. Would he slow the group down? Howard keeps an eye on the newcomer and, having experienced on many occasion the wrath of sentient plant life, most recently at the Starport, Howard shifts uncomfortably in his gear.
"You're not going anywhere, Missy. I wouldn't want anything to happen to you and I'm sorry for teasing you, Frieda. It's only because I...." Jake looks at Frieda and then down at the floor.
Before Jake can find the words, a sudden spray of gunfire erupts. Freya, standing too close to an open window, is hit by a dozen large caliber explosive-tipped bullets. Staggering backwards in shock, Freya falls to the concrete floor dead, almost unrecognizable.
Jake's face suddenly hardens. He pulls out his shades and puts them on. "Bring Frieda here and go get the TTV Joshua (Jake's name for K-11). Taking a folded body bag from his pack, Jake tosses it to Kicker. "Put her in that. She's going with us!" Jake's original mission was just to deliver a briefcase to Datil for information about Area 61, which he now had on a small CD disk, but with no way to view it. Then he got sucked into all this. Oh, how easily Kasteen had manipulated him.
Taking Frieda by the arm, the robot pulls her across the room and pushes her up against wall beside Jake. "Don't move lady!" orders the robot. Leaving through the doorway, K-11 rushes across the street fearlessly as gunfire erupts from everywhere. No one looks out into the street to see what happens.
At the same time, Kicker drags Freya's body away from the window and puts her in a body bag. "Why do I get all the dirty jobs?" <grrrrrrr>
The TTV suddenly starts, pulls out of the alley into the street and then backs up to the door of the building you are in. The backdoor ramp to the TTV drops open. Large caliber bullets ping off the vehicle.
"Everybody inside, that means you too, luv," he says to Frieda.
Quickly, everyone rushes inside (including Kicker carrying Freya) and the ramp closes. Taking the driver's seat, Jake throws it in gear and speeds away. A few minutes pass as Jake continues navigating through Datil's narrow junk-filled streets. Where do you sit (Frieda), up front with Jake, or in back with K-11, Kicker and the body bag?
You all agree to let Myc into your group, just as the Fungoid motions for you to enter his narrow nook. Brimstone's heightened hearing detects something coming. Once all of you are inside the nook, mere seconds pass before a dozen subway cars (all together) zip by at relatively high speed (you guess about 45 mph). You see that the cars are filled with people (maybe slaves). Leaving the nook, you continue following the subway and Myc. Surprisingly, Myc and his fronds walk fast, even faster than the heavily laden Duckoid.
"Well, I would be wary of the robot guards and the alarm trip wires they have placed at different intervals. I can take you the heart of Datil without being seen. Just walk this way."
"That may be very difficult," says the robot, attempting to mimic Myc's swaggering walk.
One hour passes as Myc leads you down hundreds of tunnels and maintenance corridors, none of which follow your map. Climbing endless stairs, you open a door and exit into an alley. Huge ominous skyscrapers surround you as does the bright hot noonish daylight.
"See... no guards and you're here," says Myc smiling at his knowledge of the subways.
[Two groups have merged:
"You da ma---er, mushroom, Myc!" Jonn yelps happily. "Now where the frak are we?" He says, staring up at the looming skyscrapers and getting blinded by the sun. "D'oh!"
"Red Elf now has temporary blindness!"
"You forgot your shades, hon," Lamia suggests with a suppressed Gren giggle and points at her own shades which hang around Jonn's neck.
Jonn does as she says, and speaks toward Myc's last known position as his eyesight returns. "We're looking for the old UPS building, where 'Oik's Equips 'R' Us' can be found. We need to chat with the proprietor."
"Oik's Equips 'R' Us? Sorry warm-bloods, I have never heard of such an establishment, but if you are looking for the ancient building which once contained the UPS, then this back door is the one you seek. Most places do not serve sentient plants, as we have some rather bad relatives who prey upon such as you. Every family has some bad blood."
A brief calm comes to the room as Jake answers Frieda. Starlings chirp outside, and Kicker's tail swishes away a buzzing fly. The air smells of damp concrete, dust, and sweat. A stray beam of bright mid-morning sun levers its way though a window, lighting the spot where the two are standing. The glow paints gold on their faces and lights the dust particles dancing through the air around them. With his glasses still in his hand, Frieda can read his face, and almost sees what Jake doesn't say. She feels the beginnings of sympathy for him at this show of humanity, and she smiles. She smiles an honest smile. Not the one she uses to get guys to do things for her, but the one that causes men of all ages to fall in love with her---and she doesn't even know it.
And then, everything goes to hell. Frieda screams at the explosion of bullets and covers her head with her hands, then Jake starts shouting commands. The robot grabs her just as she turns to see the dead Freya on the ground. The robot pulls the shrieking and crying Frieda across the room and presses her against the wall. Kicker jumps into the back of the TTV with the remains of Freya. K-11 ushers Frieda up the ramp too, and then pulls in her equipment, shutting the door behind.
Frieda shrieks and pulls away at the sight of the body bag, collapsing in a corner, her sobs falling to a weak moan. Kicker waves and spits out a word to K-11, who hides the body of Freya from Frieda's sight. As the van bounds down the street, Kicker cradles the helpless Frieda in her arms, purring songs her mother used to sing to her.
Suddenly a large piece of air-cooled and highly condensed roc dung, dropped from an elevation of 1049.4 feet, shoots down towards the party, careens off a skyscraper or two, slightly deflects off an ancient street lamp and glances off the back of Brimstone's unprotected noggin, sending the Cougaroid warrior into on a downward-spiraling flat spin that lands his furry muzzle into inch-deep road trash.
The party helps Brimstone collect himself, and, noting the large cartoonish hump on the back of his skull, they treat the dazed merc. Jonn looks into Brimstone's concussed eyes and asks, "Buddy! You okay? Do you feel okay?"
"Ngrrgrgrgnuh," he says, losing his balance and nearly collapsing again.
"Can you remember your name?" Jonn implores.
I gaze around for any more falling pieces of air-cooled and highly condensed roc dung dropping from an elevation of 1049.4 feet. I sigh and adjust my cigar in my oversized beak. "I say, I say there Puttytat, y-y-yer damn lucky you was hit in the head."
Pulling a small wad of paper from my pocket, I show it to the Cougaroid. It reads, "The only thing that helps me keep my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes. --Homer Simpson."
"S-s-see there my boy, you're not Batman, you're Homer Simpson!" I blow smoke at the Cougaroid.
Our newest GWA recipient is frei_abel for Frieda's most recent post. Past recipients are:
Good posters should always be praised. The NARChivist and one other person nominated that post, so I am bending like the gamma willow tree.
"Jonn, maybe you should listen to Myc a little longer, as he seems to know where he is." I pat Jonn lightly on his butt. "Nice beef cakes."
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:18 2006
All text Copyright ©1999-2006 PBPArchives.