A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
You (Howard) are swimming peacefully on a large lake in the middle of a warm summer afternoon with five other female Duckoids circling you, fawning over your every "th." Their own speech impediments sound very sexy to you. Captain Leghorn swims into view (with an inter tube around him) and interrupts your tranquility, thwarting your almost successful mating ritual.
Blinking your eyes you, you wake up lying on the hard concrete floor. It was only a dream. Sitting up, you find yourself stripped of all possessions. You are inside a very, very large room (maybe 200 by 200 foot square). The room is filled with red, white and blue barrels, scattered throughout the floor. Almost 50 feet from the floor are three different levels of balconies which circle the entire room. All of them are filled with spectators, some yelling, some booing, some throwing things. In the center of each side of the room on the lowest balcony is some type of gun (it looks to be a heavy laser rife); each is mounted on a swivel. A single creature mans each of the mounted swivel guns.
A single blast hits near you, causing you to duck for cover (pun intended). With shooters from four different directions, you find it impossible to find anywhere to hide effectively for long. You see a rotund Pigoid (Hampshire) smiling down at you with glee from his own personal viewing box, surrounded by a half a dozen heavily armed Gamma Girls. What do you do?
Until reunited with the others, Howard will be group three (G3) when posting. Remember, only the temperature determines exactly when Howard is done... heh!
"Protocol 2 dictates that you are now in command, Frieda. The chances of Jake surviving are 43.7% as of this moment. You should be aware that our objectives supersede the existence of Jake and myself. The ID machine we have in our possession (in a duffel bag) must be given to Hampshire."
Having said more than he has ever said at one time, K-11 follows Frieda's directions to the rear entrance to the ancient UPS skyscraper. Once there, everyone one exits the armored vehicle. K-11 carries Jake and the duffel bag. Kicker remains behind with the TTV. Recognizing Frieda, the guards let the three of you pass unchecked. After a quick ride in the elevator to level 5, Frieda leads K-11 to the medical ward, something few except Hampshire and his employees know about. The medical droid takes over.
"Jonn and the others are here somewhere, Frieda. They may need your help!"
After a second search, and after all weapons are confiscated, a metal door slides open and you are surrounded by seven very tough looking women (called "Gamma Girls" by Hampshire).
After following several long graffiti-covered halls, you enter a huge elevator (large enough to hold 50 people) and the doors close. When they open again, you exit onto a balcony filled with people cheering about some event taking place within the room below.
The balcony is flat, 30 feet wide and filled with people and creatures. At about 80 feet from the floor, it is the highest of the room's three balconies, which start at an elevation of 50 feet, and encircle the entire room. The room itself is very, very large (maybe 200 by 200 foot square) and its floor is littered with red, white and blue barrels. The balconies are filled with spectators, some yelling, some booing, some throwing things. In the center of each side of the room on the lowest balcony is some type of gun (it looks to be a heavy laser rife); each is mounted on a swivel. A single creature mans each of the mounted swivel guns.
You see Howard down on the floor below running from hiding spot to hiding spot and being fired upon while people laugh and place bets on his actions.
You are led over to where Hampshire is seated in a throne-like chair laughing at Howard's antics. Several Gamma Girls also stand around him.
"Don't do anything stupid, Jonn or I'll test my theory regarding Grens' flight capabilities." Taking Lamia by the arm, a Gamma Girl leads Lamia 20 feet away near the edge of the balcony. A weapon points at the center of Lamia's back.
<Snort, snort, snort> "Ola Dukas'sss. Glad to see you'sss could finally make it. Kasteen'sss promised me the ID machine, which I see you didn't bring." <Snort, snort, snort> "Quite unlike'sss you to fail on your end. Kasteen'sss said if you'sss failed I could do what I'sss wanted to with you'sss." <Snort, snort, snort> (Translation: snort = laughter).
Everyone seems to ignore Myc, either thinking him harmless or brainless or both.
As everyone is watching and listening to the events taking place below the balcony, Myc uses his chameleon powers to fade into the background. He tries to find a way to get to the floor below where his new acquaintance is being used in some sick twisted sport. If he can get close enough to him, he will use his force field to help protect him, all the while using my chameleon powers to remain unseen.
"Do what you have to do, luv. You know me. I always land on my feet." I try to touch Jonn but the Gamma Girl rudely pushes me towards the balcony and shoves a pistol uncomfortably in the center of my back. I wave to Howie below, doubtful he will see me up here, as he is being fired upon. I can see Jonn and Hampshire speaking, but I can't hear what they are saying over the roar of the crowd.
"I say, I say t-t-there Jonny, perhaps this is an awkward time, but if things don't work out with this porksqueak and he kills you, I just want you to know I'll be here to take over for you."
"Whoah. Check out Howie. He makes Speedy Gonzales look like Regular Gonzalez. Why is everything always about Howie and not me? Words. Nothing but sweet, sweet words that turn into bitter orange wax in my ear holes. And to think Jonn, you came here to help me. I feel like a fraud---a poor, lazy, sexy rooster fraud. Buk buk buk!"
"Either there was a computing error in the mathematical quantum neutrino field, or someone ripped off my arm earlier. I refuse to fight one-armed. Whoah, I've become a conscientious objector!"
Frustration furrows Jonn's brow like an accelerating grav-car crumples spacetime. Lamia's courage heartens him, and he matches her fleeting smile before she is marched to the balcony's edge. "Play it cool," he reminds himself. He doesn't doubt the resourceful Gren would land catlike on her feet if she were pushed, but he worries about her fate at the hands of the laser cannons below. If he ever knew a situation which merited rescue by the cavalry, this was one. In such situations, Howard would usually save his butt at the last minute. Even Xervian had come to the rescue once. But neither would do so this time. "Hang in there Dodgers!" he mutters underneath his breath.
He wracks his brain to formulate a DukasPlan™, but none is forthcoming. "ID machine?" Jonn asks himself in disbelief. Xervian hadn't mentioned such a beast, but perhaps Jake had time to pick one up, and forgot to mention it in their rushed reunion at Frederick's. After all, Jake seemed to be distracted back there with the new Pure Strain. It is possible, he posits. "Frak!" he curses out loud. They should never have separated, as Jake warned.
"What was that, shrimp?"
<Hacking cough> "Frog in the throat," Jonn explains, smiling. The bespiked woman glares at him threateningly. He holds up his hands in his trademark "I'm innocent" posture, and she nearly decks him with her rifle butt. Their exchange over, Jonn indicates his desire to talk to Hampshire, and the Gamma Girl leads him over beside the Pigoid. Bluffing time!
"Hampshire, there's been a misunderstanding. Half of my group is out there in Datil somewhere with your machine. They must've run into some trouble getting here!" A glare flashes intermittently in the corner of Jonn's eye, causing him to lose his train of thought. Hampshire is either absorbed by Howard's Dodging, or he ignores him.
So Jonn turns toward the glare. Geo frowns at him from a few yards away, and his left optical unit starts flashing almost imperceptively, sending out a low-intensity micrometer-width laser beam right into Jonn's eye. Jonn winces with the pain of the glare, but then recognizes the pattern. By the Ancients! Geo is sending him a message in Morse code! "K-1-1-H-E-R-E-H-A-S-I-D..." Suddenly, two mounds of taut black leather saunter in the way, eclipsing the robot's covert message.
"Of course they're real, punk! Mind your business before I make ya! Sheesh, men!"
Jonn quickly averts his gaze from the stocky woman's chest. "Just a good bra," he mutters softly in homage to Liska. He turns back to the disgusting Pigoid. Shouting above the cheers of the crowd, Jonn continues forcefully, "Hampshire, give them five minutes to show up with your machine, and we'll throw in thirty domars for your trouble! But you must stop this nonsense with Howard, or we can't deliver! Is that poor Duckoid's life worth your lucrative NARC contract?" Jonn hopes to hit the pecuniary-minded peccary where it hurts.
"Protocol 2?" Frieda turns back to look at Jake. Kicker is holding his head in her lap, trying to keep the jarring of the TTV from causing him pain. "Why me, why not Kicker? She knows what she's doing." K-11 says nothing. The meaning is clear enough. Frieda is awed by Jake's commitment to her cause and his willingness to trust her with his. Still, she is no spy, no insurgent. Doubt starts to cover her, and she closes her eyes. "Oh God, help me," she says.
"That's my job, ma'am. What is your command?" K-11 answers.
Frieda smiles and shakes her head. She can handle this. She has somebody to take care of and knows how to do it. In a way, this isn't that different from being a teacher.
Soon, they have arrived. With Kicker to watch the van, Frieda leaves her bike and gear behind. She is amazed that nobody asks her anything. Arriving in the TTV and coming in outside of her schedule with a robot and a wounded man, she feels like she couldn't be more conspicuous, but nobody questions her. At first, she thinks it must be a trap, but nothing happens. Frieda wonders why everybody trusts her. "Am I really that different?" she thinks.
In the medical unit, Frieda kibitzes over the droid's every move. When she bumps one of its arms, it tells her this may take some time and that she should be patient.
K-11 then offers her another job. "Jonn and the others are here somewhere Frieda. They may need your help!"
"Are you sure?" Frieda asks. She is reluctant to leave Jake alone, even with K-11.
"Yes, ma'am. Geo is with them. If you go, you should take this," the robot lifts the duffel bag with the ID machine.
This makes it a whole lot harder; now she has to be in two places at the same time. Common sense wins Frieda's mind, and she decides to leave Jake and go help someone else. "K-11, don't let anybody hurt Jake. I'll be okay. I have friends here," she says, grabbing the duffel bag.
Before she steps out, she checks her weapons. The laser pistol is still strapped to her leg and the stun ray is where she always keeps it. She looks at the deadly laser weapon in distaste but decides that it is better to keep it. There are some pretty rough people working for Hampshire. "Hey, now I look like a Gamma Girl!" she chuckles to herself. At that thought, she decides to find some help, first. As she gets on the elevator, she pushes the button for the floor where she thinks she can find Liz.
Putting my hand beside my beak, I shake my waddles as I speechify, if only to myself. "I say, I say there-ere, good lord, they don't charge admission? What is this? There's decaying ruins everywhere I look. Hold a second, I get a good vibe from this place. Nice long balconies, gambling, good shooters, half-civilized/half-mad people, quiet well-behaved spiders, trash not too deep, free ranging ducks being fired upon for sport. Forget Whore Town's theme parks with blackjack and hookers, this is way better!"
"If I could just save Howie, I'd be a famous hero, just like Neil Armstrong and those other brave ancient PSH dead guys no one's ever heard of. This sure is a fun little doomed city, inhabited by a number of frisky little doomed animals."
"R-r-run Howie! C'mon, it's just like making love. Y'know, left, down, rotate sixty-two degrees, faster, keep moving!" Biting the end off a fresh cigar, I spit it out and put the cigar in the corner of my beak and wink at Jonn when he looks my way.
If Frieda were there, she might say, "Almost felt you liked Datil! That's good! That's uncommonly kind of you. Turn round and let me have a look at your face. I almost feel that I dislike you, but do not let us be hasty. Turn round!"
(with apologies to Treebeard)
Jonn looks at Hampshire and frowns. The Pigoid was giving him the "NPC" treatment: no replies to his words. A Gamma Girl wrestles him away from the porker, and Jonn notices Leghorn's wink. He shrugs off the buff babe, and heads over to his Roosteroid buddy.
"Dude, hang in there. We're gonna get your family outta Datil if it's the last thing I do. I haven't forgotten you, or how you've helped us at the Oad-Ck-Factory and with Ranse," Jonn tells the Captain, and then slaps an appreciative hand on his shoulder, before the Gamma Girl intervenes.
"Break it up, fellas. You wouldn't want to taste my knuckle sammich, now, wouldya?"
My first post had to be reworked, after chatting with the GM. Hence the delay. Let the games continue! Poor Howie!
"Leave it to that 'damnable' mutant to ruin a perfectly good dream!" Howard curses barely aloud as he dodges the initial laser blast. Too bad laser blasts wouldn't slide off him like the water from his dreams would: right off his back. The dream brought to his mind another concern. Now would definitely not be the best timing for his semi-annual, uncontrollable and distracting sexual urges! Has it really been six hu-maan months since...?
Howard had sworn he'd never be Hampshire's slave again. He had been nervous about waltzing right into the pink bastard's lair, but with his near-army of traveling companions he didn't expect to be taken so abruptly and easily. "I knew I sthoulda flipped on the ol' sthield a bit earlier! Frakkit all to heck!" he says, swiftly dodging a blast meant to part his purple hair on the wrong side. He activates his radiation-given force field but still tries to dodge rather than absorb the brunts of any blasts.
Some motion catches his eye in the stands. Somebody threw something large toward the arena, but it was stopped from falling over the edge of the balcony by a suddenly visible, shimmering force field. "Forcthe fieldsth? WAUGH! That rules out the only tricksth I had left up my non-exthisthant sthleeves! Thisth isth going to be harder than I thought?!" he mutters aloud, his slobbering voice drowned out by the crowd noise and laser barrage. Howard dodges the laser fire, a practice mastered in his relatively short (compared with human life spans) existence, and a practice which earned him his traditional surname of Dodgers---not that told anyone this, of course.
Then, Howard realizes, "If the lasthersth are getting out pasth the sthield, they musth be able to get back in, too!" He files this away for a future plan. If indeed he has a future! For now, Howard decides to quit jumping and start waddling. He bolts as fast as he can, using his God-given wings to bolster his speed, toward the nearest white barrel. Its shiny surface might reflect the lasers the best, he thinks, although he doesn't count on it! Upon reaching it, he bowls it over, keeping on the move. He chances a gaze to see what is underneath it, if it is hollow, or if anything about it could be easily knocked loose which he could use as a shield---or a weapon.
Leaving the crowds, you return to the elevator unnoticed and take the stairs beside the elevator, slowly following them downward. After a long walk, you see a side door standing open and hear voices beyond it. Leaving the stairs and entering doorway, you see a long corridor, which you follow, and which ends in a small room. Walking quietly to the edge of the room, you see two mutants. Both are watching a wide well-made ladder with hand-rails, which leads up to a dark hole in the ceiling.
One of the mutants is an Armadilloid and the other is a Rabbitoid. The roar of the crowd and laser blasts can be heard from the dark hole above. The Rabbitoid holds a long rubber stick and the Armadilloid holds an unknown device in his hand.
What do you do?
[We now have four groups:
Now all four lasers fire down upon you, and you dodge shot after shot, some so close you can feel the heat from them as they pass. You knock over one white barrel, then another, then another as you run weaving around the room to the excitement of the crowd. Many people on the balconies above point to a barrel they believe you should run to. So far you have found nothing under any of them. A laser blast slams into you, knocking you down hard. Rolling to your feet, you jump up and keep running. Dodging is what you do best!
What else do you do?
The ID machine in hand (still in the duffel bag), Frieda steps out of the elevator onto Hampshire's balcony. Even surrounded by the crowd, you know where the Pigoid always sits, and where Hampshire is, Liz is not far away. Making your way through the crowd, you pass an odd-looking Fungoid going the other way. Continuing, you see Liz, whose ever-sharp eye, scanning the crowd, sees you almost immediately.
You see one Gamma Girl holding a gun to Lamia's back near the balcony. You see Jonn, Leghorn, Brimstone, Geo (with one arm ripped off), a half a dozen Gamma Girls, and Hampshire. Liz stops you with one hand as you approach.
"What are you doing here luv, you should be hiding somewhere! Important people are looking for you." Liz scans the crowd for people who might notice Frieda, and a worried look crosses her face. "You could stay at my crib. It's small, but I'm sure I could fit you in, Frieda." Liz didn't mean it as a flirt, even though it sounded as such. She couldn't hide her feelings, even though she knew they would never be reciprocated. Leaning close, Liz releases Frieda's arm and whispers, "I would do anything for you... you know that, right?" Liz looks away, placing her hand on her weapon.
Slapping his own head, Geo's left optical unit stops flashing. "We have the ID machine, Hampshire," states the robot. "It's here in the building and on its way here at this very moment." He'd confirmed the information by contacting K-11 via their soundless com-link.
<Snort, snort, snort> "Howww'sss do I knows your not bluffing Dukas'sss, and'sss who said I was going to'sss kill the duckoid anyway'sss?" <Snort, snort, snort> "He'sss does owe me'sss you know, and he can dodge like'sss a hellion!" <Snort, snort, snort> (Translation: snort = laughter)
The Pigoid points his chubby digit at Jonn. "Don't threaten'sss me Dukas'sss, you'sss and I'sss know the NARC'sss need me more than I need them. A'sss deal is a deal'sss!"
"Hampshire, security downstairs says we have an important visitor, and he brought friends---lots and lots of armed friends. Emperor Timon is here, or will be here in a few minutes," says the Gamma Girl, a bit too loud.
The Pigoid suddenly blows out his most recent mouthful of wine into a FineRedMist™.
As the laser blast knocks Howard down <WAUGH!>, the Duckoid thanks his luck that his force field held.
"SHING! zimmer zimmer zimmer sizzle sizzle sizzle"
Howard is not sure how many more direct hits he can take, if any, as he continues his brute-force search method.
"ZIP! ZAP! PADDYWHACK! (GIVE THE DUCK A BONE!)"
The crowd seems to be getting into his forced gauntlet run. In fact, they seem to be pointing toward a certain barrel. He makes a duck-line (sort of like a bee-line, only quackier) toward the barrel, and hopes for the best.
"Thisth dodging stuff justh really ain't what itsth all quacked up to be!" he thinks to himself. Despite the grave situation, he laughs uncontrollably at his thought, and tries to remember to tell Jonn his joke---if he ever sees his friend again.
The sight of the giant mushroom takes her aback. She's never heard of any such creature under Hampshire's employment, and she's never seen one in real life. "New recruit?" she thinks to herself. She chuckles at the thought, knowing how Hampshire likes truffles.
Frieda is disgusted with Hampshire's bread and circuses, but she cannot keep herself from looking at what everyone is cheering about. Seeing the dashing duck, she expects that it is Jonn's Duckoid partner. When she nears the balcony and sees the abuse the others have taken, she is sure of it. Her stomach ties itself in knots with anger and fear.
Leaning close, Liz releases Frieda's arm and whispers, "I would do anything for you... you know that, right?"
Frieda checks her arm, half expecting to see a tattoo that says, "Grab me here." ;-)
Liz's overtures would normally make Frieda uncomfortable, but right now, she doesn't care. She needs a friend right now. "Oh, Liz, I'm so glad I found you. I just don't know what to do. This has been the worst day of my life." It is all she can do to keep her composure.
The red rings around Frieda's eyes and her quivering lips move Liz. "How dare they hurt her!" she thinks. Taking her hands, she looks into her eyes, saying, "It's going to be all right, Frieda. Okay? You have to believe me."
When Frieda hears the words of her friend, the voice in her dream echoes again in her head. "I still trust you," she says again. She starts to pour out her story. "Liz, they're killing my kids! There was this explosion and they think I'm responsible, and now they're killing everybody I know." She stops herself, realizing she is babbling. "I've got to help them," she says, pointing to the captives. "They're the ones Timon is really after...."
"Frieda, calm down. Just tell me what do you need."
"Okay. All right. I've got to give Hampshire what's in this bag, and he's got to let them go. Liz, if anybody's going to stop Timon, it's them. Just back me up, okay?"
"I meant what I said, Frieda. Anything."
Frieda is awed again at this trust. "What is so special about me?" she wonders. Slipping into teacher mode, she steps into the balcony and approaches Hampshire, with Liz just a couple of steps behind her.
"Hampshire, I'm very disappointed in you," she says sternly and loudly (she knows how to talk over louder rooms than this). "This behavior is unprofessional. How much repeat business will you get when you treat your partners like this? Quit messing around and let's get to work." Frieda shakes the bag with the ID machine in it to bring his attention to it.
Jonn snickers at the corpulent NARCie's change of luck. Hampshire is right, of course. His relationship with NARC was contentious at best, but he remained the Restorationists' best contact in Datil. No wonder Frieda was tops on the recruit wish-list: NARC knew Hampshire was getting too powerful for his own good, and they desperately needed to hedge their bets. Jonn shouts over the din toward the Porkoid, though he cannot see him for the copse of Gamma Girls around him, "You'll get your machine, Hampshire, but I wouldn't be caught fawning over it when its previous owner arrives!"
Brimstone discreetly makes his way to Jonn during the momentary confusion at the Gamma Girl's announcement. "The mushroom is gone," he says, indicating the door to the stairwell near the elevator with a twitch of his Cougaroid muzzle. "And I just saw Frieda."
Jonn nods and replies, "OK, spread the word: when the fewmets hit the fan, head downstairs." Jonn makes his way through the agitated crowd to the balcony's edge toward Lamia. If Timon does see them here, it will at least be on Hampshire's turf. Still, he dreads the confrontation.
When he reaches the balcony, he finds Lamia's Gamma Girl shadow momentarily distracted, and he stealthily taps the Gren's boot with his own. Their eyes lock fleetingly; both share a common concern for each other, and for their friend below.
Lamia, ever the optimist, manages a smirk, "Now I know why you call him Dodgers!"
Jonn's features lighten as his temples sprout crow's feet. That Duckoid was a survivor if he ever knew one. "Stay close, luv, things are about to get crazy."
Normally, Frieda is very good with names, but in the chaos of the morning, she only caught the names of Jake (of course), Jonn, and Lamia, having had such brief introductions. She's not as good at recognizing non-human faces, but she should be able to figure out who the other NARCs are. It would help her if the animaloids introduced themselves to her, again.
Flexing my beak, I grin at Jonn's open acknowledgment. Jonn truly did care. Jonn was indeed the big cock of the roost and I had to admit that. Whenever he spoke, his words were like poultry in motion, awe inspiring, even award winning.
"Quit grinning, pea brain. You wouldn't want to taste my knuckle sammich, now, wouldya?"
"I say, I say there, no s-s-sir---I mean, no ma'am!"
I placed my hand on top of Jonn's as we stood together with the muzzle of the Gamma Girl's pistol still in my back. Jonn's eyes told me much more than he was saying. One look from those soft blue eyes, and I was green putty in his hands. I wanted to touch his slightly weathered face but resisted the urge. At least I got to touch his hand. All I wanted Jonn to do was to hold me and make it all go away. I knew better---it was a stupid dream, but it was still my dream.
"You know I love you, right Jonn?" I almost whispered the words. Tears raced down my cheeks. Jonn was not looking at me---he was watching Dodgers and the roar of the crowd was deafening.
When the Gamma Girl pulled me away from Jonn, I lost sight of him in the crowd. She led me into the elevator, where I remember something hitting me and then I fell to the floor, stunned. I remember the numbers of the elevator going 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. The Gamma chick knelt over me and smiled, mumbling something about Kasteen sending me home. That's when everything went black.
Some of the info from this post came from the sweet GM, may his kisses never miss their target.
[And then there were five groups:
It is one of the rare times since he befriended the beautiful Gren when he knows that he completely understands her. So many other times, her actions confused him, but this time is vastly different. Her touch soothes him, her eyes lap at him like beckoning waves on the beach, her trust buoys his courage, her smile melts him like the tropical sun. He is pure strain putty in her hands. For a timeless moment, the noisy crowd is gone, Timon a myth, his friends safe, his NARC identity stripped. All he wants to do is to hold her, and shelter her from the chaos outside. The moment is heaven, and it is full of Lamia, and squawking waterfowl. "WAUGH!"
<insert sound of record scratching>
When the telltale Duckoid quack wafts up from the arena and vibrates Jonn's tympanic membranes, his attention is brutally wrested away from his soulmate. Howard has been hit! As time rebounds back to normal speed, the shockwave disorients Jonn, and he loses sight of Lamia. He wants to cry out in despair, but the crowd, the chaos and the cacophony choke the available air.
In desperation he plows into the crowd, pushing his way blindly toward the back of the balcony, where the exits are. And runs smack into the unyielding leather of a red-headed Gamma Girl, who grabs him, hauls him off his feet and pins him to the back wall with a metal-studded elbow.
"Whoa, pretty boy! Please tell me you're not with Frieda! I haven't pulped a pure strain in years." She underscores her scowl with much knuckle cracking.
"Wow, there's just something about those words going unanswered: 'You know I love you.' Sweet Polly Pure Strain, he doesn't even hear her! How gloriously tragic. I hope Liz pounds 'im into the floor."
"Oh, please, Gene. Look at their expressions. They know it in their hearts. Words would only cheapen the---"
"Still, the green chick has never gotten a straight answer from him. How long is he gonna string this soap opera out?"
"Tsk, tsk! Hold your mutated horses, here comes Timon. Now be a good critic and pass me some popcorn."
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:18 2006
All text Copyright ©1999-2006 PBPArchives.